NAVAL DERRING-DO

Capnjoe

Lieutenant Joseph William Bazalgette

In December 1813, Louis Bazalgette’s son Joseph was 1st Lieutenant of the America(74) under the command of Captain Josias Rowley, and they were in the Mediterranean, mopping up the remaining French outposts on the Italian coast.  Joseph had a permanent effect on the architecture of the Tuscan city of Lucca, as Rowley’s report below shows:

Report to Admiral Pellew from Captain Josias Rowley.
H.M.S. America, off Leghorn, 15th December, 1813.

Sir,
I have the honour to inform you, that in pursuance of my preceding communication to you from Palermo, I sailed thence on the 29th ult. in company with the Termagant, and anchored at Melazzo on the following night, where having joined the ships Edinburgh, Furieuse and Mermaid and embarked on board them on the following day the troops of the Italian Levy, amounting to about one thousand men, under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Catanelli, we sailed the same evening, and arrived on the coast of Italy, off Via Reggio, on the 9th instant; having fallen in with the Armada and Imperieuse off the north of Corsica, I detained them to assist us in getting the troops on shore.   Having anchored with the squadron off the town, the troops and field pieces were immediately landed ; a small party of the enemy having evacuated the place on a summons that had been sent  in, and possession was taken of two eighteen and one twelve-pounder guns, which defended the entrance of the river.  The lieutenant-colonel proceeded immediately to Lucca, which place was surrendered to him at twelve the same night.

The following day a detachment of forty royal marines from this ship, under Captain Rea, was sent to a signal station to the northward, which, on his threatening to storm, surrendered to him, and eleven men who defended it were made prisoners;  he found it to be a castle of considerable size and strength,  walled and ditched, and capable of containing near one thousand men. On receiving this report, I sent Mr. Bazalgette, senior lieutenant of the America, who, with a few barrels of powder, completely destroyed it, bringing off a brass nine-pounder gun, which was mounted in the castle.  Parties from the Imperieuse and Furieuse also brought off two other brass guns from the beach to the northward and southward of the town, those at the landing place having also been embarked.

I beg that I may be permited to mention the assistance I received from Lieutenant Bazalgette, senior of this ship, a most deserving officer; and to notice the conduct of Mr. Bromley, the surgeon, who volunteered his services on shore with the troops.

I herewith enclose a list of the killed and wounded, and am happy to say our loss is much smaller than might have been expected. I have no account of that of the Italian Levy, but I believeit is not considerable.  There have been no correct returns of prisoners, but Captain Dundas informs me, that above three hundred have been taken in the two affairs.

I have the honour to be, &c.
JOS. ROWLEY, Captain.

Rowley_as_admiral

Rowley as an admiral

 

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5 Responses to NAVAL DERRING-DO

  1. Y’know, having one great ancestor, and one fascinating and prominent one might be considered fortunate – having a hero as well is almost greedy lol!How wonderful to have a picture of Joseph; and to be able to trace his career through dispatches is excellent – I can see a second book in the offing in the future…..

  2. Charles Bazalgette says:

    You are correct. I have done quite a bit of research already. Had to drag myself back to the task in hand but when that is finally done and dusted the naval fun can begin!

  3. Kathryn Kane says:

    The family resemblance is quite marked, when comparing the portrait of Joseph with that of his father, Louis, which you have already posted. It is also interesting that this Joseph was so very good at blowing things up when the next Joseph, his son, was so good at building things. ;-)=^..^=

  4. Charles Bazalgette says:

    Yes – good point! He seems to be one of those many capable officers who was never in a major battle and never quite made post-captain. I still think his life is going to be very interesting to research. As a contrast to the derring-do, he became a ‘blue light’ after the war, under the influence of such people as Admiral ‘Dismal Jimmy’ Gambier, and spent the rest of his life as an evangelist, working tirelessly for many seamen’s charities.

  5. Charles Bazalgette says:

    I found out that the fort Joe blew up wasn’t north of Lucca. I misread Rowley’s report. It was on the coast just north of Viareggio and it was actually Motrone di Versilia.

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