Page images

the Castle was summoned ; and on the following day I landed, while our remaining vessels were firing on the Spanish posts, and I learnt, that, exclusive of the Spanish army, which was divided into many columas, occupying the various ave nues of the town, the inhabitants were all armed, and sheltered on the tops of the houses and churches, with a design of carrying on a war of ambush.-Under these circum. stances, and the manifest disposition of the enemy to prevent an engagement, it was determined to embark the wounded that night, and cross the Rio Chello, for the purpose of moving towards Ensenada; but this measure was in a great degree frustrated by the weather, which became very violent during the night, and consequently retarded the progress of embarkation, though the enemy added a considerable number of men to the houses and churches near the Castle, and advanced by all the streets not under the influence of its fire; in short, sir, his object was to avoid by every means a general ac. tion, and to place his men in such a situation that they could fire at our troops while they remained in perfect security themselves. On the 12th, at day-light, I understand a smart fire began from the enemy's advanced posts, but was soon re. turned with great effect from our artillery, which was planted toward the principal streets leading to the great square; for a short time the enemy, by his immense numbers, shewed a greater degree of firmness than on any other occasion, and pushed forward with three pieces of artillery, which colonel Pack, of the 71st, soon charged and took from him. During this time, how.

ever, reinforcements crowded the tops of all the houses commanding the great square from the backstreets, and our troops were soon considerably annoyed by people they could not get at. The enemy com. manded the Castle in the same way, with the additional advantage of a gun on the top of one of the churches, which I consider an indelible stigma against the character of the bishop, not only from his situ ation, but the professions he made. -I can easily conceive how the feelings of general Beresford must, at this moment, have been on the rack. Disappointed in his last efforts to induce the enemy to a gene. ral engagement in the great square, his gallant little army falling fast by shots from invisible persons, and the only alternative which could present itself to save the useless effusion of so much valuable blood, was a flag of truce, which was hoisted at the Castle about one o'clock. In an instant there were near 10,000 men in the great square, pressing forward in the most outrageous manner to get into the fort, and even firing at our men on the ramparts; so much so, that it was with extreme difficulty the British troops were prevented revenging this insult; indeed the general was obliged to tell the Spanish officers, if their men did not retire in the course of one minute, he must, as the only mea sure of safety, haul down the flag of truce, and recommence hostilities: this firmness had the desired effect, and he then sent his conditions to the Spanish general, and they were instantly acceded to."

From the subsequent part of this letter, it appears that our loss on the above occasion amounts to 2 officers, 2 serjeants, 1 drummer,



and 43 rank and file, killed; and 6 officers, 7 serjeants, 92 rank and file, wounded; and 9 missing; making a total of 165; and scarce any of those misfortunes were occasion. ed except from the inhabitants, on the tops of the houses and the churches." The enemy confesses to have lost about 700 killed and wounded, in the short conflict in the streets; and if it had not been for the inhabitants, I have little doubt, (says sir H.) that the Spanish troops would have been completely defeated, although seven times the number of the British forces.-Nothing is more difficult than to give their lordships an idea of the number of men in arms; but from the best accounts we can obtain, it is thought Pueridon, and the other principal people engaged in this plot, had collected from 8 to 10,000 men in the country; that Liniers may have brought over from 800 to 1000; and the town furnished, though armed in various ways, about 10,000, under the secret arrangement of the magistrates.". -Lieutenants Groves, Herrick, and Swaile, of the navy, receive great praise from sir. II. for their conduct in bringing out several vessels from the harbour.

The articles of capitulation agreed that the British troops should march out with the honours of war, and be embarked for England as prisoners; and that the Spanish troops made prisoners by us on the capture of the place, should be exchanged for the British officers ta ken at the recapture. This capitulation, after being signed, was bro. ken by the Spaniards, who marched our troops up the country.

The ofhcers killed, were capt. Fennett, of the R. engineers, and

lieut. W. Mitchell, of the 71st regiment.-Officers wounded, captain Mackenzie, R. M. lieut. Samp. son, St. Helena regiment; capt. Ogilvie, R. artillery; lieut. M'Do. nald, ditto; lieut. col. Pack, lieut. Murray, ensigns Connel and Lucas, (since dead,) all of the 71st regiment.

