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Thread: The Battle of Martinique (1780)

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    Default The Battle of Martinique (1780)

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    The Battle of Martinique, also known as the Combat de la Dominique, took place on 17 April 1780 during the American Revolutionary War in the West Indies between the British Royal Navy and the French Navy Battle of Martinique (1780)

    Origins.

    In January 1780, the Comte de Guichen was sent to the French base at Martinique in the West Indies with a large squadron. He was opposed by the British admiral Sir George Rodney, who reached the British base at St. Lucia in late March.

    Guichen sailed from Martinique on 13 April 1780, with a fleet of 23 ships of the line and 3,000 troops. His objective was to draw Rodney out, and then withdraw and make an attack on either St. Lucia or the British base at Barbados. Rodney sailed out at once upon being informed that Guichen had sailed. On 16 April, his sentinels spotted Guichen on the leeward side of Martinique, beating against the wind. Rodney gave chase, but was unable to close in time for battle that day. Rodney maintained contact with Guichen and held his line throughout the night.

    Battle.

    The fleets began manoeuvring for the advantage of the weather gage on the morning of 17 April. By 8:45, Rodney had reached a position to the windward of Guichen, in a relatively close formation. To escape the danger to his rear, Guichen ordered his line to wear and sail to the north, stringing out the line in the process. This forced Rodney to go through another series of manoeuvres to regain his position, which he did by late morning. At this point, he hoped to engage the rear and centre of Guichen's elongated line, concentrating his power to maximize damage there before Guichen's van could join the action. The signal that Rodney issued was for each ship to engage the appropriate ship it was paired with according to the disposition of the two fleets. He issued this signal with the understanding that his captains would execute it in the context of signals given earlier in the day that the enemy's rear was the target of the attack.
    Unfortunately for the British, Robert Carkett (the commander of the lead ship HMS Stirling Castle) either misunderstood the signal or had forgotten the earlier one, and moved ahead to engage Guichen's van; he was followed by the rest of Rodney's fleet, and the two lines ended up engaging ship to ship.


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    View of the battle by Thomas Luny.

    Thanks to the orderly fashion in which De Guichen's subordinate squadron-commanders dealt with the crisis, especially the third-in-command Comte de Grasse's rapid closing-up of the battle-line, Guichen managed to extricate himself from a difficult situation and instead turn a narrow defeat to a drawn battle, although his and Marquis de Bouillé's objective to attack and seize Jamaica was thwarted.

    During the battle, both Rodney's Sandwich and Guichen's Couronne were temporarily cut off from their respective fleets and bore the brunt of the battle.

    Aftermath.

    Rodney felt that the failure to properly attack the French rear cost the British an opportunity for a significant victory, and assessed blame to Carkett and others who did not properly follow his signals. Others assigned the blame to Rodney, for failing to inform his captains in advance of his intended tactics.

    David Hannay, the author of the biography on the Comte de Guichen in the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, stated that Guichen had shown himself very skillful in handling a fleet throughout the campaign, and although there was no marked success, he had at least prevented the British admiral from doing any harm to the French islands in the Antilles.

    Both fleets avoided further action prior to the hurricane season. Guichen returned to France with many of his damaged ships in August, and Rodney sailed for New York.
    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 Name


    Guns

    Commander


    Notes

    Sandwich 90 Admiral Sir George Rodney
    Walter Young
    Princess Royal 98 Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker
    Harry Harmood
    Torbay 74 John Lewis Gidoin
    Cornwall 74 Timothy Edwards
    Terrible 74 John Leigh Douglas
    Albion 74 George Bowyer
    Suffolk 74 Abraham Crespin
    Magnificent 74 John Elphinstone
    Elizabeth 74 Frederick Maitland
    Resolution 74 Lord Robert Manners
    Grafton 74 Thomas Newnham
    Conqueror 74 Thomas Watson
    Vengeance 74 John Holloway
    Alfred 74 William Bayne
    Montagu 74 John Houlton
    Ajax 74 Samuel Uvedale
    Yarmouth 64 Nathaniel Bateman
    Trident 64 John Thomas
    Intrepid 64 The Hon. Henry St John† CO Killed
    Stirling Castle 64 Robert Carkett
    Vigilant 64 Sir George Home
    Medway 60 William Affleck
    Centurion 50 Samuel Wittewronge Clayton
    Venus 36 James Ferguson
    Andromeda 28 Henry Byrne
    Greyhound 28 Archibald Dickson
    Pegasus 28 John Bazely
    Deal Castle 20 William Fooks
    Rob.
    Last edited by Bligh; 11-07-2018 at 03:38.
    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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    Admiral George Brydges Rodney.

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    George Brydges Rodney was born either in Walton-on-Thames] or in London, though the family seat was Rodney Stoke, Somerset. He was most likely born sometime in January 1718. He was baptised in St Giles-in-the-Fields on 13 February 1718. He was the third of four surviving children of Henry Rodney and Mary (Newton) Rodney, daughter of Sir Henry Newton. His father had served in Spain under the Earl of Peterborough during the War of the Spanish Succession, and on leaving the army served as captain in a marine corps which was disbanded in 1713. A major investment in the South Sea Company ruined Henry Rodney and impoverished the family. In spite of their lack of money, the family was well-connected by marriage. It is sometimes claimed that Henry Rodney had served as commander of the Royal Yacht of George I and it was after him that George was named, but this had been discounted more recently.

    George was sent to Harrow School, being appointed, on leaving, by warrant dated 21 June 1732, a volunteer on board Sunderland.

    Early career.

    After serving aboard Sunderland, Rodney switched to Dreadnought where he served from 1734 to 1737 under Captain Henry Medley who acted as a mentor to him. Around this time he spent eighteen months stationed in Lisbon, a city he would later return to several times. He then changed ships several times, taking part in the navy's annual trip to protect the British fishing fleet off Newfoundland in 1738.

    He rose swiftly through the ranks of the navy helped by a combination of his own talents and the patronage of the Duke of Chandos. While serving on the Mediterranean station he was made lieutenant in Dolphin, his promotion dating 15 February 1739. He then served on Namur, the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief Sir Thomas Mathews.

    Captain.

    The War of the Austrian Succession had broken out by this point and in August 1742 Rodney had his first taste of action when he was ordered by Matthews to take a smaller vessel and launch a raid on Ventimiglia where the Spanish army had stockpiled supplies and stores ready for a planned invasion of Britain's ally the Republic of Genoa, which he successfully accomplished. Shortly after this, he attained the rank of post-captain, having been appointed by Matthews to Plymouth on 9 November. He picked up several British merchantmen in Lisbon to escort them home, but lost contact with them in heavy storms. Once he reached Britain his promotion was confirmed, making him one of the youngest Captains in the navy.

    After serving in home waters learning about convoy protection he was appointed to the newly built Ludlow Castle which he used to blockade the Scottish coast during the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745. Two of Rodney's midshipman aboard Ludlow Castle were Samuel Hood, later to become a distinguished sailor, and Rodney's younger brother James Rodney. In 1746 he obtained command of the 60-gun Eagle. After some time spent blockading French-occupied Ostend and cruising around the Western Approaches, where on 24 May he took his first prize a 16-gun Spanish privateer, Eagle was sent to join the Western Squadron.

    Battle of Cape Finisterre.

    The Western Squadron was a new strategy by Britain's naval planners to operate a more effective blockade system of France by stationing the Home Fleet in the Western Approaches, where they could guard both the English channel and the French Atlantic coast.

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    The Second Battle of Cape Finisterre in October 1747.

    Eagle continued to take prizes while stationed with the Squadron being involved directly, or indirectly, in the capture of sixteen enemy ships. After taking one of the captured prizes to Kinsale in Ireland, Eagle was not present at the First Battle of Cape Finisterre when the Western Squadron commanded by Lord Anson won a significant victory over the French. While returning from Ireland, Eagle fell in with a small squadron under Commodore Thomas Fox which sighted a French merchant convoy heading for the Bay of Biscay. In total around 48 merchantmen were taken by the squadron, although Rodney ignored an order of Fox by pursuing several ships which had broken away from the rest in an attempt to escape managing to capture six of them. Afterwards Eagle rejoined the Western Squadron now under the command of Edward Hawke.

    On 14 October 1747 the ship took part in the Second Battle of Cape Finisterre, a victory off Ushant over the French fleet. The French were trying to escort an outgoing convoy from France to the West Indies and had eight large ships-of-the-line while the British had fourteen smaller ships. Rodney was at the rear of the British line, and Eagle was one of the last British ships to come into action engaging the French shortly after noon. Initially Eagle was engaged with two French ships, but one moved away and for next two hours battle Rodney engaged the 70-gun Neptune until his steering wheel was struck by a lucky shot, and his ship became unmanageable. Rodney later complained that Thomas Fox in Kent had failed to support him, and testified at Fox's court martial. The British took six of the eight French ships, but were unable to prevent most of the merchant convoy escaping, although much of it was later taken in the West Indies.

    The two Battles of Cape Finisterre had proved a vindication of the Western Squadron strategy. Rodney later often referred to "the good old discipline" of the Western Squadron, using it as an example for his own views on discipline. For the remainder of the war Rodney took part in further cruises, and took several more prizes. Following the Congress of Breda, an agreement was signed at the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ending the war. Rodney took his ship back to Plymouth where it was decommissioned on 13 August 1748. Rodney's total share of prize money during his time with Eagle was £15,000 giving him financial security for the first time in his life.

    Commander.

    On 9 May 1749 he was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of Newfoundland, with the rank of Commodore, it being usual at that time to appoint a naval officer, chiefly on account of the fishery interests. He was given command of Rainbow and had two smaller ships under his overall command. It was extremely difficult for naval officers to secure commands in peacetime, and Rodney's appointment suggests that he was well regarded by his superiors. Rodney's role as Governor was rather limited. Each summer a large British fishing fleet sailed for Newfoundland, where it took part in the valuable cod trade. The fleet then returned home during the winter. Rodney oversaw three such trips to Newfoundland between 1749 and 1751.

    Around this time Rodney began to harbour political ambitions and gained the support of the powerful Duke of Bedford and Lord Sandwich. He stood unsuccessfully in a 1750 by-election in Launceston. He was elected MP for Saltash, a safe seat controlled by the Admiralty, in 1751. After his third and final trip to Newfoundland in the summer of 1751 Rodney sailed home via Spain and Portugal, escorting some merchantmen. Once home he fell ill, and was then unemployed for around ten months. During this time he oversaw the development of an estate at Old Alresford in Hampshire, which he had bought with the proceeds of his prize money.

    In 1753 he married his first wife, Jane Compton (1730–1757), sister of Charles Compton, 7th Earl of Northampton. He had initially been undecided whether to marry Jane or her younger sister Kitty whom he had met in Lisbon during his various visits to the city, where their father Charles Compton was consul. The marriage proved happy, and they had three children together before she died in January 1757. From 1753 Rodney commanded a series of Portsmouth guard ships without actually having to go to sea before the onset of the Seven Years War.

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    Portrait of Rodney by Joshua Reynolds showing him after his appointment as a rear admiral in 1759.


    .Seven Years' War.

    The first fighting broke out in North America in 1754, with competing British and French forces clashing in the Ohio Country. Despite this fighting formal war wasn't declared in Europe until 1756 and opened with a French attack on Minorca, the loss of which was blamed on Admiral John Byng who was court-martialled and executed. He was shot on the quarterdeck of Monarch, which until recently had been commanded by Rodney. Rodney excused himself from serving on the court martial by pleading illness. While Rodney disapproved of Byng's conduct, he thought the death sentence excessive and unsuccessfully worked for it to be commuted.

    Louisbourg.

    Rodney had in 1755 and 1756, taken part in preventive cruises under Hawke and Edward Boscawen. In 1757, he took part in the expedition against Rochefort, commanding the 74-gun ship of the line Dublin. After an initial success, the expedition made no serious attempt on Rochefort and sailed for home. Next year, in the same ship, he was ordered to serve under Boscawen as part of an attempt to capture the strategic French fortress of Louisbourg in North America. He was given the task of carrying Major General Jeffery Amherst, the expedition's commander to Louisbourg. On the way Rodney captured a French East Indiamen, and took it into Vigo. This action saw the beginning of criticism of Rodney that he was obsessed with prize money ahead of strategic importance, with some claiming he spent two weeks or more in Vigo making sure of his prize money instead of carrying Amherst to Louisbourg. This appears to be untrue, as Rodney sailed within four days from Vigo.

    Rodney and his ship played a minor role in the taking of Louisburg, which laid the way open for a British campaign up the St Lawrence River the following year, and the fall of Quebec. In August 1758 Rodney sailed for home in charge of six warships and ten transports carrying the captured garrison of Louisbourg who were being taken to Britain as prisoners of war.

    Le Havre.

    On 19 May 1759 he became a rear admiral, and shortly afterwards he was given command of a small squadron. The admiralty had received intelligence that the French had gathered at Le Havre, at the mouth of the River Seine, a large number of flat-bottomed boats and stores which were being collected there for an invasion of the British Isles. After drawing up plans for an attack on Le Havre, Lord Anson briefed Rodney in person. The operation was intended to be a secret with it being implied that Rodney's actual destination was Gibraltar. This soon became impossible to maintain as Rodney tried to acquire pilots who knew the Normandy coast.

    Rodney received his final orders on 26 June, and by 4 July he was off Le Havre. His force included six bomb-vessels which could fire at a very high trajectory. In what become known as the Raid on Le Havre, he bombarded the town for two days and nights, and inflicted great loss of war-material on the enemy. The bomb ships fired continuously for fifty two hours, starting large fires. Rodney then withdrew to Spithead, leaving several ships to blockade the mouth of the Seine. Although the attack hadn't significantly affected French plans, it proved a morale boost in Britain. In August Rodney was again sent to Le Havre with similar orders but through a combination of weather and improved French defences he was unable to get his bomb-vessels into position, and the Admiralty accepted his judgement that a further attack was impossible. The invasion was ultimately cancelled because of French naval defeats at the Battle of Lagos and Battle of Quiberon Bay.

    From 1759 and 1761 Rodney concentrated on his blockade of the French coast, particularly around Le Havre. In July 1760, with another small squadron, he succeeded in taking many more of the enemy's flat-bottomed boats and in blockading the coast as far as Dieppe.

    Martinique.

    Rodney was elected MP for Penryn in 1761.[20] Lord Anson then selected him to command the naval element of a planned amphibious attack on the lucrative and strategically important French colony of Martinique in the West Indies, promoting him over the heads of a number of more senior officers. A previous British attack on Martinique had failed in 1759. The land forces for the attack on Martinique were to be a combination of troops from various locations including some sent out from Europe and reinforcements from New York City, who were available following the Conquest of Canada which had been completed in 1760. During 1761 Martinique was blockaded by Sir James Douglas to prevent reinforcements or supplies from reaching it. In 1762 he was formally appointed commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands Station.

    Within the first three months of 1762, Monckton and he had reduced the important island of Martinique, while both Saint Lucia and Grenada had surrendered to his squadron. During the siege of Fort Royal (later Fort de France) his seamen and marines rendered splendid service on shore. Afterwards Rodney's squadron, amounting to eight ships of the line joined the British expedition to Cuba bringing the total number of ships of the line to 15 by the end of April 1762. However he was later criticised for moving his ships to protect Jamaica from attack by a large Franco-Spanish force that had gathered in the area, rather than waiting to support the expedition as he had been ordered.

    Following the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Admiral Rodney returned home having been during his absence made Vice-Admiral of the Blue and having received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. In the peace terms Martinique was returned to France.

    Years of peace.


