Author Topic: HMS Dryad (1795 - 1860)  (Read 3335 times)

Offline stuartwaters

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HMS Dryad (1795 - 1860)
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2024, 07:11:28 PM »
HMS Dryad was a Fifth Rate, 18pdr-armed, 36-gun Frigate of the Phoebe Class, built under Navy Board contract at the shipyard owned by William Barnard in Deptford, at the time in the County of Kent.

Designed by Sir John Henslow, Co-Surveyor of the Navy, the Phoebe Class was a group of five ships, of which three were built in Kent shipyards. Of the other two Kent-built ships, HMS Phoebe was built under Navy Board contract at John Dudman's shipyard, also in Deptford, while HMS Doris was built under Navy Board contract at William Cleverley's shipyard in Gravesend. Of the rest of the class, HMS Caroline was built by William Randall at Rotherhithe, then in the County of Surrey and HMS Fortunee was built by John Perry across the Thames at Blackwall, at the time in the County of Middlesex. Their design was based on that of the Perseverance Class, designed by Sir Edward Hunt, four of which had been built during the American War of Independence. A further batch of eight Perseverance Class ships was ordered in the early 1800s.

The contracts for the construction of four of the five ships were signed on the 24th May 1794 while the contract for HMS Fortunee was signed on the 28th January 1800. They were ordered as part of a large programme of building larger 18pdr-armed Frigates which were intended to replace older 12pdr-armed Frigates of 32 and 36 guns as well as smaller 9pdr-armed Frigates of 28 guns. These ships had become obsolete in the face of larger French Frigates and the Royal Navy had started building 18pdr-armed Frigates during the American War of Independence which had ended in 1784. Despite this, there were nowhere near enough of these ships in service when the French Revolutionary War had broken out in 1793. Notwithstanding their advancing obsolescence, the older and smaller Frigates gave good service until they were replaced by the new ships towards the end of the 1790s and early 1800s.

The first keel section of what was to become HMS Dryad was laid in Deptford in June of 1794 and the construction project proceeded rapidly until the ship was launched in the presence of the men who had built her and their families on the 4th June 1795. Immediately after her launch, the new Frigate was taken to the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich to be fitted with her guns, masts, sails and the many miles of rigging needed to sail the ship in all weathers. In July of 1795 while still fitting out at Woolwich, HMS Dryad commissioned for the North Sea under Captain The Honourable Robert Allaster Forbes.

Captain Forbes was the second son of James, the 16th Lord Forbes and had passed his Examination for Lieutenant on the 28th June 1782 at the age of 16. He received his first command appointment on the 28th August 1789 when he was appointed Master and Commander in the 14-gun, 18pdr carronade-armed Fireship HMS Alecto. He received a further appointment as Master and Commander on the 27th March 1790 when he was ordered to take command of the 16-gun 6pdr-armed ship-rigged Sloop of War HMS Zebra. Posted or promoted to Captain with effect from the 22nd November 1790, he was appointed in command of the old 12pdr-armed Frigate HMS Southampton of 32 guns on the 12th March 1793 and was in that ship when he participated in Admiral Lord Howe's victory over the French Atlantic Fleet in the Battle of the Glorious First of June 1794.

Captain Forbes was the first officer to be appointed into HMS Dryad and appointments from the Admiralty for his three Lieutenants, ranked in order of seniority based on the dates on which they had passed their Examinations, quickly followed. The ship's Lieutenants were in effect, commanders in waiting, gaining seniority and making the connections they needed in order to be considered for a command of their own.

Appointments from the Navy Board were given to the men who would become the ship's senior Warrant Officers including the Standing Officers. The Standing Officers were:

The Carpenter - He was a fully qualified shipwright, usually appointed from amongst the men who had built the ship. He answered to the First Lieutenant and was responsible for the repair and maintenance of the hull, frame and decks. In a Fifth Rate ship, he would be assisted by a single Carpenters Mate and would have a dedicated Carpenters Crew of five men.

The Boatswain - He was an experienced seaman who had worked his way up through the ranks. He also answered to the First Lieutenant and was responsible for the maintenance, operation and repair of the ship's boats as well as her masts and rigging. He was assisted in this when the ship was in commission by a single Boatswains Mate. Amongst the duties of the Boatswains Mate was the administering of any floggings ordered by the Captain.

The Gunner - He was another man who had worked his way up through the ranks of seamen. He also answered to the First Lieutenant and was responsible for the repair, maintenance and operation of the ship's main guns. Also amongst his responsibilities was the training of gun crews and training Midshipmen-in-Ordinary in the arts of gunnery. In action, he was responsible for the distribution of gunpowder and shot and would be stationed in the magazine. He was assisted when the ship was in commission by a single Gunners Mate and eight Quarter-Gunners, each of whom was a Petty Officer responsible for four gun crews.
The Purser - He reported directly to the Captain and was thus entitled to a berth in the Wardroom with the commissioned officers. He was responsible for the purchase and distribution of the ship's provisions and stores.

The Cook - The least senior of the Standing Officers, he was usually a disabled former seaman. His job title is self-explanatory and he was also in overall charge of the ship's complement of servants for the Commissioned officers and those Warrant Officers entitled to have them.

In addition to the Standing Officers, the other Senior Warrant Officers appointed by the Navy Board, who would only be in the ship when she was in commission were:

The Sailing Master - He was responsible for the day-to-day sailing and navigation of the ship. If not employed by the Royal Navy, he was qualified to command a merchant vessel. He answered directly to the Captain and in addition to directing the day to day sailing and navigation of the ship, he was also responsible for training Midshipmen-in-Ordinary in the arts of sailing and navigation and the stowage of the stores in the hold to ensure the ship had the optimum trim for sailing and manoeuvring. As a Senior Warrant Officer, qualified to command in his own right and reporting directly to the Captain, he was entitled to a berth in the Wardroom with the Commissioned officers. In a Fifth Rate vessel, he was assisted by two Masters Mates, each of whom was qualified to serve as a Mate in the Merchant Service when not employed by the Royal Navy. The Masters Mates themselves were the lowest ranking officers eligable to be appointed in temporary command of any prizes the ship might take. If a vacancy as Lieutenant should arise and there were no Midshipmen experienced enough to fill it, the most senior of the Masters Mates would be appointed Acting Lieutenant until such a time as a Commissioned Lieutenant could be appointed into the ship. After serving time as Acting Lieutenant, a Masters Mate could be put forward for their Examination and assuming they passed it, they would be Commissioned and hold the rank permanently. In addition to the Masters Mates, there were also three Quartermasters with three Quartermasters Mates responsible for the actual steering of the ship. When the ship commissioned, Mr Samuel Brockensha was appointed as her Sailing Master. Earlier, in 1795, Mr Brockensha had escaped from the Terror which had followed the French Revolution in company with Mr Richard Wellesley, the elder brother of the future Duke of Wellington and himself a future Governor-General of India and his then wife, Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Roland, a leading French actress. In gratitude, Mr Wellesley had pulled strings and arranged for Mr Brockensha to be appointed Sailing Master in HMS Dryad.

