List of gun-brigs of the Royal Navy
|Look up gun-brig in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- For brig-rigged sloops, see List of corvette and sloop classes of the Royal Navy
- For gunboats, see List of gunboat and gunvessel classes of the Royal Navy
A gun-brig was a small brig-rigged warship that enjoyed popularity in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, during which large numbers were purchased or built. In general these were vessels of under 200 tons burthen, and thus smaller than the more common Cherokee-class brig-sloops or the even larger Cruizer-class brig-sloops. The gun-brigs generally carried 12 guns, comprising two long guns in the chase position and ten carronades on the broadsides.
- 1 Development
- 2 Deployment
- 3 Complement
- 4 Historical evaluation
- 5 List of gun-brig classes and their evolution
- 5.1 1793 purchases
- 5.2 Conquest class
- 5.3 Acute class
- 5.4 Courser class
- 5.5 1797 purchases
- 5.6 1799 purchase
- 5.7 Archer class (1801 batch)
- 5.8 Bloodhound class
- 5.9 1793-1801 ex-French prizes
- 5.10 1801 ex-Spanish prize
- 5.11 1796-1800 ex-Dutch prizes
- 5.12 Archer class (1804 batch)
- 5.13 1804 purchases
- 5.14 Confounder class
- 5.15 1806 purchases
- 5.16 Bold (or modified Confounder) class
- 5.17 1803-1808 ex-French prizes
- 5.18 1804-1809 purchased vessels
- 5.19 1805-1806 ex-Spanish prizes
- 5.20 1807 ex-Danish prizes
- 5.21 1808-10 ex-Dutch prize
- 5.22 1813 ex-American prize
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes, citations, and references
The earliest gun-brigs were shallow-draught vessels. Initially they were not brigs at all, but were classed as 'gunvessels' and carried a schooner or brigantine rig. They were re-rigged as brigs about 1796 and re-classed under the new term 'gun-brig'. They were designed as much to row as to sail, and carried their primary armament firing forward - a pair of long 18-pounders or 24-pounders, weapons which in any practical sense could only be trained and fired with the vessel under oars.
The 1797 batch introduced means to improve their sailing ability. Each was fitted with a Schank drop keel,[Note 1] and lighter bow chasers replaced the heavy pair of guns firing forward over the bows; in later vessels one of the bow chasers would be moved aft to become a stern chaser, both of these guns then being mounted on the centreline and able to pivot. The broadside weapons consisted of 18-pounder carronades mounted on slides along both sides.
The later gun-brigs developed from this beginning into smaller versions of the brig-sloops with increased draught and seaworthiness, but were less suited for inshore warfare. Compared with the flat-bottomed hulls of the 1794-1800 designs, by the time of the Confounder class the hulls had achieved a relatively sharp cross-section, as performance under sail had become a more important consideration than ease of rowing. By now they were clearly seen as small versions of the brig-sloop rather than enlarged gunboats.
The early gun-brigs were seen as inshore and coastal vessels, and saw their first service in coastal operations, notably in the Channel, where they sought out French coastal shipping. As their numbers grew and more seaworthy designs emerged, they were deployed worldwide, notably in the Baltic where many were involved in confrontations with the myriad of Danish gunboats during the Gunboat War, but also on such distant stations as the East Indies.
The purpose-built gun-brigs were all established with a complement of 50 men, and maintained this level throughout their main period of operation, although the actual number carried varied with availability. The final batch saw the complement raised to 60. Each gun-brig had a lieutenant in command (unlike brig-sloops, which were under commanders), and while he was the only commissioned officer aboard, he was assisted by a midshipman and a number of warrant officers - a master's mate (ranked as 'master and pilot') to share the watches, carpenter's mate, gunner's mate, boatswain's mate and surgeon's mate. Other petty officers included a ropemaker, sailmaker, clerk, quartermaster and quartermaster's mate. There were fifteen marines on board - a sergeant to command, a corporal, and thirteen privates. The rest of the crew were ranked as seamen - able seamen, ordinary seamen or landsmen.
