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Louisiana

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  • Ed St.Germain
    From The Norfolk Chronicle or Norwich Gazette for Saturday, Jan 22, 1780: By the French mail arrived this day, we have received the Madrid Gazette, which
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2003
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      From The Norfolk Chronicle or Norwich Gazette for Saturday, Jan 22,
      1780:

      By the French mail arrived this day, we have received the Madrid
      Gazette, which contains the following very interesting intelligence.

      MADRID, Dec. 31.

      We have learned by a courier extraordinary dispatched from Ferrol, that
      the 21st of this month the King’s courier frigate, named the Cortes,
      arrived there from the Havannah, from whence she sailed the 15th of
      November with the packets for the King’s service, and the publick
      correspondence. On board that frigate Don Joseph Valliere arrived, a
      reformed officer in the troops of his Most Christian Majesty, who had
      brought from New Orleans several standards taken from the English, in an
      expedition happily conceived and executed by Brigadier Don Bernard de
      Galvez, Governor of Louisiana, against the settlements and forts which
      the English possessed on the borders of the Mississippi, and in which he
      made himself master of three forts.

      By the letters arrived, the King has received particulars of that event,
      as important as they are satisfactory; the substance of which is as
      follows:

      The Governor of Louisiana was no sooner informed of the rupture between
      England and Spain, than he conceived the idea of forming some enterprize
      against the settlements of the enemy in his neighbourhood. With that
      design, he went the 7th of August in the districts of his government,
      inhabited by Germans and Acadians, on the borders of that river, in
      order to raise as great a number as possible of militia and volunteers;
      and left at New Orleans the necessary orders for the troops, and the
      inhabitants he had assembled, to march the same evening and follow him.
      All these troops amounted to 667 men, viz, 500 of the old corps, and in
      that number 300 recruits, 20 carabiniers, 60 militia, 80 mulattoes and
      free negroes, and 7 American volunteers. That nmumber increased during
      the march with 600 men of every cast and colour, and 160 Indian
      volunteers, so that he could count 1427 fighting men under his command.

      But the fatigues of the hasty march, and the distempers that succeeded,
      reduced that corps more than one third by the time they arrived at
      Manchack, an English post 35 leagues from the capital. Besides that
      obstacle, at the moment when the Spanish Commander was most active in
      his offensive dispositions, a dreadful hurricane had arose, which
      destroyed great part of the houses in New Orleans, and ruined a number
      of habitations, occasioning the loss of the harvest, the death of
      abundance of cattle, and a general consternation among the people of
      that province.

      Notwithstanding such a melancholy event, capable of disconcerting, or at
      least retarding the measures taken by the Governor, he did not cease to
      pursue them with the greatest ardour; and far from suffering himself to
      be discouraged by these contraries, knowing how much celerity in the
      operations imported to the success of his enterprize; he began them
      without waiting for a re-inforcement that had been promised him from the
      Havannah.

      He therefore continued his march, and on the 7th of September in the
      morning, surprized and carried by assault, without the loss of a man,
      the fort at Manchack, and 18 soldiers. A subaltern and five men, who had
      fled before break of day, by that means avoided being taken. The latter
      were part of the small force the English had left there two days before,
      when they retired to the fort at Batonrouge, taking with them the
      remainder of their troops, with the artillery, ammunition, and
      provisions.

      The 8th, Don Bernardo de Galvez took an inventory of the fort he had
      taken, and after having given six days rest to his troops, without
      having the satisfaction of seeing the distempers abate, he set out for
      Batonrouge, and took five prisoners on the route. After having
      reconnoitered that post, which was tolerably well fortified, having a
      ditch 18 feet wide and 9 deep, with a palidade, 14 guns mounted, 400
      regular troops, and 100 armed inhabitants, he judged it would be
      impossible to take it by storm, and, in consequence, he determined to
      battery it. For that purpose he prepared a false attack, thereby
      dissembling where he intended to make the real one, of which the enemy
      had no knowledge, until the last night, when our people finished the
      trenches and the battery. It was on the 21st of September that it began
      to play, with so much success, that at half past three, the fort was so
      much damaged, that the English beat a parly, and their Commander sent
      two Officers to our camp, to demand to capitulate, and make proposals.
      Don Bernardo de Galvez insisted on the garrison surrendering prisoners
      of war, and that the fort called Panmure, in the country of the Natchez,
      with its garrison, consisting of 80 grenadiers, should surrender at the
      same time. The English having submitted to this, the garrison at fort du
      Batonrouge marched out with the honours of war, and at the distance of
      500 paces deposited their arms, and delivered up their colours to a body
      of 375 of our regulars, who had formed for that purpose; the English
      remaining thus prisoners of war, it was to be also the fate of 500 other
      persons that composed the body of the inhabitants, and their negroes
      found with arms in their hands at Manchack, Batonrouge, and other
      places; but the Governor of Louisiana granted them their liberty, on
      account of the trouble he would have been at to keep them.

      As there were no more English posts or settlements to subdue in the
      Mississippi, Don Bernardo de Galvez terminated his expedition with as
      much success as glory for His Majesty’s arms, having reduced to his
      obedience a country of 430 leagues, the most fruitful of those watered
      by that river, that which contains the best settlements, and whose
      natives carry on the fur trade.

      We know not the loss of the English, because they make it their business
      to conceal it. On our side there was one man killed, and two wounded.

      In short, we have taken the three forts of Manchack, Batonrouge and
      Panmure of Natchez, with all of their artillery, ammunition, provisions,
      and other effects, belonging to his Brittanic Majesty; the first by
      assault, the second by capitulation, and the third by evacuation. We
      have taken prisoners about 550 regular troops, including 28 officers and
      others on the staff, viz., 1 Lieut. Col. 5 Captains, 10 Lieutenants, 5
      sub-Lieutenants, 1 Quarter-Master, 2 Commissaries, 1 Store-keeper, and 3
      Surgeon-majors; 8 boats laden with provisions, and several barks, in
      which were upwards of 50 mariners.

      --
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