HMS Spencer (1800)

HMS Spencer was a 74-gun third-rate
In the British Royal Navy, a third rate was a ship of the line which from the 1720s mounted between 64 and 80 guns, typically built with two gun decks . Years of experience proved that the third rate ships embodied the best compromise between sailing ability , firepower, and cost...

 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...

 of the 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...

, launched on 10 May 1800 at Bucklers Hard
Bucklers Hard
Bucklers Hard is a hamlet situated on the banks of the Beaulieu River in the English county of Hampshire.- Overview :With its Georgian cottages running down to the river, Bucklers Hard is part of the 9,000 acre Beaulieu Estate...

. Her designer was the French émigré shipwright Jean-Louis Barrallier.

Battle of Algeciras Bay

By July 1801 Spencer was at the Rock of Gibraltar
Rock of Gibraltar
The Rock of Gibraltar is a monolithic limestone promontory located in Gibraltar, off the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It is high...

 in the squadron under the command of Rear Admiral James Saumarez in Caesar
HMS Caesar (1793)
HMS Caesar, also Cæsar, was an 80-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 16 November 1793 at Plymouth. She was designed by Sir Edward Hunt, and was the only ship built to her draught.-Battle of Algeciras Bay:...

 On 6 July Saumarez sailed from Gibraltar with Caesar, Pompee, Spencer, Venerable
HMS Venerable (1784)
HMS Venerable was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 19 April 1784 at Blackwall Yard.In 1797, Venerable served as Admiral Duncan's flagship at the Battle of Camperdown....

, Hannibal and Audacious
HMS Audacious (1785)
HMS Audacious was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 23 July 1785 at Rotherhithe. She was the first ship to bear the name....

 with the intention of attacking Admiral Linois's
Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand Linois
Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand, Comte de Linois was a French admiral during the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. He won a victory over the British at the Battle of Algeciras in 1801 and was reasonably successful in a campaign against British trade in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea in...

 squadron of three French line-of-battle ships and a frigate, which were lying a considerable distance from the batteries at Algeciras. As Venerable, the leading ship, approached the wind dropped and she was forced to anchor. Pompee managed to get into action but Hannibal grounded and was forced to strike. In the battle the British drove two of the French ships ashore and badly damaged the rest. The total loss in the British squadron was 121 killed, 240 wounded, and 14 missing. The Franco-Spanish force lost 317 men killed and some 3-500 wounded.

On 8 July a squadron of five Spanish ships-of-the-line, a French 74, three frigates and a large number of gunboats reinforced the French ships. Hard work repaired all the British ships at Gibraltar, except Pompee in time for them to follow the Franco-Spanish fleet when it sailed on 12 July. In the subsequent second phase of the Battle of Algeciras Bay
Battle of Algeciras Bay
The Battle of Algeciras Bay refers to two separate battles in July 1801 between an allied French-Spanish fleet and the British near Gibraltar. In the first battle, the French drove off an attack by the larger British fleet and captured one ship of the line...

, the two first rates Real Carlos and Hermenegildo fired upon each other during the night, caught fire and exploded, with tremendous loss of life. The British captured the third rate St Antoine.

On 28 August 1803, Spencer, under the command of Captain Robert Stopford, recaptured the East Indiaman Lord Nelson. On 28 May she recaptured the Castle Douglas, and the next month, on the 10th, she recaptured the Lord North. On 20 November Spencer captured the Virgin del Brien Consiglio, and then nine days later, the Nostra Senora del Carmen, J. de Moro, Master.

San Domingo

Spencer was then part of a squadron off Cadiz under Vice-admiral John Duckworth
John Thomas Duckworth
Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth, 1st Baronet, GCB was a British naval officer, serving during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, as the Governor of Newfoundland during the War of 1812, and a member of the British House of Commons during his...

, when news reached Duckworth that two French squadrons had sailed from Brest in December 1805. Duckworth took his squadron to Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

 to search for them, eventually sighting Leissègues
Corentin Urbain Leissègues
Corentin Urbain de Leissegues was a French admiral of the Napoleonic wars, notably protagonist of the Battle of San Domingo.- Biography :...

