History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar

Chapter 2 

Description of the Rock, with the fortifications and town of Gibraltar.—Remains of Moorish architecture.—Natural Curiosities.—Climate.—Vegetation.—Fish ; and whence supplied with Cattle, &c—Military Establishment. —Description of the Bay.—Algeciras.—Some accounts of the Ancient city of Carteia.—St. Roque. Conclusive remarks.

As the History which is to be the subject of the following pages, will be more in detail than the preceding narrative, it may on some accounts be necessary, and tjannot on any, I flatter myself, be disagreeable, to present the reader with a short description of this celebrated Rock, and the fortifications which have been erected for its defence.

The Promontory, or rock, at the foot of which stands the town, is upwards of 1300 feet in height; projecting into the sea several miles from the continent, to which it is connected by an isthmus of low sand. This appearance makes it not improbable that Mons Calpe has, in former ages, been totally surrounded by the sea. The north front of the peninsula, which presents itself to the main land, is of various heights. The breadth of the isthmus, at the foot of the rock, is about 900 yards; but it grows considerably wider towards the country. Across this isthmus, (which, with Gibraltar and the opposite coast, forms the bay) the Spaniards have drawn a fortified line at about a mile's distance from the garrison, extending 1700 yards, and embracing both shores ; a fort of masonry is erected at each extremity, mounting 23 or 24 guns each; they are of different forms, and are called St. Philip and St. Barbara. The former of these forts commands the best and the usual anchoring place of our shipping and small craft, and, by forming a crossfire with fort St. Barbara on the neutral ground, prevents all communication between the garrison and the country.

The Rock, as I have mentioned before, is upwards of 1300 feet perpendicular above the level of the sea; and is separated by a ridge from north to south, dividing it into two unequal parts. The western front or division is a gradual slope, interspersed with precipices; but the opposite side, looking to the Mediterranean, and the north front, facing the Spanish lines, are both naturally very steep, and totally inaccessible. It is this peculiar circumstance which forms the chief strength of Gibraltar.

The town is built at the foot of the northwest face of the hill, and is fortified in an irregular manner. The communication with it from the isthmus, is by a long narrow causeway (serving as a dam to an inundation), which is defended by a curtain, with two bastions, mounting 26 pieces of cannon, a dry ditch, covered way, and glacis well mined. These, with the causeway, are warmly flanked by the King's, Queen's, and Prince's lines; works cut in the rock with immense labour, and scarped to be almost inaccessible.

Above the lines are the batteries at Willis's, and others at different heights, until they crown the summit of the rock, where several batteries are erected for cannon and mortars. These batteries, the lowest of which is upwards of 400 feet above the neutral ground, mount between 50 and 60 pieces of heavy ordnance, and entirely command the isthmus below. Exclusive of what are here mentioned, additional works of a singular nature were projected in 1782, which, with others in the lines, on a similar plan, that are (1789) executing under the direction of Majorgeneral O'Hara, will render Gibraltar (almost) impregnable in that quarter. The Old mole, to the west of the Grand battery, forms also a very formidable flank, and, with the lines, a crossfire on the causeway and neutral ground. This battery has been found so great an annoyance to the besiegers, that, by way of distinction, it has long been known under the appellation of the Devil's tongue. Indeed, the ordnance in the lines, upon the Grand battery, and the Old mole, all together, exhibit so formidable an appearance to a spectator on the causeway, that the entrance into the garrison is called by the Spaniards, the Mouth of Fire.

