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Re: Battle of St. Georges Caye: Real or myth? [Re: Marty] #495920
09/21/14 05:30 AM
09/21/14 05:30 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,082
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


There was no battle of St. George’s Caye in September, 1798. Neither was there a battle at St. George’s Caye.

It is stupid, in 2014, for the school children and the country to be told there was a battle and that the Baymen fought and won a major battle.

It is equally stupid to be saying that if it were not for the victory at St. George’s Caye, Belize would not exist.

It is a fact that 32 Spanish ships carrying sailors and over 2,500 soldiers came to Belize in the area of St. George’s Caye. It is a fact the Governor of Jamaica sent a small ship, the Marlin and about 200 soldiers from the West India Regent. It is a fact that a number of the Baymen used their small boats to go out to “defend” St. George’s Caye.

It is a fact that black persons were in the boats of the Baymen. It is not a fact that slaves fought, neither is it true they fought with puck-u-nuh boy sticks. Please remember that there was slavery in Belize up to 1834. In 1798, there were some free black people and there were some free coloured people. The Baymen used these to row the boats.

The Archives of Belize has the written reports of Captain Moss who headed the boats that went out to St. George’s Caye. There is also the written report of Superintendent Thomas Barrow. Anyone who reads these reports can figure out what happened. There was no battle.

From these reports we learn many interesting things. Always bear in mind that history is the version of events by those who have a particular bias. The history we are using is his-story, i.e. the history of our slave masters and the British. It is a different type of history from that of historians who subsequently research a matter using various reliable sources. For example we are told by historians that in 1783 there was the Treaty of Versailles. It ended war between the British and Spain. It gave the British right to cut logwood between the Hondo River and the Belize River. In the convention of London1786, Spain gave written permission for logwood to be cut as far as Sibun River. These permissions were always that the cutting of logwood recognized that the area belonged to Spain AND there were to be no permanent fortifictries. Spanish Commissioners regularly and officially visited Belize to show compliance.

These documents are in Spain and in Britain and historians verify them.

The matter of no permanent fortifictries is important. It is the reason Spain, through its officials in Mexico kept visiting Belize and specifically St. George’s Caye, because the Baymen were building permanent fortifictries, that is why the Spaniards came and destroyed it every time. That is a historical fact.

The Archives Department in Belmopan has the long list of documents and correspondence and reports of the arrival of Spaniards from Mexico who burned and destroyed buildings on St. George’s Caye. Please remember St. Geroge’s Caye was like the capital at the time.

There is a map with markings of St. George’s Caye dated 1764. It is shows all the buildings and structures on the Caye. It shows the markings of residences and gives the names of the owners. It shows the famous turtle corrals and it shows the quarters for the slaves who served the Baymen on the Caye.

It is a historic fact that the Spaniards always chased the Baymen off St. George’s Caye. On some occasions the whole settlement, including Baymen and slaves would hide up the river or go to the Mosquito Shores.

The records show that the Spaniards chased off the Baymen in 1724, 1733, 1744, 1751 and 1779.

One particularly rough experience was 15th September, 1779. Nineteen Spanish ships appeared in front of St. George’s Caye. They captured 141 white people and 250 slaves and took them to Bacalar. The population of the settlement in 1779 was 500 whites and 3,000 slaves.

On 9th August, 1798 orders were carried out and the houses and structures on St. George’s Caye were burned, water vats and barrels that could be emptied and moved were brought back to the mainland. This was done so the Spaniards would not try to remain on the Caye, which at the time was like the capital of the settlement.

On 10th September, the record written by Captain Moss and Superintendent Barrow was that smaller boats left the Spanish ships and rowed to St. George’s Caye. Presumably they checked and found no one there and the place abandoned and destroyed so they rowed back to the ships and the ships started sailing away.

It is a fact that Superintendent Barrow and hundreds of soldiers stayed by Haulover Creek.They were sent for by Captain Moss in the afternoon. By the time they reached the Caye area the Spanish ships had already sailed away to join their main fleet in the area of Long Caye and Caye Chapel.

