When Rear-Admiral Charles Knowles was cruising in search of a Spanish treasure fleet off Havana in 1748, he heard of a squadron of seven Spanish men of war nearby. He met them on 1 October and a brisk action ensued and one of the Spanish ships, the 'Conquistador', was captured by the admiral. The Spanish flagship was so badly damaged that her crew fired her to prevent her capture two days later. Despite the English advantage, it was thought that Knowles had not handled his squadron well and on his return to England he was court-martialled and reprimanded. This painting shows the action in progress. On the left of the picture are two English two-deckers to weather of the Spanish line, shown on the same tack. They are engaged and the main topgallant mast and yard of the second ship is being shot away. On the right of the picture in the background, and far down to lee is Knowles's flagship the 'Cornwall' repairing her topmast and engaged with the 'Conquistador'. Several other ships are near her including the two-decker with red galleries.
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