The Spanish Invasion of St. Simon's
Contributed to this web site by
J. G. (Jerry) Braddock Sr.; Charleston, SC.
Author of Wooden Ships - Iron Men;
Format by C. W. Barnum
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Continued from Page One
The Spanish Invasion of St. Simon's
"An Order was issued to David Cutler Braddock to receive on board the Schooner Norfolk for the present
Expedition against the Spanish Galley off the Bar 40 Muskets, 40 Cartouche Boxe filed. 40 Grenades
200lb weight of powder 40 pistols 40 cutlasses 40 Launches and 40 Swivel Guns. . . .
". . . that Captn. Hardy with the Rye when his complement of men
is complete which is hoped will be very soon repair
thither with Captain Thompson's Ship and the
General's Schooners the Charles Town Galley and
whatever other vessels shall be in readiness."
In his letter of
July 16th, Lieutenant Governor William Bull informed
Oglethorpe of South Carolina's support efforts:
The entry in the South Carolina
Governor and Council Journal further advised the progress each
captain of the vessels being readied to send to Georgia's aid was
making in acquiring a full crew for his ship.
Since my last of the 6th. inst. Capt. Davis Capt. Thompson and the Guard
Schooner Prize Sloop arrived here and also Capt. Braddock from Port
Royal and I have been endeavoring to enlist men and in order for your
further assistance I have commissioned the following Captains to proceed
with their vessels to your immediate relief (viz') Capt. Thompson Capt.
Murray Capt. Lyford and Capt. Chapman so there will be a Ship a Snow a
Brigantine a Sloop and the other Galley will be well fitted & manned and
sent to your Assistance at the expence of this Government wch I hope
will be ready in two days I have wrote to acquaint His Grace the Duke of
Newcastle the Govr. of Jamaica General Wentworth and Admr. Vernon the
Governor of Virginia and the Govr. Providence to acquaint them with the
present situation of affairs And as I shall send you that relief wch I
hope will be sufficient with His Majesty's Ships of War to defeat His
Majys Enemies now invading you I have the Militia of this province under
Arms and have disposed them in the most proper method for the defence
thereof I am Sir,
Your most Obedt. humble Servant
To James Oglethorpe Esq.
p. s. Since I wrote the above Capt. Davis has offered to carry for your
use 4 Nine and 2 Twelve pound Cannon with 50 rounds of Shot, Cartridge
paper &c. for each Gun wch he is to take this morning 16th. 1742"
some vessels continued to be delayed by a shortage of
men. In the Council session Bull took extreme
". . . Therefore all persons who are
inclined to Enlist their Slaves in the said Service
are hereby directed to return the names of such their
Slaves to me in Charles Town in order to their being
enlisted into the Service immediately. . . .
"His Honor the
Lieut. Govr. communicated to the Board a Letter he
had received from the Honble John Oatland dated
George Town in Winyaw July 12th 1742 Wherein he
acknowledges he had received from his Honor a
Warrant for apprehending all Vagabonds Vagrants &
Straggling Sailors to execute which he had wrote to
several Justices in that neighbourhood and directed
the Constables to take all such persons and that
shall be wanting in either of them to promote so
necessary a piece of Service."
beating the bushes for sailors, the South Carolina
government decided on July 17th to send immediately
all vessels that were ready.
The "Gazette" reported
in its July 19-26 issue that several sailed that day,
"one after another," to join the men-of-war off St.
Simon's. One exception was the Beaufort, which was
delayed a day in sailing. The vessels carried on
board more than 600 men and 140 carriage and swivel
guns. Word was received from Virginia on July 23rd
that the 40-gun man-of-war South Sea-Castle was being
dispatched from that station.
On July 24th, the Council compiled a list of naval
support sent to Georgia's aid:
On July 24th, the Council compiled a list of naval
support sent to Georgia's aid that included four Royal Navy ships
carrying 400 men and 84 guns and 8 ships sent at the expense of the
South Carolina government carrying 602 men and 162 guns.
After being delayed in
departing Charles Town because of a fouled anchor,
Captain Hardy arrived on July 26th on the Rye.
