Open main menu

Royal Naval Biography/Powell, Herbert Brace


HERBERT BRACE POWELL, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1822.]

Is a native of Leominster, co. Hereford; and nephew to Captain Edward Brace, C.B. under whose protection he entered the navy, as midshipman on board the Kangaroo brig, in 1797. The actions in which he participated while his uncle commanded that vessel, have been described at pp. 254–257 of Vol. II. Part I.

After passing his examination for lieutenant, Mr. Powell was ordered out to Jamaica, on promotion; but on his way thither, he had the misfortune to be wrecked in the Apollo frigate. Captain John W. T. Dixon, April 2, 1804. The particulars of that melancholy event are detailed at pp. 362–365 of Suppl. Part II. His first commission bears date Jan. 26, 1805.

We next find this officer serving under Captain Brace in la Virginie of 46 guns, on the Irish station, where he assisted at the capture of the Dutch 36-gun frigate Guelderland and two Spanish privateers; also at the recapture of various British merchantmen[1], and in defending the Louisa hired tender, of four 3-pounders, against the French privateer Marsouin, of fourteen 6-pounders, for which latter service he received the thanks of the Admiralty[2].

About Oct. 1810, Mr. Powell was appointed with Captain Brace to the St. Albans 64, in which ship he soon afterwards sailed for the defence of Cadiz, where he continued as first lieutenant of her, distinguishing himself on many occasions, until the enemy abandoned their lines before that city and l’Isla de Leon, in, Aug. 1812. His promotion to the rank of commander took place June 15, 1814.

From this period we lose sight of Captain Powell until July 1816, when he embarked as a volunteer on board the Impregnable 104, which ship bore the flag of Rear-Admiral (now Sir David) Milne, and was commanded by Captain Brace, at the memorable battle of Algiers; on which occasion, her loss was infinitely greater than that sustained by any other ship belonging to the combined squadrons[3]. In the midst of the sanguinary conflict. Captain Powell went with a message to Lord Exmouth, informing him how severely she was suffering, and requesting he would, if possible, send a frigate to divert some of the enemy’s fire from her. On his return, he was ordered by the rear-admiral to superintend the placing of an explosion-vessel close under the semicircular battery to the northward of the light-house, where she blew up, and, having been charged with 143 barrels of powder, must have operated very successfully as a diversion in favor of the dreadfully cut-up Impregnable.

Captain Powell was soon afterwards appointed to the Heron sloop, which vessel he commanded, chiefly on the Milford station, till Feb. 1819. His post commission bears date Dec. 26, 1822.

This officer lost a brother in the Hero 74, Captain James N. Newman, under whom he was serving as midshipman, when that ship perished on the Haak Sand, near the Texel, Dec. 25, 1811[4].

Agents.– Messrs. Atkins and Son.