Monthly Archives: June 2010

Monday v. June 1587.

5 June 2010

This day up and to the walls and found the enemy more numerous and closer than the previous night, and his musket shot more true than heretofore and in fact a shot did knock my hat from my head, but I thank God it did not knock my head from my shoulders; it doth appear that the Prince of Parma is on Cadsand for we did espy what we do believe to be his own standard, opposite us to the west is the M. Lamotte his troops; out to the fort for much of the day and amused ourselves by shooting at them whenever they did show themselves and I am sure I did kill at least three myself; Morgan was hurt slightly in the arm from splinters when we were there but it seems no great matter; relieved and to our quarters after dark, and found Sir R.W. writing of letters, the which he says Vere his ensign and sergeant have pledged to carry to Flushing and I did say I had a packet, the which included a letter to Mr. S. and might I have them take it as well, to which he did assent; brought him the packet and fell to supper and to bed.

Luke and his men settle in for the siege. Sluis was defended by a moat and walls on the landward (eastern) side and had a small citadel at the north end of the town facing Cadzand Island and attached by a bridge to the town. The west side of the town was defended by more substantial walls and half way across the river was a collection of small sconces facing La Motte’s forces and connected to each other by footbridges. The men amuse themselves with target practice, using live targets! Splinters of wood blown loose when a bullet or cannon ball hit the palisades could cause quite serious injuries, as the wound could quickly turn septic (think of what happens when you have a splinter caught in your finger, how quickly it becomes infected, then multiply that exponentially). Even though Parma has Sluys all closed up, some messages managed to get through by men swimming out with them.

Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 3: April-December 1587 (1929), pp. 85-98.

Mattingly, Garrett. The Armada. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1959.

Williams, Roger, Sir. The works of Sir Roger Williams. Edited by John X. Evans. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1972.

Sunday iiij. June 1587.

4 June 2010

This day up and again with Sir R.W. and he did cause all the ammunition and match the which we did bring, to be counted and then set to store in several safe places and it piled with sand and earth about it to make a magazine; the Zeeland ships did make to go back to Flushing as the tide did ebb but were driven aground by cannon shot from Cadsand; then up onto the walls where we did watch some little hoys come in behind them and out of the guns their reach to collect the mariners who did wade out into the shallows from their ships; then it being clearer I could see the countryside roundabout, and Lord what a great store of troops there are and more it did seem did come and all to take this place, the which is defended by not more than 1600. of our nation and the Walloons together; some shooting by the Spaniards but it did seem their fire did fall short of our walls; did stand watch with my men into the night, then so to bed.

The Zealand men of war managed to run aground while trying a avoid being shot. Parma’s troops captured the ships and they were later anchored in the channel by the Cadzand battery.

Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 3: April-December 1587 (1929), pp. 85-98.

Mattingly, Garrett. The Armada. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1959.

Williams, Roger, Sir. The works of Sir Roger Williams. Edited by John X. Evans. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1972.

Saturday iij. June 1587.

3 June 2010

A while before dawn with a good wind, set we off towards Sluys, the Zeelanders before us, and they did so batter the Spaniards their trenches opposite the town, that their shot were forced to pull back and they did capture some xx. or so of the enemy his boats, and so we did sail into the haven with scarce a scratch; when we were come, so we were quickly disembarked and I with Sir R.W. and my men with me, to Captain Greenfelt the governor here who greeted Sir R.W. and thanked Providence that we were come, and so he set about discovering for us the exact state of the defenses and provisions and all we might know, and so we were occupied until after dinner; then we up to the walls to overlook Parma his troops but could not see far owing to the clouds and rain but I could make out their digging of trenches on the island opposite, the which is called Cadsand; spoke with Vere a while who did reckon that Parma has been made all the more saucy by the coming not of his Ldship. and that were he to come in force Parma would not dare a siege here with Ostend at his back; back to Sir R.W. who did send me with a message for Hart and then so back for some supper but rather mean owing to our husbanding our victuals; wrote letters to Mr. S. detailing our past days, to George, Father, Cousin B. and F.G. to assure him of my safety, then so to bed, our lodgings being better than I could have hoped in the situation.

