Viscount Duncan Of Camper-Down Adam Duncan, a British admiral, born in Dundee, Scotland, July 1, 1731, died near Edinburgh, Aug. 4,1804. He early entered the navy, was made a post captain in 1761, and distinguished himself under Keppel in the attack on Havana. In 1780 he was placed in command of a ship under Rodney, and in the engagement off Cape St. Vincent was the first to bring his vessel into action, capturing one of the heaviest of the Spanish ships. In 1787 he became rear admiral, and in 1795 admiral of the blue. In the latter year he took command of the united English and Russian squadron in the North sea, where within two years he annihilated the Dutch commerce. In 1797 he blockaded a large fleet under De Winter in the waters of the Texel, when a serious mutiny broke out in his own squadron. Insubordination had become general in the British navy, and Duncan had but two ships faithful to him. Yet when he advanced against the mutineers, their dissensions caused several of their ships to drop the red flag and return to duty, and the sedition was quickly ended. The Russian fleet was withdrawn. Duncan put into Yarmouth roads for repairs and provisions, where intelligence was brought to him that De Winter had put to sea.
He immediately set sail, and with a favorable wind and by a masterly manoeuvre placed himself between the Dutch and their retreat. The two fleets met between Camper-down and Egmont, within five miles of the coast, Oct. 11. De Winter was drawing fast toward the land, but Duncan began the action without waiting to form a line. De Winter maintained the contest for some time with his own flag ship after the rest of his fleet had either been captured or had quitted the action, and struck his colors only when his ship was entirely disabled. The loss of the English was 1,030 killed and wounded, while that of the Dutch was considerably greater. The English took nine sail of the line and two frigates. The victory created the utmost enthusiasm in England, where it was hailed as a presage of the downfall of the maritime power of Holland, long the most formidable rival of England on the seas. Duncan was rewarded with a peerage and a pension of £2,000. He remained in active service against the Batavian republic till 1800, after which he retired.