Battle of Saint Kitts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Battle of St. Kitts)
Jump to: navigation, search
Battle of St. Kitts
Part of the American Revolutionary War
Battle of Frigate Bay.jpg
Battle of Frigate Bay, 1782, Hood's anchored fleet (left) repels the French fleet under De Grasse. From a painting by Nicholas Pocock
Date 24–25 January 1782
Location Off Basseterre, St. Kitts, West Indies
Result British tactical victory[1][2]
Belligerents
 Great Britain  France
Commanders and leaders
Sir Samuel Hood Comte de Grasse
Strength
22 ships of the line 26 ships of the line
Casualties and losses
72 killed and 244 wounded 107 killed and 204 wounded
1 ship captured[3]

The Battle of Saint Kitts, also known as the Battle of Frigate Bay, was a naval battle that took place on 25 and 26 January 1782 during the American Revolutionary War between a British fleet under Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood and a larger French fleet under the Comte de Grasse.

Background[edit]

When Hood returned to the West Indies in late 1781 after the Battle of the Chesapeake, he was for a time in independent command owing to Rodney's absence in England. The French Admiral, the Comte de Grasse, attacked the British islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis Hood hoping to salvage the situation made for St Kitts with reinforcements however he soon learned that he was facing a much superior force. De Grasse had landed 6,000 men on St Kitts and laid siege to the fortress on Brimstone Hill.

Action[edit]

The British fleet on 24 January consisting of twenty-two sail of the line, was close off the south-east end of Nevis. It soon ran into and captured the French 16-gun cutter Espion carrying a large amount of ammunition for the use of the besieging French forces at Brimstone Hill. At daybreak on the 25th, the French fleet was discovered standing to the southward of Basseterre, comprising one ship of 110 guns, twenty-eight two-decked ships, and two frigates. Hood stood towards the French fleet, with the apparent intention of bringing on action, which had the effect of drawing the French fleet off the land. This was achieved but no sooner had Hood effected this he was aided by a favourable change in the wind, and took his fleet within the anchorage of Basseterre or Frigate Bay, which the French admiral had quit. Hood ordered his fleet in an L formation and once this had been achieved he then ordered his fleet to lay anchor. Comte de Grasse, in frustration made three distinct and vigorous attacks upon the British fleet on the 26th but was successively repulsed with great damage to his ships.[2]

Aftermath[edit]

Further information: Siege of Brimstone Hill

Losses on both sides were light but the French fleet had suffered considerable damage. Hood managed to stay in the position for another two weeks without further incident. Despite outmanoeuvring De Grasse, Hood was unable to save the island from surrendering to the French, due in part to the French siege of Brimstone Hill, a fortress on the island. This happened on 12 February and Hood left on the 14th. Hood then joined forces with the recently arrived Admiral George Rodney.

Order of Battle[edit]

Britain[edit]

