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their main hold prepared for the reception of horses), two 50gun ships, three 44-gun ships, 23 frigates, one 20-gun ship, 3 ] ship and brig sloops, five bomb-vessels, 23 gun-brigs, and about 120 sail of hired cutters, revenue-vessels, tenders, and gun-boats, making, in all, 245 vessels of war, accompanied by about 400 transports (measuring more than 100,000 tons), sailed from the Downs, the fleet commanded by Rear-admiral Sir Richard John Strachan, and the troops, numbering 39,219 men (including about 3000 cavalry), by Lieutenant-general the Earl of Chatham. The precise object of the expedition, as contained in the admiral's instructions, was, to capture or destroy the whole of the enemy's ships afloat in the Scheldt or building at Antwerp, to demolish the dock-yards, and arsenals at Antwerp, Terneuse, and Flushing, and, if possible, to render the Scheldt no longer navigable for ships of war. To facilitate the passage up the western Scheldt, Cadzand and the islands of Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland were to be occupied by divisions of the British troops.
On the same evening the two commanders-in-chief, in the 74gun-ship Venerable, Captain Sir Home Popham, accompanied by the 36-gun frigate Amethyst, Captain Sir Michael Seymour and several smaller vessels, anchored in the road of WestKapelle, and were there joined by the 38-gun frigate Fisgard, Captain William Bolton ; who had placed vessels as buoys on some of the shoals off the coast. After dark the Roompot channel was sounded, and vessels stationed at its entrance. On the 29th, in the morning, the transports containing Lieutenantgeneral Sir John Hope's division of the troops joined; and in the evening the whole under the direction of Rear-admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats in the 36-gun frigate Salsette, Captain Walter Bathurst, presented by Captain Sir Home Popham, who had removed from the Venerable to the ship-sloop Sabrina, Captain Edward Kittoe, anchored in safety between the islands of Noord-Beveland and Schouwen, and nearly opposite to the town of Zierikzee upon the latter. On the same evening, and on the morning of the 30th; arrived Rear-admiral William Albany Otway, in the Monarch 74, with the left wing of the army, about 17,000 strong, under Lieutenant-general Sir Eyre Coote, destined to act exclusively against Walcheren, and intended to be landed on Domburg beach. The first intention had been to disembark the men in Zouteland bay, but intelligence received at Deal, of preparations to resist a landing, had occasioned Domburg to be preferred.
i In the course of the 29th, a strong westerly wind sprang up, and raised such a surf on the western coast of Walcheren, that a Janding at Domburg was considered impracticable. The same gale, on the morning of the 30th, obliged the ships of war and transports to seek shelter in the Roompot: and in the course of the forenoon the fleet, under the skilful guidance, as before, of Captain Sir Home Popbam, anchored in safety off the Veer-Gat. Meanwhile the three divisions of the army, under the respective commands of Lieutenant-generals the Marquess of Huntley and Earl of Rosslyn, and Lieutenant-generai Grosvenor, had arrived in the Wieling passage, preparatory to the meditated disembarkation of a part of that force on the coast of Cadzand, and to the passage of the remainder, as soon as the obstructions were removed, up the western Scheldt, to proceed to the attack of Lillo, Liefkenshoeck, and finally of Antwerp.
On the 30th, at 4h. 30 m. p. M., the British left wing, under the direction of Captains Lord Amelius Beauclerk of the Royal Oak, and George Cockburnof the Belleisle, 74s, and covered, in a very gallant manner, by the 10-gun hired cutter Idas, Lieutenant James Duncan, landed, with a slight opposition, but without any casualty, on the Breed-Zand, which forms the northern extremity of the island of Walcheren, On the same evening the British bomb-vessels and gun-boats, under the direction of Captain Sir Home Popham, then acting on shore with Earl Chatham, proceeded up to the Veer-Gat, and on the morning of the 31 st opened a cannonade upon the town and fort of Veer; which latter mounted 38 guns, and was garrisoned by 600 men. Major-general Brues, the commander-in-chief of King Louis's forces in Zealand, had commanded at this fort; but, on the appearance of the first British column, he abandoned his post and crossed over to Zuid-Beveland. The command then devolved upon Colonel Van-Bogart.
