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Fright and Flight of the Spanish Armada

Picture of the Spanish Armada

Picture of the Spanish Armada

Fright and Flight of the Spanish Armada
During the day, Captain Winter, of the English fleet, suggested that the Spaniards might be driven from their anchorage by fire-ships, and his plan was adopted. Six vessels were loaded with wild-fire, rosin, pitch, brimstone, and other combustibles, and made ready to sail. The night was dark, with indications in sky and sea of a coming gale.

 

"When the Spanish bells," says Froude, "were about striking twelve, and, save the watch on deck, soldiers and seamen lay stretched in sleep, certain dark objects, which had been seen dimly drifting in the tide near where the galleons lay thickest, shot suddenly into pyramids of light, flames leaping from ruddy sail to sail, flickering on the ropes and forecastles, masts and bow-sprits, a lurid blaze of conflagration.

"A cool commander might have ordered out his boats and towed the fire-ships clear; but Medina Sidonia, with a strain already upon him beyond the strength of his capacity, saw coming some terrible engine of destruction, like the floating mine which had shattered Parma's bridge at Antwerp.

Panic spread through the entire Armada. Hasty and impetuous cries arose on board each menaced vessel. 'Up anchors, comrades. Out every stitch of canvas. Away, away. for in the track of those blazing ships follow death and ruin.'

"There are times when immense bodies of men suddenly give way to the influence of a needless but over-mastering panic, and this was one of them. Every cable was cut; galleon, galliasse, and patache drove hurriedly through the press of shipping, each heedless of its comrade's danger, and seeking frantically some channel of escape. In vain the Duke of Medina Sidonia attempted to reform his disordered array. So long as the darkness lasted, the confusion prevailed; and ship after ship reeled, staggered, and drifted out to sea. Several of the Spanish ships were disabled, two were burned, and it was not until they found themselves six miles from shore, and at a secure distance from the smoldering hulks, that they recovered from their terror." "There are times when immense bodies of men suddenly give way to the influence of a needless but over-mastering panic, and this was one of them. Every cable was cut; galleon, galliasse, and patache drove hurriedly through the press of shipping, each heedless of its comrade's danger, and seeking frantically some channel of escape. In vain the Duke of Medina Sidonia attempted to reform his disordered array. So long as the darkness lasted, the confusion prevailed; and ship after ship reeled, staggered, and drifted out to sea. Several of the Spanish ships were disabled, two were burned, and it was not until they found themselves six miles from shore, and at a secure distance from the smoldering hulks, that they recovered from their terror."

Interesting Facts and Information about the Elizabethan Age and The Spanish Armada
Some interesting facts and information about the Elizabethan Age and the Spanish Armada. Details, facts and information about the Elizabethan Age can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap. Continue the story of the Spanish Armada by clicking the following link: Renewal of the Fight with the Spanish Armada

The Spanish Armada
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