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EnterspcrscU fottfj ^nertiotcs antr Accounts of personal 





Where heroes war, the foremost place I claim, 
The first in battle, and the first in lame." Pope. 



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HE object of this volume is to present, in one view 
and in a short compass, an account of the principal 
achievements of the British arms, both by land and 
by sea, since the opening of the Great War with France in 
1793. During that war, the British arms reached the highest 
pinnacle of renown, and ever since they have maintained 
the same high character. The naval and military history 
of England has been well written already; but the general 
reader the young reader especially cannot be expected to 
wade through the numerous bulky volumes of such writers 
as James, Napier, and Kinglake. 

The narrative is invariably based upon the standard his- 
torians of each period such as James, Brenton, and Yonge, 
among naval writers ; Wilson, Stewart, Napier, Creasy, 
Gleig, Kinglake, Wellesley, and Stanley, among military 
writers. To give vividness and variety, anecdotes and short 
accounts of personal service have been introduced. 

The wars of the British in India form a branch of the 
subject almost quite distinct ; but the Mutiny stands apart, 


and has received a fair share of attention. A short account 
of the Conquest of India is prefixed to the story of the 

The book will, it is believed, be found specially interesting 
to the young, some of whom will become Redcoats and Blue- 
jackets themselves, and will do their duty all the better for 
a knowledge of the gallant deeds done by their predecessors. 
At the same time, the greatest care has been taken with facts 
and dates, and it is hoped that the older or the professional 
reader will not find the work altogether uninteresting or 
unworthy of perusal. 

A chronological list of engagements has been added, to 
increase its usefulness as a handy book of reference. 




Campaign in the Low Countries Toulon Corsica Lord Howe's 
Victory off Ushant on the First of June Admiral Hotham's 
Action in the Mediterranean Admiral Cornwallis's masterly Re- 
treat Lord Bridport's Victory The Quiberon Expedition First 
Capture of the Cape of Good Hope . . . . .11 


THE DIRECTORY 1796-1799. 

French Expeditions to Ireland Cape St. Vincent The French land 
in Pembrokeshire Nelson's Attempt on Santa Cruz Camper- 
down The Nile Anglo-Russian Expedition to Holland Sir 
Sidney Smith foils Napoleon at Acre Successes of Troubridge in 
Italy ....... 27 



Battle of the Baltic Aboukir Mandora Alexandria Attempt on 

the Gunboats at Boulogne ...... 49 



Projected Invasion of England Commodore Dance's Action Seizure 
of the Spanish Treasure Frigates Sir Robert Calder's Action 
Trafalgar Sir Richard Strachan's Action off Cape Ortegal . 65 





Second Capture of the Cape of Good Hope Sir Home Popham at 
Buenos Ayres Sir John Duckworth's Victory at St. Domingo 
Maida Capture of Monte Video by Sir Samuel Achmuty Sir 
John Duckworth forces the Dardanelles Egypt General White- 
locke capitulates at Buenos Ayres Surrender of the Danish fleet 
to Britain ...... 79 


ROLigA TO CORUNNA 1808-1809. 

Rolica Vimiero Sir John Moore's March into Spain The Retreat 
to Corunna Battle of Corunna Lord Cochrane in the Basque 
Roads . . . . . . . . 95 



Passage of the Douro Wellington's First March into Spain Tala- 
vera The Walcheren Expedition Busaco Barosa Fuentes 
d'Onoro ........ 109 



Albuera Arroyo dos Molinos Frigate Action off Lissa Ciudad 
Kodrigo Badajos Almaraz Wellington's Second March into 
Spain Salamanca Wellington enters Madrid Retreat from 
Bur S s ..... 129 


Vitoria Battles of the Pyrenees Storming of San Sebastian . , 157 


Passage of : the Bidassoa-Passage of the Nivelle-Passage of the Nive 

-Battles before Bayonne-St. Pierre Orthes Toulouse . . 173 



THE AMERICAN WAR 1812-1814. 


The Shannon and the Chesapeake ..... 185 


Quatre Bras "Waterloo ....... 193 



Bombardment of Algiers First Burmese War Navarino First 
Chinese War Second Burmese War The War in Syria Kaffir 
War . . . . . . . . .217 


THE RUSSIAN ff.4/? 1854-1856. 

Odessa Bomarsund Kola Petropaulovski The Alma Bombard- 
ment of Sebastopol Balaclava Inkermau Expedition to Kertch 
Taganrog Sveaborg The Malakoff and Redan Russians eva- 
cuate Sebastopol Kinburn ...... 235 


PERSIA CHINA 1856-1858. 

Bushire Khooshab Mahommerah and Ahwaz Fatshan Creek 

Canton The Peiho Forts ...... 277 


THE CONQUEST OF INDIA 1600-1857 . . . .281 



Siege of Delhi Massacre of Cawnpore Defence of Lucknow Relief 
of Lucknow by Sir Henry Havelock Rescue of Lucknow by Sir 
Colin Campbell Siege of Lucknow Bareilly Victorious March 
of Sir Hugh Rose Capture of Jhansi and Gwalior . . 287 



CHINA, NEW ZEALAND, IfOTAN-i8 5 g-i866. 


Capture of the Taku Forts The Anglo-French troops enter Pekin 

Destruction of the Chinese Emperor's Summer Palace . . 321 



The March on Magdala Battle of Aroje Release of the Abyssinian 

Prisoners Capture of Magdala, and Suicide of Theodore . . 329 


THE ASHANTEE K^^ 1873-1874. 

Crossing the Prah Skirmish at Borborassie Battle of Amoaful 
Capture of Becquah Battle of Ordahsu, and March on Coomas- 
sie Destruction of Coomassie and Return of the Troops Treaty 
of Fommanah ........ 347 






Campaign in the Low Countries Toulon Corsica Lord Howe's Victory 
off Ushant on the First of June Admiral Hotham's Action in the 
Mediterranean Admiral Cornwallis's masterly Retreat Lord Bridport's 
Victory The Quiberon Expedition First Capture of the Cape of Good 

HE French Revolution was the trumpet-call which sum- 
moned Europe to arms. At first the European Powers 
refrained from interference with France, and contented 
themselves with adopting measures for preventing the 
spread of the revolutionary contagion into their own states. But 
France was in a warlike mood. War was declared against Austria 
(April 20, 1792), and the Prussian and Austrian armies, under the 
Duke of Brunswick, invaded France (July 25). The Republicans, 
however, were successful at Valmy (Sept. 20) and Jemmappes 
(Nov. 6), and not only was the most formidable invasion that 
ever menaced France repelled, but Flanders and Mayence were 
conquered and captured, and Savoy and Nice were wrested from 
the King of Sardinia (who had refused to receive an envoy from 
the Republic), and converted into departments of France. 

During the campaign of 1792, Britain preserved a strict 
neutrality ; but the continuance of peace soon became impossible. 


Inflamed to frenzy by the overthrow of the throne, the mas- 
sacres of September, and the victories of Dumourier, the French 
Convention passed the two famous decrees of the Tpth November 
and the i5th December, declaring that " they would grant fra- 
ternity and succour to every people disposed to recover their 
liberty," and proclaiming in all countries conquered by the lie- 
public, " liberty, equality, the sovereignty of the people, with 
the suppression of nobility and all exclusive privileges, of all 
subsisting taxes, and all constituted authorities," and denounc- 
ing as enemies " all who refused to accept these benefits." By 
these decrees the Republic openly declared war with all estab- 
lished governments, and there only wanted some tangible quarrel 
to plunge France and Britain into war. This was found in the 
sailing of a French squadron up the Scheldt to co-operate in 
the reduction of Antwerp (Nov. 30), since by the treaty of 
Munster the Scheldt had been declared for ever closed. Then 
came the execution of Louis XVI. (Jan. 20, 1793). On this M. 
Chauvelin, the French envoy, was ordered to leave England, and 
the Convention (February 3, 1793) unanimously declared war 
with Great Britain. This country was thus forced into the 
coalition arrayed against France. Her vast resources were freely 
lavished for the common cause, and at the close of the war, 
which lasted two and twenty years, and deluged all Europe with 
blood, her arms had acquired a prestige, both by land and by 
sea, which has been maintained, but can scarcely be enhanced. 

Britain joined the allies in the Low Countries, whither the 
Duke of York was sent with 20,000 British troops and 10,000 
Hessians and Hanoverians in British pay. It would be tedious 
to enter into the particulars of this almost forgotten campaign, 
in which Britain took a comparatively small part, and which 
ended in Holland being over-run by the French, and the Stadt- 
holder taking refuge in England. It will be sufficient to notice 
that the Coldstream Guards distinguished themselves at St. 
Amand (May 8, 1793), routing the French from a strong posi- 
tion from which the Austrians had previously failed to dislodge 
them. A magazine of the time says that Serjeant-major Darby 
of the Coldstreams "performed prodigies of valour. He had 
an arm broken and shattered by a ball, but yet continued fighting 
with the most animated and determined bravery. . . . He put 
to death a French officer who made an attack upon him ; but 
at length had his leg broken by another cannon-ball, in con- 


sequence of which he fell into the hands of the French." At 
the siege of Valenciennes (May 25), the forlorn hope consisted 
of 300 British 150 of the Household Brigade, and an equal 
number of the line under Major-general Ralph Abercrombie. 
" The troops being in readiness," says Corporal Robert Brown, 
" they rushed on with the greatest impetuosity and jumped 
over the palisades, carrying all before them at the point of the 
bayonet. The enemy, after a stout resistance, left the works in 
possession of the victors." At Lincelles (Aug. 18) the three 
regiments of guards gained great honour by a spirited attack 
on a large redoubt, situated on some high ground, and gar- 
risoned by 5000 French troops. "The French," says Corporal 
Brown, " who had been accustomed to the cold lifeless attacks 
of the Dutch, were amazed at the spirit and intrepidity of the 
British ; and, not much relishing the manner of our salute, im- 
mediately gave way, abandoning all that was in the place, and 
in their flight threw aside both arms and accoutrements. We 
took one stand of colours and two pieces of cannon, with two 
they had taken from the Dutch." The three regiments of Foot 
Guards carry " Lincelles " on their colours. 

The campaign of 1793 was indecisive all along the line with 
the British and Austrians in the Low Countries, with the Prussians 
on the Rhine, and the Sardinians in Savoy. In the Pyrenees, 
however, the Spaniards had decidedly the advantage. Events of 
a more important character occurred in the south of France. 
The fall of the Girondists excited the liveliest discontent in that 
quarter, and the great towns of Lyons, Marseilles, and Toulon 
rose in open rebellion. In Lyons and Marseilles the revolt was 
crushed with the usual atrocities, and a similar fate impended 
over the Toulonese. In this extremity the citizens entered into 
negotiations with Admiral Lord Hood and Admiral Gravina, 
the British and Spanish commanders, offering to surrender the 
city, with the French fleet in port, to be held in trust for Louis 
XVII., as the little Dauphin was called. Lord Hood closed 
with the proposals, and on the arrival of the British fleet, Cap- 
tain Elphinstone of the Robust (afterwards Lord Keith) landed 
with two regiments and some marines, and took possession of 
the forts commanding the shipping. The French fleet also sub- 
mitted, but of the seamen 5000 who professed democratic prin- 
ciples made their escape, and joined the Republican forces in 


the interior. Lord Hood sent to Genoa and Naples for troops 
to hold the city, but a large Kepublican army soon arrived and 
commenced siege operations. The besiegers were 60,000 ; the 
defenders 2000 British and 15,000 Neapolitans and Spaniards; 
but these last spent the best part of their time in plundering 
and murdering the inhabitants. All through the summer and 
autumn the siege went on, the French fighting their way foot 
by foot. At length (Dec. 17) Fort Mulgrave was captured by 
the French, and all the posts on the heights of Pharon were 
carried. The ships were now compelled to retire, and Lord 
Hood held a council of war, at which it was unanimously re- 
solved to evacuate the place, and destroy the magazines and 
dockyards and all the French ships that could not be carried off. 
The execution of this operation was entrusted to Captain Sidney 
Smith who afterwards immortalised his name at Acre and as 
far as he and the British seamen were concerned nothing could 
have been more satisfactory. But the Spaniards made a claim 
to share in the enterprise, the complete success of which was 
marred by their want of skill and courage. They retreated 
before completing the task set to them, and in their hurry and 
confusion set fire to, instead of scuttling, two powder ships, 
causing the death of several of our men. On the whole, how- 
ever, the work of destruction was tolerably complete. Of i 
fleet of 58 vessels which the French had at Toulon, 14 were 
burnt or otherwise destroyed 16 were fitted out by the British, 
and 3 by the allies. Only 25, large and small, were left to the 
French. The troops and seamen under Captain Elphinstone 
took advantage of the operations to evacuate the only fort 
remaining in our possession, and by daylight on the morning of 
the i Qth were on board without the 'loss of a man. Of the 
wretched inhabitants 15,000 escaped to the British fleet and 
were conveyed to England ; " but," says the naval historian 
James, " melancholy was the fate of those left behind. Many on 
their way to the shore were cut in two by the balls which were 
falling around them ; others, overcome by their fears, fancied 
the hurried steps they heard behind were those of their pursuers ; 
and some rushed, preferring instant death to infuriated ven- 
geance, with their infants clinging to their breasts, into the 
waves and perished. Some thousands of others remained in the 
town, in the hopes that their age, sex, or political insignificance 
would shield them from the bayonets of the soldiers, their 

1793-4- ] NELSON AND NAPOLEON. 1 5 

countrymen. Vain hope ! a decree of the Committee of Public 
Safety had doomed the whole of them to destruction ; and the 
Toulonese deputies, Fre"ron and Moyse Bayle, worthy of such 
masters, were not to be moved by the entreaties even of Dugom- 
mier himself." When the British entered Toulon it contained 
28,000 souls, and in a few weeks after they quitted it there 
were but 7000 left. More than half the population escaped on 
board the British fleet, but 6000 at least perished by the sword, 
musket, and guillotine, or, in their despair, by their own 

Among Hood's captains at Toulon was Horatio Nelson, and 
this is the advice he used to give his midshipmen : " There 
are three things, young gentleman, which you are constantly 
to bear in mind. First, you must always implicitly obey orders, 
without attempting to form any opinion of your own respecting 
their propriety ; secondly, you must consider every man your 
enemy who speaks ill of your king ; and thirdly, you must hate 
a Frenchman as you do the devil." In the army of General 
Dugommier was a little captain of artillery, then, like Nelson, 
commencing his career; a man who would stand "no nonsense." 
At the attack on Pharon, a commissioner of the National Conven- 
tion criticised the position of a battery under Buonaparte's orders ; 
he said it would never do, and must be shifted, and in the end 
gave orders accordingly. Buonaparte had hitherto made no re- 
mark, but now he could control himself no longer. " Stick to 
your role of representative," he said fiercely, "and leave me to 
mine of artillerist. That battery shall stand there, sir there, 
where it is, and I answer for the success " cette batierie restera 
/&, etje reponds du succfe. Just so ; and the battery succeeded 
so well that it was mainly owing to it that the British and 
Spanish were forced to quit the place. Nelson and Buonaparte 
were two of the three great heroes of the war ; the one on the 
sea and for England, the other on the land and for France. 

In the campaign of 1794, in the Low Countries, the 
Hussars distinguished themselves at Villiers-en-Couche (April 
24), which they bear on their colours ; and the Oxford Blues, 
ist, 3rd, and 5th Dragoon Guards, ist Royal Dragoons, and 
1 5th and i6th Light Cavalry decided the day at Caudry (April 
25), by charging a brigade of fourteen guns posted on an emin- 
ence beyond a steep ravine. But the tide of war went strongly 


against the allies ; and the French were also successful in Savoy 
and the Pyrenees. 

The destruction of the Toulon fleet had totally paralysed the 
French navy in the Mediterranean, and Paoli and his brave 
islanders saw an opportunity of driving the French from Corsica. 
The famous patriot opened a communication with Lord Hood, 
and help was promised, on the understanding that the island 
should be delivered up to His Britannic Majesty. San Fiorenzo 
soon fell before the fire of some of Hood's 74*3 ; and, meanwhile, 
Nelson was sent with a small squadron to reconnoitre Bastia. 
He reported that the place could easily be taken by a small 
force of 1000 men. "With 500 and the Agamemnon" he said, 
" I would attempt it. My seamen are now what British seamen 
ought to be almost invincible. They really mind shot no more 
than peas." General Dundas, who commanded the land forces, 
was of a different opinion. He characterised the proposed siege 
as a most visionary and rash attempt, such as no officer would 
be justified in undertaking, and proposed to wait for a reinforce- 
ment of 2000 men, which he expected from Gibraltar. But as 
time was everything, Lord Hood resolved to undertake the siege 
with his own resources, and to Nelson he committed the opera- 
tions on shore. The men were landed (April 4), with some 
battering guns, mortars, and ammunition, which Lord Hood 
had begged from Naples. The difficulties arising from the 
nature of the ground were simply enormous. Batteries had to 
be placed on rocky elevations which even the natives deemed 
inaccessible. Guns of 42 cwt. had to be hauled up to these 
positions with blocks and ropes. There were no roads ; only 
paths which admitted but one person at a time. Above were 
the beetling crags; below a sheer precipice. But Nelson 
and his Agamemnons overcame every difficulty. Roads were 
made, trees cut down, batteries erected ; and on the i4th fire' 
was opened on Bastia. The French held out bravely, and their 
general, La Combe St. Michael, appeared determined to abide 
by his answer to the first summons to surrender, that " he had 
shot for our ships and bayonets for our troops ; when two-thirds 
of his men were killed he would trust to the generosity of the 
English." Nelson redoubled his efforts ; new batteries were 
erected where the guns could never have been put in position, 
he said, "by any but British seamen;" and (May 22d) the 


French colours were hauled down. "I am all astonishment," 
wrote Nelson, " when I reflect on what we have achieved ; 
1000 regulars, 1500 National Guards, and a large party of 
Corsican troops, 4000 in all, laying down their arms to 1200 
soldiers, marines, and seamen ! I always was of opinion, have 
ever acted up to it, and never had any reason to repent it, that 
one Englishman was equal to three Frenchmen." 

The Agamemnon was now ordered to co-operate with General 
Sir Charles Stuart in the siege of Calvi. The same difficulties 
had to be overcome as at Bastia, but Nelson was acting with a 
man after his own heart, and the enthusiasm with which he 
inspired his Agamemnons made short work of the enemy. On 
the ist August the Governor of Calvi beat a chamade, and the 
island of Corsica, thus freed from the French, became for a time 
a part of our empire. At the siege of Calvi, Nelson lost the sight 
of an eye, from some sand and small gravel driven by a shot 
which fell near. 

A still more glorious triumph was to come. France was suffer- 
ing grievously from a scarcity of grain ; a famine was dreaded, 
and if the people became irritated under the pressure of want, 
the Revolution might itself be revolutionised. With all Europe 
hostile, she could look for supplies of grain from no quarter but 
America ; and this necessarily entailed sending a fleet to sea fit 
to cope with the British. By great exertions, 26 ships of the 
line were equipped at Brest ; and Messieurs Jean-Bon Saint- 
Andre" and Briard, the deputies of the National Convention, 
came down post from Paris to screw the courage of the seamen 
up to the sticking-point. " You will conquer them ! " shouted 
Jean-Bon Saint-Andre" to the seamen ; " yes, you will conquer 
these eternal enemies of our nation. As to that, you have but 
to will it, and it is done." Jean-Bon Saint- Andre" and the French 
in general had yet to learn that seamen cannot be improvised 
like soldiers ; that power at sea must be of gradual formation ; 
that, while almost every nation of Europe has at one time or 
other suddenly astonished the world with a display of military 
prowess, naval supremacy has for three centuries belonged to no 
nation but one. Naval power depends on so many things which 
must concur : great wealth, a decided taste in a considerable 
section of the people for a maritime life, and the prestige of 


Lord Howe, having knowledge of these doings at Brest, set 
sail from St. Helen's (May 2) with the Channel Fleet. His flag 
was on board the Queen Charlotte. Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, 
who was in command of the Brest Fleet, did not sail until the 
i 6th. Next day the two fleets passed each other in a dense fog, 
and so near as to hear each other's signals, but they did not 
see each other till the 28th. Off Ushant, at half-past six that 
morning, the wind fresh from south by west, with a very rough 
sea, the look-out frigates of the British fleet made the signal for 
a strange fleet to windward. The Bellerophon was ordered to 
reconnoitre, and gave the expected information. Lord Howe 
made the signal to prepare for battle, and ordered the Bellero- 
phon to shorten sail. At ten minutes past eleven the crews 
were piped down to dinner, and, in their grog, drank " Confusion 
to the French, and a glorious victory to Old England ! " 

That day and the next were spent in distant manoeuvring, and 
on the 3oth and 3ist there was no fighting because of the fog. 
But at length arrived " the glorious First of June." The two 
fleets were as equally matched as such mighty armaments can 
well be. Each had 26 ships of the line, and so far they were 
equal, but in every other respect the French had the advantage. 
The aggregate tonnage of the British ships was 46,962 tons, of 
the French, 52,010; the British crews numbered 18,241 men, 
the French 19,989 ; the British had 1087 guns, throwing a 
broadside of 22,976 Ibs., the French 1107 guns, throwing a 
broadside of 28,126 Ibs. So that the French had larger ships, 
more men, more guns, and these heavier. Still, the two fleets 
were very fairly matched, for the Revolution had removed many 
of the best naval officers of France, while Howe's fleet was led 
by a band of distinguished seamen. Among his captains to 
go no higher were Sir Roger Curtis, one of the heroes of 
Gibraltar ; Cuthbert Collingwood, the friend of Nelson ; Duck- 
worth, Gambier, and Stopford, who afterwards commanded at 
Acre in 1840. 

At 7.25 A.M. Lord Howe signalled that he should pass through 
the enemy's line and engage to leeward. The two fleets were 
now about four miles apart, and Lord Howe, thinking the crews 
were in need of some refreshment after sitting up three nights, 
hove to and sent the men to breakfast. This gave the French 
an opportunity to think, and to say, that the British were 
faltering. That distinguished officer, Captain Troubridge, was 


then a prisoner on board the Sanspareil ; he was anxiously look- 
ing at Lord Howe's line, when the French officers exultingly 
pointed out the delay that was taking place, and tauntingly 
said it was evident the British Admiral had no desire for the 
encounter. " Don't flatter yourselves," said Troubridge ; " John 
Bull does not like fighting on an empty stomach, but see if he 
does not pay you a visit after breakfast." The officers of the 
Sanspareil had cause to remember these words. 

At 8.12 A.M. the British fleet filled and bore down on the 
enemy, steering about north-west, and going at the rate of very 
little more than five knots an hour. The breeze was fresh at 
south by west. The French ships were some of them lying to, 
and others backing and filling to preserve their stations. About 
half-past eight Lord Howe threw out a signal for each ship to 
steer for and independently engage the ship opposed to her in 
the enemy's line. 

The first gun was fired at 9.24 A.M. The action then com- 
menced, and for some hours raged with all the noise, smoke, 
slaughter, and fury of a great sea-fight. It is thus summarily 
described by James : " Between a quarter and half-past nine 
A.M. the French van opened its fire upon the British van. In 
about a quarter of an hour the fire of the French became general, 
and Lord Howe and his divisional flag officers, bearing the signal 
for close action at their mast heads, commenced a heavy fire in 
return. A few of the British ships cut through the French line, 
and engaged their opponents to leeward ; the remainder hauled 
up to windward, and opened their fire, some at a long, others at 
a shorter and more effectual distance. At 10. 10 A.M., when the 
action was at its height, the French Admiral, in the Montayne, 
made sail ahead, followed by his second astern, and afterwards 
by such of his ships as, like the Montague, had suffered little in 
their rigging and sails. At about 11.30 A.M. the heat of the 
action was over, and the British were left with eleven and the 
French with twelve more or less dismasted ships. None of the 
French ships had at this time struck their colours j or, if they 
had struck, had since rehoisted them : they, for the most part, 
were striving to escape under a spritsail, or some small sail set 
on the smallest stump left to them, and continued to fire at every 
British ship that passed within gunshot. After failing in an 
attempt on the Queen, Admiral Villaret stood on, and succeeded, 
contrary to all expectation, in covering and cutting off four of 


Lis dismasted ships, the Republicain, Mucius, Scipion, and 
Jemmappes ; a fifth, the Terrible, having previously joined him 
by fighting her way through the British fleet. At about 1.15 
P.M. the general firing ceased ; but it was not until 2.30 P.M. 
that the six dismasted French ships nearest at hand, the Sans- 
pareil, Justo, America, Impetueux, Northumberland, and Achille, 
were secured." 

A seventh French ship, the Vengeur, struck at six o'clock, 
but in so shattered a state that in ten minutes afterwards she 
went down with upwards of 200 of her crew. Much of the 
romance of the glorious First of June hangs round this ill-fated 
Vengeur. Her antagonist was the Brunswick, Captain John 
Harvey, Lord Howe's second astern. The two ships ran foul 
and swung alongside of each other, the muzzles of their guns 
touching ; falling off before the wind, they dropped out of the 
line, engaging furiously. At eleven o'clock the Achille was 
observed through the smoke bearing down upon the Brunswick's 
larboard quarter, as if with the intention of boarding ; but a few 
well-directed broadsides made her strike her colours. The 
Brunswick, however, was too warmly engaged with the Vengeur 
to be able to take possession. It was a murderous conflict. 
Captain Harvey was mortally wounded by the crown of a double- 
headed shot, which struck him in the right arm. " Persevere, 
my brave lads, in your duty," he cried, as he was borne down the 
ladder. " Continue the action with spirit, for the honour of our 
king and country, and remember my last words the colours of 
the Brunswick shall never be struck ! " At a quarter to one the 
Brunswick and the Vengeur swung clear of each other, after a 
deadly embrace of three hours, and the Vengeur was engaged by 
the Ramillies, a fresh ship, which reduced her to a wreck in a 
few minutes, and then made sail after the Achille, which was 
endeavouring to escape. Finding herself sinking, the Vengeur 
displayed a Union Jack over the quarter ; but all the Brunswick's 
boats being knocked to pieces, she could afford her enemy no 
assistance. Fortunately, at a quarter-past six, when the Vengeur 
threatened every moment to go down head foremost, the Alfred, 
Culloden, and Rattler cutter approached, and immediately 
lowered as many of their boats as would swim, and sent them 
to the rescue. About 400 of the Vengeufs crew were thus 
saved, but before the work of humanity could be completed, 
the battered vessel sank with all her dead and wounded, and 

I794-] FATE OF THE " VENGEUK." 21 

about 30 or 40 men who were unhurt. Among the rescued were 
Captain Renaudin, who had so bravely fought his ship, and his 
son, a boy of twelve. Father and son were taken off by different 
boats, and each mourned the hapless fate of the other. Imagine 
their rapturous joy when they met again at Portsmouth, and 
rushed into each other's arms ! 

An absurd story got abroad that the Vengeur went down, 
with all her colours flying, and her crew rending the firmament 
with shouts of " Vive la Nation ! " " Vive la Republique ! " A 
model of the ship was suspended under the arch of the Pan- 
theon ; the names of the ship's company were inscribed on the 
column of the Pantheon ; and the painters, sculptors, and poets 
of France were invited to exert their talents in celebration of 
" this sublime trait of Republican devotion." How the report 
arose is easily explained. Some of the Vengeur' s people, as is 
usual in such cases, had flown to the spirit-room for relief ; and, 
thus inspired, one man, more furiously patriotic than the rest of 
his drunken companions, waved the tricolour, under which he 
had so nobly fought, as the ship went down. 

In this action the French lost seven fine ships, and about 
7000 men in killed, wounded, and prisoners; but they attained 
the object for which they had risked an engagement ; for their 
American convoy, amounting to 160 sail, and valued at 
5,000,000, arrived safe in port a few days afterwards. The 
British loss was 290 killed and 858 wounded. Showers of 
honours awaited the home-coming of the victorious fleet. 

It is not wonderful to find that that mouther, Jean-Bon Saint- 
Andre, proved himself a veritable coward. He accompanied the 
French Admiral in the Montague, and when that ship was in 
action with the Queen Charlotte, the deputy of the National 
Convention showed himself in his true colours. " Struck by 
the spectacle," says a French writer, "he could not overcome 
the fear he felt, and to escape danger ran with all his might 
down below." And yet the fellow had the impudence, in his 
account of the action, to write in such a strain as this " A 
number of brave men fell ; I envy their fate ! I saw them 
perish on each side, and repine at the decree which doomed me 
to survive." What a lying hypocrite he must have been ! Yet 
so far do brave words go in this world, that, on the return of 
the French fleet to Brest, the people threw flowers in the way 
of God save the mark !- Jean-Bon Saint Andre". 


The French were so busy at home that the}' had no time to 
look after their colonies, which fell an easy prey to the ascend- 
ancy of the British navy. In the West Indies, in the course of 
a few weeks, Tobago, Martinique, St. Lucia, and Guadaloupe 
were captured by Sir John Jervis and Sir Charles Grey. 

The first days of 1795 saw the campaign in the Low Countries 
at an end. The French were successful at all points. The 
victorious Pichegru crossed the Waal in force (Jan. 8) ; the 
Stadtliolder embarked for England; Leyden, Utrecht, and 
Haarlem opened their gates, and hailed the invaders as deli- 
verers j and " to complete the wonders of the campaign," says 
Alison, " the Dutch fleet frozen up at the Texel, was captured 
by a body of French cavalry that had crossed the Zuyder Zee 
on the ice ! " 

Unfortunate as was the result of the campaign, the conduct 
of the British troops was on every occasion all that could be 
desired. Nor Avas their behaviour less soldierly in the terrible 
inarch through Holland and Westphalia, when retreat became, 
inevitable before the overwhelming invasion of Pichegru ; when 
the cold was so intense that brandy froze in bottles, when the 
doors of the Dutch boors, for whom they had come to fight, 
were invariably closed against them, and hundreds of men and 
women dropped by the wayside and slept to wake no more. In 
the depth of their misery they made no complaints, and they 
never failed to stand to their arms at the cry that the enemy 
was upon them. At Gildermalsen (Jany.), for instance, our 
outposts were driven in, and a regiment of French Hussars, 
dressed in a uniform similar to that of the emigrant regiment 
of Choiseul in our service, pushed forward under cover :of 
this deception, and rode furiously along the road, treacherously" 
crying " Choiseul Choiseul ! " The ruse so far succeeded,; 
that, says General Stewart of Garth, " they were allowed to get 
close to the advanced company of the 7 8th Highlanders before 
the truth was discovered, when they were instantly attacked and 
checked, but not sufficiently to prevent a part pushing, at full 
speed, through the intervals between the two wings, towards the 
village. Here they were met by the light company of the 42^ 
Highlanders, whose fire drove them back, and scattered them in 
an instant. When the attacking column of the enemy's infantry = 
perceived that their cavalry had got through beyond the first 

*795.] A THREE DAYS* CHASE. 23 

line, they advanced with great boldness, singing the Carmagnole 
March. The 7 8th reserved their fire till the enemy nearly 
closed upon them, when it was opened with such effect that 
they were driven back in great confusion." At length the shat- 
tered army reached Bremen, and the gallant remains of this 
band of heroes were received on board the transports in the 
Elbe and Weser, and conveyed to England. " Among them," 
says Brenton, "were few who had not lost a limb, either from 
the casualties of war or the inclemency of the weather, and 
numbers of them were reduced to skeletons. . . . The conduct 
of our troops in this terrible retreat excited the admiration even 
of the proud and insolent Republicans." 

The conquest of Holland led to the dissolution of the confede- 
racy against France. Prussia and Spain made peace with the 
Republic, and Holland was compelled to conclude an alliance 
offensive and defensive with her conqueror. The whole weight 
of the war thus fell on Britain, Russia, and Austria ; but the 
co-operation of Russia only went the length of sending a 
squadron to join the North Sea blockading fleet under Admiral 
Duncan while Austria, subsidised by Britain, maintained an 
indecisive contest on the Rhine. 

This year the French made an ineffectual attempt to recover 
Corsica. During the winter they had succeeded in equipping a 
number of ships of the line at Toulon, and on the 3d March 
Rear-admiral Martin put to sea with 15 sail of the line and 
six frigates, together with 5000 men, to effect the re-conquest of 
the island. Admiral Hotham, who then commanded in the 
Mediterranean, hearing that the French had been seen standing 
to the southward, put to sea on the 7th, with 12 British and 
i Neapolitan sail of the line, 4 frigates, 2 ships, and a cutter, 
in the hope of intercepting them before they reached Corsica. 
On the xoth the enemy were sighted working back to Toulon. 
After a three days' chase the British Admiral, finding the enemy 
had no intention of fighting, again made the signal for a general 
chase ; but none of the enemy's ships could be coine up with 
except the fa Ira, which had lost her main and fore topmasts 
by running foul of the Victoire. The Inconstant, Captain Fre- 
mantle, a frigate of 36 giins, had the temerity to attack the huge 
8o-gun ship, but had at length to sheer off with severe loss. 
Then Nelson came up in the Agamemnon, a 64, and fought his 


ship in so masterly a way that he reduced his huge antagonist 
to a perfect wreck, killing and wounding no of her crew. The 
Sans Culotte, the flag-ship of Admiral Martin, now bore down 
to the assistance of her consort, and Admiral Hotham signalled 
to the Agamemnon to rejoin the fleet. At daybreak next morn- 
ing, the 1 4th, Genoa distant about seven leagues, the Qa Ira 
was observed a long distance astern and to leeward of her fleet, 
in tow of the Censeur. This brought on an engagement, in 
which some of the French ships suffered so heavily, that Admiral 
Martin went about and stood away to the westward, leaving the 
Ca Ira and the Censeur to their fate. They were taken pos- 
session of by the boats of the Agamemnon. Nelson urged 
Hotham to pursue the enemy, but the Admiral had not the 
energy which burned in the soul of the fiery little captain of the 
Agamemnon. "We must be contented," he said self-compla- 
cently ; "we have done very well." "Now!" said Nelson, 
writing to his wife, " had we taken ten sail, and allowed the 
eleventh to escape when it had been possible to have got at her, 
I could never have called it well done." 

On the 8th June Admiral Cornwallis was cruising off Ushant, 
with five ships of the line and two frigates, when he fell in with 
a powerful French fleet under Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, consist- 
ing of one ship of 120 guns, eleven of 74 guns, and eleven 
frigates. Notwithstanding the immense disparity of force, 
Admiral Cornwallis succeeded, by superior seamanship, in baf- 
fling every attempt of the French, and brought off his squadron 
safe and sound. His masterly retreat is one of the most 
memorable occurrences of the year. 

On the 22d June Villaret-Joyeuse fell in with the Channel 
Fleet under Lord Bridport, consisting of fifteen sail of the line, 
five frigates, and a few smaller vessels. The French Admiral 
showing no intention of accepting battle, Lord Bridport threw out 
the signal for a general chase. Little ground was gained, however, 
and at night it fell calm. Next morning the French fleet was 
seen in a cluster about three miles ahead, and a light breeze 
springing up, the British stood in, and a running action en- 
sued. Fighting commenced at six A.M., and by eight, three of 
the French ships had struck their colours ; but by this time the 
fleet had got so close in with the land, that Lord Bridport judged 


it prudent to discontinue the chase, and the French Admiral, 
keeping his wind, anchored with his remaining ships within the 
Isle of Groix. The three prizes were added to the British 

This victory facilitated the expedition of the French emigrants, 
who had long been soliciting the British, Government to assist 
them in effecting a landing on the western coast of their native 
country. A force of 2500 emigres was landed at Quiberon Bay, 
but suffered defeat at the hands of the youthful general Hoche, 
and Sir J. Borlase Warren, the British naval commander, re-em- 
barked the remnant that fled to the shore. 

In August a small expedition, consisting of three 74-gun ships, 
two 64's, and two sloops of 16 guns, under the command of 
Vice-admiral Sir George Keith Elphinstone, K.B., and having 
on board 500 men of the 78th Highlanders, under Major-general 
Craig, arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, and took, possession 
of Simon's Town. The Dutch regulars and militia showed a 
bold front on the heights behind the town, and some fighting 
took place, in which our soldiers and seamen greatly distin- 
guished themselves ; but on the arrival of reinforcements under 
General Alured Clarke, the governor capitulated, and this im- 
portant colony became ours, with the loss of only a few men. 

A. new epoch in the war was marked by the revolution of the 
3d and 4th October, which resulted in the fall of the Convention, 
and the concentration of power in the hands of a Directory of 


THE DIRECTORY. 1796-1799. 

French Expeditions to Ireland Cape St. Vincent The French land in Pem- 
brokeshiie Nelson's Attempt on Santa Cruz Camperdown The Nile 
Anglo-Russian Expedition to Holland Sir Sidney Smith foils Napoleon 
at Acre Successes of Troubridge in Italy. 

ITTLE was done during 1796. The powers now 
opposed to the French Republic were Russia, Austria, 
Sardinia, and Great Britain. Russia still kept her 
squadron with the North Sea blockading fleet under 
Admiral Duncan, but did no more ; Austrian and French armies 
met each, other on the Rhine, with varying success j and Sar- 
dinia was almost swept away by the torrent-like advance of 
Napoleon through Italy. Britain took no part in the campaigns 
of Europe, but her navy rode triumphant on every sea, while 
the fleets of France were blockaded in their ports, and her 
commercial marine was almost entirely destroyed. Our colonial 
empire was increased by the acquisition of Ceylon, Malacca, and 
Cochin in the East Indies, and Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, 
Essequibo, and Demerara in the West Indies. Spain, jealous of 
the naval supremacy of Great Britain, concluded a treaty offensive 
and defensive with France, and declared war against Great 
Britain (Oct. 2). This necessitated the evacuation of Corsica. 
Holland made an attempt to recover the Cape of Good Hope, 
but the whole squadron two 66's, a 54, two 4o's, a 26, a 24, 
and an 18 surrendered to Sir George Keith Elphinstone (Aug. 
17) without firing a shot. 

The most important event of the year, as far as this country 
was concerned, occurred towards its close. Irish officers had 
represented to the Directory that no better method could be 

28 LET BRITAIN LOOK TO IT: [1796-7- 

adopted of wounding Britain than by sending an expedition to 
Ireland, where the natives would receive the French with open 
arms, as deliverers from the accursed British yoke. Accordingly, 
a great expedition for the liberation of Ireland was fitted out at 
Brest. It consisted of 17 ships of the line, 13 frigates, 6 
corvettes, 7 transports, and a powder ship in all, 44 sail 
of vessels, and had on board an army variously estimated at 
from 18,000 to 25,000 men. The Commander-in-chief was 
General Hoche, who had for his lieutenants such men as 
Grouchy, Borin, and Humbert. 

The French fleet sailed on the i6th December, 1796, and next 
day a disaster occurred, ominous of the fate of the expedition ; Le 
Seduisant, a 74, was driven upon the rocks and lost, and all the 
crew and soldiers, to the number of 1800, perished, with the 
exception of sixty. The elements fought against the intended 
invasion. By the 24th most of the ships had reached the 
rendezvous in Bantry Bay, but before any attempt could be 
made to disembark the troops, the fleet was driven out to sea 
and scattered far and wide by a violent gale from the south- 
south-east. The weather continued tempestuous for many days, 
and those ships of the French fleet which escaped the fury of 
wind and wave, and the activity of our cruisers, reached Brest 
and Rochefort by the middle of January, in a most wretched 
condition. In this fruitless expedition, the French lost 2 ships 
of the line, 4 frigates, 2 brig-corvettes, and 5 transports, besides 
many thousand lives. 

While Napoleon and his Republican soldiers were carrying 
everything before them in Italy, this country was engaged in a 
fierce struggle to maintain her supremacy at sea. We had in 
commission 124 ships of the line, 198 5o-gun ships and frigates, 
and 184 sloops; but this great force was scattered over every 
sea, and could not readily be concentrated in strength on one 
point ; while the naval force of France, swelled by the fleets of 
Holland and Spain, had again become formidable. If the 
Spanish fleet could raise the blockade of the French and Dutch 
harbours, a combined force of 60 or 70 ships of war might be 
assembled in the Channel, and then let Britain look to her- 

On the morning of the i3th February 1797, Sir John Jervis 
was proceeding down the coast of Portugal, under easy sail, when 


lie was joined by the Minerva frigate, flying the broad pennant of 
Commodore Nelson. That distinguished officer reported that 
on the 1 1 tli, soon after quitting Gibraltar, he was chased by 
two Spanish line-of-battle ships, and that afterwards, when 
in the mouth of the Straits, he got sight of the Spanish fleet. 
The Spaniards, then, were at sea. Before sunset signals were 
made for the British fleet to prepare for battle, and to keep 
in close order during the night. At 2.30 A.M. next morning the 
Portuguese frigate Carlotta, commanded by Captain Campbell, 
a native of Scotland, spoke the Victory, arid gave information 
that the Spanish fleet was only five leagues to windward. In a 
few minutes the signal guns of the Spaniards were distinctly 
heard, and continued to boom at intervals until daybreak. 

The morning of the i4th (Valentine's Day) broke dark and 
hazy. The British were formed in two compact divisions, 
standing on the starboard tack, with the wind at west by south, 
Cape St. Vincent bearing east by north, distant eight leagues. 
The Spanish fleet consisted of 27 sail of the line, including 
the huge Santissima Trinidada, of 130 guns, carrying the flag 
of Admiral Don Josef de Cordova; the scarcely less huge 
Conception, Conde de Eegla, Salvador del Mundo, Mexicano, 
San Josef, and Principe Asturias, of 112 guns; the Neptuno 
and San Nicolas, of 80 guns; 19 74/3, and 12 frigates. 
Jervis, whose flag was on board the famous Victory, had but 
15 sail of the line, 3 frigates, 2 i8-gun sloops, and a cutter; 
but he knew that a victory was all-important to England ; 
and he was sure he could rely on the skill of his officers, and 
the discipline and gallantry of his men, to counterbalance the 
disparity of force. Most of his captains had already dis- 
tinguished themselves, and asked nothing better than an 
opportunity to gather fresh laurels. Among them, and not 
altogether unknown to fame, were Calder, Foley, Miller, Sau- 
marez, Collingwood, Troubridge, and one whose name was to 
be greater than all, Horatio Nelson. 

The numerical superiority of the Spaniards proved their 
ruin. Blindly confident in their own strength, they allowed their 
fleet to separate into two divisions, the main one to windward, 
and the smaller one of nine ships to leeward. Jervis saw his 
opportunity, and put in practice the old manoeuvre of breaking 
the enemy's line. At n A.M. he ordered his fleet to steer right 
between the two divisions of the Spaniards, who were thus 

30 "LOOK AT TROUBRIDGE!" [1797. 

practically reduced to 18 sail; and so bewildered were the 
Spaniards by the bold initiative taken by the British, that before 
they knew where they were, the enemy was upon them. 

Troubridge, in the Gulloden, led in his usual dashing and 
seamanlike 'style. "Look," cried Jervis, who stood on the 
quarter-deck of the Victory, and watched him with the intensest 
interest, "look at Troubridge! Does he not manoeuvre as if 
all England was looking at him ? " Then, observing that the 
Culloden had arrived abreast of the van-ships of the Spanish 
main division, Jervis ordered the signal to be made to open fire. 
The Culloden commenced a cannonade with her starboard guns, 
receiving replies from such of the Spanish ships as could open 
their batteries without firing on a friend for the Spanish line 
was clustered two or three deep and the battle soon became 

Don Josef de Cordova was immediately sensible of his error 
in allowing his line to be broken, and at a quarter-past one he 
bore up to pass the rear of the British line to join his ships to 
leeward. But Nelson caught him in the act. His pennant was 
flying on board the Captain, a 74, which was the third ship 
from the rear, and had not yet fired a shot. Disregarding the 
signal still flying on the Victory, for the ships to tack in succes- 
sion, he ordered Captain Miller to wear ship. No sooner said 
than done, and the Captain, passing between the Diadem and 
the Excellent, the two rearmost ships of the British line, threw 
herself in the path of a huge Spaniard, which, from her four 
tiers of ports, was known to be the Santissima Trinidada. Near 
this leviathan were huddled the San Josef and Salvador del 
Mundo, three-deckers of 112 guns, the San Nicolas of 80, and 
the San Ysidro of 74. 

The other captains in that part of the line saw that Nelson 
had put his finger on the decisive movement of the day, and 
hastened to his assistance. First came Troubridge in the 
Culloden, followed by Frederick in the Blenheim, Rear-admiral 
William Parker in the Prince George, Saumarez in the Orion, 
and Collingwood in the Excellent. The Salvador del Mundo and 
the San Ysidro were soon so much battered that they dropped 
astern and struck their colours. Nelson did not wait for the 
catastrophe, but plunged into the thickest of the fight in search 
of another opponent, and engaged the So-gun ship San Nicolas. 
In a short time the Captain was little better than a wreck j her 


foretopmast had gone over the side, her wheel was shot away, 
all her sails, shrouds, and running rigging were cut. Incapable 
of further service in the line or in chase, it was evident that, by 
all the rules of naval warfare, the Captain must drop out of the 
action. But Nelson was unwilling, after doing so much, to 
depart without a trophy of the prowess of his seamen, and deter- 
mined to board his huge opponent. As a preparation he opened 
his batteries within less than twenty yards. The San Nicolas 
replied with spirit for a few minutes, when the Captain suddenly 
put her helm a-starboard and ran foul of the enemy. 

The boarding of the San Nicolas cannot be fitly described 
except in Nelson's own words. "The soldiers of the 6gih regi- 
ment," he says, " with an alacrity which will ever do them 
credit, and Lieutenant Pearson, of the same regiment, were almost 
the foremost on this service. The first man who jumped into 
the enemy's mizzen chains was Captain Berry, late my first 
lieutenant (Capt. Miller was in the very act of going also, but I 
directed him to remain). He was supported from our spritsail- 
yard, which hooked in the mizzen rigging. A soldier of the 
69th regiment having broken the upper quarter gallery window, 
I jumped in myself, and was followed by others as fast as pos- 
sible. I found the cabin doors fastened, and some Spanish 
officers fired their pistols : but, having broken open the doors, 
the soldiers fired ; and the Spanish brigadier (commodore with a 
pennant) fell, as retreating to the quarter-deck. I pushed imme- 
diately onward for the quarter-deck, where I found Captain 
Berry in possession of the poop, and the Spanish ensign hauling 
down. I then passed with my people and Lieutenant Pearson on 
the larboard gangway to the forecastle, where I met two or three 
Spanish officers, prisoners to my seamen ; they delivered me their 

Still, only half the work was accomplished. The stern of the 
San Josef was directly amidships of the weather-beam of the 
San Nicolas; and from the poop and galleries of the three- 
decker the enemy kept up a fire of musketry which threatened 
to force the British to quit their prize. The only other alterna- 
tive was to board the San Josef, and Nelson, confident in the 
bravery of his seamen, determined to adopt it. Directing an 
additional number of men to be sent on board the San Nicolas, 
the fiery one-eyed commodore led the way, with a shout of 
" Westminster Abbey or victory ! " Captain Berry assisted him 


into the main chains. "At this moment," continues Nelson, 
" a Spanish officer looked over the quarter-deck rail and said 
they surrendered. From this most welcome intelligence it was 
not long before I was on the quarter-deck, where the Spanish 
captain, with a bow, presented me his sword, and said the 
admiral was dying of his wounds. I asked him, on his honour, 
if the ship was surrendered. He declared she was ; on which I 
gave him my hand, and desired him to call on his officers and 
ship's company, and tell them of it, which he did : and, on the 
quarter-deck of a Spanish first-rate, extravagant as the story may 
seem, did I receive the swords of the vanquished Spaniards; 
which, as I received, I gave to William Fearney, one of my 
bargemen, who put them, with the greatest sang-froid, under his 
arm. I was surrounded by Captain Berry, Lieutenant Pearson of 
the 69th regiment, John Sykes, John Thompson, Francis Cooke, 
all old Agamemnons ; and several other brave men, seamen and 
soldiers. Thus fell these ships." 

We are all familiar with the picture, which has been exten- 
sively engraved, of Nelson standing on the deck of the San Josef, 
surrounded by a small group of soldiers and seamen, in the act 
of receiving the sword of the Spanish captain. The dejected 
looks of the vanquished Spaniards are not insulted by the 
slightest appearance of triumph in the generous countenance of 
Nelson, but honest William Fearney, who stands by, bedecked 
in the pigtail of the period, and with a bundle of Spanish swords 
tucked under his arm, cannot altogether suppress a grim satis- 

This achievement of Nelson's, one of the most audacious re- 
corded in naval history, in which a handful of men out of a 74 
captured first an 8o-gun ship and then a first-rate of 112 guns, 
practically closed the action. The ships of the lee division of 
the Spanish fleet were approaching, and the victory could not be 
further improved. The last gun was fired about five o'clock. 
Four ships, on whose high and gilded poops the Spanish standard 
had that morning proudly floated, remained in the hands of the 
conquerors the Salvador del Mundo and the San Josef, of 1 1 2 
guns, the San Nicolas, of 80 guns, and the San Ysidro, of 74. 
Their magnificent architecture and their large size had not been 
able to save them from the audacity of the British. To build a 
navy is one thing, but to breed a race of seamen and animate 
them with the traditions of victory is quite another. 


The Spanish loss in men cannot be stated, but it must have 
been severe. The British had 74 killed and 227 wounded. The 
four ships that suffered most were those that may be said to 
have borne the brunt of the action the Captain, the Blenheim, 
the Culloden, and the Excellent, commanded by Nelson, Frederick, 
Troubridge, and Collingwood respective^. Great was the joy 
when news of the memorable action of Valentine's Day reached 
England, and numerous were the honours with which a grateful 
country rewarded the victors. Jervis had a peerage and a pension, 
and Nelson, to whom the victory was more than half due, received 
the Order of the Bath. 

After the battle the Spaniards retreated to Cadiz, which was 
closely blockaded by Jervis, now Earl St. Vincent, whose fleet 
was raised to 21 sail of the line. With the ships previously in 
port, the Spaniards numbered 28 sail of the line, but so cowed 
were they by their defeat that they would not venture out. A 
blockade is always a wearisome business ; and partly for the 
sake of a little diversion, partly to provoke Admiral Massaredo 
to attempt putting to sea, Nelson proposed to bombard Cadiz and 
the Spanish fleet where it lay. 

This little bit of by-play for it was nothing more would 
scarcely be worth mentioning, but for the circumstance that 
during the progress of the bombardment a desperate boat action 
occurred, in which Nelson was personally engaged. Commodore 
Don Miguel Tyrason, the Spanish commandant, laid his boat 
alongside the barge in which Nelson was as usual pushing into 
the thickest of the fire. The boat of the Spanish commodore 
carried 26 men, while Nelson had with him only 10 oarsmen, 
Captain Fremantle, and his coxswain, John Sykes, an old Aga- 
memnon. The issue was that when 18 of the Spaniards had been 
killed and all the rest were wounded, Don Miguel Tyrason sur- 
rendered his sword to the conqueror. The conflict was the most 
desperate in which Nelson was ever engaged. He fought like 
the hero he was, and only escaped death by a miracle. Twice 
his life was saved by the faithful Sykes, who parried the blows 
that were aimed at him, and at last interposed his head to re- 
ceive a Spanish sabre which he had no other means of averting. 
Such was the love and devotion which Nelson was capable of 
inspiring in the breasts of his followers ! 

From Cadiz Nelson led an expedition to Santa Cruz, in the 
island of Teneriffe, where, it was rumoured, a richly-freighted 



Manilla ship had arrived ; but his force was too small to enable 
him to rival the success of the mighty Blake, and after a display 
of the most heroic and useless bravery, the English were obliged 
to retire, with a loss of 141 killed and drowned, 105 wounded, 
and 5 missing a loss which did not fall very far short of that 
which won the battle of Cape St. Vincent. It was at Santa 
Cruz that Nelson lost his right arm. 

Scarcely had the guns of the Tower of London and the Castle 
of Edinburgh ceased firing in honour of Valentine's Day, when 
England was invaded by a foreign foe. On the morning of the 
22d February, two French frigates, a corvette, and a lugger, 
anchored in Fishguard Bay, on the coast of Pembrokeshire. 
During the night they landed the Legion Noire, a band dressed 
in black, the scum of the French galleys, and sailed away again. 
The alarm soon spread, and next morning, on the approach of 
the militia under Lord Cawdor, the lord-lieutenant of the county, 
the invaders immediately laid down their arms, and were marched 
as prisoners to Haverfordwest. Some say they did not even 
wait the near approach of the militia, but were panic-struck at 
the sight of the red cloaks worn by the Welsh peasant girls. At 
any rate they surrendered. What was the object of this silly 
expedition no one, French or English, seems rightly to have 
understood. Of the small squadron that brought the troops, 
one of the frigates and the ship- corvette were captured on their 
return to France. 

Later in the year a second attempt was made to raise the 
blockade on the French ports, this time by the Dutch. Their 
fleet consisted of 21 ships and 4 brigs, under De Winter, an 
admiral of great experience and undoubted courage. For more 
than two years Admiral Duncan had been watching his foe, like 
cat watching mouse ; but on 'the 3d October he put into Yar- 
mouth Koads to refit and revictual, leaving a small squadron 
of observation under Captain Trollope, of the Russell, 74. De 
Winter took advantage of his absence, and on the yth put to sea 
with his whole fleet. On the morning of the Qth, the Black 
Joke, hired armed lugger, was seen at the back of Yarmouth 
Sands, with the signal flying that the Dutch had put to sea. 

Admiral Adam Duncan, the hero of Camperdown, will ever 
occupy a pedestal in the temple of naval fame only lower than 


that of Nelson himself. The second son of Duncan of Lundie, 
in Forfarshire, he was born at Dundee in 1731. He seems to 
have been intended for a commercial life, but the blue waters of 
the German Ocean perpetually surged in his fancy, and when he 
was sixteen, his friends were compelled to acquiesce in his 
entrance into the navy as a midshipman. In 1755, when he 
had been eight years at sea, he was made a lieutenant, and in 
1761 commander of the Valiant, a 74, which took part in the 
famous expedition to Havana. After this, Duncan had little 
opportunity of distinguishing himself, and in 1795, although 
he had risen to the rank of Vice-admiral of the Blue, he is said 
to have meditated retiring from the service altogether, when he 
was appointed to the command of the North Sea fleet, with the 
special duty of watching the movements of the Dutch. A 
Russian fleet was for some time associated with the British in 
this duty, and the Empress Catherine II. was so much pleased 
with the conduct of Admiral Duncan as commander-in-chief, 
that, unsolicited, she conferred on him the Imperial order of 
Alexander Newski. Duncan's blockade of the Texel was one 
of the most effective ever made, and the Dutch trade was almost 

In person, Admiral Duncan jvas, "without exception," says an 
officer who met him at a public dinner, " the finest man I ever 
beheld. Imagine a man of six feet two inches in height I 
think he was six feet four with limbs of proportionate frame 
and strength. His features were nobly beautiful, his forehead 
high and fair, his hair white as snow. His movements were all 
stately, but unaffected, and his manner easy, though dignified." 
In short, he looked the hero he was. 

After more than two years of tedious watching, Admiral 
Duncan at length reaped the fruits of his patience. The 
moment the Black Joke was seen with the signal flying that the 
Dutch had put to sea, Duncan made the signal for a general 
chase. Immediately all was bustle and preparation, and before 
noon the whole fleet had weighed, and was standing towards 
the Texel, with a fair wind. The Dutch coast was sighted at 
daybreak on the nth, and, two hours after, the Dutch were seen 
about nine miles from the shore, between their own villages of 
Egmont and Camperdown. De Winter's flag was flying on board 
the Frybeid, and Duncan's on board the Venerable, both 74's. 

De Winter was desirous above all things to avoid an action, 


as his instructions enjoined him to form a junction with the 
Brest fleet, for the purpose of undertaking a joint invasion of 
Ireland. But the first glimpse he obtained of the British in the 
north-north-east showed him this was impossible, and he stood 
towards the land, to facilitate the junction of his leewardmost 
ships. As soon as a close line was formed in the direction of 
north-east and south-west, the Dutch squared their yards and 
resolutely awaited the approach of the British. While thus 
drawn up, by keeping their maintopsails shivering and some- 
times full, they were fast drawing towards the shore. Their 
ships were specially built for their own shoaly seas, and Admiral 
Duncan, fearing they might get so close inshore that he could not 
follow them, thought there was no time to be lost, and directed 
all his manoeuvres to cut off the enemy's retreat to his own 
shores. At half-past eleven, the centre of the Dutch line then 
bearing south-east, distant about four miles, the British fleet 
bore down, but owing to the disunited state of the ships, in no 
regular order of battle. Some were stretching across to get into 
their proper stations; others seemed in doubt where to place 
themselves ; and others again were pushing at all hazards for 
the thickest of the foe. 

As the British bore down they cleared away for action. All 
the bulkheads and even the cabin chairs were thrown overboard, 
and everything that might be in the way of working the guns, 
or occasion splinters. It was only the part of prudence to take 
every precaution, for De Winter and his people were the de- 
scendants of Van Tromp and those brave Dutchmen who so 
gallantly fought our Blake and his Puritans, and they would 
fight hard. They would not aim at the masts and rigging, as 
the French and Spaniards were in the habit of doing, but would 
try whether the hulls and hearts of their enemies were still made 
of the famous British oak. The coast was crowded by thou- 
sands of spectators, ready to applaud their countrymen if suc- 
cessful ; but, as it turned out, they had the mortification of 
observing the entire destruction of their fleet, without the possi- 
bility of affording any relief. Neptune, says the poet-laureate 
of the navy, was jealous for the honour of our flag, and 

" Bade Duncan's thunder great Britannia's reign 
Proclaim anew, the sovereign of the mayi." 

At seven minutes before noon Admiral Duncan signalled to 


his captains to pass through the Dutch line and engage to lee- 
ward, so as to get between it and the land, which the Dutch were 
fast approaching. Unfortunately, owing to the hazy weather, 
many of the ships were unable to see this signal, which in a 
quarter of an hour was replaced by the most pleasing of all to 
British seamen, that for close action. The fourth behind the 
Venerable was the Belliqueux, commanded by Captain John 
Ingl is, a veteran Scottish seaman of the* old school. Captain 
Inglis was fairly puzzled by so much signalling ; he could not 
make it out, nor would he try any more ; and closing his telescope 
in disgust, he sung out to the sailing-master, " Damn the thing, 
Jock, doon wi' the helm, and gang richt intil the middle o't." 

Onslow, in the Monarch, led the van, bearing down in 
the most gallant manner upon the Dutch rear. At half-past 
noon he cut through the enemy's rear, between the Jupiter 
and the Haarlem, pouring into each of these ships a well-directed 
broadside in passing. Then, leaving the Haarlem to the Power- 
ful, the Monarch luffed up alongside the Jupiter, and engaged 
her at close quarters. Meanwhile, Duncan was fast coming 
down in the Venerable, which led the rear. About twenty 
minutes after Onslow had cut the enemy's rear, Duncan was 
about to do the same thing to their van, by passing between the 
States General and the Vryheid. The States General endeavoured 
to frustrate his intention, by promptly closing up the interval, 
but Duncan ordered the helm of the Venerable to be put a-port, 
and, running under the stern of the officious States General, 
poured in a broadside which compelled Admiral Storey to bear 
up. The Triumph, Duncan's second astern, found employment 
for the Wassenaer, the second astern of the States General, while 
the Venerable ranged up close upon the leeside of the Vryheid. 
At the same time the Ardent engaged the Vryheid to windward ; 
while three of the Dutch ships, the Brutus, Ley den, and Mars, 
not being pressed by opponents, advanced to the succour of 
their Admiral. 

It was one of the hardest fights on record. " More than once," 
says Mr. Yonge, " every flag the Venerable hoisted was shot away, 
and at last one of the men, a native of Sunderland, named James 
Crawford, nailed the Admiral's colours to the stump of the main- 
topgallant mast, where during the remainder of the day it braved 
the battle and the breeze unhurt and triumphant." It must, 
indeed, have been a warm affair. An officer of the Ardent, 

38 DUTCH COUKAGE. [i797- 

writing home, said that " one of the men's wives insisted on 
firing the gun where her husband was stationed, though requested 
to go below, but she could not be prevailed upon to do so, till a 
shot carried away one of her legs, and wounded the other." 

The Dutch reputation for bull-dog courage suffered nothing 
from the conduct of De Winter's people, but the superior gunnery 
of the British began to tell. Soon the Triumph, which had 
compelled the Wassenaer to strike, approached to give the coup 
de grdce to the Vryheid, which had now to sustain the fire of 
the Venerable to leeward, the Ardent to windward, and the 
Triumph and Dictator stationed across her bows. One by one 
her masts fell over the side, and disabled her starboard guns, and 
the Vryheid dropped out of the line an ungovernable wreck. 
It was useless to fight longer against fortune, and the gallant 
De Winter, the only man on the quarterdeck who had not been 
swept away, hauled down the colours with his own hand. 

With the surrender of the Vryheid, at 3 P.M., the action 
ceased. The victors were in possession of eleven prizes ; and the 
remnant of the Dutch fleet, which could not be pursued, the 
land being only five miles distant and the fleet in nine fathoms 
water, was in full flight towards the Texel. 

The battle of Cape St. Vincent was important as a demon- 
stration of the superiority in skill and seamanship of the 
British navy; but Camperdown was a fair stand-up fight and 
no favour, and the hardest hitter, holding out longest, had it. 
The obstinacy of the conflict was attested by the numbers of 
the killed and wounded, which amounted on the part of the 
English to 203 killed and 622 wounded, and on the part of the 
Dutch to 540 killed and 620 wounded. It was also attested 
by the hulls of the seven British ships that bore the brunt of 
the action, which were pierced by shot in all directions ; and 
especially by the hulls of the prizes, which were like sieves, and 
only worth bringing into port as trophies. Three of the prizes, 
indeed, the Delft, and the Monniekendam and Ambuscade frigates, 
foundered in a gale which came on the day after the battle. 

On the 1 7th, Admiral Duncan and the rest of his prizes 
arrived at the Nore. Duncan was created a peer of Great 
Britain, by the titles of Baron Duncan of Lundie and Viscount 
Duncan of Camperdown, with a pension of 3000 a year. 

In the West Indies, during the course of the year, Trinidad fell 
to our arms, but an attack on Porto Rico was not so successful. 

1797-8.] A RESTLESS GENIUS. 39 

The danger which had threatened Britain at the beginning of 
T 797 was ver y real. Under the name of the Army of England, the 
French had 150,000 troops collected on the shores of the 
Channel, and great things were hoped if only " the silver streak 
of sea" could be crossed. But the battles of St. Vincent and 
Camperdown relieved this country from apprehension ; the fleets 
off Brest and Cadiz were strengthened ; and when Buonaparte, 
on his return from his brilliant campaign in Italy, was sent by 
the Directory to take the command of the expedition, a short 
visit to the coast satisfied him that the project was hopeless. 

That restless genius now turned his energies towards an ex- 
pedition to Egypt. It had long ago been pointed out that the 
true commercial route to India lay through the country of the 
Pharaohs ; and Buonaparte conceived that, if Egypt were held 
by French bayonets, and the Mediterranean turned into a French 
lake, the road to India would be open, the British power might 
be attacked in its most vulnerable part, and a career of conquest 
would be offered to himself which would outdo that of Alexander. 

Preparations for the expedition were made on a vast scale, 
but secretly, and on the iQth May, 1798, the armament sailed 
from Toulon. After the junction of the squadrons from Genoa 
and Ajaccio, the fleet consisted of 15 sail of the line, 14 frigates, 
43 smaller vessels, and 400 transports, bearing 36,000 soldiers. 
On the roth June this mighty armament appeared before Malta, 
which, through cowardice and treachery, was yielded without 
firing a shot. A garrison of 3000 men was left to maintain the 
island, and after a delay of nine days the fleet resumed its 
voyage to Egypt. The low sandy plains of that country were 
sighted on the ist July, and the disembarkation of the troops 
was completed on the following day. After a short resistance 
Alexandria was carried by assault, and on the 6th the French 
set out over the desert for Cairo. On the i4th the Mamelukes 
were routed at Chebreiss, and the decisive battle of the Pyramids 
was fought on the 2ist. The French were now virtually masters 
of Egypt. 

Nelson, meanwhile, was running all up and down the Medi- 
terranean looking for the French. On the night of the 22cl 
June the two fleets had crossed each other's track in a thick fog, 
and so close that the French could distinctly hear the British 
signal-guns. What would Nelson not have given to be aware of 


the fact ! He shaped his course for Alexandria, which he felt 
sure was the destination of the expedition, but found the har- 
bour empty, and immediately sailed away again to pursue his 
quest. The fact is, he had outsailed the enemy ; and on the 
same day that the British disappeared, the French arrived ill 
sight of the coast. 

At length, on the 28th July, the British fleet was cruising 
off the Morea, and Troubridge of the Culloden, looking into 
Cojon, returned with the intelligence that the French fleet had 
been seen beyond Candia, steering south-east, about four weeks 
before. Once more Nelson sailed for Alexandria, now sure 
of his prey. " Before this time to-morrow I shall have gained 
a peerage or Westminster Abbey," he exclaimed to his officers, 
after explaining to them his ideas of the different and best 
modes of attack, so as to make sure of the enemy whatever 
their situation. There was no possible position which he did 
not take into consideration, and his officers were lost in admira- 
tion at the fertility of his resources. " If we succeed, what will 
the world say 1 " cried Captain Berry with transport when he 
comprehended the full scope of the design. " There is no ' if ; in 
the case," retorted Nelson. " That we shall succeed is certain 
who may live to tell the story is a very different question." 

On the ist August, at 10 A.M., the towers and minarets of 
Alexandria, the Pharos and Pompey's Pillar, made their welcome 
appearance, and the sight of the tricolour on the walls, showing 
who were masters of the city, was greeted with a cheer from 
the whole British fleet. But every visage fell when the Alex- 
ander and the Swiftsure, the two look-out ships, signalled that 
the enemy's fleet did not form part of the vessels at anchor 
in the harbour. Stole away ! The disappointment, however, 
was of short duration, for, a little before one o'clock, the Zealous 
signalled the French fleet at anchor in Aboukir Bay. 

The bay in which the French were anchored is about twenty 
miles east-north-east of Alexandria. There is no depth for 
line-of-battle ships within three miles of the shore, which is 
fringed to that distance by a long sandbank. Two miles from 
the Castle of Aboukir, at one end of the bay, is a small island, 
also surrounded by shoals. Anchored in a convex line towards 
the sea, supported on one extremity by land batteries, and on 
the other by shoals, Admiral Brueys considered himself secure, 
especially as he had the advantage in force. Besides thirteen 


ships of the line he had four frigates and some gunboats ; 
whereas Nelson, in addition to the same number of ships of the 
line, had but one 5o-gun ship. Besides, Brueys had one 120- 
and two 8o-gun ships, while his opponent had nothing higher 
than 74*8. The French guns were 1196, and their men 11,230; 
the British guns were 1012, and their men but 8068. 

But Brueys had no intention of tempting the fortune of 
battle, and determined to set sail during the night and give 
the British the slip. This would have been very well if 
Nelson had waited till next morning, but nothing was further 
from his thoughts. At 3 P.M. he made the signal to anchor; 
at 4 to anchor by the stern; and at 5.30 to form ahead and 
astern of the Admiral, and attack the enemy's van and centre. 
His plan was to pass between the outermost French ship and the 
shoal, each ship opening fire as she ranged inshore. In this way, 
he calculated, an overwhelming force would be brought to bear 
on the enemy's van and centre, while their rear was moored at 
too great a distance to join with effect in the action. 