From the Grand battery, along the sealine, looking towards the Bay, the town is defended by the North, Montague's,* Prince of Orange's, King's, and South bastions; the linewall or curtains between which, mount many cannon and mortars. Montague's, Prince of Orange's, and King's bastions, have been erected

* These bastions and the connecting curtains were so much injured in the last siege, that it was thought necessary to strengthen this part of the town, by an extensive line of new works, projecting some distance into the sea, the foundations of which were laid in 1788. Some additions ar« also in contemplation for the Grand battery and Landport.

lately. The latter is a very complete piece of fortification, commanding the Bay from New to Old mole heads, and mounting twelve thirty two pounders, and four ten inch howitzers in front, ten guns and howitzers on its flanks, and has casements for 800 men, with kitchens and ovens for cooking. Montague's is much smaller, mounts only 12 pieces of cannon, but has a casemate for 200 men, communicating with the Old mole. In 1782 the engineers began a cavalier upon this bastion for two guns ; but it was not finished till after the grand attack in September. Another work of this nature was likewise erected in the beginning of the blockade for five guns, on the north bastion of the Grand battery. The town on the sealine is not less protected by natural defences, than by fortifications. A shoal of sharp rocks extends along the front far into the Bay, and prevents ships of large burthen from approaching very near the walls.

From the South bastion (which is considerably higher than the rest of the works, in order to protect the town from the eminences on the red sands) a curtain extends up the face of the hill, and concludes, at an inaccessible precipice, the works of the town. In this curtain is the SouthPort gate, before which, and the south bastion, is a dry ditch, with a covered way and glacis. At the east end, on the declivity of the hill, above the gate, is a large flat bastion, connected with the curtain, and mounting 13 guns, bearing on the bay, &c. This work is covered by a demybastion that joins the precipice. Above the precipice, an old Moorish wall is continued to the ridge of the rock; in the front of which a curtain with loopholes and redans (built in the reign of the Emperor Charles V., and called after his name) extends to the top, effectually cutting off all communication in that quarter.    Between the   Moorish  and

Charles the Vth's walls, is the signalhouse; whence, on a serene and clear day, the guard have almost an unbounded view of the Mediterranean, and can just observe a part of the Atlantic ocean over the Spanish mountains. Signals formerly were made at this post, on the appearance of topsail vessels from east and west; but soon after the commencement of the late war, we discovered that the Spanish cruisers were more frequently informed of the approach of our friends by our signals, than by their own. The signals were therefore discontinued.

The above comprehends a general description of the fortifications of the town, avoiding too minute a detail of each work. I shall therefore proceed in describing, in the same general manner, the works to the southward.

From the South bastion a linewall is continued along the beach to the New mole, where an irregular fort is erected, mounting 26 guns. This linewall is divided by a small bastion of eight guns; and in its rear is a retired work, called the Princess of Wales's lines; in which are several strong batteries for the sea. Near the South bastion, though without the town, is a wharf called Ragged Staff, where the supplies for the garrison are usually landed, being convenient from its vicinity to the victualling office and stores. The communication to this quay, is by spiral wooden stairs, and a drawbridge opening into the covertway; in front of which is a small work of masonry, mounting two guns. At the foot of the stairs is the bason, where shipping take in water. Two tanks are also appropriated to this purpose, near the eigh tgun bastion.

In the New mole there is depth of water sufficient for a ship, of the line to lie alongside the wharf, and heave down..   At the molehead is a circular battery for heavy metal, joined to the Newmole fort by a strong wall, firaised; having a banquet for musquetry, with two embrasures opening towards the Bay. This mole, with the Old mole at Waterport, were built for the accommodation of trading vessels: the former however is generally occupied by men of war; and the latter, not having more than six feet at low water, only admits small craft to the wharfs; merchantmen of large burthen are obliged therefore to anchor about half or three quarters of a mile from Waterport, in seven or eight fathoms. But in time of war this anchorage is commanded by the Spanish forts: they are consequently, in case of a rupture with Spain, under the necessity of removing to the southward of the New mole, where the ground is so rocky and foul, that they are often in imminent danger during the strong southerly winds. From the Newmole fort, to the north end of Rosia Bay, the rock is difficult of access; nevertheless a parapet is continued, and batteries are erected, as situations dictate. The works at Rosia are strong, and act as flanks to each other. They are close along the beach, which is low, and have a retired battery of eight guns in the rear.

