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Gibraltar and its Sieges with a Description of its Natural Features.

Gibraltar and its Sieges
with a Description of its Natural Features.
Category:
Title: Gibraltar and its Sieges with a Description of its Natural Features.
Release Date: 2018-12-02
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 26
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List of Illustrations
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GIBRALTAR AND ITS SIEGES.

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GIBRALTAR FROM THE NORTH-WEST.

GIBRALTAR AND ITS
SIEGES.

WITH A
Description of its Natural Features.

—————
“Where Gibraltar’s cannoned steep
  O’erfrowns the wave.”—Matthew Arnold.
—————

LONDON: THOMAS NELSON AND SONS.
EDINBURGH AND NEW YORK.
1879.

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Contents.

PART I.
NAVAL AND MILITARY ANNALS:—
I.SIEGE OF GIBRALTAR IN 1704,9
II.AN INTERVAL,21
III.THE GREAT SIEGE,25
IV.THE FLOATING BATTERIES,70
V.THE RELIEF,99
PART II.
GIBRALTAR AS IT WAS AND IS:—
I.GENERAL DESCRIPTION,116
II.EARLY HISTORY OF THE ROCK,142

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List of Illustrations.

GIBRALTAR FROM THE NORTH-WEST,FRONTISPIECE
ROCK OF GIBRALTAR FROM THE NEUTRAL GROUND,12
VIEW FROM THE SIGNAL-STATION,30
THE LANDING-PLACE, AND REMAINS OF MOORISH CASTLE,32
EUROPA POINT,38
MAP OF GIBRALTAR AT THE TIME OF THE GREAT SIEGE,72
LARBOARD AND STARBOARD SIDES OF A SPANISH BATTERING-SHIP,80
THE GRAND ATTACK UPON GIBRALTAR, SEPTEMBER 13, 1782,86
THE KING’S BASTION, AND OLD MOORISH CASTLE,96
THE ROCK AND BAY OF GIBRALTAR (MODERN MAP),116
THE SIGNAL-STATION,118
THE MARKET-PLACE,120
THE ALAMEDA,122
A MOTLEY GROUP IN THE MAIN STREET,126
O’HARA’S TOWER ON THE SUGAR-LOAF,130
CATALAN BAY FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN BATTERY,132
MARTIN’S CAVE,136
ST. GEORGE’S HALL,140

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THE ROCK OF GIBRALTAR.

PART I.
Naval and Military Annals.

CHAPTER I.
SIEGE OF GIBRALTAR IN 1704.

THE year 1704 was the year of Blenheim, that wonderful victory ofMarlborough’s which dissipated Lewis the Fourteenth’s dreams ofuniversal empire. As stars are extinguished in the light of dawn, so inthe lustre of this great triumph England’s minor successes by sea andland were forgotten. And to this day, while most men remember whenBlenheim was won, few are mindful of the year in which Gibraltar wastaken. Yet it may well be doubted whether the latter, though the lessfamous, was not, so far as British interests are concerned, the moreimportant success. It is{10} difficult, perhaps, to determine any directadvantage which England gained by the battle of Blenheim; but by thepossession of Gibraltar she secured the command of the Mediterranean andof the highway to India.

Gibraltar was captured in the same year in which the battle of Blenheimwas won.

While the Duke of Marlborough was leading his troops to the Rhine, theArchduke Charles, who had assumed the title of King of Spain, had landedat Lisbon, with the view of taking the command of an army collected onthe western frontier of the kingdom to which he laid claim. This armywas composed of contingents furnished by England, the Netherlands, andPortugal; but it was prevented from making any progress by the militarygenius of the Duke of Berwick, natural son of James II., who was at thehead of the Spanish forces. At the opposite extremity of the Peninsula,an effort was made to provoke a rising of the Catalans on behalf of KingCharles. For this purpose, a division of five or six thousand men wasplaced under the command of the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt, who embarkedat Lisbon in May, in an English fleet of which Sir George Rooke was theadmiral.{11}

The expedition landed at Barcelona, but found the people indisposed towelcome or support it. It was, therefore, re-embarked; and Rooke,sailing down the Mediterranean, passed through the Strait, and effecteda junction with the fleet under Sir Cloudesley Shovel. The two admiralswere unwilling that so powerful a force should return to England withoutaccomplishing something; and a council of war was held on the 17th ofJuly, at which several schemes were proposed and discussed—amongothers, an attack upon Cadiz. This, however, was deemed imprudent withso small a body of troops; and at length it was decided to strike aswift and vigorous blow at Gibraltar. The strength of the fortress waswell known; but it was equally well known that the garrison was weak,and that the Spaniards relied too confidently on the assistance suppliedby Nature.

On the 21st of July, the fleet crossed from Tetuan, and anchored inGibraltar Bay. The marines, English and Dutch, numbering one thousandeight hundred, were then landed, under the orders of the Prince ofHesse-Darmstadt, to the northward, on the isthmus, now called theNeutral Ground, which connects the Rock with the mainland. By thismovement, the garrison was prevented from obtain{12}ing provisions orreinforcements from the interior. A summons was sent to the governor tosurrender the stronghold for the service of Charles III., King of Spain;but the governor replied that he and his veterans were true and loyalsubjects of their natural lord, Philip V., and would sacrifice theirlives in defence of the place. Sir George Rooke immediately gavedirections for the attack to commence; and Rear-Admiral Byng, with one80-gun and fourteen 70-gun ships, together with Rear-AdmiralVanderdussen, and six Dutch men-of-war, and some vessels, under CaptainHicks, destined for the attack of the South Mole, took up theirpositions before daylight on the 23rd.