Captain Hood led in the Zealous, and was followed by the 
Goliath, Orion, Audacious, Theseus, Vanguard (Nelson's flag- 
ship), Minotaur, Defence, Bellerophon, Majestic, Leander ; the 
Culloden some distance to the northward, and the Alexander and 
the Swiftsure at a still greater distance to the westward, but 
coming up under a press of sail. At six the British hoisted 
their colours, displaying the Union Jack in various parts of the 
rigging. Twenty minutes later the French hoisted the tricolour, 
and opened fire. The broad red disc of the sun began to dip 
as the first gun was fired, and the most brilliant naval action on 
record was fought in darkness. Captain Hood had no chart to 
guide him, but by keeping the lead continually going he safely 
rounded the shoal off Aboukir Island, and with a favourable 
breeze from the north-west led the fleet straight on the enemy. 
The French fire came thick and fast, and many of the British 
fell, but the survivors maintained a stern silence which boded 
the enemy no good. The splinters flew in showers, and the 
smoke curled high amidst the masts and rigging, but the fleet 
was manoeuvred as if it had been at Spithead. Every man was 
at his post ; some at the guns ; some out on the yards aloft 
handling the sails ; and some ahead ready to let go the anchors. 

Gradually, as the British advanced, their guns opened fire. It 
was now quite dark, but the flashes from the French port-holes 

42 NELSON'S TACTICS. [1798. 

served as excellent guides to the gunners. At length all the 
ships got into position, the Majestic on the outside of the 
Heureux, the ninth ship of the French line. Behind the Majestic 
were the Bellerophon, Swiftsure, Defence, Minotaur, and Van- 
guard. The Alexander, Orion, Theseus, Goliath, Audacious, and 
Zealous went inside the French line and took the same nine ships 
on the other side. Greatly to the grief of the gallant Troubridge, 
the Cidloden grounded on the reef off the Island of Aboukir, 
where, in spite of every effort, she stuck fast until two in the 
following morning, when the action was over. In this position, 
however, she was able to signal off the Alexander and the /Swift- 
sure, which would otherwise have gone upon the reef. Thus all 
the British ships were engaged except the Cidloden, while the 
five ships in the rear of the French line were unable to take any 
part in the action. Nelson's tactics at sea were the same as 
Napoleon's on land to overwhelm the enemy in detail. 

The action had not become general for more than a quarter of 
an hour when two of the French ships were dismasted, and the 
rest so dreadfully mauled that our men looked forward to victory 
as certain. By half-past eight, three of the enemy had struck 
their colours. It was about this time that Nelson, who was on 
the quarter-deck of the Vanguard, scanning a rough sketch of 
the scene of action, was struck on the forehead by a piece of 
langridge-shot. The torn flesh fell over his eye, and as the other 
was blind he was in total darkness. He fell back into the arms 
of Captain Berry, believing himself mortally wounded. Yet, 
when he was carried down to the cockpit, he would not permit 
the surgeon to quit the poor fellow who happened to be at that 
moment under his hands. " No," he said, " I will take my turn 
with my brave fellows." When, at length, the surgeon came to 
examine him, the most anxious silence prevailed ; and the joy of 
the wounded men and of the whole crew, when they learned that 
the hurt was merely superficial, gave Nelson deeper joy than the 
unexpected assurance that his life was in no danger. 

Suddenly, at nine o'clock, a cry arose that the French Admiral's 
flagship, the huge I2o-gun Orient, was on fire. The flames 
spread along the decks and ascended the rigging with terrific 
and uncontrollable rapidity, It was a spectacle of inconceivable 
grandeur. Every object became more distinctly visible than in 
broad daylight. Notwithstanding his wound Nelson was imme- 
diately on deck, and with his usual humanity ordered the boats 


out to the relief of the unfortunate sufferers ; but the fierce glow 
of the flames would not allow them to approach, and Rear- 
admiral Gantheaume and about 70 men and officers were all that 
could be saved. Among the many hundreds who perished were 
Commodore Casa Bianca and his son, a boy of ten. Admiral 
Brueys had already met a more enviable death. At eight o'clock, 
as he was descending from the poop to the quarter-deck, wounded 
in two places, a round shot cut him in pieces. At ten the 
flames caught the magazine, and the Orient blew up with a 
dreadful explosion. The sea heaved as if troubled by an earth- 
quake ; the waves rose high upon the shore, and the batteries 
and castles around quivered to their foundations. The vibration 
shook the ships so as to open their seams and threaten the safety 
of their masts. For full ten minutes not a gun was fired, 
Englishmen and Frenchmen uniting to pay the homage of dead 
silence to the awful catastrophe ; and not a sound was heard but 
the wild cries of the wounded and the drowning, and the splash 
of the burning brands as they fell into the waves. 

Next morning the fiery sun of Egypt rose upon a scene of 
victory such as has never been witnessed in the history of the 
world. Of the 13 French ships of the line, one had perished in 
the flames, eight had surrendered, and two were helpless on 
the shore. As many as 5225 of the French perished in various 
ways, and 3500 were sent ashore under a flag of truce. Victory, 
as Nelson said, is not a name strong enough for such a result ; 
he called it a conquest. Indeed, the battle of the Nile electrified 
the whole world ; and the congratulations, rewards, and honours 
showered upon the naval hero to whom it was due exceeded all 
previous example. The British Government, however, certainly 
did not err by excess of generosity ; for the most brilliant naval 
victory on record, the Admiral was only created Baron Nelson 
of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe, with a pension of 2000. 

There is an amusing anecdote told of Nelson, who received 
Rear-admiral Blanquet and the seven surviving captains of the 
captured French ships on board the Vanguard, and treated them 
with all the unbounded generosity of his nature. These brave 
men had all been wounded, and a few days after the action, 
Nelson, still half blind from the injury to his remaining eye, 
offered one of them a case of toothpicks. Now, this captain had 
lost most of his teeth by a musket ball. Mortified at his heed- 
less mistake, which he was afraid might be construed into a 


covert insult, he hastened to set matters right by offering another 
his snuff-box. What was his confusion when he observed that 
this gentleman had had the misfortune to lose his nose ! 

Nearer home a portion of our troops were engaged in re- 
pressing the Irish rebellion, which was practically over with the 
defeat of the rebels at Vinegar Hill (June 2 1, 1 798). The French 
made an attempt to revive the contest by landing (August 22) a 
force of several hundred men under General Humbert at Killala 
in Mayo. A body of 4000 militia was utterly routed by the dis- 
cipline of the invaders at Castlebar ; but General Humbert was 
compelled to surrender to a corps of regular soldiers under Lord 
Cornwallis (Sept. 8). On the i6th of the same month, probably 
before news of Humbert's surrender could have reached France, 
Commodore Bompart was despatched from Brest with a small 
squadron consisting of a 74, three 46's, five 36*8, and a schooner, 
having on board 3000 soldiers destined for a descent on the 
Irish coast. But the expedition was closely watched by the 
British cruisers, and on the nth October it fell in with a British 
squadron, then cruising off the Donegal coast, under the com- 
mand of Commodore Sir John Borlase Warren. The issue was 
the usual one when the contest occurred on the watery element, 
and of the entire squadron of Commodore Bompart only two 
ships, a 46 and a 36, got safely back to port. 

The other occurrences of the year were not of great import- 
ance, with the exception of the reduction of Minorca, which was 
effected by General Charles Stuart and Commodore Duckworth. 

A change in the public mind of Holland, which was said to 
have veered round to the dethroned Stadtholder, induced the 
British Cabinet to plan an expedition to Holland. The Czar 
Paul was to supply 17,593 men, 6 ships of the line, 5 
frigates, and 2 transports, on condition of receiving a handsome 
subsidy from Britain. On the 27th August, 1799, General Sir 
Ralph Abercrombie landed at Helder Point with 17,000 British 
troops. General Daendals, a Dutch officer of great experience, 
arid a keen Republican, did not care to oppose him, so skilfully 
had Admiral Mitchell moored the bomb- vessels and gun-brigs 
to scour the whole beach. But no sooner did Abercrombie 
begin to move forward beyond the support of the ships than he 
found himself in action with his intrepid opponent. The battle 


lasted from five in the morning till three in the afternoon, when 
Duendals retired. 

This success enabled the British to make preparations for an 
attack on Helder Point. But the garrison, consisting of 2000 
men, did not wait the attack, and during the night retired across 
the marshes to Medemblick. On the morning of the 28th, the 
92d Highlanders and the 2d battalion of the Royal Scots, under 
Major-General Moore, the future hero of Corunna, took quiet 
possession of the fortress, with all its numerous train of artillery. 
At the same time Captain Winthrop of the Circe took possession 
of a squadron of Dutch ships of war at anchor in the Nieuve 
Diep, consisting of a 64, a 50, six 44/3, two 28's, and two 24*8, 
besides three Indiamen and a sheer-hulk, together with the naval 
magazine at Nieuve Werk, containing avast quantity of valuable 
ordnance stores and 97 pieces of cannon. The Texel was now 
open to Vice-admiral Mitchell, and on the 3oth he got under 
way with his squadron, and sent a summons to the Dutch 
Admiral Storey, then at moorings in the Texel. That officer 
would have fought for the honour of his flag, but his seamen had 
turned politicians and positively refused to support him. He 
had, therefore, no option but to surrender, and a further naval 
force, consisting of a 74, five 6-4's, two 5o's, three frigates, and 
a gun-brig, fell into the hands of the British, who took possession 
in the name of the Prince of Orange. 

While the Dutch fleet was changing hands, General Aber- 
crombie advanced and took post behind the Zype, where, on the 
morning of the loth September, our people were attacked by a 
Gallo-Batavian force of 25,000 men, under General Brune, who 
was driven back at all points with a loss of from 1000 to 1500 
men. On the I3th, the Duke of York landed at the Helder to 
assume the chief command ; and at the same time the Russian 
troops were disembarked under General Hermann. The force 
of the invaders now amounted to 35.000, and it was resolved to 
make an attempt on the lines of General Brune in front of Alk- 
maar. Twenty thousand men were told off for the service, and 
divided into four divisions, under the Russian General Hermann, 
Lieutenant-general Dundas, Sir James Pulteney, and Sir Ralph 
Abercrombie. The three British divisions were all successful in 
capturing the posts assigned to them, but General Hermann 
failed to make good his footing at Bergen, and the whole army 
was compelled to resume its former position (September 19). 


On the 2d October, the Duke of York made a general attack 
on the Gallo-Batavian line, and General Brune was compelled 
to retire, leaving the allies masters of the field. On the 6th 
another bloody battle occurred, not by premeditation, but from 
the attempt of a Russian column to obtain possession of a height. 
Neither side gained a decisive advantage. 

The winter was now setting in with such severity that it was 
evident nothing further could be done that season. Nor could 
the allies re-embark in safety, for General Brune, having been 
considerably reinforced, pushed forward his posts so as nearly to 
surround the allied camp. On the other hand, the Duke of 
York had it in his power to cut the dykes and devastate the 
whole country by laying it under the ocean. Under these 
circumstances negotiations were entered into for a suspension of 
arms, and the unmolested evacuation of Holland by the combined 
British and Russian forces. Thus terminated the expedition to 
the Helder. Vice-admiral Mitchell and Sir Ralph Abercrombie 
received the thanks of Parliament, but the wits said that the 
chivalry of Britain had been foiled by " a tradesman of Paris 
and an attorney of Zwolle " for Brune had been a printer, and 
Daendals was bred to the law. 

The French sustained great reverses in Italy, chiefly by the 
vigour of Nelson's lieutenants. Troubridge laid siege to St. 
Elmo, and his batteries, "after much trouble and palaver, 
brought the vagabonds to their senses." The French garrison 
of Capua, 3000 strong, capitulated to 1000 British blue-jackets; 
and Gaeta surrendered to Captain Louis of the Minotaur, with- 
out firing a shot. Thus the whole kingdom of Naples was for 
the time delivered from the French. The Russian General 
Suwarrow was driving the French before him in the north, and 
nothing now remained to complete the deliverance of Italy but 
the recovery of Rome. Civita Vecchia yielded to the broadsides 
of the Culloden. Troubridge then sent Captain Louis up the 
Tiber in his barge, and the Union Jack waved over the Eternal 
City (September 30). 

The battle of the Nile was a great disaster to the French in 
Egypt, who were thus cut off from all communication with 
France. But Napoleon would not allow it to interfere with his 
golden dreams of conquest. A Turkish army was mustering for 

1799- ] A CRITICAL TIME. 47 

the attack of Egypt, and he resolved to anticipate it by the 
invasion of Syria. He expected, by a brilliant victory, to 
assemble round his nucleus of French veterans an Asiatic army 
that would enable him to take Constantinople by the way, and 
march through Persia to the overthrow of the British in India. 

On the nth February he set out with 13,000 infantry and 
900 horse all that could be spared from the army of Egypt. 
Arish surrendered, but Jaffa held out, and was taken by storm 
on the 6th March. Four thousand of the Turkish garrison laid 
down their arms on the promise of quarter, but were afterwards 
shot in cold blood. It was probably the difficulty of finding food 
for so many captives that prompted this act of atrocious cruelty. 

On the 1 6th March the French appeared before Acre, where 
Achmed-Djezzar, Pasha of Syria, had shut himself up with his 
troops and his treasures. The Turks, excited to a frenzy of 
unyielding bravery by the massacre at Jaffa, and directed by the 
skill of Sir Sidney Smith, who had opportunely arrived on the 
coast with a small squadron, prepared for the defence. Shot 
and shell were poured on Acre, but without success. At length, 
on the 5ist day of the siege (May 7), the long-expected rein- 
forcements of Turkish troops from Rhodes appeared in the 
offing. This was the signal to Napoleon for a vigorous assault, 
in the hope to get possession of the town before the Turks could 
disembark. Suddenly the French fire increased tenfold. All 
that day it rained shot on Acre. The Turks replied as well as 
they could, but the greatest damage to the besiegers was caused 
by some heavy ship-guns mounted in suitable places and manned 
by the tars of the Tiger. Still the besiegers gained ground, and 
made a lodgment in the second story of the north-east tower, 
where they covered themselves with two traverses across the ditch. 

Daylight (May 8) showed the French standard planted on 
the outer angle of the work. It was a critical time, for the 
Turkish troops had not yet landed, and the place must be pre- 
served for a few hours at all hazards. Sir Sidney Smith, there- 
fore, landed with the ships' boats at the mole, and led on his 
seamen, armed with pikes, to the breach, which he found de- 
fended by a few brave Turks, whose most destructive missiles 
were stones, which struck the foremost Frenchmen down the 
slope, and impeded the progress of the rest. Djezzar Pasha, ac- 
cording to ancient Turkish custom, was sitting in his palace, 
rewarding such as brought him the heads of his enemies, and 


distributing musket cartridges with his own hands. Hearing 
that Sir Sidney and his brave shipmates were on the breach, 
the old man hastily quitted his station, and coming behind the 
British, pulled them down with violence. " If any harm happens 
to my English friends all is lost ! " This amicable contest as to 
who should defend the breach occasioned a rush of the Turks to 
the spot ; and thus time was gained for the arrival of the first 
body of Hassan Bey's troops. 

Napoleon was now seen on an elevated piece of ground called 
Coeur-de-Lion's Mount (after Richard I.), addressing his generals, 
and making preparations for a renewed assault. To meet this 
Sir Sidney made a fresh disposition of his ships and gunboats. 
The attack took place in the evening, but the sabre, with the 
addition of a dagger in the other hand, proved more than a 
match for the bayonet, and the French were again driven back 
with heavy loss. Furious at all his efforts being foiled by an 
English post-captain, Napoleon sent for General Kleber's divi- 
sion, which was guarding the fords of Jordan; but although 
thus reinforced he failed again, as he had so often done before. 
On the night following the last repulse (2oth May) he raised 
the siege in disgust, and made a precipitate retreat, leaving all 
his battering train behind him. 

In after years Napoleon frequently referred to the siege of 
Acre and Sir Sidney Smith as the event and the man that made 
him "miss his destiny." His retreat to Egypt was marked by 
an accumulation of horrors : the British and Arabs hovered con- 
tinually on his march, the plague broke out in the remains of his 
army, and a number of sick, whom it was found impossible to re- 
move from Jaffa, are believed to have been poisoned by his orders. 
Still he did reach Egypt, and defeated with great slaughter a 
strong Turkish force which disembarked at Aboukir. But the 
intelligence which reached him of the reverses of the French 
in Italy and Switzerland determined him to return to Europe. 
Notwithstanding the very partial success of his expedition, he 
was received with the greatest enthusiasm by all classes, and 
seeing things were ripe for a change, he cleared out the effete 
and unpopular Directory at the point of the bayonet, and lifted 
himself to the post of First Consul. This event marks the end 
of the second period in our great struggle with France. 



Battle of the Baltic Aboukir Mandora Alexandria Attempt on the 
Gunboats at Boulogne. 

mounting the consular throne, Napoleon bent all his 
energies to the reconquest of Italy. In May, 1800, he 
crossed the Great St, Bernard, and fought the battle 
of Marengo (June 14), and the Austrians were driven 
from Lombardy. Moreau had meanwhile crossed the Rhine, 
and led a numerous army into the heart of Germany. The 
decisive battle of Hohenlinden (December 3) completely humbled 
the Hapsburgs, who gladly welcomed a cessation from arms 
in the peace of Luneville (February 9, 1801). 

As far as we were concerned, the only events of the year (1800) 
were the surrender of Malta (September 4) and of the Dutch 
island of CuraQao. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, a formidable con- 
federacy was formed against us by the States that surround the 
Baltic. The proposition that neutral ships might, as a matter 
of right, be searched for contraband of war by the cruisers of 
the belligerents, was to be set aside for a new maritime code, 
based on the principle that free ships make free goods, and 
that the flag covers the merchandise. Frequent collisions took 
place between British cruisers and neutral vessels, and the cap- 
ture of the Danish frigate Freya, for refusing to allow her 
convoy to be searched,. brought matters to a crisis. A powerful 
squadron, under Admiral Dickson, anchored off Copenhagen, 
and the Danes, who were unprepared for resistance, agreed to 


acknowledge the right of search till further consideration. But 
the Czar, already won over by the arts of Napoleon, took the 
passage of the Sound in high dudgeon, and ordered an embargo 
to be laid upon all British ships in Kussian ports, barbarously 
marching their crews into the interior. Sweden, Prussia, and 
finally Denmark, entered into his views, and the Maritime 
Confederacy was formed on the basis of the Armed Neutrality 
of 1780. 

Prompt measures were necessary, for the naval forces of the 
league were extremely formidable. The Baltic nations could 
muster among them 88 ships of the line, besides frigates and 
small craft. If their forces were suffered to unite, they might 
raise the blockade of the French ports, and ride triumphant in 
the Channel. What would hinder Napoleon then, from putting 
his scheme of invasion into effect ? 

On the i2th March, 1801, our fleet sailed for the Baltic. It 
consisted of 18 sail of the line, with as many frigates, sloops, 
bombs, fire-ships, and smaller vessels as made the whole amount 
to 53 sail. The chief command was entrusted to Sir Hyde 
Parker, who, although a brave officer and experienced seaman, 
candidly confessed to feeling " a little nervous about dark nights 
and fields of ice." Fortunately he had Nelson for his second 
in command, and the fiery little hero told him to " brace up. 
These," he said, " are not times for nervous systems." 

At the Sound, negotiations were tried, but failed, and Sir 
Hyde proceeded to force the passage. At 6 A.M. (March 30), 
with a fine breeze at N.N.W., the fleet advanced into the 
channel, which is here only three miles wide. The batteries of 
Elsinore opened with round shot and grape, but as the Swedes 
did not fire, the ships were able to keep pretty well out of range 
of the Danish missiles, and the casualties were few. At noon 
the fleet anchored off Copenhagen. 

The delay of the British at the Sound had given the Danes 
time to prepare defences of the most formidable description. 
Eighteen ships frigates, praams, and radeaus stretched in a 
line of a mile and a half. At the northern extremity of the 
line were the two powerful Crown batteries, constructed on 
piles, fitted with furnaces for heating shot, and commanded by 
the two-decked block ships, the Mars and Elephant. The 
southern extremity of the line was prolonged by gun and 
mortar batteries on Amak Island. The harbour and docks 


were protected by a chain thrown across the entrance, and by 
two 74's, a 4o-guu frigate, two i8-gun brigs, and several armed 
xebecs, besides that they were under the fire of the Crown 
batteries and some others on the northern shore. There was 
no want of men to work the guns, for every one, from the 
Prince-royal to the artisan, had obeyed the call of his country. 
To increase the difficulties of the attack, too, the Danes had taken 
up the buoys that marked the navigation in the narrow and intri- 
cate channels by which the harbour is approached. At a council 
of war held that afternoon, some of the British captains looked 
grave, and. spoke of the number of Swedes and Russians they 
should afterwards have to engage. " The more numerous the 
better," said Nelson ; " I wish they were twice as many the 
easier the victory, depend on it ! " He undertook to make the 
attack with 10 ships and all the smaller vessels. Sir Hyde 
Parker immediately closed with the offer. 

A shoal, called the Middle Ground, extends along the whole 
sea-face of Copenhagen. Between the shoal and the town is 
the King's Channel, where the Danes had arranged their line 
of defence, as near to the town as possible. Nelson determined 
to round the south end of the Middle Ground, and follow this 
channel. His first care was to buoy it afresh. This occupied 
the nights of the 3oth and 3ist. The morning of the ist April 
was spent in reconnoitring the defences and the channel ; and 
in the afternoon the attacking squadron coasted along the outer 
edge of the Middle Ground, and doubled its southern extremity, 
anchoring about eight o'clock. The headmost ship of the British 
line was then within two miles of the southernmost Danish ship. 
Early in the evening Nelson dismissed his captains with the 
parting toast " A fair wind and success to-morrow." 

At half-past nine next morning (April 2), Nelson, whose flag 
was on board the Elephant, made the signal to weigh in succes- 
sion. The wind was fair, at south-east, but owing to the ignor- 
ance of the pilots, who fancied the water shoaled towards the 
town, whereas, in fact, it deepened all the way to the enemy's 
line, the Agamemnon, Bellona, and Russell grounded in weather- 
ing the south-east point of the Middle Ground. Even Nelson 
looked anxious when he saw himself thus deprived of a fourth 
part of his force. Besides, only one gun-brig succeeded in 
weathering the point and coming into action, and but two bomb- 
vessels could reach their station and open their mortars on the 

52 NELSON IN ACTION. [1801. 

arsenal. But the die was cast. The first shot was fired about 
ten, and by half-past eleven the action was general. For two 
hours after that time the fire of the Danes never slackened. 
They knew their king and country were looking on, and that 
they fought for everything dear to them. On their side alone 
1000 guns belched forth fire and smoke. The crash of the shot 
was tremendous. 

" Again ! again ! again ! 
And the havoc did not slack." 

The music of the artillery acted like a charm on Nelson, who 
soon recovered the high spirits that were natural to him in the 
hour of action. At one o'clock, when the action was at its 
hottest, " a shot," says Nelson's biographer Southey and his 
words will always be used in describing this portion of the battle 
" a shot through the mainmast knocked the splinters about, 
and he observed to one of his officers with a smile, ' It is warm 
work, and this day may be the last to any of us at a moment,' 
and then, stopping short at the gangway, added with emotion, 
* But, mark you ! I would not be elsewhere for thousands.' About 
this time the signal lieutenant called that No. 39 (the signal for 
discontinuing the action) was thrown out by the Commander-in- 
chief. He continued to walk the deck, and appeared to take no 
notice of it. The signal officer met him at the next turn, and 
asked if he should return it. ' No,' he replied, 'acknowledge it/ 
Presently he called after him to know if the signal for close action 
was hoisted, and, being answered in the affirmative, said, ' Mind 
you keep it so.' He now paced the deck, moving the stump of 
his left arm in a manner which always indicated great emotion. 
' Do you know,' said he to Mr. Ferguson, ' what is shown on 
board the Commander-in-chief 1 No. 39 ! ' Mr. Ferguson asked 
what that meant. ' Why, to leave off action.' Then shrugging 
up his shoulders he repeated the words, ' Leave off action ! Now, 
dam'me, if I do ! You know, Foley,' turning to the captain, * I 
have only one eye, and have a right to be blind sometimes,' and 
then putting the glass to his right eye, in that mood of mind 
which sports with bitterness, he exclaimed, ' I really do not see 
the signal ! ' Presently he exclaimed, ' Damn the signal ! Keep 
mine for closer battle flying ! That's the way I answer such 
signals. Nail mine to the mast ! '" It is only fair to Sir Hyde 
Parker to add, that he made the signal in order that Nelson might 


have an excuse to withdraw, if he felt his force insufficient to 
maintain the attack. 

The signal to " discontinue the action " had no effect on the 
British line, which looked only to Nelson ; but it saved from 
total destruction the frigate squadron of Riou, which had 
gallantly filled up the station opposite the Crown batteries, and 
was nearest the Commander-in-chief. " What will Nelson think 
of us ! " exclaimed Riou, as he reluctantly drew off. He did not 
live to know. A splinter had wounded him in the head, and he 
was sitting on a gun encouraging his men. Just as the Amazon 
showed her stern to the Crown batteries his secretary was killed 
by his side. The Amazon having ceased firing, the smoke cleared 
away, and the Danes were able to take fatal aim. Another shot 
swept away several marines who were hauling in the main brace. 
" Come, then, my boys !" cried Riou, " let us all die together." 
Scarcely were the words out of his mouth when a raking shot 
struck him in the loins and almost cut him in two. A braver or 
a better officer there was not in the British navy. 

Even the retreat of the frigate squadron could draw from the 
Danes no more than a feeble cheer. They were now without 
hope, and without aim, except to die for their country. Their 
fire began to slacken about half-past one. Their dead lay in 
ghastly heaps on board the praams and radeaus. The survivors, 
many of them unacquainted with the rules of warfare, made 
matters worse by continuing the action after their ships had 
struck. The Crown batteries and the Isle of Amak fired on 
friend and foe. Nelson was grieved and angry, and his first 
impulse was to send in fireships to burn the prizes, but on second 
thoughts he wrote that letter to the Crown-prince of Denmark 
which has become so famous : " Vice-admiral Lord Nelson has 
been commanded to spare Denmark when she no longer resists. 
The line of defence which covered her shores has struck to the 
British flag ; but if the firing is continued on the part of Den- 
mark, he must set on fire all the prizes lie has taken, without 
having the power of saving the brave men who have so nobly 
defended them. The brave Danes are the brothers, and should 
never be the enemies, of the English." This remonstrance had 
the desired effect ; the firing ceased, and the attacking squadron 
weighed and joined the reserve force of Sir Hyde Parker in the 
middle of the straits. The prizes were brought off next day, but 
were found to be so shattered that it was necessary to destroy 


them. The Holstein alone was carried to England as a trophy. 
Thus ended the battle of the Baltic, which Nelson considered the 
most difficult achievement, the hardest fought battle, and the 
most glorious result that ever graced the annals of our country. 
" I have been in one hundred and five engagements," he said to 
the Crown-prince of Denmark, " but this has been the most tre- 
mendous of them all." The patriotic valour of the Danes could 
never have been overcome except by the skill of a Nelson, and 
that confidence on the part of his seamen which the habit of 
victory inspires. In their heroic defence the Danes lost 6000 in 
killed, wounded, and prisoners. The British killed and mortally 
wounded amounted to 350, and the recoverably and slightly 
wounded to 850 a greater proportion to their numbers than at 
the Nile or Trafalgar. 

The immediate result of the battle was an armistice with 
Denmark. The indefatigable Nelson instantly proceeded to 
follow up the blow at Carlscrona and Cronstadt ; but the assas- 
sination of the mad Czar Paul rendered further righting unneces- 
sary. His successor, Alexander, lost no time in letting this 
country know how much he was her friend. He released the 
British sailors who had been sent into the interior, and in an 
autograph letter to His Britannic Majesty, expressed his desire 
to enter into friendly relations. In due time a convention was 
signed between England and Russia, by which the English con- 
struction of the naval law of nations was acknowledged in all its 
main points, and Russia agreed to abandon the principles of the 
Maritime Confederacy. The other Baltic countries followed the 
lead of Russia. " Thus," says Alison, "in less than six months 
from its formation, was dissolved the most formidable league ever 
arrayed against the British maritime power." 

Almost at the same time that our seamen were winning fresh 
laurels in the Baltic, our soldiers were adding to the list of their 
victories on the sandy plains of Egypt. After Napoleon's 
departure, Kleber held the country against all the efforts of the 
Turks, and defeated them with great slaughter, but his career 
was cut short by the knife of a fanatical assassin. He was 
succeeded in the command by Menou, who assumed the Mahom- 
medan dress and religion. The British Government could not 
regard the settlement of the French in Egypt in any other light 
than a perpetual menace to their Indian Empire, and in concert 


with the Turks they formed a plan for the expulsion of the 
invaders. A direct descent was to be made on the coast by Sir 
Ralph Abercrombie, an officer who had served with distinction 
in many parts of the world. The Turks were to re-organise 
their army in Syria, and co-operate by an invasion on that side ; 
while 8000 troops under Sir David Baird, the hero of Seringa- 
patam, were to embark at Bombay for Suez. But the Turks, 
dispirited by their defeats and decimated by the plague, moved 
with more than their usual slowness ; it was a " far cry " from 
Bombay to Suez, and the arrival of the Indian auxiliaries was 
uncertain ; so Sir Ralph Abercrombie sailed from Marmorice in 
the Levant, and, with a fleet of 200 transports and other vessels 
and 17,500 troops, gallantly resolved to make the attempt alone. 

On Sunday morning, the ist March, the coast of Egypt was 
sighted, and the fleet came to anchor in Aboukir Bay, the scene 
of Nelson's great victory. But scarcely had the ships come to 
anchor when a violent gale sprang up, and blew without inter- 
mission for six days. No boat could put ashore, and the 
French had the amplest opportunity of making effectual pre- 
parations to resist the landing of our troops, when that should 
take place. On the low sand-hills which stretch in a semi- 
circular form along the bay, they placed great bodies of cavalry 
and infantry, and planted twelve heavy pieces of cannon, so as 
to throw, with the cannon of the castle, a cross fire on every 
channel of approach. They also brought forward several mor- 
tars, and placed them so as to be half-concealed by the inequali- 
ties of the ground, in order to pour confusion into our ranks, 
should they have the temerity to advance up the sand-hills. 

The landing was appointed for the morning of the 8th. By 
two A.M. every man told off for this duty was in the boats. The 
ascent of a sky-rocket from the admiral's ship was the signal for 
the boats to shove off, and the seamen bent to their oars, and 
rowed with a will, to the rendezvous in rear of the Mondavi, 
which was anchored just out of reach of shot from the shore. 
When the boats arrived at the rendezvous, they were formed so 
that every brigade, regiment, and company should step on shore 
in its proper place. On the right were the 23d and the flank 
companies of the 4oth; in the centre the 28th, 42d, and 58th ; 
on the left the 54th, Guards, Royals, and Corsican Rangers in 
all, 5230 men. It was eight o'clock before these arrangements 
were completed, and then the boats shoved off for the shore. 


" It would be difficult," says Sir Robert Wilson, the historian 
of the expedition, " to conceive a situation of deeper or darker 
interest than that in which the British army was now placed. 
The men sat erect and motionless ; not a sound was heard, 
except the splash of the oars in the water, while the long line 
of boats moved rapidly, but in admirable and exact array, to- 
wards the shore. Not long, however, was that stern silence 
permitted to continue unbroken. As if doubting the evidence 
of their own senses, the enemy gazed for awhile, without offering 
to the frail armada the slightest molestation ; but their astonish- 
ment soon gave place to other and more stirring sensations, and 
they stood to their arms. In a moment the whole of their 
artillery opened, and the sea hissed and boiled behind and 
before the boats, with round shot and shells, that fell in showers 
around them." To the cannonade a hailstorm of musketry was 
soon added, but the seamen strained every nerve, yet rowed 
with perfect regularity, till the boats reached the shore. 

The four regiments on the right, the 23d, 28th, 4oth, and 42d, 
got under the elevated position of the French batteries, and being 
thus sheltered from their fire, quietly disembarked and formed 
inline on the shore. "Forward!" cried General Moore; and 
with cheers that rang from flank to flank our men commenced 
the steep ascent, which was so deeply covered with loose sand 
that they sank back half a pace every step they advanced. 
When they were half-way up, the French appeared on the 
summit and poured in a destructive fire. Our men fired not a 
shot in reply, but, redoubling their exertions, they rushed up 
the height with almost preternatural energy, and gained the 
summit before the French could reload their pieces. Though 
exhausted with fatigue and almost breathless, they charged the 
enemy at the point of the bayonet, and pursued them till they 
carried the two hills which commanded the plain on the left, 
taking three pieces of cannon. Scarcely had the 420! put to the 
rout that portion of the enemy's infantry immediately opposed 
to them, when they were attacked by cavalry. The bayonet was 
again brought into play, and the horsemen galloped off, with 
many empty saddles, including that of their commander. The 
Guards, who, in common with the other troops on the left, 
landed on ground nearly level with the water, were attacked by 
cavalry the moment they jumped ashore ; but a flank fire from 
the 58th enabled them to form and advance against the enemy. 


The engagement of Aboukir was short and decisive, and iii a 
very little time after the first British soldier put his foot on the 
shore, the French were in full retreat along the road to Alex- 
andria : greatly to their own astonishment, no doubt, if we may 
judge from the conduct of some of their countrymen, field officers, 
who were prisoners on board the Minotaur. When these officers 
learned that the British actually intended to land in the face of 
the Frencli army, they expressed much regret that so many brave 
men should be sacrificed on a desperate attempt which, in their 
opinion, could not be successful ; and when the boats pushed out 
for the shore, they went up into the rigging to witness, as they 
said, the last of their English friends. But when they saw the 
British land, ascend the heights, and force the French to fly, 
they burst into tears, ran down below, and did not again appear 
on deck all that day. 

The next three days were spent in landing the stores. On 
the evening of the i2th the British advanced, and encamped 
that night near the tower of Mandora. A few miles from the 
encampment, posted among sand-hills and palm and date trees, 
three miles to the east of Alexandria, lay the French under 
Menou 5000 infantry, a column of cavalry, and 32 pieces of 
cannon. On the morning of the I3th, the British advanced 
to the attack in three columns of regiments. The Qoth (Perth- 
shire Light Infantry) formed the advance of the centre column, 
and the Q2d (Gordon Highlanders) that of the left. The guns 
were dragged by seamen whom Sir Sidney Smith had landed 
from the fleet. The sand was so loose and deep that the wheels 
sometimes sank to the axle. For three or four miles the march 
lay over the ground covered with date trees ; but immediately 
the two advanced regiments cleared the encumbered ground and 
deployed into line on the open, the French opened a heavy fire 
of cannon and musketry, and moved down with great boldness. 
But the Qotli and Q2d, though suffering severely, never receded 
a foot, but bore the whole weight of the enemy until the rest of 
the line came up to their support. The Q2d, indeed, though 
under the combined fire of infantry and artillery, never paused 
in their advance, but walked up to the muzzles of the enemy's 
guns, and captured two field-pieces and a howitzer. Both 
regiments bear " Mandora" on their colours and appointments. 

The French did not wait to receive the attack of the whole 
British line, but retired to the entrenched position which they 


had formed before Alexandria. Sir Kalph Abercrombie resolved 
to force it at all risks, and the next week was spent in bringing 
forward cannon, provisions, and stores, erecting batteries, and 
strengthening his position, which had few natural advantages. 
On his right stretched the blue waters of the Mediterranean, 
dotted with four cutters stationed close to the shore, on his left 
Lake Maadic and the canal, and in front a sandy plain. Moore's 
division (23d, flank companies of the 4Oth, 42d, 58th, and Corsi- 
can Rangers) were placed as an advanced post on the right. The 
58th occupied a ruin of vast extent, supposed to have been a 
palace of the Ptolemies ; the 28th a redoubt, close on the left, 
and a few paces in advance. This redoubt was open to the rear. 
The 23d, 4oth, 42d, and Corsican Rangers were posted 500 
yards to the rear of the ruins and redoubt, in support of the 
58th and 28th. To the left of the redoubt occupied by the 
28th, a sandy plain extended about 300 yards, and then sloped 
into a valley. Here stood the cavalry of the reserve, a little 
retired towards the rear. Still farther to the left, on a rising 
ground behind the valley, were posted the Guards, under General 
Ludlow, Avho occupied the centre of the line. Their position 
was strengthened by a redoubt thrown up on their right, a 
battery on their left, and a small ditch or entrenchment in front, 
which connected both. On the left of the Guards the p2d, 
Queen's Own, 54th, Scots Royals, 8th, I3th, i8th, and Qoth 
regiments, were formed en echelon, ready, if necessary, to form 
on the Guards. The second line consisted (from the left) of the 
3oth, SQth, 44th, Dillon's, De Rolle's, and Stuart's regiments, 
and the dismounted cavalry of the I2th and 26th dragoons. 
Along the whole extent of the line were arranged two 24-pounders, 
thirty-two field pieces, and a 24-pounder in the redoubt occupied 
by the 28th. The French were strongly posted on a nearly per- 
pendicular ridge of hills parallel to the British line, and pre- 
sented a very formidable appearance. A sandy plain divided 
the armies. 

It was Sir Ralph Abercrombie's practice to have the army 
under arms every morning at three o'clock, and it was well for 
him that the 2ist March proved no exception to the rule. At 
that hour every man was at his post. For half-an-hour not a 
sound was heard. Day had not yet begun to break over the 
sandy plain when the report of a musket was heard on the left 
of the line, followed by the discharge of some cannon. The 


French had begun the action by a false attack, by the dromedary 
corps, on the British left. Silence again prevailed. It was the 
stillness that precedes the storm. General Moore, who happened 
to be the general officer of the right, had galloped off to the left 
the instant he heard the firing ; but, impressed with the idea 
that this was merely a feint, he galloped back to his brigade on 
the right. Hardly had he reached it when a wild huzza rising 
from the plain below, followed by a roar of musketry, announced 
the real intention of the French, to precipitate their forces on the 
right and the centre. In the dark, cloudy, close morning the 
measured tread of the French was distinctly heard, and then the 
shout with which they met the advanced pickets. The 23d and 
the flank companies of the 4oth were now ordered to move for- 
ward to the support of the 58th in the ruins, Major Stirling 
with the left wing of the 42 d to take post in the open space on the 
left of the redoubt, and Lieutenant-colonel Alexander Stewart, 
with the right wing, to remain 200 yards in the rear, but exactly 
parallel with the left wing. These dispositions were scarcely 
made when the French attacked the ruin, the redoubt, and the 
left wing of the Highlanders. The darkness was rendered more 
obscure by the firing ; there was not a breath of wind to dispel 
the smoke, and all objects at arm's length from the eye were 
totally invisible. 

Favoured by the gloom and the noise of the combat in front, 
a column of French grenadiers accompanied by a gun bearing 
the proud name of " The Invincibles," stole silently along the 
interval between the left of the 42d and the right of the Guards, 
from which the cavalry picket had retired ; they calculated their 
distance and line of march so correctly that, wheeling to the left, 
they marched in between the two wings of the 42d, drawn up in 
parallel lines 200 yards apart. The instant they were perceived, 
Lieutenant-colonel Stewart, with the right wing, rushed forward 
and charged with the bayonet, while the rear-rank of Major 
Stirling's left wing faced about and charged in the rear. 
Maddened by this double attack, the Invincibles dashed for- 
ward with the intention of pushing into the ruins occupied by the 
58th. As they passed the rear of the redoubt occupied by the 
28th, that regiment poured in a volley, which quickened their 
pace. On through the openings of the ruins the shattered and 
bleeding Invincibles rushed, but only to be met by another 
withering fire from the 58th and the flank companies of the 


4oth. Brought to bay here, and hemmed in by the 58th and 
4oth in front, and the 42d in rear, the Irivincibles fought with 
the courage that is born of despair. It was only after 650 of 
them had fallen that the survivors, about 250 in number, threw 
down their arms and surrendered. The standard of the legion 
was delivered up to Major Stirling of the 42d, who gave it in 
charge to a sergeant, with orders to remain beside the gun which 
the regiment had taken. It bore several marks of distinction, 
such as " Tagliamento," and in the centre was a bugle-horn 
wreathed with laurel. Bravely had it been borne. The officer 
who carried it was heard to shout, again and again, " Vive la 
Republique !" ere he fell, pierced by a shot. 

The right wing of the 42d was meanwhile hotly engaged with 
the enemy in front. Just as the survivors of the Invincibles 
were laying down their arms, another great body of the enemy 
was seen advancing on the left of the redoubt. General Moore 
ordered the right wing of the regiment out of the ruins, and 
told them to form line in battalion on the flat on the left of tbe 
redoubt. Before this formation was complete the French were 
upon them. It was a critical moment. "My brave High- 
landers," cried Sir Ralph Abercrombie, always present in the 
hottest of the fight, "remember our country, remember your 
forefathers !" The Highlanders responded with enthusiasm, and 
soon the French were flying in confusion across the plain. A 
second and a third attempt on the right of the position met the 
same fate. 

While the battle was thus raging on the right, the Guards in 
the centre were behaving with their usual coolness and bravery. 
General Ludlow allowed the French to approach very close to 
his front, and then gave the order to fire. The French were com- 
pletely routed. They afterwards tried to turn the left of the 
position, but were so firmly met by the Scots Royals and the right 
wing of the 3ist, that they desisted from all further attempts on 
the centre. 

By eight in the morning the French were repulsed at all points, 
only maintaining the combat by a heavy and close cannonade 
from their great guns, and a straggling fire from their sharp- 
shooters. The British fire had ceased, as those who had been 
so hotly engaged had expended all their ammunition, and a fresh 
supply could not be immediately procured, the ordnance stores 
being at some distance. This was taken advantage of by the 


French to advance their sharpshooters close to the redoubt occu- 
pied by the 28th ; but before they had commenced operations a 
fresh supply of ammunition arrived. Colonel Duncan of the 
artillery immediately levelled the 24-pounder in the redoubt, 
pointing at the sixth file from the right angle of the close column. 
Bang went the gun, and with so much precision that it levelled 
with the ground all who stood outward of the file. The second 
shot plunged into the centre of the column, and before the fourth 
was ready the French were scampering off in full retreat. The 
retreat was now general along the whole line, and by ten o'clock 
the enemy had regained their position in front of Alexandria. 

Our loss was 244 killed and 1193 wounded, and a fourth of 
it fell on the 42d Highlanders, who had 54 killed and 261 
wounded. The French loss could not have been less than 
4000, for upwards of 1000 of them were buried on the field of 
battle. But the joy of the victory was dashed by the fall of Sir 
Ralph Abercrombie. Early in the day, while standing in the 
hottest of the fight beside the 42d, two of the enemy's cavalry 
dashed forward and attempted to lead him away prisoner. The 
old general would not yield, and one of the troopers made a 
thrust at his breast ; but, exerting all his remarkable strength of 
arm, Sir Ralph seized hold of the sabre and forced it out of the 
trooper's hand. He then turned to meet his other assailant, but 
the dragoon was at that moment shot dead by a corporal of the 
42d who ran up to Sir Ralph's assistance. Some time after this 
a musket-ball entered his groin and lodged deep in the hip-joint ; 
but not till the shouts of the British informed him of the enemy's 
defeat did he yield to exhausted nature, and acknowledge that 
he required rest. Surrounded by his weeping generals and 
officers, he was carried on board Lord Keith's ship, the Foud- 
royant, where he expired on the 2yth of the month. 

The battle of Alexandria paved the way for the re-conquest of 
Egypt. General Hutchinson, who succeeded Abercrombie in 
the command, drove the enemy from Damietta and Rosetta. 
Ramanieh was captured (May 7), and the communication be- 
tween Alexandria and Cairo cut off. The Turks, directed by 
British officers, gained a victory near Cairo, and (May 22) 
Belliard, who commanded there, surrendered with nearly 14,000 
troops and 320 guns, on condition of being conveyed to France. 
Menou refused to be included in the capitulation of Cairo, and 
proposed to defend Alexandria, but the vigorous measures taken 


to reduce the place, after the arrival of Sir David Baird, con- 
vinced him that resistance was hopeless, and he yielded (August 
31). "The total amount of troops that capitulated in Egypt," 
says Alison, " was upwards of 24,000, all veterans : an astonish- 
ing success to have been achieved by a British force which had 
hardly ever seen a shot fired, and which, even including the 
Indian auxiliaries, never amounted to the same numerical 
strength." At London there were great rejoicings ; " the humilia- 
tion of France, on the element where she had been so long vic- 
torious, was hailed as a harbinger of the great triumphs awaiting 
the British arms, if the enemy should carry into execution their 
long-threatened scheme of invasion." The expedition to Egypt 
must always be held in proud remembrance by the British army, 
for it dates from it that career of success which has continued 
with rare exceptions to the present time. Dettingen, Minden, and 
Quebec had shown that the ancient fire was not extinct, but the 
army had deteriorated sadly from the days of Marlborough. Its 
reputation had lately been seriously tarnished by the disastrous 
contest in America, and it was a surprise to all when the battle 
of Alexandria showed that the British army could, on the open 
field, cope with the French, the most scientific and the most uni- 
formly successful soldiers of the world. 

The only other event of the year besides the capture of St. 
Thomas and some of the other West India islands was Nelson's 
unsuccessful attempt upon the flotilla at Boulogne. That port 
had become the head-quarters of swarrns of gun-boats, flat- 
bottomed praams, and other small craft ; and it was known that 
Napoleon, now at leisure from continental affairs, was bending all 
his energies to the shores of Great Britain. The excitement on 
our side of the Channel became intense, and in deference to this 
feeling the hero of Copenhagen was appointed to a command ex- 
tending fromOrfordness to Beachy Head on both shores. Nelson's 
own opinion was that the main attempt at invasion, if it ever 
took place, could not be made from Boulogne; but he was con- 
tent to do something to allay the popular apprehension, and a 
powerful armament of light vessels was fitted out, and an attack 
on the Boulogne flotilla fixed for the i5th August. The arma- 
ment put off about half an hour before midnight, but in the 
darkness the divisions separated. Those that arrived made the 
attack gallantly, but the French were fully prepared. Their 

1801-2.] TEEATY OF AMIENS. 63 

boats, fortified by strong nettings and projecting pikes, chained 
by the bottom to the shore and to each other, and crowded with 
soldiers, were almost impregnable. Still, many were taken pos- 
session of, and would have been burnt, since they could not be 
brought out \ but immediately one of their own vessels became a 
prize, the French opened fire on it, enveloping in common ruin 
friend and foe. After a desperate conflict of four hours the 
assailants sheered off. Our loss in this affair was 172 killed 
and wounded. Meanwhile negotiations for peace were in active 
progress, and preliminaries were signed at London, on the ist 
October, between Great Britain, Holland, France, and Spain. 

The treaty, which was signed at Amiens, on March 27th, 1802, 
provided that " All the colonial conquests of Britain, except 
Ceylon and Trinidad, should be given up ; Egypt was to be re- 
stored to the Porte, Malta to the knights of St. John, and the 
Cape to Holland." 



Projected Invasion of England Commodore Dance's Action Seizure of the 
Spanish Treasure Frigates Sir Robert Calder's Action Trafalgar 
Sir Richard Strachan's Action off Cape Ortegal. 

HE Treaty of Amiens did not preserve the peace long. 
The British Government saw that Napoleon was not 
acting in good faith, and refused to give up Malta. 
Napoleon insisted on its instant evacuation. The 
British Government, quite well aware that Napoleon only waited 
for its evacuation to seize the place for himself, proposed to hold 
it for ten years, and then restore it to the natives. This ulti- 
matum was rejected, and both sides prepared for war, which was 
formally declared on the i8th May, 1803. The struggle, it was 
evident, could only end in the humiliation of one or the other 
France, who deemed herself invincible on land, Britain, omni- 
potent at sea. France saw in the expected conquest of Britain 
the removal of the last bar to her scheme of universal dominion ; 
Britain boasted, and not in vain, of her wooden walls, and 
pointed to her recent victories in Egypt as a proof of what she 
could do if the worst came to the worst. The passions of the 
people were engaged on both sides ; it was no longer a war of 
governments, but of nations. The departments of France vied 
with each other in contributing vessels, money, and troops for 
the great scheme of an invasion of England. The harbour of 
Boulogne was deepened, extended, and fortified, in order to form 
a more secure rendezvous for the praams and flat-bottomed boats 
which were fitted out in every port from Brest to the Texel, and 


which crept along the shore to the point of assemblage whenever 
the British cruisers were driven from their stations by contrary 
winds. At the opportune moment this vast flotilla was to be 
freighted with an army of 150,000 men, who lay in readiness 
at Boulogne. The wings of this vast army, extending from 
Brest on the one side to Antwerp on the other, amounted to 
50,000 more. It seemed as if the long-talked-of invasion was 
about to become a reality. Nothing daunted, Britain collected 
her energies for the conflict. The regular army was increased 
by 50,000 men j and in a few weeks 300,000 volunteers were 
enrolled, armed, and disciplined. Gunboats also clustered along 
the line of the old Cinque Ports. But, as Nelson had supposed, 
the Boulogne flotilla was only part of a more extensive scheme. 
" The squadrons from the Spanish and Mediterranean ports 
were," says Alison, " to have effected a junction in the West 
Indies : they were then, returning with combined forces to 
Europe, to have raised successively the blockade of Rochefort, 
Brest, &c. ; and by their union with the fleets in those harbours, 
to have formed an irresistible armament, under which the flotilla 
might effect the passage of the Channel. It will appear in the 
sequel how nearly this vast design succeeded, and how little the 
British were aware of the quarter whence danger really threatened 
them." It would have succeeded had not Nelson, two years 
later, intercepted the combined French and Spanish fleets at 
Trafalgar, and there gained his last and crowning victory. 

With the threat of invasion hanging over this country, the 
land forces were in 1804 raised to 300,000 men, besides 340,000 
volunteers ; and 100,000 seamen and marines were voted for the 
navy. Still, nothing was done, and the year was spent in con- 
flicts between our cruisers and detachments of the Boulogne 
flotilla proceeding to the place of assemblage. 

On the 1 4th February this year (1804), a singular action was 
fought in the Indian Sea, between the China fleet, under Com- 
modore Dance (commodore in the East India Company's mari- 
time service), and a small French naval force, under Admiral 
Linois. Dance was homeward bound from China to Europe. 
He had with him 16 Indiamen, mounting between 30 and 36 
guns, and n country ships. On the i4th February, being off 
Paulo Auro, he sighted four strange sail to leeward. These were 
soon made out to be the French ships Marengo, 80 ; Belle Poule, 


40 ; Semillante, 36 ; Berceau, 22 ; and the gun-brig Aventurier, 
1 6. They had sailed from Batavia for the express purpose of 
intercepting the China fleet. Commodore Dance accepted the 
challenge, threw out the signal for a line of battle in close 
order, disposed his fleet in the best possible arrangement for 
defence, and hove to for the night. The French Admiral was so 
puzzled at the bold attitude taken up by trading ships, that it 
was one P.M. next day before he made any attempt to attack. 
Edging off the wind, he stood towards the British. Dance, per- 
ceiving his rear was threatened, made the signal for his fleet to 
tack in succession, to edge off the wind to windward of his rear, 
and to engage the enemy on arriving up. This manoeuvre was 
performed " with the correctness of a well-disciplined fleet." 
With a light breeze and top-gallant sails set, the Royal George 
approached the enemy, followed in close order by the Ganges, Earl 
Camden, Warley, A Ifred, and other ships. The Marengo opened 
fire. The Eoyal George and the Ganges replied with spirit, and 
after an action of forty-three minutes, the French Admiral and 
his consorts, frightened at the unexpected resistance, ceased fir- 
ing, hauled to the wind, and made sail away. The Royal George, 
which bore the brunt of the action, had only one man killed and 
one wounded. On his arrival in England, the gallant Dance 
received the honour of knighthood. 

Spain declared war against Great Britain on the i2th Decem- 
ber, 1804. That country was now completely under the influence 
of the Tuileries, and the rupture would probably have come 
about sooner or later, but the occurrence that immediately led 
to it was not a happy one. Spain had commuted her auxiliary 
force, due by the treaty offensive and defensive with France, 
into an annual payment of 2,880,000 to Napoleon. Britain 
looked upon this as a war subsidy to France, and was further 
alarmed by naval preparations at Cadiz, Ferrol, and Carthagena ; 
and orders were given to Captain Graham Moore to intercept the 
Spanish treasure frigates, then on their way from Monte Video, 
to be held as security for the neutrality of Spain. Unfortunately, 
Captain Moore had only four frigates, and as the Spanish Rear- 
admiral had as many, he could not submit without a struggle. 
An action ensued (Oct. 5) ; one of the Spanish ships blew up, 
and three, with a freight valued at more than 2, 000,000, were 


On the 2d December, 1804, Napoleon was crowned, in Notre 
Dame, Emperor of the French ; on the 26th May, 1805, he was 
crowned, in the Cathedral of Milan, King of Italy. One of his 
first acts was to incorporate Genoa, Parma, and Placentia with 
France, and to erect Lucca and Piombino into a principality for 
his sister Eliza. Austria became alarmed, and joined Russia 
and Sweden in a coalition the third which Pitt had formed 
to meet their common enemy in the heart of Europe. Now or 
never was the time for Napoleon to put in operation his plan 
for the invasion of England. A swift blow at England, and a 
rapid march against the slow-paced Austrians, and all his enemies 
would be at his feet. The army of invasion still lay at Boulogne 
155,000 men, 14,654 horses, and 432 pieces of cannon, with 
provisions for three months, and munitions of war to an enor- 
mous extent. The flotilla of transports consisted of 2293 ves- 
sels, 1339 of them armed. The organisation and all arrange- 
ments were so complete that, on trial made, it had been found 
that 25,000 men, drawn up opposite the vessels, could be em- 
barked in ten minutes. Nothing was wanted but the command 
of the Channel for six hours, and if fortune proved propitious 
even that might be obtained. "It is only necessary," wrote 
Napoleon to his Minister of Marine, " to be master of the sea for 
six hours for England to cease to exist" il nefaut etre maitre 
de la mer que six heures pour VAngleterre cesser d'exister. 

In January, Villeneuve had received orders from Napoleon to 
sail from Toulon, effect a junction with the Spanish Admiral 
Gravina at Cadiz, and threaten the West Indies with the united 
fleets. This feint, it was hoped, would draw a large portion of 
the English fleet from the Channel. Villeneuve was then to 
elude the vigilance of his pursuers and make a sudden return to 
Europe; release the 10 Spanish and 5 French ships blockaded 
at Ferrol ; join the Rochefort squadron of 5 sail more ; then 
steer to Brest, where Gantheaume awaited him with 21 sail. 
Lastly, at the head of this overwhelming force, which would 
amount to 61 sail of the line, he was to proceed to Boulogne 
and escort the flotilla to the shores of England. 

Villeneuve was in Toulon with twelve sail, where he was block- 
aded by Lord Nelson with 1 1 sail of the line. On the i yth 
January, 1805, while Nelson was watering his fleet at Agincourt 
Sound, in the Madelena Islands, Villeneuve took the oppor- 
tunity to put to sea. Lord Nelson went in quest of him, and 


searched Alexandria, tlie Gulf of Palma, and Malta, in vain. 
Villeneuve's fleet had meanwhile been shattered by a gale and 
forced to return to Toulon, and Lord Nelson waited in Palma 
Bay with feverish anxiety for his next movement. On the 3<Dth 
March Villeneuve again successfully eluded the vigilance of 
Nelson and put to sea ; he succeeded in forcing the blockade 
of Cadiz, which was guarded by only 5 British ships under 
the command of Sir John Orde ; and the combined French 
and Spanish fleets, amounting to 18 ships of the line and 10 
frigates, with 10,000 troops on board, sailed for the West Indies. 
Lord Nelson, after beating about in the Mediterranean in the 
teeth of a foul wind, passed the Straits of Gibraltar on the 
5th May, and with only 10 sail of the line and 3 frigates 
boldly followed in pursuit. On the 4th June he arrived at 
Barbadoes, but the enemy, reinforced by two more ships, had, 
in obedience to their orders to return to Europe, sailed from 
Martinique on the 28th May. On the I3th June Nelson 
received intelligence of this extraordinary movement, and feeling 
sure that no fleet would retreat before another not half its force 
without having some ulterior combination in view, he went off 
in pursuit, and despatched several fast-sailing craft to put the 
British Government on its guard. One of these reached London 
on the Qth July, and the Admiralty instantly sent orders to 
Admiral Stirling to leave his station off Rochefort, and join Sir 
Robert Calder off Ferrol, to cruise off Finisterre for Villeneuve. 
Scarcely had this junction been effected when (July 22) the 
Franco-Spanish fleet hove in sight. It consisted of twenty 
sail of the line, a 5o-gun ship, and 7 frigates. Sir Robert 
Calder's fleet numbered but 15 sail of the line, 2 frigates, 
a lugger, and a cutter ; but no sooner did Villeneuve appear 
than he threw out the signal for action, which, however, was 
delayed by light airs and a thick fog. In the afternoon the 
Sirius frigate, Captain William Prowse, made an attempt to 
board the Sirene, Spanish galleon, and at five the Spanish ships 
opened fire. By six the action was pretty general, but the fog 
was so thick that it was impossible to distinguish any object 
more than a ship's length a-head, and the firing was distant and 
not very effective. Nevertheless, the Spanish Firma, of 78 
guns, and San Rafael, of 80 guns, were forced to strike, and 
the Espana and the French Atlas would also have fallen into 
our hands had they not been rescued by their comrades. At 


8 '2 5 P.M., the British ships being much scattered, Sir Robert 
Calder made the signal to discontinue the action, and an hour 
later the firing ceased. The action was not renewed on the 
following day, and Villeneuve, after leaving three disabled ships 
at Vigo, reached Ferrol on the 2d August. Napoleon sent 
peremptory orders that he should, at all risks, effect a junction 
with the Brest fleet by the 2ist; but Sir Robert Calder had by 
this time been reinforced to 20 sail, and Villeneuve, in no 
humour for another encounter, tacked and made sail for Cadiz. 

Napoleon was transported with rage at the failure of his 
plans, and accused Villeneuve of " excessive pusillanimity ; " 
whereas that much-abused admiral had only acted up to his 
instructions in trying to avoid an engagement, and bring his 
fleet fresh and entire into the English Channel. On the other 
hand, so little was Sir Robert Calder's service appreciated by 
the public, who were ignorant of their real danger, that he 
found himself compelled to demand a court-martial. The 
charge brought against him was that he did not do his utmost 
to renew the battle on the 24th. The British Admiral had, 
indeed, had every reason to avoid an encounter unless it was 
forced upon him ; for in addition to having a superior fleet in 
front of him, there lay at Ferrol and Rochefort, within a few 
hours' sail, a second fleet of 20 sail of the line. This circum- 
stance, however, does not appear to have been regarded as 
sufficiently exculpatory, and Sir Robert was severely repri- 

Nelson, meanwhile, had recrossed the Atlantic, and after 
cruising along the Spanish and French coasts without meeting 
the enemy, arrived (July 17) at Portsmouth. From Portsmouth 
he proceeded to Merton (where he had bought a small estate), 
to recruit his health, which was dreadfully shattered. He had 
scarcely been on shore for two years, and required nursing ; but 
he forgot all about his health when he heard that Villeneuve 
had returned to Europe. Captain Blackvvood brought the news 
home. On his way to the Admiralty he called at Merton. It 
was but four o'clock in the morning an early autumn morning 
(September i) but Nelson was already up and dressed. He 
instantly divined the nature of Blackwood's despatches. " I am 
sure you bring news of the French and Spanish fleets ; I shall 
have to beat them yet. Depend on it, Blackwood,' ; he repeatedly 
eaid, "I shall yet give Monsieur Villeneuve a drubbing." His 


services were eagerly accepted by Government, and in another 
fortnight he embarked on board the Victory at Portsmouth. 
The scene which took place there at his departure baffles all 
description. The whole town turned out to catch a glimpse of 
the slender little figure, one-eyed and one-armed, whose name 
was the bulwark of our country, and synonymous with victory. 
Women loved him for the tenderness of his heart ] men re- 
spected him as the greatest naval hero the world had ever 
produced. As he passed along the densely-crowded streets, 
ancient mariners, who had fought under Hawke and Rodney, 
stood hat in hand, in reverence to a greater warrior than any 
under whom they had served. Many were moved to tears ; 
others knelt down on the beach, and implored the blessing of 
Heaven on his head. The soldiers who had been stationed along 
the route could not prevent the people from pressing upon the 
great admiral. It was a triumph such as few men can boast of. 
Nelson himself was moved to tears of gratitude. " I had their 
hurrahs before," he said, turning to Captain Hardy j " I have 
their hearts now." 

Sunday the i5th September the Victory sailed from Ports- 
mouth, and on the ist October arrived off Cadiz. The British 
fleet was inferior to Villeneuve's by several sail ; but such was 
the terror of Nelson's name, that the French Admiral hesitated 
to put to sea, in spite of Napoleon's positive orders and the 
threatened scarcity of provisions. At length, by appearing to 
detach part of his fleet, Nelson overcame Villeneuve's irresolution, 
and on the ipth and 2oth October the combined fleet ventured 
out. It consisted of 33 sail of the line and 7 frigates; the 
British fleet of 27 sail of the line and 6 frigates. On the 
morning of the memorable 2ist October, the two fleets were in 
sight of each other, about twelve miles apart, Cape Trafalgar 
being distant from the Victory twenty-one miles. The wind, 
from two points to the northward of west, was light, accompanied 
by a heavy ground swell. At 6.40 A.M. Nelson made the signals 
to form in order of sailing, to prepare for battle, and to bear up. 
He himself led the weather division, of 12 ships, in the 
Victory; Collingwood led the lee division, of 15 ships, in 
the Royal Sovereign. The near approach of the British fleet, 
which was now bearing up to the eastward under all sail, 
rendered an action unavoidable, and at 8-30 A.M. Villeneuve 
made the signal for his ships to wear and form a line in close 


order on the larboard tack, so as to bring Cadiz on his lee bow, 
and facilitate his escape to that port, if necessary ; but the 
wind was so light, and the swell so heavy, that it was ten 
o'clock before this movement was performed, and even then 
the line was not straight, but curved or crescent-like, and 
instead of the ships being in line a-head, some were to leeward 
and others to windward of their proper stations. Villeneuve's 
fleet lay north and south in a curved line, extending nearly five 

Nelson's plan of attack was. very simple. His fleet was in 
two lines, with an advanced squadron of eight of the swiftest 
sailing two-deckers, Collingwood, who led the second line, was 
to break through the enemy about the twelfth ship from their 
rear ; Nelson himself was to lead through their centre ; and the 
advanced squadron was to cut their van. Nelson frequently 
explained to his captains his plan of attack, and invariably 
added this summary note, that in case signals could not be 
seen or clearly understood, no captain could do wrong if he 
placed his ship alongside an enemy. It was one of the most 
momentous hours in the world's history, and both admirals felt 
equally confident of success. When writing home on the 6th, 
Nelson said, " I really believe that the country will soon be put 
to some new expense on my account, either a monument, or a 
new pension and honours j" and Villeneuve wrote to the French 
Minister of Marine, that " Napoleon would soon be satisfied, 
and might reckon on the mos-t splendid success." Still, the 
enterprising French Admiral began to feel doubtful when he 
looked on the majestic advance of the British fleet. " These 
men deserve success/' he said to himself : and no one can read 
the history of his signals on this memorable day, without seeing 
that he was morally vanquished before a shot was fired. 

The wind was so light that, although the British ships had 
studding-sails set on both sides, they made little more progress 
than two knots an hour. Between eleven and twelve it occurred 
to Nelson that the enemy might run for the port of Cadiz, which 
was at no great distance under their lee, and he signalled to 
Collingwood, " I intend to pass through the van of the enemy's 
line to prevent him from getting into Cadiz." Another thing : 
the shoals of San Pedro and Trafalgar were under the lee of 
both fleets, so he made the signal for the British fleet to prepare 
to anchor at the close of the day. This done, he fell to pacing 


the poop with Captain Blackwood. Suddenly another thought 
seemed to strike him, and he remarked that he must give the 
fleet something by way of a fillip. " Suppose we telegraph/' 
he said, after musing a while, " that Nelson expects every man 
to do his duty ? " Blackwood suggested " England." " Cer- 
tainly, certainly," cried Nelson, rapturously catching at the idea ; 
and at 11.40 A.M. up went to the Victory's mizzen topgallant- 
mast-head the first flag of the celebrated telegraphic message 
No sooner were the words communicated to the men at the 
guns than there burst forth from every ship in the fleet three 
cheers that gave presage of coming victory. 

As Nelson was making more for the van of the enemy than 
he had originally intended, and was going in a slanting direction, 
Collingwood was the first to come into action. At 11.50 A.M. 
the French Fougeux fired a shot at the Royal Sovereign to try 
the range of her guns. The British ship hoisted her colours, 
which were saluted by a heavy fire from the Spanish Santa 
Anna and the ships nearest her. At ten past noon, having 
reached a position under the stern of the Santa Anna, a huge 
ship of 112 guns, the Royal Sovereign fired into her with guns 
double-shotted ; and with such precision, the Spanish officers 
afterwards acknowledged, that one broadside killed or wounded 
nearly 400 of their crew. She gave the Fougeux her star- 
board broadside at the same time, but, as the distance was 
greater, with much less effect. " Rotherham ! " cried Colling- 
wood to his captain, after the broadsides were fired, " what 
would Nelson give to be here ? " By a curious coincidence 
Nelson was just at that moment observing to Captain Hardy, 
" See how that noble fellow Collingwood carries his ship 
into action ! " The Royal Sovereign had far outsailed the 
rest, and for full fifteen minutes was the only British ship 
engaged with the enemy. Ranged alongside of her was the 
huge Santa Anna, the flag-ship of Admiral Alava, and so 
close that the yards were locked and the guns were almost 
muzzle to muzzle. The Royal Sovereign, alone, sustained the 
fire of this huge vessel, as well as of four others that came to 
her aid. The Fougeux bore up and raked her astern ; the San 
Leandro wore and raked her across the bows ; the Spanish San 
Justo and the French IndomptaUe were on her starboard bow 
and quarter, at a distance of less than 300 yards. So incessant 

74 POOE SCOTT!" [1805. 

was the fire kept up by the five Franco-Spanish ships, that the 
people of the Royal Sovereign frequently saw the balls come in 
contact with each other. At length the enemy became aware of 
the injury they were sustaining by their own cross fire, and as the 
headmost ships of the British lee line (Collingwood's) were fast 
approaching, they left the Royal Sovereign and the Santa Anna 
to settle it between themselves 100 guns to 112. Good 
gunnery more than counterbalanced the odds. In a few minutes 
the Santa Anna lost hermizzen topmast; at 1.20 P.M. her three 
masts fell over the side, and at two o'clock she struck her 
colours. But she had fought well ; her shot had sent the Royal 
Sovereign's mainmast toppling over the side, and left her fore- 
mast in a falling state. 

