HMS Java

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The French-built frigate Renommée, built and launched at Nantes in 1805, was captured by the British near Madagascar on May 20, 1811, taken into the British Navy and renamed HMS Java. Although rated at 38 guns, she carried 47 guns and cannonades, twenty-eight of which were 18-pounders mounted on her main deck.

Java was under the command of Captain Harry Lambert in 1812. She sailed from Portsmith for Bombay to deliver the newly appointed Governor, his staff and their baggage. While enroute, she met and engaged the American frigate USN Constitution of 44 guns off the coast of Brazil on December 29, 1812.

The battle lasted for three hours. Although HMS Java was a new frigate and faster than the Constitution, her crew were less skilled at gunnery. After a brisk exchange of fire, the Java lost all her masts and the Constitution was able to place her self in a raking position. By this time Captain Lambert had been mortally wounded and the Java's lieutenant surrendered the ship. After the surrender she was deemed unfit for repair and subsequently burned, though her wheel was taken aboard the Constitution to replace the original one which had been destroyed in the battle. The Constitution was unable to continue with her cruise and returned to Boston.

In the Canon

SPOILER WARNING:  Plot or ending details for "The Fortune of War"  follow.

In The Fortune of War, Aubrey and Maturin are aboard the Java during the battle with Constitution, having been picked up following the loss of HMS Fleche. Although Aubrey had served with Lambert in the Mauritius campaign, he does not appear to know him. Aubrey and his surviving crew help fight HMS Java during the battle, and Aubrey is wounded and held as a prisoner of war while the Constitution sails back to Boston.

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