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Capture of Martinique

28th January 1809 - 24th February 1809
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Capture of the Vengeur 24.1.1809
Next action : Action of 1809-02-08 8.2.1809

 

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

 
British Ships,
Alexander Inglis CochraneBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1778-1830
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Neptune (98) 1797-1818
British 98 Gun
2nd Rate Ship of the Line
Charles DilkesBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1805-1815
Fleet Flagship
Pompee (80) 1793-1817
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Edward Pelham BrentonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1788-1815
Belleisle (74) 1795-1814
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Edward WoolcombeBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1802-1814
Captain (74) 1787-1813
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Hugh PigotBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1788-1853
,
James Athol WoodBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1778-1821
York (74) 1807-1854
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Robert BartonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1776-1830
,
Alexander Wilmot SchombergBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1793-1815
Intrepid (64) 1770-1815
British 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Warwick LakeBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1804-1810
,
Christopher John Williams NeshamBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1790-1810
Ulysses (20) 1779-1816
British 20 Gun
5th Rate Ship
Christopher John Williams NeshamBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1790-1810
,
Edward WoolcombeBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1802-1814
Acasta (40) 1797-1821
British 40 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Philip BeaverBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1777-1789
Ethalion (38) 1802-1835
British 38 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
William Charles FahieBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1783-1830
,
Thomas John CochraneBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1805-1856
Penelope (36) 1798-1815
British 36 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
John DickBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1794-1836
Pique (36) 1800-1819
British 36 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
1801 Renamed "Pique"
 
Circe (32) 1804-1814
British 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Charles KerrBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1805-1815
Cleopatra (32) 1779-1814
British 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Samuel John PechellBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1803-1814
Eurydice (24) 1781-1834
British 24 Gun
6th Rate Ship
James BradshawBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1805-1811
Surinam (18) 1804-1808
British 18 Gun
Unrated Sloop
 
Cherub (18) 1806-1820
British 18 Gun
Unrated Sloop
George RavenshawBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1796-1809
,
Thomas Tudor TuckerBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1800-1816
Star (16) 1805-1816
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
1811 Renamed "Meteor"
Francis Augustus CollierBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1803-1849
Stork (16) 1796-1816
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
George Le GeytBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1797-1812
Amaranthe (16) 1804-1815
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
George PringleBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1795-1815
Wolverine (16) 1805-1816
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
John SimpsonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1793-1813
Fawn (16) 1805-1806
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
 
Hazard (16) 1794-1817
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
Hugh CameronBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1799-1809
Demerara (16) 1806-1813
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
William DowersBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1802-1815
Port D'Espagne (14) 1806-1811
British 14 Gun
Unrated Schooner
 
Superieure (14) 1803-1814
British 14 Gun
Unrated Schooner
Humphrey Fleming SenhouseBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1797-1841
,
William FerrieBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1800-1812
Liberty (14) 1779-1816
British 14 Gun
Unrated Cutter
John CoddBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1796-1821
Eclair (12) 1801-1818
British 12 Gun
Unrated Schooner
1809 Renamed "Pickle"
George James EvelynBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1804-1812
Haughty (12) 1804-1816
British 12 Gun
Unrated Gun-brig
 
Swinger (12) 1804-1812
British 12 Gun
Unrated Gun-brig
Thomas Bourdon FellowsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1794-1810
,
William WinlackBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1807-1810
Bacchus (10) 1806-1807
British 10 Gun
Unrated Schooner
 
