The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 351 pages of information about The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence.

[Footnote 25:  It may be recalled that a similar disposition was made by the Confederates at Mobile against Farragut’s attack in 1864, and that it was from these small vessels that his flagship Hartford underwent her severest loss.  To sailing ships the odds were greater, as injury to spars might involve stoppage.  Moreover, Howe’s arrangements brought into such fire all his heavier ships.]

[Footnote 26:  A letter to the Admiralty, dated October 8th, 1779, from Vice-Admiral Marriot Arbuthnot, then commander-in-chief at New York, states that “at spring tides there is generally thirty feet of water on the bar at high water.”]

[Footnote 27:  These four ships were among the smallest of the fleet, being one 74, two 64’s, and a 50.  D’Estaing very properly reserved his heaviest ships to force the main channel.]

[Footnote 28:  Flora, 32; Juno, 32; Lark, 32; Orpheus, 32; Falcon, 16.]

[Footnote 29:  I have not been able to find an exact statement of the number; Beatson gives eight regiments, with a reinforcement of five battalions.]

[Footnote 30:  It may be interesting to recall that this was the ship on the books of which Nelson’s name was first borne in the navy, in 1771.]

[Footnote 31:  Troude attributes d’Estaing’s sortie to a sense of the insecurity of his position; Lapeyrouse Bonfils, to a desire for contest.  Chevalier dwells upon the exposure of the situation.]

[Footnote 32:  For the respective force of the two fleets see pp. 66, 67, 71.]

[Footnote 33:  This account of the manoeuvres of the two fleets is based upon Lord Howe’s dispatch, and amplified from the journal of Captain Henry Duncan of the flagship Eagle which has been published (1902) since the first publication of this work.  See “Navy Records Society, Naval Miscellany.”  Vol. i, p. 161.]

[Footnote 34:  At the mouth of Delaware Bay.]

[Footnote 35:  Ante, p. 62.]

[Footnote 36:  Chevalier:  “Marine Francaise,” 1778.]

[Footnote 37:  Later Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, Bart., who perished in the Cato in 1783.  He was father of that Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, who in 1801 was Nelson’s commander-in-chief at Copenhagen, and who in 1778 commanded the Phoenix, 44, in Howe’s fleet. (Ante, pp. 39, 46.)]




During the same two months that saw the contest between d’Estaing and Howe in America the only encounter between nearly equal fleets in 1778 took place in European waters.  Admiral Keppel, having returned to Spithead after the affair between the Belle Poule and the Arethusa,[38] again put to sea on the 9th of July, with a force increased to thirty ships of the line.  He had been mortified by the necessity of avoiding action, and of even retiring into port, with the inadequate numbers before under his command, and his mind was fixed now to compel an engagement, if he met the French.

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