The Combined Fleets
The evening of the 26th of
September, the whole of the combined army were under arms, formed in one line
(which extended about four miles and a half) from the river Guadaranque to very
Early on the first of
October, a boat came into Little Bay, with a Corsican on board, who had escaped
from Algeciras. He had been mate of a neutral vessel; but hearing that some of
his relations were in the Corsican corps, he was determined to join his
countrymen. The intelligence which he brought was, that Lord Howe only waited
some reinforcements to sail for the relief of
In the forenoon of the 3d,
a Spanish frigate, with a flag of truce at her foretopgallant masthead, anchored
"within gunshot of the Oldmole head, and immediately Capt. Curtis went on board
her. In the forenoon, Capt. Curtis returned, and the frigate sailed back to the
fleet. The wind at the time was so strong, that she was obliged to leave her
anchor behind; which being mentioned to the Governor, orders were sent not to
fire upon the boats when they returned to fish it up.
The following day, Capt. Curtis, accompanied by the Governor's secretary
and a Naval officer, went in his barge to the Orangegrove; where a carriage
waited, and conducted them to BuenaVista, the Duke's quarters.
The intention of this visit, we afterwards understood, was to establish a
cartel with the Spaniards for the exchange of prisoners.
Capt. Curtis was introduced, by the Duke de Crillon, to his Royal
Highness the Count d'Artois, who thanked him, in very handsome terms, for his
humanity and gallantry in relieving the unfortunate prisoners from the burning
battering-ships ; requesting Capt. Curtis at the same time to inform the
Governor, that he entertained the highest esteem and respect for him, for his
benevolence and liberality to the prisoners upon the same occasion. Before Capt.
Curtis returned, which was in the evening, the kilns for heating shot were
lighted, and other preparations
made, as if some attack was expected. During this correspondence, the enemy's
batteries observed a proper silence, in respect to the flag.
Capt. Curtis informed us, that Lord Howe, with the British fleet, was on
his passage to the
The enemy's cannonade was still continued, with such variation as their caprice dictated. The number of rounds of shot and shells usually exceeded eight hundred in the twenty four hours, and sometimes amounted to eleven or twelve hundred. We amused them with a trifling return, directed chiefly to their parties, who, to our astonishment, were still forming considerable depots of fascines and materials in the lines. Lieut. Kenneth M'Kenzie, of the 73d, was wounded on the 4th, in the communication from the King's to the Queen's lines. Two days afterwards, agreeably to a flag of truce of the preceding day, the Spanish prisoners (excepting ten sick in the hospital, and fiftynine Walloons and foreigners who requested to stay behind) wepe sent to the Combined camp. The Walloons who preferred staying in the Garrison were embodied into those corps which chose to receive them. The 39th and 58th regiments entertained ten each; and the remainder were incorporated with the Corsican company.
Two of the enemy's
engineers had been observed, on the 4th, picketing out a work, extending from
the ruins of the
The following day, the
The enemy, about the 8th or 9th, adopted a new plan for the regulation of their bombardment during the night: every ten or fifteen minutes they discharged five, seven, and sometimes ten mortars at the same time, directing their shells principally to the same object. After a silence of the above period, they saluted us with a second volley, and so on till morning gunfire. The number of rounds continued variable, from four to six hundred shots, with almost the same proportion of shells, in the twenty four hours. They were enabled to expend these immense quantities of ammunition by receiving constant supplies. The parties in the fascine-park appeared now to be considerably increased, and an universal activity seemed still to prevail through the different departments. A person ignorant of what had passed, and suddenly brought to view their proceedings, might therefore naturally conclude from their operations, that they were elated with some success, rather than depressed by a defeat. On the night of the 9th, some signals were made at Cabrita Point, which were answered by the Combined fleets, each ship showing a light.
The wind blew fresh
westerly on the 10th; and two frigates and a cutter joined the Combined fleets
from that quarter. In the evening, a number of signals were 'made by the Spanish
Admiral, which were answered by various ships in the fleet. After sunset, the
gale increased, and at midnight it blew a hurricane, with smart showers of rain.
Signalguns were repeatedly fired by the Combined fleets; and from their
continuance, and the violence of the wind, we concluded some of them were in
distress. At daybreak, a Spanish two-decker was discovered in a crippled state,
close in shore off
The prisoners were no
sooner landed from the prize, than the seamen began to lighten the vessel, by
removing her powder ashore, and cutting away the mizenmast; but remaining still
aground, they carried out anchors to prevent her going further ashore, intending
to renew their exertions to warp her off at high water. The St. Michael was
esteemed one of the best sailers in the Spanish navy. She was a new ship, built
at the Havannah; very lofty between decks, which were of mahogany, and her beams
of cedar. When the Combined fleets appeared in the
The intelligence of Lord
Howe being so near, now, for the first time, gave us sensible pleasure; not so
much on account of our personal situation, as of the advantage which the enemy's
recent misfortunes would give his Lordship over his opponents, as well towards
accomplishing the object of his orders, as affording him a further opportunity
of acting as his Lordship's wellknown abilities might dictate. We were so elated
by our enemy's distress, that some were so sanguine as to anticipate the most
glorious conclusion of the war, and our own sufferings. Our hopes, however, were
soon depressed by the intelligence of Lord Howe's great inferiority in number.
Thirtyfour sail to oppose fortytwo, which still remained at anchor in the Bay,
gave us reason to be apprehensive for the safety of the British fleet. The
navigation of the Straits was so precarious, that, if his Lordship once entered
Although the enemy's
signals for the approach of the British fleet were made early in the afternoon,
yet the Spanish Admiral exhibited not the least appearance of opposition to any
reinforcements being sent into the Bay. This favourable opportunity was however
lost; owing, as Lord Howe expresses in his official letter, " to u the want of
timely attention to the circumstances of the " navigation." Only four or five
transports reached the Bay ; the rest, with the fleet, were carried by the
current into the
Whilst the British fleet, with the. transports, were thus critically situated, the Combined fleets were very active in repairing their damages, and in forming a line of battle along the shore. In the evening, a numof troops were embarked on board them from the camp. Their xebeques, cutters, armed brigs, and gunboats, also assembled in SandyBay, with an intention probably of picking up our straggling transports* In the close of the day, however, this fleet of craft returned to their main fleet. At night, the Panther man of war, and several transports, anchored in the Bay.
