Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain - The Battle of Jersey
The Battle of Jersey
That the reader may have a distinct view of the various operations of the war in the neighbourhood of Britain, they shall be arranged as nearly as possible in the order of their respective dates: and, by this rule, the first that falls to be mentioned is the invasion made by the French on the island of Jersey. The attack made on this island in May 1779 roused the attention of Administration.
General Conway, the Governor, came over immediately to the island, remained there some months, and saw the militia put upon a better footing than that on which they had formerly been. The old batteries were alfo repaired, and new ones erected where necessary; and a considerable reinforcement of troops was sent to the garrison, fo that the place was put in a very formidable state of defence.
The great importance to France of possessing this island in time of war, led that nation to meditate another attack upon it. To this measure they were prompted, by considering, not only the advantage which they would derive, from the security which it would afford to their own commerce, in passing up and down the Channel; but also, the convenience of its situation for fitting out privateers, by which they might annoy the trade of Britain.
Their plan was carried on with so much secrecy, that on the 6th of January, they entered the capital by surprise, before day-break, and made the Lieutenant-Governor prisoner. This enterprise was conducted by a Baron de Rullecourt, a Colonel in the French service, and an officer of some reputation and of a daring spirit. He had been second in command, in the attack made by the Prince de Nassau on this island, in the year 1779: and it is very probable that he was the projector of this second attempt.
From his representations of what he could accomplish with a small body of troops, he was appointed to command them: and received a promise, that if he should prove successsul, he should be rewarded with the Cross of St Louis, have the government of his conquest, and be promoted to the rank of a general officer. The prospect of obtaining these honours, no doubt strongly stimulated M de Rullecourt, to run every hazard to carry his point.
The Chevalier de Luxembourg was to have been second in command, but was prevented by sickness from embarking with the troops. The military force allotted for this service amounted to little more thar two thousand men. These were composed of the Volunteers of Luxembourg, and of piquets from the regiments in garrison at St Malo and its environs.
Boats at Granville
They assembled at Granville, where the enemy had collected a number of small vessels, into which they embarked. These were to be escorted to their destination by some small privateers.
M de Rullecourt was sensible that his success depended solely upon secrecy and dispatch. The season of the year was extremely unfavourable for the British cruisers to remain on that dangerous coast : and, resolving to avail himself as much as possible of this circumstance, he put to sea, when the weather was not sufficiently settled to authorise him to take such a step, but soon suffered severely for his temerity. The wind increased to a storm, his fleet was dispersed, one half of his vessels were glad to make for the first ports in France which they were able to reach, while the Baron with the remainder, sought shelter among the Chausey islands, a small cluster of rocks, situated about midway between St Malo and Jersey.
This check would have deterred a less bold adventurer than M de Rullecourt from prosecuting his design ; but he was too confident of success to be persuaded to relinquish it. After waiting some days, until the weather became more favourable, and in hopes of being joined by his missing vessels, he resolved to proceed with the force which he had with him, though greatly diminished.
Accordingly, he put to sea once more: and, about ten o'clock at night on the 5th of January, with much difficulty reached a rocky point of the island of Jersey, called the Violet Bank, which stretches a considerable way into the sea at low water and forms the southern extremity of Grouville Bay. Near this, his fleet came to an anchor. He then landed, with between seven and eight hundred troops, at a place called Platte Rocher, near La Roque Point, on which there was a small redoubt with two pieces of cannon mounted.
Here an officer and some militia mount guard every night, and retire at daylight in the morning. On this occasion, they were lulled into a fatal security; for the enemy found that they had retired before their usual time from their post, by which means they gained a footing on the island without opposition, and without the smallest alarm being given.
The ground where the French fleet came to an anchor is so extremely foul, that one of their privateers, and some of the transport vessels, were driven by the tide upon the rocks, and wrecked, in the very night in which they arrived. By this misfortune they lost upwards of two hundred men. There is but too much reason to believe that M de Rullecourt had been furnished with very good intelligence ; for without losing a moment, he followed up his first success.
Leaving a hundred men in the redoubt at La Roque Point, to assist in debarking his stores and ammunition, he pushed on at the head of his troops for the town of St Helier, the capital of the island, from which he was distant about five miles. About six in the morning he entered the square or market place, where he surprised, and made prisoners, a serjeant's guard of the 78th regiment: and immediately after, sent a detachment to the headquarters, and made the Lieutenant-Governor, Major Moses Corbet, prisoner.
