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Lincoln's INN FIELDS. 







W$z Brtjjaoe of <uartis, 










These papers, taken from the Diary of an Officer 
of the Guards, having appeared in a periodical 
and met with approbation, are now, for the first 
time, offered to the Public in a collective form. 
They are trifles, but truthful ones. In dedicating 
them to the Brigade to which the Author once 
belonged, he cannot but remember how few re- 
main of those who stood in its ranks when he left 

" Haec data pama diu viventibus." 

Yet, as some of his proudest and most joyous days 
were passed in their ranks, he is tempted to ad- 
dress his recollections of former days to the pre- 


sent maintainers of their Sovereign's power and 
their Country's glory. 


is the well-known motto of one of their regiments. 
That all of them would maintain it intact, and 
add fresh laurels to those won by their gallant 
forefathers, was undoubted. Their recent splen- 
did achievement on the heights of the Alma is 
the proof. 

London, October 10, 1854. 



Departure from England. Transports. Voyage to Lisbon. 
Convoys. The Tagus. Massena. Eigueiras. March 
to Coimbra 1 


Lord Wellington. Sobral. French Cavalry. The Briga- 
dier Massena retires. Alemquer. Causeway of Calhariz. 
End of the Campaign 16 


"Tolling" to Parade. Anecdotes of Wellington. Old Com- 
rades. The Marquis de la Romana. General Alava. 
"Captain Taylor." Strenuwitz. Campaign of 1811. 
Pursuit of the Enemy. Wellington's Despatch ... 34 


Casal Nova. The Napiers. Repulse of Ney. Want of pro- 
visions. Action at Sabugal. Colonel Waters. Conduct 
of the Ministry. Entry into Spain. Almeida. Mas- 
sena' s Advance. Battle of Fuentes. Anecdotes ... 57 


Hanoverian Hussars. French Character. Portuguese Go- 
vernment. Difficulties of the Campaign. Officers. The 
English Cabinet. Battle of Albuera 98 



Camp of St. Olaya. Fever. Sir B. Spencer. An Escapade. 
Antiquated Notions. Effect of a hot Climate. A Duel. 
Advance of the French. Gallant Rencontre. El Bo- 
don. Euente Ghiinaldo. Retreat of both Armies . . . 131 


Amateurs. Inaction. The Duke and the Guards. Sick- 
ness. Amusing characters. Discipline. The Enemy- 
surprised. A Winter March. Scarcity. An Elegy A 
Family Mansion. Secret Preparations 167 


Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo. Fort Renaud. A Cold Night. 
Change of Plan. Working in the Trenches. Welcome 
Visitors. The Methodical Captain. Opening of the Bat- 
teries. Craufurd's Eloquence. Storming the Town. 
Looking for the Governor. Surrender 203 


Losses in each Army. Musketry and Artillery. Honours. 
General Mackinnbn. Spanish Bigotry. Character of 
the Army. New Clothes. Abrantes. Pipe-clay. Defi- 
ciency of Stores. Character of Wellington 239 


Operations against Badajos. Apathy of the English Go- 
vernment. Agreeable Society. Gastronomy. Spanish 
Character. Feminine Tact. The Enemy's Corps. 
Forced March. Bivouac at Albuera. Hearing the 
Storming of Badajos 262 






In May, 1809, I was gazetted as an Ensign in the 

Regiment, and in July of the following year 

was ordered to join a detachment of the Guards 
destined for our first battalion then serving with 
Lord Wellington's army in Portugal. Every hour 
of my home duties was looked upon as tedious 
until the longed-for moment for joining my regi- 
ment on active service should arrive. Having ob- 
tained a short leave of absence, to bid my friends 
adieu, I joined a draft or detachment of two 
hundred men and eight officers, under command of 

Lieutenant Colonel S , at Kingston-on-Thames, 

and the next day we proceeded on our march to 

On the 29th, to the tune of a militia band, ac- 



companied by the cheers of the town's-people, we 
marched down to the sallyport, and embarked in 
smacks, to be conveyed to S pithead, where our ship 
lay. This was a vessel of 300 tons burden, called 
the ' Lord Eldon' an old creaky craft, by origin a 
collier, by transmutation a transport, remarkable 
for the narrowness of its capacity and the slowness 
of its motions. Although considered to be sound, 
experience betrayed its frequent leaky propensi- 
ties. Many now living remember the employment 
of such an old vessel by the State. Human genius 
has since applied a power to drive ships against 
adverse winds and mountainous seas, to roll car- 
riages at the rate of fifty miles an hour over the 
surface of the earth, and, annihilating time and 
space, to chain by its electric spark the lightning 
of heaven, to waft man's wishes " from Indus to 
the Pole." 

The conveyance of troops on board transports 
in those days was anything but luxurious, rapid, or 
even safe. After a month's tugging at our anchor, 
and bobbing up and down at Spithead, where 
contrary winds and foul weather detained us, at 
last on the 31st August, 1810, we weighed anchor, 
by signal from our Commodore Captain Mackenzie 
Praser, of the c Undaunted' frigate, and dropped 
down off Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight. On the 
following day (1st September), under convoy of the 
frigate and five brigs of war, 130 sail of transports 
and merchantmen passed through the Needles and 


lay down Channel with a leading wind. Foul wea- 
ther and adverse winds soon again beset us, and 
we took six days beating to windward before we 
reached the chops of the Channel and came off 

Although we had all started in the highest spirits, 
our imaginations were sobered by bad weather and 
boisterous seas; realities are very unsentimental, 
and sea-sickness is a sad undignified disorder. The 
weather however now became calm, and the wind 
light though fair; we began to get our sea legs 
and recover our appetites. A boat was lowered and 
sent on shore for fresh provisions; on its return 
towards evening, the breeze freshening, we made 
sail again, and took leave of our country, as the 
setting sun lingered over and lighted up the fast 
fading shores, bays, and hills of our dear native 
land, and then we stretched away toward the blue 
waters of the Bay of Biscay. A fresh and favour- 
able breeze throughout the night enabled us to run 
down nearly a hundred miles, when morning showed 
us the French coast off Cape Ushant. The wind 
still freshened, and we continued our course di- 
rectly across the Bay. 

For a couple of days it blew very hard, and the 
f Lord Eldon * (as usual) sprang a leak. Our men 
pumped cheerfully and manfully night and day, 
our officers sharing with the men spell and spell 
about. The leak relieved us from the smell of 
bilge-water; a dead calm succeeded, and we lay 


like a log rolling to and fro in a tremendous swell ; 
as the old song has it 

" There she lay- 
All the day 
In the Bay 
Of Biscay oh." 

The sea was like glass ; every board of our old 
brig creaked like the shoes of its namesake, and 
the canvas napped round the masts in helpless idle- 
ness, whilst we were exposed to a burning sun on 
deck and to stifling heat below. Our impatience 
to advance seemed to increase in proportion to 
our inability to move. Next the measles broke out 
among our men, and did not spare the officers; 
two hundred privates and ten of us were crammed 
into a space not sufficient to contain half the num- 
ber. Our Captain, who much more frequently had 
a glass at his mouth than one at his eye, had never 
extended his maritime knowledge beyond a voy- 
age with coals from Shields to London and back 
again, and was perfectly innocent of ever taking 
an observation. He was a red-faced, gooseberry- 
eyed, drunken Northumbrian skipper ; and his ves- 
sel, the ci-devant collier, an ugly, slow, and leaky 
drowning machine, always going to leeward like a 

From the various accounts that reached us pre- 
vious to our sailing, our people were expected to 
be in movement before we joined them, and we 
feared the delay would, as it did eventually, pre- 


vent us from sharing in a general action with the 
enemy. At length a favourable wind sprang up, 
and the first symptom we had of nearing the land 
of our future operations was coming in sight of the 
Berlengas rocks. The practice of sailing under 
convoy in time of war, with so near a neighbour as 
France for an enemy, was lying to every evening, 
for the heavy sailing vessels of the fleet to come 
up and the convoy to be well together during the 
night, for fear of the enemy's cruisers cutting off 
any straggling vessels. This was annoying to the 
headmost ships, that were leading with a favourable 
gale, and here again we lost way. I know not whe- 
ther in this circumstance originated my disgust for 
travelling in slow company, but ever since I cer- 
tainly have strenuously avoided " slow coaches." 

One still moonlight night, as we ran down the 
coast of Portugal, we heard what we fancied to be 
the distant roll of cannon from the shore. After 
listening with mute attention, we ventured to com- 
municate our hopes and fears to each other, and 
to a grim old sailor who was standing silently on 
the forecastle. On being applied to for his opinion, 
he rejoined, with a tug at his waistband, a twirl of 
his quid, and a turn on his heel, " It's the breakers 
on the shore." This dry correction of our innocent 
inexperience was highly relished by us. 

On the 14th we came within sight of the rock 
of Lisbon. A Portuguese pilot came on board : he 
was unlike any of his breed in our own country, 


and we gazed on his dress, his mahogany-coloured 
countenance and Jew-like profile, with curiosity. 
We neared the coast, but, the wind failing, we did 
not enter the Tagus till the evening of the next 
day. Few, except such as have been some weeks at 
sea, can conceive the satisfaction of approaching 
land; but still fewer, without having experienced 
it, could enter into our feelings, as we passed up 
the Tagus in a fine summer evening of the month 
of September. The gardens in their richest foli- 
age, the scent from the shore of the aromatic pro- 
ductions of the South, the lovely coast, the magic 
beauty of Lisbon, its white mansions, convents, 
cupolas, palaces and churches, reflected in the blue 
waters of the Tagus, appeared like fairyland to us. 
All was new, both earth and sky ; and most of us 
were at that age when impressions such as these 
are perhaps the strongest ; we seemed as if we had 
fallen into another world. Our errand also, that of 
supporting our country's honour in arms, had its 
proud share in these pleasurable sensations. 

It was dusk before we let drop our anchor off 
Belem. An order from our commanding officer 
forbade our going on shore for that night. Under 
pretence however of getting a supply of vegetables 
and fruit, we manned a boat and landed on the side 
of the river opposite to Lisbon, where we obtained 
an abundance of fine grapes and fruit of all kinds, 
with some delicious wine. The state of our own 
country, which, from its long protracted wars against 


nearly all Europe, had excluded a free intercourse 
with foreigners, rendered all we saw of them doubly 
strange; their habits, manners, appearance, all were 
unlike our own, and this was the first time I had 
ever set foot on a foreign strand. 

The next day (the 16th) a portion of the officers 
were allowed to go on shore, and I was among the 
number. On landing I must confess the illusions 
of the previous evening were nearly dispelled, with 
regard to the lovely city we had viewed from afar : 
each step we advanced, filth in the greatest quan- 
tity and of the most disgusting nature presented it- 
self, accompanied by a corresponding stench ; and 
the strange figures, the uncouth noises, the appear- 
ance of representatives of every country in their na- 
tional dress, from Christian to Turk, congregated in 
one dense crowd, was fairly bewildering. Attention 
was no sooner attracted by one strange costume, 
than another still more curious diverted us, and 
so on in succession; till our sensations, agog as 
they were for novelty, required a double portion of 
the usual faculties, visual and auricular, to see and 
comprehend what passed before us. In addition to 
all this, on a nearer view I found one half the town 
consisted of ruins, from the great earthquake of 
half a century ago; the remaining mansions ap- 
peared but thinly inhabited, except by English of- 
ficers and employes , and the gayest part of Lisbon 
was occupied by mercantile houses and shops. 

We arrived at the inn, a dirty, spacious, dear, 


and badly attended hotel, with good wine and good 
living, as we thought at least, who had just quitted 
a transport. On landing, we went to report our 
arrival to the Commandant, Colonel Peacock, of 
the Guards*, who asked us all to dine with him the 
next day. Mr. Stuartf, our Minister, gave a ball, 
to which we were also invited. Neither " love nor 
money" however could procure me a bed at the 
inn that night ; all were filled ; some by officers who 
had come down on leave from the Army, others 
by those either embarking, or, like ourselves, dis- 
embarking ; the squadron of our navy in the Tagus 
also took their share of the inns when they came 
on shore. Our men being still on board the trans- 
port, we were not entitled to billets ; I contrived at 
last, through a brother officer who had just left the 
army, to obtain a bed in the apartments of a friend 
of his, the Superior of a monastery. The goodly 
Monk, who bestowed upon me a lodging, was a lively 
comfortable-sized clerico, who, according to his own 
account, had dreamed of more things in his philo- 
sophy than saying his prayers ; and he spoke of the 
world, and what was passing in it, as one who was 
on good terms both with it and himself. 

In the evening we attended our dinner and ball ; 
the latter was very gay : the military and naval 
uniforms of our own country mingled with those 
of Portugal and Spain ; the dark eyes and expressive 

* Afterwards Lieut. General Sir Warren Peacock, K.C.B. 

f Afterwards Lord Stuart de Kothsay, our Ambassador at Paris. 

countenances of the Lisbon ladies, contrasted with 
the fair faces of our countrywomen, formed a novel 
and agreeable mixture. The women of Portugal 
have fine eyes, which are their principal attraction, 
and more expressive countenances than the tamer 
beauties of the North ; but their skin is generally 
sallow, and neither in clearness of complexion nor 
regularity of feature can they vie with their neigh- 
bours the Spaniards or the natives of Italy. With 
respect to the Portuguese men, they are generally 
a Jewish-looking race, and in the higher orders 
there prevails a diminutiveness of stature which is 
anything but dignified. 

The hospitable entertainment and affability of 
our Minister were well known and appreciated by 
the whole of the British Army during this event- 
ful period. At this ball we heard that intelligence 
had been received, that Marshal Massena with 
120,000 men had taken Ciudad Rodrigo, and ad- 
vanced ; and a sharp affair near Almeida, on the 
Coa, had taken place between our Light Division 
under Craufurd and the advance-guard of the 
French army ; that Massena was about to invade 
Portugal, and that our army was already in move- 
ment. We had it also intimated to us from the 
Commandant, that we were to shift our transports 
to others, and go by sea round to Mondego Bay. 

On our way from this gay scene, conning over 
the new order of our destination, we encountered 
an army of half- wild dogs in the streets. These 


animals, in conjunction with pigs, were the sole 
scavengers of Lisbon; and as night approached, 
the canine dustmen came forth from their dens in 
the ruins of the town, to feed on its filth, and fight 
over it half the night through. Sometimes even 
they were bold enough, if interrupted at their 
orgies, to attack foot-passengers. They were not 
destroyed, in consequence of the samtary service 
they rendered to his Majesty of Portugal's capital. 

On the 18th, after taking leave of my comely land- 
lord, who treated me with much kindness and hos- 
pitality, and who in very good English gave me a 
general invitation to come and lodge at his con- 
vent whenever I returned to Lisbon, I hastened on 
board. The best part of two days was now occupied 
in shipping and unshipping, and laying in a little 
stock of provisions, to carry us on our new excur- 
sion. My lot, together with that of the Colonel, a 
Captain, with one other Sub. and a hundred men, 
fell to the good ship ' N. K/ transport ; and on the 
21st of September, in company with three other 
vessels containing detachments of other regiments, 
we left the Tagus with a fair wind. 

At Mondego Bay the forces under Sir Arthur 
Wellesley had landed in 1808, previously to the 
battles of Vimeira and Rolica and the Convention 
of Cintra. The object of sending us round by sea 
was to save time and fatigue to our men, and to 
disembark nearer to our army. The wind how- 
ever proved most unfavourable, and we were seven 


days at sea, performing a distance of twenty leagues. 
Supposing we should accomplish our voyage in 
forty -eight hours at most, the provisions were in- 
sufficient, and we were necessarily placed on very 
short commons ; the day we arrived, the whole of 
our sea stock, ship's allowance and all, being con- 

We landed on the 28th at Buarcos, nearFigueiras, 
a small fishing-village on the north side of the bay ; 
we reached the shore from our transport in uncouth 
Portuguese boats and in a tremendous surf. One 
of our men, Chissel by name, was lost in the ope- 
ration of landing ; the boat was overcrowded, and 
the poor fellow sat on the gunnel ; a rolling ground- 
swell sea struck us as we neared the beach and 
pitched him overboard. He was a swimmer, but 
the weight of his knapsack sank him, to rise no 
more. Here we heard rumours of our army having 
been sharply engaged with the French under Mas- 
sena, who had advanced into Portugal with 100,000 
men. At Figueiras, as soon as our men were bil- 
leted, I went to seek my quarters, and, not speak- 
ing a word of Portuguese, met with some difficulty. 
At last I found myself lodged in an onion -loft, 
together with an Irish hospital mate, the purest 
piece of unsophisticated potato I ever beheld, with 
red hair, original ideas, and a splendid brogue. 
I was simple enough to believe that this was 
" roughing it !" four campaigns in the Penin- 
sula convinced me to the contrary ; and on many 


a rainy and houseless night I looked back to my 
onion-loft with regret. 

The next morning (29th) five hundred of us, de- 
tachments of different regiments, amongst whom 
were some of the 95th Rifles under Captain Beck- 
with*, had three days' rations served out, and we 
left Figueiras to march to Montemor-o-Velho, a 
small pretty village in the Val de Mondego. The 
river Mondego rises in the mountains of the Serra 
d'Estrella, near Guarda, takes its course through 
the province of Beira, and waters a most lovely 
valley, to which it gives its name; after passing 
the towns of Celerico and Coimbra, it debouches 
into the sea at Figueiras. Before the rains set in, 
it is fordable almost everywhere. 

On our arrival at Montemor, we were scarcely 
settled in our quarters, when we distinctly heard a 
cannonade, no " breakers on the shore" this time ! 
our island ears were now first saluted by the sound 
of hostile shot. On the 30th, by daylight, we were 
on our march to Coimbra, and had proceeded about 
ten miles, when we encountered the sick and 
wounded, with baggage and stores, proceeding in 
boats down the river to embark for Lisbon, and 
were informed by them that our army, in an action 
on the 27th, had repulsed the enemy with severe 
loss, and that the Portuguese troops who shared 

* This Officer, after serving with great credit to himself through 
the Peninsular campaigns, reached the rank of Colonel, and is a 
C.B. He lost his leg at Waterloo. 


in the engagement had greatly distinguished them- 
selves. Our forces however were in full retreat 
for Lisbon. After about an hour's more marching, 
we perceived at a distance on our left some small 
bodies of cavalry slowly descending a mountain ; 
our telescopes were immediately put in requisition, 
and enabled us to discover them to be some of the 
French advanced posts. There was not amongst 
us a single round of ball-cartridge, none having 
been served out to us on landing. A staff-officer 
at this moment rode up, and said all our army 
had passed to the left bank of the river, and that 
our brigade was, to our agreeable surprise, at a vil- 
lage not far distant from us on the opposite side. 
We consequently forded the stream up to our 
waists, and in an hour after joined our battalion at 
a place called San Martinho do Bispo, within a mile 
of Coimbra on the road to Lisbon. San Martinho, 
for a Portuguese hamlet, was well looking, prettily 
situated, and thriving, the Bispo no doubt deri- 
ving profit therefrom. After delivering over the 
detachment of our men to the commanding officers 
of the regiments which formed our brigade, and 
the officers being posted to the different companies 
of our battalions, our next step on joining our 
corps was making the acquaintance of those of our 
future comrades to whom we were as yet unknown. 
Amongst them I remember well being struck by 
the appearance of an intellectual-looking, high- 
spirited, laughing little fellow, agreeably lounging 


in a many-coloured bed-gown out of a cottage 
window in the main thoroughfare of our village. 
He seemed to stand in high popular estimation, 
and was warmly greeted by all who passed. Poor 

W ! I here first made his acquaintance, from 

which an intimacy and friendship resulted, that 
lasted forty years and ended only with his life. 

Our brigade, after a night's march from the 
Serra de Busaco, had reached the village only in 

the morning of the day we joined them. B , 

my brother Sub., belonged to the company to which 
I was attached. We were quartered together, and 
after the evening's refreshment, such as it was, we 
partook of the same mattrass, laid on the mud floor 
of our cabin, sleeping in our clothes and in our 
cloaks, divesting our feet only of our boots. This 
was a new situation ; a wakeful night ensued, and 
I had ample time to ponder on the starry sky 
through the glassless and shutterless window. My 
more veteran comrade however slept soundly. 

We were now within, a short distance of the 
French Army, whose name and exploits had carried 
terror throughout Europe. The following morning, 
long before it was light, we were roused from our 
lowly sleeping-berth by bugle and drum, and sallied 
forth. The stars shone brightly ; we hurried to our 
alarm post, and marched to an olive grove outside 
the village. The animated scene, being the first of 
the kind I had witnessed, was both interesting and 
stirring. The well-bronzed features and muscular 


forms of our soldiers and new comrades, the light 
way in which they spoke of fatigue, privation, and 
danger, the hearty laugh, loud and long, and the 
careless indifference of what the morrow might 
bring, indicated the right stuff for soldiers ; such 
men were not easily overcome, and, even if worsted 
by overwhelming numbers, would afford an enemy 
no cheaply-bought victory. 




The division to which my regiment belonged, 
amounting to nearly 7,000 men, were receiving 
rations : the busy hum of so many voices, the glare 
from the bivouac fires glancing on the arms, accou- 
trements, and hard visages of the men, the dark 
olive foliage overhanging this picture of apparent 
confusion, struck most forcibly upon the eye of a 
novice. Soon, however, one roll of the drum si- 
lenced all the busy noise; we stood to our arms, 
and a bayonet might be heard to fall. The column 
moved slowly off; daylight discovered our whole 
army in full retreat along parallel roads. The un- 
practised eye, unaccustomed to view large masses, 
would estimate the columns, as seen in loose 
marching order, at double their real force, from the 
extent of ground they covered. For miles, over 
hill and dale, through heath and wood, clouds of 
dust betrayed their direction and line of move- 


tnent ; and even amidst the dark pine-forests, the 
masses were to be detected by the glancing of the 
sun upon their arms, which, according to Horse- 
Guards' regulations, it was thought necessary to 
keep as bright as the brass knocker of a suburban 
villa. New as this was to the uninitiated, it was 
nothing in comparison to the accompanying flight 
of the entire Portuguese nation. It was a fearful 
sight to behold a whole nation's panic. It looked 
as though no soul that could move had remained 
behind. The strong, the healthy, and the young 
were in arms ; the old, the decrepit, delicate wo- 
men and young children, were on foot in flight, 
wandering through forest, heath, and mountain 
in by-paths and cross-roads over the face of their 
own fatherland, to avoid the destroyer. They car- 
ried on donkeys and mules, in their arms and on 
their heads, all of their small worldly chattels they 
could convey ; the rest was buried or destroyed, and 
nothing was left to their foe but bare walls and 
empty habitations. The French might revel in a 
wilderness of dwellings they were indeed masters 
of the soil, for none were left to share it with them. 
Portugal, as far as they occupied it, had become 
part of Napoleon's empire. 

About mid-day a short halt ensued, and while 
thus resting, a numerous body of the staff* of the 
army galloped by. At the head of this group a 
remarkable and distinguished-looking officer cast 
a hawk's-eye glance at our column, as he rapidly 



passed, it was Wellington ! This first view quite 
realised my previously conceived idea of the hero 
of India, of the Douro, and of Talavera, now fresh 
from the field of Busaco. This then was the mind, 
which moved not only an army, but a nation in its 
defence ! 

On the 5th we continued our retreat and passed 
through Leyria, the inhabitants of which had al- 
ready fled ; the town was left desolate ; confusion 
and plunder had done their work, and the provost- 
martial his duty, by hanging two British soldiers 
detected in the act of robbing. An hour after our 
column had passed, the French cavalry came up 
with our rear-guard, and a skirmish ensued. Our 
light artillery were greatly pressed by the enemy, 
so as at one time to force them to hasten their 
pace considerably, to avoid being cut off. After 
their retreat through the town, large casks of wine 
were extracted from the cellars and rolled into the 
streets, so as to block up the road, and by their 
contents to tempt the new-comers to refresh them- 
selves. This expedient was hit on by Lieut. -Colo- 
nel Elley, D.A. Adjutant-general of Cavalry. Hav- 
ing been sent back with a communication to our 
rear, I happened to witness the commencement of 
this scene, which perfectly answered the desired 

Until now the weather had been fine, although 
too warm for us, who were unaccustomed to it; 
but the evening we arrived at Aldea Gallega, the 


rains commenced, and came down in torrents snch 
as are seen only in the South. We were forced to 
follow Corporal Trim's plan, and by an additional 
allowance (for want of better) of that detestable 
alcohol, called in Portuguese agua ardente, "we 
kept out the radical moisture by pouring in the 
radical heat." I slept this night close to my com- 
pany, on the gentle declivity of a ploughed field ; 
and having taken up my berth in a furrow, found, 
when I awoke next morning, that it had been 
turned into a purling stream, which had run in at 
my stock and out at my boots. 

On the 8th we reached the small village of San 
Quintinho, at the foot of the position which Lord 
Wellington had long before pointed out and forti- 
fied. Here our Division, for the first time since 
I had joined them, was placed under cover. This 
was the place chosen by Lord Wellington to dis- 
pute with the enemy the possession of Portugal, 
and on this spot hung the future fate of the Pe- 

On the 9th we halted, and were kept all day 
in constant readiness to turn out. Next day we 
moved to Sobral, somewhat in advance of our po- 
sition, and where the acclivity commences. 

On the 11th, accompanied by an engineer of- 
ficer, I was sent, in command of a working-party 
of thirty men of my regiment, to mine a small 
bridge which crossed a stream about five miles from 
the village of Sobral, toward Torres Vedras. The 


engineer set us to work, but with most inadequate 
tools, which were soon rendered useless by the 
massive stone-work, and the strength of the ce- 
ment. Whilst thus employed, Sir Lowry Cole's 
Division (the Fourth) passed in rear of my party ; 
and I perceived a general movement throughout 
our army, which was occasioned by the advance of 
the enemy. Our different divisions were moving 
into the alignment assigned to each : shortly after, 
a column of French cavalry made their appearance 
in front of the bridge. The tools my men had to 
work with were almost all broken; the engineer 
officer had left me; the rest of the army were 
moving to the rear, and a column of the enemy's 
cavalry was at no great distance in my front: si- 
tuated as I was, some hours must have elapsed 
before the work could be accomplished; and no 
powder had been provided to load the mine when 
finished. In this dilemma, after due considera- 
tion, I determined to retire, as no good could result 
from our remaining. 

We had scarcely come to this determination, 
when we perceived that some of the enemy's dra- 
goons had passed a ravine to our right, and al- 
ready occupied the road by which we had come. I 
now ordered my men to load, and we made for a 
vineyard, which we gained just as the advance of 
the column of cavalry had reached the bridge, and 
joined those who had passed the ravine lower down, 
and who intended to cut us off. Sending some of 


my men to straggle up the slope of the vineyard, 
as if we had all retired toward the heights, I con- 
cealed the others behind a stone wall, within fifty 
yards of the bridge; and as the enemy reached 
this, and were crowding upon it to pass, we gave 
them a well-directed volley, which unseated some, 
and rolled over the horses of others, and then 
moved quickly through the vineyard towards the 
hills. By this time it became quite dark, the rain 
fell heavily, and a thunderstorm commenced : our 
uncertain steps were guided, in a pitch dark night, 
only by the flashes of lightning. We wandered 
for hours among these hills, without a track to 
guide us, or a notion where we were, sliding in the 
rich clammy soil at every step we took : at last, by 
mere chance, we stumbled on a small mountain 
village, the principal house of which had been de- 
stined for Lord Wellington's head-quarters. This 
was Pcro Negro. 

Here we found out the destination of our bri- 
gade from some of Lord Wellington's orderlies be- 
longing to our corps ; and having procured a Por- 
tuguese guide, in about an hour we rejoined our 
battalion on the march, whilst wading a moun- 
tain-torrent. Shortly after we came to a few miser- 
able cottages, into which our brigade, with one 
of German artillery, took shelter for the night. 
We had just made fires to dry and warm ourselves, 
when we heard an uncommon disturbance in the 
next hut, which was only divided from that we 


occupied by a partition of loose stones, doing duty 
as wall for both dwellings. It appeared that the 
ammunition of the German reserve artillery, com- 
manded by Major Hartman*, had been stowed 
away in this place, and that the large fire we had 
lighted had produced considerable alarm, its sparks 
having found their way through the loose stones 
into the next apartment, and falling on the cais- 
sons of powder : wet blankets were applied, which 
shortly set all right again. Two Portuguese sol- 
diers, however, who had taken shelter amongst 
us, as soon as they understood the nature of the 
danger, made off, and, in spite of the inclemency 
of the weather, we saw nothing more of them that 

An hour before daylight on the 12th we stood 
to our arms, and our baggage was sent to the rear. 
Daylight broke, but still all was quiet, and our 
men proceeded to cook their rations. We occupied 
the ridge of a steep ravine intersected by vine- 
yards ; another hill rose in front of this, not quite 
so high as that on which our line was formed, but 
sufficiently so to exclude any view of the enemy 
beneath ; we were consequently in like manner hid- 
den from them. On this hill, separated from us 
by the valley, the advanced posts of our Division 
were placed, consisting of the 71st regiment under 
Colonel Cadogan, and some Portuguese Cacadores; 

* Now General Sir Julius Hartman, commanding the artillery 
of the King of Hanover. 


they were supported by the 42nd, the 79th High- 
landers, and the 50th regiment; on the extreme 
left, in rear of some windmills, lay the Light In- 
fantry of the Guards. All remained quiet till about 
mid-day, when the enemy, after rolling some empty 
casks up to their advance posts in our front, busied 
themselves by filling them with earth, and thus 
made a breast-work, behind which they collected a 
sufficient force to advance, and make a reconnois- 
sance of our position. They came on with that 
spirited liveliness with which French troops always 
move to the attack; but the 71st and the gallant 
Colonel Cadogan were not slow to meet them, and 
in conjunction with the Cacadores drove them back. 
The Colonel, at the head of his regiment, leaped his 
horse over the casks into the midst of the enemy, 
who were eventually driven down the hill faster 
even than their ardour brought them up. Thus 
closed the affair of the day, and no doubt their 
curiosity was satisfied; as never, whilst we held the 
position of the lines, did they again show any si- 
milar intrusive propensities. 

Many English travellers whose curiosity led them 
at this time to visit our army, being of course 
non-combatants, were known amongst us by the 
name of amateurs. The continent of Europe be- 
ing closed against England, except the footing we 
had obtained for ourselves in Portugal, most of the 
young men of travelling propensities used to favour 
us with their company. It certainly was pleasant 


to see one's friends and acquaint ance, but some- 
what troublesome and difficult to dispose of them 
hospitably and safely, where lodging, feeding, or 
fighting was in question; we found it awkward, 
and they no doubt disagreeable. I remember Lord 
George Nugent and H. Fox (subsequently attached 
to our Legation in the United States) reaching the 
army. Fremantle, the adjutant of the Coldstream, 
though small in stature, was great in friendship 
with Lord George,, " that young man about town," 
who arrived at Zibreira when we were all doubled 
up in a lump in a large quinta, the men below, the 
officers above, six and seven in a room together. 
He arrived wet, hungry, fatigued and sleepy, and 
therefore required clothes, food and rest. In size, 
Nugent was no chicken, and Fremantle, even if he 
had burst in the attempt, could not, like the frog 
in the fable, have emulated him in bulk; the differ- 
ence being somewhat between that of a gallant 
cock-sparrow and a balloon. Poor Fremantle was 
a warm-hearted fellow, replete with suggestive re- 
source, full of fun, and on the occasion of adminis- 
tering to the wants of his friend, proved himself 
an adaptive (to coin a word) as well as inventive 
genius. As clothes would not fit, by way of coat 
he lent his friend his grey cloak, which, from its 
curt proportions, resembled a mistranslated female 
garment, of flannel texture, surrounding the colossal 
shoulders of his full-blown friend. Then, in the 
most hospitable and friendly manner, he adopted, 


without leave, that vara avis in terris, a cooked 
turkey (the real property of the battalion surgeon) , 
which had been left, in much negligent simplicity, 
on the window-seat in the verandah of the quinta, 
in readiness to deck the expectant table of an ad- 
joining mess. I speak feelingly, as I know those 
who suffered from the mal-appropriation, " et j'y 
etais, j'en sais bien mieux le conte!" Fremantle 
and his friends proving more eager ornithologists 
than the original possessor, the bird was dissected, 
and the doctor found nothing but its respectable 
skeleton in a naked dish under his window next 
morning, considerately left there as an object for 
his scientific contemplation. Finally Fremantle 
afforded his friend a corner on the soft side of a 
deal board, on the floor, in a dormitory, surrounded 
by the soothing and hush-a-by sounds of five other 
snoring fellows. 

After the affair at Sobral, we moved from Zi- 
*breira to our right, and toward our rear to some 
wretched cabins called Casaes. Our village (if a 
few straggling houses could be dignified by the 
name), was composed of edifices built by no means 
with too great a nicety to the exclusion of cold or 
wet. The one I occupied, which might be taken 
as a specimen of the whole, was composed of two 
apartments, an upper and a lower one ; the latter 
was intended for a stable, as is the custom through- 
out Portugal. Into this the men of the Company I 
belonged to were packed, while in the upper rooin, 
divided from the lower region by a floor full of 


holes and of uncertain solidity, were quartered the 

captain, myself, another subaltern, and W , the 

assistant-surgeon of our battalion, a most enlight- 
ened man and charming companion. An external 
wooden staircase from the village street led to the 
half-demolished door of our garret ; an opening like 
that to a hay-loft immediately opposite the en- 
trance served as window, and the tiles, through 
which many an aperture was visible, admitted wind 
and water, the rain washing the officers before it 
reached the men below. Some husks of Indian corn 
occupied the corner on the left of the door ; two 
others were filled by large wooden chests, formerly 
enclosing the worldly goods of the poor proprietors, 
but now made to serve us as table and bed; a knap- 
sack was our pillow, and our cloaks our covering. 
A whole army of fleas in close column were in pre- 
vious possession of this apartment ; they took up an 
imposing position under the corn-husks ; we were 
determined to dislodge them. They disputed the 
point inch by inch, and the encounter with so for- 
midable a phalanx was not ended without the loss 
of blood on both sides; and, although the main 
force had been routed, night after night much de- 
sultory skirmishing ensued. 

" Oh ye gentlemen of England 
Who live at home at ease, 
How little do you think upon 
The dangers of the Fleas /" 

This, for the best part of five weeks, was our home; 
the French were more al fresco, with certain ex- 


ceptions, than even we were, and as time jogged 
on tliey hutted themselves. 

One dark windy night I was on advance piquet, 
not far from the large central fort; the French 
sentries after dusk were pushed to within some 
fifty yards of ours ; the orders were, not to fire 
unless the enemy made a movement in advance ; 
we habitually found them equally civil, and a tacit 
understanding seemed to exist that we should not 
shoot one another unless absolutely necessary. An 
hour before daylight the General of the brigade 
visited my piquet; it was a hazy morning, and 
daylight broke slowly ; a fog hung in the dells and 
over the undulating ground in our front; there 
was an upright rock at some little distance in ad- 
vance of the piquet, which looked, in the uncer- 
tain light, like a French vedette with his long 
drab cloak; the General fell into this mistake, and 
thinking the presumed vedette had advanced too 
near, ordered me to fire. Knowing thoroughly 
the ground in my front, I ventured to assure him 
of his error, at which insinuation he was pleased 
to be angry and peremptorily ordered me to obey. 
Of course my compliance was immediate ; but the 
echo of my sentry's shot came back as flat a denial 
of the presence of an enemy as the sound of a bul- 
let against a rock could well venture to express in 
contradiction to a brigadier. At this moment Lord 
Wellington rode up ; he asked what had occasioned 
the firing; the brigadier had an awkward excuse 


to make, and to avow his incorrectness of vision ; 
Lord Wellington, turning sharply round, asked him 
how old he was ; the brigadier replied, " Forty- 
four." "Ah!" said Lord Wellington, "you will 
be a great soldier by the time you are as old as 
I am." The future Duke at that time was only 
forty-one. We remained unmolested in our posi- 
tion, but in constant readiness to meet with prompt 
attention any visit our opponents might think 
proper to pay us ; for this purpose our men slept 
in their accoutrements and we in our clothes. An 
hour before daylight each morning we stood to 
our arms j the baggage was packed and sent to the 
rear; clear roads, a clear field, and no "impedi- 
menta," was the order, and thus we remained till 
daylight made all objects distinct in the distance. 
Lord Wellington was with us almost daily before 
dawn, and generally took up his post with his te- 
lescope near our advance-piquets, or at the large 
fort which looked down on Sobral and the enemy's 
posts, till satisfied by personal observation in broad 
daylight, that no movement of attack was contem- 
plated by the enemy, after which he generally re- 
turned to Pero Negro. 

In the evening we often rode to the advance- 
posts, to hear their bands and see their parades ; 
sometimes our gun-boats on the Tagus, under 
Lieutenant Frederick Berkeley*, would wake them, 

* Now Admiral Berkeley, M.P. and one of the naval Lords 
of the Admiralty. 


up with a cannonade from the river. About this 
time Lord Wellington received orders to invest 
Marshal Beresford with the Grand Cross of the 
Bath, in honour of which he gave a grand ball and 
supper at Mafra, to which all officers who could 
be spared from duty were invited. Being on out- 
piquet that day I was not of the party, but I heard 
it was to be regretted that more hunger than good- 
breeding was evinced by some of the invited, whose 
care for themselves was so great as not quite to 
follow the maxim of " eat what you please, but 
take nothing away." It would be hard, however, 
in this instance, that the faults of the few should 
be visited on the many; at the same time there 
could be no doubt that, in the too general invi- 
tation given by Lord Wellington, stronger marks 
of the kitchen and pantry preferences than those 
of the drawing-room were displayed by some of 
the guests. 

On the 14th of November, in the night, after 
more than a month's sedative contemplation of 
our heights, our ravines, our forts, our breast- 
works and mined bridges, Massena broke up from 
before the lines of Torres Vedras. In vain had he 
cast a longing look to find a practicable entry, 
none such offered, and he retired in disgust : the 
grapes were sour ! 

On the 16th we followed, and on our line of 
march, in the wine-house of a quinta, midst empty 
Casks, we found the body of a young French sol- 


dier; his face was covered with flies, his figure 
emaciated, as if he had died from inanition, his 
uniform in tatters, and without covering he lay on 
his back upon the ground where he had probably 
died and was left. Were it not disgusting by its 
irreverence, it would have been amusing to see the 
tricks they played with their own dead, stowing 
them away in all inconceivable places, enclosing 
them in large chests, placing them upright in Ml 
uniform in the recesses of houses and convents, 
tying them on to the top of windmills with their 
arms in their hands, pointed as if levelled at those 
who advanced, and, worse than all, throwing them 
down wells ; one body, with its shako on, was found 
seated in the pulpit of a roofless chapel, with its 
musket in the position of presenting arms. 

We reached Alemquer, where some little skir- 
mishing had occurred that morning with the French 
rear ; it was left totally empty, and in an extraordi- 
nary condition of filth ; no windows, no doors, all 
were destroyed for firewood ; the weather was incle- 
ment as far as rain went, the roads frightful in re- 
spect to mud ; not an atom of provender for man or 
beast to be had, Massena having been starved out 
of his position before he left it. After seeing our 
men under cover, several of our officers were hud- 
dled, by way of quarter, into the large room of a 
house in the main street, without fire or the means 
of making one. In a kind of hiding-place I dis- 
covered a sack of Indian corn, and looked on this 



as a prize for our poor horses and mules, till, on 
examination, I found fine pieces of glass industri- 
ously broken and mischievously mixed amongst it, 
so that it would have killed an ostrich. 

Next day, in equally bad weather, and in the 
dark, we reached Cartaxo, and were stowed away 
under cover in an empty convent, with the same 
facilities of comfort as the previous night. 

On the 19th, on assembling we heard that the 
enemy were only at some eight miles' distance, and 
that we were to attack them. The morning was 
fine and the report exciting. Our Division, after 
marching some two hours and a half, came to the 
turn of a road leading down to a long causeway, 
which crossed an extensive marsh ; above and im- 
mediately opposite we once more recognized in line 
and column and light-infantry order, ensconced 
in olive groves and in a strong position behind 
abattis, the persons we were seeking to follow with 
so much trouble in such very bad weather. The 
Light Division were to attack on our right, and we 
were to storm this long causeway. Old Brigadier- 
general Cameron (afterwards Sir Alan Cameron), 
who was jealous that our brigade instead of his was 
destined to lead the Division, informed us that, in 
his opinion, if our brigade were to lead, "there 
would be very few of His Majesty's Guards left to 
tell the tale." With this admonition and in a dis- 
appointed mood he left us, and we were much 
amused at the gallant old soldier's manner of ex- 


pressing his envy at being deprived of the post of 

The preparation for attack by the Light Divi- 
sion and ours was all made, and on reaching the 
head of the causeway of Calhariz, we received 
orders to load. The causeway was eight hundred 
yards in length ; our orders were to pass the Rio 
Mayor, over which the bridge and causeway were 
thrown, in close columns of sections right in front 
(the width admitting no greater extension), and, 
on reaching three parts of its length, to jump the 
parapet on our left down into the marsh, throw 
out skirmishers, form line quickly, and storm the 
height before us; the Light Division were to at- 
tempt to pass these marshes lower down to our 
right; and Brigadier-general Craufurd, although 
he tried to disguise it by hanging on his horse's 
neck, looked full of impatient anxiety to receive 
the order to advance, but it came not. 

" Owing to a mistake of the road by a brigade 
of guns*, the attack could not be made as was in- 
tended, and in fact ordered; and in the course of 
that night and the following morning so much 
rain had fallen, as to render it impracticable to 
cross the Rio Mayor and its marshes. We still, 
however, continued to work on with our troops on 
the right of the position of Santarem, on which 
side it appeared most practicable to approach it; 

* See the Duke of Wellington's Memorandum of Operations, 
No. 504. 


until the 22nd, when the enemy brought up troops 
of the 8th corps from their rear, and drove in our 
piquets beyond the bridge of Calhariz. From this 
circumstance, and others, of which we obtained a 
knowledge about the same time, it was evident that 
they had their whole army between Santarem and 
the Zazere, and not merely Regnier's rear-guard, 
composed of the 2nd corps. 

The question of attacking the enemy on their 
position of Santarem was then well considered, 
and the notion was relinquished, as the plan was 
impracticable at that moment, on account of the 
state of the roads and rivulets, as well as because 
it was obvious that the enemy had their whole 
army collected in certainly the strongest position 
in Portugal. The original order to attack was 
only meant to take place on their outposts, to 
make them show their troops their position, and 
their intention to hold it. This being counter- 
manded, after three days' occupation of a few 
houses, called Valle, on the 23rd of November our 
Division countermarched to Cartaxo, which was 
Lord Wellington's head-quarters for the winter. 
The Light Division was left on out-post duty on 
our side this famed causeway, in front of Santa- 
rem. And thus ended the campaign of 1810. 




Head-quarters, Cartaxo, December 1st. 

Here we were still riding at single anchor, ready 
to wait on our neighbours early or late, who, being 
only at a comfortable country visiting distance, 
might step in at our breakfast or dinner hour any 
day; we therefore for some time, both night and 
day, remained ready dressed and accoutred to meet 
them, and pay all possible and necessary attention 
to their requirements, and that at the shortest 
possible notice. In time things became more set- 
tled, and, finding that our French neighbours had 
become domesticated in their abode, and had os- 
tensibly settled themselves down during the rainy 
season and bad weather, we in turn began to think 
of rendering ourselves a little more comfortable 
than empty houses, shutterless windows, and hinges 
without doors were likely to allow. We set about 
in our quarters improving the property of the in- 


habitants during their absence ; for as yet they had 
not returned. As no fireplaces existed, we built 
chimneys (assisted by the ingenious bricklayers of 
our corps), repaired doors, made window-frames 
and filled them with oiled paper. We concocted 
portable tables and chairs, and stretchers for bed- 
steads ; and at last, after sleeping for three months 
in our clothes, actually had sufficient confidence 
and hardihood to go to bed. I shall never forget 
the comfortless feeling experienced in confiding 
my person, for the first time, to a pair of cold stark 
naked sheets. I could not sleep a wink. But at 
length we accustomed ourselves to repose in our 
beds, although all were prepared, at a moment's 
notice, to turn out of them. 

Our men were quartered in an empty monastery 
on entering the town by the road from Lisbon, our 
officers in the houses near them. Sir Brent Spen- 
cer, who commanded our Division, had a strange 
aversion to the noise of drums, and, in winter- 
quarters, ordered them on no account to beat. By 
some accident a bell, unstolen and unbroken, had 
been left by the French in the belfry of the empty 
monastic dwelling appropriated as a quarter for 
one of the battalions ; their adjutant, Freniantle*, 
who particularly disliked Sir Brent's partiality for 
silence, was somewhat puzzled how the men and 
officers were to be warned for assembly j and, as he 

* Fremantle, previously and afterwards A.D.C. to the Duke 
of Wellington. 


could not drum them, he satisfied himself by or- 
dering the drummer to toll his battalion to parade. 
When it came to his knowledge, this ingenious 
substitute amused Lord Wellington much ; it cer- 
tainly was ridiculous enough on week-days (al- 
though more appropriate on Sundays) to assemble 
thus. Lord Wellington was very regular in at- 
tending divine service at our church parade, but 
always limited the time of its duration, saying to 
the chaplain, " Briscal, say as much as you like in 
five-and-twenty minutes, I shall not stay longer." 
This winter I frequently dined with Lord Wel- 
lington, and, on the first occasion of doing so, my 
attention was naturally fixed on observing the man- 
ners and conversation of our chief; they seemed 
perfectly natural, straightforward and open. He 
conversed with liveliness on most subjects. There 
was at this period a light-heartedness of manner 
about him, which betokened 'more of self-confidence 
than anxiety or care, and which gave an agreeable 
tone to the society around him. Although upon 
his acts depended the fate of nations, few, from ob- 
servation, could discover that he felt himself in a 
more responsible position than the youngest sub- 
altern of his army. He seemed to enjoy the boy- 
ish tricks of those about him ; weighty affairs did 
not appear to have impaired his zest for the play- 
fulness or jokes of his followers. At table he sel- 
dom spoke of military matters, and never of pass- 
ing events in Portugal; the news of the day from 


England, the amusements, or social state of Lis- 
bon, or allusions to foreign countries, most fre- 
quently formed the topics of his conversation. 

One day I met there Mr. Sydenham, a friend of 
Lord Wellington's, lately arrived on a visit to him. 
In the course of conversation at table, this gentle- 
man expressed his satisfaction at Lord Welling- 
ton's apparent good looks and health, and added : 
"With the details you have to think of, the nume- 
rous affairs, both political and diplomatic, you have 
to provide for, added to the military responsibility 
you have to bear, I cannot conceive how you can 
sleep in your bed ?" "When I throw off my clothes 
I throw off my cares, and when I turn in my bed 
it is time to turn out/' was Lord Wellington's short 
and characteristic reply. 

