Action of August 3 1746

3rd August 1746
Part of : War of the Austrian Succession (1740/12/16 - 1748/10/18)
Previous action : Action of 1746-05-01 1.5.1746
Next action : Action of 10th Aug. 1746 10.8.1746


Great Britain

British Squadron, Cornelius Mitchell (d.1749)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Strafford (58) Cornelius Mitchell (d.1749)Fleet Flagship
Lennox (70) Peter Lawrence (d.1758)
Plymouth (60) Digby Dent (1710-1761)
Worcester (58) Thomas Andrews (d.1756)
Milford (44) Edward Rich (c.1720-1753)
Seahorse (20) Henry Dennis (d.1757)
Drake (14) Edward Clarke (c.1708-1779)

Royaume de France

French Squadron, Chevalier Hubert de Brienne (Comte de Conflans) (1690-1777)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Terrible (78) Chevalier Hubert de Brienne (Comte de Conflans) (1690-1777)Fleet Flagship
Le Neptune (74)  
L'Alcyon (50)  
La Gloire (46)  

Notes on Action

At Jamaica, Vice-Admiral Davers commanded until his death; but, being very ill with gout, had to depute Captain Cornelius Mitchell to go in search of M. de Conflans, who was expected with a convoy of ninety merchantmen at Cape Francois. Mitchell had four sail of the line, a frigate, and a sloop Conflans had but four vessels in all and Mitchell's superiority, though small, should, perhaps, have sufficed. Mitchell sighted the convoy on August 3rd off Cape St. Nicolas; but, as promptly as possible, he ordered his ships to close, and held a council of war. It was thereupon resolved to wait till daylight before bearing down upon the enemy; but, on the following morning, Mitchell was so backward in bringing on an engagement, in spite of the evident willingness of Conflans, that at 4 P.M. the squadrons had not exchanged a shot. At that hour everything was in his favour, and the breeze was fair; but he hauled to the wind and shortened sail. The enemy, after he had recovered from his astonishment, gave chase; and his headmost ship overhauled the Lenox, 64, at about 8 P.M., and fought her, without result, for an hour and a half. Mitchell that night ordered his ships to proceed without lights, and laid his course for Jamaica, where, on October 16th, owing to the death of Vice-Admiral Davers, the command devolved upon him. His behaviour having been represented to the Admiralty, he was superseded, and was tried at Jamaica by court-martial on January 28th following. The court convicted him of cowardice and neglect of duty; but less severe than many of the naval courts of that period, sentenced him only to be mulcted of five years' pay, adjudging him at the same time to be incapable of again serving in the Navy.

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Posted by Albert Parker on Friday 13th of March 2020 15:50

French Officers:
TERRIBLE: Capitaine de vaisseau Hubert de Brienne, comte de Conflans
NEPTUNE: Capitaine de vaisseau Frémont or Fromont de Villeneve (I've looked for his given or Christian name but have not been able to find it)
ALÇION: Lieutenant de vaisseau François Dominique Nicolas de Chauvereau (wounded)
GLOIRE: Capitaine de vaisseau Jean-Antoine de Charry, marquis des Gouttes
I'm not sure where the "Chevalier" for Conflans comes from; for French navy officers, it usually indicates a member of the Order of St. John of Malta, such as Suffren [a higher-ranking "Commandeur" of the order late in his career], but as far as I know Conflans was not a member of that order, which was celibate; most French navy captains were members of the order of St. Louis, which could also be conferred on senior lieutenants, but members of the order are not routinely referred to as "Chevalier." (Conflans had been a member of the order since 1732.) I don't have a detailed enough biography of Conflans or enough info about his later years to determine whether he was ever made a member of the top French order, the Order of the Holy Spirit (Saint Esprit). I don't think I've ever seen him referred to IN FRENCH as "Chevalier."

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