The Surgeon - Another man who reported directly to the Captain and entitled to a berth in the Wardroom, he was responsible for the day to day healthcare of the whole crew from the Captain downwards. Although not a doctor as such, a Naval Surgeon had to serve and pass a seven-year apprenticeship which was overseen by the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians before he would be allowed to practice his trade unsupervised. He was assisted by an Assistant Surgeon, who was himself a part-qualified Surgeon.

The rest of the Warrant Officers and senior Petty Officers were appointed by the Captain on the recommendation of the First Lieutenant after having first applied for the posts and presented their credentials. Included amongst these were:

The Master at Arms - Responsible to the First Lieutenant, he was in effect, the ship's policeman, responsible for the day-to-day enforcement of discipline amongst the crew. In a Fifth Rate ship, he was assisted by two Ship's Corporals.

The Armourer - Answerable to the Gunner, he was a fully qualified blacksmith and was responsible for the maintenance and repair of the ships stocks of small arms and bladed weapons. He could also manufacture new bladed weapons as required as well as being able to fabricate and repair iron fixtures and fittings. On a Fifth Rate vessel, he was assisted by a single Armourers Mate.

The Sailmaker - Answerable to the Boatswain, he was responsible for the repair and maintenance of the ships sails, the storage of spare sails as well as the ships stocks of flags. He was assisted by a single Sailmakers Mate with a dedicated crew of one man.

The Caulker - Answerable to the Carpenter he was responsible for making sure the ship's hull and decks remained watertight. He was assisted by seamen as directed by the First Lieutenant or the Officer of the Watch.

The Chaplain - An ordained Church of England priest, he was responsible for the spiritual well-being of the crew. He was answerable to the Captain. In action, the Chaplain would assist the Surgeons crew with the care of wounded men. In deference to his ordained status, he was entitled to a berth in the Wardroom with the Commissioned Officer. In the absence of a Chaplain, his religious duties would be carried out by the Captain.

The Schoolmaster - Answerable to the First Lieutenant, he was responsible for teaching the Midshipmen in Ordinary the theory and mathematics behind navigation. With the Captains agreement, he would also teach the ship's Boys the basic '3rs'. Before he would be able to serve in this position, the Schoolmaster would have had to sit and pass an Examination and be certified by Trinity House.

The Clerk - Answerable to the Purser, he was responsible for all the record keeping aboard the ship and making sure that the ships books were sent to the Admiralty.

The ship had a complement of six Midshipmen. These young men were in effect, commanders in training and their job was to assist the ships Lieutenants in their day to day duties. Only the most senior of the ship's Midshipmen had a specific job, in charge of signals. The Midshipmen were appointed into the ship by the local Commander-in-Chief when she commissioned. In addition to the Midshipmen, there were Midshipmen-in-Ordinary, also known as Quarterdeck Boys. These young men, at the beginning of their careers as officers in the Royal Navy, were officers in training and they wore the uniform and performed the role of a Midshipman. They were usually related to the Captain, one of his friends or somebody the Captain either owed a favour to or was doing a favour for. They were on the ship's books as Captains Servants and were paid at the same rate as an Able Seaman. In a ship like HMS Dryad with a crew of 264, the Captain would be entitled to have up to eight servants or four per rounded hundred of her Company. Unless the Captain was particularly extravagant, he wouldn't require anything like this number of servants, so the remaining positions on the ship's books were taken up with the Midshipmen-in-Ordinary.

In any case, the Captain would come aboard with his own staff of his Clerk or secretary, his Steward and his Coxswain. The Captains Coxswain was a Petty Officer and his role was to act as the Captain's personal bodyguard and to act as his eyes and ears on the Lower Deck. The Coxswain would usually choose a Coxswains Mate from amongst the Able Seamen in the ship. These men would follow the Captain from appointment to appointment.

In addition to these men, HMS Dryad's crew would have been made up of Petty Officers in charge of specific areas of the ship or specific tasks to be carried out by the seamen. The seamen themselves would have been rated according to their experience at sea, Able Seamen with years of sea-going experience and able to carry out any task without supervision, Ordinary Seamen with some experience and who would require a degree of supervision and Landsmen with none. Landsmen were the unskilled labourers in the ship and were regarded by everyone else as being the lowest form of life aboard, until they had proved themselves. The ship's complement of boys would be rated in the same way and were employed in a number of roles. They were usually to be found as servants, for the Wardroom and for those Warrant Officers entitled to have servants. In action, they would be employed as Powder Monkeys, carrying gunpowder cartridges from the magazine to the Gun Captains. When weighing anchor, they worked in the Cable Tier, securing the great anchor cable to the bridle wrapped around the capstan with small pieces of rope known as  'Nips', in order that the Capstan Crew could haul in many tons and many fathoms of heavy, waterlogged anchor cable. This is the origin of the term used to describe a small child - a 'Nipper'.

In addition to the seamen, HMS Dryad carried a complement of Marines. In a Fifth Rate vessel, there was a Lieutenant of Marines in command, assisted by a Sergeant, a Corporal, a Drummer and 30 Marine Privates. These men would have come aboard as a pre-existing unit and were accommodated in a screened-off portion of the lower deck known as the Marine Barracks. The sole commissioned Marine officer was entitled to a berth in the Wardroom, while the Non-Commissioned Officers held the same status amongst the Ship's Company as Petty Officers.

When she was declared complete on the 15th August 1795, HMS Dryad was a ship of 924 tons. She was 142ft 8in long at the gundeck and 119ft along the keel. HMS Dryad was 38ft 2in wide across her beam. She was armed with 26 x 18pdr cannons on her gundeck with 8 x 9pdr cannons and 6 x 32pdr carronades on her quarterdeck with 2 x 9pdr cannons and 4 x 32pdr carronades on her forecastle. In addition to her main guns, she was also fitted with a dozen half-pounder anti-personnel swivel guns attached to her forecastle and quarterdeck handrails and bulwarks.

