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Thread: The Battle of the Chesapeake.

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    Default The Battle of the Chesapeake.

    I am going for a much earlier battle this week.



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    This was also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American Revolutionary War that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781. The combatants were a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and a French fleet led by Rear Admiral Francois Joseph Paul, the Comte de Grasse. The battle was strategically decisive, in that it prevented the Royal Navy from reinforcing or evacuating the forces of Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia. The French were able to achieve control of the sea lanes against the British, allowing them to provide the Franco-American army with siege artillery and French reinforcements—all of which proved decisive in the Siege of Yorktown, effectively securing independence for the Thirteen Colonies.
    Admiral de Grasse had the option to attack British forces in either New York or Virginia; he opted for Virginia, arriving at the Chesapeake at the end of August. Admiral Graves learned that de Grasse had sailed from the West Indies for North America and that French Admiral de Barras had also sailed from Newport, Rhode Island, and he concluded that they were going to join forces at the Chesapeake. He sailed south from New York with 19 ships of the line and arrived at the mouth of the Chesapeake early on 5 September to see de Grasse's fleet at anchor in the bay. De Grasse hastily prepared most of his fleet for battle—24 ships of the line—and sailed out to meet him, and the two-hour engagement took place after hours of maneuvering. The lines of the two fleets did not completely meet; only the forward and center sections fully engaged. The battle was consequently fairly evenly matched, although the British suffered more casualties and ship damage, and it broke off when the sun set. The British tactics have been a subject of debate ever since.
    The two fleets sailed within view of each other for several days, but de Grasse preferred to lure the British away from the bay where de Barras was expected to arrive carrying vital siege equipment. He broke away from the British on 13 September and returned to the Chesapeake, where de Barras had since arrived. Graves returned to New York to organize a larger relief effort; this did not sail until 19 October, two days after Cornwallis surrendered.

    Background.

    During the early months of 1781, both pro-British and separatist forces began concentrating in Virginia, a state that had previously not experienced more than naval raids. The British forces were led at first by the turncoat Benedict Arnold, and then by William Phillips before General Charles, Earl Cornwallis, arrived in late May with his southern army to take command. In June he marched to Williamsburg, where he received a confusing series of orders from General Sir Henry Clinton that culminated in a directive to establish a fortified deep-water port (which would allow resupply by sea). In response to these orders, Cornwallis moved to Yorktown in late July, where his army began building fortifications. The presence of these British troops, coupled with General Clinton's desire for a port there, made control of the Chesapeake Bay an essential naval objective for both sides.



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    Admiral Thomas Graves

    On the 21st of May Generals George Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau, respectively the commanders of the Continental Army and the Expédition Particulière, met to discuss potential operations against the British and Loyalists. They considered either an assault or siege on the principal British base at New York City, or operations against the British forces in Virginia. Since either of these options would require the assistance of the French fleet, then in the West Indies, a ship was dispatched to meet with French Rear Admiral François Joseph Paul, comte de Grasse who was expected at Cap-Français (now known as Cap-Haïtien, Haiti), outlining the possibilities and requesting his assistance. Rochambeau, in a private note to de Grasse, indicated that his preference was for an operation against Virginia. The two generals then moved their forces to White Plains, New York, to study New York's defenses and await news from de Grasse.


    Arrival of the fleets.


    De Grasse arrived at Cap-Français on 15 August. He immediately dispatched his response to Rochambeau's note, which was that he would make for the Chesapeake. Taking on 3,200 troops, De Grasse sailed from Cap-Français with his entire fleet, 28 ships of the line. Sailing outside the normal shipping lanes to avoid notice, he arrived at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on August 30, and disembarked the troops to assist in the land blockade of Cornwallis. Two British frigates that were supposed to be on patrol outside the bay were trapped inside the bay by de Grasse's arrival; this prevented the British in New York from learning the full strength of de Grasse's fleet until it was too late.



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    François Joseph Paul, comte de Grasse, coloured engraving by Antoine Maurin


    British Admiral George Brydges Rodney, who had been tracking de Grasse around the West Indies, was alerted to the latter's departure, but was uncertain of the French admiral's destination. Believing that de Grasse would return a portion of his fleet to Europe, Rodney detached Rear Admiral Sir Samuel Hood with 14 ships of the line and orders to find de Grasse's destination in North America. Rodney, who was ill, sailed for Europe with the rest of his fleet in order to recover, refit his fleet, and to avoid the Atlantic hurricane season.

    Sailing more directly than de Grasse, Hood's fleet arrived off the entrance to the Chesapeake on 25 August. Finding no French ships there, he then sailed for New York. Meanwhile, his colleague and commander of the New York fleet, Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves, had spent several weeks trying to intercept a convoy organized by John Laurens to bring much-needed supplies and hard currency from France to Boston. When Hood arrived at New York, he found that Graves was in port (having failed to intercept the convoy), but had only five ships of the line that were ready for battle.

    De Grasse had notified his counterpart in Newport, the Comte de Barras Saint-Laurent, of his intentions and his planned arrival date. Barras sailed from Newport on 27 August with 8 ships of the line, 4 frigates, and 18 transports carrying French armaments and siege equipment. He deliberately sailed via a circuitous route in order to minimize the possibility of an encounter with the British, should they sail from New York in pursuit. Washington and Rochambeau, in the meantime, had crossed the Hudson on 24 August, leaving some troops behind as a ruse to delay any potential move on the part of General Clinton to mobilize assistance for Cornwallis.

    News of Barras' departure led the British to realize that the Chesapeake was the probable target of the French fleets. By 31 August, Graves had moved his five ships of the line out of New York harbor to meet with Hood's force. Taking command of the combined fleet, now 19 ships, Graves sailed south, and arrived at the mouth of the Chesapeake on 5 September. His progress was slow; the poor condition of some of the West Indies ships (contrary to claims by Admiral Hood that his fleet was fit for a month of service) necessitated repairs en route. Graves was also concerned about some ships in his own fleet; Europe in particular had difficulty maneuvering.


    Battle lines form.


    French and British patrol frigates each spotted the other's fleet around 9:30 am; both at first underestimated the size of the other fleet, leading each commander to believe the other fleet was the smaller fleet of Admiral de Barras. When the true size of the fleets became apparent, Graves assumed that de Grasse and Barras had already joined forces, and prepared for battle; he directed his line toward the bay's mouth, assisted by winds from the north-northeast.

    De Grasse had detached a few of his ships to blockade the York and James Rivers farther up the bay, and many of the ships at anchor were missing officers, men, and boats when the British fleet was sighted. He faced the difficult proposition of organizing a line of battle while sailing against an incoming tide, with winds and land features that would require him to do so on a tack opposite that of the British fleet. At 11:30 am, 24 ships of the French fleet cut their anchor lines and began sailing out of the bay with the noon tide, leaving behind the shore contingents and ships' boats. Some ships were so seriously undermanned, missing as many as 200 men, that not all of their guns could be manned. De Grasse had ordered the ships to form into a line as they exited the bay, in order of speed and without regard to its normal sailing order. Admiral Louis de Bougainville's Auguste was one of the first ships out. With a squadron of three other ships Bougainville ended up well ahead of the rest of the French line; by 3:45 pm the gap was large enough that the British could have cut his squadron off from the rest of the French fleet.


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    Formation of fleets: British ships are black, French ships are white. The Middle Ground to the left are the shoals that Graves tacked to avoid.

    By 1:00 pm, the two fleets were roughly facing each other, but sailing on opposite tacks. In order to engage, and to avoid some shoals (known as the Middle Ground) near the mouth of the bay, Graves around 2:00 pm ordered his whole fleet to wear, a manoeuvre that reversed his line of battle, but enabled it to line up with the French fleet as its ships exited the bay. This placed the squadron of Hood, his most aggressive commander, at the rear of the line, and that of Admiral Francis Samuel Drake in the van.

    At this point, both fleets were sailing generally east, away from the bay, with winds from the north-northeast. The two lines were approaching at an angle so that the leading ships of the vans of both lines were within range of each other, while the ships at the rear were too far apart to engage. The French had a firing advantage, since the wind conditions meant they could open their lower gun ports, while the British had to leave theirs closed to avoid water washing onto the lower decks. The French fleet, which was in a better state of repair than the British fleet, outnumbered the British in the number of ships and total guns, and had heavier guns capable of throwing more weight. In the British fleet, Ajax and Terrible, two ships of the West Indies squadron that were among the most heavily engaged, were in quite poor condition. Graves at this point did not press the potential advantage of the separated French van; as the French centre and rear closed the distance with the British line, they also closed the distance with their own van. One British observer wrote, "To the astonishment of the whole fleet, the French center were permitted without molestation to bear down to support their van."

    The need for the two lines to actually reach parallel lines so they might fully engage led Graves to give conflicting signals that were interpreted critically differently by Admiral Hood, directing the rear squadron, than Graves intended. None of the options for closing the angle between the lines presented a favourable option to the British commander: any maneuver to bring ships closer would limit their firing ability to their bow guns, and potentially expose their decks to raking or enfilading fire from the enemy ships. Graves hoisted two signals: one for "line ahead", under which the ships would slowly close the gap and then straighten the line when parallel to the enemy, and one for "close action", which normally indicated that ships should turn to directly approach the enemy line, turning when the appropriate distance was reached. This combination of signals resulted in the piecemeal arrival of his ships into the range of battle. Admiral Hood interpreted the instruction to maintain line of battle to take precedence over the signal for close action, and as a consequence his squadron did not close rapidly and never became significantly engaged in the action.


    Battle.


    It was about 4:00 pm, over 6 hours since the two fleets had first sighted each other, when the British—who had the weather gage, and therefore the initiative—opened their attack.

    The battle began with HMS Intrepid opening fire against the Marseillais, its counterpart near the head of the line. The action very quickly became general, with the van and center of each line fully engaged. The French, in a practice they were known for, tended to aim at British masts and rigging, with the intent of crippling their opponent's mobility. The effects of this tactic were apparent in the engagement: Shrewsbury and HMS Intrepid, at the head of the British line, became virtually impossible to manage, and eventually fell out of the line. The rest of Admiral Drake's squadron also suffered heavy damage, but the casualties were not as severe as those taken on the first two ships. The angle of approach of the British line also played a role in the damage they sustained; ships in their van were exposed to raking fire when only their bow guns could be brought to bear on the French.
    The French van also took a beating, although it was less severe. Captain de Boades of the Réfléchi was killed in the opening broadside of Admiral Drake's Princessa, and the four ships of the French van were, according to a French observer, "engaged with seven or eight vessels at close quarters." The Diadème, according to a French officer "was utterly unable to keep up the battle, having only four thirty-six-pounders and nine eighteen-pounders fit for use" and was badly shot up; she was rescued by the timely intervention of the Saint-Esprit.

    The Princessa and Bougainville's Auguste at one point were close enough that the French admiral considered a boarding action; Drake managed to pull away, but this gave Bougainville the chance to target the Terrible. Her foremast, already in bad shape before the battle, was struck by several French cannonballs, and her pumps, already overtaxed in an attempt to keep her afloat, were badly damaged by shots "between wind and water".

    Around 5:00 pm the wind began to shift, to British disadvantage. De Grasse gave signals for the van to move further ahead so that more of the French fleet might engage, but Bougainville, fully engaged with the British van at musket range, did not want to risk "severe handling had the French presented the stern." When he did finally begin pulling away, British leaders interpreted it as a retreat: "the French van suffered most, because it was obliged to bear away." Rather than follow, the British hung back, continuing to fire at long range; this prompted one French officer to write that the British "only engaged from far off and simply in order to be able to say that they had fought." Sunset brought an end to the firefight, with both fleets continuing on a roughly southeast tack, away from the bay.

    The center of both lines was engaged, but the level of damage and casualties suffered was noticeably less. Ships in the rear squadrons were almost entirely uninvolved; Admiral Hood reported that three of his ships fired a few shots. The ongoing conflicting signals left by Graves, and discrepancies between his and Hood's records of what signals had been given and when, led to immediate recriminations, written debate, and an eventual formal inquiry.


    Stand off.


    That evening Graves did a damage assessment. He noted that "the French had not the appearance of near so much damage as we had sustained", and that five of his fleet were either leaking or virtually crippled in their mobility. De Grasse wrote that "we perceived by the sailing of the English that they had suffered greatly." Nonetheless, Graves maintained a windward position through the night, so that he would have the choice of battle in the morning.

    Ongoing repairs made it clear to Graves that he would be unable to attack the next day. On the night of 6 September he held council with Hood and Drake. During this meeting Hood and Graves supposedly exchanged words concerning the conflicting signals, and Hood proposed turning the fleet around to make for the Chesapeake. Graves rejected the plan, and the fleets continued to drift eastward, away from Cornwallis. On 8 and 9 September the French fleet at times gained the advantage of the wind, and briefly threatened the British with renewed action. French scouts spied Barras' fleet on 9 September, and de Grasse turned his fleet back toward Chesapeake Bay that night. Arriving on 12 September, he found that Barras had arrived two days earlier.] Graves ordered the Terrible to be scuttled on 11 September due to her leaky condition, and was notified on 13 September that the French fleet was back in the Chesapeake; he still did not learn that de Grasse's line had not included the fleet of Barras, because the frigate captain making the report had not counted the ships. In a council held that day, the British admirals decided against attacking the French, due to "the truly lamentable state we have brought ourself." Graves then turned his battered fleet toward New York, arriving off Sandy Hook on 20 September.


    Aftermath.


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    The surrender of Lord Cornwallis, October 19, 1781 at Yorktown.

    The British fleet's arrival in New York set off a flurry of panic amongst the Loyalist population.

    The news of the defeat was also not received well in London. King George III wrote (well before learning of Cornwallis's surrender) that "after the knowledge of the defeat of our fleet I nearly think the empire ruined."

