Admiral Darby relieves Gibraltar.—Spaniards bombard the Town.—Soldiers guilty of Irregularities.—Town fre quently on Fire, and greatly injured.—Gun and mortar boats very troublesome to the Navy—Admiral Darby returns to England Captain Curtis arrives with a convoy of victuallers Town in ruins Gunboats renew their attacks on the Garrison : fatal effects.—Inhabitants much alarmed by their attacks.—One of the Enemy's magazines blown up General Eliott adopts a mode of annoying the Enemy's camp, and constructs prames to oppose the gunboats.—Bombardment abates.—The Helena sloop of war arrives, after a warm action with the Enemy.—Singular system of firing, from the Enemy Melancholy fete of a matross.—Enemy make additions to their works.—Firing increases on both sides.—Death of Major Burke.—Gallant behaviour of a working party. —A conspiracy discovered in the Navy.—Enemy, by their operations, demonstrate their intention of besieging the Garrison in form..—Ineffectual attempt to destroy their batteries.—Several cutters taken—Enemy finish their batteries.—General Eliott projects a sally, which proves successful.
AT daybreak, on the 12th of
April, the much expected fleet, under the command of Admiral Darby, was in sight
from our signal house, but was not discernible from below, being obscured by a
thick mist in the Gut. As the sun, however, became more powerful, the fog
gradually rose, like the curtain of a vast theatre, discovering to the anxious
Garrison one of the most beautiful and pleasing scenes it is possible to
conceive. The Convoy, consisting of near a hundred vessels, were in a compact
body, led by several men of war: their sails 'ust enough filled for steerage,
whilst the majority of the line of battle ships lay to under the
AJB the convoy approached the Bay, fifteen gunboats advanced from Algeciras, and forming in regular order under the batteries at Cabrita Point, began a smart cannonade on the nearest ships, seconded by the gun and mortar batteries on the land. A line of battle ship and two frigates, however, soon obliged them to a precipitate retreat; and, continuing to pursue them, the crews of several deserted their boats, and took refuge amongst the rocks. Had our ships advanced at this critical juncture, and manned their boats, the whole might probably have been destroyed, and the Garrison by that means been rid of those disagreeable visitors which afterwards so harassed and annoyed us; but the frigates, having dispersed them, thought no more of the bumboats, as some Naval officers contemptuously called them, and left them to be repossessed by the fugitives.
The enemy, on the landside, were far from being idle spectators of this relief. On the first intimation of Admiral Darby's approach, preparations, it is imagined, were made in the lines, and a reinforcement of artillery ordered down from the camp; as at daybreak, before the fleet was well in sight, we remarked that their cannon were elevated, and the sponges and rammers reared against the merlons. These, with other, appearances, indicated an intention of opening on the Garrison.
Our private letters had,
for some time before, mentioned that the Spaniards proposed to bombard
About three quarters past ten o'clock, the van of the convoy came to an anchor off the New mole, and Rosia Bay; and, as if this were the signal for the enemy to open, a smart fire immediately commenced from Fort St. Philip, followed by all the batteries which bore upon the Garrison. The number of ordnance bearing on the place, was as follows i the King's or Black battery, (mounting 14 guns), 12 bearing on the Garrison; Fort St. Philip (27 guns), 11 bearing on the Garrison; Infanta's battery, of 7 guns; Prince's and Princess's batteries, of 14 guns each; Fort St. Barbara (23 guns), 6 bearing on the Garrison: these, with about 50 mortars, distributed along their lines, and in St. Carlos's battery, amount to 114 pieces of artillery; all of heavy metal, being twenty-six pounders, and thirteeninch mortars.
The enemy's cannonade was
instantly returned from the Garrison ; but our artillery had orders to disregard
their lines, and notice only the St. Carlos*s battery, which consequently soon
slackened its fire. The miserable and terrified inhabitants, who just before
were' congratulating each other on the arrival of the fleet, now changed their
exaltation to sorrow, and flocked, both old and young, men, women, and children,
in the greatest confusion, to the southward, leaving their property, unsecured,
to the mercy of the soldiers. The shells from the St. Carlos's battery were
directed towards the New mole; the Convoy, however, had been warned not to
anchor within the range of their fire: the shipping, therefore, were not in the
least molested. A settee was sunk near the wateringtank, and numbers of shells
fell on the redsands, and in the neighbourhood of
About five o'clock, the batteries of the enemy again opened, and the firing continued, without intermission, the remainder of the day, and the succeeding night. It did not, however, interrupt the disembarkation of the supplies. Five hundred men, with a proportion of officers, were ordered for that duty: they were afterwards considerably augmented; and such was the lahour and diligence of the Garrison, that the stores were landed, with the assistance of the Navy, in nine or ten days. Our casualties, on the 12th, were but few: Lieut. Boag, of the artillery, was wounded: also several non-commissioned officers and privates.
The bombardment was continued the 13th, and several soldiers were killed and wounded in their quarters. In the course of the day, a hundred and fifty
men were ordered to remove ammunition to the magazines on the hill, and an additional number to join the party employed in landing the supplies. The 14th, the gun and mortar boats fired upon the shipping, but were soon obliged to retire. Several barges attended, having officers in them, who seemed to give directions how to point their cannon. Our batteries ceased firing this day, but the enemy's ordnance were kept going with great vivacity. They appeared to have got the exact range of the heights; even the Royal battery did not escape their shells. Ensign Martin was slightly wounded with splinters of stones. No arrangement of the troops was yet known; and the former distribution, given out in November, was totally overthrown by the extensive range of the enemy's fire. Officers, however, whose quarters were damaged, received marquees from the public stores, io encamp at the southward; and the distressed inhabitants were accommodated with tents.
It being remarked that the
enemy's fire considerably abated about noon, the Governor ordered the townguards
to assemble at twelve o'clock ; by which regulation less danger was apprehended
in relieving the men on duty. The night picquets were likewise ordered to occupy
the casemates under the Grand battery, that they might be at hand to reinforce
the northern guards, in case of alarm. The total strength of the pickets, at
this period, was two captains, nine subalterns, nine sergeants, nine drummers,
and 391 rank and file. The cause of the cessation in the enemy's fire at noon,
arose from a custom, pretty general in
ViceAdmiral Darby, with the ships of war, continued cruising in sight of the Rock: the service however requiring dispatch in landing the supplies, he detached RearAdmiral Sir John Lockhart Ross to superintend that duty in the Bay: and the Garrison party was augmented to upwards of a thousand men, besides officers. The evening of the 14th, the enemy's shells were very profusely distributed: some that did not burst we examined, and on drawing the fuse, found inflammable matter mixed with the powder: these combustibles set fire to a winehouse in the greenmarket, near the Spanish church; and before the fire could be extinguished, four or five houses were burnt to the ground. Detachments from the regiments and guards in town were immediately ordered to quench the flames; but the enemy's cannonade became so brisk, that great confusion ensued. From this moment, we may date the commencement of the irregularities into which, through resentment and intoxication, the soldiers were betrayed. Some died of immediate intoxication, and several were with difficulty recovered, by oils, and tobacco water, from a dangerous state of ebriety.
Though riot and violence are most contrary to that spirit of regular discipline which should always prevail in military affairs, something may yet be urged in extenuation of the conduct of the troops, which has been so much the subject of reprehension amongst the people interested. The extreme distress to which the soldiers had been reduced by the mercenary conduct of the hucksters and liquor dealers, in hoarding, or rather concealing their stocks, to enhance the price of what was exposed for sale, raised amongst the troops, (when they discovered the great quantities of various articles in the private stores) a spirit of revenge. The first and second days, they conducted themselves with great propriety; but on the eve of the third day, their discipline was overpowered by their inebriation; and from that instant, regardless of punishment, or the intreaties of their officers, they were guilty of many, and great excesses. The enemy's shells soon forced open the secret recesses of the merchants; and the soldiers instantly availed themselves of the opportunity to seize upon the liquors, which they conveyed to haunts of their own. Here, in parties, they barricaded their quarters against all opposers, and, insensible of their danger, regaled themselves with the spoils. Several skirmishes occurred amongst them, which, if not seasonably put a stop to by the interference of officers, might have ended in serious consequences.
It did not appear, through all their intemperance, that these irregularities arose from any cause so much as a spirit of revenge against the merchants. A great quantity of liquor, &c. was wantonly destroyed; and in some cases, incredible profusion prevailed. Among other instances of caprice and extravagance, I recollect that of roasting a pig by a fire made of cinnamon. The offenders were at first confined and reprimanded, which the Governor judged would have a greater effect than punishment; but relapsing a second time, he was convinced his lenity was disregarded; and he was therefore compelled to use more rigorous measures.
I have thought proper to digress a little upon this subject, not in justification of the soldiers, but to acquaint the world with the truth; as some, who have related the occurrences of this period to their friends, have omitted doing the Garrison the justice to annex the account of their former hardships. Besides, had the troops been in the highest degree abstemious, the enemy's fire would soon have destroyed what was only the sooner consumed by their extravagance; for the inhabitants were too much alarmed for the safety of their own persons, to attend to the security of their effects.
I forgot to mention in its place, that, previous to the bombardment, the sick in town had received orders to remove when the firing commenced: on the 13th, therefore, the men were conveyed to the Naval hospital at the southward.
