Convention of Cintra
The Convention of Cintra was an agreement signed on 30 August 1808, during the Peninsular War. By the agreement, the defeated French were allowed to evacuate their troops from Portugal without further conflict; the Convention was signed at the Palace of Queluz, in Queluz, Estremadura. The French forces under Jean-Andoche Junot were defeated by the Anglo-Portuguese forces commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley at Vimeiro on 21 August and found themselves cut off from retreat. However, at that moment, Wellesley was superseded by the arrival of Sir Harry Burrard and the next day by Sir Hew Dalrymple. Both were cautious old men. Wellesley had sought to take control of the Torres Vedras area high ground and cut the French retreat with his unused reserve, but he was ordered to hold. Talks between Dalrymple and François Kellerman led to the signing of the Convention. Dalrymple allowed terms for Portugal similar to those a garrison might receive for surrendering a fortress; the 20,900 French soldiers were evacuated from Portugal with all their equipment and'personal property' by the British Navy.
They were transported to France. Junot arrived there on 11 October. Avoiding all Spanish entanglements and getting free transport meant the French travelled loaded, not light like a defeated garrison marching to their own lines; the Convention was seen as a disgrace by many in the United Kingdom who felt that a complete defeat of Junot had been transformed into a French escape, while Dalrymple had ignored the Royal Navy's concern about a blockaded Russian squadron in Lisbon. The squadron was allowed to sail to Portsmouth, to return to Russia, despite the fact that Britain and Russia were at war. Wellesley wanted to fight, he did not sign it. Dalrymple's reports were written, however, to centre any criticism on Wellesley, who still held a ministerial post in the government. Wellesley was subsequently recalled from Portugal, together with Burrard and Dalrymple, to face an official inquiry; the inquiry was held in the Great Hall at the Royal Hospital Chelsea from 14 November to 27 December 1808. All three men were cleared.
Sir John Moore, commenting on the Inquiry, expressed the popular sentiment that "Sir Hew Dalrymple was confused and incapable beyond any man I saw head an army. The whole of his conduct and since has proved him to be a foolish man." Lord Byron laments the Convention in his Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: And since that martial synod met,Britannia sickens, Cintra! at thy name. How will posterity the deed proclaim! Will not our own and fellow-nations sneer, To view these champions cheated of their fame, By foes in fight o'erthrown, yet victors here, Where Scorn her finger points, through many a coming year? The Convention of Cintra is the name of a pamphlet written by the future British Poet Laureate William Wordsworth in 1808. An excerpt from the'tract' itself can be found in William Wordsworth: Selected Prose, Penguin Classics 1988, it is notable for its recognition of the significance of guerrilla warfare in the Peninsular War. The term'guerrilla' was not current and is not used by Wordsworth, he does not anticipate his future importance.
Britannia Sickens, Michael Glover. Leo Cooper, London, 1970, ISBN 0-85052-047-9. Documents Pertaining to the Convention of Cintra 1808 Inquiry into the Convention of Cintra
French frigate Régénérée (1794)
Régénérée was a 40-gun Cocarde-class frigate of the French Navy. The British captured her in 1801 at the fall of Alexandria, named her HMS Alexandria, sailed her back to Britain, but never commissioned her, she was broken up in 1804. In 1796, she was commanded in a squadron under Sercey. On 15 May 1796 Forte, Seine, Régénérée were cruising between St Helena and the Cape of Good Hope hoping to capture British East Indiamen when they encountered the British whaler Lord Hawkesbury on her way to Walvis Bay; the French took off her crew, except for two seamen and a boy, put Forte's fourth officer and 13-man prize crew aboard Lord Hawkesbury with orders to sail to Île de France. On her way there one of the British seamen, at the helm, succeeded in running her aground on the east coast of Africa a little north of the Cape, wrecking her. There were no casualties. Régénérée reached Île de France where she took part in the Action of 8 September 1796. On 26 April 1797 she took her into Rochefort. Between 24 and 27 April 1798, Régénérée and Vertu engaged the 32-gun sixth rate Pearl in an inconclusive action when Pearl had to pass between them before she could take refuge in St George's Bay, Sierra Leone.
The action cost Pearl one man mortally wounded. A second inconclusive action occurred on 27 July 1798 when Régénérée and Vertu engaged the 28-gun sixth rate Brilliant off Tenerife, The action resulted in Brilliant losing three men killed and ten wounded before she could make her escape. In early 1800, Régénérée left Rochefort with Africaine to ferry supplies to Alexandria. At the Action of 19 February 1801, HMS Phoebe, under Captain Robert Barlow, captured Africaine east of Gibraltar. However, Régénérée managed to complete her mission, sailing into Alexandria on 2 March, having eluded the British blockade; the day before she had passed through the British fleet answering signals and without arousing any suspicion, until at last she hoisted the French flag as she headed into the harbor. She remained there during the siege until the capitulation of Alexandria on 29 September 1801; the British discovered the French warships Cause, Égyptienne, Justice and Régénérée, two Venetian frigates in the harbour of Alexandria at the capitulation.
