25th of September, 1762

The twenty-fifth we seized a fort which the Spaniards had abandoned, named the polverista,[36] that proved a most excellent place of arms. For Covering the landing of our stores, and securing our communication with the squadron. Col. Monson, who was detached with two hundred men to view the roads and approaches to Manila, occupied the Hermita church, large and commodious, about nine hundred yards from the city. We made the priest’s house the headquarters; sent orders to Maj. More to march up with the 79th regiment to secure and maintain this post, which was of the utmost consequence, both from its strength, and the great cover it afforded us from the rains that had deluged the country, and made it impossible to incamp; for we too soon found, that the monsoon had broke upon us. The surf continued dangerous; the rains increased; the landing of our artillery and stores became very hazardous; our remaining troops were put on shore with much peril, and some loss; Lieut. Hardwick was drowned. But the courage and activity of the seamen surmounted all obstacles; they got on shore part of the Seapoys, some provisions, and such stores as were first wanted, and by signals demanded from the squadron; the officers of which were indefatigable in giving us all possible assistance; and Capt. Jocelyn, who was intrusted with the care of the disimbarkation, did every thing that could he wished or expected from a diligent good officer. We left the marines at our first post, the Malata, to be near the Polverista, to preserve our communications, and guard our stores and park of artillery. The men, from the good conduct and example of their officers, behaved very well, and were of great use upon all occasions. As the rains had forced us to seek the protection of the houses that were under the fire of the bastions, the Spaniards cannonaded our quarters, which were much nearer the walls than the usual rules of war prescribe. They attempted likewise to burn more of their suburbs, but were prevented by the great activity and good conduct of Capt. Fletcher, major of brigade, and Capt. Stevenson and Cotsford, the engineers; who having advanced under cover of the houses to St. Jago’s [i.e., Santiago] church, near the sea, and within three hundred yards of the town, reported its importance so sensibly, that we posted a body of men there, notwithstanding its contiguity to their bastions. The
enemy soon fired upon us; but not with perseverance or effect enough to dislodge us. We had some few men killed and wounded.

[36] While the Spaniards were deliberating on the defense of this place, the British captured it. Two companies of fifty men each who had been sent for its defense fled on seeing the British before them, with the exception of twenty-five men, under Captain Baltasar Cosar. See Sitio y conquista de Manila, p. 38.

23rd September 1762

On the twenty-third of September we anchored in Manila bay; and soon found, that our visit was unexpected; the Spaniards were unprepared [36]. To increase as much as possible the visible confusion and consternation of the enemy, we determined to lose no time in the attack of the port of Cavite, that was at first intended, but proceed directly to the grand object, judging that our conquest there would of course occasion and draw after it the fall of Cavite. On the morning of the twenty-fourth, we sent an ineffectual summons to the town, and, with the Admiral and other principal officers, examined the coast, in order to fix upon a proper spot for landing the troops, artillery, and stores. We found a most convenient place about two miles to the south of Manila. Accordingly, all the boats were immediately prepared by the proper signals: and three frigates, the Argo, Capt. King; Seahorse, Capt. Grant; and Seaford, Capt. Peighin, were sent in very near the shore to cover the descent. The 79th regiment, the marines, a detachment of artillery, with three field-pieces, and one howitzer, fixed in the long-boats, assembled in three divisions under their sterns; the left, commanded by Col. Morison, quartermaster general; the centre by me, with Lt-Col. Scott the adjutant-general; the right by Maj. More, the eldest field officer. As we had determined to land near a church and village called Malatu, that was opposite our left, the other two divisions, which had been separated only to amuse and distract the attention of the enemy, were ordered to join that as soon as possible. About six in the evening we pushed, with an even front, for the shore, under the prudent and skilful management of the Captains Parker of the Grafton, Kempenfelt the Admiral’s captain, and Brereton of the Falmouth, who had the direction of the boats. The frigates kept up a brisk fire to the right and left of us, to protect our flanks, and disperse the enemy, who were beginning to assemble in great numbers both horse and foot, to oppose our descent. This cannonade had the desired effect. They retired, and left us a clear coast. But a violent surf arose, many boats were dashed to pieces, our arms and ammunition much damaged; providentially no lives were lost. We formed upon the beach, marched, and took possession of the Malata, fixed our outposts, and passed the whole night under arms. The Spaniards were employed in burning part of their suburbs.

[36] Some Armenian merchants from Madras told the archbishop that a squadron was being prepared there for the capture of Manila. A certain secular priest had a letter which contained the same news; while Father Cuadrado, O.S.A., received another letter which mentioned the declaration of war between England and Spain. On September I4, word was received in Manila from the outposts on the island of Corregidor of the appearance of 3 vessel there the preceding day. A small boat sent ashore from this vessel inquired how many vessels were in the bay, and whether the “Filipino” had entered. This vessel left on the 17th without any salute. This produced no other sensation in Manila than some slight suspicions, and no preparations were taken. Word was, however, despatched to the “Filipino” to make some other port than at Manila. See Le Gentil’s Voyage, ii, pp. 236, 237; Montero y Vidal, ii, pp. 12, I3; and Sitio y conquista de Manila (Zaragoza, 1897), by Marquis de Ayerbe, pp. 33, 34.