HMS Pactolus (1813)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Pactolus
Ordered: 16 November 1812
Builder: Mrs Frances Barnard, Deptford
Laid down: January 1813
Launched: 14 August 1813
Completed: By 30 October 1813
Fate: Sold to be broken up in January 1818
General characteristics
Class and type: Cydnus-class fifth-rate frigate
Tons burthen: 1,065 88/94 bm
Length: 150 ft 2.75 in (45.8 m) (overall)
125 ft 6.125 in (38.3 m) (keel)
Beam: 39 ft 11.5 in (12.2 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 9.5 in (4 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 315
Armament: • Upper deck: 28 × 18-pdrs
• Quarter deck: 14 × 32-pdr carronades
• Forecastle: 2 × 9-pdrs + 2 × 32-pdr carronades

HMS Pactolus was one of eight 38-gun Cydnus-class fifth-rate frigates of the Royal Navy, that served in the Napoleonic wars and the War of 1812. She was one of the warships that bombarded Stonington, Connecticut from 9 to 12 August 1814.

Pactolus was built of red fir (pine), which was cheaper and more abundant than oak and permitted noticeably faster construction, but at a cost of a reduced lifespan. The motive for the use of red pine – an inferior material for shipbuilding[1] – was speed of construction. It was much quicker to build a ship with this material than one of oak construction; the drawback was that these ships were not expected to last as long as oak-built frigates, and indeed the Pactolus was put out of commission in August 1817 and sold in 1818.[2]

Like all the 38-gun British frigates of the late Napoleonic wars period, she carried twenty-eight 18-pounder guns on the upper deck, fourteen 32-pounder carronades on the quarter deck, and two 9-pounder guns and another two 32-pounder carronades on the forecastle. Under the re-classifications on February 1817, this resulted in her being re-classed from 38 guns to 46 guns at that date.


  • Rif Winfield, British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793-1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. 2nd edition, Seaforth Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84415-717-4.