Haverfordwest itself there was a sense of emergency shown by the
mayor. Having set up his headquarters in an inn, he was joined
by Lieutenant Colonel John Colby. In charge of the Pembrokeshire
Militia's depot, Colby quickly sent for reinforcements, these
included those commanded by Lord Cawdor in the east of the county
and the Castle Martin Cavalry.
When all units had assembled at Haverfordwest Lord Cawdor, not
only because he was younger than Lord Milford but because he was
also a student of military affairs, was placed in command. Within
an hour of the muster Cawdor ordered the defence force to march
north the twenty miles for Fishguard. As they did so they met
Knox and his men marching for Haverfordwest, with Knox and his
men doing a U turn the hastily assembled brigade marched on to
face the French.
In the meantime the situation was deteriorating for the French
by the hour, short of food they had began by begging from the
locals, who had given freely: but within a short time the years
of being in prison without decent food caused many to start scale
looting: even the local church did not escape their attentions:
from where the plate was stolen. This action angered many of the
locals who began to take the situation into their own hands, arming
themselves they began to seek retribution. Throughout the day
Frenchmen were killed or captured, many by bullets manufactured
from lead from the roof of St. Davids Cathedral. There were others
who were rounded up in groups of two or three and marched off
to jail. It was however,
Jemima Fawr ( Big Jemima
) who was the toast of Fishguard for many years when
the invasion was all over, after which earning herself a place
Nicholas was a 47 year old cobbler in Fishguard who was so damn
annoyed when her trade immediately stopped, when the French landed,
that armed with a pitchfork she marched out to Llanwnda rounded
up 12 Frenchmen, and marched them into Fishguard, then promptly
about turned and set out to look for more.
Time however, was running out for the French and their looting.
Cawdor's mixed brigade, under a forced march arrived in the area
towards dusk fully intending to mount an attack. But unsure of
his enemy's deployment and the difficulty of manoeuvring his field
guns on the area's narrow roads, he made the decision to wait
until morning. As it turned out it was a fortuitous decision which
undoubtedly saved many lives on both sides.
Mid evening Tate, who had realized he could never break out of
his beach head with his rebellious rabble, sought a meeting with
the view of negotiating terms for surrender. Cawdor however was
having non of it, desperate to secure his own terms, his reply
to the French commander was that he now had sufficient troops
in position to force the issue. It was course a massive bluff,
for Tate must have been able to see the size of Cawdor's force
from his advantageous position on Cam Gelli, but it was enough
for him to announce that he would surrender the following morning.
Tate's terms signed by him referred to the coming of thousands
of British troops of the line. Unfortunately for him his "troops
of the line" were non other than 100's perhaps 1000's of
Welsh ladies, dressed in traditional dress, making their way to
the heights overlooking Goodwick sands to see the invasion force.
Thousands of people did indeed watch the surrender on the wind
swept sands of Goodwick on the morning of the 25th of February,
among them were the Welsh Ladies in their national dress who indeed
would have looked like British Army Redcoats from a distance.
It had been an extraordinary affair, the government of Republican
France were certainly guilty of a series of gigantic blunders.
First they misjudged the British people who they thought would
rise in rebellion. Secondly, having put their army ashore they
left it with no means of escape. However, the biggest blunder
of all was committed by the French army. That being, that once
ashore they had treated the people of Pembrokeshire with contempt.