The sudden change from a state of action and 
excitement, where daily difficulties were to be over- 
come or daily wants provided for, to one of com- 
parative inactivity in our winter-quarters, was flat 
and unprofitable. Without books or anything to 
break the tedium vita, the arrival of a mail from 
England was the great event. When newspapers 
reached us they were read with avidity ; they con- 
tained old news of ourselves, besides endless specu- 
lative opinions on the result of the war, each in the 
plenitude of their simplicity, or, according to their 
own political views and interests. With one we 
were all glorious and successful, with another Lord 
Wellington was an ignoramus and we were all 


going to a place not to be named in print. On this 
account I know no position more irksome than that 
of an English general commanding an army in a 
distant foreign land. He has his country's ene- 
mies before him and his country's friends behind 
him, and it is difficult to say which show him, or 
desire to show him, less mercy. I am inclined to 
think the easier of the two to deal with is the enemy 
in front. Few can tell the harm that was done 
during this war by newspaper reports and extracts 
from the letters of officers from Lisbon and else- 
where, lingerers about the hospitals and depots, 
men ignorant and discontented, who wrote all kind 
of trash, which by force of transit across the waves 
was transformed into "important intelligence." 
Lord Wellington, in writing on this subject to his 
brother the Minister in Spain, Mr. Henry Welles- 
ley, from Pero Negro, says, " The freedom of the 
Press is undoubtedly a benefit, and it is difficult 
possibly to fix the limits beyond which it shall not 
go. But if the benefit consists in the information 
which the Press conveys to the nation and the world 
in general, it appears to be necessary that the infor- 
mation should be founded in fact, and that discus- 
sions upon the conduct of military operations and 
the characters of officers who carry them on, should 
be founded on real knowledge of events, of the true 
state of affairs, of the character of the troops, and 
above all of the topography of the country which 
may be the seat of the operations." Every English- 


man admires and would support the freedom of the 
Press ; but as discretion is the better part of valour, 
so ought it to be of the power of journalism, as there 
is no end to the mischief that may be done for five- 
pence. The enemy frequently gained intelligence of 
importance to them through our papers, of which 
otherwise they would have been wholly ignorant ; 
and at one time Lord Wellington even, in a des- 
patch to Lord Liverpool, expressed a hope that his 
own despatches would not, on this account, be fully 

Personal considerations now began to have weight 
with us, and our happiest hours were when the even- 
ing closed in and we met together; the inhabitants 
had begun to return to their homes, provisions had 
become more plentiful, and when dinner (the best 
we could provide) was served in our separate quar- 
ters among the various coteries, many a young happy 
face shone by the light of our merry wood fire 
many a joyous evening of mirth and laughter was 
passed by the side of our stone chimney. Those 
days, alas ! are now long gone : the space of nearly 
half a century is creeping on between them and 
us : different fates betided the different beings who 
then were warmed by the cheery spirit of youth 
and Lamego wine. Hopes, like our blood, ran 
high and gilded the future for us ; but time and 
reality have cast deep shadows over those early as- 
pirations. Where now amongst immediate friends 
are to be found Crofton, Jack Fremantle, George 


Fitz-Clarence, Paulet Mildmay, Gurwood, Tom 
Bligh, Wentworth Burges ? All gone ! The first fell 
in the sortie of Bayonne, the last in an enemy's 
embrasure, leading a storming-party at Burgos; 
the third of these died a member of the Upper 
House, the fourth a member of the House of 
Commons ; Fremantle a general, Gurwood a secre- 
tary to the Duke of Wellington; and poor Tom 
Bligh died, not as he wished, in the field, but of 
protracted consumption at Valence. Alas ! time has 
made sad havoc among friends as well as foes; 
but memory peoples the earth again with them, 
calling back to mind all their wit, humour, hila- 
rity, and good feeling, till one is tempted, as in 
the ci-devant jeune homme, to exclaim, " Oh ! ma 
jeunesse, ma jeunesse, ou est ma jeunesse?" 

On the 23d of January the Marquis de la Ro- 
mana died suddenly, from bursting a blood-vessel, 
as he was dressing to dine with Lord Wellington. 
He had arrived not long before at Cartaxo in 
bad health, having left his corps of 10,000 men 
in the Alemtejo and at Badajos. He was greatly 
regretted, being one of the best, if not the best, 
of the Spanish generals. Lord Wellington wrote : 
" In him the Spanish army have lost their bright- 
est ornament, his country their most upright pa- 
triot, and the world the most strenuous and zeal- 
ous defender of the cause in which we are en- 
gaged ; and I shall always acknowledge with gra- 
titude the assistance which I received from him, 


as well by his operations as by bis counsel, since 
he had been joined with this army." Lord Wel- 
lington and his staff, besides many other officers, 
attended the removal of the body, which was taken 
down, on the carriage of a six-pounder gun, in 
funeral procession to Velhada on the Tagus. On 
this occasion I made the acquaintance of a very 
amiable man and gallant soldier, who not only 
acted but evidently felt as a chief mourner for his 
departed friend. General Don Miguel Alava had 
to deplore not alone the loss he had personally 
sustained, but that by which his country might 

The surrendering of Badajos a few months after 
through treachery amply realised his fears. This 
Spanish nobleman's fate was singularly chequered. 
He had fought against Nelson at the battle of Tra- 
falgar, under Gravina; on our entering Portugal 
and Spain he was attached to Lord Wellington, 
as Spanish aide-de-camp, to communicate with the 
Spanish armies, and during the whole of the Pen- 
insular War he remained in the same post. His 
estates near Vittoria had been plundered and taken 
possession of by the French, and the battle subse- 
quently fought there was on part of his property. 
When the war was over he returned to Madrid ; 
and Ferdinand the -Seventh, merely because he 
gave his Majesty some honest advice concerning 
the Cortes, rewarded his services by putting him 
in prison, where he remained forty days in close 


confinement. At the personal and urgent inter- 
ference of the Duke of Wellington he was libe- 
rated ; he afterwards became ambassador from the 
grateful monarch who had incarcerated him, to 
Louis the Eighteenth, and on the return of Na- 
poleon to France he attended his Majesty in his 
flight from Paris to Ghent. Alava was present, 
in attendance on his old chief the Duke, at the 
battle of Waterloo, although he was diplomatically 
attached to the King of France. Here he was 
again wounded, notwithstanding which he dictated 
a despatch to his sovereign, one of the best and 
most eloquently descriptive of any published of that 
great event. 

Soon after Waterloo I met him at Paris, at the 
table of the late King of Holland (then Prince of 
Orange) ; they had been brother aides-de-camp to 
the Duke in the Peninsula, and their intimacy was 
great ; the party was small, the weather was hot, 
and the wine was cool. Old times were talked of; 
position was forgotten, and sociability prevailed; 
the conversation was on the late great action, when 
the Prince said, forgetting that his old friend was 
now the representative of the Spanish monarch. 
u Ah ! Alava, what would the Spaniards have done, 
had they been at Waterloo?" 

" Very much what the Belgians did, your Royal 

In 1823, Alava formed one of the Cortes, and 
was at Cadiz with King Ferdinand ; being a clever 


and moderate man, lie did his best to accommodate 
matters on the arrival of the French under the 
Duke d'Angouleme, but he found it impossible, 
from the uncommon want of honesty in the cha- 
racter of King Ferdinand. Again he was exiled, 
his estates were confiscated, and he remained in 
banishment until recalled by the Queen Regent, 
on his being named to the Cortes. During his 
exile he principally resided in England, and was 
a constant guest of his old friend the Duke of 
Wellington, both at Apsley House and at Strath- 

But to return from this digression, we fre- 
quently rode to our outposts at the causeway, 
where our sentries and those of the enemy were 
placed, quite within conversational distance of 
each other. The French officers at first came 
across and conversed with ours, and even invited 
them into Santarem, to attend theatricals they 
had got up among themselves. An order from 
Lord Wellington however put a stop to this ; for, 
although evil communication may not always cor- 
rupt good manners, it is just possible that the 
very purest intercourse may be the means of con- 
veying inconvenient intelligence. Among the idle 
Club3, which an assembly of officers off duty was 
called, there was a story current at the outposts 
concerning the Assistant Adjutant-general of the 
Light Division, who, at the table of General Crau- 
furd, his chief, used to ask the invited guests to 


drink wine, and looking the object of his intended 
attention full in the face would say, " Captain 
Taylor, a glass of wine?" The officers, on com- 
paring notes, found that in like manner all had 

been so baptized, the fact being that Captain 

called every officer whose name he did not know, 
whatever his rank might be, "Captain Taylor." 
When spoken to on this subject by a friend, he 
replied, " Well now, what would you have me do ? 
I don't know that their names are not Taylor; 
there is great probability that I guess right, and 
sometimes there is applicability when probability 
is wanting; and as for Captain, as Gibbet says 
in the play, 'that is a good travelling name/ and 
so when I don't know a man, I always call him 
Captain Taylor. Were I to call out Smith or 
Brown, it might create confusion. Taylor is more 
exclusive, and fits better ; there are many of that 
breed most distinguished, from Stultz downwards." 

Such was the prattle of a merry, gallant, amu- 
sing, good-looking, and active man, now a portly, 
good-natured bon vivant general, who has served 
in three out of the four Quarters of the globe. 

This winter Cornet Strenuwitz, of the Hano- 
verian Hussars, particularly distinguished himself 
on outpost duty, taking prisoners a whole French 
piquet, considerably more numerous than his own, 
without losing a single one of his party : he dis- 
covered that they were too far removed from their 
supports, and in the night he cut them off. To 


be outdone in alertness and manoeuvre annoyed 
Messieurs les Francois much ; retaliation is sweet, 
and they laid a plan to circumvent the cornet. 
Unluckily for them, Strenuwitz knew the country 
even better than they did ; and, having gained in- 
telligence of their intention from a deserter, when 
in a dark night they advanced round his flank to 
carry off their prize, he and his piquet were no- 
where to be found. Disliking to advance too far, 
for fear of coming on our supports, the enemy 
'were prudently drawing back towards their own 
outposts, when they were surprised by a dashing 
charge, and cut down by a body of cavalry, com- 
ing from the very point on which they were di- 
recting their retreat : all of them, including their 
officer, were brought in prisoners to Cartaxo, 
more or less wounded. Lord Wellington was 
much pleased at this conduct, named Strenuwitz 
in his despatches, and recommended him for pro- 

In spite of their occasional rencountres, when 
brought into accidental proximity, the French and 
English soldiers showed themselves noble ene- 
mies, and betrayed far greater estimation of the 
national qualities each possessed, than they did 
of the countries the latter were sent to defend 
and the former to conquer. This feeling was ob- 
servable during many opportunities of intercourse 

* He afterwards distinguished himself in a cavalry encounter 
in the south of Spain. 


on outpost duty, symptoms of it were displayed 
in small acts of courtesy. An officer of the 16th 
Light Dragoons (whose name not having noted at 
the time I forget,) had, on making a reconnois- 
sance, remained imprudently somewhat too long 
in observation of one of the enemy's advance 
guards. On his attention being drawn to his 
flank, he perceived that, if he did not gallop for 
it, he would be cut off from his own piquet and 
made prisoner. It had rained all night he was 
enveloped in a well-saturated cloak, which embar- 
rassed his movements, and added to the weight 
his horse had to carry. Before setting spurs to 
his charger, therefore, he at once unclasped his 
mantle and let it fall to the ground; and thus 
lightening himself and steed he escaped. Some few 
days afterwards, a French dragoon was seen to ad- 
vance towards our outposts; he approached one of 
our vedettes as near as he thought prudent, and 
making a sign to him, let fall something, and rode 
back under cover of his own advance-posts. On 
examination it was found to be the cloak, aban- 
doned by the officer of the 16th a few days pre- 
viously, his name and regiment being marked on 
it. Many other similar acts of good feeling and 
politeness came to my knowledge during my ser- 

Amongst others of my comrades I was a sports- 
man ; woodcocks were numerous, and snipes were 
to be found on the low marshy grounds. We had 


at this time no dogs, but Lord Wellington kindly- 
allowed officers of his acquaintance to take his; 
and we frequently did so, to our pleasure and 
profit ; as not only the sport, but the result of it, 
when a good bag was made, was most acceptable, 
where luxuries for the table by no means abounded : 
many a pleasant hour was thus passed, which tended 
to maintain our good health, and increase our 
good cheer. In preparation for a day's sport, 
two of us were seated one fine morning at break- 
fast in my quarter, which was on the right hand, 
half-way down the main street, on entering the 
town from Lisbon; the windows looked on the 
street, but at the back there was an open space 
or kind of yard, with a well in common to many 
houses adjoining : we were in a hurry to proceed 
to our day's sport, but found our servants dila- 
tory in making the necessary preparations for us. 
After sundry hailings and ejaculations, sympto- 
matic of our impatience, one of our people at last 
came to us, with a face in which was depicted 
surprise, risibility, and disgust. On our inquiring 
what had happened, he replied, " Oh, we have got 
him out \" 

" Got whom out V we asked. 

" Why, sir, in drawing water, I had the misfor- 
tune to drop the camp-kettle into the well, and in 
trying to fish it out with a hook, I pulled up by 
the collar of his great-coat a dead French infantry 
soldier !" 


We had been drinking the water for a month ! 

Abont this time we received a supply of Con- 
greve rockets from England, which were to be 
experimented on by onr army. Lord Wellington, 
thinking the enemy the best butt to try them 
against, rode down to a low, marshy piece of 
ground, which ran between the river and the 
heights of Santarem, and was separated from the 
town and French position by the confluence of 
the Rio Mayor with the Tagus. We commenced 
operations, at which, amongst others, I happened 
to be present. The wind was high, and blowing 
freshly in our teeth; the height to which the 
rockets were to be directed necessitated a propor- 
tionate degree of elevation: live shells were attached 
to each rocket. After considerable preparation they 
were discharged; but, to our no small inconve- 
nience, instead of prosecuting their flight toward 
the enemy, the wind carried them perpendicularly 
up, and then brought two of them back amongst 
us : this made a scurry, and we galloped off in dif- 
ferent directions, to give room for the shells to 
explode harmlessly. After this trial Lord Wel- 
lington, in the Peninsular campaigns, made no 
further use of deadly weapons of such uncertain 
direction; even in Belgium, in 1815, a brigade 
of rockets was sent out to him; but he turned 
three parts of the brigade into guns, saying, that 
he " preferred nine-pounders." 

On riding one day toward our outposts, to our 


left, in the direction of Azambuja, we saw, on 
reaching them, a number of French staff-officers 
collected in our front. Amongst these was a Mar- 
shal of France, whom we recognized by his cha- 
peau plume : they approached our advanced sen- 
tries, and at first rode along them ; when the Mar- 
shal, through his telescope, began to reconnoitre 
our ground, and the troops which held it. After 
this he once more approached, and came within 
some two hundred yards of our out-sentry, belong- 
ing to the Portuguese Cacadores. This was consi- 
dered a little too familiar, and displayed an inten- 
tion of becoming more intimately acquainted with 
us and our situation than we felt inclined to per- 
mit of. The officer on duty, an English captain 
in the Portuguese service, waved his hand to the 
cortege of French staff-officers, as a polite signal 
for them to retire ; but the Marshal and his Staff 
paid no attention to the obliging hint : this neg- 
lect induced our captain to order his sentry to fire, 
which he did so successfully as to bring the Mar- 
shal immediately down from his horse, the shot 
li aving passed through his face. It was Junot who 
was thus wounded ; and the English captain of 
Cacadores gave the sentry who made the shot a 
dollar, as a mark of his consideration for the cor- 
rect view he had taken of things in his front. 

On the 4th of March, 1811, a private of the 
2 1th Kcgiment was condemned by a court-martial 
to be hanged for desertion and theft. The sen- 


tence was carried into execution on the 5th, in pre- 
sence of detachments of the regiments of the First 
Division, to which the culprit belonged, and the fol- 
lowing order was promulgated from head -quarters. 

" Adjutant-general's Office, Cartaxo, 
March 4th, 1811. 

"1. As the object in assembling troops in any 
station to witness a punishment, is to deter others 
from the commission of the crime for which the 
criminal is about to suffer, the Commander of the 
Forces requests that, upon every occasion on which 
troops are assembled for this purpose, the order 
may be distinctly read and explained to them, and 
that every man may understand the reason for 
which the punishment is inflicted. 

"2. As, for the two years during which the 
Brigade of Guards have been under the command 
of the Commander of the Forces, not only no sol- 
dier has been brought to trial before a general 
court-martial, but no one has been confined in a 
public guard, the Commander of the Forces de- 
sires that the attendance of this brigade at the ex- 
ecution tomorrow may be dispensed with." 

Rumours came of the enemy being about to 
move ; and having lost a valuable baggage-mule on 
our advance from the lines to the causeway of Ca- 
lhariz, I now made it good by purchasing two at 
head-quarters, from Lord March*. 

On the night of the 5th of March, the campaign 

* The present Duke of Eichmond. 


of 1811 commenced, by the enemy breaking up 
from their position at Santarem, and beginning 
their retreat from Portugal. Every military mo- 
tive existed to induce them to have taken this step 
long before, and they should have continued their 
retreat when they broke up from before the lines ; 
but political reasons outweighed all other consi- 
derations. Applying a commonplace phrase to 
the explanation of a diplomatic motive, " What 
would Mrs. Grundy have said " had they at once 
abandoned their original intentions, and retired 
from Portugal without a semblance of retaining it ? 
Now all Europe, and Spain in particular, was Na- 
poleon's Mrs. Grundy, in whose eyes he did not 
wish to display either weakness or failure. If the 
enemy preferred remaining cut off from their sup- 
plies and communications, and starving a little 
longer, instead of falling back to refit and refresh 
themselves for a future struggle, we of course could 
have no objection, especially as we were near our 
own supplies. The patience, prudence, and self- 
denial of our Chief, in forbearing to attack the ene- 
my, and in bearing the opprobrium cast on him in 
consequence by the ignorant or foolish in England, 
were remarkable, but were now amply rewarded; 
for, ill supported and inadequately supplied as he 
had been by the Ministers of that day, still, by 
husbanding his resources, he had gained his object 
without risk or bloodshed, and all was prepared to 
follow up the enemy. 


On the 6th, after three months' halt, and at half 
an hour's warning, we left Cartaxo. Every corps 
of our army was now in full pursuit of the enemy. 
We entered Santarem, which had been the head- 
quarters of the French army during the winter. 
We found things in better order than we expected, 
with the exception of a few houses the enemy had 
gutted and burned : among other transmutations 
we found a church turned into a theatre, with ap- 
propriate decorations ! It was a fine, well-built 
town, superior in size and situation to Cartaxo. 
As this last place will probably not again be men- 
tioned, I may here say that the British troops sent 
to Portugal by Canning, in 1827, found the town 
so little changed or improved, that even the names 
of the officers, and the official quarters assigned to 
them, were still to be found written in chalk on 
doors and window-shutters, as they had been left 
in the year 1810 ! For seventeen years they had 
remained uneffaced from the different houses : was 
this laziness, economy of soap and water, or for 
love of " auld lang syne" ? I doubt the latter. 

We reached Purnes on the 7th, and halted the 
8th. It was a pretty village, romantically situated, 
with a stream running through it, and with some 
picturesque waterfalls not far distant. This village 
was in a wretched condition ; the few inhabitants 
left in it, who either could not or would not fly 
on the advance of the French, t>r who had at- 
tempted a return to their homes during the occu- 


pation of the enemy, were absolutely starving ; 
they had been robbed of all they had, and every 
violence had been done them. 

If the result of the advance of the French into 
Portugal was calamitous, the scenes witnessed on 
their retreat were deplorable. Destruction, incen- 
diarism, violation, and murder, in short, desola- 
tion, marked their course. Their steps were traced 
by the conflagration of towns, villages, and quin- 
tas. From the mountain-heights might be seen to 
rise the smoke from the valleys, where the habita- 
tion of the peasant and mansion of the noble were 
alike consumed. If the enemy could not exist in 
the country, they had determined that nothing 
should be left for others. 

Well might Lord Wellington, at this time, write 
as follows to Lord Liverpool, in reply to financial 
objections for supplying the necessary men and 
materials to prosecute the war in the Peninsula. 
He says, under date of Santa Marinha, 23rd of 
March, 1811 : 

" I shall be sorry if Government should think 
themselves under the necessity of withdrawing from 
this country, on account of the expense of the con- 
From what I have seen of the objects of the 
French Government, and the sacrifices they make 
to accomplish them, I have no doubt that, if the 
British army were for any reason to withdraw from 
the Peninsula, and the French Government were 
relieved from the pressure of military operations 


on the Continent, they would incur all risks to 
land an army in his Majesty's dominions. Then, 
indeed, would commence an expensive contest; 
then would his Majesty's subjects discover what 
are the miseries of war, which, by the blessing of 
God, they have hitherto had no knowledge of; and 
the cultivation, the beauty, and prosperity of the 
country, and the virtues and happiness of its in- 
habitants, would be destroyed, whatever might be 
the result of the military operations. God forbid 
that I should be a witness, much less an actor in the 
scene ! and I only hope that the King's Govern- 
ment will consider well what I have above stated 
to your lordship ; will ascertain, as nearly as is in 
their power, the actual expense of employing a cer- 
tain number of men in this country, beyond that 
of employing them at home, or elsewhere ; and will 
keep up their force here on such a footing as will, 
at all events, secure their possession, without keep- 
ing the transports, if it does not enable their com- 
mander to take advantage of events, and assume 
the offensive." 

The French being unable longer to occupy Por- 
tugal, Massena declared he would render it not 
worth living in ; and, as far as lay in his power, he 
kept his word. On the 9th our Division moved by 
Torres Novas, through a bleak and dreary country, 
in bad weather, and did not reach Pialva, where we 
halted for the night, till ten o'clock p.m. 

On the 10th, again, through bad weather and 


worse roads, we followed in the enemy's track to 
Cacarcs. On the 11th, after being on the march 
from half-past six in the morning until ten o'clock 
at night, wc bivouacked in the vicinity of Pombal. 
Being sent to communicate an order to one of 
our other brigades, I met in the dark, in an olive 
grove, a heavy dragoon of ours who had lost his 
way. He asked me where he " could find head- quar- 
ters ;" the cavalry-man, to my surprise, had an Eng- 
lish officer, in the uniform of his regiment, tied to 
his back. This was Lieutenant , an Irish Ca- 
tholic, belonging to the th regiment, who had not 
long before deserted to the enemy, and had been 
re-taken in the skirmish at Pombal that morning, 
and was now being conveyed a prisoner to Lord 
Wellington. It was proved, afterwards, that the 
man was insane ; and we had the satisfaction never 
to hear anything more of him. 

From the 11th to the 15th there were very sharp 
affairs daily between the enemy and the Light,, 
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Divisions, at Pombal, 
Redinha, Condexa, Miranda, Foz d'Aronce, and 
the Ceira river. The commencement of that at 
Redinha was fine in the extreme. The day was 
clear and bright, the mountainous tract of country 
beautiful, and the ground on which we deployed 
and moved forward under fire of the enemy's guns, 
was extensive in space and grand in view. The 
Light Division were hard at work, as they always 
were, skirmishing with activity ; the curling smoke 


rising from the hollow ; the sharp rattle of mus- 
ketry ascending from the woods and the valleys 
beneath our front; the booming of cannon-shot 
through the air, and the echo of the whole from 
the distant hills ; the solemn advance of our sup- 
ports in three lines, by division, backed by co- 
lumns, oh ! it was a noble and gallant sight to 
look upon, more like some pleasant movement of 
troops in review, than the deadly and destructive 
reality of strife ; but, as we gained ground, the re- 
sults, though favourable, left behind their marks 
of mischief. We marched past the dead, the dying, 
or the wounded, to that success which, at the time, 
made those casualties less heeded by the unharmed ; 
but, like some rattling leap taken in a fox-chase, it 
did not do in sober mind to look back on what you 
had gone over. The day was gained, the fatigue 
was passed, and rest at a merry bivouac fire re- 
freshed the weary for the coming day and contest. 
They both came, but that of the morrow was not 
so exciting. The enemy, believing a larger force 
was on the north bank of the Mondego than 
merely Wilson and Grant's outposts, and having 
made some ineffectual attempts to pass the bridge 
at Coimbra, and some fords where they met resist- 
ance, abandoned their idea of retreating in that 
direction: and as the Third Division now hung 
on their left flank, they took the road from Con- 
dexa to the Puente de Murcella, burning Condexa 
as they passed through it. 




The following day was the affair of Casal Nova. 
Early dawn brought with it an intense fog, which 
lasted for some time after sunrise ; our chief having 
no taste for blindman's buff, we remained on our 
ground, unable to move ; gradually the mountain- 
tops began to show their heads, looking like so 
many islets swimming in the sea of fog beneath. 
At length the dense mass of mist rose, like a great 
curtain, from the valleys below, when was displayed 
to our longing eyes the glorious sight of the whole 
French rear-guard in martial array, in position, 
with the sun brightly glittering on their arms. It 
was a sight enough to make a dolt a soldier ! We 
moved the same scene of sharp contest ensued 
the Light Division ever gallantly sticking to them, 
and carrying all before them \ driving the enemy 
from hill to hill, across ravines, over streams, from 


valley to mountain, as we kept moving on in sup- 
port, occasionally halting, and then again nioving 
rapidly forward. The Light and Fourth Divisions 
had turned the enemy's left ; our Division, and 
the Fifth and Sixth, the heavy cavalry and artil- 
lery, moved on their centre. The French retreat 
at last became more rapid than regular ; confusion 
ensued amongst them ; but they gained the Pass 
of Miranda, burnt the town, and passed the Ceira 
that night. Their army was now compressed and 
crowded into one narrow line, between the high 
sierras and the Mondego river : they destroyed part 
of their baggage and ammunition, and left Mar- 
shal Ney to cover the passage with a few batta- 

We passed over the ground gained by our gal- 
lant light troops : the wounded who could not 
move to the rear were with the dead, lying as they 
fell. Among the former were to be found three 
brothers those noble fellows, the Napiers. Wil- 
liam and George, of the 43rd and 52nd, were ly- 
ing, severely wounded, not far from the roadside ; 
and Charles, who commanded the 50th, came up 
at this moment and joined his brothers, not being 
himself quite recovered from the wound he had re- 
ceived at Busaco. Here, then, were three of one 
family met together, each bearing on his person 
the most emphatic mark of having done his duty 
to his country ! They are now all general officers 
and Knights of the Bath, and have well earned 


their distinctions*. Sir Charles, previous to this, 
had been left for dead on the field of Coruria, and 
was so returned in the list of casualties : he had 
been found, however, by a Spanish peasant, and 
taken to his house, recovered, and, by the kindness 
of Marshal Soult, was liberated. On his return 
home, he found his family had been in mourning 
for him. His after career and services, in annex- 
ing Scinde, by conquest, to our Indian empire; 
and his brother William's merits as a soldier, and 
as the historian of the Peninsular war, are too well 
known and appreciated to need any remark from 
the writer of these pages ; he may be allowed how- 
ever to express his admiration of the talents of 
this distinguished family, who from, and long be- 
fore, the days of the great inventor of logarithms, 
Napier of Merchistoun, whether by sea, by land, or 
in diplomacy, serve their country to advantage, 
and never lose sight of their family motto, "Ready, 
aye ready." Near the Napiers, among others ly- 
ing wounded, was Captain Jones, a Welshman, and 
an acquaintance of mine : surgeons were scarce, 
which is generally the case when troops are skir- 
mishing over a wild, broken, and extensive country, 
in extended order. Jones was badly hurt, and, at 
my suggestion, our Colonel allowed our assistant- 
surgeon to look at him, on condition of the doc- 
tor's immediate return, as we \wiv hurrying on, 
and knew not how soon we might want his assist- 
* Sir Charles since this was written is dead. 


ance. I believe this medical officer aided the Na- 
piers in their necessity, as well as Captain Jones ; 
and if so, to this hour they know not who sent him. 
The following day, the enemy having retired in 
the night, we did not come up with them till four 
o'clock p.m. They had been cooking when our ad- 
vanced guard reached them. Lord Wellington ar- 
rived; and, casting a rapid glance at their strong 
position, ordered an instant attack. The Light 
and Third Divisions advanced immediately, and 
rather disturbed their culinary occupations, which 
were found in matured preparation, kettles and all 
on the fires. The visit of our advanced troops be- 
ing too sudden to give them time to carry off their 
provisions, our people appropriated these to them- 
selves, and followed the foe, the Light Division and 
Packers Portuguese attacking their right flank, on 
rough and rugged ground, the Third Division their 
left, which rested on the village of Foz d'Aronce. 
The Horse Artillery, galloping forward to a rising 
ground, opened their fire with a sudden and great 
effect. Ney's left wing was surprised, and fled in 
great confusion, rushing down to the bridge and 
ford, and were crushed to death or drowned in 
considerable numbers*. We had a rapid scamper 
of two miles at double-quick after the enemy this 
evening across the country, through muddy lanes, 
encumbered with asses and mules, which, incapable 
of further moving, had been hamstrung, and were 
* See Napier. 


thus maimed, poor brutes, to render them useless 
to us. Through thick pine-woods, without being 
able to see anything, we followed au pas accelere, 
direct toward our front, where the usual music pre- 
vailed; but in spite of all our efforts, we arrived 
only in time for Nightingale's brigade of our Di- 
vision to take a share in the fray, which was a suf- 
ficiently heavy one. Darkness now prevailed, and 
was increased by the gloom of the pine-forest ; the 
firing still continued, and we could see the flicker- 
ing of musketry between the trees, throwing un- 
certain and indistinct light on the objects around. 
The Light Division had driven the French rear- 
guard across the Ceira river with great loss. In 
the dark, one French brigade fired into another ; 
they blew up their spare ammunition, buried some 
guns, destroyed their baggage, lost an eagle, and 
suffered severely in killed and wounded in this ac- 
tion. Massena retired behind the Alva, yet Ney 
maintained the left bank of the Ceira until their 
remaining encumbrances passed. Thus terminated 
the first part of the retreat from Santarem. After 
this we took some five hundred more prisoners, who 
had been on a marauding excursion. Our Divi- 
sion had been in support of Picton's. Our bivouac 
was in the pine-wood; we were ordered to make no 
fires, we had no provisions, our baggage was not 
allowed to come up. It rained hard throughout 
the night, but we were directed to make ourselves 
as comfortable as we could. Next day some of us 


got a portion of donkey-flesh, cut from the corpses 
of those respectable animals left behind by the 
enemy, but minus salt, biscuit, or other addenda ; 
however, it was something, which was better than 
nothing. For the rest, we had been successful; 
for the result of these operations was, that Coim- 
bra and Upper Beira were saved from the enemy's 
ravages, and they were obliged to take for their 
retreat the road by the Ponte de Murcella, which 
enabled the Portuguese Militia, under Wilson and 
Trant, to manoeuvre on the right bank of the Mon- 
dego, which they had already prevented the enemy 
from passing, and they further continued to act se- 
verely on their flank, while the Allied Army still 
pressed on their rear. They had no provisions ex- 
cept what they plundered on the spot, and carried 
on their backs ; they still continued burning and 
destroying all they passed through of towns, vil- 
lages, quintas, and houses. 

While halting for further supplies from our Com- 
missariat, near the banks of the Alva, I found in 
a roofless house, which had been destroyed by the 
flames, a poor old man, lying on his own threshold, 
shot through the body ; a young woman, apparently 
enceinte, suspended by the neck to a beam ; and a 
child of tender age, lying at her feet, with its throat 
cut. And this was "glorious war" as carried on by 
the French army in Portugal, anno Domini 1811 ! 

Lord Wellington, about this date, writes on this 
subject as follows to Lord Liverpool : 


' ' I am concerned to be obliged to add to this ac- 
count, that their conduct throughout this retreat 
has been marked by a barbarity seldom equalled, 
and never surpassed. Even in the towns of Torres 
Novas, Thomar, and Purnes, in which the head- 
quarters of some of the corps had been for four 
months, and in which the inhabitants had been 
invited, by promises of good treatment, to remain, 
they were plundered, and many of their houses 
destroyed, on the night the enemy withdrew from 
their position ; and they have since burnt every 
town and village through which they have passed. 
The convent of Alcobaca was burnt by order from 
the French head-quarters ; the bishop's palace, and 
the whole town of Leyria, in which General Drouet 
had had his head -quarters, shared the same fate ; 
and there is not an inhabitant of the country, of 
any class or description, who has had any dealing 
or communication with the French army, who has 
not had reason to repent of it and to complain of 
them. This is the mode in which the promises 
have been performed, and the assurances have been 
fulfilled, which were held out in the proclamation of 
the French commander-in-chief; in which he told 
the inhabitants of Portugal that he was not come 
to make war upon them, but with a powerful army 
of 110,000 men to drive the English into the sea. 
It is to be hoped that the example of what has oc- 
curred in this country will teach the people of this 
and of other nations what value they ought to place 


on such promises and assurances ; and that there 
is no security for life,, or for anything which makes 
life valuable, excepting in decided resistance to the 

" Gallis fidem non habendam; hominibus levi- 
bus, perfidis, et in ipsos Deos immortales impiis/' 
said Cicero some two thousand years ago ; and so 
might the Portuguese people have well said of the 
descendants of these very Gauls. 

We crossed the Sierra de Moita, and moved down 
to the banks of the Alva ; here, having no further 
commissariat resources, we were obliged to halt, to 
await their arrival. To save land-transport, and to 
have our munitions nearer, they were sent round 
from the Tagus in transports to Mondego Bay. 

We had outmarched our provisions, in addition 
to which the Portuguese Government had, as usual, 
failed in supplying their own troops, who were then 
obliged to be furnished by our Commissariat; added 
to this, some of the new and tardily-expedited re- 
inforcements from England (which regiments ought 
to have reached us before we left Cartaxo), on their 
way up, against every order to the contrary, seized 
the commissariat supplies intended for us, and at 
this critical moment we were left without the means 
of following the enemy. Our Division had in con- 
sequence to halt, from the 19th, when we reached 
Sarzadas, to the 25th of March. On this occasion 
Lord Wellington wrote as follows : " In the night 
the enemy destroyed the bridge on the Ceira and 


retreated, leaving a small rear-guard on the river. 
The destruction of the bridge at Foz d'Aronce, the 
fatigues which the troops have undergone for seve- 
ral days, and the want of supplies have induced me 
to halt the army this day." Again he writes, under 
date of Gouvea, March 27th : " When I found that 
the enemy retired with such celerity from Moita, 
I continued the pursuit of them with the cavalry 
and Light Division, supported by the Third and 
Sixth Divisions; and I was induced to halt the 
rest of the army till the supplies came up." 

We all shared alike in commons so short, and 
were glad, when we could get it, to have an addi- 
tion of bullock's liver by way of a luxury. Neither 
Indian corn, bread, nor biscuit, was to be seen; 
and I remember giving a dollar for a ship's bis- 
cuit to a sergeant of the 42nd, who was coming up 
from the rear. During this recess from fighting, 
we heard from Lord March (who complained that 
nothing was going on) of the battle of Barossa, 
and, as a counterpoise to this, of the loss of Ba- 
dajos, surrendered by the Spaniards on the very 
day after the governor had received Lord Welling- 
ton's assurance that he should be relieved. It was 
thought that the commandant had his price; for, 
except a small breach, the defences were entire, 
and the guns still mounted. Had Romana lived 
to be there, this surrender, in all human proba- 
bility, would not have occurred. We now hutted 
ourselves during our halt; and being refreshed, 


provisioned, and washed in the river Alva, where 
our battalion was daily marched down for the pur- 
pose of ablution, we once more moved in advance 
from Sarzadas and Moita on Celerico. 

On the 29th, the Third, Sixth, and Light Divi- 
sions again advanced, to attack the enemy in the 
strong mountain position of Guarda. The wings 
of these Divisions were supported, on the one side, 
by the Portuguese Militia, on the other, by the 
Fifth Division; while ours and the newly-formed 
Seventh moved on the enemy's centre. The 
French, being thus turned on either flank, re- 
treated in confusion from this formidable post 
without firing a shot. 

On the 1st of April we moved toward the Coa : 
Wilson and Trant passed it below Almeida to our 
left ; the cavalry crossed the upper Coa on the 
right ; the Light Division were ordered to ford a 
little below; and the Fifth, with the artillery, to 
force the bridge of Sabugal. Our Division and the 
Seventh were in reserve, except a battalion sent to 
the bridge of Seceiras. It was conjectured that, 
after the enemy had quitted the position of Guarda 
without firing a shot, and had passed the Coa, they 
would continue their retreat without attempting to 
resist the passage of the river, especially as both 
Wilson and Trant, and our cavalry, had already 
passed it on both their flanks. 

On the 3rd, in anticipation of our Division oc- 
cupying Sabugal, I was sent forward with our bri- 


gade-major to take up quarters for my regiment. 
We met Colonel Jackson*", quarter-master-general 
of our division, who informed us we might save 
ourselves the trouble of proceeding further, as the 
French were still in possession of the town ; and 
that, in consequence of the fog, Colonel Waters 
had just been taken by the enemy's light cavalry. 
This being reported to Lord Wellington, he said, 
f ' Ah ! they have caught him, but they will not 
keep him." The prognostication showed how well 
he knew those under him. Waters, on being made 
prisoner, which occurred in the haze of the morn- 
ing, from mistaking in the mist a French patrol 
for Portuguese troops, was conducted before Mar- 
shal Massena ; who examined him very closely con- 
cerning our movements and intentions but gained 
very little information for his pains. The Mar- 
shal then offered him his parole, which Waters re- 
fused to accept : he was allowed however to retain 
his horse, a famous mare he called the Bittern ;f 
and, under a cavalry escort, was marched a clothe 
prisoner to Ciudad Rodrigo. On reaching this 
town he happened to be quartered, or rather con- 
fined, in the room of a house, the proprietor of 
which he had formerly known; he seized an op- 
portunity, and requested the Spaniard to get the 

* Of the Guards ; afterwards General Sir Eiehard Jackson, 
Commander-in-Chief in Canada. 

f Many years after, this man was turned out to grass by the 
Duke of Wellington in Strathfieldsaye Park, where she died and 
WM buried. 


rowels of his spurs sharpened, which was accom- 
plished without the suspicion of those who guarded 
him. Soon after this, he was conducted from Ciu- 
dad Rodrigo on his way to Salamanca between two 
gendarmes ; while thus situated, at the head of one 
column of infantry, and in the rear of another, one 
of the gendarmes halted and dismounted to tighten 
his horse's girths, when Waters also obligingly pulled 
up his horse, apparently to wait for him ; but at the 
same time, turning his mare's head toward the 
large wood which skirted the road, he plunged the 
spurs in his steed's side. She bounded forward, 
clearing all difficulties, and in the full gallop of a 
well-bred English hunter, bade adieu to all follow- 
ers and defiance to all obstacles : although instant 
chase was given, and shots fired after the fugitive, 
he gained the wood, adroitly threaded its intrica- 
cies, and escaped in broad day from his cavalry 
escort and the columns of French infantry ! In a 
week after his capture, he presented himself once 
more at head-quarters. On seeing Waters, Lord 
Wellington remarked, " Ah ! I said so ; they might 
catch him, but I knew they would not keep him." 
But to return : by some blunder of a staff officer, 
the attack on the enemy this morning was made 
too soon, none of the divisions of the army having 
reached their destined points ; it ended however in 
the defeat of the enemy, by the gallantry of the 
Light and Third Divisions passing the river, and 
forcing them to retire. This was a very sharp af- 


fair j our two divisions, the First and Seventh, took 
no share in it, but were planted for three hours 
with piled arms in ploughed ground, and in heavy 
rain, hearing (for it was too thick weather to see 
anything) the rattling fire sustained at no great 
distance. The affair lasted only an hour, but Lord 
Wellington said that this was one of the most glo- 
rious actions the British troops were ever engaged 
in. In this affair my poor friend Gurwood was se- 
verely wounded. After waiting thus unpleasantly 
and provokingly, we at length moved four leagues 
to our left, and got under cover at Angira de St. 
Antonio, a village more sonorous in name than 
accommodating in size; however, we were under 
shelter, and five of us, including the A. Q. M. 
General of the division, were stowed away, or con- 
fined, in a space about the size, colour, and appear- 
ance of a respectably-proportioned coalhole in the 
neighbourhood of Berkeley-square. 

Next day, the 4th, we halted in our delectable 
abode, having passed the night in as close relation 
to the poor inhabitants as sealing-wax to a letter : 
the worst was, that these inhabitants had inhabi- 
tants, who would not keep their distance, maugre 
our all lying in our clothes : it rained too hard to 
bivouac, and we could not conveniently cut off the 
communication of our too great proximity. Many 
sage and useful reflections suggested themselves 
to us, as to the advantage individually gained by 
young men travelling thus to see the world, and 


the knowledge of facts obtained by riding and 
walking through a new and wild country, without 
too frequently inhabiting houses, sleeping in beds, 
injuring our digestion by repletion, etc. After all, 
we were the best disciples of Epicurus, for the true 
Way to know the value of anything is to feel its 
want : the contrast from rough to smooth being 
transcendent, the enjoyment was in proportion. We 
had been able to calculate to a nicety the difference 
between the burning rays of a southern sun, and 
the winter bivouac amoug snowy mountains; be- 
tween food and its want, thirst without beverage, 
and fatigue without rest ; so we made ourselves 
happy, smiled at good fortune, and grinned and 
bore the bad; and, in opposition to every rule of 
arithmetic and calculation, made by the most cele- 
brated actuary of the most respectable life assur- 
ance company, still persevered in the desire and 
intention to engage and beat the enemy wherever 
they might give us an opportunity. The Peace 
Association might possibly consider these dark re- 
flections from a coalhole, but they were the best 
we could make from such an abode ; and we hope 
for forgiveness, in consideration of the real love we 
had for our country, and the ardent desire we had 
to serve it disinterestedly. 

On the 5th, as our brigade formed column to 
march, a dragoon of the First German Hussars 
brought forth a beautiful mare, which he was lead- 
ing with one hand, while in the other he held his 


pistol; she moved with difficulty on three legs; 
the fine creature had, the day before, received a 
musket-shot in her fetlock joint; the wound was 
incurable, and she was condemned by the veteri- 
nary surgeon to be shot. The hussar informed us 
that, by her dexterity and speed, the poor animal 
had more than once saved him from death or a 
prison in France ; and as he spoke of her merits, 
the tears ran down his hardened, weather-beaten 
and moustachioed face. He conducted his fated 
charger to the rear of our column; we saw that 
once or twice the poor fellow raised the loaded pis- 
tol to the creature's head, and then, looking sadly 
at her, took it down again. At length, in an 
agony of grief, he dashed the pistol to the ground, 
and covering his face with his hands, wept aloud ! 
He could not perform his duty, which one of our 
men was obliged to accomplish for him. 

We moved from Angira de St. Antonio, passed 
the Coa, through Sabugal, and over part of the 
ground on which the action of the 3rd took place, 
to a village called Nave. Next day we marched to 
Aldea Velha, and as our column, soon after day- 
break, was moving through the town of Alfyates, 
we saw Lord Wellington, who had apparently just 
risen, and was lounging out of window, looking 
gaily at us as we passed. He seemed in high spi- 
rits and well pleased, as well he might be; for 
the previous action at Sabugal had driven the last 
Frenchman out of Portugal, with the exception 

72 CONDUCT OF THE ministry. 

only of the garrison of Almeida and such as were 
his prisoners. 

Thus gloriously and satisfactorily were vindicated 
Lord Wellington's views, and his capability of de- 
fending Portugal. This defence, long planned and 
well digested, was now effectually executed ; a large 
party in the English Cabinet had been strongly 
averse to the undertaking, and I cannot do better 
than show, from the best authority, in what way 
and by whose decision Wellington and his army 
were allowed to save Portugal and to remain in the 
Peninsula. Many years after the war, I was dining 
with Lord Maryborough, when he related that his 
brother, the Duke of Wellington, communicated in 
detail to the Government his plan for the defence 
of Portugal. These proposals were laid before the 
Cabinet. It so happened, that the Ministers were 
nearly divided in opinion, and came to no decision 
on the subject. Eventually however they agreed 
to submit the question to the King in Council, al- 
though the Prime Minister, Mr. Percival, did not 
incline to a continuation of the Peninsular war. 
When the King was informed of the circumstances, 
he determined this important matter in the fol- 
lowing concise manner : " Eh ! what, what ! Lord 
Wellington is a very obstinate man, I suppose he 
must have his way." 

In these few words was decided one of the most 
serious and eventful questions in the policy of our 
country; for it determined not only the fate of 


England, but it had a most powerful effect on that 
of all Europe. It was only one year after this that 
the poor old King was placed in confinement ; at 
the time, his Majesty at least showed more sense 
than about one-half of his Cabinet. Later, how- 
ever previously they had opposed or subsequently 
ill- supported these measures, the dissentients took 
credit to themselves for the successful result, and 
willingly would have had the nation believe that it 
was " all their own thunder." 

Secret expeditions, descents for inadequate ob- 
jects on unhealthy coasts in the worst possible sea- 
son, were more congenial to the understanding of 
such would-be statesmen. Had the troops sent to 
Walcheren reinforced Lord Wellington in Portu- 
gal, the saving of life would have been great, the 
expense not greater, and the result quite different. 
All these miscarriages in our military policy at a 
critical moment in an eventful war, were engen- 
dered by the idea of creating a " diversion " in fa- 
vour of somebody. Our Government certainly suc- 
ceeded, as most people laughed, except those who 
caught the Walcheren fever. Lord Porchester's* 
motion in the Commons for "inquiry into the 
origin and conduct of this expedition to our op- 
posite coasts," sufficiently showed, as far as the 
"origin" went, the prevailing excesses of small 
minds in great places; and as to the "conduct of 
the expedition," the well-known lines 

* Lord Porchester, afterwards second Earl of Carnarvon. 


" The Earl of Chatham, with his sword drawn, 
Stood waiting for Sir Richard Strachan ; 
Sir Richard Strachan, ' longing to be at 'em,' 
Stood waiting for the Earl of Chatham," 

leave no further description of this melancholy his- 
tory necessary. 

From Aldea Velha we moved on to Forcalhos 
(a frontier village of Portugal) . Here we experi- 
enced very cold weather, with a fall of snow. Out 
of thirteen horses and mules belonging to diffe- 
rent officers, and enclosed for the night in one 
yard, some thrifty fellow, of more good taste than 
morality, stole the two mules I had purchased of 
Lord March just before we moved from Cartaxo. 
However much, on some occasions, it is desirable 
to be an object of preference, I could have dis- 
pensed with the advantage now ; and had I been 
acquainted with Oriental sayings in those days, I 
should have expressed a wish that the purloiner 
of my mules might for ever have " a jackass sit 
on his grave." A year after I discovered that the 
culprit was a Spanish muleteer, and I recovered 
one of the animals. My loss in horse and mule 
flesh since my arrival in Portugal amounted to 
one hundred pounds, besides the risk, on this oc- 
casion, of being obliged to leave my baggage be- 
hind an inconvenient idea to reflect on. * How- 
ever, by the obliging assistance of our battalion 
surgeon and the commissary of our division, it was 
conveyed till I could provide myself with fresh 
beasts of burden. 


