French frigate Alceste (1780)

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Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Flag of French-Navy-Revolution.svg France
Ordered: 20 April 1780
Builder: Toulon shipyard
Laid down: May 1780
Launched: 28 October 1780
Commissioned: February 1781
Captured: by Britain, 29 August 1793
Savoyard flag.svg Kingdom of Sardinia
Acquired: 29 August 1793
Captured: By Boussole on 8 June 1794
Flag of French-Navy-Revolution.svg Civil and Naval Ensign of France.svg France
Acquired: 8 June 1794
Captured: By HMS Bellona, 18 June 1799
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Acquired: 18 June 1799
Fate: Floating battery (1801); broken up in May 1802
General characteristics
Class and type: Magicienne class frigate
  • 600 tonnes
  • 5 260 tonnes fully loaded
Tons burthen: 932 (bm) [1]
Length: 44.2 m (145 ft)
Beam: 11.2 m (37 ft)
Draught: 5.2 m (17 ft) (22 French feet)
Complement: 240 in British service; 96 as a floating battery [1]
Armament: 26 × 12-pounder long guns + 6 × 6-pounder long guns
Armour: Timber

Alceste was a Magicienne class frigate of the French Navy, launched in 1780, that the British seized at the Siege of Toulon. They transferred her to the Kingdom of Sardinia, but the French recaptured her a year later in the Action of 8 June 1794. The British captured her again at the Action of 18 June 1799 and took her into service as HMS Alceste. In 1801 she became a floating battery and she was sold the next year.

French Navy Maritime arm of the French Armed Forces

The French Navy, informally "La Royale", is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces. Dating back to 1624, the French Navy is one of the world's oldest naval forces. It has participated in conflicts around the globe and played a key part in establishing the French colonial empire.

Siege of Toulon siege

The Siege of Toulon was a military operation by Republican forces against a Royalist rebellion in the southern French city of Toulon.

Kingdom of Sardinia former Italian state (1324–1861)

The Kingdom of Sardinia was a state in Southern Europe from the early 14th until the mid-19th century.



At the outbreak of the French Revolution, Alceste served in the Mediterranean until she was put in the reserved and disarmed in Toulon. The royalist insurrection found her there; the British, who supported the royalists, seized her and transferred her to the Kingdom of Sardinia before the conclusion of the Siege of Toulon.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

The 32-gun Boudeuse recaptured her in the Action of 8 June 1794. The French then took her back into French service. On 4 August 1794 Alceste and Vestale were off Cape Bon when they encountered and captured the brig HMS Scout. The French took Scout into service under existing name, but she wrecked on 12 December 1795 off Cadiz. [2]

French frigate <i>Boudeuse</i> (1766) ship

Boudeuse was a 26-gun, 12-pounder-armed sailing frigates named La Boudeuse on 6 June 1765. She is most famous for being the exploration ship of Louis Antoine de Bougainville between 1766 and 1769. She also served in the American and French Revolutionary Wars, during which she captured two enemy vessels. She was broken up for firewood at Malta in early 1800.

Under Captain Louis-Jean-Nicolas Lejoille, Alceste was part of Admiral Martin's squadron, which captured HMS Berwick in 1795.

Louis-Jean-Nicolas Lejoille French Navy officer

Louis-Jean-Nicolas Lejoille was a French Navy officer and captain.

Pierre Martin (French Navy officer) French naval officer

Admiral Pierre Martin was a French Navy officer and admiral.

HMS Berwick was a 74-gun Elizabeth-class third rate of the Royal Navy, launched at Portsmouth Dockyard on 18 April 1775, to a design by Sir Thomas Slade. She fought the French at the Battle of Ushant (1778) and the Dutch at the Battle of Dogger Bank (1781). The French captured her in the Action of 8 March 1795 during the French Revolutionary Wars and she served with them with some success then and at the start of the Napoleonic Wars until the British recaptured her at the Battle of Trafalgar. Berwick sank shortly thereafter in a storm.

Jean Joseph Hubert took command of Alceste on 31 March 1795. She took part in the Battle of Hyères Islands, where she battled several British ships before rescuing Alcide. [3]

Jean-Joseph Hubert was a French Navy officer and captain.

The Alcide was a 74-gun Pégase class ship of the line of the French Navy, launched in 1782.

In March 1796, Alceste ferried Jean-Baptiste Annibal Aubert du Bayet to his appointment as ambassador to Constantinople, along with military advisors.

Jean-Baptiste Annibal Aubert du Bayet French diplomat

Jean-Baptiste Annibal Aubert du Bayet was a French General and politician during the period of the French Revolution.

From November 1796 to January 1797, Alceste patrolled the coasts of Italy under Captain Jean-François-Timothée Trullet.

She took part in the Expédition d'Égypte under Jean-Baptiste Barré, ferrying General Jean Reynier, and was later appointed to a squadron under Admiral Jean-Baptiste Perrée, which also comprised the frigates Junon and Alceste, and Courageuse, and the brigs Salamine and Alerte. In the Action of 18 June 1799, HMS Bellona captured Alceste.


The Royal Navy commissioned Alceste under Commander Thomas Bayley, who shortly thereafter received promotion to post captain in March 1800. She arrived at Chatham on 4 April. [1] There she was registered as a sloop in July 1801 and fitted as a floating battery in August. [4] She was sold at Sheerness on 20 May 1802 for £1,445. [1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Winfield (2008), p.205.
  2. Winfield and Roberts (2015), p.125.
  3. Quintin, Danielle et Bernard (2003). Dictionnaire des capitaines de Vaisseau de Napoléon. S.P.M. p. 175. ISBN   2-901952-42-9.
  4. Demerliac (1996), p. 64, #388.

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