Battle of San Fernando de Omoa
The Battle of San Fernando de Omoa was a short siege and battle between British and Spanish forces fought not long after Spain entered the American Revolutionary War on the American side. On the 16 October 1779, following a brief attempt at siege, a force of 150 British soldiers and seamen assaulted and captured the fortifications at San Fernando de Omoa in the Captaincy General of Guatemala on the Gulf of Honduras; the British forces managed consisting of 365 men. The British only held the fort until November 1779, they withdrew the garrison, which tropical diseases had reduced, and, under threat of a Spanish counter-attack. When Spain entered the American Revolutionary War in June 1779, both Great Britain and Spain had been planning for the possibility of hostilities for some time. King Carlos III set the defence of the Captaincy General of Guatemala as one of his highest priorities in the Americas, after the conquest of British West Florida, his forces seized the initiative in North America, where they captured the British outpost at Baton Rouge in September 1779, before the British were able to marshal any kind of significant defensive force in the area.
The British sought to gain control over Spanish colonies in Central America, their first target was San Fernando de Omoa, a fortress that Matías de Gálvez, the Captain General of Guatemala, called "the key and outer wall of the kingdom". However, the Spanish struck first. In September the capture of Cayo Cocina gave them possession of the British settlement at St. George's Caye. Anticipating a British attack against the nearby port of Santo Tomás de Castilla, Gálvez withdrew the garrison there to Omoa; the Spanish had started building San Fernando de Omoa, principally with African slave labour, in the 1740s during the War of Jenkins' Ear. It became of the largest defensive fortifications in Central America, one of the Guatemalan Captaincy General's principal Caribbean ports; the decision by Gálvez to withdraw to Omoa upset British plans. Commodore John Luttrell, in command of three ships and 250 men, had intended an attack on the Santo Tómas, but his force was inadequate for an attack on Omoa.
When he and Captain William Dalrymple arrived at Omoa on the 25 September with 500 men, they were forced to retreat after a brief exchange of cannon fire. The British returned with twelve ships in early October; the British established some batteries to fire on the fort, supported them with fire from three ships. Simón Desnaux, the fort's commander, returned fire, he succeeded in damaging HMS Lowestoffe, which ran aground but was refloated. Although Desnaux was badly outnumbered, he refused an offer for surrender in the hope that Gálvez would be able to send reinforcements. On the night of the 20 October, a small number of British attackers climbed into the fort and opened one of the gates. After a brief exchange of small arms fire, Desnaux surrendered. Among the spoils the British won when they gained control of Omoa were two Spanish ships, anchored in the harbour, that held more than three million Spanish dollars of silver. Gálvez began planning a counterattack. On the 25 November his forces began besieging the fort, now under Dalrymple's control, engaging in regular exchanges of cannon fire.
Gálvez, whose force was smaller than Dalrymple's, magnified its apparent size by setting extra campfires around the fort. He attempted an assault on the 29 November but difficulties with his artillery caused him to call it off. Still, whose forces were reduced by tropical diseases, withdrew his men from the fort and evacuated them that same day; the British continued to make attacks on the Central American coast but were never successful in their goal of dividing the Spanish colonies and gaining access to the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish were unsuccessful in driving out the British settlements in Central America, most of which the British had recaptured by the war's end. Though a small engagement and a short lived victory, the storming of the fortifications at Omoa was the scene of an event that would be depicted by British engravers for years to come. Captain William Dalrymple, in his letter to Lord George Germain dated the 21 October 1779, wrote:Your lordship will pardon my mentioning an instance of an elevated mind in a British tar, which amazed the Spaniards, gave them a high idea of English valour: not content with one cutlass, he scrambled up the walls with two.
