[N.p. ca. 1780-1783]. pp. on two large bifolia, each approximately 17¾ x 11½ inches. Previously folded. Blindstamped "ARCHIVES DE CHASTELLUX" on the verso of both bifolia. Closed tear from inner margin of first bifolium, not affecting manuscript. Patches of light dampstaining. Very good. Untrimmed. Item #WRCAM53945
A pair of illustrated period battle charts detailing the action from the Anglo-French battles at Martinique in the Spring of 1780, originally the property of François-Jean de Chastellux, Marquis de Chastellux.
On April 17, 1780 a Royal Navy fleet under Sir George Rodney challenged a numerically superior French fleet under the command of the Compte de Guichen. Due to missed signals between Rodney and his subordinates, the battle which could have turned out to be a narrow British victory instead ended in a stalemate. After separating and repairing their damaged ships, on May 7 the two fleets began maneuvering once again, attempting to gain advantage. On May 15 the fleets again engaged, likewise on May 19. Both actions resulted in stalemate, but short on provisions, the French sailed away, and Rodney, in a similar situation, chose not to pursue.
The first chart depicts the Battle of Martinique in a series of ten illustrations, each depicting the opposing lines of battle and their movements (a figure of a child's head blowing indicates the direction of the wind). Ten phases of the battle are shown while a chart at the top offers the names of the ships in the French fleet together with the number of guns on each. The second chart, composed in a similar manner, depicts the final encounter of May 19, 1780 in seven illustrations.
These charts were composed for French General François-Jean de Chastellux, the principal and indispensable liaison between Rochambeau and Washington during the American Revolution, and are formerly of his historical archives, with their blind stamps on both sets of illustrations. They would have been integral to providing Chastellux, who was with Rochambeau in the United States, an understanding of naval developments in the Caribbean.