He was conducted directly to the Royal Courthouse to M de Rullecourt; and soon after that the Magistrates, the King's Advocate, and Captain Charlton of the artillery, were also brought there as prisoners. It will now be proper to take a view of the state of the garrison, the manner in which it was arranged, and the steps by which this valuable island was happily prevented from falling under the dominion of France.
When the French landed in Jersey, the garrison of the ifland consisted of five companies of the Earl of Seaforth's Highlanders, or 78th regiment, commanded by Captain Robert Lumsdaine : five companies of the Glasgow Volunteers, or 83d regiment, commanded by Captain William Campbell: the whole of the 95th regiment, then commanded by Major Francis Peirson : five companies of invalids : and a small detachment of the invalid battalion of the royal regiment of artillery—making in all about two thousand men. The five companies of the 78th regiment were quartered in the Hospital Barracks, which are situated a little to the north-west of the town of St Helier, about five hundred yards from the marketplace, and very near the foot of the gallow's hill. These barracks are surrounded by a high wall: and as they have no accommodation for the commissioned officers, they are lodged in the town. The five companies of the 83d regiment, with some of the artillery, composed the garrison of Fort Conway, which is situated in Grouville Bay. The 95th were quartered in some houses in St Peter's parish, called La Hogue.
Major Peirson was there when he was informed that the French had surprised the town of St Helier. The invalids garrisoned Elizabeth, Mount Orgueil, and St Aubin Castles : the detachment of the royal regiment of artillery was dispersed in the different castles and posts : and Major Corbet, the Lieutenant-Governor, resided in the house of La Motte, which is situated a little to the north of the town.
The first person of any note who received information of the French being in possession of the market place, was Captain Clement Hemery of the town artillery. He instantly repaired to the Lieutenant-Governor, to inform him of this event: and he requested, that he would take one of his horses, and make the greatest haste to communicate it to Captain Campbell of the 83d at Fort Conway, and also to get it conveyed to all posts, where the troops were stationed. This order he obeyed with the greatest possible expedition. The escape of Captain Hemery was a most fortunate circumstance; for he had not left the house of La Motte above five minutes, when a party of the enemy arrived there, and made the Lieutenant-Governor prisoner.
Captain Lumsdaine of the 78th regiment, who lodged in one of the cross back streets of St Helier, was informed by his servant, between six and seven in the morning, of the enemy being in the town: and was soon after that joined by Lieutenant Macrae of the same regiment, who lodged in an adjoining house. They both resolved to make the best of their way to the Hospital Barracks, ran down the street until they were clear of the houses, and by climbing over all the garden walls in their way, at last got to the barrack gate, which they found shut.
Nor would the sentinel admit them, without using every precaution, that would have done credit to a veteran soldier. The regiment had been apprized of their danger, were busied in taking every measure for their defence, and in high spirits. Captain Lumsdaine immediately dispatched a serjeant to Major Peirson, to acquaint him that he intended to take post on the gallows hill, and that he would wait there until he should join him. He accordingly marched thither about eight eight o'clock, taking along with him a six pounder and a howitzer, attached to the regiment.
About nine o'clock, he received a letter from the Lieutenant-Governor, ordering him not to commit any hostilities against the enemy ; but, to this order he was determined to pay no regard. Soon after that, he received a letter from Captain Mulcaster of the engineers, who had thrown himself into Elizabeth Castle, requesting Captain Lumsdaine to send him some of the militia gunners ; and at the same time informing him, of the fixed resolution of the garrison, to defend the Castle to the utmost. This afforded great pleasure to the officers and soldiers assembled on the gallows hill: and, some of the militia having joined them, Captain Lumsdaine immediately sent the gunners, as requested.
Captain (afterwards Colonel) Mulcaster was then chief engineer in Jersey. He lodged in a house near the market place, from which he was so lucky as to effect his escape, before the enemy had time to make him prisoner. Having given general orders to his family, to have a horse ready saddled for him on any alarm, his servant had one awaiting him at the door. He mounted directly, rode full speed across the sands to Elizabeth Castle, put the garrison on their guard, and caused fire the alarm guns.
This signal was instantly repeated by St Aubin's Castle, and also by the several batteries round the back of the island, to Mount Orgueil Castle. This roused the attention of every one: the militia flew to their arms with an alacrity that redounds much to their honour, and immediately repaired to their respective rendezvouses, where they soon received orders from Major Peirson to march to the gallows hill, and there to join the King's troops. This order they instantly obeyed.
