Commencement of the "War in 1779, between Great Britain and Spain.—State of the Garrison of Gibraltar at that period.—Ambiguous conduct of the Spaniards.—Enemy encamp before the Garrison.—Form a blockade—Many Inhabitants leave the Place.—Motions of the Enemy— Erect additional Batteries in their Lines—Fired upon from the Garrison Continue their Operations.—Loss of the Peace and Plenty Privateer.—Provisions extremely scarce in the Garrison.—Spirited behaviour of the Buck Cutter Privateer.—Description of the Straits.—Fidelity of a Moor.—Great distress in the Garrison.—Relieved by some fortunate occurrences.—Arrival of Sir George Rodney, and the British Fleet.—Tetuan.—Anecdote of Prince William Henry.—Ceuta.—Departure of the Fleet.
ALTHOUGH the Spaniards had
been thrice defeated in their attempts to recover Gibraltar, they continued to
View that garrison with a jealous eye, determined, if we may judge from their
late conduct, to seize the first eligible opportunity of wresting it, if
possible, from the dominion of
The war of 1762 was too
unexpected on the part of Spain, and conducted with too great success by the
British Minister, to admit of such an enterprise as the
The period was not however far distant, when the contest between Great
Britain and her Colonies seemed to promise as favourable an opportunity as their
warmest wishes could have anticipated; particularly when, in addition to the
civil war, they found hostilities taking place between Great Britain and France.
The close of the year 1777, when the news of the convention of
The principal design of the
Court of Madrid, in entering into this war, was evidently the recovery of
Two days previous to this
event, General Eliott, the Governor, accompanied by many Fieldofficers of the
garrison, paid a visit to General Mendoza, the commandant of the Spanish lines,
to congratulate him on his promotion.
Their reception at St. Roque was far from agreeable; and it was remarked
that the Spanish General appeared embarrassed during their stay, which might
proceed from his knowledge of what was to follow. The visit was short, and the
Governor had scarcely returned to the garrison, when Mr. Logie, his Majesty's
Consul in Barbary, arrived from Tangier, in a Swedish frigate, with certain
intelligence of the intended rupture between
As the fortress of
the communication being closed, a council of war was immediately summoned, to
advise concerning the measures to be pursued on the occasion. Preparations had
been privately made or the defence of the garrison, when intelligence was first
received of the probability of a war : the objects therefore at this time to be
considered were, how to procure constant supplies of provisions from Barbary,
and in what manner the correspondence between
It is natural to suppose that the garrison were not a little alarmed at this unexpected procedure of the Spaniards. The Northern guards were reinforced, and the picquets cautioned to be alert, in case of alarm. Landport barriers were shut; and an artillery officer ordered to Willis's batteries, to observe the movements of the Enemy, and protect the Devil'stower guard, which was ordered to be very circumspect and vigilant.
Whilst the friendly
intercourse subsisted between the garrison and the neighbourhood, several
British families and officers had permission to reside at St. Roque, Los Varios,
and other small villages a few miles distant; but immediately on the
communication being closed, General Mendoza sent them peremptory orders to
remove; and the time limited for their departure was so short, that some of them
were obliged to leave most of their effects behind. Those officers whose
curiosity had led them into the interior parts of the country, were positively
refused liberty to return to the garrison; they were therefore conducted to
Cadis, and had passports granted them to leave the kingdom by other routes. Col.
Ross and Capt. Vignoles, of the 39th, with Capt. Lesanue, of the 56th,
nevertheless contrived to join their corps, by assuming disguises, and risking
the passage in a rowboat from Faro (a port in
The Childers sloop of war,
on the 24th, brought in two prizes from the West, one of which (an American)
Capt. Peacock captured in the midst of the Spanish Fleet, then at sea. The
conduct of the Spaniards on this occasion, was extremely ambiguous. Every
circumstance that fell under our own immediate observation, convinced us that
they now intended hostilities against
Though the motions of the enemy did not indicate any immediate design of attacking the garrison, and the closing of the communication might be only in consequence of hostilities having commenced between Great Britain and Spain; yet our intelligence, and their late deceitful conduct, gave us great reason to suppose that they intended some attempt on Gibraltar. Depots of earth, &c were therefore collected, in various places ; empty hogsheads and casks were bought from the inhabitants, for the purpose of filling them with earth, to strengthen and repair the fortifications ; and other precautions were taken for the defence of the place. On the other hand, the enemy employed what troops they had then on duty, in the lines and neighbourhood, in drawing down cannon from St. Roque, &c. to animate the forts, (in which few ordnance were mounted during the peace), and in arranging matters to strengthen and support their posts.
In the beginning of July,
The third of July, a detachment of about 180 men from the British line was ordered to join the artillery, to be taught the practice of the great guns. The artillery in garrison were only five companies ; a number not adequate to the different duties in case of a siege: this reinforcement was therefore added, and proved, afterwards of great service in that department. Three English sailors came in an open boat, on the 4th, from Cadiz, and brought intelligence that an embargo was laid on all English vessels in that port. In the evening we observed the Spaniards relieve the guards in their lines.
The Spaniards, in time of
peace, always stationed a regiment of cavalry at St. Roque, with another
regiment, or detachment of infantry, at Algeciras ; parties from which did duty
at their lines; and no additional body of troops, or ships of war, had yet
appeared near the garrison. On the 5th, however, in the afternoon, a Spanish
squadron of two seventy fours, five frigates, and other vessels, to the number
of eleven, hove in sight from the west, and layto some time off the garrison.
Whilst they remained in this situation, the Governor thought it prudent to make
some new disposition of the ordnance at the southward, and to caution the
regiments in the South barracks, the 12th, and 72d, to be alert. The Captain of
Europa guard, who before usually joined at retreat beating, was also ordered to
his command. In the afternoon, three privateer cutters arrived from the
westward. A schooner,
under Portuguese colours, stood across from the enemy to reconnoitre the first
that came in, and on her return was fired upon from Europa batteries, which was
the first hostile shot from the garrison. The enemy*3 squadron in the evening
drove to the eastward; and at night the
The following day, the 6th
of July, a packet was received from
The Spanish Commodore
continued cruising in our neighbourhood till the 8th, when he stood, under an
easy sail, for the westward. Before they quitted the
Admiral Duff having
received intelligence that a large fleet of small vessels was tosail from
Two line of battle ships were
observed cruising behind the rock on the 13th, and at night they went into
Mr. Logie having prevailed on the Admiral to grant the stores necessary for repairing the Emperor's ship, and his presence in Barbary being absolutely necessary, as well to procure provisions as to conduct the correspondence between Great Britain and the garrison; he returned on the 19th, on board a Moorish row galley, which had arrived from the Emperor with dispatches relative to the ship under repair. The galley was interrupted in her return, by the enemy's cruisers, and detained from seven in the morning, till five in the afternoon, when she was permitted to proceed to Tangier. During the embargo, Mr. Logie was concealed in a small skuttle, down the run of the galley, having previously made up the Governor's dispatches, and concerted signals, in a loaf, which was entrusted to a Moor, to be delivered at Mr. Logie'shouse in Tangier, in case he himself should be discovered, with an order for the Moor to receive a gratuity if he delivered it safe.
