The Newfoundland expedition (French: Expédition à Terre-Neuve, Spanish: Expedición a Terranova) was a series of fleet manoeuvres and amphibious landings in the coasts of Newfoundland, Labrador and Saint Pierre and Miquelon carried out by the combined French and Spanish fleets during the French Revolutionary Wars. This expedition, composed of seven ships of the line and three frigates under the orders of Rear-Admiral Richery sailed from Cadiz in August 1796 accompanied by a much stronger Spanish squadron, commanded by General Solano, which had the aim of escorting it to the coast of Newfoundland.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.
Spanish or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
Newfoundland is a large Canadian island off the east coast of the North American mainland, and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has 29 percent of the province's land area. The island is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait. It blocks the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world's largest estuary. Newfoundland's nearest neighbour is the French overseas community of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.
On 28 August 1796 this combined Franco-Spanish squadron of 20 vessels, carrying 1,500 regular troops, appeared off the coast of Newfoundland.Considerable alarm was occasioned in England by the first accounts of these events in Newfoundland, the news being to the effect that the French had actually landed 1,500 men at Bay Bulls and 2,000 at Portugal Cove in Conception Bay, from which they were marching against St. John's. The harbour of St. John's was defended by a number of fortifications and gun emplacements such as Fort Amherst, Chain Rock Battery, Fort Frederick, and the large star-fort known as Fort Townshend. At St. John's the local garrison of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Royal Artillery, the Royal Newfoundland Volunteers, aided by most able-bodied men, established a camp atop Signal Hill at the beginning of September. A boom was constructed across the harbour and three fire ships prepared. French Admiral Joseph de Richery, decided not to land after he saw this force, and after hovering in the area for several days, he chose instead to land at Bay Bulls, 18 miles south of St. John's, on 4 September.
Bay Bulls is a small fishing town in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
Conception Bay (CB) is a bay on the southeast coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
Fort Amherst is a neighbourhood in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. It is located at, on the southern side of the Narrows, the entrance to St. John's harbour. Apart from some family dwellings, Fort Amherst consists of a man-made harbour, a lighthouse and the remains of gun emplacements and pillboxes built during World War II to defend against German U-boats. Two QF 4.7-inch B Mark IV* guns remain in place, and can still be seen on their mountings.
On 4 September the expedition entered the town of Bay Bulls, and there being no sufficient force to protect Newfoundland, it was ravaged with fire and destruction, and a great deal of mischief was done to the fisheries.After taking dozens of British prisoners, the combined fleet sailed toward Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which were held by the British at that time, and remained near the islands for two weeks, taking on water and preparing for the voyage back to France and Spain. The combined expedition destroyed over 100 fishing vessels from the Newfoundland fleet and burned fishing stations along the Newfoundland coast, including the base of the English garrison at Placentia Bay.
Bay Bulls is a natural bay off the island of Newfoundland in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
Placentia Bay is a body of water on the southeast coast of Newfoundland, Canada. It is formed by Burin Peninsula on the west and Avalon Peninsula on the east. Fishing grounds in the bay were used by native people long before the first European fishermen arrived in the 16th century. For a time, the French controlled the bay. They built their capital at Placentia on the east coast. The British gained Placentia during the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The town and nearby Castle Hill are national historic sites. English settlement followed in the bay and today the main communities are Burin, Marystown, and Placentia.
On 19 August a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, between France and Spain was signed at San Ildefonso, by which the latter power was to have a fleet in readiness to assist the French.The treaty was ratified in Paris on 12 September, and on 5 October a declaration of war by Spain against Great Britain was issued from Madrid. The fleet, under the command of Don Juan de Langara, put to sea from Cadiz. Ten sail of the line under the flag of Rear-Admiral Solano were dispatched to join with a French force consisting of seven sail of the line and three frigates, under Rear-Admiral Richery, in an expedition against the British settlement of Newfoundland.