Phoebe Class Plans

Orlop and hold plans:

Main or Gundeck Plan:

Quarterdeck and Forecastle Plans with detail of the Catheads, used to support the anchors when they were stowed after weighing:

Framing Plan:

Inboard Profile and Plan:

Sheer Plan and Lines:

A 1:48 scale model of HMS Phoebe, held in the collection of the National Maritime Museum. This model shows the ship in a black and white colour scheme, which didn't come into use until about 1815, which dates the model as being made after that year. As a Phoebe Class ship, HMS Dryad would have been identical. Notice the crew's hammocks in the nettings above the forecastle and quarterdeck bulwarks and in the middle part of the ship, by the gangways linking the quarterdeck and the forecastle. There were two reasons for placing them there: Firstly, to air them and secondly, in action, they provided a degree of protection from incoming small-arms fire.

This model of HMS Phoebe, made much more recently by Stephens and Kenau in South Africa, shows HMS Phoebe as built in 1795. The scale is much larger, at 1:12 and shows the ship in a typical frigate colour scheme of the period. Port Quarter view, showing the ship in a peacetime appearance, with the gunports aft replaced by windows. If the ship was at risk of going into action, the guns and their trucks would have been brought up from the hold where they were stored and assembled at the gunport:

Port Bow view of the same model:

Again, as a Phoebe Class ship, HMS Dryad would have been identical, aside of course, from her figurehead.

Captain Forbes had commissioned HMS Dryad with orders to join a squadron of the North Sea Fleet under Rear-Admiral Thomas Pringle who flew his command flag in the Third Rate ship of the line HMS Asia of 64 guns.

After commissioning HMS Dryad, Captain Forbes' mental health deteriorated to such a degree that on the 7th October 1795, while the ship was patrolling off Flekkaroya, Norway, his speech became incoherent and on the Surgeon's instructions, he was confined to his quarters. The Surgeon tried to placate his Captain by having one of the ship's Lieutenants sit with him and one of the captain's servants was ordered to remain in the cabin at all times. While the servant was distracted, Captain Forbes jumped overboard. The ship was immediately brought about and a boat was lowered to try to rescue him, but soon after launch, the boat sank and it's crew had to be rescued themselves. Eventually, Captain Forbes was rescued by HMS Kite (16) but despite the best efforts of both Surgeons, Captain Forbes could not be saved. His body was interred in a vault in the Norwegian town of Kristiansand.

On the 7th December 1795, Captain The Honourable Amelius Beauclerk was appointed in command. Captain Beauclerk was born on 23rd May 1771, the third son of Aubrey Beaucerk, the 5th Duke of St. Albans. He had entered the Royal Navy as Midshipman in Ordinary at the age of 8 in the Second-Rate ship of the line HMS Prince George (98), where he quickly became friends with another of the ship's Quarterdeck Boys, the then 13-year-old Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, third son of King George III and future King William IV. While in HMS Prince George, he had participated in Rear Admiral Sir George Rodney's victory over a Spanish fleet in the Moonlight Battle of Cape St. Vincent on the 5th January 1780. By the time he took command of HMS Dryad, he was already an experienced commander.

In February of 1796, HMS Dryad took a cargo of gold bullion and coins to the River Elbe, after which she sailed to the Downs off Deal and picked up a convoy which she escorted to Portsmouth. After arriving at Portsmouth, Captain Beauclerk went ashore and Lieutenant John King Pulling was temporarily appointed as Master and Commander in HMS Dryad. Under Commander Pulling, HMS Dryad was set to work patrolling the English Channel and the Western Approaches.

On the 10th May 1796, the following notice was published in the Gazette, from a report by Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Kingsmill, Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Vessels at Cork, to Mr Evan Nepean, Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty:

Cork Harbour
May 5 1796


I have the Pleasure to acquaint you, for the Information of my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that a French National Cutter, (L'Abeille) of Fourteen Guns and Seventy Men, is just brought in here, captured by His Majesty's Ship Dryad, Captain Pulling, on Monday last, the Lizard bearing North Half East, Sixteen or Seventeen Leagues, Ushant S.S.W. Thirteen Leagues; the other Ships of the Squadron then in Chace of a Corvette, which there was every Probability of their coming up with.

The Dryad had before taken a large Smuggling Cutter, laden with Spirits, and sent her to Plymouth.

Mr. Fairweather, one of the Mates of the Dryad who has Command of the Cutter L'Abeille, informs me, that she had only been out Three Days from Brest, and had not taken any Thing. She is Three Years old, coppered, and appears well found ; and shall be sent by the earliest Opportunity to Plymouth.

Although he did not hold the rank, Commander Pulling was entitled to be referred to as "Captain" in reports, as was any officer commanding a vessel, regardless of their actual rank. At the time that Commander Pulling and his crew took L'Abeille, HMS Dryad was in company with the Frigates HMS Unicorn (18pdr, 32), HMS Diana (18pdr, 38), HMS Seahorse (18pdr, 38) and the hired Armed Cutter Fox of 12 guns. The crews of all the vessels shared the prize money.

In June of 1796, Commander Pulling was appointed as Master and Commander in the 18pdr carronade-armed Fireship HMS Comet and Captain Beauclerk returned to command of HMS Dryad.

On the 16th June 1796, Captain Beauclerk wrote to Mr Nepean at the Admiralty as follows:

His Majesty's Ship Dryad
Plymouth Sound
June 16, 1796

PLEASE to inform their Lordships, that, on the 13th Instant, at One, A. M. Cape Clear bearing West by North, Distance Twelve Leagues, we discovered a Sail standing towards us from the Southward, but on nearing us hauled her Wind and tacked.

I immediately chaced, and came alongside of her at Nine, P. M. who, after a close Action of Forty five Minutes, she struck ; proves to be the National Frigate La Proserpine, mounting 26 Eighteen Pounders, 12 Nines, and 4 32 pound Carronades, with 348 Men, commanded by Citizen Peurieu ; sailed from Brest the 6th Instant in company with La Tribune, Thames, and La Legere Corvette; had not taken any Thing.

I feel myself much indebted to the Offiecrs and Men under my Command for their steady and spirited Exertions during the Action. I particularly recommend the senior Officer, Lieutenant King, as truly deserving their Lordships Notice. It is with Pleasure I add, that our killed consisted only of 2, and 7 wounded. La Proserpine, 30 killed and 45 wounded.

I have the Honor to be, Sir, &c.

After the action, La Proserpine was taken into Plymouth, fitted for British service and because there was already an HMS Proserpine in the fleet, she was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Amelia (38). Mr Edward Durnford King, First Lieutenant in HMS Dryad during the action was promoted with effect from the 23rd June 1796.

