Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Ignominious life of Edward Vernon

You have all heard the famous story of the great Edward Vernon. The hero of the British navy. The man who changed the world!


Well here lies the tale...

Cartegena the greatest gold and slave trading port was coveted by all.

The French came with Baron Potis who handily captured the town . He looks a bit like a James Bond villain but if he lived in 1657.

The baron chuckled at his great capture however  the mosquitoes and heat and malaria became too much so he simply took his entire fleet back to France.

In the 1700s a Bourbon kiNg ascended the throne allied now to France England 's sworn enemy.

So sets our stage:

Cartegena, 4 ships - all galleons!  500 hundred soldiers, some slaves forced to fight and a few indigenous fighters.

APPOINTMENT TO GREAT ADMIRAL EDWARD VERNON! TAKE now in his majesty's name a commission to take cartegena and all colonies associated.

Edward plundered portobello in Panama and went forth to cartegena. He knew the barely defended town would be child's play.

Vernon had over 23,000 men, over 180 ships, the greatest armada ever seen in the Americas.

He sets sail. The cartegenas flee in terror to the mountains.

How can they resist a huge attack?

On the spanish side you have the Vice Roy. Then the famous half man as he calls himself:  BLas de Lezo.  He calls himself half man as fighting, he had lost his leg- but won the battle; then latef lost his arm - but won the other battle and fiNally lost an eye but won that battle.

I may be half a man he bragged! But I defeat any whole men!

He also produced 9 kids to boot.

This is a driven guy.

Great Admiral Vernon arrives with his huge fleet but must attack the small entrance into the harbour. The spanish have planted a massive undersea wall some 4 feet below the surface of the large harbour entrance, Bocagrande,  so no ships can enter.

That defensive  structure is a miracle of engineering.

Yet the English easily took the next two walled forts in the small entrance.

Then the next sad fort. Our half man Don Blas was overuled by the vice roy.  Despite the fact that he held the little foft for so long, the vice roy sides with the other commander and ignores the counsel of Blas to cut the losses and retreat to the imposing edifice of san felipe.

The few fighters fought to the end in the tiny fort.

A fierce battle followed but with limited men and ammunition, the spanish held.

The 16 days of fighting gave the spanish their edge.  Vagaries of nature.

Soon so many English lay wounded or sick they gathered bugs. Moequities and flies swarmed.

After his first fantastic victories Edward sent forth a missive to the king by  fast ship:

Tell the king I have captured cartegena! All of new spain is ours! Tell them to mint coins to remember the victory!

And indeed many coins were minted showing the viceroy bowing to Vernon and exclaiming  Britain rules the the south american seas!

However after the 16 days of heavy fight for the last port fort yellow fever infected the British ships killing or disabling 10,000 of their force.

Left with 13,000 men the British planned an attack on the main fort which Blas had retreated to.

It had 10 foot walls.. the Britush decided to attack the strong fort using 10 foot ladders they would construct to easily overcome the defence with their fAR superior numbers.

But they dilly dallied.

A spy told the spanish about the plan.  The spanish simply went out and dug all the soil below away.  When the British attacked their ladders were many feet short.

A fierce battle ensued and the British weakened by disease and unaccustomed to the fierce heat fell in droves.

Edward Vernon limped out with 3000 men still walking. The rest dead or so sick they could not move.

And to history this great admiral is well, never to be hear of again.

Thus the lesson of hubris which should be observed by the powerful in our day.

The greater the rise, the larger the fall.


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