Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849.

‘I owe,’ he says, ’to the whole of my officers and men (and which most sincerely and unreservedly I render,) the meed of praise due to the conduct of every one, without exception.  It was their prompt obedience to all my orders, and the firmness, fortitude, and alacrity which they perseveringly as well as patiently displayed amidst their great perils, sufferings, and privations, through the whole of this trying scene, that contributed, under Providence, to the saving of so many of their lives.

’Their subsequent orderly and excellent conduct on shore as much bespeaks my approbation; and, in truth, the general character of their conduct throughout has induced an esteem in me which it is impossible can ever cease but with my life.’[18]

Captain Samuel Burgess entered the navy in 1790, and served on board the Impregnable at the victory of the 1st of June, 1794.  He was almost constantly employed from that time until the year 1804, when he was appointed a lieutenant on board the Prince, of 98 guns, in which ship he was present at the battle of Trafalgar.

He next served on board the Dreadnought, 98, and subsequently was appointed to the command of the Pincher, a 12-gun brig, employed in the North Sea and Baltic.  Whilst in command of this vessel, Lieutenant Burgess distinguished himself on many occasions, particularly in assisting Lord George Stuart in reducing the batteries of Cuxhaven and Bremerleke.  His next appointment was to the Vixen gun-brig; and although he might well have expected promotion for his services, he remained lieutenant until the year 1816, when he was appointed to the Queen Charlotte, in which ship he served as flag-lieutenant to Lord Exmouth at the bombardment of Algiers.  Upon the arrival of the dispatches in England, Lieutenant Burgess was promoted to the rank of commander.  He received his post rank on the 27th November, 1830, when he took the command of the Thetis.  A more lengthened statement of the services of this officer will be found in O’Byrne’s Naval Biography, to which work we are indebted for the above sketch.


[18] The greater part of the treasure lost with the Thetis (806,000 dollars) has subsequently been recovered.  An interesting description of the means used for raising it will be found in a volume published by Captain Dickenson.


The Firefly, a small schooner, with a crew of about fifty men, was proceeding on her voyage from Belize to Jamaica, on the 27th of February, 1835.  The wind had been moderate during the day, and as they were steering a course laid down in the chart, no danger was anticipated.

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