In the meantime the Victory was advancing at the head of 
the weather line. Nelson was extremely anxious to engage 
Villeneuve, but as the enemy hoisted no colours until they were 
required to strike, the French Commander-in-chief could not 
be made out. There, however, right in front, lay his old 
acquaintance the Santissima Trinidad, and Nelson, correctly 
divining that Villeneuve was at no great distance, ordered the 
Victory to be steered towards the bows of the huge four-decker, 
which carried 130 guns and the flag of Rear-admiral Cisneros. 
The Victory had her studding sails set on both sides, but the 
wind was so light that she was scarcely going a knot and a half 
an hour through the water. At twenty past noon (ten minutes 
after the Royal Sovereign passed under the stern of the Santa 
Anna) the Bucentaure, of 80 guns, the flag-ship of Admiral 
Villeneuve, fired a shot at the Victory. It fell short. Two or 
three minutes and another shot was fired, and fell alongside. 
The Victory was then about a mile and a quarter distant from 
the Bucentaure. The fifth shot passed through the Victory's 
maintopgallantsail. A minute or two of awful silence, and 
then, as if by a signal from the French Admiral, the whole of the 
enemy's van opened upon the Victory such a discharge as has 
seldom been directed at a single ship. This had not continued 
long when a round shot killed Mr. Scott, Nelson's public secre- 
tary, as he was conversing with Captain Hardy. Captain Adair 
of the Marines, with the help of a sailor, endeavoured to remove 
the body from Nelson's sight, as he had a great regard for Mr. 
Scott, but Nelson anxiously asked " Is that poor Scott that 
is gone? Poor fellow!" The Victory \vas now within 500. 

isos-] THE "VICTORY'S" TURN. 75 

or 600 yards of the enemy's line; her mizzen topmast was 
shot away, and immediately afterwards her wheel, and she had 
to be steered by the relieving tackle below. The cannon shot 
was plunging through the ship, and sweeping the decks in all 
directions. Two minutes after the wheel was knocked to pieces, 
a double-headed shot killed eight marines on the poop and 
wounded several others, and at Nelson's request Captain Adair 
ordered his men to lie down until they could be employed. In 
another moment a shot came through the thickness of four ham- 
mocks near the larboard chesstree, carried away part of the larboard 
quarter of the launch as she lay on the booms, struck the fore- 
brace bits on the quarter-deck, and passed between Nelson and 
Captain Hardy, who were then conversing a splinter from the 
bits bruised Captain Hardy's left foot and tore the buckle from 
his shoe. The friends instantly stopped and looked uneasily at 
each other, each fearing the other was wounded, and then 
Nelson smiled his battle smile and remarked to Hardy that 
it was too warm work to last. 

As yet the Victory had not fired a shot, and she had fifty men 
killed and wounded, and the sails were torn to ribbons. But 
her turn was now come. At one P.M. her helm was put a-port, 
and she passed close to the larboard side of the Bucentaure; so 
close, that the large French ensign trailing at the Bucentaure's 
peak, had there been wind enough to blow it out, might easily 
have been snatched by the crew of the Victory. The 68-pounder 
carronade on the larboard side of' the Victory's forecastle con- 
tained its usual charge of one round shot and a keg filled with 
500 musket balls, and this murderous weapon was discharged 
right into the cabin window of the Bucentaure; and as the Vic- 
tory slowly moved ahead, every gun of the remaining fifty upon 
her broadside, all double and some of them treble-shotted, was 
deliberately discharged in the same raking manner. So terrible 
was the broadside that the French flagship was observed to heel 
over on receiving it, and it was afterwards ascertained that it 
struck down 400 of her men and dismounted 20 of her guns. 
The Victory then hauled round close under the stern of the 
Bucentaure, intending to bring her to action to leeward, but came 
into collision with the EedoutaUe. The two ships engaged 
with their yard-arms locked, while the Victory's larboard guns 
played upon the Bucentaure and the Santissima Trinidadct ; 
and thus the British flagship continued to engage three anta- 


gonists single-handed, until Captain Harvey came up to her 
assistance in the " grand old Temeraire" 

In a few minutes the battle was at its height. The fire from 
the Redoutable's ports was soon silenced, but the marksmen in 
her tops still kept up a deadly discharge, and erelong a shot 
from one of them pierced Nelson with a mortal wound, as he 
was pacing with Captain Hardy the quarter-deck of the Victory. 
The ball entered his left shoulder through the strap of his 
epaulette, and passing downwards lodged in his spine. Captain 
Hardy was just about to turn to walk aft when he observed 
Nelson falling on his knees, with his hand touching the deck, 
almost on the same spot on which his secretary, Mr. Scott, had 
received his death wound. 

" They have done for me at last, Hardy," said the dying 

" I hope not." 

" Yes, my backbone is shot through." 

Sergeant Seeker, of the Marines, and two seamen carried him 
down to the cockpit, and laid him on a purser's bed. His fall 
signed the death-warrant of every soul in the mizzen-top of the 
Redoutable ; but nothing could save Nelson, who felt that his 
life's-blood was ebbing fast. He insisted that the surgeon should 
attend to the others who were wounded. " For me," he said, 
" you can do nothing." 

The battle continued with unabated fury, the French and 
Spaniards fighting as they never fought before, and the British 
exerting all their skill, strong in the prestige of victory. At 
three, ten ships had surrendered. As often as a ship struck, the 
crew of the Victory hurrahed ; and at every hurrah an expression 
of joy gleamed in the eyes of the dying hero. At length the 
Redoutable was carried by boarding by the Temeraire, and the 
Santissima Trinidada yielded to the Prince. Nelson lived long 
enough to know that a glorious victory had been gained, and at 
half-past four he expired without a groan, frequently murmuring, 
" Thank God, I have done my duty." 

When night fell the victory was complete. Eighteen prizes 
and 20,000 prisoners were in the hands of the victors, whose 
losses were 1690 killed and wounded. Admiral Gravina escaped 
to Cadiz with nine sail. Admiral Dumanoir made off with four 
French ships ; but on the 4th November, off Cape Ortegal, he 
was brought to action by Sir Richard Strachan, who captured. 


his whole squadron. Unfortunately, Nelson's dying order to 
anchor could not be attended to, and most of the prizes foundered 
or were wrecked in the heavy gale on the 22d. Only four were 
brought to Gibraltar in safety. The joy which the country felt 
at the unprecedented victory was damped by the death of Nelson, 
who had lived in the hearts of the people. A grave in St. Paul's 
received the body of the great English sailor. 

In the meantime Napoleon had been once more laying the 
Continent at his feet. Sir Robert Calder's action of the 22d 
July showed him in a moment that his plans for the invasion of 
Britain were for ever frustrated, and without wasting a moment 
in useless regrets, he set about carrying the war from the banks 
of the Thames to the banks of the Danube. The day before the 
battle of Trafalgar, the Austrian General Mack surrendered at 
Ulm (Oct. 20) ; and the defeat of the Austrians and Russians 
at Austerlitz (Dec. 2) finally broke the power of the coalition. 
The peace of Presburg soon followed (Dec. 27). 



Second Capture of the Cape of Good Hope Sir Home Popham at Buenos 
Ayres Sir John Duckworth's victory at St. Domingo Maida Capture 
of Monte Video by Sir Samuel Achmuty Sir John Duck worth forces the 
Dardanelles Egypt General Whitelock capitulates at Buenos Ayres 
Surrender of the Danish fleet to Britain. 

peace of Presburg seemed to have finally subjected 
the Continent to France. Austria was utterly crushed ; 
might of Russia was humbled ; and Prussia was 
bribed by the gift of Hanover, which she accepted in 
exchange for some of her southern possessions ceded to France 
and Bavaria. Britain alone remained unconquered and uncon- 
querable, and now that she was once arid for ever freed from the 
dread of invasion for new navies must be built, and a new race 
of seamen reared before she could again be met on her own 
element she began to turn her attention to the enlargement of 
her colonial empire. The Cape surrendered to the Dutch by 
the peace of Amiens was the first seat of operations, as being 
necessary to secure the safety of our Indian Empire. 

On the 4th January, 1806, the expedition anchored in Table 
Bay. The naval part of it was under the command of Captain 
Sir Home Popham. The military part, consisting of about 
5000 troops, was under the command of Sir David Baird, 
the hero of Seringapatam. On the 6th and yth the landing 
was effected, and on the 8th General Baird resolved to make 
the grand attack. The Dutch were drawn up in two lines 
on a level sandy area between the mountains and the shore. 
Their strength was 5000 men, and their position was defended 

80 "CABAR FEY." [1806. 

by 23 cannon. General Baird divided his troops into two 
columns, and directed the first towards the right, while the 
Highland brigade (yist, 72d, 93d) advanced directly on the 
enemy. The Dutch seemed determined to maintain their post, 
and opened a smart fire of grape, round shot, and canister, 
which brought down more than 100 of the advancing High- 
landers ; but before they could reload, their " formidable array," 
says Captain Brenton, " was almost instantly borne down by the 
impetuosity of our troops, headed by Brigadier-general Fergus- 
son. The charge of our infantry was irresistible, and the enemy 
fled with precipitation, losing in action about 700 men." After 
completely routing the enemy, and pursuing them for three miles 
under a burning sun, the Highlanders were ordered to hart, and 
the first brigade to continue the pursuit. Not with standing every 
one was suffering extreme fatigue from the excessive heat of the 
sun, no sooner had the Highlanders halted than the grenadier 
company of the 72d requested the pipers to play them "Cabar 
Fey," the gathering tune of the regiment, to which they danced 
a Highland reel, to the utter astonishment of the 59th regiment, 
which was close in their rear. This smart affair decided the fate 
of the colony. In a short time a flag of truce came from the 
Dutch General Janssens, announcing a desire to capitulate ; and 
on the 1 8th the colony was finally surrendered to the British 

The facility of this conquest inspired Sir Home Popham 
with the idea that an effective blow might be struck at the 
Spanish settlements on the Rio de la Plata ; and, instead of 
obeying his orders, and sending on to India all the troops that 
could be spared from the Cape, he undertook an entirely un- 
authorised expedition against Buenos Ayres. His forces con- 
sisted of the 7ist Highlanders, a foreign detachment from the 
Cape, 200 men from St. Helena, and a party of the Royal Artil- 
lery, under the command of General Beresford. The Plata was 
made on the loth June, 1806, and on the 25th the troops landed 
without opposition. The Spaniards were posted behind a morass, 
and being well supplied with artillery, might easily have offered 
an effectual opposition ; but their whole force gave way before 
the advance of the 7ist. After firing a few shots, they aban- 
doned four cannon, and fled direct to Buenos Ayres, pursued by 
our people. The result of this affair was that the British 


colours were hoisted on the walls of Buenos Ayres (June 28); 
and the strange spectacle was witnessed of a city of 70,000 
inhabitants yielding on capitulation to a handful of redcoats. 
The Spaniards, however, recovered from their panic, and pursued 
our people so hard that, on the I2th August, being cut off from 
all supplies and provisions, and seeing no prospect of relief, the 
British were forced to capitulate. For this unauthorised expe- 
dition Sir Home Popham was afterwards tried by court-martial, 
and severely reprimanded. 

The naval war was now practically at an end, and the British 
flag rode triumphant on every sea ; but the Brest fleet, of 1 1 sail 
of the line, had not been involved in the catastrophe of Trafalgar, 
and Napoleon hoped it might be employed with effect against 
the more remote of the British colonies. One division, consist- 
ing of 5 ships, 2 frigates, and a corvette, was sent to St. Domingo, 
under Admiral Leisseignes. Sir John Duckworth, with 7 ships, 
2 frigates, and 2 sloops, pursued him across the Atlantic, and 
on the 6th February found him lying at anchor off the town of 
St. Domingo. The French Admiral slipped his cables, and 
made sail to escape, but without success. At 10 A.M. Sir John 
Duckworth, in the Superb, a 74, engaged the Alexandre, of 80 
guns ; and a few minutes later the Northumberland, another 74, 
the flagship of Rear-admiral Cochrane, gallantly engaged the 
Imperial. This, the flagship of Admiral Leisseignes, was pro- 
bably the largest vessel then afloat, mounting, as she did, 130 
guns, and carrying 1200 men. The other ships singled out 
opponents, and the action became general, the hostile squadrons 
running before the wind at the rate of seven knots an hour. By 
eleven o'clock the Alexandre was a wreck, and surrendered. 
The Brave and the Jupiter followed suit, and the Imperial, 
worried by the Northumberland, the Superb, and the Canopus, 
hauled down her colours. The Diomede ran on shore and lost 
her masts ; and thus, in less than two hours, the five line-of- 
battle ships were taken or driven on shore, the frigates alone 
escaping. Our casualties were 74 killed and 264 wounded ; the 
Imperial alone is said to have lost 500 before she surrendered. 
The other division, under Admiral Villaumez, was scarcely more 
fortunate. One of his frigates sailed to the Cape of Good 
Hope, not knowing of its surrender, and was captured by a 
British squadron lying there. Villaumez sailed to the coasts of 



America, where one of liis ships, a 74, was driven ashore in a 
gale, and destroyed by the British, who blockaded three others 
of the squadron until the crews were obliged to destroy two of 
them. Only one ship returned in safety. Among many minor 
disasters which happened to the French naval marine during 
this year, was the capture of Admiral Linois, with two ships, by 
Sir John Borlase Warren ; and the capture of four out of a 
squadron of five frigates, bound for the West Indies, by Sir 
Samuel Hood. The Rochefort fleet alone escaped the vigilance 
of the British squadrons, and after a cruise of six months re- 
turned safe to port. 

A few days after the ratification of the peace of Presburg, 
Napoleon issued a proclamation declaring that " the dynasty of 
Naples had ceased to reign." An Imperial decree (April 14) 
raised his brother Joseph to the vacant throne, and the Neapo- 
litan court fled into Sicily. Joseph was supported by 50,000 
French bayonets, but Gaeta still held out, and the Calabrian 
peasants rose in furious revolt. At the earnest solicitation of 
the exiled Queen, Major-general Sir John Stuart, the British 
commander in Sicily, determined on an expedition to Calabria, 
in support of the loyal peasantry; and on the ist of July he 
landed in the Bay of St. Euphemia. On the 3d he heard that 
the French General Regnier was advancing from Reggio, with 
the intention of giving him battle. 

The armies met (July 6, 1806) near the little town of Maida. 
Regnier had 8000 bayonets; Stuart but 4795. Regnier was 
posted on the heights. His front was defended by the Amato, 
a river with muddy and marshy banks, but fordable ; and his 
flanks were protected by thick underwood and laurel groves. 
Stuart drew up his army with the head of the bay in his rear. 
Before him stretched a broad and extensive valley, level in the 
centre, and bounded on both sides by high, wooded hills. It 
was a bright, clear morning, and the Calabrian reapers were 
busy in the cornfields. 

Regnier was either over-confident in his superior numbers, or 
afraid that the British might turn his left flank, and place him 
between them and the sea, where lay the squadron of Sir Sidney 
Smith. However that may be, he quitted his advantageous 
position on the hills, and crossing the Amato by fords, advanced 
into the open plains. This arrangement had at least one advan- 

i8o6.] THE 78TH AT MAID A. 83 

tage, that his dragoons a force in which Stuart was entirely 
deficient could now act with proper effect. Regnier drew up 
his troops in two parallel lines of equal numbers, with artillery 
and cavalry on both flanks, and with field pieces placed in dif- 
ferent parts of the line. He marched with colours flying and 
bands playing; the British marched parallel to the sea-shore, 
in close columns of subdivisions. When the advance com- 
menced, the distance between the armies was nearly three miles. 
The ground was perfectly level, only intersected by drains to 
carry off the water in the rainy season, but not so large as to 
intercept the advance of the field-pieces. 

When the two armies were approaching within striking dis- 
tance, the French were halted by the sound of trumpet, and the 
British deployed into line. Like their enemies, the British were 
in two lines ; the first composed of the Light Brigade a provi- 
sional battalion formed from our corps in Sicily on the right, 
the 78th Highlanders in the centre, and the 8ist on the left. 
The French opened the ball with their field-pieces, but contrary 
to the usual practice of the French artillery, with little effect, 
most of their shot passing over the first line, and not reaching 
the second. The British, on the contrary, made excellent prac- 
tice, every shot carrying off a file of the enemy's men. Then, 
when the line came within reach of musketry, the skirmishers 
were thrown out. Ours, a party of Corsican Rangers, did not 
behave well. At the first fire of the French tirailleurs they fled 
in great haste, and would have been roughly handled but for the 
light company of the 2oth, who rushed forward, and drove 
back the party which had advanced on the Corsicans. 

In a few minutes the hostile lines came within charge dis- 
tance, and the field resounded with volleys of musketry. The 
Light Brigade and the left of the French kept up a close and 
destructive fire, but all at once, as stated in the despatch, this 
was suspended " as if by mutual agreement, and in close, com- 
pact order, and with awful silence, they advanced toward each 
other till their bayonets began to cross. At this momentous 
crisis the enemy became appalled ; they broke and endeavoured 
to fly, but it was too late. They were overtaken with most 
dreadful slaughter." Nor was it otherwise in the centre and 
left. When at 300 yards, says General Stewart of Garth, who 
was present on this part of the field as major of the 7 8th High- 
landers, "the enemy seemed to hesitate, halted, and fired a 


volley. Our line also halted, and instantly returned the salute, 
and when the men had reloaded, a second volley was thrown in. 
The precision with which these two volleys were fired, and their 
effect, was quite remarkable. When the clearing off of the 
smoke (there was hardly a breath of wind to dispel it) enabled 
me to see the French line, the breaks and vacancies caused by 
the men who had fallen by the fire appeared like a paling, of 
which parts had been thrown down or broken. On our side it 
was so different, that, glancing along the rear of my regiment, I 
counted only fourteen who had fallen from the enemy's fire. As 
soon as the smoke had cleared off, so that the enemy could be 
seen, the line advanced at full charge. The enemy, with seeming 
resolution to stand the shock, kept perfectly steady, till, appa- 
rently intimidated by the advance, equally rapid and firm, of an 
enemy, too, who, they were taught to believe, would fly before 
them, their hearts failed, and they faced to the right about, and 
fled with speed, but not in confusion. When they approached 
within a short distance of their second line, they halted, fronted, 
and opened a fire of musketry." The 7 8th again advanced, but 
the French would not stand the shock, and gave way in greater 
confusion than at first. 

The French cavalry attempted to retrieve the fortune of the 
day, but could not bring their horses to the charge. Regnier 
now tried to turn the British left flank. " For this purpose he 
brought forward some battalions, by an oblique movement, to the 
British left, and gained so much on the flank that the second 
line (the grenadier battalion and the 2yth regiment, which now 
came up under General Cole) could not form the line in con- 
tinuation. Throwing back their left, therefore, they formed an 
angle of about sixty degrees to the front line, and in this posi- 
tion opened a most admirably directed and destructive fire, which 
quickly drove back the enemy with great loss." 

As a last attempt, Regnier made another desperate push to 
take our line in flank on the left ; but the 2oth regiment which 
had that morning disembarked from Sicily, and just at this 
moment reached the field marched up and formed on the left, 
nearly at right angles to Gen-eral Cole's brigade. This rein- 
forcement seemed to destroy all further hopes on the part of the 
enemy, who lost confidence, and gave way at all points, throwing 
away their arms and accoutrements to assist them in their flight. 
Neither the light troops nor the loosely-clad Highlanders could 


overtake them, and General Stewart had no cavalry to press the 
pursuit. The loss of the French was almost unprecedented. 
They left 1300 killed and noo severely wounded on the field 
of battle \ and this calculation does not take account of the less 
severely wounded who had retired to the rear. The loss of the 
British was 45 killed and 280 wounded. 

The battle of Maida, like the battle of Alexandria, is 
especially memorable because of its moral effect in raising 
the self-confidence of the British soldiery, and showing them 
that they were more than equal to the veteran troops of France. 
Its immediate results were not, however, very important. The 
French were, for a time, expelled from Calabria, but the fall of 
Gaeta released their main army under Massena; the British, 
exposed to the attack of overwhelming numbers, retired to 
Sicily, and the Calabrian insurrection was suppressed with great 

Prussia grew restless under her unnatural alliance with France, 
and when it became known that Napoleon had offered to restore 
Hanover to Britain, the popular excitement forced the govern- 
ment to declare war. Prussia was promised help from Great 
Britain, Sweden, and Eussia, but before her allies were ready to 
assist her, her power was destroyed on the field of Jena and 
Auerstadt (October 14), Napoleon then proceeded against the 
advancing Russians, and endeavoured to cut off their retreat, 
but the battles of Pultusk and Golymin (December 26) proved 
indecisive, and he took up his winter quarters at Warsaw. 

Next year (1807) the campaign was commenced by the 
Russians, who thought to cut off the French left under Berna- 
dotte and Ney. In the bloody battle of Eylau (February 8) 
the Russians lost 25,000 men, and the French 30,000, besides 
twelve eagles. The battle of Frieclland (June 14) dissolved the 
confederacy against France, and resulted in the Treaty of Tilsit 
(June 25). The French Emperor and the Russian Czar divided 
the world between them ; Russia to be master of the East, and 
France of the West, while both were to join in hostility against 
this country, and " to summon the three courts of Stockholm, 
Copenhagen, and Lisbon to declare war against Great Britain." 

Though Sir Home Popham was reprimanded for his unautho- 
rised attack on Buenos Ayres, the war in South America was 


very popular with the public, and Sir Samuel Achmuty was sent 
out with a fresh force of 3000 men. His operations were 
directed against Monte Video. A force of 6000 Spaniards 
endeavoured to oppose his landing, but they were defeated with 
the loss of a fourth of their number, and the town was taken 
by assault (February 2, 1807). 

This success was highly inspiriting, and orders were sent to 
General Whitelocke, who now commanded in those parts, to 
attempt the recovery of Buenos Ayres. The force under his 
orders numbered 7822 rank and file, including 150 mounted 
dragoons, with 18 guns. The resistance the Spaniards made 
outside the walls was easily overcome, and the morning of the 
5th July was fixed for the assault. The army was broken up 
into divisions, and each division was to proceed along the street 
directly in its front, till it arrived at the last square of houses 
next the Rio de la Plata. At half-past six in the morn- 
ing the troops advanced swiftly to the various points assigned 
to them. Not a sound was heard in Buenos Ayres but the heavy 
tramp of the invaders and the rumbling of their artillery. "At 
length," say the records of the 88th Connaught Rangers, a 
regiment which suffered very severely in this disastrous affair, 
"a few detached shots seemed to give a pre-arranged signal, at 
which the entire population of a vast town was to burst from its 
concealment ; and in an instant the flat roofs of the houses 
swarmed with a mass of musketeers, who poured a deadly and 
almost unerring aim uponjthe British soldiers." The British 
now became aware of the formidable nature of street-fighting, 
of which Saragossa afterwards furnished so memorable an ex- 
ample. A force of 15,000 men, with 200 cannon, stationed on 
the flat roofs of the houses, and occupying every point of 
vantage in the barricaded streets, were great obstacles to pro- 
gress, and the British troops were shot down without being 
able to make any adequate return, or cooped up in houses and 
squares and forced to surrender. When night fell Whitelocke 
found himself in possession of the great square and the Resi- 
dentia; but these advantages had cost him 2500 men, and at the 
instance of the Spanish general, a capitulation was signed (July 
7), by which all British prisoners were restored, on condition 
of the withdrawal of the expedition. As the hope of the public 
had been high, so its indignation was vehement, and Whitelocke 
xvas brought to court-martial and cashiered. 


Russia and Turkey had come to blows about the removal, at 
the instigation of the French Ambassador Sebastiani, of the 
Hospodars of Wallachia and Moldavia (who by the existing 
treaties were not to be removed without the consent of Russia), 
and their replacement by successors in the interest of France ; 
and as Russia was then hard pressed by Napoleon in Poland, an 
application was preferred to the British Cabinet to make a naval 
diversion against Constantinople. Accordingly, Sir John Duck- 
worth was instructed to force the passage of the Dardanelles, 
and threaten the Ottoman capital. His force consisted of 8 
sail of the line and 4 frigates. The passage was effected with 
little loss, and a Turkish squadron in the Sea of Marmora was 
destroyed by Sir Sidney Smith. Had Constantinople been im- 
mediately attacked nothing could have saved it, but the gallant 
admiral allowed himself to be amused by a show of negotiation, 
while the whole population laboured at the defences. In a week 
the Turks had 1000 guns mounted, and a large fleet of 12 sail 
of the line and 100 gun-boats equipped for the defence of the 
harbour. Sir John Duckworth resolved to retreat while retreat 
was still in his power, and (March 3, 1807) the fleet weighed 
and put down the strait^ running the gauntlet of the batteries, 
which had been repaired and strengthened. The ships suffered 
severely from the tremendous cannonade of the Turks, some of 
them being struck with stone shot weighing 800 Ibs., and measur- 
ing 26 inches in diameter. The squadron reached Tenedos with the 
loss of 250 men. Scarcely had it taken up its anchorage when a 
Russian squadron came in sight ; the admiral suggested a return, 
but Sir John Duckworth declined, curtly remarking that "where 
a British squadron had failed no other was likely to succeed." 

Not more successful was a descent on Egypt, undertaken 
to deprive the Turks of those places which they had received 
from us six years before. A small expedition sailed from 
Sicily on the 6th March. The expedition consisted of the 2oth 
Light Dragoons, 3ist, 35th, ;8th Highlanders, De Rolle's regi- 
ment, arid the corps of Chasseurs Britanniques. It was under 
the command of Major-general Mackenzie Fraser, who was accom- 
panied by Major-general Wauchope, and Brigadier-generals the 
Honourable William Stewart and the Honourable Robert Meade. 
The naval portion of the expedition, having the troops and trans- 
ports under convoy, consisted of the Tiger, 74 guns, Captain 


Hallowell, the Apollo, 38 guns, Captain Fellowes, and the 
Wizard sloop-of-war. 

Bad weather was encountered on the passage. The Apollo 
and nineteen transports parted company ; and when the commo- 
dore made the Arab's Tower, off Alexandria, on the i5th, he had 
only fourteen sail under his convoy. Uncertain how to act with 
his force so much reduced, the general ordered the transports to 
stand out to sea, so as not to show themselves within sight of the 
land, while Captain Hallowell ran in to obtain information. 
Major Misset, the British Kesident, urged him to land imme- 
diately, as he knew, he said, that the inhabitants were favourably 
disposed to the British, and hated the French and Turks. The 
garrison, he added, did not exceed 500 men. The transports 
were therefore signalled to stand close in shore, and the squadron 
came to anchor in the western harbour. On the iyth and i8tb, 
the troops were landed, to the number of about 1000 bayonets, 
and a summons was sent to the governor of Alexandria to deliver 
up the fortress. The summons being declined, the general and 
his force moved forward the same evening, and stormed all the 
advanced works of the enemy, carrying the whole of the western 
lines and forts, taking a considerable quantity of artillery, and 
driving out the Turks. Next morning, General Fraser moved 
eastward beyond Pompey's Pillar, and took up a position on the 
ground which our gallant army had oecupied'in 1801. He then 
summoned the town, and the governor, seeing the white sails of the 
Apollo, and of the nineteen transports which had parted company 
in the gale, dotting the horizon, and knowing that the British 
general would soon receive reinforcements with which he could 
not expect to cope, surrendered the same day. In the evening 
the Apollo and the nineteen transports anchored in Aboukir Bay, 
where, on the 22d, they were joined by Duckworth and the fleet 
from the Dardanelles. 

Twice within a few years had our arms been brilliantly suc- 
cessful in Egypt. Twice had the Union Jack been triumphantly 
hoisted above the ancient Grseco-Egyptian city of Alexandria, 
with its ruins, its harbour and shipping, its domed mosques, its 
Cleopatra's Needle, and its Pharos jutting into the sea. But a 
melancholy reverse was in store ! In order to the safe possession 
of Alexandria, it was necessary to reduce Rosetta, a considerable 
town, with a low wall, narrow streets, and houses built of dirty 
red bricks, standing five miles from a branch of the Nile, in a 

1807.] SIEGE OF EOSETTA. 89 

beautiful country, where the date, the orange, the pomegranate, 
and all manner of fruit-trees proper to the climate, flourish 
luxuriantly. On the 2yth, Wauchope and Meade were detached 
to the assault of this place, with the 3ist and the corps of 
Chasseurs Britanniques. " A town like Kosetta," says General 
Stewart, " with high houses, flat roofed, and windows like loop- 
holes, and with streets only a few feet wide, forms a better 
defence to a weak enemy than a walled town which brave troops 
might scale in the face of strong opposition. General Wauchope, 
in the firmness of his own mind, slighted these defences, and, 
forgetting that an imbecile enemy may become formidable if 
placed out of danger, he marched into the town at the head of 
the 3ist regiment, directing his course to an open space, or 
market-place, in the centre of the town. The streets were totally 
deserted. Not a sound was to be heard, nor a person seen. 
When they had proceeded half-way to the market-place, in an 
instant every house was in a blaze, from the first floor to the 
roof, and showers of musketry were fired from every part, while 
the troops were unable to return a shot with any effect. There 
was not a man in sight, nor had the British anything to direct 
their fire but the smoke and flashes from the muzzles of their 
opponents' guns, pointed out of the loophole windows, and over 
the eaves and roofs of the houses. To remain in this situation, 
exposed to an invisible and sheltered enemy, would only have 
been a sacrifice of troops. They therefore retired, with the loss 
of the brave General Wauchope killed, General Meade wounded, 
and 300 soldiers and officers killed and wounded." 

Disconcerted and mortified as General Eraser was at this 
unexpected reverse, he decided on making a second attack, for 
which, indeed, there was now more necessity than ever, for 
famine was threatening Alexandria more and more distinctly 
every day. The execution of this second attack was intrusted 
to Brigadier-general Stewart and Colonel Oswald, with the 
35th, ySth, De Rolle's, a detachment of the Royal Artillery, and 
a body of seamen. This force marched out of Alexandria on the 
6th April, and on the yth, after some trifling skirmishes, took 
possession of the fort and heights of Abumandur, which com- 
mand the town. Rosetta was next day summoned to surrender, 
but the Turks, having been reinforced by a great body of kilted 
Albanians, who had sailed down the Nile, returned a haughty 
refusal. The British then took up a position between the Nile 


and the gate of Alexandria for they were too few to invest the 
whole town erected batteries, and opened fire, but with little 
effect on the strong masses of buildings. " The Turks gave 
themselves no concern about the fate of the inhabitants, looking 
upon them with the same indifference as the Dey of Algiers did 
on his subjects when a British Admiral threatened to bombard 
and blow the town about his ears. ' At that rate,' he said, f and 
to save them some money, I will undertake to do it myself for 
half the price.' " 

Day after day the siege went on, but little impression was 
made on the town, and there was no appearance of the reinforce- 
ment of Mamelukes which General Stewart expected from Upper 
Egypt. The Turks and Albanians, on the other hand, increased 
in numbers and boldness, and made several successful attacks on 
the pickets and advanced posts between Lake Etko and El 
Hamet, a village up the Nile about six miles above Rosetta. 
One of the pickets of De Rolle's regiment was completely cut 
off, not a man escaping. 

But El Hamet itself was soon to witness a darker tragedy. 

Major Vogelsang of De Rolle's was stationed there with a de- 
tachment of his regiment, and so important was the post deemed, 
that, on the 2oth, Lieutenant-colonel Macleod of the 7 8th was 
ordered to reinforce and take the command of the position. 
He had with him five companies of his own regiment, two of the 
35th, and a small body of cavalry. When he arrived at El 
Hamet, Colonel Macleod divided his small force into three 
bodies, proportioning the artillery and dragoons between each. 
One party was stationed on the banks of the Nile, one in the 
centre, and the third on a dry canal with a broad embankment, 
which ran between the Nile and Lake Etko, a distance of 
about two miles. All was quiet on the 2oth, but next 
morning a flotilla of about seventy djerms (large boats) was 
observed descending the Nile, while numerous detached bodies 
of Turkish cavalry began to assemble round the British posts. 
With the intention of concentrating his force, and, if unable 
to make any effectual opposition, of retreating to the camp 
before Rosetta, Colonel Macleod proceeded to the post on the 
right, which was occupied by a company of the 35th and the 
grenadiers of the 7 8th. But concentration of the little force 
was out of the question, for the enemy landed from the boats, 
and proceeded with great rapidity against the posts in the centre 


and on the left, while the post on the right was surrounded by 
the cavalry and a body of Albanian infantry, who attacked it with 
great fury at all points. Colonel Macleod formed his men into a 
square, which for a long time resisted every effort of the enemy, 
who formed a circle round the position, and fired in their usual 
confused manner, shooting so wildly that their lead passed over 
the heads of the British, and struck their own men and horses on 
the other side. But their numbers and bravery made up 
for their want of discipline. With loud shrill cries of "La la 
ha il Allah ! Vras ! Vras ! " ( There is no God but God ! 
Kill ! Kill ! ") the cavalry charged up to the very points of 
the bayonets, and attempted to cut down our men in the front 
of the square, which, incessantly assailed on all sides by the 
sabres, pistols, yataghans, matchlocks, and long lances of the 
foe, was every minute thinning in numbers and lessening in 
size. But the survivors fought the disastrous and dishearten- 
ing fight as bravely as if they had been hewing their way to 
victory. Their comrades were every moment falling around 
them, and they knew that their own fate could not be long de- 
layed ; still they closed in upon the vacancies, and fought with 
the desperation of despair. Completely surrounded as they 
were, they could not venture to charge to any front of the 
square, lest they should be assailed in the rear the moment they 
faced about. So numerous were the assailants, that the cavalry 
frequently crossed and jostled each other, and impeded their 
own movements, as they advanced on the square, or retired from 
its fire ; but the boldness of their attacks, however irregular, and 
the dexterity with which they handled the sword, proved de- 
structive to the little band of British. 

In this desperate conflict many deeds of valour were performed. 
Sergeant John Macrae, of the ySth Highlanders, a young man of 
about two-and-twenty, but of great size and unusual strength of 
arm, hewed down seven men with his broadsword. After the 
sixth man fell, he dashed out at a Turk, whom he cut down, 
but as he was returning to the ranks, he was killed by a blow 
from behind, his head being nearly cut in two by a sabre 
stroke. The sergeant was one of eight Macraes who fell in 
this fatal fight. 

At length Colonel Macleod and all the officers were killed, 
except Captain Mackay of the ySth, who was severely wounded, 
and of the men, only eleven of the 78th and an equally small 


number of the 35th were left standing. Captain Mackay, seeing 
that further resistance was useless, made a desperate push to join 
the centre. He and the few survivors, most of them wounded, 
charged furiously through the enemy, and several succeeded in 
making good their way, but others perished in the attempt. 
Captain Mackay himself had nearly reached the centre, when an 
Arab horseman struck at his neck, and with such force as must 
infallibly have severed his head from his body, but for the cape of 
his coat and a necklotb, both of which were unusually thick. As 
it was, the sabre cut to the bone, and the captain fell flat to the 
ground, when he was taken up and carried to the post by Sergeant 
Waters, the only individual who escaped unhurt. 

The annihilation of the right decided the fate of the centre and 
left posts, of which the commanding officers, seeing that further 
resistance was hopeless, and desirous of saving the lives of their 
men, hung out a white handkerchief as a signal of surrender. 

And now an extraordinary scene occurred, in the struggling 
and scrambling of the enemy for prisoners, who, according to the 
custom of the Turks, became the private property of the person 
who took them. In this contest for prize-money, the British 
soldiers were pulled and hauled about with little ceremony, till 
the more active of the Turks had secured their prey, after which 
they were marched a little distance up the river, where every 
Turkish soldier received payment for his prisoners at the rate of 
seven dollars a head. Some of the horsemen, less intent upon 
prize-money than their companions, amused themselves by gallop- 
ing about, each with the head of a British soldier stuck on the 
point of his lance. The morning after the battle, the ferocious 
Turks exhibited, in front of the place where the British soldiers 
were confined, upwards of a hundred stuffed scalps, arrayed in 
regular order ; and when the captives arrived in Cairo, they were 
paraded through the streets for seven hours, exposed to the 
scoffs and insults of the populace. 

This disastrous affair at El Hamet virtually closed the cam- 
paign. Despairing of succour, either from Britain or from the 
discontented beys whom he had ostensibly come to aid, General 
Fraser quitted Alexandria, and, after an exchange of prisoners, 
sailed for Sicily. 

Some of the captives rose to high rank among the Turks. 
Among those taken and reserved for slavery was Thomas Keith, 
a private of the 7 8th. This young man in after years became 


governor of Medina, aga of Mamelukes, and one of the greatest 
leaders in Mohammed's war with the Wahabees, by whom he was 
slain in the battle of El Ross. A drummer boy, reserved for the 
same fate, attained high rank in Egypt, and lived there under 
the name of Osman. 

The secret articles of the treaty of Tilsit by some means or 
other became known to the British Cabinet, which learned with 
apprehension that Portugal, Sweden, and Denmark were to be 
forced to close their harbours against all British vessels, and 
place their fleets at the disposal of France. Napoleon, it seemed, 
had not given up his favourite idea the invasion of Britain. 
His plan was to get possession of all the fleets of Europe, and 
unite them on some central point, whence an irresistible army 
could be poured on the British shores. Therefore, when the 
march of French troops to Holstein indicated that a commence- 
ment was to be made with the Danish fleet, our cabinet took the 
alarm ; and as the government of Copenhagen was known to be 
far from averse to the French alliance, prompt measures were 
necessary. Admiral Gambier was despatched to Copenhagen, 
with a fleet of 25 sail of the line and about 40 smaller vessels, 
carrying an army of 27,000 men, under General Lord Cathcart. 
On the 4th of August the force appeared before Copenhagen, 
and a summons was sent to the city. Its terms not being 
complied with, the British ships and batteries opened fire 
(September 2). Great damage was done ; 2000 persons were 
slain in the streets or on the ramparts, and whole quarters were 
laid in ashes. The stubborn valour of the Danes gave way, and 
a treaty was signed (September 7), by which the Danish fleet of 
1 8 sail of the line, 15 frigates, and upwards of 30 smaller vessels, 
was surrendered to Britain. 


TO CORUNNA. 1808-1809. 

Roli<ja Vimiero Sir John Moore's March into Spain The Retreat to 
Corunna Battle of Corunna Lord Cochrane in the Basque Roads. 

E have now reached a point when the interest of the 
European struggle, as far as Britain is concerned, 
centres in the Peninsular war. Napoleon's first 
designs in the Peninsula were on Portugal. A secret 
treaty with Spain enabled him to send his troops through 
Spanish territory. The march of Junot to Lisbon was heralded 
by an ominous line in the " Moniteur," which proclaimed that 
" the house of Braganza had ceased to reign in Europe." The 
Prince-regent fled across the Atlantic, to seek in other climes 
" that freedom of which Europe had become unworthy." An in- 
sane quarrel was meanwhile distracting the royal house of Spain. 
Napoleon saw the opportunity which he had long sought. 
Inveigling the royal family to Bayonne, he plied them with 
cajolery and threats, until he succeeded in extracting from them 
a complete transference to himself of the crown of Spain. He 
then removed his brother Joseph (June 6, 1808) from Naples to 
Madrid, where he was upheld by French bayonets, while the 
Spanish royal family was sent to Valengay, a seat of Talley- 
rand's, in the heart of France. 

These arrangements did not, however, meet with the approval 
of the great body of the Spanish nation. They were alike 
distasteful to the peasantry, animated by religious enthusiasm, 
and to the citizens, fired by democratic ambition. The people flew 
to arms, and when worsted in the field maintained a terrible 


guerilla warfare. In their extremity they applied to our 
government for help. The application was received with 
enthusiasm by all classes and parties, and for the first time the 
war against Napoleon's ambition was carried on without a 
dissentient voice. 

Sir Arthur Wellesley, the hero of Assaye, was selected for the 
command of the English forces destined for the Peninsula. 
Sailing from the Cove of Cork, i2th July, 1808, he called at 
Corunria to confer with the Junta of Galicia, and upon their 
advice proceeded southward to effect a landing in Portugal. 
The bay into which the Mondego flows was selected as the 
place of disembarkation (August i). Sir Arthur then marched 
south, holding on by the coast for ship supplies, and keeping 
his troops in mass, to strike a blow as near Lisbon as possible, 
and bring the affairs of Portugal to a crisis. Including the 
Portuguese, his force amounted to 13,480 infantry, 470 cavalry, 
and 1 8 guns. The French general De Laborde, whom Junot 
had sent forward to check his progress, had under him 5500 
infantry and 500 cavalry, with 5 field-pieces. With consummate 
skill De Laborde had chosen his ground, the heights of Roliga, 
whose steep rocks were rendered more difficult to climb by the 
tangling growth of myrtle and arbutus. At seven in the 
morning (August 17) the British army moved forward to the 
attack in three columns. The brunt of the contest fell on 
the centre, 9000 strong with 12 guns, commanded by Sir 
Arthur in person. The French position could only be ap- 
proached by narrow paths winding through deep ravines, and 
our columns advanced with great difficulty. The skirmishers 
dashed into the rugged glens, and pressed forward with ringing 
cheers and an incessant roll of musketry, the French gallantly 
disputing every inch of ground. The right of the 2pth arrived 
first at the top, exposed to a withering fire from the enemy, who 
were concealed by the shrubs and stones. The leading company 
'was destroyed, and the dead and wounded blocked the mouth 
of the pass ; but the regiment halted only for a moment. Colonel 
Lake called on his men to follow him, waved his hat, and 
spurred on his charger. His men answered with cheers, and 
struggled on to the top, but before they could deploy, some 
French companies, which had been cut off on the right, broke 
through the column, and carried with them a major and fifty or 
sixty other prisoners. Thus pressed, the head of the regiment 

i8o8.] THE 9TH AND 2QTII AT ROLIA. 97 

fell back, but at this moment the gih issued from the pass, led 
by Colonel Stewart. The 2Qth had already lost some 300 
men in their desperate attempts to reach the plateau, but on 
being joined by the Qth they again pushed forward with 
unabated ardour, and both regiments formed on the crown of 
the hill. Then came the final struggle of the day. Lake and 
Stewart both fell. The former was pierced by seven balls, and 
his sergeant-major, who stood over his body, received no less 
than thirteen wounds. The French charged again and again, 
with all their wonted bravery, but they failed to destroy the 
two British regiments before they could be succoured, and on 
the approach of the 5th and Ferguson's division to tuft* his 
right, De Laborde began to retire by alternate masses,, protect- 
ing his retreat by bold charges of cavalry. The French loss 
was 600 ; ours was 70 killed, 335 wounded, and 74 missing. 
The firing ceased a little after four o'clockj and thus ended the 
first fight of the war, affording 1 an earnest of the future suc- 
cesses of the British arms in the Peninsula. 

In a day or two the victor of RoliQa sank to be a- mere general 
of division. A ship was off the Spanish coast with Sir Harry 
Burrard, who had been appointed to act as second in command 
to Sir Hew Dalrymple, and Sir John Moore was also on his way 
to the Peninsula. But before the laton of command had 
actually passed from his hands, Sir Arthur Wellesley had the 
satisfaction of scoring a second;, and more important, victory. 
The armies met at Vimiero, a village about thirty miles north 
of Lisbon (August 21). The British force numbered 18,000 
men, with 18 guns, exclusive of Trant's Portuguese, The 
French, 14,000 strong (1300 being- cavalry \ were under the 
command of Junot himself, who had De Laborde, Brennier, 
Loison, Kellerman, Solignac, and Margaron, all men- of tried 
military ability, for divisional leaders. Junot took the offensive. 
He formed two principal attacks, one under Brennier against 
the British left, and the other under DB Laborde against the 
British centre. 

The action commenced at ten o'clock.- De Laborde's skir- 
mishers came on with all the impetuosity of their nation the 
British pickets were at once driven in, and De Laborde's lines 
were suddenly deployed in front of the brigades of Fane and 
Anstruther. But Brennier had got entangled in the ravine 
which protected- the British left. Ackland's brigade, therefore, 



which was moving along the heights to support Bowes, Nightin- 
gale, and Ferguson on the left, halted and opened a battery 
against De Laborde's right. Junot issued orders to Loison to 
support De Laborde's attack, and to Solignac to turn the ravine 
in which Brennier was entangled, and fall on the left extremity 
of the British line. Thus supported, De Laborde's people 
rushed up the hill, drove in the English skirmishers, and reached 
the summit of the plateau ; but their ranks were torn by 
showers of musketry, round shot, and shrapnell. They staggered 
under the storm, but re-forming under a green hillock, again 
advanced to the attack. The gallant 5oth, or Black Half 
Hundred, so called from the colour of its facings, poured 
in a volley at twenty yards and then rushed on with the 
bayonet, and the shattered ranks were forced over the edge of 
the plateau. Part of the 2oth Light Dragoons charged the 
huddled mass and completed the rout. The French artillery- 
men cut their traces and fled. The minor attack on Anstruther's 
position was repulsed by the 52d and 97th. Kellerman rein- 
forced the assailants with a column of grenadiers. These choice 
troops came on at a running pace, and beat back the advanced 
companies of the 430!, which were stationed in the churchyard 
on Fane's left. But Rohe's artillery and the muskets of Bowes' 
and Ackland's brigades crushed and disordered their ranks. 
" Then," says Napier, " when the narrowness of the way and 
the sweep of the round shot was crushing and disordering the 
French ranks, the 43d, rallying in one mass, went furiously 
down upon the very head of the column, and with a short and 
fierce struggle drove it back in confusion. In this fight the 
British regiment suffered severely, and so close was the combat 
that Patrick, sergeant-armourer of the 43d, and a French 
soldier, were found dead, still grasping their muskets, with the 
bayonets driven through each body from breast to back ! " 

The French, having completely failed in their attack on the 
centre, now began to fall back along the whole front. Colonel 
Taylor of the 2oth Light Dragoons pressed the pursuit with the 
handful of cavalry, but was in turn charged by Margaron with 
his whole brigade of horsemen. Taylor was shot through the 
heart, and half his squadron were cut to pieces. Kellerman then 
threw his reserved grenadiers into a pine wood, and with Mar- 
garon's cavalry covered the retreat of the beaten masses. 

The three hours' struggle in the centre was almost terminated 


before the attack on the left was delivered. Solignac encoun- 
tered Ferguson's brigade, which closed the left of the English 
position, but was repulsed with the loss of 6 guns. Ferguson 
left the 7ist and 82d to guard these pieces, and pressed on in 
pursuit. Just at that moment Brennier issued from the ravine. 
The yist and 82d had lain down on the grass to rest, no enemy 
being visible, and Brennier appeared so unexpectedly that he re- 
took the guns. His success, however, was but momentary. The 
two regiments retired to a little eminence, where they re-formed, 
and, after pouring in a heavy fire of musketry, returned to the 
charge with a shout, overthrew their opponents, recovered the 
guns, and took Brennier himself prisoner. He was wounded, 
and would have been bayoneted but for Corporal John Mackay 
of the yist, to whom in gratitude he offered his watch, but the 
Highlander would not accept it. Stewart, the piper of the 
grenadier company of the 7ist, had his thigh broken by a musket 
ball, but he had no thoughts of quitting the field, and, sitting 
on his knapsack, continued to play a stirring pibroch. For this 
devotion to duty he received a handsome stand of pipes from the 
Highland Society of Scotland. The French right was utterly 
broken, and Ferguson would have cut off the greater part of 
Solignac's division, but for Sir Harry Burrard, who had arrived 
on the field shortly after the commencement of the action, and 
now assumed the chief command. Neither would he allow Sir 
Arthur Wellesley to press the pursuit, although, had he done 
so, Junot must have lost all his artillery and several thousand 
stragglers. As it was, the French lost 2000 killed or wounded, 
400 prisoners, 13 guns, 23 ammunition-waggons, arid upwards 
of 20,000 cartridges. The British loss was 135 killed, 534 
wounded, and 51 missing. 

The result of the battle was a convention, concluded at 
Cintra (Aug. 23), for the evacuation of Portugal, and between 
the 1 5th and 3oth September the whole French army, to the 
number of 22,000, sailed from the Tagus, with all their artillery, 
arms, and baggage, which meant the whole of the booty they had 
amassed by the plunder of the country. The convention was re- 
ceived in Britain with a burst of indignation, and Sir Hew 
Dalrymple lost the command of Gibraltar. 

Sir Hew Dalrymple and Sir Harry Burrard having gone to 
England to attend the inquiry, the command in the Peninsula 


devolved on Sir John Moore, who pushed in a north-easterly 
direction from Coimbra, and entered Spain. Five Spanish 
armies, he was told, were waiting to unite with his small force. 
At Mayorga he was joined by Sir David Baird, and his army 
amounted to 25,580 men; but alarming tidings reached him. 
Napoleon had crossed the Pyrenees in person, to drive into the 
sea " those leopards whose hideous presence was contaminating 
the Peninsula." The Spanish armies had been scattered like 
chaff, and Napoleon had entered Madrid in triumph (Dec. 4). 
A force of 100,000 French was moving in four great bodies to 
crush Moore at a single blow. The retreat was at once commenced. 
The bridge of Castrogonzalo over the swollen torrent of the Esla 
was destroyed, and the cavalry of the Imperial guard were routed 
at the fords of the river by the British dragoons. On the last 
day of the year (1808) the French columns were concentrated at 
Astorga, and Napoleon looked from the hills upon the files of the 
English disappearing in the distance. But news of hostile de- 
signs on the part of Austria called him away from the Peninsula, 
and he left Soult to press the retreat. 

To reach our shipping at Corunna and abandon the country 
by sea, without the slaughter of a useless battle with a foe whose 
numbers were overwhelming, was Moore's object. And now 
began the masterly but disastrous retreat, which has few parallels 
in the annals of warfare. Closely pursued by the French cavalry, 
and destitute of every necessary, the army struggled for 250 
miles through the snow-drifts of the Galician mountains, without 
the loss of a single standard or piece of cannon. Their sufferings 
were intense. While the rear-guard of cavalry kept the enemy 
in check, the jaded, famished, worn-out infantry pushed on, 
hopeless, heartless, and in rags, leaving terrible traces of their 
route by the wayside on the snow dead or dying men, women, 
children, horses, and mules. " I looked round," says an officer, 
" when we had gained the highest point of these slippery preci- 
pices, and saw the rear of the army winding along the narrow road. 
I saw the way marked by the wretched people, who lay on all 
sides expiring from fatigue and the severity of the cold; their 
bodies reddened in spots the white surface of the ground." The 
disappointment and chagrin of the soldiers knew no bounds. 
They blamed the general for the tardiness of his former advance 
and the rapidity of his present retreat. They cursed the 
Spaniards, who, they had been told, were to be their fellow- 


soldiers in the field and their friends and brothers in quarters, 
and whose coldness and inhospitality had caused them much 
privation and suffering which might otherwise have been spared. 
The first ebullition of their rage naturally broke out against the 
unfortunate people, whom they unreasonably supposed to be the 
authors of their disappointment and disgrace. Their turbulence 
and depredations rose to a pitch hitherto unheard of in a Bri- 
tish army. Worn out with fatigue, benumbed with cold, and 
frequently without food, they were driven to the madness of 
despair, and seemed utterly reckless of life. Discipline was gone ; 
the word of command was lost in the cry of plunder and vengeance. 
Villages and houses blazed in all directions. Stores and cellars 
were burst open, and the madness of intoxication was added to 
the madness of despair. Men were murdered, women violated, 
houses plundered. It was a frightful scene of misery, intoxica- 
tion, and disorder. Yet the men on all occasions displayed their 
native courage and intrepidity. "Whenever the enemy ap- 
peared," says General Stewart, " he was met with spirit, and 
never, in any instance, obtained the most trifling advantage. At 
Lugo, where General Moore offered battle, which Soult thought 
proper to decline, the greatest alacrity and animation were exhi- 
bited. The lame, the sick, or the fatigued, who were lagging 
along, or lying on the ground seemingly unable to move, no 
sooner heard the firing, or were led to believe that an attack was 
to be made, than their misery and weakness appeared instantly 
to vanish. At the slightest indication of a brush with the enemy, 
they sprang up with renewed animation, and seizing their arms, 
prepared to join their comrades.'' A private of the yist, who 
has left an interesting account of his campaigning in the Penin- 
sula, gives a very graphic picture of the retreat and its miseries, 
and the readiness of the starving soldiers to meet the enemy. 
" From Castro to Lugo," he says, "is about 48 miles, where we 
were promised two days' rest. Donald fell out again from sick- 
ness, and I from lameness and fatigue. When the French 
arrived we formed with the others as before, and they fell back. 
I heard them more than once say, as they turned from the points 
of our bayonets, that they would rather face a hundred fresh 
Germans than ten dying English." 

After a forced night-march, the crowd of weary and spectral 
figures reached the heights above Corunna (Jan. n, 1809), but 
not a ship was visible in the bay. The transports lay wind- 

102 THE 42D AND 5OTII AT ELVINA. [1809. 

bound at Vigo, 120 miles distant, and did not arrive until the 
1 4th. For two days Soult suffered the embarkation to proceed 
without molestation, but on the i6th his columns were seen ad- 
vancing to the attack, 20,000 strong. The British, now reduced 
to 14,500, were quickly arrayed to oppose him. The French 
occupied the range of hills which surrounds Corunna on the land 
side ; De Laborde on the right, Merle in the centre, and Merinet, 
with a great battery, on the left. The cavalry formed to the 
left of the battery. The French position was strengthened by 
the villages of Palavia-abaxo and Portoza, and a great wood in 
the centre. Moore formed his men on a lower range of hills 
nearer Corunna. Baird's division occupied the right, and Hope's 
formed the centre and left. Paget's reserve was posted behind 
the centre at Airis ; one battalion kept the French cavalry in 
check, and was connected with the main body by a line of skir- 
mishers extended across the valley. Fraser's division held the 
heights immediately above the gates of Corunna, and was ready 
to succour any point. In front of Baird's position was the village 
of Elvina, which was held by the pickets of the 5oth. 

The battle began about two in the afternoon, by a heavy fire 
from the great French battery, and the lighter guns which Soult 
had distributed along the front of his position. The French 
infantry then advanced to the attack in three columns, throwing 
out clouds of skirmishers as they descended the grassy slopes. 
The British pickets were driven in pell-mell, and the village of 
Elvina was carried by the first French column, which then sepa- 
rated into two divisions, and assailed Baird's front and right. 
The second column attacked the centre, and the third made 
against the left. The British centre was raked by the heavy 
guns of the French battery, to which Moore's nine 6-pounders 
could make no effectual reply. Moore, therefore, ordered Paget 
to advance with the reserve, to turn the French left and menace 
the great battery. Fraser he ordered to support Paget, and then 
threw back the 4th regiment, which formed the right of Baird's 
division, to pour volleys into the flank of the French troops that 
were penetrating up the valley, while the 5oth and the 42d met 
those breaking through Elvina. 

The battle raged most fiercely at Elvina. The struggle was 
maintained in every house and garden, and the two British regi- 
ments suffered severely. Stewart and Moore, the ensigns of the 
$oth, were slain, but the colour-sergeants seized the colours and 


bore them through the combat. One of the majors, Stanhope, 
was severely wounded, and the other, Charles Napier (the future 
conqueror of Scinde), received five bayonet wounds, and was 
taken prisoner. " Well done, the $oth ! " cried Moore j " High- 
landers, remember Egypt ! " and the two gallant regiments again 
rushed to the attack, and drove the French out to the slopes 
behind the village. The struggle was terrible ; the dead and 
wounded lay in ghastly piles in the streets and gardens of Elvina. 
The guards were now ordered forward to fill the gap in the 
line caused by the advance of the 42d and the 5oth. The 42d, 
thinking, as their ammunition was all spent, that the guards 
had come as a relief, began to fall back, and the enemy, being 
reinforced, renewed the fight beyond the village. At this crisis 
Moore galloped up to the 42d, and crying out, " My brave High- 
landers, you have still your bayonets," sent them back to the 
attack. Moore was watching the result of the fight about Elvina 
when he was flung from his horse by a cannon-ball, which shat- 
tered his shoulder and fearfully mangled his breast ; but not- 
withstanding the dreadful agony of the wound, he rose again in 
a sitting posture, and not till he saw the plumes of the 42d 
waving in Elvina would he suffer himself to be taken to the rear. 
Six soldiers Highlanders and guardsmen carried him into 
Corunna. His sword got entangled, and the hilt entered the 
wound, but he would not suffer it to be removed. " I had rather 
it should go out of the field with me," said the dying com- 
mander, with a soldier's pride. He often stopped his bearers 
that he might look on the field, and at last he had the satisfac- 
tion of learning that his troops were victorious along the whole 
line. " I hope the people of England will be satisfied," he said, 
just before life passed away ; " I hope my country will do me 
justice;" and then, muttering something about his mother, and 
about Lady Esther Stanhope, whom he is said to have loved with 
great tenderness, the hero expired. 

During the night the wounded men were collected by torch- 
light and all the troops were embarked. Our loss was 800 ; the 
French loss was estimated at 3000. One duty remained 
the burial of the slain chief, who was interred by the officers 
of his staff in a hastily-dug grave in the citadel of Corunna. 
The fallen hero was buried "with his martial cloak around 
him," for there were no means to provide a coffin. The feeble 
light of a wintry morning was breaking over Corunna, and the 

104 IN THE BASQUE EOADS. [1809. 

French guns were beginning to boom across the harbour, while 
the Kev. H. J. Symonds, the chaplain of the guards, read the 
funeral service. None of the usual military honours were paid, 
that the enemy might not know the great loss which the army 
had sustained, but when the French took possession of Corunna 
their guns paid his funeral honours, and the tricolour of France 
was hoisted half-mast high on the citadel. Soult, in the noble 
spirit of chivalry, raised a monument to his memory on the field 
of battle. Thus ended this disastrous but not altogether in- 
glorious campaign, our first in the Spanish Peninsula. 

The hopes of the nation, cast down by the disasters of the 
Corunna campaign, were again raised by a partial naval success 
in the Basque Roads. A squadron of 8 sail of the line and 2 frigates, 
under Admiral Villaumez, had stolen out of Brest, and formed 
a junction with another force of 3 ships and 5 frigates. They 
Avere immediately blockaded by Lord Gambier with 1 1 sail of 
the line ; and as the strength of the French position, under the 
batteries of Isle d'Aix and Oleron, and surrounded by shoals, 
made a regular action hazardous, it was resolved to make the attack 
by fire-ships. The conduct of the attack was entrusted to Lord 
Cochrane, who was well acquainted with the French coast, and 
had proved himself equal to any deed of daring. The force 
prepared for the attempt consisted of 20 fire-ships, 3 explosion 
vessels, and a transport laden with congreve rockets. The 
explosion vessels were equipped under Lord Cochrane's imme- 
diate supervision, as it was on them he chiefly relied. He 
calculated that the novelty of these engines of attack would 
impress the French with the idea that every fire-ship was an 
explosion vessel, and that, in place of offering opposition, they 
would be driven ashore in their attempt to escape. Each 
explosion vessel contained 1500 barrels of powder, several hun- 
dred shells, and 3000 hand grenades, placed on a firm floor of 
logs, and pressed down into a solid mass by means of wedges 
and sand. The French ships were in double line, close to the 
Isle of Aix. Three frigates were about 700 yards in advance. 
About no yards in front of these frigates again was a strong 
boom moored across the channel. This boom was protected by 
the French ships of the line, consisting of one 120 gun-ship, 
two of 80 guns, seven of 74 guns, and one of 50. Their broad- 
sides bore right upon it ; while the anchorage was protected by the 


shore batteries, mounting upwards of 30 heavy guns, besides 

At length the great day came (April n, 1809), and the 
British proceeded to the attack with the comfortable reflection 
that if a red-hot shot reached them from the batteries of Aix 
and they were not more than half a mile distant nothing could 
prevent them being " hoist with their own petard," and blown into 
the air. It blew hard, with a high sea. The Imperieuse, Aigle, 
Unicorn, and Pallas frigates were anchored close to the edge of 
the Boyart shoal, for the purpose of receiving the crews of the 
fire-ships on their return, as well as to support the boats of the 
fleet assembled alongside the Ccesar to assist the fire-ships. Lord 
Cochrane himself embarked on board the largest explosion 
vessel, accompanied by Lieutenant Bissel and a volunteer crew 
of four men, and led the way to the attack. The night was 
dark, and the wind, though blowing hard, was fair, and he soon 
reached the estimated position of the advanced French ships. 
Judging his distance as well as he could, the crew entered the 
gig, while Lord Cochrane kindled the port fires ; and then, 
descending into the boat, urged the men to pull for their lives. 
In about seven or eight minutes the explosion vessel blew up, 
" the effect," says Lord Cochrane in his autobiography, " con- 
stituting one of the grandest artificial spectacles imaginable. 
For a moment the sky was red with the lurid glare arising from 
the simultaneous ignition of 1500 barrels of powder. On this 
gigantic flash subsiding the air seemed alive with shells, grenades, 
rockets, and masses of timber, the wreck of the shattered vessel ; 
whilst the water was strewn with spars, shaken out of the enor- 
mous boom, on which the vessel had brought up before she 
exploded. The sea was convulsed as by an earthquake, rising 
in a huge wave, on which our boat was lifted like a cork, and 
as suddenly dropped into a vast trough, out of which, as it 
closed upon us with the rush of a whirlpool, none expected to 
emerge." The strong boom, more than a mile in length, was 
completely shattered ; and on his way back to the Imperieuse 
Lord Cochrane had the satisfastion of seeing two fire-ships pass 
over the spot where it had been moored. The French were panic- 
struck by the suddenness of the awful explosion, and in their 
alarm and confusion fired into each other. Every fire-ship that 
bore down on them they took for a dreaded explosion vessel ; 
and their only thought being how to escape certain destruction, 


they allowed themselves to drift away broadside on the wind 
and tide. 

At daylight (April 12) not a spar of the boom was visible, 
and thirteen of the French ships were aground. The entire 
fleet was helpless, with the exception of the Foudroyant, So, 
and the Cassard, 74, which had brought up. The other ships, 
by the fall of the tide, were lying on their bilge, with their 
bottoms completely exposed to shot, and therefore beyond the 
possibility of resistance. Lord Cochrane signalled the state of 
affairs to the admiral again and again, but Lord Gambier 
refused to move, although the French fleet was in his power. 
His opinion that explosion vessels were " a horrible and anti- 
Christian mode of warfare " may have had something to do with 
his inaction ; at any rate he would not move, and at one P.M. 
Lord Cochrane, full of indignation and disgust, and knowing 
that every hour was allowing the French to recover themselves, 
ordered the anchor of the Imperieuse to be hove atrip, and 
drifted stern foremost towards the enemy, with the object of 
compelling the admiral to send vessels to his assistance. 

Proceeding thus for half an hour, exposed to every gun on 
the Isle of Aix, he suddenly made sail after the nearest of the 
enemy's vessels escaping. " In order," says Lord Cochrane, " to 
divert our attention from the vessels we were pursuing, these 
having thrown their guns overboard, the Calcutta (French line- 
of-battle ship) which was still aground, broadside on, began 
firing at us. Before proceeding further it became, therefore, 
necessary to attack her, and at 1.50 P.M. we shortened sail and 
returned the fire. At two the Imperieuse came to an anchor in 
five fathoms, and, veering to half a cable, kept fast the spring, 
firing upon the Calcutta with our broadside, and at the same 
time upon the Aquilon and Ville de Varsovie with our forecastle 
and bow guns, both these ships being aground, stern on, in an 
opposite direction. After engaging the Calcutta for some time, 
and simultaneously firing into the sterns of the two grounded 
line-of -battle ships, we had at length the satisfaction of observing 
several ships sent to our assistance viz., Emerald, Unicorn, 
Indefatigable, Valiant, Revenge, Pallas, and Aigle. On seeing 
this, the captain and crew of the Calcutta abandoned their vessel, 
of which the boats of the Imperieuse took possession before the 
vessels sent to our assistance came down." 

Before dusk the Aquilon and the Ville de Varsovie struck, 


and the crew of the Tonnerre, setting fire to her, made their 
escape in their boats. The Cassard, Ocean, Regulus, Jem- 
mappes, and Tourville were all aground, and their crews 
deserting them, and might easily have been destroyed, but Lord 
Gambier ordered the advanced ships to be recalled. Notwith- 
standing this, Lord Cochrane continued the attack ; but on the 
morning of the i3th he received a letter from the admiral, 
ordering his return in such peremptory terms that he could no 
longer refuse compliance. On this the French crews returned 
to their ships and warped them into the Charente. 

Next day the Imperieuse sailed for England, with Lord 
Gambler's despatches. Lord Cochrane was the hero of the 
hour, and received a knighthood and the blue ribbon of the 
Bath. But evil days were in store for him. The Ministry 
determined to propose a vote of thanks to Lord Gambier. As 
member for Westminster, Lord Cochrane signified his intention 
to oppose the resolution from his place in the House of 
Commons. Lord Gambier, accordingly, demanded a court- 
martial. The Ministry espoused the cause of Lord Gambier, 
witnesses and log-books alike were tampered with, and the 
result was that Gambier was honourably acquitted on all the 
points at issue. This meant professional ruin to Lord Coch- 
rane. He was never again employed in the British navy, and 
he became the victim of an official persecution which embittered 
his whole life and lasted almost to its close. The remainder of 
his professional activity was devoted to the cause of liberty, as 
admiral of the fleets of Chili, Brazil, and Greece. On the other 
side of the Channel two captains were condemned to terms of 
imprisonment, and Captain Lafon, for shamefully abandoning 
the Calcutta in the presence of the enemy, suffered death on 
board the admiral's ship. 

Napoleon's opinion was that if Cochrane had been supported 
he would have taken every one of the French ships. The vic- 
tory, however, partial as it was, led to the capture of the French 
West India Islands, which it had been the object of the Brest 
squadron to relieve. Martinique fell in February, and by the 
capture of St. Domingo, in July, the French flag was wholly 
excluded from the West Indian sea. This year also were cap- 
tured the African settlement of Senegal, the Isle of Bourbon, 
in the Indian Ocean, and the Ionian Islands. 



Passage of the Doxiro Wellington's First March into Spain Talavera 
The "Walcheren Expedition Busaeo Barosa Fuentes d'Ofioro. 

N the death of Sir John Moore, Sir Arthur Wellesley 
was reinstated in the Peninsular command. Since 
the battle of Corunna the French had overrun all the 
north of Portugal. Wellesley lost no time in mov- 
ing north to Oporto, where Soult lay. Wellesley had 15,000 
foot and 1600 horse; while Beresford, with 6000 foot and 
1000 horse, marched towards the Upper Douro. The ad- 
vanced posts of Wellesley's and Soult's armies met on the nth 
May, and the French, rapidly retreating, crossed the Douro, and 
burned the bridge of boats. A deep swift river, more than 300 
yards wide, and guarded by 10,000 veterans, might have proved 
an impassable obstacle, but for the negligence of Soult and the 
daring of Wellesley. By a lucky accident Colonel Waters dis- 
covered that a barber had come over in a skiff the previous 
night, and that this boat, hidden away among the bulrushes, 
had escaped the notice of the French. Waters, and the barber, 
and the Prior of Amarante, crossed in the skiff, and brought over 
three barges. 

At ten in the forenoon (May 12, 1809) it was reported to 
Wellesley that one boat had reached the point of passage. 
" Well, let the men cross," was the laconic order, and in a 
quarter of an hour an officer and 25 men of the 3d Buffs were 
silently placed in the midst of the French army. This small de- 
tachment took possession of a large isolated building on the 


bank of the river called the Seminary, which was easily ap- 
proached from the river, but was surrounded by a high wall 
on the land side, the only egress being by an iron gate on 
the Vallonga Road. The Seminary commanded all the country 
on the north bank, but was itself commanded by the Serra 
Rock on the south side, where Wellesley placed 18 guns in 
batter}-. A second boat crossed, and no sound was heard, 
but as the third boat was making its passage a tumultuous 
noise rang through Oporto, the drums beat to arms, and the 
French troops rushed out of the city, and threw out swarms 
of skirmishers against the Seminary. The guns on the Serra 
Rock, which completely swept the ground to the west of the 
Seminary, cut off the French in the town from the scene of 
the struggle, but the attack on the iron gate was so violent that 
Wellesley would have crossed in person but for his confidence 
in Hill. Murray, who had been sent with the German brigade, 
the 1 4th Dragoons, and two guns, three miles up the stream, 
with orders to seek for boats and pass there if possible, had not 
yet come down the right bank. The moment was critical, but 
towards one o'clock the waving of handkerchiefs from the win- 
dows of Oporto announced that the French had quitted the 
lower town. As soon as the guards were withdrawn from the 
quays, the citizens jumped into boats and rowed across, and in 
these the guards under Sherbrooke began to cross at one o'clock. 
At the same time Murray was seen advancing down the right 
bank of the river. The French at once broke and rushed in 
confusion along the Vallonga Road. Hill, who had now three 
battalions in the Seminary, advanced to the enclosure wall, and 
poured in a destructive fire on the retreating masses. Five guns 
came out of Oporto, and as the artillerymen were hastening to 
pass the line of Hill's fire, a volley from behind laid many of 
them low, and the rest dispersed and left their guns on the 
road. The fugitives were now plied by Hill's fire, Sherbrooke's 
fire, and the fire of the 18 guns on the Serra Rock; and had 
Murray done his duty, their rout would have been complete. 
The opportunity offered to him might, says Napier, " have tempted 
a blind man," but he suffered column after column to pass without 
firing a shot. None of his troops advanced, with the exception of 
two squadrons of dragoons under General Charles Stewart (after- 
wards Marquis of Londonderry) and Major Hervey, who rode over 
the rear-guard as it was pushing through a narrow road, unhorsed 


De Laborde and wounded Foy. This finished the action. Our 
loss was only 20 killed and 95 wounded. The French lost 500 
men and five guns on the field, and in Oporto they left 50 guns, 
a large quantity of ammunition, and all their sick, amounting 
to several hundreds. So complete was the surprise that Wel- 
lesley sat down to the dinner prepared for Soult. In his retreat 
Soult had to relinquish his artillery, ammunition, and baggage, 
and joined Ney at Lugo in a much worse plight than Moore six 
months before. 

