Ogle Tales and Trails
This page dedicated to Sir Chaloner Ogle, Rear-Admiral of the Blue
All spelling is used as originally written - Notice the strong French influence on the language even after 250 years of the return of Germanic English.
-- Notes from the book “The Tryal of Sir Chaloner Admiral Ogle, Kt., Rear Admiral of the Blue".
-- Notes from the book "Admirals of the Caribbean"
------ Showing the duties of Admiral Ogle during the war with Spain in the Caribbean, Theater Commander Admiral Vernon.
-- Extract from the book Ogle and Bothal, concerning Sir Chaloner Ogle.

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 Notes from the book “The TRYAL of Sir Chaloner Admiral Ogle, Kt., Rear Admiral of the Blue".

The book was printed in 1743 in London for W. Webb, near St. Paul’s - There are but 18 pages numbered to 22, Pages 1-4 are missing, but the title page is present. Having purchased the book in December of 2009, if any of you have a desire to make the same purchase I must warn you that I found nothing near the value in the book, that was paid for the book.

Something of interest is that what looks like the letter “f” replaces the letter “s” but not in all cases - I can’t determine the rule. It does not fit the double “s” rule where the character “β” is sometimes substituted in older German writings.

The book only contains the narrative of the trial and some letters passed between Mr. Trelawney the Governor of Jamaica and other persons. No letters from Admiral Ogle himself, not even a deposition by Admiral Ogle.

Dated August 27, 1742 a Mr.Concanen sent a letter to Admiral Ogle "Acquainting him with the Governor's Orders to profecute him for the Affault".  It seems that Mr. Concanen is the public prosecutor under the governors office.

Admiral Ogle was accused of assaulting the governor, by the governor, in the governors house. Seems that a man named Dicker, an apparent friend or associate of the governor was called a scoundrel and Rascal by Admiral Ogle, in reply governor Trelawney replied that Dicker was no more a scoundrel that was Sir Chaloner Ogle, at which time the Admiral "clapp'd his Hand to his sword in the moft menaceing Manner, repeating feveral Times, G-D me ! Scoundrel !".

There were questions asking if Ogle used one hand or both hands. Considering swords were hung loosely from a belt, at least when in dress uniform, it would require both hands to draw a sword.

In deposition by witnesses, however it was the governor who actually drew his sword and was restrained by an A V_. A V_ made it clear that from his observations it was the Governor, already known as somewhat of a hot head, who was out of control. This A V_ is mentioned a number of times in the documentation. It is possible that A V_, is meant to be Admiral Vernon who served under Admiral Ogle at that time in Jamaica, Except A V_ is also referred to as Mr. and not knowing the protocol of the time I have no idea if “Mr.” Was applied to military officers.

All that I read from the depositions favored Admiral Ogle, regardless, the Governor’s counsel found in the Governor’s favor and against the Admiral.

However, there is no mention of Admiral Ogle receiving punishment or fine. It could be because Admiral Ogle commanded the entire British war fleet in the Caribbean at that time. Had Ogle moved his fleet to another island a very large amount of income could have been lost to the merchants on Jamaica.

There is mention of a complaint from a “master of a Northern Vessel” of “pressing or impressment”, seems his best hands were “impressed” obviously leaving him with a short and less than competent crew. Being common at the time when manpower was needed, it was the practice of the British Navy to “press into service” sailors from any ship around. 

After multiple readings, it becomes clear that this Dicker fellow was very vocal in opposing impressment.  I suppose this was a sore point with Admiral Ogle, Commanding the entire British Fleet in the Caribbean (West Indies) at the time, his fleet probably had many sailors that were “pressed” into British service.

If you remember our history, this is one of the complaints the young United States had against the British that helped start the war of 1812. No further mention of the “pressing” matter is mentioned.

Another thing I puzzle over is the word Chimeras, see Greek mythology.  No clarification of the word is described in the book.  It is not at all clear but I now believe it refers to the “impressed” sailors, in that they would be a diverse group from countries around the world.  As of this date the British fleet has landed everywhere except perhaps Japan.

Dated October 4, 1742:

A V again thought to be Admiral Vernon, sent a letter to the governor proposing the governor apologize to Admiral Ogle which would be best "in regard for his Majefty's Service with that Harmony which ought to fubfift between Officers in the service of the fame Prince.

Dated Oct 5, 1742:

Reply from the governor to A V: where the governor said an apology from nether he nor Admiral Ogle was required.  Also stating that the incident would not have occurred "if you had not fet us a-going", as I read it the governor is laying the fault for the incident at the feet of A V.  Seems A V was the first to call Dicker a scoundrel during conversation leading to the incident.

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Vice-ADMIRAL VERNON, West Indies Theater Commander, with mention of Rear-Admiral Chaloner Ogle

The somewhat uncertain peace brought about in Europe in 1736, largely through the efforts of Sir Robert Walpole, served to strengthen the family compact between the Bourbon Courts of France and Spain and to give time for the increase of the naval forces of these countries, rather than to encourage, as Walpole had hoped, a continued tranquility.
The great sea-power of England had made possible the development of a large English trade with Spanish America during the alliance of England and Spain in the war against France. This growing commercial supremacy of England was naturally unwelcome to Spain, and both by enforcing the limitations placed upon trading, inserted in the Treaty of Utrecht, and by annoying restrictions in the Spanish ports of America, Philip endeavoured to reduce to almost a disappearing point English intercourse with the Spanish colonies.

English trading vessels, always at that time partially armed, had frequent encounters with Spanish vessels, and on neither side were the agreed-upon stipulations duly respected. Walpole, more prudent than the adventurous traders of England believed consistent with the honour of his country, vainly tried to hold down the clamourers [131] for war in Parliament. The final event which made the efforts of Walpole wholly powerless for peace had its basis in the seizure off the Spanish Main, by the ship" Isabel," of an English merchant ship loaded with contraband stuffs, under Captain Jenkins. The commander of the "Isabel" appears to have treated Captain Jenkins with unusual cruelty, and before releasing him cut off one of his ears. In the spring of  1739, actually some years after the event, there was displayed, amid great excitement, to the members of the House of Commons, what may have been the mangled ear of Robert Jenkins. The pressure was too great, Walpole had to give way, and on the fifteenth of June, 1739, war was declared against Spain.1

    [132] Among the members of Parliament concerned in this demonstration and violently opposed to the Ministry, as well as equally violently urging a war of reprisal against Spain, was Captain Edward Vernon, a naval officer, who urged that an immediate expedition be sent out against Puerto Bello; he vigorously asserted, that it could not only be captured, but pledged himself to take it with six ships [133] only. In order more clearly to appreciate the bearing of the influence of Vernon upon the events of this time, and more particularly upon the expedition associated with his name, it is necessary to glance at the record of his previous career. He appears to have had an amount of influence in the House of Commons, and a popular favour outside, which made it impossible for the minister to whom he was opposed to ignore either the plans he pro' posed or his own offer to command the expedition.

