Imágenes de páginas

of lieut. Nor

landing with her 18-pounder carronade. Lieutenant 1810. Norman, with the pinnace, kept close to the launch ; Aug. and lieutenant Chads, with the Iphigenia's cutter and the two remaining boats, was close astern of the launch and pinnace. Just as the boats, in this order, were approaching the landing place, the enemy discovered them, and opened a fire, which killed two men and wounded three or four in the launch, and did nearly as much execution in the pinnace.

Dashing on, however, the boats gained the landing place without further loss. Lieutenants Norman and Watling now attempted to scale the works, but failed in accomplishing their object. Lieutenant Norman was in the act of turning away to try Death another spot, when the sentinel over head shot him through the heart. The man was immediately shot man. by one of the launch's men, and the seamen, headed by lieutenant Watling, quickly scaled the walls. A stout resistance followed; and it was not until the British had lost, in all, seven men killed and 18 wounded, that they succeeded in driving the French from the works. After rallying his men, lieutenant Watling proceeded to attack the batteries on the south-east side, when he was met by lieutenant Lieut. Chads; who had landed at another point of the and island, and, in the most gallant manner, had stormed Watand carried the works in that direction, without, as carry it appears, the loss of a man. The two lieutenants having united their forces, the french commandant offered no further opposition, but surrendered at discretion. This he did in such haste as to forget to destroy his signals, the whole of which fell into the hands of the conquerors.

We cannot understand how it happened, that the No offiofficial account of this very dashing exploit did not count find its way into the London Gazette. The fol- exploit lowing extract of a letter, from commodore Rowley to vice-admiral Bertie, shows that the first-named

the island,

in the Gazette,


2 D

1810. officer forwarded captain Pym's letter : “ I had the

honour to transmit to you, on the 31st of August, Aug.

captain Pym's report of a gallant and successful attack by his boats on the Isle de la Passe, and I beg to second his recommendation of lieutenants Chads and Watling for their conduct on that occasion.” As the names stand here, so was the senjority of these two lieutenants; and consequently, in our humble view, lieutenant Chads took the command after the death of lieutenant Norman. But here follows a paragaph in a document bearing the signature of captain Pym ::“I do further certify, that the conduct of the said lieutenant Watling in the attack of l'Isle de Passe, under lieutenant Norman of the Sirius, was truly gallant, and that after the latter was killed, by his (lieutenant W.'s) side in the moment of victory, he took the command."

As far as respects the merits of these two young officers, the question is of no moment: each was equally gallant and equally successful; but still the responsibility, which in enterprises of this kind attaches to the commanding officer, confers upon him the paramount claim to reward.

If captain Pym, in his official letter placed his lieutenant the first, the board of admiralty, knowing that lieutenant Chads was nearly two years senior to lieutenant Watling, may, on that sole account, have withheld the publication of captain Pym's letter. Whatever was the cause, the non-appearance of the letter in the Gazette was truly unfortunate ; as one of the two officers undoubtedly lost his promotion by it, and both were deprived of a strong public testimonial

in their favour. Capt. Considering it not unlikely that, from his long ton's professional experience, the post captain, who is one

of our contemporaries, would throw some light on the subject, we naturally turned to his pages. Our surprise may be judged, when we perused as follows:

Its ill effect upon the commanding officer.

Brenac. count.

" Captain Pym, who had been stationed off the Isle 1810. of France, and particularly off Port Imperial, on Aug. the south-east or weather side of the island, con, ceived the possibility of more effectually preventing the ingress of the enemy's ships to the harbour, by occupying the Isle de la Passe, which completely commanded the narrows; he therefore stormed and carried it with the loss of 18 of his men killed and wounded.”* Let us hasten to do captain Pym the justice to declare our persuasion, that he had no share in this mistatement, by reason that a very different version of the affair is given in the captain's biography;t although, as in most of his other cases, Mr. Marshall appears to have had a direct communication with his officer.

On the 14th, in the morning, the Néréide and NéréStaunch joined company; and on the 15th captain lands Pym gave charge of Isle de la Passe to captain troops Willoughby, and made sail to rejoin the Iphigenia de la off Port-Louis. On the 16th, which appears to have Passe. been as soon as captain Pym's order reached him, captain Willoughby, having got back his pilot, entered the channel, and anchored the Néréide and Staunch in a small bight of deep water just at the back of the island. He then placed, as a garrison upon Isle de la Passe, 50 of his grenadiers, with captain Todd as the commandant, and immediately proceeded, in company with lievitenant Davis of the Madras engineers, to reconnoitre the enemy's coast; where, like a second lord Cochrane, captain Willoughby soon began his bold and annoying attacks.

