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Royal Naval Biography/Ogle, Charles

Bart. Rear-Admiral of the White; and a Deputy-Lieutenant of the County of Southampton.

This officer, a descendant of the Barons Ogle, of Northumberland, whose coat of arms is still borne by the family, and grand-nephew of Sir Chaloner Ogle, Knt., who died Admiral of the Fleet, in 1750, is the third and eldest surviving son of the late Sir Chaloner Ogle, Bart.[1], by Hester, youngest daughter and co-heiress of John Thomas, Lord Bishop of Winchester.

He entered the naval service at an early age; and at the commencement of the war with the French republic, in 1793, served as a Midshipman on board the Boyne, of 98 guns, bearing the flag of Sir John Jervis, (now Earl of St. Vincent) from which ship he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the Vengeance, a third rate, carrying the broad pendant of the late Sir Charles Thompson, and forming part of the armament sent from England for the purpose of subjugating the enemy’s colonies in the West Indies[2].

In Jan. 1794, soon after the arrival of the fleet at Barbadoes, Lieutenant Ogle again joined the Boyne; and on the 6th of the following month, we find him commanding one of her boats in an attack made upon some vessels lying at anchor near Maran, in the island of Martinique. The assailants were much exposed both to the great guns and musketry of the enemy; but they succeeded so far as to bring off two schooners, and compel several others to seek refuge under the guns of Fort St. Etienne.

A few days after this event our officer, then serving on shore, assisted at the capture of Pigeon Island, (Islet aux Ramieres) the possession of which enabled Sir John Jervis to anchor the fleet in Fort Royal Bay, and supply the army with ammunition, stores, and provisions, at pleasure.

Pigeon Island is situated on the south side of the bay of Fort Royal, about 200 yards from the shore, and is a steep rock, inaccessible, except on one side by a ladder fixed against a perpendicular wall. The summit is about 30 yards above the level of the sea, and is 300 paces round. It contained eleven 42-pounders, six 32’s, four 13-inch mortars, and one howitzer, with an immense quantity of stores and ammunition. Its garrison consisted of 203 men, 15 of whom were killed and 25 wounded, by the fire from the batteries erected by the British on Mount Matharine, which commanded Pigeon Island, at the distance of not more than 400 yards. The be siegers, though greatly annoyed by the enemy’s shells, appear to have lost only 2 men. This island is famous for having prevented Sir George B. Rodney, with twelve sail of the line, from entering Fort Royal bay in 1782.

Lieutenant Ogle was subsequently entrusted with the command of a party of seamen landed at Point Negro to co-operate with the army, and remained on shore until after the surrender of Fort Bourbon, which completed the conquest of Martinique[3].

The reduction of this important colony being speedily followed by that of St. Lucia, the expedition proceeded against Guadaloupe, which was also soon after obliged to submit to the British arms. Immediately after the latter event, Lieutenant Ogle, who had commanded a party of seamen and greatly distinguished himself at the storming of Fort Fleur d’Epée[4], was appointed acting Commander of the Assurance, of 44 guns, from which ship he removed into the Avenger sloop of war. His next appointment was to the Peterell, a vessel of the same description; and in her we find him employed, first on the North Sea station, and subsequently in the Mediterranean, where he obtained post rank in the Minerve frigate, by commission dated Jan. 11, 1796.

From the Minerve, Captain Ogle exchanged with the present Sir George Cockburn into the Meleager, of 32 gims, stationed off Cadiz, where, at the commencement of the war between England and Spain he captured a number of the enemy’s vessels. Whilst on this station he was also employed to repeat the signals of the fleet under Sir John Jervis, a duty requiring the most minute attention, and which he executed much to the satisfaction of that commander.

On the 1st July, 1796, Captain Ogle was tried by a Court Martial, in consequence of a complaint preferred by a person named Wheaton, Master of the merchant brig Union, which was captured when under convoy of the Peterell. The charge not being proved, he was honorably acquitted, and declared to be “a zealous, attentive, and most diligent officer.

