1795 - Lord Bridport off Isle-Groix


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol I


British and French Fleets


only two midshipmen (Francis John Nott and Richard Spencer) wounded ; the Colossus, five seamen, marines, and soldiers killed, and one lieutenant, (Robert Mends), one midshipman (John Whyley), and 28 seamen, marines, and soldiers wounded ; the Russel, three seamen killed, and Captain Bacon of the 118th regiment, and nine seamen, marines, and soldiers wounded ; and the London and Royal-George, one three [sic], and the other seven seamen and marines wounded ; total, 31 killed, and 113 wounded.*

The three prizes were much shattered in their hulls, the Alexandre in particular. The loss sustained by the French ships, either separately or in the gross, has been omitted in the official account ; but it otherwise appears that the three respectively lost as follows : Tigre, out of a complement, as deposed by her officers, of 726 men and boys, 130 in killed and wounded together ; the Alexandre, out of a complement, owing to her greatly inferior size, of only 666, as many as 220 ; and the Formidable, out of a complement of 717, the still greater number of 320. Each ship's loss contained, doubtless, a large proportion of officers ; but we are unable to particularize further than that the Formidable had three lieutenants killed ; Captain Linois (in the eye), her second captain, and three (being the remainder of her) lieutenants wounded. Nor can the slightest doubt remain, that the officers and men of all three French ships conducted themselves in the bravest manner.

Had the whole of the ships on each side been able to engage, the opposing forces would have stood thus: British, 17 14 sail of the line (including eight three-deckers), five frigates ; French, 12 sail of the line (including one three-decker), 11 frigates. Two of these frigates were superior in size, and nearly equal in force, to almost any two of Lord Bridport's 74s. Still the disparity here shown excuses M. Villaret for declining to engage.

With respect to three-decked ships of war, we may be allowed to remark that, unless of the first class in size and force, they are not so desirable in a fleet, particularly a chasing fleet, as first-class two-deckers. It is impossible to disguise their appearance, and their commanding height and three tiers of cannon frequently occasion an enemy, as in the case of the British 98s for instance, to overrate their force and fly before them ; a mode of

* The following statement shows the total numerical loss sustained by each of the eight ships that were fortunate enough to get into action:

  killed wounded
Irresistible 3 11
Orion 6 18
Queen-Charlotte 4 32
Sans-Pareil 10 2
Colossus 5 30
Russel 3 10
London 0 3
Royal-George 0 7
Total 31 113
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