Graves and Hood at the Chesapeake

By Kenneth Breen, published February 1980


The battle off Chesapeake in 1781 between British and French squadrons led by Admirals Graves and de Grasse may have been indeterminate but the recriminations that followed have persisted. This paper presents a positive reappraisal of Graves’ actions, while criticizing Hood’s claim that his commanding officer was “not equal to the command of a great squadron”. The author explores Hood’s success in imprinting his prejudiced account of the Chesapeake on the historical record and questions his own actions at the battle, before concluding that Graves has been judged harshly and should not solely bear the blame for the perceived failure.

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Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

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