Action of 1781-06-19

19th June 1781
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Ulysses vs Surveillante 6.6.1781
Next action : Action of 1781-07-21 21.7.1781


Great Britain

British Squadron
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Flora (36) William Peere Williams (1740/41-1832)Fleet Flagship
Castor (36)   Captured
Crescent (28) John Bligh (1735-1795) Captured

Royaume de France

Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Gloire (32)  
La Friponne (32) Chevalier Henri Pantaléon de Mac Nemara (1743-1790)

Notes on Action

Following the action on 30th May the three ships repaired their injuries as well as they could, and stood away for England. On June 19th, however, while the Flora was chasing a privateer, a squall suddenly cleared and revealed to her two French frigates, which at once gave chase. The battered appearance of the three British vessels doubtless encouraged the French to confront such formidable odds. Captain Williams did not think it safe to risk an action after the heavy losses he had sustained. He had not much more than three hundred unwounded people to work and fight three ships requiring crews of seven hundred men. The three parted company and steered different courses. The Castor was overtaken by the Friponne, 32, and with only seventy-five British seamen on board, nearly all of whom were at the pumps or working the ship, struck at the first shot. The Crescent had only five men to each gun on her broadside, and but nine Marines to act as a small-arms' party. She offered some resistance, but she, too, had quickly to strike. The Flora alone succeeded in escaping.

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