Database:   Fort Royal, Battle of  

Fort Royal, Battle of.

Other names: Battle off Martinique

What: 17 Apr 1780. Fort Royal, Battle of.

Where: 14.556, -61.223, Fort Royal, Battle of, 17 Apr 1780

Maps: [map notes]

  • 14.556, -61.223, Fort Royal, Battle of, 17 Apr 1780
  • Google Aerial or hybrid. Zoom out 3 times.
  • Mapquest. Aerial or street view. Zoom out 1 time.
  • Confidence: 2

  • 14.59666 -61.06633, Fort Royal, Martinique
  • Falling Rain
  • Google Aerial or hybrid. Zoom out 3 times.
  • Confidence: 4

Sources:

  • Boatner: 1186, 1237.

  • Piers Mackesy, War for America, Published 1993, U of Nebraska Press, p.230, 330.

  • "Battle of Fort Royal", Wikipedia, stub article only. Date given as 29 Apr 1781 [Separate action in April 1781?]

  • Archive"Battles of the Atlantic (and other parts of the world) and the War for Independence", National Society Sons of the American Revolution.
    " 17 Apr 1780 Naval engagement off Martinique West Indies". Shown as draw or insufficient data. [Nothing shown for 29 Apr 1781.]

  • "Table Summary of Movements of French Naval Fleets During the War for American Independence"". Useful site, also shows arrivals and departures.
    Arrived 22 Mar 1780 at Martinique (WI) Three indecisive battles against Rodney (17 Apr 1780 and 19 May 1780). Guichen

  • Archive"Ralph Willett MILLER (1762-1799)", nelson-society.org.uk:
    "... On 25 May 1781, just after Hood's action with De Grasse, off Fort Royal of Martinique," [Separate action in April 1781?]

  • "Baron George Brydges Rodney Rodney (17181792)", Online Encyclopedia (1911 Britannica):
    "On the 17th of April [1780] an action, which, owing to the carelessness of some of Rodney's captains, was indecisive, was fought off Martinique with the French admiral Guichen ."

  • Archive"American Revolution", VirtualVermonter.com:
    "Until July [1780] the fleets of Rodney and Guichen, of equal strength, were engaged in operations round the island of Martinique. The British admiral endeavoured to force on a close engagement. But in the first encounter on the 17th of April [1780] to leeward of the island [west or northwest], Rodney's orders were not executed by his captains, and the action was indecisive. He wished to concentrate on the rear of the enemy's line, but his captains scattered themselves along the French formation. In two subsequent actions, on the 15th and 19th of May [1780], to windward [south or southeast] of Martinique, the French admiral would not be brought to close action. The arrival of a Spanish squadron of twelve ships of the line in June gave a great numerical superiority to the allies, and Rodney retired to Gros Islet Bay in Santa Lucia. But nothing decisive occurred. The Spanish fleet was in bad health, the French much worn-out. The first went on to Havana, the second to San Domingo. In July, on the approach of the dangerous hurricane season, Rodney sailed for North America, reaching New York on the 14th of September. Guichen returned home with the most worn-out of his ships. On the 6th of December Rodney was back at Barbadoes from the North American station, where he was not able to effect anything against the French in Narragansett Bay."

  • Archive"Naval operations in the American Revolutionary War", Answers.com: (search for at the close)
    "At the close of 1779, Sir George Rodney had been appointed to command a large naval force which was to relieve Gibraltar and send stores to Minorca. Rodney was to go on to the West Indies with part of the fleet. He sailed on December 29, 1779, with the trade for the West Indies under his protection. He captured a Spanish convoy on his way off Finisterre on January 8, defeated a smaller Spanish force at Cape St Vincent on January 16, relieved Gibraltar on January 19, and left for the West Indies on February 13.

    On March 27, he joined Sir Hyde Parker at Santa Lucia, and Guichen retired to Fort Royal in Martinique. Until July, the fleets of Rodney and Guichen, of equal strength, were engaged in operations around the island of Martinique. The British admiral endeavoured to force on a close engagement. But in the first encounter on April 17 [1780] to leeward [west or northwest] of the island, Rodney's orders were not executed by his captains, and the action was indecisive. He wished to concentrate on the rear of the enemy's line, but his captains scattered themselves along the French formation. In two subsequent actions, on May 15 and May 19, to windward [south or southeast] of Martinique, the French admiral could not be brought to close action."

  • Archive"Travel by Seas":
    "... in the Caribbean, where prevailing winds are from the southeast the entire year."
    Estimated travel times in days (similar to mileage charts on a road map) is interesting.

  • "Lesser Antilles vs Greater Antilles / Windward Islands vs Leeward Islands - Confused Yet?", Caribbean Magazine:
    "The terms "leeward" and "windward" are used in reference to islands in an archipelago and to the different sides of a single island. In the latter case, the windward side is that side of an island subject to the prevailing wind. The leeward side is protected by the elevation of the island from the prevailing wind, and is typically drier and less windy. Thus, leeward and windward are not only important in terms of location in the island chain but also important weather and climate terms.

    The prevailing winds in the Caribbean blow from south to north. In the case of an archipelago - or a group of islands, "windward islands" are the islands facing the oncoming wind. In the case of the Caribbean the "southern" islands get hit with the wind first..."

  • Snippet from "Thomas Jefferys, Martinico, 1775", Image 4723032 from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

    Fort Royal:

    Saint Pierre

  • Snippet from Thomas Jefferys, Composite: West Indies, 1775, image 4723024 from David Rumsey Historical Map Collection at DavidRumsey.com:

    Martinique:

    Martinique

  • Map, Archive "Naval Battles 1776-1800". This action not included.

  • "Sailing Navies: Chronology - 1775 to 1799". [Neither 1780 nor 1781 actions shown]

  • RevWar75  
    listing 4/17/1780 Naval engagement off Martinique. Shown as draw.
    listing. Nothing found for April 1781.

    Related sites: Reprisal-Shark

    Confidence level: 2

    12-25-16