    Edward Vernon was the second son of James Vernon, Secretary of State to William III, and was born in Westminster the twelfth of November, 1684. After a thorough study of the classics and the mathematical sciences, he was allowed by his family to yield to a natural taste for the sea, and entered the navy in 1701. He was with Admiral Hopson in the" Torbay" at Vigo, the twelfth of October, 1702, and was second lieutenant on the" Resolution" in the expedition against Hispaniola commanded by Captain Walker. Afterwards he served with distinction with Admiral Sir George Rook and with Sir Cloudesley Shovel. His first command as captain was of the" Jersey," in which he was sent to Port Royal, Jamaica, and for three years had a successful career on the West Indian station, capturing many prizes. This was followed by many years of more important commands, chiefly in the Baltic, interspersed with intervals of serving in the House of Commons. It was the belief in England that if Puerto Bello [134] and Cartagena were taken, the Spanish power in the New World would be irredeemably broken, and shortly after the declaration of war Vernon was given a commission as Vice Admiral of the Blue, and placed in command of a squadron of ships of war to be sent to the West Indies. His instructions were" To destroy the Spanish settlements in the West Indies and to distress their shipping " by any method whatever."

The squadron consisted of the "Burford" of seventy guns and five hundred men, "Lenox" of seventy guns and four hundred and eighty men, "Elizabeth" of seventy guns and four hundred and eighty men, "Kent" of seventy guns and four hundred and eighty men, " Worcester" of sixty guns and four hundred men, "Strafford" of sixty guns and four hundred men, "Princess Louisa" of sixty guns and four hundred and twenty men, "Norwich" of fifty guns and three hundred men, and " Pearl" of forty guns and two hundred and forty men, in all nine ships carrying a total of five hundred and fifty guns and thirty/seven hundred men.

Admiral Vernon sailed from Portsmouth the twenty' third of July, 1739, and after some delays and digressions, occasioned chiefly by an unsuccessful search for a squadron of the enemy near the Spanish coast, arrived at Port Royal, Jamaica, the twelfth of October. With this as a base the Admiral proposed to attack Puerto Bello and Cartagena, with such of his squadron as he had remaining, [135] several vessels having been detached for special service to harass the Spanish merchantmen. The ships remaining were the "Burford," "Princess Louisa," "Worcester," " Strafford," and "Norwich," and to these the Admiral was able to add at Port Royal the "Hampton Court" of seventy guns and four hundred and ninety five men, and " Sheerness" of twenty guns and three hundred men, together with two hundred marines obtained from Governor Trelawney.

On the fifth of November this squadron set sail, the "Sheerness" being sent as a scout in the direction of Cartagena, while the rest headed for Puerto Bello, off which port they lay to on the twentieth of that month. On the twenty first he attacked the Iron Fort, so called, at the harbour's entrance, with his full strength at close range, and with such vigour that after a short but spirited resistance it surrendered. The next morning while instructions were being given to govern the attack upon the remaining fortresses of San Jerόnimo and Gloria Castle, a boat with a flag of truce came to the Admiral's ship, the result of which was a speedy capitulation on the following terms dictated by Admiral Vernon:

    Articles of Capitulation granted by Edward Vernon, Esq., Vice Admiral of the Blue and Commander in Chief, of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels in the West Indies, and Commodore Brown; to Don Francisio Martinez de Retey, Governor of Porto Bello, and Don Francisio [136] de Albaroa, Commandant of the Guarda Costas at the same place, the 22nd November, 1739, O.S. 2
    As a result of this capitulation, the English fleet secured two Spanish men-of-war of twenty guns each, one other vessel, forty brass cannons, four brass mortars, eighteen smaller brass guns, a quantity of ammunition, and about ten thousand dollars. The fortifications and some eighty iron cannons were rendered useless before the departure of the squadron, which shortly returned to Jamaica.  As had been predicted, Puerto Bello was taken with six ships, and when the news, which had been despatched to London, reached there, the thanks of both Houses of Parliament were voted to the Admiral.  The English reports of this victory state the number of men taken to have been five officers and thirty/five [138] men "out of three hundred, the rest being either killed "or wounded or having made their escape" ; the Spanish accounts, however, declare that Puerto Bello was defended by a total of thirty men and five cannons, and Spanish historians point with amusement to the celebration of this victory in London. The actual record of the number of cannons taken away, however, and other circumstances, make it appear improbable that the Spanish version is strictly correct, although it is equally probable that the English account exaggerates the strength of the Spanish garrison.
Whatever may have been the exact facts, the nation was intoxicated with joy at the news of the victory. That the forts were only partially manned was not known; the simple fact that Vernon's boast had been made good and Puerto Bello taken with six ships was the glorious news and all that was needed to make of him a popular hero. Hundreds of different medals were struck to commemorate the event.* Vernon was the idol of the hour.

On the twenty/fifth of February, 1740, Admiral Vernon, after refitting his ships, sailed again from Jamaica for the Spanish Main, and from the sixth to the ninth of March bombarded Cartagena, 3 doing some damage, but also receiving enough injuries to his smaller craft to make it expedient to sail to Puerto Bello to effect repairs. On the [139] twenty-second of March he attacked Chagres, lying off that place and keeping up a moderate but continual bombardment, until on the twenty fourth the garrison capitulated.  The ships engaged in the bombardment were the "Strafford," "Norwich," "Falmouth," and "Princess "Louisa."  After seizing a considerable quantity of goods of value from the custom house stores, and taking on board all serviceable brass cannons and other guns, the custom house was destroyed by fire, and on the thirtieth the squadron sailed again for Jamaica.  That the strength of the Cartagena fortifications was fully realized is clear from the fact that before he again assaulted that place, Admiral Vernon remained almost constantly for months at Jamaica, re-enforcing his squadron with ships and men. Late in the year his squadron was joined by a number of store ships under convoy, and by transports with troops.  In January, 1741, he was further re-enforced by a squadron under Rear Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle, consisting, with those already arrived, of thirty ships of the line and some ninety other vessels, the ships manned by fifteen thousand sailors. The land troops sent out from England amounted to about twelve thousand, these latter being augmented at Jamaica by about thirty-six hundred troops from the American colonies. 4

    [140] The command of the land troops had been given to Major General Lord Cathcart, who unfortunately died before reaching Jamaica, and the command fell upon Brigadier General Thomas Wentworth, who appears to have been particularly unsuited for the great responsibility thrust upon him.

    The causes which led to the later practical failure of this expedition against Cartagena cannot be attributed to the lack of proper preparations or equipments, nor to the haste employed; indeed, the expedition appears to have been planned with the most careful regard to all details.  Vessels were engaged in scout service to determine as clearly as possible the whereabouts of the French squadron under Admiral the Marquis d'Antin, and careful observations had been made of the fortifications about Cartagena, the prevalent weather conditions, currents, etc., as well as the depths of water off the town and at the Boca Chica forts.

    The instructions given to the fleet on sailing from Jamaica divided the fighting vessels into three divisions, 7 one under Vice-Admiral Vernon (Commander in Chief), one under Rear Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle, 8 and one under Commodore Lestock . The fleet comprised some thirty line-of-battle ships, twenty two frigates, and a large miscellaneous squadron of transports, fire-ships, [141] bomb/ketches 5 and tenders, in all one hundred and twenty four sail. 6  Not unnaturally the rumors of these [142] preparations for the attack on Cartagena reached that place weeks before the news became a certainty, through [143] the definite reports of a French ship which appears to have been sent to Cartagena by the French Admiral expressly to warn the inhabitants of the impending attack.

