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1757 - A fabulous "OVERLORD" operation in the middle of 18th C. Target : Rochefort !

A fabulous "OVERLORD" operation in the middle of 18th C.

D 28 February 2008     H 02:18     A Pierre     C 0 messages A 2177 LECTURES


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In 1757, Lieutenant General Sir John Mordaunt has commanded an expedition to the Island of Aix which has been a huge setback. So he has been handed over a martial court.

The minutes of these proceedings reveal a fabulous OVERLORD operation in the middle of 18th century.
You’ll find here large abstracts of the minutes of these proceedings.

Source : THE PROCEEDINGS OF A General Court Martial HELD IN THE Council Chamber at Whitehall on Wednesday the 14th, and continued by several Adjournments to Tuesday the 20th of December 1757, upon the Trial of Lieutenant General Sir JOHN MORDAUNT, by Virtue of his MAJESTY’S Warrant, bearing Date 3d Day of the same Month – London - 1758 - Books Google

To know the previous episodes, see :
- 1757 - Royal Navy attacks the Island of Aix - Diary of an english sailor (in french)
- 1757 - Royal Navy attacks the Island of Aix and inspires the poets (in French)

This page is in construction

Table of contents

Patent letter of King George II to proceed in the Trial of John Mordaunt Miscellaneous documents of the trial Secret instructions of King George II Memorial of the actual force of France by land, and the services on which it is employed in the year 1757
Testimony of the French pilot The Great Armada

GEORGE R

WHEREAS Lieutenant General Sir John Mordaunt was appointed by us Commander in Chief of our Forces sent on an Expedition to the Coast of France, and received Orders and Instructions relative thereto from us, under our Royal Sign Manual, and also by one of our principal Secretaries of State : And whereas the said Lieutenant General is now in Arrest by our Command, for disobeying our said Orders and Instructions, which Charge we have thought fit should be inquired into by a General Court Martial : Our Will and Pleasure is, that a General Court Martial be forthwith held upon this Occasion, which is to consist of our right Trusty and well beloved James Lord Tyrawly, Lieutenant General of our Forces, whom we do appoint to be President thereof, and of our right Trusty and well beloved Charles Lord Cadogan, our trusty and well beloved John Guise, Richard Onflow, Henry Pulteney, Sir Charles Howard, Knight of the Bath, John Huske, our right trusty and well beloved Counsellor John Lord De Lawarr, our trusty and well beloved James Cholmondeley, Lieutenant Generals ; our trusty and well beloved Maurice Bocland, our right trusty and well beloved Coufin William Earl of Panmure, our trusty and well beloved Kern, commonly called Earl of Ancram, our right trusty and well beloved Cousins William Earl of Harrington, and George Earl of Albermarle, our trusty and well beloved Henry Holmes, Alexander Dury, John Mostyn, Edward Carr, Major Generals of our Forces ; our trusty and well beloved Colonels William Kingsley, Alexander Duroure, and Bennet Noel ; all of whom, or the said President together with any Twelve or more of the said other Officers, may constitute the said General Court Martial : And you are to order the Provost Martial General, or his Deputy, to give Notice to the said President and Officers, and all others whom it may concern, when and where the said Court Martial is to be held, and to summon such Witnesses, as shall be able to give Testimony in this Matter ; the said Provost Martial General and his Deputy being hereby directed to obey your Orders, and give Attendance where it shall be requisite : And we do further authorize and empower the said Court Martial to hear and examine all such Matters and Informations as shall be brought before them, touching the Charge aforesaid, and proceed in the Tryal of the said Lieutenant General Sir John Mordaunt, and in giving of Sentence according to the Rules of Military Discipline ; which said Sentence you are to return to our Secretary at War, to be laid before us for our Consideration. And, for so doing, this shall be as well to you, as to the said Court Martial, and all others concerned, a sufficient Warrant.

Given at our Court at St James’s this Third Day of December 1757 in the Thirty First Year of our Reign.

By his MAJESTY’s Command,

HOLDERNESSE


LIEUTENANT GENERAL SIR JOHN MORDAUNT came Prisoner before the Court, and the following Charge was exhibited against him, viz. “That he being appointed by the King Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s Forces, sent on an Expedition to the Coast or France, and having received Orders and Instructions relative thereto from his Majesty, under his Royal Sign Manual, and also by one of his principal Secretaries of State, hath disobeyed his Majesty’s laid Orders and Instructions.”


