Flora vs Nymphe

10th August 1780
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Action off Cape Ortegal 5.7.1780
Next action : Capture of the Unicorn 4.9.1780


Great Britain

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Flora (36) William Peere Williams (1740/41-1832) 9 killed, 17 wounded

Royaume de France

Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Nymphe (32) du Rumain (d.1780) Captured 55 killed, 81 wounded

Notes on Action

On August 10th was fought the famous action between the Flora and Nymphe, which demonstrated the value of the carronade, then newly introduced into the British Navy. The Flora, 36, Captain William Peere Williams, was off Ushant, when, in the afternoon, she sighted and chased a cutter and a frigate. The former got away; the latter was overhauled and brought to action soon after five, when she proved to be the French 32-gun Nymphe, Captain Du Rumain. The two fought yardarm to yardarm from 5.45 to 6.15 P.M., during which time the Flora's wheel was shot away and her shrouds and rigging were greatly cut up. On the other side the French captain was mortally wounded by four musket-shot, a magazine of cartridges exploded, the ship was twice on fire, and terrible havoc was wrought on deck by one of the Flora's 18-pr. forecastle carronades, handled by only the boatswain and a boy. At 6.15 the ships fell on board one another. The French sounded " boarders away," abandoned their guns, and endeavoured to carry the Flora. The attempts of the French to board having been easily repulsed, it was now the turn of the British. They dashed on to the Nymphe's deck, which presented a horrible scene of slaughter, and quickly were masters of the ship.

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