Beatson, Robert. Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain, from 1727 to 1783, Volume 6. Longman, Hurst and Orme. Contains surrender agreement. Chávez, Thomas E. Spain and the Independence of the United States: An Intrinsic Gift. UNM Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-2794-9. OCLC 149117944. Fernández Duro, Cesáreo. Armada Española desde la unión de los reinos de Castilla y Aragón. VII. Madrid, Spain: Est. tipográfico "Sucesores de Rivadeneyra". Fortescue, John William. A History of the British Army, Volume 3. Macmillan. Lovejoy, Paul E. Trans-Atlantic Dimensions of Ethnicity in the African Diaspora. London: Continuum. ISBN 978-0-8264-4907-8. OCLC 475624274. Marley, David. Wars of the Americas: a chronolog
Capture of Grenada (1779)
The Capture of Grenada was an amphibious expedition in July 1779 during the Anglo-French War. Charles Hector, comte D'Estaing led French forces against the British-held West Indies island of Grenada; the French forces landed on July 2 and the assault occurred on the night of July 3–4. The French forces assaulted the British fortifications on Hospital Hill, overlooking the island's capital, Saint George's; the British cannons were turned against Fort George. British Governor Lord Macartney opened negotiations to surrender. Admiral d'Estaing controversially rejected Macartney's terms of capitulation, instead insisting on him adopting the harsher terms he had written. Macartney rejected those terms. D'Estaing thereafter permitted his forces to loot the town, Macartney was sent to France as a prisoner of war. On July 5, French forces re-embarked when word arrived that a British fleet under Admiral John Byron was approaching; the two fleets battled the next day. The French damaged several British ships.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, France returned Grenada to British control at the end of the war. Following the entry of France into the American War of Independence as an American ally in early 1778, French Admiral the comte D'Estaing arrived in the West Indies in early December 1778 commanding a fleet of twelve ships of the line and a number of smaller vessels. At about the same time a British fleet under Admiral William Hotham arrived, augmenting the West Indies fleet of Admiral Samuel Barrington; the British captured French-held St. Lucia, despite d'Estaing's attempt at relief; the British used St. Lucia to monitor the French on Martinique; the British fleet was further reinforced in January 1779 by ten ships of the line under Admiral John Byron, who assumed command of the British Leeward Islands station. Throughout the first half of 1779, both fleets received additional reinforcements, after which the French fleet was superior to that of the British. Byron departed St. Lucia on June 6 in order to provide escort services to British merchant ships gathering at St. Kitts for a convoy to Europe, leaving d'Estaing free to act.
D'Estaing and the French governor-general at Martinique, the marquis de Bouillé, seized the opportunity to begin a series of operations against nearby British possessions. Their first target, the isle of Saint Vincent, fell on June 18, d'Estaing turned his attention to other islands, he had hoped to capture Barbados, a key British possession, but after making no progress against the prevailing easterly trade winds, he turned his attention instead to Grenada. Grenada was one of Britain's richest colonies, producing significant quantities of sugar on its plantations. Lord Macartney, the British governor, had been alerted to the possibility of a French attack, he made repeated requests for support to Admiral Byron and the British commander at St. Kitts, but was told that Saint Vincent was the principal French interest. However, Byron stated. Macartney had at his disposal 101 soldiers drawn from the 48th Regiment of Foot and 24 artillery men, he had over 400 militia and volunteers, but did not consider these forces dependable because one third of them were of French extraction.
He ordered the construction of significant fortifications on Hospital Hill, a prominence overlooking the island capital St. George's; the steep hillsides were fortified by stone walls, the hilltop had a palisade surrounding a series of entrenchments. The French fleet anchored off the Grenada coast just north of St. George's on July 2; the troops that d'Estaing landed that day consisted of the 1,400-man Irish Dillon Regiment and 700 troops drawn from the regiments Champagne, Foix and Hainault. With the arrival of the French, Macartney ordered his forces to withdraw behind the fortifications of Hospital Hill. D'Estaing spent July 3 reconnoitering the British position. Concerned that Byron might appear at any time, he decided to launch an attack on Hospital Hill, he first sent a parley flag to Macartney demanding his surrender. D'Estaing's plan of attack called for three columns to attack the back side of the fortifications with bayonets, while a small fourth detachment made a demonstration from a location where the British might more reasonably expect an attack, in other words a decoy or distraction.
On the evening of July 3 these formations moved out. The columns, each numbering 300 men, were led by Arthur Dillon, his brother Édouard, the comte de Noailles. Arthur Dillon's column was accompanied by an advance guard of 180 under the comte de Durat, the demonstration force numbered just 200. At 4:00 am on the 4th the demonstration force opened fire, while the other three columns charged up Hospital Hill; the British defenders most fled down the hill to the apparent safety of Fort George. The British, in their haste to leave the premises, neglected to spike some of the cannons, they abandoned many valuables, brought up on the heights for safekeeping. The French used. Realizing the situation was hopeless, Macartney raised the white flag; the French took about 700 prisoners, claimed casualties of 36 killed and 71 wounded. British reports, claimed the French casualties numbered closer to 300; the French claimed as prizes 30 merchant ships anchored in the harbor. Admiral d'Estaing rejected Macartney's proposed terms of capitulations, countering with a list of articles that he had drafted.