Early in the morning of the 20th, a Portuguese boat arrived with fowls and. charcoal from Tangier. Another, attempting to come in, was taken by a half galley, and carried to Algeciras. Sixty pounds of fresh beef were delivered, the same day, to each regiment, for the use of the officers: the artillery and engineers received in proportion, and the navy were included in this distribution. The following day, orders were issued for the troops to mount guard with their hair unpowdered; a circumstance trifling in appearance, but which our situation afterwards proved to be of great importance, and which evinced our Governor's great attention and prudent foresight in the management of the stores.
So superior a naval force
as the enemy now had in our neighbourhood, alarmed Admiral Duff, who was
apprehensive that they would make some attempts on the King's ships. Signals
were therefore agreed upon between the fleet and the garrison, that in case the
enemy should make an attack in the night, the latter might afford the ships
every assistance and protection. Three lights in a triangle were fixed upon by
the navy, to distinguish them from the enemy. The 22d, the navy manned their
boats, and captured a setee, within a short distance of the enemy's xebeques:
she proved of little value, but the exploit reflected great credit on the party
employed. The same day arrived a boat, with cattle, &c. from Tangier. In the
course of the 22d, several officers, attended by a party of men, were observed
tracing out ground on the plain below St. Roque, apparently for a camp; and it
was remarked, that the Micquelets in the advanced huts on the neutral ground,
were relieved by regular troops. These Micquelets are of the same description
with our revenue officers, and were stationed to prevent the smuggling of
tobacco from the garrison into
A Portuguese boat, with*
letters, arrived early in the morning of the 24th; also a schooner, with
charcoal and fruit from Tangier. Between 2 and 300 men landed the same day, at
the Orangegrove, with an intention, as we conjectured, of taking charge of the
stores which the enemy were disembarking there. The 25th, they pitched a tent on
the plain, for the working party employed in clearing the ground. I should have
mentioned, that on the 12th, an Hanoverian soldier deserted, and this day two of
the same brigade followed his example. The enemy, the 26th, began to form a camp
on the plain below St. Roque, about half a mile from Point Mala, and three miles
from the garrison. Fifty tents were pitched, and a detachment of cavalry and
infantry soon after took possession. The same day the Illerim, a Swedish
frigate, which had been in the Bay some weeks before, arrived, though opposed by
the enemy. The Swedish captain politely brought to on their firing a gun ; but
being told he must not anchor under the walls of the garrison, he resumed his
course, telling them he must go to
The Spanish camp being daily reinforced with additional regiments of cavalry and infantry, and large parties being still employed in landing ordnance and military stores at Point Mala, the Governor thought proper, on the 29th, to establish the following staff officers; namely, Captains Valloton, of the 56th regiment,—Patterson, of the artillery,—Forch, of the 12th regiment, and Eveleigh of the engineers, to be Aidedecamps to himself, as Commander in Chief; Captain Wilson and Lieut. Buckeridge, of the 39th regiment, Aidedecamps to Lieutenantgeneral Boyd; Lieutenant Weinzey, of the Hanoverian Brigade, Aidedecamp to Majorgeneral De la Motte ; Major Hardy, of the 56th regiment, QuarterMaster general; Captain Horsburgh, of the 39th regiment, who was TownMajor, AdjutantGeneral; Captain Burke, of the 58th regiment, TownMajor ; and Lieutenant S. Wood, of the 56th regiment, Assistant TownMajor. At the same time all the horses, except those belonging to field and staff officers, were ordered to be turned out of the garrison, unless the owners, on inspection, had 1000 lb. of feed for each horse; and, to enforce the latter order by example, the Governor directed that one of his own horses should be shot.
In the afternoon of the 30th, one of the enemy's xebeques manned her yards, and fired a salute. Immediately afterwards we observed she had hoisted a flag at the mizen topmast head, instead of a broad pendant; from which ceremony we concluded that the naval commandant had been promoted, or that he was superseded by an admiral.
In the beginning of August, the corps in garrison were ordered to give in returns of their best marksmen, and also of those men who had ever been employed in making fascines. Those officers unmarried, or without families, who drew double rations for two commissions, were ordered at the same time to draw rations only for one commission. Two Dutchmen came in, the 2d, unperceived by the enemy's cruisers, laden with rice and dried fruits: the rice, and a part of the fruit, the Governor purchased, for the use of the troops. The enemy's camp by this time was considerably increased, and we numbered 26 cannon behind the fort at Point Mala.
A Venetian arrived on the
5th, though fired at by the enemy. She (with the Dutchmen) remained no longer
than was necessary to take on board some of the inhabitants, who, apprehensive
that the garrison would be besieged, thought it eligible to seek an asylum in
time. Indeed about this time scarcely a boat or vessel left the port without
being crowded with Jews or Genoese, who preferred a residence in Barbary, or
As affairs began to wear a more serious aspect, a general activity reigned throughout the garrison, promoted not a little by the example of the Governor, who was usually present when the workmen paraded at dawn of day. The engineers were busily employed in putting the works at Willis's in the best repair, and in erecting new batteries on the heights of the North front. A considerable extent of ground above the town was cleared and levelled, to encamp the different regiments, in case the enemy should fire upon the town. Parties were likewise detached to collect shrubs, &c. from the face of the hill, for fascines ; and the artillery were daily engaged in completing the expense magazines with powder, ranging the different ordnance, and preparing every thing for immediate use in their department. The navy were not less diligent. A new battery for 22 guns was begun in the Navyyard, as a resource in case the enemy's operations should make it necessary to lay up the ships ; and the stores were removed from the New mole to the Navy hospital.
