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UNICORN (28) 6th rate Built in 1748, Plymouth DY.
Broken up in 1771.

    Her keel was laid on 8 July 1747 and she was launched on 7 December 1748. Her draught was taken from a captured French privateer LE TIGRE.
  • In Feb. 1750 the HERMIONE, a French frigate taken by the UNICORN, was surveyed at Plymouth. She appears to be old and not fit for purchase.
  • 1752 Capt. BUCKLE.
  • 1756 Capt. James GALBRAITH, Plymouth.
  • 1756 Capt. John RAWLING, employed as a cruiser in the English Channel.
    On the 18th. of May 1757 he fell in with a large privateer belonging to St. Malo called the INVINCIBLE, the force in respect of the guns was equal, but the crew of the French ship was 286 men. A desperate encounter took place, in which Capt. RAWLINGS was killed, together with the armorer, the boatswain and one marine. Five of the crew were wounded. The Lieutenant, Mr Michael CLEMENTS fought the ship with great bravery and the enemy surrendered after a contest of two and a half hours, having nearly of fifty of her crew killed and wounded.
    Having received intelligence from persons on board the prize, Lieut. CLEMENTS learned that another vessel of much the same description had captured a private ship of war belonging to Guernsey, he resolved to go in search of her. After a few days cruise he came up with the enemy and captured her after exchanging a few broadsides. She proved to be the CONTESSE DE NOUILLES belonging to Bordeaux, mounting fourteen guns and having a crew of 143 men. In consequence of the gallantry displayed by Mr CLEMENTS, he was promoted to commander of a sloop, and very quickly to post captain, being appointed to the ACTEON.
  • 1757 Capt. EDWARDS, 17th. Oct.
  • 1760 Capt. Joseph HUNT. On 6 January 1761, while cruising off the Penmarks, a sail was discovered to the northward about 8 o'clock in the morning.
    A letter from Lieut. John SYMONS dated at Plymouth on 11 January continues :-
    Capt. HUNT gave chase and found her to be a French frigate. At half past ten the UNICORN came up with, and began to engage her, and continued in close action with her, till nearly half past twelve; at which time the enemy struck, and proved to be the VESTAL, a frigate of the French king's, commanded by M. Boisbertelot, mounting 26 twelve and nine pounders upon her lower deck and 4 six pounders on the quarter deck and forecastle with 220 men. She had escaped from the river Villaine on the 2 January under cover of a very thick fog with two 64-gun ships, the GRAND (34), and the CALYPSO (16), all bound for Brest.
    Capt. HUNT received a gun-shot wound from the third broadside, in his right thigh, of which he died an hour after the action was over.
    The VESTAL had many killed and wounded; and among the latter M. Boisbertelot, who lost his leg, and died of the wound next day. The UNICORN had five men killed and ten wounded; six of whom dangerously. Lieut. SYMONDS adds, that the day after the action, he saw a sail to windward, which had greatly the appearance of a French ship, and bore down on him for about half an hour, and then hauled her wind, and stood in for the land. That on the 10th. in the morning he saw two ships engaging, which proved to be his Majesty's ship SEAHORSE, which had sailed from Spithead on the 6th. with the astronomers to observe the transit of Venus and the GRAND, frigate. On UNICORN coming up within two gun-shot of them the French ship made all sail, UNICORN chased, but her sails and rigging were too much damaged from the previous action. For his conduct in taking command of UNICORN and capturing VESTAL, Lieut. SYMONDS was promoted to the command of the MORTAR sloop.
    The VESTAL was taken into the service and renamed FLORA.

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