AN ENTRY in a Book of Mr. Secretary Pitt’s Office being proved upon Oath by Robert Wood, Esq, appointing the said Lieutenant General Sir John Mordaunt General and Commander in Chief of all and singular his Majesty’s Troops and Land Forces appointed or to be appointed for a secret Expedition for his Majesty’s Service, bearing Date the 3d of August, 1757, was read.


The RIGHT HONOURABLE WILLIAM PITT, Esq; one of his Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State being sworn, and questioned touching his Majesty’s Instructions to Lieutenant General Sir John Mordaunt relative to the said Expedition, said, That he had the Honour of receiving such Instructions from his Majesty under his Royal Sign Manual, which he gave to Mr. Wood his under Secretary, in order to his delivering them to Sir John Mordaunt.


A PAPER, purporting to be a Letter, dated London, July the 15th 1757, from Captain (now Lieutenant Colonel) Clerk, was shewn to Mr. Secretary Pitt, and he being desired to inform the Court, whether he knew the said Letter to have been at any Time communicated to Sir John Mordaunt, answered, That the same is the original Letter, which was delivered to him by Sir John (now Lord) Ligonier, and produced by him before the Lords of the Cabinet, and that the Matter of this Letter afterwards made the Subject of two Night’s Conversation ; Sir John Mordant and Major General Conway examining, and almost cross examining Mr. Clerk concerning every Matter contained therein, and a great deal more, that the Letter led to.


ANOTHER PAPER, purporting to be a Minute, taken, in Alington-street in August 1757, containing an Examination of Joseph Thierry, a French Pilot, was shewn to Mr. Secretary Pitt, who was desired to inform the Court, whether he remembers such Examination, and whether the several Persons were present, who appear upon the Face of the said Minute to have been at that Meeting ; to which he answered, That the Meeting being at Lord Holdernesse’House, his Lordship held the Pen, and not he ; that the Paper now shewn him is an exact Transcript of what was reduced into writing, as the Substance of the Examination of the Pilot, but is, by no Means the whole of it; as he underwent a very long and close Cross Examination for two Hours together, throughout which he established the Facts with a Readiness and Presence of Mind, that few Men in higher Life are equal to.


A PAPER entitled Memoire sur la Force actuelle de la France, & les Services aux quels Elle est employée dans l’Année 1757,— and docketted, as received July 28th 1757, and communicated, at a Meeting at Lord Holdernesse’House, to the Generals appointed for an Expedition to the Coast of France, being also shewn to Mr. Secretary Pitt, he was desired to speak to the Authenticity of that Paper, and as to its having been communicated to Sir John Mordaunt : — He thereupon informed the Court, that the Paper came through Lord Holdernesse’Department, and was introduced by his Lordship at a Meetipg, where Sir John Mordaunt and Major General Conway were present. It was a Paper, on which much Reliance was had by the King’s Servants, as cording from one, of their most confidential Correspondents, and was then produced as a Piece of Intelligence, to which they gave much Credit; and a .subsequent Proof of its Authenticity is, that Advice has since been received of the Court of France having been obliged, upon thie Alarm being taken, to march her Horse and Foot Guards from Paris. Ho added, that he remembers one or both of those Gentlemen, (viz. Sir John Mordaunt and Major General Conway) rose up, and looked at the Paper more than once, and with Pen and Ink noted down several Facts from it, and a good deal of Time was engaged in Discourse upon the Subject


Mr. Secretary Pitt being asked, whether Copies of either of the three last mentioned Papers were delivered to Sir John Mordaunt ?

Answered, he cannot recollect, whether Copies of them were put into his Hands ; from his Memory, he rather thinks not.


Two other Papers, the one purporting to be Minutes of a Council of War held on Board the Neptune the 25th of September 1757," and the other, " Minutes of a Council of War held on Board the Ramilies 28th September 1757” were shewn to Mr Pitt, who informed the Court, that these two Papers were delivered to him by Sir John Mordaunt in the first Visit, as he thinks, after his Return ; being to the same Effect, as those before transmitted to him by Sir Edward Hawke.


