The Battle of the Chesapeake 1781

The Royal Navy and the Battle that Lost America

Quintin Barry

An account of the crucial battle of Chesapeake Bay in 1781, and the events leading up to it.
Date Published :
January 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Reason to Revolution
Illustration :
6 b/w images, 2 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913336530
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9.8 X 7.1 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
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$37.50

Overview
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By the end of 1780, the war for American independence appeared to be approaching a stalemate. After five years of war, Washington’s armies remained in the field. Once France, and then Spain, joined the war, Lord Sandwich as First Lord of the Admiralty was faced with a constant struggle to balance the forces needed at home and overseas, while facing constant hostile pressure from the opposition.

However, events were conspiring to bring about a showdown in North America, which would take place in the waters off Chesapeake Bay. This book describes how, step by step, the crisis was reached. After France had accepted the need for a major effort to support the Americans, Count de Grasse arrived in the West Indies in April 1781 with a large fleet, intending to arrive off the North American coast in July. Once he had opted to sail to Virginia, Washington began to move south. Meanwhile Lord Cornwallis, the British commander in the Carolinas, had chosen without authority to march to Virginia, where he arrived in May to link up with a force that had been sent to establish a naval base in the Chesapeake.

De Grasse reached Chesapeake Bay with his whole fleet at the end of August, outnumbering the British fleet under Graves which arrived on 5 September. The battle that followed was indecisive, though the French had the best of it. Cornwallis was now besieged at Yorktown by Washington; a force intended to relieve him arrived too late and on 19 October he capitulated at Yorktown. The war for American independence was decisively lost; all that remained was a bitter debate as to who was to blame.

About The Author
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Quintin Barry is a solicitor and retired Employment Judge. He has also held a wide varirty of offices in both the public sectors, including the NHS and local radio. Following a lifelong interest in military and naval history, he is the author of a number of books in both fields. These include an acclaimed two volume history of the Franco Prussian War of 1870-1871; a history of the Austro Prussian War of 1866; and the first modern history of the Russo Turkish War of 1877-1878. He has also written a number of books of naval history, including a well reviewed account of the war in the North Sea in 1914-1918.

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