Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

other small islands dependent on it, and I am sure it will give you no small pleasure to hear the share I have had in every part of the expedition. The value and importance of these islands can only be judged of by those who are witness to their high cultivation, richness, and the increase of trade that will consequently arise from their being in our possession. All our good fortune may be attributed to the unanimity of the two corps; the hearty zeal with which they have acted together, and the vigorous talents and measures of the two commanders-in-chief. His Royal Highness Prince Edward, who has been on service with us, embarks on board the Blanche to-morrow, when we sail for Halifax ; and the ship will be refitted there, and remain on the coast of America until the ensuing October, when I return hither for the rest of the war."

From Halifax, 18th May, he wrote again to his mother, stating his having had a pleasant passage of eleven days, and that Prince Edward was “ a pleasant kind companion.” — " The Dædalus, a British frigate,” he says, “ has been kept in port these last five months by superior force. The Blanche, I trust, will be ready for sea in a few days, and I mean, without a moments delay, to proceed to her relief.-In a former letter I related to you my receiving a shot in a cartouch-box that was buckled round the centre of my body; since which I commanded a detachment of seamen at the storming the strong fort of Fleur d'Epée at Guadaloupe, and which was thought impracticable to be taken by assault. The grenadiers, light infantry, and seamen, were sent on this service. The side of the mountain which the seamen had to get up was almost perpendicular, and defended by nature and art. All difficulties were overcome : but by the time we got upon the ramparts, we were so blown, and our strength so exhausted, that the strongest amongst us were unmanned. I was attacked by two Frenchmen, one of whom made a thrust at me with his bayonet, which went through the arm of my coat without wounding me, and the other made a blow at me, which I parried, and he eluded mine in return, but immediately sprung upon me, clasping his arms round my neck, and, fixing his teeth in the breast of my shirt, wrenched the sword out of my hand, and tripped me up; falling with great violence upon the ground, with this French officer upon me. In this situation two of my own seamen flew to my relief, and saved my life, and at a moment when the man upon me had his hand lifted up to stab me. An escape so providential, and an event so critical, calls for my warmest thanks to the Almighty. The conquest of this fort determined the fate of Guadaloupe: the troops, who had intended before to make a vigorous opposition, now ran before us, and we had little to do afterwards but to march through the island - a march indeed of great severity in a climate so

unhealthy. Thus ended the conquest of the French West Indies before the rainy season had set in, which alone might have frustrated all our hopes.”

On the 5th of May, 2377 men from England arrived at Barbadoes. General Grey detained eight battalion companies of the 35th, and sent eight flank companies of his own army, in their stead, to proceed to Jamaica. One hundred died on the passage, and 150 more were left dying at Port Royal. The survivors were sent to Port-au-Prince, where, within two months, 640 British troops perished by sickness only.

On the 3d of June, a French squadron, consisting of two fifty-gun ships, one of forty guns, « armé en fûte," one frigate, and five transports, appeared off Guadaloupe.

On the 6th of June, Sir John Jervis received information at St. Christopher's that a French armament was off Point à Petre: he sailed immediately, and, on the afternoon of the 7th, landed Sir C. Grey at Basse Terre, and proceeded to Point à Petre, where he found that the French, on the preceding day, had, with 1500 troops, forced Fort Fleur d’Epée, and the other forts, and were in possession of the town. Colonel Drummond had twice repulsed the French in their attack upon Fleur d'Epée; but the French royalists, in the hope of obtaining mercy, insisted on the gates being thrown open. The British troops crossed over to Basse Terre. At this time General Arnold, of American notoriety, fell into the hands of the French: he changed his name to Anderson, and escaped from the prison ship on a small raft, from which he got into a canoe, and went on board the British admiral's ship.

Whatever troops could be spared from the other islands were sent to assist Sir Charles Grey at Guadaloupe. Many skirmishes took place between the 19th of June and the 1st of July, when, with the hopes of finishing the campaign at one blow, it was planned that Brigadier-General Symes should in the night take possession of the heights round the town of Point à Petre, while the general himself from the heights, of Mascot should be in readiness, on the brigadier's making a signal, to storm Fort Fleur d’Epée. The brigadier was misled by his guides : the troops entered the town at the wrong place, where it was impossible to scale the walls of the fort. After losing between four and five hundred men, he was obliged to retreat, mortally wounded.

All attempts to regain Grande Terre were now abandoned, until reinforcements should arrive ; and the English occupied a line between St. John's Point and Bay Mahault. The head quarters were at camp Berville. The climate soon diminished their numbers. In September the army was inadequate to supply the guards for the different batteries : some companies had not a man

o tever tharles GreOf June

doing duty, and the 43d regiment had only a corporal and three men fit for duty.

On the 26th of September, the French under Victor Hughes, with a large body of armed Blacks and Mulattoes, in small vessels, passed the English fleet in the night, and made good their landing in two detachments, one at Goyave, the other at Bay Mahault. The latter immediately marched to Gabarre, and the former to Petit Bourg. Lieutenant-Colonel Drummond, with some convalescents from the hospital, and a party of royalists, took post at a battery upon Point Bacchus : they were soon surrounded, the battery taken, and the whole party made prisoners. This deprived the British of all communication with the shipping. The French then formed a junction with the other detachment which had landed at Bay Mahault, and by this means completely invested the camp at Berville; its whole strength, including sick and convalescents, were 250 regulars and 300 royalists. They were attacked on the morning of the 29th, and, after a conflict of three hours, defeated their assailants. They repulsed another attack upon the 30th, and one on the 4th of October

