HMS Bream (1807)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Bream
Ordered: 11 December 1805
Builder: Goodrich & Co. (prime contractor), Bermuda
Laid down: 1806
Launched: May 1807
Fate: Sold or broken up 1816
General characteristics
Type: Ballahoo-class schooner
Tonnage: 70 41/94 bm
Length: 55 ft 2 in (16.81 m) (overall)
40 ft 10.5 in (12.5 m) (keel)
Beam: 18 ft 0 in (5.49 m)
Depth of hold: 9 ft 0 in (2.74 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Schooner
Complement: 20
Armament: 4 x 12-pounder carronades

HMS Bream (1804) was a Royal Navy Ballahoo-class schooner of 4 12-pounder carronades and a crew of 20. The prime contractor for the vessel was Goodrich & Co., in Bermuda, and she was launched in 1807.[1] Bream operated primarily in North American waters and had an uneventful career until the War of 1812. She then captured two small American privateers and assisted in the recovery of a third, much larger one. She also captured a number of small prizes before she was sold or broken up in 1816.

Napoleonic Wars

She was commissioned in March 1807 under Lieut. Augustus Vere Drury at Halifax.[1][2] In April Sub-Lieutenant George Gover Miall, the commander of the schooner Chebuctoo, was ordered to act as Lieutenant-Commander of the Bream. Miall sailed her to the Leeward Islands.[Note 1] While Bream was in the Chesapeake Bay a mutiny broke out that Lieut. Bartholomew George Smith Day helped suppress. [2] Miall removed to Duguay Trouin on 15 June 1809.[2]

On 15 July 1809, Lieut. Henry Dilkes Byng took command, serving on Bream until October when Sir John Borlase Warren appointed him to command Goree, then in Halifax. He was confirmed in the command on 12 December.[2] His replacement, in January 1810, was Lieut. Robert Heriot Barclay. [1] On 17 August 1810 her commander became (acting) Lieut. John Simpson.[Note 2]

While in Bream, Simpson carried specie to St. John's, Newfoundland and was frozen up at Louisburg, Cape Breton, which materially harmed his health.[2] At some point he volunteered, with his whole crew, and joined Statira, under Captain Hassard Stackpoole, to cruise with her.[2]

War of 1812

Porgey's first duty was the return of the two remaining seamen taken from USS Chesapeake in 1807. The British government did this as a conciliatory measure, but Porgey returned the men to the US Navy at Boston on 11 July 1812 -- nearly a month after war had already broken out between the two nations.

At the end of July 1812, Colibri chased Bream off Cape Sable, having mistaken her for an American privateer. [3] (On realizing her mistake Colibri then chased and took two other vessels, which turned out to be an American privateer and her prize.)[4]

On 9 August Bream captured the American 3-gun privateer Pythagoras and her crew of 35. The capture took place off Shelburne and took 10 minutes, during which the American suffered two men wounded.[5]

In October Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren dispatched Shannon and Bream to rescue the crew and offload the money aboard the frigate Barbadoes, which had been wrecked on Sable Island. They arrived on 10 October and retrieved both crew (only one of whom had drowned), and the specie. Whilst carrying this out, Shannon encountered and subsequently captured an enemy privateer, which she took back to Halifax with her. Simpson left Bream in October 1812 and invalidated back to Britain in 1813.[2]

Lieut. Constantine Brown replaced Simpson at Halifax. From late 1812 to 1813 he served in the Bay of Fundy under Capt. Alexander Gordon in Rattler. In 1813 Brown’s replacement was Lieut. Charles Hare.[1]

On 23 April, Bream captured the 85-ton (burthen) sloop Semiramis on her way to Boston from Portsmouth river.

On 19 May, Rattler, with Bream's assistance, captured the American 18-gun privateer Alexander off Kenebank (Kennebunk, Maine). Rattler drove Alexander, which was returning to Salem after a 10 week cruise, on shore. Most of the crew escaped but several were drowned as they swam from her. Bream helped Rattler get Alexander off.[6][7]

Then on 9 June, Bream and Hare captured the American privateer Wasp. The forty-ton Wasp had two 6-pounder guns and a crew of 33.[2] Capturing her required an eight-hour running fight, including a fifty-minute battle at close quarters off Brier Island in the Bay of Fundy. Wasp's captain placed the following advertisement in the Saint John, New Brunswick, Courier of 27 June:

A CARD - Lieut. Hare, Commander of H.M. Schooner Bream, is respectfully requested to accept the sincere thanks of Captain Ernest A. Ervin, commander of the American privateer Wasp, of Salem, for the very courteous, friendly and gentlemanlike treatment received while a prisoner on board, the deportment observed toward him being more like a friend and countryman than that of a declared enemy. - St. John, June 13, 1813.[8]

On 12 July Bream took the schooner Jefferson, out of Boston. Two days later Bream captured the Triton bound for Kennebeck from St. Thomas's. On the same day she captured the Betsey, from Tortola and bound for Portland.

On 21 or 24 September, the Canadian privateer Dart drove the American privateer Orange, a chebacco boat of two guns and 11 men, on to Fox Island in Machias Bay on the coast of Maine.[9][Note 3] There the boats of Emulous and Bream destroyed her.[8]

Hare’s replacement was again Lieut. Constantine Brown, who remained in command until 4 February 1814 when Lieut. Thomas Beer took command in the Bay of Fundy, and served with her until he was placed on half-pay in September.[2]

On 27 May, Bream captured the Pilgrim.

Beer commanded Bream at the capture of Moose Island (Maine) in July, and was present at the attack on Baltimore on 13 September.[10] Bream was paid off in May 1815.[1]


Bream was sold or broken up in 1816 in Bermuda.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Winfield (2008), p.359.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 O'Bryne (1849).
  3. Phillips, Michael, Ships of the Old Navy - Bream (1807). [1]
  4. Phillips, Michael, Ships of the Old Navy - Colibri (1809). [2]
  5. The Royal military chronicle, Vol. 4, p.476.
  6. Marshall (1823-1835), p.226.
  7. Phillips, Michael, Ships of the Old Navy - Rattler (1795). [3]
  8. 8.0 8.1 Snider (1928, pp.83 & 93.
  9. Michael Phillips' Ships of the Old Navy - Emulous (1812). [4]
  10. Allen (1850).


  • Allen, Joseph (1850) The New Navy List and General Record of the Services of Officers of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. (London: Parker, Furnival and Parker).
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: the complete record of all fighting ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham. ISBN 9781861762818. OCLC 67375475. 
  • Dudley, William S. and Michael J. Crawford, eds. (1985) The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History, vol. 1: 1812 (Washington: Naval Historical Center), 190-191.
  • Hare, Charles (1848) Testimonials and Memorials of the Services of Lieut. Charles Hare, of the Royal Navy, 37 Years a Lieutenant. (Saint John, NB: William L. Avery).
  • Marshall, John ( 1823-1835) Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... (London : Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).
  • O'Bryne, William R. (1849) A naval biographical dictionary: comprising the life and services of every living officer in Her Majesty's navy, from the rank of admiral of the fleet to that of lieutenant, inclusive. (London:J. Murray).
  • Snider, G.H.J. (1928) Under the Red Jack: Privateers of the Maritime Provinces of Canada in the War of 1812. (London:Martin Hopkinson & Co.).
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461. 

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