|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||Captain Bligh at Curaçoa
harbour of St.-Ann. Captain Ross having embarked on board the Gipsy, was despatched with a flag of truce and a summons to the Dutch governor or fiscal, to surrender the island to the British. At 9 h. 30 m. A.M. the Gipsy stood out of the harbour, with the preconcerted signal flying, announcing that the terms had been refused.
The passage into the harbour is so narrow, that, even with a fair wind (and it now blew off the land), a line-of-battle ship can with difficulty enter ; and the batteries that command the harbour and town, including Fort République, against which from its situation, an attack by storm is impracticable, mounted nearly 100 pieces of cannon. In the harbour were lying the Dutch 12-pounder 36-gun frigate Hatslaar and two French privateers. Under these circumstances, no alternative remained but to try the effect of a landing. Leaving, therefore, the two frigates, as well to blockade the harbour, as to cause a diversion of the enemy's force, Captain Bligh, with the two 74s and schooner, bore up for a small cove, which had been pointed out by Mr. Fitton as the most eligible spot for effecting a disembarkation.
According to a previous arrangement the boats of the squadron, containing all the marines of the four ships, 199 in number, and a detachment of 406 seamen, had assembled on board the Hercule, and were commanded as follows : the seamen of the Theseus, by Lieutenants Edward Henry a'Court and Richard Henry Muddle, assisted by six midshipmen ; and her marines by Lieutenants Earle Harwood and Bertrand Cahuac. The seamen of the Hercule, by Lieutenants John B. Hills and Nisbet Josiah Willoughby ; and the marines by Lieutenant Samuel Perrot. The seamen of the Blanche, by Lieutenant William Woolsey, of the Hercule, in lieu of their proper commanding officer, Lieutenant William Braithwaite, who, to his disgrace as an officer and a gentleman, was incapacitated from filling his proper station by habitual drunkenness. The marines of the Blanche were commanded by Lieutenant Edward Nicolls, the senior marine-officer in the squadron. The seamen of the Pique, on account of the sickness of two of her three lieutenants, were commanded by Captain Ross, and her marines by Lieutenant William Henry Craig ; and the whole detachment of seamen and marines, numbering 605 officers and men, was placed under the orders of Captain Dunn, of the Hercule.
In passing Fort Amsterdam, situated on the south-east side of the entrance to St.-Ann, the two 74s were fired at, but with out effect, the shot falling short. At 11 h. 30 m. Fort Piscadero, mounting 10 Dutch 12-pounders, and protecting the intended point of disembarkation, opened a fire. This was immediately returned by the Theseus, within half musket-shot, although the ship was unable to remain alongside owing to a strong head wind and lee current. By making short tacks, however, the Theseus brought her guns to bear with such effect that the fort
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