Statement of property captured at Buenos Ayres, but not removed, and which was recaptured on the 12th of August.

Goods of the Philippine

Debts due to ditto

4000 Arab. B. Tobacco,

at 6 dollars, sold for 14 2000 ditto Parly ditto 50,000 Reams Paper (2 dollars) 5000 Quintals of QuickPlaying Cards ilver (40 dollars) 40,000lbs. Spanish Snuff (2 dollars) 20,000lbs. Havannah ditto

(2 dollars)


100,000 1,011,537








37,500lbs. Bark,(1 dollars)




[blocks in formation]

The second letter, from sir H. Popham, dated on-board the Diadem, relates merely to the capture of the town and harbour of Malde nado, as described by col. Backhouse.-A third letter, dated Oct. 31, states the capture of the island of Goretti, by sir H. Popham.-Goretti is a very strong position, defended by 20 twenty-four pounders, in four batteries, so placed as to command the roadstead, the eastern passage between it and the peninsula, and the only two prac. tical beaches for landing.


[ocr errors]

The Gazette of Feb. 14. con- to admire the decision of captain Brisbane, in attempting the har bour, and the determined bravery and conduct displayed by himself, the other three captains, and all the officers and men under his command; and is another strong instance of the cool and determined bravery of British seamen.

tains an order of the commander-inchief, that, in addition to the permission recently granted to the 76th regiment of foot, for placing the word Hindoostan in their colours and appointments, the regiment shall be allowed to place the Elephant in their colours and on their appointments, inscribing the word. "Hindoostan" around it; as a distinguished testimony of their good co duct and exemplary valour du. ring their service in India.

Capture of Curaçoa.

Captain Brisbane being, from his situation, obliged to act as governor, I have, as an acknowledge. ment and high approbation of his conduct, continued him in that situ. ation until his majesty's pleasure shall be known; and request, in the strongest manner, that their lordships will be pleased to recom mend him for that appointment.

Captain Lydiard (who will have the honour of delivering this, and who fully partook of the conquest, and has before distinguished himself off the Havannah,.) I beg to refer their lordships to for any information. 1 shall put an act

Admiralty-office, Feb. 21. Captain Lydiard, of his majest's ship the Anson, arrived here this morning, with dispatches from vice-admiral Dacres, commander. in-chief of his majesty's ships and ressels at Jamaica, to William Marsden, est. of which the following captain in the Anson until his ing are copies :

Shark, Port Royal, Jan. 1, 1807.


I have much satisfaction in congratulating my lords commisioners of the admiralty on the capture of the island of Curaçoa, on Newyear's day, in the morning, by the four frigates named in the margin*, under the orders of captain Brisbane, of the Arethusa: a copy of whose letter I inclose for their lordships' information.

Whilst I contemplate the immense strength of the harbour of Amsterdam, and the superior force contained in its different batterics opposed to the entrance of the frigates, I know not how sufliciently

return, or I receive directions there

[blocks in formation]

# * Arethusa, Latona, Anson, and Fisgard.


the adverse wind and current prevented me from reaching this island before the 1st instant. In my way up, I met captain Bolton, of the Fisgard, going to Jamaica; I took him under my orders, according to your directions, and proceeded with the squadron of this port, having previously resolved on that system of attack which British seamen are so capable of exccuting. My arrangements having been previously made known to the respective captains, I was satisfied nothing further remained for me than to put it in execution. My line of battle consisted of the Arethusa, Latona, Anson, and Fisgard; and very soon after the break of day, I made all possible sail with the ships in close order of battle, passing the whole extensive line of sea-batteries, and anchored the squadron in a stile far surpassing my expectations. Being still desirous of having the effusion of human blood spared, I wrote the inclosed, No. I, on the capstan of his majesty's ship Arethusa, during the action; whic was not regarded, as they did their utmost to destroy us. Words can not express the ability of the squadron. The harbour was defended by regular fortifications, of two tier of guns, Fort Amsterdam alone consisting of sixty-six pieces of cannon; the entrance only fifty yards wide, athwart which was the Dutch frigate Hatslar, of 36 guns; and Surinam, of 22, with two large schooners of war, one commanded by a Dutch commander; a chain of forts was on Miselburg commanding height; and that almost impregnable fortress, Fort Republique, within the distance of grape-shot, enfilading the whole harbour.

