Battle of Fort Royal, 1781

French chart of the battle, showing the positions of the French ships off Fort Royal. Original in the collection of the Bibliothรจque nationale de France.

Location Fort Royal, Martinique

The Battle of Fort Royal was fought 29 April, 1781, as part of the Anglo-French War (aka the American War of Independence outside North America). A French fleet under Admiral Comte de Grasse was escorting a convoy into Martinique, which was being blockaded by a British Fleet under Admiral Sir Samuel Hood. Hood was outnumbered twenty-four to eighteen, and the French had the wind advantage, due to the orders Hood was operating under requiring him to maintain a certain position. Hood was unable to stop de Grasse from getting the convoy into Fort Royal, before battle was joined about 11 am, but de Grasse opted for a long-range fight, and Hood was unable to close the distance. The fighting lasted for about four hours, with little effect, before Hood broke off. De Grasse pursued briefly, before letting Hood be on his way. British casualties were thirty-nine killed, and 162 wounded, while reports of French losses range between seventy-four to over 250. However, de Grasse secured a solid victory, due to lifting the blockade, and delivering the convoy without loss.