Españoles, Hispanics, Bernardo Vicente Apolinar de Gálvez y Madrid,
Vizconde de Gálvezton and Conde de Gálvez (July 23, 1746 C.E.-November
30, 1786 C.E.) and the American Revolutionary War
While my progenitor, Salvadór de Ribera and his son, Alfonso,
defended España’s Nuevo Méjico
territory from marauding Natives and others, the European powers watched
cautiously as the British Colonists of the New World began their
revolutionary stirrings in 1776 C.E. España
in particular, watched nervously as the other European powers eyed her
possessions. She had explored and settled the most extensive territorial
empire the world had known. El
Imperio Español of Salvadór’s
day stretched across the globe and she held the majority of the Western
Hemisphere. Her king was not about to give it all away.
While my progenitor, Salvadór de Ribera and his son, Alfonso,
defended España’s Nuevo Méjico
territory from marauding Natives and others, the European powers watched
cautiously as the British Colonists of the New World began their
revolutionary stirrings in 1776 C.E. España
in particular, watched nervously as the other European powers eyed her
possessions. She had explored and settled the most extensive territorial
empire the world had known. El
Imperio Español of Salvadór’s
day stretched across the globe and she held the majority of the Western
Hemisphere. Her king was not about to give it all away.
The broad strategic military vision for Nueva
España was to extend España’s
influence northward from Méjico
City to Nuevo Méjico by 1598 C.E. via a series of misiónes or missions, presidios,
and villas. This she did early
on. España then pushed from Sonora
onward toward Tejas. Over
some time, Tejas would
be partitioned into four provinces under the Virreinato
of Nueva España.
The El Paso area would be
under the jurisdiction of Nuevo Méjico,
the misiónes founded
Junta de los Ríos on
May 31, 1715 C.E., by a Spanish entourage under Fray
Joséf de Arraneguí were placed under
Vizcaya. The coastal region from the Nueces
River to the Río Grande and
upstream to Laredo were placed
1749 C.E. Tejas was
initially under joint jurisdiction with the province of Coahuila.
As time went on, Nueva España moved her influence into a “T-like” geographic
approach. By 1752 C.E., the Españoles
then moved access westward toward Arizona
with Catholic misióneros
into the Tucson area. By 1762 C.E., she moved access eastward through Tejas
and onto Luisiana for the purpose of increased trade. She would later move
westward over land through Arizona
to Las Californias. España
then established the small guarnición/military
post of San Agustín del Tucson
there before 1766 C.E. The presence
of Españoles increased in the
region by the last quarter of the 18th-Century C.E.
Royal Spanish troops assisted the misióneros
traveling as military escorts. A small detachment from Tubac
was stationed at Bac for the
protection of misióneros. Capitán
Nicolás de Lafora visited Tubac
in 1766 C.E. and reported that a military detachment was maintained at Bac
and Piman Tucson for the safety of the Jesuits working there. Military
protection was continued there after the Franciscans took over the Pimería
Alta misiónes. Historians have found that that Fray Francisco Garcés wrote to Capitán
de Anza and stated that the soldados
were behaving “divinely” and setting the Natives a good Christian
example. This small force of
soldados was undoubtedly kept at Bac until the Tubac guarnición
was moved northward to protect the exposed misión
and its branch. The soldados
were also assigned to protect the overland route to California
in the west in 1776 C.E. Teniente
Coronel Juan Bautista de Anza, Gobernador
of Sonora, had already
successfully settled San Francisco
Bay in Alta California.
Méjico, the home of my progenitors, was at the top/center of the
strategic geographic “T” and a wedge against hostile intentions of
any powers and an anchor for moving the frontier northward from Tejas to Las Californias.
España’s greater strategic vision was to regain Florida,
unify the northwestern frontier from the Mississippi to the Pacific, and
challenge the British on all fronts. However, the challenge proved too
great. The European threat could be countered, but the Native
populations could not be absorbed rapidly enough and be made to accept España’s
culture. The result was a frontier which was largely uncontrolled.
In Latino América
José de Gálvez y Gallardo Marqués de Sonora established the Virreinato
of Río de la Plata in 1776 C.E. incorporating in it the territories of
the Virreinato of Perú,
and the Captaincy General of Venezuela
in 1777 C.E. from sections of the Virreinato
of Nueva Granada. Both new
government structures were intended to establish greater military
control, increase areas settled, and to stimulate the economy of each
Bernardo de Gálvez spent
several months in rehabilitation tending to the leg wound he received in
Algiers before marching to Madrid
in January of 1776 C.E.
In recompense for his service in Algiers and his
leg wounds, in 1776 C.E. Teniente
Coronel de Gálvez was attached to General
de Teniente Alejandro O’Reilly’s La
Real Escuela Militar de Ávila where he became a professor. Bernardo de Gálvez had returned only briefly to the
la Real Escuela Militar de Ávila de los Caballeros (Knights) of Ávila,
España. Its new director, Francisco
of Estacheria, had left a coronel’s
position vacant in the infantry regiment of the province of Louisiana.
Don Alejandro O'Reilly
proposed to Bernardo’s
uncle, José, that Bernardo
should be appointed to occupy the post.
On May 22, 1776 C.E., 30 year old Bernardo
de Gálvez became a coronel
in the vacant position in the infantry regiment of the province of Luisiana
and appointed second in command of the provincial forces. He was then
transferred to the faraway provincia.
Smuggling from New Orleans to the Américanos
began in earnest in 1776 C.E., when General Charles Lee sent two
Continental Army officers to request supplies from the New Orleans Gobernador,
Luís de Unzaga y Amézaga
(1721 C.E.-1790 C.E.), also known as Luís
Unzaga Y Amézaga. He was the Spanish Gobernador
of Luisiana from late 1769 C.E.
to mid-1777 C.E., as well as a Capitán
General of Venezuela and Cuba.
In the Caribe,
in February 1776 C.E., American Esek Hopkins commanded a squadron of
more than seven ships in an effort to raid against the British-held
Nassau Island to secure supplies and munitions. At the Battle of Nassau,
on March 3rd and 4th, the Americans landed via the first-ever amphibious
assault by American military forces. The force consisted of 250
Marines and sailors.
This was to be done under the covering fire of the
Providence, a sloop in the Continental Navy and the 8 gun schooner the
Wasp. However, their guns were never fired as landing was unopposed. The
attackers overwhelmed Fort Montague. The then British retreated to Fort
Nassau. The following day, the British surrendered the town of Nassau
and Fort Nassau to Continental forces. The Americans claimed 88 cannon,
15 mortars, and 24 casks of much needed gunpowder. The Americans spent
the next two weeks loading their ships with the booty before finally
Upon review, the Treaty of Surat was condemned by
the British Calcutta Council, it was annulled, and the new Treaty of
Purandhar with the regency of the Maratha Empire in India replaced it on
March 1, 1776 C.E. Raghunathrao was given a pension, his cause
abandoned, and the revenues of Salsette and Broach districts retained by
In North America on June 28, 1776 C.E., the
American forces under Major General Charles Lee’s command repulsed a
British attempt to capture Charleston and its Fort Sullivan. Fort
Sullivan was square-shaped. It was constructed of only of a completed
seaward wall, its walls made from Palmetto logs 16 feet-wide and filled
with sand. The logs rose 10 feet above the wooden platforms for
positioning artillery. A palisade of thick planks secured the powder
magazine and unfinished northern walls. The Patriots had only 28 rounds
for each of their assortment of 31 cannons with sizes ranging from 9-and
12-pounders, British 18-pounders, and French 26-pounders placed along
the front and rear walls. The American defenders were ordered to wait 10
minutes between firing a round. They were to concentrate only on the
ships nearest the American Fort Sullivan.
The British were commanded by Admiral Peter
Parker. He had ordered the fleet to begin its attack that morning. The
British fleet consisted of 20 ships. Only 9 were man-of-war ships and
armed. The flagship was the 50-gun Bristol and the other ships of the
line included the Experiment, Actaeon, Active, Solebya, Syren, Sphinx,
Frendship, and the bomb-vessel Thunder. In total, all were mounted with
nearly 300 heavy cannon. The other ships were unarmed.
The ship of the line evolved from the
galleon. These were three or four-masted vessels which were constructed
with a high superstructure on their stern and normally carried heavy
guns along two decks. When fleets composed of these types ships engaged
in battle they adopted a fighting formation called the
line-of-battle. Two opposing columns of ships maneuvered to fire their
guns in broadside or a simultaneous discharge of all the cannon arrayed
on one side of a ship against each other. Sea battles using these ship
formations were known as line-of-battle actions
of warfare. These battles were usually won by the heaviest ships which
carried the largest and most powerful cannon. As a result, there was a
natural progression toward fleets of large, heavy, line-of-battle ships
or ships of the line.
The British pilots were ordered to bring the first
ships to anchorage in close, as to allow enough space so that the other
ships could anchor near the Fort. The battle plan called for a sally and
some of units were to swarm the enemy. The sally was to be conducted by
3 other ships. These ships were to go around to the western side of the
Fort and fire into the unfinished portion. A bomb ketch was to be used.
This type of floating weapon platform was usually adapted from a small,
two-masted ketch. The whole ship is constructed around a single
large-caliber mortar. These strongly-built bomb ketches were made to
withstand the recoil of repeated mortar discharges. Chains replaced
rigging ropes nearest the mortar to prevent muzzle blast damage. The
ketch was armed with a large mortar to fire into the Fort.
As the battle began, the tide turned against the
British. The pilots refused orders to bring the warships in close as
Admiral Peter Parker had ordered as they feared running aground. The
full effect of their gunnery was then lost. The planned sally which was
to be used to exploit the unfinished sides of the Fort, failed when the
ships ran aground on the shoal.
The inexperienced American Fort gunners under
Major General Lee poured deadly fire into the British fleet which had a
destructive effect on the British ships. All personnel on the
quarterdeck of the flagship of the fleet, the HMS Bristol, were killed
or wounded. South Carolina's royal governor, Lord William Campbell,
manned cannon on that ship. He was wounded by splinter and died from the
wounds 2 years later. Admiral Parker was also wounded. A splinter tore
off his pants. A second wounded his knee and left him unable to walk
unaided. The other ships had suffered a number of casualties. The
British continued their bombardment. It had little effect due to the
Fort's construction with the soft and spongy palmetto logs which simply
absorbed the cannonballs.
The British also attempted an assault. This was
from Long Island using small boats to attack the northern end of
Sullivan's Island. The attack was poorly covered by a British schooner
and the boats were soon turned back by Patriots firing at point-blank
range. The fire caused very heavy casualties in the British assault
party. Clinton called off the attack and no other attacks attempted. By
9:30 P.M. that evening, all firing stopped. By 11:30 P.M., the British
ships left. Unfortunately, of 3 British ships which had run aground, the
HMS Actaeon was unable to extract herself. The British captain requested
Parker's permission to abandon ship. He then moved to destroy her to
keep the ship from falling into the hands of the Americans. The captain
then set her on fire. Later, an American salvage party went out to the
Bristol after she had been abandoned and gathered the ship's bell, its
colors, and various stores before the engulfing fire spread, endangered
their safety. The ship's magazine soon exploded.
With their efforts repulsed, the British halted
their attack. By Battle’s end, the Americans had expended
approximately, 1/7 the amount of gun powder than the British forces had.
The slow and steady American fire was quite accurate and had won the
This success greatly improved his standing within
the Army and with the Congress of the United States. Later that year,
Lee was captured by British cavalry under Banastre Tarleton. He was a
prisoner of the British until his exchange in 1778 C.E. During the
decisive Battle of Monmouth fought on June 28, 1778 C.E., Major General
Lee led an assault on the British that miscarried. Lee allowed the
British rearguard commander, Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis to
seize the initiative. The American lines were routed until General
Washington saved the day. Major General Lee was subsequently
court-martialed and his American military service brought to an
unfortunate end. He died at Philadelphia in 1782 C.E.
Luís de Unzaga y Amézaga
(1721 C.E.-1790 C.E.), the second Spanish gobernador
of Luisiana from 1769 C.E.
until 1777 C.E., had been concerned about antagonizing the British
before the Españoles were
thoroughly prepared for war. However, he did agree to assist the rebels
covertly. Luís in fact authorized a critical shipment of gunpowder under a
transaction brokered by Oliver Pollock, the American patriot and
During the summer of 1776 C.E., Gobernador
de Unzaga secretly gave aid to the Américanos. He delivered five tons of gunpowder to Captain George
Gibson and Lieutenant Linn of the Virginia Council of Defense privately.
The delivery had come out of the King's stores. The shipment of
gunpowder was transported up the Mississippi River under the protection
of the flag of España and was
eventually used to oppose British plans to capture Fort Pitt in western
Pennsylvania which replaced Fort Duquesne, a French colonial fort.
Luís de Unzaga y Amézaga
was born in Málaga, España. He was the son of a well-known Vasco family. Luís served
in the Italian war of 1735 C.E. He later went to Habana in 1740 C.E., where he was Teniente Gobernador of Puerto
Principe, Cuba, and later of Santiago
de Cuba the second largest city of Cuba
and capital city of Santiago de
Cuba Province in the southeastern area of the island.
In 1762 C.E. during the Seven Years' War, de
Unzaga had unsuccessfully defended Habana
against a British siege. Later, he accompanied Alejandro
O'Reilly to New Orleans in 1769 C.E. to put down the Rebellion of 1768
C.E. This was carried out by French and German colonists who objected to
the Treaty of Fontainebleau (1762 C.E.) and its granting the territory
of Luisiana to España. Following the formal establishment of the cabildo
or council, de Unzaga became gobernador
of Luisiana on December 1,
In 1770 C.E., he married Marie Elizabeth de St.
Maxênt, second daughter of Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxênt, the
wealthiest man in Luisiana.
She was the sister of Marie Felicité (Feliciana) de Saint-Maxênt
d'Estrehan, who would become the wife of Bernardo
de Gálvez in 1777 C.E.
Even before July 4, 1776 C.E., España
and France enter into a secret agreement with the American Colonists to
support them in their rebellion against Britain. Before and after the
declaration of war, España carried on efforts to undermine its enemy Britain. She
maintained a complex network of “observers” throughout the Américas. They monitored the course of the American Revolution and
reported on its progress. Two observers posted in Philadelphia were Juan
de Miralles and Francisco Rendón.
Juan de Miralles was
born in 1713 C.E. at Petrel, España. It is situated in Alicante,
Communidad València España. His parents were from France. De
Miralles went to Cuba when he was very young. De
Miralles settled in Habana
around 1740 C.E. While there, he became a successful merchant. Juan was also an arms dealer. De
Miralles became a partner in the powerful trading firm of Robert
Morris and Thomas Willing.
Robert Morris, Jr. (January 20, 1734 C.E.-May 8,
1806 C.E.) born in Liverpool. He became an American merchant who helped
finance the American Revolution and was a Founding Father of the United
States. Robert Morris, Jr. signed the Declaration of Independence,
the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. He
was also elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly and became the Chairman of
the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety. Robert was chosen as a delegate to
the Second Continental Congress, where he served as chairman of the
"Secret Committee of Trade" and as a member of the Committee
From 1781 C.E. to 1784 C.E., Robert Morris, Jr.
served in the powerful position of Superintendent of Finance. In this
capacity he helped manage the economy of the fledgling United States. As
a powerful civilian in the government, Morris was considered by many
"the most powerful man in America" next to General George
Washington. His successful administration led to his sobriquet, as the
accepted "Financier of the Revolution." Simultaneously, he was
Agent of Marine, without pay, and from which he controlled the
Continental Navy. He was one of Pennsylvania's original pair of US
senators, serving from 1789 C.E. to 1795 C.E.
Thomas Willing (December 19, 1731 C.E.-January 19,
1821 C.E.) was born in Philadelphia. Thomas completed preparatory
studies in Bath, England. He later studied law in London at the Inner
Temple. In 1749 C.E., Willing returned to Philadelphia, where he engaged
in mercantile pursuits, in partnership with Robert Morris, until 1793
C.E. as a merchant. He was later a Delegate to the Continental Congress
from Pennsylvania, and the first president of the First National Bank of
the United States.
By the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War
in 1776 C.E., Oliver Pollock had become very wealthy and had significant
political influence. Less than three months after the signing of the
Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776 C.E., Oliver Pollock had
purchased, fitted out and dispatched a vessel up the Mississippi River
loaded with 9,000 pounds of gun powder and other supplies to George
Washington at Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania. Later, he noted that the
shipment: “…not only arrived in safety, but was a signal and
Oliver Pollock became an American citizen when
independence from England was declared in the summer of 1776 C.E.
Pollock stayed in New Orleans for eight years and also worked as a
plantation owner and selling land in Baton Rouge.
In 1777 C.E., American Representatives in France,
including Benjamin Franklin, arranged for additional secret transport of
weapons and goods from España
to the American Colonies. Since the Colonies had not obtained their
independence from Britain, France could not accept an Ambassador. Yet,
Franklin, the "Representative" was afforded all the courtesies
normally extended to other Ambassadors.
Benjamin Franklin, American Representative to
France, also sent Arthur Lee to España.
There Lee secretly arranged for a Spanish firm to ship two hundred and
sixteen bronze cannons, twenty-seven mortars, four thousand field tents,
over twelve thousand eight hundred and twenty-six grenades, thirty
thousand muskets, bayonets, and uniforms. The arrangement also provided
fifty-one thousand one hundred and thirty-four musket balls and three
hundred thousand pounds of gunpowder to Boston from a French port, by
way of Bermuda. Later, in one of Franklin’s letters, he thanked the
Spanish minister, the Conde de Aranda, for twelve thousand muskets sent to Boston.
Eventually, España delivered
much more aid. However, one must remember that because España was officially neutral at the time, the aid was kept secret.
The only records of shipments are those found in España’s archives.
In 1777 C.E., off the coast of Mayagüez,
Puerto Rico two Continental Navy ships the Eudawook and the Henry
were chased by the larger and more powerful the Royal Navy warship, HMS
Glasgow. As the ships were close to the coast of Mayagüez; members of Mayagüez’s
Puerto Rico miquelets realized something was wrong. The Puertorriqueños
signaled for the Américano
ships to dock in the town's bay. The ships docked and crews of both
ships disembarked. Mayagüezanos quickly boarded both ships and raised the Spanish
flag. The commander of the Glasgow was informed of what had occurred and
demanded that the island's gobernador,
José Dufresne turn over the
ships. The Gobernador refused
and ordered the British warship out of the Puerto
In India, the Bombay government then rejected this
new treaty and provided refuge for Raghunathrao. In 1777 C.E., Nana
Phadnavis, the minister and statesman of the Maratha Empire violated the
treaty with the Calcutta Council. They granted the French a port on the
west coast. The British responded by dispatching a military force
On January 1, 1777 C.E., Coronel Bernardo de Gálvez through the influence of his uncle José
de Gálvez, succeeded Luís de
Unzaga y Amézaga and was appointed provisional Gobernador
(Interim) of the provincia of Luisiana.
The American Patriot, Benjamin Franklin noted in
his report that three thousand barrels of gunpowder were waiting in New
Orleans, and merchants in Bilbao
"had orders to ship for us such necessaries as we might want."
This was because when Bernardo de
Gálvez was appointed Gobernador
at New Orleans in January 1777 C.E., he continued and expanded American
military supply operations.
Former Spanish prime minister and then-Ambassador
to the French Court, Pablo Jerónimo
Grimaldi y Pallavicini, summarized the Spanish position on formally
declaring war on Britain on behalf of the Américanos.
He did so in a letter to Dr. Arthur Lee (December 20, 1740 C.E-December
12, 1792 C.E).
Grimaldi y Pallavicini, marqués y duque de Grimaldi (Genoa, c. 1720 C.E.-October 30, 1789 C.E.) was of Italian-Spanish
heritage who served as a diplomat and politician. Grimaldi had extensive experience as an Ambassador, served as Chief
Minister of España between
1763 C.E. and 1778 C.E., and helped to re-establish Spanish power
following her defeat during the Seven Years' War.
He served the Spanish Kings, Fernando VI and Carlos
III. Grimaldi was minister
plenipotentiary in Sweden and Parma. He was ambassador to the
States-General of the United Provinces. Carlos
III named him ambassador to Paris. While there, together with French
Secretary of State Étienne François, duc de Choiseul, Grimaldi
negotiated the third Bourbon Family Compact between France and España.
It is believed that this action provoked the entry of España
into the war with Britain. He also signed the Peace of Paris in 1763 C.E.
By September 1763 C.E., after the dismissal of Ricardo
Wall, Grimaldi was named
Spanish Minister of State, a position he held until 1776 C.E.
Dr. Arthur Lee, to whom Grimaldi’s letter was sent, was a physician and opponent of
slavery in colonial Virginia in North America. He served as an American
diplomat during the American Revolutionary War. Dr. Lee was received his
educated in medicine and law at the University of Edinburgh and in
London, respectively. He practiced law in London for several years after
passing the bar. Dr. Arthur Lee remained in London during the
Revolutionary War where he represented the Colonies to Britain and
France. In addition, Arthur Lee also served as an American spy to
surveil British activities. After his return to Virginia, he served as a
delegate to the Continental Congress. Lee was also an American diplomat
in Madrid who was trying to
persuade the Spanish to ally with the fledgling United States.
Cautious by nature, the Genoese-born Grimaldi
showed España’s reluctance: "You have considered your own
situation, and not ours. The moment is not yet come for us. The war with
Portugal — France being
unprepared, and our treasure ships from South América
not being arrived — makes it improper for us to declare
strategic war concerns, she could only provide military aid and other
resources in a very clandestine way, and this she continued to do.
Meanwhile, stores of clothing and powder were deposited in New Orleans
and Habana for the Américanos
and shipments of blankets were being assembled in Bilbao.
Bernardo de Gálvez and his wife, Feliciana had three children together. One was Doña
María Matilde Galvez
y Saint-Maxênt (Born New Orleans on January 9, 1777 C.E.). She
would later become III Condesa de
Gálvez and III Marquésa or Marchioness
Bernardo de Gálvez began
his duties as Gobernador of Luisiana on February 1, 1777 C.E., when 30 years of age. Don
Bernardo’s mission in Luisiana
had many elements. The government’s first objective was fight
smuggling. This meant to pursue British smugglers and smuggling efforts
from the Yucatán which was
very common in the region. Next, was to promote commerce. He would
encourage trade with France and free trade with Cuba. De Gálvez also had
to focus on ending Trade with the British. He would then grant certain
privileges for trade with France and its North American colonies. It
would be in a similar manner practiced with the other possessions of Nueva
España. This had to be done without upsetting the local retailers.
The granting of preferred French trading would progressively ruin
British trade in the region. During this time, the Gobernador
also had to cultivate friendship with the Natives to ensure peace.
Most importantly, de Gálvez had to spy on the British in West Florida. To strengthen his position, Gobernador de Gálvez promoted immigration and reorganized the Luisiana
As Benjamin Franklin reported from Paris to the
Congressional Committee of Secret Correspondence in March 1777 C.E., the
Corte Real Española quietly
admitted the rebels to the wealthy, previously restricted port of Habana with most favored nation-like status.
In March of 1777 C.E., intensive Spanish
settlement of Luisiana began
under the direction of de Gálvez.
The British had been encouraging similar settlement of West Florida which extended north and west of Lake Pontchartrain. Britain
had done so since it had acquired that territory from España
in at the Treaty of Paris in 1763 C.E. Knowing that the British Crown
still had its expansionist eye on España’s
newly reacquired Luisiana
Territory and Nueva España
(areas of today’s United States and Méjico)
to the west, de Gálvez
brought several hundred refugees from Islas
Canarias at the King’s expense.
He provided each family with cattle, farm
implements, land, money (to support themselves for four years), and
built a church in each settlement. These pobladores,
called Islenos or Islanders,
named one settlement Valènzuela
dans La Fourche on Bayou Lafourche. The Islenos
were later joined by Acadians and others. The area is believed to have
been on site of Belle Alliance Plantation, an 841 acre grant to Don Juan Vives, early
Spanish physician, officer and a teniente
of miquelets at Valènzuela in the de Gálvez
Expedition. He was Born about 1754 C.E. Royal City of Cario (or Derie), Provincia
of València, España. He died in May 1822 C.E. Donaldsonville,
In April 1777 C.E., Luisiana had her first conflict with the British. The Españoles
took thirteen merchant ships anchored in Luisiana.
The Spanish position was that the action was in response to a previous
British capture of a Spanish merchant headed for the Habana.
On April 17, 1777 C.E., de Gálvez issued a proclamation permitting the inhabitants of Luisiana
to trade with the United States. In responded to Américano
pleas, he secured the port of New Orleans so that only Américano, French, and Spanish ships could move up and down the
Mississippi River. Three days later, de
Gálvez issued another proclamation giving the Américano Colonists liberty to export their products to any port of
France. And he reduced the duty by about one-half. During his
administration the trade of the provincia,
which has been previously controlled by the British, was largely
diverted into French and Américano
The same year, de Gálvez began to strengthen defenses of the territory.
