1807 - Sir Edward Pellew at Gressie,


 
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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
by
William James
1807 Colonial Expeditions - East Indies 356

In the course of May a reinforcement of about 5,000 British troops arrived, under Brigadier-general Crawfurd ; who thereupon superseded Sir Samuel Auchmuty. On the 15th of June Brigadier-general Crawfurd himself was superseded by Lieutenant-general Whitelocke, and Rear-admiral Stirling, by Rear-admiral George Murray, whose flag was on board the 64-gun ship Polyphemus, Captain Peter Heywood. An attack upon Buenos-Ayres was to be the next object of the expedition. The small share which the navy, on account of the shallowness of the approaches by water, was enabled to take in the disgraceful campaign that ensued, relieves us from the task of recording particulars. It may suffice to state, that on the 28th of June a landing was effected, without opposition, within 30 miles of Buenos-Ayres ; that on the 5th of July an attack was made on the town ; that the British troops, under Brigadier-general Crawfurd, were overwhelmed by numbers, and compelled to surrender, with the loss of 2,500 men in killed, wounded, and prisoners ; and that on the 6th the commanding officer of Buenos-Ayres, general Liniers, offered to deliver up all prisoners, if the attack was discontinued and the British would consent to evacuate the river Plata in two months.

These terms were immediately submitted to by General Whitelocke ; and thus ended all the hopes of the British in this quarter. The Buenos-Ayrean campaign had not, however, passed wholly without benefit : it showed the folly of relying upon the specious representations of traders and renegadoes, respecting the dissatisfied state of the people of any country which they had visited or fled from. It showed, also, the advantage of noticing, in a proper manner, the first symptom of shyness that an officer discovers. Had some little qualm of this kind, which notoriously affected Lieutenant-colonel Whitelocke at Saint-Domingo, stripped him of his uniform, Lieutenant-general Whitelocke would not have been present at Buenos-Ayres, to sacrifice a gallant army and cast a slur upon the British name.

East Indies

Being desirous to ascertain if the information was correct, that the two Dutch 68-gun ships, which had escaped from Batavia in the preceding year,* were at Gressie, or Griesse, on the river Sourabaya, at the eastern extremity of Java, and distant about 540 miles from the capital of the island, Rear-admiral Sir Edward Pellew, in the month of June, despatched from Madras the 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Caroline, Captain Peter Rainier, and 12-pounder frigate Psyché, Captain Fleetwood Broughton Reynolds Pellew, with orders to reconnoitre the port. On the 29th of August the two frigates arrived off Point Panka, the

*  See p. 268

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