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Battle of Cape Henry

16th March 1781
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Cerberus vs Grana 25.2.1781
Next action : Action of 1781-04-14 14.4.1781

 

Great Britain

 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
America (64) 1777-1807
British 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Samuel ThompsonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1739-1788
Guadeloupe (28) 1763-1781
British 28 Gun
6th Rate Frigate
Hugh RobinsonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1749-1794
Bedford (74) 1775-1817
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Edmund AffleckBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1740-1787
Pearl (32) 1762-1832
British 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
1825 Renamed "Prothee"
George MontaguBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1771-1810
Adamant (50) 1780-1814
British 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship
Gideon JohnstoneBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1752-1781
Iris (32) 1777-1781
British 32 Gun
6th Rate Frigate
George DawsonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1755-1788
London (90) 1766-1811
British 90 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
David GravesBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1764-1799
Fleet Flagship 3 wounded
Medea (28) 1778-1805
British 28 Gun
6th Rate Frigate
Henry DuncanBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1755-1782
Royal Oak (74) 1769-1815
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1805 Renamed "Assistance"
 3 wounded
Prudent (64) 1768-1814
British 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Thomas BurnettBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1736-1782
7 killed 24 wounded
Europe (64) 1765-1814
British 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1778 Renamed "Europe"
Smith ChildBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1753-1810
8 killed 19 wounded
Robust (74) 1764-1817
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Philips CosbyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1739-1805
15 killed, 21 wounded,
 

Royaume de France

 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Neptune (74) 1778-1795
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Charles René Sochet (Seigneur des Touches)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1743-1792
Squadron Flagship
Le Duc de Bourgogne (80) 1751-1801
French 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1792 Renamed "Peuple"
1794 Renamed "Caton"
Le Conquérant (74) 1765-1798
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Le Provence (64) 1763-1786
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
L'Ardent (64) 1779-1782
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Chevalier Charles René Louis de Bernard de MarignyFrench
Naval Sailor
Administrator
Marine
Service 1754-1815
Le Jason (64) 1779-1782
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Chevalier Jean-Isaac Chadeau de la ClocheterieFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1754-1782
L'Eveillé (64) 1772-1786
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Armand Le Gardeur de TillyFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1750-1792
Le Romulus (44) 1781-1789
French 44 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
1784 Renamed "Résolution"
1787 Renamed "Résolution"
1787 Renamed "Reine"
Jacques-Aime Le Saige (Chevalier de la Villebrune)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1780-1781
L'Hermione (32) 1779-1793
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Chevalier Louis René Levassor de La ToucheFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1765-1781
La Gentille (32) 1778-1795
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
 
 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Fantasque (38) 1758-1784
French 38 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
de VaudoréFrench
Naval Sailor
armed en flûte
 

Sources


IDNameAuthorType

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Brian Stephens on Sunday 11th of May 2014 18:38

The Gentleman's magazine. v.51 1781.in part -
The orders forwarded, the Vice-Admiral set sail, and on the 16th came up with the enemy, Cape Henry bearing S.W. by W. distant about 14 leagues, wind W. and the weather hazy. At a quarter after eight A.M. the wind veered to N.W. and gave the enemy the weather gage. The enemy were seen maneuvering to form their line. At 35 minutes after eight the British line was completely formed, and close hauled on the starboard tack. At 20 min. after nine the Vice-Adm. formed his line ahead at two cable lengths asunder, the weather being equally. At a quarter after ten he made the signal for the squadron to attack, the headmost and weathermost first to gain the wind of the enemy. At a quarter after 11 the headmost of the French line tacked; but one of them missing stays the rest wore and formed the line on the starboard tack. At 40 min. after 11 the vice-adm reformed his line at 1 cable's length. At twelve, there being prospect of reaching the enemy, the whole line tacked, the van first, and the leading ship continuing to lead on the other tack. At half after one the enemy, apprehensive of the danger of engaging to windward in a high sea, wore and formed their line to leeward. At two, the van of the British wore, and in a few minutes the Robust, which led the fleet, was warmly engaged with the van of the enemy. The ships in the vam and center of the line were all engaged by half past two, and by three the French line broke; their ships soon after began to ware, and to form their line again, with their heads to the ocean. At 20 min. after three the British ware and stood after them; but the Robust, Prudent, and Europe, which were the headmost ships, and received the whole of the enemy's fire at their rigging, as they bore down were so entirely disabled, and the London's main top-sail yard being carried away (the two first unmanageable, lying with their heads from the enemy), as to be incapable of pursuit, and rendering the advantage we had gained decisive. At half after four the haze came on so thick as entirely to intercept the sight of the enemy. At seven the British fleet brought-too, to put the disabled ships in a condition to intercept the enemy, if they should attempt to get back into the Chesapeake. The next morning they made sail (the Robust followed by the American, and the Prudent by the Adamant, and anchored three leagues to the eastward of Cape Charles. The evening by the whole squadron anchored in Lynn-haven Bay

Return of the killed and wounded in action:
Robust 15 killed, 21 wounded,
Europe 8 killed 19 wounded
Prudent 7 killed 24 wounded
Royal Oak 3 wounded; London 3 wounded; Adamant nil; Redford nil; Amderica 3 wounded.
Hon. Lieut. Lyttelton, of the Robust, killed; Master of the America wounded.
List of French Ships
Neptune (coppered) 84 guns
Burgogne (coppered) 84 guns
Conquerant 74 guns
Provence 64 guns
Ardent 64 guns
Jason 64 guns
Eveille (coppered) 64 guns
Romulus 40 guns.


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