|The Battle of Foggy Rock|
First Anglo-Spanish War
August 14–17, 1744
East India Trading Co. First Division VS. Spanish Royal Navy and Marines
Jonathan Francis Anthony O'Reilly Jeremiah Alexander Garland Nathaniel Joseph Garland
Francisco de la Cárdenas Sebastián Pedro Núñez de Ayala León Andrés de Saravia
800 Marines, 3 Ships, 176 Cannons
950 Marines, 4 Ships, 194 Cannons
The Battle of Foggy Rock was the battle most often associated as being the last major battle of the Anglo-Spanish War (also known as "the Paradoxian War"). The battle was mostly fought on a series of rocky steppes coined "Foggy Rock", but a small subsequent naval battle took place in the Mar de Plata Strait.
While transporting a regiment of soldiers from the British base of Kingshead to Port Royal, the EITC First Division were soon fired upon by a larger Spanish force. The Spanish, having suffered from monumental previous defeats at the hands of the British, craved a strong victory, and sent their largest naval force to strike the British. However, the British fought back and, after routing the small Spanish fleet to a nearby rocky island, won a stunning victory. The battle took place over a span of four days, from August 14, to August 17.
Part I - Skirmish in Mar de Plata Strait
Departing Fort Kingshead
GENERAL O'REILLY WATCHED intently as the soldiers marched to the docks. His regiment, the East India First Divison, had become one of legend. Made up of elite marines, commanders, and seamen, the division had spent more than a month stationed at one of the British's highly secured fortresses, Fort Kingshead. Now, they were to be reassigned to a new location: Fort Charles, in Port Royal, Jamaica. General O'Reilly was eager to return to Port Royal, for he knew it was there that his wife, Princess Amelia Augustus, was staying during her trip to the Caribbean Isles.
At the dock protruding from Fort Kingshead, a large ship sit afloat. This was O'Reilly's personal flagship, the H.M.S. Essex. The 124-gunned ship-of-the-line now served as a transport for the many marines returning to Fort Charles. Beside the Essex floated two smaller ship-of-the-lines, each sporting twenty-six cannons. Their names were the H.M.S. New Haven and the H.M.S. Prince of Wales.
The sounds of marines marching in unison, crates and artillery being lifted by crane, and commands being shouted by batallion captains filled the dock. As General O'Reilly overlooked the docks from the walls of the fort, a man approached him from behind.
"General O'Reilly, sir." said the man sternly with a salute.
"At ease. Yes General Garland?" replied O'Reilly.
"The men are almost prepared to break harbour. According to the position of the sun, we should reach Port Royal by nightfall."
"Thank you general." said O'Reilly.
General Garland was, for a lack of better words, the "second-in-command" of the First Division, behind General O'Reilly. In charge of the first brigade of soldiers, he had high respect for General O'Reilly, and was the leading man when it came to preparing battle tactics. His son, Nathaniel Garland, was a lieutenant commander, leading a squad in his father's brigade.
"And General O'Reilly?" said Garland.
"Yes, Mr. Garland?"
"Congratulations, sir. I heard that you and Princess Amelia adopted a child; I have no doubt he will be raised to be as valiant as his step-father."
General O'Reilly thanked his vice-general, and resumed watching progress be made on the docks.
About an hour later, the last of the supplies was finally loaded onto the Essex. General O'Reilly's white mare, Achilles, as well as General Garland's chestnut-brown mare, Napoleon, were taken aboard the Essex, and stowed in the stalls below deck. As the last of the marines made their way on board as well, Lieutenant Commander Nathaniel Garland took the helm of one of the smaller ship-of-the-lines, the HMS Prince of Wales. The purpose of the H.M.S. Prince of Wales and the H.M.S. New Haven was to provide protection for the H.M.S. Essex in the unlikely possibility of attack. General Garland and O'Reilly boarded the Essex, bid a final farewell to Fort Kingshead, and raised the anchor. They were on their way to Port Royal.
The Spanish Attack
NEVER HAD THERE BEEN a more lively crew aboard the Essex. While the ship's band played a jovial tune, men on board saw to different duties. General O'Reilly had assigned a sergeant, a man named James Pemberton, the job of manning the helm. The quartermaster, a major named Tomas Fleming, saw that duties were being carried out by the respective carpenters, surgeons, boatswains, and swabbies. Marines took the time to shine their bayonets and sabres, hang up their redcoats, and clean out many of the ship's 124 cannons. While Garland stood at the quarterdeck overlooking the bustling ship-of-the-line, O'Reilly sat at the desk in the captain's quarters, working on last-minute documents, and jotting down notes in the ship's log.