The Rock continues to ascend from the south point of Rosia Bay, by Parson's Lodge (behind which, upon an eminence, is a new battery, en barbet, on traversing carriages), to Campguard, and Buena Vista; so called from the beautiful prospect of the Bay and neighbouring kingdoms of Barbary and Spain, which is there presented to a spectator. A linewall is raised, notwithstanding the rock being inaccessible, with cannon at different distances. At Buena Vista there are several guns en barbet, which have great command; and the hill towards Europa is slightly fortified, which gives it the appearance, at a distance, of an old castle repaired.

The rock then descends by the Devil's Bowling green, so named from the irregularity of its surface, to Little Bay. At this post, which is totally surrounded with precipices, there is a barbet battery, flanking the works to the New mole ; thence the rock continues naturally steep for a considerable distance, when the linewall and batteries recommence, and extend in an irregular manner to Europa Point, the southern extremity of the garrison, though not the southern point of Europe. The rock from this point is regularly perpendicular to Europa advance, where a few batteries, and a post at the Caveguard, terminate the works. The fortifications along the sealine at Europa do not however constitute the principal strength of that part of the garrison. The retired and inaccessible lines of Windmill Hill have great command, and being situated within musketshot of the sea, are very formidable, and of great consequence in that quarter.

The preceding description, it is hoped, will be sufficiently explanatory to point out the improvements that have been made within these few years. The new bastions on the sealine were planned and executed, by and under the direction of the present Chief Engineer, Majorgeneral Sir William Green, Bart. Lieut. Gen. Sir Robert Boyd, K. B. laid the foundationstone of the King's bastion, in the absence of General Cornwallis, the governor. The garrison also underwent considerable alterations whilst he commanded; Windmill Hill was fortified, and other changes were effected at the southward. The improvements on the northern front were carried on under the direction of Sir George Augustus Elliott, K. B. since he was appointed to the government. The communication, or gallery leading to   St.   George's   Hall, above   Farringdon's battery ; Queen's lines battery, and communication; two works of the same nature, which extend under the Queen's battery (WillisV), and in the rock above Prince of Hesse's bastion; are all so singularly contrived, and of so formidable a nature, that all direct attacks by land, henceforward, may be considered as quixotism and insanity.

Before the interior part of the place is described, it will not be improper to conclude the description of its outer works, by inserting an abstract of the guns, howitzers, and mortars, mounted upon the different batteries. The original, from which this was copied, was taken in the beginning of March, 1783.

 

The Gallery under the Queen's battery has been continued by General O'Hara, and now communicates with the Prince's lines ; it is called the Union Gallery.

The town is built on a bed of red sand, similar to those eminences without Southport, which originally extended from Landport to the foot of the ascent to the south barracks. The buildings, before the town was destroyed in the late siege, were composed of different materials, principally of tapia ;* though, since the English have been in possession of Gibraltar, many have been built of the rockstone, plastered, and bluewashed on the outside, to break the powerful rays of the sun, which otherwise would be too glaring, and prejudicial to the eyes. The modern houses were in general covered with tiles; but the flat terraced roofs remained in those erected by the Spaniards, and in some, the mirandas or towers, whence the inhabitants, without removing from home, had a beautiful and extensive prospect of the neighbouring coasts.

Of the buildings that are most deserving of notice, the old Moorish castle is the most conspicuous. This antique structure is situated on the northwest side of the hill, and originally consisted of a triple wall, the outer inclosure descending to the water's edge: but the lower parts have long since been removed, and the Grand battery and Waterport fortifications erected on their ruins; and the first, or upper wall, would long ago have shared the same fate, had it not been found of service in covering the town from the Isthmus, in case of a siege. The walls standing at present form an oblong square, ascending the hill, at the upper angle of which is the principal tower, where the Governor or Alcaide formerly resided. The ruins of a Moorish mosque, or place of worship, can be traced within the walls ; as also a neat morisque court, and reservoir for * A cement consisting of mortar, made of sand, lime, and small pebbles, which being well tempered, and wrought together in a frame, acquires great strength and solidity.

water: but the latter cannot, without great difficulty, be discovered by a stranger. A large tower on the southeast wall has long been converted into a magazine for powder; and in different places quarters were fitted up, before the late siege, for officers and two companies of soldiers. This castle was erected, as I have mentioned before, by the Saracens or Moors, on their first invading Spain ; and the present venerable remains are incontestable proofs of its magnificence, whilst it continued in their possession.