    During the last week in January, 1741, the three divisions sailed from Port Royal, a few days apart, effecting a junction at sea on the thirty-first, and making Cape Tiberon, on the western extremity of Hispaniola (now the island of Haiti and San Domingo) on the seventh of February. After several days of careful reconnoitring to make certain whether or not the French fleet had sailed for Europe as reported, the three divisions came to anchor in the bays near the cape. On the twenty-fifth of February the fleet left for Cartagena under easy sail, and came to anchor on the fourth of March a few leagues to windward (that is, to the eastward) of the town of Cartagena, between that place and Punta Canoas. During several days detailed preparations for the attack were made, and various councils of war held, one of which settled the important matters relative to the distribution of the expected booty, and one confirming the Admiral's plan of attack. Great care seems to have been taken to obtain as complete plans as possible of the forts at Boca Chica, and careful soundings were made by some of the smaller vessels all along the Tierra Bomba shore and at the entrance to the harbour. A feint at landing on the [144] shore side of the town was made by some of the smaller vessels, apparently for the purpose, a hope to some extent realized, of engaging the attention of the enemy from the real landing-point at Boca Chica.

    On the morning of the ninth, Sir Chaloner Ogle, with his division, moved forward to the attack, followed by Admiral Vernon with his division and all the transports, leaving the division under Commander Lestock at anchor. As the ships moving to leeward approached Boca Chica, the small fort of Chamba (on Tierra Bomba, east of Boca Chica Castle) fired a few shots, but was soon silenced and deserted. Three of the eighty-gun ships were anchored close to the forts of San Jago and San Felipe, and maintained a very hot fire, so that these forts were soon deserted; the evening of that day grenadiers were landed and took possession of them without meeting any resistance. Also during the evening, from the bomb-ketches and from those of the ships which could comfortably approach, a continual fire was kept up against Boca Chica Castle, which was returned with some spirit, under cover of which firing troops and artillery were landed during the night and next forenoon. The troops were encamped under the protection of a woody growth near, but apparently somewhat protected from, Boca Chica Castle. It was during and immediately after the .landing of these troops that the serious differences of opinion between General Wentworth and Admiral Vernon began to arise, [145] differences which afterwards were to prove to a large extent the cause of the failure of the expedition, and which served at once to create a most unfortunate feeling of antagonism between the sea and land forces. The Admiral complained of the delays of the troops to press the attack upon the castle, and on the eleventh he and Sir Chaloner Ogle joined in a letter to General Wentworth urging immediate action. That delays somewhat difficult to understand did take place is evident from the fact that on the nineteenth, owing to complaints from General Wentworth, several vessels undertook successfully, but with some difficulty, to silence the Baradera Battery on the opposite side of the harbour entrance, the fire from which reached the encampment of the troops, and on the twenty-first of March, at a council of war of the naval commanders, complaint as to the slow progress of the troops was formally made. Finally, on the days from the twenty4Uurth to the twenty-sixth, by the c0/0peration of the vessels and troops, both Boca Chica Castle and the San Jose for, tress were taken, as was also one of the Spanish ships. The San Jose fortress appears to have been almost deserted when taken, and it is probable that this fort was not actively defended. That the defence of Boca Chica Castle itself was gallant and spirited is certain from the clear record of the extensive operations against it. Before it was taken, however, the defenders had largely made their escape, and had found time to partially block the channel [146] up the bay by sinking the Spanish ships "Africa" and "San Carlos," and to burn the ship" San Felipe" on the shore. "

During the next few days the fleet was able to enter the bay; the batteries at the small Passo Caballos entrance were easily destroyed and a safe anchorage established. The forts at Boca Chica were adequately garrisoned, the troops re-embarked, and preparations were made for the real attack upon the city.
The Spanish Viceroy, Lieutenant-General Don Sebastian de Eslaba, was resident at Cartagena, and the Governor of the city was Don Blas de Leso. According to contemporary Spanish accounts, the forces at the disposal of the Viceroy and Governor were eleven hundred veteran soldiers, three hundred militia, six hundred Indians, and two companies of negroes and free mulattoes. The naval forces in the harbour were six ships with six hundred seamen and four hundred soldiers, making about four" thousand men in all. These are probably accurate estimates of the actual Spanish forces, and it is certain that the strength of the defence of the place was "due to its well-built fortifications rather than to the number of its defenders, whose numbers were undoubtedly much fewer than the attacking forces. The Viceroy had ample notice of the coming of the attacking expedition, and concentrated his small forces at important points on the walls of the city itself and at San Lazaro, a strong fortress [147] built on a slight elevation, outside the walls, and guarding the approach to the city from the land side. The strategic importance of this fortress, and a general idea of the walls and other fortifications of Cartagena, can best be obtained by a glance at the maps.

It was considered essential by the attacking forces to occupy first San Lazaro, and indeed if this had been accomplished it is probable that the remaining Spanish troops would have been insufficient to make any long effective resistance to an entrance into the city. At a council of war held on board the "Princess Caroline," on the thirtieth of March, in Cartagena Harbour, in which the division commanders of both the sea and land forces took part, it was resolved to land the troops at a convenient point on the south side of the harbour, under protection of the guns of the ships; the first duty of the troops to be to cut off all land communications from the city. On the first few days of April troops were landed at Isla de Gracias close to Mansanilla Castle, from which a fairly good road reached into the town, passing under the walls of San Lazaro. This landing was made without opposition, the guns from the ships sweeping the country between Isla de Gracias and San Lazaro, and the landing-place being beyond the range of the guns at Castillo Grande; the relative positions of these places and others referred to in this account are clearly indicated on the maps.

With the landing of the troops the dissensions between [148] the commanders of the land and sea forces began anew; Admirals Vernon and Ogle appear to have constantly condemned the procrastination of General Wentworth and urged the necessity for immediate action if serious ravages of sickness among the troops were to be avoided; General Wentworth as constantly urged the necessity for more efficient co-operation on the part of the fleet, asserting that the ships should be brought into the inner harbour, where the town itself and (more particularly) San Lazaro would be within effective range of fire. The experiment of sending one of the captured ships into the inner harbour was tried by Admiral Vernon, but the ship, although apparently finding sufficient water, was finally of necessity abandoned, as unsupported it could not stand the close fire from the city walls. This incident, which furnished one of the prime causes of dispute among the respective partisans of Admiral Vernon and General Wentworth, both then and later in England, is easily understood by those familiar with the harbour of Cartagena. The water in the inner harbour is now, and undoubtedly was then, too shallow to hold ships of the size of Vernon's fighting vessels, but through a very narrow and twisting channel it is quite possible that one or two ships might with careful piloting enter the inner harbour.

The friends of General Wentworth, in charging Admiral Vernon with neglect in this instance, were clearly in the wrong, as were those also who supported General [149] Wentworth's claim that the fleet did not give its full sup" port to his requests by preventing communication with the town from the shore to the eastward. Admiral Vernon, when requested to do so by General Wentworth, appears to have kept so far as possible the stretch of shore to the eastward under the guns of some of his ships, but it could not have been an easy matter with the sailing craft of that day to remain off a lee shore at times of high wind and with a strong westerly current, ready night and day to fire upon a small strip of sand overgrown with man' groves.

