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Four large sailing ships in the foreground are advancing through choppy grey seas towards at least eight other ships in the background engaged in combat

The Battle of San Domingo, 6 February 1806, with H.M.S. Canopus Joining the Action, Thomas Lyde Hornbrook

The Atlantic campaign of 1806 was one of the most important and complex naval campaigns of the post-Trafalgar Napoleonic Wars.[1] Seeking to take advantage of the withdrawal of British forces from the Atlantic in the aftermath of the Battle of Trafalgar, Emperor Napoleon ordered two battle squadrons to sea from the fleet stationed at Brest, during December 1805.[2] Escaping deep into the Atlantic, these squadrons succeeded in disrupting British convoys, evading pursuit by British battle squadrons and reinforcing the French garrison at Santo Domingo. The period of French success was brief: on 6 February 1806 one of the squadrons, under Vice-Admiral Corentin Urbain Leissègues, was intercepted by a British squadron at the Battle of San Domingo and destroyed, losing all five of its ships of the line.[3]

The second French squadron, under Vice-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Willaumez, cruised in the South Atlantic and the Caribbean during the spring and summer of 1806, conducting several successful raids on British islands in the West Indies. His ability to affect British trade was hampered by the deployment of British squadrons against him and the disobedience of Captain Jérôme Bonaparte, the Emperor's brother.[4] On 18 August, an Atlantic hurricane dispersed his ships, causing severe damage and forcing them to take shelter in friendly or neutral harbours in the Americas. Waiting British ships destroyed one vessel, and several others were so badly damaged that they never sailed again, the four survivors limping back to France individually over the next two years.[5] The various British squadrons deployed against him failed to catch Willaumez, but their presence had limited his ability to raid British trade routes.[6]

The campaign included a number of subsidiary operations by both British and French ships, some taking advantage of the campaign to conduct smaller operations while the main enemy forces were distracted, others operating as diversions to the principal campaign to attack undefended areas or lure British ships away from the principal French squadrons. Among these operations was the return of the squadron under Contre-Admiral Charles-Alexandre Durand Linois from the Indian Ocean, which was captured at the Action of 13 March 1806;[7] the raiding cruises of L'Hermite's expedition and Lamellerie's expedition, which captured a number of merchant ships but each lost a frigate breaking through the blockade of the French coast;[1] and the destruction of a convoy of seven French ships destined with supplies for the French West Indies at the Action of 25 September 1806.[8]

French squadrons

Admiral Leissègues' squadron

Both of the principal French squadrons departed Brest on 13 December, remaining together for the first two days before dividing in pursuit of separate British merchant convoys on 15 December. The squadron under Leissègues clashed with the convoy's escort, before breaking off and sailing south for the French Caribbean, where Leissègues was intending to land the 1,000 soldiers carried aboard as reinforcements for the garrison at Santo Domingo, via the Azores.[9] The voyage was long and difficult, Leissègues struggling through winter storms that divided his squadron and inflicted severe damage to his ships. Arriving at Santo Domingo on 20 January, Leissègues disembarked his troops and began extensive repairs to his ships in preparation for raiding cruises in the Caribbean.[9][10]

On 6 February, Leissègues was surprised at anchor by a squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth, which had been taking on fresh supplies at Basseterre when news of Leissègues' arrival reached him. Joined by ships from the West Indian squadron, Duckworth's force was larger than Leissègues' and also had the advantage of the wind that prevented the unprepared French squadron from escaping.[11] Sailing westwards along the coast in a line of battle, Leissègues' flagship Impérial was the first to be attacked, eventually driving ashore along with the next in line, while three others surrendered at the Battle of San Domingo.[12] Leissègues himself escaped ashore; the only surviving ships of his squadron were the frigates, all of which eventually returned to France later in the spring.[13]

