« AnteriorContinuar »
and the phone with the posted our hefin which we co by
the island, and boats; the only point side, where it is which it was
“ It is necessary here to observe, that as the Moro Castle completely commands the passage into the harbour, the enemy kept open their communications with the southern and western part of the island, and even teazed and harassed our left flank with their numerous gun-boats; the only point, therefore, on which we could attack the town, was on the eastern side, where it is defended by the castle and lines of St. Christopher, to approach which it was necessary to force our way over the lagoon which forms this side of the island. This passage was strongly defended by two redoubts and gun-boats, and the enemy had destroyed the bridge which connects, in the narrowest channel, the island with the main land. After every effort on our part, we never could sufficiently silence the fire of the enemy, (who had likewise entrenched themselves in the rear of these redoubts,) to hazard forcing the passage into the island with so small a force; and this, indeed, would have been in vain, as the enemy could support a fire ten times more powerful than we could have brought against them. The only thing left was to endeavour to bombard the town from a point to the southward of it, near to a large magazine abandoned by the enemy; this was tried for several days, without any great effect, on account of the distance. It appearing, therefore, that no act of vigour on our part, nor that any combined operation between the sea and land service could in any manner avail, I determined to withdraw, and to reimbark the troops, which was done on the night of the 30th of April, with the greatest order and regularity ; all our artillery and stores were brought off, except seven iron guns, four iron mortars, and two brass howitzers, which were rendered unserviceable, it being impossible to remove them. Not a sick or wounded soldier was left behind, and nothing of any value fell into the hands of the enemy. During the whole of our operations, I have experienced from Admiral Harvey the most cordial co-operation, and every act of personal kindness. At my request he landed 300 seamen, under Captains Toddy and Brown, of the royal navy, to whose exertions while on shore we are under the greatest obligations. From the arrangements of the admiral, the landing and reimbarking of the troops were conducted in the best order. To Captain Renou of the royal navy, principal agent of the transports, I desire to express the sense I have of his good conduct upon all occasions."
Four Spanish brass field pieces were brought off. The British loss in killed, wounded, and missing, was 225. Extract from a dispatch from Lieutenant-Colonel Simcoe, com
manding the British troops in St. Domingo, to the British
government, dated Port-au-Prince, May the 8th, 1797. “ In my letter of the 13th of April, I have done myself the honour of informing you, that the army of the enemy under Toussaint, after the unexpected evacuation of Mirebalais, has possessed itself of Grand Bois; while the division of their forces on the side of Leogane continued to fire with cannon against Grenier.
66 The preservation of these posts was an object of considerable moment; every method was taken, in case of their loss, to guard the mountain, and to dispute the ground on which the enemy could place their howitzers for the destruction of Port-au-Prince, the object which was supposed to be in their contemplation. But, as it was evident that the army of Toussaint could not be prevented from crossing the plain, and, under this impression, the Baron Montalembert had obtained my permission to evacuate the post of
Thomazeau, at the foot of the mountains of Grand Bois, I determined to take the guns in the battery against Grenier, that in case the armies of Toussaint and Leogane should join, they might be totally without cannon, which could not be well brought across the plain of the Cul de Sac ; and, without cannon, the junction or separation of their armies was equally indifferent. Colonel Dessources was therefore placed at the head of 2000 troops, and such preparatory arrangements were made, as provided for the protection of L'Arcahaye, and were well calculated to mislead the enemy; and such feints were directed as might distract their attention.
