Monday, 8 February 2016

War and peace

To get the meaning of yesterdays blog we have to explain some things .
Yesterday the last episode of war and peace  was on the BBC and here is the real thing.

Remember we are in 1813 as well and Napoleon is almost defeated .

There is a commander Thomas Debnam with his ship the Liberator.
He is ordered by Baron von Tettenborn," to arm such of those Vessels, that the French had left sunk in the Port of Hamburg, and that could be got up and made ready with the greatest dispatch".
He recrutes some men and ask for guns at the admiralty.
It is like Dad´s Army .There are only 4 guns and the next day another 8 more for his 4 officers and men.
Two days later the Baron ordered to lift a cutter and 2 sunken brigs to form a squadron.
The ships  were transported to different carpenters," to be put in a state fit for service."
As there was no food or money .Thomas had to victual his officers with his own money.
On 5 th of April Thomas received an order from the Baron, to take a crew for the Liberator Lugger, under his Command "as Chief on the water".
Again he asked for guns and powder but did not get anything.
on the 24 th he asked again but received nothing.The ships were ready by now.
On the 24th he send lieutenant Vlieland to the magistrates " to send all vessels that could swim to Hamburg ".
This Lieutenant Vlieland is Dutch but is also burgher of Prussia and now helping The British under Russian flag fight the French in Germany !
He must have been a great speaker of different languages to negotiate with all those different languages  !
Thomas tells us Upon my arrival ,Mr Vlieland informed me, that two men had landed upon the S.E. extremity of the Island.

Two of my men being on the patrol, on seeing them, made towards them,supposing from their habits, they were farmers.

They advanced within 500 yards of each other, when these two men stood still, and made signs for my two men to advance; but not trusting to the appearences, my men made the best of their way for the Battery; and those following them, threw of their mask and fired at them.

The too great eagerness of Mr Vlieland's persuing, was the means by which they escaped, for they threw their great-coats and muskets into the river; being so unburthen'd, they gained their Boat, and got of.

This goes on untill the 10 th of June.

On the 10th at 2 A. M. an Officer of the Anseatic-Legion arriyed from the Altenwärder, who informed me, that the French were landed upon that Wand.
The Feldwebel of our little detachment came to me to know: what I meant to do?
I answerd him, to defend myself as long as I could.
I immediately dispatch'd my Boatswain Peter Perterson in my Gig, with ammunition and orders for Mr Vlieland at the Battery, to fight as long as he could;and that I would come as soon as possible with the Eaver, and cover his retreat.

At 7 A.M. the Enemy advanced with Drums-beating along the Dyke from the Westward.

I then left the Command of the Eaver to Mr Vlieland and proceeded on board of the Lugger, which for the want of strength and a little more activity had caught the Ground.

The Enemy fired pieces necks of Glass-Bottles, as appeared by the wounds, that my Cook received, for of the neck of a Glass-Bottle severed his thumb from his hand, and a part in
I left Mr Vlieland to execute my Orders, and sailed with my Party for the Catwyke, in order to recover my Guns. 

Upon my landing on the Catwyke, I found, that the French had destroy'd every thing in the house of the man, who had render'd me the greatest of services.
As soon as Mr Vlieland came up with the arm'd Eaver, we went to work to recover our Guns, the which accomplish'd, we set sail, and at 10 A.M. came along side of the Liberator.
At 5 P.M. a party of the Farmers from the Altenwärder came a long side and inform'd me of the barbarity which the French had committed upon the body of one of the Anseatic- Legion, which they had made Prisoner upon that Wand.
Being exasperated at such horrid cruelty, and to convince the Magistrate of Hamburgh, whether the Report was true, I ordered the Farmers to bring me the body before Midnight, for, if they did not, I would repair to the Altenwarder and burn all before me.

At 11 P.M. they brought me the body in a coffin.
After making my report at the HeadQuarters, I made application to Mr Bernitt, the Inspector of the Admirality, to provide me with Sails for the Broom-Stick Eaver.
He gave me for answer: that he had mone. 3’then demanded Canvas and a sailmaker; those could also not be had.
He further said to me: that if I was in such a haste, I should take in requisition the Sails from one of the Milk-Eavers.
Finding, I could obtain, neither the one, nor the other of those Necessaries, I went to a Sailmaker on. the Vorsätzen, and took 20 Ells of Canwas and two balls of twine, and repaird to my station.

After another few days of waiting and lying near Hamburg something happened.
While we were occupied, the Danes came and ordered me to haul down my Colours, for that I should not fire a Gun.
My answer was: that I would not strike my Colours for an inferior force, and so continued our work.
About half an hour afterwards the Danes came in force and desired me to desist.
I answered: that I would not, unless they took me as Prisoner, which they did, and
conducted me and my Lieutnant Vlieland to their commanding-officer in Hamburgh, who told me: that the Danes were not at war with Russia, therefore he could not detain us.
I then, with Lieutnant Vlieland ,returned on board of the Liberator, where I found the greatest Part of my Crew.
After taking some refreshment I ordered my long Boat to be manned and armed, being determin'd, if it was possible, to hinder the French from entering the Town by water, before it was night.
At 8 P.M. I returned on board of the Liberator.
Upon my returning on the shore a certain Gentleman said to me: Debnam there is nothing more to be done upon the water.
My answer was that if they were sold upon the land, I had with my small crew done my best on the water.

