HMS Alacrity (1806)
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|Ordered:||14 January 1806|
|Builder:||William Row, Newcastle|
|Laid down:||May 1806|
|Launched:||13 November 1806 (ready coppered)|
|Captured:||26 May 1811|
|Fate:||Broken up 1822|
|Commissioned:||1 July 1811|
|Fate:||Disposed of 1822|
|Type:||Cruizer class brig-sloop|
|Tonnage:||382 23/94 bm|
|Length:||99 ft 10.5 in (30.442 m) (overall)|
77 ft 1.75 in (23.5 m) (keel)
|Beam:||30 ft 6.25 in (9.3028 m)|
|Depth of hold:||11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)|
16 x 32-pounder carronades
HMS Alacrity was a Cruizer class brig-sloop built by William Row at Newcastle and launched in 1806. She served in the Baltic and was at the capture of Copenahgen in 1807. She captured a large privateer before herself falling victim to a French man-of-war in 1811 in an action in which her captain failed to distinguish himself. She then served in the French navy until she was broken up in 1822.
British service and capture
Alacrity was commissioned in February 1807 under Cmdr. William Croft for the Baltic Station. He commanded her at the siege of Copenhagen in August and was consequently promoted to Post-captain in October.
In September, Cmdr. Nisbit Palmer assumed command. On 14 December Alacrity captured the French 18-gun privateer Friedland in Home waters after a two-hour chase. Friedland lost one man killed. She was under command of Francis Louis Beens and was out of Dunkirk on her second cruise. During the two days she had been out she had only captured a Swedish galliot taking iron and tar from Stockholm to Plymouth.
Early in May 1811 Alacrity took possession of a Greek vessel and sent her into Malta. This entailed sending a prize crew consisting of Alacrity’s Second Lieutenant and thirteen men.
On 26 May 1811, Alacrity encountered the French brig of war Abeille, of 20 24-pounder carronades, off Bastia, Corsica. After an action that lasted about half an hour, during which Abeille outmaneuvered Alacrity, Alacrity struck. French accounts give her casualties as 15 killed and 20 wounded, including her captain. British accounts give her casualties as four dead and 18 wounded, including four fatally. Abeille suffered seven dead and 15 wounded.
The fight might well have gone the other way.Alacrity had a broadside of 262 pounds vs. 240 pounds for Abeille. Alacrity had suffered fewer casualties than Abeille. However, Alacrity had lost all her leadership with her officers dead, wounded or absent, which was enough to demoralize most of her crew.
Probably fortunately for Palmer, within a month of the battle he died of tetanus from his otherwise minor wound. The court martial of the survivors on 30 May 1814 acquitted all and commended the boatswain, James Flexman, for having remained on deck though wounded and for having attempted to rally the defense.
On 1 July 1811 Lieut. de vaisseux de Mackau commissioned her. In 1812 she was at Elba and in 1815 at Gênes. On 1 July 1815 she was laid up at Toulon. In August 1822 Alacrity was beached at a shipyard in Toulon for refitting. On 20 August the shipyard received an order to cease further work as she was in such bad shape that there was no point in continuing. On 28 August breaking up commenced.
On 7 February 1814 Lieut. de Mackau received a promotion to Capitaine de frigate. Soon afterwards he was made a Baron of the French Empire. He was later promoted to Capitaine de frégate and on 1 September 1819, a Capitaine de vaisseau.
- James, William (1837). The Naval History of Great Britain, from the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV.. 5. R. Bentley.
- Roche, Jean-Michel (2005) Dictionnaire des Bâtiments de la Flotte de Guerre Française de Colbert à nos Jours. (Group Retozel-Maury Millau).
- Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461.