The enemy on the landside persevered in their cannonade, and, observing that the St. Michael had run aground within the range of their batteries, threw great numbers of shells, with an intent to destroy her. Many burst over her, and some fell very near ; but, as their artillery could only be directed by her masts, none fell on board. They pointed their usual weight of fire against our works, which the Governor (now that a prospect of supplies appeared) returned with unusual vivacity. Their new boyau severely felt the effect of our ordnance. It was considerably deranged, and the enfilading howitzers at the Oldmole head prevented them from strengthening it with any additions of consequence. In the Garrisonorders of the 12th, the following extracts were inserted:
G. O. " Extract from a Letter to the Governor, "from the Right Hon. the Earl of Shel" burne, principal Secretary of State to " His Majesty. Dated St. James's, July " 10th, 1782.
u I am also honoured with His Majesty's command u to assure you, in the strongest terms, that no encouragement shall be wanting to the brave officers and " soldiers under your command. His Royal approba" tion of the past, will no doubt be a powerful incentive " to future exertions; and I have the Ring's authority " to assure you, that every distinguished act of emulation and gallantry, which shall be performed in course " of the siege, by any, even of the lowest rank, will 14 meet with ample reward from his gracious protection and favour. These His Majesty's intention you will communicate to every part of your Garrison, that they may be perfectly satisfied their Royal Master feels for the difficulties they are under, admires their glorious resistance, and will be happy to reward their merit."
Extract from a Letter to the Governor, from the Right Hon, General Conway, Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Forces, Dated August 31**, 1782.
I am now to add, that I have the King's command to inform you, that he is in the greatest degree satisfied with the brave and steady defence made by your Garrison ; and his Majesty is desirous of showing them every mark of his Royal approbation. It is in this light that His Majesty has been graciously pleased to consent to granting bat and forage money, as a pro per indulgence to your officers."
These extracts were perused
by the Garrison with great satisfaction, as they demonstrated that the safety of
The British fleet, at
daybreak on the 13th, was still off
As our observations on the manoeuvres of the fleet were interrupted soon after sunset, we impatiently waited for the succeeding day to be spectators of the action, which was now considered as impossible to be avoided; and orders were therefore given for preparing several wards in the Navy hospital for the reception of the wounded $ but on the dawn of the 14th, the fleets, to our astonishment, were some leagues distant from each other : the British being to leeward in the southeast quarter, whilst the Combined fleets appeared off Estepona. In the evening, the British fleet could only be discovered from the summit of the Rock. It seemed to the Garrison, that the Spanish Admiral, by having the weathergage, had it in his option to bring the British fleet to action if he pleased.—The fleets being thus separated, the Panther about noon, endeavoured to join Lord Howe, but put back for want of wind. Seventeen gunboats came from Algeciras, apparently to prevent her leaving the Bay j but, observing her cast anchor, they returned.
The enemy's cannonade on the landside was continued with great vivacity. A few days, nay, probably hours, were to turn the balance for or against their future hopes of obtaining the grand object of their wishes; they were not therefore economical in their ammunition ; nor was the Garrison in the least behind with them in the brisk use of their ordnance. Lieut. Gromley, of the Royal artillery, was mortally wounded in the evening, at Willis's, and died soon after he was brought to the hopital.
Part of the Combined
fleets, in the morning of the 15th, were seen (though the weather was very hazy)
The exertions of the Navy
not being successful in floating the St. Michael, a hundred sailors were
detached on board, on the 17th, to their assistance ; and not long afterwards,
she was anchored off the New mole.
It was peculiarly fortunate that she grounded on a bank of sand, though
she was surrounded with rocks: her bottom was therefore little injured. Sir
Charles Knowles, Bart., who had been formerly on this station, was appointed to
command her. The wind had now changed to the southwest; and in the forenoon of
the same day, a British frigate appeared from the west. She made a signal when
off Europa, which being answered by our fleet, she immediately joined them. At
night, the gunboats being heard in the Bay, our batteries were manned to receive
them; but, upon a gun being fired from the St. Michael, they threw up their
rockets, and returned. Some were of opinion that they meditated an attempt to
cut her out. The 18th, the wind again came about to the east; and the
At daybreak on the 19th, both fleets, to our great astonishment, were in sight; the Combined fleets being some leagues to windward. When the British fleet was abreast of Europa, Lord Howe dispatched the Tisiphone fireship, with a further supply of powder collected from the fleet. The British fleet afterwards put before the wind, and stood, under an easy sail, in close order to the westward. The Van of the Combined fleet, composed of French ships, followed with a press of canvass at some distance. By two o'clock p. M. Lord Howe was out of sight; but the Spanish ships sailing heavily, it was night before they disappeared. Though fully convinced of the prudence of his Lordship's conduct, it was no very pleasing prospect for a British Garrison to behold a British fleet, though inferior in force, lead the enemy. At night, the wind changed to the southwest; and the succeeding day, a brisk cannonade was heard from that quarter. This however could not proceed from the action which afterwards took place between the fleets, as the firing was heard early in the morning.* Some time on the 19th, a guard of two subalterns, and ninetysix men, was ordered from the 25th and 59th regiments on board the St. Michael, where they remained till she was completely repaired.
* The preceding glorious victory of the Garrison over the combined powers of Spain and France, and the fortunate circumstances attending this relief, which finally determined the fate of Gibraltar, and undoubtedly had material influence in producing the ensuing peace, were esteemed events of such moment, that the City of London voted an historical Painting to be placed in the new Council Chamber at Guildhall, as a testimony of their respect to the gallant conduct of Sir George Augustus Eliott, K. B. Governor of Gibraltar, Lord Viscount Howe, Commander of the fleet, and the rest of his Majesty's Officers, Soldiers, and Sailors, employed in the defence and relief of that important fortress.