In his criticism of the land operations under General Wentworth, Admiral Vernon, somewhat overbearing by nature, seems to have been to some extent unjust, and that he clearly underestimated the strength of San Lazaro is evident from letters which he wrote at the time. It seems doubtful whether in attacking San Lazaro, its weakest and most approachable side was accurately determined in advance; but whether this was so or not~ General Went' worth decided that without effecting a breach an attack would be impracticable, and much time was consumed in attempting to raise a battery for the purpose, as well as in correspondence with Admiral Vernon, respecting the use of the vessels of the fleet for effecting the breach. During this time the bulk of the American colonial troops had been left on the ships, their usefulness being doubted, more particularly because a large proportion of them were [150] believed to be Papists; by direction of General Went' worth these were landed on the sixth of April, and after' wards are credited by the land officers to have rendered gallant services.

On the ninth of April, pressed on the one side by the reproaches of Admiral Vernon for the long delays, and threatened day by day with a lessening power of attack due to the rapidly increasing sickness among his troops, General Wentworth, with the consent of a council of war of the land officers, attempted to carry San Lazaro by storm. The attack was intended to be by night, but owing either to the trickery of native guides, or to badly formed plans on the part of General Wentworth, the attack was begun upon the almost precipitous southern side of the fortress, with scaling ladders of insufficient length. This unfortunate error served to warn the Spanish troops, and the real attack hardly began before the broiling hot tropical sun shone relentlessly upon the attacking forces. With a bravery deserving better guidance the troops stood their ground, enduring for hours the terrible fire from above their heads and the burning rays of the sun; but the ram, parts were not carried, and finally the troops were forced to retire leaving, it is said, half their number either dead or wounded at the foot of the walls of the fortress. At a council of war of the naval commanders (Vernon, Ogle, and Lestock) on the twelfth of April, it was recommended that in view of the land forces having been unable to erect
[151] a battery for effecting a breach in the walls of San Lazaro, and their having failed to storm it otherwise, and also in view of the great sickness prevailing, that "it will be for the King's service to desist from the enterprise as impracticable." At a council of war of the land officers on the thirteenth of April, the blame for the failure to carry San Lazaro was attributed to the failure of the fleet adequately to co-operate; but the failure of the under, taking was admitted and definite plans for the embarkation of the troops were suggested. On the fifteenth the stores were taken on board the ships, and on the day following the troops, sadly reduced in numbers and many very ill, were re-embarked. So great were the losses to the troops through disease and battle that not over one third of the land troops appear to have returned with the fleet to Jamaica.

For about a fortnight after the troops were re-re-embarked, the Admiral kept the fighting vessels employed in destroying the forts and batteries, the structural strength of some of which, particularly of Castillo Grande, appears to have been so great as to have made the work both difficult and tedious. Also during the interval before sailing an arrangement was made, by means of courteous letters exchanged under flags of truce between the Admiral and the Viceroy, for an exchange of prisoners. On the twenty' fourth of April, at a general council 'Of war, it was determined to sail for Jamaica as soon as possible, and by [152] the eighth of May, 1741, the great fleet had left Cartagena, having, it is true, rendered useless the defences of the harbour and destroyed six heavy ships and some minor craft, but having failed to enter the city or to obtain any substantial booty.
The earlier successes of Vernon made the news of his failure all the more distressing to the English people, and the expedition and the causes leading to its failure played a not unimportant part in English politics for some time. Unhappily the first despatches to reach England indicated a repetition of the success at Puerto Bello; premature celebrations of victory took place and more medals were struck. For much of the blame put upon Vernon for the ineffectiveness of the Cartagena expedition Smollett is responsible. As a surgeon's mate he had accompanied the fleet and undoubtedly his personal experiences were not agreeable. Both as a historian and in " Roderick Random" Smollett shows that his views were coloured by his own personal relation to the events. Wentworth showed him' self incompetent both in preparation and in performance and lacking in the qualities of decision and resourcefulness. Vernon, on the other hand, was an apostle of efficiency; his real place, however, was in command at sea, and to some extent he must share the blame for the failure of the expedition to realize its full purpose. Vernon realized the importance of sea-power, and in one of his official letters says that he is "strongly convinced that preserving [153] a superiority at sea is the best security for His Majesty's Government, as well as of the trade and prosperity of this Kingdom."
Vernon was a strong advocate of the more humane treatment of seamen, and in spite of the fact that he caused their ration of spirits to be diluted, retained their affection. His popular name of" Old Grog" came from his habit of wearing grograin breeches; one of his reforms was to have the rum which was served the fleet regularly before noon each day diluted with a goodly proportion of water, a mixture which was thencefurth called "grog".


Trusty and well Beloved - We greet you Well-

Whereas several unjust seizures have been made and depredations carried on in the West Indies by Spanish Guarda Costas and Ships acting under the Commission of the King of Spain or his Governors contrary to the Treatys subsisting between us and the Crown of Spain and to the Law of Nations to the Great prejudice of the lawfull Trade & Commerce of our subjects; and many crueltys and barbaritys have been exercised on the Persons of such our subjects whose vessels have been so seized by the said Spanish Guarda Costas; And whereas frequent complaint has been made to the Court of Spain of these unjust practices and no satisfaction or Redress been procured; and whereas a Convention for makeing reparation to our subjects for the losses sustained by them on account of the unjust seizure & Captures above-mentioned was concluded between Us and the King of Spain on the 14th day of January last, N.S., by which convention it was stipulated that a certain sum of money should be paid at London within a Term specified in the sd. Convention as a balance due on the part of Spain to the Crown and subjects of Great Britain which Term did expire on the 25th day of May last and the paymt of the said sum agreed by the sd Convention has not been made according to the Stipulation for that purpose, by which means the Convention above-mentioned has been manifestly violated & Broke by the King of Spain and our Subjects remain without any Satisfaction or reparation for the many Great & Grievous losses sustained by them: We have tho't fit for ye vindicating the Honour of Our Crown & for procuring Reparation and Satisfaction for our Injured subjects to order Reprisals to be made upon the Crown & subjects of Spain. And We do therefore by virtue of these presents authorize & impower you to issue forth and grant Commissions of Marque & Reprisals to any of our loveing subjects or others who shall apply to you for the same and whom you shall deem fitly qualified in that behalf, For Armeing and fiting out Private Ships of War for the apprehending, seizing and taking the Ships, vessels & goods belonging to the King of Spain, his vassals & subjects or any inhabiting within his Countrys Territories & Dominions in the West Indies.

Provided always that before any such Commission or Commissions be Issued forth, security be given upon such Commission as hath been used in such cases. And you shall insert in every Commission to be so granted by you all such clauses and give such Directions & Instructions to the Person or Persons to whom you shall grant such Commissions as have been usual in cases of the like nature. And for so doing this shall be your warrant. And so we bid you farewell.

Given at our Court at Kensington the fifteenth day of June 1739, in the thirteenth year of our Reign.

By his Majesty's Command


Superscribed "To our Trusty & Well Beloved Jonathan [Belcher] Esq., our Capt. General & Govt in chief of our Provinces of the Massa. Bay and New Hampshire in America & in his Absence to our Commander in Chief or to the President of Council of our said Province for the time being."