On the 9th we entered Spain, and occupied the 
frontier village of Almadilla. A brother Sub. and 
I were quartered in the entrance-room of a cot- 
tage, which served for parlour, kitchen, and all ; we 
were doubled up with the inhabitants, six or seven 
poor Spaniards, who were cooking and eating, at 
various hours of the day, a mixture of oil, cab- 
bage, and garlic, with a small piece of hog's flesh. 
An earthern pot (called a pinella) containing this 
mess was constantly simmering over a small fire 
of damp straw and a few sticks. When wanted, it 
was turned out into a large earthen dish placed on 
a stool ; when the partakers, sitting around on the 
floor, or on low three-legged seats, drew out their 
long knives from their waistbands, and proceeded 
to business with much solemnity and good breed- 
ing, without any appearance of hurry or too great 
an appetite. One of them would commence by 
cutting slices from the large loaves of their most 
excellent bread (the sight of which was a novel 
luxury for us to look upon); and after distributing 
these, they dipped their bread, knives, and fingers 
into this garlic-smelling mixture, and bobbed for 
the morsel of bacon, on catching which each con- 
tented himself by rubbing it on the bread, and 
then returning it into the dish. In this common 
hall for cooking, eating, sleeping, and exit to the 
street, there was no chimney ; the smoke escaped 
by a few tiles removed from the roof, which by no 
means sufficiently answered the purpose; the con- 


sequence was, that our eyes and organs of respi- 
ration suffered considerably. It did not however 
affect these poor people, who seemed, like their 
own bacon, to be smoke-dried. As it may be sup- 
posed, we fed not with them, but cooked our own 
rations in our own way and at our own time. 

We were much struck at finding, that whatever 
atrocities the enemy had committed on the towns, 
villages, and people of Portugal (encouraged as 
they were by their chief), their conduct was quite 
altered on entering Spain. We found everything 
here in a tolerably good state, the enemy having 
resumed their sense of discipline, a point by far 
the most difficult to return to when once aban- 
doned. This change was as sudden as it was re- 
markable. In our army Lord Wellington's seve- 
rity and discipline originated as much in a feeling 
of humanity as that of the love of order and jus- 
tice. He used to introduce everywhere the idea 
of duty, into small as well as great things, and 
instilled these principles throughout his army. 
When later he entered France, he wrote : " I will 
not have the French peasants plundered ." And 
again on another occasion he says : "I do not 
mind commanding a large or small army, but, 
large or small, it must obey me, and, above all, 
it must not plunder/' 

Lord Wellington now invested Almeida, and it 
was thought that it would not hold out for want 
of provisions. Massena fell back to Salamanca, 


on Marshal Bessieres' Army of the North: our 
chief went southwards, to superintend the opera- 
tions of Marshal Beresford's corps. Now that Por- 
tugal had been freed of the enemy, the great ob- 
ject of the war was to maintain it so. The next 
important point was the possession of Almeida; 
after this, to be able to take the initiative, and 
carry the fortresses of Badajos and Ciudad Ro- 
drigo from the enemy. These frontier strongholds, 
once gained, would prove an obstruction to any 
future attempts of the French on Portugal, while 
it would give us every facility for a forward move- 
ment into Spain. 

In spite of Lord Wellington's signal success, 
through good and evil report or estimation, still 
he could not, even at this time, depend on support 
from the English Ministry. The Opposition too, 
understanding as little as the Government of the 
nature or necessities of the war in which the 
country was embarked, gave loud vent to their 
discontent. Certainly the expenses were onerous, 
but the necessity was undoubted : some field was 
wanting on which to make a substantial war, and 
it was found in Portugal, not by the foresight of 
English statesmen, but by the forecast and abili- 
of an English soldier. People in England 
really understand very little or nothing about 
military matters. They are very patriotic, ener- 
getic, admire brilliant actions, and exact success; 
but, in the manner or means of attaining such a 


result, or the strategy and tactics necessary to ac- 
complish it, they are as simple-minded as people 
not bred to the trade can well be. 

Macaulay, in his essay on Hallam's f Constitu- 
tional History/ says : " The jealousy with which 
the oligarchy of Venice and the States of Hol- 
land regarded their generals and armies induced 
them perpetually to interfere in matters of which 
they were incompetent to judge." This was very 
applicable to England and its statesmen of the 
years 1810 and 1811. The people at this time 
were led to believe that Lord Wellington and his 
army were " in a scrape." This idea was engen- 
dered about the time of our retreat to the "Lines," 
of the surrender of Badajos, and was even con- 
tinued long after. 

It is reported that a Spanish officer of distinc- 
tion said to Lord Wellington, in allusion to these 
adverse circumstances, "Why, this is enough to 
put you into a fever." He quietly answered, ' ' I 
have acted to the best of my judgement, and care 
neither for the enemy before me nor anything 
they may say at home." The truth was, with the 
exception of the expedition to Egypt, which was 
something more resembling a substantive war, 
our good Government had always been employing 
small expeditions on partisan principles, with great 
supposed secresy; in short, making little wars at 
great expense, and small imbecile descents on the 
coast of an enemy or supposed ally. 


Paisley's l Military Policy of Great Britain ' 
was not published till the year 1808-9, and was 
soon out of print. A second volume, promised 
and announced, never made its appearance; but, 
after that badly conceived, and worse executed, ex- 
pedition to Walcheren, we had no more of these 
"secret little wars." Whether this was the re- 
sult of their bad success, Lord Wellington's ex- 
emplification of good success, or Paisley's book 
enlightening the stupid, is difficult to determine ; 
but certain it was, we had no more of that which 
was poetically alluded to in a famous song of the 
well-known Captain Morris : 

" I sing of Holland's gin ; 
Not the gin that Dutchmen trade in, 

But I sing of the gin 

They catch men in 
Who go about crusading." 

On the return of the late Duke of York from 
one of those Dutch expeditions, he was on his 
arrival visited by Sir T. S , one of his house- 
hold, a well-known character ; who, after congra- 
tulating his Royal Highness on his good looks 
and his safe return, said, " And I still further con- 
gratulate the country in not having had to ransom 

The English Government, when it threw an 
army into Portugal, little fancied that it was 
about to change the face of the world. All this 
was due to Wellington; for, ill supported as he 


was, and with inadequate means, he created an 
army, and knew how to use it. In a corner of 
Europe, alone and in silence, he began operations 
which, by his success, and the example he gave 
to other nations, resulted in the overthrow of the 
French empire. He himself said, at Toulouse, on 
the conclusion of this war, that he " had an army 
that was ready to go anywhere or do anything." 

We were now left, during the absence of Lord 
Wellington in the Alemtejo, under his second in 
command, Sir Brent Spencer, a zealous, gallant 
officer, without any great military genius; anxi- 
ous and fidgety when there was nothing to do, but, 
once under fire, looking like a philosopher solv- 
ing a problem, perfectly cool and self-possessed, 
which befriended the exercise of his best abili- 
ties. Our army was cantoned along the sources 
of the Azava and the river Dos Casas ; the Light 
Division at Galegos and Espeja. For ease, our 
cantonments were extended ; and we were sent on 
the 17th of April from Almadilla to Puebla de 
Azava, a better village, affording more room. Here 
we began to remark the superiority in appearance 
of the Spanish over the Portuguese peasants. 

These Spaniards certainly were anything but 
good soldiers, but they undoubtedly possessed all 
the attributes to render them so. The peasantry 
are capable, on small nutriment, of supporting 
great fatigue; they are long-enduring and hardy, 
with no want of courage, and only require to be 


well officered and well organized. The Portu- 
guese, without the same amount of these desira- 
ble qualities, made much better troops ; and thus 
proved what may be done by the advantages of 
discipline. They, poor creatures, were at this 
time suffering next to starvation in their ranks 
(so ill supplied were they, that on one occasion, 
on Massen a^s retreat, they were left for four days 
without food !) by the misconduct of their own 
Government, who, with combined ignorance, lazi- 
ness, and roguery, left their own army in the last 
necessities, in hopes, perhaps, that we should take 
the burden on ourselves; and partially we were 
forced to do so. At Puebla we were constantly 
kept on the qui vive, in readiness to march at the 
shortest warning; and on the 27th of April moved 
again to our left, and returned to Almadilla. 

Hearing that Massena and Marshal Bessieres' 
forces had united, and were in motion again to- 
ward the Portuguese frontier, Lord Wellington 
left the Alemtejo, and arrived with us again; on 
the 30th of April, accompanied by Sir Brent 
Spencer, Picton, and his staff, he came to Alma- 
dilla, and returned shortly after to head-quarters 
at \ 'ilia Formosa. Massena, having collected his 
army in the neighbourhood of Ciudad llodrigo, 
was only waiting for the subsiding of the waters 
of the Agueda to pass that river and advance. A 
sudden order reached us on the 2nd of May, and 
we commenced a night march by the light of a 


lovely moon ; our movement was directed on Nave 
d'Aver, to close on the rest of our army there 
assembling. As soon as we sniffed the morning 
breeze, and the early summer dawn broke, we be- 
gan to examine our neighbourhood and reconnoitre 
our neighbours : we found, at no great distance, 
plenty of friends, which was pleasant, as we knew 
that we had a much greater number of enemies 
in our vicinity. The French army under Massena 
recrossed the Agueda on the 2nd of May, with 
the view of relieving the garrison of Almeida. To 
prevent this, Lord Wellington concentrated his 
army in position on some gently rising but exten- 
sively open ground, above and in rear of the vil- 
lage of Fuentes d'Ofior. On the same day the 
Cavalry and Light Division, after a skirmish with 
the enemy, retired from Gallegos and Espeja on 
the Dos Casas. 

On the morning of the 3rd, the First and Third 
Divisions took up a position at about a cannon's 
shot distance, in rear of the pretty village of 
Fuentes d'Onor, and we lined some stone walls. 
About nine a.m. the enemy's force was discernible; 
and shortly after they commenced a cannonade 
on our left, and an attack on the village, which 
was gallantly defended by the light troops of the 
Third Division under Lieut. -Colonel Williams* 
of the 60th, and the light infantry of the Third Di- 
vision, supported by Dick of the 42nd, the light 

* Afterwards Sir William Williams. 


infantry of the 92nd, and the 5th battalion Ger- 
man Legion belonging to our Division*. At two 
p.m. we moved to our left by a road leading to the 
rear. At a little before five, our Division reinforced 
the Third with the 24th, 71st, and 79th regiments, 
and were sharply engaged in the town and among 
the stone walls around it, contesting every inch of 
the ground. This affair ended only at dusk, with 
the village still remaining in our possession. We 
lay on our arms all night, and stood to them an 
hour before daylight, expecting, by break of dawn, 
not " coffee and pistols for two," but cannon and 
musketry for 32,000 infantry, 1200 cavalry, and 
42 guns of the allied arms ; whilst our opponents 
furnished 40,000 infantry, 5000 cavalry, and 30 
pieces of artillery. But, instead of attacking us 
on the 4th of May, they seemed as pacifically in- 
clined as Quakers, or as the Peace Societv now 
arc when in council assembled at Exeter Hall. 
Thus the early morning passed; the heat of the 
day approached, with all its Spanish intensity ; 
lay on a dusty, sandy plain, unshaded and un- 
shaved; the summer furnace of a southern tem- 
perature was, as the sun declined, succeeded by a 
beautiful calm evening; the gentle slope of our 
position (dipping down to the Dos Casas and the 
village of Fuentcs, and rising on the other side to- 
ward that of the enemy) formed a kind of ravine, 

* Dick of the 42nd, afterwards Major- General Sir Robert Dick, 
killed at Sobraon. 


the bottom of which was of a rocky nature and 
divided the two armies, the outposts of each lining 
the banks of the little river. The enemy's main 
force occupied a plateau of rising ground on one 
side of this ravine, as ours did of the other. From 
our position we could plainly see all that passed in 

In the cool of the evening a parade took place 
of the cavalry and infantry of the Imperial Guard. 
In their rear and on their left flank were consider- 
able woods of cork-trees and of the ilex or south- 
ern oak ; in front of these our enemy stood out in 
strong relief and martial array, their bands play- 
ing as they passed in review before Marshals Mas- 
sena and Bessieres. It was a noble sight to behold 
within our reach these armed men, our nation's 
foe, surrounded by "all the pomp and circum- 
stance of war/' and induced the 

" Stern joy that warriors feel 
In foemen worthy of their steel." 

On our side we had no reviews ; the bands of the 
German Legion (belonging to our Division) raised 
their strains in answer to the French, and gave 
back note for note, as on the morrow we did shot 
for shot. The moon rose, the bivouac fires were 
trimmed, the cigar smoked, and our soldiers sank 
to rest. 

On the 5th, long before day broke, we were to 
be found in our ranks, arms in hand, anxious for 
some exploit, and ready for any necessity. Mute 


and still, we rested in expectation of daylight and 
what it might bring. The cold previous to early 
dawn seems in adverse ratio to the intense and 
broiling heat of the day; the dew in these lati- 
tudes falls heavy after sunset, and the chilliness is 
greatest at the point most distant from the pre- 
vious day, and immediately before the dawn of the 
next. We stood shivering and anxious, quite long- 
ing for light, and heat, and movement. Move- 
ment came before daylight, for I was ordered to 
join a detachment sent to reinforce the piquets 
of our brigade on outpost duty. The chief of 
our Division accompanied this detachment; and, 
as we arrived at the point of ground destined for 
us, dawn began to break. At some eighty yards' 
distance, and immediately between the enemy's ve- 
dettes and our own, we saw two French horsemen 
advancing on our sentries, one of whom turned 
round and gesticulated to the enemy in an incom- 
prehensible manner, then again moved toward 
them, but at last directed their course toward 
us. Sir Brent Spencer ordered one of our sen- 
tries to fire, which he did with good effect, and 
brought down the cavalier; while the other fellow 
galloped into our lines in no small alarm. We 
then found that they belonged to Don Julian San- 
chez' guerilla corps, who, not long previously, had 
taken a convoy of French clothing, and had bedi- 
zened themselves out in these false colours. This 
valiant gesticulator was Don Julian Sanchez' own 


lieutenant, who, by some mistake, in the dark had 
ridden between our piquets and those of the enemy: 
seeing himself so near the foe and so well backed 
by our infantry, in bravado he began to play antics 
and defy them, and us also, as we thought. This 
folly cost him his life. Sir Brent Spencer was 
greatly annoyed at the mistake, as it occurred in 
consequence of his own order. Lord Wellington 
came down to the outposts ; and the chief of our 
Division, in making his report, expressed his deep 
regret at the occurrence. Lord Wellington, seeing 
it was a case for which there was no remedy, said, 
"Nevermind, Spencer ; it is only a Spaniard!" 
Don Julian however was furious, although it was 
entirely the fault of the lieutenant ; who had no 
business to be where we found him, or in the uni- 
form which occasioned the unhappy error. Soon 
after this we were recalled, and rejoined our bri- 
gade on the summit of the plateau, where we had 
passed the night and still remained. The enemy, 
hi the early part of the morning of the 5 th, were 
quiet; but an hour or two after daylight, they 
moved some heavy columns and the greater part 
of the cavalry to their left. We broke into co- 
lumns, and made a parallel movement along our 
heights to our right. 

About nine o' clock a.m. of this sultry morning 
they commenced a heavy cannonade on us from 
their left and centre. On reaching the gently-ris- 
ing ground, eventually destined for our part of the 


position, we witnessed a brilliant and animating 
sight. Looking toward our right flank, across a 
plain terminated by the thick cork wood, we be- 
held dense masses of men engaged in strife, and 
enveloped in dust and smoke. At first, little was 
clearly discernible; by degrees however, coming 
out from this confusion, were developed forms and 
shapes horsemen charging artillery, with their 
horses at full speed, thundering forward with an 
impetus that forced a way through the enemy 
and the Light and Seventh Divisions coming forth 
from the chaos, and coolly retiring en echelon of 
squares, exposed alternately to the fire of the 
enemy's guns and the menaces of their cavalry, 
which were met and checked by our numerically 
weak squadrons. Here Brotherton of the 14th 
particularly distinguished himself; and the present 
Lord Londonderry* (then General Charles Stew- 
art) took Colonel La Motte, of the 13th Chas- 
seurs, in single combat, by dragging him by the 
neck from off his horse. In this melee Felton 
Hervey of the 14th, who had previously lost his 
right arm at Oporto, was ridden at by a French 
officer of the 13th Chasseurs a Cheval, who raised 
hifl sword to cut him down; when, perceiving that 
his enemy had but one arm, he dropped his weapon 
to the salute, and passed on ! George Fitzclarence 
also was wounded in this affair; but llamsey of 
the artillery, by his prompt skill and intrepidity, 

# He has died since tliis was written. 


saved his guns, and at timely moments presented 
his enemies with their contents. The steady and 
soldier-like manner in which the Light and Seventh 
Divisions seemed to rise out of this apparently in- 
extricable confusion, and the way they repulsed the 
enemy's efforts, were really most admirable. 

At this moment an incident which befell our 
Chasseurs Britanniques excited us much and added 
to the interest of the scene. They were in line 
when charged by French cavalry; their commander, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Eustace (now General Sir Wil- 
liam Eustace), did not attempt to alter his position, 
but coolly received them in that formation. When 
within some fifty yards of his bayonets he poured 
in a murderous volley, which settled the difficulty, 
and induced those of the enemy left in their sad- 
dles to seek shelter in their rear from so rough a 
treatment. After this retrograde flank movement 
of the Light and Seventh Divisions, they were con- 
centrated in rear and in support of our right. The 
enemy's second and eighth corps and their cavalry 
turned the wood and village of Poco Velho, which 
obliged Lord Wellington to throw back his right 
flank; the Seventh Division crossed the Turones, 
the Light Division retired over the plain, and the 
remainder of our Division not detached, together 
with the Third and the Portuguese, withdrew to 
the rising ground we had previously occupied. In 
consequence, our Division held the right of the 
position. Eight of the enemy's guns were now ad- 


vanccd to within convenient range, and we soon 
began to feel the effects of the fire from these and 
their light troops. The guns of our Division in 
our immediate front were commanded by Captain 
Lawson ; they opened their fire with effect on the 
enemy, which, together with our Light Infantry 
and Rifles, covering our right flank (for we were en 
potence),* and our piquets skirmishing in advance, 
guarded our front against any sudden predatory 

About this time Lord Wellington rode up ; and 
seeing that the fire of the enemy's round shot, 
shells, and sharpshooters was beginning to tell on 
the front line of the Division, he ordered us to lie 
down. There was an animated and cheery look 
about him as he gave the order, which announced 
his certainty of success, and strengthened our in- 
tention to carry it into effect. Our further orders 
were to remain on the ground until the enemy ap- 
proached in columns to within some thirty yards, 
then to rise, fire a volley, and charge bayonets : but 
their masses of infantry never advanced. 

A piquet of the Guards, skirmishing with the 
enemy, was attacked by cavalry, but resisted them 
with success. They were suddenly charged a second ' 
time from behind a rising ground, under cover 
of which the cavalry had approached unperceived. 
The horsemen dashed at once on them while in 
extended order, and took them in flank and rear, 
cut down the men in detail, and carried off many 


prisoners. Out of a hundred rank and file and five 
officers, only thirty of the former and one of the 
latter escaped unwounded ; one of the remaining 
three being killed and two taken. At this mo- 
ment part of Lawson's guns under Lane opened 
with grape on the French cavalry and mowed them 
down, destroying, at the same time, many of our 
infantry, mixed up as they were in this melee with 
the French cavalry. Their reception from our guns 
being more warm than pleasant, the enemy preci- 
pitately vanished. Many of the remainder of this 
piquet came in wounded ; and Captain Hervey of 
the Coldstream, after resisting bravely, was cut 
down and ridden over, but escaped and rejoined 
his ranks*. The second officer who escaped was 
Captain Home of the Third Guards. He had a 
rencontre with three of the enemy's horsemen : in 
trying to take him one of them seized the string 
of a bottle hanging by his side, which broke, and 
the cavalry man carried it off as a prize ; another 
grasped his epaulette, which was torn from his 
shoulder ; and the third, finding he would not sur- 
render, attempted to cut him down. Home was 
a powerful man, and, although on foot, lunged 
with his sword and then closed with the trooper, 
seized him by the neck and attempted to drag him 
to the earth : the struggle was a fierce one, but the 
Frenchman, finding he was likely to be worsted, 
turned his horse sharp round and galloped off, 

* This officer was afterwards killed afc Burgos. 


leaving in the hand of his enemy his cross of the 
Legion of Honour, which Home brought back tri- 
umphantly to his corps. From Home's muscular 
appearance and well-known courage and determi- 
nation he was very likely to have brought in both 
man and horse, had not the trooper made a timely 

The 42nd Highlanders, under Lord Blantyre, 
were also at the same time charged by cavalry, but 
gave the enemy no encouragement to make a se- 
cond attempt on them. Here an anecdote was 
current of Captain Mellish, of sporting and New- 
market fame, and at the time in the adjutant-ge- 
neral's department. He came into the field that 
morning mounted on a very woe-begone and sorry 
hack, a regular Rosinante, looking as if it had 
lived much too long on air and exercise. Some 
ridicule was elicited by this turf hero and great 
judge of horseflesh possessing so curiously infra 
difj. a specimen of cattle : one said that Lord Wel- 
lington had sent for a pack of hounds, and advised 
him by no means to ride near the kennel ; another 
suggested that it was unfortunate no knacker was 
to be heard of in the neighbourhood ; a third of- 
fered him five shillings for his charger. Mellish 
took all in good humour, and said he would bet 
any man 10 that before the day was out he would 
get 625 for him. After some jeering the bet was 
taken. The firing in the village of Fuentea being 
heavy, he availed himself of the first opportunity 


to convey an order there, and rode right into the 
thick of the musketry : his horse was shot under 
him : he claimed, as losing a second charger, value 
25, and thus he won his bet. A severe struggle 
was now enacting at the foot and key of our posi- 
tion in the village of Fuentes. Here, among others, 
three battalions of our Division were carrying on an 
intense combat with the enemy for its possession. 
The 79th, or Cameronians, commanded by poor 
Cameron (who fell on this occasion) , instead of co- 
vering themselves by the walls and houses, chose 
to stand on the top of the former, and were con- 
sequently knocked down very rapidly by the ene- 
my. Cameron and other officers did their best to 
stop this most inartistical mode of carrying on 
such a warfare, but with little effect ; as the High- 
landmen exclaimed, " that they would rather stand 
at the top of a wall, and be shot like men, than 
bide behind it, and be killed like dogs." The 24th 
and 79th, in contest with an enemy, were prac- 
tising light infantry movements for the first time 
in their lives*. 

The 71st, under Cadogan, knew their work, were 
au fait at it, and consequently were useful to them- 
selves and friends, and much more formidable to 
their enemies. After all, in our part of the posi- 
tion, we had but a tiresome day of it, being occu- 

* The folly of not accustoming our regiments at home to light 
infantry drill occasioned in this affair not only a great disadvan- 
tage, but the loss of many valuable lives. 


pied in playing Wall to something harder than the 
enemy's Moonshine ; for, notwithstanding our re- 
cumbent position, our line received plenty of fire, 
but returned not a single shot during the whole 
day. This was trying to the patience and worry- 
ing to the temper of our men. I may here ven- 
ture to name a few trivial circumstances incidental 
to our situation, which may be explanatory to the 
peaceable, or of interest to the uninitiated in such 
scenes. A man of our company fell fast asleep, 
and amused his comrades much by snoring loudly : 
poor fellow ! a cannon-shot fell on his neck, just 
between his head and his knapsack : instant death 
ensued, without consciousness, and probably with- 
out pain. His own particular friend and comrade 
immediately requested to have his shoes ! "Whether 
this was induced by affection for his friend, or the 
necessities of his feet, remains to this day unex- 
plained. The whistling of a shell, and its striking 
amongst us, next occurred : the felt of a cap flew 
in the air. Thinking, of course, that the cap and 
head had gone together, I turned to see who it 
was, when I beheld, amidst the titter and laughter 
of his comrades, the great, broad, good-humoured 
countenance of an Irishman named M'Culloch : he 
was sitting upright, a queer figure, with half his 
cap cut off close to his head. I asked him if he 
was hurt : the fellow replied, with a grin, " No, 
plase your honour; only a bit dizzy!" which an- 
swer amused the company, who seemed to take Mr. 


M'Culloch's escape for a good joke. (This poor 
fellow was only spared for a short time ; during the 
subsequent siege of Ciudad Rodrigo he was crushed 
by the beam of a falling house.) Many other men 
were harmed in various ways ; and my inseparable 
companion, a favourite Portuguese dog, alarmed at 
the bursting of a shell near us, set up a loud cry, 
and disappeared never to return. 

We next had an alarm of the approach of ca- 
valry, and rose to receive them ; but they changed 
their mind, and swept off to our left, and we once 
more sank behind the slight ridge which covered 
our front. We had scarcely however been a mi- 
nute on our legs, when three of the men of oar 
company were knocked down. Shortly after a shell 
passed through the tumbril of one of our guns that 
was in action in our front, and in its transit lit a 
portfire : the agility and rapidity with which the 
artillery-driver detached his horses from the shafts 
were admirable : he risked himself, but saved them. 
The tumbril immediately after exploded, driving 
the splinters of the wheels, boxes, and shafts in 
all directions, by which some of our artillery were 
wounded. In the hollow in our rear, sinking to- 
ward the Turones river, was placed our support, be- 
longing to the second line of our Division, com- 
posed of part of General Howard' s* brigade, the 
92nd Highlanders, together with a brigade of the 
German Legion. All the missiles lighting on our 

* Afterwards Lord Howard of Effingham. 


heights, bounded on en ricochet, and fell among 
our reserve. I remember one shot particularly, 
which, after striking close to our people, plumped 
amidst a group of staff and field officers assembled 
together in the bottom, taking off the head of Ge- 
neral Howard's horse, traversing the carcase of 
that of his aide-de-camp Captain Battersby, car- 
rying off the leg of Major Stewart of the 92nd, 
and, knocking down two rank and file of that re- 
giment, went hopping on like a cricket-ball, as if 
it had done nothing, although this shot may be 
fairly said to have done its duty. Felton Hervey, 
who in the morning had escaped from the sabre of 
the preux chevalier Frenchman, had, while riding 
in our front, another narrow escape toward the 
close of the day. A round shot struck his horse, 
and hitting his sabretash, traversed the animal's 
carcase ; and passing between Hervey's legs, came 
out on the opposite side, close to his knee, inflict- 
ing on it a severe contusion, and throwing him, 
horse and all, to the ground, on the armless side 
of his body. He was much shaken and hurt, but 
would not leave the field. 

As the enemy began to withdraw from before 
us, their fire slackened: their guns first retired, 
then their tirailleurs retreated, and we rose from 
our earthy bed to witness some beautiful practice 
from Lane's portion of Lawson's troop of artil- 
lery. To cover their retreat, some heavy columns 
of the enemy's cavalry advanced to within six or 


seven hundred yards, and began closing up, bent, 
no doubt, upon mischief, when Lane opened three 
guns on them with spherical case-shot : the prac- 
tice was excellent, the shells bursting within a 
hundred to a hundred and fifty yards from the 
head of their columns, creating chasms in their 
ranks, destroying and rolling over horses and ri- 
ders, and drilling openings in their masses as if cut 
down with scythes. The fourth shot sent them to 
the right about ; and galloping off, they escaped 
the storm of lead and iron from our guns. This 
was the parting evening salvo; the enemy's fire 
with us ceased soon after five o'clock p.m. ; in the 
village it lasted longer ; but eventually the lower 
part of Fuentes was abandoned by both sides, our 
people holding the upper portion, and the enemy 
retiring to some distance from the little river Dos 
Casas, which now once more separated the two 
armies. The casualties in our brigade from a seven 
hours' cannonade and fire of musketry, including 
the killed, and wounded, and missing among the 
skirmishers, amounted to one hundred and thirty- 
six men and five officers. 

This number would have been much greater had 
not Lord Wellington economized us by his order to 
lie down. In the field he was ever most chary of 
his men ; following that sound principle of war- 
fare which inflicts as much injury on, and receives 
as little from, an enemy, as the facilities of ground, 
the nature of a position, and the adaptation of his 


troops to it would allow. The general loss of the al- 
lied army in this action was 1500 men and officers 
killed, wounded, and missing ; that of the French 
was considerably greater, besides their attempt to 
relieve their garrison in Almeida having been frus- 
trated. The sense of success was pleasing to us, 
and the greetings of the unharmed as sincere and 
cordial, as was our regret for those less fortunate 
than ourselves. Once more assembled round the 
bivouac fire, we began to think of the " creature 
comforts," which were not less acceptable from 
their scarcity; the piquets were thrown out, the 
moon rose, we wrapped our cloaks around us, and 
slept away the fatigue and heat of the day, many 
losing themselves in the happiest of all English 
soldiers' dreams that of England, friends, and 




The stars were still bright in the heavens, and the 
dawn of day from the east had not yet appeared, 
when we were again on foot, trying to descry 
through the dark some object that might lead to 
an idea of the enemy's further intentions. We 
saw nothing but their watchfires, and all was in 
repose. As morning broke, our telescopes were in 
requisition : the enemy lay still before us the day 
began its broiling course the dead, and the car- 
cases of horses, lay strewn about the field in front, 
where they had fallen. A flag of truce was sent, 
and a mutual agreement come to that we should 
bury our dead. Brotherton carried the flag. He 
was requested by Hervey to seek out the chival- 
rous young French officer who had respected a dis- 
abled foe, by saluting instead of cutting him down, 
and present to him, in his name, a pair of English 
pistols which he always carried in his holsters. On 


inquiry, it unfortunately was found that this gal- 
lant young Frenchman had fallen in the action of 
the previous day. During these few hours of civil 
intercourse, many of us, like schoolboys released, 
rushed down to the Turones river to swim, no 
slight luxury in hot weather, and in the absence of 
everything but one shirt, which, being washed, was 
left to dry on a rock, whilst we disported in the 
water. On this and the following day both armies 
remained in the same position. We were occupied 
in throwing up breastworks and making trous de 
hup in defence against their powerful cavalry. 

On the 7th they made a reconnaissance on our 
right, to have a nearer view of these works. Very 
strong piquets were thrown out, and these were 
strengthened after dark. It happened, on the night 
of the 7th, that I was on outpost duty ; Almeida 
was still held by the French, and, uncertain of Mar- 
shal Massena's intentions, Lord Wellington (who, 
the whole of this time, lay on the ground near us) 
exacted great alertness in the out-piquets, and an 
immediate report of the slightest movement in our 
front. About midnight I patrolled, in advance of 
our sentries, down to a vedette of the 1st Hano- 
verian Hussars. On communicating with him, he 
told me, in his own peculiar English, that " She 
move" (meaning the enemy). I asked him his rea- 
son for thinking so ; he answered, " Listen ! you 
hear vaggon and gun moves on de road." On pla- 
cing my ear to the ground, I found this was the 


case. I then asked in which direction he thought 
they were moving ; he answered, " From de left to 
de right." I demanded why he thought so. " Be- 
cause leetle ting (shadows) pass bivouac fire from 
der left to der right, so dey go dat vey." 

Having, for my own satisfaction, ascertained the 
correctness of his intelligent observation, I re- 
ported the circumstance to my supporting piquet 
and the field-officer of the night. Lord Welling- 
ton immediately came down, and advancing to the 
outpost, asked, " Who reported that the enemy 
were in motion?" He was informed of the fact, as 
well as the grounds for the belief that they were 
moving in our front to their left. Lord Welling- 
ton reconnoitered himself, and being satisfied of 
the truth, said, in allusion to the Hussar's report, 
" A d d sharp fellow that ; I wish I had more of 
them." For the rest of the night Lord Welling- 
ton remained in his cloak on the high ground of 
the position in our rear. 

In the morning we found that the enemy had 
withdrawn from immediately before us. On the 
10th they repassed the Agueda, and withdrew al- 
together, moving on Salamanca, where Massena 
was relieved from the command of his army, and 
was succeeded by Marmont. Thus ended these 
movements, and the battle of Fuentes d'Ofior. 

The Duke has been accused of want of sympa- 
thy for individuals, and of having an insufficient 
sense of the services of his army. He certainly 

Wellington's estimation g;f his aiuiy. 101 

was not demonstrative ; his habitual reserve often 
concealed feelings that he was chary of display- 
ing ; but he was always fair and just when circum- 
stances did not involve a compromise of system, or 
interfere with his sense of the public advantage. 
In a letter of condolence to old General Cameron, 
on the death of his gallant son (who received his 
death- wound in command of the 79th), he says : 
" I am convinced that you will credit the assur- 
ance which I give you, that I condole with you 
most sincerely upon this misfortune. . . . You will 
always regret and lament his loss, I am convinced ; 
but I hope you will derive some consolation from 
the reflection, that he fell in the performance of 
his duty, and at the head of your brave regiment, 
loved and respected by all who knew him, in an ac- 
tion in which, if possible, the British troops sur- 
passed everything they had done before." With 
regard to an insufficient sense of the services of 
his army, I will here relate an anecdote exempli- 
fying his estimation of them, and characteristi- 
cally truthful of himself and those he commanded. 
After the battle of Toulouse the Adjutant-General 
of Cavalry, Colonel Elley*, dined at head-quarters. 

* Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Elley, of the Royal Horse Guards 
(Blue), entered that Regiment as a private soldier, served in the cam- 
paign in Holland under the Duke of York in that capacity, and after- 
wards as an officer on the Staff throughout the Peninsula and at "Wa- 
terloo. By prudence, good conduct, sagacity, and courage, he mounted 
through every grade of the army to the rank of Lieutenant-Geueral, 
K.C.B., and M.P. for Windsor. 


The Duke was in unusually high spirits : he had 
received the announcement of Buonaparte's abdi- 
cation ; the war was at an end, and none seemed 
more rejoiced at its termination than the Duke 
himself. Sir John told me that he had never seen 
him in higher spirits or more communicative. 
The conversation turned on the late immediate 
movements of the two armies, when the Duke ex- 
claimed, " I will tell you the difference between 
Soult and me: when he gets into a difficulty, his 
troops don't get him out of it; when I get into 
one, mine always do." 

Looking on the action of Fuentes d'Onor as an 
epoch which finished a particular period of the war 
on the northern frontier of Portugal, I may be al- 
lowed to indulge in some slight reflections on the 
French, our army, and the Portuguese Govern- 
ment. The enemy's conduct to Portugal had been 
not only foolishly faithless and unjust, but in every 
way most atrocious. Talleyrand said, in allusion 
to the commencement of the Peninsular war, "C'est 
le commencement de la fin ;" and later, diplomati- 
cally observed, " C'est plus qu'un crime, c'est une 
faute." However, the restless spirit of their re- 
sentment resembled virtue in one respect, as to do 
its work at a palpable loss, and thus to become its 
own reward. Individually, the French possess emi- 
nently good qualities* : it must be confessed that, 

* See the uncontrolled possession of Paris by the lowest rabble in 
1830 for three whole days, without the slightest tendency to plunder, 


as a nation, although capable of good and great 
actions, they are often so trifling in serious mat- 
ters, and so serious in trifling ones, that one never 
knows exactly when the sublime begins or the ri- 
diculous ends. I do not coincide with an Hibernian 
friend of mine (a good hater, but whose hatred 
was tempered by the propensities of a bon vivanf), 
who used to declare that, for his part, he would 
only " just lave enough of them alive to cook, and 
cultivate the vines ! " I differ from my friend suf- 
ficiently to be able to render them full justice. I 
know them to be a clever, intelligent, and agree- 
able people ; and, in spite of their misconduct, we 
could not help admiring their powers of endurance, 
under every possible species and extremity of pri- 
vation, and their continued gallantry and good hu- 
mour under the most adverse circumstances. We 
were bound to acknowledge them a brave and wor- 
thy foe. No army but a French one could be ca- 
pable of such a strain on order and discipline as to 
afford a nine months' sanction of marauding and 
laxity, and then rapidly at once to return to obe- 
dience and regularity. 

Whatever virtues are possessed by an English 
army, woe be to the commander who relaxes dis- 
cipline with them! The Duke's own orders and 
many living witnesses are sufficient to prove, that 
such liberties must not be taken with an army 

extortion, or violence, beyond the open contention with political ad- 


which, while under control, make the very best 
troops in Europe. The conduct of the Portuguese 
Government at this time was so tiresome, dishear- 
tening, and unjust toward their own army and 
their allies ; their correspondence with Lord Wel- 
lington so prevaricating, imbecile, and dishonest ; 
that we might well apply to our dear ally what 
Duke Cosmo of Florence said of his friends, (( That 
we read in Scripture, we ought to forgive our ene- 
mies ; but that we nowhere read, we ought to for- 
give our friends ." 

On the 11th of May, the enemy having recrossed 
the Agueda, with the exception of one brigade left 
in front of Ciudad Rodrigo, our army resumed its 
cantonments on the banks of the Azava and Agueda, 
and we returned to our former quarters at Puebla 
and Almadilla. Having been for ten days deprived 
of our baggage, which had been sent to the rear 
during the foregoing operations, it was no small 
luxury to be once more restored to servants, horses, 
clean linen, and razors. The Sixth Division, after 
the action, resumed the blockade of Almeida -, but, 
in spite of the defeat of the far superior force 
brought by Massena against Lord Wellington at 
Fuentes d'Ofior, and that by this result the relief 
of the French garrison of Almeida was for the time 
baffled, Lord Wellington, to his no small mortifica- 
tion, found that between the night of the 1 1th and 
the morning of the 12th the garrison of Almeida, 
after blowing up a portion of the works of the town, 


escaped. This was occasioned by the dilatory com- 
pliance of a general officer with the orders he re- 
ceived from Lord Wellington ; on their receipt, it 
was said that, instead of promulgating them imme- 
diately, the General put them into his pocket and 
forgot them. The consequence was, that the troops 
destined to cover a point in the line between the 
Agueda and the fortress of Almeida, arrived too 
late to prevent their escape ; and again, those who 
followed the flying garrison with inadequate force, 
attacked them (with more courage than prudence 
or military skill) when they had passed the river 
and had arrived within reach of support. Two di- 
visions and a brigade had been left, to prevent the 
escape of 1400 men under Brennier ; every neces- 
sary instruction was given by Lord Wellington, but 
all miscarried by the failure of a prompt obedience 
to orders. In writing to Lord Liverpool, Lord 
Wellington says on this point : 

"Possibly I Jiave to reproach myself for not 
having been on the spot. However, it is that alone 
in the whole operation in which I have to reproach 
myself, as everything was done that could be done 
in the way of order and instruction. I certainly 
feel every day more and more the difficulty of the 
situation in which I am placed. I am obliged to 
be everywhere ; and if absent from any operation, 
something goes wrong. It is to be hoped that the 
generals and other officers of the army will, at last, 
acquire that experience which will teach them that 


success can be attained only by attention to the 
most minute details, and by tracing every part of 
every operation from its origin to its conclusion, 
point by point, and ascertaining that the whole is 
understood by those who are to execute it." 

Those who were witnesses of Lord Wellington's 
many difficulties, can attest that that of making the 
inattentive or incompetent comprehend his views 
and obey his orders, was not the slightest among 
them. No really good school, to form superior 
officers, had existed (India alone excepted). Since 
the days of Marlborough, no English army had 
been let loose on the continent of Europe to make 
substantial war ; island Generals, half fish, half 
flesh, with transports at their backs, like snails 
and their shells, were employed to carry out some 
great effort of military strategy, begotten in the 
brain of some most unmilitary Minister ; ' ' creating 
diversions," cutting Dutch sluices, or consigning 
men to die at unhealthy seasons in pestilential 
Flemish bogs. One great Minister, who shall be 
nameless, had a brother a General, to whom it was 
said he submitted all his plans ; but as the Minister 
was really a man of ability, although not military, 
and the other was a military man without any such 
advantage, the civilian, in imparting his military 
lucubrations to the soldier, did not reap the same 
benefit as Moliere did when he read his plays to 
his cook. All necessary requirements for so op- 
posite and enlarged a game of war as was now to 


be played in the Peninsula, had to be created by 
the chief who commanded. Commissariats, depots, 
hospitals, transports, munitions of war, bullets, 
clothing, beef, gunpowder, and shoes, had to be 
conveyed, received, and distributed. All such de- 
tails, at a distance from our naval resources, had to 
be thought of and provided for; and even down 
to the feeding and condition of cavalry horses, and 
the avoidance of sore backs, Lord Wellington had 
to remark and give instructions upon, besides the 
discipline of the army, the tactics of war, the cul- 
tivation of the good feeling of the natives, and the 
diplomatic relations with their Government. He 
writes to Colonel Gordon, from Quinta de Granicha, 
June 12th, 1811 : " In addition to embarrassments 
of all descriptions, surrounding us on all sides, I 
have to contend with an ancient enmity between 
these two nations, which is more like that of cat 
and dog than anything else; of which no sense 
of common danger, or common interest, or any- 
thing, can get the better, even in individuals. Our 
transport, which is the great lever of the Commis- 
sariat, is done principally, if not entirely, by Spa- 
nish muleteers; and, to oblige Mr. Kennedy, they 
would probably once or twice carry provisions to 
a Portuguese regiment ; but they would prefer to 
quit us and attend the French, to being obliged to 
perform this duty constantly." 

Lord Wellington had few to aid him in all this. 
With some bright exceptions, those sent out in the 


higher grades were anything but what was wanted, 
failing in all bnt personal conrage. Like Lord 
Collingwood's supply of officers after the battle of 
Trafalgar, political interest, personal favour, and 
partiality out-balanced capability, activity, and fit- 
ness in those sent to fill up the vacancies created 
by death, wounds, or sickness. It was then from 
the junior ranks of the army that Lord Welling- 
ton made his officers : ' c the young ones," to use a 
sporting phrase, " will always beat the old ones/' 
particularly when the last are without experience. 
The young brigadiers, colonels, lieutenant-colonels, 
majors, and captains were those he looked to and 
made efficient ; many, even of the last rank in staff 
situations, in the artillery and engineers, gained, 
by their intelligence, well-bought reputations for 
themselves, and often added to those above them 
approbation and honour which they did not al- 
ways quite deserve, but which they accepted, being 
satisfied (however little their own promptness or. 
discretion might have contributed to it) that suc- 
cess was the test of merit. It was quite wonderful 
how the Chief could work with such tools ; and 
had he not created others of a sharper description 
to act as Mentors, failures and blunders would 
have been more frequent than they were. The 
most remarkable position of Lord Wellington was 
that in this army, which he continued to command 
for so long and with such brilliant success, he had 
not even the power of making a corporal : he might 


recommend for promotion officers who distinguished 
themselves, but that was not always attended to or 
complied with. An instance of this, not a singular 
one I fear, was that of Ensign Dyas of the 51st 
regiment, who twice volunteered to lead storming 
parties on the outwork of San Cristoval at the first 
siege of Badajos in 1811. His name was men- 
tioned in despatches, and Lord Wellington recom- 
mended him for promotion ; yet he never obtained 
it till after the return of the army from the Penin- 
sula in 1814, and then only by an accidental meet- 
ing with an influential person (the late Sir Frede- 
rick Ponsonby), who once more brought his ser- 
vices before the Horse Guards. Besides neglect 
or forgetfulness, there existed much jealousy of re- 
commendations which interfered with home pa- 

Lord Wellington, writing in August 1810*, to the 
then military secretary at the Horse Guards, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Torrens, remonstrates at the ill- 
success his recommendations met with, for promo- 
ting officers for services in the field. He says: 
" I have never been able to understand the prin- 
ciple on which the claims of gentlemen of family, 
fortune, and influence in the country, to promotion 
in the army, founded on their military conduct, 
character, and services, should be rejected, while 
the claims of others, no better founded on military 

* See * Selection of Wellington Despatches,' No. 425, by Gar- 


pretensions, were invariably attended to. I, who 
command the largest British army that has been 
employed against the enemy for many years, and 
have npon my hands certainly the most extensive 
and difficult concern that was ever imposed upon 
any British officer, have not the power of making 
even a corporal ! ! It is impossible this system 
can last. It will do very well for trifling expedi- 
tions and short services ; but those who are to su- 
perintend the discipline, and to excite and regulate 
the exertions of the officers of the army during a 
long-continued service, must have the power of re- 
warding them by the only mode in which they can 
be rewarded, that is, by promotion. I would also 
observe that this practice would be entirely con- 
sistent with the unvaried usage of the British army. 
I must say, that the public can have no greater 
interest than in the conduct and discipline of an 
army employed against the enemy in the field ; and 
I am thoroughly convinced that, whatever may be 
the result in my hands, a British army cannot be 
kept in the field for any length of time, unless the 
officers composing it have some hope that their 
exertions will certainly be rewarded by promotion ; 
and that to be abroad on service, and to do their 
duty with zeal and intelligence, afford prospects of 
promotion not afforded by the mere presence of an 
officer with his regiment, and his bearing the King's 
commission for a certain number of years." Our 
Chief ends the above communication by saying, 

Wellington's sense of duty. Ill 

" I would not give one pin to have the disposal of 
every commission in the army." It was the prin- 
ciple, for the public good, he advocated ; not the 
patronage, that he desired to engross. 

In creating the efficiency of his army against in- 
numerable adverse circumstances, disparaged at 
home, condemned by an influential portion of the 
press, contradicted by the Opposition, ill supported 
by the Ministry, and thwarted by our allies, the 
devotion Lord Wellington displayed to his duty 
and to his country's interests, overcame all diffi- 
culties and vanquished all opposition. This perse- 
vering and unwearied spirit of contention against 
obstacles, by its heartiness roused the self-esteem 
of others, and stimulated their faculties to aid and 
assist him in his objects. At the same time, no 
sacrifice of personal feeling on his part was too 
great to submit to, for what he deemed the public 
good \ in proof of which I will quote a letter he 
wrote, on a previous occasion, to his brother the 
Marquis Wellesley, wherein he alludes to some 
disagreeable annoyances he had been subjected to 
by those in power. 

" You will see," he says, " how much the resolu- 
tion" (the cause of his annoyance) "will amioy me; 
but I never had much value for the public spirit of 
any man who does not sacrifice his private views 
and convenience when it is necessary." 

