men in number, and who opened a smart fire upon the boats as they approached.
Seeing this, the Cerberus and the vessels with her anchored with springs on their cables, and commenced a cannonade upon the shore. The islanders soon ceased their fire; and, by 4 h. 30 m. r. M., the British were in quiet possession of Désirade. The neutrality of the island being all that was required on the part of Sir Alexander Cochrane, Captain Selby did rot retain possession: he merely destroyed the batteries (mounting but seven guns altogether), and, to prevent a garrison arriving from Guadaloupe, stationed a sloop and gun-brig off the coast.
On the 3d of July, while the British 18-gun ship-sloop Wanderer, Captain Edward Crofton, and 4-gun schooners Subtle and Ballahou, Lieutenants George Augustus Spearing and George Mills, were cruising between the islands of Anguille and St.-Martin, some intelligence was received which induced Captain Crofton to expect that he should succeed in an attack upon the French part of the last-named island. For this purpose, soon after midnight, the boats of the ship and two schooners, containing 135 men placed under the orders of Lieutenant Spearing, pulled towards the shore.
With a trifling loss, the British landed and obtained possession of, and spiked, the six guns mounted upon the lower fort. On ascending the rocky heights, covered with the prickly pear, to storm the upper battery, a number of brave fellows fell, and among them Lieutenant Spearing himself, who was shot through the chest within ten yards of the ramparts of the fort he was rushing forward to assault. The remainder of the party now reluctantly retreated to the boats ; but, unable to resist the overwhelming force that assailed them, the survivors were obliged to surrender.
The Wanderer, who with the two schooners had been firing at the batteries, to cover the party on shore, now ceased her fire, and hoisted a flag of truce. By a communication with the French commandant it was soon ascertained, that the regular force on the island amounted to 900 men, and that the detachment from the little squadron had lost seven officers and men killed, and nearly 30 wounded. The French commandant behaved in a very honourable manner ; not only giving to the remains of the gallant young English officer a funeral with military honours, but himself attending his late enemy to the grave, and permitting a part of the Subtle's crew to pay their last duty to their late commander. The three British vessels, in the mean while, as with their colours at half-mast they lay at anchor in Marigot bay, united with the French batteries in firing minute guns.
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