The naval historian and novelist C.S. Forester commented in relation to the gun-brigs that:
The type was a necessary one but represented the inevitable unsatisfactory compromise when a vessel has to be designed to fight, to be seaworthy and to have a long endurance, all on a minimum displacement and at minimum expense. Few men in the Royal Navy had a good word to say for the gun-brigs, which rolled terribly and were greatly over-crowded, but they had to be employed.— C S Forester
In this criticism of the gun-brig, Forester was perhaps being a little unfair; the class had been designed largely as convoy escorts for coastal operations and it is little wonder they rolled heavily in the open sea. They performed sterling service in a wide range of conditions not envisaged by their designers, making them analogous in this respect to the Flower-class corvette of World War II; cheap, uncomfortable, over-crowded and lightly armed but completely essential.
List of gun-brig classes and their evolution
The following sub-sections describe the sequence of the gun-brigs built to individual designs from the earliest acquisitions of 1793 until the last gun-brigs joined the Navy in 1813.
Three vessels of about 140 tons each were purchased in 1793, and armed with two 18-pounder long guns and ten 18-pounder carronades. They were numbered (not named) GB No. 1, GB No. 2 and GB No. 3.[Note 2] No further details were recorded, but their existence probably explains why the initial numbering of the Acute class below (prior to their being given names) began with GB No. 4.
|In service||1794 - 1817|
|Tons burthen||146 41⁄94bm|
|Beam||21 ft (6.4 m)|
|Depth of hold||7 ft (2.1 m)|
The first batch of twelve gun-brigs were all built by contract to a design by Surveyor of the Navy Sir John Henslow, and ordered on 6 March 1794; they were all named and registered on 26 May. They were designed to be rowed (with 18 oars) as well as sailed, for which purpose they carried a brig rig, though it was originally planned to rig them as schooners or brigantines. The initial plan was that they would mount a main armament of 4-pounder long guns, but this was rapidly substituted by a broadside battery of ten 18-pounder carronades, with two 24-pounders as chase guns in the bow and two 4-pounders as chase guns in the stern. The 4-pounders were soon deleted, making them all 12-gun vessels.
From March 1795 all twelve of the class were attached to the Inshore Squadron commanded by Captain Sir Sidney Smith.
|Aimwell||6 March 1794||Perry & Hankey, Blackwall||12 May 1794||Broken up November 1811|
|Pelter||6 March 1794||Perry & Hankey, Blackwall||12 May 1794||Sold October 1802|
|Borer||6 March 1794||Randall & Co., Rotherhithe||17 May 1794||Sold 1810|
|Plumper||6 March 1794||Randall & Co, Rotherhithe||17 May 1794||Sold January 1802|
|Teazer||6 March 1794||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||26 May 1794||Sold October 1802|
|Tickler||6 March 1794||Hill & Mellish, Limehouse||28 May 1794||Sold May 1802|
|Swinger||6 March 1794||Hill & Mellish, Limehouse||31 May 1794||Sold October 1802|
|Force||6 March 1794||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||May 1794||Sold October 1802|
|Piercer||6 March 1794||Thomas King, Dover||2 June 1794||Sold June 1802|
|Attack||6 March 1794||John Wilson & Co, Frindsbury||28 June 1794||Sold September 1802|
|Fearless||6 March 1794||William Cleverley, Gravesend||June 1794||Wrecked 20 January 1804|
|Conquest||6 March 1794||Josiah & Thomas Brindley, Frindsbury||29? July 1794||Sold April 1817|
|In service||1797 - 1805|
|Tons burthen||15863⁄94 bm|
|Beam||22 ft (6.7 m)|
|Depth of hold||7 ft 11 in (2.41 m)|
A further design by John Henslow, to which fifteen vessels were ordered on 7 February 1797. In this design, the breadth was increased by a foot from the Conquest class, and the depth of the hold was increased by eleven inches. All were brig-rigged and received Schank sliding or drop keels.
Initially these were intended to be classed as gunboats, and were given numbers (nos. GB No. 4 to GB No. 18)[Note 2] rather than names, but on 7 August they were re-classed as gunbrigs and given names. They carried the same armament as their predecessors.
