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Action of 13 October 1796

Action of 13 October 1796

Part of the French Revolutionary Wars

Print by Thomas Whitcombe depicting HMS Terpsichore capturing the Mahonesa on 13 October 1796

Date
13 October 1796

Location
off Cape Gata, Mediterranean Sea

Result
British victory

Belligerents

 Great Britain
 Spain

Commanders and leaders

Captain Richard Bowen
Captain Don Tomás de Ayalde

Strength

frigate HMS Terpsichore
frigate Mahonesa

Casualties and losses

4 men wounded
1 Frigate captured
12 killed & 20 wounded
250 sailors & marines captured.

v
t
e

Anglo-Spanish War
1796–1808

Atlantic

25 January 1797
Cape St. Vincent
26 April 1797
Cádiz
Santa Cruz
16 October 1799
7 April 1800
Ferrol
Cape Santa Maria
25 November 1804
Cape Finisterre
Trafalgar
4 April 1808

Mediterranean

13 October 1796
19 December 1796
Minorca
Cartagena (1798)
19 January 1799
6 February 1799
7 July 1799
10 December 1800
6 May 1801
Algeciras (1st • 2nd)

Americas

Newfoundland
Trinidad
San Juan
St. George’s Caye
Puerto Cabello
Diamond Rock
Río de la Plata

1st Buenos Aires
Cardal
Montevideo
2nd Buenos Aires

23 August 1806

East Indies

Manila
Zamboanga
Macau

The Action of 13 October 1796 was a minor naval battle of the French Revolutionary Wars, fought off the coast of Spain between the 32-gun HMS Terpsichore under Captain Richard Bowen and the Spanish 34-gun frigate Mahonesa under Don Tomás de Ayalde. The Mahonesa was captured after a fight lasting an hour and forty minutes.
Bowen and the Terpsichore spent some time in the North Sea, until December 1795, when his old patron, Sir John Jervis, replaced Admiral William Hotham as commander of the Mediterranean Fleet.[1] Jervis requested Bowen to come out and take command of a squadron of small vessels operating around Gibraltar in defence of British trade and the garrison there. In early October 1796 the British squadron under Sir John Man was chased into Gibraltar by a Spanish fleet. Spain having declared war against Great Britain and allied with Revolutionary France after both signed the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1796. Bowen set out in Terpsichore to report this to Jervis, and having rendezvoused with HMS Pallas of Jervis’s fleet on 10 October, began the return voyage to Gibraltar.[1]
While off Cartagena on 13 October, a frigate was spotted under full sail which was the Mahonesa”. Bowen’s crew had been reduced by sickness, but he decided to chase down the mysterious
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