Battle of San Juan (1797)
|Battle of San Juan (1797)|
|Part of the French Revolutionary Wars|
The Fortín de San Gerónimo was key to the defense of San Juan.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Henry Harvey||Francisco Díaz †|
68 warships with 600 guns
376 guns and 12 gunboats
|Casualties and losses|
Spain aligned herself with France by signing the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1796. Britain then targeted both country's Caribbean colonies. Admiral Sir Henry Harvey's fleet picked up Sir Ralph Abercromby's army in Barbados. Together, they captured Trinidad from the Spanish, before heading for San Juan.
On 17 April 1797, Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Abercromby fleet of 68 vessels appeared offshore Puerto Rico with a force of 7,000, which included German auxiliaries and French émigrés. Two frigates then blocked San Juan harbor.
The governor, Field Marshal Don Ramón de Castro y Gutiérrez, had already mobilized his 4000 militia and 200 Spanish garrison troops, which combined with 300 French privateers, 2000 armed peasantry, and paroled prisoners, brought his troop strength almost equal to the British. He also had 376 cannon, 35 mortars, 4 howitzers and 3 swivel guns amongst the island's defenses.
On 21 April, the British started a 7-day artillery duel with Spanish forts of San Gerónimo and San Antonio, located at the Boquerón Inlet. At the same time, the puertorriqueños put pressure on the British positions, the Spanish recaptured Martín Peña Bridge, while militia Sergeant Francisco Díaz raided behind British lines, bringing back prisoners. Then, on the 29th and 30th, the Spanish crossed the Boquerón Inlet, and forced the British to pull back.
- Marley, p. 362
- Van Middeldyk, R.A. (1903). Brumbaugh, Martin, ed. The History of Puerto Rico: From the Spanish Discovery to the American Occupation. D. Appleton and Company. pp. 139–141. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
- The Forts of Old San Juan. Washington, D.C.: Division of Publications, National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior. 2018. pp. 68–71. ISBN 9780912627625.
- Alonso, Mariá M. and Milagros Flores (1997). The Eighteenth Century Caribbean and the British Attack on Puerto Rico in 1797. San Juan: National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Publicaciones Puertorriqueñas. ISBN 9781881713203
- Marley, David (1998). Wars of the Americas: a chronology of armed conflict in the New World, 1492 to the present. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-87436-837-6
- History of the Fixed Regiment of Puerto Rico by Coronel Héctor Andrés Negroni
- Alonso, María M. "Chapter XIV - Abercromby's Siege". The Eighteenth Century Caribbean & The British Attack on Puerto Rico in 1797. Archived from the original on 30 June 2006. Retrieved July 7, 2006.