Régulus (1805)

Contemporary drawing of Régulus under attack by English fireships. Original by Louis-Philippe Crépin in the public domain.

Nation
Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down
1801
Launched
1805
Commissioned
1805
AD/BC
AD
History

Originally a 74-gun Téméraire-class ship of the line, Régulus was modified during planning to carry up to eighty-six. Launched 12 April, 1805, she was assigned as the flagship of Commodore Jean-Marthe-Adrien L'Hermite, and led a raiding expedition to the coast of Africa to try and draw off some of Nelson's ships from the blockade at Cadiz. Unfortunately for the French and Spanish, Régulus and friends sailed ten days after the Battle of Trafalgar, and the raid was overall a dismal failure. Despite capturing twenty merchantmen and a sixteen gun sloop, it did not significantly affect British trade. Régulus returned to France in October, 1806. In April, 1809, Régulus took part in the Battle of Basque Roads, beginning on the 11th. During attacks by English fireships, Régulus ran aground. She fought off attacks by the Royal Navy for the next seventeen days, until she managed to free herself and escape on the 29th. She was burned to avoid capture by HMS Egmont and HMS Centaur on 7 April, 1814, near a series of caves that were later named for her.