Understanding British warfare tactics, he began improvements and
construction on both land and sea. He ordered the building of three
gunboats to control traffic on the Mississippi River. Soon he received a
fragata or frigate and a steamer from Habana. In addition, the Luisiana
Regiment was in fact just a weak battalion. It was de Gálvez’s decision to strengthen it and also create a second
one. The Gobernador brought
recruits to Nueva España and the Islas Canarias,
a very difficult task. Additionally, he increased the number of miquelets
from men recruited among the inhabitants of the territory. By the
beginning of 1779 C.E., this number would grow to 1,478 troops.
From the very beginning of his governance, de
Gálvez was faced with the weakness of his military forces on which
he was to rely in the event of a British attack. Because of this
weakness, he attempted to attract warriors from neighboring Indian
communities. He had little success in the face of competition from the
British who had more goods to trade with and were experienced at
pandering the tribes. Given his situation, Bernardo
was forced to be more tolerant toward inappropriate actions by the
Native. His actions prompted tensions with authorities in Tejas.
De Gálvez actively protected the indigenous population of Luisiana.
He maintained the ban on enslaving Natives (Indians). For the border
regions of the Provincias Internas or Internal Provinces and Louisiana, de Galvez
called for a cultural penetration through gifts and trade. This he hoped
would gradually stop the Native communities from hostilities towards the
Españoles and avoid expensive
military campaigns against them.
On June 12, 1777 C.E., Oliver Pollock he was
appointed Commercial Agent of the Continental Congress in New Orleans.
Additionally, he was also appointed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as
its agent in New Orleans, making him the representative of the American
Colonies in the city.
Pollock had been an ally first, of Gobernador
Luís de Unzaga, and later to Gobernador
Bernardo de Gálvez, both of whom were anxious to see the new American nation
come into being and to drive their ancient enemy, Britain, from the
continent. He wrote to Congress: “My eagerness to seize every
opportunity of serving my country has led me into such frequent
importunities to Gobernador de Unzaga that I have just reason to fear his
displeasure.” Far from causing Unzaga’s
displeasure, we find that when Unzaga
turned Luisiana over to the
new gobernador de Gálvez, he described
Pollock as a “faithful and zealous American” in whom de Gálvez “might place implicit confidence.” Pollock noted that
the new governor “gave me the delightful assurance that he would go to
every possible length for the interest of Congress.”
Luís de Unzaga y Amézaga
was by then serving as Capitán
General of Venezuela from June 17, 1777 C.E., to December 10, 1782 C.E.
Then before July 1777 C.E., España sent another two thousand barrels of gun powder, clothing,
and lead up the Mississippi to assist the Colonists. Also, King Carlos
Mariscal del campo Alejandro
(Alexander O'Reilly), Conde de O'Reilly was born at Dublin, Ireland in 1722 C.E. He died on
March 23, 1794 C.E. at Bonete,
España. He was a military reformer and Inspector General of the
Spanish Infantry served el Imperio
Español during the last half of the 18th-Century C.E. O'Reilly
served as the second gobernador
of Spanish Luisiana, being the
first Spanish official to actually exercise power in the Luisiana
Territory after France ceded it to España.
For his recognized services to the Corona
Española, he was ennobled as a Conde
and given a coat of arms.
Alejandro O'Reilly’s grandfather, John O’Reilly’s
family was from Baltrasna, in County Meath. He was a colonel in the army
of James II. His regiment, O’Reilly’s Dragoons, fought at the siege
of Derry. Like many of the so-called “Wild Geese” (term "Wild Geese" is used in Irish history to
refer to Irish soldiers who left to serve in continental European armies
in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries C.E.) of his generation, he left Ireland to serve in foreign, Catholic armies. He later joined the
Spanish forces fighting in Italy against the Austrians. He then served
in the Spanish invasion of Portugal.
There, he swore allegiance to España
and rose to become a General de
Don O´Reilly stayed in Habana, Cuba, as adjutant
and second-in-command to the Conde
de Ricla from 1763 C.E.
through September of 1766 C.E., twice a Grande
of España. Ambrosio de Funes Villalpando, Conde
of Ricla was born at Zaragoza,
España, in 1720 C.E. He died in Madrid
on July 15, 1782 C.E., at the age of 62.
While in Habana,
Alejandro O'Reilly under de
Ricla received the city from the British forces. It had been
besieged and occupied at the end of the Seven Years' War, in 1762 C.E. Don O'Reilly then set about analyzing what had gone wrong with the
defenses of Habana during the
successful British siege. As a result, he recommended sweeping changes
to improve its fortifications, increase military training, improve on
and establish new military and administrative practices, and reform
troop organizations. These were quickly approved by the Corona Española.
With the help of, Silvestre de la Abarca, a military engineer of the Royal Army,
O'Reilly undertook the work of improving the strategically important
fortress of La Cabaña. Abarca was not unknown to the art of military engineering. He was in
fact a career engineer in the military having joined the Spanish Corps
of Engineers in 1740 C.E. Silvestre
participated in the works of the Castilla
Channel between 1755 C.E. and 1756 C.E. Abarca
subsequently worked in projects of the Pavilion
of Engineers, Casa de contratación,
customs and Consulate in Cádiz,
as well as on the new fortifications of the port of Habana.
Therefore, he was already an engineer with
experience and renown when he was appointed to lead the engineering and
construction efforts of the fortifications of Habana
in 1763 C.E.
By September 1777 C.E., España had already furnished 1,870,000 livres (equivalent to a
pound of silver) to the Américanos.
Much of this was contributed through a corporation for which France
received credit, the famous "Rodrigue Hortalez and Company."
It served as the conduit for España’s
assistance. Its main director was the French playwright and statesman,
Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais.
In October 1777 C.E., of that same year, Patrick
Henry wrote two letters to General
Bernardo de Gálvez, thanking España
for its help and requesting more supplies. Henry suggested that the Floridas
that España lost to Britain should revert back to España.
In that same year of November 2, 1777 C.E., Bernardo
de Gálvez married Marie Felicité (Feliciana) de Saint-Maxênt
d'Estrehan, a young India-Francesa widow whose
first husband was a son of Jean Baptiste Honoré d´Estrehan, former
Treasurer King of France. They eventually had three children, Miguel,
Matilde, and Guadalupe.
Marie Felicité also had
a daughter from her previous marriage, Adelaide, whom Bernardo
always treated as his own.
In 1777 C.E., Juan
de Miralles was assigned to represent España
as a secret agent for the Américanos
in order to establish friendly economic relations. España had attempted to appear to remain neutral in Revolutionary
War. De Miralles was convinced
that España should join the
Patriot’s cause in exchange for a guarantee she would regain Florida after the war.
Later, he was made First Commissioner of España
to the United States at the Continental Congress. King Carlos
III of España assigned Juan
to act as a liaison to the new American administration of George
Washington then at the capital of Philadelphia. De
Miralles had met Washington at a Christmas party and brought him a
letter from Diego José Navarro y
García de Valladares. During this period, de
Valladares had lent support from Cuba
to the campaigns against the British in what is now the Southern United
States under the command of the Coronel
of the regiment of the Luisiana
Bernardo de Gálvez.
In 1778 C.E., the American General George Rogers
Clark obtained a considerable amount of his supplies from Bernardo de Gálvez in New Orleans. These supplies were used in his
future victories over the British at Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes.
José de Gálvez’s focus
had remained on España’s Nuevo
Mundo. He was responsible for two ordinances that profoundly
affected the colonial policy of España.
One was that of 1778 C.E., which established restricted free trade to
replace the narrow mercantile policy of earlier days. This single act
possessions from highly-restricted, controlled economies to open and
sought after markets. In short, all those seeking to take advantage of
opportunities in España’s Nuevo Mundo outposts could now do so. The strategy was simple,
improved economies attracted new pobladores
from various parts of el Imperio
Español to Nueva España.
These new pobladores would
both strengthen the settlements and aid in their protection.
The political aspects of the Maratha Empire of
India issues increased with the support of the London authorities for
Bombay, which in 1778 C.E.-1779 C.E. had again supported Shreemant
Raghunathrao Ballal Peshwa (born August 18, 1734 C.E.-died December 11,
1783 C.E.). He was Peshwa of the Maratha Empire from 1773 C.E. to 1774
C.E. Raghunathrao, also known as "Raghoba", "Raghoba
Dada" and "Ragho Bharari," was the younger brother of
As José Gálvez
strengthened Nueva España’s
North American areas, what is now the American Southwest, his nephew, Bernardo,
assisted the Américanos from Luisiana. In January 1778 C.E., Patrick Henry wrote another letter
to General de Gálvez,
thanking España for its help
and requesting more supplies.
By 1778 C.E., in North America Bernardo
de Gálvez rebuilt fortifications around New Orleans to protect the
city against British attack. This included Spanish Fort which guards
Bayou St. John. The French in 1718 C.E. had Spanish Fort’s stockaded
house built with tabby-cement and mortar walls which were 15" to
30" thick. By 1763 C.E., it was occupied by British. In 1779 C.E.,
it was to be occupied by Spanish. In 1810 C.E., it was occupied by
Spanish in the Baton Rouge Rebellion. He also appointed Commandante Pierre Philippe de Marigny to parcel land for Islenos
on the bayou Terre-aux-Bouef Land of Oxen, in St. Bernard Parish and
this continued in the Province until 1783 C.E.
Pierre Philippe was the son of Antoine Philippe de
Marigny de Mandeville (1722 C.E.-1779 C.E.), an infantry captain in the
service of France and Commander of Fort Condé
Mobile. He participated in the American Revolutionary War of
independence as a coronel and
aide-de-camp to General Bernardo
de Gálvez. Pierre Philippe fought in the countryside of Manchac, in
the capture of Fort Bute, on September 7, 1779 C.E. He was in the battle
of Baton Rouge on September 21, 1779 C.E., at the battle of Fort
Charlotte during the taking the Mobile on March 9, 1780 C.E., and in the
battle of Pensacola, May 9,
Pierre was the father of 5 children including
Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny of Mandeville (1785 C.E.-1868 C.E.),
a rich planter, and a Luisiana
politician. In 1798 C.E., he received in his plantation of Chapitoulas. After his death in the field, Pierre’s body was
returned to New Orleans, where he was buried in the Saint Louis
planters would purchase large estates on the bayou. De Gálvez also charged Gilbert St. Maxênt with settling Islenos
at Gálveston and Valènzuela.
In 1778 C.E., a secret committee of Congress sent
a naval contingent under Captain James Willing down the Mississippi
River to New Orleans to disrupt activities of the British in West Florida. Oliver Pollock persuaded Bernardo de Gálvez to give them harbor at New Orleans. This was
potentially an act of war for España.
Still officially neutral in the conflict in the British North American
colonies, de Gálvez aided Pollock in the sale of plunder collected by Captain
Willing from British plantations in West Florida
(including Baton Rouge) on his way down the river.
Oliver Pollock then used his fortune to finance
American operations in the west. The successful campaign of General
George Rogers Clark in Illinois 1778 C.E. occurred with his financial
support. In the same year, he borrowed $70,000 from Spanish Luisiana's
Gobernador Bernardo de Gálvez, but the financial needs of the Patriots at the
time left him with a financial loss.
We know from the writings of Captain George Rogers
Clark that Oliver Pollock shared his victories at Kaskaskia and
Vincennes. As the agent in Luisiana
of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he was called upon by that government
personally to honor drafts and invoices paid by Clark during his
campaign in the upper Mississippi Valley. This campaign resulted in the
eviction of the British from the upper Mississippi Valley, leaving the
new United States and España in
control of the Mississippi River from its source to its mouth.
In January 1778 C.E., Virginia governor Patrick
Henry authorized an expedition by George Rogers Clark, who captured Fort
Sackville at Vincennes and secured the northern region of the Ohio River
for the American Patriots.
By February 1778 C.E., a "Treaty of
Alliance" between France and the United States was signed,
obligating España to assist
France against the British. General
de Gálvez immediately began to recruit an army, under the guise
that it was for the defense of New Orleans.
José de Gálvez y Gallardo Marqués de Sonora established the Real Compañía
de Filipinas and in 1778 C.E. founded the Archivo General de Indias. The act brought together information and
documents regarding the Indias
from Simancas, Sevilla, and Cádiz. Also
in 1778 C.E., José
established the ability for limited free trade among the various Spanish
In the position of Secretarío del Estado del Despacho Universal de Indias, de
Gálvez was able to secure the appointment of his brother Matías
as Gobernador and Capitán General of Guatemala.
Matías would go on to become
the virrey of Nueva España. Matías de Gálvez
y Gallardo (ca. 1725 C.E.-November 3, 1784 C.E.) was born in Macharaviaya,
a small village in the region of Andalucía
near Málaga, España. He
married María Joséfa de Madrid
and they had two sons, Bernardo
and José. Unfortunately, José
died at 8 years of age.
He joined the Spanish Army and distinguished
himself in campaigns. He would rise in rank to general in the Spanish Army. Because of Matías de Gálvez y Gallardo’s military record and the
influence of his brother, José de
Gálvez y Gallardo, he became the Capitán
General of Guatemala from April 1779 C.E. to April 3, 1783 C.E. De
Gálvez also became well known at the Corte
Matías de Gálvez y Gallardo
would later become Virrey of Nueva España from April 29, 1783 C.E. to November 3, 1784 C.E. It
has been reported that sealed instructions from the Corona Española had been prepared which were intended to be opened
in the event of the death of Virrey
António María de Bucareli y Ursúa. These specified that Ursúa
would be succeeded by the Capitán
General of Guatemala.
Supposedly, these instructions had been inserted by José de Gálvez y Gallardo, Secretarío
del Estado del Despacho Universal de Indias and former visitador in Nueva España.
Some believe that this was done in anticipation that they would apply to
José’s brother, Matías de Gálvez. However, no name was provided in the
instructions and de Gálvez
had not yet arrived in the Virreinato
to take up his position. Matías
had been named Capitán General,
Gobernador, and Presidente
or president of the Audiència
of Guatemala in April 1779 C.E., just before Virrey Bucareli died. As a
result, Martín de Mayorga who
was then serving as Capitán General
of Guatemala had the Virreinato
turned over to him. This was later rectified.
France directly allied itself with the American
Colonists by February of 1778 C.E.
In March 1778 C.E., United States Captain James
Willing left Fort Pitt with an expedition of thirty men. It was bound
for New Orleans to obtain supplies for the war. In route, they plundered
the British settlements along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Upon
their arrival in New Orleans, Bernardo
de Gálvez welcomed them and assisted in their auctioning off the
British plunder. De Gálvez
then sold them ammunition and military arms for their return trip to
George Rogers Clark’s Illinois Campaign also,
known as, Clark's Northwestern Campaign (1778 C.E.-1779 C.E.), was a
series of military maneuvers which were a part of the American
Revolutionary War. Since the end of the French and Indian War (1754 C.E.-1763
C.E., the French at the villages of Cahokia, Bellefontaine, Kaskaskia,
and Vincennes had been aligned with the British. The village of San
Luís or Saint Louis was a part of the Imperio
Español which previously had remained neutral. A young militia
Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark conceived a bold plan to capture
the French settlements, thus opening the Mississippi for safe passage.
Clark’s small force of Virginia militia would
seize control of several British posts in the Illinois Country, in what
are now present-day Illinois and Indiana in the Midwestern United
States. The Campaign is the best-known military venture of the western
theater of the American Revolutionary War and Clark's claim to fame, one
of the early American military heroes.
Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark set left
Virginia for Vincennes on June 26, 1778 C.E. with about 200 men from
Clark had relied on Gobernador Bernardo de Gálvez and American financier Oliver Pollock
for ammunition, credit for provisions, and weapons from España. Although Pollock's credit to purchase supplies for Clark
was supposed to be backed by the state of Virginia, he had to rely on
his personal credit and funds which de
Gálvez loaned him from the Spanish government. These funds were
usually delivered sub rosa, or secretly and confidentially by de
George Rogers Clark would take Vincennes and Fort
Sackville. However, these weren’t his only claim to fame. Lieutenant
Colonel George Rogers Clark and troops crossed the Ohio River from
Kentucky. They arrived at Kaskaskia (Illinois) on the 4th of July. The
local French militia leader at Fort Gage, the Chevalier Phillippe de
Rocheblave, was caught by surprise and Fort Gage was captured without
firing a shot. When the French learned that an Alliance with France had
been signed in June, 1778 C.E., and that France had declared war on
Great Britain, they were elated.
Unfortunately, by July, 1778 C.E. Lieutenant
Colonel Clark was in a dangerous position. Since his arrival the local
Natives loyal to the British were all around him. He was running low on
supplies for the winter. Oliver Pollack at New Orleans with the
assistance of Bernardo de Gálvez
shipped whatever supplies he could to Clark. Without this support Clark
could not have continued with the Northwestern Operations.
On July 14, 1778 C.E., Father Pierre Gibault, with
a few of Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark's militia left for Fort
Sackville at Vincennes in the Ohio Territory to inform them of the new
treaty with France.
On the 20th of July, 1778 C.E. the French at
Vincennes also swore allegiance to the Americans. Because of his small
force, Clark could only leave three men to man the fort.
Clark then dispatched Captain Joseph Brown with 30 mounted men to
the French settlements. One was Prairie du Rocher a village in what is
now Randolph County, Illinois. The second was Cahokia a village in St.
Clair County, Illinois, is situated directly across the Mississippi
River from modern St. Louis. Accompanied by some Frenchmen, they spread
the word of the Alliance. The French were elated and quickly pledged
their support to the Americans. Cahokia would officially become part of
the United States by the Treaty of Paris in 1783 C.E. Soon after that,
Cahokia’s 105 heads-of-household would pledge loyalty to the
Continental Congress of the United States.
Kaskaskia was also taken. Kaskaskia is a
historically important village in Randolph County, Illinois. It became a
major French colonial town of the Illinois Country, in the 18th-Century
C.E. At its peak, when it
was a regional center the population was approximately 7,000. In 1703
C.E., French Jesuit missionaries built a misión
there. Its goal was to convert the Illini Natives to Catholicism. The
congregation built its first stone church in 1714 C.E. The French also
had a fur trading post in the village. Canadian settlers moved in to
farm and to exploit the lead mines on the Missouri side of the river.
In 1733 C.E., the French built Fort Kaskaskia near this site. It
was destroyed by the British in 1763 C.E. during the French and Indian
War. It later became an administrative center for the British Province
The Americans were able to take Vincennes and
several other villages on British territory without firing a shot. This
was due in-part to most of the Canadian and Native inhabitants being
peaceful, having coexisted with one another, and unwilling to take up
arms on behalf of the British.
In Europe, the Battle of Ushant, also called the
First Battle of Ushant took place on July 27, 1778 C.E., and was fought
between French and British. The battle, which was the first major naval
engagement in the Anglo-French War, ended indecisively and led to
political conflicts in both countries. The engagements took place
approximately 100 miles west of Ushant which is an island at the mouth
of the English Channel located off the north-westernmost point of
France. The British Royal Naval forces had failed to win a victory
against the French Marine Royale. This led French naval commanders to
assume that they could have won the day had their forces been larger.
This left the French with an open question of dominance.
By August 6th, 1778 C.E. the British learned of
the events at Fort Gage, Kaskaskia, and Fort Sackville and made plans to
recapture the fort. The British lieutenant governor at Fort Detroit,
Henry Hamilton countered George Rogers Clark's advance by dispatching
troops to reoccupying Vincennes.
The Battle of St. Louis (San
Luís in Spanish) or
the Battle of Fort San Carlos was in the offing. Teniente
Gobernador de Leyba of San Luís
met the Américano George
Rogers Clark, in August of 1778 C.E. The meeting occurred when Clark
visited San Luís soon after
his victory at Kaskaskia. Clark feared an attack from the British at
Detroit. He suggested to de Leyba
that he immediately fortify the town in preparation for the battle. When
notified, de Gálvez responded to de
Leyba ordering that he make do. San
Luís was on its own. No fortifications would be provided.
Gobernador would have to fortify the settlement as best it could,
under the circumstances. The preparations would have to be able to
successfully withstand an attack. Given fair warning, de
Leyba was able to raise 1000 piastres
for the construction of Fort San
Carlos, some of which included 400 of his own money. The term piastres also piastre
originated from the Italian for "thin metal plate." The name
was applied to Spanish and Hispanic American pieces of eight, or pesos.
Piastre was also the original French word for the United States
dollar, used for example in the French text of the Louisiana Purchase.
The Teniente was already deep
in debt from his having given gifts to the Natives. He could ill afford
to pay for the entire Fort on his own.
On October 7, 1778 C.E., the British Lieutenant
Colonel Henry Hamilton departed Detroit with approximately 175 troops
and 60 Indians for Vincennes. By the time he arrived at Fort Gage Kaskaskia and Fort Sackville, on December 17th, 1778 C.E., his
British force had grown to about 500. The fort at Vincennes was defended
only by Captain Leonard Helm and three Virginians, the French militia
having drifted away. Helm surrounded Vincennes without firing a shot.
Shortly after the capture of Vincennes, Lieutenant
Colonel Hamilton, believing no one would attack him during the winter,
let his Indians and his militias return to their homes. That left him
with only 35 regular troops to defend the fort.
Efforts of support for the Américano Colonies were expanding. Beginning in 1779 C.E. and
through 1782 C.E., España’s
ganaderos along the San António
River between San António and
Goliad, sent feed, bulls, nine thousand to fifteen thousand head of
cattle, several hundred horses, and mules to General Bernardo
de Gálvez’s army in New Orleans. The cattle were used to feed his
troops and to provision George Washington's Continental Army at Valley
In order to feed his troops during the period 1779
C.E.-1782 C.E., General Bernard de
Gálvez sent an emissary, Francisco
García carrying a letter to Tejas
Gobernador Domíngo Cabello y Robles (ca. 1725 C.E.-?). De Gálvez requested the delivery of Tejas cattle to Spanish forces in Luisiana. Cabello y Robles was a career officer in the Spanish Royal
Army from León, España. He
served after Juan María de
Ripperdá as gobernador of
Tejas from October 29, 1778 C.E., to December 3, 1786 C.E.
He began his military career at an early age
joining an infantry regiment as a Teniente
in 1741 C.E. Domíngo saw his
first military action in 1742 C.E. This occurred while on his way to Santiago
de Cuba to help relieve the city which was at that time under siege.
The Ship carrying his company was attacked by a British warship. Cabello
later returned to España in
1749 C.E. He was quickly promoted to Mayor
and sent back to Cuba as Comandante
of a guarnición of four battalions of a fixed regiment on the island and
the presidios in Florida. His bravery and conduct while the British lay siege to and
captured Habana in 1762 C.E.,
earned him a promotion to the governorship of Nicaragua.
Domíngo would serve in the
post from December 12, 1764, until July 20, 1776 C.E.
Accordingly, during the period 10,000 to 15,000
cattle were rounded up on ranchos
belonging to ciudadanos and misiónes
of Béxar and La Bahía. La
Bahía, literally "the bay," is a term with multiple
meanings in Tejas history.
Various sites on the Gulf Coast were so designated. The Españoles
came to use the name as a short form of La
Bahía del Espíritu Santo, or Bay of the Holy Spirit, now called Matagorda
Bay and Lavaca Bay, bounded by
present Calhoun, Victoria, Jackson, and Matagorda
La Bahía, the assembly point, Tejas
ganaderos and their vaqueros
trailed these herds to Nacogdoches, Natchitoches, and Opelousas for
distribution to de Gálvez's forces.
Providing escorts for these herds and the several hundred horses to be
used for artillery and cavalry purposes were soldados
from Presidio San António de Béxar,
Presidio La Bahía, and El
Fuerte del Cíbolo.
Riberas who fought under España
in this same Revolutionary War period are listed below:
Colonial Patriots, 1779 C.E.-1783 C.E.
Excerpted from Chapter 6 ("Nuevo
Méjico Patriots during España's
1779 C.E.-1783 C.E. War With England") of España's
Nuevo Méjico Patriots During Its 1779 C.E.-1783 C.E. War with
England - During the American Revolution, compiled and written by
Granville W. Hough and N.C. Hough.
Nuevo Méjico Enlistment and Officer Records
Soldado enlistments and other roster records for the Presidio
of Santa Fé (PSF), and a few other individual records for the war
years, 1779 C.E.-1783 C.E., follow. A plus (+) is shown by each one
known to have married or to have had children. The wife's name is given
when known. The source of the information is given for each one. As all
the entry names on this list are known patriots, the asterisk * is
omitted. Source material is given for each military record (e.g. 1d; NMG).
Please consult References/Sources for complete citations.
Alfonso Ribera+ (c
1749 NM -). 1a. enl 29 Mar 1777, Sonora
Exped, 1780/81, disch 28 Oct 1790, 21:811, farmer, son of Salvadór
Ribera and Tomásá Rael de
Aguilár of SF. 1d. PSF, 1785. Md (1) ??? and (2) widow María Antónia Abeyta on 2 Feb 1779 at Santa Cruz de la Cañada (recorded in La Castrense) (AASF 31:0217).
