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to make the attack
1810. frustrated the plan of a surprise by the ships; and, July against a place of such alleged strength as Banda
Neira, an attack in open day, by all the force which the little squadron could muster, promised very little
At 9h. 30 m. P. M. the ships again brought Capt. to, and at 10 P. M. the moon set. Soon afterwards the
night became dark and squally. This sudden change solves in the weather suggested to captain Cole the idea of
a surprise by boats; for, although the Dutch had
seen the ships, it was fairly inferred that they would by his not give the British credit for making, under all the boats. circumstances of the case, so hazardous an attempt.
The excellent arrangements that had been adopted rendered signals unnecessary; and the ships closed
near enough to each other, to receive directions by Boats the trumpet. Scarcely had the men rested half an
hour with their arms by their sides, than they were summoned to the boats; and at a little before 11 P. M., the ships having then dropped within two cables length of the shore, about 400 officers and men, under the immediate command of captain Cole, pushed off from the Caroline, shaping their course towards the east point of Great Bạnda. It is doubtful if there were quite so many as 400 men; for some of the soldiers intended to be of the party were left on board the Caroline for want of room in the boats, and the launch of the Piémontaise, in the dark and tempestuous weather which prevailed, went adrift with only half her allotted number.
The badness of the weather, and the increased persed darkness of the night, made it next to impossible for by bad the boats to keep together; and, by 3 A. M. on the ther. 9th, none of the party had assembled at the point of
rendezvous, except captains Cole and Kenah, in their respective gigs. About this time the three ships suddenly made their appearance within 100 yards of the two gigs; and captain Cole, on going alongside the Piémontaise, had the satisfaction to learn from captain Foote, that he had passed some of the boats at a short distance astern. Pulling in that
direction, captain Cole soon met a portion of his 1810. boats; and, receiving from the men in them the most July. animated assurances of support, he resolved to make Capt
. the attack, without waiting for the remainder of the Cole party. This was a measure the more necessary, as part of the boats had still to pull three miles to the point of the disembarkation; and that darkness, on which their resolves success rested, was fast disappearing before the grey make tints of the morning. The commencing twilight now the discovered the shore of an island, known to be BandaNeira; and the two large fires, blazing near the north point of it, indicated that the Dutch, as captain Cole had judged would be the case, were collected there, in expectation that the attack, for which the two signal guns at Rosensgen had prepared them, would be made on the same spot on which admiral Rainier's forces had formerly landed.
The group of islands, of which Banda-Neira is the decapital, are 10 in number; six of which are named, sieripof Lontor, or Great Banda, Goonong-Api, Rosensgen, the dePulo-Ay, and Pulo-Rhun. Banda Neira is about two miles long and about three quarters of a mile wide; Banda is extremely mountainous, and contains
many excellent positions for repelling an invading force. At the time in question it possessed 10 sea-batteries, exclusive of Casteel-Belgica and Casteel-Nassau. The first of these castles, mounting 52 pieces of heavy cannon, commanded the other, as well as all the sea-defences at that extremity of the island, and was deemed, by the Dutch at least, an impregnable fortress; and the whole number of guns mounted for the defence of the island was 138. The garrison of Banda-Neira, as we shall by and by satisfactorily show, amounted to 700 regular troops, and at least 800 militia; making a total of 1500 men. The party, Strength now rapidly and silently advancing to surprise this tackforce, consisted of 140 british seamen and marines, ing and about 40 soldiers of the Madras european regiment, under the command, as already stated, of captain Cole, assisted by captain Kenah, and by the
1810, following officers: lieutenants Thomas Carew, Samuel July. Allen, George Pratt, Robert Walker, and Edmund
Lyons, of the navy, captain-lieutenant Nixon, lieutenants Charles W. Yates, Philip Brown, and William Jones Daker, and ensign Charles Allen, of the Madras troops.