The fire of the British was returned from the fort, and continued, with mutual spirit, till evening; when, the wind blowing fresh, and the strength of the tide not allowing the bomb-vessels to act, the flotilla fell back, having sustained a loss of three gunboats sunk by shot, but without, as it appears, the loss of a man of their crews. In the same evening Captain Charles Richardson of the 80-gun ship Caesar, and George William Blarney, of the 18-gun ship brig-sloop Harpy, who had landed on the 30th, with a brigade of seamen and nine pieces of ordnance to cooperate with the army, threw several cases of Congreve rockets from the dike into the town of Veer. Since the peaceable surrender, on that morning, of the defenceless town of Middleburg, Veer had been invested on the land side by a division of troops under Lieutenant-general Fraser, detached for the purpose. The appearance of this force and the incessant fire of the rockets induced the Dutch commandant, Van-Bogart, in the course of the night to send a flag of truce, offering to capitulate. The terms were agreed to; and on the following morning, the 1st of August, the town and fort of Veer surrendered to the British.
The army now marched on towards Flushing, and, by the surrender of Fort-Rammekens on the 3d, was enabled completely to invest the town. In the mean time Lieutenantgeneral Hopes's division, under the able disposition of Rearadmiral Sir Richard Keats, had landed unopposed on the island of Zuid-Beveland, near Wemeldinge; and on the following night the Dutch Major-general Brues evacuated the important fortress of Bathz, without firing a shot, or even seeing the enemy, unless he so considered a patrole of 30 men, whom Lieutenant-general Hope had sent to reconnoitre the coast; and who were not slow in taking possession of a post which, in loyal hands, might have given a much larger force some trouble to reduce.
It was at about 8 h. 30 m. A. M. on the 29th of July, that the signal posts of Walcheren and Cadzand announced the appearance of the British off the coast; and immediately Rear-admiral Missiessy, from his anchorage off the Calot, weighed and stood up the Scheldt. By the next evening's tide the Anversois, Commerce-de-Lyon, Dalmate, Dantzig, Duguesclin, and Pulstuck, passed the boom of Lillo; and the Charlemagne would have passed also, but that the French admiral preferred anchoring below it, in order to be ready to succour, if necessary, the Albanais, Cesar, and Ville-de-Berlin, who had been obliged to bring to between Bathz and Waerden. On the 1st of August, late in the evening, six French gun-brigs, that had been lying in company with the three line-of-battle ships, weighed and made sail towards Antwerp; but the ships of the line remained at their anchors until a very few hours before the British were in possession of a fort, which would have completely obstructed • their passage, and have rendered their capture or destruction almost certain. The escape of these ships lessened, in some degree, the importance of Bathz; but still it opened to the British both branches of the Scheldt, and commanded the finest and most extensive anchorage in the river, the bay of Saeftingen, where ships could lie completely out of reach of shot from the shore.
Owing to a defect in the arrangements, or to some misunderstanding respecting the degree of co-operation which was to be afforded, the three divisions of the army, in the transports at anchor in the Wieling passage, intended to occupy the island of Cadzand on the south-west side of the entrance to the Scheldt, were removed to the Veer-Gat, to be landed on Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland. This was a great relief to General Rousseau, commanding at Cadzand, who, until noon on the 30th, had with him only 300 men, and even after that day received but scanty reinforcements. They were sufficient, however, to enable him to take advantage of the seeming remissness of his enemy, and to send across reinforcements to the garrison of Flushing. By means of small schuyts, aided by a southerly wind, he succeeded, on the 1st and 2d of August, in throwing in 1600 men; but he failed on the 3d, owing to the gallant behaviour of the 16-gun brig-sloop Haven, Captain John Martin Hanchett.*
* This service was effectually performed by Captain Hanchett in a style of gallantry seldom surpassed, to the great delight and admiration of a large
At 5 h. 30 m. p. M. this brig, one of the small squadron under the command of Captain Edward William Campbell Rich Owen of the 38-gun frigate Clyde, at anchor in Steen-Diep, weighed, by signal, and stood in to cover the boats of the squadron, which, under the orders of Lieutenant Charles Burrough Strong, had been detached to sound and buoy the channel. In 10 minutes after she had weighed, the Raven, became exposed to the fire of the Breskens battery, mounting, according to the French accounts, 20 heavy cannon, and six enormous mortars. The brig returned the fire, and, as she entered the Scheldt, received the fire of four other batteries on the Cadzand side, and of all those forming the sea-front of Flushing, Notwithstanding the shower of red-hot shot and of shells and grape, directed against her from both sides of the channel, the Raven gallantly stood on, and assisted by two or three British gun-boats, drove the boats of the enemy back to the Cadzand shore. It was on her return from executing this service that the brig suffered. One shot cut the main topmast in two just above the cap, and which, in falling, carried away the fore topmast. In this disabled state, the Raven continued exposed to a fire, which cut her sails and rigging to pieces, irreparably injured her mainmast, bowsprit, and main boom, struck her hull in several places, dismounted two of her guns, and wounded Captain Hanchett and eight seamen and marines. At length the tide, and the little sail she could set, drifted the Raven clear of the batteries; but, so unmanageable was the brig, that she struck on the Elboog sand, and did not get off until the following morning. On this day the communication was renewed without interruption, and by the evening of the 6th, as many as 3143 men had crossed over; a reinforcement which augmented the garrison of Flushing to 7000 men.