Macartney found d'Estaing's proposed articles "not unpr
Invasion of Tobago
The Invasion of Tobago was a French invasion of the British-held island of Tobago during the Anglo-French War. On May 24, 1781, the fleet of Comte de Grasse landed troops on the island under the command of General Marquis de Bouillé. By June 2, 1781, they had gained control of the island. In March 1781, France sent a large fleet consisting of 20 ships of the line and a convoy with 6,000 troops to the West Indies under the command of de Grasse, they arrived off the coast of Martinique on 28 April. The French drove off the British fleet led by Sir Samuel Hood, blocking Fort Royal. Hood and the British station commander Admiral George Brydges Rodney joined forces on May 11, 1781 between St. Kitts and Antigua to discuss the French threat. De Grasse met with Martinique's governor, Marquis de Bouillé, developed a plan for capturing Tobago; the French forces were to be divided, with one convoy accompanied by a small number of battle ships to head for Tobago, with the rest of the forces to land on St. Lucia as a diversion.
The forces used in the diversion would be withdrawn and sent to Tobago, reinforcing the first convoy. Led by de Bouillé and accompanied by de Grasse, the St. Lucia platoon withdrew from Martinique on May 8, 1781; the Tobago-bound platoon, led by Blanchelande and accompanied by two ships of the line and a number of frigates, departed on May 9, 1781. Bouillé's force, numbering between 1,200 and 1,500, landed at Gros Islet, a village at the northern tip of St. Lucia, early on May 10, they surprised the small British garrison there, taking about 100 prisoners and seizing military supplies. This prompted General Anthony St Leger, the island's lieutenant governor, to organise the defence of Castries and fortify the slopes of Morne Fortune above that port. Two nights the French troops reembarked on the transports, the fleet sailed off to the windward for several days before returning to Martinique on May 15. Troops numbering 3,000 were embarked, the fleet sailed for Tobago on May 25. Rodney was alerted to the landing, but rather than sailing his whole fleet to St. Lucia, he sailed for Barbados, detaching only a few smaller ships to the island's aid.
He was not informed of the French withdrawal from St. Lucia until he was en route to Barbados, which he reached on May 23. On May 24, the detachment of General Blanchelande arrived at Tobago. Under cover fire from the Pluton and the Experiment, his troops landed near the port of Scarborough, they overran the town's forts, Governor George Ferguson led his remaining forces into the hills. These forces, three to four hundred regulars and four to five hundred militia, established a strong position fortified by cannons on the interior ridge. Blanchelande decided to wait for reinforcements rather than attack the position. Rodney learned of the attack on Tobago on May 27, he detached Francis Samuel Drake and six ships of the line and some troops on May 29 to provide relief to Ferguson, only to learn on June 2 that de Grasse's fleet had arrived and chased Drake away. De Grasse had arrived at Tobago on May 30. De Grasse landed troops on both sides of the island the next day, Bouillé made a junction with Blanchelande outside the British line of defence.
They decided to attack the next day. With the arrival of French reinforcements, Ferguson decided to abandon his position, began a retreat that night; the French gave chase the following morning. It was a sweltering, hot day, both columns had men drop out due to the conditions. By the end of the day, Ferguson realised the situation was hopeless, opened negotiations for terms of surrender. Under the agreed terms, Ferguson's forces surrendered on June 2. Rodney learned of Ferguson's surrender on June 4, sailed out from Barbados; when he spotted de Grasse's fleet, the latter was sailing for Grenada with 24 ships of the line to Rodney's 20. When Ferguson reached London, he and Rodney engaged in a public war of words over Rodney's failure to relieve the island in a timely manner. De Grasse, after Rodney called off his chase, returned to Tobago, embarked some of the troops, returned to Martinique, he sailed in July for Cap-Français, where he was met by a dispatch from the North American fleet, whose news prompted him to sail north to support operations on the Chesapeake Bay that culminated in the pivotal Battle of the Chesapeake and Siege of Yorktown.
