November 29, This day during the American Revolution

November 29, 1779 – Battle of San Fernando de Omoa was a short siege and battle between British and Spanish forces fought not long after Spain entered the American Revolutionary War on the American side. On 16 October 1779, following a brief attempt at siege, a force of 150 British soldiers and seamen assaulted and captured the fortifications at San Fernando de Omoa in the Captaincy General of Guatemala (now Honduras) on the Gulf of Honduras. The British forces managed to overwhelm and capture the Spanish garrison, consisting of 365 men. The British only held the fort until November 1779. They then withdrew the garrison, which tropical diseases had reduced, and which was under threat of a Spanish counter-attack. The British established some batteries to fire on the fort, and supported them with fire from three ships. Simón Desnaux, the fort’s commander, returned fire. He succeeded in damaging HMS Lowestoffe, which ran aground but was eventually refloated. Although, Desnaux was badly outnumbered, he refused an offer for surrender, in the hope that Gálvez would be able to send reinforcements. On the night of 20 October, a small number of British attackers climbed into the fort and opened one of the gates. After a brief exchange of small arms fire, Desnaux surrendered. Among the spoils the British won when they gained control of Omoa were two Spanish ships, anchored in the harbor, that held more than three million Spanish dollars of silver.

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