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Copyright Vicki Hassona 2013




HMS Albemarle, by Derek Gardner 

28-gun 6th-rate frigate

  • Originally a French merchant ship called the Ménagére, she was bought by the French navy in May 1779 and promptly captured by the British in September that same year.
  • Sold in 1784.
  • Nelson was her Captain from Oct 1781 - July 1783.
  • On August 24th 1781, Nelson excitedly wrote to his brother, Maurice, of his first impressions of his new ship:

"According to my promise I sit down to write you an account of the Albemarle.  Yesterday I went down to Woolwich with Maurice [Suckling, Nelson's uncle], and hoisted my Pendant; and I am perfectly satisfied with her, as a twenty-eight gun Frigate.  She is in dock, alongside the Enterprize, and in some respects, I think, excels her.  She has a bold entrance, and clean run."

Nicolas, Vol. I

  • On October 18th 1781, he wrote again to his brother when Albemarle was ready to sail:

"I have an exceeding good Ship's company.  Not a man or Officer in her I would wish to change.  She appears to sail also very well."

Nicolas, Vol. I

  • William Locker didn't think much of Albemarle, however, and apparently told Nelson so: in a letter to Locker on 22nd December 1781, Nelson reported:

"The Albemarle, although you abused her at Woolwich, has some good sailing in her."

Nicolas, Vol. I



  • 23rd Sept 1779: Part of a French convoy, Ménagére was captured by a British squadron commanded by William Hotham near San Domingo.  She was taken into the Royal Navy, renamed Albemarle, and sent to the Leeward Islands under Capt. John Thomas.
  • 17th  April 1780: Was present at the Battle of Martinique but didn't see action.  (Capt. Thomas Taylor)
  • Oct 1781: Under Nelson, sailed as convoy escort to Denmark.
  • Jan 1782: A merchant ship collided with her during a storm at Yarmouth, causing considerable damage.  Albemarle had to be refitted at Portsmouth, which took two months to complete.
  • May 1782: Escorted a convoy to Quebec, then cruised near North America and took several prizes (unusually for Nelson!).  While sailing with a convoy from Quebec to Boston, he was chased by three French ships-of-the-line and a frigate.  They were all much better sailers than the Albemarle, so Nelson was forced to take her through some shoals to escape. 
  • Oct 1782: Transferred to Admiral Hood's squadron in the West Indies.
  • March 1783: Involved in a small, and unsuccessful, attack on Turk's Island, which had been taken by the French.
  • Sold by the Navy in 1784, she went on to transport convicts to Australia and was eventually captured by the French in 1793.

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