FADEN, William (1750-1836)
[Battle of St. Lucia, Caribbean]. Sketch of Part of the Island of Ste. Lucie
London: William Faden, November 5, 1781. Engraving and letterpress on laid paper. Sheet size: 22 1/2 x 30 1/4 inches.
The very rare state of Faden's map of a Revolutionary War battle in the West Indies, with extracts of a letter from a British General John Grant printed on the same sheet.
The Battle of St. Lucia, also known as the Battle of the Cul De Sac, was a pivotal naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the French navy, in December 1778, off the island of St. Lucia during the Revolutionary War. The sea battle played a critical role in the island's surrender to the British. The assault was led by Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, Compt d'Estaing, who sailed for the Caribbean from Boston in early November 1778. D'Estaing's forces faced over 5,000 British troops under the command of the British General John Grant, who was escorted to the island from Sandy Hook, New Jersey by Commodore William Hotham. Unluckily, the French ships were blown off course en route from Boston, allowing the British to secure the high ground at Cul De Sac Bay which gave them an advantage for a decisive victory on 16 December 1778. Only this early state includes the extract of a letter from General Grant to Lord Germain where Grant celebrates his men, who acted 'cool and determined - they even surpassed, if possible, their usual spirit and bravery.' Whereas de'Estaing's 'two first attacks were made with the impestuosity of Frenchmen […] they were repulsed by the determined bravery of Britons!' The map shows the northwestern coast of St. Lucia from Grand Cul De Sac Bay to Castries and includes many important details: locations of land forces, the size of cannon in the French batteries, locations of the fleets, and 'track of the Compt d'Estaing.' The tables enumerate commanders and the numbers of guns and men. Faden's map demonstrates how the West Indies became a major theatre of the War of Independence. Whereas the French managed to capture Dominica in September 1778, D'Estaing's loss a few months later showed that the British were committed to retain control of the island colonies.
Kenneth Nebenzahl, A Bibliography of Printed Battle Plans of the American Revolution 150; Nebenzahl, Atlas of the American Revolution.