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Nelson in the News

Who Was Nelson?


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Copyright Vicki Hassona 2013


Seahorse (1794)


38-gun 6th rate frigate

  • Launched in 1794.
  • Broken up in 1819.
  • In August - Sept 1797, Capt. Thomas Fremantle took Nelson home in her so that he could recover from the loss of his arm.

Presence at Nelson's battles:

  • Santa Cruz: Under Capt. Thomas Fremantle, was with Nelson during the disastrous attack on Santa Cruz on 29th July 1797.  Carried Nelson back to England to recover from the loss of his arm. 
  • Nile: Scouting for Nelson, saw the French fleet off Aboukir Bay on the 21st of July 1798; Capt. Edward James Foote.
  • Trafalgar Campaign: With Nelson's fleet in the Mediterranean (Capt. Courtenay Boyle); spotted the French leaving Toulon on the 19th January 1805.


  • 29th July 1797: With Nelson for the attack on Santa Cruz in Tenerife.  (Capt. Thomas Fremantle).  The attack failed spectacularly, and Nelson was shot in his right arm, causing massive blood loss.  He would have bled to death were it not for his stepson, Josiah Nisbet, tying a tourniquet around the arm.  He was taken to the Seahorse, which was closer than his flagship, and his arm was amputated.  Fremantle was also badly wounded.
  • August - September 1797: Took Nelson back to England to recover from the loss of his arm (Capt. Thomas Fremantle)
  • 27th June 1798: Captured the French 36-gun frigate, Sensible.  (Capt. Edward Foote)
  • 21st July 1798: Whilst hunting the French in the Mediterranean, Nelson sent the Seahorse ahead to scout for him.  She spotted the French fleet in Aboukir Bay.  (Capt. Edward Foote)
  • August 1798: After the Battle of the Nile, Nelson sent Seahorse with several other ships to Alexandria.  (Capt. Edward Foote)
  • May-Aug 1799: With Nelson, assisting with the recapture of Naples.  (Capt. Edward Foote)
  • May 1800: Escorted troop transports to the Mediterranean; in December, escorted a huge merchant convoy of over 550 ships through the Channel (Rear-Admiral Richard Bickerton; Capt. Edward Foote).
  • 1803-05: With Nelson's fleet in the Mediterranean.  As a frigate, she was one of Nelson's 'eyes' which he so highly valued for watching the French in Toulon.  On the 19th January 1805, she spotted the French fleet leave Toulon and rushed to Agincourt Sound to report the news to Nelson, as the main fleet were watering there.  Unfortunately, Capt. Boyle had been so quick that he didn't know which way the French had gone, and no other English ship had followed them.  (Capt. Courtnay Boyle)
  • 4th May 1805: Saw a Spanish convoy off Cartagena, which went into an anchorage called San Pedro and was there protected by a fort and some gunboats.  While the Seahorse herself fired on the gunboats, one of her Lieutenants, Downie, took a boat to capture the largest brig of the convoy.  (Capt. Courtnay Boyle).
  • July 1807: With Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood's fleet in the Aegean Sea.  Collingwood detached the Seahorse to cruise in the archipelago looking out for Turkish ships.  On the 5th, she alone fought 2 Turks: a 52-gun frigate, and 26-gun corvette, capturing the frigate and sinking the corvette.  (Capt. John Stewart)
  • Sept 1808 - Jan 1809: Took the British diplomat Robert Adair to Constantinople to sign a peace treaty between England and Turkey.  (Capt. John Stewart)
  • From 1809, cruised between Corsica and Italy; in May, her boats, with those of the Halcyon's, destroyed enemy forts at Gianutri and Pianosa (islands north-west of Corsica); in August, captured a ship but no  prize money was paid until 1850 as the prize agent went bankrupt.  (Capt. John Stewart)
  • May 1810: captured a French privateer, Stella di Napoleon (Capt. John Stewart)
  • Dec 1812: escorted a West Indies convoy.  (Capt. John Stewart)
  • 13th Nov 1813: captured the Subtile, a 16-gun French privateer, but had damaged her so badly that she sank.  (Capt. James Gordon)
  • 1814: escorted a convoy to Quebec.  In August was part of a squadron that bombarded Fort Washington on the Potomac River in America; her captain, James Gordon, landed and took possession of the fort.
  • Dec 1814: her boats took part in the Battle of Lake Borgne which was part of the British advance on New Orleans.  The Americans surrendered, and British troops attacking New Orleans were able to land at Lake Borgne.  (Capt. James Gordon)