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SPANISH ACCOUNT OF THE ARMADA.
[We give insertion to this curious document, not only because there are many readers to whom it must be historically interesting and because it is a very valuable relic in itself but also as a singular specimen of the équivoque. D'Israeli has recorded the anecdote of Père Londre, who registered the battle of the Boyne in this deceptive manner:-"The battle of the Boyne in Ireland-Schomberg is killed there, at the head of the English." We think this equivocation may be matched more than once in the Spanish account of the Armada.]
THE SPANISH OFFICIAL JOURNAL, KEPT ON BOARD THE DUKE OF MEDINA SIDONIA'S SHIP, IS PRESERVED IN THE ARCHIVES OF SIMANCAS; THE FOLLOWING TRANSLATION WAS MADE FROM A COPY OF THAT DOCUMENT.
RELATION of the Voyage performed from Corunna by the Royal Armada, commanded by General the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and of the events which happened on board.
Translated from the Spanish. By Lieutenant-Colonel H. Bristow.
July 1588. Friday 22. The Duke sailed, with the whole Armada, from the port of Corunna, the wind blowing from the south-west point, in which it continued during some days, enabling us to make a favorable voyage.
Monday 25. The Duke observing that fine weather continued, despatched Captain Don Rodrigo Tello to Dunkirk, with orders to inform the Duke of Parma of the approach of the Armada, to obtain intelligence of the state of affairs in that quarter, and to ascertain the most favorable place to form a junction with the fleet assembled there.
Tuesday 26. At the dawn of day, the Armada was becalmed in a fog which lasted until mid-day, when the wind changed to the north, and the Armada stood to the east, until the middle of the night, when the wind shifted to the west-north-west, with strong showery squalls which continued the entire day and night. This day the Patrona galley,+ Diana, parted company in consequence of her making a great deal of water, and it was said, returned to port.
Wednesday 27. The same wind continued, but blew much stronger, and there was a very heavy sea which lasted until the middle of the night. In consequence of this gale, many ships of the Armada, and the other three gallies, parted company.
Thursday 28. The day dawned clear and sunny, the wind and sea were calmer than on the preceding day, and on counting the ships of the Armada, it appeared that forty, and the three gallies, had parted company. The Duke ordered soundings to be taken; the water was found to be seventy-five fathoms deep, and the distance from the land to be thirty leagues from the Scilly Islands. He immediately despatched three Pataches, one to the Lizard, to ascertain if the missing ships were there, and in that case, to direct them to await the arrival of the remainder of the Armada; the second, to discover and reconnoitre the land; and the other was sent back to order the ships astern to make all possible sail, and at the same time to find out if any of those missing were discoverable in that quarter.
Friday 29. The Armada continued its course with a west wind; the patache sent to the Lizard returned, and brought information that Don Pedro de Valdes, with the missing ships, all of which he had assembled, were ahead, and waiting the arrival of the Armada. In the evening all the ships joined, with the exception of the capitana § of Juan Martinez, having on board the Maestre de
The Duke of Parma was to have co-operated in the invasion with an army of 25,000 men,
The galley commanded by the second in command of the gallies, was called the
A galiass the ordinances of the Spanish marine, at this time in force vessel
Campo Nicholas Isla, and the three gallies, about which no tidings could be obtained. On this day the land of England was discovered, which was said to be Cape Lizard.
Saturday 30. At the dawn of day, the Armada was close in with the land, from which it was discovered; and where signals were immediately made by means of fire, and beacons of smoke. In the evening, the Duke sent Ensign Juan Gil, in a zabra with oars, to obtain intelligence. Late in the evening many ships were discovered, but as a thick haze and drizzling rain came on, it was impossible to ascertain the exact number. Ensign Juan Gil returned, in the middle of the night, with four English fishermen in a boat, which they said belonged to Falmouth, and they stated that they had seen the English fleet sail that evening from Plymouth, having the Admiral of England,† and Drake,‡ on board.
Sunday 31. The day dawned with a west-north-west wind, the Armada being off Plymouth; sixty ships were discovered to windward; and on the side of the land, to leeward, eleven more, amongst which were three great galleons,§ cannonading some of our ships, and standing to windward to join their own fleet. The Armada formed the line-of-battle, and the capitana hoisted the royal standard at the fore. The enemy's fleet passed, cannonading our van-division, commanded by Don Alonso de Leyva, who with some ships returned the fire.
