Monday, April 7, 2008

Minuet At Sea: March 3-9, 1758

For naval activities that happened 4 March 1758 go to correspondece dated 27 March 2008. I am writing from the future. The following entry takes us to 9 March 1758 though I write this on 7 April 2008.

Narrator: By noon on the morning of 4 March 1758, the naval minuet south of The Shetland Group concluded as follows with the wind from the westward.

1. The Gallian Fleet under Admiral Suthren as previously described had borne to the eastward with the wind astern to join forces with the squadron of Tradgardland’s Duke Karl Frederick then heading southwestward.

2. At eleven of the clock in the forenoon the Duke signaled Admiral Suthren and the two spoke to each other via speaking trumpets about their next dance card.

3. The squadron of neutral Hesse-Engelburgers also on an easterly heading paralleled the Gallians slightly to the north. Their idea was to avoid direct confrontations with the hopeful idea their numbers might add to the dismay of the Britannian Fleet. A clever ruse.

4. Indeed, the combined strength of all three forces was such that the Britannian Fleet turned to the northwestward close hauled into the wind to gain maneuver room and time to consider the situation.

5. The situation? The Shetlands were taken by Tradgardland last year. It was time to recover this lost possession. However, upon arrival, the Britannian Fleet discovered a more numerous body of enemy warships thereby thwarting the mission to retake the island.

6. At noon by pre-arrangement, the combined Gallian and Tradgardland Fleet bore to the southwest to cut off the Britannians from home. At this point the Britannian Fleet tacked through the wind to also run on a southwesterly heading to pass the northern tip of Scotland into the Irish Sea.

7. The chase lasted two days. Both fleets threw bow spray high into the air as the winds freshened out of the west. On this slowest of all speeds, the ships pounded into the waves sometimes heeling shockingly. The Britannians in front continued their southwesterly heading followed by the Combined Fleet a few hours behind but a little to the south. On the evening of the second day the tip of Scotland was clearly visible. The Britannians would easily weather the point. The Combined Fleet would not. So the order was given to tack to the northeast, gain sea room and when safely beyond the point to then tack to the southwest again to resume the chase.

However, it was not to be. The Britannians sailed out of sight behind some islands. Just prior to sunset the Combined Fleet hove to (stopped in the wind) whereupon the Duke and Admiral Suthren exchanged words via speaking trumpet one last time….

Admiral Suthren: “Your Grace. Tis time to part. We wish you a good voyage back to the Main Island in The Shetlands. God speed to you and your mission there to restore order.”

The Duke: “Merci mon ami. We thank you for your assistance. Bon chance with l’Comte de Albany. We will take good care of your shore party and their commander, your King’s nephew.”

Narrator: Thus came to an end the naval dance off The Shetland Group. No shots were fired as one might sometimes expect in the Age of Reason. Maneuver and numbers instead won the day. Afterwards Suthren proceeded down the eastern coast of Scotland presumably for home. Karl Frederick returned to the Main Island in the Shetland Group with the Gallian en-flute ship, Charlemagne, to collect Gallian Lt. General Gallantier and his shore party left behind on the 3rd. Little sloop of war Alerte
(20) accompanied as a dispatch vessel.

On March 9th. Suthren was off the coast of Scotland near Edinburgh then in control of Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Duke arrived in Bressay Sound to go ashore to restore order at Lerwick. Alerte remained to the southward of Bressay Sound sniffing the waters there and looking outward for any mischief. There was none. Meanwhile the Hesse-Engelburg Squadron and Admiral Suthren in different parts of the sea….


tradgardmastare said...

An excellent account Sir! More power to your quill!

Gallia said...

Thank you for saying so Alan,
Votre Serviteur,

Frankfurter said...

no cannonade nor carronade?
If the Gallians have no use for their big guns, could Frankszonia borrow a couple?