António de Ribera+ (c
1722 NM - 27 Feb 1794, bur La
Castrense). 1a. enl 7 Mar 1741, invalid roster 1 Jul 1779, 21:743,
farmer, son of Juan Felipe de
Rivera (Ribera) and María Estela Palomino Rendón of SF. 1c, d. PSF invalid, 1781 and
1785. 2a. 4:301, PSF soldado
in 1761. On 24 Dec 1745 at SF (veiled on 18 Apr 1746) md Graciana (Prudencia) Sena
( - bur 22 June 1810 Parroquia),
and their chi, all born or bap at SF, incl: Nicolása
María, 12 Sep 1748; Matías,
bap 7 Mar 1750, md Juliana de la
Peña of SF; María Joséfa,
bap 6 Mar 1752; Viterbo, 11
Mar 1754; Manuel António, 29
June 1756, md Joséfa Labadía
on 28 Apr 1783 at La Castrense;
António José, bap 8 Jan 1759, d young; Santiago Francisco, 30 Nov 1760; María Rosalia, 5 Nov 1762; and Julián
Rafael, 13 Apr 1765.
Balthazár Ribera+ (c
1756 NM - 14 Jul 1817). 1a, 1c. enl 11 Jan 1779, Sonora
Exped 1780/81, 21:833j, farmer, son of Ensign Don Salvadór de Rivera and Tomásá
Rael de Aguilár of SF. 1d. PSF, 1785. 2a, wife: María Antónia Ortíz.
José Ribera+ (c 1755 NM -). 1a, 1c. Enl 1 Jul 1779, Sonora
Exped, 1780/81, invalid 15 Jul 1802, 21:875, son of António
Ribera and Graciana Prudencia
de Sena of SF. 1d. PSF, 1785, en
cavallada. 2a. Md María Pachéco.
Luís Phelipe de Ribera+
(c 1729 NM -). 1a. enl 26 Apr 1757, disch 15 Jul 1779, 21:757, farmer,
son of Juan Felipe de Rivera (Ribera)
and María Estela Palomino of SF. Poss md Polonia Antónia de la Peña on 28 Aug 1761, La Parroquia (AASF 31:0081). (This must be checked.)
Mathías Ribera+ (bap
7 Mar 1750 Santa Fé, NM - 17
Aug 1785). 1a, 1c. Enl 1 Jul 1779, Sonora
Exped 1780/81, 21:874, laborer, son of António
Ribera and Graciana Prudencia
de Sena of SF. 1d. PSF, 1785, en
Chiguagua. Md Juliana Peña
on 3 May 1780 (AASF 31:0220). She remarried Pedro
Salvadór Ribera+ ( ).
1c. Lt, PSF, 1 Jan 1781. 1d. PSF, 1785, en
Chiguagua. 2a. 12:111, 1789, retirement. 4:301, PSF Cpl in 1761. Legajo 7278, IX, 99, 1st Ensign, PSF, 1787. 5, at PSF in 1793 as an
Ensign. One Salvadór Rodríquez
md Tomásá Rael de Aguilár
17 Jul 1747, SFSF. He was shown as a retired Ensign in 1793, prenup:
In a continuing effort to expand España’s
territories, in 1779 C.E., José
de Gálvez founded a settlement in the valle
of Sonora in today’s Méjico.
It soon prospered and was the reason a Marqués
was created for him. José de Gálvez's
influence also advanced the fortunes of his brother, Matías de Gálvez, and those of his nephew, Bernardo de Gálvez. Both were to eventually become virreyes
of Nueva España.
The same year in northern Nueva España, Bernardo de
Gálvez began to strengthen defenses of the Luisiana
territory. Understanding British warfare tactics, he began improvements
and construction on both land and sea. He ordered the building of three
gunboats to control traffic on the Mississippi River. Soon he received a
fragata and a steamer from Habana.
In addition, the Luisiana
Regiment was in fact just a weak battalion. It was de
Gálvez’s decision to strengthen it and also create a second one.
The Gobernador brought
recruits to Nueva España and the Islas Canarias,
a very difficult task. Additionally, he increased the number of miquelets
from men recruited among the inhabitants of the territory. By the
beginning of 1779 C.E., this number would grow to 1,478 troops.
In 1779 C.E., in North America, the Américano
Oliver Pollock was using his own funds to fit-out the captured British
corvette or schooner, Rebecca.
Pollock’s monetary contributions ultimately exceeded $300,000 ranking
him among the top individual contributors to the American Revolution.
However, by the fall of 1779 C.E., his credit was exhausted, his
plantations had been seized by his creditors and his family was
The Rebecca was brought into the Continental
Navy and rechristened
the USS Morris in
honor of Pollock’s friend and partner, Robert Morris of Philadelphia, later to
be known as the “Financier of the American Revolution.” Pollock and
Morris owned several plantations together.
The schooner USS Morris could have a compliment of 57 men and was to be manned, and
fitted out for action under the command of Captain William
Pickles (d. September 9, 1783 C.E.). Captain Pickles had been
commissioned an officer of the Continental Navy during the American
Revolutionary War on October 10, 1776 C.E. He was active on the Gulf
Coast of North America.
A year earlier in
1778 C.E., the United States Captain James
Willing had led a
raiding expedition directed against targets in British West
Florida. His party had come downriver from Ohio and captured
the British ship Rebecca on
the Mississippi River. Oliver Pollock, the American commercial
agent at New Orleans had charge of naval affairs on the Mississippi
River during the American Revolution. He then purchased the Rebecca for the Continental Congress. The Congress had a
complicated political relationship with Españia.
Bernardo de Gálvez the then gobernador
of Spanish Luisiana was
allowed to assign the Rebecca and
Captain Pickles to deal with British military shipping on the lower
Mississippi River and Lakes Ponchartrain and Maurepas. It was his intent
to engage British ships.
is a type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more
masts, the foremast being no taller than the rear mast(s). Such vessels
were first used by the Dutch in the 16th or 17th-Century C.E. Schooners
were further developed in North America from the early 18th-Century C.E.,
and were more widely used in the United States than in any other
country. The most common type of schooners, with two-masts, were popular
in trades that required speed and windward ability, such as slaving,
privateering, and blockade running. They were also traditional fishing
boats, used for offshore fishing.
In early-1779 C.E., Gobernador de Gálvez sent Teniente-Coronel
Francisco Bouligny with nearly
five hundred Españoles and Islenos
pobladores to establish a settlement on the lower Bayou Teche in the
Attakapas Country. These Españoles
named their settlement Nueva Ibéria,
for their own Iberian Peninsula.
Don Francisco Domíngo Joséph Bouligny (September 4, 1736 C.E.-November 25, 1800 C.E) was a high-ranking
military and civilian officer in Spanish government. He served as Teniente
Gobernador under Bernardo de Gálvez
and as acting military Gobernador
in 1799 C.E. He founded the city of Nueva
Ibéria in 1779 C.E.
Bouligny was born in 1736 C.E. in Alicante, España, to Jean (Juan)
Bouligny, a successful French
merchant, and María Paret,
who was from Alicante. At the
age of 10, Francisco Domíngo
was sent to a boy's school founded by the bishop of Orihuela.
He graduated from there in 1750 C.E. and left to join the family
By 1758 C.E., Bouligny
had enlisted in the Spanish army, joining the Regiment of Zamora. A year later, in1759 C.E., he was transferred to the Royal
Regiment of Spanish Guards. There he was commissioned a Teniente de infantería
and sent to Habana, Cuba,
in 1762 C.E. Francisco Domíngo was still stationed there until 1769 C.E. when he
joined Alejandro O'Reilly's
expedition to put down the Luisiana
Rebellion. Since Bouligny was
fluent in French, he was charged with delivering the Spanish
government's messages to the French speaking inhabitants and he acted as
an interpreter during the military trial of the rebellion's leaders.
Bouligny was later promoted to the rank of Capitán
de brevet or brevet captain in the new Luisiana Battalion. In 1772 C.E., he was appointed a full Capitán.
In 1775 C.E., Bouligny was
granted leave to return to Europe to settle family affairs. While in España,
Bouligny wrote a discourse on
the population of New Orleans and Spanish Luisiana
(Memoria histórica y política
sobre la Luisiana).
In 1777 C.E., Bouligny
returned to Luisiana, where he
was named Teniente Gobernador
by Gobernador de Gálvez.
Among his many responsibilities was the management of trade, conducting
Native tribal relations, and to found new settlements.
Also, on the North American Continent, Spanish Luisiana
gobernador, Bernardo de Gálvez
would lead a series of successful offensives against British forts in
the Mississippi Valley.
There were also activities other than war making
happening in Gobernador Bernardo
de Gálvez’s domain. In 1779 C.E., the first structure for a
market in New Orleans was planned by the Españoles
somewhere on the levee. Previously an informal marketplace had been
located on the riverside of the Place d’Armes.
1779 C.E. also saw a large joint French and
Spanish fleet called the Great Armada
was gathered with the intent of invading the Kingdom of Great Britain.
The original Franco-Spanish war plan was to seize the Isle of Wight and
then capture the British naval base of Portsmouth. However, the French
and Spanish invasion never materialized. Therefore, no fleet actions
were fought in the English Channel.
In February 1779 C.E., George Rogers Clark
returned to Vincennes and Fort Sackville in the Illinois Country in a
surprise winter expedition and retook the town from the British. There
he captured Henry Hamilton, the British lieutenant governor of Fort
Detroit in the process. Virginia capitalized on Clark's success by
establishing the region as Illinois County, Virginia.
On February 17, 1797 C.E., the Gobernador
of Puerto Rico, General de
Brigada, Ramón de Castro,
learned that Britain had invaded the island of Trinidad
or Trinity. He placed the local miquelets
on alert to prepare the island's forts against any military action. It
was de Castro’s belief that Puerto
Rico was the next British invasion objective. By April 17, 1797 C.E.,
British ships under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby approached the
coastal town of Loíza, which is east of San
On April 12, 1779 C.E., España signed that secret treaty with France, bringing it into the
war against Great Britain. España
was in fact fearful of the consequences to their own North American
empire when it made this agreement. It should be noted that in the
beginning the Españoles did
not openly support the American rebellion against British rule. However,
España did take direct military operations against British
interests when and where they could. España’s
true interests were to regain territories lost to Britain. The most
notably of which was the fortress of Gibraltar
which gave its occupier’s considerable power and control over the
entrance to the Mediterranean Sea.
España joined France in the war against Britain through
the implementation of the Treaty of Aranjuez.
This political move was based upon the fact that France had agreed to
aid in the capture of the Floridas,
Gibraltar, and the island of Menorca.
In return for these commitments, the Españoles
agreed to join in France’s war against Britain. The terms of this
treaty are what brought España
into the American War of Independence against Britain. It was a follow
on to the earlier Bourbon Family Compacts which had allied España
and France. The agreement committed France to continue fighting until España
had regained Gibraltar. This stipulation almost led to the war continuing into
1783 C.E., when it became a non-issue. España
agreed to accept Menorca and
West Florida in lieu of Gibraltar.
In April 1779 C.E., that secret treaty was entered
into between the French Ambassador in Madrid and Conde Floridablanca,
España’s Secretary of
State. It drew España
directly into the conflict between the Américano
Colonies and Britain. Conde
Floridablanca as Minister of State was also charged with and oversaw
the initial secret aid to the American Colonies. España's
entire effort in the struggle would overseen by Conde Floridablanca. He was described as wily, clever, and astute by
his competitors at Corte real española.
His enemies called him devious.
The Spanish government had renewed its alliance
with France against Britain by means of the Treaty of Aranjuez, on April 12, 1779 C.E. The recapturing of Menorca
was one of its main goals. A secondary goal was to the recapture of Gibraltar,
and Britain's other Mediterranean sea-fortress. The removal of Menorca
from under British control was of great importance due to its being the
home base to an effective fleet of privateers, licensed by the British
Governor, Lieutenant-General James Murray.
A private person or ship could act as a privateer
engaged in maritime warfare under a commission of war. This was
accomplished lawfully if granted a “commission,” also known as a
“letter of marque.” It empowered the person or ship’s company to
employ various forms of hostility permissible at sea for the purpose of
war. During a war, naval resources were auxiliary to operations on land.
Thus, privateering was one method for subsidizing state power via
mobilizing armed ships and sailors. Robbery under arms was already a
common practice in seaborne trade. Most merchant ships were armed for
protection. Privateering included attacking foreign vessels during
wartime and taking them as prizes. Captured vessels were subject to
condemnation and sale under “prize law.” The proceeds of sale were
divided between the captains and crew, privateer sponsors, and ship
owners. Some percentage or share usually was paid to the issuer of the
Therefore, the retaking of Menorca was one important objective in the achievement of España's
larger strategic goals in its alliance with France against Britain
during the Anglo-French War. Menorca,
located in the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea is currently
part of España. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Majorca.
Menorca’s highest point, called El
Toro or Monte Toro, is
1,175 feet above sea level. At the eastern end of the island of Menorca is the Port of Mahón,
a deep-water anchorage. The narrow entrance to the Port was guarded by a
fort, El Castillo de San Felipe.
The British called it, St. Philip's Castle.
During the War of the Spanish Succession in 1708
C.E., Britain's Royal Navy invaded Menorca
and it temporarily became a British possession. Great Britain later took
possession of Menorca in 1713
C.E., under the terms of Article XI of the Treaty of Utrecht. The
Governor General Richard Kane moved the island's capital to Port Mahón and a naval base was established in that town's harbor.
El Castillo de San Felipe
was supported by two outlying fortlets (Small fort), San
Carlos and Marlborough. The Fort was greatly strengthened after the
execution in 1756 C.E. of Admiral John Byng who had wrongly judged the
safety of his fleet more important than the possession of the Fort. It
should be noted that the British, a great naval power, had no port on
the Mediterranean coast. Therefore, possession of Menorca
was of major strategic advantage to her. For most of the 18th-Century
C.E., Menorca was in held by
Though France had won Menorca, she had unfortunately lost the Seven Years' War in 1763 C.E.
As a result, Menorca was
returned to Britain rather than France's ally España, which had historical ties to the Island.
would implement a strategy of patience before committing his country to
war. However, after España
declared war on Britain, Conde
Floridablanca would oversee an aggressive effort. He would remain
faithful to a plan that would achieve España's
stated goals. From the beginning of negotiations, Floridablanca
and the Marqués de Grimaldi
made clear what España wanted
in exchange for her alliance with France. As reiterated on several
occasions, España wanted Gibraltar; Menorca, and
the Floridas. They especially
wanted Pensacola, Jamaica,
Bahamas; Méjico, Honduras, and Compeche
coasts cleared of British establishments. They also wanted Britain out
of Central América. Floridablanca would strive to achieve these objectives until peace
was made in 1783 C.E.
Bernardo de Gálvez began
planning for the possibility of war April. His forces had intercepted
communications from the British at Pensacola
indicating that they were planning a surprise attack on New Orleans. He
then decided to launch his own preemptive strike. To that end, he
concealed from the public his receipt of a second proclamation.
On April 18th, British soldiers and German
mercenaries or Hessians forces stormed the Puerto
Rico beach of Loíza. The
British ships were attacked with artillery and mortar fire from both El
Morro and the San Gerónimo fortresses then under the command of General
de Brigada Ramon de Castro. The British twice tried to take a key passage to
the San Juan Islet, the Martín
Peña Bridge and the resulting fighting was fierce. The Spanish
forces of 16,000 Puerto Rican Spanish troops, volunteers, and local miquelets
defeated the British during both attempts. The British had also attacked
at Aguadilla and Punta Salinas.
At both points, they were also defeated. Those British troops unlucky
enough to have landed on the island were taken prisoner.
As the invasion of Puerto Rico failed on April 30th, the British retreated back to
In April 1779 C.E., Don Francisco Domíngo Joséph Bouligny brought a group of 500 Malagueño
(from Málaga, España) pobladores
up Bayou Teche near New Orleans to establish the city of Nueva
Matías de Gálvez y Gallardo
was named Capitán General, Gobernador, and Presidente
or president of the Audiència
of Guatemala in April 1779 C.E. In Guatemala,
de Gálvez showed himself an
active administrator and a good organizer. He worked to reconstruct Guatemala
City after the earthquake of 1773 C.E., established a mint and built the
By May 2nd, the British were on their way
northward after their failed attempt to take
Puerto Rico. Gobernador of
Puerto Rico Ramon de Castro
was promoted to Mariscal del campo
and several others promoted and given pay raises by King Carlos IV as recognition for their victories.
España officially entered the American Revolutionary War
on May 8, 1779 C.E., with a formal declaration of war by King Carlos
III. When Bernardo de Gálvez, the Gobernador
of Luisiana received word of
declaration of war against Great Britain, he immediately began to
secretly plan offensive operations.
Oliver Pollock served as de Gálvez's
aide-de-camp during the Spanish campaign against the British that began
with the Spanish declaration of war in June 1779 C.E. De Gálvez and the Spanish troops would eventually sweep through the
future states of Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida,
defeating the British with the capture of Fort Bute and campaigning
through the victorious siege of Pensacola
in 1781 C.E. It was Oliver Pollock's apt diplomacy which assisted in the
surrender of Fort Panmure (future Natchez,
On June 3, 1779 C.E., the French fleet at Brest
unexpectedly left port and sailed southward. The initial plan was for
the French fleet, commanded by Admiral d'Orvilliers who had also led at
Ushant was to meet a Spanish fleet off the Sisarga
Islands, near Coruña in
north-west España. His fleet
consisted of 30 ships of the line and numerous smaller vessels. The
French reached the agreed upon rendezvous point only to find that the
Spanish fleet had not arrived. The Españoles
later complained that bad winds had made the attempt impossible. To
worsen the situation, the French ships from Brest had deliberately
departed harbor before being fully supplied. They did this to avoid the
possibility of being blockaded by the British fleet. This act would
cause serious problems which arose due to the wait having dragged out
for several weeks. Unfortunately, no arrangements had been made to take
on additional supplies in España.
The result was that scurvy weakened the crews. In addition, life aboard
the hot, crowded ships allowed conditions by which typhus and smallpox
The purpose of this combined French/Spanish fleet
was to put the Royal Navy out of action, so that an army could be safely
transported across the English Channel from La Manche, France. In June
of 1779 C.E., a French army of over 40,000 men was slowly being gathered
in the area of Le Havre and Saint-Malo in northern France. It was
supported by 400 transport boats. When landed there, it would set up an
operational base on the Isle of Wight, or on the nearby British coast.
In that brief period, there were fewer than 40 Royal Navy ships of the
line available in the English Channel area. To make matters worse, these
were only recently placed under the command of the ailing 64-year-old,
Sir Charles Hardy. Additionally, Hardy had not commanded a ship or fleet
for the previous 20 years.
The year 1779 C.E. brought with it challenges with
worldwide implications. España
playing all sides in the conflict offered her mediation between the
Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain. The offer to mediate was refused by
the Britain. España then
declared war on June 16, 1779 C.E. King Carlos
All males, including Natives (Atakapa-Choctaw group that lived in Southwest Luisiana, Caddo, Natchez,
Wabanaki Confederacy, and
others), over eighteen years of age in Nueva
España and other parts of el
Imperio Español were required to become a member of the miquelets
in their respective areas in order to strengthen Nuevo Mundo Virreinatos and prepare for battle with Britain
everywhere necessary on the continent of North America.
By June 1779 C.E., the Spanish had finalized their
preparations. Upon her entry into the American Revolutionary War in 1779
C.E., one of España's
principal goals would be to recover of the key strategic location of Gibraltar which had been lost to England in 1704 C.E. The Españoles
developed a plan to retake Gibraltar
by blockading it and starving its garrison of troops from Britain and
the Electorate of Hanover into submission. The siege of British Gibraltar
was to be España’s
longest-lasting action of the war. A larger Franco-Spanish army
numbering 33,000 soldados
besieged the British then under the command of George Augustus Elliott.
The siege of Gibraltar
began in June 16, 1779 C.E. to February 7, 1783 C.E. The Españoles had established an effective land blockade around Gibraltar.
A weaker Spanish naval blockade was also put in place. The British soon
discovered that small, fast ships could evade the blockade. Slower,
larger supply ships simply could not evade capture by the
Españoles. However, the stubborn British held out in the fortress.
This they were only able to do as a result of being resupplied three
times by sea.
España’s third formal declaration of war against Great
Britain was on July 8, 1779 C.E. The King commissioned Bernardo de Gálvez to raise a force of men and conduct a campaign
against the British along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. De
Gálvez quickly mustered an army of Spanish regulars and Acadian miquelets.
The Acadians are the descendants of French
colonists who settled in Acadia during the 17th and 18th centuries C.E.
The Acadia colony was located in what is today’s Eastern Canada's
Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward
Island, as well as part of Québec, and present-day Maine to the
Kennebec River. Acadian (French-Canadian immigrants) militias were units
of Acadian part-time soldiers who fought in coordination with the
Wabanaki Confederacy (particularly the Mi'kmaq militias) and French
forces during the colonial period.
These militias defend Acadia against encroachment
by the British after 1707 C.E. Some Acadians provided military
intelligence, sanctuary, and logistical support to the resistance
movement. Other Acadians remained neutral in the contest between the
French-Wabanaki Confederacy forces and the British. The Wabanaki
Confederacy, translated roughly as People of the First Light or People
of the Dawnland are a First Nations and Native American confederation of
five principal nations. These are the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy,
Abenaki, and Penobscot.
Members of the Wabanaki Confederacy are made up of
Native peoples from most of present-day Maine, United States; and Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick and some of Québec south of the St. Lawrence
River in Canada. The Western Abenaki live on lands in New Hampshire,
Vermont, and Massachusetts of the United States.
Members of the Confederacy and other Native levies
served under Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxênt in Luisiana during this time. British Lieutenant Colonel Alexander
Dickson was charged with the defense of the Baton Rouge district, which
included Fort Bute, Baton Rouge, and Fort Panmure areas in modern Natchez,
Mississippi. The British had begun sending larger numbers of troops to
the area following the American, George Rogers Clark's capture of
Vincennes and Fort Sackville, which had exposed the weak British
defenses in the area.
Baton Rouge was defended by moats, palisades, and
18 cannons. It was garrisoned by 375 British soldiers, 500 settlers, and
The Spanish expedition would return victorious to
New Orleans with nearly a thousand of prisoners:
3 Forts taken
3 Advance military posts taken
2 ports taken
1 Brigantine HMS West Florida
550 British soldiers and German mercenaries captured
500 settlers and armed Blacks captured
The initial declaration was followed by another
whereby España officially
entered the American Revolutionary War on June 21, 1779 C.E. The King
authorized his Nuevo Mundo
subjects to engage in hostilities against the British.
June 21, 1779
ROYAL PROCLAMATION OF H.M. (His Majesty – Carlos
IN WHICH HE MANIFESTS
ESPAÑA’S ROYAL SEAL
on the Press of Pedro Marín
One of the goals to which I have been attentive
since my exaltation to the throne of España
has been to maintain, as much as possible, the tranquility of Europe and
América and for the
intimately-connected happiness of the inhabitants of both regions. To
curtail the calamities of the present war raging between France and
England, and to prevent those fatal results from extending into my
dominions, I have tried various methods dictated by humanity and sane
Since the beginning of this discord, I have
observed the most generous and sincere impartiality between the
belligerent powers, while making vigorous attempts to reduce their
differences to an honorable and reciprocal settlement to accommodate
their respective circumstances. While giving weight to these
negotiations, I have opened my treasury and arranged for a respectable
naval armada to protect my possessions from all insult, and have placed
in my hands the balance of power between the two armed nations. While
setting aside all considerations and without showing the least tendency
regarding this war, I have dedicated myself towards benefiting my realm
with the fruit of peace by promoting agriculture, commerce, and the
reduction or elimination of many taxes; all of which are not ambiguous
testimonials of my peaceful disposition. (By which I have sought only)
to establish prosperity and abundance among my vassals.
The proposals made to the contending powers, who
expressed their desire for my mediation, have been most fair and
analogous to their interests. Nevertheless, it is with great sadness
that I have seen my efforts to be fruitless; resulting in the
misunderstanding of my hopes to re-establish peace within the European
community. The London courts, after having entertained much time with
studies, promises and delays, have had to be forced to recognize the
justice of these proposals, wherein it has been discovered the ambitious
spirit that dominates them.
Their truthful goal has been to lull España
to sleep under cover of negotiations, to maintain disarray of the naval
forces of the August House of Borbón,
and give themselves time to develop (England’s) project to regain, by
usurpation, some of my American dominions in those areas where losses
have already been suffered.
Thus, I have learned from experience that I have
been provoked with various new and cunning enemies among the barbarous
nations of Florida after they had been seduced to conspire against my
innocent vassals in Luisiana.
Not only have secret negotiations been undertaken to arm these tribes
and dispossess me of my natural allies in case of a (military) outbreak.
In further abusing my moderation, it has been verified that:
Their agents have repeatedly insulted the Españoles flag;
They have recognized and yet robbed our ships;
They have attacked others that fortunately had the arms needed to
They have made unjust seizures;
They have opened and torn up official registries and sealed documents
from my own mail packet boats, and executed other hostile acts of
violence upon my vassals.
