Action off Willoughby's Island, Hampton Roads
9 December 1777

The weather was poor in Hampton Roads: windy with sleet in the air. Into this weather, sailing up the bay, came the brig Arc Enc Ciel, bound from Nantes, France to the James River. Arc En Ciel was armed with six guns. HM Frigate St. Albans (Captain Richard Onslow) saw her coming in and took her under fire: the French master ran her ashore on Hampton bar. Onslow sent his boats after the brig, but two galleys came out of Hampton (possibly Norfolk Revenge and Hero) to support the Frenchmen. Onslow recalled the boats and rigged a spring on his cable. St. Albans fired on Arc En Ciel with her swivels. About 0500 the French got the brig afloat, and, at 0700 tried to run her past St. Albans. Onslow fired on her to such effect that she sank on Willoughby's Point. Again the boats were sent after her and this time they got possession of the brig. The crew had fled, leaving two sailors behind. [NDAR, X, 705 and note]

Arc En Ciel American       2    
St. Albans British            

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