A French Frigate named
L'Heureux

I currently have three accounts of a french frigate named L'Heureux. 
  • First, as a boat having been used to return Bonnie Prince Charles to France after his unsuccessful attempt at the throne of Scotland in 1746. 
  • Second, as a frigate having been used in 1777 to transport Baron Von Steuben to America where he became famous by writing a book of regulations for George Washington's army. 
  • Thirdly, in connection with the Battle of the Nile in 1798.
The L'Heureux is apparently described on page 176 of  The Search for Speed Under Sail, Howard I. Chapelle, 1700-1855. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1967. For more research, see Maritime History on the Internet by Peter McCracken. The L'Heureux is listed in the Index of Ships which contains 140,000 ships.

If you have others, please contact me.

Bonnie Prince CharlesBonnie Prince Charles Connection

Email from Sandra Kasa (née L'Heureux) from UK

In a recent Email, Sandra says, 
"Il y quelques années j'ai visité Culloden Moor en Ecosse, lieu d'une bataille (1746) entre les Anglais et les Jacobites pour remettre le "Bonny Prince Charles" (Charles Stuart) sur le trone de l'Ecosse.  Ce fut une bataille sanglante, le prince s'est echappé et a vécu en cachette dans les iles de la côte ouest de l'Ecosse, tandis que ses sympatisants  en Europe, particulièrement en France se chargèrent de le livrer de son sort. Deux ans plus tard il se fuit en destination de la France dans un bateau breton nommé le L'HEUREUX, probablement le nom de capitaine du vaisseau. Voici donc que le nom L'Heureux se trouve en Ecosse." (English translation)
Starting with with this initial email, I found the following accounts.

John O’Sullivan of Cappanacuss Castle by Anne McCabe

She says, 
"On the 1st October 1746 O'Sullivan got on board a French cutter that had to outrun a British ship that was searching for Charles, and head for Norway. From thence he sailed to France to find a neutral ship that would return to take the Prince to safety. The L'Heureux was at last dispatched and picked up Charles at Loch na nUamh where he had landed about fourteen months previously. "
See Full Text here.

The Battle at Culloden

In an article about Scottland in November 1997, CBC writes
"How Prince Charles escaped the wrath of the English Hanoverian forces is the stuff of legends. With a price of £30 000 on his head, Prince Charles was hunted across the Highlands and throughout the islands of Scotland. He endured great hardships with considerable fortitude, and it is to the credit of the people of the North that no one gave him away. It was because of the ingenuity and courage of a young Highland woman named Flora MacDonald that Prince Charles was able to escape. When the English forces were closing in on him, Flora MacDonald helped Charles escape from South Uist and eventually to France, where he sailed on the French privateer L’Heureux on September 20, 1746. For decades afterward, the wearing of Highland kilts in clan colours was banned by London."
Further readings:


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Baron von SteubenBaron von Steuben Connection

Thanks to Jacques-René L'heureux from NJ (cousin #31), I also found out that a frigate named L'heureux was mentionned in the book "Baron von Steuben and his Regulations" by Joseph R. Riling. On page 5, he says 
"On September 10, 1777, the Baron and his staff left Paris for the port of Marseilles, accompanied by M. de Francy, the nephew and agent of Beamarchais, and the Baron's servant, a young German by the name of Carl Vogel. Upon reaching Marseilles, the party embarked on the French frigate L'Heureux of 300 tons and 28 guns which was under the command of Captain Landais. Landais was experienced in the navigation of American waters, having been a member of the expedition which circumnavigated the globe under the leadership of Louis-Antoire de Bougainville in 1766-1769.
The Ship's name had been changed to Le Flamand, and she was masquerading as a merchantman since her cargo consisted of munitions for the American army. She was one of a fleet owned by Hortalez and Company. The Baron shipped under the name of Monsieur de Frank, supposedly bearing dispatches for the Governor of Martinique, for which port the ship had been cleared. The Le Flamand sailed from Marseilles on September 26, 1777, bound for Portsmouth, New Hampshire - its true destination."
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Ship positions. Click for a larger view.The Battle of the Nile, 1798 Connection

The French Wars lasted from 1792 to 1806. In May 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte was sent to capture Egypt. His fleet led by Vice-Admiral Brueys was attacked by the British fleet led by Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson on August 1st, 1798 where the Battle of the Nile (or Aboukir Bay) took place. Here is an excerpt of the action:
"As it grew dark Nelson's leading ship, the Goliath led the way inside the French line, the Zealous, Orion, Theseus and Audacious following suit., Nelson's flagship, Vanguard, now came up on the outside of the French line, supported by the Minotaur and Defence. This was the situation that Nelson had wanted, with five French ships overwhelmed by eight British opponents. They were the oldest and weakest French ships. They had been ready to engage with the seaward battery and were caught with their guns not even run out. Several had opponents on either side. It was now dark and the Bellerophon engaged the Orient. The Majestic went on to engage L'Heureux and ended up exchanging broadsides with Le Mercure. The three rear French ships were left without opponents. At this time, with victory already certain, Nelson was wounded. He was on deck again later and retained command."
The L'Heureux with 74 guns and 700 men surrendered to the British.

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Last updated March 21, 2011