The Channel Fleet and the Blockade of Brest, 1793-1801

Vol 141 (2001), Dr R. Morriss

During the French Revolutionary War the Channel Fleet played the crucial role of defending Britain from invasion, protecting Britain’s incoming and outgoing trade through the Channel and Western Approaches, and preventing the French Brest fleet from setting forth on raids and expeditions.

Presenting documents revealing the evolution of this role during the war, this book focuses on the blockade of Brest. It shows how the blockade developed and tightened through the increase of Admiralty control of the disposition of the Channel Fleet.

It reveals the political conflicts that existed between the Commanders-in-Chief and the Admiralty, the logistical demands that had to be met, and the response of the Admiralty and fleet officers to the Spithead Mutiny. Above all, it reveals the response of the Fleet to the challenges it met from the French in their sequence of break-outs, and from the perennial problem posed by the necessity to preserve the health of seamen. Here, confuting the claims of contemporary medical officers, is evidence that shows how scurvy remained a scourge to the very end of the war.


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About Roger Morriss

Roger Morriss read for a combined degree in History and Geography at Southampton University. He studied for his PhD under Professor Ian Christie at University College, London writing his thesis on The Royal Dockyards during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with special reference to the period 1801-05. He has taught at Exeter University since

He was the General Editor of the Navy Records Society from 2000 to 2014.

His publications include

• The Royal Dockyards during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (Leicester University Press, 1983).
• Guide to British Naval Documents in North America (Mansell, 1994).
• Nelson: The Life and Letters of a Hero. (Collins, 1996).
• Cockburn and the British navy in Transition: Sir George Cockburn, 1772 – 1853 (Exeter University Press, 1997).
• The Glorious First of June 1794: A Naval Battle and its Aftermath (University of Exeter Press, 2001).
• The Channel Fleet and the Blockade of Brest, 1793 – 1801 (Navy Records Society, 2001).
• Naval Power and British Culture, 1760 – 1850: Public Trust and Government Ideology (Ashgate, 2004).
• The Foundations of British Maritime Ascendency 1755 – 1815: Resources, Logistics and the State (C.U.P., 2010).
• Science, Utility and Maritime Power: Samuel Bentham in Russia, 179 – 1791 (Ashgate, 2015).