The Second Treaty of San Ildefonso was signed on 19 August 1796 between Spain and the First French Republic. Based on the terms of the agreement, France and Spain would become allies and combine their forces against the British Empire.
The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, known as La Granja, is an early 18th-century palace in the small town of San Ildefonso, located in the hills near Segovia and 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Madrid, within the Province of Segovia in central Spain.
In August 1796, both Canada and Nova Scotia were stirred by the news that Admiral Richery had escaped the vigilance of Admiral Robert Mann out of Cadiz, and was proceeding to Newfoundland with seven sail of the line and several frigates.Against this force Vice-Admiral Wallace at St. John's could only oppose the old Romney of 50 guns, two 32's and two 16's. Captain Taylor, in Andromeda , of thirty-two guns, had parted for the banks with orders to cruise there for the protection of the sea trade. On 3 September he spoke with a schooner, the master of which informed him that he had seen on the coast an enemy's fleet, consisting of several ships of the line and frigates. Subsequent reports increased alarm on the mainland by telling of French landings in Conception Bay.
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime Provinces, and one of the four provinces that form Atlantic Canada. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest of Canada's ten provinces, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2016, the population was 923,598. Nova Scotia is Canada's second-most-densely populated province, after Prince Edward Island, with 17.4 inhabitants per square kilometre (45/sq mi).
Robert Mann was an officer of the Royal Navy. He served during the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary Wars, eventually rising to the rank of admiral of the red.
Richery made for St. John's, estimating that with his superior firepower, he could pound Fort Amherst into submission. With the battery silenced, he could then force his way into the harbour to destroy the town. Outnumbered at sea, the British retired behind the forts and batteries of St. John's and prepared to put up stiff resistance.It was the morning of 2 September 1796 when the French fleet was sighted off the coast. Wallace did not have a large garrison in St. John's at the time, so he tried to give the impression that he had. This was intended to make the French believe that St. John's would be too costly to try to take. He had his men erect tents on both sides of the entrance to the Narrows and then marched them to and fro at Fort Amherst and below Signal Hill. Richery was handicapped by having no intelligence of the defenses of St. John's and no pilots for Newfoundland waters. He had to depend for information on John Morridge, master of a fishing ship belonging to Governor Wallace, who was one of the prisoners taken at Bay Bulls. Richery's huge fleet hove to off Cape Spear for a day observing the daunting sight. The next morning, Richery formed a battle line and drove for the harbour entrance. As they came within the range of the twenty-four pounders at Fort Amherst, his resolve weakened. Tacking the great ships, he headed back out to sea. The ruse had worked and the town saved. Admiral Richery's threat to St. John's finally came to nothing in face of the vigour of the new Governor, Admiral Sir Richard Wallace, who raised volunteers, strengthened the forts, and prepared new batteries.
Signal Hill is a hill which overlooks the city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
Cape Spear, located on the Avalon Peninsula near St. John's, Newfoundland, is the easternmost point in Canada (52°37'W), and North America, excluding Danish-controlled Greenland.
In France, the public were informed that Richery had forced the surrender of St. John's and captured large quantities of shipping and sent more than a thousand sailors as prisoners to Santo Domingo. Not until October did authentic information reach England, when it was learned that the French admiral had given up the larger plan of an assault on St. John's and had left the coast on 29 September.
On 4 September the French squadron entered Bay Bulls. The town surrendered on their approach. Admiral Richery plundered and destroyed the entire settlement and shipping, including the fishing-stages, driving the inhabitants into the woods.57 buildings and 47 fishing ships were captured along with more than 400 prisoners.
|“||Burnt their stores and houses, Took their fish and oil, The hard-earned produce, Of their yearly toil.||”|
On 5 September, Richery detached Adm. Zacharie Jacques Théodore Comte Allemand, to raid the Bay of Castles (Labrador) with Duquesne , Censeur, and Friponne while Richery himself proceeded to Saint Pierre and Miquelon with Victoire, Barras, Jupiter , Berwick , and Révolution 74s, and frigates Émbuscade and Félicité to visit a like treatment upon its shore establishments.