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    George Brydges Rodney, by Joshua Reynolds in 1789

    In 1764, Rodney was created a baronet, and the same year he married Henrietta, daughter of John Clies of Lisbon. From 1765 to 1770, he was governor of Greenwich Hospital, and on the dissolution of parliament in 1768 he successfully contested Northampton at a ruinous cost. When appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Jamaica Station in 1771, he lost his Greenwich post, but a few months later received the office of Rear-Admiral of Great Britain. Until 1774, he held the Jamaica command, and during a period of quiet, was active in improving the naval yards on his station. Sir George struck his flag with a feeling of disappointment at not obtaining the governorship of Jamaica, and was shortly after forced to settle in Paris. Election expenses and losses at play in fashionable circles had shattered his fortune, and he could not secure payment of the salary as Rear-Admiral of Great Britain. In February 1778, having just been promoted Admiral of the White, he used every possible exertion to obtain a command to free himself from his money difficulties. By May, he had, through the splendid generosity of his Parisian friend Marshal Biron, effected the latter task, and accordingly he returned to London with his children. The debt was repaid out of the arrears due to him on his return. The story that he was offered a French command is fiction.

    American War of Independence.

    In London he suggested to Lord George Germain that George Washington could "certainly be bought – honours will do it".

    Moonlight Battle.

    Rodney was appointed once more commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands Station late in 1779. His orders were to relieve Gibraltar on his way to the West Indies. He captured a Spanish convoy off Cape Finisterre on 8 January 1780, and eight days later at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent defeated the Spanish Admiral Don Juan de Lángara, taking or destroying seven ships. He then brought some relief to Gibraltar by delivering reinforcements and supplies.

    Battle of Martinique.

    On 17 April he fought an action off Martinique with the French Admiral Guichen which, owing to the carelessness of some of Rodney's captains, was indecisive.

    Capture of St Eustatius.

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    Admiral George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney, by Jean-Laurent Mosnier, painted 1791.

    Following the outbreak of the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War between Britain and the Dutch Republic Rodney, acting under orders from London, captured the valuable Dutch island of St Eustatius on 3 February 1781. Rodney had already identified several individuals on the island who were aiding the Americans, such as "... Mr Smith at the House of Jones - they (the Jews of St. Eustatius, Caribbean Antilles) cannot be too soon taken care of - they are notorious in the cause of America and France..." The island was also home to a Jewish community who were mainly merchants with significant international trading and maritime commercial ties. The Jews were estimated to have been at least 10% of the permanent population of St. Eustatius.

    Rodney immediately arrested and imprisoned 101 Jews in the warehouses of the lower city. He treated them harshly, summarily deporting 31 heads of families without mercy or word to their dependents. Rodney looted Jewish personal possessions and even tore out the linings of the clothes of his captives in search of hidden valuables; this alone yielded him 8,000 pounds. When Rodney realised that the Jews might be hiding additional treasure, he dug up the Jewish cemetery. Even large quantities of non-military trading goods belonging to English merchants on the island were arbitrarily confiscated. This resulted in Rodney being entangled in a series of costly lawsuits for the rest of his life. Still, the wealth Rodney stole on St. Eustatius exceeded his expectations.

    Controversy and Yorktown.

    Rodney wrote to his family with promises of a new London home; to his daughter "the best harpsichord money can purchase". He confidently wrote of a marriage settlement for one of his sons and a soon-to-be purchased commission in the Foot Guards for another son. Rodney also wrote of a dowry for his daughter to marry the Earl of Oxford and noted he would have enough to pay off the young prospective bridegroom's debts.

    Other Royal Navy officers scathingly criticised Rodney for his actions. In particular, Viscount Samuel Hood suggested that Rodney should have sailed to intercept a French fleet under Rear Admiral Francois Joseph Paul de Grasse, travelling to Martinique. The French fleet instead turned north and headed for the Chesapeake Bay of Virginia and Maryland.

    Rodney's delay at St. Eustatius was not the first time he had taken the opportunity to capture prizes over the immediate and expeditious fulfillment of his military duties. During the Seven Years' War, Rodney delayed transporting Major General Jeffrey Amherst to pursue prizes. Later, Rodney had been ordered to Barbados to link up with Admiral Sir George Pocock and the Earl of Albemarle for an attack on Cuba. Instead, Rodney sent valuable ships off in search of prizes. In 1762, Rodney, after the fall of Martinique, quarreled with the army over prize money. During Rodney's command in Jamaica, 1771–1774, the Earl of Sandwich feared that Rodney might provoke a war with Spain to obtain prize money.

    Plundering the wealth of St. Eustatius and capturing many prizes over a number of months, Rodney further weakened his fleet by sending two ships-of-the-line to escort his treasure ships to England, though both were in need of major repair. Nevertheless, he is both blamed and defended for the subsequent disaster at Yorktown. His orders as naval commander in chief in the eastern Caribbean were not only to watch de Grasse but also to protect the valuable sugar trade. Rodney had received intelligence earlier that de Grasse would send part of his fleet before the start of the hurricane season to relieve the French squadron at Newport and to co-operate with Washington, returning in the fall to the Caribbean. The other half of de Grasse's fleet, as usual, would escort the French merchantmen back across the Atlantic. Rodney accordingly made his dispositions in the light of this intelligence. Sixteen of his remaining twenty-one battleships would go with Hood to reinforce the squadron at New York under Sir Thomas Graves, while Rodney, who was in ill health, returned to England with three other battleships as merchant escorts, leaving two others in dock for repair. Hood was well satisfied with these arrangements, informing a colleague that his fleet was "fully equal to defeat any designs of the enemy." What Rodney and Hood could not know was that at the last moment de Grasse decided to take his entire fleet to North America, leaving the French merchantmen to the protection of the Spanish. The result was a decisive French superiority in battleships during the subsequent naval campaign, when the combined fleets of Hood and Graves were unable to relieve the British army of Charles Cornwallis, who was then establishing a base on the York River. This left Cornwallis no option but to surrender, resulting a year later in British recognition of American Independence. Although Rodney's actions at St. Eustatius and afterwards contributed to the British naval inferiority in the Battle of the Chesapeake, the real reason for the disaster at Yorktown was the inability of Britain to match the resources of the other naval powers of Europe.

    Battle of the Saintes.

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    Battle of the Saintes, April 1782
    painting by François Aimé Louis Dumoulin


    After a few months in England, restoring his health and defending himself in Parliament, Sir George returned to his command in February 1782, and a running engagement with the French fleet on 9 April led up to his crowning victory at the Battle of the Saintes off Dominica, when on 12 April with thirty-five sail of the line he defeated the Comte de Grasse, who had thirty-three sail. The French inferiority in numbers was more than counterbalanced by the greater size and superior sailing qualities of their ships, yet four French ships of the line were captured (including the flagship) as well as one destroyed after eleven hours' fighting.

    This important battle saved Jamaica and ruined French naval prestige, while it enabled Rodney to write: "Within two little years I have taken two Spanish, one French and one Dutch admirals." A long and wearisome controversy exists as to the originator of the manoeuvre of "breaking the line" in this battle, but the merits of the victory have never seriously been affected by any difference of opinion on the question. A shift of wind broke the French line of battle, and the British ships took advantage of this by crossing in two places; many were taken prisoner including the Comte de Grasse.

    Recall.

    In a 15 April letter to Lord Germain, who unknown to Rodney had recently lost his position, he wrote "Permit me most sincerely to congratulate you on the most important victory I believe ever gained against our perfidious enemies, the French". The news of Rodney's victories boosted national morale in Britain and strengthened the pro-war party who wished to carry on the fight. George III observed to the new Prime Minister Lord Shelburne that he "must see that the great success of Lord Rodney's engagement has so far roused the nation, that the peace which would have been acquiesced in three months ago would now be a matter for complaint".

    Nepotism and self-interest.

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    Monument of George Brydges Rodney in Memorial in Spanish Town

    Rodney was unquestionably a most able officer, but he was also vain, selfish and unscrupulous, both in seeking prize money, and in using his position to push the fortunes of his family, although such nepotism was common (not to say normal) at the time. He made his son a post-captain at fifteen, and his assiduous self-interest alienated his fellow officers and the Board of Admiralty alike. Naval historian N.A.M. Rodger describes Rodney as possessing weaknesses with respect to patronage "which destroyed the basis of trust upon which alone an officer can command." He was accused by his second-in-command, Samuel Hood, of sacrificing the interest of the service to his own profit, and of showing want of energy in pursuit of the French on 12 April 1782]. It must be remembered that he was then prematurely old and racked by disease.

    Retirement and death.

    Rodney arrived home in August to receive unbounded honour from his country. He had already been created Baron Rodney of Rodney Stoke, Somerset, by patent of 19 June 1782, and the House of Commons had voted him a pension of £2000 a year. From this time he led a quiet country life until his death in London. He was succeeded as 2nd Baron by his son, George (1753–1802).

    In 1782 Rodney was presented with the Freedom of the City of Cork, Ireland. The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, holds the gold presentation box that the City of Cork gave him on 16 September 1782.

    Rodney died in 1792, and was buried in the church of St Mary the Virgin, Old Alresford in Hampshire, which adjoins his family seat.
    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.

  4. #4
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    Captain Walter Young.



    Died 1781.

    He was commissioned lieutenant on 1 November 1765 and promoted commander on 28 February 1779. In May 1779 it was reported that he had left the Orkney Islands in command of the armed ship Lion to search for a north-west passage to the Southern Ocean, but this voyage was clearly terminated.

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    Captain Young claimed much credit, perhaps deservedly so, for the indisposed Admiral Rodney’s victory at the Moonlight Battle in 1780.

    Having been employed as an agent for transports at Deptford, he was posted captain on 1 October 1779 and appointed flag-captain aboard the Sandwich 90 to Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney, the commander-in-chief designate of the Leeward Islands. Leaving England on 29 December with the fleet to relieve Gibraltar, he was present at the capture of the Spanish convoy on 8 January 1780 and the Moonlight Battle off Cape St. Vincent on 16 January. During this period Rodney was suffering from ill health which often confined him to his cot, and he gave his orders through Young, who had also assumed the duties of captain of the fleet. This led to Young privately claim a good deal of credit for his admiral’s successes, and indeed many felt that he had some justification in doing so.
    On 13 February 1780 the Sandwich parted company for the West Indies with four sail of the line, joining Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker at St. Lucia on 27 March. Young was present at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April where the flagship lost eighteen men killed and fifty-one wounded. He was one of five captains who received a certificate from the cantankerous commander-in-chief praising their efforts to the detriment of others who in the Rodney’s eyes had not done so well. Continuing in the Leeward Islands campaign, he also took part in the inconclusive actions in May although the Sandwich did not suffer any casualties.

    Having sailed north in search of the French fleet, the Leeward Islands fleet spent the hurricane season from September – November in North America waters. Captain Young would thus have been party to the infamous dispute between Rodney and his junior, the local commander-in-chief, Vice-Admiral Marriot Arbuthnot. The fleet arrived back in the Caribbean in December where on 3 February Rodney seized St. Eustatius and other Dutch settlements.

    Captain Young died of fever at St. Eustatius on 2 May.

    He was notorious for making detrimental and disloyal comments about Rodney, often sharing these with his patron, Charles Middleton, the influential comptroller of the navy and future Admiral Lord Barham. Contrarily, the difficult Rodney appears to have admired Young’s seamanlike abilities and bravery, and he felt able to rely upon him as he did so few others.
    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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    Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, 5th Baronet.

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    (25 February 1714 – 1782) was a British naval commander.


    Parker was born at Tredington (which was then in Worcestershire). His father, a clergyman, was a son of Sir Henry Parker. His paternal grandfather had married a daughter of Alexander Hyde, Bishop of Salisbury. He began his career at sea in the merchant service. Entering the Royal Navy at the age of 24, he was made lieutenant in 1744, and in 1748 he was made post-captain. In his royal navy career, he captured a Spanish Galleon that was worth £600,000 . This gave his family his wealth. At the current moment, his family live in the south-wing of Melford Hall.

    Seven Years War.

    In October 1755 Hyde Parker commissioned the newly-launched post ship HMS Squirrel. A year later, in her he captured the French privateeer Très Vénėrable.
    During the latter part of the Seven Years' War he served in the East Indies, taking part in the capture of Pondicherry in 1761 and of Manila in 1762. In the latter year Parker with two ships captured one of the valuable Spanish plate ships in her voyage between Acapulco and Manila.

    American War of Independence.

    In 1778 he became Rear-Admiral and went to North American waters as second-in-command. For some time before George Rodney's arrival he was in command on the Leeward Islands station, and conducted a skilful campaign against the French at Martinique.

    In 1781, having returned home and become Vice-Admiral, he fell in with a Dutch fleet of about his own force, though far better equipped, near the Dogger Bank on 5 August 1781. After a fiercely contested battle, in which neither combatant gained any advantage, both sides drew off. Parker considered that he had not been properly equipped for his task, and insisted on resigning his command.

    In 1782 he accepted the East Indies command, though he had just succeeded to the family baronetcy. On the outward voyage his flagship Cato was lost with all on board.
    He was succeeded by his older son Harry, the sixth Baronet. Parker's second son was Admiral Sir Hyde Parker (1739–1807).
    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 Harry Harmood.


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    1739-1809.



    Having graduated from the Naval Academy at Portsmouth, Harmood was commissioned lieutenant on 19 February 1759 and appointed to the Aquilon 28, Captain Chaloner Ogle. In 1771 he became the first lieutenant of the Arethusa 32, Captain Andrew Snape Hamond, in which frigate he served in home waters and in North America, prior to being appointed third lieutenant of Vice-Admiral Lord Howe’s flagship Eagle 64, Captain Henry Duncan, on the North American station in 1776.

    He was promoted commander of the sloop Falcon 14 at New York on 16 February 1777 and during the summer cruised successfully off Newport, capturing the privateers Mehitabel and General Arnold in a boat attack at Sandford, Connecticut on 24 June 1778. On 7 August 1778 the Falcon was sunk at Rhode Island to both prevent capture by the French fleet and to act as a block ship to prevent their landing, although she was later salvaged and recommissioned.

    Harmood was posted captain on 17 October 1778, joining the Conqueror 74 with the broad pennant of Commodore Thomas Graves and sailing to the Leeward Islands in December with Vice-Admiral Hon. John Byron’s fleet. Flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker, he commanded the Conqueror at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779 but his was one of the few ships not to suffer any casualties as she saw barely any action because of Byron’s poor tactics. Upon Parker’s elevation to the position of commander in chief following the return home of Byron and the wounded Vice-Admiral Hon. Samuel Barrington he transferred with the admiral to the Princess Royal 90 in August. He commanded this vessel at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780, losing five men killed and fourteen wounded, and remained in the Leeward Islands for the remainder of the May-July campaign, although his ship did not suffer any casualties during the fleet skirmishes in the former month.

    Returning to Europe in July aboard the Medway 60 with Parker’s flag following that officer’s fall-out with Admiral Sir George Rodney, Harmood commanded the Cumberland 74 in an acting capacity for Captain Joseph Peyton in the Channel fleet campaign that autumn. After recommissioning the Medway 60 in January 1781 he commanded her at the relief of Gibraltar on 12 April, in the Channel fleet campaign of June-November, and in Rear-Admiral Richard Kempenfelt’s brilliant attack on the Comte de Guichen’s convoy on 12 December. A day later he took the privateer Généreuse, and he left the Medway during the following year..

    In March 1783 he was appointed to commission the new Ardent 64, commanding her as a guardship at Portsmouth until she was paid off in March 1786.

    Harmood became an ‘extra commissioner’ in December 1793 which role entitled him to a handsome salary, whilst also serving as the commissioner at Gibraltar and Malta. On 25 June 1796 he became a commissioner without special function, and in the same year assumed the role of commissioner at Sheerness. He was commissioner at Chatham from 1801-6, and became a director of Greenwich Hospital.

    Harmood died at his residence in Grosvenor Square, London in the early part of 1809.

    He was married in 1782 and had issue a son and a daughter.
    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 Lewis Gidoin.



    Died 1796.


    Gidoin was commissioned lieutenant on 19 January 1755 and promoted commander in September 1759, at which time he had been captaining the storeship Port Royal 12 for six months and would continue to do so until July 1761. From April 1762 he had the brig Zephyr 10 off the coast of Portugal, and in July 1763 recommissioned the Jamaica 10, going out to New England in November 1763 and spending most of his time on that station before paying her off in February 1767.

