The Dutch Attack on Landguard Fort - 2nd July 1667

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GCSE History Coursework

The Dutch Attack on Landguard Fort, 2nd July 1667


Source A tells us a lot about the failure of the Dutch attack on the Fort. It was written by Silas Taylor, Storekeeper at Harwich Naval Dockyard. He was observing from Beacon Hill, Harwich. This may be reliable because the information is first hand and not passed down. On the other hand it may be biased because it was written by an English Harwich Naval Dockyard storekeeper. He may have for example over exaggerated the Dutch landing numbers of “about 1000 men in about 50 small vessels and boats” to make the English victory seem grander than it was. We know that the defences at the fort were too strong for the Dutch invaders even after two, probably re-grouped assaults, as  source A says ‘'where with the death of one & wounding of two they were forced to retreat after two assaults: they came up boldly but were as boldly and resolutely answered.” When Silas says, “they came up boldly but were as boldly and resolutely answered”, this backs up the idea that the fort was too strong for the Dutch to enter. This could also be praise to the bravery and determination of the English rather than the strength of the fort.

“The Dutch were put to Fright and Flight by the two or three small Guns out of a little Galliot (small ship) firing amongst the shingle, which covered them from Sight of the Fort, scattering the Pebbles among them.” That last quote tells us that the Dutch were being fired on by a ship near the shingle. The quote makes the Dutch seem pathetic being put into “Fright and Flight” by only two or three small guns out of a little Galliot (small ship). This was a very heroic action on the part of the English. This information may not be reliable as it could have been exaggerated by Silas to make the Dutch attack seem weak. From source A it seems Taylor believed that the main reason for the Dutch attack failure was because the of the heroism, bravery and determination displayed by the English. I think the Dutch were unprepared to take on the number of guns and men at the Fort and overall the Fort’s ability to defend itself was too great.


Source F supports source A about the Dutch being fired upon by a galliot. Source A states, “The Dutch were put in to Fright and Flight by the two or three small Guns out of a little Galliot”. Source F supports this by saying, “But the enemy fired on them with much grapeshot, chiefly from a galliot (small ship), which was inside the entrance channel”.

Source B states that, “The nearest ships of the enemy are so close to Landguard Fort that we expect fire to be given on both sides at any moment.” Source F contradicts source B by saying that the Dutch ships could not get nearer to the shore on account of the shallowness of the water, so their shots could scarcely reach the fort.” Source F also continues to say “On rowing to van Nes, the pilot declared that all the marks had been cut down so he could not find the entrance which was very narrow.”

Therefore the Dutch reported “that the ships were not able to sail close to the fort and it was decided that without further loss of time the soldiers, the marines and the sailors should attack the fort by land.” Source F unlike source B seems to suggest that the Dutch ships were never so close to Landguard Fort that fire was expected from both sides at any moment. It is understandable that the English thought the Dutch were much closer than they actually were.

        Joseph Quine, who wrote source B, says “I can tell you that my Lord is making the best preparation he can to receive them and we are confident of giving them a Repulse”. This seems to support source F where the Cornelis de Witt (high ranking Dutch officer) states “The fort had been fortified more strongly than we had been informed”. The Dutch would not have expected the “preparation” at the fort which strengthened its defences and so were placed at a disadvantage.

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        Source C was written by the Master Shipwright who was at Harwich Navl Dockyard. He says, “it is the fireships which have preserved us and nothing else hindered (prevented) the Dutch coming into this place.” Source F supports this by saying that the Dutch could not get their ships into Harwich but source F makes no mention of the fireships, which is not suprising as the Dutch ships never managed to get far enough up the channel to encounter them.

In Source F it is written, “The fort had been fortified more strongly than we had been informed, which dampened ...

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