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Admiral Cornwallis's retreat from the French Fleet

Date: 1802
Overall: 450 x 370 x 2 mm, 111 g
Image: 135 x 210 mm
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Stanis Osterly
Object Name: Aquatint
Object No: 00025986

User Terms

    This aquatint celebrates a Royal Navy tactical victory that took place in June 1795 during the French revolutionary wars. The British Squadron are shown under the command of Admiral Cornwallis. In the background the TRIUMPH and MARS are engaged with the French enemy whilst the ROYAL SOVEREIGN provides assistance.

    This illustration was published in Volume VII of the Naval Chronicle in 1802. This preeminent maritime journal was published twice a year between 1799 and 1818. It reported on the activities of the Royal Navy and included action reports and intelligence on various matters related to British and other navies, along with biographies of serving officers.

    SignificanceThis dramatic illustration represents the courage, coolness and tactics of Admiral Cornwallis of the British Royal Navy.
    HistoryAdmiral Cornwallis was in command of a Royal Navy Squadron consisting of five sailing ships and two frigates during the French Revolutionary Wars and was attacked by a French battlefleet of 12 sailing ships and 11 frigates in the waters off the west coast of Brittany on 16-17 June 1795. The British were outnumbered and attempted to escape into open water, the French fleet pursued the British and Admiral Cornwallis resorted to desperate measures. He manoeuvred his flagship HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN between the British and French forces. The French Admiral Villaret de Joyeuse feared the main British fleet were nearby and ordered his ships to withdraw, allowing Corwnallis to return to port with his battered squadron of ships. While the French Commander was criticised for failing to pursue and attack the British, Cornwallis was praised for his bravery and defiance of the French during the battle. The incident became commonly known as 'Cornwallis's Retreat'.
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    Publisher: Bunney & Gold

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