[Part of the Declaration of war is located below the text of page 132 in the original book - I choose to keep the declaration together]
2. " 1st Article. That the garrison be allowed to march out, as desired, upon condition the King of Great Britain's troops be put into possession of Gloria Castle, before four of the clock this evening, and the garrison to march out by ten of the clock tomorrow morning. That the inhabitants may either remove or remain, under the promise of security for themselves and their effects.

2nd. That the Spanish soldiers may have a guard, if they think it necessary.

3rd. They may carry off two cannons mounted with ten charges of powder for each, and their match lighted.

4th. The gates of the Gloria Castle must absolutely be in possession of the King our master's troops by four of the clock, and the Spanish garrison shall remain in all safety for their persons or effects till the appointed time of their marching out, and to carry with them provisions and ammunition necessary for their safety.

5th. That the ships with their apparel and arms, be absolutely delivered up to the use of his Brittanic Majesty; but that all the officers, both soldiers and crew, shall have three days allowed them to retire with all their personal effects; only one officer being admitted on board such ship and vessel, to take possession for the King our master, and see this article strictly complied with.

[137] 6th. That provided the Articles above mentioned are strictly complied with, and that possession be given of Castle St. Jeronimo in the same manner as is stipulated for the Castle Gloria, then the Clergy, the Churches and Town shall be protected and preserved in all their immunities and properties, and that all prisoners already taken shall be set at liberty before our leaving the port.

Given under our hands on board his Majesty's ship BURFORD in Porto Bello harbour, the 22nd day of November, 1739, O.S.
E. Vernon Chas. Brown"

3. Admiral Vernon Medals, 1739-1742., by Dr. Malcolm Storer, Proc. Mass. Rist. Soc. April, 1919.

4. These American troops were made up as follows: from Massachusetts, five companies; Rhode Island, two companies; Connecticut, two companies; New York, five companies; New Jersey, three companies; Pennsylvania, eight companies; Maryland, three companies; Virginia, four companies; North Carolina, four companies. Among other American officers was Colonel Laurence Washington, and it was on account of his association with Admiral Vernon that Mount Vernon subsequently received its name.

5. Small light draught vessels carrying one or more guns or mortars.

6. Sailing and fighting instructions given to the fleet on their sailing from Jamaica, by Edward Vernon, Esq., Vice-Admiral of the blue, and commander-in-chief of all his majesty's ships and vessels in the west Indies.
7. Line of Battle

The Princess Amelia to lead with the Starboard, and the Suffolk with the Larboard Tacks on Board. But if I shall find it necessary from the different Motions of the Enemy, to change our Order of Battle, to have those who are now appointed to lead on the Starboard Tack, to continue to lead the fleet on the Larboard Tack on our going about, or those now to lead on the Larboard Tack, on the contrary to do the same, as the Exigency of the Service may require; I will, with my Signal for Tacking, hoist a Dutch Jack on the Flag Staff, under the Union Flag, the usual Signal for Tacking when they are to continue to lead the Fleets on their respective Tacks, accordingly.

Rear Admiral of the Blue, Sir Chaloner Ogle

Frigates Rates Ships name Captains Men Guns
  3rd Princess Amelia Hemmington 600 80
  4th Windsor Berkley 400 60
Experiment   York Coates 400 60
Sheerness 3d Norfolk Graves 600 80
Vesuvious Fireship
Terrible Bomb
  Russel Sir Chaloner Ogle
Capt Norris
615 80
Phaeton   Shrewsbury Towsend 600 80
Goodley 4th Rippon Jolley 400 60
    Litchfield Clevland 300 50
    Jersey Lawrence 400 60
    Tilbury Long 400 60
Totals       4715 670

Vice-Admiral of the Blue, Vernon

Frigates Rates Ships Name Captains Men Guns
Squirrel 3rd Orford Lt. Aug. Fitzroy 480 70
Shoreham 4th Princess Louisa Stepleton 400 60
Eleanor   Augusta Dennison 400 60
Seahorse   Worcester Perry Mayne 400 60
Strumbolo 3rd Chichester Robert Trevor 600 80
Success   Princess Caroline Adm Vernon
Capt Watson
620 80
Vulcan   Torbay Gascoigne 600 80
Cumberland 4th Strafford Tho. Trevor 400 60
Alderrey Bomb   Waymouth Knowles 400 60
PomPey   Deptford Moyston 400 60
Brig Tender 3rd Burford Griffen 480 70
Totals       5180 740

Commodore Lestock’s Division

Frigates Rates Ships Names Captains Men Guns
  4th Defiance John Trevor 400 60
    Dunkirk Cooper 400 60
Astrea   Lyon Cotterel 400 60
Wolf Sloop 3rd Prince Frederic Ld.A.Beauelerc 480 70
Aetna   Boyne Com. Lestock
600 80
Firebrand   Hampton Court Dent 480 70
Virgin Queen 4th Falmouth Douglass 300 50
    Montague Chambers 300 60
  3rd Suffolk Davers 480 70
Totals       3840 580

Signals [to be used during the Battle]

When the Admiral would speak with the Captain of any Ship under-mentioned, he will raise a pendant, as against the Ship's name, and of the Colour set above it; if a Lieutenant, the same Signal with a Weft of the Ensign; and if a Boat without an Officer, the Weft will be hoisted but half Staff up. Memorandum, when I would have any of the Fireships, Bombs or Tenders, taken in tow at the same Time I make the Signal for the Ship that is to tow, and for the Ship that is to be tow'd, I will hoist up a Flag Blue and White, at the Flag-staff of the Main-top-mast-head.

Red White  Blue  Yellow  
Boyne Pss. Amelia Chichester Terrible Main
Norfolk Suffolk Shrewsbury Elenor
Worcester Lyon Defiance Etna
Tilbury Squirrel Torbay Firebrand Starbdt Main-topsail Yard-Arm
Windsor Pss. Louisa Falmouth Vesuvius Larbd
Burford P. Frederick Strafford Phaeton Starbd Fore-topsail Yard-arm
Montague Orford Weymouth Strombolo Larbd
Shoreham Augusta Pss. Caroline Success Starbd Mizen-topsail Yard-arm
Hamptoncourt Dunkirk Jersey Vulcan Larbd
Litchfield Lud. Castle Deptford Cumberland Starbd Main-yard- Arm
Experiment Rippon York Alderney Larbd
Sea Horse Sheerness Russell BrigTender Starbd Fore-yard-arm
Astrea Wolf Virgin Qu. Larbd
Pompey Starbd Cross-jack- yard-arm
Goodley Larbd

When the Ships are in Line of Battle, the Frigates, Fireships, Bombs and Tenders, are to keep on the opposite Side of the Enemy, when I make the Signal in Line of Battle, for the Van of the Fleet to tack first in order to gain the Windward of the Enemy, then each Ship is to tack in the Head-most Ship's weak, for losing no Ground. For all other Signals they are referr'd to the General printed Sailing and Fighting Instructions, and such other additional instructions as you received from me.

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 Sir Chaloner Ogle data extracted from the book the Baronies of Bothal and Ogle 1902
A reprint of this book is available from the Ogle/Ogles Family Association, www.ogles.org

The book "Admirals of the Caribbean" contains far more detail concerning the Caribbean wars with Spain and France, it will show that Admiral Vernon was the theater commander and that Admiral Ogle was also under his orders during the initial attacks on the Spanish forts.

