British Royal Navy Figures

Richard Coote (17??-1814) was promoted to lieutenant in HMS Centurion in 1804 and to commander in 1810. As master of HMS Borer, 1813-14, he was active off New London and in Long Island Sound. He was selected to command the successful raid on Pettipauge in April 1814. Coote was promoted to captain in June 1814 and took command of HMS Peacock (ex-USS Wasp, ex-HMS Loup Cervier). Captain Coote was lost when she sank with all hands in a hurricane off the Carolinas in August 1814.

 

George Dickins (17??-1815) was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1807. Promoted to commander in 1813, he took command of the 20-gun HMS Sylph. She was active in Long Island Sound in the summer of 1814 and the Penobscot expedition in September. On January 17, 1815, while carrying dispatches to HMS Superb off New London, the Sylph was wrecked on Southampton Bar on the south shore of Long Island, with the loss of 111 men, including Commander Dickins.

 

Captain Thomas Masterman Hardy - from the painting by Robert Evans, at Greenwich Hospital.

Thomas Masterman Hardy (1769-1839) was born in Dorsetshire and joined the Royal Navy at 12, then attended school and sailed in the merchant service before rejoining the navy as a midshipman in 1790. Hardy served under Captain Sir George Cockburn in the 1790s and, as a brave and capable officer, was promoted to captain of Admiral Horatio Nelson’s flagship in 1798. After a year ashore he again took command of Nelson’s flagship in 1801. In 1803 they transferred to HMS Victory. Hardy commanded the Victory, and attended to the mortally wounded Nelson, when the British fleet defeated the combined French and Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805. Made a baronet in 1806, Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy married the daughter of his superior, Admiral Cranfield-Berkeley, in 1807. He took command of HMS Ramillies in 1812 and remained in her through the War of 1812. Hardy was popular with both his fellow officers and his enemies. “Commodore Hardy, has repeatedly asserted that he is only making war against commerce and armed ships. He has expressed a detestation of the burning and marauding system. If the term is admissible, he is an honorable enemy” remarked Editor Samuel Green in the Connecticut Gazette on May 26, 1813. After Decatur’s ships took refuge in the Thames River and several torpedo attacks were made on Hardy’s ships he became more aggressive against American ships and ports, though his attack on Stonington in August 1814 showed some restraint. Hardy served off New London almost continuously from April 1813 to mid-August 1814. After the war, he commanded at sea until 1827 and was promoted to rear admiral in 1825.

 

Portrait of Captain Henry Hope, ca. 1815

Henry Hope (1787-1863), the son of a Royal Navy officer, joined the navy in 1798, was appointed a midshipman in 1800, and was captured by the French in HMS Swiftsure in 1801. Exchanged, he was promoted to lieutenant in 1804 and captain in 1808. He served in many different vessels on the French coast, Mediterranean, and Indian Ocean during the Napoleonic wars. In 1813 he took command of the large frigate HMS Endymion and joined the squadron on the coast of America. Active off New London 1813-14, he was prepared to fight a ship-to-ship duel with the USS United States in January 1814. Assigned to the blockade of New York late in 1814, Hope in the Endymion captured Decatur in the President in January 1815. Hope returned to England in May 1815 and was promoted to rear admiral in 1846.


 

 

Henry Hotham (1777-1833) joined the Royal Navy at a young age and was promoted to captain in 1795 and commanded several firgates and ships of the line during the Napoleonic wars. Appointed captain of the fleet under Admiral John B. Warren in December 1812, he came to the North American Station. Hotham was promoted to rear admiral in June 1814 and made his flagship HMS Superb, commanded by Captain Charles Paget. He commanded the squadron off New London and southeastern Massachusetts until March 1815. After the declaration of peace Admiral Hotham came ashore in New London to pay his respects. He made a knight of the Order of the Bath in 1815. Admiral Hotham was commander of Royal Navy forces in the Mediterranean at the time of his death.

 

Sir Charles Paget

Charles Paget (1778-1839), the fifth son of a noble English family, entered the Royal Navy in his teens. In 1798 he was promoted to captain of HMS Brilliant, and in 1803 he was the first captain of HMS Endymion. Paget took command of the 74-gun HMS Superb in 1812 and arrived off New London in the summer of 1814.  After the declaration of peace Captain Paget came ashore in New London to pay his respects. Following the war he commanded the royal yacht and was a confidant of King William IV. Promoted to rear admiral in 1823, he was vice admiral in command of the North American and West Indies Station squadron when he died of yellow fever at Jamaica.

 

 

 

 

Thomas Barratt Powers (1796-1814) was born in Leicestershire and was a midshipman aboard HMS Superb when she arrived off New London in the summer of 1814. On July 31, 1814, he was in command of a barge that challenged a vessel off Watch Hill that turned out to be the Baltimore privateer Ultor. When the privateer’s armed crew rose up, Powers raised his hat in surrender but was shot and killed. The Ultor captured the boat and ten men, putting them ashore with Powers’s body at Stonington. The Rev. Ira Hart buried Powers at Stonington, and after peace was declared the Superb’s officers placed a memorial stone on his grave (which can be seen in Stonington’s Evergreen Cemetery). Powers’s father visited his grave in 1816.

 

John Sheridan (ca. 1778-1862) joined the Royal Navy in 1795 and was promoted to lieutenant in 1801. He served in many vessels, including HMS Victory, during the Napoleonic wars. Promoted to commander in 1810, he took command of the new bomb ship HMS Terror in October 1813. He commanded her during the bombardment of Stonington in August 1814 and the bombardment of Fort McHenry in September 1814. Sheridan was promoted to captain 1815 and was a vice admiral at the time of his death.

 

Hassard Stackpoole (1769-1814) was born in Limerick, Ireland, and joined HMS Termagent in 1783. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1795 and was in command of HMS Iphigenia when she burned at Egypt in 1801. He was promoted to captain in 1802. While serving together in HMS Tonnant in 1810, Lieutenant Thomas W. Cecil remarked that Stackpoole “drew a long bow” (lied). Stackpoole was in command of HMS Statira by 1811. He served off New London 1813-14, encouraging the arrangement of a “duel” between the former sister ships USS Macedonian and HMS Statira in January 1814. In April 1814 Stackpoole encountered Cecil at Jamaica and challenged him to a duel. The sure-shot Stackpoole was killed by Cecil, who had no dueling experience, in one of the most notorious examples of dueling in the Royal Navy.