Jeremiah Coghlan CB (c. 1776 – 4 March 1844) was a British naval officer.[notes 1] He was famous for his almost legendary feats of daring during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Despite his relatively humble background, he managed to rise from ship's boy to the rank of captain at the age of 34. This he achieved through notable acts of extraordinary courage and a succession of sea-fights which made him a celebrated hero, almost without equal, and he would later dine with both Nelson and Napoleon. Coghlan's career was initiated by his patron and close friend Sir Edward Pellew, after Pellew witnessed his heroic efforts during the rescue of the survivors of the East Indiaman Dutton.
Coghlan's exploits have been described as similar to plots for a collection of Hornblower novels Coghlan has also been compared to Hornblower because they were both protégés of Sir Edward Pellew aboard HMS Indefatigable.
Silhouette of Captain Coghlan
|Died||4 March 1844 (aged 69)|
Ryde, St Thomas Church
|Commands held||HMS Viper|
HMS Forte (44)
|Wars||French Revolutionary Wars|
Action of 13 January 1797
Action of 5 November 1813
|Awards||Companion of the Order of The Bath|
Freeman of the City of Cork
|Relations||General Sir William Marcus Coghlan (son)|
Susan Pellew Coghlan (daughter)
Jerry Coghlan originally came from Crookhaven in Ireland. (his brother Daniel was later the agent for Lloyds). He ran away to sea as a cabin boy, because, he later claimed, his mother had mistreated him.
In one incident his ship became stranded on the rocks in a storm near Mevagissey. Captain Smith (at home ashore) saw the stricken vessel and commandeered a fishing boat. He managed to rescue the master and the crew but whilst they were on their way back to safety they realised that the cabin boy was still missing. Captain Smith insisted on returning to search for him and they found him clinging with terror to the fore-topmast. The captain climbed the mast and managed to save the boy, who was the young Jerry Coghlan.
On 26 January 1796 the Dutton, which was transporting troops to the West Indies, ran aground under the citadel in Plymouth with almost 500 men, women and children still on board. A crowd gathered and watched helpless as the ship lay stricken. Due to the raging storm it was too dangerous for any boats to venture out, but this did not deter Coghlan from plunging into the raging sea with a rope tied around his body. Although at great risk of being dashed to pieces on the rocks, he was successful in saving a good number of lives.
In the meantime Pellew had managed to board the vessel and was restoring order amongst the chaos. Spurred on by this spectacle of bravery, Coghlan, along with Mr Edsell (signal Midshipman to the port admiral), managed to obtain a boat from the Barbican, row out to the Dutton, and bring their boat alongside. It was Coghlan who managed to secure the Dutton's lifeline. This enabled hawsers to be rigged with cradles for hauling people ashore one by one. Coghlan also managed to save about 50 lives transporting people in his boat from the wreck, before any other boats dared go out to help him.
"Soon after Sir Edward reached the wreck, a small boat belonging to an Irish brig came to alongside, with two persons who greatly assisted him in this work of benevolence. One of these young men was the mate, whom Captain Pellew on the following day received into his own ship, and thenceforward became his steady friend and patron. It is almost unnecessary to add, that this officer is now Captain Coghlan, R.N." 
After spending three years on a merchant ship, Coghlan was persuaded to join Sir Edward Pellew on HMS Indefatigable as a midshipman. This "...added to the British Navy an officer almost unrivaled in heroic exploits - no less a character than Captain Jeremiah Coghlan" 
In the spring of 1799 he moved with Edward Pellew to HMS Impetueux. While on these ships he distinguished himself on numerous occasions with his gallantry on boat services and he also saved the lives of several of their crew members who had accidentally fallen overboard. As a reward for this gallantry Pellew persuaded Admiral Lord St Vincent to give him command of the cutter Viper as acting lieutenant.
I Did not think the Enterprize of Sir Edward Hamilton or of Captain Campbell could have been rivalled until I read the enclosed Letter from Sir Edward Pellew, relating the desperate Service performed by acting Lieutenant Coghlan, of the Viper Cutter..., which has filled me with pride and admiration
On 29 July 1800, acting Lieutenant Jeremiah Coghlan was in command of the 14-gun cutter Viper, attached to Sir Edward Pellew's squadron, when he led a very famous cutting out[notes 2] expedition, during a blockade of Port Louis, on the South Coast of Brittany.
