Royal Naval Biography/Stupart, Gustavus
GUSTAVUS STUPART, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1810.]
Was made a Lieutenant in Sept. 1796: the exploit which led to his further advancement is thus officially described:–
“Success, Port Mahon, June 13, 1799.
“My Lord,– The 9th instant, standing towards Cape de Creux, in pursuance of instructions I had received from Lord Keith, I discovered a polacre in the N.W., to which I gave chase; but in consequence of her being near the land, I could not prevent her getting into the harbour of la Selva, a small port two leagues to the northward of the Cape: however, as she had shown Spanish colours, and there being no appearance of batteries to protect her, and the weather very favourable, I was induced to send the boats to try to bring her out, with instructions to Lieutenant Facey, who commanded, to return, should he find any opposition of consequence. At 4 P.M., Lieutenant Facey in the barge, Lieutenant Stupart in the launch, and Lieutenant Davison, of the marines, in the cutter, all volunteers on this occasion, put off from the ship; and at 8, after a good deal of firing, I had the satisfaction of seeing the polacre coming out, round a point which had kept them from our sight for more than an hour. During the time the boats were engaged, several of the enemy gun-boats endeavoured to get in, but were prevented by our shot. The captured vessel proved to be la Belle Aurore, from Genoa, bound to Barcelona, laden with cotton, silk, rice, &c. – mounting 10 carriage guns, 9 and 6-pounders, and having on board, when attacked, 113 men; she was surrounded by a netting, and supported by a small battery, and a large body of musketry on shore. I am sorry to inform your Lordship, that our loss has been great, three of those gallant fellows having been killed on the spot; and Lieutenant Stupart, an officer inferior to none in his Majesty’s service, for zeal, courage, and ability, with nine others, badly wounded, one of whom died this morning. The conduct of Lieutenant Facey does him, in my opinion, great honour; he appears to have been the first on board, and to have shown throughout the whole, great firmness and good example. The attack was made in the face of day by 42 men, in three boats, against a ship defended by 113 men, secured with a boarding netting, and supported by a battery, and a large body of men at small arms on the shore. I trust, my Lord, this fair statement of facts will be a sufficient recommendation of Lieutenants Facey and Stupart, &c. &c. &c.
“To Admiral Earl St. Vincent.”
This “very gallant exploit,” says Earl St. Vincent, “appears to me equal to any enterprise recorded in the naval history of Great Britain; and will, I am fully persuaded, merit the approbation of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.” The manner in which the success was subsequently employed will be seen by reference to Vol. II, Part I, p. 26.
In July, 1800. Lieutenant Stupart obtained a small pension on account of his wounds, which has been increased since the peace to 250l. per annum. After the capture of the Success, he joined la Constance 24, and again distinguished himself in a boat affair, of which mention has been made in our memoir of Captain Zachary Mudge. His commission as a Commander was signed by Earl St. Vincent, April 20, 1802.
At the renewal of hostilities, in 1803, Captain Stupart was appointed to the Sea Fencible Service, Dartmouth district; where he remained until the summer of 1806; from which period we find him commanding the Emulous brig, on the Channel and Halifax stations, till his promotion to post rank, Oct. 21, 1810. Captain Stupart’s first wife died in June, 1802. His second marriage, to Miss Hyndham, took place Oct. 19, 1812.
Agent.– Messrs. Stilwell.