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Royal Naval Biography/Mitchell, Andrew

[Post-Captain of 1822.]

Third and youngest son of the late Admiral Sir Andrew Mitchell, K.B., whose services are recorded in the Naval Chronicle, Vol. xvi, pp. 90–107; and brother to Captains Charles and Nathaniel Mitchell, R.N.

This officer first went to sea in the Cambrian frigate, then bearing the flag of his father, as commander-in-chief on the Halifax station; where he was severely wounded while assisting at the capture of a Spanish privateer, in July, 1805. The following is a copy of the official letter written by his captain on this occasion:–

Cambrian, July 21.

“Sir,– I beg leave to present you with a recital of Lieutenant Pigot’s proceedings, from H.M. ship under my command, in a schooner privateer we had taken on the 3d. He made the best of his way to the river St. Mary’s[1], where we had information of two ships and a schooner; he got off the harbour on the 6th, and on the 7th he proceeded with the schooner twelve miles up a narrow river, through a continual fire of the militia and riflemen, until he got within shot of a ship, brig, and schooner, lashed in a line across the river; he engaged them for an hour; his schooner grounded; he had recourse to her boats; and, after an obstinate resistance, carried the ship with her guns; he obliged the men to quit the brig and schooner, took possession of all, then turned his fire on the militia, about a hundred in number, (with a field piece), who were completely routed. Lieutenant Pigot got two wounds in the head by musket-balls, and one in the leg. Lieutenant Masterman, of the marines, who most ably seconded all Mr. Pigot’s views, escaped unhurt, to the wonder of all; for his clothes were shot through and through. Mr. Lawson, master’s-mate, was wounded severely, as well as Mr. Mitchell, midshipman. Messrs. Griffenhoofe, Bolman, and Williamson, behaved well, as indeed did all on this occasion. Two men were killed, and eleven wounded. This very gallant conduct was observed by some hundreds of Americans from the opposite side of the river, who expressed their astonishment.

“Mr. Pigot never quitted the deck for nearly three weeks, except to get his wounds dressed, which inspired the rest; the wind was adverse for that time, and the enemy never attempted to attack him. I hope he may meet with every reward such conduct deserves; he really is an active officer, always ready.

“The ship proves to be the Golden Grove, and the brig the Ceres, of London, taken by the schooner, a Spanish privateer, of six guns and seventy men, two months since.

“The enemy had armed the ship with 8 six-pounders, 6 swivels, and 50 men: the brig was defended with swivels and small arms. I am, &c.

(Signed)J. P. Beresford.”

To Sir A. Mitchell, K.B., &c. &c.

The loss on the Spanish side is represented by Captain Beresford to have amounted to 30 men, including 5 Americans killed, and 22 wounded.

In Dec. 1807, Mr. Andrew Mitchell, then midshipman of the Theseus 74, was taken prisoner in an attempt to destroy a French two-decker at Vigo. His promotion to the rank of lieutenant took place Aug. 15, 1808; and he appears to have served as such in the Theseus during the remainder of the time that she was commanded by Captain (now Sir John P.) Beresford[2], in whose memoir we should have stated, that she formed part of the Walcheren expedition, and remained in the Scheldt until the final evacuation of Flushing, &c. He soon afterwards followed the same officer into the Poictiers 74; and was appointed by him to command the Frolic brig, of 18 guns, recaptured from the Americans, Oct. 18, 1812. His commission as commander was not confirmed, however, until Aug. 24, 1813; since which period he has been successively appointed to the Helicon, Martin, and Bann sloops, fitted on the peace establishment. The Martin was wrecked on the coast of Ireland, while under his command, in Dec. 1817; and he invalided from the Bann, at Jamaica, in Sept. 1820.

Captain Andrew Mitchell’s post commission bears date April 23, 1822.

Agent.– T. Collier, Esq.

  1. The northern boundary of Florida.
  2. See Vol. I. Part II. p. 667, et seq.