The Patriot Resource - American Revolution

Siege of Pensacola
Siege of Pensacola

The Siege
On March 24, Bernardo Gálvez moved his men from Santa Rosa Island to the mainland. On March 25, Creek Indians allied with the British attacked some stragglers. These attacks continued daily and nightly, and even though they were rather small and did little real damage, they raised tension and slowed down the Spanish preparations for the siege. During April, little action took place as the Spanish familiarized themselves with the area.

On April 19, a Spanish fleet arrived from Havana with 1,600. Gálvez was also joined about this time by four French frigates and 725 French soldiers, so that by April 22, he now commanded 7,800 men. On the last three days of April a tunnel was dug from the Spanish line to a small hill where a battery would be erected to attack the British redoubt. On May 1, a battery of six twenty-four pounders was installed. The trenching continued and a stronger battery was installed at Pine Hill, but the British successfully attacked this position, destroying the battery. Artillery fire was exchanged fiercely the next few days.

On May 8, with the help of an American Tory deserter the Spanish gunners struck the powder magazine of the British redoubt, destroying the position. In addition to around one hundred casualties, many of the American Tories and Indian allies deserted, so that Maj. General John Campbell's garrison strength was down to only 600 men. They fought gallantly to prevent the Spanish from taking possession of the damaged redoubt, but were outnumbered and forced to fall back into Fort George itself.

The Spanish now set up their guns on the redoubt from which they commanded total control of the field and began heavy bombardment of Fort George itself. The fort was so exposed to this position that the British could make no advance out of the fort without being fired upon and they ran up a white flag by 3 o'clock that same afternoon. Formal surrender took place on May 10, 1781. Gálvez and Campbell agreed that the British would withdraw to Fort George so that the town itself would be spared.

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