Just as a black cloud, attended by wind and rain, ground
had thrown a temporary darkness over the island of coral Banda-Neira, the british boats grounded on a coral
reef, situated within 100 yards of the shore, and, although unknown at the time, directly opposite to the battery of Voorzigtigheid, mounting 10 long 18-pounders. Such, however, was the violence of the storm, that the garrison at this battery remained in utter ignorance of what was going on so near to
them; and the officers and men, leaping into the British water, launched their boats over the reef. Shortly land. afterwards the British landed in a small sandy cove
bordered with jungle; and the men were quickly formed, as well as the pitchy darkness of the morning would admit. That done, captain Kenah and lieutenant Carew, at the head of a party of pike
men, advanced to take the battery in the rear. Storm This service was so promptly and effectually exe
cuted, that the sentinel was killed, and an officer battery and 60 men made prisoners, without the firing of
a pistol, although the enemy was at his guns with matches lighted. Captain Kenah had been directed to storm the next sea-battery, also mounting ten
18-pounders; but captain Cole, being resolved to Capt. take the bull by the horns, or, in other words, to march- attempt carrying the castle of Belgica by a coup-dees to main, recalied captain Kenah and his party, and,
leaving a small guard at the captured battery, pushed of Bel- on, with the aid of one of his native guides, through gica. a narrow path that skirted the town, towards the
dutch citadel, about half a mile distant.
The sound of the bugle was now spreading the
alarm over the island; but, favoured by the storm eekend that was raging over head, and making a rapid march,
The castle storm
the British arrived within 100 yards of the citadel- 1810. ditch before they were discovered. An ineffectual July. fire of musketry was now opened from the ramparts. Regardless of this, the brave fellows rushed up the steep ascent; and, placing their scaling-ladders between the guns upon the outer pentagon, which, owing to the rain, burnt priming, were in an instant in possession of the lower works. The ladders were quickly hauled up and placed against the inner wall, but were found too short. This appeared to inspire the besieged with fresh courage, and three guns and several volleys of musketry were discharged; but the stormers soon found another way into the heart of the citadel. Just at this moment the gate was opened by the dutch guard, to admit the colonelcommandant, During, and three other officers, who lived in houses at the foot of the hill. At that gateway the British now made their rush. The dutch colonel fell, covered with honourable wounds; and, after a slight skirmish, in which 10 others of the garrison shared the fate of their commanding officer, the british colours waved at the flagstaff of the castle of Belgica.
“ With such examples," says captain Cole, in allusion to his officers, our brave fellows swept the ramparts like a whirlwind; and, in addition to count the providential circumstance of the service being performed with scarcely a hurt or wound, I have the duct satisfaction of reporting, that there was no instance of irregularity arising from success.” A part of the garrison, in the panic that prevailed, escaped over the walls; and the remainder, amounting to four officers and about 40 artillery-men,* surrendered themselves prisoners. Just as all this had been accomplished,“ the day beamed on the british flag,” and discovered to the new garrison of Belgica, the fort of Nassau, the town, and the different seadefences, at their feet; but, as some drawback to
* The official account, by mistake, says two officers and 30
Capt. Cole's ac
of the con
of his men.
roline and Pié
1810, the joy of the British at their extraordinary success, July, no ships were to be seen, nor even the boats con
taining the remainder of the landing party. While a flag of truce is being despatched to the dutch governor-general, we will pay some attention to the Caroline and her consorts, and also to the missing boats.
Immediately after the boats, containing captain ings of
Cole and his party, had pushed off from the Caroline, the Ca- the latter made a short stretch off; then tacked, and
at 1 A. M. on the 9th, followed by the Piémontaise,
rounded the east point of Great Banda, close to the taise. shore, and entered the outer harbour, or that formed
by the north-west side of Great Banda, by the islands of Goonong-Api and Neira, and by the two still smaller islands of Pulo-Ay and Pulo-Rhun to the eastward of the latter. The wind now became so baffling, and was attended with such heavy gusts, that, the ships were frequently obliged to lower their topsails ; not being able, in their short-manned state, to work the yards quick enough to keep them trimmed to the breeze. At 2 A. M. the Piémontaise hailed the Caroline, and informed lieutenant John Gilmour, the officer in charge of her, that captain Cole had hailed to say, that he and captain Kenah had missed the boats at the rendezvous;* and that, meaning to defer the attack till a more favourable opportunity, he wished the Caroline, who had a pilot on board, to lead in to an anchorage. Every exertion was now used to approach the land; and the Caroline frequently got within her own length of it, but could not find bottom with the deepest line. Then a squall would pay her head right off, and in another moment she would be becalmed and
ungovernable. At one time the Piémontaise, baffled in a similar manner, made stern-way at the rate of seven or eight knots an hour, and only avoided running foul of the Caroline by bearing up: the consequence of which was, that the Piémontaise lost as much ground in a
* See p. 466.