Imatges de pÓgina

No. guns.

practicable." Another English writer of equal authority says: “The Spaniards deserted their forts, and such was their pusillanimity that they suffered them to be taken without bloodshed. Vernon found more difficulty in demolishing the fortifications of the place than in taking them."

An attempt had previously been made by Admiral Hosier, with a large English squadron, to reduce this place; but, says Dr. Campbell, “after a siege of six months or more, he weighed anchor, and sailed for Jamaica, after such a loss of men, and in so wretched a condition, that I cannot prevail on myself to enter into the particulars of a disaster which I heartily wish could be blotted out of the annals and of the remembrance of this nation.” So much for the naval attacks on Porto Bello.

Among the rest, the island of Guadaloupe is remarkably in point," fr.The attacks quoted in the report are those of 1759 and 1794. The first was made by Commodore Moore, with 10 ships-of-the-line, some frigates and gun vessels, carrying about 1,000 guns, and 60 transports, with 800 marines, and a land force of six regiments of the line, a detachment of engineers and artillerists, and a large number of volunteers from the English islands—in all, about 6,000 men. The defences consisted of a citadel and several open water batteries, carrying in all, about 100 guns. The several garrisons were composed of “five companies of regular troops, scarce making 100 men in the whole island." The ships and batteries were here actually brought into contact, and the following is the order of the engagement, so far as given by the English writers themselves : British ships.

Batteries. No. guns. The Leon..

60 engaged with........ 1st battery 9 Buford. 70

12 Panther..

.74 engaged with....

. 4th battery

7 Rippon.


..5th battery 6 St. George.

..90 Cambridge

80 engaged with.... .... Citadel Norfolk...

.74 How the other ships and batteries were engaged, or whether engaged at all, is not stated. Some of the English writers state the armament of the citadel at 43 guns, and that of the Berwick ship at 66—an unimportant difference; all agree upon the other points.

Here was a naval force of 7 to 1, (we count both broadsides of the engaged ships, and also all the guns of the engaged forts, both those for the land and water defences,) and what was the result? Some of the batteries were injured; but the citadel, though attacked by a force of more than 5 to 1, had, according to Beatson, neither its walls injured nor its guns dismounted. The garrison was driven out by the bravery of the British forces on land; the town was taken, and the whole island finally subdued, after a contest of a little over three months. All this is well known; and it is also well known, to those who have taken the trouble to examine the facts of the case, that there is nothing in it to justify a single inference in favor of the superiority of guns afloat over those on shore.

The reduction of Guadaloupe, in 1794, was almost wholly effected upon land. The force sent out upon this expedition consisted of 18 vessels-of-war, carrying between 700 and 800 guns, and nearly 7,000 troops. A part of these troops were landed near some small batteries, under the fire of the Winchelsea; but the principal defences of the place being almost entirely without garrisons, were carried by the enemy's land forces. The English left a large squadron for the defence of the island; but, notwithstanding this, the French found the means of

} engaged with ....... .3d battery

engaged with.....

evading them, and reorganizing their forts, which, being now properly defended, repelled the combined attacks of Admiral Jervis and General Grey.

Martinique.—The same combined sea and land forces, under Commodore Moore, which attacked Guadaloupe in 1759, also made an attack upon Martinique in the same year. Notwithstanding the great superiority of the attacking force over the land forces of Port Royal, the several attempts of the British to silence the batteries, and effect a lodgement by land, were altogether ineffectual, and the enemy was at last compelled to re-embark his troops, and retire from the contest, with several of his vessels seriously injured, and many of his men killed and wounded. The fleet afterwards sailed to St. Pierre, for the purpose of attempting that part of the island; but, after a reconnoissance of the place, the commodore decided against it, because, said he, “the ships may be so much injured in the attack as to prevent them from availing themselves of their success, and from undertaking any other expedition during the season."

While the French population of Martinique, in 1793, were distracted by the same political differences which were then deluging the mother country in blood, England attempted to capture the island, through the assistance of the royalist party. The British attacking force consisted of five ships-of-the-line and three smaller vessels, 496 guns in all, and a land force of 3,000 men, of which 1,100 were regulars; (some writers estimate this land force at only 2,000 men.) General Rochambeau, it is said, had “only a few hundred troops” for the defence of the batteries; nevertheless, he most signally repulsed the enemy, and compelled him to abandon the island.

