Original British HMS COURAGEUX Naval Wooden Water Pail Circa 1800

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This ship's water pail was used to dip the barrel sponges into when mopping out a Cannon tube after a shot is fired. It was impossible to reload cannon immediately after firing without washing the bore with water to douse any remaining smoldering powder from the previous discharge. Once washed out and dried with a barrel mop the cannon could then be reloaded. With practice this took only a matter of seconds. These water pails were always wider at the base than the top giving better center of gravity to prevent upending in action. These were always mounted in brass to avoid a spark in close proximity to the cannon gunpowder charges.

This example measures 11" tall by 13 across the bottom and 10.5 across the top. It has two brass handles on either side allowing easy access for a barrel soaker or barrel mop. The wood has somewhat shrunk overtime but quickly firms up if soaked in water. On one side there is a brass fouled anchor insignia 4" tall engraved HMS COURAGEUX.

HMS Courageux was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 26 March 1800 at Deptford. She was designed by Sir John Henslow as one of the large class 74-gun ships, and was the only ship built to her draught. Unlike the middling and common class 74-gun ships, which carried 18-pounder long guns, as a large 74-gun ship, Courageux carried 24-pounders on her upper gun deck.

On 1 January 1804 a convoy of leaving Portsmouth for the West Indies. On 1 February 43 vessels returned to Plymouth, together with their escort, Courageux.

In mid-1804, Courageaux escorted a convoy from St Helena back to Britain. The convoy consisted of the East Indiamen City of London, Ceylon, Calcutta, and Wyndham, two vessels from the South Seas, Lively and Vulture, and the ship Rolla, which had transported convicts to New South Wales. On the way the convoy ran into severe weather with the result that Prince of Wales, which had also left St Helena with the rest, foundered with the loss of all on board; this had been her maiden voyage.

Shortly after the outbreak of the War of 1812, on 12 August, Courageaux shared in the seizure of several American vessels: Cuba, Caliban, Edward, Galen, Halcyon, and Cygnet.

Courageux was placed on harbor service in 1814, and was broken up in 1832.

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