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Battle of Toulon

Battle of Cape Sicie

10th February 1743/44 - 11th February 1743/44
Part of : War of the Austrian Succession (1740/12/16 - 1748/10/18)
Previous action : Action of 4th June 1742 4.6.1742
Next action : Action of 1744-05-08 8.5.1744

 

Great Britain (Royal Navy) -
Thomas MathewsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1695-1749

 
Van Division,
William RowleyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1704-1763
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Stirling Castle (70) 1742-1762
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Thomas CooperBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1712-1746
Warwick (60) 1733-1756
British 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Temple WestBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1727-1757
Nassau (70) 1740-1770
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
James LloydBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1720-1761
Barfleur (90) 1716-1755
British 90 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
Merrick de l'AngleBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1710-1752
Squadron Flagship
Princess Caroline (80) 1731-1764
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Henry OsborneBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1710-1765
Berwick (70) 1743-1760
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Edward HawkeBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1720-1776
Chichester (80) 1706-1749
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
William DilkeBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1717-1745
Boyne (80) 1739-1763
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Rowland FrogmereBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1718-1743
Kingston (60) 1740-1762
British 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
John LovettBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1722-1747
 
Center Division,
Thomas MathewsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1695-1749
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Dragon (60) 1736-1757
British 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Charles WatsonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1734-1758
Bedford (70) 1741-1787
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1767 Renamed "Bedford Hulk"
The Hon. George TownshendBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1729-1765
Somerset (80) 1731-1746
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
George SclaterBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1716-1745
Princess (70) 1740-1784
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Robert PettBritish
Naval Sailor
Administrator
Service 1720-1741
Norfolk (80) 1728-1749
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
John ForbesBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1726-1781
Namur (90) 1729-1745
British 90 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
John RussellBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1721-1740
Fleet Flagship 8 killed, 12 wounded CO Killed
Marlborough (90) 1732-1752
British 90 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
James CornewallBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1718-1740
25 killed, 20 wounded CO Killed
Dorsetshire (80) 1712-1749
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
George BurrishBritish
Naval Sailor
Essex (70) 1741-1759
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Nicholas RobinsonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1720-1744
Rupert (60) 1740-1767
British 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
John AmbroseBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1728-1750
Royal Oak (70) 1741-1764
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Edmund WilliamsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1708-1750
 
Rear Division,
Richard LestockBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1701-1746
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Dunkirk (60) 1734-1749
British 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Charles Wager PurvisBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1729-1756
Cambridge (80) 1715-1750
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Charles DrummondBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1694-1747
Torbay (80) 1719-1750
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
John GascoigneBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1707-1747
Neptune (90) 1730-1749
British 90 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
George StepneyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1728-1753
Squadron Flagship
Russell (80) 1735-1762
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Robert LongBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1701-1748
Buckingham (70) 1731-1745
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
John TowryBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1718-1749
Elizabeth (70) 1737-1766
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Joseph LingenBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1709-1748
Revenge (70) 1742-1787
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
George BerkeleyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1709-1745
 
Not in the line
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Oxford (50) 1727-1758
British 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Harry PowlettBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1733-1775
Van Division
Faversham (44) 1741-1749
British 44 Gun
5th Rate Ship
John WatkinsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1721-1746
Van Division
Winchelsea (20) 1740-1758
British 20 Gun
6th Rate Ship
William MarshBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1732-1762
Van Division
Guernsey (50) 1740-1786
British 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
1769 Renamed "Guernsey Hulk"
Samuel CornishBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1728-1770
Center Division
Salisbury (50) 1726-1749
British 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Peter OsbornBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1709-1744
Center Division
Dursley Galley (20) 1719-1745
British 20 Gun
6th Rate Frigate
Giles Richard VanbrughBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1740-1745
Center Division
Anne Galley (8) 1739-1744
British 8 Gun
Unrated Fireship
James MackyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1734-1744
Exploded Center Division
Nonsuch (50) 1741-1766
British 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Edmund StrangeBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1715-1755
Rear Division
Romney (50) 1726-1757
British 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Henry GodsalveBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1728-1756
Rear Division
Diamond (44) 1741-1756
British 44 Gun
5th Rate Ship of the Line
James HodsollBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1708-1748
Rear Division
Mercury (8) 1739-1744
British 8 Gun
Unrated Fireship
John DaviesBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1721-1744
Rear Division
Spence (8) 1730-1749
British 8 Gun
Unrated Sloop
Thomas MoggBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1726-1745
Sutherland (54) 1704-1754
British 54 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
1716 Renamed "Sutherland"
Hospital ship
 

Allied (Spain & Royaume de France) -
Claude Élisée de Court de La BruyèreFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1684-1750

 
Spanish Squadron
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Borée (66) 1734-1746
French 66 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
Le Toulouse (62) 1714-1755
French 62 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
Le Duc d'Orléans (74) 1722-1748
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
L'Espérance (74) 1724-1755
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 Squadron Flagship
Le Trident (64) 1742-1747
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
 