He persuaded Edward Pellew to lend him a ten-oared cutter and 12 volunteers from Impeteux and with boats also from HMS Amethyst and Viper, the Irish fire-eater planned to launch a night raid on some of the gun-boats and vessels which were guarding the entrance to the harbour. Coghlan took six of his own men and Midshipman Silas Paddon from Viper, which made 20 men in total. Striking out ahead Coghlan's boat reached the French gun-brig Cerbère alone and without the support of the other two boats. Heavily outnumbered, they were twice beaten back by the 87 men on board, but on the third attempt they managed to triumph, boarding and killing every officer on board. Then, with the help of the other two boats, they managed to tow Cerbère out under heavy fire from the shore batteries. Although the expedition was a great success, Coghlan himself was badly wounded; after being caught up in a trawl-net, he had a pike driven through his thigh. Mr Paddon was also wounded in six places.
For this action Earl St Vincent presented the youthful Irishman with a sword[notes 3] of 100 guineas value. He was promoted to lieutenant, which required a special order from the King in Council, as he had only been in the Navy four and a half years. Furthermore, the squadron let the boat crews keep the prize money for themselves, in recognition of their gallantry.
While in command of Renard, Captain Coghlan gave chase to a French privateer off the north coast of San Domingo on Friday 20 March 1805. The quarry was General Ernouf, from Guadeloupe, commanded by Paul Gerard Pointe, with a complement of 160 men, 31 of whom were soldiers. After a chase of about three hours Renard managed to close in on the Frenchman who immediately opened fire. Legend has it that Monsieur Pointe, on seeing the inferior size of Renard, called for her to strike, and Captain Coghlan took up his trumpet and replied "Aye! I'll strike, and damned hard too, my lad, directly". Coghlan waited until the French were within pistol-shot and then commenced a disciplined and deadly accurate return of fire. After 35 minutes General Ernouf was seen to catch fire and ten minutes later she blew up with a dreadful explosion.
...every possible Exertion was now made to get the only Boat that could swim to the Relief of the few Brave, but unfortunate Survivors.... who were now seen all around us, on the scattered remnants of the Wreck, in a mangled and truly distressing state.
On 25 May 1806, in the afternoon, Renard was about 10 miles north-north-east of the island of Mona when Coghlan spotted a foreign ship near the island of Zacheo off Puerto Rico. A long chase followed that lasted well through the night and into the next day.
On 26 May, while the chase continued throughout the day, it was discovered to be the French navy brig Diligent, of fourteen 6-pounder and two 32-pounder guns. On the 27th, although Renard was now gaining on the enemy, the weather was becalmed and so yet another day and night passed. By noon on the 28th Renard had finally got almost near enough to open fire, when Diligent's commander, lieutenant de vaisseau Thévenard, suddenly surrendered his ship without a shot being fired by either side.
When taken on board Renard, M. Thévenard was surprised by the smallness of the vessel and requested that he might be returned to his ship to continue the fight. Coghlan naturally laughed at this request. The Frenchman then very seriously asked that Coghlan might award him a certificate stating that he had not acted cowardly. The Captain replied "No, I cannot do that; but I will give you one that shall specify you have acted 'prudently'!"
In August 1813 Captain Thomas Ussher on HMS Undaunted discovered a number of vessels lying in the mole at Cassis, in the south of France. Five heavy gun batteries, one of which was protected by a wall 25 feet high, overlooked the town and harbour. Coghlan led a detachment of 200 marines and managed to overcome the citadel battery by escalade, under heavy fire. A certain Lieutenant Hunt distinguished himself by being the first over the top.
This battery in possession, the British drove the French at the point of the bayonet and pursued them through the defences to the heights that commanded the town, leaving it entirely at the mercy of the British ships. This enabled HMS Redwing under Captain Sir John Sinclair to enter the mole and capture three gun boats and 24 merchant settees and tartans.
The success of the venture was in large part owed to the gallantry of Coghlan and the marines under his command, as was later highlighted in Ussher's letter to Sir Edward Pellew.
In early May 1815, Coghlan was captain of HMS Alcmene as second in command of a British squadron headed by Captain Robert Campbell of HMS Tremendous on its way to the bay of Naples during the Neapolitan War. Joachim Murat, the King of Naples was about to be deposed after his defeat by the Austrians at Tolentino. The British squadron managed to prevent two Neapolitan line-of-battle ships, Joachim and Capri, escaping to France. On board were Napoleon's mother, his brother Jérôme, his sister Pauline and Murat's children together "with all the crown jewels, much public treasure, the pictures and other costly moveables of the palace. The whole of this valuable property, upon its arrival at Toulon would of course have been at the disposal of Buonaparte". It was all returned to the Sicilian Court.
