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Action of March 25 1747

25th March 1747 (1747/04/05 NS)
Part of : War of the Austrian Succession (1740/12/16 - 1748/10/18)
Previous action : Action of 1746-10-12 12.10.1746
Next action : 1st Battle of Cape Finisterre 3.5.1747


Great Britain

British Squadron,
Digby DentBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1726-1758
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Lennox (70) 1723-1756
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Peter LawrenceBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1727-1755
Fleet Flagship 11 killed, 25 wounded
Plymouth (60) 1722-1764
British 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Digby DentBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1726-1758
2 killed, 9 wounded
Worcester (58) 1735-1765
British 58 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Thomas AndrewsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1741-1743
4 killed, 5 wounded

Royaume de France

French Convoy Escort
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Magnanime (74) 1744-1748
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Fleet Flagship
L'Alcide (64) 1743-1755
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Guy-François de Coëtnempren (Comte de Kersaint)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1718-1756
L'Étoile (50) 1745-1747
French 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line

Notes on Action

Description of the actionWOTA

While cruising 20 miles northwest of Cape Saint Nicholas Mole (Cap du Mole, Haiti), Commodore Digby Dent's force pursue a french convoy headiong south into the Bight of Leogane. It's naval escort turns to give battle, leaving the Etoile to protect the convoy

Action erupts shortly past noon. At 4:00 P.M. Lennox's foremast topples, compelling it to bring to and halting the engagement when the French retire towards their convoy


WOTAWars of the AmericasDavid Marley, Digital Book

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Albert Parker on Friday 13th of March 2020 05:24

French commanding officers on this occasion:
MAGNANIME: Capitaine de vaissseau Emmanuel Auguste de Cahideuc, comte du Bois de la Motte
ALCIDE: Capitaine de vaisseau Augustin Le Large, chevalier d'Ervaux
ARC-EN-CIEL: Lieutenant de vaisseau Charles de Saurins-Murat or Maurat (Saurins-Murat fils, i.e., "jr.")
ZÉPHYR: Lieutenant de vaisseau [Jacques-François de Laduz/La Duz de?] Vieuxchamps
ÉTOILE: Lieutenant de vaisseau Toussaint Julien Auffray, Seigneur du Guay-Lambert

Posted by Albert Parker on Friday 13th of March 2020 05:16

Lenox was in no sense a "fleet flagship" even if 3 ships constituted a "fleet." As stated at the head of this entry, the senior officer, in command of this ad hoc squadron and of the Jamaica station, was Captain Digby Dent, also commanding officer of HBMS_Plymouth_. The flag officer in command of the Jamaica station, Vice-Admiral Thomas Davers, had died in September 1746 and had been succeeded as acting commander of the station by Captain Cornelius Mitchell, (q.v.), also CO of HBMS _Strafford_. When the admiralty learned of his conduct in two previous actions against French captains Macnémara and Conflans, they had sent orders to Mitchell to transfer command to the next senior officer, Dent, and to Dent to court-martial Mitchell. (The court had cashiered Mitchell and "mulcted" [fined] him 5 years' pay.)
On this date, HMXMS _Étoile_ was at St. Louis on the south shore of Saint-Domingue, waiting for Captain du Bois de la Motte (q.v. for his full name) (also CO of _Magnanime_) to join her there to pick up homeward bound merchantmen and escort them to the overall colony rendezvous at Cape François (now Cape Haitiën). Du Bois de la Motte's fourth warship was frigate _Zéphyr_ (with variant spellings with an "I" instead of a "y" and with an "e" after the "r"), 32, a 1½ decker with 8 × 12 on the main deck, 22 × 8 on the upper deck, and 4 × 4 on the quarterdeck. She was the ship that was sent on ahead with the merchantmen. The _Étoile_ error is common in British accounts of this action.
Because of damage incurred in this action, du Bois de la Motte and his other captains agreed that the squadron should not go all the way to St. Louis. From Petit Goave, on the north shore of the long peninsula that St. Louis is located on, a message was sent overland to the captain of _Étoile_ to take the merchantmen in his charge to Europe directly. They sailed on April 5/16 and went west around Cuba and past Havana before debouching into the Atlantic. They didn't make it to France, being forced into an Asturian port where _Étoile_ and all the merchantment still with here were captured or burned.

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