The enemy continued their course to attack the rear-division, commanded by the Admiral-General Juan Martinez de Recalde, who, to avoid leaving his position, and to support the attack, although he saw that his ships were closing in with the Armada, and that he should be left alone, waited for, and made head against them. The enemy attacked, and opened so heavy a fire, without however closing so as to lay the admiral-general on board, that they dismantled his ship, cutting away his main-stay, and lodging two shots in his foremast. The ship called the Great Gri (one of the rear-division) supported Juan Martinez; as also did the galleons San Matéo, having on board the Maestre de Campo Don Diego Pimentel, and the San Juan, belonging to the division of Diego Florez, on board which was Don Diego Enriquez, son of the Viceroy Don Martin Enriquez. The royal capitana lowered the sails of her foremast, let fly her sheets, and laying to, waited to receive him in the main-body; on seeing which the enemy stood off, and the Duke collected the Armada, it being impossible to do more, because the enemy had gained the wind; besides their ships were very fast-sailers, and so well managed that they did with them what they pleased. In the evening Don Pedro de Valdes ran foul of the Catalina, a ship of his own division, carrying away his own bowsprit and foresail, to repair which, he withdrew to the centre of the battle. The Armada manœuvred until four o'clock in the evening, to gain the wind of the enemy. At this hour, the almiranta of Oquendo had two decks and her poop blown up, in consequence of some barrels of powder catching fire. The paymaster-general of the Armada was in this part of the ship, and also a part of his Majesty's money. The Duke observing that the almiranta remained astern in consequence of the accident, tacked, and stood towards her, firing a gun at the same time as a signal to the Armada to follow his movement; and he also sent pataches to her assistance. The fire was extinguished, and the enemy's fleet, which had stood towards the disabled ship, drew off, on seeing the capitana bear down; and thus she was protected, and placed in the main body of the Armada. On this tack, the ship of Don sailed, the almiranta. Custom, however, very soon reversed this ordinance, and the vessel of the commander-in-chief was called the almiranta, and that of the second in command capitana.
A zabra, an advice-boat.
+ Charles Lord Howard of Effingham. The name of Drake was long terrible in Andalusia, and even at this day the women at Seville and in the neighbourhood, are accustomed to frighten their children, by telling them Drake is coming.
*his vessel is
A galleon: the word galleon signifies, literally, a large galley;( navigated with sails only.
T wal standard was hoisted at the main-topmast-head when
Pedro de Valdes carried away her fore-topmast, which fell on the main-yard, and the Duke went to her succour, intending to take her in tow, but in cousequence of a very heavy sea and strong wind, he was unable to fulfil his intention, although every possible effort was made on the occasion, so that Don Pedro de Valdes's ship was unable to make sail, as it was now dark. On this, Diego Florez informed the Duke, that if he lowered his sails, to wait for her, it would be impossible for our Armada to see the manoeuvre, as it had run very far a-head, and he certainly would find himself with only half of it, in the moruing. Moreover, as the enemy's fleet was so near, it was not worth while risking the safety of the whole for a single ship, as it appeared certain, if he did shorten sail, the failure of the enterprise would be the consequence. The Duke, on hearing this opinion, ordered Captain Ojeda, with his capitana, four pataches, the almiranta of Don Pedro, the capitana of Diego Florez, and a galley, to remain and endeavour to tow her; or if that were impossible, to take out her people. The force of the wind and sea, joined to the darkness of the night, rendered both impracticable. The Duke, therefore, made sail, and came up with the Armada, which he kept well closed up, and he succeeded in taking out the burnt and wounded, during the night, who remained in the almiranta of Oquendo; but the wind and sea increased very much.
August 1588. Monday 1. The Duke ordered Don Alonso de Leyva, to form a junction between his own van-division, and the rear-division of the Armada, so as to make only one body, and to take as a reinforcement, the three galiasses, the galleons San Mateo, San Luis, Santiago, and the galleon of Florence, which belonged to the squadron of Portugal; making in all, forty-three ships, the best in the Armada. With these, he was to make head against the enemy and prevent them from obstructing our junction with the Duke of Parma. The Duke himself took post in the van of the remainder of the Armada, which was now composed of two bodies only; the rear-division was to continue under the command of Don Alonso de Leyva, until Juan Martinez got his ship repaired. The Duke also assembled all the sargentos mayores, and ordered each to embark in a patache to place the Armada in order, charging them at the same time, strictly to enjoin each captain to preserve the post assigned him in the new order of sailing, the directions for which were given to each sargento-mayor in writing, and each of them also received a written order, to hang, without further reference, the captain of every ship not observing the new formation; for this purpose, each sargento-mayor carried with him captains of campaign and an executioner. Three sargentos-mayores were appointed to the rear, and three to the van-division, the better to carry every thing into effect. This day at eleven o'clock, the captain of the almiranta of Oquendo came to the Duke and told him, that the almiranta was sinking and no longer manageable, and the Duke in consequence ordered the king's money and the crew to be taken out and the ship to be abandoned. On the evening of this day, the Duke despatched Ensign Juan Gil to Dunkirk, in a patache, that he might apprize the Duke of Parma of the exact position of the Armada.
