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Early Battle Plan Showing Admiral Edward Vernon's Successful Attack on Chagres During the War of Jenkins' Ear .

Detailed battle plan showing the British attack Chagres and the Castle of San Lorenzo, during the War of Jenkin's Ear.

The plan gives a meticulous accounting of the primary locations in the region, as well as an accounting of both the battle and the topographical details and armaments at San Lorenzo. The plan also notes that Captain Henry Morgan (the Pirate, 1635-1688) had previously sacked San Lorenzo in 1670, before proceeding up river to attack Panama City.

Following Admiral Vernon's successful siege of Portobelo, Vernon moved on Chagres, the last Spanish fortress in Panama. He attacked the fortress of San Lorenzo el Real Chagres, which was then armed with four guns and about thirty soldiers under the command of Captain of Infantry Don Juan Carlos Gutiérrez Cevallos.

On March 22, 1740, Vernon's contingent, comprised of the ships Stafford, Norwich, Falmouth and Princess Louisa, the frigate Diamond, the bomb vessels Alderney, Terrible, and Cumberland, the fireships Success and Eleanor, and transports Goodly and Pompey, began to bombard the Castle. Faced with a vastly superior force, Captain Cevallos surrendered the fort on March 24, 1740. The British destroyed the fort, and seized the guns along with two Spanish patrol boats.

The present map was drawn by R.T., who was apparently a crew member aboard the Diamond, which was commanded by Sir Charles Knowles, who had arrived in Panama 5 days after the siege of Portobelo on November 27. Knowles was first given the task of destroying the Spanish fortress in Portobelo, which took 3 weeks.

Vernon next assigned Captain Knowles to a reconnaissance mission to watch for Spanish forces and capture supply ships off Cartagena. Knowles was then moved into the fireship HMS Success and ordered to examine the approaches to the port of Chagres. Having completed the mission and formulated a plan of attack, Knowles was given command of the bomb vessels, fireships and other small boats during the Chagres / San Lorenzo Siege. Thereafter, Knowles was appointed Governor of the castle of San Lorenzo and given the task of demolishing the castle.

The War of Jenkins Ear

The War of Jenkins' Ear (1739-1748), draws its name from the severed ear of Robert Jenkins, captain of a British merchant ship, and acknowledged smuggler, which was exhibited before the British Parliament as a means of inflaming British sentiment against the Spanish. Jenkins lost his ear after his ship was boarded by Spanish coast guards in 1731. While little notice was taken of the event at the time, certain politicians aligned with the British South Sea Company ultimately latched on to this event as a rallying cry to inflame British sentiment against Spain, as a means of trying to expand Britain's trading opportunities in the Caribbean through armed conflict and to preserve British slave trading rights.

After 1742, the war was subsumed by the wider War of the Austrian Succession.

Kapp, K.S. (Panama) 56.; Jolly, D.C. (Brit Per) GENT-11.
Gentleman's Magazine Biography

The Gentleman’s Magazine was a British publication that helped to normalize the use of maps in support of articles and features. It was founded in 1731 by the prominent London publisher Edward Cave, a pioneer in periodical journalism. The magazine continued in print for nearly two centuries, shuttering production in 1922.

This was the publication which first used the word “magazine”, from the French for storehouse. Cave wanted to create a storehouse of knowledge and he employed some of London’s best writers to fill his pages: Samuel Johnson gained his first regular employment by writing for the Gentleman’s Magazine. Other famous contributors included Jonathan Swift.

The publication covered a broad range of topics, from literature to politics, and, from 1739, frequently used maps as illustrations. The first map they printed was a woodcut of Crimea; the second was a fold-out map of Ukraine by Emanuel Bowen. Maps were used to show battle lines, to chronicle voyages, and to educate about areas with which Britain traded. Certain geographers, like Thomas Jefferys, contributed several maps to the publication.