Action of 12th April 1742

12th April 1742
Part of : War of the Austrian Succession (1740/12/16 - 1748/10/18)
Previous action : Action of January 7 1741 7.1.1741
Next action : Action of 4th June 1742 4.6.1742

The Spaniards at that time sent out a new governor to Cartagena, and with him a reinforcement of over a thousand men. The troops were in five ships of the Caracas company, of which two mounted 40, two 30, and the fifth 12 guns. The squadron was dispersed by a hurricane, and two of the ships were lost, while the others, one of the 40's and both the 30's, fell in on April 12th, 1742, with the Eltham, 40, Captain Edward Smith, and the Lively, 20, Commander Henry Stewart.


Great Britain

British Ships, Edward Smith (d.1743)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Eltham (40) Edward Smith (d.1743)Fleet Flagship
Lively (20) Henry Swaysland (d.1757)


Ships of the Caracas Company (1x40, 2 x30)
Ship NameCommanderNotes

Notes on Action

The aftermathTRN3

After some hours' hard fighting, night ended the engagement, and the Spaniards bore up for Puerto Rico. As they had lost in killed and wounded some six hundred men, including the new governor among the former, it may be said that the reinforcement had been practically annihilated.

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Brian Stephens on Monday 5th of May 2014 21:45

Letter from New England, from a Captain to his friend at Barbadoes, dated Aug. 1742
I sailed from this Port the 4th of Jan. last, bound to your Island, but fell in with three large Spanish ships of 60, 40, and 32 guns all full of land forces, so that I was obliged to strike directly. They sent my ship to Porto Rico but kept me in the 60 gun ship. A few days after we met the Antigua station ships, the Eltham, and Lively, one of 40 guns the other of 20. They came up with the Spaniards and fought them very bravely, notwithstanding the great odds, and the Commodore whose ship I was, would have struck several times, the English had fired so fast on them, but an Irish land officer on board, demanded and insisted the Captain should not strike, but if he did not chose ?? give the command to him, which hindered the Captain from striking . The English killed between 6 an 700 men, and tore the ships to pieces, so that it was with great difficulty they were kept up; and had there been one hour more day; or could the English have come up in the morning, they must have taken all the tree. They were obliged to make the best of their way to Porto Rico and it was with no small difficulty they reached that Port. They had a vast quantity of bale goods on board, and a great sum of money to pay the soldiers . They were reckoned the richest ships that sailed from Spain this year.

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