1794 - Capture and recapture of Guadaloupe


Next Page

Previous Page

10 Pages >>

10 Pages <<

Naval History of Great Britain - Vol I


Capture and Recapture of Guadeloupe


Martinique. The two following days were occupied in shifting the troops, and making arrangements ; and, on the 8th, Sir John Jervis, in the Boyne, with two other ships of the line, besides frigates and the necessary transports, set sail for the reduction of Guadeloupe.

On the 10th the ships of war and a few of the transports anchored in Gosier bay in that island ; but the remainder, being driven to leeward by the strong wind and lee current, did not all arrive before the 12th. On the 11th, at 1 a.m., a part of the troops that had then arrived, and a detachment of seamen and marines, effected their landing in the Anse de Gosier, under cover of the 32-gun frigate Winchelsea : whose commander, Lord Garlies, placed his ship within half musket-shot of the batteries, and, by her well-directed fire, soon silenced the enemy's guns. On this occasion, Lord Garlies was the only person wounded, and that by a bad contusion. On the 12th, early in the morning, the strong post of Fleur-d'Epée was stormed by a detachment of the army, composed of the first and second battalions of light infantry, under Major-general Dundas, assisted by a detachment of seamen, commanded by Captain Robert Faulknor. The seamen had been directed to use their pikes and swords only, and the soldiers their bayonets. The side of the mountain which the seamen had to ascend, under a tremendous fire of grape-shot and musketry, was almost perpendicular : they, however, surmounted every difficulty, gained the parapet, dashed into the fort, and fought their way to the gates. Here the seamen joined the military ; and their united efforts, although opposed in the most gallant manner, carried the post. In this desperate service the seamen are represented to have borne a conspicuous part. Fort Saint-Louis, the town of Pointe-à-Pitre, and the new battery upon Islot-à-Cochon, were soon afterwards abandoned, and many of the inhabitants escaped in boats to Basse-terre.

This completed the conquest of Grande-terre. The loss sustained by the British was, on the part of the army, 15 rank and file killed, two captains, three lieutenants, one sergeant, and 39 rank and file wounded, and two rank and file missing ; and, on the part of the navy, two midshipmen and 11 seamen wounded. The enemy lost, in defending Fleur-d'Epée, 67 killed, 55 wounded, and 110 prisoner. We should hope, and we rather think, that nearly the whole of this heavy loss was sustained previously to its surrender ; and that, therefore, the statement of a contemporary, that " most of the garrison of Fleur-d'Epée, were put to the sword," * is incorrect.

Previously to his quitting Martinique, the vice-admiral had detached Captain Josias Rogers, with the 32-gun frigates Quebec and Ceres, the latter commanded by Captain Richard Incledon,

* Brenton, vol. ii., p. 26.

^ back to top ^