The so-called battle was from around 1:00 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon and within two hours the few Spanish ships were leaving the area. No doubt the Baymen fired canons but Captain Moss himself reported that NO ONE WAS KILLED. Neither was any boat or ship sunk.

A report of what transpired on the 10th September was sent by Superintendent Barrow to his boss, the Governor of Jamaica. Remember that Barrow was never sent out at the Caye during the so-called battle. He and Captain Moss were “bigging” up themselves, claiming to have conducted a major victory against Spain. In modern language this is what is called bull—–.

Another bull—– was that slaves fought against the Spanish battleships with puck-u-no boy sticks. There is nothing anywhere in the records of this. And certainly the slave masters, i.e. the Baymen, were not so stupid as to give guns to the slaves and put them on boats so they could sail away to freedom or join the Spaniards.

The record shows that on 29th January, 1798, the Governor of Jamaica informed Superintendent Barrow that he was sending officers of the 6th West Indian (black) Regiment to Belize. The Governor wrote that he expects the settlement to provide 171 privates from the well behaved slaves who will be paid similar to the British soldiers and be liberated when peace was achieved with Spain. There is no record any such thing actually happened. In fact after 10th September slavery continued in Belize.

The Governor went on to suggest that if that was not achievable then Belize was to pay 15 pounds 15 shillings to all free men of colour and free negroes who enlist. If the settlement still failed to get sufficient free men, then the Governor suggested money may be paid to slave owners for each slave used.

On 23rd February, 1798, it was reported that the Settlement was going to use 171 negroes but the Baymen were saying they agree to sell their slaves to the Government if they get acceptable terms. Put another way, faced with war the Baymen were looking to hustle. All this while the Baymen still have their slaves in the jungle cutting mahogany logs.

One hundred years of this bogus battle, a most interesting thing happened. An editorial appeared in the Colonial Guardian newspaper (note there is a neo-colonial newspaper presently in Belize named the Guardian). This editorial said the battle of St. George’s Caye should be celebrated by the inhabitants of British Honduras with pomp and circumstances as the greatest and most glorious event which secured for the Baymen and their decendants civil and religious liberty and good government.

On 6th April, 1898, a public meeting was held at a building called Riverside Hall to consider the centenary of the battle. The meeting was addressed by Henry Charles Usher J.P., Dr. Charles R. Eyles, R.H. Logan, Sydney Woods and Carl Metzgen. The meeting passed resolutions that the 10th September be a public holiday; the battle be celebrated each year and a committee of 40 be formed to promote the celebration of the battle.

Another important matter worth considering is the statements that the Baymen defeated the Spaniards on 10th September, 1798 because the Spaniards never again tried to dislodge them after that date. The reason for this is that in that the British and Spain were at war. The war ended and a peace treaty was signed and called the Treaty of Amians 1802.

The British conducted a census in October, 1790 which shows an interesting population. There were 261 white persons in the Settlement. There were 371 “free people of colour”. There were 2,024 slaves.

Of the 261 whites, 41 were children, 40 were women and 174 were men. Of the coloured people who were not slaves, 120 were men, 132 were women and 119 were children. Of the 2,024 slaves, 1,091 were men, 515 were women and 418 were children.

Creoles in Belize came from white men having children with black women. Black men could not have sex with the few white women in the Settlement. And this would not remain not up to slavery being ended in 1838, but well beyond that.

The record kept by the British and copies are in the Archives Department in Belmopan show rebellions in the Settlement in 1765, 1768, 1773 and 1820. Please note that the 1820 rebellion was 22 years after the so-called battle of St. George’s Caye. This rebellion started from 24th April to 22 May. A reward was offered for the capture of “the Captain and Leaders of these rebels”. Their names: WILL and SHARPER. Not a statue or building is named after these two heroes who fought for freedom.

In 1862 the Settlement was officially made a Colony of the British. In 1871 we were made a Crown Colony with a Legislature Assembly and a Lieutenant Governor.

It was not until 1950 that Belizeans got tired of British controlling their lives and a political party with George Price, Phillip Goldson, Leigh Richardson, John Smith and others was formed to fight freedom.