The enemy carried matters with a high hand. Having made Captain Charlton of the artillery and some town's people prisoners, they tied the Captain and one of them together with ropes : and in that condition forced them to conduct them to the Governor's house, and severely threatened them in case of deceit or refusal. The enemy, having made the LieutenantGovernor Governor prisoner, brought him to the Royal Court house.
He remonstrated with M de Rullecourt against the ignominious treatment of an officer of Captain Charlton's rank ; on which he gave orders for untying the ropes with which he was bound. Mr Durell, the King's Advocate, the Magistrates, and some of the principal inhabitants of St Helier, being also brought prisoners to the Royal Court house, the Baron de Rullecourt drew up a capitulation, by which the King's troops were to be allowed to march out with the honours of war, afterwards to lodge their arms (their side arms excepted) in the town house, and return to their respective quarters, there to remain until vessels were provided to carry them to England.
The inhabitants were to be protected in their estates and effects, and allowed their religion. He seemed displeased that his prisoners did not express a desire to sign it: and in order to bring them into this measure, he greatly exaggerated his own force, asserting that he had only come on with seven hundred men, but that he had five thousand more dispersed over the island, so that all resistance would be in vain. They all, however, refused to put their names to the capitulation.
Mr Durell the King's Advocate, a gentleman of very superior abilities, appearing to doubt his assertions, he repeated them; on which Mr Durell observed that he never heard of a General marching with his van guard until now. The gentlemen continuing inflexible, M de Rullecourt allowed them to retire to their respective houses on parole; but detained the Lieutenant-Governor, with whom he hoped to prevail to sign the capitulation. In vain did he remonstrate with the French Commandant, that no act of his in his present circumstances, could have any authority; and that the troops were commanded by gentlemen of sense and spirit, who were too well acquainted with their duty, to pay regard to any order that he might give while a pridoner. His reasoning was not listened to, and M de Rullecourt insisted on his signing the capitulation, declaring that if he should persist in his refusal, he would give the the town up to be pillaged by his soldiers.
To prevent this, the Lieutenant-Governor, unfortunately for himself, too inconsiderately signed the capitulation. This point being gained, the Baron de Rullecourt thought that he had completed his conquest, immediately invested himself with the Order of St Louis, the only part of his promised rewards which he lived to enjoy, and wrote a letter, giving an account of his success, which he sent to the Commodore of his fleet, to be forwarded to France.
He insisted that the Lieutenant-Governor should write to Major Peirson, Captains Lumsdaine and Campbell, not to fire a shot, and to the commanding officer of Elizabeth Castle to surrender that fortress: but the answers received from all those brave officers were such, as the Lieutenant-Governor had given the Baron reason to expect. They uniformly declared that they would obey no orders received from Mr Corbet, but would do their utmost to defend the island for the King their Master.
This conduct enraged M de Rullecourt very much. He now insisted that the Lieutenant-Governor should accompany him, and in person, require Elizabeth Castle to be immediately delivered up: and accordingly ordered out a detachment of his troops, consisting of one hundred and fifty men, at the head of which they marched for this purpose.
Captain Mulcaster commanded in the Castle. He had but just sent off his answer to the first demand made by the French General, when word was brought to him that the enemy were advancing in force. It was now daybreak, and he saw their troops on their march. On this, he ordered a shot to be fired wide of the enemy ; but, as this had not the desired effect, he ordered a gun to be pointed at them and fired. The shot killed two men, and carried off the leg of an officer, on which the French returned to the town.
Soon after this, Mr d'Auvergne, overseer of the King's works, was, at the request of M de Rullecourt sent into Elizabeth Castle, to inform the Commandant of the severe threat which the enemy had declared should be put in execution against the town ; and to tell him that all resistance must be futile, considering the force which they had brought against the island. Their boasts and threats were treated with the contempt they deserved : and Mr. d'Auvergne returned, with an assurance that the Castle would not be delivered up, so long as there was a man left to desend it.
In consequence of the orders sent to the different regiments of militia, they marched for the gallows hill, on which Captain Lumsdaine, with the companies and cannon of the 78th regiment, had taken post, a little after eight o'clock, where they were foon joined by the St Lawrence militia. Major Peirson, with the 95th regiment, arrived a few minutes after ten, and was immediately followed by Colonel Pipon and the South West regiment of militia. The St Saviour's and North regiments of militia joined about eleven o'clock.
