Busk’s Navies of the World – 1859 – The French II


This is the second part dealing with the French Navy

Screw gun boats

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Aigrette 1st 110 4
Alarme 1st 110 4
Avalanche 1st 110 4
Dragonne 1st 110 4
Eclair 1st 110 4
Etincelle 1st 110 4
Flamme 1st 110 4
Fleche 1st 110 4
Fulminante 1st 110 4
Fusee 1st 110 4
Grenade 1st 110 4
Mitraille 1st 110 4
Arquebuse 2nd 90 2
Lance 2nd 90 2
Poudre 2nd 90 2
Redoute 2nd 90 2
Sainte Barbe 2nd 90 2
Salve 2nd 90 2
Tempete 2nd 90 2
Tourmente 2nd 90 2

All of these, and the following gun vessels, were built for the Crimean War.

Screw gun vessels

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Alerte 25 3
Bourrasque 25 3
Couleuvrine 25 3
Meurtriere 25 3
Mutine 25 3
Rafale 25 3
Stridente 25 3
Tirailleuse 25 3

Steam transports with auxiliary screws

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Dordogn 1200 160 4
Durance 1200 160 4
Gironde 1200 160 4
Isere 1200 160 4
Loire 1200 160 4
Marne 1200 160 4
Meurthe 1200 160 4
Meuse 1200 160 4
Nievre 1200 160 4
Rhin 1200 160 4
Saone 1200 160 4
Seine 1200 160 4 iron
Yonne 1200 160 4
Adour 900 120 4 iron
Ariege 900 120 4 iron
Loiret 300 100 4
Somme 300 100 4
Zelee 200 60 2 conversion
Calvados 1200 250 4
Aube 1200 250 4 building
Finisterre 1200 250 4 building
Garonne 1200 250 4 building
Jura 1200 250 4 building
Rhone 1200 250 4 building
Mayenn 900 120 4 iron, building
Sevre 900 120 4 iron, building

For transports rate was by tons of cargo. Calvados was the first of the new class to carry 2500 men, 150 horses and 1200 tons of stores. Excepting the ancient Zelee, these were new ships.

Steam frigates (paddle)

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Mogador 2700 650 8
Descartes 2980 540 20
Vauban 2820 540 20
Albatros 2460 450 14
Asmodee 2700 450 16
Cacique 2680 450 14
Caffarelli 2700 450 12
Canada 2470 450 14
Christophe Colombe 2480 450 14
Darien 2470 450 14
Eldorado 2560 450 14
Gomer 2700 450 20
Labrador 2460 450 14
Magellan 2460 450 14
Montezuma 2460 450 14
Orenoque 2460 450 14
Panama 2460 450 14
Sane 450 20
Ulloa 2470 450 14

Sane is not listed by Conways. Asmodee is said to have been typical of larger French paddle frigates, but most were of similar size. She was 238′8″ long on deck, 40′10″ beam and 18′2″ draft. She carried 12 30-pr guns and 4 80-pr and 4 30-pr shell guns. New she made between 11 and 12 knots. Gomer apparently never carried the 20 guns listed, the usual armament being 2 80-pr shell guns and 6 30-pr guns. These ships were from 10 to 20 years old.

Steam corvettes (paddle)

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Berthollet 1600 400 10
Catinat 1600 400 10
Colbert 1270 320 6
Prony 1350 320 5
Coligny 900 300 4 iron hull
Eumenide 900 300 4 iron hull
Gorgone 900 300 4 iron hull
Tanger 900 300 4
Tisiphone 900 300 6

Eumenide was 196′ long on deck, 30′7″ beam, 11′ draft and either 916 or 1016 tons. New and clean she made 8 knots and was initially armed with 2 30-pr guns and 4 30-pr shell guns. These ships were all around 10 years old.

Avisos (paddle)

