Front Page Titles (by Subject) Narrative of the Expedition to San Domingo 1 - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3
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Narrative of the Expedition to San Domingo 1 - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3 
The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647-1649, and to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660, ed. C.H. Firth (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899). 4 vols.
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Narrative of the Expedition to San Domingo1
f. 122.After our departure from Portesmouth on the 26th of December 1654, wee arrived att Berbadoes the 30th of January following, and on the 2d2 of March the whole fleete set saile from the Barbadoes, and after the receiveing of such forces as were raised on the Leward Island, wee sailed for Hispaniola. About the 10th of April our fleete came before S.to Domingo at two a clock. After some small stay some gunns were fired as signalls, whereupon the fleete parted, the greatest part makeing sayle alongst the shoare till the evening, and then came to an anchor, (Collonell Bullere with his owne and parte of another regiment staying before the towne). The next morneing3 very earely wee began to land our men without any appearance of opposition, but it was neere evening before the army was in a marcheing posture, yet wee marched some two miles to a Savanna (an open place of grownd soe called by the Spaniards), where our army encamped that night, bringing with us ashoare three dayes provision, and a sufficient proportion of ammunicion. The next morneing after some tyme spent in prayer, and in putting the army in good order wee began, our march, our men as to all outward appeareance being in good heart and cheerefull. About noone tyme the vann met with some 16 of the enemy, which was supposed to bee all cow killers; they had a small incounter two of our men being kild, and some other slightly wounded, and one of the enemy killd, whereuppon they tooke the woods, and were not seene by us afterwards. Wee marcht hard all day till darke night, dureing which march wee were in very much want of water, in soe much that severall men dyed. The next day earely the army began to march (our regiment4 leadeing the vann); I was commanded to lead the forlorne of a 100 men. About 3 a clock there came to mee a sea man who swom on shoare, and gave mee notice that Colonel Bullard was landed that morneing at Hine Bay (a place soe called by the Spaniards), some 5 miles from S.to Domingo, and marcht upp to meete us in the way. I presently returned and gave the Generall an account of it, whereuppon the Generall gave command to march, and coming to a Savana and being nere night the Generall resolved to lodge the army there, and commanded mee to the campe with the forlorne; onely Jackson with 3 files of my forlorne, and my Lieutenant were ordered to seeke out a passage over the River Hine,1 which they accordingly found, and met with a neger who indeavourd to run away [but] was by the party kill’d, newse being brought thereof to the Generall imediately a party of 150 of each regiment was set to secure the passe. The next morneing early the army marched to the river, and there waded over, it being betwixt 3 and 4 foote deepe, afterwards marching about two miles the army randezvouz’d some two howers to get our men upp together, the badnesse of the passage haveing put the army in disorder. Afterwards marching about a mile further where wee had plenty of water at a plantation, our regiment being in the reare was there ordered to stay. Our Collonel,2 and Majour Generall Haynes stayed with us; the rest of the army marched forwards and afterwards joyned with Collonell Buller, and drawing neere to the towne hapned to fall into an ambuschado of the enemies, which by reason of the suddanesse of the accident put our men into some disorder, and thereby haveing advantage of our men had for a small tyme the better of it; but the sea regiment marching upp the enemy presently returned and fled, and after some fireing of theire cannon in a small worke our men still marching forward, the enemy threw the gunns into a well adjoyneing to the said fort, and with rubbish spoileing the water quitted the fort, which our men tooke possession of. There was then an expresse command given (as I was credibly informed) not to march forward without orders from the Generall. About the cloase of the evening3 wee came upp with the army, where wee had not bin about halfe an ower but wee had orders to draw off, and march back to the plantation we last came from, which was about fower miles. The onely cause I could understand was want of water, which our shipps (if there had bin no other way) could