HMS Banterer 18

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The Banterer at the end of the action on September 2, in which she sank a Spanish 20-gun Mercury brig off Barcos.

H.M.S. Banterer:

Rating: 6th-rate Post Ship

Class: Rattlesnake

Date of Commission: July 5th, 1816

Guns: 18

Crew: 120

Status: Cruising from the West Cuba Station.



History:

The Banterer was temporarily commissioned as a post ship to Lord Nathaniel Blatchford on July 5th 1816, and ordered to proceed to the newly established Barcos Station on the Isle of Youth, off south-western Cuba. Upon reaching her destination she was to hamper and disrupt the enemy shipping off the Cuban coast. The Banterer is a fast and weatherly ship-rigged vessel, with precious little room in her for her full complement of 141 men. Upon Lord Blatchford's insistance on taking aboard a full royal marines force of one marine per gun, hammocks had to be slung on the open deck, and marine officers had to berth in the forward captain's cabin. This, coupled with limited space for provisions and shot, severely hampers the number of days the Banterer can spend on the oceans before revictualling.

The Banterer taking possession of a Spanish 28-gun armed Indiaman merchantman off Baja.

She first saw action the day after reaching Barcos, when on July 6th she, in concert with H.M.S. Marlin and H.M.S. Peregrine under the Captains the Lord Davis and Lord Collister, engaged and captured a Spanish 30-gun 9-pounder frigate off the north-western coast of Cuba.

After the first week of the cruise, Lord Blatchford and his banterers had captured several Spanish traders, along with one 16-gun brig, with a total worth of £ 750 000 in prize money. This knit the crew together wonderfully, each man of the relatively small ship's company receiving a small fortune with their share. This also appealed to their sense of justice, as several of them had friends and family that had served on ships seized during the Spanish raids off British Honduras earlier this year, and they knew that every penny was taken out of a Spaniard's pocket. This also greatly improved the somewhat meager finances connected to Lord Blatchford's estates back in England, propelling him upwards in financial and political circles.

By the middle of August 1816 the Banterer had captured eighteen Spanish merchantmen as prizes during her many cruises north of the Isle of Youth, and along the north-western shores of Cuba. This enabled her captain to spend considerable sums of money on upgrades and modifications to her rigging, hull and guns, everything paid for by the Kingdom of Spain. Although Lord Blatchford captured another 30-gun frigate while accompanied by Sir James Thomson in H.M.S. Molly on August 13th, he longed for a fair fight against a warship of the same class as the Banterer, proving that the ship and her crew could fight other ships than just merchantmen, and would not shy away from a chance at glory. His chance came during the days of the 15th, 16th and 17th August. The Spaniards, no doubt in reaction to the increased presence of British cruisers in the area, began patrolling the northern coast of the Isle of Youth with warships. During the aforementioned dates, the Banterer went into single-ship actions with a 20-gun Niagara brig, a 20-gun Mercury brig and a 18-gun Navy Brig of the Spanish Navy, sinking the first and capturing the two latter. These actions, fought honourably and with very few losses among the banterers, semented her captain's love for his ship. This display of potential reached a new peak on August 21st, when the Banterer, unsupported, overtook a Spanish 30-gun Renommee frigate and promtly boarded and carried her. Lord Blatchford would later receive the Distinguished Service Order for these engagements, an honour much cherished by the Banterer's crew.

The Banterer was active on the station at the end of August 1816, when the Island of Youth, and the nearly entire southern coast of Cuba, was occupied by the Royal Navy. This agitated the local Spanish merchantmen to such a degree that several of them began hurridly moving their goods and resources to neutral Barcos. Knowing that British cruisers would be present in the area, the merchantmen sailed in convoys, often supported by Spanish, and even French, warships. Their activity also attracted pirates to the area, and in addition to the various merchantmen that the Banterer managed to seize, she also engaged a 22-gun Snow brig flying the black flag on August 29th, capturing her after a violent boarding action.

By the end of September 1816, Lord Blatchford was commissioned the H.M.S. Greyhound, the very same ship that he captured off Cuba on August 21st, and took with him almost the entire ship's company. The Banterer was then drydocked in order to give her extensive repairs, and after several months it was decided by the Admiralty that she was to be temporarily decommissioned and laid up in ordinary. Upon Lord Blatchford's return to the Caribbean in 1819 however, she was once again put into commission and ordered to her old cruising ground with him as her captain.