On 11 May 1815, the squadron, consisting of Tremendous, Alcmene, HMS Partridge and HMS Grasshopper arrived off Naples and blockaded the port. Under the authority of Captain Campbell and after threatening to bombard the city, Coghlan helped to negotiate the treaty, signed on 13 May 1815, which enabled them to gain possession of all the ships and the naval arsenal in the Port of Naples - including Joachim and Capri. This would later lead to a grant from Parliament of £150,000, as prize money to be shared amongst the officers and crew members.[notes 4]
Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth, as overall commander, arrived in Naples on the 20th. Although it had been agreed that the Austrians would take over on 23 May, Murat fled the city in disguise on the 19th and so Exmouth despatched Coghlan and 500 marines to restore order in the city. They quelled the rioters at the point of the bayonet and took over all the forts in the city. Coghlan installed himself in the Castle of St Elmo, and united with the civic guard to keep order until the arrival of Prince Leopold on the 23rd.
The Action of 5 November 1813 was a brief naval clash during the Napoleonic Wars, between part of the British Mediterranean Fleet led by Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, and a French force under Rear-Admiral Julien Cosmao-Kerjulien. The engagement took place outside the French port of Toulon.
The clash occurred when a French fleet under Vice-Admiral Maxime Julien Émeriau de Beauverger took advantage of a favourable wind and the temporary absence of the British blockading force, to leave port to carry out exercises. Émeriau abandoned the exercises when the wind changed, but while returning to port his rear came under attack from the recently returned British inshore squadron. The British attack was reinforced by newly arrived ships from the main fleet, but the French were able to escape into Toulon after exchanging cannon fire with the British. Casualties on both sides were light.Coghlan (surname)
Coghlan is an anglicisation of the Irish surname Ó Coghláin which means "descendant of Coghlán" or Mac Coghláin which means "son of Coghlán". Notable people with the surname include:
Charles F Coghlan (actor)
Charles Francis Coghlan
Charles Patrick John Coghlan
Chris Coghlan, American baseball player
Frank Coghlan, Jr. (actor)
Jeremiah Coghlan, Royal Navy officer
John Coghlan (disambiguation)
Rose CoghlanDutton (1781 EIC ship)
Dutton was launched in 1781 as an East Indiaman. She made five voyages for the British East India Company. She was wrecked in January 1796 while carrying troops for a military expedition to the West Indies.Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth
Admiral Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, GCB (19 April 1757 – 23 January 1833) was a British naval officer. He fought during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. His younger brother Israel Pellew also pursued a naval career.Francis Lucas (Royal Navy officer)
Francis Lucas (c. 1741 – 1770) naval officer and merchant trader born Clontibret, Ireland and died while at sea. He had helped establish trading relationships between Labrador and England that went on the secure the English fishery along that coast.
Lucas served on a naval ship in charge of monitoring the fisheries along the Labrador coast from 1764 to 1766 when in 1765 he had accompanied two Moravian missionaries Jens Haven and Christian Drachart in search of the Inuit of Labrador. These missionaries had established contact with Mikak and her family.
In 1767 Lucas became second in command of Fort York at Chateau Bay. Lucas and a group of his men had killed at least 20 Inuit for plundering a nearby fishing station. He had taken a number of them prisoner, along which was Mikak.
