The Glorious First of June was the first major fleet battle of the French Revolutionary War, 1793-1801. The French admiral, Rear-Admiral Louis-Thomas Villaret-Joyeuse, had sailed from Brest to intercept a valuable grain fleet from America, vitally needed in famine-stricken France. The English commander-in-chief, Lord Howe, sailedwith the Channel Fleet in his flagship the HMS Queen Charlotte to intercept the convoy, which neither side in fact encountered and which reached Brest in safety. Instead the two battle fleets made contact on 28 May, some 365 nautical miles (673 km) off Ushant, Brittany.
In the opening engagement Howe disabled the three-decker Révolutionnaire, 110 guns. On 29 May he cut the French line to leeward and for the next two days the fleets manoeuvred in fog and out of contact until Howe brought the French to full action and defeat on 1 June approximately 225 nautical miles (416 km) further west. Six French ships of the line were taken and one sunk.
Text courtesy of the National Maritime Museum.