The Objects

13th Jul 1815

Source: Courtesy of Christopher L. Justice

Narrative of the Surrender of Buonaparte and His Residence on board H.M.S. Bellerophon; with a detail of the principal events that occurred in that ship between the 24th May and the 8th of August, 1815. By Captain F.L.Maitland, C.B. Second Edition (London: Henry Colburn, New Burlington Street, 1826)

Maitland's Chart of Basque Roads and three entrances to the port of Rochefort

Contributed by: Katherine Astbury

In his ‘Narrative of the Surrender of Buonaparte and His Residence on board H.M.S. Bellerophon; with a detail of the principal events that occurred in that ship between the 24th May and the 8th of August, 1815’, the captain of the Bellerophon, Frederick Maitland, details how he had received orders at the end of May 1815 to support the uprising in the Vendée and to detain and send to port any French armed vessel. The British were keen in particular to ensure that no ship carrying pro-Bonaparte messages should set sail for the Caribbean.

The Bellerophon patrolled the area outside the port of Rochefort from early June. Maitland did not learn of the victory at Waterloo until 28th June, and received word from Rear-Admiral Sir Henry Hotham on 6th July that Napoleon was considering leaving for America from Rochefort . He was enjoined to use his ‘best endeavours to prevent him from making his escape’.

The chart which is shown here appeared in Maitland’s published account of the events of 1815. It shows how he tried to cover the exits to Rochefort with the limited resources available to him, fully expecting Napoleon to try to evade capture. By 13th July, Maitland could see that the French frigates the Méduse and the Saale were preparing for a sea voyage because they were taking on board vegetables. On 14th July at daybreak, however, the French schooner the Mouche approached bearing the flag of truce...

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