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National Maritime Museum

Cockburn, Sir George, (1772-1853)


Reference code(s): GB 0064 COC

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Cockburn, Sir George, (1772-1853)

Date(s): [1797-1818]

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 4 files

Name of creator(s): Cockburn | Sir | George | 1772-1853 | Knight | Admiral Of The Fleet,


Administrative/Biographical history:

Cockburn went to sea in 1786, became a lieutenant in 1793 and then served in the Mediterranean under Lord Hood (q.v.) and Nelson (q.v.). He was promoted to captain in 1794. In 1796 he commanded the MINERVE and was sent to relieve the garrison at Elba; he continued in the Mediterranean until 1802. His next command was of the PHAETON in which he went to North America and India. He returned to England in the Howe in 1805. Afterwards he served in the CAPTAIN, ABOUKIR and POMPEE, playing a major part in the reduction of Martinique, 1809, and then returning to England in the BELLEISLE. At the taking of Flushing, 1809, he was in the PLOVER and commanded a flotilla as the army retreated from the Scheldt. Then he resumed his command of the Belleisle. In 1810 Cockburn was active off the coasts of France and Spain in the IMPLACABLE and was later appointed a commissioner in what resulted in an attempt to mediate between Spain and her South American colonies. He was promoted to rear-admiral in 1812 and hoisted his flag in the MARLBOROUGH; in her he was sent to North America, 1813, where he was engaged in the destruction of shipping and the harrying of the settlements of the south and middle states and also took part in the burning of Washington. When the peace was concluded he returned to England. After the battle of Waterloo, 1815, Cockburn conveyed Napoleon to St. Helena in the Northumberland and stayed there as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Cape Station until 1816. He was made vice-admiral in 1819, admiral in 1827 and Admiral of the Fleet in 1851. He also held the posts of junior Lord of the Admiralty, 1818 to 1830, 1834 to 1835, and First Naval Lord, 1841 to 1846. He was a Member of Parliament for various constituencies, 1818 to 1828 and 1841 to 1847.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir George Cockburn, relating largely to Napoleon's transportation and imprisonment in St. Helena and there is also a very detailed personal diary, 1797 to 1818. There are no papers for his later career.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were presented by Mr Travers Buxton in 1941.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2011-01-13

Diaries | Nonfiction
Imprisonment | Penal sanctions | Administration of justice
Napoleonic Wars (1800-1815) | Wars (events)
Naval history | History
Naval operations | Military operations | Military engineering
Primary documents

Personal names
Bonaparte | Napoleon | 1769-1821 | Emperor of France
Cockburn | Sir | George | 1772-1853 | Knight | Admiral Of The Fleet

Corporate names
Royal Navy

Saint Helena | Southern Africa