mai1809, England prepares a forwarding against Zealand (a province of the
Netherlands). The Dutch coasts and the wearing of Antwerp being disarmed,
England plans an invasion of Holland, thinking of rejoining the population
The task force of 35.000 men is placed under the command of Lord Chatam,
brother elder of the Pitt Prime Minister. The strong fleet of 22 ship of the
lines, 120 buildings of war and 400 transport is ordered by the admiral
On July 24,1809, the English fleet installs towards Zealand. The 29 in the
morning, it arrives for the Dutch coasts: some frigates and a hundred
transport under the orders of the Huntley general come to wet close to
Breskens, while the remainder of the fleet travels towards the beach of
Breezand, in north from the island to Walcheren.
The coasts are slightly defended, general
Rousseau who has 300 national guards in Breskens, recalls the troops
stationed in Ghent. The reinforcements arrive at Groede the 30 at midday.
The Huntley general, seeing the French preparations, decides on August 1 to
join the island of Walcheren. General Monnet, governor of Vlissingen, sent
1.200 men to the front of the English close to the camp of Westkapelle. In
spite of a sharp defense, the French troops cannot prevent the unloading of
18.000 English soldiers on July 31.
Folded up in Vlissingen, the French troops are reinforced by several
battalions coming from Breskens. On August 2, the English troops unload in
the island of Zuidbeveland and occupy the chief town (Goes). Sent in
recognition, a detachment of 30 English soldiers seizes without fighting
fort of Bath evacuated by the French troops. The capture of this fort opens
with the English fleet the estuary of the Scheldt.
On August 6, the English begin work from the
head office of Vlissingen. Two days later, general Monnet decides an exit to
remove a battery installed not far from the city on the dune known as of
Nolle. An attack of diversion makes it possible the French troops to profit
from the effect of surprise, but they must move back in front of an enemy
ten times higher in a number. The losses rise with 800 men for French and
1.500 men for English.
On August 13, Vlissingen undergoes a first bombardment which lasted 42 hours.
A first English summation is pushed back by general Monnet. A second
bombardment, supported by many shootings of rockets flamers, begins on
August 15. The following day, general Monnet capitulates : the garrison
(4.000 men) is made captive with the honors of the war to be taken along to
During the head office of Vlissingen, Dutch troops (5.000 men) conduits by
king Louis give an opinion around Antwerp. The Council of Ministers of the
Empire, chaired by Cambaceres, issues the lifting of 30.000 national guards
in the departments bordering. Cambaceres places these troops under the
command of marshal Bernadotte. Arrived to Antwerp on August 6, Bernadotte
has 30.000 men quickly, he isolates the islands from Walcheren and
Zuidbeveland and thus prevents any English unloading on the continent.
being defended, Lord Chattam can only note the failure of its military
forwarding and decides on August 26 to re-embark for England with two thirds
of its troops. Dissatisfied with the choice of Bernadotte (in disgrace since
the battle of Wagram), Napoleon replaces him by marshal Bessieres. This one
reconquered the island of Zuidbeveland and prepares to take again Walcheren.
The English troops are insulated on the island of Walcheren surrounded by
the French batteries. The wet and marshy climate of the island starts as of
the first rains of autumn an epidemic of fever among the English troops. In
one week more than 10.000 soldiers are sick without counting the sailors of
admiral Strachan’s squadron.
England makes hold Vlissingen thinking of involving Austria to break the
armistice by the promise of a diversion in Zealand. With the advertisement
of peace between Austria and France, the evacuation of the island of
Walcheren is decided. The English evacuate Vlissingen, after having set fire
to the vast military arsenal built by the French.