The British and their Turkish allies agreed a division of the spoils. The British received Régénérée and "Venetian No. 2" - Léoben - of 26 guns. Capitan Pacha received the 64-gun Causse, Justice, of 46 guns, "Venetian No. 1" - Mantoue - of 26 guns. Additionally, the Turks received some Turkish corvettes. Admiral Lord Keith commander of the naval forces, gave the value of Régénérée for prize money purposes at £16,771 13s 6d, she was temporarily brought into Royal Navy service as HMS Alexandria. Captain Alexander Wilson, who had brought Trusty to Alexandria and who had commanded the port, took command of Alexandria and sailed her back to Britain, she arrived in Portsmouth on 1 April 1802 from Malta. She sailed on 8 April for Chatham, she was never commissioned and was broken up in 1804. Notes Citations References Colledge, J. J.. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. James, William; the Naval History of Great Britain, from the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV.
R. Bentley. Lloyd, Christopher The Keith Papers: Selected from the papers of Admiral Viscount Keith.. Williams, Greg H; the French assault on American shipping, 1793-1813: a history and comprehensive record of merchant marine losses.. ISBN 978-0-7864-3837-2 Wilson, Robert T. History of the British expedition to Egypt: to, subjoined, a sketch...' Wilson and James Frederick Ferrier The Works of Professor Wilson of the University of Edinburgh: Essays critical and imaginative. Winfield, Rif & Stephen S Roberts French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786 - 1861: Design Construction and Fates.. ISBN 9781848322042
French ship Bucentaure
For the Venetian vessel, see Bucentaur. Bucentaure was an 80-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, the lead ship of her class, she was the flagship of Vice-Admiral Latouche Tréville, who died on board on 18 August 1804. Vice-Admiral Villeneuve hoisted his flag on 6 November 1804. Bucentaure hosted the Franco-Spanish war council; the vote was to remain in safe waters During the council, Spanish general Escaño complained that the atmospheric pressure was descending. French vice-admiral Magon famously retorted "the thing descending here is braveness"; this offended Admiral Gravina and other Spanish officers who did not oppose the imprudent order of taking to sea. At the Battle of Trafalgar, on 21 October 1805, she was commanded by Captain Jean-Jacques Magendie. Admiral Nelson's HMS Victory, leading the weather column of the British fleet, broke the French line just astern of Bucentaure and just ahead of Redoutable. Victory raked the vessel lost 197 men and 85 were wounded. After three hours of fighting, she surrendered to Captain James Atcherly of the Marines from HMS Conqueror.
Villeneuve is supposed to have asked to. On being told it was Captain Pellew, he replied, "There is no shame in surrendering to the gallant Sir Edward Pellew." When he was informed that the Conqueror's captain was Sir Edward's brother, he said, "England is fortunate to have two such brothers." In the following days, Bucentaure's crew rose up against the British prize crew and recaptured the ship. However, she was wrecked in the gale-force storm of 23 October 1805. Colomb, Philip Howard; the battle of Trafalgar. W. Clowes & sons, limited, 1905. P. 18. Url Corbett, By Sir Julian Stafford; the campaign of Trafalgar, Volume 2. Longmans, co. 1919. P. 538. Url Jean-Michel Roche, Dictionnaire des Bâtiments de la flotte de guerre française de Colbert à nos jours, tome I
Battle of Cape Finisterre (1805)
In the Battle of Cape Finisterre off Galicia, the British fleet under Admiral Robert Calder fought an indecisive naval battle against the combined Franco-Spanish fleet, returning from the West Indies. Failing to prevent the joining of French Admiral Pierre de Villeneuve's fleet to the squadron of Ferrol and to strike the shattering blow that would have freed Great Britain from the danger of an invasion, Calder was court-martialled and reprimanded for his failure and for avoiding the renewal of the engagement on 23 and 24 July. At the same time, in the aftermath Villeneuve elected not to continue on to Brest, where his fleet could have joined with other French ships to clear the English Channel for an invasion of Great Britain; the fragile Peace of Amiens of 1802 had come to an end when Napoleon formally annexed the Italian state of Piedmont and on 18 May 1803 Britain was once again at war with France. Napoleon planned to end the British blockade by conquering Britain. By 1805 his Armée d'Angleterre was encamped at Boulogne.