Mr. Copley, whose pencil as an historical painter had recently received an additional laurel by a painting representing the Death of the immortal Chatham, was selected as being the best qualified to execute this public monument, so worthy the first City in the universe. The vote was passed in 1783; and this Gentleman has employed the greatest part of his time since that period on this subject.
The Painting is necessarily divided into two compartments : the upper one, exhibiting the Victory of the Garrison, is 25 feet long by I6§ feet high ; the under compartment, representing its Relief, is 6 feet in height, by the abovementioned length ; the whole making 22| feet by 25.
This uncommon size of
canvas is without seam, and is no less honourable to the manufactures of this
country, Several large ships were observed, on the 20th, to be anchored at some
distance from Algeciras; and as six or seven were conjectured to be fireships,
precautions were accordingly taken, and the batteries from South bastion to
Europa ordered, in case of alarm, to be doubly manned. The enemy, the same day,
got off the man of war which ran ashore near their Grand magazine. In the
evening, some movements were observed in the French camp; and on the succeeding
day most of the tents were struck. In the afternoon, the Spanish priest was
confined to his house, for holding conversation with some of the prisoners on
Windmill Hill. The enemy's cannonade was still continued, upon an average of
about five or six hundred rounds in the twenty four hours. They lined some part
of the new boyau with fascines, and raised a few traverses in the rear,
notwithstanding our brisk fire: they were, however, prevented from making any
additions of consequence. On the 22d, a polacre arrived from
The extreme distress which the Garrison had experienced in the close of the years 1779 and 1780, and the great profits which, from the exigencies of those periods, had arisen to the adventurers who ran the hazard of a voyage with provisions for our relief, were, by this time, pretty generally known at home. The favourable opportunity of a safe convoy under the British fleet, prompted, therefore, many masters of transports (some of whom had been in the Garrison before during the war) to lay in a stock of various articles, with the prospect that the distresses of their friends might afford these truly humane and generous patriots an occasion to sell them, on their arrival, at their own price. Although these supplies were most highly acceptable, yet the Garrison was not at this time in such absolute need of their assistance, as to purchase them at those enormous prices which before had been given with pleasure ; nor in justice did we think, from the little risk the adventurers ran, that they deserved such immense profits. A Committee of officers from every corps assembled on the 23d, to consider what measures to pursue in order to prevent such impositions in future; and, as every article brought to the Garrison was sold at public auction, it was unanimously agreed, that a certain price should be fixed upon each article, allowing such profit as might reasonably be thought adequate to the hazard; and when the estimate was published, every officer (I believe) pledged his honour not to exceed the terms therein specified.
The prudent and manly regulation of the Committee was strictly attended to for about a fornight, but it had not that immediate effect we expected: many of our generous countrymen, rather than dispose of their ventures for a profit of a hundred and fifty, and in some instances three hundred per cent., very liberally determined to sell them for a trifling advantage at Lisbon, or elsewhere, in their way home. We should, nevertheless, have soon got the better of their obstinacy, had we continued determined and consistent ourselves : but some individuals, who preferred self gratification to the public good, beginning to evade the agreement, the whole was cancelled, and the demands of the adventurers became afterwards equally as exorbitant, if not more so than before. So little dependence is th. re upon the adherence of a multitude to any sumptuary regulations, however essential to their real interest.
The mortar-boats, on the night of the 23d, paid us a visit, and did considerable damage. Their shells were chiefly directed towards the New mole. The Hector cutter, in the Government's service, was sunk by a shell, and every thing on board lost. Several other vessels narrowly escaped the same fate. We fired upon them from Willis's and the Old mole; but their gunboats were silent. The 24th, we observed that the enemy had struck the tents of four or five battalions, and two regiments were seen this day marching along the beach. The day following, some baggage was observed removing from the Duke's quarters; which gave us great hopes that his Grace was preparing to leave the camp, and that matters were verging towards a conclusion. In the evening a deserter came in, a native Catalonian. He informed us there had been an engagement between the British and Combined fleets, but could give us no parculars. He further told us that their camp was breaking up : sixteen battalions had already marched away, and others were preparing to decamp: that they had ceased to work in their approaches; and that their nightguards consisted of four thousand men, under the command of two brigadier generals: concluding with acquainting us, that the winter camp before the Garrison was to consist of twenty thousand men : that additional gunboats were building to constantly harass us; and that a corporal and twelve men were stationed in the gardens to prevent desertion. The 26th, the tents occupied by the Duke's corps encamped before BuenaVista were struck: which served to increase our hopes that the prospect was not far distant of an end to our fatigues. Don Juan Moreno left the Garrison the same day, with a flag of truce. Our boat could not learn any further account of the engagement; but the officers were informed, that a general peace was expected, as the Americans had been acknowledged independent by Great Britain.
More battalions left the
enemy's camp on the 27th : their cannonade nevertheless was continued, and
several shot ranged as far as the entrance of Windmill Hill, a distance of about
five thousand yards. Their camp was still decreasing on the 28th and 29th; and
we judged from our observations, that about twenty-three battalions, with a
brigade of artillery, had marched into the country. The last deserters said many
had taken their route to
Three deserters came in on
the 2d and 4th of November, but could give no satisfactory information relative
to the action between the fleets. They said the French troops had quitted the
camp with the Royal volunteers. The enemy's camp continued to break up on the
7th and 8th, though some of the regiments, it was imagined, took possession of
the large building eastward of Point Malo, which had been built for an hospital.