As soon as this junction was completed, Major Peirson made his disposition for the attack. He observed that the enemy had neglected to occupy the town hill, a rocky eminence, that stretches from the harbour to the town, where it ends abruptly, overlooks the town, and entirely commands the market place, which is an oblong square. Here the enemy's troops were drawn up in three columns; and as they had brought no cannon with them, they seized on the two field-pieces attached to the town regiment of militia, which were lodged in the church, compelled the storekeeper to deliver up the ammunition, and planted the guns at the principal entrances into the square. Major Peirson resolved to occupy the town hill in force: and for this purpose detached Captain Hugh Fraser of the 78th regiment, with a battalion company and the light-infantry companies of that corps and of the 95th regiment, and the North regiment of militia on this service, in which they were greatly assisted by Thomas Pipon, his Majesty's storekeeper, who undertook to be their guide.
As Captain Fraser had a circuitous march to perform, Major Peirson, in the mean time, sent an officer with a flag of truce to Baron de Rullecourt, to inquire if the Lieutenant-Governor was a prisoner ; and if so, to demand his releasement. This officer found the Baron in the Royal Court house, and along with him the Lieutenant-Governor, and many other gentlemen and inhabitants of the island. He asked if the Lieutenant-Governor was a prisoner. M de Rullecourt answered that he was not, and pointed to the LieutenantGovernor's sword, as a proof of his freedom.
The Lieutenant-Governor informed the officer, that he had been surprised in his bed, and was, therefore, of necessity obliged to sign articles of capitulation, for the preservation of the island, the property of the people, and the security of the army. The articles were then produced, and also an order to Major Peirson, importing that the troops under his command were to march into the town of St Helier, with all the honours of war ; that they were then to resign their arms, all but their side arms; to return to their respective quarters, and there remain, until vessels should be prepared to convey them to England.
The officer then informed the French Commandant that Major Pierson, and the other officers, were resolved to defend the island, and not to obey these orders; upon which, the Lieutenant-Governor desired leave to go and speak to Major Peirson. His request was granted, and he accordingly set out for the gallows hill, attended by a French officer, and the British officer who came with the flag of truce.
Two column attack
In the meantime, Major Peirson made the necessary arrangements for attacking the enemy in the town. His main body, he formed into two columns. The first column was led by himself, and consisted of the 95th regiment and the South West regiment of militia. At the head of it was a howitzer, which the Major never had an opportunity of using. This column marched from the left, and was to attack up the back street, and take the enemy in flank.
The other column, led by Captain Lumsdaine, was composed of three companies of the 78th regiment, and the St Saviour and St Lawrence militia. At the head of it was a six pounder, which Lieutenant Crozier of the invalid artillery requested leave to superintend. This service he performed with great judgment, coolness, and intrepidity; and was ably assisted in it by Serjeant Menzies of the artillery, who greatly distinguished himself in the action.
The fire from this field-piece made great havock among the enemy. Captain Lumsdaine had orders to march by the right, along the sands and up the main street, and attack the enemy in front. The corps posted on the town hill was to take the enemy in the rear: and the three attacks were so concerted as to commence at the same time. Major Peirson, perceiving that Captain Fraser had obtained possession of the town hill, put the two columns in motion, leaving the North West regiment of militia at the gallows hill as a corps de reserve. He had just reached the first houses of the town, when he was met by a flag of truce, attended by the Lieutenant-Governor, and a French officer, and the officer whom the Major had sent into the town.
The columns were ordered to halt, and a conference took place. The Lieutenant-Governor represented the situation in which he stood, and said that the enemy had seven hundred men in the town; that six thousand more were landed, or landing, in different parts of the island; that ten thousand more were ready to embark at St Malo, and every moment expected, so that all resistance must be vain.
Upon this, Major Peirson asked him how he knew the truth of what he had just now reported, and whether he had seen these men? The Lieutenant-Governor replied (at the same time laying his hand upon his breast), No : but the French General had assured him upon his honour, that it was so, which amounted to the same thing. The Major then said, it does not signify, we have taken our resolution, and will defend the island while we have life.
The Lieutenant-Governor then requested time to go back, and to acquaint the French General with the Major's resolution, and named half an hour: on which Major Peirson pulled out his watch, and said, go and tell him, that I will attack him in ten minutes. He kept his word ; for when that time expired, he ordered the columns to march. The column led by Captain Lumsdaine got first into action. The enemy had placed the two pieces of cannon, which they had seized, opposite to the guard house; and when the King's troops had got within forty yards of them, they fired one of them ; but so ill did they take aim, that the shot went over the column. They attempted to fire the other gun; but the troops advancing briskly, the French soldiers attending the cannon abandoned them, and fled into the guard house.
