The Spanish Invasion of St. Simon's
In its failure, the 1740 expedition against St. Augustine accomplished the
opposite of its intended purpose.
The leaders of the two colonies knew some sort of retaliation for the
failed expedition would be
Accounts in some history books of the ensuing invasion of St. Simons accuse
Two letters written to the South Carolina government by Major Alexander
Heron, one of Oglethorpe's officers,
"His Honor the Lieut. Govr. produced several Letters he had just now
received from Georgia giving
"Sir For these five or six days several Spanish Vessels have been lurking above Fort William St. Andrews and this place. Last night about 7 oclock five Galleys came into Cumberland Sound and engaged the General who was passing 70 or 80 Soldiers, Indians and others to the relief of Fort William and St. Andrews both of which places I hear before this are fallen into their Hands. As to the General God Almighty knows what's come of him and the people with him for we have not seen nor heard from him since the five galleys engaged him in my sight as I stood ready to pass to St. Andrews with 100 men and 25 Indians. He hath no chance of being safe without he get to the main. I seeing the communication quite cut off by the above 5 gallies made the speediest retreat I could to strengthen this place in which I shall make the best defence I am capable of. The Masters of vessels now in our Harbor have at my request agreed to go on board Captn. Thompson's Ship which is a Vessel of Force and our prize in order to make the best defence they can upon water and I have faced a Battery of 3 Guns about half a mile up this reach to the westward and shall make the best use I can of the 3 Eighteen pounders in the Fort which may give them great disturbance in passing. the Enemy have a very considerable Fleet now off the North point of Cumberland as our Bar is very good. We may expect the large Vessels as well as the small ones here at furthest by tomorrow. I shall not easily quit this place well knowing that if we are overpowered here they will soon fall upon you but I would beg of you as well for the good of His Majesty's Service as your own good to send all possible and speedy assistance to him who is in haste Sir, our most obedient and humble Servt. Alexander Heron "June 25th. 8 o'clock at night Sir Since writing this morning the general is safe arrived having fought his way thro' five Galleys supported by seven more. I sent Ensign Cadogan this Afternoon to discover the Enemy. He's now returned having seen 15 Sail of Spanish Vessels at Anchor under the North point of Cumberland about 12 miles from this the General has reinforced Fort William and we are still in possession of it. He has brought with him from Cumberland upwards of 100 men by Sea in Walker's schooner so that we are much stronger and our men in better spirits than when I wrote you in the morning and if we had two Men of War I make no doubt of turning the scale on our side but it must be soon or I fear the consequence may be bad. I have no more to add but am Sir Your very humble Servant Alexander Heron N. B. There is another Boat returned with 52 men & only one killed and one wounded"
The "Gazette's" June 28-July 4 issue reported that on June 26th, the number
"Sir Pursuant to the advices I gave you the Spaniards are come up. They attempted Fort William on Cumberland but were repulsed by Captn. Dunbar who commanded there in the Schooner and Fort. They then run in at St. Andrews sound with 11 Sail. I myself with two Boats broke my way thro' them and put | a reinforcement of Provisions and Men into Fort William and left a Boat there being supported by Major Heron who was upon the land on Jekyl but he cold not follow me with three Boats that were with him so supported us by land. The engagement was very hot. How many the Spaniards have lost we know not. But we have not lost one man and I returned to this place from Fort William by Sea.
