The attack of Edward Vernon against Cartagena in 1741

One of the most memorable military histories of Cartagena de Indias was the one in 1741. March 13th of that year, the admiral Edward Vernon arrived with an imposing boat fleet that surpassed the whole Spanish army of 123 boats, whether a fleet of 186 boats. Vernon started to shoot at the Castle of San Luis de Bocachica defended by the colonel Des Naux. After 16 days of attack, the castle fell in the hands of the admiral and therefore advance to Cartagena.

Blas de Lezo, which was the commander of the vice-king Sebastian de Eslava, ordered to burn and sink the boats close from Tierrabomba. However, Vernon succeeded in saving one of his boat and prevent to have too much garbage that could block the entrance in the bay of Cartagena de Indias.

Vernon then assaulted the Fort of Santa Cruz de Castillogrande, which was evacuated in disagreement with Blas de Lezo, which had no other choice than to burn the last boats to prevent Vernon to enter the Bay de Las Animas. But again, Vernon succeeded in saving the last boat from burning down to continue his route.

When the English arrive at the San Felipe Castle, they discovered a strong resistance and were surprised of the effectives in place, by consequence, the aggression was really short and many solders fell in the fire of the Spanish from the top of the castle and Vernon ordered the retirement of the troops which counted numerous victims.

The boats have however continued the bombing from the sea, but the tropical diseases, the loses and the wounded started to weaken the English forces and obliged them to quit the region, but not before destroying the fortresses that weren’t protected, to burn the Spanish boats that didn’t have weapons in their possession and fire canon hits into the city.

In England, the friends of Vernon made medals with the face of Blas de Lezo who is kneeing in front of Vernon with a legend written: “the proud Spanish humiliated by the Admiral Vernon.” These medals have been the objects of mockery for a long time.

The vice-king Sebastian de Eslava discerned the title of “Marquis of the real defence of Cartagena de Indias”. However, Blas de Lezo died forgotten a couple months after the retreat of the English.




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