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AMBUSCADE (32) 5th rate Built in 1773, Adams, Deptford. She was one of the old 32 gun frigates carrying twenty four 12-pounders on her main deck and eight 6-pounders on her quarter deck.
Captured by the French BAYONNAISE in 1798.
Recaptured 1803 as L'EMBUSCADE.
Broken up in 1810.

  • 1782 Capt. W. YOUNG, Sheerness for home service.
  • 1798 Capt. Henry JENKINS, Channel.
    On 13 December 1798 Ambuscade captured a French letter of marque brig from the West Indies and put the third lieutenant and 15 men on board to take the prize into Plymouth.
  • The following day AMBUSCADE was taken by BAYONNAISE (32) in the Bay of Biscay after a severe engagement which lasted for four hours.
    BAYONNAISE, being to windward, ran her bowsprit through AMBUSCADE's mizzen shrouds and, when AMBUSCADE'S foremast fell across the other ship, it provided a bridge for the enemy to board. In addition to her normal complement the French ship had on board 200 picked troops so the result was never in doubt. Those killed in the action were the first lieutenant, Mr Dawson MAYNE (or MIEN), the master, Mr George PROWN, and seven seamen and one marine. Capt. JENKINS, Lieut. Sinclair of the marines and 36 seamen were wounded. Eleven French soldiers and their colonel were killed.
    Capt. JENKINS was shot through the groin with a musket ball which carried away the top of the thigh bone. The master, though badly wounded, continued to fire his musket, leaning over the quarter-deck, until another ball killed him outright. Lieut. BRIGGS was on the gun deck, keeping the men to quarters, when a gun burst which threw them all into confusion.
  • Letters arrived in Plymouth by cartel from Rochefort at the beginning of February, dated 20 December, which said that Capt. JENKINS was recovering from his wounds and that Lieut. Sinclair was in a fair way. The surviving officers and crew were brought into Plymouth by the French cartel, NANCY, on 28 February.
  • At the court martial on the officers of AMBUSCADE the boatswain was asked, "Did you hear Lieut. BRIGGS call to the people to encourage them to come aft and fight?" and the answer was: "He called down to the waist to come up and assist. I believe it was 'Damn your eyes, come up!'" .
    Although the French rated BAYONNAISE as a corvette she was actually a frigate of the same force as AMBUSCADE. AMBUSCADE was two lieutenants and fifty men short of complement.
  • AMBUSCADE's pilot was a Frenchman. He knew that if he was discovered the consequences would be fatal but the English seamen dressed him as a marine, gave him an English name and ensured that a seaman or a marine stood next to him whenever they were mustered to answer for him. He arrived safely in England in the cartel NANCY from La Rochelle with the rest of the crew on 28 February 1799.
  • She was taken into the French Navy as EMBUSCADE and was recaptured by Capt. Samuel SUTTON in VICTORY,100, in the Atlantic on 28 May 1803. She was restored to the Royal Navy in her old name, the existing AMBUSCADE being renamed SEINE. (See following vessel)
  • 1804 Capt. William DURBAN. He was promoted out of WEAZLE by Lord NELSON to command AMBUSCADE on 17 January 1804. A few hours later a dispatch from Earl St. VINCENT appointed him to the same frigate.
    NELSON sent him to Barcelona to collect intelligence as renewal of hostilities with Spain was expected. When war broke out he was able, with the aid of NELSON's lookout ships which he signalled the day after leaving Barcelona, to capture a Spanish convoy taking troops and supplies to Minorca.
    He sailed for England with the flag of Rear Ad. George CAMPBELL in January 1805 and returned in March.
    AMBUSCADE operated off Naples and with the Russian fleet in the Adriatic. She then cruised off the Spanish coast until defects required her return to England.

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© 1995, 2007 Michael Phillips