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stopped in the midst of their operations, if he had arrived twenty-four hours sooner. To gain time, Barrington had sought to prevent intelligence reaching Fort Royal, less than fifty miles distant, by sending cruisers in advance of his squadron, to cover the approaches to Santa Lucia; but, despite his care, d'Estaing had the news on the 14th. He sailed at once, and, as has been said, was off Santa Lucia that evening. At daybreak of the 15th he stood in for the Carénage; but when he came within range, a lively cannonade told him that the enemy was already in possession. He decided therefore to attack the squadron in the Cul de Sac, and at 11.30 the French passed along it from north to south, firing, but without effect. A second attempt was made in the afternoon, directed upon the lee flank, but it was equally unavailing. The British had three men killed; the French loss is not given, but is said to have been slight. It is stated that that day the sea breeze did not penetrate far enough into the bay to admit closing. This frequently happens, but it does not alter the fact that the squadron was the proper point of attack, and that, especially in the winter season, an opportunity to close must offer soon. D'Estaing, governed probably by the soldierly bias he more than once betrayed, decided now to assault the works on shore. Anchoring in a small bay north of the Carénage, he landed seven thousand men, and on the 18th attempted to storm the British lines at La Vigie. The neck of land connecting the promontory with the island is very flat, and the French therefore labored under great disadvantage through the commanding position of their enemy. It was a repetition of Bunker Hill, and of many other ill-judged and precipitate frontal attacks. After three gallant but ineffectual charges, led by d'Estaing in person, the assailants retired, with the loss of forty-one officers and eight hundred rank and file, killed and wounded.
D'Estaing reëmbarked his men, and stood ready again to attack Barrington; a frigate being stationed off the Cul de Sac, to give notice when the wind should serve. On the 24th she signalled, and the fleet weighed; but Barrington, who had taken a very great risk for an adequate object, took no unnecessary chances through presumption. He had employed his respite to warp the ships of war fartherin, where the breeze reached less certainly, and where narrower waters gave better support to the flanks. He had strengthened the latter also by new works, in which he had placed heavy guns from the ships, manned by seamen. For these or other reasons d'Estaing did not attack. On the 29th he quitted the island, and on the 30th the French governor, the Chevalier de Micoud, formally capitulated.
This achievement of Barrington and of Major-General James Grant, who was associated with him, was greeted at the time with an applause which will be echoed by the military judgment of a later age. There is a particular pleasure in finding the willingness to incur a great risk, conjoined with a care that chances nothing against which the utmost diligence and skill can provide. The celerity, forethought, wariness, and daring of Admiral Barrington have inscribed upon the records of the British Navy a success the distinction of which should be measured, not by the largeness of the scale, but by the perfection of the workmanship, and by the energy of the execution in face of great odds.
Santa Lucia remained in the hands of the British throughout the war. It was an important acquisition, because at its north-west extremity was a good and defensible anchorage, Gros Ilet Bay, only thirty miles from Fort Royal in Martinique. In it the British fleet could lie, when desirable to close-watch the enemy, yet not be worried for the safety of the port when away; for it was but an outpost, not a
base of operations, as Fort Royal was. It was thus used continually, and from it Rodney issued for his great victory in April, 1782. During the first six months of 1779 no important incident occurred in the West Indies. On the 6th of January, ViceAdmiral Byron, with ten ships of the line from Narragansett Bay, reached Santa Lucia, and relieved Barrington of the chief command. Both the British and the French fleets were reinforced in the course of the spring, but the relative strength remained nearly as before, until the 27th of June, when the arrival of a division from Brest made the French numbers somewhat superior. Shortly before this, Byron had been constrained by one of the commercial exigencies which constantly embarrassed the military action of British admirals. A large convoy of trading ships, bound to England, was collecting at St. Kitts, and he thought necessary to accompany it part of the homeward way, until well clear of the French West India cruisers. For this purpose he left Santa Lucia early in June. As soon as the coast was clear, d'Estaing, informed of Byron's object, sent a small combined expedition against St. Vincent, which was surrendered on the 18th of the month. On the 30th the French admiral himself quitted Fort Royal with his whole fleet, — twenty-five ships of the line and several frigates, – directing his course for the British Island of Grenada, before which he anchored on the 2d of July. With commendable promptitude, he landed his troops that evening, and on the 4th the island capitulated. Except as represented by one small armed sloop, which was taken, the British Navy had no part in this transaction. Thirty richly laden merchant ships were captured in the port. At daybreak of July 6th, Byron appeared with twenty-one Sail of the line, one frigate, and a convoy of twenty-eight vessels, carrying troops and equipments. He had returned