Admiral Leissègues' squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
Impérial 120 Vice-Admiral Corentin Urbain Leissègues
Captain Julien-Gabriel Bigot
Driven ashore and destroyed at the Battle of San Domingo
Alexandre 80 Captain Pierre-Elie Garreau Captured at the Battle of San Domingo
Brave 74 Commodore Louis-Marie Coudé Captured at the Battle of San Domingo
Diomède 74 Captain Jean-Baptiste Henry Driven ashore and destroyed at the Battle of San Domingo.
Jupiter 74 Captain Gaspard Laignel Captured at the Battle of San Domingo
Comète 40 Returned to France in 1806
Félicité 40 Returned to France in 1806
Diligente 20 Captain Raymond Cocault Returned to France in 1806
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 184, Gardiner, The Victory of Seapower, p. 23

Admiral Willaumez's squadron

a ship of the line flying a blue, white and red tricolour flag approaches a fortified harbour in choppy seas

Vétéran reaching the French port of Concarneau, Michel Bouquet

After separating from Leissègues on 15 December, Willaumez sailed south, capturing a number of vessels from a British troop convoy and sending the prizes, with the frigate Volontaire, to Tenerife.[14] Willaumez's intention was to raid the China Fleet, a large convoy of valuable East Indiamen that sailed from the Far East to Britain every year. However on 23 December he was pursued by Duckworth and driven far off course, so that by the time he reached the Cape of Good Hope, where he planned to resupply his ships, it had already been captured by a British expeditionary force. Turning westwards, Willaumez raided shipping in the South Atlantic until April, when he anchored at Salvador in neutral Brazil. By early May, Willaumez was at sea again, stopping at Cayenne and then splitting his force to raid shipping in the Leeward Islands prior to reuniting at Fort-de-France on Martinique in June.[15]

On 1 July, Willaumez sailed again, attacking shipping at Montserrat, Nevis and St. Kitts before sailing to Tortola in preparation for an attack on the Jamaica convoy. Before he could reach the convoy, Willaumez was intercepted off the Passage Islands by a squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane and driven northwards into the Bahamas.[4] There he waited for the Jamaica convoy to pass, seizing any ship of any nationality that came within sight, in case they should reveal his position. After several weeks of waiting, Captain Bonaparte, the Emperor's brother and commander of the ship Vétéran, decided that he would no longer submit to Willaumez's command and sailed north during the night of 31 July, without orders or even notifying the admiral.[16] Vétéran eventually returned to France on 26 August, after destroying six ships from a Quebec convoy. Panicked by the unexplained disappearance of one of his ships and its illustrious captain, Willaumez struck north in search of the vessel and as a result missed the passage of the Jamaica convoy, also narrowly avoiding an encounter with the squadrons under Warren and Strachan. On 18 August a hurricane dispersed his ships, severely damaging them and scattering them along the Atlantic Seaboard of the Americas. One was destroyed by a British patrol, two others were too badly damaged to be repaired and were broken up, and three of his ships successfully made the journey back to France over the next two years.[5]

Admiral Willaumez's squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
Foudroyant 80 Vice-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Phillibert Willaumez
Captain Antoine Henri
Badly damaged in an August hurricane, sheltered in Havana. Returned to France in early 1807.
Cassard 74 Commodore Gilbert-Amable Faure Separated in August hurricane, returned to Brest on 13 October.
Impétueux 74 Commodore Alain-Joseph Le Veyer-Belair Badly damaged in an August hurricane, driven ashore and destroyed by British ships on 14 September 1806.
Patriote 74 Commodore Joseph-Hyacinthe-Isidore Khrom Badly damaged in an August hurricane, sheltered in Annapolis. Returned to France in January 1808.
Éole 74 Captain Louis-Gilles Prévost de Lacroix Badly damaged in an August hurricane, sheltered in Annapolis. Eventually broken up as beyond repair.
Vétéran 74 Captain Jérôme Bonaparte Separated without orders on 31 July, returning to France alone on 26 August.
Valeureuse 40 Badly damaged in an August hurricane, sheltered in Philadelphia. Eventually broken up as beyond repair.
Volontaire 40 Captain Bretel Detached in December 1805 to Tenerife. Captured on 4 March 1806 at Cape Town.
Also two corvettes, names unknown
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 185

