Battle of Porto Praya

16th April 1781
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Action of 1781-04-14 14.4.1781
Next action : Battle of Fort Royal 29.4.1781 - 30.4.1781


Great Britain - George Johnston (1730-1787)

British warships
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Romney (50) Roddam Home (d.1801)Fleet Flagship
Hero (74) James Hawker (c.1731-1787)
Monmouth (64) James Alms (1728-1791)
Isis (50) Evelyn Sutton
Jupiter (50) Thomas Pasley (1734-1808)
Diana (32) Sir William Chaloner Burnaby (2nd Baronet Burnaby of Broughton Hall) (1746-1794)
Jason (28) James Pigot (d.1822)
Active (32) Thomas Mackenzie (1753-1813)
Apollo (32)  
Lark (16) Philip d'Auvergne (1754-1816)
Terror (8) Charles Wood (c.1732-1782), John Wickey (1750-1833)
Infernal (8) Henry d'Esterre Darby
British East-Indiamen

13 Vessels in total:

Asia, Chapman, Essex, Fortitude, Hastings, Hinchinbrook, Latham, Locko, Lord North, Osterley, Queen, Southampton., Valentine

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Asia Robert Maw
Chapman Thomas Walker
Fortitude Charles Gregorie Captured but retaken by her crew
Osterley (26)  
Locko (26)  
Store ships

8 storeships were supposed to be present

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Armed transports

7 armed cruisers and 4 transports

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Raikes (10) Norris Thompson

Royaume de France - Chevalier Pierre-Andre de Suffren (1726-1788)

Ship in advance

The Artesien was first assigned to Vice-Admiral d'Estaing fleet, planed to sail to West Indies. She then being lately assigned to Suffren's squadron. This is the reason why she was obliged to call in cabo verde islands in order to replenish her water store.

The Artesien was the one who discovered the british fleet anchored in porto Praya and advised le Bailli de Suffen of it.

Ship NameCommanderNotes
L'Artesien (64) Cardaillacy (d.1781), Pas de Beaulieu CO Cardaillacy killed in the beginning
French battle line, Chevalier Pierre-Andre de Suffren (1726-1788)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
L'Annibal (74) Barthélémy de Trémignon (1732-1781) CO Killed
Le Héros (74)  Fleet Flagship
Le Vengeur (64)  
Le Sphinx (64)  
Group of 3 French frigates
Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Bellone (32)   Presence in this battle to be confirmed
La Fine (32) Armand Philippe Germain de Cajarc de Saint-Félix (Marquis de Maurémont) (1737-1819) Presence in this battle to be confirmed
La Cléopâtre (32) François Étienne de Rosily-Mesros (1748-1832) Presence in this battle to be confirmed
Convoyed Vessels

7 merchantmen, 1 Swedish chartered vessel and initially 4 small vessels bound for Senegal.

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Fortune (16)  

Notes on Action

Light descriptionE-WIKI

The Battle of Porto Praya was a naval battle that took place during the American Revolutionary War on 16 April 1781 between a British squadron under Commodore George Johnstone and a French squadron under the Bailli de Suffren.

Both squadrons were en route to the Cape of Good Hope, the British to take it from the Dutch, the French aiming to help defend it and French possessions in the Indian Ocean. The British convoy and its escorting squadron had anchored at Porto Praya (now Praia) in the Cape Verde Islands to take on water, when the French squadron arrived and attacked them at anchor.

Due to the unexpected nature of the encounter, neither fleet was prepared to do battle, and in the inconclusive battle the French fleet sustained more damage than the British, though no ships were lost. Johnstone tried to pursue the French, but was forced to call it off in order to repair the damage his ships had taken.

The French gained a strategic victory, because Suffren beat Johnstone to the Cape and reinforced the Dutch garrison before continuing on his journey to the Ile de France (now Mauritius).


E-WIKIWikipediaVarious, Web Site

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Tim Oakley on Friday 16th of August 2019 04:51

French fleet Bailli de Suffren
Artésien64 Captain killed
Three frigates
Fortune6 corvette

French Armed transports
Lord Townsend
Royal Charlotte
San Carlos

Posted by Jacques VALAT on Sunday 27th of September 2015 21:32

It seems that action isn't fullfilled
Many other ships were presents in the french squadron.
I could propose an amend. How can I do it ?

Make a comment about this page

Recent comments to other pages

Date postedByPage
Monday 12th of April 2021 11:28peter moodyBritish Merchant east indiaman 'Duke of Richmond' (1759)
Monday 12th of April 2021 08:38guy sandersFrench Fourth Rate ship of the line 'Le Diamant' (1733) (50)
Saturday 10th of April 2021 07:37cyBritish Fourth Rate ship of the line 'Deptford' (1732) (60)
Saturday 10th of April 2021 05:08Albert ParkerBritish Fourth Rate ship of the line 'Deptford' (1732) (60)
Thursday 8th of April 2021 15:33Dr. Tony Barrow Granville Thompson (d.1818)