(ex GB No. 4)
|7 February 1797||John Randall, Rotherhithe||10 April 1797||Sold June 1827|
(ex GB No. 5)
|7 February 1797||John Randall, Rotherhithe||10 April 1797||Sold July? 1803|
(ex GB No. 6)
|7 February 1797||John Randall, Rotherhithe||April 1797||Sold October 1802|
(ex GB No. 7)
|7 February 1797||John Randall, Deptford||April 1797||Sold September 1802|
(ex GB No. 8)
|7 February 1797||John & William Wells, Deptford||11? April 1797||Sold April 1802|
(ex GB No. 9)
|7 February 1797||John & William Wells, Deptford||11 April 1797||Sold July 1809|
(ex GB No. 10)
|7 February 1797||John & William Wells, Deptford||13 March 1797||Sold May 1802|
(ex GB No. 11)
|7 February 1797||John & William Wells, Deptford||11 April 1797||Sold January 1802|
(ex GB No. 12)
|7 February 1797||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||14 April 1797||Sold January 1803|
(ex GB No. 13)
|7 February 1797||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||25 April 1797||Sold December 1802|
(ex GB No. 14)
|7 February 1797||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||28 April 1797||Sold October 1802|
(ex GB No. 15)
|7 February 1797||Mrs Frances Barnard & Co, Deptford||5 April 1797||Sold September 1802|
(ex GB No. 16)
|7 February 1797||Mrs Frances Barnard & Co, Deptford||11 April 1797||Wrecked 29 August 1799|
(ex GB No. 17)
|7 February 1797||Mrs Frances Barnard & Co, Deptford||22 April 1797||Broken up February 1805|
(ex GB No. 18)
|7 February 1797||Mrs Frances Barnard & Co, Deptford||24 April 1797||Broken up July 1823|
|In service||1797 - 1803|
|Tons burthen||16750⁄94 bm|
|Beam||22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)|
|Depth of hold||8 ft 3 in (2.51 m)|
At the same time as John Henslow was designing the Acute class, his colleague, fellow-Surveyor Sir William Rule, was ordered to produce an alternative design. Rule's design too incorporated a Schank drop or sliding keel.
Fifteen vessels to this design - the Courser class - were ordered at the same time as those to the Acute class. A sixteenth unit was added to the order a month later. Originally numbered GB No. 19 to GB No. 33, plus GB No. 45,[Note 2] the following sixteen vessels were all given names on 7 August 1797.
(ex GB No. 19)
|7 February 1797||Hill & Mellish, Limehouse||24 April 1797||Renamed Oroonoko in 1805; sold 1806|
(ex GB No. 20)
|7 February 1797||Hill & Mellish, Limehouse||25 April 1797||Sold (probably to HM Customs) August 1803|
(ex GB No. 21)
|7 February 1797||Hill & Mellish, Limehouse||21 May 1797||Sold September 1802|
(ex GB No. 22)
|7 February 1797||Perry & Co, Blackwall||29 March 1797||Sold September 1802|
(ex GB No. 23)
|7 February 1797||Perry & Co, Blackwall||31 March 1797||Sold October 1802|
(ex GB No. 24)
|7 February 1797||Perry & Co, Blackwall||30 March 1797||Sold April 1802|
(ex GB No. 25)
|7 February 1797||Perry & Co, Blackwall||10 April 1797||Sold October 1802|
(ex GB No. 26)
|7 February 1797||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||10 April 1797||Captured by French privateers 21 December 1797|
(ex GB No. 27)
|7 February 1797||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||10 April 1797||Sold October 1802|
(ex GB No. 28)
|7 February 1797||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||April 1797||Wrecked on Chausey Islands 30 December 1803|
(ex GB No. 29)
|7 February 1797||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||April 1797||Sold October 1802|
(ex GB No. 30)
|7 February 1797||William Cleverley, Gravesend||10 April 1797||Sold May 1802|
(ex GB No. 31)
|7 February 1797||William Cleverley, Gravesend||April 1797||Sold May 1802|
(ex GB No. 32)
|7 February 1797||John Wilson & Co, Frindsbury||2 May 1797||Sunk as breakwater 1809|
(ex GB No. 33)
|7 February 1797||John Wilson & Co, Frindsbury||June 1797||Sold December 1802|
(ex GB No. 45)
|March 1797||Josiah & Thomas Brindley, King's Lynn||11 September 1797||Sold January 1802|
The first ten of these small mercantile brigs were all purchased at Leith and fitted there for naval service, being registered on the Navy List on 5 April 1797. An eleventh vessel (Staunch) was purchased in frame in Kent and registered on 15 April 1797. These assorted vessels did not constitute a single class, but as procured as a group they are here treated similarly. Originally numbered GB No. 34 to GB No. 44,[Note 2] the following eleven vessels were all given names on 7 August 1797.