Admiral Linois's squadron

One of the minor French squadrons that participated in the campaign was the force under Contre-Admiral Linois, who had sailed for the Indian Ocean with a ship of the line and four frigates in March 1803 during the Peace of Amiens. After brief stops at Puducherry and Île de France, Linois sailed on a raiding cruise to the South China Sea only to be driven off by a British merchant convoy at the Battle of Pulo Aura.[17] Despite subsequent minor success against merchant ships, including the Battle of Vizagapatam, Linois's failure to inflict significant damage to British trade in the Far East enraged Napoleon, and in late 1805, with supplies running low and his ships in need of repair, Linois began the return journey to Europe with just his flagship and a single frigate remaining.[18] By the early morning of 13 March 1806 he was in the Mid-Atlantic when his lookouts spotted sails in the distance. Turning his force around to investigate, Linois hoped to encounter a merchant convoy but instead discovered the large British second rate HMS London looming out of the darkness ahead.[19] Unable to escape, Linois fought until his ships were battered and he himself was badly wounded, but he eventually surrendered to the squadron under Admiral Warren that had followed London. Napoleon's fury at Linois was unabated and the French admiral remained a prisoner of war for the next eight years.[20]

Admiral Linois's squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
Marengo 74 Contre-Admiral Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand Linois
Captain Joseph-Marie Vrignaud
Captured at the Action of 13 March 1806.
Belle Poule 40 Captain Alain-Adélaïde-Marie Bruilhac Captured at the Action of 13 March 1806.
Source: James, Vol. 3, p. 176, Clowes, p. 58

Commodore L'Hermite's squadron

One of the principal French diversionary operations during 1806 was by a force that had been sent to sea in October 1805 as a diversion during the Trafalgar campaign, which by then was almost over. Sailing from Lorient to West Africa, L'Hermite was supposed to have been reinforced by a squadron under Jérôme Bonaparte and attack and capture British forts on the West African coast, thus forcing the detachment of British forces from the main campaign in pursuit.[6] The events of the end of the Trafalgar campaign cancelled these plans, and the scheduled reinforcements were instead attached to Willaumez's squadron. Despite this setback, L'Hermite continued with elements of the original plan and attacked British merchant ships and slave ships off West Africa during the spring of 1806, inflicting some local damage but failing to capture a trading post or to affect the wider strategic situation.[21] In June, L'Hermite sailed to Cayenne for supplies and then returned to Europe the following month, encountering part of the British blockade squadron under Rear-Admiral Thomas Louis on his return and losing the frigate Président.[22]

Commodore L'Hermite's squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
Régulus 74 Commodore Jean-Marthe-Adrien L'Hermite Returned to Brest on 5 October
Président 40 Captain Labrosse Captured by a British squadron in the Bay of Biscay on 27 September 1806
Cybèle 40 Damaged in a hurricane on 20 August, forced to shelter in Hampton Roads. Returned to Rochefort in 1807.
Surveillant corvette Returned to France in January 1806
Favourite 18 Captured off West Africa on 6 January and attached to squadron. Remained in the Caribbean and was captured by HMS Jason on 27 January 1807.
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 264

Commodore La Meillerie's squadron

One of the French squadrons that operated in the Atlantic campaign of 1806 was the result of opportunity rather than strategy. After the Battle of Trafalgar, most of the French survivors had retreated to Cadiz, where they remained until Duckworth's blockade squadron abandoned the port in November 1805. Although Duckworth's ships were replaced by forces under Lord Collingwood, the replacements were inadequate and on 26 February 1806, while the blockade squadron, which had been pulled back in the hope of luring the French out of the port, had been blown off station, four frigates and a brig escaped.[23] Chased by the British frigate HMS Hydra, Commodore Louis La-Marre-la-Meillerie refused battle and abandoned the brig Furet to the British in his haste to escape.[24]