In further exemplification of how perfectly he 
acted up to this principle, it will only be necessary 


here to quote letters written at the time by persons 
in official situations (to be found in Napier' s l Pe- 
ninsular War'), which, together with his own de- 
spatches, demonstrate at once the ill support of all 
Lord Wellington's views by our own and all the 
Governments concerned, and his want of necessary 
means to carry them out; thus subjecting him, 
not only to the sacrifice of his private " views and 
convenience," but endangering the vital cause in 
which England, Portugal, and Spain were engaged. 

Napier says : " The inefficient state of the Eng- 
lish Cabinet may be judged of by the following 
extracts : 

u < jip r n } 1810. I hope by next mail will be 
sent something more satisfactory and useful than 
we have yet done in the way of instructions. But 
I am afraid the late O. P. riots have occupied all 
the thoughts of our great men here, so as to make 
them, or at least some of them, forget more dis- 
tant but not less interesting concerns.' 

'jp r n y 1811. With respect to the evils you 
allude to, as arising from the inefficiency of the 
Portuguese Government, the people here are by no 
means so satisfied of their existence as you who are 
on the spot. Here we judge only of the results ; 
the details we read over, but, being unable to re- 
medy, forget them the next day ; and in the mean- 
time, be the tools you have to work with good or 
bad, so it is, that you have produced results so far 
beyond the most sanguine expectations entertained 


here by all who have not been in Portugal within 
the last eight months, that none inquire the causes 
which prevented more being done in a shorter time ; 
of which indeed there seems to have been a great 
probability, if the Government would have stepped 
forward at an earlier period with one hand in their 
pockets, and in the other strong energetic decla- 
rations of the indispensable necessity of a change 
of measures and principles in the Government.' 

" Sept. 1811. I have done everything in my 
power to get people here to attend to their real 
interests in Portugal, and I have clamoured for 
money ! money ! money ! in every office to which 
I have had access. To all my clamour and all my 
arguments I have invariably received the same an- 
swer, ' that the thing is impossible/ The Prince 
himself certainly appears to be a la hauteur des cir- 
constances, and has expressed his determination to 
make every exertion to promote the good cause in 
the Peninsula. Lord Wellesley has a perfect com- 
prehension of -the subject in its fullest extent, and 
is fully aware of the several measures which Great 
Britain ought and could adopt. But such is the 
state of parties, and such the condition of the pre- 
sent Government, that I really despair of witness- 
ing any decided and adequate effort on our part to 
save the Peninsula. The present feeling appears 
to be, that we have done mighty things, and all 
that is in our power ; that the rest must be left to 
all-bounteous Providence ; and that, if we do not 



succeed, we must console ourselves by the reflec- 
tion that Providence has not been so propitious to 
us as we deserved. This feeling, you must allow, 
is wonderfully moral and Christian-like * but still, 
nothing will be done until we have a more vigo- 
rous military system, and a Ministry capable of 
directing the resources of the nation to something 
nobler than a war of descents and embarkations. 
A more perfect picture of an imbecile Adminis- 
tration could scarcely be exhibited ; and it was not 
wonderful that Lord Wellington, oppressed with 
the folly of the Peninsular Governments, should 
have often resolved to relinquish a contest that 
was one of constant risks, difficulties, and cares, 
when he had no better support from England." 

We remained in observation in the frontier vil- 
lages of Spain, but the Third and Seventh Divisions 
were now ordered to the Alemtejo, to join Beres- 
ford, who was carrying on operations against Bada- 
jos. Spencer was left in the north, in command 
of the First, Fifth, Sixth, and Light Divisions, and 
the cavalry. 

On the 15th, Lord Wellington left us for the 
Alemtejo ; but before he reached it, the battle of 
Albuera had been fought. This action took place 
on the 16th of May. Soult having rapidly advanced 
from the south, in force, to raise the siege of Ba- 
dajos, Beresford met him at Albuera, and a bloody 
action ensued. Our people gained the victory in 
a brilliant manner, but this was not accomplished 


without considerable and severe loss. Much more 
mischief would certainly have ensued had not Har- 
dinge (now Lord Hardinge, commanding-in-chief 
the army, but then one of those young staff-officers 
to whom I have alluded) rendered timely and good 
sendee by his moral as well as personal courage, 
taking upon himself that day a responsibility of 
no ordinary kind, which mainly contributed to the 
successful result of the action. Lord Wellington 
writes as follows to Spencer, from Elvas, under 
date of the 22nd May : " I went yesterday to Al- 
buera, and saw the field of battle. We had a very 
good position, and I think should have gained a 
complete victory in it, without any material loss, if 
the Spaniards could have manoeuvred, but unfor- 
tunately they cannot. The French are retiring, but 
I do not think it clear that they are going beyond 
the Sierra Morena. As I know you have plenty 
of correspondents, I do not give you any details of 
the action here, or of our loss." 

Lord Wellington, writing to Admiral Berkeley, 
under date of May 20th, says: "The fighting 
was desperate, and the loss of the British has been 
very severe; but, adverting to the nature of the 
contest, and the manner in which they held their 
ground against all the efforts the whole French 
army could make against them, notwithstanding 
all the losses which they had sustained, I think this 
action one most glorious and honourable to the 
character of the troops." 


After this action the siege of Badajos was re- 
sumed under the same disadvantages with which 
it had been first commenced : insufficient mate- 
rial, no adequate battering train, inefficiency of 
implements, and tools of bad quality*, no trained 
sappers and miners, a scarcity of ammunition, and 
great difficulty of transport. Everything imme- 
diately necessary to accompany or supply our army 
was conveyed on mule-back ; the badness of the 
roads, the ill construction and scarcity of the Por- 
tuguese and Spanish bullock-cars, and the slowness 
of wheel-conveyance drawn by oxen in a moun- 
tainous country, rendering them less available and 
more cumbersome. Another consideration was, 
the facility with which animals, carrying loads on 
their backs, can move on byepaths, crossroads, and 
over the open country, disembarrassing easily the 
main communication when wanted for the opera- 
tions of the army. (For this reason, in Belgium, 
previous to Waterloo, the Duke ordered all bag- 
gage to be conveyed as in Spain and Portugal.) 

The interest of the war now turned toward the 
Alemtejo and the southern frontier of Portugal. 
We were still left, however, under Spencer in the 
north, to watch Marmont at Salamanca, the garri- 
son of Ciudad Hodrigo, and some few outposts in 
the Agueda. One night I was on piquet : patrol- 
ling before daylight along a pathway in our woody 
and hilly neighbourhood, we perceived in the twi- 

* The quality is not much better at present. 


light two French soldiers on a marauding excur- 
sion from their own outposts. Before they saw 
us we indulged in a slight detour, came suddenly 
on them, and made them both prisoners. One of 
these men told me that 20,000 of the enemy were 
moving from Salamanca, by the other side of the 
Sierra de Gatta, towards Badajos. I sent my pri- 
soners in, with this intelligence, to be further ex- 
amined at head-quarters. The next day Don 
Julian Sanchez came over to our quarters, and 
confirmed this fellow's story, that the enemy in 
front were moving. In consequence of this report, 
and what had occurred in the Alemtejo, Sir Brent 
Spencer deemed it necessary to move some of the 
divisions under his command to Lord Wellington's 
support, and ours was ordered to direct its line of 
march toward the south. This was considered so 
pressing and urgent, that we left Puebla on the 
25th, at two o'clock p.m., and did not halt till one 
o'clock a.m. of the 26th, and then only until four 
a.m. We reached Penamacor at six p.m. the same 
evening, having marched (through bad roads and 
over a mountainous country in the summer heats) 
fifty-six miles in twenty-seven hours, with only 
three hours' halt. On our arrival we found that 
we were not wanted in the south, but might be so 
in the north, and we received orders to march T)ack 
again. General Howard's brigade only, with the 
Portuguese, continued to move on to the Alemtejo, 
and we returned to Puebla, through Argira de San 


Antonio, Sabugal, Soita, Alfyates, Aldea de Ponte, 
and Almadilla. This was very pretty exercise, kept 
ns in good wind and condition, and indulged us in 
the habit of stretching our legs ; but it wore out 
that important part of a soldier's kit on service, 
the men's shoes. 

Lord Wellington, who thought of everything, 
would scarcely have failed to communicate his 
wishes, had he wanted us. Certainly, Beresford's 
lighting at Albuera as he did was, to say the least 
of it, an inconvenient work of supererogation and a 
waste of life, which did not assist in any way Lord 
Wellington's plans. Badajos could not have been 
taken with the inadequate means in our possession, 
and the defence of such operations was not worth 
a general action. A timely withdrawal from the 
siege, without encountering the enemy, would have 
embarrassed Soult, economized our troops, and 
avoided a fearful risk, without the chance even of 
obtaining any adequate advantage. It is dangerous 
to trust with discretionary powers men who possess 
great courage and small perspicacity. Napier says, 
C( Practical study may make a good general, as to 
the handling of troops and the designing a cam- 
paign ; but the ascendancy of spirit which leads the 
wise, while it controls the insolence of folly, is a 
rare gift of nature ;" and even that, with all its in- 
fluences, is not always successful in making others 
do right. But Lord Wellington, not having the 
attributes of Sir Boyle Roche's bird, "could not 


well be in two places at once;" he wrote how- 
ever, after the battle, that " the enemy never had 
such superiority of numbers opposed to the Bri- 
tish troops as in this action." One of our Chief's 
greatest merits was, that the great ' ' master never 
found fault with his tools." Whatever private 
strictures or intimations he might have made on 
mistakes, failures, and blunders, his public ones 
were never condemnatory. On all occasions, in 
this way, he displayed the utmost patience and 
forbearance to faults which required, from their 
consequences, the utmost exercise of these virtues. 

Our return to the Spanish village, after our 
rapid run over the mountains at the back of the 
Serra d'Estrella, was greeted by the inhabitants 
with welcome and good feeling. Since we had 
been in Spain (the people finding that we paid for 
everything we wanted, and put them to as little 
inconvenience as we could help) our supplies and 
resources became more abundant, and our inter- 
course with the natives agreeable. They were a 
fine race to look upon, and much superior, in this 
respect, to their neighbours the Portuguese. Poor 
Portugal, desolated and ground down as it had 
been by the iron hand of aggressive war, did not 
at this period show in favourable contrast with the 
less oppressed Spaniards, about whom there was 
always a staid manner and a dignity of deportment 
very prepossessing. 

On the 30th of May, being the birthday of his 


Spanish Majesty King Ferdinand the Seventh, a 
bull-fight and a ball, to which we were all invited, 
was given at Fuente Guinaldo by Don Julian San- 
chez (formerly a respectable butcher in Ciudad Ro- 
drigo) and the officers of his guerilla corps. ' Duty 
prevented me from availing myself of this oppor- 
tunity to witness this truly national amusement; 
I heard however from my comrades, that much 
patriotism, with cold kid and fried fish, was dis- 
played upon the occasion, and the annoyance cre- 
ated by one of our corps having killed Julian's 
lieutenant at Fuentes d'Ofior seemed forgotten. 
The soothing influence exercised by the presence 
of many pretty Spanish women softened all rude 
or contentious feelings or recollections. In return 
for this pleasant intercourse and hospitable treat- 
ment, we determined to give these ladies and the 
guerillas a dance, on the 4th of June, the birthday 
of our own Sovereign. There being no ball-rooms 
at the village of Puebla de Azava, we constructed 
a very pretty bower of leaves, lighted up with pa- 
per lamps, and wreathed round with flowers ; the 
English colours formed an ornament at the upper 
end, or place of honour, of this temporary apart- 
ment; a band from the German Legion set the 
swimming dance in motion; we had waltzes, bo- 
leros, and fandangos, dark eyes, favourable glances, 
agreeable smiles, white teeth, charming figures, and 
graceful movement. We actually began to feel a 
little humanized; in short, to us it was "una 


ticrra de los duendes*." We were very attentive 
and careful in refreshing the sedentary duennas, 
those Cerberuses of young hearts, with ample por- 
tions of punch, wine, and cake, and with as good 
a cold supper as the facilities of the neighbour- 
hood afforded. We even extracted from Ciudad 
Rodrigo (although in the enemy's keeping) many 
sweetmeats and donas hermosas, to adorn our bower 
and deck our table. All was in good keeping and 
good taste gay, lively, animated, happy when, 
about three o'clock in the morning, some fellow, 
of ill-omened voice and stentorian lungs, thrust 
his ugly warlike head through an aperture of our 
bower, and hallooed out, "March directly \" Had 
a mine exploded among our peaceful, happy group, 
more sudden or greater confusion could not have 
been occasioned; hurry-scurry instantly ensued 
amidst officers, servants, guerillas, and ladies ; the 
latter cried out, " Los Franceses ! los Franceses ! " 
although we had very good reason to believe that 
they did not dread them half so much as their bro- 
thers and fathers, that is, with the exception of 
the old ladies, whose nerves were more delicate 
than those of the younger portion of the sex. Then 
came a scrambling and inquiry among the servitors 
after plates, knives, forks, and spoons; the ladies 
and guerillas calling for their horses; the drums 
beating the generate, men moving down to the 
company alarm-posts, batmen saddling mules and 

* Fairyland. 


horses ; in short, great excitement and more regret 
at leaving so suddenly many agreeable, but too re- 
cently made acquaintances; at last however, like 
good soldiers and light-hearted Christians, we sub- 
mitted to the consolatory French maxim, "C'est la 
fortune de la guerre." 

Our column being formed, we moved on Alma- 
dilla, where we awaited further orders. No one 
about us seemed to understand what these move- 
ments meant, > and if ignorance is bliss, we were 
left to its utmost enjoyment. At last intelligence 
reached us that the enemy, under Marmont, had 
made a show of passing the Agueda with some ca- 
valry and a column of infantry. Sir Brent Spen- 
cer, brave as a lion in personal courage, was sensi- 
tively nervous in that moral portion of the virtue, 
the responsibility of command. Much vacillation 
ensued. Brigadier-general Pack precipitately de- 
stroyed the recently repaired works at Almeida; 
our army was somewhat disjointed in relative con- 
nection to the different Divisions ; our movements 
seemed of an uncertain nature, and our baggage 
was somewhat widely dispersed over the coun- 
try. "In this state the Adjutant-general Pack- 
enham observed that the French did not advance 
as if to give battle that their numbers were small 
their movements more ostentatious than vigo- 
rous, and probably designed to cover a flank move- 
ment by the passes leading to the Tagus. He 
therefore urged Spencer to assume a position of 


battle, and thus force the enemy to discover his 
numbers and intentions, or march at once to Lord 
Wellington's assistance. His views were sup- 
ported by Colonel Waters, who, having been close 
to the French, said they were too clean and well- 
dressed to have come off a long march, and must 
therefore be part of the garrison of Ciudad Ro- 
drigo; he had also ascertained that a large body 
was pointing toward the passes*." 

At three o'clock a.m. of the morning of the 
6th, we moved from Almadilla on Soita, where we 
again halted from eight till twelve. The whole of 
our corps d'armee was now in movement in three 
columns of divisions, the First from Almadilla, 
Aldea de Ponte, and Villa Major; the Light from 
Espeja; the Fifth from Nave d'Aver, and Sixth 
from Almeida, Villa Formosa, and the surround- 
ing villages, in full retreat toward the Coa. Some 
skirmishing and a cannonade ensued between the 
advance guard of the enemy and our Light Divi- 
sion and cavalry, in which Captain Purvis of the 
Royals distinguished himself. In the night, as 
the Light Division, with their arms piled, were in 
bivouac, a sudden alarm took place in consequence 
of some fellow roaring out, " French cavalry ! " 
There was no doubt that a charge was made on the 
sleeping troops, trampling over the men and their 
arms, hurting some of the former and knocking 
down the latter. On rising to seize their mus- 

* See Napier. 


kets, our people discovered a drove of some fifty 
unruly bullocks, who, led by one more hungry and 
adventurous than the rest, had departed from their 
line of march, trotted off from the roadway in 
search of food, and, in spite of their drivers, scam- 
pered over a part of the 43rd and 52nd regiments. 
In the confusion thus created, some fellow suddenly 
aroused from sleep, who had possibly dreamed of 
the enemy, seeing a dark body of galloping qua- 
drupeds, called out, " French cavalry ! " totally for- 
getting that outposts had been set to guard against 
such an unpleasant intrusion. 

On the 7th we passed the Coa, and took up a 
position in its rear: there we remained till two 
o'clock p.m. of the 8th, when, Packenham and 
Waters' s surmises of the intentions of the enemy 
proving correct that their advance was meant to 
cover a flank movement, and they having retired 
again, we received orders to march to Mimao, on 
the road to Penamacor, en route for the Alemtejo; 
thus keeping a parallel movement with Marmont's 
corps. The Light Division headed our march, 
leaving Penamacor to our left. Our movement 
was directed to the passage of the Tagus at Villa 
Velha by Pedragao, Escalhos de Ceima, Sarnardas, 
and Atalaya ; the heat was something awful, par- 
ticularly to our poor men, each of whom, under 
the weight of nearly seventy pounds* (including 

* It is to be hoped that in future campaigns this load may be 


great-coat, blanket, knapsack, arms, and accoutre- 
ments), was moving, sometimes in the hottest part 
of the day, through deep valleys covered with the 
shrub of the gum-cistus, emitting a powerfully aro- 
matic and sickening effluvium. Thus surrounded 
and closed in by hills, the sun struck with intense 
force into these deep valleys, which, together with 
the dust raised by the movement of large columns 
of men, and a want of circulation of air, was most 
distressing and overpowering. I have seen a man's 
havresac wet with perspiration through his thick 
red coat, as if it had been dipped in water. Our 
men however bore this well, and few, if any, were 
left behind. One poor fellow was struck down by 
a coup de soleil. After the first day or two, Sir 
Brent ordered us to march at one o'clock a.m., so 
as to reach our halting-place before the heats be- 
gan. It is no joke to be exposed to the sun in 
Spain or Portugal in the middle of a summer's 
day, when the thermometer stands between 80 or 
90 of Fahrenheit. When the enemy kept at a 
respectful distance, Lord Wellington always made 
us march in the night, so as to reach our bivouac 
or camp in the morning, before the sun's power 

On the 14th we passed the Tagus between two 
precipitous hills. The stream here is rapid, and its 
width more than a quarter of a mile ; there were 
but two boats, each of which could transport only 
two hundred men at a time, so our transit was slow, 


and the passage of the guns and baggage slower. 
Poor Johnstone of the Artillery was drowned on 
this occasion; he was much esteemed by all, and 
looked upon as a fine fellow and good officer. Al- 
though young, he had served in the campaigns of 
1808-9-10-11, and had escaped unharmed till now. 
Here, my cattle failing, I purchased another mule 
of Joyce of the 60th Rifles. 

On the 15th we bivouacked near Niza, and on 
the 16th reached Portalegre, refreshed by rain, 
which cooled us ; and, after an absence from our 
baggage of two days, we entered our quarters, 
which comforted us. The siege of Badajos had 
now been raised, and Lord Wellington wrote that 
"the quantity of 241b. shot, we understand, that 
could be sent from Lisbon was 480, which we fired 
in about two hours ! " Picton said we had been 
" suing Badajos in forma pauperis" Portalegre 
was, with the exception of Lisbon, the first entirely 
undamaged town that I had as yet seen since 
entering Portugal, and, consequently, the only one 
that gave any notion of the original national ha- 
bits or peaceful employments of the people. It 
was a large well-built city, with the advantage of 
being neither dilapidated nor deserted, which was 
so far favourable as to give it (in comparison to 
what we had recently seen) a busy and somewhat 
thriving appearance. The Bishop's palace was a 
spacious building; the houses were good, with 
shops and other industrial indications of human- 


ity. The Light Division, being in advance of ours, 
reached it two days before us. General Craufurd, 
who was in command, took up his quarters at the 
Bishop's palace; Spencer, commanding-in- chief the 
whole of this wing of our army, sent on to take up 
his quarters in the said palace. His aide-de-camp, 
Captain Browne, found Craufurd in possession, and 
having announced Sir Brent's wishes, and his in- 
tention to occupy it, Craufurd, ill to manage and 
of fiery temper, did not like to vacate so comfort- 
able an abode, and insinuated that he considered 
himself divested of military rank, and wished that 
his superior officer would consider himself so, and 
further mentioned something about the posses- 
sion of pistols, and other small matters concerning 
eight paces, which intimation he desired might be 
conveyed to Sir Brent, as a hint of the manner in 
which he meant to resist the intended ejection. 
This was so strong a step against the rules of order 
and discipline, that Spencer was obliged to report 
it to Lord Wellington; and thus the Chief had, 
among other more serious occupations of mind and 
time, to administer corrective advice to his fiery- 
dispositioned lieutenant. 

Both Spencer and Craufurd were men of tried 
and well-known intrepidity, and such differences 
were ill-timed, foolish, and detrimental to the ser- 
vice. Certainly, on this occasion, the junior, to 
say the least of it, was rather too demonstrative of 
the want of estimation in which he held his senior. 


Without vouching for its correctness, I may 
mention another anecdote of Craufurd, which was 
current at this time. He had some cause for dis- 
content with a Commissary attached to his divi- 
sion, who was displaced. On the appointment of 
another, the General formed his division into a 
square, and introduced the Commissary; when, 
addressing his men, he animadverted on the mis- 
conduct of the former officer holding that position, 
who had not, he conceived, been sufficiently active 
in supplying the Division ; and added, that if the 
present Commissary did not do his duty better, 
they might hang him, for what he cared ! 

This uncourteous announcement did not suit 
the commissioned dignity or personal feelings of 
the purveyor of provisions, who took the matter 
much to heart, and quite au pied de la lettre. Un- 
der this impression, and being perfectly unappeas- 
able, he repaired to head- quarters, to make a for- 
mal report of what had occurred. Lord Welling- 
ton, happening at the time to be very much en- 
gaged, could not see him. He waited, and sent 
in a second time to say that he was in attendance. 
At last he was admitted ; when Lord Wellington 
asked, c ' Well, what do you want ?" The unfor- 
tunate complainant, with much circumlocution, 
related his injuries. Lord Wellington could not 
bear a roundabout story ; conciseness, alacrity, and 
energy were the elements in which he lived. He 
liked all that was to be done or said brought to a 


point clearly and quickly ; and when the Commis- 
sary ended the history of his sorrows by saying 
that the General had declared " they might take me 
and hang me/' Lord Wellington replied, " Did he, 
by G ? You had better take care ; he is sure to 
be as good as his word/' 

On the 19th we left Portalegre, and it was with 
regret that we moved from so unusually good a 
quarter. Marmont, with the army of Portugal, 
directed his march by the Puerta de Banos, to join 
Soult. The whole French combined force of these 
two Marshals, amounting to some 80,000 men, 
was now concentrated in our front. Lord Wel- 
lington writes from Elvas, under date of the 17th 
of June, 1811: "Under these circumstances I 
should, and shall, avoid a general action, if I can ; 
but I must put a countenance upon the state of 
affairs, and matters must be risked till provisions 
be placed in Elvas/' 

With this view our Chief visited the position of 
Albuera, and ordered entrenchments to be thrown 
up to strengthen this ground. Elvas, which had 
been perfectly neglected by the Portuguese Govern- 
ment (although their only stronghold of conse- 
quence in the Alemtejo), was now, at the oft-re- 
peated demand of Lord Wellington, being provi- 
sioned and armed; and this at the eleventh hour. 
Some of the guns were so useless, and the ammu- 
nition so scant, that a detachment of French ca- 
valry were allowed to pass over the glacis of the 



fortress without a single gun being brought to bear 
upon, or even a shot fired at them. 

Our Division on the 23rd moved from Azumar 
to St. Olaya, where we hutted ourselves. The 
same day, " the French cavalry having passed the 
Guadiana in two columns, one by the bridge of 
Badajos, the other by the fords below the con- 
fluence of the Caya; the former drove back the 
outposts, yet, being opposed by Madden' s horse- 
men and the heavy dragoons, retired without being 
able to discover the position on that side. The 
other column, moving towards Villa Viciosa and 
Elvas, cut off a squadron of the 11th Dragoons; 
and the second German hussars escaped from it to 
Elvas with great difficulty. One hundred and fifty 
men were killed or taken in this affair, and the 
French aver that Colonel Lallemand drew the Bri- 
tish cavalry into an ambuscade. The rumours in 
the allied camp were discordant, but no more fight- 
ing occurred ; and a fruitless attempt to surprise 
the English detachments at Albuquerque ended 
the demonstrations. The French Marshals then 
spread their forces along the Guadiana from Xeres 
de los Cavalheiros to Montijo, and proceeded to 
collect provisions. A great and decisive battle 
had been expected; and though the crisis glided 
away quietly, the moment was one of the most 
dangerous of the whole war*." 

* See Napier. 




Lord Wellington wrote from the Quinta de San 
Joao under date of the 30th June : 

"As nothing is believed in England that is 
written by persons in authority in this country, it 
is not believed that the generals commanding the 
French armies have no communication with each 
other, and that they are entirely ignorant of all 
that is passing around them ; and that they have, 
in fact, no information, excepting what they derive 
from deserters from the foreign regiments in our 
service, of whom there are, I am sorry to say, too 
many, and from the prisoners occasionally sent 
back to them, in exchange for some of our officers 
and soldiers. Adverting to the superiority of the 
enemy's numbers over the allied British and Por- 
tuguese armies, and to the inefficiency of the Spa- 
nish troops, I attribute the success which wc have 


had hitherto in a great degree to the want of in- 
formation by the enemy's general officers. At this 
moment, though the whole army are within a few 
miles of them, they do not know where they are ; 
but, if disabled prisoners are to be sent to them, 
they will get all the information they require, if 
not directly from themselves, from their friends in 
the French interest at Lisbon, from Portuguese or 
English newspapers" etc. 

And further to show the state of affairs at this 
period, it may be as well to quote other short ex- 
tracts from a letter of Lord Wellington's to Ge- 
neral Dumouriez, under date the 5th July, from 
the same Quinta. 

" II y a presque trois ans, a present, que je con- 
duis les operations de la guerre la plus extraor- 
dinaire qu'il y eut jamais. . . . Je crois que ni 
Buonaparte, ni le monde, n'ont compte sur les 
difficultes a subjuguer la Peninsule, etant oppose 
par une bonne armee en Portugal. II a fait des ef- 
forts gigantesques, dignes de sa reputation et des 
forces dont il a la disposition; mais il n'en a pas 
fait assez encore; et je crois que Tancien dictum 
de Henri Quatre, que ' quand on fait la guerre en 
Espagne avec peu de monde, on est battu, et avec 
beaucoup de monde, on meurt de faim/ se trou- 
vera verifie de nos jours; et que Buonaparte ne 
pourra jamais nourrir, meme de la maniere Fran- 
caise moderne, une armee assez grande pour faire 
la conquete des royaumes de la Peninsule, si les 


allies ont seulement une armee assez forte pour 
arreter ses progres. . . . Vous verrez quelle est 
Fespece de guerre que nous faisons. II faut de la 
patience, de la grande patience, pour la faire," etc. 

We remained in our hutted camp in daily ex- 
pectation of the enemy's movement in advance. 
The heat was excessive, our shelter from its in- 
tenseness inadequate ; large plains, dotted and in- 
terspersed with olive-trees, afforded more dust than 
shade ; our hut3 were not constructed of the best 
materials to defend us from the sun's scorching 
blaze ; soon after daybreak they became little hot- 
houses, or rather ovens, from whence came forth 
for parade an almost baked battalion. At this 
place our brigade was considerably strengthened, 
by a reinforcement of detachments from our dif- 
ferent regiments at Cadiz. Here also his Royal 
Highness the Prince of Orange joined us, as aide- 
de-camp to Lord Wellington. He was accompa- 
nied by his friend, Henry Johnson"*, acting as his 
equerry and aide-de-camp. 

On this occasion Lord Wellington reviewed the 
whole army, to show it to his Royal Highness. To 
be sure, we were not so numerous as the combined 
corps of the two French marshals in our front ; but 
what there was of us, together with the Germans, 
improved by past experience under Lord Welling- 

* Now Sir Henry A. Johnson, Bart., of Gresford Lodge, Den- 


ton's guidance, was tried good stuff. At the same 
time our ranks were a motley group of all nations, 
British, Hanoverians, Brunswickers, Chasseurs Bri- 
tanniques (composed of French royalists and de- 
serters), Portuguese, and , Spaniards. We were in 
appearance like Joseph's many-coloured garment ; 
whilst our enemy formed one compact army, under 
French chiefs, with the advantage of one discipline 
and one language. In our ranks sickness began 
now to prevail to a considerable extent. Our vici- 
nity at this season to the banks of the Guadiana 
was anything but healthy : fever existed on the 
low and extensive plains surrounding the river. 
We were not sorry to find, therefore, that the 
enemy had withdrawn from before us. 

After provisioning Badajos, " Marmont covered 
Soult's retrograde operations and retired gradually ; 
he quartered his army in the valley of the Tagus, 
leaving one division at Truxillo." We were thus 
relieved from the French when we had most reason 
to expect, if not an attack from them, at least one 
from the Guadiana fever. Indeed, the latter had 
already made some progress ; but we were now 
spared a further contest with both, and the incon- 
venience of a longer residence in an unwholesome 
vicinity. Want of provisions and the pestilent 
neighbourhood induced the enemy to decamp. 
Marmont so placed his force on the Tagus as to 
act on the flank of any movement of ours against 
Soult and towards Andalucia ; his central position 


covered Madrid, and lie could in a short time col- 
lect 70,000 men against any incursion Lord Wel- 
lington might have contemplated in that direc- 
tion; but after all, the concentration by the two 
French Marshals of 80,000 men did not result in 
a renewal of an attempt to invade Portugal. We 
therefore regarded each other with contemplative 
curiosity, our chief waiting and watching like a 
tiger for a spring upon his prey. 

On the 2nd of July we broke up from our camp, 
and marched, via Azumar, to Portalegre. Here 
Lord March left head-quarters on sick leave for 
Lisbon, and Sir Brent Spencer left for England. 
The latter had frequently been good enough to no- 
tice me ; and, on taking leave of him, he informed 
me that, in consequence of Sir Thomas Graham's 
appointment to this army as second in command 
(having held that high position himself for so long), 
he could not reconcile to his feelings to accept a 
lower post, such as remaining in command of the 
First Division, which had been offered him by 
Lord Wellington. He had therefore determined 
to resign and return to England; that he men- 
tioned this to me, as he had intended to have ap- 
pointed me his aide-de-camp, had I liked to serve 
on his personal staff; and that, should he be em- 
ployed elsewhere, he would keep the appointment 
open till he heard from me. I thanked him for 
hifl kind intentions, and the estimation in which 
he was good enough to hold me ; and replied, that 


should he hold any command on active service, I 
would most readily accept his offer, but that in any 
other case I should be loth to leave this army, as 
I conceived it to be the duty of every young officer 
to serve where he could most profit in the know- 
ledge of his profession. He was good enough to 
approve my views, and so we parted, and the mat- 
ter ended; for he did not succeed to Sir George 
Prevosfs command in America, as was at the time 

During the few days we halted at Portalegre, a 
young, gallant, and hilarious major-general (who 
was quartered in the Bishop's Palace, near the 
church) had, as usual, a few officers at dinner. 
The company was composed of youthful and buoy- 
ant spirits like himself; the weather was very hot, 
and the wine very plentiful. After a somewhat 
late sitting, it was proposed, in consequence of the 
tempting vicinity of a wardrobe full of canonicals, to 
attire ourselves in priestly garments, and to march 
forth with long candles in our hands; this was 
put into effect, chaunting, in grave procession, as 
we went, most unintelligible music, interrupted by 
bursts of laughter. Luckily, it was late and the 
inhabitants were at rest ; or otherwise disagreeable 
consequences would in all probability have ensued. 
A report of this effervescence of wine and reckless 
spirit reached head-quarters ; and, considering the 
sacred ceremonies it imitated, the prejudices it 
waged war against, the high military rank of the 


person engaged in it, and the consequent bad ex- 
ample to others, this escapade was severely rebuked 
by Lord Wellington. He who was the promoter 
of the fun and folly will now perhaps smile as he 
recognizes the scene of past thoughtlessness (should 
its relation meet his sight), for he still lives*; and 
but lately, at St. Paul's, I saw him shed abundant 
tears of regret on the bier of him who recalled the 
too lively young general to a sense of his position. 
Thus was settled this great candle and surplice 
question, which unfortunately in these days cannot 
be so easily settled at home ! 

Lord Wellington then turned his mind to other 
cannons, not of the Church, but of those in the 
mouth of which " man seeks the bubble, reputa- 
tion." "He caused the battering train of iron 
guns and mortars, just arrived from England, with 
their gunners, to be re-embarked ostentatiously at 
Lisbon as if for Cadiz, but had them shifted at sea 
into smaller craft; and while the original vessels 
went to their destination, the train was secretly 
landed at Oporto, and carried up the Douro in 
boats to Lamego. From thence they were brought 
to Villaponte, near Celorico, without attracting 
attention; because Lamego and Celorico, being 
great depots, the passage of stores was constant. 
Other combinations deceived the enemy and facili- 
tated the project, before the troops commenced 
their march for Beira. . . . The bringing sixty - 

* I am sorry to say that he has died since this was written. 


eight huge guns, with proportionate stores, across 
fifty miles of mountain was an operation of mag- 
nitude. Five thousand draft bullocks were re- 
quired for the train alone, and above a thousand 
militia were for several weeks employed merely to 
repair the road*." 

At about the same time all our field-guns, ex- 
cept those of the Horse Artillery, were exchanged 
for others sent out at Lord Wellington's request. 
We found the French eight-pounder guns over- 
powering against our sixes, nice light little things, 
fit only for short and sweet Lilliputian boating 
expeditions, but not made to contend with the 
heavier calibre of metal the enemy brought to bear 
upon us. 

Lord Wellington, immediately after the battle 
of Albuera, had sent Beresford to Lisbon to orga- 
nize the restoration of the Portuguese army. No 
man was more fit and capable for the execution of 
this object than Lord Beresford, as demonstrated 
by the organization, the discipline, and eventual 
state of the Portuguese army, which had hitherto 
been paid by England, and three-fourths of them 
supplied from our commissariat ; but still the Por- 
tuguese Government left the remaining fourth to 
starve. " The disputes between Lord Wellington 
and the Portuguese Government were also becom- 
ing unappeasable ; he drew up powerful expositions 
of his grievous situation, sent one to the Brazils, 

# Napier. 


and another to England, declaring that if a new 
system was not adopted he could not and would 
not continue the war*." The successful results 
of the conduct of the campaigns in the Peninsula 
by Lord Wellington's prudence, activity, and fore- 
sight, seem at length to have inoculated the Mi- 
nistry in England with more confidence in his 
views and somewhat less in their own. Luckily, 
at this moment no Cabinet Minister happened to 
be affected with that serious and cruel disorder, a 
strategetic expeditionary mania to any other part 
of the new or old world ; so we began to be more 
effectively supported with men and material, al- 
though money was still wanting in our military 
chest. This change for the better did not occur 
till after the army had been engaged in this war 
for nearly three years ; and, in spite of all the re- 
presentations made by Lord Wellington, Mr. Per- 
cival still remained inimical to his views, and either 
would not or could not understand this great con- 
centrated effort towards one grand and worthy 
end. The Spaniards would not consent to be offi- 
cered by us ; and at this moment were, as far as 
their armies went, really of little or no use. 

Lord Wellington writes to his brother on this 
subject as follows: 

" You will then say, what is Great Britain to 
do? I answer, persevere in the contest, and do 
the best she can ; while she endeavours to prevail 
* Napier, 


upon the Spaniards to improve their military sys- 
tem We have already, in some degree, 

altered the nature of the war, and of the French 
military system. They are now, in a great mea- 
sure, on the defensive, and are carrying on a war 
of magazines. They will soon, if they have not 
already, come upon the resources of France ; and 
as soon as that is the case, you may depend upon 
it the war will not last long. We may spend ten 
millions a year in this country, but it is a very 
erroneous notion to suppose that all that expense 
is incurred by the war in the Peninsula. Our es- 
tablishment which we have here would cost very 
near half that sum if they were kept at home, and 
the surplus only should be charged as the expense 
of this war. I do not mean to say that that ex- 
pense is not great, but it must be borne as long as 
the Spaniards and Portuguese can hold out, or we 
must take our leave of our character as a great 

The military departments at home also seemed 
in happy ignorance of the nature of the requisites 
essential for an army established in continuous 
warlike operations on the continent of Europe. 
Pig-tails, pipe-clay, stiff stocks, powder, tight 
breeches, long gaiters, and eight hundred lashes 
before breakfast, were the costume and discipline 
of that day and the old time before it. These 
antiquated notions began to be loosened, through 
the practical knowledge and necessities of the war. 


We ourselves were in a normal school of education 
under him, who lived to see and assisted to make 
great and advantageous changes and improvements. 
Lord Wellington, having changed the artillery of 
the army to a larger calibre of gun, and received 
reinforcements of some cavalry and infantry from 
England, once more set us in motion for the north 
of Portugal, having obtained intelligence that Ciu- 
dad Rodrigo was straitened for provisions. 

On the 31st, accordingly, our Division moved 
from Portalegre to Alpahao; on the 1st reached 
Niza ; and on the 2nd passed the Tagus on a pon- 
toon bridge another most requisite material for 
an army, and now for the first time only in our 
possession. In descending from the north, the fly- 
ing bridge of two old crazy boats was the dilatory 
and only mode of transit over the Tagus. (Here, 
by moonlight, after so many hours' exposure to 
the sun, sundry of us took a most luxurious swim 
in the Tagus.) 

On the 7th our new chief of division, Sir Thomas 
Graham*, joined us as second in command of the 
army. He was a fine, gallant-looking old man, 
who began his military career somewhat late in 
life, by raising, at forty years of age, a regiment, 
of which he became at once the colonel, and in 
this rank commenced his services. 

We continued to move by Sarnadas and Castello 
Branco to Escalhos de Ceima, where we had a 
* Afterwards Lord Lynedoch. 


day's halt j then on to San Miguel, Pedragao, Val 
de Lobo, and finally to Penamacor, where we halt- 
ed. The Light Division took np their old quarters 
between the Agueda and Dos Casas, at Gallegos 
and Espeja. Lord Wellington left General Hill 
with 10,000 men in the Alemtejo to watch Soult, 
and cover any attempt on Lisbon from that quar- 
ter; Hill's front being covered again with some 
Spanish corps. It was remarkable that he was the 
only one of his generals, after the battle of Al- 
buera, to whom Lord "Wellington confided, for any 
length of time, the command of a separate corps ; 
and well did General Hill merit the confidence 
placed in him. 

No man however was more fair and considerate 
towards a first failure of others in a military at- 
tempt than Lord Wellington. A staff-officer, at- 
tached to head-quarters, informed me he had heard 
him declare that a man failing once (under certain 
circumstances) should not preclude his being tried 
again; and on one occasion he added, " Where 
should I have been had I not had a second trial at 
Seringapatam ?" 

Marmont was drawn to the north by our move- 
ments ; and although our advance arrived too late 
to prevent some small supplies reaching Ciudad 
Rodrigo, still the enemy made no attempt to mo- 
lest any of our corps on their march, except by 
some French dragoons from Plasencia, who " cap- 
tured a convoy of mules loaded with wine, got 


drunk, and in that state falling on some Portu- 
guese infantry, were beaten, and lost the mules 

On this march, the weather being very hot, most 
of us preferred bivouacking to sleeping in the filthy 
cottages, with their too numerous inhabitants. One 
of my horses knocked up, and I left him, poor fel- 
low ! on the top of a mountain, at his own discre- 
tion, to sustain himself as best he could on some 
sorry-looking leaves and grass. I had no choice 
in the matter, or he either: he could not move 
further. It was no longer possible for him to carry 
me ; and, as it did not occur to me to parry him, 
we parted, wishing each other well, no doubt. I 
lightened his back of the saddle, which I placed 
On my own till the day's march was over. Priva- 
tions and hot weather render men anything but 
amiable. It requires much forbearance and good 
feeling in such positions to ' ' love your neighbour 
as yourself;" besides, perhaps the fiery sun may 
add to fiery tempers ; for which reason there gene- 
rally is more squabbling in India than elsewhere ; 
in short, people get bilious, if they are not ' ' born 
so." I [eaven knows, as far as indulgence in comes- 
tibles went, we had neither profuseness nor luxury 
to generate dyspepsia. But, be this as, it might, 
it did not prevent two field-officers of our brigade 
from coming to loggerheads. One of them esta- 
blished himself at the village of Pedragao, in some 

* General Ilarvey's Journal, MS. See Napier. 

144 A DUEL. 

hovel, more convenient-looking than ordinary. The 
other, of senior rank, arrived later, but, on doing 
so, turned out the first possessor. Warm expres- 
sions passed in consequence; and the following day, 
while on the march, the ejected party rode up to, 
and remonstrated with, the ejector. The latter 
coolly assured him that, "so far from relinquish- 
ing his right to what he had done now, he should 
continue to act in the same manner on all future 
occasions." The other replied that, in such a case, 
he "sheltered himself under his rank as a supe- 
rior officer, to be guilty of a dirty and ungentle- 
manlike action." This, of course, was a closer to 
the conversation at the time. 

After some little delay, these two men went 
out; the junior fired at the senior, the senior at 
the junior, and so ended this stupid and ill-con- 
ditioned dispute. Most people thought that, as the 
French were so near, it was a pity these gentle- 
men should have had occasion to try to shoot one 
another ; by only going a little distance the enemy 
would, in all probability, have done it for them 
with the greatest possible pleasure, and in a much 
more soldierlike and professional way. Our sub- 
ordinate rank precluded us from entering into the 
indulgence of such luxuries : we belonged to that 
happy portion of his Majesty' s service who were in 
the full enjoyment of what sailors call "monkey's 
allowance," tha,t is, of "more kicks than half- 
pence." With the alacrity of youth, however, the 


necessity of obedience to those numerous grades 
above us, and the inutility of resistance, I do not 
remember any instance of a duel among the sub- 
alterns ; although I have seen men turned out, not 
only of quarters, by those immediately above them 
in seniority, but even from under the scanty shade 
afforded by an olive-tree. At that cheery age we 
bore all, laughed at all, and were ready for all. 
We left it to those of higher rank, and more ma- 
tured ill-temper, of less good feeling, or absence 
of good breeding, to set so bad an example when 
on service before an enemy. 

The English newspapers of the 15th July reached 
us here, and kindly communicated to us that we 
had all retired to our lines at Torres Vedras* ! 

On the 28th of August however we moved from 
Pcnamacor, and closed up to our advanced divisions 
on the frontier of Spain, passing through Val de 

* As illustrative of the ill-omened reports and opinions exist- 
ing at home at this time, I may venture to quote an anecdote 
from Moore's Diary, with a note of Lord John Eussell's on it. 
" Sheridan always maintained that the Duke of Wellington would 
succeed in Portugal ; General Tarleton the reverse. It was a 
matter of constant dispute between them. Tarleton, who had 
been wrong, grew obstinate ; so on the news of the retreat of the 
French, Sheridan, by way of taunt, said, 'Well, Tarleton, are 
you on your high horse still ?' ' Oh, higher than ever ! if I was 
on a horse before, I am now on an elephant.' ' No, no, my dear 
fellow ; you were on an ass before, and you are on a mule now.' " 
Lord John goes on to say, " I remember that, having been at the 
lines of Torres Vedras, Sheridan was much pleased with my 
sanguine account of the position. Ed. of Moore's Letters and 



Lobo, Sabugal, to Nave 6 Aver. Ciudad Rodrigo 
was now surrounded by the piquets of the Light 
Division, which were extended to the Salamanca 
side of the town, cutting off the communication 
between the garrison and the surrounding country. 
Marmont was at Plasencia, and Dorsenne, with 
20,000 men, in the north; their communication 
with each other was sustained through the passes 
of the Sierra de Francia, " where, early in Sep- 
tember, Marmont pushed a detachment from Pla- 
sencia, and surprised a British cavalry piquet at 
St. Martin de Trabejo, and this opened his com- 
munications with Dorsenne." Ciudad Rodrigo 
could not be besieged in the face of these com- 
bined corps, and even the blockade must be raised 
if they united and advanced. Our Spanish allies 
were at this moment of small, or rather, of no 
use to themselves or us. From the reports of re- 
inforcements arriving to the French in Spain, the 
formation of depots at Burgos, etc., and, lastly, 
that Napoleon himself meant to head an army to 
drive us from Portugal, Lord-Wellington was in- 
duced to order the lines on both banks of the 
Tagus around Lisbon to be again strengthened, 
and many additional labourers were employed in 
their further improvement and completion. The 
garrison of Rodrigo now again became short of 
provisions; Marmont had been reinforced from 
France, and had 50,000 men. He now entered on 
a combined operation with Dorsenne, to succour 


the garrison of the above place. Marmont passed 
the mountains, and collected a large convoy at Be- 
jar; Dorsenne and Souham collected another con- 
voy at Salamanca, and came down to Tamames 
on the 21st. This was a far superior force to any 
that we could front them with ; and although Lord 
Wellington was nnable to fight beyond the Agueda, 
he would not retreat till he had seen the French 
army, lest a detachment might relieve the place, 
instead of their being obliged to bring their whole 
force to effect that object. 

The operations which followed MarmomVs ad- 
vance it is neither my province nor my intention 
to detail, further than to afford some general idea 
of what occurred. In our extended position, co- 
vering the different roads and their wide range 
leading into Portugal, personal observation of si- 
multaneous events, beyond our own immediate lo- 
cality, was out of the question. I can only nar- 
rate, therefore, the occurrences to the different 
corps and to individuals, as they came to my know- 
ledge after the events. Marmont' s specific object 
was the maintenance of Ciudad Rodrigo, hitherto 
surrounded by our outposts, to regarrison it with 
fresh troops, and to supply it amply with food and 
military munitions. Situated as we were, this 
object could not be prevented, except at the risk 
of a general action against a superior force ; which, 
having no sufficiently adequate object to attain, 
Lord Wellington did not contemplate. 



On the 23rd the advance guard of the enemy's 
corps d'armee made their appearance from the hills, 
and descended into the plains surrounding the for- 
tress, but they soon after withdrew. Our divisions 
were distributed as follows: the Light Division 
at Vadillo, near Ciudad, well posted to watch the 
enemy's advance ; the Third Division at El Bodon 
and Pastores, supported by the Fourth in the 
neighbourhood of Fuente Guinaldo, which place 
was Lord Wellington's head-quarters; the Sixth, 
with Anson's cavalry, at Espeja and Campillo; 
the First, Fifth, and Seventh being in reserve at 
Payo, Almadilla, and Nave d'Aver: the last was 
our post, where we were held in immediate readi- 
ness to support either our front, our right, or any 
divisions needing our collate?*al assistance. The 
baggage was despatched to our rear and to the 
other side of the Coa ; our movements were thus 
left disembarrassed from encumbrances either in 
" highways or bye-ways." 