    He was posted captain of the Surprise 20 for purposes of rank only on 26 May 1768, and during the Falklands Islands dispute of 1770-1 he was the captain of the impress service at Falmouth.

    Having been recommissioned at Chatham in March 1776, Gidoin took the Richmond 32 out to North America in September. He commanded her in Vice-Admiral Lord Howe’s fleet during 1777-8, serving in the North River and the Philadelphia Campaign of August-November. After wintering in the Chesapeake the Richmond was present in the defence off New York in July 1778 and operations off Rhode Island in August. He captured the rebel privateer Black Prince on 15 August and remained on that station over the ensuing winter before returning to England.

    In May 1779 Gidoin was detached from Portsmouth in command of a small frigate squadron to protect the Channel Islands from a French threat, rendezvousing with the Experiment 50, Captain Sir James Wallace, who defeated a French squadron in Cancale Bay on 13 May.

    Transferring to the Torbay 74 which had began recommissioning in December 1779, he arrived in the Leeward Islands during July 1780 and was present at the occupation of St. Eustatius from 3 February 1781, and in the Battle of Fort Royal off Martinique on 29 April when his command was badly damaged. After repairs at Jamaica the Torbay sailed for North America but did not arrive in time to participate in the Battle of the Chesapeake on 5 September. Continuing in the Torbay, Gidoin fought at the Battle of St. Kitts on 25-26 January 1782 but did not suffer any casualties, and at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782, where she lost ten men killed and twenty-five wounded and helped bring about the surrender of the French flagship.

    On 17 October 1782 he was in company with the London 98, Captain James Kempthorne, when they fell in with the French Scipion 74 and Sibylle 40 off San Domingo. The London was faster in the chase and brought the Frenchmen to action at long-range, eventually going yardarm to yardarm with the Scipion. The French sail of the line then managed to rake the London and make good her escape but she sank in Samana Bay after striking a rock the next day.

    Gidoin was promoted rear-admiral on 12 April 1794 and vice-admiral on 1 June 1795. He died in the ensuing winter, being buried at St. George’s Church, Modbury, Devon on 15 February 1796.

    He married Mary Legassicke on 15 November 1763 and lived at Modbury then Mothecombe in South Devon. Rear-Admiral James Walker was his protégé.
    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 Timothy Edwards.



    1731-1780.



    He was the son of the Reverend William Edwards of Nanhoran, North Wales, and of his wife Frances Williams.

    Having first gone to sea in 1745 as a cabin servant aboard the new Chesterfield 44, Captain William Gordon, Edwards enjoyed further employment aboard the new Sphinx 24, Captain William Lloyd from 1748-50, going out to Nova Scotia. He was commissioned lieutenant on 26 February 1755, and saw some action in the Channel aboard the new and successful cruiser Tartar 28, Captain John Lockhart Ross.

    Promoted commander on 16 November 1757, Edwards immediately commissioned the new Favorite 16 which he took out with a convoy to Gibraltar in May 1758, assisting the St Albans 60, Captain Edward Vernon, in the capture of the French frigate Loire 36 in December. He commanded the Favorite in Admiral Hon. Edward Boscawen’s encounter with the French and Spanish fleets off Gibraltar on 18 August 1759, but had already been posted captain with effect from 5 August.

    During November 1759 he commissioned the recently captured Valeur 28 at Gibraltar in which he undertook a successful mission to the Dey of Algiers to seek recompense for piracy committed against a British vessel. He captured the French privateer Heureux Retour in July 1760, and early in the following year exchanged with Captain Robert Lambert of the Wager 20, later seeing duty in home waters. In May 1762 he commissioned the new Emerald 32, and he remained with her until she was paid off in March 1763, whereupon he retired ashore for the next fourteen and a half years to develop his inherited Welsh estate.

    In September 1777 he commissioned the new Europa 64, and he retained the command until April of the following year, during which period she was renamed the Europe. His next command, the Cornwall 74, formed part of Vice-Admiral Hon. John Byron’s fleet which left England on 9 June 1778 and was the first of the bedraggled force to reach New York, joining Vice-Admiral Lord Howe on 30 July but with three hundred men on the sick list. She took part in the actions with the French fleet commanded by the Comte d’Estaing in August 1778, and at that time was the largest ship available to Howe.

    Sailing for the West Indies later that year with Byron, the Cornwall fought at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779, suffering casualties of sixteen men killed and twenty-seven wounded. The ship was one of three that were badly out of position at the start of the action and could well have been captured if the French had shown a little more enthusiasm. Thereafter Edwards commanded a small squadron that cruised off Martinique and took the French frigate Alcmene 30 on 24 October.

    Remaining with the Leeward Islands fleet under the new commander-in-chief, Admiral Sir George Rodney, the Cornwall fought in the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780 where she incurred the heaviest casualties in the fleet, losing twenty-one men killed and forty-nine wounded. Even so, the fact that she was late into the action did not please the pernickety admiral. The ship was repaired at sea, and continuing in the Leeward Islands campaign fought in the fleet skirmishes during May, losing when another seven men killed and fifteen wounded. By now the Cornwall was in a very poor condition and Edwards left her shortly afterwards to return home. She was finally scuttled at St. Lucia on 5 October 1780 having been deemed ‘unserviceable’.

    In the meantime, on 12 July 1780, the sickly Edwards had died on the voyage to England aboard the Actaeon 44, Captain Robert Keeler. His widow later erected a monument to his memory at Llangian Church in North Wales.

    Edwards married the heiress Catherine Browning of Pullox Hill, Bedfordshire, and had issue two sons and three daughters. His younger son, John Browning Edwards, entered the Navy and rose to the rank of captain. He inherited the Welsh estate of Nanhoran near Pwlheli in modern day Gwynedd where he spent a good deal of time and money improving the house and gardens, taking a great deal of personal interest in the trees and flora. It had been planned that on his return from the West Indies Edwards would enter the Houses of Parliament as the M.P for Aylesbury.

    He was known by his men as ‘Old Hammer and Nails’ for his propensity to nail his colours to the mast prior to going into action, and he was seen as brave if somewhat eccentric. On one occasion, having been struck down motionless on deck and taken for dead he astonished his men by suddenly leaping to his feet and extolling them to fight on.
    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 Leigh Douglas.



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    1741-1810.

    He was the son of the Reverend Alexander Douglas of Baads in Midlothian, and of his wife, Isabel Houston.

    Douglas was commissioned lieutenant on 17 June 1760, and after being promoted commander of the Camelon 14 on 19 September 1777 went out to Jamaica in December. He appears to have retained the command until he was posted captain on 5 April 1779.

    Having been appointed to the Terrible 74 in December 1779, he commanded her at the Moonlight Battle off Cape St. Vincent on 16 January 1780, and took on board Captain John Harvey to pilot the relief fleet in to Gibraltar later that month. He then commanded the Terrible in Admiral Sir George Rodney’s action with the French fleet at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April, but his ship did not suffer any casualties. Nevertheless he was one of five captains praised by Rodney for his part in the action, much to the detriment of his divisional commander, Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker, who Rodney denigrated.

    As a result of the re-organisation of Rodney’s captains following the death of Captain Hon. Henry St. John in the Battle of Martinique Douglas transferred to the Venus 36, participating in the remainder of the Leeward Islands campaign from May to July 1780, and briefly flying the flag of Admiral Rodney. During the Great Hurricanes of October the Venus lost all her masts bar the mizzen, finding sanctuary in Antigua. Following the capture of St. Eustatius on 3 February 1781 the Venus returned home with despatches.

    Somewhat surprisingly, Douglas finished his career as second-in-command in the Channel Fleet having barely been employed for the previous twenty years.


    In January 1782 Douglas recommissioned the Vigilant 64 to serve in the Channel Fleet, being employed under the orders of Rear-Admiral Richard Kempenfelt during the April – August campaign. He retained her for the rest of the year, serving at the relief of Gibraltar on 18 October and in a small cruising squadron commanded by Captain John Harvey immediately afterwards.

    For a short period from October to December 1794 he commanded the Irresistible 74 in succession to the promoted Rear-Admiral John Henry, this ship being paid off in the latter month.

    Douglas was advanced to flag rank on 1 June 1795, and was promoted vice-admiral on 1 January 1801. Despite his many years of unemployment he briefly served as second in command of the Channel Fleet under Admiral Hon. William Cornwallis with his flag in Hibernia 110, Captain William Bedford, during the time of Lord Barham’s stewardship of the Admiralty in 1805-6.

    Douglas became an admiral on 28 April 1808, and died in Montague Square, London, on 13 November 1810.

    He married his cousin Charlotte Douglas, the only daughter of John St. Leger Douglas of Chelmsford, Essex, who served as an M.P from 1768-83, and had property in the West Indies. The marriage produced no issue.
    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 Bowyer.

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    1740-1800.

    He was born at Denham, Buckinghamshire, the third son of Sir William Bowyer 5th Baronet, and of his wife Anne Stonehouse, who was also the daughter of a baronet.

    On 13 February 1758 Bowyer was commissioned lieutenant, and on 4 May 1761 was promoted commander of the French-built cutter Swift 10, cruising in home waters before she was retaken by the French privateer Manley 22 off Ushant on 30 June 1761. On 28 October 1762 he was posted captain, all of these ranks being achieved with the benefit of his family’s ‘interest’, and for a brief period prior to the peace of 1763 he commanded the Sheerness 20.

    In October 1776 he recommissioned the Burford 70, serving off Ireland, and with which he was engaged with American privateers off Brittany in July 1777. He recommissioned the Albion 74 in May 1778, sailing for North America under the orders of Vice-Admiral Hon. John Byron on 9 June, but parting from his commander in the storms that badly affected their passage. Following the fleet’s transfer to the Caribbean at the end of the year he fought at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779, and gave vital support to the Conqueror in the engagement with the French fleet under La Motte-Picquet on 18 December 1779.

    The Albion fought at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780 as second to Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker, and Bowyer was one of five officers specifically complimented for their conduct by Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney. She remained in the Leeward Islands for the remainder of the campaign from May to July but was severely handled in the week of fleet skirmishes during May, when she led the British van and fought alone until relieved by Rear-Admiral Joshua Rowley. During these engagements she lost twenty-four men killed and over one hundred and twenty wounded, and such was her damage that the Albion was forced to repair to Jamaica. Upon returning to England in convoy in 1781 she was condemned and paid off in December.

    In 1783 Bowyer, with the rank of commodore, joined the newly launched Irresistible 74, Captain Hon. George Murray, which served as a guard ship in the Medway, and a year into this appointment he was elected M.P. for Queenborough and nominated a colonel of marines. After leaving the Irresistible in 1785 he served upon a parliamentary committee investigating the state of the Portsmouth and Plymouth harbour defences, but bar a short period in command of the Bellona 74 during the Dutch armament in the autumn of 1787, and a few months during the Spanish Armament of 1790 when he commissioned the newly built Boyne 98 at Woolwich, he remained out of active service for a further eight years.

    On 1 February 1793 he was promoted rear-admiral, and flying his flag from June in the dull-sailing Prince 98, Captain Cuthbert Collingwood, he participated in the Channel fleet’s autumn cruise and the chase of Rear-Admiral Vanstabel’s squadron on 18 November. From December 1793 he flew his flag aboard the Barfleur 98, Captain Cuthbert Collingwood, and in the following summer, whilst leading the centre division of the Channel fleet, he had his leg shot from under him at the Battle of the Glorious First of June. Although his flagship suffered nine men killed and twenty-five wounded, she was considered to have engaged from too far to windward. Bowyer was created a baronet on 16 August, awarded the gold medal for the battle, and granted a pension of one thousand guineas.

    Retiring to his estate at Warfield Grove, Berkshire, he saw no further service but was promoted vice-admiral on 4 July 1794. Later in the same year he inherited his mothers’ family seat at Radley Hall, Berkshire, he further inherited his father’s baronetcy on the death of his brother in April 1797, he became an admiral on 14 February 1799, and died at Radley Hall on 6 December 1800.

    Bowyer was married firstly to Lady Downing, widow of Sir Jacob Downing, by whom he had no issue, and secondly to Henrietta, daughter of Admiral Sir Piercy Brett, by whom he had three sons and two daughters. His nephew was Captain Edward Cooke, and he used his influence to advance Cuthbert Collingwood’s career. He was MP for Queenborough in the Admiralty interest from 1784-90, and was a supporter of William Pitt, making some nine speeches relative to naval issues only.

    To this day Radley College flies the Union flag on 1 June in his honour, and his ghost is said to haunt the main staircase.
    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 Abraham Crespin.



    1731- 1786.

    He was the son of William Crispin of Newton Ferrars in Devon.
    Crespin was commissioned lieutenant on 20 January 1762, and from 1771-3 commanded the schooner Halifax 6 in North American waters. In early 1778 he was the senior lieutenant aboard Vice-Admiral John Montagu’s flagship Europa 64, Captain Francis Parry, and he was promoted commander on 13 May 1778 as a result of the Kings’ review of the fleet.

    In the same month he commissioned the bomb Vesuvius 8, seeing service off Africa where he was present at the capture of Goree on 4 April 1779, and later serving in the Leeward Islands.

    He was posted captain on 17 January 1780, and joining her in March he commanded the Suffolk 74 at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April where her casualties numbered twelve men wounded, and in the remainder of the Leeward Islands campaign from May – July, including the fleet skirmishes off St. Lucia in the former month when she suffered casualties of one man killed and twenty-one wounded. After continuing with the Leeward Islands fleet until coming home with a convoy from Jamaica in 1781 the Suffolk was paid off in September that year.

    Crespin did not serve again and died in the latter part of 1786.

    He married Martha Legassicke of Modbury Devon on 16 March 1776 and had one son and a daughter whilst residing in that town. There was some confusion over his family name, his father and brother spelling their surname ‘Crispin’.
    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 Elphinstone.

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    1722-85.

    He was baptised in London, the only child of John Elphinstone and of his wife Anne Williams. The family originated from Lopness in the Orkney Islands.

    Having been commissioned lieutenant on 23 August 1746, Elphinstone was serving in this rank aboard the Royal Sovereign, 100, Captain William Boys, when in the early part of 1757 he was appointed to the buss London, engaged in conveying mail to the Netherlands.

    He was promoted commander of the recently purchased fireship Salamander on 5 May 1757 and remained with her through the following year, initially going out to the Mediterranean and then serving under Commodore Hon. Richard Howe in his campaign against the French Channel ports during the summer of 1758. When superintending the embarkation following the attack on St. Cas he was captured with three other captains, Joshua Rowley, Jervis Maplesden and William Paston.

    After his release Elphinstone was posted captain into the Eurus 20 on 1 February 1759, taking her out to North America later that month and serving at the capture of Quebec. In April 1760 he moved to the Richmond 32 in succession to the late Captain George Hamilton, and he brought her back to England from the St. Lawrence that June. On 24 January 1761 the Richmond brought the French Félicité 32 to action off The Hague after an eleven hour chase, securing her surrender following a bitter fight that saw the enemy suffer a hundred casualties and both vessels drive ashore at Scheveningen. The Richmond was refloated whilst the French vessel was destroyed. Later in the year Elphinstone captured the French privateers Aucheur on 11 July, Epervier on 25 November, and Béarnoise 14 off Bayonne on 24 January 1762.

    In February 1762 the Richmond sailed out to the West Indies with orders for Rear-Admiral George Rodney. After acting as the superintendent of the transport service during the siege of Havana, Elphinstone was given command of the prize ship Infanta 70 which he brought back to Plymouth at the peace, arriving in May 1763.

    At the end of 1763 he commissioned the guard-ship Firm 60 at Plymouth, retaining her for three years, and he briefly commanded the Pearl 32 in 1768 before paying off in December at Plymouth.

    Elphinstone was one of a handful of British officers who joined the Russian service of Catherine the Great in the summer of 1769, and he was employed in the rank of rear-admiral. He also took his sons John and Samuel with him. In 1770 he commanded a squadron that sailed from the Baltic to the Mediterranean to join operations against the Turks. Whilst his ships were re-victaulling at Portsmouth he fell foul of Vice-Admiral Francis Geary, who ordered him to discontinue the practice of using signal guns to set the watch in Portsmouth Harbour.