"They landed this morning on Cumberland. If we had two 20 Gun Ships they
Immediately upon receiving first word of the Spanish assault on St. Simon's,
the South Carolina
In addition, an embargo was immediately placed on all mercantile shipping
within the colony's
On July 5th, 32 Spanish vessels sailed into the harbor. After a heavy
exchange of fire with Oglethorpe
On July 6th, Oglethorpe and his men straggled into Fort Frederica at
daybreak bringing their wounded
Most importantly, they knew they had an effective leader in Oglethorpe. He
immediately started preparing
On July 7th, responding to Bull's speech, a committee of both South Carolina
houses decided that as
The committee recommended that 100 men and officers be immediately raised
and that the Charles
Colonial history, one on which the continued existence of the lower colonies
hinged, was unfolding in the
"On the 7th, about 10 o'Clock in the Forenoon, the Rangers who had been on the Scout came, chas'd in by the Spaniards, giving an Account that the Enemy was within a Mile of this Place, where they had killed one Small. The General leap'd on the first Horse he met with, and immediately marched the Highland Company . . . and order'd Sixty from the Guard to follow, he himself galloped with the Indians to the Place, which was just within the Woods, about a Mile from hence, where he found Capt. Sebastian Saintio and Capt. Mageleeto with One Hundred and Twenty Spanish troops and Forty-five Yamasee Indians; Capt. Grey with his Chickasaws, Capt. Jones with his Tomobetaus, Tooanobowi with his Creeks, and the General with Six Highlanders who out-ran the Rest, immediately charged them; Capt. Mageleeto was kill'd, Capt. Sebastian Saintio taken, and the Spaniards entirely defeated, Two of which the General took Prisoners with his own Hands; Capt. Mageleeto shot Tooanobowi in the right Arm as he rushed in upon him, but Tooanobowi drawing his Pistol with his left Hand, shot him thro' the Head. The General pursued the Chase for near a Mile when he halted at an advantageous Piece of Ground, stayed 'till the Guard came up, and posting the highlanders on the right, and the Guard on the left side of the Road, hid in a Wood, with a large Savannah or Meadow in their Front, over which the Enemy must pass to came to Frederica; this being done, the General return'd and ordered the Regiment, Rangers and Companies of Boat Men to march; whilst they were preparing we hear'd Platoons firing, upon which the General immediately remounted, rode toward the Place and met Three Platoons coming back in great Disorder, who gave him an Account that they had been broke by the Spaniards who were extremely numerous, notwithstanding which he rallied them, and rode on; and to his great Satisfaction found Lieutenant Southerland with the Platoon of the Regiment under his Command, and Lieutenant Mackay with the Highlanders, had entirely defeated the Spaniards, consisting of Two Companies of Grenadiers making 100 Men, and 200 Foot; Don Antonio Barbara, who commanded them, was Prisoner but mortally wounded, they also took the Drum and several other Grenadiers. "The General having order'd all the troops to march from Frederica, as soon as they arrived he pursued the Enemy Four Miles. In the Two Actions there was one Captain, One Corporal and sixteen Spaniards taken, and about 100 killed; the rest are dispersed into the Woods, for the general halted all Night at a Pass through the Marshes, over which they must go in their Return to their Camp, and thereby intercepted them, the Indians are out hunting after them in the Woods, and every Hour bring in Scalps."
A party of Indians sent out before daybreak of July 8th by the General
reported that the Spanish had
On July 9th, Oglethorpe wrote Captain Charles Hardy of the man-of-war Rye
that he wanted his vessels
Oglethorpe's ruse with the note to the Frenchman apparently worked. On July
13th, the Spanish began
Although the July 12-19 issue of the "Gazette" reported that the man-of-war
Rye, in the company of the Charles
"Captn. Lyford having been sent for attended and assured His Honor the Lieut. Govr. that the Charles Town Galley should be ready to sail tomorrow at Noon. . . . It was agreed that the Captains of the vessels taken into the Service of this Government do immediately return a List to his Honor the Lieut. Governor of the number of men which they have already entered into the Service and that a press warrant be issued to some Officers to be appointed to impress 42 Seamen to be immediately put on board His Majesty's Ship Rye to enable her to proceed to join Captain Hamar and the Sloops of War in the defence of Georgia and this province. . . . "The Commanders of vessels at present employed in the Government service attended at the Board among whom Captn. Barratt who has the command of the Privateer Snow prize said he had enlisted 60 volunteers into the Service and was promised 100 more. "Captn. Lyford of the Charles Town galley said he got but nine Volunteers. Caleb Davis who commands Genl. Oglethorpe's schooner said he had got Eighteen Men. "His Honor having asked those Captains the reason why those Sailors and Volunteers do not enter so briskly on this present Emergency they answered that some declined going into any of the vessels belonging to Georgia to be under Genl. Oglethorpe's pay nor the command of Col. Vanderdussen and others thought the Enemy would proceed no further than Frederica. . . . ". . . It was resolved that the Charles Town Galley belonging to this Government be forthwith manned and equipped and sent with the utmost expedition from hence to Georgia to get Intelligence about affairs there and particularly about the Flambro Man of War and the other two Man of War Sloops that are probably on that Coast. . . ."
