HMS Goliath (1781)

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Arrogant Class.jpg
Naval Ensign of Great Britain (1707-1800).svgGreat Britain
Name: HMS Goliath
Ordered: 21 February 1778
Builder: Deptford Dockyard
Laid down: 10 April 1779
Launched: 19 October 1781
Honours and
Fate: Broken up, 1815
General characteristics [3]
Class and type: Arrogant-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1604 bm
Length: 168 ft (51 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 46 ft 9 in (14.25 m)
Depth of hold: 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 584 officers and men
  • Gundeck: 28 × 32-pounder guns
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 18-pounder guns
  • QD: 14 × 9-pounder guns
  • Fc: 4 × 9-pounder guns

HMS Goliath was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line in the Royal Navy. She was launched on 19 October 1781 at Deptford Dockyard. [3] She was present at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, Battle of the Nile, and Battle of Copenhagen. She was broken up in 1815.

Third-rate type of ship of the line

In the rating system of the British Royal Navy, a third rate was a ship of the line which from the 1720s mounted between 64 and 80 guns, typically built with two gun decks. Years of experience proved that the third rate ships embodied the best compromise between sailing ability, firepower, and cost. So, while first-rates and second-rates were both larger and more powerful, the third-rate ships were in a real sense the optimal configuration.

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.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.


French Revolutionary Wars

She is recorded as entering Portsmouth Harbour on 24 September 1785. She is also recorded as being at the Tagus on 21 December 1796, when the Mediterranean Fleet arrived, and sailed from there on the following 20 January with a Portuguese convoy. On 6 February, she was joined off Cape St Vincent by a squadron detached from the Channel Fleet, and was present with it at Jervis's action against the Spanish on 14 February 1797. She was commanded during that action by Captain Charles H. Knowles, and lost only eight wounded and none killed. However, Jervis called Knowles 'an imbecile, totally incompetent; the Goliath no use whatever under his command,' and so after the battle Knowles was ordered to exchange ships with Captain Thomas Foley of Britannia. Foley restored Goliath to order whilst Britannia slid under Knowles. [4]

HMNB Portsmouth British Royal Navy base

Her Majesty's Naval Base, Portsmouth is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy. Portsmouth Naval Base is part of the city of Portsmouth; it is located on the eastern shore of Portsmouth Harbour, north of the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Until the early 1970s, it was officially known as Portsmouth Royal Dockyard ; thereafter the term 'Naval Base' gained currency, acknowledging a greater focus on personnel and support elements alongside the traditional emphasis on building, repairing and maintaining ships. In 1984 Portsmouth's Royal Dockyard function was downgraded and it was formally renamed the 'Fleet Maintenance and Repair Organisation' (FMRO). The FMRO was privatized in 1998. Around the year 2000, the designation HMS Nelson was extended to cover the entire base.

Tagus Longest river in the Iberian Peninsula

The Tagus is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. It is 1,007 km (626 mi) long, 716 km (445 mi) in Spain, 47 km (29 mi) along the border between Portugal and Spain and 275 km (171 mi) in Portugal, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean near Lisbon. It drains an area of 80,100 square kilometers (30,927 sq mi). The Tagus is highly utilized for most of its course. Several dams and diversions supply drinking water to places of central Spain and Portugal, while dozens of hydroelectric stations create power. Between dams it follows a very constricted course, but after Almourol it enters a wide alluvial valley, prone to flooding. Its mouth is a large estuary near the port city of Lisbon.

Channel Fleet strait

The Channel Fleet and originally known as the Channel Squadron was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1854 to 1909 and 1914 to 1915.