    The French success left them firmly in control of Chesapeake Bay, completing the encirclement of Cornwallis.
    In addition to capturing a number of smaller British vessels, de Grasse and Barras assigned their smaller vessels to assist in the transport of Washington's and Rochambeau's forces from Head of Elk to Yorktown. It was not until 23 September that Graves and Clinton learned that the French fleet in the Chesapeake numbered 36 ships. This news came from a dispatch sneaked out by Cornwallis on the 17 September, accompanied by a plea for help: "If you cannot relieve me very soon, you must be prepared to hear the worst." After effecting repairs in New York, Admiral Graves sailed from New York on 19 October with 25 ships of the line and transports carrying 7,000 troops to relieve Cornwallis. It was two days after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. General Washington acknowledged to de Grasse the importance of his role in the victory: "You will have observed that, whatever efforts are made by the land armies, the navy must have the casting vote in the present contest." The eventual surrender of Cornwallis led to peace two years later and British recognition of the independent United States of America.

    Admiral de Grasse returned with his fleet to the West Indies. In a major engagement that ended Franco-Spanish plans for the capture of Jamaica in 1782, he was defeated and taken prisoner by Rodney in the Battle of the Saintes.
    His flagship Ville de Paris was lost at sea in a storm while being conducted back to England as part of a fleet commanded by Admiral Graves. Graves, despite the controversy over his conduct in this battle, continued to serve, rising to full admiral and receiving an Irish peerage.

    Bligh.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Order of battle.


    British fleet
    Ship
    Rate
    Guns
    Commander
    Casualties
    Notes



    Van (rear during the battle)
    Alfred
    74
    Captain William Bayne
    killed

    0

    wounded

    0

    Total

    0

    Belliqueux
    64
    Captain James Brine
    0
    0
    0
    Invincible
    74
    Captain Charles Saxton
    0
    0
    0
    Barfleur
    98
    Rear Admiral Samuel Hood
    Captain Alexander Hood
    0
    0
    0
    Monarch
    74
    Captain Francis Reynolds
    0
    0
    0
    Centaur
    74
    Captain John Nicholson Inglefield
    0
    0
    0
    Centre
    America
    64
    Captain Samuel Thompson
    0
    0
    0
    Bedford
    74
    Captain Thomas Graves
    0
    0
    0
    Resolution
    74
    Captain Lord Robert Manners
    3
    16
    19
    London
    98
    Rear Admiral Thomas Graves
    Captain David Graves
    4
    18
    22
    Fleet flag
    Royal Oak
    74
    Captain John Plumer Ardesoif
    4
    5
    9
    Montagu
    74
    Captain George Bowen
    8
    22
    30
    Europe
    64
    Captain Smith Child
    9
    18
    27
    Rear (van during the battle)
    Terrible
    74
    Captain William Clement Finch
    4
    21
    25
    scuttled after the battle
    Ajax
    74
    Captain Nicholas Charrington
    7
    16
    23
    Princessa
    70
    Rear Admiral Francis Samuel Drake
    Captain Charles Knatchbull
    6
    11
    17
    Rear flag
    Alcide
    74
    Captain Charles Thompson
    2
    18
    20
    Intrepid
    64
    Captain Anthony James Pye Molloy
    21
    35
    56
    Shrewsbury
    74
    Captain Mark Robinson
    14
    52
    66
    Casualty summary
    82
    232
    314
    Last edited by Bligh; 12-01-2017 at 11:06.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain William Bayne.

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    Bayne became a lieutenant on 5 April 1749; in 1755 he served in that rank on board HMS Torbay, in North American waters, with Admiral Edward Boscawen, and in November 1756 was advanced to the command of a sloop of war. In 1760 he was promoted to post captain and given command of the 44-gun HMS Woolwich, and served in that ship at the reduction of Martinique in 1762, and continued there aboard the frigate HMS Stag, under the command of Vice-Admiral George Brydges Rodney.


    American War of Independence.

    After this he had no command till 1778, when he was appointed to the newly built 74-gun HMS Alfred, and served in the Channel Fleet through 1779 and 1780. He afterwards went to the West Indies as part of the squadron with Sir Samuel Hood, and was present in the action off Fort Royal in Martinique on 29 April 1781, and in the action off the Chesapeake on 5 September. Owing to the faulty system of tactics then in vogue and almost compulsory, the Alfred had no active share in either of these battles, the circumstances of which were afterwards much discussed.
    On returning to the West Indies the Alfred was with Sir Samuel Hood at the Battle of Saint Kitts, where she accidentally fouled the frigate HMS Nymphe, cutting her down to the water, and losing her own bowsprit. This delayed the fleet at the very critical moment when Hood had proposed an unexpected attack on the French at anchor. No blame was attached to Captain Bayne for the accident, which was mainly due to the darkness of the night. Bayne quickly refitted his ship and resumed his station in the line, which won him credit, as did his distinguished conduct in the battle. When the fleet was reunited under the flag of Sir George Rodney, the Alfred continued under the immediate orders of Sir Samuel Hood, and with other ships of Hood's division was engaged in the partial action with the French on 9 April 1782, just prior to the Battle of the Saintes. It was little more than a distant interchange of fire between the respective vans; but one shot carried off Captain Bayne's leg about mid-thigh. Before a tourniquet could be applied, he was dead.
    To his memory, jointly with that of Captains William Blair and Lord Robert Manners, who were killed in the battle three days later, a national monument was placed in Westminster Abbey.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain James Brine.

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    Died 1814. He was the father of Rear-Admiral Augustus Brine and Captain George Brine.


    Brine was commissioned lieutenant on 1 July 1766, in which rank he commanded the storeship Prince Frederick, going out to Madeira in September 1766.


    He was first lieutenant of the Prince of Wales 74, Captain Benjamin Hill, the flagship to Rear-Admiral Hon. Samuel Barrington at the Battle of St. Lucia on 15 December 1778. Ten days later, on Christmas Day, he was promoted commander of the ex-American privateer Bunker’s Hill, renamed the Surprise 18, which had been taken by the boats of the fleet off the island on the 23rd.


    The Battle of the Chesapeake 1781



    Removing to the captured French frigate Alcmène 32 to commission her in October 1779, he was posted captain on 30 December, and served under the orders of Commodore William Hotham in the Leeward Islands. During the Great Hurricanes of October his command found sanctuary at Antigua after sailing from St. Lucia, but his consort, the Blanche 32, Captain Samuel Uppleby, was lost with all hands.


    At the end of 1780 he removed to the Belliqueux 64 which sailed out to the Leeward Islands with Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood’s squadron, Captain Thomas Fitzherbert having resigned the command. Brine served at the occupation of St. Eustatius on 3 February 1781, and fought at the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April and was present but barely engaged at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September before leaving her at the end of the year.


    He was not re-employed during the long years of peace, but in1794 he rejoined the Belliqueux and commanded her under the orders of the commander-in-chief at Jamaica, Commodore John Ford, whose squadron took Port au Prince on San Domingo in a combined operation on 4 June. She was paid off in September 1795.
    Brine had recently assumed command of the Glory 98 when the Spithead mutiny broke out on 16 April 1797, and he and his officers were ordered off the ship and bundled into a boat with little ceremony. He nevertheless rejoined the ship at the end of the mutiny, but over the following year disaffection still affected the Glory, as indeed it did a number of other ‘Irish’ ships. On 12 March 1798 Brine and the first lieutenant, William Daniel, had to rush below to quell a disturbance caused by upwards of fifty men who were trying to get at the officers’ beer supply. A more serious outbreak was prevented when the intention of almost one hundred and fifty men to murder the officers and carry the ship into Brest were made known to the marine officer by a subordinate who could not bear the thought of having to kill Brine’s young son, George. Eight men were later hung for their part in the plan.


    Brine remained with the Glory until he was advanced to flag rank on 14 February 1799. In March 1803 he briefly removed his flag from the Téméraire 74 which had been refitting, to the Venerable 74, Captain John Clarke Searle, and he served as second in command at Plymouth where his son George was his flag lieutenant from 1804-5.


    He was promoted vice-admiral on 23 April 1804, and admiral on 25 October 1809, and he died on 18 November 1814 at Blandford Forum in Dorset.
    Brine married firstly Jane Knight of Blandford St. Mary’s, Dorset on 7 September 1767, and he soon leased Down House from Sir Thomas Pitt. His second wife, Alicia-Catherine, died in 1832 at Blandford. He was the father of Rear-Admiral Augustus Brine by his first wife, and also of George Brine who reached the rank of captain.



    Event History


    Date from Date to Event
    1762 Passed the Lieutenant's Examination
    1766/07/01 Lieutenant
    1778/12/25 Commander
    1778/12/25 1779/12 Surprise (18), as Commanding Officer
    1779/10 1779/12/30 Alcmene (28), as Commanding Officer
    1779/12/30 Captain
    1779/12/30 1781/02 Alcmene (28), as Commanding Officer
    1781 1782/01 Belliqueux (64), as Commanding Officer
    1781/04/29 1781/04/30 Battle of Fort Royal
    1781/09/05 Battle of the Chesapeake
    1782/01/25 1782/01/26 Battle of Saint Kitts
    1794/01/04 1794/06/04 Operations against San Domingo
    1794/06 1795/09 Belliqueux (64), as Commanding Officer
    1797 1799/03 Glory (98), as Commanding Officer
    1799/02/14 Rear-Admiral of the White
    1801/01/01 Rear-Admiral of the Red
    1804/04/23 Vice-Admiral of the White
    1805/11/09 Vice-Admiral of the Red
    1809/10/25 Admiral of the Blue
    1810/07/31 Admiral of the White
    Last edited by Bligh; 12-07-2017 at 03:11.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Charles Saxton.

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    He was an officer of the Royal Navy who saw service during the War of the Austrian Succession, the Seven Years' War, the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, rising to the rank of captain.
    Born in 1732, the son of a merchant, Charles Saxton entered the navy and served on a number of ships. He went out to the East Indies during the Seven Years' War, and shortly after his return to England was promoted to his first commands. He commissioned several frigates during the brief interlude of peace prior to the outbreak of the American War of Independence, before taking command of the ship of the line HMS Invincible. After a brief period in the English Channel, he sailed to North America, where he would a number of actions. A bout of illness after his arrival in the West Indies forced him to relinquish command for a time, but he went on to recover and to see action with Sir Samuel Hood's squadron at the Battle of the Chesapeake in 1781. He returned with Hood to the West Indies, and was again in action at the Battle of Saint Kitts in early 1782, before taking the Invincible into refit. The remainder of the war was spent cruising with squadrons off the North American coast.

    A period of unemployment followed the end of hostilities, but in 1787 tensions with France brought Saxton a place on a commission into the impress service, and he spent the rest of his career as an administrator. He became commissioner at Portsmouth, the navy's principal dockyard, in 1789 and held the position until his retirement nearly twenty years later. During these years he oversaw operations during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, his career being rewarded with a baronetcy in 1794. Retiring finally with a pension in 1806, Sir Charles died in 1808, being succeeded in the baronetcy by his eldest son, Charles.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Rear Admiral Samuel Hood.

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    Childhood.


    The son of Samuel Hood, vicar of Butleigh in Somerset, and prebendary of Wells and Mary Hoskins, daughter of Richard Hoskins, Esquire, of Beaminster, Dorset. In 1740 Captain (later Admiral) Thomas Smith was stranded in Butleigh when his carriage broke down on the way to Plymouth. The Rev Samuel Hood rescued him and gave him hospitality for the night. Samuel and his older brother Alexander were inspired by his stories of the sea and he offered to help them in the Navy. The Rev Samuel Hood and his wife would not allow any more sons to join the Navy as "they might be drowned". Their third son Arthur William became Vicar of Butleigh but died of fever in his 30s. Another son was drowned in the local river Brue as a boy.

    Early career.

    Samuel entered the Royal Navy in 1741. He served part of his time as midshipman with George Brydges Rodney on the Ludlow and became a lieutenant in 1746. He had opportunities to see service in the North Sea during the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1754, he was made commander of the sloop Jamaica and served on her at the North American station. In July 1756, while still on the North American station, he took command of the sloop Lively.

    Seven Years' War.

    At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756, the navy was rapidly expanded which benefited Hood. Later that year Hood was promoted to post captain and given command of the Grafton. In 1757, while in temporary command of Antelope (50 guns), he drove a French ship ashore in Audierne Bay, and captured two privateers. His zeal attracted the favourable notice of the Admiralty and he was appointed to a ship of his own, Bideford. In 1759, when captain of the Vestal (32), he captured the French Bellone (32) after a sharp action. During the war, his services were wholly in the Channel, and he was engaged under Rodney in 1759 in the Raid on Le Havre, destroying the vessels collected by the French to serve as transports in the proposed invasion of Britain.
    He was appointed in Commander-in-Chief, North American Station in July 1767. He returned to England in October 1770and commissioned the building of Catherington House in the village of Catherington in Hampshire in 1771. In 1778, he accepted a command which in the ordinary course would have terminated his active career, becoming Commissioner of the dockyard at Portsmouth and governor of the Naval Academy.

    American Revolutionary War.

    In 1778, on the occasion of the King's visit to Portsmouth, Hood was made a baronet. The war was deeply unpopular with much of the British public and navy. Many admirals had declined to serve under Lord Sandwich, the First Lord of the Admiralty. Admiral Rodney, who then commanded in the West Indies, had complained of a lack of proper support from his subordinates, whom he accused of disaffection. The Admiralty, anxious to secure the services of trustworthy flag officers, promoted Hood to rear-admiral on 26 September 1780, and sent him to the West Indies to act as second in command under Rodney, who knew him personally. He joined Rodney in January 1781 in his flagship Barfleur, and remained in the West Indies or on the coast of North America until the close of the American Revolutionary War.
    The expectation that he would work harmoniously with Rodney was not entirely justified. Their correspondence shows that they were not on friendly terms; but Hood always did his duty, and he was so able that no question of removing him from the station ever arose. The unfortunate turn for the British taken by the campaign of 1781 was largely due to Rodney's neglect of Hood's advice.

    Battle of the Chesapeake.