But the English returned again in 1794, with a superior force; their fleet now consisted of eighteen vessels-of-war, carrying between 700 and 800 guns, and a number of transports with near 7,000 troops. General Rochambeau's army amounted to only 600 men, of whom 400 were militia. The British naval force, notwithstanding its immense superiority, did not attempt to force its way into the harbor, and attack the forts. On the contrary, the troops were first landed upon other parts of the island, and took possession of Point Solomon, Pigeon island, Casnavire, and several other batteries; thus "opening,” says an English writer, “a way for the British fleet to advance." The other forts were regularly besieged on the land side; siege batteries were erected within 200 yards of Fort Louis, and others within 500 yards of Fort Bourbon. When Fort Louis had been fired upon for 48 hours by these siege batteries, and bombarded by the gun boats, the Asia, of 64 guns, and the Zebra, of 16 guns, advanced to take a part in the attack. The former was twice driven back by the fire of the fort; the latter ran aground near by; her crew landed and assisted in the capture of the fort, Captain de Rouvignée coming up at the same time on the opposite side with a body of infantry and some field pieces. The other forts were taken in the regular operations of a land siege, being reduced mainly by the heavy British batteries in the second parallel.” This siege lasted seven weeks, and the entire loss of the British in killed and wounded was 318—equal to one-half of the defensive army.

The Apalachicola report, apparently forgetting the previous unsuccessful naval attacks upon Martinique, adduces this attack of 1794 as an example of the superiority of guns afloat. “The joint attack upon St. Louis,” he says, “ was anticipated by Captain Faulkner, of the Zebra, who laid his ship alongside the fort, and carried it at the bead of his crew."

This is an error. Captain Faulkner was assisted by a land force, and was himself anticipated, even in the attack, by the crews of the boats. It was at first supposed that he preceded these, and it was so stated in Sir John Jervis's despatches; but the error was afterwards corrected. James, in his Naval History, gives the corrected version of the affair, and says : “ The boats commanded by Captains Nugent and Riou, containing as many as 1,200 men, pushed across the Carénage before the Zebra could get in, and stormed and took possession of Fort Royal.” The correction, however, is of little importance to this discussion. The contest was in no way one between ships and batteries. The defences of the island were taken by an overwhelming land force. Rochambeau, although his army was much inferior in numbers, made a defence which was far from being satisfactory to the republican government. Being regarded as a traitor to his country, he never ventured to return to France.

Political animosities run so high that the French generals would not act in concert; and, on the retreat, the forces of General Bellegarde were refused admittance into the fort. Dr. Campbell expressly states, that the conquest was attempted “in consequence of the disputes which existed between the royalists and republicans.”

Havana, attacked and taken in 1763 by Admiral Pocock ;the castle on the beach was first silenced by Captain Harvey, in the Dragon,fr. The taking of Havana, mentioned above, was effected almost entirely by land forces, under Lord Albemarle, the ships acting as transports. The following details of this attack are taken from the British reports and histories of the affair : The attacking force consisted of 22 or 23 ships-of-the-line, carrying near 1,600 guns; 20 frigates, carrying about 600 guns; a large number of sloops-of-war, bomb vessels, artillery ships, and transports-203 sail in all—with a land force of 12,000 efficient men, and a considerable body of negroes. The Havana was defended by 4,610 regulars, and some militia, mulattoes, and negroes—number not known. The naval defences consisted of 12 ships-of-the-line, carrying 784 guns, and 5 smaller vessels, making in all 908 guns. But little or no use was made of this home squadron in the defence, and it was surrendered to the enemy on the capitulation. “So little confidence," says the British account, “ had they (the Spaniards) in their shipping, for resisting the efforts of the English armament, that the only use they made of it was to sink three of their largest vessels behind a boom, which they had thrown across the mouth of the harbor.” The defences against a water attack consisted of the Governor's battery of 22 guns, the Apostles and Shepherds' batteries of 14 guns, the Moro of 40 guns, and the Punta, a small work opposite. The works of Havana against a land attack were large, but not strong. The principal defence both by land and water was the Moro, which was a small work, armed with only 40 guns of all descriptions, and garrisoned by 280 regulars, 300 marines, and 94 negroes.