Belize gained Self-Government in 1964 and because of the Guatemalan threat to invade and forcibly “recover their land” independence was not achieved until 21st September, 1981.

The records show that the United Democratic Party refused to take part in the discussions on drafting an Independence Constitution for Belize. They also asked the British Government to delay Independence for at least ten years.

The record also shows that in 2012 the U.D.P. Government without notifying Belizeans or getting approval signed an Agreement with Guatemala called a Compromi. This document binds our country to holding a referendum on whether or not the people wish to take the legal claim of Guatemala to the International Court of Justice. Prime Minister Barrow personally told Belizeans that his Government would not push for a yes or no position. Months thereafter he was doing the exact opposite. Including getting his U.D.P. party to agree to vote yes in the referendum.

In the next few months the British Government and Guatemala will be coming back with another attempt to get us to hold a referendum.

There is one other important matter that is on the records. It is a quotation from the U.K. newspaper of 26th January, 1978:

“The Premier of Belize, said in London last night that at one point in the secret negotiations with Guatemala, the Americans, apparently with British support, were seriously preparing a protection plan for the Colony which would cede nearly one quarter of it to the military dictatorship of President Laugerud. It would have exceeded 2,000 square miles.

“The thinking in Whitehall (British) and Washington is that there will be no solution which does not involve Belize ceding some token amount of land” – Financial Times 26th January 1978.

This is what George Price and the people of Belize were fighting against in the real battle for an independent Belize.

Guatemala is convinced that Prime Minister Barrow is going along with the plan in the Compromi. They are right.

May god bless Belize and guide her people to change the U.D.P. Government before we lose part of the Toledo District.

A happy and safe Independence to all!

The Belize Times

Re: Battle of St. Georges Caye: Real or myth? [Re: Marty] #497595
11/05/14 04:26 AM
11/05/14 04:26 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,082
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Yucatán’s Naval War with Belize

Arturo O’Neill de Tyrone y O’Kelly, the Governor and Captain-General of the Intendencia of Yucatán, moved a substantial fleet of warships against a rabble of British woodcutters. They had been squatters too long in territory that clearly belonged to the King of Spain.

Arturo O’Neill, scion of an ancient and distinguished Irish dynasty, had gone to Spain as a young military cadet. He progressed through the ranks in the royal army, achieved promotions to general and field marshal, demonstrated abilities as an administrator and diplomat, and received important political appointments in America. He became Governor of Yucatán in 1792 while also serving as Governor of West Florida. An Irishman in the service of Spain may seem strange, but it was not unusual — let us mention only Juan de O’Donojú y O’Ryan, the last Viceroy of New Spain; Alejandro O’Reilly, Governor of Spanish Louisiana; and Bernardo O’Higgins, a leader of Chilean independence.

English and Scottish woodcutters, called Baymen, had been active on the coasts of Yucatán since around 1630. They were essentially poachers, little better than the pirates with whom they were often allied, cutting and shipping valuable hardwoods out of the tropical forests. They particularly sought a tree called, rather uninformatively, “logwood” (Haematoxylum campechianum, Spanish palo de tinte), which could be made to yield textile dyes — shades of red, blue, and black, the last color especially valued as it came to dominate European clothing styles. Honduras mahogany also became an increasingly important export.

Spain successfully evicted British woodcutters from Bay of Campeche, on the peninsula’s west coast, in 1717, but their activities from the Bay of Honduras northward continued and increased. Viewing that country as remote and of little value, the Spanish authorities made only sporadic efforts to evict them. In one successful operation, the Spanish captured essentially all the Baymen and imprisoned them in Havana, leaving the area abandoned. But the Spanish never settled there, and the British woodcutters always returned. By the 1770s, their logging camps were becoming permanent settlements.