Then Thomas Debnam is taken prisoner by the Danes and he tells us the story again in his own words..
The undersigned Commander of the Liberator Lugger Commandant and Chief of his I. R. Majesty's Marine stationed 2#. Elbe by order of his Excellence Count Witgenstein under the order of General Tettenborn, begs 1eave to inform your Excellence of the disloyal behaviour of the Danish Commandant of Altona.
Excellences I am a subject of Great Britain in the Service of Russia.
On the 29 of May as 4 A.M. I received order by an ordinance from the General Tettenborn to place the Guns that were upon the Hambroberg within the Battery and to arrange every thing so as to be in a state of defence.
In compliance with this order as soon as I could muster my little force from among the confusion that then reigned in Hamburg, who were like - sheep that had lost their sheppherd.
I repaird to the Battery and commenced to execute my orders.
On the West side I planted the English and on the East the Russian Colours.
Before I had compleated transporting the Guns, a Danish Corprals Guard arrived and demanded me to strike my Colours, for I should not fire a Gun.
In answer to this demand I told him that as soon as the Danes would plant theirs, I would haul down mine.
Thus things remained in a state of suspence and inactivity untill a Lieutnant arrived with a superior force, I drew up my men in line of defence.
The Danish Officer advanced and I met him halfway between our men.
This Officer received me with every mark of honour although I was in Sailor's habit and politely told me, that he had no Danish Colours at that moment, and as England and Denmark was at war he deem'd it most prudent for me to submit, to which I acceded .
My little force then lay'd down their arms and my Lieutnant presented his upon certain conditions.
For my part I was without one.
Me Sword which this Officer honorably refused to accept.
and my Lieutnant was escorted to Hamburg. After a short intervue with the Danish Commandant, he render'd us our liberty.
I with my Lieutnant repaired onboard of the Lugger under my Command and acted as the Service and my duty required.
On the 30 at 6 A. M. I went on shore in quest of my Crew, but not one of them was to be found.
I therefore resolved to transport my Lugger to Altona, which I accomplished with the assistance of my Cabbin boy.
On the 2d of June at 10 A.M. the Commandant of the Danish Marine sent a boat on board and left three men to guard the Lugger.
I went on shore to Altona to inquire into the cause.
The answer that I received was that Mr Haffner would deliver me and the Lugger into the hands of the French. 

I remained on shore untill the tide of Flood which was about 2 P. M. not expecting to experience such treacherous behaviour.
About 8 P. M. the Danish Guardships Boat arrived with a French Officer and one Marine, to whom my person and the Lugger that I commanded was delivered,
I call upon your own Subjects to witness the fact.

As soon as this french Officer was on board he forgot all decency, he to'd me in the presence of the Danish Boats Crew that General van Dam would shoot me like a dog in twenty four hours.
I submitted patiently to all his abusive language.
In short I am in the hands of the French lock'd up like a Criminal; my fare Bread and Water.

Above You have the facts. The part You will take in this affair remains for Your
superior knowledge. I ask no more than Justice, Truth and Loyalty. In the expectation of which I remain with respect.

We do not know what happened to Thomas Debham after all this.

The siege of Hamburg.

The city of Hamburg was one of the most powerful fortresseseast of the Rhine. After being freed from Napoleonic rule by advancing Cossacks and other following Coalition troops it was once more occupied byMarshal Davout's French XIII Corps on 28 May 1813, at the height of the German Campaign during the War of the Sixth Coalition from French rule and occupation. Ordered to hold the city at all costs, Davout launched a characteristically energetic campaign against a similar numbered Army of the North made up of Prussian and other Coalition troops under the command of Count von Wallmoden-Gimborn, winning a number of minor engagements. Neither force was decidedly superior and the war ground to a halt and resulted in a rather stable front line between Lübeck and Lauenburg and further south along the Elbe river, even after the end of the cease-fire of the summer 1813. In October 1813 a French column's movement towards Dannenberg resulted in the only major engagement in the North of Germany, the Battle of the Göhrde. The defeated French troops retreated back to Hamburg.
Despite steadily shrinking manpower, food and ammunition supplies, Davout's forces displayed no signs of abandoning Hamburg. When French armies withdrew west after the lost Battle of Leipzig at the end of the year, and the Allies deployed a large portion of Bernadotte's Army of the North to watch the city during the 1814 campaign for France. Davout was still in control of Hamburg when the War of the Sixth Coalition ended in April, and eventually capitulated to Russian forces under General Bennigsen on 27 May 1814, obeying orders delivered by General Gérard from King Louis XVIII.

More about this all in German

arrival 1 June 1803 Leydse courant.

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