HMS Dryad engages La Proserpine. Painting by Jonathan Bentham-Dinsdale:

Another view of the same action by Thomas Whitcombe:

On the 29th October 1796, the Gazette published the following letter from Vice Admiral Kingsmill:

Dated on board His Majesty's Ship Polyphemus
Cork Harbour
The 19th day of October 1796


I Herewith transmit to you, for the Information of my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, a Letter received from Lord Beauclerk, Captain of His Majesty's Ship Dryad, who has just returned from his Cruize, and has brought in La Vautour French, Brig Privateer.

She had twice before been chaced off this Coast by Hazard and the Viper.

I have the Honor to be
&c. &c.

Letter from Captain Beauclerk

Dryad, at Sea, October 17, 1796

S I R,
I Have the Honor to inform you, on the 16th Instant, at Three P M. Scilly bearing E. by S Twenty Leagues, we chaced a Sail to the North West, around at Nine PM, came along-side of her: She proves to be Le Vautour French Privateer, carrying Seven Four-Pounders and Two Twelve Pound Carronades; With 78 Men, 130 Tons Burthen; sailed from Morlaix on the 13th Instant; had not taken anything.

I have the Honor to be,
&c. &c. &c.


HMS Dryad and her crew would have to wait almost a year before they made another major capture:

at Sea,
August 10, 1797.


I Beg Leave to inform you, for the Information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that at Five P. M. in Lat 45 deg. Long 12 deg. we came up with and captured L'Eclair, French Brig Privateer, mounting 10 Four-Pounders and 4 Eight Pounders, with 108 Men; sailed from L'Orient on the 11th Instant, and had not taken any thing.

I am, etc


On 12th September 1797, Captain Beauclerk wrote to his admiral again:

Cork Harbour
Sept 12, 1797


I Have to inform you, that on the 9th Instant, at Eight P. M. in Latitude 50 deg. Longitude 13 deg. we discovered a Sail to the S. E. At Half past Nine we came alongside of her, after various Manoeuvres on her Part to get away; the Consequence of which was, I was under the Necessity of firing several Shot at her, which proved in the End her
Destruction; running alongside of her for some Time, frequently desiring of her to bring to, but without Effect; when all of a sudden I heard a great Noise from her, and was informed his Vessel was on Fire. Fearing the Consequence of that, I sheered off a little, but soon found she was sinking, upon which I ordered him to run on Board of us; but I believe she was then too far gone, as I perceived her to settle very fast, and in a few Minutes
she went down. I immediately hoisted the Boats out, though it blew fresh and the Sea run high, and every Exertion made on the Part of the Ship's Company. I am sorry to say we could only save Seventeen, and then owing to the Perseverance of my Senior Lieutenant Mr. Palmer, and a few Seamen, in the Launch. She proved to be La Cornelie,
French Privateer Brig, of Nantz, mounting 12 Guns, and 90 Men; had been out Sixteen Days and only captured a Danish Ship.

I am, Sir,

Your very humble Servant,


On the 4th October 1797, HMS Dryad in company with her sister-ship HMS Doris captured the Bordeaux-based French privateer ship La Brune, of 16 guns and 180 men after a chase of 40 leagues or 120 miles. During her final voyage under French colours, La Brune had taken the brig Industry bound from Newfoundland to Lisbon and the brig Commerce, out of Greenock bound to Opporto.

On February 17th 1798, Vice-Admiral Kingsmill wrote to Mr Nepean at the Admiralty:

I request you will lay before their Lordships the accompanying letter to me from Lord A Beauclerk, giving an account of his having captured and brought in here Le Mars, of Nantes, a new coppered ship privateer, mounting 16 guns and 220 men.

The letter from Captain Beauclerk:

Cork Harbour,
February 9 1798


I have the honour to inform you that on the 5th instant, at 5AM, Cape Clear NE 20 Leagues, I captured Le Mars, a stout, fast-sailing privateer from Nantes, pierced for 20 guns, had mounted 12 twelves, 2 eighteens and 2 twelve-pound carronades with 222 men: had been out forty-nine days and not captured any thing.

I am etc etc etc

A Beauclerk

Le Mars was described at the time as being the largest and finest privateer taken so far in the war.

After this capture, HMS Dryad and her crew entered a dry spell and in December of 1798, Captain Beauclerk resigned his command.

After his resignation from command of HMS Dryad, Captain Beauclerk was unemployed for the next two years until he was appointed to command HMS Dryad's sister-ship HMS Fortunee in 1800. Captain Beauclerk was promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1811, Vice-Admiral in 1819 and Admiral in 1830. He remained firm friends with Prince William and on the Prince being crowned King William IV in 1830, he was appointed the new King's principal Naval Aide. He died on 10th December 1846 at his home, Winchfield House, near Farnborough in Hampshire.

On the resignation of Captain Beauclerk from command of HMS Dryad, Captain Charles John Moore Mansfield was appointed to replace him. He had first entered the Royal Navy at the age of 12 on the 4th June 1772 as Captains Servant in HMS Kent (74) under Captain Charles Fielding. On the 1st September 1775, the young Mr Mansfield was transferred to the ex-French 80-gun two-decker HMS Foudroyant where he became servant to Captain John Jervis. Captain Jervis saw the young man's potential and used his influence to have Mr Mansfield appointed Midshipman in HMS Foudroyant. He saw to it that the young Mr Mansfield sat and passed his Examination for Lieutenant on the 25th November 1778 and on the 22nd January 1780, he was appointed First Lieutenant in HMS Dryad's sister-Frigate HMS Fortunee. Jervis was of course, later in life, to become Admiral Lord St. Vincent and Mansfield was one of a number of young officers guided and pushed up the promotion ladder by him; a group of young men which was later to include a certain Horatio Nelson. On the 21st August 1778, Mr Mansfield had married Miss Anna Spong, whose family owned an extensive property portfolio on the banks of the River Medway and had business interests in paper making and milling. The couple set up home in West Malling. Mr Mansfield was appointed Master and Commander in the 18pdr carronade-armed Fireship HMS Magaera on the 19th July 1793. He was Posted or promoted to Captain on the 4th October 1794 when he was appointed in command of the Post Ship HMS Sphinx of 24 guns. His appointment prior to HMS Dryad was in command of the 12pdr-armed Frigate HMS Andromache of 32 guns. He was already an experienced combat commander by the time he received his appointment to HMS Dryad.

On the 1st January 1799, HMS Dryad under Captain Mansfield was back on the Irish Station but in March, she was refitting in Portsmouth. On the 24th April 1799, the ship departed Portsmouth as escort to the West India Convoy.

