I take the opportunity of the Fleet going to New York, to give Your Excellency some account of the military transactions of this Island; to you will probably have them with more Exactness from other Hands, as I was generally at a distance from the Siege, which was the principal piece of service. The Army landed 7th June, without Opposition near Cojimar Castle, which the Dragon silenc`d. Tis about a League from the Morro, which commands the Entry into the Harbour on one Side. On the 8th the Army took possession of the Village of Guanavacua, near the Havannah; about 20 of the enemy`s peasant cavalry were killed. they had no intelligence till the Fleet appear`d of & only knew of the war
by reports from flaggs of truce from the Continent.
A Spanish Admiral with twelve sail of the line lay in the Harbour; a strong boom was across the entry, & five, afterwar
ds seven or eight ships
sunk behind it.
9th. Lord Albemarle & the Generals & Engeneers reconnoiter`d the Morro.
11th. The Light Infantry were order`d to attack a small redoubt near the Morro, which was taken with an inconsiderable loss.
12th. The disposition made for the Siege of the Morro. General Keppell commanded it. He had the 1st, 2d, 3d & 5th Brigades. General Elliot & Ge`ll Lafouselle cover`d it, taking post at & near Guanavacua with the 4th Brigade half the light infantry, & the four Grenadier Companies of the English Regts.
Colonel Howe sent round on the other side with the two Battallions american Grenadiers the other Division Light Infantry, & some marines.
The Admiral with the Fleet lay off the Harbour; Commodore Keppell with his squadron assisted at the siege, & I dare say, never sea men did more on a like service. The Sea men of the Enemy were the People that generally did their Business, both in working their Guns & Sallys.
The Wood was left standing within 400 Yards of the Fort, which was a great Advantage in making Batterys; but the Ground being rock & earth not near & great distance (3 miles) the Troops employ`d in the Siege had to bring brackish water, made the works go on slowly.
Coll. Grant of the 40th was appointed to superintend the works. He put it in some respects in more Methods & gave grogg liberally, which had its effects.
28th June. The Enemy came over in boats in the night about 400; attack`d our Guard & Troops carrying on the works, got some ground, but were drove off, with great loss.
1st. July. Our Batteries open on the Morro, at the same time. The Cambridge, Dragon & Marborough laid their broad sides opposite to it. The Stirling Castle had Ordrs to sail by. & draw off the Fire, whilst the other ships
were placing themselves. Tis said, she did not obey her orders. Capt. Campbell (formerly The Nightingale) is now trying by a Court Martial for misbehaviour. The Fort was too high, they did it little damage, whilst the enemy plung`d every shot into the ships
; Captain Goosetree, & a great many men of the Cambridge were kill`d: the others suffer`d, but not so much. They were ordered off. The Cambridge could set one sail.
5th July. Our grand Battery burnt. This put us several days back, & the Enemy`s fire encreas`d again.
15th. The covering body fell down incredibly in the Fever & Ague. The open Country is very swampy & unhealthy at this season.
General Elliot was oblig`d to abandon Guanavacua & to retire about two miles, towar
ds the Edge of the wood, where the Army lay.
Scarce a man of the above body escap`d the sickness. The Army kept healthier in the rocky wood, notwithstanding their distance from water. & the badness of it. Whilst we had very good water at Guanavacua.
The sickness grew very great also in the wood. The defences of the Morro being ruin`d. A Sapp was carry`d to the ditch.& two mines made under the Face of a Bastion.