In the early stages of the French Revolutionary War, there was much activity in the western Mediterranean, particularly off or near the enemy's principal naval base at Toulon. In June 1795, with the French fleet at sea and a British fleet searching for it, their respective commanding Admirals each despatched two frigates to ascertain the other's movements. Despite the vastness of the open sea, early on the morning of 24
t h June, north of Minorca, the four frigates sighted each other and prepared to engage. The largest vessel present, the French 40-gun Minerve, attacked first H.M.S. Dido, 28-guns, and then H.M.S. Lowestoft, 32-guns, but Lowestoft soon turned away to pursue the 36-gun Artémise which was attempting to flee. In the event, the retreating Frenchman got clean away so Lowestoft returned to the fierce duel between Dido and Minerve just in time to witness the latter's surrender. After repair, Minerve was assimilated into the Royal Navy under her own name and Dido's commanding officer, Captain George Towry, was commended both for his gallantry in engaging a far superior adversary as well as for capturing her.