Whitehall, July 2. The following Letter was received from Brigadier General Ogilvie to the Right Hon. Henry Dundas, one of his Majefty Principal Secretaries of State, dated Island of St. Pierre, May 18, 1793.
I have the honour to acquaint you, that the Islands of St Pierre and Miquelon surrendered at discretion to his majesty’s forces on the 14th instant.
In obedience to his majesty’s commands, signified to me in your letter of the 15th of February, having consulted at Halifax with captain Affleck, commanding his majesty’s ship Alligator, I embarked without loss of time, for the attack of these islands, with a detachment of the royal artillery, and 310 rank and file, with officers and non-commissioned officers in proportion, of the 4th and 65th regiments, on board that ship, a king’s schooner, and three transports, and sailed on the 7th instant.
On the 14th, about day-break, we made the island of St. Pierre; and captain Affleck having made a disposition to proceed by the channel of Miquelon, a convenient place in that strait for debarking the troops offering, and our information from different quarters (however imperfect) giving us reason to suppose that a French frigate was in the harbour, and of the further defences, of which we had not been able to gain any real intelligence, I proposed to captain Affleck to land the troops, that an attack by sea and land might be made at the same time; with which he perfectly coincided: and accordingly I landed, with part of the troops, in the Auce à Savoyard, about five miles to westard of the town, and proceeded toward it, sending a summons from captain Affleck and myself to the commander, for the immediate surrender of the island; when an answer being returned, demanding the terms of capitulation, they were decidedly refused. The troops continued their march, and having reached, without opposition, the heights above the town, the Alligator at the same time appearing in sight of the harbour, the commandant, monsieur Dansville, (who from circumstances was under the direction of the commune of the island) surrendered the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon at discretion; and possession was immediately taken of the battery and places of defence near the town and harbour.
The garrison consisted of between 80 and 100 men only, but there were upward of 500 French fishermen (exclusive of the inhabitants) in the town; who, had they been prepared and well armed, might have made great opposition. They had likewise begun to put in a state of defence the battery of eight 26 pounders which effectually defended the harbour.
If, from fortunate events, no opportunity offered for the troops to distinguish themselves, it would be doing the greatest injustice both to officers and men if I did not, in the strongest terms, mention their good conduct, discipline, and regularity; the slightest depredation not having been committed on any of the inhabitants by the troops I have the honour to command, in a place taken in the manner above stated.
I inclose a return of the ordnance and military stores taken of the island; and have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, sir,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
JAMES OGILVIE, brigadier-general.
To the right hon. Henry Dundas, &c
[Here follows the return of ordnance, &c]
Admiralty-office, June 30, 1793. Extract of a Letter from Captain William Affleck, Commander of his Majesty’s Ship, Alligator, to Mr. Stephens, dated St Pierre, May 20, 1793.
I acquainted my lords commissioners of the admiralty, in my letter of the 2nd ult. From Halifax, that, in obedience to their lordships orders, I intended sailing on the 6th instant, with brigadier-general Ogilvie and transports, taking with me the Diligente armed schooner, to attack the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.
You will be please to inform their lordships the transports were not ready to receive the troops till the 7th, on which day I sailed with them, having on board, the 4th and 64th regiments, with a detachment of the royal artillery. At two A.M. on the 14th, made the island of St. Pierre; hove to with the convoy till day-break. Brigadier-general Ogilvie proposed, as we had intelligence of a French frigate being in the harbour, (however imperfect) that, in order to secure the island, would be to effect a landing on the westward. I perfectly coincided with the general, who accordingly landed with part of the troops. I ordered the transports to follow, and immediately made sail for the harbour. The inclosed summons from the general and myself was immediately sent to the commandant for the immediate surrender of the islands. An answer was returned, demanding terms of capitulation, but decidedly refused. Monsieur Dansville, the commandant, then surrendered at discretion the islands of St.Pierre and Miquelon to his majesty’s forces. Their garrisons consisted of near 100 men, and upward of 500 French fishermen, exclusive of the inhabitants of the town. They were putting their battery in a state of defence, mounting eight 26 pounders and four six pounders, which effectually defends the harbour. I have captured eighteen small vessels with fish, and two American schooners with provisions and naval stores.
His Britannic Majesty’s Ship Alligator, off St. Pierre’s Harbour, May 14, 1793.
We demand the immediate surrender of the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, to his Britannic majesty’s sea and land forces. No capitulation will be allowed, but every indulgence granted to prisoners of wars that is customary from British commanders.
William Affleck, commander of his Majesty’s ship Alligator
James Ogilvie, Brigadier-general.
To the commandant of the islands of St.Pierre and Miquelon.