Sep 30, 2021 - Sale 2580

Sale 2580 - Lot 44

Price Realized: $ 406
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1782.) A contemporary French listing of ships which survived their naval defeat at the Battle of the Saintes. Manuscript document, one page with brief docketing on verso, 11 1/4 x 7 3/4 inches; dampstaining, folds, moderate wear near bottom edge not affecting text; uncut. No place, 12 May 1782

Additional Details

In early 1782, with the fighting in North America almost done, the war continued in the Caribbean with a planned French assault on the British colony at Jamaica. In the Battle of the Saintes, the French and British fleets faced off near the island of Dominica over several days in April 1782, resulting in a humiliating defeat for the French. Many thousands of French sailors and soldiers were killed or captured, six ships were lost including their flagship, and their commander the Comte de Grasse was captured to be paraded before King George. The remaining French ships scattered in a desperate retreat, straggling back to port at Cap-François (now Cap-Haïtien in Haiti) over a period of weeks.

Offered here is a contemporary French listing of the first wave of 20 French ships to limp back into Cap-François on 25 April. The list is dated 12 May, although 4 additional ships not listed here arrived on 11 May.

The list is headed "Noms de vaisseaux que Mr. Le Comte d Grasse commendoit hors du combat naval quil ent avec l'amiral Rodney arrive le 12 May 1782 qui a ete des plus vifs et des plus Longs ou Mr Le Comte de Grasse perdu beaucoup de monde tant tuis que blesses et six des plus beaux vesseaux, M. de Grasse a ete fais prisonnier." This translates roughly to "Names of vessels that Comte de Grasse commanded in the naval combat that he entered with Admiral Rodney which arrived on 12 May 1782, a long and lively battle in which de Grasse lost many men and six of the finest vessels, and de Grasse was taken prisoner."