Sailing to Senegal and then Cayenne, La Meillerie's operations had little effect and by 18 May he was already on the return journey to France, hoping to anchor in the Biscay port of Rochefort. On 27 July, the frigates were spotted by HMS Mars, a ship of the line of the British blockade squadron, and chased with the frigate Rhin rapidly falling behind. Declining to support the straggler, La Meillerie ran on towards France while Mars took possession of Rhin, and the surviving ships found safe ports along the Biscay coast.[25]

Commodore La Meillerie's squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
Hortense 40 Commodore Louis La-Marre-la-Meillerie Returned to Bordeaux on 28 July
Rhin 40 Captain Michel-Jean-André Chesneau Captured on 28 July by HMS Mars
Hermione 40 Captain Jean-Michel Mahé Returned to Bordeaux on 28 July
Thémis 36 Commodore Nicolas Jugan Returned to Rochefort on 28 July
Furet 18 Lieutenant Pierre-Antoine-Toussaint Demai Captured on 28 February by HMS Hydra
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 253, Clowes, p. 387

Commodore Soleil's squadron

The final French operation in the Atlantic during the campaign was an attempt to send seven frigates and corvettes to the French West Indies in September, laden with supplies to help maintain the strength and morale of the garrisons.[26] With Willaumez believed to be still at sea, September 1806 seemed a good time to send a squadron into the Atlantic, but in fact the force was spotted within hours of leaving Rochefort by the British blockade force under Commodore Sir Samuel Hood.[27] Hood's force gave chase and the large ships of the line soon caught up the frigates in heavy weather. Sending four of his ships off in different directions, Soleil attempted to give them cover with his three largest vessels, but after a hard-fought battle in which Hood lost an arm, four of the French frigates were captured.[28]

Commodore Soleil's Squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
Gloire 40 Commodore Eleonore-Jean-Nicolas Soleil Captured at Action of 25 September 1806
Minerve 40 Captain Joseph Collet Captured at Action of 25 September 1806
Armide 40 Captain Jean-Jacques-Jude Langlois Captured at Action of 25 September 1806
Infatigable 40 Captain Joseph-Maurice Girardias Captured at Action of 25 September 1806
Thétis 36 Captain Jacques Pinsum
Lynx 16
Sylphe 16
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 262, Clowes, p. 390, Woodman, p. 226, "No. 15962". 30 September 1806. 

British squadrons

Admiral Warren's squadron

Engraving of two ships exchanging broadsides at night in high seas.

The London Man of War capturing the Marengo Admiral Linois, 13 March 1806, Contemporary engraving by "W. C I"

The squadron under Admiral Warren prepared at Spithead in December 1805 included one second rate, one 80-gun ship of the line and five 74-gun ships of line, but no frigates or smaller vessels to operate as scouts.[29] Prevented from sailing during December by high winds, Warren remained off St Helens on the Isle of Wight until the middle of January, when the winds lifted and he set a course for Madeira. There he was to search for information of the French squadrons and, if no information was forthcoming, to sail for Barbados and augment the squadrons in the Caribbean.[30] For the next two months, Warren remained in the central eastern Atlantic Ocean, aware that Willaumez was cruising to the south and that Leissègues had been destroyed off San Domingo. During February his force was joined by the independently sailing frigate HMS Amazon.[29]

On 13 March 1806, Warren's squadron sighted and pursued two sails to the northeast, which were eventually recognised as the squadron under Admiral Linois, returning to France from an extended cruise in the Indian Ocean.[18] In the ensuing Action of 13 March 1806, London and Amazon were able to defeat and capture the French ships Marengo and Belle Poule, the resulting damage and prizes prompting Warren to return to Britain. During the return journey his squadron was struck by a spring storm and several ships suffered damage and were separated, eventually rejoining Warren's main force and returning to Spithead.[20] In Britain, Warren's ships underwent repairs and London and Repulse were detached, replaced by HMS Fame under Captain Richard Bennett. In late June Warren's squadron sailed again, under orders to intercept Willaumez off the Bahamas. Arriving in the Caribbean on 12 July, Warren narrowly missed intercepting Willaumez's squadron, which had sailed to the north in search of Vétéran.[16]