From The Gazette, February 3rd 1800:

Notice is hereby given to the Offcers and Company of His Majesty's Ship Dryad, Charles John M Mansfield, Esq; Commander, who were actually on board the said Ship at the Capture of the French Ship Le Determine, in Company with His Majesty's Ships Diamond and Revolutionaire, on the 7th July 1799, that they will be paid their respective Shares of Payment on Account of said Ships, on the Dryad's Arrival at Cork ; and the Shares not demanded will be recalled at No. 22, Arundel Street, Strand, London, on the first Thursday for Three years to come.

James Sykes, Agent.

From William James, A History of the Royal Navy:

25 Apr 1800 Plymouth, a letter from an Officer of the Dryad frigate, 36, dated Milford Haven, the 20th instant, states, that she and the Revolutionaire, 44, had arrived there in great distress, after a most fatiguing and perilous cruise. The Dryad departed from Cork to gain her cruising ground the 2d instant, but was baffled by continual hurricanes, which carried away her fore yard, and damaged the rigging much. She was on the point of returning when she fell in with La Revolutionaire in the greatest distress, having lost her rudder, and received other damage. The Dryad stuck by her, and gave her every assistance till the 13th, when both were close in with Cork, and would have anchored in an hour. Misfortune still attended them, as it blew an hard gale off shore, and obliged them to bear away for Plymouth. The 14th the wind headed them, and they could not weather Scilly or fetch Cork. They then were obliged to drift, under storm stay sails, up St George's Channel. On the morning of the 16th they found themselves close in with the rocks off Waterford. The Revolutionaire having lost her rudder, could neither wear or stay ; she made signals of distress, when the Dryad got out, and passed on board her, a stream cable, and tried to tow her off the land ; when the cable unfortunately parted, and nearly killed eleven seamen. The Dryad then bore away and supposed the Revolutionaire was wrecked; but contrary to their expectation on board the Dryad, through the interposition of Divine Providence, and the uncommon exertions of the officers and crew, the wind shifting, the Revolutionaire hauled off shore, and both ships arrived in safety at Milford Haven the 19th instant, after experiencing one of the most tempestuous cruises the older seamen on board both ships ever saw.

On the 28th August 1800, the West Indiaman Albion of 44 guns with a cargo of rum and sugar from Jamaica arrived in Plymouth with a prize crew from HMS Dryad. That ship had been taken by the Brave, French privateer and had been recaptured by HMS Dryad.

By the 24th March 1801, Admiral Lord Gardner had taken command of the Irish Station and on that date, he wrote to Mr Nepean at the Admiralty:


I am to desire you will please to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that His Majesty's Ship Dryad arrived here this Morning and enclosed I transmit you, for their Lordships' Information, Copy of a Letter just received from Captain Mansfield, of this Date, giving an Account of his having captured the French Privateer Ship Le Premier Consul, pierced for Twenty-four Guns, One Hundred and Fifty Men. She is quite new, and would make a good Sloop of War.

Iam, &c,


Captain Mansfield's letter to Admiral Lord Gardner:

Cork Harbour,
5th of March 1801.

I Have the Honor to inform your Lordship, on the 5th March, after a Chace of Three Hours, in Latitude Fifty Deg. Six Min. North, Longitude Twelve Deg. West, I fell in with and captured the French Privateer Ship Le Premier Consul, mounting Fourteen Nine-Pounders, but pierced for Twenty-four, One Hundred and Fifty Men, from St. Maloes, out Twenty-One Days: She is quite new, and on her first Cruize; had captured a Portugueze Schooner from Lisbon bound to Ireland, a few Days before.

I have the Honor to be, &c.


Le Premier Consul was indeed taken into the Royal Navy and commissioned as the Sloop of War HMS Scout. The vessel foundered off Newfoundland later in 1801.

At the same time HMS Dryad arrived off Cork with Le Premier Consul, she was also in company with the captured Swedish Frigate Ulla Fersen. By way of background, the Swedish Frigate had previously had a run-in with the Royal Navy. On the 7th August 1798, the Ulla Fensen had been escorting a convoy of Swedish merchant vessels bound for Spain in defiance of the British blockade. Captain Olof Rudolf Cedarstrom was under orders not to permit foreign interference with the convoy but the convoy encountered two British warships, the Sloops of War HMS Busy (32pdr carronade-armed, 18 guns) and HMS Speedwell (4pdr-armed, 14 guns) and had allowed the British to detain the convoy without a fight. After his ship's return to Sweden, the Captain faced a Court Martial and was sentenced to death. In the end, the sentence was never carried out and he was eventually released to continue his career in the Swedish Navy. When the Ulla Fersen encountered HMS Dryad while escorting another convoy, it was a different story and she had put up a fight against the British Frigate's superior firepower. She had surrendered to HMS Dryad after a fight which cost her seven men killed and 14 wounded. The Ulla Fersen was eventually released back to Sweden after negotiations between the respective governments.

On the 9th June 1802, HMS Dryad arrived at Portsmouth bearing the flag of Admiral Lord Gardner. The reason for this is that on the 25th March, the Treaty of Amiens had been signed, ending the war and the Irish Station of which Gardner had been Commander in Chief had been closed down. At the same time that HMS Dryad returned to Portsmouth, Captain Mansfield left the ship and he was replaced by Captain Robert Williams. Captain Mansfield returned to the Royal Navy on the outbreak of the Napoleonic War in 1803 when he was appointed to command HMS Minotaur (74). This website had more information about Charles Mansfield:

With the nation now at peace, HMS Dryad was engaged in assisting the Revenue Service in supressing smuggling across the English Channel.

Despite the politicians promises of an everlasting peace, disputes between Britain and France arose almost as soon as the ink on the Treaty was dry. Both sides had made promises they had no intention of keeping and in the end, the British declared war on France in May of 1803. This time, it was to be a fight to the finish. In February of 1803, Captain Williams was appointed to command the 74-gun ship HMS Russell and was replaced in HMS Dryad by Captain William Domett who arrived from his home in Bath on the 19th. On the 14th March, the ship left Spithead bound for Cork in order to impress seamen. Once enough seamen had been gathered, HMS Dryad was assigned to blockade duty as part of the Inshore Squadron of the Channel Fleet, keeping a close eye on the French naval bases at Rochefort, Lorient and Brest. Also in the Inshore Squadron were the ex-French 80-gun two-decker HMS Tonnant, the seventy-fours HMS Spartiate, HMS Russel and HMS Cullodden with HMS Dryad's sister-ship HMS Doris.

