1805 - Design of Buonaparte in the West Indies


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1805 Lord Nelson and M. Villeneuve 337

In their defence of this extraordinary post, the British sustained a loss of only two men killed, and one man wounded. The chef d'escadron Boyer enumerates the loss of the French troops, " from a hasty calculation, " at about 50 in killed and wounded. Captain Maurice considers the loss of the French, who landed at the foot of the rock, to have amounted to at least 30 men killed and 40 wounded, exclusively of the loss sustained on board the ships and boats. Three gun-boats and two rowing boats are stated to have been entirely lost. On his subsequent trial by court-martial, Captain Maurice was not only most honourably acquitted for the loss of the Diamond Rock, but highly complimented for his firm and determined behaviour.

On the 1st of June, while the governor-general, General Lauriston, Admirals Villeneuve and Gravina, and a number of other officers, were inspecting the Diamond Rock from the contiguous shore, the French 40-gun frigate Didon, Captain Pierre-Bernard Milius, arrived from Guadaloupe ; bringing fresh instructions from Napoléon, and likewise intelligence that two French 74s had arrived at that island as a reinforcement to the combined fleet. The Didon had sailed from Lorient on the 2d of May, with duplicates of the instructions, with which, on the day previous, Rear-admiral Magon, with the two new 74-gun ships Algésiras, Captain Gabriel-Auguste Brouard, and Achille, Captain Gabriel Denieport, had sailed from Rochefort. In those instructions Napoléon directs that Vice-admiral Villeneuve, and General Lauriston, having now with the 2100 troops composing (see p. 336) the united garrisons of Martinique and Guadaloupe, the 3400 carried out by Rear-admiral Missiessy, the 5100, including Spaniards in the combined fleet, and the 840 on board Rear-admiral Magon's two ships, upwards of 11,400 men, do take St.-Vincent, Antigua, Grenada; "et pourquoi ne prendrait-on pas la Barbade ?" Certainly, there was no reason why, among the " ten Windward islands, including Tobago and Trinidad," Barbadoes alone should escape free. Tobago having been a French island, was not to be ill-treated, but such of the other English colonies, as it might not be convenient to retain, were to be stripped and pillaged thus : " Il ne faudrait point maltraiter l'î1e de Tobago, parcequ'elle est française ; mais pour leg autres colonies anglaises qu'on jugerait devoir abandonner après les avoir occupées, on pourrait en tirer la moitié des noirs, lever une contribution sur leg habitans, en ôter l'artillerie, et vendre les noirs à la Martinique et à la Guadaloupe. " *

Having done all this, and waited in the Antilles for the Brest fleet 35 days from the day of receiving his despatches, Vice-admiral Villeneuve was to proceed straight to Ferrol, to carry into effect, in the way already explained, the ultimate object of the

* Précis des Evènemens, tome xi., p. 477.

See p. 300.

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