Express (6) 1800-1813
British 6 Gun
Unrated Schooner
William DowersBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1802-1815
,
William MaloneBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1807-1811
 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Gloire (38) 1806-1812
British 38 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
James CarthewBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1790-1811
Aeolus (32) 1801-1817
British 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
William FitzroyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1794-1812
Fawn (18) 1807-1818
British 18 Gun
Unrated Sloop
Michael de CourcyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1797-1809
,
George Alfred CroftonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1804-1816
Pultusk (18) 1807-1810
British 18 Gun
Unrated Sloop
George PringleBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1795-1815
Belette (16) 1806-1812
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
George SandersBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1794-1809
Forester (16) 1806-1819
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
John RichardsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1790-1809
Frolic (16) 1806-1813
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
Thomas WhinyatesBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1794-1815
Pelorus (16) 1808-1841
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
Thomas HuskissonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1806-1821
Recruit (16) 1806-1822
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
Charles John NapierBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1799-1853
Ringdove (16) 1806-1829
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
George AndrewsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1797-1809
,
Humphrey Fleming SenhouseBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1797-1841
Snap (16) 1808-1811
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
James Pattison StewartBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1805-1815
Goree (16) 1807-1817
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
1807 Renamed "Goree"
Joseph SpearBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1790-1812
Bacchus (12) 1807-1812
British 12 Gun
Unrated Schooner
Samuel MalbonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1804-1817
,
Charles Dayman JermyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1807-1815
Mosambique (10) 1804-1810
British 10 Gun
Unrated Schooner
James AtkinsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1797-1811
Subtle (10) 1807-1812
British 10 Gun
Unrated Schooner
Charles BrowneBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1808-1812
Cuttle (4) 1807-1814
British 4 Gun
Unrated Schooner
Thomas BuryBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1807-1814
,
Thomas BuryBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1807-1814
 

Notes on Action


DescriptionTRN5

In the summer of 1808 it had become known to the British ministry that Martinique was in want both of provisions and of troops; and preparations had been subsequently begun at Barbados for taking advantage of the distress of the most important of the French West-Indian possessions, which was at the time governed by Vice-Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, the officer who had been defeated by Lord Howe in 1794. These preparations were completed by the end of January, 1809, when the naval force, together with a fleet of transports, having on board about 10,000 troops under Lieutenant-General Beckwith, assembled at Carlisle Bay. The expedition sailed on January 28th, and arrived on the 30th off Martinique, which was garrisoned by about 2400 effective regulars, and 2500 militia, and which mounted in its various batteries about 290 guns. In the harbour of Fort Royal lay the Amphitrite, 40, which had left Cherbourg on November 12th, 1808; at St. Pierre lay the Diligente, 18; and at Marin lay the Carnation, 18, which had been taken by the Palinure from the British on October 3rd, 1808.

Early on January 30th, about 3000 men, commanded by Major-General Frederick Maitland, were landed without opposition at Pointe Sainte Luce, under the superintendence of Captain Fahie; and 600 men, under Major Henderson, were put ashore at Cape Solomon. Upon the appearance of the former in Marin Bay, the French destroyed the Carnation. In the meanwhile, nearly 6500 men, commanded by Lieut.-General Sir George Prevost, were landed on the north side of the island, at Baie Robert, under the direction of Captain Beaver. These, also, were unopposed, the militia assembled near the landing-places retiring before them, and going to their homes.

On February 1st and 2nd, the advancing British army gained successes against the French regulars, the main body of whom then fell back on Fort Desaix. Major Henderson possessed himself of a fort or battery on Pointe Salomon; and on February 4th, Pigeon Island surrendered after it had been heavily bombarded for twelve hours. The fall of this post was largely due to the exertions of a body of seamen employed ashore under Captain Cockburn; and the capture of its little garrison of 136 men was owing to retreat having been cut off by the Molus, Cleopatra, and Recruit, which had pushed up to the head of Fort Royal Bay, and which, by their appearance there, induced the French to burn the Amphitrite and other vessels in harbour. When Sir Alexander Cochrane, with the squadron, afterwards stood into the bay, the enemy on that side of the island concentrated themselves in Fort Desaix, the investment of which was then begun. Cas des Navires was occupied on February 8th; St. Pierre and the Diligente surrendered on the 9th; and Fort Royal itself was taken possession of on the 10th.

On the 19th the bombardment of Fort Desaix was opened, and until noon on the 23rd it continued without cessation. After a fruitless parley it was recommenced, and continued until 9 A.M. on the 24th, when white flags were hoisted. In the course of that day, the place, and the whole colony, formally surrendered by capitulation. In the acquisition of Pigeon Island the Navy lost two seamen killed; in the siege of Fort Desaix it lost six killed and nineteen wounded. The seamen who served on shore were, as usual, of the greatest use in getting heavy guns and mortars into position on commanding heights, and in helping to man the batteries. For mismanagement of the defence, Vice-Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse and some other officers were broken by a court which tried them in Paris in December, 1809.




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