Mr. Secretary Pitt being asked, by Sir John Mordaunt’s Desire, whether he, Sir John Mordaunt, did cross examine either Lieutenant Colonel Clerk,or the Pilot ?

Answered, At this Distance of Time, and, as he then had no Thoughts of being examined on this disagreeable Occasion, he cannot take upon himself positively to say, by whom in particular the Questions were asked; but he knows a thorough Cross Examination was made by some Military Gentlemen,— he cannot say positively by Sir John, — in order to get at the Certainty, particularly as to the State of Rochefort.

Being asked also, Whether the Pilot mentioned at the Council, that the taking of Fort Fouras by a Ship was practicable ?

Answered, to this effect – That he remembers the taking of Fort Fouras by sea was mentioned ; but that he went away from the Meeting with this Impression, thaft nothing was clear about the taking of any Place by Sea, but l’Isle d’Aix ; he found no Answer that led him to believe that a Ship could lye up near enough to Fouras to batter the Fort ; he wished, he had.


Secret instructions of King George II

A Copy of Instructions was then read, being first proved on Oath by Robert Wood, Esq; to be a true copy of the Instructions, which he received from Mr. Secretary Pitt, under the Sign Manual; and which he afterwards delivered to Sir John Mordaunt, who read them in his Presence, viz.

TextComments
GEORGE R.

Secret instructions for our trusty and well-beloved Sir John Mordaunt, Knight of the Bath, Lieutenant General of our Forces, whom we have appointed General and Commander in Chief of all and singular our Troops and Land Forces appointed or to be appointed for a secret Expedition for our Service, or for such other Officer, on whom the Command in chief of our said Troops and Land Forces may devolve. Given at our Court at Kensington the 5th Day of August 1757, in the Thirty-first Year of Our Reign.

Having by Our Commission, bearing Date the third DAY of this Instant appointed You to be General and Commander in Chief of all and singular Forces appointed or to be appointed for a secret Expedition : For your better Discharge of the great and important Trust thereby reposed in you, We have judged it proper to give you the following Instructions.
- I. You shall immediately, upon the Receipt of these Our Instructions, repair to the Isle of Wight where We have appointed Ships to convey You and the Forces under your command to the Coasts of France; and so soon as the said .Forces shall be embarked. You shall accordingly proceed without loss of time, under Convoy or a Squadron of our Ships of War, commanded by our trusty and well beloved Sir Edward Hawke, Knight of the Bath, Admiral of the Blue Squadron of our Fleet, whom we have appointed Commander in Chief of Our Ships to be employed in this Expedition ; the said Admiral, or the Commander in Chief of .Our said Ships for the Time being, being instructed to co-operate with you, and to be aiding and assisting in all such Enterprizes, as by these Our Instructions you shall be directed to undertake for our Service.
- II. Whereas We have determined, with the Blessing of God, to prosecute the just War in which we are engaged against the French King with the utmost Vigour; and it being highly expedient and of urgent Necessity to make some Expedition, that may cause a Diversion, and engage the Enemy to employ in their own defence, a considerable Part of their Forces, destined to invade and Oppress the Liberties of the Empire, and to subvert the Independency of Europe: And, if possible, to make some effectual Impression on the Enemy, which by disturbing and shaking the Credit of their publick Loans, impairing the Strength and Resources of their Navy, as well as disconcerting, and in part frustrating their dangerous and extensive Operations of War, may reflect Lustre on our Arms, and add Life and Strength to the common Cause : And whereas we are persuaded, that nothing, in the present Situation of Affairs, can so speedily and essentially annoy and distress France, as a successful Enterprise against Rochefort :- Our Will and Pleasure is, That you do attempt, as far as shall be found practicable, a Descent, with the Forces under your Command, on the French Coast, at or near Rochefort, in order to attack, if practicable, and, by a vigorous Impression, force that Place ;and to burn and destroy, to the utmost of your Power, all Docks, Magazines, Arsenals, and Shipping, that shall be found there, and exert such other Efforts, as you shall judge most proper for annoying the Enemy. Nice realistic project !
- III. After the Attempt on Rochefort shall either have succeeded, or failed; and in Case the Circumstances of our Forces and Fleet shall, with Prospect of Success, still admit of further Operations, you are next to consider Port l’Orient and Bourdeaux, as the most important Objects of Our Arms, on the Coast of France : And Our Will and Pleasure accordingly is, That you do proceed, successively, to an Attempt on both, or either of those Places, as shall be Judged practicable ; or on any other Place, that shall be thought most adviseable, from Bourdeaux homewards to Havre, in order to carry and spread with as much Rapidity, as may be, a warm Alarm along the Maritime Provinces of France. + & + grandiose !

