HMS Mackerel (1804)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Mackerel
Ordered: 23 June 1803
Builder: Goodrich & Co. (prime contractor), Bermuda
Laid down: 1803
Launched: 1804
Fate: Sold 14 December 1815
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 Mackerel (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 1804.[1] Given that she served entirely during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, she had an unusually peaceful and uneventful career, primarily on the Newfoundland station, before she was sold in 1815.


She was commissioned in May 1804 at Bermuda under Lieut. Peter Prieur for the Newfoundland station. In 1805 Lieut. Richard Williams assumed command, serving until 1807. His replacement, in 1808, was Lieut. Thomas Bishop. Between 22 November 1808 and 19 February 1809 Mackerel was in Portsmouth, refitting.[1] In February Lieut. William Carter took command at Spithead and sailed her back to Newfoundland. Late in the year Lieut. Thomas Lee assumed command and sailed her on the Newfoundland station on coast patrol and fisheries duties.[2]

Mackerel sailed for South America on 15 April 1812. Apparently, she called at New York in June to deliver some official dispatches. The acting commander reported that her commander had been killed when a sailor fell from a mast and landed on him.[Note 1][3] As she left New York on 18 June she passed the USS United States under Captain Stephen Decatur. Apparently war had been declared two days earlier, but the news only arrived in New York on 20 June.[3] After the frigate Belvidera arrived in Nova Scotia with the news that war had been declared and that the USS President, in company with the USS Congress and the USS United States, had fired on her, Mackerel carried the news to Portsmouth, arriving there on 27 July.[4]


Lieut. Thomas Hughes recommissioned her in December 1812 and remained in command into 1815. In October 1813 she was reported sailing from Cadiz to London. She was sold at Plymouth on 14 December 1815 for £400.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Winfield (2008), p.359.
  2. Bannister (2003), pp.184-5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Allison (2005), 113.
  4. Griffis (1887), p.41.


  • Allison, Robert J. (2005) Stephen Decatur: American naval hero, 1779 - 1820. (Amherst, Mass. [u.a.]: Univ. of Massachusetts).ISBN 978-1558494923
  • Bannister, Jerry (2003) The rule of the admirals : law, custom, and naval government in Newfoundland, 1699-1832. (Toronto; Buffalo: Published for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by University of Toronto Press).
  • Griffis, William Elliot (1887) Matthew Calbraith Perry: a typical American naval officer. (Boston: Cupples and Hurd).
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461. 

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