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Battle of Fort Royal

29th April 1781 - 30th April 1781
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Battle of Porto Praya 16.4.1781
Next action : Santa Leocadia vs Canada 2.5.1781

 

Great Britain

 
British squadron,
Sir Samuel Hood (1st Baronet Hood)British
Naval Sailor
Service 1741-1790

This fleet was doing the Fort Royal port blockade.

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Alfred (74) 1778-1814
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
William BayneBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1749-1782
Belliqueux (64) 1780-1816
British 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Thomas FitzherbertBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1739-1794
,
James BrineBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1757-1810
Alcide (74) 1779-1817
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Charles ThompsonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1754-1799
Invincible (74) 1765-1801
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Charles SaxtonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1747-1806
,
Richard Hussey BickertonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1774-1825
Monarch (74) 1765-1813
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Lord Francis ReynoldsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1752-1787
Barfleur (98) 1768-1819
British 98 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
John Nicholson InglefieldBritish
Naval Sailor
Dockyard Staff
Service 1766-1796
Fleet Flagship Rear-Admiral Samuel Hood
Terrible (74) 1762-1781
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
John Thomas DuckworthBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1759-1817
,
James FergusonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1742-1793
Princessa (70) 1780-1809
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Sir Thomas Rich (5th Baronet Rich)British
Naval Sailor
Service 1758-1801
Ajax (74) 1767-1785
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
John SymonsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1747-1799
Resolution (74) 1770-1813
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Lord Robert MannersBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1778-1782
Montagu (74) 1779-1818
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
John HoultonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1744-1790
Gibraltar (80) 1780-1836
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Richard Hussey BickertonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1774-1825
Squadron Flagship Rear-Admiral Francis Samuel Drake
Centaur (74) 1759-1782
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
John Neale Pleydell NottBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1746-1764
Prince William (64) 1780-1817
British 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Stair DouglasBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1749-1783
Torbay (74) 1749-1784
British 74 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
1750 Renamed "Torbay"
John Lewis GidoinBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1742-1795
Intrepid (64) 1770-1815
British 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Anthony James Pye MolloyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1768-1794
Shrewsbury (74) 1758-1783
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Mark RobinsonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1740-1787
Lizard (28) 1757-1828
British 28 Gun
6th Rate Frigate
Edmund DoddBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1760-1810
 

Royaume de France (Marine Royale) -
François-Joseph Paul de Grasse (Seigneur de Tilly)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1722-1788

 
Blue-and-White Squadron,
Louis Antoine Bougainville (Comte de Bougainville)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1770-1802
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Languedoc (90) 1766-1799
French 90 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1794 Renamed "Antifédéraliste"
1795 Renamed "Victoire"
Squadron Flagship
Le Citoyen (74) 1764-1793
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Alexandre de Thy (Comte d'Ethy)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1729-1789
Le Glorieux (74) 1756-1782
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
d'Escards (Vicomte )French
Naval Sailor
L'Auguste (84) 1778-1795
French 84 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1793 Renamed "Jacobin"
1794 Renamed "Neuf Thermidor"
Pierre Joseph CastellanFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1781-1782
Squadron Flagship
Le Souverain (74) 1757-1798
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1792 Renamed "Peuple Souverain"
Jean-Baptiste de Glandevès du Castellet (Baron de Glandevès)French
Naval Sailor
Administrator
Service 1741-1791
Le Diadème (74) 1756-1797
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1792 Renamed "Brutus"
Louis Augustin MontecercFrench
Naval Sailor
La Médée (32) 1778-1800
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
de Girardin (Chevalier )French
Naval Sailor
for the signals
 
White Squadron,
François-Joseph Paul de Grasse (Seigneur de Tilly)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1722-1788
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Zélé (74) 1763-1806
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1805 Renamed "Reserve"
Balthazar Gras-PrévilleFrench
Naval Sailor
Le Scipion (74) 1778-1782
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Le Northumberland (74) 1780-1794
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Bon Chrétien de Briqueville (Marquis )French
Naval Sailor
Service 1743-1784
La Ville de Paris (104) 1764-1782
French 104 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
Antoine Cresp de Saint-CézaireFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1781
,
Fleet Flagship
Le Sceptre (74) 1780-1811
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1792 Renamed "Convention"
1800 Renamed "Marengo"
Louis Rigaud de Vaudreuil (1st Comte de Vaudreuil)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1781-1783
L'Hector (74) 1755-1782
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Le Magnanime (74) 1779-1793
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
La Diligente (26) 1761-1782
French 26 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
de Mortemart (Vicomte )French
Naval Sailor
for the signals
Le Pandour (14) 1780-1795
French 14 Gun
Unrated Cutter
de Grasse-LimermontFrench
Naval Sailor
for the signals
 