Finally, they have gone as far as to usurp me of
my sovereignty in the province of Darien (Central
América), by authorizing the
(British) Governor of Jamaica, with the rank of Captain General, to
cause Indian rebellions in those regions, and then seized España’s possessions in La
Bahia de Honduras where Españoles
were imprisoned and dispossessed of their properties.
In addition, there has been immense and continual
contraband trade practiced in my dominion of the Indies, supported many
times by their own ships of war, followed by the destruction of the
peoples’ rights and the good faith of the treaties that recognize
their just compensation for the bloodshed and fortunes spent by them in
the discovery, acquisition, and defense of those properties. With all of
these offenses, there is not yet any satisfaction at the English
ministries, wherein specific promises have evaporated, only to have the
experience of my seeing them repeated.
Under these circumstances, with no dignity shown
to my crown, nor my personal decorum, nor the protection which I have
granted to my beloved vassals, they have permitted these insults to
continue for some time with impunity.
In spite of my natural disposition to preserve the
imponderable good of peace in these difficult times, I have seen:
The sensible ordered retirement of my Ambassador
from the London courts, and the ceasing of all communications, trade and
commerce between my vassals and those of the British king as the result
of my Royal Decree of June 21st.
By using these means, I am placing my trust in the
Almighty for justice for myself, which has not yet been obtained despite
being sought in so many ways. Consequently, I authorize all my vassals:
To seek amends by way of reprisals and to commence
hostilities, on land and by sea, against the subjects, ships and estates
of His British Majesty, treating them as my true enemies and as their
Towards this end, they shall arm as many ships as
possible in conformity with the Royal Ordinance on this matter, with
knowledge that all (naval) seizures are to used by our shipbuilders
without any reservations on my part.
Without any doubt, my Américano vassals have seen my extraordinary efforts to maintain
public tranquility and… (The singular favors that have been dispensed
upon them, by conceding ample liberty for their travel and navigation,
the abolishment or moderation of established taxes, and the exemption of
other tariffs to attain their highest level of opulence and
happiness)… that, upon learning of my resolution, they will show very
evident examples of their loyalty and love for my service by effectively
concurring with the defense of the state, to the offense of these
invaders and enemies of it, and to the glory and splendor of my arms,
which are in the direct interest of their own homes, their lives, and
their religion, and that the vigor of their hostilities shall determine
the swiftness of the re-establishment of peace, which is the goal of all
just wars and the principle object of my orders.
With this well founded trust, I command all of my Virreinatos,
Presidentes, Gobernadors, Capitánes
General, Courts of Justice, Magistrates, Mayordomos,
Royal Officials, Alcaldes Mayores,
Judges, and the remainder of the Justices of my dominions of the Indies,
that they shall:
Be zealous and cautiously attend to the security
and defense of the provinces, plazas,
ports and coasts subject to their jurisdiction, in accordance with the
procedures in the laws of the Indies and of my latest Royal Orders.
In addition, they shall undertake expeditions
against those English armed forces and establishments which they judge
to be opportune and conducent to the good of the nation and the honor of
Also, I command and entrust, most particularly to
all government councils of the cities, towns, and places in those
dominions, that by all possible means, they display their loyalty,
principally by their own example, in unifying the spirits of their ciudadanos and to inspire noble feelings that will motivate them
towards the end that all of my loyal vassals will view that the defense
to the mother country, and the rights of my Royal Crown, as the primary
obligation by which they have access to enjoy the benefits of society
and of my sovereign protection.
And finally, I charge the Reverend Archbishops,
Bishops, Abbots, Ecclesiastic Vicars, Cathedral (Rectors), Parish
Priests, and religious communities to continue in their public and
private prayers to the God of our Spanish Armies, and for our armed
forces that are gathered under His divine protection, and that they
advise all of the faithful, in their frequent speeches and exhortations,
that the defense of the nation is inseparably united with the true
religion that they profess, because their enemies are also (enemies) of
it; and that, as good Catholics, they should (be willing) to shed their
last drop of blood before seeing their churches profaned, their holy
images destroyed, or religious objects desecrated and defiled.
Given in Madrid on the 8th of July of 1779, YO,
Dispatched to Don
Joséph de Gálvez (Prime Minister of España)
In Europe, a Spanish fleet, commanded by Don
Luís de Córdoba and the subordinate of d'Orvilliers in a joint
enterprise finally arrived off the Sisarga
Islands off Cabo de San Hadrian on España’s
Northeast coast on July 22, 1779 C.E. It included 36 ships of the line.
On July, 25 1779 C.E. a Franco-Spanish armada
set sail northwards from a place near Coruña
in north-west España to
battle the British fleet. However, strong winds greatly slowed its
progress. With passing time, diseases which had afflicted the French
fleet and killed d'Orvilliers' only son, a lieutenant in the fleet, had
spread to the Españoles.
Later, the Franco-Spanish armada
would learn that it had missed opportunities to seize two important
British convoys of merchant ships from the West Indies. The fleet would
reach Plymouth on July, 31, 1779 C.E. It would finally pass Ushant an
island at the south-western end of the English Channel which marks the
north-westernmost point of metropolitan France, on August 11, 1779 C.E.,
and enter the Channel.
Earlier in August 1779 C.E., Bernardo de Gálvez’s fleet at New Orleans had been dispersed.
That same month, he received re-enforcements from Habana, and was made a major general.
Fort Bute located
on Bayou Manchac, about 115 miles up the Mississippi
River from New Orleans,
on the far western border of British West
Florida and the
surrounding areas were to be protected in August 1779 C.E., by
Lieutenant Colonel Dickson had at his disposal 400 regulars, including
companies from the 16th and 60th Regiments, a recently-arrived company
of grenadiers from the German state of Waldeck, and a compliment of
approximately 150 members of the Loyalist militia.
Waldeck, later Waldeck and Pyrmont, was a
sovereign principality in the German Empire and German Confederation. It
comprised territories in present-day Hesse and Lower Saxony, (Germany).
By 1681 C.E., Waldeck had raised a battalion of infantry known as
Waldeckers. Leading up to the Napoléonic Wars, these Waldeckers
generally served as mercenaries, contracted out by Waldeck’s rulers
for foreign military service. By 1740 C.E., demand was so great that the
single battalion became two (the 1st Regiment). In 1744 C.E., they grew
to three battalions, and to four in 1767 C.E. (forming a 2nd Regiment).
In 1776 C.E., a third regiment (5th and 6th Battalions) was raised. Most
notably Waldeckers served under the Dutch (the 1st and 2nd Regiments)
and British (the 3rd Regiment). The latter was used by Britain to
suppress rebellions in the American Colonies. So it was that the 3rd
Waldeck Regiment served during the American War of Independence, where
they were known under another name used for all Germans, the Hessians.
This regiment was eventually captured by the Americans. Only a small
number returned to Germany. Of these, some formed part of the newly
raised 5th Battalion in 1784 C.E.
Fort Bute built in 1766 C.E., was an older
stockade. By 1779 C.E., the stockade was so dilapidated that it was
judged to be indefensible. At the time, the Lieutenant Colonel was
informed of the Spanish movements toward the area, he withdrew the
majority of his forces to Baton Rouge and Fort Panmure at Natchez.
Dickson left only a small garrison of 20 Waldeckers under Captain von
Haake to garrison Fort Bute.
On August 14, 1779 C.E., a squadron under American
colors consisting largely of French ships with French crews, set sail
from the French port of L’Orient. As a diversionary tactic it headed
northward towards Ireland. This fleet was commanded by John Paul Jones,
the American captain with a reputation in Britain as a Patriot or
traitor. This depends on one’s viewpoint.
In the Atlantic, d'Orvilliers was not aware that
the British fleet was not in the Channel.
At that time, Admiral Hardy was patrolling off the Scilly Isles
having heard that the French fleet was already out in the Atlantic since
June. On August 14, 1779 C.E., the massive combined Franco-Spanish armada came within sight of the English coast. This caused a wave of
alarm which quickly spread through the country.
The alarm did not spread quickly enough to reach
the Royal Navy ship Ardent, which left Plymouth on August 15th to join
Hardy on patrol. By August 16th, the French and Spanish ships were
sailing slowly eastwards up the Channel. They had received orders from
France to turn around, as a decision had been taken by the government
that the best place for the troops to land would be near Falmouth in
Cornwall. D'Orvilliers considered this directive a poor idea. He sent a
reply asking for the government to reconsider. The next day, the British
ship Ardent met an outlying French squadron of the great fleet. The
captain of the Ardent had been fooled into believing it was British and
was quickly captured.
The French and Spanish armada remained off of Plymouth and waited for a reply to
d'Orvilliers' message. By August 18th, a gale from the east drove them
far to the west and out into the Atlantic. They then struggled eastward
Also on August, 18, 1779 C.E., a hurricane swept
through the town of New Orleans, sank most of De Gálvez’s fleet, and destroyed his provisions. It was de
Gálvez’s original plan to leave on August 20, 1779 C.E. De
Gálvez was able to rally the support of the Territory by
explanation that the expedition was needed to defend Spanish Luisiana
from an imminent British attack.
On August 25th, the French and Spanish armada
finally learned the location of Hardy's fleet and decided to destroy it.
The armada was finding it increasingly difficult to cope with sickness
in its ranks and the lack of food. The armada
finally made its way to the Scilly Isles with the intention of forcing a
battle. It was Hardy who decided to try and avoid just such a battle.
In North America, Bernardo de Gálvez took Fort Manchac on August 27, 1779 C.E. De
Gálvez would carry his military campaign from August 27, 1779 C.E.
to September 7, 1779 C.E. His forces would defeat the British colonial
forces garrisoned at Manchac and capture of Fort Bute located on Bayou
Manchac, about 115 miles up the Mississippi River from New Orleans, on
the far western border of British West Florida.
De Gálvez was a man of action like his father. After
learning via secret reports that the British were preparing to invade
the provincia, he immediately
took the initiative. War with Great Britain was expected. Málaga military reinforcements were assigned to assist Bernardo
for defense. They established relations with the Native tribes of the
Creek, Chickasaws, and Seminole. Maps of the area were prepared. This
was all in preparation for when de
Gálvez received the official letter that war existed between
Britain and España. He then
organized an expedition against British posts that controlled the
General Bernardo de Gálvez
did not set out from New Orleans by land toward Baton Rouge until August
27, 1779 C.E. Bernardo mobilized
a large number of soldados. De Gálvez led 520 hundred Spanish regulars, of whom approximately
two-thirds were new recruits. However, before he could advance de
Gálvez had to continue recruiting more men. The Gobernador
did so until he reached a total of 1,443. These formed a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-cultural contingent
170 Veterans soldados Peninsulares
and from various Virreinatos
350 recruits from the Islas
Canarias, Méjicanos, Cubanos,
Dominicanos, and Puertorriqueños
80 Free blacks and Mulatos
60 White Creole miquelets
10 Américano volunteers from
New Orleans commanded by Oliver Pollock, who rode beside de Gálvez as his adjutant
Over 600 German, Acadian, and some Irish marched upriver to the German
and Acadian coasts (named for the original settlers) where they turned
out even more men
160 Indians of Arcadia, Atacapas, Punta Cortada, Opeluzas, and a Atakapa-Choctaw group that lived in Southwest Luisiana, Caddo, Natchez,
Wabanaki Confederacy, and others attached along the way
This was an international army if ever there was
one. The Indians and Blacks acted as the advance guard, prowling through
the thickets and canes along the river. The regulars followed closely
them, with the White militia bringing up the rear. The force would swell
to over 1,400. However, this number would be greatly reduced before they
reached Fort Bute. Several hundred would be lost due to the hardships of
a forced march.
In this critical period, once España
declared war on Britain, her Españoles
located world-wide were committed. Carlos
Upon hearing that King Carlos III had issued a proclamation on August 29, 1779 C.E., General
Bernardo de Gálvez in New Orleans was already prepared for battle. Don
Bernardo immediately developed a military campaign. Between 1779 C.E.
and 1785 C.E., he would defeat the British in Baton Rouge, St. Louis and
St. Joseph, Michigan, Mobile, Natchez,
Pensacola, and other
locations. Although he had only a small military force under his
command, he did not wait for reinforcements. After organizing volunteer
regiments, he marched northward on the eastern riverbank.
In the Atlantic by August 31st, under cover of
fog, the British fleet slipped past Land's End, which is located at the
most westerly point of mainland Cornwall and England, and is within the
Peninsula. Hardy then began leading the French and Spanish armada towards the key British naval base of Portsmouth.
By September 3rd, the British fleet in the
Atlantic was completely undamaged and reached the well-defended safety
of the Solent, which is located in the strait which separates the Isle
of Wight from the mainland of England. It is approximately 20 miles in
length and varies in width at about two and a half and five miles.
There, the fleet began equipping and preparing for battle.
The delays had been problematic for the
Spanish/French armada, as it
was losing men daily to sickness. French military planners also
understood that the invasion of England appeared to be delaying and if
postponed, their troops would be fighting through the British autumn and
winter. It was on that day, that the leaders of the Great Armada
abandoned their campaign and sailed off to Brest.
In North America, it was only on September 6, 1779
C.E., that de Gálvez’s
force closed on Fort Bute, that he informed the force of the Spanish
declaration of war and the true purpose of their mission. This drew
cheers from the soldados.
Manchac, also known as Akers is an unincorporated community in
Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Fort Bute or Manchac Post was so named
after the then British Prime Minister John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute. It
was established in 1763 C.E. at the junction of Iberville River (Bayou
Manchac) with the Mississippi River, and remained an important military
and trading post in British West Florida.
After a night’s rest, they attacked the Fort at
dawn the next day. Bernardo de Gálvez
would capture Fort Bute at Manchac on September 7, 1779 C.E. There was a
brief skirmish in which one German was killed. The garrison quickly
surrendered with the exception of six. These escaped and made their way
to inform Lieutenant Colonel Dickson.
The Capture of Fort Bute signaled
the opening of Spanish
intervention in the American Revolutionary War on
the side of France and
the United States.
Mustering an ad hoc army
of Spanish regulars, Acadian
militia, and native levies under Gilbert
Antoine de St. Maxênt, Bernardo
de Gálvez the Gobernador of Spanish
Luisiana stormed and captured
the small British frontier post on Bayou
Manchac on September 7,
Manchac had already been raided in February 1778
C.E. by American forces under the command of Captain James Willing, the
owner-operator of a popular supply center for traders, farmers, and
British soldiers in the West Florida
settlement of Natchez.
Many of the inhabitants of Natchez were loyal to the British king. Some of these were Loyalists
who had fled the Thirteen Colonies when fighting began between the
British and American Patriots. James Willing had been suspected of
treason by some British officers for helping the Patriots. Rumors about
his illegal activities began to grow when he was said to be filling
canoes with supplies for the rebels and transporting them at night.
Willing was also said to have discussed his support for the Patriots.
Many of the British were glad to see him go when he closed down his
business and sailed up the Mississippi River.
1778 C.E., Captain James Willing and his crew joined the Patriots. They
sailed from Fort Pitt on the Ohio River to the Mississippi River, where
he headed south. Fort Pitt was a fort rebuilt by British colonists
during the Seven Years' War. It was located at the confluence of the
Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, where the Ohio River is formed in
western Pennsylvania. It replaced the original French fort, Fort
Duquesne. The French colonial fort was built in 1754 C.E. as tensions
increased between Great Britain and France in both Europe and North
America. British military protection in the area eventually led to the
development of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania by
British-American colonists and immigrants.
They then raided British forts and the homes of
Loyalists. Willing became an ardent supporter of the Patriot cause. When
he and his crew returned to Natchez,
they forced the inhabitants to swear their loyalty to the United States.
While Captain Willing’s attacks were successful and brought forts and
territory under Patriot control, he didn’t win over the Loyalists of
Manchac would be captured by Spanish forces under Luisiana
Gobernador Bernardo de Gálvez which was at that time a part of España.
The American Revolutionary War action became known as the Battle of Fort
The Battle of Lake Pontchartrain, a single-ship
action, was fought on September 10, 1779 C.E., during the American
Revolutionary War. The engagement was between the British sloop-of-war
HMS West Florida and the
Continental Navy schooner USS Morris. It was fought in Lake
Pontchartrain which was then in the British province of West Florida.
In the 18th and most of the 19th centuries C.E., a
sloop-of-war in the
British Navy was a warship, also known as one of the escort types. It
had a single gun deck that carried up to eighteen guns. As the rating
system covered all vessels with 20 guns and above, this meant that the
term sloop-of-war actually encompassed all the unrated combat vessels
including the very small gun-brigs and cutters. In technical terms, even
the more specialized bomb vessels and fireships were classed as
sloops-of-war. In practice, these were actually employed in the sloop
role when not carrying out their specialized functions.
The HMS West Florida
was patrolling Lake Pontchartrain when it encountered the Morris.
The American, Oliver Pollock used his commissioning authority granted by
Congress to give command of the Morris to Continental Navy Captain
William Pickles in 1779 C.E. She had set out from New Orleans under
Captain Pickles and his Spanish and American crew. After a hard fought
effort, the larger crew of the USS Morris
successfully boarded the West
Florida. Its captain, Lieutenant John Payne received a mortal wound
and the British ship was captured. With the capture of the West
Florida, a major British naval presence on the lake was eliminated,
weakening already tenuous British control over the western reaches of
Pickles thus achieved domination of the Luisiana
lakes, discouraging thought of a possible British attack by way of
Manchac and the lakes around New Orleans and aiding in the capture of
the British colony of West Florida.
One result of the of these naval victories was
that people residing at the time in the Lacombe area on the northern
shore of Lake Ponchartrain became some of the first citizens of the new
American nation. Captain Pickles administered them an oath written by
Oliver Pollock and reading in part: “We do hereby acknowledge
ourselves to be natives as well as true and faithful subjects of the
United Independent States of North America…”
Pickles then took over command of the prize, the West
Florida. He was then given instructions by Oliver Pollock, Congress'
agent in New Orleans, to assist de
Gálvez in a planned expedition to capture the West Florida
port of Mobile. Following that successful expedition Pickles sailed
on to Philadelphia, where the West
Florida was sold.
Unfortunately, the Morris was sunk in a hurricane
only a few days before it was to join the forces of de Gálvez in his march against the British at Baton Rouge in
September 1779 C.E. The severe hurricane which destroyed the USS Morris also
caused the loss of 11 of her crew.
After September 10, 1779 C.E., Bernardo
de Gálvez decided to move against the British forces at Fort New
Richmond, the name that they had given Baton Rouge. Pollock again rose
to the occasion. He departed with de
Galvez as his Aide-de-Camp, accompanied by nine Americans and 1,500
Spanish Regulars, Luisiana
militiamen made up of Españoles,
Frenchmen, Germans, free Blacks, Natives, and others only days after a
hurricane had destroyed his home and the vessel Morris. In a campaign of
25 days, the forts at Manchac (Fort Bute) and New Richmond were taken by
the de Gálvez
forces on September 21, 1779 C.E. De Gálvez wrote that
Pollock “attended me in person until the surrender.” After the Marcha
or March of de Gálvez, de
Gálvez tried to get Pollock
to accept a commission in the Spanish Army which Pollock refused. He
later wrote: “I felt it my duty to decline this offer, the feeble
services which, with nine brother Americans, I had been able to render
were under the banners of America. We took them with us into the
Pollock had urged the capture of Fort New Richmond
at Baton Rouge by the Continental Army and was only partly satisfied to
see it fall into Spanish hands. He wrote to Congress only a few months
before the Marcha de Gálvez:
“I cannot imagine what has deterred you from sending an expedition
this way before now. As it surely must come sooner or later, I live in
hopes as I make no doubt you know the value of West Florida
too well to give it up by treaty on anywise to any power on earth.”
Pollock had no way of knowing that, in a secret
alliance with France in 1778 C.E., the Congress had agreed not to expand
American territory into the Floridas.
At this point, years of struggle lay ahead for
Pollock in seeking reimbursement for the funds he had advanced to the
Congress and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Action of September 14, 1779 was a minor naval
engagement between a British Royal naval frigate HMS Pearl and a Spanish
fragata Santa Mónica off the Região
Autónoma dos Açores or Autonomous Region of the Açores during the Anglo-Spanish War.
The Spanish Navy had been patrolling the Açores
in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km west of continental Portugal
since July, with a small squadron of ships under of General de Teniente Don António
de Ulloa, with his flagship Fenix
or Phoenix, ships of the line Gallardo,
Diligent, and San Julián and
also the fragatas Santa María
and Santa Mónica.
On September 14th, the British 32-gun frigate HMS
Pearl, Captain George Montagu while cruising off the Açores in the early hours of the morning chased a large ship which
turned out to be the Spanish 28 gun fragata
Santa Mónica under the
command of capitán de fragata, Don Manuel Núñez Gaona.
Santa Mónica was built on Francisco
Gautier plans, it had ports for thirty-four cannons, 161 feet in
length and tonnage of 548 tons.
At 09:30am, Pearl caught up with the ship and
commenced action. They battled for two hours before she struck her
colors. The Santa Mónica was
severely damaged and had 38 men killed and 45 wounded. The Santa
Mónica was a new ship, mounting 26 long 12-pounders on her main
deck, and two four pounders on her quarter-deck, with a crew of 271 men.
She exceeded the Pearl in tonnage. The Pearl had suffered little damaged
except to her rigging. She also lost 12 men killed and 19 wounded. De
Ulloa was later acquitted in October at a court martial in Cádiz
regarding the loss of the Santa Mónica.
Back in North America, an exhausted Bernardo
de Gálvez remained at Fort Bute for six days. His troops
needed rest before proceeding to Baton Rouge. When rested, de
Gálvez and Coronel,
Gilbert St. Maxênt would next move capture Fort New Richmond at Baton
Rouge from British on September 21, 1779 C.E.
Bernardo de Gálvez’s
strategy was to force the surrender of Baton Rouge thus freeing the
lower Mississippi Valley of British forces. This was meant to relieve
the threat to the capital of Luisiana,
Fort New Richmond was built by the British in 1779
C.E. on the east bank of the Mississippi River in what is today, Baton
Rouge, Louisiana. The Fort was new with earthen walls encircled by a
palasade and a ditch nine feet deep and 18 feet wide. It garrisons 400
British regulars, 150 settlers, Blacks, and 13 cannons. Once the Españoles took control of the Fort they would rename it Fort San
Fort New Richmond at Baton Rouge had fallen after
a short siege. The terms of capitulation agreed to later by Dickson at
Baton Rouge would secure the surrender of the remaining British outposts
on the Mississippi River.
De Gálvez would also force the surrender of Fort Panmure,
the former Fort Rosalie at Natchez
in September 21, 1779
C.E. Natchez is now a village
in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. The Fort was surrendered to de Gálvez after the capitulation of Baton Rouge. This was done
without resistance. At that time there was only a small garrison of
regularly enrolled British soldiers, possibly Hessians. Years earlier,
during the summer of 1764 C.E., a large detachment of British troops had
occupied Fort Rosalie at Natchez,
which was thenceforth known as Fort Panmure.
Fort Rosalie, however, was at that date in ruins.
It was overgrown with trees, and there is a tradition that a new site
for Fort Panmure was selected. It seems to be assumed that the old fort
was reconstructed. This was done for a permanent occupation barracks
constructed for the troops.
Fort Rosalie on the present site of Natchez
Mississippi was originally built by French Governor M. de Bienville in
1716 C.E. The original Fort Rosalie was described as an irregular
pentagon, without bastions. It was constructed of thick plank. Then the
Fort’s buildings consisted of a stone house, a gunpowder magazine, a
few officer’s houses, and barracks for the soldiers. A ditch
surrounding the Fort was partially natural and man-made. In most places
the ditch was 19 feet from its bottom to the top of the rampart.
Later, when he was superseded by Governor
Cadillac, de Bienville received an appointment to lieutenant-governor.
He was then ordered to command two companies of infantry. De Bienville
was to remove his headquarters to Natchez
and house one company of infantry there. The other was to be billeted on
History inform us that Cadillac would not give de
Bienville more than thirty-five men, though he knew that M. de la Loire
des Ursins had brought the news that five Frenchmen had been killed by
the Natchez. Des Ursins had barely escaped with his life after
being advised by a chief, who had given him the means to save his life.
The Natchez Natives occupied a series of
towns on the east bank of the Mississippi River. They inhabited areas in
the vicinity of the modern town that today bears their name. The Natchez
also controlled a large territory that extended along both sides of the
lower Mississippi River.
De Bienville after setting-out arrived at Fort
Iberville on the Mississippi. There, he met MM. de Paillou and de
Richebourg in charge of pirougues, long narrow canoe made from a single
tree trunk. The boats had been sent from Mobile and were laden with
provisions and utensils for the settlements of Natchez
and on the Ouabache. He ordered the two to proceed to Tonicas, a post
which had been established a short time before on the Mississippi. It
was about two leagues above the mouth of the Red River, on the borders
of a lake. They were to join him there. The work Fort Rosalie was
commenced in June, 1716 C.E. The Fort was completed by soldiers who
arrived the following August. It was named Rosalie in honor of Madame la
duchesse de Ponchartrain.