As soon as Captain Lumsdaine had a complete view of the enemy's main body, he ordered Lieutenant Crozier to fire the field-piece at the head of the column. It was loaded with grape-shot: and he pointed it so well that the shot made a lane quite through the enemy's ranks. This was repeated several times; after which Captain Lumsdaine ordered the gun to be drawn to the right flank. The head of his column then threw in a heavy fire on the enemy, who instantly fled in all directions, and took shelter in the market house, private houses, lanes, and wherever they could find it.
The troops posted on the town hill fired as foon as Captain Lumsdaine began the action: and when the enemy fell into disorder, Captain Fraser marched the King's troops under his command down the hill, and entered the market place. During this time Major Peirson led his column up the back street, and had just made good his entrance into the market place, when an unlucky ball from the enemy, among the last of a scattered fire, which they still kept up, unfortunately entered his breast, and he fell.
About this time Captain Lumsdaine observed the Lieutenant-Governor and and a French officer, the latter waving a white handkerchief which he had in his hand, coming towards him: on which he ordered his column to desist from firing. The LieutenantGovernor told Captain Lumsdaine that the gentleman along with him was the French General, who, addressing himself to the Captain, said—‘’Je suis votre prisonnier, et toutes mes troupes’’.
The Lieutenant-Governor said that the French General and all his troops surrender themselves your prisoners: and taking thewhite handkerchief out of the Baron de Rullecourt's hand, he put it on Captain Lumsdaine's bayonet, and repeated the same thing in a loud voice to the British soldiers. Major Corbet and the French General then went up the marketplace.
The militia from the rear of the column came up at this time, and some popping shots were discharged, on which the firing again commenced in the market place. During this time, M de Rullecourt was mortally wounded; and, as the Lieutenant-Governor was conducting him into the Royal Court house, two shots went through his hat. As neither the column led by Major Peirson, nor the militia posted on the town hill, who continued to keep up an unceasing fire on the dispersed enemy, could know of the surrender of the French General, it was some time besore a stop could be put to the action, which occasioned the loss of several men.
Captain Lumsdaine, on being insormed of Major Peirson's death, assumed the command of the troops. He released the Lieutenant-Governor, and asked him for his orders. He said that he would give directions to collect, disarm, and secure the prisoners. He ordered Captain Lumsdaine, with five companies of the 78th regiment and the 95th regiment, to march to La Roque Bay, where the enemy had made good their landing.
On the Captain's arrival at that place, the French vessels were lying very near the rocks, waiting events; but on seeing the troops, and receiving a few shot from them, they perfectly understood the state of affairs, instantly weighed their anchors and set sail for France. TheCaptain then marched the troops back to St Helier, from whence the 95th regiment were sent to their quarters at La Hogue.
At La Roque, Captain Lumsdaine found Captain William Campbell, who commanded at Fort Conway in Grouville Bay, with five companies of the 83rd regiment. He had marched with all the men who could be spared from the fort; and having learned that the enemy had placed a detachment of their troops in the redoubt at La Roque, he resolved to attack them immediately. On his route thither, he was joined by Colonel Messervey, with the East regiment of militia, who readily agreed to accompany him on this duty.
Having reconnoitred the place, he found that the enemy had barricaded themselves up, in the redoubt and in the guard house. He therefore resolved to storm it with the grenadier company of the 83d regiment, which service they performed with great spirit and judgment. To prevent the enemy from making their escape, he divided the company into two equal parts, keeping the command of one of them to himself, and giving the other to Lieutenant James Robertson of the same regiment. They attacked the redoubt on opposite sides.
The party commanded by the latter were the first who entered the place, when they received a heavy fire from the enemy, which killed six, and wounded seven or eight men but instantly forcing open the guard-house door, most of the enemy threw down their arms and sued for mercy, after having had twenty killed and as many wounded.
At this instant, Captain Campbell, with his party, entered the redoubt, and joined in pursuing the fugitives, who fled to the rocks. Some of them reached their boats and got off: the rest were made prisoners. This service being performed, Captain Campbell was just about to march with the troops under his command to join Major Peirson, when Captain Lumsdaine, with the corps from St Helier, made their appearance.