    When Rodney decided to return to Britain for the sake of his health in the autumn of 1781, Hood was ordered to take the bulk of the fleet to the North American coast during the hurricane months.
    Hood joined Admiral Thomas Graves in the unsuccessful effort to relieve the army at Yorktown, when the British fleet was driven off by the French Admiral, the Comte de Grasse, at the Battle of the Chesapeake.
    When he returned to the West Indies, he was for a time in independent command, as commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands Station, owing to Rodney's absence in England. De Grasse attacked the British islands of St Kitts and Nevis with a force much superior to Hood's squadron. Hood made an unsuccessful attempt in January 1782 to save them from capture, with 22 ships to 29, and the series of bold movements by which he first turned the French out of their anchorage at Basseterre of St Kitts and then beat off their attacks, were one of the best accomplishments of any British admiral during the war.

    Battle of the Saintes.

    On 12 April 1782 Hood took part in a British fleet under Rodney which defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet which was planning an invasion of Jamaica. The French commander De Grasse, who had been responsible for the victory at Chesapeake was captured and taken back to Britain as a prisoner.

    Battle of the Mona Passage.

    Eventually Hood was ordered to chase and with his division of 12 ships he captured 4 ships at the Mona Passage on 19 April 1782 thus completing the defeat. While serving in the Caribbean Hood became acquainted with, and later became a mentor to Horatio Nelson who was a young frigate commander. Hood had been a friend of Nelson's uncle Maurice Suckling. In 1782 Hood introduced Nelson to the Duke of Clarence, the future King William IV who was then a serving naval officer in New York.

    Peace.

    Hood was made an Irish peer as Baron Hood of Catherington in September 1782. During the peace, he entered the British Parliament as Member for Westminster in the election of 1784 where he was a supporter of the government of William Pitt the Younger. He became Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth in 1786, and after being promoted to vice-admiral on 24 September 1787, retired from the Portsmouth Command in 1789. He was appointed to the Board of Admiralty under John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, brother of the Prime Minister, in July 1788 and became First Naval Lord in August 1789. He became Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth again in June 1792.

    French Revolution.

    Defence of Toulon.

    Following the outbreak of the French Revolutionary War, Hood became Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet in February 1793. In August 1793 French royalists and other opponents of the revolution took over the town and invited Hood, whose fleet was blockading the city, to occupy the town. Hood, without time to request for instructions from the Admiralty in London, moved swiftly to take command of the port.
    There were two main reasons for the British move. It was hoped that Toulon could be a centre of French resistance to Paris, and also to take possession of the French Mediterranean fleet of fifty eight warships, which lay in the harbour. It was hoped that depriving the French revolutionaries of their maritime resources would cripple the revolution. He occupied Toulon on the invitation of the French royalists, in co-operation with the Spaniards and Sardinians. In December of the same year, the allies, who did not work harmoniously together, were driven out, mainly by the generalship of Napoleon. Hood ordered the French fleet burned to prevent them falling back into the hands of the revolutionaries.

    Corsica.

    Hood then turned to the occupation of Corsica, which he had been invited to take in the name of the King of Britain by Pasquale Paoli, who had been leader of the Corsican Republic before it was subjugated by the French a quarter of a century previously. The island was for a short time added to the dominions of George III, chiefly by the exertions of the fleet and the co-operation of Paoli. While the occupation of Corsica was being effected, the French at Toulon had so far recovered that they were able to send a fleet to sea. Nelson was recorded as saying that Hood was "the best Officer, take him altogether, that England has to boast of".
    In October, he was recalled to England in consequence of some misunderstanding with the admiralty or the ministry, which has never been explained. Richard Freeman, in his book, The Great Edwardian Naval Feud, explains his relief from command in a quote from Lord Esher's journal. According to this journal, "... [Hood] wrote 'a very temperate letter' to the Admiralty in which he complained that he did not have enough ships to defend the Mediterranean." As a result, Hood was then recalled from the Mediterranean. He was promoted to full admiral on 12 April 1794.

    Later career.

    Samuel Hood was created Viscount Hood of Whitley, Warwickshire in 1796 with a pension of £2000 per year for life (about £300,000 a year in 2010 terms). In 1796, he was also appointed Governour of the Greenwich Hospital, a position which he held until his death in 1816. He served as Tory Member of Parliament for Westminster from 1784 to 1788 and from 1790 to 1796, and was Member for Reigate between 1789 and 1790. He died in Greenwich on 27 January 1816 and is buried in Greenwich Hospital Cemetery.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Alexander Hood.

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    He entered the Royal Navy in 1767, and accompanied Captain James Cook in his second voyage of exploration from 1772 to 1775. During the American Revolutionary War, under Admirals Richard Howe and George Rodney, when he had command of the cutter Ranger in March 1780, he distinguished himself in the West Indies, and in July 1781 was promoted to captain. Shortly thereafter, he was given command of the 98-gun second rate ship of the line, HMS Barfleur.

    It was not uncommon for an extremely junior captain to find himself commanding a large ship-of-the-line, if that ship were the flagship of an experienced admiral, who would be able to keep a close eye on the new captain. In this case, the Barfleur was the flagship of his cousin, Admiral Sir Samuel Hood. On 5 September they took the Barfleur into battle at the Battle of the Chesapeake, where the ship served as flagship of the Van of Sir Thomas Graves' fleet. At the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782, Hood was in command of one of Rodney's frigates, HMS Champion.

    Later, again under his brother's command, he proceeded to the Mona Passage, where he captured the French corvette Cérès, a former British warship that the Navy took into service as HMS Raven. Hood became close friends with the commander of his prize, the Baron de Peroy, and during the peace of 1783–1792 paid a long visit to France as his former prisoner's guest. Also married Elizabeth Periam on 11 July 1792.

    In the early part of the French Revolutionary Wars, ill health kept him at home, and it was not until 1797 that he went afloat again. His first experience was bitter; his ship, the 74-gun third-rate Mars, was unenviably prominent in the Spithead mutiny.

    On 21 April 1798 Mars fought the Battle of the Raz de Sein with the French ship Hercule in the dusk near the Pointe du Raz on the coast of Brittany. Hercule attempted to escape through the Passage du Raz but the tide was running in the wrong direction and she was forced to anchor, giving Hood the chance to attack at close quarters. The two ships were of equal force, both seventy-fours, but Hercule was newly commissioned; after more than an hour and a half of bloody fighting at close quarters she struck her flag, having lost over three hundred men. On Mars 31 men were killed and 60 wounded. Among the dead was Captain Hood, mortally wounded in the thigh - he had been cut in the femoral artery. He is said to have died just as the sword of the French captain L'Hériter was being put in his hand.

    Hood has a house named after him at The Royal Hospital School, Suffolk.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Francis Reynolds.


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    1739-1808. He was born on 28 March 1739 at Strangeways, Manchester, the second son of Francis Reynolds, heir to a South Sea Company director, and of Hon. Elizabeth Moreton, eldest daughter of the 1st Lord Ducie. He was the nephew of Matthew, 2nd Lord Ducie.

    Having served under Captain Lord Richard Howe aboard the Magnanime 74, Reynolds was commissioned lieutenant on 28 April 1758, seeing further service on the Melampe 36, Captain William Hotham, in the North Sea.
    He was promoted commander on 21 November 1760, joining the Weasel 16 in the Channel and taking the privateer Duc de Bourbon on 18 October 1761. He was posted captain of the Garland 24 on 12 April 1762, serving off the coast of France and, prior to being paid off at the peace, off Africa.

    In April 1763 he recommissioned the Flamborough 24, going out to the Mediterranean in August and commanding the Faversham 44 in the Mediterranean from 1764. He later had the frigate Quebec 32 in the Leeward Islands from the summer of 1769 until paid off in August 1772.

    He recommissioned the Augusta 64 in the autumn of 1776, going out to North America in the following March. During the Philadelphia campaign of August-November 1777 this vessel was destroyed by fire at Mud Island on 23 October, with Reynolds being personally saved by Captain Andrew Snape Hamond’s barge from the Roebuck. At the court-martial into the loss of Augusta presided over by Captain George Ourry aboard the Somerset 64 off Billingsport on 26 November Reynolds was acquitted of any failure in her loss. He returned to England shortly afterwards aboard the transport Dutton with Vice-Admiral Lord Howe’s dispatches,
    His next command was the Jupiter 50, which he joined in August 1778. Off Cape Finisterre on 20 October, and being in company with the Medea 28, Captain James Montagu, he fell in with the French Triton 64 commanded by the Comte de Ligondés. A ferocious night time engagement took place over the next couple of hours in squally weather, but the Medea was forced out of action within thirty minutes, and the difficulties of fighting in the darkness prevented Reynolds from driving home a victory. The French vessel suffered thirteen killed and thirty wounded including her commander who had been obliged to leave the deck, the Jupiter three killed and eleven wounded, three of them fatally. Curiously stories later surfaced in the press that the Jupiter had surrendered and had been carried as a prize to Brest.

    On 26 May 1779, having left for the Mediterranean with the trade two months earlier and then undertaken a cruise, the Jupiter again found herself in action off Cape Finisterre. On this occasion she fell in with a French convoy escorted by men-of war including sail of the line under the command of Admiral La-Motte Picquet. Even so, Reynolds pitched into the middle of the enemy in the hope that he could take a prize and gain intelligence of their destination. Despite coming under hot fire from the Blanche 32 and personally sustaining splinter wounds he did manage to capture one vessel and put a prize crew aboard before being driven off without his capture by seven of the enemy.

    He later commanded the Jupiter in the Channel fleet retreat of August 1779 and subsequently saw service in the North Sea. On 3 October, having been sent to the River Shannon with a squadron of frigates to bring home an East India convoy, and being in company with the Apollo 32, Captain Philemon Pownall, and the Crescent 28, Captain Charles Hope, he took two French cutters off the Lizard, these being added to the navy under their own names, Pilote and Mutine.

    Towards the end of 1780 Reynolds was appointed to the Monarch 74, joining Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood’s reinforcements going out to the West Indies at the end of October in the place of Captain Adam Duncan who did not wish to serve on that station on account of his health. He was present at the capture of St. Eustatius on 3 February 1781 and was selected by Admiral Sir George Rodney to take three vessels in pursuit of the Dutch sail of the line Mars 60 and a richly-laden thirty-strong convoy which had departed the island the day before. On 4 February he brought the Mars to action and she struck after her senior officer, Rear-Admiral Willem Crul, was slain. On 29 April 1781 the Monarch fought at the Battle of Fort Royal, and on 5 September was present but barely engaged at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay.

    Returning to the West Indies with Hood, Reynolds commanded the Monarch 74 at the Battle of St. Kitts on 25-26 January 1782, and at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782 where his casualties of sixteen men killed and thirty-three wounded were amongst the highest in the fleet. Having sailed to North America in September under the orders of the new Leeward Islands commander-in-chief, Admiral Hugh Pigot, he returned to England in the following summer and was paid off.

    Reynolds was MP for Lancaster from 1784 and following the death of his brother Thomas he acceded to the reformed title of the 3rd Lord Ducie of Tortworth on 11 September 1785, whereupon he resigned from the navy and parliament. He assumed the additional name of Moreton in 1786, and died at Tortworth, Glocestershire, on 19 August 1808.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain John Nicholson Inglefield.

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    He was the son of a ship's carpenter, Isaac Inglefield, and his wife, a sister of the ship designer Thomas Slade, (later Sir Thomas Slade). According to Captain Inglefield himself his paternal family was of Lancashire origin and distantly connected to that of the Englefields.

    Under the patronage of his maternal uncle, Thomas Slade, Inglefield joined the navy as a boy of 11 in 1759. In April 1766 he was rated able seaman aboard the Launceston: in May 1768 he was made lieutenant and moved into HMS Romney under the command of Sir Samuel Hood. This connection was to prove the most significant of Inglefield's career. Although Inglefield returned to the Launceston in October, by July 1769 he was back with Hood aboard the Romney and from that time forward his career was closely associated with his friend's. With him Inglefield left the Romney in December 1770, served in HMS Marlborough and HMS Courageux, and in 1778 in HMS Robust with Hood's brother Alexander. Aboard the Robust he was present at the First Battle of Ushant on 27 July.

    On 27 December 1773 at Baughurst, Hampshire, Inglefield married Ann Smith, daughter of a gentleman of Greenwich named Robert Smith. They had three daughters and one son, Samuel Hood Inglefield, who also went on to a distinguished naval career and was the father of Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield.

    In June 1779 Inglefield was promoted to command of the brig-sloop HMS Lively and in the October of the following year was promoted to post captain and posted to HMS Barfleur of 90 guns, in which his patron, Sir Samuel Hood, hoisted his flag. As captain of the flagship, Inglefield sailed to the West Indies and took part in the skirmish with the French fleet off Martinique in 1781. In August of the same year Hood transferred him to HMS Centaur (74 guns), which Inglefield commanded in three actions against the French, culminating on 12 April 1782 at the Battle of the Saintes.

    It was however aboard the Centaur that Inglefield suffered the most harrowing episode of his career when, sailing for England with the convoy under Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Graves, his ship along with the others was struck by a hurricane. The Centaur, an ageing ship, was severely damaged. Thrown upon her beam ends, dismasted in order to right herself and with her rudder gone, she eventually foundered despite the most strenuous efforts of Inglefield and the crew over several days. Inglefield and eleven others escaped aboard the pinnace, though otherwise the ship's complement of some six hundred men was lost. Subsisting on a few bottles of French cordials, some spoilt bread, ship's biscuit and rainwater wrung out into a bailing cup, the survivors successfully navigated to Faial Island in the Azores after sixteen days of the most terrible privation that saw one of them, Thomas Matthews, die the day before they reached land.
    On returning to England and the court martial usual in such cases, the survivors were acquitted. Inglefield's spare and unsensational description of this disaster, Captain Inglefield's narrative concerning the loss of the 'Centaur' was published shortly afterwards. A dramatic painting of the incident in which those on the pinnace, thrusting off from the foundering Centaur, pulled aboard a fifteen-year-old midshipman who had thrown himself from the wreck, was later made into a popular print.