De Bienville soon learned that the Natchez
had killed two Frenchmen and plundered six Canadians. He quickly sent an
interpreter to the Natchez to obtain provisions and to bring the
calumet, a North American Indian peace pipe. The French began
negotiations with the Great Sun of the Natchez and his
representatives. He was the community leader under which the Natchez
social organization was based. The relationship of community members and
the Great Sun was all important. He enjoyed the status of a living god,
and as such, his esteem was so great that he was carried about on a
litter wherever he went. The Natives soon restored the Canadians and
surrendered the heads of the chiefs responsible for the murders. This
gesture brought about peace.
An agreement was reached that the Natchez
would furnish posts and lumber to build a fort needed for the protection
of the French from any further aggressions on the part of the Natives.
The work was commenced in June, 1716 C.E. under the direction of M.
Paillou. He had been appointed commandant. The Natives supplied the
timbers and the labor for the Fort’s earthworks. Fort Rosalie was
completed by the soldiers of Bienville, who had arrived the following
August, 1716 C.E., named Rosalie in honor of Madame la duchesse de
The soil at Natchez was excellent. Later,
many Frenchmen, soldiers, and workmen went and settled there after
obtaining their discharge. New dwellings were built after most bought
their lands from the Natives. There would be five villages founded there
half a league apart. On land, the league was most commonly defined as
three miles, though the length of a mile could vary from place to place
and depending on the era. A place called the Great Village, the
residence of the great chief of the tribe, was built along a little
river called White River, St. Catharine’s Creek.
Fort Rosalie was built on a hill west of the Great
Village. It was only a plot 150 feet long by 90 feet broad. It was
enclosed with palisades, without a bastion. The typical palisade,
sometimes called a stakewall or a paling was a fence or wall made from
wooden stakes or tree trunks. It was used by the soldiers as a defensive
structure or enclosure.
South of the Fort was a small Indian tribe, the
Tioux. They traded with the Frenchmen. Later, they abandoned their
village to go and settle elsewhere. Before leaving, they sold their
lands to one of the richest settlers in the country, the Sieur (a
privileged social class) Roussin.
A bastion is also called a bulwark. It is derived
from the Dutch name "bolwerk." The feature is an angular
structure projecting outward from the curtain wall of an artillery
fortification. The curtain wall is constructed as a defensive wall
between two towers or bastions of a castle, fortress, or town. A fully
developed bastion consists of two faces and two flanks. It allows for
fire from the flanks being able to protect the curtain wall and also any
Inside near Fort Rosalie’s gate was the
guard-house, and 18 feet off along the palisade ran the barracks of the
soldiers. At the other end, opposite the gate, the commanding
officer’s cabin was built. To the right of the fort entrance stood the
powder magazine building. The post Fort Rosalie, maintained a company of
The Fort was first destroyed by the Natchez
at the time of the Massacre of the French in 1729 C.E. After the Natchez
abandoned the Fort, it was burned. In response, French troops were
ordered to the area. A contingent decamped and made its way to the
location where Fort Rosalie had been. French troops under Loubois forced
the Natchez to flee across the Mississippi.
The location of the second fort was not built on
the same site as the original fort. The first fort was some distance
from the bluffs, most probably near the eastern limits of the city some
670 yards from the river. It stood on the summit of a hill about 670
yards from the shore of the river, and about 180 feet above its surface.
The second fort was built on the brow of the bluffs. This new fort and
buildings were promptly constructed of earth, with barracks for the
soldiers and houses for the officers.
Years later, when a large detachment of British
troops took possession of the Fort during the summer of 1764 C.E., its
name was changed from Fort Rosalie to Fort Panmure, in honor of the then
minister of George III. This occupation must have been sometime after a
Major Loftus, attempted to ascend the river to the Illinois country and
was turned back by the shots of a few Natives near the heights which
afterward bore his name, the site of Fort Adams. That event supposedly
took place in March, 1764 C.E.
Fort Rosalie was by that time in ruins and had
been overgrown with trees so a new site for Fort Panmure was selected.
The replacement fort was with a permanent occupation barracks were built
for the troops.
By 1768 C.E., British troops were withdrawn from
West Florida to San Agustín. The area of West Florida
at the time encompassed a large part of Alabama and Mississippi. Upon
leaving, Fort Panmure was left in the care of one man.
On February 1, 1776 C.E., Fort Panmure was
initially held by Captain Thaddeus Lyman, Jacob Blomart, and Mclntosh.
These were soon ordered to Baton Rouge in consequence of the prospect of
a war with España. A Captain
Foster, with a hundred men, was sent to command at Natchez.
Soon after, it appears that a conflict arose between Colonel Anthony
Hutchins, Captain Lyman and a Captain Michael Jackson, whom the Pensacola governor had sent to take command at Fort Panmure. The
possession of the Fort was contested with some bloodshed.
In November, 1776 C.E., a fresh contingent of New
Englanders, led by Captain Mathew Phelps, settled on the Big Black
River. The command of these troops was given to Brigadier General Donald
McDonald. Many highlanders had joined his royal standard under North
It is not likely that Fort Panmure was garrisoned
at the time of Patriot Willing’s visitation, in 1778 C.E. What is
known is that the Natchez
district was loyal to the British government. Shortly after Captain
Willing’s raid, Governor Chester sent Colonel Magellan to raise four
companies of militia under the command of Captain Lyman, Blomart and
Mclntosh. He had orders to refurbish Fort Panmure and make it ready to
Soon the command was ordered to Baton Rouge due to
the prospect of a war with España.
Only Captain Foster and hundred men were left in command of Natchez.
After the capitulation of Baton Rouge, Fort Panmure and a small garrison
of regularly enrolled British soldiers, Hessians, surrendered to de
Gálvez without a fight.
After Baton Rouge and Natchez, de Gálvez would return to New Orleans and begin the
planning of the campaigns against Mobile and Pensacola, the remaining British strongholds in West Florida.
At the expense of Spanish King Carlos
III of España a poem by Julien
Poydras was printed. La Prise du Morne du Baton Rouge par
Monseigneur de Gálvez praises
the young Gobernador and General for his capture of Baton Rouge from the British.
By the first week of October 1779 C.E., the
Mississippi River was securely in España’s
control. For these actions de Gálvez
was promoted to General de brigada.
Now that de Gálvez had
secured the Mississippi River, he set his sights on removing the British
threat from the Golfo de Méjico.
However, bad weather thwarted his efforts several times.
Luisiana 1752-211k. Carte de la Louisiane et Pays Voisins.
entered the war, Britain went on the offensive in the Caribe, planning an expedition to Spanish Nicaragua. A British attempt to gain a foothold at San
Fernando de Omoa was rebuffed in October 1779 C.E. At the time, the
Spanish guarnición consisted
of 228 men under the command of Juan
de Ayssa who served as Gobernador
of Nicaragua from 1783 C.E.-1787
Don Juan de Ayssa was
promoted to Teniente Coronel.
As recorded in the Royal Order of June 12, 1781 C.E., he had alerted the
other garrisons in the area, bravely defended the fort, suffered
hardships as a prisoner of war, and contributed greatly to creating
difficulties for the British operations. He was taken prisoner to
Jamaica. De Ayssa was later
freed at the end of the war. He rose to become Gobernador of Nicaragua in
In November of 1779 C.E., Thomas Jefferson,
Governor of Virginia, wrote to Bernardo
de Gálvez: “We have
contracted considerable debt at New Orleans with Mr. Pollock, besides
what is due your state.” He went on to explain the Virginia had no way
of immediate repayment of the advances to Pollock saying: “In this
situation of things, we cannot but contemplate the distress of that
gentleman, brought on him by services rendered to us, with utmost
Pollock would experience the horrors of debtors
prison in Habana; arrested
there while the Agent of the Continental Congress to Cuba. Only the intervention of his old friend and then Virrey
of Méjico, Bernardo de
Gálvez, saved him from years of undeserved confinement. He would be
accused of having profiteered during the war, an accusation utterly
false and later withdrawn, but deeply hurtful. He would still be found
petitioning Congress for the payment of his advances twenty years after
the end of the war. And yet, Oliver Pollock miraculously managed to
re-establish himself and repay all those who had lent him money for the
On November 11, 1779 C.E., a minor naval
engagement between the British Royal Naval frigate HMS Tartar and the
Spanish fragata Santa Margarita took place off Lisboa during the Anglo-Spanish War. British Captain Alexander Graeme
commanding the Tartar was part of a squadron under Commodore George
Johnstone. While off Lisboa,
the Captain sighted the Spanish 38-gun fragata,
Santa Margarita. Tartar moved
swiftly to catch up with her and engaged the fragata.
After approximately a two hour engagement, the Santa Marguerita had her ship’s masts almost broken and toppled
(dismasted). Santa Margarita’s
Capitán then made the decision to strike her colors. With the
lowering of the flag, she indicated her surrender. Once boarded and
captured, the 12-pounder, 36-gun fragata
Santa Margarita was added to the Royal Navy under her existing name.
She would have a long career, serving until 1836 C.E.
In the Atlantic on November 20, 1779 C.E. a minor
naval engagement took place. In the European theater of the
Anglo-Spanish War a battle was fought between a 50-gun British Royal
Navy ship and a 64-gun Marina de
guerra real Español de España
ship. The Spanish ship had been designated a warship used as a transport
and had reduced armament.
The 28 gun Hussar, under Captain Elliot Salter and
the 50 gun HMS Chatham were convoying trade from Lisboa back to England. They came upon a two-decked, Nuestra
Senora del Buen Confeso, a Spanish ship, outside of their convoy.
She held 26 twelve-pounders and a crew of 120 marineros
and marines. The ship left the scene and the British followed.
Hussar reached the ship the next day with its
Spanish flag hoisted. Salter ordered an attack. The Hussar came
alongside and opened fire. She had an advantageous position over the
Spanish ship as she was in a position upwind of her. The Hussar was able
to direct gunfire along the length of the ship. There were a number of
broadsides. Upon realizing that resistance was useless, the Spanish
struck their colors after an almost 45 minute long action.
By late-1779 C.E., supplies in British Gibraltar
were seriously depleted and General George Eliott appealed to London for
relief. A British relief supply convoy was soon organized. In
late-December 1779 C.E., a large fleet sailed from England under the
command of Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney. Rodney's final destination
was the West Indies. He had received secret instructions to resupply Gibraltar
and Menorca first.
There were also many things accomplish in 1779 C.E.
by the brave and brilliant Bernardo
de Gálvez. He was promoted to General
de Brigada. Brigadier General is an officer of the rank between
colonel and major general. Bernardo
founded Gálvezton, Gálveztown or Galveztown. Today, Galveston is a coastal city
located on Galveston Island and Pelican Island in the state of Tejas.
The community is now 208.3 square miles. De
Gálvez promoted settlement of Nueva
Ibéria. Present-day, New
Iberia is the tenth-largest city in the U.S state of Louisiana. Located
30 miles southeast of Lafayette, and is the parish seat of Iberia
Parish. The General had driven the British troops out of West Florida.
For a while, the bayous and rivers that form Ascension Parish’s
borders ceased to be an international boundary.
I consider it a great honor that many of my de
Ribera line served under this superior leader and aided in the
success of the American Revolutionary War. As subjects of España,
the family paid a special tax to aid the Américano
Colonists. As soldados of España, they defended the borders of the frontiers of Northern Nueva
España, Nuevo Méjico, from the English against whom España declared war in 1779 C.E. To name but a few, they were Alférez
of the Infantry Don Salvadór de
Ribera my progenitor, his brothers António
and Luís Felipe. Salvadór’s sons Alfonso
and Balthasár were of that
number. Also, António’s
sons, José and Matiás were soldiering during the period. These are but a few.
And there were other de Rivera/Ribera families
Ribera (1755 C.E. Mérida-),
married. Alférez, 1777 C.E.-1785
C.E., Capitán, 1799 C.E., Bn
Inf Mil Discip Vol Blancos, Mérida,
Ribera (1751 C.E. Puerto
Rico-). 1st Sargento, 1776 C.E.-1795 C.E., Mil Discip of Puerto Rico, single, Legajo
de Ribera. Sargento 1st Mil Discip Cab de
Puerto Rico, 1795 C.E. Leg 7289: VII:105.
Ribera (1744 C.E. Ovieto-).
Teniente, 1781 C.E., 1795 C.E.,
Mil Discip Inf of Puerto Rico,
married, Legajo 7289: VII:25.
Roja Ribera. Cuba
Agustín Rivera. Sargento, Cab Lanceros de
Veracruz, Méjico, 1800
C.E. Leg 7276:XIV:25.
Rivera (1765 C.E. Habana-),
Cadete in 1781 C.E. in América
under Bernardo de
Habana Regt, 1786 C.E.,
single. Legajo 7259:II:84, Cadete, Inf of Habana,
Rivera/Ribera of San Sebastián de
los Reyes, Castilla la Nueva,
Madrid, España. FD7:92, he and
wife Inés Madera de Luna of Santo
Domíngo had ch during war years.
Rivera. Puerto Rico: 199, soldado,
infantry company, San Fernando de
Omoa, Honduras, 1779 C.E.
FD7:92, he and wife Juana Saldaña, Free Blacks, had ch in 1784 C.E.
Jerónimo de Rivera.
FD7:91, he and wife Manuela de Jesús Tolentino/de
Castro, Free Pardos (mixed
ethnic ancestries), had ch during war years.
José Rivera. Sargento,
Dragones de Pazquaro de Michoacán,
1800 C.E. Leg 7276:XIX:46.
Zomoa:106, in 1780 C.E.
an engineer in Guatemala and Honduras.
Capitán grad, 1797 C.E., Staff of San Cristóbal, Habana, Legajo 7263:II:8.
Pedro Tomás de Rivera.
Teniente, 1799 C.E.,
Mil Discip Blancos de Carupano,
Cumaná, Legajo 7295:VII:83.
Pedro de Rivera.
FD7:92, he and wife Antónia de Soto had ch during war years.
In 1780 C.E. Europe, the British struck against
the United Provinces of the Netherlands. They did this in order to
preempt Dutch involvement in the League of Armed Neutrality. That
declaration of several European powers stated that they would conduct
neutral trade during the war. Great Britain was not willing to allow the
Netherlands to openly give aid to the American patriots through the
League. The British were already agitation by Dutch radicals. Their
friendly attitude towards the United States had been an influential in
the start of the American Revolution. These factors encouraged the
British to attack. The Fourth Anglo-Dutch War lasted into 1784 C.E. and
was disastrous to the Dutch mercantile economy.
In 1780 C.E., José
de Gálvez y Gallardo Marqués de Sonora forwarded a royal dispatch
to Teodoro de Croix, Commandante General of the Provincias
Internas of Nueva España.
It requested all Royal subjects to donate money for the assistance of
the American Revolution. Millions of pesos
In Central and South América, by 1780 C.E., after España
entered the war, the Jamaican British governor John Dalling proposed an
expedition to the Spanish province of Nicaragua.
His strategy was to have British forces sail up the San Juan River to Lake Nicaragua.
Once there, they were to capture the town of Granada, thereby cutting Spanish America in half and providing
access to the Pacific Ocean.
On January 4, 1780 C.E., a British fleet divided,
with ships headed for the West Indies sailing westward. This left
Admiral Sir George Rodney in command of 19 ships of the line, which were
to accompany the supply ships to Gibraltar.
A ship of the line was a specific type of naval warship. It took part in
the naval tactic of the time known as the line of battle. In applying
this tactic, two columns of opposing warships maneuvered to bring the
greatest weight of broadside firepower to bear. This action involved an
almost simultaneous firing of all the guns from one side of a warship.
This type of engagement was invariably won by the heaviest ships
carrying the most powerful cannons. The ship of the line progressed to
become the largest and most powerful of their time.
On January 4, 1780 C.E., Admiral Sir George Rodney
left with the ship of the line HMS Hector under Sir John Hamilton, and
the frigates HMS Phoenix, HMS Andromeda, and HMS Greyhound under
Captains Hyde Parker, H. Bryne, and William Dickson. This flotilla was
to escort the West Indies-bound merchant ships. The following day,
Rodney’s flotilla encountered a Spanish convoy consisting of 22 ships,
bound from San Sebastián to Cádiz.
His command quickly closed on them, as the copper
sheath covering on some of his ships allowing them to outrun the Españoles.
The entire convoy was captured, with the exception for one merchant
vessel. Rodney sailed those Spanish ships found to be carrying
provisions useful to Gibraltar and relieved the British forces with them.
On January 8, 1780 C.E., there was a naval
engagement between a British Royal Naval fleet under Admiral Sir George
Rodney, and a fleet of Spanish merchants sailing in convoy with seven
warships of the Caracas
Company, under the command of Comodoro
or Commodore Don Juan Agustín de
Yardi off Cabo Finisterre
a rock-bound peninsula on the west coast of Galicia,
España. It resulted in the
entire Spanish convoy was captured.
En route to relieve Gibraltar,
Rodney's fleet took this action several days before his engagement and
defeat of a Spanish fleet at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent.
Admiral Sir George Rodney also commissioned and
manned the captured Spanish flagship, the 64-gun, Guipuzcoana. He renamed her HMS Prince William, in honor of Prince
William, who was then present at the engagement.
De Gálvez sallied to take on Fort Charlotte in Mobile on January 10, 1780 C.E.
Many of his men now were from the Habana
garrisons, joining the artillery, fixed infantry, and militia of Louisiana.
Twenty-six North Americans joined de
Gálvez, bringing his total force to 1,427. De Gálvez’s men embarked from New Orleans.
Meanwhile, in North America, on January 11, 1780
C.E., 754 Spanish and Cubano troops sailed from Habana.
Spanish troops set sail on a fleet of twelve ships for the
The Spanish and Cubano
troops reached the mouth of the Mississippi on January 18, 1780
On January 20th, the twelve ship flotilla
with Spanish and Cubano troops was
joined by the Gálveztown a
brig sloop. She was under the command of the Américano,
Captain William Pickles and a crew of 58. Captain Pickles was an officer
of the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War who died
September 9, 1783 C.E. He was commissioned on October 10, 1776 C.E. and
active on the Gulf Coast. Pickles had been given command of the USS
Morris in 1778 C.E., a British ship that had been captured on the
Mississippi River. By 1779 C.E., she was destroyed by a hurricane. He
was then given another ship, also called Morris, by Gobernador
Bernardo de Gálvez. His assignment, eliminate British military
shipping on Lake Pontchartrain. By September of 1779 C.E., Captain
Pickles had captured a British ship, the HMS West Florida.
He then took over command of the prize with instructions from Congress'
agent in New Orleans, Oliver Pollock to assist de
Gálvez. The Gobernador
had planned an expedition to capture the West Florida
port at Mobile. Pickles quickly had the ship re-rigged. It was also
renamed the Gálveztown. He
would later sail on to Philadelphia, where the ship was sold.
Gálvez’s army had
sailed from New Orleans aboard a small fleet of transports on by January
the 28th, 1780 C.E., for Mobile.
Captain Pickles had been given command of USS
Mercury, and charged with transporting Henry Laurens to
the Dutch Republic on a diplomatic mission. The USS
Mercury was captured off the coast of Newfoundland Banks by the
Royal Navy on September 10, 1780 C.E., and Captain Pickles and Henry
Laurens were imprisoned in London. After his release, he returned to
Philadelphia. Pickles died there on September 9, 1783 C.E., after being
assaulted by a gang of Italian sailors.
The prosecution of Captain Pickles’
murderers was complicated by a legal question: whether statutes
previously enacted by the British Parliament were still in force in the
now independent state of Pennsylvania. Two of the sailors
were sentenced on October 8, 1783 C.E., to hang ten days later.
In the Atlantic, on January 16, 1780 C.E., several
days later, Rodney engaged and defeated another Spanish fleet under Don
Juan de Lángara y Huarte (Born 1736 C.E. at Coruña,
España and Died 1806 C.E. at Madrid,
España) at the Battle of Cabo
de São Vicente or Cape St Vincent. This he did before going on to relieve Gibraltar
De Lángara was the son of a renowned Basque family. His father was Almirante
or Admiral Juan de Lángara
Arizmendi, who fought as Teniente
de Navío or lieutenant of the Marina
de guerra real Español de
Españia at the victorious Battle of Menorca in 1756 C.E., against the British under Admiral Sir John
In 1750 C.E., Don
Juan entered the Marina de
guerra real Español at a young age, as a Guardiamarina
or Midshipman. De Lángara
then quickly distinguished himself in various wars. From 1766 C.E. until
1771 C.E., he participated in several scientific expeditions, three
voyages to the Filipinas and
the Chinese seas, and made several important contributions in
cartography. By 1774 C.E. he was commanding the fragata
La Rosalia on a scientific expedition, which led to several
important discoveries related to piloting and navigation.
By 1778 C.E., he was a Comodoro. A Commodore is a naval rank used by many navies. It is
considered superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. In
non-English-speaking nations, it may often be used as an equivalent for
the rank of flotilla admiral, counter admiral, or senior captain.
De Lángara participated with distinction in the 1779 C.E.
naval campaign in the Narrows against Britain, capturing the British
letters of marque 26-gun sixth-rate Winchcombe. These were ships
measuring 94 feet along the gun deck by 26 feet in the beam and an
approximate tonnage of 250. They were a typical 20-gun sloop of the
early 18th-Century C.E. manufactured at Britain's Winchcombe dockyards.
During the winter 1779 C.E.-1780 C.E., the
combined fleet wintered at Brest and Cádiz
respectively. The 44 year old, de
Lángara was left in command of a small squadron of 11 ships, mostly
smaller ships of the line. On the afternoon of January 16, 1780 C.E., Don Juan faced the British naval strength of 21 battleships and 11
frigates under the command of Admiral Sir George Rodney off Cape Santa
The Battle of Cape St. Vincent or the Moonlight
Battle is it is also known, was a naval battle took place on January 16,
1780 C.E. during the Anglo-Spanish War off the southern coast of Portugal. The British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney defeated
a Spanish squadron under Don Juan
de Lángara. It is considered an unusual naval battle as it took
place during the night. It was also the first major naval victory for
the British Navy over their European rivals in the war which proved the
value of placing copper-sheathing the surface of warship hulls.
Admiral Rodney was escorting a fleet of supply
ships to relieve the Spanish siege of Gibraltar.
His fleet of about twenty ships of the line encountered de Lángara's Spanish squadron of ships south of Cape St. Vincent on
the Atlantic Ocean. Once de Lángara
realized the size of the British fleet, he attempted to take his force
to the safety of Cádiz.
Unfortunately, the faster, copper-sheathed British ships chased his
The running battle lasted from mid-afternoon until
after midnight. The British fleet captured four Spanish ships, including
Lángara's flagship. Two other
ships were also captured, but their final disposition is unclear. The
reports are conflicting. Spanish sources offer that the ships were
retaken by their Spanish crews. Rodney's report suggests the Spanish
ships were grounded and destroyed.
Following the battle, Rodney was able to
successfully resupply Gibraltar
and Menorca before continuing
on to the West Indies. De Lángara
was released on parole and later promoted to General
de Teniente by King Carlos
It wasn’t mere money, but Hispanic lives were sacrificed to help
the American cause. Having
totally defeated the British along the entire Mississippi River, by the
spring of 1780 C.E., de Gálvez
and his army advanced to the Great Lakes and captured Fort Saint Joseph,
Michigan, once known as San José.
Fort Saint Joseph
was a fort established on land granted to the Jesuits by King Louis XIV;
it was located on what is now the south side of the present-day town of
Niles, Michigan. Père Claude-Jean Allouez established the Mission de
Saint-Joseph in the 1680s C.E. Allouez ministered to the local Native
Americans. The French built the fort in 1691 C.E. mainly as a trading
post on the lower Saint Joseph River. It was located where one branch of
the Old Sauk Trail, a major east-west Native American trail, and the
north-south Grand River Trail meet; together the combined trail fords
the river. As a reward for this victory, de
Gálvez was promoted to Mariscal
del campo and given command of all Spanish operations in America.
Patrick Sinclair, the British military governor at
Fort Michilimackinac in present-day Michigan organized expeditions from
the north against the Americans. With
their victories, the British took over Fort Saint Joseph and maintained
it for the fur trade. During the American
Revolutionary War, they used it to supply
their American Indian allies the Miami,
Potawatomi, and others in the war against the rebellious Continentals.
Beginning in February 1780 C.E., Sinclair
instructed fur traders to travel throughout their territories and
recruit interested Native tribes for a military expedition against San Luís. The prize for the fur traders was an offer to control the
fur trade in the upper parts of Spanish Luisiana
as an incentive to participate. The British force which attacked the
settlement was composed primarily of Natives and led by a former British
militia commander. Emanuel Hesse, a former militia captain turned fur
trader was placed in command of most of the force gathered at Prairie du
Chien. The force numbered an estimated 750 to 1,000 Natives
approximately two dozen fur traders. Spanish guarniciónes
in Luisiana repelled
attacks by British units and their Indian allies in the 1780 C.E.
In 1780 C.E., Americans from
Cahokia, Illinois, led
by Jean-Baptiste Hamelin and
Lieutenant Thomas Brady raided Fort
Saint Joseph, once known as San
José in Michigan. The British
Lieutenant Dagreaux Du Quindre then led forces to capture the raiding
party. He overtook and defeated them near Petit
Fort, in present-day Indiana.
