HMS Cydnus (1813)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Cydnus
Ordered: 16 November 1812
Builder: Wigram, Wells & Green, London
Laid down: December 1812
Launched: 17 April 1813
Completed: By 30 June 1813
Fate: Broken up in February 1816
General characteristics
Class and type: Cydnus-class fifth-rate
Tons burthen: 1,078 82/94 bm
Length: 150 ft 1.5 in (45.8 m) (overall)
125 ft 2.375 in (38.2 m) (keel)
Beam: 40 ft 3 in (12.3 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft (3.657600000 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 315
  • Upper deck: 28 x 18pdrs
  • Quarter deck: 14 x 32pdr carronades
  • Forecastle: 2 x 9pdrs + 2 x 32pdr carronades.

HMS Cydnus was one of eight Royal Navy 38-gun Cydnus-class fifth-rates. This frigate was built in 1813 at Blackwall Yard, London, and broken up in 1816. The entire class was a version of the Leda-class frigates, but built of red fir (pine), which was cheaper and more abundant than oak and permitted noticeably faster construction, but at a cost of reduced durability.

To enable the new frigate to meet the American frigates on less unequal terms, Cydnus, and her sister HMS Eurotas received medium 24-pounders and an increased complement of men. Cydnus's 24-pounders were of a design by General Sir Thomas Blomefield, 1st Baronet and measured 7 ft. 6 in. in length while weighing about 40 cwt. The 24-pounders on Eurotas were to a design by Colonel Congreve.

During December 1813 and January 1814, Cyndus and Eurotas actually temporarily exchanged six 24-pounders, presumably to enable both vessels to test the designs against each other. Ultimately, the Royal Navy adopted General Blomefield's design.[1]


Cydnus was commissioned in May 1813 under Captain Frederick Aylmer, but command passed later that month to Captain Frederick Langford. On 14 March 1814 Cydnus and Pomone captured the American privateer Bunker's Hill, of 14 guns and 86 men. She was the former Royal Navy brig Linnet, which the French ship Gloire had taken on 25 February 1813 near Madeira. Cydnus carried out convoy duties to the East Indies in 1814.

Cyndus served in the operations against New Orleans in 1814. Her boats participated in the British victory at the Battle of Lake Borgne. She was present at the Battle of Fort Bowyer. On 18 January 1815, Captain the Hon. William Henry Percy faced a court martial on board Cydnus, off Cat Island, Mississippi for the loss of his vessel, Hermes, during his unsuccessful attack in September 1814 on Fort Bowyer. The court acquitted him of all blame, finding that the attack was justified.

Sir Alexander Cochrane appointed Captain Robert Cavendish Spencer, of the sloop Carron, to command Cydnus in 1815, for his efforts in Louisiana and Florida. Spencer then spent a month camped at Prospect Bluff on the Apalachicola River with Britain's Indian allies, charged with settling their claims and dismissing them from British service.[2] Apparently he left them with some cannons as well.[3]


The Cydnus was then paid off. The Napoleonic Wars had ended and as she was not durable, she was broken up at Portsmouth in February 1816.


  1. Lyon & Winfield (2004), p.30.
  2. The Annual Biography and Obituary of 1831. (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown), p.4.
  3. Monette (1846), p.89.
  • 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. 
  • Lyon, David & Rif Winfield. 2004. The sail & steam Navy list: all the ships of the Royal Navy, 1815-1889. (London: Chatham).
  • Monette M. D., John W. 1846. History of The Discovery and Settlement of The Valley of the Mississippi, by the Three Great European Powers, Spain, France, and Great Britain, and The subsequent Occupation, Settlement, and Extension of Civil Government by The United States, Until The Year 1846. (New York: Harper and Brothers., 1846), Vol. 1.
  • Winfield, Rif (2007). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1794–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461.