Captains log, 22nd of January 1765
Captain Lars Kjaer, Aboard the 118 gun "Skrien", 1100 crew compliment.
As I write this the court martial for loosing the fleet at Carlisle a few days ago has been postponed indefinately. The king of Denmark-Norway has been contacted by the swedish ambassador with a proposal. Apparently my squadron, the danish-norwegian privateers, are being hired for a screening in the battle at Cartagena de Indias. The Kungliga Marine had made preparations for an invasion and wanted the assistance of the danish navy in order to get the invasion fleet into the bay. I myself had some reservations about this, but with the ruling of the court martial hanging over my head I saw no real way to object against the orders.
We headed out with a squadron of 10 first rates from the DNP squadron as well as some first rates from the DS squadron. Set sails from San Andres and immediately concerns were mounting over the low amount of supplies in stores. The fleet as a whole had to make do with what was at hand and what we could share between us. My flagship, the "Skrien" were taking the lead as we headed out of San Andres, the navigator assured me that we would arrive on time and not a minut early. As it happened we arrived at the rendez-vous ahead of schedule and I had to discipline my navigator hard. After flogging the culprit personally and thus instilling discipline in the rest of the crew, we took stock of the ships and the stores. The news were less than ideal, repairs were low on half the ships and rum was in short supply as well. The ships on the other hand were, as the rest of the danish lineship fleet, in superb condition and morale was high as we gathered aboard the "Skrien" for a warcouncil.
Joined by the swedish admiral, who were extremely blunt and argued for the danish-norwegian contingent going in the front and take the brunt of the russo-spanish fleet. We agreed grudgingly, mainly due to the heavy incentives offered by the swedish admiral.
As we set out from the port of Santa Marta, a little past the 2nd bell. Spirits were high, partly in anticipation of a battle and partly due to the swedish tobacco and prostitutes we received as gifts.
We sailed past the deadly shallows at Barranquilla and soon after the lookout on the flagship hailed "Sails"!
It was a smaller contingent of spanish 3rd rates. We weren't too concerned untill the second ship in the line shouted "More sails!, 1, 2, 3, 5, 20 sails! WSW". The spanish had a large contingent of ships, 21 SoL, mostly 2nd rates and a single frigate. Our fleet was complimentet by a smaller contingent of swedish ships, taking our tally to 18, mostly 1st rates and two frigates.
The danish fleet were dragged in a bit disadvantageous and we had a hard fight in the starting phase of the battle. We worked tirelessly on the crews in order to get the sails and ships in line for the battle and soon it became a bloody brawl. We got lucky though, the starting disadvantaged isolated two of our first rates but with patience and some clever sailing we managed to get the 1st rates out of trouble and isolate 3 spanish 2nd rates instead. We pounded them relentlessly and it wasn't long before they were in a bad way. From there the battle raged hard for more than 6 hours, the spanish gave a hell of a fight and at several occasions the situation were looking grim. In the end the spanish navy was slowly but surely whittled down by the larger broadsides and the fact that several of their 2nd rate captains seemed inexperienced in these large scale engagements. A huge win for the combined danish-norwegian and swedish navy as we took down 14 enemy ships, 5 first rates and a large portion of their 2nd rate contingent.
As I'm writing this I'm feeling somewhat confident that the court martial will not rule against me, we got the entire danish-norwegian contingent out of the battle - disregarding the old weathered 1st rate we used as a fireship in the initial onslought of the battle. The fleet is heading NNE at the moment, having left Santa Marta and the spanish main behind us. Morale is high even if we took heavy losses in men and several of the ships have been taking in water for the past few hours. We're confident we can salvage them home though.
Captain Lars Kjae
Admiral in charge of the battlefleet
NNE of Cartagena De Indias on the 23rd of January 1765