Mudge, Zachary (DNB00)


MUDGE, ZACHARY (1770–1852), admiral, a younger son, by his third wife, of Dr. John Mudge [q. v.], and half-brother of Major-general William Mudge [q. v.], was born at Plymouth on 22 Jan. 1770. From November 1780 he was borne on the books of the Foudroyant, with Captain Jervis, afterwards Earl of St. Vincent [q. v.], and is said to have been actually on board her when she captured the Pegase on 21 April 1782. During the next seven years he served on the home and North American stations, for some time as midshipman of the Pegase ; and on 24 May 1789 was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. In December 1790 he was appointed to the Discovery, with Captain George Vancouver [q. v.], then starting on his celebrated voyage of exploration on the north-west coast of America. In February 1794 he was moved into the Providence, with Commander W. R. Broughton [q. v.], and on 24 Nov. 1797 he was promoted to be commander. In November 1798 he was appointed to the Fly sloop, employed on the coast of North America. On 15 Nov. 1800 he was advanced to post rank, and in April 1801 was appointed to the Constance of 24 guns, in which he was employed convoying merchant ships or cruising with some success against the enemy's privateers. In September 1802 he was moved into the 32-gun frigate Blanche in the West Indies. During 1803 and 1804 she effected many captures both of the enemy's merchant ships and privateers. On 19 July 1805, as she was carrying despatches from Jamaica, intended for Lord Nelson at Barbados, she fell in with a small French, squadron, consisting of the 40-gun frigate Topaze, two heavy corvettes, and a brig, which brought her to action about ten in the forenoon. In a little over an hour she was reduced to a wreck and struck her colours; Mudge and the rest of the officers and crew were taken out of her, and towards evening she sank. Both at the time and afterwards it was questioned whether Mudge had made the best possible defence (James, Naval History, edit. of 1860, iv. 39 et seq.) The Topaze only, it was said, was actively engaged, and her loss was limited to one man killed. On the other hand, the corvettes seriously interfered with the Blanche's manoeuvres; and this was the view taken by the court-martial which, on 14 Oct., acquitted Mudge of all blame, and complimented him on his 'very able and gallant conduct' against a superior force (Naval Chronicle, xiv. 341). On 18 Nov. he was appointed to the Phoenix, which he commanded for the next five years in the Bay of Biscay and on the coast of Portugal. In 1814 and 1815 he commanded the 74-gun ship Valiant; but had no further service. He became a rear-admiral on 22 July 1830, vice-admiral on 23 Nov. 1841, admiral on 15 Sept. 1849, and died at Plympton, on 26 Oct. 1852. He was buried at Newton Ferrers; there is a memorial window in St. Andrew's Church, Plymouth. Mudge married Jane, daughter of the Rev. Edmund Granger, rector of Sowton, Devonshire, and left issue. His eldest son, Zachary, a barrister, died, at the age of fifty-four, on 13 Dec. 1868 (Gent. Mag. 1868, ii. 120).

[Flint's Mudge Memoirs; O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biog. iii. (vol. ii.) 307; Gent. Mag. 1852, new ser. xxxviii. 634.]

J. K. L.