The British troops were landed several miles from the Moro, to which they laid formal siege, and, forty-four days after the opening of the trenches, forced it to capitulate. The town of Havana also capitulated after a siege of "two months and eight days.” The “castle on the beach,” said to have been “silenced by Captain Harvey, in the Dragon," was a small unimportant work, some six miles from the Havana, and used merely to harass the English while crossing the Coximar. Little or no defence was made, and the English themselves have never thought of claiming the slightest credit for its capture. No loss is mentioned as having been sustained on either side; but “ Captain Harvey, in the Dragon," and two other shpis-of-the-line, carrying in all 222 guns, did, during the land siege of the Moro, make an attack upon its water front. “ They began,” says the official report of Admiral Pocock, * to cannonade about 8 o'clock; and after keeping up a constant fire till 2 p. m., the Cambridge was so much damaged in her hull, masts, yards, sails, and rigging, with the loss of so many men killed and wounded, that it was thought proper to order her off; and soon after, the Dragon, which had likewise suffered a loss of men, and damage in her hull; and it being found that the Marlborough could be of no longer service, she was ordered off likewise. The numbers in killed and wounded are as follows: Dragon—16 killed, 37 wounded; Cambridge—24 killed, 95 wounded ; Marlborough—2 killed, 8 wounded.” The castle, on the contrary, received no injury worth mentioning from this water attack, which was the last and only important trial of strength between the ships and forts made during the siege.

" The Cape of Good Hope-taken by the British fleet, and the commerce of the States ruined in those seas.”—The conquest here alluded to was probably that of 1795; but this was effected wholly by troops landed at a distance from any defensive works; and the ships, after effecting this landing, were anchored in Simon's bay, six miles from the encampment of Muysenburg, and at a considerable distance from Cape Town. The British fleet carried about 600 guns, and the only forts that could have been engaged with it were two small batteries—one armed with two guns, and the other with one gun and a mortar.

That the naval forces assisted indirectly in this conquest cannot be denied, for they trsnsported the troops which effected it, and also met at sea and defeated a Dutch squadron of eight men-of-war, 342 guns, which had been sent out to join in the defence; but it is well known that these forces were never immediately engaged in the attack. This has been so decided by judicial authority ; for, when the admiralty put in a claim for a share in the profits of the capture, it was rejected by Sir William Scott, because no ships of a military character had assisted the army in this valuable capture.

The expedition of 1806 consisted of nine ships-of-war, carrying above 270 guns, and 5,000 troops. But here, again, the conquest was effected entirely by land forces. A detachment of sailors and marines served with the troops on shore, under the designation of marine battalion ; but the feet itself acted merely in the capacity of protecting transports, and no trial of strength was made between them and land batteries.

Malta was taken by the French fleet, which sailed into the harbor, and carried the city during the panic.”—This statement of the conquest of Malta in 1798 certainly furnishes no argument for the position in support of which it has been adduced; for, if the island was lost through panic, it could not have been taken merely by the superiority of guns afloat over those on shore. But, in reality, panic was not the cause of no defence being made by the Maltese. It has been generally understood that, preferring the French to the English, the grand master and knight had previously agreed with Napoleon for its surrender. This is positively asserted by the English historians, and not contradicted by the other parties. The grand master retired from the island on its capture, for the sum of 1,000,000 livres, and the promise of an annual pension for life, of 3,000 more from the French treasury. Napoleon himself confesses that, although he then commanded forty vessels-of-war, and4 0,000 troops, he would have found it very difficult to reduce the fortifications of Malta, if the moral strength had been any ways equal to the capability of physical resistance.

Malta was attacked by the Turks in 1565 with 200 sail and above 40,000 troops, mostly Janissaries and Sophis, who were the bravest troops in the Ottoman Empire. The island was defended by 700 knights and 8,500 soldiers. The siege was continued for four months, and scarcely a day elapsed without some attempt to batter down or storm the fortifications; but the Turks were at last compelled to raise the siege and retire with the loss of a considerable portion of their shipping and more than a quarter of their men—or, in other words, the number of their losses was more than equal to the garrison of the island !