On the 17th, at 1 A. M., having embarked in the Capt. boats lieutenants Morlett and Needhall, and 50 men

loughof the 33d and 69th regiments, lieutenant Aldwinkle by and 12 artillerymen from the Staunch, lieutenant lands at Davis of the Madras engineers, lieutenants of ma- naille. rines Thomas Robert Pye and Thomas S. Cox and

* Brenton, vol. iv. p. 465. + Marshall, vol. ii. p. 717.


and carries


Marchesalong the tributes proclama-tions.

1810. 50 of their corps, lieutenant Henry Collins Deacon, Aug;

and acting lieutenant William Weiss, and 50 seamen, total 170 officers and men, captain Willoughby proceeded to attack the fort on Pointe du Diable, commanding the small, or north-eastern passage

into Grand-Port. Before daylight the captain and Storms his party landed at Canaille du Bois, and after a

march of six miles reached the fort; which they Fort du immediately stormed and carried without the loss

of a man, although, in defending their post, the french commanding officer and three men were killed, and three gunners taken prisoners.

Having, during a three hours, halt, spiked eight

24-pounders and two 13-inch mortars, burnt the and dis- carriages, blown up the magazine, and embarked

a 13-inch brass mortar in a new prame well calculated for carrying troops or guns over flats, captain Willoughby moved on to the old town of Grand-Port, a distance of 12 miles, leaving, in the houses and villages through which he and his men passed, the proclamations with which he had been · intrusted. On the whole of their way along the coast, the party were attended by three boats, two belonging to the Néréide and one to the Staunch, fitted as gun-boats and commanded by lieutenant Deacon; who so completely covered the road of march, that,

except on one occasion, no enemy could show himself. Defeats On that occasion a strong party, under general

Vandermaesen, the second in command on the island,

attacked the british detachment, but were soon enemy. put to the rout with the loss of six men killed and

wounded. Having, by sunset, succeeded in every object for which the landing had been undertaken, and gained from some of the most respectable inhabitants and well-wishers to the English the most satisfactory information, captain Willoughby returned on board the Néréide.

On the 18th, in the morning, wishing to learn the effect of the proclamations delivered on the preceding day, captain Willoughby again landed with the same

a detachment of the

Lands a second time.

force, taking the Staunch in with him, to support 1810. the detachment, and, if necessary, cover its retreat. Aug. Captain Willoughby pushed forward, and destroyed the signal-house, staff, &c. at Grande-Rivière, and perceived that the enemy had 700 or 800 men in or near the battery, but upon the opposite side of the river. He then returned to Pointe du Diable, and, after continuing there three hours, blowing up the remaining works, moved on to Canaille du Bois ; whence the captain and his party embarked at sunset, leaving the Staunch at anchor near the spot. The gun-brig, however, soon afterwards weighed and proceeded round to Port-Louis.

During the whole of this march of nearly 22 miles Good in an enemy's territory, captain Willoughby sus- of his tained no greater loss than lieutenant Davis slightly, forand one private of artillery badly wounded, and ance to one sergeant of artillery missing, supposed to have molest deserted. This forbearance on the part of the habitislanders was in a great measure attributable, no c. doubt, to the orderly manner in which the british soldiers, marines, and seamen conducted themselves, and to the strict attention they paid to their commander's orders, to abstain from giving offence to the inhabitants by pilfering the slightest article of their property. Even the sugar and coffee, laid aside for exportation, and usually considered as legitimate objects of seizure, remained untouched; and the invaders, when they quitted the shore for their ship, left behind them a high character, not merely for gallantry, but for a rigid adherence to promises. The success of the enterprise, however, would have been very problematical, had not the commanding officer possessed qualities rarely found in one individual, an undaunted intrepidity blended with the utmost suavity of manners.

On the 19th and 20th captain Willoughby again Lands landed; and, as there were no more batteries in that

again. quarter to attack and destroy, and no opposition was offered to him by either the regular troops in

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