Oil Painting Ships American War Of Independence HMS Watt USS Trumbull Fight To A Draw
Experience dramatic history like never before with this incredible oil painting depicting the American War of Independence Sea Battle between HMS Watt and USS Trumbull, ending in a draw. A thrilling vision of adventure and courage. Live the battle!
- Title Fight To A Draw, the frigates HMS Watt on the left, US Continental Navy's Trumbull shown right in side profile in evening after fighting since midday
- Subject depicting the historic naval engagement during the war for American Independence.
- Both ships had severe damage with numerous cannon shot holes all over the sails and hull areas, mast damage with sails hanging over the side and in the water. You can ses various sailors on deck and in the crows' nest and on the masts trying to make repairs. The Grand Union flag, also known as the Continental colors flag ensign, is flying by the stern. It has thirteen red and white stripes. You can see it has some shot tear holes in it. Further over to the right is the Trumbull longboat. Blue sky on the horizon with dark gray clouds high above. The Union Jack ensign flying on the HMS Watt which also had severe damage.
- Title inscribed verso.
- Signed by the British artist P H Rhodes.
- Provenance gallery label verso Exhibition At the Mall Galleries (The Federation of British Artists) along with museum label & Levenson of Norwich picture frame label also verso.
- Circa late 20th century 1970s.
- Oil on Dale board.
- Set in the original gilt frame.
- Having beautiful, highly detailed, extensive perspective.
- You can see the ensign flags of the British & American, rigging and sails, such an incredible sight you can almost feel the exhaustion in this historic sea battle.
- The USS Trumbull was a three-masted, wooden-hulled sailing frigate and was one of the first of 13 frigates authorized by the Continental Congress on 13 of December 1775. Superior in design and construction to the same class of European vessels in their day. Its keel was laid down in March or April 1776 at Chatham, Connecticut, by John Cotton and was launched on 5 September 1776.
- After the frigate had been launched, her builders discovered that her deep draft would make it extremely difficult to get the ship across the bar at the mouth of the Connecticut River into Long Island Sound. The following spring, as Trumbull lay in the river at Say brook awaiting assistance in getting out of deep water, her safety became a matter of great concern to Continental naval authorities. In April, General Howe ordered General Trylon — the Royal Governor of New York — to lead a raid into neighboring Connecticut. Tryon's forces landed at Fairfield, Connecticut, marched inland, and burned Continental public stores at Danbury, Connecticut. A small force of Americans harassed the British troops as they marched back to their ships. Fortunately, Tryon did not attack the berth on the Connecticut River where Trumbull — protected by neither guns nor warships — lay virtually defenseless.
- Troubled launch After three years of inactivity, Trumbull was finally freed in 1779. Capt. Elisha Hinman suggested that casks of water be lashed with stout ropes running beneath the keel, along the port and starboard sides. When the casks were pumped out, they rose and lifted the ship just enough to permit passage over the bar. Trumbull was then fitted out for sea at New London, Conn. under the direction of Nathaniel Shaw. On 20 September 1779, Capt. James Nicholson received command of the frigate.
- Nicholson did not receive his cruising orders until the following spring. Late in May 1780, Trumbull sailed for her first foray into the Atlantic. Action was not long in coming. At 1030 on 1 June 1780, Trumbull's masthead lookout sighted a sail to windward. In order to remain undetected for as long as possible, the frigate furled her sails until 1130. Then, upon ascertaining the strange ship's size, Trumbull then made sail and tacked towards, what soon proved to be the British letter-of-marque Watt, of 32 guns.
- Nicholson delivered a short exhortation to his men who "most cheerfully (sic) decided to fight". By noon, Nicholson noted that his ship seemed to "greatly out sail" the enemy and determined to utilize this advantage by moving to windward of the enemy.
- Watt challenged Trumbull, running up the Cross of St. George and firing a gun. Trumbull, in order to keep her true identity cloaked until the last possible moment, also ran up the British colors. Watt's commanding officer, Capt. Coulthard initially mistook Trumbull "for one of his Majesty's cruising frigates" but soon became suspicious of its movements and closed to windward. His suspicions were confirmed when Trumbull failed to respond to a "private signal"
- Watt gave "three cheers and a broadside" to commence what historian Gardner W. Allen considered it "one of the hardest fought naval engagements of the war". Trumbull soon ran up Continental colors and returned the first broadside at a range of 80 yards (73 m). For two-and-a-half hours, the two ships traded shots in a fierce action. The range — never wider than 80 yards (73 m) [Note 1] — most of the time was under 50 yards (46 m); and once the ships' yards nearly became locked together. Watt twice set the frigate aflame; Trumbull's shot caused fires on board Watt that proved impossible to extinguish until the British ship had cut away much of her rigging. Most of the men in Watt's tops were either killed, or wounded, or driven below. The Trumbull lost 30 killed or wounded, including two Lieutenants. The battle proved to be the most severe naval duel of the war.