Blue squadron,
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Bourgogne (74) 1766-1783
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Le Vaillant (64) 1755-1783
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Charles Louis de Bernard de Marigny (Chevalier )French
Naval Sailor
Service 1756-1782
Le Marseillais (74) 1766-1794
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1794 Renamed "Vengeur du Peuple"
Le César (74) 1768-1782
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Le Saint Esprit (84) 1765-1795
French 84 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1794 Renamed "Scipion"
Squadron Flagship
L'Hercule (74) 1778-1794
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1795 Renamed "Hydre"
L'Aigrette (30) 1756-1789
French 30 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
for the signals
L'Alerte (18) 1778-1781
French 18 Gun
Unrated Cutter
de ChabonsFrench
Naval Sailor
for the signals
 
Blockaded ships,

4 ships of the line

Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Victoire (74) 1770-1793
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Squadron Flagship
Le Caton (64) 1777-1782
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
de Framond (Comte )French
Naval Sailor
Le Refléchi (64) 1776-1793
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1793 Renamed "Turot"
Charles Louis de Bernard de Marigny (Chevalier )French
Naval Sailor
Service 1756-1782
,
Jean François Emmanuel Brune de BoadesFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1681-1781
Le Solitaire (64) 1774-1782
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 
Supply Convoy

120 ships carrying 3200 troops to West Indies under Marquis de Bouillé command

Ship NameCommanderNotes
 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Triton (64) 1747-1794
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Louis-Joseph Deydier de PierrefeuFrench
Naval Sailor
Administrator
Service 1755-1787
 

Notes on Action


PreludeE-WIKI

In March 1781, a large French fleet under the command of Comte de Grasse left the port of Brest. Most of this fleet was destined for the West Indies; of the 26 ships of the line, one was sent to North America, and five, under the command of the Bailli de Suffren, were destined for India. The remaining twenty arrived off Martinique on April 28. Before passing to the lee (western) side of the island, de Grasse anchored the fleet and sent someone ashore for news. He learned that a British fleet of 17 ships of the line under Samuel Hood was blockading Fort Royal, preventing the four French ships in anchored there from leaving.


Hood was under orders from the fleet's station commander, Admiral George Brydges Rodney, to maintain the blockade of the port on the lee side, in spite of his protestations that this would put him at a disadvantage in any action involving an arriving fleet. While he was disadvantaged by the position and his inferior strength, all of his ships had coppered bottoms (improving their performance), and he was not burdened with the responsibility of escorting a convoy.


Description of the actionE-WIKI
De Grasse ordered is fleet to prepare for action on the morning of April 29, and sailed for Fort Royal with the convoy ships hugging the coast, and the armed ships in battle line. Hood's fleet was spotted around 8 am, slowly bearing toward them, but de Grasse held the weather gage. At about 9:20, Hood was joined by the Prince William, a 64-gun ship that had been at St. Lucia. The two fleets then continued to maneuver for advantage, but Hood's leeward position meant he was unable prevent de Grasse from bringing the convoy to harbor, and the junction of de Grasse's fleet with the four blockaded ships. Around 11 de Grasse's van began firing at long range, with no effect. By 12:30 the fleets were aligned, but de Grasse refused to take advantage of the weather gage to close with Hood, in spite of Hood's efforts to bring the French to him. The fleets then exchanged cannonades and broadsides for the next hour, but at the long range, the damage incurred was modest. The four British ships on the southern end of the line suffered the most damage, since they were targeted by eight French ships. Hood finally drew away toward St. Lucia.
AftermathE-WIKI

Hood dispatched the Russell, which had been holed below the waterline to St. Eustatius for repairs, and to bring news of the action to Admiral Rodney. Hood spent the next day in fruitless attempts to gain the windward, and eventually made sail to the north. He met Rodney on May 11 between St. Kitts and Antigua, the latter having left St. Eustatius on May 5.

Reports of French casualties vary considerably, from as few as 74 killed and wounded to more than 250.



Sources


IDNameAuthorType
E-WIKIWikipediaVarious, Web Site

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