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Royal Naval Biography/Vincent, Andrew Atkins

A Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Her Majesty the Queen.
[Captain of 1832.]

This officer is descended from a family of the same name long settled in Essex. He commenced his naval career in 1797, and served as midshipman on board the Victorious 74, Captain William Clarke, employed in the East Indies, until 1801; when he joined the Suffolk 74, and in that ship returned to England. We next find him serving under Captain William Henry Jervis, with whom he was wrecked in the Magnificent 74, near Brest, Mar. 25th, 1804.

About May following, Mr. Vincent rejoined Captain Jervis, then just appointed to the Tonnant 80, stationed off Ferrol. During a subsequent cruise in the Bay of Biscay, this ship had her main-mast much damaged, one man killed, and ten persons severely injured, by lightning. On the 26th Jan. 1805, her captain was unfortunately drowned, by the upsetting of a boat, while proceeding with despatches to the commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet[1].

From this period until Jan. 1806, when he obtained the rank of lieutenant, Mr. Vincent served in l’Unité 38, Captain (now Sir Charles) Ogle, on the Mediterranean station. His first appointment, as a commissioned officer, was to the Laurel 22, Captain John Charles Woolcombe, in which ship he proceeded to the Cape of Good Hope station, where, after a long cruise off the Isle of France, we find him exchanging into the Grampus 50, Captain James Haldane Tait, with whom he returned home in the summer of 1809: previously receiving the thanks of Vice-Admiral Albemarle Bertie, for his activity in assisting to extinguish a fire on board the Lightning sloop of war. His subsequent appointments as lieutenant, were, about Feb. 1810, to be senior of the Owen Glendower 36, Captain William Selby, which ship was successively employed in blockading two French frigates at Cherbourg, in convoying the outward bound trade to Quebec, and assisting at the defence of Cadiz:– Oct. 2d. 1812, to the Belle Poule 38, Captain George Harris, then stationed in the Bay of Biscay, and afterwards forming part of the squadron under Rear-Admiral Penrose, employed in the river Gironde: – lastly, Nov. 24th, 1814, to the Cornwallis 74, fitting out for the flag of the late Sir George Burlton, commander-in-chief on the East India station.

While serving under Captains Selby and Harris, the subject of this sketch assisted in capturing the under-mentioned French privateers and American letters of marque, the latter with valuable cargoes, from New York and Charlestown, bound to Bourdeaux:

La Camille, lugger, of 14 guns and 58 men, Mar. 10th 1810.
L’Indomptable, cutter, 18 _____ 120 ____ Oct. 1st
Grand Napoleon, schooner, 4 _____ 32 ____ April 3d 1813[2].
Revenge, 4 _____ 32 ____ May. 11th

On the night of April 6th, 1814, Lieutenant Vincent witnessed the destruction by fire (to avoid being captured) of the French 74-gun ship Regulus, the corvette Sans Souci, and two brigs of war; which squadron, having been pursued up the Gironde, had sought protection under the guns of Fort Talmont. He subsequently commanded a division of seamen employed in destroying the enemy’s batteries on the right bank of that river, and was one of the officers who received the public thanks of Lord Keith and Rear-Admiral Penrose for their distinguished conduct during the whole of the operations preceding the occupation of Bourdeaux[3].

On the demise of Sir George Burlton, at Madras, Sept. 21st, 1815, Mr Vincent, his flag-lieutenant, was selected to carry home despatches from the Hon. Hugh Elliot, governor of that presidency; who was pleased, in the strongest terms and most handsome manner, to represent to Viscount Melville, then at the head of naval affairs, the ability and attention he had invariably displayed in the execution of his official duties. On his return to England, he was made a commander, by commission dated Feb. 6th, 1816; and, we believe, he soon afterwards became honored with the intimacy of our present most gracious monarch; from whom, when Duke of Clarence, he received a handsome sword as a mark of H.R.H.’s esteem and friendship. He attended the same illustrious personage, as equerry, at the funeral of King George the Third; and served in the capacity of naval officer at Deal during the period that H.R.H. held the appointment of Lord High Admiral. On the demise of King George IV., his august patron was graciously pleased to appoint him a gentleman of the Privy Chamber to her Majesty Queen Adelaide, and to confer upon him the cross of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order. On the 14th May, 1832, having qualified himself for further promotion, by serving in the William and Mary yacht. Captain Samuel Warren, C.B. and Talavera 74, Captain David Colby, he was advanced to the rank of captain.

This officer has been twice wounded – once in the head, when boarding an enemy’s vessel ; and, on another occasion, through the thigh.

  1. See Vol III. Part I. p. 274.
  2. Although mounting only four guns each, one of the Americans was pierced for 22, and the other for 16 guns.
  3. See Suppl. Part II. pp. 287–293.