British Captains:

1813-1816: Captain John Roddington

1816-1817: Captain the Lord Trentham

1817-1819: Laid up in ordinary

1819-present: Captain the Lord Stafford


Excerpts from the Logbook (Player Versus Player):

  • July 1816
Wednesday, July 6, W of Bahía Honda, course NE, hands variously employed. At 5, in company of the H.M.S. 'Marlin' and H.M.S. 'Peregrine' observed Spanish 'Renommee' to NE, bore up and engaged. Squadron proceeded to cut up her rigging and rake her from stern to stem. At 6, boarded and carried her. Survivors allowed to reach Bahía Honda with the frigate's launch, prize was manned and sent to Port Royal.
Friday, July 8, W of Mantua, course N, hands at quarters and exercising the great guns. At 1/4 to 2, in company of the H.M.S. 'Peregrine' observed Spanish 'Le Gros Ventre' to E, bore up and engaged. Proceeded to cut up her rigging. Just before 2, boarded and carried her. Survivors given the merchanman's boats and allowed to reach Mantua. Prize was manned and sent to Port Royal.
Friday, July 8, NW of Baja, course NE, hands at quarters. At 2, in company of the H.M.S. 'Peregrine' observed Spanish 'Le Gros Ventre' to ESE, gave chase until she was intercepted by the 'Pregrine'. Proceeded to cut up her rigging and rake her stern with grape. At 1/4 to 3, enemy was boarded and carried by the 'Peregrine'. Survivors were granted the use of the merchanman's boats and sent to Baja. Prize was manned and escorted to Key West.
Saturday, July 9, ESE of Corrientes, course NE, hands employed about the ship. At 1/4 to 12 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to NE, bore up and engaged. Boarded and carried her, seizing her cargo and sending the enemy crew off in her boats. Escorted prize to Barcos.
Sunday, July 10, N of Barcos, course W, hands employed scrubbing ship. At 1/4 to 12 observed Pirate 12-gun 'Cutter' to S, bore up and engaged. The pirates surrendered after the initial broadside and were hanged from the yardarm, their vessel burned.
Tuesday, July 12, S of Batabanó, course NNW, hands employed knotting and splicing rigging. At 2 observed Spanish naval 16-gun 'Brig' to N, closed to range as the enemy engaged. Shot down the enemy mizzen mast, boarded and took possession. Enemy crew allowed to leave for Batabanó, prize manned and escorted to Barcos.
Wednesday, July 13, WNW of Barcos, course W, hands variously employed. At 1/2 to 12 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to WNW, bore up and engaged. After a running chase to ESE the enemy struck her colours at 1/4 to 12.
Wednesday, July 13, S of Corrientes, course SSW, hands employed scrubbing ship. At 1/2 to 11 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to SW, bore up and closed to range. The Spaniard lowered her sails, was boarded and struck her colours with little resistance. Stowed the enemy crew in the hold and escorted prize to Barcos.
Thursday, July 14, S of Robras, course E, hands variously employed. At 1/4 to 4 observed Spanish 'Trader Lynx' anchored at Robras, sent out boats to cut her out. Boarded and carried her and sailed her out to rendezvous at Barcos.
Monday, July 18, N of Barcos, course W, hands employed knotting and splicing. At 1/2 to 12 observed Spanish 'Trader Brig' to W bearing SSW, bore up and engaged. Seized her and manned her with a prize crew, sending her off to Barcos.
  • August 1816
Monday, August 1, NE of Barcos, course NE, hands employed about the ship. At 1/4 over 10 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to NE bearing S, bore up and closed to range. Spotted four Spanish brigs and sloops of various sizes bearing down from W to aid the Snow, forcing us to disengage by heading ENE.
Tuesday, August 2, ENE of Barcos, course E, hands variously employed. At 1/4 to 10 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to E bearing W, closed to range and fired at her rigging, causing her captain to strike. Seized her and her cargo of shipbuilding materials and rum, and escorted her to Barcos.
Friday, August 5, E of Robras, course E, hands variously employed. At 1/2 to 11 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to S bearing SE, set course to intercept. After an exchange of broadsides, boarded and carried her as she missed stays. Escorted her and her cargo of fish meat to Barcos.
