Royal Naval Biography/Hamond, Graham Eden

A Companion of the most Honorable Military Order of the Bath; and a Deputy-Lieutenant of the Isle of flight.
[Post-Captain of 1798.]

This officer is the son of Sir Andrew Snape Hamond, Bart, whose services we have related at p. 54, et seq. of this volume. He was born in London, Dec. 30, 1779; and after serving for some time on board the different guard-ships commanded by his father, joined the Phaeton frigate, commanded by his cousin, the late Sir Andrew Snape Douglas, which was the first vessel sent out to cruise against the enemy, and give protection to British commerce, at the commencement of the war with France, in 1793.

Amongst the captures made by the Phaeton during that year, were le General Dumourier, a French privateer of 22 guns and 196 men, having on board 2,040,000 dollars; her prize the St. Jago, laden with bark, copper, and hides, worth nearly 300,000l. sterling[1]; la Prompte, a small French frigate of 28 guns and 180 men; a privateer of 16 guns and 60 men j and the Blonde, a national ship mounting 24 guns. In April 1794, Sir Andrew Snape Douglas, who had previously worn a distinguishing pendant, and commanded all the frigates of Earl Howe’s fleet, formed into a separate squadron, was appointed his Lordship’s Captain, in the Queen Charlotte, to which ship Mr. Hamond was also removed. In a letter written by the former to his uncle the Comptroller, about this period, he says, “That I will take care of my friend Graham as long as I live, you may rest assured; and I flatter myself his going into the Queen Charlotte with me will be no disadvantage to him in point of education. He is vastly well, and nobody can conduct himself better than he does in every respect.”

In the Queen Charlotte Mr. Hamond witnessed the recapture of his Majesty’s ship Castor, and part of the Lisbon fleet, which had been taken whilst under her protection; the destruction of a French national cutter; and the capture of a corvette and a brig of war. He also had the honor of sharing in the glorious battle of June 1, 1794, on which occasion his gallant relative received a severe wound, from the effects of which he never recovered[2].

On the 30th Dec. in the same year, Mr. Hamond was removed into the Princess Augusta yacht, then fitting at Deptford, for the purpose of conveying the Princess Caroline of Brunswick to England; and about a month afterwards, from that vessel to the Jupiter of 50 guns, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore Payne, who commanded the ships selected to escort H.S.H. from Cuxhaven[3]. Previous, however, to the final departure of the squadron from the Nore, Mr. Hamond was ordered back to the Queen Charlotte, and very soon after appointed to act as a Lieutenant in the Aquilon frigate, where he continued about three months. He subsequently joined the Zealous 74, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Dickson, and about to sail for the Mediterranean; but being detained by contrary winds, he obtained permission to proceed thither across the continent, by which means he was enabled to join the British fleet just after the partial action off Frejus, July 13, 1795, and time enough to witness the blowing up of l’Alcide, a French 74[4]. On the 23d of the same month he was appointed junior Lieutenant of Vice-Admiral Hotham’s flag-ship, the Britannia of 100 guns. His commission was confirmed by the Admiralty, Oct. 19th following.

Lieutenant Hamond remained in the Britannia until July 1796, when he was sent in the Flora frigate to join l’Aigle off Tunis. The latter ship, under the command of Captain (now Sir Charles) Tyler, was afterwards employed co-operating with the Austrian army between Trieste and Venice; and on her return from that service in February 1797, to join Sir John Jervis, was twice chased by the Spanish fleet. On the 10th of the following month Lieutenant Hamond removed into the Niger, another frigate, commanded by the present Vice-Admiral Foote, with whom he served till October 1798; on the 20th of which month he was made a Commander, and appointed to the Echo, a new sloop of 18 guns, fitting at Deptford.

In this vessel, Captain Hamond escorted a fleet of merchantmen to Elsineur, and from thence convoyed the homeward bound Baltic trade to the mouth of the Thames. He was afterwards sent to cruise on the coast of Holland, where he destroyed a French cutter privateer, and assisted at the capture of thirty large Dutch fishing vessels, which were seized in order to prevent them being employed in the threatened invasion of England. In May 1798, he conveyed Prince Frederick of Orange from Yarmouth to Cuxhaven, and received the thanks of H.S.H. for the attention he had paid to him during the voyage.

The Echo continued on the North Sea station until Sept. following, when Captain Hamond was ordered to convoy the trade bound to Halifax and Quebec 100 leagues west of Cape Clear. After performing this service he went to Marcou with reinforcements for the garrison, and then proceeded to join the squadron blockading Havre; off which port he remained till the beginning of December, when he returned to Spithead, and found himself promoted to the command of the Champion, a post-ship, by commission dated Nov. 3, 1798.

