Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

An Account of a notorious Smuggling gang in the early 18th Century

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it was fordable. On April 13, 1827, about twenty smugglers went down to the eastward of Fair-light; a struggle ensued; the smugglers wrested some muskets from the blockade men, beat them with the butt-ends, and ran one through with a bayonet; the smugglers at length retreated, leaving one of their number dead; another was found afterwards, having been apparently dropped by the smugglers; a third, some distance on the way to Icklesham, the body scarcely cold ; the rest of the wounded men were carried off by their com­panions ; and I have been informed that one of the party alone carried one of his fellows on his back, from the scene of the conflict at Fairlight to his residence at Udimore, a distance of six miles at least.
Another, and nearly the last of these bloodsheddings, took place on Jan. 3, 1828, near Bexhill. A lugger landed between that village and the little public-house at Bo-peep ; a party of smugglers, armed with bats, rushed to the beach, landed the cargo, and made off with it in carts, on horses, and on men's backs straight to Sidley Green; here they were come up with by the blockade, reinforced to about forty men ; the armed portion of the smugglers drew themselves up in a regular line, and a desperate fight took place. The smugglers fought with such determination and courage that the blockade-men were repulsed, after many had been severely bruised and the Quartermaster Collins killed. In the first volley fired by the blockade, an old smuggler named Smithurst was killed ; his body was found the next morning, with his bat still grasped in his hands, the weapon being almost hacked in pieces by the cutlasses and bayonets of the blockade-men. Here again, as was their invariable habit, the smugglers carried safely away all their wounded.
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