Military Wiki
French frigate Médée (1779)
Career (France) French Navy Ensign French Navy Ensign French Navy Ensign
Name: Médée
Namesake: Medea
Builder: Saint-Malo
Laid down: January 1778
Launched: 20 September 1778
In service: February 1779
Captured: 4 August 1800
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: Medee
Acquired: 4 August 1800 by capture
Fate: Hulk in 1802
Broken up 1805
General characteristics
Class & type: Iphigénie-class frigate
Displacement: 620 tonnes
Length: 44.2 metres
Beam: 11.2 metres
Draught: 4.9 metres
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Armament: 28 x 18-pounder long guns + 4 x 6-pound long guns

Médée was an Iphigénie-class 32-gun frigate of the French Navy. She took part in the Battle of Tory Island. She was part of a squadron of three frigates, Concorde under Commodore Jean-François Landolphe, Médée under Captain Jean-Daniel Coudin and Franchise under Captain Pierre Jurien, with Landolphe as the overall commander, that left Rochefort on 6 March 1799. Eluding the British blockade off Rochefort, the squadron sailed southwards until it reached the coast of West Africa. There Landolphe's ships began an extended commerce raiding operation, inflicting severe damage on the West African trade for the rest of the year. During this time, the squadron captured the Portuguese island of Prince (Príncipe).[1] Eventually the strain of serving in tropical waters told on the ships and all three were forced to undergo an extensive refit in the nearest available allied shipyards, which were located in the Spanish-held River Plate in South America. At Montevideo the squadron assisted the French prisoners that had captured and taken into that port the convict transport Lady Shore which was carrying them to Australia. Repairs continued for six months, until Landolphe considered the squadron once again ready to sail in the early summer of 1800. The squadron almost immediately captured off the coast of Brazil the American schooner Espérance (Hope), which they used as an aviso and sent to Cayenne with a prize crew under the command of enseigne de vaisseau Hamon.[1] (At the time, France and the United States had been engaged for two years in the Quasi War.)


The East Indiamen Exeter and Bombay, supported by the fourth rate HMS Belliqueux, captured Médée off Rio de Janeiro at the Action of 4 August 1800. The British sailed her to a port in Britain. She was never commissioned but served in 1802 as a prison hulk. She was sold in 1805.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fonds, Vol. 1, p.244.
  2. Winfield (2008), p.209.
  • Fonds Marine. Campagnes (opérations; divisions et stations navales; missions diverses). Inventaire de la sous-série Marine BB4. Tome premier: BB4 1 à 209 (1790-1804) [1]

  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461. 

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