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MEDUSA (32) Built in 1801, Northfleet.
Broken up in 1816.

  • 1801 Capt. Sir John GORE, Channel.
    Lord NELSON hoisted his flag at Deal on 30 July 1801 and sent for MEDUSA to take him over to Boulogne on 2 August to observe the French invasion preparations there.
    On the 4th. he ordered the bombs to attack the 24 vessels anchored in a line off Boulogne.
  • An attempt at bringing off the enemy's flotilla was made on the night of the 15th.
    using four divisions of boats for boarding and a division of howitzer boats. Many of the French vessels were boarded but most were aground and came under heavy musket fire from the shore which hit Frenchmen and Briton alike. One sub division of boats was under Lieut. WILLIAMS, senior of MEDUSA. Lord NELSON's aide-de-camp, Capt. Edward PARKER, joined them in a flat boat with Mr KIRBY, the master, and Midshipman GORE. Lieut. Frederick LANGFORD was in the barge, Mr CATHCART in the cutter and Lieut. Charles PELLEY in the launch.
    The flat boat attempted to board a large brig off the Mole Head but the instantaneous discharge of her guns and musketry from about 200 soldiers killed or wounded two thirds of the boarders when they were frustrated by nets stretched around the bulwarks. They would have been taken if Mr CATHCART had not towed them away. MEDUSA suffered the worst casualties, fifty-five in all. Messrs. William GORE and William BRISTOW, midshipmen, 14 seamen and 4 marines were killed and Capt. PARKER; Lieuts. PELLEY and LANGFORD; Mr William KIRBY, Master; Hon. Anthony MAITLAND, 24 seamen and 6 marines were wounded.
  • From October 1801 until 12 February 1802, during the peace of Amiens, MEDUSA was employed cruising against smugglers between Start Point and the Isle of Wight. She was then ordered to the Mediterranean where she visited Spanish and French ports and escorted King Ferdinand IV from Palermo to Naples.
    Early in 1803 MEDUSA carried the British ambassador, William Drummond, from Naples to Constantinople.
    While there he learnt that hostilities would soon resume so he hastened to rejoin Sir Richard BICKERTON off Toulon. When NELSON arrived to take command MEDUSA was sent, with three frigates and four sloops, to cruise off Gibraltar.
  • After cruising for three months outside the Gut, MEDUSA off New Mole Head in Gibraltar on 8 December, saw two French felucca-rigged privateers standing out from Tariff to attack a cutter standing in for the westward.
    Her cables were slipped and within an hour MEDUSA was able to open fire on one of the privateers as she crossed on the opposite tack. The other, ESPERANCE, of two 12 and two 6-pounders, was captured before MEDUSA tacked and continued firing on the first one until she was rowed among the rocks near Cabrita Point, effectively destroyed. She was the SORCIER of similar armament. Shortly afterwards MEDUSA chased a French privateer schooner so close to Cadiz light-house that her shot went into the town. At the invitation of the Spanish MEDUSA entered the harbour and anchored near three French ships while her officers attended a dinner and a bullfight.
  • On 30 September 1804 MEDUSA fell in with INDEFATIGABLE off Cadiz and Capt. GORE was able to inform Capt. MOORE that AMPHION was in the Straits and that TRIUMPH was off Gibraltar.
    By the 5th. INDEFATIGABLE, MEDUSA, AMPHION and LIVELY were together off Cape St. Mary when MEDUSA sighted four sail making for Cadiz. Capt. MOORE made the signal for general chase and found them to be four large Spanish frigates. MEDUSA took position on the weather beam of the Spanish Commodore in the FAMA (36) while Capt. MOORE fired a shot and sent a boat to inform him that he had orders to detain the Spanish ships.
    When the answer was unsatisfactory a close battle started in which the MERCEDES (36) blew up. Only 45 of the 280 on board were saved from her. The FAMA and the other two, MEDEE and the CLARA, were taken.
  • MEDUSA returned to Portsmouth on 8 November with the MATILDA which had been detained while sailing from Cadiz to Vera Cruz with 200,000 worth of mercury. She then went into dock for extensive repairs.
  • Capt. GORE was knighted in February 1805 and sailed for Bengal on 15 April to take out Lord Cornwallis who died there on 5 October.