    For three years Inglefield was given a home posting aboard the guardship HMS Scipio in the Medway. In 1786 however he and his wife were publicly involved in a marital dispute which led to a permanent breach. After accusing his wife of making advances towards a manservant, Inglefield demanded a separation. Denying the accusation, Mrs Inglefield sued him for desertion. Although she won her case in court, the marriage was irretrievably damaged and they appear never to have cohabited again.

    In 1788 Inglefield was posted to HMS Adventure (44 guns) which, joined later by HMS Medusa (44 guns), also under his command, patrolled the West Coast of Africa. In 1792 he served as one of the judges at the court-martial of the mutineers from HMS Bounty, who had been captured on Tahiti. In 1793 he was serving in the Mediterranean aboard the frigate HMS Aigle (36 guns) and in 1794 was appointed captain of the fleet (chief of staff to the commander-in-chief). Towards the end of 1794 he returned to England with Samuel, now Viscount, Hood and was thereafter a resident commissioner of the Navy Board, serving in Corsica, Malta, Gibraltar and Halifax, Nova Scotia. A commissioner's post was considered equivalent to the rank of rear admiral, but was only given to officers who had ended their active service. In 1799 he was placed on the list of retired captains.
    He died in Greenwich, Kent before 7 February 1828 when his will was proved.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Thomas Graves.

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    Thomas Graves was born circa 1747, the third son of Reverend John Graves of Castle Dawson, County Londonderry, by his wife Jane Hudson. He was a nephew of Admiral Samuel Graves and a first cousin once removed of Admiral Thomas, Lord Graves. Graves' three brothers all served as captains in the navy, becoming admirals on the superannuated list. Thomas entered the navy at a very early age, and served during the Seven Years' War with his uncle Samuel on board HMS Scorpion, Duke, and Venus. After the peace he was appointed to HMS Antelope with his cousin Thomas, whom he followed to the HMS Edgar, and by whom, in 1765, while on the coast of Africa, he was promoted to be lieutenant of HMS Shannon. It is stated in Foster's ‘Peerage’ that he was born in 1752, a date incompatible with the facts of his known service: by the Regulations of the Navy he was bound to be twenty years old at the date of his promotion, and though the order was often grossly infringed, it is highly improbable that he was only thirteen: it may fairly be assumed that he was at least eighteen in 1765.

    Arctic seas and North America.

    In 1770 Graves was lieutenant of HMS Arethusa, and in 1773 was appointed to HMS Racehorse with Captain Constantine Phipps for the voyage of discovery in the Arctic Seas. In the following year he went out to North America with his uncle Samuel, and was appointed by him to command HMS Diana, one of the small schooners employed for the prevention of smuggling. She had thirty men, with an armament of four 2-pounders, and on 27 May 1775, being sent from Boston into the Charles River, was attacked by a large force of insurgents, whose numbers swelled till they reached a total of something like two thousand men, with two field-pieces. It fell calm, and towards midnight, as the tide ebbed, Diana ran aground, and lay over on her side, when the colonial forces succeeded in setting her on fire, and the small crew, after a gallant defence, were compelled to abandon her, Graves having been first severely burnt, as well as his brother John, then a lieutenant of the flagship HMS Preston, who had been sent in one of the Preston's boats to the Diana's support.

    Promotion and further service.

    After this Graves continued to be employed in command of other tenders in the neighbourhood of Boston and Rhode Island until, on the recall of his uncle, he rejoined Preston and returned to England; but was again sent out to the North American station in the same ship, commanded by Commodore William Hotham. In 1779 he was promoted to the command of the sloop HMS Savage on the West Indian and North American stations, and in May 1781 he was advanced to post rank. In the temporary absence of Commodore Edmund Affleck, he commanded HMS Bedford in the Battle of the Chesapeake on 5 September, and continuing afterwards in Bedford, as Affleck's flag captain, was present in the engagement at St. Kitts on 26 January 1782, and in the Battle of the Saintes on 9 and 12 April, in which last the Bedford had a very distinguished part.

    In the following autumn Graves was appointed to the frigate HMS Magicienne, in which, on 2 January 1783, he fought a very severe action with the French Sibylle, which was encumbered with a second ship's company which she was carrying to the Chesapeake. Both frigates were reduced to a wreck, and so parted; the Magicienne to get to Jamaica a fortnight later; the Sybille to be captured on 22 January 1783 by Hussar under Thomas McNamara Russell.

    Years of peace and the French Revolutionary Wars.

    During the peace Graves spent much of his time in France, and in the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars had no employment. It was not until October 1800 that he was appointed to command the 74-gun HMS Cumberland, in the Channel Fleet, under the orders of Lord St. Vincent. This was only for a few months; for on 1 January 1801 he was promoted to be Rear-Admiral of the White Squadron, and in March hoisted his flag on board the 64-gun HMS Polyphemus, one of the fleet proceeding to the Baltic with Sir Hyde Parker.

    Flag rank and later life.

    Graves afterwards shifted his flag to HMS Defiance, and in her was second in command under Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801. For his services on this important occasion he received the thanks of Parliament, and an appointment as Knight Commander of the Bath. Towards the end of July the fleet left the Baltic, and on its return to England Graves, who had been in very bad health during the greater part of the campaign, retired from active service. HMS Foudroyant, captained for a time by Christopher Nesham, carried his flag in the Bay of Biscay from October 1804 to February 1805. He became a vice-admiral on 9 November 1805 and admiral on 2 August 1812.
    Last edited by Bligh; 12-05-2017 at 04:42.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  11. #11
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    Captain Lord Robert Manners.

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    Educated at Eton, he entered the Royal Navy in 1772. As the son of one of the greatest soldiers of the time, and grandson of a duke, he expected rapid advancement in rank. However, Lord Sandwich, the First Lord of the Admiralty, resisted his promotion to lieutenant until he had served for six years, as regulations demanded. He was so promoted on 13 May 1778 aboard HMS Ocean, and saw action in July at the First Battle of Ushant. He was moved to Victory, flagship of Admiral Keppel, on 17 September 1778.
    Shortly after his promotion to lieutenant, Manners again began to appeal to the Admiralty for preferment. He was moved into Alcide on 15 July 1779, in the fleet of Admiral Rodney, then bound for Gibraltar. The urgings of the other Lords of the Admiralty, who reminded Sandwich of the political danger to himself and the North Ministry should they arouse the enmity of the Manners family, finally wore him down, and he wrote to Rodney on 8 December, asking him to contrive a promotion for Manners. Rodney lacked Sandwich's reservations about Manners, who proved a talented officer despite his ambition. The day after the Battle of Cape St. Vincent (17 January 1780), he promoted Manners captain and made him flag-captain of Resolution under Sir Chaloner Ogle, newly promoted commodore. Soon after on 24 February Manners led part of the squadron which intercepted a French convoy off Madeira and captured the French 64 gun ship of the line Protée along with three transports.
    In March, he was returned as Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire in absentia in a boisterous contest, but would never take his seat.
    Resolution returned to England soon after, and went out to North America with Admiral Graves. Under Admiral Rodney, Manners took her to the West Indies; Ogle was promoted rear-admiral and returned home during this period. Resolution went north to fight in the centre at the Battle of the Chesapeake (5 September 1781), and then returned to the West Indies with Rear-Admiral Hood to fight at St Kitts in January 1782.
    At the Battle of the Saintes (12 April 1782), Resolution was in the centre of the line and saw heavy action. During the battle, one of Manners' arms was broken, and both legs wounded, one so severely as to require amputation. Being of a strong constitution, it was hoped he might survive, and he was sent back to England aboard the frigate Andromache. However, tetanus set in, and he died on 23 April 1782 and was buried at sea.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Rear Admiral Thomas Graves.

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    Graves was the second son of Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves of Thanckes in Cornwall.

    In the first year of the Seven Years' War, Graves failed to confront a French ship which gave challenge. He was tried by court-martial for not engaging his ship, and reprimanded. Graves became Commodore-Governor of Newfoundland in 1761 and given the duty of convoying the seasonal fishing fleet from England to the island. In 1762 he learned that French ships had captured St. John's. Graves, Admiral Alexander Colville and Colonel William Amherst retook the port city. With the end of the Seven Years' War, Labrador came under his responsibility as French fishing fleets returned to the French Shore and St. Pierre and Miquelon. Graves strictly enforced the treaties to the extent that the French government protested. Graves' governorship ended in 1764. He returned to active service during the American War of Independence and became commander-in-chief of the North American Squadron in 1781when Mariot Arbuthnot returned home.

    During the American War of Independence, his fleet was defeated by the Comte de Grasse in the Battle of the Chesapeake at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, leading to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown.

    In September 1782, a fleet under his command was caught in a violent storm off the banks of Newfoundland. The captured French ships Ville de Paris (110 guns) and HMS Glorieux (74 guns), and the British ships HMS Ramillies (74 guns) and HMS Centaur (74 guns) foundered, along with other merchant ships, with the loss of 3,500 lives. In 1786 Graves became Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.
    With the French Revolutionary Wars, Graves was second in command to Admiral Richard Howe at the British victory over the French at the Battle of the Glorious First of June 1794. Graves became a full admiral and was awarded an Irish peerage as Baron Graves, of Gravesend in the County of Londonderry.

    He died in February 1802, aged 76, and was succeeded in the barony by his son Thomas.
    Last edited by Bligh; 12-05-2017 at 04:43.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain John Plumer Ardesoif.


    Died 1790. He was brought up in Ireland, the youngest son of Abraham Ardesoif, and of his wife, Diana Plummer.
    Ardesoif was commissioned lieutenant on 10 October 1759, whereupon he joined the newly-launched Valiant 74, Captain William Brett, for service with the grand fleet. In January 1760 he removed with Captain Brett to the Torbay 74 at Plymouth, which ship served with the Channel fleet until paid off in early 1763.


    In September 1765 he joined the Boreas 28, Captains Richard Hughes and George Vandeput, serving in home waters, and from 1767-9 was aboard the Carysfort 28, Captain Vandeput in the Mediterranean. From 1770-3 he was the senior lieutenant of the guardship Terrible 74, Captain Marriot Arbuthnot, at Plymouth.


    The Battle of Chesapeake Bay



    In 1775 Ardesoif became the first lieutenant of the Argo 28, Captain Francis Grant Gordon, going out to the Leeward Islands in the spring. In November he brought about the court martial of his captain for embezzling stores and for cruel and oppressive behaviour, resulting in that officer’s dismissal and the appointment of Captain William Garnier. In the following year Ardesoif removed as first lieutenant to the Hind 24, Captain Henry Bryne.


    During 1776-78 commanded the brig Pelican 2 on the Leeward Islands station, holding the rank of lieutenant and setting out in July 1777 for a cruise. Towards the end of the year he operated with some success off Dominica.
    On 16 November 1779 Ardesoif was promoted commander and appointed to the sloop Loyalist 14, a recently purchased ex-privateer with which he served in North American waters until May 1781.


    He was posted captain on 5 May 1781 and joined the Royal Oak 74, in which he took the rebel privateer Aurora on 18 July and fought at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781. He left this vessel shortly afterwards and was not thereafter employed.


    Ardesoif died on 29 May 1790.


    He appears to have been married at least four times, initially to a French woman by the name of Marianne Dufour by whom he had a son and daughter. On 17 November 1778 he married Lucinda Mence, but had no issue, and in the latter part of the following decade he married Elizabeth Gunning by whom he had a daughter. A further wife was Jane Windover, whom he married in London on 7 February 1790. His son, Lieutenant William Stratford Ardesoif, died at San Domingo in 1796.
    In 1772 Ardesoif’s work ‘An introduction to marine fortifications and gunnery’ was published. He was a great friend of Captain Thomas Macnamara Russell.





    Nationality British
    Roles Sailor
    Date of Birth1737 - London
    First Known Service1759
    Wife Marianne Dufour(1758–1778) - Married 1771
    Wife Lucinda Mence - Married 1778/11,
    Wife Jane Windover (1748–1790) - Married 1790/02/07 - St. Marylebone, DaughterMary Anne Plummer Ardesoif(1772–1865)
    Son William Stratford Ardesoif
    Last Known Service1782
    Date of Death1790/05/21 - London


    Event History

    Date from Date to Event
    1759 Passed the Lieutenant's Examination
    1759/10/10 Lieutenant
    1771 Terrible (74), Lieutenant
    1776/04/26 1778/04 Pelican, as Commanding Officer
    1779/11/16 Commander
    1779/11/16 1781/05 Loyalist (14), as Commanding Officer
    1781/05/05 Captain
    1781/05/05 1782 Royal Oak (74), as Commanding Officer
    1781/09/05 Battle of the Chesapeake
    1782/04/12 Battle of the Saintes
    Last edited by Bligh; 12-07-2017 at 03:14.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain George Bowen.