with speed have conveyed to us, if wee had marched forward beyond one other stone fort the enemy had cloase adjoyneing to the sea which was in force and bignesse much like to one of the lesser castles in the Downes onely the middle was squaire built. I could not perceive that there was above 10 or 12 gunns at most in it, when I had uppon our second attempt a faire view of it. But the army as aforesaid being ordered to draw of wee found a generall unwillingnesse in our souldjours to the same; and in our owne regiment (who then least wanted water) many of our old fellow souldjours, with whome wee had for many yeare past bin together with, came to severall of us, and desired us to speake to our cheefe officers that they might stay, and those that wanted water might goe back and refresh themselves, saying they had rather suffer there than leave their wounded fellow souldjers to the mercy of the enemy, which wee being sensible of that there was noe conveniency to carry them soe farr in the night, severall of us went to our then Lieutenant Collonel Hill,1 and desired him that hee would then acquainte our Collonel or the Generall with the same, which hee did. Wee had this answer returned that wee were not to dispute commands, but to obey orders (whereto wee submitted). In this incounter wee lost our principall guide with about 50 more kil’d, and many wounded by gulls.2 I suppose there was twenty of the enemy kil’d. The next day in the afternoone the army marched to Hine Bay (a place soe called some five miles from S.to Domingo), where the army lay five dayes, dureing which tyme wee got amother peece, to drakes,3 some musketts in frames, and victualled the army. To the best of my remembrance it was dureing the time of the armies being at Hines-Bay that the enemy came downe with about 100 men, and fell in uppon our maine guard, and had they not bin accidentally discovered by a stragling souldjour had undoubtedly defeated the whole guard, but they being strengthned by commanded parties gadding abroad for forrage incountered the enemy, killed their commander, put the partie to flight, killed some eight or thereabouts, tooke noe prisoners.1 After five dayes as aforesaid the army began their march about noone, and by reason of a very narrow passage the men marched not above two miles, and soe lay in a marching posture all night. The next morneing2 we marched (the same forlorne goeing before both dayes consisting of 500 men, which forlorne Adjutant Generall Jackson had the leading of), and soe marched forward till they came to the foresaid stone fort, and (as our relation was) were marched past the fort, when as an Ambuscado issued forth of the woode, and after the receiveing of our forlorne’s valley of shott fell in upon them with theire lanses, and imediatly put them to the roote, and [they] runing back uppon our owne men, put two reformed companies and that parte of the horse that were in the van to the roote, who in disorder broake in uppon the Generall’s regiment, in soemuch that they became thereby a prey to the enemy, untill they were put to a checque (as I am informed) by the Generall with a small party of Majour Generall Haynes and Collonel Goodson’s regiment. The losse upon this defeate received was eight feild colloures, (five of the Generall’s, one of the Majour Generalls, and two reformed colloures). Majour Generall Haynes, Majour [Ferguson], and three Captaines more of his regiment with severall other officers and above 400 souldjers were slayne, many more wounded; in which miscarriage [Jackson] had his sword broake over his heade, and was casheard the army. After this losse received there was 100 men out of each regiment commanded forth to march forward and to take possession of the ground wee had then left, in which party I was commanded with 100 men. Majour Bland3 commanded the whole partie. Wee marched upp within musket shot of the fort, and were there commanded to stay, and waited in expectacion of orders to march forward to the towne of Sto. Domingo till the next morneing at 7 of the clock, dureing which time the enemy did us greate harme with their greate shott. Wee were then releeved by a party of 150 out of a regiment commanded by Lieutenant Collonell Hill which wee had thought should have marched on, but being drawne of to our severall regiments wee found the army marching of, and they left as a reare guard. The army marched that day to Hine Bay, the enemy in noe wise approaching in the reare, but before halfe the army could bee gotten on to the Bay there was many men left the roade about a mile from the said place to fetch water, who uppon sum suddaine apprehension of feare amongst themselves, supposed they say summ negars, which caused a generall flight amongst them, and throwing away of their armes, they