Alexander Hood, 1st Viscount Bridport

Alexander Hood, 1st Viscount Bridport

Admiral Alexander Hood, 1st Viscount Bridport, KB (December 2, 1726 – May 2, 1814) was an officer of the British Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars, and the brother of Admiral Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood.

He entered the navy in January 1741, and was appointed Lieutenant of HMS "Bridgewater" in 1746, and in that rank served for ten years in various ships. He was promoted to Commander in 1756 and served as flag captain for Rear Admiral Sir Charles Saunders, first in "Prince" in the Mediterranean (the flag-ship of Rear-Admiral Saunders, under whom Hood had served as a lieutenant), then in "Minerva" frigate. In the Seven Years' War he fought at the Battle of Quiberon Bay on 20 November1759, and in 1761 "Minerva" recaptured after a long struggle, the 60-gun "Warwick" of equal force, which had been captured by the French ship "Atlante" in 1756. For the remainder of the war, from 1761 to 1763 Hood was captain of "Africa" in the Mediterranean.

From this time forward he was in continuous employment afloat and ashore. In 1778 he was appointed to "Robust" and fought at the First Battle of Ushant on July 22. In the court-martial of Admiral Augustus Keppel that followed the battle, although adverse popular feeling was aroused by the course which he took in Keppel's defence, his conduct does not seem to have injured his professional career.

In 1780 he was promoted to Rear Admiral of the White, and succeeded Kempenfeldt as one of Howe's flag-officers. In the American Revolutionary War, in HMS "Queen", he took part in Howe's relief of Gibraltar in 1782.

He served in the House of Commons for a time. Promoted vice-admiral in 1787, he became K.B. in the following year, and on the occasion of the Spanish armament in 1790 flew his flag again for a short time. On the outbreak of war with France in 1793 he went to sea again. In the War of the First Coalition, on June 1 1794, in HMS "Royal George", he was third in command to Admiral Lord Howe at the battle of the Glorious First of June. For his exploits in this battle he was elevated to the Irish peerage as Baron Bridport.

Henceforth Bridport was practically in independent command. On 23 June 1795, with his flag in "Queen Charlotte" (100), he fought the inconclusive Battle of Groix against the French under Rear Admiral Louis Thomas Villaret de Joyeuse off the Île de Groix and captured three ships. He was much criticized in the navy for his failure to win a more decisive victory. However the British public considered the battle a great victory and Hood's peerage was made English and he was promoted to Vice Admiral of England.

From 1795 until his retirement in 1800, he was commander of the Channel Fleet. In 1796 and 1797 he directed the war from London, rarely hoisting his flag afloat save at such critical times as that of the Irish expedition in 1797. He was about to put to sea when the Spithead fleet mutinied. He succeeded at first in pacifying the crew of his flag-ship, who had no personal grudge against their admiral, but a few days later the mutiny broke out afresh, and this time was uncontrollable. For a whole week the mutineers were supreme, and it was only by the greatest exertions of the old Lord Howe that order was then restored and the men returned to duty. After the mutiny had been suppressed, Hood took the fleet to sea as commander-in-chief in name as well as in fact, and from 1798 he personally directed the blockade of Brest which grew stricter and stricter as time went on. In 1800 he was relieved by John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent.

In reward for his fine record his peerage was made a viscounty. He spent the remaining years of his life in retirement. He died on 1814-05-02. The viscountcy in the English peerage died with him; the Irish barony passed to the younger branch of his brother's family, for whom the viscountcy was re-created in 1868.

ee also

* His cousin once removed, also named Alexander Hood (1758–1798), was a captain in the Royal Navy, famous for a duel between his ship "Mars" and the French "Hercule".


*William James, "Naval History of Great Britain", 1793–1827.

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