« The attack was intended to have taken place on the 15th of April, but the wind did not permit the arrival of Colonel Dessources with his regiment until the 26th, when he marched early in the morning from Port-au-Prince to Tourmier. The enemy, as was their custom, placed some troops in ambuscade, who were soon dispersed, and the King's forces arrived at Tourmier with little loss. The enemy had occupied two posts on the crest of the mountain of L'Hospitre, on each side of Tourmier, and nearly at two miles distance from it, at the habitations of Boutillier and St. Laurent. It was necessary to dislodge them from these positions ; Colonel de Peyster was therefore detached to Boutillier, from which, with his usual gallantry and good conduct, he drove the enemy. The post of St. Laurent was more obstinately defended ; and, by the unfortunate loss of Major Pouchet, who was killed in leading on the Jeremie troops, they were thrown into confusion, nor was the post taken till a greater force, with cannon, appeared against it. The delay occasioned by the defence of St. Laurent induced Colonel Dessources to postpone the attack of the battery till the next day; and that intelligent officer employed the remainder of the night in making such preparations as were necessary to insure the success of this enterprise. The defence of the Cul de Sac was entrusted to the Baron Montalembert, who made a considerable detachment to the pass, where the road from Leogane by Grenier enters the plain. This detachment was skilfully conducted by Major O'Gorman. It attracted the notice of considerable bodies of the enemy, and, on its return to the Croix des Bouquets in the evening, was attacked on all sides by small parties, who were repulsed. Toussaint entered the plain in the course of the day, and marched to the side of the Croix des Bouquets, actuated, as it is said, by some vague report of that important post being to be abandoned on his first appearance. His cavalry fell in with the advanced posts of the Baron Montalembert's cavalry, under the command of Captain Comte Manoux. That officer collecting his troops, immediately charged the enemy with great vivacity, when they fled, and withdrew with the utmost expedition to the mountain. In the mean time, Captain Conchet, of his Majesty's ship Abergavenny, with some armed vessels, proceeded off Leogane, which place has been effectually blockaded since my arrival at Port-auPrince, and made various demonstrations to draw the enemy's attention to that side. I am happy in this opportunity to express how much I am beholden to the zeal and promptitude with which Captain Conchet has assisted me in promoting his Majesty's service.
“ On the morning of the 17th, Colonel Dessources, having made his dispositions, marched in two columns, the left to Grenier, under the direction of Colonel De Peyster, in which was the British detachment commanded by Major Clay. The right column, under the direction of Colonel Vicomte d'Alzune, descended from St. Laurent. Upon the division of the left arriving in the bottom which separated the post of Grenier from the enemy's battery, it turned to the right and joined the column that had marched from St. Laurent. The fog and haze in the bottom prevented the enemy from seeing this movement. It was also concealed by the judicious manner in which Captain Spicer of the royal artillery threw shells from the heights of Fournier from an howitzer and carronade, directing them against the various ambuscades and defences which the enemy had thrown up to protect their battery from any attack in its front or on its right.
“On the junction of this division to one column, Colonel Dessources proceeded through a most difficult and inaccessible country to turn the left of the enemy's battery and the works which supported it, having left troops on the heights of St. Laurent to secure his retreat, and Major Clay to protect him from any attack made by the road from Leogane. As the colonel approached the flank of the battery and that of the breastwork which defended it, he successively broke his troops into divisions, which kept the enemy's force in check and suspense, until another division under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dessources had, to their great surprise, possessed themselves of the heights considerably beyond them ; when, after an ineffectual resistance, they fled on all sides, and left Colonel Dessources in possession of their battery, the work of several months, and of the gun which they had in the preceding night withdrawn from it, for the defence of their breastwork.
“ This critical enterprize, I am happy to say, was effected with but little loss, and by its success I was freed from any apprehensions from the junction of the enemy's army. I am persuaded this additional proof of Colonel Dessources' military ability and spirit will meet with his Majesty's approbation. That officer speaks in the highest terms of the behaviour of the troops under his command, of the officers who commanded the columns, and in a particular manner of the Captains Rodanes, Conegrat, and Monchet, of the colonial forces, who formed his advanced guard, and to their intrepidity and conduct he attributes much of the success of his operations.
