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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

September 5th, 1781 - The Second Battle of the Capes (or the Virginia Capes)

Conflict: American Revolution

Combatants: British vs. French

Location: Virginia (USA)

Outcome: French victory

On September 5th of 1781, a British fleet of nineteen warships commanded by Admiral Thomas Graves arrived in the Chesapeake Bay area. The French Admiral Comte De Grasse was waiting with a fleet of twenty-four ships and sailed out to meet the British. For three days the two fleets attempted to maneuver into superior positions, but on the 9th an additional eight French vessels arrived from Rhode Island. Graves, now seriously outnumbered, withdrew to New York. The British had suffered 336 casualties; the French 221.

Battle of the Virginia Capes by V. Zveg

Points of Interest:

  • The delivery of troops and supplies by the French ships assisted in the victory at Yorktown six weeks later.

  • Due to mismanagement, seven of the British ships never even entered the engagement.

Thomas Graves, 1st Baron Graves by Francesco Bartolozzi

Comte De Grasse by an unknown artist

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