Hargood, William (DNB00)
|←Harford, John Scandrett||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 24
HARGOOD, Sir WILLIAM (1762-1839), admiral, youngest son of Hezekiah Hargood, a purser in the navy, was born on 6 May 1762. In 1773 he was entered on the books of the Triumph, flagship in the Medway, but made his first experience of sea-life in March 1775, on board the Romney, going out to Newfoundland with the flag of Rear-admiral Robert Duff [q. v.] On her return to England in the winter Hargood was appointed to the Bristol, carrying the broad pennant of Sir Peter Parker [q. v.], an old friend of his family, under whose care he went out to North America, and was present in the attack on Sullivan's Island, 28 June 1776. In the following September he followed Sir Peter Parker to the Chatham, and again, in December 1777, back to the Bristol, which was shortly afterwards sent to Jamaica. Hargood continued in her, under the direct patronage of Parker, till January 1780, when he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Port Royal sloop, in which he was actively engaged in the unavailing defence of Pensacola, captured by the Spaniards in May 1781. By the terms of the capitulation he. with the rest of the prisoners, was sent to New York, whence he returned to England. He was immediately appointed to the Magnificent of 74 guns, which sailed from Spithead in February 1782, and joined Sir George Rodney in the West Indies, in time to take part in the actions to leeward of Dominica on 9 and 12 April, and was afterwards with Sir Samuel Hood in the Mona Passage, to assist, on 19 April, in the capture of a scattered detachment of French ships. On the peace the Magnificent returned home, and in May 1784 Hargood was appointed to the Hebe frigate with Captain Edward Thornbrough [q. v.], in which ship, in 1785, Prince William Henry [see William IV] served as a. junior lieutenant. In 1786, when the prince was appointed to the command of the Pegasus, Hargood, at his special request, was appointed one of his lieutenants, and again in 1788, first lieutenant of the Andromeda, which the prince paid off in April 1789. Two months afterwards Hargood was promoted to the rank of commander, and in the following December was appointed to the Swallow sloop, from which, after a year on the coast of Ireland, he was advanced to post rank 22 Nov. 1790. In April 1792 he commissioned the Hyaena frigate of 24 guns for service in the West Indies, where, off Cape Tiberon on 27 May 1793, she was captured by the Concorde, a powerful French frigate of 44 heavy guns. Hargood and the other officers were landed on their parole at Cape Francois ; but on 20 June, on the outbreak of the insurrection there, they escaped for their lives on board the Concorde, where the commanding officer declined to receive them as prisoners, but allowed them to take a passage for Jamaica. There was some disposition to blame Hargood for striking to the Concorde without sufficient resistance ; but as the Hysena was partially dismasted, and under the guns of a frigate of at least four times her force, supported by a couple of 74-gun ships and three other frigates in the offing, she could offer no effective defence, and Hargood was honourably acquitted by the court-martial held at Plymouth on 11 Oct. 1793. In the following April Hargood was appointed to the Iris, and employed in convoy service in the North Sea, to the coast of Africa, and to North Ameri2a, until, in August 1796, he was transferred to the Leopard of 50 guns, one of the ships involved in the mutiny of the following year. On 31 May Hargood was put on shore at Yarmouth by the mutineers ; but ten days later such of his officers as were kept on board succeeded in regaining possession of the ship and taking her into the river under a heavy fire from the revolted ships. Hargood did not resume the command, and on 12 July was appointed to the Nassau, a 64-gun ship, which during the next two months formed part of the North Sea fleet under Duncan ; but having received serious damage in a gale of wind, was sent to Sheerness to refit in the early days of October. In February 1798 Hargood was appointed to the Intrepid, in which, on 30 April, he sailed for China in charge of convoy, afterwards joining the flag of Vice-admiral Peter Rainier [q. v.], then commander-in-chief in the East Indies. He returned to England in the spring of 1803, and in the following November was appointed to the Belleisle, then off Toulon, under the command of Lord Nelson. On that station Hargood joined her in March 1804, and continued under Nelson's orders during that year and the next, taking part in the watch off Toulon through 1804, and in the pursuit of the allied fleet to the West Indies and back, April-August 1805. On joining the Brest fleet under Cornwallis, the Belleisle was ordered to Plymouth to refit, which was done only just in time to permit of her rejoining the fleet off Cadiz on 10 Oct., and sharing in the glories of Trafalgar eleven days later, when, following in the wake of the Royal Sovereign, she was one of the ships earliest in action. She lost thirty-three men killed and ninety-four wounded, besides being totally dismasted, and having her hull sorely battered. She was sent home in the following January to be refitted. In February she was again commissioned by Hargood, and in May joined the squadron sent to the West Indies under the command of Sir Richard John Strachan [q.v.] On 18-19 Aug., being then to the southward of Bermuda, the squadron was scattered by a hurricane. Hargood made the best of his way to the northward, and being joined on 5 Sept. by the Bellona and Melampus frigate, continued cruising off the mouth of the Chesapeake, where on 14 Sept. he fell in with the French ship Impetueux, jury-rigged, having been dismasted in the storm which had scattered the French squadron as well as the English. The Impetueux, in no condition to resist or to escape from the English force, ran herself ashore. She was taken possession of and burnt, her officers and crew being sent on board the English ships. There can be no doubt that this action on the part of Hargood was a breach of neutrality ; but it seems to have passed unnoticed by the United States government, and in any case was approved by the English admiralty. In November the Belleisle returned to England, and, after being docked and refitted, was again sent out to the West Indies, where Sir Alexander Cochrane hoisted his flag on board her, Hargood changing into the Northumberland and taking home a large convoy ; after which he joined the fleet at Lisbon under the command of Sir Charles Cotton [q. v.], and was employed in the blockade during the summer of 1808, under the immediate orders of Rear-admiral Purvis, till, after the sudden change of alliances in July, the Northumberland joined the flag of Lord Collingwood, by whom she was sent into the Adriatic, to co-operate with the Austrians. In October 1809 Hargood again joined the admiral, and in the following summer returned to England. On 7 Aug. 1810 he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, and hoisted his flag at Portsmouth as second in command, which post he held till 13 March, when he took command of the squadron employed among the Channel islands. On 4 June 1814 he was promoted to be vice-admiral, and to be admiral on 22 July 1831. In January 1815 he was nominated a K.C.B., and G.C.B. in September 1831, on the occasion of William IV's coronation. He had previously, 22 March 1831, been specially nominated a G.C.H. by the king, who, through Hargood's whole career, had kept up a personal and friendly correspondence with him as an old messmate and shipmate. From March 1833 to April 1836 he was commander-in-chief at Plymouth. He died at Bath 11 Sept. 1839. His picture, by F. R. Say, is in the Painted Hall at Greenwich, to which it was presented by Lady Hargood. Hargood married, in 1811, Maria, daughter of Mr. T. S. Cocks, one of the well-known bankers of that name, but left no issue. Admiral William Hargood, who died in 1888, was a nephew.
[Memoir of the Life and Services of Admiral Sir William Hargood, G.C.B., G.C.H., compiled from authentic documents under the direction of Lady Hargood, by Joseph Allen, with an engraved portrait after Say (printed for private circulation in 1841) ; Commission and Warrant Books in the Public Record Office; James's Naval Hist.]