French frigate Armide (1804)

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HMS Calcutta 1806.jpg
The action of September 1805 in which the French captured HMS Calcutta, by Thomas Whitcombe
Career (France) French Navy Ensign
Name: Armide
Namesake: Armida
Builder: Rochefort
Laid down: November 1802
Launched: 24 April 1804
Commissioned: 1804
Captured: 1806
Career (Great Britain) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Armide
Struck: 1815
Fate: Broken up
General characteristics
Class and type: Armide class
Displacement: 1330 tonnes
Tons burthen: 1104 30/94 (bm)
Length: 47 metres
Beam: 12 metres
Draught: 5.5 metres
Propulsion: Sail
  • French service: 339
  • British service: 284; later 315

French serice

  • 28 x 18-pounder long guns
  • 8 x 8-pounders
  • 8 x 36-pounder carronades

British service

  • UD: 28 x 18-pounder guns
  • QD: 14 x 32-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 2 x 9-pounder guns + 2 x 32-pounder carronades
Armour: Timber

Armide was a 40-gun frigate of the French Navy, lead ship of her class, and launched in 1804 at Rochefort. She served briefly in the French navy before the British captured her in 1806. She went on to serve in the British Navy until 1815 when she was broken up.

French service

She took part in Allemand's expedition of 1805. On 18 July, she captured and burnt a Prussian cutter to maintain the secrecy of the movements of the fleet, in spite of the neutrality of Prussia at the time. The next day, she captured HMS Ranger and burnt her. She then took part in the assault on the Calcutta convoy, helping Magnanime engage and capture HMS Calcutta.

In March 1806, under Amable Troude, Armide helped repel an attack led by Robert Stopford at Les Sables-d'Olonne.


During the Action of 25 September 1806, HMS Centaur captured Armide, Captain Jean-Jacques-Jude Langlois, along with Infatigable, Gloire and Minerve. Armide arrived at Plymouth on 2 October 1806, where she was laid up.[1] In 1807 and 1808 she was in ordinary in Plymouth. She then underwent repairs between February and October 1809.[1]

British service

Armide entered British service as the 38-gun fifth rate HMS Armide. [1] In August 1809 Captain Lucius Ferdinand Hardyman commissioned her and assumed command.[1]

Napoleonic Wars

In January 1810 Armide, under Captain Hardyman, and the 80-gun second rate, HMS Christian VII, Captain Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, were stationed off the Basque Roads. On 10 January, they sighted a small convoy on passage from the Île d'Aix to La Rochelle. The boats of the two ships captured a chasse-maree of about 30 tons and burnt three fully-laden vessels: brig, a schooner and a chasse-maree.

On the evening of 20 January, boats from Armide and Christian VII chased a convoy of about 30 vessels coming from the Maumusson Pass, between the Île d'Oléron and the mainland, making for La Rochelle. Five chasse-maree ran aground close under the batteries. Still, the British were able to take one and burn four, despite heavy fire.

On the night of 12 February, another convoy of ten vessels sailed from the Charente River and three chasse-maree went aground on the reef off the Point de Chatelaillon between La Rochelle and Île d'Aix. Three boats each from Armide and Christian VII, plus two from HMS Seine, attacked them. Nine French gunboats, each carrying a 12-pounder carronade and six swivel guns, fled from the British boats. Two gunboats grounded; the British took one and burnt three chasse-maree.

On 4 May, boats from Armide, with the assistance of boats from the 8-gun Cherokee-class brig-sloop HMS Cadmus, the gun-brig HMS Monkey, and the 12-gun gun-brig HMS Daring, attacked a French convoy off the Île de Ré.[1] Despite strong opposition from the shore and the convoy's escorts, the British accounted for 17 ships, burning 13 of them and forcing four ashore.

In August Captain Richard Dalling Dun assumed command. On 27 September, the boats of the 120-gun first rate HMS Caledonia, Captain Sir Harry Neale, the 74-gun Repulse-class third rate HMS Valiant, Captain Robert Dudley Oliver, and Armide, captured two laden brigs and burned a third under a battery on the Point du Ché, near Angoulins. A force of Royal Marines from the three vessels also took and destroyed the battery.

Captain Francis Temple assumed command in September 1812.[1] On 16 January 1813, Armide grounded near two batteries on Point St. Jaques, Quiberon Bay. When the French hailed them, the pilot on Armide answered that she was the frigate USS President and that they required no assistance. Her crew managed to re-float Armide before the French were able to uncover the ruse. Still, a court-martial reprimanded Temple, dis-rated the master, and fined the pilot, who also was sentenced to two months imprisonment in the Marshalsea prison. (This setback did not destroy Temple's naval career. He went on to rise to the rank of Vice Admiral of the White.)

War of 1812

From 5 February, 1813 to May 1815 Armide was under the command of Captain Edward Thomas Troubridge.[1] On 14 May, he brought her into Nova Scotia, together with a convoy of three store ships from Cork. On 7 August, 1813 Armide captured an American schooner laden with munitions of war on the Rappahannock River at Windmill Point and with two ladies as passengers. Armide forwarded the ladies to their place of destination but kept their two male escorts and three sailors as British prisoners. On 15 August, in the company of HMS Endymion, she captured the American privateer Herald of 17 guns and 100 men.[1] the next day Armide captured the French letter of marque Invincible of 16 guns and 60 men.[1]

To prepare for the attack on New Orleans, in early December 1814 Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane hoisted his flag in Armide and took her together with the 38-gun frigate HMS Seahorse and the 18-gun Cruizer-class brig-sloop HMS Sophie off Pensacola to an anchorage at the Isle of Vaisseau at the beginning of December 1814. On her way down two American gunboats fired on Armide, which led to the Battle of Lake Borgne. Boats from the British fleet, under Captain Nicholas Lockyer of Sophie, and including Armide, captured the American flotilla. In the action the British lost 17 men killed, including one from Armide, and 77 wounded.

American naval opposition having been silenced, the British were able to transport troops 60 miles to Bayou Catalan (or des Pecheurs) at the head of Lake Borgne. The troops landed on December 23, and took up a position across the main road to New Orleans. While Captain Troubridge took command of the naval brigade ashore, Armide remained at anchor off the Île au Chat.

After their defeat in the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 the British withdrew. Cochrane left the British headquarters on 14 January, returning to Armide on the 16th.


In February Armide was at Bermuda ready for passage home. She was broken up in November 1815.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Winfield (2008), pp.177-8.
  • Roche, Jean-Michel (2005). "ARMIDE - Frégate de 40 canons type Armide (1804 - 1806)". Dictionnaire des bâtiments de la flotte de guerre française de Colbert à nos jours 1 1671 - 1870. Toulon: Roche. ISBN 978-2-9525917-0-6. OCLC 165892922. 
  • Winfield, Rif (2008), British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates, Seaforth, ISBN 1861762461