|Name||Purchased||Former mercantile name||Fate|
(ex GB No. 34)
|March 1797||Lady Cathcart||Sold February 1802|
(ex GB No. 35)
|March 1797||Herald||Wrecked 5 January 1800|
(ex GB No. 36)
|March 1797||Tom||Sold January 1801|
(ex GB No. 37)
|April 1797||Experiment||Sold December 1802|
(ex GB No. 38)
|March 1797||David||Sold September 1802|
(ex GB No. 39)
|March 1797||Two Sisters||Sold April 1802|
(ex GB No. 40)
|March 1797||Fortune||Sold December 1802|
(ex GB No. 41)
|March 1797||Hope||Sold May 1802|
(ex GB No. 42)
|March 1797||Minerva||Sold December 1802|
(ex GB No. 43)
|March 1797||unknown||Sold September 1802|
(ex GB No. 44)
|March 1797||none||Sold late 1803|
Built in 1798 as a cutter, and re-rigged by the Navy as a brig, this was a very small vessel of only 60 tons, established with just 18 men and six 3-pounder guns. One should perhaps consider this vessel in practice simply as a gunboat, although she was rated as a gun-brig. In 1825 Malay pirates captured her and massacred her entire crew before wrecking her on Babar Island in the southern Moluccas.
|Name||Purchased||Former mercantile name||Fate|
|Lady Nelson||1799||Lady Nelson||Wrecked February 1825|
Archer class (1801 batch)
|In service||1801 - 1815|
|Completed||10 (in 1801 batch)|
|Tons burthen||17731⁄94 bm|
|Beam||22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)|
|Depth of hold||9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)|
|Armament||2 x 18 or 32-pounder bow carronades + 10 x 18-pounder carronades|
As in 1797, the two Surveyors were asked to produce alternative designs for the next batch of gun-brigs, which were lengthened by 5 feet from the previous classes. Ten vessels were ordered at the close of 1800 to Sir William Rule's design. One, Charger, received an 8" brass mortar in 1809.
|Aggressor||30 December 1800||Wells & Co, Blackwall||1 April 1801||Sold 23 November 1815|
|Archer||30 December 1800||Wells & Co, Blackwall||2 April 1801||Sold 14 December 1815|
|Bold||30 December 1800||Wells & Co, Blackwall||16 April 1801||Broken up April 1811|
|Conflict||30 December 1800||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||17 April 1801||Captured by the French 24 October 1804|
|Charger||30 December 1800||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||17 April 1801||Sold 9 June 1814|
|Constant||30 December 1800||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||28 April 1801||Sold 15 February 1816|
|Locust||30 December 1800||Mrs Frances Barnard Sons & Co, Deptford||2 April 1801||Sold 11 August 1814|
|Mallard||30 December 1800||Mrs Frances Barnard Sons & Co, Deptford||11 April 1801||Captured by the French 24 December 1804|
|Mariner||30 December 1800||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||4 April 1801||Sold 29 September 1814|
|Minx||30 December 1800||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||14 April 1801||Captured by the Danes 2 September 1809|
|In service||1801 - 1815|
|General characteristics |
|Tons burthen||18439⁄94 (bm)|
|Beam||23 ft (7.0 m)|
|Depth of hold||8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)|
|Armament||2 x 18 or 32-pounder bow carronades + 10 x 18-pounder carronades|
Sir John Henslow produced his equivalent design to that of Rule's Archer batch, and ten vessels were ordered to this design just nine days after those of his colleague's design.
