Posted by Brian on Saturday 5th of July 2014 16:44
The London GazettePublication date:16 April 1763Admiralty Office, April 19Letter from Vice-Admiral Cornish dated in the Bay of Manila, the 31st of October, 1762It is with great pleasure I have the honour to acquaint their Lordships with the success of his Majesty's arms in the reduction of the City of Manila, which was taken by storm on the morning on the morning of the 6th instant. etc... To promote this end , I completed the Elizabeth, Grafton, Lenox, Weymouth, and Argo, with such of the troops, and military stores, as they were to take on board, and on the 29th sent them away under the command of Commodore Tiddeman, to proceed to Mallaca, with a view that they might complete their water there by the time I should arrive with the remainder of the squadron. Having accomplished the embarkation of everything designed for the expedition, with a dispatch much beyond my expectation, as we had from the whole time of my being there a violent surf to contend with. I sailed the 1st of August with the ships undermentioned , viz. Norfolk, Panther, America, Seaford, South Sea castle store ship, Admiral Stevens store ship, Osterly Company's ship, leaving the Falmouth, at the request of the President and Council, to convoy the Essex India ship, who was not ready to sail, having the treasure to take on board for the China cargoes, and to bring to Manila such of the Company's servants, as were to be put in possession of that Government, if the expedition succeeded. The 19th I arrived at Mallaca, and was disappointed in not finding Mr. Tiddeman there, who did not join till the 21st. having met with long calms. The difficulty of watering the squadron at this place, made it the 27th before I could leave the Road. On the 2d of September, I arrived off Pulo Timean, and was joined by Captain Grant in the Seahorse, whom I had detached, upon my first arrival at Madras, to cruize between this island and the Straights of Singapore, to stop any vessels he might suspect of going to Manila.On the 19th, I made the coast of Luconia, but was drove off again by a strong N.S. wind which separated some of the squadron. The 22d the gale broke up and the wind shifting to the S.W. the 23d we recovered the land again; the next day entered the Bay of Manila, and, in the close of the evening, anchored off the Fort of Cavite, with the whole squadron, except the South-Sea Castle and Admirla Stevens, the Falmouth and Essex having joined me off the coast. At night I sent the masters to sound about the fortifications of Cavite, and, by their report, found that it might be attacked by ships. The 25th in the morning, the wind not being favourable to attack the Cavite, I took two of the frigates, and with General Draper, and some other Officers, reconnoitered the shore about Manila, and observed some churches and other buildings to stand near the works on the south side of the town, particularly towards the S.W. Bastion. We had some design of attacking Cavite first, to have the convenience of that port for the shipping, but considered that though the attack should be attended with all the success we could hope, yet it would cause a delay at least of two days before we could land at Manila, which time would afford opportunity to the enemy to demolish their buildings near the works and to prepare many obstacles to our landing, and perhaps recover from that consternation our unexpected arrival had thrown them in; and further, Manila being the capital, if that fell, Cavite would in consequence.From those considerations, I joined in opinion with the General to take advantage of circumstance, so favourable for a descent, and land the troops with all dispatch, and endeavour to get possession of some posts near their works, which, if effected, would greatly facilitate the reduction of the city.In consequence of their resolutions, I immediately made the signal on board the Seahorse for the squadron to join me, and for the troops to prepare to land. About seven in the evening, the 79th regiment with the marines in the boats under the direction of Captains Parker, Kempenfelt and Brereton, pushed for the shore; and under fire of three frigates effected the landing at a church called the Moratta, about a mile and a half from the walls. We had no opposition from the enemy, but some difficulty from the surf which ran high, and bilged all the long boats, but happily lost no men. The next morning the General took an advance post about 200 yards from the Glacis, and there, under cover of a blind, intended his battery against the face of the South West Bastion. The number of troops being small, I landed a battalion of seamen, consisting of about 700 men under the command of Captain Collins, Pitchford, and George Ourry.The 25th, I dispatched three armed boats after a Galley coming up the bay to Manila; they came up with her, resolutely boarded her, and took her, notwithstanding she kept up with a smart fire with patteraroes and muskets; she mounted two carriage guns and seventeen brass swivel guns, and had eighty men. By letters found in her, we discovered she was dispatched from the Galleen St. Phillipina, from Acapulco, and whom she had left the 10th of September in at Cajayagan, between the Embarcadero and Cape Spiritu Santa. Upon this discovery, I came to a resolution to send the Panther and Argo in quest of her, but it was the 4th of October before the permitting their sailing. The 28th of September the General acquainted me that he was beginning to work on the battery, and that if some ships could get near enough to throw shot on the works of the town opposed to it, it might take off some of the enemy's fire and attention, and thereby facilitate its construction. In consequence of this, I ordered Commodore Tiddeman, with the Elizabeth and Falmouth, towards the town, as near as the depth of water would permit and to place the ships in such a position as would best answer the purpose intended, which was accordingly done the next day, and their fire had a very good effect. On the 30th. the South Sea Castle arrived with stores, which were much wanted, particularly the entrenching tools, for want of which the army had been so greatly distressed, that I was obliged to employ all the forges in making spades, pick-axes, etc. for them. The 1st of October it began to blow fresh, and in the night increased to a hard gale, which drove the South-Sea Castle ashore near the Pulverista, a little to the southward of our camp. This accident however had some considerable advantages attending it, as the situation she lay in made her canon a protection for the rear of our camp: It was likewise the means of that all her military stores were got on shore with safety and dispatch, and the army supplied with the provisions she had on board, both which were articles they stood in immediate need of, and which could not have been supplied by boats, as it continued blowing weather for several days after, and the surf breaking very high on the beach. The gale was from the W.S.W. directly on the shore, which gave me much concern for the safety of the squadron, particularly for the Elizabeth and Falmouth who were in only four fathom water, and, as I have since been informed, with the send of the sea struck; but the bottom being mud and soft to a considerable depth, they received no damage. On the 4th in the morning the General opened the battery, which was so well managed and seconded by the ships before the town, that in four hours the defences were taken off, and the next day in the evening the breach was made practical. On the 6th at day-light in the morning, the General's Regiment, with the Sea Battalion, mounted the breach, made the attack, and soon got possession of all the bastions, which completed the conquest. I immediately went on shore, and, with the General had a meeting with the Spanish Governor, and some of his principal Officers, when a capitulation was agreed on, that the town and Port of Cavite with the Islands and Forts dependent on Manila, should be given up to His Britannic Majesty, and that they should pay Four Millions of Dollars for the preservation of the town and their effects.On the 10th I sent Captain Kempenfelt in the Norfolk, with the Seaford and Seahorse, to take possession of Cavite, agreeable to the capitulation; by this acquisition we are in possession of a very large quantity of Naval stores, and beside the advantage of almost every convenience for refitting a squadron, the people are supplied with fresh meat and vegetables in great plenty.The siege, though short, was attended with many difficulties, and great fatigue, in which both the Officers and men exerted themselves with the utmost cheerfulness. We had constantly fresh gales, a Lee shore and consequently a high surf to contend with, which made it always difficult, frequently hazardous, and sometimes impossible to land with boats. The rains fell very heavy, and our little army were surrounded and harassed by numerous bodies of Indians, though undisciplined and armed only with lances, bows, and arrows, yet by a daring resolution and contempt of death, they became not only troublesome but formidable. Etc.... I acquaint their Lordships with the loss of Commodore Tiddeman, who in attempting to enter the river in his barge the morning after the reduction of Manila, was drowned with five of his people, by which unhappy accident, his Majesty has lost a brave and experienced officer.