Sunday, June 8, 2008

HMS Diamond Rock

South Coast Of Martinique
14 27.0N 61 02.7W

Strange lumps of rock in the Caribbean part 2!

Following on from Redonda here's Diamond Rock, a British Naval War Ship. Paraphrased Wikipedia entry below.

In 1804 Commodore Sir Samuel Hood, aboard HMS Centaur and aided by calm weather, was able to run lines ashore and hoist five cannons to the summit of the Rock. Fortifications were hastily built, and the position supplied with food and water for a garrison of twenty men under the command of Lieutenant Maurice, Hood's 1st lieutenant. The Royal Navy garrisoned island was officially commissioned as a Man-of-war HMS The Fort Diamond.

For 17 months the newly commissioned ship harassed the French fleet on it's way to and from Fort De France, and then on his voyage to Martinique in 1805, Admiral Villeneuve was ordered by Napoleon to recapture Diamond Rock. A French-Spanish combined naval force of sixteen ships attacked the garrison on Diamond Rock. The garrison's stone water cistern had cracked, due to an earth tremor, so they were without water and short of food. After a fierce bombardment, they surrendered to the superior force on June 3rd, 1805.

A more romantic version is that the French floated barrels of rum ashore and then captured the rock from the drunk garrison!
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