Royal Naval Biography/Hamond, Andrew Snape

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One of the Elder Brethren of the Trinity House; a Fellow of the Royal Society; and formerly Comptroller of the Navy.
[Retired Captain.]

This venerable and much respected officer is the only son of the late Robert Hamond, Esq., who died in 1775, by Susanna, daughter and sole heiress of Robert Snape, Esq.; and uncle of the gallant Sir Andrew Snape Douglas, who commanded the Queen Charlotte, bearing Earl Howe’s flag, and was severely wounded in the celebrated battle of June 1, 1794[1].

He was born at Greenwich in Dec. 1738; entered the naval service in 1753; and was appointed a Lieutenant of the Magnanime 74, at the particular request of her Captain, the late Earl Howe, in June 1759. He served under that officer and H.R.H. the late Duke of York, until the end of the seven-years’ war[2], was made a Commander in the Savage sloop, about 1765, and obtained the rank of Post-Captain Dec. 7, 1770.

After serving for some time as Flag-Captain to Lord Howe, in the Barfleur of 90 guns, be obtained the command of the Arethusa frigate, in which he was employed on the American station nearly four years. At the commencement of the colonial war he joined the Roebuck, a new ship mounting 44 guns on two decks, and soon after entered upon a series of most active and perilous services, in the rivers Delaware and Chesapeake.

In the month of June, 1776, Captain Hamond accompanied Vice-Admiral Lord Shuldham and his military colleague, General Sir William Howe, on an expedition against New York. On the 3d July the fleet passed the bar at Sandy Hook, and anchored off Staten Island, which was taken possession of by the troops without resistance. On the 14th, Admiral Lord Howe arrived from England, and assumed the chief command of the naval forces on the coast of America[3].

In order to facilitate the reduction of New York, Commodore Hotham was detached with a squadron to Gravesend Bay, Long Island, to cover the landing of 15,000 troops, under the command of Generals Howe, Clinton, and Lord Cornwallis. On the 25th Aug. some ships of war, under the orders of Sir Peter Parker, were directed to approach nearer to the town; and another small squadron, of which the Roebuck formed a part, was sent to cover the general attack. At day-break on the 27th, the naval force made a diversion, which perfectly succeeded; and in the evening the army encamped in front of the enemy’s works. The siege continued until the 15th Sept.; on which day, the first division of troops, having embarked at Newton Creek, landed upon New York Island, under cover of the Phoenix and Roebuck, at a place called Keep’s Bay, about three miles distant from the town. As soon as the second division was landed, the Americans retired to Morris’s height; and New York was taken possession of by a brigade of royal troops the same evening. General Washington subsequently retreated into the Jerseys, pursued by the British, who before the end of November were in possession of almost the whole of those provinces.

On the 9th Oct. Captain Hamond accompanied Captains Hyde Parker and Cornthwaite Ommanney, of the Phoenix and Tartar, up the North River, for the purpose of intercepting any supplies which might be sent to the rebels by that channel. The ships sustained a heavy cannonade on passing the enemy’s batteries, by which the Roebuck had 10 men, including a Lieutenant, killed, and 18 wounded.

On the 23d July, 1777, Lord Howe sailed from Sandy Hook with a fleet of two hundred and sixty-seven sail, having on board a considerable body of troops, destined for the reduction of Philadelphia. Owing to calms and adverse winds, it was the 14th Aug. before his Lordship reached the Chesapeake. On the llth Sept. the Americans were defeated in a severe battle fought at Brandywine; General Washington fled to Philadelphia; but finding that he could not maintain his position there, without the hazard of a general action, abandoned that capital to its fate, and continued his retreat several miles higher up the river. A few days after, the Delaware frigate, assisted by some other armed vessels, attempted to obstruct the British troops, who were employed to erect batteries next the sea. Upon the falling of the tide, she got aground, and was taken possession of by the Roebuck; her consorts cut their cables and pushed up the river. Captain Hamond appointed his first Lieutenant to command the prize, who pursued and destroyed the whole of them, amounting to seventeen sail. Before the ships of war could proceed higher up the river, it was necessary that several machines, resembling chevaux-de-frize, which the enemy had sunk to block up the passage, should be removed. This arduous undertaking was entrusted to Captain Hamond, who, after much perseverance and great exertions, succeeded in weighing a sufficient number of them to secure a safe channel for the ships, notwithstanding he was greatly annoyed by the enemy’s floating batteries. The next object was to dislodge the Americans from the strong posts which they held at Red Bank and Mud Island. To effect this service, on the 22d Oct. the Augusta, Somerset, Isis, and Merlin, commanded by Captains Reynolds, Cornwallis, Ourry, and Reeve, were ordered to cannonade the batteries on the island; and a detachment of Hessian soldiers under Count Donop, were at the same time directed to attack the redoubt on Red Bank. The Augusta and Merlin took the ground in a situation which prevented them from firing with much effect; they however kept up a heavy cannonade, and baffled the efforts of the enemy, who sent down several fire-rafts and heavy gun-vessels to destroy them. Unfortunately, the Augusta, by some accident, took fire; and the other ships being obliged to withdraw, the Roebuck covered her till she blew up, to prevent the Americans getting possession of her. This service Captain Hamond performed under a very severe fire, his springs having been cut three several times; and when heaving upon the fourth, 14 men were knocked down by one shot, which completely cleared two opposite capstern bars. The Augusta having at length exploded, and involved in her destruction the Merlin, the Hessians being at the same time repulsed with dreadful slaughter, he felt it necessary to retire from his very perilous situation[4].

