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seven thousand two hundred and forty-seven troops and eight hundred and forty seamen laying down their arms. During the siege the latter had served in the works, the batteries of which were largely composed of ships' guns.

After Graves's return to New York, Rear-Admiral the Hon. Robert Digby arrived from England on the 24th of September, to take command of the station in Arbuthnot's place. He brought with him three ships of the line; and the two which Sir Peter Parker had been ordered by Rodney to send on at once had also reached the port. It was decided by the land and sea officers concerned to attempt the relief of Cornwallis, and that it was expedient for Graves to remain in command until after this expedition. He could not start, however, until the 18th of October, by which time Cornwallis's fate was decided. Graves then departed for Jamaica to supersede Sir Peter Parker. On the 11th of November Hood sailed from Sandy Hook with eighteen ships of the line, and on the 5th of December anchored at Barbados. On the 5th of November de Grasse also quitted the continent with his whole fleet, and returned to the West Indies.

CHAPTER XI

NAVAL EVENTS OF 1781 IN EUROPE. DARBY'S RELIEF OF GIBRALTAR, AND THE BATTLE OF THE DOGGER BANK

N Europe, during the year 1781, the two leading questions which dominated the action of the belligerents were the protection, or destruction, of commerce, and the attack and defence of Gibraltar. The British Channel Fleet was much inferior to the aggregate sea forces of France and Spain in the waters of Europe; and the Dutch navy also was now hostile. The French government represented to its allies that by concentrating their squadrons near the entrance of the Channel they would control the situation in every point of view; but the Spaniards, intent upon Gibraltar, declined to withdraw their fleet from Cadiz until late in the summer, while the French persisted in keeping their own at Brest. The Channel Fleet was decisively superior to the latter, and inferior to the Spaniards in numbers only. No relief having been given Gibraltar since Rodney had left it in February, 1780, the question of supplying the fortress became pressing. For this purpose, twenty-eight ships of the line, under Vice-Admiral George Darby, sailed from St. Helen's on the 13th of March, 1781, with a large convoy. Off Cork a number of victuallers joined, and the whole body then proceeded for Gibraltar, accompanied by five ships of the line which were destined for the East Indies, as well as by the West India and American “trade.” These several attachments parted from time to time on the way, and on the 11th of April the main expedition sighted Cape Spartel, on the African coast. No attempt to intercept it was made by the great Spanish fleet in Cadiz; and on the 12th of April, at noon, the convoy anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar. That night thirteen sail of the transports, under charge of two frigates, slipped out and made their way to Minorca, then a British possession. The British ships of war continued under way, cruising in the Bay and Gut of Gibraltar. As the convoy entered, the besiegers opened a tremendous cannonade, which was ineffectual, however, to stop the landing of the stores. More annoyance was caused by a flotilla of gunboats, specially built for this siege, the peculiar fighting power of which lay in one 26-pounder, whose great length gave a range superior to the batteries of ships of the line. Being moved by oars as well as by sails, these little vessels could choose their distance in light airs and calms, and were used so actively to harass the transports at anchor that Darby was obliged to cover them with three ships of the line. These proved powerless effectually to injure the gunboats; but, while the latter caused great annoyance and petty injury, they did not hinder the unlading nor even greatly delay it. The experience illustrates again the unlikelihood that great results can be obtained by petty means, or that massed force, force concentrated, can be effectually counteracted either by cheap and ingenious expedients, or by the coöperative exertions of many small independent units. “They were only capable of producing trouble and vexation. So far were they from preventing the succours from being thrown into the garrison, or from burning the convoy, that the only damage of any consequence that they did to the shipping was the wounding of the mizzen-mast of the Nonsuch so much that it required to be shifted.” On the 19th of April — in one week – the revictualling was completed, and the expedition started back for England. The fleet anchored again at Spithead on the 22d of May. While Darby was returning, La Motte Picquet had gone to sea from Brest with six ships of the line and some frigates to cruise in the approaches to the Channel. There, on the 2d of May, he fell in with the convoy returning from the West Indies with the spoils of St. Eustatius. The ships of war for the most part escaped, but La Motte Picquet carried twenty-two out of thirty merchant ships into Brest before he could be intercepted, although a detachment of eight sail sent by Darby got close upon his heels. After a long refit, Darby put to sea again, about the 1st of August, to cover the approach of the large convoys then expected to arrive. Being greatly delayed by head winds, he had got no further than the Lizard, when news was brought him that the Franco-Spanish grand fleet, of forty-nine ships of the line, was cruising near the Scilly Isles. Having himself but thirty of the line, he put into Tor Bay on the 24th of August, and moored his squadron across the entrance to the Bay. This appearance of the allies was a surprise to the British authorities, who saw thus unexpectedly renewed the invasion of the Channel made in 1779. Spain, mortified justly by her failure even to molest the intrusion of succours into Gibraltar, had thought to retrieve her honour by an attack upon Minorca, for which she asked the coöperation of France. De Guichen was sent in July with nineteen ships of the line; and the combined fleets, under the chief command of the Spanish admiral, Don Luis de Cordova, convoyed the troops into the Mediterranean beyond the reach of Gibraltar cruisers. Returning thence into the Atlantic, de Cordova directed his course for the Channel, keeping far out to sea to conceal his movements. But though thus successful in reaching his ground unheralded, he made no attempt to profit by the advantage gained. The question of attacking Darby at his anchors was discussed in a council of war, at which de Guichen strongly advocated the measure; but a majority of votes decided that Great Britain would be less hurt by ruining her fleet than by intercepting the expected convoys. Even for the latter purpose, however, de Cordova could not wait. On the 5th of September he informed de Guichen that he was at liberty to return to Brest; and he himself went back to Cadiz with thirty-nine ships, nine of which were French. “This cruise of the combined fleet,” says Chevalier, “diminished the consideration of France and Spain. These two powers had made a great display of force, without producing the slightest result.” It may be mentioned here that Minorca, after a six months' siege, capitulated in February, 1782. While Darby was beating down Channel in the early days of August, 1781, Vice-Admiral Hyde Parker, lately Rodney's second in command in the West Indies, was returning to England convoying a large merchant fleet from the Baltic. On the 5th of August, at daylight, a Dutch squadron, also with a convoy, but outward bound, from the Texel to the Baltic, was discovered in the south-west, near the Doggersbank. Heading as the two enemies then were, their courses must shortly intersect. Parker, therefore, ordered his convoy to steer to the westward for England, while he himself bore down for the enemy. The Dutch Rear-Admiral, Johan Arnold Zoutman, on the contrary, kept the merchant vessels with him, under his lee, but drew out the ships of war from among them, to form his order on the side towards the enemy. Each opponent put seven sail into the line. The British vessels, besides being of different rates, were chiefly very old ships, dragged out from Rotten Row to meet the pressing emergency caused by the greatly superior forces which were in coalition against Great Britain. Owing to the decayed condition of some of them, their batteries had been lightened,

* Beatson, “Military and Naval Memoirs,” v. 347.

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