At a quarter past six o'clock, we

entered the port; a severe and destructive cannonade ensued; the frigate, sloop, and schooners, were carried by boarding; the lower forts, the citadel and town of Amsterdam, by storm; all of which, by seven o'clock, were in our possession. For humanity-sake, I granted the annexed capitulation; and, at ten o'clock, the British flag was hoisted in Fort Republique:the whole island is in our quiet pos. session. The strength, commerce, and value, I understand, is immense. It is now become a pleasing part of my duty, although impossible to do justice to the merits, gallantry, and determination of captains Wood, Lydiard, and Bolton, who so nobly headed their respective ships' companies to the storm; and the same gallantry and determination are due to the officers, seamen, and ma rines, for following up so glorious an example.

Enclosed is a list of the killed and wounded in his majesty's squadron. I have not yet been able to ascertain that of the enemy, except those in the ships. The Dutch commodore was killed early in the action, and the captain of the Surinam severely wounded. I have appointed, by proclamation, Wednesday next, the 7th instant, for the inhabitants (which amount to thirty thousand) to take the oath of allegiance to our most gracious sovereign: those that do not choose, will be instantly embarked as prisoners of war. For any farther particulars, I must beg to refer you to that gallant officer, captain Lydiard.

I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed) CHARLES BRISBANE. To James Richard Dacres, esq. Vice-admiral of the White, Commander-in-chief, &c.



His majesty's ship Arethusa, Curaçoa Harbour, Jan. 1, 1807. SIR;

The British squadron are here to protect, and not to conquer you; to preserve to you your lives, liberty, and property. If a shot is fired at any one of my squadron after this summons, I shall immedi ately storm your batteries. You have five minutes to accede to this determination.

I have the honour to be &c. (Signed) CHARLES BRISBANE. To his excellency the governor of Curaçon. NUMBER II.

Curacoa, January 1, 1807. Preliminary articles of the capitula tion agreed upon by Charles Brisbane, esq. captain of his majesty's ship Arethusa, and senior officer of a squadron of his majesty's ships at Curaçoa, on the one part; and by his excellency Pierre Jean Changuion, governor of the Island of Curaçou, and its dependencies, on the other.

Art. I. The Fort Republique shall immediately be surrendered to the British force; the garrison shall march out with the honours of war, lay down their arms, and become prisoners of war.-Answer, granted.

Art. II. The Dutch garrison at Curaçoa shall be prisoners of war, and by his Britannic majesty sent to Holland, not to serve this war, before they shall be regularly exchanged and for the due performance of this article, the officers pledge their word of honour.-ADswer, granted.

Art. III. The same terms as in the above article, are granted to

the officers and people of the Dutch men of war.-Answer, granted.

Art. IV. All the civil officers may remain at their respective appointments, if they think proper; and those who choose shall be sent by his Britannic majesty to Hol land.-Answer, granted.

Art. V. The burghers, merchants, planters, and other inhabi tants, without difference of colour or opinion, shall be respected in their persons and property, provided they take the oath of allegiance to his Britannic majesty.Answer, granted; neutral proper. ty being respected.

Art. VI. All the merchantvessels, with their cargoes, in the harbour, of whatsoever nation they belong to, shall be in the possession of their proper owners.-Answer, not granted.

Art. VII. A definitive capitulation shall be signed upon this basis in Fort Amsterdam.-Answer, granted.

Curaçoa, Jan. 2, 1807.

The foregoing articles have this day been mutually read and agreed to: this capitulation is become definitive.

Signed, on the one part, by CHARLES BRISBANE. Signed on the other part by his excellency P. J. CHANGUION. A list of killed and wounded on

board his majesty's squadron under my command, at the capture of the Island of Curaçoa, on the 1st of January, 1807.

Arethusa, 2 seamen killed, 5 seamen wounded.

Latona, 1 seaman killed, 2 seamen wounded.

Anson. None killed, 7 scamen wounded.


« EelmineJätka »