_ Port l’Orient = Lorient

Bourdeaux = Bordeaux

- IV. In Case, by the Blessing of God upon Our Arms, you should make yourself Master of any Place on the Coast of France ; Our Will and Pleasure is, That you do not keep Possession thereof; but that after demolishing and destroying, as far as may be, all Works, Defences, Magazines, Arsenals, Shipping, and Naval Stores, you do proceed, successively, on the ulterior Operations of this Expedition, according as any of them shall be judged adviseable, and may be performed within such Time, as shall be consistent with your Return with the Troops under your Command, so as to be in England at, or about, as near as may be, the End of September, unless the Circumstances of Our Forces and Fleet shall necessarily require their Return sooner : And you are to land the Troops at Portsmouth, or such other of Our Ports, as the Exigency of the Case may suggest.
- V. Whereas it is necessary, that upon certain Occasions you should have the Assistance of a Council of War; We have thought fit to appoint such a Council, which shall consist of four of Our Principal Land Officers, and of an equal Number of Our principal Sea Commanders, including the Commandant in Chief of Our Land and Sea Forces (except in Cases happening at Land rellating to the carrying on any Military Operations, to be per formed by Our Land Forces only, in which Cases you may call a Council of War, consisting of such Officers of Our Land Forces as you shall think proper : ) And all such Land and Sea Officers, in the several Cases before mentioned, are hereby respectively directed, from Time to Time, to be aiding and assisting with their Advice, so often as they shall be called together by you or by the Comgander in Chief of our Squadron for this Purpose :

And in all such Council of War, when assembled, the Majority of Voices shall determine the Resolutions thereof ; and in Case the Voices shall happen to be equal, the President shall have the casting Vote.
- VI. And whereas the Success of this Expedition will very much depend upon an entire good Understanding between Our Land and Sea Officers ; We do hereby strictly enjoin and requize you, on your Part, to maintain and cultivate such good Understanding and Agreement, and to order, that the Soldiers under your Command, should man the Ships where they shall be Occasion for them, and when they can be spared from the Land Service ; as the Commander in Chief of our Squadron is instructed, on his Part, to entertain and cultivate the same good Understanding and Agreement, and to order the Sailors and Marines, and also the Soldiers serving as Part of the Complements of Our Ships, to assist Our Land Forces, if judged expedient, by taking Post on Shore ; manning Batteries ; covering the Boats ; securing the safe reimbarkation of the Troops ; and such other Services at Land, as may be consistent, with the Safety of Our Fleet. And in order to establish the strictest Union that may be, between you and the Commander in Chief of our Ships, you are hereby inquired to communicate these Instructions to him, and he will be directed to communicate those, he shall receive to you.
- VII. You shall, from Time to Time, and as you shall have Opportunity, send constant Accounts of your Proceedings, in the Execution of these Our Instructions, to one of Our principal Secretaries of State ; from whom you will receive such farther Orders and Directions, as We may think proper to give you.

G. R.


Memorial of the actual force of France by land, and the services on which it is employed in the year 1757.

A TRANSLATION of the Paper, intituled " Memoire sur la Force actuelle de la France, et les Services auxquels Elle est employée dans L’Année 1757", the same beeing proved by Mr Wend to be a faithful Translation and the Original being at the same Time laid before the Court for their Satisfaction.) viz.

Original text in EnglishIts translation in 1757Today’s comments

MEMORIAL Of the actual Force of France by Land, and the Services on which it is employed in the Year 1757.



The French Army, at the Beginning of the present Troubles consisted only of 157,347 Men, not including the Militia and the Invalids It was composed in the following Manner,

- French Foot 98.350

- Artillery.4,100

- Foreign Foot 25.589

- King’s Housd. Horse 3,210

- French Horse 14,520

- Foreign Horse 960

- Dragoons 7680

- Hussars 800

- Light Troops 2,158

- Total 157,347

In the Month of August 1755, an Augmentation was made of four Companies or 45 Men each, in every Battalion of the King’s Regiment, and of four Companies of 40 Men each, in every common Battalion of French Foot, which made in all 29,620 Men.