Towards the middle of
August, the motions of the enemy were no longer mysterious; every succeeding day
confirmed us in the opinion, that their object was to distress the garrison as
much as possible. The blockade became more strict and severe, their army was in
force before the place, and their present plan seemed to be to reduce
Fifteen or sixteen covered carts, on the 15th, arrived at the enemy's camp, and unloaded timber, planks, &c. at their laboratory tents. They continued landing stores on the beach, which employed a great number of carts to convey them to their depots; and at night we generally observed a number of lights, and frequently heard a noise like that of mon employed on somo laborious duty; this might proceed from dragging can* son, as we observed, on the 17th, they had animated all the embrasures in Fort St. Philip.
Early on the 17th, the
enemy attempted to cut out a polacre, which was anchored off the Old mole; but
retired on a gun being fired at them from the garrison. The small craft, after
this circumstance, removed to the New mole, as the men of war had done some time
before. The 18th, in the morning, two parties of workmen came from the camp, and
were employed at Forts St. Philip and St. Barbara: covered carts continued
constantly going from Point Mala to the laboratory tents, supposed to be laden
with shot. The following morning, a Spaniard came in an open boat to Waterport,
with onions and fruit, having a pass for
The enemy, on the 21st, had more men than usual employed in making fascines: they likewise were very busy in piling shot, and had a party at work in the covertway of Fort St. Philip. A number of carts daily brought shot (as we imagined) to the lines, particularly to Fort St. Barbara. The 23d, the corps of engineers were formed into three divisions, and several officers of the line appointed to join them as assistant engineers and overseers. The same day some experiments were made with redhot shot: this practice was continued on the 25th, when some carcasses were also thrown, and much approved. The 27th, we observed a fascine work begun upon the glacis, north of Fort St. Philip, which afterwards proved to be a mortar battery. A great number of carts continued to be employed in the enemy's camp, and vast quantities of stores were constantly landing beyond Point Mala. In the course of the 30th, the Childers, and an armed schooner, attempted to cut off two halfgallies becalmed in the Bay; but the enemy's xebeques, getting under way obliged them to desist. At night upwards of 80 covered carts came down to the enemy's lines.
From the time the enemy
first appeared encamped before the garrison, troops had been continually joining
them from all quarters. Their camp consisted of two lines (independent of the
Catalonians), extending from Point Mala, in an oblique direction, into the
country, towards the Queen of Spain's Chair. The streets were in a direction
nearly parallel to the bottom of the Bay. The guards in their lines and advanced
posts were, as the camp increased, proportionally reinforced ; but no act of
hostility had yet taken place in that quarter, though the Governor continued the
garrison guard at the Devil's tower. Their forts were repaired, and put in the
best order of defence. Laboratory tents for the artillery were pitched in front
of their camp, and magazines erected for military stores, which were frequently
brought by fleets of small craft, convoyed by men of war from
On the 5th of September, a soldier of Hardenborg's deserted from a working party employed in scarping the rock, under the lines. He was fired upon from Willis's, but got off. Besides the party engaged in rendering the lines inaccessible, our engineers were daily strengthening them with palisades, &c. Traverses were also erected along the covered way, grand battery, and linewall above Waterport, where a strong boom of masts was laid, from Oldmole head, to the foot of Landport glacis. About this time the regiments began to practise grenade exercise. The day on which the Hanoverian deserted, a Moorish galley came over from Algeciras, where she had been detained ten days. The crew reported that the Spanish camp was very sickly. It is supposed this vessel came to order home the ship which had been some time repairing in the New mole, as the following day both of them left the garrison for Tangier: a xebeque however speaking them off Cabrita Point, the Moors were conducted to the Spanish Admiral.
The enemy's workmen in the lines appeared at this time to be about 500. They were principally engaged in filling up with sand the north part of the ditch of Fort St. Philip, completing the mortar-battery before mentioned, and raising the crest of the glacis of their lines in different places. From the noise often heard during the night, and the number of lights seen, we judged that they worked without intermission. Two waggons, drawn each by twelve mules or horses, arrived at the lines on the 8th, which we conjectured brought fixed ammunition. The 11th, we observed that they had begun several fascine-works on the crest of their lines, apparently for mortar batteries; and had raised several traverses for the protection of their guardhouses. Waggons and carts continued bringing fascines and other materials to the lines from the camp. The same day, a rowboat, fitted out by the Jews, brought in a Dutch dogger laden with wheat: a very valuable supply in our situation.
The operations of the enemy now began to engage our attention. They had been permitted to pass and repass unmolested for some time; but the Governor did not think it prudent to allow them to proceed any longer with impunity. A council of war was consequently summoned on the 11th, to confer on the measures to be pursued. The council consisted of the following officers: the Governor; the Lieutenant Governor; Viceadmiral Duff; Majorgeneral De la Motte; Colonels Ross, Green, and Godwin: with Sir Thomas Rich, Bart. In the evening it was reported that their opinion was, not to open on the enemy, whilst they continued within their lines: but this rumour was only propagated to deceive the garrison; for on the succeeding morning, being Sunday the 12th of September, the artillery officers were ordered to the batteries on the heights; and the Devil's tower guard being withdrawn, the Governor opened on the enemy from Green's lodge, (a battery made since the blockade commenced) Willis's, and Queen Charlotte's batteries. Their advanced guards in the Micquelet huts, and in the stone guardhouses, were in a short time compelled to retire, and the workmen assembled in the lines obliged to disperse. The covered waggons returned to the camp without depositing their ladings; and so general a panic seized the enemy at this unexpected attack, that their cavalry galloped off towards the camp, and for some hours scarce a person was to he seen within the range of our guns. The forts were too distant to be materially damaged ; and the Governor's intention being only to disturb their workmen, the firing after a few hours slackened, and a shot was only discharged as the enemy presented themselves. A brass gun in the Queen's battery (Willis's) run with eight rounds.
The mortar batteries that had been discovered in the enemy's lines, some few days previous to our firing, had caused no small alarm amongst the inhabitants: those therefore, who had huts in Hardy town at the southward, immediately removed their most valuable effects, fully convinced that the Spaniards at night would return the fire.
That the duty of the batteries might be performed with spirit, in case the enemy persisted in carrying on their works, a Captain, three subalterns, and 52 men of the artillery, were ordered to take in charge Green's lodge, Willis's, and other batteries on the heights. The firing was continued the subsequent days, as circumstances directed. The 16th, our artillery made three attempts to reach the enemy's laboratory tents, or artillerypark (as henceforward they will be called), from a seamortar at Willis's. The first and second shell burst immediately on leaving the mortar; the third went its range, but fell a little short of the fascine-park. The artillery at this period used the old shells, the fuses of which were in general faulty ; and this was the cause that the experiment did not answer on the first and second trials. We observed, the same day, that the Spaniards had pitched some additional tents a little beyond Point Mala; they also began to erect a pier, or wharf, for the convenience of landing their stores and supplies.
