1782 Central Atlantic hurricane

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Sinking of the Ville de Paris

The Central Atlantic hurricane of 1782, was a hurricane that hit the fleet of British Admiral Thomas Graves as it sailed across the North Atlantic in September 1782. It is believed to have killed some 3,500 people.

On 25 July Admiral Graves sailed a fleet from Bluefields, Jamaica, escorted by a naval force consisting of his flagship, the 74-gun HMS Ramillies, and the 74-gun ships HMS Canada and HMS Centaur, with the 36-gun frigate HMS Pallas. Graves was escorting a number of French ships captured by the British during operations off North and Central America. These were the 110-gun Ville de Paris, the 74-gun ships Glorieux and Hector and the 64-gun Ardent, all captured at the Battle of the Saintes by Sir George Brydges Rodney's fleet, and the 74-gun Caton, captured at the Battle of the Mona Passage by Sir Samuel Hood. Also with the fleet were a number of British merchant ships. Graves also had under his command the captured former-French 74-gun Jason, but she did not leave with the rest of the fleet, having stayed at Jamaica to complete her watering.

In the night of 5 September, Hector met the French frigates Aigle and Gloire; in the ensuing Action of 5 September 1782, Hector sustained severe damage, but was saved from capture by the rest of the convoy.

On 17 September 1782, the fleet under Admiral Graves was caught in a violent storm off the banks of Newfoundland. Ardent and Caton were forced to leave the fleet and make for a safe anchorage, Ardent returning to Jamaica and Caton making for Halifax in company with Pallas. Of the rest of the warships, only Canada and Jason survived to reach England. The French prizes Ville de Paris, Glorieux and Hector foundered, as did HMS Centaur. HMS Ramillies had to be abandoned, and was burnt. A number of the merchant fleet, including Dutton, British Queen, Withywood, Rodney, Ann, Minerva and Mentor also foundered. Altogether around 3,500 lives were lost from the various ships.

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