HMS Beresford in 1780, and 1797.

Henry Hewitt was described as the “Captain of the Beresford Revenue Cutter.” at the time of his daughter Jane’s marriage to Laurence O’Brien in Castletownsend in 1778. The following is from The Town and Country Magazine, and The Lady’s Magazine.

Domestic Intelligence.

21[August 1780] Captain Kearney, regulating captain at Corke, in a letter to Mr Stephens, of the Admiralty, incloses one from the master of the Beresford cutter to the collector of that port, of which the following is a copy.

Castle Townsend, Aug 13, 1780, Two O’Clock P.M.

Sir,

By express this morning, we acquainted you with an engagement off the harbour, on which we sent out a hooker, which has since returned, and find the fleet seen off to be that which sailed from Corke for America yesterday, all safe. The engagement was between his Majesty’s ship the Biensaisant, and one of the frigates with her, and a French 74, which we have the pleasure to acquaint you is taken. They are now lying too off this harbour, shifting the prisoners on board the different ships. The French ship had 600 men, on hundred of which were killed or wounded, and eleven killed and wounded in ours:-  This is the account the officer that went out in the hooker brings us, but thinks it is the Compte d’Artois, but is certain she is a 74; and he towed a boat with some of the prisoners. Another ship, a privateer, was in fight with the Frenchman, but she is not now in fight

Signed

T. Hungerford, Surveyor

H. Hewitt, Master of the Beresford Revenue Cutter.

Castletownshend , co. Cork

To the Collector of Corke.

The Ambuscade was the frigate which is mentioned in the above dispatches.

From The Town and Country Magazine, Or, Universal Repository of Knowledge, Instruction, and Knowledge.  Volume XII, for the Year 1780, London. Printed for A. Hamilton Jnr near St John’s Gate.

The same report was in The Lady’s Magazine; Or, Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex Volume XI, 1780

and from the LONDON GAZETTE August 5 1797, the Beresford was still in action along the coast of Southern Ireland.

It’s unclear, but unlikely, as to whether Henry Hewitt was still in command. But, given his likely age, he almost certainly was not.  Assuming he was about 50 years old at the marriage of his daughter Jane in 1778 [ using a 25y/o+ 25y/o formula], he would have been born about 1728. So in 1797, he would have been 69 years old. If he had been the same age as his son in law’s father who was born in 1717, he would have been 80 years old. So, one hopes, the Irish Customs Service had managed to find a slightly more youthful Captain than Great Grandpa Henry…

Admiralty Office August 1 1797

Copy of a Letter from Vice Admiral Kingsmill,  Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s Ships and Vessels at Cork to Evan Nepean Esq. [ He was Secretary to the Board of Admiralty 1795-1804, and later Chief Secretary in Ireland, and later one of the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty]  dated  [HMS] L’Engageante, Cork Harbour July 5 1797

Sir,

Please to inform my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that having Intelligence of a small Privateer being off Bally Cotton, I sent out Lieutenant Pulling, in the Mary Revenue Cutter, in Quest of her, and in a few Hours he fell in with the Beresford, coming from Waterford, just as she had captured the said Privateer, a chasse marée, named L’Acheron, of 28 Tons, out of Morlaix, carrying 1 Carronade Eight-Pounder and six Swivels, and 40 Men. She is just arrived here, and had taken Three Vessels, all of which I understand are recaptured.

I have, &c. R. Kingsmill.

The ship was decommissioned in 1819, and sold for scrappage in Plymouth, although the name lived on in more ships in the Royal Navy.

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