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Action of 6-8 June 1755

6th June 1755 - 8th June 1755
Part of : French and Indian War (1754 - 1763)
Previous action : British attack on Fort Beauséjour 22.5.1755 - 14.6.1755
Next action : Capture of the Warwick 11.3.1756

On the 6th June, 1755, near the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, [Boscawen's British squadron happened] to fall in with four sail of the line, which had parted from M. de la Motte in a gale of wind, he chased them for two days. On the 8th at noon, the Dunkirk, Captain the Hon. Richard Howe, having arrived up with the sternmost French ship, the Alcide, 64, it may be said declared war; for, after some little preliminary hailing, he opened so furious a cannonade, that on the approach of the Torbay, the French ship struck her colours.

A second ship—the Lys, 64—en-flute, was also captured; but a fog shortly afterwards came on, and the third escaped. Thus was this war, commonly called in history "The Seven Years' War" commenced.

 

Great Britain (Royal Navy) -
The Hon. Edward BoscawenBritish
Naval Sailor
Ship Owner
Administrator
Marine
Service 1726-1759

 
British Squadron
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Torbay (74) 1749-1784
British 74 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
1750 Renamed "Torbay"
Charles ColbyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1718-1763
Squadron Flagship
Fougueux (64) 1747-1759
British 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Richard SpryBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1733-1775
Dunkirk (60) 1754-1792
British 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Richard HoweBritish
Naval Sailor
Marine
Service 1736-1799
Defiance (60) 1744-1766
British 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Thomas AndrewsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1741-1743
 

Royaume de France (Marine Royale)

 
French Vessels
Ship NameCommanderNotes
L'Alcide (64) 1743-1755
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Toussaint Hocquart de BlincourtFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1717-1761
Captured
Le Lys (64) 1746-1755
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
  Captured Armed en-flute with 22 guns.
Le Dauphin Royal (74) 1738-1783
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
  Armed en-flute with 24 guns.
 

Sources


IDNameAuthorType

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Cy on Friday 26th of August 2022 07:40

Volumes 1 to 6 of Guérin's book are available on Archive.org. All are now linked in the sources for this site.


Posted by Albert Parker on Friday 26th of August 2022 01:49

I have been researching the previous war, 1739–48, for over 20 years. Mistakes about enemy forces are quite common on both sides. Usually they are an exaggeration rather than an underestimate of the other side: passing merchantmen taken for part of an enemy squadron, overstatements of the force of enemy ships (a ship with 50 or 60 guns credited with 80, etc.). Wasn't the Marquis de Vaudreuil governor-general of New France? He would be in a much better position to know the composition of the French squadron than an Englishman writing to /The Gentleman's Magazine/. Troude is not a very reliable source. For the French side of things, I depend on Léon Guérin, /Histoire maritime de France/. Guérin had some unofficial connection to the French navy in the 1840s when the navy's archives were first being made available to the public, and evidently used them in his detailed narrative. Volume IV covers French involvement in the War of the Austrian Succession from 1744 to 1748 and might also cover the next war (Seven Years' War), to which the 1755 incident was a prelude. If it's not in vol. IV, it would be in vol. V. I downloaded a PDF of vol. IV many years ago but it might still be available through Google Books or at the Gallica web site of the Bibliothèque national de France.


Posted by regis on Wednesday 24th of August 2022 17:48

In Troude , Batailles Navales de la France , pages 349 to 351 , list of the fleet , only Lys and Alcide listed in the encounter but all the british ships listed .


Posted by Teresa Mercier on Wednesday 24th of August 2022 17:25

Thanks you for your comments Cy. It's interesting that threedecks is the only site i've found that has suggested that there were 4 ships involved that day. My take: the French would know better which ships were involved, since the English lost the third ship into the fog. It is especially frustrating when sources that have a lot of "spotlight" share the "other story" that includes only the dauphin royal (wikipedia: "Action on 8 June 1755" & Kronoskaf: "1755- French Reinforcement of Canada").


Posted by Cy on Monday 22nd of August 2022 07:50

Different source with different details. Very common. You have to take the balance of probabilities and make a choice. It's entirely possible that the fourth ship mentioned in the summary was the l'Actif.


Posted by Teresa Mercier on Monday 22nd of August 2022 03:00

Can you help me clarify? I have seen both the account from Gentleman's Monthly 1755 that states Alcide, Lys, & Dauphin Royal. I have also seen the research compiled by Larry Roux, referencing account from the he Monsieur de Vaudreuil & Jean Guillaume Charles de Plantevit de Margon, Chevalier de la Pause & that states Alcide Lys, & L'Actif (in the Report of the Archivist of the Province of Quebec, 1931, 1931-1932). My 5xG grandfather, Pierre Vivet dit Sans Chagrin was aboard the L'Actif, so I would like to understand. Thanks.

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