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thought that the profpect of falling with his whole weight 1782. upon and entirely crufhing one third of his enemy's force, was too tempting to be refifted. The action commenced about 9 o'clock. The attack was lead by the Royal Oak, and feconded by the Alfred and the Montague. The whole divifion was in a few minutes clofely engaged, and for more than an hour was exceedingly preffed by the fuperiority of the French. The Barfleur, Sir S. Hood's own fhip, had at times feven, and generally three fhips firing upon her: none of the divifion efcaped encountering a difproportionate force. The firm and effectual refiftance, with which they fustained all the efforts of the enemy's fuperiority, was to the highest degree glorious. At length the leading fhips of the centre were enabled to come up to their affiftance. Thefe were foon followed by Sir G. Rodney in the Formidable, with his feconds the Namur and the Duke, all of 90 guns: they made and fupported a most tremendous fire. The gallantry of a French captain of a 74 gun fhip in the rear, who having backed his maintop-fail, fteadily received and bravely returned the fire of these three great fhips in fucceffion, without in the least changing his station, excited the applause and admiration of his enemies. The coming up of these feyeral fhips of the centre divifion, induced the French commander to change the nature of the action, that fo it might not become decifive, He kept at fuch a distance during the remainder of the engagement, as evidenced an intention of difabling the British ships without any confiderable hazard on his own fide. This kind of firing produced as much effect as the distance would admit, and was well fupported by both parties
1782, for an hour and three quarters longer; during all which time, the reft of the British fleet was held back, by the calms and baffling winds under Dominique. About twelve o'clock, the remaining ships of the British centre came up, and the rear was clofing the line: on which de Graffe withdrew his fleet from the action, and evaded all the efforts of the British commanders for its renewal. The French ships received much more damage than their own fire produced. Two of them were obliged to quit the fleet and put into Guadaloupe, which reduced the count's line to 32 fhips. On the British fide the Royal Oak and the Montague fuffered extremely; but were capable of being repaired at fea, fo as not to be under the neceffity of quitting the fleet.
The British fleet lay to at night to repair damages; and the following day was principally spent in refitting, in keeping the wind, and in transposing the rear and the van, as the former (not having been engaged) was neceffarily fitter for the active fervice of that divifion. Both fleets kept turning up to windward, in the channel which feparates the islands of Dominique and Guadaloupe.
On the 11th the French had weathered Guadaloupe, and gained fuch a distance, that the body of their fleet could only be defcried from the maft-heads of the British centre; and all hope of Sir G. Rodney's coming with them feemed to be at an end. In this critical ftate of things, one of the French fhips, which had fuffered in the action, was perceived, about noon, to fall off confiderably from the rest of the fleet to leeward.This fight produced fignals from the British admiral for a general chafe; which was fo vigorous, that the Aga
memnon, and fome others of the headmost of the British 1782, line, were coming up fo faft with this fhip, that she would affuredly have been cut off before evening, had not her fignals and evident danger, induced de Graffe to bear down with his whole fleet to her affiftance. This movement made it impoffible for the French to avoid fighting. The pursuing British ships fell back into their ftation; a close line was formed; and fuch manœuvres practifed in the night, as were neceffary to preserve things in their present state, and as might poffibly produce cafual advantage. The French alfo prepared for battle with the greatest resolution.
The scene of action lay between the islands of Guadaloupe, Dominique, the Saints and Marigalante; and was bounded both to windward and leeward by dangerous fhores. The hoftile fleets met upon opposite tacks. The battle commenced about 7 o'clock in the morning, and was continued with unremitting fury until near the fame hour in the evening. Adm. Drake's divifion led, and with much gallantry received and returned the fire of the whole French line; whofe guns were pointed fo little to the hulls, or fo illy served, that Drake's leading fhip, the Marlborough, had only three men killed and fixteen wounded by receiving the firft fire of twentythree of their fhips. The British as they came up, ranged flowly along the French line, and clofe under their lee. Being fo near every fhot took effect; and the French fhips being fo full of men, the carnage in them was prodigious. The Formidable, adm. Rodney's fhip, fired near eighty broadfides, and it may be thought the was not fingular. The French ftood and returned this dreadful fire with the utmost firmness.
1782, fought, as if the honor and fate of their country were ftaked on the iffue of the day...
Between twelve and one Sir G. Rodney in the Formidable, with his feconds the Namur and the Duke, and immediately fupported by the Canada, bore directly and with full fail athwart the French line, and fuccefsfully broke through, about three fhips fhort of the centre, where count de Graffe commanded in the Ville de Paris. Being followed and fupported by the remainder of his divifion, and wearing round close upon the enemy, he effectually feparated their line. This bold push proved decifive. The French however continued to fight with the utmost bravery, and the battle lafted till fun-fet.
The moment that Rodney wore, he threw out a signal for the van to tack. Drake inftantly complied; and thus the British fleet gained the wind of the French, and completed their general confufion. Their van endeavoured to re-establish the line, but with no fuccefs;and their rear was fo entirely routed, that no hope remained of recovering its order. Hood's divifion had been long becalmed and kept out of action; but his leading fhips and part of his centre, as far at least as the Barfleur which he commanded himfelf, came up at this juncture, and ferved to render the victory more decifive on the one fide, and the ruin greater on the other, while each afforded inftances of the utmost courage.
Captain Inglefield, in the Centaur of 74 guns, came up from the rear to the attack of the Cæfar of 74 alfo. Both fhips were fresh and fought bravely: but when the French captain had evidently by far the worst of the combat, he difdained. yielding. Three other
fhips came up fucceffively; and he bore to be torn 1782, almoft to pieces by their fire. His fortitude was inflexible. His enfign ftaff being fhot away, he ordered his colours to be nailed to the maft; and his death only could end the conteft. When the Cæfar ftruck, the maft went overboard and there was not a foot of canvafs without a shot hole. The captain of the Glorieux did not yield till all his mafts were fhot away, and the ship was unable to make any defence. Captain Cornwallis in the Canada of 74 guns vanquished the French Hector of the fame force; but instead of taking poffeffion of her, left her to be pickt up by a frigate, and pufhed on to the Ville de Paris.
Count de Graffe was nobly fupported, even after the line was broken; and until the disorder and confufion became irreparable toward the evening. His two féconds, the Languedoc and Couronne, were particularly diftinguished: the former narrowly efcaped being taken, in her laft efforts to extricate him. The Diadem, a French 74, went down by a fingle broadfide, in a génerous exertion to fave him. His fhip, the Ville de Paris, after being already much battered, was clofely laid athwart by the Canada, and in a defperate action of near two hours was reduced almoft to a wreck. De Graffe appeared to prefer finking, rather than strike to any thing under a flag: he might however confider the fatal effects which the ftriking of his flag would producé in the rest of the fleet. Other fhips came up in the heel of the action with the Canada; but he ftill held out. At length Hood in the Barfleur approached kim juft at fun-fet, and poured in a moit destructive fire. The count however, wishing to fignalize as much