She then sailed on 31 March 1797 from Lisbon to blockade (and, on 3 July), bombard Cadiz. She sailed away from the Cadiz area on 24 May 1798 with a squadron of 10 ships of the line to join Nelson's squadron in the Mediterranean in searching for the French fleet transporting Bonaparte to Egypt, arriving with them on 7 June. She was thus present at the Battle of the Nile on 1 August, at which Foley deduced that there was enough room to sail between the shore and the stationary anchored French ships. Four other ships followed, and it was this move that can be said to have won the battle. After it, on 19 August, she and Zealous, Swiftsure, Seahorse, Emerald, Alcmene, and Bonne Citoyenne left Aboukir Bay to cruise off the port of Alexandria. There, on 25 August, her boats captured the French armed ketch Torride from under the guns of Abukir Castle; the Royal Navy took Torride into service. Goliath then remained stationed off Alexandria until at least the end of 1798.

Lisbon Capital city in Lisbon metropolitan area, Portugal

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 505,526 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.8 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. About 3 million people live in the Lisbon metropolitan area, including the Portuguese Riviera. It is mainland Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. The westernmost portions of its metro area form the westernmost point of Continental Europe, which is known as Cabo da Roca, located in the Sintra Mountains.

A squadron, or naval squadron, is a significant group of warships which is nonetheless considered too small to be designated a fleet. A squadron is typically a part of a fleet. Between different navies there are no clear defining parameters to distinguish a squadron from a fleet, and the size and strength of a naval squadron varies greatly according to the country and time period. Groups of small warships, or small groups of major warships, might instead be designated flotillas by some navies according to their terminology. Since the size of a naval squadron varies greatly, the rank associated with command of a squadron also varies greatly.

HMS <i>Zealous</i> (1785) 74-gun Royal Navy ship of the line

HMS Zealous was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built by Barnard of Deptford and launched on 25 June 1785.

Napoleonic Wars

On 27 January 1803, during the Blockade of Saint-Domingue, Goliath sent out a boat that captured a small French schooner that had been on her way from Santiago de Cuba to Port-au-Prince, with a cargo of sugar and $3,476 in cash. The schooner was armed with three carriage guns and some swivel guns. [5]

Blockade of Saint-Domingue aval campaign fought during the first months of the Napoleonic Wars

The Blockade of Saint-Domingue was a naval campaign fought during the first months of the Napoleonic Wars, in which a series of British Royal Navy squadrons blockaded the French-held ports of Cap Français and Môle-Saint-Nicolas on the Northern coast of the French colony of Saint-Domingue, shortly to become Haiti following the conclusion of the Haitian Revolution on 1 January 1804. In the summer of 1803, when war broke out between the United Kingdom and the French Consulate, Saint-Domingue had been almost completely overrun by Haitian forces under the command of Jean-Jacques Dessalines. In the north of the country, the French forces were isolated in the two large ports of Cap Français and Môle-Saint-Nicolas and a few smaller settlements, all supplied by a French naval force based primarily at Cap Français.

Santiago de Cuba City in Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is the second-largest city in Cuba and the capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province. It lies in the southeastern area of the island, some 870 km (540 mi) southeast of the Cuban capital of Havana.

Port-au-Prince Commune in Ouest, Haiti

Port-au-Prince is the capital and most populous city of Haiti. The city's population was estimated at 987,310 in 2015 with the metropolitan area estimated at a population of 2,618,894. The metropolitan area is defined by the IHSI as including the communes of Port-au-Prince, Delmas, Cite Soleil, Tabarre, Carrefour, and Pétion-Ville.

The next day, Goliath sailed inshore off Cape Nicholas Mole, Haiti, to try to find two vessels seen earlier. In the Action of 28 June 1803, she encountered and after a few shots captured the ship-corvette Mignonne, [5] which the British navy took into service under her French name. In Brisbane's words, Mignonne was a "remarkable fast sailing Ship Corvette". She carried sixteen long 18-pounder guns, six of which she had landed. Her crew of only 80 men was under the command of Monsieur J. P. Bargeaud, Capitaine de Fregate, and she was two days out of Les Cayes, sailing to France via the Cape. [5]

Action of 28 June 1803 marked the opening shots of the Blockade of Saint-Domingue

The Action of 28 June 1803 marked the opening shots of the Blockade of Saint-Domingue after the collapse of the Treaty of Amiens and the outbreak of the War of the Third Coalition in May 1803.