About the same Time an Augmentation was made in the Dragoons, which made up every Regiment four Squadrons of 640 Men, making in all 2560 Men.

In the Month of December of the same Year 1755, an Augmentation was also made in the Horse of 10 Men a Company, in all 5560 Men.

The Royal Volunteers and Fischer’s Corps were also augmented ; we do not know exactly to what Number, but, according cording to our Advices, this Augmentation came to 680 Men, or thereabouts.

These several Augmentations amount to 38,420 Men ; and consequently, the French Army (without reckoning the Militia and the Invalids, which I put at above 67,000) is composed of 196,000 Men. They have, it is true, raised two new Regiments in the Country of Liege ; but not withstanding that, their regular Troops are under 200,000 Men.

The Islands of Minorca and Corsica, with the Colonies in America, take up 25,000 Men at least ; they embarked in the Spring, 3, or 4000 Men for different Services in the two Indies ; Marshal d’Estrée’s Army, if the Regiments were compleat, would amount to 92,000 Men ; Marshal Richelieu’s is 32,665 ; a Body of 6 or 7,000 Men must also be reckoned, which they are obliged to keep in Garrison at Toulon, Marseilles, Cette, Antibes &c. at Hand for that Part of the Coast.

According to this Calculation then, there are 160,000 regular Troops employed ; there will remain about 40,000 Men for all the Garrisons from Sedan to the Frontiers of Swisserland ; as also for those of Rousillon and Guienne, wich-out speaking of Flanders and the Coast.

We reckon about 20,000 Men placed from St. Valery to Bergue ; so that we have all the Reason to believe that there cannot be 10,000 Men more from St. Valery to Bourdeaux.

MEMOIRE sur la Force actuelle de la France par Terre, et les Services auxquels elle est employée dans l’année 1757.


L’Armée Françoise, au Commencement des Troubles presentes ne consistoit qu’en 157,347 Hommes, non comprise la Milice et les Invalides. Elle etoit composée de la Maniere suivante.

- Infanterie Françoise 98.350

- Artillerie 4.100

- Infanterie Etrangere 25.589

- Maison du Roy, Caval. 3.210

- Cavalerie Françoise 14.520

- Cavalerie Etrangère 960

- Dragons 7.680

- Hussars 800

- Troupes Legeres, 2.158

- Total 157.347

Au mois d’Août 1755, on fit une Augmentation de 4 Compagnies de 45 Hommes chacune dans chaque Bataillon du Regiment du Roy, et de 4 Compagnies de 40 Hommes chacune, dans chaque Bataillon ordinaire de l’lnfanterie Françoise : ce qui faisoit en tout 29,620 Hommes.

Environ le meme Terns, une Augmentation se fit dans les Dragons, qui porta chaque Regiment a 4 Escadrons de 640 Hommes montant en tout à 2.560 Hommes.

Au Mois de Decembre de la même Année 1755, une Augmentation se fit pareillement dans la Cavalerje, de 10 Hommes par Compagnie, en tout 5.560 Hommes.

Les Volontaires Royaux, et les corps de Fischer, furent aussi augmentés ; nous ne savons pas au juste de combien, mais selon nos Avis, cette Augmentation alloit a 680 Hommes, ou environ.

Toutes ces differentes Augmentations montent à 38,420 Hommes ; et par consequent l’Armée Françoise (sans compter la Milice et les Invalidesj que je mets au delà de 67,000) est composée de 196,000 Hommes. Ils ont, a la verité, levé deux Nouveaux Regiments dans le Païs de Liege ; mais malgré tout cela, leurs Troupes reglées sont au dessous de deux Cent Mille Hommes.

Les Isles de Minorque et de Corse avec les Colonies en Amerique, occupent au Moins 25,000 Hommes. Ils ont fait embarquer, au Printems, 3 a 4000 Hommes pour differens Services aux deux Indes ; l’Armée de Monsieur le Marechal d’Estrees, si les Regimens etoient complets, iroit a 92,000 Hommes ; celle du Maréchal de Richelieu est de 32,665. Il faut aussi compter une Corps de 6 à 7000 Hommes, qu’ils sont obligés de tenir en Garnison a Toulon, Marseilles, Cette, Antibes, &c. a portée de cette Partie de leur Côte.