    Upon arriving off Greece at the end of May Elphinstone attempted to bring about an engagement with a superior Turkish squadron in the Gulf of Naupila, but, although he initially forced the enemy to retreat and then attempted to attack them under the Nauplia batteries, his officers refused to continue the action and he was obliged to sail away. He participated in the defeat of a Turkish fleet in Chesme Bay on 5 July even though his preferred mode of attack was rejected, and he was later given undue credit for his efforts to the denigration of his contemporaries which included his fellow-Scots born Admiral Samuel Greig.

    During his time in their service Elphinstone regularly fell out over the limits of his authority with the senior Russian officers and in particular the commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean fleet, Count Aleksei Orlov. He was sent back to Russia on charges of negligence when his flagship Svyatoslav 80 was wrecked on a sandbank at the siege of Pelari, and he chose to wear a British rather than a Russian uniform when he appeared before the Empress. In short order he was obliged to abandon her service in July 1771, and subsequent Russian and British accounts of his time in Catherine’s navy were extremely contradictory.

    From 1774 Elphinstone commanded the guard-ship Egmont 74 at Portsmouth, engaging in the summer cruises of 1774 and 1775 before she was paid off in 1778.

    He commissioned the Magnificent 74 in the summer of 1778, sailing for the Leeward Islands with Commodore Joshua Rowley in December, and on 6 July 1779 he fought at the Battle of Grenada. Following Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker’s partial engagement with the French on 18 December he assisted Rear-Admiral Rowley in the capture of three French frigates from St. Lucia, with the Magnificent taking the Blanche 36. On 17 April 1780 the Magnificent fought in the Battle of Martinique, where she was stationed at the rear of the line and suffered only one man killed and ten wounded, and shwe was present in the subsequent Leeward Islands campaign, losing five men killed and twenty-three wounded in the fleet skirmishes during May. At the end of the year Elphinstone returned to England with the Jamaica convoy and the Magnificent was paid off and ultimately broken up. During the latter part of 1782 he commissioned the Atlas 90 but hostilities ceased before he could take her to sea and she was paid off in April 1783.

    Elphinstone died on 28 February 1785 in Broad Street, Carnaby Market, London.

    He married Amelia Warburton on 23 October 1750 and had six sons including John, a post captain, who died in 1801, Samuel William, who died as a captain in the Russian service in 1788, Thomas, who reached the same rank in the navy before his death in 1821, Robert-Phillip, who died as a post captain in 1822, and Major-General Sir Howard Elphinstone. He also had four daughters, the second of whom, Anna-Charlotta-Maria, married Captain Sir Francis John Hartwell.

    Although regarded as a brave and active officer, Elphinstone could also prove to be a difficult subordinate who sought to portray his own talents as superior to others, as highlighted by his time in the Russian service at the Battle of Chesme where he took the greater credit for the equal efforts of other British officers. He may have claimed the respect of Catherine the Great but she described him as mad, impulsive and illogical.
    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.

  13. #13
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    Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland.

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    (20 Jan 1730 - 16 Dec 1786)

    He was a distinguished officer of the Royal Navy.

    Maitland was born the sixth son of Charles Maitland, the sixth earl of Lauderdale and Lady Elizabeth Ogilvie. His younger brother Col the Hon. John Maitland successfully defended Savannah against a combined French and American siege in 1779. He was named after his godfather, Frederick, Prince of Wales.

    Naval career.

    He entered the Navy in 1748 serving as a midshipman on HMS Tavistock and HMS Speedwell He was promoted to lieutenant in June 1750, joining HMS Otter in Barbados. and commanding HMS Lively with distinction in October 1760 at the Battle of the Windward Passage. He moved to take command of HMS Elizabeth in 1778, and in 1782 found himself serving under Admiral George Rodney. His capable command of several Navy ships led to a period commanding the Royal yacht between 1763 and 1775. He was promoted to Rear admiral in 1786, but died before the news reached him.
    Family Life.

    Jamaica.

    His first family was in Jamaica, while he was stationed at Port Royal during the Seven Years' War (1754-1763). He formed a relationship with Mary Arnot.
    Scotland.

    He had married Margaret Dick, the heir in tail general to James Crichton, Viscount Frendraught, of Clan Crichton, who in turn was heir to Clan Makgill of Rankeilour. Through her the family came into the possession of the estates of Nether-Rankeillor. They had a number of children. The eldest son, Charles went on to inherit the estates on his father's death and assumed the surname Makgill. He married a woman named Mary Johnston and the union produced a son, David Maitland-Makgill-Crichton (1801–1851). This son had assumed the name Crichton in 1837, in recognition of his ancestor, James Crichton. He became a lawyer, and was called to the Scottish bar in 1822. He eventually played an important part in the formation of the Free Church of Scotland.

    His third son, also named Frederick Lewis Maitland, went on to follow his father in having a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, becoming a rear admiral, the post his father was never able to take up.
    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 Lord Robert Manners.

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    1758-82.

    He was born on 6 February 1758, the second son of Lieutenant-General John Manners, the Marquis of Granby, and grandson of John, 3rd Duke of Rutland. His mother was Lady Frances Seymour.
    .
    Manners was educated at Eton from 1763-71 before joining the Navy. On 13 May 1778, as a beneficiary of the King’s fleet review, he was commissioned lieutenant of the Ocean 90, Captain John Laforey, in which ship he was present at the Battle of Ushant on 27 July. He transferred to Admiral Hon. Augustus Keppel’s flagship Victory 100 on 17 September, and from 15 July 1779 served on the Alcide 74, Captain John Brisbane, being present at the Moonlight battle off Cape St. Vincent on 16 January 1780 and the subsequent relief of Gibraltar by Admiral Sir George Rodney’s fleet.
    .
    The first lord of the Admiralty, Lord Sandwich, had already written to Rodney requesting that the highly-connected Manners be promoted as a personal favour to satisfy the young man’s political allies, indeed his family had constantly badgered Sandwich for the young officer’s promotion, claiming that to deny it was a slight to such a prominent family, and that Manners would resign if not given his chance. Accordingly on 17 January 1780 Manners was posted captain of the Resolution 74 bearing the broad pennant of Commodore Sir Chaloner Ogle.
    .
    Upon returning to England under the orders of Rear-Admiral Hon. Robert Digby, the Resolution led the ships which first engaged the Protée 64, leading to its capture on 24 February. Shortly afterwards Manners’ first lieutenant, William Nowell, quelled a mutiny aboard the Resolution.
    .
    Remaining as flag-captain to Ogle, Manners sailed for North America with Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves’ squadron in the summer before departing for the Leeward Islands with Admiral Sir George Rodney’s fleet. Upon Ogle being advanced to flag rank, Manners assumed full command of the Resolution at the beginning of 1781, and he was present at the capture of St. Eustatius on 3 February where he was rebuked for opening fire on the Dutch frigate Mars after his first lieutenant, William Nowell, had allowed her to fire her cannon as a gesture of defiance after surrendering During the same year he fought at the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April and at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September, where he afforded excellent support to the rear. Once Hood returned to the Leeward Islands the Resolution was present at the Battle of St. Kitts on 25/26 January 1782 where she was heavily engaged at the rear of the line and incurred casualties of five men killed and eleven wounded.

    At the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April the Resolution found herself in the thick of the action from her position of third in line of battle behind the flagship. Manners received a number of splinter wounds, his arm was broken, and he was wounded in the chest before receiving such serious wounds to his legs that one had to be amputated. He was invalided to the Andromanche 32 bound for England and commanded by his friend, Captain George Anson Byron, but despite being initially in good spirits he died a week later on 23 April when tetanus set in, being buried at sea.

    Manners was unmarried. He had been elected MP for Cambridge in 1780 in a hard fought, often scurrilous and expensive contest held in his absence, but he never took up his seat.

    A monument to his memory is in Westminster Abbey with those of his fellow captains William Blair and Alfred Bayne, who also lost their lives at the Battle of the Saintes. Manners was resolute, well respected, bright, skilled and gallant, and famed for his sense of fashion. A fair-minded disciplinarian, he quickly turned the Resolution into an excellent and esteemed ship, and he was deemed more than worthy of the early opportunities granted him by his birthright. Upon being informed of Manners’ death the King informed the Duke of Portland that ‘he would rather have lost three of the best ships in his service’.
    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 Newnham.



    Died c1795.

    Newnham was commissioned lieutenant on 6 December 1760, and from 1769-71 commanded the cutter Hunter 4 off the Isle of Wight, paying her off in July of the latter year. He was promoted commander on 24 March 1779, joining the sloop Star 10 in the Leeward Islands, and was posted captain on 30 July.


    Having been immediately appointed to the Grafton 74, he was flag-captain to Commodore Thomas Collingwood at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780, being wounded in the left thigh and left hand for which he was allowed a £50 pension. Two of his men were killed and another twenty-nine wounded during that engagement. He commanded the Grafton in the early stages of the ensuing Leeward Islands campaign, including the follow up engagements in May when his ship did not suffer any casualties, but he left her shortly afterwards.


    Newnham was appointed to the newly commissioned Africa 64 on 25 April 1781, serving in home waters from July until a December refit at Plymouth, whereupon he left the ship in the following January. He thereafter commanded the Defence 74 from 13 January 1782, departing for the East Indies during the following month with Commodore Sir Richard Bickerton’s squadron, and in which he fought at the Battle of Cuddalore on 20 June 1783, losing seven men killed and thirty-eight wounded. He removed to the Isis 50 on 23 December and returned home to be paid off in July 1784.

    In the autumn of 1793 he recommissioned the Saturn 74 but left her in the ensuing August.

    Newnham probably died in early 1795. His address was given as Aldershot, Hampshire, in which town he was buried.

    In June 1785 he married the widow of Admiral Clark Gayton, Elizabeth Legge, at Fareham, the admiral having died earlier in the year. She subsequently married the Reverend James Pigott in 1801.
    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 Watson.



    1737-80.

    He was the great nephew of Admiral of the Fleet William Rowley, nephew of Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley, the brother-in law of Richard Rundle Burges, and the father of Captain Joshua Rowley Watson.
    Watson was commissioned lieutenant on 6 September 1759.
    During the latter half of 1779 he commanded the sloop Cameleon 14 in the Leeward Islands. He was posted captain on 17 January 1780, and having joined her in March commanded the Conqueror 74 with the flag of his uncle, Rear-Admiral Joshua Rowley, at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780 where his ship lost thirteen men killed and thirty-six wounded.
    During the further engagements in the Leeward Islands campaign Watson was mortally wounded when he lost his arm with a skirmish with the French on 19 May.
    Hailing from Topsham, Devon, Watson married Mary Burges who was also from that town, and who died in 1774. Following Watson’s death his mother-in-law, also named May Burges, was granted a pension of £20 to maintain and educate the orphaned children.
    He was a protégé of Admiral of the Fleet William Rowley, Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley, and a friend of the latter officer’s son the future Admiral Bartholomew Rowley. His will specifically requested ‘Bart’ Rowley, at that time a lieutenant, to ‘take notice of his child in remembrance of me, – should my little son chuse the navy’.
    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.

  17. #17
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    Captain John Holloway.

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    1747-1826.

    He was born 25 January 1747 at Wells in Somerset, the son of Robert Holloway.

    In 1760 Holloway entered the service aboard the Antelope 50, Captain James Webb, going out to Newfoundland in the following year with Captain Thomas Graves, who had been appointed governor, and who assumed command on Webb’s death in May 1761. He remained on that station once Graves was succeeded as governor by Captain Hugh Palliser in April 1764, and was aboard the Launceston 44, Captain John Gell, with the flag of Vice-Admiral Philip Durell when that officer went out to North America in 1766 as the commander-in-chief. Durell sadly died within a few days of arriving on his station, and Holloway later served under his successor, Commodore Samuel Hood aboard the Romney 50, Captain John Corner.


    On 19 January 1771 he was promoted lieutenant, and he rejoined Hood aboard the Portsmouth-based guardship Marlborough 74 in November 1773, this ship serving as the flagship to Vice-Admiral Sir James Douglas.


    In 1776 Holloway was appointed to the Perseus 20, Captain Hon. George Keith Elphinstone, which went out to North America in July. He afterwards removed into the Preston 50, Commodore William Hotham, with whom he struck up a friendship that would guarantee him employment for many years, and on which vessel he fought at the defence of Sandy Hook in July 1778 and the action off Rhode Island in August. After sailing to the Leeward Islands in the autumn, the Preston was present in Rear-Admiral Hon. Samuel Barrington’s brilliant defence of St. Lucia against the Comte d’Estaing on 15 December.
    A very short employment in Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker’s flagship Princess Royal 90 saw him promoted commander, and on 17 January 1780 he was posted captain of the Vengeance 74 carrying Hotham’s broad pennant. In this capacity he was present at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April, where his ship lost one man killed and six wounded, and in the subsequent Leeward Islands campaign from May–July including the fleet skirmishes in the former month when she lost three men killed and sixteen wounded. His vessel survived the hurricane that swept over the West Indies from 4 -12 October, and in the following spring he set sail with Hotham for England with much of the treasure plundered in Admiral Sir George Rodney’s raid on St. Eustatius on 3 February 1781. Unfortunately their convoy was discovered by the French off the Scilly Islands on 2 May and most of the merchant ships were lost.


    After a period ashore Holloway joined Admiral Lord Howe off the Texel in 1782 aboard the three-decker Cambridge 84, and was employed in the Channel fleet cruises between April and August 1782. Upon transferring into the poorly-regarded forty year-old Buffalo 50, he was with the Channel fleet at the relief of Gibraltar on 18 October. When all bar four of the merchantmen failed to get into Gibraltar at the first attempt through the vagaries of the weather, Holloway was charged by Lord Howe with the vital task of collecting the remainder, and in doing so was forced to take them close into the Barbary shore to avoid two enemy sail of the line. He rejoined the fleet six days later with Lord Howe sending a personal message of congratulation via his captain of the fleet, John Leveson-Gower. In the action off Cape Spartel the Buffalo was in the rear of the fleet, and to prevent herself being captured she had to endure a close action with the Spanish, suffering casualties of six men killed and sixteen wounded.

    After returning to England Holloway commanded the Vigilant 64 for a short time prior to the peace of 1783, whereupon he remained on half-pay until July 1786 when he commissioned the new frigate Solebay 32, sailing for the Leeward Islands in October. He returned to England in 1789, and in 1790 resumed his role as flag captain to Rear-Admiral William Hotham, this time aboard the Princess Royal 98 during the Spanish Armament. This vessel was paid off at the end of the Russian armament in September 1791.

    In January 1793 he one more became flag-captain to Hotham with his appointment to the Britannia 100, going out to the Mediterranean in May and being present at the occupation of Toulon from 27 August. He fought in Hotham’s action with the French on 13 -14 March 1795, when his command lost one man killed and eighteen wounded, and he became Hotham’s captain of the fleet at the end of June upon the admiral’s ascendance to the chief command following Lord Hood’s recall. On 13 July he fought in Hotham’s second engagement with the French, and he returned with the admiral to England following his replacement by Vice-Admiral Sir John Jervis towards the end of the year.

    Holloway was next appointed to the Duke 98 in the late summer of 1796, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Christopher Parker at Portsmouth in early 1797, and being asked to leave the ship during the Spithead mutiny which broke out on 16 April. Although he was re-instated he chose not to rejoin the Duke, and after a month with the new Ajax 74 from June 1798 he removed to the St. George 98, serving in the Channel.

    On 14 February 1799 he was promoted rear-admiral, and from May 1800 until the peace of 1802 was second-in-command at Portsmouth with his flag in various ships to include the Jason 36, Captain Joseph Yorke, Braakel 54, Captain George Clarke, the Brunswick 74, Captain George Hopewell Stephens, and from December 1801 until April 1802 the Gladiator 44, Lieutenant John Bell Connolly. In this role he was president of the court martial that convened on 1 September 1801 to enquire into the loss of the Hannibal 74, Captain Solomon Ferris, at the Battle of Algeciras from 5 to 12 July.

