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First Battle of Groix

Cornwallis's Retreat

16th June 1795 - 17th June 1795
Part of : The French Revolutionary Wars (1793 - 1802)
Previous action : Alarm vs Liberte 30.5.1795
Next action : Action of Ile Groix 23.6.1795

 

Great Britain

 
English Ships,
The Hon. William CornwallisBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1755-1807
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Royal Sovereign (100) 1786-1841
British 100 Gun
1st Rate Ship of the Line
1825 Renamed "Captain"
Henry NichollsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1780-1814
,
John WhitbyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1791-1805
Fleet Flagship
Mars (74) 1794-1823
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Sir Charles Cotton (5th Baronet)British
Naval Sailor
Service 1772-1810
Bellerophon (74) 1786-1836
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1824 Renamed "Captivity"
James CranstounBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1776-1796
Triumph (74) 1764-1850
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Sir Erasmus GowerBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1762-1810
Brunswick (74) 1790-1826
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
The Hon. Charles FitzgeraldBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1778-1808
,
William BrowellBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1778-1794
Phaeton (38) 1782-1828
British 38 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Robert StopfordBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1780-1830
Pallas (32) 1793-1798
British 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
The Hon. Henry CurzonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1776-1830
Kingfisher (18) 1782-1798
British 18 Gun
Unrated Sloop
Thomas Le Marchant GosselinBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1787-1841
 

République Française

 
French Fleet,
Louis Thomas Villaret de JoyeuseFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1802-1809
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Océan (122) 1790-1855
French 122 Gun
1st Rate Ship of the Line
1793 Renamed "Côte d'Or"
1793 Renamed "Montagne"
1795 Renamed "Peuple"
1795 Renamed "Océan"
Jacques AngotFrench
Naval Sailor
Fleet Flagship
Redoutable (74) 1791-1805
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1794 Renamed "Redoutable"
 Squadron Flagship
Mucius (74) 1787-1804
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1793 Renamed "Mucius"
LareguyFrench
Naval Sailor
Le Jean Bart (74) 1790-1809
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
LegouardunFrench
Naval Sailor
L'Alexandre (74) 1794-1795
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
François Charles GuillemetFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1750-1820
Les Droits de l'Homme (74) 1794-1797
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Sébire-BeauchêneFrench
Naval Sailor
Formidable (74) 1794-1795
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1793 Renamed "Marat"
1795 Renamed "Formidable"
Le Fougueux (74) 1785-1805
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Giot-LabrierFrench
Naval Sailor
Le Nestor (74) 1793-1809
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1797 Renamed "Cisalpin"
1803 Renamed "Aquilon"
Jean Gaspard VenceFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1779-1802
Le Tigre (74) 1793-1795
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Jacques BedoutFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1751-1818
Le Wattignies (74) 1794-1809
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
DonatFrench
Naval Sailor
,
Antoine René ThévenardFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1794-1798
Le Zélé (74) 1763-1806
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1805 Renamed "Reserve"
Aved MagnacFrench
Naval Sailor
Le Brave (42) 1781-1803
French 42 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
La Scévola (54) 1794-1796
French 54 Gun
4th Rate Frigate
 
La Cocarde Nationale (40) 1794-1802
French 40 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
1796 Renamed "Cocarde"
Pierre Maurice Julien de QuérangalFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1795-1803
La Régénéré (40) 1794-1801
French 40 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
 
La Proserpine (38) 1785-1796
French 38 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
François Henri Eugène AugierFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1782-1831
La Fidèle (32) 1789-1802
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
 
L'Insurgente (32) 1793-1799
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
 
La Néréide (32) 1779-1797
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
 
 

Notes on Action


Naval General Service MedalBG
A Naval General Service Medal Clasp was authorised for this action in 1847

Sources


IDNameAuthorType
BGThe London GazetteOfficial, Web Site

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Brian on Thursday 28th of January 2016 22:04

Extract of a Letter from Vice-Admiral Cornwallis to Evan Nepean, Esq, Secretary to the Admiralty. Royal Sovereign, at Sea, June 19, 1795. I Have the Honor of acquainting you, for the Information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that on the 16th in the morning in with the land near Penmarks, I sent the Phaeton ahead to look out for any of the enemy's ships upon the coast. I stood after her with the rest of the ships. At ten she made a signal for seeing a fleet ahead and afterward and that they were of superior force. Upon her bringing to, I made the signal to haul to the wind upon the starboard tack. At this time I could not see the hulls of the strange sails. Thirty were counted and some of them had all their sail out upon a wind, being directly to Leeward of us. I stood upon the starboard tack with all our sail, keeping the ships collected. Upon inquiring by signal the enemy's force, Capt. Stopford answered, thirteen line of battle ships, fourteen frigates, two brigs. and a cutter; in all thirty sail. Near half of them tacked inshore in the afternoon; the wind fell very much and came round to the northward, off the land, and of course brought those ships of the enemy (which had tacked) to windward, and the others laid up for us. They were seen in the morning before it was daylight upon both quarters of the squadron.
At nine in the morning one of the front line of Battle Ships began to fire upon the Mars. Their frigates were ranged up abreast of us to windward, except one, which kept to leeward, and ran up upon the larboard quarters of the Mars, then yawed and fired, which was frequently repeated. This was the only frigate that attempted anything. The line of battle ships came up in succession, and a teasing fire, with intervals, was kept up during the whole day. In the evening they made a show of a more serious attack on the Mars, (which had gotten a little to leeward) and obliged me to bear up for her support. This was their last effort, if anything they did can deserved that appellation. Several shots were fired for two hours after, but they appeared to be drawing off, and before sunset their whole fleet had tacked and were standing from us. The Mars and Triumph being the sternmost ships were of course more exposed to the enemy's fire; and I cannot too much command the spirited conduct of Sir Charles Cotton and Sir Erasmus Gower, the Captains of those ships. Lord Charles Fitzgerald also in the Brunswick kept up a heavy good fire from the after guns, but that ship was the whole time obliged to carry every sail. The Bellerophon being nearly under the same circumstances. I was glad to keep in some measure as a reserve having reason at first to suppose there would be full occasion for the utmost exertion of us all, and being a rather ahead of me was not able to fire much, I considered that ship as a treasure in store, having heard of her former achievements and observing the spirit manifested by all on board when she passed me, joined to the activity and zeal shown by Lord Cranstoun during the whole cruise.
Little damage had been received by the ships in general, except the sterns having been very much shook by firing the guns. The Mars reports twelve men wounded, but none killed; the main mast, fore and fore-top=-sail wounded, and her rigging and sails cut a good deal. The Triumph has shifted and repaired some of her sails, but any damage she has received is so trifling, at least in the Captain's eye, that Sir Erasmus Gower had not thought it worth reporting; indeed the cool and firm conduct of that ship was such, that it appeared to me the enemy's ships dared not to come near her.

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