Captain Sir Andrew Snape Douglas RN

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Sir Andrew Snape Douglas (8 October 1761 – 4 June 1797) was a distinguished Scottish sea captain in the Royal Navy during the American War of Independence and French Revolutionary Wars.

Andrew Snape Douglas held command of:
•HMS Roebuck
•HMS Chatham
•HMS Alcide
•HMS Southampton
•HMS Goliath
•HMS Phaeton
•HMS Queen Charlotte
He took part in the battles:
•Siege of Charleston
•Glorious First of June
•Battle of Groix
Andrew Snape Douglas was born in Edinburgh on 8 October 1761, the son of Dr. William Douglas, a medical doctor of Springfield, and Lydia Hamond, daughter of a London merchant and shipowner. William Douglas's death in 1770 led Andrew to sign on that year aboard his maternal uncle, Sir Andrew Snape Hamond's ship, the 32-gun frigate HMS Arethusa. The two sailed to North America, and after spending time along the coast, Douglas moved to the West Indies. With the outbreak of the American War of Independence in 1775 he returned to North America and rejoined his uncle, now commanding the 44-gun HMS Roebuck. He received his commission as a lieutenant on 23 April 1778, and was made master and commander on 16 February 1780. He was to have been appointed to the armed ship Germain, but instead took command of a floating battery, and was present at the Siege of Charleston. He was subsequently promoted to post-captain on 15 May 1780 and appointed to the command of the captured American frigate USS Providence. Instead he had in April 1780 become commander of the Roebuck(1), then serving as the flagship of Vice-Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot. He went on to capture the American ships USS Confederacy on 14 April 1781 and Protector on 5 May. He was succeeded in the command of the Roebuck by Captain John Orde in July 1781.

Douglas returned to England after the end of the war, initially spending time at Chatham Dockyard studying naval architecture, before going to sea again, mostly serving in the Mediterranean and the English Channel. Douglas commanded the 74-gun third rate HMS Alcide from October 1787 during the period of the Spanish Armament. He was in command of the 32-gun HMS Southampton, which had been appointed the guard ship at Weymouth, when the town was visited by King George III. Douglas conducted the King on his first voyage aboard a warship, and on 13 September 1789 King George appointed Douglas a knight bachelor. Also in 1789 Douglas and his uncle Snape Hamond were members of the court for the court martial of the mutineers of the Bounty. Douglas was then in command of the 74-gun HMS Goliath from 1790.

The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in February 1793 led to Douglas being appointed to command the 38-gun frigate HMS Phaeton(3). He went on to capture five enemy vessels that year, and was involved in the capture of a French privateer and her prize, the Spanish galleon St Jago. Lord Howe arranged for Douglas to be commodore in charge of the fleet's frigates, occasionally sending him on detached cruises. He moved aboard Howe's flagship, the 100-gun first rate HMS Queen Charlotte on 8 April 1794, apparently through the auspices of both his uncle and the First Lord of the Admiralty, John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham. Now serving as Howe's flag captain Douglas fought at the Glorious First of June, sustaining a severe wound to the head but refusing to leave the deck. He was appointed a Colonel of Marines on 1 June 1795 and remained as captain of the Queen Charlotte after Howe was succeeded by Lord Bridport. He commanded his ship at the Battle of Groix in 1795, earning private praise for his courage in leading his ship whilst heavily outnumbered, but little public reward.

Douglas had married Anne Burgess on 14 November 1781 in British-occupied New York City. They had one son and two daughters, Anne Hammond Douglas and Harriet Douglas. He had begun to suffer increasing ill health, complaining of persistent headaches, which eventually forced him to end his career at sea. He moved ashore but died on 4 June 1797. A subsequent autopsy revealed brain tumours, a likely result of his injury(4) at the Glorious First of June some years before.

An engraving of Douglas is in the collection of the British National Portrait Gallery (see gallery above). There are several other images of Douglas; he appears in several paintings by Mather Brown and in a portrait by modern maritime artist Irwin Bevan. Douglas is primarily known today through his letters to his uncle.


Memorial in Church, Fulham, London, England
'Within this vault are deposited the Remains of Sir Andrew Snape Douglas, Knight, Late captain of His Majesty's Ship Queen Charlotte, And Colonel of Marines, who was born the 8th Day of August 1761 and died on the 14th day of June 1797. Of a life so short in Duration but full of public usefulness and glory seventeen years were spent in the station of a captain in the British Navy. Among various most essential services which signalized his zeal and abilities in his profession His valour and conduct on the first of June 1794 and the 23 June 1795: Two of the proudest days which the Naval History of Britain has to record, were equally conspicuous and important. His ardour and Bravery as an officer were tempered by those gentler virtues Mildness, Affection, Benevolence and Piety which distinguished his character as a man: His memory will long be cherished amidst the afflection and tender regrets of his family and friends. It will live in the gratitude and applause of his country'.


Family Anne Burgess
Children
  1.     1.Anne Hammond Douglas+ d. 1844
      2. Harriet Douglas, abt 1786-1860
      3. Andrew Snape Douglas
Anne, the eldest daughter, married Sir George Bowyer, 6th Bt., son of Admiral Sir George Bowyer, 5th Bt. and Henrietta Brett, on 19 November 1808. She died in 1844.
 
