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Capture of the La Desiree Jenkins Naval Achievements

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Capture of the La Desiree, July 7th 1800


Availability: In stock

Original antique military / naval print


This action is also called 'The Raid on Dunkirk'. A British Royal Navy force led by Captain Henry Inman attacked the well defended French anchorage of Dunkirk in the English Channel during the French Revolutionary Wars. French naval forces had been blockaded in their harbours during the conflict, and often the only method of attacking them was through fireships or "cutting-out" expeditions, in which boats would carry boarding parties into the harbour at night, seize ships at anchor and bring them out. The attack on Dunkirk was a combination of both of these types of operation, aimed at a powerful French frigate squadron at anchor in Dunkirk harbour. The assault made use of a variety of experimental weaponry, some of which was tested in combat for the first time with mixed success. Although assault by the heavily armed sloop HMS Dart proved successful, the fireships achieved little and various other British craft involved in the operation had little effect on the eventual outcome. The French response was disorganised and ineffectual, losing one frigate captured. Three others were almost destroyed, only escaping by cutting their anchor cables and fleeing into the coastal shoals where they ran aground. Although all three frigates were refloated and returned to service, the operation had cost the French heavy casualties. The British force suffered minimal losses, although the exact totals are uncertain. Many of the British officers involved were highly praised and rewarded with promotions and prize money. Thomas Whitcombe (1760-1824) was a marine painter whose works are in several English collections, in particular the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Engraving from 'The Naval Achievements of Great Britain' by James Jenkins. Acid-free double mount.

Additional Information

artist Thomas Sutherland (1785-1838) after Thomas Whitcombe (1760-1824)
method Colour aquatint
date 1816
size 215mm by 300mm (platemark)
SKU MN2876