Admiral Warren's first squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
HMS London 98 Captain Sir Harry Burrard Neale Engaged at the Action of 13 March 1806
HMS Foudroyant 80 Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren
Captain John Chambers White
HMS Ramillies 74 Captain Francis Pickmore Badly damaged in the storm of 23 April 1806
HMS Hero 74 Captain Alan Hyde Gardner
HMS Namur 74 Captain Lawrence Halsted
HMS Repulse 74 Captain Arthur Kaye Legge
HMS Courageux 74 Captain James Bissett
HMS Amazon 38 Captain William Parker Joined the squadron during February. Engaged at the Action of 13 March 1806.
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 185
Admiral Warren's second squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
HMS Foudroyant 80 Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren
Captain John Chambers White
HMS Ramillies 74 Captain Francis Pickmore
HMS Hero 74 Captain Alan Hyde Gardner
HMS Namur 74 Captain Lawrence Halsted
HMS Fame 74 Captain Richard Bennett
HMS Courageux 74 Captain James Bissett
HMS Amazon 38 Captain William Parker
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 185

Admiral Strachan's squadron

Admiral Strachan's squadron was ordered to prepare for sea during December at Plymouth, but like Warren's force, Strachan was trapped by strong winds in Cawsand Bay and could not sail until mid-January. Strachan's orders were to sail for Saint Helena and search for signs of the French squadrons. If their whereabouts could not be discovered, Strachan was to join the squadron under Admiral Sir Home Riggs Popham detailed to invade the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope.[30] During February and March Strachan searched in vain, eventually receiving the news that Willaumez had anchored in neutral Salvador in Brazil during April. Steering northwest in the hope of intercepting the French squadron, Strachan was hampered by the presence of HMS St George, which proved too slow for a flying squadron. Returning to Plymouth, Strachan detached St George and Centaur, which had been made the flagship of the Rochefort blockade squadron and was given HMS Belleisle, HMS Audacious and HMS Montagu as replacements, as well as two frigates.[31]

Departing Plymouth on 19 May, Strachan sailed for the Caribbean, passing Madeira and the Canary Islands before anchoring at Carlisle Bay, Barbados on 8 August. Five days later Strachan sail northwards in pursuit of Willaumez and on 18 August was caught in the same hurricane that dispersed Willaumez's squadron slightly to the north.[32] During August and September, Strachan's scattered ships gathered off the rendezvous point at Chesapeake Bay in the hope of intercepting any French vessels seeking shelter in American ports. On 14 September, Belleisle, Bellona and Melampus sighted the limping French ship Impétueux off Cape Henry and drove her ashore, burning the wreck in violation of American neutrality.[33]

Admiral Strachan's first squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
HMS St George 98 Captain Thomas Bertie Detached in May at Plymouth
HMS Caesar 80 Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan
Captain Charles Richardson
HMS Centaur 74 Captain Sir Samuel Hood Detached in May at Plymouth
HMS Terrible 74 Captain Lord Henry Paulet
HMS Triumph 74 Captain Henry Inman
HMS Bellona 74 Captain John Erskine Douglas
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 207
Admiral Strachan's second squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
HMS Caesar 80 Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan
Captain Charles Richardson
HMS Belleisle 74 Captain William Hargood Participated in the destruction of Impétueux on 14 September
HMS Terrible 74 Captain Lord Henry Paulet
HMS Triumph 74 Captain Sir Thomas Hardy
HMS Bellona 74 Captain John Erskine Douglas Participated in the destruction of Impétueux on 14 September
HMS Audacious 74 Captain Thomas Gosselyn
HMS Montagu 74 Captain Robert Otway
HMS Melampus 36 Captain Stephen Poyntz Participated in the destruction of Impétueux on 14 September
HMS Decade 36 Captain John Stuart
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 210, Clowes, p. 196