Whilst the Governor kept a watchful eye on the enemy's operations, molesting their workmen as much as possible from Willis's; proper precautions were taken in the town, to render a bombardment less distressing, in case they retaliated, which, indeed, their preparations gave us reason to think, would not be long deferred. The pavement of the streets, in the north part of the town, was ploughed up; the towers of the most conspicuous buildings were taken down, and traverses raised in different places, to render the communications more secure. The enemy appeared to bear our fire very patiently in their lines: their parties continued working on the mortar batteries: the stone sentry boxes were pulled down, and the guardhouses unroofed: a boyau, or covered way, was likewise begun, to make a safe communication from the lines to their camp.
Our firing was still continued ; but their parties were at too considerable a distance (being near a mile) to be materially annoyed by our shot; and the works being surrounded with sand, the large shells sunk so deep, that the splinters seldom rose to the surface. An experiment was therefore recommended by Captain Mercier, of the 39th regiment; namely, to fire • out of guns, 5J inch shells, with short ftises: which were tried on the 25th, and found to answer extremely well. These small shells, according to Capt. Mercier's method, were dispatched with such precision, and the fuses calculated to such exactness, that the shell often burst over their heads, and wounded them before they could get under cover. This mode* of annoyance was eligible on several other accounts. Less powder was used, and the enemy were more seriously molested; the former was an advantage of no small consequence, since it enabled the Governor to reserve, at this period, what might be probably expended to the greater benefit of the service on some future occasion. It will also account for the extraordinary number of shells which, the reader will observe in the Appendix, were discharged from the garrison.
In the afternoon of the 26th, a soldier of the 72d regiment deserted from a working party out at Landport. He took refuge behind one of the Micquelet huts, and, notwithstanding our endeavours to dislodge him, remained there till night, when it is imagined he proceeded to the lines. Our firing was now very trifling. The enemy continued making additions to their boyau, and the works in the lines; but the latter were chiefly done in the night. Indeed, since our firing, their operations within our reach had been principally carried on during the night, at which time, or very late in the evening, they also relieved their guards.
In the beginning of October, the enemy's army, according to our intelligence, consisted of sixteen battalions of infantry, and twelve squadrons of horse, which, if the regiments were complete, would amount to about 14,000 men. Lieutenantgeneral Don Martin Alvarez de Sota Mayor was commander in chief. We continued our fire, varying as objects presented themselves.
The great command we had over the enemy's operations from Green's lodge, induced the engineers to mount still higher, and endeavour to erect a battery on the summit of the northern front: a place therefore was levelled, and a road for wheeled carriages begun at Middlehill. The 4th, a soldier of the 58th attempted to desert from Middlehill guard, but was dashed to pieces in his descent. The artillery were too impatient to have a gun mounted on the summit of the rock, to wait till the new road was finished; they accordingly deter* mined to drag a twenty four~pounder up the steep craggy face of the rock; and in a few days, with great difficulty and prodigious exertions, they were so successful as to get it to the top. The 9th, a party of the navy attempted to cut off two Spanish polacres, becalmed between Algeciras and their camp. Our seamen spiritedly boarded one, and were on their return with the other, when two gallies from Point Mala gave chase, maintaining a smart and well directed fire as they advanced; and gained so considerably on the prizes, that the captors were reluctantly obliged to quit them, and betake themselves to their boats. The Childers sloop of war was ordered out, to protect them, and fortunately was in time to stop the progress of the gallies. The tiller of one of our barges was carried away by a shot, but no other damage was received.
The platform on the summit of the rock was completed on the 12th; and, the gun being mounted, the succeeding day we saluted the enemy's forts with a few rounds of shot and shells. This gun was mounted on a traversing carriage, and was distinguished by the name of the Rockgun. From that post we had nearly a bird's eye view of the enemy's lines, and, with the assistance of glasses, could distinctly observe every operation in their camp. In the afternoon of the 16th, a servant of Mr. Davies (the agen tvictualler of the garrison), under pretence of looking for a strayed goat, obtained leave to pasa Landport barrier, and immediately went over to the enemy. The desertion of this man gave us some concern, as probably, to ensure a favourable reception, he might have taken with him some memorandums of the state of our provisions.
The enemy's parties had not been remarkably active in the beginning of the month; but about the 17th and 18th, their workmen in the lines, were more numerous than usual, which produced a more animated fire from our batteries. As our artillery by this time were accustomed to fire from heights, the small shot did considerable execution amongst their workmen, many of whom we observed, were carried off. On the evening of the 19th, the Governor was at Willis's, to see an experiment of a light ball, invented by Lieut. Whitham, of the artillery. It was made of lead, and, when filled with composition, weighed 14 lb 10 oz. This ball, with 4 lb. of powder, was fired, at six degrees of elevation, out of a thirty two pounder, upon the glacis of their lines: it burnt well; and the experiment would have been repeated, had not a thick fog suddenly arisen. The Governor was at Willis's the succeeding morning, to see a second; when, the fog being totally dispersed, the light ball answered his expectation. The enemy, during the night, had been uncommonly noisy; but when the light balls were fired, no parties were discovered at work. Nevertheless, at daybreak, to our great surprise, we observed 35 embrasures opened in their lutes, forming three batteries; two of 14 each, bearing on our lines and Willis's, and one of seven, apparently for the Town and Waterport. They were cut through the parapet of their glacis, and situated between the barrier of the lines and Fort St. Philip. The embrasures were all masked, and many of the merlons were in an unfinished state: the Governor ordered the artillery to direct their fire on these works, and on the sevengun battery in particular, where they had a party finishing what was left imperfect in the night.* In the afternoon, a Venetian was brough to by a gun from Europa, and came in: two gallies attempted to cut her off, but in vain.
Our workmen now became exceedingly diligent; new communications and works were raised in the lines, which were reinforced at night, with a subaltern and 43 men; the alarm posts of the regiments were also changed, and other arrangements took place. On the night of the 20th, we imagined, from the noise in the enemy's lines, that their carpenters were platforming the new batteries, the merlons of which they had cased and capped with fascines. Their boyau now extended from the fascine-park, almost to the barrier of the lines. The 23d, a prize settee, laden with rice, was sent in from the eastward: she was taken by a privateer, belonging to Mr. Anderson, of the garrison, the Captain of which thought the cargo would be useful to the inhabitants ; and mdeed this supply was truly seasonable. No vessel or boat had arrived for six weeks (excepting the Venetian, on the 20th instant), and every article in the garrison began to sell at a most exorbitant price: this trifling addition of provisions was therefore well received by the miserable Jews and Genoese, though the rice sold for 21 dollars, 6 reals per cwt., which, at 40d. sterling the dollar, is L.3. 12s. 6d.