The other principal buildings are the Convent, or Governor's quarters; the Lieut. Governor's house, which is a modern structure; the Admiralty house, formerly a monastery of white friars; the Soldiers barracks, Victualling office, and Storehouse. Besides these, there are the Spanish church, the Atarasana, or galley house, and some other buildings, formerly of note, but now in ruins from the fire of the Spaniards during the late siege.

At the southward, are the South Barracks and the Navy Hospital. The former a stately building, delightfully situated, with a parade in front, and two pavilions detached; the whole capable of quartering 1200 men, and officers proportionate. The latter a capacious pile, well adapted to the purpose for which it was intended: it has an area in the centre, with piazzas and a gallery above, by which the sick may enjoy the sun, or shade, as they think proper: there are apartments for 1000 men, with pavilions at each wing for the accommodation and convenience of the Surgeons and their attendants.     This hospital was originally erected for the navy, in case a British fleet should he stationed in the Mediterranean; hut, on the Spaniards bombarding the town in 1781, the Governor removed into it the sick of the garrison. At some distance, in the front of the barracks, are two powder magazines, in which the supplies from England are usually deposited, before they are distributed to the other magazines. These last conclude the chief, I might say almost the only buildings remaining on the rock after the late siege, and their preservation was owing to their being kept in constant repair by workmen purposely appointed for that duty.

Besides the remains of Moorish architecture which have already been mentioned, the following have been esteemed not unworthy of notice. Within the town we find the Galleyhouse, and part of the Spanish church; also the Bombhouse, adjoining the linewall: and at the southward, ruins of Moorish buildings are discernible on Windmill hill, and at Europa. The former are situated on an eminence, but no antiquarian can determine to what use they were appropriated: some are of opinion they were burying vaults for persons of rank 5 others suppose them a prison; whilst in the garrison, the whole is generally known by the name of the Inquisition. At Europa, opposite the guardhouse, may be traced the remains of a building erected by the Moors, but used by the Spaniards as a chapel, and called Nuestra Senora del Europa. Along the water's edge, without the fortification, are also several ruins of Moorish walls: and towards Europa advance is a Moorish bath, called by the garrison, the Nuns well. It is sunk eight feet deep in the rock, is 72 feet long, and 42 feet broad, and, to preserve the water, has an arched roof, supported by pillars. To the left of this bath is a cave, under Winmillhill, known by the name of Beefsteak cave; which was a common residence for many of the inhabitants, during the late siege.

The hill abounds in cavities, that serve as receptacles for the rain. None, however, is so singular and worthy of notice as St. Michaers cave, on the side of the hill, in a line with the south barracks, about 1100 feet above the level of the sea. At the entrance are the remains of a strong wall. The mouth is only five feet wide; but on descending a slope of earth, it widens considerably ; and, with the assistance of torches, the openings of several smaller caves are discovered. The outer cave is about 200 feet long, and 90 broad. The top appears to be supported by pillars of vast magnitude, formed by the perpetual droppings of petrifying water, the whole bearing great resemblance to the inside of a gloomy Gothic cathedral.

The several gradations in the progress of these petrifactions are easily discovered. In some may be observed small capitals, descending from the roof, whilst proportionable bases rise underneath: others again are formed of very small diameter ; and a third class, immensely large, seem to support the roof of this wonderful cavern. Few strangers visit Gibraltar but are conducted to view this cave ; and numbers, with the assistance of ropes and torches, have attempted to explore the depth; however, after descending about 500 feet, they have been obliged to return, by the gross vapours which issued from beneath. It was in this cave that the Spaniards concealed themselves in the siege of 1727, when a party of them, unperceived, got into the garrison, at the Caveguard, near Europa advance, but afterwards failed in their enterprise.

There are several other caves on different parts of the hill, in which the water possesses the same petrifying qualities. One under MiddleMil, called Pocoroca, was fitted up, previous to the bombardment, for the Governor's reception ; but was afterwards converted into a powder magazine, being very convenient for the batteries on the heights.