Curaçoa was stormed and taken by Sir Charles Brisbane with four small ships, boarding the castle at the entrance from his boats.—The following is the account of this capture, as given by the English historians : Captain Brisbane was directed “ to watch the island of Curaçoa, and interrupt the trade of the enemy. While employed on this service, he learnt that the Dutch had a custom of drinking out the old year and drinking in the new one; he therefore conceived the possibility of taking it by a coup-de-main.” Accordingly, about the dawn of day on the 1st of January, 1807, with a squadron of four frigates, carrying 176 guns and 1,200 men, he entered the harbor of Amsterdam, and anchored; the governor and his garrison were at this time in bed, made by the revels of the night utterly unconscious of all danger. The harbor was well secured by fortifications; but the only resistance made by these was the firing of five shot from Fort Republique. All of these shot took effect, killing and wounding fifteen men, which was the only loss the British sustained. Captain Brenton, in his Naval History, says that this fort alone might have sunk every one of the enemy's frigates in half an hour, without any comparative injury. But, instead of defending his fortifications, the drunken governor, under pretence of fearing a negro insurrection, but in reality not yet being awoke from his revels, forbid any resistance to be made to the English, because, he said, they had come merely as friends! The forts were therefore given up, and the squadron of Dutch ships then lying in the harbor, with a number of guns almost equal to the British fleet, also surrendered without opposition, the principal portion of the crews being yet asleep. The English themselves say that scarcely the slightest resistance was made by the drunken crews and garrisons. The argument attempted to be drawn by the Apalachicola report from this attack would be equally conclusive of the general superiority of guns afloat over each other; for the Dutch forts and ship were overcome in the same way-a conquest due to Bacchus rather than Mars. No case could possibly be adduced more inconclusive and inapplicable to the argument.

"Chagres taken in (1740 ?) 1741, by Admiral Vernon." -The British fleet, at the taking of Chagres, consisted of three sixty-gun ships, three fifty-gun ships, three bomb-ketches, two fire ships, and two tenders, carrying in all, 374 guns and 2,500 men ; while the works of defence were armed with only eleven brass cannon and eleven pateroes, or small stone mortarsman inequality of fifteen or twenty to one. Of the eleven guns in the fort, only six or eight could be brought to bear on the shipping; but, notwithstanding the small armament of the castle of St. Lorenzo, “it sustained a furious bombardment (from the bomb-ketches) and a continued cannonade from three of the largest ships in the fleet” for thirty-six hours. Is there anything in this capture to authorize an inference of naval superiority, gun for gun?

Senegal taken from the English by a small French squadron.—This capture was made in 1799. The French fleet consisted of two ships-of-the-line, two frigates, and three smaller vessels, with a considerable body of troops, under the Duke de Lauzun. The English garrison was too small to sustain an attack. They therefore determined to make no defence, and the fort was surrendered without resistance. In the same year, the English attempted to retake it with a fleet of six ships-of-the-line and one smaller vessel, carrying in all over 400 guns; but their efforts were of no avail. In the first attack, there was no trial of strength between the ships and fort; in the second, there was such a trial, and the forts were victorious.

"Mocha, in Arabia, bombarded and taken by Captain Lumly with one frigate.—We give the English the benefit of their own account of this affair. The defence consisted of a small work, armed with only twelve guns, and garrisoned by about 300 Arabs. The character of the work may be drawn from the following remark of the British officer: "With a few spades and pick-axes we would have levelled the walls and effected a breach." But they had no mining tools, and were obliged to attempt a breach with their guns. The attacking force consisted of a fifty-gun frigate, a brig, two cruisers, and a mortar boat, with a land force of one company of artillery. In the evening, “ the ships anchored as close as possible to the fort,” and about 10 o'clock the next day, after a long and brisk cannonade," the English landed and attempted to carry the little work by assault: but, “ to their surprise and mortification, found there was no breach ; the wall had been a little injured by their shot, but remained as firm and inaccessible as ever;" they were consequently repelled with a loss of

On the second morning they renewed the assault, but found no

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