During the ensuing year, Captain Hamond was successively employed convoying a fleet of merchant vessels to the Elbe; guarding the mouths of that river and the Weser, to prevent the enemy’s gun-boats from entering; cruising off Norway; carrying money from the Thames to the British army in Holland; and watching the return of the trade from Archangel. This latter, owing to the advanced season of the year, proved a very severe service, the Champion’s station being from 66 to 70 North latitude. On his return to port, he received information that a foreign ship of war was on the coast in distress; he immediately went to her assistance, and after much difficulty succeeded in towing the stranger, a Russian 74 totally dismasted, with an Admiral on board, safe into Leith Roads. On the 26th June preceding, being off the Dudgeon light on his way to Yarmouth, for the purpose of getting a new rudder, the old one being disabled, he discovered an enemy’s cruiser in the midst of near 200 coasting vessels and colliers. No time was lost in giving chase to the marauder, whilst a boat was lowered and recaptured two English brigs. The pursuit continued during the night; and the following day being calm, the sails were furled and every exertion made with the sweeps and boats towing to come up with the enemy; but it was not until the evening of the 28th, with the assistance of a fresh breeze, that this could be effected. She proved to be the famous French privateer Anacreon of 16 guns, a vessel which had done incalculable mischief to our commercial interests.

In March 1800 the Champion convoyed a fleet to Gibraltar, and from thence took several transports laden with ordnance stores, and a battering train, to Malta. On his passage up the Mediterranean, Captain Hamond fell in with an Algerine squadron, which at first shewed symptoms of hostility, and, considering the valuable charge he had, rendered his situation by no means pleasant. Soon after discovering the British vessels, the Algerines, whose force consisted of a 36-gun frigate, two xebecs each mounting 24 guns, and three armed polacres, all full of men, hauled to the wind and displayed the flags of three Admirals, Upon the Champion showing her colours they bore up together, with their rigging, yards, and boarding ladders hanging from each yard arm, lined with men. On arriving within gun-shot they again hauled their wind, each Admiral hoisting an English jack, and firing three guns, the greatest number they ever gave as a salute. The Champion in return hoisted an Algerine jack, and saluted them with three guns.

Had these pirates determined to search the British vessels, Captain Hamond was fully prepared to give them a warm reception; but, considering their immense superiority, it is more than probable his resistance would have been unavailing; and had they discovered such a booty of ordnance stores, it is not to be imagined that any moral reasoning on his part, would have prevented their taking the whole to Algiers. The same squadron afterwards fell in with an English frigate off Cape Bona, and would not allow her to proceed until her commander had sent his commission on board for their inspection.

Captain Hamond was subsequently employed conveying the officers and crew of the Guillaume Tell, a French 80-gun ship[5], to Minorca; assisting at the blockade of Malta, and occasionally serving on shore at the siege of Valette; but at length his health being much impaired by the extreme heat of the climate, he was obliged to return home; for which purpose he exchanged ships with Lord William Stuart, of the Lion 64, July 27, 1800, and proceeded in her to Port Mahon, from whence he conveyed Major-General Craddock and part of the 40th regiment to Gibraltar, where he was charged by Lord Keith with despatches for England. The Lion was paid off Nov. 18, 1800; and on the following day he commissioned the Blanche, a new 36-gun frigate; which ship, after being fitted and manned, was ordered to join the armament under Sir Hyde Parker, then at Yarmouth, and about to sail for the Baltic.

On the 19th March, 1801, Captain Hamond was sent on to Elsineur with a flag of truce, and despatches for Mr. Drummond, the British Minister at Copenhagen. After a delay of two days at the former place, all hopes of accommodation with the Danes being at an end, that gentleman, with the whole British Factory, were received on board the Blanche, and carried to the fleet afi the entrance of the Sound.

In the ensuing battle with the Danish line of defence before Copenhagen[6], the Blanche was anchored by the stern between the Amazon and Alcmene frigates, abreast of the Great Crown battery, under the fire of which formidable work she continued nearly two hours. Her loss consisted of 7 men killed and 9 severely wounded. Her hull and rigging were also much cut up[7].

Lord Nelson behaved very kindly to Captain Hamond when he saw him on board his flag-ship after the battle, and was pleased to say, he would never forget him as long as he lived. On the following Sunday our officer held his Lordship’s prayer book whilst he returned thanks to Almighty God, for the victory which under the Divine auspices had been achieved by the British arms.