Treaties signed by Britain and Spain in 1783 and 1786 finally granted the British, in exchange for other concessions, permission to cut hardwoods along the coast of what is now Belize, between the Hondo River (the current boundary with Mexico) and the Sibun River (six miles south of today’s Belize City). Britain agreed that Spain retained sovereignty over the territory and that the Baymen would not erect any defensive fortifications, establish any form of government, develop plantation agriculture, or use the adjacent waters and islands for anything other than subsistence fishing.

His Britannic Majesty signed the treaty without consulting the settlers on any of this. The determinedly independent Baymen ignored the restrictions, greatly increasing their permanent population, electing magistrates, and importing slaves. They established their largest settlement on an island they called St. George’s Caye, eight miles off the mouth of the Belize River. The Spanish called it Cayo Cocina, or Kitchen Key.

In October 1796, Spain declared war against Great Britain. Just the latest of many between these historic rivals, this one was part of the complex and shifting conflicts that swept Europe in the quarter-century following the French Revolution. The Governor of Yucatán received orders to aid the Spanish effort by evicting those pesky British down south of the Río Hondo.

Arturo O’Neill set out from Campeche on May 20, 1798, commanding a force of some thirty vessels. The largest were two heavily armed frigates, La Minerva and La O, obtained from Cuba. The fleet included perhaps ten other warships carrying substantial naval artillery as well as numerous lightly armed transport and supply vessels. He had five hundred sailors and two thousand troops, the largest force ever assembled in the province.

The fleet rendezvoused off Cozumel Island. There the captains of the two frigates essentially mutinied. Claiming the water was too shallow for their vessels, they deserted the fleet and sailed away to Veracruz. O’Neill pressed on and landed his troops at Bacalar to make final preparations. An epidemic of yellow fever struck. The sickened army spent months trying to recover its strength and morale before finally heading south at the end of August.

Meanwhile, the British settlers had plenty of time to prepare themselves, construct fortifications, and obtain reinforcements. The Governor of Jamaica, Alexander Lindsay, 6th Earl of Balcarres, sent muskets, ammunition, and a warship, the sloop-of-war HMS Merlin. More important, Balcarres sent a military leader, Lt. Colonel Thomas Barrow, who took command of the disorganized and panicked settlers, imposed martial law, and brought some order to the unruly Baymen. In a public meeting on June 1, Baymen voted 65 to 51 to defend the settlement instead of evacuating, although support wavered as reports on the size of the Spanish force came in. A dozen free black settlers were among those who voted to stay and fight.

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HMS Merlin (1798)
Postage Stamp, British Honduras, 1948

Lord Balcarres recommended enlisting the Baymen’s slaves, on the condition that slave volunteers be freed after the crisis. After first resisting this arrangement, the slave owners finally consented after they were paid £50 for each emancipated slave. The black volunteers provided valuable service during the crisis, although sharpened sticks seem to have been the only weapons provided them.

In addition to Merlin, under the capable Captain John Moss, the defenders assembled a small fleet of lightly armed and improbably named civilian vessels — the sloops Towzer, Tickler, and Mermaid, the schooners Swinger and Teazer — plus eight log rafts carrying small cannons. There were perhaps four hundred sailors, nearly all inexperienced civilian volunteers. Seven hundred men, including detachments from His Majesty’s West India Regiments, stood ready to repel an attempted landing. The forces were divided between Cayo Cocina and the site of a smaller settlement on the mainland called Belize Town, at the entrance to that river.

Despite credible leadership, committed local volunteers, and support by the colonial government, the defending forces were absurdly weak compared to the approaching enemy fleet.

On the Spanish side, O’Neill moved some of his troops by land under Lt. Colonel Cosme Antonio de Urquiola. They burned 240 houses and destroyed plantations around Corozal and on the New River, with little opposition. With his still formidable fleet assembled off the mouth of the Belize River, O’Neill ordered his naval lieutenant, Francisco de Fuentes de Bocanegra to begin an attack. But O’Neill’s bad luck continued — Fuentes refused to obey, apparently because of cowardice. The governor’s second choice, Pedro de Grajales, finally took action on September 3. Attempting to force a passage to the mainland through treacherous, shoal-filled waters, five Spanish ships were repulsed by the British defenders. On the 4th and 5th, after heavy but largely ineffective bombardments, they again attempted to find a passage to the enemy, without success.