Delayed by head winds and fogs, M. Allemand did not enter the bay of Castles until 22 September, by which time most of the fishing vessels had departed for Europe. The French commodore sent an officer with a flag of truce demanding the surrender of the town. This was refused, but the approach of the squadron compelled the British commanding officer to destroy the fishing-stages.
Richery destroyed all the buildings, vessels, and fishing-stages he found at Saint Pierre and Miquelon,claiming the islands for France but leaving them unpopulated. Approximately 225 houses, 17 large scaffolds, 8 large buildings, 80 fishing boats and 80,000 quintals of cod were burnt to the ground. Admiral Richery hoisted the French flag on the island of St. Pierre, which had surrendered to a force from Halifax years before, but had been left without a garrison, though a number of British fishermen had taken possession and built a town. Richery's squadron then divided, and a portion sailed for the coast of Labrador to intercept the homeward-bound fishing fleet from Quebec while Admiral Richery remained near Cape Breton with four sail of the line and a frigate.
On 27 September, Admiral Murray arrived at Halifax from Bermuda. Although the information presented to him was still confused, the apparent lack of transports and troops indicated that the expedition was a raid rather than a serious attempt to take Newfoundland.Two days later, Allemand stood away from the coast, and, as Richery had already done, steered homeward. On 5 November, Richery, with his division, entered the port of Rochefort, and on the 15th Allemand with his reached Lorient.
The combined fleets of France and Spain had destroyed upwards of 100 merchant vessels, and taken a great number of prisoners. Some were sent in a cartel to Halifax, and the remainder, about 300 in number, were carried into France and Spain.The British bank fisheries in Newfoundland recovered following the signing of the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, and in that year, 71 Newfoundland and 58 British "banker" vessels prosecuted the fisheries on the Grand Banks. They declined again with the outbreak of war in 1803 and recovered somewhat after the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805, but declined again during the Anglo-American war of 1812–14.
The Spanish novelist Arturo Pérez-Reverte cites this expedition in one of his works, Cabo Trafalgar: un relato naval.
Thomas Graves, 1st Baron Graves KB was a British Admiral of the Royal Navy and colonial official. He served in the Seven Years' War and the American War of Independence. He was also the Commodore-Governor of Newfoundland for a period of time.
Sir John Thomas Duckworth, 1st Baronet, GCB was an officer of the Royal Navy, serving during the Seven Years' War, the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, as the Governor of Newfoundland during the War of 1812, and a member of the British House of Commons during his semi-retirement. Duckworth, a vicar's son, achieved much in a naval career that began at the age of 11.
Grand Bank, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada or 'Grand Banc' as the first French settlers pronounced it, is a small rural town with a population of 2,580. It is located on the southern tip or "toe" of the Burin Peninsula, 360 km from the province's capital of St. John's.
Admiral John Holloway was an officer of the Royal Navy who saw service during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, before serving as Governor of Newfoundland between 1807 and 1809.
Trepassey, is a small fishing community located in Trepassey Bay on the south eastern corner of the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was in Trepassey Harbour where the flight of the Friendship took off, with Amelia Earhart on board, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
HMS Berwick was a 74-gun Elizabeth-class third rate of the Royal Navy, launched at Portsmouth Dockyard on 18 April 1775, to a design by Sir Thomas Slade. She fought the French at the Battle of Ushant (1778) and the Dutch at the Battle of Dogger Bank (1781). The French captured her in the Action of 8 March 1795 during the French Revolutionary Wars and she served with them with some success then and at the start of the Napoleonic Wars until the British recaptured her at the Battle of Trafalgar. Berwick sank shortly thereafter in a storm.
