Minerva vs Concorde

22nd August 1778
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Renown vs Languedoc 13.8.1778
Next action : Fox vs Junon 11.9.1778


Great Britain

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Minerva (32) John Stott (c.1729-1778) Captured

Royaume de France

Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Concorde (32) Armand Le Gardeur de Tilly (1733-1812)

Notes on Action

Descripton of the actionTRN4

On August 22nd, the British 32-gun frigate Minerva, Captain John Stott, whilst on a cruise in the West Indies, and unaware that war had broken out, met the Concorde, 32, Captain de Tilly. Captain Stott, taking her for a harmless merchantman, was approaching to speak her, when the Concorde fired a broadside, and followed this up with a second before the Minerva could reply. The ships were of equal force, and the British crew, though caught off their guard, made a brave resistance. But luck was against them: an explosion of powder under the half-deck dismounted three guns, killed or wounded eighteen men, and caused great confusion. Another gun was put out of action by an accident. The seamen, intimidated by the explosion began to bolt from the guns. Captain Stott, twice severely wounded in the head, had been carried below. The mizenmast went overboard; the other masts were tottering; the wheel was shot away; and the officers had lost control of the men. The battle lasted two and a half hours and then at last the Minerva, struck. Her loss was very heavy, though exact figures cannot be given. Both Captain Stott and the first Lieutenant died of their wounds, aggravated by grief at the loss of their ship. On the other hand, the Concorde lost few men and suffered but little damage. Her captain's brother, who was serving on board, died of his wounds.

The defeat of the Minerva cannot be ascribed to any want of valour or skill on the part of her crew. It was due simply to the fact that she was undermanned and unprepared. She was retaken later, and named Recovery.

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