The 15th, the bombardment was continued with greater vivacity. Not content with discharging their ordnance regularly, they saluted us almost every instant with a volley of eight or ten cannon, besides mortars. Our batteries remained silent, and the guns at Willis's were drawn behind the merlons, to secure them against the enemy's shot. It was observed, they directed a great number of shells towards the working parade, and about the Victualling office. In the morning, the gunboats again attacked the ships of war and transports; and the Navy returned a smart fire. About noon, Lieut. Budworth, of the 72d regiment, and Surgeon Ghesholme, of the 56th, were wounded by a splinter of a shell at the door of a northern casemate in the King's bastion. The former was dangerously scalped, and the latter had one foot taken off, and the other leg broken, besides a wound in the knee. The troops in town, in the afternoon began to encamp at the southward, and to be regularly distributed amongst the casemates in town. The following was the arrangement. To the Hanoverians were allotted the bombproofs under the Grand battery, occupied by the picquets, which in consequence removed to Landport gateway, and Prince of Hesse's casemate. The 12th, 39th, and 56th regiments, were ordered to possess Montague's casemate, with the Galleyhouse, and Waterport gateway: those who could not be accommodated in these quarters, encamped above the South barracks and Navy hospital, on the declivity of the hill: the 72d regiment totally withdrew into the King's bastion, and the 58th and 73d regiments remained in the South barracks: the artillery and engineers were disposed of on the same plan. Several days elapsed before the troops were properly settled. The ground on which they encamped, was very steep and rugged: it was necessary therefore to level it into terraces for the men to pitch their tents. The regimental stores were also to be removed, and other duties of a similar nature executed, before the troops could be considered as properly established.
The gunboats attacked the
shipping on the 16th, and endeavoured to molest the parties employed in landing
the provisions: but a line of battle ship, and two frigates, soon obliged them
to retire. In the course of the day, the women and children who had taken refuge
with their husbands and friends in the casemates in town, were ordered to remove
and encamp at the southward. Though this order, from motives of humanity, was
not strictly enforced, yet it greatly relieved the men, and in a measure removed
our apprehensions of some infectious disorder being generated from their crowded
and confined situation. The officers were under the necessity of participating
with the men in these unpleasant accommodations: their presence, however,
produced this beneficial consequence, that they often prevented the men from
indulging in those excesses, into which, otherwise, they undoubtedly would have
entered. The same day, the QueenV lines,
The enemy, on the 17th, first reached the Rockgun with shot from the sevengun battery. Colonels Ross, Green, and Picton, were appointed the same day to rank as Brigadiers ; and Capt. Wilson of the 72d regiment, Lieutenant Holloway of the engineers, and Captain Picton of the 12th regiment, were appointed their brigademajors. Two fieldofficers, with a captain from each regiment, and one subaltern for every fifty men, were ordered also to superintend the disembarkation of provisions. In the afternoon, the shells of the besiegers set fire to the stores in the Spanish church. Parties were instantly detached from the main guard, 72d regiment, and others corps in town, to remove the provisions. The Lieutenant Governor with his Aidedecamps were present, encouraging the men to perform this duty with expedition. The enemy's fire at this time was remarkably spirited ; nevertheless, the greater part was saved by the activity of the parties. Many casks of flour were brought into the King's bastion, and piled as temporary traverses before the doors of the southern casemates, in which several persons had been killed and wounded in bed. These traverses, however, did not continue long; for the men, when the spoils in the town became scarce, considered those barrels, which the enemy's shot had pierced, as lawful prizes. The contents were soon scooped up and fried into pancakes, a dish which they were very expert in cooking; and the upper casks, wanting support from below, gave way, and the whole came to the ground. Though the flour by this means was in a great measure lost to Government, yet the number of accidents which these traverses prevented, greatly overbalanced the value of the article. Traverses of another nature were afterwards erected in their room.
The gunboats, on the 18th, fired again upon the shipping and men of war cruising in the Bay. The Minerva and Monsieur frigates, had several men dangerously wounded ; and the Nonsuch had a mast crippled. Tfce Navy, after this attack, no longer considered these boats in the same despicable light as on their first entrance into the Bay. In the course of the day, a shell fell through the arch of the Galleyhouse, where part of the 39tb, and some of the 12th regiments were quartered: it killed two, and wounded four privates. In consequence of this unexpected casualty, the troops removed thence, and joined their regiments at the southward.
Our batteries, especially at Willis's, by this time exhibited a very disorderly and ruinous appearance. The ordnance had been withdrawn when the artillery ceased to fire: but the merlons were now considerably damaged, and some of the cannon dismounted and injured. The Lines were also nearly choaked up with loose stones and rubbish, brought down by the shot from the rock above; the traverses along the linewall were greatly injured; and the town, particularly at the northward, approached every day towards a final demolition. The engineers, however, were ordered to prepare materials for repairing the Queen's battery at Willis's; and parties of workmen were employed in carrying up, from below, sandbags and other requisites for that purpose. New traverses were likewise begun along the different communications, higher, stronger, and at shorter distances than the old ones.
The gunboats renewed their attack, the 19th, on the shipping, bat were soon obliged to retreat. In the course of the day, the terrace storehouse was set on fire. The campequipage of the Garrison being in an adjacent house, parties from the regiments in town were ordered to remove them with the greatest expedition. The men generally received some gratuity from the Governor for these hazardous duties. The following day, the supplies being landed, the fleet in the evening prepared to return to the westward. Before they weighed, their good friends the gunboats gave them a parting salute, and did some damage. By six o'clock the whole were under way. Many merchantmen, freighted with merchandise, and articles much wanted in the Garrison, returned with their cargoes ; the merchants refusing to take them, on account of the bombardment. Great numbers of the inhabitants, and officers ladies, likewise embraced this opportunity of leaving the Garrison.
The impatience of the
British Admiral to disembark the supplies, that he might not lose the
opportunity of the easterly wind to return from the
The enemy's cannonade and bombardment continued still very brisk. The 21st, fortytwo rounds were numbered in two minutes, between six and eight o'clock. The Garrison flagstaff on the Grand battery was so much injured by their fire, that the upper part was obliged to be cut off; and the colours, or rather the glorious remains, were nailed to the stump. The evening of the 22d, the combustible matter in their shells setting fire to some fascines at Waterport, Lieut. Cunningham of the 39th regiment, was wounded in extinguishing them. The fate of this young gentleman may be considered as extraordinary. On examining the wound, which was in the head, it appeared so trifc ling, that the surgeon judged his skull unhurt; and his seeming recovery confirmed the opinion. Something more than a fortnight elapsed, when he complained of a pain in his head: he immediately took to his bed, and in a short time expired. After his decease, a considerable fracture was discovered, with a quantity of extravasated blood encircling the brain.
The gun and mortar boats, on the 23d, fired upon our parties ranging the provisions at the southward. Two hundred and sixty shot and forty shells were discharged, several of which fell about the camp, and powdermagazines. The wife of a soldier of the 58th regiment was killed behind the South barracks, and several men wounded. The bombardment from the lines was now in some degree abated, in consequence attention, their quarters were more comfortable and secure.
The remainder of the month was remarkable for excessive rains, attended with most dreadful thunder and lightning, which, during the night, in addition to the fire from the enemy, had an awful and tremendous effect. The bombardment continued warm and well supported ; but the enemy did not appear to have any particular object. In the early part of the day, they in general fired pretty smartly: about noon their batteries slackened, and from twelve till two o'clock almost totally ceased: after two they recommenced, and persevered till the succeeding meridian. During the night they directed their fire principally to the heights and lines, as probably they had information by the last deserter, that we employed, every night, parties to clear and repair those works.
The morning of the 30th, we discovered the gun and mortar boats approaching the Garrison: they took their stations off the town, to avoid the fire from the frigates, and varied very little from their former attacks. Five shot landed on Windmill Hill, which was esteemed a remarkable long range. We returned a brisk and welldirected fire ; and they retired. It was remarked that the land-batteries were in a measure silent daring their stay. In the evening, an Hanoverian, with some others, was detected marauding in a store: the party was given in charge to a sentry, but the former attempted to escape: the sentry called him to stop, otherwise he would fire; which he not complying with, the sentry shot him dead on the spot. A general return of casualties, &c. for every month, is inserted at the conclusion.
Early on the 2d of May, two
settees arrived from
The enemy's cannonade and bombardment continued to be wide and scattered, apparently having no particular object. Shells were yet lavishly expended; and what was very singular, many of those which fell blind, contained, on examination, a vast quantity of sand mixed with the powder. We could not otherwise account for this unusual circumstance, than by supposing the powder was stolen by their people in the laboratories, Other shells still diffused, on their explosion, combustible matter, which, setting fire to the loose timber and wood dispersed amongst the ruins of the town, greatly endangered the King's stores and magazines. This induced the Governor, on the 6th, to publish a placard, signifying to the inhabitants, that such materials, of this nature, as were not removed out of the reach of the enemy's fire, would be converted to the King's use. The morning of the 7th, the gun and mortar boats fired upon the town and the New mole: they stayed about an hour, and then retired. We returned upwards of four hundred rounds with great vivacity ; which greatly displeased the Governor : u There would be no end," he said, " of expending ammunition, if we fired every time " they came, and while they were at so great a distance: in future," he ordered, ** no notice to be taken of the gunboats, unless they approached within 44 the distance of grape." The 8th, Captain Fowlis, of the 73d, was wounded in the lines.