    Holloway re-assumed this position at Portsmouth on the renewal of hostilities in 1803 with his flag flying aboard the Gladiator 44, Lieutenant Thomas Harrison, and following his promotion to vice-admiral on 23 April 1804 he became second-in-command to Admiral Lord Keith at the Nore with his flag aboard the Utrecht 64, Captains Thomas Seccombe and John Wentworth Loring. From 1804-7 he was commander-in-chief in the Downs, flying his flag towards the end of that period aboard the Princess of Orange 74, Captain Joshua Sydney Horton.

    From 1807-9 Holloway was the governor and commander-in-chief in Newfoundland with his flag on the Isis 50, Captain John Laugharne, then from 1809 the Antelope 50, Captain Donald M’Leod. During his tenure he did much to prevent the mistreatment of the native population.

    On 25 October 1809 Holloway was promoted admiral, and after many years of good health he died suddenly at Wells on 26 June 1826.

    He married Elizabeth Walrond of Antigua in 1780 and had a son, William Henry Hotham Holloway, who died aged thirteen at sea aboard the Narcissus 32, Captain Rodd Donnelly, in August 1802, and three daughters, the eldest, Clementina, being married to Admiral Sir Robert Waller Otway.

    In addition to his great friend Lord Hotham, Holloway enjoyed the patronage of, amongst others, the future Admiral Lord Graves, Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser and Admiral Lord Hood. He was mild-mannered and of a pleasant manner, being regarded as steady, firm, balanced, honest, blunt and reliable.
    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.

  18. #18
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    Captain William Bayne.

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    1732-82.

    He was the second of three sons of Professor Alexander Bayne, an Edinburgh lawyer who moved to London before returning to Scotland, and of his wife, Mary Carstairs. His elder sister married the painter Allan Ramsay, who after her death in 1743 notoriously eloped with the sister of the future Admiral Sir Charles Lindsay.

    On 5 April 1749 Bayne was promoted lieutenant, and in 1755 served in North America with Vice-Admiral Hon. Edward Boscawen’s squadron aboard the flagship Torbay 74, Captain Charles Colby. He was promoted to command the sloop Spy 10 on 10 November 1756, taking despatches to New York in the following spring and then cruising the year after. During 1759 he served in Commodore John Moore’s attack on Martinique, which was aborted, and Guadeloupe, which was successful.

    On 1 July 1760 he was posted captain of the Woolwich 44 after commanding her for some time since the death of Captain Daniel Deering, being employed on a cruise before going out to Africa and the Leeward Islands. Here he served at the reduction of Martinique in early 1762 and took the privateer Dame Auguste on 7 February. Thereafter he had the frigate Stag 32, serving under Rear-Admiral George Rodney’s orders in the Leeward Islands and at Jamaica in 1763 before being paid off in May 1764.

    For the next fourteen years Bayne remained unemployed until in the autumn of 1778 he commissioned the brand new Alfred 74 at Chatham. In April of the following year he sat on the court martial of Vice-Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser in the wake of the Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778. He was present in the Channel during Admiral Sir Charles Hardy’s strategic retreat of August 1779 and fought at the Battle of St. Vincent on 16 January 1780. Then having participated in the latter stages of the Channel Fleet’s campaign between July and December he sailed with a squadron under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood for the Leeward Islands in January of the following year, and was present at the capture of St. Eustatius on 3 February.
    .
    He subsequently led the line at the indecisive Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April 1781 and at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September where, due to the rigid interpretation of the standing fighting instructions, his ship was unable to take an effective part. The Alfred returned to the Leeward Islands with Hood in the autumn, but in January 1781 she was involved in a collision with the frigate Nymphe 36, Captain John Ford, off St. Kitts. Nobody was held accountable for the incident and indeed Bayne earned great praise for quickly restoring the Alfred to order and joining Hood’s repulse of the French at that island on 25/26 January 1782.

    Whilst leading the British line in the skirmish with the French fleet on 9 April, prior to the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April, Bayne’s leg was carried off at mid-thigh by a chain shot and he died before a tourniquet could be applied.

    A monument in Westminster Abbey commemorated Bayne and Captains William Blair and Lord Robert Manners who also lost their lives through wounds incurred at the Battle of the Saintes. He had never married.
    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 Houlton.




    1740-1791.

    His family was long-established in the parish of Grittleton, Wiltshire.

    Houlton was commissioned lieutenant on 28 June 1756 and served in Commodore John Moore’s expedition to the Leeward Islands in the early part of 1759 aboard the pennant ship Cambridge 80, Captain Thomas Burnet. On 29 January 1759 he was promoted commander of the sloop Bonetta 10 at Guadeloupe, retaining her into the following year and then joining the Senegal 14 in July 1761. He was posted captain in the West Indies on 4 November 1761, being appointed briefly to the Mercury 20.

    Shortly afterwards Houlton joined the Enterprise 40, sailing for North America in January 1762 with despatches, serving at the reduction of Havana in the summer, and later escorting the Jamaica convoy back to England. He remained with the Enterprise until she was paid off in January 1764, and in the same year lost a case against an American by the name of Monro who claimed that he had been confined aboard the Mercury against his will for six months. Upon leaving active service Houlton retired to his estate at Seagry, Wiltshire for the next fifteen years.

    He returned to the colours by joining the newly commissioned Montagu 74 in August 1779, and he commanded her at the Moonlight Battle of 16 January 1780, forcing the surrender of the Diligente 70 and managing to tow her into Gibraltar despite atrocious weather. The Montagu then proceeded to the West Indies with Admiral Sir George Rodney, and at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780 suffered casualties of nine men killed and twenty-eight wounded, the latter figure including Houlton himself. He was somewhat compensated by being one of a handful of captains publicly praised by Admiral Rodney, although his first lieutenant was accused by the commander-in-chief of withdrawing the ship from the action once Houlton had been injured. This officer was later acquitted on the simple basis that the Montagu had been disabled. Houlton commanded the same ship in the remainder of the Leeward Islands campaign from May-July, including the fleet skirmishes in the former month.

    Remaining in the Leeward Islands after the bulk of the fleet had sailed for New York, the Montagu was driven out to sea from her anchorage at St. Lucia during the Great Hurricanes of October 1780 and totally dismasted, having eight feet of water in the hold and losing six men. Houlton later served at the reduction of St. Eustatius on 3 February 1781, and fought at the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April, but left the Montagu shortly afterwards to return home because of his wounds and poor health.

    In 1785 he succeeded his brother in the ownership of Grittleton, Wiltshire, whereupon he sold his estate at Seagry. During August 1790 he was appointed to the Royal Sovereign 100 when the fleet recomissioned on account of the Spanish Armament, but he left her after being promoted rear-admiral on 21 September.

    Admiral Houlton died unmarried on 26 January 1791 at Grittleton, leaving his estate to his great-nephew.
    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.

  20. #20
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    Captain. Samuel Uvedale.



    1729-1808.

    He was born on 7 June 1729, the son of the Reverend Samuel Uvedale, the rector of Barking in Suffolk, and of his wife Sophia Spragge.

    Having entered the Navy at the age of twelve under the patronage of a local nobleman, the Earl of Ashburnham, Uvedale was commissioned lieutenant on 5 May 1747 and promoted commander on 16 January 1758, being appointed to the Grenado 8, which he commanded in operations against St. Malo, Cherbourg and St. Cas in 1758 before going out to the Leeward Islands in November. Here he was present at the unsuccessful assault on Martinique on 19 January 1759 and the subsequent campaign against Guadeloupe in May.

    He was posted captain of the Boreas 28 on 18 February 1760, sailing for Jamaica in the spring of 1760. He destroyed the privateer St. Michel after driving her aground near Cap St. Nicholas Mole on 30 August and was detached by Rear-Admiral Charles Holmes in a squadron to attack a French convoy leaving Cap François in October. Sighting the convoy on the morning of 17 October, the Boreas managed to bring the French frigate Sirène 32 to action that midnight, but was damaged aloft in this early exchange and was unable to resume the action for a further fourteen hours. A three hour engagement then ensued off Cuba with the Frenchman striking with eighty casualties in return for one man killed and one wounded aboard the Boreas. Uvedale’s boats later assisted those of the Trent 28 Captain John Lindsay, in the cutting out of the privateer Vainqueur from Cumberland Harbour, and he also captured the privateer Belle-Madeleine on 18 December. He served at the reduction of Havana aboard the Boreas in 1762 before she returned to England in the autumn.

    In August 1779, after a long period of unemployment, he recommissioned the Ajax 74 and fought her in the Moonlight Battle of 16 January 1780, being in the thick of the action for the casualty figure of only six men wounded including himself. Proceeding to the West Indies with Admiral Sir George Rodney, the Ajax fought at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780 where she suffered four men killed and thirteen wounded. Being in very poor health Uvedale was sent home aboard the Pegasus 28, Captain John Bazely, with Rodney’s dispatches, and he arrived at the Admiralty on 24 May. Apparently his wish had been to remain in the Leeward Islands until the French threat was extinguished, but he had been prevailed upon to go home by Rodney in order to save his life.

    Uvedale commanded the Dublin 74 in the Channel Fleet from the autumn of 1780 into the early part of the new year but was again obliged to resign through his poor health. He was unable to secure any further employment and retired to his residence of Bosmere House, Creeting All Saints, Suffolk which he had been able to purchase through a great amount of prize money made during the Seven Years War.

    He became a superannuated admiral in 1788 during the dispute over the pensioning off senior captains that resulted in Lord Howe’s resignation as first lord of the Admiralty on 16 July. During the parliament debate his case was introduced by John Pollexfen Bastard, the M.P for Devonshire, who mentioned that Uvedale had been superseded on medical advice from one command after being struck on the head by a falling yard.

    He died on 10 December 1808 in Ipswich, having sold Bosmere House on account of his poor health and he was buried at Creeting All Saints, Suffolk.

    Uverdale married Margaret Cooke of Edmonton, the daughter of a clergyman, on 18 January 1763.
    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.

  21. #21
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    Captain Nathaniel Bateman.




    1723- ?



    Bateman entered the service as a common seaman and probably earned his promotion to officer rank through bravery in action. By the time he was commissioned lieutenant on 5 July 1756 he had already served aboard a dozen ships, either as a seaman, midshipman or master’s mate, and he was further promoted commander on 22 September 1759, being appointed to the sloop Hunter at Quebec.

    On 31 March 1760 he was posted captain of the Eurus 20, being attached to Commodore Lord Colville’s squadron in the St. Lawrence River in support of operations against the French at Montreal, but his command was wrecked on 20 June. He became flag captain to the commander-in-chief, Commodore Lord Alexander Colville, aboard the Northumberland 70 in North America on 22 September, returning with this ship to England in November 1762.

    From February 1763 until July 1764 Bateman commanded the Ludlow Castle 40, going out to West Africa and returning from Antigua to Spithead in June 1764. He then had the guardship Bellona 74 at Plymouth from 1766-7.

    On 20 February 1776 he was appointed to the Winchelsea 32, going out to Jamaica in May, and remaining on that station throughout the following year where he cruised off the Caicos Islands, and later off Cap François. He exchanged with Captain Nicholas Vincent of the thirty year-old Yarmouth 64 on 25 July 1778, whereupon the Winchelsea returned to England and the Yarmouth sailed in December to reinforce the Leeward Islands fleet.

    Bateman commanded the Yarmouth at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779, although his ship did not suffer a single casualty. Following the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780, he was charged by the commander-in-chief, Admiral Sir George Rodney, with failing to attack the French flagship during the initial stages of the battle and was deprived of the command of the Yarmouth. Even so, he was retained aboard her and was a spectator throughout the remainder of the Leeward Islands campaign from May to July, including the fleet skirmishes in the former month when his ship suffered casualties of five men killed and fifteen wounded. His bravery was beyond doubt, as evidenced by the fact that the Yarmouth had sustained twenty casualties, and in effect his crime was nothing other than to misunderstand his commodore’s interpretation of Rodney’s signals, and to lie-to awaiting further instructions. Nevertheless, at the resultant court martial in New York some five months later presided over by Commodore Sir Chaloner Ogle, Bateman was found guilty of failing to support his admiral and was dismissed the ship, apparently giving his judges the benefit of his own opinion on his way.

    Bateman became a superannuated captain shortly afterwards, thereby ensuring that he received a pension, but he never served at sea again and disappeared into obscurity.

    He married Hannah Sall in 1767 and had two daughters and a son, Charles Phillip Bateman, who rose to the rank of admiral.
    Captain Cook served as a master on the Northumberland under Bateman and held him in high regard, naming Bateman’s Bay in New South Wales in his honour. His dismissal from his command was viewed as a ‘harshness bordering on cruelty’ by a later commentator, and undoubtedly his contemporaries shared this view.
    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.

  22. #22
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    Captain John Thomas.



    1751-1810.

    He was born on 26 October 1751, the third of five sons of the Rev. John Thomas, vicar of Llandyssul, Cardiganshire, and of his wife, Sage Thomas.

    Thomas joined the navy in May 1771 aboard the Hero 74, Captain Nicholas Vincent, although that vessel was paid off in the same month.

    On 10 September 1777 he was commissioned lieutenant of the Burford 70, Captain George Bowyer, and he saw further service with that officer aboard the Albion 74 from May 1778, going out to North America in June with Vice-Admiral Hon. John Byron’s reinforcements before sailing south to the Leeward Islands at the end of the year.

    Thomas was promoted commander on 9 April 1779, and after commanding the sloop Barbadoes was posted captain in the Leeward Islands on 11 December 1779, whereupon he commissioned a French prize as the Albemarle 28, transferring the officers and men of the Barbadoes into her. In July 1780 he removed to the Trident 64 in Admiral Sir George Rodney’s Leeward Islands fleet, sailing for Jamaica with Rear-Admiral Joshua Rowley’s reinforcements that month.

    In September he was ordered to exchange with Captain Thomas Dumaresq into the Ulysses 44, but before the transfer could take place this vessel was dismasted in the Great Hurricanes that swept through the Caribbean in October. After assuming command of the Ulysses Thomas fought the French frigate Surveillante 40, Captain de Villeneuve Cillart, in the West Indies on 5 June 1781 but was carried below wounded in the early stages of the action, as were a lieutenant and the sailing master. Both sides suffered a great deal of damage in a four-hour engagement fought at point blank range before the Frenchman took off. Thomas was later awarded a pension in respect of his wounds.

    He thereafter commanded the Pallas 36 at Jamaica from March until July 1782 where he exchanged with Captain Christopher Parker into the Diamond 32, a frigate he retained until October. He then exchanged with Captain Bartholomew Rowley into the Resource 28, with which vessel returned home to be paid off in January 1783.

    Thomas remained unemployed for the years of the peace and the initial stages of the French Revolutionary War until he joined the Impregnable 98 in July 1795. He commanded her in Rear-Admiral Hugh Cloberry Christian’s squadron that departed Plymouth for the Leeward Islands on both 16 November and 9 December but had to put back after encountering freak weather on both occasions. The Impregnable thereafter remained in home waters and was eventually paid off in August 1796.

    Thomas was promoted rear-admiral on 14 February 1799, vice-admiral on 29 April 1804, and admiral on 25 October 1809. He died on 26 September 1810, being buried in Llanllwni Church, Carmarthenshire.

    He married Letitia Maria Lloyd in 1788, but does not appear to have had any issue.

    Thomas had been renowned for being a lively, spirited youth. During his career he made a great deal of prize money which allowed him to buy Llanfechan Mansion in Carmarthenshire. He became deputy-lieutenant and a justice of the peace for the counties of Cardigan and Carmarthen.
    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 the Hon. Henry St. John.




    1740-1780.

    Born on 1 June 1740, he was the fifth son of John St. John, the 11th Lord Bletso, and of his wife Elizabeth Crowley.

    Having joined the navy at an early age, St. John was commissioned lieutenant on 15 September 1760. He commanded the sloop Hazard 8 in the convoy that brought Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz to England in August 1761, but he does not appear to have been promoted to the rank of commander until 28 January 1762. He was then posted captain of the Tartar 28 on 31 August 1762, serving with Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Hardy’s squadron off France in the autumn, and being paid off in April 1763.