On the 18th June, HMS Dryad recaptured the merchant ship Adventure and was paid salvage for the ship and cargo on her return to Cork. The Adventure had had a torrid time crossing the Atlantic from the West Indies. She had been taken by the enemy, retaken by the British, captured again by the French and finally recaptured by HMS Dryad. In the meantime, on the 11th June, Captain John Giffard was appointed to take command of the ship and return Admiral Gardner to resume his command of the Irish Station. On her return to Spithead, Captain Domett had been ordered to take command of the First Rate ship of the line HMS Ville de Paris (110), flagship of the Commander in Chief Channel Fleet, Admiral the Honourable Sir William Cornwallis.

On the 27th June, HMS Dryad departed Spithead with Captain Giffard in command, bearing Admiral Gardner to resume his appointment.

On 10th August 1803, it was reported in the Times that HMS Dryad returned to Cork in company with the merchantmen Nero, Thetis, Trelawney Planter, Mary and Susannah and Ann. These vessels had become seperated from their convoy and had been sighted by HMS Dryad 600 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. HMS Dryad escorted the vessels as far as Cape Clear.

The next 18 months or so were spent by HMS Dryad in escorting convoys from the Western Approaches and along the south coast of England between Cork, Spithead and The Downs.

On the 29th December 1804, Captain Giffard resigned his command due to ill health and was replaced in command of HMS Dryad by Captain Sir Adam Drummond.

In October 1805, HMS Dryad recaptured the British whaling ship Harriot. That vessel had been returning to Gravesend from Port Jackson in New Zealand after a season in the Southern Whale Fishery when she had been captured by a Spanish privateer. After recapturing the Harriot, Captain Drummond sent her into Waterford and the vessel finally made it back to Gravesend on the 24th December 1805.

On the 4th November 1805 while patrolling off Ferrol in company with the 18pdr-armed 38-gun Frigate HMS Boadicea, a force of four French ships of the line was spotted. The two British Frigates attempted to entice the French squadron into a chase and lead them under the guns of the Inshore Squadron. The French commander, Rear-Admiral Pierre Dumanoir le Pelley was having none of this; his ships were survivors of the carnage at the Battle of Trafalgar which had occurred a couple of weeks earlier and they quickly lost the pair of British Frigates. The French force was later pursued and defeated by a British squadron under Sir Richard Strachan at the Battle of Cape Ortegal a couple of days later.

On the 15th May 1807, HMS Dryad was in company with the Frigate HMS Amethyst (18pdr, 36 guns) and the Sloop of War HMS Plover (ship-rigged, 6pdr-armed, 18 guns) about 60 miles off the Isles of Scilly when they sighted the small French privateer schooner Josephine armed with four two-pounder guns. Josephine was out of Ile de Batz, had been out since 2nd April and had taken one prize.

The rest of 1807 into 1808 turned out to be very lucrative for HMS Dryad's crew with a number of valuable prizes being taken in the course of her patrols of the Western Approaches.

During 1809, Captain Edward Galwey assumed command of HMS Dryad and the ship was ordered to join a vast armada gathering in The Downs.

By this time, the British were aware that the French were intending to use the great port of Antwerp at the mouth of the River Scheldt as a naval base. The French had occupied what is now The Netherlands and Belgium and the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte had installed his younger brother Louis as King of Holland. He had forced Louis to cede to France the port of Flushing as the harbour at Antwerp was not deep enough to accomodate a fully loaded French 80-gun Ship of the Line. This gave the French mastery of the entire mouth of the Scheldt and the natural harbour this provides could hold a fleet of 20 ships of the line in perfect safety. By 1809, the French had already stationed a fleet of ten 74-gun ships in the Scheldt. In addition to this, the various shipyards at Antwerp had a total of 19 slipways, all of which were being used for the construction of ships for the French navy. Of particular concern for the British was the fact that six 80-gun ships, each of which had the equivalent firepower to a British 98-gun Second Rate ship and three 74-gun ships were at various stages of construction at Antwerp. Since 1805, the French had been turning the port of Antwep into a naval depot and had spent some 66 million francs on extending the fortifications, basin, dockyard and arsenal there.

In the spring of 1809, the British had decided to do something about this new threat and had begun to prepare a massive amphibious expedition to destroy the arsenal, dockyard, fortifications and enemy ships at Antwerp, Flushing and Terneuse. If possible, they were also to render the Scheldt impassable for large ships. In order to achieve this, the British planned to occupy the islands of Cadzand, Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland. They spent the early summer of 1809 gathering an immense invasion fleet at the Downs, the great fleet anchorage between Deal and the Goodwin Sands. The fleet comprised no less than 39 ships of the line, three 44-gun two-decked ships, 23 frigates including HMS Dryad, a post-ship, 31 sloops-of-war, five bomb-vessels, 23 gun-brigs and 120 hired armed cutters, revenue cutters, tenders and gun-boats. In addition to 245 warships of various sizes, there were 400 transport vessels carrying 44,000 soldiers including some 3,000 cavalry troops, 15,000 horses, two complete seige trains with heavy artillery and mortars as well as lighter field artillery.

The naval force was to be commanded by the Commander-in-Chief in the North Sea, the now-Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan. The army was to be commanded by General Sir John Pitt, the 2nd Earl of Chatham and eldest son of William Pitt the Elder, the First Earl and former Prime Minister and he was also the older brother of William Pitt the Younger, himself a Prime Minister.

On the 28th July 1809, this mighty armada left the Downs and headed for the Scheldt Estuary. The Commander-in-Chief in HMS Venerable (74) anchored in West-Kapelle Road in the evening of July 28th, and there found the frigate HMS Fisgard (18pdr, 38). HMS Fisgard and her crew had already stationed small craft as marks on some of the neighbouring sandbanks. In the course of the night, the Eoompot channel, between Noordland and Walcheren, was sounded, and marks were placed to show its entrance. On the 29th, a large flotilla of transports, having on board General Sir John Hope's division of troops, anchored between Noord Beveland and Schouwen, opposite Zierikzee and a few hours later, the transports with General Sir Eyre Coote's division, 17,000 strong, also arrived, in charge of Rear-Admiral William Albany Otway. Coote's troops were destined exclusively for operations against Walcheren, and should have been landed straight away, but bad weather prevented any landing being attempted until 16:30. On the 30th, under covering fire from the hired armed cutter Idas (10) and under direction of Captains Lord Amelius Beauclerk of HMS Royal Oak and George Cockburn, of HMS Belle Isle (both of 74 guns) Coote's division after very light opposition, established itself on the northern extremity of Walcheren. In the evening, some bombs and gunboats entered the Veere Gat, or creek, and on the 31st, opened fire on the fortified town of Veere, one of the chief places in the island but towards nightfall, after three gunboats had been sunk by Dutch shot, the flotilla had to withdraw without having suffered any casualties. Middelburg, the capital of the island had in the meantime, peacefully surrendered and Veere had been captured. In addition a naval brigade, landed on the 30th, under Captain Charles Richardson of HMS Caesar (80) and Commander George William Blarney of the brig-sloop HMS Harpy (32pdr carronade-armed, 18) had bombarded the town of Veere with guns and Congreve rockets. During the night the Dutch commandant offered to surrender, so on August 1st Veere surrendered. The army then advanced. Fort Eammekens fell on August 3rd, and immediately afterwards, the British laid seige to Flushing. Sir John Hope's division, under the conduct of Sir Richard Goodwin Keats, had been already landed without opposition on Zuid Beveland, and had occupied some posts there, including Fort Bath, at the eastern end of the island.

