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Action of 13 August 1780
Part of the American Revolutionary War
Date13 August 1780
LocationOff the Old Head of Kinsale
Result British victory
 Kingdom of Great Britain  Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Great Britain John MacBride Kingdom of France Chevalier de Clonard

2 ships

1 Ship of the line Privateer
Casualties and losses
3 killed & 21 wounded 1 ship of the line captured
21 killed & 35 wounded
590 captured[1]

The Action of 13 August 1780 was minor naval battle fought off the Old Head of Kinasle in which the 64 gun Privateer French ship of the line Comte d'Artois fought two British Royal naval ships during the American Revolutionary War.

After the success of the George Rodney's brought some relief to Gibraltar which involved the capture of a Spanish convoy off Cape Finisterre and eight days later the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, his fleet returned to Britain in March. One of the ships HMS Bienfaisant under Robert MacBride sailed back with them and kept a watch of the Irish coast in order to report if there were any movements by Spanish and French fleets towards there.[1]

Reports in early August of a large French privateer, the 64-gun Comte d'Artois, having sailed from Brest to cruise off the Irish south coast was at once to be dealt with.[2] MacBride was ordered to sail in company with the 44-gun HMS Charon and to capture the dangerous vessel.[2] After several days in search of the vessel, a mysterious sail was finally sighted early on 13 August, chasing after some of the ships of a convoy departing from Cork.[3]


MacBride ranged up and fell in with the unidentified ship, which hoisted English colours. Both ships came within pistol shot, and it was not until there was some communication between the two ships, that MacBride could be satisfied of her identity.[2] By now the two ships were so close, with Bienfaisant off the Comte de'Artois's bow, that neither ship could bring their main guns to bear.[2] Instead both ships opened fire with muskets until MacBride could manoeuvre away and a general action ensued.

After an hour and ten minutes the French vessel, surrendered. She proved to be Le Comte D'Artois private ship of war, mounting 64 guns, and 644 men, commanded by the Chevalier Clonard who was slightly wounded having had 21 killed and 35 wounded. Bienfaisant had three killed and 20 wounded.[4] The Charon had only joined the action towards the end of the engagement and only had a single man wounded.[4]

The capture had an unusual sequel, for just over a year later, and under a different captain, Bienfaisant captured another privateer, this time named Comtesse d'Artois.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Marshall, John (1823). Royal Naval Biography. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown,. p. 501.'Artois&f=false. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Charnock. Biographia Navalis. p. 559. 
  3. Campbell. Naval History of Great Britain. p. 277. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Campbell. Naval History of Great Britain. p. 278. 
  5. Winfield. British Warships of the Age of Sail 1714–1792. p. 91. 
  • Syrett, David (1998). The Royal Navy in European Waters During the American Revolutionary War. Univ of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1570032386. 
  • Winfield, Rif (2007). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714–1792: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6. 

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