    MEDUSA waited at Calcutta for dispatches until 3 November when she sailed for England. The Lizard was reached on 26 January 1806, only 84 days. 82 under sail, to cover some 13,800 miles. Sir John GORE removed to REVENGE.
  • 1807 Capt. H. P. BOUVERIE.
    During 1807 MEDUSA formed part of the squadron in the River Plate. The army were landed about 7 miles to the east of the town on 16 January and on the 19th. about 800 seamen and royal marines were landed to act with the troops and serve the guns which were taken ashore. Able seaman William GARY of MEDUSA was dangerously wounded at the capture of the town on 3 February.
  • In June more marines and seamen were requested by General Whitelocke to assist at Buenos Aires which had been attacked on the 5th. so, on the 18th., MEDUSA, NEREIDE, THISBE, HAUGHTY and six captured gunboats were ordered to proceed up the North Channel to Colonia to collect the seamen.
    The boats landed them near Barragon on the 27th.
    On 6 July MEDUSA, THISBE and SARACEN, with the gunboats under Lieut. FRASER of MEDUSA, were ordered to stand by to evacuate the troops; General Whitelocke had thrown in his hand at the very moment when victory had seemed within his grasp.
  • 1808 Channel fleet.
    On 4 April Capt. BOUVERIE captured the privateer lugger ACTIF of Dieppe. She was one of three which had left Cherbourg the previous morning and had boarded a coasting sloop which was retaken by MEDUSA.
    Because of the necessity of examining four merchant vessels the other privateers were able to make their escape.
  • In December 1808 Capt. William BOWLES was appointed acting captain of MEDUSA before a spell in temporary command of WARSPITE.
  • 1810 Capt. BOUVERIE, Channel.
    MEDUSA captured the French privateer AVENTURE (14) of Bordeaux at the beginning of the year and on 13 January the 14-gun privateer HIRONDELLE which had left the Loire the day before.
  • Capt. BOWLES returned to acting in MEDUSA in May 1810 and served on the north coast of Spain.
    Early on 5 July a detachment of seamen and marines from the squadron landed on the beach to the westward of Santona and, with Spanish troops under General Porlier, pushed forward towards the town. Capt. BOWLES acted as second in command under Capt. Frederick AYLMER and assisted at the destruction of various French batteries.
  • A court martial was held on 23 April 1811 at Portsmouth to try Mr Isaac WILKINSON, gunner of MEDUSA.
    It was said that he landed at the Sally Port, on his return to the ship from the gun-wharf, and took the crew into a public house. While they were drinking together the boat, with a carronade in it, was badly damaged.He was also charged with abusing and striking a young midshipman and returning drunk to the ship. He was dismissed his ship and rendered incapable of serving as a officer again.
  • Another court martial was held on 9 August when Mr F. HORNSBY, master's mate.
    It was charged that, as a prize master, he had not given the men their full allowance of rum and for being drunk himself. He was also charged with severely beating one of the men with a rope's end. He was sentenced to be severely reprimanded and to serve eight years as a midshipman instead of six before passing for a commission.
  • Under the orders of Lord KEITH from February 1812 and in May SURVEILLANTE, RHIN, MEDUSA, ISIS, SPARROW and LYRA were employed off the coast of Spain under Capt. COLLIER.
  • At noon on 17 June MEDUSA, HOTSPUR and ROVER joined VENERABLE (Home POPHAM), RHIN and LYRA off Santona and, when the weather moderated the following day they stood inshore to examine the coast. The water was smooth at Elanchove so, in the evening, communication was established with a guerilla chief named Don Gaspar who promised to surround the town and fort of Lequietio, 12 miles to the eastward,by the following night. As it was known that French reinforcements were heading for the place no time was lost in landing marines to back up the guerillas. Since the guns of VENERABLE made no impression on the walls of the fort it was decided to erect a battery on a hill. In spite of breaking seas they managed to get a gun ashore and Capt. BOUVERIE, with 100 seamen covered the 400 guerillas and 36 pairs of draught bullocks which pulled it up. By sunset a breach had been made and guerillas entered the fort.
    On 4 August MEDUSA and VENERABLE were in harbour at Santander.
  • On 13 April 1813 MEDUSA captured the American letter of marque schooner CAROLINE of 4 guns and 28 men, bound from New Orleans to Bordeaux.
  • 1814 Plymouth.

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