Battle of Cuddalore (1783)

Last updated

Battle of Cuddalore
Part of the American Revolutionary War [1] [2]
Combat naval en rade de Gondelour, 20 juin 1783.jpg
The Battle of Cuddalore, Auguste Jugelet
Date20 June 1783
Location 11°45′N79°45′E / 11.75°N 79.75°E / 11.75; 79.75
Result French victory [3]
Belligerents
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg  France Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg  Great Britain
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Pierre Suffren British-Blue-Ensign-1707.svg Edward Hughes
Strength
15 ships of the line 18 ships of the line
Casualties and losses
478 killed and wounded [4] 533 killed and wounded

The Battle of Cuddalore was a naval battle between a British fleet, under Admiral Sir Edward Hughes with Admiral L.J. Weiland, and a smaller French fleet, under the Bailli de Suffren, off the coast of India during the American Revolutionary War. This war sparked the Second Mysore War in India. In the battle, taking place near Cuddalore on 20 June 1783, Suffren commanded the engagement from the frigate Cléopâtre and won what is generally considered a victory. [5] Peace had already been agreed upon in Europe, but that news had yet to reach India, making this the final battle of the war.

Contents

On the death of French ally Hyder Ali, the British decided to retake Cuddalore. They marched troops from Madras, and began preparing for a siege. The French fleet, under Suffren, appeared at Cuddalore on 13 June. A week of fickle winds prevented either side from engaging until 20 June, when Suffren attacked. No ships were seriously damaged, but each side lost about 100 men with around 400 wounded. The British fleet retreated to Madras after the action, preventing the landing of transports carrying additional troops en route to Cuddalore to reinforce the siege. A sortie from the town weakened the British forces, and word of peace officially arrived at Cuddalore on 29 June.

Background

Following the December 1782 death of French ally Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore and previous controller of Cuddalore, British commanders at Madras decided to attempt the recapture of Cuddalore. The army marched south from Madras, circling around the city then encamping south of it. The British fleet, eighteen ships of the line under Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, anchored to the south of Cuddalore in order to protect the army and its supply ships. By early June 1783, the Siege of Cuddalore was under way.

French Admiral Suffren was ordered on 10 June to sail with his smaller fleet of fifteen ships from Trincomalee to support the besieged city. When he arrived, Hughes, who sought to avoid battle, moved away from the city and again anchored. After five days of adverse winds, Suffren was able to anchor near the city, where he made contact with the city's commander, Sayed Sahib of Mysore. Since it appeared that the success of the siege would be decided by naval action, 1,200 troops were embarked onto Suffren's ships to increase his gunnery complement. His fleet weighed anchor on 18 June, and the two fleets began maneuvering for advantage.

Battle

An engraving of Suffren. Suffren Pierre Andre gravure couleur de 1789.jpeg
An engraving of Suffren.

Both fleets were at first frustrated by light and variable winds. When a consistent west wind developed on 20 June, Hughes lined-up for battle on a northward-trending port tack and awaited Suffren's action. Lining-up in a similar formation, Suffren gave to the order to attack, and battle was engaged shortly after four in the afternoon. The action lasted about three hours resulting in no major damage to ships in either fleet, despite all ships being engaged.

Aftermath

Suffren's fleet anchored about 25 nautical miles north of Cuddalore after the battle, while Hughes anchored near the city. On 22 June, Hughes sighted the French fleet while he was en route to Madras; a number of his ships had been disabled, and he reported that many men were suffering from scurvy and that he was short of water.

Suffren returned to Cuddalore on 23 June, forcing the British supply fleet to withdraw. In addition to returning the 1,200 troops he had borrowed from the city's garrison, he landed an additional 2,400 men to support the defense. A sortie from the city was repelled but weakened the besieging British, and on 29 June a British ship flying under a truce flag brought news of a preliminary peace agreement between the two nations, resulting in a mutually-agreed suspension of hostilities on 2 July.

