Frame Size: 33" x 45"
Size: 24" x 36"

"The Battle of Plattsburgh" SOLD

by James Hardy lll (British b. 1937)

Oil on Board

Signed Lower Right


Description: The Battle of Plattsburgh aka The Battle of Lake Champlain. This battle, on Lake Champlain, and on land, ended the final invasion of the northern states.The British army under Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost and a British squadron of one frigate, one brig, two sloops, and twelve gunboats, converged on the town of Plattsburgh, New York on September 11, 1814.

Since June 1, 1813 the British had gained naval superiority on Lake Champlain when two American sloops where captured in the Richelieu River.

In the months following, the Americans where able to establish a safe base at Otter Creek in Vermont. Under the command of Lieutenant Thomas Macdonough along with appeals to the Secretary of Navy in Washington,

the United States constructed and launched the 26 gun USS Saratoga, the 14 gun USS Ticonderoga, and the 20 gun USS Eagle. This fleet along with the 7 gun USS Preble and 10 gun boats allowed the Americans to gain naval superiority and secure and supply a base at Plattsburgh.

The American fleet under the command of Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough would fight this battle under anchor. Prior to the arrival of the British the ships were anchored at both bow and stern in a line from north to south in the order Eagle, Saratoga, Ticonderoga, and Preble. The ten gun boats were anchored at intervals between the larger vessels.

At about 9:00 AM on September 11, the British squadron, under the command of Captain George Downie, rounded Cumberland Head close-hauled and in line abreast. HMS Chubb, HMS Linnet, HMS Confiance, and HMS Finch to the north, and the gunboats to the south.

It was a clear Autumn day with light wind, and Downie was unable to position Confiance to his desired position, across the head of Macdonough’s line. Confiance took heavy fire and suffered severe damage from the American fleet. Downie was forced to anchor about 400 yards from Macdonough’s flagship, the Saratoga. Downie fired a broadside which killed or wounded a fifth of the Saratoga crew. Later in the cannon fare, Downie was killed.

Elsewhere, the HMS Chubb was forced to surrender, and HMS Finch, though hardly hit, drifted and ran aground on Crab Island. Heavy fire from half the British gunboats forced the USS Preble to cut its anchors and drift out of battle. The USS Ticonderoga was able to fight off the British gunboats, but was too engaged to support Macdonough’s flagship.

After having one of the springs to her cable anchors shot away, the USS Eagle was unable to maneuver and was raked by the HMS Linnet. The Eagle’s commander cut the remaining line and she drifted to the end of the fleet and anchored behind the USS Saratoga and engaged HMS Confiance. The HMS Linnet was able to rake the USS Saratoga. The American and British flagships had battled each other to a standstill. The USS Saratoga had suffered severe damage to its starboard side so Macdonough ordered the bow anchor cut which allowed him to turn the undamaged port side to HMS Confiance.

After taking heavy fire, and unable to return fire, the Confiance could only surrender. 

Macdonough then hauled in further and took fire on HMS Linnet. HMS Confiance had struck her colors, and HMS Linnet would soon do the same.

The surviving British officers boarded the USS Saratoga to surrender their swords to Macdonough, but Macdonough replied, “Gentlemen, return your swords to your scabbards, you are worthy of them”.

The Battle of Lake Champlain is often referred to as “The False Nile” by the British, referring to “the Battle of the Nile” between the French and the British on August 1, 1798 (see the painting of that title). The strategies were similar, yet in this case the tactics used by Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough against the British followed those of the great British Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Note: This painting along with "The Battle of Lake Erie" (framed the same) would make a magnificent pairing in a conference room, office, library, foyer, dining room, etc.


Artist Profile: James Hardy lll is a British artist, born in 1937, who shows explicit detail in his marine paintings. He has had numerous works commissioned by many marine art collectors. His works are considered an excellent investment as they will continue to appreciate in value.


 

 

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