Single-ship Biographies of the Age of Sail

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      I recently read Nelson’s Favourite, Anthony Deane, Chatham Publishing, London 1996, [2nd edition Caxton 2003], about the history of HMS Agamemnon. The book starts with the launch of the ship and ends with its wreck in 1809. I found the focus on one ship of the Napoleonic Wars fascinating.
      I then read Billy Ruffian by David Cordingly, published in the US and UK by Bloomsbury in 2003 [paperback 2004], which focuses on the history of the Bellerophon in the same manner.
      As I enjoyed reading these books each focusing on one ship, I wonder if any of my fellow Society members know of any more. The nautical history of the Napoleonic Wars is my main area of study and any help in finding more books like these would be greatly appreciated.

      Frank Scott

        The Bellerophon has been the subject of two books: ‘The First Bellerophon’,
        C.A. Pengelly, (1966) and the book you mention, ‘Billy Ruffian’, David Cordingly, (hb 2003, pb 2004).
        The frigate Doris also has a biography:
        ‘A frigate of King George’, Brian Vale, 2001.

        Malcolm Lewis

          Yes, the books on Agamemnon and Bellerophon are excellent and most entertaining.
          If you have not already come across Peter Goodwin’s “Nelson’s Ships” (Chatham 2002), this very detailed history of the thirty seven ships that Nelson served in, based upon their logs, is an important work for the student of the period. One gets a very clear impression of the complex life aboard ships of the Georgian navy.

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