The enemy's fire was now more regular: we no longer experienced the sudden fits that had induced them to discharge a whole battery at a volley: it amounted, about this time, upon an average, to fifteen hundred rounds in the twenty four hours. The 9th, Lieut. Lowe, of the 12th regiment, a superintendant of the working parties, lost his leg by a shot, on the slope of the hill under the castle. He saw the shot before the fatal effect, but was fascinated to the spot. This sudden arrest of the faculties, was not uncommon: several instances occurred to my own observation, where men, totally free, have had their senses so engaged by a shell in its descent, that, though sensible of their danger, even so far as to cry for assistance, they have been immediately fixed to the place. But what is more remarkable, these men have so instantaneously recovered themselves on its fall to the ground, as to remove to a place of safety before the shell burst. The gun and mortar boats repeated their visit on the 11th, but fired from so respectful a distance, that scarcely a shot came ashore. Our batteries were manned; nevertheless, not a gun was returned. Lieutenant Thornton, of the 12th regiment, was wounded the same day with splinters of stones, thrown up by a shot which grazed betwixt his legs.
The buildings in town, at
this time, exhibited a most dreadful picture of the effects of so animated a
bombardment. Scarce a house north of the Grand parade, was tenantable; all of
them were deserted. Some few near
The evening of the 12th,
the gun and mortar boats fired upon the Garrison from off the Old mole, seconded
by a very warm fire from their land batteries. Several shells from the former
ranged as high as the signal house, and some fell over the rock. They discharged
a hundred and eighty shot, and fortysix shells, and then retired, throwing up
the usual signal of a rocket from each boat. Though our batteries were manned,
the Garrison remained silent. About the 18th, and for a few succeeding days, the
enemy's shells were directed for an unusual long range. One fell on the
forecastle of a collier in the New mole, and pierced both decks, but did not
burst. Two fell amongst the provisions on the New mole parade, and another in
the middle yard of the South barracks: a splinter of the latter flew to the Navy
hospital. The 14th, a shell fell into the Small armoury, near
An attempt was made by the
Navy, on the 19th, to cut off a polacre becalmed near Europa Point; bat, a
breeze springing up, she escaped. The gunboats soon after came out, apparently
with an intention of avenging this affront; but the wind freshening, they
returned. The cannonade from the enemy was now principally directed at our upper
batteries. The rockgun mounted on the summit of the northern front, was become
as warm, if not warmer than any other battery; and scarcely a day passed without
some casualties at that post. The gun and mortar boats, early in the morning of
the 20th, repeated their attack on the Garrison and shipping. They were arranged
in two divisions, those to the northward directing their fire towards the King's
At the commencement of the bombardment, the outguards of Bayside and Lower Forbes's had been withdraw n from those barriers, and an officer's guard stationed every night in the Fleche, a work erected near the Inundation at the foot of Landport glacis. On the morning of die 21st, the sentries at this post observed a man advancing, with great circumspection, along the causeway: instead of answering when challenged, he immediately dropped. Lieut. Wetham, of the 58th regiment, the officer on duty, suspecting he came to reconnoitre, instantly, with the sergeant, went out to seize him; hut the man rising, he pursued, and was within a very short distance of securing him, when he fell into a shellhole near Bay side, and the man escaped. It was imagined that curiosity had prompted him to make trial of the alertness of our sentries. His hat, which fell off in his retreat, his fireleck with bayonet, and pouch filled with twentynine rounds of ammunition, were hung on the palisades of the barrier, and were afterwards brought in.
Early on the morning of the 22d, a splinter of a shell which fell and burst on the Churchbattery, ranged upwards of two hundred yards, and cutting the apron of the morning gun on the South bastion, fired it off. This singular circumstance, happening some hours before daybreak, not a little surprised those who heard the report, and were ignorant of the cause. Our fire was now increased to about a hundred and fifty rounds in the twenty four hours, the enemy's parties being repairing the lines of approach. Their cannonade, on the contrary, was reduced, upon an average, to six hundred and fifty rounds.
The night of the 23d, the gun' and mortar boats renewed their attack upon the camp, which, in its consequences, was more dreadful than any we had hitherto experienced. The silence observed by the Garrison during their preceding visits, emboldened them, on this occasion, to advance so near, that we could distinctly hear their officers give orders to the men, who frequently cried out to us in Spanish, to " take care/'
During the first and second
rounds, the shells fell over Windmill Hill into the sea ; but this mistake they
soon rectified, and the attack became excessively smart. Two shells fell within
the hospitalwall, and a shot passed through the roof of one of the pavilions. A
shell fell in a house in Hardytown, and killed Mr.
The evening of the 27th,
the engineers, with a strong party, repaired the Queen's battery (Willis's). The
new merlons were raised with sandbags on the base of the old ones, and the whole
was completed before morning gunfire. The following day, a squadron of Russian
men of war passed through the Straits to the west. Whilst they remained in
sight, the enemy increased their fire upon the Garrison. The same day arrived
the General Murray privateer and a polacre from Minorca, with wine, brandy,
lemons, and salt; and in the evening, the
The morning of the 29th,
two British frigates, the Flora and Crescent, which had conveyed the Minorca
ordnance ships to
* Captain Williams, in this
action, took his opponent; but the Crescent, from some unfortunate accidents,
was compelled to surrender to her adversary. The Crescent was however retaken by
the Flora; but being greatly damaged, both she and the Flora's prize afterwards
fell a prey to some French cruisers. and barley, bound from
The enemy's bombardment was considerably abated towards the close of the month. Their objects for some time were the upper batteries, and particularly the Royal battery, whence they were greatly incommoded. They often attempted to reach Landport and the Lines with grape from the advanced mortars; but it seldom ranged further than the Inundation. Our engineers, notwithstanding their fire, continued making such repairs as their cannonade rendered necessary.
About two o'clock, on the morning of the 1st of June, the gun and mortar boats saluted us as usual, and wounded three or four men: they were in three divisions. We returned the fire from different batteries between King's bastion and BuenaVista. During this attack, an incident happened, which I will beg leave to insert. A soldier, rambling about the town, accidentally found, in the ruins of a house, several watches and other artioles of value, which he immediately made prize of; but how to secret them afterwards, was a subject that required the utmost reach of his invention. He was sensible he could not secure them in his quarters, as every soldier of his regiment was examined on his return to his bombproof from duty. He resolved, therefore, on a singular expedient. Taking out the wad which served as a tompion to a gun on the King's bastion, he lodged his prize, which was tied in his handkerchief, as far as he could reach within the gun, and put the wad in its former place. In times of peace, he could not have devised a better repository; but unfortunately the gunboats coming the same evening (whilst he was fast asleep in his casemate, not apprehending any danger to his secreted treasure), this richly loaded gun was one of the first that was discharged at the enemy, and the foundation of his future greatness was dispersed in an instant.
The enemy's cannonade, in the beginning of June, decreased to about five hundred rounds in the twenty four hours: the King's or Black battery (as it was called by the Garrison), with the two fourteengun batteries in their lines, were now silent.
The morning of the 3d, the gunboats repeated their visit about the same time as before. In this attack, two sergeants of the 12th and 58th regiments, were killed, and two privates wounded: many shells fell among the tents of the different regiments, and two shot in the hospitalyard. A corporal, going with the relief at Landport, had the muzzle of his firelock closed, and the barrel twisted like a frenchhorn, by a shell, without injury to his person. We returned the fire from the townbatteries, hoping by that means to engage their attention from our camp. The 4th, the Governor commemorated the anniversary of His Majesty's birthday, by a salute at noon of twentythree cannon, and forty three mortars, being the number of ordnance that bore on the St. Carlos's battery. The fire began at the Rockmortar, seconded by the Old mole, and so on from right to left till the whole were discharged : the enemy, indulging themselves as usual with a siesta, did not immediately return our fire ; but in the early part of the day, they had made the town pretty warm, and fired twice or thrice through the royal standard.
In the course of the 4th, a
tartan was taken coming in from the east: the crew, however, escaped to the
Garrison in their boat. A Spanish squadron of two line of battle ships, three
xebeques, and two bomb-ketches, also arrived the same day at Algeciras, from
aloft. With this
reinforcement, their naval force before
The enemy's bombardment from the land was still continued with little variation : they appeared indeed to have no other object than the expenditure of ammunition. In their camp, large parties were constantly bringing brushwood for fascines from the country; and others were employed in disembarking stores, from small vessels which were daily arriving from all quarters.
The 9th, we were alarmed with the blowingup of one of the enemy's magazines, situated at a small distance from the Catalonian camp to the west of the Queen of Spain's Chair. The different explosions that succeeded the first, resembled a continual roll of fire, like repeated vollies of musketry; from which circumstance we conjectured, that it was their repository for live shells and fixed ammunition. Their drums immediately beat to arms ; and the whole army consisting of thirteen battalions besides cavalry, assembled in front of the camp. Parties were instantly detached; but the splinters of the shells kept them for some time at a considerable distance. The shells however at length ceased to displode: they advanced and removed powder, &c. from a neighbouring magazine to a place southward of the fire ; where meeting afterwards in great numbers, our artillery endeavoured to reach them with a large shell from Willis's ; but the distance was beyond the range of a seamortar. From the long continuance and successive loud reports, it was thought they must have sustained great loss, not only of ammunition, but of men; as the splinters were seen, with glasses, to rangamuch further than the spot where the detachment first assembled: and remarkable economy was afterwards observed in the article of shells.
