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 Report from the Port of Roseau (cross post)

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PostSubject: Report from the Port of Roseau (cross post)   Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:43 pm

Port of Roseau, Antilles, 10th day of February, 1720

To Lord Proprietor-General von Somborn and His Grace, Bishop McDermott

My Lords, I write this to acquaint you with the events of this 10th day of February in the defense of our port of Roseau in the Lesser Antilles. I know neither of you were in these waters at the time, so I pen this as a courtesy, giving you my very limited view of the action. I am certain Lord Commodore deMontfort’s official report will give you a thorough picture of the event.

There were ten of the Confederacy amongst the 24 defenders of the port, and I was fortunate enough to be included in the Commodore’s Squadron. However when we entered the bay the fleet was arranged such that I was well away from the Commodore and the squadron.

Perhaps I will mention how the forces lay. We waited for the British at the SE corner of Greater Stingray Island, with the wind facing us out of due S. Directly north something under 2000 meters lay the fort guarding Roseau port. To the NW lay the enemy fleet at about the same distance from the fort.

As we were facing south, we were required to come about and proceed due N. The British, with their NE approach, had the advantage of the wind on their beam, which aided them in approaching the fort more rapidly than we could sustain. Furthermore, the presence of the island made the assembly of the force rather awkward as we all tried to squeeze past at once.

Commodore deMontfort ordered the squadron to proceed at once to the fort, rather than attempt to form up at that time. My ship, the Cruachan II, is an old Indiaman, as you know, and while it does a good deal of damage and can take a pounding, it can never be called quick in stays. As I was positioned at the far NE corner of the fleet, I proceeded to join the van.

We passed the island and got our first clear look at the enemy, though the lookouts had given us some sense of what we were to face already. Still, it was rather surprising to see the number of smallcraft the enemy had in their fleet. (In contemplating this strategy, we suspect the enemy planned to rely on the nimble ships to avoid damage, and assault the port primarily through land based action, using their few larger ships to reduce the fort.)

There was a frigate near the front of the enemy line, taking damage from the fort’s artillery. We in the van formed a makeshift line and targeted that same frigate. Under murderous fire we sank the frigate – the first casualty of the battle. We then noted a fourth rate in the enemy line – bigger than any ship we possessed – and several took up fire on that ship.
Now is when events turned curious. Instead of blocking the channel, the enemy line proceeded along the shore, attempting to cross our line. We altered course to match, however, and our larger ships began pounding the smaller enemy ships. Meanwhile the fourth rate and several other large ships were approaching from the west. I found myself behind two smaller enemy ships, both badly damaged and made the risky move of slipping between them. My crew responded heroically, firing both sides, and the two enemy were quickly sunk. Meanwhile, my rear chasers were taking shots of opportunity at the fourth rate who was still under fire from several other ships.

As I looked ahead I saw my way was blocked by friendly ships continuing to tear up the enemy van. My port side was badly damaged and the carpenter’s crew was already fully engaged in repairs. I knew that it would be fatal to pass on the starboard side to the melee. However, I saw the fourth rate astern was badly damaged and knew he was close to being sunk. I gave the order to wear, and to double charge the guns. We came about smoothly, putting our sound starboard side in harm’s way, took one broadside from the fourth rate and proceeded to unload a heavy discharge which appeared to be the final death knell for the fourth rate. I saw from my deck Captain Thomas Hardy give the order to abandon, and waved my hat to him by way of salute.

However I suddenly found myself alone, and the sole target of Captains Rimmer and Adama. While these two captains, by their names, may appear to be escapees from some sort of Fantasia, I can assure you their shot damaged my ship in a most realistic manner. Others joined in the assault on me and I was forced to abandon ship.

I made my way to the Roseau pier, where, though communication was limited, I was able to follow the rest of the battle. Commodore deMontfort and the remaining squadron members survived the first melee and were instrumental in the latter stages of defense. I and several others of the Confederacy lost ships in the initial melee. I should also mention the Trimmers, that enterprising family, were present and very active, as were many others who fly the French flag.

This, indeed, is a glorious day for the French nation in the New World. We may be small in force, but we have shown ourselves doughty in battle and not to be trifled with. While not all our endeavors will end as well as this one, let it stand testimony to the strength and perseverance of we who serve under the French flag.

