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Chilean ship Lautaro (1818)
Combate de Valparaiso sommerscale.jpg
The Lautaro (right) fought against the Esmeralda (left) off Valparaíso in 1818
Career (Great Britain)
Name: HEICS Windham
Owner: Sir Robert Wigram, 1st Baronet, later Joseph Andrews
Operator: East India Company
Route: England-India
Builder: Perry, Wells & Green
Launched: 3. November 1800
Fate: sold to Chile
Career (Chile) Chilean Ensign
Name: Lautaro
Namesake: Lautaro
Cost: $180,000
Acquired: 5 April 1818
Commissioned: April 1818
Out of service: 27 September 1828
Honours and
Capture of Reina María Isabel, Perla and San Miguel
Fate: beached in Valparaíso
General characteristics
Type: East Indiaman
Tons burthen: 878 (bm)
Length: 118ft 10in
Beam: 36ft 2in
Draft: 14ft 11in
Propulsion: sail

East Indiaman: 100

Chilean Navy: 288

East Indiaman: 26 x 18 and 6-pounder guns

Chilean Navy: 42 guns

The Lautaro was initially the British East Indiaman Windham, of 850 tons,[1] built in Perry, Wells & Green shipyards for the East India Company (EIC) and launched in 1800.[2] She made six voyages to India and China for the EIC. In 1809-10, the French captured her twice, but the British also recaptured her twice. The Chilean Navy bought her in 1818 and she then served in the Chilean Navy, taking part in several actions. From 1824 she was a training ship before she was broken up in 1828.

East India Company[]

Windham performed six voyages for the EIC between 31 March 1801 and 25 June 1817, sailing to India from England, and back.[3] Because she sailed during wartime, her owners arranged for to sail under a letter of marque, which gave her the right to take enemy vessels as prizes should the opportunity arise.

First voyage

Her first letter of marque was dated 14 January 1801 and gave the name of her captain as Thomas Grantham. Windham's first voyage was to China. She left Portsmouth on 31 March 1801 and reached Saint Helena on 10 June and Whampoa on 7 October. On her return leg she crossed the Second Bar on 21 January 1802, reached Saint Helena on 12 April, and The Downs on 12 June.[3]

Second voyage

With the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars in mid-1803, Graham received a new letter of marque dated 2 July 1803. This voyage took Windham to Madras and Bengal. She left The Downs on 11 February 1803 and reached Tincomallee on 16 June and Madras on 27 June. From these she sailed up and down the Indian coast, reaching Masulipatam on 7 August, Vizagapatam on 9 August, and Diamond Harbour on 21 August. Coming out of Calcutta she reached Kedgeree on 18 September and Madras on 16 October. She then returned to Diamond Harbour on 13 December. On the journey back to Britain she was back at Saugor on 5 January 1804, Vizagapatam on 27 January and Madras on 21 February. Windham was at Saint Helena between 24 March and 28 June, and reached The Downs on 9 October.[3]

Third voyage

She received a third letter on 26 January 1805 that named John Stewart as her captain. Stewart sailed her on her third, fourth and fifth voyages. Her third voyage took Windham to Madras and China. She left Portsmouth on 8 March 1805 and reached Madras on 21 July. From there she reached Penang on 26 March, Malacca on 15 September, and Whampoa on 20 December. She crossed the Second Bar on 28 February 1806, and again reached Penang on 26 March. From there she was at Saint Helena on 17 June and The Downs by 14 August.[3]

Fourth voyage

Windham's fourth voyage took her to Bengal and Benkulen. She left Portsmouth on 21 June 1807 and reached Diamond Harbour on 15 November and Kidderpore on 9 December. On her next leg she reached Saugor on 31 January and Benkulen on 28 March. Between 20 April and 17 June she was at Saint Helena, and she returned to The Downs on 14 August.[3]

Fifth voyage

It was on Windham's fifth voyage that the French captured her twice, and the British recaptured her twice. Windham left Portsmouth on 7 July 1809 for Bengal. She reached Madeira on 19 July.[3] During the Mauritius campaign of 1809–1811 the French frigate Vénus captured her and two other Indiamen in the Action of 18 November 1809. In the action the Windham had six men killed and 18 wounded.

