Southampton vs L'Emeraude

21st September 1757
Fought at : Brest
Part of : Seven Years' War (1756/05/17 - 1763/02/10)
Previous action : Prince Edward v French Frigate 24.8.1757
Next action : Attack on Isle d'Aix 23.9.1757

the British 32-gun frigate Southampton, cruizing off Brest, having been dispatched by the admiral to reconnoitre the harbour, was chased by a large ship. As soon as the stranger was perceived, the Southampton tacked and stood towards her, upon which the stranger shortened sail and hove to. Owing to light airs and calms, it was 2h. p.m. before the Southampton could get near enough to open her fire. At that time, being within musket-shot, the stranger, which proved to be the Emeraud, French 28-gun frigate, opened her fire on the Southampton, but it was not returned until, being within twenty yards of each other, the British frigate opened her fire, and a warmly contested action ensued. In consequence of the calm, which the firing caused, the ships drifted foul of each other, when the French endeavoured to carry the Southampton by boarding, but were beaten back with great loss. The struggles of the two crews lasted for a quarter of an hour, at the expiration of which time, the Emeraud having lost her first and second captains, most of the officers, and 60 men killed and wounded, surrendered. The Southampton had her second lieutenant and 19 men killed, and every officer, except the captain, and 28 men wounded. In this action the two ships were as nearly as possible of equal force, and the vigour of the contest evinces great courage and skill on both sides. The Emeraud was added to the royal navy under the English name Emerald, and continued for many years a cruizing ship.

 

 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Southampton (32) James Gilchrist (d.1777)
 

 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
L'Emeraude (28)   Captured
 

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