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Invasion of Cuba

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Unit/ Formation: Marine Regiments

Location: Cuba

Period/ Conflict: The War of Jenkins' Ear

Year: 1741

Date/s: 4 August 1741

The invasion of Cuba took place between 4–5 August and 9 December 1741 during the War of Jenkins' Ear.

Six Marine Regiments were raised for the War of Jenkins Ear in 1739 with four more being raised later. One large Marine Regiment (Spotswood's Regiment later Gooch's Marines, the 61st Foot) was formed of American colonists and served alongside British Marines at Cartegena, Columbia and Guantanamo, Cuba in the War of Jenkin's Ear ( 1741). Among its officers was Lawrence Washington, the half-brother of George Washington.

George Stadt Camp near the River Guantamano and the intrenchments made on the adjacent hills, 1741

A combined army and naval force under the command of Admiral Edward Vernon and Major-General Thomas Wentworth arrived off Cuba and fortified positions around their landing site at Cumberland Bay.

In late June after failing to take Cartagena, Vernon’s fleet reassembled off Jamaica where the war council discussed and recommended a follow-on action to seize the Spanish territory on Santiago de Cuba, present-day Cuba.

Colonel Gooch, still recovering from the wounds he received at Cartagena, departed Jamaica for Virginia. His ex­ecutive officer, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Cope, took command of the remaining four understrength American Marine battalions.

In mid-August, Vernon landed his remaining Marines on the east end of the island opposite Port Santiago, known today as Guantanamo Bay. From there they established a base of operations before pushing west to gain control of as much of the island as possible.

The same heat, humidity, and tropical illnesses plaguing the expedition from the start, however, brought the operation to a stand-still. The only action on record was minor fighting at Catalina Village between Spanish forces and two American Marine companies.

In late November, Vernon back-loaded his disheveled force and sailed for Jamaica, where he sent some 50 American Marines ashore to help build two hasty forts: Frederick and George.

They may ring their bells now; they will be wringing their hands before long British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, reluctantly declaring war on October 23, 1739 Read More/ Web Link:

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