On the 7th, two men of war and a sloop (supposed to be French, from the
WestIndies) passed to the eastward. The Spanish gunboats seemed to suspect they
were enemies, and intended to come in; as they were in motion, and appeared to
be preparing for an attack. The 8th, twentythree gunboats paraded at a short
distance from the Garrison, extending in a line ahead to the southward. We
expected an attack upon the St. Michael; but an easterly wind springing up, they
returned. They had scarcely got back, when a signal was made at Cabrita Point,
and they again put about. Our attention was engaged by this manoeuvre ; and upon
investigating the cause, we discovered a sloop standing towards the Garrison
from the eastward. If this vessel had continued the course she then steered, she
might undoubtedly have reached the Rock: whether, however, it was owing to the
westerly current off Europa, or the ignorance of the crew, we could not
determine ; in the course of an hoar she drove so considerably to leeward, as to
be out of the protection of our guns, and after receiving several discharges of
rounds and grape from the gunboats, was boarded by the enemy.
Sir Charles Knowles, Bart., (who since Capt. Curtis's departure,
commanded in the Bay) ordered several barges out to her assistance, but to no
purpose. A boat, with five of her crew, escaped to the Garrison, and informed us
she was laden with sugar and tea from
After the departure of the
fleets, little attention was paid by the enemy to the blockade. Not one cruiser
was now to be seen in the Straits, or to the Eastward; and few vessels of force
were stationed at Cabrita Point. The idea of gaining
Two boats arrived on the
Though every appearance in their camp indicated that they had given up all hopes of subduing the Garrison by force, their parties on the Isthmus continued to be very busy, and some evenings they made additions of traverses to their works. Heavy timber was also brought forward to the parallel, but for what purpose we could not then imagine. Their advanced parties had likewise the audacity frequently to approach half way upon the causeway from Bayside; but the artillery having orders to scour the gardens, and the neighbourhood of Bayside, with grape from the Old mole, their curiosity in a short time was pretty well cooled. Towards the close of this month, the enemy's fire became more faint and ill directed, whilst ours was more animated and effectual. Our engineers continued to be constantly engaged. The rebuilding of the whole Rank of the Prince of Orange's bastion, a hundred and twenty feet in length, with solid masonry, (which was now nearly finished), in the face of such powerful artillery, can scarcely be paralleled in any siege.
In the beginning of
December, the Achilles ordnance ship, with two or three boats, arrived from
By this period, our engineers had penetrated a considerable distance in the gallery above Farringdon's battery, and had opened five embrasures to the front of the Rock ; and, to have a more secure communication to this singular work, a covered way was sunk, by blasting the rock from the above battery, to the entrance of the gallery. The success with which this work had been prosecuted, and the considerable advantages which promised to result from it when finished, induced the Governor to order that a similar battery, but only for two guns, should be made in the Rock near Crouchett's battery, above the Prince of Hesse's bastion, and the workmen had now made some advances therein. On the 12th, a guardboat of the St. Michael, with two officers and seven sailors, went over to the enemy. We afterwards learned from the officers, who returned in a flag of truce, that the sailors rose upon them, saying they were resolved to go over to the enemy: that Lieut. Small, who commanded the boat, drew his hanger, and attempted a stroke at the man who was spokesman upon the occasion ; but that he was knocked down by the coxswain with the tiller of the rudder: that, whilst he was thus senseless, they had it in debate to throw him overboard ; but, by the intercession of the young midshipman, he was preserved, and, when taken ashore, was some time before he recovered.
Willis's batteries by a mine; but it is imagined they found it impracticable, as they never attempted to spring the mine, though the journal of that siege mentions it was loaded
The enemy's parties under the rock, near the Devil's tower, began now to engage our curiosity. Every part of the north front was explored, to endeavour, if possible, to discover what they were about. At length, on the 15th, a place was found above Green'slodge, whence we could distinguish a part of their work. The communication with this post, being along a level beach, was greatly exposed to our fire. When their parties were discovered advancing from the east flank of the sixty-four gun battery, our artillery at Willis's and on the heights prepared to salute them. They were permitted to approach unmolested within two or three hundred yards, when a general volley was discharged of cohornshells, with grape, seconded by the mortars on the Levant battery, loaded with handshells, or grenades, quilted together. A chance, or mine, was sometimes sprung upon them from the top, when they had nearly got under the rock; the stones from which added not a little to their confusion and loss. Notwithstanding they were in this manner, obliged every evening to pass the gantlope of our fire, they continued to bring materials, and maintained their post with surprising obstinacy. Some of the guard were seen frequently, in the day, to advance from their cover: a party of Corsicans, who hitherto had done no other duty than guard the prisoners on Windmill Hill, were ordered therefore to the post above Green's lodge, to fire wallpieces upon those that appeared from below.
A flag of truce went from the Garrison on the 17th. The Spanish Aidedecamp informed us, that preliminaries of a General Peace were expected to be signed in the course of the month. The succeeding day another flag went from the Governor with letters to the Duke: it had scarcely returned, when twentynine gun and mortar boats commenced a spirited attack upon the St. Michael, and other ships, at anchor off BuenaVista. Since these boats had made a custom of firing upon the Garrison, we never remarked them to be arranged with more judgment, or to behave with greater gallantry than they did on this occasion. The mortar-boats composed the centre division, and a division of gunboats was arranged on each flank; their line of battle extending about two miles. They got their distance the first round, and retained it with such precision, that almost every shell fell within fifty yards of the St. Michael, which was the chief object of their attack. The seventyfourth shell fell on board, about midship; pierced the first, and broke on the lower deck ; killed four, and wounded eleven sailors, three of them mortally. After this accident, Sir Charles Knowles, being apprehensive of the most fatal consequences, if a shell should fall into the magazine, removed the powder, through the opposite portholes, into a launch, which was immediately towed under the rock: eighty barrels, which could not be removed, were thrown into the sea. The enemy still maintained a warm fire, but, it is imagined, did not observe that any had fallen on board. Several shells carried away ornaments and parts of her rigging : fortunately however she received no further inj ury. Not one shell came ashore from the boats. Captain Gibson, at the commencement of the action, rowed out with eight gunboats from the New mole, and very warmly attacked their northern division. On his appearing in motion, three parapet-boats advanced from the Orangegrove to take our boats in flank. One of this number was however soon disabled by the Garrison, and the other two joined the main body. When the enemy had expended their ammunition, the mortar-boats retired, and the gunboats covered their retreat in a most beautiful manner. They stood towards the Orangegrove, and embarked some of their crews on board the men of war. Three of the line of battle snips, two frigates, and a xebeque, with several bomb-ketches, and other vessels, which were all laden with military stores, sailed to the westward. The enemy's land-batteries, as is mentioned before, were gradually diminishing in their fire ; but upon this occasion, they supported the boats from the Bay, with a very animated additional cannonade.