A heavy cannonade was now hurled against the fortifications. In five orsix hours no fewer than fifteen thousand shot were expended; and theenemy, though they showed the most admirable intrepidity, were drivenfrom their guns. Captain Whitaker, with the armed boats, was thenordered to carry the Mole head; a position from which the town would beat the mercy of the attacking force. The landing was effected with theutmost alacrity; but Captain Hicks and Jumper, who lay next the mole,got ahead with their pinnaces, and dashed headlong

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ROCK OF GIBRALTAR FROM THE NEUTRAL GROUND.

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against the works. The Spaniards had prepared for the assault, andbefore abandoning their post sprung a mine, which blew up thefortifications, killed two lieutenants and forty men, and wounded sixty.The survivors, however, would not surrender the ground so hardly gained;and Captain Whitaker coming up, they warily pushed forward, and carrieda small redoubt half-way between the Mole and the town. A second summonsbeing addressed to the governor, the Marquis de Salines, the garrisoncapitulated; and thus, on the 24th, this famous fortress fell into thehands of the assailants.

The attack was exceedingly brilliant, and the seamen fought with equalcheerfulness and resolution. It is a proof of the strength of thefortifications, which mounted one hundred guns, that though the garrisonconsisted of only one hundred and fifty men, the loss of the attackingforce was severe. Two lieutenants, one master, and fifty-seven men werekilled; one captain, seven lieutenants, a boatswain, and two hundred andsixteen men wounded. The marquis was allowed to march out with all thehonours of war; and those inhabitants who chose to remain wereguaranteed the same rights and privileges which they had enjoyed underCharles II.{14}

Having appointed the Prince of Darmstadt governor, and left as many mento garrison the Rock as could be spared from the fleet, Sir George Rookesailed for Tetuan to take in wood and water. He then went in search of aFrench fleet which had been equipped at Toulon, and was under the ordersof the High-Admiral of France, the Comte de Thoulouse, who had beenjoined by some Spanish vessels. Rooke came up with the enemy off Malagaon the 13th of August. The superiority of force lay with the French, whocounted fifty line-of-battle ships, carrying 3543 guns and 24,155 men;eight frigates, mounting 149 guns, with 1025 men; nine fire-ships; and acouple of transports. Sir George Rooke had under his command forty-oneEnglish and twelve Dutch sail of the line, carrying 3700 guns and 23,200men, with six frigates, and seven fire-ships. The French vessels,however, were better built than the English, and better armed. Theyincluded three ships of 104 guns, and four of 92 and 90 guns, all therest being from 88 to 52 guns. On the other hand, the combined fleetcontained only three of 96 guns and two of 90 guns, the remainder beingfrom 80 to 50.

On Sunday morning, the 13th, the combined fleet{15} being to windward, thecentre led by Sir George Rooke, the van by Sir Cloudesley Shovel and SirJohn Leake, and the rear by the Dutch vice-admiral Callunbuy, signal wasmade to bear down upon the enemy; and upon reaching within halfgun-shot, the action began. It was long and hotly contested; thecombatants fought all day; yet not a ship of the hundred vessels engagedon either side was taken, or burned, or sunk. The French had not at thattime acquired that sense of the superiority of the British at sea whichwas forced upon them by a disastrous series of defeats in theRevolutionary and Napoleonic wars; and the British admirals lacked thatboldness of attack and contempt of the enemy which Howe, Jervis, andNelson made a tradition. At all events, the battle, though it lasted allday, had no decisive result; and both fleets drew off at nightfall,having gained nothing except honour. Sir Cloudesley Shovel describes thefight as “very sharp;” and adds, “There is hardly a ship that must notshift one mast, and some must shift all.” The French fleet suffered evenmore than the English, and on the following morning sailed away forToulon, with a loss in killed and wounded variously estimated at from2000 to 3000. The loss of the English{16} was 695 killed, and 1663 wounded;that of the Dutch, 400 killed and wounded. So far as the “butcher’sbill” went, both England and France had equal reason to claim a victory;and thus, while a Te Deum was chanted in Notre Dame, thanksgivingswere also publicly offered at St. Paul’s.

 

The Court of Madrid felt the loss of Gibraltar to be a very seriousblow, and, before the autumn was passed, despatched the Marquis ofVilladaria, with 8000 men, to attempt its recovery. The Earl of Galway,then in command of the Allied forces in Portugal, sent four regiments,with supplies of provisions and ammunition, to the relief of thegarrison; and Sir John Leake soon afterwards arrived in the Bay withtwenty sail of English and Dutch ships. Meantime, the Spaniardsprosecuted the siege with much vigour, and harassed the garrison with aconstant and heavy fire.

Sir John Leake, hearing that the enemy were preparing to attack him witha very powerful fleet, withdrew to Lisbon, in order to refit, and pickup some ships which he had left behind. On the 25th he again put to sea;and on the 27th suddenly made his appearance in the Bay, where hesurprised{17} three frigates, two English prizes, and some small vessels.He then landed the reinforcements, and six months’ supplies of stores,together with a body of five hundred sailors to assist in repairing thebreaches made by the hostile guns. His arrival is described as veryopportune, for the Spanish general had fixed on that same night for anattack by sea and land at five several points.

Baffled in this design, and conceiving that the garrison would be lesson their guard while the English fleet rode in the Bay, the marquisconceived the idea of attempting a coup-de-main. On the 31st ofOctober

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