If this army could cross the English Channel, victory over the poorly trained and equipped militias was likely. The plan was that the French navy would escape from the British blockades of Toulon and Brest and threaten to attack the West Indies, thus drawing off the British defence of the Western Approaches; the combined fleets would rendezvous at Martinique and double back to Europe, land troops in Ireland to raise a rebellion, defeat the weakened British patrols in the Channel, help transport the Armée d'Angleterre across the Straits of Dover. Villeneuve sailed from Toulon on 29 March 1805 with eleven ships of the line, six frigates and two brigs, he passed the Strait of Gibraltar on 8 April. At Cádiz he drove off the British blockading squadron and was joined by six Spanish ships of the line; the combined fleet sailed for the West Indies. Nelson was kept in the Mediterranean by westerly winds and did not pass the Strait until 7 May 1805; the British fleet of ten ships reached Antigua on 4 June.
Villeneuve waited at Martinique for Admiral Ganteaume's Brest fleet to join him, but it remained blockaded in port and did not appear. Pleas from French army officers for Villeneuve to attack British colonies went unheeded — except for the recapture of the island fort of Diamond Rock — until 4 June when he set out from Martinique. On 7 June he learned from a captured British merchantman that Nelson had arrived at Antigua, on 11 June Villeneuve left for Europe, having failed to achieve any of his objectives in the Caribbean. While in the Antilles, the Franco-Spanish fleet ran into a British convoy worth 5 million francs escorted by the frigate Barbadoes, 28 guns, sloop Netley. Villeneuve hoisted general chase and two French frigates with the Spanish ship Argonauta, 80 guns, captured all the ships but one escort. On 30 June the combined squadron burned an English 14-gun privateer. On 3 July the fleet recaptured Spanish galleon Matilda, which carried an estimated 15 million franc treasure, from English privateer Mars, from Liverpool, towing Matilda to an English harbour.
The privateer was burned and the merchant was taken in tow by the French frigate Sirène. The fleet sailed back to Europe, on 9 July the French ship Indomptable lost its main spar in a gale that damaged some other vessels slightly; the Atlantic crossings had been difficult according to Spanish Admiral Gravina who had crossed the Atlantic eleven times. So with some ships in bad condition, tired crews and scarce victuals, the combined fleet sighted land near Cape Finisterre on 22 July. News of the returning French fleet reached Vice Admiral Robert Calder on 19 July, he was ordered to lift his blockade of the ports of Rochefort and Ferrol and sail for Cape Finisterre to intercept Villeneuve. The fleets sighted each other at about 11:00 on 22 July. After several hours of manoeuvring to the south-west, the action began at about 17:15 as the British fleet, with Hero in the vanguard, bore down on the Franco-Spanish line of battle. In poor visibility, the battle became a confused melee. Malta formed the rear-most ship in the British line in the approach to the battle, but as the fleets became confused in the failing light and thick patchy fog, the commander of Malta Sir Edward Buller found that he was surrounded by five Spanish ships.
After a fierce engagement in which Malta suffered five killed and forty wounded the British ship battled it out, sending out devastating broadsides from both port and starboard. At about 20:00 Buller forced the Spanish 80-gun San Rafael to strike, afterwards sent the Malta's boats to take possession of the Spanish 74-gun Firme. Calder signalled aiming to continue the battle the next day. In the failing light and general confusion some ships continued to fire for another hour. Daybreak on 23 July found the fleets 27 kilometres apart. Calder was unwilling to attack a second time against superior odds, he had to protect the damaged Windsor Castle and Malta with her large captured Spanish prizes and he had to consider the possibility that the blockaded fleets at Rochefort and Ferrol might put to sea and effect a junction with Villeneuve's combined fleet. Accordingly, he headed northeast with his prizes. Villeneuve's report claims that at first he intended to attack, but in the light breezes it took all day to come up to the British and he decided not to risk combat late in the day.
On 24 July a change in the wind put the Franco-Spanish fleet to the windward of the British — the ideal position for an attack — but instead of attacking, Villeneuve turned away to the south. When he arriv
Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville
Louis-René Madelaine Le Vassor, comte de La Touche-Tréville was a French Vice-admiral. He fought in the American War of Independence and became a prominent figure of the French Revolutionary Wars and of the Napoleonic wars. Born into a noble family of naval officers, Latouche enlisted at the age of 13, he rose to become a competent frigate captain, battling several British ships during the American War of Independence. His two-frigate squadron once manoeuvred a 74-gun ship of the line to the point of sinking, he was entrusted with important personalities of the time as passengers, notably Louis XVI and the Marquis de Lafayette. During the Revolution, Latouche, a Freemason and aide to Phillipe Égalité, took progressive positions as a deputy in the Estates General and in the National Constituent Assembly, his nobility made him a target during the Reign of Terror, he was imprisoned and only freed from prison by the Thermidorian Reaction. Returned to the Navy after a long period of unemployment, Latouche took command of the Flottille de Boulogne, where he repelled the Raids on Boulogne organised by Nelson.