By the spring of 1780 C.E., de Gálvez’s army was advancing to the Great Lakes and would
capture Fort Saint Joseph. After the defeat of Hamelin's party, two Milwaukee chiefs, El
Heturnò and Naquiguen,
had traveled to Spanish-held San
Luís. Upon their arrival
there on December 26, 1780 C.E., they reported the failed raid and asked
for assistance to raid the fort again. Don
Francisco Cruzat, Commandante
of San Luís,
dispatched the miquelets Capitán
Don Eugenio Pouré with 60 volunteers and Native allies. The force
also included Alférez Charles Michel dit Taillon (Charles Tayon) and the
interpreter Louis Chevalier.
By 1781 C.E., a Spanish/Native
Potawatomi detachment traveled through present-day Illinois and took
Fort Saint Joseph. They travelled via the Illinois
River and Kankakee
River to modern Dunns
Bridge, Indiana. There they turned northeast and marched towards Fort
Saint Joseph. Before the
Spanish and their allies attacked the fort, they promised the Potawatomi
half the bounty if they would remain neutral. Captain
Pouré took Fort Saint Joseph by surprise on February 12, 1781 C.E. by
racing across the ice and taking the fort before the defenders could
take up arms. The fort was then ransacked in retaliation for British
raids on St. Louis and to impress upon the local Indian tribes the need
to switch allegiances to the Spanish.
The fort and the St. Joseph River
were briefly claimed by Spain
as their territory. The fort was established on land granted to the
Jesuits by King Louis XIV; it was located on what is now the south side
of the present-day town of Niles, Michigan. This expedition gave España a claim to the Northwest Territory, which would be thwarted
diplomatically by Great Britain and the United States in the 1783 Treaty
On the Atlantic Ocean south of Cuba
in the Caribe Sea a British expedition sailed from Jamaica on February 3,
1780 C.E. It was escorted by 21-year-old Horatio Nelson in the
Hinchinbrook. A British force under the command of John Polson and
Captain Horatio Nelson landed on the coast of the present-day Nicaragua.
Their orders were to sail up the San
Juan River to capture the strategically crucial towns of Granada and León, located
on the northwestern shore of Lake Nicaragua.
Although Nelson was the highest-ranking officer, his authority was
limited to naval operations. The overall commander was John Polson of
the 60th Regiment, who recognized Nelson's ability and worked closely
with him. Polson had three to four hundred regulars from the 60th and
the 79th Regiments and about 300 men from the Loyal Irish Corps, raised
by Dalling. There were also several hundred local recruits including
Blacks and Miskito Natives.
With his combined forces, in February 1780 C.E.,
he captured Fort Charlotte, forcing the City to surrender.
In North America, on February 6, 1780 C.E., a
storm scattered the Spanish fleet headed for Mobile Bay.
Despite this, all ships arrived outside Mobile Bay
by February 9th. Unfortunately, the fleet encountered significant
problems gaining access into the bay as several ships ran aground on
sand bars. The Volante was
wrecked as a result. De Gálvez
salvaged her guns and positioned them on Mobile Point to guard the
By February 10th, the Españoles landed close to Fort Charlotte. The garrison commander,
Captain Elias Durnford, had been awaiting relief from British held Pensacola
which had not arrived. The outnumbered British garrison resisted
stubbornly. It did so until several hundred regular infantry and
artillerymen rowed ashore to reinforce de
España was intent on attacking British holdings in West Florida
during the American Revolutionary War. On February 20th, reinforcements
for Mobile from Habana
arrived. The billowing sails of five warships were sighted. They carried
the Regiment of Navarra, 500 veteran Spanish infantrymen, and the combined forces
assembled for the assault on Mobile.
As the troops boarded the remaining ships to
continue up the bay, a small vessel arrived with the welcome news that
reinforcements were under way from Habana.
They would bring a force to about 1,200 soldados.
Don Francisco Domíngo Joséph
Bouligny was one of those Españoles
who had led an expedition against the British at Mobile and was to
participate in the Siege of Pensacola.
By February 25th, the Españoles landed on the shores of the Dog River, about 10 miles
from Fort Charlotte which guarded the Port of Mobile. They were informed
by a deserter that Fort Charlotte’s garrison had a compliment of 300
Gálvez had assembled a mixed force of Spanish regulars and miquelets
at New Orleans. He had requested additional troops from Habana
for operations against Mobile and Pensacola
in 1779 C.E. These requests had been denied. Before departing from New
Orleans, de Gálvez dispatched
one of his tenientes to Habana to make one last request for the troops.
While de Gálvez
was defeating the British along the Mississippi, España’s
subjects including soldados
and ciudadanos such as my de
Ribera line who were both, who lived in areas that make up the
present states of Tejas, Nuevo Méjico, Arizona, and Las
California answered King Carlos
It wasn’t mere money, but Hispanic lives were
sacrificed to help the Américano
cause. Having totally defeated the British along the entire Mississippi
River, by the spring of (March) 1780 C.E., Bernardo
de Gálvez and his army advanced to the Great Lakes and captured
Fort Saint Joseph, Michigan, once known as San
José. As a reward for this victory, de
Gálvez was promoted to Mariscal
del campo and given command of all of España’s
military operations in América.
A British expedition against Fort San
Juan in Nicaragua took place between March 1780 C.E. and November 1780 C.E.
It had been successful until yellow fever and other tropical diseases
wiped out most of the force, which then returned to Jamaica.
Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribe
Sea. Jamaica is the fourth-largest island country in the Caribe,
by area. It consists of the third-largest island of the Greater Antillas.
The island, 4,240 square miles in area, lies about 90 miles south of Cuba,
and 119 miles west of La Española
or Hispaniola. Today, Hispaniola Island contains the nation-states of
Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Originally inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and
Taíno peoples, the Island came under España’s
rulership following the arrival of Cristóbal
Colón in 1494 C.E. After many of the indigenous died of disease the
Spanish imported African slaves for labor. Originally named Santiago, it remained a possession of España until 1655 C.E. England, later Great Britain in 1706 C.E.,
conquered the island and renamed it Jamaica. Jamaica became a leading
sugar exporter once under British colonial rule. Its plantation economy
became dependent upon slaves imported from Africa.
immediately engaged in siege operations against Mobile’s Fort
Charlotte. De Gálvez’s
troops were composed of Puertorriqueños
and other Hispanic soldados
who transported their cannon closer the fort. On March 1, 1780 C.E., Bernardo
de Gálvez sent Teniente
Coronal Francisco Bouligny to deliver a letter to the Commander of
Fort Charlotte, Elias Durnford offering to accept British surrender. It
was politely rejected. De Gálvez
then began placement of gun batteries around Fort Charlotte the very
De Gálvez and Captain Durnford were courteous in their
written dialogue. As an example, de
Gálvez at one point politely criticized Durnford for having burned
houses denying the cover which the structures provided to the Españoles. Durnford’s response simply pointed out that the other
side of the Fort, away from most of the town, offered a better vantage
point for attack. While trading these niceties, the Españoles continued digging trenches and bombing the Fort.
During the Anglo-Spanish War of 1779 C.E.-1783 C.E.,
Fort Charlotte was the last remaining British frontier post capable of
threatening New Orleans in Spanish Luisiana.
Before it was known as Fort Charlotte, Fort Condé was a French fort
originally built in 1717 C.E. when Mobile was part of the French
province of Louisiana or New France. Once under Spanish rule, it became
known as Fort Carlota. When
the British took over following the French and Indian War in 1763 C.E.,
the Fort was in ruins.
While it had been repaired at that time, when
hostilities with España were
at-hand in 1779 C.E., it was again in need of repair. The Fort was
garrisoned by a total about 300 men. The regulars were primarily from
the 60th Regiment and were augmented by Loyalists from Maryland and
Pennsylvania. The compliment also had local volunteers. From the time
news of de Gálvez's victories
had reached Mobile, Colonel Elias Durnford began directing improvements
to the Fort's defenses.
Elias Durnford (June 13, 1739 C.E.-June 21, 1794
C.E.) was a British army officer and civil engineer. He is best known
for surveying the town of Pensacola
and laying out a city plan. This planning Durnford based upon two public
places. One is now the Plaza
Ferdinand VII and the other Seville Square. Between 1769 C.E. and 1778
C.E., the Colonel was Lieutenant Governor of British West Florida.
By 1794 C.E., Colonel Durnford would be the Chief Royal Engineer of the
While Durnford was preparing, de
Gálvez's army was making ready to sail by January 28, 1780 C.E.
from New Orleans aboard a small fleet of transports.
Captain Durnford had requested reinforcements
early on from General John Campbell at Pensacola.
On March 5th and 6th, most of the Pensacola
garrison was dispatched to Mobile. River crossings delays and other
difficulties left the force unable to assist the garrison at Fort
Charlotte. Despite this, the heavily outnumbered British garrison
But not until March 6, 1780 C.E., was Bernardo
de Gálvez able to maneuver his fleet in close enough to Mobile to
begin operations. Three days later, Mobile surrendered. He was to
recapture Mobile from the British at the Battle of Fort Charlotte. Fort
Louis de la Mobile (Fort Condé de la Mobile, Fort Charlotte, Fort Carlota,
Fort Mobile), in today’s Alabama was built by the French in 1711 C.E.
They built Fort Condé de la Mobile after moving their garrison from
Fort Iberville in Luisiana. By 1763 C.E., it was occupied by British and renamed Fort
Charlotte. In 1779 C.E., it would be captured by Spanish Mariscal del campo and Gobernador
of Luisiana, de Gálvez and called Fort Carlota.
In 1783 C.E., it would be ceded to España.
By March 9th, the defenders of the site were
beginning to lose their resolve. The capitulation of the British forces
would eventually secure the west shore of Mobile Bay for the Españoles and open a path for Spanish operations against Pensacola.
Its fall would drive the British from the western reaches of West Florida.
In North America, the two-week siege and Battle of
Fort Charlotte at Mobile, Alabama on March 10th-13th, 1780 C.E. was
commanded by Spanish Mariscal del
campo Bernardo de Gálvez
against the British fortifications guarding the port of Mobile. Mobile
is located at the head of the Mobile Bay and the north-central Gulf
Coast. It is the county seat of Mobile County, Alabama. The city was in
the British province of West Florida.
On March 11, 1780 C.E., Spanish batteries of
18-and 24-pound cannons began firing. The intense and sustained barrage
of artillery filled the skies with smoke, and cannonballs smashed the
parapets and embrasures of Fort Charlotte in Mobile. By late afternoon,
Durnford ordered a white flag raised.
On March 13, 1780 C.E., de Gálvez began the Battle of Fort Charlotte. The siege fought
during the American Revolutionary War between de Gálvez and Captain Elias Durnford commander of the British
fortifications guarding present-day Mobile, Alabama. Fort Charlotte was
the last remaining British frontier post with the potential to threaten
New Orleans in España's
On March 13th, the walls of Fort Charlotte were
breached. They remained resolute until Spanish bombardment finally
breached the Fort’s walls. The garrison commander, Captain Elias
Durnford, had held out awaited relief from Pensacola.
However, given the superior force of the Spanish, Durnford capitulated
the following day, surrendering his garrison on March 14, 1780 C.E. He
had no choice. The Captain was forced to surrender. In the larger scheme
of things, its fall drove the British from the western reaches of West Florida.
It also reduced the British military presence in West Florida
to its capital, Pensacola.
That capitulation secured the western shore of
Mobile Bay. In essence, it opened the way for Spanish operations against
Pensacola. However, de Gálvez did not immediately move against Pensacola after his victory at Fort Charlotte, the General
was aware that Pensacola was
strongly defended. It held powerful cannons, in a secure structure. The
well-trained, experienced, and seasoned warrior understood clearly his
position. He once again wisely requested large-scale naval support from Habana.
A lesser soldado
and comandante would have
attempted to seize the moment and capitalize on the current British
disorganization. De Gálvez’s
military intelligence had informed him that the British were in disarray
due to the attempt to support Mobile. He had also learned in April that
additional reinforcements had arrived at Pensacola.
This included British Royal Navy vessels. Without the necessary
reinforcements, de Gálvez was forced to garrison Mobile. Given his circumstances,
he and left for Habana in
order to obtain additional troops and gather and transport necessary
equipment for an attack on Pensacola.
It should not be forgotten that General George
Washington was very appreciative of the heroic deeds by Hispanic soldados
on behalf of his cause. España’s
diplomat, Juan de Miralles, had earned Washington’s respect and admiration
for his help during the Revolution. When Miralles
died in 1780 C.E., Washington presided over his funeral and wrote a
letter explaining how beloved the Español
was by Americans.
after many delays, a British expedition began moving up the San
Juan River on March 17, 1780 C.E. toward Fortress San
On April 9, 1780 C.E., Captain Horatio Nelson led
an assault which captured a Spanish battery on the island of Bartola
in what was to be the first hand-to-hand combat of his career. Five
miles upstream was Fort San Juan,
with about 150 armed defenders and 86 others.
The siege on Fort San Juan began on April 13, 1780 C.E. Because of poor planning and
lost supplies, the British soon began to run low on ammunition and
After the tropical rains began on April 20, 1780
C.E., the British attacking Fort San
Juan began to sicken and die of what was most probably malaria with
dysentery and typhoid fever.
Captain Horatio Nelson was one of the first
British to become ill. He was dispatched downriver on April 28, 1780 C.E.
The British expeditionary force succeeded in
capturing the Fortress San Juan
on April 29, 1780, despite the fact that it consisted of less than 200
men. The 22-year-old Captain Horatio Nelson, in command of HMS
Hinchinbrook, was responsible for leading his men through dense jungle
to attack the Fortress from a hill in the rear.
at the Battle of El Castillo de la
Inmaculada Concepción or the Fortress of the Immaculate Conception
the Españoles, with about 160
armed defenders of whom only 60 were soldados,
successfully held back a force of 3,000.
Castillo de la Inmaculada Concepción was a fortification located on
the southern bank of the Río
or River San Juan, in the
village of El Castillo in
southern Nicaragua. The
fortress is situated approximately 6 kilometers from the border with Costa Rica, at the Raudal del
Diablo rapids of the San Juan
River. The Fortress was completed in 1675 C.E. as part of a series
of fortifications along the San
Juan River, to defend against pirate attacks upon the city of Granada.
Granada could be reached by
navigating upstream from the Caribe
Sea along the San Juan River
into Lake Nicaragua. The
settlement of El Castillo and
its fortress continued to be strategically important to the Captaincy
General of Guatemala until the late 18th-Century C.E.
Because of poor planning and the assumption that
the besieged would surrender very soon, the British ran out of
ammunition for the cannons as well as rations for the men.
When the tropical rains started, men began to sicken and die,
probably of malaria and dysentery, and maybe of typhoid fever. The
expedition was a costly debacle.
In North America, Juan de Miralles had been named as España’s first ambassador to the United States. De
Miralles and George Washington became personal friends and
professional correspondents. Unfortunately, while visiting Washington's
headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey he became ill with pulmonary
fever which is associated with pulmonary inflammation. Within days, Juan
died on April 30, 1780 C.E. at Morristown, New Jersey.
In North America, Francisco Rendón arrived in the United States from Cuba
in 1779 C.E. He served as secretary to Juan
de Miralles, España’s
unofficial representative to Congress. After Miralles’
death in April 1780 C.E., Rendón
succeeded him as unofficial representative. In 1785 C.E. and 1786 C.E., Francisco served as secretary to Diego de Gardoqui, España’s first official representative to the
United States. Rendón then
served as España’s
intendant in Luisiana from
1794 C.E. to 1796 C.E. Later, he would serve as intendant in the Nueva
España areas Zacatecas, Méjico,
1796 C.E.-1810 C.E., and Oaxaca,
Méjico, 1814 C.E.-1816 and
1818 C.E.-1821 C.E.
When the Battle of San Luís Expedition left Prairie du Chien on May 2, 1780 C.E., the
largest contingent of the force was about 200 Sioux warriors led by
Wapash (1718 C.E.-1806 C.E.). He was an Mdewakanton Dakota chief born in
present-day Minnesota in 1718 C.E. There were also additional sizable
companies from the Chippewa, Menominee, and Winnebago nations, and
smaller numbers of warriors from other nations. The Chippewa chief
Matchekewis was given overall command of the native forces. Matchekewis
was a tribal leader of the Ojibwe people whose homeland was the Michigan
country. In 1763 C.E., he had taken part in Pontiac's Rebellion in the
capture of Fort Michilimackinac from the British. By 1780 C.E., he was
in command of the braves of his tribes during the American Revolutionary
War. In that war, the Ojibwe were allies Britain against the Españoles.
At the Battle of San Luís
Matchekewis was in charge of all the Native troops.
When the force reached Rock Island they were
joined by about 250 men from the Sac and Fox nations. Rock Island is a
city and the county seat of Rock Island County, Illinois. The original
Rock Island, from which the city got its name, is the largest island on
the Mississippi River and now called Arsenal Island.
By mid-May, 1780 C.E., a single round tower had
been built at Fort San Luís.
It was about 30 feet in diameter and approximately thirty to forty feet
tall. The tower, named Fort San
Carlos, provided a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.
This left part of a second tower only partially constructed. There
wasn’t time to build more towers.
So trenches were dug. They were placed between the tower and the
river to the north and south of the village. The Teniente
de Leyba placed five cannon on top of the tower. And additional
cannon were placed along the trenches.
Given his military disadvantage, de
Leyba appealed to a 70 year old Frenchman, Francois Valle. Valle
lived at the site of the French Colonial Valles Mines approximately 60
miles to the south of the fort. In response, Valle sent his two sons and
151 well-trained and equipped French militia men. This act would tip the
scale in favor of the Españoles.
Another import point about Valle, he provided the Españoles
of both forts (Fort San Carlos
and Fort Bowman) with a major tactical advantage. Valle supplied them
with genuine lead from his mines for musket balls and cannonballs. This
they would have instead of pebbles or stones. To be sure, being hit by a
pebble or stone does not compare to the damage and knockdown power of a
52 caliber rifle ball at 100 feet.
Later, by Royal Decree on April 1, 1782 C.E., King
Carlos III of España,
conferred upon Francois Valle the rank of teniente
in the regular Spanish army thus making him a Spanish don.
about 450 British reinforcements arrived on May 15, 1780 C.E., but the
Blacks and Natives abandoned the expedition due to illness. Although
British governor John Dalling persisted in trying to gather
reinforcements, sickness continued to take a heavy toll.
In North America, on May 23rd, Teniente
de Leyba's scouts reported that the British militia commander,
Emanuel Hesse's force was only 14 miles away from Fort San
Carlos. They had landed their canoes and were coming overland.
On May 25th, Commander Hesse sent out scouting
parties. These were to determine the situation at San Luís and report back. The parties were unable to get close to
the village due to the presence of workers, including women and
children, in the fields outside the village.
The Battle of Fort San Carlos, or the British attack on San Luís arrived on May 26, 1780 C.E. De Leyba’s original compliment of soldados had only 29 Spanish Army regulars of the Fijo
de Luisiana Colonial Regiment but were now bolstered by Valle’s
153 assisters. Most of the 168 inexperienced miquelets
were dispersed in the surrounding countryside.
In the beginning, the Native warriors under the
British were reluctant to attack San
Luís. However, Commander Hesse provided them with large gifts and
secured their participation. The diversity of the company resulted in
some animosity among the various Native tribes. The Chippewa and Sioux
in particular had a known history of conflict with one another. However,
Wapash and Matchekewis promoted unity within the force during the
Commander Hesse ordered Jean-Marie Ducharme and
300 Natives across the river to attack Cahokia. The remainder was to
head toward San Luís arriving
approximately 1:00 pm.
Jean-Marie Ducharme (July 19, 1723 C.E.-July 20,
1807 C.E.) was born in Lachine, New France. He was the son of a farmer
and fur trader. Ducharme also became a fur trader and political figure
in the areas of New France, British Québec, and Lower Canada. He
entered the fur trade in the southwest and assisted the French in
establishing Fort Duquesne near the current site of Pittsburgh.
Soon after the British took control of Québec,
Jean-Marie began operations at La Baye, near what is today know as,
Green Bay, Wisconsin. By 1763 C.E, he transported ammunition to
Michilimackinac, violating a British ban. Ducharme was later arrested
and imprisoned at Montreal.
In 1772 C.E., Ducharme was trading with the Little
Osages on the Missouri River. This led the Españoles to attempt his capture. Though his furs were confiscated,
Ducharme managed to escape to Montreal. Later, he continued to trade in
the La Baye area.
Both Spanish guarniciónes
in Luisiana repelled attacks
by British units and their Native allies in the 1780 C.E. The Battle of San
Luís is also known as the Battle of Fort San
Carlos. The British-led attack on San
Luís took place on May 26, 1780 C.E., at the time a French
settlement in Spanish Luisiana. The city and inland port is now in the U.S. state of
Missouri, located along the western bank of the Mississippi River. It
forms Missouri's border with Illinois. The city was founded after the
Treaty of Paris in 1763 C.E., during the Anglo-Spanish War of
This unsuccessful British-led attack on San
Luís, a French settlement in Spanish Luisiana
would show Britain’s weaknesses. The city of St. Louis and inland port
in the state of Missouri, is located along the western bank of the
Mississippi River, it forms Missouri's border with Illinois. The city
was founded after the Treaty of Paris (1763), during the Anglo-Spanish
War of 1779C.E.-1783 C.E.
The British force which attacked the settlement
was composed primarily of Natives and led by a former British militia
commander. The settlement's defenders, mostly local miquelets, under the command of Teniente
Gobernador of Spanish Luisiana
Fernando de Leyba, had fortified the town, as best they could and
successfully withstood the attack.
A second simultaneous attack on the nearby
American outpost at Cahokia, on the opposite bank of the Mississippi and
technically in British-controlled territory, was also repulsed. The
retreating Natives destroyed crops and took captive civilians outside
the protected area. The British failure effectively ended their attempts
to gain control of the Mississippi River, during the war.
A warning shot was fired from the Fort San
Carlos tower when they came in view, with the Sioux and Winnebagoes
leading the way. These were followed by the Sac, Fox, and fur traders
which included Hesse, bringing up the rear. Unfortunately, the British
forces were detected.
Once aware of the British presence, de
Leyba directed the defense of the Fort from the tower. The Españoles
opened with devastating fire from the Fort and trenches when the British
forces were in range. During the first volley, most of the Sac and Fox
There could also to be heard in that confusing
battle the sorrowful cries of women and children who were shut up in the
house of the Comandante. It
was defended by twenty men under the Teniente
de infantería, Don Francisco Cartabona. The mournful wailing seemed to inspire the
besieged Fort and extraordinary valor and spirit resulted in the soldados.
That first barrage of fire left them unwilling or
unable to carry on the fight. They left the battle with many of the
other participants suspicious of their motives in joining the
expedition. The British later complained of their treachery.
However, the Wapasha and the Sioux persisted for
several hours. These attempted to draw the Españoles
out. They went as far as brutally killing captives they had taken in the
fields. Reports of the number killed outside the city's gates varying
significantly. Estimates are from a few dozen to forty or more. One Jean
Marie Cardinal was among the killed. He was an early trader and explorer
of the Mississippi. Cardinal and his Pawnee Indian wife,
Careche-Caranche had seven children.
At least one American was also killed while out in
the fields. He, a Frenchman named Chancellor, and his family were riding
a horse drawn cart at the time. Chancellor was hit twice by musket balls
in his arm. His wife was a victim of a shot through her hand. An elder
daughter was hit in the shoulder. Another of his daughters received a
wound to the head. The unknown American was shot dead. In order to
prevent the Natives from taking the American's scalp, Chancellor forced
the horses hard through the city gates.
Julian Roy was another lucky survivor. He had made
his way into the fields armed with a pistol. He first tried to outrun
the Natives. Once Roy realized that one of the attackers was almost upon
him, he fired a shot which hit the Indian in the jaw. As there was no
way to escape the oncoming of the Natives, Roy assisted the wounded
Indian hoping to win his appreciation. The ploy worked, saving his life.
Some of the townspeople were angered by these
murders and requested permission to have the miquelets deploy to the outside. De Leyba refused the request and the attackers eventually withdrew.
As the British headed north they destroyed crops, livestock, and
buildings as they went. It is clear that de
Leyba’s efforts had been enough to repel the invaders. However,
this did not stop the British troops from laying waste to the
surrounding farms, so much for the loving kindness of the British.
A second and simultaneous attack took place at the
nearby American outpost at Cahokia and its Fort Bowman. Cahokia was
technically in British-controlled territory. The town was founded 1699
C.E. It is located on the opposite bank of the Mississippi. Cahokia is a
village in St. Clair County, Illinois which is part of Greater St.
Louis, the metropolitan area around St. Louis. The name is a reference
to one of the clans of the historic Illini Confederacy, who were
encountered by early French explorers to the region.
The Illini or Illiniwek Confederacy is also
referred to as the Illinois Confederation. These were a group of 12-13
Native tribes living in the upper Mississippi River valley of North
America. The tribes were the Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Peoria, Tamaroa,
Moingwena, Michigamea, Chepoussa, Chinkoa, Coiracoentanon, Espeminkia,
Maroa, and Tapouara. At the time of European contact in the 17th-Century
C.E., they were believed to have a total population of over 10,000.
