During the French Revolutionary War the Channel Fleet played the crucial role of defending Britain from invasion, protecting Britain’s incoming and outgoing trade through the Channel and Western Approaches, and preventing the French Brest fleet from setting forth on raids and expeditions. Presenting documents revealing the evolution of this role during the war, this book focuses on the blockade of Brest. It shows how the blockade developed and tightened through the increase of Admiralty control of the disposition of the Channel Fleet. It reveals the political conflicts that existed between the Commanders-in-Chief and the Admiralty, the logistical demands that had to be met, and the response of the Admiralty and fleet officers to the Spithead Mutiny. Above all, it reveals the response of the Fleet to the challenges it met from the French in their sequence of break-outs, and from the perennial problem posed by the necessity to preserve the health of seamen. Here, confuting the claims of contemporary medical officers, is evidence that shows how scurvy remained a scourge to the very end of the war.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Channel Fleet, 12 June 1793-5 June 1795; The blockade initiated, 6 June-19 September 1795; The logistical problems, 8 October 1795-20 December 1796; Towards a system, 20 December 1796-13 April 1797; The Spithead Mutiny, 13 April-15 May 1797; The growth of central control, 15 May 1797-19 May 1798; The French expeditions to Ireland, 28 May 1798-6 February 1799; The Bruix cruise, 12 February-15 August 1799; The Combined Fleet in Brest, 18 August 1799-24 April 1800; St. Vincent takes command, 25 April-28 June 1800; The Mediterranean discipline, 29 June-21 October 1800; The escape of Ganteaume, 21 October 1800-9 February 1801; Cornwallis succeeds, 26 February-25 October 1801; Appendix 1: list of British ships and vessels mentioned in the text; Appendix 2: list of documents and sources; Index.
'The volume maintains the high standard of Navy Record Society publications in its presentation, editing and content and will be a great asset for those studying the Revolutionary War against France.' International Journal of Maritime History