On the 24th a corps, under General Montbrun, 
again advanced, and crossed the Agueda with 6000 
cavalry, four divisions of infantry, and twelve guns. 
At daybreak on the 25th the enemy made a recon~ 
naissance, to mask the introduction into Ciudad 
Bodrigo of their convoy of provisions and a fresh 
garrison. With this intention they passed the 
Lower Azava with fourteen squadrons of cavalry of 
the Imperial Guard, and with a corps d' elite, the 
Lanciers de Berg, Murat's own favourite regiment. 


We early heard the popping in our front to our 
left, and inclined to hope that our Division might 
soon have some nearer participation in what was 
passing ; but it did not so happen. Like the pa- 
tients of foreign pathologists under a medecine ex- 
pectante, we were not too patiently awaiting the 
result, but were hoping for a further early seance 
or consideration of our present position from our 
French leeches. Sir Thomas Graham commanded 
our wing of the army, of which our division formed 
the left centre and reserve, the Sixth Division and 
Anson's cavalry being to our left and in front ; one 
squadron of the 14th, under Brotherton*, and an- 
other of the 16th, under Hay and Major Cocks 
(considerably in advance of their supports), were 
on the right bank of the Azava. The first passage 
of arms, which occurred that morning, arose be- 
tween these troops and the enemy. The Lanciers 
de Berg, about 900 strong, advanced most rapidly, 
and gallantly, in order to cut off all preparatory 
impediments of skirmishing. The lance and sword 
were their weapons, they being only partially 
armed with carbines. The distance our advance 
was from its reserves, the serried phalanx of su- 
perior numbers armed with new, formidable, and 
hitherto unencountered weapons, induced our ad- 
vance post of cavalry to retire, on the principle 
de reenter pour mieux sauter. They frequently 

* Now Lieutenant-General Brotherton, C.B., late Inspector of 


however formed up and checked the too rapid ad- 
vance of their foe ; and then again, in compliance 
with orders, retired on their own brigade. At 
length the enemy were encountered by our three 
squadrons, were charged, and promptly checked; 
they attempted to rally and return, when, to their 
no small astonishment, they received a well laid-in 
volley from the Light Infantry of Hulse's Brigade 
of the Sixth Division, composed of the light com- 
panies of the 11th, 53rd, and 61st regiments, under 
Major John Mansel. These had been placed, by 
Sir Thomas Graham, under cover in a cork-wood 
on the flank of the rallying Lanciers de Berg, of 
whom sixty were rolled over by the fire of the 61st 
light company and the charge of cavalry. Among 
the prisoners was Lieutenant-Colonel O'Flyn, an 
Irish Catholic in the French service, who, after 
surrendering, attempted to escape, and was killed. 
He evidently was of the genus Dandy, for, in 
stripping the body, they found that under his 
boots the Colonel wore silk stockings. The dra- 
goon who served as valet on the occasion offered 
his epaulettes to the officer of the 14th, command- 
ing his troop, who rejected the proffered trophy, 
but made particular inquiries concerning Colonel 
O'Flyn's sudden demise, which being satisfactorily 
accounted for, no more was said on the subject. 
Another officer also was here taken; his name I 
forget, having made no note of it, although on ar- 
riving at Nave d'Aver he dined where I met him. 


He was gay, good-looking, light-hearted, and reck- 
less, and with so happy a disposition that he drank 
and sang, seeming careless, or at least unwilling 
to show annoyance, at being made prisoner. In 
one of the melees of this day a sous-officier of the 
enemy left his ranks, and singling out Brotherton, 
charged him. A trial of skill with the sabre en- 
sued, each showing good knowledge of the weapon 
he wore. Matters thus remained equal, till the 
Frenchman suddenly drew a pistol from his holster 
and shot Brotherton' s horse through the head; 
it fell instantly. Brotherton quickly disengaged 
himself from the fallen charger, and the French- 
man was about to follow up his advantage, when 
another officer of the 14th, as pistols were resorted 
to in preference to swords, shot the Frenchman 
dead. The horse from which Brotherton had been 
dismounted by the pistol-shot was a trooper, his 
own having been killed or wounded the day pre- 
viously; and, singular to relate, the poor wounded 
troop-horse recovered its consciousness, rose, trot- 
ted back, replaced himself in the rank of his troop, 
and fell down dead ! The above gallant rencontre 
and its results were witnessed by those engaged, 
and many are still living who remember the facts. 
After the charges made by the squadrons of the 
14th and 16th on the Lanciers de Berg and the 
French advance guard, the latter were driven 
across the Azava, and our people once more re-oc- 
cupied the ground of their original outposts of the 


morning at Carpio. On our right other matters 
were transacting, which I cannot better explain 
than by referring to a short paragraph from Lord 
Wellington's despatch, under date of the 29th 
September, 1811, from Quadraseis. He says : 

" But the enemy's attention was principally di- 
rected during this day to the position of the Third 
Division on the hills between Fuente Guinaldo and 
Pastores. About eight in the morning they moved 
a column, consisting of between thirty and forty 
squadrons of cavalry and fourteen battalions of 
infantry, and twelve pieces of cannon, from Ciu- 
dad Rodrigo, in such direction that it was doubt- 
ful whether they would attempt to ascend the hills 
by La Encina or by the direct road of El Bodon 
towards Fuente Guinaldo, and I was not sure on 
which road they would make their attack till they 
actually commenced it upon the last." 

From our post at Nave d'Aver our attention and 
our telescopes were turned to these objects. We 
plainly saw the advancing masses of the French 
approaching the heights of El Bodon, where, with 
a small advanced guard, Lord Wellington com- 
manded in person. We witnessed the salute the 
enemy received from our guns, and marked the 
curling smoke rising in clouds from their brazen 
mouths, echoing and resounding again and again 
from their crested height over plain and wood and 
far intervening space. At once, and suddenly, it 
ceased; a closer struggle and confusion ensued; 



then once again the destructive booming recom- 
menced, and thus went on: now the undulating 
ground or elbowed point of some small promon- 
tory intercepted sound and sight together, then 
the kind of hogVback formation of hill on which 
the operations were transacting gave us but a par- 
tial and uncertain view of what was really passing. 
After about an hour's uncertainty and investment 
of the promontory by the enemy's numerous ca- 
valry, at length (by force of numbers and dashing 
courage) we saw they had reached the ascent and 
gathered on its summit. Next in their turn the 
enemy's guns opened, and we beheld our people, 
surrounded by clouds of cavalry, retiring in co- 
lumns and squares. After this we could no longer 
see distinctly what took place, but what did occur 
is pretty much as follows. Marmont advanced 
with his columns of cavalry, directing their march 
to the height, on which four battalions of infantry, 
a brigade of Portuguese guns, and three squadrons 
of cavalry were posted under Lord Wellington in 
person. They formed part of the Third Division, 
consisting of the 5th and 77th British, and the 
9th and 21st Portuguese regiments, the guns under 
Aivntschild, and the German Hussars under Victor 
Alten. "This height was convex towards the 
enemy, and covered in front and on both flanks 
by deep ravines." Marmont, surrounded by his 
staff, advanced to the foot of this height and halted 
immediately beneath it, until the closing up of his 


infantry columns. Lord Wellington was posted 
immediately above this spot, and the chiefs and 
head-qnarter staff of the two armies were not two 
hundred yards distant from each other. On look- 
ing over the height, every movement of the French 
marshal and his staff could be distinctly seen. 
From their proximity, as the voices ascended, the 
conversation carried on below could almost be 
overheard. The enemy, on the contrary, could 
neither see what force occupied or what move- 
ments were occurring on the hill above, and had 
therefore no notion of what they should meet with 
on reaching its summit. Lord Wellington now 
ordered the guns to open; with good effect and 
unerring aim they sent their destructive messen- 
gers into Montbrun's columns of cavalry in the 
plain beneath ; they had scarcely done so however, 
when a sweep of French horsemen, like a whirl- 
wind, stormed the rocky height, charged the guns 
in flank, cut down the gunners at their posts, and 
took two cannon. Major Ridge, commanding the 
5th Regiment, a prompt and intrepid soldier, im- 
mediately brought down the bayonets of his batta- 
lion to the charge, and storming the dashing cap- 
tors, drove them headlong from the rocky heights, 
and retook the guns. Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey*, 
attached to head-quarter staff, promptly seized the 
occasion, and ordered the draft mules to the front ; 

* In the Portuguese service at the time, now General Sir 
Robert Harvey, K.C.B. 


the guns were limbered up, and by the quick and 
gallant decision of Ridge and the ready energy of 
Harvey, these two guns were not only at the mo- 
ment saved, but the enemy felt later the inconve- 
nience of their being so. While this was going on 
with the 5th, the 77th Regiment, under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Broomhead, were attacked in front by an- 
other body of the enemy's cavalry, which they re- 
pulsed by an instant advance and charge of bayo- 
nets. Again and again did the enemy storm these 
heights with their horsemen, but in spite of the 
great numerical superiority of their cavalry, they 
were manfully maintained by the oft-repeated and 
almost constant charges delivered by Victor Alten's 
three squadrons of the 1st German Hussars and 
11th Light Dragoons. At length the enemy made 
a great and simultaneous effort from two opposite 
points at once, and, rising from the valleys beneath 
like some vast wave, they rushed up, and with 
weight and force irresistible reached the crowning 

It was not until the hill had been carried by su- 
perior numbers of the enemy's cavalry, and that a 
division of their infantry were fast closing up for 
an attack, their artillery already being in action, 
that Lord Wellington thought proper to order the 
small body of troops he commanded at this post to 
retire on Fuente Guinaldo, where he had previously 
thrown up some redoubts and fieldworks. A bri- 
gade of the Fourth Division had been ordered up 


from Guinaldo, and the remainder of the Third 
Division from El Bodon, except that part of it at 
Pastores, which was too distant. The French ca- 
valry, on reaching the summit, dashed on among 
its defenders; assailants and assailed, with the 
chiefs and the staff of the contending armies, 
seemed in the sudden melee to be thrown together 
in inextricable confusion. Lord Wellington was 
greatly exposed at this moment, and had a narrow 
escape amidst the rush of French horsemen: though 
at first surrounded by the friendly few, he suddenly 
was now enveloped by the inimical many. A few 
yards only separated him from the charging enemy ; 
I think it was poor Gordon"*, his aide-de-camp, 
who was said to have first pointed out the proxi- 
mate danger of being captured, before Lord Wel- 
lington thought proper to turn his horse and canter 
off. The enemy, on reaching the height, seemed 
astonished at the paucity of the defenders they had 
so stoutly contended against, but, odd to say, pro- 
fited little, as our casualties were few, and they 
scarcely took a single prisoner. The two weak 
battalions of the 5th and 77th were now thrown 
into one square, supported by the 21st Portuguese 
in solid formation of close column. The enemy's 
cavalry immediately rushed forward, and obliged 
our cavalry to retire to the support of the Portu- 

* Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. Sir Alexander Gordon, of 
the 3rd Guards, aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington, fell at 


guese regiment. Much hard galloping ensued : the 
5th and 77th were charged by the French horse- 
men on three faces of their square; when thus 
brought to bay, they halted, receiving the attack 
with cool, steady, and gallant bearing, repulsed it, 
then rose from their bristly formation, and, in pha- 
lanxed order and admirable discipline, once again 
moved on. For six miles across an open country, 
in face of this superior force, did these small co- 
lumns, in square, continue their march, menaced 
and surrounded on all sides by their enemy, and 
exposed to the fire of the French artillery inflict- 
ing chasms in their ranks ; they quietly closed up, 
maintained their formation, although with dimi- 
nished front, and once more moved towards the 
position destined for them by their great chief. 
In their retreat, a shell fell into the solid column 
of the 21st Portuguese, and burst in its centre, 
destroying numbers; they opened out, left the 
dead or wounded, closed in again, and moved on. 
The Quartermaster-General, Colonel Murray*, rode 
up to this regiment to give them an order, but 
neither the commanding nor any other officer who 
happened to be present, understood English suffi- 
ciently to enable him to communicate his orders to 
them. Captain Burgoynef, of the Engineers, be- 

* Afterwards tin* Right Hon. Lieutenant-General Sir George 
Murray, G.C.B., M.P. 

+ Now Lieutrna nt -General Sir John Burgoyne, G.C.B., In- 
spector of Fortifications. 


ing at hand, offered his services as a linguist, and 
was ordered to remain with this battalion, and di- 
rected to communicate to them the instructions to 
be conveyed during the remainder of these very 
brilliant and creditable movements. Our infantry, 
thus surrounded, conducted themselves in as cool 
and orderly a manner as at a field-day ; those pre- 
sent declared they never saw a more beautiful 
sight. Such is the worth of steady discipline ! 

The French cavalry were now galloping in for- 
ward movement all over the field, out-flanking our 
cavalry and infantry, pressing on our rear, and in 
all parts became inconveniently disturbing and ob- 
trusive. To sportsmen, and the many home-bred 
seekers of action and excitement, I may here re- 
late an episode of adventure, midst more serious 
matters of the kind, which occurred that morning. 

Lord Charles Manners, extra aide-de-camp to 
Lord Wellington, in a most sportsman-like man- 
ner escaped from being made prisoner. By hard 
work his horse had been knocked up, and he rode 
to the rear, where he had posted his fresh one, to 
get a remount ; on returning, he met an officer of 
artillery, who informed him where he would find 
Lord Wellington (this was on the hill immediately 
above them, over which he was retreating with our 
troops) ; the artillery officer, however, advised him 
by no means to go in a direct line, as he must, in 
such case, throw himself and his newly -remounted 
charger right into the range of fire of three French 


howitzers which had just opened upon our retiring 

On this, Lord Charles took a slanting direction, 
and turned the hill, instead of going directly up it, 
but on rounding a small declivity he came plump 
upon two squadrons of French Chasseurs a Cheval ; 
he instantly drew up his horse (a capital hunter) 
from a canter to a walk, and at that pace quietly 
proceeded on to reconnoitre. On arriving within 
some thirty yards of the enemy, however, the 
French General, Dejean, commanding these troops, 
accompanied by four orderlies, had stationed him- 
self at their head in advance, and called out, " Que 
cherchez-vous, Monsieur?" The gallant Aide-de- 
camp replied, " Milord Wellington." The General 
immediately made a signal with his sword, point- 
ing out Lord Charles to his orderlies, who galloped 
forward to take him, but he turned his horse ; and, 
knowing the country, led them across a difficult 
part and towards a nasty wide yawning water- 
course, still keeping the direction in which he be- 
lieved Lord Wellington to be. The pursuing four 
pressed on, and when within hopeful distance of 
catching the pursued, to their astonishment they 
saw his horse flying in the air over the vast chasm, 
which, becoming to them an impassable barrier, 
brought them up to a stand-still. Alava, on the 
hill above, seeing the pursuit, and what was pass- 
ing beneath, not knowing the confidence placed in 
his horse by Lord Charles, sent down some Spanish 

160 craufurd's obstinacy. 

guerillas, who soon induced the baffled pursuers 
to return hastily under cover of their numerous 
friends; whilst Lord Charles, in a quiet canter, 
continued his course and joined Lord Wellington. 
Some of the rest of the Third Division had now 
joined, and also forming squares, the whole conti- 
nued to retire. Soon after they were met by the 
Fourth Division advancing to their support : under 
the fire of the enemy's artillery, and environed by 
their cavalry, they still continued their retreat to 
the ground near Fuente Guinaldo. Here Lord 
Wellington had already caused two redoubts and 
some fieldworks to be thrown up : orders had been 
sent to the Light Division to retire from Vadillo, 
with which that gallant but unmanageable Chief 
of Division, Craufurd, did not think proper to com- 
ply. With or without reason, he really liked fight- 
ing, and never threw away a chance of bringing 
a " scrimmage" about ; he always held to his own 
ideas, and loved to see his name in the Gazette. 

i With many sterling and soldier-like qualities, he 
was the sublime of the refractory and provokingly 
useful. The consequence of all this delay created 
much inconvenience and no small danger to Lord 
Wellington, who had taken up the position at Gui- 
naldOj and awaited Craufurd's joining him. The 
deployment of Marmonfs forces towards this point 
became threatening ; but, at all events, Lord Wel- 
lington would not and could not move further to 
the rear until assured of the safety of the Light 


Division. Separated, and at a distance, Craufurd's 
procrastination to obey orders very nearly occa- 
sioned him to be cut off from the rest of our army; 
and he had to make a considerable detour and a 
night-march to retrieve himself, and regain his 
communication with Lord Wellington. Here again 
was exemplified the necessity of prompt obedience 
to the chief in command, whose designs and rea- 
sons the commanders of separate corps may not at 
the moment be able to comprehend. In the mean- 
time Lord Wellington, having regained his en- 
trenchments about four o' clock p.m., the enemy, 
whose activity in favouring the retreating columns 
with round shot and shell had been excessive, 
halted and ceased firing. While this was going on 
upon our right, the advance of the left wing of the 
army, under Graham, was ordered to fall back on 
our division at Nave d'Aver, leaving cavalry out- 
posts on the Azava, and thus we passed the night. 

On the 26th, in the morning, Lord Wellington 
still held his post at Guinaldo with only the Third 
and Fourth Divisions, some cavalry, and guns ; in 
all about 14,000 men. No news of the Light 
Division had as yet reached Lord Wellington ; he 
therefore held his ground, deploying his troops to 
make them look more numerous than they were, 
in short, making as imposing an appearance to his 
enemy as he could. The concentrated and over- 
whelming numbers of the enemy had been brought 
to bear on this one single point of the extended 



divisions of our army. Sixty thousand Frenchmen, 
with great superiority of cavalry and 100 guns, stood 
immediately before, and their sentries and vedettes 
in actual and immediate contact with those of the 
two Divisions commanded by Lord Wellington in 
person. This certainly was a most anxious and 
critical moment : all eyes were turned to the front, 
in momentary expectation of a crushing attempt 
being made on our small force, when Lord Wel- 
lington, seemingly tired of waiting, and feeling 
drowsy, told one of his aides-de-camp to call him 
if anything was the matter, wrapped himself in his 
cloak, lay down in the broiling sun, and slept very 
composedly and soundly for more than two hours'*. 
For some unknown reason, Marmont made no at- 
tack this day; he did not seem to know the po- 
sitions of our different divisions, was deceived by 
the appearances displayed by our Chief, and was 
otherwise mystified. 

Of the operations of the 27th, Lord Wellington 
writes as follows : 

" It had Jeen the enemy's intention to turn the 
left of the position of Guinaldo, by moving a co- 
lumn into the valley of the Upper Azava, and 

* The greatest general of antiquity possessed a similar power 
of sleeping when he would, or rather when he could. Livy (xxi. 
4) records of Hannibal, " Vigiliarum somnique nee die, nee nocte 
discriminata tempora. Id quod gerendis rebus superesset quieti 
datum : eaque neque molli stratu, neque silentio arcessita. Multi 
ssepe, militari sagulo opertum, humi jacentem inter custodias sta- 
tionesque militum, conspexerunt." 


thence ascending the height in the rear of the po- 
sition by Castillejos; and from this column they 
detached a division of infantry and fourteen regi- 
ments of cavalry to follow our retreat by Alber- 
gueria, and another body of the same strength 
followed us by Forcalhos. The former attacked 
the piquets of the cavalry at Aldea da Ponte, and 
drove them in ; and they pushed on nearly as far 
as Alfyates. I then made General Pakenham at- 
tack them with his brigade of the Fourth Division, 
supported by Lieutenant- General the Hon. L. Cole 
and the Fourth Division, and by Sir S. Cotton's* 
cavalry; and the enemy were driven through Al- 
dea da Ponte, back upon Albergueria, and the 
piquets of the cavalry resumed their station. But 
the enemy having been reinforced by the troops 
which marched from Forcalhos, again advanced 
about sunset, and drove in the piquets of the ca- 
valry from Aldea da Ponte, and took possession of 
the village. Lieutenant- General Cole again at- 
tacked them, with a part of General Pakenham's 
brigade, and drove them through the village ; but 
night having come on, and as General Pakenham 
was not certain what was passing on his flanks, or 
of the numbers of the enemy, and he knew that 
the army were to fall back still further, he evacu- 
ated the village, which the enemy occupied, and 
held during the night." 

There had been this day some very heavy skir- 

* Now Lord Combermere. 


mishing at Aldea da Ponte; and in this sharp affair, 
among others, Captain Prevost, son of Sir George, 
and aide-de-camp to Sir Lowry Cole, was killed. 
On this night, the 27th, I was on piquet in front 
of Nave d'Aver, when, about ten o' clock, an order 
came to withdraw the outposts. Our division 
made a night march of six hours, and halted at 
Bismuda, in rear of Villa Major. 

On the 26th the army were all concentrated in 
a very strong position on the heights behind Soito, 
having the Sierra de Mesas on their right and Hen- 
do on the Coa on our left. A loop of the river co- 
vered both flanks ; and, in addition, rough, rocky, 
and woody ground impeded the advance of the 
enemy in front. The most singular circumstance 
was, that the enemy commenced their retreat at 
the very same time that we did, and we were each 
moving away from one another ! 

It is not my intention to enter into the merits of 
the tactics displayed on this occasion, for much 
superlatively fine military criticism has been be- 
stowed upon these movements. One strategic cen- 
sor thinks that the position on which Lord Wel- 
lington meant to retire, and perhaps fight, with a 
river in his rear, was objectionable ; another, that 
his contempt for his enemy led him into a hazard- 
ous imprudence; and a third, that if Marmont 
had done this, and if he had done that, neither of 
which he did do, why, something else would have 
probably resulted. These suggestions may or may 


not be sound : the movements may not have been 
upon military principles strictly correct; but the 
argument of what might have happened, but which 
did not happen, is like entering into that compli- 
cated point, that if your aunt was not your aunt, 
she might have been your uncle. The fact was, 
that Lord Wellington on this occasion placed him- 
self hors de regie, and acquired the knowledge he 
wished to obtain, while the enemy had no know- 
ledge of him; his own quickness, and the excel- 
lence of his troops, rendered such a liberty at least 
warrantable. All movements depended upon sup- 
ply. He knew that the enemy wanted means to 
support an army together for any length of time. 
Ignorant as Marmont was of the precise where- 
abouts of Lord Wellington's divisions, he perfectly 
well knew that if a successful action had been 
fought, it would scarcely have led him into Portu- 
gal ; where there was as little to be found to sustain 
life, as poor James Macdonald of the Guards dis- 
covered when he opened an economical General's 
cupboard, and found two lean mice contemplating, 
with tears in their eyes, a hard crust of bread ! 

Lord Wellington was master of his circumstances, 
was aware of his enemy's ignorance, knew no se- 
rious attempt could at that moment be made on 
Portugal by Marmont ; he therefore put on a bold 
front, made an imposing appearance, and gained 
his object without any great loss. I find the fol- 
lowing paragraph in an old letter of mine, written 


just before these movements, and dated from Nave 
d'Aver, the 24th of September, 1811, addressed to 
a general officer in England : 

"The enemy are advancing with a convoy for 
Ciudad Rodrigo. Report also says, that they are 
in movement in the Alemtejo; but I will make 
two bets. One is, that whatever force the French 
can bring (and Marmont is reported to have 60,000 
men in our front), they will not attempt to 
enter Portugal ; and the next is, that if they try, 
we shall not fight till we reach a position on the 
Coa. God knows what will be the result; I do 
not mean the result in case of fighting, for that we 
are all confident about, but the result of their ad- 
vance. By the bye, it is said that the Duke of 
Leinster, Lords Delawarr and Clare, and Henry 
Fitzgerald* have landed at Lisbon, and are all on 
their way up to see the army. A very nice time 
they have chosen for their trip ! No baggage, 
much movement, short commons, and no respect 
of personages. Adieu ! I am called away." 

The first part of this letter was perfectly verified 
by what I have related in the foregoing pages. 

* Afterwards Lord De Eos. 




During this campaign we had many amateurs, or 
T. G.s as they would, be called in modern phraseo- 
logy, whose curiosity far exceeded their cognizance 
of military position; one of these found himself 
suddenly one fine morning in the midst of a French 
instead of an English out-piquet. Although arri- 
ving early, and quite unexpectedly, he was politely 
requested to remain and make a sojourn with them ; 
he pleaded his non-combative qualities, protested 
" qu'il n'etait pas du tout, du tout militaire," laid 
great stress upon his love of the peaceful, the beau- 
tiful, the picturesque ; that he was a mere wanderer 
to sec the country and the war, and assured the 
French officer he was "purement un amateur." 
He who had charge of the Gallic outpost, however, 
was incredulous and uninfluenced by such sophistry, 
and could not understand such a fine-drawn dis- 


tinction in so doubtful a predicament ; besides, our 
unlucky countryman had adopted a military cos- 
tume, a blue coat, cocked hat, and sword, which 
rendered his belligerent appearance more complete, 
and his peaceable pretensions less credible. Al- 
though later in life (tempora mutantur !) he might 
have declared himself one of "Bright and Cob- 
den's own," at the time all his protestations were 
in vain. To the head-quarters of the enemy's 
army he was sent a prisoner. 

Not long previous to this, a French lieutenant- 
colonel had been taken by some of our people. 
When our unfortunate traveller reached his desti- 
nation, a flag of truce was sent to Lord Welling- 
ton from the French Marshal, saying that they had 
taken a prisoner, calling himself an amateur ; that 
the Marshal did not clearly comprehend what that 
name implied, as they had none such in their army ; 
but if Lord Wellington would exchange him for 
the lieutenant-colonel lately taken from them, 
the Marshal would return the amateur. Lord Wel- 
lington is stated to have answered, that he was 
" much obliged to the French commander for the 
proposition, but he begged he would keep him." 
I do remember however an amateur whose tho- 
rough English feeling led him, at Waterloo, into 
the thick of the fight ; and whose activity, useful- 
ness, and gallantry were conspicuous throughout 
the whole of that eventful day. In a plain blue 
coat, and round hat, he had ridden that morning 


from Brussels, joined the Duke on the field, and 
attached himself to him. As the staff of the great 
hero began to fall around him, and casualties oc- 
curred to man and horse, he supplied their place, 
and conveyed orders for the Duke to different parts 
of the field. This circumstance was well known at 
the time to all, and ought to be perpetuated, for 
none more honourably or honestly earned distinc- 
tion that day than the present Earl Bathurst, then 
Lord Apsley. May other amateurs, in future wars, 
emulate so chivalrous and patriotic an example ! 

But to return from this digression. After the 
convoy and the fresh garrison had been thrown 
into Ciudad Rodrigo, Marmont had no object, and 
Lord Wellington quite as little temptation, to 
fight. If the French Marshal had accomplished 
his purpose, the English General had equally ob- 
tained his end, having acquired, by personal ob- 
servation, a knowledge of the amount of force the 
enemy could bring into the field, when the mo- 
ment should arrive for his contemplated attack on 
Ciudad Rodrigo. 

The weather was now cold and rainy ; the 28th 
would have been a beautiful day for ducks and 
hackney-coachmen ; had either been in the neigh- 
bourhood, we certainly should have roasted, beyond 
a joke, the former interesting absentees, and availed 
ourselves of the services of the latter in considera- 
tion of the want of umbrellas in the army ! 

We moved to Rendo ; on the 29th crossed the 


Coa to Gata, and on the 30th reached Val des 
Ayres, a pretty village situated between Celorico 
and Guarda, hanging on the slope, and at the foot 
of a ridge or spur thrown out from the Serra 
d'Estrella towards the Val de Mondego. This, as 
far as the picturesque went, was certainly a most 
beautiful country. The French having retired to 
Salamanca, Banos, and Plasencia, our outposts 
were left to watch Ciudad Rodrigo, and Lord Wel- 
lington established his head-quarters at Frenada. 
These, our retiring movements from the frontier of 
Portugal, were intended to lull Marshal Marmont 
into security, and the belief of our peaceable in- 
tentions for the rest of the winter ; we therefore 
arrived at our pretty village in the Val de Mon- 
dego under the false pretext of making it our win- 
ter quarters, as the autumnal rains had set in. In 
the absence of more military or exciting exploits, 
we were disposed to recognize the truthful philo- 
sophy of two lines we found written on an old door 
in an empty house, by some French gaillard : 

" Heureux, heureux, celui qui, bien loin de la guerre, 
Goute d'un petit plat et boit dans un grand verre !" 

Our only difficulty was, as an American would 
say, "to realize to ourselves" so pleasant a prac- 
tice. The army was three months in arrear of pay; 
bills on England were difficult to cash, and at a 
villainous exchange of six shillings for the dollar, 
of which the current value was five ; comestibles 
were difficult to procure ; and luxuries, such as tea, 


sugar, brandy, etc., to be found only on occasions 
of the few-and-far-between visits of sutlers who 
followed the army. One fellow of this calling, an 
Italian, enjoying the murderous name of Sangui- 
netti, was the most constant of his kind, and the 
most extortionate in his constancy; his visits, in 
their long intervals of uncertainty, bespoke more 
of the Jew than the angel ; that is, in ministering 
to our wants he had a lively sense of his own in- 
terests, his motto evidently being 

" Con arte e con inganno 
Si vive mezzo 1' anno, 
Con inganno e con arte 
Si yive 1' altra parte." 

He was however one of those necessary evils on 
which fellows who rough it, and have no choice, 
will fall back occasionally. Another battalion of 
our brigade was quartered at no great distance, at 
the village of Lagiosa; our interchange of visits 
and good fellowship was frequent, but our means 
of hospitality were few ; however, those fellows of 
our division, the Guards, were accused of " rough- 
ing it on a beefsteak and a bottle of port," which, 
no doubt, they always did, like the rest of the 
army, when they could get it, but never otherwise. 
Apropos to " the gentlemen's sons," as they were 
called, I may here narrate an anecdote in allusion 
to them, although it did not occur till many years 
after in England. 

At a supper at Hatfield House, in Hertfordshire, 


Sir John S , Bart., and Colonel H. B , 

afterwards Lord D , entered into an animated 

discussion on the respective merits of the Guards 
and the Line ; they became warm in defence of 
their individual opinions, and at last appealed to 
the Duke of Wellington, who was present. " Oh!" 
he said, " I am all for the Guards all for the 
Guards." One of the disputants rejoined, " I told 
you so ; those fellows in silk stockings and shoes 
have more blood about them, and blood will tell." 
" Ah !" said the Duke, " I did not mean that ; I 
meant the non-commissioned officers." The Duke 
certainly gave strong proof of his estimation of the 
merits and good conduct of the non-commissioned 
officers of the Guards; for during the period I 
happened to serve with the First Division of the 
army, to which the Second Brigade of Guards be- 
longed, he recommended for commissions, as adju- 
tants, quarter-masters, and subalterns in different 
regiments, no less than fourteen non-commissioned 
officers of that brigade. The Duke, on this occa- 
sion, seeing the disputants were heated, probably 
meant to turn the warm discussion into pleasantry, 
and availed himself of the merits of the non-com- 
missioned officers for that purpose; for no man's 
estimation of the Guards as an entire corps was 
higher than that of the Duke of Wellington him- 
self. However possible it may be to meet with a 
heaven-born Minister of State (although I confess I 
really never saw one) , he knew right well that in a 


less exalted situation there were no such things as 
heaven-born non-commissioned officers : somebody 
must have created them after their birth. If the 
commanding officers, adjutants, captains, and sub- 
alterns did not maintain the discipline, and keep up 
the system which formed the non-commissioned offi- 
cers, who else did ? The estimation in which the 
Duke seemed to hold this small portion of his army- 
may be gathered from a reference to his general 
orders, his despatches, and the way in which he 
always spoke of them as a body. No one could 
accuse the Duke of being prone to compliment; 
downright and truthful expression was his forte ; 
and as he seemed to think the first might deterio- 
rate from the last, he made no use of it. He was 
much more given to saying what he thought of 
things and persons, than some people found it con- 
venient to hear; and whenever a man desired to 
deeply impress his own merit upon the Duke, he 
was pretty sure to have, in return, in terse and con- 
cise words, the Duke's estimation of him. 

From this it may be collected that, in like man- 
ner, when he did speak favourably, it might be 
relied upon as equally proceeding from the sound 
conviction of his own mind, and that he considered 
the interest of truth better served by facts than 
by fables. Baron Miiffling narrates one of these 
short expressions of his confidence and reliance, 
which I will venture to copy here. He states this 
to have happened between the Duke and himself 
on the field of Waterloo, in the morning, imme- 


diately after the action had commenced, and says 
that he " spoke with the Duke after the battle had 
begun, about the strength and weakness of his line 
of battle;" and goes on to state, " not fearing for 
his centre and left wing, I considered his right 
wing the weakest point, and Hougoumont, in par- 
ticular, I deemed untenable in a serious assault by 
the enemy. This the Duke disputed, as he had 
put the old chateau in a state of defence, and 
caused the long garden-wall towards the field of 
battle to be crenellated ; and he added, ' I have 
thrown Macdonell* into it/ an officer on whom 
he placed especial reliance." Lieutenant- Colonel 
Macdonell, of the Coldstream, commanded the 
light infantry companies of the Second Brigade 
of Guards in Hougoumont : the Duke's expression 
therefore conveys a reliance not only on the officer 
in command, but on the troops he commanded. 
None on that day of trial, in conduct, endurance, 
or discipline, were more severely tested than those 
who perseveringly held this post against repeated 
attacks by overwhelming numbers. Credit there- 
fore must be accorded as due through each grade, 
from rank-and-file to rank of commander, to those 
who so well fulfilled the duty expected of them 
and the confidence placed in them by their great 
Commander ;f those not in the chateau equally 
responded to his call, and gained his approbation, 

* Lieutenant- General Sir James Macdonell, K.C.B., K.C.H., 
Colonel of the 71st Regiment. 

f This was afforded at the close of the action by the Duke 


as all good troops of every corps and every arm did 
on that day. In a paragraph from his Waterloo 
despatch he says, " It gives me the greatest satis- 
faction to assure your lordship " (the Secretary for 
War and Colonies, then Lord Bathurst), " that the 
army never upon any occasion conducted itself 
better. The division of Guards under Lieutenant- 
General Cooke*, who is severely wounded, Major 
General Maitlandf, and Major General ByngJ, set 
an example which was followed by all." As to 
controversies concerning the merits of individual 
corps in relation to each other, I confess I condemn 
them. Where all act well and perform their duty, 

himself. Baron Muffling goes on to narrate : " I met the Duke 
in the neighbourhood of La Haye Sainte, holding a telescope in 
his right hand ; he called out to me from a distance, ' Well ! you 
see Macdonell has held Hougoumont.' This was an expression 
of pleasure that his brave comrade had answered his expectations." 

* Afterwards Sir George Cooke, K.C.B. ; lost an arm at 

t General Sir Peregrine Maitland, G.C.B., Colonel of the 17th 

X Now General the Earl of Strafford, G.C.B. etc. etc., Colonel 
of the Coldstream Regiment of Guards. 

The expression attributed to the Duke, " Up Guards, and 
at them again!" I have good reason for knowing was never made 
use of by him. He was not even with the Brigade of Guards in 
question at the time they rose from their recumbent position to at- 
tack the Freneh column in their front, and therefore could not well 
have t hus addressed them. I never heard this story till long after, 
on my return to England, when it was related by a lady at a din- 
ner-table; probabU it was the invention of some goodly Botherby. 
I remember denying my belief in it at the time, and my view lias 
since been sufficiently confirmed. Besides, the words bear no 
internal evidence of t Ho style either of thought or expression of 
him to whom they were attributed. 


the only cause of emulative dispute should be how 
to serve their country best by licking her enemies 
the most. This is the goal to be reached ; the rest 
is all twaddle. 

But retournons a nos moutons at Yal des Ayres. 
The autumnal rains set in, and the weather was 
very bad. There was at this time a good deal of 
sickness in the ranks of our army; for example, 
out of my own company alone, in strength sixty- 
six rank-and-file and four officers, thirty of the 
former were sick absent and two sick present, and 
of the four latter I was the only one doing duty, 
one being wounded and a prisoner, and two sick at 
Coimbra. In our battalion there were at this time, 
of officers, ten sick absent, four sick present, one 
prisoner, one invalided, and two just dead; and 
this in proportion was pretty much the same in 
other corps. I here had a touch of the ague, 
but a light heart and Lamego wine soon made 
this enemy retire. At this time too I was much 
pressed to try and obtain leave to go home on 
some important family matters; but that I also 
successfully resisted, although the temptation cer- 
tainly was great, to see once more friends and 
home; however, I stuck to my colours and the 
service, feeling, from the dearth of officers, that 
I could not be conveniently spared. I did not 
choose to apply for leave of absence; and being 
fairly embarked in my profession, it would have 
annoyed me to have been absent while active and 
brilliant operations were going on, and we pretty 


well knew that our pretended winter-quarters were 
all a blind. I therefore remained, in failure of 
others, in command of my company. 

I had some troublesome although amusing cha- 
racters to control. Two of them I especially re- 
member : one an Irishman, M'Culloch, whose cap 
had been carried off by a shell at Fuentes d'Onor ; 
the other a Scotchman, by name Campbell. These 
two fellows were comrades, although quite opposite 
characters; each retained the unmistakeable type 
of his nation ; the opposite quality of disposition 
was soothed by the mutual love of ebriosity. This 
made the intimacy more piquant. Pat was all 
blatheremskite, as they called it in his fatherland, 
with some wit, great good humour, and the small- 
est possible powers of calculation. Campbell was 
a clever, long-headed, canny Scot, and well edu- 
cated, so much so as to have in his knapsack 
a small well-thumbed edition of Horace. This 
seemed to him in his soberer hours a great re- 
source; from it he would quote to his comrades 
most unintelligible conversation, which, in his 
hard, dry manner, was most amusingly conveyed. 
Campbell, through his powers of arithmetic, be- 
came the honoured homme d'affaires of his friend 
M'Culloch; and when pay-day arrived, Campbell 
received the money from the pay-sergeant, and ex- 
plained the particulars to his friend. The first 
impulse with both on receiving money was, imme- 
diately to get drunk ; and, do what one could, by 


remonstrance or punishment, this was not to be 
prevented. When drunk, they were most joy- 
ously loving friends j but as soon as drunkenness 
ceased to be drunk, Campbell could never make 
M'Culloch understand the " spee-dalities" of the 
account between them, when on the wrong side 
of his ledger. They were regularly brought up to 
me to see justice done; I generally first accom- 
plished this by punishing them both for inebriety, 
but their wrangling often put to the test all my 
powers of gravity. The Irishman's real or pre- 
tended want of comprehension, larded with the 
most ridiculous expressions and witty remarks, 
the Scotchman's grave face, cool logic, and au- 
thentic arithmetic, pushed with keenness to de- 
monstration, was a never-failing scene served up 
monthly to my notice. In those days the very in- 
exclusive mode of recruiting the army brought us 
acquainted with many ineligible characters; the 
necessities of the war being great, scruples against 
enlistment were few, all were fish that came 
to the net, and all were indiscriminately taken. 
Many fine, gallant, good fellows enlisted from right 
and proper motives, and did well ; but still, as ca- 
sualties by sickness and the sword prevented the 
supply from keeping pace with the demand, at last 
anything was taken: even manumitted gaol-birds 
were admitted as ' ' food for powder." 

This portion of the British army carried along 
with it its inconveniences, both in bad example 


and the necessity of its repression. The mainte- 
nance of discipline on service is a very different 
affair from managing the system of regularity ac- 
complished at home or in colonial garrisons. It 
is to the previous tiresome attention to trifles that 
is to be attributed the acquired habit of punctu- 
ality, order, and obedience. The persevering, un- 
varying system instils into the mind of the soldier 
at last, not merely the physical, but the moral 
obligation in the performance of a requisite duty. 
From such training it is that good soldiers are 
afterwards made : with the Englishman this takes 
time, and requires opportunities which do not oc- 
cur on sendee ; for then different and far greater 
difficulties arise in maintaining even the ground- 
work that had been established. Much depends 
not only on individual character, but on the depth 
with which that character has been imbued (not to 
say inoculated) with the proper virus. In a cam- 
paign an immediate change ensues, a strain upon 
all former pipeclay ordinances occurs, more dis- 
cretionary power being left at the disposition * of 
the soldier in taking care of himself, instead of 
being taken care of; he is more his own master; 
necessity then becomes the mother of contrivance ; 
they have a thousand things to learn for tli 
which cannot be taught in barracks and garrisons, 
and arc most essential acquirements to enable men 
to meet the hardships they encounter. To obtain 
the knowledge, under all circumstances, to shift 


for themselves ; to make the most out of a little ; 
to economize rest and food when opportunity af- 
fords them ; to show invention and adaptation of 
means to ends, and a conservation and economy of 
their physical powers ; to maintain a healthy body, 
sound feet, and a strong stomach, reserving, ac- 
cording to their means, always something to put 
into it ; in short, to keep themselves, under diffi- 
cult circumstances, in good bodily condition ; all 
this has to be learned by the young soldier and 
officer. On this point the Duke of Wellington 
was reported to have said, " that he would rather 
have one man who had served two campaigns, than 
two men who had not served one/' While on this 
subject I may remark, that without food or drink 
there is no one of Heaven's creation who feels so 
small as an Englishman ; whether it proceeds from 
want of habit of abstinence, or construction of sto- 
mach, the fact was evident. In other nations the 
early habit of vegetable diet in preference to ani- 
mal food, the temperament of blood, or the effect 
of climate, seems to render them better able to 
support this kind of privation. To make an Eng- 
lishman march up to his mark, or fight up to his 
habits, you must feed him : if you do not, he will 
plunder, for go without it he will not*. I have 
seen Spaniards, Portuguese, French, and even 

* As instance of which, I will here give the Duke's opinion, on 
the authority of Baron Muffling, who says, that after Waterloo, 
" on the march to Paris, the Prussian army made longer marches 


Germans, support this species of hardship better 
than the English soldier ; he and his horse stand 
training in this way worse than any others. 

Another material consideration on service is the 
men's shoes. After the battle of Salamanca a cir- 
cumstance occurred to the First Division of the 
army in relation to this. With no immediate 
means at hand to supply them with others, they 
had fairly marched their shoes off; they adopted 
the system of the Spanish muleteers, and resorted 
to the raw hides of the fresh-killed bullocks, which 
had been slaughtered for their food. They placed 
their foot on the warm hide, and cut out a suffici- 
ency to cover this most vulnerable part of a soldier's 
person, and making a sandal of it marched on with 
ease and glee. Afterwards the difficulty was, when 
French shoes were taken at the surrender of the 
Retiro at Madrid, to induce the men to quit the 
easy, well-fitting, and pliant sandal, for the hard and 
cumbrous leather shoe. Wisely and advantageously 

than the English ; and when in the morning I made my daily 
communications to the Duke, I took the liberty of respectfully 
calling his attention to this, and suggesting that it would bo brt- 
fcflr if lie kepi the same pace as his ally. He was silent at first, 
but on my urging bim again to move more rapidly, he said to me, 
'Do not press me on this point, for I tell you it won't do. If 
you were better acquainted with the English army, its composi- 
tion and habits, you would say thesame. I cannot separate from 
my tents and tnv supplies. My troops must be well kept and well 
supplied in camp, if order and discipline are to be maintained. 
It is better that I should arrive two days later in Paris, than that 
discipline should be relaxed.' " 


to palliate and correct the ills that troops in war 
are heir to, is no easy undertaking. The difficulties 
are not to be appreciated until officers and men are 
fairly embarked in the reality of a Continental 
campaign; endurance of severe privation at one 
moment, and exposure to temptation at another, 
are great disturbers of health and discipline. 

Morally and physically to bear and forbear is the 
lesson to be learned, this is the real morale en 
action : to tame down the turbulent, and cultivate 
a good feeling in the well disposed, are the duties 
of the officer, amidst want, fatigue, and demoraliz- 
ing influences. He should have tact and discrimi- 
nation, and a knowledge of the characters of those 
under him. Punishments on service will vary as 
much as those who may deserve them ; and the 
manner of putting in force what crime may well 
merit and example exact, is often difficult and some- 
times detrimental, paradoxical as the case may 
appear. The main point, however, is to keep up 
as kindly and good a feeling between all grades as 
is possible ; and when I talk of punishment, I will 
not inflict one on my reader by helping him to so 
somniferous a subject as a treatise on discipline, 
but shall leave that to those whose duty it may be. 
All I have to observe in this case is, the immense 
improvement, since the time of which I write, 
which has been made in the discipline and moral 
educational instruction of our army. 

October 22nd. We heard at this time of a 


stealthy, clever operation carried out by our friend 
Don Julian Sanchez, of guerilla fame, who closely 
watched the French garrison of Ciudad Rodrigo. 
In the night the enemy were accustomed to send 
forth from the town their live-stock to feed on the 
glacis, their custom being to withdraw them within 
the town again as daylight broke. Julian Sanchez 
having obtained information of this, laid wait with 
his horsemen, pounced one dark rainy night upon 
the supping quadrupeds, killed those in charge of 
them, and drove off nearly two hundred bullocks 
from under the very guns of the fortress. This 
loss being made evident to the Governor next morn- 
ing, he came out himself, with an escort, to recon- 
noitre j and, when at no great distance beyond the 
range of his own artillery, they suddenly received 
an unexpected and equally impromptu visit from 
the same guerilla chief, who, having killed and 
wounded some in the onslaught, took all the rest 
prisoners, including General Renaud and his two 
aides-de-camp; but afterwards the two last con- 
trived to make their escape. The Light, Third, 
and Fourth Divisions were at this time between 
the Coa and the Agueda, distantly watching the 
garrison of Rodrigo. The First, Fifth, Sixth, and 
Seventh, together with the greater part of our 
artillery, were placed, for the sake of provisions, 
in an extended order from the frontier to as far 
back as the Val de Mondego. 

The rainy season set in with all its wonted 


vigour : tremendous storms of thunder and wind 
drove the rain against the barren mountains by 
which we were surrounded ; these last disgorged 
what they received in foaming watercourses, de- 
scending in jumping torrents past dwellings beneath, 
and rendering both rivers and roads impassable. 
Few of the cottages we were destined to inhabit 
could be considered in that state of repair that 
English architects would considerately pronounce 
wind, water, or weather proof. However, to be 
under cover at all in such a season was a luxury 
which did not last very long. On the 1st Novem- 
ber we received orders to march next morning to 
Acores, and from thence to proceed to bivouac near 
Gata. We commenced our march, and had nearly 
reached Lagiosa, when we were happily counter- 
manded, and very thankfully returned to Graciosa 
and Val des Ayres. 

From its want of novelty the prospect of bivou- 
acking in a mist, with spongy ground for a bed, 
could always be dispensed with by us without re- 
gret. Such anticipations remind me of a learned 
acquaintance of mine, of antiquarian propensities, 
who, in perfect seriousness, on visiting Rome, de- 
clared he did not think that the interior of the 
Pantheon looked comfortable ! What my worthy 
friend meant to predicate by this is not easy to de- 
termine probably that he found in his temporary 
visits small " indoor relief," to use a union-house 
phrase ; while, on the other hand, in bad weather 


we had a constant lively sense of the inconveni- 
ences of " the outdoor" system. 

