The capture of Port Louis, Cuba, 8 March 1748 by Richard Paton

The capture of Port Louis, Cuba, 8 March 1748

Richard Paton

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The capture of Port Louis, Cuba, 8 March 1748

In February 1748 Rear-Admiral Charles Knowles left Port Royal, Jamaica, with eight ships of the line to make an attack on Santiago de Cuba. Delayed by contrary winds, he diverted his expedition to Port Louis in the south east of Hispaniola, now known as Haiti. The town sat at the head of a large, deep bay, with two islands, on one of which was a French fort. Knowles sailed his ships up the channel and passed them to the west and north of the fort, which surrendered after a sharp bombardment. The town's surrender followed soon afterwards and Knowles, having taken possession of a small merchant vessel called a snow and three privateer sloops, burnt the fort and departed for Santiago de Cuba. The walls of the fort are shown in the centre of the picture with Knowles's flagship, the 'Canterbury' placed slightly to the left, firing into it. Ahead of the French fireship which had been sent against the first in the line, the 'Elizabeth' is being towed by boats out of harms way. The 'Elizabeth' herself, which had had to evade it, is on the extreme left, out of position of the firing. The ship ahead of the 'Canterbury', and firing into the north face of the port is believed to be the 'Worcester'. To the right is a two decker, probably the 'Stafford', engaging the fort, while to the right of her, and not engaged because the inner ships mask her batteries, is a ship which is probably the 'Plymouth'. The 'Cornwall' and the 'Warwick' are shown beyond engaging. In the extreme right of the picture in the foreground a two-decker, is half into the picture.
Richard Paton

  • Image reference: BHC0372

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