1803 - Capture of Sainte-Lucie, Also of Tobago Demerara Essequibo and Berbice


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1803 Commodore Hood at Sainte Lucie 207

Bendall Robert Littlehales and Benjamin Hallowell, and some smaller vessels, having on board a detachment of the British army under Lieutenant-general Grinfeld, anchored in Choc-bay, Saint Lucie for the purpose of reducing the island.

Before 5 p.m., by the able disposition of Captain Hallowell, the whole of the troops were disembarked in good order. At 5 h. 30 m. p.m. the French outworks were driven in, and the town of Castries taken. The commandant of Morne-Fortunée, the principal fortress of the island, was then summoned to surrender. Brigadier-general Noguès refusing to do so, the works were stormed at 4 A.M. on the 22d, and at 4 h. 30 m. were carried, with a loss to the British army of 20 officers and men killed, and, 110 wounded. What was the exact strength of the garrison, or the loss which the French sustained in resisting the assault, does not appear by the official despatches; but it is stated, to the credit of the British, considering the custom on such occasions, that not a Frenchman was hurt after possession of the place had been obtained.

On the third day after effecting this capture, the Centaur, accompanied by some smaller vessels containing a division of the troops, sailed from Sainte-Lucie to attack Tobago. On the 31st the expedition arrived off the island, and on the same day the troops, covered by a heavy fire from the ships of war, landed without loss. So rapid and so decisive were the movements of the British, that in the evening General Berthier commanding at Fort-Scarborough proposed a capitulation ; which, by half past four the following morning, was acceded to, and the island of Tobago again became a colony of Great-Britain.

Previously to the end of September the Dutch colonies of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, had also changed masters, with equal facility, and happily without bloodshed. In the river Demerara was captured the Batavian 14-gun corvette Hippomenes.

About the middle of June, which was almost immediately after the intelligence of the recommencement of hostilities reached the island of Jamaica, a squadron of ships sailed from Port-Royal, to cruise in the neighbourhood of St.-Domingo, and co-operate with the Black insurgents in freeing the island of the small remnant of French whom the scurvy and the yellow fever had yet spared, and who still retained possession of the line of ports on the sea-coast. Hitherto their ships had enabled the French to hold and provision these ; but the British ships soon drove away or captured the former, and effectually shut up the ports against all succours and supplies from Europe or elsewhere. By the end of October the only ports remaining in the hands of the French, in what was formerly the French part of the island of Saint-Domingo, were Cape-François and the mole of St.-Nicholas. At the latter port General Noailles commanded

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