French ship Aigle (1800)

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Aigle img 3173.jpg
Drawing of the main features of Aigle
Civil and Naval Ensign of France.svgFrance
Namesake: Eagle
Builder: Rochefort
Laid down: 1794
Launched: 1800.
Fate: Sank in storm, 22 October 1805
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Téméraire-class ship of the line
  • 2,966 tonnes
  • 5,260 tonnes fully loaded
Length: 55.87 metres (183.3 ft) (172 pied)
Beam: 14.90 metres (48 ft 11 in)
Draught: 7.26 metres (23.8 ft) (22 pied)
Propulsion: Up to 2,485 m2 (26,750 sq ft) of sails
Armour: Timber

Aigle was a 74-gun French ship of the line built at Rochefort in 1800.

Ship of the line type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through to the mid-19th century

A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through to the mid-19th century. The ship of the line was designed for the naval tactic known as the line of battle, which depended on the two columns of opposing warships maneuvering to fire with the cannons along their broadsides. In conflicts where opposing ships were both able to fire from their broadsides, the side with more cannons, and therefore more firepower typically had an advantage. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time.

Rochefort, Charente-Maritime Subprefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Rochefort is a commune in southwestern France, a port on the Charente estuary. It is a sub-prefecture of the Charente-Maritime department.


In 1805 she sailed to the West Indies with Algésiras where they joined a French fleet under Vice-Admiral Villeneuve.

French ship <i>Algésiras</i> (1804)

Algésiras was a Téméraire class 74-gun French ship of the line built at Lorient in 1804, named after the Battle of Algeciras.

Pierre-Charles Villeneuve French naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars

Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Silvestre de Villeneuve was a French naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars. He was in command of the French and the Spanish fleets that were defeated by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

In October 1805, Aigle took part in the Battle of Trafalgar. She was captured during the battle by a boarding party from HMS Defiance. [2]

Battle of Trafalgar 1805 battle of the Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval engagement fought by the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars (1796–1815).

HMS Defiance was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built by Randall and Co., at Rotherhithe on the River Thames, and launched on 10 December 1783.

On the following day, her crew rose up against the British prize crew, and recaptured the ship. However, she was wrecked in the storm of 23 October 1805. [3]

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HMS Aigle was a 36-gun, fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. Ordered on 15 September 1799 and built at Bucklers Hard shipyard, she was launched 23 September 1801. More than fifty of her crew were involved in the Easton Massacre when she visited Portland in April 1803 to press recruits. Much of her career as a frigate was spent in home waters where she fought the Battle of Basque Roads in 1809; initially providing support to the crews of the fireships, then forcing the surrender of the stranded French ships, Varsovie and Aquilon. Later that year she left The Downs to take part in the Walcheren Campaign where she carried out a two-day long bombardment of Flushing, leading to its capitulation on 15 August.


  1. Clouet, Alain (2007), "La marine de Napoléon III : classe Téméraire - caractéristiques",, archived from the original on 23 March 2013, retrieved 4 April 2013
  2. Stewart, William (2014), "Durham, Sir Philip Charles Henderson Calderwood, (1763–1845) (Britain)", Admirals of the World: A Biographical Dictionary, 1500 to the Present, McFarland, p.  114, ISBN   978-0-7864-8288-7
  3. Adkins, Roy (2011), Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle, Little, Brown Book Group, p.  88, ISBN   978-1-4055-1344-9

Further reading