Selon ce Calcul, donc voilà 160,000 Hommes de Troupes reglées employées. Il restera environ 40,000 Hommes pour tous les Garnisons depuis Sedan jusqu’aux Frontiers de la Suisse, de même que pour celles du Rousillon et de la Guienne, sans parler de la Flandres et de la Cote.

Nous comptons environ 20,000 Hommes placés depuis St. Valery jusqu’à Bergue, de façon que nous avons tout lieu de croire, qu’il ne peut pas y avoir 10,000 Hommes de plus, depuis St. Valery jusqu’a Bourdeaux.


Testimony of the French pilot

French original textEnglish translation of 1757Today’s comments
Le nommé Joseph Tierry Pilote François, Natif de [blanc] Protestant de Religion, aiant été examiné, dit—Qu’il a exercé le metier de Pilote sur les Cotes de France au de la de vingt ans, qu’il a servi comme premier Pilote a bord de divers vaisseaux du Roi de France, & nommément du Magnanime, sur lequel il a servi pendant l’ espece de vingt et deux Mois ; qu’il a conduit le dit vaisseaux le Magnanime plusieurs Fois a Rade de l’Isle de Aix, et qu’il connoit bien l’entrée & la sortie de la dite Rade ; que le chennel entre les Isles D’Oleron, & de Rhé a trois lieues de large ; qu’il y a louvoié sur le Magnanime ; que les Bancs qu’il faut eviter sont près de la terre ; qu’on en peut distinguer les Brisans a une distance considerable ; qu’il y a une Banc nommee le Boiard, dont on ne Courre pas grand risque, moiennant les Brisans, qui annoncent sa situation. Que pour entrer a la Rade d’Aix, il n’y a pas de telles difficultes, qu’il soit necessaire d’avoir un Pilote pour y conduire des grands vaisseaux, qu’il y a bon moulliage tant en dedans la Rade qu’en dehors en Mer a 12 & 14 Brasses d’eau jusqu’a Bayonne.

Que l’Isle de Aix a environ sept Miles d’Angleterre de circuit, & une quarantaine de Cabanes, ou Maisons, rassemblés dans une espece de village ; qu’il y a une Batterie de vingt quatre a vingt six canons de 14lb. de Bale, mais qu’il n’y a point de Fortification ; que les plus gros vaisseaux peuvent en approcher de bien près, & que le vaisseau le Magnanime seul pourroit en peu dc temps destruire la dite Batterie.

Que les plus gros vaisseaux peuvent monter jusqu’a Vergerot, a deux miles Angloises de l’embouchure de la Riviere avec leurs canons, & Equipage ; que la Riviere est fort etroite.

Que l’on peut mettre du Monde a terre au nord d’une batterie nommée de Fourras, sans être vu du Fort, dans une prairie ou le terrain est ferme et uni, a la grande Portée des Canons des Vaisseaux.

Que de l’endroit, ou l’on met pied a terre, jusqu’à Rochefort il y a cinq milles Angloises, le Chemin sec & n’est point coupé par des fossés, ny des marais.

Que la ville est presque entourree par un rampart, mais que l’endroit, qui aboutit a la Riviere des deux cotés, il n’y a point de mur l’espace de soixante pas, qui n’est fermé simplement que par une Barriere ou Palisade, et que le terrain pour aborder les dites Palisades n’est coupé d’aucun Fossé.
TRANSLATION.

Joseph Tierry a French Pilot, born [blank] of the Protestant Religion, having been examined, saith, — That he has been for above 20 Years in the Employment of a Pilot, on the Coasts of France, and has served as first Pilot on Board several of the French King’s Ships, having been for twenty-two Months on Board the Magnanime, which said Ship be has several Times brought into the Road of the Isle d’Aix, and knows very well how to go in and out of the said Road ; that the Channel between the Islands of Rhe and Oleron is 3 Leagues broad, and that be has turned it in and out in the Magnanime. That the Shoals which are to be avoided are near the Land, and the Breakers are to distinguished at a considerable Distance ; that there is a Shoal called the Boiard, which is not very dangerous, as the breakers shew its Situation ; that the Entrance into the Road of Aix, is not so difficult as to require a Pilot to bring in great Ships ; that there is good Anchorage both within the Road, and out at Sea, in 12 and 14 Fathom Water, quite to Bayonne,

That the Isle d’Aix is about seven English Miles in Circumference ; there are about 40 Huts or Houses together in a kind of Village; that there is a Battery of 24 or 26 Guns, 24 Pounders, but that there is no Fortification ; that the largest Ships may come very near it, and that the Magnanime, alone, might destroy the said Battery in a very short Time.