Amongst the natural curiosities of Gibraltar, the petrified bones, found in the cavities of the rocks, have greatly attracted the attention of the curious. These bones are not found in one particular part, but have been discovered in various places at a considerable distance from each other. From the rocks near Rosia bay, (without the linewall) great quantities of this curious petrifaction have been collected, and sent home for the inspection of naturalists. Some of the bones are of large diameter ; and, being broken with the rock, the marrow is easily to be distinguished. Colonel James, in his description of Gibraltar, mentions an entire human skeleton being discovered in the solid rock, at the Prince's lines ; which the miner blew to pieces : and in the beginning of the late blockade, a party of miners, forming a cave at Upper AlTswell, in the lines, produced several bones that were petrified to the rock, and appeared to have belonged to a large bird: being present at the time, I procured several fragments; but in the bombardment of 1781, they were destroyed with other similar curiosities.

The hill is remarkable for the number of apes about its summit, which are said not to be found in any other part of Spain. They breed in inaccessible places, and frequently appear in large droves with their young on their backs, on the western face of the hill. It is imagined they were originally brought from Barbary by the Moors, as a similar species inhabit Mons Abyla^ which, on that account, is generally called Ape'shill.

Red legged partridges are often found in coveys; woodcocks and teal are sometimes seen ; and wild rabbits are caught about Europa and Windmill Hill. The garrison orders forbid officers to shoot on the western side of the rock; parties however often go in boats round Europa Point to kill wild pigeons, which are numerous in the caves.

Eagles and vultures annually visit Gibraltar from Barbary, in their way to the interior parts of Spain. The former breed in the craggy parts of the rock, and, with the hawk, are often seen towering round its summit. Moschetoes are exceedingly troublesome towards the close of summer; and locusts are sometimes found. The scorpion, centipes, and other venomous reptiles, abound amongst the rocks and old buildings; and the harmless green lizard, and snake, are frequently caught by the soldiers, who, after drawing their teeth, treat them with every mark of fondness.

With regard to the climate of Gibraltar, the inhabitants breathe a temperate and wholesome air, for most part of the year. The summer months of June, July, and August, are excessively warm, with a perpetual serene and clear sky: the heat is however allayed, in a great measure, by a constant refreshing breeze from the sea, which usually sets in about ten in the forenoon, continuing till almost sunset: and, from its invigorating and aggroeable coolness, is emphatically called the Doctor. The cold in winter is not so excessive as in the neighbouring parts of the country. Snow falls but seldom, and ice is a rarity; yet the Grenadian mountains in Spain, and the lofty mountains in Africa, have snow lying on them for several months. Heavy rains, high winds, and most tremendous thunder, with dreadfullyvivid lightning, are the attendants on December and January.    The rain then pours down in torrents from the hill, and, descending with great rapidity, often choaks up the drains with large stones and rubbish, and sometimes does great injury to the works ; but these storms never are of long duration :• the sky soon clears up ; the heavy clouds disperse ; the cheering sun appears, and sufficiently compensates for the horrors of the preceding night. It is during this season that the water that serves the garrison for the ensuing summer is collected. The aqueduct, which conducts it to the fountain in the centre of the town, is extremely well executed; and was constructed by a Jesuit, when the Spaniards were in possession of Gibraltar. It is erected against the bank of sand, without South port, beginning to the southward of the eightgun bastion, and, collecting the rainwater that filters through the sand, conducts it to the South port, and thence to the fountain. The water, thus strained and purified, is remarkably clear and wholesome.

The appearance of the Rock is barren and forbidding ; as few trees or shrubs, excepting palmettos, are to be seen on the face of the hill: yet it is not entirely destitute of vegetation; wild herbs, of different kinds, spring up in the interstices of the rocks, when the periodical rains set in, and afford some trifling nourishment to the bullocks, sheep, and goats, that browse upon the hill. The first rains generally fall in September, or October, and continue at intervals to refresh the garrison till April or May. When they cease, and the powerful rays of the sun have withered the little verdure that appeared on the hill, nothing offers to the eye but sharp uncouth rocks, and dried palmetto bushes. The soil collected in the low ground is however extremely rich and fertile, producing variety of fruits and vegetables. Colonel James, in his elaborate history of Gibraltar, enumerates no less than 300 different herbs, which are to be found on various parts of the rock. Gibraltar consequently must be an excellent field of amusement to a botanist.