The enemy's artillery, on
the 26th, decamped from their old ground, before the right wing of their front
line, and took post near the Catalonians, where they were reinforced with a
detachment that had lately joined. The following night, the Dutch dogger, which
had brought us the supply of wheat some weeks before, sailed for
The 30th, an English privateer, called the Peace and Plenty, 18 sixpounders, M'Kenzie, master, attempting to get in from the eastward, ran ashore, halfway between Fort Barbara and the Devil's tower. Some of the crew came on shore on the neutral ground; the remainder, with the master, were brought off by the Admiral's boats: and on the night of the 31st, she was burnt. As there was something extraordinary and unaccountable in the circumstances attending the loss of this vessel, I cannot resist the temptation of relating them more at large. In the morning, she was bearing down, under a fine sail and leading wind, for Europa advanceguard, as two xebeques were cruising off Europa Point. One of the xebeques, about nine, got within shot of her : a few rounds were exchanged, and the privateer was apparently resolved to fight her way in; but on a sudden she altered her course, and ran ashore under the enemy's guns, about 4 or 500 yards from the garrison. The boatswain was killed, and several others wounded from the fort, befbre our boats arrived to their relief
Towards the conclusion of the month, the smallpox was discovered in the garrison, amongst the Jews. The Governor, apprehensive that it might spread amongst the troops, and be attended with dangerous consequences, ordered those who had never been affected with that disorder, to be quartered at the southward, till the infection should disappear; and every precaution was taken to prevent its communicating. In the evening of the Slst, the new battery below the Rockgun was finished : it mounted four twenty-four pounders, and was called the Royal battery.
November was not introduced by any remarkable event. The fire from our batteries was variable, as their workmen were employed. Considerable deposits of fascines, with planks and pieces of timber, were formed in the Spanish lines ; and other parts of their glacis were raised with fascines and sand for additional mortar batteries. The 3d, the enemy began to form merlons at Port Tonara\ on the eastern shore, which, joined with the circumstances of their erecting two fascinebatteries on the beach, between Fort St. Philip and Point Mala, and one near the magazine at the Orangegrove, gave us reason to suppose that they expected a fleet in their neighbourhood. Few workmen were at this time to be seen in their lines; a party was trimming up the boyau; and numbers were employed about the landing place in disembarking stores; which appeared to be their chief employment.
Provisions of every kind were now becoming very scarce and exorbitantly dear in the garrison; mutton 3s. and 3s. 6d. per pound; veal 4s. pork 2s. and 2s. 6d. a pig's head 19s. ducks from 14s. to 18s. a couple; and a goose, a'guinea. Fish was equally high, and vegetables were with difficulty to be got for any money ; but bread, the great essential of life and health, was the article most wanted. It was about this period that the Governor made trial what quantity of rice would suffice a single person for twenty four hours, and actually lived himself eight days on four ounces of rice per day: but this small portion would be far from sufficient for a working man kept continually employed, and in a climate where the heat necessarily demands very refreshing nourishment to support nature under fatigue.
Two deserters came in, with their arms, on the night of the 11th. They belonged to the Walloon guards, a corps in the Spanish service, composed principally, if not entirely, of foreigners. The following morning they were conducted to Willis's, whence they had a view of the enemy's works, which they described to the Governor. The Spanish army were under arms on the 12th, in the front of their camp, and were dismissed by corps as the General passed.
The 14th, arrived the Buck cutter, privateer, Captain Fagg, carrying twenty four ninepounders. The abilities and bravery of a British sailor were so eminently conspicuous in the Captain's conduct previous to his arrival, that even our enemies could not help bestowing on him the encomiums to which his merit entitled him. About eight in the morning, the privateer was discovered in the Gut, with a westerly breeze. The usual signal for seeing an enemy was made by the Spaniards at Cabrita Point; and Admiral Barcelo, with a ship of the line, one of fifty guns, a frigate of forty, two xebequea, a settee of fourteen guns, with halfgallies, &e. &c. to the number of twentyone, got under way to intercept her. On the first alarm a xebeque at anchor off Cabrita had weighed, and stood out into the Straits: the cutter nevertheless continued her course; but observing the whole Spanish squadron turning the Point, she suddenly tacked, and stood towards the Barbary shore : the xebeques, frigate, and lighter vessels pursued, but were carried down to leeward by the irresistible rapidity of the current, whilst the cutter in a great degree maintained her station. As it may appear very extraordinary to readers unacquainted with nautical affairs, that the privateer should not be equally affected by the current, it may be necessary to inform them, that a cutter, or any vessel rigged in the same manner, from the formation of her sails, can go some points nearer the wind than a square rigged vessel, which advantage, on this occasion, enabled Captain Fagg to turn better to windward, by stemming the current, whilst the Spaniards, by opposing their broadsides, were carried away to the eastward. But, to resume the narrative; Barcelo, who had his flag on board the seventyfour, was the last in the chase, and, perceiving his squadron driving to leeward, prudently returned to the Point, to be in readiness to intercept her in the Bay. The fifty gun ship also laid her head to the current, and keeping that position, drove very little in comparison with her friends. Affairs were thus situated when Captain Fagg, persuaded that the danger was over, boldly steered for the garrison. The fiftygun ship endeavoured to cut her off from the eastward, but was compelled to retire by our batteries at Europa: and Barcelo got under way to intercept her from the Point; but finding his efforts ineffectual, he was obliged to haul his wind, and giving her two irregular broadsides, of grape and round, followed his unsuccessful squadron to the eastward. The cutter insultingly returned the Spanish Admiral's fire with her sternchace, and soon after anchored under our guns.
The expectations of the
troops and inhabitants, who were spectators of the action, had been raised to
the highest pitch: few doubted but she was a King's vessel ; and as no
intelligence had been received from
Assuming the liberty of a short digression in this place, it may be necessary to inform the reader of the extent and breadth of the Straits of Gibraltar, and acquaint him, at the same time, with the opinions of different writers concerning the perpetual current that sets into the Mediterranean Sea, from the great Atlantic Ocean, which has so long engaged the attention of many celebrated natural philosophers.
