Arethusa vs Belle Poule

17th June 1778
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Ranger vs Drake 24.4.1778
Next action : Encounter at Sandy Hook 22.7.1778


Great Britain

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Arethusa (32) Samuel Marshall (1741-1795), Charles Holmes Everitt8 killed, 36 wounded

Royaume de France

Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Belle Poule (32) Chevalier Jean-Isaac Chadeau de la Clocheterie (1741-1782)45 killed, 57 wounded



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Posted by Brian Stephens on Thursday 24th of April 2014 21:36

(EXTRACT.) Victory, at sea, June 20. 1778, at noon, the Lizard, N. 37 : 00. E. 19 leagues. SIR,
Before noon of yesterday we saw the Valiant and Monarch, who had chased from the fleet on the 17th, coming down; the Valiant with a crippled ship in tow ; which we soon perceived was the Arethusa, with her main-mast gone, and much shattered in other respects.
The Arethusa had come up with her chase on the evening of the 17th ; she proved a large French frigate with heavy metal, (the Belle Poule). Captain Marshall requested of the French captain to bring to; and informed him, he had orders to conduct him to his Admiral, who wished to speak to him: both which requests the French officer peremptorily refused to comply with. Captain Marshall then fired a shot across the frigate ; upon which the French captain instantaneously fired his whole broadside into the Arethusa, who was at that time very close alongside; which brought on an action on both sides, which continued for upwards of two hours. The Arethusa being much mattered in her masts, fails, and rigging, and there being very little wind to govern her, she was thrown in such a situation as not to be able to get her head towards the French ship, notwithstanding Captain Marshall's utmost endeavours so to do. The French ship's head being in with the land, and getting her foresail set, she stood into a small bay, where boats at day-light came out, and towed her into safety.
Captain Marshall appears to have conducted himself in the whole of this matter with the greatest spirit and gallantry, and speaks with great satisfaction of the behaviour of his officers and ship's company. The Arethusa had eight men killed.

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