My Lords, I remain your most humble servant,

Bognor Regis, Esquire, Scots Free Trader, sailing under the glorious colors of France
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PostSubject: Re: Report from the Port of Roseau (cross post)   Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:35 pm

Captain Regis,

A most sound and accurate re-telling of the battle. Thank you for taking the time to do so, for I for one appreciate it. Your more informative report will perhaps help flush out what the excerpt from my memiors of the experience, being more personal in nature, fail to do.

It was a true honor to fight alongside the likes of you and our other Confederates that day. I look forward to doing so again.


Signed,
~~M.Baudelaire
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Edwin Stewart

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Number of posts : 143
Age : 59
Localisation : washington state, USA
Registration date : 2007-12-08

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Locations: Tampa, New Orleans
Production: Ironmongery and Naval Stores (Guns, shot,repair items, keels, frames, planks, mast, spars, sails, rigging, tar, etc Everything but assembly)
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PostSubject: Re: Report from the Port of Roseau (cross post)   Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:38 pm

((OOC I did not see this post at the Time...Here is my view of the battle for those who can't see the Official Reports.))

Port of Roseau, Antilles, 10th day of February, 1720

To Lord Proprietor-General von Somborn and His Grace, Bishop McDermott

My Lords, I write this after receiving and reviewing Mr. Bognor Regis dispatch on the late battle. Having been on the other end of the line and present throughout the engagement, I can fill in the details Mr. Regis may be unaware of.

Upon arriving in the ready room, I distributed canvas and planking to those who requested it. As we were about to depart, I found myself un-grouped and was graciously offered a position in a Trimmers Squadron. As soon as we set sail I saw to their provisioning and attempted to place myself in line upon the squadron commander.

The arrangement of the fleet at this time left a little to be desired. En-mass we set sail from the entry point (Green 2, your attention is directed to the accompanying map) to the NE with a following wind. The English fleet that we could see was broad reaching across the southern end of the island from their forming point (Red 1). It was obvious that this was a horse race to the defending fort. I found myself at the very back of this pack, but was quickly working my way up through trying to group on my squadron leader. The speed at which this moved caused some problems and I noticed at least two French ships fell afoul of each other.

The two fleets’ line heads collided about the location of the fort, and a pell-mell melee quickly engulfed the rapidly amalgamating battle lines.

Knowing that the English have favored a Flying Squadron, finding all my firing arcs blocked, and knowing that my light frigate could better serve where I could use its speed and agility, I pulled out of the fleet to the east to provide off side cover. A report from the island lookouts about the area showed the English Flying Squadron well to lee, working towards the Port of Roseau from the NE.

About this time, a single English cutter, broke free of the melee and began to stand down the channel that leads to the Port. I took off in pursuit. I would like to say that I caught and sank the miscreant; however I had not had the time to properly copper my ships bottom. We traded long range volleys as we worked down the channel. About the latitude of the port, with his scuppers awash, he fell in with the Flying Squadron working up and I was obliged to wear and retire at chance range for a 9 pounder. I did not wish to single engage 6 fresh low lying cutters with little chance to hit or bring them to action.

My coming up on the Flying Squadron and the information that was coming in by signal showing the English Battle fleet being rapidly depleted, seems to have causes the Flying Squadron to pause. Mayhaps they did not want to be embayed while reducing the Port. Suffice to say, I presently met with other light elements, including some from my own squadron, coming down from the main engagement, and I tacked about and re-stood for the port.

From this point on, there is not much to say. A small squadron of us sailed in uncontested and formed a line across the Ports’ cove, while the English milled about offshore seemingly at a loss of what to do. The other surviving ships of the fleet formed up on us as they arrived after sinking 15 of the enemy to a loss of 9 of ours. The Flying Squadron made several demonstrations off the port, but would not close and the French fleet would not surrender the advantage of position.

There are only two more things of note. After about half an hour of sparring with the fleet, the English Flying Squadron worked up the channel and reduced the Protective Fort, murdering the Lieutenant. This was un-necessary and spiteful. Second, while hunting the “ghost enemy” that is plaguing the French Fleet, the gallant Datura Innoxia fell to 5 English assassins left behind in the ruins of the Protective Fort. Whether these were the deranged survivors of an English captain killed by the Lieutenant, or the crew of an Englishman attempting to wait us out is unknown. It was an unfortunate event in any case.

My Lords, I remain your most humble servant,

Edwin Stewart.

There was a SW wind.
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