The People of Gibraltar
1782 - Soldier William Adair - Our Red Hot Balls

The 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot was in Gibraltar from the autumn of 1770 to November 1783 and therefore for the duration of the Great Siege. (See LINK) William Adair, a soldier of the Regiment was certainly there for the “floating Batteries” fiasco and has helpfully lefty us both a drawing of two of the ships and a poem commemorating the event.

The floating batteries

The poem

On the Spanish floating Batteries Destroyed at Gibraltar 15th and 14th September 1782/wrote by Wm Adair Soldier 58th.

On Calpe Mount where Numerous Batteries Rise 
And towering Bulwarks Seem to Reach the Skies 
Great Eliott lives loud Cannons him proclaim 
Adorn’d with laurels and with matchless fame 
He Troops Commands who is to Britain Dear 
Whom France and Spain to Combat ever fear 
They three long years before Our Walls have laid  
With Hectoring boast and Pompous Proud parade 
They though to Starve us for to Gain their Ends 
And Eliott made them Reverence Britains Fame 
And stamped with Shot and Shells Great Georges Name 
September 12th the Combined Fleet appeared 
To Negro point and Algueziras Steer’d 
With such a Force they thought Briton to Fright 
But hardy Britons ever cheerful Fight  
With Longing Eyes we View’d them from our Walls 
Anxious to let them taste our Red hot Balls 
On the thirteenth ten Battering Ships Se Sail 
And Steer’d their Course Amidst a pleasant Gale 
At ten they Anchor’d and began to play 
And thought to fill our hearts with dire Dismay 
We man’d our Batteries with Cheerful Glee 
And Fought like Men who Glory to be Free