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Battle of the Riachuelo, Brazil

Last modified: 2010-02-19 by ian macdonald
Keywords: battle of the riachuelo | brazil expects |
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Battle of the Riachuelo

Admiral, Imperial image provided by Rafael Moura-Neves, 4 December 2009

On 11 June 1865 the Imperial Brazilian Navy fought and won the Battle of the Riachuelo against the Paraguayan Navy. Most famously Admiral Barroso made two signals which became part of naval traditions. They were "Brazil expects each one to do his duty" and "Sustain the fire for Victory is ours". The signals are hoisted like this, and the flags are defined here:

The "Brazil expects..." signal is defined as three flags, the uppermost all red, the middle twice as long with the hoist-half red and the fly-half white, the lower flag white with an inscribed blue rectangle. The "Sustain the fire..." signal is defined as two flags, the uppermost red divided in four rectangles by a white (St George's) cross and the lower checkered in 15 red and white squares, the superior hoist one being red.

What set of flags was this, since I could not find it anywhere round the net? It is surely difficult to try to find images and I was unable to solve this. Please notice the signals described as 779 (the middle flag being the First Substitute) and 10 in a numeric code in the first link.
Rafael Moura-Neves, 4 December 2009

I am reasonably familiar with the flags of The Commercial Code of 1857 (and with those of their predecessor the Marryat Code of 1817), and whilst the Commercial Code had one flag in common with the signal hoists shown (a white flag pierced blue), these are patently from the Brazilian naval code of 1865 which is a completely closed book to me?
Christopher Southworth, 4 December 2009

I was able to find one representation of the checkered red and white flag during the Battle of the Chesapeake, 5 September 1781:
Here are larger versions:
These are the represented ships:

Although the code used may have been peculiar to the Imperial Brazilian Navy (and quite eloquent as duly noted), would the set of flags also be so?
Rafael Moura-Neves
, 6 December 2009