|Escort||7 January 1801||Perry, Wells & Green, Blackwall||1 April 1801||Sold to HM Customs August 1815|
|Jackall||7 January 1801||Perry, Wells & Green, Blackwall||1 April 1801||Wrecked 30 May 1807|
|Bloodhound||7 January 1801||John Randall & Co, Rotherhithe||2 April 1801||Sold 18 September 1816|
|Basilisk||7 January 1801||John Randall & Co, Rotherhithe||2 April 1801||Sold 14 December 1815|
|Censor||7 January 1801||John Randall & Co, Rotherhithe||2 April 1801||Sold 11 January 1816|
|Ferreter||7 January 1801||Perry, Wells & Green, Blackwall||4 April 1801||Captured by the Dutch 31 March 1807|
|Starling||7 January 1801||Balthazar & Edward Adams, Bucklers Hard||4 April 1801||Destroyed in action 24 December 1804|
|Snipe||7 January 1801||Balthazar & Edward Adams, Bucklers Hard||2 May 1801||Broken up May 1846|
|Vixen||7 January 1801||Balthazar & Edward Adams, Bucklers Hard||9 June 1801||Sold 28 March 1815|
|Monkey||7 January 1801||John Nicholson, Rochester||11 May 1801||Wrecked 25 December 1810|
1793-1801 ex-French prizes
During the French Revolutionary War, some twenty-one similar vessels were captured from the French (both naval vessels and privateers) and commissioned in the Royal Navy as gun-brigs. These assorted vessels did not constitute a single class, but as all were procured from the enemy during the French Revolutionary War they are here treated similarly.
- Deux Amis
- Marianne, of 12 guns, captured by Tigre on 1 March 1799, recaptured by the French, recaptured by the British in November 1799 and sold September 1801 at the end of the campaign in Egypt.
1801 ex-Spanish prize
1796-1800 ex-Dutch prizes
During the French Revolutionary War, two similar vessels were captured from the Dutch and commissioned in the Royal Navy as gun-brigs. These vessels did not constitute a single class, but as both were procured from the enemy during the French Revolutionary War they are here treated similarly.
Archer class (1804 batch)
|In service||1804 - post 1815|
|Completed||48 (in 1804 batch)|
|Beam||22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)|
|Depth of hold||9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)|
|Armament||2 x chase guns (varying calibres) + 10 x 18-pounder carronades|
Most of the early gun-brigs were sold or broken up during the short-lived Peace of Amiens. Consequently, in the first half of 1804, the Admiralty ordered a further batch of forty-seven gun-brigs to the 1800 William Rule design - 25 on 9 January, seven on 22 March and 15 during June - with an additional one ordered from Halifax Dockard, Nova Scotia on 1 October. Many reused the names of gun-brigs that had been disposed of or lost before 1804.
|Bruiser||9 January 1804||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||28 April 1804||Sold 24 February 1815|
|Blazer||9 January 1804||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||3 May 1804||Sold 15 December 1814|
|Cracker||9 January 1804||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||30 June 1804||Sold 21 November 1815|
|Haughty||9 January 1804||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||7 May 1804||Sold 11 January 1816|
|Wrangler||9 January 1804||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||28 May 1804||Sold 14 December 1815|
|Manly||9 January 1804||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||7 May 1804||Sold 11 August 1814|
|Pelter||9 January 1804||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||25 July 1804||Presumed to have foundered March 1809|
|Plumper (i)||9 January 1804||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||7 September 1804||Captured by the French 16 July 1805|
|Flamer||9 January 1804||Josiah & Thomas Brindley, Frindsbury||8 May 1804||Sold 16 September 1858|
|Firm||9 January 1804||Josiah & Thomas Brindley, Frindsbury||2 July 1804||Wrecked 29 June 1811|
|Furious||9 January 1804||Josiah & Thomas Brindley, Frindsbury||21 July 1804||Sold 9 February 1815|
|Griper||9 January 1804||Josiah & Thomas Brindley, Frindsbury||24 September 1804||Wrecked 18 February 1807|
|Contest||9 January 1804||William Courtney, Chester||June 1804||Presumed to have foundered December 1809|
|Defender||9 January 1804||William Courtney, Chester||28 July 1804||Wrecked 14 December 1809|
