This entire site, including all its pages, is copyright © Stephen S. Roberts 2001-2021 or later as indicated.


All Three Volumes Published!



Published 2017.



Published 2015.



JUST PUBLISHED NOV. 2021.

Check here for post-publication Additions and Modifications to the three books.

The 1786-1861 book contains greatly expanded data on the ships covered below in this web site and it adds complete information for the period before 1816, giving full coverage of the period from just before the French Revolution to the advent of the broadside ironclad. Anyone with a serious interest in this period should use the book. The old data (which are still valid so far as they go) have been left on this web site for legacy reasons and to support those who have only the 1859-1914 volume, in which the data on the ships in the fleet on 1 January 1859 (fully covered in the 1785-1861 book) had to be reduced to a summary listing for space reasons. Beginning with the Gloire, the new book contains detailed design histories and technical data along with construction dates, key career events, and detailed disposal data for the nearly 1,350 ships that were added to the fleet between 1859 and 1914 filling a total of some 500 pages. The 1626-1786 volume takes the story of French warships back to Richelieu in 1626.

Stocks of the first two volumes are running short, but as of November 2021 the 1626-1786 volume was still available in book form at Seaforth and the 1786-1861 ("1862") volume was still in stock at the co-publisher, the U.S. Naval Institute Press. (Seaforth has it as an eBook.) The 1859-1914 volume was released on 16 November 2021 by Seaforth and is available at the links below at both Seaforth and the Naval Institute Press. It will also be carried by Amazon in various countries.



Seaforth Publishing (Pen & Sword Books)

U.S. Naval Institute Press


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French Navy Ships, 1816-1859




A plan of the paddle frigate (ex steam packet) Panama dated 28 February 1847.

This portion of the Shipscribe site contains a reference guide to the ships of the French navy between 1816 and 1859, the period during which the navy transitioned from sail to steam. More complete data are now available in Winfield and Roberts, French Warships in the Age of Sail, 1786-1861 as noted above, but the data here remain valid. The main part of this site consists of data pages for ships added to the navy between 1816 and 1859. Most of the data is from the French naval archives, collected while the author was researching his Ph.D dissertation, The Introduction of Steam Technology in the French Navy, 1818-1852 (University of Chicago, 1976). The dissertation provides historical context for this data (but not the data itself) and is available on ProQuest (Dissertations) to those with academic access. This site also contains a list of ships in the French navy as of 1816 and a historical introduction that includes data tables on building programs, the strength of the navy, its guns, steam engine builders, etc. The data format was based on Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships. Information on sail and screw transports was added in March 2009. To begin select one of the following links. 

Introduction: The French Navy, 1816-1859


List of the French Navy in 1816

and, for the main listing, 

French Navy Ships, 1816-1859


This entire site, including all its pages, is copyright © Stephen S. Roberts 2001-2021 or later as indicated.