Imatges de pÓgina

guard had hauled the whole upon the beach. I detached the two mortar-boats and a Gaeta privateer, under the orders of Lieutenants Faliverne and Rivera, to bring them off, sending only Mr. Williams, midshipman of the Pompée, from the squadron, on purpose to let the Neapolitans have the credit of the action which they fairly obtained; for, after dislodging the enemy from a strong tower, they not only brought off the boats and two thirty-five pounders, but the powder also (twenty barrels) from the magazine of the tower, before the enemy assembled in force. The projected sorties took place on the 13th and 15th in the morning, in a manner to reflect the highest credit on the part of the garrison and naval force employed. The covering fire from the fleet was judiciously directed by Captains Richardson and Vicuna, whose conduct on this whole service merits my warmest approbation. I enclose Captain Richardson's two letters, as best detailing these affairs, and a list of the killed and wounded on the 12th.

“On the 19th ult., the boats of the Pompée, under Lieutenant Beaucroft, brought out a merchant vessel from Scalvitra, near Salerno, although protected by a heavy fire of musketry. That officer and Mr. Sterling distinguished themselves much. The enemy are endeavouring to establish a land-carriage there to Naples. On the 23rd, obtaining intelligence that the enemy had two thirty-six pounders in a small vessel on the beach at Sealia, I sent the Pompée's boats in for them ; but the French troops were too well posted in the houses of the town for them to succeed without the cover of the ship. I accordingly stood in with the Pompée; sent a messenger to the inhabitants to withdraw ; which being done, a few of the Pompée's lower-deck guns cleared the town and neighbouring hills, while the launch, commanded by Lieutenant Mouraylian, and Lieutenant Oates of the marines, and Mr. Williams, drove the French, with their armed adherents, from the guns, and took possession of

, the castle, and of them. Finding, on my landing, that the town was tenable against any force the enemy could bring against me from the nearest garrison in a given time, I took post with the marines; and, under cover of their position, by the extreme exertions of Lieutenant Carrol, Mr. Ives, master, and the petty officers and boats' crew, the guns were conveyed to the Pompée, with twenty-two barrels of powder.

(Signed) " W. SIDNEY SMITH."

After placing an English garrison in Capri, Sir Sidney proceeded southward along the coast, giv

ing the greatest annoyance everywhere to the enemy, obstructing by land, and intercepting by sea entirely, their communications along the shore, so as to retard their operations against Gaeta, which was the chief purpose of undertaking the expedition.

Encouraged by this success of our arms, several sorties took place from out of Gaeta, which we have stated Sir Sidney had so opportunely relieved.

All this had, however, but little effect upon the fate of the place, as it was enabled to hold out only until the 13th of July, and was then compelled to surrender to the French


Further operations for the recovery of Naples— Their inu

tility-Sir Sidney Smith receives the acknowledgments of their Sicilian Majesties — Remarks on naval appointments.

On the return of Sir Sidney Smith to Palermo, after the conclusion of this service, and a most harassing cruise to the enemy, the active turn and the sanguine temper of his mind induced him not only to enter into, but also to originate, projects that were, from time to time, suggested to the court, to second the King of the Sicilies' attempts for the recovery of Calabria from the invaders. Had all others, whose duty it was to carry these projects into execution, been actuated by half the zeal of Sir Sidney, and had they been possessed of enough humility and good sense to have followed in matters in which they were not qualified to lead, the re-conquest of Calabria would not have been long delayed.

The eager yet incompetent advisers of the King, finding the admiral thus favourably inclined towards the furtherance of their schemes, and the latter being most anxious to distinguish himself by some great exploit, their Sicilian Majesties invested him with the most ample authority to be exercised in Calabria, and they even went to the extent of constituting the British admiral their viceroy in that province.

But there were obstacles that even the energy of Sir Sidney Smith could not surmount. Though active and indefatigable in the duties of his new dignity, and successful in distributing arms and ammunition among the Calabrians, and a great deal of money among their leaders and influential men, he soon discovered, that unless an English army made its appearance in the country, there was not the remotest chance of producing an insurrection against the French.

It became, therefore, necessary for the court of Palermo either to abandon the fruit of all its intrigues and machinations, or to prevail on the commander of the English forces in Sicily to invade Calabria with the greatest part of his army. In this latter attempt the court succeeded.

The operations, after this, being strictly and almost exclusively military, they do not fall within our province to record. Of course, the admiral

« AnteriorContinua »