According to Wikipedia, in the Battle of Augusta (1676)

The battle was a short but intense affair and ended abruptly when Duquesne, after hearing that De Ruyter had been mortally wounded, retreated.

Abraham Duquesne was the commander of the French fleet and Michiel de Ruyter the Dutch fleet. How did the French learn about the condition of the Dutch admiral, given that they are in different ships? For example, did they visually observe how badly he was wounded, or did the opposing ships communicate in some way?

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    Curiously, the article that the wiki page uses as a reference describes the battle as "prolonged and furious" and states that it "ended inconclusively at dusk", with the combatants separating the next morning in "rain and mist". All of which sounds far from one which "ended abruptly" with a French retreat. There's no mention of Duquesne hearing of De Ruyter's injury.
    – Steve Bird
    May 15, 2016 at 20:13

1 Answer 1


According to the Life of Lieut.-Admiral de Ruyter by G. Grinnell- Milne the wounding of the admiral was kept secret not only from the French but from the ships of his own fleet (see p. 241). The wound was very serious, badly mangling his foot and breaking his shin. Captain Callenburgh took over command of the Eendraught when the admiral was wounded and conducted the battle with the admiral's advice, though he was prostrate. By 7 o'clock the French had been defeated and were fleeing. The Dutch gave chase by the light of the moon until 8 o'clock when an approaching storm required them to retire. There is nothing in the account in this book that the French knew that the Dutch admiral had been wounded.

The next morning the French headed for Calabria and Dutch decided to take shelter in the port of Syracuse.

Although at first it was thought he would survive, De Ruyter died of his wound about week after the battle, possibly of septicemia.

I also consulted the book "De Ruyter: Leven en daden naar berichten en afbeeldingen Van Tijdgenooten." by Michiel Adriaensz (1907) and the account in this book has no additional details over those given by Grinnell-Milne.

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    Ah I see.. looks like the Wikipedia article needs to be corrected.
    – user69715
    Jun 4, 2016 at 2:20

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