After a month's stay at Oporto, caused chiefly by the want of 
money, Wellesley marched for the Spanish frontier, with 22,000 
men, including 3000 horse. On the 2oth July he effected a 
junction at Oropesa with the Spanish General Cuesta, who had 
32,000 foot, 6000 horse, and 46 guns. Vanegas, at the same 
time, moved from the north, with 26,000 men, towards Toledo, 
and King Joseph, alarmed for Madrid, called in all his detach- 
ments, and faced the enemy at Talavera de la Keyna. The town 
of Talavera stands on the right bank of the Tagus, embosomed 
in vineyards, trees, and enclosures. Between the town and the 
Alberche, a tributary of the Tagus, the ground is covered with 
olive and cork trees ; and nearly parallel with the Tagus, at 
a distance of two miles, a chain of round steep hills bounds 
this woody plain. Beyond these hills," and separated from them 
by a deep and rugged valley half a mile wide, is the mountain 
range which divides the Alberche from the Tietar. The allies' 
line was disposed from Talavera to the heights on the west. 
Cuesta and his Spaniards occupied the right at Talavera. Their 
front was covered by a convent, mud walls, ditches, and felled 
trees, and their left rested on a mound, on which a large redoubt 
was constructed, and behind which a brigade of British cavalry 
was posted. Campbell's division touched Cuesta's left; then 
came Sherbrooke and the guards, supported 'by Mackenzie ; 
then Cameron's brigade and the Germans ; then, on the round 
hills, Donkin's, Hill's, and Tilson's divisions ; and last of 
all, in the ravine, between the round hills and the mountains, 
the 23d Light Dragoons and the ist German Hussars. That 
part of the position was afterwards strengthened by placing 
Bassecour's Spaniards on the mountains. The line was two 
miles in length, and the front was covered by the Partida rivulet. 
The whole force of the allies was 53,000 men with 100 guns, and 
of this total the British and Germans were only 19,000 strong 


with 30 guns. Little reliance could be placed on the Spaniards, 
who composed two-thirds of the force. Joseph had 50,000 troops 
(of whom 7000 were cavalry), all hardy veterans, with 80 guns. 

At dawn (July 27, 1809) the brilliant lines of the French 
cavalry moved down through the plain between Talavera and 
the Alberche, and so suddenly that the British outposts were 
surprised, and Sir Arthur Wellesley himself narrowly escaped 
capture. Many of the men were killed without rising from the 
ground. The brigades were separated, and the young soldiers 
fired on each other, but the steadiness of the old troops, and 
notably the 45th and some companies of the 6oth Kifles, enabled 
Sir Arthur to rally his men and check the French advance. It 
was even worse with the Spaniards. When the French horse- 
men rode up and commenced a pistol skirmish, the Spaniards 
discharged one volley of musketry, and then, panic-struck, 
10,000 of the infantry and all the artillery broke and fled. 
Cuesta himself went off in his huge coach drawn by nine mules, 
and Sir Arthur could with much difficulty stay the advance of 
the French with some English squadrons and two Spanish 
battalions. The fugitives ran to Oropesa and spread the rumour 
that the allies were defeated, and the French in hot pursuit. 

As the sun was sinking and the twilight deepening into 
gloom, Victor made an attack on the hill on the left of the 
British, which was the key of the position. Hill's troops had 
not yet taken post, and Donkin had enough to do to hold his 
position, but Hill brought up the 2Qth and 481!], and a battalion 
of detachments composed of Sir John Moore's stragglers. Vol- 
leys of musketry were poured in at twenty yards, and then a 
British shout and a rush with the bayonet, and Lapisse's broken 
troops were driven into the ravine below. In the darkness and 
confusion Hill w r as nearly taken prisoner. " While giving 
orders to the colonel of the 48th," says Napier, " he was shot 
at by some troops from the highest point; thinking they were 
stragglers from his own ranks firing at the enemy, he rode up to 
them in company with his brigade-major Fordyce, and in a 
moment found himself in the midst of the French. Fordyce 
was killed, and Hill's horse was wounded by a grenadier who 
roughly seized the bridle also, but the general, spurring hard, 
broke the man's hold, and galloping down met the 2Qth regi- 
ment, which he led up with such a fierce charge that the French 
could not sustain the shock." 


In this day's fighting the French lost 1000 men and the 
British 800. The bivouac fires now blazed up, and the troops 
lay down on the ground ; but the night was disturbed by con- 
stant alarms. When the rosy flush of dawn (July 28) was 
spreading over the heights, dark masses of the French were 
seen moving up the ravine to the left, which as yet Wellesley 
had neglected to occupy. The attack was preceded by a burst of 
artillery, which mowed down the English ranks by sections. Then 
came the rattle of musketry and the hand to hand struggle, 
and after a combat of forty minutes, the French were driven back 
with the loss of 1500 men. During the cannonade the heat 
was so great that orders were given to bury the dead on the 
heights. It w r as after this attack that Wellesley occupied the 
ravine with the cavalry and Bassecour's Spanish infantry. At 
the same time Albuquerque, discontented with Cuesta, came 
there with the Spanish horse. 

Joseph now held a council of war with Jourdan and Victor, to 
determine his future proceedings. This gave the wearied armies 
a rest from nine till noon. The French cooked and ate their 
dinners, but the British slept, their only dinner consisting of a 
few ounces of wheat in the grain. The excessive heat led many 
of both armies to the banks of the Partida to assuage their 
thirst, and an interchange of flasks and courtesies took place 
between the men who had been engaged in mortal combat an 
hour before. Before one o'clock the roll of drums along the 
French line heralded the renewal of hostilities. While Mil- 
haud's dragoons kept the Spaniards in check, the 4th corps of 
the French fell upon Campbell's division on the British right j 
but Campbell's men, aided by Mackenzie's division and two 
battalions of Spanish infantry, drove then back with terrible 
carnage, and captured ten guns. Campbell did not pursue, in 
order not to break the line, and the French rallied on their sup- 
ports and made head for another attack ; but, broken by a heavy 
artillery and musketry fire, and taken in flank by a regiment of 
Spanish horsemen, they retired in confusion, and victory was 
secured on the right. 

In the meantime the French grenadiers," Villatte's division, 
two regiments of light cavalry, and Rufrm's division, were seen 
advancing upon the British left. Sir Arthur ordered Anson's 
brigade of cavalry to charge the head of these columns. The 
horsemen went off at a canter, but came upon a sudden hollow 



formed by a watercourse, and the French, throwing themselves 
into squares, opened fire. Colonel Arentschild of the ist German 
Hussars, saying in his broken English that he would not kill his 
"young mans," reined up on the brink; but the 23d Light 
Dragoons continued their course, and rolled down, men and 
horses, in a confused mass. The survivors scrambled to their 
feet, mounted their chargers, re-formed under Major Ponsonby 
Colonel Seymour being severely wounded passed through the 
midst of Villatte's columns, and fell with inexpressible fury on 
a brigade of French chasseurs in the rear. Victor had seen the 
advance of the dragoons, and sent his Polish Lancers and 
Westphalian Light Horse to the support of Villatte, and these 
fresh men coming up entirely broke the 23d. Only about half 
the regiment escaped to Bassecour's division from this glorious 
charge; 207 men and officers were left dead on the field. Vil- 
latte's men, however, were paralysed by the desperate valour of 
the charge, and by the sight of Albuquerque's horsemen in 
reserve, and made no further movement in advance. 

While these attacks on the left and right were going on, 
Lapisse was making desperate efforts on the centre. The guards 
repulsed him, but in the excitement of success advanced too far 
and were driven back by the French reserves and cavalry. The 
Germans, too, were hard pressed, and fell into confusion. At 
this critical moment Sir Arthur ordered up the 48th. Wheeling 
into open columns of companies, that regiment let the dis- 
ordered masses of the guards through, and then, resuming its 
formation in line, fell on the flank of the advancing French 
columns and checked their offensive movement. The guards 
and the Germans rallied, Cotton's cavalry came up at a trot, the 
artillery battered the wavering ranks, and loud cheers along the 
whole British line proclaimed the defeat of the enemy. The 
French covered their retrograde movement by skirmishers, and 
an augmented fire of artillery. The British, now reduced to 
less than 14,000 sabres and bayonets, were too much exhausted 
by hunger and toil to pursue. The Spaniards were incapable 
of any such movement. The last shots were exchanged about 
six o'clock. The British lost 6200 killed, wounded, and missing ; 
the French 7200, and 150 men and 17 guns taken (including 
seven left in the woods) ; the Spaniards estimated their losses 
at 1200. The battle was scarcely over when the long grass and 
shrubs caught fire from the smouldering of some cartridge 


papers, and a large part of the field was swept by a sea of flame, 
in which many of the wounded perished. 

Talavera won for Sir Arthur Wellesley a peerage, with the 
title of Baron Douro and Viscount Wellington. It was by far 
the most important battle which had yet been fought in the 
Peninsula. A French general and military critic says it "re- 
covered the glory of the successors of Marlborough, which for 
a century had declined. It was felt that the English infantry 
could contend with the best in Europe." Napier says, " Hard 
honest fighting distinguished the battle of Talavera, and proved 
the exceeding gallantry of the French and English soldiers. 
The latter owed much to their leader's skill, and something to 
fortune; the French owed their commanders nothing; but 
30,000 of their infantry vainly strove for three hours on the 
28th to force 16,000 British soldiers, who were for the most part 
so recently drafted from the militia that many of them still bore 
the distinctions of that force on their accoutrements." 

Wellington was preparing to follow up his victory by an 
advance on Madrid when he was informed that the combined 
forces of Soult, Mortier, and Ney, to the number of 34,000, 
had already reached Placentia in his rear. In danger of being 
crushed between converging masses, Wellington crossed to De- 
leitosa on the south of the Tagus. After a month's stay here, 
he was compelled, by the failure of the Spanish authorities to 
furnish him with supplies, to cross the mountains and fix his 
headquarters at Badajos. Meanwhile, the Spaniards made 
desperate efforts for the recovery of Madrid, but their armies 
were destroyed in succession, and early in December Wellington 
retired from the valley of the Guadiana, and quartered his 
troops on the Agueda, between Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo, 
commencing the famous lines of Torres Vedras. 

During this year Austria was again at war with Napoleon, 
and Britain agreed to make diversions in her favour in Holland 
and Italy. An Anglo-Sicilian force of 15,000 men was sent to 
the coast of Naples under Sir John Stuart, but failed in gaining 
any durable advantage. Not more successful and far more 
disastrous was the miserable Walcheren expedition. Yet its 
strength was on a scale which ought to have ensured success : 
37 ships of the line, 23 frigates, 82 gunboats, 400 transports, 
and 40,000 troops formed the largest and most powerful anna- 

1 1 6 "THE SON OF KAPINE." [1809-10. 

ment which had ever put to sea in modern times. But general- 
ship was wanting. The command was entrusted to the Earl of 
Chatham, elder brother of the late William Pitt, a respectable 
veteran totally devoid of energy. Instead of moving at once 
on Antwerp, the great object of the expedition, where Napoleon 
had a squadron of ten sail of the line, with an arsenal and dock- 
yard on which he had spent millions, the British general wasted 
precious time at Flushing, which capitulated after a three days' 
bombardment, with its garrison of 6000 men (August 16, 1809). 
By the time Lord Chatham was ready to move forward Antwerp 
had been put in a state of defence, and 30,000 troops under 
Bernadotte and the King of Holland were prepared to do battle 
with the invaders. Further advance was considered impossible, 
and the troops were withdrawn into the unhealthy island of 
Walcheren, where the swamp-fever committed fearful ravages 
in their ranks. Before the army was sent home 7000 men had 
fallen victims to the pestilence, and of the survivors many had 
their constitutions broken for the remainder of their days. 
After the bloody battles of Echmuhl, Aspern, and Wagram, the 
peace of Vienna (October 14, 1809) P u ^ an en( ^ t ^ e war 
between Austria and Napoleon. 

The peace with Austria left Napoleon at leisure to attend to 
the affairs of the Peninsula, and 120,000 of the heroes of 
Wagram were sent across the Pyrenees. In the summer of 
1810 the French forces in the Peninsula amounted to 366,000 
men. Soult, with 60,000, was in Andalusia; Joseph had 
24,000 men in Madrid; and 80,000 of the corps of Ney, 
Reynier, and Junot, were massed at Salamanca. The com- 
mand of this last-named force was conferred on Massena, 
the ship-boy of Nice, who had gradually risen from the ranks 
to the dignity of a marshal's bdton, and the rank of Duke 
of Rlvoli and Prince of Essling, So unvarying was his suc- 
cess that Napoleon called him " the spoiled child of victory " 
(Venfant gdte de la victoire), His ferocity was the feature of 
his character which chiefly attracted the attention of his enemies, 
who called him " the Son of Rapine." Massena was ordered to 
invade Portugal. To oppose him Wellington had only 23,500 
British troops and 30,000 Portuguese. Ciudid Rodrigo fell to 
the invaders (July n, 1810), Wellington not daring to risk a 
battle in its defence; and after a smart skirmish with the 


British rearguard under Crawford, at the bridge of the Coa, 
Almeida was invested. The explosion of the great powder 
magazine deprived the garrison of the means of defence, and 
(August 27) this stronghold also was yielded to the French. 

Wellington now retreated down the valley of the Mondego, 
followed on the north bank by Massena. The roads were 
crowded with fugitives, whose wretched appearance on their 
arrival at Lisbon struck consternation into the capital, the 
soldiers themselves were becoming despondent, the Ministry 
at home daily expected the embarkation of the army for Eng- 
land ; and to restore confidence to all parties, the Portuguese, 
the army, and the Ministry, Wellington departed from his plan 
of acting solely on the defensive, and prepared to make a stand 
on the Sierra Busaco. He had been joined by Hill, and his 
army now amounted to 50,000 men, but half of them were raw 
soldiers, and Massena had 72,000 veterans. 

Wellington's line on the Sierra Busaco extended eight miles, 
from the Mondego on the right to impassable ravines on the 
left. Hill held the right. Leith, with the 5th division, and 
Picton, with the 3d division, held the centre. Spencer, with 
the ist division, held the left, the highest point of the ridge, 
near a great convent of the Barefooted Carmelites. Cole was 
on the extreme left, covering a path leading to the flat country 
about Milheada. A regiment of heavy dragoons was posted in 
reserve on the summit of the sierra. Pack's Portuguese lay in 
front of Spencer, half way down the mountain, and on their left 
Crawford's Light Division, the Germans, and the igth Portuguese 
occupied a spur jutting out nearly half a mile in front of, but 
lower than, the convent. Fifty pieces of cannon were planted on 
the most advantageous points, and the whole sierra was covered 
by a cloud of skirmishers. From the nature of the ground the 
divisions were separated by long and unassailable intervals. 

Massena was under the impression that Wellington had not yet 
been joined by Hill. He was ignorant of the existence of the 
lines of Torres Vedras also, and thought he could force Wel- 
lington to retreat and embark. The attack was fixed for the 
morning of the 27th. "The weather," say the records of the 
88th, the gallant Connaught Rangers, " was calm and fine, and 
the dark mountains rising on either side were covered by innu- 
merable fires. The French were apparently all bustle and 
gaiety, and following their usual avocations with as much sang- 


froid as if preparing for a review, not a battle. Along the 
whole British line the soldiers in stern silence examined their 
flints, cleaned their locks and barrels, and then stretched them- 
selves on the ground to rest, each with his firelock in his grasp. 
In their rear, unsheltered by any covering but his cloak, lay 
their distinguished leader." 

About an hour before daybreak Ney planted three columns 
of attack opposite the convent, on the British left, and Reynier 
two at Antonio da Cantara, opposite the British centre. Ney 
and Reynier were three miles apart; Junot was in reserve. The 
grey mist of early morning still shrouded the sierra when 
Reynier' s columns sprang up to the attack, and dashed in 
among the pickets and skirmishers of the " fighting third." 
Six guns played on their ranks with grape, but they would 
not be denied. The right centre of the British division was 
forced back ; the Portuguese were broken. The surging masses 
of the enemy gained the highest portion of the crest, just 
between the 3d and 5th divisions, and the leading battalions 
seized commanding positions on the rocks and proceeded to 
establish themselves, while the rear wheeled to the right to 
sweep the summit of the sierra. At this crisis Wellington 
ordered two guns to open with grape on their flank, a heavy 
fire of musketry tore their front, and Colonel Wallace with the 
88th and a wing of the 45th charged so furiously, that after a 
twenty minutes' struggle the French were driven down the sides 
of the sierra. In like manner the French grenadiers, who had 
first gained the crest, were fiercely attacked by the 38th and the 
gth, under Colonel Cameron, and sent after their comrades. 
This ended the battle on this part of the field, for Leith and 
Hill had closed up to Picton's right, and Reynier had neither 
reserves nor guns to restore the fight. 

Colonel Wallace's address to the 88th before proceeding into 
action was a model of soldierly terseness and brevity. " Now, 
mind what I tell you ! When you arrive at the spot I shall 
charge, and I have only to add that the rest must be done by 
yourselves. Press on them to the muzzle ; I say, Coimaught 
Rangers, press on to the rascals ! " When it was all over, Wel- 
lington rode up to the 88th, and, taking the colonel by the 
hand, said, " Wallace, I never saw a more gallant charge than 
that just made by your regiment." 

Ney's attack on the left met with as little success. The 


ground was steeper than where Reynier attacked. It was yet 
dark when a straggling musketry fire was heard in the valley, 
and when day dawned three huge masses were seen to enter the 
woods below and throw forward a profusion of skirmishers. 
One of these, under Marchand, moved to turn the right of the 
light division; another, under Loison, made straight up the 
face of the sierra along the convent road ; the third remained 
in reserve. Loison's front brigade, led by Simon, never faltered 
or relaxed its speed, though plied with a storm of artillery and 
musketry which searched its ranks from the first to the last 
section. The riflemen and the cagadores, who had been planted 
on the top as skirmishers, were obliged to fall back step by step. 
Ross's guns, placed in the embrasures of the rocks, were worked 
with incredible quickness, but their range was more and more 
contracted every round. At last the English skirmishers rushed 
over the edge of the sierra, breathless and begrimed with 
powder. The artillery drew back. The jubilant cries of the 
French were heard within a few yards of the summit. But 
Crawford was prepared. In the hollow, between the convent 
and the jutting spur of rock on which the light division was 
posted, the 43d and 52d were drawn up in line, concealed by 
the configuration of the ground ; Crawford was standing alone 
on a rock watching the progress of the attack, and now at this 
critical moment he shouted to these two regiments to charge. 
" The next moment," says the historian of the war, " a horrid 
shout startled the French column, and 1800 British bayonets 
went sparkling over the brow of the hill. Yet so brave, so 
hardy were the leading French, that each man of the first section 
raised his musket, and two officers and ten soldiers fell before 
them. Not a Frenchman had missed his mark ! They could 
do no more. The head of their column was violently thrown 
back upon the rear, both flanks were overlapped at the same 
moment by the English wings, three terrible discharges at five 
yards' distance shattered the wavering mass, and a long trail of 
broken arms and bleeding carcases marked the line of flight." 
Marchand 's column, which ought to have been sent forward to 
the attack at the same time as Loison's,- gained a pine wood half 
way up the mountain, but was dislodged by artillery. About 
two o'clock the firing ceased along the line, and parties from 
both armies were mixed together carrying off the wounded. 
The loss of the allies was 1300, that of the French 4500. 


Wellington bad hoped that this battle might stop Massena's 
advance, but Napoleon's orders for the invasion of Portugal were 
peremptory, and the French marshal denied to the right and 
gained the great road from Oporto to Lisbon. As the French, 
with their superior numbers, could not be met in the open 
country, Wellington had no option but to fall back, and before 
the middle of October he had his whole force safely entrenched 
within the lines of Torres Vedras. These formidable defences 
formed an effectual bar to the further progress of Massena, who 
had not so much as heard of their existence. ' For more than a 
month he watched the impregnable barrier, in the vain hope 
of starving out the allies, who were supplied by sea, and then 
retired into winter-quarters at Santarem. 

Major-general Graham (afterwards Lord Lynedoch), a lineal 
descendant of the warlike house of Montrose, and himself " a 
daring old man and of a ready temper for battle," commanded 
the British and Portuguese troops in Cadiz, then besieged by 
Marshal Victor. 'The absence of Soult, who had gone to co- 
operate with Massena, gave him hopes of compelling Victor "to 
raise the siege. Graham landed at Algesiras, and marched up 
the coast, to take Victor in flank. But the enterprise was ruined 
by the misconduct of the Spanish General La Peiia, to whom 
Graham, to preserve unanimity, ceded the command, though it 
was contrary to his instructions. La Pena had the army in so 
scattered a state that it was divided into several distinct bodies. 
Victor, who was keeping close in the woods of Chiclana, with 
9000 men and 14 guns, had his eye on this state of matters. 
The Spaniards were in advance near the Almanza Creek ; Graham 
was struggling through a pine wood between Almanza and Barosa; 
Major Brown, with the flank companies of the pth and 82d, was 
with the baggage on Barosa, a low ridge, extending about half a 
mile from the coast ; a Spanish detachment was still far behind. 
Victor sent Villatte to keep the Spaniards in check and cover 
the works of the camp; he ordered Laval to attack Graham 
while entangled in the wood ; while he himself led on Euffin's 
brigade to attack the rearguard on the Barosa heights. Major 
Brown retreated in good order, and sent a message to Graham 
asking for instructions. " Fight ! " was the laconic reply of the 
gallant Graham, who imagined that La Pena, with the corps of 
battle and the cavalry, was on the Barosa Hill. But when he 


cleared the wood and regained the plain, as Napier says, " he 
beheld Kuffin's brigade, flanked by the two grenadier battalions, 
near the summit on the one side, the Spanish rearguard and the 
baggage flying toward the sea on the other, the French cavalry 
following the fugitives in good order, Laval close upon his own 
left flank, and La Pena nowhere !" (March 6, 1811.) 

As the British emerged from the wood, ten guns under Major 
Duncan opened a terrific fire on Laval's column, and Colonel 
Andrew Barnard, with the riflemen and some Portuguese, ran out 
to keep the enemy in play while the troops formed. So sudden 
was the attack that all distinctions of regiments and brigades 
were ignored, and the troops formed in two masses, with one of 
which General Dilkes hurried across the hollow to attack Ruffin, 
while Colonel Wheatley led the other against Laval. In the case 
of Wheatley and Laval the contest was quickly decided. The 
infantry on both sides pressed forward under a furious cannonade 
and pealing discharges of musketry, but when the masses drew 
near, the fierce charge of the Syth overthrew the first line of the 
French, dashed it violently against the second line, and sent 
both off the field in disorder. At the Barosa Hill the combat 
was for some time more doubtful. At the edge of the ascent, 
Dilkes' column was met with a shower of bullets from Ruffin's 
people, with whom Major Brown had hitherto been maintaining 
the fight, though half his detachment had fallen. Whole sections 
were mowed down by the murderous fire, but the British bore 
strongly onward, and forced the French from the hill, with the 
loss of three guns. The British were too exhausted to pursue, 
but Frederick Ponsonby's German hussars charged the French 
squadrons in their retreat, overthrew them, and captured two 

The whole affair was over in an hour and a half, but 1210 
British and 2000 French lay on the field, and the French lost 
besides 400 prisoners, 6 guns, and an eagle, and had two of their 
generals, Ruffin and Rousseau, mortally wounded. The eagle, 
the first taken during the Peninsular war, was captured in the 
furious charge of the Syth, the Royal Irish Fusiliers "Faugh- 
a-Ballaghs " (" Clear-the-Way "), as they delight to call them- 
selves. It first attracted the attention of a young ensign, who 
called out to a sergeant, " Do you see that, Masterman 1 " and 
then rushed forward to seize it, but was shot in the attempt. 
Sergeant Mastermau instantly revenged his death, ran his anta- 


gonist through the body, cut down the standard-bearer, and took 
the eagle. For this achievement the gallant Masterman was 
afterwards rewarded by a commission in the second battalion of 
his regiment. During the Peninsular war some general-officer 
observed to Wellington how unsteadily the 8yth marched. " Yes, 
general," was Wellington's reply ; " indeed, they do, but they 
fight like devils." 

Four thousand British troops overthrew 9000 French, but the 
victory of Barosa was barren. La Pena had quietly surveyed 
the desperate struggle without sending any help to his allies. 
Graham remained some hours on the height, hoping he would 
follow up the victory ; but although the Spanish general had 
12,000 infantry and 800 cavalry, all fresh, and the French might 
have been cut to pieces, he would not move a man, a horse, or a 
gun. The French were able to renew the blockade of Cadiz, 
the whole object of the expedition was lost, and violent disputes 
on the'subject arose in the Cortes. La Peria had the impudence 
to claim the credit of the victory, and Graham, disgusted with 
the Spaniards, refused the honours of the Cortes, resigned his 
command, and joined Wellington. 

His troops having eaten up all the food in the country round 
Santarem, Massena broke up his encampment and commenced 
his retreat (March 2, 1811). It is spoken of as an admirable 
example of military ability, but his way up the valley of the 
Mondego was marked by blood and flame, and his conduct to the 
unhappy Portuguese was characterised by such barbarity as, in 
the words of Wellington, has been " seldom equalled, and never 
surpassed." Napier, himself an eyewitness, says, " Every horror 
making war hideous attended this dreadful retreat ! distress, 
conflagration, death, in all modes ! from wounds, from fatigue, 
from water, from the flames, from starvation : on every side, un- 
limited ferocity ! " Wellington followed close at Massena's heels, 
and combats occurred at Pombal, Kedinha, and other places on 
the line of march, notably Sabugal (April 3), where Reynier was 
defeated with the loss of 1500 men to 200 British. Wellington 
called the combat of Sabugal " one of the most glorious actions 
the British troops were ever engaged in." On the 5th April 
Massena repassed the frontier and occupied Salamanca, having 
lost during the invasion and retreat, by want, sickness, and the 
sword, 30,000 men. 

i8n.] THE 7 1ST AT FUENTES D'ONORO. 123 

The frontier- fortress of Almeida was now invested by Welling- 
ton, and Massena, in obedience to the peremptory orders of 
Napoleon, advanced to its relief with 40,000 infantry, 5000 
cavalry, and 36 guns. Wellington had but 32,000 infantry, 1200 
cavalry, and 42 guns, and of these the Portuguese were almost 
useless through the shameful neglect of their Government. The 
Portuguese were starving : the infantry abandoned their colours 
and dropped from exhaustion by thousands, the cavalry was 
entirely ruined, and the artillerymen were so devoid of ammuni- 
tion that in the ensuing battle they had to collect the enemy's 
cannon-balls. Wellington chose his ground on the level summit 
of a rocky plateau between the Duas Casas and the Turones, two 
rivulets near the Coa. The 5th division was posted on the left 
near Fort Conception, the 6th division in the centre opposite the 
village of Almeida, and the ist and 3d divisions were massed on 
the right, among the hedgerows and vineyard walls behind 
Fuentes d'Ofioro, a village on the Duas Casas. Most of the 
houses were in the ravine, but a craggy eminence, crowned by a 
picturesque old chapel and some houses, gave a point for rallying. 
The British line was five miles long. 

Massena came on in three divisions (May 3, 1811). The 8th 
and 2d corps, under Reynier, threatened Almeida and Fort Con- 
ception ; and Loison, with Drouet's division, the 6th corps, and 
the cavalry, moved against Fuentes d'Onoro. Loison, without 
waiting orders, at once attacked the village, which was held by 
five battalions from the ist and 3d divisions, and with such fury 
that the British were driven out of the streets in the ravine, and 
had some difficulty in maintaining the high ground about the 
chapel ; but the 2 ist, 7 ist, and 79th regiments came to the 
rescue, and charging with the bayonet, hurled the assailants 
back over the Duas Casas. During the night the French detach- 
ments were withdrawn, arid the three succouring regiments were 
left in possession of the village. " We stood under arms," says a 
soldier of the 7 ist, " until three in the morning, when a staff- 
officer rode up to our colonel, and gave orders for our advance. 
Colonel Cadogan put himself at our head, saying, ' My lads, 
we have had no provisions for two days ; there is plenty in 
the hollow in front, let us down and divide.' We advanced 
as quick as we could run, and met the light companies retreat- 
ing as fast as they could. We continued to advance at double- 
quick time, our firelocks at the trail, our bonnets in our hands. 

124 "HERE IS FOOD, MY LADS; CUT AWAY." [1811. 

They called to us, ' Seventy-first, you will come back quicker 
than you advance.' We soon came in full view of the enemy, 
and the colonel cried, 'Here is food, my lads; cut away.' 
Thrice we waved our bonnets, thrice we cheered, brought our 
bayonets to the charge, and forced them back through the 
town. . . . During this day the loss in men was great. In 
our retreat back to the town, when we halted to check the 
enemy, who bore hard upon us in their attempts to break 
our line, often was I obliged to stand with a foot upon each 
side of a wounded man, who wrung my soul with prayers I 
could not answer, and pierced my heart with cries to be lifted 
out of the way of the cavalry. While my heart bled for them, 
I have shaken them rudely off. We kept up our fire till long 
after dark. About one o'clock in the morning each man got 
four ounces of bread, which had been collected from the haver- 
sacks of the Foot Guards. After the firing had ceased, we 
began to search through the town, and found plenty of flour, 
bacon, and sausages, on which we feasted heartily, and then lay 
down in our blankets, wearied to death." 

On the 4th, Massena examined the line and made dispositions 
for the next day. An attack in front was impracticable, for 
the Duas Casas is a brawling rivulet, in an irregular rocky bed, 
and made the allies secure in that direction. He dared not 
turn the allies' left at Fort Conception, for Wellington would 
then have crossed the Duas Casas at Almeida and Fuentes 
d'Oiioro, and fallen on his flank. He decided to make his 
main attack on Fuentes d'Oiioro, while he turned the allies' 
right. The nature of the ground permitted of this arrangement. 
The rocky plateau ends at Fuentes d'Onoro in a sudden ridge 
which runs between the two rivulets at right angles to both ; 
beyond this the ravine gradually sinks into open ground, 
running as a wooded swamp in the direction of POQO Velho, 
and affording comparatively easy access to the lower steppe, 
rectangular in form, which lies between the two rivulets on the 
north and south, and the sudden ridge at Fuentes d'Onoro and 
the hill behind Nava d'Aver on the west and east. Wellington 
divined this was Massena's plan, and to cover all the bridges to 
the beleaguered fortress, he extended his right to Nava d'Aver, 
posting Don Julian Sanchez and his irregulars on the hill beyond, 
and ordering Houston with the 7th division to take possession 
of Pogo Velho, the swampy wood, and part of the plain towards 


Nava d'Aver. The line of the allies was now about seven 
miles long. 

It was broad daylight before the French were in motion 
(May 5, 1811), and all their movements were apparent. The 8th 
corps was withdrawn from Almeida, and attacked Houston's 
left in Pogo Velho, while Drouet's division and the 6th corps 
took ground to their own left, but still keeping a division before 
Fuentes d'Onoro, to menace that point. Houston's left was 
driven out of Pogo Velho, and the 6th division was gaining 
ground in the wood, but the light division and the cavalry 
hurried up to his support, and enabled him to contest every inch 
of ground. The French cavalry under Montbrun, 4000 cuiras- 
siers covered with the glories of Wagram, now crossed the Duas 
Casas, and formed in order of battle between the Pogo Velho 
wood and the hill of Nava d'Aver. Julian Sanchez at once 
withdrew from the hill to the Turones, and after following him 
for about an hour, Montbrun wheeled round, turned Houston's 
right, and charged the British cavalry, of whom scarcely 1000 
sabres were in the field, drove in the cavalry outguards at the 
first shock, "cut off," says Napier, "Kamsay's battery of horse 
artillery, and came sweeping in upon the reserves of cavalry and 
upon the yth division. The leading French squadrons, approach- 
ing in a disorderly manner, were partially checked by fire, but a 
great commotion was observed in their main body ; men and 
horses were seen to close with confusion and tumult towards 
one point, where a thick dust and loud cries, and the sparkling 
of blades, and flashing of pistols, indicated some extraordinary 
occurrence. Suddenly the multitude became violently agitated, 
an English shout pealed high and clear, the mass rent asunder, 
and Norman Ramsay burst forth sword in hand at the head of 
his battery ; his horses, breathing fire, stretched like greyhounds 
along the plain, the guns bounded behind him like things of no 
weight, and the mounted gunners followed close, with heads 
bent low and pointed weapons, in desperate career." A charge 
of the 1 4th Light Dragoons somewhat checked the pursuit, 
General Charles Stewart (Lord Jjondonderry) taking Colonel 
Lamotte prisoner in a hand-to-hand combat ; but as the main 
body of the cuirassiers was coming on strongly, the British 
cavalry retired behind the light division, which, with the yth 
division, was thrown into squares. Not, however, before some 
were cut down ; but the mass stood firm, and the Chasseurs 


Britanniques, a Swiss regiment which had deserted to us, poured 
in such a fire from behind a loose stone wall that the bewildered 
cuirassiers recoiled, with many empty saddles. 

Meanwhile the 6th corps was making progress in the Pogo 
Velho wood, and as the British divisions were now separated 
and the right turned, defeat could only be averted by an im- 
mediate abandonment of the extended position. Wellington 
gave orders to move at right angles to his present position, on 
the sudden ridge which runs between the two rivulets, with the 
village of Fuentes d'Oiioro as pivot. It was a perilous movement, 
but executed with invincible steadiness. Crawford threw the 
light divisions into squares, and Montbrun found it too danger- 
ous to meddle with him. The cuirassiers surrounded and sabred 
some of the Scots Guards under Colonel Hill, and made that 
officer and fourteen men prisoners ; but they broke their teeth 
on the 42d Highlanders, under Lord Blantyre, and were sent 
back with many a riderless horse. " This crisis," says Napier, 
"passed without a disaster, yet there was not during the whole 
war a more perilous hour. For Houston's division was separated 
from the position by the Turones, and the vast plain was covered 
with commissariat animals and camp-followers, with servants, 
led horses, baggage, and country people, mixed with broken 
detachments and pickets returning from the woods, all in such 
confused concourse that the light division squares appeared 
but as specks ; and close behind those surging masses were 
5000 horsemen, trampling, bounding, shouting for the word 
to charge." Had Loison brought forward the 6th corps, while 
Drouet assailed the village, and the cavalry made a general 
charge, the mob would have been driven in upon the ist division, 
and the battle lost ; but these things did not happen, and the 
action on this side resolved itself into a cannonade. 

But a fierce fight still raged in the village of Fuentes d'Onoro. 
Drouet's light troops swarmed on the village with such fury as 
at once to carry the nearest houses. Colonel Cameron of the 
79th fell mortally wounded by the bullet of a Frenchman who 
took aim at him from a doorway, and his clansmen were 
paralysed till Major Petre seized the flag, and called out, " There 
are your colours, my lads, follow me ! " when the Highlanders 
threw themselves upon the enemy with a wild shout of 
rage and revenge. But they were greatly outnumbered ; two 
companies were taken, and the remainder, and the 24th and 

i8n.] "WELL DONE, THE BRAVE 88TH." 127 

yist, were driven up the eminence to the churchyard, where a 
fierce hand-to-hand fight was carried on over the graves and 
tombstones. The combat surged to and fro, now on the banks, 
of the stream, now on the rugged heights and around the chapel, 
but Wellington sent up reinforcements, and the village was 
cleared by a splendid charge of the yist Highland Light Infantry, 
79th Cameron Highlanders, and the 88th Connaught Hangers. 
The French retired a cannon shot from the stream, and the 
fighting ended about five o'clock. Both armies bivouacked on 
the ground they occupied at the end of the battle. 

There is a story told in the " Eventful Life of a Soldier " 
about this last bayonet charge of the 7ist, 79th, and 88th, 
which was much admired by all competent judges. " General 
Picton had had occasion to check the 88th for some plundering 
affair they had been guilty of, when he was so offended at their 
conduct, that, in addressing them, he told them they were the 
greatest blackguards in the army ! But as he was always as 
ready to bestow praise as censure where it was due, when they 
were returning from this gallant and effective charge, he 
exclaimed, "Well done, the brave 88th !" Some of them, who 
had been stung by his former reproaches, cried out, "Are we 
the greatest blackguards in the army now ? " Picton smiled, as 
he replied, "No, no; you are brave and gallant soldiers ! This 
day has redeemed your character." 

The allies lost 1200 killed and wounded, and 300 prisoners. 
The French loss was certainly as great, perhaps twice as great, 
but the British were more nearly defeated at Fuentes d'Onoro 
than anywhere else in the Peninsula. The French indeed 
claimed the victory, because they won the passage of Po^o 
Velho, turned our right flank, and forced the army to relinquish 
ground and change its front ; but all the fruits of victory lay 
with the allies. Massena made no further attempt to relieve 
Almeida, and sent orders to the governor, General Brennier, to 
evacuate the fortress and rejoin the army. Brennier destroyed 
his guns and sprung his mines, and through the negligence of 
General Campbell, who had charge of the investment, effected 
his escape with the greater part of the garrison. The 36th 
pursued, killed several, and made 300 prisoners, but in their 
eagerness advanced too far, and themselves lost 40 men. With 
the evacuation of Almeida the soil of Portugal was finally cleared 
of the enemy. 



Albuera Arroyo dos Molinos Frigate Action off Lissa Ciudad Rodr"ig6 ! 
Badajos Almaraz Wellington's Second JVfarch into Spain Salamanca- 
Wellington enters Mkdrid Retreat from Burgos. 

HE battle of Fuentes d'Onoro having secured the safety 
of Portugal, Wellington turned his attention to the' 
two great frontier-fortresses of Badajos and Ciudad 
Rodrigo', the former of which had been surrendered! 
to Soult by the treachery of the Spanish General Iraaz in- the' 
early part of the year. Until these two defences were reduced 
it was hopeless to enter Spain. Wellington proposed to deal 
with Ciudad Rodrigo himself, and to Badajos he sent Beresford, 
who immediately invested the place ; but the British- were at) 
this time little skilled in siege work, and small progress had been 
made when intelligence was received that Soult was advancing 
from Seville to the relief. Beresford was averse to battle, but 
allowed himself to be talked over by his officers,- Who 1 had been 
in none of the recent engagements,- and were athirst; for glory. 
Had he been defeated, Wellington's army would have been re- 
called to Lisbon to save the capital from Soult, Portugal would 
once more have been prostrated, and the liberation of Spain 
deferred for an indefinite period. 

Beresford took post (May 1*5, r&tfr) on the'Albuera ; range, 
about seven miles from Badajos. His atfmy numbered 30,000 
infantry, 2500 cavalry,- and 3$ guns; but the Spaniards were 
16,000, and the Portuguese 8000, and,- unfortunately, the French 
held Spanish and Poftuguese troops in contempt. The British, 
on whom the brunt of Ulie batitle fell, did not exceed 7000. 

3 o 


Soult bad with him 19,000 veteran infantry, 4000 chosen 
cavalry, and 40 guns ; and his troops, says Napier, were " all of 
one discipline, animated by one spirit, and amply compensated for 
their inferiority in number by their fine organisation and their 
leader's capacity, which was immeasurably greater than his 

The Albuera range is about four miles in extent, and rises in 
gentle undulations, practicable for cavalry and artillery. The 
river Albuera (with the Feria rivulet) flows along the eastern 
base, and on the west of the ridge there is a brook, the Aroya. 
The village of Albuera stands on the eastern side of the range, 
at the junction of the roads to Badajos and Seville, Talavera 
and Valverde. Near the village, the river is spanned by a stone 
bridge. A densely-wooded range occupies the space between the 
Feria and the Albuera. 

Beresford drew up his battle with Blake's Spaniards on the 
right, William Stewart's and the 2d division in the centre, and 
the Portuguese on the left. The stone bridge was commanded 
by a battery, and the village of Albuera was held by Alten's 
German brigade. 

But Beresford calculated only on an attack in front. Soult 
arrived in the evening, and saw that Beresford had neglected to 
occupy an isolated hill on the Spanish right, which trended back 
towards the Valverde Road,, and looked into the rear of Beres- 
ford's line. If Soult could succeed in suddenly placing his 
masses there, he might roll up the allies on their centre, seize 
the Yalverde Road, cut off the retreat, and finish the victory 
with his cavalry. Beresford had also neglected to occupy 
the wooded range between the Albuera and the Feria. Of this 
range Soult made able use. During the night he placed behind 
it the greater part of Girard's 5th corps, Latour-Maubourg's 
heavy cavalry, and Ruty's guns. A force of 15,000 men with 
30 guns was thus concentrated within ten minutes' march of 
the allies' right wing, entirely unknown to Beresford. Godinot's 
brigade, with 10 guns and the light cavalry, was left to make a 
feint on the bridge and village, and Werle's brigade was placed 
in reserve. 

At nine in the morning (May 16, 1811) Godinot issued from 
the woods and attacked the bridge and the village, but Beres- 
ford's suspicions were aroused by observing that Werle* did 
not follow closely. Correctly judging that the main effort 


would be made on the right, he sent Colonel (after Vis- 
count) Hardinge to desire Blake to form part of his first 
and all his second line on the broad part of the hill at 
right angles to the actual front. The Hibernian-Spaniard 
refused with great heat, maintaining that the real attack was at 
the village and bridge, and only yielded when the French were 
upon him in force ; for Werle had joined the 5th corps, and the 
light cavalry had joined Latour-Maubourg's dragoons. Ere the 
Spaniards could execute their perilous movement Kuty's guns 
opened on their disordered ranks, and drove them back in con- 
fusion with great slaughter.. Soult thought the battle was won, 
and pushed forward his columns, but just then William Stewart 
" Auld Grog Willie," as he was familiarly termed in the Scot- 
tish regiments, from his frequent orders for extra allowances of 
grog brought up a brigade of the 2d division, under Colborne. 
Stewart, " whose boiling courage generally overlaid his jugment," 
would not wait to form in order of battle, but hurried the. men up 
the hill in columns of companies, passed the Spanish right, and 
attempted to open a line by succession of battalions as they 
arrived ; but the French fire was too destructive to be borne 
passively, and the foremost troops charged. At this time (about 
noon) a heavy rain was passing over the heights, and obscured 
the view ; and as the foremost troops were charging, the French 
hussars and lancers swooped down upon them, captured six guns, 
and sabring to left and right, almost annihilated the 3d (Buffs), 
48th, and 66th the 3ist alone, which was on the left, having 
time to form square. An exciting contest took place over the 
colours of the Buffs. Ensign Thomas was cut down and his 
flag was seized, but it was recovered in the struggle over his 
body. Ensign Walsh was severely wounded, but he tore the 
flag from the broken staff and thrust it into his breast, where it 
was found after the battle saturated with blood. During the 
tumult a lancer rode at Beresford, but the marshal, a man of 
great personal strength and as bold as a lion, pushed the lance 
aside and hurled him from the saddle, and his orderly despatched 
him. A gust of wind blew the mist and smoke aside, and 
revealed the state of matters- on the heights to General Lum- 
ley in the plain. Lumley immediately sent four squadrons 
against the straggling lancers and cut a great many of them 
off. He also ordered Penne-Villemur's Spanish cavalry to 
charge the French horsemen in the plain : the Spaniards gal- 

132 THE "DIE-HAKDS." [1811. 

loped forward until within a few yards of their foes, and then 
fled pell-mell. 

The thick weather which ruined Colborne's brigade also pre- 
vented Soult from gaining a view of the whole field, and his 
heavy columns had been kept inactive when the decisive blow 
might have been struck. And now Beresford was trying to 
bring the Spaniards forward, but they would not advance. He 
seized an ensign by the breast and bore him and his colours to 
the front in his iron grasp, but as soon as the man was released 
he ran back to his countrymen, who remained immovable. But 
the 2 Qth was advancing to the succour of Colborne's brigade, 
clearing their path of the flying Spaniards by musketry. Julius 
Hartman's British guns were fast coming into action over the 
wounded, "deaf to their cries, and averting their gaze from 
the brave fellows thus laid prostrate in the dust," according to 
Londonderry. And Stewart, who had escaped the slaughter, 
brought up Houghton's brigade ; and the battle was renewed. 

The cannon belched grape at half range, the musketry pealed 
incessantly, often within pistol-shot, and the carnage on both 
sides was terrific. No British regiment had more than a third 
of its number standing. The 57th the old "Die-Hards" 
entered the action with a total of 570, and lost 430, including 
their colonel, Inglis, who cried to his men as they swept over 
him, " Well done, my lads, you'll die hard at any rate ! " Worst 
of all, ammunition began to fail, the English fire slackened, and 
a French column was established in advance upon the right 
flank. Beresford wavered, and gave the necessary orders for a 
retreat ; but the battle was saved by the happy inspiration of 
Colonel Hardinge, who, entirely on his own responsibility, urged 
Cole, who had just come up from Badajos, to advance with the 
4th division, and Colonel Abercrombie to advance with the 3d 
brigade of the 2d division.- Cole led on his fusiliers (7th 
and 23d), flanked by a battalion of the Lusitanian legion, 
mounted the hill, drove off the lancers who were riding furiously 
about the captured guns, recovered five of the guns and a colour, 
and dashed up to the right of Houghton's brigade as Aber- 
crombie passed to the front on its left. 

" Such a gallant line," says Napier, "issuing from the midst of 
the smoke, and rapidly separating itself from the confused and 
broken multitude, startled the enemy's masses, which were in- 
creasing and pressing onward as to an ! assured victory ; they 


wavered, hesitated, and then vomiting forth a storm of fire, 
hastily endeavoured to enlarge their front, while a fearful dis- 
charge of grape from all their artillery whistled through the 
British ranks. Myers was killed, Cole and the three colonels, 
Ellis, Blakeney, and Hawkshawe, fell wounded, and the fusiliers, 
struck by the iron tempest, reeled and staggered like sinking 
ships ; but suddenly and sternly recovering, they closed on their 
terrible enemies, and then was seen with what a strength and 
majesty the British soldier fights. In vain did Soult with voice 
and gesture animate his Frenchmen, in vain did the hardiest 
veterans break from the crowded columns and sacrifice their 
lives to gain time for the mass to open out on such a fair field ; 
in vain did the mass itself bear up, and, fiercely striving, fire in- 
discriminately upon friends and foes, while the horsemen hover- 
ing on the flank endeavoured to charge the advancing line. 
Nothing could stop that astonishing infantry. No sudden burst 
of undisciplined valour, no nervous enthusiasm weakened the 
stability of their order, their flashing eyes were bent on the 
dark columns in their front, their measured tread shook the 
ground, their dreadful volleys swept away the head of every 
formation, their deafening shouts overpowered the dissonant cries 
that broke from all parts of the tumultuous crowd, as slowly 
and with a horrid carnage it was pushed by the incessant vigour 
of the attack to the farthest edge of the hill. In vain did the 
French reserves mix with the struggling multitude to sustain 
the fight, their efforts only increased the irremediable confusion, 
and the mighty mass, breaking like a loosened cliff, went head- 
long down the steep : the rain flowed after in streams discoloured 
with blood, and 1800 unwounded men, the remnant of 6000 
unconquerable British soldiers, stood triumphant on the fatal 

The battle was over. All firing ceased before three o'clock. 
There was no pursuit. In four hours 7000 of the allies and 
8000 of the French had been struck down. Blake churlishly 
refused Beresford's request for a detachment to assist in the 
removal of the wounded, who lay all night amidst the piles of 
dead, drenched by the torrents of rain which swept over the 
heights. The Feria was choked with the bodies of the wounded, 
who crawled down to the stream to quench their parching thirst. 
Well might Byron exclaim 

" O Albuera, fatal field of strife ! " 


The loss, in proportion to the numbers engaged, is unparalleled 
in modern war. Of 7000 British, 4400 were slain or disabled. 
But the moral results of the unconquerable firmness which pro- 
duced this terrible carnage were, as things go in war, worth the 
purchase. On their own confession, the French, after fighting 
all Europe, felt they had at last met their match, and never 
afterwards joined battle with the British without a secret fear of 
the terrible charge of their infantry. As to the immediate results, 
Soult would not hazard a second attack to retrieve his failure, 
and on the day but one after retired to Seville. Beresford went 
to Lisbon to reorganise the Portuguese army, and the siege of 
Badajos was undertaken by Wellington in person. Little pro- 
gress was made, however, when Marmont and Soult advanced 
with 64,000 men and 90 guns to raise the siege. Another 
attempt on Ciudad Eodrigo brought Dorsenne and Soult with 
60,000 men into that quarter, and after the skirmishes of El 
Bodon and Aldea del Ponte, Wellington put his army into can- 
tonments on the Coa. 

When Beresford went to Portugal, the command in North 
Estramadura was conferred on General (afterwards Lord) Hill 
"Daddy Hill," as he was called in his own division from his habi- 
tual kindness. Hill was ordered to drive Girard from Carceres, 
that the district might be open to Murillo for forage, and in the 
execution of this service an opportunity occurred of effecting a very 
neat and complete surprise. Girard was driven from Carceres, 
but the weather was wet and stormy, and no certain information 
could be obtained of his movements, till, as Hill was pursuing by 
a cross-road, in hopes to intercept his march, he heard that Girard 
had halted at Arroyo dos Molinos, leaving a rearguard at 
Albala, on the main road to Carceres. This showed that Girard 
knew nothing of Hill's route, and only looked to a pursuit from 
Carceres ; so Hill resolved to surprise him, and made a forced 
inarch to Alcuesca, within a league of Arroyo dos Molinos. A 
soldier of the yist, who accompanied his regiment on this occa- 
sion, says, "It was now nigh 10 o'clock. We were placed in 
the houses, but our wet and heavy accoutrements were on no 
account to be taken off. At 1 2 o'clock, we received our allow- 
ance of rum, and shortly after the sergeants tapped at the doors, 
calling not above their breath. We turned out, and at slow 
time continued our march. The whole night was one continued 

i8ii.] r< HEY, JOHNNY COPE!" 135 

pour of rain. Weary and wet to the skin, we trudged on with- 
out exchanging a word, nothing breaking the silence of the 
night but the howling of the wolves. The tread of tke men 
was drowned by the pattering of the rain." 

At two in the morning (Oct. 28, 1811), the troops arrived 
within half-a-mile of Arroyo, and under cover of a low ridge 
formed three columns of attack, the infantry on the wings and 
the cavalry in the centre. The left column (5oth, yist, and 
92d), under Lieutenant-colonel Stewart, marched straight upon 
the village ; the right column, under Howard, moved upon the 
Truxillo Road ; and Penne-Villemur's cavalry kept a due place 
between both. One brigade of the French had already marched 
out upon the Medellin Road, and the rest were preparing to 
depart. The horses of the rearguard were unbridled and tied 
to olive trees, and the infantry gathering on the Medellin Road 
outside the village. It was now dawning light, but a thick mist 
rolled down from the craggy Sierra Montanches. Amid the 
clatter of the elements, for a perfect tempest was raging, arose 
a terrific shout. Girard was in a house waiting for his horse ; 
he thought it was a mere raid of Spaniards, for the British were 
not usually such early risers, but he was undeceived when he 
heard the bagpipes playing the appropriate air of " Hey, Johnny 
Cope ! " and before he could form his infantry, the 7ist and Q2d 
Highlanders came charging down the street. 

" The French rearguard of horsemen," says Napier, " fighting 
and struggling hard, were driven to the end of the village, while 
the infantry, hurriedly forming squares, endeavoured to "cover 
the main body of the cavalry, which was gathered on the left. 
Then the 7ist, lining the garden-walls, opened a galling fire on 
the nearest square ; the Q2d filed out upon the French right ; 
the 5oth regiment secured the prisoners in the village, and the 
rest of the column, headed by the Spanish cavalry, skirted the 
outside of the houses, and endeavoured to intercept the retreat. 
Soon the guns opened on the French squares, and the 131)1 
Dragoons captured their artillery, while the Qth Dragoons and 
German Hussars charged and dispersed their cavalry. Girard, 
an intrepid officer, although wounded, still kept his infantry 
together, and continued his retreat by the Truxillo Road ; but the 
right column of the allies was in possession of that line, their 
cavalry and artillery were close upon the French flank, and the 
leffc column was again coming up fast. In this desperate situa- 

136 "REMEMBER NELSON:' [i8n. 

tion, his men falling by fifties, Girard would not surrender, but 
sought to escape in dispersion by scaling the almost inaccessible 
rocks of the sierra. His pursuers, not less obstinate, also 
divided. The Spaniards ascended the hills at an easier part 
beyond his left, the 39th regiment and Ashworth's Portuguese 
turned the mountain on the Truxillo Road, and the 28th arid 
34th, led by General Howard, followed the French step by step 
up the rocks, taking prisoners every moment, until the pursuers, 
heavily loaded, were unable to continue this trial of speed with 
men who had thrown away their arms and packs." Of 3000 
French troops, the finest in Spain, who had slept in Arroyo dos 
Molinos that night, but 600 escaped. Including General Bron 
and the Prince of Aremberg, 1300 were taken; and Girard also 
lost all his artillery and baggage and a large sum of money. 
The loss of the allies was only a few men killed and wounded. 

Among the stirring events of 1811, there occurred a frigate- 
action off Lissa, an island off the coast of Dalmatia, since 
rendered memorable by the defeat, in 1866, of an Italian fleet 
by Admiral Tegethoff. Commodore Dubardieu had sailed 
thither from Ancona, with five hundred troops, as a garrison 
for the island when they should conquer it, and fell in with a 
British squadron under Captain William Hoste (March 13, 
1811). The hostile force, partly French and partly Venetian, 
numbered four large 4o-gun frigates, and two carrying 32 guns, 
besides a i6-gun brig and four small vessels. The British 
squadron consisted of the Amphion, 32, Captain Hoste; Active, 
32, Captain A. Gordon; Volage, 28, Captain Phipps Hornby; 
and Cerberus, 32, Captain Whitby. In all, the enemy's ships 
carried 300 guns and 2500 men, and the British 154 guns and 
880 men. 

In an official letter published in the " Moniteur," Commodore 
Dubardieu had expressed regret that he should on a former occa- 
sion have been " avoided " by Hoste ; but he had not the slightest 
cause to complain on that score now at least, notwithstanding the 
great disparity between the forces. Hoste eagerly accepted battle, 
and bore down in compact line. Just before the two squadrons 
got within gun-shot he telegraphed, " REMEMBER NELSON ! " and 
loud hurrahs rose from the four ships' companies. The action 
began at 9 A.M., the wind at north-west. Dubardieu formed his 
squadron in double line, and bore down to cut Hoste's squadron 


in two, but the British kept their line so close and compact as 
completely to fustrate the attempt. The French commodore, 
in the Favorite, now evinced a disposition to board the Am- 
phion upon the quarter, and his men were all ready upon the 
forecastle ; but when the ships were only a few yards apart, a 
brass 5^-inch howitzer upon the Amphion s quarter-deck, loaded 
with 750 musket-balls, was discharged at the Favorite's lar- 
board bow, and committed dreadful havoc among the crowd of 
boarders assembled on the forecastle. Among those who fell 
was Dubardieu himself, who was standing ready to lead on his 
men to the assault. Foiled in her endeavours to board the 
Amphion, or to cut the line astern of her, the Favorite stood on 
engaging the Amphion, with the intention of rounding her bows 
and placing the British squadron between two fires. Hoste 
allowed her to continue this attempt until 9.40 A.M., when the 
ships were within half-a-cable's length of the shore of Lissa ; he 
then threw out the signal for his ships to wear together ; the 
Favorite attempted to do the same, and got to leeward of the 
Amphion, but scarcely had she put her helm up when she struck 
on the rocks and bilged. This was precisely Hoste's object in 
standing so near the shore. In the afternoon, the Favorite 
was set on fire by her surviving crew, and blew up with a great 

The Flore and Bellona the latter Venetian now took up a 
station on either quarter of the Amphion, and Hoste gradually 
bore up to close with the Flore, his heaviest and most annoying 
antagonist. At 11.15 A - M -> he brought his larboard broadside 
to bear directly on the French ship's starboard bow, and opened 
so heavy a broadside, that in five minutes the Flore ceased firing 
and struck her colours. No sooner had he finished with this 
enemy than he turned his attention to the Bellona, which had 
been raking the Amphion astern with destructive effect. Wear- 
ing round on the starboard tack, and taking a position on the 
Bellona's weather bow, the Amphion poured in one or two broad- 
sides, and compelled her to strike a few minutes before noon. 

When, at 9.40 A.M., Captain Hoste threw out the signal to 
wear, the rudder of the Cerberus was choked with a shot, and the 
Volage got round before her. The little Volage now led, followed 
by the Cerberus, the Active, and the Amphion, then beginning to 
be engaged with the Flore and Bellona. Thinking to make an 
easy conquest, the Danae took up a position abreast of her, but 


was soon taught to keep her distance by the Volage's carronades. 
The Corona and the Carolina attached themselves to the Cerberus, 
and in a short time that vessel, which wanted 90 men of her 
complement, was much shattered in her hull and nearly disabled 
in her rigging. The Active was in the meantime doing her best 
to come up to the assistance of her friends, and the moment she 
made her appearance the Danae, Carolina, and Corona made all 
sail to the eastward ; but after a smart chase, and a spirited action 
of three-quarters of an hour, the Active closed the Corona, and at 
2.30 P.M. compelled her to haul down the Venetian flag. The 
other vessels were all by this time safe under the batteries of 
Lessina, as also was the Flore, which dishonourably made sail 
away after she had struck her flag. 

In this brilliant action the loss of the British was 45 killed and 
145 wounded. The loss of the French was never known, but it 
must have been severe. The Favorite and the Corona had each 
about 200 killed and wounded, and the Bellona 140. The 
captains present at Lissa, one of the most glorious actions to the 
British arms, each received a medal, and the first lieutenants were 
promoted to the rank of commander. " Fresh and unfaded," 
says Mr. James, "will be the laurels which Captain Hoste and 
his gallant companions gained at Lissa." 

The year 1811 is also memorable for the conquest of Java 
(September 26), by a land force of 12,000 men, under Sir Samuel 
Achmuty, and a powerful fleet under Rear-admiral Stopford. 
The maritime war was thus closed by the extinction of the last 
remnant of the colonial empire of France, and Lord Minto, who 
accompanied the expedition, was able to announce in his de- 
spatches that " the French flag was nowhere to be seen flying, 
from Cape Comorin to Cape Horn ! " 

At this period (1811-12) the French force in the Peninsula 
amounted to 370,000 men, including 40,000 cavalry; and at 
least 140,000 men were, disposable for active service against the 
British, after providing for garrisons and detachments. To cope 
with this enormous force Wellington had an army nominally 
80,000 strong, but the reduced state of the Portuguese regiments, 
and the vast number of the British sick many of whom had 
served in the ill-fated Walcheren expedition left no more than 
50,000 fit for actual service. Then Wellington was hampered 


by the incurable corruption and imbecility of every branch of the 
Portuguese administration, the total want of discipline and equip- 
ment of the Spanish troops, the pride and obstinacy of their 
generals, and the timidity and ignorance of the English Ministry 
at home. The French, on the other hand, had so completely 
exhausted the country that they were unable to keep together 
for any length of time in large bodies ; guerilla bands cut off 
their communications and murdered their stragglers, while 
the bitter animosity that prevailed between King Joseph at 
Madrid and the marshals in the provinces, and the discord 
between the marshals themselves, prevented any unity of 
design or co-operation. And now, when Napoleon's power 
had reached its culminating point, and the hour was at hand for 
its decline and fall, the difficulties of the French in the Peninsula 
were on the increase ; while Wellington commenced that brilliant 
series of operations which compelled the attention of the Portu- 
guese, extorted the respect of the Spaniards, and secured the 
hearty co-operation of his own government : that series of opera- 
tions which, though momentarily checked, burst forth into a full 
flood of victory, drove the French across the Pyrenees, and planted 
the British standards in triumph on the walls of Paris. 

As soon as the French armies of Portugal and the North had 
dispersed into winter quarters, Wellington made arrangements 
for the reduction of Ciudad Rodrigo the City of Roderick. 
Ciudad stands on the right bank of the Agueda. It was de- 
fended by a rampart, 30 feet high, and outside of this a second 
bulwark, called a fausse-braye, raised 1 2 feet above the level of 
the ground ; by the old castle, which stood on an elevation in the 
south-west of the town, and commanded the bridge; by two ridges 
on the north of the town, the Great Teson and the Little Teson, 
the former with a redoubt in the centre ; by the strongly-fortified 
convent of Santa Cruz between the Little Teson and the river ; 
and the two convents of St. Francisco and St. Domingo, in the 
north-eastern suburbs, fortified for musketry. The garrison num- 
bered 1900. Wellington had 35,000 men available for the siege, 
and 70 guns, but from the difficulty of transport only 38 could 
be brought to the trenches, and there would have been a lack of 
ammunition even for these if 8000 shot had not been found 
amidst the ruins of Almeida. 

Hill, remained in the south to keep Drouet in play, and exag- 
gerated reports were circulated about the sickness prevalent iu 


the British camp, in order to lull the watchfulness of Marmont. 
Wellington calculated that the place might be won in twenty- four 
days. On New- Year's Day, 181 2, a trestle bridge was laid down on 
the Agueda 6 miles below Ciudad, and the materials for the siege 
were brought forward as fast as the native carters could be in- 
duced to drive their teams. On the 8th January the light divi- 
sion passed the Agueda at a ford three miles above the town, and 
took a position behind the Great Teson, from which it was in- 
tended to advance the trenches. During the night, after a 
furious onset, Colonel Colborne carried the redoubt on the Great 
Teson, and before daybreak the first parallel was sunk. On the 
9th the ist division moved into the trenches, a cordon of posts 
was established round the fortress to prevent any message for 
relief being sent to Marmont, and 1200 workmen commenced 
three counter-batteries for 1 1 guns each. On the 1 2th, under 
cover of a heavy fog, pits were dug in front of the trenches, and 
riflemen posted in them to pick off the French gunners. On 
the night of the i3th the Germans captured the Santa Cruz con- 
vent, and the arming of the batteries was completed. The enemy 
made a sally on the i4th, but did not do much damage, and at 
half-past four that afternoon the signal was given for 25 guns to 
open fire on the fausse-braye and rampart, while two pieces were 
directed against the convent of St. Francisco. The evening was 
remarkably clear and still. Napier describes the spectacle as at 
once " fearful and sublime. The enemy replied to the assail- 
ants' fire with more than 50 pieces; the bellowing of 80 large 
guns shook the ground far and wide ; the smoke rested in heavy 
volumes about the battlements of the place, or curled in light 
wreaths about the numerous spires ; the shells, hissing through 
the air, seemed fiery serpents leaping from the darkness ; the 
walls crashed to the stroke of the bullet ; and the distant moun- 
tains faintly returning the sound appeared to mourn over the 
falling city. And when night put an end to this turmoil, the 
quick clatter of musketry was heard like the pattering of hail 
after a peal of thunder, for the 4oth regiment then carried the 
convent of St. Francisco by storm, and established itself in the 

On the night of the I5th five more guns were mounted to 
batter a small breach at the turret. The cannonade continued 
during the i6th, lyth, and i8th; on the iQth both breaches 
were reported practicable. The assault was then ordered, and 


the battering-guns were turned against the artillery of tlie ram- 
parts. The 3d and light divisions and Pack's Portuguese were 
told off into four columns: (i) On the right attack, Colonel 
O'TooJe, with a company of the 83d and the 2d Cagadores, to 
issue from some houses on the south side of the river, cross the 
bridge, and assail the outworks in front of the castle; the 5oth 
and 94th, posted behind the convent of Santa Cruz, and having 
the yyth in reserve, to enter the ditch at the extremity of the 
counterscarp, escalade the fausse-braye, and scour it on their 
left as far as the great breach. (2) To the assault of the great 
breach, a storming party of the 3d division, supported by Mac- 
kinnon's brigade, and preceded by 180 men carrying hay : bags 
to throw into the ditch. (3) On the left attack, a storming 
party of the light division, supported by Vandeleur's and Andrew 
Barnard's brigades, and preceded by the 3d Cagadores with hay- 
bags, to make for the small breach ; to send three companies to 
scour the fausse-braye to their right, and so connect the left and 
centre attacks ; to their left to force a passage at the Salamanca 
gate. (4) For a false attack, Pack's Portuguese to make an 
escalade at the St. Jago gate at the opposite side of the town. 

The town clock had struck seven, and the men were all at 
their posts. Lord Londonderry, himself a witness of the scene, 
tells us, " The evening was calm and tranquil, and the moon, 
in her first quarter, shed over the scene a feeble light, which, with- 
out disclosing the shape or form of particular objects, rendered 
their rude outline distinctly visible. There stood the fortress, a 
confused mass of masonry, with its open breaches like shadows 
cast upon the wall; whilst not a gun was fired from it, and all 
within was still and motionless, as if it were already a ruin, or 
its inhabitants buried in sleep. On our side, again, the trenches, 
crowded with armed men, among whom not so much as a whisper 
might be heard, presented no unapt resemblance to a thunder- 
cloud, or a volcano in that state of tremendous quiet which pre- 
cedes its most violent eruption." 

In an instant the scene was changed, and the slumbering 
volcano awoke. The attack commenced on the right, and was 
instantly taken up along the whole line. The men sprang from 
the trenches and made for the ditch, pelted by a tempest of 
grape from the ramparts. Bidge, Donkin, and Campbell, with 
the 5th, 77th, and 99th, scoured the fausse-braye, and pushed 
up to the great breach. The French exploded their combustibles 


and mine prematurely, but General Mackinnon and some others 
fell. The British pushed on and drove the French behind the 
retrenchment, but these rallied, aided by the musketry from the 
houses, and the fight was obstinate. Two guns that flanked the 
top of the breach raked the passage with grape, and filled it 
with piles of dead and dying. On the left the stormers of the 
light division would not wait for the hay-bags, but ran forward 
and cleared the 300 yards that lay between them and the edge 
of the glacis, jumped down the scarp, a depth of eleven feet, 
and rushed up the fausse-braye under a smashing discharge of 
grape and musketry. The fiery Crawford fell mortally wounded, 
but the forlorn hope and the stormers surged together into the 
breach and carried it. Then the supporting regiments came up 
in sections abreast, the 52d wheeled to the left, the 43d to the 
right, and by this attack, which lasted only ten minutes, the 
place was won. The 43d and the stormers took the defenders 
of the great breach in the rear, the 3d division burst through 
the retrenchment, and the French fled to the castle, where Lieu- 
tenant Gurwood received the governor's sword. 

