|Naval history of Great Britain
||Boats of the Bacchante at Mariel
Englishmen navigating the gulf, determined Captain Dashwood, notwithstanding the strength of their position, to endeavour to cut them out. Accordingly, in the evening, he despatched on that service two boats, containing about 35 seamen and marines, under the command of Lieutenant Thomas Oliver, assisted by Lieutenant John Campbell, with directions to attack and carry the fort previously to entering the harbour, so as to secure a safe retreat.
The boats pushed off, and, on nearing the tower, were discovered and fired at. Seeing that no time was to be lost, Lieutenant Oliver, without waiting for his companion, who was astern, pulled rapidly for the shore, in the face of a heavy fire, which badly wounded one man. Leaving in the boat a midshipman, the Honourable Almeira De Courcy, and three men, including the one wounded, Lieutenant Oliver, then, with 13 men, gallantly rushed to the foot of the tower, and, by means of a ladder which his men had brought, scaled, and without any further loss carried, the tower, although garrisoned by a Spanish captain and 30 soldiers ; of whom two were killed and three wounded. Having performed this noble exploit, left a sergeant of marines and six men as a guard at the fort, and been joined by Lieutenant Campbell and his boat's crew, Lieutenant Oliver proceeded to execute the second branch of the duty assigned him. To the mortification, however, of both lieutenants, the three privateers had, the day previous, sailed on a cruise.
Not to quit the harbour empty-handed, Lieutenant Oliver took possession of two schooners laden with sugar ; and which he gallantly brought away from alongside a wharf, in spite of several discharges of musketry from the troops and militia, that were pouring down in numbers from the surrounding country. The name of Thomas Oliver among the commanders of the year shows, that this officer's conduct, as all similar conduct ought, excited the notice of those to whom the power belonged of dispensing rewards to the brave and meritorious.
On the 8th of April, at 1 P.M., the British 12-gun schooner Gracieuse, midshipman John B. Smith, tender to the 74-gun ship Hercule, the flag-ship of Rear-admiral Dacres at Port Royal, Jamaica, cruising off the city of Santo-Domingo, fell in with and captured a large Spanish schooner, bound from that port to Porto-Rico, with passengers. On the 9th, at 6 A.M., the Gracieuse chased and fired at a French sloop within gunshot of the forts of Santo-Domingo, but could not succeed in overtaking her.
At 4 h. 30 m. P.M. an armed schooner was seen coming out of Santo-Domingo, as if to attack the Gracieuse. The latter, accompanied by her prize, immediately hauled off shore, in order to have sea-room, should the schooner attempt to retreat. At 8 P.M. the Gracieuse shortened sail and hove to, with her prize, the Spanish schooner, under her lee quarter. At 8 h. 30 m, P.M.
^ back to top ^