The Straits of Gibraltar
(formerly known by the name of the Herculean Straits) are about twelve leagues
in extent, from
Philosophers who have
communicated their sentiments on the extraordinary phenomenon of a constant
current, differ widely in accounting for the disposition of that continual
influx of waters, which, it is natural to suppose, would, without some
consumption or return, soon overflow the boundaries of the Mediterranean Sea.
The late ingenious Dr. Halley was of opinion that this perpetual supply of water
from the vast
These facts seem strongly
to indicate a recurrency to the Westward; which, though it may not be so rapid
as the upper stream, yet, with the assistance of the currents along the Spanish
and Barbary shores, and the necessary exhalations, may account for the
Mediterranean Sea never increasing by the constant supply received from the
Two frigates, on the night of the 14th, joined the enemy's small craft in the Bay, from the west. It was thought, from some preparations that were made on board our men of war the succeeding evening, that Admiral Duff intended an attempt to cut out or destroy these ships: a council was held in the navy, and the practicability of such an enterprise, debated; but nothing was done*
The Bay being again open, the night of the 19th, a Moorish settee came in, with 39 bullocks, and a few sheep; the former were so weak and poor, that many of them died on the beach as soon as they were landed: they were, however, a most acceptable supply. The patron informed us, that a vessel had sailed, the preceding night, for the Garrison, with 40 bullocks, 50 sheep, and 30 goats; which we imagined was taken by the gallies at the Point. The following day, a Swede stood in for the Garrison, with a signal at her foretop gallant masthead, by which she was known to be laden with provisions, and consigned to an inhabitant. Off the Point she was boarded by a rowboat, and conducted immediately to Algeciras. The 23d, the Goreroor proportioned the fuel to the officers. This article was now become scarce and important. The coals in the Garrison were few: what fuel, therefore, was issued at this period, was wood from ships bought by Government, and broken up for that purpose, but which had so strongly imbibed the salt water, that it was with the utmost difficulty we could make it take fire.
A small boat arrived on the
24th, with a packet from Mr. Logie: this packet was landed at Mogadore, in South
Bar bary, by the Fortune sloop of war, Captain Squires. If I rightly recollect,
it was upon this occasion that the following successful stratagem was effected,
through the fidelity of a Moor entrusted by Mr. Logie to carry the dispatches to
that part of the coast, whence, to prevent interception, he thought it prudent
to send them to
The wind veering round to
the southward, on the 26th, Admiral Barcelo returned from
The enemy's operations continued to be confined to the completion of their batteries, and the finishing of their boyau. In their camp we observed them busily employed in erecting huts for the accommodation of their troops against the winter rains, which now had begun to set in. On the other hand, the Governor made every necessary addition to the works. Waterport covertway was doubly palisaded, and a battery for three guns erected on the Quay; a work of masonry, to mount two guns, was built at Ragged Staff; and traverses of casks and earth were raised on the different roads, on the north front, to secure the communications. Some improvements were also made in the batteries and works at Europa.
December commenced with the capture of a Genoese polacre, becalmed off Europa. Our sailors found about L.220 in money on board, with some letters, from which we learned that the enemy sustained some loss in the lines from our fire. The 4th, the enemy beat a parley, and sent in a mule (belonging to Colonel Green, the chief engineer) which had strayed to their lines; an instance of politeness which we did not expect. The 8th, another deserter came in; he was pursued, but we protected him. The subsequent day we observed several men about the western and eastern advanced stone guardhouses, who we imagined were posted there to prevent desertion. Our artillery endeavoured to dislodge them with round shot, but did not succeed. The 10th, the enemy fired several rounds, from Fort St. Philip, at our fishing boats in the Bay. Four soldiers of De la Motte's regiment, quartered on Windmill Hill, attempted on the 13th to desert: search was however immediately made for them, and two were retaken. Those who escaped were supposed to have got down by a rope ladder, left by the party employed in cutting brushwood for fascines. The next day another of the enemy endeavoured to come over to us, but, being pursued by two horsemen, was cut down and secured. One of the horses belonging to the pursuers was killed by our fire, and the rider much bruised with the fall. The succeeding day, this unfortunate man was executed on a new gallows, erected near their artillerypark, and the body, according to custom, hung till sunset.
The Governor, on the 19th,
ordered that no guns should be fired from the garrison at the enemy's shipping,
if the distance required more than 6° elevation; except when ships were chasing,
or engaged. On the 20th, the Buck, having refitted, sailed on a cruise to the
eastward. We were afterwards informed that she unfortunately fell in with a
French frigate, which, after a few broadsides, captured the Buck; but before she
could be got into port, she sunk from the damage received in the action. On the
night of the 26th, we had a most violent storm of rain, with dreadful thunder
and lightning. The succeeding morning a vast quantity of wood, cork, &c. was
floating under our walls: the rain had washed it from the banks of the Palmones
and Guadaranque, and it was wafted by the wind over to our side of the Bay. Fuel
had long been a scarce article:
this supply was therefore
considered as a miraculous
The enemy, the 27th, fired four guns from Fort St. Philip: one of the shot struck the extremity of Prince's lines. Whether these were fired to frighten our fishermen, who were dragging their nets near the farther gardens, without Landport, or only as an experiment, we could not say, as they immediately ceased on our returning the fire from Willis's. The day following came in three deserters; and the same morning the Fly packetboat arrived from Tangier, with 40 goats, fowls and eggs, but no mail: this cargo, though trifling, was highly acceptable. The deserters informed us that the enemy were almost overflowed in their lines, from the late excessive rains; in some places, particularly near the new batteries, the water was two and three feet deep; and their efforts to drain it off had hitherto been ineffectual. The 28th, a soldier of Hardenberg's deserted down the back of the rock.
January 1780, did not comnience with any very interesting events. A squadron of men of war passed through to the west on the 2d: it being hazy, we could not distinguish of what nation they were; but many thought them Spaniards from Carthagena. On the evening of the 5th, a fire broke out in the enemy's camp, which, we afterwards learned, destroyed four officers' marquees, and six or seven huts. The following d9?* rftar gunfire, two Walloons deserted to us; they brought information that upwards of forty mortars were mounted in the lines, and that all their batteries were completed with cannon.
