Saints, battle of the

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Saints, battle of the, 1782. This was the last important naval action in the American War of Independence. The loss of naval superiority in the western Atlantic in 1781 forced Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown. The French and Spanish then began picking off British West Indian islands and an invasion of Jamaica was expected. Rodney left Plymouth in January 1782 with reinforcements and on 10 April 1782 won an important victory over de Grasse at the battle of the Saints in the Leeward Islands. The British had a slight superiority in capital ships. The French lost seven vessels, de Grasse was captured, and the threat to Jamaica removed. Though too late to affect the war with the American colonies, Rodney's victory enabled Britain to make a respectable peace with France and Spain, and he received the thanks of Parliament and a peerage.

J. A. Cannon