John Elliot was a Scottish officer of the Royal Navy who served during the Seven Years' War and the American War of Independence. He rose to the rank of admiral, and served briefly as colonial governor of Newfoundland.
Vice-Admiral John Campbell (1720–1790) was born in the parish of Kirkbean in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Campbell was a British naval officer, navigational expert and colonial governor.
The History of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is one of early settlement by Europeans taking advantage of the rich fishing grounds near Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and is characterized by periods of conflict between the French and British.
The Atlantic campaign of 1806 was one of the most important and complex naval campaigns of the post-Trafalgar Napoleonic Wars. Seeking to take advantage of the withdrawal of British forces from the Atlantic in the aftermath of the Battle of Trafalgar, Emperor Napoleon ordered two battle squadrons to sea from the fleet stationed at Brest, during December 1805. Escaping deep into the Atlantic, these squadrons succeeded in disrupting British convoys, evading pursuit by British battle squadrons and reinforcing the French garrison at Santo Domingo. The period of French success was brief: on 6 February 1806 one of the squadrons, under Vice-Admiral Corentin Urbain Leissègues, was intercepted by a British squadron at the Battle of San Domingo and destroyed, losing all five of its ships of the line.
The Atlantic campaign of 1806 was a complicated series of manoeuvrees and counter-manoeuveres conducted by squadrons of the French Navy and the British Royal Navy across the Atlantic Ocean during the spring and summer of 1806, as part of the Napoleonic Wars. The campaign followed directly from the Trafalgar campaign of the year before, in which the French Mediterranean fleet had crossed the Atlantic, returned to Europe and joined with the Spanish fleet. On 21 October 1805, this combined force was destroyed by a British fleet under Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, although the campaign did not end until the Battle of Cape Ortegal on 4 November 1805. Believing that the French Navy would not be capable of organised resistance at sea during the winter, the First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Barham withdrew the British blockade squadrons to harbour. Barham had miscalculated – the French Atlantic fleet, based at Brest, had not been involved in the Trafalgar campaign and was therefore at full strength. Taking advantage of the reduction in the British forces off the port, Napoleon ordered two heavy squadrons to sea, under instructions to raid British trade routes while avoiding contact with equivalent Royal Navy forces.
L'Hermite's expedition was a French naval operation launched in 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. The operation was intended as both a commerce raiding operation against the British trading posts of West Africa and as a diversion to the Trafalgar campaign. Sailing from Lorient in October 1805 with one ship of the line, two frigates and a corvette, Commodore Jean-Marthe-Adrien L'Hermite was under orders to intercept and destroy British traders and slave ships off the West African coast and await reinforcements under Jérôme Bonaparte which were to be used in the invasion and capture of one of the British trading forts for use as a permanent French naval base from which further raiding operations could be conducted. It was also hoped by the French naval command that L'Hermite might draw some of the large British fleet maintained off Cadiz away from the blockade to allow the French and Spanish allied fleet trapped in the harbour to escape.
Allemand's expedition of 1805, often referred to as the Escadre invisible in French sources, was an important French naval expedition during the Napoleonic Wars, which formed a major diversion to the ongoing Trafalgar Campaign in the Atlantic Ocean. With the French Mediterranean Fleet at sea, Emperor Napoleon I hoped to unite it with the French Atlantic Fleet and together form a force powerful enough to temporarily displace the British Royal Navy Channel Fleet for long enough to allow an invasion force to cross the English Channel and land in Britain. In support of this plan, the French squadron based at Rochefort put to sea in July 1805, initially with the intention that they would join the Atlantic Fleet from Brest. When this fleet failed to put to sea, the Rochefort squadron, under Contre-Admiral Zacharie Allemand, went on an extended raiding cruise across the Atlantic, both to intercept British trade left lightly defended by the concentration of British forces in European waters and with the intention of eventually combining with the French Mediterranean Fleet then blockaded in Spanish harbours.