Admiral Duckworth's squadron

The third principal British squadron deployed during the campaign was never intended to take part in it. Admiral Duckworth had been ordered to lead the blockade of Cadiz in November 1805, following the destruction of the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October.[34] Finding the blockade of the survivors at Cadiz dull, Duckworth sailed south in search of Allemand's expedition, leaving just two frigates to watch the Spanish port. Allemand escaped Duckworth, but on 23 December he was informed of the depredations by Willaumez's squadron and sailed to intercept him. On 25 December he discovered Willaumez but was unable to catch him eventually abandoning the chase and retiring to St. Kitts in the West Indies to take on fresh supplies.[35] There he was joined by several ships of the Leeward Islands squadron under Admiral Cochrane and also learned of the arrival of Leissègues at Santo Domingo. Sailing to intercept the French squadron, Duckworth successfully encountered them on 6 February 1806 and in the ensuing Battle of San Domingo, captured or destroyed all five of the ships of the line, carrying his prizes to Jamaica.[36] Duckworth then returned to Britain, leaving Cochrane with a number of vessels to patrol the Eastern Caribbean in anticipation of the arrival of Willaumez.[25]

Admiral Duckworth's squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
HMS Canopus 80 Rear-Admiral Thomas Louis
Captain Francis Austen
Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
HMS Superb 74 Vice-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth
Captain Richard Goodwin Keats
Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
HMS Spencer 74 Captain Robert Stopford Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
HMS Donegal 74 Captain Pulteney Malcolm Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
HMS Powerful 74 Captain Robert Plampin Detached to the Indian Ocean on 2 February 1806
HMS Agamemnon 64 Captain Sir Edward Berry Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
HMS Acasta 40 Captain Richard Dalling Dunn
HMS Amethyst 40 Captain James William Spranger Detached to Britain on 26 December 1805
Admiral Cochrane's reinforcements
HMS Northumberland 74 Rear-Admiral Alexander Cochrane
Captain John Morrison
Joined at Basseterre on 21 January 1806. Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo.
HMS Atlas 74 Captain Samuel Pym Joined at Basseterre on 21 January 1806. Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo.
HMS Magicienne 32 Captain Adam Mackenzie Joined off Santo Domingo on 5 February 1806
HMS Kingfisher 16 Commander Nathaniel Day Cochrane Joined at Basseterre on 1 February 1806
HMS Epervier 14 Lieutenant James Higginson Joined off Saint Thomas on 3 February 1806
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 187

Admiral Cochrane's squadron

Following the Battle of San Domingo, Rear-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, newly knighted, gathered a small squadron in anticipation of the arrival of the second French force under Willaumez. Based at Carlisle Bay, Barbados, Cochrane's forces patrolled the Leeward Islands for the French force during the spring, eventually locating Willaumez's ships at Fort-de-France on Martinique on 14 June 1806.[15] An attempt to blockade the port ended in failure as several ships were damaged in high winds, but when Willaumez sailed on 1 July, Cochrane had planned ahead, and brought his squadron to Tortola, blocking the passage through which Willaumez would have to sail to attack the valuable Jamaica convoy, then gathering off Saint Thomas. With his squadron, Cochrane successfully drove off Willaumez on 4 July without a fight, and the French admiral retired to the Bahama Banks to await the convoy's passage northwards. Cochrane spent the next month preparing the convoy for its voyage, which it began during August while Willaumez was out of position to the north.[4]

Admiral Cochrane's squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
HMS Northumberland 74 Rear-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane
Captain John Spear
HMS Elephant 74 Captain George Dundas
HMS Canada 74 Captain John Harvey
HMS Agamemnon 64 Captain Jonas Rose
HMS Ethalion 36 Captain Charles Stuart
HMS Seine 36 Captain David Atkins
HMS Galatea 32 Captain Murray Maxwell
HMS Circe 32 Captain Hugh Pigott
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 204