Saturday, August 6, NW of Barcos, course SE, all hands tending to rigging. At 1/2 to 4 met two Spanish 'Trader Snows' to SE bearing NW in foul weather and low visibility, beat to quarters and engaged in a running chase with the nearest enemy. After some maneuvering she was boarded and carried, the second enemy escaping. Escorted the prize and her cargo of fish meat to Barcos.
Saturday, August 6, NNE of Barcos, course NNW, hands employed about the ship. At 1/2 to 5 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to N bearing W, closed to intercept and engage. The enemy hove to, but as she was about to be boarded she set sails in an attempt to escape. Boarded her and took her a prize after a short chase, escorting her and her cargo of fish meat to Barcos.
Sunday, August 7, NW of Barcos, course SSW, hands employed knotting and splicing. At 3/4 to 6 observed Spanish 'Trader Brig' to E bearing E, gave chase. Chased her E and boarded and carried her at the first opportunity, escorting her and her cargo of fish meat to Barcos.
Friday, August 12, SW of Corrientes, course NNE, hands variously employed. At 8 observed Spanish 'Le Gros Ventre' to N bearing S, gave chase. Chased her ENE and attempted to board her. The enemy managed to disengage and headed SE, and after refusing to strike she was sunk.
Saturday, August 13, W of Barcos, course W, hands rearranging the hold. At 3/4 to 10, in concert with H.M.S. 'Molly', observed Spanish 'Trader Brig' to SSW bearing N, bore up and gave chase. Chased her SSW until she hove to and surrendered. Seized her and her cargo of gold, silver, iron and huge quantities of tobacco, and escorted her to Barcos.
Saturday, August 13, NNE of Mariel, course NW, hands at quarters. At 3/4 to 11, observed Spanish 18-gun 'Navy Brig' to NW bearing W, bore up and engaged. After a short exchange of broadsides the enemy struck her colours, and she was manned with a prize crew and set course for Barcos.
Saturday, August 13, W of Mariel, course WSW, hands at quarters. At 1/2 to 11, in concert with H.M.S. 'Molly', observed Spanish 30-gun 'Renommee' frigate to S bearing E, bore up and engaged. After a running chase the enemy lost her mainmast and soon after struck her colours. Seized her and manned her with a prize crew, which set sail for Key West.
Monday, August 15, NNW of Santa Fe, course E, hands variously employed. At 3/4 to 9 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to SE bearing N, bore up and engaged. The enemy hove to and surrendered, her hands taken as prisoners and the prize burned.
Monday, August 15, NNW of Barcos, course SSE, hands employed about the ship. At 10 observed Spanish 20-gun 'Niagara' brig to SE bearing NE, intercepted in front of port entrance. After several exchanges of broadsides the enemy was sunk.
Tuesday, August 16, SE of Robras, course SE, hands variously employed. At 9 observed Spanish 20-gun 'Mercury' brig to SW bearing SE, bore up and engaged. After a running chase I forced her into the wind and boarded her, the enemy struck her colours soon after. Her crew was taken as prisoners and the prize escorted to Barcos.
Wednesday, August 17, NE of Barcos, course NE, hands employed trimming sails. At 1/2 to 10 observed Spanish 18-gun 'Navy Brig' to NE bearing WSW, closed to range and engaged. After several exchanges of broadsides the enemy was boarded and forced to surrender. Stowed her hands in the hold under guard and escorted the prize to Barcos.
Thursday, August 18, NW of Barcos, course NW, hands at quarters. At 1/2 to 11 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to NW bearing SE, bore up and engaged. The enemy struck her colours the after one warning shot, took possession and escorted the prize to Barcos.
Thursday, August 18, NW of Santa Fe, course E, hands variously employed. At 1/4 to 11 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to E bearing NW, closed to range. After a running chase and close maneuvering, the enemy mainmast was shot away before she was boarded and carried. Seized her and her cargo of coal, and escorted her to Barcos.
Saturday, August 20, NW of Barcos, course NW, hands employed about the ship. At 6 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to NW bearing S, bore up and engaged. After close maneuvering the enemy was boarded and carried. Seized her and her cargo of fir logs, and escorted her to Barcos.