Cahokia derives its name from the Cahokia Indian
tribe which translates to "wild geese." By 1735 C.E., the
Mission of Cahokia listed only twelve adult Canadian males in a census.
Later, Cahokia became the most populous of the French colonial
Mississippi Valley villages. By the 1740’s C.E., the settlement was
the center for the French trade of Native American goods. Furs traded
with a French government representative became the basis for the setting
of trading prices. Gifts were given to insure that the tribes traded
with the French rather than the British.
French control of the Middle Mississippi Valley
and Cahokia were lost to the British in a series of colonial wars that
ended in 1763 C.E. With the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the terms
forced the French to cede all territories east of the Mississippi River,
the Louisiana Territory, and New Orleans to the Españoles.
Preferring not to live under British rule, many of the French settlers
crossed the river to Ste. Genevieve or to the newly established
settlement of San Luís.
During the American Revolution Cahokia had become
a part of the United States. Cahokia is located in southwestern Illinois
along the Mississippi River. The city rests in the northeastern part of
St. Clair County about 4 miles south of East St. Louis. On July 4, 1778
C.E., an American expedition led by Captain Joseph Bowman, took Cahokia
without resistance. The small stone fort was renamed Fort Bowman and was
the westernmost American fort in the Revolutionary War. The French had
built it originally in 1719 C.E. It was constructed of as a wood fort
from 1733 C.E.-1736 C.E. The Fort was rebuilt on 57-acres. By 1760 C.E.,
it was later rebuilt with four blockhouses. By 1764 C.E., it was
destroyed by French. In 1765 C.E. the British occupied the Fort. In 1772
C.E., the British built Fort Gage of stone. In 1778 C.E., it was
captured by American George Rogers Clark and renamed Fort Clark.
Cahokia was named the county seat of St. Clair
County following passage of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 C.E., which
directed that a "courthouse, county jail, pillory, whipping post,
and stocks" be built in every county. Instead of erecting a new
building, the judges of the common pleas court of St. Clair County in
1793 C.E. purchased the Saucier home to serve as the courthouse.
On the other side of the river, Ducharme's attack
on Cahokia was easily repulsed. The timely arrival of Lieutenant Colonel
George Rogers Clark to lead its defense played a role; Clark's
reputation as a frontier fighter made the Indian force reluctant to
pursue the attack. The retreating Natives destroyed crops and took
captive civilians outside the protected area.
In North America, San Luís’ defenders were in the main, local miquelets. Spanish defenders were under the command of Teniente
Gobernador of Spanish Luisiana,
Fernando de Leyba. There is very little known of de
Leyba's life until his appointment to the position of Teniente
Gobernador on June 14, 1778 C.E. Immediately upon his appointment to
the post, de Leyba was ordered
by Bernardo de Gálvez to stay
aware of events occurring in the American Revolutionary War. He was also
ordered to keep all correspondence prominent Americans secret and to
report said at once to de Gálvez.
De Leyba's health was already poor, and, by June 28th, he
was dead. His report of the action reached de
Gálvez only after his death, yet the General
was impressed enough to promote the gobernador,
posthumously, to the rank of Teniente
The British failure effectively ended their
attempts to gain control of the Mississippi River, during the war.
The Spanish defeated Matchekewis. After the war,
he signed the Treaty of Greenville with the young United States, ceding
Bois Blanc Island in Lake Huron, in addition to all of his original
lands, to the United States.
In 1780 C.E., Luís
de Córdoba y Córdoba (February 8, 1706 C.E.-December 29, 1796 C.E.)
the Spanish Almirante would
aid the Thirteen Colonies in their war by winning sea battles and
defeating the British. This hurt the British economy and war efforts.
De Córdoba was born in Sevilla,
España. His father was Don
Juan de Córdoba Lasso de la Vega y Puente, a Capitán
de la Marina de guerra real Español, a knight of the Order of Calatrava
a mariner. Luís’ mother was
Doña Clemencia Fernández de Córdoba Lasso de la Vega Veintimiglia,
the daughter of the Marqués of
Vado del Maestre and first-cousin of her husband.
De Córdoba’s interest in the sea began at an early age. By age
11, Luís enlisted aboard his
father's ship. At age 13, he had made his first journey to América. In 1721 C.E., Luís
joined the La Escuela Naval
Militar or naval academy at the naval town of San
Carlos, San Fernando, Cádiz
España where he graduated with the rank of Alférez de Fragata in 1723 C.E. His early career was marked by
success. On cruises and military actions at sea, he won the approval of
his superiors and praise from the King. By 1730 C.E., de Córdoba commanded the naval escort for the Duke of Parma, Infante
Carlos de Borbón who journeyed across the Mediterranean en route to
the campaigns in Italy. The Duke of Parma would later become Carlos
III of España. Carlos and his generales
were on their way to reconquer the Kingdom of Naples at the Battle of
Bitonto. This they would do with naval assistance from a squadron
commanded by de Córdoba.
Luís de Córdoba y Córdoba
was a Spanish Almirante best
known for his command of the Spanish fleet during the American War of
Independence. De Córdoba’s
most memorable military actions were the capture of two British convoys
and the taking of a total of 79 ships between 1780 C.E. and 1782 C.E.
These included the capture of 55 ships from a convoy composed of
Indiamen, and other cargo ships 60 leagues off Cape Saint Vincent This
was the time of the American War of Independence and the British Navy
was at low ebb, not being able to replace and upkeep their battered
ships with the abundant Vermont timber as in the past. Don
Luís captured a convoy of 55 British ships and their three
accompanying frigates north of the Açores and brought them all to Cádiz
in the summer of 1780 C.E.
Meanwhile in Cuba,
the Spanish comandantes planning
the Pensacola campaign knew
that most of the troops would now have to come from Cuba,
Luisiana, and other Spanish
holdings in the América. De Gálvez reached Habana
to lobby for more troops on August 2, 1780 C.E. just as the decimated
Spanish Army of Operations arrived. The junta
there agreed to provide 4,000 men, including reinforcements from Méjico
and as many troops as could be spared from Puerto
Rico and Santo Domingo.
The Battle of Cape St. Vincent took place on
August 9, 1780 C.E. It was a naval engagement during the Anglo-Spanish
War. A Spanish fleet led by Almirante
Luís de Córdoba y Córdoba,
accompanied by a squadron of French ships, came upon a large British
convoy. During the action the Españoles
and French force captured almost all the British ships. This dealt a
severe blow to Great Britain’s commerce industry.
Captain of HMS Ramillies and three frigates, Sir
John Moutray led the British convoy. They sailed from Portsmouth on July
27th. On August 9th, they encountered a Spanish fleet.
During the Battle, the Españoles captured 52 of 55 British vessels, making it one of the
most complete naval captures ever made. In that capture the British lost
80,000 muskets. It is estimated that this was enough to equip 40,000
troops. They also lost 294 cannons. The size of a British Unit is as
It has been estimated that the affair had a
negative financial impact of approximately £1,500,000 (£1,000,000 in
gold and £500,000-£600,000 in equipment and ships). It has also been
suggested that this failure helped to derail a secret British diplomatic
effort to make peace with España.
In Indian, the Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780 C.E.-1784
C.E.) experienced even bloodier battles. Fortunes fluctuated between the
warring powers. In September, 1780 C.E., Tipu would defeat Baillie at
the Battle of Pollilur.
Fresh from his victories in the West and
reinforced, Bernardo de Gálvez
turned his attention to the Gulf Coast. He planned for his actions
against what had been España’s
crown jewel of the Southeast, the British stronghold at Pensacola,
Florida. Next, he prepared for
battle. Using the intelligence he’d received on the British forces at Pensacola,
de Gálvez wanted to take immediate action on an offensive there.
However, delays due to bad weather hindered him. Once reinforcements
arrived from Jamaica, he personally sailed to Habana,
Cuba in August 1780 C.E. to secure additional reinforcements. De
Gálvez received his reinforcements. However, his expedition was cut
short after only two days. A storm scattered his fleet and he was forced
to return to Habana. He once
again had to secure reinforcements because some of the ships had been
damaged, but it was more difficult the second time.
As de Gálvez
was preparing for battle, Nuevo Méjico’s
Gobernador Juan Bautista de Anza was officially notified of the
decree in a letter from Teodoro de
Croix dated August 17, 1780 C.E. De
Anza had obtained permission to exempt the Zuñi
and Hopi pueblos from the
requested donativos to be
given by the Natives of the Provincia.
In Las Californias,
Fray Junípero Serra used
Church funds to pay the donativos
for misión Natives. While the
Españoles fully supported the
war efforts, they recognized that the impoverished Natives were unable
It is important to understand how España’s
soldados and statesmen were connected. Teodoro de Croix was named Commandante
General of the new Provincias
Internas jurisdiction and assumed his duties on January 1, 1777 C.E.
This was the same date that Bernardo
de Gálvez became acting gobernador
of Luisiana. His relationship
with the de Gálvez family
cannot be underestimated or ignored in the context of España’s
Nuevo Mundo power politics.
Teodoro de Croix (1730
C.E.-1792 C.E.) was a soldado and government official in Nueva
España. He was born in Prévoté castle near Lille, France, on June
20, 1730 C.E. Entering the España’s
army at age seventeen, he was sent to Italy as an alférez
of grenadiers of the Royal Guard. By 1750 C.E., he transferred to
the Walloon Guards, bodyguards of the Borbón
kings of España. In 1756 C.E.,
he was promoted to the rank of teniente
and decorated in Flanders with the Cross of the Teutonic Order, which
gave him the title of caballero.
By 1760 C.E., Caballero de Croix
was made a coronel in the
In 1766 C.E., when his uncle Francisco, Marqués de Croix, went to Nueva España as virrey. Teodoro
accompanied him as Capitán of
the Virreinal (Viceregal Court Guard). The virrey shortly appointed him gobernador
of Acapulco. He became
inspector of troops for Nueva España
with the rank of General de
brigada in December of that year and served in that capacity until
1770 C.E. The next year the Marqués
de Croix ended his term as virrey
and Teodoro sailed with him for España
in company with José Bernardo de
Gálvez y Gallardo, who was retiring as inspector general. Poor
sailing weather held up the voyage for five months in Habana.
Thus, de Gálvez's young
nephew, Bernardo de Gálvez
fresh from his first frontier command in Chihuahua,
was able to overtake him and join the group for the rest of the voyage.
De Croix's career undoubtedly benefited not only from his
uncle's status. However, the close alliance of the de Gálvez and de Croix
families was also of great value to him. The subsequent careers of both
the two older men and their nephews followed a well-planned course. The de
Croix/de Gálvez power relationship and their tremendous influence
at the Corte real española
assisted the careers of both families. While the elder de
Croix became Commandante General of España’s
Army, José de Gálvez
advanced to the important post of Secretarío
del Estado del Despacho Universal de Indias. Don
José thus was able to implement his recommendation for separating Nueva
España's most northern provincias
from the Virreinato to deal more effectively with the Native problem. Teodoro
was named Commandante General of the new Provincias
Internas jurisdiction and assumed his duties on January 1, 1777 C.E.,
the same date that Bernardo de Gálvez
became acting gobernador of Luisiana.
general, de Croix found
himself facing the animus of the reigning virrey,
António María de Bucareli y Ursúa.
It is speculated that this was due to his having been deprived of a
portion of his jurisdiction. De
Croix saw little improvement in frontier conditions from the work of
Hugo Oconór, a Bucareli
appointee, who had undertaken a reshuffling of presidios
to establish a new defense line to conform to the Royal Regulations of
1772 C.E. The staggering toll of Indian depredations all across the
frontier convinced him of Oconór's failure.
De Croix was faced the necessity of reorganizing the
presidial line again. He ultimately returned some of the presidios to their original position and buttressed them with a
secondary line of fortified villas.
In August 1777 C.E., Caballero de
Croix left Méjico City to
inspect his jurisdiction. The entourage crossed the Río
Grande near San Juan Bautista
on December 24th and remained in what is now Tejas
until January 22, 1778 C.E.
San António, and Chihuahua de Croix convened war councils with frontier officers to
discuss the methods for confronting the Apache
menace. By then the problem was common to all the Interior Provinces. As
a result of these juntas, came
a request for the new gobernador
of Luisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez, to join de
Croix in an Apache
campaign. This would unite a large Luisiana
military force with the two thousand troops that the Commandante
General hoped to obtain from the Corona
Española. Such plans, which
might have enhanced the stature of both men, were doomed by the prospect
of España's entry into the
war that the North Américano
Colonists were waging against Britain.
As part of España’s
strategic vision for Nueva España
and the North American Continent, de
Croix built up a more extensive military establishment. This would
bolster Nueva España’s
control over its entire northern frontier. Such a military structure had
never existed previously. Four thousand eight hundred and eighty-six
militiamen and presidials were placed under arms from Tejas
to Sonora. Unfortunately for España,
with his departure, the bulk of his policy was abandoned. On February
13, 1783, he was promoted to Teniente
General and relieved of his duties to become virrey
of Perú. Two years later, his
friend Bernardo de Gálvez,
having achieved notable successes in the war with Britain was appointed virrey of Nueva España. Bernardo
succeeded his late father, Matías
to the post.
For a brief time, the de Croix and de Gálvez
families had achieved a colonial dynasty.
However, it was short-lived. Bernardo
would die in office in November 1786 C.E. Caballero
de Croix would serve as virrey
of Perú from April 6, 1784
C.E. till March 25, 1790 C.E. In 1791 C.E., he was made a coronel in the king's bodyguard and a commander in the Teutonic
Order. He died in Madrid in
A hurricane halted the Spanish expedition to
capture Pensacola the capital
of British West Florida in
October of 1780 C.E.
The British expedition in Nicaragua, to take Fort San
Juan and the surrounding region was abandoned in principle on
November 8, 1780 C.E., and the Españoles
reoccupied the remnants of the Fort after the British blew it up before
their departure. More than 2,500 men died, which made the San Juan Expedition the costliest British disaster of the entire
By the closing of 1780 C.E., General George
Washington's appreciation for these heroic deeds on behalf of the
colonists by Hispanic soldados
was not forgotten. The Españoles
diplomat, Juan de Miralles,
earned the respect and admiration of Washington for his help in the
Revolution. When de Miralles
died in 1780 C.E., Washington presided over his funeral.
On the 24th of April, after reviewing
the four battalions with Washington, De la Luzerne, and others, Don
Juan de Miralles was tossing with death fever. Four days later, he
died. On the 29th of April his funeral took place, in a style never
imitated or equaled in Morristown. A witness, Mr. Thatcher exhausted all
his strong words in expressing his admiration of the scene, and
doubtless would have used more had they been at hand. Hear him: "I
accompanied Dr. Schuyler to headquarters to attend the funeral of M.
de Miralles. The deceased was a gentleman of high rank in Spain, and
had been about one year a resident with our Congress from the Spanish Corte
real española. The corpse was dressed in rich state and exposed to
public view, as is customary in Europe. The coffin was most splendid and
stately, lined throughout with fine cambric, and covered on the outside
with rich black velvet, and ornamented in a superb manner. The top of
the coffin was removed to display the pomp and grandeur with which the
body was decorated. It was a splendid full dress, consisting of a
scarlet suit, embroidered with rich gold lace, a three-cornered
gold-laced hat, a genteelcued wig, white silk stockings, large diamond
shoe and knee buckles, a profusion of diamond rings decorated the
fingers, and from a superb gold watch set with diamonds several rich
seals were suspended. His excellency General Washington, with several
other general officers, and members of the Congress, attended the
funeral solemnities and walked as chief mourners. The other officers of
the army and numerous respectable citizens formed a splendid procession,
extending about one mile. The pall-bearers were six field officers, and
the coffin was borne on the shoulders of four officers of the artillery
in full uniform. Minute-guns were fired during the procession, which
greatly increased the solemnity of the occasion. A Spanish priest
performed service at the grave in the Roman Catholic form. The coffin
was enclosed in a box of plank, and in all the profusion of pomp and
grandeur was deposited in the silent grave in the common burying ground
near the church at Morristown. A guard is placed at the grave lest our
soldiers should be tempted to dig for hidden treasure."
Washington also wrote a letter explaining how
beloved the Español was by
Americans. This was a testament that the Founding Fathers had knowledge
and appreciation for España
and her ciudadanos’ aid to
the American Colonists.
While the Revolutionary War raged on, España
and her Nuevo Mundo colonials had their share of problems. It is clear that
the de Gálvez family rose to
the occasion. Bernardo de
Gálvez stood firm in the Mississippi region. José
de Gálvez helped direct affairs of the el Imperio Español from España.
José’s brother, Matías, born in Velez-Málaga
in 1731 C.E., was well into his career in the Nuevo Mundo. Entering the administration through the influence of
his brother, Matías obtained
By 1781 C.E., Bernardo
de Gálvez’s father, Don Matiás de Gálvez, was appointed Capitán
General of Guatemala. Approximately, two years later Don Matiás became Virrey
of Nueva España today parts
of which are in Méjico. An
uncle, Don Joséf de Gálvez,
was a great favorite of King Carlos
III and was appointed secretary of state and president of the Council of
the Indias. This position
conferred upon him a power only slightly less than that of the King.
Practicing law in Madrid, José de
Gálvez y Gallardo married María
Magdalena de Grimaldo, who died a year later. He then married Lucía
Romet y Pichelin, a woman of French origin. Lucía's
connections enabled de Gálvez
to work as legal adviser at the French embassy in Madrid.
He soon climbed the social and political ladder and secured a job as
personal secretary to Jerónimo
Grimaldi, minister to the newly ascended King Carlos
III. In 1762 C.E., de Gálvez
obtained a position as attorney to Prince Carlos,
the future King Carlos IV.
While in Madrid,
he became acquainted with the French ambassador, Marquis de Duras, who
engaged him as an assistant in the prosecution of claims at the Corte Real Española. There, de
Gálvez attracted the attention of Carlos
III's Prime Minister, the Marqués
of Grimaldi, and became his
Again in 1781 C.E., Luís de Córdoba y Córdoba's fleet captured America-bound British
convoys, damaging British military supplies and commerce.
In North America, the revolt by the Natchez
district people occurred in 1781 C.E. At Fort Panmure the Spanish guarnición
was besieged by British Loyalists. It was forced to surrender.
Later, it was returned to the Spanish officers and Criollo
soldados. The Fort would
remain in Spanish hands until its evacuation on March 30, 1798 C.E.
América, because of the
distance and the scarcity of resources, Matías
de Gálvez was unable to aid Fort San
Juan, Nicaragua. The British captured the Fortress San Juan in Nicaragua and
occupied it for nine months, finally abandoning their last efforts on
January 5, 1781 C.E., after their forces were decimated by tropical
diseases. It fell to the British expedition led by Captain Horatio
Nelson. The hill is named Lomas de
Nelson to this day.
For some time, Bernardo de Gálvez in North America had not been able to launch his
successful attack on Pensacola
until 1781 C.E. However, before Bernardo
did so, in January 1781 C.E., his guarnición
at Mobile was forced to fend off a counterattack by the British.
On another area of the North American British
battle front, Bernardo’s
army and its organized miquelets
soon rose to seven thousand men. Invading the northwestern part of Florida, he defeated the British in several encounters. His next
action was to besiege Pensacola,
West Florida. This would be
his greatest victory.
Unable to attack it from the seaside due to a lack
of siege artillery and a fleet, de
Gálvez went in January 1781 C.E., to Habana
to gain support, obtain troops, and weapons.
February 28, 1781 C.E., de Gálvez
set sail for Pensacola
returning from Habana, Cuba bringing with him from about
1,300 men. These regular troops included a Majorcan regiment. España's
Irish Hibernia Regiment
with its 319 men including miquelets
of biracial and Free Afro-Cubanos
was also part of the
contingent. It was commanded by Arturo
O'Neill de Tyrone y O'Kelly (January 8, 1736 C.E.-December 9, 1814 C.E.). He
was an Irish-born Spanish coronel
who served the Corona Española as
gobernador of several places
in Nueva España (1781 C.E.-1800 C.E.)
including being the Gobernador
of Spanish West and East Florida.
He came from a lineage that occupied prominent European positions and
titles, since at least the 12th-Century C.E.
Upon his return in February with the necessary
material, word arrived of a failed British effort to recapture Mobile.
De Gálvez had already sent instructions ahead to New
Orleans and Mobile that reserves should make for Pensacola. A relieved General
Bernardo de Gálvez reached Santa
Rosa Island outside Pensacola
Bay on March 9, 1781 C.E.
The defenses of British of Pensacola and Fort George were about to be tested when a Spanish and
French fleet led by de Gálvez
arrived on March 9, 1781 C.E. off the mouth of Pensacola Bay. Nine days later, the fleet would storm its way into
the bay, despite ineffectual fire from the batteries at the red cliffs.
After securing Santa Rosa Island, on March 11, 1781 C.E., he attempted to enter the
bay. Unfortunately, the flagship "San
Ramon" ran aground. After she was worked free, the flagship
returned to her former position outside the bay. The next few days were
spent unloading supplies onto the Island, while de
Gálvez tried to convince Capitán
de Mar y Guerra José Calvo de Irizábal of the San
Ramon to try again, or allow the smaller ships to enter the harbor.
Calbo was reluctant and even though de
Gálvez was in command of the expedition, Calbo
was responsible for the safety of the fleet itself and was within his
right to refuse.
Knowing he had to enter the bay to carry out
successful operations, de Gálvez
boarded the brigantine, Gálveztown,
on March 18, 1781 C.E. Gálveztown was previously the
HMS West Florida. The sloop-of-war was armed with several four- and six-pound cannons and
could carry a crew complement of about 30.
It had been captured during the
Battle of Lake Pontchartrain on
September 10, 1779 C.E. The Continental Navy’s Captain
William Pickles and his joint Spanish and American crew aboard
the Continental Navy schooner USS Morris
captured the West Florida at what was then in the British
province of West Florida. The West Florida was later renamed the Gálveztown, and placed under the command of Bernardo
de Gálvez, the Spanish gobernador
of Luisiana (Nueva España).
He then led four ships into the bay without
consulting with Calbo. The
next day de Gálvez was able
to convince Calbo to send in
the rest of the fleet. Calbo
himself took the San Ramon and
returned to Habana.
By March 22, 1781 C.E., five hundred men from
Mobile and fourteen hundred from New Orleans arrived to join de Gálvez. Two days later on March 23rd and 24th, de
Gálvez moved his men from Santa
Rosa Island to the mainland. On March
24, the Spanish army with its accompanying miquelets
moved to the center of operations. O’Neill served as Aide-de-Camp and
commander of the scout patrols.
The next day of March 25, 1781 C.E., Natives
allied with the British attacked some Spanish stragglers. These attacks
continued daily and nightly. Fortunately, they were rather insignificant
and did little real damage. However, they did raise tension and slow the
Españoles’ preparations for
Once the bay had been entered,
O’Neill’s scouts landed on the mainland and blunted an attack by 400
mainly pro-British Choctaw Indians on the afternoon of March 28th. The
scouts soon joined forces with the Spanish troops arriving from Mobile.
During the first few days of April, 1781 C.E.
little action took place as the Españoles
familiarized themselves with the area.
The Spanish troops then
established encampments and began extensive siege preparations. There
were Hundreds of engineers and laborers employed bringing supplies and
armaments to the battlefield areas. Engineers dug trenches and built
bunkers and redoubts. A covered road constructed to shield the troops
from the constant fire of grapeshot, grenades, and cannonballs.
On April 12, 1781 C.E. de
Gálvez was wounded while on reconnaissance of the British
fortifications. Battlefield command was formally transferred to Coronel
José de Ezpeleta, a personal friend of de
Gálvez. He was a career military officer. De
Ezpeleta was born in Cádiz in
1739 C.E., and died in Pamplona
in 1823 C.E. He was the second son of Joaquín
de Ezpeleta y Dicastillo, Capitán
of the regiment of infantry of Castilla,
of Pamplona, and Doña María
Ignacia Galdeano y Prado,
of Olite. For both his lines
were of the oldest nobility of Navarra.
took part in the war with Portugal
(1762 C.E.-1763 C.E.) and
was later sent to Cuba along
with his regiment of Navarra. José
de Ezpeleta went on a military expedition of the Conde de Ricla and Mariscal
del campo O'Reilly. In Puerto
Rico, he implemented new and disciplined
miquelets. In 1771 C.E., he was promoted to Sargento.
José spent a year at the guarnición
in Oran. In 1774 C.E., José
attended la Real Escuela Militar de Ávila, founded by O'Reilly, where he met
a group of young officers that will be major players in the war against
England in 1779 C.E.-1783 C.E., Bernardo
de Gálvez, Esteban Miró, Francisco de Saavedra, Pedro Mendinueta,
Cubano Gonzalo O'Farrill, and others.
