« ForrigeFortsæt »
the Citie of London; both because his small ships should have followed and assisted his Land-forces, and also for that the Citie it selfe was but meanely fortified and easie to overcome, by reason of the Citizens delicacie and discontinuance from the warres.
When as therefore the Spanish Fleete rode at anker before Caleis, to the end they might consult with the Duke of Parma what was best to be done according to the Kings commandement, and the present estate of their affaires, and had now (as we will afterward declare) purposed upon the second of August, being Friday, with one power and consent to have put their intended businesse in practise; the Lord Admirall of England being admonished by her Majesties Letters from the Court, thought it most expedient either to drive the Spanish Fleet from that place, or at leastwise to give them the encounter: and for that cause (according to her Majesties prescription) he tooke forthwith eight of his worst and basest ships, which came next to hand, and disburthening them of all things which seemed to be of any value, filled them with Gunpowder, Pitch, Brimstone, and with other combustible and fiery matter; and charging all their Ordnance with powder, bullets and stones, and sent the said ships upon the 28. of July, being Sunday, about two of the clocke after midnight, with the winde and tide against the Spanish Fleete: which when they had proceeded a good space, being forsaken of the Pilots, and set on fire, were directly carried upon the King of Spaines Navie: which fire in the dead of night put the Spaniards into such a perplexitie and horror (for they feared lest they were like unto those terrible ships, which Frederic Jenebelli three yeeres before, at the siege of Antwerpe, had furnished with Gunpowder, stones, and dreadful engines, for the dissolution of the Duke of Parma his Bridge, built upon the River of Scheld) that cutting their cables whereon their ankers were fasted, and hoising up their sailes they betooke themselves very confusedly unto the maine Sea.
And this sudden confusion, the principall and greatest of the foure Galliasses falling fowle of another ship, lost her rudder: for which cause when she could not be guided any longer, she was by the force of the tide cast into a certaine shoald upon the shoare of Caleis, where she was immediately assaulted by divers English Pinnaces, Hoyes, and Drumblers. And as they lay battering of her with their Ordnance, and durst not boord her, the Lord Admirall sent thither his long Boate with an hundreth choise Souldiers under the command of Captaine Amias Preston. Upon whose approach their fellowes being more emboldened, did offer to boord the Galliasse; against whom the Governor thereof and Captaine of all the foure Galliasses, Hugo de Moncada, stoutly opposed himself, fighting by so much the more valiantly, in that he hoped presently to be succoured by the Duke of Parma. In the meane season Moncada, after hee had endured the conflict a good while, being hit on the head with a Bullet, fell downe starke dead, and a great number of Spaniards also were slaine in his company. The greater part of the residue leaping over-boord into the Sea, to save themselves by swimming, were most of them drowned. Howbeit there escaped among others Don Anthonio de Manriques, a principall officer in the Spanish fleete (called by them their Veador Generall) together with a few Spaniards besides: which Anthonio was the first man that carried certaine newes of the successe of their fleete into Spaine. This huge & monstrous Galliasse, wherein were contained three hundred slaves to lug at the Oares, and foure hundred souldiers, was in the space of three houres rifled in the same place; and there was found amongst divers other commodities 50000 Duckets of the Spanish Kings treasure. At length when the slaves were released out of their fetters, the English men would have set the said ship on fire, which Monsieur Gourdon, the Governour of Caleis, for feare of the damage which might thereupon ensue to the Towne and Haven, would not permit them to doe, but drave them from thence with his great Ordnance.
Upon the 29. of July in the morning, the Spanish Fleete after the foresaid tumult, having arranged themselves againe into order, were, within sight of Greveling, most bravely and furiously encountered by the English, where they once againe got the winde of the Spaniards: who suffered themselves to be deprived of the commodity of the place in Caleis rode, and of the advantage of the winde neere unto Dunkerk, rather then they would change their array, or separate their forces now conjoyned and united together, standing onely upon their defence. And albeit there were many excellent and warlike ships in the English fleet, yet scarse were there 22. or 23. among them all which matched 90. of the Spanish ships in begnesse, or could conveniently assault them. Wherefore the English ships using their prerogative of nimble stirrage, whereby they could turne and wield themselves with the winde which way they listed, came oftentimes very neereupon the Spaniards, and charged them so sore, that now and then they were but a Pikes length at sunder: and so continually giving them one broad side after another, they dispatched all their shot both great and small upon them, spending one whole day from morning till night in that violent kinde of conflict, untill such time as powder and bullets failed them. In regard of which want they thought it convenient not to pursue the Spaniards any longer, because they had many great vantages of the English, namely for the extraordinary bignesse of their ships, and also for that they were so neerely conjoyned, and kept together in so good array, that they could by no meanes be fought withall one to one. The English thought therefore, that they had right well acquitted themselves, in chasing the Spaniards first from Caleis, and then from Dunkerk, and by that means to have hindered them from joyning with the Duke of Parma his forces, and getting the winde of them, to have driven them from their owne coasts.
The Spaniards that day sustained great losse and damage, having many of their ships shot thorow and thorow, and they discharged likewise great store of Ordnance against the English; who indeede sustained some hinderance, but not comparable to the Spaniards losse; for they lost not any one ship or person of account. For very diligent inquisition being made, the Englishmen all that time wherein the Spanish Navie sailed upon their Seas, are not found to have wanted above one hundreth of their people: albeit Sir F. Drakes ship was pierced with shot above forty times, and his very cabben was twise shot thorow, and about the conclusion of the fight, the bed of a certaine Gentleman lying weary thereupon, was taken quite from under him with the force of a Bullet. Likewise, as the Earle of Northumberland and Sir Charles Blunt were at dinner upon a time, the Bullet of a Demiculvering brake thorow the middest of their Cabbin, touched their feete, and strooke downe two of the standers by, with many such accidents befalling the English ships, which it were tedious to rehearse.
The same day the Spanish ships were so battered with English shot, that that very night and the day following, two or three of them sunke right downe: and among the rest a certain great ship of Biscay, which Captaine Crosse assaulted, which perished even in the time of the conflict, so that very few therein escaped drowning; who reported that the Governors of the same ship slew one another upon the occasion following: one of them which would have yeelded the ship was suddenly slaine; the brother of the slaine party in revenge of his death slew the murtherer, and in the meane while the ship sunke.
The same night two Portugall galeons of the burthen of seven or eight hundreth tuns a peece; to wit, Saint Philip and Saint Matthew, were forsaken of the Spanish Fleete, for they were so torne with shot, that the water entered into them on all sides. In the Galeon of Saint Philip was Francis de Toledo, brother unto the Count de Argas, being Colonell over two and thirty bands; besides other Gentlemen; who seeing their mast broken with shot, they shaped their course, as well as they could, for the coast of Flanders: whither when they could not attaine, the principall men in the ship committed themselves to their skiffe, arrived at the next towne, which was Ostend; and the ship it selfe being left behinde with the residue of their company, was taken by the Ulishingers. In the other Galeon, called the Saint Matthew, was embarked Don Diego Pimentelli another Campmaster and Colonell of two and thirty bands, being brother unto the Marquesse of Tamnares, with many other Gentlemen and Captaines. Their Ship was not very great, but exceeding strong, for of a great number of Bullets which had battered her, there were scarce twenty