The increased numbers of the French, and the impossibility of opening a communication with the fleet, induced General Graham, on the 6th, to send a flag to the French commissioner, with terms of capitulation. Those which related to the royalists were declared inadmissible; and the sanction of a covered boat, in which twenty-five of them went to the admiral's ship, was all that could be obtained. Upwards of 300 were left to the vengeance of the republicans. Finding themselves excluded from the capitulation, they solicited permission to attempt cutting their way through the enemy. This unfortunatly was refused, with the hope that Victor Hughes would relent on their surrender; but he ordered a guillotine to be erected, with which fifty were beheaded in an hour. Even this was thought too slow : the remainder were fettered to each other, placed on the brink of the trenches they had defended, and shot. The killed dragged the wounded, and some that in all probability were untouched, with their falling weight, into the ditch, where the soil was immediately thrown upon them—the living, the wounded, and the dead together!

The whole island, with the exception of Fort Matilda, was now in the hands of the French. General Prescott sustained a siege from the 14th of October until the 10th of December, when the fort being no longer tenable, and his garrison reduced, he silently evacuated it.

Vice-Admiral Caldwell, with reinforcements under the command of General Sir John Vaughan, arrived too late to save the island; and on the 27th of November, Sir John Jervis and Sir Charles Grey sailed for England.

und bin Spain med but bad aictor Hughes variety

When the republicans entered the fortress which General Prescott had evacuated, Victor Hughes ordered the monumental stone placed over the body of Major-General Dundas to be destroyed, and the body to be taken up and thrown into the river Gallion.

If the greater atrocities committed by the apt pupils of Buonaparte had not outraged humanity beyond all precedent, and in a variety of ways too horrible to relate, the character of Victor Hughes might have claimed pre-eminence of infamy; but bad and fiend-like as he was, subsequent events in Spain and Portugal have proved that even his atrocities could be surpassed.

Captain Faulknor's Letter to Prince Edward. 6 SIR, “ In obedience to the commands of your R. H., I embrace the earliest occasion of transmitting, as well as I have had the power to collect, the several events which have occurred since your R. H. left the West Indies.

« The uncertain situation of a cruizing frigate, and my being dispatched a few hours after the Blanche's arrival to protect the north side of Guadaloupe, afforded me but little opportunity to make inquiry, and enables me still less to give a regular account, when such innumerable changes have arisen in so short a space of time. In reciting the unpleasant aspect of our affairs at this island, it will be impossible to prevent mentioning many painful circumstances ; but when I contemplate the situation of this country in April last, where your R. H. had shone with such distinguished bravery and merit, and at the head of troops worthy of being thus led and inspired by the leader,—what a sad reverse now, to behold the havoc of mortality, and the fruits of one unfortunate military error, which happened at Point à Petre, soon after the reinforcement had landed from France.

“ That I may not, however, have reference to this out of its place, I will return to the period of my leaving Halifax, from whence Í went, in company with the Alarm, to Boston; and, being satisfied that the Concorde and Perdrix had not sailed, pursued my orders from Admiral Murray, and made all the expedition in my power to join Sir J. Jervis; but, owing to contrary winds and calms, did not arrive at Guadaloupe until the 20th of October, and found the Boyne and Terpsichore at Basse Terre, the latter having joined the admiral a short time before. The Alarm arrived two days after us, having parted company with the Blanche in the course of the passage.

“ I found the admiral in good health and spirits

thout the concory with the Af my leavinence

*

« The admiral had frequently written to America for the different frigates to return; but as he always put his signature at the corner of the letters, it was enough for the friendship and sagacity of the Americans; and if they were not opened, they were at least never allowed to be delivered. The Terpsichore got some intimation of this treachery when she went into port, — and the other ships will soon be here.

« A short time previous to the Blanche's arrival, our reduced camp near Petit Bourg was obliged to capitulate, after sustaining many attacks from the enemy. The terms of this capitulation were such, I believe, as are usually given, except for the royalists, for whom no proposition or alternative could be obtained, or even listened to.

" I pretend not to comment on these events; but I never understood that it was possible to extricate the small force Colonel – had with him, from the superiority of numbers, the advantage of situation, and the constitutional strength of the inhabitants and Blacks, who are now become free and armed throughout the island. The new French citizens have all the enthusiasm of freedom; and, as if vindictive cruelty and savage ferocity were the consequences of a change of situation, these unhappy royalists, of whom I have before spoken, when they were delivered up, experienced the most studied barbarity, being thrust into a ditch, and murdered in cold blood! some were shot at, others staked, and the rest mangled in triumph and unfeeling horror! Here the guillotine would have been an instrument of mercy. Colonel Paterson, and some few artillery and seamen, were annexed to the army that surrendered.

66 Our misfortunes on this island seem to have originated at the unfortunate attack of Point à Petre. On that occasion we had plenty of troops, and had possession of every strong post, to have driven the enemy from the town, and to have recovered the Fleur d'Epée, almost without loss. But no fixed plan being given out for the attack, the successful fire and well-laid ambush of the French, which, by an encouragement to advance, ensured a repulse, and poor James being wounded, none knew the direct point for which the movement was intended — confusion and carnage ensued, and the bugle sounded in vain.

“ At that season of the year, and thus situated, your royal highness must know the impossibility of another effort; and I conclude, in proportion as our abilities became enfeebled, the spirits of the enemy became elated; which, together with the mortality occasioned by the climate, and the depression mostly accompanying defeat, have produced the consequences I have already stated, in the recent surrender of our camp in the vicinity of Petit Bourg; and left us no other possession in Guadaloupe than the fort at

« AnteriorContinuar »