A greater concern than that of the Spanish fleet escaping arose on July
14th. Intelligence was
According to entries in the Governor and Council journal for the session of
July 15th, the Council
"An Order was issued to David Cutler Braddock to receive on board the Schooner Norfolk for the present Expedition against the Spanish Galley off the Bar 40 Muskets, 40 Cartouche Boxe flled. 40 Grenades 200lb weight of powder 40 pistols 40 cutlasses 40 Launches & 40 Swivel Guns. . . . ". . . that Captn. Hardy with the Rye when his complement of men is complete which is hoped will be very soon repair thither with Captain Thompson's Ship and the General's Schooners the Charles Town Galley and whatever other vessels shall be in readiness. "The Captains Murray Thompson Lyford and Chapman being sent for waited on his Honor accordingly. The first gave an account that that he had got 35 men Thompson 30 Lyford 30 Chapman 35 and Capt Barratt had about 60 in all 200 Seamen. They then withdrew. . . . "The Clerk was ordered to make out a List of the Vessels and the Commanders of the Vessels to be employed in the Intended Expedition and is as follows Captn. Thompson of the Success 100 men Chapman a Sloop 65 Barratt the prize Snow 90 Lyford the Charles Town Galley 50 Davis the Walker Schooner 100 Murray in the Brigantine 70 In all 475" In his letter of July 16th, Lieutenant Governor William Bull informed Oglethorpe of South Carolina's support efforts: "Sir Since my last of the 6th. inst. Capt. Davis Capt. Thompson and the Guard Schooner Prize Sloop arrived here and also Capt. Braddock from Port Royal and I have been endeavoring to enlist men and in order for your further assistance I have commissioned the following Captains to proceed with their vessels to your immediate relief (viz') Capt. Thompson Capt. Murray Capt. Lyford and Capt. Chapman so there will be a Ship a Snow a Brigantine a Sloop and the other Galley will be well fitted & manned and sent to your Assistance at the expence of this Government wch I hope will be ready in two days I have wrote to acquaint His Grace the Duke of Newcastle the Govr. of Jamaica General Wentworth and Admr. Vernon the Governor of Virginia and the Govr. Providence to acquaint them with the present situation of affairs And as I shall send you that relief wch I hope will be sufficient with His Majesty's Ships of War to defeat His Majys Enemies now invading you I have the Militia of this province under Arms and have disposed them in the most proper method for the defence thereof I am Sir, Your most Obedt. humble Servant To James Oglethorpe Esq. William Bull p. s. Since I wrote the above Capt. Davis has offered to carry for your use 4 Nine and 2 Twelve pound Cannon with 50 rounds of Shot, Cartridge paper &c. for each Gun wch he is to take this morning 16th. 1742" Departure of some vessels continued to be delayed by a shortage of men. In the Council session Bull took extreme measures: ". . . Therefore all persons who are inclined to Enlist their Slaves in the said Service are hereby directed to return the names of such their Slaves to me in Charles Town in order to their being enlisted into the Service immediately. . . . "The following Captains of the Ships and Vessels employed in the Government Service were sent for and gave in Fresh lists of what numbers of Men they had enlisted and what number they wanted Captain Barratt has 80 or 90, wants-- Chapman 40 25 Thompson 60 80 Lyford 36 17 (pt black & pt white) Davis 20 100 In all Enlisted 236 wants 237 "His Honor the Lieut. Govr. communicated to the Board a Letter he had received from the Honble John Oatland dated George Town in Winyaw July 12th 1742 Wherein he acknowledges he had received from his Honor a Warrant for apprehending all Vagabonds Vagrants & Straggling Sailors to execute which he had wrote to several Justices in that neighbourhood and directed the Constables to take all such persons and that shall be wanting in either of them to promote so necessary a piece of Service."
