French frigate Minerve (1794)

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File:Capture of Minerve off Toulon.jpg
Capture of Minerve off Toulon
Career (France) French Navy Ensign (1790-1794)
Name: Minerve
Builder: Toulon
Laid down: January 1792
Launched: 5 September 1794
Captured: 23 June 1795 by the Royal Navy
Career (United Kingdom) Royal Navy Ensign (1707 - 1800)
Name: HMS Minerve
Acquired: 23 June 1795
Captured: 3 July 1803 by the French Navy
Career (France) French Navy Ensign (1794-1815
Name: Canonnière
Acquired: 3 July 1803

Canonnière in August 1806

Confiance in June 1809
Captured: 3 February 1810 by the Royal Navy
Career (United Kingdom) Royal Navy Ensign (1800 - present)
Name: HMS Confiance
Acquired: 3 February 1810
Fate: Struck from navy lists by 1814
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 700 tonnes
Length: 48.4 m (159 ft)
Beam: 12.2 m (40 ft)
Draught: 5.6 m (18 ft)
Armament: As built
  • Twenty eight 18-pounders
  • Twelve 8-pounders
  • Twenty eight 18-pounders
  • Sixteen 32-pound carronades
  • Six 6-pounders

The Minerve was a 40-gun frigate of the French Navy

Her keel was laid in January 1792, and she was launched in 1794. She took part in combat off Noli. On 23 June 1795, she and the 36-gun Artémise engaged the frigates HMS Dido and Lowestoffe. She surrendered to the British, Artémise having fled, and was commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Minerve.

British service

On 19 December 1796, Minerve was involved in an action with HMS Blanche against the Spanish frigates Santa Sabina and Ceres.[1] The Minerve captured the Santa Sabina, but though the Blanche forced the Ceres to surrender, she was unable to secure her prize and Ceres subsequently escaped.[1]

In July 1803, she ran aground near Cherbourg while under the command of Jahleel Brenton. The British attempted to refloat her, but the fire from shore batteries and the gunboats Chiffonne and Terrible eventually forced Brenton to surrender. The French took Minerve back into their service under the name Canonnière.

French service

Action between Canonnière, HMS Tremendous and HMS Hindostan

In 1806, she was based in Île de France (now Mauritius), where she took part in various cruises under Captain César-Joseph Bourayne[2][3], notably fighting an inconclusive action on 21 April against the 74-gun HMS Tremendous and the 50-gun HMS Hindostan. She captured HMS Laurel on 12 September 1808, off the Île de France.

She returned to Mauritius in late March 1809 [1]. As she required repairs beyond those possible in Mauritius, the French eventually sent her back to France in a semi-armed state under the name Confiance.

British service

It was during this transit that HMS Valiant recaptured her on 3 February 1810; she then briefly re-entered the Royal Navy as HMS Confiance. She never returned to active service however, and was deleted from navy lists in 1814.[4][5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Winfield. British Warships in the Age of Sail. p. 186. 
  2. Les combats de la Canonnière
  3. Naval history of Great Britain, by William James
  4. Winfield. British Warships in the Age of Sail. p. 149. 
  5. Colledge. Ships of the Royal Navy. p. 227. 


External links