The Battle of the Saints, 12 April 1782
During 1782 the chief aspiration of the French in the West Indies was to capture Jamaica. Before de Grasse could get close however, he was crushed by the British Admiral Rodney's fleet. The French sailed from Martinique on 8 April, closely watched by the British, who immediately informed Rodney. He promptly sailed from St Lucia in pursuit. By the morning of the 9 April the two fleets were in sight of each other, and through the 10 and 11 Rodney pursued de Grasse. The French ships were at a disadvantage because they did not have copper bottoms like the British, and so were slower. A series of mishaps within the French fleet meant they lost any chance of escaping the British and the two fleets met. A shift of wind enabled the British to break the French line in several places with disastrous results for the French. Admiral Sir Samuel Hood in the 'Barfleur' captured de Grasse's flagship the 'Ville de Paris' and four ships of the line were taken, followed by two more a few days later. This picture shows a late stage in the battle. In the centre foreground the 'Ville de Paris' is in the act of striking. The British 'Formidable' can be seen firing her last broadside into her. In the right background there are two captured French ships lashed to their captors and beyond is a captured ship being towed. Masts and sails float in the foreground, and there is a sailor clinging to one of them. This is the original painting for an engraving by P. Mazell. It is signed 'T. Luny 1782'.
- Image reference: BHC0439
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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