The remainder of the
enemy's ships, laden with military stores, sailed on the night of the 19th from
the Orangegrove to the westward. The wind continued easterly; and on the
succeeding night, or rather the morning of the 21st, blew so strong a gale, that
the St. Michael was driven from her anchors more than halfbay over: every
exertion was made to recover her station, bat all proved ineffectual; when
fortunately an eddywind brought her about, and Sir Charles Knowles was happy to
run her aground within the New mole on a sandbank south of the tank. The gale
was so powerful on Windmill Hill, that the tents of the 59th regiment were torn
from the pickets, and carried a considerable distance from the campground. To
obviate the like disagreeable circumstances in future, that regiment was removed
to encamp in
In the afternoon of the 25th, we observed the gun and mortar boats in motion ; and about four o'clock, eighteen of the former, and eleven of the latter, advanced from Algeciras, apparently with an intention of renewing their attack upon the unfortunate St. Michael; but eleven of our gunboats opposing them, the centre division of mortar-boats, and the southward division, stood towards Europa, and began a warm bombardment upon our Camp, throwing their shells indiscriminately from Windmill Hill to South shed. Our gunboats in this action behaved with great gallantry, directing their opposition entirely against the mortar-boats ; the fire of which they in a great measure diverted from the shipping. A blind shell nevertheless fell into the wardroom of the St. Michael; and another shell carried away the mizenmast of the Porcupine frigate, and burst in the state cabin. Seven or eight shells fell within the hospital wall: one disploded in a ward, and killed and wounded several of the sick. Several houses and sheds were also destroyed, and others considerably injured. In short, it was thought to be the warmest attack we had ever experienced from the gunboats ; and our men, being mostly in spirits after their Christmas dinner, were consequently less upon their guard. One was killed, and seven were wounded, in the camp. As our artillery had time to prepare, the enemy's cannonade was returned with great vivacity ; but the mortar-boats and southward division had taken so judicious a station, that few ordnance could be brought to bear upon them. We had nevertheless some reason to conclude their loss was superior to our own. Their land-batteries (with the addition of Fort St. Philip and the Black battery, which had been silent some time) upon this occasion, as upon the last, increased their fire upon the town. We therefore had the enemy upon our whole front, from Europa Point to Landport. At a quarter past six o'clock, the mortar-boats retired, and were covered in their retreat by the gunboats as before. This dishonourable and cruel mode of prose cuting the war, we had reason to thin*, would be continued till a peace should put an end to all hostilities. The enemy had been very industrious in impressing this pleasing information on the memories of the women, who had been lately detained by the weather in their eamp. They were told for their comfort, that, as the besieging army had been reluctantly compelled to relinquish the idea of recovering Gibraltar, they were determined to harass and alarm the Garrison by successive attacks from the gun and mortar boats, which, for the purpose of having regular reliefs, were to be increased in number: thus, by being exposed to a revengeful enemy, the prospect before us promised to be more irksome and vexatious than the more interesting period which had passed.
Although the enemy's fire from the Isthmus was almost discontinued, the Governor, towards the conclusion of December, made up for their deficiency by a more animated discharge than usual: every night the whole North front appeared a continued line of fire. The Devil's tower chiefly engaged his attention : their guard at this post generally relieved about seven or eight o'clock in the evening, if not prevented by our fire. The work (which we could discover) of sandbags was totally destroyed; and the sloping timbers which they had placed against the rock to protect them from the overhead fire, were much shattered by the weighty fragments of rock which were hurled upon them from above. The night of the 27th, the enemy opened three embrasures in the epaulement at the east end of the sixty-four gun battery. The embrasures were then masked, and, the succeeding evening, were faced with fascines. The night of the 29th, they raised a work of sandbags, of about a hundred feet in extent, at the western extremity of the new boyau. It was picketed out when the Duke was present, and extended to the rear at right angles with the epaulement. The 30th, nineteen gun and mortar boats came out of the river Palmones, where they generally retired to repair, after firing upon the Garrison. The evening of the succeeding day being very calm, and some movements being observed amongst them, we expected they would commence the new year with another visit: but we were happily disappointed. Since we were sufficiently persuaded of the conduct which the enemy had determined to pursue for the remainder of the war, the Governor again adopted the idea of retaliation: the gun mounted on Col. Williams' elevated carriage was removed to the Oldmole head, and other preparations were made to annoy their camp, when the boats should renew their attack. In the course of December, several vessels and boats arrived with stores and supplies. Others likewise left the Bay, and flags of truce frequently passed between the Governor and the Duke. Their purport was not however publicly known. The last day of December, a party of the Navy fished up one of the guns from the wreck of the battering-ships ; and the following day, the first of January, 1783, the gun, which was of iron, and a twentysix pounder, was drawn in procession by the British tars, witE a Spanish ensign which had been taken from on board one of the ships, displayed over it, and attended by a band of music, playing God save the King,
Our observations made upon the enemy's proceedings at the Devil's tower, were as yet very unsatisfactory ; though, by the enterprising activity of a serjeant in the artificers, we knew that they were in reality, at work in a cave: for he had descended, by means of ropes and ladders, so low as to see the mouth of the cave, and hear the people converse. Early, therefore, on the morning of the 4th, three of the Governor's Aidedecamps went in a barge, protected by two gunboats, to reconnoitre this post. Their curiosity prompted them to approach nearer than was perhaps prudent, as the guard fired musketry upon them, and a gun or two were discharged from Fort Barbara Soon after they returned, the new threegun battery, at the east end of the sixtyfour gun battery, was unmasked, though the guns were under metal. In the afternoon of the same day, the gun and mortar-boats advanced in two divisions from Algeciras, and, when halfbay over, were joined by a third division of five from Cabrita Point, consisting in all of thirtythree. The centre division of sixteen, principally mortar-boats was warmly attacked by Sir Charles Knowles, with eleven of ours, whilst the northern division was as briskly annoyed from the King's bastion. This division of twelve gunboats had the boldness to approach within the range of grape, and suffered very considerably. One was undoubtedly sunk by an howitzer shell, and others were greatly damaged. Two of the mortar-boats were also driven from the line, and several others were observed to be in confusion. The land-batteries, which had been silent since the Duke had visited the lines on the 2d of January, seconded the attack by sea with a very animated fire. The Bay being calm, and little wind blowing to carry off the smoke, the appearance of this attack all together, from the extent of the front engaged, was tremendous. Lieutenant Holloway, of the engineers, Aidedecamp to General Green, was wounded by a splinter of a shell, which fell opposite to General De la Motte's quarters at the southward, where the staff at the southward usually assembled upon these occasions. Two men were killed, and one wounded, in the Garrison ; but the seamen had no casuals. The St. Michael also on this occasion escaped; and it was remarked, not one shell fell near the hospital. When the boats had expended eightythree shot, and two hundred and six shells, they retired: from the Isthmus five hundred and seventyeight shot, and a hundred and two shells, were discharged in this short period.
