« AnteriorContinuar »
Colonel Sir Charles Gordon, with his brigade, was not able to make good their landing at Case des Navires : but on the morning of the 8th, he landed at Cape Pilotte, a few miles to the N.W. The French were masters of the heights above the road; he, therefore, marched round through the mountains, and by day-break on the 9th had gained, unmolested by the enemy, the most commanding post in that part of the country, from whence Colonel Myers took possession of La Chapelle.
On the 12th, the French abandoned their works at St. Catherine, and the posts that guarded the first ravine. Colonel Myers took possession of them, crossed four ravines higher up, and seized the batteries which defended them. The French fled in all directions, and the troops took possession of the five batteries between Case des Navires and Fort Royal. They proceeded within a league of Fort Bourbon, and occupied the posts of Gentilly, La Coste, and L'Archet.
Lieutenant-General Prescott, with the other division, landed at Trois Rivieres, from thence he marched to Salee. On the march, Brigadier-General Whyte was detached to force the batteries of Cape Soloman and Point à Burgos: he stormed them, and afterwards, with a reinforcement of 200 seamen, took possession of Mount Matharine. Here batteries were erected against Pigeon Island, which surrendered in two hours after the fire was opened upon it, after losing fifteen killed and twenty-five wounded. This island is a steep rock, accessible only by a ladder fixed against a perpendicular wall: the summit is ninety feet above the level of the sea. There were found on it eleven forty-two pounders, six thirty-two pounders, and fourteen thirteen-inch mortars, with one howitzer, and an immense quantity of ammunition.
The ships now took possession of the harbour of Fort Royal, and the transports went to Cohee, from whence they had communication, by a chain of posts, with Bruneau.
On the 14th, Sir Charles Grey, the commander-in-chief, marched to Bruneau, and from thence to Gros Morne, from whence he detached Colonel Campbell through the woods to attack Montigne, proceeding himself to Capot and Callebasse. Colonel Campbell was attacked and killed; but the detachment being reinforced by the Honourable Captain Ramsay, they drove the enemy before them, and took possession of Montigne. The major-general now took post on Morne Rouge. During the night the French abandoned Morne Bellevieur, of which the English took possession.
At daylight on the 16th, the French sent a flag of truce from St. Pierre, requiring three days to consider of a capitulation. Sir Charles Grey returned for answer, that he would allow them only three hours, and immediately advanced towards the town. At the
Edwards, vol. iii. pp. 448, 449, 450, 451.
same time a squadron, with a detachment under Colonel Symes, stood for the bay.
Captain Harvey, in the Santa Margaritta, silenced a battery from which the French were firing hot shot; and at four in the morning of the 17th, the troops landed, and marched towards St. Pierre. The French seeing the foes approach both by sea and land, evacuated the town, leaving their colours flying. By ten o'clock Colonel Symes's detachment marched into the town, and soon afterwards General Dundas and his army joined him. No outrage was offered to the inhabitants — the women and children sat at their doors to see the soldiers
One instance occurred of an attempt to pillage: the offender was immediately hung at the gate of the Jesuits' college. Lieutenant Malcolm, of the 41st, was appointed town major.
On the night of the 18th, Sir Charles Grey intended to attack General Bellegarde, on the heights of Sourier. A few hours previous to the time fixed, Bellegarde descended to attack the general's left, intending to cut off the communication between the British army and navy. Lieutenant-General Prescott kept Bellegarde in check, while Colonels Buckeridge, Coote, and Blundell attacked his camp on the left. The post was carried, and his own guns turned against him : he fled with great loss, and in a few days surrendered himself, with his second in command and 300 followers, promising never to serve against his Majesty again, if he might be sent to North America. His request was granted.
On the 20th of February, Forts Bourbon and Louis, with the town of Fort Royal, were closely invested. The division under General Prescott broke ground on the 25th, when a change took place in the mode of attacking Fort Bourbon, at the suggestion of M. de Sansi, and it was determined to cut off the communication between Fort Bourbon and the town of Fort Royal. Two batteries were formed, under his direction, by the seamen, which dismounted the guns of Fort Louis, on the front attacked: another battery of five twenty-fours was raised on Mount Tortueson. The heavy work of dragging up the cannon was done by the seamen, under the command of Captains Nugent and Rogers — their merit was acknowledged by the commander-in-chief: and another battery was raised near Prince Edward's quarters, which dismounted the guns upon the upper batteries of Fort Louis.
On the 17th of March, the advanced batteries were within two hundred yards of the redoubt of Fort Bourbon, and five hundred from the fort itself. Arrangements were made for storming the fort. On that night, Lieutenant Bowen of the Boyne, with the night guard and gun-boats, pushed into the Carenage, and captured the
Edwards, vol. iii. pp. 452, 459, 454.
Bienvenu frigate, under a heavy fire of grape and musketry from the ramparts and parapet of the fort.
