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The two ships shown were frigates of 36 guns, the 'Santa Margarita' - a Spanish-built prize - with 255 men under Captain Elliot Salter and the 'Amazone', under the Viscomte de Montguioté, with 301 men, though the British ship fired a heavier broadside. The action took place off Cape Henry, Virginia, during the War of American Independence, when Salter came in sight of eight large warships out of 13 on the coast under the French Admiral de Vaudreuil and was initially chased by the 'Amazone', which he could not engage for fear of the enemy squadron coming up in her support. However, in the mid-afternoon the bigger ships were no longer in sight and, at the request of his crew, he tacked to fight the French frigate, closing to within pistol shot and opening fire about 5 p.m.. At that range they fought for an hour and a quarter before the' Amazone' surrendered with her captain dead, 70 killed, 70-80 more wounded, four feet of water in the hold and her masts and rigging badly damaged: the main and mizzen masts fell just as she struck. By comparison the British had five dead, 17 wounded and more manageable rigging damage.
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The Capture of the 'Amazone' | Robert Dodd | 1783
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