Corvette Small warship

A corvette is a small warship. It is traditionally the smallest class of vessel considered to be a proper warship. The warship class above the corvette is that of the frigate, while the class below was historically that of the sloop-of-war. The modern types of ship below a corvette are coastal patrol craft, missile boat and fast attack craft. In modern terms, a corvette is typically between 500 tons and 2,000 tons, although recent designs may approach 3,000 tons, which might instead be considered a small frigate.

As the slaver Diamond was returning from Havana on 9 August 1803 she encountered the French privateer Bellona, which took her captive. However, Goliath recaptured Diamond on the 12th and sent her into The Downs. [6]

History of slavery aspect of history

The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and religions from ancient times to the present day. However the social, economic, and legal positions of slaves have differed vastly in different systems of slavery in different times and places.

Diamond was launched in 1798 at Quebec. French privateers captured her three times, the third time retaining her. In between she carried slaves. Her third capture occurred while she was on a whaling voyage. Her last voyage took her from Île de France to Bordeaux where she was decommissioned in January 1809.

The Downs (ship anchorage)

The Downs are a roadstead in the southern North Sea near the English Channel off the east Kent coast, between the North and the South Foreland in southern England. In 1639 the Battle of the Downs took place here, when the Dutch navy destroyed a Spanish fleet which had sought refuge in neutral English waters. From the Elizabethan era onwards, the presence of the Downs helped to make Deal one of the premier ports in England, and in the 19th century, it was equipped with its own telegraph and timeball tower to enable ships to set their marine chronometers.

In May 1805 Goliath was in the Channel Fleet. On 15 August Goliath spotted four vessels, one to eastward and three to westward. Goliath sailed east and joined Camilla, which was in pursuit of the French brig-corvette Faune. Goliath then helped Camilla to capture Faune. [7]

On the same day Raisonnable joined Goliath and the two set out after the three sails, which were the French 44-gun frigate Topaze, the corvettes Department-des-Landes and Torche. Goliath subsequently captured Torche, which was under the command of M. Dehen, and carried 18 guns and a crew of 196 men. She also had on board as prisoners 52 men from Blanche. [8] The French flotilla had captured Blanche on 19 July, some 150 miles north of Puerto Rico. The Royal Navy took Torche, which was a sister-ship to Mignonne, into service as HMS Torch, but never commissioned her. [9]

On 26 July 1807 Goliath sailed as a part of a fleet of 38 vessels for Copenhagen and was present from 15 August to 20 October that year for the siege and bombardment of Copenhagen and the capture of the Danish Fleet by Admiral Gambier. She was present from May to October 1808 in the Baltic with a fleet under Vice-Admiral Sir J Saumarez, being chased on 19 August by the Russian fleet in Hango Bay. On 30 August she joined Centaur, Implacable and the Swedish fleet blockading the Russians in the port of Rogerswick.


She finally sailed for home, heading for The Downs, arriving in Portsmouth on 25 July 1813 and then departing only 15 days later with the West Indies convoy. Calling at Falmouth on 15 August, and Cork, she escorted the convoy across the Irish Sea and then headed back to Portsmouth, arriving on 14 August 1814, The Downs a day later, and then the naval base at Chatham, where, on 3 October 1814, she was paid off. She was broken up the following year. [3]

Citations and references


  1. "No. 20939". The London Gazette . 26 January 1849. p. 238.
  2. "No. 20939". The London Gazette . 26 January 1849. p. 239.
  3. 1 2 3 Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p180.
  4. St Vincent College, Sir John Jervis.
  5. 1 2 3 "No. 15620". The London Gazette . 13 September 1803. pp. 1228–1229.
  6. Lloyd's List №4378.
  7. "No. 15917". The London Gazette . 10 May 1806. p. 590.
  8. "No. 15839". The London Gazette . 31 August 1805. p. 1105.
  9. Winfield (2008), p.272.


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