Built in 1811, Portsmouth.
Lost in 1814.
- 1811 Philip BROWNE.
He captured an American vessel laden with stores for the Brest fleet and two vessels from New York and Baltimore with tobacco, ivory, &c.
On 24 September, while close in with Cape la Neve, HERMES recaptured the Prussian brig ANNA MARIA which had been bound for London from Lisbon.
The privateer managed to escape because of the nearness of the French coast.
- Since strong winds had driven him off station and prevented him reaching St. Helen's Capt. BROWNE bore up for Dungerness.
0ff Beachy Head he discovered a large lugger in the midst of a number of English vessels, several of which she must have soon captured and one of which she had taken before being seen.
HERMES immediately gave chase and after two hours, in which he sustained some damage and had several men wounded, the privateer struck.
At the moment of bringing to HERMES's maintop-sail-yard broke in the slings and her fore-sail split with the violence of the wind.
The enemy took immediate advantage and tried to escape on the opposite tack but HERMES managed to wear and by cramming on all sail caught up him although he got two miles off on the weather bow.
Determined not to give the enemy another chance of escape Capt. BROWNE decided to run alongside, despite the gale, but the lugger crossed HERMES's hawse and a heavy sea threw him under the keel and only 12 out of her 51 men were saved. She was the MOUCHE of Boulogne, commanded by a M. Gageux, and mounting 14 carriage guns, 12 and 6-pounders.
Ten of her crew were put on board the English prize which escaped to France during the chase.
Fortunately none of her crew had been taken on board the privateer.
- During the winter of 1812 HERMES and PHOEBE were sent to cruise off the Western Islands (Azores) under the command of Capt. AUSTEN in ELEPHANT.
On the morning of 28 December ELEPHANT and HERMES captured the American privateer schooner SWORD FISH of Gloucester, John Evans, master, after a chase of more than 100 miles lasting 11 hours, although she was not more than 4 miles ahead at the start. She mounted twelve 6-pounders, ten of which were thrown overboard during the chase, and was manned with 82 men. She had made no captures in the 16 days she had been out from Boston.
- In 1813 HERMES escorted a convoy of merchantmen to South America.
On 13 April, while proceeding from Cork, the convoy encountered the brig RECOMPENSE (not of the convoy) the master of which, by the most wilful mismanagement of his ship, ran foul of one of the convoy, which he also forced on board the HERMES, which was in imminent danger of being lost thereby.
- Capt. BROWNE ordered the master of the RECOMPENSE to anchor and warned him against the lubberly mode in which he was proceeding.
The others reply was to call Capt. BROWNE a "damned white-faced rascal," and that if had him on shore he would thrash him.
He refused to anchor and again ran the other vessel foul of HERMES.
At the time Capt. BROWNE was too preoccupied dealing with the dangerous situation of his own ship but three weeks later the RECOMPENSE again came close to HERMES off Madeira and Lieut. John KENT offered to bring the master on board with his papers.
The master, once in HERMES, behaved with even greater insolence until Capt. BROWNE, remembering the earlier threat, took off his coat and said that the master could make good his promise, but the master, to avoid fighting lay down on the deck of his own accord.
The master also refused an invitation to meet the captain privately ashore.
Capt. BROWNE told some marines to pick him up and Lieut. KENT to see him back to his own ship.
- This episode was to have unhappy results for Capt. BROWNE when HERMES returned home in March 1814.
His first lieutenant, Charles LETCH, whom he had recently brought before a court martial charged with gross misconduct and oppression of the inferior officers, for which the lieutenant had been convicted, brought charges against the captain.
- On 30 March 1814 a court martial assembled at Plymouth to hear seven charges against the captain.
The charges, which Capt. BROWNE had first heard only 48 hours previously, were not related and varied from fraud on the government and false muster to violating the 23rd. article of war dealing with fighting and quarrelling, and the 33rd. article dealing with scandalous and oppressive behaviour.
Both the last two relating to a embroidered account of the incident off Madeira.
- Although one charge was abandoned by the prosecution, and most of the others disproved by witnesses, the court judged the whole to have been partly proved and sentenced Capt. BROWNE to be dismissed the service.
- An eminent counsel immediately gave an opinion that such a sentence could not be legal as proofs of each charge should have been separately made out.
However once the sentence of a Naval court martial was promulgated the prisoner was excluded from all redress.
- Nevertheless Capt. BROWNE presented a memorial to the Admiralty with, now he had time to prepare a defence, official documents to refute the accusations.