A Neapolitan polacre was
luckily driven under our guns on the 8th, and obliged to come in. On board we
found about 6000 bushels of barley, a cargo (circumstanced as we were) of
inestimable value. The
bakers had long been limited to the quantity of bread daily to be issued to the
inhabitants, and sentries were placed at the wickets where it was delivered, to
prevent confusion and riot. The strongest nevertheless had the advantage; so
that numbers of women, children, and infirm persons, returned to their miserable
habitations, frequently without tasting, for some days, that chief, and perhaps
necessary support of life. The inhabitants were not the only sufferers in this
scene of distress; many officers and soldiers had families to support out of the
pittance received from the victualling office. A soldier, with his wife and
three children, would inevitably have been starved to death, had not the
generous contribution of his corps relieved his family : one woman actually died
through want; and many were so enfeebled, that it was not without great
attention they recovered: thistles, dandelion, wild leeks, &c. were for some
time the daily nourishment of numbers. Few supplies arriving from Barbary, and
there appearing little prospect of relief from
Not only bread, but every article necessary to the support of life, was hard to be procured, and only to be purchased at exorbitant prices. Veal, mutton, and beef, sold from two shillings and sixpence, to four shillings per pound; fresh pork, from two to three shillings; salt beef and pork, one shilling and three pence per pound: fowls, eighteen shillings per couple; ducks, a guinea: firewood, five shillings per hundred weight; a pint of milk and water, one shilling and three pence. Vegetables were extremely scarce: a small cabbage cost one shilling and sixpence, and a small bunch of the outward leaves sold for five pence: Irish butter, two shillings and sixpence per pound; eggs, sixpence each; and candles, two shillings and sixpence per pound. The best fish was most exorbitantly dear, considering on what terms the garrison had been formerly supplied. It is natural to suppose, from the rock being almost surrounded with the sea, that we should have a constant resource in this article ; the contrary was however the case: our fishermen were foreigners, and being under no regulation, they exacted, by degrees, most extravagant sums for what some months before we should have refused with disgust.
This extreme scarcity of provisions, it may well be imagined, could not fail to exercise the invention of individuals. A singular mode of hatching chickens was about this time successfully practised by the Hanoverians ; and, as it may be acceptable to some readers, the process, as communicated by a friend, is here inserted. The eggs were placed, with some cotton, wool, or other warm substance, in a tin case of such construction as to be heated either by a lamp or hot water; and, by a proper attention to the temperature of heat, the eggs were commonly hatched in the usual time of a hen's sitting. A capon (however strange it may appear) was then taught to rear them; to reconcile him to this trust, the feathers were plucked from his breast and belly; he was then gently scourged with a bunch of nettles, and placed upon the young hatch, whose downy warmth afforded such comfort to the bared and smarting parts, that he, from that period, reared them up with die care and tenderness of a mother.
Early in the morning of the
10th, a squadron of ships was seen to the east, which had passed through in the
night: five were of the line, and one under jurymasts: supposed to be Count
d'Estaing's fleet from the
The 12th, they surprised us again with ten shot from Fort St. Philip: several came into town, and did some trifling damage amongst the buildings. The inhabitants, whose alarms had not totally subsided since the middle of September, when the Governor opened upon the enemy, were now perfectly convinced they meant to return our &pe; and accordingly began, on the first report of their guns, to remove themselves to the southward. Some in the greatest confusion endeavoured to secure their valuables in town; but the firing ceasing, the fugitives, before night, summoned up sufficient courage to return, A woman, passing near one of the houses, was slightly hurt. It was singular that a female should be the first person wounded at this remarkable siege. In the evening, the commanding officers had orders to inform their corps, that the Governor was under the necessity of curtailing the weekly allowance of provisions. Disagreeable as this intelligence was, and particularly when we consider the distress which many experienced, even with the full allowance, the men received it without the smallest appearance of discontent. Convinced of the necessity, they acquiesced with cheerfulness; indeed, to do them justice, in all the vicissitudes of this trying period, the garrison submitted, without murmuring, to every necessary regulation, however unpleasing. It was fortunate for many, that this subtraction of provisions did not continue long; nay, it remains a doubt with some, whether, at the time, the Governor was not apprised of a relief being near, and did not enact this regulation, solely to make trial of the disposition of his troops. If so, how satisfactory a circumstance must it have been, to find the army under his command accord, with so much good humour, to what might be considered as a real hardship, however indispensable.
Admiral Duff, on the 13th,
gave orders to the men of war and armed vessels, to be prepared, in case a
convoy was near, to afford every protection to any straggling ships that might
attempt the Port before the main body arrived. This caution confirmed us in the
opinion of a convoy being expected; and a general joy was diffused throughout
the garrison, at the flattering, though probably distant prospect. Two days
after an ordnance brig, which with other vessels seemed to be going through to
the east, suddenly altered her course, and, notwithstanding she was opposed by
the enemy, anchored under our walls. A ship with the British flag, entering the
Bay, was so uncommon a sight, that almost the whole garrison were assembled at
the southward to welcome her in; but words are insufficient to describe their
transports on being informed that she was one of a large convoy which had sailed
the latter end of the preceding month for our relief. The distressed Jews, and
other inhabitants were frantic with joy; and the repeated huzzas from all
quarters, for some time prevented further inquiries. We afterwards learned, that
she had parted company with the convoy in the Bay of Biscay, and off
Since it was probable that
straggling ships might attempt the Port before the body of the convoy
approached, the Childers sloop of war, and armed vessels, were ordered to cruise
in the Bay, to protect them from the enemy's small craft. Previous to the
arrival of the brig, a soldier of the 58th regiment deserted from a party
employed behind the Rock in gathering shrubs, &c. for fascines. The 16th, a
Walloon deserted to us, by whom we were informed, that the enemy had every thing
prepared in their lines to bombard the town, At another time we should have been
greatly alarmed at this intelligence; but our thoughts were too much engaged
with the pleasing, though uncertain hopes of relief, to reflect on the
consequences of a bombardment. In the evening, our apprehensions concerning the
convoy were totally dispelled, by the arrival of a brig laden with flour, which
communicated the joyful news that Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney had captured
off the coast of Portugal, a Spanish 64gun ship, fire of 32 and 28 guns, with
seventeen merchantmen, belonging to the Caracca company, going from Bilboa to
Cadiz ; and that, with a fleet of twenty one sail of the line, and a large convoy
of merchant ships and transports, he was proceeding to our relief. Every idea of
opposition at this information immediately vanished ; and we anticipated the
flattering prospect of seeing the British flag once more triumphantly displayed
The weather, on the 17th, was very hazy ; but clearing up the succeeding day, one of the prizes arrived, without any opposition from the enemy. The midshipman who brought her in informed us, that when he parted with the fleet on the 16th, Sir George was engaged with a Spanish squadron off Cape St. Mary's; and that, just before they lost sight of them, a ship of the line blew up ; but he was at too great a distance to distinguish whether she was friend or foe. In the evening, one of the armed Caracca prizes came in, but no further particulars of the engagement could be learned. Our anxiety concerning the event of the action was however removed, a few hours afterwards, by the appearance of the convoy itself off Europa. The wind, at that critical time unfortunately failed them; and the vivid flashes of lightning, by which we had discovered the fleet at the first, only served to exhibit them to us, driving with the current to the eastward of the Rock. The Apollo frigate, Capt. Pownall, with one or two merchantmen, nevertheless got in about eleven; and by the former, the Governor and garrison were acquainted with the agreeable tidings of a complete victory over the Spanish Admiral, who, with three others of bis squadron, was taken; one was run ashore, another blown up in the engagement, and the rest dispersed.
