This harassing and not unimportant service was effected with a loss to the British, besides that of Captain Parker of the Derwent, comparatively slight : one midshipman was drowned, one lieutenant of the troops died in the field from fatigue, and one man was wounded by the enemy's fire. The loss on the part of the French appears to have been also of trifling amount, not exceeding one man killed and two wounded.
The interception, in the summer of 1808, of some despatches from the colonial prefect of Martinique to the French minister of marine, exposing the wants of the island, and calling for a supply of provisions and troops, is thought to have directed the attention of the British government to the reduction of this valuable French colony. At all events, preparations for the attack began at Barbadoes as early as November ; and the authorities at Martinique, as they themselves acknowledge, anticipated an attack towards the end of that month or the beginning of December. Matters were not, however, in perfect readiness until the latter end of January, when the following force was assembled
Frigates, Acasta, Penelope, Ethalion, Ulysses, Æolus, Circe, Cleopatra and Eurydice; ship-sloops, Cherub, Goreé, Pelorus, Star, Stork, brig-sloops, Amaranthe, Eclair, Forrester, Frolic, Recruit, Wolverene, gun-brigs, Express, Haughty, and Swinger.
On the 30th of that month the expedition, consisting, as here named, of six sail of the line, one 44-gun ship, five frigates, one 22-gun ship, and 13 sloops and smaller vessels, forming a total of 28 sail of pendants, under the command of rear-admiral the honourable Sir Alexander Cochrane, having in charge a fleet of transports containing about 10,000 troops, commanded by Lieutenant-general Beckwith, arrived off the island of Martinique from Carlisle bay, whence it had sailed on the 28th. The land. force at this time at Martinique consisted of about 2400 effective regulars, and about an equal number of militia, or " national guards," a name, as it turned out, rather inappropriately given to them ; and there were mounted upon Fort Desaix, the arsenal, Fort Royal, and the batteries on the coast, about 289 pieces of cannon. The naval force consisted of the French 40-gun frigate
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