    Bowen was commissioned lieutenant on 13 March 1773 and promoted commander on 19 November 1779, in which rank he commissioned the ex-sloop Druid 16 as the fireship Blast and took her out to the Leeward Islands in May 1780.
    He was posted captain on 14 February 1781, and commanded the Ajax 74 on a temporary basis from May to July. He then joined the Montagu 74 in succession to Captain John Houlton and fought at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September, suffering casualties of eight men killed and twenty-two wounded, and thereafter sailing in December from New York to Barbados with Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood’s squadron. He commanded the same vessel at the action off St. Kitts on 25 January 1782, requiring rescue from the French attack, and at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April where his command suffered casualties of fourteen men killed and twenty-nine wounded. He then returned to England with the victorious commander-in-chief, Admiral Lord Rodney, having in company the Flora 32, Captain Samuel Marshall, and arriving at Bristol on 21 September. His command was paid off in November.
    In May 1783 Bowen recommissioned the Flora 36, retaining her but for four months, and thereafter he remained unemployed bar the brief command of the Bellona 74 around the turn of the 1790’s.
    In June 1793 he assumed command of the Belliqueux 64, going out to Jamaica in March 1794. Following the death of Captain Lewis Robertson on 3 July he removed to the Veteran 64, remaining in the Leeward Islands for but a short time before returning home.
    In August 1795 he joined the Canada 74, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Roger Curtis at Spithead from the following month, and receiving members of the French Royal family on board. She then went out to the Leeward Islands with Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Christian’s force in early 1796 and was present at the capture of St. Lucia in June.
    Having removed to the Jamaican station in the summer of 1796, Bowen left the Canada when she returned home for repairs that winter, and until June 1798 he commanded the Carnatic 74 on the same station. Here he presided over the court-martials of several mutineers from the Hermione and earned the praise of the commander-in-chief, Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, for his strict sentencing, including that of a blind seaman for execution.
    Following her repairs at Plymouth in the summer of 1798 he took command of the Captain 74, retaining her in home waters until promoted rear-admiral on 14 February 1799. He headed the list of admirals promoted vice-admiral on 9 November 1805, and became an admiral on 31 July 1810.
    Bowen died at Shrewsbury on 1 July 1823.
    He and his wife Mary had one son, George, whilst Elizabeth Essex Bowen, born in 1797, was his youngest daughter. He owned Coton Hall, Shropshire, from the early 19th Century.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Smith Child.




    (1730 – 1813) was an officer in the Royal Navy. He served in the Seven Years' War, the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary Wars, rising to the rank of admiral. He also established a pottery manufactory in Tunstall, Staffordshire.

    Biography.

    Born into a well-to-do family from Audley, Staffordshire, Smith Child entered the Royal Navy in 1747 through a connection between his father (also named Smith Child) and First Lord of the Admiralty George Anson. Serving first aboard HMS Chester, he rose through the ranks, seeing service in the Seven Years' War supporting the Siege of Louisbourg in 1758 and the Siege of Pondicherry in 1760.

    In 1763 he established a pottery-manufactory in Tunstall, Staffordshire, and married Margaret Roylance of Newfield, Staffordshire the following year, acquiring a significant estate from her family. They had two sons; one was lost at sea, and the other died two years before his father.

    By the American War of Independence he had been promoted to captain. He was in command of HMS Europe as part of Admiral Marriot Arbuthnot's fleet in the March 1781 Battle of Cape Henry, in which the British fought off a French fleet attempting to enter Chesapeake Bay, and again later that year in the critical Battle of the Chesapeake in early September, in which the British lost control of the bay, enabling the Franco-American victory at Yorktown.
    In November 1795 he was given command of the HMS Commerce de Marseille, a French ship that had been given over to the Royal Navy in the 1793 Siege of Toulon. The ship, originally a 118-gun three-decker, had been converted to a store and transport ship, and was loaded with 1,000 men and stores for transport to the West Indies. In somewhat poor condition, she was further damaged in a storm not long after sailing, and Child was forced to return to Portsmouth.
    Child was promoted to Vice Admiral of the Blue in February 1799, but saw no further action. He died in 1813, two years after his son John. As a result, he willed his estate to his grandson, Smith Child. He is buried at St. Margaret's Church in Wolstanton.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain William Clement Finch.

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    He was born on 25 May 1753, the third of eight sons and four daughters of Heneage Finch, the 3rd Earl of Aylesford, and of his wife Lady Charlotte Seymour, the daughter of the Duke of Somerset. He was the older brother of Captain Hon. Seymour Finch, and the brother-in-law of the Earls of Suffolk and Dartmouth.

    Finch was educated at Westminster between 1764-5, and having entered the navy was commissioned lieutenant on 7 July 1772. He was further promoted commander on 10 April 1776, being ordered to commission the new Cygnet 14 which he took out to Newfoundland in April before returning later that year and paying her off.

    Having been ordered to commission the recently purchased Camel 22 at the Nore the previous December he was posted captain on 18 March 1777, and during March sailed out to the Leeward Islands. In June he was sent from New York to Antigua with despatches, arriving on 22 July and being immediately ordered to convoy the Leeward Islands trade home. On 4 September the convoy was attacked by the American frigate Raleigh 32 despite the escort of the Camel, the Weazle 16, Commander Charles Hope, and the Druid 14, Commander Peter Carteret. During the opening stages of the ensuing engagement Commander Carteret was killed, but the American was eventually driven off by the men of war and a number of the armed merchant vessels, and by early October the Camel was back at Spithead.

    In December 1777 Finch was ordered to commission, much to his disdain, the new Porcupine 20 at Deptford, this being a distinctly un-weatherly vessel but one in which he nevertheless captured a homeward-bound French East Indiaman on 21 September 1778 whilst looking for the Brest fleet subsequent to the Battle of Ushant, the riches aboard which led to him being nicknamed ‘Goldfinch’. Earlier in March he had gone out to North America with urgent despatches for Vice-Admiral Lord Howe, arriving at Philadelphia in early May and bringing about manoeuvres that saw the commander-in-chief defend New York from the French fleet in July.
    He happily left the Porcupine in the early part of 1779, and in the spring was appointed to the Amazon 32 attached to the Channel fleet in which he participated in the August retreat. He was with Captain Francis Reynolds’ squadron in the North Sea during December and then went out to the Leeward Islands with Commodore Hon. Robert Boyle Walsingham’s reinforcements in the spring of 1780, although contrary winds delayed their arrival until July. Here he served under the orders of Commodore William Hotham, his frigate miraculously surviving the Great Hurricanes of October despite being carried out to sea and almost oversetting, and with the loss of twenty men drowned. He later served with Rear-Admiral Francis Samuel Drake’s squadron which was sent to protect Tobago in May 1781, but had to retreat before the French fleet, and thereafter was based at Jamaica.

    After exchanging later that summer with Captain Richard Hussey Bickerton, Finch commanded the Terrible 74 at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, but this vessel was so badly damaged in the action that she was scuttled a week later. He later commanded the Polyphemus 64 from May until November 1782, this being her first commission, and he was present at the Relief of Gibraltar on 18 October and the resulting action off Cape Spartel.

    Following the war’s end Finch purchased Albury House near Guildford in Surrey from his brother and settled into life as a gentleman farmer who developed the gardens on his estate. He was recalled to duty during the Nookta Sound dispute of 1790 when he commissioned the thirty year-old Arundel in September, which vessel was previously the Warspite 74 and had subsequently served as a hospital and receiving ship. She was paid off in December.

    From October 1793 until May 1794 Finch had the Portsmouth-based Excellent 74. He was advanced to flag rank on 4 July 1794 but died after a long illness on 30 September.


    Event History

    Date from Date to Event
    1753/05/25 Appointed Honourable
    1772/07/07 Lieutenant
    1775/12 1776/04/10 Cygnet (14), as Commanding Officer
    1776/04/10 Commander
    1776/04/10 Cygnet (14), as Commanding Officer
    1776/11 1777/03/18 Camel (24), as Commanding Officer
    1777/03/18 Captain
    1777/03/18 1777/12 Camel (24), as Commanding Officer
    1777/09/04 Action of 1777-09-04
    1777/12 1779/02 Porcupine (24), as Commanding Officer
    1779/04 1781/07 Amazon (32), as Commanding Officer
    1781/07 1781/09/11 Terrible (74), as Commanding Officer
    1781/09/05 Battle of the Chesapeake
    1782/04 1782/11 Polyphemus (64), as Commanding Officer
    1782/10/20 Battle of Cape Spartel
    1789/08/02 Married Mary (3 sons, 2 daughters)
    1790 1794 Elected a Member of Parliament for Surrey
    1790/09 1790/12 Arundel (74), as Commanding Officer
    1793/09 1794/05 Excellent (74), as Commanding Officer
    1794/07/04 Rear-Admiral of the Blue

    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Nicholas Charrington.





    1744-1803. Born on 20 October 1744, he was the third son of Rev. Nicholas Charrington, originally of Horley, Surrey, who served as the4 vicar of Aldenham in Hertfordshire for fifty years, and of his wife Elizabeth.

    Charrington was commissioned lieutenant on 6 June 1773, and on 15 February 1781 was promoted commander with his appointment to the St. Eustatius prize Stormont 14, which he commissioned for the service in the Leeward Islands.

    He was posted captain on 27 July 1781, and being appointed to the Ajax 74 he sailed with her from the Leeward Islands to North America in the following month with the fleet under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood. The Ajax fought at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September, losing seven men killed and sixteen wounded, before returning with the fleet to the Leeward Islands at the end of the year and fighting at the Battle of St. Kitts on 25 January 1782, where she lost one man killed and twelve wounded, and the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April, where she suffered casualties of nine men killed and forty wounded.

    After remaining at Jamaica for the rest of the war and occasionally flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Joshua Rowley, Charrington relinquished the command when the Ajax was paid off at Chatham in August 1783. He then briefly commanded the Torbay 74 before leaving her when she too was paid off in October.

    Charrington became a superannuated admiral in 1801 and died on 22 February 1803.


    Event History

    Date from Date to Event
    1773/06/06 Lieutenant
    1781/02/15 1781/07 Stormont (14), as Commanding Officer
    1781/07 1783/08 Ajax (74), as Commanding Officer
    1781/07/27 Captain
    1781/09/05 Battle of the Chesapeake
    1782/01/25 1782/01/26 Battle of Saint Kitts
    1782/04/12 Battle of the Saintes
    1783/09 1783/10 Torbay (90), as Commanding Officer
    1801 Superannuated Rear-Admiral
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Rear Admiral Francis Samuel Drake.


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    Francis was baptised on 14 September 1729, at Buckland Monachorum, Devonshire. He was the fourth son of Sir Francis Henry Drake, 4th Baronet, and Anne Heathcote. He was the younger brother of Sir Francis Henry Drake, 5th Baronet, the last in the line of baronets descending from Sir Francis Drake, 1st Baronet, nephew of the Elizabethan naval hero Sir Francis Drake. He served for a time as lieutenant aboard the 44-gun HMS Torrington and the 60-gun HMS Windsor.

    He was promoted to command the 10-gun sloop HMS Viper on 30 March 1756, during the Seven Years' War, and achieved the rank of post-captain later that year with a posting to command the 20-gun HMS Bideford on 15 November. On 11 March 1757 he was appointed, in succession to his second brother, Francis William Drake, to the 50-gun HMS Falkland. He commanded the Falkland for the next five years.

    He was present in the West Indies during the operations under Commodore John Moore between 1757 and 1758, and then went to St. Helena to escort the homeward-bound trade in the spring of 1759. He served on the south coast of Brittany that autumn with the squadron under Captain Robert Duff, and was present at the defeat of the French at the Battle of Quiberon Bay on 20 November 1759.

    Drake then served in the Saint Lawrence River with Commodore Swanton in the summer of 1760; with Lord Colville on the coast of North America, and with Sir James Douglas at the Leeward Islands in 1761 during the Invasion of Dominica, continuing there under Sir George Rodney in 1762 during the Invasion of Martinique, when he was moved into the 50-gun HMS Rochester, which he commanded until the end of the war.

    Peace and American War of Independence.


    Drake was appointed to command the 70-gun HMS Burford in 1766, and moved from there to the 74-gun HMS Torbay between 1772 and 1775. Torbay was the guardship at Plymouth during this time. With the outbreak of the American War of Independence, Drake was appointed to command the 74-gun HMS Russell in the spring of 1778.

    The Russell was one of the squadron which sailed for America under the command of Vice-Admiral John Byron. The Russell was badly damaged in a gale which scattered the squadron, and Drake was forced to return to England for repairs. He therefore did not sail to America until the spring of 1779. During that year and the early part of 1780, Drake operated as part of the fleet under the command of Vice-Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot.

    Drake was then sent to join Rodney in the West Indies, and accompanied him to the coast of North America, and back again to the West Indies, where he received a commission as rear-admiral, dated 26 September 1780.

    He then hoisted his flag in the 70-gun HMS Princessa; took part under Rodney in the operations against the Dutch Islands, including the Capture of Sint Eustatius, and was detached under Sir Samuel Hood to blockade Martinique, where, with his flag in HMS Gibraltar, he was warmly engaged in the Battle of Fort Royal against with De Grasse on 29 April 1781.

    In August, with his flag again in the Princessa, he accompanied Hood to North America, and commanded the van at the Battle of the Chesapeake on 5 September, with the fleet under Sir Thomas Graves. The Princessa was heavily damaged in the battle, forcing Drake to shift his flag temporarily to the 74-gun HMS Alcide.

    He afterwards returned with Hood to the West Indies, took part with him in the Battle of Saint Kitts in January 1782, and on 12 April, by the accident of position, commanded the van of the fleet under Sir George Rodney in the Battle of the Saintes.

    He was made a baronet on 28 May 1782 for his conduct on this occasion. He continued in the West Indies until the end of the war, after which he had no further service.

    Later life.

    On 12 August 1789 was appointed a junior lord of the admiralty, but died shortly afterwards, on 19 October 1789. He was twice married, first, to Elizabeth Hayman, of Kent; and, secondly, in January 1788, to Pooley, daughter of George Onslow, Esq., M.P. for Guildford, but left no issue, and the baronetcy became extinct. His elder brother, Francis William, a vice-admiral, with whom he is frequently confused, died about the same time, with no male issue; and the eldest brother, Francis Henry, the hereditary baronet, dying also without issue this title too became extinct.

