Can anyone point me at sources describing the gunboats that were used on the Tagus when the Lines of Torres Vedras were occupied? Thanks
Those models are amazing!
Rui, thanks. Rod McArthur had sent me this image but could not recall where he got it from. There is a model maker at http://www.modelships.de who has made a stunning model of a British gunboat. There are photos of this and many other boats on his website. If you have a very big wallet you might even want to buy one of the models. Brian De Toy's PhD on George Berkeley also has a lot of information. I am working through it.
you may find on the Portuguese National Library digital collection the following engraving, A view taken on the Tagus near VillaFranca which shows a part of the British Lines, where you can see the gunboat on the left, from Henry L'Eveque (hi-resolution at http://purl.pt/13957):
Also, there is some additional information in the book (page 136-137):
Sutcliffe, R. K. (2017). British Expeditionary Warfare and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1793-1815.
The commanding officer of the gunboats in the Tagus was Lt Maurice Berkeley, later 1st Baron FitzHardinge, nephew of the Admiral. The gunboats are referred in several Portuguese sources, such as Soriano and Chaby, but the focus is the killing of General Saint Croix in Alhandra (use the words "canhoneira" and "Tejo" to search).
A few years ago, I produced a talk on The Lines of Torres Vedras. When I did that, I found a black and white print online of a Royal Navy brig on the Tagus, with a gunboat in the foregound. It seems to have 8 men rowing it, an officer and 4 gunners, with a gun at both bow and stern (the stern one looks shorter so it could be a carronade). There is a short mast, but it just has a small flag on it.
I can’t remember where I got if from, but I can send it to you if you send me your email via my website:
Rod, thanks for this. This seems a bit large for the Tagus boats which were being rowed about. I found one description of a flatboat that might work at https://allthingsliberty.com/2015/03/invading-america-flatboats-landed-thousands-british-troops-on-american-beaches/
I will see if I can get a copy of the Lavery book
There is a description of various gunboats in Brian Lavery's "Nelson's Navy".
He says "The classic form of small gunboat was designed by Commissioner Hamilton in 1805....The first six were sent to Gibraltar for local defence. A further 85 were built from 1806 onwards." They varied between 43 to 51 tons and were numbered but never given names.
There is a photo on Page 56 of Lavery's book of a model of one, which is in the National Maritime Museum. It has a long gun (perhaps 18 pounder) in the bow and a Carronade at the stern.
Have you checked Christopher Hall's Wellington's Navy: Sea Power and the Peninsular War 1807 - 1804. London: Chatham, 2004? Pages 100 - 102. There is some info. I checked its bibliography but there is nothing that jumps out about gunboats.
You might check Wellington's Dispatches and Supplementary Dispatches. Supposedly there are some letters from Admiral Berkley.
You might also check Robert Sutcliffe's British Expeditionary Warfare and the Defeat of Napoleon. It has more information. You can see excerpts at: https://books.google.com/books?id=w0RJDQAAQBAJ&pg=PA134&dq=Royal+navy+tagus+gunboats+1810&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiAwMHWmLTnAhWUhJ4KHaRmDIoQ6AEwAXoECAMQAg#v=onepage&q=Royal%20navy%20tagus%20gunboats%201810&f=false