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Journal of Occurrences at Dominica.
Metcalfe President of the Council, to make such terms for the surrender of the town, as could be obtained. Most unfortunately about this time some houses near to Fort Young, caught fire, from the waddings of our own guns. Several of the line of battle ships having withdrawn into Woodbridge's Pay, and keeping up an incessant fire, obliged our people in the fort to fire over the town, in order to reach them, which occasioned this dreadful misfortune; and as the whole of the white people were under arms, and such of the negroes as were willing to be serviceable, busily employed in conveying their master's property into the country, the flames were allowed to rage for some time before any notice was taken. In hopes, however, that the enemy would assist in extinguishing the fire, a white flag was displayed from the fort, and two gentlemen went off to the Admiral to propose terms of surrender ; but so much time was lost before they would consent to any terms, unless they would agree to surrender the Island, that the fire was allowed to spread until eight' in the evening, before any effectual efforts were made to stop its progress, and by that time the finest part of this beautiful town was consumed, and many reduced to poverty, who were before in affluent circumstances. The French did not advance into the town until four o'clock in the evening, when five companies St. George's militia, and Captain Levant's company, who had all assembled on Morne Brune, surrendered to the enemy, and laid down their arms. The whole of the regulars, except the artillery, which returned next day, with some more of the St. George's militia, also surrendered; the rest made. good their retreat to Prince Rupert's, through a country never travelled at night before, unless by carts, and great part of it without roads ; iwo companies of the St. George's militia, also under Captains Armatrading and Beech, with some of the light infantry, reached Prince Rupert's on the third day, after suffering great fatigue. The General himself, by changing horses at the different plantations he stopped at, and having taken a nearer route than the troops, arrived in twenty-four hours, which was a prodigious exertion, considering the nature of the roads he had to 'travel in the dark. The enemy, by five o'clock of the evening of the 22d, had full possession of Roseau and Morne Brune; but English colours were still flying at Scott's Head, where Lieutenant Wallis* of the 46th regiment commanded, with about thirty men of that corps, and the York light infantry volunteers: hitherto no attempt had been made to reduce it, but towards evening two of their line of baitle ships stood towards it, with an intent to reconnoitre ; a very heavy fire was immediately opened on them, and they soon drew off. Mr. Wallis having only a week's provisions, and no water within the fort, very properly abandoned it in the night, and retreated with his detachment towards Prince Rupert's, which he reached in safety. The conduct of this officer was exceedingly firm, and displayed all the coolness of a veteran;
• Lieutenant Wallis, (now Captain) has again distinguished himself in defence of Dominica,
Journal of Occcurrences at Dominica.
nor was that of Lieutenant Schaw*, of the same corps, less to be applauded. He happened to be on guard at Fort Young, and served at the guns with his detachment the whole of the day, and was particularly noticed by the General for his coolness and soldier-like behaviour. He afterwards, when the white flag was displayed, drew off his men to Morne Brune, and having given them some refreshment from his own quarters, followed the route of the rest of the troops. His conduct was the more praise-worthy, as the militia were on Morne Brune, waiting a summons to surrender, at the time that Lieutenant Schaw passed with his detachment. Both of these deserving young officers, and also Fort Adjutant Gualey, Ilth regiment, were very honourably mentioned by the General in his dispatches. The enemy landed above 4000 men, the half of which was composed of the 261h demi-brigade, one of the best in the French service; the rest were dismounted hussars, and Piedinontese troops ; the latter mostly very young
To oppose them we had not above 600 ment, of whom scarcely five were actually engaged. The enemy acknowledged the loss of 500 men in killed and wounded; ours was small in comparison, being under 60 #; and about 250, including the artillery, which was the only part of the regular's that fell into the enemy's hands, laid down their arms. They could have easily reached Prince Rupert's, had the General given positive orders that they should allempt it;. but it appears that he was desirous of having none but effective men in that garrison, being afraid of the provisions failing in case of a long siege; he therefore left it to their own option, having sent word to Colonel Beechi, that he would be
* Now Captain, 46th regiment. + Return of English Troops.
* Return of Killed and Wounded. 46th regiment, under Captain James 250
0. P. 0. P. 1st W. J. regt. Capt. O'Connell 70. Royal Artillery detachment 0 0 0 3 Royal Artillery Waller ... 15 46th regiment....
