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SIR WILLIAM OGILVY, BART.
(Of Innerquharity, Forfarshire, North Britain.)
[Superannuated Rear-Admiral.]

This officer’s patent of Baronetcy is dated 1626; that of the Premier Baronet of Scotland, 1625. He entered the naval service in 1773; and was made a Lieutenant into the Boston; on board of which frigate he was severely wounded whilst endeavouring to suppress a mutiny in 1782. He subsequently joined the Polyphemus 64, and was in the partial action with the combined fleets off Cape Spartel, October 20, in the same year[1], after which that ship was detached to the West Indies, under the orders of Rear-Admiral Sir R. Hughes.

At the commencement of the French war in 1793, he was appointed first Lieutenant of the Robust 74; and from the time Toulon was taken possession of by the allied forces until its final evacuation, we find him acting as commander of that ship, her proper Captain (Elphinstone) holding an important command on shore[2]. He was afterwards removed as first Lieutenant into the Glory, a second rate, forming part of the grand fleet under Earl Howe; and obtained the rank of Commander in consequence of that nobleman’s victory over the republican fleet, on the 1st of June, 1794[3].

In 1795, Captain Ogilvy commanded the Lark sloop of war and after receiving on board some French royalists in the river Elbe, proceeded in company with the Venus and Leda frigates to join the expedition under Sir John B. Warren in Quiberon Bay, where he arrived in time to render a most essential service, for which he received the thanks of Earl Spencer, then at the head of the Admiralty, and of the Commodore.

In our first volume, at pp. 169 and 170, we have given an outline of the operations carried on by the British and emigrant forces in the summer of 1795. Our readers will remember that, owing to the misconduct and treachery of the latter, Fort Penthievre, which, from its situation on a hill, commands the peninsula of Quiberon, was retaken by the enemy on the night of July 20th. At day-break on the following morning it was discovered that the republicans had advanced towards the S.E. point of the peninsula, and with some field pieces were driving before them the scattered royalists, who threw away their arms, divested themselves of their clothes, and plunged from the rocks into the sea, swimming to the boats which were sent from the British ships to receive them. Captain Ogilvy, on the fort being attacked, had slipped his cable, and ran so close in shore that the Lark had but one foot water more than she drew. He then opened and kept up .a heavy and well-directed fire, which had the effect of turning the enemy’s column, killing the General who commanded, together with many of his men, and thus afforded time for the boats, under the able directions of Captain (now Sir R. G.) Keats, to embark upwards of 2000 royalist inhabitants, and about 1100 emigrant troops.

In March 1796, the Lark assisted at the unsuccessful attack made on the town and fort of Leogane, in the island of St. Domingo. From that vessel Captain Ogilvy was removed to the Thunderer 74, in which ship he chased and obliged the Harmony, a frigate of the largest class, recently received by the French government as a present from the United States of America, to seek refuge in Mustique harbour, where she was burnt by the enemy, to prevent her falling into his hands. He continued to be employed off St. Domingo until the final evacuation of that island; on which occasion, in conjunction with the present Rear-Admiral Cochet, he superintended the embarkation of our troops and the French royalists; which service was conducted with great order and regularity. His post commission bears date July 5, 1797.

Captain Ogilvy’s next appointment was to the Magicienne frigate; and in her he appears to have made several valuable captures. In February 1801, when the French Admiral Gantheaume put to sea from Brest, with seven sail of the line and two frigates, the Magicienne was attached to a squadron of equal force, under the orders of Sir Robert Calder, detached from the Channel fleet in pursuit of them. The ships having been dispersed by a heavy gale of wind, during which the Montagu 74 was dismasted, the Telegraph schooner foundered, and the Magicienne had nearly shared the same fate, Captain Ogilvy, after tracing the enemy to the Mediterranean, followed the Rear-Admiral to Jamaica, with the information of their real destination.

Sir William Ogilvy has not been employed since the peace of Amiens; about which period he married the eldest daughter of the late James Morley, Esq. His superannuation as a Rear-Admiral took place December 6, 182] .

Residence.– Dundee, Scotland.



  1. The British Fleet, under Lord Howe, after throwing supplies into Gibraltar, was pursued and attacked by the combined fleets of France and Spain. The firing continued from sun-set until 10 P.M. but the distance between the hostile forces was so great that it produced little effect on either side. The next morning the enemy were seen standing to the N.W. The loss sustained by the British fleet amounted to 68 killed, and 208 wounded.
  2. See Vol. I. pp. 46, 60, and 294.
  3. See Vol. I. note at p. 75, et seq.