1809 - Expedition to the Scheldt


Next Page

Previous Page

10 Pages >>>

10 Pages <<<

1809 Expedition to the Scheldt 133

Captain Sir Home Popham, anchored in safety off the Veer-Gat. Meanwhile the three divisions of the army, under the respective commands of Lieutenant-generals the Marquess of Huntley and Earl of Rosslyn, and Lieutenant-general Grosvenor, had arrived in the Wieling passage, preparatory to the meditated disembarkation of a part of that force on the coast of Cadzand, and to the passage of the remainder, as soon as the obstructions were removed, up the western Scheldt, to proceed to the attack of Lillo, Liefkenshoeck, and finally of Antwerp.

On the 30th, at 4h. 30 m. p.m., the British left wing, under the direction of Captains Lord Amelius Beauclerk of the Royal Oak, and George Cockburn of the Belleisle, 74s, and covered, to a very gallant manner, by the 10-gun hired cutter Idas, Lieutenant James Duncan, landed, with a slight opposition, but without any casualty, on the Breed-Zand, which forms the northern extremity of the island of Walcheren. On the same evening the British bomb-vessels and gun-boats, under the direction of Captain Sir Home Popham, then acting on shore with Earl Chatham, proceeded up to the Veer-Gat, and on the morning of the 31st opened a cannonade upon the town and fort of Veer ; which latter mounted 38 guns, and was garrisoned by 600 men. Major-general Brues, the commander-in-chief of King Louis's forces in Zealand, had commanded at this fort ; but, on the appearance of the first British column, he abandoned his post and crossed over to Zuid-Beveland. The command then devolved upon Colonel Van-Bogart.

The fire of the British was returned from the fort, and continued, with mutual spirit, till evening ; when, the wind blowing fresh, and the strength of the tide not allowing the bomb-vessels to act, the flotilla fell back, having sustained a loss of three gunboats sunk by shot, but without, as it appears, the loss of a man of their crews. In the same evening Captain Charles Richardson of the 80-gun ship Cæsar, and George William Blarney, of the 18-gun ship brig-sloop Harpy, who had landed on the 30th, with a brigade of seamen and nine pieces of ordnance to co-operate with the army, threw several cases of Congreve rockets from the dike into the town of Veer. Since the peaceable surrender, on that morning, of the defenceless town of Middleburg, Veer had been invested on the land side by a division of troops under Lieutenant-general Fraser, detached for the purpose. The appearance of this force and the incessant fire of the rockets induced the Dutch commandant, Van-Bogart, in the course of the night to send a flag of truce, offering to capitulate. The terms were agreed to and on the following morning, the 1st of August, the town and fort of Veer surrendered to the British.

The army now marched on towards Flushing, and, by the surrender of Fort-Rammekens on the 3d, was enabled completely to invest the town. In the mean time Lieutenant-general Hopes's division, under the able disposition of Rear

^ back to top ^