William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
John Drinkwater Bethune, A History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar , 
Meg Hixon, November 2011
John Drinkwater Bethune, A History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar
Drinkwater, John, 1762-1844
This volume is a manuscript version of the second edition of Bethune's A History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar , written by the British Army captain just after the cessation of the Spanish efforts to win the city.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
The book has been published.
John Drinkwater Bethune, A History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar , William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
John Drinkwater was born on June 9, 1762, in Latchford, England, and enlisted in the army in 1777, intending to aid the British cause against the rebellion in North America. His regiment, the 72nd Regiment of Foot, also known as the Royal Manchester Volunteers, went instead to Gibraltar, where they endured nearly four years of Spanish siege between 1779 and 1783. Drinkwater rose to the rank of captain in the 72nd Regiment of Foot, and purchased a commission in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Foot, with which he served in Gibraltar, Toulon, and Corsica; he eventually rose to the rank of colonel. Following his military service, he held several political appointments, including a lengthy term as comptroller of army accounts between 1811 and 1835. Late in life, he adopted the surname Bethune after inheriting the estate of his brother-in-law, George Congalton-Bethune. He married Eleanor Congalton on June 6, 1799. Their son, John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune (1801-1851), became a Law Member of the Governor's General Council and President of the Council of Education in India, where he promoted women's education and founded a school for women in Calcutta (later called Bethune College). John Drinkwater Bethune died on January 16, 1844.
Collection Scope and Content Note
This volume (356 pages) is a manuscript version of the second edition of Bethune's A History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar, written by the British Army captain just after the cessation of the Spanish efforts to win the city. The book begins with a brief preface, outlining the purpose of the work and providing a detailed table of contents, covering the most important events over the course of the siege. The first of the work's eight chapters provides a brief general history of Gibraltar from its discovery to the eve of the Spanish action, and is followed by a chapter outlining the history of the British garrison at the post. In the next six chapters, Bethune relates in detail the history of the lengthy siege, aided by his own firsthand recollections, from the conflict that preceded the action to the British celebrations of 1783. A number of appendices provide statistical information on British casualties, use of ammunition, the prices of provisions, and the distribution of prize money.
- Elliott, George Augustus, 1717-1790.
- Gibraltar--History--Siege, 1779-1783.
- Great Britain. Army. Regiment of Foot, 72nd.
Additional Descriptive Data
The Clements Library holds a published version of this volume, apparently identical to the manuscript except for an additional address to the King, a list of subscribers, and illustrations:
Bethune, John Drinkwater. A History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar: With a Description And Account of That Garrison, From the Earliest Periods. 2d ed., corrected; with a copious table of contents. London: Printed by T. Spilsbury, Snowhill, 1786.
Espinasse, Francis, and David Gates. "Drinkwater, John (1762-1844)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. DOI:10.1093/ref:odnb/2309