Capture of the San Joaquin

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Battle of Cartagena (1711)
Part of the War of the Spanish Succession
Date 11 August 1711
Location Boca Chica Channel, off Cartagena de Indias (Present day Colombia)
Result British victory
 Great Britain Spain Spain
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Great Britain James Littleton Spain Don Miguel de Villanueva
5 ships 2 ships
Casualties and losses
7 casualties 2 ships captured,
150 casualties
450 captured

The Capture of the San Joaquin or the Battle of Cartegena was a naval engagement that took place off the coast near Cartegena (present day Columbia). It involved five British ships of the line against a Spanish galleon and a smaller ship. After an action lasting barely an hour the Spanish ship surrendered. The Galleon had fought in the previous encounter during Wager's Action nearly 3 years earlier but had just barely escaped capture.

In late May, 1711 the warships under the command of Jean du Casse arrived and so on August 3, 1711 they sailed from Cartagena which now composed of the Treasure Fleet which was to return to Spain. The units of escort composed of the following: San Joaquin of 64 guns under Admiral Miguel Agustin Villanueva, the Saint-Michel of 70 guns under Jean Ducasse, the Hercule of 60 guns under Captain Proglie and the Frigate Griffon of 44 guns under Captain Turroble.[1]

Meanwhile Commodore James Littleton arrived with a number of ships which had sailed from Port Royal in Jamaica on July 26: a fleet which consisted of HMS Salisbury of 50 guns under Captain Francis Hosier and Littleton's flagship, Salisbury Prize of 50 guns under Captain Sir Robert Harland, HMS Jersey of 60 guns under Captain Edward Vernon, HMS Newcastle of 50 guns under Captain Sampson Bourne, HMS Weymouth 50 guns, under Captain Richard Lestock, HMS Anglesey 50 under Captain Thomas Legge, Frigate Fowey of 40 guns under Captain Robert Chadwick.

Du Casse had left the frigate Gallarde in Cartagena for its defense and so on the day of leaving, the fleet were soon spotted by Littleton's fleet but a storm prevented anything to come of it and both fleets dispersed. Most of the fleet including Du Casse returned to Cartagena without giving any advice to Admiral Villanueva. On August 7 the galleon San Joaquin was totally separated along with a smaller vessel and a squadron was sighted. Villaneuva thought the vessels were that of Du Casse but it was in fact the English squadron of Littleton.[2]

When Villanueva realized the error was too late he decided to take on Littleton's squadron. The ensuing engagement lasted less than 20 minutes and San Joaquin was totally dismasted and suffered many casualties. Villaneuva now surrounded by the overwhelming British Squadron was mortally wounded when hit by a musket shot and soon struck his flag. Littleton from Salisbury went on board and took the surrender. Vernon in the Jesrey captured the smaller vessel which was attempting to escape. The galleons prize money was shared amongst the captains and the British sailed back to Port Royal. By order of King Philip V, the treasure was transferred to the French ships. Three days after the battle Du Casse, knowing that San Joaquin was lost, left Cartagena and sent his forces first towards Martinique, then to Pensacola and finally to Spain where they reached safely.[3]


  1. ^ Marley pg 234
  2. ^ Philips pg 248 [1]
  3. ^ Marley pg 234-235


Coordinates: 10°24′41″N 75°32′06″W / 10.4114°N 75.5350°W / 10.4114; -75.5350