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RACOON (16) Built in 1795, Rotherhithe.
Broken up in 1806.

  • 1795 H.
    RAPER, 09/1795.
  • 1796 E. ROE, 03/1796, 1797 R. LLOYD, 05/1797, North Sea Downs.
    At daylight on the morning of the 2 December 1799 he fell in with a French privateer lugger and captured her after an hour's chase. She was the VRAI DECIDE of 14 guns and 41 men, thirty hours out of Boulogne in company with three others.
    Two days later he was five or six miles south of Dover when he saw a lugger boarding a brig.
    He immediately went in chase and, after a running fight of about 40 minutes, came along side to be received with cannon and small arms fire which was returned with success.
    The enemy struck after losing her bowsprit and mainmast and having 13 killed and wounded. She was the INTEPIDE of Calais, with 16 guns and 60 men, commanded by Capt. Saillard.
    Capt. LLOYD was wounded in the head by a half pike but not dangerously, and one seaman was wounded.
    Lieut. COXWELL, the only other commissioned officer on board, brought RACOON back to anchor in the Downs.
    Because she had lost her foremast they were unable to pursue the captured brig which was the WELCOMBE taking malt from London to Plymouth.
    Fortunately the cutter STAG came up after the action and chased after the prize.
  • 1800 W. RATHBORNE, 12/1799, Woolwich.
    On 8 April 1801 she arrived in Portsmouth from Jersey then sailed to the Downs returning on 23 May.
    Seven days later she sailed on a four weeks cruise in the Channel. She was only back in Portsmouth for two days to re-victual before sailing on another cruise on 30 June which lasted until 31 July.
    On 2 September RACOON brought into Portsmouth 170 kegs of liquor which she had picked up at sea.
  • At the end of October RACOON convoyed the Straits fleet to Gibraltar arriving there on 16 November after experiencing dreadful weather in the Bay of Biscay.
    In the bay she sighted two British ships taken as prizes by the French, HANNIBAL and SPEEDY, which were being taken into Brest under jury masts.
    In February 1802 she was in Malta and a letter home from her reported that the Turks and Mamelukes were in open war in upper Egypt and that Vice-Ad. BICKERTON was preparing to sail in MADRAS to mediate.
    RACOON returned via Gibraltar on 2 July.
    On 22 October she received orders to be manned and be made ready to sail immediately for the West Indies.
  • 1803 Austin BISSELL, Jamaica.
    On 6 July he sank a schooner at anchor in a bay near Cape Rosa and the following day he took a schooner, la VERTU, of two guns which was taking troops and provisions from Port-au-Prince to Jeremie.
    A schooner was run on shore and sunk in Barradier Bay on the 9th.
  • On the morning of 11 July, whilst working between the island of Guanaba and St. Domingo, Capt. BISSELL saw a French brig lying at anchor in the Leogane Roads.
    He bore up for her, anchored within 30 yards and commenced an action.
    After 30 minutes the Frenchman cut his cables and tried to escape but BISSELL followed and 10 minutes later she struck her colours. She proved to be LODI, pierced for 20 guns but only mounting 10, commanded by Capitaine de fregate Pierre Taupier.
    RACOON had only one man wounded, master's mate Thomas GILL, whose arm was carried off by a shot.
    LODI lost 1 killed and 13 or 14 wounded.
    Capt. BISSELL had particular praise for the conduct of his 1st. lieutenant, James Alexander GORDON.
  • In August 1803 Capt. BISSELL received information that the French privateers that had been fitting out in Cuba were now at sea so, after checking that the Jamaican coast east from Lucca was clear he crossed over to St. Jago where he saw four French schooners at anchor.
    He watched the port closely and in a few days fell in with three of them.
    Two, LES DEUX AMIS (3), and LES TROIS FRERES (3), he captured and the third he ran ashore and destroyed.
  • On Wednesday 17 August he saw a brig coming along the shore and speak to a schooner which had been avoiding RACOON all day.
    Two hours later they bore up together in a strong breeze so BISSELL stood off until he was certain of fetching them and then stood inshore.