    Following the peace of 1763 he recommissioned the frigate Garland 24 in home waters before going out to Nova Scotia in July. Returning to England to be paid off in February 1768, he was not re-employed until 1770 when he joined the Edgar 60 during the Falkland Islands dispute with Spain. He removed to the guardship Raisonnable 64 in the following May and commanded her at Plymouth until the beginning of 1773.

    From 1775 St. John commanded the guardship Torbay 74 at Plymouth, and in the summer of 1777 this ship was refitted for Channel service. Cruising out of Plymouth that year, she remained in home waters until paid off in 1779.

    St. John next recommissioned the Intrepid 64 in early 1779, and he commanded her in the Channel fleet retreat during August. In January 1782 the Intrepid was ordered out to the West Indies with a convoy, and after joining Admiral Sir George Rodney’s fleet in the Leeward Islands St. John died at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780 being one of seven men killed and ten wounded upon his command.

    He married Mary Schuyler of New York and had a son, Henry.
    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 Robert Carkett.




    Died 1780.

    He was the son of Robert Carkett.

    Carkett entered the navy in 1734 as an able seaman aboard the Exeter 60, Captain John Yeo, and after serving for the next four years aboard the sloop Grampus 6, Commander George Cundett, and bomb Alderney 8, Commander James Scott, he was promoted midshipman of the Plymouth 60, Captain Sir Roger Butler. With this vessel he served a further five years in the Mediterranean, towards the end of which period the command of the Plymouth was held by Captains Charles Watson and George Brydges Rodney.

    On 18 July 1743 he passed for lieutenant, and he received his commission on 26 February 1745 during a two-year cruise to the East Indies aboard the Deptford 60, Captains Curtis Barnett and John Moore. He afterwards served with the frigate Surprise 24, Captain James Webb, until 1747.

    In March 1755 Carkett joined the Monmouth 70, Captains Washington Shirley, Henry Harrison, and Alexander Innes, which vessel was employed in the Channel before moving to the Mediterranean two years later under the command of Captain Arthur Gardiner. On 28 February 1758 the Monmouth chased and over four hours engaged the Foudroyant 80 off Toulon, one hour into which action Carkett assumed command when his captain fell mortally wounded. The Swiftsure 70, Captain Thomas Stanhope, arrived on the scene to force the French ship’s surrender, but it was to Carkett that the French captain insisted on giving his sword, and he was promoted to command the prize. The capture of the Foudroyant was a celebrated victory and not surprisingly, on 12 March, Carkett was posted captain, having in the meantime joined the Revenge 70 in which he returned to England.

    He remained in the Downs until February 1759 then joined the frigate Hussar 28, serving in home waters and from the spring of 1760 in the West Indies. This frigate captured the privateer Fourmi on 14 December, and was present at the destruction of another four privateers off Cape Tiburon in the spring of 1762. Unfortunately, the Hussar ran aground on a reef off St. Domingo on 23 May and her crew became prisoners of war. She was later salvaged by the French who commissioned her for their service. In June Carkett and the other officers sailed under parole to England, and in December he was officially exchanged and was thus at liberty to rejoin the war. He commissioned the Active 36 in August of the following year, going out to Jamaica in October, and she was eventually paid off at Chatham in June 1767.

    In July 1769 Carkett commissioned the Lowestoft 32 at Sheerness, again going out to Jamaica in October where he spent most of his time officially protecting the colony at Pensacola, as well as acting as commander-in-chief in 1770. Generally however it was a quiet posting, allowing him to garden to his heart’s content. After returning to England in May 1773 the Lowestoft was paid off and he saw no further employment for almost five years.

    In November 1778 he took command of the Stirling Castle 64 and sailed to the West Indies with Commodore Joshua Rowley in the following month. He fought at the inconclusive Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779, and later assisted Rear-Admiral Rowley to take the French frigates Blanche 32, Fortunée 32 and Elise 28 after Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker’s engagement with the French on 18 December.

    The Stirling Castle led the line at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780, losing four men killed and thirty-four wounded, but where Carkett failed to understand Admiral Sir George Rodney’s confused instructions and forged ahead to attack the enemy’s van. This move was contrary to the commander-in-chief’s intention, which had been for him to concentrate on his direct opponent in the centre. Initially Rodney vented his wrath on his subordinate admirals, but when Carkett not only learned of Rodney’s detrimental and less publicised account of the Stirling Castle’s part in the battle, but also received a letter from the commander-in-chief advising that he had informed the Admiralty of Carkett’s failure to properly obey his signals, he wrote to the Admiralty putting his side of the argument. Rodney responded with a direct letter confirming his criticism, embellishing it with the opinion that Carkett had proved to be the second worst captain in the fleet, and accusing him, as the oldest captain present, of having set a bad example to his juniors.

    Sadly Carkett never lived to obtain vindication, for having remained with the fleet for the remainder of the Leeward Islands campaign from May to July, during which he fought in the skirmishes with the French in the former month he then repaired to Jamaica with Rear-Admiral Rowley’s squadron. It was on this station that the Stirling Castle was wrecked in the Great Hurricanes of October, going down on the Silver Keys off Cape François with the loss of all hands bar one midshipman and four seamen.

    Carkett had at least one son, Robert, who attended Eton.

    He was viewed a rugged and brave officer, but one who had little knowledge of fleet actions, nor any great imagination, and he was stigmatized as typical of an officer promoted from the lower deck.
    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.

  25. #25
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    Captain Sir George Home.



    1740-1803.

    He was the only son of Sir James Home of Blackadder, 6th Baronet, and of his wife, Catherine Livingstone.

    On 28 March 1755 Home became the 7th Baronet Home of Blackadder, Berwickshire, following the death of his father. He was commissioned lieutenant on 23 November 1759.

    On 1 August 1778 he was promoted commander and appointed to the Barbadoes 14 in the Leeward Islands, which vessel he commanded at the Battle of St. Lucia on 15 December. In the early part of the following year he commissioned the captured American privateer Cumberland as the Rover 16 on the same station.

    Home was posted captain on 21 July 1779, and he commanded the Vigilant 64 at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780, suffering two men wounded. His command was present in the remainder of the Leeward Islands campaign from May – July including the fleet skirmish in the former month when her casualties were twelve men killed and fifteen wounded, and he remained at St. Lucia when the fleet headed north during the autumn. He thereafter served at the occupation of St. Eustatius from 3 February 1781 before being sent home with Leeward Islands convoy at the end of April and being paid off in September.

    In May 1782 he recommissioned the Suffolk 74 for the Channel, although Captain John Duckworth later briefly acted for him, and he was present at the relief of Gibraltar on 18 October. After going out to the West Indies at the end of the year the Suffolk returned home to be paid off in June 1783.

    Home commanded the Defiance 74 from 17 June 1795, having to rely upon Captain William Bligh to contain a mutiny aboard her in the Leith Roads in October. After leaving her on 16 March 1796 he moved to the Glory 98, with which he remained for the next year in the Channel.

    He was advanced to flag rank on 20 February 1797, became a vice-admiral on 29 April 1802, and died on 2 May 1803, being buried in Edinburgh.

    On 13 September 1785 Home married Helen Buchanan of Drumpellier and they had a son, James, who became the 8th Baronet, and a daughter.
    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 William Affleck .

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    Died 1791.

    He was born sometime after 1740, the youngest son of John Affleck and his wife Sarah Metcalfe, and the nephew of Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Affleck and Admiral Philip Affleck.

    Commissioned lieutenant on 27 October 1761, although Affleck enjoyed the patronage of the Duke of Grafton he had to wait eleven years for promotion to the rank of commander, the date of this elevation being 7 April 1772. In the meantime he had commissioned the new Raven 14 in August 1771, going out to the Mediterranean in the following January and retaining her until 1774.

    He was posted captain on 4 June 1774, having been charged with recommissioning the Medway 60, and after going out to the Mediterranean in July he served as flag-captain to Vice-Admiral Robert Man on that station.

    In December 1777 the Medway 60 went out with reinforcements to the Leeward Islands and Affleck commanded her at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779, incurring the low casualties of just four men wounded. He fought under the orders of Admiral Sir George Rodney at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780, losing two men killed and three wounded, and thereafter in the Leeward Islands campaign of May-July, including the fleet skirmishes in the former month when she lost three men killed and twenty-one wounded. By July he was in command of the Grafton 74, having removed from the Medway in June as she had been deemed unfit for service and been ordered home for a refit, and in July he sailed for Jamaica with Rear-Admiral Joshua Rowley’s reinforcements. During the Great Hurricanes of October the Grafton, carrying eleven feet of water in her well, only survived when twenty-five volunteers bravely cut away the wreckage of her main and mizzenmasts from alongside.

    On 27 July 1781, having exchanged with Captain William Garnier into the Southampton 32 at Jamaica, Affleck fell in with the French frigate Fée 32 which had lost her topmasts in a previous engagement. He caught up with his enemy at midnight but was forced to break off the action ninety minutes later after losing a great deal of rigging, and with casualties of four men killed and twenty-three wounded. The Southampton was paid off in November 1782.

    Affleck brought the Duc de Chartres 18 back from North America in early 1784 and later commanded the Triumph 74 as a guardship at Portsmouth on a temporary basis, succeeding his uncle, Captain Philip Affleck, in July 1784 and retaining her though to the next year. During the Dutch Armament in 1787 he commissioned the Alfred 74 at Chatham, although the fleet did not put to sea before the crises passed.


    In January 1789 Affleck commissioned the new Blonde 32, sailing for Jamaica in May, but he died on 24 December 1791 whilst still commanding her in the West Indies.

    He married Harriet Anne Crawley but did not have any children.
    Last edited by Bligh; 11-01-2018 at 04:22.
    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.

  27. #27
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    Captain Samuel Wittewronge Clayton.


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    1734-1795.

    He was born on 5 February 1734 in Barbados, the second son of Samuel Clayton who died in his first year, and of his wife Thomasine Wittewonge. His father was of Irish descent, and his mother was the heiress to a family that had settled in England from the Netherlands two centuries previously.

    Clayton was commissioned lieutenant on 29 November 1756, and was the military administrator of Port Egmont on the Falkland Islands from January 1773, going out aboard the exploration vessel Endeavour which carried aboard the prefabricated shallop Penguin. The latter vessel was constructed on arrival at Port Egmont, was commissioned in April, and thereafter remained as the solitary vessel in those islands until May 1774, by which time she had been dismantled once more and Clayton and his small crew had been collected by the Endeavour.

    Having been promoted commander on 1 August 1776, he took the Camilla 20 out to North America to exchange into the bomb Strombolo 8, Commander Hon. Charles Phipps, eventually doing so in December after a cruise off Bermuda. He had the Strombolo at New York in the summer of 1777, and later served in the Philadelphia campaign from 25 August.

    Clayton was posted captain on 23 April 1778, commissioning the captured American frigate Hancock as the Iris 32, and commanding her in North American waters through to November that year when he exchanged with Captain George Keppel into the Ardent 64 in order to bring her home and pay her off.

    He commanded the Channel flagship Victory 100 from 13 May 1780, taking part in the June-December campaign with the flag of Admiral Francis Geary until that officer resigned at the end of August. Remaining with the Victory she served as the flagship of Admiral Sir Francis William Drake from the last week of September until the end of December, and for a month or so until 16 April 1781 with the flag of Vice-Admiral Hyde Parker.

    After leaving the Victory Clayton joined the recommissioned Centurion 50, going out to North America where his arrival during their engagement ensured the capture by the Hussar 20, Captain Thomas Macnamara Russell, of the French frigate Sybille 36 off the Chesapeake on 22 January 1783. In the same month he was appointed to the Warwick 50, which vessel returned to England and was paid off in February.

    He was not thereafter employed and died at Peckham in October 1795, being buried in the family vault at St. Giles Church, Camberwell.
    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.

  28. #28
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    Captain James Ferguson.

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    1723-93.

    He was of Scottish descent.

    His initial service was as a petty officer aboard the Leopard, 50, Captain Lord Colville, and he was commissioned lieutenant at the relatively old age of 33 on 15 November 1756.

    Commanding the Hunter 10 from the spring of 1760, he captured the privateer Revanche on 8 January 1761 and cruised off the coast of Portugal later that year. In September 1762 he joined the squadron sent by Commodore John Moore in the Downs to search a Dutch convoy, one that had to resort to force to fulfil its orders. The Hunter was paid off in April 1763.

    Ferguson was posted captain on 6 June 1763 and appointed to the Romney 50, flagship to Rear-Admiral Lord Colville who went out as commander-in-chief of the North American station. The Romney was paid off in October 1766.

    In December 1775 he was appointed to the dull-sailing Brune 32, going out to North America in the following May and participating in New York campaign from July – October 1776 and the occupation of Rhode Island on 8 December. On 23 March 1777 the Brune escorted a force of five hundred men of the 15th Regiment in an attack on rebel works at Peekskill some fifty miles up the Hudson River, and he later led a detached squadron off the Carolinas in the early summer of 1777. On 19 September he captured the privateer Volunteer, which was one of many prizes taken by his frigate.

    Exchanging with Captain William Peere Williams into the far speedier but twenty year-old Venus 36, Captain Ferguson was sent with Commodore William Hotham’s reinforcements to Barbados from New York in November 1778. Prior to the Battle of St. Lucia on 15 December the Venus was detailed to silence an enemy battery during the initial landings. She subsequently captured the American privateer Governor Trumbull on 6 March 1779 after an hour’s engagement and performed excellent service at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780.

    From May 1780 Ferguson commanded the Intrepid 64 in the Leeward Islands campaign in succession to the late Captain Henry St. John, capturing the privateer Retaliation on 14 June. He then joined the Terrible 74 in July, sailing with fleet to North America and upon its return to the Leeward Islands being present at the capture of St. Eustatius on 3 February 1781. The Terrible was barely engaged at the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April and shortly afterwards Ferguson resigned the command and returned to England to be temporarily replaced by Captain Richard Bickerton.

    He ended the war in command of the recommissioned Egmont 74 from June 1782, serving in the Channel and at the relief of Gibraltar on 18 October. After returning to England the Egmont was placed under orders for the West Indies but in the event the peace arrived beforehand and Ferguson again resigned his command.

    After becoming lieutenant-governor of Greenwich Hospital upon the death of Captain Broderick Hartwell in 1784 he retained this position until his own death on 14 February 1793, even though his health had been greatly reduced after suffering a stroke whilst travelling to Scotland in 1786, one that left him paralyzed.

    Ferguson was a brave if somewhat eccentric officer who had many tales told about him. Lord Colville helped him progress in his early career and he was most highly regarded by Admiral Lord Howe.
    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.

  29. #29
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    Captain Henry Bryne.

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    Died 1780.

    Bryne was commissioned lieutenant on 14 September 1762 and promoted commander of the Pomona 18 on 21 January 1771, serving out of Lough Swilly and in home waters. During April 1773 he went out to the Mediterranean and after sending in reports relating to the French fleet at Toulon and Spanish fleet at Cartagena he returned home to have his ship paid off in August.

    He was posted captain of the Hind 28 on 20 November 1775, commanding her on the Leeward Islands station and being a virtual prisoner aboard his vessel at Antigua to avoid writs arising from the impressment of local men serving in unauthorised privateers. In June 1777 he was ordered home with a convoy, and he arrived at the end of August.

    In September 1777 Bryne commissioned the new Andromeda 28 in which he returned to North America prior to giving passage home to General Sir William Howe in May 1778, in the course of which voyage he captured and set afire the rebel privateer Angelica. He fought at the Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778 and saw service in the Channel fleet during the summer of 1779, and after further employment in the North Sea during the autumn he went out to the Leeward Islands with a convoy on Christmas Day. . The Andromeda was present at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780, and in the Leeward Islands campaign of May-July.

    Captain Bryne and most of his crew died in the Great Hurricanes of October 1780, with the Andromeda being wrecked on Martinique on the 11th.

