With the Great Fleet in 1780 Part I

By G A Callender, published September 1923


The author refers to the depressing or misunderstood story of the Channel Fleet during the War of American Independence (1778-83), and remembers the success when war broke out with France in 1778 and Admiral Charles Hardy, with a fleet just the half of the enemy one, saved the state. When he died his successor was Francis Geary, hoisting his flag on H.M.S. Victory. Unfortunately only two short paragraphs about Geary’s command were published, until his great grandson presented the letter-book and order-book of the Admiral to the British Museum. The said manuscripts give a great quantity of data used by the author of this paper to detail the list of ships of the Great Fleet, its actions, including the prize of twelve French vessels sailing from Port au Prince to France. They also detail the character of the Admiral, as “good tempered” “generous” and “lovable”.

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Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | American Revolution | Other (Eighteenth C) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

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