Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> British Navy >> America (60)
Origin and History
The ship was built by Wells and Stanton on the Thames and launched in 1757.
During the Seven Years' War, the ship was under the command of:
- 1759: captain James Kirke
- 1760: captain Robert Haldane
- 1761: captain Samuel Pitchford
The ship was broken up in 1771.
Service during the War
In August 1757, the ship joined the fleet assembling at Spithead under the command of sir Edward Hawke. On September 8, this fleet sailed. It escorted 45 transports carrying more then 7,000 foot for an expedition against an undisclosed French port of the Atlantic coast. The expedition was finally a raid against Rochefort but failed lamentably. On October 6, the expeditionary force, returned home with no tangible results.
In May 1759, during the naval operations in the Mediterranean, the ship was part of admiral Edward Boscawen's squadron who blockaded Toulon to prevent the French squadron from leaving without being detected and followed. At the beginning of July, Boscawen was compelled to go to Gibraltar for provisions and repairs. On August 4, Boscawen finally reached Gibraltar. On August 5, de la Clue set sail from Toulon to make a junction with de Conflans' fleet at Brest. On August 17, de la Clue's fleet (10 ships of the line, 2 50-gun ships and 3 frigates) passed the straits of Gibraltar where it was sighted by the Gibraltar (20). Alarmed, Boscawen set sail from Gibraltar to intercept de la Clue. On August 18, the ship took part to the victorious battle of Lagos. At 1:30 PM, the French began to fire at the headmost British ships as they came up. Since admiral Boscawen perceived that the French intended to make off as soon as the breeze should reach them, he naturally desired that the most advanced ships of his fleet should push on and attack the enemy's van, to stop their flight until his remaining ships could get up. He therefore ordered the America (60) and Guernsey (50) to make more sail. They got into action at about 2:30 PM. At daylight on August 19, only 4 French sail were to be seen. The British were about 5 km astern of them and about 24 km miles from Lagos. Once more the wind had almost died away. At about 9:00 AM, the Océan (80) ran among the breakers and the 3 other ships anchored under the Portuguese batteries. Boscawen thereupon sent the Intrepid (64) and America (60) to destroy the Océan (80) which, in taking the ground, had carried away all her masts. The captain of the Intrepid (64) had anchored and he failed to carry out the order. However, captain Kirke, taking in the America (60) very close, discharged a few guns into the enemy at point-blank range and obliged her to strike. M. de la Clue, who had one leg broken and the other injured and who eventually died of his wounds at Lagos, had been landed about 30 minutes before. Captain Kirke took possession of the French flagship and having removed such officers and men as were found in her, he set her on fire, deeming it impossible to bring her off. As soon as his fleet had repaired damages, Boscawen returned to Great Britain, in accordance with his instructions, taking with him a large part of his squadron including the America (60). In November, as soon as it became known in Great Britain that the French had sailed from Brest, the excitement was great and every effort was made to meet the situation. Orders were issued for guarding all coastal areas where the French were likely to make a descent. Troops were everywhere put in motion for this purpose. Furthermore, all ships of war in harbour were ordered out. The ship was part of rear-admiral Francis Geary's squadron detached to reinforce Hawke's fleet. However, Geary's reinforcements arrived too late to take part in the decisive battle of Quiberon.
To do: campaigns from 1760 to 1763
Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 227-232
Blasco, Manuel, British 4th Rates, 3 Decks Wiki
Phillips, M., Ships of the Old Navy (a great website which seems to have disappeared from the web)
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.