Strength: 24 French ships of the line with 1,542 guns VS 19 english ships of the line with 1,410 guns Casualties and losses:220 French sailors killed or wounded 2 ships damaged 90 english sailors killed 246 wounded 5 ships damaged1 ship scuttled
Trailer of Virginiacapes 1781
The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes,
was a crucial naval battle in the American Revolutionary War that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay
on 5 September 1781. The combatants were a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and a French fleet
led by Rear Admiral Francois Joseph Paul, the Comte de Grasse. The battle was strategically decisive
Admiral de Grasse had the option to attack British forces in either New York or Virginia; he opted for Virginia,
arriving at the Chesapeake at the end of August. Admiral Graves learned that de Grasse had sailed from the West Indies
for North America and that French Admiral de Barras had also sailed from Newport, Rhode Island, and he concluded
that they were going to join forces at the Chesapeake. He sailed south from New York with 19 ships of the line and
arrived at the mouth of the Chesapeake early on 5 September to see de Grasse's fleet at anchor in the bay.
De Grasse hastily prepared most of his fleet for battleâ€”24 ships of the lineâ€”and sailed out to meet him, and the 2-hour
engagement took place after hours of maneuvering. The lines of the two fleets did not completely meet; only the forward
and center sections fully engaged. The battle was consequently fairly evenly matched, although the British suffered more
casualties and ship damage, and it broke off when the sun set. The British tactics have been a subject of debate ever since.
The two fleets sailed within view of each other for several days, but de Grasse preferred to lure the British away from the bay
where de Barras was expected to arrive carrying vital siege equipment. He broke away from the British on 13 September
and returned to the Chesapeake, where de Barras had since arrived. Graves returned to New York to organize a larger relief
effort; this did not sail until 19 October, two days after Cornwallis surrendered.