Captain Richard FitzPatrick's background and information
Richard FitzPatrick was always meant for the Navy: he was the second son of a small noble family based in Belfast, and as such he entered service as a midshipman at the age of 8. He served in that post through the French Revolutionary Wars, being wounded in the arm at the siege of Toulon. In the first year of the 19th Century, he passed his Lieutenant's exam and being sent to serve on board the H.M.S Leopard. In this post he was present in the taking of French ship Clarice and afterwards in the Egyptian Campaign. He served effectively in many small engagements across the Channel and the Bay of Biscay in the Napoleonic Wars.
Then new orders arrived: H.M.S Leopard was to join the North American Station, and so she sailed in early 1807 to America. In June, she was ordered to join with other ships to block off the French ships anchored in Chesepeak Bay. Everything was normal until some sailors jumped ship and swam ashore. After failed diplomatic action, the Captain of H.M.S Leopard, Salusbury Pryce Davenport, hailed the U.S.S Chesepeake off the coast of Norfolk, he sent Lieutenant John Meade to ask Commodore James Baron to hand over the deserters that were apparently in his ship: the Commodore refused. After the refusal, the Captain took swift action, and after disabling U.S.S Chesepeake sent over a group of men to find the deserters, lead by Lieutenant Richard FitzPatrick. Once the four were found, he interceded for them: the only British sailor was hang for desertion, but he defended the American prisioners while they were still on board H.M.S Leopard and as such, he managed not only to avoid them being executed, but also managed for them to not be lashed. He oversaw the transfer of the three American prisioners to the schooner H.M.S Bream in which they were taken to Boston to be released. Not late after the whole affair, he was recalled to England where he was promoted to Post Captain and given command of H.M.S Alexandria and then H.M.S Monarch.
In the months spent in the North American Continent, he managed to sketch and take notes and descriptions, and even some samples of many animals and plants that were being sold and exchanged in ports. These were new arrivals from the new ¨frontier¨ to the West of the Continent. When he returned he was proposed by two of his friends to be a Fellow in the Royal Society, but the Council didn't find his work to be enough to become a full Fellow, and he was given Honorary Fellowship.
While commanding H.M.S Monarch he was tasked with escorting trading ships to either Portugal or Russia respectively, thus breaking the Continental System. When the Emperor of the French realized that his Foreign Policy was being rendered inefective by what who he considered "His Brother" Tsar Alexander I, and by one of England's oldest allies he took action: his Grande Armée made its way to Portugal through Spain, which at the time and since the Traty of San Ildefonso (1796) was the closest ally to the new French Republic and then Empire. But Napoleon not only wanted Portugal out of the war effort: his army stayed in the cities of Spain, and he deposed the King Charles IV so his brother Joseph would become King of Spain and as such an even closer ally. Few people in Spain welcomed the change, and in the 2nd of May, 1808, a new war broke out: the War of Spanish Independence or the Peninsular War. In this new theatre, Richard was tasked with escorting the British troop convoy headed to Portugal. The 15.000 men under the command of of Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Wellesley reached and disembarked on Mondego Bay on the 1st of August 1808. Wellesley had dined with Richard and the rest of the Captains of the fleet; they became friends and before disembarking the two gentlemen traded pocket watches to wish each other luck. Richard never changed his watch after that, and many were surprised when they saw the rugged and old watch in situations where etiquette was the norm.
After the landings, he escorted the ships back to England, but not long after he was tasked with returning to the Peninsula: Moore's army had been driven back by Napoleon himself, and it retreated to Coruña. The skirmishes leadng to Coruña were fierce: discipline was non existent within the ranks. When the army reached Coruña the French were no further than 12 hours of march away. It was the 16th of January, 1809: the Battle of Coruña began. While Richard himself made sure to get as many troops on board as possible, Sir John Moore was wounded, and command was transfered to Sir John Hope: who decided to embark as many troops as possible and not stand their ground. The evacuation was a success, and around 15,000 troops were evacuated. After this action Richard was given praise by his coleagues after he personally went ashore to organize the hasty evacuation and transport to the ships. Here he was once again wounded: in his other, arm by a spent musket ball, but the surgeon managed to extract it and miraculously the wound wasn't infected.
Four months later, Richard once again was tasked with returning to Portugal: he was transporting the Commander-in-Chief of the remaining British forces in Portugal: his friend Arthur Wellesley. Once they got to Portugal, they wished eachother luck and exchanged snuff boxes. The rest of the Peninsular War, Richard was tasked with protecting the trade routes to Lisbon and Cádiz: he did so valiantly, and fought off the ocasional French ship, and thus maintaining the delicate lifeline that kept the three armies of the Peninsula supplied: the Spanish Army and guerrillas, and the combined Anglo-Portugese Army.
Record of Achievement
- August 20th 1819 - Joined the St. George Squadron of the White.
- H.M.S Monarch, 4th rate, 70 guns.
- H.M.S Alexandria, 5th rate frigate, 42 guns.