    Event History


    Date from Date to Event
    Unknown
    Appointed Knight Batchelor
    1749/08/21 Lieutenant
    1756/03/30 Commander
    1756/03/30 1756/11/15 Viper (10), as Commanding Officer
    1756/11/15 Captain
    1764 1764/06 Rochester (50), as Commanding Officer
    1765 1768 Burford (68), as Commanding Officer
    1773 1775 Torbay (90), as Commanding Officer
    1777/09 1780/06/17 Russell (74), as Commanding Officer
    1780/06/17 1781/03 Russell (74), as Flag Officer, Commodore
    1780/09/26 Rear-Admiral of the Blue
    1781 Gibraltar (80), as Flag Officer, Rear-Admiral of the Blue
    1781/04/29 1781/04/30 Battle of Fort Royal
    1781/05/13 1783 Princessa (70), as Flag Officer, Rear-Admiral of the Blue
    1781/09/05 Commanded the British Rear at the Battle of the Chesapeake
    1782/01/25 1782/01/26 Commanded the British Van at the Battle of Saint Kitts
    1782/04/12 Battle of the Saintes
    1787/09/24 Rear-Admiral of the Red
    1787/10 Ganges (74), as Flag Officer, Rear-Admiral
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Charles Knatchbull.

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    1747-1826. He was born on 23 May 1747, the son of the Reverend Wadham Knatchbull, a prebendary of Durham and rector of Chilham, Kent, and his wife, Harriet Parry.

    In May 1769 Knatchbull was appointed a midshipman aboard the Dunkirk 60, Captain Walter Stirling, flying the broad pennant of Commodore Arthur Forrest at Jamaica. In August 1770 he removed on the same station to the Lowestoffe 32, Captain Robert Carkett, as her acting second lieutenant, and when he was officially commissioned lieutenant on 9 November 1770 he was listed as belonging to the Dunkirk, although by 1771 he was back with the Lowestoffe and Captain Carkett. In March 1772, whilst still on the Jamaican station, he joined the schooner Earl of Northampton as her commander. In the early part of 1773 he returned to England aboard the Achilles 60, Captain Richard Onslow, which vessel was paid off in April.

    Knatchbull was promoted commander on 11 August 1779, and having succeeded Captain Walter Stirling aboard the Gibraltar 80 after his old commander had gone home with despatches following the capture of St. Eustatius on 3 February 1781 he was posted captain on 13 May. He thereafter flew the flag of Rear-Admiral Francis Samuel Drake and saw action at the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April before transferring with that officer to the Princessa 70. He subsequently fought at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September where his ship suffered casualties of six men killed and eleven wounded, at the Battle of St. Kitts on 25 January 1782, and at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April. The Princessa sailed for North America with Admiral Hugh Pigot’s fleet in July, returning to the Leeward Islands towards the end of the year by which time Captain Lambert Brabazon had assumed command. Knatchbull returned to England in command of the Nymphe 32, which was paid off in June 1783.

    Having resigned from the service he did not see any further employment, and he died on Christmas Day 1826.
    He married his first cousin, Frances Knatchbull, the daughter of Major Norton Knatchbull, on 31 July 1785 but did not have any issue. He inherited Babington House, near Frome in Somerset, which was extended under his occupancy in the 1790’s.

    Event History.

    Date from Date to Event
    1766 Passed the Lieutenant's Examination
    1770/11/09 Lieutenant
    1773/01/22 1773/04/12 Achilles (60), Lieutenant
    1779/08/11 Commander
    1781/02/09 1782/01 Gibraltar (80), as Commanding Officer
    1781/04/29 1781/04/30 Battle of Fort Royal
    1781/05/13 Captain
    1781/05/13 1782/12 Princessa (70), as Commanding Officer
    1781/09/05 Battle of the Chesapeake
    1782/01/25 1782/01/26 Battle of Saint Kitts
    1782/04/12 Battle of the Saintes
    1783/06 Nymphe (36), as Commanding Officer
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Samuel Thompson.




    1718-1813. He was born on 13 August 1718, and became the father of Vice-Admiral Norborne Thompson.

    Having seen early service in the employment of the East India Company, Thompson joined the navy in 1739 aboard the Cumberland 80, Captain James Stewart, and was commissioned lieutenant on 25 July 1744. Serving on the Strafford 60, Captain James Rentone, he was present at the capture of Port Louis, Hispaniola, on 8 March 1748, in which operation his captain was killed. Remaining with that vessel under Captain David Brodie, Thompson fought in Rear-Admiral Charles Knowles’ action with a Spanish squadron off Havana on 1 October 1748. The Strafford was paid off in July of the following year.


    During 1755 Thompson served in home waters aboard the Elizabeth 70, Captain John Montagu. He subsequently went out to Halifax aboard the Grafton 70, Captain Thomas Cornewall, bearing the broad pennant of Commodore Charles Holmes, and he was promoted commander of the sloop Jamaica 10 on 14 February 1757, which vessel he paid off after returning to England in the following year.
    After a period as the regulating captain at Southampton, Thompson was posted captain of the Flamborough 20 on 4 November 1760, serving in the Channel before sailing to Tenerife in March 1761. He was present in Commodore Hon. Augustus Keppel’s expedition to Belleisle later in the same year, and retained the command until the peace of 1763.


    After the ending of hostilities Thompson recommissioned the Lark 32 in March 1763, patrolling the Newfoundland Fishery and serving with her until the beginning of 1766. When the Lark was later ordered out to the West Indies Thompson secured an appointment to the newly commissioned Triumph 74, flying the flag of Admiral Sir Edward Hawke at Chatham. Upon paying this vessel off he joined the Rippon 60, which was based at Portsmouth in the summer of 1767. After sailing for Boston in August 1768 he saw service off Virginia and returned from North America in the autumn of 1769. From October 1771 he commanded the Levant 28, going out to the Mediterranean from Portsmouth in January 1772 and leaving her a couple of years later.


    In October 1775 Thompson recommissioned the Nore guardship Conquestador 60, which he retained for the next three years. After joining the America 64 in June 1779 he commanded her in the Channel fleet retreat of August, and joined Admiral Sir George Rodney’s fleet when it sailed to relieve Gibraltar at the end of the year. His command was despatched home with those prizes taken from the St Sebastian convoy taken on 8 January and thus he did not see action at the Moonlight Battle off Cape St. Vincent a week later.



    The Battle of the Saintes 1782



    In the summer of 1780 the America went out to North America with Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves’ reinforcements, where she took the privateers Ranger on 11 October, Mercury on 27 October, and Adventure on 7 November. She fought in the Battle of Cape Henry on 16 March 1781, but being stationed at the rear of the line saw little action, suffering only three men wounded. Similarly at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September the America’s position in the line did not afford Thompson the opportunity to distinguish himself.


    He next sailed for the Leeward Islands with Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood and fought at the Battle of St. Kitts on 25 January 1782, sustaining casualties of one man killed and seventeen wounded. At the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April the America shared broadsides with the French line before Thompson wore ship without orders to re-engage. He then wore again and assumed his original position when no signal of affirmation was received from the commander-in-chief. His ship sustained a great deal of damage during the action, and although his casualties were listed as one lieutenant killed and another lieutenant wounded it is probable that the actual figure was far higher.


    The America sailed to North America once Admiral Hugh Pigot had assumed the command of the fleet later in the year, and she remained under Hood’s orders watching the French at Boston before returning to the West Indies. She eventually returned to England in June 1783 to be paid off at Portsmouth.


    Thompson became a superannuated rear-admiral in 1788, and was one of the two officers particularly mentioned in a Parliamentary debate following Lord Howe’s decision to superannuate a large number of captains due for promotion in favour of more worthy officers further down the list. The dispute forced Howe’s resignation from his position as first lord of the Admiralty on 16 July 1788.
    Thompson died on 13 August 1813 at Titchfield, Hampshire, on the occasion of his 95th birthday.


    He was described as brave and an excellent seaman. In the early 1760’s he enjoyed the patronage of the Duke of York, whilst in turn he was the patron of his nephew, Captain James Sanders.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain David Graves.

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    1746- 1822. He was the son of Thomas Graves and the nephew of Admiral Samuel Graves. His father was a cousin of Admiral Lord Graves, and his own cousins included Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and that officer’s three brothers, Samuel, John and Richard, all of whom became superannuated rear-admirals.


    Captain Graves commanded his kinsman’s flagship, the London, at the Battle of the Chesapeake in 1781



    Graves was commissioned lieutenant on 21 September 1770, seeing service in the Mediterranean during the following two years aboard the Winchelsea 32, Captains Samuel Goodall and Thomas Wilkinson.


    Having been promoted commander on 25 January 1778 he was posted captain on 9 September 1779, and commanded the London 98 as flag-captain to his cousin once removed, Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves in the Channel fleet retreat of August. In the winter his vessel was coppered at Portsmouth, and after sailing for North America in May 1780 the London fought at the Battle of Cape Henry on 16 March 1781, and at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September where she suffered casualties of four men killed and eighteen wounded. Graves was succeeded in the same month by Captain James Kempthorne and joined the Adamant


    During 1782 he commanded the Adamant 50, returning to England with a convoy in December, and thereafter he was not re-employed.


    Graves became a superannuated rear-admiral on 21 February 1799 and died in 1822. His address at the time of his death was given as High Holborn, London.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Charles Thompson.





    c1740-1799. He was the natural son of the courtier and M.P. Norborne Berkeley, Baron Botetourt of Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire, who served as governor of Virginia from 1768 until his death two years later, having never married. His mother was Margaret Thompson.


    Thompson entered the navy in 1755 aboard the Nassau 70, Captain George Cockburne, having previously served in the merchant service. Thereafter he served until 3 December 1760 aboard the Prince Frederick 64, Captain Robert Man, and the Achilles 60, Captain Hon. Samuel Barrington. Upon being commissioned lieutenant on 16 January 1761 he joined the Arrogant 74, Captain John Amherst, serving in the Channel and the Mediterranean until being paid off at the peace of 1763.


    In August 1763 he joined the sloop Cygnet, Commander Charles Leslie, which after five years on the North American station was sold out of the navy in South Carolina, leaving the officers and men to find their own passage back to England, Thompson’s reimbursement being thirty-nine guineas.



    In May 1770 he joined the Salisbury 50, Commodore James Gambier, serving once more on the North American station, and on 14 February 1771 he was promoted to command the sloop Senegal 14 by Gambier, being based at Boston. Three months later Gambier posted him to the acting command of the Mermaid 28, in which ship he returned to England in December. Initially the Admiralty refused to ratify his appointment, but he was eventually promoted on 7 April 1772 and took the Chatham 50, flagship of Vice-Admiral William Parry, out to the Leeward Islands in June. He transferred to the frigate Crescent 32 following the death of Captain John Corner during November, and she returned to England to be paid off in 1774.


    In August 1775 Thompson was appointed to the newly commissioned frigate Boreas 28, which he took to Jamaica in the early part of the following year. He returned to England with a convoy in October 1777, but went out again to the Leeward Islands in 1778. On 3 December he captured the French snow Memi with two hundred and eighty soldiers bound for Martinique, on the following 18 June took the American privateer Richard, and in August captured a large vessel, the Compas 16, which was en route for France from Martinique, losing four men killed in the process. On 18 December 1779 the Boreas played a prominent part in the attack by elements of the Leeward Islands fleet on a convoy off Martinique, although the presence of three French sail of the line and the shore batteries prevented her bringing an escorting frigate to action.


    Shortly afterwards Thompson earned the everlasting enmity of the newly appointed commissioner at Antigua, the difficult Captain John Laforey, after refusing to recognise that officer’s authority to issue him with orders. Laforey had been given authority to act as the commander-in-chief of the station in the absence of any flag officer, which given his civil position was against the precedence of the navy. Captain Horatio Nelson would have the same problem with a different commissioner at Antigua several years afterwards.


    Later in 1780 Thompson was appointed to the Alcide 74 in Admiral Sir George Rodney’s fleet, sailing north to America in the autumn although he was in poor health at this time. After returning with the fleet to the Leeward Islands he was present at the capture of St. Eustatius on 3 February 1781, and commanded this ship at the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April and at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September, suffering casualties of two men killed and eighteen wounded. He briefly flew Rear-Admiral Francis Drake’s flag after that officer’s ship had been damaged in the latter action.


    Returning with the fleet to the Leeward Islands, he fought at the Battles of St. Kitts on 25/26 January 1782 and of the Saintes on 12 April, in which he received the surrender of the Hector 74. He remained with the fleet when Admiral Hugh Pigot took it to North America in the autumn, returned with it to the Leeward Islands, and came home in April 1783 prior to being paid off in July.


    Following the peace Thompson remained unemployed until 1787 when he assumed command of the guardship Edgar 74 at Portsmouth. He was flag-captain to Rear-Admiral Hon. John Leveson-Gower during 1787-8, serving for two months in his squadron of observation, and he paid this ship off in January 1790. He then commissioned the new Elephant 74 in June during the Nookta Sound dispute of 1790. The ship’s main-mast was destroyed by a lightning strike on 21 November but fortunately nobody was hurt in the incident.


    At the outset of the French Revolutionary War in 1793 Thompson was appointed to the Vengeance 74, and he flew his broad pennant aboard her with Captain Lord Henry Paulet commanding the ship when he took part in Vice-Admiral Sir John Jervis’ Leeward Islands campaign of January-December 1794. On 20 March he directed the attack on Fort Louis, although he was somewhat of a spectator to Captain Robert Faulknor’s brilliant conduct on that day. Remaining in command at Martinique whilst Jervis assaulted Guadeloupe, he was promoted rear-admiral on 12 April 1794 and raised his flag aboard the Vanguard 74, commanded initially by Captain Charles Sawyer, and thereafter Captain Simon Miller from November. He came home with the August convoy in 1795 flying his flag aboard the Montagu 74, Captain William Fooks.


    Thompson had been promoted vice-admiral on 1 June 1795, and with his flag in the London 98, Captain Edward Griffith, he commanded one of the two detached squadrons off Brest during 1796, being relieved by Vice-Admiral Sir John Colpoys on 29 October.