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Cameleo 1st 220 6
Cassini 1st 1080 220 4+2M
Gassendi 1st 1260 220 6
Laborieux 1st 850 220 2
Lavoisier 1st 1260 220 6
Newton 1st 220 6 iron hull
Souffleur 1st 220 2 iron hull
Titan 1st 940 220 2
Veloce 1st 1260 220 6
Eclaireur 1st 200 2 iron hull
Goeland 1st 200 4M iron hull
Heron 1st 200 4 iron hull
Milan 1st 200 4
Mouette 1st 200 2 iron hull
Phenix 1st 200 4 iron hull
Promethee 1st 200 4M2 iron hull
Dauphin 2nd 180 2 iron hull
Requin 2nd 180 4 iron hull
Tenare 2nd 180 4
Acheron 2nd 900 160 4
Ardent 2nd 900 160 4
Australie 2nd 800 160 4M iron hull
Brandon 2nd 900 160 6
Cerbere 2nd 900 160 2
Chimere 2nd 900 160 4
Cocyte 2nd 900 160 6
Epervier 2nd 160 4M iron hull
Euphrate 2nd 900 160 2
Fulton 2nd 900 160 2
Gregois 2nd 900 160 2
Grondeur 2nd 900 160 4
Meteore 2nd 900 160 2
Narval 2nd 800 160 4 iron hull
Phare 2nd 900 160 4
Sesotris 2nd 900 160 4+2M
Solon 2nd 800 160 2 iron hull
Styx 2nd 900 160 4
Tartare 2nd 900 160 2
Tonnerre 2nd 900 160 4
Vautour 2nd 900 160 2M
Antilope 2nd 150 iron hull
Chamois 2nd 150 2 iron, bought
Ajaccio 2nd 120 2 bought
Bisson 2nd 120 2
Daim 2nd 120 4M
Flambeau 2nd 120 2
Galilee 2nd 240 120 2
Anacreon 2nd 100 2 iron hull
Averne 2nd 100 2M iron hull
Voyageur 2nd 100 4

The 160 NHP avisos of the Sphinx class were of 910 tons, 158′2″ on deck, 37′6″ beam and drew 12′6″ of water. They made around 8 knots when new. The usual armament was 2 or 4 30-pr shell guns or 6 24-pr carronades. These were rather old ships built from the late 1820s to early 1840s.

The newer 160 NHP iron ships, presumably including Epervier, were of the Narval class. Narval was built in 1843-1844 and was 45m long and 8m beam, rigged as a brig.

Laborieux was a much newer ship, usually used as a tug. She displaced 849 tons, was 158′10″ on deck, 27′11″ beam and 13′8″ draft. She made 8 knots when new and normally carried only 2 carronades.

Galilee measured 42m x 6m58 (11m53 over the sponsons) x 2m35 draft. She was used to test chloroform as the working fluid in the engines with the idea of avoiding boiler corrosion. This was not a great success as chloroform was expensive and boiler tubes continued to corrode all the same, so she was converted in 1855 to use methanol instead. Wood alcohol was cheaper, otherwise there was little improvement.

Steam tenders (paddle)

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Rubis 70 2 bought
Chacal 60 2M bought
Dialmanth 60
Liamone 60 2M bought
Marabout 60 4M iron hull
Podor 60
Rapide 60 2
Grand Bassam 40 4M
Basilic 30 2M iron hull
Serpent 30 2M iron hull
Econome 25 2M
Surveillant 25 2M
Akba 20 2M iron hull
Oyapock 20 2M

Sailing line of battle ships

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Valmy 1st 5231 n/a 114
Hercule 2nd 4440 n/a 90
Jemappes 2nd 4440 n/a 90
Iena 3rd n/a 82
Inflexible 3rd n/a 82
Jupiter 3rd n/a 80
Neptune 3rd n/a 80
Suffren 3rd 4050 n/a 82 6 rifled guns
Alger 4th n/a 70
Duperre 4th n/a 70
Marengo 4th n/a 70
Trident 4th n/a 70
Ville de Marseille 4th n/a 70

Busk lists Hercule and Jemappes as ordered converted to screw, but this was never done. These two ships were famously bad sailors and as a result their sister ships were reworked to produce the Duguay-Trouin class of 90 gun auxiliary steamers. Suffren was test ship for the new M1858 rifled guns. Many of Suffren’s sister ships became 80 gun auxiliary steamers of the Bayard class. Friedland should be listed here as she remained a sailing 3-decker, details similar to Valmy. Valmy, Friedland and their steam sisters sailed and manouevred badly.

Valmy was 64m20 long on the lower deck, 16m80 beam, 8m55 depth of hold and 8m30 extreme draft. For Hercule the same measurements were 62m50, 16m20, 8m23 and 7m96 and for Suffren 60m50, 15m75, 8m02 and 7m83.