When our artillery had put the batteries in order, a party was detached, about eight in the evening, to the Old mole; and upwards of a hundred rounds of redhot shot, with large and small shells, were thrown into the enemy's camp: all appeared to answer, except the heavy shells, the fuses of which were too short for the range. The following morning, several pieces of a gunboat, an oar, with some bread, garlick, &c. were seen floating in the Bay, and gathered by our boats. This served to strengthen our conjecture of the preceding evening, that one of the gunboats had been sunk in the action. In the evening, about nine o'clock, our northern guards were surprised with a sudden discharge of musketry on the causeway, and in the neighbourhood of Bayside: it was immediately returned from Landport, and the lines, with a few rounds of grape from Covertport battery; after which there was a dead silence. The next morning, a bloody hat, with several shotholes through it, was taken up near Bay .side. We could not otherwise account for this firing than by supposing that some sentries, attempting to desert, had been observed and pursued. One or two of our own men in the Fleche were wounded by the scattered grapeshot from the Covertport battery.
The evening of the 9th, the enemy paraded with only twentythree boats, seemingly with an intention of renewing their attack upon the shipping and Garrison ; but Sir Charles appearing with his small force, his opponents thought proper to retire. We were however alarmed, tarly the next morning, by their firing upon the Garrison: they approached very cautiously, and directed their fire towards the New mole. Sir Charles Knowles had his boats soon manned ; but had not been long out, before one of them was unfortunately sunk by a splinter from one of our shells which burst in the air. The crew were instantly taken up by their friends, and the boat towed in. The land-batteries opened as before, and continued firing until the boats retreated. Our shipping received no damage, nor were any seamen hurt; but in the Garrison, we had one killed, and fifteen or sixteen wounded, besides a Jew, an inhabitant. One of their shells fell into the north pavilion of the South barracks, and burst upon the second floor; the officers were luckily out; for the rooms, above and below, were totally destroyed. When the smoke had sufficiently dispersed, we numbered thirt yeight boats, but could not distinguish (as their sterns were towards us) how many carried mortars. The Governor saluted their camp in the evening from the Old mole. A boat arrived on the 11th from Faro, with dispatches to the Governor. The Brilliant frigate was ordered soon afterwards to be prepared for sea.
The enemy's cannonade from the land, except when the gunboats fired, was at this time so trifling, that it scarce deserved the name of a continuation. Our engineers were therefore employed in repairing the curtain of the Grand battery, the north face and flank of Montague's bastion, with the adjoining curtain; and though the men were much exposed in this duty, the enemy seldom if ever molested them. Their parties continued bringing various materials from the parallel to the post at the Devil's tower. We never allowed them to pass, or even appear, without a tremendous volley of shells, and grape, and fragments of stones, discharged from the summit of the rock. But our artillery were not solely engaged with the enemy in this quarter; every annoyance that could be devised was directed against them in all quarters. The ordnance, since the arrival of the last dispatches from Faro, were kept in as quick action as the metal would permit. A party of Corsicans were also stationed in the lines, to punish their patroles, who frequently had the audacity to approach within a few yards of the extremity. The evenings of the 18th and 19th, the enemy played off a number of rockets and other fireworks at Algeciras, accompanied with several discharges of cannon. They likewise saluted us from the lines with a volley of shells, and twentyone rounds of shot. We could not divine the cause of these rejoicings. On the 25th, some sparks of fire communicating to an ammunitionbox at Middlehill guard, the contents blew up, and carried away great part of the wall and guardhouse, bruising and burning several of the guard. The engineers were immediately ordered to repair the breach, and not quit the post till the works were in their original state. A reinforcement of a subaltern from the line, with a drum and twentyone rank and file, was ordered likewise to join that guard every evening; and other regulations relative to it were established.