The following day, a line
of battle ship, proceeding from Point Mala to the eastward, was fired upon from
the Garrison, and obliged to put about and anchor at Algeciras. A flag of truce
came the day after to the New mole, to know the cause of our firing upon her,
being a Neapolitan man of war. The Governor answered, that the first shot was to
bring her to; which she not obeying, every succeeding one was fired to sink her.
The night of the 11th, the gun and mortar boats, according to .custom, bombarded
the camp, killed a child, and wounded a woman. They retired much sooner than
usual; which we attributed to their having received some damage, as our grape
was heard to strike them. We returned ninetysix rounds of various kinds. Their
land batteries, during the attack, directed their fire principally towards the
King's bastion, and along the linewall in town, whence, they observed, we for
some time past generally fired when they came over. The 14th, being the
Though their bombardment in general, at this period, scarcely exceeded 450 rounds in twenty four hours, yet the batteries at Willis's, notwithstanding the recent repairs, were again greatly damaged. The enemy's shot, though fired at so great a distance, frequently pierced seven solid feet of sandbag work. To obviate this, strong wooden frames, called caissons, were constructed of the same dimensions as the merlons; which, when well rammed with clay, and covered in front and on the top with junk cut in lengths for the purpose, were expected to resist better than the temporary repairs that had been done during the severity of the enemy's fire. The enemy also adopted the same mode in capping the merlons of Fort St. Barbara.
A flag of truce, on the
15th, informed us that two ships had been captured leaving the Garrison, and
that the prisoners were ready to be sent in. The Fortune sloop, in consequence,
the next day, brought over 141 English and Jews, men, women, and children. It
was remarked that the enemy the preceding day continued their bombardment during
the flag of truce; but a strict cessation was observed this day, owing, as we
imagined, to some representations. We observed, on the 20th, a new camp of 112
tents in the rear of
The bombardment now decreased daily. The fire of the enemy was chiefly directed to our upper batteries, for the town was almost a heap of ruins: they sometimes threw a longranger; but these shells seldom did any injury. The night of the 24th, the gun. boats fired upon the camp, but at such a distance, that little damage was received, though they expended four hundred shot, and seventy shells. We returned eighty* eight rounds, principally small shells, whose fuses were so accurately cut, as to break just over the boats. The 27th, we observed another encampment (capable of quartering two battalions) at the Tower between the river Palmones and Algeiiras. Many were of opinion that this camp, with that at Barceta's battery, was occupied by militia. The gun and mortar boats again bombarded our camp about midnight for two hours: they then made their usual signal, and, as we imagined, were gone back; but soon after, they returned, and recommenced a brisker fire than before; killed and wounded twelve or fourteen, the greatest number of which were of the 39th regiment. This was the most important loss which our troops had yet experienced from the gunboats; but we concluded ourselves in some degree fortunate in not suffering more considerably ; as most of the regiments, imagining the bombardment over for the night, were in bed when they returned.
The disagreeable and frequent repetition of these at* tacks prompted the Governor to adopt, if possible, some expedients to annoy their camp in return. The distance was conceived to be within the range of shells from the Old mole head: accordingly a thirteeninch seamortar was removed to the extremity; and six cannon, five thirtytwo pounders, and one eighteenpounder, were at the same time sunk in the sand behind the Old mole, and then secured with timber, &c. at different degrees of elevation. These arrangements had been for some time in agitation; and being now completed, he determined to make the experiment. About ten o'clock in the forenoon of the 28th, six rounds were discharged from each: three of the shells burst in the enemy's camp, and one over it. The other two disploded in their passage: all the shot went home. A battalion of Spanish guards, happening to be under arms, were greatly alarmed, and dispersed three different times: at length they were assembled, and marched off towards the left. This being only intended as an experiment, the artillery soon ceased firing; but it is scarcely possible to express the general satisfaction which this success diffused through the Garrison. The mortar was loaded with from 30 lb. to 28} lb. of powder at the usual elevation; the thirtytwo pounder with 14, and the eighteen with nine lb. of powder; the latter, all at fortytwo degrees.
The Governor, besides this
plan of retaliation, devised other schemes to cover and protect his camp, if
possible, from future attacks. Two brigs were ordered to be cut down and
converted into prames, each to carry four or five heavy cannon ; which were to
be moored between the New mole and Ragged Staff, at such distance from the works
as to be easily protected, and yet far enough out to keep their boats at a
respectful distance. Artificers from the Garrison assisted the Navy in fitting
out these vessels. One of them, being finished previous to the beforementioned
experiment, was moored at the distance of about half musketshot from the New
mole head. She was named the Vanguard, mounted two Spanish twentysix pounders,
and two twelves, and was rigged like a settee. The enemy's squadron, on the
29th, was reinforced with five xebeques, and two gallies, from the east.
At night sailed a packet for Faro, in
The 2d of July, additional tents were pitched at the new camp near the Tower, north of Algeciras. About one in the morning of the 4th, the gunboats repeated their attack; but, contrary to their former custom, numbers of their shot and shells fell amongst the shipping. The Porcupine frigate, Sir Charles Knowles, Bart., and an Indiaman, each received a shot; and the Brilliant's bottom was struck with a splinter of a shell, which burst under her; but no particular damage was received in the Garrison, except two men being slightly wounded. The Governor retaliated by ordering six rounds of shot and shells to be fired into their camp, from the guns and seamortars at the Old mole: the cannon were pointed indiscriminately for the camp; but the mortars were laid for the fascine and artillery parks. One of the shells set fire to a hut, and alarmed them exceedingly. As the Governor now determined to retaliate in this manner, we were in hopes it would deter them from so frequently disturbing us.
The enemy continued making gabions, and bringing much wood into the camp: on the other hand, our people were employed in repairs, and additions to the works. Traverses were erected at the Royal battery, and parties were employed on the north front, from the Rockgun to the Old mole head. The 10th, a brig coming in from the east, was taken by the enemy's cruisers, which, for some weeks past, had again kept a very vigilant lookout. The crew, however, escaped to the Rock ; and they had thrown the letters overboard, before they abandoned the vessel.
The bombardment, which, by
almost imperceptible degrees, had been decreasing, on the 12th nearly ceased.
The cannon in their seven and fourteengun batteries, were all drawn back, to
facilitate^ as we imagined, the repairing of the platforms, and inner part of
the batteries. The 13th, some troops at the tower decamped, and in a few days
afterwards, a regiment marched away from the Algeciras camp. The 15th, two
settees and a brig sailed from Point Mala, with gabions, to the west* One vessel
had sailed thence on the 13th. These materials, we conjectured were for some new
works in the neighbourhood; but we were afterwards informed that they were taken
The Spanish General visited the Lines on the 18th j but a fire breaking out in his camp, he returned immediately on its appearance. In the evening, the caissons for the Queen's battery being carried up to Willis's, and the sandbags brought from Pocoroca claypit, the engineers at dusk, with a party of three hundred and eighty men, began to reestablish the merlons; and by the morning gunfire of the 19th, the old sandbags were removed, the caissons placed, and filled with clay, sand, and junk, and the battery made fit for the reception of artillery. The Governor was present the whole time, and expressed the highest approbation of the diligence and activity of the party. The caissons were made of oak timber, joined by strong iron bolts. Whilst they were at work, the gunboats fired upon the camp, and were seconded by the land-batteries on * !^Wn: * hundred and thirtytwo rounds were returned on the boats, and sixteen shells thrown into the rnE? sAcau,P One of the artillery and one of the78d recent were wounded.
fromrttTtT^1* °f *he *****
*** enemJ fc^ a 8aIute ^nes, followed by a feu*dejoie from the army drawn up in
two lines in front of their camp, concluding with a grand discharge from their
shipping and small craft at Algeciras. The troops in garrison changed quarters
on the 21st: the 39th and Hardenberg's regiments relieved the 72d, and other
detachments in King's and Montague's bastions, Waterport casemate, and
Picketyard. The 58th, 72d, and 73d regiments encamped ; the 12th regiment
remained on their ground; and the 56th, Reden's, and La Motte's, occupied the
South barracks, and other quarters. The enemy, on the same day, decamped from
the ground north of Algeciras. Brigadier Ross sailed, on the night of the 22d,
in a boat to Faro, in his route to
Our camp was alarmed on the 27th, with the report that the gunboats were approaching. The batteries were manned, and the regiments assembled; but the enemy not appearing, they returned to quarters. The signals for seeing the boats in future, were ordered to be a false fire, and two guns from the shipping.
August was introduced by an attack from the gunboats. They came upon us by surprise; for we had no signal from our guardboats. This was afterwards accounted for, by the enemy having taken a circle; by which means our guardboats, when they began to fire, were without, and the gunboats between them and the Garrison. Our fire in return was well served, and appeared to do some execution: twelve large shells and fifteen shot were likewise thrown into the camp from the Old mole: several of the former burst just as they fell, consequently promised to do mischief. Their land-batteries seconded the fire from the sea, but we did not experience any casualties. Two days afterwards, the other prame, called the Repulse, mounting ^ve twenty-six pounders, was moored about musketshot to the southward of the Vauguard, and the same distance from our batteries. These vessels were of such annoyance to their boats, that whilst they remained out, we never afterwards were so much disturbed at the southward.