On September 6th, they turned their attention to the defended island, repositioning their vessels and probing for a passage through the shoals. Finally, on the morning of Monday, September 10, fourteen of the largest vessels in the Spanish fleet, many towing launches full of troops, confronted the British ships arrayed across the approach to Cayo Cocina. Barrow reported that the enemy “came down in a very handsome Manner, and with a good Countenance, in a Line abreast, using both Sails and Oars.” Captain Moss had brought Merlin over to the island to confront them and, at 1:30, gave the signal to engage. The Spanish concentrated their fire on Merlin, while the smaller British vessels rallied to her assistance. Defenders paddled out in canoes, dories, and rafts, ready to board the enemy’s ships. Both woodcutters and slaves reportedly acquitted themselves well. The battle lasted two and a half hours, “when the Spaniards began to fall into Confusion” and sailed off. Because of the sailing hazards and approaching darkness, Moss did not pursue them.

O’Neill’s fleet remained in the area for several days, making various maneuvers without engaging the British. Then on morning of the 16th, they sailed away, defeated despite their superior numbers and firepower. History offers no convincing reason for their sudden retreat, but it likely comes down to poor leadership. The Spanish forces made their way back to Campeche and Havana with significant losses, doubtless more from disease than bullets.

Although the attack was Spain’s last attempt to evict the British settlers, the Baymen never asked for or received a formal treaty with Spain, and peace treaties ending the wars of the period made no specific mention of the area. The Bay settlers continued operating on their own without permission from either imperial power. The British government gradually achieved partial control and produced a formal constitution establishing its authority in 1854. The Bay Settlements became the Crown Colony of British Honduras in 1862, self-governing in 1964, and independent Belize in 1973.

But conflicting claims to the land persist. The independent republics that succeeded the Spanish Empire claimed they inherited Spain’s sovereign rights. Britain negotiated boundaries with Guatemala in 1859 and with Mexico in 1893, and Mexico was the first nation to recognize Belize as an independent country, but the conflicting claims have never been completely resolved. Guatemala continues to assert legal rights to Belize, and official maps show “Belice” as one of Guatemala’s 23 departments. A small British Army garrison remains in Belize as a deterrent against invasion by its neighbor.

Arturo O’Neill continued to serve as governor of Yucatán for two more years. Despite the ignominious defeat at Cayo Cocina, he was an effective governor, increasing the number of school teachers, fighting smuggling, and defending public health in the face of a serious outbreak of rabies. He returned to Spain, received appointment as Minister of War, and fought against Napoleon. He died in Madrid in 1814 at age 78.

September 10 is a public holiday in Belize — St. George’s Caye Day — and citizens regard the land theirs by right of conquest.


Re: Battle of St. Georges Caye: Real or myth? [Re: Marty] #506987
08/28/15 11:10 AM
08/28/15 11:10 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,082
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

The Battle of September 10, 1798 – a first person’s account by Steven Forbes

The only detailed first-person account we have of the Battle of St. George’s Caye is the account given by Steven Forbes. It was edited by E.W. Williams and printed by The Sheldon Press in London.

Belizean novelist Stephen Fairweather, has done exhaustive research on this subject, and in his book “The Baymen of Belize” adheres closely to the information provided by Steven Forbes.

The account of the battle printed here is from the Steven Forbes book, a copy of which we received through the courtesy of Mr. Nick Sutherland, who now lives in Dangriga.

The Forbes Account

The vessels defending the northern approach were under my command, and with me were Jack McDonald and young Sampson, the American from Sittee River.

My father was in command of the northern position and Uncle James and his other two boys were stationed on the Cay.

TheSpanish commander sent six of his largest gun brigs to attack the Montego position, whilst he with three brigs and eighteen schooners ran down next the reef to attack the second position, and the Cay itself.

My orders were to reserve all fire till the signal for action was hoisted.

As I have said, the Spaniards’ weight of metal was much heavier than ours, for all their guns were either eighteen or twenty-four pounders.