The garrison, before the blockade of 1779, was chiefly supplied with roots and garden stuff from the gardens on the neutral ground, which, being on a flat, could almost constantly (even in summer) be kept in a state of vegetation. The proprietors of these gardens were obliged totally to relinquish them when the Spaniards erected their advanced works: from that period General Eliott encouraged cultivation within his own limits, by every possible indulgence. Many plots at the southward were inclosed with walls, the ground cleared of stones and rubbish, and soil collected from other parts: so that with assiduity and perseverance, after some time, the produce, during the winter season, was so increased as to be almost equal to the consumption ; and probably, in the space of a few years, the garrison may be totally independent, in this article, of any assistance from the neighbourhood.

Gibraltar, by being nearly surrounded by the sea, is exceedingly well supplied with fish: the Johndoree, turbot, soaL, salmon, hake, rockcod, mullet and ranger, with great variety of less note, are caught along the Spanish shore, and in different parts of the Bay. Mackarel are also taken in vast numbers during the season, and shellfish are sometimes brought from the neighbouring parts.—The Moors, in time of peace, supply the garrison with oxbeef, mutton, veal, and poultry, on moderate terms; and from Spain they procure pork, which is remarkable for its sweetness and flavour. Fruits of all kinds, such as melons, oranges, green figs, grapes, pomegranates, &c. are brought in abundance from Barbary and Portugal: and the best wines are drunk at very reasonable prices.

The present military establishment* of Gibraltar consists of six companies of artillery, nine regiments of the line, and a company of artificers, commanded by engineers ; composing an army of upwards of 4000 men, officers included. Before the late bombardment, the troops were quartered in the barracks at the southward, % and in quarters fitted up out of the old Spanish buildings in town. The officers were distributed in the same manner; but in case of reinforcements, and that government quarters were not. sufficient for their accommodation, billet money was allowed in proportion to rank, and the officers hired lodgings from the inhabitants.

The regiments, on their arrival in the garrison, are entitled to salt provisions from the stores, in the following proportion. One ration for each Serjeant, corporal, drummer, and private, consisting of 7 lb. of bread, delivered twice a week, beef 2 lb. 8 oz. pork 1 lb. butter 10 oz. pease half a gallon, and groats 3 pints: every commissioned and warrant officer, under a Captain, receives two rations, a Captain three, a Major and Lieutenant Colonel four, a Colonel six. In times of profound peace, officers generally receive a compensation in money for their provisions, or dispose of them to the Jews, of whom there are great numbers in the garrison, who are always ready to purchase, or take them in barter. The troops are paid in currency, which, let the exchange of the garrison be above or below par, never varies to the non-commissioned and privates. A Serjeant receives weekly, as full garrison pay, one dollar, six reals, equal to ninepence sterling, per diem; a corporal, and drummer, one dollar, one real, and five quartils, in sterling about sixpence per diem; and a private, seven reals, or fourpence halfpenny sterling, per diem.    Officers receive their subsistence according to the currency: thirty six pence per dollar is par. During the late bombardment, the exchange, for a considerable time, was as high as forty two pence, by which those gentlemen who were under the necessity of drawing for their pay, lost sixpence in every three shillings; and it seldom was lower than forty pence whilst the siege continued. The coins current in Gibraltar are those used in Spain. All accounts are kept in dollars, reals, and quartils: the two former, like the pound sterling, are imaginary; the latter is a copper coin.