" Now," says Napier, "into the streets plunged the assailants 
from all quarters, for O'Toole's attack was also successful, and 
at the other side of the town Pack's Portuguese and the reserves, 
meeting no resistance, had entered. Throwing off the restraints 
of discipline the troops committed frightful excesses j the town 
was fired in three or four places, the soldiers menaced their 
officers, and shot each other ; many were killed in the market- 
place, intoxication soon increased the tumult,, and at last, the 
fury rising to absolute madness, a fire was- wilfully lighted in the 
great magazine, by which the town would have been blown to 
atoms but for the energetic courage of some officers and a few 
soldiers who still preserved their senses." 

Such was the siege of Ciudad E-odrigo, which lasted twelve 
days only half the time calculated on by Wellington. The 
allies lost during the whole operations 324 killed and 1378 
wounded, of whom 146 were killed and 560 wounded in the 
assault; of the French 300 were killed, and 1500 men and 80 
officers were made prisoners. Unfortunately the slaughter did 
not end with the storm, for next day as the prisoners and their 
escort were marching out by the breach, an accidental explosion 
blew numbers of both into the air. Immense stores of ammuni- 
tion were captured, with 150 guns, including Marmont's batter- 


ing-train. The place was put in repair as soon as possible and 
handed over to the Spaniards, from whom Wellington received 
the title of Duke of Ciudad Kodrigo. The Portuguese made him 
Marquis of Torres Vedras, and the Home Government rewarded 
him with the title of Earl and an additional pension of 2000. 

Wellington now turned his eyes to Badajos, which was much 
stronger than Ciudad. The garrison numbered 5000 men, 
French, Hessians, and Spaniards, and Pnillipon, the governor, 
had done everything that art and labour could do to secure the 
fortress entrusted to his care. The place was defended by the 
Guadiana and the tributary Rivillas, by a castle at the confluence 
of these two waters, by strong works containing eight regular 
bastions and five gates, the works of San Christoval and a forti- 
fied bridge-head on the other side of the Guadiana, the work of 
the Pardaleras on the high ground to the south, the lunette of 
San Roque to the south-west of the castle beyond the Rivillas, 
and to the south-east of the lunette the enclosed and palisaded 
outwork of the Picurina. It was on this side it was determined 
to proceed : to attack the Picurina and breach the Trinidad and 
Santa Maria bastions, where Phillipon had not had time to com- 
plete the additional defences. If secrecy and speed were neces- 
sary at Ciudad, they were still more necessary at Badajos. More 
than one ruse was practised to deceive the enemy. Depots were 
ostentatiously formed across the Douro, as if for a march to the 
north. The siege train was embarked at Lisbon ostensibly for 
Oporto, but when the vessels were at sea they altered their 
course and landed it at Setuval, whence it was conveyed by 
water and by carts to Elvas. By the beginning of March, 53 
battering-guns and a large quantity of stones, gabions, and 
fascines were collected, and a pontoon bridge had been sent 
on from Lisbon. 

Sir Thomas Picton took charge of the investment, with 15,000 
men of the 3d, 4th, and light divisions, and Pack's Portuguese. 
The covering army, of 30,000 men, was divided into two corps, 
under Graham and Hill. On the night of the i7th March, 
when the sound of the pickaxes was drowned by a storm, ground 
was broken 160 yards from the Picurina; and next night two 
batteries were traced out. On the i gih, the garrison sallied out 
and made a raid on the engineer's park, but were repulsed with 
the loss of 300 men. Another sally was made the following 

144 THE " FIGHTING THIRD." [1812. 

night: the defenders gave the besiegers no rest ; the equinoctial 
rains fell in torrents, saturating the ground and flooding the 
Guadiana ; and for a few days the siege was in danger of being 
abandoned. But on the 24th, when the weather had cleared, the 
batteries were armed with ten 24-pounders, eleven i8-pounders, 
and seven 5 J-inch howitzers. On the 25th the bombardment com- 
menced ; San Roque was silenced, and the Picurina seemed so 
much damaged that on that same night it was carried by storm 
by Kempt and the 3d division, but not without the loss of 54 
killed and 265 wounded. 

On the 6th April the third breach was made, and the assault 
was ordered for that evening. It was to be made by 18,000 
men, on four points (i) Picton with the 3d division to cross 
the Eivillas from the trenches, and escalade the castle ; Major 
Wilson of the 48th to storm San Roque. (2) Colville with the 
4th and Barnard with the light division, with reserves in the 
quarry, to storm the breaches. (3) Leith with the 5th division 
to make a feint on the Pardaleras, while he. sent Walker and his 
brigade to make a real attack on the St. Vincent bastion at the 
other end of the town. (4) Power's Portuguese, on the right of 
the Guadiana, to make a feint on the fortified bridge-head. 

The night was dry and foggy. Not a sound was heard but 
the croaking of the frogs in the ditches, and the deep voices of 
the French sentinels telling that all was well in Badajos. The 
assault was fixed for ten o'clock, but half an hour before that 
time a carcass shell filled with inflammable matter thrown 
from the castle discovered the ranks of the " fighting third," and 
Kempt at once led them forward. Passing the Rivillas in single 
file by a narrow bridge, under a withering fire, they ran up the 
hill, reached the foot of the castle, spread along the front, and 
reared their ladders. The defenders plied them with musketry 
from the flanks, hurled down stones,- logs of wood, and blazing 
shells on their heads, bayoneted 1 those who reached the top, and 
pushed the ladders from the walls. Amid the rattle of musketry, the 
shouts of the combatants, and the cries and groans of the maimed 
and wounded, the dreadful strife continued until all the ladders 
were overthrown, when the assailants retired under the ridge of 
a hill and re-formed. Again, in a few minutes, Ridge of the 5th 
sprang forward, and calling on his men to follow him, planted a 
ladder to the right of the former attack, where the wall was 
lower and an embrasure afforded some facility ; a second ladder 


was planted by the grenadier officer Canch ; the next moment 
Ridge and Canch were on the ramparts, their men swarmed up 
after them, and the garrison was driven through the gate into 
the town. New French troops came up, and there was a sharp 
action, ending in favour of the besiegers, but Ridge fell, " and 
no man died that night with more glory yet many died, and 
there was much glory." 

The castle was won, but who shall describe the tumult at the 
breaches 1 Napier says it was such " as if the very earth had 
been rent asunder, and its central fires bursting upwards uncon- 
trolled. The two divisions had reached the glacis just as the 
firing at the castle commenced, and the flash of a single musket 
discharged from the covered way as a signal showed them that 
the French were ready: yet no stir was heard, and darkness 
covered the breaches. Some hay-packs were thrown, some ladders 
placed, and the forlorn hopes of the storming parties of the 
light division, 500 in all, descended into the ditch without 
opposition, but then a bright flame shooting upwards displayed 
all the terrors of the scene. The ramparts crowded with dark 
figures and glittering arms were on the one side, on the other 
the red columns of the British, deep and broad, were coming 
on like streams of burning lava ; it was the touch of the magi- 
cian's wand, for a crash of thunder followed, and with incredible 
violence the storming parties were dashed to pieces by the explo- 
sion of hundreds of shells and powder barrels. 

"For an instant the light division stood on the brink of the 
ditch amazed at the terrific sight, but then with a shout that 
matched even the sound of the explosion the men flew down the 
ladders, or, disdaining their aid, leaped reckless of the depth 
into the gulf below and at the same moment, amidst a blaze of 
musketry that dazzled the eyes, the 4th division came running 
in and descended with a like fury. There were only five ladders 
for the two columns, which were close together, and a deep cut 
made in the bottom of the ditch as far as the counterguard of the 
Trinidad was filled with water from the inundation ; into that 
watery snare the head of the 4th division fell, and it is said 
above 100 of the fusiliers, the men of Albuera, were there 
smothered. Those who followed checked not, but, as if such a 
disaster had been expected, turned to the left and thus came 
upon the face of the unfinished ravelin which, being rough and 
broken, was mistaken for the breach and instantly covered with 



men : yet a wide and deep chasm was still between them and 
the ramparts, from whence came a deadly fire wasting their 
ranks. Thus baffled they also commenced a rapid discharge of 
musketry, and disorder ensued. . . . Great was the confusion, 
for the ravelin was covered with men of both divisions, and 
while some continued to fire, others jumped down and ran 
towards the breach, many also passed between the ravelin and 
the counterguard of the Trinidad, the two divisions got mixed, 
the reserves, which should have remained at the quarries, also 
came pouring in until the ditch was quite filled, the rear still 
crowding forward, and all cheering vehemently. The enemy's 
shouts also were loud and terrible, and the bursting of shells 
and of grenades, the roaring of guns from the flanks, answered 
by the iron howitzers from the battery of the parallel, the heavy 
roll and horrid explosion of the powder barrels, the whizzing 
flight of the blazing splinters, the loud exhortations of the officers, 
and the continual clatter of the muskets, made a maddening 

" Now a multitude bounded up the great breach as if driven 
by a whirlwind, but across the top glittered a range of sword- 
blades, sharp-pointed, keen-edged on both sides, and firmly fixed 
in ponderous beams chained together and set deep in the ruins ; 
and for ten feet in front the ascent was covered with loose planks 
studded with sharp iron points, on which feet being set the 
planks moved, and the unhappy soldiers falling forward on the 
spikes rolled down upon the ranks behind. Then the French- 
men, shouting at the success of their stratagem and leaping 
forward, plied their shot with terrible rapidity, for every man 
had several muskets, and each musket in addition to its ordinary 
charge contained a small cylinder of wood stuck full of wooden 
slugs, which scattered like hail when they were discharged. 
Once and again the assailants rushed up the breaches, but 
always the sword-blades, immovable and impassable, stopped 
their charge, and the hissing shells and thundering powder 
barrels exploded unceasingly. Hundreds of men had fallen, 
hundreds more were dropping, still the heroic officers called 
aloud for new trials, and sometimes folio wed by many, sometimes 
by a few, ascended the ruins ; and so furious were the men that 
in one of these charges the rear strove to push the foremost on 
to the sword-blades, willing even to make a bridge of their 
writhing bodies, but the others frustrated the attempt by drop- 


ping down : and men fell so far from the shot, that it was hard to 
know who went down voluntarily, who were stricken, and many 
stooped unhurt that never rose again. Vain also would it have 
been to break through the sword-blades, for the trench and 
parapet behind the breach were finished, and the assail- 
ants, crowded into even a narrower space than the ditch was, 
would still have been separated from their enemies, and the 
slaughter would have continued." For two hours these vain 
attempts continued, and at last the assailants rested sullenly 
on their muskets, while the defenders on the ramparts took 
aim at them by the light of carcasses, and mockingly asked 
why they did not come into Badajos. At midnight, when 2000 
brave men had fallen, Wellington sent an order to withdraw and 

Similar bloody scenes were being enacted in the west of the 
town at the St. Vincent bastion, but fortunately some of the 
defenders had been called away to aid in recovering the castle, 
the ramparts were not fully manned, and a corner of the bastion 
was discovered where the scarp was only twenty feet high, and 
the embrasure without a gun. At this point three ladders were 
raised, and some of the men scrambled up with difficulty, the 
leading men being pushed by their comrades, and then drawing 
others up after them ; and while half the 4th regiment entered 
the town, the rest scoured the ramparts towards the breach. 
The French were now conscious that all was lost, and when the 
attack in front was renewed the defenders at the breach broke. 
The brave Phillipon, though suffering from a wound, passed 
the bridge with a few hundred soldiers and entered San Cliris- 
toval, but surrendered next morning upon summons to Lord 
Fitzroy Somerset, afterwards Lord Raglan, commander in the 

"Now," says Napier, "commenced that wild and desperate 
wickedness which tarnished the lustre of the soldier's heroism. 
All indeed were not alike, hundreds risked and many lost their 
lives in trying to stop the violence, but madness generally pre- 
vailed, and as the worst men were leaders here, all the dreadful 
passions of human nature were displayed. Shameless rapacity, 
brutal intemperance, savage lust, cruelty and murder, shrieks 
and piteous lamentations, groans, shouts, imprecations, the hiss- 
ing of fires bursting from the houses, the crashing of doors 
and windows, and the reports of muskets used in violence, re- 


sounded for two days and nights in the streets of Badajos. On 
the third, when the city was sacked, when the soldiers were 
exhausted by their own excesses, the tumult rather subsided 
than was quelled : the wounded were then looked to, the dead 
disposed of, and the conquerors counted their gains and their 
losses." They had won a first-rate fortress, 179 guns and mortars, 
Soult's pontoon train, a vast quantity of military stores, and 3800 
prisoners, 1300 having been killed or wounded during the siege. 
They had lost 72 officers and 963 men killed, and 306 officers and 
3483 men wounded. More than 2000 fell at the breaches alone. 

" Let it be considered," says the historian of the war, " that 
this frightful carnage took place in a space of less than 100 yards 
square ; that the slain died not all suddenly nor by one manner 
of death that some perished by steel, some by shot, some by 
water, that some were crushed and mangled by heavy weights, 
some trampled upon, some dashed to atoms by fiery explo- 
sions ; that for hours this destruction was endured without 
shrinking and the town was won at last. Let these things be 
considered, and it must be admitted a British army bears with 
it an awful power. And false would it be to say the French 
were feeble men ; the garrison stood and fought manfully and 
with good discipline, behaving worthily : shame there was none 
on any side. Yet who shall do justice to the bravery of the 
British soldiers ! the noble emulation of the officers ! Who shall 
measure out the glory of Ridge, of Macleod, of Nicholas, of 
O'Hare of the 95th, who perished on the breach at the head of 
the stormers, and with him nearly all the volunteers for that 
desperate service ! Who shall describe the springing valour of 
that Portuguese grenadier who was killed the foremost man at 
the Santa Maria ! or the martial fury of that desperate rifleman, 
who, in his resolution to win, thrust himself beneath the chained 
sword-blades, and then suffered the enemy to dash his head to 
pieces with the ends of their muskets ! Who can sufficiently 
honour the intrepidity of Walker, of Shaw, and of Canch, or the 
hardiness of Ferguson of the 43d, who having in former assaults 
received two deep wounds was here, his former hurts still open, 
leading the stormers of his regiment, the third time a volunteer, 
the third time wounded ! . . . No age, no nation ever sent forth 
braver troops to battle than those who stormed Badajos. 

" When the extent of the night's havoc was made known to 
Lord Wellington", the firmness of his nature gave way for a 

i8i2.] HILL AT ALMARAZ. 149 

moment, and the pride of conquest yielded to a passionate burst 
of grief for the loss of his gallant soldiers." 

After repairing and victualling the two Spanish fortresses, 
Wellington prepared to assume the offensive in Spain. As a 
preliminary step it was desirable to cut the connection between 
Marmont and Soult by the boat-bridge at Almaraz. This, as 
the only passage the French had over the Tagus from Toledo to 
Portugal, was strongly fortified. On the south side of the river 
was a bridge-head, regularly entrenched and flanked, and com- 
manded by Fort Napoleon, placed on a height in advance. On 
the north side the bridge was connected by a field work of two 
faces with Fort Ragusa. The works were armed with 18 guns 
and garrisoned with 1000 men, and the mountain road over the 
steep sierra was blocked at the pass of Mirabete by the old castle 
and other works. 

The task of surprising this position was entrusted to Hill, 
who had with him the 5oth, and the 7ist and Q2d Highlanders. 
Chowne had been sent to make a false attack on the castle of 
Mirabete, and the garrison of Fort Napoleon, crowded on 
the ramparts, were anxiously watching the pillars of white 
smoke rising on the sierra, and listening to the echoes of the 
artillery, when (May 19, 1812) a British shout struck their ear, 
and the 5oth and a wing of the yist came rushing down the 
hills. The French, however, were not altogether taken by 
surprise, and opened on the assailants a heavy fire of musketry 
and artillery, while the guns of Fort Ragusa on the opposite 
side of the river took them in flank. The assailants made a 
rush and gained a rising ground, only twenty yards from the 
ramparts, which covered them from the front fire, leaped into 
the ditch, spliced their ladders, swarmed up, climbed over the 
rampart, and fell on the enemy. The French fled towards the 
bridge-head, and would have crossed the bridge itself had not 
some of the boats been destroyed by stray shots from the forts, 
for the English artillerymen had turned the guns of Napoleon 
on Ragusa, and the two forts were now cannonading each other. 
Only a few escaped ; many of the French leaped into the 
water and were drowned, and the rest were taken prisoners. 
To the amazement of the British a panic spread to the garrison 
of Fort Ragusa, the commander of which evacuated it and fled 
with his men to Naval-Moral, where he was brought to trial by 


court-martial, was sentenced to death, and shot at Talavera. 
Some grenadiers of the g2d Highlanders dashed aside their 
bonnets and muskets, plunged into the stream, and brought 
back several boats, by which the bridge was restored, and Fort 
Kagusa was also won. All the works at the bridge, with a 
great quantity of stores, thus fell into the hands of the con- 
querors, and were destroyed. 

This preliminary operation accomplished, Wellington crossed 
the Agueda (June 13), and four days after reached Salamanca, 
Marmont retiring before him. The forts fell on the 26th; and 
then commenced an extraordinary series of manoeuvres, marchings 
and countermarchings on the Tormes, in which at one time the 
two armies were in such close proximity that the officers saluted 
each other by lowering their swords, and French and British 
were daily in the habit of bathing in the same stream, until the 
practice was forbidden by a general order. In these manoeuvres, 
" grand French military combinations," the "Moniteur" called 
them, " which command victory and decide the fate of empires," 
the advantage was all on the side of Marmont, who effected a 
junction with Bonnet from the Asturias, and reopened his 
communications with the army of the centre under King 
Joseph. On the night of the 2ist July the two armies lay 
facing each other on the heights of San Christoval, near 
Salamanca, and Wellington, hearing that Marmont was about to 
be joined by General Chauvel with the cavalry from Caffarelli's 
Biscay army, and that Joseph was coming up by forced marches, 
resolved to begin his retreat the following day ; but Marmont 
was aware that on the arrival of Joseph or Jourdan he would be 
superseded, and was ambitious of gaining a victory before they 
came up. Next day (July 22, 1812), therefore, Marmont sent 
some troops to seize the Arapeiles or Hermanitos, two heights 
on Wellington's right ; and as this would have compelled 
Wellington to fight on disadvantageous ground, with his back 
to the Tormes, a detachment was sent to stop them ; the French 
gained the height next to themselves, but were repulsed from 
the other. This rendered a new disposition of the allies 
necessary, and thinking to take advantage of it, Marmont sent 
Maucune with two divisions, 50 guns, and light cavalry, along 
his left, to menace the Ciudad Eodrigo road ; but the movement 
was made so carelessly that a great chasm was created between 


the French left and centre. It was three o'clock, and Wellington 
had retired for some refreshment, but no sooner did he see the 
movement, than he cried, " At last I have them ! " 

Suddenly the dark mass of troops on the English Hermanito 
rushed violently down into the basin between the hills, amidst 
a storm of bullets, and the order of battle was immediately 
formed (from the left) the 4th and 5th divisions, Bradford's 
Portuguese, arid Le Merchant's heavy cavalry in the first line ; 
the 6th and 7th divisions and Anson's light cavalry in the 
second line, which was prolonged by the Spaniards in the 
direction of the 3d division, which, reinforced by Arentschild's 
German hussars and D'Urban's Portuguese horsemen, closed the 
extreme right far behind at Aldea Tejada. On the highest 
ground behind all was a reserve composed of the light division, 
Pack's Portuguese, and Bock's and Alten's cavalry. When this 
disposition was completed, the 3d division and its attendant 
horsemen received orders to form in four columns, and, flanked 
on the left by 12 guns, to cross the enemy's line of march. 
The rest of the first line was to advance whenever the attack of 
the 3d division should be developed j and Pack's brigade was to 
assail the French Hermanito. 

At five o'clock Pakenham with the 3d division fell on 
Maucune's first division under Thomieres, who had just then 
reached the brow of a hill in the expectation of seeing the allies 
in full retreat. Two batteries of artillery took Thomieres in 
flank, and Pakenham's columns, forming lines as they advanced, 
assailed him in front. The gunners of the French stood 
manfully to their guns, and their light troops poured in a cloud 
of musketry, under cover of which the main body strove to 
open a front of battle ; but Pakenham's advance was irresistible, 
and the half-formed lines were dashed into fragments and driven 
in on the supporting lines. In half an hour the French had 
been reduced to a perilous state Thomieres was killed, and 
his division shattered ; Bonnet had made an attack on the 
English Hermanito and been beaten back, severely wounded ; 
the 4th and 5th divisions were steadily pushing back the French 
centre and right; and, to crown all, Marmont's right arm was 
shattered by a howitzer shell, and he was born in a litter from 
the field. 

The command now devolved on Clause!, whose division rein- 
forced Maucune's wasted ranks on the left, where the stifling 

152 A TERRIBLE CHARGE. [1812. 

clouds of dust and smoke, and the powerful rays of the sun 
beating full in their faces, rendered their position far from 
comfortable. "In this oppressed state." says Napier, "while 
Pakenham was pressing their left with a conquering violence, 
while the 5th division was wasting their ranks by fire, the 
interval between those divisions was suddenly filled with a 
whirling cloud of dust, which moved swiftly forward, carrying 
within it the trampling sound of a charging multitude ; it 
passed the left of the 3d division in a chaotic mass, but then 
opening, Anson's light cavalry and Le Merchant's heavy horse- 
men were seen to break forth at full speed, and the next 
moment 1200 French cavalry were trampled down with a 
terrible clamour and disturbance. Bewildered and blinded, 
they cast away their arms and crowded through the intervals of 
the squadrons, stooping and crying out for quarter, while the 
dragoons, big men on big horses, rode onwards smiting with 
their long glittering swords in uncontrollable power, and the 
3d division following at speed shouted as the French lines fell 
in succession before this dreadful charge." Le Marchant fell, 
but Cotton led the victorious horsemen against a second column. 
The French left was completely broken, and 2000 prisoners, 2 
eagles, and 1 1 guns were taken. It was the work of forty 

Meanwhile a terrible struggle was raging in the centre, where 
the 4th and 5th divisions were fiercely engaged with Bonnet's 
troops, who were driven back step by step, though not without 
causing terrible slaughter. But Pack's Portuguese failed in their 
attack on the French Hermanito, and the victorious French 
infantry pressed on the foremost battalion of the 4th division, 
and drove it back, breathless with previous fighting, till the two 
regiments in reserve opened fire. 

Clausel made astonishing exertions. Ferey's division, with 
the light cavalry and Bonnet's dragoons, and Sarrut's and 
Brennier's divisions so long expected from the forest, were 
drawn up behind Bonnet's infantry, while Foy's division was 
untouched on the right. Having thus massed his troops for a 
safe retreat, Clausel made a last throw for victory, and assailing 
the 4th arid 5th divisions in front and flank, fanned the flame of 
battle till it raged more fiercely than before. The men fell fast, 
and Anson's cavalry could not charge for the fire of the enemy's 
artillery. But Wellington sent forward Clinton with the 6th 


division, while Pakenham pressed on with, the 3d. All was 
lost : the French gallantly bore up against the torrent, but had 
not the Spaniards, contrary to orders, evacuated the castle of 
Alba de Tormes, no retreat would have been left for them 
their whole army would have been involved in destruction. As 
it was, their loss was terrible. Out of 44,000 men who had 
gone into action, they had 14,000 killed, wounded, and prisoners. 
The loss of the allies out of 46,000 was 5200, of whom 
3179 were British, 2013 Portuguese, and 8 Spaniards ! "a fair 
index, probably, to the share each had taken in the battle." 
Wellington was rewarded with the dignity of Marquis and 
;i 00,000 to buy estates, and the Spanish Government conferred 
on him the insignia of the Golden Fleece. 

Napoleon heard of Salamanca when in the heart of Russia, 
and felt that his hold on the Peninsula was shaken. 

Next day (July 23) Wellington pressed the pursuit, and the 
rear of the French army was overtaken by Bock's Hanoverian 
dragoons, who broke three squares of infantry and took 
1000 prisoners, with a loss to themselves of only 70 men. 
It was one of the most brilliant cavalry affairs of the war. 
The pursuit was continued to Valladolid, and finding that the 
French were totally disabled for the time, Wellington turned 
against the army of the centre under Joseph, and entered Madrid 
(August 12) amid the unbounded joy of the people. Joseph and 
his court fled to Aranjuez. Many fortresses which had been 
occupied by the French yielded, Andalusia and Estramadura 
were evacuated, and Hill advanced to cover Madrid on the south. 
Wellington again set out for the north, Clausel retreating before 
him, and laid siege to Burgos (Sept. 19), which contained all the 
stores and reserve artillery of Marmont's army. 

The castle of Burgos was in ruins, but the strong thick walls 
of the ancient keep were equal to the best casemates, and the 
keep was strengthened by a hornwork, which had been erected 
on Mount St. Michael. A church had also been converted into a 
fort, and the whole was enclosed within three lines, so connected 
that each would defend the other. The garrison was under the 
orders of the gallant Du Breton, a soldier of consummate skill and 
courage. Owing to the great distance from Lisbon, Wellington's 
heavy artillery could not be brought forward in time. His siege- 
train was utterly insignificant only three i8-pounders and five 

154 SIEGE OF BURGOS. [1812. 

Possession of the hornwork was the necessary preliminary to 
an attack on the castle ; and on the evening of the i pth, the light 
battalion, consisting of the light companies of the 24th, 420!, 
58th, 6oth, and 79th, drove in the outposts, and lodged them- 
selves in the outworks. After it was dark, the light battalion 
assailed the gorge of the works, while the 42d made a direct attack 
in front, to draw off the fire of the garrison. The light companies, 
on arriving at the gorge, were received with a brisk fire of mus- 
ketry through the openings of the palisades, causing severe loss ; 
but they continued to press forward, and, without waiting for the 
application of the felling axes and ladders with which they were 
provided, the foremost in the attack actually climbed on each 
other's shoulders and leaped the palisades. In this way, and by 
means of the scaling ladders, the whole battalion was in a few 
minutes formed within the work, and a sergeant and twelve men 
of the 79th having been placed as a guard, at the gate leading to 
the castle, to prevent the escape of the fugitives, a charge was made 
on the garrison. But the French in Mount St. Michael numbered 
between 400 and 500 men, and, forming themselves into a solid 
mass, they rushed towards the gate, overpowered the small guard 
placed there, and effected their escape to the castle. 

Four assaults achieved no permanent success. 2000 men 
were lost in these vain attempts, which occupied thirty-three 
days, and gave the French time to reassemble their forces. 
Clausel, now joined by the army of the north, was again at 
the head of 44,000 men ; while Soult and Drouet had effected 
their junction with Joseph, and were marching on Madrid with 
58,000 men. It was obviously necessary to retreat on the 
base of operations, and the retrograde movement commenced 
(Oct. 21). At the passage of the Carrion (Oct. 25) a severe 
combat took place, in which the French were defeated. The 
Douro crossed (Oct. 29), a junction with Hill was effected 
(Nov. 8), and Wellington took post on the old position of the 
Arapeiles, and offered battle to the French, who had also 
effected a junction and amounted to 95,000 men, including 
12,000 cavalry, with 120 guns. Jourdan wished to fight, but 
Soult overruled him, and extending his left wing, compelled 
Wellington to prosecute his retreat, which ended at Ciudad 
Rodrigo (Nov. 18). 

The British soldier shows nowhere less to advantage than in 
a retrograde movement. As it was in the retreat on Corunna, 


BO it was in the retreat from Burgos. Peasants were murdered, 
houses plundered, wine vaults broken open. Men straggled from 
the colours by the dozen and never returned. In the cellars of Val- 
demoro, the French found 250 in a helpless state of intoxication. 
There is no doubt the hardships which the soldiers endured were 
great. During the last part of the retreat the march lay over 
a country of flooded clay. Every hour was filled with alarms 
that the French were upon them. Provisions were not to be had 
from the difficulty of transport. The private of the 7ist, whom 
we have already quoted, tells an amusing story which shows how 
the habit of foraging had spread to all ranks. It was when the 
ist brigade of the 3d division (5oth, 7ist, Q2d) was retiring 
from Alba de Tormes. " There was a mill on the river-side near 
the bridge, wherein a number of our men were helping themselves 
to flour, while the others were fording. Our colonel (the Hon. 
Henry Cadogan) rode, down and forced them out, throwing a 
handful of flour on each man as he passed out of the mill. When 
we were drawn up on the heights, he rode along the column 
looking for the millers, as we called them. At this moment a 
fowl put her head out of his coat pocket, and looked first to one 
side and then to another. We began to laugh ; we could not 
restrain ourselves. He looked amazed and furious at us, then 
around. At length the major rode up to him and requested him 
to kill the fowl outright and put it into his pocket. The colonel 
in his turn laughed, called his servant, and the millers were no 
more looked after." The total loss of the allies during the 
retreat from Burgos (including Hill's retreat from Madrid) is 
estimated at 9000 men, besides a great quantity of baggage. 
The loss was none the less sad that much of it need never have 
occurred, as was shown by the condition of the light division 
and the foot guards, who preserved their discipline. But 
whenever the army went into winter quarters on the Coa, dis- 
cipline was restored as if by magic, and the memory of hardship 
and suffering was lost in the pleasures of the bull-fight and the 

It is true that Wellington was forced to retreat, b < the march 
into Spain was not a failure. The national hostility to the French 
was fanned, the patriotism of the Cortes was revived, the guer- 
rillas were reanimated, and again hung in swarms on the French 
lines. The French lost the Asturias, Estramadura, Andalusia, and 
Murcia, their arsenals and stores were destroyed, and their armies 


were confined to the exhausted north and centre. They could 
never hope to recover their sway. Napier says, " Whatever 
failures there were, and however imposing the height to which 
the English general's reputation has since attained, this cam- 
paign, including the sieges of Rodrigo, Badajos, the forts of 
Salamanca and of Burgos, the assault of Almaraz, and the fight 
of Salamanca, will probably be considered his finest illustration 
of the art of war. Waterloo may be called a more glorious ex- 
ploit because of the great man who was there vanquished ; Assaye 
may be deemed a more wonderful action, one indeed to be com- 
pared with the victory which Lucullus gained over Tigranes ; 
but Salamanca will always be referred to as the most skilful of 
Wellington's battles." 


Vitoria Battles of the Pyrenees Storming of San Sebastian. 

E now come to the last chapter in the history of the 
Peninsular War. The struggle was virtually over, and 
only waited the crowning victory. The winter of 
1812-13 saw Wellington on something like an equality 
with the Imperial legions in point of numbers ; for nearly half a 
million of the veterans of France had perished among the snows 
of Russia, and enormous drafts were required from the Peninsular 
armies for the Leipsic campaign, where Napoleon made his last 
great effort to prop his falling throne. From these reductions, 
and the wasting losses inflicted by the guerillas, the French 
troops in the Peninsula in the spring of 1813 did not amount to 
more than 197,000 who were with the eagles, while the allied 
armies were swelled to 200,000. Not more than half this great 
force, however, were British, Germans, or Portuguese, on whom 
reliance could really be placed, but even the Spaniards were 
rapidly improving in efficiency under Wellington's system. And 
what was of the utmost importance, Wellington had at last ob- 
tained from the Cortes the supreme command of all the forces 
engaged in the war, while the French had lost their only military 
head in the Peninsula in Marshal Soult, who, disgusted at the 
manner in which his plans had been treated, had demanded his 
recall from Napoleon, and was serving in Germany. 

Active operations were begun about the middle of May. The 
advanced guard of the allies crossed the Esla (May 31, 1813) after 
a march of 200 miles in ten days. The castle of Burgos, where so 
many British lives were lost the year before, was blown up (June 


14). The flank of the French was turned ; they were compelled 
to abandon position after position, and fall back across the Ebro. 
Biscay was evacuated, with the exception of San Sebastian, 
Santona, and Bilbao ; the ports were instantly filled with British 
vessels, and the British were able to change their base from 
Portugal to the northern coast. King Joseph, also, in dread of 
being severed from his friends in northern Spain, quitted Madrid 
in panic, and fell back across the Ebro. 

The concentration of the French forces took place at Vitoria, 
a little town in the Basque Provinces, 190 miles north-north-east 
of Madrid, and 70 miles west of the great frontier fortress of 
Pampeluna. The position was a strong one, and capable of being 
well defended, but Joseph was no general, and he was to a large 
extent deprived of the advice and assistance of Marshal Jourdan, 
who was suffering so severely from fever that he could not 
mount a horse. In front of Vitoria, which stands on a gentle 
elevation, a plain, diversified by woods, corn-fields, ditches, vine- 
yards, and hamlets, stretches down to the Zadora, a narrow 
stream within difficult banks, which keeps a westerly course 
along the plain for about three miles, and then sweeps round to 
the south, where it becomes entangled among the offshoots of 
the Morillo mountains, then rushes through a narrow gorge, 
called the Puebla Pass, between these mountains and the Puebla 
range. The cardinal defect of the position was that it contained 
only one line of retreat, namely, by the royal road from Madrid 
to Bayonne, which enters the plain at the Puebla Pass on the 
south-west, traverses it in a north-easterly direction, passes 
through Vitoria, and again touches the Zadora at Durana. For 
the impending battle Joseph had 70,000 combatants, and these 
were spread over a line of nearly eight miles, along the royal 
road, from Durana on the extreme right to the heights of Puebla 
on the extreme left. Reille held the right, Gazan the centre, 
and Maransin the left. D'Erlon's division formed a second line 
on the centre and left. Fifty guns were massed in front to com- 
mand the bridges of Mendoza, Tres Puentes, Villodas, and Nan- 
clares, by which the allies must cross to attack the position ; but 
none of these bridges were broken, or covered with field-works to 
enable Joseph to sally forth upon the attacking army, nor was 
the Puebla entrenched, nor the heights above occupied in suffi- 
cient strength. 

Wellington had 78,000 men 7 18,000 of them Spaniards, and 


arranged his battle in the following order : On the left, Graham, 
with 20,000 men, composed of the ist and 5th Anglo-Portuguese 
divisions, Bradford's and Pack's independent brigades, Longa's 
Spanish division, Anson's and Bock's cavalry, and 18 guns, to 
descend from the north by the Bilbao road, fall on Eeille, and 
attempt the passage at Gamara Mayor and Ariaga, about three- 
quarters of a mile from Vitoria by which it was hoped that the 
French would be completely turned, and cooped up between the 
Puebla range on the one side and the Zadora on the other ; in 
the centre, Wellington himself, with 30,000 men, composed of 
the 3d, 4th, yth, and light divisions, the heavy cavalry, 
D'Urban's Portuguese horsemen, and the great mass of the 
artillery, to march across the ridges leading down to the Zadora, 
and attack the bridges at Mendoza, Tres Puentes, Villodas, and 
Nanclares ; on the right, Hill, with 20,000 men, consisting of 
Murillo's Spaniards, Silveira's Portuguese, and the 2d British 
division, with some cavalry and guns, to force a passage at the 
Puebla Pass, assail Maransin on the heights, and so turn and 
menace all the French left. 

The day (June 21, 1813) dawned in thick mist and a 
drizzling rain, and the three columns of the allies broke from 
their encampments on the Bayas separated from the Zadora 
by the Morillo range and marched on the positions severally 
assigned them. At ten o'clock Hill seized the village of La 
Puebla, and sent Murillo to climb the steep sides of the range. 
No opposition was offered to the Spaniards until the foremost 
troops were near the summit, and then a sharp skirmishing com- 
menced. Murillo was wounded, but his second brigade came up, 
and the French, aware of the importance of the position, sent a 
fresh regiment to reinforce Maransin. Colonel Cadogan, with 
the yist Highlanders their pipers playing the favourite regi- 
mental air of " Hey, Johnny Cope! " and a battalion of light 
infantry, was sent to succour Murillo, and Gazan sent Villatte's 
division to reinforce Maransin. Hill sent fresh troops, and the 
struggle was obstinate and long doubtful, but the British secured 
the summit and gained ground along the side of the mountain, 
nor could all the efforts of the French dislodge them. In this 
fight the brave Cadogan, colonel of the 7ist, fell mortally 
wounded. With the remainder of the troops Hill turned 
to his left, marched through the Puebla Pass, and at one 
o'clock carried the village of Subijana de Alava in front of 


Gazan's line, thus connecting his own right with the troops on 
the mountain. 

The yist soldier already quoted gives an interesting account of 
the battle in this part of the field. " Forward," he says, " we 
moved up the bill. The French had possession of it, but we 
soon forced them back, and drew up the column on the height, 
sending out four companies to our left to skirmish. The re- 
mainder moved on to the opposite height. As we advanced, 
driving them before us, a French officer, a pretty fellow, was 
pricking and forcing his men to stand. They heeded him not 
he was very harsh. ' Down with him,' cried one near me, and 
down he fell, pierced by more than one ball. Scarce were we 
upon the height, when a column dressed in great-coats, with 
white covers on their hats, gave us a volley which put us to the 
right-about at double-quick time, the French close behind, 
through the 'whins.' Before the four skirmishing companies 
got the word the French were on them. They likewise thought 
them Spaniards, until they got a volley which killed or wounded 
almost every one of them. We retired to the height, covered by 
the 5oth, who gave the pursuing column a volley which checked 
their speed. We then moved up the remains of our shattered 
regiment to the height, where we kept shooting away till the 
bugle sounded to cease firing. We lay on the height for some 
time. Our thirst was excessive. There was no water on the 
height, save one small spring, which was rendered useless. One 
of the men called out in the heat of the action, that he would 
have a drink let the world go as it would. He stooped to 
drink ; a ball pierced his head, and be fell with it in the well. 
Thirsty as we were we could not use the water." 

Wellington had meanwhile crossed the Morillo range, and 
placed the 4th division in the rugged grounds and woods opposite 
the bridge of Nanclares, and the light division, similarly pro- 
tected, opposite the bridge of Yillodas. The day was now clear, 
and when Hill's battle began, the light division spread along the 
banks and exchanged fire with the enemy's skirmishers on the 
other side of the river. The 3d and yth were delayed by the 
rough nature of the ground they had to traverse, and while wait- 
ing for them to come up, Wellington was told by a Spanish 
peasant that the bridge of Tres Puentes on the left of the light 
division was unguarded. The peasant, further, offered to 
guide the troops over it ; Kempt's brigade was directed to the 

8i 3 .] A SINGULAR ATTACK. l6l 

point, and crossing at the double, mounted a steep curving rise 
of ground, and halted close under the crest, behind the French 
advanced post, and within a few hundred yards of their line of 
battle. They were discovered by the French cavalry, and two 
round shots were fired by the enemy, one of which killed the 
poor peasant ; but, extraordinary as it appears, no further move- 
ment was made, and Kempt was reinforced by the i5th Hussars, 
who galloped over the bridge in single file. 

It was now one o'clock, and the sun was shining brightly in 
a cloudless sky. The musketry of Hill's troops was rattling 
among the houses of Subijana de Alava, and the distant boom- 
ing of cannon and a curling smoke faintly seen on the upper 
reaches of the Zadora showed that Graham was at work on the left. 
Joseph, finding both his flanks in danger, withdrew the Reserve 
from Gomecha, and ordered Gazan to retire by successive masses ; 
but at that moment the 3d and 7-th British divisions were seen 
moving rapidly towards the bridge of Mendoza. The French guns 
opened, a body of their cavalry came up, and their light troops 
commenced a vigorous musketry. Some British guns replied to 
the French cannon from the opposite bank, and the light troops 
and the gunners were attacked in 1 flank by Andrew Barnard with 
the riflemen of Kempt's brigade, and so closely, that the English 
artillerymen thought his dark-coated troops were enemies, and 
for a short time played upon them equally with the French. 
This singular attack enabled the British divisions to cross by the 
bridge and the fords higher up ; the French abandoned the ground 
in front of Yillodas, Hill pressed the enemy harder, the smoke 
and sound of Graham's attack became more distinct, the French 
were dispirited and perplexed, and the banks of the Zadora pre- 
sented a continuous line of fire. 

Steadily the allies advanced, Colville and his brigade of the 
3d division crossed by one of the fords and engaged the French 
in front of Margarita and Hermandad, exactly in the centre of 
their line. Almost at the same time Wellington noticed that the 
" Englishman's- Hill " in front of Arinez was weakly held, and 
led Picton and his " fighting third," preceded by Andrew Bar- 
nard's riflemen, and followed by the remainder of Kempt's 
brigade and the hussars, in close columns" of regiments at a 
running pace diagonally across the front of both armies towards 
that central point. Cole, too, advanced from the bridge of Nan - 
clares, and the heavy cavalry galloped between Cole's right aud 


1 62 THE WRECK OF A NATION. [1813. 

Hill's left, and completed the confusion of the French. But the 
French covered their retreat to the heights in front of Gomecha 
with a cloud of skirmishers and the fire of 50 pieces of artiller3 T . 
They clung to Arinez with the courage of despair. Picton's 
troops, headed by Barnard's riflemen, plunged into the streets 
amidst a heavy fire, and in an instant three guns were captured ; 
but more French troops came in, and the smoke, the dust, the 
clamour, the rattle of musketry, and the roar of the artillery, were 
deafening and bewildering ; yet in the end the British troops 
issued forth victorious on the other side. Margarita and the 
battery posted in it were carried by Colonel Gibbs with the 52d. 
Hermandad was won by Colonel Gough with the 8yth. The 
French troops near Subijana de Alava were turned, and, hard 
pressed on their front and left flank by Hill and the troops on 
the Puebla range, fell back in a disordered mass, striving to re- 
gain the great line of retreat to Vitoria. The whole basin of the 
Zadora was a scene of fierce battle : every valley, height, and 
woodland was sheeted with flame, every house was contested, 
every vineyard, wall, and hedgerow formed a temporary breast- 
work, yet the allies steadily gained ground, and took gun after 
gun in their victorious progress towards Vitoria. 

" At six o'clock," says Napier, " the French reached the last 
defensible height one mile in front of Vitoria. Behind them was 
the plain in which the city stood, and beyond the city thousands 
of carriages and animals and non-combatants, men, women, 
and children, were crowding together in all the madness of 
terror ; and as the English shot went booming overhead, the 
vast crowd started and swerved with a convulsive movement, 
while a dull and horrid sound of distress arose ; but there was 
no hope, no stay for army or multitude ; it was the wreck of a 
nation ! Still the courage of the French soldier was unequalled. 
Reille, on whom everything now depended, maintained the upper 
Zadora ; and the armies of the south and centre, drawing up on 
their last heights, between the villages of AH and Armentia, 
made their muskets flash like lightning, while more than eighty 
pieces of artillery, massed together, pealed with such a horrid 
uproar that the hills laboured and shook and streamed with fire 
and smoke, amidst which the dark figures of the French gunners 
were seen bounding with frantic energy. This terrible cannonade 
and musketry kept the allies in check, and scarcely could the 
3d division, which bore the brunt of this storm, maintain its ad- 


vanced position. Again the battle became stationary, and the 
French endeavoured to draw off their infantry in succession from 
the right wing ; but suddenly the 4th division rushing forward 
carried a hill on their left, and the heights were at once abandoned. 
Joseph, finding the royal road so completely blocked by carriages 
that the artillery could not pass, then indicated the road of Salva- 
tierra as the line of retreat, and the army went off in a confused 
yet compact body on that side, leaving Vitoria on its left. The 
British infantry followed hard, and the light cavalry galloped 
through the town to intercept the new line of retreat, which was 
through a marsh ; and the road also was choked with carriages 
and fugitive people, while on each side there were deep drains. 
Thus, all became disorder and mischief, the guns were left on 
the edge of the marsh, the artillerymen and drivers fled with 
the horses, and the vanquished infantry, breaking through the 
miserable multitude, went off by Metauco towards Salvatierra : 
the cavalry, however, still covered the retreat, and many of the 
generous horsemen were seen taking up children and women to 
carry off from the dreadful scene." 

While the left and centre were thus being destroyed, Graham 
was carrying position after position on the extreme right of the 
French line. Reille made a most obstinate defence, and the 
bridges were several times taken and re-taken ; but when the 
centre and left were defeated, the British cavalry galloped out of 
Vitoria on his rear, and it was all he could do to secure a retreat 
to Betonio. Here he rallied his men, but the triumphant allies 
closed in upon him from all sides, and he hurried along the road 
to Metauco, protecting his retreat by bold charges of cavalry. 
It was not till he had passed that village, and night had fallen 
for some hours, that the last shot was fired. 

" Never," says Napier, " was an army more hardly used by 
its commander, for the soldiers were not more than half-beaten, 
and yet never was a victory more complete. The trophies were 
innumerable. The French carried off but two pieces of artillery 
from the battle. Jourdan's bdton of command, a stand of colours, 
143 brass pieces, two-thirds of which had been used in the fight, 
all the parks and depots from Madrid, Valladolid, and Burgos, 
carriages, ammunition, treasure, everything fell into the hands 
of the victors. The loss in men did not, however, exceed 6000, 
including some hundreds of prisoners. The loss of the allies 
wqs nearly as great, the gross numbers being 51-76 killed, 

1 64 A men SPOIL. [1813. 

wounded, and missing. Of these, 1059 were Portuguese and 
550 Spanish; hence the loss of the English was more than 
double that of the Portuguese and Spaniards together ; and yet 
both fought well, and especially the Portuguese, but British 
troops are the soldiers of battle. The spoil was immense, and to 
such an extent was plunder carried, principally by the followers 
and non-combatants, for with some exceptions the fighting troops 
may be said to have marched upon gold and silver without 
stooping to pick it up, that of five millions and a-half of dollars 
indicated by the French accounts to be in the money-chests, a 
fiftieth part only came to the public." All the public and 
private plunder which the French had been collecting for five 
years fell into the hands of the victors : rich brocades, gold and 
silver plate ; pictures from the royal galleries, cut from their 
frames for safe transit ; jewels, female trinkets, theatrical deco- 
rations, furniture, wines ; together with all the regimental 
records, the archives of Joseph's court, and much of Napoleon's 
cipher correspondence. French officers, and even generals, were 
reduced to the clothes on their backs, and many of them were 
barefooted. Joseph's own carriage was overtaken and stopped 
on the road to Pampeluna by Captain Wyndham with a squadron 
of the loth Hussars, and he only saved himself by mounting a 
fleet horse and spurring for the fortress. It was in Joseph's 
carriage that Marshal Jourdan's ~bdton was found, along with the 
king's sword and papers and one of Corregio's pictures. Wel- 
lington sent it to the Prince Kegent, who sent him in return the 
Idton of a field-marshal in the British army. 

So ended the battle of Vitoria, the crowning victory of the 
Peninsular War. Alison remarks, that "the campaigns of Marl- 
borough present no example of so remarkable a triumph ; the 
campaigns of Cressy and Agincourt were fruitless in compari- 
son." It resounded like a thunderclap through Spain. At one 
blow the French were swept like a whirlwind from the Peninsula, 
and Joseph's crown dropped from his head. Madrid was eva- 
cuated (June 27), and all the French authorities hurried across 
the Ebro. Suchet left Valencia. Clausel, with 14,000 men, 
reached France only by a circuitous route, and after having a 
great part of his artillery and baggage taken by Mina. Graham, 
with the British left, pressed the retreat of Foy, and after a 
severe conflict at Tolosa, drove him across the Bidassoa ; while 


Hill, with the centre, followed tlie main body of tlie beaten 
army, which retired up the Bastan valley into France, sans am- 
munition, sans baggage, and with only one gun. All that now 
remained to the French in the north-west of Spain were the 
strongholds of Santona, San Sebastian, and Pampeluna, the last 
of which was closely blockaded by Hill. Graham undertook the 
siege of San Sebastian, the " Gibraltar of the Biscay coast." Its 
main strength lies in its citadel, the castle of La Mota, which 
crowns the promontory, a rugged conical hill 400 feet high. 
The north front of this promontory is incessantly lashed by the 
waves of the stormy Atlantic, the river Urumea, fordable for 
two hours before and after low water, protects it on the east, the 
waters of the bay wash it on the west, and on the south or land 
front the approach is by a low sandy isthmus, at the narrowest 
part of which was placed a low circular redoubt, composed of 
casks. The garrison, 3000 strong, was commanded by the brave 
Emmanuel Key, who took full advantage of his splendid posi- 
tion, and made every preparation for an obstinate defence. 
Graham's besieging force numbered about 10,000 men, but only 
100 regular sappers and miners, who were assisted by some sea- 
man under O'Reilly, from the Surveillante frigate. The first 
attempt, however, was unsuccessful, and as the besiegers' ammu- 
nition was nearly suspended, and fresh supplies had not yet 
arrived from England, it was necessary to suspend operations 
and turn the siege into a blockade. 

On the first tidings of the battle of Vitoria, Napoleon put 
aside all family considerations, superseded Joseph in command 
of the army, and sent Soult to take the supreme command, 
under the title of Lieutenant of the Emperor. Soult arrived on 
the 1 3th July at Bayonne, which he fortified, and mustering the 
wrecks of the beaten armies under its walls, found he had still 
70,500 infantry and 7000 cavalry. Suchet had 66,000 men in 
Catalonia and Valencia, but throughout the ensuing campaign 
he remained inactive and avoided co-operating with Soult. That 
great tactician formed a plan to overwhelm Wellington's right 
and relieve Pampeluna, and then, passing along the rear of the 
allies' line, crush their divisions in detail as they descended from 
the hills, unite with a corps advancing by the coast, and destroy 
the left wing at San Sebastian. On the 24th July, more than 
66.000 men, with 66 guns, were in position to force the passes 
of Roncesvalles and Maya. 


On the morning of the 25th July (1813), under cover of a 
thick fog, Clausel pushed forward 18,000 troops, and forced 
back Byng and Murillo, who held the heights of Altobiscar in 
the Roncesvalles with scarce 5000 bayonets. Reille endeavoured 
to turn the British right, but on the summit of the Lindouz 
encountered the advanced guard of General Ross, who called aloud 
to charge. Captain Tovey of the 2oth ran forward with his com- 
pany, crossed a slight wooded hollow, and dashed with the bayonet 
full against the front of the French. Brave men fell on both 
sides, but at length numbers prevailed, and Captain Tovey and 
his people were pushed back. But Ross gained his object; the 
remainder of his brigade had come up, and the pass was secured. 

At Maya there were three passes to defend Aretesqueon the 
right, Lessessa in the centre, Maya on the left. The Aretesque 
was defended by Pringle's brigade (28th, 34th, 39th), and the 
Lessessa and Maya passes by Cameron's brigade (soth, 7ist, 
92d). The six British regiments furnished no more than 3000 
bayonets, and William Stewart, who commanded here, so little 
expected an attack that he had gone to Elisondo, leaving orders 
for the soldiers to cook. On the morning of the 25th D'Erlon 
advanced with 20,000 men in two columns, Maransin's division 
on the right against the Maya Pass, and the divisions of 
D'Armagnac and Abbe" on the left against the Aretesque Pass. 
After a fierce struggle the last two were lost, and the first was 
only held by a wing of the yist. Stewart, therefore, who now 
arrived on the scene, withdrew the force to a rocky ridge in the 
rear ; but this position was also forced, Stewart was wounded, 
the Portuguese guns were taken, the ammunition failed, the 
last crag was defended with stones, and the mountain was about 
to '.be entirely abandoned, when Barnes arrived with the yth 
division, charged the French, and drove them back to the Maya 
Pass, with the loss of 1500 men and a general. The British 
lost four guns and 1400 men. "Never did soldiers fight better, 
seldom so well," says Napier ; " the stern valour of the Q2d 
would have graced Thermopylae." This noble regiment was 
nearly annihilated, and so dreadful was the slaughter in its 
ranks, that " it is said the advancing enemy was actually stopped 
by the heaped masses of dead and dying." 

Sergeant Robertson of the Q2d gives a very interesting ac- 
count of this disastrous fight. " It was customary," he says, 
"to send all the mules of the three regiments (5oth, yist, and 


92d) to the rear to forage once in the three days, so that by this 
arrangement more or less of them were every day in this posi- 
tion. On the morning of the 25th July all the three regiments 
had large foraging parties out for wood, and it was the turn of 
the 92d to have their mules out on this day. I was with the 
party for wood, which we were taking from some empty sheep- 
cots that were in a ravine in our front, and of which the French 
apparently wished to possess themselves. By the time we 
arrived, the officer on duty said he saw something like a column 
advancing, and seemingly forming to wait for the advance of 
other columns. Information was immediately conveyed to 
Colonel (Brigadier-general) Cameron, who was the senior officer 
on the spot, when he repaired to the beacon, attended by a great 
number of all ranks, to ascertain the cause of the alarm, when 
the colonel said it was only a drove of bullocks, and remarked 
that the officer (Captain Armstrong of the 7ist) was a stupid 
fellow for mistaking them for the enemy. Upon this accusation 
the captain offered to forfeit his commission if it was not a 
column of the enemy; but the colonel being positive, none of 
the other officers would take upon them to contradict the com- 
manding officer. I now went and got a spy-glass, and saw 
plainly that it was a column of infantry, and packed my knap- 
sack and got everything ready either for the affray or the march, 
as it might turn out. The colonel had reached his own tent 
when the pickets of the other regiments commenced firing. He 
still persisted in his obstinacy, and would neither allow the 
alarm gun to be fired nor the beacon to be lighted. At length 
a strong column came up the ravine (the Maya Pass) that was 
immediately in our front, where we had been for wood in the 
morning. But it was now too late to retrieve matters. We were 
hotly engaged with five times our own number, but we managed 
to keep them in check until the light companies arrived, but 
not before we were almost surrounded, and obliged to abandon 
our camp, leaving all the tents, the whole of the baggage, and 
everything belonging to the officers of the regiment. My wife 
lost everything belonging to herself and the children, and I did 
not see her for seven days after the affair. During the action 
the men were calling out to the colonel what he thought of his 
cattle now ; and when his horse was killed, and himself severely 
wounded, he was told it was nothing but a touch from one of the 
horns of the oxen." The regiment lost 400 in killed, wounded, 


and missing. Of 78 men that Sergeant Robertson had in the morn- 
ing, in the evening there remained but eleven, and of that small 
number two were wounded in the legs and unable to march. 

The successes of the French at Roncesvalles and Maya were 
partially neutralised by the delay of D'Erlon and Reille to join 
Soult, and the British fell back to Pampeluna, taking up a position 
on the rugged cliffs opposite Sorauren, four miles in front of the 
fortress. Two fierce battles were fought here (July 28, 30), in 
which the French were defeated, and Soult hastily retreated up 
the valleys of the Pyrenees, closely pursued by the allies. Step 
by step the French retreated, disputing every inch of the way, 
but so dispirited did they become by their repeated defeats that, 
at the combats of Echallar and Ivantelly (August 2), 6000 of the 
veterans who had assailed the terrible rocks above Sorauren 
were unable to sustain the shock of 1500 British soldiers ! The 
French then evacuated Spanish territory, and resumed their 
former positions. Both armies required rest. During the last 
nine days of continual movement ten serious actions had been 
fought. Since they crossed the frontier the French had lost 
15,000 men, including 4000 prisoners. The loss of the allies 
during the various battles of the Pyrenees was 7300. 

Wellington now bent all his energies to renew the siege of 
San Sebastian under Graham. On the 5th August the guns 
were re-landed, and the works against the fortress resumed. A 
battering train arrived from England on the iQth, and another 
on the 23d, raising the number of guns to 117, but the autho- 
rities at home, with great negligence, had sent from England no 
more shot and shells than would suffice for one day's consump- 
tion ! A sally was made on the 25th, and on the 26th fire was 
opened on the fortress from 57 pieces of cannon. The assault 
was entrusted to Robinson's brigade of the 5th division. It 
was formed in two columns, one to attack the old breach be- 
tween the towers, and the other to storm the bastion of St. John 
and the end of the high curtain. The small breach on the 
extreme right was left for Bradford's Portuguese, who were 011 
the sand hills across the Urumea. 

The morning of the 3ist August, 1813, broke in a heavy fog, 
which prevented the besiegers' batteries opening until eight 
o'clock ; at nine the sea breeze rolled it away ; and at eleven, 
after a heavy fire from the batteries, Robinson's brigade sprang 

i3i 3 .] HOW TO MOUNT A BREACH. 169 

from the trenches and advanced through the openings in the 
sea-wall to the assault of the breaches. While the head of the 
column was gathering on the strand, thirty yards from the 
salient angle of the horn-work, a sergeant and twelve men 
leaped forward to cut the sausage of the mine the French 
were startled and fired the mine prematurely ; the sergeant 
and all his followers were destroyed, and the high sea-wall fell 
on the front of the column, but only about forty men were 
buried in the ruins, and the rush of the column was hardly 
checked. The forlorn hope had already passed beyond the play 
of the mine, and now sped along the beach, but their gallant 
leader, Lieutenant Macguire of the 4tb, fell dead at the foot of 
the great breach. The stormers went sweeping over his body, and 
reached the top of the breach, but found progress impossible 
from the large gulf behind it. Nevertheless, they remained 
doggedly on the lower part of the breach, though exposed to a 
storm of fire in flank and rear. 

In the meantime the efforts to force the curtain were attended 
with great slaughter, and General Leith let loose the volunteers, 
750 men of the 4th and light divisions, " men who could show 
other troops how to mount a breach " who went at the breaches 
like a whirlwind. " The crowded masses," says Napier, " swarmed 
up the face of the ruins ; but on reaching the crest line, they 
came down again like a falling wall : crowd after crowd were 
seen to mount, to totter, to sink ; the French fire was unabated, 
the smoke floated away, and the crest of the breach bore no 
living man ! " 

General Graham, who had surveyed this frightful carnage 
from the right bank of the river, and saw the survivors huddled 
together at the foot of the breach, now turned 50 heavy guns 
upon the curtain over the heads of the men. For half an hour 
the iron tempest continued, and under cover of it a lodgment 
was effected in some ruined houses within the rampart on the 
right of the great breach. At this time the Portuguese and 
a detachment of the 24th, under Colonel Macbean, waded 
the Urumea, which was 200 yards wide. When they 
reached the middle of the stream, with the water up to their 
waists, the head of the column was struck by a dreadful dis- 
charge of grape. The havoc was fearful, but still the survivors 
closed and moved on. A second discharge tore the ranks from 
front to rear; still these brave men never faltered, and landing 


on the beach, the Portuguese rushed against the third breach, 
while Macbean's men reinforced the stormers of the great breach. 

The fighting now commenced again at all the breaches, and 
once more the mass of stormers rushed up to the assault once 
more unable to win. The tide was rising, the strength of the 
men was exhausted with five hours' mad fighting, and it seemed 
that the assault must fail ; but at this crisis fortune interposed. 
The combustibles which the French had collected behind the 
traverses suddenly caught fire ; a sheet of flame wrapped the 
whole of the curtain, a succession of loud explosions were heard, 
hundreds of the French grenadiers who had so bravely main- 
tained their post were destroyed, and the remainder were blinded 
by the smoke and thrown into confusion. The British rushed in 
at the first traverse, and the French, bewildered and half stupefied, 
maintained a desperate conflict on the summit of the curtain 
but the fury of the stormers was not to be stemmed, and the 
tide of battle went pouring into the town. The French rallied 
and maintained the combat at the barricades ; but it was only 
for a short time ; several hundreds of them were cut off and 
taken in the horn-work, and the remainder retreated to the Santa 
Teresa convent and the castle. 

It was now five o'clock, and, just when the place was carried, 
a thunder-storm came down from the mountains and added to 
the terrors of the scene. " This storm," says Napier, " seemed 
to be a signal from hell for the perpetration of villany that 
would have ashamed the most ferocious barbarians of antiquity. 
At Rodrigo intoxication and plunder had been the principal 
object ; at Badajos lust and murder were joined to rapine and 
drunkenness ; but at San Sebastian, the direst, the most revolting 
cruelty was added to the catalogue of crimes, one atrocity of 
which a girl of seventeen was the victim staggers the mind by 
its enormous, incredible, indescribable barbarity." The long en- 
durance of the assault, the slaughter of their comrades, and the 
conduct of the inhabitants many of whom, as at Badajos, took* 
part with the enemy and fired upon them had wrought the 
soldiers up to perfect madness. Throwing off all discipline, 
they broke open the burning houses ; they rolled spirit casks 
into the streets, and emptied them on the spot, till vast numbers 
fell down motionless, and many lifeless ; they cut down every- 
thing, plundered or burned everything in their way. The camp- 
followers crowded into the place, and in spite of all the efforts 


of the officers, many of whom were killed in trying to stem the 
torrent of disorder, the rage of the maddened soldiery could not 
be quelled till the flames left nothing standing but bare and 
blackened walls. 

From these horrors it is refreshing to turn to the high sense 
of honour and heroism displayed by Sergeant Ball and six 
grenadiers of the 28th the celebrated "Slashers." While the 
regiment was with the rest of the army in the Pyrenees, Colonel 
Cadell says, that "some of the officers requested Colonel Belson 
to send a party to Passages, near San Sebastian (where supplies 
of every description were brought from England for the army), 
to purchase tobacco for the men, and tea and sugar for the 
officers : $2000 were collected, and given in charge to Ser- 
geant Ball and six grenadiers. The party arrived at Passages 
on the 3oth, and learning that San Sebastian was to be stormed 
the next day, the sergeant addressed his men, telling them there 
was hardly an action in the Peninsula in which the 28th had 
not a share, and proposed to them to volunteer on the storming 
party for the credit of their regiment. To this the men joyfully 
assented, and the next question was, how to dispose safely 
of the money with which they had been entrusted. It was 
determined to place it in the hands of a commissary, taking his 
receipt for the amount, which document the sergeant again 
lodged in the hands of a third person. Having thus carefully 
provided for the property of their officers, those brave fellows 
volunteered for the desperate enterprise, and joined the ranks of 
their gallant comrades of Barosa Heights the grenadiers of 
the Qth. It would be superfluous to say they did their duty, 
and most fortunately indeed singularly none of them were 
hurt. After the town was taken, the gallant sergeant collected 
his men, reclaimed the money, purchased the supplies, and re- 
turned to his regiment with a handsome testimonial of their 
conduct, addressed to Colonel Belson, from the general com- 
manding the brigade." 

The citadel still held out, but 60 guns and mortars were opened 
on its walls, and on the gth September it surrendered. The 
brave Rey and the survivors of the garrison marched out of the 
fortress and laid down their arms on the glacis, " with the proud 
air of men who had nobly done their duty." Theirs was an 
achievement of which they might well be proud ; for a third-rate 
fortress, defended by only 3000 men, had detained the allies 




for 63 days, and cost them 3800 men, 2500 of whom fell in the 
last assault. On the very day of the assault (3ist August) 
Soult had endeavoured to relieve the fortress by attacking the 
heights of San Marcial. But Wellington was there, a host in 
himself, and at his bidding the Spaniards dashed down on their 
adversaries with loud shouts. The French recoiled from the 
unwonted fury of the attack, hesitated, wavered, and finally fled 
pell-mell. Many of them were driven into the Bidassoa, but the 
great mass of the fugitives betook themselves to the bridge ; the 
pontoons gave way, and nearly all who were on them at the time 
were drowned. Soult lost 3600 men, and the allies 2600 1600 
of them Spaniards, who for once bore the brunt of the attack. 



Passage of the Bidassoa Passage of the Nivelle Passage of the Nive 
Battles before Bayoune St. Pierre Orthes Toulouse. 

OULT'S efforts to carry the war into Spain had failed, 
the gates of the Pyrenees were in the hands of the 
allies, and now the nation which had so often and 
so wantonly inflicted the horrors of war upon others 
was itself to feel the iron hand of the conqueror. Napoleon 
had scored the last of his great victories, disasters began to come 
thick upon him, nothing remained for him but to fight his way 
through Leipsic to the Rhine; and the allied sovereigns on the 
Elbe were anxious that Wellington should carry his conquering 
arms into France, and take the Napoleonic army in the rear. 
For many reasons, Wellington's own views pointed more to 
Catalonia, but his government ordered the invasion of France, 
and like a good soldier he prepared to obey. 

"Soult's position north of the Bidassoa," says Alison, "was 
the base of a triangle of which Bayonne was the apex, and the 
great roads thence to Irun on the coast, and St. Jean Pied-de- 
Port in the interior, formed the sides. This space was filled 
with a mass of rugged mountains, on the last ridge of which, 
overlooking the Bidassoa, the French army was stationed; while 
all the hill-roads were commanded by works; and the summit 
of the Grand PJmme mountain, the highest part of the ridge, 
was crowned by a complete redoubt. The attack of Wellington 
was delayed by the tides and the swollen state of the Bidassoa, 
from rain, till the yth September, when the pontoons were 
brought down under cover of a dark and stormy night ; and at 


daybreak (Sept. 8, 1813) 24,000 men were directed against 
the Lower Bidassoa, and 20,000, chiefly Spaniards, against the 
Rhume and its ridges. The French were completely taken by 
surprise," the attack was successful, " the whole of the almost 
impregnable position which the French had been fortifying for a 
month past fell into the hands of the allies; and thus was 
Britain, the most persevering opponent of the Revolution, 
rewarded by being the first nation, since the rise of Napoleon, 
whose victorious standards were planted on the soil of France." 
The total loss of the French in the actions comprised in the 
"Passage of the Bidassoa" was 1400; the loss of the allies 
was 1600, of whom half were Spaniards. 

Wellington had now to wait for the fall of Pampeluna, which, 
after enduring all the extremities of famine, surrendered at dis- 
cretion (October 31), with its garrison of 3500 men: Santona, 
the only fortress in north-west Spain still held by the French, 
continued blockaded till the end of the war. Soult availed him- 
self of the respite thus granted him to erect a triple line of 
defences, strong and solid, on the Nivelle, a little river which 
runs into the sea at St. Jean de Luz. Soult's force was again 
raised to 70,000 men, by the accession of 16,000 recruits, while 
Wellington weakened his army by sending home all the Spanish 
battalions, except Murillo's, for their plundering the inhabitants. 
The passage of the Nivelle was effected on the 9th and zoth Nov- 
ember, and on the nth Soult was driven from his second line of 
defence. He rallied his troops on the third line, about 8 miles 
in the rear \ but continued disasters had weakened the spirit of 
his soldiers, and next day he fell back to the entrenched camp at 
Bayonne. In the three days' actions comprised in the battle of 
the "Nivelle," Soult lost 4300 men, 51 guns, and all the field 
magazines at St. Jean de Luz and Espalette. The loss of the 
allies was 2694. 

Wellington would immediately have followed up his advantage, 
but incessant rains from the middle to the end of November 
turned the winter-torrents into rivers, and so destroyed the roads 
that the troopers' horses sank up to the knees in mud, and the 
artillery could not be moved at all. Among the officers, excur- 
sions and convivial parties were the order of the day, varied by 
visits to St. Jean de Luz, where Wellington had fixed his head- 
quarters. St. Jean was at this time a scene of the greatest 

i8i 3 .] THE GREAT CAPTAIN. 1/5 

gaiety. There might be seen the officers of the guards and the 
scions of the British aristocracy dashing through the streets, 
bedizened with gold and silver. And there, too, might be seen 
the Great Captain himself, dressed in a plain blue surtout, a 
white cravat, and a round hat, lounging about and looking at 
the markets, as if he were merely a passing traveller, having 
nothing to do but amuse himself. 