The island of Tobago remained in French hands under the terms of the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the war. De Grasse, François Joseph Paul; the Operations of the French fleet under the Count de Grasse in 1781-2 Colomb, Philip Howard. Naval warfare, its ruling principles and practice treated Lewis, Charles. Admiral de Grasse and American Independence Southey, Thomas. Chronological history of the West Indies: in Three Volumes Volume 2
Siege of Brimstone Hill
The French invasion of Saint Kitts known as the Siege of Brimstone Hill was a siege of the American Revolutionary War. After landing on Saint Kitts, the French troops of the Marquis de Bouillé stormed and besieged Brimstone Hill, after a month of siege the outnumbered and cut-off British garrison surrendered; the Comte de Grasse, who delivered de Bouillé's troops and supported the siege, was outmanoeuvred and deprived of his anchorage by Admiral Hood. Though Hood's force was inferior by one-third, de Grasse was beaten off when he attempted to dislodge Hood. Hood's attempts to relieve the ongoing siege were unsuccessful, the garrison capitulated after one month. About a year the Treaty of Paris restored Saint Kitts and adjacent Nevis to British rule. De Grasse set sail from Martinique; the British had retired into their stronghold under Brigadier General Fraser, so the French landing forces disembarked without opposition and began to besiege them on January 19. In concert with the Governor of the French West Indies, François Claude Amour, marquis de Bouillé, an attack by De Grasse upon Barbados was planned, but adverse winds forced them to return to Martinique, onwards to Saint Kitts.
On 24 January, 22 British warships under Admiral Hood were sighted near Nevis intending to reinforce Saint Kitts. De Grasse went out to intercept but by dawn the next day Hood had veered towards Montserrat, contrary east-southeast winds impeded the French from reaching the British before they had circled north around Nevis and dropped anchor off Basseterre. De Grasse attacked the anchored British fleet on both the morning and afternoon of 26 January, but was beaten off, disembarkation proceeding apace. During these naval engagements, the French suffered 107 killed and 207 wounded, compared to 72 dead and 244 injured for the British. On 28 January, the 1,200-man British vanguard advanced against the town of Basseterre under General Prescott, while its French occupiers fought a delaying action under Colonel de Fléchin with 274 men of the regiments of Agénois and Touraine until the Marquis de Bouillé could hasten reinforcements across the island. Prescott's drive was repelled, but otherwise French efforts continued to be hampered by the loss of their field artillery in a wreck while approaching Saint Kitts and the capture of an ammunition ship by one of Hood’s frigates.
The governor sent artillery and ammunition to Fraser which were intercepted by the inhabitants, by them deliberately made over to the French. Defending the fort at Brimstone Hill were the 1st Battalion of the 1st Foot, flank companies of the 15th Foot, Royal Artillery detachment, many militia. By 12 February, Fraser's little garrison, having lost over 150 killed and wounded, besides many men out of action through sickness, was exhausted. Additionally, there were breaches in the walls, many of the militia petitioned to surrender. Fraser had no alternative but to negotiate a surrender, which included marching out with the honors or war; the next day, de Grasse ventured to Nevis to meet an arriving convoy of French victuallers, while Hood availed himself of the opportunity to escape in the opposite direction on the morning of 14 February. Clark G. Reynolds Navies in history US Naval Institute Press ISBN 1-55750-716-3 David F. Marley. Wars of the Americas: A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the New World, 1492 to the Present ABC-CLIO ISBN 0-87436-837-5 Black, Jeremy.
A Military History of Britain: From 1775 to the Present Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-99039-7 Chartrand, Rene; the French Army in the American War of Independence Osprey Publishing ISBN 1-85532-167-X
Charles Henri Hector d'Estaing
Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, comte d'Estaing was a French general and admiral. He began his service as a soldier in the War of the Austrian Succession spending time as a prisoner of war of the British during the Seven Years' War. Naval exploits during the latter war prompted him to change branches of service, he transferred to the French Navy. Following France's entry into the American War of Independence in 1778, d'Estaing led a fleet to aid the American rebels, he participated in a failed Franco-American siege of Newport, Rhode Island in 1778 and the unsuccessful 1779 Siege of Savannah. He did have success in the Caribbean before returning to France in 1780, his difficulties working with American counterparts are cited among the reasons these operations in North America failed. Although d'Estaing sympathized with revolutionaries during the French Revolution, he held a personal loyalty to the French royal family; because of this he came under suspicion, was executed by guillotine in the Reign of Terror.
