Action of 1781-07-31

31st July 1781
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Action of 1781-07-21 21.7.1781
Next action : Action off Sandy Hook 15.8.1781


Great Britain

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Porcupine (24) Sir Charles Henry Knowles (2nd Baronet) (1754-1831)
Minorca (20) Hugh Lawson (c.1739-1782)

Royaume de France

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Montreal (32)  † CO Killed 4 killed, ? wounded

Notes on Action

An action, which is interesting as showing the British respect for a strong neutral, is that between the Porcupine, 24, Captain Sir Charles Henry Knowles, and Minorca, 18, xebec, Lieutenant Hugh Lawson, on the one hand, and the French Montreal, 32, on the other. The Montreal had under her charge a convoy of six ships. On July 30th, she was attacked by the two British ships on the Algerian coast; but these did not venture inshore to rake her owing to the risk of running aground. The three ships fought at long range for an hour and forty minutes, when the Porcupine and Minorca hauled off. The French lost four killed, including their captain; the English had five killed and two wounded. They retired because, had the Montreal struck, they could not have carried her off from Algerian waters, and because three other ships had appeared above the horizon. The French version represents the British as employing three frigates, three " corsaires,' a " senau " (snow), and a schooner. There is no mention of these craft in the British reports; the names of their captains, as given by the French, are suspiciously un-English, and their existence seems to have been due to a vivid imagination.

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Tim Oakley on Saturday 14th of October 2017 17:30

Captain de Vialis de Fontbelle commanded Le Montreal and was succeeded on his death by Count of LaPorte-Yssertieux his second in command

Posted by Tim Oakley on Saturday 14th of October 2017 17:20

Minorca Lieutenant Hugh Lawson according to the notes as Patrick Leslie was commanding 1780/01 1781/08 Enterprise (28) ?

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