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HMS Epervier (1797)
Career (France) French Navy Ensign French Navy Ensign
Name: Epervier
Namesake: the hawk
Builder: Benjamin Dubois, Montmarin (Saint Malo)
Laid down: October 1787
Launched: 23 February 1788
Captured: 12 November 1797
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Epervier
Acquired: By capture 12 November 1797
Commissioned: Never commissioned
Fate: Sold 7 September 1801
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: Expédition-class
Type: Brig-sloop
Tons burthen: 2538994 (bm)
Length: 94 ft (29 m) (gundeck), 76 ft 3 18 in (23.244 m) (keel)
Beam: 25 ft 0 14 in (7.626 m)
Depth of hold: 10 ft 7 in (3.23 m)
Propulsion: Sails

Initially: 82 officers and men
Later (1794): 130

Privateer: 145

Brick-aviso: 6 x 4-pounder guns (initially)
Privateer: 16 x 4-pounder guns

British service: 18 x 18-pounder carronades

The first HMS Epervier, sometimes spelled HMS Epervoir, was the French ex-naval brick-aviso and then privateer Épervier, launched in 1788. The British captured her in 1797 and registered her in 1798 as an 18-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy. The Navy never commissioned her and she was sold in 1801.


Epervier was an Expédition-class "brick-aviso" (advice brig). The six members of the class were built at Saint-Malo Montmarin by Benjamin Dubois to a 3 October 1787 design by Pierre-Alexandre-Laurent Forfait and all were launched in 1788. They cost 86,000 Livre tournois each.[2]

The British captured two other members of the class, but never added them to the navy.[1] The two were Curieux (captured in June 1793),[3] and Impatient (captured on May 1803),[4] by Naiad.[5]

French service

Épervier was originally armed with six 4-pounder guns. In 1792 her armament was increased to ten 4-pounders and four 12-pounder howitzers. The next year she received six more 4-pounder guns. She was in dry-dock at Rochefort in 1795. In April 1797 she was condemned, but then became a privateer. Between 1794 and 1797, she carried eighteen 4-pounders and four two-pounder guns.[6]


Epervier was operating as a French privateer when HMS Cerberus, under the command of Captain John Drew, captured her off the coast of Ireland on 12 November 1797.[7] At the time, Epervier was armed with sixteen 4-pounder guns and had a crew of 145 men.[8]

Epervier arrived at Plymouth on 12 January 1798, and was registered on 14 February. However, the Navy never commissioned her.[1]


Epervier was sold on 7 September 1801.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Winfield (2008), pp. 286 & 266.
  2. Demerliac (1996), p.82, #536.
  3. Demerliac (1996), p.82, #537.
  4. Demerliac (1996), p.83, #541.
  5. "No. 15591". 2 June 1803. 
  6. Demerliac (1996), p. 82, #538.
  7. "No. 15048". 17 August 1798. 
  8. James (1837), Vol. 2, p.91.
  • Colledge, J.J. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of the Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy From the Fifteenth Century to the Present. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1987. ISBN 0-87021-652-X.
  • James, William (1837). "The Naval History of Great Britain, from the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV.". R. Bentley. 
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1. 

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