We now found, that the plan
for relieving Gibraltar had been conducted at home with such secrecy and
prudence, that the enemy never suspected that Sir George meant to convoy the
transports to the Straits with so strong a fleet. By their intelligence from
At daybreak, on the morning
of the 19th the enemy unmasked one of their fourteen-gun batteries. The guns,
with those in the fort, were all elevated, and the lines reinforced with two
regiments of infantry. The Governor, notwithstanding these appearances, ordered
a royal salute to be fired at six o'clock from Willis's, The Panther man of war
was decorated, and also fired a salute on account of this victory. About seven
the Edgar arrived, with the
The 20th, being the anniversary of the King of Spain's birthday, Admiral Barcelo's ships were decorated according to custom. When the colours were struck in the evening, the flagship, with her consort of 50 guns, was hauled close in land; and the next day a large party began to erect a battery on the shore for their protection; being apprehensive, probably, of an attack from the British fleet. The night of the 21st, the enemy unmasked the other batteries in the lines, which again caused a general disturbance amongst the inhabitants. Every thing seemed now prepared to fire upon the town. The convoy continued beating up; but the prizes were so damaged in their rigging, that they could not be expected to make the Bay till the wind veered round to the east. Early on the 22d, several men of war, in coming into the Bay, were carried down under the enemy's batteries, near Point Mala, which occasioned a general alarm in their camp. Drums beat to arms, and their artillery opened in an instant. The boats of the fleet, however, were ordered to their assistance, and the ships were towed back without receiving much damage. One man was killed, and two wounded, on board the Terrible; all of them Spanish prisoners.
Sir George, on his arrival
off the coast of
Three of the enemy, on the 25th, deserted to the Garrison; a fourth attempting to desert, was retaken, and another was shot by the pursuers within musketshot of our lines. We fired from Willis's at the horsemen who followed them, and wounded two of their horses. The deserters said it was reported, that the enemy intended bombarding the town the succeeding day. For several preceding months we had reason, from their operations, to think such an event not improbable. Seven or eight mortar batteries had been distributed along their lines, in which, according to our intelligence, were upwards of forty mortars: these, with the camion bearing on the garrison from their gun-batteries, amounted in all to upwards of 100 pieces of ordnance. They therefore were not unprepared for such service ; but whether the circumstance of the Spanish Admiral and officers being lodged in town might not at that time in some degree influence their conduct, or whether they were overawed by the strong naval force in their neighbourhood, they deferred the bombardment to a more distant period.
Sir George arrived in the
The fortune sloop carried
over to Point Mala, on the 26th, the Spanish wounded prisoners: Admiral Langara,
with his suite, still remained in town. Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney,
landed on the 27th at Ragged Staff, and, after visiting the Spanish Admiral,
dined with the Governor. Prince William, with Admiral Digby, &c. likewise dined
at the convent. The same day, the Governor ordered those soldiers' wives and
children, who were not provided with twelve months provisions, to prepare to
leave the garrison with the fleet: 250 lb. of flour, or 360 lb. of biscuit, was
stated as sufficient for one person. By this regulation many useless hands were
sent home, which would have been a vast burthen on the garrison, circumstanced
as we afterwards were. The evening of the 28th, the Childers sailed for
About noon, on the 29th, a
large ship appeared from the westward: on doubling Cabrita Point she was
discovered to be an enemy. Signals were instantly made for the Edgar and two
frigates to attack her. In the mean time the Spaniard seemed greatly confused,
but at last worked close in land, between two barbet batteries at the Point.
Several broadsides were exchanged between her and the Edgar, whilst the frigates
attacked the batteries. They were however after some time recalled, the Admiral
being apprehensive that they might sustain greater damage from the land, than
the object in action would excuse. The same day the second battalion of the 73d
regiment, or Lord M'Leod's Highlanders, commanded by Lieut. Col. George
Mackenzie, disembarked from on board the fleet at the New mole, and took
possession of the casemates in the King'8 bastion, &c. This regiment was
Sir George, when he captured the Caracca fleet, judged that the cargoes of several would be useful to the Garrison: he therefore brought with him what ships he thought would be serviceable, and landed their freights along with the supplies which Government had sent out. A great number of guns of heavy metal, and some hundred barrels of powder, were also purchased from the Spanish prizes by the Governor, notwithstanding he had received a large supply of the latter by the convoy. The artillery (whose constant practice it was to try the strength of the powder on the batteries) afterwards compared the quality and strength of the British and Spanish powder, and found the former greatly superior.
In the beginning of
February, the wind from the S. W. blew a strong gale, which, from the foulness
of the anchorage off
Three deserters came in on
the 5th; they were immediately sent on board the fleet, where the others had
been ordered the preceding day, to take their passage for
As this fortress is in some
degree connected with the subject of the present narrative, it may not be
improper to relieve the reader's attention by a brief description of it. The
Being a promontory
projecting into the sea, the situation of
Another deserter came in on the 10th of February. The day following, the invalids and women embarked on board the fleet By the 12th the supplies were all landed, and the rigging of the Spanish prizes being repaired, the fleet prepared to return. The same day a flag of truce brought over some English prisoners: one of them, the master of a merchantman, which had been taken in her voyage to the Garrison, informed us that the boom at Algeciras was a twenty two inch cablerope, buoyed up by casks, to prevent our sending fireships among their snipping.
The Spanish Admiral, having
regulated with Sir George Rodney every thing concerning the exchange and release
of prisoners, was permitted, on the 13th, to return upon his parole into
In the evening of the 13th,
the British fleet got under way, excepting the Edgar and the Panther ships of
the line, the