[pg 129] K. Sir Chaloner Ogle of Copeland, knight, was born in 1680, it is said at Kirkley.  He entered the royal navy in July, 1697, as a volunteer per order, or king's letter boy, on board the' Yarmouth' with Captain Cleveland. He afterwards served in the' Restoration' with Captain Foulis, in the 'Worcester ' and ' Suffolk,' and passed his examination on the 11th of March, 1701/2, being then twenty-one. On the 29th of April, 1702, he was promoted to be lieutenant of the ‘Royal Oak’, and on the 24th of November, 1703, to be commander of the 'St. Antonio’. In April, 1705, he was moved to the' Deal Castle' which was captured off Ostend on the 3rd of July, 1706, by three French ships. A court martial, held on the 19th of October, acquitted him of all blame. He afterwards commanded the' Queenborough.' On the 14th of March, 1707/8 he was posted by Sir George Byng to the' Tartar' frigate, and in her he continued during the war for the most part in the Mediterranean where he made some valuable prizes.266

On the 2nd of May, 1713, he purchased, from his uncle Thomas Ogle of Kirkley, a quarter of the west quarter of Kirkley and one quarter of Alderhaugh, granting Thomas on the 2nd of July, an annuity as part payment, and on the 2nd of November following he purchased from William Rutherford, husband of his aunt Isabel, another quarter of the west quarter of Kirkley and of Alderhaugh,267 and on the 13th of the same month John Ogle of Newcastle, his father, on his behalf, purchased for the sum of [pg 130] £2,150 of Ralph Wallis of Knaresdale, Copeland and Akeld.268  In 1714, his name occurs as a justice of the peace.  On the 30th of July, 1715, he and his father mortgaged their lands to John Stephenson for the sum of £2,000.269  He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Northumberland on the 4th of August, 1715.  Soon after, in 1716, he commanded the 'Plymouth' in the Baltic under Sir John Norris, and in 1717 the 'Worcester,' a fourth rate of 50 guns under Sir George Byng in the Baltic. In March, 1719, he was appointed to the 60 gun ship 'Swallow' and after convoying the trade to Newfoundland, and thence to the Mediterranean, and thence home, was sent early in 1721 to the coast of Africa.

For several months the ship was disabled by the sickness of her men, and he wrote on the 20th of September from Princes Island saying that he had buried 50 men and had still 100 sick. In November he was at Cape Coast castle, where he received intelligence that two pirates were plundering the coast under Bartholomew Roberts, who commanded a ship of 40 guns and 152 men, having also a ship of 32 guns and 132 men, and one of 24 guns and 90 men. Captain Ogle put to sea; at Whydah he learnt that they had lately captured ten sail, one of which refusing to pay ransom was burnt with a full cargo of negroes on board. On the 5th of February, 1722 he found them at anchor under Cape Lopez, where he found the largest and the smallest ships were heeled over scrubbing bottoms.  Captain Ogle having taken in his lower deck guns and lying at a distance, Roberts, mistook him for a merchantman and ordered his consort Skyrm to slip and chase. The 'Swallow' pretended to fly but when out of earshot, Captain Ogle tacked, ran out his lower deck guns, and gave the pirate a broadside which killed Skyrm, and he soon captured her. Captain Ogle then returned to the bay, hoisting the king's colour under the pirate's black flag which bore a death's head, hour glass and human heart; this stratagem caused Roberts to stand out to meet him, and it was a disagreeable surprise when the English colours were hoisted. Roberts fought with the utmost bravery, but when he was killed the pirates surrendered. The whole number of prisoners taken was 262, of whom 75 negroes, were sold; the rest were taken to Cape Coast castle, 74 of whom were capitally convicted, of whom 52 were hanged, most of them in chains, 19 died before trial, 20 sentenced to death, were sent, for seven years in the mines, and the rest were sent to England to be imprisoned in the Marshalsea. It is related that when the prisoners were brought on board the 'Swallow' Captain Ogle said to one of them who had a silver call at his breast, 'I presume you are boatswain of that vessel.' 'Then you presume wrong,' answered the fellow, 'I'm boatswain to Captain Roberts’.  Then Mr. Boatswain, I presume you'll be hanged,' said the captain. 'Just as you please' answered the ruffian, with the greatest indifference.  On asking another fellow how the powder came to take fire, 'John Morris' answered he with a savage look, 'fired his pistol into the magazine, and if he had not I would. 'Roberts, it is said, made a splendid figure, being dressed in crimson damask with a red feather in his hat, a gold chain and a diamond cross about his neck, his sword in his hand, and his pistols slung in a silk scarf, which was the fashion of the 'gentlemen of fortune’, as they called themselves.  When he received his death wound he sat down on a gun and expired; his comrades at first thought he was losing courage and called upon him to stand up, but when they found he was dead their own courage gave way.270

On Captain Ogle's return to England in April, 1723, he received the honour of knighthood at St. James'; he also received from the Crown the pirates' ships and effects subject to the legal charges and the payment of head money to his officers and men, the nett value of the proceeds was a little over £3,000.  His father John Ogle of Newcastle on the 23rd of September, 1723, released to his son, Sir Chaloner Ogle of Copeland, an annuity he was left under [pg 131] the will of Thomas Ogle, his brother.271  He was made a member of the Trinity House in June of the same year.  On the 17th of June, 1725, he was proxy for Lord Glenorchy (Sir John Campbell) son of the earl at Bredalbane, when the Order of the Bath was revived and the knights installed with great magnificence in King Henry VII's chapel at Westminster abbey.272  In 1726 he appears as Master of the Trinity House at Newcastle,273 and he soon after married his first wife.

In April, 1729, he 'was appointed to the 'Burford', one of the fleet gathered at Spithead under the command at Sir Charles Wager.  On the 17th of May, 1731, he was appointed to the command of the 'Edinburgh', a 70 gun ship, in the fleet also under Sir Charles Wages,274 which went to the Mediterranean, and in May, 1732 he was sent out to Jamaica as commodore of a squadron of observation.274  He was home in 1737, when he married his second wife.  On the 21st of March, 1739, he was appointed to the 'Augusta’, and in June as commodore of a squadron of observation.274  On the 11th of July, he was promoted to be rear admiral of the blue, and was ordered to Gibraltar with 12 ships, having orders either to act separately or to put himself under the command of Haddock who already had a strong squadron in the Mediterranean, but he Soon returned, and the government, dreading a union with [between] France and Spain, a secret expedition was projected and a potent fleet assembled at Spithead in 1740 under Sir John Norris, Philip Cavendish, and Sir Chaloner as rear admiral.   H.R.H. the duke of Cumberland embarked as a volunteer.  Twenty-one sail of the line and three fire ships sailed from St. Helen's on the 17th of July, 1740, with a convoy and merchant ships, for Portugal and the Straits, but meeting with gales they returned to St. Helens; sailing again on the 22nd, they were detained at Torbay nearly a month, and returned to Spithead.