It was now getting rather late. The summer afternoon turned into twilight, as the sun cast a radiant hue of orange reflecting on the calm seas. A bell was rung on the main deck, and all the officers of the ship were called to the wardroom for supper. O'Reilly sat at the head of the table, with Garland and the quartermaster on either side of him. They dined on rations brought aboard from the fort: salted beef and pork, dried buttermilk biscuits with molasses, cheeses (many of which had grown mold from a long shelf-life in the fort), and wine. As tradition, after the meal, the ship's chef presented the officers with hot tea.
"Thank you, my good man." said Garland to the chef as he splashed milk into his tea.
"Mr. Garland," began O'Reilly, "Now when we arrive at Fort Charles, I must request a favour from you. Would you please present this letter to Governor Swann? I, of course, would do it myself, but... Well, let us just say I look forward to seeing Miss Amelia."
Garland picked up the letter that O'Reilly had been writing in the captain's quarters, and happily stowed it in his coat pocket.
"Of course, Mr. O'Reilly," said Garland, "I shall do so with happiness. Along the way, perhaps I shall stop by Lord Bane's apartment, and see how he and Elizabeth have been."
Mr. O'Reilly nodded, and said, "Caddius? Has he yet returned from Singapore?"
"Indeed, just a few days ago. Poor man's ship coming back got caught in a terrible gale, had to make land in New Guinea he did, and stayed there nearly a fortnight."
The two generals continued to talk about current going-ons in the Caribbean, when suddenly a thunderous boom interrupted Garland telling his story of the time he learned the art of spear-throwing in Bora Bora.
"What the bloody hell was that?" exlaimed Garland, as he stood up out of his chair.
"Likely just a cannon malfunction. The boys can be quite foolish at times." said O'Reilly in a relaxed manner.
As Garland was assured no danger was at hand, he began to sit back down. Suddenly, the wardroom's door burst open, and in its place stood a terrified-looking ensign.
"General O'Reilly! General Garland!" said the man, "The ship is under attack! We've received cannonfire from the northwest!"
Wide-eyed, O'Reilly and Garland quickly got up and walked out to the main deck. Around them, dozens of marines and sailors ran around, confused and murmuring in uncertainty. General O'Reilly yelled his men to attention, but it seemed not a soul heard him. After trying twice more to no avail, O'Reilly then reached into his coat pocket, pulled out his officer's flintlock, and fired a loud crack into the air. All the men on board froze and looked directly at him.
"Now," said O'Reilly, "I want one of you to calmly explain to me where the cannon shot came from, because, it would appear, I see no enemy ship in sight."
Before anybody could answer, another thunderous boom filled the air, followed by the sound of cracking wood; the ship's hull had taken light damage. Everybody on board then glared in the direction in which the cannon ball came, and in the distance just on the horizon, a Spanish man-o-war could be spotted.
The H.M.S. Prince of Wales
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER GARLAND, General Jeremiah Garland's son, sat in the captain's quarters on board the H.M.S. Prince of Wales. Both the Prince of Wales and the H.M.S. New Haven had been following the Essex the entire journey, serving as vanguards for the massive transport.
Nathaniel Garland, unlike his father (who was a seasoned officer of both the East India Company and the British Royal Military), was relatively new. Put up for adoption at a young age following Garland's wife, Joan Chamberlain's, tragic death, Nathaniel ensued a career as a pirate. It was not until one afternoon while raiding a company ship that he learned the ship belonged to his father, Jeremiah. The two met for the first time since Nathaniel's birth. It was then that Jeremiah formally gave his son an invitation to follow in his father's footsteps. After enlisting in the First Division, he was immediatly recognised for his leadership skills as well as his courage on the battlefield, and named lieutenant commander of the First Squad, in the First Brigade.
He sit at the mahogony desk that occupied most of the cabin, writing a letter to his dear wife, who was currently visiting extended family in England.
Just then, a young lieutenant named William Berkshaw burst open the door to Lieutenant Commander Garland's captain's quarters.
"Mr. Garland, sir." said the man calmly yet sternly.
"Yes? What is it lieutenant?" replied Garland.
"Spanish warships have been spotted in the northwest. They've opened fire on the Essex; her port hull is slightly damaged, sir."
Nathaniel Garland wasted no time. He quickly got up from his chair, and with the young lieutenant, exited the office and made his way to the quarterdeck. He pulled a telescope from his coat pocket, unfolded it, and glared through it in the northwest direction. There, he saw the Spanish man-o-war, in full sail, sailing quickly towards the Essex.
"Ship-of-the-line... From the looks of it, about ninety-six guns I'd say... She's heading right for us..." noted Garland to the lieutenant.
"Orders, sir?" came the lieutenant's reply.
