Action of 6 December 1782

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Action of 6 December 1782
Part of the American Revolutionary War
Date 6 December 1782
Location Off Martinique, Caribbean
Result British victory
 Great Britain  France
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Great Britain Captain John Collins Kingdom of France Jean-Charles de Borda
1 third rate ship of the line
HMS Ruby
1 third rate ship of the line
Casualties and losses
2 men wounded Solitaire captured,
35 killed & 55 wounded,
500 captured

The Action of 6 December 1782 was a single-ship action fought between HMS Ruby and the French ship Solitaire off the coast of Martinique. The Ruby easily defeated the Solitaire.

By the end of 1783 the Spanish and French had been on the defensive since the Battle of the Saintes, which signaled British domination of the seas in the Caribbean.[1] Soon after the Royal navy were conducting a blockade off Cap Francois and Fort Royal as well as keeping a watch off Havana.[2]


A French convoy was sighted off Martinique by the Royal Navy squadron of Rear Admiral Richard Hughes on 6 December 1782. One of his ships, the 64-gun HMS Ruby captained by John Collins, sighted the 1,521 ton French ship Solitaire of 64 guns under the command of Jean-Charles de Borda. Collins gave chase and eventually caught up and intercepted the Solitaire. After nearly forty minutes of action the Solitaire had her mizzenmast shot away, her rigging and sails in tatters and was becoming dead in the water when Borda decided to strike her colours.[3] The Solitaire had 35 men killed and 55 wounded whilst the Ruby had only two men wounded.[4]

Captain John Collins was knighted for his action. The Solitaire entered the Royal Navy as HMS Solitaire and remained in service until 1790, when she was sold out of the navy. Jean-Charles de Borda, although captured along with his entire crew, was shortly released and returned as an engineer in the French Navy. He later achieved fame as a mathematician, physicist and political scientist.[5]


  1. ^ Mahan, Alfred Thayer (2013). The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence. BoD – Books on Demand. pp. 225–6. ISBN 9783954273393. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Marley p. 175
  3. ^ Allen pp.316-17
  4. ^ "Caribbean: Events". Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Thread: On This Day 6 December". Retrieved 2 March 2013.