Action of 1796-06-08

8th June 1796
Part of : The French Revolutionary Wars (1793 - 1802)
Previous action : Action of 1796-05-31 31.5.1796
Next action : Action of the 1796-07-15 15.7.1796


Great Britain

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Santa Margarita (36) Thomas Byam Martin (1773-1854)
Unicorn (32) Thomas Williams (1761-1841)

République Française

Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Tamise (32)   Captured
Tribune (32)   Captured 37 killed, 14 wounded

Notes on Action


On June 8th, the British frigates Santa Margarita, 36, Captain Thomas Byam Martin, and Unicorn, 32, Captain Thomas Williams, sighted in the Channel the French Tribune, 36, Captain Jean Moultson, Tamise, 36, Captain J. B. A. Fradin, and Legere, 18, Lieutenant J. M. M. Carpentier. 4 As the British ships approached, the Legere drew away from her two consorts. A running fight began at 1 P.M., as the result of which the British vessels suffered much in their masts and rigging. At 4 P.M., however, the Santa Margarita closed the Tamise, and fought her broadside to broadside, whilst the Unicorn continued the pursuit of the Tribune, After twenty minutes' fighting the Tamise struck. The Tamise was restored to the Navy under her original name, Thames.

The Unicorn after a long chase closed the Tribune at 10.30 P.M., and fought her for thirty-five minutes, when the Frenchman dropped astern. The Unicorn, backing her sails, followed her adroitly, placed herself on the Tribune s weather bow, brought down her foremast, mainmast and mizentop-mast, and compelled her to strike. It is, as James comments, extraordinary that the Unicorn should have suffered no loss; and the only conclusion is that the French gunnery was exceedingly bad. This was the third frigate action within a few months in which the same phenomenon occurred.

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