The law officers of the crown Sir William Garrow and Sir Samuel Shepherd then declared that there was nothing in the evidence to warrant the sentence.
It took the Earl of Egremont to raise the matter in Parliament before he was restored to his former rank on 20 April 1815.
- 1814 Capt. Hon. William Henry PERCY, 04/1814.
On 5 August HERMES and CARRON sailed from the Havana and arrived at the mouth of the Apalachicola river on the 13th.
They landed a detachment of marines under the command of brevet Lieut. Col. Nicolls on Vincent Island then proceeded with him to Prospect Bluff where they learnt that brevet Capt. Woodbine had gone to Pensacola in SOPHIE to assist a party of friendly Indians which the Americans had driven into Spanish territory.
Capt. Woodbine sent a hired vessel to Vincent Is.
to bring them arms and ammunition from the dump at the Bluff.
HERMES left the Apalachicola on 21 August and arrived at Pensacola two days later, falling in with SOPHIE off the bar.
The Spanish Governor requested that he should disembark the detachment and arms since he was threatened by an attack from the Americans, and this was immediately complied with.
The Fort San Miguel was put in the hands of Lieut. Col. Nicholls and the colours of both countries hoisted.
- Capt. LOCKYER of SOPHIE was directed to proceed to Barataria to see if the freebooters there would co-operate with British forces, and to offer them lands in the colonies.
Lafitte, their commander,while pretending to consider the British proposals, forwarded them to the Governor of Louisiana.
- CHILDERS joined them on 6 September from New Providence with more arms and ammunition for the Indians and flour for the squadron.
In order to communicate with the Choctawa tribe, supposedly friendly, Capt. PERCY decided that he would have to take possession of Mobile.
By capturing Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point he would be able to stop the trade of Louisiana and starve Mobile into surrender.
The fort appeared to be a low wood battery of little strength, mounting by some accounts, no more than fourteen guns of small calibre, and by others, as few as six.
There was supposed to be sufficient depth of water for the ships to anchor within pistol-shot.
CARRON was detained to assist and Lieut. Col. Nicholls offered to command a party of about 60 marines and 130 Indians.
HERMES, CHILDERS, CARRON and SOPHIE, which they met off the bar, sailed on the 11th. and the following day they landed the Nicholls party and a howitzer about 9 miles to the eastward of Fort Bowyer.
- Contrary winds prevented them passing the bar until the 15th., during which time the Americans strengthened their defences.
They passed over at ten past three in the afternoon in the following line of battle: HERMES, SOPHIE CARRON, CHILDERS.
The fort started firing at sixteen minutes past four and HERMES replied with a broadside, then anchored fore and aft, at half past.
SOPHIE did the same ten minutes later but since her timbers were rotten her carronades drew the bolts or turned over when they were fired.
Lack of wind and a strong tide prevented the other two ships from coming up and they were forced to anchor too far off to be of use.
- When her bow spring was shot away HERMES swung round head to the fort and grounded.
Only one carronade and the small arms in the tops could reply to the raking fire the enemy poured in.
Capt. PERCY managed to bring the larboard battery to bear by cutting the small bower and using a spanker to catch what wind there was to turn the ship.
At ten past six, having made no impression on the fort with the few larboard guns that could fire, and having lost a considerable number of men, he cut all cables and tried to drop clear of the fort using the strong tide.
HERMES, with all her rigging shot away, was unmanageable and grounded with her stern to the fort.
Capt. LOCKYER and SPENCER came on board and agreed that it was impracticable to attempt to storm the fort so, while SOPHIE's boats under Lieut. Peter MAINGY, 1st. of HERMES, took off the wounded and other men, Capt. PERCY and Lieut. Alfred MATTHEWS performed the painful duty of setting fire to HERMES.
The rest of the squadron then anchored about one and a half miles from the fort and, at 10 o'clock they saw HERMES blow up.
- HERMES lost 17 killed including Mr Richard C. PYNE, master; Mr B. HEWLETT, master's mate and Mr G. THOMPSON, boatswain.
Twenty-five were wounded, including five mortally so.
- Fort Bowyer eventually fell in February 1815 and contained three long 32-pounders, eight 24's, six 12's, five 9's, one brass 4-pounder, one mortar and one howitzer, with a garrison of 375 officers and men.
Capt. PERCY faced a court martial on board CYDNUS off Cat Island on 18 January 1815.
The court found that the attack was justified and he was acquitted of acquitted of all blame for the loss of the ship.