On the 15th November, a more vigorous and successful attack was made on Mud Island, by the Somerset, Isis, Roebuck, Pearl, Liverpool, and three smaller vessels; the cannonade was so furious that the enemy were driven from their guns, and retired in great confusion. Those on the main soon shared the fate of their countrymen on the island; by which means a free communication was opened with Philadelphia by water. The Roebuck, on this occasion, had 3 men killed and 7 wounded. The total loss sustained by the other ships was no more than 3 slain and 13 wounded.

During the ensuing two years Captain Hamond was constantly employed on a variety of hazardous services, rendered necessary by the peculiar nature of the war. In February, 1780, he accompanied Vice-Admiral Arbuthnot, who had recently hoisted his flag in the Roebuck as Commander-in-Chief on the American station, on an expedition against Charlestown, in South Carolina; from whence he returned to England with the official despatches relative to its reduction. During the operations against that place he appears to have acted per order as Captain of the Fleet[5].

Towards the latter end of the same year Captain Hamond, who had previously received the honor of knighthood, was appointed Lieutenant Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Nova Scotia, and Commodore and Resident Commissioner at Halifax, where he remained until the conclusion of the war; when he embarked as a passenger on board the Caton of 64 guns, from which ship he removed on her arrival at Antigua, to repair the damages she had sustained in a heavy gale of wind near the banks of Newfoundland, into the Amazon privateer, in which vessel he returned to England about June, 1783.

On the 10th December following, Captain Hamond was created a Baronet of Great Britain, as a reward for his very distinguished services. From this period we find no mention of him until the commencement of 1785, when he hoisted a broad pendant on board the Irresistible of 74 guns, as Commodore and Commander-in-Chief in the river Medway and at the Nore. He subsequently sat as a member of the board appointed to investigate and report on the expediency and efficacy of certain plans which had been proposed for the better security of the dock-yards at Portsmouth and Plymouth.

During the Spanish armament, and the altercation that afterwards took place between Great Britain and Russia, Sir Andrew commanded the Vanguard 74; and on that ship being put out of commission, in the autumn of 1791, he was appointed to the Bedford, another third rate, in which he continued until the commencement of the French revolutionary war, when he removed into the Duke of 90 guns. In the course of the year 1793 he was nominated a Commissioner of the Navy Board, of which he became Deputy Comptroller in February 1794.

Sir Andrew S. Hamond’s last appointment was in August, 1794, to be Comptroller of the Navy; in which high and laborious office he remained till early in 1806, when he retired with a pension of 1500l. per annum. Our officer married Anne, daughter and heiress of Henry Graeme, Esq. of Hanwell Heath, co. Middlesex, and has issue, Graham Eden Hamond, a Post Captain, and C.B.; and Caroline, widow of the Hon. Lieutenant-Colonel Hood, eldest son of Henry Viscount Hood, who served as Adjutant-General to the second division of Lord Wellington’s army, and fell in the enterprise of driving the enemy from Aire, March 2, 1814.

Residence.– Terrington, near Lynn, Norfolk.

  1. A most interesting memoir of Sir Andrew Snape Douglas appears in the Naval Chronicle, Vol. 25, p. 363, et seq. The following is an extract therefrom:

    “On Sunday, Jane 4, 1797, after an agonizing illness, which he bore with a fortitude that exemplified an unshaken confidence in his God, died in the 35th year of his age, Sir Andrew Snape Douglas, nephew of Sir Andrew Snape Hamond, Bart. He was late Captain of H.M.S. Queen Charlotte, and Colonel of Marines. As an officer in his Majesty’s navy, few have ever equalled him; and for activity and courage none have surpassed him. His career of glory was therefore brilliant, though his life was short. No name stands higher in the list of fame no name has been more justly celebrated for acts of heroism on the Memorable 1st of June. Severely wounded on that day in the head, he scorned to leave his station beyond the moment that was necessary to stop the flow of blood; but he exerted nature almost beyond her powers.

