1808 - Capture of Mariegalante


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1808 Expedition Against Desirade 91

the 30th they assaulted the castle with 1000 picked men, were repulsed with the loss of their commanding officer, their storming equipage, and all who had attempted to mount the breach.

The whole of this daring and important service was effected without any loss to the British. On the 5th of December the citadel of Rosas capitulated ; and, considering further resistance in Fort Trinidad impracticable against the whole French army Lord Cochrane fired the trains for exploding the magazines, and re-embarked his men. As usual, he speaks in the highest terms of his officers; among whom he names Lieutenant Urry Johnson, Lieutenant of marines James Hore, William Burney gunner, William Lodwick carpenter, and midshipmen Houston Stewart, George Charles Stovin, and Frederick Marryat.

Colonial Expeditions - West Indies

In the month of February the British 18-pounder 32-gun frigate Cerberus, Captain William Selby, 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Circe, Captain Hugh Pigot, and 20-gun ship Camilla, Captain John Bowen, cruised off Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadaloupe. Finding the impossibility of preventing the French privateers and their prizes from gaining that port, while they were enabled to shelter themselves under the batteries of Marie-Galante until an opportunity offered for them to run over, Captain Selby resolved to attempt the surprise of Grand-Bourg, the principal town on the island.

Accordingly, on the 2d of March, early in the morning, the three ships weighed from Petite-terre, and soon after daylight disembarked, with very slight opposition, 200 seamen and marines, under the orders of Captain Pigot, at a spot about two miles from the town. The British, as soon as they appeared in sight of Grand Bourg, were met by an officer with a flag of truce. The unconditional surrender of Marie-Galante immediately followed, and Captain Selby garrisoned the island with a detachment of marines from his little squadron.

The ease with which Marie-Galante had been obtained determined Rear-admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, the British commander-in-chief at the Leeward-islands, to send an expedition, under Captain Selby, against the island of Désirade, another spot that afforded shelter to the Guadaloupe privateers.

Accordingly, on the 29th of March, the Cerberus, accompanied. this time, by two sloops, two gun-brigs, and a schooner, weighed from off Marie-Galante ; and on the 30th the boats of the squadron, under the command of Captain William Henry Shirreff, of the ship-sloop Lily, stood towards the shore of Désirade which was defended by two 8-pounders, that completely commanded the narrow entrance of the harbour ; where also was posted a detachment of national troops and militia, about 70

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