Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

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Foreword

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pp. vii-x

Water is unquestionably the most important natural feature on earth. By volume the world’s oceans compose 99 percent of the planet’s living space; in fact, the surface of the Pacific Ocean alone is larger than that of the total land bodies. Water is as vital to life...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

The origins of this book go back to my earlier research into the life of Lord Hood. It was a long-nurtured project to convert that research into a book. When Paul Wilderon of the United States Naval Institute Press considered my partially finished manuscript..

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Introduction

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pp. 1-7

The second battle of the Chesapeake (or the second battle of the Virginia Capes, as it is known in the United States) was fought on the fifth of September 1781. On the British side were the combined squadrons of Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves,1 Sir Samuel Hood...

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1. Hood’s Early Career

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pp. 8-11

Samuel Hood came from a long-established Dorset family with their roots in South Perrott and Mosterton in the southwest of England. The family had farmed there in the time of Henry VIII. His father, also Samuel, was vicar of Butleigh, a village in Somerset...

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2. The Frigate Captain

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pp. 12-21

The appointment as post captain brought Samuel Hood to one of the most active and successful phases of his professional career. His return coincided with the court-martial of Admiral John Byng, about to take place at Portsmouth. Admiral Smith was president...

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3. The Commodore

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pp. 22-36

Hood was not immediately offered a further command after the war. He could not live comfortably off his own means and could not therefore contemplate for long a life on half-pay. He asked for an appointment to one of the guard ships at Portsmouth...

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4. The Commissioner

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pp. 37-59

On Hood’s return from North America there was a dispute with Spain over the Falkland Islands, and at one time it looked like it might result in a war. The crisis had been provoked by the belief in France and Spain that Britain had lost the will and power...

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5. The Other Side of the Channel

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pp. 60-66

For the government of France, this was a time of preparing for conflict. The king, Louis XVI, had succeeded to the throne in 1774 at the age of nineteen. The diplomatic situation between Britain and France was delicate. While French representatives in Britain...

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6. The Flag Officer

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pp. 67-95

Prior to Hood’s arrival Rodney had returned from North America wanting to undertake some action against the French islands. There were only four French sail of the line in the area, at Martinique, and Rodney agreed with General Vaughan1 to make an attempt..

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7. The Chesapeake: The Forces Gather

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pp. 96-123

While the British fleet refitted at Barbados, de Grasse and the French fleet arrived at Fort Royal on 18 June and began to prepare their ships for sea again. The time was coming when the trade convoys of both sides would have to be escorted to Europe...

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8. The Chesapeake: The Battle Joined

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pp. 124-150

When the British fleet was first seen approaching, the patrolling French frigates were not immediately certain of their identity. The wind was blowing from the north-northeast and de Grasse was signaled that ships were coming from the north. De...

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9. The World Turned Upside Down

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pp. 151-193

The prospects for the British fleet were not entirely black. It is certain that Graves had it in mind to engage the French the following day despite the odds against him, as his disposition of the fleet attests. Captain Everitt of the Solebay had hailed Saxton as Everitt...

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10. The Rise and Fall of an Admiral

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pp. 194-226

When Samuel Hood left New York to return to his station in the Leeward Islands, he again assumed responsibility for the most important area for British trade and wealth. For the eighteenth-century governments of Britain— and France—the...

Appendix 1

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pp. 227-226

Appendix 2

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pp. 227-230

Notes

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pp. 231-242

Bibliography

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pp. 243-246

Index

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pp. 247-251

About the Author, Further Information

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p. 253