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A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Nesham, Christopher John Williams

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NESHAM. (Vice-Admiral of the White, 1846. f-p., 19; h-p., 46.)

Christopher John Williams Nesham, born in 1771, is son of the late Christ. Nesham, Esq. (who served as Aide-de-Camp to Colonel Monson at the capture of Manilla in 1762), by Mary Williams, sister of Wm. Peere Williams Freeman, Esq., who died Admiral of the Fleet (1830), and a relative of the late Lord North.

This officer entered the Navy, 21 Jan. 1782, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Juno frigate, Capt. Jas. Montagu; and on 20 June, in the following year, was present, as Midshipman, in the action fought between Sir Edw. Hughes and M. de Suffrein off Cuddalore. On his return to England in the spring of 1785 he successively joined the Edgar 74 and Druid 32, Capts. Adam Duncan and Joseph Ellison, under whom he served at Portsmouth and in the Channel until March, 1788. In June, 1790, he became attached to the Salisbury 50, bearing the flag at Newfoundland of Vice-Admiral Milbank; and on 17 of the following Nov. he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. His succeeding appointments were – 16 July, 1791, and 1 Sept. 1792, to the Drake sloop, Capt. John Doling, and Niger 32, Capts. Rich. Goodwin Keats and Robt. Moorsom, both in the Channel – and, 11 May, 1793, to the Adamant 50, Capts. Wm. Bentinck, Henry D’Esterre Darby, Henry Warre, and Wm. Hotham, in which ship we find him employed on the West India, Newfoundland, Lisbon, and North Sea stations. Under the officer last mentioned he was present, as First-Lieutenant, in the mutiny at the Nore, and in the action off Camperdown 11 Oct. 1797. Being awarded a second promotal commission 2 Jan, 1798, he was next, 13 April, 1801, invested with the command (which he retained until posted 29 April, 1802) of the Suffisante sloop. His after-appointments were – 26 Oct. 1804, to the Foudroyant 80, bearing the flag of Sir Thos. Graves off Rochefort, where he continued until Feb. 1805 – and, 25 March, 1807, 6 July, 1808, and 21 July, 1809, to the Ulysses 44, Intrepid 64, and Captain 74, all on the West India station, whither, in the Ulysses, he escorted a fleet of merchantmen. In that ship Capt. Nesham also co-operated in the reduction of Marie-Galante in March, 1808. In the Intrepid he assisted, in Feb. 1809, and was mentioned in terms of high approbation for his able support of Commodore Geo. Cockburn, at the capture of Martinique; where, in command with Capt. Robt. Barton of a body of about 400 seamen and marines, he superintended (prior to the erection of batteries, whose fire he soon rendered Irresistible) the transport of the heavy cannon, mortars, and howitzers up to Mount Sourier, from the eastern side of Fort Edward, a service, owing to the rains and the deepness of the roads, of the utmost labour and difficulty.[1] On 15 of the following April the Intrepid was severely cut up in an engagement with the French frigates Henriade and Félicité, under the guns of Fort Matilda, Guadeloupe. In Dec. 1809 Capt. Nesham returned to England and paid the Captain off, that ship being found unfit for further service. His last appointment was, 22 July, 1830, to the Melville 74, in the Mediterranean, where he remained about 12 months. He became a Retired Rear-Admiral 10 Jan. 1837, but was transferred to the Active list 17 Aug. 1840, and on 9 Nov. 1846 advanced to the rank he now holds.

The Vice-Admiral married, first, in 1802, Margaret Anne, youngest daughter of the first, sister of the second, and aunt of the present Lord Graves; and (that lady dying in 1808) secondly, in July, 1833, Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Colonel Nicholas Bayly, brother of the late Earl of Uxbridge, and first-cousin of the Marquis of Anglesey, K.G., G.C.B. His only daughter by his former marriage became the wife, in Jan. 1831, of Major Lloyd, of the 73rd regt.



  1. Vide Gaz. 1809, pp. 482, 488.