On July 29th, as soon as he had been apprised of the approach of the British fleet, the French Rear-Admiral Missiessy, whose force had been lying at anchor off the Calot Sand, had weighed anchor and proceeded up the Scheldt. By the evening of the 30th, six of his ten ships of the line were above a boom which had been thrown across the river at Lillo. The other four remained below Fort Bath until a few hours before the British occupied it, and so obtained control, to some extent, both of the East and of the West Scheldt. So far, one division of the British army had landed on Walcheren, and another on Zuid Beveland. A third should, according to the original plans, have been almost simultaneously landed at Cadzand, where the French General Rousseau commanded a small force. Owing to a miscommunication, the transport vessels which ought to have put their troops ashore at Cadzand moved round to the Veere Gat. This error enabled Rousseau, on August 1st and 2nd, to send over about 1600 men in schuyts to reinforce the threatened garrison of Flushing. But on the 3rd, his efforts to send more were frustrated by the brave actions of the brig-sloop HMS Raven (24pdr carronade-armed, 16) HMS Raven, under the orders of Captain Edward William Campbell Rich Owen of HMS Clyde (18pdr, 38) stood in to cover some boats which under Lieutenant Charles Burrough Strong had been ordered to mark the channel between Flushing and Breskens. She quickly became exposed to heavy fire from the batteries of both places but, instead of withdrawing, she returned fire, and assisted by some gunboats, drove back to the Cadzand side a flotilla of enemy's boats which had been in the act of crossing. As she returned down the river, she passed through a hail of shells, grapeshot and red-hot shot from the batteries on both shores, and lost her main and fore topmasts, besides receiving other serious damage, having two of her guns dismounted, and drifting on to the Elboog sand, whence she could not be moved until the following morning. In this action, HMS Raven suffered eight wounded including her commander. Sadly, their bravery was to no avail, on August 4th, the French reopened communications between Cadzand and Flushing and between that day and the evening of the 6th, General Rousseau succeeded in sending across about 1500 more men, a reinforcement which brought up the strength of the Flushing garrison to about seven thousand.

Possession of Fort Rammekens allowed the British to use the Sloe channel, which is one of the connections between the East and the West Scheldt and facilitated the passage into West Scheldt of the flotilla which had been operating against Veere. Part of this was destined to watch the river opposite Flushing, and to prevent further communications between Cadzand and Ter Neuze; and part to proceed up the West Scheldt, and to co-operate in a naval advance in the direction of Lillo but owing to the bad weather and the difficulties of navigating the River, Flushing was not effectively blockaded until the 6th. It wasn't until the 9th that a division of ships under Sir Home Riggs Popham was able to push up the West Scheldt in order to sound and buoy the Baerlandt Channel in preparation for the passage of the larger ships. On the afternoon of August 11th, with a light westerly breeze that a squadron of ten frigates under Lord William Stuart, weighed anchor from below Flushing and in a line of battle, forced the channel between the batteries of Flushing and Cadzand. The frigates were:

HMS Lavinia, HMS Statira, the ex-Danish ships HMS Rota and HMS Perlen (all 18pdr, 38), HMS Amethyst, HMS Aigle, HMS Euryalus, HMS Dryad and the ex-Danish HMS Nymphen (all 18pdr, 36) and HMS Heroine (12pdr, 36).

As a result of the light wind and strong opposing current, the frigates were under fire for about two hours, but only suffered casualties of two killed and nine wounded and except for HMS Aigle, they reached the upper part of the river without having suffered any material damage. HMS Aigle had had her stern frame shattered by a shell. In the meantime an attack on Fort Bath by Missiessy's small craft had been repulsed and Sir Richard Goodwin Keats, who was in command below Lillo had forced the French to move the rest of their ships of theline to a point above the boom which spanned the river at that spot.

It had been arranged that when the siege batteries of the army opened fire on Flushing, a squadron of ships of the line would move up the river and support them. The bombardment began at 13:30 on August 13th and the army gunners were supported by two divisions of bomb vessels and gunboats under the command of Captain George Cockburn, of HMS Belle Isle (74), who commanded the operation from HMS Plover. On that day the light winds prevented the ships of the line from moving to the attack, but at 10:00 on the 14th, the following ships, all of 74 guns, weighed anchor from off Dijkshoek and stood in:

HMS San Domingo, HMS Blake, HMS Repulse, HMS Victorious, the ex-Danish HMS Danmark, HMS Audacious and HMS Venerable.

Soon after approaching near enough to open fire, HMS San Domingo and then HMS Blake, which had attempted to pass inside of her, grounded on the Dog-sand. At this point, the other ships were signalled to haul off and anchor. The two ships got off after about three hours under fire and anchored with the rest having suffered casualties of two killed and eighteen wounded. The remaining ships of the line had nobody hurt. At 16:00, the garrison of Flushing ceased returning the British fire and at 14:00 on the 15th, the French commandant, General Mounet, offered to surrender.

A contemporary engraving of The Bombardment of Flushing:

Apart from the loss sustained by the ships of the line and the frigate squadron, the naval force suffered further casualties of 7 killed and 22 wounded aboard the bomb vessels and gunboats with 7 wounded in the naval brigade which served ashore under Captain Charles Richardson. The army, in the various operations on the island of Walcheren up to the surrender of Flushing, had 103 killed and 443 wounded. On the day of the surrender, HMS Imperieuse (18pdr, 38) exposed herself to the fire of the fort at Ter Neuze and returned fire with shrapnel shells from her carronades. One of these blew up the magazine of the battery and caused the deaths of 75 of the enemy. What losses the French sustained in Walcheren is unknown, but they were probably severe. On August 17th, the islands of Schouwen and Duijveland, northward of the East Scheldt, surrendered peacefully to Sir Richard Goodwin Keats and Lieutenant-General the Earl of Rosslyn.