019 1 St. George's regt. militia, Col. Beechs 280 1st West India ditto 09 8 Independent company; Capt. Serrant 60 St. George's regt. of militia. 1 10 Sailors at the guns, about.... 30 Capt. Levant's company... 0
0 26 4 30
The Regular Officers engaged were Besides the Rev. John Audain; who was Royal Artillery, Capt. Waller.
wounded carly in the action, when point46th regiment, Captains -James, now Lt. ing one of the six-pounders at Point
Col. of the 37th regiment; C. Cain ell, Michell; and some of the sailors scorched wounded slightly; Archibald Campbell, with gun-powder. now Major in the Royals; M.Dougall, since dead, and much regretted. Lieutenants—Schaw; Nairn; Whyte, since
dead; Thompson. 1st West India regiment—Major Nuno,
mortally wounded.--Captain O'Connell, slightly. Lieutenant Isley.
Journal of Occurrences ut Dominica.
glad to see as many of them as volunteered to encounter the hardships of a siege. The two companies under Captains Armatrading and Beech, immediately marched off with three cheers, the rest returning with the Colonel to Roseau.
General, Prevost, immediately on his arrival at Prince Rupert's, proceeded to put every thing in the best stale for defending that strong post, to the last extremity. Colonel Broughton had already got a large supply of water into the tanks, (there being no spring within the garrison) and cattle were driven in from every part of the neighbourhood; he was, however, greatly disappointed at not being joined by the officer of artillery and his men, who had been induced to return to Roseau, and surrender, from being informed by some of the militia who had relurned, that the roads were impassable. In the present state of the garrison they would have been invaluable, as there were only seven or eight artillery.men in the fort, and no officer; but the great mind of General Prevost was never at a loss for resources; he immediately appointed Mr. Johannet* and Lieutenant Schawt, who had behaved so well on the 22d, to the charge of the artillery, and ordered an additional number of men of the 46th regiment, to be trained to the guns, who were soon, by his unremitted attention, reported fit for service. The French, on their part, were employed on the 23d, in refreshing themselves after their hard fighting; some of them were pressing negroes, to bury the dead at Point Michell; many appeared intoxicated, and were seen wandering about wherever they chose; whilst others, with officers at their head, were plundering the miserable inhabitan's of what the fire had left. They dismissed the militia, ordering them to appear in coloured clothes, and the officers were liberated, on signing their parole, not to serve against Le Grange's army. On the 23d an officer was dispatched to Prince Rupert's, with a summons to General Prevost. The officer did not go himself, but sent a negro messenger : the general returned a polite answer to the summons, but declined complying with their demand, being determined to hold out to the last extremity. On the 24th, the Council and Assembly of the island were convened by order of the French general, and a contribution imposed, of £20,000 carrency, which was required to be paid in 24 hours; and in order to ensurce immediate compliance, a frigate was anchored under the fort, and the gentlemen were informed, if the money was not forth-coming at the appointed time, they would be put on board, and imprisoned at Guadaloupe. They saw it was in vain to resist, but declared, that owing to the destruction of the town by fire, that sum could not be raised; after much threatening they agreed to accept of £7000, which was paid them accordingly. In the afternoon of this day, and during the whole of the 25th, they were busily employed in shipping king's stores out of the commissariat, to
Acting Paymaster, first West India regiment, who had served as an officer of artillery during the American war.
+ Lieutenant Schaw commanded the party attached to the battalion guns of the rogiment, and consequently knew something of the business before.
Journal of Occurrences at Dominica.
