Action off Cape Cepet

24th May 1804
Part of : The French Revolutionary Wars (1793 - 1802)
Previous action : Capture of Surinam 25.4.1804 - 5.5.1804
Next action : Hippomenes vs Buonaparte 21.6.1804


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

British Squadron, George Campbell (1759-1821)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Canopus (80) John ConnFleet Flagship
Donegal (76) Sir Richard John Strachan (6th Baronet of Thornton, Kincardine) (1760-1828)
Amazon (38) William Parker (1781-1866)

République Française

French Squadron
Ship NameCommanderNotes

Notes on Action

On May 24th there occurred an affair which, at one moment, seemed inclined to develop into a serious action. The main body of the British fleet was out of sight in the offing; and the Canopus, 80, Rear-Admiral George Campbell, Captain John Conn, Donegal, 74, Captain Sir Richard John Strachan, and Amazon, 38, Captain William Parker, with a very slight S.W. breeze, were standing on the port tack, eastward of Cape Cepet, in order to reconnoitre the outer road, when, just before noon, a French ship of the line and frigate were seen under sail close off the entrance to the harbour. At 12.30 P.M. the British ships tacked in succession, being then about three miles from the shore. No sooner had they begun to put about than a number of gunboats swept out from under Cape Cepet, and began a long-range fire at the Amazon. The Canopus, tiring a few of her lower-deck guns, stood on to the S.E. by E. with a strengthening breeze which by that time blew from the W.N.W. As soon as the heavy guns made themselves heard in Toulon, two French ships of the line and two frigates, followed at 2.30 P.M. by two more of the line, slipped and made sail to assist their consorts outside. The leading French ship, a frigate, being upon the weather quarter of the Canopus, presently opened upon that vessel and the Donegal, which, of course, returned the compliment; but, having so superior a force in chase, Rear- Admiral Campbell did not feel justified in encouraging an attack, and ordered his division to make sail. The pursuit was relinquished at 3.30 P.M., and at 9.30 P.M. the detachment rejoined the Comrnander-in-Chief .

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