Chris Scott Wilson Writer
retreat into the fort. Although Ternay wished to embark all the infantry on the ships he had available, he was persuaded the fort should be garrisoned until the last moment, the remaining grenadiers to reach his departing ships by longboat.
Two days after Ternay began his defence, the wind veered easterly, forcing the blockading fleet out to sea, but proved favourable for the French squadron to sail. Ternay ordered the boom the British had placed across the entrance to the harbour roads destroyed, and also the guns spiked in his own batteries overlooking the narrows in case the British captured them and turned them against his squadron as it attempted to escape. His luck held. A heavy fog developed and under cover of the night his ships were able to slip out to sea and evade the British fleet. Unfortunately, bringing their planned departure forward yielded insuff-icient time to embark the garrison troops. D’Haussonville, the officer in commanding St John’s fort, left with few men and no chance of reinforcements, was forced to surrender his grenadiers and fusiliers de la marine to Amherst three days later.
Although there were no recriminations regarding the French squadron’s escape, Lord Colville was recalled to England, but not before HMS Northum-berland’s master, James Cook, had opportunity to make a survey of Harbour Grace and Carbonear, a short distance from St John’s. In October when the flagship completed her crossing of the Atlantic to make landfall at Spithead, Lord Colville learned he had been promoted to Rear Admiral of the White while James Cook learned he was unemployed. HMS Northumberland was to be paid off, which meant his job as master no longer existed. When he went ashore on 11th November, James Cook carried £291.19.3d (£291-96p) pay outstanding from his time at sea. He was effectively on the beach and on half pay after seven years in the navy. Or he would have been if he had not carried a letter to the Admiralty from Lord Colville which stated: “…from my Experience of Mr. Cook’s Genius and Capacity, I think him well qualified for the Work he has performed and for greater Undertakings of the same kind”.
But if Cook’s experiences of war and his voyages had momentarily purged the salt thirst from his veins, then something else replaced it. Within six weeks he met, courted and then on 21 December married Miss Elizabeth Batts of Shadwell, London. Also to celebrate was the imminent end of the Seven
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