In the autumn he was ordered to take out a large reinforcement to vice admiral Vernon, whose exploit of taking Porto Bello with six ships had inflamed further desire.  He had a busy time at Spithead preparing. On the 18th of September, l740, he wrote to James Knight, esq., from the 'Shrews­bury’, I think it is now generally believed that ye Brest and Ferrol Squadrons are gone to the West Indies, we are making all despatch that is possible to get the fleet in readiness for ye sea. . . . I think we shall have force enough to carry all before us when we joyn altho the French and Spanish Squadrons may be gone there. . . . l am with ye greatest truth yr most obedt & humble Sert C. Ogle. P.S.-I am all day long over head and ears in papers.'  Another letter is dated the 6th of October, 1740.275  In September of the same year the duke276 transmitted to him secret orders to sail with 28 sail of the line and other ships, informing him that 27 French and 14 Spanish ships had already sailed for the West Indies.277  He sailed from Spithead on the 26th of October with 24 sail of the line and other ships, including 150 transports, the troops being under Lord Cathcart; they were overtaken by a dreadful gale, but only one sail of the line was forced back, and having arrived at Dominica, they proceeded on to Jamaica where they arrived on the 9th of January, 1741, and joined Admiral Vernon, the force numbering 30 sail of the line and 10,000 soldiers, most of whom sailed on the 26th of January.

The attack on Cartagena was commenced on the 9th of March by Sir Chaloner, and on the 25th the squadron had captured the outer Forts and the squadron in the harbour, but the attack on fort St. Lazar on the 8th April failed, so after destroying the forts the squadron and troops returned to Jamaica.  At the British Museum there are seven different medals representing this action, three of them represent figures of Admirals Vernon and Ogle, three others, these two and General Wentworth, the seventh and best represents Don Blass kneeling between the admirals. 'The pride of Spain humbled by Admiral [pg 132] Vernon and Sir Chaloner Ogle.'  'Don Blass' over his figure.  On the obverse a picture of the forts with two ships entering ‘They took Cartagena April 1741.'  On the 18th of June, 1741, Sir Chaloner' wrote from the ‘Cumberland' at Jamaica. . . . 'You have had an account before this of our success before Cartagena, tomorrow seven of the 80 gun ships with two seventy a sixty and a fifty sail for England.  Ye "Boyne" and ye "Cumberland" continue here being sheathed, etc. I have been so much employed I have hardly time to look about me.' 278  He wrote from the "Cumberland" in Port Royal Harbour, February 13th, 1741/2. . .

'We are now fitting out with a great expedition and shall sail in a few days to make an attempt on some place on the Main. . . .'  Admiral Vernon and the general were on notoriously bad terms, and between the navy and the army, which showed itself on the 3rd of September, when Sir Chaloner was charged before the chief justice of Jamaica for having assaulted Edward Trelawney, the governor.279  The jury decided an assault had been given and there the matter ended.  In March, 1742, Sir Chaloner was promoted to be rear admiral of the red.280  On the 18th of October, 1742, Admiral Vernon sailed for England, leaving the command to Sir Chaloner, who was promoted on the 9th of August, 1743, to be vice admiral of the blue.281  Charnock says he was promoted to be Vice-Admiral of the white on the 7th of December, 1743, and was then left commander-in-chief, saying his conduct gave universal satisfaction, for a private letter, dated at Port Royal, April the 29th, 1774, bestows the following encomium on him, ‘The inhabitants of the island begin to recover their spirits the loss of Admiral Vernon is in a great measure compensated for by the vigilance and good conduct of Sir Chaloner Ogle.'  His work was now limited to protecting the British and scourging the Spanish trade, except the attacks made in 1743 by Commodore Knowles on La Guira and Porto Cavalla.  On the 15th of March, 1743/4, he was president of a court martial for the trial of George Frye, a lieutenant of marines, who was found guilty and for his great insolence and contempt shown to the court was sentenced to be cashiered and to be imprisoned for fifteen years; the latter part of the sentence was afterwards pronounced illegal and Frye obtained a verdict for false imprisonment against Sir Chaloner who was sentenced to pay £1,000282 which seems to have been paid by the Crown.  On the 9th of August, 1743, he was promoted to be vice admiral of the blue, and the 19th of June, 1744, vice admiral of the red (?) and in April, 1745, admiral of the blue. He returned from the West Indies on the 2nd of June, 1745, with the 'Cumberland', three other ships, and nine merchantmen,282 and in September was president of a court martial assembled in the Medway for the trial of Admirals Mathews and Lestock and others relative to the miscarriage of the action off Toulon.  Early the next year he went to Bath for the recovery of his health.283

On the 24th of November of that year he was returned member of Parliament for Rochester,283 and again on the 18th of July, 1747, he having been on the 15th of July advanced to be vice admiral of the White.284 and the next year to be admiral of the red (?) and the 28th of June, 1749, to admiral of the fleet.284  He died on the 11th of April, 1750, aged seventy 284 and was buried in St. Mary's parish church, Twickenham, where there is a memorial to 'H. S. E. Vir honorabilis Chaloner Ogle Eq Aur Regiarum Classium Praefectus primarius Qui generosam inter Northumbrios stirpem nobilitate rerum gestarum decoravit . . . . ' to which is affixed a shield of the arms of Ogle impaling Ogle; there is also a memorial in Ponteland church. His will is dated the 10th of April, 1739, with a codicil dated in 1744: it was proved the 3rd of September, 1750.285  There is a portrait of him at Kirkley Hall and at The Painted Hall, Greenwich.

[pg 133] He married, first, circa1726, Henrietta, sister of John Isaacson recorder of Newcastle.  It is stated that this (?) Lady Ogle 'eminent for her virtues' died in 1737. 286 And secondly on the 30th of October, 1737, Isabella, daughter of Nathaniel Ogle of Newcastle and of Kirkley, his cousin; she proved her husband’s will, and she re-married, July 1751, James, Lord Kingston. (See the next generation.)

266 Nat. Bio   267 Ap. 683, 684.  268 B. F. C. Pap.   269 Ap. 685   270 Campbell's Naval History, etc.  271 Ap. 686.  272 Orders of Knighthood.  273 Brand II., p.338.  274 Gen. Mag.
275 Add. MSS. 12431.  276 This was Holles, Newcastle.  277 Add. MSS. 32695.

278  Add. MSS. 12431.  279 Gen. Mag. 1743.  280 Gen. Mag.         281 Gen. Mag. 
282 Gen. Mag.  283 Gen. Mag.  284 Gen.  285 Ap 560.  286 Gen Mag.

Below is a list of all known Vice-Admiral Vernon medals related to Rear-Admiral Chaloner Ogle.  Most are related to Panama (either Portobello or Fort Chagre), but a few are not.  There are approximately 270 different types. While this catalog will be complete to the best of my knowledge, many medals lack an image or illustration.

History: In the 1730's the Spanish ruled from Florida and California south to the southern-most tip of South America. The English were limited on the mainland to north of Florida and were not allowed to trade with the Spanish colonies. Tensions grew between the English and the Spanish.  A sea-captain by the name of Jenkin accused the Spanish of illegally boarding his ship and cutting off his ear when he resisted.  In one account he threw the ear on a table in the presence of Parliament. Thus started the "War of Jenkin's Ear".

Captain Edward Vernon boasted to Parlament that he could take Portobello with only six ships.  He was given a commission as Vice-Admiral of the Blue, placed in command of a group of ships and given his chance.  Sending an seventh "extra" ship away on another mission, Admiral Vernon successfully captured Portbello with six ships as he had boasted. The population of England was elated, and these medals were issued to celebrate the occassion.

