Prudent (74)

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> French Navy >> Prudent (74)

Origin and History

The ship was built by P. Morineau at Rochefort, starting in 1751, and launched in 1753.

During the Seven Years' War, the ship was under the command of:

  • in 1756: Captain d'Aubigny
  • in 1758: Captain Jean-Antoine Charry, Marquis des Gouttes

The ship ran aground on July 25 1758, during the Siege of Louisbourg and had to be burnt.

Service during the War

In 1756, Captain d'Aubigny sailed from France for Martinique with the Prudent (74) and the frigates Atalante (32) (Captain du Chaffault) and Zéphir (30). On March 11 at daybreak, his small squadron sighted the British ship of the line Warwick (60), cruising off Martinique, who bore away under a press of sail. The Warwick was a dull sailer, had less than 300 men fit for service, and was so crank that she could rarely use her lower deck guns. As there was a heavy sea running, she was unable to use them and she had to rely almost entirely on the 9-pdrs of her upper deck and quarter-deck. The Atalante (32) was the first to come up with the chase, and, hanging on her quarter, out of reach of her weather broadside, kept up a galling fire. The wind shifted in a hard squall; both ships were taken aback; and before the Warwick, whose rigging was much cut, could pay off her head, the Prudent drew close up and opened fire. Shuldham ordered the great guns to play upon the Prudent only, and the small-arm men to keep up their fire on the Atalante; but it was still impossible to use the lower deck guns, the ship being half swamped; and after half an hour more, being defenceless and unmanageable, she struck her flag.

On March 9 1758, the Prudent (74) along with the Raisonnable (64) sailed from Rochefort, escorting 7 ships carrying supplies for Louisbourg. On April 24, the Prudent arrived at Louisbourg. During the foggy night of July 25, 600 British seamen were sent into Louisbourg harbour to cut out the Prudent and Bienfaisant (64), the only two remaining French warships at Louisbourg. Until then both ships had threatened the British amphibious force who had undertaken the Siege of Louisbourg, so two boats from each ship were ordered to attack them. The division under Commander George Balfour carried Bienfaisant and brought her out under heavy fire. She was then incorporated into the Royal Navy. Meanwhile, Prudent grounded and had to be burnt.


Technical specifications
Guns 74
Lower gundeck 28 x 36-pdrs
Upper gundeck 30 x 18-pdrs
Quarterdeck and Forecastle 16 x 8-pdrs
Crew approx. 650 men
Length 166 ft (53.92 m) in French feet
Width 45 ft (14.64 m)
Depth 22 ft 3 in (7.19 m)
Displacement 1,500 tons


This article contains texts from the following book which is now in the public domain:

  • Clowes, Wm. Laird: The Royal Navy – A History from the Earliest Time to the Present, Vol. III, Sampson Low, Marston and Company, London: 1898, p. 290

Other sources

Blasco, Manuel: French 3rd Rates, 3 Decks Wiki

Deschênes, Ronald: Répertoire des vaisseaux de ligne français 1682-1780

Dull, Jonathan: The French Navy and the Seven Years' War, p. 106

N.B.: the section Service during the War is derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.