The Blanche returned to England with the flag of Sir Hyde Parker, who landed at Yarmouth on the 13th May. During the remainder of the war she was attached to the Channel fleet under Admiral Cornwallis, and employed in occasional cruises to the southward. After the peace of Amiens we find her stationed on the coasts of Cornwall and Devonshire, for the suppression of smuggling; and in the summer of 1802, attending upon his late Majesty and the royal family, at Weymouth. She was paid off at Sheerness, Sept. 22, in the same year. The three succeeding months of Captain Hamond’s life were spent in visiting Havre, Rouen, Paris, the Court of St. Cloud, and Calais.

On the 21st Feb. 1803, Captain Hamond was appointed to the Plantagenet of 74 guns[8], in which ship he captured the Courier de Terre Neuve, a French brig privateer of 16 guns and 54 men, July 24, 1803, and three days afterwards l’Atalante, a beautiful corvette of 22 guns and 120 men. The latter chased the Plantagenet, under the impression that she was an Indiaman, being without a poop. Captain Hamond was obliged to resign the command of this fine ship, through ill-health, in November of the same year; and he remained without any other appointment until the change of Ministry in 1804, when he obtained the command of the Lively, a fine 38-gun frigate, recently launched at Woolwich.

The Lively joined Admiral Cornwallis off Brest, Sept. 23, 1804, and was immediately detached with secret orders to intercept two Spanish frigates expected from Lima with treasure, for which purpose Captain Graham Moore had received similar directions the same day. On the 3d Oct. the Indefatigable, Lively, Medusa, and Amphion, formed a junction off Cadiz; when Captain Sutton of the latter frigate gave intelligence, that the ships Captains Moore and Hamond were sent to look after had already arrived, but that four others were hourly expected, and that they would probably make the high land of Monte Figo, near Cape St. Mary’s, in Portugal, for which neighbourhood the British squadron immediately steered. The result of their rencontre with the Spanish ships, under the orders of Rear-Admiral Bustainente, has already been noticed at p. 536 of our first volume. The Lively, on that occasion, having compelled the Clara of 36 guns and 300 men to surrender, after half an hour’s close action, was ordered to pursue the Fama, which ship had made sail from her opponent, the Medusa. At half an hour past noon Captain Hamond succeeded in bringing her to action, which continued until lh 15' P.M. when she surrendered, and was taken possession of by the Lively, whose superior sailing alone prevented the Spanish Commodore, Zapiain, from effecting his purpose, of running the Fama on shore to avoid being captured. The total loss sustained by the Lively was 2 men killed and 5 wounded. She arrived at Spithead, accompanied by the Fama, on the 17th Oct. exactly one month after leaving the Nore.

Captain Hamond was subsequently sent with secret orders to the squadron stationed off Cadiz, under the orders of Sir John Orde, by whom he was despatched in Nov. 1804, to reconnoitre Carthagena; and after the performance of that service, to cruise off Cape St Vincent, where he captured the San Miguel, a Spanish merchant ship, from Ornoa to Cadiz, having on board 196,639 dollars, four cases of wrought plate, 2,064 bales of indigo, and other valuable articles. The same day (Dec. 7th) he observed Captain Lawford, of the Polyphemus 64, capture the Santa Gertruyda, a frigate of 36 guns, laden with a cargo of very great value[9]. It is necessary to observe in this place, that all these treasure-ships were disposed of as droits of the Crown, and only one-fourth of their proceeds given to the captors.

Towards the latter end of Mar. 1805, the Lively received on board all the specie and bullion that had been captured from the Spaniards, amounting to near 5,000,000 dollars, with which she arrived at Spithead on the 15th April. This was probably the largest sum ever embarked on board one ship; and Captain Hamond’s anxiety for its safety was no doubt very great. A recent arrangement, however, by which the payment of freight-money had been suspended, precluded him from obtaining any remuneration for the immense responsibility he had been subjected to, and which, according to former regulations, would have amounted to at least 10,000l. sterling for the bare conveyance of such a sum from Gibraltar to Cadiz. The regulation alluded to was shortly after rescinded.

