Napoleon Series Archive 2012

Re: Tarragona 1811 *LINK*
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You should check Henry James Naval History of Great Britain online (among other valuable aresources) at:

From age of Nelson of Michael Phillips:

"CENTAUR, 74, was employed with the inshore squadron off Toulon and then cooperated in the defence of Tarragona during its investment by Marshal Suchet from May 1811. Capts. CODRINGTON, WHITE and ADAM spent most nights in their gigs carrying out operations under cover of darkness to evacuate women, children and wounded. On 21 June the French broke in and massacred several thousand men, women and children and took about 10,OOO prisoners before setting fire to the city. The boats of the squadron rescued as many as they could but they only numbered five or six hundred.
On 28 June CENTAUR's launch was in action with French troops on the beach near Tarragona. Two ordinary seamen, Henry BAKEBURY and David TOOLE, were killed and Lieut. Henry ASHWORTH; John HUGHES, quarter master, and William LUBEC, o/s, were wounded."

"INVINCIBLE, 74:1811 Capt. Charles ADAM, Mediterranean. 0n 17 May Capt. C0DRINGT0N of BLAKE found INVINCIBLE in Peniscola with four empty transports bound for Carthagena. He detained Capt. ADAM to take reinforcements to Tarragona which was being besieged by French forces numbering between 10 and 11 thousand. Gen. 0'Donnel embarked 2300 infantry and 211 artillery men, INVINCIBLE taking 700 of them on board, and they were all safely delivered to Tarragona on the 22nd.
She met BLAKE again on 6 June and was ordered to return to Peniscola where she was joined by BLAKE on the 9th and CENTAUR, SPARR0WHAWK, cruizer, 16 and the WILLIAM, transport, on the 10th. They embarked 4000 troops, BLAKE and INVINCIBLE each receiving on board 800, and landed them at Tarragona during the night of the 12th. All through the siege the boats of the squadron, spent every night annoying the enemy's working parties and evacuating the women, children and wounded. The three captains, C0DRINGT0N, ADAM and WHITE, of CENTAUR, spent most nights in their gigs, usually under fire.
By the 28 June it was all over. The French under Suchet breached the defences and the place was carried by assault immediately afterwards. Women and children were raped and wholesale slaughter was followed by the burning of the city. The wretched, naked refugees were clothed and fed by the ships of the squadron"

"In 1810 BLAKE,74, was employed in the defence of Cadiz and in August the rapid advance of the French army made it neecessary to remove four Spanish line-of-battle ships from Cadiz and on the 5th BLAKE and NORGE escorted them to Port Mahon. The ships were unseaworthy in every respect, had limited provisions and were loaded with high ranking passengers at the expense of working seamen. The passage to Minorca took 38 days.
She later joined the fleet in the Mediterranean under Sir Charles COTTON and from April 1811 until April 1813 she was senior ship in a squadron cooperating with the Spanish patriots in Catalonia.
In May 1811 French forces besieged TARRAGONA. Although BLAKE, INVINCIBLE, CENTAUR and SPARROWHAWK with the WILLIAM transport brought reinforcements, 4,OOO were landed on the night of 12 June, the French assault on 28 June broke through a breach in the walls. They met little opposition as the Spaniards fled in confusion. Some tried to swim out to the shipping while others slid down the face of the batteries on the Barcelona side and ran in a large body along the road where they were fired on by about 20 French soldiers who ran beside them a few yards off. They were brought to a halt when two field pieces opened up on them and after many were slaughtered some 3,000 of them were taken prisoner by 200 to 300 French.
The assault had started and finished before the ships could get in close enough to fire on the enemy and all they could do was use their boats to rescue the people in the water or hiding among the rocks. Some five to six hundred, many of them badly wounded, were brought off. Capt. CODRINGTON and the captains of the other ships spent most nights in their gigs working close in shore under heavy fire from muskets and field guns. BLAKE's barge was recovered after being swamped and overset, while bringing off 12 people, a woman and a child being killed by a shot which passed through both sides of the boat. Two seamen were killed and Lieut. ASHWORTH and two men were wounded when CENTAUR's launch came to grief.
The Spanish governor, Gonzales, with a handful of men, defended himself to the last until he was bayoneted to death. No one was spared in the rape and slaughter that followed before the city was set on fire. A few houses were saved only by the sudden departure of the French.
Capt. CODRINGTON issued instructions that, since so many of the people had been brought on board the ships perfectly naked, they were to be clothed and provided with such provisions "as the humanity and liberality of our country will dictate."

"On 12 December 1810 CAMBRIAN,36, joined KENT, Capt. Thomas ROGERS, AJAX, SPARROWHAWK and MINSTREL off Palamos where a French convoy taking supplies to Barcelona had taken shelter. The enemy vessels were:- a 14-gun national ketch, two xebecs and eight merchant vessels. They were covered by two 24-pounders and a 13 inch mortar.
Capt. FANE led the landing force of 350 seamen and 250 marines ashore on the afternoon of the following day and, taking the town from the rear, soon occupied and destroyed the batteries. All the vessels were destroyed save two which were brought out. Unfortunately the men retired through the town to the mole instead of to the beach where CAMBRIAN, SPARROWHAWK and MINSTREL were waiting to cover them and the boats came under heavy fire from the French who had occupied the walls and houses. The launches with carronades and the two mortar boats of CAMBRIAN did their best to cover them but the casualties, which up to now had been slight, were very heavy. CAMBRIAN lost 2 officers, 3 seamen and 1 marine killed. (The total losses were 33 killed and 88 wounded.)
Capt. FANE was taken prisoner at Palamos and Sir Charles COTTON appointed Capt. Charles BULLEN out of VOLONTAIRE to command CAMBRIAN. In the spring he was senior officer off the coast of Catalonia. The Spaniards captured Figueras on 10 April when the half-starved Italian garrison, disgusted by the treatment they received from the French, opened the gates and the Spaniards rushed in, putting 200 Frenchmen to the sword CAMBRIAN and VOLONTAIRE took possession of St. Philon and Palamos on the 12th and 14th. The guns were embarked and the batteries destroyed. Also on the 14th the boats of CAMBRIAN, under Lieut. Matthew CONOLLY, cut out a settee laden with grain from under the batteries on the Medas islands without a man being hurt.
CAMBRIAN then sailed for Cadaques where she captured 19 merchant vessels; 6 of which, being laden with grain and wine, were sent to Tarragona for the use of the garrison. At Selva, Capt. BULLEN was wounded whilst in a battery ashore.
The squadron off Catalonia was reinforced and came under the orders of Capt. CODRINGTON until the fall of Tarragona in June 1811. CAMBRIAN carried the bad news to Sir Charles COTTON. "

"TERMANGANT, 18: 1811 Richard BUCK, 10/10, Mediterranean. In April 1811 she was employed watching off Barcelona where the French General D'Hilliers was collecting the whole of his force to attack the Spaniards."

"MEROPE, 10 :1811 Ed. FLIN, Portsmouth - Mediterranean." (no action described before Mataro 1812)

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