Seeing that the enemy has departed, he ordered the
provincial vessels home. Four of them, the Carolina,
Juan Batista, Kingston, and the Norfolk, left
immediately. Upon their arrival in Charles Town on
July 30th, their commanders were ordered to lay their
journals before the Council. The Council, who was of
the opinion that the provincial vessels would join
the men-of-war in pursuing and destroying the Spanish
should they retreat, were surprised and furious that
the vessels were ordered home. They instructed the
commanders to keep their vessels in readiness.
Oglethorpe had detained the Beaufort and Charles Town gallies when the other vessels departed. William
Sr., who arrived with the Charles Town too late to
engage the enemy, wrote a letter to the lieutenant
governor on August 3rd complaining about being made
to cool his heels at St. Simon's instead of coming
home. The letter was read in the August 12th Council
This comes to acquaint you that on the 24th July in Latitude 30d 34m in
12 fathoms of water at 2 oclock in the afternoon I received orders from
the Commander to take Ensign Eyres on board with a Letter to General
Oglethorpe and to go to Egg Island sound at 10 oclock the same night I
came to anchor in 4 fathoms of water about 2 leagues to the Southward of
Egg Island In the morning by daylight I discovered a small Boat under
the land, who was in search of the Genls. Schooner whom after I hailed
told me Spaniards were gone away I sent Mr. Ayres immediately on shore
and run with my Galley immediately into St. Simons to water and wait
further orders from the Commander On the 26th I received a Letter from
Gen. Oglethorpe strictly charging me not to go out and on the same day I
received orders from the Commodore by Captain Thompson to make the best
of my way to Charles Town I waited on the General shewed him my
Instructions and likewise my orders from the Commodore and his reply was
he could not answer letting me go, for he did not yet think himself safe
but promised to let me go as soon as the Men of War were returned from
their cruize off St. Augustine Capt Gibson arrived here the 30th July
and at his arrival the General promised to the Volunteers on board Capt.
Thompson's ship to send me away to carry them to Charles town. But Capt.
Gibson sailing without acquainting the General put him in such a rage
that he sent Capt. Davis on Board his Schooner to assist the commander
at St. Simons that no Vessel or Boat should go out without his leave or
orders I waited on the general the next day who told me he would not
suffer me to go before the Men of War returned from their Cruize who as
he tells me promised to call in here And am lying here with my people
all in good health here but very much disheartened for being detained
therefore I hope your Honor will advise with Genl. Oglethorpe concerning
of dispatch home In case the Men of War should not call here As for a
full account of the siege here I refer your Honor to the young
Volunteers I am
Your Honors most obedient and humble Servant
St. Simons 3 Aug.. 1742
p. s. Aug. 4th. Captain Gibson last night arrived and gives an account
of 9 Sail in at St. Juan's and since this news I believe everybody will
On August 13th, a letter from Oglethorpe was read in the Council
meeting. Either not knowing, or not fully appreciating the difficulties
South Carolina met in adequately manning ships of the hodgepodge fleet
they hastily assembled to send to his aid, Oglethorpe, his breath
probably still hot from the fast and furious pace of chasing and being
chased over land and water the last several days, voiced his displeasure
at not receiving support until the threat was all but over:
John Fenwicke laid the following Letters which he
received from Genl. Oglethorpe before His Honor the
Lieut. Govr. and Council one dated at Frederica the
4th August . . .
By the Blessing of God upon His Majesty's Arms we have driven the
Spaniards out of the Colony. After our defeating them two fights in
the woods they retreated from the Island with such precipitation
that they left behind them Cannon Shot and even Musket Bullets. In
their retreat they assaulted Fort William as far as which place I
followed them where they were also repulsed and from whence I sent
out Boats after them as far as the River St. Johns. As their loss
has been but small tho' their Terror is great. I expect when they
have had a little recovered their freight that they will attempt
something with better Conduct. I send you enclosed the Account of a
Spanish prisoner whom we have released from their power. I do write
to Mr. Bull because I find he took no kind of notice of the Early
Accounts I gave him of this design and even spoke very slightly of
those Intelligences upon which the safety of His Majesty's Subjects
depended. Besides as he is oftener at his plantation than in Town
Letters which go to you will be more immediately communicated to His
Majesty's Council and Assembly without loss of time. I am, Sir
Your most obedient humble Servant
p. s. Necessity will force the Spaniards soon to attempt something.
