Rodney's fleet taking in prizes after the Moonlight Battle, 16 January 1780
A painting showing a scene after the Moonlight battle 16 January 1780. Sir George Rodney was appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Leeward Islands in the autumn of 1779, during the War of American Independence. On his way out there he convoyed supplies to the beleaguered garrison at Gibraltar, and to Minorca. On 16 January 1780, off Cape St Vincent, he sighted a Spanish squadron of ships of the line under Admiral de Langara. They had formed a line of battle as they were heading for their home port of Cadiz, a hundred miles to the south. Rodney ordered a general chase and just after 1600 the action began. Darkness fell soon afterwards and the chase continued through the night until 02:00, when the headmost of the Spanish squadron surrendered. Four ships of the line together with the two frigates escaped, but six were taken including the flagship. The first four of these were brought to England, but the fifth and sixth were lost near Cadiz.
Dominic Serres, the Elder
- Image reference: BHC3815
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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