Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Liberty Day History Display from 2010--pt. 14

The Naval Battles that Ended the Revolutions

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. (Psalm 107:23-25, KJV)

A sea battle ended the American War for Independence. It was the Battle of the Chesapeake, where the French Admiral de Grasse beat a British fleet under Admirals Graves and Hood. The battle was inconclusive, both sides took some casualties, but the French won strategically, which was incidentally one of the few British naval defeats from 1620-1820. They chased the British away and blockaded the Chesapeake Bay. The French Navy kept the Royal Navy from helping Cornwallis at Yorktown, who was now left to fend for himself against the Franco-American army outnumbering him 2 to 1.

The French Revolution ended with a sea battle as well, but indirectly. A rising general, Napoleon Bonaparte, was successfully campaigning in Egypt, winning the Battle of the Pyramids against the British-allied Egyptian Mamluks. He had his fleet stationed off the Nile River. The British Royal Navy led by a new, daring admiral named Horatio Nelson, engaged the French in a moonlight battle. The French flagship L’Orient blew up, and of the remaining 16 ships, 12 were lost, most captured by the British. So how did a French naval disaster and a prestigious British victory end the French Revolution? This battle forced Napoleon out of Egypt. He sailed past the British ships, and arrived in France. When Napoleon set foot on French soil, he promptly kicked the Directory out, and established his own government, culminating in his coronation in 1804.

No comments: