A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Mackellar, John
MACKELLAR. (Admiral of the Blue, 1847. f-p., 25; h-p., 41.)
John Mackellar, born about 1768, at Minorca, is eldest son (by Miss Elizabeth Basaline, of that island) of the late General Patrick Mackellar, a Colonel of the Royal Engineers, who served as Chief Engineer under General Wolfe at Quebec, assisted, in a similar capacity, at the reduction of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and the Havana, and closed a most honourable and valuable life as Chief Engineer, at Minorca, in 1779. The Admiral’s only brother, Neil, also attained high rank in the Army.
This officer entered the Navy, 6 Jan. 1781, as A.B., on board the Romney 50, Capt. Roddam Home, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore Johnstone; and in the course of the same year was wounded in the leg during an action with a French squadron under M. de Suffrein, in Porto Praya Bay. Removing, in April, 1782, to the Enterprize 28, Capts. John Willet Payne and Hon. Wm. Carnegie, he assisted, as Midshipman of that vessel, at the capture or destruction, in the West Indies, of two valuable Spanish polacres, a, privateer of 16 guns and 70 men, six other armed vessels, the Comte de Grasse of 20 guns and 120 men, and the Mohawk of 22 guns and 125 men. He was on one occasion sent up a river in charge of one of several boats, which effected the annihilation, after a party of native militia had been defeated, of the store-houses belonging to two plantations; and on another, he took command of one of two boats, and aided in destroying a privateer of 16 guns, notwithstanding the resistance offered by her crew, supported by some military, and the presence of several French menof-war lying in Boston harbour. Subsequently to the general peace we find the Enterprize taking formal possession of Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitt’s, and Dominica, in consequence of those islands having been restored to Great Britain by the treaty of Versailles. Between Sept. 1784 and the date of his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant 22 Nov. 1790, Mr. Mackellar was employed, on the Home and Newfoundland stations, in the Edgar 74, Capt. Adam Duncan, Hebe and Phoenix frigates, Capts. Edw. Thornbrough and John Willet Payne, Alcidie 74, Capt. Benj. Caldwell, and Barfleur 98, Salisbury 50, and Victory 100, flag-ships, the first and last of Lord Hood, and the second of Vice- Admiral Milbanke. His next appointments were – 22 April,. 1791, to the Circe, Capt. Geo. Oakes, under whom he cruized, in the Channel and off Cork, until the following Oct. – 19 June, 1793, to the Assistance 50, Capts. Sir Rich. Bickerton and Henry Mowat, in which ship, after having visited the Cape of Good Hope, he contributed to the capture, 28 Aug. 1796, of the French 36-gun frigate Elisabeth, off Cape Henry – and, 28 Jan. 1797, to the acting-command of the s[c] sloop. Being superseded in the latter vessel in the ensuing May, he returned home a passenger in the St. Albans 64, but had the satisfaction on his arrival of being confirmed by a commission dated 5 July in the same year. In Feb. 1798 Capt. Mackellar obtained an appointment to the Minerva frigate, armée en flûte, part of the force sent three months afterwards, under Sir Home Popham, to destroy the locks and sluice-gates of the Bruges Canal. In the execution of that service he distinguished himself in a very remarkable manner, and obtained the particular commendation of the military Commander-in-Chief, Major-General Coote; with whom, and the troops under his orders, he had the misfortune to be taken prisoner, owing solely to the circumstance of his having voluntarily remained on shore for the purpose of assuming command of a detachment of seamen who had unavoidably been left without an officer of sufficient rank to direct them, at a moment when the presence of one was absolutely necessary. Regaining his liberty in the course of the next Dec, Capt. Mackellar was rewarded for his conduct – after having held command for 14 weeks of the Wolverene sloop and Charon 44, on the Home and Mediterranean stations – by advancement to Post-rank 27 April, 1799. He continued some months in the ship last mentioned, performing during that period various particular services, and assisting at the evacuation of the Helder; and he was next, in Sept. 1800 and March, 1801, appointed to the Jamaica 26 and Terpsichore 32. In the former of those vessels he escorted a fleet of merchantmen to and from the Baltic, made one or two captures, and compelled a large privateer, commanded by the famous Blackeman, to lighten herself of her guns, &c., in order to effect her escape. On his removal to the Terpsichore, Capt. Mackellar was at first employed at the blockade of Boulogne and Calais, and then in the East Indies. While on that station in Dec. 1801, he volunteered, at a period when the Terpsichore was in a dismantled state, to take charge of an expedition, consisting of the Marquis Cornwallis of 48 guns, and several of the Hon. Company’s vessels, for the purpose of conveying a reinforcement of 1000 troops to the Portuguese settlements of Demaun and Diu. The able and successful manner in which he accomplished the objects of the mission elicited the high approbation and thanks of , the Bombay Government. His exertions in subsequently conveying a body of 3000 men from Goa to the relief of the Governor of that Presidency, Hon. Jonathan Duncan, when surrounded by his enemies at Surat, again procured him similar acknowledgments. He returned to England in 1802, having been latterly employed at the blockade of Goa, and was afterwards appointed – in May, 1804, to the agency for prisoners of war and transports, and the Governorship of the Naval Hospital at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he remained about six years – 2 Aug. 1815, to the s[c] 50, lying at Chatham – 11 Dec. following, to the Salisbury 58, bearing the flag at Jamaica of Rear-Admiral John Erskine Douglas – and, 14 March, 1817, to the Pique 36, on the same station, whence he returned home (encountering on his passage an almost fatal hurricane) and was paid off in Dec. 1818. Previously to his departure, Capt. Mackellar received an address signed3by the Mayor and the heads of 49 commercial houses, expressive of the sense they entertained of the solicitude he had always evinced for the welfare of the trade of the island. He became a Rear-Admiral 27 May, 1825; a Vice- Admiral 10 Jan. 1837; and a full Admiral.
He is married, and has issue.