    The brig hoisted French colours and still under a press of sail, fired a gun.
    Five minutes later she fired a broadside and attempted to cross RACOON's hawse, a move which BISSELL countered by putting his helm hard-a-port, although he was doing eight knots at the time, and firing a broadside.
    This brought down the Frenchman's topsails and he ran ashore on the rocks in a small bay and struck his colours.
  • When RACOON came round her stern was nearly in the breakers and from this position she fired her other broadside.
    About half an hour later the Frenchman hoisted his colours again so RACOON made several short tacks past her firing each time until her main mast went over and she fell on her beam ends.
    Mr John THOMPSON, the master offered to go in and burn her but Capt. BISSELL, having seen that she had landed boats full of armed men which were now lining the shore, considered that this would be too hazardous.
  • He later learned that the brig was the MUTINE, armed with eighteen long 18-pounders, and full of men bound for St. Jago from Port au Paix.
  • At the time RACOON had both lieutenants and 42 men absent in prizes and Lieut. WRIGHT, who was in one of them, made every effort to catch the French schooner which had been in company at the start of the action but she escaped.
  • On the evening of 13 October 1803 BISSELL observed a number of vessels hauling towards Cumberland Harbour in Cuba so, having heard of the French evacuation of Port-au-Prince in Haiti, he anchored in a small bay to wait for them to pass.
    At dawn on the 14th. he discovered 8 or 9 sail nearly becalmed.
    RACOON, with a land wind, attacked a gun-brig LA PETITE FILLE which struck after a broadside or two had been fired at her.
    Capt. BISSELL had only time to to send an officer and a few men to secure her before turning his attention to a cutter and a schooner which were firing at him and manoeuvring to board at bow and stern.
    He fired a broadside at the cutter, then wore and fired the other at the schooner, keeping up this running fight for more than an hour until the cutter, beaten to a wreck, struck her colours.
    Lieut. LAWRENCE took possession of her while RACOON chased after the schooner which surrendered after a few shots.
    Meanwhile the French on the brig had overpowered the prize crew and run her ashore where they had escaped over the rocks but all RACOON's people got back safely.
  • The brig had been carrying 180 troops including 50 officers.
    The schooner was the JEUNE ADELE (6) carrying 80 troops and the cutter the AMELIE (4) with more than 70 troops.
    The French lost about 40 killed and wounded but the only British casualty was Mr John THOMPSON, the master who was badly wounded early on.
    Because he had expended nearly all his shot Capt. BISSELL returned to Port Royal on the 20th.
  • The Naval Medal was awarded to the survivors 44 years later.
  • Capt. BISSELL was promoted into the CREOLE frigate and the First Lieutenant, Lieut. Gordon, succeeded him in command of RACOON.
    (Captain Bissell was to lose a leg at the battle of Lissa in 1811 whilst in command of ACTIVE.
    He later commanded a squadron which included FAIRY, EREBUS and METEOR in the Potomac.)
    RACOON continued on the Jamaica station.
    In the Florida Straits on 16 March 1804 RACOON captured the French transport ARGO (6) with 50 troops and 20 officers and seamen. She had left New Orleans 22 days before and was bound for France.
    GORDON sailed for Jamaica, taking the French privateer schooner ADVENTURE out of San Domingo on the 3 April and recapturing the American schooner ELIZABETH, laden with coffee on the 4th.
    He arrived at Port Royal on the 5th.
  • 1805 Edward CROFTON, Jamaica.
    RACOON was at anchor in Montego Bay, in N. W. Jamaica on 11 May 1805 when Capt. CROFTON saw an enemy schooner boarding a dogger.
    He slipped and gave chase but the schooner's superiority in rowing and sailing in light airs meant that she could outrun the sloop and escape with her prize round Cabo Cruz, Cuba.
    However, on returning to her station off Lucea, Jamaica, RACOON captured a Spanish privateer felucca SAN FELIX EL SOCORO which had sailed from Santiago de Cuba eleven days before and had taken one dogger.
    Her single 6-pounders had been thrown overboard during the chase.

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