1793 – Letters from Brigadier General Ogilvie and Captain William Affleck about the surrender of St Pierre and Miquelon


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.

Grand Colombier

Le GrandColombier.com est un site recensant tout document historique ayant un lien avec les îles Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon : traités, cartographie, toponymie, archives, sources primaires, études, recherches, éphémérides. Le site est dirigé par Marc A. Cormier.

7 réflexions sur “1793 – Letters from Brigadier General Ogilvie and Captain William Affleck about the surrender of St Pierre and Miquelon

  • octobre 9, 2010 à 12:52

    En savoir plus sur le HSM Alligator : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Alligator_%281787%29

    From February 1793 her commander was Captain William Afleck, who served briefly in the North Sea, achieving success against French privateers in the region. On 12 February 1793 he captured the Sans Peur, followed by the Prend Tout on 21 February.[1] Afleck left Britain bound for the Leeward Islands on 18 March 1793, and arrived in time to be present at the capture of St Pierre and Miquelon on 14 May that year.[

  • octobre 9, 2010 à 12:54

    From http://www.acadian.org/miquelon.html

    The French Revolution erupted in 1789, and events on Saint Pierre and Miquelon were not immune to the twists and turns that ensued. In the early spring of 1793, news of the trial and execution of Louis XVI reached the islands. All royal symbols were subsequently removed from Saint Pierre and Miquelon. The Acadian population of Miquelon were loyal to French royalty, and decided to leave the colony for the Magdalen Islands, a small archipelago just north of Nova Scotia.
    Then in May of 1793, British hostility to the French Revolution and the fact that France had declared war on the United Kingdom as part of the War of the First Coalition, led to another British attack on the islands under Captain William Affleck of Halifax. The seasonal fishermen and French military forces were deported in 1793, followed by the 950 residents in 1794, who were shipped to Halifax and held for two years.
    British fishermen took possession of the islands. Only 2 years later, French forces under Rear-Admiral de Richery attacked the islands in 1796, sinking 80 British vessels. The British abandoned the islands, and the French destroyed the town. After this, the islands remained deserted until 1816.

  • octobre 9, 2010 à 12:59

    En savoir plus sur Ogilvie : « OGILVIE (Ogilvy), JAMES, army officer and colonial administrator; b. c. 1740, possibly in Scotland; m. Penelope–; d. 14 Feb. 1813 in London, England.

    James Ogilvie began his military career as an ensign in the lst Foot on 21 Sept. 1756, but in March 1757 transferred to the 4th Foot. He received his lieutenancy on 20 December of the latter year, and from 1759 to 1762 served in the West Indian campaigns of the British army. After his return to Britain, he was appointed captain on 30 March 1764. The 4th was sent to Boston, Mass., in June 1774, and Ogilvie saw a considerable amount of service during the American revolution, including participation in the battles of Long Island, Brandywine, and Germantown. In 1778 his ship was captured by the French off St Lucia, and Ogilvie was taken prisoner to France, returning to his regiment in Ireland in 1780. On 20 Nov. 1782 he was appointed colonel in the army. »

    « After hostilities broke out between Britain and France in 1793, Ogilvie, acting on instructions from London, organized an expedition against Saint-Pierre and Miquelon consisting of members of the 4th and 65th Foot and the Royal Artillery on transports, accompanied by a frigate and several armed vessels. In concert with a force from Newfoundland, on 14 May they attacked the ill defended French colony, which surrendered without firing a shot. Ogilvie returned to Halifax on 20 June with 570 officials, troops, and fishermen as prisoners; the remaining inhabitants of the islands were deported to Nova Scotia and the Channel Islands the next year. On 12 Oct. 1793 Ogilvie was advanced to major-general by the normal process of seniority. »


  • octobre 11, 2010 à 2:11

    4th (King’s Own) Regiment of Foot
    Formed as 2nd Tangier Regiment in 1680 and designated the Duchess of York and Albany’s Regiment [1684], then Queen’s Marines [1685], King’s Own Regiment [1715] and finally the 4th Regiment in 1751. In 1758 the 2nd Battalion became the 62nd Regiment. The regiment arrived in Boston in June 1774, and fought at Bunker’s Hill, and in all the principal actions during the first three years of the War of Independence. In 1778 it was among the troops sent from New York to the West Indies. In 1780 it returned home. From 1787 to 1793 the regiment was in Canada and Newfoundland. It was in the Atlantic region of Canada in 1814.

  • octobre 11, 2010 à 2:12

    65th (2nd Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot
    Formed in 1758. In 1769, the regiment went to Boston, and was one of the regiments engaged at Bunker’s Hill on the memorable 17th June, 1775. Declared under strength, the men were drafted into other regiments and the officers returned to England in May 1776.. After being at home in 1823, the 65th served in the West Indies, Demerara and Canada until August, 1841, when it returned home. Three companies of 65th arrived in Upper Canada in December 1838.

  • octobre 30, 2010 à 12:52

    « We shall now proceed in our narrative of colonial occurrences, taking the different stations in the order in which they have just been named; North America, West Indies, Coast of Africa, and East Indies. In the station of North America is included that of Newfoundland; at which island, or rather at St. John’s, its principal port, the British naval force, on the breaking out of the war, consisted of the 64-gun ship Stately, Captain J. S. Smith, bearing the flag of Vice-admiral Sir Richard King, the 32-gun frigates Boston, Fox, and Cleopatra, and four or five small sloops. The first act of hostility in this quarter was the capture of the small fishing islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, which had been taken from the French in 1778, and were injudiciously restored to them by the treaty of 1783.

    Aware of the importance of these fishery islands, the British government, in a very few days after war had been declared, despatched orders to Halifax, Nova-Scotia, for their immediate seizure. In pursuance of those directions, Brigadier-general Ogilvie, with a detachment of the royal artillery, and 310 rank and file of the 4th and 65th regiments, embarked, on the 7th of May, in the British 28-gun frigate Alligator, Captain William Affleck, the Diligente armed schooner and three transports. On the 14th, at daybreak, the Alligator and convoy made the island of St. Pierre; and, it having been stated (although, as it proved, erroneously) that a French frigate was in the harbour, a division of the troops was landed about five miles to the westward of the town; after which, the ships made sail for the harbour. A summons for the surrender of the islands was sent to M. Danseville, the commandant, who demanded terms of capitulation, but, on these being refused, surrendered the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon at discretion. The battery consisted of eight 24pounders, the garrison of between 80 and 100 men, besides about 500 armed fishermen; and the whole population of the twe islands, of 1502 souls, including 761 for Miquelon. Eighteen small vessels laden with fish and two American schooners containing provisions and naval stores, were taken in the harbour. »

    The naval history of Great Britain, from the declaration of war by France in …
    By William James, Frederick Chamier


Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.