Soult's position in the entrenched camp at Bayonne, situated 
as it was at the confluence of the A dour and the Nive, and com- 
manding the bridges over both these rivers, was very advanta- 
geous for forage, while the allies found a difficulty in obtaining 
supplies. Wellington, therefore, resolved to extend his canton- 
ments by forcing the passage of the Nive, extending his line to 
the Adour, and driving Soult entirely back under the cannon of 
Bayonne. The attack was made on the morning of the 9th 
December. Hill, with the right, forded the river at Cambo ; 
Beresford, with the centre, crossed by a pontoon bridge which 
he had laid down to an island in the Nive during the night ; 
and Hope and Alten, with the left and Vandeleur's cavalry, 
drove in the advanced posts in front of the entrenched camp. 
The passage was forced, and the French left driven close to 
Bayonne, with a loss to each side of 800 men. But the allied 
army was thus cut in two by the stream of the Nive, an almost 
nnfordable river, over which the only communication was main- 
tained by Beresford's pontoon bridge, while Soult held the 
interior lines, and was able to throw the whole weight of his 
force on the one flank or the other at pleasure. On the morning 
of the loth December, Soult threw 60,000 men on the allies' 
left wing, where there were only 30,000 men and 24 guns to 
resist his attack. The allies were taken a little by surprise, 
but the light division held the church and village of Arcangues 
against all the efforts of Clausel, and the extreme left at Bar- 
rouilhet repulsed the divisions of Eeille. Soult would have 
renewed the attack, had not Wellington threatened Urdains 
with the 3d, 4th, 6th, and yth divisions. This combat cost the 
French 2000, and the allies 1200 and 300 prisoners. Both 
armies bivouacked on the field of battle, and during the course 
of the night two German regiments, one of Nassau and one of 
Frankfort, acting on secret instructions from the Prince of 
Nassau, who had now abandoned Napoleon's falling cause, came 


over to the allies. They were received with drums beating and 
presented arms, and soon after were embarked to join their 
countrymen on the Khine. Some skirmishing took place on the 
1 2th, and each side lost 600 men. 

Heavy rains fell during the night of the i2th, swelled the 
Nive, and broke the bridge of boats. Hill, with the right, was 
thus isolated on the right bank of the Nive, and Soult launched 
35,000 men against his front, while 7000 more menaced his 
rear. Hill had but 14,000 men and 14 guns to resist this attack. 
The left (28th, 38th, and 39th) under General Pringle, occupied 
a wooded broken ridge, covering the pontoon bridge over the 
Nive, and separated from the centre by a stream and a chain of 
ponds in a deep, marshy valley. The centre, under General 
William Stewart, occupied a crescent-shaped height on both 
sides of the hamlet of St. Pierre, broken with rocks and close 
brushwood on the left, and on the right streaked with thick 
hedges, one of which, 100 yards in front of the line, was im- 
passable ; the yist on the left, the 5oth and the Q2d on the 
right ; Ashworth's Portuguese in advance ; Koss and Tulloch 
with 12 guns massed in front and looking down the great road ; 
Le Cor's Portuguese and 2 guns, half a mile to the rear, in 
reserve. The right, under General Byng, consisted of the 3d, 
3ist, 57th, and 66th. The 3d occupied a position in advance, 
but the other three regiments were covered by a mill-pond which 
nearly filled the valley. The nature of the ground and the state 
of the roads prevented the action of cavalry, and for the same 
reason Soult could not strike with large masses, but was forced 
to bring his troops into line in succession and fight in detail. 
This tended to counterbalance his immense superiority in 

The 1 3th December broke in heavy mist, under cover of 
which Soult formed his order of battle. D'Erlon, having 
D'Armagnac's, Abbess, and Daricau's infantry, Sparre's cavalry, 
and 22 guns, marched in front; he was followed by Foy and 
Maransin. At half-past eight, as the sun broke through the 
clouds, Soult pushed back the British pickets, and the noise of 
battle spread along the hillsides. When the French columns 
were about 2 miles from St. Pierre, D'Armagnac took the road 
to the left to attack Byng, and Darieau the road to the right 
against Pringle, while Abbe" assailed St. Pierre. Abbess attack 
was delivered with characteristic vigour ; Ashworth's Portuguese 

1813.] THE 92D AT ST. PIERRE. 177 

were hard pressed on their left; and the French skirmishers 
won the wood on their right. Stewart, therefore, sent forward 
'the yist and two guns to their aid, and half the 5oth to retake 
the wood. This secured the flanks of his position, but his centre 
was very much weakened. Abbe" concentrated all his fire upon 
the centre, and, though torn by artillery in front, and galled by 
musketry on the flanks, pushed the attack with such vigour that 
he gained the top of the position, driving back Ashworth's Portu- 
guese and the half of the 5oth which remained in position. 
Colonel Peacocke of the yist shamefully withdrew that regi- 
ment out of action, a proceeding for which he was afterwards 
deservedly compelled to quit the service. 

At this crisis General Barnes brought forward the Q2d from 
the village of St. Pierre. The French skirmishers fell back on 
each side, leaving two regiments in column to meet the High- 
landers' charge, which was made with such vigour that the French 
mass wavered and gave way. But more French troops were 
brought forward, the French guns on the opposite heights 
redoubled their play, and a battery of horse artillery came 
galloping into the valley and opened fire at short range. Under 
this storm of shot and shell the 92d h,d to regain their position 
behind St. Pierre, and the Portuguese guns limbered up to retire. 
Barnes made them resume firing, but the artillerymen fell fast 
at their guns, most of the staff were hurt, Ashworth's line was 
crumbling away, and the French skirmishers were assailing the 
impassable hedge which protected the right of the Portuguese 
and the advanced part of the 5oth. The ground in front was 
strewed with dead, and many wounded were crawling to the 
rear. Foy's and Maransin's divisions had now traversed the 
wretched roads, and were moving up to support Abbe"; and 
Colonel B anbury of the 3d had been guilty of the same crime 
as Colonel Peacocke, for which he suffered the same punishment. 
The situation of the allies seemed desperate, and Hill had no 
resource but to throw his reserves into action. Galloping up, he 
sent back Colonel Peacocke to his post, then despatched one 
brigade of Le Cor's Portuguese to aid Byng, and led the other 
brigade (Da Costa's) to support the yist. That gallant regiment, 
burning to efface the memory of its colonel's weakness, rushed to 
the attack with such fury that the French centre wavered. The 
92d had now re-formed behind St. Pierre, and Colonel Cameron 
led it forth to the charge with pipes playing and colours flying as 



if marching past at a review. Upon this the skirmishers, who 
had been falling back, advanced. "A small force," says Napier, 
" was the p2d, compared with the heavy mass in its front, and 
the French soldiers seemed willing enough to close with the 
bayonet ; but an officer at their head suddenly turned his horse, 
waved his sword, and appeared to order a retreat, for they faced 
about and retired across the valley to their original position ; in 
good order, however, and scarcely pursued by the allies, so ex- 
hausted were the victors." 

The pontoon bridge over the Nive had by this time been re- 
paired, and the 6th division, which had been marching since 
daybreak, now appeared on the heights behind, followed by the 
3d, 4th, and part of the yth divisions, with Wellington in person. 
But Hill had won his own battle, and " after a manner," says 
Napier, "that in less eventful times would have made him the 
hero of a nation." " It is agreed by French and English that 
the battle of St. Pierre was one of the most desperate of the 
whole war. Wellington said he had never seen a field so thickly 
strewn with dead ; nor can the vigour of the combatants be well 
denied when 5000 were killed or wounded in three hours upon a 
space of one mile square." The British lost 1500 of this enormous 
total. And yet, though the ground was so bravely held, neither 
this nor any of the other "Battles before Bayonne," fought on 
the ioth-i3th December, is commemorated on any of the regi- 
mental colours. 

The results of the passage of the Nive and the battles before 
Bayonne were that Soult was confined within his entrenched 
camp, his communications were cut with St. Jean Pied de Port, 
his navigation of the Adour was menaced, and he could ob- 
tain supplies only by night. The allies, on the other hand, 
had now a fertile district for the cavalry to forage in, and drew 
abundant supplies for their men from the rich fields of Beam 
and the harbour of St. Jean de Luz. But the country was one 
vast quagmire, and no further offensive movements could take 
place till the weather hardened the roads. Once more there was 
some leisure in the camp, and the officers spent their mornings 
in making excursions to the rear and to the front, where it was 
a common thing for French and English officers to meet mid- 
Avay, betwixt their respective sentries, to discuss the news of the 
day, the affairs of Europe, and a glass or two of cognac. There 
were certain deserted houses in the neighbourhood which were 


occupied day and night alternately by the French and English 
pickets, who drew caricatures of each other upon the walls, which 
were also covered over with sarcastic remarks and courteous 
retorts, forming the medium of a correspondence half-angry, 

Great Britain was at this time (1814) making the most extra- 
ordinary efforts to secure the object for which she had been striving 
for so many years the freedom of Europe from the aggression of 
France. The naval war was at an end, still she had in commis- 
sion 99 ships of the line and 545 frigates and smaller vessels, 
manned by 140,000 seamen and marines ; and her whole land 
and sea force in arms, including the yeomanry and local militia 
at home, 40,000 militia in Canada, and the Indian army, 
amounted to 1,053,000 men. The expenditure of 1814 reached 
the enormous total of .117,000,000 ! 

Operations in the south of France were resumed on the i2th 
February, 1814. After some sharp fighting the investment of 
Bayonne was completed on the 26th, and Soult, driven from the 
shelter of its guns, took up a strong position on the heights of 
Orthes, behind the Gave du Pau. Soult had now only 40,000 
soldiers, for Bayonne had been garrisoned from his ranks, 
and the necessities of Napoleon struggling, after his retreat 
from the " Battle of Nations " at Leipsic, with Blucher and 
Schwartzenberg on the north-east of France had made him 
withdraw 10,000 men from the army of the south. ' On the 27th 
February Wellington advanced to the attack with 37,000 men, 
all Anglo-Portuguese veterans, including 4000 cavalry and 48 
guns. Beresford, with the left, was to turn the enemy's right, 
Picton to attack the centre, and Hill, with the right, to force the 
passage of the Orthes, and turn the enemy's left. The general 
movement commenced at nine in the morning. On the British 
left, Cole moved with Ross's British brigade and Vasconcello's 
Portuguese against the village of St. Boes, and after a fierce 
struggle gained it. But every effort to get out from the cottages 
and their enclosures to the open ground beyond was defeated by 
the heavy concentric fire of Reille's artillery. Five desperate 
attempts were made without success, and then Taupin's musketry 
also assailed the battered columns. After a struggle of three 
hours the* Portuguese gave way in disorder, and the British 
brigade effected its retreat with difficulty. Picton had no better 


success in the centre, where his attack was roughly repulsed by 
Foy, and Soult is said to have slapped his thigh and cried, " At 
last I have him ! " 

His exultation, however, was short-lived. Wellington changed 
his plan of attack ; he supported the 4th division at St. Boes 
with the yth and Vivian's cavalry, he sent the 3d and 6th divi- 
sions upon Foy's flank, and launched Colonel Colborne and the 
52d through the swamp and up the hill, to separate Taupin's 
division, disordered by its success against Beresford, from Foy 
and the centre. These simultaneous attacks were perfectly 
successful. Colborne made his march unperceived except by the 
skirmishers, and with a mighty shout and a rolling fire the 
soldiers of the 52d dashed forward between Foy and Taupin, 
beating down a French battalion in their course and throwing 
everything into disorder. General Bechaud was killed, Foy was 
dangerously wounded, and his soldiers got into confusion. The 
disorder spread to Reille's wing, who was forced to fall back and 
take a new position to restore his line of battle. This movement 
opened up the pass of St. Boes, and the 4th and yth divisions, 
Vivian's cavalry, and two batteries of artillery, were immediately 
pushed through and spread out beyond. The 3d and 6th divi- 
sions were equally successful in the centre, where they won 
D'Armagnac's position, and established on a knoll a battery of 
guns, which ploughed through the French ranks. A squadron 
of chasseurs galloped down to take these guns, but got into a 
hollow and were nearly all destroyed. Hill having by this time 
forded the Gave, and cut off the retreat by the great road of Pau, 
Soult ordered a general retreat, which was made in good order, 
till the fugitives were so hard pressed by the dragoons of Sir 
Stapleton Cotton and Lord Edward Somerset that they threw 
away their arms and knapsacks, and the retreat became a rout. 
Many thousand prisoners might have been taken, but Wellington, 
wounded in the thigh by a musket ball, was unable to ride fast 
to superintend the pursuit. The loss of the allies in this battle 
was 2350 killed and wounded, and 53 prisoners. From the 
slackness of the pursuit Soult lost only 4000, but so many de- 
serted the colours that a month afterwards the stragglers still 
amounted to 3000. 

The last great struggle of the war took place at Toulouse, 
whither Soult retreated after the battle of Orthes. The place 

i8i 4 .] A STRANGE MISSILE. l8l 

was capable of great defence, surrounded as it was with strong 
walls, the great canal of Languedoc, and fortified suburbs. On 
the east of the city was Mont Have, a ridge of hills running 
parallel with tbe Garonne ; the summit of this ridge was occu- 
pied by a fortified platform called the Calvinet, about two miles 
long, and strengthened with fieldworks. This formed the first 
line of defence, the canal with its fortified bridge formed the 
second, and the walls of the city the third. Soult had 40,000 
men and 80 guns; Wellington 52,000 men, including 7000 
cavalry, and 64 guns. Picton, with the 3d division, was to menace 
the Jurneux bridge-head and the Minimes convent, but not to 
attack ; the Spaniards were to assail the Calvinet plateau ; 
Beresford, with the 4th and 6th divisions, was to attack the St. 
Sypiere summit a continuation of Mont Have, to the south- 
last, and divided from it by the Lavaur road ; to distract the 
enemy, Hill was to menace the suburb of St. Cyprien on the west 
side of the river. 

At seven in the morning (April 10, 1814) the allies proceeded 
to the attack. Freyre and his Spaniards, 9000 strong, advanced 
with great resolution at first, throwing forward their flanks to 
embrace the end of the Calvinet ; but they were greeted with 
such a storm of fire that they fell back in disorder. Again they 
tried, and again they failed, leaving 1500 of their number on the 
field. Nor was this the only disaster, for Picton, with his usual 
impetuosity, instead of merely threatening the north front of 
the town, attacked it, and was repulsed with the loss of 400 
men. Hill carried the outer line of the entrenchments of 
St. Cyprien, but he could make nothing of the strong inner line, 
and Soult was thus enabled to reinforce his battle on Mont Have 
with 15,000 men under Taupin. These he placed on the St. 
Sypiere summit, with orders to fall on Beresford, who was now 
winding up out of the marsh ; but instead of attacking at once, 
Taupin took ground to the right, giving Beresford full time to 
wheel into line at the foot of the ridge. When at length Taupin 
did charge down the slope, his ranks were torn by rockets ; the 
French were dismayed at the noise and terrible appearance of this 
strange missile, the British rushed forward with shouts, and the 
French fled back up the hill. Viall's horsemen came trotting 
down the Lavaur road and charged on the right flank of the 
pursuers, but the 79th, thrown into squares, repulsed them, and 
the British swept up the heights, Taupin was slain. A French 


regiment at the St. Sypiere redoubt, on seeing its commanding 
officer slain by a soldier of the 6ist, fled in a panic, the other 
fort on the Caraman road was abandoned, and the French were 
pursued down the other side of the ridge to the fortified suburbs 
of Sacarin and Cambon. The British, having thus obtained pos- 
session of St. Sypiere, were enabled to attack the works on Mont 
Rave, against which the Spaniards had already made so fruitless 
an attempt. This task was entrusted to the Highland brigade of 
Pack and the Portuguese brigade of Douglas ; and so vehement 
was the rush of the 42d and 79th, who ascended the heights, 
from the Lavaur road under a wasting fire of cannon and 
musketry, that they instantly carried the Colombette and Calvinet 
redoubts. But the French, under Harispe in person, fought 
desperately, large reinforcements were brought up, the two re- 
doubts were surrounded with a surging multitude, Calvinet was 
recovered by storm, the 426. was almost annihilated, the remnant, 
fell back in disorder on the 79th, and that regiment also was 
forced to quit Colombette. Still the two Highland regiments, 
though reduced to a thin line of skirmishers, clung to the brow 
of the hill, and maintained what seemed a lost battle with 
frenzied courage ; two French generals Harispe and Baurot 
were borne wounded off the field, and the arrival of the nth and 
the gist (Argyllshire) Highlanders turned the tide of battle. 
The French were at length driven down the hill to Toulouse, and 
the Spaniards, who had rallied for another attack, were moved 
up to take possession of the entrenchments on Mont Rave. Soult 
then withdrew all his troops behind the canal, which formed the 
second line of the defence, and the battle ended. 

Mr. Malcolm of the 42d gives us some idea of the desperate 
nature of the struggle on Mont Rave. The men, he says, were 
mown down by sections. He saw six of the company to which 
he belonged fall together, as if swept away by the discharge of 
one gun, and the whole ground over which they rushed was 
covered with the dead. The enemy still possessed two fortified 
houses close by the redoubt, and kept up a galling and destruc- 
tive fire. It was necessary to dislodge them. " Forward, double- 
quick!" and forward the 42 d drove, in the face of apparent 
destruction. The field had been lately rough ploughed, and 
when a man fell he tripped the one behind. Thus the ranks 
were opening as the regiment approached the fortified houses, 
but in a minute every obstacle was surmounted, The French 

1814.] . A TALE OF TOULOUSE. 183 

did not wait to cross bayonets, but fled as the 42d leaped over 
the trenches and mounds like a pack of noisy hounds in pursuit. 
Two officers and about sixty of inferior rank were all that now 
remained of the right wing of the regiment. The flag was 
banging in tatters, and stained with the blood of those who had 
fallen over it. The standard, cut in two, had been successively 
placed in the hands of two officers, who fell during the advance. 
It was now borne by a sergeant, and amongst the handful of 
soldiers who still rallied round it, covered with mire, sweat, 
smoke, and blood, the front files of a French column that was 
advancing were pouring in destructive showers of musketry. 
To have disputed the post with such overwhelming numbers 
would have been madness. The order was given to retire. The 
Highlanders were now under two fires. Fortunately the distance 
to the supports did not exceed a hundred paces, and all ran as 
if they had been running a race, the balls whistling over and 
amongst them. 

The victory remained with Wellington, and the greater share 
of the loss, as was only to be expected in the attack of such 
entrenchments. The French had five generals and 3000 men 
killed and wounded, and the allies four generals and 4659 men, 
2000 of whom were Spaniards. The 42d and the 79th were 
very heavy sufferers. The ygth went into action with 494 
officers and men, and only 263 came out unhurt; the 42d was 
not much stronger, and lost 423. Amid all this carnage it is 
pleasing to read an incident like the following, told by a soldier 
of the 7ist, who took part in Hill's attack on the suburb of St. 
Cyprien : " We were in extended order, firing and retiring. I 
had just risen to run behind my file, when a shot struck me in 
the groin, and took the breath from me. ' God receive my 
soul/ I said, and sat down resigned. The French were advanc- 
ing fast. I laid my musket down and gasped for breath. I was 
sick, and put my canteen to my head, but could not taste the 
water ; however, I washed my mouth, and grew less faint. I 
looked to my thigh, and seeing no blood, took resolution to put 
my hand to the part to feel the wound. My hand was unstained 
by blood ; but the part was so painful I could not touch it. 
At this moment of helplessness the French came up. One of 
them made a charge at me, as I sat pale as death. In another 
moment I would have been transfixed, had not bis next man 
forced the point past me. ' Do not touch the good Scot,' said 


he ; and then addressing himself to me, added, ' Do you know 
me ? ' I had not yet recovered my breath to speak distinctly ; 
I answered ' No/ I then recognised him to be a soldier 
whose life I had saved from a Portuguese, who was going to kill 
him as he lay w'ounded on the ground. ' Yes, I know you,' 
I now said faintly. ' God bless you ! ' said the Frenchman, 
and taking a pancake from the crown of his hat, moved on with 
his company. I soon recovered so far as to walk, though with 
pain, and joined the regiment next advance." 

On the nth both armies remained on the same ground, but 
Soult, finding Wellington was taking measures to cut off his 
retreat, decamped during the night, leaving 1600 wounded to 
the humanity of the British. Next day Wellington entered the 
city, and was rapturously received by the inhabitants, most of 
whom had mounted the white cockade. That same afternoon 
the news arrived of the capture of Paris by the allies, the 
abdication of Napoleon, and the proclamation of Louis XVIII. ; 
and on the i8th a convention was entered into between 
Wellington and Soult, for the conclusion of hostilities, and the 
evacuation of the fortresses still held by the French in Spain. 
Before it was arranged, however, the garrison of Bayonne made 
a desperate sally, in which, though they were repulsed with the 
loss of over 900 men. they put 8-30 of the allies hors de combat, 
killed General Hay, and took Sir John Hope prisoner. But 
hostilities now everywhere ceased. The British infantry 
embarked at Bordeaux, some for America and some for England. 
The cavalry marched in triumph across France, and embarked 
from Calais. Thus ended this long and arduous war, in which 
the army of Great Britain and her allies had given independence 
to two kingdoms (Spain and Portugal), and had fought and won 
nineteen pitched battles against the bravest soldiers and the 
most experienced generals of Europe. 


THE AMERICAN WAR. 1812-1814, 
The Shannon and the Chesapeake. 

IHILE Wellington was preparing to fight the battle of 
Salamanca, war was declared by the United States 
against Great Britain. A considerable amount of 
ill-feeling had arisen between us and our cousins 
across the Atlantic. The Americans were very anxious to 
create a navy, and by offering a high rate of pay and other 
advantages, easily induced a great number of our seamen to 
forswear the Union Jack and enrol themselves under the Stars 
and Stripes. The British Government claimed the right of 
searching American vessels for deserters ; the Americans resisted, 
and (June 18, 1812) President Madison declared war against 
Great Britain. 

America had no navy of such a size as to enable her to send 
fleets to sea and fight battles like the Nile and Trafalgar, but 
she had a considerable number of useful vessels which she chose 
to call frigates, but for which our frigates could not possibly be 
any match. In point of fact, they were line-of-battle ships iu 
disguise, 7 4- gun ships cut down and armed with 56 heavy guns. 
It was a masterpiece of Yankee "'cuteness." No British line- 
of-battle ship could gain the slightest honour by the capture of 
one of these vessels, simply because they were called frigates ; 
while our bona fide frigates were so much inferior in size and 
weight of metal as to have no chance of success. The first of 
the sea-duels occurred (August 19) between the British 48-gun 
frigate Guerriere (French prize), bound to Halifax to refit, 


and the United States frigate Constitution. A sanguinary 
action ensued. The British did all that a crazy ship and damp 
powder enabled them to do, but in the end victory rested with 
the Americans. Nor was this any wonder when we consider 
that the Constitution had 56 24-pounders to oppose to the 48 
i8-pounders of the Guerriere, and a crew of 476 picked seamen 
and marksmen to do battle with 244 men and 19 boys; when 
we consider moreover that of these 476 seamen and marksmen 
a considerable proportion had been British seamen, trained 
under such masters of the art of naval warfare as Nelson, 
Duncan, Collingwood, and Cochrane. On the i8th October 
the British brig Frolic (18), when almost crippled aloft by the 
effects of a severe gale, surrendered to the United States 
corvette Wasp (18). A week later the British Macedonian (48) 
surrendered to the American United States (56). On the 3ist 
December the British Java (38) surrendered to the American Con- 
stitution, the same which captured the Guerriere ; and on the 24th 
February, 1813, the British brig Peacock (18) hauled down her 
colours, when on the point of sinking, to the American corvette 
Hornet (20). 

Such a succession of defeats filled our people with dismay. 
Ignorant of the real facts of the case, and naturally thinking 
that the so-called American frigates were of nearly equal force 
to the British frigates w T hich surrendered to them, they hastily 
concluded that our seamen had lost much of their ancient spirit. 
But this uneasy feeling was completely dispelled by the memor- 
able duel between the Shannon and the Chesapeake, whicli 
proved that British prowess had not degenerated, and was as 
likely to be victorious as ever when the disparity of force was 
not such as to render success impossible. 

Captain Philip Vere Broke, of His Britannic Majesty's frigate 
Shannon, was a thorough seaman, whose heart lay entirely in 
his profession. From the day on which he joined the ship, i4th 
September, 1806, Captain Broke set himself to put his frigate 
in proper fighting order. Every day the men were exercised at 
the guns, at broadsword, pike, and musket, and in the course of 
a year or two, by paternal care and excellent regulations, his 
Chip's company became as pleasant to command as they were 
dangerous to meet. With such a ship and such a crew, in all 
respects fitted for battle, Captain Broke ardently longed for a 
meeting with an American frigate of equal force, to wipe off 


the discredit which had been brought on the British flag. No 
opportunity occurred until the summer of 1813, when the 
Shannon and the Tenedos sailed from Halifax for a cruise in 
Boston Bay. In the harbour they saw the President and the 
Congress nearly ready to sail, and resolved to bring them to 
action ; but the foggy weather of the beginning of May, and 
a sudden favourable shift of the wind, enabled the President 
and the Congress to elude the vigilance of the British frigates 
and put to sea. There now remained in the harbour but the 
Chesapeake, which had slipped into Boston by the eastern 
channel, about the middle of April, after a cruise of 115 days. 
As two frigates were not required to attack one, arid as the 
appearance of such a superiority would naturally prevent the 
Chesapeake from putting to sea, Captain Broke detached the 
Tenedos, with orders not to join him before the I4th June. He 
then wrote a letter of challenge to Captain Lawrence of the 
Chesapeake, beginning thus : " As the Chesapeake appears now 
ready for sea, I request that you will meet the Shannon with 
her, ship to ship, to try the fortune of our respective flags." 
The body of the letter is occupied with a candid description of 
the Shannon's force, &c., and thus concludes : " I entreat you, 
sir, not to imagine that I am urged by mere personal vanity to 
the wish of meeting the Chesapeake, or that I depend only 
upon your personal ambition for your acceding to this invitation. 
We have both nobler motives. You will feel it as a compli- 
ment if I say that the result of our meeting may be the most 
grateful service I can render to my country; and I doubt not 
that yon, equally confident of success, will feel convinced that 
it is only by repeated triumphs in even combats that your little 
navy can now hope to console your country for the loss of the 
trade it can no longer protect. Favour me with a speedy reply. 
We are short of provisions and water, and cannot stay long here." 
Captain Lawrence of the Chesapeake was as brave a man as 
any in the American navy, and, anxious to add fresh leaves to 
his laurels, was not backward in accepting the challenge. Soon 
after midday on the ist June (1813), the Chesapeake was seen 
coming out of Boston harbour under a cloud of canvas. News 
of the approaching duel had spread through the city like wild- 
fire, and the most extravagant anticipations of victory were in- 
dulged in. Nobody doubted that the Stars and Stripes would 
once more wave triumphant over a fallen foe, and balls and 


suppers were in preparation to greet the return of the American 
conquerors. The day was fine, the wind light and soft, and every 
eminence along the coast was covered with thousands of spec- 
tators, while the Chesapeake was followed by quite a flotilla of 
yachts and pleasure-boats, filled with patriotic Yankees, come 
out to see the " Britisher whipped." 

When Captain Broke saw his antagonist coming, he stood out 
from the land under easy sail until 5.10 P.M., when he hauled 
up and lay to, the Shannons head being to the southward and 
eastward, Boston lighthouse bearing west, distant about six 
leagues. The drums beat to quarters, and while the crew stood 
to their guns, the watch on deck filled the foretopsail, set the 
jib and spanker, and kept the mainsail shivering. Captain 
Broke then addressed his crew, according to the good old cus- 
tom. He told them to remember that " the event of the day 
would decide the superiority of British seamen, when well 
trained, over those of other nations ; and that the Shannon 
would that day show how short a time the Americans had to 
boast when opposed to equal force." At 5.25 P.M. the Chesa- 
peake hauled up her foresail, and steered for the starboard and 
weather quarter of the Shannon. The Stars and Stripes were 
flying at the main, and at the fore was a large white flag in- 
scribed with the motto, SAILORS' EIGHTS AND FREE TRADE, 
which, it was hoped, would paralyse the efforts and damp the 
energy of the Shannon's crew. At 5.40 P.M. the Chesapeake 
luffed up within fifty yards of the Shannon's starboard quarter, 
and the mainyard being squared, Captain Lawrence and his 
crew gave three cheers. 

The captain of the Shannon's aftermost maindeck gun, No. 
14, had been instructed to reserve his fire until his gun should 
bear upon the Chesapeake' 's second bow port, and at 5.50 P.M. 
the gun was fired as directed, and with wonderful accuracy of 
aim. In a second or two No. 13 was fired, then the Chesa- 
peake s bow gun went off, then the remaining guns on the broad- 
side of each ship as fast as they could be discharged, and the 
cannonade proceeded with great fury. At 5.56 P.M. the Chesa- 
peake, having had her jib-sheet and foretopsail-tie shot away, 
and her helm probably from the death of the men stationed 
at it being unattended to, came sharp to the wind, and 
exposed her stern and quarter to the broadside of the 
Shannon. She then began to pay round. Captain Broke 


tried to keep off, to delay the boarding till his guns should 
liave done a little more execution among the American crew, 
but at that moment the Shannon's jib-stay was shot away, 
and the consequence was, that at 6 P.M. the Chesapeake fell on 
board the Shannon, with her quarter pressing upon the British 
frigate's side, just before her starboard main-chains, while her 
quarter port hooked the fluke of the Shannon's anchor stowed 
over the cross-tree. Captain Broke immediately ran forward, 
and ordered the great guns to cease firing, the ships to be lashed 
together, and the boarders to be called. Mr. Stevens, the boat- 
swain, a veteran who had served under Rodney, attended to the 
lashing of the ships, and while employed on this duty, outside the 
bulwark, had his left arm hacked off by American sabres, and was 
mortally wounded by musketry. The like fate befell Mr. Samuel, 
the midshipman commanding the forecastle. The two ships, how- 
ever, were successfully lashed together, and at 6.2 P.M. Captain 
Broke and 20 of the forecastle men stepped from the Shannon's 
gangway rail on the muzzle of the Chesapeake 's aftermost car- 
ronade, and thence over the bulwark upon her quarterdeck. 

Not a soul was to be seen in that part of the ship. From twenty- 
five to thirty Americans made a slight resistance in the gangway, 
but these were speedily driven towards the forecastle, where a few 
endeavoured to get down the fore hatchway, but in their eager- 
ness prevented one another. Some fled over the bows, some 
plunged into the sea, some reached the main deck through the 
bridle ports. The remainder laid down their arms and sub- 
mitted. By this time the small party of boarders had been 
largely reinforced, and some of the British rushed forward, while 
others answered a destructive fire still kept up from the Chesa- 
peake's main and mizzen tops. The mainyard was gallantly 
stormed by Midshipman William Smith and five topmen, who 
fearlessly passed along the SJiannon's foreyard, which was braced 
up to the Chesapeake's mainyard, and destroyed the Americans 
stationed there, or drove them on deck. And all further annoy- 
ance from the Chesapeake^ mizzentop was put an end to by 
Midshipman Cosnahan, who took his station on the Shannon's 
starboard yard-arm, and fired at the enemy as fast as his men on 
the top could load the muskets and hand them to him. 

When the Americans upon the forecastle had submitted, 
Captain Broke sent the men, all but one sentry, aft, where the 
struggle was still going on. The Americans on the forecastle 


WE SURRENDER." [1813- 

thought this an opportunity not to be lost, and resuming their 
arms, three of them made a dastardly attack on Captain Broke. 
With his sword he parried the middle assailant's pike, but 
instantly received from the man on the right a blow with the 
butt-end of a musket, which bared his skull and nearly stunned 
him. The third man cut at him with his broadsword, and was 
about to despatch him, when William Needham, the captain of the 
Shannon's i4th gun, opportunely stepped forward, and in turn 
cut him down. The other two Americans also paid with their 
lives the penalty of their treachery. Needham and Midship- 
man Smith helped Captain Broke on his legs, and seated him on 
a carronade slide, and Mr. Smith was tying a handkerchief 
round his head when Needham, pointing aft, cried, " There, sir, 
there goes up the old ensign over the Yankee colours." To 
Captain Broke the sight was better than surgery. 

The changing of the Chesapeake 's colours proved fatal to 
Lieutenant Watt and four or five fine fellows of the Shannon. 
Lieutenant Watt, who had been already wounded in the foot by 
a shot from the Chesapeakes top, hauled down the Yankee 
ensign with his own hand, and the halliards being tangled, he 
unfortuntely bent the English flag below instead of above it. 
Observing the Stars and Stripes going up first, the men left in 
the Shannon concluded that the boarding had been unsuccessful, 
and fired at the Chesapeake s mizzen-mast. A grape shot took 
off the upper part of Lieutenant Watt's head, and four or five of 
the men who followed him fell at his side. The flags were soon 
properly hoisted, and the men of the Shannon, horrified at the 
mistake they had made, ceased their fire. 

The crew of the Chesapeake being driven below into her hold, 
a sentinel of the Royal Marines was placed over the main hatch- 
way. The Americans treacherously fired from the hold and 
killed him. On this, Lieutenant Falkner directed three or four 
muskets, that were ready, to be fired down. Captain Broke, 
from his seat on the carronade slide, told Lieutenant Falkner to 
summon the Americans in the hold to surrender, if they desired 
quarter. The lieutenant did so ; the Americans replied, " We 
surrender," and all hostilities ceased. 

When the colours were changed, it was fifteen minutes from 
the firing of the first gun, and four from the time of boarding. 
It was a fair trial of strength, and the British gained the day. 
The Shannon's 50 guns threw a broadside of 538 lbs. ? and her 


crew numbered 306 men and boys; the Chesapeake' s 50 guns 
threw a broadside of 509 Ibs., and her crew numbered over 
400. The Shannon had 24 killed and 50 wounded, and the 
Chesapeake 47 killed and 99 wounded, among the latter the 
brave Captain Lawrence, who died three days after the action, 
and was buried by his conquerors with military honours. The 
crowd of pleasure-boats returned to Boston, every one ventilat- 
ing a favourite theory to explain how it was that the Chesapeake 
was taken so unexpectedly ; and the balls and suppers which 
were to have greeted the American conquerors were all counter- 
manded. On the 5th the Shannon sailed into Halifax, in com- 
pany with her prize, and was received with loud cheering by the 
townsmen, assembled in thousands to greet the victors. For 
his gallant exploit Captain Broke was rewarded with a baronetcy. 
The land operations of the war were by no means important. 
About a month after the declaration of war, in the summer of 
1812, the American General Hill invaded Canada, but was soon 
obliged to retire to Detroit, where he was forced to surrender 
(August 1 6) with his whole army to the British General Brock. 
Another attempt to push an army across the Niagara river was 
foiled at Queenston (Oct. 13), but the gallant Brock fell at the 
moment of victory. In 1813 the Americans renewed their at- 
tempts for the invasion of Canada, and collecting a flotilla on 
Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, took the city of York, and 
gained a footing on the Canadian shore close to the Falls of 
Niagara ; but both here and at Detroit, where their chief efforts 
were concentrated, they suffered disaster from a night attack. 
In the boat-fighting on the lakes the Americans had much the 
best of it, chiefly through the incompetence of General Sir 
George Prevost, who, says Yonge, " was only saved by death 
from being called to a severe account for his conduct before a 
court-martial." In 1814 a large number of Wellington's veterans 
were sent to America, under the command of General Boss, but 
the operations in which they were engaged were fitter for filibusters 
than the heroes of that glorious army which marched from 
Torres Vedras to Toulouse. The American militia was routed 
at Bladensburg (August 24), and the public buildings of Wash- 
ington were given to the flames. An attack was projected on 
Baltimore, and the Americans were defeated five miles from the 
city, but the fall of General Eoss caused the attempt to be 
abandoned. The Americans, however, had their revenge at New 



Orleans, the Walclieren of the American War, where General 
Pakenham and a host of brave men and officers, the flower of 
the Peninsular army, perished in a vain attempt to pierce the 
American lines. Before this disaster to the British arms, a 
treaty of peace had been signed at Ghent (Dec. 24, 1814). 


Qoiatre Bras Waterloo; 

|HE Congress of Vienna, which Lad assembled to remodel 
the map of Europe,- was still in the midst of its 
labours, when it was announced that Napoleon had 
secretly escaped from Elba. There had been acrimo- 
nious disputes about Saxony and Poland, but these' were all 
hushed in the anxious desire of the Powers to concert some 
scheme to encounter their arch-enemy. Napoleon was declared 
a public outlaw, and England, Austria, Prussia;, and Russia 
bound themselves not to lay down their arms until he was 
driven from the throne of France, and rendered for evermore in- 
capable of disturbing- the public peace of Europe. The Rhine 
soon bristled with the bayonets of Prussians and Austrian s, 
under Blucber and Sehwartzenberg. The Russians were coming 
up through Poland under Barclay de Tolly. The English, with, 
their contingents of Dutch, Belgians, and Hanoverians, were in 
the Low Countries under Wellington. Spain and Portugal began 
to organise their battalions to cross the Pyrenees. Sweden and 
Denmark called out their forces. Even Switzerland abandoned 
her neutrality. 700^000 men were in arms, and all were 
moving upon Paris in converging lines. The curtain was about 
to rise on the last act of the drama of which Europe had- so long 
been the theatre. 

All that genius, all that activity could do to stem- this torrent 
of hostility was done by Napoleon ;- and by the beginning of 
June (1815)- he had 220,000 men ready to take the field. His 


first blow lie resolved should be delivered at the British and 
Prussians, the nearest and the most resolute of his many ad- 
versaries. These defeated, it would be an easy matter to cope 
with the other masses that were slowly labouring up against the 
eastern parts of his dominions. His plan was to separate the 
Prussians from the British, and so attack each singly. It was 
the favourite tactic which he had so often and so victoriously 
employed in his wars in Italy and Germany, and he felt san- 
guine that it would not fail him now. He was vastly outnum- 
bered, 223,000 allies, if they were combined, to about 125,000 
French ; but he had many advantages. His army was composed 
of veterans, all under his sole command, " speaking one tongue, 
holding one creed of military loyalty," inspired with the utmost 
confidence in their commander, their officers, and themselves, 
and the most inveterate hatred of their enemies. The Prussian 
soldiers were by no means of a high quality, one-half of them 
being landwehr, and a large proportion of the regulars consist- 
ing merely of recruits : equal to the French in nothing but the 
most inveterate hatred of their enemies. Wellington's army was 
a motley crew, composed of Nassauers, Dutch, Belgians, Bruns- 
wickers, Hanoverians, and British. Not a third were British \ the 
Nassauers, Dutch, and Belgians were thoroughly unreliable, and the 
British were chiefly second battalions, or old regiments filled with 
recruits. The flower of the old Peninsular heroes had been sent 
on senseless filibustering expeditions against America. Another 
great advantage Napoleon had was the necessary dispersal of the 
allied forces, produced partly by the divergence of their bases of 
supply Wellington's being on the coast and Blucher's inland 
at Maestricht and partly by the importance of protecting 
Brussels. For, had Napoleon succeeded, either by manoeuvring 
or fighting, in occupying Brussels, the greater part of Belgium 
would unquestionably have declared in his favour, and such a suc- 
cess, gained at the outset, might have had the most important 
results on the issue of the campaign. Moreover, from the French 
frontier there converged four roads upon Brussels, and every one 
of these had to be guarded, while Napoleon could concentrate 
his army behind the triple line of fortresses on the frontier, and 
conceal the precise line of attack which he intended to take 
until the very moment. 

Accompanied by his brother Jerome, Napoleon arrived in the 
camp on the i4th June, and his soldiers, already elated by his 

1815.] HIS " ORDER OF THE DAY." 195 

presence, were excited to the highest pitch of enthusiasm by the 
following " Order of the Day :" 

" Soldiers ! this day is the anniversary of Marengo and of 
Friedland, which twice decided the destiny of Europe. Then, 
as after Austerlitz, as after Wagram, we were too generous ! We 
believed in the protestations and in the oaths of princes whom 
we left on their thrones. Now, however, leagued together, they 
aim at the independence and the most sacred rights of France. 
They have commenced the most unjust of aggressions. Let us 
then march to meet them. Are they and we no longer the same 
men 1 

" Soldiers ! At Jena, against these same Prussians, now so 
arrogant, you were one to three, and at Montmirail one to six ! 

" Let those among you who have been captives to the English 
describe the nature of their prison-ships and the frightful miseries 
you endured. 

" The Saxons, the Belgians, the Hanoverians, the soldiers of 
the Confederation of the Rhine, lament that they are compelled 
to use their arms in the cause of princes, the enemies of justice 
and of the rights of all nations. They know that this coalition 
is insatiable! After having devoured 12,000,000 of Poles, 
12,000,000 of Italians, 1,000,000 of Saxons, and 6,000,000 of 
Belgians, it now wishes to devour the states of the second rank 
in Germany. 

" Madmen ! One moment of prosperity has bewildered them. 
The oppression and the humiliation of the French people are 
beyond their power. If they enter France they will there find 
their grave. 

" Soldiers ! we have forced marches to make, battles to fight, 
dangers to encounter ; but, with firmness, victory will be ours. 
The rights, the honour, and the happiness of the country will be 
recovered ! 

" To every Frenchman who has a heart, the moment is now 
arrived to conquer or to die." 

Napoleon finally resolved to advance through Charleroi, by 
the main road leading through Frasnes, Quatre Bras, Waterloo, 
and the Forest of Soignies to Brussels. This route lay right 
through the centre of the cantonments of the allies. At three in 
the morning of the isth June, he crossed the Sambre in three 
columns, attacking the Prussian outposts and driving them back 
on their supports. With his left wing he defeated Zeithen at 


Thuin, while with his right centre he advanced in person to 
Fleurus, inflicting considerable loss on the Prussians, who fell 
back before him. When night fell, he had a powerful force 
before Ligny, the point which Blucher had fixed for the concen- 
tration of his forces, and that concentration was still incomplete. 
With his right wing and centre he intended to attack the Prus- 
sians next day, while he employed the left wing (which he placed 
under the command of Marshal Ney) to oppose any troops that 
Wellington might send to the aid of Blucher, and then to turn 
round and assail the Prussian right flank. Ney advanced to 
Frasnes, two miles from Quatre Bras, where he came in contact 
with the advanced guard of Wellington's army a battalion of 
Nassauers and a light battery. After a few cannon-shots, this 
outpost fell back from Frasnes to Qnatre Bras, which was held 
by the remainder of the brigade under Prince Bernard of Saxe- 
Weimar. Ney then came up to reconnoitre, but the wood of 
Bossu and the failing light prevented him from ascertaining the 
number of the troops in his front, and as his own men had been 
inarching for seventeen hours he decided to postpone the attack. 
Wellington was informed of the French advance about three in 
the afternoon of the i5th, but it was midnight before he received 
such intelligence as made him decide his movements. That 
night the Duchess of Richmond gave a ball at Brussels, 

"And Belgium's capital had gathered then 
Her Beauty and her Chivalry ;" 

and Wellington was there, and showed himself very cheerful. 
Most of the British officers were there too, but one by one they 
hurried from the ball-room to make their last preparations for 
the terrible struggle. The ball was over, the rattle of the car- 
riages taking home the guests gradually died away, and the 
streets of Brussels were steeped in silence. But suddenly in the 
morning air a bugle-call rang from the Place d'Armes, and its 
echoes were answered by a confused rolling of drums, rumbling 
of artillery, and neighing of chargers, the bagpipes screaming 
the pibroch, never more appropriate, an invitation to the ravens 
and the wolves, " Come to me, and I will give you flesh." The 
sergeants and the corporals ran to the quarters of their respective 
parties to turn them out ; and each man, receiving four days' 
allowance from the store, fell into rank. By 4 o'clock, the troops 
commenced their march, and many and heartrending were the 


partings, for tlie families of British soldiers of all ranks had 
come to Brussels. 

Between two and three in the afternoon of the i6th, while 
Blucher and Napoleon were fighting their terrible battle at Ligny, 
about six miles south-east of Quatre Bras, on the road to Namur, 
Marshal Ney commenced his battle at Quatre Bras the name 
given to the farm-buildings at the intersection of the roads to 
Brussels and Charleroi, Nivelles and Namur. On the allies' 
right, the position was covered by the wood of Bossu, in an 
angle between the Nivelles and 'Charleroi roads, and on their 
left by the farm-steadings of Gemioncourt and Piermont, be- 
tween the Charleroi .and Namur roads. When the battle began, 
the Prince of Orange, who .commanded here for the .allies, had 
only 6832 Dutch-Belgian infantry and 16 guns., to meet Ney's 
attack with 15,750 foot, 1865 light horse, 4 batteries of foot 
artillery, and one battery of horse artillery. Ney's force indeed 
was nominally more than 40,000, but more than half of it, the 
first corps under Count D'Erlon, was kept by contradictory 
orders marching and countermarching .all day between Quatre 
Bras and Ligny, and .rendered no service. During the battle, 
however, Ney was reinforced by the magnificent heavy cavalry of 
Kellerman, 5000 sabres, and by several battalions of artillery. 

Within half an hour after the battle begun, the Belgian out- 
posts were driven in, and Piermont and Gemioncourt carried. 
Ney then ranged the chief part of his artillery on the high 
ground of Gemioncourt, whence it continued to play with 
destructive effect till the close of the day. At the same time be 
sent forward his infantry to the wood of Bossu, and the Dutch- 
Belgians were hard pressed. But at this critical moment Wel- 
lington arrived from his interview with Blucher at Ligny; 
masses of troops in the scarlet uniform of England were seen 
moving up the main road, after a twenty miles march, from 
Brussels; and Van Merlen's Dutch-Belgian cavalry came up 
from Nivelles. The British troops were the 5th division, under 
Sir Thomas Picton, including Sir Dennis Pack's brigade (42d, 
44th, 92d, and 95th), Sir James Kempt's brigade (sSth, 32d, 
79th, ist Royal Scots), and four battalions of Best's Hano- 
verians. Wellington was now superior to his opponent in 
mere numbers, but the British and Germans, on whom alone 
reliance could be placed, were still but 8000, and the cavalry 
on the field was utterly worthless. 


Picton's division was deployed along the Namur road, to pre- 
vent Ney from obtaining possession of the way to Ligny. 
The British were in front, the Hanoverians behind. Scarcely 
were they posted when dark masses of the enemy were seen 
advancing, the skirmishers in front stealing by the hedges on 
the roadsides, and gliding from one clump of trees to another. 
The Duke of Brunswick's advanced skirmishers fell back. Wel- 
lington ordered Picton to charge. " There's the enemy ! you 
must beat them," said that saturnine warrior, and the line 
advanced. And then was seen what the Peninsular fields had 
so often witnessed : the French skirmishers fell back on the 
flanks of their supports, the masses broke into columns, the 
columns were overflanked, a murderous fire shattered their 
fronts and flanks, they reeled, they broke, they fled pell-mell, 
followed at the point of the bayonet. 

Meanwhile, ill-fared it with the allies' battle on the right of 
the road by the wood of Bossu. The Brunswick infantry, sorely 
galled by the French cannonade, became restless. " Brunswick's 
fated chieftain," son of the duke who fell in the Jena campaign, 
walked about and tried to encourage them, and Wellington sent 
them four guns to keep up their spirits ; but when the French 
skirmishers pressed forward the cavalry closed in, and the 
infantry, seized with panic, broke and fled. The Duke of 
Brunswick attempted to rally his people, but received a musket- 
shot, and was borne off the field mortally wounded. Wellington 
ordered the Brunswick hussars to advance to cover the retreat ; 
these horsemen trotted up to the French lancers bravely enough, 
but seemed suddenly to change their mind, and wheeling about, 
galloped off to Quatre Bras. Their retreat brought the French 
cavalry down on the 42d and 44th. The 42d was in the middle 
of a field of tall rye, and was under the impression that the 
advancing tide of horsemen was altogether composed of their 
friends the Black Brunswickers, till a German orderly dragoon 
galloped up crying " Fran chee ! Franchee !" The Highlanders 
instantly formed a rallying square, but the formation was not 
nearly completed when on came the lancers, flushed with 
success. Few of the skirmishers of the regiment escaped death 
or wounds, but the main body stood firm, and a well-directed 
volley sent the lancers to the right about, leaving many of their 
comrades dead among the rye, or in the square into which they 
had penetrated. Two companies of the regiment were not, how- 

i8is.] "DOWN WITH THE ENGLISH!" 199 

ever, so fortunate. These, struck by the lancers before they 
could take their places to complete the square, were forced in 
upon the other companies, and almost cut to pieces. The colonel, 
Sir Robert Macara, was with them and shared their fate. A 
lance struck him in the face, entering his chin and piercing his 
brain. The 44th was so suddenly taken by the lancers, both in 
front and in rear, that there was no time to abandon the forma- 
tion in line, and Colonel Hammerton called out to the rear-rank 
to face about, present, fire. The volley, delivered at the distance 
of twenty paces, was murderous. But some of the survivors 
advanced with great spirit to the bayonets, and one of them 
struck Ensign Christie severely in the face. That gallant officer, 
however, though suffering severely from the agony of his wound, 
preserved the colours by throwing himself on his face ; and the 
lancer, who had torn off with his weapon a piece of the silk, 
was instantly shot. Discomfited in this quarter, these detach- 
ments of lancers bore away to their own right, with cries of 
"Down with the English!" "No Quarter!" but Kempt's 
squares resisted every attack. The main body of the French 
cavalry cuirassiers continued their career down the Charleroi 
road to Quatre Bras. Right in their way was a ditch, where the 
92d (Gordon) Highlanders were lying hid. Wellington was at 
this time trying to rally the Brunswick hussars, and so swift was 
the advance of the cuirassiers that he was nearly taken prisoner. 
He owed his escape to his own promptness and presence of mind, 
in ordering a part of the 926. to lie close down in the ditch they 
were lining, while he leaped his horse over them and across the 
ditch. The instant he had cleared it, up rose the plumed 
bonnets of the Highlanders darkly in a line, and a stream of 
fire was poured upon men and horses, which emptied many 
saddles, and checked the onward career of the squadrons. The 
greater part of the cuirassiers then withdrew, but some rode on 
and entered a farmyard with only one gate : in this cul-de-sac 
they were cut off by a party of the 92d, and perished to a man. 
Foiled in his first great attempt, Ney redoubled his efforts to 
execute his orders to carry the position and move to strike 
against the Prussian right. The wood of Bossu was at length 
yielded by the Dutch-Belgians, and Kellerman was sent forward 
with his splendid body of horsemen to trample down the British 
infantry. But the squares stood fire rocks perpetually lashed 
by the surging breakers, but never shaken. Not only so ; the 


28th and the ist Royals actually advanced to charge the enemy's 
cavalry, and took the pressure off the 42d and 44th, who, being 
on the flank, were greatly exposed. 

So the battle continued, the British squares continually ex- 
posed, either to the charges of Kellerman's cavalry, or, when the 
horsemen withdrew, to the fire of the French guns planted on 
the high ground above Gemioncourt. The squares were in 
danger of melting away, but at six o'clock General Alten 
arrived with the 3d division. One part of it Major-general 
Sir C. Halkett's brigade (soth, 33d, 69th, and 73d) was 
moved towards the right between the wood of Bossu and the 
Charleroi road ; the other part Kielmansegge's Hanoverians 
to the left, to reinforce the regiments there. Again did Ney 
renew his efforts, and send his cavalry thundering down the 
slope, but still the horsemen could make no impression on the 
British squares. But one regiment, the 6Qth, by a confusion 
of orders was caught in line and rolled up, and a private 
cuirassier, named Lami, captured one of the colours, which its 
bearer, Clarke, received twenty-three wounds in defending. 
Clarke survived, though with the loss of an arm, and afterwards 
became an officer of the 42d. Riding through the 69th the 
cuirassiers .continued their career, but the volleys of the 32d 
sent them back quicker than they advanced. Meanwhile the 
French infantry debouched from the wood of Bossu, and, regard- 
less of the fire of Kuhlman's guns, advanced towards the ditch 
still lined by the 92d Highlanders. Major Macdonald observed 
their advance and called Wellington's attention to it. " Yes, 
major," replied the duke, looking through his glass, and speak- 
ing in his usual tranquil tone, "yes, there is a considerable body 
of them." Then turning to Colonel Cameron " Colonel," he 
said, " you must charge." Sir E. Barnes, Adjutant-general of 
the army, took off his hat and cheered. "Ninety-second, he 
cried, " whom I have often led, a column of the enemy is now 
advancing upon us, and the honour of repulsing them is entirely 
given to you." The Highlanders, who had been standing in 
the ditch impatient for action, instantly rushed forward and 
routed the enemy. On they pressed victoriously, till a farm- 
house and a garden on the other side of the road afforded the 
retreating French some shelter. From the windows of the house 
and the walls of the garden they opened a destructive fire on 
the pursuing Highlanders, who, moreover, were exposed to a 


heavy fire of grape, which rapidly thinned their ranks ; but, in 
spite of all this, the French were driven out at the point of the 
bayonet, and forced back to the wood. In this short but bloody 
conflict the Q2d lost 200 men and their colonel, Sir John 
Cameron of Fassifern, one of the most distinguished of Wel- 
lington's officers. 

Ney despatched to Napoleon the captured colour of the 6pth 
as an earnest of victory a victory that was not destined to be 
won. At half-past six the guards and two light battalions of 
Brunswickers came up, and the guards were ordered to advance 
and retake the wood of Bossu. The French infantry gave way 
before them, but when the guards attempted to debouch to the 
open beyond, they were struck by round shot and canister, their 
flank was disordered by a charge of cuirassiers, and they were 
compelled to fall back to a broad ditch on the edge of the wood, 
where they obtained some shelter. Encouraged by this momen- 
tary success, the French troops advanced to retake the wood, but 
were repulsed with great slaughter, and as night wore on, ob- 
serving the efforts of the enemy become feebler and feebler, 
Wellington ordered the whole line to advance. With three 
cheers the British rushed forward, and the enemy were driven 
back from the wood of Bossu, Gemioncourt, Piermont, and all 
the points they had made themselves masters of in the first 
onset. The battle closed as the summer night set in. Victory 
rested with the allies, but their loss exceeded that of the French 
by 1000 men, the numbers standing at 5000 on the one side 
and 4000 on the other. Picton's regiments suffered most 
severely, and the day was undoubtedly due to the stubbornness 
of the resistance their rocky squares offered to the fiery torrents 
of the French cavalry. 

The victors passed the night on the field of battle amid the 
trampled rye. No fires were lighted. Every man lay down in 
rear of his arms, and silence was enjoined on all. Few slept, 
however, for the stillness of the summer night was broken by 
the arrival of the troops from Brussels, the tramp of the in- 
fantry, the jingle of the cavalry, and the heavy dull sound of the 
tumbrels : sometimes, too, by false alarms, and cries of " Stand 
to your arms!" followed by a dropping fire. Around lay the 
dead and the wounded, for night had fallen before the latter 
could be removed. 

Next morning (June lyth) Wellington was prepared to take 


the offensive against the enemy, his whole army being by that 
time assembled. But at nine o'clock an officer reached him from 
Blucher the messenger sent the night before had been shot on 
the way and told him of the defeat of the Prussians at Ligny, 
and of Blucher's intention to concentrate at Wavre. A corre- 
sponding retrograde movement was clearly inevitable. Wel- 
lington promised to halt at Waterloo if Blucher would pledge 
himself to come to his assistance with a single corps of 25,000 
men. The promise was readily given, and after allowing his men 
a sufficient time for refreshment and rest, Wellington retired to 
Waterloo, a march of eight miles. The retreat was pressed by 
Napoleon in person, who about noon moved laterally from 
Ligny and joined the forces of Ney ; but so skilful were Wel- 
lington's dispositions that he carried off his force successfully, 
and with very little molestation. The day was very hot, with 
a sulphureous atmosphere and dense masses of thunder-clouds, 
and the discharge of a few heavy guns, fired to check the 
.advance of some French horsemen, was immediately followed by 
a deafening peal of thunder and heavy rain, amid which the 
troops took up their position on the battlefield of Waterloo. 
During the hours of darkness the rain fell in torrents, and 
brilliant flashes of lightning illuminated the sky, spreading a 
terrific radiance along the brow of night. Peels of thunder, 
louder than the discharge of whole parks of artillery, stunned 
the ears of the soldiers, who lay on the wet rye, with no cover- 
ing, no fuel, and no food but what they carried in their knapsacks. 
The cavalry soldiers spent the night standing by their horses, 
with the arm passed through the stirrup. But no one thought 
of his own privations. The least reflecting soldier on the field 
knew that the fate of Europe hung in the balance. And both 
sides were equally confident the allies in the captain who had 
never known defeat, and the French in the " Sun of Austerlitz," 
which would sweep away the clouds which had for a time 
obscured their great leader, and ^blast all the laurels of the 
" General of Sepoys." 

As the morning wore on the weather cleared up, and the men 
set about cleaning themselves, drying their muskets, and cooking 
breakfast. Wellington and his staff took up their station on the 
green height in rear of La Haye Sainte, whence the whole line 
could be scanned from right to left. 

Creasy says an accurate idea of the field of Waterloo may be 


formed by picturing " a valley between two and three miles long, 
of various breadths at different points, but generally not exceed- 
ing half a mile. On each side of the valley there is a winding 
chain of low hills running somewhat parallel with each other. 
The declivity from each of these ranges of hills to the intervening 
valley is gentle but not uniform, the undulations of the ground 
being frequent and considerable. The English army was posted 
on the northern, and the French army occupied the southern 
ridge. The artillery of each side thundered at the other from 
their respective heights throughout the day, and the charges of 
horse and foot were made across the valley that has been de- 
scribed. The village of Mont St. Jean is situate a little behind 
the centre of the northern chain of hills, and the village of La 
Belle Alliance is close behind the centre of the southern ridge. 
The high road from Charleroi to Brussels (a broad paved cause- 
way) runs through both these villages, and bisects, therefore, 
both the English and the French positions. The line of this 
road was the line of Napoleon's intended advance on Brussels. 
. . . The strength of the British position did not consist merely 
in the occupation of a ridge of high ground. A village and 
ravine, called Merk Braine, on the Duke of Wellington's extreme 
right, secured his flank from being turned on that side ; and on 
his extreme left, two little villages, called La Haye and Papelotte, 
gave a similar, though a slighter, protection. Behind the whole 
British position is the extensive forest of Soignies. As no 
attempt was made by the French to turn either of the English 
flanks, and the battle was a day of straightforward fighting, it is 
chiefly important to ascertain what posts there were in front of 
the British line of hills, of which advantage could be taken either 
to repel or facilitate an attack ; and it will be seen that there 
are two, and that each was of very great importance in the 
action. In front of the British right, that is to say, on the 
northern slope of the valley at its western end, there stood an 
old-fashioned Flemish farmhouse called Goumont, or Hougou- 
mont, with out-buildings and a garden, and with a copse of beech 
trees of about two acres in extent round it. This was strongly 
garrisoned by the allied troops, and, while it was in their posses- 
sion, it was difficult for the enemy to press on and force the 
British right wing. On the other hand, if the enemy could take 
it, it would be difficult for that wing to keep its ground on the 
heights, with a strong post held adversely to its immediate front, 


being one that would give much shelter to the enemy's marks- 
men, and great facilities for the sudden concentration of attack- 
ing columns. Almost immediately in front of the British centre, 
and not so far down the slope as Hougoumont, there was another 
farmhouse, of a smaller size, called La Haye Sainte (not to be 
confounded with the hamlet of La Haye at the extreme left of 
the British line), which was also held by the British troops, and 
the occupation of which was found to be of very serious conse- 
quence. With respect to the French position, the principal 
feature to be noticed is the village of Planchenoit, which lay a 
little in the rear of their right (i.e., on the eastern side), and 
which proved to be of great importance in aiding them to check 
the advance of the Prussians." 

On the night of the iyth Wellington had caused every brigade 
and corps to take up its station on the part of the ground which 
it was intended to hold in the coming battle. The army was 
drawn up in two lines, the first stationed near the crest of the 
ridge, the other ranged along the slope in the rear. The right 
and right centre, under Hill, occupied Hougoumont and the 
ground west of the Charleroi road. Hougoumont was held by 
Byng's brigade of guards ; further back was the 2d division 
under Clinton comprising Adams' brigade (52d, 7ist, 95th), 
Du Plat's Germans, and Colonel Hugh Halkett's Hanoverians 
with Mitchell's brigade (i4th, 23d, 5ist) on its right ; then came 
the 3d division under Alten comprising Sir Colin Halkett's 
brigade (3oth, 330!, 69th, 73d), Kielmansegge's Hanoverians, 
and Ompteda's Germans. The left centre and left was held by 
the 5th division under Picton comprising Kempt's brigade 
(28th, 32d, 79th, 95th), with Bylandt's Dutch-Belgians in front, 
and Lambert (4th, 2 7th, 4oth, 8ist) in reserve, Pack (ist, 42d, 
44th, 92d), with Best's Hanoverians in front, and Veneke's 
Hanoverians on the left. Best's brigade was protected by a ditch 
on its flank, impassable to artillery. The extreme left the 
farms of Papelotte and La Haye and the hamlet of Smohain 
was held by Nassauers and Dutch-Belgians, under the Prince of 
Saxe-Weirnar. The extreme right at Braine-Laleud and the 
Old Foriez farm was also held by Dutch-Belgians, but the other 
troops of this nationality were scattered in detached bodies to 
prevent their running away. The cavalry stood in the second 
line : Grant (2d, 7th, i5th Hussars), Dornberg (German and 23d 
Light Dragoons), and Arentschild (3d German Hussars, I3tu 


Light Dragoons) behind the right wing ; then the Cumberland 
(Hanoverian) Hussars ; Somerset's Household Brigade (ist and 
2d Life Guards, the Blues, and the ist Dragoon Guards) behind 
Alten ; Ponsonby's Union Brigade (ist Royal Dragoons, Scots 
Greys, and Inniskillings) behind Picton ; Vandeleur (nth, i2th, 
i6th Light Dragoons) and Vivian (ist, loth, and i8th 
Hussars) behind Picton's left. The reserve consisted of Dollaert's 
Dutch-Belgian cavalry (by the Mont St. Jean farm), Lambert's 
British (behind Kempt), and Olfermarin's Brunswickers. The 
artillery was posted along the whole front, wherever a gun could 
command the enemy. 

Napoleon's army was ranged in 13 columns; the infantry in 
front, the cavalry behind, and the Imperial guards in reserve. 
His artillery was posted along the Belle Alliance ridge about 
three-quarters of a mile from the British guns. His force con- 
sisted of 48,950 infantry, 15,765 cavalry, and 7232 artillerymen, 
being a total of 71,947 men, with 246 guns. Wellington's force 
consisted of 49,608 infantry, 12,402 cavalry, and 5645 artillery- 
men, being a total of 67,655 men, with 156 guns. But of this 
total scarce 24,000 were British, a circumstance of very great 
importance, if Napoleon was correct in estimating that a French 
soldier would not be equal to more than one English soldier, but 
would not be afraid to meet two of any other nation. Besides, 
the Dutch-Belgians were known to be thoroughly disaffected to 
the cause of the allies. 

j "-The Sunday morning wore on till near noon, when a heavy 
gun was fired in the French centre as a signal, and immediately 
the quick rattle of musketry was heard on the French left, as 
Jerome put his column in motion against the position of Hougou- 
mont, throwing out clouds of skirmishers. When the struggle 
commenced the position was held by the light companies of the 
guards. Those of the ist regiment, under Colonel Lord Saltoun, 
held the orchard and wood ; those of the Coldstream and 3d 
Guards, under Colonel Macdonell, held the buildings and garden. 
In the outer grounds were a battalion of Nassau troops, 100 men 
of the Luneberg battalion, and a company of Hanoverian field- 
riflemen. But as the day wore on and the struggle grew fiercer, 
the whole of Byng's brigade was required to man this hotly- 
contested point. On came the French and drove back the 
Nassauers and the riflemen, but Major Bull's howitzers spread 
dismay in their ranks, and the light companies of the guards 


cleared the wood. Napoleon ordered Reille's cannon to give 
fire, and Kellerman to push forward his horse-batteries. The 
guns now opened on both sides along the whole line, and the 
noise was deafening. Under cover of the fire of Keille's batteries, 
the French again pushed forward, gained the wood, and attacked 
the chateau, but the loopholed walls of the building presented 
an insurmountable obstacle. The defenders had the advantage 
of a double tier of loopholes and a banquette, and their fire was 
withering, but however often repulsed, the French advanced again 
and again to the attack, and many of them were so daring that 
they madly seized and sought to wrench away the muskets as 
they were levelled through the loops. Once the besiegers forced 
an entrance by the north gate. The guards fired a volley, then 
sprang forward to a hand-to-hand struggle. British bayonets 
prevailed ; the intruders were overpowered, and the gate was 
closed. The great number of shot and shell discharged into the 
place set the buildings on fire, and the French renewed their 
efforts, but were foiled by the incessant volleys from within. 
The violence of the struggle at Hougoumont has seldom been 
equalled. It has been calculated that within half an hour 1500 
men were killed in the orchard alone, a small plot of ground not 
exceeding four acres ; and that altogether, in the attack of the 
position, the French lost 10,000 men killed and wounded. 

Ney, meanwhile, had been massing troops for an attack on 
the British centre and left. The infantry, consisting of 18,000 
men, divided into four columns, under Donzelat, Alix, Mar- 
cognet, and Durutte, . was supported by a strong division of 
cavalry under Kellerman ; and 74 guns were brought forward to 
a gentle undulation between the two principal heights, to play 
on the allied line at 700 yards. With loud shouts of " Vive 
1'Empereur ! " the French infantry advanced across the valley : 
Donzelat moving along the Charleroi road, Alix and Marcognet 
on his right, and Durutte upon the British left at Papelotte. 
As they descended from the intervening eminence, the 74 guns 
posted there opened over their heads with a tempest of shot and 
shell, ploughing Mont St. Jean, and inflicting great loss on 
Picton's division, Bylandt's Dutch-Belgians, and Best's Hano- 
verians. Durutte's division attacked Papelotte and won it, but 
the Nassauers were reinforced and drove them out again. Part 
of Donzelat's division attacked La Haye Sainte. The divisions 
of Alix and Marcognet advanced against the allied line. 


Bylandt's Dutcli-Belgians took to their heels, and the French 
poured in a destructive fire on Picton's division, which had 
suffered so severely at Quatre Bras that the eight regiments 
could scarcely show 3000 bayonets. When the heads of the 
French columns approached to within 20 yards, the columns 
halted and began to deploy into line, but Picton seized the 
critical moment. " A volley, and then charge ! " he shouted to 
Pack's brigade (ist, 42d, 44th, 92d). The head of Marcognet's 
column was swept away by the sheet of musketry, and then with 
a shout the wasted regiments rushed on with cold steel. Mar- 
cognet's men reeled back in confusion, and at this instant 
Ponsonby's heavy cavalry (the Union Brigade, as it was called, 
from its being made up of the ist Koyal Dragoons, the Scots Greys, 
and the Irish Inniskillings), forced their way through, or leaped 
over the hedge of La Haye Sainte, behind which they were 
posted, and galloped forward on the column, Picton's men open- 
ing their files to let them pass. " Scotland for ever ! " shouted 
the Greys, while the pipers struck up, and many of the High- 
landers, breaking from their ranks, caught hold of the Greys' 
stirrups to keep up with them in the charge. In a few minutes 
the French column was utterly broken, the slope was covered 
with dead, wounded, and fugitives, and masses threw away their 
belts and cried, " Quarter ! " and " Prisoners." Upwards of 
2000 passed to the rear. Onward through the wrecks of the 
French column galloped the Greys and the Inniskillings, dashed 
up the French slope, sabred the artillerymen of Ney's 74 ad- 
vanced guns, cut the traces, and hamstrung the horses. At 
least 40 of these guns were rendered useless for the rest of the 
day. " These terrible Greys ! " exclaimed Napoleon. On the right, 
the ist Royal Dragoons fell upon the right of Alix's division. 
This body was pursuing the flight of Bylandt's Dutch-Belgians, 
and had not yet met any infantry. The Eoyals mowed it down 
with great carnage. In this splendid charge the heavies cap- 
tured two eagles, one taken by Sergeant Ewart of the Greys, and 
the other by Captain Clarke of the Royals. But the heavies 
committed the fault of advancing too far, and while disordered 
with success were charged by a large body of French lancers, 
and driven back with severe loss, till Vandeleur's light horse 
came to their aid, and beat off the French lancers in turn. 

