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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol I


Capture of the Cape of Good Hope


advanced post, on which two 24-pounders were mounted, drove the enemy from it by the discharge of a few shots. A second position, defended by one gun, and one howitzer, was similarly abandoned. Soon afterwards the ships arrived opposite the enemy's camp; and being judiciously posted by Commodore Blankett, opened so brisk and well-directed a fire, as to compel the Dutch to fly, long ere Major-general Craig and the troops could co-operate. The fire from the enemy's three field-pieces, killed two and wounded four men, besides disabling a gun, on board of the America, and wounded one man in the Stately. Some shots, also, passed through both ships, but did not materially injure either of them. At 4 p.m. Major-general Craig, after a fatiguing march over heavy sandy ground, arrived at and took possession of the abandoned Dutch camp.

The Dutch, who after retiring had taken post on an advantageous ridge of rocky heights at a short distance off, were, the same evening, driven from that position, also, by the advanced guard of the 78th, supported by the battalion, with the loss of only one British officer, Captain Scott of the 78th, wounded. On the day following, the 8th, having augmented their force from Cape-Town, the Dutch advanced with eight field-pieces, to regain the position they had lost ; but, after some slight skirmishing, in which great steadiness was displayed by the first battalion of seamen under Captain Hardy, the former were compelled to retire. The last-named officer had crossed the water with his battalion of seamen, as had also Major Hill, with the marines, and both seamen and marines received the enemy's fire without returning a shot. "They (the seamen) manúuvred," says Major-general Craig, "with a regularity which would not have discredited veteran troops." The general also compliments the marines for their steady resolution on the same occasion. On the 18th five Dutch Indiamen, lying in Simon's bay, were detained by the rear-admiral's orders. Among them was the Willemstadt en Boetzlaar; which was afterwards named the Princess, and fitted out by the British at the Cape as a 20-gun ship.

Some partial successes, gained on the 1st and 2d of September, encouraged the Dutch, on the 3d, to meditate a general attack on the British camp. The former advanced in the night with all the force they could muster, and with a train of not less than 18 field-pieces. But, just at this critical moment, the long-expected English fleet, with reinforcements, appeared in the offing. On the following morning 14 sail of East India ships, having on board a considerable quantity of troops, under the command of General Alured Clarke, with guns, ammunition, and stores of every sort, including an ample supply of provisions, came to an anchor in Simon's bay.

With this accession of strength, the admiral and general determined on an immediate attack upon Cape-Town. The

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