Chevalier Louis-Philippe Rigaud de VaudreuilFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1698-1753
L'Éole (64) 1733-1745
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
Center Division
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Heureux (60) 1730-1771
French 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
1730 Renamed "Heureux"
Chevalier Louis-Philippe Rigaud de VaudreuilFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1698-1753
Le Sérieux (64) 1740-1747
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
Le Ferme (74) 1723-1755
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
Le Tigre (50) 1724-1754
French 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
 
Le Terrible (78) 1739-1747
French 78 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 Fleet Flagship
Le Saint Esprit (74) 1726-1761
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
Le Diamant (50) 1733-1747
French 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Chevalier Claude Louis d'Espinchal (1st Marquis de Massiac)French
Naval Sailor
Administrator
Service 1702-1764
Le Solide (64) 1722-1771
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
 
Rear Division,
Juan Jose NavarroSpanish
Naval Sailor
Service 1744
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Oriente (64) 1740-1748
Spanish 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Joaquin de VillenaSpanish
Naval Sailor
Service 1694-1794
America (62) 1736-1762
Spanish 62 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Anibal PetrucciSpanish
Naval Sailor
Service 1694-1794
Neptuno (66) 1740-1748
Spanish 66 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 † CO Killed
Poder (66) 1740-1744
Spanish 66 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Captured Co captured , the 12th recaptured by the French
Constante (60) 1731-1753
Spanish 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Agustin de IturriagaSpanish
Naval Sailor
Service 1689-1744
CO Killed
Real Felipe (114) 1732-1750
Spanish 114 Gun
1st Rate Ship of the Line
Nicolas GeraldinoSpanish
Naval Sailor
Squadron Flagship CO Killed
Hercules (60) 1729-1746
Spanish 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Cosme AlvarezSpanish
Naval Sailor
Service 1744
Retiro (50) 1726-1751
Spanish 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
 
Brillante (66) 1740-1748
Spanish 66 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Blas Clemente de Barreda y CampuzanoSpanish
Naval Sailor
Service 1691-1791
San Fernando (60) 1725-1769
Spanish 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Nicolas de la RosaSpanish
Naval Sailor
Service 1694-1794
Soberbio (66) 1740-1748
Spanish 66 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Juan ValdesSpanish
Naval Sailor
Service 1691-1791
Santa Isabel (80) 1730-1747
Spanish 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Ignacio DautevilleSpanish
Naval Sailor
Service 1744
 
Not in the line
Ship NameCommanderNotes
L'Atalante (32) 1741-1760
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Chevalier Louis de Grimaudet du MotheuxFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1714-1762
Van Division
La Flore (26) 1728-1761
French 26 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
 Center Division
Le Zéphyr (28) 1728-1762
French 28 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
 Center Division
Le Volage (24) 1741-1753
French 24 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Chevalier Joseph de Bauffremont-CourtenayFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1723-1777
Rear Division
 

Notes on Action


Description of the actionTRN3

After having, at 11.30 A.M., hoisted the signal to engage, Mathews stood on, but overhauled the enemy only very gradually. At 1 P.M., the Namur was abreast of the Real Felipe, and the Barfleur, of the Terrible. Half-an-hour later, the Namur bore down within pistol-shot of the Real Felipe, and began to engage her furiously, and the Barfleur presently did the same with the Terrible. Lestock's division was still far astern, and to windward, and, according to the evidence at the court-martial, could not have then been up with the centre, unless Mathews had shortened sail and waited for it.



The Namur was well supported by the Marlborough, which attacked the Isabela, and by the Norfolk, which attacked the Constitute. The Princess, Bedford, Dragon, and Kingston fired into the Poder, and the Neptuno, America, and Orient, after exchanging rather distant broadsides with the same British ships, passed on with the rear of the French part of the allied fleet. The remaining Spanish ships were, at first, considerably astern of their station, but, as the breeze freshened, they came up, and, towards the mid of the action, assisted the Real Felipe. Lestock made some effort to prevent this, but the wind was still very light with him, and he was also impeded by the swell, so that, although he had all sail set, his efforts were vain.



The Barfleur got to close quarters with the Terrible, and was much assisted by the Princess Caroline and the Berwick. The Chichester and Boyne also threw in their fire, but they were not close enough to the enemy to do much execution. As for the leading ships of the van the Stirling Castle, Warwick and Nassau they did not bear down to the enemy at all, although the signal for them to do so was flying. They chose to disregard it, and to keep their wind, in order, as was afterwards explained or suggested, to prevent the French from doubling upon the head of the British column.



The hottest part of the action was, in the meantime, being waged by the ships immediately about Mathews. The Norfolk drove the Constante out of the line, a shattered wreck, but was herself too much damaged to pursue her. The Namur and Marlborough were, at one moment, so close to one another that Mathews, to avoid being fallen on board of by his eager second, was obliged to fill his sails, and draw a little ahead. The Namur was then scarcely under control, owing to the rough handling which she had received , and could give little help to the Marlborough, which, fought by her captain, and afterwards by his nephew, Lieutenant Frederick Cornwall, in the most magnificent manner, was very sorely pressed. None of the vessels immediately astern of her volunteered to assist her in the least, but, keeping their wind, fired fruitlessly at an enemy who was beyond the reach of their shot; and, in spite of the fact that the Spaniards betrayed every desire to meet them in the most handsome manner, few British captains properly took up the challenge. The most brilliant exception was Captain Edward Hawke, of the Berwick, who, noticing how the Poder had vainly endeavoured to draw on some of his reluctant colleagues, quitted his station, and bore down upon her. His first broadside did her an immense amount of damage, and, in twenty minutes, when she had lost all her masts, she was glad to strike.



