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SIR SAMUEL HOOD (1762-1814)

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 666 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR SAMUEL HOOD (1762-1814), British vice-admiral, cousin of Lord Hood and of Lord Bridport, entered the Royal Navy in 1776. His first engagement was the battle off Ushant in 1778, and, soon afterwards transferred to the West Indies, he was present, under the command of his cousin Sir Samuel Hood, at all the actions which culminated in Rodney's victory of April 12th, 1782. After the peace, like many other British naval officers, he spent some time in France, and on his return to England was given the command of a sloop, from which he proceeded in succession to various frigates. In the " Juno " his gallant rescue of some shipwrecked seamen won him a vote of thanks and a sword of honour from the Jamaica assembly. Early in 1793 the " Juno " went to the Mediterranean under Lord Hood, and her captain distinguished himself by an audacious feat of coolness and seamanship in extricating his vessel from the harbour of Toulon, which he had entered in ignorance of Lord Hood's withdrawal. Soon afterwards he was put in command of a frigate squadron for the protection of Levantine commerce, and in 1797 he was given the " Zealous " (74), in which he was present at Nelson's unsuccessful attack on Santa Cruz. It was Captain Hood who conducted the negotiations which relieved the squadron from the consequences of its failure. The part played by the " Zealous " at the battle of the Nile was brilliant. Her first opponent she put out of action in twelve minutes, and, passing on, Hood immediately engaged other ships, the " Guerrier " being left powerless to fire a shot. When Nelson left the coast of Egypt, Hood commanded the blockading force off Alexandria and Rosetta. Later he rejoined Nelson on the coast of the two Sicilies, receiving for his services the order of St Ferdinand. In the " Venerable " Hood was present at the action of Algesiras and the battle in the Straits of Gibraltar (18oi). In the Straits his ship suffered heavily, losing 130 officers and men. A year later Captain Hood was employed in Trinidad as a commissioner, and, upon the death of the flag officer commanding the Leeward station, he succeeded him as Commodore. Island after island fell to him, and soon, outside Martinique, the French had scarcely a foothold in the West Indies. Amongst other measures taken by Hood may be mentioned the garrisoning of Diamond Rock, which he commissioned as a sloop-of-war to blockade the approaches of Martinique (see James, Naval History, iii. 245). For these successes he received, amongst other rewards, the K.B. In command next of the squadron blockading Rochefort, Sir Samuel Hood had a sharp fight, on r 5th September 1805, with a small French squadron which was trying to escape. Amongst the few casualties on this occasion was the Commodore, who lost an arm. Promoted rear-admiral a few days after this action, Hood was in 1807 entrusted with the operations against Madeira, which he brought to a successful conclusion, and a year later went to the Baltic, with his flag in the " Centaur," to take part in the war between Russia and Sweden. In one of the actions of this war the " Centaur " and " Implacable," unsupported by the Swedish ships (which lay to leeward), cut out the Russian 8o-gun ship " Sevolod from the enemy's line and, after a desperate fight, forced her to strike. The king of Sweden rewarded the admiral with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Sword. Present in the roads of Corunna at the re-embarkation of the army of Sir John Moore, Hood thence returned to the Mediterranean, where for two years he commanded a division of the British fleet. In 1811 he became vice-admiral. In his last command, that of the East Indies station, he carried out many salutary reforms, especially in matters of discipline and victualling. He died at Madras, 24th December 1814. A lofty column was raised to his memory on a hill near Butleigh, Somersetshire, and in Butleigh Church is another memorial, with an inscription written by Southey. See Naval Chronicle, xvii. 1 (the material was furnished by Hood himself ; it does not go beyond 18o6). His elder brother, Captain ALEXANDER HOOD (1758-1798), entered the Royal Navy in 1767, and accompanied Captain Cook in his second voyage round the world. Under Ho-We and Rodney he distinguished himself in the West Indies, and at the victory of April 12th, 1782, he was in command of one of Rodney's frigates. Under Sir Samuel Hood he then proceeded to the Mona passage, where he captured the French corvette " Ceres." With the commander of his prize, the Baron de Peroy, Hood became very intimate, and during the peace he paid a long visit to France as his late prisoner's guest. In the early part of the Revolutionary war, ill health kept him at home, and it was not until 1797 that he went afloat again. His first experience was bitter; his ship, the " Mars," was unenviably prominent in the mutiny at Spithead. On April 21st, 1798, occurred the famous duel of the " Mars " with the " Hercule," fought in the dusk near the Bec du Raz. The two ships were of equal force, but the " Hercule " was newly commissioned, and after over an hour's fighting at close quarters she struck her flag, having lost over three hundred men. The captain of the " Mars " was mortally wounded early in the fight, and died as the sword of the French captain was being put in his hand. The latter, L'Heritier, also died of his wounds. See Naval Chronicle, vi. 175; Ralfe, Naval Biographies, iv. 48; James, Naval History, and Chevalier, Hist. de la marine francaise sous la premiere rpublique.
End of Article: SIR SAMUEL HOOD (1762-1814)
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