On the 29th, Lieut. Angelo Raffaeli, of the Corsican company, was slightly wounded in the lines. In the evening, the gun and mortar boats, in number twentyeight, fired upon our shipping and the camp. They took their stations off Europa and Rosia, apparently determined to avoid the fire from the King's Bastion (which they had found so fatal to their enterprises), and directed their fire principally against the Brilliant frigate, which was then at anchor off BuenaVista, and the St. Michael in the New mole. Their land-batteries opened at the same time, directing a furious cannonade into the town, and along our northern front. The Garrison returned their fire with great vivacity, though not with their usual success. Our gunboats were also unfortunate, one of them being damaged very early in the action, and obliged to be towed in. We had three men killed, and eleven wounded; six of whom were of the 59th regiment. The enemy discharged from their boats two hundred and thirtysix shot, and two hundred and twentyfive shells ; and from the Isthmus, five hundred and fiftyfive shot, and two hundred and fortyfive shells; after which, the former retired, and the latter were silent. The next day, four gunboats fired upon the Brilliant, en passant, but soon retired. At night, a soldier of the artillery, who had been punished some time before, threw himself down the precipice from the Queen's battery at Willis's : he passed so quickly by the men on duty, that he was scarcely seen; and was not known till he was missing the next morning. In the course of the month, one of the 25th regiment deserted, and another of the 58th (who had been entertained from the number that remained behind of the prisoners, who were taken in the battertagships) was retaken in attempting to get off* Two boats came in also from Faro, and a third was intercepted in her passage.
February was introduced by
an animated fire from the Garrison. Every part of the enemy's works felt the
effects of our artillery. Thus affairs were proceeding, when on the 2d, letters
from the Duke de Crillon informed the Governor, that the preliminaries of a
general peace had been signed between
This return of tranquillity, this prospect of plenty, and relief from the daily vexations of so tedious a siege could not fail to diffuse a general joy throughout the Garrison. Indeed such feelings are seldom exerienced; they baffle all attempts to describe them: far beyond the pleasure resulting from private instances of success or good fortune, ours was a social happiness; and the benevolent sentiments acted upon the heart with additional energy, on the prospect of meeting those as friends, with whom we had been so long engaged in a succession of hostilities.
The Duke on the 6th,
informed the Governor that the preliminaries had been signed the 20th of January
In the beginning of March,
a schooner arrived from
When the cessation of
hostilities took place, parlies were almost daily passing between the Governor
and the Duke; and the Spanish Aidedecamps never omitted expressing their
surprise that the Governor had not yet heard from
The Duke, on the 18th, sent
the Governor a present of a grey Andalusian horse. The 22d, the St. Michael man
of war sailed for
The officers of the Garrison were introduced by corps to the Duke, at the Convent. When the artillery were mentioned, he received them in the most flattering manner : " Gentlemen," said his Grace, addressing himself to them, " I would rather see you here as friends, than on your batteries as enemies, where," added he, you never spared me." The Duke afterwards visited the batteries on the heights. At Willis's he made some remarks on the formidable appearance of the lower defences ; observing, whilst he pointed towards the Oldmole battery, that, had not his opinion been overruled, he should have directed all his efforts against that part of the Garrison." The good state of our batteries in so short a period produced some compliments to the chief engineer; and, when conducted into the gallery above Farringdon's battery,* his Grace was particularly astonished, especially when he was informed of its extent, which at that time was between five and six hundred feet. Turning to his suite, after exploring the extremity, These works," he exclaimed, " are worthy of the Romans." After dinner (at which were present the Generals and Brigadiers in the Garrison, with their suitesj he passed through the camp to Eixopa, each regiment turning out without arms, and giving three cheers. The youth and good appearance of the troops much engaged his attention. When his curiosity was gratified in that quarter, he returned, and was conducted about eight o'clock without Landport, being saluted with seventeen cannon on his departure. His horse startled at the flash of the guns, and almost, if not entirely unhorsed him; but he escaped without being hurt. The Duke, in the course of the conversation at dinner, paid many handsome compliments to the Governor and Garrison for their noble defence. u He " had exerted himself (he said) to the utmost of his " abilities; and, though he had not been successful, " yet he was happy in having his Sovereign's approba" tion of his conduct."
Before the Duke de Crillon entered the Garrison, the Count de Russigniac, Colonel in the French service, (who, the reader may remember, was very pressing for admittance into the Garrison some few days after the defeat of the battering-ships, and who, for the sole purpose of seeing the place, had remained behind) was admitted into the Garrison without the Duke's knowledge ; and being in the Fleche at Landport when the Duke was approaching from Forbes's, his Grace could not avoid seeing him. As he had entered without the Duke's permission, his Grace requested he might not see him at the Convent; and the Count being informed, withdrew into the Garrison, apparently much chagrined at the Duke's particularity. When his Grace returned, it was said, orders were given, not to permit the Count to go back by way of the lines. The following evening, however, after satisfying his curiosity in the Garrison, he returned.
The 2d of April, the Duke
de Crillon quitted the camp in his route to
His Majesty having been pleased to confer upon the Governor the Most Honourable Order of the Bath,* as a mark of His Royal approbation for the defence of Gibraltar ; and having signified his pleasure by Sir Roger Curtis, that LieutenantGeneral Boyd should act as His Majesty's representative in investing General Eliott with the insignia of the order, which ceremony was to be performed in as splendid and magnificent a manner as the state of the Garrison would permit; the engineers, soon after the arrival of the Thetis, began to erect a colonnade upon the rampart of the King's Bastion, that the honours might be conferred where the victory was gained. By the 23d of April (St. George's day) the colonnade was finished; and every preparation for the ceremony being completed, the Governor commenced by communicating to the troops the thanks of their King and Country for their defence of Gibraltar. Detachments from all the regiments and corps, with all the officers not on duty, were assembled in three lines on the Red sands at eight o'clock in the morning : and the Governor, taking post in the centre of the second line, and the usual compliments being paid, his Excellency addressed himself to the Garrison SL8 follows:
" I have assembled you this day, in order that the officers and soldiers may receive, in the most public manner, an authentic declaration transmitted to me by the Secretary of State, expressing the high sense His Majesty entertains of your meritorious conduct in defence of this Garrison. The King's satisfaction upon this event was soon divulged to all the world, by his most gracious speech to both Houses of Parliament. The House of Lords and the House of Commons not only made the suitable professions in their addresses to the Throne, but have severally enjoined me to communicate their unanimous thanks by the following resolutions:"
" Die Veneris, 13 Decembris, 1782.
