Captain Thomas Masterson Hardy, R.N. (1769-1839)

Among His Majesty’s naval officers who had been at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805, Britain’s most famous naval engagement against the combined French and Spanish fleets was Captain Thomas Masterson Hardy, RN. the battle turned the tide of the naval warfare during the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) giving England control of the seas during the War of 1812. Hardy served with Admiral Lord Horation Nelson on board HM ship-of-the-line Victory (100 guns) as flag captain and commander. When Nelson was mortally wounded on the quarter deck by French marksmen, it was Hardy who held stricken Nelson below decks, and died in his arms.

Captain Hardy later served in the Washington-Baltimore campaign of August – September 1814. On August 9, 1814 it was Hardy commanding HM ship-of-the-line Ramilles (74 guns) directed the bombardment of Stonington, Connecticut that inspired a popular song by American poet Philip Freneau entitled “The Battle of Stonington,” prior to Baltimore’s own song by Francis Scott Key.

“Four gallant ships from England came, Freights deep with five and flame, And other things we need not name, To have a dash at Stonington..!”

A month later, September 13-14 the Ramillies anchored off North Point during the Battle for Baltimore, her size preventing navigation nearer to Baltimore.

Sources: A Naval Biographical Dictionary: Comprising the Life and Services of Every Living Officer in Her Majesty’s Navy by William R. O’Byrne (London: John Murray, 1849).

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Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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