** As the troops were assembling to proceed to other objects which I thought of importance for the King's service, I was informed by Brigadier-General Churchill of an attack that had been made at Irois, where, though the enemy had been fortunately repulsed in the assault upon that post, they still continued to invest it, and to threaten its siege. No time was lost in detaching the honourable Colonel Maitland with a sufficient force to the assistance of that officer. On his arrival, Brigadier-General Churchill informed him of the repulse of the enemy.”
The English lost between forty and fifty in killed and wounded.
Upon the 30th of May, Brigadier-General Churchill proceeded to attack the post of Mirebalais. After two very hot days' march he arrived at Port Michell, occupied by about fifty of the enemy, who retired as the English approached. In the evening, Colonel Dessources, unable to proceed to the place he was ordered, joined General Churchill, and enabled him to drive the enemy from an advantageous position they had taken, without any loss to the British, driving some of them into the Artibonite, and taking two of their guns. The retreat of the enemy gave the fort of Mirebalais to the English.
Troops were now sent to protect St. Marc's from an attack prepared against it at Gonaives; and at the same time Colonel the Count de Rouvray, with 300 men, was detached to attack a camp of the brigands on the side of Leogane. He effectually drove the enemy from their several posts, killed between forty and fifty, burnt the camp, and returned to Grenier, with the loss of two killed and seven wounded
The enemy attacked St. Marc, and carried the out-posts, but were afterwards driven from before it with considerable loss.
On the night of the 20th of April, General Rigaud, with 1200 picked men, attacked the British posts at Irois in St. Domingo. At midnight, they attemped to storm the fort, in which there was only at the time twenty five men of the 17th regiment, with their officers commanded by Lieutenant Talbot of the 82d regiment, and about twenty colonial artillery men. The assailants returned to the charge three several times : many of them were killed in the fort. Colonel Degress, with 350 men of Prince Edward's black chasseurs, cut their way through to the relief of the fort, and saved the place, which was repeatedly attacked until morning, when the assailants retired, leaving the fort surrounded with their dead, and took post on an eminence, in spite of a sortie that was made with some advantage. On the 22d, Rigaud's troops made an incursion, and burnt the Bourg d'Anse Marie, and made an attack upon Fort L'Islet, from whence they were driven with great loss. In the mean time they were making preparations for a regular siege of Irois, when Captain Ricketts, in his Majesty's ship Magicienne, in company with the Regulus and Fortune, attacked their small fleet in the Bay des Carcasses. • Lieutenant-General Simcoe, in his dispatch, dated Port-au-Prince, June 20th, 1797, says, “ I do myself the honour of enclosing General Churchill's report of the attack made by the enemy on the Grand Anse, and the repulse they met with in that quarter. The brigadier-general acknowledges in the strongest manner the services which Captain Ricketts, of the Magicienne, with the squadron under his command, effected in the destruction of the vessels of the enemy in Carcass Bay.”
Brigadier-General Churchill, in his letter, dated Jeremie, April 30, says, “In the mean time the enemy were making every disposition for a regular siege of Irois, when fortunately the Magicienne frigate, commanded by Captain Ricketts,. attacked their small fleet in the Bay of Carcasses, and sunk the vessels loaded with cannon and military stores for the siege.”
Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, in his dispatch to Evan Nepean, Esq., dated June 11, 1797, says, “I have the pleasure to acquaint you, for their lordships' information, that the Grand Anse is acknowledged to be saved by the spirited and well-timed attack made by Captain Ricketts, of his Majesty's ship Magicienne, upon the enemy's transports of provisions and ammunition in Carcass Bay, for the particulars of which I beg to refer you to a copy of Captain Ricketts' letter.”
“ La Magicienne, April 24, 1797. “ I beg leave to inform you, that on Sunday the 23d instant, when doubling Cape Tiburon, in company with his Majesty's ships Regulus and Fortune schooner, we discovered a six-gun privateer sloop, and four schooners, at anchor in this bay, which convinced me that the port of Irois was attacked. Soon after, the alarm gun
Naval Chronicle, vol. xx.-pp. 5. 6.