    Thompson was second in command at the Battle of St. Vincent in 1797, but had little impact in the victory


    He was sent to reinforce Jervis’ fleet in the Mediterranean in late 1796 with his flag in the Britannia 100, Captain Thomas Foley, and he was second-in command to Jervis at the Battle of St. Vincent on 14 February 1797, being created a baronet on 23 June for his part in the engagement, although he failed to act on Jervis’ signal to assist the Culloden and the van, his flagship was barely engaged, and she only suffered one man wounded. In March Captain Sir Charles Knowles assumed the role of his flag-captain having been turned out of the Goliath by a vindictive Earl of St. Vincent, but this officer only lasted a couple of days, being eventually succeeded in June by Captain Edward Marsh. Having condemned the execution of four mutineers on a Sunday following their court-martial on 7 July, Thompson was recalled by the Admiralty at St. Vincent’s request.


    He was once more sent to join the Channel fleet off Brest as third in command with his flag in the Prince George 98, Captain William Bowen from October, then the Formidable 90, Captain Robert Williams, and from January 1798 Captain John Irwin. He next joined the Queen Charlotte 100 with Irwin as his flag captain, commanding a detached squadron sent in to the Bay of Biscay on 25 January.


    Early in 1799 Thompson commanded another squadron off Brest consisting of eight sail of the line, but he was taken ill in and after retiring ashore he died at Fareham on 17 March.


    On 4 November 1783 he married Jane Selby, an heiress of Bonington near Edinburgh, by whom he had issue three sons and two daughters including his eldest son, Lieutenant Sir Norborne Charles Thompson, 1785-1826, whose career was retarded by a court-martial for insubordination. Another son, Charles Robert, 1788-1801, died at sea aged 13. He was the M.P for Monmouth from 1796 until his death in 1799 in the interest of the Duke of Beaufort who was the maternal nephew of Thompson’s alleged father.


    Thompson was described as punctilious and unimaginative, being as ‘gruff as the devil’ with a rasping growl of a voice. Lord St. Vincent said that he was a gallant man, but the most timid officer. At sea he apparently dressed as a common seaman in a straw hat and smock but he expected his officers to meet a high standard of dress when going ashore.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  23. #23
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    Captain Anthony James Pye Molloy.

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    1754-1814. He was of Irish extraction and the nephew by marriage of Admiral Sir Thomas Pye.

    Of his early service little is known, but Molloy was commissioned lieutenant on 3 August 1768 and first came to attention when as second lieutenant of the Bristol 50, flying the broad pennant of Commodore Sir Peter Parker, he was wounded during the unsuccessful attack on Charleston on 28 June 1776.

    As a reward for his efforts at Charleston he was promoted commander of the bomb Thunder 18 on 6 July 1776, serving in the New York campaign from July – October 1776. In June 1777 he commanded the sloop Senegal 14 off the Virginia Capes in North America under the orders of Captain Benjamin Caldwell of the Emerald 32, who was much impressed with the younger officer, and he commanded her in the Philadelphia Campaign of August-October 1777.

    Molloy was posted captain on 11 April 1778 and took command of the Trident 64, flying the broad pennant of Commodore John Elliott, and serving at the defence of New York in July 1778 and the action off Rhode Island during August 1778. After sailing with Vice-Admiral Hon. John Byron’s fleet in December as an independent ship following Elliott’s return home he fought in the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779.

    Whilst the Trident was sailing close to the French island of Guadeloupe her crew, weary of Molloy’s tyrannical command, vacated the deck in a state of mutiny and ran below, whereupon in trying to confront them by going down the fore-hatch Molloy was grabbed by the legs and only pulled back to safety by his officers. The marines were called to restore order and within three days the crew were performing their duties normally as if nothing had happened.
    .
    Remaining in the Leeward Islands he was present at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April when he lost fourteen men killed and twenty-six wounded, and was one of only five officers commended by Admiral Sir George Rodney. He thereafter served in the remainder of the Leeward Islands campaign from May to July, and having moved to the Intrepid 64 in the latter month he sailed to North America with the fleet that autumn before returning to the West Indies. He fought in the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April 1781, and later did well at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781 where the Intrepid was second in line and one of four in the van which were badly damaged after being overwhelmed, losing twenty-one men killed and thirty-five wounded. He subsequently fought at the Battle of St. Kitts on 25/26 January 1782 where she lost two men killed, but due to the desperate condition of his ship he was despatched to Jamaica and sent home with the May convoy, thereby missing the Battle of the Saintes. After arriving in England that August the Intrepid was paid off.

    In March 1783 he commissioned the Carnatic 74 as a guardship at Chatham, leaving her in the spring of 1785 when she transferred to Plymouth, from October to December 1787 he had the Fortitude 74, and during the summer of 1789 commanded the Bombay Castle 74 at Plymouth. Having recommissioned the Edgar 74 in January 1790, he commanded her during the Nookta Sound dispute of 1790 and the Russian rearmament of 1791 as a guard ship at Portsmouth.

    Recommissioning the Ganges 74 in December 1792, he joined Rear-Admiral John Gell’s squadron at the commencement of the French Revolutionary War and patrolled off Cape Finisterre during April-May 1793. He then joined the Channel fleet and participated in the cruises of July-August and October-November 1793, being present at the attack on Rear-Admiral Vanstabel’s squadron on 18 November 1793. During the latter action he was leading the line of battle when the outlying frigates discovered the French but extraordinarily he failed to repeat their signals.

    At the end of 1793 he was appointed to the brand new Caesar 80, and in 1794 led the line in at the Battle of the Glorious First of June. Crucially he did not close with the enemy during the skirmish on the 29 May, neglecting orders to set more sail then wearing away from the French rather than tacking towards them. In the battle itself, where once again his ship led the line, he opened fire at long range and then spent ninety minutes repairing his ship’s rudder. Learning of an animosity towards him from the officers of the fleet he requested a court-martial into his conduct, and this took place eleven months later aboard the Glory 98 at Portsmouth under the presidency of Vice-Admiral Joseph Peyton. Despite his impressive fighting record, a letter from one of his officers to a newspaper praising his courage, and the fact that his ship had lost eighteen killed and seventy-one wounded, Molloy was found guilty of failing to bring his ship into action on the 29 May and 1 June and was dismissed his command, never to be employed again. With respect to the Caesar’s casualties it was reported that he inflated the injured list to present a better defence.

    Captain Molloy died on 25 July 1814 at Cheltenham after a heavy fall.

    He married Juliana, a daughter of Admiral Sir John Laforey, in December 1785 at Stoke Church, Plymouth. This lady managed to court even more unpopularity than her husband, with Prince William describing her as ‘so ridiculously affected that she is universally ridiculed’. Prior to his marriage Molloy allegedly broke off an engagement with another woman whose curse upon meeting him in the street was held to bring about his downfall and disgrace. His daughter, Mary, married Admiral Sir John Poo Beresford but predeceased her father, and he also had two sons.

    A bad tempered unpopular oppressive man and a strict disciplinarian both to his crew and his officers, Molloy was often mentioned as being a tyrant. Captain Lord Robert Manners of the Resolution kept good order in his own ship by threatening to discharge any repeat offenders into Molloy’s Intrepid. As well as holding a harsh opinion of his wife Prince William disliked him intensely. Molloy was nevertheless regarded as personally courageous, and was a good friend of Admiral Sir Roger Curtis whilst Fanny Burney described him as ‘sensible and agreeable, but somewhat haughty’.

    Event History



    Date from Date to Event
    1768/08/03 Lieutenant
    1776/06 1776/07/06 Thunder (18), as Commanding Officer
    1776/07/06 Commander
    1776/07/06 1778/04 Thunder (18), as Commanding Officer
    1778/04/11 Captain
    1778/04/11 1780 Trident (64), as Commanding Officer
    1779/07/06 Battle of Grenada
    1780/04/17 Battle of Martinique
    1780/05/15 Action of 15th March 1780
    1780/05/19 Action of 19th March 1780
    1781 1782/08 Intrepid (64), as Commanding Officer
    1781/04/29 1781/04/30 Battle of Fort Royal
    1781/09/05 Battle of the Chesapeake
    1782/01/25 1782/01/26 Battle of Saint Kitts
    1783/03 1785 Carnatic (74), as Commanding Officer
    1785/12 Married Juliana at Stoke church, near Plymouth
    1787/10 1787/12 Fortitude (74), as Commanding Officer
    1789 1790 Bombay Castle (74), as Commanding Officer
    1790/01 1791/08 Edgar (74), as Commanding Officer
    1792/12 1794/01 Ganges (74), as Commanding Officer
    1793/12 1794/08 Caesar (80), as Commanding Officer
    1794/06/01 Glorious 1st of June
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  24. #24
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    Captain Mark Robinson.

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    Portrait believed to be that of Captain Robinson.

    (25 April 1722 – 23 November 1799) was an officer of the Royal Navy, one of several members of the Robinson family to serve at sea.

    He entered the Royal Navy in 1736, at the age of 14 and was examined for his lieutenancy on 14 May 1747, after having been promoted to the rank of Fourth Lieutenant of the HMS Vigilante on 30 March 1746.

    After serving as Lieutenant on several ships, Mark Robinson was promoted to Captain of the 70-gun third rate HMS Vanguard on 13 August 1760. In the mid-1770s he was Captain of the 64-gun, 3rd-rate HMS Worcester.
    During the American Revolutionary War he participated in several fleet actions against the French. As captain of the Worcester he was at the First Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778. The Worcester was heavily engaged in the rear division under command of Sir Hugh Palliser. Subsequently, he was made Captain of the HMS Shrewsbury in March 1779. He participated in the Battle of Martinique (1780) 17 April 1780, under Sir Samuel Hood and the French Admiral comte de Guichen. Robinson led the division under Rear Admiral Drake, losing six men killed, and fourteen wounded.

    He distinguished himself at the Battle of the Chesapeake on 5 September 1781. In the course of the engagement, the Shrewsbury lost fourteen men killed, and fifty-two wounded, including Robinson, who lost a leg from cannon shot. Unable to return to sea, he was granted a pension. When he became, by seniority, entitled to a flag, he was placed on the list of superannuated rear admirals. At the time of his death, he was the senior Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy.

    Robinson and Horatio Nelson.

    Nelson served under Robinson on the Worcester as acting fourth lieutenant (8 October 1776 – April 1777). The experience of escorting convoys in the wintery seas to and from Gibraltar completed Nelson's midshipman training. On the Worcester's return to England on 3 April, Nelson then completed his lieutenancy examination on 9 April.

    Nelson was to subsequently write about this period: "But although my age might have been a sufficient cause for not entrusting me with the charge of a Watch, yet Captain Robinson used to say,'he felt as easy when I was upon deck,as any Officer in the ship".

    Event History.

    Date from Date to Event
    1746/03/30 Lieutenant
    1758/09/27 Commander
    1760/08/13 Captain
    1762 Rainbow (44), as Commanding Officer
    1767/06 1771/07 Fowey (24), as Commanding Officer
    1775 1779/01 Worcester (64), as Commanding Officer
    1778/07/27 1st Battle of Ushant
    1779 1781/10 Shrewsbury (74), as Commanding Officer
    1780/01/08 Attack on the Caracas Convoy
    1781/04/29 1781/04/30 Battle of Fort Royal
    1781/09/05 Battle of the Chesapeake
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    The French fleet
    Ship Rate Guns Commander Notes
    Van
    Pluton Third rate 74 Captain François-Hector, Comte d'Albert de Rions
    Marseillois Third rate 74 Captain Henri-César, Marquis de Castellane Masjastre
    Bourgogne Third rate 74 Captain Charles, Comte de Charitte
    Diadème Third rate 74 Captain Louis-Augustin Monteclerc
    Réfléchi Third rate 64 Captain Jean-François-Emmanuel de Brune de Boades
    Auguste Third rate 80 Captain Pierre-Joseph, Chevalier de Castellan Van flag, Admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville
    Saint-Esprit Third rate 80 Captain Joseph-Bernard, Marquis de Chabert
    Caton Third rate 64 Captain Framond
    Centre
    César Third rate 74 Brigadier Jean-Charles-Régis-Coriolis d'Espinouse
    Destin Third rate 74 Captain François-Louis-Edme-Gabriel, Comte du Maitz de Goimpy
    Ville de Paris First rate 110 Captain Albert Cresp de Sainte-Césaire Centre flag, chevalier de Vaugiraud; Fleet flag, Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse
    Victoire Third rate 74 Captain François d'Albert de Saint-Hyppolyte
    Sceptre Third rate 74 Captain Louis-Philippe de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil
    Northumberland Third rate 74 Captain Bon-Chrétien, Marquis de Bricqueville
    Palmier Third rate 74 Captain Jean-François, Baron d'Arros d'Argelos
    Solitaire Third rate 64 Captain Comte de Cicé-Champion
    Citoyen Third rate 74 Captain d'Alexandre, Comte d'Ethy
    Rear
    Scipion Third rate 74 Captain Pierre-Antoine, Comte de Clavel
    Magnanime Third rate 74 Captain Jean-Antoine, Comte Le Bègue
    Hercule Third rate 74 Captain Jean-Baptiste Turpin du Breuil
    Languedoc Third rate 80 Captain Hervé-Louis-Joseph-Marie, Comte Duplessis-Parscau Rear flag, Chef d'Escadre François-Aymar, Comte de Monteil
    Zélé Third rate 74 Captain Balthazar de Gras-Préville
    Hector Third rate 74 Captain Laurent-Emanuel de Renaud d'Aleins
    Souverain Third rate 74 Captain Jean-Baptiste, Baron de Glandevès
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  26. #26
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    Captain François-Hector, Comte d'Albert de Rions.




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    Fran
    çois Hector d'Albert, Count of Rioms (or Rions),was born February 19, 1728 in Avignon and died on October 2, 1802 in Saint-Auban-sur-l'Ouvèze, was an aristocrat and French naval officer of the eighteenth century. He was one of the main commanders of the French fleet during the American Revolutionary War and ended his career in the Navy with the rank of Rear-Admiral (1 January 1792 He was wrongly accused of being a fierce counterrevolutionary. In 1802, however, the First Consul praised his political conduct during the Revolution.

    Origins and family.


    François Hector d'Albert was the son of François d'Albert de Rioms (1702-1792) and his wife Catherine de La Chau.