He was born on 24 November 1729 at the Château de Ravel in Auvergne to Charles-François, the Marquis de Saillant and Marie-Henriette Colbert de Maulevrier, a descendant of Jean-Baptiste Colbert. His father was a lieutenant general in the French Army from a family with a long history of service to the French crown; the young d'Estaing was educated alongside Louis, the Dauphin, born at about the same time. D'Estaing thus served in his retinue. In May 1738 at the age of 9 he was nominally enrolled in the musketeers, as his aristocratic family chose military service over civil for him, he rose through the ranks joining the Regiment de Rouergue as a lieutenant in 1746. That same year he married granddaughter of the celebrated Marshal Château-Renault, his regiment was called to serve in the War of the Austrian Succession. D'Estaing served as aide-de-camp to Marshal Saxe throughout the Flanders campaigns of 1746–48. During these years he was promoted to colonel in command of Regiment de Rouergue, was wounded at the 1748 Siege of Maastricht.
Following the war King Louis XV embarked on a program to modernize his army on the successful model of Frederick the Great's Prussian army. D'Estaing became one of the leading reformers. After a few years, the Regiment de Rouergue was viewed "as a model of the infantry". Seeking to gain experience in diplomacy, d'Estaing accompanied the French ambassador to England for a time; when hostilities broke out between the British and French colonies in North America, d'Estaing considered joining the forces of Louis-Joseph de Montcalm that sailed in 1755, but his family dissuaded him from doing so. When an expedition to the East Indies was organized, he applied to participate without consulting his family, his participation was ensured when he was offered a back-dated promotion to brigadier-general, provided he could transfer command of his regiment to someone else, which he did. In early January 1757, shortly before embarking, d'Estaing was awarded the Order of Saint Louis. After a lengthy journey, the fleet of the comte d'Aché, carrying the expeditionary forces whose land commander was the count de Lally, arrived off British-occupied Cuddalore in southern India on 28 April 1758.
Lally disembarked his troops, established a blockade around the town, traveled to Pondicherry to organize the delivery of siege equipment. On 4 May French forces occupied the town and blockaded Fort St. David; the siege equipment was delayed in its arrival, but the garrison was compelled to surrender after 17 days of siege operations. D'Estaing commanded Lally's left, placing of batteries, he continued to serve under Lally in his campaigns against the British in southern India. He opposed Lally's decision to lift the siege of Tanjore following the British seizure of Karikal; when Lally began to besiege Madras in December 1758, d'Estaing's division was positioned in the center of the French line. When the British made a sortie against that sector, d'Estaing advanced alone to reconnoiter their movements, he was surrounded by British troops and twice wounded by bayonet before surrendering. D'Estaing was taken into Madras. Pigot offered to release him on parole, but d'Estaing refused, preferring instead to be exchanged so that he could resume fighting.
The arrival of a British fleet off Madras in February 1759 convinced d'Estaing to accept the offer of parole, conditioned on his not fighting against the British in the East Indies. In May 1759 he sailed for Île-de-France. While d'Estaing was at Île-de-France, word arrived of a prisoner exchange agreement between France and Britain. D'Estaing, was excluded from this agreement because he had been paroled before its date. While requests were forwarded to India to negotiate his inclusion in the cartel, d'Estaing decided to enter the service of the French East India Company, leading a naval expedition to gather resources for Île-de-France. D'Estaing thought he would finesse his parole status by declaring himself to be a "spectator" in case the force came into conflict with the British or their allies, permitted his second in command to lead such operations. In command of a two-vessel company fleet, d'Estaing sailed for the Persian Gulf in September 1759. From an Arab convoy captured at the end of the month, he learnt of a British ship at Muscat.
In a daring commando operation, 50 of Condé's men entered the well-fortified harbour and boarded the ship, taking it without resis
Capture of Sint Eustatius
The Capture of Sint Eustatius took place in February 1781 during the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War when British army and naval forces under General John Vaughan and Admiral George Rodney seized the Dutch-owned Caribbean island of Sint Eustatius. The capture was controversial in Britain, as it was alleged that Vaughan and Rodney had used the opportunity to enrich themselves and had neglected more important military duties; the island was subsequently taken by Dutch-allied French forces in late 1781, ending the British occupation. St. Eustatius, a Dutch-controlled island in the West Indies, was an entrepot that operated as a major trading centre despite its small size. During the American War of Independence it assumed increased importance, because a British blockade made it difficult to transport supplies directly across the Atlantic Ocean to US ports. St. Eustatius became a crucial source of supplies, its harbour was filled with American trading ships, its importance increased further following France's entry into the war in 1778 as it was used to help supply the French West Indian islands.