The Bay of Gibraltar, formed by the headlands of Cabrita and Europa Points, is commodious, and seems intended by nature to command the Straits: there are opportunities, however, when a fleet may pass unobserved by the garrison; for such is the impenetrable thickness of the mists, which usually prevail during the easterly winds, that many ships have baffled the vigilance of the cruisers, and gone through unnoticed: the southwesterly winds, particularly at the equinox, are also often attended with such thick and rainy weather, that vessels have passed through and got into the Bay without being seen.

Since Gibraltar has been in the possession of the English, the Spaniards have erected, in different parts of the Bay, several batteries and forts for the protection of their small craft in war, and to prevent their coast from being annoyed. At Cabrita, which is a bold rocky point, are a barbe tbattery and watchtower, whence, during the blockade, signals of flags by day, and lights at night, were made to inform the Spanish cruisers at Algeciras, &c. of the approach of any vessel towards the Bay. These watchtowers are distributed, at short distances, along the coast for a considerable extent, to alarm the country, in case of a visit from the Algerines, or when any other extraordinary circumstance happens. To the northward of Cabrita are two others, with a fort at the northernmost tower, which is called San Garcia: the point on which the latter are erected, projects, with a long reef of dangerous shoals and rocks, considerably into the Bay. The town and island of Algeciras, with their batteries, then appear in view.

Algeciras lies opposite to Gibraltar, about 5$ miles , across the Bay ; and, since the late siege, has greatly increased in consequence and wealth. The town was built and fortified by the Saracens about the year 714, two years after their establishment at Gibraltar, It is remarkable for being the place where those invaders first disembarked, when they so rapidly overturned the Gothic empire in Spain ; and, as well as Gibraltar, was erected to preserve a communication with Africa. Whilst the Moors maintained their conquests, it consequently became a city of great importance and strength. We find, during the successive wars which took place between the Moors and the Spaniards, Algeciras was frequently besieged by the Kings of Castile ; and, when Gibraltar so easily fell into the hands of the Christians in 1310, this city resisted all their efforts. At length, after a most obstinate siege in 1344, Algeciras was compelled to surrender to the victorious arms of Alonzo XI. The siege continued twenty months, and most of the Potentates in Europe interested themselves in the event, by sending succours to the Christian besiegers. The English, under the Duke of Lancaster, the Earls of Derby, Leicester, Salisbury, and Lincoln, particularly distinguished themselves by their gallantry and conduct during this memorable contest. It is worthy of remark, that cannon are said to have been first made use of in this siege, by the Moors against the assailants; and the English, profiting by the knowledge gained on this occasion, afterwards used them at the glorious battle of Gressy. The Spaniards continued masters of the town till 1369, when the Moors of Grenada surprised the city ; but being unable to retain it, they demolished the works, and carried away the inhabitants captives.

Whilst the Moors kept possession of Gibraltar, which was now in its turn become a city of importance, the Spaniards never attempted to rebuild Algeciras; and still less did they esteem it an object worthy their attention, after Gibraltar fell into their hands. The town, therefore, remained in ruins and desolate, excepting a few fishermen's huts, till the Spaniards, in the beginning of the present century, thought proper, after the cession of Gibraltar to Great Britain, to repeople and secure it by a few batteries towards the sea, which also might occasionally protect their cruisers in time of war. Since that period, from the constant intercourse and trade which subsisted between it and Gibraltar before the war of 1779, Algeciras is become a town of some consequence and wealth ; and, as a late writer has justly expressed, " like a phoenix, has risen " out of its own ashes, after being for ages in ruins.**

The new town is built to the northward of the old city (whose venerable ruins still remain,) and is defended to the southward by a battery of nine or ten guns, erected on an island some distance from the shore. To the northward of the town is another battery of six guns, and a little farther, on an eminence, one of 22, which was raised by Admiral Barcelo, when he was apprehensive of an attack from Sir George Rodney in 1780. Between the island and the town, small craft find tolerable shelter; but ships of war, or of large burthen, anchor to the northward. The lands round the town are of late much cultivated, and, with the shipping, form, in the spring, a pleasantly variegated and beautiful prospect to a spectator at Gibraltar. A detachment or regiment of infantry is constantly on duty here, who, with those of the Spanish lines and neighbourhood, are under the command of the commandant at St. Roque.