Soon after our return to our lately left quarter, 
we heard of General HuTs* successful surprise in 
the south of General Girard's force at Arroyo Mo- 
linos. These movements were well planned and 
equally well executed. A small movable column, 
under Girard, had been foraging between the 
Tagus and the Guadiana, in the neighbourhood of 
Caceres, and preventing our allies, the Spaniards, 
under Morillo, from supporting his troops from 
that quarter. Lord Wellington ordered Hill to 
drive the enemy away, who advanced, on the 26th 
of October, to Malpertida de Caceres for that pur- 
pose. The enemy withdrew to Arroyo Molinos, 
leaving a rear-guard at Albala. Hill saw his ad- 
vantage, and promptly seized it, by a forced night 
march on a shorter parallel road, and reached, 
without their knowledge, Alcuesca, only a league 
distant from the enemy f. The village of Arroyo 
was situated in a plain, and behind it a sierra, or 
ridge of rocks, rose in the form of a crescent. 

During the night, though the weather was dread- 
ful, no fires were permitted in the Allied camp, 
and at two o'clock in the morning of the 28th, 
the troops moved to a low ridge, only half a mile 
distant from Arroyo. Behind this they formed 
into three columns, the infantry on the flanks, the 

* Afterwards Lord Hill, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, 
t See Napier. 


cavalry in the centre; and before daylight, on a 
misty, stormy October morning, which favoured 
their approach, the left wing moved direct upon 
the enemy, while the other infantry column and 
cavalry, with the guns, directed their march to the 
right, and intercepted the enemy's retreat by flank- 
ing it, and reached the other side, with the view of 
entirely cutting off their escape. One brigade of 
Girard's had marched early in the morning, and 
were out of harm's way, but the rest, Dambrou- 
ski's infantry and Bridie' s cavalry, were found in 
happy ignorance of danger, comfortably prepar- 
ing for their march, their horses of the rear-guard 
unbridled and tied to olive-trees, the infantry 
only gathering to form outside on the Medellin 
road, and Girard himself in his quarters waiting 
to mount his horse, when Howard's Brigade, the 
50th, 71st, and 92d entered pellmell amongst them, 
the last two regiments charging down the street, 
and the Highland pibrochs singing forth the old 
Jacobite air of " Johnny Cope, are ye rising yet ?" 
The enemy, that is, those who could escape, 
after some hard fighting and struggling, were 
driven to the end of the village, the 50th securing 
those who had been captured. The remainder 
of the French formed in squares outside, and co- 
vered the main body of their horsemen on the left. 
Cadogan, with the 71st, lined the garden- walls, and 
opened a galling fire on the nearest square; the 
92nd cleared the village, and formed upon the ene- 


my's right j the Spanish cavalry skirted the houses, 
to endeavour to intercept their line of retreat. The 
guns opened on the French squares; our 13th Dra- 
goons captured their artillery ; the 9th Dragoons 
and 2nd German Hussars charged their cavalry, 
and entirely dispersed it with great loss; Girard 
was wounded, but still kept his infantry together, 
and continued his retreat by the Truxillo road ; his 
men were falling by fifties, and his situation was 
desperate, but on further retiring he found the 
road closed by the right column of the Allies, while 
Howard's Brigade were pressing and coming up 
fast on his front. Nothing being left for it, the 
enemy now, sooner than surrender, broke, and 
throwing away their arms and knapsacks, endea- 
voured to escape singly by scaling the almost inac- 
cessible rocks of the sierra, which overtopped the 
village and the roads. They were pursued even in 
this attempt, by the 28th and 34th, led by Gene- 
ral Howard, who followed them step by step up 
the rocks, and many prisoners were made. Girard, 
wounded, and Dambrouski and Briche escaped with 
about GOO out of 3000 men, and after wandering 
in the Guadalupe mountains, crossed the Guadiana 
at Orrclano, and joined Drouet. The spoil was, 
all the French artillery, baggage, and commissariat, 
together with two generals taken (Brun and Prince 
d'Arenberg), thirty other officers, and 1300 pri- 
soners. A private of the 92nd took Prince d'Aren- 
berg. The loss of the Allies was not more than 


seventy killed and wounded ; but Strenowitz of the 
German Hussars, to whom I have before alluded 
as having distinguished himself, being on this 
occasion too forward in the pursuit, was made 
prisoner. On the application however of General 
Hill to General Drouet, the latter kindly released 
him. Lord Hill, speaking of the troops under him 
in his despatch to Lord Wellington, says : " No 
praise of mine can do justice to their admirable 
conduct ; the patience and goodwill shown by all 
ranks during forced marches in the worst of wea- 
ther, their strict attention to the orders they re- 
ceived, the precision with which they moved to the 
attack, and their obedience to command during 
the action ; in short, the manner in which every 
one has performed his duty from the first com- 
mencement of the operations, merits my warmest 
thanks, and will not, I am sure, be passed unob- 
served by your Lordship." 

On the 24th of November we suddenly received 
an order to move ; we were to leave our baggage 
behind at Val des Ayres, and to march directly in 
advance to the frontier. It was a hard frost, and 
the weather was severely cold; we left Graciosa 
about midday, to climb one of those bleak off- 
shoot ranges of the Serra d'Estrella, the top of 
which last is, in summer and winter, covered with 
snow. In our ascent, we faced the iced wind rush- 
ing down from the mountain's hoary head, which 
was sufficient to cool the hottest temper, or chill 


the warmest heart : keen and piercing were the 
effects to those exposed to it. Over this wild, 
barren country, we this day marched six long Por- 
tuguese leagues, equivalent to twenty-four English 
miles, and did not reach till midnight the miser- 
ble village of Regiosa, where we halted. Being 
very unwell, and only just recovered from an in- 
flammation of the chest, followed by ague and fever, 
I remember this day's march right well: great 
weakness and raging headache were my disagree- 
able companions in this day's pedestrianism. It 
was too cold to mount my horse, and I led him. 
On our arrival we had two companies and three 
officers of our battalion put under cover at this 
poor place : it could hold no more, and scarcely 
even these. The rest were dispersed about in dif- 
ferent small villages, so as to put our men under 
roofs, a desirable object, as far as health went, at 
this season, in these cold and mountainous regions. 
In thus dispersing the troops, by some blunder- 
ing our two companies found themselves deserted 
by the Commissary, and were left without rations. 
Those men who had the savoir-faire about them, 
and had economized their prior stock of biscuit, 
now conveniently discovered it, perhaps at the bot- 
tom of their haversacks; but those who had not, 
were left for six-and-thirty hours without food, or 
any means of procuring it. Luckily I discovered 
in my portable larder (a fishing basket attached 
to my horse's saddle) one biscuit and a small piece 


of cheese, which was divided amongst three of us ; 
then, thanking our stars that we were on the right 
side of the door of a house, we made in our smoky 
hovel the best fire we could, stretched ourselves on 
the ground in our cloaks before it, and slept till 
daylight roused us once more to renew our march. 

We moved three leagues to Aldea de Dona, and 
next day to Nave d'Aver. The occasion of our 
thus closing up to the frontier, was the assembly, 
in the neighbourhood of Tamames, of some 14,000 
of the enemy, to convey fresh cattle and a com- 
mander into Ciudad Rodrigo, in lieu of those lately 
filched from that fortress by Julian Sanchez. Lord 
Wellington fully meant to cross the Azava and the 
Agueda, to attack them with his whole force, in 
their charitable attempt to succour their friends, 
for which purpose all our divisions had been moved 
in concentration to between the Coa and Agueda ; 
but, unluckily, the weather had been so bad, and 
the rain so abundant, that it rendered the fords of 
the Azava and Agueda impassable. Taking ad- 
vantage of this, General Thiebault seized the occa- 
sion, introduced the convoy and the new Governor 
General Barrie, and precipitately retired, before we 
could get at him across these waters. 

Having previously, in winter, been in the south 
of Portugal, or the neighbourhood of Lisbon, we 
were unaccustomed to sharp cold ; and on reach- 
ing the high plateau of open country, on which 
Nave d'Aver stands, we felt it more severely. The 

AN ELEGY. 191 

rivers remained flooded, but the frost was still as 
hard as in a more northern latitude; the hovels 
of Nave d'Aver formed but a polite excuse for a 
covering. We sat, when indoors (for in-windows 
we could not call it, there being none beyond bro- 
ken shutters), wrapped in our cloaks, on the family 
household chests of the poor inhabitants, round a 
brazarico, or pan of hot ashes, to warm the extre- 
mities of man ; a joke or a cigar in our mouth, to 
console the stomach or brush up the intellect ; our 
drink, when we could get it, some kind of wine 
or alcohol, to fill the internal portion of human 
nature's commissariat depot. These, together with 
a sincere good wish for a better abode, a battle, 
or anything, in short, that would circulate the 
blood or interest the mind, formed our desiderata ; 
though we bore our hardships with the true spirit 
of well-tried, red-coated philosophers. 

As I have hitherto depicted our situation in 
prose, I may now, perhaps, venture to give a poe- 
tical description thereof, in the shape of 

&n lElegg, 

By a Subaltern Officer in Cantonments on the Banks of the Coa 
in 1811. 

Tn these dark, wretched, and unfurnish'd cells, 
"Where many a moping, half-starved hero dwells, 
And erer-musing Bfelanchofy reigns, 

What mean lliesc tumults in an ensign's v. 
Whence come thoe t witchings that invade repose? 
Is it roast-beef, or shadows cross my nose, 

192 AN ELEGY. 

Which, eager, snuffing up the tainted air, 
Fancies it feasts on culinary fare? 
Vain shadows, hence! nor dare to sport with one 
So sad, so comfortless, so woe-begone, 
Whose clamorous bowels cease to know good cheer- 
Hunger in front, starvation in the rear. 
Night's sable mantle now wraps nature up, 
Now bucks to dinner go, and cits to sup ; 
Deep lost in sleep, around, my comrades snore, 
Whilst I, awake, my adverse fate deplore ; 
Groan to the night's dull ear my lonely grief, 
And sigh for England, and her fine roast-beef. 
Oh ! plenteous England, comfort's dwelling-place, 
Blest be thy well-fed, glossy, John Bull face ; 
Blest be the land of aldermanic paunches, 
Of rich soup turtle, glorious ven'son haunches ! 
Inoculated by mad martial ardour, 
Why did I ever quit thy well-stored larder ? 
Why, fired with scarlet fever in ill time, 
Come here to fight and starve in this curst clime ? 
In vision now I only feasts prepare, 
And, waking, feed like poets, on thin air. 
My days lag tardily on leaden wings, 
And night no comfort, no refreshment brings ; 
For though, oppress' d with toil, I seek for ease, 
Nature's restorer flies from scoundrel fleas, 
Who, e'en more num'rous than Arcadia's flocks, 
Bite from my nightcap to my very socks, 
And swarm all o'er, and thick infix their smarts, 
As erst on Gulliver pour'd pigmy darts, 
When fast by Lilliputian fetters bound, 
He fumed, and swore, and bellow' d on the ground. 
Now, while o'er all around uncertain sleep 
Prevails, alone I my sad vigils keep, 
Let me, like Philomel, pour forth my sorrow, 
The sad detail that fresh awaits tomorrow. 
First, milkless tea presents the morn's repast, 
MiscalTd a breakfast, but in truth a fast ; 

AN ELEGY. 193 

Harsh, mouldy biscuit, served in portions spare, 
By niggard Commissary's frugal care ; 
No butter, no fresh eggs, no mutton-chops, 
No crisp brown toast, such as spruce waiter pops, 
In London coffee-house, beneath your beard, 
When thrice the well-pull'd hungry bell is heard j 
Not e'en a cup or saucer decks the board, 
But from the haversack's foul motley hoard 
A vessel's dragg'd, ten thousand debts to pay, 
Doom'd to ten thousand uses, night and day. 
Then dinner ; oh, ye gods! who deign to stoop 
To mortal's moans, contemplate this our soup. 
See the smoking bullock's thin lean flanks, 
Portion' d in morsels through the famish' d ranks j 
See in camp kettles all we have to dine, 
Yielding soup meagre that would frighten swine. 
Such the two sorry meals but two alas ! 
And these scarce e'en enliven'd by a glass. 
'Twere impious to insult the god of vines, 
Profane his sacred juice, his rosy wines, 
By calling wine the rank, sour, scanty stuff, 
Which " special favour" gives, nor gives enough. 
Can such repasts be meant to feed and drench 
Great Britain's heroes, sent to fight the French ? 
Better at home, in some dark cellar vile, 
Mend shoes as cobbler, than starve here in style ; 
Or muffins cry, or occupation meek 
Ply in St. Giles's, for a pound a week. 
Ye fat rich citizens of London town, 
Who roll in coaches, and who sleep in down, 
Upraised by trade, who wallow in your wealth, 
And snug o'er claret drink " the army's health," 
Turn here your eye, and give a pitying stare \ 
Come, and behold how we lank warriors fare. 
Think not of ball-room strut, or lounging gait 
In public walks, our military bait 
To catch your daughters, oft ten-thousand prize, 
Our gold and scarlet sparkling like their eyes j 

194 AN ELEGY. 

But see the crimson'd coat seam'd o'er with stitches, 
The torn, degen'rate, regimental breeches ; 
Behold how pale and worn the once brisk sash is, 
See the last relics of these spatterdashes. 
The ci-devant gay suit now alter' d grown, 
All glare, all brilliancy, all splendour gone. 
Hail, sweet recruiting service ! pleasing toil, 
Ball-room campaigns, tea-parties, cards, dice, Hoyle : 
Ye days when dangling was my only duty, 
Envied by cits, caress' d by every beauty, 
Dreaded by mothers, trembling at each glance 
Shot at their daughters going down the dance. 
Ah ! how tormenting memory sad reviews 
Those happy hours when in silk hose, thin shoes, 
And sprightly scarlet, much the tailor's pride, 
I lounged and flatter' d at the fair one's side ! 
Away, curs'd busy fancy ; leave this vision ; 
Increase not misery by keen derision ! 
Away, quick hasten from these dreary walls ; 
Attend soft heroes to their plays and balls ! 
Pleasure's fled hence, wide now the gulf between us ; 
Stern Mars has routed Bacchus and sweet Yenus. 

I can no more ; the lamp's last fading ray 

Reminds me of parade ere break of day, 

"Where shiv'ring I must stand, though bleak the morning, 

Housed by the drummer's hateful warning. 

Come then, my boat-cloak, let me wrap thee round, 

And snore in concert, stretch'd upon the ground, 

Midst all these sleepers, grunting in their nooks ; 

Oh ! may I dream of frying-pans and cooks, 

Pots, spits, and larders, and when on viands fall, 

Guzzle with aldermen of famed Guildhall. 

And haste the day when I, on Albion's shore, 

May stuff and cram till I can cram no more : 

Haste the blest night when deep shall sink this frame 

In fields of feathers, not in fields of fame. 


The above parody on Pope's 'Abelard* came 
from Gallegos, the cantonments of the Light Di- 
vision, and was printed by the perambulating press, 
established at head-quarters to facilitate the pro- 
mulgation of Lord Wellington's orders. The few 
copies struck off fell amongst the personal friends 
of the author ; some still living may recognize the 
attempt to turn privations into pleasantries, and 
to "laugh in care's face." These lines at the time 
obtained popularity and circulation without the 
aid even of booksellers or publishers. It was the 
author of ( The Pleasures of Hope/ I think, who 
said that he " forgave Buonaparte all his delin- 
quencies, in consideration of his having, on one 
occasion, shot a bookseller." This remark surely 
ought to have come from the author of ' The Plea- 
sures of Memory.' I may say of the originator 
of the elegy, that while I leave to others the appre- 
ciation of the author's fancy, I reserve to myself a 
sure and lively remembrance of the truthfulness 
of his facts. 

The bracing weather had the advantage of driv- 
ing away my ague. In the absence of our Adjutant, 
who had departed on a visit to Lord Wellington, 
at head-quarters, his duties devolved upon me, 
which increased my occupations ; nevertheless, I 
contrived to find time to take a gallop with another 
officer towards Cindad llodrigo, for the purpose of 
obtaining a sketch of the town and its environs. 
I passed our outposts, and proceeded three miles 


beyond them, as these only extended as far as the 
heights of Marialva, near Carpio. 

We reached the enemy's vedettes, when they 
sent out a patrole after us, but I had accomplished 
what I wished before they made their approach. 
As in the state of the rivers nothing further 
could now be done with the enemy, we were put 
en route on the 30th of November for Navas, on 
our way to Pinhel, which we reached on the 1st of 
December. This town, though subjected to the 
frequent dilapidating occupation of the French, 
was a good quarter, not ill supplied with the re- 
quisites to render a sojourn there agreeable. Sir 
Thomas Graham, and the head-quarter staff of our 
division, took up their abode in one of its chief 
houses ; and we now began once more to use our 
best ingenuity to make our men's quarters com- 
fortable and clean, and to strain our inventive fa- 
culties towards the same end, in favour of our own 
abodes. I luckily had, in common with a com- 
rade, a quarter with the astounding luxury of 
glazed windows to it : such palatial grandeur sel- 
dom in these days fell to the lot of a subaltern in 
that country ; but we were not long destined thus 
to be framed and glazed. 

The anticipatory idea of comfort was added to 
in no slight degree by the hospitality of the Chief 
of our Division*, at whose table I frequently found 
myself a guest. However, c ' a change came o'er the 

* Sir Thomas Graham. 


spirit" of this dream, for I was shortly after sent out 
of town with my company to the Quinta de Toro, 
a mile and a half from Pinhel, on the road to Ce- 
lorico. This had been a fine old chateau, the pro- 
perty of a Portuguese Fidalgo, who had fled on the 
French invasion. The enemy had done much da- 
mage, but there were still remaining some habit- 
able rooms, with a great deal of fine old tapestry, 
and many other signs left of the better and happier 
days it had been witness to. I know nothing more 
melancholy than to visit a fine old family mansion 
in a state of half-ruin ; somehow I am apt, in my 
" mind's eye," to repeople it with its former occu- 
pants from generation to generation, and fancy all 
the youthful aspirations of hope, love, and kindly 
feelings that these chambers had encompassed in 
bygone days, mixed, no doubt, with fears, disap- 
pointments, anxieties, or distress, and " all the ills 
that man is heir to." To my mind there is some- 
thing in the scenes of past pleasure or pain which 
sanctifies the spot where they have occurred. 

Poor human nature had here played its high 
pranks; the chambers, with the broken remnants 
of furniture, bore silent testimony to all that once 
had been, but was no longer. Lodged in the 
Quinta of a Portuguese noblemen, seated in a 
park, with the Coa's tributary streams running 
through it, surrounded with woods, and encom- 
passed by walls, I began to fancy myself transmo- 
grified into that beau ideal of English good taste 


a country gentleman. The banished owner (and 
his (t forbears/' as they are called in Scotland) often 
came to my thoughts, although I knew them not, or 
ever did know them; even their names are now for- 
gotten, although then familiar to me. Foreign in- 
vasion had sent them forth wanderers from their 
hearths and home; they fled to Oporto, or else- 
where, rather than witness or expose themselves 
to personal insult or the ravages of war. Their 
forced absence was but an episode in such inroads 
on their country. 

We found in these domains some game, and 
woodcocks in plenty, which afforded us not only 
the pleasure of exhilarating exercise, but a profit 
to our table. 

This was too good to last. On the 17th I was 
sent, with a detachment of my regiment, on a 
working party, to the fortress of Almeida. This 
frontier stronghold was almost in a state of ruin ; 
hardly a roof was left on any house. The French 
siege of it in 1810, the explosion of the magazine 
on that occasion, Brennier's destruction of the 
works on his abandoning the town in 1811, the 
precipitate mischief done by Packe on Marmont's 
advance against Spencer in the summer of the 
same year, rendered both the town and its fortifi- 
cations a chaos. Two faces of the scarp and para- 
pet of this hexagon-formed work (that to the west 
and south) had been blown into the ditch, and the 
guns buried in the ruins. The works were now 


again undergoing repair, to place them in a state 
of sufficient defence against a coup de main. Our 
battering train had also arrived here, composed of 
seventy-eight heavy pieces of ordnance. A great 
number of cars were also in course of construction, 
to facilitate the conveyance of ammunition; and 
we were occupied in making fascines and gabions, 
and rapidly preparing, in every way possible, for 
carrying into effect the immediate siege of Ciu- 
dad E-odrigo. The dilapidated state of Almeida, 
and the arrival of our heavy artillery, served as 
an excuse to the enemy for our operations, which 
they believed were confined merely to defensive 
measures of precaution, in preparing and arming 
this Portuguese frontier fortress. 

Under this blind Lord Wellington put forth all 
his and our energies to hasten the preparations for 
the siege of the Spanish frontier fortress. The 
Light and Third Divisions were moved nearer to 
Ciudad Rodrigo; he called together all the ge- 
neral officers and heads of departments, not as a 
council, for he was not in the habit of asking other 
people's opinions on professional matters, but to 
give them his own. Having acquired the neces- 
sary information for himself, he admitted of no 
advice from others ; he well digested and reflected 
on what he intended to accomplish, and, having 
made up his own mind, he laid down his instruc- 
tions and gave his orders to carry them into effect, 
and on all possible occasions superintended their 


execution : he really was a chief on whom all de- 
pended. What a contrast is this with Baron 
Muffling' s descriptions of the councils of war, even 
within the Prussian army itself, in the campaigns 
of 1813 and 1814; the scenes described between 
himself, Gneisenau, and others, concerning the 
movements of their army; the open wranglings, 
coolnesses, jealousies, and differences in the Allied 
German Divisions of the same nation ! How, with 
such a system and want of unity in command, 
they brought matters to the result they did, is 
surprising. With us no time was lost in dispute 
or clashing opinions : one master mind prevailed 
throughout the whole of our campaigns ; he tho- 
roughly comprehended and taught others to exe- 
cute that which he required. This was an im- 
mense advantage, and resulted (though frequently 
under most difficult circumstances) in entire suc- 
cess. Being placed whilst at Almeida under the 
orders of the engineer officers, we lived entirely 
with them. After accomplishing our work we 
once more returned to Pinhel, and to our former 
country abode of the Quint a de Toro. A mail, 
ay, news from England dear old England ! a 
bundle of friendly letters awaited my arrival. No 
one but those who have experienced long delay 
and doubtful silence can sufficiently appreciate the 
pleasure derived from receiving in a distant land 
letters from home; circumstances at other times 
of small import then appear matters of deep inte- 


rest; the slight indisposition of a friend, or the 
death of some favourite old dog, casts a deeper re- 
gret, the success, health, or happiness, of those 
you love, bestows a greater pleasure. In distance 
and uncertain absence the thoughtful minds and 
kind hearts whose affections guide their pens, af- 
ford invaluable testimonials to the longing recipi- 
ents of them, particularly when one calculates the 
chance that they come from friends you "ne'er 
may see again." On again reaching my regiment 
I found that my comrades, in our absence, had 
been at work as well as ourselves, although not 
quite on the same objects. Out of an old room 
they had constructed a theatre, and had got up 
amongst them the comedy of ' The Heir at Law/ 
while we of the working parties to Almeida had 
been preparing for ' The Tragedy of the Siege and 
Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo.' The former intended 
theatrical representation was in a most untimely 
manner interrupted by the operations requisite for 
the latter. But before entering on a new year, or 
commencing another campaign, I may venture, in 
conclusion, to observe that this was begun on the 
6th of March, and might be said to have closed in 
the December following; that Portugal had been 
completely liberated from French possession ; and 
through numerous minor and two general actions 
and one siege Lord Wellington had established his 
army on a firm defensive footing on the northern 
frontier, holding the retaken fortress of Almeida, 


while Lord Hill's corps was left to cover the south- 
ern portion of that kingdom. In these manoeuvres 
and movements, of nine months' duration, our di- 
vision had marched 849 English miles; without 
at all looking on such exercise as extraordinary, it 
was, at least, sufficient to keep our men in good 
wind, hardy condition, and sound understandings. 




In September of 181 1, after Marmont had re- 
lieved Ciudad Rodrigo, and subsequently replaced 
the cattle and Governor stolen from it by Julian 
Sanchez, the French Commander fell back to Sa- 
lamanca, and eventually to Valladolid, with the 
greater part of his forces. " At this time also, 
17,000 of the Imperial Guards were withdrawn 
by Napoleon for his Russian campaign, and above 
40,000 troops of the enemy, of different arms, had 
quitted Spain on the same errand. The rest of 
their armies were spread over an immense extent 
of country. Marmont, deceived by the seemingly 
careless winter attitude of the Allies, and for the 
accommodation of provisioning his troops," and 
watching the guerilla corps, was at a greater dis- 
tance from Ciudad than would enable him to as- 


semble his army with facility to succour and sup- 
port it on a sndden emergency ; besides, his atten- 
tion, at this time, was turned towards the opera- 
tions going on in the east of Spain. Lord Wel- 
lington, well prepared, seized the opportunity he 
had long looked for; and, in spite of the incle- 
mency of the season, suddenly and at once invested 
the fortress and commenced the siege. 

It was at daybreak on a bitter cold morning, on 
the 4th of January, that our division started from 
their cantonments to take part in this siege, and 
commence the campaign of 1812. The Light, 
First, Third, and Fourth Divisions, with Packers 
Portuguese Brigade, were destined for this service, 
and were concentrated, in the first days of Janu- 
ary, in the neighbourhood of our old battle-field, 
the banks of the Azava and Agueda. Across this 
latter river a bridge had been thrown at Marialva, 
by Lord Wellington, 

Our first day's march, of sixteen miles, towards 
the scene of our new operations, was bad enough 
in respect to weather and roads ; but, on reaching 
the half-roofless houses of As Navas, matters were 
still worse. He who had a soul for music might 
possibly view the creeks and crannies of our shel- 
terless habitations with harmonious intentions, for 
many were the sites admirably adapted for the in- 
troduction of the iEolian harp; the less tasteful 
however, and the unmusical, who felt not the at- 
tributes of that which ' l soothes the savage breast," 


did not appear to have an adequate sense of the 
pleasures of their situation. In addition to other 
difficulties, we had to depend, for the transport of 
food, and all the requisite material for our opera- 
tion, on our friends and allies, the Spaniards and 
Portuguese. The way in which this was accom- 
plished is best shown by Lord "Wellington's own 
words : in writing to Lord Liverpool, he says : 
"What do you think of empty carts taking two 
days to go ten miles on a good road ? After all, I 
am obliged to appear satisfied, or they would de- 
sert. At this season of the year, depending upon 
Portuguese and Spaniards for means of having 
what is required, I can scarce venture to calculate 
the time which this operation" (the siege) "will 
take ; but I should think no less than twenty-four 
or twenty-five days. If we do not succeed, we shall, 
at least, bring back upon ourselves all the force 
that has marched away ; and I hope we may save 
Valencia, or, at all events, afford more time to the 
Austrians and Galicians, etc. If we do succeed, 
we shall make a fine campaign in the spring." 

On the 6th, head-quarters were moved to Ga- 
llegos. Lord Wellington, attended by Colonel 
Fletcher, Chief Engineer, and some officers of the 
staff, made a reconnoissance of the place; they 
crossed the Agueda by the fords about two miles 
below the town; and, unattended by any escort, 
reached several points from which they obtained a 
sufficient view of the defences (of the fortress) to 


decide on the attack*. Encased, bnt scarcely co- 
vered, we remained in a state of ventilation within 
the half- wrecked houses of As Navas till the 8th, 
when we joyfully moved to Espeja, as a village 
nearer to the scene of our future operations, and 
affording better shelter from the frost and snow. 
Toward sunset we reached the quarters intended 
for us during the siege; once ensconced in our 
different cottages, we refreshed ourselves with 
whatever provisions the Commissary, our own in- 
dustry, and a few dollars permitted us to obtain. 

About eight o'clock p.m. we were contentedly 
sitting round a fire, in the fall enjoyment of cigars 
and mulled wine, when a sound greeted our ears 
not of iEolian chords, but the soldier's music the 
cannon booming forth through the calm frosty 
air of the night its sonorous eloquence. We went 
forth into the village street ; the cannonade conti- 
nued and became heavy; distance, and the wind 
in an adverse quarter, prevented our hearing any 
sound of musketry, but we saw, by the flashes 
from the guns, the horizon lighted far above the 
woods and undulating ground which intervened 
between our village of Espeja and the town of 
Ciudad. A large assembly of officers and men 
were collected, in order to try to make out results 
from sound, but to little purpose beyond ascertain- 
ing that, as the cannonade continued throughout 
the night, the siege had begun. We thought that 
* See Jones's ' Sieges.' 


we should have had the honour of taking the ini- 
tiative in this affair, but it was commenced by the 
Light Division in a clever, dashing style, and in 
the following manner. Here, before inserting a 
further quotation, let me plead my excuse for so 
doing. As often as I was not on the spot when 
some occurrence took place on which the subse- 
quent narrative turns, I have left the relation of it 
to the authority either of an eye-witness or of the 
able historian of these campaigns ; for, were I to 
describe what I did not see with my own eyes, I 
might be accused of presumption, and render my- 
self liable to the rebuke which Hannibal conveyed 
when he happened to hear a distinguished orator 
discoursing on the subject of war. He was asked 
what he thought of it ; Hannibal replied, " that he 
had heard many absurd things in his life, but never 
anything half so absurd as this." Would that 
some could recall to themselves the Italian pro- 
verb : " Chi non sa niente non dubita di niente \ n 
It would save many a controversy occasioning loss 
of valuable time and invaluable patience. But to 
return from this digression. 

u During the day, everything was kept as quiet 
as possible, and an equal examination made of 
every side of the town, so as to prevent any suspi- 
cion of an immediate effort, or of the point about 
to be attacked. The Light Division and Packers 
Portuguese Brigade forded the Agueda, near Cari- 
dad, three miles above the fortress ; and, making a 


circuit, took post, without being observed, beyond 
the Tesso Grande, a round hill rising gradually 
from the city, on which the enemy had constructed 
a redoubt," called after the abstracted Governor, 
Fort Renaud. This was distant from the fortified 
Convent of San Francisco four hundred yards, and 
some six hundred from the artillery on the ramparts 
of the place. <c The Light Division remained quiet 
during the day, unperceived by the enemy ; and, 
as there was no regular investment, the enemy 
had no idea that the siege had commenced ; but as 
soon as it became dark a brigade formed under 
arms on the northern side of the Upper Teson, 
and a working party of 700 men paraded in their 
rear, in two divisions of 300 men and 400 men 
respectively, the former intended to make a lodg- 
ment near the redoubt as soon as it should be car- 
ried, and the other to open a communication to it 
from the rear. At eight p.m. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Colborne*, with three companies of the 52nd 
regiment, advanced along the Upper Teson to the 
assault of the redoubt. The garrison of the work 
discovered the assailants when about .150 yards 
distant, and had time to fire two or three rounds 
from their artillery (two guns and a howitzer) be- 
fore the escalade commenced. Lieutenant Thom- 
son of the engineers, who accompanied the de- 
tachment with a party of sappers, carrying scaling 
ladders, fascines, axes, etc., on arriving at the 
* Now Lieutenant- General Lord Seaton. 


counterscarp, finding the palisades to be within 
three feet of it, and nearly of the same height, im- 
mediately placed the fascines from the one to the 
other, and formed a bridge by which a part of the 
storming party walked over the palisades, and 
jumped into the ditch, when, finding the scarp 
without a revetment, they readily scrambled to the 
top of the parapet, and came into contact with the 
bayonets of the defenders. 

"Whilst this was going forward in front, another 
party went round to the gorge, where there was no 
ditch, and forced over or through the gate; thus 
enveloped on every side, the resistance was short, 
and of fifty men, the garrison of the redoubt, four 
only escaped into the town, two officers and forty 
men being made prisoners, and three left dead in 
the work. The British loss was six men killed, 
and three officers and sixteen men wounded. In- 
stantly the redoubt was carried, the precaution was 
taken of making its rear perfectly accessible, by 
breaking down the gates, and forming openings in 
its rear enclosure Avail; but in a very short time 
the garrison directed such a quick fire into the 
work, that it was thought right to withdraw e 
one from its interior. The first division of work- 
opened a trench on the flank of the redoubt 
as a lodgment; and the second division opened the 
communication to it from the rear across the Upper 
Teson, both of which operations were accomplished 
with little loss, as the garrison continued to direct 



nearly all their fire into the work throughout the 
night*." Thus the Light Division commenced 
the siege. My friend Gurwood of the 52nd was 
of the party, and says : " In my attempt to force 
the gate at the gorge we were interrupted by the 
enemy throwing over lighted grenades, but, as I 
saw the gate was low, I 'went round the angle of the 
fort, where I told Lieutenant-Colonel Colbornef 
that I thought, if I had a few ladders, I could get 
in at the gorge ; the ladders were furnished, but 
were, however, of no use, for before they were 
placed the gate was suddenly blown open. I 
rushed into the fort, accompanied by Lieutenant 
Anderson of the 52nd and our men, and we met 
our other storming party coming over the angle of 
the redoubt. 

" On our return to camp I went to a shed in the 
rear, where, after receiving their wounds in the 
assault, Captain Mein and Lieutenant Woodgate 
of my regiment had been carried for the night, 
and where the lately-captured prisoners were also 
lodged until daylight. Here, in conversation with 
the French officer of the artillery, I learned the 
cause of the gate at the gorge of the redoubt being 
blown open, which had appeared so extraordinary 
to Lieutenant Anderson and myself. The French 
officer told me that a sergeant of artillery, in the 
act of throwing a live shell upon the storming 
party in the ditch, was shot dead, the lighted shell 

* See Jones's Sieges.' f The present Lord Seaton. 


falling within the fort ; fearing the explosion of 
the shell among the men defending the parapet, 
he had kicked it toward the gorge, where, stopped 
by the bottom of the gate, it exploded and blew it 

The successful night attack of the redoubt on 
the hill of San Francisco, otherwise called the 
Upper Teson, enabled our people immediately to 
break ground within six hundred yards of the 
place, notwithstanding the enemy still held the 
fortified convents flanking the works of the town. 
This was at once a great step gained in time and 
progress. The rise on which stood the captured 
redoubt was a plateau that extended towards the 
city, but suddenly descended to a valley and small 
stream. On the opposite side of this, and within 
very commodious musket-range of the ramparts 
of the town, rose a small round eminence called 
the Lower Tcson. The ground was rocky, and in 
some parts shingly, and the fire brought to bear 
on this attack by the enemy was greater than on 
some other points that might have been chosen j 
but Lord Wellington selected this in preference to 
any other, for he was fighting against time as well 
against the garrison, and wished to make short 
work of it, by taking the town before Mannont 
could possibly attempt to relieve it. On arriving 
at Espeja, on the evening of the 8th, our division 
had been ordered to cook a day's provisions over- 
night, for the next day's service. 


On the morning of the 9th, in darkness, our 
battalions assembled for the purpose of relieving 
the Light Division. The noise of the city's guns 
still continued to disturb the calm of the night, 
and their echoes accompanied us as we moved 
from the cover of our village to take our share in 
the operations of the siege. From the assembled 
columns at our alarm post we broke into line of 
march, and about nine o'clock reached the ford of 
the Agueda. The river was partially frozen, and 
the stream rapid and deep, with much ice on the 
sides, and two or three feet depth of water in the 
shallows. Previous to our descent to take water, 
which our fellows did like good poodle-dogs who 
had something to bring out of it, the column was 
halted and orders received for our men to strip off 
their shoes and stockings. On commencing the 
unusual operation of denuding their lower extre- 
mities, between two high banks in a close and nar- 
row lane, we were made fully aware of the absence, 
in our neighbourhood, of Houbigant Chardin or 
any other dealer in perfumery. Our Commander's 
act of consideration for the men, however, proved 
of no small comfort, as well as benefit to them, 
destined as they were to be exposed to atmospheric 
influences for twenty-four hours in a hard frost, 
and thus saved both their feet and their shoes. 
Passing a second small stream, we arrived about 
midday in rear of the Tesso Grande. This hill 
concealed our bivouac from the sight of the 


enemy's guns, and here were assembled the mate- 
rials for the siege and the relief of the Divisions 
destined to use them. 

The German Legion were the first to relieve the 
working parties and guard of the trenches, pre- 
viously occupied by the Light Division under 
Major-General Sir Robert Craufurd. Our prede- 
cessors had obtained for themselves a pretty good 
cover during the night; in the day our relieving 
parties were occupied in deepening, widening, and 
perfecting the approaches to the first parallel. The 
garrison threw a good many shells from heavy thir- 
teen-inch mortars, and some round shot from the 
Convent of San Francisco and the ramparts, but 
not with the effect or damage they intended, al- 
though the ground was hard from frost and flinty 
by nature, and the enemy's missiles were increased 
by driving the stones their shot encountered, like 
grape, amongst and over our men at work. Soon 
after four p.m. our brigade relieved the Germans ; 
we had a covering party of 500, and a working 
party of 1200 men. The enemy appeared already 
to have discovered the time fixed for our reliefs, 
being able to see, probably from the top of the 
Cathedral, the movements on the plateau of the 
Tosso Grande. On entering the trenches they 
welcomed us with a pretty brisk cannonade and 
fire of shells, a species of cricket-ball that no one 
seemed in a hurry to catch; indeed, as an old 
cricketer, I may presume to say, that, fortunately, 


the " fielding" was most indifferent. No great 
mischief ensued, although some few casualties oc- 
curred; and we commenced working on the first 
parallel and intended batteries at one and the 
same time. 

It snowed, and the night was intensely dark 
and cold; one of our comrades, a good-natured, 
agreeable little fellow, who sang beautifully, put 
on three shirts to preserve his voice y for which 
care of himself, though his appearance verged on 
the globular, we all felt sincerely obliged to him*. 
As far as the fire from the ramparts could keep 
us warm, the enemy were considerate, both as to 
abundance and variety of fuel. They poured a 
very heavy shower on our trenches and our conti- 
nuation of the first parallel, their calibre of gun 
being twenty-four and thirty-two pounders. They 
knew pretty well our intention to break fresh 
ground in the dark, and were uncomfortably cu- 
rious to discover the exact spot of our operations. 
During this work my observation was occasionally 
drawn to the features and general bearing of our 
soldiers ; they seemed " as men on earnest business 
bent," stern, and not to be frustrated. The fre- 
quent cry of "shot!" or " shellf!" from men posted 
on the look-out, to warn us when such left the 

* Many years have sped since then ; I hear however that he 
still favours his intimate friends with the charms of his song. 

t Thirteen-inch mortars threw into the air their iron balloons 
from the enemy's ramparts. s 


enemy's mortars, was very harassing. That of 
" shot" however was nearly unheeded, as the ball 
either passed, struck the outside of the trench, or 
knocked some one over, almost as soon as the cry 
was uttered. Our party were occupied in breaking 
ground, by placing gabions and filling them as fast 
as possible ; we excavated the earth on the inner 
side, and thus covered ourselves as quickly as we 

Captain Ross, the directing engineer of the 
night, a most intelligent and excellent officer, was 
killed by a round of grape from a gun on the Con- 
vent of San Francisco, as he was in the act of 
giving us orders. Scarce a moment had elapsed 
before a sergeant of our detachment was knocked 
over by one of the stones that the round shot from 
the town scattered in all directions. Light-balls 
flew from the ramparts in frequent parabolas, shed- 
ding a red glare on all around, bright enough to 
indicate not only our points of operation, but the 
very forms of our men as they were working. 
Thither the enemy directed their guns, and salvos 
of shot and shell immediately followed the dis- 
covery. While the glare of light lasted, the shower 
of missiles fell so thick in its vicinity that we were 
ordered to conceal ourselves till it was over. Then, 
again emerging, we recommenced, like moles, to 
bury ourselves in the earth, a curious expedient 
to avoid that ceremony at the hands of others. 
The French, par pare?ithese, doubtless imagined 


that, like Charles the Fifth, we were rehearsing 
our own funeral, and gradually inuring ourselves 
to being dead; many of us with a success even 
more prompt than attended the apprenticeship of 
that hypochondriacal potentate. Although sup- 
perless, we worked throughout the night, actively 
and to the satisfaction of the engineering officers. 
We were anxiously looking out for dawn, which 
would test the worth of our night's exertions. 

At last early light appeared in the east, streak- 
ing like a thread the sky above the mountains. 
An interesting panoramic view presented itself 
from our trenches on the Tesso Grande. The at- 
mosphere was clear, frosty, and bracing ; the sur- 
rounding scene bold and beautiful. In the centre of 
a large undulating plain, backed by broken ground, 
covered with ilex and cork-wood, stood the tall 
city, rearing its head over the surrounding level. 
The absence of foliage in its immediate vicinity 
caused the forms of the buildings to stand out in 
hard relief beneath the morning light. The sun's 
young rays glanced on the cupolas of its churches 
and convents, and made the rising smoke from the 
city's early fires look still more blue. In the 
far distance were seen the snow-covered Sierras de 
Francia and de Gata warmly tinged by the sun- 
light, contrasting well with the silver-coloured 
stream of the Agueda. For a moment there was 
a dead calm, broken only by the occasional boom- 
ing of a gun, fired as if in sleepy laziness, which 


perhaps the unusual activity of the previous night 
had engendered. The sounds from the guns echoed 
through the pure thin air to the distant hills, bound- 
ing back again in threefold repetition of defiance ; 
while in our front sternly stood the bold fortress 
flouting its hostile flag in the morning breeze. The 
cannonade was for the present confined to our op- 
ponents; as yet we made no response, but were 
merely preparing a reply ; when the time did come, 
our iron-tongued oratory was the most Convincing, 
and prevailed. After fourteen hours' occupation of 
the works, and having traced out the three batte- 
ries (Nos. 1, 2, and 3), we were relieved, and found 
the enemy as much aux petits soins for us as when 
we entered the trenches, dismissing us with all 
the honours of war. They blazed away with much 
noise, but to little purpose. Of our brigade, we 
lost, during the whole night's operations, not one 
officer, and only six rank-and-file killed and ten 
wounded. Colonel Fermor* of the Guards, the 
field officer commanding in the trenches, had his 
hat shot off by the splinter of a shell, which was 
the nearest approach to promotion in his corps 
during the night. 

A Ye reached our bivouac in rear of the Tesso 
Grande, where neither hut, tent, nor scarcely a fire 
was to be seen, there being a melancholy deficiency 
of material for such accommodation. Tents there 
were none, for not until the year after, in the 

* Afterwards Lord Pomfivt . 


campaign of 181 3, were such save-health essen- 
tials issued out to our army*. We formed column 
and moved off in march from our barren place 
of assembly, to return once more to our country 
village quarters, judiciously using the same salu- 
tary precaution in repassing the streams we had 
adopted in fording them on our advance to the 
trenches. About four p.m. we again arrived at 
Espeja, and right glad we were to find ourselves 
under cover; for 

" Condisce i diletti 
Memoria di pene, 
Ne sa che sia bene 
Chi mal non soffri." 

Much to our satisfaction we here greeted Sangui- 
netti the sutler, that man of elastic views in moral 
and monetary obligations ; he had reached our vil- 
lage from Lisbon, with a cargo of hams, porter, 
brandy, champagne, tea, cheese, and other comes- 
tibles, with which to warm the inward man and 
strengthen the body. We now learned that the 
enemy had some 15,000 men upon the Upper 
Tormes, and that Marmont might be expected to 

* " Our own Correspondent" in the l Times,' on the landing of 
our troops in the Crimea, expresses his astonishment that " old 
generals, young lords, and gentlemen" should bivouac and have 
"no bed but a reeking puddle, under a saturated blanket." 
From the year 1808 to that of 1813 our army were without 
tents ; and many a night, in the four first campaigns in the 
Peninsula, and even the nights at Quatre Bras and before 
Waterloo, have these " old generals" experienced this unheard-of 


make every possible exertion to relieve Ciudad 
Rodrigo from our attack. Still, we well knew the 
rapid and prompt action of our chief in anything 
he undertook, and with perfect confidence we 
awaited the result. 

On the 11th, at daybreak, most part of our bat- 
tering train from Almeida passed through Gallegos 
for the trenches on the Tesso Grande ; and on the 
13th we again moved towards the city, to resume 
our share of industry in accomplishing the batteries 
and advances of our works of attack. On our re- 
occupation of the trenches, we found progress had 
been made, but not so rapidly as could have been 
wished : the weather was so cold, and the enemy's 
fire so warm, that, in conjunction with the want of 
transport for the necessary materials, the labour 
had been greatly impeded ; even the greater por- 
tion of ammunition for* the battering train was still 
waiting conveyance from Villa de Ponte, and Ave 
again heard that Marmont was collecting his forces 
to succour the place. Every exertion was used to 
complete the batteries, but the front they occu- 
pied was so very limited, and the garrison direct- 
ing their fire against them only, had now attained 
the range so accurately, and threw shells so in- 
and with such long fuses, that half the 
time and attention of the 1000 workmen of our 
brigade were directed to self-preservation. To 
oppose this heavy fire, it became necessary to 
persevere in making the parapets of the batteries 


of sufficient thickness ; and all the excavation be- 
ing confined to the interior, both night and day, 
the progress of the work was very unsatisfactory, 
particularly as, the batteries being on the slope of 
the hill, it required considerable height of parapet 
to secure their rear*. These causes induced Lord 
Wellington to change his plan; and he resolved to 
open a breach from his counter-batteries, which 
were from 500 to 600 yards distant from the cur- 
tain of the enemy's ramparts, and then storm the 
place without blowing in the counterscarp. 

We found that during the night of the 12th, and 
early on the morning of the 13th, in a fog, which 
occasionally arose from the Agueda, the Light Di- 
vision had dug pits beneath the walls of the city, in 
which the 95th Rifles were placed for the purpose 
of picking off the enemy's gunners, while too cor- 
rectly and to us inconveniently serving their guns. 
These pits were little separate excavations in the 
earth at some few yards' distance from each other, 
and about 150 from the enemy's embrasures. From 
our sloping eminence they looked like so many 
little graves, and had all the convenience of such, 
for, once arrived in them, the occupant was safe 
enough ; but as neither sap nor cover of any kind 
assured the communication with such deadly holes, 
the great danger was in reaching these spots of in- 
terment, except under cover of fog or night. From 
these counterfeit graves many of the enemy's gun- 

* See Jones and Napier. 


ners were put in preparation to inhabit real ones ; 
that is, if any of their friends had sufficient deli- 
cate attention for them to take the time or trou- 
ble to dig them. During this night we again had 
sharp work from cold, labour, and our opponents' 
destructive intentions. A dropping fire of mus- 
ketry from the ramparts continued to visit us, and 
two of my party at work on the parapet of No. 2 
battery were hit, which, considering the distance 
(about 600 yards) and the darkness, was accidental, 
although looked upon by us, in those days of shoy*t 
ranges, as an extraordinary circumstance. The 
enemy's light-balls were constant, and their round 
shot and heavy thirteen-inch shells followed in 

On one of these machines falling perhaps within 
a distance from us of only a few feet, the general 
order for immediate prostration was given, and 
it was curious from this posture to look on our 
men's impatient faces while watching the hissing 
fuse, and awaiting its expected explosion, which 
generally covered those in the neighbourhood with 
dust and dirt ; then up once more they were, and 
to work again like " good uns." On passing down 
the trenches with Lieutenant Marshall of the En- 
gineers*, from whom I was receiving instructions 
for my portion of the working party, a shell alit 
close to us and immediately burst, carrying a 

* Afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel Marshall, an energetic man 
and good soldier, who was wounded later in this siege. 