In 1770 Lucas left the navy and established a business partnership with Thomas Handasyd Perkins and Jeremiah Coghlan, merchants of Bristol, England, and Fogo, Newfoundland, and George Cartwright to trade with the Inuit of Labrador. He had tried in vain to make contact with Mikak but was unsuccessful. Lucas then left for Fogo where he set out for Portugal with a cargo of dry fish aboard the Enterprize which foundered at sea.French frigate Topaze (1805)
Topaze was a Gloire-class 44-gun frigate of the French Navy. The British captured her in 1809 and she the served with the Royal Navy under the name Jewel, and later Alcmene until she was broken up in 1816.French ship America (1788)
America was a Téméraire-class 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy. The Royal Navy captured her in 1794 at the Battle of the Glorious First of June. She then served with the British under the name HMS Impetueux until she was broken up in 1813. She became the prototype for the Royal Navy America-class ship of the line.HMS Amethyst (1799)
HMS Amethyst was a Royal Navy 36-gun Penelope-class fifth-rate frigate, launched in 1799 at Deptford. Amethyst served in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, capturing several prizes. She also participated in two boat actions and two ship actions that won her crew clasps to the Naval General Service Medal. She was broken up in 1811 after suffering severe damage in a storm.HMS Cerbere (1800)
HMS Cerbere was the French naval brig Cerbère, ex-Chalier, which the British captured in 1800. She was wrecked in 1804.HMS Diligent (1806)
HMS Diligent was the French naval brig Diligent, launched in 1800, that HMS Renard captured in 1806. The Royal Navy took her into service under her existing name, which it later changed, first to Prudente, and then to Wolf. During her two years of active duty with the Royal Navy she captured two small privateers. Wolf was laid up in 1808 and sold in 1811.HMS Elk (1804)
HMS Elk was a Cruizer-class brig-sloop, built of pine, and launched in 1804. She served on the Jamaica station where she captured a number of privateers. She was broken up in 1812.HMS Euryalus (1803)
HMS Euryalus was a Royal Navy 36-gun Apollo-class frigate, which saw service in the Battle of Trafalgar and the War of 1812. During her career she was commanded by three prominent naval personalities of the Napoleonic and post-Napoleonic period, Henry Blackwood, George Dundas and Charles Napier. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars she continued on active service for a number of years, before spending more than two decades as a prison hulk. She ended her career in Gibraltar where, in 1860, she was sold for breaking up.HMS Greyhound (1780)
HMS Greyhound was a cutter that the British Admiralty purchased in 1780 and renamed Viper in 1781. Viper captured several French privateers in the waters around Great Britain, and took part in a notable engagement. She was sold in October 1809.HMS Renard (1797)
HMS Renard was the French privateer Renard, launched in 1797, that Cerberus captured in the Channel that same year. The Royal Navy took her into service under her existing name and she participated in some notable engagements on the Jamaica station before the Navy sold her in 1809.Horatio Hornblower
Horatio Hornblower is a fictional Napoleonic Wars–era Royal Navy officer who is the protagonist of a series of novels and stories by C. S. Forester. He was later the subject of films, radio and television programmes, and C. Northcote Parkinson elaborated a definitive biography.The original Hornblower tales began with the 1937 novel The Happy Return (U.S. title Beat to Quarters) with the appearance of a junior Royal Navy captain on independent duty on a secret mission to Central America. Later stories filled out his earlier years, starting with an unpromising beginning as a seasick midshipman. As the Napoleonic Wars progress, he gains promotion steadily as a result of his skill and daring, despite his initial poverty and lack of influential friends. After surviving many adventures in a wide variety of locales, he rises to the pinnacle of his profession, promoted to Admiral of the Fleet.Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight (; also referred to informally as The Island or abbreviated to IoW) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, and Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.
The isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies, the British Crown was then represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995. The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed.The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea; three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.Sir Henry Baker, 2nd Baronet
Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Loraine Baker, 2nd Baronet CB (3 January 1787 – 2 November 1859) was an officer of the British Royal Navy who served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars against France and her allies, and also in the War of 1812 against the United States.Wensley Haydon-Baillie
Wensley Grosvenor Haydon-Baillie (born 1943) is the son of a surgeon from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, was once one of the 50 richest men in the UK after working his way up in the pharmaceutical industry. A company he invested in, Porton International, sold at high prices when it seemed it had a cure for herpes. It collapsed when it turned out it did not and the company wound up selling at a discounted price to Ipsen Pharmaceutical. He owned a collection of Rolls-Royces and an aviation museum housing and restoring many Spitfires. He also owned Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire – one of the largest private homes in Europe with an assumed 365 rooms. In the 1980s, he invested millions in a firm that claimed to have a cure for herpes but it never materialised and in 1998 he admitted to debts of £13m. In 1994, Wensley Haydon-Baillie married Samantha Acland, a secretary. Prince Michael of Kent was best man. He was once the owner of the two largest passenger hovercraft in the world, the SRN4s, and also one of the fastest boats in the world, the GTY Brave Challenger.Wensley Haydon-Baillie is a descendant of Royal Navy officer Jeremiah Coghlan.