• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Battle of Elba

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 6 months ago

Battle of Elba / Battle of Monte Cristo

6th September 1652

This was the Third fleet engagement of the First Anglo-Dutch War between the

Commonwealth of England and the United Provinces of the Netherlands.


The Battle of Monte Cristo (or the Battle of Elba) was the first battle in the Mediterranean Sea between the Dutch and the English, during the First Anglo-Dutch War. The Dutch out-numbered the English, but they quickly found that they were at a great disadvantage, when facing any of the English "Second Rates", such as the English flagship. Other English ships were faster than any Dutch ship. The frigate Constant Warwick was scouting for the fleet, when first sighted by the Dutch, as they passed the island of Elba.

The English fleet commander was Richard Badiley. He had been a Parliamentarian naval commander from 1649, after having spent time in the Mediterranean, both trading and "fighting Turks." Van Galen had also been active fighting the Barbary pirates, a seemingly never-ending occupation for a Dutch Mediterranean squadron. The first Dutch commander, Joris Cats, had offended the Grand Duke of Tuscany, so Johan van Galen was rushed overland to relieve him.



The English Squadron - in order of size

Ship's NameGunsCommanderNotes

Paragon52Richard BadileyFlagship

Elizabeth36Jonas Reeves
Phoenix36John Wadsworth
Constant Warwick32Owen Cox
Levant Merchantmen under convoy

Ship's NameGunsCommanderNotes

Mary Rose32Jonas Poole
William and Thomas30John Godolphin
Thomas Bonaventure28George Hughes
Richard and William28John Wise
The Dutch Squadron - in order of size

Ship's NameGunsCommanderNotes

Jaarsveld44Johan Van GalenFlagship

Prinses Royaal34Albert Corneliszoon t' Hoen
Wapen van Zeeland32Joost Willemszoon Block
Eendracht40Jacob de Boer
Maan40David Janszoon Bondt
Vereenigde Provincien40Hendrick Claeszoon Swart
Haarlem40Dirck Quirijn Verveen
Maagd van Enkhuysen34Cornelis Tromp

Jonge Prins28Cornelis Barentszoon Slordt


  • Captains with their names in bold were killed during the engagement.

  • The four English merchantmen took no part in the action, instead running into Porto Longone.

  • The captured ship, Phoenix, was recaptured 2 months later during a night raid at Livorno.


The Engagement

From William Laid Clowes, History of the Royal Navy Vol II.


Badiley, on being joined by the Constant Warwick at Cephalonia, made the best of his way towards Leghorn. He hoped that, by touching at no port on the way, he might arrive before the Dutch expected him, and that he might thus avoid the blockading ships and join with Appleton. This was not the case. As he passed Monte Cristo, on August 27th, he found the Dutch squadron, ten strong, lying between that island and Elba.


Badiley had with him, besides his own ship the Paragon, 42, the Constant Warwick, 30, Captain Owen Cox, the Elizabeth, 38, and the Phoenix, 38, with which he was convoying four Levant merchantmen. On the 27th the wind was light, and the squadrons could not come to close action. The merchantmen made no attempt to offer help, considering that their own safety was the point under discussion; and they made the best of their way into Porto Longone. Badiley hoped for some help from Appleton, but Appleton declared that he was too ill to leave port an excuse which Badiley refused to accept, alleging that, even if such were the case, he might at least have sent his vessels. The four ships were thus left to fight it out by themselves; and, as all accounts agree, they made a right gallant defence.


The calm gave the English some little help, by keeping three of the enemy out of action; and, although the odds were still two to one, Badiley did not despair. He decided that, as his ship was the heaviest, it would be best that she should meet the brunt of the attack, and accordingly he bade his consorts take up their stations under his stern. This, he says, the Constant Warwick, and apparently the Elizabeth, did with satisfactory results, but the Phoenix remained too far off to allow of any support being given to her by the others. The manoeuvre may be looked upon as one of the earliest attempts at the formation of a line; but as the ships were so few in number, it is at least likely that Badiley merely intended to collect his squadron into a compact group for mutual support, with a reservation to himself of the post of honour in the van.


The Paragon drew the fire of the three Dutch flagships, which engaged her within pistol-shot; and she continued throughout in the heat of the fight, being always well supported by the Constant Warwick, whose captain, Owen Cox, was, by his record, a man of more than ordinary valour. Little mention is made of the Elizabeth, but she seems to have been somewhat to leeward of, and screened by, the two first-named ships. That she was closely engaged may be taken for granted, in view of the balance of force in favour of the enemy, but though she did not come off by any means free, her loss was slight compared with that sustained by the Paragon.


The Phoenix, wrote Badiley, was taken in a strange and sudden manner, and would not have been thus lost had she fallen astern of the Paragon as ordered. A heavy ship of the enemy's ran her aboard, and, owing to her want of a forecastle, captured her. Badiley, however, declared that he had four ships close aboard him at the time, so that it may reasonably be doubted whether he was in a position to say what happened. The accepted account of the loss has nothing unlikely in it. It shows that a Dutch ship which was closely engaged with Badiley, lost her mainmast, and hauled out of the fight. The Phoenix, seeing this, ran alongside of her, and boarded, but, while she was thus left empty and defenceless, a second Dutch ship in turn boarded the Phoenix, and took her without resistance. The boarding-party from the Phoenix had no means of retreat, and, being overpowered, was killed or taken.


With evening the fight came to an end; and the remaining English ships, torn and shattered, and with all, or nearly all, their ammunition expended, were towed into Porto Longone. The Paragon's loss was twenty-six men killed, including her principal officers, and fifty-seven wounded. She had received fifty great shot in her hull, many between wind and water; and hardly a spar was sound. The other ships had suffered only less heavily. The Dutch loss was represented by three captains killed, besides very many of their men. Two ships also had lost their mainmasts, and the whole squadron was hardly in a position to keep the sea.


The enemy managed, however, to follow Badiley to Porto Longone, where they would have made an attack on him at once had they not met with opposition from the governor. The next expedient tried was to attempt to bribe the governor, but he not only proved incorruptible, but also allowed the English to land guns and make batteries on shore for their protection, whereupon the Dutch withdrew.



B029The Royal Navy - Vol IIWilliam Laird Clowes

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.