They have a vast number of Men in St. Augustine and little to
The "Gazette's" August 9-16 issue reported
that on the 13th, three men-of-war and several provincial vessels
sailed:"Last Friday Capt. Frankland in his Majesty's Ship the Rose,
together with the Flamborough and Swift Men of War, and Four of the
Provincial Vessels (commanded by Captains Murray, Barrett, Chapman
and Braddock) sailed over this Bar to cruize against the Spaniards.
We hear that they are to touch at St. Simon's and be joined by our
Gallies now there. No doubt the Rye and Hawk Men of war (which
weighed anchor off this Bar and stood to the Southward just after
Capt. Frankland arrived here) will meet with the Fleet and join
In its August 30-September 6 issue, the "Gazette" gave an account of
the fleet's movements for the next several days:
"On Tuesday the 24th of August, our Fleet (join'd by the General's
Guard- Schooner and Two Scout-Boats) consisting of 15 Sail, set sail
from Fort William for the bar of Augustine.
"On the 26th, Twelve of the Fleet arrived in sight of the Place, and
at 4 in the Afternoon anchor'd off the Bar. The Castle distant about
"On the 27th, the Provincial Vessels received their Orders from the
Commodore and some of them look'd into the Harbour, when they
Descry'd 7 sails lying under the Castle, and 6 Half-Galleys just
within the Bar.
"On Saturday the 28th, the Commodore having made the proper Signals
for all the Boats, &c. belonging to the Fleet to be mann'd and arm'd,
at 12 o'Clock the Beaufort, Gibson; the Charles-Town, Lyford; the
Norfolk, Braddock; the Carolina, Murray, and the Kingston, Chapman,
weighed Anchor and stood close in for the Bar, in Company with the
General, then on board Mr. Demitree's Scout-Boat; at 4 in the
Afternoon those Vessels began to fire at the Half- Galleys, but none
of our Shot was perceiv'd to reach them except from Charles-Town and
Beaufort Galleys, which had Nine-Pounders; in the Evening (the
Spaniards retiring under the Castle) our Vessels were order'd to
draw off, and the next Morning set sail for the Matansas, where they
arrived in the Afternoon, and came to an Anchor.
"Two of the Spanish Galleys were so much damaged that the Enemy was
obliged to hawl them on shore to stop their Leaks: On the other
Hand, one of the Enemy's Shot breaking a Swivel Gun on Board the
Scout-Boat commanded by Mr. Demitree, killed One Man, slightly
wounded the General and Three Others, and broke Mr. Demitree's
Thigh, who is now under the Care of a Surgeon, in this Town.
Monday the 30th, they designed to land some Men to make Discoveries,
but there being a Swell that Design could not be executed. The Fleet
then left that Coast . . .
". . . On Saturday last (September 4) returned from the Cruize
against the Spaniards, the Rose and Swift, Men of War, and Beaufort
Galley. And on Sunday also the Charles-Town Galley, the Schooner
Norfolk, and Sloop Kingston. The South-Sea-Castle is, we hear,
returned to her Station; the Flamborough (in want of Provisions and
Water) detain'd by the Change of Wind, with our other Vessels, near
Edisto. And the Rye and Hawk Men of War are gone, with the General's
Craft to St. Simon's."
The Spanish never again mustered a major threat against the lower
This image is the whole journal page of the July 4,
1742 session of the Governor and Council meeting--the session in which
Heron's two letters and Oglethorpe's were presented. This page contains
Heron's first letter.
End of Exhibit. The material presentation was edited for this
format style. This webmaster is grateful to receive this data from Mr. Braddock .
To learn more about this historic period please read his book,
Wooden Ships - Iron Men