It is estimated that one half of all the American Revolutionary military supplies were trans-shipped through St. Eustatius, its merchant networks - Dutch, but Jewish, many of whom were St. Eustatius residents - were key to the military supplies and goods being shipped to the revolutionary forces. US-European communications were directed through St. Eustatius. In 1776, St. Eustatius, hence the Dutch, were the first to recognize the American Revolutionary government when the US brig, Andrew Doria, fired thirteen guns announcing their arrival; the Andrew Doria was saluted with an eleven gun response from Fort Orange. The Andrew Doria arrived to purchase military supplies on St. Eustatius and to present to the Dutch governor a copy of the US Declaration of Independence. An earlier copy of the Declaration had been captured by a British naval ship; the British were confused by the papers wrapped around the declaration, which they thought were a secret cypher. The papers were written in Yiddish for a merchant in Holland.
St. Eustatius's role in supplying Britain's enemies provoked anger amongst British leaders. Rodney alleged that goods brought out on British convoys had been sold, through St. Eustatius, to the rebels, it seems to have fuelled a hatred for this island with Rodney who vowed to "bring this Nest of Villains to condign Punishment: they deserve scourging and they shall be scourged." He had alreading singled out several individuals on St. Eustatius who were instrumental in aiding the enemy, such as "... Mr Smith in the House of Jones - they cannot be too soon taken care of - they are notorious in the cause of America and France..." Following the outbreak of war between the Dutch Republic and Britain in December 1780, orders were sent from London to seize the island. The British were assisted by the fact that the news of the war's outbreak had not yet reached St. Eustatius. A British expedition of 3,000 troops sailed from Saint Lucia on 30 January 1781. Rodney left behind ships to monitor the French on Martinique.
He sent Samuel Hood ahead to stop any merchant ships escaping from the harbour. The main force arrived off St. Eustatius on 3 February. Rodney's ships took up position to neutralise any shore batteries. Two or three shots were fired from the only Dutch warship on the roadstead, the frigate Mars under Captain Count Van Bijland. Instead of disembarking the troops and launching an immediate assault, Rodney sent a message to Governor Johannes de Graaff suggesting that he surrender to avoid bloodshed. De Graaff surrendered. De Graaff had ten guns in sixty soldiers. Rodney had over 1,000 guns on his ships. By the following day the nearby islands of Saint Martin and Saba had surrendered. There was a brief exchange of fire when two of the British ships shot at the Mars and Van Bijland answered with his cannons. Rodney reprimanded the captains responsible for this lack of discipline; the only battle occurred near Sombrero. Rodney found out that a convoy of thirty richly loaded Dutch merchant ships had just sailed off for the motherland less than two days before his arrival, protected only by a single man-of-war.
He sent three warships after them, they caught up with the convoy. The lone Dutch man-of-war was no match for the three British ships and, after a fierce 30 minute pounding, the mortally wounded commander, Rear-Admiral Willem Krul, while dying, ordered his captain to lower the flag. Eight of the Dutch crew were killed. Krul was taken back to St. Eustatius; the crews of all Dutch ships taken at St. Eustatius and those of Krul's convoy were stripped of all their possessions and taken to St. Kitts, where they were imprisoned- "with hardly anything more than the most necessary clothes." The wealth Rodney and Vaughan discovered on St. Eustatius exceeded their expectations. There were 130 merchantmen in the bay as well as the Dutch frigate and five smaller American warships. In total the value of goods seized, including the convoy captured off Sombrero, was estimated to be around £3 million. On 5 February 1781, Rodney and Vaughan signed an agreement stating that all goods taken belonged to the Crown.
Rodney and Vaughan, by British custom, expected to receive a significant share of the captured wealth from the king once it reached England. Instead of delegating the task of sorting through and estimating the value of the confiscated property and Vaughan oversaw this themselves; the time spent doing this led to allegations. In particular, Samuel Hood suggested that Rodney should have sailed to intercept a French fleet under Admiral de Grasse, traveling to Martinique; the French fleet instead turned
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, known as Lord Byron, was a British poet, peer and leading figure in the Romantic movement. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, he travelled extensively across Europe in Italy, where he lived for seven years in the cities of Venice and Pisa. During his stay in Italy he visited his friend and fellow poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. In life Byron joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero, he died in 1824 at the age of 36 from a fever contracted in Missolonghi. Described as the most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, Byron was both celebrated and castigated in his life for his aristocratic excesses, which included huge debts, numerous love affairs with both men and women, as well as rumours of a scandalous liaison with his half-sister.
