Attack on Martinique

16th January 1759 - 19th January 1759
Part of : Seven Years' War (1756/05/17 - 1763/02/10)
Previous action : Blockade of Dunkirk 1759 1759
Next action : Capture of Guadeloupe 20.1.1759 - 1.5.1759


Great Britain

British Leeward Island's Squadron, John Moore (1717/18-1779)
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Cambridge (80) 80Thomas Burnett (1724-1783)Fleet Flagship
Saint George (90) 90Clark Gayton (1712-1787)
Norfolk (74) 74Robert Hughes (1716-1774)
Berwick (70) 64William Harman (d.1766)
Buckingham (68) 68Richard Tyrrell (1691-1766)
Burford (68) 68James Gambier (1723-1789)
Lion (60) 58Sir William Trelawny (c.1722-1772)
Rippon (60) 60Edward Jekyll (d.1776)
Panther (60) 60Molyneaux Shuldham (1717-1798)
Winchester (50) 50Sir Edward Le Cras (d.1784)
Bristol (50) 50Lachlan Leslie (d.1762)
Woolwich (44) 44Peter Parker (1715-1811)
Roebuck (44) 44Thomas Lynn (d.1781)
Ludlow Castle (44) 44Edward Clarke (d.1779)
Renown (30) 30George Mackenzie (d.1780)
Amazon (22) 22 
Rye (20) 20Daniel Dering (d.1760)
Weazle (16) 16John Boles (d.1761)
Antigua (14) 14Weston Varlo (d.1789)
Bonetta (10) 10Richard King (1730-1806)
Spy (10) 10William Bayne (1730-1782)
Kingfisher (10) 8Sabine Deacon (d.1759)
Falcon (10) 8Mark Robinson (1722-1799)
Granado (8) 8Samuel Uvedale (d.1809)
Infernal (8) 8James Mackenzie (c.1715-1789)

Notes on Action


The British force on the Leeward Islands' station, under Commodore John Moore, was strengthened by eight ships of the lino under Captain Robert Hughes, and by troops under Major-General Hopson, in order that the force might reduce some of the French Caribbean Islands, which were supposed to be weakly garrisoned. The troops left England in November, 1758, under convoy of Captain Hughes, and reached Carlisle Bay, Barbados, in January, 1759. There Commodore Moore was met with. On the 13th of that month the whole force sailed for Martinique, and on the afternoon of the 15th entered Fort Royal Bay. On the morning of the 16th the Bristol, 50, Captain Leslie, and the Ripon, 60, Captain Jekyll, silenced and occupied a, fort on Negro Point. The Winchester, 50, Captain Le Cras, Woolwich, 44, Captain Peter Parke, and Roebuck, 44, Captain Thomas Lynn, cannonaded the batteries in the Bay of Cas des Navires, where it was intended to disembark troops.

A landing was effected at about 4 P.M. under Captains Molyneux Shuldham, James Gambier, and Thomas Burnett; and, by the following morning, nearly the whole army was ashore. But against 4400 British, available for the service, there were at least 10,000 French, including their militia; and, after some small operations had been attempted, General Hopson, despairing of success, withdrew his troops to the transports.

The expedition then proceeded to St. Pierre, the capital of the island. But, on his arrival off that place on the 19th, the Commodore did nothing except send in the Ripon, 60, Captain Jekyll, to attack some batteries, the reduction of which would not in the least have influenced the general fate of the island. Jekyll was quite unsupported; and, having fought from '1 till 4.30 P.M. with great gallantry and silenced one battery, he was obliged to cut his cable and tow off. The position of the Ripon was for some time not unlike that of the Formidable under Captain de St. lion at the attack on Lissa in 1866. She narrowly escaped grounding, and could not entirely get clear till 6 P.M. Jekyll behaved magnificently. It was then decided to abandon the attempt on Martinique, and to attack Guadeloupe


TRN4The Royal Navy : a history from the earliest times to the present Vol IVWilliam Laid ClowesDigital Book

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