    “On the victorious 23d June, 1795, when no ships were in a situation to support him, but the Irresistible and Orion; undaunted by the heavy fire of nine sail of the enemy’s fleet, he boldly arrested their flight, at the very mouth of l’Orient; and to his intrepidity and perseverance, England stands chiefly indebted for the capture of three ships of the line.

    “His benevolence as a man equalled his gallantry as an officer; and he proved on all occasions, a father to those whom he commanded. He was a true Christian, a dutiful son, an affectionate brother, a tender and faithful husband, a most indulgent parent, and a warm, generous, and firm friend. As a patriot and a public character, his death, particularly at this momentous crisis*, is a loss which cannot but be painfully regretted.” “But who can speak the deep and lasting sorrows to which his family and friends are now devoted! Here, alas, words are useless. Draw then the mournful veil, and ‘Let expressive silence muse his praise’.” Sir Andrew Snape Douglas was distantly related to the Marquis Douglas, and bore the same arms. – The regard which his late Majesty retained for the memory of this lamented officer, is exemplified by the following anecdote:– The King having often inquired whether it were possible for him to have a bust of Sir Andrew, his uncle carried one to the Queen’s house, and placed it in one of the rooms through which the royal family were to pass, on their return from the chapel. His Majesty immediately recognized the well-known features of his faithful servant, and in a manner that did the highest honor to his feelings! Having shewn the bust to all the royal family, the monarch then took it in his own hands, and placed it over a book-case, where it ever afterwards remained.

    * During Sir Andrew’s painful illness, the mutiny in the fleet broke out. See Vol I. p. 549, et seq.

  2. The Magnanime formed part of Sir Edward Hawke’s fleet, in the action off Quiberon, Nov. 20, 1759, on which occasion the French lost six ships of the line: viz. le Formidable of 80 guns, captured; le Soleil Royale, of the same force, bearing the flag of Admiral de Conflans, and l’Heros 74, driven on shore and burnt; le Thesée 74, and Superbe 70, sunk with their crews on board; and le Juste of 70 guns, wrecked. The British fleet consisted of twenty-three sail of the line, two of which, the Resolution of 74 guns, and Essex 64, were lost on the Four Banks. The enemy had twenty-one line-of-battle ships, two frigates, and one corvette; their loss, if we may judge from the carnage made on board le Formidable, which vessel had about 200 men, including Rear-Admiral de Verger, killed, must have been considerable. On our side 50 were slain, and about 250 wounded.
  3. The Thirteen United Provinces of America declared their independency July 4, 1776.
  4. Mud Fort is situated on the Pennsylvania shore, and Red Bank on the Jersey side, near the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.
  5. In consequence of the badness of the weather, and the annoyance which the boats employed to sound the channel sustained from the enemies’ gallies, it was not till the 20th March that the British squadron was able to pass the bar; when the enemy, who had a considerable naval force in the harbour, which was drawn up in order of battle, as if determined to dispute the passage, abandoned their position and retired towards the town, where most of the armed ships, with several merchant vessels, were sunk to obstruct the navigation. On the requisition of Sir Henry Clinton some heavy guns were landed from the men of war, with a detachment of seamen; and by the 9th April, the army, consisting of 7,550 men, had constructed and opened batteries against the town. On that day the squadron passed Sullivan’s Island, amidst a heavy fire; and soon after a brigade of seamen and marines were landed, and took possession of a post at Mount Pleasant, without opposition, the enemy flying into Charlestown on their approach. Thinking it practicable to carry the fort on Sullivan’s Island by storm, the Vice-Admiral determined to make the attempt; and in the night of the 4th May, 200 seamen and marines were landed. This detachment succeeded in passing the fort before daylight, unobserved by the enemy, and took possession of a redoubt on the east end of the island. The ships being drawn up to support the attack, and every arrangement having been made for the assault, a summons was sent into the fort, the garrison of which almost immediately surrendered as prisoners of war.

    This success was followed by the surrender of Charlestown itself, about the i 1th of the same month, when the Providence and Boston, American frigates, Ranger of 20 guns, l’Aventure, a French ship of 26 guns, a polacre of 16, four armed gallies, and several other small vessels, fell into the hands of the British, whose whole loss during the siege did not exceed 23 killed and 28 wounded.