Action of 17 February 1783

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Action of 17 February 1783
Part of American Revolutionary War
Date17 February 1783
Caribbean sea in between Jamaica & Cuba
Result British victory
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg  Great Britain Bandera de Espana 1701-1748.svg Spain
Commanders and leaders
George Stoney Unknown
1 Fifth-rate Frigate (HMS Fox) 1 frigate (Santa Catalina)
Casualties and losses
4 killed
1 wounded [1]
1 frigate captured
35 killed and wounded
128 captured

The Action of 17 February 1783 was a minor naval engagement fought in between Jamaica and Cuba in the Caribbean sea between a Royal Navy frigate HMS Fox and a Spanish Navy frigate Santa Catalina. [2]




By the end of 1782 the Spanish and French had been on the defensive since the Battle of the Saintes, which signaled British domination of the seas in the Caribbean. [3] Soon after the Royal Navy were conducting a blockade off Cap-François and Fort-Royal as well as keeping a watch off Havana. [4] At the same time British frigates were intercepting both Spanish and French privateers. [5]

Captain George Stoney in HMS Fox, a thirty-gun frigate was sent to Jamaica in charge of a captured Spanish privateer, one of two simultaneously taken near Santo Domingo. [1]


On 17 February whilst sailing off the coast of Jamaica, a sail was spotted and Fox sailed to investigate. As she approached, the vessel hauled up Spanish colours and thus cleared for action. [1] Fox went in for the attack and soon realized she was fighting a frigate of nearly equal match in terms of size, guns and men. In the subsequent action which lasted for nearly four hours, the Spanish frigate was eventually dismasted by Fox's devastating carronades. The Spanish captain realized he could not put up a jury rig to escape and soon after struck. [1]


Santa Catalina, a Spanish frigate of 22 guns and 163 men, was sent from Havana for the express purpose of making a prize of the British ship. [6]

Fox had four men killed and one wounded in the action, whilst Santa Catalina was totally dismasted and sustaining nearly 35 casualties, with the rest of her crew of sailors and marines taken prisoner. Santa Catalina was broken up in Port Royal, as it was too damaged and had been advised against any repair. [7]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Beatson. Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain. p. 533.
  2. Schomberg, Isaac (1802). Naval Chronology. Oxford University. p.  64 . Retrieved 24 September 2014. fox stoney santa catalina 1783.
  3. Mahan, Alfred Thayer (2013). The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence. BoD – Books on Demand. pp. 225–6. ISBN   9783954273393 . Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  4. Marley p. 175
  5. Publications of the Navy Records Society, Volume 35. Navy Records Society. 1908. p.  264. blockade cap francois 1782.
  6. Duncan, Archibald (1805). The British Trident, Or, Register of Naval Actions. New York Public Library: J. Cundee. p.  132 . Retrieved 23 September 2014. santa catalina fox stoney.
  7. Remenbrancer. University of California. 1783. p. 305.

Further reading