Sailing frigates

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
*Guerriere 1st 3935 n/a 56 building
*Pallas 1st 3935 n/a 56 building
*Victoire 1st 3935 n/a 56 building
Andromaque 1st n/a 56
Belle Poule 1st 2550 n/a 56
Didon 1st n/a 56
Forte 1st n/a 56
Independante 1st n/a 56
Iphigenie 1st n/a 56
Perseverante 1st n/a 56
Uranie 1st n/a 56
Vengeance 1st n/a 56
Cleopatre 2nd n/a 38
Nemesis 2nd n/a 46
*Astree 2nd 3000 n/a 46 building
*Circe 2nd n/a 46 building
*Flore 2nd 3430 n/a 46 building
*Hermione 2nd n/a 46 building
*Junon 2nd n/a 46 building
*Magicienne 2nd 3355 n/a 46 building
*Themis 2nd n/a 46 building
Nereide 2nd 2340 n/a 52
Alceste 2nd n/a 52
Andromede 2nd n/a 52
Poursuivante 2nd n/a 52
Reine Blanche 2nd n/a 52
Sibylle 2nd n/a 52
Sirene 2nd n/a 52
Virginie 2nd n/a 52
*Armorique 3rd 2740 n/a 42 building
*Resolue 3rd 1795 n/a 42 building
Africaine 3rd n/a 42
Algerie 3rd n/a 42
Constitution 3rd n/a 42
Erigone 3rd n/a 42
Heliopolis 3rd n/a 42
Isis 3rd n/a 42
Jeanne d’Arc 3rd n/a 42
Penelope 3rd n/a 42
Psyche 3rd n/a 42

Ships marked * were converted to screw and details are in Conways. The 56 gun 1st rates were rearmed with 36 6.4-in and 5.5-in RML guns. Guerriere measured 245′ on the waterline, 47′10″ in the beam and drew 24′7″ of water. Top speed was about 11 knots. The smaller conversions carried 24 or more guns and made about 10-11 knots.

Most likely all of the 1st class frigates were begun as ships of the Belle Poule class with a displacement of 2550 tons, 54m40 long on deck, 14m10 beam, 7m10 depth of hold and 6m75 extreme draft. The 2nd class 52 gun frigates were likely all Artemise class ships of 2340 tons displacement, 52m50 deck, 13m40 beam, 7m10 depth of hold and 6m50 extreme draft.

The armament of sailing frigates was standardised on 30-prs. The 1837 regulations, which can have changed little before the adoption of rifled guns, called for a first class frigate to carry 60 guns: 28 30-pr long guns and 2 80-pr shell guns on the gun deck and 26 30-pr carronades and 4 30-pr shell guns on the spar deck. Frigates of the second and third classes carried 30-prs only: 28 short guns on the gun deck and 18 carronades and 4 shell guns on the spar deck for a second class of 50 guns; 22 short guns and 4 shell guns on the gun deck and 14 carronades on the spar deck for a third class of 40 guns.

Sailing corvettes

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Cordeliere 1st n/a 22 building
Cornelie 1st n/a 22 building
Favorite 1st n/a 22 building
Artemise 1st n/a 26
Bayonnaise 1st n/a 22
Capricieuse 1st n/a 22
Constantine 1st n/a 22
Embuscade 1st n/a 22
Eurydice 1st n/a 22
Galathee 1st n/a 22
Serieuse 1st n/a 22
Thisbe 1st n/a 22
Bergere 2nd n/a 12
Brillante 2nd n/a 16
Danaide 2nd n/a 16
Prevoyante 2nd n/a 12
Sarcelle 2nd n/a 12
Triomphante 2nd n/a 16

Capricieuse was probably typical of a first class sailing corvette. She was 43m90 long and 11m80 beam with mean draft 4m90. She was probably armed with 20 30-pr short guns and 2 30-pr shell guns and had a crew of 254. The 1st class corvettes were between 10 and 20 years old, the 2nd class even older.

Sailing Brigs

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Chevert 1st n/a 12 building
Euryale 1st n/a 12 building
Adonis 1st n/a 12
Alcibiade 1st n/a 12
Beaumanoir 1st n/a 12
Chasseur 1st n/a 12
Ducouedic 1st n/a 12
Entreprenant 1st n/a 12
Faune 1st n/a 12
Genie 1st n/a 14
Hussard 1st n/a 12
Janus 1st n/a 12
Lapeyrouse 1st n/a 12
Meleagre 1st n/a 12
Mercure 1st n/a 12
Nisus 1st n/a 12
Obligado 1st n/a 12
Olivier 1st n/a 12
Oreste 1st n/a 12
Palinure 1st n/a 2M
Pylade 1st n/a 12
Victor 1st n/a 12
Zebre 1st n/a 12
Agile 2nd n/a 8
Argus 2nd n/a 8
Cerf 2nd n/a 8
Dupetit-Thouars 2nd n/a 8
Inconstant 2nd n/a 8
Leger 2nd n/a 8
Lynx 2nd n/a 8
Messager 2nd n/a 8
Railleur 2nd n/a 8
Rossignol 2nd n/a 8
Ruse 2nd n/a 8
Zephyr 2nd n/a 8

The oldest unreconstructed brig was Argus, launched in 1832, the majority had been launched in the late 1840s or reconstructed since then.

