Purchased in 1803.
Taken in 1805.
- 1804 Arthur FARQUHAR, 01/1804, Mediterranean.
At the end of December 1804 Capt. VINCENT of ARROW received instructions to take ACHERON under his orders and escort a convoy from Malta to England as soon as some merchantmen arrived from Smyrna.
- The weather was good until they reached the island of Ibiza when they encountered strong westerly winds and several vessels separated.
On the morning of 3 February 1805 the two warships had 29 merchantmen, a Spanish prize and the transport DUCHESS of RUTLAND in company and two sail coming up astern were assumed to be some of the missing vessels.
As they approached they were seen to be large so Capt. VINCENT asked ACHERON, then astern of the convoy, to investigate.
Capt. FARQUHAR signalled that they looked suspicious and half an hour later reported that they were frigates. ARROW, towing a leaking merchantman, ADVENTURE, which had a damaged rudder, slipped the tow and made for the rear of the convoy to join ACHERON.
When ACHERON signalled that the frigates were French Capt. VINCENT ordered the convoy to continue its course.
- Just after 3 o'clock the following morning the two British ships exchanged fire with the frigates which did considerable damage to ARROW's sails and rigging.
ACHERON managed to get in a few effective shots.
At daylight Capt. VINCENT signalled the DUCHESS OF RUTLAND to close him since she was the most effective ship in the convoy and her presence would add much needed firepower, but his signals went unanswered leaving the sloop and the bomb to fight alone.
- ARROW, after receiving many shots between wind and water and with 4 guns dismounted and 13 men killed and 27 wounded was forced to surrender to the frigate INCORRUPTIBLE.
Meanwhile ACHERON, although her sails and masts were badly damaged and part of her stern post was carried away, made all possible sail towards the land to the southward to lead the frigate HORTENSE away from the convoy.
After receiving one broadside and part of another Capt. FARQUHER decided that further sacrifice was useless and surrendered.
As soon as the officers and crew were removed from ACHERON the French, finding her so disabled, burnt her.
ACHERON, with 24-pounder carronades and only 67 persons at quarters, had stood no chance against the 48 guns of the frigate.
- The crew were taken to prison in Malaga before being allowed to return to Gibraltar in a cartel.
Only three vessels out of thirty-two were captured and included the DUCHESS OF RUTLAND whose commander had not only ignored Capt. VINCENT's signal but had also neglected to destroy the Convoy Signals and Instructions.
- At a court martial on board ROYAL SOVEREIGN at Palma Bay, Sardinia, on 28 March 1805 Capt. FARQUHAR's conduct was described as highly meritorious and he was honourably acquitted.
The Committee of the Patriotic Fund voted honorary awards to the commanding officers; gave donations to the wounded and made provision for the families of those killed.