Order of battle

French van squadron [6]
Ship Rate Guns Navy Commander CasualtiesNotes
Killed Wounded Total
Sphinx 64-gun64 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain du Chilleau
Brillant 64-gun64 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Lieutenant de Kersauson
Fendant 74-gun 74 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain Thomassin de Peynier (Captain of the fleet)
Captain Armand de Saint-Félix (Flag captain)  ( WIA ) [7]
Flamand 54-gun54 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Lieutenant Perier de Salvert  
Ajax 64-gun64 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain Dupas de la Mancelière   [8]
Fine frigate32 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg
Casualties:
French centre squadron [6]
Ship Rate Guns Navy Commander CasualtiesNotes
Killed Wounded Total
Petit Annibal 50-gun50 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain Jean André de Pas de Beaulieu
Argonaute 74-gun 74 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain de Clavières
Héros 74-gun 74 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Major de Moissac
Illustre 74-gun 74 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain Bruyères de Chalabre
Saint Michel 60-gun60 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain de Beaumont-Lemaître
Cléopâtre frigate32 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain Suffren
Casualties:
French rear squadron [6]
Ship Rate Guns Navy Commander CasualtiesNotes
Killed Wounded Total
Vengeur 64-gun64 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain de Cuverville
Sévère 64-gun64 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Lieutenant de Maurville de Langle
Annibal 74-gun 74 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain d'Aymar
Hardi 64-gun64 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain Cramezel de Kerhué
Artésien 64-gun64 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Captain de Vignes d'Arrac
Consolante frigate40 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Lieutenant de Costebelle
Coventry frigate28 Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg
Casualties:
British van squadron
Ship Rate Guns Navy Commander Casualties [9] Notes
Killed Wounded Total
HMS Defence Third rate 74 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Thomas Newnham 73845
HMS Isis Fourth rate 50 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Christopher Halliday 33033
HMS Gibraltar Third rate 80 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Commodore Sir Richard Bickerton
Captain Thomas Hicks
64046
HMS Inflexible Third rate 64 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain John Whitmore Chetwynd 33033
HMS Exeter Third rate 64 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain John Smith 4913
HMS Active Fifth rate 32 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Casualties:
British centre squadron
Ship Rate Guns Navy Commander Casualties [9] Notes
Killed Wounded Total
HMS Worcester Third rate 64 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Charles Hughes 83240
HMS Africa Third rate 64 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Robert McDougall 52530
HMS Sultan Third rate 74 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Andrew Mitchell 42024
HMS Superb Third rate 74 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes
Captain Henry Newcome
124153
HMS Monarca Third rate 68 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain John Gell 61420
HMS Burford Third rate 64 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Peter Rainier 102030
HMS Sceptre Third rate 64 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Samuel Graves 174764
HMS Medea Sixth rate 28 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Erasmus Gower
Casualties:
British rear squadron
Ship Rate Guns Navy Commander Casualties [9] Notes
Killed Wounded Total
HMS Magnanime Third rate 64 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Thomas Mackenzie 11617
HMS Eagle Third rate 64 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain William Clark 4812
HMS Hero Third rate 74 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Commodore Richard King
Captain Theophilus Jones
52126
HMS Bristol Fourth rate 50 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain James Burney 01010
HMS Monmouth Third rate 64 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain James Alms 21921
HMS Cumberland Third rate 74 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain William Allen 21113
Casualties:
British lighter ships [10]
Ship Rate Guns Navy Commander CasualtiesNotes
Killed Wounded Total
San Carlosarmed storeship22 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg George Murray, William White
Harriottarmed storeship22 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Thomas Stephenson
HMS Chaser sloop18 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Edward Buller
HMS Juno Fifth rate 32 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain James Montagu
HMS Medea Fifth rate 28 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Captain Erasmus Gower
HMS Seahorse Fifth rate 24 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg John Drew
Pondicherrytroop ship18 Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Thomas Saunders Grove
Casualties:

Citations and references

Citations

  1. Mahan
  2. Tucker, Pg. 772
  3. Paine p.75
  4. Lacour-Gayet (1910), p. 546.
  5. Palmer p.161
  6. 1 2 3 Cunat (1852), p. 301-302.
  7. Levot (1866), p. 468—469.
  8. Roche (2005), p. 28.
  9. 1 2 3 The Scots magazine. Edinburgh: Alex Chapman. December 1783. p. 688.
  10. "2nd Battle of Cuddalore". threedecks. Retrieved 22 April 2020.

References

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Sadras</span> Naval battle between a British fleet and a French fleet during the Anglo-French War

The Battle of Sadras was the first of five largely indecisive naval battles fought between a British fleet and a French fleet off the east coast of India during the Anglo-French War. Fought on 17 February 1782 near present-day Kalpakkam, the battle was tactically indecisive, but the British fleet suffered the most damage. Under Suffren's protection, French troop transports were able to land at Porto Novo, present-day Parangipettai.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Providien</span> Naval battle fought between a British fleet and a French fleet during the Anglo-French War

The Battle of Providien was the second in a series of naval battles fought between a British fleet, under Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, and a French fleet, under the Bailli de Suffren, off the coast of India during the Anglo-French War. The battle was fought on 12 April 1782 off the east coast of Ceylon, near a rocky islet called Providien, south of Trincomalee.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Negapatam (1782)</span> Naval battle in 1782