On the morning of the 20th, at ten A.M., all the arrangements being complete, the Asia, sixty-four, Captain J. Brown, and Zebra sloop, Captain R. W. Faulknor, stood towards the mouth of the harbour, with the boats under Captains Nugent and Riou, with 1200 men. A detachment from the army advanced at the same time, towards the bridge over the canal at the back of Fort Royal. The admiral's dispatches detail the attack :
“ This combination succeeded in every part, except the entrance of the Asia, which failed for want of precision in the ancient lieutenant of the port, Monsieur de Tourelles, who had undertaken to pilot the Asia. Captain Faulknor observing that ship baffled in her attempts, and the Zebra having been under a shower of grapeshot for a great length of time (which he, his officers, and sloop's company stood with a firmness not to be described), he determined to undertake the service alone; and he executed it with matchless intrepidity and conduct, running the Zebra close to the wall of the fort, and, leaping overboard at the head of his sloop's company, assailed and took this important post before the boats could get on shore, although they rowed with all the force and animation which characterize English seamen in the face of an enemy. No language of mine can express the merit of Captain Faulknor upon this occasion ; but as every officer and man in the army and squadron bears testimony to it, this incomparable action cannot fail of being recorded in the page of history. The grenadiers and light infantry made good use of their field-pieces and muskets, and, soon after the surrender of the fort, took possession of the town by the bridge over the canal at the back of it; while a strong detachment from the naval battalions at Point Negro, under the command of Captains Rogers, Scott, and Bayntun, in flat boats, barges, and pinnaces, approached the beach in front. Monsieur Rochambeau did not lose a moment in requesting that commissioners might be appointed to consider of terms of surrender; and the general and I named Commodore Thompson, Colonel Symes, and Captain Conyngham, to meet three persons named by him, at Dillon's plantation, at nine o'clock on the 21st, and on the 22d the terms were concluded. The rapid success of his Majesty's arms has been produced by the high courage and perseverance of his officers, soldiers, and seamen, in the most difficult and toilsome labours, which nothing short of the perfect unanimity and affection between them and their chiefs could have surmounted.
“ Commodore Thompson conducted the enterprise on the side of La Trinité like an able and judicious officer. Captain Henry carried on the business at Ance d'Arlet with great energy, and has
Naval Chronicle, vol. xvii. p. 316.
been indefatigable in following all the operations he has had a share in.
• To Captains Brown, Nugent, Harvey, Markham, Faulknor, Sawyer, Carpenter, and Scott, I am greatly indebted for the manner in which they conducted the attack against St. Pierre. Captains Harvey, · Kelly, Rogers, Sailsbury, Incledon, Riou, Lord Garlies, Carpenter, Scott, and Bayntun, have gained great reputation in the army by the conduct of the naval battalions and working parties under their command. Captain Berkeley (since the arrival of the Assurance) has furnished a powerful reinforcement of men from that ship. Captain Pierrepoint has been very active in the service allotted to the Seaflower. In Captain Grey I have found the experience of age joined to the vigour of youth. The captains of the forty-four gun ships en flûte, of the store-ship and hospital-ship, have done well.
“ For other particulars I beg leave to refer their lordships to Captain Powlett, who carries this dispatch, and to Captain Markham, of the Blonde, who conveys him. They served with Commodore Thompson at La Trinité, and arrived on the south side of the island in time to have a share in most of the transactions there. 66 I have the honour to be, sir, “ With great consideration, “ Your most obedient humble servant,
« J. JERVIS."
Forty-two men were killed and wounded on board the different ships.
Captain Nugent was the second person on the walls of the fort. The lieutenant of the cutter, with the Veteran's people, hauled down the French colours. The admiral, with the general's consent, gave Captain Nugent command of the fort.
The capitulation gave the garrison the honours of war, and a passage to Europe; and to Rochambeau a passage to Rhode Island in America. They marched out between a file of the troops and seamen, which lined the way from the fort to the parade at Fort Royal. General Whyte and Captain Nugent had the honour of hoisting the English flag at Fort Bourbon.
General Prescott was left commander-in-chief of the island.
Commodore Thompson's Report of the Capture of Fort Royal,
“ Fort Royal, March 20, 1794. “ I have the pleasure to acquaint you, that the only loss we sustained in the capture of Fort Royal is the pilot of the Zebra killed, and four seamen belonging to the same ship wounded. So soon as I perceived she could fetch in, I gave orders to Captains
Nugent and Riou, who commanded the fleet boats, which, with the men embarked in them, were lying upon their oars, to push in and mount the walls, when every exertion was made, and the boats seemed to fly towards the fort. Captain Faulknor, in the mean time, in a most spirited and gallant manner, entered the harbour through the fire of all their batteries, and laid his sloop alongside the walls, there being deep water close to; when the enemy, terrified at his audacity, the flat boats full of seamen pulling towards them, and the appearance of the troops from all quarters, struck their colours to the Zebra. A well-directed and steady fire from the gun-boats under Lieutenant Bowen, as also from our batteries, was of great service. The alacrity and steadiness of the officers and seamen in general under my command was such, that I had not the least doubt of success against the whole force of the enemy, had they disputed our entrance.
6 'Í'he fort is full of ammunition and stores of all sorts, but the buildings are in a miserable condition from the effects of our bomb, the gun-boats and batteries.
“ I have the honour, &c.
“ J. THOMPSON."
Sir Charles Grey, in his dispatches, says, that “ Captain Faulknor's conduct justly gained him the admiration of the whole army.”
Admiral Jervis made him post into the frigate captured in Fort Royal harbour, which, out of compliment to Captain Faulknor, he named the Undaunted.
In a letter to his mother, dated the 25th of March, Captain Faulknor says,
“ I had a ship’s cartouch-box, which is made of thick wood, buckled round my body, with pistol cartridges in it for the pistol I carried by my side. As the Zebra came close to the fort, a grape-shot struck, or rather grazed, my right-hand knuckle, and shattered the cartouch in the centre of my body; had it not miraculously been there, I must have been killed on the spot thanks to Almighty God for his kind preservation of me in the day of battle! The admiral has appointed me to the Rose, paying me such compliments, that it is impossible for me to relate them. The sword and colours of Fort Royal were delivered to me by the governor of the fort : and I take some credit to myself, that after the Zebra had stood an heavy fire, and when we had power to retaliate, for we were mounted upon the walls, I would not allow a man to be hurt, on their being panic-struck and calling for mercy, It would take a volume to relate the events which have happened to me since I left England. The Zebra, when she came out of action, was cheered by the admiral's ship; and the admiral himself publicly embraced me on the quarter-deck, and directed the band to play, . See, the conquering hero comes. Such compliments