222 RELIEF. 

splinter near to Marshall's head : he showed his 
disapprobation of such a liberty by impatiently 
exclaiming " Oh, you brute ! " as if the cold pro- 
jectile had had any choice in the course it had 
taken. A simultaneous flight of these monsters 
was puzzling, as it rendered them difficult to avoid, 
and had nbt traverses been thrown up in the bat- 
teries, the casualties must have been much greater 
than they were. At first, these unwelcome visitors 
were regarded by us as no joke, but when accus- 
tomed to them, our men would laugh at the in- 
convenient accidents they occasioned; such as 
some fellow in the dark, in endeavouring to avoid 
one of these noisy intruders on our privacy, throw- 
ing himself into a spot more immediately handy 
than choice, and rising from his recumbent posi- 
tion adorned with the fortunate attributes of the 
Goddess Cloacina. One incident of this kind I 
well remember happened to poor Rodney of the 

This night we got twenty-eight guns into the 
trenches, laid the platform, began the second pa- 
rallel, and continued the approaches by the flying 
sap. The Santa Cruz Convent was surprised and 
stormed by the light infantry of the Germans of 
our division. This last success relieved us from 
a very ugly flanking fire, brought on our working 
parties from this most ecclesiastical habitation, and 
the right of the trenches was thus secured. Some 
of the German officers suffered severely during the 


night's operations; one poor fellow, whose name 
time has obliterated from my memory, had both 
his legs carried off by a round shot. At three a.m. 
we were relieved, our brigade having made good 
progress during our eleven hours' work. In the 
morning we once more took our road to Espeja, 
and again made our pedestrian ablutions in re- 
passing the Agueda. 

Restored to our village cabin-homes (for a sol- 
dier's home is wherever he may happen to sleep), 
and cordially greeted by the Spanish peasants, we 
indemnified ourselves for past fatigue, by rest and 
provender. When off duty in the trenches our 
parades were as regular as those in a garrison bar- 
rack-yard or " nigger" colony. B , subaltern 

to the company next to mine, was a dry fellow, 
with considerable humour ; his captain an old of- 
ficer and brevet-major. Unlike Voltaire's descrip- 
tion of " Le Pere Adam, qui n'etait pas le premier 
des hommes*," our Major was an excellent man 
father by seniority of us all, but prim, stiff, exceed- 
ingly correct in all he did or said, and with the 
best-brushed coat in the battalion. These advan- 
tages obtained for him the sobriquet of the Par- 
son ; but this name, however well known to " the 
young ones," was too much revered ever to be 
breathed in presence of its possessor. The morn- 
ing after our return from the trenches B was 

called over the eonls for appearing late on parade. 

* A Jesuit, one of the standing butts of the lively pliilosopher. 


As soon however as he had inspected, told off, and 
proved his company, he approached the group of 
officers assembled in the centre, and in the most 
solemn manner placed in the hands of the captain 
of his company its morning state, at the same 
time reporting to him, with the greatest gravity 
of countenance, that the congregation were in good 
order. The shouts of laughter which ensued com- 
pensated B for the previous rebuke to which 

he had exposed himself. 

About four or five p. m. of the 14th, we heard 
the increased fire of artillery from the siege, and 
knew from it that the medicine we had been pre- 
paring over-night, was now in course of adminis- 
tration. We were also informed the following day, 
that a sortie had been made by the garrison, but 
was checked by the working parties in the trenches, 
who took to their arms and repulsed the attempt. 
In the evening our batteries opened : twenty-five 
pieces were directed on the fausse braie and ram- 
part, and two against the Convent of San Francisco. 
Fifty pieces of cannon replied in hot haste to the 
opening of our guns, and the distant hills reverbe- 
rated the hostile sound of eighty contending pieces 
of artillery. In the night, the other religious sanc- 
tuary of San Francisco was stormed, and taken by 
the 40;th Eegiment. It would be tedious to reca- 
pitulate the same scenes which have already been 
described; suffice it to say, on the 17th our Di- 
vision again took its turn of duty, and once more 


occupied the trenches. The only difference was, 
that our works now approached nearer to comple- 
tion, and to the fated city. Lord "Wellington, who 
never procrastinated, had ordered a battery to be 
formed and armed, to create a smaller breach in a 
turret to the left of the larger one. The cannonade 
became sharper and more animated. We were no 
longer, as when last in the enemy's vicinity, the 
only objects acting as targets : the " reciprocity" 
now was not all on one side. 

We laboured in repairing the batteries and plat- 
forms injured by the enemy's shot. The second 
parallel was pushed to the Lower Teson, within 
180 yards of the ramparts : our defences were made 
higher as we descended the slope firing parties 
were mixed with our workmen, to keep up an in- 
cessant discharge of musketry on the breach. The 
occupants of the little graves, as we called them, 
in spite of the infliction of showers of grape from 
the town, rendered good service. Still the garri- 
son's shot knocked about our new-laid gabions, 
injured some of our guns in the batteries, wound- 
ed the Commandant of our Artillery, General 
Borthwick, and entirely ruined the sap, without the 
slightest regard to our taste or convenience. The 
casualties of our Division, however, were fortu- 
nately very few in proportion to the quantities of 
hard material flying about, and the weight of fire 
brought on our works. In the morning, in a fog, 
we left the trenches. During these duties a feat 



of gormandizing was performed by a soldier of the 
3rd Guards. Vegetables were scarcely ever to be 
heard of, gardens hardly to be seen, and the con- 
stant visitation of this portion of the frontier pro- 
vinces by four armies of different nations did not 
by any means assist horticultural pursuits, but ren- 
dered the produce of such industry in marvellous 
request. The Guardsman was on a piquet in a 
garden under the city walls, wherein he devoured 
so large a portion of raw cabbage, that, not hav- 
ing the stomach of a cow, he died, poor fellow ! 
Others, stationed in the same paradise of an out- 
post, more prudent or less voracious, secured these 
rarities to carry off; 

And, with sense more canny, and less savage, 
* * Took the liberty to boil' their cabbage. 

Considerable progress in achieving their object 
had been made by our breaching batteries; and 
again, as we dragged our slow length along towards 
our village shelter, we conversed on the chances of 
our Division storming. 

On the 20th we should again have charge of 
the trenches, and we trusted that by that day the 
breach would be practicable ; and as we had had 
our share of the dirty work, we hopefully looked 
forward to obtain some of the honours. But in 
this we were unluckily disappointed. 

On the 18th our fire was resumed with increased 
violence, and our guns were right well served. 


On the 19th, Major Sturgeon* of the staff corps 
having closely examined the place, both breaches 
were reported practicable ; our battering guns were 
then turned against the artillery of the ramparts, 
a plan of attack was formed, and Lord Wellington 
ordered the assault for that evening'. The general 
order to accomplish his intent was issued in that 
direct, succinct, and terse language so peculiar to 

" Head-quarters, Jan. 19th, 1812. 

"The attack upon Ciudad must be made this 
evening, at seven o' clock f 

which sounded very much like, " the town of Ciu- 
dad must be taken this evening, at seven o'clock." 
The assault occurred under the eye and immediate 
superintendence of Lord Wellington. In giving 
a sketch of the storming of the town, I shall con- 
fine myself to some few details drawn from me- 
moranda of my own made at the time, information 
obtained from others, actors in the scene, and a 
pamphlet printed for private circulation, but not 
published, given to me by my friend Gurwood, who 
led the forlorn hope at the little breach. 

The operation of the assault was confided to the 

* Not he of the Mayor of Garret, who, with " Captain Tripe 
and Ensign Pattypan, returning to town in the Turnham Green 
stage, was stopped, robbed, and cruelly beaten by a single foot- 
pad." This Sturgeon was a different guess kind of character. He 
was unfortunately killed by a French tirailleur in the south of 
France, in 1813, while reconnoitring from a vineyard some of 
the enemy's columns. 


Third Division under Picton, who was charged 
with the right and centre attack, and that of the 
great breach ; the Light Division under Craufurd, 
with the left attack on the small breach; and 
Packers Portuguese, with a false attack on the re- 
verse side of the town. As soon as it was dark, 
the Third Division was formed in the first parallel, 
the Light Division behind the Convent of San 
Francisco, and the Portuguese Brigade on the 
Agueda, above the bridge. 

They all "in silent muster and with noiseless 
march" moved simultaneously to the posts allotted 
them. Hay -bags, hatchets, and scaling-ladders were 
provided and distributed to each advance party 
according to the requirements of their respec- 
tive services. The right attack was led by Colo- 
nel O'Toole, of the Portuguese Cacadores; the 
centre, to the great breach, by Major Manners of 
the 74th, with a forlorn hope under Lieutenant 
Mackie of the 88th j the left was commanded by 
Major Napier of the 52nd, with a forlorn hope 
under Lieutenant Gurwood of the same regiment. 
The advance or storming parties were composed, 
both men and officers, of volunteers : the number 
being limited, the selection of the candidates for 
this service created amongst the rejected great 
jealousy and discontent. All the troops reached 
their posts without seeming to have attracted the 
enemy's attention*. Lord Wellington, who had 

* Grurwood. 


boon reconnoitring the breaches in the ramparts, 
was standing on the top of the ruins of the Con- 
vent of San Francisco, and in person pointed out 
the lesser breach to Colonel Colborne and Major 
Napier ; he addressed the latter by saying, " Now 
do you understand exactly the way you are to take, 
so as to arrive at the breach without noise or con- 
fusion ? " Napier's answer was, " Yes, perfectly/' 
Some of the staff observed to Napier, " Why don't 
you load?" He replied, "No; if we cannot do 
the business without loading, we shall not do it at 
all." Lord Wellington instantly turned round, 
and exclaimed, " Leave him alone ! ,J 

Craufurd, on all occasions of this nature, like 
some Greek hero or Roman leader, was much given 
to eloquence, and always addressed to his Division 
a speech. It was his usual way, and was more a 
habit of his own than one requisite to such men 
and officers as composed the Light Division : they 
would have done his bidding and their duty at a 
simple word of command. The General not speak- 
ing Portuguese, called upon Lieutenant-Colonel 
Elder*, commanding the 3rd or Villa Real Caca- 
dores of the Light Division, to address some ex- 
pressions of encouragement to his men. Elder, 
though in command of a corps of that nation's 
troops, unfortunately was as innocent of the ver- 
nacular of their language as the General himself; 
Elder's powers of speech, even in his own tongue, 

* Afterwards Major-General Sir George Elder. 

230 craufurd's eloquence. 

did not run to seed or into anything at all ap- 
proaching to the oratorical or classical: more 
prompt in deed than word, he conveyed his com- 
munications to his corps in a kind of Anglo-Por- 
tuguese, or rather Portuguese English, a species of 
lingua franca peculiar to himself, but which they 
understood. His men admired his courage, liked 
his conduct, and would have followed him any- 
where and everywhere. It is but justice to this 
officer to say that his battalion was in the very best 
possible state of discipline, and set an example ad- 
vantageous for other corps to follow. At this mo- 
ment the firing commenced on the right with the 
Third Division. Craufurd again impatiently called 
out, " D it, Sir, why do you not obey my orders 
and speak energetically to your men ?" Elder was 
puzzled, and at last he roared out, " Vamos, Villa 
K,3al !" which was about one of the greatest efforts 
at eloquence he had ever attempted in his life in 
any language. But it was effective. Elder's peo- 
ple were destined to carry hay-bags to throw into 
the ditch to lessen the depth for the men to jump 
down; but as some delay and mistake occurred 
in their delivery to the Cacadores, the signal to 
advance was given in the meantime. Away went 
the storming party of three hundred volunteers 
under Major Napier, with a forlorn hope of twenty- 
five under Gurwood : they had about three hun- 
dred yards to clear before reaching the ditch of the 
town : these troops at once jumped in, the fausse 


braie in the centre was scaled, and the foot of the 
breach was gained j but the ditch being dark and 
intricate, Gurwood at first led his party too much 
to the left, and missed the entrance to the breach, 
but placed his ladders against the wall of the fausse 
braie, and thus taking in flank the enemy, who 
were defending it, they hastily retired up the breach. 
The other stormers went straight to their point. 
At this moment the leader of the forlorn hope 
was struck down by a wound in the head, but 
sprang up again and joined Major t Napier and 
Captain Jones of the 5.2nd, together with Captain 
Mitchel of the 95th Rifles, Ferguson of the 43rd, 
and some other officers, who, at the head of the 
stormers, were all going up the breach together. 
When two-thirds of the ascent had been gained, 
the way was found so contracted, with a gun placed 
lengthways across the top, which closed the open- 
ing, that our leading men, crushed together by its 
narrowness towards the summit, staggered under 
their own efforts and the enemy's fire. Such is the 
instinct of self-defence, that, although no man had 
been allowed to load, every musket in the crowd 
on the breach was snapped. At this moment 
Major Napier was knocked down by a grape-shot, 
which shattered his arm. In falling, he was sup- 
ported by Lord March, aide-de-camp to Lord 
Wellington, who from impulse had gone with the 
storming party into the ditch, but he called to 
his men to trust to their bayonets. All the offi- 


cers simultaneously sprang to the front, when the 
charge was renewed with a furious shout, and the 
entrance was gained. 

The supporting regiments followed close, and 
came up in sections abreast : Lieutenant- Colonel 
Colborne, although very badly wounded in the 
shoulder, formed the 52nd on the top of the ram- 
part, wheeled them to the left, and led them against 
the enemy. The 43rd went to the right, and the 
place was won. During this contest, which lasted 
only a few minutes after the fausse braie was 
passed, the fighting continued at the great breach 
with unabated violence ; but when the 43rd and the 
stormers came pouring down upon the enemy's 
flank, the latter bent before the storm. Picton's 
Division carried the great breach after innumer- 
ble obstacles and a continued smashing fire from 
the enemy. Packe, with his Portuguese Brigade, 
converted his false attack into a real one ; and his 
leading parties under Major Lynch followed the 
enemy's troops from their advance works into the 
fausse braie, and made prisoners of all who op- 
posed them. 

All the attacks having succeeded, " in less than 
half an hour from the time the assault commenced 
our troops were in possession, and formed on the 
ramparts of the place, each body contiguous to the 
other; the enemy then submitted, having sustained 
considerable loss in the contest*." Unlike Baillie 
# See Duke of Wellington's Despatches. 


Nichol Jarvie's description of " fellows that would 
stick at nothing/' our fellows stuck at everything 
they met. High stone walls, well-defended ram- 
parts bristling with musketry, mines, loop-holed 
houses, live shells, and grape-shot, are irritating 
obstacles, and likely to create delay to forward 
movements. It is difficult, in storming a town on 
a dark night, to know exactly the moment when 
resistance really ceases and forbearance should be- 
gin. The very nature of this kind of service gives 
great license to dispersed combatants to form their 
own peculiar opinions on this very delicate sub- 
ject. In such moments of excitement, individual 
responsibility becomes great, and the decent duties 
of forbearance are too frequently apt to be thrown 
aside in favour of settling all doubts by the bayo- 
net. Our division not having assiste, as the French 
call it, in the storming, I shall continue to give its 
details as they came to my knowledge from those 
who were present. I will now, therefore, more at 
large allow my friend Gurwood to tell his own 
story of the assault of the place and the surrender 
of its Governor. 

" On leaving the bastion, to go along the ram- 
part to the left, my attention was attracted by a 
cry ; and I saw some soldiers of my party, one of 
whom was Pat Lowe, in the act of bayoneting a 
French officer who resisted being plundered. Hav- 
ing lost my sword in the breach when stunned, I 
picked up on the rampart a broken French musket, 


knocked Lowe down, and saved the French officer, 
who complained to me of being robbed of his epau- 
lette or something else. I told him that he might 
think himself lucky, after the garrison had stood 
an assault, to have his life saved. I said I would 
protect him, but that he must accompany me to 
the Salamanca gate, which I knew to be close at 
hand. He said it was useless to attempt to open 
it, as it was muree blocked up with stones. I went 
down, however, by one of the slopes from the ram- 
part to examine, and found it as stated. On ques- 
tioning the French officer where he thought the 
Governor might be, he told me, that previous to 
assault, he had been seen going in the direction of 
the great breach, but that, if not killed, he would 
no doubt be found either in his house or at La 
Tour Quarree, or Citadel. The ramparts were filled 
with men of the Light Division descending into 
the town. On passing over the gate of San Palayo 
I saw from the wall a large party of French in the 
ravelin of the fausse braie outside, crying out that 
they had surrendered; but we could not get at 
them. We then heard an explosion, and, from 
the smoke, saw it was in the direction of the great 
breach. This explosion was followed by a dead si- 
lence for some moments, when it was interrupted 
by the bugles of the regiments of the Light Divi- 
sion sounding l Cease firing/ I was thus assured 
that all was safe. I continued along the ramparts 
until we arrived at the Citadel or Tour Quarree, 


which commanded the bridge over the river. The 
gate was closed. M' In tyre, one of the men with 
me, proposed blowing the gate open by firing into 
the lock ; but on seeing some of the enemy on the 
top of the turrets of the Tower, and at the recom- 
mendation of the French officer who was with me, 
I went round from the gate to the rampart, from 
whence I called out to them to surrender, or they 
would be put to death, as the town was taken. 
The answer being to return to the gate, which 
would be opened, I did so and found admittance. 
I proceeded with the person who opened it to the 
square tower inside, the door of which was closed. 
The officer who had opened the outside gate, told 
me that the Governor and other officers were with- 
in the Tower. I repeated the threat, that they 
would certainly be put to death if they did not 
surrender, but that I would protect them if they 
did. I was answered from within, " Je ne me 
rendrai qu'au General en Chef/ I replied that 
the General en Chef would not take the trouble to 
come there, and that if the door was not immedi- 
ately opened it would be blown open, ' qu'ils pe- 
riraient tous.' After some slight hesitation, the 
door was unbarred, and I found my way in with 
Corporal M'Intyre and Lowe behind me. It was 
a square chamber, and, as I saw by the light of a 
lantern held up by one of tliem, filled with officers. 
The Lantern was immediately knocked down by a 
musket from behind me, and Lowe, who did it, 


cried out, e Dear Mr. Gurwood, they will murder 
you.' All was now dark, excepting from the light 
of the moon, then rising and shining through the 
open door from behind us. I was seized round the 
neck, and I fully expected a sword in my body; 
but my alarm ceased immediately on the person 
kissing me, saying, ' Je suis le Gouverneur de la 
place, le General Barrie ; je suis votre prisonnier/ 
He then took off his sword and gave it me. I re- 
ceived it, telling him that I would take him to the 
General en Chef, to whom he should surrender his 
sword. I conducted him out of the Tower, saying 
that I would protect any of the officers who chose 
to accompany me. I told M'Intyre and Lowe 
that I no longer required them, and I descended 
with my prisoners from the Tower into the town, 
proceeding by the main street, which led from the 
bridge to the Plaza Mayor. There was still some 
firing going on, but chiefly from plunderers blow- 
ing open the doors of houses, by applying their 
muskets to the locks. At the request of the Go- 
vernor I proceeded to his house in the Plaza. The 
troops were pouring in on all sides, most of them 
of the Third Division. I called out, as I went, for 
Lord Wellington, when a gruff and imperious voice, 
which I knew to be that of General Picton, said, 
' What do you want with Lord Wellington, Sir? 
you had better join your regiment/ 

" Fearing to lose my prisoners, I made no reply, 
but having ascertained, while in the Governor's 


house, from Captain Rice Jones, of the Engineers, 
that Lord Wellington was coming into town from 
the suburb of San Francisco by the little breach, 
I followed that direction. On leaving the Plaza 
Mayor, and when out of hearing of General Pic- 
ton, I continued crying out, ' Lord Wellington ! 
Lord Wellington ! ' In the care and protection 
of my prisoners I necessarily overlooked and aban- 
doned many things, and heeded not the excesses 
I witnessed in my passage through the town ; and 
on arriving at that part of the rampart in the vi- 
cinity of the little breach, I again cried out, ' Lord 
Wellington ! ' when a voice, which I recognized, 
exclaimed, ( Who wants me? 5 I immediately pro- 
ceeded up the slope near the rampart; I crossed 
the trench with the Governor, the officer com- 
manding the Artillery, and three or four other 
officers, and I presented to Lord Wellington the 
Governor, to whom I gave back his sword, which 
I had carried since his surrender. Lord Welling- 
ton immediately said to me, f Did you take him?' 
I replied, ' Yes, Sir, I took him in the citadel above 
the Almeida gate/ Upon which, giving the sword 
to me, he said, ' Take it, you are the proper person 
to wear it.' The rising moon, and some few houses 
on fire near the little breach, rendered everything 
around visible. Lord Wellington, turning to Colo- 
nel Barnard* (of the 95th Rifles), said, 'Barnard, 

* Now Lieutenant-General Sir Andrew Barnard, Deputy Go- 
vernor of Chelsea. 


as Generals Craufurd and Vandeleur are wounded, 
you command the Light Division; you command 
in the town, have it evacuated immediately.' 
Lord Wellington then spoke to the Governor and 
the officer of the French artillery, respecting the 
gates and magazines, and gave other directions, at 
which moment Marshal Beresford asked me what 
was going on in the town ; and on my telling him 
of the plunder and excesses I had witnessed on 
my passage through it, he repeated this to Lord 
Wellington. General Barrie interrupted them; 
on which Lord Wellington turned round to his 
aide-de-camp Lord Clinton, and said, 'Take him 
away/ Seeing the Governor looking very much 
cast down, I was in the act of giving him back 
his sword, when the Prince of Orange* or Lord 
March f pulled me by the skirt of my jacket, and 
one of them, I believe Lord March, said, 'Don't 
be such a fool/ M 

* Late King of the Netherlands, 
f Now Duke of Richmond. 




Shortly after the surrender of the Governor, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Colborne, of the 52nd, came 
from the interior of the town to the lesser breach, 
and, being badly wounded, was helped over it by 
Lord Wellington's aide-de-camp, Captain Burgh*. 
The confusion caused by a triumphant soldiery in 
a town taken by assault, and the excesses result- 
ing from it, are more lamentable than surprising. 
In such events the definition between right and 
wrong is sadly mixed up, and I fe^ar no distinc- 
tion was made between our Spanish friends and 
our French enemies; at all events, it was not 
too nicely kept. The officers lost all control over 
their men. Alas ! as Byron has it, 

" Sweet is 
Pillage to soldiers, prize-money to seamen." 

The 43rd, under Lieutenant-Colonel Macleodf, 

* Now Lieutenant- General Lord Downes. 

t "Killed subsequently at the storming of Badajos. 


were amongst the best conducted; and in the 
surrounding hurly-burly, Captain Duffy's* com- 
pany of that corps was remarked by Lord Wel- 
lington himself for its good discipline and soldier- 
like conduct. The French garrison originally con- 
sisted of about 2000 men, of which 300 had fallen 
during the siege, and 1700 men with 78 officers 
were made prisoners ; 150 pieces of artillery, in- 
cluding the whole of the battering train of Mar- 
mont's army, were taken. The loss on our side, 
exclusive of him who killed himself by eating cold 
cabbage in a garden, was 1200 men and ninety 
officers ; 650 of the former and sixty of the latter 
were slain or wounded in the assault. General 
Craufurd, a man of hot and eccentric tempera- 
ment, but of great ability, was killed : he was 
shot through the lungs, and was buried on the 
25th, on the spot where he received his death- 
wound, at the foot of the lesser breach. His re- 
mains were attended to their last home by Lord 
Wellington and his staff. General Mackinnon 
was killed by the explosion of the mine to which 
Gurwood's f Narrative' alludes, while leading his 
brigade in the Third Division ; he was, with many 
others, blown from the top of the great breach 
into the ditch. " This entrance into the city was 
cut off from it by a perpendicular descent of six- 
teen feet, and the bottom was planted with sharp 
spikes, and strewn with live shells ; the houses be- 

* Now Major- General Duffy. 


hind were all loopholcd, and garnished with mus- 
keteers, and on the flanks there were cuts, not in- 
deed very deep or wide, and the French had left 
the temporary bridges over them ; but behind were 
parapets, so powerfully defended, that it was said 
the Third Division could never have carried them 
had not the Light Division taken the enemy in 
flank, an assertion easier made than proved*." 

Mackinnon was a good and gallant soldier, and 
an intelligent man. He commanded a brigade in 
Picton's Division, although he regimentally be- 
longed to the Coldstream Guards. With these 
perished many other fine fellows : amongst them 
a Captain of the 45 th, of whom it has been felici- 
tously said, that " Three generals and sixty other 
officers had fallen, but the soldiers, fresh from the 
strife, only talked of Hardyman." General Van- 
deleur, Colonel Colborne, and a crowd of inferior 
rank were wounded. Unhappily, the slaughter 
did not end with the assault : for the next day, as 
the prisoners and their escort were marching out 
of the breach, an accidental explosion took place, 
and numbers of both were blown into the airf. 

A curious statistic of the mass of fire brought by 
the enemy on our troops, during the siege of eleven 
days, from forty-eight pieces of ordnance, is given 
in Jones's ' Sieges in Spain.' lie states that 21,000 
rounds of shell and shot were launched against our 
approaches. Confined as these were in space, and 

* See Napier, f Ibid. 



narrow in dimensions, it was astonishing, from the 
concentrated direction of the missiles, that our ca- 
sualties were not greater. Now, supposing all these 
to have occurred from the cannonade only, which 
was very far from being the case, and transferring 
the cause of loss of those who fell on this occasion 
from musketry, the bayonet, and mines, to the 
enemy 's artillery alone, we should then have some 
five men killed or wounded for about every hun- 
dred rounds of cannon-shot and shell fired. From 
the above circumstance, I may be allowed to state 
to the uninitiated, how much more numerically de- 
structive is the fire of musketry than that of round 
shot and shell. In confirmation of this, I will here 
recite the following remarks made on the subject 
by other authorities. At Cambrai, in 1817, at din- 
ner at the Duke of Wellington's, I heard Sir George 
Wood* state, that in Lord Howe's great action on 
the 1st of June, two barrels and a half of gunpow- 
der were fired for every man killed or wounded. 
" Ay/' said the Duke, taking up the conversation, 
"and at Trafalgar, where about 25,000 British 
sailors were engaged, under 1300 were killed and 
wounded; while at Talavera de la Keyna, out of 
an army of 19,000 men I lost 5000, principally 
by musketry." 

The Duke, whose economy in action of the life 
of his troops was well known to us, merely meant 

* Colonel Sir George Wood, then Chief of Artillery to the 
Army of Occupation in France. 


to state a simple fact in illustration of the effects 
of the different species of fire. He hated a " but- 
cher's hill/' and never made one if he could possibly 
avoid it. To quote his own words, in writing to 
the relative of one of his personal staff who fell at 
Waterloo, speaking of the victory gained, he says, 
" The glory resulting from such actions, so dearly 
bought, is no consolation to me." 

Amongst other random recollections I noted the 
above conversation at the time. It is more forcibly 
brought to my mind by a feat of endurance of fa- 
tigue which I performed at the same period. I 
had reached Qambrai at a quarter past two p.m. 
that day, with despatches for the Duke from our 
Ambassador Lord Stuart de Rothesay, at Paris. I 
quitted the Embassy at half-past three the same 
morning, after a ball \ was in my saddle by four, 
and rode the distance of twenty-two French posts 
(or 110 English miles), franc etrier, in ten hours 
and a quarter ; delivered my despatches ; dined at 
head-quarters, by the Duke's invitation j attended 
that night another ball at the Hotel de Ville ; had 
an early field-day the following morniug; played a 
cricket-match against the garrison of Valenciennes, 
succeeded in getting fifty runs ; attended a lively 
dinner under a tent, which somehow or other lasted 
till sunrise the following day, and was, after all, fresh 
and fit for duty as if I had done nothing. From 
the example of energy of mind and activity of 
body set us by our great Chief, we were all, from 


spirit, training, and emulation, ready for and up 
to anything by night or day, in " camp, or court, 
or grove." 

In a service short and sharp as that of the siege 
and capture of Ciudad Rodrigo, more than an ordi- 
dinary amount of casualties must be expected, es- 
pecially when we reflect that it was taken in eleven, 
instead of twenty-four days, the time originally 
contemplated as necessary by Wellington himself. 
Massena, previous to his attack on Portugal in 
1810, took six weeks to plant the French flag on 
the city's ramparts. Our Chief, not having had 
leisure to attend to the elementary ^procrastination 
of scientific engineering by which lives are saved, 
at once cut the gordian knot which want of time 
did not allow him to untie. Within four days' 
march of 45,000 Frenchmen under one of their 
most celebrated Marshals, and against the strict 
rules of military science, he fairly wrenched the 
fortress from the enemy's grasp, and seized the 
prize. The bridge over the Agueda had been es- 
tablished only on the 1st of January, the trenches 
were opened on the 8th, and the city fell on the 
19th. Marmont only heard of the attack on the 
15th, and not till the 26th did he know of the 
capture of the fortress. On the first intelligence 
reaching him, he concentrated his army at Sala- 
manca ; but, on being made aware of his loss, he 
again retired to Valladolid. The theft was com- 
plete : Julian Sanchez, with the Austrian Stren- 


nuwitz, in our Hanoverian Hussars, had the pre- 
vious autumn niched from the fortress its former 
Governor Rcnaud ; and now our great Chief had 
committed something more than petty larceny, by 
taking the town itself. 

To recompense an exploit so boldly undertaken 
and so gloriously finished, Lord Wellington was 
created Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo by the Spaniards, 
Earl of Wellington by the English, and Marquis 
of Torres Vedras by the Portuguese. This last 
title was most certainly conquered long before it 
was surrendered by the Portuguese Government. 
" Taking all the difficulties and peculiarities of the 
enterprise into consideration, the reduction of this 
fortress, whether viewed in conception or arrange- 
ment or execution, must be ranked as one of the 
happiest, boldest, and most creditable achievements 
recorded in our military annals *." None, cer- 
tainly, could have accomplished the service better 
than those who took the town ; still the regret in 
our Division was great that we had not participated 
in the assault. One day later, and it would have 
fallen to our turn. We were almost tempted to 
blame the prompt decision of our Chief. We had 
undergone all the unpleasant part the dirty work 
and its attendant hardships without obtaining any 
credit beyond preparing, in stealthy mole-like man- 
ner, the way for others to distinguish themselves. 
When the distance we had to march, the icy streams 

* See Jones's * Sieges.' 


we had to ford, the bivouacking in frost and snow 
without fire, the fatigue of labour and absence of 
rest every fourth day for thirty-five consecutive 
hours, were considered, we fairly might be allowed 
to envy those who, although participators in simi- 
lar fatigue and privation, had at least gained the 
honours and rewards to which their dashing gal- 
lantry had so fully entitled them. But, as there 
is no pleasing everybody, we were obliged to take 
things as they came : we grinned and bore it. 

The day after the storming, I was sent in com- 
mand of a party from Espeja to Ciudad, to recover, 
if possible, the body of General Mackinnon. We 
were some time in the search before we could dis- 
cover his remains. After exhuming from frag- 
ments of masonry and dust many poor fellows' 
corpses, we at last extracted the Genera? s from 
beneath others in the ditch, and it was conveyed 
by a sergeant's party to Espeja. Thinking that 
some memorial of him would be acceptable to his 
family, I remember cutting off from the back of 
his head a lock of hair, to send to his widow. I 
gave it to his friend and brother officer*, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Jackson, Deputy Quarter-Master 
of our Division. 

At Ciudad I found the Fifth Division had been 
brought up, and were in possession of the town. 
In the 4th Regiment, belonging to this Division, 

* Of the Coldstream Guards, afterwards Lieutenant-Greneral 
Sir Richard Jackson, Commander-in-Chief in Canada. 


was my friend Captain Burke, who gave me pro- 
vender and a shake-down in his quarters for the 
night. They were all hard at work, levelling our 
trenches and destroying our batteries; and the 
artillery of the battering train were withdrawing 
our guns and conveying them across the Agueda. 
Lord Wellington had been early into the town 
that morning, and, after examining the state of 
the defences, gave all the necessary orders for 
clearing away the rubbish from the breaches, and 
repairing the ramparts ; after which he returned to 
Gallegos, and sent off his aide-de-camp (Captain 
Gordon of the Guards) the same day to England, 
with despatches reporting the capture of the place. 
Every arrangement was now made to restore the 
fortifications and provision the place quickly, as 
Marmont's army was expected. In anticipation 
of such an arrival, Hill's corps had been previously 
ordered up from the Alemtejo as far as Castello 

On the 23rd we buried General Mackinnon with 
military honours. He was an amiable man, a good 
officer, and was much regretted. His last place of 
rest was dug in the market-place of the small vil- 
lage of Espeja, and his remains were followed to 
the grave by his brother officers of the Guards. 

It was strange, but true, that even after the re- 
cent services rendered by us to the Spanish nation, 
and with some claims to consideration, acknow- 
ledged at least by the peasantry, still priestly bi- 


gotry prevailed, and denied interment in conse- 
crated ground to the remains of those u heretics" 
who had fought and fallen in their cause. We 
were regarded by them as quite fit to supply them 
with money, furnish them with munitions of war, 
and shield them from defeat in this world, but as 
by no means worthy of Christian burial, or our 
souls being saved in the next. The Turk is more 
tolerant. As soldiers, this want of charity affected 
us but little : we viewed it more in pity than in 
anger. It was annoying to us only as wounding 
the feelings of the absent relations of those of our 
countrymen who fell. The Spanish nation might 
have been a little more courteous ; and as we had 
come to be killed for their advantage, it would 
have been a little more civil had they allowed us 
to bury ourselves with due decency. We were 
however by no means particular on this point, 
having a decided preference for living in a good 
place, rather than coveting the pleasure of being 
buried in the choicest spot with the greatest dis- 

The rains, with strong gales of wind, now set in 
with such violence as only those can conceive who 
know what southern rains are. The trestle-bridge 
at Marialva was carried away, and the river rose 
two feet over the stone bridge under the walls of 
Ciudad; thus communications by roads were im- 
peded, and the passage of the Agueda stopped. Had 
this occurred earlier, we should never have accom- 


plished, as we did, the work of the approaches. Our 
trenches would have become aqueducts instead of 
viaducts, such as later we had some experience of 
at Burgos. Frost acted on this occasion more ef- 
ficiently as our ally than our friends the Spaniards. 
It was well known to us how often military ope- 
rations are dependent on that which influences 
the barometer. The bad weather had its incon- 
veniences even under cover of our village cabins. 
One of them, in which lay part of my company, 
was either rained or blown down in the night, and 
several of the men were severely hurt; amongst 
them my Irish friend M'Culloch, famed, as I be- 
fore mentioned, for more courage than arithmetic, 
not having been born to interfere with Babbage 
in his discovery of the calculating machine. The 
beam of the house fell on him and broke his arm, 
and he was otherwise so much injured as to oblige 
us to send him to the depot-hospital at Coimbra, 
where the poor fellow died. 

At this time I was again urged to return home. 
This word sounded warmly and cheerily in my ears. 
My news informed me of the death of a very near 
relative, the possessor of considerable landed pro- 
perty, to which my friends were good enough to 
suppose I ought to succeed j and they wrote under 
this impression, pressing my return to England to 
attend the opening of the will. There were few with 
us w\\o would not have clone their best to gain the 
estimation of him who commanded our army. We 


well knew the high feelings by which he was ac- 
tuated, and how he appreciated, from the lowest to 
the highest, those whom he found always ready and 
at all times in the right place. We were equally 
aware how our Chief detested applications for leave, 
or excuses that took officers from their duty, and 
he frequently expressed his astonishment at the 
applications made to him for this purpose. I there- 
fore replied to my friends (and I name this as a 
working of the spirit that had been instilled into 

and prevailed amongst us) that " if even has 

left me the family estate/' which he did prospec- 
tively, " nothing will persuade me to quit the ser- 
vice or leave this army to go home until, in course 
of duty, I am ordered so to do." 

Our army was drawn from the sinews of the 
people, the intelligence of the middle classes, and 
the scions of the titled and untitled landed aristo- 
cracy of our country, embodied together in arms to 
serve their fatherland. All, from the private sol- 
dier upwards, emulated obtaining the notice and 
meriting the good opinion of him who kept up 
the energies and inspired ardour into the hearts 
of those he commanded. Great personal sacrifices 
were frequently made ; ease, luxury, and indepen- 
dence were cast aside. In speaking, not only of 
that army, but of the profession in general, I can- 
not resist quoting here a well-merited and truthful 
paragraph from a letter recently published by the 
clever but eccentric member for Surrey, Henry 


Drummond, Esq., who, in relation to classes, and 
in assigning Lis reasons for declining to attend the 
Peace Conference lately held at Edinburgh, says : 
' ' Take the army and navy as a class, and take 
any other class of men in the country; compare 
them together for talents, patriotism, honour, vir- 
tue, disinterestedness, kindness, self-devotion, in 
short, every quality that ennobles men, and I assert 
that the military class is beyond measure superior 
to every other." Here is a picture drawn by a dis- 
interested observer ; a man of acuteness, and great 
knowledge and experience of the world. From a 
life's service in the class alluded to, I may venture 
to bear testimony to the above view being just and 
true*. One of the causes which maintain high 
feeling and character in the profession of arms is, 
that when we do meet with an unworthy member 
of it, we get rid of him ; whilst some other classes 
keep theirs, and not only occasionally try to de- 
fend them, but show great sensitiveness even when 
they are attacked : surely this is doing a wrong 
toward themselves. Why not use a little " fullers' 
earth" to take the stains out of their own cloth, 
as promptly and effectively as we do out of ours ? 
It is their bounden duty to cleanse themselves 
from suspicion, or they must submit with good 
grace to the chance and inconvenience of being 

* In exemplification of a MOM of duty, patriot inn,, anil self- 
devotion, I cannot do better than refer to Captain M'Clure's late 
despatch to the Admiralty, on his discoven of the North-west 
Passage j it is full of high-toned and right feeling. 


condemned, perhaps unjustly, as a body, in public 

But to return to our movements. In consequence 
of Marmont's threatened advance, we were kept on 
the qui vive. The report of his intentions was ren- 
dered still more suspicious by the floods having cut 
us off from communications with Ciudad Rodrigo. 
We feared the enemy might pounce upon the for- 
tress before the fortifications had been sufficiently 
repaired, or that we could get at him. We conse- 
quently were ordered always to have a day's pro- 
visions cooked in advance, with which to line our 
haversacks, that we might be ready to move at a 
moment's notice ; but this alert turned out to be 
unnecessary. Our Chief had no sooner succeeded 
in the capture and repair of Ciudad, and garrisoned 
it from the Spanish army under Castanos, its new 
Governor being Vives, to whom he personally gave 
instructions concerning the plan and intention of 
the new works and their defence, than he imme- 
diately turned his attention to attack Badajos, and 
wrote, under date of the 29th, from Gallegos, to 
Lord Liverpool as follows : 

" I now propose to attack Badajos as soon as I 
can; I have ordered all the preparatory arrange- 
ments to be made, and I hope that everything will 
be in readiness to enable me to invest the place by 
the second week in March. We shall have great 
advantages by making the attack so early, if the 
weather will allow of it. First, all the torrents in 


this part of the country are then full, so that we may- 
assemble nearly our whole army on the Guadiana 
without risk to anything valuable here. Secondly, 
it will be convenient to assemble our army at an 
early period in Estremadura for the sake of the 
green forage, which comes in earlier to the south 
than here. Thirdly, we shall have advantages in 
point of subsistence over the enemy at that season, 
which we should not have at a later period. Fourth- 
ly, their operations will necessarily be confined by 
the swelling of the rivers in that part as well as 
here. The bad weather which we must expect, or 
other circumstances, may however prevent us from 
carrying our plan into execution ; but I can only 
assure you that I shall not abandon it lightly, and 
I have taken measures to have the best equipments 
for this enterprise." 

In consequence of this, we were all, with the ex- 
ception of the Fifth Division, who remained on the 
frontier and in observation in the neighbourhood 
of Ciudad, put in movement for the Alemtejo. Our 
Division's march was directed on Abrantes, for the 
purpose of reclothing our fellows ; with which ob- 
ject the clothing had been sent up to that town 
from Lisbon, it must be confessed, not before it 
was wanted, for in the haberdashery line we were 
all a little like those troops with which Falstaff, 
from a delicate sense of propriety, would not march 
through Coventry. The captain of my company 
having gone home on leave, I once more tumbled 


into the command of it. On the occasion of onr 
march to the south, my horse being " a galled jade, 
whose withers were" by no means "unwrung," I 
marched on foot; and although such exercise suited 
both my tastes and habits well, still as a warning to 
my soldier-servant to avoid a too great frequency of 
the inconvenience resulting from my baggage-ani- 
mals having sore backs, I always made him carry 
his knapsack when they were thus afflicted, but re- 
lieved him from his burden when they were sound 
and well. I give this hint to uninitiated young 
officers, as I found my plan answered completely. 
Sore backs were always engendered from neglect 
in the man who loaded the mules, by omitting to 
double the horsecloths and blankets under the 
saddles and pack-saddles, so as to prevent local 
pressure on their withers or loins. When the 
soldier-servant finds that he relieves his own back 
by taking care of those of his master's animals, 
fewer raws are established in every way. 

We now for the tenth time passed the Coa. Our 
line of march led us along the frontiers of Portugal 
and Spain, by the back of the Serra d'Estrella 
through the towns and villages of Aldea da Ponte, 
Sabugal, Castelhero, Carea, Elpendrinha Lardoso, 
Castello Branco, Atalaya, passing the Tagus at Villa 
Velha, and so on to Niza, Gaviao, and Abrantes, a 
distance of 150 miles. I had some capital partridge- 
shooting on our line of march ; and, much to the 
disgust of our chief of brigade, on one occasion I 


shot a fox. I was threatened, for so unsportsman- 
like an act, by our sport-loving Brigadier Sir H. 
C, never to be allowed leave of absence, which he 
jokingly said he could not find it in his conscience 
to grant to the author of so atrocious a proceeding. 
As I never, however, asked for a day's leave from 
my duties during the three years and a half I served 
in the Peninsula, his observation mattered little, 
had it been even made in earnest. As we arrived 
at each place of halt, I used to take my gun and an 
excellent English setter, my companion, and gene- 
rally furnished my table, and that of a comrade 
or two, with plcasanter provision than was issued 
out by the commissary of his most gracious Ma- 
jesty King George the Third, God bless him ! We 
halted eleven days at Abrantes, which is a good 
town. Here we fitted our men's clothing, and 
prepared ourselves for our prospective operations 
in procuring such necessaries as we conceived we 
might want. For the first time since my arrival 
with the army I found myself in possession of a 
small bell-tent, sent out to me from England by 
my friends. Our poor men had no such essentials 
till the following year. 

Two days after reaching Abrantes, my friend 
Gurwood of the 52nd dined with me, on his way 
through to embark at Lisbon for England. I re- 
member our having a very merry party ; he was full 
of the well-deserved honours he had gained, and 
we, in high spirits and health, were animated with 


the hope to obtain the like should the opportunity 
be offered us. The night dwindled into the little 
hours of morning ere we parted, some of us never 
to meet our gallant friend again, amongst them, 
Harvey* and Burgess of the Coldstream, who fell 
later in this campaign, the last while heading a 
storming party, thus emulating his former brother 
officer of the 52nd in all but his success, poor 
fellow ! 

In addition to commanding my company, I now 
had imposed upon me the duties of Adjutant, as 
the officer holding that office in my corps had pro- 
ceeded on leave to Lisbon. My time was pretty 
well occupied therefore, and sometimes not agree- 
ably. Our Chief of battalion was by no means 
blessed with too strong a head, or too soft a tem- 
per; he certainly had the merit sometimes to ac- 
knowledge himself in the wrong, though that wrong 
became tiresome, as more frequent in its recurrence 
than his acknowledgment of it. He was a gallant, 
thick-headed man ; and if the former quality pal- 
liates the latter, and charity covers a multitude of 
sins, still vulgar violence certainly modifies a mul- 
titude of virtues. He was a remarkable contrast 
to those who had preceded and succeeded him in 
command ; the latter of whom, almost without 
exception, rose to well-earned honours and dis- 
tinctions. We obeyed orders however, and indem- 
nified ourselves by laughing at what could not be 

* Son of the late Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey. 


avoided. A friend of mine in another corps used 
to say, that he flattered himself in the course of 
his military life he had been commanded by the 
greatest number of fools in the service, but that 
on this occasion we certainly seemed to have ap- 
propriated to ourselves one whom he quite longed 
to add to the list of his experiences. If men in 
command will but reflect that "more flies are 
caught with a spoonful of honey than a barrel of 
vinegar," and that, with power accorded them, tact 
and management may lead to willing instead of 
unwilling obedience, any person of moderate intel- 
lect will prefer that line which is surest, best, and 
easiest of accomplishment, to that which is the op- 
posite. When officers from home came out to us, 
we found them too frequently impregnated with all 
the punctilios enforced by the Horse Guards clock ; 
with ideas redolent of hair-powder and blank car- 
tridge ; stiff in stocks, starched in frills, with Dun- 
das's eighteen manoeuvres or commandments. All 
this had to be changed. A normal school for real 
soldiers Avas undergoing the process of formation; 
the new-comers at first thought they had tumbled 
amongst a strange, loose set of half-wild men, little 
in accordance with their preconceived opinions. At 
length they began to discover how the art was car- 
ried on, and found that they had much to unlearn, 
as well as much to acquire, before they could make 

fmselves useful. 
Materials for the contemplated siege of Badajos 


were now collecting, and passing through Abrantes 
towards the neighbourhood of their destined use. 
Scarcity of these, and inefficient transport, was, as 
usual, the prevailing difficulty to be fought against. 
In spite of all that had been done, and pointed out, 
and recommended by our Chief, still our Ministers 
at home, although they continued the war, starved 
it. Neither money nor necessaries were forthcom- 
ing when wanted ; the means were always inade- 
quate to the end. Sufficiency of artillery could 
not be transported from Ciudad to Badajos ; a sup- 
ply of guns, of the necessary calibre of twenty-four 
pounders, could not be obtained at Lisbon. Ad- 
miral Berkeley, when applied to, said he had not 
the means to afford them. Local preparations had 
been silently proceeding at Elvas, but still dearth 
of stores, and tools, and guns, and shot existed, 
attributable to the want of conduct of our Govern- 
ment at home, in civil as well as military matters, 
towards this army during the greater part of the 
Peninsular war. 

