Honour - CHESAPEAKE 1781

Date - 16-March
Type - Fleet or Squadron Actions
Conflict - American War of Independence

Description The action took place about 40 miles north east of Cape Henry in Chesapeake Bay, and was the first sea action of the American War of Independence.

It was fought between a French squadron of 8 ships-of-the-line and 2 frigates under Commodore Destouches, and a British Squadron of 8 ships-of-the-line plus 4 frigates under Rear-Admiral Marriot Arbuthnot.

The British objective was to stop French aid from reaching America.

The action lasted an hour after which the French line was broken and they sailed to sea to reform. The leading British ships were badly disabled and as both squadrons lost sight of each other in the general haze the action ended.

The French had won a tactical victory as the British were unable to follow them, but the British had temporary command of the bay.


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This page last edited - 17 July, 2012.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.