Spanish Galleys in 1740

Anything and everything about sailing vessels, be they warships, merchantmen or something completely different
Post Reply
Admiral of the Fleet
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 1:10 pm

Spanish Galleys in 1740

Post by Cy »

I have recieved the following request for information, can anyone help?

"I am tiring to find any information on the half galleys that were sent from Havana to St.Augustine in during the siege of 1740. Did the galley have names? Are their any drawings or paintings?

Thanks Jim"
OK, it was me, probably!
Posts: 103
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:40 pm

Re: Spanish Galleys in 1740

Post by Navclio »

There might be some information in The Spanish Official Account of the Attack on the Colony of Georgia, in America, and of Its Defeat on St. Simons Island, Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. 7, Part 3 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1913), concerning a Spanish attack in 1742, which might possibly have made use of the "half-galleys" that defended St. Augustine in 1740. I'm sure there are no drawings of them.

Seaforth Publishing has Spanish Warships in the Age of Sail in preparation by Rif Winfield, Enrique García-Torralba Pérez, John M. Tredrea, and Manuel Blasco. I don't know whether it will include rowed warships. There is a strict embargo on any pre-publication information: one of the contributors told me he could "neither confirm nor deny" whether named navy vessels that I had found in my research on naval operations in the 1740s would be included. (The position of the principal Spanish contributor is that if he has not found a vessel, its mention elsewhere is a mistake, myth, or lie.)

About the 1740 campaign, I have written, "There was some fighting inshore between smaller British warships and their boats and Spanish 'half-galleys' and launches, but the British did not have shallow-draft boats large enough to seize control of or even contest the waters separating San Agustín from the mainland and from the barrier spit and island that the British occupied." A footnote explains, "For instance, the Spanish half galleys mounted 9-pounders but the largest pieces that could be mounted in the ships’ boats available to the British were 3-pounders." The source for this statement is James P. Herson, Jr., A Joint Opportunity Gone Awry: The 1740 Siege of St. Augustine (Fort Leavenworth, Kans.: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1997), 21–27. I am certain that Herson did not include any drawings.

The half-galleys were probably built at Havana, where the shipyard could and did build ships of the line. They might have had plans, but they might have been built by skilled shipwrights without the extensive paraphernalia common for large sailing ships by the middle of the 18th century. If any plans were drawn and still exist, the best place to look for them would probably
be in Havana.
Post Reply