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the ships of the fleet were judiciously anchored in a semi-circular form, just without reach of the enemy's guns; so as effectually to prevent any boats from going into, or coming out from the town. On the 17th of April, our batteries on the heights were ready to be opened, and on that morning Lord Hood sent a summons to the town; but the French General la Combe S:. Michell would not receive his letter, and returned a vaunting message, that the only correspondence he should hold with an enemy on the Republican territory, would be from the mouths of his cannon charged with red-hot shot, and from the musketry and bayonets of his brave companions.
When the officer returned on board the Victory with this message, Lord Hood made the appointed signal to the batteries on shore to commence the attack; which, to the great consternation of la Combe Saint Michell, and the inhabitants, was immediately done, by opening the batteries, consisting of five 24 pounders, two mortars of thirteen inch caliber, two of ten inch, and two heavy carronades, in different commanding situations, over the town, citadel, and out works.
The Proselyte, French gabarre, commanded by Captain Sericold, having long French 12 pounders, was directed to be placed against part of the town, when the batteries opened their fire ; but on getting under weigh, and coming to anchor, the swell cast her the wrong way, which prevented Captain Sericold from taking the precise station that had been allotted. The enemy fired nothing but red-hot shot at her, several of which struck between wind and water, lodging among the casks, and other craft in the hold. The signal of distress was immediately made; but Capt. Sericold, notwithstanding his danger, continued to keep up an incessant fire, with fourteen guns, upon the town, until the boats of the squadron came to his assistance, and took the men out of his ship, which soon was in a blaze of fire.
The batteries, which opened so unexpectedly, had a powerful effect; as by information from the town, on the 24th of April, the enemy lost a great number of men; in the hospitals were near 300 wounded: at this time we bad only four killed and twenty-one wounded. The loss of the British, owing to the skill of their commarder, was very trifling during the whole siege; but the service was extremely harassing, and dangerous.
Captain Nelson, of the Agamemnon (the late Lord Nelson),' k This gallant officer was afterwards killed on shore at the siege of Calvi.
See article NELSON, vol. v. of this work.
commanded a brigade of seamen on shore, at the batteries, having three other captains under him, Hunt, Sericold, and Bullen ; on this occasion, as on all others, he gave distinguished proofs of zeal and intrepidity.
At length, on the 21st of May, the town and citadel of Bastia, with the several posts on the heights, surrendered to the arms of bis Britannic Majesty, by articles of capitulation, drawn up and signed by the respective parties. The number of French and Corsican troops amounted to near 4,000); whilst the greatest return of the British force, employed during the siege, amounted only to 1,248.! A packet-boat, intercepted by the Agamemnon, Captain Nelson, two months previous to the commencement of the siege, contained the information, that from la Combe St. Michell's return of the French and Corsican troops, then in Bastia, and for which he proposed subsistence in case of a siege, they amounted to 8,000. These facts completely contradict the vague assertions of M. Dumourier, in his pamphlet, entitled, “ A Speculative Sketch of Europe,” wherein he affirms that the British are unequal to the toils and delays of a siege; and bave neither generals, engineers, nor a battering train : we need only, in refutation, apply the reasoning of the author of the Strictures upon Dumourier's pamphlet : “ How was the strong and well fortified town of Bastia taken? By a detachment of British seamen, and marines, or soldiers acting as such, inferior in numler to the garrison of regularly disciplined troops: and who had no tents lut such as were made of sails, and no other battering train than the lowerDECK GUNS OF LINE OF BATTLE SHIPS!" The rote of thanks to Lord Hood, for this astonishing exploit, which had been deemed impracticable, and visionary, by an able officer, General Dundas, was carried in both houses of parliament by a great majority. The Duke of Bedford, the Earls Albemarle, Lauderdale, Derby, and Thanet, entered their protest against it.
Whilst we are faithfully narrating the distinguished services of Admiral Lord Hood, we must not forget to notice that praise, which he gave so zealously, yet impartially, to those who fought,
I Correct return of the B:itish force employed at the siege of Bastia, commencing April 4ih, and ending May 21st, 1797,---1 lieutenant-colonel, 4 captains of the navy, i major, 2 artillery officers, i engineer, 12 captains of the army, and marines, 6 lieutenants of the navy, 21 lieutenants of the army, and marines, 5 ensigns, 2 surgeons, a commissary, and master's mate, 6y sur. geon's mates, serjeants, and petty officers, 30 artillerymen, and 1092 soldiers, marines, and seamen. Total, 1248.
and conquered under his auspices. Few men have ever equalled bis Lordship in the difficult task of rendering, with animated gratitude,
“ The suffrage of the wise, the praise that's worth ambition !"
“ I am unable (says Lord Hood in bis letter to the Admiralty) to give due paise to the unremitted zeal, exertion and judicious conduct of Lieut. Colonel Villettes, who had the honour of commanding his Majesty's troops; never was either more conspicuous. Major Brereton, and every officer and soldier under the lieutenant colonel's orders, are justly entitled to my warmest acknowledgments: their persevering ardour, and desire to distinguish themselves, cannot be too highly spoken of; and which it will be my pride to remember to the latest period of my life.