The artillery at Willis's endeavoured, on the 4th, to set fire to the canes and weeds in the gardens; but they were too full of sap to take fire. This attempt attracted a brisk cannonade from the enemy. Early in the morning of the 6th, a shell fell into a tent behind General La Motte's quarters, at the southward, in which were two men of the 58th, asleep. They were not awakened by its fall; but a sergeant in an adjacent tent heard it, and ran near forty yards to a place of safety, when he recollected the situation of his friends. Thinking the shell had fallen blind, he returned and awakened them: both immediately rose, but continued by the place, debating on the narrow escape they had had, when the shell exploded, and forced them with great violence against the gardenwall, but miraculously did no further mischief than destroying every thing in the tent.
On the morning of the 7th,
before the haze was quite dispelled in the Gut, a signal for an enemy was made
by the Spaniards at Cabrita Point. As the fog dispersed, we discovered at a
considerable distance, a vessel becalmed, but rowing towards the Garrison with
the current. Fourteen gunboats were then advancing from Algeciras to intercept
her ; upon which Captain Curtis, of the Brilliant, ordered out Sir Charles
Knowles, with three barges, to endeavour to get alongside, and receive any
dispatches the vessel might have on board, whilst he attended the towingout of
the Vanguard and Repulse prames, to cover them, and protect her. Sir Charles
personally executed his orders, and returned with a packet for the Governor. The
vessel by this time was about a league and a half from the Garrison, and the
headmost gunboat within shot, advancing apparently with an intent to board:
stopping, however, at the distance of a few hundred yards, she poured in a
discharge of round and grape shot, and was immediately seconded by her consorts
astern. The vessel, which we now discovered to be a King's sloop of war,
returned the salute with a broadside, and musketry from her quarterdeck; and a
spirited action commenced. Appearances at this juncture were so greatly in
favour of the Spaniards, that the Garrison gave up the sloop for lost. Becalmed
a league from the Rock, and fourteen gunboats, each carrying a twentysixpounder,
fall of men, cannonading her on every side with grape and round shot; a xebeque
also bearing down with a gentle breeze; were circumstances which seemed to
preclude the possibility of escape. After maintaining, however, a very warm,
judicious, and wellserved fire, often obliging the boats to retire, the westerly
breeze at last reached her ; and not long af. terwards she was safe under our
guns. She proved to be the
A settee was taken on the
12th by the enemy's cruisers. The crew, excepting three Jew passengers, escaped
to the Garrison: they informed us that great preparations were making in the
French and Spanish ports for some grand expedition : the object was however kept
secret; but many at
The enemy's bombardment, if we may now call it by that name, scarcely exceeded, at this time, THREE shells in the twenty four hoars, which the soldiers (conjecturing that some allusion might be intended, by that superstitious nation, to the sacred Trinity) jocosely, though profanely termed, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is not indeed altogether improbable that the Spaniards might entertain some bigoted respect for that mystical number, and, considering the British in the light of heretics, might apprehend some efficacy from it, in the great work of converting the Garrison to the Catholic faith : at least, it is difficult, on any more reasonable ground, to account for their exactly continuing to fire neither more nor less, for so considerable a period.
The mention of this circumstance brings to my recollection another, of a ridiculous nature, which serves to demonstrate the thoughtlessness of the English soldiers, who can jest in the hour of danger, and indulge their prejudices at the expense of what other nations, however differing in sentiment, generally agree to hold in a degree of respect. It is first to be remembered, that, according to the articles of capitulation by which the Garrison was surrendered to Admiral Sir George Rooke, it was stipulated that the Inhabitants should be tolerated in their religion: the old Spanish church was therefore continued as a place of worship for those of the Roman Catholic persuasion, and, as is usual in Roman Catholic churches, was decorated, amongst others, with figures, as large as life, of our Saviour and the Virgin Mary.
At the commencement of the firing, when the soldiers were engaged in a succession of irregularities, a party of them assembled in the Spanish church, to carouse and be merry. In the midst of their jollity, the image of the Virgin Mary was observed in the ruins by one of the party, who instantly proposed, as a piece of fun, to place her Ladyship in the whirligig. The scheme seemed to meet with genera] approbation, till one, wiser than the rest, stopped them with a remark, that it would ill become them, as military men, and particularly Englishmen, to punish any person without a trial. A court martial consequently sat, with mock ceremony; and her Ladyship was found guilty of drunkenness, debauchery, and other high crimes, and condemned to the whirligig, whither she was immediately carried in procession. The Governor (who, notwithstanding the firing, regularly attended the parade), at guardmounting discovered the poor Virgin in confinement ; but expressed his disapprobation of the action, and ordered her instantly to be removed to the White Convent, where, by the bye, she was by no means exempt from further insult and disgrace. If a bigoted Spaniard could have beheld this transaction, he probably would have thought the English worse than heretics; and would have concluded, that their impiety could not fail to attract the special vengeance of Heaven.
The night of the 15th, the gun and mortar boats bombarded our camp; their disposition extending from off Little bay to the Old mole head: their fire, as had been the custom for some time before, was seconded by a brisk cannonade from the Lines, which was very judiciously served. Many of their shells burst in the air, over our shipping; but the ships continued silent. Our artillery retaliated from the Old mole head, and small shells were discharged from the elevated guns, which seemed to answer very well. One of the 72d regiment was killed; two of the artillery, and two of the 73d, with a boy, an inhabitant, were wounded. In this attack, a shell fell amongst some naval stores, in a groundward of the Naval Hospital; and the most dreadful consequences might have been expected from this accident, if the fire had not been happily extinguished by the picket, which the Governor had ordered, some time before, to assemble here, to prevent, if possible, such casualties. The other picket, which mounted at the southward, was stationed for the same purpose at the New mole.
A schooner arrived from
Faro on the 17th, with fruit, onions, and salt. In the evening, a flag of truce
came from the enemy, in answer to ours of the preceding day. The day following,
another boat arrived from Faro: she brought a packet, with some private letters
The firing from the Garrison now varied according as the enemy's parties presented themselves: at this period they were busy in repairing Fort St. Philip, and in securing their works against the approaching rainy season. Our engineers were repairing the communications and batteries at Willis's, &c. A soldier of the 73d deserted to the enemy the 25th: he had been absent from his corps five days, during which time he had concealed himself on the rock. Hunger probably pressing him, he determined to make a bold attempt to get off: accordingly stuffing a sandbag with grass, he came to Landport, and placing, unobserved, the bag upon the spikes of the palisades, jumped, unhurt, on the glacis; then running over the Causeway, he soon cleared Bayside barrier, and, though many hundred rounds of musketry were fired from Landport and the Lines guards, he escaped. He was the fourth man lost by desertion in the course of six weeks.
Early the 27th, four men, who had been impressed from a privateer in the Bay, deserted from the Repulse prame. The next morning we were visited again by the gun and mortar boats; but they scarcely staid one third of their former time. We returned nine shot and fiftyeight shells, which, from the shrieks and piteous cries we heard, must have done execution. We annoyed them in camp from the Old mole, as usual; and the artillery attempted to reach them from Willis's, but in vain. In this attack a wounded matross was killed by a shell in the Hospital. The circumstances attending this man's case are so melancholy and affecting, that I cannot pass them over in silence. Some time previous to this event, he had been so unlucky as to break his thigh: being a man of great spirits, he ill brooked the confinement which his case demanded, and exerted himself to get abroad, that he might enjoy the benefit of the fresh air in the court of the hospital; unfortunately in one of his playful moments, he fell, and was obliged to take to his bed again. He was in this situation, when a shell from the mortar boats fell into the ward, and rebounding, lodged upon him. The convalescents and sick, in the same room, instantly summed up strength to crawl out on hands and knees, whilst the fuse was burning; but this wretched victim was kept down by the weight of the shell, which after some seconds burst, took off both his legs, and scorched him in a dreadful manner : but, what was still more horrid, he survived the explosion, and was sensible to the very moment that death relieved him from his misery. His last words were expressive of regret that he had not been killed on the batteries.
The enemy's attention to
the blockade seemed now to be revived. Their cruisers were increased, and
constantly on the watch. The force in the Bay at this time was one ship of the
line, a xebeque having a broad pendant, a frigate, and five xebeques, with the
gun and mortar boats, and small armed craft. The arrangement of these vessels
for the purpose of blockading the Garrison, appeared to be as follows. When the
wind was west, two xebeques and four gunboats anchored at Cabrita Point,
cruising at night at the entrance of the Bay and in the Straits ; when easterly,
the frigate, xebeques, and four gunboats, cruised some between Ceuta, and
Europa, and others in the Gut: one xebeque was generally observed to lieto off
Europa Point at the entrance of the Bay. Though this disposition apparently
obstructed all intercourse between the Garrison and our friends in
The evening of the 30th, the enemy's cannonade, which, except when the boats fired on our camp, seldom exceeded three shells in the twenty four hours, was pretty smart for an hour or two ; occasioned by our firing on their working parties. Such starts of retaliation they were often provoked to, by our annoying their workmen in the batteries.