The left of Alix's column and part of Donzelat's drove the 
Germans from the orchard of La Haye Sainte, and advanced 

208 A HAND-TO-HAND FIGHT.; [1815. 

under a terrible storm of artillery fire to the hedge on which 
Kempt's brigade (28th, 32d, ypth, 95th) rested. "Charge! 
charge ! Hurrah ! " shouted Picton, who fell pierced in the 
forehead by a musket ball, but the charge to which he gave the 
impetus was completely successful ; the French were broken 
and reduced to a disorderly mass. But a battalion of Kiel- 
mansegge's Hanoverians, sent to reinforce the position at La 
Haye Sainte, were struck by Milhaud's cuirassiers and cut to 
pieces ; and the horsemen, in the pride of success, advanced 
upon the successful infantry of Kempt's brigade. The 
British regiments threw themselves into squares, and the 
cuirassiers were sounding the charge when the household 
brigade (ist and 2d Life Guards, the Blues, and the ist 
Dragoon Guards) rushed forward to the encounter. "In an 
instant," says Creasy, " the two adverse lines of strong swords- 
men, on their strong steeds, dashed furiously together. A 
desperate and sanguinary hand-to-hand fight ensued, in which 
the physical superiority of the Anglo-Saxons, guided by equal 
skill and animated with equal valour, was made decisively 
manifest. Back went the chosen cavalry of France ; and after 
them, in hot pursuit, spurred the English guards. They went 
forward as far and as fiercely as their comrades of the Union 
Brigade ; and, like them, the household cavalry suffered severely 
before they regained the British position, after their magnificent 
charge and adventurous pursuit." 

It was now about half-past three, and after a furious cannonade 
Napoleon determined to try what effect could be produced on 
the British centre and right by charges of his splendid cavalry. 
At the same time fresh troops were sent to assail La Haye 
Sainte and Hougoumont. Forty squadrons 21 of them clad 
in glittering cuirasses took part in this attack, which afforded 
the most imposing display of the whole battle. Mr. Clinton, 
a recent writer, graphically describes it : " The rounds of grape 
and canister, discharged point-blank, made lanes in their ranks ; 
but the brilliant lines continued to advance, and with a loud 
shout galloped in upon the advanced batteries. Resistance was 
quite impossible, and the gunners abandoned their pieces. But 
they had received instructions, in view of such an advance, to 
unlimber the rear wheel of each gun, and roll the wheel into 
the nearest square ; so that when the horsemen threw round the 
guns the ropes they carried for the purpose, they could not move 


them, and in the interval they were themselves subjected to the 
volleys from the infantry. The enemy's cannonade, to cover the 
advance of the cavalry, had been so furious that Wellington 
had withdrawn his infantry regiments as much as possible be- 
hind the reverse slope, where they formed squares and lay down 
on the ground to rest. As the French squadrons now swept 
forward, the infantry sprang to their feet, and the enemy to 
their surprise beheld the invincible squares drawn up to receive 
them. For a moment there was perfect silence, and the cavalry, 
seeing the firm front of the infantry, paused. Then, with shouts, 
they rushed forward, but instead of charging the squares in 
front, they swept round by their flank and rear, so as to envelop 
the infantry, from which sheets of flame burst forth as from a 
volcano. The French horsemen recoiled in disorder from the 
ranks into which they were trying to break even at the sword's 
point, the artillerymen ran out to their guns, and sent a tempest 
of grape into the retiring squadrons, which were now also 
assailed by an advance of the British cavalry, and driven down 
the slope till joined by their reserves. Again the French guns 
opened ; they were served with wonderful accuracy ; and the 
bombs and ricochet shots continued to drop into the squares, 
the men of which were again lying down." Attempt after 
attempt was made, but without avail. " ' These children of 
Albion,' as Foy remarks, stood as if ' they had taken root in 
the ground/ Every attempt to break these heroic bands failed; 
the horsemen surged as vainly upon them as waves beating upon 
an ironbound coast. Not a square was broken ; and the French 
squadrons, exhausted and diminished, returned to their own 
ground, again pressed in their retreat by the British dragoons." 
But in another part of the field Napoleon was more successful. 
Between six and seven o'clock two columns of infantry from 
Donzelat's division took possession of La Haye Sainte, and thus 
the means was organised for making another formidable attack 
on the centre of the allies. 

If that attack was to be made it must be made at once. Ever 
since three o'clock Napoleon had seen troops hovering on his 
right. Under the impression that Blucher had retreated, not 
to Wavre, but more to the eastward on his communications, 
Napoleon had persuaded himself that these troops were his own 
people under Grouchy. But the truth could no longer be 
hidden. It was the ist corps of the Prussian army under Bulow. 


210 "MARSHAL FORWARDS." [1815. 

All day long the Prussians had been striving to reach the field 
of battle. Wavre is but six miles east of Waterloo, but several 
mistakes and untoward circumstances had occurred to delay the 
march, and the narrow lanes were so broken that progress was 
almost impossible. The guns sank ankle-deep in mud, and the 
horses were too weak to draw them. The men took the traces, 
but almost despaired. " Forwards ! " cried Blucher his men 
called him " Marshal Forwards " " You must get on : I have 
pledged my word to Wellington, and you would not have me 
break it. Courage, my children ! " And here the Prussians 
were at last, fiercely assailing Planchenoit. Napoleon sent the 
young guard to keep them in check, while with the middle and 
old guard, who had never failed him yet, he made one last 
desperate effort to change the fortune of the day. 

What need to enter into detail about the charge of the 
Imperial guard ? Under Ney, " the bravest of the brave," they 
advanced majestically down the slope of the French hills, and 
with loud shouts of "Vive 1' Empereur!" entered the valley and 
ascended the British heights, directing their march between 
Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte against the British right 
centre. The troops here were Maitland's brigade of guards, 
with Adams' brigade (52d, 7ist, 95th) on the right. The 
guards had been ordered to lie down in the ditch behind the 
road which traverses the length of the ridge, to avoid the 
destructive effect of the enemy's artillery ; and when the first 
column of the Imperial guard reached the ridge of the hill, and 
saw no enemy, they raised loud and exultant cheers, and beat 
their drums merrily, believing the day was at last won. Nothing 
could be seen save a small band of mounted officers, but presently 
one of these was heard calling, as if to the ground before him, 
" Up, Guards, and at them ! " As if by magic, up sprang the 
guards, in line four deep, advanced a few paces, and poured in 
a well-directed volley, and 300 of the Imperial guard bit the 
dust. The decimated column grew more and more disordered 
in its vain attempts to expand itself into a more efficient forma- 
tion ; its head was overlapped, its flanks and front were assailed 
by musketry, and grape and canister swept its ranks at a distance 
of only 50 paces. The column reeled. " Forward, Guards ! " 
cried Wellington, and the order ran along the line. With three 
cheers and bayonets at the charge, our guards rushed down the 
hill upon their antagonists, but when within 20 yards of each 

i8i 5 .] "ALL IS LOST!" SAID NAPOLEON. 211 

other, these chosen warriors of France, who had never yet been 
vanquished, spread out into a rabble, wheeled, and fled down 
the hill, closely pursued by the victors. Maitland, however, 
prudently halted his men before reaching the foot of the slope, 
and led them back to their post, where, aided by the regiments 
of Adams' brigade, they repulsed the other columns of the 
Imperial guard. "All is lost!" cried the French troops, "the 
guard is repulsed ! " 

Wellington saw the decisive moment was come, and closing 
his telescope and galloping to the front, he waved his hat and 
gave the long-wished-for order, "Let the whole line advance." 
The movement is well described by Mr. Clinton : " An exulting 
cheer rang along the whole ridge : even the wounded who could 
limp along sprang from the ground, seized their arms, and fell 
in with their regiments ; trumpets and drums sent forth their 
exultant notes, the tattered banners proudly waved aloft, and 
the triumphant soldiers descended the slopes, now bathed in the 
softened rays of the sinking sun. Never did a battlefield 
present a scene more glorious than the slopes of Waterloo, when 
the majestic line of horse and foot and field artillery swept 
forward but, alas ! trampling their own wounded." Some 
regiments of the old guard endeavoured to stem the torrent, 
but they were swept away. " All is lost ! " said Napoleon ; 
"let us save ourselves !" 

At the Maison du Hoi, or Maison Rouge, Wellington met 
Blucher, and hearty congratulations were exchanged. Blucher 
readily agreed to press the pursuit, and from the hatred which 
the Prussians bore to their former oppressors it was pressed 
with vigour. Scarce 40,000 men and 27 guns passed the 
Sambre. The grand army was completely broken ; the infantry 
threw away their arms and dispersed, and the cavalry and 
artillery sold their horses to procure the means of reaching their 
homes. The loss of the French in the battle and the pursuit 
amounted to 40,000, and 150 guns and 6000 prisoners remained 
in the hands of the allies. The loss of the allies was over 
22,000. The British loss was 1417 killed, 4923 wounded, and 
582 missing; making a total of 6922. The Prussian total was 
about 100 more. The events that followed Waterloo the 
occupation of Paris, and of France itself, Napoleon's surrender 
of himself to Captain Maitland of the Bellerophon, and his 
lonely exile at St. Helena are matters of history. The gigantic 


war which ended on the field of Waterloo cost this coantry 

The instances of individual prowess at Waterloo are too 
numerous to mention. Who can forget the heroism of Picton, 
the leader of the "fighting third," who had two of his ribs 
broken at Quatre Bras, but concealed the wound, lest he should 
be solicited to absent himself from Waterloo, and fell pierced 
through the brain 1 Of Shaw the Life Guardsman, who cut 
down nine of the enemy, but was so slashed himself that he 
bled to death 1 Of Sergeant Ewart of the Greys and Sergeant 
Clarke of the Royals, who each captured a French colour ? Of 
Sergeant Weir of the Scots Greys, who, as pay-sergeant of his 
troop, might have excused himself from serving in action, but 
disdained to avail himself of the privilege, and when he fell, 
fighting gloriously, wrote his name on his forehead with his own 
blood, that his body might be found and recognised, and that it 
might not be supposed he had disappeared with the money be- 
longing to his troop 1 Of Sergeant James Graham of the guards, 
who fought like a hero when the French gained a momentary 
entrance into the Chateau of Hougoumont, and then surprised 
his commanding officer, Colonel Macdonell, with asking permis- 
sion to fall out for a moment 1 " By all means, Graham," said 
the colonel ; " but I wonder you should ask leave now." " I 
would not, sir," said Graham, "only my brother is wounded, 
and he is in that out-building there, which has just caught fire." 
Saying this, he ran and removed his brother to a place of safety, 
and was back at his post and plying his musket again before 
his absence was noticed. 

Every regiment that fought at Waterloo has its own tale of 
service, and its own share of glory. In his despatch Wellington 
makes mention of but four British regiments, the 28th, and the 
42d, 79th, and 92$. Highlanders, but every regiment was de- 
serving of praise. The 79th went into action at Quatre Bras 
with a strength of 776 men, and out of this number only 298 
remained alive and unwounded at the close of the battle of 
Waterloo. The loss of the 79th exceeded by one that of any 
other regiment in the army, except the 3d battalion of the ist Foot 
Guards, which was almost annihilated in the defence of Hougou- 
mont. The 3oth and the 73d were so much cut up that before 
the close of the day their colours were sent to the rear. The 
accounts of the battle which some of the survivors have left are 

1815.] THE 7 1ST AT WATERLOO. 213 

very interesting, and enable one to understand the terrible nature 
of the struggle better than any amount of general description. 

The soldier of the yist, whom we have quoted before, says : 
" The artillery had been tearing away since daybreak in different 
parts of the line. About twelve o'clock we received orders to fall 
in for attack. We then marched up to our position, where we lay 
on the face of a ' brae ' covering a brigade of guns. We were 
so overcome by the fatigue of the two days' march, that scarce 
had we lain down when many of us fell asleep. I slept sound 
for some time, while the cannon-balls, plunging in amongst us, 
killed a great many. I was suddenly awakened. A ball struck 
the ground a little below me, turned me heels-over-head, broke 
my musket in pieces, and killed a lad at my side. I was stunned 
and confused, and knew not whether T was wounded or not. I 
felt a numbness in my arms for some time. We lay thus about 
an hour and a half under a dreadful fire, which cost us about 
60 men, while we had never fired a shot. About two o'clock 
a squadron of lancers came down, hurrahing, to charge the 
brigade of guns. They knew not what was in the rear. General 
Barnes gave the word, ' Form square/ In a moment the whole 
brigade was on their feet, ready to receive the enemy. The 
general said, ' Seventy-first, I have often heard of your bravery ; 
1 hope it will not be worse to-day than it has been.' Down 
they came upon our square. We soon put them to the right 
about. Shortly after we received orders to move to the heights. 
Onward we marched and stood for a time in square ; receiving 
cavalry every now and then. The noise and smoke were dread- 
ful. At this time I could see but a very little way from me ; 
but all around the wounded and slain were thick. We then 
moved on in column for a considerable way and formed line, 
gave three cheers, fired a few volleys, charged the enemy, and 
drove them back. At this time a squadron of cavalry rode 
furiously down upon our line. Scarce had we time to form. 
The square was only complete in front when they were upon our 
bayonets. Many of our men were out of place. There was a 
good deal of jostling for a minute or two, and a good deal of 
laughing. Our quartermaster lost his bonnet in riding into the 
square, got it up, put it on back foremost, and wore it thus all 
day. Not a moment had we to regard our dress. A French 
general lay dead in the square ; he had a number of ornaments 
upon his breast. Our men fell to plucking them off, pushing 


each other as they passed, and snatching at them. We stood in 
square for some time whilst the I3th Dragoons and some French 
dragoons were engaged. The i3th retiring to the rear of our 
column, we gave the French a volley, which put them to the 
right about; then the I3th at them again. They did this for 
some time, we cheering the i3th, and feeling every blow they 
received. When a Frenchman fell we shouted, when one of the 
1 3th we groaned. We wished to join them, but were forced to 
stand in square." 

Still more fiercely raged the battle in the right centre, where 
Halkett's brigade (3oth, 33d, 69th, 73d) was posted. Major 
Macready, who served in the light company of the 3oth, gives 
us a glimpse of it in his journal, which we take the liberty 
of abridging. During the earlier part of the day Macready and 
his light company were thrown forward as skirmishers in front 
of the brigade ; but when the French cavalry commenced their 
long series of attacks on the British right centre, he and his 
companions were ordered back. " Before the commencement of 
this attack," says the major, " our company of the grenadiers of 
the 73d were skirmishing briskly on the low ground, covering 
our guns, and annoying those of the enemy. The line of tirail- 
leurs opposed to us was not stronger than our own, but on a 
sudden they were reinforced by numerous bodies, and several 
guns began to play on us with canister. Our poor fellows 
dropped very fast, and Colonel Vigoureux, Rumley, and Pratt, 
were carried off badly wounded in about two minutes. I was 
now commander of our company. We stood under this hurri- 
cane of small shot till Halkett sent to order us in, and I brought 
away about a third of the light bobs ; the rest were killed or 
wounded, and I really wonder how one of them escaped. As 
our bugler was killed, I shouted and made signals to move by 
the left, in order to avoid the fire of our guns, and to put as 
good a face upon the business as possible. 

" When I reached Lloyd's abandoned guns, I stood near them 
for about a minute to contemplate the scene : it was grand 
beyond description. Hougoumont and its wood sent up a broad 
flame through the dark masses of smoke that overhung the 
field ; beneath this cloud the French were indistinctly visible. 
Here a waving mass of long red feathers could be seen ; there, 
gleams as from a sheet of steel showed that the cuirassiers were 
moving ; 400 cannon were belching forth fire and death on every 


side } the roaring and shouting were indistinguishably commixed 
together they gave an idea of a labouring volcano. Bodies 
of infantry and cavalry were pouring down on us, and it was 
time to leave contemplation, so I made towards our columns; 
which were standing up in square. 

" In a few minutes after, the enemy's cavalry galloped up, 
and crowned the crest of our position. Our guns were aban- 
doned, and they formed between the two brigades, about a hun- 
dred paces in our front. Their first charge was magnificent. 
As soon as they quickened their trot into a gallop, the cuirassiers 
bent their heads, so that the peaks of their helmets looked like 
vizors, and they seemed cased in armour from the plume to the 
saddle. Not a shot was fired till they were within thirty yards, 
when the word was given, and our men fired away at them. 
The effect was magical. Through the smoke we could see 
helmets falling, cavaliers starting from their seats with convul- 
sive springs as they received our balls, horses plunging and 
rearing in the agonies of fright and pain, and crowds of the 
soldiery dismounted, part of the squadron in retreat, but the 
more daring remainder backing their horses to force them on our 
bayonets. Our fire soon disposed of these gentlemen. The 
main body reformed in our front, and rapidly and gallantly re- 
peated their attacks. In fact, from this time (about four o'clock) 
till near six we had a constant repetition of those brave but 
unavailing charges. There was no difficulty in repulsing them. 
The best cavalry is contemptible to a steady and well supplied 
infantry regiment ; even our men saw this, and began to pity 
the useless perseverance of their assailants, and, as they ad- 
vanced, would growl out, ' Here come these fools again ! ' 

" Though we constantly thrashed our steel-clad opponents, we 
found more troublesome customers in the round shot and grape, 
which all this time played on us with terrible effect, and fully 
avenged the cuirassiers. Often as the volleys created openings 
in our square would the cavalry dash in,' but they were uniformly 
unsuccessful. A regiment on our right seemed sadly discon- 
certed, and at one moment was in considerable confusion. At 
the height of their unsteadiness we got the order to 'right 
face' to move to their assistance; some of the men mistook it 
for ' right about face,' and faced accordingly, when old Major 
M'Laine, 73d, called out, ' No, my boys, it's right face ; 
you'll never hear the right about as long as a French bayonet 

216 "HERE'S THE DUKE." [1815. 

is in front of you ! ' In a few moments he was mortally 

" About six o'clock I perceived some artillery trotting up our 
bill, which I knew by their caps to belong to the Imperial 
guard. I had hardly mentioned this to a brother-officer when 
two guns unlimbered within seventy paces of us, and, by their 
first discharge of grape, blew some men into the centre of the 
square. They immediately reloaded, and kept up a constant 
and destructive fire. It was noble to see our fellows fill up the 
gaps after every discharge. I was much distressed at this 
moment ; having ordered up three of my light bobs, they had 
hardly taken their station when two of them fell horribly lace- 
rated. One of them looked up in my face and uttered a sort of 
reproachful groan, and I involuntarily exclaimed, ' I couldn't help 
it. ; We would willingly have charged these guns, but had we 
deployed, the cavalry that flanked them wouTd have made an 
example of us. 

"The 'vivida vis animi' the glow which fires one upon 
entering into action had ceased ; it was now to be seen which 
side had most bottom, and would stand killing longest. The 
Duke visited us frequently at this momentous period ; he was 
coolness personified. As he crossed the rear face of our square 
a shell fell among our grenadiers, and he checked his horse to 
see its effect. Some men were blown to pieces by the explosion, 
and he merely stirred the rein of his charger, apparently as little 
concerned at their fate as at his own danger. No leader ever 
possessed so fully the confidence of his soldiery ; wherever he 
appeared a murmur of ' silence stand to your front here's the 
duke,' was heard through the columns, and then all was as 
steady as' on a parade. His aides-de-camp, Colonels Canning 
and Gordon, fell near our square, and the former died within 
it. As he came near us, late in the evening, Halkett rode out 
to him and represented our weak state, begging his grace to 
afford us a little support. ' It's impossible, Halkett,' said he. 
And our general replied, ' If so, sir, you may depend on the 
brigade to a man.' " 



Bombardment of Algiers First Burmese War Navarino First Chinese 
War Second Burmese War The War in Syria Kaffir War. 

ITHIN a year after the conclusion of the Great War, 
\ve were involved in hostilities with the semi-civilised 
power that held sway on the African seaboard of the 
Mediterranean. For centuries the corsairs of Barbary 
had been the terror of all peaceful voyagers on that inland 
sea but during the long war with France their insolence and 
their exactions, their piracies and their outrages, rose in accord- 
ance with the difficulties in which the Christian nations of Europe 
were placed, and at length became intolerable. The measure of 
their iniquity was filled by the massacre which took place at 
Bona, of the crews of 300 or 400 small vessels engaged in the 
coral fishery. It was Ascension Day, and the fishermen were on 
their way to hear mass, when they were barbarously assassinated 
by a band of 2000 Turkish, Moorish, and Levantine soldiers. 
The victims of the massacre were mostly Italians, but in the 
interests of humanity this country felt bound to interfere, and 
an expedition was prepared to act against the forts and shipping 
of Algiers. The command of the expedition was entrusted to 
Lord Exmouth, one of the most dashing of our admirals, who 
had literally fought his way up to a peerage. It consisted of 
the Queen Charlotte, 100 guns, carrying the admiral's flag ; 
the Impregnable, 98, .carrying the flag of Rear-admiral David 
Milne; the Superb, Minden, Albion, 74; the Leander, 50 ; the 
gun-frigates Severn and Glasgow, 40, and Granicus and Hebrus, 

2l8 THE PIRATE CITY. [1816. 

36 ; the gun-brig sloops Heron and Mutine, 18; the Britomart, 
Cordelia, and Jasper, 10 ; and the bomb-vessels Beelzebub, 
Fury, Hecla, and Infernal; in all, 19 vessels of war, with a 
naval transport, a sloop with ordnance stores, and a despatch 

On the 28th July, 1816, the fleet weighed from Spitheadwith 
a fine northerly wind. At two in the afternoon of the 9th 
August, Lord Exmouth anchored with his fleet in Gibraltar 
Bay, where he found a small Dutch squadron that had arrived 
the night before. The Dutch squadron, which consisted of four 
4<D-gun frigates, one 3<D-gun frigate, and an i8-gun corvette, was 
commanded by Vice-admiral Baron Van T. de Capellau ; and 
this officer begged so hard to be allowed to assist in the task 
of bringing the Dey to his senses, that Lord Exmouth could 
scarcely decline the offer. 

On the 1 4th the British and their Dutch allies weighed and 
stood in to the Mediterranean. On the i6th, when the fleet 
was within 200 miles of Algiers, the ship-sloop Prometheus, 
Captain Dashwood, joined company direct from the port. The 
Prometheus had been despatched to Algiers some time before to 
get away our consul, Mr. M'Donnell. Captain Dashwood had 
with difficulty succeeded in bringing off Mrs. McDonnell and her 
daughter in midshipmen's clothing the child cried in the gate- 
way and was detained, but the Dey sent it off next day ; 
but Mr. M'Donnell himself was put in irons, and confined 
in a small room on the groundfloor of his own house ; 
and the surgeon of the Prometheus, three midshipmen, and 
the crews of two boats, consisting in all of 18 persons, 
were seized and confined as slaves in the usual dungeons. 
Captain Dashwood reported also that the Dey had brought 
from the interior 40,000 troops, who were busily employed in 
strengthening the defences, and that his ships were all in port, 
where there were 30 or 40 mortar-boats in a state of great 

At daybreak on the 2yth, the fleet gained the first glimpse 
of the pirate city of Algiers, which lies on the side of a hill 
gradually rising from the sea, and forming a sort of amphi- 
theatre, terminating in a point at the summit. The flat-roofed 
houses, rising above each other in tiers, were all whitewashed, 
and from a distance gave the town a remarkably clean appear- 
ance. The town was walled, and for a small place the fortifica- 


tions were of considerable strength, especially towards the sea, 
where there were two moles, one of them stretching north-east 
about 250 yards, and connecting the town with a lighthouse 
built on a rock. Strong batteries were planted at every avail- 
able point, and 500 guns on the sea-face, manned by 4000 fierce 
and fanatical Moslems, were mounted for the defence of Algiers. 

The morning of the 2yth was beautifully serene, with a silvery 
haze that foretold the coming heat, and as the ships were nearly 
becalmed within five miles of the shore, Lord Exmouth took 
the opportunity of despatching Lieutenant Samuel Burgess, in 
one of the Queen Charlottes boats, towed by the Severn, to 
demand of the Dey the following conditions : i. The abolition 
for ever of Christian slavery. 2. The delivery of all slaves by 
noon to-morrow. 3. The delivery of all money received for the 
redemption of slaves since the commencement of the year ; the 
immediate liberation of the British consul and the two boats' 
crews of the Prometheus : failing which, he threatened the entire 
destruction of the place by shot and shell. Lieutenant Burgess 
proceeded on his mission, and in the meantime a breeze sprang 
up from the sea, and the fleet stood into the bay, and lay-to 
about five miles from the city. One o'clock, two o'clock came, 
and still no answer from the Dey ; so, hoisting a signal to that 
effect, Lieutenant Burgess rowed out to the Severn. The ships' 
crews had been piped to dinner, and at the officers' mess 
bumpers were being pledged to a successful attack, when the 
signal, " Are you ready 1" flew up to the masthead of the Queen 
Charlotte. " Eeady ! " replied every ship in the fleet. " Bear 
up ! " and the fleet bore up before a fine steady breeze from the 
sea, the admiral leading the way in the stately Queen Charlotte. 
At 2.35 p.m. the flagship anchored with springs about 50 yards 
from the mole-head, and lashed herself to the mainmast of an 
Algerine brig fast to the shore at the mouth of the mole. 

" Till this moment," says Lord Exmouth, " not a gun had 
been fired, and I began to suspect a full compliance with the 
terms which had been so many hours in their hands. At this 
period of profound silence a shot was fired at us from the mole," 
and almost at the same instant two other shots were fired at the 
Impregnable and the Superb, as they were advancing to take up 
their stations. It was enough ; with characteristic humanity, 
waving his hand as a signal to descend to the crowds of people 
assembled on the parapet of the mole-head to gaze on the great 

22O THE "PLUCKY " LEANDER." [1816. 

three-decker, Lord Exmouth gave the order to fire ; and just as 
the Moors were in the act of leaping through the embrasures, 
the Queen Charlotte opened her starboard broadside, which was 
thrown with a tearing crash into the batteries abreast of her. 
The cheers of the Queen Charlotte were mingled with the yells 
and groans of the Algerines, and taken up by th'e Leander. 
This plucky little ship came to anchor on the larboard bow of 
the flagship, in such a position as to engage the enemy's gun- 
boats and row-boats, which lay at the mouth of the harbour, 
each with a gay flag at its stern, fully manned, and the crews 
lying on their oars, prepared for an attack, and ready to board 
should an opportunity offer. The Leander s first broadside 
carried destruction into these groups of boats. " The smoke 
opened," says one of the officers, " and fragments of boats were 
seen floating, the crews swimming and scrambling as many as 
escaped the shot to the shore, and another broadside anni- 
hilated them." So precise and tremendous was the fire of the 
Queen Charlotte, that her third broadside levelled the south end 
of the mole to its foundations. She then sprang her broadside 
towards the batteries over the town gate leading to the mole. 
Gun after gun came tumbling down over the battlements ; the 
last fell just as the artillerymen were in the act of discharging 
it. It was a sight which moved the indignation of an Algerine 
chief, who sought relief to his feelings by leaping on the ruined 
parapet, and shaking his drawn scimitar at the ship whose 
cannon had so quickly demolished a defence which he had 
deemed impregnable. 

So the bombardment commenced, and each ship as she took 
up her station opened with her guns. The sloops also took up 
their places, and the bomb vessels began a destructive discharge 
at the distance of about 2000 yards from the enemy's works. The 
bomb vessels were admirably seconded by the battering flotilla, 
consisting of gun boats, mortar boats, launches with carronades, 
rocket boats, barges, and yawls, to the number of 55. The 
Algerines made a fierce reply, and the din of the cannonade be- 
came deafening. The fresh breeze, which had brought the fleet 
into the bay, was put down by the heavy firing, and the smoke 
was so dense that the gunners had frequently to wait until it 
cleared a little. But the Algerines blazed away incessantly, and 
many of their shots found a billet. After the first and second 
broadsides 65 men were carried into the cockpit of the Leander 

1816.] THE DEY SUBMITS. 221 

alone, arid before the close of the day this little ship had 125 
killed and wounded. The Impregnable also suffered severely, 
and before Jong had lost 150 men. The Glasgow was sent to 
draw off some of the fire that assailed her. About 4 p.m. the 
Algerine frigate moored across the mole was boarded, and set on 
fire. This gallant service was performed in ten minutes by the 
Queen Charlotte's barge, under the command of Lieutenant 
Richards, with the loss of only two men killed. At 4.15 p.m. 
the frigate drifted out a perfect sheet of flame, and the British 
flagship shifted her berth to let the burning vessel pass. 

By 7 p.m. all the enemy's vessels within the harbour were in 
a blaze ; the flames communicated to the arsenal and storehouses 
on the mole ; and soon afterwards the shells from the bomb- 
vessels set the city on fire in several places. The sun had now 
set, and the scene was grand and terrible beyond all description. 
In the lurid light of the flames the frightened Algerines could 
be seen running in crowds towards the gate of the city on the 
land side, to escape the destruction which seemed inevitable. 
At 9 p.m. a loud explosion shook every wall in Algiers to its 
foundations. It was the ordnance-sloop, charged with 143 
barrels of powder, which the British had run on shore, close 
under the semicircular battery to the north of the lighthouse. 
Every moment was now becoming more perilous to the British 
fleet. Loose fire and burning brands were flying about in every 
direction, the guns had become heated, the ammunition had 
fallen short. At 10 p.m. the Queen Charlotte cut her cables 
and springs, and stood out before a light air of wind, which, 
fortunately for the British, had just sprung up from the land. 
The other ships followed, picking their anchorage by the blaze 
of the burning ships, which illuminated the whole bay. As if 
to add to the awful grandeur of the scene, the elements began 
their war as soon as the ships and batteries had ended theirs, 
and for nearly three hours the lightning and thunder were in- 
cessant, and the rain poured down in torrents. 

As soon as daylight came, Lord Exmouth gave orders to re- 
sume the bombardment j but it was not needed. On the morn- 
ing of the 2 Qth the captain of the port came off with Mr. 
M'Donnell, the British consul; and that same afternoon a 
treaty was struck by which the Dey delivered to the British flag 
upwards of 1200 Christian slaves; undertook to abolish Chris- 
tian slavery in future; restored 382,500 dollars for slaves re- 

222 THE "LIFFEY" EEADY. [1824. 

deemed by Naples and Sicily ; made peace with the King of 
the Netherlands ; paid 30,000 dollars to the British consul for 
the destruction of his property, and made him a public apology 
for the detention of his person. Thanks were probably never 
offered up in the British fleet for a victory more honourable to 
our arms than the bombardment of Algiers. It cost us 141 
seamen killed and 742 wounded, 118 tons of powder, and 500 
tons of shot. The Dutch had their full share both in the danger 
and glory of the day: 

In 1824 a quarrel broke out between our Indian Government 
and the Court of Ava about Shapuree, a little muddy isle in 
the province of Bengal, but close to the coast of Aracan. So 
ignorant were the semi-barbarous Burmese of the strength of 
Britain, that they collected a great force on our southern fron- 
tier, and placed it under the command of Maha Bandoola, a 
mighty chief, who projected a scheme for the conquest of Bengal, 
and carried with him a set of fetters in which Lord Amherst, the 
Governor-general of India, was to be carried captive to the Vic- 
torious Lord of the White Elephant and the Golden Foot. This, 
it seems, was the proudest title of the monarch who ruled at 

Lord Amherst resolved to carry the war into the enemy's 
country, and send a force to attack Rangoon, in the very heart 
of the Burmese Empire. The expedition, assembled at the 
Andaman Isles. The land force, about 6000 strong, was com- 
manded by Major-general Sir Archibald Campbell, Bart., a 
veteran of the Peninsula. The troops were conveyed in 40 
transports, accompanied by quite a flotilla of armed small craft, 
among which the Li/ey, Lame, Slaney, and Sophie, brigs or 
schooners of 18 or 20 guns, bulked like tritons among minnows. 
The naval department was under the charge of Commodore 
Grant, and it is worth mentioning that the captain of the Lame 
was Marryat, the great sea novelist. 

The expedition sailed on the 5th May, 1824, and on the loth 
of the same month anchored within the bar of the Rangoon river. 
Next morning the troops were disembarked. For a time no 
opposition was offered, but at length the natives took heart of 
grace and opened on the shipping. The Liffe.y was ready. She 
was anchored close to the principal battery, her sails furled, and 
her men at quarters. Her first broadside was the signal for all 


the other vessels to open fire. When he saw the invaders 
approaching, the Kewoon, a subordinate officer who governed 
the town, had vaingloriously said, " They are my prisoners ! 
Cut me some thousand spans of rope to bind then ; " but now 
he became so frightened at the mere noise of the cannonade, that 
he mounted his horse and fled through the south-eastern gate of 
the city. His soldiers, gorgeous with their bell-shaped hats, 
their banners, and their umbrellas, followed his example ; and 
the inhabitants Burman, Peguer, Portuguese, Parsee, Mogul, 
and Chinese stood not upon the order of their going, but went 
at once. The bamboo houses of Eangoon were quickly empty. 

We have no intention of following the British in their heroic 
progress from Rangoon up the Irawaddi to Ava. The feat they 
undertook was nothing less than the subjugation of an empire 
by a few boats and a handful of men, who had to fight their way 
for 600 miles against climate, privations, and a numerous enemy. 
The Burmese had at least 60,000 men under arms, with many 
stockaded strongholds, ample munition of war and provisions, 
and a numerous population from which to draw recruits to supply 
casualties. If they could not overwhelm the British in the field, 
they could at least have fatigued them into a retreat ; but they 
wanted common sense and a knowledge of military tactics. 
Army after army was sent to the front, and general after general 
set up the umbrella of authority ; but Kemmendine and 
Donoopew, Mellone and Pagahm-Mew, witnessed their discomfi- 
ture ; they were driven from position to position, and from 
stockade to stockade; and on the 24th February, 1826, Sir 
Archibald Campbell dictated to the Lord of the White Elephant 
and the Golden Foot the terms of peace under the walls of Ava. 
By this treaty His Majesty ceded the provinces of Aracan, Yeh, 
Tavoy, Mergui, and Tenasserim with all its islands ; admitted a 
resident British minister with a guard within the walls of Ava ; 
and paid 1,000,000 towards the expenses of the war. 

The regiments engaged in this war were the I3th, 38th, 4ist, 
45th, 47th, 8yth, and 8gth. 

For two years the Greeks maintained the unequal struggle for 
independence, with no other aid than what they received from 
Lord Byron, Lord Cochrane, and other Phil-Hellenists. At length, 
however, the atrocities of Ibrahim, the ablest of the Sultan's 
generals, drew down on the Turkish Government the indignation 


of all Christendom. England, France, and Eussia demanded an 
immediate armistice, and to enforce the demand each power sent 
a squadron to Navarino, on the western side of the Morea, where 
the Turkish fleet lay. The British squadron was under the 
command of Sir Edward Codrington, one of Nelson's captains. 

Codrington's orders were to keep the peace with his speaking- 
trumpet, if possible, but, in case of necessity, by cannon-shot. 
On the 25th September, 1827, he and Admiral de Rigny, the 
commander-in-chief of the French squadron, held a conference 
with Ibrahim, at which the latter agreed to suspend hostilities 
until he should communicate with the Sultan ; but the faithless 
pasha soon showed that he had no intention of keeping his word. 
Thrice he endeavoured to send ships against the Greeks in the 
Gulf of Patras, but Codrington turned the squadrons back. Foiled 
in his perfidious attempt to effect a junction with the army at 
Patras, Ibrahim wreaked his vengeance on the Greeks of the 
Morea, who were now in a more unfortunate position than ever. 
Driven from the plains, they were forced to take refuge in the 
mountain caves, where they died of absolute starvation. Few 
had any better food than boiled grass. Clearly something must 
be done, and amid a choice of difficulties it was resolved to take 
a position with the allied fleet at Navarino, in order to renew 
negotiations with effect. 

On the 2oth October, 1827, the combined fleets stood into the 
harbour of Navarino, the British and French squadrons forming 
the weather or starboard column, and the Russians the lee line. 
The British ships were the Asia, of 80 guns, bearing the flag 
of Vice-admiral Codrington ; Genoa and Albion, 74 ; Glasgow, 
Cambrian, Dartmouth, and Talbot, frigates of 50, 48, 46, and 
28 guns; the corvette Rose ; the Mosquito, Brisk, and Philomel, 
gunbrigs ; and a cutter. The French squadron comprised two 
8o's, a 78, a 60, a 48, and two corvettes. Rear-admiral de 
Rigny's flag was hoisted on board the Sirene, of 60 guns. The 
Russian squadron comprised one 80, three 76*3, a 48, and three 
46's. Rear-admiral Heiden's flag was hoisted on board the 
Azof, of 80 guns. Codrington held the chief command of the 
combined forces. 

The harbour of Navarino is about six miles in circumference, 
but the island of Sphacteria stretches across its mouth, affording 
an entrance of only 600 yards in breadth. This passage was 
commanded by two powerful batteries, one on either side, while 

1827.] THE FIRST SHOT. 22$ 

a third battery commanded the harbour. Here the Turkish fleet 
lay moored, in a very skilful manner, according to the instruc- 
tions of Monsieur Letellier, a French naval officer in the service 
of the Pasha of Egypt, Ibrahim's father. The ships were 
arranged in the form of a crescent, with springs on their cables, 
the larger ones presenting their broadsides towards the centre, 
and the smaller ones drawn up inside, filling up the intervals. 
At the entrance to the harbour lay six fire-ships. The Turkish 
fleet consisted of 3 ships of the line, 4 double frigates, 13 frigates, 
30 corvettes, 28 brigs, 5 schooners, 6 fire-ships, and 41 transports 
in all 130 sail. 

At 2 P.M. the Asia, leading the line, passed the heavy battery 
unmolested, and steering up the harbour, anchored alongside a 
ship of the line bearing the flag of the Gapitan Bey.- The other 
ships took up their positions, the French to the right hand on 
entering the harbour, and the Russians to the left in the bight of 
the crescent. A boat was sent from the fort to request the allied 
fleet to put to sea again, but Godrington answered that he had 
not come to receive orders but to give them ; and that if a 
shot were fired at the allied fleet, the Turkish fleet would be de- 
stroyed. Still, his orders were that no gun should be fired unless 
the Turks fired first, and everything in the allied fleet appeared 
to wear a peaceful aspect. The ships were anchored,' the sails 
were furled, and the band of the Asia which 1 flew a large white 
flag at the inizzen was ordered to be sent on deck. But the 
spark was about to fall. The boats of the Dartmouth were sent 
to request that the Turkish fire-ships' would move a little farther 
from the allied fleet. The Turks, pretending to be apprehensive 
that force was meditated, fired and killed Lieutenant Fitzroy 
and several of the crew. The Dartmouth opened a- defensive fire 
to cover her boats,- and the Sirene joined in the affray. As yet, 
however,- nothing had been used but musketry, but one of the 
Egyptian ships now fired a shot, the first round shot discharged, 
and struck the Sirene. This brought on a return, and the action 
soon became general. 

It must have been a grand and fearful spectacle to see 150 
ships of war in action in a narrow basin. Soon the scene was 
shrouded in smoke, through which ever and anon burst the flames 
of a burning vessel, or the awful flash of an explosion. The 
smoke was so thick that the guns of the Asia were pointed from 
the masthead of the Gapitan Bey's ship. It was the only object 

226 THE "ASIA" IN ACTION. [1827. 

discernible, and occasionally the Asia had to cease firing to allow 
the smoke to clear away. The ship of Moharem Bey, the com- 
mander-in-chief of the Egyptian contingent, was on the other side 
of the Asia, and even nearer to her than the Capitan Bey's ship, 
but as she did not fire, neither did the Asia fire at her. " Indeed," 
says Admiral Codrington in his despatch, " Moharem Bey sent a 
message to say that he would not fire at all, and therefore no 
hostility took place between Moharem Bey's ship and the English 
admiral's ship for some time after the Asia had returned the fire 
of the Capitan Bey. In the meantime, however, the excellent 
pilot, Mr. Peter Mitchell, who went to interpret to Moharem Bey 
the Vice-admiral's desire to avoid bloodshed, was killed by his 
people in the boat alongside, whether with or without his orders 
is not known, but his ship soon afterwards fired into the Asia, 
and was consequently effectually destroyed by the Asia's fire, 
sharing the same fate as his brother admiral on the starboard 
side, and falling to leeward a mere wreck." Moharem's second 
ahead, burning to the water's edge, blew up at her anchors. 
The destruction of these three ships allowed the Turkish inner - 
line to rake the Asia, which suffered severely. Her mizzenmast 
was shot away, several guns were disabled, and the men fell fast. 
The admiral himself was struck by a musket ball, which knocked 
the watch out of his pocket. Great, too, was the slaughter on 
board the Genoa, which was exposed to a heavy concentrated fire. 
Her gallant captain, Bathurst, was early wounded by a splinter, 
which struck off his hat and lacerated his face ; a second shot 
carried off his coat tails ; at length a grape shot entered his side 
and passed through his body. He lingered eleven hours in great 
suffering. The Albion was in like manner exposed to the fire 
of a cluster of ships, and suffered severely. One of the Turkish 
vessels, a 64, attempted to board, but the Albion's crew drove 
them back with great loss, and boarded in turn. The prize, 
however, being discovered to be on fire, was relinquished, and 
soon after blew up with a terrible explosion. 

A very pleasant interchange of good offices took place between 
English, French, and Russians, who behaved to each other in all 
respects like good allies. Captain Hugon, of the French frigate 
Armide, in particular, won the applause of all. Perceiving one 
of our frigates maintaining an unequal combat with a cluster of 
Turks, Captain Hugon wormed his ship through their inner line, 
and took off the fire of one Moslem foe, which struck to him in ten 


minutes. On taking possession, he hoisted the Union Jack along- 
side of the French colours, as if to indicate that he had only 
completed the work which the British frigate had begun. A 
Russian ship took off another of the enemy, and the British ship 
soon gave a good account of the remainder. Later in the day 
the Armide herself got into trouble, and was gallantly assisted 
by the Rose. The Sirene, too, the French admiral's flagship, 
was saved by the Dartmouth. 

The action ceased at six o'clock. The Turkish fleet was lite- 
rally destroyed. " Out of a fleet of 81 men-of-war," wrote the 
admiral, " only one frigate and 15 smaller vessels are in a state 
ever to be again put to sea." The Turks themselves largely helped 
the work of destruction. When they saw the fight was going 
against them, they set fire to their vessels and escaped to the 
shore. In the dense smoke of the cannonading daylight had 
faded away unperceived, and the night was now illuminated by 
the glare of burning ships, which every now and then blew up 
with a fearful explosion. The destruction of the Turkish navy 
cost the allies 177 men killed and 480 wounded, divided nearly 
equally between the three nationalities. The loss of the Otto- 
mans was estimated at 5000 or 6000. Honours were showered 
upon the conquerors. 

Navarino secured the independence of Greece. 

In 1840 we were at war in the Levant. The interminable 
Eastern question was once more to the front : this time in the 
shape of an attempt on the part of Egypt to throw off the autho- 
rity of Turkey. Not only did Mehemet Ali, who began life as 
a tobacco seller and a soldier, claim independence for Egypt, but 
he demanded possession of Syria ; and his son Ibrahim led an 
army into that country, defeated the Turkish troops in three 
pitched battles, over-ran Asia Minor, and threatened Constanti- 
nople itself. The Sultan tried to patch up matters by offering 
Mehemet Ali the hereditary vice-royalty of Egypt, subject only 
to an annual tribute, and the vice-government of Syria; but 
this was refused by the arrogant old pasha, who demanded Syria 
on the same terms as his own province. The position of affairs 
was so critical that England, Austria, Russia, and Prussia con- 
cluded a treaty by which they bound themselves to compel the 
Egyptian viceroy to accept the terms of his suzerain. 

The treaty concluded, Admiral the Hon. Sir Robert Stopford, 

228 AN AMUSING RACE. [1840. 

commander of the British fleet in the Mediterranean, went to 
Alexandria to present it to Mehemet Ali. That potentate flatly 
refused to accede to the demands of the Allied Powers ; so Ad- 
miral Stopford left the Asia, Implacable, and a corvette, to pre- 
vent the pasha's fleet from quitting Alexandria, and set sail for 
Beyrout. Here he was joined by a Turkish squadron of five 
ships, under Captain Baldwin Walker, of the British navy 
(holding the rank of Vice-admiral in the Turkish marine, with 
the title of Bey), and three Austrian frigates under Admiral 
Bandiera. As Mehemet Ali would not listen to reason, hostili- 
ties were at once decided upon. 

Beyrout, D'Jebaila, Batroum, Caiffa, and Trye, fell in rapid 
succession, and then, at the suggestion of Commodore Sir 
Charles Napier, an attack was projected on Sidon. By sunrise 
on the 27th September, 1840, Napier was in sight of the dirty, 
ill-built, ruinous streets of the great emporium of the ancient 
world. He had with him two steamers and five other ships, and 
a number of marines, English, Austrian, and Turkish. The 
Thunderer, Guerriera, and the Gul Sapede, were anchored abreast 
of the town, the first with the Union Jack flying at her peak, the 
second with the Austrian Eagle, and the third with the Turkish 
Crescent and Star. The Wasp and Stromboli took up their posi- 
tions more to the south to flank the town ; and the Gorgon, 
Cyclops, and Hydra placed themselves alongside the great castle. 
Commodore Napier was on board the Gorgon, from which he 
sent the following letter to the Governor of Sidon : " Sir, In 
the name of the five united Powers Turkey, Britain, Austria, 
Russia, and Prussia I demand that you immediately declare 
for the Sultan, your master. Pardon for past offences will be 
granted, and the arrears of the troops will be paid by the Sultan." 
With this summons the governor refused to comply, and the 
attack commenced. After a cannonade of about an hour, a 
breach was made in the sea-wall of the chief port, and the Egyp- 
tians were driven from the hasty entrenchments they had thrown 
up on the shore to prevent a landing. The boats then pushed 
off from the ships, and after a short and sharp struggle, Sidon 
was captured, no less than 2700 Egyptians laying down their 
arms to 900 British and Austrian marines and 500 Turkish 
soldiers. The British loss was only 4 killed and 33 wounded. 
After the landing there was an amusing race, under a heavy fire, 
between Mr. James Hunt, a midshipman of the Stromboli, and 


Signer Dominica Chinca, a midshipman of the Austrian frigate 
GuerrienX) for the honour of first planting their national ensigns 
on the walls of the town. 

Other places on the coast of Syria were soon afterwards evacu- 
ated, and at length the flag of Mehemet Ali flew only over Acre, 
which has thrice yielded glory to the British arms. The com- 
bined squadrons arrived before Acre on the 2d of November, 
1840, and consisted of the Princess Charlotte, flagship, of 104 
guns ; Powerful, Sir Charles Napier, 84 ; Bellerophon, Capt. 
J. Austin, 80 ; Revenge, Capt. Waldegrave, 78 ; Thunderer, 
Capt. Berkeley, 84 ; Edinburgh, Capt. W. Henderson, 74 ; Ben- 
bow, Capt. Houston Stewart, 74 ; Pique, Capt. Edward Boxer, 
36 ; Carysfort, Capt. H. B. Martin, 16 ; Talbot, Captain Cod- 
rington, 28; Wasp, Capt. Maxwell, 16 ; Hazard, Capt. Elliot, 
1 6 ; in all, 698 guns, independent of the Vesuvius, Phoenix, 
Stromboli, and Gorgon, steamers, for throwing shells ; the Aus- 
trian frigates Medea, bearing the flag of Admiral Bandiera, and 
Guerriera, commanded by the Archduke Frederick Charles, 
a Turkish 74, bearing the flag of Admiral Walker, and a corvette. 
The strength of the Egyptian garrison in the fortress of Acre was 
estimated at 4500 bayonets, with 800 horsemen outside the 

The Powerful, Princess Charlotte, Thunderer, Bellerophon, and 
Pique, took up their positions from south to north in a line 
parallel to the works, while the other ships anchored against the 
southern face of the works. The guns opened at 2.17 P.M., and 
shortly afterwards the steamers outside began to fire shells. The 
cannonade was tremendous ; nothing could stand against it. 
About four o'clock, the grand magazine of Acre was blown up 
by a shell from one of the steamships. The magazine contained 
some thousands of barrels of gunpowder, and the explosion was 
heard far and wide over sea and land. The Egyptians were 
blown into the air or buried in the casemates. Two entire regi- 
ments, formed in position on the ramparts, were annihilated ; 
every living creature within the area of 6000 yards ceased to exist*. 
The cannonade was continued until sunset, and when the troops 
were landed next morning they found the place deserted. The 
effects of the fire were seen to have been astounding. The town 
was almost entirely pulverised, parapets had been torn up, 
guns hurled from their carriages, and in some instances split 
from breach to muzzle. The Egyptians had left their sick and 

23O STEAM IN BATTLE. [1840. 

wounded, but the Turks paid little attention to them, and many 
of the poor creatures were seen lying in all directions, dying for 
want of relief. The casualties in the fleet were singularly small, 
amounting to only 12 killed and 32 wounded in the British 
portion, 6 killed and 10 wounded in the Turkish and Austrian ; 
and yet the Egyptian gunners had kept up so furious a fire, that 
the water outside the ships was lashed into foam by the storm of 
projectiles thrown into the sea. 

The fall of Acre, a fortress mounting 147 guns a place which 
it had taken Ibrahim ten months to reduce with an army of 
40,000 men was regarded as irremediable. Ibrahim evacuated 
Syria, and Mehemet Ali agreed to confine himself to Egypt, 
which was secured to him under certain conditions as a here- 
ditary possession. 

The siege of Acre is noteworthy as being the first occasion on 
which the advantages of steam in battle became conspicuously 
manifest. This was shown by the rapidity with which the 
steamers took up their position, the assistance they rendered to 
the other ships, and the destruction they caused by their shells. 
Steam-vessels were first introduced into the navy in 1816. 

The year 1840 saw us involved in our first war with the 
Celestial Empire. The emperor was determined to put down 
the illicit trade in opium, which was smuggled from India in 
large quantities, but unfortunately he went to work in such a 
way as to call down on him the vengeance of the British Govern- 
ment. After negotiations had completely failed, chiefly because 
the Chinese mistook our conciliatory bearing for weakness, it 
became necessary to teach them a lesson. The army was under 
the command of Sir Hugh Gough, and the fleet under Sir Wil- 
liam Parker. The island of Chusan was seized, the far-famed 
Bogue Forts on the Canton river were destroyed, and Canton 
itself lay at the mercy of the British forces. The Celestials now 
seemed willing to come to terms, and agreed to pay an indemnity 
of 6,000,000 dollars, and to cede the island of Hong Kong. But 
it quickly became apparent that this treaty was but a pretence to 
gain time, and operations were resumed. Amoy was taken, 
Chusan was re-taken, Chinghae was stormed, Ningpo submitted 
without firing a shot, and Chapoo was captured. Preparations 
were now made for a grand attack on Nankin, the ancient capital 
of the empire, situated about 200 miles up the great river Yang- 


tse-Kiang. The forts at the mouth of the river surrendered on 
the 1 6th June, 1842. Shanghai fell into our hands on the i8th. 
The town of Chin-Kiang-Foo was stormed on the 2ist of July. 
Hitherto the Chinese had made very little resistance, but at 
Chin-Kiang-Foo the Tartars fought with all the fury of fanatic 
soldiers, who, with good arms, good discipline, and good chiefs, 
would have proved themselves formidable adversaries. 

The scenes the troops witnessed when they entered the town 
in the evening were terrible. " Here," says a French authority, 
" the unhappy wretches, in order to escape with their families 
from the fury of their conquerors, cut their throats with their 
own swords, after having immolated their wives and children. 
There, isolated combatants struggled heroically on the thresh- 
hold of their dwellings, preferring death to surrender. Farther 
on, a little group of Tartars were seen to precipitate themselves, 
with the rage of despair, on the British bayonets. In one single 
house there were found the corpses of fourteen women and children, 
and the English saw a Chinese employed in cutting the throat of 
his wife, and ready to throw her into a well, over the mouth of 
which he held her, and into which he had already precipitated 
his sons, whose lives as well as that of the mother were fortu- 
nately saved. The mandarin Hai-Ling, General-in-chief of the 
Imperial forces, also preferring death to dishonour, set fire to 
his habitation with his own hands, and perished under its flam- 
ing ruins a heroic death in the eyes of the sovereign, who 
ordered a temple to be erected and great honours to be paid to 
the memory of this faithful servant." 

The victory cost the English 37 men killed and 131 wounded, 
but the moral effect of it practically ended the war. No sooner 
did the forces appear before Nankin than commissioners arrived 
from Pekin, with power to grant all demands ; and a treaty was 
signed on board the Cornwallis flagship (August 29, 1842), by 
which the Chinese Government agreed to cede Hong Kong, to 
open Canton and four other ports for the purposes of trade, and 
to pay 21,000,000 dollars 6,000,000 for opium illegally 
seized, 3,000,000 for debts due to British subjects by Hong 
Kong merchants, and 12,000,000 as indemnity for the expenses 
of the war. 

The 1 8th, 26th, 49th, 55th, and 98th regiments bear on their 
colours and appointments the word " China " and a dragon. 
The loss of life in this \var was very great, not so much by the 

232 THE 26TH CAMERONIANS. [1851. 

jingall-balls and long spears of the enemy though these were by 
no means contemptible as by the pernicious influence of the 
climate. As an example, the 26th Cameronians lost nearly all 
those who left Calcutta with the colours in 1840. They reached 
China 900 strong; 900 recruits were sent out to them from 
Scotland ; and but 900 remained when the regiment marched 
into the Castle of Edinburgh in 1843. 

As in Burmah, the seamen had their full share in the dangers 
and glories of the war, and red-coats and blue-jackets fought 
side by side. 

The Burmese gradually forgot the lesson taught them by Sir 
Archibald Campbell, and their insolence grew to such a height, 
that it became unsafe for all classes of foreigners to remain in 
Rangoon. At length, in the year 1851, the British flag was 
openly insulted. H.M. brig Serpent, Commodore Lambert, 
when on her way up the Rangoon river, to seek redress for an 
outrage committed on the person and property of the com- 
mander .of a trading vessel, was fired on from the shore. No 
apology or redress being made, Lord Dalhousie, the Governor- 
general of India, resolved on war. 

The troops detailed for the expedition were the i8th Royal 
Irish, 35th, 5ist, and 8oth, with the regiments of native in- 
fantry, and the Madras artillery and sappers. The whole force 
numbered 4388 men, and was under the command of Major- 
general Godwin, who had taken an active part in the first 
Burmese war. The fleet, consisting of the Queen's ships Fox, 
Serpent, Rattler, Hermes, and Salamander, the Indian navy 
steamers Feroze, Moozuffer, Zenobia, Medusa, Sesostris, and 
Berenice, and some of the Bengal marine steamers, was under 
the command of Admiral Austin. On the 5th April (1851) the 
expedition arrived in front of Martaban, which was speedily 
stormed by a party of the i8th Royal Irish, with little loss. 
Rangoon was bombarded on the nth. The troops were landed 
next day. The heat was so intense that two officers died of 
sunstroke. The Golden Pagoda, a Bhuddist temple within the 
fortified lines of the city, and surrounded by stockades and 
cannon, was stormed on the i4th. In the attack, the 
8oth, with four guns, formed the advance, preceded by 
skirmishers. Fire was opened from a 9-pound gun and a 
24-pound howitzer, while the naval brigade were bringing up 


the heavy 8-inch howitzers. The troops stood with bayonets 
fixed, all in readiness for a rush to the front the moment a 
breach was effected. The Burmese made good play with their 
cannon and jingalls, and with musketry from some bushes in 
front. Officers and men were falling fast, and a little before 
noon, Captain Latter, the interpreter, proposed an attack on the 
entrance of the Pagoda, and asked permission to lead the 
stormers. The assaulting force was composed of a wing of the 
8oth, two companies of the i8th Royal Irish, and two of the 
4oth Bengal Infantry, the whole under the command of Captain 
Coote j Captain Latter leading on sword in hand. The troops 
had to cross a valley, 800 yards wide, sloping down from the 
hill on which stood the mighty bell-shaped temple. The hill 
was divided into three terraces, each defended by a mud and 
brick wall, the first fourteen feet in height, the second forty-four. 
The heaviest guns were on the upper terrace. Forward rushed 
our troops, broke open the eastern gate with an exulting cheer, 
and swarmed up the long flights of steps that lay in the centre 
of each terrace. A perfect shower of missiles rained on the 
stormers, and many rolled down the steps dead or dying, but 
nothing could stop their impetuous advance, and soon a ringing 
cheer, immediately echoed by the seamen of the squadron, 
announced that the upper terrace was won, and that the Burmese, 
in their gaily-gilt hats, were flying in all directions before the 
British bayonets. The governor was the first to set the example 
of flight, by rushing out at the western gate. The casualties in 
the army at Rangoon were .149 17 killed and 132 wounded. 
The casualties in the fleet were 1 7, including one of the Fox's 
men drowned, and one of the Tenasserim's blown away from an 
after-pivot gun. The capture of Rangoon was followed by the 
capture of Bassein, Pegu, and Prome, and the close of the war 
was officially announced on the 3oth June 1852. The province 
of Pegu was, by proclamation, annexed to the British Empire. 

While the war was being prosecuted in Burmah, hostilities 
broke out with the Kaffirs on the frontiers of the Cape of Good 
Hope. These savages plundered post after post, and committed 
such dreadful outrages and murders, that the farmers abandoned 
their lands, leaving the cattle to perish. Sir Harry Smith, the 
governor, took the field in person, but as, in his confidence in a 
long peace, he had represented to the home authorities that the 




military establishment at the Cape would admit of a considerable 
reduction, he had not a sufficient force to strike a decisive blow 
at the outset. The principal operations of the war were the 
assault of the Kaffir stronghold on the Amatola Mountains, the 
clearing of the Fish River bush, the attack on the Waterkloof, 
and the defeat of the Basutos under their chief Moshesh. The 
Basutos had 6000 well-armed horse under considerable organisa- 
tion. The battle lasted from morning till night, when the 
Basutos gave way with terrible loss. Moshesh directly after 
submitted; so did Sandilli, Macomo, and many other chiefs. 
Peace was proclaimed on the i2th March, 1853. As Sir George 
Grey said, in complimenting the troops at the conclusion of the 
war : " The field of glory opened to them in a Hottentot 
rebellion and Kaffir war is possibly not so favourable and 
exciting as that which regular warfare with an open enemy in 
the field affords j yet the unremitting exertions called for in 
hunting well-armed yet skulking savages through the bush, and 
driving them from their innumerable strongholds, are perhaps 
more arduous than those required in regular warfare, and call 
more constantly for individual exertion and intelligence." 

Among the regiments, or detachments of regiments, that 
took part in the Kaffir war were the 2d Queen's, 6th, i2th, 43d 
Light Infantry, 45th, 6oth Rifles, 73d, 74th Highlanders, gist 
Argyllshire Highlanders, and the i2th Royal Lancers. 


THE RUSSIAN WAR 1854-1856. 

Odessa Bomarsund Kola Petropaulovski The Alma Bombardment of 
Sebastopol Balaclava Inkerman Expedition to Kertch Taganrog 
Sveaborg The Malakoff and Redan Russians evacuate Sebastopol 

T is hardly necessary to say anything about the origin 
of the Crimean War the quarrel between Russia 
and Turkey about the Holy Places at Jerusalem, 
the march of the Russian troops across the Prutb, 
and the occupation of Moldavia, which the Emperor Nicholas 
wished to hold as a material guarantee (July 2, 1853), the 
declaration of war by Turkey (October 5), the entrance into the 
Bosphorus of a British fleet a few weeks later, the fighting on 
the line of the Danube, the massacre of Sinope, where a Russian 
squadron destroyed some Turkish frigates and- slew 2000 men 
(November 30), and the despatch of the united fleets of France 
and England into the Black Sea (January 4, 1854). Suffice it 
to say that war was declared against Russia by France and 
England on the 2yth March, 1854. 

The first operation of the war was the bombardment of 
Odessa. When war was declared the allied fleets were lying in 
Varna Bay. The British fleet consisted of 10 ships of the line, 
and a considerable number of steam frigates and steam sloops, 
under the command of Vice-admiral Dundas, who hoisted his 
flag on board the Britannia, of 130 guns. The French fleet 
consisted of 15 sail of the line and 21 smaller vessels, under the 
command of Admiral Hamelin, who hoisted his flag on board 
the Ville de Paris, of 120 guns. As soon as he was in- 


formed of the outbreak of hostilities, Admiral Dundas sent the 
Furious, a paddle steam-frigate of 16 guns, commanded by 
Captain Loring, to bring away our consul from Odessa. The 
Furious hove to with a flag of truce flying at her masthead, and 
sent in a boat, flying the same pacific ensign, to demand the 
consul as a British subject. The answer General Osten-Sacken 
(governor of Odessa) returned was a volley of cannon-shot. 
Luckily no damage was done, and the Furious steamed back to 
Varna and reported progress. Admiral Dundas immediately 
gave the order to weigh, and on the iyth April, 1854, he and 
Hamelin appeared off Odessa, with all their ships and steamers. 
On explanations being demanded, General Osten-Sacken de- 
clared that he fired upon the Furious because she was steaming 
up the bay, heedless of the customary signals, for the sole pur- 
pose of examining it. This was considered unsatisfactory, and 
the allied admirals summoned the governor to make reparation 
for his offence against the laws of war, by the surrender of all 
the shipping in the port, threatening vengeance if no answer 
were returned by sunset on the following day. No answer was 
returned, and the bombardment of Odessa commenced. 

Odessa, a town of fully 100,000 inhabitants, occupies a line 
of cliff facing the north-east, with an inward curve, giving the 
bay a radius of three miles. The buildings rise tier upon tier 
like the seats of an amphitheatre. The town is fortified in the 
modern style, and on the eastern side has a citadel which com- 
mands the port. At the other extremity of the cliffs is the 
Imperial mole, which then contained a wedged mass of Russian 
ships of every size and sort. A gigantic staircase leads from 
the centre of the town downward to the beach. Stretching out 
from below the cliffs at the south-east end of the town is the 
quarantine mole, a fortified pier capped by a lighthouse, within 
which lay ships of all nations. 

The force told off for the bombardment consisted of the war- 
steamers Tiger, of 16 guns, Captain Giffard ; Retribution, 28, 
Captain the Hon. T. R. Drummond ; Samson, 6, Captain 
Jones; Terrible, 22, Captain M'Cleverty ; the Furious; and 
four French steamers, the Mogador, Vauban, Descartes, and 
Caton. A detachment of rocket-boats, under Commodore 
Dixon, had orders to proceed in advance ; our Sanspareil, 70, 
Captain Sidney Davis, and Highflyer, 21, Captain Moore, to 
act as a reserve ; and the Arethusa, 50, Captain Mends, to 

I854-] THE "ARETHUSA." 237 

assist. The whole force was under the command of Captain 
Jones of the Samson, whose orders were " to go as far as possible 
in-shore, so as to rake and destroy the Imperial mole ; but to 
avoid firing upon any part of the town, or upon the shipping in 
the quarantine mole." 

At 6.40 A.M. on the morning of the 22d April, the steamers 
stood in, the Samson leading the way, and began that witches' 
dance which was so favourite a manoeuvre during the Russian 
war. The steamers were kept under weigh, steaming round 
in a circle of half-a-mile in diameter, each discharging her 
enormous guns when within a proper distance from the 
shore. The Russians replied with red-hot shot, and in less 
than an hour the French steamer Vauban bore away to the 
main body of the fleet to seaward, on fire in several places. 
But the flames were soon got under, and the Vauban resumed 
her place in the fiery circle that was pouring death and destruc- 
tion on Odessa. 

Both the moles displayed a formidable array of embrasures 
for cannon, and the Russian gunners blazed away very briskly. 
The southern side of the quarantine mole was particularly 
troublesome, so the Arethusa was sent to divert the fire of the 
guns in that quarter. The frigate, one of the last of the true 
wooden walls of old England, sailed into the bay in beautiful 
style, delivered her fire, filled, tacked, and fired again, just as 
she would have done in the days of Nelson. The breeze 
freshened, and, though under fire, the crew went aloft and reefed 
her topsails. Her performances were witnessed by all the admir- 
ing seamen of the fleet, who gave her three lusty cheers when, in 
obedience to the signal of the admiral, she came out of action. 

The gunboats kept waltzing away, never touching or getting 
into scrapes, and seldom being hit. The Russian gunners grew 
disheartened, and gradually their fire became slower, though 
still persistent and regular. Suddenly, a Russian battery came 
galloping down to the beach, unlimbered, wheeled round, and 
opened fire on the rocket-boats, which were within musket-shot 
of the shore. Quite a shower of balls fell around the boats, 
ploughing up the water in white spouts, and dashing the oars 
to pieces ; but, fortunately, no one was struck. Before the guns 
could be reloaded, every gunboat and rocket-boat was brought 
to bear on the intruders, who scampered off as fast as the horses 
could gallop. 

238 "FIGHTING CHAELEY." [1854. 

By two in the afternoon a building of wood in the rear of the 
Tongue battery caught fire and blew up. A few moments after- 
wards and the shipping in the Imperial mole was sheeted in 
flames, chiefly by the cannonade of the Terrible, which went 
closer in shore than her comrades, and fired red-hot shot from 
her lo-inch guns. By and by the great magazine of Odessa 
blew up with a dreadful explosion, at which the fleet gave three 
cheers, the French commencing. 

At five the admiral made the signal of recall, and the gun- 
boats steamed back to the anchorage, whence the crews of the 
line-of-battle ships had been eager spectators of the bombardment. 
The Terrible, whose paddle-boxes were considerably knocked 
about, was received with all the honours as she passed through 
the fleet, nor were cheers wanting for the plucky little Samson. 
Our loss was only 13 killed and wounded. The ships in the 
Imperial mole continued to burn for 48 hours, when they were 
entirely consumed. The dockyard, magazine, barracks, and a 
vast amount of Russian property, chiefly belonging to the 
government, shared the same fate. 

On the nth March, 1854, at Spithead, the Queen reviewed 
the Baltic fleet, the most powerful fleet ever assembled in one 
sea. It consisted of 19 line-of-battle ships, n frigates and 
corvettes, and 13 smaller vessels, carrying 2393 guns, and 
32,114 seamen and marines. Most of the line-of-battle ships 
and heavy frigates were auxiliary screws, the smaller vessels 
being chiefly paddle steamers. This powerful armament was 
placed under the command of Sir Charles Napier " Fighting 
Charley," as people loved to call him. Napier hoisted his flag 
on board the Duke of Wellington, of 131 guns, a ship which, 
alone, was almost equal in power to a whole fleet of the days of 
Nelson. In June the British admiral was joined by a French 
squadron, under Vice-admiral Parse val-Desche'nes. The allied 
armaments now amounted to 54 sail, a force with which the 
Russian fleet of 30 sail could not pretend to cope. With such 
a superb fleet everybody expected that something was to be 
done ; Sveaborg, Helsingfors, and Cronstadt might be captured, 
and St. Petersburg would then find itself defenceless. 

The combined fleets did not do all this, but they did much. 
A strict blockade was established in the Gulf of Finland. 
Admiral Plumridge scoured the Gulf of Bothnia, and captured 


46 merchantmen and a quantity of naval stores. And hearing 
that a Russian squadron of 7 ships of the line and a frigate was 
shut up at Helsingfors, Sir Charles Napier made sail in that 
direction, to prevent a junction of the Russian fleet, and thus 
completely defeated the enemy's plan of naval operations. 
Cronstadt was reported by the officers sent forward to reconnoitre 
to be impregnable, so the allied admirals turned their attention 
to Bomarsund, which the Czar Nicholas had erected to overawe 
Sweden and Denmark. When the allied fleet appeared before 
Bomarsund, in 1854, the works were rapidly advancing to a 
state of strength that would soon have made it another 
Sebastopol. The defences consisted of works mounting up- 
wards of 1 60 guns, and garrisoned by 2500 men. But the 
masonry, artillery, and garrison very inadequately represent the 
strength of the place, which was largely due to its situation. 
The fortress stood nearly in the centre of the Aland Archipelago, 
in a fine sheltered roadstead called Lumpar Bay, communicating 
with the sea to the northward by Bomarsund, a narrow strait 
between the islands of Bomar on the west and Presto on the 
east. "The fortress itself," says the "History of the Baltic 
Campaign," " formed the segment of a circle, having a chord of 
about a quarter of a mile in length, and presenting to the road- 
stead a casemated battery of 120 guns in two tiers. The system 
of defence was made complete by a series of works commencing 
on the heights behind, and continued across the water by a 
chain of small islands to the island of Presto." The fortress 
was generally termed the Half Moon Battery. The other three 
forts were martello towers. That to the north on the Bomar 
side was called Fort Nottich, that to the south Fort Tzee, and 
that on the Presto side Fort Presto. 

