- HMS Polyphemus (1782)
HMS "Polyphemus", a 64-gun
third-rate ship of the lineof the Royal Navy, launched on 27 April 1782at Sheerness. She was the first ship of the Royal Navynamed for Polyphemusthe Cyclops.
She was laid down at
Sheernessin 1782and was commissioned in 1799under the command of Captain G. Lumsdaine. She sailed from Yarmouth on 9 August 1800with a squadron under Vice Admiral Dickson in "Monarch" bound for Denmark. Because of lack of wind the faster sailing vessels had to tow the slower ones and it was 15 Augustbefore they reached the Skaw. The next day the whole squadron advanced as far as the mouth of the Sound where the Danes had anchored three 74-gun ships, later increased to four, between Cronberg Castleand the Swedish shore. Because of gales the Admiral sheltered his squadron in Elsinor Roadsthen went in "Romney" as far as Sophienburgto talk with Lord Whitworth who was negotiating with the Danish ministers. When matters were resolved the squadron returned to Yarmouth in September.
1801, under the command of Captain John Lawford, "Polyphemus" was with the fleet which bombarded Copenhagen on 2 April. "Polyphemus" lost Mr. James Bell the midshipman, four seamen and one marine. Mr. Edward Burr the boatswain, twenty seamen and four marines wounded were wounded. The division of the North Sea fleet commanded by Admiral Graves in "Polyphemus" returned to Yarmouth from the Baltic Seaon 13 Julyand then sailed to join Admiral Dickson's squadron blockading the Dutch fleet in the Texel. (It included
1805, Captain Robert Redmilltook command of "Polyphemus" off Cadiz. Later that year, she took part in the Battle of Trafalgar.
1806she was with Lord St. Vincent's squadron off Ushantand on 14 Julyher boats, together with others of the squadron, were taken by the "Iris" to Sir Samuel Hood in "Indefatigable" off Rochefortto attack two French corvettes and a convoy at the entrance to the Garonne. The weather on 15 Julyappeared suitable for the attempt but after the boats left a strong wind blew up and although they managed to capture the 18-gun brig"Caesar" they could not prevent the convoy escaping up river. The greater part of the boats were either shot through or so badly stove in that they were swamped, and had to be cut adrift from the brig as she was brought out under fire from the batteries and ex-British "Teaser" brig. The casualties from "Polyphemus" were William Anderson, Quarter Master's Mate, who was cut across the hand, and W. Fleming, Coxswain, who was cut across the eyebrow.
1807"Polyphemus", under the command of Captain Peter Heywood, became the flagship of Rear Admiral Sir George Murray, South America.
1808, under the command of Captain W. Price Cumby (another Trafalgar veteran), she became the flagship of Vice Admiral B.S. Rowley. In July she sailed for Jamaica, convoying a large fleet of merchantmen, for the Vice Admiral to take up his appointment. Since he resided on shore with his flag in "Shark", "Polyphemus" was able to undertake cruises against the enemy. On the morning of 14 Novemberhe detached his boats under Lieutenant Joseph Daly in the barge to chase a schooner attempting to enter the harbour at San Domingo. An hour later she was boarded and carried under a hail of grape and musketry in which marine Samuel Crompton was killed and proved to be the French national schooner "Colibry" of three carriage guns commanded by Lieutenant Deyrisse with 63 men.
1809Captain Cumby was appointed to command a squadron consisting of "Polyphemus",
" Pike".They sailed from
Port Royalon 7 Junewith troops under Major General Carmichael to assist the Spanish forces besieging the French in the city of San Domingo. On 1 July"Polyphemus" anchored at Caleta and loaded eight of her lower deck guns into the "Sparrow" sloop to be landed at Palenqui for the use of the batteries to the westward of the town. Two of the guns were then transported by Captain Burt of "Sparrow" from Andre Bayto the east battery, nearly 30 miles across almost impassable country. The French garrison surrendered on 6 July.
Captain Cumby was appointed to "Hyperion" in March
1811and was succeeded by Captain T. Graves then Captain Douglas. "Polyphemus" paid off at Chatham in November 1812. In 1813She was converted to serve as a powder hulk, and she was eventually broken up in 1827.
*This article includes material from "Ships of the Old Navy; a History of the Sailing Ships of the Royal Navy" by Michael Phillips. Used with permission of the author.
*Lavery, Brian (2003) "The Ship of the Line - Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650-1850." Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.
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