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A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Ferris, Abel

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FERRIS. (Rear-Admiral, 1846. f-p., 17; h-p., 37.)

Abel Ferris, born 12 Dec. 1776, is son of the late Abel Ferris, Esq.

This officer entered the Navy, 22 Feb. 1793, as Midshipman, on board the Thalia 36, Capt. Rich. Grindall, whom, after witnessing the Astraea’s capture, 10 April, 1795, of the French frigate La Gloire, he followed, as Master’s Mate, into the Irresistible 74, one of Lord Bridport’s fleet in the ensuing action with the French off Ile de Groix. He next served for short periods in La Nymphe 36, Capt. Geo. Losack, Atlas 98, Capt. Edm. Dod, and Carnatic 74, Capt. R. Grindall; and, then joining the Colossus 74, was present in that ship, under Capt. Geo. Murray, in the battle off Cape St. Vincent, 14 Feb. 1797, and in her boats in various encounters with the Cadiz flotilla. On the Colossus being lost off Scilly, 10 Dec. 1798, Mr. Ferris became attached to the Puissant receiving-ship at Spithead, from which, on 22 April, 1799, he was promoted to a Lieutenancy in the Voltigeur 18, Capt. Thos. Geo. Shortland. Returning home from the Newfoundland station at the peace of Amiens, he subsequently, on 19 April, 1803, rejoined Capt. Grindall on board the Prince 98; and after participating in the battle of Trafalgar, 21 Oct. 1805, he successively accompanied Lord Collingwood into the Queen and Ocean 98’s. In the Wizard sloop, of 16 guns and 95 men, to the command of which he was promoted 10 Oct. 1807, Capt. Ferris fell in with, on 10 May, 1808, and chased for 88 hours, the French brig-corvette Le Requin, of 16 guns [errata 1] and 110 men, until at length the latter vessel, after having run a distance of 369 miles, and been once beaten in a well-fought action of an hour and a half, which cost the Wizard a loss of 1 man killed and 5 wounded, sought refuge in the neutral port of Tunis. Being subsequently stationed off the coast of Italy, in company with the Kent 74, the Wizard within a short period assisted at the capture and destruction of 23 of the enemy’s coasting vessels – nearly annihilated their trade – was in constant action with gun-boats and batteries – and on 1 Aug. towed and judiciously covered the approach of the boats in an attack made upon a convoy at Noli, a service more fully detailed in our memoir of Commander Wm. Chasman.[1] She also, on one occasion, captured a privateer mounting 8 guns, with a complement of 59 men. From 22 Nov. 1809, until confirmed to Post-rank 18 April, 1811, the subject of this sketch acted as Captain, in the Mediterranean, of the Royal Sovereign 100, Tigre 74, Volontaire 38, San Josef 110, flag-ship of Sir Chas. Cotton, and Euryalus 36. He was admitted to the out-pension of Greenwich Hospital 10 Dec. 1825, and awarded his present rank 1 Oct. 1846.

The Rear-Admiral married, 22 June, 1811, Elizabeth, third daughter of Wm. Schollar, Esq., Mayor of Weymouth, co. Dorset.



  1. Original: 18 guns was amended to 16 guns : detail

  1. Vide Gaz. 1809, p. 15.