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Royal Naval Biography/Pierce, George


Entered the royal navy in 1803; and served five years of his time as midshipman under Captain (afterwards Vice-Admiral) William Bedford, in the Thunderer 74, Hibernia 110, bearing the flag of Lord Gardner, and Prince of Wales 98, flag-ship of Admiral Gambier at the attack on Copenhagen. He next joined the Apelles sloop. Captain Thomas Oliver, and was master’s-mate of that vessel in the expedition to Walcheren. After passing his examination, in Oct. 1809, he was sent out to the Leeward Islands on promotion; but in consequence of Lord Mulgrave leaving the Admiralty, he continued serving without advancement, in the flag-ships of Sir Alexander I. Cochrane and Sir Francis Laforey, until Mar. 21st, 1812, when the Right Hon. Charles Yorke was pleased to grant him a commission. On the 1st Oct. following he was appointed to the Mulgrave 74, Captain Thomas James Maling, under whom he served off Cherbourg and in the Mediterranean until the summer of 1814. On the 1st October in that year, he was appointed to the Comus 22, Captain John Tailour, in which ship he proceeded to Africa, and was there very actively engaged in the suppression of the slave trade. The Comus appears to have been the first man-of-war that ever ascended the new Calabar river as high as Duke’s Town, where her boats captured seven Spanish and Portuguese vessels with 550 slaves embarked, after a determined resistance and much bloodshed.

In July 1816, Mr. Pierce became first lieutenant of the Beelzebub bomb, Captain William Kempthorne, at Plymouth, which ship had top-gallant yards across on the seventh day after her being commissioned. At the battle of Algiers, in the following month, her large mortar was fired once in every ten minutes.

Lieutenant Pierce was next appointed to the Tonnant 80, flag-ship of Sir Benjamin Hallowell, at Cork; and on her being paid off, in 1818, he joined the Windsor Castle 74, Captain Thomas Gordon Caulfield. He subsequently served as first of the Bulwark 76, Gloucester 74, and Prince Regent 120, successively bearing the flag of Sir Benjamin Hallowell, in the river Medway, where he continued until advanced to the rank of commander, Sept. 5th, 1823. On the day previous to his promotion, he had acted as aide-de-camp to Viscount Melville, on the occasion of opening the new basin and dock at Sheerness. He is now inspecting commander of the coast guard at Dunmore, in Ireland.