Martinique, 1762

The following information is mostly taken from Cannon's Historical Record of the Forty-Sixth or the South Devonshire Regiment of Foot, published in London in 1851.

The 46th Regiment remained in North America until October 1761, when it embarked along with ten other regiments, for Barbadoes, there to join an armament against Martinique and the Havannah. The land forces consisted altogether of eighteen regiments, under the command of Major-General the Hon. Robert Monckton. The naval part of the expedition, which was commanded by Rear-admiral Rodney, consisted of eighteen sail of the line, besides frigates, bomb-vessels, and fire-ships.

The armament sailed from Carlisle Bay, in Barbadoes, on the 5th of January, 1762, and proceeded against the island of Martinique, which was settled by the French about eh year 1635. The fleet anchored in St Anne's Bay, Martinique, on the 8th of January 1762, when the bulk of the army immediately landed. Re-embarking his troops, General Monckton landed his whole army on the 16th in Cas des Navieres Bay, under Morne Tartenson and Morne Garnier. As these two eminences commanded the town and citadel of Fort Royal, and were their chief defense, great care had been taken to improve by art their natural strength, which, from the very deep ravines which protected them, was great. The general having resolved to attack Morne Tartenson first, he ordered a body of troops and 800 marines to advance on the right along the sea-side towards the town, for the purpose of attacking two redoubts near the beach; and to support this movement, he at the same time directed some flat-bottomed boats, each carrying a gun, and manned with sailors, to follow close along the shore. A corps of light infantry was to get round the enemy's left, whilst, under cover of the fire of some batteries which had been raised on the opposite ridges by the perseverance of some sailors from the fleet, the attack on the centre was to be made by the grenadiers and Highlanders, supported by the main body of the army. Many difficulties were encountered from the rugged surface of the country, and from the formidable heights occupied by the enemy, but these were overcome by British skill, discipline and valour. After an arduous contest, the enemy were driven from the Morne Tartenson on 24th January; but a more difficult operation still remained to be performed. This was to gain possession of the other eminence, from which, owing to its greater height, the enemy annoyed the British troops. Preparations were made for carrying this post; but before they were completed, on 27th January, the enemy descended from the hill, and attacked the advanced posts of the British. This attempt was fatal to the assailants, who were instantly repulsed. "When they began to retire, the Highlanders, drawing their swords, rushed forward like furies, and being supported by the grenadiers under Colonel Grant (Ballindalloch), and a party of Lord Rollo's brigade, the hills were mounted, and the batteries seized, and numbers of the enemy, unable to escape from the rapidity of the attack, were taken".

Fort Royal surrendered on the 4th of February. The whole island immediately submitted, and in terms of the capitulation all the Windward Islands were delivered up to the British.

Major-General Monckton commended the conduct of the troops in his despatch, and added, - "The difficulties they had to encounter in the attack of an enemy, possessed of every advantage that art or nature could give them, were great. Their perseverance in surmounting these obstacles furnishes a noble example of British spirit:" and in alluding to the conduct of the three divisions of grenadiers, one division of which was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. John Vaughan, at this period Lieutenant-Colonel commandant of the 94th (since disbanded), but who was appointed to the 46th regiment in November following, added, that "they had particularly distinguished themselves, the warmest part of the service having fallen to their lot."

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Last updated by the Adjutant on the 11th of June, 2000

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