Sailing gun brigs

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Alouette n/a 4
Eglantine n/a 4
Malouine n/a 4
Panthere n/a 4
Tactique n/a 4
Vigie n/a 4

All these ships were launched or reconstructed in the middle of the 1840s.

Sailing schooners, cutters and small craft

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Amaranthe n/a 6
Baucis n/a 6
Decidee n/a 6
Egle n/a 4
Fauvette n/a 2
Gentille n/a 2
Hirondelle n/a
Hydrographe n/a 2 bought
Ibis n/a 2
Ile d’Aix n/a 2
Ile d’Enet n/a 2
Ile Madame n/a 2
Jonquille n/a 2
Jouvencelle n/a 4
Kamehameha n/a 2 ex-Hawaiian
Laborieuse n/a
Mouche n/a 4
Nu Hiva n/a 2 bought
Papeiti n/a 2 bought
Pourvoyeuse n/a
Sakalave n/a
Tane-Manou n/a 2 bought
Topaze n/a 2
Turquoise n/a 2
Vigilante n/a
Capelan n/a
Ecureuil No. 1 n/a 2
Ecureuil No. 2 n/a 2
Espiegle n/a 2
Favori n/a 4
Levrier n/a 2
Mirmidon n/a 2
Moustique n/a 2
Pluvier n/a 2
Boberach n/a 2 xebec
Blavet n/a 2 chasse-maree

Sailing mortar vessels

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Bombe n/a 2M
Fournaise n/a 2M
Tocsin n/a 2M
Torche n/a 2M
Trombe n/a 2M

All built for the Crimean War.

Sailing transports

Ship Rate Tons NHP Guns Notes
Armide 800 n/a 2 hospital ship
Caravane 800 n/a 4
Egerie 800 n/a 4
Fortune 800 n/a 4
Infernal 800 n/a 6
Oise 800 n/a 2
Prosperine 800 n/a 2
Marsouin 600 n/a 2
Perdrix 600 n/a 2
Provencale 600 n/a 4
Chandernagore 550 n/a 2
Girafe 550 n/a 2
Cormoran 500 n/a 2
Orione 420 n/a 2 ex-Russian
Expeditive 380 n/a 2
Infatigable 380 n/a 4
Recherche 380 n/a 2
Herault 370 n/a 2
Bucephale n/a 2 ex-Russian
Cyclops 300 n/a 2
Licorne 300 n/a 4
Mayottais 300 n/a bought
Pintade 200 n/a
Pourvoyeur 150 n/a
D’Zaoudzi 60 n/a bought
Ile d’Oleron 50 n/a

Rate is again tons of cargo. These were generally old ships.

Busk’s summary gives the following numbers. Presumably the 55 schooners, etc, include the 8 screw gun vessels. The transports include 20 steam ships ordered but not yet begun.

Ships of the line 51, 14 sail and 37 steam
114-130 guns 1 sail and 6 steam
90 guns 3 sail and 20 steam
82-70 guns 10 sail and 11 steam
Frigates 97, 40 sail and 57 steam
58-34 guns 19 steam 40 sail and 38 steam
armoured 4 steam
paddle, 20-8 guns 19 steam
Corvettes 26-4 guns 38, 18 sail and 20 steam
Brigs and Avisos 102, 35 sail and 67 steam
Schooners, cutters, etc. 55, 47 sail
Screw gun vessels 8
Floating batteries 5
Transports 73, 26 sail and 47 steam
Screw gun boats 20

This comes to 449 ships, 180 sail and 265 steam, mounting 8,422 guns with an aggregate nominal horse power of 77,820. Of these, something between one quarter and one third were in commission for sea or harbour service at the start of 1859.

This then was the French Navy circa 1859. If there are any obvious errors, or things which don’t make any sense, please don’t hesitate to ask or to let me know and I’ll pass your comments and questions on to Angus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s