Admiral Sir Samuel Hood's fleet
Ship Rate Guns Commander Casualties Notes
Killed Wounded Total
Van
HMS St Albans Third rate 64 Captain Charles Inglis
0
0
0
HMS Alcide Third rate 74 Captain Charles Thompson
2
4
6
HMS Intrepid Third rate 64 Captain Anthony James Pye Molloy
2
0
2
HMS Torbay Third rate 74 Captain Lewis Gedoin
0
0
0
HMS Princessa Third rate 70 Rear-Admiral Francis Samuel Drake
Captain Charles Knatchbull
2
4
6
Flagship of van
HMS Prince George Second rate 98 Captain James Williams
1
3
4
HMS Ajax Third rate 74 Captain Nicholas Charrington
1
12
13
Centre
HMS Prince William Third rate 64 Captain George Wilkinson
0
3
3
HMS Shrewsbury Third rate 74 Captain John Knight
3
7
10
HMS Invincible Third rate 74 Captain Charles Saxton
0
2
2
HMS Barfleur Second rate 98 Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood
Captain Alexander Hood
9
24
33
Flagship of centre
HMS Monarch Third rate 74 Captain Francis Reynolds
2
2
4
HMS Belliqueux Third rate 64 Captain Lord Cranstoun
5
7
12
HMS Centaur Third rate 74 Captain John Nicholson Inglefield
0
12
12
HMS Alfred Third rate 74 Captain William Bayne
2
20
2
Rear
HMS Russell Third rate 74 Captain Henry Edwyn Stanhope
8
29
37
HMS Resolution Third rate 74 Captain Lord Robert Manners
5
11
16
HMS Bedford Third rate 74 Commodore Edmund Affleck
Captain Thomas Graves
2
15
17
HMS Canada Third rate 74 Captain William Cornwallis
1
12
13
HMS Prudent Third rate 64 Captain Andrew Barclay
18
36
54
HMS Montagu Third rate 74 Captain George Bowen
7
23
30
HMS America Third rate 64 Captain Samuel Thompson
1
17
18
Attached frigates
Van
HMS Eurydice Sixth rate 20 Captain George Wilson
0
0
0
Centre
HMS Pegasus Sixth rate 28 Captain John Stanhope
0
0
0
HMS Fortunee Sixth rate 28 Captain Hugh Cloberry Christian
0
0
0
HMS Lizard Sixth rate 28 Captain Edmund Dod
0
0
0
HMS Champion Sixth rate 20 Captain Thomas Wells
1
1
2
To repeat signals
HMS Convert Fifth rate 32 Captain Henry Harvey
0
0
0
HMS Triton Sixth rate 28 Captain John M’Lawrin
0
0
0
Rear
HMS Sibyl Sixth rate 28 Captain John Norton
0
0
0
HMS Solebay Sixth rate 28 Captain Charles Everitt
0
0
0
Total recorded casualties: 72 killed, 244 wounded
Source: Isaac Schomberg's Naval Chronology, pp. 396–7, The London Gazette, 9 March 1782.[4]

France[edit]

Admiral the Comte de Grasse's fleet
Ship Guns Commander Fate
Ville de Paris 104 François Joseph Paul de Grasse
M. La Velleon
Auguste 80 Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Duc de Bourgogne 80 M. Espinouse
Couronne 80 Claude Mithon de Genouilly
Languedoc 80 M. d'Arros
Magnanime 74 Comte l'Basque
Northumberland 74 M de St. Cezaire
Pluton 74 M. d'Albert de Rions
Glorieux 74 Comte d'Escars
César 74 M. de Marigny
Hercule 74 M. la Clochetterie
Zélé 74 Chev. Gras Preville
Palmier 74 M. de Mortilly
Hector 74 M. le Vicomte
Souverain 74 M. de la Glendevis
Conquérant 74 M. de la Grandiere
Sceptre 74 Louis-Philippe de Vaudreuil
Citoyen 74 Comte d'Ethy
Destin 74 M. de Goimpy
Neptune 74 M. Destouches
Bourgogne 74 M. Champmartin
Dauphin Royal 70 M. Montpereux
Marseillais 74 Henri-César de Castellane Majastre[5]
Diadème 74
Éveillé 64 Comte Tilly
Réfléchi 64 Chev. de Boades
Jason 64 Chev. de Villages
Ardent 64 M. Groullon
Caton 64 Comte Fremont
Source: Isaac Schomberg's Naval Chronology, p. 398

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jaques, Hood arrived and repulsed de Grasse with victory at sea off Basseterre p. 881
  2. ^ a b Allen p. 325
  3. ^ Marly p. 342
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 12277. pp. 3–4. 1782-03-09. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  5. ^ Batailles navales de la France, Onésime-Joachim Troude, Challamel ainé, 1867, vol.2, p. 215

References[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 17°09′N 62°35′W / 17.150°N 62.583°W / 17.150; -62.583