1796 - British at Léogane and at Bombarde, St.-Domingo


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol I


Colonial Expeditions - West Indies


and murdered, all in full view of the British on the plain below), had withdrawn with his banditti into the wood. Here, being closely pursued by a detachment of German riflemen, many of the villains paid the forfeit of their crimes. The loss of the British, in the several attacks that led to the reduction of this island, amounted to nine privates killed, and 60 officers and privates wounded. The 32-gun frigate Mermaid, Captain Robert Waller Otway, while cooperating with the Hebe frigate, and Pelican and Beaver sloops, in covering the landing of the troops, unfortunately had a maindeck gun burst, whereby seven of her seamen were killed and five badly wounded.

On the 17th and 18th of March a detachment of British and colonial troops from the garrison of Port-au-Prince in the island of St.-Domingo, under the command of Major-general Forbes, was embarked to proceed against the town and fort of Léogane, in the same island. On the 21st the troops landed, in two divisions, the western division covered by the 32-gun frigate Ceres and sloop Lark, Captains James Newman Newman and William Ogilvy ; and the eastern, by the 32-gun frigate Iphigenia, Captain Francis F. Gardner, and sloops Cormorant and Sirène, Captain Francis Collingwood and Daniel Guerin ; with the Leviathan 74, Captain John Thomas Duckworth, and Africa 64, Captain Roddam Home, to cannonade the fort, and the Swiftsure 74, Captain Richard Parker, the town.

In the course of half an hour the fire of the Swiftsure was interrupted by the march of the troops, but the Leviathan and Africa continued to play upon the fort for nearly four hours ; when, it growing dark, the ships took advantage of the land-wind, and moved off to an anchorage. The town and fort being much stronger, and the enemy more numerous, than had been expected, the troops were withdrawn in the course of the following day and night, with the loss of a few men. The ship, however, were the principal sufferers on this occasion. The Leviathan had five men killed, and 12 (two of them mortally) wounded ; and the Africa, one killed and seven wounded. Both ships, too, had been so seriously damaged in their masts and yards, that they were compelled to proceed to Jamaica to refit.

A more successful attack was afterwards made upon the fort and parish of Bombarde. The fort was at a distance of 15 miles ; and the only road by which cannon could be transported had been blocked up by felled trees, and even, in some places, by stone walls built across it. Besides these impediments, the weather was excessively hot, and not a drop of water could be procured. Finally, however, the troops reached and surrounded the fort ; when the garrison, consisting of 300 whites, and who had in vain attempted to check the advance of the troops, surrendered on capitulation. The possession of the place, cost the British eight officers and privates killed, 18 wounded, and four missing.

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