To the northward of Algeciras are the rivers Palmones and Guadaranque: the former is the broader and deeper of the two, and was the principal retreat of the Spanish gun and mortar boats, when they wanted repairs, after bombarding the garrison.    Admiral Barcelo in this river also prepared the fireships he sent over in June 1780.    On the east banks of the Guadaranque, near Rocadillo Point, where there is a small fort or tower, are the venerable ruins of the once famous city of Carteia.    This celebrated place, scarcely a stone of which is now left to inform posterity where it stood, is reported to have been built by the Phenicians, in the first ages of navigation, when those adventurers visited the extreme parts of the then known world. Historians mention it under the names of Carteia, Heraclia, and Calpe Carteia.    When the Carthaginians became a powerful nation, and aimed at the sovereignty of Spain, Carteia maintained its independence for some time, till Hannibal, according to Livy, stormed the city, and demolished most of its works.    When Scipio obliged the Carthaginians to quit Spain, Carteia was a place of little importance ; but the Romans finding it a convenient station for their navy, the city was increased with a Roman colony, and once more began to rise into splendour and magnificence.    After the memorable battle of Munda, Cneius Pompey fled to Carteia, but, being pursued, was obliged to leave it precipitately.    As the Roman empire declined, so did Carteia ; and probably, soon after the irruption of the Goths and Vandals, it became almost desolate and waste. On the invasion of Spain by the Saracens, that nation undoubtedly dismantled the buildings of this famous city for materials to erect Gibraltar and Algeciras. The remains of a quay are still visible, with some few ruins of public buildings, apparently Roman; and the country peasants, in tilling the ground, often find various antique coins, which curious antiquarians have not thought unworthy of a place in their cabinets.

Halfway between the Guadaranque and the garrison, is another fort and tower, called Point Mala, or Negro Point, to the northward of which is the inland village of St. Roque. This is a small insignificant town, though delightfully situated, at about five miles distance from Gibraltar. It was built by the Spaniards, in the beginning of the present century, when the garrison of Gibraltar surrendered to Sir George Rooke. The Spanish Commandant of the Lines generally makes it his residence; and during the late siege, under the Duke de Crillon, the Count d* Artois, and the Duke de Bourbon, had apartments in the town. Previous to the war of 1779 it was often frequented by the officers from Gibraltar ; and in the spring and summer seasons, British families resided there for several months, some for the benefit of their health, others for pleasure. The combined army, during the late siege, encamped on the plains below St. Roque, and landed all their ordnance, and military stores, a little to the westward of Point Mala, near the Orange grove.

I cannot help remarking in this place, that, among the evils of the late siege, the Garrison have to regret the interruption of that friendly intercourse which before subsisted between them and the neighbourhood, and which is now prohibited by the Spanish government.    When the communication  was free and  unlimited (except in point of introducing a contraband traffic in Spain), the strictest intimacy subsisted between the British military, and the Spaniards resident in the adjacent villages. Parties were reciprocally visiting each other, and the officers constantly making excursions into the country. These excursions, with others to the coast of Barbary (which in the season superaboundfl with various species of game), were pleasing relaxations from the duties of the garrison, and rendered Gibraltar as eligible a station as any to which a soldier could be ordered.

On the whole—whether we consider Gibraltar as commanding the entrance of the Mediterranean, and consequently, as capable of controlling the commerce of the Europeans with the Levant; or whether we consider it as almost impregnable by nature, and consequently as most susceptible of the improvements of art; its situation is, perhaps, more singular and curious than that of any fortress in the world. These circumstances, and the degree of consequence which it confers on its possessor, in the opinion of the Barbary states, have not failed to excite the attention, and alarm the interests of most maritime nations in Europe; and, with the multitude at least, it has always been an object of political importance. Politicians, however, there have been, of no inferior rank, who have thought very differently of its value and utility. On this delicate subject, I will frankly confess my inability to decide. I shall therefore, without further apology, leave these speculations to men of more leisure and experience; and proceed to matters better adapted to my capacity and information.

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