|Steady||9 January 1804||Richards & Davidson, Chester||21 July 1804||Sold 9 February 1815|
|Biter||9 January 1804||William Wallis, Blackwall||27 July 1804||Wrecked 10 November 1805|
|Safeguard||9 January 1804||Robert Davy, Topsham, Exeter||4 August 1804||Captured by the Danes 29 June 1811|
|Swinger||9 January 1804||Robert Davy, Topsham, Exeter||September 1804||Broken up June 1812|
|Acute||9 January 1804||Robert Adams, Chapel, Southampton||21 July 1804||Broken up 1864?|
|Attack||9 January 1804||Robert Adams, Chapel, Southampton||9 August 1804||Captured by the Danes 19 August 1812|
|Piercer||9 January 1804||Obadiah Ayles, Topsham, Exeter||29 July 1804||Transferred to Government of Hanover June 1814|
|Growler||9 January 1804||Balthazar & Edward Adams, Bucklers Hard||10 August 1804||Sold 31 August 1815|
|Bouncer||9 January 1804||William Rowe, Newcastle||11 August 1804||Captured by the French February 1805|
|Staunch||9 January 1804||Benjamin Tanner, Dartmouth||21 August 1804||Presumed foundered June 1811|
|Pincher||9 January 1804||Joseph Graham, Harwich||28 August 1804||Sold 17 May 1816|
|Clinker||22 March 1804||Thomas Pitcher, Northfleet||30 June 1804||Presumed foundered December 1806|
|Tigress||22 March 1804||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||1 June 1804||Captured by the Danes 2 August 1808|
|Teazer||22 March 1804||John Dudman & Co, Deptford||16 July 1804||Sold 3 August 1815|
|Sparkler||22 March 1804||Matthew Warren, Brightlingsea||6 August 1804||Wrecked 13 January 1808|
|Tickler||22 March 1804||Matthew Warren, Brightlingsea||8 August 1804||Captured by the Danes 4 June 1808|
|Hardy||22 March 1804||R. B. Roxby, Wearmouth||7 August 1804||Sold 6 August 1835|
|Gallant||22 March 1804||R. B. Roxby, Wearmouth||20 September 1804||Sold 14 December 1815|
|Attentive||June 1804||Bools & Good, Bridport||18 September 1804||Broken up August 1812|
|Cheerly||June 1804||Bools & Good, Bridport||October 1804||Sold 9 February 1815|
|Daring||June 1804||Jabez Bayley, Ipswich||October 1804||Destroyed to prevent capture 27 January 1813|
|Rapid||June 1804||Robert Davy, Topsham, Exeter||20 October 1804||Destroyed in action 18 May 1808|
|Urgent||June 1804||John Bass, Lympstone||2 November 1804||Sold 31 July 1816|
|Fervent||June 1804||Balthazar & Edward Adams, Bucklers Hard||15 December 1804||Broken up 1879|
|Fearless||June 1804||Joseph Graham, Harwich||18 December 1804||Wrecked 8 December 1812|
|Forward||June 1804||Joseph Todd, Berwick||4 January 1805||Sold 14 December 1815|
|Desperate||June 1804||Thomas White, Broadstairs||2 January 1805||Sold 15 December 1814|
|Earnest||June 1804||Menzies & Goalen, Leith||January 1805||Sold 2 May 1816|
|Woodlark||June 1804||Menzies & Goalen, Leith||January 1805||Wrecked 13 November 1805|
|Protector||June 1804||Matthew Warren, Brightlingsea||1 February 1805||Sold 30 August 1833|
|Sharpshooter||June 1804||Matthew Warren, Brightlingsea||2 February 1805||Sold 17 May 1816|
|Dexterous||June 1804||Balthazar & Edward Adams, Bucklers Hard||2 February 1805||Sold 17 October 1816|
|Redbreast||June 1804||John Preston, Great Yarmouth||27 April 1805||Sold 14 June 1850|
|Plumper (ii)||1 October 1804||Halifax Dockyard, Nova Scotia||29 December 1807||Wrecked 5 December 1812|
These four assorted vessels purchased in June 1804 did not constitute a single class, but as procured as a group they are here treated similarly.
|Watchful (ex mercantile Jane)||June 1804||Norfolk||1795||Sold 3 November 1814|
|Thrasher (ex mercantile Adamant)||June 1804||Matthew Warren, Brightlingsea||1804||Sold 3 November 1814|
|Sentinel (ex mercantile Friendship)||June 1804||"Little Yarmouth"||1800||Wrecked 10 October 1812|
|Volunteer (ex mercantile Harmony)||June 1804||Whitby||1804||Sold June 1812|
|In service||1804 - post 1815|
|Tons burthen||179 48⁄94 bm|
|Beam||22 ft (6.7 m)|
|Depth of hold||11 ft (3.4 m)|
The Confounder class vessels were built to an 1804 design by William Rule. The design reflected learning from the experiences of the earlier gunbrig classes. As a result, the Confounder class vessels were more "sea-kindly" and better able to handle long voyages. Two vessels were converted to mortar brigs in 1809.
