Battle of Santiago de Cuba (1741)

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For Spanish-American War battle, see Battle of Santiago de Cuba.
Battle of Santiago de Cuba
Part of the War of Jenkins' Ear
El morro castle.jpg
Castle of El Morro on Santiago de Cuba
Date 21 July - 9 December 1741
Location Guantánamo Bay, Santiago de Cuba.
Result Spanish victory
Belligerents
 Great Britain Spain Spain
Commanders and leaders
Edward Vernon Francisco de la Vega
Strength
Land:
4,000[1]
Sea:
9 ships of the line
12 frigates and other warships
40 transports and storeships[2]
Land:
950
Sea:
unknown naval forces
Casualties and losses
3445 killed, wounded or missing[3] 400 killed or wounded,
3 warships captured[4]

The Battle of Santiago de Cuba was fought on 21 July 1741, and was one of the most decisive engagements of the War of Jenkins' Ear. This expedition resulted in a failed British attempt to capture Santiago de Cuba and it aggravated the misfortunes of Admiral Sir Edward Vernon.

Background[edit]

In the year 1741, after an unsuccessful attempt had been made on Cartagena by Admiral Vernon, he directed the fragments of his sickly and dispirited followers against the Island of Cuba. The south and east of Cuba were so little populated, and so far from the capital, Havana, that they might have made a permanent establishment there.[5]

Vernon's expedition[edit]

The land forces consisted of the remnants of the troops from Cartagena, some 3,000 British and North American colonial troops[6] augmented by 1,000 Jamaican blacks. Sir Vernon left Port Royal to capture Santiago de Cuba with the following ships:[7]

HMS Boyne 80 (Flagship)
HMS Cumberland 80
HMS Grafton 70
HMS Kent 70
HMS Montague 60
HMS Tilbury 60
HMS Worcester 60
HMS Chester 50
HMS Tiger 50
HMS Experiment 20
HMS Sheerness 20
HMS Shoreham 20
HMS Alderney (Bomb vessel)
HMS Phaeton (Fireship)
HMS Strombolo (Fireship)
HMS Vesuvius (Fireship)
HMS Bonetta (Sloop)
HMS Tryton (Sloop)
HMS Princess Royal (Hospital ship)
HMS Scarborough (Hospital ship)
HMS Pompey (Tender)
40 Transports bearing 4,000 troops under Wentworth

The battle[edit]

On the night of 4–5 August, the British Redcoats and a thousand black troops from Jamaica landed in three different beaches of the Guantanamo Bay. Without opposition, they marched against the village of La Catalina. However, the invaders, 65 miles short of their objective, slowed down three days later because of the growing concerns of their commander, Thomas Wentworth's.

Santiago's Governor Francisco Caxigal de la Vega, garrison commander Carlos Riva Agüero, and local militia Captain Pedro Guerrero[disambiguation needed] had only 350 regulars and 600 militia to hand and so retreated from the British. Nevertheless, Wentworth's army became paralyzed by fatigue and disease, spending the next four months encamped, being sporadically raided by Spanish guerrillas. Vernon, disgusted at his colleague's inactivity, but unwilling to risk any part of the fleet against the town sent warships to cruise independently until Wentworth's sick list grew so long—2,260 soldiers being struck with fever by 5 December—that the expedition was re-embarked, setting sail at dawn on 9 December and returning to Port Royal ten days later.

Aftermath[edit]

Admiral Vernon's enterprise accomplished nothing but the loss of many of his soldiers and his own disgrace. Vernon was forced to return to Britain in 1742 and was expelled from the navy in 1746.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Beatson, Robert. Naval and Military memoirs of Great Britain from 1727 to 1783, London, 1801, Vol. I, p 111.
  2. ^ Beatson, Memoirs, p.112. David Marley, Wars of the Americas; A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the New World, 1492 to the Present, California, 1998, pp.259
  3. ^ David Marley, Wars of the Americas; A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the New World, 1492 to the Present, California, 1998, pp.259
  4. ^ Beatson, Robert. Naval and Military memoirs of Great Britain from 1727 to 1783, London, 1801, Vol. I, p 115.
  5. ^ Pares, Richard. War and Trade in the West Indies, Oxford university press, 1936 ISBN 0-7146-1943-4, pp. 91-92.
  6. ^ Coxe, William. Memoirs of the kings of Spain of the House of Bourbon, Volume 3, London 1815, p.24 states that Havana is attacked by "...3,000 men, the discouraged and exhausted remnant of the troops which had been repulsed at Cartagena ..."
  7. ^ David Marley, Wars of the Americas; A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the New World, 1492 to the Present, California, 1998, pp.259
  8. ^ Thomas Coke pp 268

Bibliography[edit]

  • Pares, Richard. War and Trade in the West Indies, Oxford university press, 1936 ISBN 0-7146-1943-4
  • Richmond, H.W.. The Navy In the War of 1739-48, Vo; 1. Cambridge University Press, 1920.
  • David E. Marley, Wars of the Americas; A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the New World, 1492 to the Present ABC-Clio Inc, 1998 ISBN 0-87436-837-5
  • Beatson, Robert. Naval and Military memoirs of Great Britain from 1727 to 1783, London, Vol.I and Vol.III, 1801.
  • Coke, Thomas. A History of the West Indies: Containing the Natural, Civil and Ecclesiastical History of Each Island London, 1810. OCLC 3865212