' squadron off San Domingo on 6 February 1806. Duckworth organised his ships into two lines, the weather line consisting of Superb
HMS Superb (1798)
HMS Superb was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, and the fourth vessel to bear the name. She was launched on 19 March 1798 from Northfleet, and was eventually broken up in 1826. Superb is mostly associated with Richard Goodwin Keats who commanded her as captain from 1801 until...

, Northumberland
HMS Northumberland (1798)
HMS Northumberland was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built at the yards of Barnard, Deptford and launched on 2 February 1798....

 and Spencer, while the lee line consisted of Agamemnon
HMS Agamemnon (1781)
HMS Agamemnon was a 64-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She saw service in the American Revolutionary, French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and fought in many of the major naval battles of those conflicts...

, Canopus
HMS Canopus (1798)
HMS Canopus was an 80-gun third rate ship of the line of the British Royal Navy. She had previously served with the French Navy as the Tonnant-class Franklin, but was captured after less than a year in service by the British fleet under Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in 1798...

, Donegal and Atlas
HMS Atlas (1782)
HMS Atlas was a 98-gun second-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 13 February 1782. She was a built at Chatham Dockyard by Nicholas Phillips.In 1802 she was reduced to a 74-gun ship....

. The lines moved to attack the French ships and the Battle of San Domingo
Battle of San Domingo
The Battle of San Domingo, in 1806, was a naval battle of the Napoleonic Wars. French and British squadrons of ships of the line met off the southern coast of the French-occupied Spanish Colony of Santo Domingo in the Caribbean...

 broke out.

During the battle, Superb badly damaged the French 74-gun Indivisible
French ship Indivisible (1799)
Indivisible was a Tonnant class 80-gun ship of the line of the French Navy.Originally named the Indivisible in 1793, she was commissioned in Toulon on 23 September 1800. On 5 February 1803, she was renamed Alexandre, and recommissioned in Brest under captain Leveyer.In December, under captain...

, leaving her adrift, her rigging shot off and her rudder destroyed. Spencer then took Indivisible. The battle was a victory for the 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...

, and Stopford and the other captains received a Naval Gold Medal
Naval Gold Medal
The Naval Gold Medal was a medal awarded between 1793 and 1840 to senior officers of the Royal Navy in specified actions.Two different sizes were struck. 22 large-size medals were awarded to flag officers , commodores and captains of the fleet...

 for their actions.

Next, Stopford and Spencer participated in the British invasions of the Río de la Plata
British invasions of the Río de la Plata
The British invasions of the Río de la Plata were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of the Spanish colonies located around the La Plata Basin in South America . The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of...

 and 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...


War of 1812

During the American War of 1812-15
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 Captain Richard Raggett took the ship to North America escorting a convoy to Canada. Later in 1814 he patrolled in the Gulf of Maine
Gulf of Maine
The Gulf of Maine is a large gulf of the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of North America.It is delineated by Cape Cod at the eastern tip of Massachusetts in the southwest and Cape Sable at the southern tip of Nova Scotia in the northeast. It includes the entire coastlines of the U.S...

. Under threat of bombardment, two undefended Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Cape Cod, often referred to locally as simply the Cape, is a cape in the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States...

 towns yielded to Raggett's ransom demands, earning his warship the nickname "Terror of the Bay". During 1814, Spencer shared in the capture of the American brigantine Superb.

After a successful cruise in the summer of 1814 during which she captured the Royal Navy schooner , the American privateer Syren returned to the United States but as she approached the Delaware River
Delaware River
The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States.A Dutch expedition led by Henry Hudson in 1609 first mapped the river. The river was christened the South River in the New Netherland colony that followed, in contrast to the North River, as the Hudson River was then...

 the British blockading ships gave chase. To escape the boats of Spencer and , on 16 November Syren ran ashore under Cape May
Cape May
Cape May is a peninsula and island ; the southern tip of the island is the southernmost point of the state of New Jersey, United States. It runs southwards from the New Jersey mainland, separating Delaware Bay from the Atlantic Ocean...

. Her crew set her on fire before making their escape.

Post-war career

On 16 March 1817, Wolf, a tender to Spencer, captured two smuggling boats, the Albeona and the Two Brothers, and their cargo. Wolf was in company with the revenue cruiser Vigilant. At the time Spencers captain was William Robert Broughton.
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