"We must do what he have to do, lieutenant." said Garland with a sigh. "Our first and foremost duty is to protect the transport, and so we must."
Nathaniel then approached the railing of the quarterdeck, overlooking the main deck, and got his men's attention.
"Gentlemen," began Garland, as he searched for the right words, "As many of you are aware, we seem to have attracted the attention of the Spanish. Now, many of you may be thinking that this will be an easy victory with the Essex in our midst, but dire news indeed: the Essex is not here to fight. She is merely a transport, and it is our duty to make sure she does not fall... Now, it saddens me to say, we cannot win this battle. However, we must do our duty, and do it with honour. Men, stand with me! For the First Division, for General O'Reilly, and for England!"
Soon, morale filled the entire ship like a blanket. All marines on board immediatly began preparing the ship's cracked four-pounders, and transporting cannonballs and gunpowder from the lower decks. Lieutenant Commander Garland himself took the helm, turned the ship about, and with the New Haven to the Prince of Wales right, charged head-on into the Spanish flagship.
A Parting of the Tide
O'REILLY AND GARLAND peered through their telescopes at the pursuing Spanish ship. Its bright yellow and crimson red flag was now clearly visible, as well as the name of the mammoth warship, painted in gold letters on the hull: The SPS Galacia.
As the Galacia cut through the tide closer and closer towards the Essex, O'Reilly made a terrible discovery.
"Mr. Garland, look!" O'Reilly shouted, still looking through his telescope.
Garland then turned around and proped himself on the rail. Glaring into the direction of the Spanish ship, he saw what had alarmed General O'Reilly.
The Galacia was being flanked, by one other ship. No, not just one. Soon, another ship was insight. Three ships in all! But there was more... Soon, a forth ship appeared on the horizon, all speeding towards the Essex. They were all relatively smaller than the Galacia, but nonetheless could destroy.
O'Reilly and Garland looked at each other, appaled at what lie before them. By now, the crew had also taken notice of the additional ships, and were frantically scurrying on the main deck. The quartermaster, Major Fleming, then approached the generals.
"Orders sir?!" he said nervously to General O'Reilly.
Ignoring Fleming, O'Reilly stepped forward to the railing of the quarterdeck overlooking the main deck, and spoke to his crew directly.
"Gentlemen... The Spanish are gaining on us, yet it is not in our business to fight them. It hurts me to say this, but I don't believe this fight can be won. Now, we must make haste to Port Royal. Full sail! Everybody, get an oar and start rowing!"
The men on deck looked at each other in confused looks. Never before had they been given an order to "row". After a few motionless seconds, Major Fleming stepped forward to where O'Reilly was.
"Well you heard the general! Get rowing, men!" he shouted, confirming O'Reilly's order.
Soon, a few swabbies from the lower deck emerged dragging racks of oars. Each crewmember grabbed one, found a position on either side of the boat, and began rowing away. The helmsman, with a series of swift turns of the wheel, had changed the Essex's direction, so now her rear faced the Spanish invaders. All seven of the Essex's massive sails were now unfolded all the way, and as miraculuous as it was, a divine wind caught them. Even still, the Spanish pursuers followed behind, gaining less and less distance between them and the Essex with every second.
Meanwhile, Garland still stood, looking over the railing of the ship. Just then, two objects in the water caught his eye near the boat: the H.M.S. Prince of Wales and the H.M.S. New Haven. They were headed right for the massive oncoming Spaniard horde. A force of sadness soon tookover Garland, as he now remembered his son, Nathaniel, was captaining the Prince of Wales, now headed straight for his death.
Just then, Nathaniel Garland (who was at the helm of the Prince of Wales) turned around and met eyes with his father onboard the Essex, going in the opposite direction. A look of sorrow occupied both of their faces, as, without saying a word, they said goodbye. Garland could not bear parting with his son.
"General O'Reilly!" he shouted sternly at the captain of the Essex, "We must turn this ship around and fight! They may outnumber us, but we outgun them! We must - "
"Mr. Garland..." began O'Reilly, cutting Garland off, "We were given the sole duty of making sure these men get back to Port Royal safely, and that is what we shall do... I'm sorry, Mr. Garland. I truly am." A look of sadness was in General O'Reilly's eyes as well.
Seeing that his son could not escape death now, General Garland turned around and took one last look at his son Nathaniel. Still at the helm, Nathaniel Garland turned around as well, and met eyes once again with his father. With a brave look on his face, Nathaniel Garland promptly saluted his father. His father replied. They held the salute for several long seconds, before Nathaniel shouted a command to his crew, and soon, the Prince of Wales and the New Haven were right upon the Spanish armada.