The six gun brigs ran down to within long range of our position, then formed line to the southward and opened fire.

But their practice was bad and oittle damage was done as most of their shot fell short.

Meanwhile not a shot came from our little fleet. We grimly bided our time.

Finding that his fire was ineffectual at this long range, the SpanishCommander bore up for the channel behind the Montego shoal, to get to closer quarters with his insignificant looking foes.

In doing this he ran his brig, which was leading, on the Montego, and the next three vessels that followed did likewise, and there, in a few minutes they all four werehard and fast on the sand.

The remaining two brigs steered off, just in time to escape the same fate.

Our chance had come at last! Up ran the signal for action, and in a moment all the twenty-four guns were pounding away at the luckless Spaniards at short range.

All was confusion on their crowded ships and a dreadful panish ensued.

Discipline never good at any time was at an end, for whilst some shouted frantic orders to tow off the shoal, others screamed that all was lost, and that their only hope was to take to their boats.

All this time the guns of the droghers and flats, smartly handled, poured a deadly fire of canister and solid shot into the doomed Spaniards, and wrought awful havoc on their densely packed decks. .

Now I saw the moment had come to finish off our part of the battle. The signal to board ran up and in less time than it takes to tell two pitpans from each drogher and one from each flat with crews of fifteen men in them, were paddlig for their lives to get first on board the enemy.

“Two pitpans to each Spaniard, and board where you can” was the order. .

The boarders besides their muskets, carried a brace of pistol in their belts as well as their machetes, deadly weapon in a strong man’s hand.

Jack, Sampson, Peter and I having a slight start, ranged alongside the Spanish Captain with our two crafts, one on either bow.


Thirty men against more than five times their number was heavy odds against them, but little we recked of odds, for we meant to have those Spaniards if there had been ten times as many of them.

We were met with a wild musketry fire as we ranged alogside, which knocked off three of theboarders. The rest fired a volley with their muskets as the bowmen grappled the Spaniards just to clear the bulwarks, and then, machete in hand led on one side by Sampson and myself and on the other by Jack and Peter, clampered up the chains and were presentlyon deck.

The Spanards, all disordered as they were, fought desperately first and several of our men were badly wounded. . Jack, as he tumbled on deck, received a bayonet thrust through the fleshy part of his shoulder, but Peter, who was at his side, clove the Spaniard’s skull with his machete before he could even withdraw his bayonet….

The deck grew slippery with blood and still the Negroes, their fighting blood well up, and following their Spaniards foot by foot until the pressure grew so great that those in the stern began to leap overboard, whilst others sought refuge down the hatchways.

The Spanish Captain was a brave soldier, and now made a desperate effort to rally his men and save the fortunes of the day.

Sword in hand, he called on them to follow him and sprang forward, fighting like a wildcat to get to me.

His men obeyed and all, still in overwhelming numbers, rushed on the little band of borders.

For the moment things looked desparate for us and it seemed as though we would be swept overboard by the very weight of numbers.

Desperate was the fighting and in the midst of it I went down, felled by the butt end of a musket.

A yell of triumph followed and a rush was made to finish me. But the giant Peter was at my side and standing astride my body, cut down all who dared to come within reach of his machete.

Presently I was on my feet again but dazed and staggering from the blow, and still the Saiards, led by their captain , pressed on to what seemed certain victory.

Now when the crisis of the day had come and our fortunes looked black indeed, young Sampson did a deed that changed the whole aspect of affairs.

Despite his efforts the Spanish captain had as yet not reached the foe he sought.The confusion of the melee had kept us apart, but now the way was clearer and he pushed through to were I stood.

Sampson saw my peril, and machee in hand cut his way into the group round the captain, followed by a couple of negroes.

With a glancing bullet wound in his ribs and a machete cut on the side of his head, he reached his man, closed with him and down they fell together on the slippery deck.

Over and over theyrolled for a moment or two.Then Sampson sprang to his feet; but the Spanish captain lay dead on the deck.