|Confounder||20 November 1804||Robert Adams, Chapel, Southampton||April 1805||Sold 9 June 1814|
|Hearty||20 November 1804||Jabez Bayley, Ipswich||12 April 1805||Sold 11 July 1816|
|Martial||20 November 1804||Charles Ross, Rochester||17 April 1805||Sold 21 January 1836|
|Resolute||20 November 1804||John King, Dover||17 April 1805||Broken up 1852|
|Exertion||20 November 1804||John Preston, Great Yarmouth||2 May 1805||Destroyed in action 9 July 1812|
|Indignant||20 November 1804||Bools & Good, Bridport||13 May 1805||Broken up June 1811|
|Encounter||20 November 1804||Robert Guillaume, Northam, Southampton||16 May 1805||Captured by the French 11 July 1812|
|Rebuff||20 November 1804||Richards & Davidson, Hythe||30 May 1805||Sold 15 December 1814|
|Starling||20 November 1804||William Rowe, Newcastle||May 1805||Sold 29 September 1814|
|Inveterate||20 November 1804||Bools & Good, Bridport||30 May 1805||Wrecked 18 February 1807|
|Intelligent||20 November 1804||Bools & Good, Bridport||26 August 1805||Became a mooring lighter 1816 - final fate unknown|
|Dapper||20 November 1804||Robert Adams, Chapel, Southampton||December 1805||Sold 29 September 1814|
|Fancy||20 November 1804||John Preston, Great Yarmouth||7 January 1806||Foundered 24 December 1811|
|Conflict||20 November 1804||Robert Davy, Topsham, Exeter||14 May 1805||Sold 29 September 1814|
|Strenuous||20 November 1804||William Rowe, Newcastle||16 May 1805||Sold 1 September 1814|
|Turbulent||20 November 1804||Benjamin Tanner, Dartmouth||17 July 1805||Captured by the Danes 9 June 1808|
|Havock||20 November 1804||Stone, Great Yarmouth||25 July 1805||Broken up 25 June 1859|
|Virago||20 November 1804||Benjamin Tanner, Dartmouth||23 September 1805||Sold 30 May 1816|
|Bustler||20 November 1804||Obadiah Ayles, Topsham, Exeter||12 August 1805||Captured by the French 26 December 1808|
|Adder||20 November 1804||Obadiah Ayles, Topsham, Exeter||9 November 1805||Wrecked 9 December 1806|
|Richmond||23 August 1805||Greensword & Kidwell, Itchenor||February 1806||Sold 29 September 1814|
These two vessels were the former Revenue cutters Speedwell and Ranger respectively. These two assorted vessels did not constitute a single class, but as procured from the same source they are here treated similarly.
|Linnet||1806||Cowes||1797||Captured by French Navy 25 February 1813|
|Pigmy||1806 (while building)||John Avery, Dartmouth||June 1806||Wrecked 2 March 1807|
Bold (or modified Confounder) class
|In service||1812 - post 1815|
|Tons burthen||17947⁄94 bm|
|Beam||22 ft (6.7 m)|
|Depth of hold||11 ft 1 in (3.4 m)|
A revival of Sir William Rule's Confounder class of 1804, this final group was built to a somewhat modified version of that design, and were commonly referred to as the Bold class. Twelve were ordered in November 1811, and a further batch of six followed in November 1812. Unlike earlier brigs of this size, most were re-rated as brig-sloops at or soon after their completion, and were under commanders (rather than lieutenants), at least until 1815-17, when they reverted to being gun-brigs.