Andrew Snape, the younger, was Secretary to HM Legation at the Court of the Two Sicilies, then in Sep 1824 Secretary to HM Embassy at the Court of The Netherlands. An Andrew Snape Douglas (d1869) is described as 'Diplomat' in the National Register of Archives


Notes:
1. The Roebuck was ordered home in July 1781, but Douglas remained in American waters, having been given command of the 54-gun HMS Chatham. He was employed in a senior position in Admiral Thomas Graves's fleet owing to his extensive knowledge of the American coasts. He was subsequently given command of a squadron of frigates and went on to enjoy considerable success in a number of cruises. Among his captures was the 32-gun French frigate Magicienne on 2 July 1781, an action that thwarted a planned French assault on British ships in the St John River.
2. In December 1792 Phaeton was commissioned under Sir Andrew Snape Douglas. In March 1793 Phaeton captured the 4-gun privateer lugger Aimable Liberté.
Then on 14 April Phaeton sighted the French privateer Général Dumourier (or Général Du Mourier), of twenty-two 6-pounder guns and 196 men, and her Spanish prize, the St Jago, 140 leagues to the west of Cape Finisterre. Phaeton was part of Admiral John Gell's squadron and the entire squadron set off in pursuit, but it was Phaeton that made the actual capture.
The St Jago had been sailing from Lima to Spain when the General Dumourier captured her on 11 April. In trying to fend off the General Dumourier, St Jago fought for five hours, losing 10 men killed and 37 wounded, before she struck. She also suffered extensive damage to her upper works. St Jago‍ '​s cargo, which had taken two years to collect, was the richest ever trusted on board a single ship. Early estimates put the value of the cargo as some ₤1.2 and £1.3 million. The most valuable portion of the cargo was a large number of gold bars that had a thin covering of pewter and that were listed on the manifest as "fine pewter". The General Dumourier had taken on board 680 cases, each containing 3000 dollars, plus several packages worth two to three thousand pounds.
The ships that conveyed St Jago to Portsmouth were St George, Egmont, Edgar, Ganges and Phaeton. The money came over London Bridge in 21 wagons, escorted by a party of light dragoons, and lodged in the Tower of London.
On 11 December the High Court of Admiralty decided that the ship should be restored to Spain, less one eighth of the value after expenses for salvage, provided the Spanish released British ships held at Corunna. The agents for the captors appealed and on 4 February 1795 the Lords of the Council (the Privy council) put the value of the cargo at £935,000 and awarded it to the captors. At the time, all the crew, captains, officers and admirals could expect to share in the prize. Admiral Hood's share was £50,000.
On 28 May Phaeton took the 20-gun Prompte off the Spanish Coast. The Royal Navy took Prompte into service under her existing name.
Together with Weasle, Phaeton took two privateers in the Channel in June - the 10-gun Poisson Volante and the Général Washington. On 27 November she and Latona took the 28-gun Blonde of Ushant. In February 1794 Phaeton was paid off, but the next month Captain William Bentinck recommissioned her.
In 1794, during the battle of the Glorious First of June, Phaeton came to the aid of the dismasted Defence. While doing so, she exchanged broadsides with the French ship-of-the-line Impetueux. Phaeton suffered three men killed and five wounded. She was the only one of the support vessels there to suffer casualties. In 1847 the Admiralty awarded the survivors to that date of all the vessels at the battle, including Phaeton, the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "1 June 1794". (Also known as Battle of Ushant)
3. Contributed: 
Sir Andrew Snape-Hamond's youngest sister had married Dr William Douglas, M.D., of Edinburgh; their son Andrew Snape-Douglas, born 1761, entered the Royal Navy and rendered most distinguished services to his country; his gallantry deserves a longer notice than these pages can afford; briefly put, his uncle, Sir Andrew's mention of him is as follows:
his first lieutenant when the Admiral hoisted his flag on Sir Andrew's ship, at the siege of Charlestown, young Douglas' activity had procured him the rank of post-captain; on Lord Lincoln and Sir Andrew Snape-Hamond being chosen to convey the despatches home in 1780, Captain Snape-Douglas was appointed to the command of his uncle's ship the Roebuck, which ship being sheathed in copper and unequalled in her sailing powers "was for a young man under nineteen an extraordinary instance of good fortune. Although my near relation and the boy who had never left my side from ten years old (when his father died) I may be allowed to say he was exceeded by no man in the profession, and to use the King's expression (sometime after his death when at His Majesty's request I presented him with his bust), ` He was a great national loss, but he lived just long enough to become a brilliant example to all the rising young men in the Navy.' He was Lord Howe's Captain in the great action on the first June 1794, when the Republican Fleet of France fought for the Dominion of the Sea."
Captain Douglas' gallantry in that action, the extraordinary exertion he used and ability he displayed as a seaman in bringing the French Fleet into action when he commanded the Queen Charlotte, brought him the highest recommendation from his superiors. On Captain Sir Andrew Douglas going aboard the Admiral's ship, The Royal George, after the action, he was received with a guard at the gangway; and the Admiral before all his officers, told him he considered the victory just won due, principally, to his exertions.
4.  In the painting of the battle, he can be seen holding his hand to his head, and being supported by his fellow officers, to the right of the painting.
5.  Extract from: Naval History of Great Britain: Volume 7 By John Campbell link to biography of Andrew Snape Douglas
6.  13 Feb 1795 In Monteith Close, Edinburgh, death of Mr John Douglas, Albany Herald, uncle of Sir Andrew Snape Douglas, Captain of the Royal Navy




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