    Career in the Navy.

    Albert de Rioms began as a naval guard at the company of Rochefort, in 1743, became a midshipman five years later, and a lieutenant in 1755. During the Seven Years' War, he was taken prisoner for the first time on the Esperance (commander: Viscount de Bouville), a second time on the ship Le Foudroyant, in the fight of Cartagena of February 28, 1758, delivered by the Marquis Duquesne, wanting to join Cartagena, La Clue, blocked by an English squadron commanded by Admiral Henry Osborne.On June 11, 1761, he married Thérèse de Clerc de Ladevèze (1740-1823). From this union was born a daughter, Adeline of Albert de Rions (1770-1807).Made a Knight of Saint-Louis in 1763, he was promoted to the rank of captain of frigate in 1771, after serving in either infantry or marine artillery, and took part in four naval campaigns.

    The American Campaign.

    In 1778, M. d'Albert, commander of the ship Sagittarius, 50 guns, contributes to the expedition of Newport, the attack on St. Lucia and was in July 1779 in the battle of Grenada, where the count d'Estaing defeated Admiral Byron's squadron. On 24 September that same year, at the Savannah headquarters, he captured the HMS Experiment, an English 50-gun ship, the same strength as his own, carrying 650,000 francs. Suffren, who fought alongside him in Newport, did not cease to praise him afterwards.In 1780, he was promoted to brigadier of naval armies. In 1781, commanding the ship Pluto, (74 guns), it was noticed that in all the battles delivered by the squadron of the count of Grasse, namely: April 29, off Fort-Royal of Martinique, against the fleet of Admiral Hood; the capture of Tobago at the end of May; the following September 5th, in front of Chesapeake Bay, against Admiral Graves; January 25th and 26th, 1782, near Saint Christopher Island, against Admiral Hood that he took a prominent part.
    Finally, on April 9th ​​and 12th, between Dominica and Guadeloupe, at the battle of Les Saintes, where, in command of Le Pluto, he again distinguished himself by holding in check four British ships, of the fleet of Admiral Rodney.This defeat at the Saintes, where only a third of the French ships faced more than triple of English ships gave rise to a council of war, long and useless, where opposing officers and aristocrats prevailed over reform actions , corrective methods , and a rapid reconstruction of the fleet for the conquest of India or Jamaica.During this council involving the egos of several high ranking Officers, much more than the naval combat, was examined, including the conduct of all senior officers: that of Count Albert de Rions earned well deserved praise.In India, Suffren asks for him as a captain, and, if necessary, as a successor. The latter wrote to M. de Castries:"I know only one person who has all the qualities one could desire, who is very brave, very learned, full of zeal and future, disinterested, a good sailor. Albert of Rions, and, even in America, send him a frigate. I will be better off, having it; for he will help me, and if I die, you will be assured that the good of the service will lose nothing; if you had given it to me when I asked you, we would be masters of India. "

    Toulon and the Revolution.

    Promoted to commander of the naval forces in 1784, he was made Commander of Saint-Louis by patent of August 20, 1784 and received a pension of 3,000 livres on the budget of the order. He was appointed general manager of the port of Toulon and then commander of the navy in this port in 1785.
    When Louis XVI visited Cherbourg in 1786, Albert de Rions gave him, the simulation of a naval battle in the harbor.
    Raised in 1788, to the dignity of commander of St. Louis, he resumed his service in Toulon as lieutenant general of the navies, when, in December 1789, the first sparks of the French Revolution burst in this port . A strict observer of military discipline, he forbade the arsenal workers to wear the tricolor cockade, and to join the National Guard. Two carpenters having broken his orders, he has them taken to prison: this proved to be the signal for a general insurrection.
    The troops of the line refuse to defend M. d'Albert, who, at first ill-treated, is arrested (with MM du Castellet and Villages) The National Assembly, decreed that no charges should be brought against these brave officers, and rendered to their chief an honorable testimony. The Assembly confined itself to ordering his release. Shortly after, Louis XVI, more just, entrusted to him the command of a fleet of thirty ships of line, squadron, called "of the Ocean", which was gathered in Brest, to support the rights of Spain against England, in the Nootka Sound affair.Appointed Rear Admiral, on January 1, 1792, he emigrated on January 15 of that same year and joined the princes, brothers of Louis XVI in Coblentz, and conducted the campaign of 1792, with a particular body, formed by the officers of the navy emigrants. After the battle of Valmy, the retreat of the Prussians, and the dispersion of the royal troops, M. d'Albert retired to Dalmatia, and lived for several years in asylum.He returned to France under the Consulate, "when a consolatory government recalled the men of merit that the civil troubles had removed, and he had the happiness, before ending his career, to see reborn in his homeland the monarchical institutions military order and discipline, of which he had been during his whole life the faithful and courageous defender. Admitted to retirement in 1802, he died on October 3 of the same year.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Henri-César, Marquis de Castellane Masjastre.

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    Born into an ancient noble family in Riez, Basses-Alpes (Alpes de Haute Provence), Henry César, marquis de Castellane Majastre, was a career officer in the French naval service, and appears to have descended from a family with long connections to the navy. Among his most important contributions, at least from the American standpoint, Castellane Majastre served in the French fleet that sailed to the aid of the Americans in March, 1781.

    As commander of the 74-gun vessel Marseillais , Castellane Majastre sailed from Brest with the fleet of Admiral François Joseph Paul, comte de Grasse, on March 22, 1781, bound for Martinique, and he subsequently took part in the decisive campaign leading to the capture of Cornwallis' army at Yorktown, including the actions on the Chesapeake in September, 1781, and at Yorktown itself in October. The marquis was singled out by de Grasse for special commendation for his part at the Chesapeake Capes.

    Returning to the West Indies in November, 1781, Castellane Majastre led the Marseillais into action during the Battle of the Saints in April, 1782, forming part of the escadre blanche et bleu during this French naval disaster. In May, 1782, he was reported at Saint Domingue as part of the fleet under the marquis de Vaudreuil, and although his whereabouts for the next seven years are uncertain, at some point he returned home to Riez, where he died on May 5, 1789.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Joseph-Bernard, Marquis de Chabert.

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    Joseph Bernard, marquis de Chabert (28 February 1724, Toulon – 1 December 1805) was a French sailor, geographer and astronomer.

    He marked himself out as a chef d'escadre during French involvement in the American War of Independence and was promoted to vice admiral in 1792. He was known above all for his scientific endeavours, notably in the rectification of naval charts of America's western coast and the coasts of the Mediterranean. He entered the Académie des sciences in 1758 and the Bureau des longitudes in 1803. In 1785, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.



    Main work.



    Voyage fait par ordre du roi en 1750 et 1751 dans l'Amérique septentrionale, pour rectifier les cartes des côtes de l'Acadie, de l'Ile-Royale et de l'île de Terre-Neuve, et pour en fixer les principaux points par des observations astronomiques, par M. de Chabert (Voyage made by order of the king, in 1750 and 1751 to North America, to rectify the charts of the coasts of Acadia, Ile-Royale and the island of Newfoundland, and to fix its principal points by astronomical observations, by Mr de Chabert., 1753)
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Brigadier Jean-Charles-Régis-Coriolis d'Espinouse.


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    Charles Régis Coriolis d'Espinouse originated from the family of Coriolis, lords of Espinouse. His father was, Pierre de Coriolis de Villeneuve, Marquis d'Espinouse, Baron de Corbières, He married Renée Charlotte Félicité of Ventimiglia, From this union were born eight children, three boys and five girls (three of whom died in infancy). Charles Regis is the third son.


    Career in the French Navy .

    Received a minority in the order of St. John of Jerusalem in 1737, on May the 29th.
    Promoted to lieutenant on 11 February 1756, captain of a frigate in 1764, and captain of a ship of the Line on the 15th of November 1771.
    He served during the American Revolutionary War. The minister of Marine Sartine sent him on a mission to Tunis in 1776 to seek the Envoy (ambassador) Bey and bring it into the French fold. He arrived in Tunis on 17 September aboard the frigate L'Aurore, in the company of the boat L'Éclair, under the orders of Count de Forbin. He was promoted brigadier of the armies of the King in 1778. On May 8 of the same year, he left Toulon with a squadron of four ships of the line, placed under the orders of the Chevalier de Fabry. Coriolis of Espinouse then commands the Cato (64). September 27, returning from Constantinople, he waters in Malta with Cato.

    In the month of May 1779, he is ordered to the Destiny (74), which is part of the fleet of 30 vessels under the orders of the Count d'Orvilliers leaving Brest for the Spanish coast, to join the Spanish fleet. With 65 ships, the Franco-Spanish fleet gathered back in the Channel with the intention of landing in England. But this operation is a failure and the French fleet, having spent three months at sea waiting for the Spanish is decimated by scurvy.
    He commanded Caesar (74), in the fleet under the orders of the Count de Grasse, who left Brest in March 1781, and set sail for the West Indies. On September 5, Caesar was the lerad ship of the White Squadron and contributed to the defeat inflicted in Chesapeake Bay on Admiral Graves' British fleet.

    Coriolis d'Espinouse was promoted to the rank of squadron Commander of the Navy during the promotion of January 12, 17825. On April 9, he took part in the battle of the Saintes under the command of the Count of Grasse. On board the Duke of Burgundy (80), captain of Champmartin, he commanded the white and blue squadron. He was surrounded, in the line of battle by the Conqueror (74), Captain La Grandière, and Marseillais (74), Castellane-Majastre. At the end of the battle, the Count de Grasse is taken prisoner.

    In 1784, the War Council charged with investigating the defeat admonished Bougainville, while Vaudreuil received the support of his superior, released in the meantime. Coriolis of Espinouse is also admonished by the Council of War, along with the captains of Janson ,Renaud d'Allen, and Neptune, for "not having done all that was possible to execute orders. "

    Translated from the french by Google Translate.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain François-Louis-Edme-Gabriel, Comte du Maitz de Goimpy.


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    François-Louis-Edme-Gabriel, Count of Maitz de Goimpy descended from the family of Maitz de Goinpy, a family of the nobility of Artois whose origin dates back to the fifth century.
    He was the son of Henri Dumaitz de Goimpy, lord of Goimpy, , and his wife Marie Marguerite-Antoinette-Louise of Pas de Feuquières.

    Career in the French Navy.


    He joined the French Royal Navy in 1748, as a marine officer, and became a naval officer in 1752. The same year, he was appointed deputy academician of the Navy Academy at the creation of the institution, and a regular academician in 1753. He published various works, notably on the navy, including a theory on the construction of ships in 1776.

    In September 1753, he embarked on the frigate La Comète to go to Aveiro, Portugal, with Bory, the captain of Chezac, and Chabert, also members of the Academy of Marine, to observe the eclipse sun of October 26, 1753.

    Promoted Lieutenant of ship in 1757, he was an ordinary member of the New Academy of Marine when this institution was reformed in 1769. Promoted frigate captain meanwhile, he was named captain of ship in 1772.

    He was distinguished April 17, 1780 at the Battle of Martinique, under the command of the Earl of Guichen, against the British fleet commanded by Admiral Rodney.
    He commanded Destiny, a 74-gun ship in 1781 at the Battle of Fort Royal, on April 29 against Admiral Hood's British fleet and at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on September 5, during the Battle of Saintes. and the fight of Dominica in 1782 under the orders of the Count de Grasse.
    He was promoted to Squadron Commander by a certificate of 13 August 1786, a short time before his retirement.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  31. #31
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    Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse.

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    François-Joseph de Grasse
    was born and raised at Bar-sur-Loup in south-eastern France, the last child of Francois de Grasse Rouville, Marquis de Grasse who earned his title and supported his Provençal family.


    Naval career.

    At the age of eleven (1734), de Grasse entered the Order of Saint John as a page of the Grand Master. He served as an ensign on the galleys in wars against the Turks and the Moors.
    In 1740 at the age of 17, he entered the French Navy.
    Following Britain's victory over the French in the Seven Years War, de Grasse helped rebuild the French navy in the years after the Treaty of Paris (1763).

    American War of Independence.

    In 1775, the American War of Independence broke out when American colonists rebelled against British rule. France supplied the colonists with covert aid, but remained officially neutral until 1778. The Treaty of Alliance (1778) established the Franco-American alliance and France entered the war.
    As a commander of a division, de Grasse served under Louis Guillouet, comte d'Orvilliers at the First Battle of Ushant from July 23 to 27, 1778. The battle, fought off Britanny, was indecisive.
    In 1779, he joined the fleet of Count d'Estaing in the Caribbean and distinguished himself in the battles of Dominica and Saint Lucia during 1780 and of Tobago during 1781. He contributed to the capture of Grenada and took part in the three actions fought by Guichen against Admiral Rodney in the Battle of Martinique (1780).
    George Washington and De Grasse, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the victory at Siege of Yorktown, 1781.

    Yorktown campaign.

    De Grasse came to the aid of Washington and Rochambeau's Expédition Particulière, setting sail with 3,000 men from Saint-Domingue. De Grasse landed the 3,000 French reinforcements in Virginia, and immediately afterward decisively defeated the British fleet in the Battle of the Chesapeake in September 1781. He drew away the British forces and blockaded the coast until Lord Cornwallis surrendered, ensuring the independence of the United States of America.

    Battle of the Saintes.

    He returned to the Caribbean, where he was less fortunate and was defeated at the Battle of St. Kitts by Admiral Hood. Shortly afterward, in April 1782, he was defeated and taken prisoner by Admiral Rodney at the Battle of the Saintes. He was taken to London, and while there briefly took part in the negotiations that laid the foundations for the Peace of Paris (1783), which brought the war to an end.
    He returned to France and published a Mémoire justificatif. In 1784, he was acquitted by a court-martial.

    Later life.

    He died at Tilly (Yvelines) in 1788; his tomb is in the church of Saint-Roch in Paris.
    His son Alexandre Francois Auguste de Grasse published a Notice biographique sur l'amiral comte de Grasse d'après les documents inédits in 1840.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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