Battle of Spetses
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The naval Battle of Spetses was fought on 8 September (20 Sept in gregorian calendar) 1822 during the Greek War of Independence.
On 8 September (julian) 1822 the Ottoman navy set sail for Nafplion, in order to re-supply the town and the fortress of Palamidi, which were under siege by the Greek forces. It was also planned to attack the rebellious Greek islands of Spetses and Hydra before reaching Nafplion.
As the Ottoman navy neared Trikeri and Spetsopoula, they faced the naval forces of the islands of Spetses, Hydra and Psara, under the command of Andreas Miaoulis. Miaoulis ordered the Greek navy to sail towards the Argolic Gulf in order to make the Ottoman navy follow them and guide them away of the islands.
But most of the ships' captains (one of whom was Antonios Kriezis), afraid of risking Spetses security in that way, decided to ignore Miaoulis command and attacked directly against the Ottoman navy. The conflict between the small naval force and the Ottoman navy was enormous. According to general descriptions, it consisted in distant and ineffectual cannonade between the two fleets. An Algerian brick was damaged by fire, having boarded by mistake a Greek fireship.
According to Spetsiot local historian Anastasios Orlandos, however, the retreat of the Ottoman fleet occurred thanks to the conduct of Kosmas Barbatsis (1792–1887) who directed his fireship against the Ottoman flagship, which fled to avoid it, followed by the other Ottoman ships. This version is not mentioned in other contemporary accounts by A. Mioulis or T. Gordon.
After two days of calm, the Ottoman fleet entered the Gulf of Nauplia but didn't dare to approach the harbour by fear of the fireships, and sent only one Austrian ship which was captured. It sailed afterwards to Crete.
This attempt of resupply having failed, Napflion was captured by the Greek rebels about two and a half months later.
These events are commemorated in Spetses every year around 8 September by a festival, with a reconstruction of the naval battle based on an exaggerated version of the story, including the burning of the Ottoman flagship, an incident not mentioned in any historical sources.
- Anderson, Naval Wars in the Levant, p 488-489
- A Orlandos, Ναυτικά, ήτοι Ιστορία των κατά τον υπέρ ανεξαρτησίας της Ελλάδος αγώνα πεπραγμένων υπό των τριών ναυτικών νήσων, ιδίως δε των Σπετσών, t. 1 p 310