Combat on the Restigouche river

combat on the Restigouche river found to 8. July 1760 during the Frenchman and Indian war (seven-year-old war) (1754 - 1763) between British and French naval forces in a river in the Canadian province, flowing into the sinking Lorenz gulf , Québec instead of and ended with a British victory. Although comparatively few ships and crews were involved in this fight, it is nevertheless from great historical importance, since it prevented the last attempt of the Frenchmen to save their possessions in Canada (new France).

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after the heavy military setbacks of the Frenchmen in the years 1758 and 1759 (among other things Loss of Louisbourg, away Frontenac, away Duquesne, away Ticonderoga, the defeat in the battle on the Abraham level and the surrender following on it of Québec) remained as last support of the defense of Canada Montréal. Since the city at the beginning of of 1760 was in a precarious situation, one arranged a fleet from six frigates in Bordeaux on urge of the governor Vaudreuil , which should bring urgently needed supply there. Vaudreuil hoped to hold with this support not only Montréal to be able to back-conquer but also Québec. To 10. The ships knew April absegeln, on the following day by the French ports blocking British warships were however already placed and absent-minded. Only three ships, the flagship Machault (32 cannons) under the command of captain Giraudais, the Marquis de Malauze (16 cannons) and the Bienfaisant (22 cannons), met again and could continue the journey, while the Soleil and the Aurore were taken by the British and the Fidelite was lost through bad weather. From the crew could save themselves only the captain, four officers, two soldiers and eleven crew members in an open boat on the Azores. When the Frenchmen reached the sinking Lorenz gulf, they experienced that the Royal Navy had forestalled them and had advanced up the sinking Lorenz stream. Thereupon the three frigates with some gekaperten British ships withdrew themselves into the Chaleur bay to the delta of the Restigouche river. From there they sent to messengers after Montréal with the request for further instructions.

meanwhile however

the British had experienced process of combat by Indians of the arrival of the Frenchmen. A squadron under Kommodore John Byron, consisting of the liners Fame (74 cannons), Dorsetshire (70 cannons) and Achilles ( 60 cannons) as well as the frigates Repulse (32 cannons) and Scarborough (20 cannons) , penetrated into the Chaleur bay, in order to place and destroy the French ships to the fight. Byron still supplemented its fleet around four armed Schoner, with which its sailors could penetrate more easily into the flat water of the Restigouche river. The British counted 1,700 men, while the Frenchmen could muster only 450 men. Their only advantage was the better knowledge of the river. To 22. The two fleets sighted themselves June. The Frenchmen pulled themselves thereupon into the Restigouche river back, to block this with sunk ships and set up the banks cannon batteries also from their ships removed cannons tried. After two weeks with maneuvers and several skirmishes the British could do to 7. July after two futile attempts the strategically important French battery on the promontory punchline aux sow-vague switch off. In their attack efforts the British were obstructed by the flat water, since the two liners could penetrate not far into the river. To 8. July instructed the crucial attack to Byron. The British frigate Repulse was so heavily damaged in the French cross fire that it had to be set by its crew due to. It succeeded to the sailors however to quick-close the ship again and intervene in the fight. When the situation for the Frenchmen whom were subject far became hopeless, because them the ammunition went out, captain gave to Giraudais of the Machault the instruction to sink the ship. The crew went ashore. The Bienfaisant suffered the same fate, which became Marquis de Malauze likewise given up, but not sunk, since on board British prisoners were, whom one had brought there before the Indians in security. The abandoned ship was geentert by the British, who were it into fire, after they had freed the prisoners. After a landing attempt had been repelled by the Frenchmen, the British withdrew themselves to Halifax , while the Frenchmen from the wrecks saved all usable one and with some small Seglern over the Atlantic to France returned


combat on the Restigouche river were the last fight between British and French warships in North America during the Frenchman and Indian war. Despite the slight character - the losses at dead ones and wounded one were small on both sides, the British had only six dead ones to deplore, the Frenchmen somewhat more - was combat of substantial importance. With the loss of the ships Montréal lost finally the connection to the French motherland and important supply. Thus not only a counter attack had become finally impossible back conquest Québecs, also the defense Montréals was now without chance for success. The defeat on the Restigouche river sealed thus also the loss of Canada to the British.

archaeological research

more than 200 years after combat was discovered the wreck of the Machault on the reason of the river and excavated between 1969 and 1972 with methods of the underwater archaeology. During these research a large number of artifacts was discovered, which reached from remainders of the hull and its equipment up to numerous merchandise, which suggests that also businessmen on board were. The finds have the knowledge of the battle, which material culture of the French colonies and the trade at that time substantially deepens. The finds from the wreck are issued in the visitor center of the Battle OF the Restigouche national Historic Site OF Canada.

See also: List of wars, list of sea-battles


  • Willis of Stevens: Machault, in: James P. Delgado: Encyclopedia OF Underwater and maritime Archaeology, London 1997, S. 250-251

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