Tuesday 2. At break of day the weather was fine. The enemy's fleet was to leeward, standing towards the land, manoeuvring in every possible manner to gain the wind, to prevent which, the Duke tacked and stood in-shore, followed by the galiasses, as a van-division, and the rest of the Armada at some distance astern. The enemy seeing the capitana stand in-shore, and finding it impossible to get to windward of her on that side, tacked and stood towards the sea, and then our weather ships brought them to action. Martin de Bretendona engaged the capitana of the enemy, bearing down upon her very gallantly, and endeavouring to lay her on board, but she, on finding herself very near, bore up, and stood off to sea. In this affair he was supported by the San Marcos, having the Marquess of Peñafiel; the San Luis, having the Maestre de Campo Don Agustin Mesia; the San Mateo, having the Maestre de Campo
A galley, a low vessel, navigated with sails and oars.
A galiass, a large galley, having three masts.
A sargento-mayor, an officer charged, amongst other duties, with that of police.
Don Diego Pimentel; the San Felipe, having the Maestre de Campo Don Francesco de Toledo; the Rata, having Don Alonso de Leyva; the Capitana of Oquendo, having Don Diego Pacheco, and the San Juan, having Don Diego Tellez Enriquez on board; and which last had been close up with the enemy ever since the morning. The galleon of Florence, having Gaspar de Sousa; the galleon Santiago, having Antonio Pereyra; the galleon San Juan of Diego Florez, having Don Diego Enriquez; and the Venetian Valencera, having the Maestre de Campo Don Alonso Luzon on board, also supported. The galiasses which went in advance, found themselves very near the land, having been carried to leeward by the currents. The Duke sent them orders to do every thing possible, both by means of their sails and oars, to close with the enemy, and he himself bore down, and engaged some ships of the rear division. The galiasses came up with the ships, which were carrying on a very close running fight with the enemy, watching an opportunity of laying them on board, and which were the galleon of Florence, having Gaspar de Sousa; the capitana of Ojeda, the Begoña, having Garibay; the Valencera, having Don Alonso de Luzon; and the galleon San Juan Bautista, having Don Juan Maldonado and Don Luis de Madea on board. But the efforts of all were unavailing, for the enemy seeing our ships endeavoured to bring on a close engagement, stood off to sea, receiving our fire with great advantage, because of the lightness of their ships. After standing off a short distance, they returned with the wind and tide in their favour, and attacked Juan Martinez de Recalde, who brought up the rear-division, and Don Alonso de Leyva supported him. All this while our capitana was in the midst of the battle, standing backwards and forwards to encourage those ships which were closely intermixed with the enemy's rear-division, the two parties being separated from both fleets. The Duke ordered Captain Maroli to take a six-oared boat, and make the ships which were near the capitana go about, for the purpose of assisting Juan Martinez, which was done. On this, the enemy left him, and bore down with all their ships on the capitana, which was then alone, doing her utmost to support our ships engaged, as has been said. Our capitana seeing the enemy's capitana coming in the van, steering for her, lowered her topsails, and awaited the combat. The enemy's capitana and the whole of the fleet passed, firing, ship after ship, at our capitana, which maintained her post all the time, returning the fire so well, that the enemy's sternmost ships fired at a much greater distance than those ahead. Juan Martinez de Recalde, Don Alonso de Leyva, the Marquess of Peñafiel, on board the galleon San Marcos, and the capitana of Oquendo, having Don Diego Pacheco on board, went to the assistance of the capitana, but arrived when the heat of the combat was over. The enemy on this stood off to sea, and collected their ships, which appeared to have sustained some damage, and they drew off the ships which were occupied with our van. One of the ships which was most engaged on our part in the skirmish of this day, which lasted more than three hours, was the galleon of Florence, having Gaspar de Sousa on board.