One of his lovers, Lady Caroline Lamb, summed him up in the famous phrase "mad and dangerous to know". His only legitimate child, Ada Lovelace, is regarded as the first computer programmer based on her notes for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Byron's illegitimate children include Allegra Byron, who died in childhood, Elizabeth Medora Leigh. Ethel Colburn Mayne states that George Gordon Byron was born on 22 January 1788, in a house on 16 Holles Street in London, his birthplace is now occupied by a branch of the English department store John Lewis. However, Robert Charles Dallas in his Recollections states. Byron was the son of Captain John "Mad Jack" Byron and his second wife, the former Catherine Gordon, a descendant of Cardinal Beaton and heiress of the Gight estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Byron's father had seduced the married Marchioness of Carmarthen and, after she divorced her husband, he married her, his treatment of her was described as "brutal and vicious", she died after giving birth to two daughters, only one of whom survived, Byron's half-sister, Augusta.
To claim his second wife's estate in Scotland, Byron's father took the additional surname "Gordon", becoming "John Byron Gordon", he was styled "John Byron Gordon of Gight." Byron himself used this surname for a time and was registered at school in Aberdeen as "George Byron Gordon." At the age of 10 he inherited the English Barony of Byron of Rochdale, becoming "Lord Byron", dropped the double surname. Byron's paternal grandparents were Vice-Admiral the Hon. John "Foulweather Jack" Byron, Sophia Trevanion. Vice Admiral John Byron had circumnavigated the globe and was the younger brother of the 5th Baron Byron, known as "the Wicked Lord", he was christened at St Marylebone Parish Church as "George Gordon Byron", after his maternal grandfather George Gordon of Gight, a descendant of James I of Scotland, who had committed suicide in 1779. "Mad Jack" Byron married his second wife for the same reason that he married her fortune. Byron's mother had to sell her land and title to pay her new husband's debts, in the space of two years, the large estate, worth some £23,500, had been squandered, leaving the former heiress with an annual income in trust of only £150.
In a move to avoid his creditors, Catherine accompanied her profligate husband to France in 1786, but returned to England at the end of 1787 to give birth to her son on English soil. He was born on 22 January in lodgings at Holles Street in London. Catherine moved back to Aberdeenshire in 1790, his father soon joined them in their lodgings in Queen Street, but the couple separated. Catherine experienced mood swings and bouts of melancholy, which could be explained by her husband's continuingly borrowing money from her; as a result, she fell further into debt to support his demands. It was one of these importunate loans that allowed him to travel to Valenciennes, where he died in 1791; when Byron's great-uncle, the "wicked" Lord Byron, died on 21 May 1798, the 10-year-old boy became the sixth Baron Byron of Rochdale and inherited the ancestral home, Newstead Abbey, in Nottinghamshire. His mother proudly took him to England, but the Abbey was in an embarrassing state of disrepair and, rather than living there, she decided to lease it to Lord Grey de Ruthyn, among others, during Byron's adolescence.
Described as "a woman without judgment or self-command," Catherine either spoiled and indulged her son or vexed him with her capricious stubbornness. Her drinking disgusted him and he mocked her for being short and corpulent, which made it difficult for her to catch him to discipline him. Byron had been born with a deformed right foot. However, Byron's biographer, Doris Langley-Moore, in her 1974 book, Accounts Rendered, paints a more sympathetic view of Mrs Byron, showing how she was a staunch supporter of her son and sacrificed her own precarious finances to keep him in luxury at Harrow and Cambridge. Langley-Moore questions the Galt claim. Upon the death of Byron's mother-in-law Judith Noel, the Hon. Lady Milbanke, in 1822, her will required that he change his surname to "Noel" so as to inherit half of her estate, he obtained a Royal Warrant, allowing him to "take and use the surname of Noel only" and to "subscribe the said surname of Noel before all titles of honour". From that point he signed himself "Noel Byron" (the usual signature of a peer being the peerage, in this case "Byron