During the first weeks of April,
O'Neill's Irish scouts reconnoitered the Pensacola
fortifications. The Fort at Pensacola
was formerly the Spanish Fort Panzacola,
taken over by the British in 1763 C.E. It is located between Sevilla
Square and Plaza Ferdinand, and between Main and Romano Streets. Rebuilt in
1767 C.E., it was an 850-foot by 1400-foot stockade. It was then
enlarged in 1775 C.E. as a five-sided stockade about 1000 by 750 feet,
with four two-story timber blockhouses:
The East Redoubt built by the townspeople in 1780
C.E., was located near present-day Eighth Ave. and Zaragosa Street. Fort Waldeck was originally the southern hornwork
of Fort George until named separately in 1781 C.E. The West Redoubt
which was possibly never completely built in 1778 C.E. was located near
present-day Baylen and Government Streets. The North Redoubts built in
1778 C.E., consisted of two works located at present-day Intendencia
and Palafox Streets, and at Intendencia
and Alcaniz streets. These
also were possibly never completed.
The British constructed two redoubts to protect
their main fortress. The redoubt farthest
from the city was the Crescent. The Crescent Redoubt, also known as The
Queen’s Redoubt (Four Guns), built in 1778 C.E. about 600 yards
northwest of Fort George, at Spring and Brainard streets. Next in
distance was the Sombrero
built in 1781 C.E., captured and renamed British Prince of Wales
Redoubt. Prince of Wales Redoubt, was located 300 yards north of
Fort George (aka Middle Redoubt) built in 1780 C.E. with 8 guns, located
on Gage Hill 300 yards north of Fort George at Cervantes
and Spring streets. Both redoubts could be held by independent garrisons
in the event of a siege and both held heavy artillery.
This was followed by Fort George the critical key to the defense of Pensacola. The strong bastioned Fort was located on Gage Hill, the
name given by the British. The Fort had the commanding hill of the area
which overlooks downtown Pensacola.
Fort George also was commanding higher ground to the north. It was built 1779 C.E. The fort was a 20 gun, 80 square-yard log
enclosure. It was located at Palafox and LaRau streets on Palafox (Gage)
Hill, near Lee Square.
Campbell also erected a battery
called Fort Barrancas Colorada
near the mouth of the bay.
The Spanish soldados established encampments and began extensive preparations
for the siege. Hundreds of engineers and laborers brought supplies and
armaments to the battlefield. The engineers also dug trenches, and built
bunkers and redoubts, besides constructing a covered road to shield the
troops from the constant fire of grapeshot, grenades, and cannonballs.
It was well known that when the American
Revolution broke out in 1775 C.E., the entire city of Pensacola had been surrounded by a strong stockade and a new redoubt
was built on the red clay bluffs where Fort Barrancas stands today. The new redoubt was built on the red clay
bluffs called Fort at Red Cliffs was built in 1771 C.E. on Barrancas east of the present Water battery. It consisted of simple
log and earth embankments (Upper and Lower Batteries) and two
blockhouses to the rear.
A strong affiliated or "horn work" led
down the hill toward the town stockade. Known
as James Noble’s Fort, it was built between 1763 C.E. and 1781 C.E. In
effect, it was a stockaded commercial trading post located south of
present-day Government Street and west of the Escambia
County Judicial Building. Like the main fort itself, was
liberally supplied with heavy artillery.
A hornwork is an element of the trace italienne
system of fortification. These fortifications are a freestanding
fortification with angular points or horns serving to enclose an area
immediately adjacent to a fort and add an extra layer of defence. It
consists of a pair of demi-bastions with a curtain wall connecting them
and with two long sides directed upon the faces of the bastions, or
ravelins of the inner fortifications, so as to be defended by them.
The hornwork was used to extend the fortified area
in a particular direction to prevent the enemy occupying an area of high
ground or simply strengthen the overall fortifications in the expected
direction of attack. A crownwork serves a similar purpose, but unlike a
hornwork, it contains full bastion.
1778 C.E., the British Major General John Campbell commander of both Pensacola
and Fort George had formed the garrison at Fort George with roughly six
hundred and fifty men. By April, 1781 C.E., it was reinforced by Hessian
mercenaries, Maryland Loyalist Battalion and Pennsylvania Loyalists, and
Creek Indian allies. His total force there was by then almost two
thousand. By early 1781 C.E., the Pensacola garrison consisted of the
16th Regiment, a battalion from the 60th, and 7 (Johnstones) Company of
the 4th Battalion Royal Artillery. These were augmented by the Third
Regiment of Waldeck.
addition to the Loyalist soldiers, many Native Americans supported the
British. After the fall of Mobile in March 1780 C.E., between 1,500 and
2,000 Indians had come from various points to Pensacola
for its defense. These included Choctaws, and Creeks, with Creeks being
the most numerous. Just prior to the
Spanish attack, there were only 800 Native American fighters left to
defend Fort Pensacola.
During this period, de Gálvez began corresponding with Major General Campbell.
A second attack by the Choctaws
began on April 19th interrupting the siege preparations.
On that same day of April 19, 1781 C.E., a large
Spanish fleet arrived in support from Habana.
The ships were a combined Spanish and French fleet commanded by Don José de Solano y Bote Carrasco y Díaz (March 11, 1726 C.E.-April 24, 1806
C.E.), Marqués de Socorro
the Spanish Naval officer. His French equivalent was and François Aymar Monteil, the
"Knight of Monteil." He was born in 1725 C.E. in Ardèche
Durfort and died in 1787 C.E. François was an officer of the French
Navy of the 18th-Century C.E. Monteil served in the Royal Navy during
the second half of the 18th-Century C.E., and distinguished himself in
the United States War of Independence. He was also head of the squadron
of the naval armies, a Knight of the royal order of our Lady of Mount
Carmel and Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. Also on board was Spanish Mariscal
del campo Juan Manuel de
A possible British squadron
sighting near Cape San Antonio
was reported and reinforcements had been sent to de Gálvez. The flotilla
carried a total of 1,700 marineros
and 1,600 soldados,
bringing the total Spanish force at Pensacola
to 8,000 men. De Solano made
the decision to remain. He assisted de
Gálvez after the disembarkation of the troops, and the two men
worked closely together. De Gálvez’s large force was then divided into three Hispanic armies to move
against the two strong British forts at Pensacola.
On April 24th, a third Choctaw
attack caught the Spanish off guard and soldados
In the beginning, the British were unsure whether de
Gálvez planned to lay siege to the city or simply blockade it. He
spent six weeks moving his thousands of troops (including 25 Américano
volunteers) into position. On the last three days of April, 1781 C.E.
a tunnel was dug from the Españoles
line to a small hill where a battery was to be erected to bombard the
British redoubt. Finally by the end of April, Bernardo
had completed placement of some of the batteries within range of Fort
By April 30, 1781 C.E., the Spanish had moved six
24-pounders through a tunnel to a small hill within range of the British
redoubt, and opened fire. Trenching continued and a larger battery was
installed on Pine Hill, a more advantageous position. However, the
British sallied, captured the position,
and spiked the Spanish cannons. None
the less, on April 30th, the Spanish batteries opened fire, beginning
what was to be a full-scale attack on Pensacola.
By May 1, 1781 C.E., a battery of six-twenty, four
pounders was installed. The trenching continued and another, stronger
battery was installed at Pine Hill. The British successfully attacked
this position, destroying the battery again. Artillery fire was
exchanged fiercely over the next few days.
A hurricane then struck the
Spanish ships on May 5th and 6th, causing the Spanish fleet to be
withdrawn. The army remained continuing the siege in the rain which
flooded the trenches. To keep the men’s spirits up, de
Gálvez issued a daily ration of brandy.
Heavy cannonading then took place as de
Gálvez's army battled the British troops of Major General John
Campbell. The Spanish batteries were pushed forward to closer positions,
despite counter attacks by British troops as the large Hispanic force
prepared to move against the two strong British forts at Pensacola.
The climactic moment came on May 8, 1781 C.E. or
May 9, 1781 C.E. as a Spanish howitzer shell
aimed from information given by an American loyalist deserter struck and
blew up the powder magazine of the British Queen's Redoubt. The battle
had finally turned in Bernardo’s
favor. The shelling had destroyed the position and killed nearly a
hundred British soldiers.
Coronel José de Ezpeleta moved quickly leading a charge of the light infantry
in to take the devastated Fort. Spanish
soldados began to quickly
occupy the wrecked Fort and moved forward to take possession of the
position. The Españoles
moved howitzers and cannons into it and soon
had cannon in position to fire on Fort George from short range. They
then began the heavy bombardment of Fort George. Later they opened
fire on another British fort. Pensacola's
defenders returned fired from Fort George, but were overwhelmed by the
superior Spanish firepower. In the fierce fighting that followed,
de Gálvez was wounded in the
hand and stomach. Soon after being bandaged by his surgeon he returned
to the battle to rally his troops to victory.
Eventually, the damage sustained by the fort left
it so exposed that Major General Campbell of Strachur had a white flag
run up by 3 o'clock that same afternoon. The Españoles’
naval shell that blew up the British powder magazine had changed the
course of history.
The formal surrender took place on May 10th. Major
General John Campbell and over one thousand British soldiers
capitulated, proving crucial to the war. Florida
would be España’s once
again. With the capture of Pensacola,
the whole coast was now in the hands of the Españoles.
The British were to soon be expelled from West Florida, ridding the American Colonies of a potential southern
threat from the British.
Interestingly, the Port of Mobile, Fort
Charlotte’s supplies would later be used by Patriot forces against
South Carolina backcountry Tories. Some of these supplies at Fort
Charlotte would find their way into the Second Siege of Fort Ninety-Six
from May 22, 1781 C.E.-June 9, 1781 C.E. at Greenwood County, South
The Spanish occupied Fort George, renaming it Fort
San Miguel. It was still
standing in 1814 C.E. when U.S. troops under Andrew Jackson attacked the
city and took possession of the fort during the War of 1812 C.E. They
Anglicized the name to Fort St. Michael.
By the 1820s C.E., the fort was dilapidated and no
longer of service. Abandoned in favor of powerful new fortifications
down the bay, it soon faded away.
Map of Pensacola Bay, 1781
M. de Poydras celebrated the defeat of the British
forces by de Gálvez in a poem
published at the expense of the king of France.
That same year, 1781 C.E. España’s Observer, Francisco
Rendón, offered the hospitality of his home to General Washington
during Washington’s Christmas visit to Philadelphia, an invitation
that Washington willingly accepted. Most probably both celebrated
victories and the relief the Españoles
brought to the American war effort. Undoubtedly, upper most in the minds
of both men was Bernardo’s
most important military victory over the British forces under British
Major General John Campbell of Strachur. The attack by land and sea and
the later the taking Pensacola
was of great importance. The formerly Spanish possession and capital of
British West Florida, and the loss of Mobile Pensacola
left the British with no bases along the Gulf Coast.
After the Revolutionary War was over, it has been
noted that Bernardo
recommended free trade for Luisiana
with all the ports of Europe and America. However, the proposition was
too liberal for the Spanish ministry to accept. The Spanish government
did not trust the influence that would have been brought about by these
Bautista de Anza
received word of the need for more contributions for the war effort
against England from España.
King Carlos’s request and
collection instructions from the Virrey
of Nueva España came to the
Borderlands in August of 1781 C.E. De
Anza appointed a commission to oversee the collection at each pueblo and villa. On
August 24, 1777 C.E., the Virrey
of Nueva España had
Anza as the Gobernador of
of Nuevo Méjico,
the present day U.S. state of New
Mexico. He remained as gobernador
of Nuevo Méjico until 1787 C.E. when he
returned to Sonora. The historical record suggests that most males over
eighteen years of age contributed. This assumption is based upon the
total amount collected from each province. The aggregate donation amount
closely approximates an amount that the total number of un-exempted
males of that age who would have contributed.
On June 25, 1781 C.E., a French force of about 20
warships, commanded by Admiral Guichen, left Brest on a coastal patrol
into the Mediterranean. They were going to provide additional protection
for the Port Mahón Menorca invasion fleet, but they would not be joining their Spanish
allies until they were close to the target.
The Spanish Port Mahón Menorca invasion
fleet was comprised of 51 troop carriers, 18 supply vessels, 3 hospital
ships, 3 "viveres,"
2 bombardment ships, a fireship, and 13 armed escorts. The Fleet
departed Cádiz on July 23,
1781 C.E. At some time over the next few days, the Spanish were
discreetly joined by the French warships.
The combined Spanish-French Port Mahón
Menorca invasion fleet left La
Subida on August 5, 1781 C.E.
On August 18, 1781 C.E., the combined
Spanish-French Port Mahón Menorca
invasion fleet was joined by another 4 warships, from Palma.
The main military force was to be landed at Mesquida
Bay, just north of the main target, Port Mahón.
A secondary military force was to debark at Alcaufar
Bay, south of Port Mahón. The
other two significant Menorcan harbors on the island, at Ciudadela and Fornells
were to be blockaded.
Bay Spanish-French military force was to move rapidly against the town
of Mahón. The British
Governor lived there. He was to be captured and as many British soldiers
as possible taken. The Spanish-French Alcaufar
military force was to block the road which led from the new British
residential suburb Georgetown to Fort of San
Felipe or Fort St. Philip's Castle. Simultaneously, a third
Spanish-French military force was to land on Degollador
beach at Ciudadela. There it
was to block the main road across the Island. Another military a
detachment was to be landed at Fornells
and take a small artillery fort located there.
Unfortunately the large Spanish-French convoy
approaching Menorca was forced
by strong winds to sail around the south of the Island, rather than the
north. This made the landing at Ciudadela
temporarily impossible. At approximately 10:30 a.m., the fleet rounded Aire
Island, located at the south-east tip of Menorca.
It began its approach to Port Mahón,
while the Alcaufar command was
headed forward a landing.
After 11:30 a.m., the Fleet’s lead vessel, the San
Pascual, passed St. Philip's Castle with its crew at battle
stations. At approximately, around 1:00 PM, the San
Pascual arrived at its destination, Mesquida.
As the remainder of the Fleet gradually reached the objective, landing
preparations began. By 6:00 PM, on the beach the Spanish flag was raised
and received a traditional 23-gun salute.
The Fleet had been spotted approaching by the
British who had a watchtower at Monte
Toro on the south coast of Menorca.
Immediately an urgent message was sent to Mahón
at the center of the Island. By midday, action was being taken by the
British. British personnel
around Mahón were moved
inside the walls of St. Philip's Castle. A chain had been placed across
the entrance to the Port. Small vessels were sunk in the narrow channel.
This made entry into the Port by sea impossible.
When the Spanish soldados entered the town of Mahón
the majority of the remaining population greeted them with cheers. At
Georgetown only 152 prisoners were taken. The troops were then sent to Ciudadela
and Fornells on August 20, 1781 C.E. Arrangements were quickly made to
place the Island under a Spanish administration and letters were
exchanged between the Duque de Crillon and British Governor James
By August 23, 1781 C.E. there were over 7,000
Spanish soldados on Menorca.
Soon, 3,000 more soldados were
to join them. The Spanish-French military forces immediately began
preparing defenses against British counter-attacks.
On August 31, 1781 C.E., British dependants,
including the Governor James Murray's family sailed to safety in Italy
aboard a Venetian ship.
The Spanish-French Port Mahón Menorca invasion
fleet left once the troops were securely established. The largest
portion of the Fleet and the French Admiral Guichen arrived back at
Brest on September 15, 1781 C.E.
Bernardo de Gálvez and
his wife, Feliciana had three
children together. One was Miguel,
born at Cap-Haitien, Hispaniola, in 1782 C.E.
In 1782 C.E., the war with Britain enlarged after
British forces occupied several places on the Athmtie coast.
During the American War of Independence on January
5, 1782 C.E., the British were defeated for a second time by a
combination of French and Spanish forces. The Españoles regained control of the Island, after that long siege of El
Castillo de San Felipe in Port Mahón, Menorca.
South Carolina’s Navy frigate, South Carolina
arrived at Habana on January 12, 1782 C.E. While at Habana,
the South Carolina joined a force of 59 vessels carrying Spanish forces
under Bernardo de Gálvez after negotiations between the
Frenchman, Alexander Gillon and the Españoles.
During the Indian, Second Anglo-Mysore War Tipu
would also overcome Braithwaite at Kumbakonam in February of 1782 C.E.
He would take both prisoner and remove them to Seringapatam. The British
commander Sir Eyre Coote, who would later defeat Hyder Ali at the Battle
of Porto Novo and Arni, would rise in prestige during this war. The War
finally ended with the last British-Indian treaty. It left the Indian
ruler on equal footing with the British. Peace in the Indian Maratha
Empire region was finally restored in 1782 C.E.
In February 1782 C.E., the Siege of Fort St.
Philip on Menorca began. The conquest of Menorca by
Franco-Spanish forces over its British defenders was complete after
lasting five months. The ultimate result was the ceding of the island of
Menorca to España in the Treaty of Paris in 1783 C.E.
The preparations for Bernardo de Gálvez to
attack Jamaica were moved to end of February 1782 C.E., to Guárico.
In March of 1782 C.E., Matías de Gálvez
led an expedition along the Caribe coast that captured the island
of Roatán and scattered the British settlement at Black River,
although the latter was retaken by the British settlers two months
located between the islands of Útila and Guanaja,
is the largest of Honduras'
Bay Islands. The island is approximately 48 miles long, and less than 5
miles across at its widest point.
in 1782 C.E., Matías de
Gálvez, Bernardo’s father laid
the foundation of the new cathedral, after the removal of the capital
from old Guatemala, which had been ruined by the earthquakes of 1773 C.E.
During his short administration he had the streets of the capital
cleaned and paved, and patronized the Academy of Fine Arts, for which he
ordered from Italy plaster models of the principal art treasures. During
his administration Alejandro Valdés
began to publish "La Gazeta,"
the first Newspaper of Méjico.
He also proposed to the home government the establishment of a bank of
loans, for which he had abundant subscriptions. Although the idea was
not executed in his time, he may be considered as the originator of the
banking system in España’s Américas.
At Guárico about 4,500 soldados
gathered in March 1782 C.E. Soon after, three regiments arrived from the
Ibero Peninsula. Bernardo
de Gálvez came to meet them with 9,000, though they had estimated
that 20,000 men were needed to undertake the recovery of Jamaica.
French troops assigned to the operation to take
Jamaica were delayed. The squadron that which would be participating in
it, composed between thirty and thirty-five ships of the line, was
defeated by the British on April 12 1782 C.E., southwest of the Island
On April 22nd, the Spanish expedition set sail to
capture New Providence, Bahamas. By May 6th, the entire fleet had
reached New Providence. Two days later, on May 8, 1782 C.E., the British
colony surrendered. This became the third capture of New Providence by a
foreign force during the American Revolutionary War. These were forces
under de Gálvez's overall command that captured the British
naval base at New Providence in the Bahamas. Frankly, Bernardo
was angered that the operation had gone ahead without his permission. As
a result, he arranged for the Comendador of the expedition Juan de Cagigal to be
From 1648 C.E. through 1973 C.E., the Bahama
Islands were mainly under British colonial rule, with governors
appointed by the Crown and sent to Nassau to administer domestic
affairs. Exceptions to British rule were limited. From 1657 C.E. to 1671
C.E. and from 1684 C.E. to 1686, the British government abandoned the
colony due to its inhospitable nature and the belief it was
The Españoles briefly took over again in
1684 C.E. before also quickly abandoning the colony. From 1706 C.E.
through 1718 C.E., pirates controlled the colony, including the infamous
Blackbeard. For two weeks in 1776 C.E., the Americans held Nassau.
Another short-lived Spanish attempt at control occurred from 1782 C.E.
through 1783 C.E.
The Grand Assault of September 18, 1782 C.E. had
come at the last to the Great Gibraltar. The siege by España
and France was an unsuccessful attempt to capture Gibraltar from
the British during the American War of Independence. This was considered
to be the largest military action fought during the war. It lasted three
years and seven months and is the longest siege endured by British Armed
During the War of the Spanish Succession, an
Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from España in 1704
C.E. It is located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula and has
an area of 2.6 square miles. Gibraltar shares a northern border
with España. At its foot is a densely populated city area.
The British took Gibraltar on behalf of the
Habsburg pretender to the Spanish throne. The territory was later ceded
to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 C.E. Gibraltar
then became a British Overseas Territory.
After a successful British resupply of Gibraltar,
then under siege by Borbón
forces during the Anglo-French War and the Anglo-Spanish War on October
20, 1782 C.E., Luís de Córdoba y Córdoba battled the Royal
Navy to a stalemate at the Battle of Cape Spartel. The Battle of Cape
Spartel was an indecisive naval battle between de Córdoba’s Franco-Spanish
fleet and a British fleet under the command of Admiral Richard Howe.
Unfortunately, he failed to prevent the British relieving the Great
Siege of Gibraltar.
Virrey of Nueva
España Mayorga had been trying to resign to return to España for several years. In 1783 C.E., King Carlos
III of España finally accepted his resignation.
Matías de Gálvez
successively drove the British forces from Omoa,
Roatán, San Juan, Río
Tinto, and Bluefields by 1783 C.E. Omoa
is a town and a municipality in the Department of Cortés
of Honduras. Omoa is located on a small bay of the same name 18 km west of Puerto
Cortés on the Caribe Sea
coast. Bluefields is
the capital of the South
Caribbean Autonomous Region (RACS)
in Nicaragua. In recompense,
he was appointed virrey of Nueva
By 1783 C.E., Britain and España had made peace. Matías
de Gálvez was able to dedicate himself to improving the capital at Méjico
City. During his brief administration, Matías
worked diligently to clean the waterways and drain the lake surround Méjico
City. He built bridges and a sewage system. Matías
also paved the streets of La
Palma, Monterilla, and San
Francisco with cobblestones. He then divided Méjico
City into four quarters. De Gálvez
later improved the City’s police service. He then approved the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts which had been founded by his
predecessor and continued the necessary work on it. 15,000 pesos were dedicated annually for this project.
Matías also directed that the reconstruction of the
palace of Chapultepec be
done. De Gálvez organized and
implemented a subsidiary of a Spanish bank, called the Banco
Nacional de San Carlos. He attempted the importation of mercury from
China for use in the silver mines in exchange for furs. Matías was also able to increase government revenues to 19 million pesos
By 1783 C.E., a total of 3,677 pesos
(approximately $110,300) had been collected from soldados
and ciudadanos in the Province
of Nuevo Méjico; 247 pesos came from soldados
of the Santa Fé Presidio,
including the de Riberas. The
donativos were shipped to Méjico,
then to Habana, and later transferred to the American Colonies, via French
Supplies and aid to the American cause came from
almost every part of the el
Imperio Español and currently, historians and genealogists
throughout España, Méjico, and the United States are reviewing historical documents in
an effort to give España
rightful credit for her aid to the Colonial Patriots. A potent weapon,
vast amounts of money, was given by España
to fill the coffers of the American cause.
Juan Manuel de Cagigal, an
inspiring and emotional fundraiser, collected millions of dollars. As
the gobernador of Cuba, he asked many wealthy Cubanos
in Habana to donate funds for
the British colonists. The Cubano
response was overwhelming. The wealthy women of Habana donated millions
of dollars worth of their personal jewelry to be sent to General
Washington and General Rochambeau. These monies proved vital to the
purchase of supplies for the final battle at Yorktown.
North America, by 1783 C.E. Oliver Pollock was appointed an agent by the
United States in Habana, Cuba.
There he would be imprisoned for his debts a year later, amounting to
The Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1781 C.E.-1784 C.E.)
began before the Dutch could join a group of neutral countries sworn to
mutual assistance. Britain declared war when it discovered that a secret
trade treaty was proposed by the city of Amsterdam to the Americans. The
Dutch had not anticipated such a severe reaction. The offer provided the
British with a perfect pretext to reduce Dutch power even further. The
Fourth Anglo-Dutch War proved to be a disaster for the Netherlands,
particularly on an economic level.
Since 1714 C.E., Dutch naval power had been in
decline. Their navy was by then down to twenty ships of the line. This
was no match for the British navy. Britain by that time had already
gained supremacy of the high seas over France. This it accomplished
during the Seven Years' War. The Dutch aware of British sea supremacy,
between 1777 C.E. and 1789 C.E., had embarked hastily on a major
shipbuilding project of 84 warships. However, due to many misfortunes
(storms, collisions, and strandings) about a third of the Dutch fleet
sank between 1782 C.E. and 1784 C.E. Despite this disadvantage, the
Dutch fought a minor naval skirmish with the British at the Battle of
Dogger Bank. However, after this it avoided any other fighting.
The Dutch experienced many problems. Coordination
with its war allies, France and España, was poor. New ships
necessary to prevent Britain from taking effective control of the Dutch
colonies were not ready in time. The British were able to make William V
a ruling puppet. His rule was only enabled by Prussian military
assistance via the Triple Alliance (1788 C.E.). The Republic’s
weaknesses forced it to join a cease fire between Britain and France in
January 1783 C.E.
While waiting for new French forces to finally
take the attack to Jamaica, Bernardo de Gálvez’s first male
child, Miguel de Gálvez y Saint-Maxênt, was born in 1782 C.E.
and baptized in January of 1783 C.E.
News on the peace negotiations between the United Kingdom and España that ended with the return of the Bahamas came shortly after January 1783 C.E.
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