Replica Hermione passes original's final resting place

Original frigate ran aground off the coast near Le Croisic, Loire Atlantique, on September 20, 1793.

The Hermione, the replica of the ship that carried Marquis La Fayette to help America during the War of Independence in 1780, will be in Nantes from May 23 to 28 - not far from the final resting place of the original vessel.

The original Hermione, a 12-pounder Concorde-class frigate, ran aground off the coast near Le Croisic, Loire Atlantique, on September 20, 1793.

She was travelling from the Loire estuary - where the vessel had been stationed for three months - to Brest escorting 12 ships, including two vessels filled with 65 guns.

The ship's commanding officer Captain Pierre Martin ordered the pilot Guillaume Guillemin du Conquet to take the most direct route to Brest. At 18h30 on September 20, Hermione ran aground at the Plateau du Four, a rocky outcrop four nautical miles off the French coast.

The vessel was evacuated the following morning. At court martial du Conquet was declared responsible for the loss of the ship, while Captain Martin was honorably acquitted. In November that year, Martin was promoted to contre-amiral and was given chief command of the Toulon squadron in early 1794.

He returned to the Atlantic coast when he was put in charge of forces at Rochefort, where the replica Hermione is usually berthed. He was made préfet maritime when the charge was founded in 1801, and remained in that post until 1809.

An archaeological excavation campaign undertaken in the summer of 2005 resulted in the recovery of several objects, including part of Hermione's rudder, and part of the anchor.

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