|Naval history of Great Britain
||Proceedings at Monte-Video and Buenos-Ayres
the breeze, and the intricacy of the navigation, rendered it very difficult for a covering force to approach near enough to be of much use ; but the frigates, under the directions of Captain Lucius Hardyman of the Unicorn, got so close as to command the beach, had any opposition been offered by the body of troops in view on the heights.
On the 19th the army, including about 800 seamen and marines under the orders of Captains Ross Donnelly and John Palmer (the latter of the ship-sloop Pheasant), moved forward, and in the evening the ships of war and transports dropped off Chico bay ; near to which, and at about two miles from the town, the troops encamped, having during the march had a slight skirmish with parties of the enemy. Such was the shallowness of the water in front of Monte-Video, that the ships could lend no effectual co-operation in the siege, beyond landing a part of their men, guns, and stores, and cutting off all communication between Colonna and Buenos-Ayres. On the 25th the general opened his breaching batteries, and the lighter vessels of the squadron opened a distant cannonade. The siege continued, with doubtful result, until the 2d of February, when a breach was reported practicable. In the evening a summons was sent to the governor, to which no answer was returned ; and on the morning of the 3d, before day, the breach was most gallantly stormed, and the town and citadel carried. The loss sustained by the army, from its first landing to the termination of the siege, amounted to 192 killed, 421 wounded, and eight missing.
The distance from the shore at which the ships were obliged to anchor, the constant high wind and heavy swell, and the distance which the guns, when landed, had to be dragged over a heavy sandy road, rendered the duty of the seamen particularly arduous. For these and other services, so many were required, that the daily number of men absent from the squadron, including the division imbodied with the army, was about 1400 ; and the Diadem herself was frequently left with only 30 men on board. The loss sustained by the navy on shore amounted to six seamen killed, one sub-lieutenant (George Stewart), three midshipmen (the Honourable Charles Leonard Irby, Henry Smith, and John Morrison), and 24 seamen and marines wounded, and four seamen missing.
So low was the stock of powder reduced by the protracted length of the siege that, when the breach was made, no greater quantity remained on board the ships of war, transports, and fleet of English merchantmen in company, than would have furnished two days' further consumption. None of the few Spanish vessels of war found in the harbour were of much value. A corvette of 28 guns was burnt by the crew. There were two or three other unserviceable corvettes, and some schooners of war ; also 21 gun-boats. The remaining vessels were merchantmen.
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