Saturday, August 20, N of Mariel, course NW, hands at quarters. At 9, in company of the H.M.S. 'Molly' and H.M.S. 'Copperhead' observed Spanish 'Belle Poule' to NW bearing SE, bore up and engaged. After a running chase and close maneuvering the enemy caught fire and exploded, nearly all hands lost. Survivors recovered.
Saturday, August 20, N of Mariel, course E, hands at quarters. At 1/4 to 10, in company of the H.M.S. 'Molly' and H.M.S. 'Copperhead' observed Spanish 'Surprise' to E bearing W, bore up and engaged. After a running chase and close maneuvering the enemy engaged in boarding combat with 'Molly'. The 'Banterer' later boarded and forced her surrender. She was manned with a prize crew and set sail for Key West.
Sunday, August 21, N of Havana, course W, hands variously employed. At 11, observed Spanish 'Renommee' to NE bearing N, bore up and engaged. The enemy hove to after the first warning shot, and she was promtly boarded and carried. Took possession, manned her, and sailed her to Key West.
Saturday, August 21, NE of Mariel, course W, hands at quarters. At 1/2 to 12, observed Spanish 'Les Gros Ventre' to S bearing E, bore up and closed to range. After a running chase and close maneuvering the enemy struck her colours. Took possession of her and her cargo of tobacco, sugar, live oak logs and copper ore, and sailed her to Key West.
Friday, August 26, NW of Barcos, course S, hands employed about the ship. At 1/2 to 6 observed Spanish 18-gun 'Navy Brig' to S bearing N, bore up and engaged. The enemy was soon joined by a Spanish 20-gun 'Niagara' brig carrying 32-pounder carronades. The nearest brig was boarded and carried, and manned with a prize crew. The 'Banterer' and the prize managed to disengage, rendezvousing in Barcos.
Friday, August 26, NW of Barcos, at single anchor, hands employed knotting and splicing. At 1/2 to 11 observed Spanish 'Trader Brig' to NNW bearing S, bore up and intercepted. The enemy hove to and struck her colours. Took possession of her and her cargo of fish meat, and sailed her to Barcos.
Friday, August 26, ENE of Barcos, course ENE, hands variously employed. At 12 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to WSW bearing ENE, bore up and engaged. After a running chase the enemy was boarded and carried. Took possession of her and her cargo of fish meat, and sailed her to Barcos.
Monday, August 29, N of Barcos, course WNW, hands at quarters. At 4 observed Pirate 22-gun 'Snow' brig to WNW bearing ESE, closed to range. Exchanged several broadsides before the pirate was boarded and carried. Manned the prize and sent her and her captured crew to Barcos. The pirates will be transported to Kingston to be tried.
Monday, August 29, NW of Barcos, course NW, hands restowing the hold. At 1/4 to 7 observed Spanish 'Trader Brig' to NW bearing SSE, bore up and engaged. After a running chase the merchantman's foremast was shot away and she struck her colours at 7. Took possession of her and her cargo of shipbuilding materials and various types of logs, and escorted her to Barcos.
Monday, August 29, NE of Barcos, course NE, hands at quarters. At 9 observed French 'Trader Snow' to NW bearing N, closed to range. After a long running chase upwind the enemy was boarded and carried. Took possession of her and her cargo of fish meat and escorted her to Barcos.
Tuesday, August 30, NE of Barcos, at anchor, hands variously employed. At 8 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to NNW bearing SSE, set sails and intercepted. Upon our approach the enemy struck her colours. Took possession of her and her cargo of fish meat and escorted her to Barcos.
Wednesday, August 31, N of Barcos, course WNW, hands at quarters. At 6 observed French 'Trader Brig' to NW bearing S, closed to range. The enemy struck her colours after a warning shot across her bows. Took possession of her and her cargo of fish meat and escorted her to Barcos.
Wednesday, August 31, W of Barcos, course W, hands at quarters. At 6 observed Pirate 'Trader Brig' to SW bearing ENE, bore up and engaged. After a running chase the enemy was boarded and carried. Took possession of her and her substantial cargo of fish meat, tobacco, copper coins and labour contracts and escorted her to Barcos. The pirates will later be transported to Kingston to be tried.
  • September 1816
