TIMELINE OF SPANISH AND AMERICAN EFFORTS TO CONQUER BRITISH WEST FLORIDA: 1768 - 1781
1768: Former Pennsylvania merchant Oliver Pollock https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Pollock moved to New Orleans.
August 17, 1769: Pollock sold flour at half its market value to the Spanish in New Orleans. Because of his generosity he was granted freedom of trading in Louisiana for as long as he wished.
1770: Spain and Great Britain seemed to be on the verge of war over a dispute over the Falkland Islands. British troops in New York were mobilized for an intended attack on New Orleans. Commercial control of the Mississippi River was already of supreme importance to the British. English "floating stores" dominated commerce with the Spanish on the river.
May 1776: General Charles Lee wrote the Spanish monarchy appealing for help for American rebels. He argued that an independent America would reduce the threat of a British attack on Spanish possessions in the New World.
June 1776: Spain gave the Continental Congress 1,000,000 livres and in July deposited 2,000 barrels of gunpowder in New Orleans.
July 19, 1776: Captain George Gibson, Lieutenant William Linn and 15 Americans disguised as traders left Ft. Pitt for New Orleans. When they arrived in New Orleans, Oliver Pollock conceiled their identity from British spies.
August 1776: Captain George Gibson and Oliver Pollock purchased 5 tons of gunpowder in New Orleans from the Spaniards and sent it up the Mississippi River to Fort Pitt under the care of Lieutenant William Linn. Pollock believed that the Spanish cooperation was influenced by news of the Declaration of Independence.
September 22, 1776: Linn and his men leave New Orleans for Fort Pitt.
January 1, 1777: Bernardo de Galvez took over as Governor of Louisiana. Governor Galvez at
once told Pollock that he would cooperated with the Continental Congress. He declared that the Port of New Orleans would be open and free to American commerce. He also approved the admission and sale of prizes captured by American cruisers and he requested American troops, goods and money for a proposed attack upon British posts on the Mississippi along with Mobile and Pensacola.
May 2, 1777: The gunpowder arrived at Fort Pitt on heavily laden flatboats rowed upstream against the current the entire way from New Orleans. The news of the delivery of this powder caused the British to begin harassing American shipping on the Mississippi. The British had told the Indians that the colonists had no gunpowder due to their embargo of American ports. This gunpowder was necessary to re-establish trade with the Indians and for the protection of the rebels.
May 1777: Galvez threatened to fire on British ships at New Orleans which had come to demand the release of British vessels seized by the Spanish on the Mississippi River for allegedly being engaged in illegal commerce. Two of these confiscated vessels were owned by Americans and these boats were secretly returned to their owners by Galvez when he was requested to do so by Pollock.
1777: Pollock was appointed "commercial agent of the United States at New Orleans", making him the representative of the colonies in the city. Pollock informed the Continental Congress of the cooperation of Governor Galvez and urged them to send blank commissions to be used for recruiting American troops.
October, 1777: Captain Gibson, who had been imprisoned in New Orleans by the order of Spanish Governor Galvez, in order to pacify British officials in the city, was released and was permitted to embark for Philadelphia on a ship. This was arranged by Oliver Pollock and Gibson concealed more of the gunpowder and was able to smuggle it to Philadelphia on this voyage.
1778: Spain secretly aided the Americans through the firm of Joseph Gardoqui. Funds were collected at Madrid by Diego Gardoqui who forwarded the money to Arthur Lee https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Lee_(diplomat) in Paris. Lee ordered war material from the Gardoqui Company in Bilboa and they shipped the goods to America. In 1778, Americans acquired 18,000 blankets, 11,000 pairs of shoes, 41,000 pairs of stockings, and great quantities of shirts, tent cloth and medicine.
May 1778: Pollock suggested to the Continental Congress that they should send a force of about 300 men to capture Natchez and Manchac because in the event of war between Great Britain and Spain, the Spaniards would immediately take possession of these two posts.
June 20, 1779: Francisco Garcia, an emissary from Bernardo de Galvez, arrived in San
Antonio with a letter for Texas Governor Domingo Cabello, requesting and authorizing the first
official cattle drive from Texas to Louisiana. Following the August 1778 hurricane in Louisiana
the cattle herds were decimated and his troops in Louisiana needed beef. He also needed horses
for his cavalry and to pull artillery pieces.
August 27, 1779: Gen. Bernardo Galvez learned of the May 8, 1789 Declaration of War
against England on August 16th. Because he knew that war was imminent, he had been prepared
– at least until the hurricane struck the week before. One Galliot and three gunboats were
salvaged from the bottom of the river and restored. These vessels were equipped ten cannons,
one of 24 pounder, five 18 pounders, and four 4 pounders, and ammunitions .
He led the 700 Spanish Army regulars at New Orleans up the Mississippi River 105 miles to
attack Fort Bute, in Manchac, Louisiana in 11 days.
September 11, 1779: Galvez marched upon Ft. Richmond at Baton Rouge, some 60 miles to
January 28, 1780: Galvez departed New Orleans bound for Ft. Charlotte at Mobile with
twelve ships containing 754 men. His men were well fed on Texas beef. Mobile was the British
capital of West Florida.
May 26, 1780: The Spanish authorities at Ft. Carlos in St. Louis aided George Rogers
Clark in the conquest of the territories northwest of the Ohio River and rallied to defeat the
combined British and Indian attack on St. Louis in 1780.
May 30, 1780: The records are unclear about the exact number of Texas longhorn steers
were delivered to Galvez. The best estimate is that between 9,000 – 15,000 head of cattle, plus
bulls and horses were provided.
16 Oct. 1780 Galvez led a Spanish fleet of 15 war ships and 59 transport ships from
Havana to attack Pensacola. Embarked were 164 officers and 3,829 men.
October 8, 1780: A hurricane hit the Spanish flotilla. Many were lost. The survivors
retreated to Havana. Along the way they seized two British frigates. For fear that the British
might seek to retake Mobile before he could take Pensacola, Galvez dispatched two warships and
500 soldiers to reinforce Mobile. Galvez's flotilla survived a hurricane in harbor before initiating two months of constant artillery
and cannon bombardment of the British forts.
April 23, 1780: Reinforcements had arrived,
increasing Galvez's total force to 7,800.
May 8, 1781: The 18-year British
occupation of Pensacola, Florida, ended with a British surrender.
8 May 1781 The British surrender at Pensacola removed the British threat from the
Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. Galvez was assisted by four French frigates. He
gave them 500,000 pesos to reprovision their ships. These ships then proceeded to join the
French blockade of Yorktown, which led to the British surrender.
SUMMARY OF SPANISH SUPPORT FOR THE REBELS DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION http://www.amigospais-guaracabuya.org/oagoo003.php
1. Provided large sums of money
2. Provided arms, ammunition, food, supplies
3. Spanish soldiers and Militia fought the British in what is now Louisiana, Mississippi,
Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Alabama, Florida.
4. Fought the British around the world, e.g. Bahamas, Central America, Gibraltar
5. Provided safe harbor to and supplied American War Ships e.g. John Paul Jones
6. Removed the British from the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers
7. Removed the British from the Gulf Coast