The Richard Henry Lee Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution held a luncheon meeting on Sept. 13 at the Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club, Kilmarnock. The featured speaker, Capt. Christopher A. Melhuish (U.S. Navy-ret.) gave a talk on the Battle of the Capes.The Battle of the Capes is considered the most important naval battle in the American Revolution, Melhiush said. The seeds were sown by the French government’s decision to support the American colonists’ quest for independence after the American victory at Saratoga, New York, in 1777. The French sent several thousand men to support the Continentals’ war effort in 1780, commanded by Jean-Batiste Donatien, Compte de Rochambeau.
In May 1781, Gens. George Washington and Rochambeau debated their next move: lay siege to the British forces in New York or take the fight south in Virginia. In either case they would need support by the large French West Indies fleet.
Rochambeau sent a note by way of a frigat...
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