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—much the same dilemma as that of Howe and Clinton in
Philadelphia. To support him in his distress by a diversion,
Sir Henry Clinton had sent two successive detachments to
ravage the valley of the James River in Virginia. These
were still there, under the command of General Phillips;
and Cornwallis, in the circumstances, could see many reasons
that thither was the very scene to carry the British opera-
tions. On the 25th of April, 1781, he left Wilmington, and a
month later joined the division at Petersburg, Virginia, then
commanded by Benedict Arnold; Phillips having died.
There, in touch now with his fate, we must leave him for the
To complete the naval transactions of 1780, it is necessary
to mention briefly two incidents, trivial in themselves, but
significant, not only as associated with the greater movements
of the campaign, but as indicative of the naval policy of the
States which were at war. The two, though not otherwise
connected, have a certain unity of interest, in that the same
British officer commanded on both occasions.
It will be remembered that in Byron's action off Grenada,
in July, 1779, the 64-gun ship Lion received such injuries that
her commander, Captain Cornwallis, had been compelled to
run down before the trade-winds to Jamaica, in order to save
her from capture. Since that time she had remained there,
as one of the squadron of Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Parker.
In March, 1780, still commanded by Cornwallis, she was mak-
ing an ordinary service cruise off the north side of Haiti,
having in company the Bristol, 50, and the Janus, 44. On the
20th of March, off Monte Christi, a number of sail were
sighted to the eastward, which proved to be a French convoy,
on its way from Martinique to Cap François, protected by
La Motte-Picquet's squadron of two 74's, one 64, one
50, and a frigate. The French merchant ships were or-
dered to crowd sail for their port, while the men-of-war

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chased to the north-west. La Motte-Picquet's flagship, the Annibal, 74, got within range at 5 P.M., when a distant cannonade began, which lasted till past midnight, and was resumed on the following morning. From it the Janus was the chief sufferer, losing her mizzen topmast and foretopgallant mast. It falling nearly calm, the Bristol and Lion got out their boats and were towed by them to her support. The two other French ships of the line got up during the forenoon of the 21st, so that the action that afternoon, though desultory, might be called general. The two opposing commodores differ in their expressed opinions as to the power of the French to make the affair more decisive. Some of La Motte-Picquet's language seems to show that he felt the responsibility of his position. “The Janus, being smaller and more easily worked, lay upon our quarter and under our stern, where she did considerable damage. A little breeze springing up enabled us (the Annibal) to stand towards our own ships, which did everything possible to come up and cover us, without which we should have been surrounded.” It is easy to see in such an expression the reflection of the commands of the French Cabinet, to economise the ships. This was still more evident in La Motte-Picquet's conduct next day. On the morning of the 22d, “at daylight we were within one and a half cannonshot, breeze fresh at the east-north-east, and I expected to overtake the British squadron in an hour, when we perceived four ships in chase of us. At 6.30 A.M. three were seen to be men-of-war. This superiority of force compelled me to desist, and to make signal to haul our wind for Cap François.” These three new-comers were the Ruby, 64, and two frigates, the Pomona, 28, and Niger, 32. The comparison of forces, therefore, would be: French, two 74's, one 64, one 50, and one frigate, opposed to, British, two 64's, one 50, and three frigates. La Motte-Picquet evidently did not wait to ascertain the size of the approaching ships. His courage was beyond all dispute, and, as Hyde Parker had said, he was among the most distinguished of French officers; but, like his comrades, he was dominated by the faulty theory of his government. The captain of the Janus died a natural death during the encounter. It may be interesting to note that the ship was given to Nelson, who was recalled for that purpose from the expedition to San Juan, Nicaragua, one of the minor operations of the war. His health, however, prevented this command from being more than nominal, and not long afterward he returned to England with Cornwallis, in the Lion. Three months later, Cornwallis was sent by Parker to accompany a body of merchant ships for England as far as the neighborhood of Bermuda. This duty being fulfilled, he was returning toward his station, having with him two 74's, two 64's, and one 50, when, on the morning of June 20, a number of sail were seen from north-east to east (a); the British squadron (aa) then steering east, with the wind at south-south-east. The strangers were a body of French transports, carrying the six thousand troops destined for Rhode Island, and convoyed by a division of seven ships of the line — one 80, two 74's, and four 64's — under the command of Commodore de Ternay. Two of the ships of war were with the convoy, the other five very properly to windward of it. The latter therefore stood on, across the bows of the British, to rejoin their consorts, and then all hauled their wind to the south-west, standing in column (bb) towards the enemy. Cornwallis on his part had kept on (b) to reconnoitre the force opposed to him; but one of his ships, the Ruby, 64, was so far to leeward (b) that the French, by keeping near the wind, could pass between her and her squadron (b,b,b'). She therefore went about (t) and steered southwest, on the port tack (c'), close to the wind. The French, who were already heading the same way, were thus brought on her weather quarter in chase. Cornwallis then wore his division (w), formed line of battle on the same tack as the others (c), and edged down towards the Ruby. If the French now kept their wind, either the Ruby (c) must be cut off, or Cornwallis, to save her, must fight the large odds against him. De Ternay, however, did not leep his wind but bore up, — yielded ground (cc). “The enemy,” wrote Cornwallis, “kept edging off and forming line, though within gunshot. At 5.30 P.M., seeing we had pushed the French ships to leeward sufficiently to enable the Ruby, on our lee bow, to join us, I made the signal to tack.” As the British squadron went about to stand east again (d), the French, heading now westsouth-west (cc), hoisted their colours and opened fire in passing. The Ruby kept on till she fetched the wake of the British column (d'), when she too tacked. The French then tacked also, in succession (d), and the two columns stood on for awhile in parallel lines, exchanging shots at long range, the British to windward. Cornwallis very properly declined further engagement with so superior a force. He had already done much in saving a ship so greatly exposed. The account above followed is that of the British commander, but it does not differ in essentials from the French, whose captains were greatly incensed at the cautious action of their chief. A French commissaire in the squadron, who afterwards published his journal, tells that de Ternay a few days later asked the captain of one of the ships what English admiral he thought they had engaged, and received the reply, “We have lost our opportunity of finding out.” He gives also many details of the talk that went on in the ships, which need not be repeated. Chevalier points out correctly, however, that de Ternay had to consider that an equal or even a superior force might be encountered as Narragansett Bay was approached, and that he should not risk crippling his

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