    His widow, Maria, had issue a son, Thomas Henry Mackenzie, with the Scottish-Russian Admiral Thomas MacKenzie, the child being born on 1 November 1782 and rising to the rank of commander in the British Navy.
    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.

  30. #30
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    Captain Archibald Dickson.



    Died 1803.

    He was a son of Archibald Dickson, younger brother of Admiral William Dickson, older brother of Lieutenant-General John Dickson of the East India Company, and uncle of Rear-Admiral Sir Archibald Collingwood Dickson.

    He was commissioned lieutenant on 19 September 1759, and in March 1765 was placed in command of the schooner Egmont 10, taking her out to Newfoundland and bringing her home in the following year. He was promoted commander on 10 January 1771.

    Posted captain on 31 January 1774, Dickson recommissioned the Antelope 50 as flagship of Rear-Admiral Clark Gayton, sailing for Jamaica in May. After being succeeded by Captain William Judd he returned home in 1775 and was appointed to commission the new Greyhound 28 in October, going out to the North American station in April 1776 and participating in the New York campaign of July – October. Having been refitted and coppered at Sheerness in the spring of 1779, the Greyhound participated in the destruction of enemy shipping at Penobscot during the May-August campaign, and took the rebel privateers American Revenue on 19 July, Nancy on 3 August and Revenge on 4 October. Dickson’s frigate was detached with the West Indian trade and transports on 4 January 1780, and he commanded the Greyhound at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780.

    As a consequence of Admiral Lord Rodney’s reorganisation of the fleet he was placed in temporary command of the Terrible 74 from 20 April and served in the Leeward Islands campaign, including the fleet skirmishes in May where his ship lost three men killed and nine wounded. After the death of Captain Thomas Watson in the action with the French on 19 May he was appointed to the Conqueror 74, sailing for Jamaica to collect a convoy. Following the Great Hurricanes of October 1780 his new command took three months to reach home, losing her mainmast on the way, and requiring a hundred men to bale her out every day when her pumps had become choked.

    Upon returning to England he resided ashore in Hampshire to recover his health before assuming command of the Dublin 74 in the spring of 1781, joining the Channel fleet, in which he remained until the end of the war, and serving in the relief of Gibraltar on 12 April, operations of June-November, the campaign from April-August 1782, and the relief of Gibraltar on 18 October. He sat on the court martial into the loss of the Ramilles 74, Captain Sylverius Moriarty, on 21 September 1782, and left the Dublin in February 1783 when she went into the Ordinary.

    From 1786-9 he commanded the guard-ship Goliath 74 at Portsmouth, being present at the Kings Naval Review at Plymouth on 18 December 1789, and during the Spanish Armament of 1790 commissioned the new Captain 74 for service in the Channel, paying her off in August.

    Dickson recommissioned the Egmont 74 in January 1793, serving under the orders of Rear-Admiral John Gell when taking the East India trade out to Cape Finisterre in April 1793, off which coast the squadron cruised thereafter and during which time he earned a healthy prize sum following the capture of the St. Jago. He was present at the occupation of Toulon from 27 August 1793, and participated in the attack on Mortello Bay on 8 February 1794, and the reduction of Corsica in the same year.

    He was advanced to flag rank on 12 April 1794, was promoted vice-admiral on 1 June 1795, and flew his flag at Great Yarmouth and in command of a division of the North Sea aboard the Veteran 64, Captain James Mosse, from June 1798 into the following year. He briefly had his flag aboard the Monmouth 64, Captain Robert Deans, at the beginning of 1799, and on 19 March transferred to the Monarch, Captain Archibald Dickson, shortly afterwards moving it to the Veteran 64 with that officer.

    From April 1800-2 he was commander-in-chief of the North Sea fleet at Yarmouth in succession to Admiral Lord Adam Duncan. In August to September 1800, with his flag once more aboard the Monarch 74, Captain Mosse, he commanded a squadron of four sail of the line, three of 50 guns and a frigate in support of Lord Whitworth who had been sent to Denmark to negotiate over the Freja incident, earning some respect for the way in which he outwitted the Danes. Having become a full admiral on 1 January 1801, he transferred his flag in March 1801 to the Blenheim 74, Captain Peter Bover, in order for the Monarch to join Admiral Sir Hyde Parker’s fleet prior to it embarking on the campaign which resulted in the Battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801. In the same year his squadron blockaded the Texel.

    He was created a baronet on 21 September 1802, and died near Norwich in May 1803.

    Dickson married firstly Elizabeth Porter who died in 1799, and secondly, a year later, a young woman named Frances Anne Willis. His only daughter, Elizabeth, herself the widow of an army officer who had died at San Domingo in 1795, became the third wife of Admiral John Child Purvis. He lived at Hardingham in Norfolk.
    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 Bazely.

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    1741-1809.

    He was born in March 1741 at Dover, Kent, the son of Captain John Bazely and his wife Margaret Barber. He was the father of Rear-Admiral John Bazely and Captain Henry Bazely.

    Bazely entered the service in April 1755 aboard the Ambuscade 40, Captain Joshua Rowley, and in January 1756 moved to the Hampshire 50, Captain Coningsby Norbury, both serving with Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Hawke’s fleet. During the same year he served under Captain Edward Hughes aboard the Deal Castle 24, and from July 1757 until 1762 with this officer aboard the Somerset 70 in which he was present at the reduction of Louisbourg in 1758, at Quebec in the following year, and afterwards in the Mediterranean. He received his commission as a lieutenant on 7 April 1760, and in September 1772 recommissioned the cutter Greyhound 4 for service in the Channel, retaining her until 1776.

    He first came to prominence as a lieutenant commanding the newly commissioned cutter Alert 10 in the Channel, which he had joined in July 1777 at Deptford. He brilliantly captured the American brig Lexington 16 on 19 September 1777 by quickly effecting repairs after a two and a half-hour duel and racing after the privateer to bombard her for a further hour before forcing her to strike. At the end of the month he was interviewed by Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser, one of the lords of the Admiralty, and soon afterwards, on 1 October, was promoted commander.

    Bazely was posted captain of the newly commissioned Formidable 90 on 15 April 1778, and was flag-captain to Vice-Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser at the Battle of Ushant on 27 July retaining the command through to the following year. In May 1779, despite having given unhelpful evidence against Palliser at Keppel’s court-martial Bazely commissioned yet another new ship, the frigate Pegasus 28, to serve in the Channel fleet and North Sea. He was present at the Moonlight battle on 16 January 1780, and in Admiral Sir George Rodney’s indecisive action with de Guichen on 17 April 1780 before returning to England in May with Captain Samuel Uvedale delivering the commander-in-chief’s despatches..

    He succeeded the esteemed Captain Philemon Pownall in command of the Apollo 32 following that officer’s death in action on 15 June 1780, and he was once again entrusted with the commissioning of yet another new vessel, the Amphion 32 in December, when the Apollo was decommissioned. Going out to North America with a convoy in the following May, he was placed in command of a small squadron that co-operated with General Benedict Arnold in the destruction of New London in September 1781, and also destroyed the ships in the harbour. During the same year he took several rebel privateers, and on 3 January 1782 recaptured the Bonetta 14 from the French off North America, this vessel having previously been taken in the Chesapeake on 28 May 1781 whilst under the command of Captain Ralph Dundas. The Amphion was eventually paid off in February 1784, having continued her successful record against enemy privateers.

    From February to September 1791, during the Russian re-armament, Bazely commanded the Marlborough 74. In 1792, having assumed command of the Alfred 74, he sat on the court martial into the conduct of the alleged Bounty mutineers. Following the beginning of hostilities with France in 1793 he cruised with the Channel Fleet during the autumn, being present in the chase of Rear-Admiral Vanstabel’s squadron on 18 November 1793. He saw action at the Battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794 having engaged a French 80-gun ship on 29 May from which he was relieved by the Brunswick 74. The Alfred suffered only eight men wounded in the battle itself and achieved little of note bar saving many men from the sinking French Vengeur.

    Towards the end of 1794 he transferred to the Blenheim 90 in place of the promoted Captain Charles Calmady, going out to the Mediterranean in the following April, and on 13 July 1795 he fought at the second of Admiral William Hotham’s actions with the French, being part of the van that managed to get into action.

    Bazely was advanced to the rank of rear-admiral on 1 June 1795, and was the temporary commander-in-chief in the Downs during 1796-97 for Admiral Joseph Peyton, and later in 1797 at the Nore for Vice-Admiral Skeffington Lutwidge.
    He retired to Edinburgh, became a vice-admiral on 14 February 1799, an admiral on 9 November 1805, and died at Edinburgh on 6 April 1809.

    Bazely married Amelia Waddington, who died in 1769 having borne him two sons, Henry and John, who both served in the Navy.

    During the early part of his career Bazely enjoyed the patronage of Vice-Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley. He was one of the chief mourners at Admiral Palliser’s funeral in 1796.
    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 Fooks.


    1738-98.

    He was the third son of John Fooks of Marston Magna.
    Fooks was commissioned lieutenant on 20 June 1765, but whilst he was temporarily commanding the brig Hunter 10 for Commander Thomas Mackenzie the vessel was captured by two American privateers off Boston on 23 November 1775. The Hunter was retaken a day later by the Greyhound 28, Captain Archibald Dickson.
    He was promoted commander on 17 July 1776 and recommissioned the Favorite 16, going out to the Leeward Islands in November. During the autumn of 1777 he was sent on a mission to Trinidadia to request that the Spanish hand over a Corsican pirate who had fled there having stolen a number of slaves from Tobago. Later in the year he was serving at Antigua, and he remained on that station through 1778.
    Fooks was posted captain of the Deal Castle 24 on 14 May 1779 and commanded her at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780. . Following Admiral Sir George Rodney’s reorganisation of his captains three days later he joined the Greyhound 28 and commanded her in the subsequent Leeward Islands campaign from May-July. He retained the Greyhound on that station until the following February when he returned to England with the newly promoted Rear-Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle. On 9 June 1781 the Greyhound was wrecked on the South Sand off Deal, but with little damage to Fooks’ career..
    He commanded the Lion 64 in succession to Captain Hon. William Cornwallis from July 1781, going out to North America with Rear-Admiral Hon. Robert Digby’s squadron in July and flying that officer’s flag in 1782. Whilst on this station he participated in the capture of the Sophie 22 on 12 September and the Aigle 40 in the Delaware two days later, receiving a ceremonial sword from her captain, the future commander-in-chief of the Toulon fleet, Louis-René Madelaine Le Vassor, Comte de La Touche-Tréville. He left the Lion shortly afterwards and remained unemployed through the years of peace.
    In the summer of 1794 Fooks joined the Montagu 74 in place of the late Captain James Montagu, going out to the Leeward Islands in the autumn and assisting the Ganges 74, Captain William Truscott, in the capture of the Jacobin 24 on 30 October. His command was paid off in November 1795.
    Fooks was advanced to the rank of rear-admiral on 20 February 1797 and died at Holbrook House, on 2 October 1798, being buried at Marston Magna.
    He married Frances Legas at Wadhurst in 1783 but had no issue.
    Fooks’ name was often recorded as ’Fox’. His address at the time of his death was given as Holbrook House, Charlton Musgrove, Somerset.
    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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    French fleet.




    A French ship of the line at the Battle of Martinique

    White and Blue Squadron.

    Ship Name Guns
    Commander

    Notes

    Destin

    7
    4
    Vengeur 64
    Saint Michel 60
    Pluton 74
    Triomphant 80 Squadron flagship
    Souverain 74
    Solitaire 64
    Citoyen 74 Alexandre de Thy (Comte d'Ethy)



    White Squadron
    , Luc Urbain de Bouëxic (Chevalier de Saint Louis).

    Ship Name Guns Commander Notes

    Caton
    64
    Victoire 74 Albert de Saint-Hippolyte
    Fendant 74 Marquis de Vaudreuil
    Couronne 80 Luc Urbain de Bouëxic, comte de Guichen Fleet flagship
    Palmier 74
    Indien 64
    Actionnaire 64




    Blue Squadron
    .

    Ship Name


    Guns

    Commander

    Notes
    Intrépide 74 Louis Guillaume de Parscau du Plessix
    Triton 64
    Magnifique 74
    Robuste 74 Chevalier François-Joseph Paul de Grasse (Comte de Grasse) Squadron flagship
    Sphinx 64 Comte de Soulanges
    Artésien 64 Charles Sochet (Seigneur Des Touches)
    Hercule 74 Claude-Marguerite François Renart de Fuchsamberg (3rd Marquis d'Amblimont)

    Unengaged.
    .

    Ship Name Guns Commander Notes

    Dauphin Royal
    74
    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.

  34. #34
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    Alexandre de Thy (Comte d'Ethy)






    Nationality French
    Roles Naval Sailor
    Date of Birth1729 - Château de Thoiras
    First Known Service1729
    Last Known Service1789
    Date of Death1789

    Event History

    Date from Date to Event
    Appointed Comte d'Ethy
    1755 Enseigne de Vaisseau
    1780 Capitaine de Vaisseau
    1780 1782 Le Citoyen (74), Capitaine de Vaisseau and Commanding Officer
    17.4.1780 Battle of Martinique
    29.4.1781 30.4.1781 Battle of Fort Royal
    5.9.1781 Battle of the Chesapeake
    25.1.1782 26.1.1782 Battle of Saint Kitts
    9.4.1782 Action off Dominique
    12.4.1782 Battle of the Saintes
    1786 Junon (36), Capitaine de Vaisseau and 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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    Luc Urbain de Bouexic, comte de Guichen.


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    (1712-1790);
    .
    Luc Urbain de Bouëxic, comte de Guichen (June 21, 1712, Fougères, Ille-et-Vilaine – January 13, 1790, Morlaix) was a French admiral who commanded the French fleets that fought the British at the First Battle of Ushant (1778) and the Battle of Martinique (1780) during the American War of Independence.

    Guichen entered the navy in 1730 as "garde de la Marine," the first rank in the corps of royal officers. His promotion was not rapid. It was not till 1746 that he became "lieutenant de vaisseau", which was, however, a somewhat higher rank than the lieutenant in the British navy, since it carried with it the right to command a frigate. He was promoted "capitaine de vaisseau", or post captain, in May 1756. But his reputation must have been good, for he was made chevalier de Saint Louis in 1748.

    In that year, 1748, de Guichen had fought no fewer than five battles against superior British forces, while escorting back to France, from the Antilles a huge convoy. In 1755 he participated in the abortive relief expedition to Louisbourg under Dubois de La Motte, and was involved, onboard L'Heros 70 off Louisbourg. In 1775 he was appointed to the frigate Terpsichore, attached to the training squadron, in which the duc de Chartres, afterwards notorious as the duc d'Orléans and as Philippe Egalité, was entered as volunteer. In the next year he was promoted Chef d'Escadre, or Rear-Admiral.

    First Battle of Ushant.

    When France had become the ally of the Americans in the War of Independence, he hoisted his flag in the Channel fleet, and was present at the battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778, where his flagship, La Ville de Paris (90 guns) took station just abaft the fleet-flagship, La Bretagne, and several times fought off both Keppel, Palliser and other determined English assailants. For this deed he and his crew received the 'Cordon Rouge' for outstanding valour. In March 1779 he was promoted Lieutenant Général des Armées Navales, or roughly corresponding to the British Vice-Admiral of the White and Red and Admiral of the Blue and White. As such he commanded the French van in the Combined fleet of Comte d'Orvillers and Don Luis de Córdoba y Córdoba that year (June–September).

    Battle of Martinique.

    In January 1780 he was sent to the West Indies with a strong squadron and was there opposed to Sir George Rodney. In the first meeting between them on April 17 to the leeward of Martinique, Guichen escaped disaster only through the clumsy manner in which Sir George's orders were executed by his captains. But, thanks to the orderly fashion in which his own subordinate squadron-commanders dealt with the crisis, especially the third-in-command François-Joseph Paul, Comte de Grasse-Tilly's rapid closing-up of the battle-line, de Guichen managed to extricate himself from a difficult situation and, instead turn the Battle of Martinique from a narrow defeat to a draw. still, his and Marquis de Bouillé's plan to attack and seize Jamaica was cancelled.

