1808 - Spanish patriots in Zealand, Rear-admiral Keats at Nyborg


Next Page

Previous Page

10 Pages >>>

10 Pages <<<

1808 Rear-admiral Keats at Nyborg 17

Baltic (late Russian cutter Apith) were prepared as fire-ships by the British, and four fire-vessels were sent from Carlscrona by the Swedes. As a preliminary measure, the port was reconnoitred, first by the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Salsette (late Pitt), Captain Walter Bathurst, and then by the Swedish 44-gun frigate Camilla, Captain Trolle. It was now discovered that an extensive boom had been run out from the front of the Russian ships, calculated, in all respects, to prevent the approach of fire-ships.

The attempt to destroy the fleet by vessels of this description being, in consequence, deemed impracticable, the Erebus and Baltic fire-vessels were dismantled and restored to their former state, and the four Swedish fire-vessels were sent to Carlscrona. The advanced season of the year rendering the situation of the blockading fleet extremely critical, Sir James Saumarez and the Swedish admiral, early in October, retired from before the harbour of Rogerswick, leaving only a small reconnoitring force. Soon afterwards the Russian fleet also made sail, and reached Cronstadt in safety.

Before taking our leave of the Baltic, we have to give some account of the successful operations of the British fleet in aiding a band of Spanish patriots found in this quarter. Desirous to assist Spain in every way that would be most beneficial to the cause of the patriots, England turned her attention to the Spanish troops, which Napoleon, under the false pretence of securing Hanover, had drawn from their country, to the northern parts of Germany, and afterwards to the Danish islands in the Baltic. It was known that the troops were anxious to join their countrymen, and assist in overthrowing the tyrant to whom they owed their banishment. The Spaniards in Zealand no sooner learnt the atrocious aggression which their native land was suffering, than they instantly formed a circle round their colours, and swore on their knees to be faithful to their country. Men possessed of such feelings, and inspired with such a determination to act up to them, were well worthy of all the assistance which England, with her immense naval means, could afford. It fortunately happened, where so much depended upon zeal and ardour in the cause, that the British commanding officer in the immediate vicinity of the Spanish troops was Rear-admiral Keats. Besides his own ship, the Superb, the rear-admiral had under his orders the Brunswick and Edgar of the same force, Captains Thomas Graves and James Macnamara, and five or six smaller vessels.

According to a plan concerted between the rear-admiral and the Marquis de la Romana, the commander-in-chief of the Spanish forces in Denmark, the latter, on the 9th of August, with nearly 6000 men, took possession of the fort and town of Nyborg, in the island of Funen. Immediately afterwards Rear-admiral Keats addressed a letter to the Danish governor, promising to abstain from any hostile or offensive act, so long as similar treatment

^ back to top ^