Battle of Havana – 1762

The Battle of Havana had by far the most America deaths of any battle up until that time, especially for Connecticut, but until I found family casualties in this genealogy project, I had never heard of it.

File:British fleet entering Havana.jpg

The British fleet closing in on Havana in 1762

The Battle of Havana (1762) was a military action from March to August 1762, as part of the Seven Years’ War. British forces besieged and captured the city of Havana, which at the time was an important Spanish naval base in the Caribbean, and dealt a serious blow to the Spanish navy. During the siege the British had lost 2,764 killed, wounded, captured or deserted, but by 18 October also had lost 4,708 dead from sickness. One of the most depleted brigade was transferred to North America where it lost a further 360 men within a month of his arrival.  Havana was subsequently returned to Spain under the 1763 Treaty of Paris that formally ended the war, but Spain was required to cede Florida and Minorca to Great Britain and pay the Manila Ransom. Spain received French Louisiana as a payment for intervening in the war on the side of the French and as compensation for having lost Florida.

Capt. Joseph SEXTON’s (1666 – 1742) son Charles Sexton died 16 Sep 1762 at sea on the expedition from Somers to “the Havannah”.   According to the Barbour Collection, his son Charles Jr appears to have died on the expedition a week later 25 Sep 1762.

-Two sons of Stephen GATES IV (1690 – 1782) died in October and November 1762.  A 19th Century genealogy said they died in the French and Indian War.  I was confused because the French and Indian War ended that September.  I found their unit and commanding officer and through Major General Phineas Lyman found that they were casualties of the Battle of Havana.

Azariah Gates (1725 – 1762) was a solider in the Seven Years War, Battle of Havana from 25 Mar 1762 until 14 Oct 1762 when he died, probably of Yellow Fever in Cuba.   He was in the First Connecticut Regiment under Major General Phineas Lyman, Fifth Company under Captain John Stanton.   In 1762 Lyman was sent with 2,300 men to command the colonial contingent of Lord Albemarle’s army in the capture of Havana.

Phineas Gates (1731 – 1762) was a solider in the Seven Years War, Battle of Havana from 20 Mar 1762 until he was died 30 Nov 1762, like his brother probably of Yellow Fever in  Cuba.   He served with his brother Azariah in the First Connecticut Regiment under Major General Phineas Lyman, Fifth Company under Captain John Stanton.

On 28 Jul 1762  1,400 militia from Connecticut arrived in time to aid in the defense of the batteries from the one Spanish sally. Prado gathered together a rather motley collection of 1,200 militia and threw them against the English lines. Although the opening attack was a surprise, the English recovered quickly and beat back three charges. On the 30th the engineers mining the walls finally had their charges set and blew a breach in the Morro’s walls. Albemarle’s two brothers led the English charge and they made short work of the defenders. Luis de Velasco, commander of the Morro, died defending his flag.

I counted 43 dead and 27 survivors in Azariah and Phineas’s 5th Company, 1st Connecticut Regiment from the Rolls of Connecticut men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Volume 2 By Connecticut Historical Society.   Extrapolating this 61% casualty rate to the entire regiment gives 860 deaths.  I couldn’t find the actual total from this little remembered conflict.  The Connecticut Colony’s total population was 142,000 in 1760.  A similar casualty rate if applied today’s United States would equal 1.8 million deaths.  This was a lot of carnage for a fight not much in the interest of the Connecticut settlers, though maybe the commander did benefit.

William CLARK’S grandson Capt. Israel Loomis (b. 29 Sep 1715 in Lebanon – d. 2 Oct 1801 in Lebanon)  was on the 1762 pay role of  Capt. Robert Durkee’s Ninth Company, Major General Phineas Lyman’s First Connecticut Regiment

Campaign of 1762 - 1st Regiment - Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Volume 2  By Connecticut Historical Society

Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Volume 2 By Connecticut Historical Society.   As you can see on this page, the casualty rate in Israel Loomis’ group was almost 50%, mostly from malaria and yellow fever.

In 1763, Phineas Lyman went to England where he remained until 1772, endeavoring to obtain a grant of land in west Florida, a tract near Natchez (now Mississippi) being granted by royal charter in 1772. Lyman led a band of settlers to the region in 1773.

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7 Responses to Battle of Havana – 1762

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  7. TIna says:

    Thank you for this information. I have a greats grandfather who died in Cuba at the end of this war. I’m curious, what happened to the deceased American soldiers. Do you have any information about their final resting places?

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