Then Sampson, in a ded faint from loss of blood, fell back into the arms of the one black men who survived that gallant exploit and was hurried into safety.

It was now the turn of the boarders to rally and with a fierce shout of triumph we hurled ourselves at the foe.

Discomfitted by the death of their commander, they gave way before the onslaught. The fight was nearly done formany of the Spaniards threw down their arms and cried for quarter, and the rest, all but about a dozen, lept overboard.

As I led my men in the final rush to clear the deck the last shot fired broke my left arm above the elbow, and down I went.

The men swept on.The last surviving armed Spaniard was cut down, the Spanish flag lay on the deck, and the San Estevan was won. .

Of the gallant men, thirty all told who boarded the San Estevan, five were killed and eighwounded severely, including three white men.

The Spanish loss was seventy seven killed and thirdy five wounded. So desperate was the attack and so stubborn the defence on the crowded deck during the brief half hour the contest lasted.

The the other stranded Spaniards fared no better than the San Estevan for in less than an hour they all hauled down their flags… ….

As soon as the deck was cleared, I who was still in command, brought all the prisoers on board the San Estevan: thenburnt the other three vessels where they lay.

Whilst this engagement, so disastrous to part of his flotilla, was going on Captain Boco Negra led his main fleet down the narrow channel next the reef to attack the Cay, and in doing so had to run the gauntlet of fire from the three droughers and six flats defending the second position. .

The range was close and here again the Spaniards suffered severely before they came into action with the Merlin and the shore battery.

As ususl, the enemyfire was wild and did scarcely any exeution.

The narrowness of the channel compelled them to adopt the formation of double column ahead and before they could bring their broadsides to bear, Captain Moss poured into them from his port and starboard batteries in quick succession a most destructive fire – at the same time the 18 pounder battery on the Cay hammered away at each vessel as it came into range.

The raking fire of case shot from the Merlin swept them like hail from bow to stern and as each ship came under this storm of death the decks were strewn with the dead and the dying.

As the Spanish flagship, the Madre de Dios, went about, unable to face the Merlin’s fire, a lucky shot fron the shore battery, which was well served by the Jamaica gunners, struck her stern post; another brought the foremast down upon the deck a tangled ruin, and she became an unmanagable wreck.

Now the rest of the Spaniards, stormed at and pounded by the floting batteries and the 18 pounders of the cay, swept and torn by the Merlin’s fire, could not endure the punishment and one by one hauled their wind and ran back to Long Caye.

They left behind them the Madre de Dios and two disabled schooners which were quickly captured by the Merlin’s crew without further resistance.

As soon as darnkess fell, I set all my crews and many of the prisoners to lighten the San Estevan, then hauled her off the shoal, ran her down to the cay and handed the prize and prisoners over to the keeping of Captain Moss.

So ended the first day’s fight of St. George’s Caye, in triumph of the settlers, and in sore discomfiture for their enemies.

The Reporter

Re: Battle of St. Georges Caye: Real or myth? [Re: Marty] #544847
09/11/20 05:01 AM
09/11/20 05:01 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,082
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
It happened....

London Gazette Story on the Battle of St. George's Caye, 1799

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Re: Battle of St. Georges Caye: Real or myth? [Re: Marty] #544930
09/15/20 11:40 AM
09/15/20 11:40 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,082
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
The Battle of St George's Caye – Belizean History Untold

Enjoy this history presentation about the Battle of St. George's Caye. Join us for this history presentation about the Battle of St. George's Caye. The lecture was based on the essay by Howard F. Humphreys; "The Battle of St. Georges Caye". Presenters were our very own Sylvia Batty and April Martinez.

The essay by Howard F. Humphreys brings into perspective the immense effort that it took to defend the settlement of Belize that would eventually birth our nation. Using the archival records, the events of the 10th of September in 1798 are brought to life.

The essay by Howard F. Humphreys brings into perspective the immense effort that it took to defend the settlement of Belize that would eventually birth our nation. Using the archival records, the events of the 10th of September in 1798 are brought to life.

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White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Click for Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, Welcome to a World of Adventure
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
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Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
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