He served in the Saint-Domingue expedition, which irrevocably compromised his health. After his return, he took command of the fleet in Toulon, reorganising it into a potent tool again, but he succumbed to a relapse of illness before he had a chance to use it. Under his successor Villeneuve, the fleet he had refurbished was crushed at the Battle of Trafalgar. Latouche was born in Charente-Maritime, his father, Louis-Charles Le Vassor de La Touche, had been the governor of Martinique, until the Invasion of 1762, chief of the naval forces of Rochefort. His uncle, Charles-Auguste Levassor de La Touche-Tréville, served as a Rear-Admiral, commanding the light squadron of the France-Spanish fleet under Orvilliers in 1780. At the age of 13, Latouche joined the Gardes de la Marine, took part in numerous naval actions during the Seven Years' War, he started sailing on the Hardi, ferrying troops to Canada in 1758, took part in his first action, in 1759 aboard the 64-gun Dragon, under his uncle's command, taking part in the Battle of Quiberon Bay.
He served on the pram Louise and harassed the blockading British squadron Île-d'Aix in October 1760, still under his uncle. In 1762 he served on Tonnant. In the summer of that year, Latouche was detached to command two gunboats with which he attacked two British ships, one 60-gun and one 74-gun, waging a two-hour battle. After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Latouche took part in training campaigns under his uncle Latouche-Tréville and Admiral d'Estaing, serving on the ships Garonne in 1763, Hardi and Bricole in 1765. In September 1768, aged 23, he was promoted to Ensign. Under pressure from his family, who hoped for quicker promotions, or because the reform of the Navy forced him to retire, he resigned from the Navy and enlisted in the Army, he became an aide to Governor-General d'Ennery, newly appointed governor of Martinique, who obtained a commission as a cavalry captain for him. In 1771, he transferred as captain to the Régiment de La Rochefoucauld-Dragons, a dragoon regiment, became Aide-de-camp to Governor General Valière, who commanded at Saint-Domingue.
In 1772, Navy Minister Boynes acceded to repeated requests from Latouche's family, he was reinstated in the Navy as "capitaine de brûlot". Latouche was appointed to command the fluyt Courtier. In 1774, Latouche put forward a proposition to the Ministry Navy for an exploratory expedition to circumnavigate Australia to see whether New Holland and New South Wales were separated by a channel. Latouche corresponded with Captain Cook on exploration plans in 1775 and 1776. In May 1777, he was promoted to Lieutenant and was granted the command of a corvette, the 20-gun Rossignol, which escorted convoys and ferried messages, he captured three merchantmen. His prizes saw, he was appointed to command the 26-gun frigate Hermione. On 28 May 1779, Hermione spotted a British privateer, which she lured into a trap by feigning fleeing in the night. In order to induce a tiring chase, Latouche let his ship's beacon be glimpsed intermittently, before doubling back to attack his opponent in the morning; the privateer was the 18-gun Diffidence, of Falmouth.
The next day, another 18-gun privateer attacked and Latouche captured her too, using the same ruse. Latouche returned to Rochefort with his two prizes and numerous prisoners. From 21 March to 28 April 1780, Latouche carried General Lafayette as a passenger on a transatlantic voyage from France to Boston. Joining the fleet under Rear-Admiral Destouches, under orders from Barras and Ternay, he directed the building of several artillery batteries for the defence of Rhode Island. After he had completed the batteries, Latouche received authorization to cruise off Long Island and intercept shipping to New York City, he captured two prizes, before spotting four sails on 7 June 1780: these were the frigate Iris and three lesser warships. In the ensuing Action of 7 June 1780, Latouche was himself shot in the arm by a musket ball, Hermione suffered ten deaths and 37 wounded, his opponent, Captain James Hawker accused him of fleeing the scene, to which Latouche replied "In my poor state, I could not pursue you.
Why did you not continue the fight?"On 16 March, Latouche-Tréville participated in the Battle of Cape Henry, which took place at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. This action has led to a repeated, but erroneous, report that Latouche-Tréville engaged in a "battle against the Chesapeake (March
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