" Resolved, nenrine dissentiente, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, that this House doth highly approve and acknowledge the services of the Officers, Soldiers, and Sailors, lately employed in the defence of Gibraltar ; and that General Elliot do signify the same to them."
" Die Jovis, 12 Decembris, 1782.
" Resolved, nemine
contradicente, that the thanks of this House [Commons] be given to Lieut.
General Boyd, Major General De la Motte, Major General Green. Chief engineer, to
Sir Roger Curtis, Knt., and to the Officers, Soldiers, and Sailors, lately
employed in the defence of
The Governor then proceeded:—u No army has ever been rewarded by higher national honours; and it is well known how great, universal, and spontaneous were the rejoicings throughout the kingdom, upon the news of your success. These must not only give you inexpressible pleasure, but afford matter of triumph to your dearest friends and latest posterity. As a farther proof how just your title is to such flattering distinctions at home, rest assured, from undoubted authority, that the nations in Europe, and other parts, are struck with admiration of your gallant behaviour : even our late resolute and determined antagonists do not scruple to bestow the commendations due to such valour and perseverance.
" I now most warmly congratulate you on these united and brilliant testimonies of approbation, amidst such numerous, such exalted tokens of applause: sad forgive me, faithful companions, if I humbly crave your acceptance of my grateful acknowledgements. I only presume to ask this favour, as having been a constant witness of your cheerful submission to the greatest hardships, your matchless spirit and exertions, and on all occasions, your heroic contempt of every danger."
A grand feudejoie was then fired by the line, each discharge commencing with a royal salute of twenty one guns. Three cheers closed the ceremony. The Commander in Chief, General and Field Officers, afterwards withdrew ; and the detachments (formed two deep) marched into town, and lined the streets leading from the Convent, by the Spanish church and Grand parade, to the King's bastion. About half past eleven o'clock, the procession began in the following order: all uncovered, and two deep, except the troops under arms.
MARSHAL. Music, 12th
Regiment, Playing, " See the conquering Hero comes," ARTILLERY.
ADJUTANTGENERAX, TOWNMAJOR, and DEPUTY ; With other STAFF OF THE GARRISON. First
Division of FIELD OFFICERS, youngest first. Music, 58th Regiment. THE
COMMISSIONER'S SECRETARY, Bearing on a crimson velvet cushion the Commission.
THE COMMISSIONER'S AIDE. DECAMPS. LIEUT. GENERAL BOYD, THE KING'S COMMISSONER.
THE GOVERNOR'S SECRETARY, Bearing, on a crimson velvet cushion, the Insignia of
the Order of the
THE KNIGHT ELECT;
Supported by Generals DE LA MOTTE and
GREEN, Aidedecamps to the Major Generals.
MAJOR GENERAL PICTON.
THE BRIGADIER GENERALS, eldest first.
Their Brigade Majors.
Music, De la Motte's.
Second Division of FIELD OFFICERS, eldest first.
Music, 56th Regiment.
THE GRENADIERS of the Garrison.
No compliment was paid to the Knight Elect; but, as the Commissioner passed, each regiment, with the officers, saluted. When the procession arrived at the Colonnade, the General and Field Officers placed themselves on each side of the Throne ; the artillery formed under the Colonnade, and the grenadiers, fronting the bastion, along the linewall. The proper reverences being made to the vacant Throne, the Commissioner desired his secretary to read the Commission: which being done, he addressed the Knight Elect in a short complimentary speech, taking the ribband at the conclusion and placing it over the Governor's shoulder, who inclined a little for that purpose : three reverences were then a second time made, and each took his seat on a crimson velvet chair on each side of the Throne, the Commissioner sitting on the right hand. The Governor was no sooner invested, than the music struck up God save the King. The grenadiers fired a volley, and a grand discharge of a hundred and sixty pieces of cannon was fired from the sealine. The procession then passed forwards through the colonnade, and returned in the same order. The detachments were afterwards dismissed, and each non-commissioned officer and private received a pound of fresh beef and a quart of wine. The Generals, with their suites, and the Fieldofficers, dined at the Convent. In the evening, the Colonnade was illuminated with different coloured lamps, and transparent paintings in the back scene : and Sir George Augustus Eliott, with the Lieutenant Governor, and principal officers of the Garrison, assembling at the King's bastion about nine o'clock, there was a display of fireworks from the north and south bastions, and the Spanish church ; the principal of which were fired from the latter, being opposite to the company.
Thus in festivity, and with honour, ended the labours of the Garrison of Gibraltar. During a period of THREE TEARS, SEVEN MONTHS, AND TWELVE DATS (that is, from the commencement of the blockade to the cessation of arms), we had experienced a continued series of watchfulness and fatigue, the horrors of famine, and every harassing and vexatious mode of attack, which a powerful, obstinate, and revengeful enemy could devise. On reviewing the transactions of this period, two circumstances cannot fail to strike the attentive reader; viz. the very slow manner in which the enemy proceeded in their operations, and the impossibility of maintaining so strict a blockade, as to prevent all communication by sea. To evince these, and other circumstances not unimportant to military readers, I have been reduced to greater accuracy and minuteness than ordinary historians are obliged to observe; and instead of the acuteness of investigation, or a splendid sententiousness, I have been necessitated to pursue the narrative, almost uninterruptedly, in the tedious form of a Journal. I have not presumed to intersperse many animadversions of my own : the only merit to which I can lay any claim, is that of a faithful narration of facts; and I confess, I would at any time rather walk in the beaten track of truth, than mislead the judgment of my readers to the wilds of fancy and conjecture.
A return of casualties is annexed; also the expenditure of ammunition, both by the Enemy and the Garrison. These papers, as well as the estimate of provisions, I thought better to throw into the form of an appendix, than to interrupt the narrative by their insertion.