French ship Scipion (1798)

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File:Achille mp3h9307.jpg
Scale model of the Achille, sister-ship of the Scipion
Career (France) French Navy Ensign
Name: Scipion
Namesake: Scipio Africanus
Builder: Lorient
Launched: 1798
Commissioned: 1802
Honours and

French Service

British service

Captured: 4 November 1805, by Royal Navy
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Scipion
Acquired: 3 November 1805
Fate: Broken up, 1819
General characteristics
Class and type: Téméraire class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1884 tons
Length: 182 ft 6 in (55.63 m) (gun deck length)
Beam: 48 ft 8 in (14.83 m)
Depth of hold: 20 ft 4 in (6.20 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Complement: 640

74 guns:
British service

  • Gun deck: 30 × 36 pdrs
  • Upper gun deck: 30 × 18 pdrs
  • Quarter deck: 14 × 8 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 6 × 8 pdrs (later 2 x 12 pdrs, 2 × 32 pdr carronades)
  • Poop: 2 × 18 pdr carronades

Scipion was a 74-gun French ship of the line, built at Lorient to a design by Jacques Noel Sane. She was launched as Orient in late 1798, and renamed Scipion in 1801.

She was first commissioned in 1802 and joined the French Mediterranean fleet based at Toulon, in the squadron of Admiral Leissègues. Consequently she was one of the ships ships afloat in that port when war with England reopened in May 1803.[1]

French Navy service

In 1805, she was part of Admiral Villeneuve's fleet. She took part in the Battle of Cape Finisterre, and was one of the ships of Vice Admiral Pierre Dumanoir le Pelley at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Dumanoir commanded the six ship vanguard of the French fleet, with Formidable, Scipion, Duguay-Trouin, Mont-Blanc, Intrépide and Neptune. Nelson's attacks left these ships downwind of the main confrontation and Dumanoir did not immediately obey Villeneuve's orders to return to the battle. When the ships did turn back, most of them only exchanged a few shots before retiring.

On 4 November 1805, British Admiral Sir Richard Strachan, with Caesar, Hero, Courageux, Namur and four frigates, defeated and captured what remained of the squadron. HMS Phoenix and HMS Révolutionnaire took Scipion, which the Royal Navy commissioned as HMS Scipion.

Royal Navy service

Scipion arrived in Plymouth on 4 November 1805 and was laid up.[2] She underwent repairs between June 1808 and November 1809, being commissioned under for the Channel in July 1809.[2] Capt. Charles Phillips Butler Bateman took command on 25 September 1809.

She became the flagship of Rear Admiral the Hon. Robert Stopford in 1810.[2] Bateman and Stopford sailed her in the Bay of Biscay.

On 8 October she sailed for the Cape of Good Hope and then the East Indies. In 1811 Capt. James Johnson took command. Stopford's fleet consisted of four sail of the line (including Scipion), thirteen frigates, seven sloops and eight cruisers of the East India Company, captured the island of Java on 18 September 1811. In 1847, the surviving members of the expedition were awarded the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "JAVA".

File:Blockade of Toulon, 1810-1814.jpg
Blockade of Toulon, 1810-1814: Pellew's action, 5 November 1813, by Thomas Luny

Capt. Henry Hearthcote took command on 28 April 1812. He then sailed Scipion for the Mediterranean on 20 July 1812.[2] Here she participated in the blockade of Toulon, including Admiral Edward Pellew's skirmish with the French fleet on 5 November 1813.


Scipion was paid off at Portsmouth on 29 October 1814. She underwent a Middling Repair in September 1818, but then was broken up in January 1819.[2]


  1. p195, Goodwin, Peter The Ships of Trafalgar, the British, French and Spanish Fleets October 1805
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Winfield (2008), p.87-8.
  • Goodwin, Peter The Ships of Trafalgar, the British, French and Spanish Fleets October 1805 pub Conway, 2005. ISBN 1-84486-015-9
  • Lavery, Brian (2003) The Ship of the Line - Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650-1850. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461. 

fr:Le Scipion