Affair of Fielding and Bylandt

31st December 1779
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Action of 1779-12-21 21.12.1779 - 22.12.1779
Next action : Operations against Charleston 1.1780 - 5.1780


Dutch Republic

Dutch Squadron, Lodewijk van Bylandt (1718-1793)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Prinses Royaal Fredrika Sophia Wilhelmina (64)  Fleet Flagship
Zwieten (44) Nauman
Argo (40) Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen (1735-1819)
Valk (24) Silvester
Alarm (24) Mulder

Great Britain

British Squadron, Charles Fielding (1738-1783)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Namur (90) Charles Fielding (1738-1783)Fleet Flagship
Centaur (74) John Neale Pleydell Nott (c.1732-1781)
Courageux (74) Lord Constantine John Phipps (2nd Baron Mulgrave) (1744-1792)
Thunderer (74) The Hon. Robert Boyle (1736-1780)
Valiant (74) Samuel Granston Goodall (d.1801)
Portland (50) Anthony Hunt (c.1734-1796)
Buffalo (30) Hugh Bromedge (c.1714-1792)
Emerald (32) Samuel Marshall (1741-1795)
Camel (24) Richard Rodney Bligh (1737-1821)
Seaford (20) Isaac Prescott (c.1737-1830)
Hawk (10) Richard Murray (c.1734-1789)
Wolf (8) Martin Cole (c.1728-1803)

Notes on Action

On the last day of the year 1779 a British squadron under Captain Charles Feilding came up with a large Dutch convoy in charge of the Dutch Rear-Admiral van Bylandt, who had with him two sail of the line and two frigates. It was notorious that the Dutch ships were laden with naval stores and other contraband of war for the French. Captain Feilding requested permission to search these ships, but it was refused him; and van Bylandt declared that he would fire if any such search were attempted. Next day, however (January 1st), boats were sent from the British ships, on which the Dutch fired, and the British warships replied by opening on the Dutch. His honour being now satisfied, van Bylandt struck, though no blood had been shed in the interchange of compliments. Captain Feilding refused to accept the surrender, and returned to port with nine prizes, which were all condemned in due course.

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