The Real Felipe was disabled, but the Spanish ships of the rear were crowding up to her assistance, and Lestock remained afar off, so that it looked as if the British strength about the Spanish admiral would not suffice to compel her to haul down her colours. In these circumstances, Mathews ordered the Ann Galley, fireship, to go down and burn the Real Felipe, and, seeing that the Marlborough was in no condition to help herself, he further signalled for the boats of the British centre to tow her out of the line.



The Ann Galley was handled with great ability and gallantry. As she bore down on the Real Felipe she was received with a well-directed fire from such guns as that crippled ship could bring to bear, and with a more distant cannonade from the Spanish vessels astern of the flagship. Commander Mackie, match in hand, stood alone upon the deck of his little craft, ready to fire her at the proper moment. Most of his crew were alongside in a boat, which was waiting to take him on board. The rest, by his orders, had taken shelter from the storm of shot that hurtled across the fireship. But the Anine Galley, struck repeatedly between wind and water, was already sinking. Moreover, a Spanish launch, crowded with men, was approaching to board her, and tow her clear. Mackie felt that, at all hazards, he must endeavour to destroy the launch, and, in spite of the fact that his decks were littered with loose powder, that his hatches and scuttles were open, and that his funnels were uncapped, he fired his waist guns at the boat. This was fatal. The blast from the guns set fire to the loose powder; and, while the Ann Galley was still too far from the Real Felipe to seriously damage her, she prematurely blew up, and then sank, carrying down Commander Mackie, a lieutenant, a mate, a gunner, and two quartermasters.



In the meantime, M. de Court, who, owing to the confusion and smoke, seems to have supposed that the Spaniards were much more closely pressed than was actually the case, tacked to their assistance. Rear-Admiral Rowley tacked too, and followed the allied centre. Very soon afterwards, Mathews, to quote the words of Beatson



" hauled down the signal to engage the enemy, and also the signal for the line of battle; making the signal to give over chase; but, at half-past five o'clock, he made the signal for the fleet to draw into a line of battle ahead. There was then but little wind, and so great a swell that the ships could only wear. The Admiral wore, and formed the line of battle on the larboard tack. This last manoeuvre of the Admiral's appears to have been made with a design to collect his fleet, draw them out of the confusion they were in, and arrange them in a proper order for battle, which he had every reason to think woidd be speedily renewed; the French squadron being now at hand, and in an extremely well-formed line. They crowded, however, to the assistance of the Spaniards. The Poder, prize, being dismasted, and being unable to follow the British fleet when they wore, was retaken by the French squadron, she having on board a lieutenant and twenty-three men belonging to the Berwick. The Dorsetshire, Essex, Rupert, and Royal Oak, wearing at the time the Admiral did, brought them nearer to the sternmost ships of the Spanish squadron, which had by this time joined their admiral in a close line. In passing each other, being on contrary tacks, a short action took place, in which the Namur, Dunkirk, and Cambridge joined, but with little execution on either side. Daylight was almost gone, and the British fleet passed on, leaving the confederate fleet astern."'



Owing to the condition of the Namur's masts, Mathews, at about 8 P.M., shifted his flag from her to the Russell, and intimated the fact of the change to Lestock and Rowley. On the morning of the 12th, when the wind was E.N.E., the enemy was seen about twelve miles to the S.W. At about 7 A.M., the Somerset, which had become separated from her consorts in the night, fell in with, and for half-an-hour engaged, the Hercules, which had likewise straggled from her friends; but, the Hercules being assisted by some French ships, the Somerset had to draw off and rejoin her division. At 9 A.M. Lestock ordered his squadron to chase to the S.W., and crowded sail ahead of the fleet. At 11 P.M., Mathews signalled for the fleet to draw into line of battle abreast, and then brought to on the starboard tack in order to collect his command. In the afternoon, the British fleet, in admirable order, was going down on the enemy, which was retreating in some confusion before the wind, the Spaniards being ahead of, and to leeward of the French, and the Real Felipe still bearing Navarro's flag, although she was in tow of another vessel. As for the Poder, she fell so far astern that the enemy fired her to prevent her from again falling into British hands; and, in the course of the following night, she blew up. But, in the meantime, Mathews, at about 5.30 P.M. on the 12th, had ordered his fleet to bring to, there being no more than a light wind from the N.E., and by 10 P.M. that night the enemy was out of sight.




Previous comments on this page

Posted by Albert Parker on Thursday 4th of February 2016 05:02

William Cleland was not the captain of the Stirling Castle on February 11/22 1744. The actual captain, extensively documented in contemporary and later literature, was Thomas Cooper.

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