Wednesday 3. Juan Martinez de Recalde resumed the command of the rear-division, and Don Alonso de Leyva remained with him, dividing between them the forty-three ships of which the rear-division was composed. break of day the enemy being near our rear-division, fired on the almiranta, and their fire was returned by the stern-chasers of the galiasses, of the ships of Juan Martinez de Recalde, of Don Alonso de Leyva, and of the other ships forming the rear-division, none of which quitted their posts. On this, the enemy stood away, without making any further effort, because our galiasses had disabled their capitana, by shooting her mainyard out of the slings.
Thursday 4. Day of St. Domingo: the urca, Santa Anna, and a Portuguese galleon, had fallen rather astern, which induced the enemy to make a warm attack upon them. Don Alonso de Leyva, Don Diego Tellez Enriquez, and the galiasses went to their assistance, and manoeuvred so well, that they ex
An urca was a dogger-rigged vessel used generally as a store-ship. Those attached to the Armada were employed as victuallers, and for the conveyance of horses, mules, and stores of all descriptions.
tricated them, although surrounded by the enemy's ships. During the period of this contest with the rear-division, the enemy's capitana attacked ours, which was in the van, with several heavy ships. They approached much nearer than on the first day, and opened a fire with their heaviest lower-deck guns; they shot away the haulyards of our capitana's main-mast, and killed some soldiers. The galleon San Luis, having the Maestre de campo Don Agustin Mesia on board, came to her succour, and Juan Martinez de Recalde, the San Juan of the squadron of Diego Florez, having Don Diego Enriquez on board, and the capitana of Oquendo, formed a line ahead of our royal capitana, it not being possible for them to place themselves between the enemy and her, in consequence of the strong currents and other ships commenced following the example. On this the enemy's ships drew off, their capitana remaining considerably damaged, rather to leeward of our Armada. Our capitana immediately bore down upon ber, followed by Juan Martinez de Recalde, the San Juan of Sicily, having Don Diego Tellez Enriquez on board, the capitana of the galleons of Castile, the Great Gri, and all the other ships of our Armada, having the enemy's fleet to windward supporting their own capitana, whose danger was now so great, that they towed her with eleven long boats, and took away the standard, and she fired guns for assistance. Our capitana, our almiranta, and the other ships began to arrive, as soon as the enemy's movements indicated an intention of going to her succour, so that this day we considered our being able to bring on a close engagement as certain, which was the only manner in which we could gain the victory. Things being in this position, the wind began to freshen in favour of the enemy's capitana, which immediately stood away from us, casting off the eleven boats which had been towing her; and on this, their fleet, which had already commenced running to leeward of us, recovered the wind. The Duke, finding it was useless to continue the attack, and that he was off the Isle of Wight, fired a gun as a signal to close, and stood with the capitana on the course of the voyage; the rest of the Armada following in very good order, and the enemy remaining a great way astern. This day the Duke despatched Captain Pedro de Leon to the Dul of Parma in Dunkirk, to inform him of his present situation, and of all the late occurrences, and also to acquaint him with the very great importance of his immediate junction with the Armada; he desired him to send four, six, and ten pound balls, as many had been expended in the skirmishes. This day the Duke conferred the command of the squadron of Don Pedro de Valdes on Don Diego Enriquez, son of the Viceroy Don Martin Enriquez, in consequence of his zeal and great inclination to the seaservice.
Friday 5. At the dawn of day, there was a calm, and the two fleets were in sight. The Duke sent the pilot Domingo Ochoa, in a six-oared boat, to the Duke of Parma, with a request for forty filibotes, which he wished to be sent to his assistance immediately, for the purpose of opposing the operations of the enemy, because by reason of the unwieldy size of our ships as compared with the lightness of theirs, it was found impossible to bring them to a close engagement in any manner. He was also directed again to explain to the Duke of Parma how highly important it was that he should be ready to join the Armada, the day it arrived off Dunkirk; and on this subject the Duke was very anxious, as he began to think the Duke of Parma was not in Dunkirk, because Don Rodrigo Tello had neither returned nor sent any body. At sunset a breeze sprang up, and our Armada steered for Calais.
Saturday 6. At break of day, the two fleets were in company very near each other, and continued their course without firing, because our Armada ran .before the wind, and the rear-division was closed well up, in good order. The coast of France near Boulogne was discovered at ten o'clock; we steered for the herradat of Calais, where we arrived at four in the evening. Opinions were divided as to the propriety of anchoring, most were in favour of proceed
Filibotes, in English, fly-boats.
+ Herrada, the name of a liquid measure of a round shape; probably there was some resemblance between this shape, and the head near the anchorage.