Sunday, August 19, 2012

Seafaring Sunday: The Horrors of War

August 19, 1702: A six day engagement between a British squadron under Vice Admiral John Benbow and a French squadron under Admiral Jean du Casse began off the coast of Santa Marta, Grand Colombia. Benbow vigorously attacked the French squadron, but the refusal of most of his captains to support the action allowed du Casse to escape. Two of the captains, Richard Kirby of HMS Defiance and Cooper Wade of HMS Greenwich were convicted of cowardice and shot.

Header: The Horrors of War by Caroline Tank via American Gallery


Richard Page said...

I think it's generally held that the 2 captains were shot for cowardice "pour encourager les autres". The Admiralty was demanding ever more aggressive fighting captains at the time and the somewhat drastic measures seem to have worked!

Timmy! said...

Those are some drastic measures indeed... It was a simple job of encouragement, Pauline.

Pauline said...

Richard: excellent point. And, if I may, a continuing issue in the Royal Navy right into the 19th century. A good example of why American sailors were jittery about their rights prior to and during the War of 1812.

Timmy! no longer an issue in most navies, thank goodness.