The prames had been found
so useful, that in the beginning of September, the Navy began to fit up the
Fortune sloop, in order to add her to their number. The 5th, a flag of truce
from the enemy brought over Pratts, an inhabitant of
We observed, on the 16th, that the enemy, during the preceding night, had thrown up three banks of sand in zigzags, beginning at the centre of the fourth branch of approach, which seemed intended as a tine of direction for a new communication to the St. Carlos's battery. In the evening, the Governor ordered, the artillery to direct a brisk fire on this work, which was continued till daybreak of the 17th. The enemy returned the fire reluctantly, from a wish, as we imagined, not to increase ours. The next morning, we observed they had retained the sand thrown up the preceding night with casks; and from the materials seen in the vicinity of the works, other additions seemed intended to be made. At night, Crouchett's howitzerbattery and Montague's bastion were opened, and, with Willis's, &c. were kept constantly going. About midnight the gunboats, attended by a bombketch, as we conjectured, came over, and, contrary to their former practice, directed their fire towards Willis's, the Lines, and north end of the Town. So determined were they to land their shells, that one went over the rock, and many fell on the hill; and, in attempting to imitate us* in bursting their shells in the air, several disploded in their mortars. They staid two hours and a half, and expended a hundred and thirty shells and eightyseven shot, and their land-batteries were not so sparing as the night before. We returned a smart fire on both sea and land, and retaliated on their camp, as usual.
A shell, during the above attack, fell in an embrasure opposite the King'slines bombproof, killed one of the 73d, and wounded another of the same corps. The case of the latter was singular, and will serve to enforce the maxim, that even in the most dangerous cases, we should never despair of a recovery whilst life remains. This unfortunate man was knocked down by the wind of the shell, which, instantly bursting, killed his companion, and mangled him in a most dreadful manner. His head was terribly fractured, his left arm broken in two places, one of his legs shattered, the skin and muscles torn off part of his right hand, the middle finger broken to pieces, and his whole body most severely bruised, and marked with gunpowder. He presented so horrid an object to the surgeons, that they had not the smallest hopes of saving his life, and were at a loss what part to attend to first. He was that evening trepanned; a few days afterwards his leg was amputated, and other wounds and fractures dressed. Being possessed of a most excellent constitution, nature performed wonders in his favour, and in eleven weeks the cure was completely effected. His name is Donald Ross, and he now enjoys his Sovereign's bounty in a pension of ninepence a day for life. A non commissioned officer of artillery also lost his thigh on Montague's bastion; and a private of the 12th regiment, both his legs: the latter died soon after the amputation was performed.
The morning of the 18th, a deserter from the Spanish guards came in from the St. Carlos*s battery. He was pursued by four of the enemy, but in vain. He gave information of the enemy's intention to erect some new batteries. About ten o'clock in the evening, a shell from the Lines fell into a house opposite the King's bastion, where the TownMajor Captain Burke, with Majors Mercier and Vignoles, of the 39th regiment, were sitting. The shell took off Major Burke's thigh; afterwards fell through the floor into the cellar: there it burst, and forced the flooring, with the unfortunate Major, to the ceiling. When assistance came, they found Major Burke almost buried amongst the ruins of the room. He was instantly conveyed to the Hospital, where he died soon after the wounded part was amputated, much lamented by his friends as an amiable and worthy member of society, and by the Governor as an indefatigable officer. Majors Mercier and Vignoles had time to escape before the shell burst: they were nevertheless slightly wounded by the splinters ; as were a serjeant of the 39th, and his daughter, who were in the cellar underneath when the shell entered. This house had escaped almost untouched during the warmest period of the bombardment, till this unfortunate shell fell in, which deprived the Garrison of this active and valuable officer.
The enemy did not increase
their works the succeeding day, but debouched the fourth branch of the approach
about the centre. In the evening, the
Our working parties were employed by the engineers, on the 21st, in repairing Princess Caroline's battery, at Willis's, which, owing to the spirited behaviour and example of the officers, was cleared, the caissons placed, filled, and the battery completed before night, under a most heavy fire from the enemy. When the work was finished, the party desired to give three cheers: but they were overruled by theCaptain of artillery, who recommended to salute the enemy with three rounds from each gun: which was immediately put in execution. The party had not a man materially hurt during the warm cannonade; but, in returning to be dismissed, a serjeant of La Motte's, who had braved the dangers of the day, was killed by a randomshot below the artilleryguard. Our firing continued with great vivacity on the 22d, particularly with small shells from the Royal battery, Willis's, and Montague's bastion: these were kept going in the day; and at night these batteries, with the Catalans, Crouchett's, and batteries at the entrance of the Lines, were in action. The enemy in return were not sparing of ammunition : in the preceding twenty four hours they fired seven hundred and seventyfive shot, and fiftyseven shells. The Garrison discharged seven hundred and seventythree rounds of different species.
The enemy's new works were erected with casks, covered and retained by fascines, with sand in the front. About two hundred men appeared to be employed in the day ; but they were often compelled to retire, our ordnance was so well served and directed. The gunboats, on the morning of the 24th, visited us as usual; and it was thought that a bombketch again attended them. They pointed their fire principally towards the Victualling office, in town, and Willis's; some shells fell in the New mole, but few ashore at the southward. We returned their fire, and retaliated from the Old mole on their camp.
Early in the morning of the
25th, the fascinecapping of the merlons of
The 26th, Lieut. Clarke, of
the 56th, died of a decline. In the course of the day, the enemy began to clear
The firing from the Garrison now exceeded seven hundred rounds in the twenty four hours; and the enemy frequently returned eight hundred, and sometimes more. Our casuals consequently began again to be pretty frequent, amongst our parties, which, in a great measure, was owing to the want of prudence in the men, who were become so habituated to the enemy's fire, as scarcely to regard their shot; and in fact, if a shell were at their feet, it was almost necessary for the officers to caution them to avoid its effects. It was really wonderful to behold with what undaunted coolness they persisted in their several occupations, though exposed to the enemy's whole artillery: indeed the generality appeared totally callous to every sense of danger.
Both sides continued
indefatigable in their operations. The enemy finished two or three merlons in
The enemy, for several days, had made very little addition to the new communication, and the third return appeared still unfinished. A party of the enemy was however discovered from Willis's, on the evening of the 1st of October, working to the west of the St. Carlos battery: and they persisting in their labour, our fire was increased from the batteries below; which brought on a warm return. At daybreak we observed, at the extremity of the new approach, a large epaulement, of fortyfive gabions long, two in height, and four or five in breadth. On the top were several layers of sandbags, and sand was banked up to protect it in front. It was situated within the western place darmes of the St. Carlos's battery, towards the beach, in a direction forming a very obtuse angle with the front of the above battery. Our engineers immediately agreed that this epaulement was intended for mortars; which induced the Governor, in the course of the 2d, to order two embrasures (masked at the Oldmole head, to cover the mortars which we usually fired into their camp) to be opened, and two howitzers to be kept in action from thence. At night, our firing at intervals was so astonishingly brisk, that the whole north front, from the Rockgun to the Molehead, was obscured in smoke. This fire was continued, with little intermission, till daybreak; and though the enemy did not return it warmly, they made up for their silence the succeeding day. During the twenty four hours they discharged twelve hundred and sixtythree rounds, and the preceding day, one thousand nine hundred and fortyeight; which to us was a proof that they were considerably galled by our fire.
We had observed, for some weeks, a party of the enemy erecting a building upon an eminence, near the stone quarry, under the Queen of Spain's Chair, which at length turned out to be a signaltower; but no use was made of it till the beginning of this month, when we discovered that it was intended to give information to their batteries in the lines, when our workingparties were going up the hill. On their marching up, the morning of the 3d, a signal was made from the tower, and their batteries immediately increased their fire on the heights; on their return in the evening, the signal was repeated. This practice they continued for some time. At night, the body of a soldier of the 12th regi ment, who attempted to swim to the enemy from Waterport, was discovered floating near the Repulse prame. The sailors on the watch, imagining some large fish had got foul of their cable, darted a harpoon into the body, but soon found out their mistake. The succeeding morning, we observed that the enemy had thrown up a cover, from the eastern shoulder of the new battery, to the western magazine of the St. Carlos'?: they also raised a shoulder on the western extremity, and erected five traverses in the rear.
Our firing, on the 4th, was
ordered to be diminished ; only Montague's and the Hill batteries were kept
going: few shot were now used, as the enemy seemed to pay little attention to
them ; and we had ocular proofs daily of the annoyance from the small shells,
which immediately made them desist, and get under cover. The same day a mutiny
was discovered on board His Majesty's cutter the Speedwell, Lieut. Gibson ; and
four of the ringleaders were seized and confined. The plan of this conspiracy
was, to murder the officers of the watch, cut the cable, and run away with the
vessel to Algeciras, where they computed she would sell for a handsome sum,
which was to be equally divided amongst the people interested, who were then to
It was somewhat singular,
that Mr. Gibson had been so unfortunate, when in
The enemy, on the night of the 4th, threw up a line of casks and sand, extending upwards of sixty feet in a parallel line to the front of St. Carlos*s* Some additions were also made to the new battery. The raising of the former work induced many to believe, that they were come at last to the determination of besieging the Garrison in form ; and that this, with other works to be erected, would be the first parallel of attack. It was a lucky circumstance, in some respects, to have an enemy so tardy in their operations. Our troops were now accustomed, by six months bombardment, to the discharge and effect of heavy artillery: their firing had pointed out our weak places, which the Governor and engineers had been indefatigable in strengthening, so that the Garrison was now really in a better state of defence than at the commencement of the bombardment. In the nights of the 5th and 6th, the parallel, as we called the line to the east, was extended about a hundred feet, and the new mortar-battery raised with fascines. Small traverses were also made in the rear of the new approach from the fourth branch.
