Siege of Pondicherry

4th September 1760 - 15th January 1761
Part of : Seven Years' War (1756/05/17 - 1763/02/10)
Previous action : Action in Chaleur Bay 8.7.1760
Next action : Action off Cuba 18.10.1760


Great Britain

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Norfolk (74) Richard Kempenfelt (1715-1782)



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Posted by Brian Stephens on Sunday 11th of May 2014 23:26

An account of the taking of Pondicherry ; Headquarters at Oulgaret Feb. 3, 1761

On the 23 of October, Admiral Stevens sailed from Trincamaley to refit the squadron, leaving five sail of the line, under the command of Captain Haldane, to continue the blockade of Pondicherry by sea, which place began to be greatly distressed for want of provisions. On the 9th of November I ordered a ricochet battery for four pieces of cannon to be erected to the northward, at about 1400 yards from the town, more with a design to harass the enemy, than any damage we could think of doing to the works at so great a distance. On the 10th we began to land our stores, and to prepare everything for the carrying on the siege with vigour. The rains being over by the 26th, I imagine the distress of the enemy might be much augmented, and garrison duty rendered very fatiguing, if some batteries are erected on different quarters of the town. I therefore give directions to the engineers to pitch on proper places, at such distances, and in such a situation, that the shot from them might enfilade the works of the garrison, and our men and guns not exposed to any certain fore form the enemy. Accordingly the following batteries were traced out, on (called The Prince of Wales) for four guns, near the beach on the north side, to enfilade the great street, which runs north and south through the white town: one for four guns and two mortars to the northwest quarter, at 1000 yards distance, to enfilade the north face of a large counter guard , before the northwest bastion, called The Duke of Cumberland's, a third called Prince Edward's for two guns , to the southward, at 1200 yards distance, to enfilade the streets from south to north, so as to cross the fire from the northern battery, and a fourth to the southwest, called Prince William's for two guns and one mortar, at 1100 yards distance, in order to destroy the guns in St. Thomas redoubt and to ruin the vessels and boats near it. On the 8th at midnight, they were all opened together, and continued firing till day-light. On the 9th the enemy kept up a warm fire on our batteries, without doing much damage to them. This day one gunner and a subedar of Seapoys were killed. On the 25th Adm. Steevens, with four ships of the line, arrived off Pondicherry, having parted company with Admiral Cornish and his division, on the 16th inst, in blowing weather. On the 19th, a battery called Hanover, was begun, for ten guns and three mortars to the northward, at 450 yards distance from the town against the northwest counter guard and curtain. On the 1st. of January, we had a very violent storm of wind and rain: it began at eight o'clock in the evening and lasted to between three and four the next morning. I gave directions for the repairing of our batteries, which the storm had almost ruined, and the putting everything into the best order our present situation would admit. On the 4th we had the agreeable fight of Admiral Steevens in the Norfolk, who had had the good fortune to weather out the storm, without suffering the least damage. On the 5th I attacked a post of very great consequence to the enemy in which were four twenty-eight pounders, called St. Thomas redoubt, and carried it without any loss. At day-light on the 6th, 300 of the enemy grenadiers retook it, owing to the officer, commanding the redoubt, not being able to keep his Seapoys together. This day, Admiral Cornish in the Lenox with the York and Weymouth, arrived; and as most of the ships, which had been disable, were now refitted, the blockade of Podicherry was as complete as ever. On the 12th the Hanover battery, being repaired, kept up a very brisk fire, and greatly damaged the counterguard and bastion, and made a breach in the curtain. On the 13th, in the evening, I ordered a working party of 700 Europeans, and 400 Lascars, with the pioneers company, under the command of a Major, to the northward, where the engineers had traced out a battery for eleven guns and three mortars. At eight o'clock they began a trench for introducing gabions of four feet high, which were to form the interior facing of the battery. At the same time a parallel was begun, 90 yards in the rear, of 250 yards long, and an approach of 400 yards in length, notwithstanding the moon shone very bright, and the battery within 500 yards of the Walls, everything went on without the least disturbance from the enemy. By morning six embrazures were in a condition to receive guns, and the rest far advanced. This was called the Royal battery. On the 14th the Hanover battery kept up a constant fire the whole day, which entirely ruined the west face and flank of the north-west bastion. On the 15th the royal batter was opened, which, by eight o'clock in the morning, silenced the fire of the enemy, and gave us an opportunity of beginning a trench, to contain our royal mortars and three guns, for the more speedy demolition of the demi-bastion and ravelin of Madras-gate. This evening, Col. Durre of the Royal Artillery, the chief of the Jesuits and two civilians, were sent out by M. Lally with proposals for delivering up the garrison. On the 16th at eight o'clock in the morning, the grenadiers of my regiment took possession of the Villenour-gate; and, in the evening, those of Drapers of the citadel . etc...

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