Captain Nelson, of bis Majesty's ship Agamemnon, who had the command and directions of the seamen, in landing the guns, mortars, and stores ; and " Captain Hunt, who commanded at the batteries, very ably assisted by Captain Bullen and Captain Sericold; and the Lieutenants Gore, Hotham, Stiles, Andrews, and Brisbane, have an ample claim to my gratitude ; as the seamen under their management worked the guns with great judgment and alacrity ; never was a higher spirit, or greater perseverance exhibited; and I am happy to say, that no other contention was at any time known, than who should be most forward, and indefatigable, in promoting his Majesty's service: for although the difficulties they had to struggle with were many and various, the perfect harmony and good humour, that universally prevailed throughout the siege, overcame them all. I cannot but express in the strongest terms the meritorious conduct of Captain Duncan, and Lieutenant Alexander Duncan, of the royal artillery, and Lieutenant Debutts, of the royal engineers; but my obligation is particularly great to Captain Duncan, as more zeal, ability, and judgment, was never shewn by any officer, than were displayed by him ; and I take the liberty of mentioning him as an officer highly entitled to his Majesty's notice.
“ I feel myself very much indebted for the vigilance and attention of Captain Wolsely, of the Imperieuse, and of " Captain
21 Captain Hunt died in the East Indies. Vide Nav. Chron. p. 347. vol. i.
" Captain Benjamin Hallowell was afterwards re-appointed to the command of the Courageux, which wis shipwrecked on the Barbary coast; and
Hallowell; who became a willing volunteer, wherever he could be useful, after being superseded in the command of the Courageux by Captain Waldegrave. The former kept a diligent watch upon the island of Capreæ, where the enemy have magazines of provisions, and stores; and Captain Hallowell did the same by guarding the harbour's mouth of Bastia, with gunboats, and launches well armed, the whole of every night: whilst the smaller boats were very judiciously placed in the intervals between, and rather without the ships, which were moored in a crescent, just out of reach of the enemy's guns, by Captain Young, of the Fortitude, the centre ship, on board of which every boat assembled at sun-set for orders ; and the cheerfulness with which the officers and men performed this nightly duty is very much to be admired, and afforded me the most heartfelt satisfaction and pleasure. The very great and effectual assistance I received from Vice-Admiral Goodall, Captain Inglefield, and Captain Knight, as well as from every captain and officer of his Majesty's ships under my command, has a just claim to my most particular thanks; not only in carrying into execution my orders afloat, but in attending to, and supplying, the wants of the little army on shore : it is to the very cordial and decided support alone I had the honour to receive from the whole, that the innumerable difficulties we had to contend with were happily surmounted.
“ Major Smith and Ensign Vigocreuse, of the 25th regiment, and Captain Radsdale, and Lieutenant St. George, of the lith, embarking with their respective regiments, having civil employments on shore; it is to their honour I mention, that they relinquished those employments, and joined their corps, soon after the troops were landed.”
In addition to these testimonies of Lord Hood, issued in public orders, to the commanding officers of the respective corps, similar thanks to the following were addressed to Captain Nelson of the Agamemnon, and the other naval officers :
“ Victory, off Bastia, 22d May, 1794. “ The Commander-in-Chief returns his best thanks to Captain Nelson, and desires he will present them to Captain Hunt,
after this melancholy accident, being taken on board the Victory, Sir John Jervis's faz ship, became a volunteer in the Spanish action of the 14th of February: he erwards commanded the Swifisure in the battle off the Nile. He now, 1810, commands Le Tigre off Toulon, and is universally allowed to be one of the first officers in the navy.
Captain Sericold, and Captain Bullen, as well as to every officer and seaman employed in the reduction of Bastia, for the indefatigable zeal and exertions they have so cheerfully manifested, in the discharge of the very laborious duties committed to them, notwithstanding the various difficulties and disadvantages they have had to struggle with; which could not have been surmounted but by the uncommon spirit, and cordial unanimity, that have been so conspicuously displayed ; and wbich must give a stamp of reputation to their characters not to be effaced, and will be remembered with gratitude by the Commander-in-Chief to the end of bis life.”
Lord Hood, having appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Villettes governor of Bastia, until his Majesty's pleasure was known, and made other necessary arrangements, next proceeded to co-operate with Lieutenant-General Stewart in the reduction of Calvi; while Vice Admiral Hotham, with a squadron, blocked up seven sail of French line of battle ships in the bay of Gourjean. Without entering into a detail of the transactions attending the siege of Calvi, it is only necessary for us briefly to state, that the garrison surrendered to his Majesty's arms on the 10th of August; and that Lord Hood gave a just tribute of applause to Captain Nelson and Captain Hallowell, for their unremitting zeal and exertions, in taking by turns, for twenty hours at a time, the command of the advanced batteries on shore.
Thus the conquest of the whole island of Corsica was completed by the skill and perseverance of a British Admiral. Sir Gilbert Elliott, who had been an active spectator of the scenes going forward, since the evacuation of Toulon, was appointed by his Majesty Viceroy of the island; his excellency having previously, on the 19th of June, in the character of commi-sary plenipotentiary, been specially authorised, accepted of the crown and constitution of Corsica; as unanimously decreed in the general assembly of the Corsican nation, held at Corte, and signed in the assembly by all the members of which it was composed, consisting of upwards of 400 persons.”
Lord Hood's health being much impaired by the fatigue and
• The gallant Lord Nelson lost the sight of his right eye at this siege, by a shot striking the battery near him, and driving some particles of sand with prodigious force into his eye.
p For many other curious particulars of these operations in the Medi. terranean, see Clarke's Life of Lord Nelson. See also article NELSON, vol v. of this work.