Open main menu

Royal Naval Biography/Campbell, John (b)


Entered the navy in Aug. 1795; and served the whole of his time as midshipman under Captain John Oakes Hardy, in the Thisbe 28, Assistance 50, and St. Albans 64, on the Halifax station, where he witnessed the capture of l’Elisabeth French frigate, by the squadron under Vice-Admiral George Murray, Aug. 28th, 1796. His first commission bears date Oct. 6th, 1801, on which day he was appointed to the Sophie sloop, Captain George Burdett, employed in the British Channel.

We next find Mr. Campbell in the Courageux 74, Captain J. O. Hardy, at the reduction of St. Lucia, June 22d, 1803[1]. He afterwards served under Captain (now Sir Charles) Dashwood, in the Bacchante 24, a most active and successful cruiser, on the Jamaica station[2]; from whence he returned home first lieutenant of the Diana 38, Captain Thomas James Maling, in 1806. From that frigate he was appointed to the Edgar 74, then bearing the flag of Lord Keith, but subsequently a private ship, commanded by Captain James Macnamara, with whom he removed into the Berwick 74, and continued to serve as senior lieutenant, until obliged to go on shore for the recovery of his health, in July, 1810.

On the 9th and 11th April, 1808, a court-martial was held on board the Salvador del Mundo, in Hamoaze, for the trial of five mutineers of the Edgar, viz. Henry Chesterfield, captain of the main-top; John Rowlands, boatswain’s-mate; and George Scarr, Abraham Davis, and Joseph Johnston, seamen. It appeared by the evidence of Lieutenant Campbell, that on the 28th of the preceding month, he was acquainted, while in the wardroom, that the ship’s company were assembling in a body on the quarter-deck; and on his going there, they demanded with one voice, “Fresh captain and officers,” and some of them called out “An answer and no mutiny.” After remonstrating with them once or twice, he was obliged to order the marines to be drawn up, and was on the point of directing them to fire, when the sailors thought fit to disperse. The five prisoners were then seized, and put in irons. In their defence, the petty-officers attempted lo prove that they were intimidated to go on the quarter-deck by the threats of the ship’s company. The sentence passed was as follows: – Chesterfield, to receive 700 lashes round the fleet, and to be kept in solitary confinement two years; Rowlands, 300 lashes; Scarr, 500 lashes, and one year’s solitary confinement; and Davis and Johnston, 200 lashes each.

After the re-establishment of his health, Lieutenant Campbell served as first of the Tigre 74, Captain John Halliday (now Vice-Admiral Tollemache); and San Josef 110, bearing the flag of Lord Keith, then commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet. In the autumn of 1813, he was successively appointed, by the latter officer, acting commander of the Sparrow and Lyra sloops, employed on the north coast of Spain[3]. While in the former vessel, he appears to have been charged with the blockade of Santona, previous to the storming of St. Sebastian, on which memorable occasion he also served under the orders of Sir George R. Collier[4]. His promotion to the rank of commander took place Dec. 6th, 1813.