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Molloy, Anthony James Pye

Captain Molloy's remarks on board the Caesar.

Great Britain, 1795.
Physical Description:
1 v. (34 p.) : ill. ; 33 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
DA87.5 1794 M65 1795+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
The battle of the Glorious First of June (1794) was the first and largest action at sea of the Napoleonic Wars. Though both the British and French incurred heavy losses, it marked a severe tactical defeat for the French fleet, which lost seven ships (while the British lost none). 4200 French were killed or wounded and 3300 taken prisoner, representing the greatest losses for the French Navy since 1692 (Cf. Rodger, Command of the ocean). The Caesar, captained by Anthony James Pye Molloy, did not play a major role in the battle, but did suffer much damage, having been struck by 64 shot, with 18 sailors killed and 37 wounded. Molloy was court-martialed for the charge of not having maintained the Caesar's place in the van; he was found guilty and dismissed as captain of the Caesar.
Binding: contemporary marbled wrappers.
Manuscript account, in pen and brown or red ink, of Captain Anthony James Pye Molloy's role in the naval battle of the Glorious First of June, with notes on the charges brought against him and arguments for his defense. The fair copy manuscript was probably prepared by Molloy's defense for circulation at his court-martial. The account, illustrated by 13 ink and watercolor diagrams depicting the battle's various stages from 28 May to 1 June, articulates the intricacies of fleet maneuver and war at sea.
Molloy's account records the art and dangers of naval warfare, describing mid-battle complications such as the disabling of the rudder by enemy shot and the difficulty of maintaining pace and fire while attempting to repair broken masts, sails, rigging and guns: "I called to the Master to put the helm hard a port and unclose upon the weather bow of the van ship but he answered (and some of the quarter masters called out at the same time) that an accident had happened to the rudder. I ran directly and tried the wheel but found it was immovable." The captain's narrative occupies the first 25 pages of the manuscript.
On page 25, the compiler notes: "Captain Molloy may be attacked upon the following points. 1. For splitting the maintopsail in letting out the reef on the 29th of May. 2. Not tacking when the signal was made for the van to do so on May 29th. 3. Wearing instead of tacking when the signal was the second time made for the van to tack on May 29th. 4. Not keeping close by the wind in running along the enemy's line after wearing on May 29th. 5. Not choosing a proper station to begin the action on the 1st of June. 6. Continuing to engage at an improper distance after the signal for close action was made by the Bellerophon on the 1st of June. And 7. Not following the 2 van ships of the enemy after they were beat out of the line on the first of June." This summary is immediately followed by a table listing these principal points of accusation, the grounds for defense, and the witnesses and the substance of evidence. The table is followed by full page examinations of each of the accusations, with the witnesses and their purpose in Molloy's defense. The defense demonstrates the severe nature of naval discipline and the pressure put upon captains to do their very utmost for a victory.
Subject Terms:
Anglo-French War, 1793-1802 -- Naval operations.
Courts-martial and courts of inquiry -- Great Britain.
First of June, Battle of the, 1794.
Great Britain -- History, Naval -- 18th century.
Great Britain. Royal Navy -- History -- 18th century.
Julius Caesar (Ship)
Molloy, Anthony James Pye.
Naval strategy.
Ships of the line -- History -- 18th century.
Great Britain. Royal Navy. Court-martial (Molloy : 1795)

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