I beg to refer on these points not only to the 
Duke of Wellington's own despatches on the sub- 
ject, but also to his brother the Marquis Welles- 
ley's statements concerning the administration of 
that day.. He says, " They were timid without 
prudence, narrow without energy, profuse without 
the fruits of expenditure, and slow without the be- 
nefits of caution ';" in spite of all which, our Chief 
fairly dragged these " timid, doubting, vacillating 


[Ministers through the sloughs of their mediocrity 
at the wheels of his triumphal car." 

If these men, with whom he was in constant 
counsel, heeded not his warning voice, others, both 
in and out of Parliament, not having similar advan- 
tages, might be excused for doubting of a success 
they had no means of testing or comprehending. 
The precedents before their eyes, and their re- 
miniscences of military expeditions, both in con- 
ception and execution, were taken from Holland, 
Walcheren, and Buenos Ayres, and those there 
commanding. The puissant at home thought with 
Shakspeare, that " reputation is an idle and most 
false imposition, oft got without merit." From 
beginning to end our Chief's merits were disputed, 
his opinions contradicted, and his demands neg- 
lected. These people could not comprehend that one 
man should do a deed that none other but him- 
self could have accomplished. A French author, 
Monsieur Maurel/says, " Mais personne, ni amis, 
ni ennemis, personne ne soupconnait alors ce que 
c'etait que Wellington ; l'Angleterre elle-meme ne 
Pa connu que tres-tard, et il y a une portion con- 
siderable du peuple Anglais qui ne sait pas bicn 
au juste tout ce qu'il lui doit." And again, an- 
other Frenchman, not very easily suspected of 
partialities to England or the English, Monsieur 
Thiers, writes : " There is no use in denying it 
every circumstance considered, the Duke of Wel- 
lington was the greatest general whom the late 


wars have offered for human contemplation; his 
mind was so equally poised, notwithstanding the 
vivacity of his genius, that he was always ready, 
and equally prompt, on every occasion : he united 
the powerful combination of Napoleon to the steady 
judgement of Moreau. Each of these mighty cap- 
tains was, perhaps, in some degree superior to 
Wellington in his peculiar walk. Napoleon may 
have had more rapidity of view and plan upon the 
battle-field, and could suddenly change his whole 
line of battle, as at Marengo. Moreau everywhere 
understood better the management of a retreating 
army before an exulting enemy. But the exqui- 
site apprehension and intelligence of Arthur Wel- 
lesley served him instead of both, and took at once 
the conduct and the measures that the occasion 
required. Many of our military" (French !) " men 
have contested his genius, but no man can deny 
him the most equable judgement that was ever 
met with in a great soldier. It is this admirable 
judgement, this discerning wisdom of the mind, 
which has misled Europe as to his genius. Men 
do not expect to see in the same person the ac- 
tive and the passive spirit equally great ; nor does 
nature usually bestow such opposite gifts on the 
same person. In Napoleon, a steady judgement 
and an endurance of calamity were not the con- 
comitants of his impulsive genius and tremendous 
activity ; while Moreau had all his passive great- 
ness. But the Duke of Wellington has united the 


two qualities. Nay, more : the noble army he 
had so long commanded had gradually learnt to 
partake of the character of their leader. No sol- 
diers in the world but the English could have stood 
those successive charges, and that murderous artil- 
lery, which they so bravely bore at Waterloo." 




Having completed the fitting of our men's cloth- 
ing, and furnished ourselves with what we could 
get as necessary for hard marching and active ser- 
vice, on the 3rd of March we once more moved on 
Elvas by Gaviao, Garfete, Flores de Rosa, Alta do 
Chao, to Fronteira, which we reached on the 7th. 
Here we again halted for a few days. All the 
troops were now concentrating towards Badajos, 
preparatory to the siege. Lord Wellington still 
remained at Frenada in the north, from whence 
he wrote to Lord Liverpool as follows : " All my 
arrangements preparatory to the attack of Badajos 
are in train, and, I believe, getting on well. Some 
of the troops have marched for the Alemtejo, and 
others will follow soon, and I intend to go myself 
the last } as I know that my removal from one part 
of the country to the other will be the signal for 


the enemy, that the part to which I am going is to 
be the scene of active operations." In accordance 
with these views, Lord Wellington remained on 
the banks of the Coa, and did not arrive at Elvas 
till the 11 tli of March. We were for the moment 
well lodged in Eronteira, which was a capital vil- 
lage, in distance four leagues from the good town 
of Estremoz, and therefore in a convenient and 
comfortable neighbourhood. 

The Alemtejo in general, and this part of it in 
particular, had suffered less from the ravages of 
war than most other provinces of Portugal. The 
climate is milder and the soil more fertile than 
on the rugged northern frontier of the kingdom. 
Here we were informed that Hill's corps had 
moved on to Merida and Talavera Real. The 
enemy had much strengthened Badajos, by repair- 
ing the ramparts, remounting guns, adding to the 
outworks, and forming mines. The garrison con- 
sisted of 4000 French and 1000 German troops, 
with 150 cavalry. Phillipon, a General of Engi- 
neers and a clever man, was in command. He 
had already been a prisoner in England, but had 
escaped by breaking his parole; and, strange to 
say, was again opposed to us as governor of this 

Pontoons were now being brought up to form a 
bridge over the Guadiana. We were all very san- 
guine as to the result. If not interrupted by Mar- 
mont's or Soult's armies, we had little doubt of 


success. Two ways alone offered, to evade inter- 
ruption: one was to take the place before the 
enemy could collect their forces to annoy us ; the 
other was to cover the siege by corps in advance, 
fight a general action, and disable them from fur- 
ther interference with our occupations. The sea- 
son was favourable, the weather fine, and not too 
hot. We still had the equinoctial rains to look 
forward to, rather cooling torrents to encounter 
before the broiling heats of a Peninsular summer 
set in. Lord Wellington writes from Elvas as fol- 
lows*: " I had intended to commence the opera- 
tions against Badajos between the 6th and 7th of 
March, and all my arrangements were made ac- 
cordingly ; but, because the large and rich town of 
Evora, which has suffered in no manner by the 
war, would supply no carriages, I could not com- 
mence till the 17th. At this moment the powder 
for the siege, and much of the shot, and many of 
the engineers' stores, are not arrived at Elvas, and 
we are obliged to consume the stores of that garri- 
son. I am destroying the equipments of the army 
in transporting the stores from Elvas to the ground 
of the siege, because no assistance is given by the 
country, or assistance quite inadequate to the de- 
mand and wants of the service, etc. I cannot how- 
ever avoid taking the opportunity of calling the 
attention of your Lordship and of his Majesty's 
Government to the neglect of the Portuguese au- 

* See Despatches to Lord Liverpool. 


tliorities to furnish the means of transport neces- 
sary for the success of this or any other operation. 
My own anxiety, and the detail into which I am 
obliged to enter, in order to find resources to over- 
come difficulties which occur at every moment, I 
put out of the question, although I believe no offi- 
cer at the head of an army was ever so hampered, 
and it is desirable that the attention of one in that 
situation should be turned to other objects. But 
the serious inconveniences to which the troops are 
exposed, and the difficulties and risks which attend 
the execution of all services for want of means of 
transport, become of such magnitude that no offi- 
cer can venture to be responsible for them; . . . 
and I hope that his Majesty's Government will 
exert their influence with the Prince Regent of 
Portugal, to order the local Government not only 
to frame a law which shall have for its object the 
equipment of the armies in such a manner as to 
enable them to defend the country, but to carry 
that law into execution, so that the people of the 
country shall understand that they must comply 
with its provisions." 

AYhy our Government, furnishing as they did an 
army, together with the money and munitions of 
war, in defence of Portugal, did not, previous to 
this advanced period of our operations, diplomati- 
cally and effectively stipulate for the means to carry 
that war on, especially as all that was required 
of the people was paid for by us, was best known 


to our Ministers at home, but was perfectly unac- 
countable to anybody else. Inadequate as were 
our supplies, we had not the effective means of 
moving what we had. Lord Wellington was con- 
stantly at the last stretch of his ingenuity to pro- 
vide what was wanting, or procure the necessary 
means towards the end. He was constantly ac- 
quainting our Government at home of this fact, 
with but slight or no result. On one occasion he 
remonstrated with them in the following words : 
" It is the duty of the King's Ministers to provide 
supplies for the service, and not to undertake a 
service for which they cannot provide adequate 
supplies of money and every other requisite." 

These worse than errors of our Government at 
home were overcome by the extraordinary energy 
and determination of the great man who com- 
manded ; but, as the vice of ill supporting and at- 
tempting to control military men in what concerns 
their own profession seems inherent in our English 
Government, it may be as well to observe that the 
want of a cordial support and a love of dictation 
by unprofessional authorities in the face of all ex- 
perience can have but one result, and that a mis- 
chievous one*. A soldier is bound to obey, and 

* I much fear it will be found that the late universally- 
regretted General Godwin experienced in no slight degree the 
disadvantages of this system in the Burmese war. Sir Charles 
Napier says, in his 'Defects of the Indian Government,' "Of 
fourteen Commanders-in-chief in India, since the year 1792, ten 
have resigned before their term (of service) was out ; and of those 


must do so ; but that is no reason why the com- 
mander of an army should be expected to accom- 
plish objects without being afforded the means re- 
quired ; or that his views, actions, and movements 
should be thwarted or overborne by the ideas of 
non-professional and irresponsible governors or 
Ministers. However salutary and necessary their 
views may be in ordinary times, they have a most 
pernicious effect in war, or under circumstances 
which require rapidity of decision and unhampered 
energy. " In the life of nations, as in that of indi- 
viduals, there are moments which decide their fate 
for years. To use that moment is success, to lose 
it is ruin/' In England the undue influence and 
love of interference by civilian Ministers with the 
strategical operations of a military commander is 
the very worst species of Aulic Council. 

The Austrian machine, detrimental as it was to 
freedom of movement, was at least composed of 
military men, who might be supposed to compre- 
hend what they dictated; but this illegitimate con- 
trol with us happens to be the very reverse with 
regard to any professional knowledge, and is likely 
therefore to prove, if possible, still more calamitous. 
England's great Chief often said, " Never make a 
little war ;" it would be still better, if possible, to 
never make any ; but when you do, be in earnest. 
Let your supply be ample in men, and ilot nig- 

who did not, two were Governors- General ; the others, but two, 
held their commands to the last, ' sullering all tilings.' " 


gardly in quantity and efficiency of material ; well 
weigh the merits of him who is appointed to the 
critical post of commander, but, when chosen, sup- 
port him effectively, grant him full confidence, then 
throw on him, if you will, all the responsibility of 
his free action - *. 

Generally speaking, in the men of our army, 
there was to be found much more audacity of per- 
sonal than of moral courage, caused probably by 
the early habit of submission to discipline, and a 
too great deference for the opinions of those above 
them, interfering with the feeling of self-reliance. 
The great and remarkable exception was Lord 
Wellington himself; and he felt this advantage so 
strongly, that, whatever official rebuke he found it 
necessary to inflict on individuals, for want of judge- 
ment in acting or not acting for themselves, he al- 
ways gave those under him the aid of his public 

* A similar misunderstanding between the Government at 
home and the Commander abroad, or rather a similar incapacity 
in the home Government, occurred in the great war of Hanni- 
bal with Rome. After the annihilation of the Roman army at 
Cannse, the Carthaginian general sent envoys to Carthage, to de- 
mand fresh supplies of men and money, and, above all, a well- 
appointed battering train, in order to enable him, on the opening 
of the next year's campaign, to attack Rome itself. The reply of 
the Anti-Barcha party, as represented by its mouthpiece Hanno, 
was that since Hannibal had, according to his own account, 
achieved such successes in the field, he must be fully competent 
to provide himself henceforward both with the sinews and the 
engines of war. Hannibal was consequently disabled, by this 
unreasonable parsimony, from following up his movements in the 
field, and Rome was saved. 


support, by which he encouraged a feeling that he 
himself so eminently possessed. He is a bad work- 
man who finds fault with his tools ; correcting, but 
also upholding, men placed in highly difficult posi- 
tions, is the best of all possible ways of being well 

On the 14th, at half an hour's warning, we left 
Frontcira, and marched by Alta do Chao to Elvas, 
were we bivouacked between Fort la Lippe and 
that town. With the exception of the Fifth Divi- 
sion, still on the Coa, and Hill's corps in advance 
in Spain, all our legions were assembled here pre- 
paratory to our destined operations against Badajos. 
Lord Wellington had already arrived. I was fre-> 
quently asked to dine at head-quarters. I have a 
lively remembrance on this occasion of passing a 
pleasant evening in one of the best houses the town 
of Elvas afforded. The assembled party amounted 
to some eighteen, among whom were the authori- 
ties of the town, some ladies, two commanding offi- 
cers of the regiments of the Guards, other younger 
and lively characters belonging to Lord Welling- 
ton's personal staff and the corps en bivouac in the 
city's neighbourhood. Lord Wellington was in 
high spirits, and very attentive to two pretty Por- 
tuguese young ladies, whose names I heard, but 
have forgotten, although at the time I was intro- 
duced to them. With great liveliness they pos- 
sessed good manners, spoke French well, and of 
course formed the centre of attraction. During 


dinner there was a man, to what corps belonging 
has escaped my memory, whose appetite exceeded 
everything but onr astonishment at it, and his own 
surprise at finding himself surrounded by so many 
dainties. Certainly, in those days of scarcity, an 
invitation to a decent dinner was well worthy of 
attention. The commissaries and some few of the 
generals, according to their capabilities, might oc- 
casionally indulge their hospitality. Lord Wel- 
lington, although personally moderate in all his 
habits, still, as circumstances permitted, kept the 
best table going, as he was in possession of a good 
French cook and a maitre d'hotel. 

The attention of the latter, as well as our own, 
was excited in no ordinary degree by the develop- 
ment of the unaccustomed guest's powers. His 
youthful passion for pastry made pate after pate 
disappear, for to the rapidity of a conjuror he 
added the swallow of a cormorant. He by no means 
confined himself to such light material however, 
and shortly proved that he was not purely farina- 
ceous, by turning his abilities to more substantial 
fare with equally strong marks of a monopolizing 
spirit. Like the camel at the spring in the desert, 
he seemed determined to lay in a stock which 
should bear him harmless against all coming pri- 
vation. After having unconsciously occasioned us 
considerable amusement, in which our great Chief 
participated with as much zest as the youngest 
amongst us, and that mirth and wine had suffi- 


ciently circulated, we all rose together with the 
ladies from table, and retired to the drawing-room. 
In the course of the evening the two young ladies, 
under the sanction of their respectable bundle of 
a maternity, gratified Lord Wellington's taste for 
music by singing many pretty airs, amongst which 
a duet so forcibly struck me as to stamp the air 
in my memory even to this day. The words ran 
thus : 

" Lindos olhos matadores 
Tem a gentil bella Arminda, 
Tern a gentil bella Arminda. 
Alvos dentes, boca linda. 
Gosto della mas porem 
Tenho medo dos amores j 
Sao crueis, nao pagao bem, 
Sao crueis, nao pagao bem." 

The charms of song and the bright eyes of those 
who sang shed their soft influence on us. A gal- 
lant troubadour, Colonel Fermor of the Guards, 
was so inspired as to indulge the ladies en revanche 
with several French romances. Thus concluded 
an agreeable evening, which carried with it some 
humanizing remembrances ; and as we returned to 
our Orson-like life in the fields, we thought with 
regret of these pleasant hours that had but too 
speedily passed. 

On the 15th, at about a league from Elvas, a 
pontoon bridge had been laid over the Guadiana, 
and by daybreak on the following morning we were 
on foot again. The successful opening of a cam- 


paign always acts favourably on the spirits of a 
soldiery ; and now Lord Wellington was about to 
fulfil his promise previously made to Lord Liver- 
pool, that " if we took Ciudad Rodrigo we should 
make a fine campaign in the spring." In further- 
ance of this assurance we crossed the Guadiana on 
the 16th of March, 1812, to commence movements 
and operations which lasted, without interruption, 
until the middle of the November following. On 
the 16th Badajos was invested by Marshal Beres- 
ford, who crossed the river, and drove in the 
enemy's outposts. The Third, Fourth, and Light 
Divisions, and a brigade of Hamilton's Portuguese, 
about 15,000 men, were destined for the attack of 
the fortress. The First, Sixth, and Seventh Divi- 
sions, and two brigades of cavalry, formed a corps 
under our divisional chief, Sir Thomas Graham, 
and our movements were directed by Yalverde and 
Santa Martha upon Llerena ; Hill moved by Me- 
rida upon Almendralejos. These corps acted as 
a covering army to protect the operations of the 
siege, and amounted to 30,000. The Fifth Divi- 
sion was on the march from Beira ; and the whole 
army consisted of about 51,000 sabres and bayo- 
nets, of which 20,000 were Portuguese*. Soult's 
army at this time was between Seville and Cadiz, 
and some movable columns of Drouet's and Dari- 
cau's, of about 5000 men each, at Villa Franca and 
near Medellin. Before entering further into notice 

* See Napier. 


of movements necessarily connected with my anec- 
dotical journal, I may mention that Lord Welling- 
ton, in taking the field, thought proper to inaugu- 
rate the event by giving a grand fete to Field- 
Marshal Beresford and his staff, a cordial to his 
friends, as an introduction to the more inimical 
operation of the siege of Badajos, thus following 
the soldier's motto, " Let us be merry today, for 
tomorrow we die*." Near Badajos there was no 
house or building within half a mile of the spot 
selected for Lord Wellington's head-quarter camp. 
It was a bleak and barren place enough, the only 
advantage being that, although within range, it 
concealed by some rising ground from the fire 
of the fortress. During the siege however two or 
three shells did fall amongst these canvas resi- 
dences. The tents for the use of the two Head- 
quarter Staffs of the British and Portuguese armies 
brought from Elvas that morning ; they ar- 
rived at their destination at nine o'clock; the 
ground was marked out, the tents erected, the kit- 
chens made, a substantial oven built by transport- 
ing materials from the stone wal] of a vineyard 
half a mile off, mortar was concocted, wood for 
fuel collected, and everything accomplished before 
one o'clock, at which time that man of celebrity 
the chef or head cook, reached his scene of glory. 

* Lieutenant-General Lord Keane, when Commander-in-Chief 
at Jamaica, had these words written over his dining-room door, 
I suppose, in compliment to the yellow fever. 



Surrounded and within range of all the warlike 
implements of destruction, this greater than Vatel 
" a parfaitement conserve son sang-froid dans ses 
entrees." At half-past two, the elements on which 
his art depended arrived on foot. The bullocks, 
poor things ! little thought of the uses to which 
they were walking, or that their respectable parts 
(although their forms partook of the greyhound 
cut) would be so precipitately transubstantiated 
into joints, gravy, and gelatinous substances. They 
however were killed, skinned, and cut up ; and by 
six o'clock were served up to a company of distin- 
guished men in as many savoury shapes as any 
party of guests in Grosvenor-square ever sat down 
to dawdle over, the difference being that air and 
exercise, and a too great absence of plenty, occa- 
sioned a somewhat different appreciation of the 
indulgence, and a keener sense of the value of 
things. Dryden's recommendation of " Take the 
goods the gods provide thee" was then turned from 
a poetical to a practical fact, leaving " lovely 
Thais" out of the question, unfortunately because 
nobody had much time to attend to her, poor lady ! 
It may be seen, from the sudden preparations and 
rapid accomplishment of this banquet, that in 
pleasure, as well as business, the grass was never 
allowed to grow under our feet. Without half the 
ceremony I have alluded to, and with the slightest 
possible disguise by cookery, I have often seen a 
lean, well-travelled bullock killed and eaten in half 


an hour, his hide and horns alone remaining in 
demonstration of what he once had been. 

Having passed the pontoon bridge over the Gua- 
diana, we entered on immense plains of unwhole- 
some and malaria-like appearance, producing coarse 
grass and great quantities of the wild garlic. We 
followed no road. The First, Sixth, and Seventh 
Divisions, and two brigades of cavalry, marched in 
contiguous columns over this wide and tiresome 
expanse of level. Neither tree nor hill was to be 
seen. No living thing was visible except innume- 
rable hares, which sprang up amidst our columns. 
The men's shouts drove them like shuttlecocks from 
one to the other, till, bewildered by noise, and 
surrounded by foes, followed by every yelping cur, 
galloped after by every officer they approached, 
they fell a sacrifice in endeavouring to force their 
way through our ranks. In their endeavours to 
escape they were almost all killed, and afforded 
capital sport to the many, and no slight profit to 
the few. Between forty and fifty hares graced the 
bivouac fires of our camp this day. The weather 
in the morning was mild and pleasant, though dark 
and lowering, but in the evening it became cold and 
rainy. We bivouacked this night near Valvcrde, 
a village in a decent state of preservation. 

This night, for the first time, I felt the genial 
comfort attached to the proprietorship of a tent. I 
had thus suddenly become le petit proprittaire in 
reality, and indulged in the pride of possession : 

276 Graham's advance. 

the more so as it was the first tenement of any- 
kind that ever really belonged to me, and I has- 
tened to show a proper sense of the claims of hos- 
pitality by sharing it with a tentless comrade. En- 
sconced beneath its cover this tempestuous night, 
we smoked our cigars, and listened in contemptuous 
security to the pattering rain driven by the wild 
wind against its sides. The disagreeable remem- 
brance of being frequently out on such a night as 
this, peculiarly recommended to us the advantage 
of being ivithin. Those happy young fellows lately 
at Chobham camp had a sufficiency of bad weather 
probably to make them estimate at a guess the 
disadvantage of being on the wrong side of canvas, 
and might possibly have presented to their minds 
a comparison between the inside seat of a first-class 
railway carriage and the outside one on a donkey 
in a storm. It was with grateful feelings towards 
those kind friends who had sent me this defence 
against weather, that we drank to them with the 
soldier's toast, " Here's a health to all absent 
friends, God bless them \" They, alas ! with many 
others, are gone, and can no more read the passing 
record of my gratitude. 

On the 17th the Third and Fourth and Light 
Divisions broke ground before Badajos ; but as our 
corps d'armee, under Graham, advanced towards the 
south, we knew little and heard nothing in detail 
of the operations in our rear. We had an enemy 
in front who was to occupy our attention, and we 

ZAFRA. 277 

wished, in return, to occupy his, by preventing his 
dwelling too pertinaciously on the operations of the 
siege that we were destined to mask. In the mean- 
time we had to feel for the enemy's movable co- 
lumns, which we knew to be in our neighbourhood, 
and consequently outposts, patrols, and piquets 
were in plenty. We moved on Santa Martha ; a 
small force belonging to Soult's corps retired as we 
advanced. It was reported that Marmont was at 
Talavera de la Reyna. We continued our move- 
ments by La Para to Zafra, an excellent town, 
which the enemy had left but a few hours before 
we entered it. The weather was so bad and the 
Spanish towns so good, that we left off bivouack- 
ing and were sheltered in most agreeable and ca- 
pital quarters. We were delighted with this part 
of Spain, and with the comparatively clean, good 
houses, their well whitewashed exteriors indent- 
ed by substantial doors and iron-grated windows, 
from whence peeped forth the dark houri eyes of 
the Spanish women, the good-nature and lively 
manners of these people, their guitars, their song 
and dance. Though too short our stay, Zafra was 
to us a pleasant place ; in comparison to the rough 
life we led, quite an oasis in the desert. Short of 
labouring on the land, we bad become by living in 
it the purest of all possible species of agriculturists, 
for we sojourned entirely in the fields, woods, bogs, 
and mountains. The roofs which were destined to 
shelter us in Portugal were widely different and 


greatly inferior to those offered us in Spain, and 
resembled more, with due deference to Hibernian 
proprietors, an Irish hovel than a human habita- 

In Spain, although not quit of those hopping 
vampires the fleas, always to be found in southern 
climates, the people, the towns, and houses stood us 
in compensation. Besides, after a man had been 
some time on service in these countries, his mental 
as well as his bodily feelings became hardened: 
the latter by degrees partook of the rhinoceros, and 
both at length defied the petty stings of fortune 
and of vermin. Our taste for Spanish towns in- 
creased with experience ; being already on the road 
to Seville, we hoped, before we finished our pro- 
menade, to reach the cities of the south so much 
lauded in the native tongue. 

" Quien no ha visto Sevilla, 
No ha visto maravilla ; 
Quien no ha visto Grranada, 
No ha visto nada." 

Eighteen more years from this period were to 
elapse before I was to tread the streets and visit 
the Alcazar of Seville, and enjoy the scenes and the 
climate of the Yega of Granada, with all the gran- 
deur of its overhanging Sierra de Nevada, and the 
beautiful remains of its Morescan palaces. The 
people of this part of Spain, the middle and 
lower order, for of the high classes we saw little, 
and what we did see was by no means prepos- 


sessing, are a remarkably handsome, fine-looking 
race/occasionally betraying a tinge of the Saracen 
blood, mixed with the sangre azul, which spoke in 
palliation of the Valencian proverb : 

" Buen cielo, buen tierra, 
Mai entre tierra y cielo*." 

Still there was amongst them an assimilation in 
tastes to their not far distant neighbours the Ita- 
lians, and the dolce far niente seemed to prevail. 
When roused to energy they may be induced to 
act, but, with pompous promises and grandiloquent 
phrases, postponement and the fear of troubling 
their lazy intellects predominated. It was always 
mafiana, but never today, with them. To put off 
everything, seemed looked upon as the acme of all 
that was clever ; and never to do that which they 
could persuade another to do for them, was the per- 
fection of dexterity. Their whole mind, in short, 
seemed bent upon doing nothing, and they did it. 
At the same time there is no want of quickness or 
intelligence in them. When imperative interest 
or passion urges, they display all the readiness of 
resource and acuteness so truthfully depicted in the 
character of Figaro. 

On occasion of the movements of some of the 
enemy's flying columns employed against the Spa- 
nish guerillas, as our detective police might be 

* Which may be translated thus : 
"Fair sky, fair land j 
All between, nothing grand." 


against pickpockets, the French marched on a 
Spanish town to punish it for some real or pre- 
tended grievance. The people fled, as, innocent 
or guilty, they well knew the result would be dis- 
astrous. They left their houses in the night, or, as 
our sergeant-major, a man of eloquence, used to say, 
they " surreptitiously and promiscuously took their 
departure." Of all the inhabitants, two young 
girls, of considerable personal attractions, alone 
remained, in a house belonging to one of the autho- 
rities of the town. Their alarm at such a visit of 
vengeance may be conceived. They well knew that 
their good looks were their least defensive quality ; 
" for beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold." 
No means of escape presenting itself, the elder di- 
rected the younger to retire to her bed, which could 
scarcely be considered the safest place in the house. 
Militarily, it seemed a false position to assume for 
a weak garrison intending a resolute defence, but 
what will address and good tactic not accomplish ? 
She painted her sister's face a ghastly white, and 
gave to the apartment all the air of a sick room. 
These preparations had scarcely been completed 
when the enemy, arriving from different directions, 
finding nothing in kitchen or cellar, set about ex- 
ploring the other rooms. On entering the sup- 
posed invalid's apartment, the nursing sister, in the 
deepest apparent affliction, covering her face with 
a handkerchief, broke out into loud lamentations 
" Madre de Dios ! la pobrecica tiene una calentura 


contagiosa la peste*." The French rushed out 
instantaneously, vacating the quarter even more 
promptly than they had entered it, echoing the cry 
as they went ' ' La peste ! la peste ! le diable em- 
porte la peste I" The obtrusive visit of their would- 
be conquerors was thus disposed of by these ready- 
witted beauties. It must be confessed, however, 
that to the female portion of the community Mes- 
sieurs les Francais generally made themselves very 
acceptable ; and although the Spanish women com- 
plained of them, saying that " Los ladrones Fran- 
ceses have eaten all our Andalucian bulls, killed 
our poultry, and knocked from their niches every 
emblem of the Virgin/' still many of them were 
sufficiently imbued with the attributes of Christian 
charity to return good for evil, and not to allow 
their patriotic prejudices to overcome their perso- 
nal feelings. In all characters that a Frenchman 
may be called upon to enact, he is always prover- 
bially insinuating, gay, and agreeable; and the 
Spanish women, if there be truth in our experience, 
seemed well disposed to act up to their national 
proverb, of 

" Todo el mundo es un bolero, 
El que no bayla es un tontof." 

It was with great regret that on the 21st we 
left Zafra to occupy Fucntes del Meistro, where 

* Mother of our Lord ! the poor Utile tiling has a contagious 
fever (In- plague. 

f All the world is a ball, and lie is a fool who does not dance. 

282 we still found good cantonments, the 
more acceptable as the weather continued very bad. 
Although this town was fourteen leagues from Ba- 
dajos, we could distinctly hear the cannonade, as 
its deep, unfriendly sound came undulating through 
the air. We here heard that the enemy had made 
a sortie, in which they lost some men ; that Colo- 
nel Fletcher, our chief engineer, had been wounded, 
and that Captain Cuthbert, Picton's aide-de-camp, 
had been killed ; that some of our batteries were 
to have opened on this day, and that a breach 
might be expected to be rendered practicable in 
about ten days. 

With regard to our covering corps, the Seventh 
Division was at Villa Franca, some of our cavalry 
at Zafra, and the rest at Llerena and its environs. 
Marmont, report said, was still at Talavera de la 
Reyna with 36,000 men (which however was doubt- 
ful) ; Suchet at Valencia. Soult was occupied in 
collecting his forces, some 20,000, at Seville and 
its neighbourhood ; and 10,000 more of the enemy 
were at this time at or near Medellin. We were 
all full of conjecture. Many seemed to think that 
a general action would shortly ensue. I remem- 
ber differing with some of my comrades on this 
point. I thought that our foes were not likely to 
attack us unless they could hope to raise the siege, 
and this they could not do unless they brought 
down on us their whole force. The distance be- 
tween their different corps prohibited a combina- 


tion within a probable time to save the fortress. 
Without such a hope, it was useless and not to 
their advantage to fight, as there was nothing to 
fight for. Marmont was said to display no incli- 
nation to act in conjunction with Soult, but we 
subsequently discovered, from intercepted de- 
spatches, that the Emperor's orders directed him 
to operate in the north and on the banks of the 
Coa, threatening an irruption into the province of 
Beira in Portugal. On further information we 
found that the delay occasioned by the bad wea- 
ther, want of materiel, and inefficiency of transport 
had still further postponed the opening of our bat- 
teries against Badajos. At the same time Lord 
Wellington himself said, we were not by 20,000 
men so strong on the left bank of the Guadiana 
as we ought to be. We were uncertain also of 
Drouet's whereabouts -, he was believed to be in the 
neighbourhood of Don Benito, with a view to pro- 
tect the junction of Foy by the bridge of Medellin. 
Lord Wellington's intention was to move our right 
ions and the cavalry to Zalamea and Quintana, 
at the same time that our left division from Alman- 
dralejo should reach Oliva, and Hill's corps Me- 
dellin, and thus force back the enemy from their 
best communications across the Guadiana with 
Soult, and by thus intercepting them create delay 
in their conjunctive movements. But we could 
not hope to maintain this position long, as Soult 
could move from the south on our right flank, or, 


if he chose, on our rear. To gain Badajos, there- 
fore, we were once more fighting against time, as 
we did at Ciudad Rodrigo. The difference was, 
that here the task was tougher; the place from 
natural position as well as art being stronger, its 
garrison more numerous, and its governor more 
able. At Fuentes del Meistro, having marched 
on foot from the northern frontier of Spain, a dis- 
tance of between three and four hundred miles, I 
here purchased another mule, although our Ad- 
jutant, whose duties devolved upon me, had left 
me his stud during his absence. It was fortunate 
I did so, as our movements now became much 
more rapid and harassing. A sudden thought 
struck the commander of our corps oVarmee ; and 
on the 25th, without baggage, and at the short- 
est possible notice, we left Fuentes del Meistro at 
seven a.m. and proceeded two leagues towards Los 
Santos, where, having halted for a few minutes 
only outside the town, we continued our march 
four leagues further, and reached Bien Venide at 
five p.m., having accomplished, in ten hours' march, 
with scarcely a check, six "leguas grandillones," 
a distance most uncertain, except as to its being a 
short one. 

The country was a dead open flat, devoid of trees, 
and with only occasional culture. We established 
our bivouac beside a small stream, in some low un- 
dulating ground, concealed under a gentle slope, 
and were ordered to consider ourselves au secret. 


The day had been hot, the march rapid and harass- 
ing, and some rest was requisite. Evening closed 
in ; the moon rose and seemed to look down in 
bright contempt on our barren hiding-place. Our 
divisions were all assembled here, but at ten at 
night we were on foot again, directing our march 
on the town of Llercna. We now discovered that 
this secret and forced march was for the purpose 
of surprising a small flying column of the enemy, 
consisting of some 2600 men belonging to Drouet's 
corps. The operation was an attempted imitation 
of the Arroyo de Molinos affair, so cleverly exe- 
cuted by Hill in the previous campaign of 1811. 
11,000 infantry, 2000 cavalry, and 24 pieces of 
artillery, were formed in contiguous columns ; the 
First, Sixth, and Seventh Divisions in one body, 
the two brigades of cavalry on our left, and the 24 
guns in our front, with some light infantry in ad- 
vance. Thus massed we moved in close order du- 
ring the rest of the night. This formation forbade 
our availing ourselves of the road further than as 
a line of direction across the country we were tra- 
\\TMiig. Previous to our leaving our bivouac at 
Bien Venide, we heard that those we were about 
to seek were safely in their quarters at Llercna, in 
perfect ignorance of our stealthy, tiger-like ap- 
proach. They were sleeping probably, and little 
dreaming of our intended visit to them at such an 
unfashionably early hour. Unluckily, no move- 
ment of any part of our force on the enemy's 


flanks, to intercept their retreat, seemed to have 
been in contemplation, and we moved altogether 
in a straight line, and in one lump. We had also 
to take on trust the chance of the prudence and 
loyalty of the Spanish peasants to their own cause. 
As they might give information of our approach, 
we took the precaution of allowing none that we 
knew of, or could stop, to proceed in the direction 
of Llerena. In an open country, devoid of hill or 
wood, it requires rather more address to conceal a 
body of some 13,000 men, in movement on its sur- 
face, than for a gentleman of the thimble-rig pro- 
fession to hide his pea on the downs and heaths of 
Ascot or of Epsom. 

The moon had set, the night, though starlight, 
was dark; we marched in close formation and in 
strict silence, but still a large body moving over 
the flat face of mother earth might be detected, and 
the clink of cavalry sabres, the roll of the wheel- 
of guns, the tramp of horses, and the heavy sound- 
ing tread of 13,000 warriors might be wafted 
through the still night air to a distance, and attract 
the attentive ears set on watch to ward the approach 
of coming danger. A dog's bark, a bird's flight, or 
a hare's course, would create suspicion that some 
disturbing influence was on foot, and would put 
on the alert those well versed in outpost duty and 
war's alarms, thereby betraying the movements of 
our column. On and on we went, in wearisome 
darkness and in seemingly interminable space ; half- 


asleep and stumbling, our men blundered against 
each other, then again resumed their order, giving 
vent to some grumbling exclamation of discon- 
tent. The night was far spent, but before daylight 
had dawned we all at once were aroused from our 
monotonous heavy trudge by coming upon a ca- 
valry patrol, despatched by the enemy from one of 
their neighbouring outposts to reconnoitre. They 
instantly fired on us and galloped off. Had our 
movements been kept secret till now this ren- 
contre must have effectively revealed them. The 
contretemps unfortunately did not end here, in con- 
sequence of all our divisions having been injudi- 
ciously ordered to load. When we came upon the 
enemy, the Sixth Division had on the march gained 
slightly in advance of the rest, and the Seventh, 
on receiving the fire of the French patrol, were 
tempted to return it, and by so doing fired into 
the Sixth, as the flashes of the enemy's carbines 
came from that direction. Fortunately, the offi- 
cers of this last column restrained their men from 
returning the untoward salute, or, in the surround- 
ing darkness, we should all have been fighting one 
another. As it was, a surgeon, a paymaster, and 
six men were killed and wounded \ and thus, in 
the most critical moment of an intended surprise, 
we much surprised ourselves by firing on our own 
people instead of the enemy, to whom, by all this 
noise, we gave undoubted notice of our approach. 
It may be imagined that some excitement ensued. 


The columns were now closed up, the officers in- 
stantaneously dismounted and fell into their ranks, 

leaving their horses to shift for themselves. S , 

who commanded the company next to mine, did 
not at all approve of quitting a steed he " ne'er 
might see again. M I luckily found a little drum- 
mer, whom, in an unauthorized manner, I pressed 
into my service, consigning my Eosinante to his 
charge. My mind, being made easy on that score, 
was turned in anxious expectation to what would 
next follow. 

We still moved forward, marching over some of 
the bodies that the Seventh Division had slain; 
at length, at daybreak, we arrived within a short 
distance of the town of Llerena; and as objects 
became more visible, we discovered our enemy on 
the other side of it, quietly marching away, leav- 
ing us to our reflections. A parting shot or two 
from our guns, by way of acquainting them with 
our address, was the only communication that en- 
sued between us. Our long march, like auld Mees- 
tress M'Sillygossip's long story, related by the late 
Mr. Mathews in his ' At Home/ was a wearisome 
prolixity without a point. A forced march of nearly 
fifty miles had been accomplished in nineteen hours, 
by a body of 13,000 men, for the purpose of sur- 
prising 2600 of the enemy; but as no detached 
flank movements were attempted to intercept or 
even interrupt their retreat, they marched out of 
one end of the town of Llerena as we marched into 

REPOSE. 289 

the other. Had the execution of our movements 
been supported by strategical combinations, the re- 
sult might have been different. As it was however, 
we were so far successful that, by driving back on 
its reserve this small advance corps of Drouet, we 
effectually interrupted any immediate communica- 
tion between him, Daricau, and Soult. The enemy 
exchanged some few shots with our light troops, 
when they went their way, and we saw no more of 
them. After our fatiguing but somewhat futile 
attempt, we were rewarded by a twenty-four hours' 
halt in the good town of Llerena. Good towns 
being as scarce as the opportunities we had of en- 
joying them, this indulgence was duly appreciated 
by way of compensation for our disappointments. 
Next day, our baggage having come up, after a re- 
freshing rest in our excellent quarters, we moved 
again four leagues further to a bivouac near Mar- 
guillas. This village is situated on a plateau be- 
tween the streams of the Coracha and Matachiel, 
at the foot and no great distance from one of the 
spurs, or offshoots, of the Sierra Morena, running 
down in this direction to the plains beneath. Here, 
to our astonishment, the German Legion and our 
brigade remained quiet for a few days : we were in 
a happy state of uncertainty, although kept in con- 
stant readiness and expectation to move. The other 
two Divisions had gone forward ; the Seventh to 
Asuaga, and the Sixth to Berlenga on our right, 
in the direction of Seville, on the road leading to 



the south. Major- General Stopford's Brigade of 
Infantry was pushed still further forward in the 
same direction, and as far as Quadalcanal. Vari- 
ous reports reached us concerning the enemy, but 
nothing that could be depended on. The breach- 
ing batteries at Badajos were to open on the 31st, 
and should the enemy intend to make an attempt 
to interrupt our operations, or relieve the fortress, 
they had not a moment to lose. Hill's corps was 
still in the neighbourhood of Medellin. 

On the 1st of April we left Marguillas, moving 
in a retrograde direction on Badajos, by Llera 
and Usagre to Los Santos. Here our route was 
changed from that of Fuentes del Meistro to La 
Para, then to Almandral, and thence to a bivouac 
in the woods in front of the position of Albuera, 
where, after a five days' march, all our corps, under 
Sir Thomas Graham, were again concentrated, 
ready once more to occupy the old battle-field, if 
rendered necessary by the enemy's advance. Of 
them we heard nothing, but surmised, from these 
movements of ours, that they were approaching. 
During this march a gay and gallant young 
Guardsman, aide-de-camp to Sir Rowland Hill, 
reached us with communications from his chief. 
A better informed and more agreeable companion 
and good soldier was not easily found. We were 
about the same age and standing, and our ac- 
quaintance, begun here, ripened into great inti- 
macy in after-life, for I never gambled, borrowed, 


or lent him money ! Lively, brave, and warm- 
hearted, he was, alas ! reckless, thoughtless, and 
extravagant ; would lend or give you, while he 
had it, all he had; but could afford to owe you, 
even to the Greek Kalends, any amount of cash 
you lent him. I fear it might be said of him that 
he never paid a debt, except that to nature. His 
reckless gallantry lost him his life in India, where 
he fell, much lamented. Peace be to his manes ! 
I loved him well, in spite of his faults, for he had 
many good and even great qualities. His name 
matters not ; it was well known and distinguished 
in our military annals of the preceding century ; 
his friends will recognize it but too well in reading 
this tribute to his memory. 

In our ilex and cork- wood bivouac, en attendant 
the expected advance of Soult, our men hutted 
themselves. From those excellent troops, the Ha- 
noverian Legion belonging to the Division, our 
men learned much in this as well as many other 
useful arts. The Germans displayed great inge- 
nuity in rural architecture, forming commodious 
turf-and-leafy dwellings half underground, small 
sunken snuggeries, very cleverly contrived, and 
adapted to the nature of their necessities. Serv- 
ing as a defence against the heats of day, the dews 
of night, and the rains of spring and autumn, they 
were rendered more or less substantial or effective, 
according to circumstances and the probable time 
of their occupation. Light and simply defensive 


against the elements for a night's lodging, they 
became more beaver-like when a longer residence 
was promised. The English generally improve on 
the invention of others, and, in following so good 
an example, we even constructed stables and sheds 
for our horses and beasts of burden. 

It was always considered one of the greatest 
camp conveniences, and highly diplomatic, to be 
well with the quarter-master of the regiment, or 
on intimate terms with the butcher of the bri- 
gade. They were the chiefs, the masters of the 
ceremonies, and distributors of the delicacies of 
provender (such as oxtails and lumps of suet from 
the well-marched and hastily-killed cattle) to the 
numerous hungry applicants. These, on being 
paid for, might, as a favour, be added to the ra- 
tions of the officers ; "but what was this amongst 

so many?" Our good old quarter-master H 

was a character, a perfect specimen of this class. 
He had risen by his merit ; and, by weight, rotun- 
dity, and respectability, he maintained the dignity 
of his position. Possessed of great matter-of-fact 
good sense, he was an honest, bright-faced, down- 
right old soldier. He always had the best fire in 
all our bivouacs, and had become the oracle of all 
the ensigns. The " idle club" of the camp would 
frequently assemble around his merry bonfire, to 
hear or communicate the current news or reports 
of the day, yclept in Peninsular language "shaves." 
Those handicraftsmen of our corps, the pioneers, 


were his attendants ; and, under his orders, they 
were the cutters of wood, the shoers of horses, and 
dispensers of liquor, when such was received for 
distribution from the commissaries. The well- 
known sound of Knock, the cooper, singing out 
in his shrill, squeaky voice, "Cucks (cooks) for 
wine*!" may still tingle in the ears and rest in 
the memories of those who heard them in " auld 
lang syne ;" and the joyous buzz and commotion 
created amongst our men by so welcome an an- 
nouncement, may still be remembered. 

In Soult's hasty retreat from Oporto in May, 
1809, our brigade came suddenly on the enemy's 
rear-guard near Salamonde, and turned their re- 
treat into a flight, taking from them baggage and 
all kinds of material. Two very powerful nags, 
one black and the other white, such as drag dili- 
gences in France, fell to the lot of that " tun of 
man," old H , the quarter-master. He con- 
trived always to keep these cattle out of compli- 
ment to himself, I suppose in an unusual state of 
rotund condition. Unwieldy as he appeared, he 
was a perfect picture on horseback, for the combi- 
nation was complete of the " Elephant and Castle," 
a goodly sign warmly greeted wherever met with. 
On the march he always headed the baggage of the 
brigade, and far, far off in the winding distance 

* The pioneers' duty, under the superintendence of the quarter- 
< ant, was to distribute the liquor amongst the cooks 
of the different messes of the men. 


might be seen his portly figure, on the milk-white 
steed, as unlike as possible to (C Death on the pale 
horse ! M 

The distributions of camp delicacies from the 
above cavalier, or from Jones, the butcher, added 
in no small degree to eke out the rations of the 
separate messes and pic-nics of the ofiicers. Sel- 
dom more than two of us messed together, chiefly 
those belonging to the same company or the one 
next in line to it. We found from experience that, 
however well masters might agree, it was difficult 
to get servants to do so, for which reason I pre- 
ferred the pic-nic plan, instead of having a mess 
in common. Two or three would thus club their 
provender and dine together, each bringing his 
plates, knives, forks, and drinking cups. I well 

remember my friend B joined us frequently 

in this way. He always brought his couvert, as 
the French call it, but deuce the thing else in the 
shape of comestible or beverage. When rallied on 
the absence of these most essential contributions 
to a pic-nic, and accused of providing nothing, he 
would reply that we cruelly maligned him, for he 
always brought his knife, fork, and an excellent 

At this bivouac near Albuera, and on the 6th of 
April, towards evening, a reinforcement of detach- 
ments from England reached our brigade, under 
the command of Lieutenant-Colonel B , af- 
terwards D. A., Adjutant- General to our division. 


The rest of the draft was composed of four hun- 
dred men, together with two young ensigns, H 

and R , belonging to our regiment. The first 

of these made a right good soldier, and was severely 
wounded later at Salamanca. He now sits in the 
House of Commons, and is an Irish peer. With 
this detachment I received an English spaniel, six 
shirts, and a groom-boy. We made our recruits 
as welcome and comfortable as we could, by offer- 
ing such hospitality as the field afforded, and did 
our best to make them forget the luxuries of beef, 
porter, iced champagne, and sugar-plums. Their 
round fresh English faces bore strong contrast 
to the copper-coloured, weather-beaten visages of 
our old hands. Recent news from dear England, 
brought by these blooming fellows, was very ac- 
ceptable, and was received at all times with plea- 
sure, whether coming in verbal, printed, or written 
shape. After sunset, and the convivial hour of 
the evening meal had passed, most of us in time 
and due course retired to our tents and to rest. 
The night was dry, though mild and cloudy; 
everything w T as still save the customary croaking 
of frogs, or the low murmur of conversation at 
some bivouac fire; all but the sentries and camp 
guards had sunk to sleep; the occasional sound 
of a distant gun alone broke the silence ; when at 
once, and as if from a volcano, explosions, like 
thunder, rent the air of night, and bounded along 
the surface of the earth. Salvo after salvo in con- 


tinued succession reached the ear of the sleeping 
soldier, and roused him in his bivouac lair to the 
consciousness of the living struggle carried on by 
his not far distant comrades Lord Wellington was 
storming Badajos. 



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