|Bold||16 November 1811||Tyson & Blake, Bursledon||26 June 1812||Wrecked 27 September 1813|
|Manly||16 November 1811||Thomas Hills, Sandwich||13 July 1812||Sold 12 December 1833|
|Snap||16 November 1811||Russell & Son, Lyme Regis||25 July 1812||Sold 4 January 1832|
|Thistle||16 November 1811||Mrs Mary Ross, Rochester||13 July 1812||Broken up July 1823|
|Boxer||16 November 1811||Hobbs & Hellyer, Redbridge, Southampton||25 July 1812||Captured by US Navy 9 September 1813|
|Borer||16 November 1811||Tyson & Blake, Bursledon||27 July 1812||Sold 12 October 1815|
|Shamrock||16 November 1811||Edward Larking, King's Lynn||8 August 1812||Sale notified 24 January 1867|
|Borer||16 November 1811||Thomas Hills, Sandwich||26 August 1812||Became dredger at Mauritius 1826-7|
|Conflict||16 November 1811||William Good, Bridport||26 September 1812||Sold 30 December 1840|
|Contest||16 November 1811||William Good, Bridport||24 October 1812||Presumed to have foundered 14 April 1828|
|Swinger||16 November 1811||William Good, Bridport||15 July 1813||Broken up March 1877|
|Plumper||16 November 1811||William Good, Bridport||9 October 1813||Sold 12 December 1833|
|Adder||2 November 1812||Robert Davy, Topsham, Exeter||28 June 1813||Wrecked December 1831|
|Griper||2 November 1812||Richards & Davidson, Hythe, Southampton||14 July 1813||Broken up November 1868|
|Clinker||2 November 1812||Robert Davy, Topsham, Exeter||15 July 1813||Sale notified 24 January 1867|
|Pelter||2 November 1812||Henry Tucker, Bideford||27 August 1813||Sold 8 August 1862|
|Mastiff||2 November 1812||William Taylor, Bideford||25 September 1813||Broken up May 1851|
|Snapper||2 November 1812||Hobbs & Hellyer, Redbridge, Southampton||27 September 1813||Sold 3 July 1861|
1803-1808 ex-French prizes
During the early years of the Napoleonic War, some seventeen similar vessels were captured from the French (both naval vessels and privateers) and commissioned in the Royal Navy as gun-brigs. These assorted vessels did not constitute a single class, but as all were procured from the enemy during the Napoleonic War they are here treated similarly.
- Saint Lucia
- Morne Fortunee (i)
- Netley (i)
- Netley (ii)
- Morne Fortunee (ii)
- Carlotta (i)
- Carlotta (ii)
1804-1809 purchased vessels
1805-1806 ex-Spanish prizes
During the Napoleonic War, two similar vessels were captured from the Spanish and commissioned in the Royal Navy as gun-brigs. These vessels did not constitute a single class, but as both were procured from the enemy during this war they are here treated similarly.
1807 ex-Danish prizes
During the Napoleonic War, two similar vessels were captured from the Danes and commissioned in the Royal Navy as gun-brigs. These vessels did not constitute a single class, but as both were procured from the enemy during this war they are here treated similarly.
1808-10 ex-Dutch prize
1813 ex-American prize
- Mohawk (ex USS Viper)
Notes, citations, and references
- The Schank keel was invented by Captain (later Admiral) John Schank, and was known at the time as a "sliding keel". It was effectively a centreboard or daggerboard that the crew could raise to allow operations in shallow water under oars, or when sailing before the wind. In deeper water they could drop it to make the vessel weatherly when sailing to windward.
- The letters "GB" were never stated to be an abbreviation for "gunboat". Certainly by 1797 the term "gun-brig" was used, and the letters "GB" more likely represented that title, but still the letters were not explicitly an abbreviation.
- Forester, C.S. The Age of Fighting Sail. New English Library. p. 79. ISBN 0-939218-06-2.
- Winfield (2008), pp.329-30.
- Winfield (2008), pp.331-2.
- Winfield (2008), pp.332-3.
- cite web |url=http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?16962 name|HMS Grappler (+1803) |publisher=wrecksite.eu
- Winfield (2008), pp.334-5.
- Winfield (2008), pp.335-6.
- Demerliac (1996), p.83, #544.
- Winfield (2008), p.337.
- "No. 15149". The London Gazette. 18 June 1799. pp. 609–610.
- Winfield (2008), pp.338-43.
- Winfield (2008), pp.343-5.
- Winfield (2008), pp.345-8.
- Demerliac, Alain (1996) La Marine De Louis XVI: Nomenclature Des Navires Français De 1774 À 1792. (Nice: Éditions OMEGA).
- Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650-1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3.
- Rif Winfield, British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793-1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. 2nd edition, Seaforth Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84415-717-4.