    During the battle of Martinique, both Rodney's Sandwich (90 guns) as well as de Guichen' own La Couronne (80 guns) had been temporarily cut off from their respective fleets and had borne the brunt of the battle. Realizing he had to deal with a formidable opponent, de Guichen acted with extreme caution, and by keeping the weather gauge afforded the British admiral no chance of bringing him to close action.

    The following two actions, on 15 and 19 May, also off Dominica and Martinique, were set-pieces of masterly fleet handling that Rodney could not parallel. Although the French had the better of both, the battles were inconclusive. In conjunction with the battle of the 17 April, these three battles are called Les Trois Combats de Mons. de Guichen in the French naval annals.

    When the hurricane months approached (July to September) Guichen left the West Indies, and his squadron, being in a bad state from want of repairs, returned home, reaching Cadiz in September, bringing with him a convoy of 95 merchants. On that roadstead his able second-in-command, H.-A., Comte de Sade, a maternal cousin of the infamous 'Marquis' de Sade, died at age 69. Previously Guichen, himself had suffered a personal loss, by the death of his eldest son, Luc, Chevalier de Guichen, through tropical fever.

    David Hannay, the author of the biography on the Comte de Guichen in the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica stated that throughout all this campaign Guichen had shown himself very skillful in handling a fleet, and if he had not gained any marked success, he had prevented the British admiral from doing any harm to the French islands in the Antilles.

    1781 action in the Bay of Biscay.

    In December 1781 the comte de Guichen was chosen to command the force which was entrusted with the duty of carrying stores and reinforcements to the West Indies. On the 12th Admiral Kempenfelt, who had been sent out by the British Government with an unduly weak force to intercept him, sighted the French admiral in the Bay of Biscay through a temporary clearance in a fog, at a moment when Guichen's warships were to leeward of the convoy, and attacked the transports at once. The French admiral could not prevent his enemy from capturing twenty of the transports, and driving the others into a panic-stricken flight. They returned to port, and the mission entrusted to Guichen was entirely defeated. He therefore returned to port also. He had no opportunity to gain any counterbalancing success during the short remainder of the war, but he was present at the final relief of Gibraltar by Lord Howe.

    Assessment.

    The Comte de Guichen was, by the testimony of his contemporaries, a most accomplished, valorous, brave and high-minded gentleman. It is probable that he had more scientific knowledge than any of his English contemporaries and opponents. But as a commander in war he was notable chiefly for his skill in directing the orderly movements of a fleet, and seems to have been satisfied with formal operations, which were possibly elegant but could lead to no substantial result. He had none of the combative instincts of his countryman Suffren, or of the average British 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 Albert de Saint-Hippolyte.



    Joseph François Auguste Jules of Albert de Saint-Hippolyte, known as the "Knight of Albert Saint-Hippolyte", born May 4, 1726 in Aix-en-Provence and died in this same city on March 9, 1799, is an officer of French navy and aristocrat of the eighteenth century. He participated in the campaign of the Antilles (1781) of the Earl of Grasse during the American Revolutionary War. He ends his career with the rank of squadron leader.


    Origins and family.

    François d'Albert of Saint-Hippolyte is the seventh child of Michel d'Albert, lord of Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Estève and Montravail, adviser of the king in the court of the Accounts, Aides and Finances of Provence and his second wife, Jeanne Marie of Margallet de Luynes. It belongs to the House of Albert, a family of Provencal nobility. The family says it descends from the Alberti family from Florence. Belonging to the party of the Ghibellines, she would have left Tuscany during the troubles of the fourteenth century to settle in the Comtat Venaissin before serving in France under the reign of Charles VII.
    Born May 4, 1726 in Aix-en-Provence, baptized the same day in the church of the Madeleine. His godfather is Joseph François Auguste Jules de Margaillet, lord of Luynes, advisor in the Cour des Comptes, and for godmother Jeanne Marie Magdeleine de Maliverny.

    Career in the Royal Navy.

    He joined a naval guards company in the department of Toulon on January 1, 1741. He successively passed brigade chief on January 1, 1746, then ensign on April 1, 1748, at the end of the War of Austrian Succession.
    He resumes service at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. He was made lieutenant on February 11, 1756. He was wounded with a shot in the leg in 1758 in a fight aboard the frigate La Rose against a privateer in the Levant. He was knighted by the Order of Malta on November 16, 1758. He was promoted captain of the frigate on October 1, 1764, then captain of the ship on November 15, 1771 and brigadier of the naval armies on November 9, 1776. He was appointed port director of Toulon the 1st of December following.
    He resumed active service at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. In 1780, he fought in the West Indies in the squadron of the count of Guichen. On April 17, he commanded La Victoire, a 74-gun line ship in the battle of Dominica against Admiral Rodney's British fleet. The two enemy fleets will compete again on May 15th and 19th.
    In the following spring, in March 1781, he again commanded La Victoire in the large French fleet commanded by the Comte de Grasse who left the port of Brest. The fleet reached Martinique at the end of April, fighting a British fleet, commanded by Admiral Hood on April 29 before Fort Royal. Both fleets are firing for four


    hours before the British fleet ends up retreating. On November 5 of the same year, he was at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay which saw the victory of the French fleet over the British fleet commanded by Admirals Hood and Graves. Victoire is the sailor of the City of Paris, flagship of the Count of Grasse. On the 8th, de Grasse detaches four ships, which he places under the command of d'Albert de Saint-Hippolyte, to go to Santo Domingo.
    He retired from the service at Aix with the rank of squadron commander of naval armies on January 12, 1782 and a pension of 1,800 livres on the Royal Treasury, Knight of St. Louis and Knight of Cincinnati. During the French Revolution, he was arrested on October 16, 1792. He died on March 9, 1799 in Aix, aged 72, without any alliance.
    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 Louis-Philippe, the Marquis de Vaudreuil.

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    Louis-Philippe was born into a family with a rich political and military tradition. His grandfather, Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, and his uncle Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnal, were both governors of Canada; the latter was its last governor, surrendering Montreal to the British in 1760. Another uncle, Pierre-François de Rigaud, fought with Montcalm at the Battle of Oswego.
    His father, also named Louis-Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, was a celebrated admiral of the French Navy, and was in charge of the navy in North America in 1747. Louis-Philippe the elder successfully saved Desherbiers de l'Etenduère at the Second battle of Cape Finisterre while commanding the Intrépide. Louis XV himself ordered the celebrated Dutch artist Charles-André van Loo to paint one of his naval battles; this painting is still in the Palace of Versailles.
    Although his father was born in Quebec City and there are claims that Louis-Philippe the son was born in Canada, it is more probable that he was born in Rochefort, France, as his father was in charge of that city on the west coast of France at the time.

    American Revolutionary War.

    Vaudreuil was dispatched to America when the French entered the war on the side of the Americans in February 1778. His first engagement came at the First Battle of Ushant, an island on the north-west part of France near Brest, where the French Navy and the British Navy fought to a draw. He was at sea for about five months.
    Vaudreuil was on the Sceptre in the Battle of the Chesapeake. After one furious engagement with the British navy, Admiral de Grasse's fleet and the British fleet drifted for miles south of Yorktown and lost sight of each other. De Grasse eventually disengaged and returned to the Chesapeake, where he met the fleet of the Comte de Barras. This combined fleet outnumbered the British fleet, and gave the French control of the bay when the British opted not to attack. This had the effect of cutting the army of Cornwallis off from resupply and relief, leading to the Siege of Yorktown and his surrender. Vaudreuil's contribution to this effort was to provide the cavalry of Duke of Lauzun, a foreign legion that was a mix of Russian, Slavic, Polish and German mercenaries in the service of France. He also provided eight hundred men from his ship to Gloucester Point in defence of a peninsula near Yorktown. Together with the Duke of Lauzun these men fought the cavalry of Tarleton, and defeated him.
    In the 1782 Battle of the Saintes, Vaudreuil was credited with saving most of the French Navy's ships in the disastrous defeat. Since De Grasse was taken prisoner Vaudreuil took command of the entire French fleet in America. Afterward, Vaudreuil was on the ship Triumphant in Boston harbour. At the conclusion of the war in 1783, he was responsible for bringing the victorious French army of Rochambeau back to France.

    French Revolution.

    Vaudreuil, with other Naval officers, forced his way into the Palace of Versailles on the night of October 5–6 to protect the Royal family. He then emigrated to London in 1791, returning to Paris in 1800. Upon returning, he was granted a Naval pension by Napoleon.

    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.
    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 Louis Guillaume from Parscau du Plessix.


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    Born: 5 July 1725, Saint-Malo, France.
    Died: 8 May 1786, Brest, France.
    Was a French naval officer of the second half of the 18th cent., who participates in the American war of independence with the Marquis de La Fayette.


    At age 18, he joined the Royal Navy in 1743 as a volunteer.Marine Guard in 1744.Promoted naval officer in 1745.Guard of the Pavilion in 1746.Signboard of ship in 1749, under the reign of King Louis XV.Lieutenant of the King's Vessels on May 15, 1756.Knight of St. Louis in 1764.captain of the king's vessels, February 18, 1772.Chief of squadron naval armies on August 20, 1784, under the reign of King Louis XVI.


    He took part in the following battles.

    Battle of Ushant (1778), Battle of the Chesapeake Bay, Battle of Martinique (1780), and became a Squadron Leader.

    Battle of Ushant (1778)

    The first battle of Ouessant took place 100 nautical miles west of the island of Ushant, during the American Revolutionary War.

    Battle of Chesapeake Bay.

    The Battle of Chesapeake Bay, also known as the Battle of the Cape of Virginia, is a crucial battle of the United States War of Independence that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay between fleet of the British "rear admiral" Thomas Graves and that of lieutenant-general of naval armies François Joseph Paul de Grasse.

    Battle of Martinique (1780)

    The Battle of Martinique, also known as the Battle of Dominica, is a naval battle that took place during the United States War of Independence off Martinique in the West Indies between the British Royal Navy and the French Royal Navy .
    Last edited by Bligh; 11-15-2018 at 06:17.
    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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    Chevalier François-Joseph Paul de Grasse (Comte 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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    Captain Claude-rene Paris, Count Of Soulanges.

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    Claude-René Pâris (18 August 1736, château de la Preuille, Saint-Hilaire-de-Loulay, Vendée - 31 July 1795, Auray, near Vannes) was a French aristocrat and naval officer. He was lord of Preuille and the last count of Soulanges


    Seven Years' War.



    He joined a Gardes de la Marine company at Rochefort in 1751. He was promoted to enseigne de vaisseau in 1755, then lieutenant de vaisseau in 1761. He was made a knight of the ordre royal et militaire de Saint-Louis in 1762. On 13 August 1755, at the château de Lieuzel, he married Hyacinthe-Gabrielle de Cornouailles de Saint-George (1736 - 11 July 1764).



    American War of Independence.



    He was made a captain and a lieutenant of the company of gardes de la Marine and of the pavillon in the département of Rochefort in 1772. He was given his commission as a capitaine de vaisseau on 4 April 1777, a year before France entered the American War of Independence.

    He joined the fleet gathering at Brest in 1778 under the comte d'Orvilliers, commanding the 64-gun Sphinx at the battle of Ushant on 27 July. He was given permission to marry again after his first wife's death and did so on 3 May 1778 to Émilie-Françoise de Kerouartz, which whom he had one child, Claudine, who married Jacques-Nicolas Le Forestier de Kerosven, comte de Boiséon (+1795) then Dominique-François Fourrier de Nacquard (with issue).



    In spring 1780 he fought in the Antilles campaign under the comte de Guichen. On 17 April at the battle of Martinique, still in command of the Sphinx, he formed part of the French rearguard which faced George Brydges Rodney's British fleet. By brevet of 9 May 1781 he was granted an 800 livre pension from the order of Saint-Louis.



    He was put in command of the naval squadron at Toulon on 14 January 1785 and director of the ports and arsenals there around the same time. He was made a contre-amiral on 28 January 1792 but on 16 December the same year he emigrated to Britain after the French Revolution.

    Armée des Princes.



    He was made a lieutenant colonel in the régiment d'Hector during the Quiberon Expedition. He was wounded in action on 16 July 1795 and shot by firing squad with 55 of his men at Auray near Vannes on 31 July that 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 Charles Sochet (Seigneur Des Touches)

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    Charles René Dominique Sochet, Chevalier Destouches, also sometimes spelled Des Touches, (7 October 1727 – 1794) was a rear admiral in the French Navy. He is most widely known for his participation in the War of American Independence, where he saw action in the Battle of Cape Henry in 1781 and in the Battle of the Saintes in 1782.

    Life.

    Destouches was born in Luçon, in the Vendée region of France, in 1727. He entered the French Navy, and by 1767 was a ship's captain. In 1770 he married a young woman from Luçon; she bore him a son, Adrien, in 1772, and died while he was away at sea. After France entered the American War of Independence 1778, Destouches was part of a fleet led by the Comte de Grasse that eventually occupied Newport, Rhode Island.

    In 1781, now a rear admiral and in command of the Newport fleet, he led an attempt to deliver troops to Virginia to oppose those of the British general Benedict Arnold, who was engaged in the raids against economic and military targets there. This effort failed when he encountered the fleet of Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot in the Battle of Cape Henry, and drew away after several of his ships sustained significant damage. He served in 1782 under de Grasse in the Battle of the Saintes, a decisive naval victory for the British in the West Indies in which de Grasse was captured.

    Returning to France after the war, Destouches married again in 1785, to Aimée-Prudence-Geneviève de Racodet. He was promoted to Chef d'Escadre in 1788, having spent 46 years at sea. When the French Revolution broke out, Destouches sided with the Royalists, and was drawn into counter-revolutionary activities in the Vendée in 1793. Briefly imprisoned, he was released by Royalist supporters, and he served as an advisor in the Battle of Savenay.

    He died during the winter in early 1794, in virtual poverty due to privations caused by the revolution.
    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 Claude-Marguerite François Renart de Fuchsamberg (3rd Marquis d'Amblimont)


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    Claude Marguerite Francois Renart de Fuchsamberg Michel born on November 8, 1736 in Rochefort, where his father was, at that time, commander of the port, a French town in the department of Charente Maritime, in the Poitou-Charentes region; and died on February 14, 1797 in the naval battle of Cabo San Vicente, off the coast of Portugal.

    Nationality French
    Roles Naval Sailor
    Date of Birth 8.11.1736
    First Known Service8.11.1736
    Last Known Service14.2.1797
    Date of Death14.2.1797 - The Battle of Saint Vincent
    Cause of Death Enemy action.

    Event History

    Date from Date to Event
    12.1751 Garde de la Marine
    1754 Enseigne de Vaisseau
    17.7.1754 Married Marie-Anne de Chaumont de Quitry
    1759 La Sardine (14), Enseigne de Vaisseau and Commanding Officer
    1762 L'Etourdie (20), Enseigne de Vaisseau and Commanding Officer
    1763 L'Héroine (26), Enseigne de Vaisseau and Commanding Officer
    1763 Diligente (26), Enseigne de Vaisseau and Commanding Officer
    1764 Capitaine de Frégate
    1766 La Dédaigneuse (32), Capitaine de Frégate and Commanding Officer
    1770 La Tourterelle (32), Capitaine de Frégate and Commanding Officer
    1771 Capitaine de Vaisseau
    1771 Appointed Chevalier de L’ordre royal et militaire de Saint-L
    30.10.1772 Appointed 3rd Marquis d'Amblimont
    1778 Vengeur (64), Capitaine de Vaisseau and Commanding Officer
    27.7.1778 1st Battle of Ushant
    1780 Hercule (74), Capitaine de Vaisseau and Commanding Officer
    17.4.1780 Battle of Martinique
    1782 Brave (74), Capitaine de Vaisseau and Commanding Officer
    9.4.1782 Action off Dominique
    12.4.1782 Battle of the Saintes
    8.1784 Chef d'escadre
    1791 Emigrated to Spain and joined the Spanish navy
    1.1792 Contre-Amiral
    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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