Friday, September 2, NW of Barcos, course SE, hands employed about the ship. At 9 observed Spanish 'Trader Brig' to SE bearing W, bore up and closed to range. The enemy was quickly boarded and carried, her cargo of fish meat seized, and later escorted to Barcos.
Friday, September 2, W of Barcos, course W, hands variously employed. At 10 observed Spanish 20-gun 'Mercury' brig at anchor to W, bore up engaged. After suffering much from the initial exchange of broadsides, we attempted a boarding action. The attempt failed, and after some maneuvering we sank the enemy. Survivors were collected and put in irons below.
Sunday, September 4, NW of Baja, course NNE, hands employed trimming sails. At 11 observed Spanish 28-gun armed 'Indiaman' merchant ship to NE heading S, bore up engaged. After a running chase to the SE, the enemy was boarded and carried off Baja. Took possession of her and her very substantial cargo of fish meat, and manned her with a prize crew. She rendezvoused with H.M.S. 'Southhampton' S of Las Tortugas, and was escorted to Key West.
Friday, September 9, S of Pinar del Río, course ESE, hands variously employed. At 10 observed Spanish 'Trader Brig' to N heading SE, gave chase. After a long running chase to E, the enemy was intercepted NW of Barcos. After losing her mainmast, the enemy was boarded and carried. Took possession of her and her large cargo of sugar and wooden logs, and sent her to Barcos after manning her with a prize crew.
Saturday, September 10, S of Robras, course N, hands employed about the ship. At 1 observed Spanish 'Trader Brig' to N heading NNE, bore up and engaged. The enemy was intercepted just S of Robras, and she struck her colours soon after. Finding no goods in her hold, we took possession of her, manned her with a prize crew and sent her to Barcos.
Sunday, September 11, W of Barcos, course S, hands employed scraping the masts. At 2 observed Spanish 'Trader Brig' to W heading SW, bore up and gave chase. The enemy was intercepted W of Cocodrillo, and she was quickly boarded and carried. Finding her hold empty, we transferred her crew and burned the vessel.
Sunday, September 11, SSW of Pinar del Rio, course W, hands variously employed. At 1/2 to 3 observed Spanish 20-gun 'Mercury' brig to W heading E, chased by a vessel captained by Captain Sir Henry Harwood. Engaged in concert with Captain Harwood, and after some maneuvering the enemy was boarded and carried. The vessel was manned with a prize crew and set sail for Barcos.
Sunday, September 18, NE of Barcos, course ENE, hands employed about the ship. At 10 observed 22-gun Spanish 'Snow' brig to E heading ENE, gave chase. After a long running chase, the enemy was boarded and carried. The terribly damaged prize was manned, saved from foundering, and later set sail for Barcos.
Wednesday, September 21, N of Barcos, course W, hands variously employed. At 3/4 to 9 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to NNW bearing SSE, gave chase to intercept. After a short chase, the enemy was boarded and carried. Took possession of her and her small cargo of tobacco, and escorted her to Barcos.
Thursday, September 22, NW of Barcos, course W, hands employed about the ship. At 9 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to NNW bearing S, bore up and engaged. Boarded and carried her, and upon taking possession found her hold to be empty. Escorted the prize to Barcos.
Sunday, September 25, NNW of Barcos, course NW, hands employed trimming sails. At 6 observed Spanish 'Trader Snow' to N bearing S, closed to range and engaged. Boarded and carried her, and seized her cargo of shipbuilding materials. Manned her with a prize crew and escorted her to Barcos.
  • July 1819
Monday, July 15, at single anchor in Cochinos, hands employed about the ship. At 1/4 to 2 observed Prussian 'Trader Snow' to S bearing N, slipped cable and closed to range. The enemy struck her colours, her cargo of various goods seized, and then escorted into Cochinos harbour.
Wednesday, July 17, N of Santa Fe, course W, hands restowing the hold. At 3/4 to 10 observed Prussian 'Trader Brig' to SW bearing WNW, closed to range and engaged. After a short chase the enemy was boarded and carried. Took possession of her, took aboard part of her cargo of shipbuilding tools, and allowed her people the use of her boats before burning her.