Still literally beating the bushes for sailors, the South Carolina
government decided on July 17th
Word was received from Virginia on July 23rd that the 40-gun man-of-war
South Sea-Castle was
"List of the whole Naval Force sent from this province to the relief of Georgia King's Ships of War The Rye Capt Hardy 22 Great Guns 160 men Flamboro Capt Hamer 22 150 Swift Sloop Capt Bladwell 8 12 Swivel 90 Hawk Sloop 8 12 90 Carriage Guns 60 Swivel 24 400 Men "List of Ships and other Vessels fitted out and manned at the Charge of the Government of South Carolina G. Guns Swivel Men The Success Captain Thompson 22 12 110 Brig Carolina Captain Murray 10 10 70 Prize Snow Cpt Barrett 10 12 85 Cha: Town Galley Capt Lyford 6 10 65 Beaufort do Capt Gibson 8 60 Schooner Ranger Capt Davis 12 12 80 Sloop Capt Chapman 10 10 82 Schooner Capt Braddock 6 12 50 84 78 602"
After being delayed in departing Charles Town because of a fouled anchor,
Captain Hardy arrived on
Oglethorpe had detained the Beaufort and Charles Town gallies when the other
vessels departed. William Sr.,
"Sir This comes to acquaint you that on the 24th July in Latitude 30d 34m in 12 fathoms of water at 2 oclock in the afternoon I received orders from the Commander to take Ensign Eyres on board with a Letter to General Oglethorpe and to go to Egg Island sound at 10 oclock the same night I came to anchor in 4 fathoms of water about 2 leagues to the Southward of Egg Island In the morning by daylight I discovered a small Boat under the land, who was in search of the Genls. Schooner whom after I hailed told me Spaniards were gone away I sent Mr. Ayres immediately on shore and run with my Galley immediately into St. Simons to water and wait further orders from the Commander On the 26th I received a Letter from Gen. Oglethorpe strictly charging me not to go out and on the same day I received orders from the Commodore by Captain Thompson to make the best of my way to Charles Town I waited on the General shewed him my Instructions and likewise my orders from the Commodore and his reply was he could not answer letting me go, for he did not yet think himself safe but promised to let me go as soon as the Men of War were returned from their cruize off St. Augustine Capt Gibson arrived here the 30th July and at his arrival the General promised to the Volunteers on board Capt. Thompson's ship to send me away to carry them to Charles town. But Capt. Gibson sailing without acquainting the General put him in such a rage that he sent Capt. Davis on Board his Schooner to assist the commander at St. Simons that no Vessel or Boat should go out without his leave or orders I waited on the general the next day who told me he would not suffer me to go before the Men of War returned from their Cruize who as he tells me promised to call in here And am lying here with my people all in good health here but very much disheartened for being detained therefore I hope your Honor will advise with Genl. Oglethorpe concerning of dispatch home In case the Men of War should not call here As for a full account of the siege here I refer your Honor to the young Volunteers I am Your Honors most obedient and humble Servant St. Simons 3 Aug.. 1742 William Lyford p. s. Aug. 4th. Captain Gibson last night arrived and gives an account of 9 Sail in at St. Juan's and since this news I believe everybody will be stopt."
On August 13th, a letter from Oglethorpe was read in the Council meeting.
