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French frigate Minerve (1809)


Dec 15, 2021

Minerve was the 48-gun Portuguese Navy frigate Nossa Senhora da Vitória, a Minerva, launched in 1788. The French captured her in November 1809 off India and took her into service as Minerve. The British captured her shortly thereafter and had her broken up.

For other ships with the same name, see French ship Minerve.

Minerve (centre) at the Battle of Grand Port.
Name Nossa Senhora da Vitória, a Minerva;[1]Minerva[2]
Namesake Minerva
Builder Lisbon[2]
Laid down 1787[2]
Launched 19 July 1788[2]
Captured 23 November 1809
Name Minerve
Acquired 22 November 1809
Captured 3 December 1810 by the Royal Navy
Fate Broken up
General characteristics
Tons burthen 1400 tons [2]
Length 47.78 m (total) [2]
Beam 11.58 m [2]
Complement 349 men [2]
Armament 48 guns, 18-pounder main battery [2]

. . . French frigate Minerve (1809) . . .

N.a S.a da Vitória, a Minerva spent the first almost two decades of her career guarding Portuguese waters. In 1807 she was part of the flotilla involved in the transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil.[1]

In November 1809 Minerva sailed to Brazil, under Captain Pinto.[3]

On 22 November 1809 she encountered the French frigate Bellone, under Captain Duperré. The distance between the two ships being too great for Duperré to catch them before nightfall, he shadowed Minerva until the next morning. On 23, at 9:00, Bellone had taken a favourable position behind Minerva, at pistol range. Understanding the advantage that this configuration gave to Bellone, Pinto turned, but the French followed and fired a raking broadside. Pinto then turned the other way, only to receive another broadside. Eventually, Minervaran downwind, but Bellone followed and maintained fire, until Minervasurrendered. The fight had lasted for one hour and forty-five minutes.[4]

The French commissioned Minerva as Minerve, and appointed Pierre Bouvet as her captain.[5] Duperré, hindered by the damage Bellone had sustained, the reduction and dispersion of his crew over his prizes, and the 500 prisoners he had aboard, decided to return to Île de France, where he arrived on 2 January 1810, accompanied by Manche, which they had met en route.

At Île de France the French repaired Minerve and replaced her carronades with 18-pounder short guns.[5]

Minerve and Manche then sailed together, capturing the East Indiamen Windham and Ceylon in the action of 3 July 1810. On their return to Île de France, the squadron fought in the Battle of Grand Port.

Minerve’ next sailed to the Philippines. There she took on the crew and commander, lieutenant de vaisseau Ducrest de Villeneuve, of Mouche n° 6, which the Spanish had seized at Manila.[6][lower-alpha 1]

Minerve was surrendered to the British after the Invasion of Île de France in December 1810, and was broken up shortly thereafter.

  1. Other sources attribute the rescue of Mouche No.6s complement to lieutenant de vaisseauPierre Bouvet, in Entreprenant.[7]

. . . French frigate Minerve (1809) . . .

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. . . French frigate Minerve (1809) . . .