The Battle of Negapatam was the third in a series of battles fought between a British fleet, under Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, and a French fleet, under the Bailli de Suffren, off the coast of India during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was fought on 6 July 1782. Though the battle was indecisive, Suffren was stopped in his goal by Hughes and withdrew to Cuddalore, while the British remained in control of Negapatam.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Trincomalee</span> Battle fought between a British fleet and a French fleet off the coast of Trincomalee

The Battle of Trincomalee was fought between a British fleet under Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes and a French fleet under the Bailli de Suffren off the coast of Trincomalee, then Ceylon, on 3 September 1782. It was the fourth in a series of battles fought between the two fleets off the coast of the Indian subcontinent during the American Revolutionary War.

French ship <i>Fantasque</i> (1758) Ship of the line of the French Navy

The Fantasque was a Lion-class 64-gun ship of the line of the French Navy. She is famous for being captained by the French commander Pierre-André de Suffren during the American Revolutionary War.

French frigate <i>Bellone</i> (1778) Iphigénie-class frigate of the French Navy

Bellone was an Iphigénie-class 32-gun frigate of the French Navy on plans by Léon-Michel Guignace. She took part in the American Revolutionary War in the Indian Ocean with the squadron under Suffren, and later in the French Revolutionary Wars. She was present at the Glorious First of June.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pierre André de Suffren</span> French admiral (1729–1788)

Admiral comte Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez, bailli de Suffren, Château de Saint-Cannat) was a French Navy officer and admiral. Beginning his career during the War of the Austrian Succession, he fought in the Seven Years' War, where he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Lagos. Promoted to captain in 1772, he was one of the aids of Admiral d'Estaing during the Naval battles of the American Revolutionary War, notably taking part in the Siege of Savannah.

French ship <i>Brillant</i> (1774) 64-gun Solitaire-class ship of the line of the French Navy

Brillant was a 64-gun Solitaire-class ship of the line of the French Navy.

Ajax was a 64-gun ship of the line of the French Navy.

Saint Michel was a 64-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, lead ship of her class.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Armand de Saint-Félix</span> French Navy officer and admiral

Armand de Saint-Félix was a French Navy officer and admiral.

Louis-Hyacinte de Cavelier, chevalier de Cuverville was a French Navy officer.

Jacques Jérôme Antoine Trublet de Villejégu was a French Navy officer.

The action of 12 August 1782 was a minor single-ship action that opposed the French 32-gun frigate Bellone to the British 28-gun HMS Coventry in the run-up to the Battle of Trincomalee. Although both ships were frigates, Bellone belonged to the Iphigénie class and was a comparatively large frigate for her time, carrying a battery of 18-pounder long guns, while Coventry was a sixth-rate armed only with 9-pounder long guns. Furthermore, Bellone had the advantage of the wind. The nominal crew of Coventry was about tho thirds of that of Bellone, but in the occasion it was reinforced by the troops she was carrying. In spite of these overwhelming odds, Coventry managed to inflict heavy casualties on Bellone, and most decisively to shoot most of the senior staff. The resulting confusion on Bellone allowed Coventry to escape to Madras.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul-Jacques de Bruyères-Chalabre</span>

Paul-Jacques de Bruyères-Chalabre was a French Navy officer. He notably captained the 74-gun Illustre at the Battle of Trincomalee from 25 August to 3 September 1782 and at the Battle of Cuddalore on 20 June 1783.

Beaumont le Maître was a French Navy officer. He fought in the Indian Ocean under Suffren during the War of American Independence, notably captaining the 64-gun Ajax at the Battle of Trincomalee from 25 August to 3 September 1782 and Saint Michel at the Battle of Cuddalore on 20 June 1783.

Charles-Alexandre de Maurville de Langle was a French Navy officer. He fought in the Indian Ocean under Suffren during the War of American Independence, captaining the 64-gun Sévère at the Battle of Trincomalee from 25 August to 3 September 1782, and at the Battle of Cuddalore on 20 June 1783.

Chevalier de Clavières was a French Navy officer. He fought in the War of American Independence, and taking part in the French operations in the Indian Ocean under Suffren.

Du Pas de la Mancelière was a French Navy officer. He notably captained the 64-gun Ajax in Suffren's squadron during the Anglo-French War, and was killed in action at the Battle of Cuddalore.

Naïade was a 20-gun Coquette-class corvette. She took part in the Indian theatre of the Anglo-French War with the squadron under Suffren. The British Royal Navy captured her in 1783 but never commissioned her; it sold her in 1784.