which the fire had not extended, and every other article of value they could lay hands on about the town. They had also been preparing all the mere chant vessels found in the harbour, for sea, as the most of them were lying with sails unbent, waiting to take in cargoes for Europe : one ship they burnt, and the rest, consisting of about twenty sail, principally square-rigged vessels, they carried with them to Guadaloupe, where they were sold; several of them had just arrived from England, and had very valuable cargoes on board. One large ship with king's stores and some heavy cannon for Prince Rupert's was particularly valuable to the captors, and a very great loss to us. It is but justice to say, that during the stay of Le Grange's army at Roseau, they behaved, on the whole, belter than was expected of them; they treated Major Nunn, who was lingering under the mortal wound he received on the 22d, with the greatest kindness; placed a guard at the house to prevent noise, and returned his sword, which he had sent to the French general; not did the writer of this ever hear that any personal outrage was offered to any of the inhabitants, male or female. On their departure, however, they carried away a considerable number of negroes, some, no doubt, had wished to go with them, but the greater part had been taken off forcibly: some of them who had been landed in Martinique, were relurned in a flag of truce, by Villaret, the governor of the island, much to his honour. On the evening of the 26th, the whole squadron, with their prizes, (the troops having been embarked in the morning), stood away for Guadaloupe; next morning, however, they appeared off Prince Rupert's, where it was afterwards learned they held a council of war, at which General E:neuf who had joined with some troops from Guadaloupe, of which he was governor, urged the attack of that garrison, and offered to head it; but it seems the admiral would not risk his ships, which must have been severely handled, and the attempt was given up. After mancuvring nearly the whole of the 27th, they bore away for Guadaloupe. Thus ended their attempt upon Dominica, which, formidable as was their force, was saved by the determined bravery of a handful of men, led on by a commander whose perpetual vigilance prevented sure prise, and whose known merit inspired the utmost confidence in all. The behaviour of the regular troops, rery few of whom, either officers or men, had seen active service before, was beyond all praise, and was highly extolled by the general. The militia corps also behaved with the greatest spirit, and the companies who made good their retreat 10 Prince Ruperi's, were particularly noticed in the general orders. Captains Armatrading and Beech, Lieutenant Robinson, Ensigns Hardy and Bruce, who followed the general, received the applause they so well merited. Captain Laing', with the light company of the St. George's militia, remained at the river side the whole day, and were not engaged. Having no orders sent them, they remained at their post until a large body of the enemy made their retreat to Morne Brune necessary. The general had sent back for a detachment of
* This universally esteemed young man has since fallen a victim to the West. Ladia climate,
Journal of Occurrences at Dominica.
them after he began his retreat, fearing some of the enemy's light troops would cut him off, and they went on to Prince Rupert's: the rest of the company were much mortified that they had no share in the glory of the day.
On the 28th, when the enemy's fleet were out of sight, and it was ascertained that they had embarked their whole force, and abandoned Roseau, the General sent up the Maria tender to the Commodore's ship the Centaur, which had got into Prince Rupert's, in spite of the French cruizers, with a detachment of troops composed of the 46th regiment of light infantry, and the first West India regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Wallis; to take possession of Fort Young, and preserve order in the town. The guns had been spiked, and the ammunition and every thing else destroyed as much as possible; but in the course of a few hours, by the activity of Mr. Wallis, the spikes were drawn, ammunition received from Prince Rupert's, and the fort put into a respectable state of defence. As the militia had lost their arms it was of the utmost importance to have a regular force, however small, as the enemy's small privateers, knowing the defenceless state of the town, or even the negroes, might have plundered without annoyance. The acting commissarywas sent up from Prince Rupert's, to purchase every cargo of provisions which arrived, for the supply of that garrison, as the king's stores at Roseau were completely emptied. The general, since his arrival at Prince Rupert's, had taken every measure to strengthen that garrison, which is naturally very strong; the loss of the store ship was, however, very severely felt.
From the 28th of February until about the 8th of March, the French admiral kept his frigates and smallec vessels constantly cruizing, and occasionally some of the line of battle ships: half of the 26th demi-brigade were landed at Guadaloupe, and the other at Martinique; General Erneuf having urged another attempt on Dominica in vain, as the admiral constantly refused to risk his ships; and without their assistance, there was but little hope of reducing it, unless by blockade, as there were now above 1500 regular troops in garrison, of whose courage they had received a pretty good sample, and the information of the expected arrival of an English squadron of equal force, made them abandon the idea of blocade. During their stay at Guadaloupe, we continued in a most anxious state in the garrison, waiting, on the one hand, for their bext movement, and on the other, being in daily expectation of the arrival of an English fleet in pursuit of them.
On the 3d of March three English frigates, with a reinforcement of troops, arrived at Prince Rupert's from Barbadoes, which were not received by the commanding officer, Colonel Broughton, (General Prevost having gone to Roseau, on colonial business) and they proceeded on to Antigua, where they were very joyfully received. Sir Samuel Hood, the commander of our naval forces, had constantly kept the sea with the Centaur, of 74 guns, and soch