Rochefort blockade squadrons

Although other British forces were deployed during the year, most were engaged on other operations incidental to the main Atlantic campaign, such as the expeditionary force to the Cape of Good Hope under Commodore Home Riggs Popham. In addition, a number of blockade squadrons were deployed to the major ports of the French Atlantic coast. These forces contained the French warships still at anchor in the ports and restricted the return of French warships from service at sea during the campaign.[6] These forces included a Channel squadron under Rear-Admiral Thomas Louis, whose ships intercepted and captured a frigate of Commodore Jean-Marthe-Adrien L'Hermite's squadron on 27 September, and blockade forces off Cadiz under the distant command of Vice-Admiral Lord Collingwood and Brest under Admiral William Cornwallis. Cornwallis in particular was particularly effective: under his watch, only one French ship of the line successfully entered or departed Brest harbour during the year.[37]

There was one blockade force that played a particular role in the campaign, the force deployed to the waters off Rochefort, initially under the command of Commodore Richard Goodwin Keats. Under Keats, the French squadron under Louis La-Marre-la-Meillerie was intercepted on 17 July, HMS Mars capturing a frigate and chasing the others into port.[38] In August, Keats was replaced by Commodore Sir Samuel Hood, who was to achieve one of the more notable victories of the year at the Action of 25 September 1806, when a French convoy of seven ships sailing to the West Indies was intercepted and defeated. Although Hood's force captured four large modern frigates, the French fought hard and Hood himself was seriously wounded by musket fire, losing an arm.[39]

Commodore Keats' squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
HMS Superb 74 Commodore Richard Goodwin Keats
HMS Mars 74 Captain Robert Dudley Oliver Captured frigate Rhin on 17 July
HMS Africa 64 Captain Henry Digby
Keats' squadron also included two other ships of the line.
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 253
Commodore Hood's squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
HMS Monarch 74 Captain Richard Lee Engaged at the Action of 25 September 1806
HMS Centaur 74 Commodore Sir Samuel Hood Engaged at the Action of 25 September 1806
HMS Mars 74 Captain William Lukin Engaged at the Action of 25 September 1806
HMS Windsor Castle 98 Captain Charles Boyles
HMS Achille 74 Captain Richard King
HMS Revenge 74 Captain Sir John Gore
HMS Atalante 16 Commander John Ore Masefield
Source: James, Vol. 4, p. 262


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gardiner, The Victory of Seapower, p. 18
  2. Clowes, p. 184
  3. "No. 15902". 24 March 1806. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Clowes, p. 194
  5. 5.0 5.1 Woodman, p. 218
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Gardiner, The Victory of Seapower, p. 17
  7. Adkins, p. 191
  8. Woodman, p. 227
  9. 9.0 9.1 Clowes, p. 189
  10. James, Vol. 4, p. 198
  11. James, Vol. 4, p. 191
  12. Woodman, p. 217
  13. Gardiner, The Victory of Seapower, p. 24
  14. James, Vol. 4, p. 186
  15. 15.0 15.1 Clowes, p. 193
  16. 16.0 16.1 James, Vol. 4, p. 207
  17. Woodman, p. 195
  18. 18.0 18.1 James, Vol. 4, p. 222
  19. Gardiner, The Victory of Seapower, p. 29
  20. 20.0 20.1 Adkins, p. 192
  21. James, Vol. 4, p. 265
  22. Clowes, p. 392
  23. Gardiner, The Victory of Seapower, p. 25
  24. Woodman, p. 219
  25. 25.0 25.1 "No. 15943". 5 August 1806.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "LG2" defined multiple times with different content
  26. Clowes, p. 390
  27. "No. 15962". 30 September 1806. 
  28. Gardiner, The Victory of Seapower, p. 27
  29. 29.0 29.1 Woodman, p. 215
  30. 30.0 30.1 Clowes, p. 185
  31. Clowes, p. 196
  32. James, Vol. 4, p. 210
  33. Adkins, p. 193
  34. Rodger, p. 546
  35. Clowes, p. 188
  36. James, Vol. 4, p. 197
  37. Clowes, p. 197
  38. Clowes, p. 254
  39. Clowes, p. 371


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