In the action at St Helier, the enemy had one hundred men killed, and eighty wounded; upwards of three hundred threw down their arms; and the rest fled with the greatest precipitation into the country: but in the course of a day or two, they were all made prisoners by the King's troops, the militia, and the country people. It has already been observed that in the action, the Baron de Rullecourt, the French General, was mortally wounded. He died the fame evening, and was buried with all the honours of war.
This distinction he scarcely merited ; for his behaviour to his prisoners was brutal and cruel in the extreme. To the unfortunate Lieutenant-Governor it was inhuman, and without a parallel in military history : for, when Major Peirson commenced his attack on the French troops, he told Major Corbet that he should share his fate, and forced him to stand close by him. In coming out of the Royal Court house, in the midst of the fire, he held him by the arm.
Two balls went through the Major's hat, and M de Rullecourt had no less than four in him. One of these broke one of his jaw bones, went through his tongue, and deprived him of speech. Thus ended the career of this partisan, who, by the courage and perseverance which he displayed in this exploit, certainly showed a considerable degree of military merit, which qualified him for the most dangerous and arduous enterprises.
Accounts received from France after M de Rullecourt's death, said that a few days before the attack, he had visited the island in the character of a smuggler: and that, at his return, he gave the most positive assurances of success. He certainly told Major Corbet in a most exact manner the strength of the garrison, the corps of which it was composed, and where they were stationed in the island. His commission, which was found, and which contained his expected preferments, was dated the 16th of December 1780. These he resolved to obtain at all hazards.
de Rullecourt's letters
The following extracts from his letters to the Chevalier de Luxembourg, whilst he was wind-bound at the Chausey islands, display his ardour and determined spirit. " I shall land in Jersey, if I have but one man and one biscuit left." He only took two days provisions with him. " In spite of all the fatigues we have undergone, I fear nothing but the General's counter-order. If it passes through your hands, tell him it is too late."
The loss sustained by the King's troops and militia in this action, amounted to one officer and sixteen men, killed ; and one officer, one serjeant, and sixty-one men, wounded. The joy occasioned by this complete victory was greatly damped by the blow sustained in the loss of the gallant Major Peirson, who, in the moment of victory, was shot through the heart, and instantly expired.
This unfortunate event excited a general regret , and particularly among his brave associates. From him, his country had great reason to form the highest expectations ; for there are but few instances of an officer possessing such superior military talents, as he displayed on the 6th of January, at the age of twenty-four.
The people of Jersey regarded him as their deliverer, and put every honour and respect in their power on his memory. His funeral was in the grandest military stile, with the garrison in procession, attended by the Lieutenant Baillie and Jurats, of the island, the Officers of the Royal Court, and all the principal inhabitants in deep mourning, together with all the militia officers. He was buried in the church of St Helier, where a handsome monument has since been erected to his memory.
The inhabitants of Jersey testisied their gratitude, by the States assembling, and unanimously voting their thanks to the officers and troops, for their gallant conduct, in delivering them from the hands of the enemy. A copy of this vote, under the seal of the island, was sent to the different officers who commanded.
Too much praise could not be bestowed on Major Peirson, Captains Lumsdaine, Campbell, Mulcaster, Aylward, Fraser, and Crawford, and the officers and troops under their command, for their bravery and exertions upon this occasion. They were well and powerfully seconded by the militia of the island. Both officers and men displayed great spirit and patriotism; and shewed how strongly they were attached to the British constitution.
Indeed, they were ever conspicuous for their loyalty and bravery, and they nobly supported their reputation, in the defence which they made against so unexpected an attack.
News reaches England
The first intelligence received in England of the island of Jersey being attacked, and its capital surprised by the French, was brought by a Mr Budd, contractor of provisions for the army, who got off in a boat from the back of the island, and landed at Weymouth.
Great concern was universally expressed. As its conquest was regarded as certain, the news gave very great uneasiness to Administration, who took every precaution in their power to convey succours to the island, with the utmost speed. Only a sew days elapsed, when the arrival of Captain Mulcaster's letter to Lord Amherst removed the apprehensions entertained for the safety of the place.
As Government had bestowed great expense in erecting fortifications, and in maintaining a strong garrison on the island of Jersey, the public expressed much displeasure at the manner in which the French had fo easily obtained a footing on it. This was imputed to the negligence of the Lieutenant-Governor, who, on the first of May, was brought to a Court-martial, of which Lieutenant-General Craig was president. The charges against him were his having suffered the island of Jersey, under his command, to be surprised by the French, and his having signed articles of capitulation, whilst he was a prisoner. By their sentence, he was adjudged to be dismissed from his office of Lieutenant-Governor of the island.