The Mediterranean campaign of 1798 was a series of major naval operations surrounding a French expeditionary force sent to Egypt under Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Revolutionary Wars. The French Republic sought to capture Egypt as the first stage in an effort to threaten British India and support Tipu Sultan, and thus force Great Britain to make peace. Departing Toulon in May 1798 with over 40,000 troops and hundreds of ships, Bonaparte's fleet sailed southeastwards across the Mediterranean Sea. They were followed by a small British squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, later reinforced to 13 ships of the line, whose pursuit was hampered by a lack of scouting frigates and reliable information. Bonaparte's first target was the island of Malta, which was under the government of the Knights of St. John and theoretically granted its owner control of the Central Mediterranean. Bonaparte's forces landed on the island and rapidly overwhelmed the defenders, securing the port city of Valletta before continuing to Egypt. When Nelson learned of the French capture of the island, he guessed the French target to be Egypt and sailed for Alexandria, but passed the French during the night of 22 June without discovering them and arrived off Egypt first.
The Newfoundland expedition was a naval raiding expedition led by English Captain John Leake between August and October 1702 that targeted French colonial settlements on the North Atlantic island of Newfoundland and its satellite Saint Pierre. The expedition occurred in the early days of Queen Anne's War, as the North American theater of the War of the Spanish Succession is sometimes known.
The Croisière de Bruix was the principal naval campaign of the year 1799 during the French Revolutionary Wars. The expedition began in April 1799 when the bulk of the French Atlantic Fleet under Vice-Admiral Étienne Eustache Bruix departed the base at Brest, evading the British Channel Fleet which was blockading the port and tricking the commander Admiral Lord Bridport into believing their true destination was Ireland. Passing southwards, the French fleet narrowly missed joining with an allied Spanish Navy squadron at Ferrol and was prevented by an easterly gale from uniting with the main Spanish fleet at Cádiz before entering the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean was under British control following the destruction of the French Mediterranean Fleet at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798, and a British fleet nominally under Admiral Earl St Vincent was stationed there. Due however to St. Vincent's ill-health, operational control rested with Vice-Admiral Lord Keith. As Keith sought to chase down the French, the Spanish fleet followed Bruix into the Mediterranean before being badly damaged in a gale and sheltering in Cartagena.
The Mediterranean campaign of 1793–1796 was a major theater of conflict in the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars. Fought during the War of the First Coalition, the campaign was primarily contested in the Western Mediterranean between the French Navy's Mediterranean Fleet, based at Toulon in Southern France, and the British Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet, supported by the Spanish Navy and the smaller navies of several Italian states. Major fighting was concentrated in the Ligurian Sea, and focused on British maintenance of and French resistance to a British close blockade of the French Mediterranean coast. Additional conflict spread along Mediterranean trade routes, contested by individual warships and small squadrons.
The Battle of the Levant Convoy was a naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars fought on 7 October 1795. During the battle, a powerful French squadron surprised a valuable British convoy from the Levant off Cape St Vincent on the coast of Portugal. The convoy was weakly defended, and although the small escort squadron tried to drive the French back, they were outmatched. In the ensuing action one of the British ships of the line and almost the entire convoy was overrun and captured. The French commander, Commodore Joseph de Richery, then retired to the neutral Spanish port of Cádiz, where he came under blockade.
Richery's expedition was a French naval operation during 1795 and 1796 as part of the French Revolutionary Wars. The operation was led by Commodore Joseph de Richery and comprised two separate cruises; the first was an operation off Cádiz in Southern Spain in which Richery attacked and defeated a large British merchant convoy with a weak escort, taking many prizes. Forced to anchor at Cádiz, the French squadron was subsequently blockaded in the port for almost a year. Richery was enabled to escape in August 1796 by a Spanish fleet, and went on to attack British fisheries off Newfoundland and Labrador before returning to France having inflicted severe damage to British Atlantic trade.