Girish Mahajan

HMS Musquito (1794)

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Name  Vénus
Launched  1793
Name  HMS Musquito
Builder  West Indies
Captured  1793
Acquired  By capture 1793 and subsequent purchase in 1794

HMS Musquito (or Mosquito) was a 4-gun schooner, previously the French privateer Vénus. The Royal Navy captured her in 1793, and purchased her in 1794. Because there was already a Venus in service, the navy changed her name to Musquito. During her brief service Musquito captured an armed vessel that appears to have out-gunned her. Three Spanish frigates captured Musquito in 1798.

Contents

Capture

The Royal Navy captured Venus in the West Indies in 1793.

Career

Musquito was commissioned under the command of Lieutenant John Fenton. His replacement, in 1795, was Lieutenant John Boucher McFarlane.

On 9 June 1795, Mosquito captured the French privateer sloop Rasoir national, after a seven-hour long engagement. The privateer was armed with six guns and had a crew of 40 men. Lieutenant M'Farlane, was killed early during the action. The next day Mosquito recaptured the privateer's prize, a Spanish brig that had been sailing from Havana to Cartagena with a cargo of flour. Mosquito had sustained substantial damage in the engagement and her master was unable to proceed to Mole St. Nicholas, as per orders, but instead was able to reach Providence with both the privateer and the recaptured brig.

On 24 February 1796, Intrepid was patrolling near Cap-François looking for reinforcements expected from Cork when she encountered a French corvette. After a chase of ten hours, the frigate ran ashore in a cove to the east of Porto Plata, where her crew abandoned her, enabling the British to retrieve her. She turned out to be the Perçante, armed with twenty 9-pounder guns and six brass 2-pounders, with a crew of 200 men under the command of Citoyen Jacque Clement Tourtellet. She had left La Rochelle on 6 December 1795 under orders from the Minister of Marine and Colonies not to communicate with any vessel on the way. The British took her into service as the sixth-rate HMS Jamaica. Musquito must have been in company or in sight as she shared in the proceeds of the capture.

In 1797 Lieutenant Mann, (act.), commanded Musquito on the Jamaica station. In 1798 Lieutenant John Whyte took command.

Fate

In September Musquito was escorting a small convoy off the north coast of Cuba when at daybreak she sighted some strange vessels. When it became apparent that the vessels were frigates and that they were not answering private signals, Musquito signaled to her charges that they should flee; She herself made for Puerto Padre, with the frigates in pursuit. She crossed the bar and anchored just inside. However, when the pursuers crossed the bar and anchored some 300 to 400 yards away, she surrendered. Her captors were the Spanish frigates Medea (44 guns), Esmerelda (34 guns), and Santa Clara (34 guns).

References

HMS Musquito (1794) Wikipedia


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