HDMS Holsteen
HolsteenThis ship's name appears as Holsteen or Holsten in Danish records, and as Holstein in English. She was renamed Nassau in 1805 was a 60-gun ship of the line
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

 in the Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy. She was commissioned in 1775 and the British Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 captured her in the Battle at Copenhagen Roads
Battle of Copenhagen (1801)
The Battle of Copenhagen was an engagement which saw a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker fight and strategically defeat a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored just off Copenhagen on 2 April 1801. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. He famously disobeyed Parker's...

 on 2 April 1801. The British renamed the ship HMS Holstein, and later HMS Nassau. She participated in one major battle during the Gunboat War
Gunboat War
The Gunboat War was the naval conflict between Denmark–Norway and the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. The war's name is derived from the Danish tactic of employing small gunboats against the conventional Royal Navy...

 and was sold in 1814.


Holsteen was the name ship of her class of three vessels. The Danish naval builder, F. M.. Krabbe, was the chief designer and builder for the Danish navy. She was a foot narrower than the otherwise identical Oldenborg-class vessels.

Danish Service

  • 1775 -1776: Fitted out during a voyage to Norway, where she was used as a command ship for the ships laid up in Trosvik (near the mouth of the Oslo Fjord), before returning to Copenhagen in 1776
  • 25 May 1776 – 16 July 1780: on a voyage to Lisbon, the Gold Coast
    Danish Gold Coast
    The Danish Gold Coast was a part of the Gold Coast , which is on the West African Gulf of Guinea...

     and Capetown
  • July 1780 – 24 October 1780: Guardship duties in Øresund, off Copenhagen
  • 1782 – 1783: With the Neutrality Squadron
  • June 1794 – October 1794: With the squadron in Øresund
  • 1795: With the squadron in Øresund and the North Sea
  • 1801: Equipped as a blockship and took part as such in the Battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801, being placed towards the northern end of the defensive line between Infødstretten and Søhesten. For a short time this ship-of-the-line served as the flagship. About 14:15 the captain was forced to strike to the British.

British service

On 12 April, the British sent Holstein back to Britain. She was the only one of the ships-of-the-line that the British chose to keep. All the rest they viewed as little more than floating batteries. She transported the wounded and sailed in company with and , which too carried wounded. She arrived at Yarmouth on 22 April and was laid up there in ordinary
Reserve fleet
A reserve fleet is a collection of naval vessels of all types that are fully equipped for service but are not currently needed, and thus partially or fully decommissioned. A reserve fleet is informally said to be "in mothballs" or "mothballed"; an equivalent expression in unofficial modern U.S....

 until July 1802. Then Holstein transferred to Chatham on 16 October 1802 and was laid up there.

Between March and September 1805 Perry & Co., Blackwell, repaired her at a cost of ₤22,022. She was renamed Nassau and commissioned in September under Captain Robert Campbell, for the North Sea.

On 18 April 1806, Nassau was in company with , , , , , and the hired armed
Hired armed vessels
right|thumb|250px|Armed cutter, etching in the [[National Maritime Museum]], [[Greenwich]]During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Royal Navy made use of a considerable number of hired armed vessels...

 cutter Florence captured the Prussian galliot Jonge Bartels. Five days later Nassau captured the Vissery. Then, a little more than a week later, on 2 May, Nassau and captured the Nicholai and Martha. Several other British warships shared in the proceeds of the prize. Between May and June 1807 she escorted a convoy to Madeira.

In the late summer of 1807 she returned to Copenhagen where she participated in the second Battle of Copenhagen
Battle of Copenhagen (1807)
The Second Battle of Copenhagen was a British preemptive attack on Copenhagen, targeting the civilian population in order to seize the Dano-Norwegian fleet and in turn originate the term to Copenhagenize.-Background:Despite the defeat and loss of many ships in the first Battle of Copenhagen in...

. After the surrender of the Danish fleet, Nassau, on 21 October 1807, was one of the vessels that escorted the surrendered Danish ships from Holmen
Holmen, Copenhagen
Holmen is an area in central Copenhagen, Denmark. In spite of its name, deceptively in singular, Holmen is a congregation of small islands, forming a north-eastern extension of Christianshavn between Zealand and the northern tip of Amager....

 to Kronborg. She then remained in Danish waters until February 1809.

Battle of Zealand Point

On 22 March 1808 Nassau and the 64-gun Stately destroyed the last Danish ship of the line, Prins Christian Frederik, commanded by Captain Carl Wilhelm Jessen
Carl Wilhelm Jessen
This article contains material translated from the Danish article: Carl Wilhelm JessenCarl Wilhelm Jessen was a Danish naval officer and Governor of St Thomas in the Danish West Indies.-Career:...

, in a battle at Zealand Point.

The battle cost Nassau one man killed, one man missing, and 16 men wounded. In 1847 the Admiralty awarded the Naval General Service Medal with clasps "Stately 22 March 1808" and "Nassau 22 March 1808" to any still surviving crew members of those vessels that chose to claim them.

Further prizes in 1808

On 19 April 1808 Stately and Nassau captured the Danish ships Industrie and Haabet Anker.

On the morning of 1 September 1809, Nassau was escorting a convoy of East Indiamen in the English Channel when she sighted a strange sail. Nassau sent her boats in chase and after two hours they were able to capture the French privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

 lugger Jean Bart
French ship Jean Bart
Jean Bart may refer to one of the following ships of the French Navy or privateers named in honour of Jean Bart , a French naval commander and privateer....

 of Saint Malo. She was armed with four guns and had a crew of 25 men under the command of Enseigne de vaisseau Louis Ollivier Pilvesse. She was five days out of the Île de Batz
Île de Batz
The Île de Batz is an island off Roscoff in Brittany, France. Administratively, it is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France.-Population:...

 and had made no captures.


Nassau was laid up at Chatham in September 1809. In March of the next year she was commissioned as a prison ship
Prison ship
A prison ship, historically sometimes called a prison hulk, is a vessel used as a prison, often to hold convicts awaiting transportation to penal colonies. This practice was popular with the British government in the 18th and 19th centuries....

under the command of Lieutenant William Field. He commanded her until she was sold for ₤2,510 on 3 November 1814.
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