The era of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars contained hundreds of highly dedicated naval officers whose names have been largely forgotten and appear as obscure footnotes in equally obscure books. Indeed, when one advances outside the circle of Howe, Jervis, Cornwallis, Nelson, and Parker few of the names of even the brightest lights of the era are recognizable to the modern eye. One of those is Admiral Sir Edward Codrington. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Glorious First of June
The Admiralty and the fleet delegates were now at a standoff. The delegates had presented a very respectful petition which had initially been ignored. When the Admiralty got around to addressing the petition they essentially ignored it. Now the delegates had refused to be dealt with by a bum’s rush.
Over dinner the Admiralty board members who were negotiating with the delegates came to the conclusion that the incipient mutiny was actually the doing of a small number of agitators and that most of the fleet remained obedient.They conceived the idea that the officers aboard all but a small number of recalcitrant ships could order their cables slipped and take their ships out of Spithead to St. Helens Roads. The worst offenders would remain at anchor and be dealt with at leisure.
A solution, perhaps the least preferred solution, but a solution nonetheless.
In the course of the career of Dewey Lambdin’s character Alan Lewrie he has contact with several notable personages of his time. This is not unreasonable as the Royal Navy was a relatively small and decidedly insular institution in an age where junior officers could expect to make the acquaintance of very senior officers or government ministers. As an aside, in the US Army from its inception until the vast expansion with the peacetime draft in 1940 it was expected that Regular Army officers passing through Washington, DC would make courtesy calls on the Secretary of War and the President, though this in practice usually meant the officer left a calling card.
Some of these personages become his patron, such as Admiral Sir Samuel Hood. Richard Howe, 1st Lord Howe is one of these real persons who helps the career of young Lieutenant Alan Lewrie along.
Often the truth of combat during the Age of Sail is at least as strange as the fiction set during that era. Sometimes the participants went on to fame. More often their fate is cloaked in obscurity. I plan on writing on more of these happenings in the future but for the first installment I’ll take the case of Midshipman Matthew Flinders of HMS Bellerophon during the Battle of Ushant, also known as The Glorious First of June fought on 1 June 1784.