On November 21st, 1739, Admiral Vernon attacked the so-called Iron Fort at the mouth of the harbor of Portobello with six ships. The names of the six ships were: the Burford (flagship) with 70 guns, the Hampton Court (Commodore Brown's ship) with 70 guns, the Worcester with 60 guns, the Strafford with 60 guns, the Princess Louisa with 60 guns and the Norwich with 50 guns. The Sheerness with 20 guns was sent as a scout in the direction of Cartagena. After a short but spirited resistance the fort surrendered. The next morning (November 22nd, 1739), before they could continue their attack on the remaining fortifications of San Jeronimo Battery and San Jago de Gloria Castle, a boat arrived under a flag of truce. The result was that the Spanish agreed to a conditional surrender.

 As a result of the surrender, the English fleet secured two Spanish men-of-war of 20 guns each, one other vessel, forty brass cannon, four brass mortars, eighteen smaller brass guns, a quantity of ammunition and about $10,000. The inhabitants of the town were allowed to keep their possessions.  The three fortifications and about 80 iron cannons were destroyed by the English before they left and returned to their base in Jamaica.  The English accounts state that they defeated about 300 defenders; the Spanish accounts put that number at 30 defenders. The truth may lie somewhere in between.

After refitting his ships, Admiral Vernon went on to Cartagena and bombarded it from March 6th to March 9th 1740, receiving some damage to his ships in turn. He sailed once again to Portobello and made some repairs to his ships. Then on March 22nd Admiral Vernon started bombarding Fort Chagre at the mouth of the Chagre River in Panama (known today as Chagres with an "s"). He kept up the bombardment until the 24th when the garrision surrendered. The ships that engaged in the bombardment were the Stafford, the Norwich, the Falmouth and the Princess Louisa. He secured a large quantity of goods from the custom house at Fort Chagre, and also secured more brass cannons and other guns. Then Admiral Vernon had the custom house burned down, and he returned to Jamaica.

In Jamaica Admiral Vernon concentrated on reinforcing his squadron for an attack on Cartagena. When the task force set sail in 1741 Admiral Vernon was in Commander-in-Chief of a fleet of thirty ships of the line, 90 other vessels, and aided by 12,000 soldiers from England and 3,600 from the American Colonies.  Among the American officers was Colonel Lawrence Washington who went on to name his home Mount Vernon after Admiral Vernon.  Later George Washington inherited that home. The overall command of the land troops ended up going to Brigadier General Thomas Wentworth, after the originally designated commander unfortunately died.  The naval forces were in three divisions, and the division commanders were Vice Admiral Edward Vernon (also Commander-In-Chief), Rear Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle and Commodore Lestock. On the Spanish side, the defending governor of Cartagena was Don Blas de Leso.

 The attack on Cartagena started on March 9, 1741. Early on they were able to capture Fort Chamba, Fort San Jago and Fort San Felipe. Then differences of opinion started to arise between General Wentworth and Admiral Vernon. They finally were able to take Castle Boca Chica and the fortress San Jose on March 26th. With these victories the English forces were able to enter the outer bay of Cartagena, and prepare for the assault on the inner defences. Due to the shallow nature of the bay waters and the twisting of the channel, it was difficult for the ships to bombard the fortifications in support of a land assault.  This lead to more disputes between the leaders of the expedition.  An assault on the fortress of San Lazaro on April 9th ended in defeat and a large number of casualties for the English troops.  Sickness was now at epidemic levels among the English forces, so on April 12th the English decided to withdraw.  Before they left, Admiral Vernon had all the fortifications the British had taken destroyed as well as Castillo Grande.

Before the attack on Cartagena took place, Havana on the island of Cuba had been suggested as a target. After the debacle at Cartagena, Admiral Vernon landed troops on the island of Cuba in July 1741 with the intention of assaulting Santiago and Havana. Sickness and other difficulties caused him to re-embark the troops and return to Jamaica.

Admiral Vernon was born on November 12, 1684. He entered the navy in 1701 at the age of 17. He retired in 1747, and died on October 29th, 1757.

The medals were issued in celebration of Admiral Vernon's victories, and purchase by the general public of England. As well as the victories at Portobello and Fort Chagre, Admiral Vernon sent home a premature dispatch announcing victory at Cartagena. So those medals celebrate a victory that never was. Some even show Don Blas surrendering, something that never took place. As well, there was a proposed attack on Havana which did not take place, but is celebrated by a few medals. Many medals celebrate a later "victory" on the obverse, but use a Portobello reverse.

Collecting the Admiral Vernon medals is not for those who expect to ever "complete" the series nor for those with a minimal budget. http://www.coins-of-panama.com/vernon.html

Admiral Vernon Medals
Below is a list of all known Admiral Vernon medals related to Admiral Ogle. Most are related to Panama (either Portobello or Fort Chagre), but a few are not. There are approximately 270 different types. While this catalog will be complete to the best of my knowledge, many medals lack an image or illustration.

Image VN # Betts # MG # Description Rarity
VERNON, DON BLAS, OGLE, CARTAGENA Reverse (4.140 - 4.149)
VN-4.140 Betts 323 MG 231 Vernon, Don Blas, Ogle
/with Cartagena Reverse
OGLE VERNON WENTWORTH with Fame above, CARTAGENA Reverse (4.150 - 4.159)
VN-4.150 Betts 311 MG 232 Vernon, Ogle, Wentworth
/with Fame Flying Above
OGLE VERNON WENTWORTH with lions between, CARTAGENA Reverse (4.180 - 4.189)
VN-4.180 Betts 310 MG 234 Ogle, Vernon, Wentworth
/with lions cubs between
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 Found in Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Norman_language

Anglo-Norman is a term traditionally used to refer to what was in fact a variety of different Old French dialects used in England and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles during the Anglo-Norman period.[1]

When William the Conqueror led the Norman invasion of England, [1066] he, his nobles, and many of his followers from Normandy, but also northern and western France spoke a range of Oïl dialects. One of these was Norman. Others who came with him would have spoken varieties of the Picard language or western French. This amalgam developed into the unique insular dialect now known as Anglo-Norman, which was commonly used for administrative purposes from 1200-1500. It is difficult to know very much, of course, about what was actually spoken, and our knowledge is really only of the written language.

Nevertheless it is clear that Anglo-Norman was to a large extent the spoken language of the Norman nobility and was also spoken in the law courts, schools, and universities, and in due course amongst at least some sections of the minor nobility and the growing bourgeoisie. Private and commercial correspondence was written in Anglo-Norman from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. Other social classes than just the nobility became keen to learn Anglo-Norman; manuscripts containing materials for instructing non-native speakers still exist, dating from the mid-thirteenth century onwards.

Although English survived and eventually eclipsed Anglo-Norman, the latter had been sufficiently widespread as to permanently affect English lexically. This is why English has lost or, more often, kept as parallel terms many of its original Germanic words which can still be found in German and Dutch.

Grammatically, Anglo-Norman had little lasting impact on English, although it is still evident in official and legal terms where the noun and adjective are reversed: attorney general, heir apparent, court martial, body politic, and so on.[2]

1. For a wide-ranging introduction to the language and its uses, see Anglo-French and the AND by William Rothwell
2. Amended version of: Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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