From that point, the campaign collapsed. The Earl of Chatham, who moved his headquarters from Middelburg to Veere on the 21st, transferred them from there on the 23rd to Goes, on Zuid Beveland. He left 10,000 men in Walcheren to defend against the ever-increasing force of the enemy at Cadzand and he therefore had 29,000 men nominally available for the remaining objectives of the expedition, which were the taking of the strong forts at Lillo and Liefkenshoek and of the great fortress of Antwerp. At those places, and in Bergen-op-Zoom, there were discovered to be at least 35,000 French soldiers while from the 19th onwards, more and more British troops were falling ill with what was known as the 'Walcheren Fever', a form of Malaria. The Earl of Chatham was growing increasingly concerned by reports which reached him about the defences of Antwerp, which he had previously believed could be easily taken and of the seeming impossibility of destroying the docks and arsenal there without having first taken the citadel. He also learned that there was nothing to prevent the French ships of the line from moving with everything aboard, to Ruppelmonde, five miles beyond Antwerp or without their guns and stores, to Dendermonde, some 15 miles further up the river Scheldt. Realising the likelyhood of failure, he held a council of war on the 26th. This council declared in favour of abandoning the whole enterprise rather than of running any risk of utter failure. To this end, Zuid Beveland was evacuated immediately, and Walcheren in December of 1809, after the basin, arsenal, and sea-defences at Flushing had been blown up. Two small vessels on the stocks there were also destroyed but a 74-gun ship which was in frames was taken to pieces and the timbers later reassembled at Woolwich Royal Dockyard and completed as HMS Chatham (74). The only complete vessel taken was a new frigate, the Fidele, which was taken into the Royal Navy as HMS Laurel (18pdr, 38).

The last of the British troops leave Walcheren:

History now judges the whole expedition as having been mismanaged, ill-planned and ill-timed. Of the huge army landed on the islands in the mouth of the River Scheldt, particularly Walcheren, over 4,000 died from the so-called Walcheren Fever while another 6,000 were left suffering the long-term effects of Malaria. Only about 160 British soldiers were actually killed in the fighting. The Earl of Chatham saw to it that Sir Richard Strachan carried the blame for the failure of this, the largest British amphibious operation of the war and the Rear-Admiral received no more active service appointments as a result. The Earl of Chatham also had no further active service appointments and only went on to serve in purely ceremonial positions. A poem mocking him for the lack of communication between his headquarters and the Royal Navy forces there to support him became popular:

"The Earl of Chatham, with his sword drawn,
Stood waiting for Sir Richard Strachan;
Sir Richard, longing to be at 'em,
Stood waiting for the Earl of Chatham."

Despite being married, Sir John Pitt, the 2nd Earl of Chatham died without an heir on the 24th September 1835 and the Earldom of Chatham died with him. Sir Richard Strachan also died without an heir on 3rd February 1828 although he and his wife had three daughters. His Baronetcy became extinct upon his death.

After the debacle of the Walcheren Campaign, HMS Dryad and her crew were assigned to patrolling the enemy coasts as part of the Channel Fleet. The ship was part of a squadron under the orders of Commodore Sir Robert Mends. This proved to be both busy and lucrative for Captain Galwey and his men. On the 6th February 1810, HMS Dryad in company with the 32pdr carronade-armed Brig-Sloop HMS Eclipse of 18 guns recaptured the vessels Dobridge and Hercules, previously taken by the enemy, for which the commanders, officers and crews of both vessels were paid salvage.

By this stage of the Napoleonic War, Spain had been invaded by the French and Napoleon Buonaparte had installed his brother Joseph as King. The Royal Navy had been ordered by the Government to cease hostilities against the Spanish and to render whatever assistance was required. What is now known as the Peninsular War had begun. HMS Dryad and the rest of Commodore Mends' squadron were tasked with assisting the Spanish in whatever way they could.

The years of 1811, 1812 and 1813 were spent patrolling the Bay of Biscay, something which proved very lucrative for Captain Galway and his men, with a great number of prizes being sent into Plymouth.

In July 1813, HMS Dryad entered the Royal Dockyard at Sheerness and underwent a Large Repair.

By February of the following year, the repairs were complete and the ship was back at sea. On the 25th February 1814, the 38-gun Frigate HMS Eurotas sighted the French Frigate La Chlorinde of 44 guns. Now HMS Eurotas was unusual in that the ship was originally a fir-built Frigate armed with 18-pounder cannons. By this time, the war with the Americans had broken out and the Royal Navy had suffered a number of what they regarded as embarrassing defeats in single ship actions against the much larger and more powerfully armed American Frigates. In order to try to do something about this, two Frigates had had their 18-pounder guns replaced with larger and more powerful 24 pounders. HMS Eurotas was one of these ships. HMS Eurotas had set off in pursuit of the French Frigate and in the action which followed, both Frigates were badly damaged and dismasted with heavy casualties on both ships. After withdrawing from the action and putting up a jury rig, HMS Eurotas was beaten to the capture of La Chlorinde by HMS Dryad. HMS Dryad took the badly damaged French frigate in tow and took her into Plymouth, earning Captain Galway and his men the bulk of the substantial amount of prize money which was paid when La Chlorinde was taken into the Royal Navy and renamed HMS Aurora.

On the 11th April 1814, the Napoleonic War was ended by the Treaty of Fontainebleu.

With the war over, the Government reduced the size of the Royal Navy and as part of this drawdown of the fleet, HMS Dryad was paid off at Sheerness and entered the Ordinary there. The ship was fitted for the Ordinary, work which involved building cabins for the Warrant Officers who would oversee the care of the ship while she was secured to a mooring buoy in the Swale. Those men were the Boatswain, the Gunner, the Carpenter and the Cook with their respective servants and ten seamen all rated at Able Seaman. The ship's Purser was also part of the skeleton crew, as his was regarded as being an unseamanlike trade, he was allowed to live ashore within a reasonable distance from the Dockyard.

In September of 1815, HMS Dryad entered the Royal Dockyard at Sheerness and completed a further Large Repair at a cost of £25,538.

In June of 1819, the ship's waist area, between the quarterdeck and forecastle was roofed over.

In September of 1825, HMS Dryad was taken into the Royal Dockyard at Sheerness and was fitted for sea. On completion of the work, HMS Dryad was sent to the Mediterranean where she was engaged incombatting piracy and showing the flag.

From 1830, HMS Dryad was engaged in combatting the trans-atlantic slave trade, a role which took her from West Africa to the Caribbean and South America.

On the 13th September 1832, HMS Dryad was paid off into the Portsmouth Ordinary, where she remained until December 1848, when she was converted into a Receiving Ship.

In February of 1860, HMS dryad was broken up at Portsmouth.

"I did not say the French would not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Admiral Sir John Jervis, 1st Earl St Vincent.