THE SPANISH FLAGSHIP, the Galacia, was a good nautical mile in front of the supporting Spanish ships. The Prince of Wales and the New Haven both made the Galacia their target, and charged full sail at the massive ship-of-the-line.
General Garland stood watching. After examining the two smaller British ships and the massive Spanish warship, he whispered under his breath they don't stand a chance...
As General O'Reilly was talking with the ship's captain, Garland rushed to the railing of the quarterdeck overlooking the maindeck, and began shouting to the crew.
"Prepare the cannons for battle! Make full sail towards the Spaniard fleet! Man all battle - " He was cut off by an angry General O'Reilly.
"Belay that command!" shouted O'Reilly to the confused crew,"Garland! Have you lost your bloody damn mind!? We are a bloody transport, we can't risk fighting now!"
Garland replied sternly, but with unrest in his voice.
"Those are our men out there!" he said, while pointing in the direction of the Prince of Wales and New Haven. "If we don't do a damn thing they're going to get bloody annihilated by those Spanish bastards!"
O'Reilly seemed little unchanged. Garland continued, but quieter.
"Please, Jonathan... That's my son... I'm not ready to lose him too."
After a long minute of thinking, O'Reilly then turned to the maindeck and addressed the crew.
"Continue on with the previous orders. Get all guns locked in position. I don't want to see any man not working."
He then turned to the helmsman and said to him sternly, "Take us in."
The Battle Begins
THE ESSEX SHOOK as the helmsman swiftly turned the wheel, pointing the ship in the direction of the Spanish. In front of them, the Prince of Wales and the New Haven had alreay engaged in combat with the Galacia. The two British ships went in seperate directions around the massive Spanish ship-of-the-line, and were firing on either side. From the deck of the Essex, it was clear that not much damage was being done on the Galacia. Even against two other ships, the Galacia out-cannoned both ships on either side. Deadly broadsides from the Spanish sent heavy blows to the two smaller ship-of-the-lines. However, with the Union Jack fluttering high above their decks, the Prince of Wales and the New Haven fought strong and returned fire.
By the time the Essex was in firing range of the Galacia, the second Spanish warship, the Marquemador was making its way into the ensuing battle. Although not nearly as large as the Galacia, the Marquemador had a towering presence, and was soon nearly upon the Prince of Wales and the New Haven.
The H.M.S. Prince of Wales
"FIRE! BLOODY GOD men, I said fire!"
Meanwhile, on the Prince of Wales, Lieutenant-Commander Nathaniel Garland stood over the maindeck shouting orders at the crew of marines below. Off the starboard side of the ship, the massive Galacia loomed, firing devistating broadsides into the Prince of Wales. The boat rocked to-and-fro from the thumping cannons of the Spanish, the smell of blood, seasalt, and burnt wood in the air. It was quite humid; a stray Spanish cannonball had hit the Prince of Wales' lower decks, igniting their powder magazine. No man onboard had given any thought of putting it out, for they were too focused on firing cannonball after cannonball on the Galacia.
Already, two marines onboard the Prince of Wales had been killed, both by impacts from Spanish fire. Again, nobody bothered relocating their bodies, for the struggle to return fire was too great. Although Garland had been shouting orders at them from above, most of them were barely heard by a few, for the roar of cannons was too great.
As Lieutenant-Commander Garland continued to move along the loading-and-firing process of his men, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see his lieutenant, William Berkshaw. Berkshaw shouted at his best effort over the undying din of guns.
"S-sir! There's no... No possible w-way we can hold th-them off much longer! We're beginning to r-run out of ammuntion, and our gunpower m-magazine is in f-flames! Orders sir!?"
"We must press on the attack!" shouted Nathaniel Garland at the top of his voice, "Just long enough for General O'Reilly and his transport to get safely out of range!"
Just then, the helmsman of the Prince of Wales, a young captain named Leonard Terrance, shouted to Garland.
"Commander! Look over yonder!" he said, holding the helm with one hand and pointing behind him with the other, "The Essex approaches!"
Lieutenant-Commander Garland looked to see, and no doubt, about half a nautical mile behind them, the H.M.S. Essex approached. Garland, shocked to see them approaching, thought in his head what the devil are they doing?
"Relay a message to the Essex," ordered Garland to a nearby soldier, "They must disengage at once; tell them we can manage our own and they must get to safety! Go!"
"Nay, sir," replied the soldier sheepishly, "We haven't a means to get to the Essex, sir... Our rafts have been smashed by the Spanish fire!"
Nathaniel Garland let out a heavy sigh as he turned toward the helmsman. "Very well... You say our magazine is aflame, Lieutenant Terrence? Good: alter course. We must sail directly towards the Galicia. Full sail! Let's see how fast she can go."