Sir Roger Williams and his fleet of six ships plus the Zealand men of war blast their way into Sluis harbor under the guns of Parma’s troop. Along the way they ended up capturing 18 boats of varying sorts. The Duke of Parma had set himself and some of his troops on Cadzand Island and had begun to entrench. Vere is Captain Francis Vere, one of the captains whose troops had been drawn from the garrison at Bergen. This entry is based upon a letter from Sir William Borlas to Walsingham from June 3, and one from Captain Harry Astell to Walsingham on June 4 from the Calendar of State Papers.

Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 3: April-December 1587 (1929), pp. 85-98.

Mattingly, Garrett. The Armada. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1959.

Williams, Roger, Sir. The works of Sir Roger Williams. Edited by John X. Evans. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1972.

Friday ij. June 1587.

2 June 2010

This day up betimes with the orders from Cousin Russell that Sir R.W. is to take iij. companies, some of which from the garrison here and some that were come with us from Bergen, to the defense of Ostend, for Parma has for sure sat down before it now, and so I caused Cole to bring my portmantle and pistols, then before viij. of the clock, so we were embarked upon the boats and soon cast off and made our way out, and so sailed we on to Ostend where we were come in good time and safe; then did disembark and I with Sir R.W. to our lodgings and then to the walls where we might see the Prince of Parma his army arrayed, with trenches being dug and gabions brought up for the pieces when they are come but not as large a force as I might have imagined, however this town though is well situated and I should think that the Spaniards will pay dear for it; with Sir R.W. and saw that our troops were arrayed so as to best cover the walls, for the garrison is ill manned and have barely enough men to watch the entire length of the walls; later to our quarters and was eating of supper with Sir R.W. and some others when a messenger was come post haste from Cousin Russell saying that we were to put ourselves with all speed into Sluys with ij. or iij. companies, and that he has persuaded the burghers of Vlushing to send corn and ammunition, but I will believe that when I see it for the Dutch seem so careless and backward with their towns that one would think that they belong not to the United Provinces; so up got we and made ourselves ready, and again to the waterside where we were finally all embarked after quite a while, for some of the men were not to be found at first sight but were rather discovered to be in a whorehouse with their sergeant; then casting off we made our way out as night fell and so sailed we up to the mouth of the river where we waited some while for two Zeelander war ships to join us.

Sir Roger Williams troops are sent on to Ostend from Flushing but almost as soon as they get there, they are ordered on to Sluis. It would appear that Parma’s move towards Ostend was only a feint, Mattingly calls it a “reconnaissance in force,” but whatever it was, he had now turned his attention to Sluis. Luke and his men have left their horses stabled in Bergen-op-Zoom as they will be mostly in garrison. I have drawn much of the information for this entry from Sir William Russell’s June 2 letter to Walsingham, including the rant against the Dutch people.

Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 3: April-December 1587 (1929), pp. 85-98.

Mattingly, Garrett. The Armada. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1959.

Williams, Roger, Sir. The works of Sir Roger Williams. Edited by John X. Evans. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1972.

Thursday j. June 1587.

1 June 2010

This day up and feeling somewhat unwell from the tossing to and fro of the hoy, the which is most unlike me but I did perceive that my men were effected much the same as I, and right happy was I when we were come at last to Flushing, and as soon as we were docked, so Sir R.W. and I to Cousin Russell his lodgings and he greatly distressed from news new come from Ostend, that for sure the Prince of Parma was sat down to besiege the town, and from Greenfelt in Sluys, that a company of the garrison there did go out and found themselves amongst some xxxx. Companies of Spaniards, the which they did dispatch some of the foremost of, then they espied on the river between Dam and Gant boats laden with siege pieces to the number of some xxij. and shot, the which a great quantity of they did throw into the river and did sink ij. or iij. of the boats; so after some more talk, Sir R.W. and some men, both from the garrison here and from those the which were come with us, were decided to go to Ostend, then to our lodgings, then I out to try to buy some tobacco but only found a bit and it not very good and so to some supper and writing of this journal and so to bed, I laying with Sir R.W.

Luke and his men have arrived in Flushing with the troops Sir Roger Williams has brought from Bergen-op-Zoom. They go immediately to call upon Sir William Russell, the governor, and receive the news that Parma is most definitely on the move and, so it seems making to besiege Ostend. Greenfelt is Arnolt de Grunevelt the military governor of Sluys.

Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 21, Part 3: April-December 1587 (1929), pp. 71-85, especially a letter from Grunevelt to Walsingham (5/31/1587) and one from Russell to Walsingham (6/1/1587).