French ship Belle Poule (1828)


French ship Belle Poule (1828)

The "Belle-Poule" was a 60-gun frigate of the French Navy, famous for bringing the remains of Napoléon from Saint Helena back to France.

Although construction was started in 1828, the "Belle-Poule" was launched only in 1834. She was one of the first ships to be built in a covered shipyard, which allowed the builders to delay construction while the political and financial circumstances were not favourable. Her design was inspired by the USS "Constitution" cruiser class. She was commissioned in July 1835, and displayed very good sailing properties. The photograph of the model shows the design characteristics and rigging of La Belle Poulle with the painting scheme prior to being painted black for the return of the remains of Napoleon to France.

On 1 August 1839, under command of the Prince of Joinville, third son of King Louis-Philippe, she left Cherbourg to join the Eastern fleet of Admiral Lalande. She was back in Toulon on 21 December 1839. On 27 July 1840, she set sail with special equipment for Saint Helena to bring back the remains of Napoleon. She had been painted black for the occasion. On September 30, she arrived back in Cherbourg, where, on 8 December, the Emperor's remains were transferred to the steamship Normandie. The Normandie transported the remains to Le Havre and up the Seine to Rouen, for further transport to Paris.

In 1841, the "Belle-Poule" cruised along the Canadian coast, landing in Halifax, and visited New York, where the Prince of Joinville visited the President of the USA. The "Belle-Poule" was back in Toulon on 14 July 1842.

In 1844, Joinville, then vice-admiral, was sent to Morocco to support the action of General Thomas Robert Bugeaud in Algeria, with the "Suffren", the "Jemmapes", the "Triton", and the frigate "Belle-Poule". Tanger came under attack on August 6, and Mogador was taken on August 15.

Afterwards, the "Belle-Poule" cruised the Indian Ocean, where a cyclone left her with serious damage. She was repaired in Sainte-Marie de Madagascar, and returned to Brest.

She took part in the Crimean War, mostly as a transport; she stayed in the East until August 1856, and sailed back to Toulon on September 1.

In 1859, she was used to transport ammunition, and was decommissioned on 19 March 1861. She was still used to store gunpowder until 1888.


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