On the 29th May, Captain Hamond being off Cadiz, with the Surinam and Halcyon sloops of war under his orders, observed the Glorioso, a Spanish 74, get under weigh, and stand out towards him. About 4 P.M. when nearly five miles distant from the land, the enemy hauled to the wind, which at that time blew so strong as barely to allow him to carry his whole top-sails with top-gallant-sails furled. Captain Hamond, notwithstanding his consorts were hull down to leeward, immediately gave chase, and soon got within gun-shot, firing repeatedly, when passing on opposite tacks, for the space of two hours, and receiving the enemy’s broadsides in return, but without any damage to the Lively. At length the Spaniard’s main-tack and jib-stay being shot away, he appeared angry, and bore upsetting his top-gallant-sails. Captain Hamond not deeming it prudent to close with so superior a force, did the same, hoping to draw him down to the English sloops, both of which carried heavy metal. The enemy soon perceived his intentions, and at dark hauled up under all sail. The Lively followed his example, intending to keep sight of him during the night; thinking it probable that some other cruiser might have appeared to assist her at daylight. Unfortunately the night proved thick and squally, and the Spaniard was not seen again. Captain Hamond afterwards learned that the Glorioso was bound to the Havannah, with a new Governor and his suite on board as passengers, and that she was obliged to put into Teneriffe to secure her masts, and repair other damages occasioned by the Lively’s fire. In this rencontre the crew of the British frigate particularly exerted themselves, and actually reefed the top-sails twice with the yards only half lowered, working their guns at the same time.

In June 1805, Captain Hamond took charge of a fleet of transports at Gibraltar bound to Malta; and on the 26th of that month, having received on board General Sir James Craig and suite, for a passage, made sail to the eastward, accompanied by four sail of the line under Sir Richard Bickerton, who escorted him past Carthagena. The troops embarked in these transports were intended to act in conjunction with a Russian army, expected from Corfu to assist in the defence of Naples. The squadron attached to the expedition consisted of the Lively, Sea-horse, and Ambuscade frigates, and Merlin sloop of war.

Every necessary arrangement having been made by Sir James Craig and Captain Hamond, the latter of whom had already visited Naples for that purpose, the armament left Malta on the 3d Nov., formed a junction with the Russians at sea, and arrived at Castel-a-Mare on the 20th. From thence the combined troops were immediately marched to the frontiers; but the French entering the kingdom with a far superior force, they were soon after obliged to retreat; and by the 19th Jan. 1806, the whole were again embarked, and on their way to Messina; the citadel and forts of which place were garrisoned by them, jointly with the Sicilians, in the course of the succeeding month.

During the time the Lively remained off Naples, her mainmast was damaged by lightning, which also knocked down several men, but did no further mischief. After landing the troops at Messina, Captain Hamond refitted his ship at Malta, and then returned to the Faro, where his launch captured a Spanish merchantman. On the 7th April, Sir James Craig, being obliged to return home on account of ill-health, once more embarked with Captain Hamond, who landed him at Plymouth on the 12th of the following month.

From this period we find no mention of Captain Hamond till Dec. 27, 1808, when he assumed the command of the Victorious 74, fitting for the North Sea station, in which ship he assisted at the capture of Flushing, in Aug. 1809[10]. By this time his health had again become so much impaired, that he was under the necessity of applying for permission to go to England; and his request being complied with by the commander-in-chief, who kindly gave him a cutter for that purpose, he resigned the command of the Victorious to his first Lieutenant, Sept. 20, and arrived in the Downs on the following day. During the last year of the war he commanded the Rivoli, a third rate, forming part of the Mediterranean fleet. He was nominated a C.B. in June 1815; and gazetted as a Deputy-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Nov. 3, 1821.

Captain Hamond married, in Dec. 1806, Elizabeth, daughter of John Kimber, of Fowey, co. Cornwall, Esq.

Agent.– Sir Francis M. Ommanney, M.P.

  1. See Vol. I. note †, at p. 757. N.B. Le General Dumourier and the St. Jago were first discovered from the Phaeton’s main-top-gallant-masthead, by Mr. Hamond. The remainder of Rear-Admiral Gell’s squadron joined in the pursuit; but they were both overtaken and captured by the Phaeton.
  2. See note at p. 54.
  3. See Vol. I. note ‡ at p. 353, et seq.
  4. See Vol. I. note at p. 254.
  5. See Vol. I. p. 378.
  6. See Vol. I. note * at p. 365, et seq.
  7. From the circumstance of her grounding the preceding evening, near the island of Amak, not an officer or a man had been off the Blanche’s deck from the time of her first getting under weigh, whereas every other ship’s company had had their regular meals and usual night’s rest.
  8. See Vol. I. p. 84.
  9. See Vol. I. p. 498.
  10. See Vol. I. p. 290; and note * at p. 135, of the present volume.