- The British ship's hull, rigging, and sails were shot to pieces. Holed below the waterline, the letter of marque took on water at an alarming rate, and her danger was compounded by the fact that the American guns had left her with only one operable pump. Trumbull fared little better. Captain of Marines Gilbert Salton stall subsequently noted: "We were literally cut all to pieces; not a shroud, stay, brace, bowling, or other rigging standing. Our main top must have to be shot away, our fore, main mizzen, and jigger masts gone by the board...".
- Nicholson's crew lost eight killed and 31 wounded; Watt suffered 13 killed and 79 wounded. Both badly battered, Trumbull and Watt separated and retired. Nicholson eagerly wanted to continue to pursue his adversary until his officers convinced him that — even if he managed to repair his only surviving mast — the condition of his crew would not permit another engagement.
- Trumbull weathered a gale while struggling back to Connecticut and reached Tetanase on 14 June, three days after Watt limped into New York. Nicholson subsequently reported that "I was to have my choice...I would sooner fight any two-and-thirty gun frigate...on the coast of America, than to fight that ship over again.
In the meantime, the Continental Board of Admiralty, after congratulating Nicholson on the "gallantry displayed in the defense" against Watt, urged him to speed up the outfitting of his ship for further service. Lack of money and scarcity of men combined to keep the frigate inactive at Philadelphia for the first part of the year 1781.
- Capture On 8 August 1781, Trumbull — the last remaining frigate of the original 13 authorized by Congress in 1775 — eventually departed from the Delaware capes in company with a 24-gun privateer and a 14-gun letter-of-marque. Under their protection was a 28-ship merchant convoy. On 28 August 1781, lookouts on the American ships spotted three sails to the eastward; two tacking to give chase to the convoy.
- At nightfall, a rain squall struck with terrific force and carried away Trumbull's fore-topmast and her main top gallant mast. Forced to run before the wind, the frigate separated from the convoy and their escorts, and soon found herself engaged with the frigate Iris (the former Continental frigate Hancock), and the 18-gun ship General Monk (the former Continental privateer General Washington). Even with the "utmost exertion," the wrecked masts and sails could not be cleared away. Knowing he could not run, Nicholson decided to fight.
- Trapped, Trumbull beat to quarters, but three-quarters of the crew failed to respond, and instead fled below. Undaunted, Nicholson bravely gathered the remainder. For one hour and 35 minutes, Trumbull and Iris remained engaged; General Monk soon closed and entered the contest as well. "Seeing no prospect of escaping in this unequal contest," Nicholson later wrote, "I was struck...". Eleven Americans were wounded and five killed during the engagement before Trumbull surrendered. Iris reported that she had lost one man killed and six wounded, while Trumbull had two men killed and 10 wounded.
- Trumbull, by this point almost a wreck, was taken under tow by the victorious Iris to New York. However, because of her severe damage, the British did not take the frigate into the Royal Navy, and details of her subsequent career are lost or unknown.
- References Cooper, James Fenimore (1826). History of the navy of the United States of America. New York: Stringer & Townsend. Pp. 508. OCLC 19740191
- With hanging thread on the back ready for immediate home display.
- Such an intriguing, pleasing scene to the eye.
- Incredible conversation piece for your guests.
- A superb nautical collectors item' such a great Christmas gift.
- We only select & sell paintings based upon quality & significance.
- We provide our clients with friendly professional customer service.
- Condition report.
- Offered in fine used condition.
- The front painting surface is in acceptable overall order. Having various foxing stains in places, the frame has various wear, scuffs, scratches, stains, & some chips, losses commensurate with usage & age.
- International buyers worldwide shipping is available.
- Viewings are welcome by appointment only for customer support. Please send a message thank you.
- Checkout our exciting other available Fine Arts, antiques & collectibles available in our shop gallery.
Dimensions in centimetres of the frame
High (53.5 cm)
Width (68.5 cm)
Length depth thickness of frame (2 cm)