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Royal Naval Biography/Rowley, Samuel Campbell


SAMUEL CAMPBELL ROWLEY, Esq
[Post-Captain of 1802.]

This officer, a brother of Rear-Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, Bart., K.C.B. M.P., was made a Commander April 6, 1799; commanded the Terror bomb, during the expedition against Copenhagen, in 1801; and obtained post rank, April 29, 1802; from which period we find no mention of him till his appointment to the Laurel frigate, which took place about Feb. 1811. On the 31st Jan. in the following year, he had the misfortune to be wrecked, in consequence of striking on a sunken rock, called the Govivas, when proceeding through the Teigneuse passage, in company with the Rota and Rhin. His behaviour on this disastrous occasion was highly praise-worthy, he having remained on the wreck, exposed to a heavy and well-directed fire from the French batteries and field pieces, till every officer, man, and boy, had been removed by the boats sent from other ships in the offing to their relief. A long account of the circumstances attending the Laurel’s loss will be found in the Naval Chronicle, v. 27, p. 228 et seq., by which it appears that two of her crew, inspired by gratitude, Captain Rowley having once pardoned them for attempting to go on shore without leave, expressed their determination of staying by him to the last, with the view of supporting him in the water, should the ship go to pieces before any assistance could arrive; and it is added, that from their uncommon dexterity as swimmers, they would most probably have succeeded. By the same account we learn that the jolly-boat, with 2 men, broke adrift, and was supposed to have been lost among the rocks, and that 96 officers and men were taken prisoners; among the former were 2 Lieutenants, who had been sent on shore to solicit assistance from the enemy, and to request the French commandant to cease firing, but which he inhumanly refused, notwithstanding a flag of truce and the signal of distress had previously been displayed.

Captain Rowley was tried by a court-martial, and acquitted of all blame on account of the loss of his ship, Feb. 19, 1812. In 1815, he commanded the Impregnable of 104 guns, bearing the flag of his brother, on the Mediterranean station 5 and he has subsequently served as flag Captain to the same officer on the coast of Ireland. He married, Sept. 16, 1805, Miss Thompson, of Cork; and received the freedom of that city in a silver box, in 1819. His lady died about June 1821.

Agents.– Messrs. Cooke, Halford, and Son.