Either not knowing,
"The Honorable John Fenwicke laid the following Letters which he received from Genl. Oglethorpe before His Honor the Lieut. Govr. and Council one dated at Frederica the 4th August . . . "Sir By the Blessing of God upon His Majesty's Arms we have driven the Spaniards out of the Colony. After our defeating them two fights in the woods they retreated from the Island with such precipitation that they left behind them Cannon Shot and even Musket Bullets. In their retreat they assaulted Fort William as far as which place I followed them where they were also repulsed and from whence I sent out Boats after them as far as the River St. Johns. As their loss has been but small tho' their Terror is great. I expect when they have had a little recovered their freight that they will attempt something with better Conduct. I send you enclosed the Account of a Spanish prisoner whom we have released from their power. I do write to Mr. Bull because I find he took no kind of notice of the Early Accounts I gave him of this design and even spoke very slightly of those Intelligences upon which the safety of His Majesty's Subjects depended. Besides as he is oftener at his plantation than in Town Letters which go to you will be more immediately communicated to His Majesty's Council and Assembly without loss of time. I am, Sir Your most obedient humble Servant James Oglethorpe p. s. Necessity will force the Spaniards soon to attempt something. They have a vast number of Men in St. Augustine and little to subsist on."
The "Gazette's" August 9-16 issue reported that on the 13th, three men-of-
war and several
"Last Friday Capt. Frankland in his Majesty's Ship the Rose, together with the Flamborough and Swift Men of War, and Four of the Provincial Vessels (commanded by Captains Murray, Barrett, Chapman and Braddock) sailed over this Bar to cruize against the Spaniards. We hear that they are to touch at St. Simon's and be joined by our Gallies now there. No doubt the Rye and Hawk Men of war (which weighed anchor off this Bar and stood to the Southward just after Capt. Frankland arrived here) will meet with the Fleet and join also."
In its August 30-September 6 issue, the "Gazette" gave an account of the
fleet's movements for
"On Tuesday the 24th of August, our Fleet (join'd by the General's Guard- Schooner and Two Scout-Boats) consisting of 15 Sail, set sail from Fort William for the bar of Augustine. "On the 26th, Twelve of the Fleet arrived in sight of the Place, and at 4 in the Afternoon anchor'd off the Bar. The Castle distant about Two Leagues. "On the 27th, the Provincial Vessels received their Orders from the Commodore and some of them look'd into the Harbour, when they Descry'd 7 sails lying under the Castle, and 6 Half-Galleys just within the Bar. "On Saturday the 28th, the Commodore having made the proper Signals for all the Boats, &c. belonging to the Fleet to be mann'd and arm'd, at 12 o'Clock the Beaufort, Gibson; the Charles-Town, Lyford; the Norfolk, Braddock; the Carolina, Murray, and the Kingston, Chapman, weighed Anchor and stood close in for the Bar, in Company with the General, then on board Mr. Demitree's Scout- Boat; at 4 in the Afternoon those Vessels began to fire at the Half-Galleys, but none of our Shot was perceiv'd to reach them except from Charles-Town and Beaufort Galleys, which had Nine-Pounders; in the Evening (the Spaniards retiring under the Castle) our Vessels were order'd to draw off, and the next Morning set sail for the Matansas, where they arrived in the Afternoon, and came to an Anchor. "Two of the Spanish Galleys were so much damaged that the Enemy was obliged to hawl them on shore to stop their Leaks: On the other Hand, one of the Enemy's Shot breaking a Swivel Gun on Board the Scout-Boat commanded by Mr. Demitree, killed One Man, slightly wounded the General and Three Others, and broke Mr. Demitree's Thigh, who is now under the Care of a Surgeon, in this Town. On Monday the 30th, they designed to land some Men to make Discoveries, but there being a Swell that Design could not be executed. The Fleet then left that Coast . . . ". . . On Saturday last [September 4] returned from the Cruize against the Spaniards, the Rose and Swift, Men of War, and Beaufort Galley. And on Sunday also the Charles-Town Galley, the Schooner Norfolk, and Sloop Kingston. The South-Sea-Castle is, we hear, returned to her Station; the Flamborough (in want of Provisions and Water) detain'd by the Change of Wind, with our other Vessels, near Edisto. And the Rye and Hawk Men of War are gone, with the General's Craft to St. Simon's."
The Spanish never again mustered a major threat against the lower colonies.
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