The Meleager returned to England in 1798, and was soon after ordered to the Leeward Islands, from whence she proceeded to the Jamaica station, where Captain Ogle cruized with considerable activity and success. Whilst there he exchanged into the Greyhound frigate, in which ship he came home some time in the year 1800. He was subsequently sent to the Mediterranean, where he captured a Genoese privateer, mounting 10 guns, a Spanish armed polacre, and several trading vessels. Towards the latter end of 1801, he removed into the Egyptienne, a frigate of the largest class; and about the same time received the Turkish gold medal, as an honorable testimony of his having served in Egypt[5].

From this period we find no mention of Captain Ogle until 1805, when he commissioned the Unite, of 38 guns, and again went to the Mediterranean. In the following year he was appointed to the Princess Augusta yacht, the command of which he retained till the summer of 1815. He subsequently commanded in succession the Ramillies, Malta, and Rivoli, ships of the line; succeeded to the Baronetcy on the demise of his father, Aug. 27, 1816; and became a Flag-Officer, Aug. 12, 1819.

Sir Charles Ogle married, first, April 22, 1802, Charlotte, a daughter of the late General Thomas Gage, second son of the first Viscount Gage. Secondly, Sept. 4, 1820, Letitia, daughter of Sir William Burroughs, Baronet, of Castle -Bagshaw, co. Cavan, Ireland. His eldest son, Chaloner, is an Ensign in the 22d regiment of foot, now stationed in Ireland.

Town-residence.– 42, Berkeley Square.

Country-seat.– Worthy, near Winchester.

  1. Sir Chaloner Ogle, Bart., who at the time of his demise was next on the list to H.R.H. the Duke of Clarence, and of course the senior Admiral in the British Navy, was the son of Dr. Nathaniel Ogle, some time Physician to the forces under the illustrious Duke of Marlborough, by Elizabeth, daughter of Jonathan J. Newton, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Barrister at Law, of the family of Newton, of Stokesfield Hall. His ancestor, Mark Ogle, purchased the mansion of Kirkly, with the demesne lands of Ralph, Lord Eure, in 1612.
  2. See p. 19.
  3. It is much to the credit of the naval officers who were employed on shore during the operations against the French in the island of Martinique, a period of nearly seven weeks, that they shared the same hardships as the private seamen and soldiers, without a murmur, sleeping in their clothes the whole time; and being so situated that they seldom could have the benefit of tents, or any kind of hovel. They were exposed continually to the heavy rams and nocturnal damps which in a tropical climate so severely try the constitution; but, owing (as it was imagined) to the flannel shirts which were invariably worn by all ranks, they suffered less from sickness than could have been expected. See Willyams’ History of the West India Campaign, note f, at p. 69.
  4. Fleur d’Epée, the principal fort on the island of Guadaloupe, was taken by assault on the morning of April 12, 1794. The soldiers employed on this occasion, consisting of the first and second battalions of light infantry, under the orders of Major-General Dundas, were particularly directed not to fire, but trust solely to the bayonet; and the seamen, who were commanded by the heroic Captain Faulkner, to use their pikes and swords; all which was most scrupulously obeyed. The side of the mountain which the latter had to ascend, under a most tremendous discharge of grape-shot and musketry, was almost perpendicular; they however surmounted every difficulty, gained the parapet, dashed into the body of the fort, and fought their way to the gates, where, they were joined by the military. The enemy made a most gallant resistance; but nothing could withstand the impetuosity of the British, by whom they were beaten out of their works, and subsequently driven from Point a Petre and pursued across the Cardnage to Basse Terre. The loss sustained by the storming party in this brilliant affair was great in proportion to the smallness of their numbers, being 73 killed and wounded. The French had 67 slain, 55 wounded, and 110 taken prisoners.
  5. Captain Ogle’s elder brother Major Thomas Ogle, of the 58th regiment, was killed at the landing of the army in Aboukir Bay; an account of which event will be found in a note at p. 259, et seq. His cousin, Newton Ogle, Esq., a Captain of the 70th regiment, and an aide-de-camp to General Sir Charles Grey, lost his life in an affair with the enemy on Morne Marscot, in the island of Guadaloupe, June 29, 1794. He was a young man of an excellent understanding, and had distinguished himself on all occasions where his exertions had been called forth. See Willyams note at p. 122.