The British ships were prevented from entering the harbour by sunken ships. The masts of these ships can be seen protruding from the water in this panting by Dominic Serres the Elder who made several scenes of the battle. The fortress of El Morro is on the left of the picture. The boats filled with soldiers must have been a tempting target for the Spanish artillery.
Havana is referred to as the Pearl of the Antilles and described by Archibald Forbes in the regimental history: "The strong fortifications which crown the rocks on the eastern side; the noble inner basin where more than a thousand ships might anchor, sheltered from every wind; the majesty of the groves of palm trees, which there grow to a great height; the city itself, with its white houses of Saracenic and Gothic styles, their quaint galleries and deep red roofs, their pillars and pinnacles, towers and domes. Half seen and half hidden amid the forest of masts and sails, all unite to present a brilliant and imposing whole."