Battle of the Saintes

The Battle of the Saintes took place over four days, stretching from the 9th of April to the 12th of April in the year of 1782, and adopted its name from the group of islands called the Saintes. It served as an important military naval battle during the Anglo-French War, and one that was a decisive victory for the British naval fleet under the command of Admiral Sir George Rodney over that of the French led by the Comte de Grasse. This was the same French fleet that blockaded the British during the battle of Yorktown, which sweetened the victory for the British.

While researching and trying to find newspaper articles that talked about this occurrence, I found that the more I looked at different newspapers the more often I found the same story being reprinted. From researching in archives of newspapers and even looking at news sources from more modern times, this reprinting and retelling of the same story isn’t all that surprising.

In Boston, the news of the Battle of the Saintes was received as an account of the sea battle that had been translated from the Martinico Gazette’s publication on the 18th of April. [1] Most importantly to keep in mind, it was a French account of what had transpired during the conflict between the French and British. The other newspapers in the area of Boston, including that of the Independent Ledger as well as the Independent Chronicle had the same exact story that had been printed in the Boston Gazette. [2][3] The first two of those newspapers had the story published on May 13, 1782, nearly one full month after the battle had taken place. A few more days go by and the third of the Boston newspapers had the story published. So it had seemed to be quite a large topic to have been printed a total of three times in separate newspapers all within the same city. The news had also seemed to travel down southward, according to the geographical placement and time of releases of the story in other newspapers. Newspapers such as the the Pennsylvania Evening Post and the New York Gazette, had also adopted the same article in their papers. [4][5]

It wasn’t until nearly a month after the French account of the Battle of Saintes was released, that on June 13, 1782 the Pennsylvania Packet had released in their paper the account from a British perspective. It was an account that was not only a stating of a specific person, but also the official account of the battle given to the English government. [6] The last running of this story wasn’t until nearly two months after it had been released on August 14 by the Royal Gazette in New York. [7]

During these four months from the first release of the French account to the final release of the British account, the subject regarding the Battle of the Saintes seemed to be a well enough discussed topic to have such a widespread and long running in the newspapers. It piqued an interest in the ‘intellectual north’ of the United States; prominently in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.These accounts seemed to have run an extra length of time, to February of the following year, with little changes in the original copies regarding the ordeal and letters from others whom were present.[9] There didn’t seem to be any other news on the topic other than the two separate accounts that I was able to find. So due to this I couldn’t find any real opinion on the matter given by the newspapers or anybody writing the articles, other than the brief background that was given to describe the accounts the viewer was about to read.

[1] The Boston Gazette, May 13 1782 (Boston, Massachusetts), America’s Historical Newspapers.

[2] The Independent Ledger, May 13 1782 (Boston, Massachusetts), America’s Historical Newspapers.

[3] The Independent Chronicle, May 16 1782 (Boston, Massachusetts),America’s Historical Newspapers.

[4] Pennsylvania Evening Post, May 27 1782 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), America’s Historical Newspapers.

[5] New York Gazette, June 3 1782 (New York, New York), America’s Historical Newspapers.

[6] Pennsylvania Packet, June 13 1782 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

[7] The Royal Gazette, August 14 1782 (New York, New York), America’s Historical Newspapers.

[8] The Independent Ledger, September 30 1782 (Boston, Massachusetts), America’s Historical Newspapers.

[9] The Royal Gazette, February 15 1783 (New York, New York), America’s Historical Newspapers.


Photo from Wiki


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