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Type: 6th rate ; Armament 26
Launched : 22 Apr 1845 ; Disposal date or year : 1904
BM: 910 tons
1st week of February 1848 arrived with the Vixen and anchored at the mouth of the river at Bluefields, Nicaragua, to resolve problems with a Colonel Salas - see below for report of proceedings - see also p. 349 at at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow 20 Dec 1848 North America and West Indies Station
23 Jan 1851 At Havannah.
17 Mar 1851 Jamaica
18 Apr 1851 at Bermuda preparing to sail for the Northern Fisheries.
3 Jun 1851 At Halifax.
30 Aug 1851 West Indies
8 Jul 1859 left Rio Janeiro for England.
1860 Coal hulk.
1861-62 hull classified in the Naval Budget as a Yard Craft at Pembroke Dock and not in commission - Coal Depot.
1870 Coal Depot, Pembroke Dock.
1879 Coal Depot, Pembroke Dock.
1890 Coal Depot, Queenstown.
The Expedition Against San Juan De Nicaragua.
Admiralty Despatches of April 28, 1848., which the following are extracts or copies, have been received at this office: -
Vindictive, at Jamaica, March 5, 1848. "Sir,- With reference to my letter, No 42, of the 1st instant, reporting the departure of her Majesty's ships Alarm and Vixen for Blewfields, to consult with her Majesty's Consul General and Agent, as to the best means of obtaining redress from the Nicaraguan Government for the insults and outrages therein mentioned, and to obtain the release of two British subjects, carried off from San Juan by Colonel Salas, of the Nicaraguan army, I have the honour to transmit herewith, to be laid before the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, a copy of a despatch, dated the 21st February, which I have this day received from Captain G. G. Loch, of the Alarm, reporting that the ships arrived at Blewfields on the 5th of that month, and Mr. Walker having been embarked, according to his request. they proceeded on the 7th for San Juan, where they arrived on the following day.
As the nearest Nicaraguan settlement was at Serapaqui, about thirty miles up the river, which from the strength of the current and various rapids, is generally a four days' journey. Captain Loch, accompanied by Mr. Walker in his own boat, proceeded to that place at once, with a force of 260 men in twelve boats, and after a most fatiguing pull of seventy-two hours, anchored on the evening of the 11th near the spot.
It was here that the melancholy death of Mr. Walker occurred; he was unfortunately drowned, whilst attempting to save the life of a friend who had accompanied him in his boat, and had fallen overboard in the night. They both lost their lives.
On the morning of the 12th the expedition got under weigh, and proceeded towards the fort. where it had been ascertained Colonel Salas was commanding officer. On nearing it, Captain Loch and Commander Ryder pushed ahead in their gig, in order to state the object of Her Majesty's forces being in the river, but no sooner were they seen than they were fired at, both by cannon and small arms. As this act effectually prevented any peaceable arrangements, boats were at once brought up, and after an hour and a half's pull against the rapid tide to reach the landing place, during which the crews were exposed to a very heavy fire from both sides of the river, they effected their object, and the Nicaraguan troops fled at once, when Captain Loch totally destroyed the fort, and threw all the arms into the river.
The loss on our side amounted to two killed, and one officer and twelve seamen, marines, and soldiers, wounded, a list of which is inclosed [but, unfortunately, not included in the transcript].
I have to express my admiration of the great gallantry, zeal, and perseverance displayed by Captain Loch and the officers and men of both services employed under his orders on the occasion.-I have, &c.,
F. W. AUSTEN,
To the Secretary of the Admiralty.
Fort Saint Carlos, Nicaragua,
11 February 21, 1848.
Sir,-In pursuance of your instructions, and in accordance with the wishes of her Majesty's late agent and Consul-General, Mr. Walker, I have the honour to acquaint you that I proceeded up the river San Juan de Nicaragua, in command of her Majesty's combined forces, consisting of 260 officers and men, contained in twelve boats of her Majesty's ships Alarm and Vixen, and captured the post of Serapaqui, after a sharp action of one [hour] and forty minutes, with a loss of two killed and thirteen wounded.
The post is situated on a point projecting into the river very abruptly to the height of 50 feet, is protected in the rear by a dense forest, and in the front by an abattis, formed of large trees felled, with their head and branches reaching into the river. It was only to be approached by heading a rapid current of nearly five knots an hour in order to pass the fort and descend towards a steep and narrow landing place above the stockaded batteries.
On Friday, the 12th instant, Commander Ryder and myself (who were in advance in our gigs) hove in sight of Serapaqui, situated at the head of a straight reach of about a mile and a half long. No sooner did my boat appear, than she was fired upon by two guns, which effectually precluded the possibility of any peaceful arrangement.
I therefore waited to reconnoitre until the heavy boats arrived, when I led them up the river. A spare pinnace, commanded by Lieutenant Johnston, of H.M.S. Alarm, containing some of H.M. 38th Regiment ; the Alarm's barge, commanded by Lieutenant Ride, and First Lieutenant Boyle, of the Royal Marines, with a part of his detachment, and the Vixen's port paddle-box boat, with the head quarters of the detachment of that regiment, commanded by Captain Smith, owing to their fast pulling, took the lead after the gigs, and on we went, but the current was so strong, that one hour and forty minutes elapsed before we were enabled to pass the batteries sufficiently high to drop down to the landing place previously mentioned, by which time nearly all the boats were up. I then gave the order to land, which they did with an English cheer, and in ten minutes our flag was hoisted in the fort.
After a chase of thirty minutes into the thick woods, I ordered the recall to be sounded, destroyed the stockades, spiked the guns, broke their trunnions, and threw them into the river, together with muskets, ammunition; and, after embarking the force, set fire to the defences.
I was unable to ascertain accurately the loss of the enemy, owing to the density of the cover into which they retreated: twenty, however, were found dead, and I have reason to believe that about double the number were wounded. Their force consisted of about 200 soldiers, besides some boatmen, pressed by Colonel Salas into his service.
Nine prisoners were captured, amongst them two wounded officers ; these I sent to the ship ; the remainder I have distributed amongst the boats to act as pilots.
The defences of the post consisted of six angular stockaded entrenchments, formed of very tough timber, eight feet high and four feet thick, one side of each stockade looking across the river, and the other down the reach. The principal stockade commanded the landing. place, in which one of the guns was mounted at the time.
'It was with great satisfaction that I saw the cool and steady behaviour of the men, under the trying circumstances of crowded boats, exposed to a hot fire, from both sides of the river, from unseen marksmen, without the possibility of effectually returning it, while in almost a stationary position, owing to the current running like a mill-stream. And it is astonishing to me that a greater loss did not occur, as the boats were riddled with shot, and nearly half the oars broken.
To distinguish one brave officer from another, when all did their duty, is a difficult task ; but I may remark, that I found Captain Smith, commanding the detachment of her Majesty's 38th Regiment, by my side on landing ; Commander Ryder, at the head of his division, close by me ; Lieutenants Johnson and Ridge, of the Alarm, leading their men in gallant style ; and First Lieutenant Boyle, Royal Marines, of the same ship, leading his detachment as my guard, and showing an example which his marines could not but follow.
Mr. Martin, paymaster and purser of the Alarm, accompanied me in my gig, and was of the greatest value and assistance. Besides these officers, I beg to recommend to your favourable notice Mr. Collins, paymaster and purser of H. M. S. Vixen, who was a volunteer in the head quarter-port paddle-box boat ; the Hon. M. A. Moreton, mate of the Alarm, who commanded the pinnace, and did good execution ; Mr. Tyler, mate of the same ship ; Mr. N. E. B. Turnour, midshipman of Vixen, who was badly wounded ; and I beg to mention a seaman of the Vixen, named in the margin, who captured the colours.-I have, &c.
Granville G. Loch G. LOCH,
Captain HMS Alarm, and, Senior Officer, &c.
P.S. Commander A. Rider has brought, under our notice the zeal and gallantry of Mr. F. A. Dewdney, midshipman of H.M.S. Vixen, commanding the S. P. B. boat.
I beg also to mention the zeal and activity of Lieutenant Scott, First of the Vixen, in forwarding the advance of the launches over the rapids, and his exertions in pushing on the slow boats of the force.
Vice Admiral Sir Francis Austen, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief, &c., &e., &c.