That the largest Ships can go up as far as Vergerot, two English Miles from the Mouth of the River, with their Guns and Men, that the River is very narrow.

That Men may be landed to the North of a Battery called de Fourras, out of Sight of the Fort, on a Meadow where the Ground, is firm and level, and within Random-Shot of the Ships Guns.

That from the Landing-Place to Rochefort, is five English Miles, the Road dry, and not interfered either by Ditches or Morass

That the City is almost surrounded with a Rampart, but that on both Sides, in that Place which ends at the River there is no Wall for the Length of sixty Paces, the Inclosure being only a Bar or Palisade, and the Ground to come up to the Palisade is not interfected by any Fossé.


LIEUTENANT COLONEL ROBERT CLERK who was employed as principal Engineer on the Expedition, being sworn and questioned, Whether he was at any Time at Rochefort ?
Answered, Yes, in the Year 1754.
Q. Whether he at any Time wrote a Letter to Sir John Ligonier touching the State or Strength of Rochefort ?
A. He did in the Month of July last.

The Letter before read, which bears date the 15th of July 1757, being shewn to him, he said, that the fame is of his Writing, and is the Letter he now refers to ; the Contents of which he remembers, perfectly.

Being desired to disclose to the Court any Matter, other than contained in the said Letter, which he judges material for the Information of the Court ; as tending to shew the Practicability or Impracticability of an Attack upon Rochefort, so far as the fame was communicated to Sir John Mordaunt ;

He deposed, that on the 26th of September last he went to the Isle of Aix to examine some of the principal Officers of the Fort, to see if he could procure from them any Information in Regard to Rochefort.


The Great Armada

[ Features and pictures of some of the ships of the list below ]

The following List of Ships sent out under the Command of Sir Edward Hawke on the Expedition being, by Desire of a Member of the Court, shewn to Vice-Admirai Knowles, he informed the Court, that all the Ships contained in the said List, except the Southampton, were in the Basque Road, which Ship, having taken a Frigate, the Admiral sent her into Port, viz. ’

RateGunsMenShipsCommander
1 100 870 Royal George Matthew Buckle
2 90 780 Ramilles James Hobbs
2 90 770 Neptune James Galbraith
2 80 750 Namur Peter Denis
2 84 770 Royal William Wîtt. Taylor
2 80 700 Barfîeur Samuel Graves
3d 80 666 Princess Amelia Stephen Colby
3d 74 700 Magnanime Hon. Richard Howe
3d 74 700 Torbay Hon. Aug. Keppel
3d 74 600 Dublin Geo. B. Rodney
3d 70 520 Burford James Young
3d 64 500 Alcide James Douglas
4th 60 420 America Hon. John Byron
4th 60 420 Achilles Hon. S. Barrington
4th 60 420 Medway Charles Proby
4th 60 420 Dunkirk Robert Digby
5th 32 220 Southampton J. Gilchrist
6th 28 200 Coventry Carr Scrope
Frigate 18 120 Cormorant Benjamin Clive
Frigate 18 120 Postillion William Cooper
Frigate 18 120 Beaver Edward Gascoigne
Frigate 16 80 Pelican James O’Hara
Frigate 14 80 Escort Charles Ingliss
Bomb 8 60 Firedrake Owen Edwards
Bomb 8 60 Infernal James M’Kenzie
Fireship 45 Pluto John Lindsey
Fireship 45 Proserpine Francis Banks
Buss 6 45 Canterbury Thomas Lempriere
Buss 6 45 Medway Charles Lucas
Hosp. Ship 22 100 Thetis John Moutray
Hunter Cutter

[NDLR : i.e. 31 ships, 1.378 guns and 11.346 men]


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