The gun and mortar boats had now been absent some time; probably owing to the repairs which the mortar-boats necessarily demanded. On the evening of the 7th, they however renewed their visit, much earlier than was customary, and staid upwards of two hours. Their shot seemed all directed at our prames, whilst their shells, the fuses of which were remarkably dark, were thrown ashore. They fired about three hundred shot, and twentythree shells, killed one of the 73d, and wounded two of the 12th. We returned forty three shot, sixteen grape, and two hundred And seventynine shells. The 8th, two mortars were mounted in the new mortar battery; and from the pickets marked for the platforms, we concluded it would mount eight mortars. In the afternoon, a shell fell into a house in town in which Ensign Stephens, of the 39th, was sitting: imagining himself not safe where he was,,he quitted the room to get to a more secure place; but just as he passed the door, the shell burst, and a splinter mortally wounded him in the reins, and another took off his leg. He was conveyed to the hospital, and had suffered amputation before the surgeons discovered the mortal wound in his body. He died about seven o'clock, much regretted as a promising young officer.
The enemy's parties appearing numerous within the new works, our firing from the Garrison was increased on the 11th, and was as briskly returned. The Governor however ordered the artillery to be less profuse in future, unless some casualty demanded an additional fire; for their loss, he was of opinion, bore no proportion to our expenditure. Our small shells were also decreasing very fast; and the enemy appeared too well covered with traverses in the new works, to be much annoyed by them. The succeeding day our fire scarcely exceeded a hundred rounds; and the enemy's was equally diminished.
Their naval force before
The Garrison, on the 15th, fired only forty rounds; and the enemy did not exceed double the number. The night of the 18th, they were heard hard at work; but this circumstance produced no additional fire from us, as our artillery had been limited to a certain quantity since the Governor ordered the firing to decrease. The subsequent morning we observed they had erected a battery, of six embrasures, joining the second branch of the new communication, and bearing on Waterport and the town, about twelve hundred yards from the Grand battery: only four merlons appeared finished: the other three were in a rude state, with a number of fascines, pickets, and planks lying about the work, and at the debouchure of the fourth branch. The Governor, in the morning of the 19th, ordered a warm fire on the new battery, which the enemy instantly returned. One of our carcasses set fire to the first branch of the new approach, and it burnt for some time. The following morning we found they had removed the sand to extinguish the fire, and displaced many of the fascines, which, with other materials, were lying in a confused manner in the vicinity of the breach.
The night of the 20th, we were visited by the gunboats, but their stay was much shorter than usual, owing to the springingup of a brisk easterly wind: one of their shells slightly wounded Assistantengineer Evans. This attack we imagined was intended to engage our attention from the land side, where the enemy were heard busily at work : it had not however that effect, as our batteries directed an additional fire, and continued it the whole night. At daybreak we found they had repaired the breach made by the fire, and strengthened the merlons of their gunbattery with gabions and sand heaped up in front.
The situation of this battery afforded a more serious appearance than any operations yet undertaken by the enemy. Colonel Tovey, the commandant of artillery, .therefore recommended to the Governor to open upon it, without loss of time, from such heavy guns and howitzers as might be soon brought to bear upon it; assisted, at the same time, with some thirteeninch shells, and a few redhot shot from an eighteenpounder or two. The following morning the enemy had almost completed the battery: the Governor was therefore induced to comply with the representation of Colonel Tovey, and ordered the upper batteries, &c. to be opened on the enemy's works, and to continue to fire from his direction. About four o'clock in the afternoon of the 22d, (a captain and two subalterns, with the artillery picket, manning the lower batteries) the firing commenced, and was continued with unremitting spirit and regularity the remainder of the evening and night. The enemy, in return, discharged repeated vollies from their lines ; but to little purpose. Our artillery soon drove them from the battery, which frequently was set on fire by the carcasses, but extinguished. On the morning of the 23d we had the mortification to find, that, notwithstanding the heavy fire kept upon it in the night, five of the embrasures were masked with sand. bags, to enable the whole better to resist the effect of our shells. The work was nevertheless considerably damaged, though not in a degree equal to our expense in ammunition. The firing at noon was therefore ordered to cease, as we had expended fifteen hundred and ninetysix shot, fire hundred and thirty shells, (most of a heavy nature), ten carcasses, and two light balls.—It must appear almost incredible, that a battery at such a distance should be able to resist such heavy ordnance, without being levelled to the ground : but indeed few works were ever erected so strong and compact. The St. Carlos's battery was silent the whole time ; and from the lines they returned a thousand and twelve shot, and three hundred and two shells. Our loss was not very great; but on the enemy's side, many were observed to fall, and several to be carried into the Lines : their gallantry, we may therefore imagine, cost them dear.
The succeeding night they repaired the damage done by our fire, and erected two traverses in the rear of the gunbattery: it is probable they were working also on the platforms; and during the two following nights they strengthened it with other additions. The 25th the enemy's fire was rather singular. In the afternoon, about nine, their batteries, for near an hour and a half, discharged repeated salvos from both cannon and mortars ; not directing their fire to any particular object, but scattering their shot in every direction towards the Garrison, and bursting the shells principally in the air. In the afternoon, about three, this mode of firing was repeated, and continued nearly the same time. The 26th, Lieut. Vicars, of the 56th, was slightly wounded in the Lines.
The night of the 29th, a
brisk cannonade was heard towards the west; and soon after, by the moon, we
discovered a cutter engaging a frigate, a xebeque, and several gun boats. The
cutter answered a signal made by the Brilliant at the commencement of the
action, by which we knew her to be a friend. After the engagement had continued
very warm for a considerable time, the firing ceased, and she was obliged to
submit to so superior a force. The succeeding .night, the Unicorn cutter
arrived, and four boats from Faro: the former informed us, that she parted
company with several cutters bound for
The night of the 2d of November, the signal was made for the approach of the enemy's gun and mortar boats, which for some time had not paid us the regular visits they formerly did; owing, as I have remarked before, to the repairs which the boats must necessarily demand: but the Vanguard and Repulse prames firing several shot, they retired. The 3d, the Fortune prame, mounting five twentysix pounders, was towed out, and moored to the southward of the Vanguard. The next day, about seven in the evening, thirteen gun and six mortar boats fired briskly upon the Garrison, seconded by the Lines: they staid near an hour and a half, and threw a vast number of shells ; but few were directed towards our camp. Lieut. John Fraser, of the 73d, had his leg shot off on Montague's bastion; and Lieut. Edgar, of the 56th, was wounded with splinters of stones. Two of the 58th and 73d were likewise wounded. The enemy continued, on the 6th and 7th, to make some few alterations, and collect fascines, gabions, and other materials at their lines, and various parts of the approaches. The parallel they also strengthened: but the sixgun battery still remained masked with sand bags.
As it appeared of greater consequence, at this period, to annoy the enemy from the Queen's battery at the Oldmole head, which formed an excellent crossfire with the other batteries, than to fire into their camp; the mortars used for the latter purpose were removed, and the masked embrasures at the extremity, with two others adjoining, were ordered to be opened, and so altered as to admit of four howitzers bearing on the new battery. During the night of the 11th, the enemy erected an additional battery of six embrasures, westward of the other, where the pickets were observed at the close of last month. This work was retired a few yards, but joined the extremity of the shoulder of the old battery, and extended almost in the same direction towards the beach. It appeared very strong, and seemed to be intended against the Oldmole head, and Waterport.
During the night of the
12th, many signals were made in the Gut and along the Coast. In the morning we
observed a cutter standing for the Bay: a xebeque and three gunboats attempted
to intercept her, but she got in without firing a gun. She was called the
The enemy about this time
adopted the mode of cutting the fuses of their shells, so that most of them
which were fired for a long range burst in the air. They continued their
practice of making signals at the tower above the Quarry, whenever our parties
were assembled, or appeared at work; and the shot were in general better
directed than before ; but their effects against the works were considerably
weakened by pieces of junk hung over the merlons of the batteries. Our workmen
were chiefly employed at Willis's, in repairthe Towerbattery, &c, and at the Old
mole. Other detachments were also engaged in various duties on the north front.
The night of the 15th, the enemy lengthened the parallel considerably,
and, the succeeding night, made further additions. In the forenoon of the
16th, a longranged shell, from the St. Carlos' battery, burst in the air over
Hardy town, and a splinter of it flew into the sea, beyond BuenaVista, a
distance of more than three miles. Another shell fell, in the course of the
morning, at the foot of a winehouse, south of the barracks ; and several burst
high in the air over the South shed. We attributed these uncommon long ranges to
the force of the wind, which, blowing in the same direction in which the shells
were thrown, undoubtedly increased their velocity. Mr. Tinling, assistant
engineer, was wounded the same day at Willis's. A boat arrived on the 18th from
Faro: the crew were separately examined, before they were permitted the liberty
of the Garrison. The patron of this boat informed us, that seven cutters
Two deserters came in,
about seven in the evening of the 20th; one a corporal, the other a private in
the Walloon guards. The former appeared to be very intelligent, and informed us
of many circumstances with which we were not before acquainted. The new
mortar-battery, he said, was called St. ParchaTs; and corroborated our
intelligence, that it mounted two mortars and six elevated guns. The two sixgun
batteries were named
The firing from both sides
varied as objects offered. Many of the enemy's shells ranged as far as the South
barracks ; and others, agreeably to their newly adopted plan, burst in the air.