The surrender of the fort of Rammekens having opened to the British the passage of the Sloe channel, immediate measures were taken to get the flotilla, which had acted against Veer, into the western Scheldt; in order that a portion of it might prevent any further succours from being thrown into Flushing, either from Cadzand or the canal of Ghent, and another portion proceed up the western Scheldt, to co-operate with that under Rearadmiral Sir Richard Keats. Bad weather and the intricacy of
body of both army and navy, who were spectators of the action that very soon commenced between the Raven and the batteries on Cadsand and the whole sea-front of Flushing. The expenditure of the enemy in red-hot shot, grape, and shells upon the little brig, was sufficient to have destroyed fifty such vessels. She, was handled and fought in a manner that reflected the greatest credit and honour on her commander, and every individual on board. Latterly she became unmanageable from the wind failing, and having her topmast knocked over the side, her lower masts and all her spars badly wounded, sails and rigging cut to pieces. The ebb-tide drifted her out a gun-shot on a sand-bank, from which she was not extricated till the following morning."—Capt. Scott's Recollections of a Naval Life, vol. ii., p. 186.
the navigation made it the 6th of August before the sea-blockade of Flushing, by means of the flotilla, could be effectually established. On the 9th a strong division, under the orders of Captain Sir Home Popham, was detached up the western Scheldt, with directions to sound and buoy the Baerlandt channel to enable the larger ships to advance; and the following 10 frigates, under the command of Captain Lord William Stuart, were waiting only till the weather permitted, also to proceed up the western Scheldt:
40 Lavinia Captain Lord William Stuart.
f Perlen „ Norborne Thompson.
38) Rota „ Philip Somerville.
( Statira „ Charles Worsley Boys.
'Amethyst „ Sir Michael Seymour, Bart.
Aigle „ George Wolfe.
36 J Euryalus „ Hon. G. Heneage Law Dundas.
Dryad „ Edward Galwey.
. Nymphen „ Keith Maxwell.
32 Heroine Hood Hanway Christian.
On the 11th, in the afternoon, a light air from the westward springing up, Lord William, with his squadron, in the following order of battle in line ahead, Lavinia, Heroine, Amethyst, Rota, Nymphen, Aigle, Euryalus, Statira, Dryad, and Perlen, forced the passage between the batteries of Flushing and Cadzand; and, although from the lightness of the wind and an adverse tide the ships were exposed to the enemy's fire during two hours, no greater loss was sustained than two men killed and nine wounded, namely, the Amethyst, one seaman killed and one wounded; Heroine two wounded, and Perlen the same; and Aigle one marine killed, and one lieutenant of marines (Henry Loveday Vine), one schoolmaster (Thomas Donovan), one seaman, and one boy wounded. The Aigle was the only ship of the 10 that sustained any material damage: a shell fell through her decks into the bread-room, and, exploding there, shattered her stern-frame greatly, and occasioned the whole of her loss.
At the upper part of the Scheldt, a fruitless attack had been made by Rear-admiral Missiessy's flotilla upon the fort of Balthz; and the increased strength of the British flotilla, commanded by Sir Richard Keats, had obliged the French admiral to retire beyond the boom at Lillo. Five of the French 74s subsequently proceeded a short distance above Antwerp, and the whole 10 lay, as plainly seen from the more advanced vessels of the British flotilla, with topgallant yards across.
It had been arranged that the squadron of seven effective or full-armed line-of-battle ships, under the command of Rearadmiral Lord Gardner, lying at anchor in the Deurloo passage, off Dykeshook, should co-operate with the army in cannonading Flushing. Accordingly, on the 12th, Rear-admiral Sir Richard