The British frigate HMS Magicienne under Captain Lucius Curtis recaptured her on 29 December.[4] In February 1810 Windham was at the Cape of Good Hope. Stewart and her crew rejoined her, having arrived there in a cartel. Windham resumed her journey, only to fall afoul of the French frigate Bellone near Johanna Island at the Action of 3 July 1810. HMS Sirius recaptured Windham at the Battle of Grand Port on 21 August 1810 and sent her with a prize crew to Île Bourbon. There Windham received a new crew and captain, Joseph Lautour. She and another recaptured Indiaman, the Ceylon, arrived back in Britain in April 1811. Ceylon brought with her a cargo from Île Bourbon and Windham one from Isle de France (now Mauritius).[5]

Service in the East Indies

There is some ambiguity about the Windham's whereabouts between her fifth and sixth voyages for the EIC. The summary vessel history in the National Archives suggests that Windham returned to Britain, arriving in The Downs on 8 August 1811, but this is inconsistent with the news account of her arrival in February.[3] It is highly likely that between 1811 and 1816 Windham was in the East Indies, initially serving the British government as a troop transport. There was a "Windham transport" at the British invasion of Java in August–September 1811.[6] The East India Company provided the services of several of their ships, led by the Malabar under Commodore John Hayes. These were the Ariel, Aurora, Mornington, Nautilus, Psyche, Thetis, and Vestal. This is in addition to the transport vessels. The "Windham transport" carried the 3rd volunteer battalion to Cheribon.[6]

Sixth voyage

Her captain for her sixth and last voyage for the EIC was Joseph Andrews. Because this voyage took place after the end of the Napoleonic Wars Windham did not have a letter of marque. She left the Downs on 21 April 1816 and reached Penang and then Malacca on 7 September. She reached Whampoa on 11 October. She left China, crossing the Second Bar on 10 January 1817, reached St Helena on 18 March, and the Downs on 23 May.[3]

The EIC then sold her to one Joseph Andrews. José Antonio Álvarez Condarco, agent of the Chilean government in London, arranged the purchase of the ship.[Note 1]

Chilean career[]

Windham arrived to Valparaíso on 5 March 1818 and the government paid $180,000 for the ship. She was refitted with 44[7] guns, renamed Lautaro, and given a crew of Chilean and foreign seamen. A month later she went to sea under the command of George O'Brien, a former Royal Navy officer.

On 26–27 April 1818 she fought against the Esmeralda and the brigantine Pezuela, and broke the blockade of Valparaíso.

On 28 October she captured the Spanish frigate Reina María Isabel (later O'Higgins (1816)), the Perla, and the San Miguel.

She participated in the Freedom Expedition of Perú and up to 1821 she was under Captain Paul Delano. She also participated in the blockade of Chiloé.

On 23 October 1822 in Talcahuano the crew mutinied against Captain Charles Whiting Wooster.[8]

In 1824 Lautaro served the Chilean Navy as its "Academia Náutica" (Naval Academy).


On 27 September 1828 she couldn't be auctioned and was scrapped.


  1. The British government generally stipulated that buyers of frigates or larger warships that the Admiralty was selling undertake to break them up within 12 months of the date of purchase or forfeit the bonds they had posted. When the Chileans wanted to create larger warships they had to make do with Indiamen such as Windham. They were permitted to buy the Cruizer-class brig-sloop Hecate.


  1. Carlos Lopez Urrutia, Historia de la Marina de Chile, Editorial Andres Bello, page 31 and 420, url
  2. Gerardo Etcheverry, Principales naves de guerra a vela hispanoamericanas, retrieved on 25 January 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 National Archives [1] - Accessed 18 April 2013 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "NA" defined multiple times with different content
  4. "No. 6574". 11 February 1812. 
  5. The Annual register of world events: a review of the year (1812), Vol. 52, p.265.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "No. 16563". 21 January 1812. 
  7. Latin America's Wars: The age of the caudillo, 1791-1899 Von Robert L. Scheina, page 62, url

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