The Battle of Trincomalee
was the fourth in the series of battles fought between a British
fleet under Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes
and a French fleet under the Bailli de Suffren
off the coast of India during the American Revolutionary War
. The battle was fought on 3 September 1782.
France had entered the American Revolutionary War
in 1778, and Britain declared war on the Dutch Republic
in late 1780 after the Dutch refused to stop trading in military supplies with the French and the Americans. The British had rapidly gained control over most French and Dutch outposts in India when news of these events reached India, spawning the Second Anglo-Mysore War
in the process.
The French admiral the Bailli de Suffren
was dispatched on a mission to provide military assistance to French colonies in India
. He arrived in February 1782, and immediately engaged the British fleet of Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes
in the inconclusive Battle of Sadras
. After both fleets spent time in port repairing, refitting, and revictualing, they met again in the April Battle of Providien
, south of the Ceylonese
port of Trincomalee
that was ended by a storm and then nightfall. Hughes put into Trincomalee, a formerly Dutch
port the British had captured
in January, for repairs, while Suffren went to the Dutch-controlled port of Batticaloa
. Suffren and Hughes then met a third time off Negapatam
, again with inconclusive results, after which Suffren anchored off Cuddalore to make repairs.
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