The morning of the 22d, a soldier of the 58th regiment, who had been missing
several days, was seen to go into
The night of the 23d, the besiegers added to the parallel a return of caskwork to the west: it appeared very slight and trifling. The two succeeding days, their parties were very active in finishing the batteries, which, on the 26th, exhibited a perfect and formidable appearance. This was the crisis which the Governor considered as proper to frustrate all their views, by destroying these stupendous works, the construction of which had cost them such immense labour and expense. By the deserters who came in on the 20th instant, he was acquainted with the inactivity which prevailed throughout the enemy's camp, and with the strength of their advanced guards. Lulled into security by their superiority of force, they never suspected the Garrison capable of attempting so bold and hazardous a coupdemain. The Governor, however, secretly conceived this important design, and never imparted his intention till the evening on which it was put in execution.
The gates were no sooner shut, after first gunfiring, on the evening of the 26th, than he ordered a considerable detachment to assemble on the Red sands at midnight, with devils, firefaggots, and working implements, to make a sortie on the enemy's batteries. The General, Field, and other officers to be employed on this service, were convened in the interim, and the disposition of attack communicated: but, lest some matters might have escaped him in the multiplicity of arrangements, the Governor desired every person to propose, without restraint, whatever would, in his or their opinion, further promote the success of the enterprise. The following are the heads of the orders issued on this occasion.
EVENING GARRISON ORDERS.
u Countersign, STEADY.
All the grenadiers and light infantry of the Garrison, and all the men of the 12th and Hardenberg's regiments, officers, and non commissioned officers now on duty, to be immediately relieved, and join their regiments: to form a detachment, consisting of the 12th and Hardenberg's regiments complete, the grenadiers and light infantry of all the other 4 regiments (which are to be completed to their full establishment from the battalion companies) ; one captain, three lieutenants, ten non commissioned officers, and a hundred artillery; and three engineers, seven officers, and twelve non-commissioned of fleers overseers; with a hundred and sixty workmen from the Line, and forty workmen from the artificer company. Each man to have thirtysix rounds of ammunition, with a good flint in his piece, and an* other in his pocket. No drums to go out, excepting two with each of the regiments. No volunteers will 41 be allowed. The whole to be commanded by Brigadier General Ross; and to assemble on the Red sands at twelve o'clock this night, to make a Sortie 4 * upon the enemy's batteries. The 89th and 58th regiments to parade at the same hour on the Grand " parade, under the command of Brigadier General Picton, to sustain the sortie if necessary."
were the principal orders for forming the detachment. At midnight the whole were
assembled; and being joined by 100 sailors, commanded by Lieuts. Muclfle and
The detachment being formed in three lines, the right column in the rear, and the left in the front, tools for demolishing the works were delivered to the work* men, and the following directions for their destination communicated to the principal officers.
" The right column to lead
and march through Forbess barrier, for the extremity of the parallel; keeping
the eastern fences of the gardens close on their " left. The centre immediately
to follow, marching through Bayside
barrier, and directing their route " through the gardens for the mortar
batteries. The left column to bring
up the rear, marching along the
By the time the destination of the columns was made known to the different officers, and other arrangements had taken place, the morning of the 27th was far advanced ; and as the moon had then nearly finished her nightly course, the detachment, about a quarter before three o'clock, began its march, by files from the right of the rear line, for the attack. Although nothing could exceed the silence and attention of the troops, the enemy's advanced sentries discovered the right column before they passed Forbes's barrier, and after challenging, fired upon them. Lieut. Col. Hugo, finding they were alarmed, immediately formed the attacking corps, and pushed on at a brisk pace for the extremity of the parallel; there finding no opposition, he took possession, and the pioneers began to dismantle the works. Part of Hardenberg's regiment, which was attached to this column, mistook the route of the grenadiers, owing to the darkness of the morning; and in pursuing their own, found themselves, before they discovered their error, in front of the St. Carlos battery. In this dilemma, no alternative offered but pressing forwards, which they gallantly did, after receiving the enemy's fire. Upon mounting the parapet, the enemy precipitately retreated, and with great difficulty they descended the stupendous work, forming with their left to the Tower. They were thus situated, when Lieut. Col. Dachenhausen, at the head of the 39th flank companies, entered the St. Carlos's battery, and naturally mistaking them for his opponents, fired, and wounded several. Further mischief was however prevented by the countersign ; and the Hanoverians joined the remainder of their corps, which now formed enpotence in front of the parallel. The 73d flank companies were equally successful in their attacks ; and Lieut. Col. Trigge, with the grenadiers, and light company of the 7.2d regiment, carried the gunbatteries with great gallantry. The ardour of the assailants was irresistible. The enemy on every side gave way, abandoning in an instant, and with the utmost precipitation, those works which had cost them so much expense, and employed so many months to perfect.
When our troops had taken possession, the attacking corps formed, agreeably to their orders, to repel any attempt which the enemy might make to prevent the destruction of the works, whilst the 12th regiment took post in front of the St. Carlos's battery, to sustain the western attack; and the reserve, under Major Maxwell, drew up in the farther gardens. The exertions of the workmen and artillery were wonderful. The batteries were soon in a state for the fire faggots to operate; and the flames spread with astonishing rapidity into every part. The column of fire and smoke which rolled from the works, beautifully illuminated the troops and neighbouring objects, forming altogether a coup dcril not possible to be described.
In an hour the object of the Sortie was fully effected ; and trains being laid to the magazines, Brigadier Ross ordered the advanced corps to withdraw, and the sustaining regiments to cover their retreat: but by some oversight, the barrier at Forbes's was locked, after the flank companies had returned; which might have proved of serious consequences to Hardenberg's regiment, as they were, from that circumstance, under the necessity of following the 12th regiment through Bayside.*
Several small quantities of powder took fire whilst the detachment was on its retreat; and just as the rear had got within the Garrison, the principal magazine blew up with a tremendous explosion ; throwing up vast pieces of timber, which, falling into the flames, added to the general conflagration. Although the enemy must have been early alarmed, not the smallest effort
* It was not a little singular, that these two regiments, which, at the memorable battle of Minden, had fought by each other's side, and, according to the natural course of events, could never expect to meet again, should be employed a second time on the same occasion, and be the only entire regiments out was made to save or avenge their works. The fugitives seemed to communicate a panic to the whole; and instead of annoying our troops from the flanking forts, their artillery directed a ridiculous fire towards the Town and our upper batteries, whence we continued a warm and wellserved discharge of round shot on their forts and barrier. Only two officers and sixteen privates were taken prisoners ; and little opposition being made, very few were killed in the works. The guard, from the best information, consisted of one captain, three subalterns, and seventyfour privates, including the artillery.
Thus was this important attack executed beyond the most sanguine expectations of every one. The event challenges greater admiration, when we reflect that the batteries were distant near three quarters of a mile from the Garrison, and only within a few hundred yards of a besieging enemy's lines, mounting one hundred and thirtyfive pieces of heavy artillery. The detachment had four privates killed ; Lieut. Tweedie, of the 12th regiment, with twenty four non-commissioned and privates, wounded; and one missing, supposed to be left wounded on the batteries. Of this number, Hardenberg's regiment had two killed, and twelve wounded. The ordnance spiked in the enemy's works amounted to ten thirteeninch mortars, and eighteen twentysix pounders.
General Eliott's anxiety on the occasion would not permit him to wait the issue within the Garrison ; but acquainting the Lieutenant Governor with his intention, he accompanied the Sortie, and expressed the highest approbation of their behaviour by the following public orders: that " the bravery and conduct of the " whole detachment, officers, sailors, and soldiers, on the glorious occasion, surpassed his utmost acknowledgments."
Although the attack was not totally exempted from those little derangements which naturally attend night expeditions of this nature, yet, to the honour of the whole, neither musket, working tool, or other implement, was left behind: a volunteer indeed of the 73d regiment lost hia Kelt in the attack, which the Governor being acquainted with, promised him a substitute in return ; and not long afterwards presented him with a commission in an established corps. When our troops entered the batteries, the written report of the* commanding officer was found in one of the splinterproofs, which, when the guard was relieved, was intended to have been sent to the Spanish General. The report expressed, that " nothing extraordinary " had happened ;" which, it must be acknowledged, the captain had been a little premature in writing.
Before the detachment returned from the Neutral ground, Lieut. Col. Tovey, of the artillery, died. He was succeeded by Major Lewis in the command of that department.
The night of the 27th, the
enemy were alarmed with an explosion in the ruins of their batteries; and
immediately directed a smart discharge of musketry, with round and grape shot,
towards the spot. We imagined they suspected that we had made a second sally, to
finish the destruction of what remained; and their error probably would have
continued some time, had they not been undeceived by our throwing a shell
amongst the ruins ; after which they instantly ceased. By the number of lights
seen in their camp, we had reason to conclude that their army had assembled on
the alarm. The enemy had not yet thought proper to take any measures towards
extinguishing the flames, but avenged themselves by a brisk cannonade upon the
town. In their camp several men were executed, who probably might be some of the
unfortunate actors in the late disgrace. The 30th, their batteries continued
burning in five different places: when they ceased to smoke, the works seemed
completely destroyed nothing but heaps of sand remaining. Five dismounted
mortars could be seen in the St. Carlos's battery from the summit of the rock;
one gun also in St. Paschal's, and three in the