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Royal Naval Biography/Ellicott, Edward


EDWARD ELLICOTT, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1812.]

Was senior lieutenant of la Revolutionnaire frigate, Captain Francis Cole, at the capture of l’Unité, thus described by Sir Edward Pellew, now Viscount Exmouth, in a letter to the Admiralty, dated H.M.S. Indefatigable, April 20, 1796:–

“I have the pleasure to inform their lordships, that on the 13th instant, at 4 P.M. we fell in with, and gave chase to a French frigate to windward: la Revolutionnaire being far astern, was tacked by signal to cut the chase off from the shore; and I had the pleasure to see her, just before dark, in a situation to weather the enemy upon a different board, which obliged her also to tack.

“The night setting in cloudy, we lost sight of the chase before 9 o’clock, when she bore up, but not unobserved by that zealous and attentive officer, Captain Cole, who pursued and closed with her at half-past 11; and not being able to prevail upon her commander to surrender without resistance, he opened a close and well-directed fire upon her, which was but faintly returned: after a second broadside, the enemy struck, and proved to be l’Unité, from l’Orient to Rochfort, mounting 38 guns, 12 and 6-pounders, and manned with 255 men, 9 of whom were slain, and 11 desperately wounded. La Revolutionnaire happily had not a man hurt; and it appears that she was manoeuvred by Captain Cole in the most officer-like manner, and the attack made with great gallantry. I have the honor to enclose the report which he has made of the good conduct of his officers and ship’s company upon this occasion; and, from the high terms in which he speaks of his first lieutenant, Mr. Ellicott, who I know to be a good officer, I have thought it proper to give him an order to command the prize to England.

“L’Unité was reputed one of the fastest sailers in the French navy; she is a very fine frigate, only 7 years old.”

(Extracts of Captain Cole’s report).

“Allow me. Sir, to express to you how much I feel myself obliged to my first lieutenant, Edward Ellicott, for his very particular attention in keeping sight of the chase, and for his steady and manly courage when close engaged: the cheerfulness with which he put himself at the head of the boarders promised me the happiest success, if boarding had been necessary, and which was only stopped by the enemy’s calling to surrender. * * * * * *

“I cannot sufficiently express my own good fortune in not having lost an officer or man, which is to be attributed to the enemy’s firing at the masts and rigging.”

This officer’s promotion to the rank of Commander took place in May, 1797; and his post commission bears date Aug. 12, 1812, at which period he commanded the Hebe hired armed ship, on the North Sea station.

Agent.– J. Dufaur, Esq.