Capture of the Duquesne

25th July 1803
Part of : The French Revolutionary Wars (1793 - 1802)
Previous action : Action of 1801-09-02 2.9.1801
Next action : Action of 1803-09-02 2.9.1803


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Unknown Division
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Bellerophon (74) John Loring (d.1808)Squadron Flagship
Cumberland (74) Henry William Bayntun (1766-1840)
Theseus (74) John Bligh (1770-1831)
Vanguard (74) James Walker (1764-1831)1 killed, 1 wounded
Aeolus (32) Andrew Fitzherbert Evans
Tartar (32) Charles Inglis (d.1833), John Perkins (d.1812)

République Française

Unknown Division
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Duquesne (74)   Captured

Notes on Action

Amongst the French ships blockaded in the harbour of Cap Francois, San Domingo, were the Duguay Trouin, 74, Captain P. L'Hermite, Duquesne, 74, flying the broad pennant of Commodore P. M. J. Querengal, and Guerriere, 40, Captain L. A. Baudoin, forming part of the command of Rear-Admiral Latouche-Treville. Peremptory orders had arrived from France directing that all the ships should be sent home; and accordingly, during a violent squall on the afternoon of July 24th, the above-mentioned vessels put to sea, the British squadron, commanded by Commodore John Loring, having been driven to some distance from the harbour by the weather. When, however, the French ships cleared the harbour, they were seen and chased by several of Loring's vessels, including the 74's, Bellerophon, with the Commodore's broad pennant, Elephant, Captain George Dundas, Theseus, Captain John Bligh, and Vanguard, Captain James Walker, with the frigates, AEolus, 32, Captain Andrew Fitzherbert Evans, and Tartar, 32, Captain John Perkins. As darkness came on, the French ships separated, the Duguay Trouin standing to the east, and the Duquesne to the west, the latter intending to regain the harbour. The Elephant followed the Duguay Trouin, the Bellerophon, Aeolus, and Tartar, the Duquesne. The latter group of ships was joined at midnight by the Theseus and Vanguard. The Duquesne was prevented by the lightness of the wind the weather having abated from making the harbour, and was compelled to follow the coast, annoyed the while by the distant fire of the Tartar. A Haytian battery also opened on the Frenchman as he passed, and received his fire in return. At 2.45 P.M. on the 25th, the Vanguard and Tartar were close enough to attack with effect. The Duquesne, luffing to avoid being raked by the Vanguard, found herself surrounded by British ships. The Bellerophon and Aeolus were within gunshot of her; the Cumberland, 74, Captain Henry William Bayntun, was also coming up; and the Tartar, on her starboard quarter, and the Vanguard, just astern, maintained a heavy fire on her. Her own crew was physically and numerically weak, by reason of disease. According to Troude, she had not a man for her 18-pr. battery, or for her quarter-deck and forecastle guns. The only weapons manned were twelve of her 36-prs. on the lower deck. Unable to offer any effective resistance to such odds, she struck her flag, when some fifteen miles to the east of Cape Maysi. A certificate given to her captain by Latouche-Treville, when she was ordered out, shows that her whole crew numbered only 275, of whom 60 or more were either in sick-bay or just recovering. In this total were none of the most important ratings, such as carpenters and sail-makers. Her decks were crowded with wounded or sick passengers. Altogether, she was in no condition to resist an enemy. She was added to the British Navy under her own name. In the British squadron, the Vanguard had 1 killed and 1 wounded.

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