being at least a 100 men then present at the water, and noe enemy really appeareing. About two or three dayes after this, uppon a rumer that a partie of men (who had bin sent from the camp to get victualls) were begirt in a Church by the enemy (which was a falce report), another party of 7 files were sent by an outeguard to rescue them commanded by a Lieutenant, who marching towards the said Church were fac’d by the enemy with horse and foote, whereuppon the whole party fled notwithstanding the indeavours of the officers to stay them, it being afterwards proved against one of the partie that hee was twice knockt downe by a Serjant for running away, for which fact hee was hang’d. After this there was nothing of any action considerable. About 3 or 4 dayes after the army was imbarked againe for the Island of Jamics. The whole time the army was on Hispaniola was 19 or 20 dayes. On the 10th of May the whole fleete came to an anchor in the harboure of Jamica, and boated upp our men, and sailed upp to their place of landing, where the enemy had some few b[r]est workes and gunns; [we] were anchored with our boates and the Martin galley and severall other small vessells till all the boats of the fleete were come upp to us, and then let slipp, and drove ashoare, and landed our armey without any further opposition, which put summ small appearance of carriage into the spiritts of our discurrag’d armey. The next day wee marched upp to the cheefe citty. In the way thether was a small fort with three gunns and a murderer, which the enemy after once fireing quitt’d and fled, and alsoe quitted the citty, but sem’d very desirous to treate with us, which was by us well liked for as much as wee had little incurragement to have any further dependance on the vallour of our souldjours, the sence of theire former cowardice (?)1 being fresh in our mindes. The treaty proceeded soe farr as a conclusion and rattification of articles. The enemy had time limitted for their comeing in, and the Marshall De Camp, who was the second man in power in the Island, [was] to bring them in, and [we to] keepe theire Governour with us, the army then quartering in the cheefe towne; but before the limitation was expired a souldjour of the army stragling abroad hapned into the enemyes quarters, and gave them a full account of our being defeated in Hispaniola (for which fault hee was hanged), whereuppon the enemy fell of from the Articles of peace to Articles of hostility, and did much spoile uppon our souldjours stragling abroade in the countrey to get cassader to make breade2 (of which the army was in greate neede). Soe after this there was a commanded party out of each regiment of the best souldjours, consisting of above 2500, to march westward into the countrey (part of which went by sea), to finde out the enemies and engage them if they could appeare, or elce force them out of any habitable parts of the countrey, which partie after haveing bin forth ner a forthnith returned, haveing done little more then onely forraged the countrey, and taken about 20 prisoners, of which 2 were English men left there by Captain Jackson in his expedicion.3 After this another partie was sent forth, who remained 15 miles from the citty in plantacions. Afterwards little of accions, onely the army was devided by regiments into severall quarters of the habitable parts of the countrey to plant guarrisons. The enemy kept the woods and mountaines, and were to the best of my intelligence about three or 4000 of all sorts, not above 700 Spaniards, the rest Malatoes and negers. Our army consisted of 6000 at least (the sea regiment being on shipboard), of which about 500 were sick and unable for service, and very bad accomodacion for them.1
[1 ]Undated. It appears in the MS. between letters of 11 and 15 Sept. 1655, when it came to hand, but it was evidently written about June.
[2 ]Really March 30.
[3 ]Saturday, April 14.
[4 ]C. A. Fortescue’s.
[2 ]Apparently Fortescue.
[3 ]Tuesday, April 17.
[1 ]Major Will Hill of Fortescue’s regiment, who probably became its Lieutenant. Colonel when Holdip was promoted to command the St. Kitt’s regiment.
[2 ]So in MS. (? ‘by gunns.’)
[3 ]I.e. ‘A mortar piece two drakes.’
[1 ]See Penn’s Life, ii. 86.
[2 ]Wednesday, May 25.
[3 ]Of Col. Buller’s regiment. This seems to show that the author of this narrative was merely a captain.
[1 ]In MS. ‘courdy.’
[2 ]I.e. ‘cassava.’
[3 ]In 1642(?).
[1 ]This narrative was evidently written by an officer in Fortescue’s regiment, and probably by one of its captains, but the newsletters contain no evidence as to its authorship. It should be compared with the documents printed in Granville Penn’s Memorials of Sir William Penn, the letters on the Jamaica expedition in Thurloe, and the accounts printed in the Appendix.