The passage leading to Lumpar Bay was so narrow and 
intricate that the Russians considered it perfectly impassable, 
and had entirely neglected to fortify or obstruct it ; but Captain 
T. B. Sullivan, of the Lightning surveying ship, buoyed it out, 
and so judiciously, that our line of battle ships steamed up and 
down, and our frigates rattled back and forward at full power, 
without an accident of consequence. The first attack took 
place at 5 A.M. on the 2ist June, when a small squadron, 
consisting of the Heda, Valorous, and Odin, paddle steamers, 
under Captain Hall, went in and opened a cannonade. The 
Russians were saluted with 96 pound shot, 100 pound shells, 

240 " WELL DONE ' VALOROUS ' ! " [1854. 

and congreve rockets. They endeavoured to reply with both 
artillery and rifle fire, but their missiles generally fell short of 
the shipping. Within an hour the barracks and other buildings 
were in flames. At ten the Half Moon Battery was on fire, at 
which our people gave three cheers ; another moment and a 
mighty bomb from the Valorous fell through the roof and 
exploded. "Well done, Valorous/" signalled Captain Hall, 
and " Well done, Valorous!" shouted every man of the squadron. 
At one the firing ceased, and the ships steamed back to their 
stations in the fleet, with one man on board the Hecla, and two 
on board the Odin, wounded. 

During the cannonade a young midshipman of the Hecla , 
named Lucas, gave an example of great coolness and courage. 
A bomb with a burning fuse fell on deck ; he lifted it up and 
flung it overboard, and it fell hissing into the sea. The place 
was again bombarded on the 26th and 27th, and the operations 
then subsided into a blockade. During the blockade a singular 
act of cool daring was performed by Lieutenant Bythesea of the 
Arrogant. Learning that some despatches of importance were 
expected from St. Petersburg, Lieutenant Bythesea landed with 
one seaman William Johnstone, stoker and lay concealed in 
the wood. On the third day he saw a Russian officer and four 
men landing the mail bags; he attacked them, two of them 
fled, but the mail bags were secured, and the other three were 
dragged off to the boat as prisoners. Both Lieutenant Bythesea 
and William Johnstone received the Victoria Cross. 

The third and grand assault was delivered after the arrival of 
the troops 10,000 French 1 under Marshal Baraguay d'Hilliers, 
and 1000 British under Colonel Jones. On the morning of 
the 8th August the Russians commenced firing from a mud 
battery, with 5 guns, which they had erected under Fort Tzee, 
close to the water. At daybreaik the Amphion (British) and the 
Phlegethon (French)' steamed in to engage this battery, and got 
within musket-shot, in a position where they took the enemy in 
flank, while not a single gun could bear on the ships. " The 
scene of havoc," says an eyewitness, "was complete : blaze after 
blaze from the ships, answered by corresponding flashes and 
thundering reports as the shells burst oh the devoted battery. 
The enemy had very judiciously bolted as soon as he found 
himself outflanked, and the fire of the frigates was expended on 
the unoffending mud, till at length the admiral gave by signal 


permission to land, and in a moment four boats were dashing 
for the shore. The Amphion won the race, and the bowman 
leapt ashore with the blue ensign, neither knowing nor caring 
how many 'Rooshians' might be skulking behind the ruins. 
However, the place was empty, and after spiking the guns, 
which were already overturned and disabled, they returned to 
their ships, and this smart little affair ended. The most credit- 
able part of the business was that the ships were skilfully piloted 
into a berth close to the shore, from which they performed the 
service entrusted to them effectually in half an hour, without the 
slightest loss or damage." 

The Bulldog (British) and the Stromboli (French) were mean- 
while shelling Fort Tzee, and the troops were in all the bustle 
of landing. All the morning the shore was crowded with boats 
arid barges. The Russians looked grimly on through their 
embrasures, and from time to time one of their guns roared 
out a sullen defiance. By Sunday the i3th the French 
had got their guns into position, and at daybreak began 
hammering at Fort Tzee at 400 yards. Their metal was too 
light, and no real damage was done. At midnight, however, 
they sent up a storming party, and only one man was found 
faithful to his post the veteran commandant, who mounted 
guard at the embrasure, and received the storming party 
at the point of the sword. A thrust from a Frenchman's 
bayonet sent him to the earth, and the place was taken. The 
garrison had decamped, with the exception of some 30 men and 
the medico, who were found drunk and helpless amid the ruins 
of the fort. 

Tuesday the i5th saw our breeching guns, consisting of three 
32 -pounders and four howitzers, in position on a sandbag 
battery, within 750 yards of Fort Nottich. The engineers, 
blue-jackets, and marines worked with a will, and before long 
avalanches of stones and rubbish came tumbling down from the 
tower. Soon after breakfast the Amphion opened on the Half 
Moon, and the ships began to creep leisurely in to her support. 
The Asmodee, Phlegethon, and two other Frenchmen, and on our 
part the dashing little Hecla, Valorous, Sphinx, Arrogant, and 
Bulldog, moved in to take part in the fray. The Russians fired 
hot shot, cold shot, hollow shot, solid shot; but the ships did 
not catch fire as it was prophesied they would or go to the 
bottom, nor did shells burst on board and send the whole crew 


242 FALL OF BOMARSUND. [1854. 

in fragments to the skies. While the cannonade was going on, 
Fort Tzee, which had been on fire since Monday afternoon, blew 
up with a thundering crash, and sent a jet of pitchy smoke and 
lurid flame high into the air. At one P.M. Fort Nottich hung 
out the white flag. 

At 5 P.M. the signal appeared to cease action, and the ships 
engaged with the Half Moon left off firing ; but the cannonade 
was resumed next morning. The noise was so great that the 
men were deaf for two days after, and at midday the drapeau 
blanc appeared on the Half Moon, in token of surrender. Fort 
Presto, which had been exposed to the cross fire of Captain 
Ramsay's guns (of the Hogue), and of the Leopard, Heda, and 
the French steamer Cocyte, could hold out no longer now, and 
the capture of Bomarsund was complete. The prisoners were 
inarched out of the fort, and collected under a strong guard of 
English marines and French infantry. Early in September the 
forts were blown up. The loss of the allies at Bomarsund was 
53 killed and 86 wounded. The Russians were supposed to 
have lost about 600 in killed alone. It may be remarked, 
however, that throughout the war the actual loss of the enemy 
could never be ascertained. 

In July a small squadron, consisting of the Eurydice, 26 guns, 
Miranda, 15, and Brisk, 14, was sent into the White Sea, to 
destroy the shipping and forts on the coast of Russian Lapland. 
Archangel was found impracticable, owing to a bank of sand ; 
but on his return from reconnoitring, Captain E. Lyons of the 
Miranda son of Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, aided by the 
Brisk, engaged and destroyed some Russian batteries on the 
island of Slovetskoi. A month later he penetrated to Kola, the 
capital of Russian Lapland, silenced the Russian guns, destroyed 
the government stores and buildings, and brought off the enemy's 

The allied forces w r ere less successful at Petropaulovski, on the 
Pacific. Admiral Price shot himself in a fit of insanity, and his 
successor, Sir F. Nicolson, first delayed, and then engaged at 
such a distance as to effect little more than a great expenditure 
of ammunition. The small batteries were soon silenced by the 
heavy frigates, but when the land-force disembarked, a regiment 
of Russian sharpshooters sprang out of the brushwood, and 
opened a deadly discharge of musketry within only a few yards' 
range. Many were killed (26), many wounded, and many 


taken prisoners. No effort was made to retrieve the defeat, and 
the commanders of the combined squadrons retired to San 
Francisco. And yet the fortifications of Petropaulovski were. 
so weak, that the Russian Government ordered them to b& 

Meanwhile, it was resolved to invade the Crimea, and our 
troops were embarked at Varna where they had been decimated 
by cholera and landed at Old Fort, about 18 miles south of 
Eupatoria. The invading force consisted of 26,000 British, 
under Lord Raglan, 30,000 French, under Marshal St. Arnaud, 
and some 7000 Turks; making in all 63,000 men and 128 
guns. The disembarkation occupied four days, and on the igih, 
September, 1854, the march southward to Sebastopol commenced. 
That night the allies bivouacked on the banks of the Bulganak, 
six miles from their landing place. At four next morning, the 
eventful 2Oth, the soldiers rose silently and got under arms. A 
reconnaissance made by the generals revealed the Russians 
strongly entrenched on the heights above the Alma, on either 
side of the road leading to Sebastopol. A five hours' march 
would bring the two armies face to face. 

The position of the Russians was one of the strongest ever 
occupied by an army. They held the picturesque ridge of rocks 
rising on the south side of the Alma. At the mouth of the 
river the ridge terminated in a bold cliff, which overhung tbe 
waters of the Black Sea. About two miles up the ridge the 
hills broke away from the river, making an amphitheatre about 
a mile wide, and then returned to the stream again, but less 
abruptly. The great road to Sebastopol crossed the river by a 
wooden bridge, and ran through this amphitheatre, which was 
ribbed by a lower range of hills running across it. On these 
hills were posted the causeway batteries. Still farther up than 
the amphitheatre, the ground rose gradually to a height, terminat- 
ing in a peak, called the Kourgane" Hill. This was the key of 
the Russian position, and about half-way down the slope, Prince 
Menschikoff, the commander of the Russian forces, had con- 
structed a great redoubt, on which about a dozen heavy cannon 
and howitzers were mounted, and a smaller redoubt a little 
higher up and to the. right. Deep trenches had been dug all 
along the slope of the rocky ridge, and in the ravines many 
of the turpentine trees had been felled to form abattis to check 1 


the advance of our troops. The Russians, 39,000 strong and 
1 06 guns, were massed behind the ridge, but the broken ground 
sloping to the river was occupied by swarms of riflemen, in 
ambush among the green vineyards and the thick leafy planta- 
tions. The Alma, which ran along the whole Russian front, 
was fordable in most places, but the banks on the Russian side 
were so steep that artillery could be got across only at certain 
points. On the allies' side of the river the ground sloped gently 
down to the stream, and was covered by gardens and orchards. 
Opposite the amphitheatre through which ran the post-road to 
Sebastopol, and on the allies' side, was the Tartar village of 
Bourliouk. The right of the allies' rested on the sea, where lay 
a fleet of steamers, ready to throw shot and shell on the Russian 

Various delays prevented the commencement of the attack 
until ii A.M. The allied army was in the following order, 
the French being on the right : General Bosquet on the extreme 
right and about 1500 yards in advance. On Bosquet's left, 
General Canrobert, then Prince Napoleon, with General Forey 
in his rear in reserve. Then came the English. On Prince 
Napoleon's left was the 2d division, under Sir de Lacy Evans 
(3oth, 4ist, 47th, 49th, 55th, 95th). On the left of the 2d 
division was the light division, under Sir George Brown (7th, 
1 9th, 23d, 33d, 77th, 88th, with the 2d battalion of the Rifle 
brigade). In the rear of the 2d division was the 3d division, 
under Sir Richard England (ist, 4th, 28th, 38th, 44th, 5oth). 
In the rear of the light division was the ist division, under the 
Duke of Cambridge (Grenadiers, Scots Fusiliers, and Coldstream 
Guards, and the 42d, 79th, and 93d Highlanders). SirG. Cath- 
cart, with the 4th division (2oth, 2 ist, 57th, 63d, with the ist 
battalion of the Rifle brigade) was in reserve on the left flank. 
The English cavalry (4th and 5th Dragoon Guards, ist, 2d, 
4th, 6th, 8th, I3th, and lyth Dragoons, and nth Hussars), 
under the Earl of Lucan, was considerably farther to the left, 
also protecting the exposed flank and rear. 

Bosquet undertook to turn the Russians' left flank. When it 
was supposed he was well on his way, Canrobert and Prince 
Napoleon were ordered to advance with their divisions, which 
they did, under a heavy fire ; but Canrobert found it impracti- 
cable to drag up his artillery, and was obliged to send it round 
by the way Bosquet had taken. This operation could not 


but take a long time, and following the rule which forbids 
French generals to engage their infantry in open ground without 
the support of artillery, he lay on the side of the height he was 
assailing, as well out of the range of the Russian guns as he 
could, until his artillery should be brought round to him. Prince 
Napoleon's division hung back in the valley, and was not forward 
enough to have shelter from the hillside. To make matters 
worse, St. Arnaud pushed forward the reserves under General 
Forey ; and huddled up as they were in a comparatively small 
space of ground, every ball from the Russian guns which fell 
among the French did great execution. It was not till late in 
the day that Canrobert's artillery was got round, and the French 
attack on the Russian left proved a comparative failure. 

It was now about half-past one. Lord Raglan gave the order 
to advance ; and the whole of the foremost British line (the 2d 
and light divisions), numbering about 10,000 men, rose from 
the ground, dressed their ranks, and marched grandly down the 
slope. In front of Evans's line was the village of Bourliouk, 
which the Russians had set on fire. This obstacle compelled the 
4ist and 49th to diverge to the right and cross the Alma by a 
deep and perilous ford, under a galling fire from the Russian 
riflemen, who lay in ambush on the opposite bank. The other 
regiments of the division, under Major-general Pennefather, 
crossed on the left of the blazing village. The whole division 
was soon engaged in a close and murderous strife. The men had 
to work their way forward under a perfect shower of cannon- 
shot, shells, and rifle bullets. Still the brave fellows struggled 
forward, sheltering themselves, when the Russian balls fell 
thickly, behind such little cover as the ground afforded, and when 
there came a lull, springing forward again to find shelter more 
in advance. But so long as the Causeway Batteries swept the 
ground, Evans could do little more than sustain an obstinate 
and bloody strife. Pennefather's brigade (3oth, 47th, 55th) lost 
more than one-fourth of its strength. 

While Evans was thus painfully struggling, Sir George Brown, 
with the light division, was rapidly advancing to storm the Great 
Redoubt on the Kourgane" Hill. The yyth and 88th, under 
General Buller, crossed the stream on the extreme left, and stood 
prepared to resist any attempt that the Russian cavalry, standing 
idly on the extreme Russian right, might make to turn the flank 
of the attack. The other four regiments (yth, iQth, 23d, 33d, 


together with the 95th, which had been separated from the 2d 
division by the burning of Bourliouk) moved down the slope, 
cleared the vineyards and gardens of the Eussian skirmishers, 
and waded rapidly across the river. The opposite bank was in 
some places from eight to fifteen feet high, and the men 
scrambled up in knots. On either side of the Great Redoubt, 
the Kazan column of Russian infantry marched down the slope, to 
throw our men back into the channel of the river, before they had 
time to form; but the Left Kazan was warmly engaged by the yth 
Fusiliers under Colonel Yea, and the Right Kazan by part of the 
i Qth and 23d, and in due time were overthrown. Between the two 
bodies of troops thus engaged on either flank with the Russian 
infantry, the remainder of the division (33d, 95th, and the 
greater part of the I9th and 23d) moved up to the assault of 
the Great Redoubt, under General Codrington. The regiments 
were not in line, but clubbed together and broken into clusters. 

The Russian sharpshooters moved aside, and the gunners of 
the Great Redoubt opened on the storming party, with round 
shot, canister, and grape. The slope which led up from the top 
of the bank to the parapet of the Great Redoubt was only 300 
yards, and quite smooth. Kinglake thus describes the attack : 
" First one gun, then another, then more. From east to west 
the parapet grew white, and because of the bank of new smoke, 
no gun could any longer be seen by our men, except at the 
moment when it was pouring its blaze through the cloud ; but 
on what one may call a glacis, at 300 yards from the mouths of 
the guns, the thunder, the lightning, and the bolt are not far 
apart. It was at an early moment after emerging from the bed 
of the stream that the slaughter of our people began. Indeed 
some of them, when struck down, had so nearly reached the 
top of the bank that they fell back dead and dying into the 
channel of the river. Death loves a crowd, and many fell ; but 
all who were not struck down continued to move forward. In 
some places, the closer portions of the advancing throng were 
eight or ten deep ; and the round shot, tearing cruelly through 
and through, mowed down so many of our devoted soldiery that 
several times by sheer havoc the clusters for a moment were 
thinned . . . 

" And now, whilst the assailing force was rent from front to 
rear with grape and canister poured down from the heavy guns 
above, another and a not less deadly arm was brought to bear 


against it ; for the enemy marched a body of infantry into the 
rear of the breastwork; and the helmeted soldiers, kneeling 
behind the parapet at the intervals between the embrasures, 
watched, ready with their muskets on the earthwork, till they 
thought our people were near enough, and then fired into the 
crowd. Moreover, the troops on either flank of the redoubt 
began to fire obliquely into the assailing mass . . . 

" The assailants were Hearing the breastwork, when, after a 
lull of a few moments, its ordnance all thundered at once, or at 
least so nearly at the same moment that the pathway of their 
blast was a broad one ; and there were many who fell ; but the 
onset of our soldiery was becoming a rush. Codrington, riding 
in front of the men, gaily cheered them on ; and all who were 
not struck down by shot pressed on towards the long bank of 
smoke which lay dimly enfolding the redoubt. 

" But already though none of the soldiery engaged then 
knev^who wrought the spell a hard stress had been put upon 
the enemy. For a while, indeed, the white bank of smoke, lit 
through here and there with the slender flashes of musketry, 
stood fast in the front of the parapet, and still all but shrouded 
the helmets and glittering bayonets within ; but it grew more 
thin ; it began to rise ; and, rising, it disclosed a grave change 
in the counsels of the Russian generals. Some Englishmen or 
many, perhaps, at the same moment looking keen through the 
smoke, saw teams of artillery-horses moving, and there was a 
sound of ordnance wheels. Our panting soldiery broke from 
their silence. ' By all that is holy ! he is limbering up ! ' * He 
is carrying off his guns ! ' ' Stole away ! Stole away ! ' The 
glacis of the Great Redoubt had come to sound more joyous 
than the covert's side in England. 

" The embrasures were empty, and in rear of the work, long 
artillery-teams eight-horse and ten-horse teams were rapidly 
dragging off the guns. 

" Then a small child-like youth ran forward before the 
throng, carrying a colour. This was young Anstruther. He 
carried the Queen's colour of the Royal Welsh (23d). Fresh 
from the games of English school-life, he ran fast ; for, heading 
all who strove to keep up with him, he gained the redoubt, and 
dug the butt-end of the flagstaff into the parapet ; and then for 
a moment he stood, holding it tight, and taking breath. Then 
he was shot dead ; but his small hands, still clasping the flag- 


staff, drew it down along with him, and the crimson silk lay 
covering the boy with its folds. His successor in charge of the 
colour, namely, centre sergeant Luke O'Connor, was brought 
down nearly at that moment by a shot which struck his breast ; 
but William Evans, a swift-footed soldier, ran forward, and had 
caught up the fallen standard, when O'Connor (finding strength 
enough to be able to rise) made haste to assert his right, and 
then proudly upholding the colour, he laid claim to the Great 
Redoubt on behalf of the Royal Welsh. The colour floating 
high in the air, and seen by our people far and near, kindled in 
them a raging love for the ground where it stood. Breathless 
men found speech. General Codrington, still in the front, un- 
covered, saluting the crisis, waved his cap as a sign to his 
people, and then, riding straight at one of the embrasures, leapt 
his grey Arab into the breastwork. There were some eager and 
swift-footed soldiers who sprang the parapet nearly at the same 
moment . . . 

" The enemy's still lingering skirmishers began to fall back, 
and descended some of them slowly into the dip where their 
battalions were massed. The bulk of our soldiery were up, and 
they flooded in over the parapet, hurrahing, jumping over, 
hurrahing a joyful English crowd." 

But the Russians could not tamely submit to see their great 
work held by the handful of men who followed Codrington. 
The Vladimir column advanced to retake the Great Redoubt at 
the point of the bayonet, and our men being unsupported for 
the ist division had not yet crossed the river had no alterna- 
tive but to retreat. But the retreat, though without order, was 
not hurried. Our soldiers took care to ply the enemy well with 
fire, and they picked up and carried with them those of our 
wounded officers and men whom they found lying on the slope. 
Ill fared it then with the allies all along the line, but Lord 
Raglan had ordered up two guns to a knoll on the Russian side 
of the river ; with these he took the Causeway Batteries in 
flank, causing them to be withdrawn up the hill, and drove the 
Russian reserves from the field. It was this diversion which 
had caused the Russians to desert the Great Redoubt. With the 
exception of five pieces of ordnance still remaining in the Lesser 
Redoubt, the enemy had now no guns remaining in battery. 
The remainder of the battle was a sheer fight of infantry. 

Codrington's men were just retreating from the Great Redoubt, 


when the ist division cleared the vineyards and crossed the river 
to their support, in a line nearly a mile and a half long and two 
deep. The regiments composing the division stood in the fol- 
lowing order from right to left : Grenadier Guards, Scots 
Fusilier Guards, Coldstream Guards, 42d Royal Highlanders, 
93d Sutherland Highlanders, 79th Cameron Highlanders. The 
Scots Fusiliers, impelled by a message from Codrington for sup- 
port, had hurried forward before the other regiments of the 
division, and, coming in contact with the retreating unwieldy 
crowd of the stormers, their formation was destroyed. Thus 
an unfortunate gap was left in the division, but its advance 
was nevertheless most imposing. 

Their strength augmented by some of the 95th and a com- 
pany of the Scots Fusiliers, the Grenadiers advanced up the slope, 
after suffering some loss from the Left Vladimir column, which 
now marched down the slope, with bayonets at the charge. 
The Russians were nearly on the Grenadiers' flank, when Colonel 
Hood ordered the left subdivision of the left company to wheel 
back, so as almost to face the front of the enemy's column. 
This manoeuvre brought the Left Vladimir to a halt, and the 
half company poured in volley after volley of well-directed fire. 
Already the great unwieldy mass showed signs of wavering, 
when Colonel Hood gave the order to the main body of the 
Grenadiers to bend forward the right shoulder; a movement 
which enabled them to deliver a destructive fire from the whole 
of their line. Against such a deadly fire of bullets the Left 
Vladimir could not stand, and the Russian officers were seen 
frantically moving about, seizing the men by the throat, and 
threatening them with their swords. The Grenadiers were 
warming to their work, and they cheered. " The line will 
advance firing," shouted Colonel Hood. The Grenadiers ad- 
vanced, pouring their destructive hail into the wavering column, 
which bulged and heaved, then broke and fled. The Cold- 
streams, meanwhile, poured a smart and crushing fire into the 
Right Vladimir, which was so galled that eventually it retired 
from the field, and the victorious guards took possession of the 
Great Redoubt. 

The Highland brigade was advancing in e'chelon. Its leader, 
Sir Colin Campbell, rode on before, to view the ground and the 
dispositions of the enemy. He saw that the ground behind the 
Great Redoubt had a considerable dip, and that the dip was 


bridged over by a bending rib which connected the inner and the 
outer crest " bridged over in such a way that a column on his 
left front might inarch to the spot where he stood without having 
first to descend to the lower ground." He saw that the Eight 
Vladimir column, on its defeat by the Coldstream Guards, 
descended into the dip, and when it came abreast of the Right 
Kazan column on the other side, faced about. He saw two 
battalions of the Sousdal corps advancing along the "bending 
rib " or natural bridge over the dip : the other two battalions of 
the Sousdal were on the extreme right, though Campbell could 
not then see them. And he saw, standing on the higher slopes 
of the Kourgane" Hill, the four Ouglitz battalions, impending 
over the scene of the coming fight. The odds were three regi- 
ments to twelve three in line, and twelve massed in five 

" The time," says Kinglake, "that it took Sir Colin Campbell 
to learn the ground before him, and to read the enemy's mind, 
proved almost enough for enabling his superb 42d to reach him. 
In the last part of their advance the men of the battalion had 
had to come over ground both broken and steep, but they 
traversed it with a speed which observers admired from afar. 
In the land where those Scots were bred there are shadows of 
sailing clouds skimming straight up the mountain's side, and 
their paths are rugged and steep, yet their course is smooth, easy, 
and swift. Smoothly, easily, swiftly, the Black Watch seemed 
to glide up the hill. A few instants before, and their tartans 
ranged dark in the valley now, their plumes were on the crest. 
. . . Although at that moment the 42d was alone, and was 
confronted by the two columns (the Right Kazan and Right 
Vladimir) on the farther side of the hollow, yet Campbell, having 
a steadfast faith in Colonel Cameron and in the regiment he com- 
manded, resolved to go straight on, and at once, with his for- 
ward movement. He allowed the battalion to descend alone 
into the hollow, marching straight against the two columns. 
^Moreover, he suffered it to undertake a manoeuvre which (except 
with troops of great steadiness and highly instructed) can hardly 
be tried with safety against regiments still unshaken. The Black 
Watch advanced firing." 

But while this fight was going on between the 42^. and the 
two Russian columns in its front, the Left Sousdal marched along 
the "bending rib," with the view of taking the regiment in flank. 


Campbell was about to bend bis line, and prepare for the Left 
Sousdal a front of five companies, when, looking behind, he saw 
the 93d springing up to the outer crest. The 42^. then resumed 
its forward movement, and the 93d dealt with the Left Sousdal. 
" The two lines marched straight on. The three columns shook. 
They were not yet subdued. They were stubborn ; but every 
moment the two advancing battalions grew nearer and nearer, 
and although dimly masking the scant numbers of the High- 
landers there was still the white curtain of smoke which always 
rolled on before them, yet, fitfully, and from moment to moment, 
the signs of them could be traced on the right hand and on the 
left in a long, shadowy line, and their coming was ceaseless. 
But, moreover, the Highlanders being men of great stature, and 
in strange garb, their plumes being tall, and the view of them 
being broken and distorted by the wreaths of smoke, and there 
being, too, an ominous silence in their ranks, there were men 
among the .Russians who began to conceive a vague terror the 
terror of things unearthly and some, they say, imagined that 
they were charged by horsemen, strange, silent, monstrous, be- 
striding giant chargers. The columns were falling into that 
plight we have twice before seen it this day that its officers 
were moving hither and thither, with their drawn swords, were 
commanding, were imploring, were threatening, nay, were even 
laying hands on their soldiery, and striving to hold them fast in 
their places. This struggle is the last stage but one in the 
agony of a body of good infantry massed in close column. Un- 
less help should come from elsewhere, the three columns would 
have to give way." Help came. From the high ground on the 
left the Right Sousdal moved down, straight at the flank of the 
93d. But at that moment the 79th came bounding forward, and 
poured into the flank of the Russian column such a fire that it 
could not live. It broke, and began to fall back in great con- 
fusion. Almost at the same moment the columns opposed to 
the 42d and the 93d were overthrown ; the Russians were in full 
retreat, and the ground was thronged with the enemy's disordered 
masses. The cheers of the three Highland regiments, now once 
more reunited, proclaimed their victory. 

The battle was won. The cavalry pressed the pursuit, but 
not far. The army bivouacked on the ground it had gained. 
The British loss was 2002 362 killed, 1621 wounded, and 19 
missing. The French returned their loss at 1339 which is be- 


lieved to have been a gross over-statement and the Russians at 
5709 which is believed to have been as gross an under-statement. 
Three of their generals, 700 prisoners, and 750 of their wounded, 
remained in our hands that " grey acre " of Russian wounded 
which Dr. Thomson of the 44th, with noble humanity, volun- 
teered to remain with on the field, a flag of truce being his only 
and frail dependence from the fury of the Cossacks. It seems 
that even thus early the Russians showed that treachery and 
barbarity which was afterwards so conspicuous at Inkerman. 
''You have heard," says a medical officer, "of the melancholy 
deaths of Captain and Lieutenant Eddington of the 95th. 
Captain Eddington fell first, with a ball in his chest, and was 
left for a few moments on the hillside while the regiment, which 
had been thrown into disorder, fell back to re-form ; and the 
whole troops witnessed his brutal murder. A Russian rifleman 
knelt down beside him, and while pretending to raise his canteen 
to the wounded man's lips, deliberately blew his brains out ! 
A shout of rage and hatred burst from the whole regiment, and 
at the same moment they again charged up the hill, Lieutenant 
Eddington many yards in advance, crying for men to follow him, 
and apparently mad with grief and excitement. He fell beneath 
a perfect storm of grape-shot and rifle-balls. His breast was 
absolutely riddled. The same grave holds them both." 

The battle of Alma was fought on the 2oth September (1854), 
and on the morning of the 23d the allied army resumed its march 
southward, all full of hope that their efforts would soon be 
crowned by the capture of Sebastopol. As it was considered 
impossible to invest the town on the north face, a flank move- 
ment was performed on the little seaport of Balaclava, so as to 
secure a new base of operations, and make the attack on the 
south side. Balaclava was taken possession of on the 26th, and 
presently the harbour was all bustle and stir. The siege-train 
was landed from the fleet, 2000 seamen lending their aid in 
^dragging the heavy ordnance over the hilly ground between 
Balaclava and Sebastopol. Trenches and batteries were imme- 
diately commenced, strong working parties being detached from 
each regiment for this dangerous service. The British now occu- 
pied the right of the allied line, and had 66 guns and mortars 
in position ; the French, on the left, had in position 53 guns 
and mortars. Meanwhile, the Russians were not idle ; under 


the directions of the celebrated engineer Todleben, they 
strengthened the Malakoff, threw up the Redan and other bat- 
teries, and rendered the city well-nigh impregnable. To 
prevent the entrance of the allied fleets, the desperate resolution 
was taken of sinking six large line-of-battle ships at the mouth 
of the harbour. 

The bombardment was fixed for the lyth October the fleets 
to assist. At 6.30 A.M., the morning being fine and clear, the 
land batteries suddenly opened alorig the whole line. The 
Russians replied, and the earth seemed to vibrate and shake be- 
neath the roar of the gigantic ordnance. Dense volumes of smoke 
hid Sebastopol. About half-past ten a skilfully-directed Russian 
shell fell into one of the French magazines, dismounting several 
guns, and destroying 50 artillerymen. Another explosion, and 
the French guns were silenced for the day. But the British guns 
still kept up their fire, and about noon the fleets went in, and 
ranged themselves in an imposing semicircle before the harbour's 
mouth; the French on the south, against the Quarantine Fort, 
the Turks in the centre, and the English on the north, against 
Fort Constantino and Fort Alexander. Inside the great outer 
line, Sir Edmund Lyons led his own ship, the Agamemnon, 91, 
followed by the Leander, 50, Sanspareil, 70, and Albion, 91. 
The sailing ships were towed to their positions by steamers 
lashed alongside. About two o'clock the Agamemnon, piloted 
by the little steamer Circassian, brought up in five fathoms of 
water, about 250 yards inside the main line, and opened fire on 
Fort Constantine. A lucky shell blew up the powder magazine 
in the fort, but the Russian gunners soon got the range, and 
handled the ships so roughly with red-hot shot, that the Albion, 
/Sanspareil, and London were obliged to haul off. The two latter 
returned, but as the Albion was apparently unable to do so, Sir 
Edmund Lyons signalled to the outer ships to close up, and the 
Rodney, Queen, Bellerophon, and Arethusa bere down to his 
support. Not, however, to change the fortune of the day. The 
Queen was set on fire by a shell ; the Arethusa was completely- 
crippled ; the Retribution had her mainmast shot away ; the 
Firebrand had scarcely a whole spar left ; the Triton was dread- 
fully mauled aloft ; the Rodney grounded on a reef, whence she 
was towed off, amid a heavy fire, by Commander Kynaston of 
the Spitfire, who was wounded during his gallant exertions. 
About dusk the Agamemnon quitted her berth, and the other 


ships followed her motions. The naval attack on Sebastopol was 
admitted to be a complete failure. The Russian forts were not 
materially damaged, and in addition to the havoc caused among 
our ships, we had 44 men killed and 264 wounded, and the 
French nearly as many. On shore, however, our batteries almost 
destroyed the Redan, and had an assault been ordered that night, 
Sebastopol would in all probability have fallen. In the land 
attack our loss was 144 ; that of the French, including the 50 
men blown up in the first explosion, 96 ; that of the Russians, 
1 100, including the brave Admiral Kermiloff killed, and Admiral 
Nachimoff, of Sinope celebrity, wounded. The number of pro- 
jectiles thrown by the English from their land batteries was 
reckoned at 4700, by the French at 4000, and by the Russians 

The British being on the right, the duty of defending the 
allied position devolved on them. The two weak points were 
Balaclava and Inkerman, at the two ends of the Sapoune Range, 
which bounds the Chersonese upland on the east. 

At seven in the morning of the 25th October, news came to 
headquarters that the Russian General Liprandd, with a large 
body of cavalry, infantry, and artillery (25,000 men and 78 
guns), had suddenly appeared at Balaclava, and was taking the 
Turkish redoubts, which had been hastily thrown up to defend 
the position. The British ist and 4th divisions immediately 
got under arms, and began their march to the scene of action ; 
and General Bosquet who occupied the Sapoune' ridge with two 
French divisions was ordered with 200 Chasseurs d'Afrique and 
a force of artillery to their assistance. Meanwhile, the 93d 
Highlanders, with 30 or 40 men of the guards and about 100 
invalids, were drawn up to defend the approach to Balaclava, a 
battalion of Turks on each flank. Above and behind, on the 
heights, stood the royal marines. To the left of the 93d were 
the heavy and light cavalry, drawn up in front of their encamp- 
ment. The scene which followed will, on the whole, be best 
described in the words of Dr. Russell : 

" The heavy brigade in advance is drawn up in two lines. 
The first line consists of the Scots Greys and of their old com- 
panions in glory, the Inniskillings ; the second, of the 4th Royal 
Irish, of the 5th Dragoon Guards, and of the ist Royal Dragoons. 
The light cavalry brigade is on their left, in two lines also. The 

1854.] " BRAVO, HIGHLANDEES !" 255 

silence is oppressive ; between the cannon bursts one can hear 
the champing of bits and the clink of sabres in the valley below. 
The Russians on their left drew breath for a moment, and then 
in one grand line dashed at the Highlanders. The ground flies 
beneath their horses ; gathering speed at every stride, they dash 
on towards that thin red streak topped with a line of steel. The 
Turks fire a volley at 800 yards, and run. As the Russians come 
within 600 yards, down goes that line of steel in front, and out 
rings a rolling volley of Minie" musketry. The distance is too 
great; the Russians are not checked, but still sweep onwards 
through the smoke, with the whole force of horse and man, here 
and there knocked over by the shot of our batteries above. 
With breathless suspense every one awaits the bursting of the 
wave upon the line of Gaelic rock ; but ere they come within 
150 yards, another deadly volley flashes from the levelled rifle, 
and carries death and terror into the Russians. They wheel 
about, open files right and left, and fly back faster than they 
came. 'Bravo, Highlanders! Well done!' shout the excited 
spectators ; but events thicken. The Highlanders and their 
splendid front are soon forgotten, men scarcely have a moment 
to think of this fact, that the 930! never altered their formation 
to receive that tide of horsemen. * No/ said Sir Colin Campbell, 
1 1 did not think it worth while to form them even four deep ! ' 
The ordinary British line, two deep, was quite sufficient to repel 
the attack of these Muscovite cavaliers. 

" Our eyes were, however, turned in a moment on our own 
cavalry. We saw Brigadier-general jScarlett ride along in front 
of his own massive squadrons. The Russians evidently corps 
d'elite their light and blue jackets embroidered with silver lace, 
were advancing on their left at an easy gallop, towards the brow 
of the hill. A forest of lances glistened in their rear, and 
several squadrons of grey-coated dragoons moved up quickly to 
support them as they reached the summit. The instant they 
came in sight, the trumpets of our cavalry gave out the warning 
blast which told us all that in another moment we should see 
the shock of battle beneath our very eyes. Lord Raglan, all his* 
staff and escort, and groups of officers, the Zouaves, French 
generals and officers, and bodies of French infantry on the 
height, were spectators of the scene as though they were looking 
on the stage from the boxes of a theatre. Nearly every one dis- 
mounted and sat down, and not a word was said. The Russians 

256 A FIGHT OF HEROES. [1854; 

advanced down the hill at a slow canter, which they changed to 
a trot, and at last nearly halted. Their first line was at least 
double the length of ours it was three times as deep. Behind 
them was a similar line, equally strong and compact. They 
evidently despised their insignificant-looking enemy, but their 
time was come. The trumpets rang out again through the 
valley, and the Greys and Inniskillingers went right at the centre 
of the Russian cavalry. The space between them was only a few 
hundred yards ; it was scarce enough to let the horses ' gather 
way,' nor had the men quite space sufficient for the full play of 
their sword arms. The Russian line brings forward each wing 
as our cavalry advances, and threatens to annihilate them as they 
pass on. Turning a little to their left, so as to meet the Russian 
right, the Greys rush on with a cheer that thrills to every heart 
the wild shout of the Inniskillingers pierced through the dark 
masses of the Russians. The shock was but for a moment. 
There was a clash of steel and a light play of sword-blades in the 
air, and then the Greys and the red-coats disappear in the midst 
of the shaken and quivering columns. In another moment we 
see them emerging and dashing on, with diminished numbers and 
in broken order, against the second line, which is advancing 
against them as fast as it can to retrieve the fortune of the 
charge. It was a terrible moment. ' God help them ! they are 
lost,' was the exclamation of more than one man, and the 
thought of many. With unabated fire the noble hearts dashed 
at their enemy. It was a fight of heroes. The first line of 
Russians, which had been smashed utterly by our charge, and 
had fled off at one flank and towards the centre, were coming 
back to swallow up our handful of men. By sheer steel and 
sheer courage the Inniskillingers and Scots were winning their 
desperate way right through the enemy's squadrons, and already 
grey horses and red-coats had appeared right at the rear of the 
second mass, when, with irresistible force, like one bolt from a 
bow, the ist Royals, the 4th Dragoon Guards, and the 5th 
Dragoon Guards, rushed at the remnants of the first line of the 
enemy, went through it as though it were made of pasteboard, 
and dashing on the second body of Russians, as they were still 
disordered by the terrible assault of the Greys and their com- 
panions, put them to utter rout. The Russian horse in less than 
five minutes after it met our dragoons was flying with all its 
speed before a force certainly not half its strength." A few shots 


were fired against the retreating Russians by the troop of horse 
artillery which accompanied the light brigade, and by two of 
Barker's guns, under Sir Colin Campbell. Sixty or seventy of 
our heavies were killed or wounded ; the Russian loss was esti- 
mated at 500. 

And then came the glorious but disastrous charge of the Light 
Brigade. Lord Raglan, perceiving the enemy endeavouring to 
carry off the English guns taken in the Turkish redoubts, 
ordered the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front to prevent 
them from doing so. The order was misunderstood. Lord 
Lucan supposed " the guns " referred to were those in front of 
the Russian line at the head of the North Valley. Behind 
these guns was the defeated Russian cavalry, drawn up in six 
solid divisions ; and behind the cavalry were six battalions of 
Russian infantry. Besides the force at the head of the valley, 
the Russians had a force of all arms on the Fedioukine Heights 
on the one side, and infantry and artillery on the Causeway 
Heights on the other. There was 

" Cannon to right of them, 
Cannon to left of them, 
Cannon in front of them." 

Lord Lucan rode forward to Lord Cardigan, who was in his 
saddle in front of the I3th Light Dragoons, and told him the 
terms of the order. " Certainly, sir," said Lord Cardigan, " but 
allow me to point out to you that the Russians have a battery in 
the valley in our front, and batteries and riflemen on our flanks." 
Shrugging his shoulders, Lord Lucan replied, " There is no choice 
but to obey." Without farther question or parley, Lord Cardigan 
tacitly signified his respectful submission to orders, and, turning 
quietly to his squadrons, he gave the word, " The brigade will 
advance." Then, followed immediately by his horsemen, he 
moved forward at a trot, making straight down the valley towards 
the battery, which crossed the valley at a distance of about a 
mile and a quarter. The front line of the brigade consisted of 
the i3th Light Dragoons and the iyth Lancers; behind the 17 th 
Lancers were the nth Hussars; behind the nth Hussars were 
the 4th Light Dragoons, and to their right were the 8th Hussars. 
The whole brigade numbered only 673 horsemen. 

" A more fearful spectacle," says Dr. Russell, himself an eye- 
witness of this famous charge, "was never witnessed than by those 
who, without the power to aid, beheld their heroic countrymen 



rushing to the arms of death. At the distance of 1200 yards, 
the whole line of the enemy belched forth from 30 iron mouths 
a flood of smoke and flame, through which hissed the deadly 
balls. Their flight was marked by instant gaps in our ranks, 
by dead men and horses, by steeds flying wounded or riderless 
across the plain. The first line is broken, it is joined by the 
second ; they never halt or check their speed an instant ; with 
diminished ranks, thinned by those 30 guns, which the Russians 
had laid with the most deadly accuracy, with a halo of flashing 
steel above their heads, and with a cheer which was many a 
noble fellow's death-cry, they flew into the smoke of the batteries, 
but ere they were lost from view the plain was strewed with 
their bodies and with the carcases of horses. They were exposed 
to an oblique fire from the batteries on the hills on both sides, 
as well as to a direct fire of musketry. Through the clouds of 
smoke we could see their sabres flashing as they rode up to the 
guns and dashed between them, cutting down the gunners as 
they stood. We saw them riding through the guns, as I have 
said ; to our delight we saw them returning, after breaking 
through a column of Russian infantry, and scattering them like 
chaff, when the flank fire of the battery on the hill swept them 
down, scattered and broken as they were. Wounded and dis- 
mounted troopers flying towards us told the sad tale demi-gods 
could not have done what we failed to do. At the very moment 
when they were about to retreat, an enormous mass of lancers 
was hurled on their flank. Colonel Shewell, of the 8th Hussars, 
saw the danger, and rode his few men straight at them, cutting 
his way through with fearful loss. The other regiments turned 
and engaged in a desperate encounter. With courage almost too 
great for credence, they were breaking their way through the 
columns which enveloped them, when there took place an act 
of atrocity without parallel in the modern warfare of civilised 
nations. The Russian gunners, when the storm of cavalry passed, 
returned to their guns. They saw their own cavalry mingled 
with the troopers who had just ridden over them, and to the 
eternal disgrace of the Russian name, the miscreants poured a 
murderous volley of grape and canister on the mass of struggling 
men and horses, mingling friend and foe in one common ruin. 
It was as much as our heavy cavalry brigade could do to cover 
the retreat of the miserable remnants of that band of heroes, as 
they returned to the place they had so lately quitted in all the 


pride of life. At 11.35 A - M - no * a British soldier except the 
dead and dying was left in front of those bloody Muscovite 
guns." The charge lasted but twenty minutes, arid the brigade, 
which had gone into action 673 strong, came out reduced to a 
mounted strength of 195. As many as 475 horses were killed 
and 42 disabled. Of the riders, 169 were slain or missing and 
218 wounded. Only 10 men of the I3th came out unhurt. 

Meanwhile, the I4th Chasseurs d'Afrique rode round the 
western base of the Fedioukine Heights, and charged the Rus- 
sians posted there, rolling them up ; and as Sir George Oath cart 
was approaching with the 4th division, the Russians abandoned 
the attempt to carry off the guns. The whole Highland brigade 
was now ordered down for the defence of Balaclava, and a large 
force of marines and seamen was landed from the fleet. 

Britain will remember with pride the heroism of her soldiers 
at Balaclava : the ready " Ay, ay !" of the Highlanders when 
Sir Colin Campbell told them there was no retreat, they must 
die where they stood ; the bravery of troop-sergeant Norris of 
the ist Royals, who, separated by mischance from his regi- 
ment, and beset by four Russian horsemen, rose in his stirrups, 
dealt one of them a blow which killed him on the spot, and put 
the others to flight ; the heroism of Lieutenant Phillips, in the 
disastrous " Death Ride," who, seeing private Brown disabled in 
both hands, protected him with his revolver till the recall was 
sounded; the miraculous escape of Captain Morris of the 17th 
Lancers, who ran a Russian officer through the body, but, unable 
to withdraw his sword, was beset by a swarm of Cossacks, 
wounded many times, and taken prisoner, yet ran into the 
thickest of the smoke, and escaped them, was again in danger 
of being dispatched by a Cossack, again ran into the thickest of 
the smoke, caught a horse, which was shot under him just as he 
was getting out of fire, crawled up the valley, and lay down ex- 
hausted beside the dead body of his friend Captain Nolan. 

Next day, October 26th, 5000 Russians, with skirmishers and 
artillery, made an attack on that part of the British force which 
was posted above the ruins of Inkerman, but were defeated and 
chased down the ridge towards the edge of the bay. This was 
the prelude to the great battle of Inkerman, fought on the 
same ground on the 5th November. The disposition of the 
British was as follows : On the extreme right, the 2d division, 


supported by the guards ; on the left of the guards, but sepa- 
rated from them by a ravine, the light division ; still farther to 
the left, the 4th and 3d divisions. Mount Irikerman was simply 
the north-eastern angle of the Chersonese. " This part of the 
heights," says Kinglake, "has, so to speak, been almost chipped 
off from the rest of the table-land by the deep Careenage Ravine ; 
and it is only by an isthmus or neck of high land that the tri- 
angular quoin thus formed remains joined to the bulk of the 
Chersonese." Moreover, the ascent here was not so steep as at 
other parts of the Sapoune" ridge, and everything seemed to 
favour what the Russians were meditating a sortie in force from 
Sebastopol. Soimonoff, issuing from the Karabel Faubourg, 
and Pauloff, coming up from the bridge at the mouth of the 
Tchernaya. were to ascend the northern steeps of Mount Inker- 
man. With the 40,000 men thus collected, Dannenberg who 
commanded in chief was to sweep that part of the Chersonese, 
overwhelming the 2d division. Meanwhile, Timovieff, with 
5000 men of the garrison, was to make a powerful sortie against 
the French left, so as to prevent Canrobert from withdrawing 
his forces to the real seat of attack on Mount Inkerman ; while 
Prince Gortschakoff, with 22,000 men, was to march southward 
through the plain to the east of the Chersonese and menace 
Bosquet, so as to prevent him from sending help to Pennefather. 
Peimefather overwhelmed, Dannenberg would march south over 
the uplands, and, joined by Gortschakoff, entrench his victorious 
troops on the conquered ground. Thus, the assault which the 
French intended to make on the flagstaff bastion would be pre- 
vented ; nay, the allies might be compelled to raise the siege. 

On the morning of that ever-memorable Sunday, the 5th 
November, the bells of the besieged rang a tocsin, and at 3 A.M. 
the troops composing the sortie stole out of Sebastopol. Favoured 
by the mist, they surprised our pickets, who suddenly found 
themselves almost surrounded ; but the pickets resisted bravely, 
and effected a retreat to the Sandbag Battery, which on this day 
was destined to be the scene of one of the most obstinate and 
sanguinary struggles ever recorded in the annals of war. The 
noise of the firing immediately roused our camp, and the 2d 
division, guards, the light division, and other troops, hurried up 
to the scene of the contest. The Russians, under Soimonoff and 
Pauloff, numbered 40.000 men, and few were the British soldiers 
who could be opposed to them. 


Soimonoff immediately (at 5.45 A.M.) planted his batteries on 
Shell Hill, right in front of the camp of the 2d division, against 
whose tents he opened fire. Leaving sixteen battalions to guard 
the guns, he advanced with 15,000 men to the attack of General 
Pennefather, at this time in command of the 2d division, Sir 
de Lacy Evans being on board ship, sick, who had barely 
3000 bayonets. For a few minutes he had the ascendant ; ad- 
vancing up the Mikriakoff glen on his right, he seized three 
English guns which had been moved forward along the Mikria- 
koff spur without infantry supports, and stood within a stone's 
throw of Pennefather's tents. But the mist, which had thus far 
favoured the Russians, now favoured the British, by taking 
from the many " their power of rightly wielding big numbers, 
and from the few their sense of weakness." Pennefather was 
reinforced by 660 men of the light division, and a series of en- 
counters ensued which can scarcely be credited. Colonel Egerton, 
with only four companies of the 77th, overthrew the Tomsk 
regiment, 1500 strong; the 3d and 4th Catherinburg battalions 
retreated before a few men ef the 47th and 88th, and the three 
guns were recaptured ; five columns were overthrown at Home 
liidge (just before the camp of the 2d division) by a fire of case- 
shot from three guns of Captain Turner's battery, and pursued 
by a crowd of pickets; Captain Bellairs and 183 men of the 
49th overthrew the Kolivansk column ; four Borodino battalions 
were routed at the Barrier, or main picket wall, by Colonel 
Maulverer and 200 men of the 3oth, with sheer cold steel ; and 
finally, General Adams advanced with the 4ist, 500 strong, to 
the Sandbag Battery, and routed 4000 men of the Taroutine 
regiment, driving them down the declivities, and pouring into 
their disordered ranks a destructive fire. " Thus," says King- 
lake, "though having already brought up nearly 25,000 infantry 
and 38 guns (of which 22 were 12-pounders), the enemy received 
a cruel discomfiture from forces which comprised altogether only 
3600 foot, with 1 8 pieces of field artillery." This phase of the 
battle ended at 7.30 A.M. 

General Dannenberg now assumed the command, and, with 
19,000 fresh troops and 97 additional guns, assailed the English 
front at Home Ridge, under Pennefather, and their right at 
the Sandbag Battery. This Sandbag Battery was a sad cause 
of confusion to the British. It was the parapet of a dismantled 
earthwork, thrown up some weeks before, for the purpose of 


silencing a Russian gnn placed in battery on the Tnkerman ruins 
opposite, and from which, having achieved its purpose, the two 
i8-pounders which constituted its armament had been with- 
drawn ; but our soldiers believed it must be part of the English 
defences, and held to it with a tenacity which had the most 
baneful results. For the English line of defence was thus 
separated into two unconnected masses, with a dangerous gap 
between them, of which the enemy failed not to take advantage. 
In front, Pennefather was still able to hold his ground and hurl 
back every attack, but at the Sandbag Battery, 700 yards to 
the right, the fortunes of the fight were more checkered. Soon 
after General Adams had cleared the post with the 4ist, he was 
joined by Captain Bellairs with his three companies of the 49th, 
so that he had altogether a force of 700 men. But his enemies 
were 10,000 strong. Up, up, and round the battery they surged 
in howling throngs, and the little handful of British was forced. 
General Adams himself was struck in the ankle and mortally 
wounded. At this crisis Captain Hamley brought up three guns, 
and plied some of the Russian columns with round-shot and case, 
and the Duke of Cambridge and General Bentinckarrived with the 
Grenadier and Scots Fusilier Guards, 700 strong. The guards 
were afterwards reinforced by a wing of the 95th, a wing of the 
ist Rifle battalion, and a wing of the 2oth, and sore and inces- 
sant was the fight at the Sandbag Battery. As often as the 
Russians were driven back, they formed under the acclivities, 
and again advanced, only to be again driven back. But under 
this incessant strain the British were in danger of spending all 
their cartridges, and the Russians advanced through the Gap to 
surround them and cut them off. At length arose a cry of 
" Charge ! " and the Russians were driven headlong down the 
slopes, the British tearing after them and breaking their array. 
General Cathcart, with 400 men of the 4th division, joined the 
troops at the Sandbag Battery in their victorious charge down 
the slope, and fell pierced through the heart by a Russian bullet. 
Only about 150 men remained with the Duke of Cambridge 
round the colours of the Grenadier Guards, and these were 
nearly surrounded and had to fight their way home through a 
mass of 2000 Russians who came pouring through the Gap. 
Two French regiments arrived and retook the Sandbag Battery. 
It was half-past eight. 

General Dannenberg now concentrated all his efforts on a 

1854.] END OF THE BATTLE. 263 

grand attack on Home Ridge, and Pennefatlier Lad but few 
troops to cope with him. Down came the Russian column, 
cased in a cloud of skirmishers, down and almost over Home 
Ridge ; but Colonel Daubeny arrested its course by an auda- 
cious flank charge with only 30 men of the 55th, and Penne- 
f atber met it in front with the French yth Le"ger, a few fragments 
of English regiments, and 60 Zouaves. The Russians retreated, 
pursued by the victorious allies. Another Russian column was 
overthrown by the 63d and the right wing of the 2ist Fusiliers, 
and these troops then disposed themselves at the Barrier, which 
they held for the remainder of the day. It was a quarter-past 

But the allies had no troops in hand to press their advantage, 
and the Russians soon rallied ; Lord Raglan, however, had 
ordered up two i8-pounders from the siege park, and these 
now arrived and were planted on Home Ridge. Every shot 
told, carrying havoc into the Russian batteries on Shell Hill. 
Moreover, General Bosquet arrived with 3000 French troops. 
It was ten o'clock. 

Bosquet, however, fell into the same mistake as our own 
troops in the earlier part of the day, and diverged to his right 
in the direction of the Sandbag Battery. Some Russian columns 
proceeding through the Gap nearly surrounded him, and it was 
with the utmost difficulty he managed to retreat, with the loss 
of one gun. But, on being reinforced, Bosquet again advanced, 
and drove the Russians, not only out of the Sandbag Battery 
but out of the field of battle. Canrobert now came up in 
person, and Lord Raglan tried to induce him to press his ad- 
vantage home, but failed, and the share of the French troops 
in the battle of Inkerman came to an end. It was eleven 

Although despairing of again taking the offensive himself, Dan- 
nenberg held on to his position on Shell Hill, suffering dreadfully 
from the two i8-pounders, in the hope that Prince Gortschakoff, 
who had 22,000 men in the Tchernaya Valley, would still be 
able to make a diversion in his favour. But Gortschakoff had 
withdrawn his men to Tchorgoun, and after enduring two hours' 
of martyrdom, Dannenberg resolved to retreat, his resolve being 
quickened by a daring charge which Lieutenant Acton made on 
one of his batteries, with a handful of the 77th. The retreat 
began at one o'clock. It was not pressed, and by eight o'clock 


in the evening the remains of the Russian army were safe in 

The Russians had a force of nearly 72,000 men operat- 
ing in the open field on the day of Inkennan ; but 5000 of 
these were engaged in a sortie which Timovieff made on the 
French lines, 22,000 were inactive with Gortschakoff, and 4000 
were guarding the road. The force that fought on Mount 
Inkerman, where the battle was really decided, was 40,210 men 
with 135 guns. From first to last the British had only 7464 
infantry, 200 cavalry, 36 pieces of artillery, and two i8-pounders. 
The French, during a part of the battle, had 8219 infantry, 700 
cavalry, and 24 guns. The official return of the Russian loss 
was 11,959 in killed, wounded, and prisoners, and nearly all 
these fell on Mount Inkerman. The French stated their loss 
at 1800, but only 175 of these were killed. The British loss 
was 2573, of whom 635 were killed. In proportion to their 
numbers the British were very heavy sufferers. In their long 
and protracted struggle at the Sandbag Battery, the guards 
1331 strong on the day of Inkerman lost nearly half their 
numbers in the space of an hour ; and in the 2ist North British 
Fusiliers, the 2oth, of Minden fame, and the 57th, the famous 
old " Die-Hards," the proportion was still greater. Inkerman 
brought sorrow to many a British hearth, but as Lord Raglan 
said, writing to the Duke of Newcastle, " It was a glorious day 
for the British arms." 

Such is an outline of the great battle of Inkerman ; but 
how would it be possible for us to fill up the picture 1 It 
would be necessary to describe the movements not only of each 
particular regiment, but also of each fraction of a regiment, of 
every knot of men, in many cases of individual men. Take 
the following example of how men fought at Inkerman. The 
guards were in the Sandbag Battery, and their ammunition was 
nearly exhausted, so it had to come to cold steel. The Russians 
were pressing on ; one of them, a little in advance of the rest, 
Lad begun to get over the parapet of the right flank of the 
battery, but Captain Burnaby of the 3d company of the Grena- 
diers, raising his sword, laid him dead, and then cried, " We 
must charge ! " Followed by Private James Bancroft and five 
or six other men of his company, he leapt down outside the 
parapet. Let Kinglake continue the story. " Bancroft, follow- 
ing his captain, was immediately attacked by several assailants, 


of whom he killed one by a bayonet-thrust in the chest ; but 
the next instant he was so grievously wounded by a Russian 
bayonet tearing through his jaw and the cage of his teeth, as 
to be made to stagger back a few paces before he recommenced 
his exploits. 

" Captain Burnaby had but just cleared the parapet when he 
found himself met by a Russian officer of great stature, who 
was heading the attack at this spot, and vehemently calling 
forward his men. Upon seeing Burnaby, the Russian officer 
sprang at him sword in hand, but Burnaby parried ; and before 
his assailant could again raise the arm, brought him down with 
a cut so delivered on the side of the head, that the tall leader 
fell, and died at once with a groan. Then, still followed by 
five or six of his men, and getting quit of his next two assail- 
ants with nothing worse than a shot through the bearskin, 
Captain Burnaby made a dart at the thick of the troops con- 
fronting him. Surprised, and for the moment confounded, the 
mass of the Russians fell back several paces in avoidance of 
this sudden lunge ; but they presently rallied, and a number 
of people swarmed forward in bevies undertaking to clear the 
front. On the other hand, Burnaby's original following of six 
or seven was by this time a little increased. Before long, he 
had with him more men belonging to his own company ; and, 
whilst also Sir Cbarles Russell, with his valiant man, Anthony 
Palmer, approached this part of the ledgeway, there came be- 
sides from the left Captain Kinloch and Captain Robert Lindsay 
of the Scots Fusiliers, with a few more men of the guards. All 
these springing forward, opposed themselves singly or in knots 
to the thickening flakes of the Russian infantry thrown out in 
front of the columns ; and hence it resulted that on the narrow 
belt of ground then dividing our English line from the enemy's 
aggregate masses, many separate personal combats were sus- 
tained by private soldiers of the guards. 

" Before hearing of these, one should guard one's self against 
unjust conclusions by acknowledging that the two opposed armies 
were not made up of such elements that they could afford means 
of fair comparison between the individual Russian and the indi- 
vidual Englishman : for the first had been one in a gang of 
w r eeping peasantry seized, shaven, and torn from their homes by 
ruthless power ; the other, a sturdy recruit, choosing freely the 
profession of arms, and now realising, perhaps, on the ledge- 


way, the favourite dreams of his boyhood. And there is yet 
another reason which helps to show why it was that our people 
in their man-to-man struggles got the better one after another 
of antagonists as strong as themselves. The Russian, like other 
foot soldiers, had been trained to use his weapon in the way 
appropriate to aggregate action ; and, remaining under the sway 
of long barrack-yard lessons, he tried to maintain personal 
conflicts by lowering his weapon and bringing it 'down to the 
charge; ' whilst the guardsman, on the contrary, had been trained 
by our ' bayonet drill ' to make his weapon serve for close con- 
flict, by raising it first high and far back over his right shoulder, 
and then making the thrust which, by arms acting thus at 
advantage, could be delivered with great power. 

" Three Russians acting together attacked Edward Hill, but 
Hill's life was saved by Isaac Archer, who ran his bayonet 
through one of the assailants. Richard Wilkins, when shot 
through the bearskin by one of two Russians attacking him at 
the same time, sent a rifle-ball into the breast of the man who 
had thus barely missed him, drove off the other assailant with 
the point of the bayonet, and then reloaded so quickly as to be 
able to shoot the man running. Private Wilson, attacked by 
two Russians, and trying to run one of them through, chanced 
to stumble and fall ; but Joseph Troy coming up bayoneted one 
of Wilson's foes, and Isaac Archer killed the other. William 
Overson, attacked by two Russians, killed one of them, and, it 
seems, drove the other away. Sergeant Minor, confronted by 
five or six Russians, ran one of them through the side ; and 
another of them (who had that moment driven his steel through 
Minor's greatcoat) being pierced in the neck and killed by a 
bayonet thrust from George Bates, the two English made good 
their ascendant, and were not, it seems, further molested by the 
rest of Minor's assailants. Our people had learnt, or were 
learning, that the safest and best way of fighting was to deliver 
their thrust at the face or the neck, because it often proved 
difficult to drive a bayonet through the Russian greatcoat ; and 
in .piercing this tough, woollen armour, a man should so use 
his strength as to transfix the trunk of his adversary, and 
drive the blade home to its socket, this very success, it was 
likely, would make him, for the moment, defenceless ; be- 
cause he might find as did Hilton Sayer when he thus 
killed his man that it was a hard task to withdraw the 


imbedded steel. Men speak to an instance of two foes slaying 
each other, for a grenadier named Sellars was run through, they 
declare, by a bayonet, at the moment when he with his bayonet 
ran through that very assailant ; so that one and the other alike 
fell back with a groan ; and, the body of each proving tenacious 
of his antagonist's steel, it resulted that the two men in dying 
made a ghastly exchange of firelocks. Private Pullen so fought 
as to win the admiration of his captain for exceeding bravery; 
and indeed the man's coolness in danger left him time and in- 
clination to indulge his cynical humour, for whilst still in the 
turmoil of the fight, though at a moment when the presence of 
close bodily struggles was a little relaxed, he affected to become 
fastidiously disdainful of the Russians herded close in his front, 
declaring he would shoot nothing less than a general, and sar- 
castically adjusting the sight of his firelock to a range of 300 

"As for Bancroft, he had not been quelled ; for although, as 
we saw, he staggered back a few paces when grievously wounded 
by a second assailant, he still kept his eye on the man, and 
presently shot him dead. His third assailant he killed by 
running him through. A fourth and fifth assailant then set 
upon Bancroft at the same moment ; and, one of them bayonet- 
ing him in the right side, he fell ; but the next moment he was 
again on his feet and driving his bayonet through one of the 
two last assailants. The Russian thus pierced fell to the ground, 
but without being killed or subdued ; and by clutching, it seems 
at Bancroft's legs, he strove to hamper him in his hand-to-hand 
struggle with the other assailant. Bancroft fighting for his 
life with one upstanding antagonist, and clutched at the same 
time round the legs by the one who had fallen could only 
repress the fierce energy of the man on the ground by stunning 
him with kicks on the head. Curiously and one welcomes 
the sentiment, even if it be wrongly applied the sight of kicks 
given to a man on the ground brought out, in the midst of the 
combat, an Englishman's love of ' fair play ; ' for though Ban- 
croft was but one defending his life against two, Sergeant 
Alger called out to him from a spot some way off, and forbade 
him to ' kick the man that was down.' It is believed certain 
that by fire, by steel, and by the sole of his boot, Bancroft killed 
altogether five men. 

" Fighting thus one or two of them singly, the rest in very 


small knots a few men of the guards proved able at length to 
break up the opposing clusters of the Russian soldiery and 
drive them down from the ledgeway upon the heads of the 
columns below." 

It would be vain to attempt to describe the many gallant 
deeds performed by our soldiers at Inkerman, the numberless 
instances of their heroism in rescuing their wounded officers 
and comrades, or in saving their own lives when wounded them- 
selves and exposed to the murderous attacks of the infuriated 
Russian soldiery. A volume might be filled with such instances, 
and yet the story of Inkerman would only be half told. Very 
many received the Victoria Cross ; very many, equally deserving, 
did not bring forward their claims ; and many more did not live 
to receive the honour. 

Victory as it was, Inkerman was a very serious matter for 
Lord Raglan. The hospitals were full, cholera was still in the 
camp, no recruits were coming, and the Russians were perpetually 
troublesome. The storm of the i4th November, which tossed 
tents about like feathers, and wrecked the Prirtce, laden with 
stores, seemed to add the last bitter drop to the cup. Sick, 
weary, cold, crouching in the muddy trenches, or staggering 
under loads of beef and biscuit or ammunition over the six 
miles between Balaclava and the camp, our men passed the 
winter. Gradually, the truth leaked out that the heroes who had 
escaped Russian lead and steel at the Alma, Balaclava, and 
Inkerman, were perishing through the sheer mismanagement ef 
those who had charge of the supplies and the transport. A 
howl of indignation arose all over Britain. A select committee 
was appointed to inquire into the condition of the army before 
Sebastopol. Better still, committees were formed to relieve the 
necessities of the soldiers, and supply them with warm cloth- 
ing, good bedding, and wholesome provisions. A railway was 
constructed from Balaclava to the camp, and a submarine cable 
was laid from Bulgaria to the Crimea. Reinforcements were 
sent out,, horse, foot, and artillery ; and Florence Nightingale 
and a noble band of women went out to tend the sick and 

The events of the next few months may be noticed very 
summarily. Sardinia joined the Anglo-French alliance (January 
26, 1855). Omar Pasha and his Turks defeated the Russians 


at Eupatoria (February 15 and 18). The Emperor Nicholas 
died (March 2), but his son Alexander still carried on the war. 
Sebastopol was bombarded for the second time (April 9). Can- 
robert resigned (May 16), and the command of the French army 
devolved on Pelissier. More active operations began at once. 
An expedition sailed for Kertch. Possession of the sea of Azof 
afforded the Russians great facilities for the transport of troops 
and stores for the relief of Sebastopol, and practically shortened 
the distance between the besieged town and the interior of 
Russia by many hundred miles. It was resolved to put an end 
to this. An expedition was planned, numbering about 60 
war-ships, under Admirals Lyons and Bruat, with a combined 
force of 17,000 English (the Highland brigade), French, and 
Turks, under Sir George Brown and General D'Autemarre. The 
expedition was entirely successful, and was attended with little 
difficulty or danger. The troops landed at Kertch on the 24th 
May, and as they advanced the Russians retired, blowing up 
their forts one by one. The work of destruction then com- 
menced, and vast quantities of ammunition and stores fell a 
prey to the allies. Yenikale was also abandoned, and small 
garrisons were thrown into both places. The shoals and bays 
were swept by a number of little active war-steamers, while the 
main body of the fleet went up to the very head of the sea, and 
on the 3d June bombarded the port of Taganrog. The quantity 
of Russian (government) property destroyed in this expedition 
was immense. About the middle of June the expedition returned 
to Kamiesch and Balaclava. On the 6th of that month the 
third bombardment of Sebastopol took place, and resulted in 
the capture of the Mamelon, the Quarries, and the Oil/wages 
Blancs. The fourth followed on the lyth. Next day an un- 
successful assault was made on the Malukoff and Redan, and all 
parties suffered severe loss. The British had 252 killed and 
1207 wounded. On the 28th of the same month the gallant 
and gentle Lord Raglan succumbed to cholera, and the command 
devolved on the chief of the staff, General Simpson. 

While so busy in the Crimea, we were not idle in the Baltic. 
The fleet sailed from England on the 4th April, 1855, and on 
the zoth May anchored at the Island of Nargon, in the Gulf of 
Finland. It was under the command of Admiral Dundas, who 
reconnoitred Cronstadt, and, like Napier, deemed it impregnable. 


But something must be done ; the summer was wearing apace, 
people at home were grumbling, and the seamen were getting 
disgusted at the long-continued inactivity. At length, on the 
6th August, orders were given for Sveaborg. The British fleet 
consisted of 17 men-of-war, 15 gunboats, and 16 mortar vessels; 
the French of 2 men-of-war, 6 gunboats, and 5 mortar vessels. 

Sveaborg, the Gibraltar of the Baltic, stands about a mile in 
advance of Helsingfors, the capital of Russian Finland, on a 
group of islands almost entirely covered by fortifications, 
barracks, magazines, and prisons. The channels between the 
islands which extend over a convex line of some 5 miles 
were protected by ships of the line, sunken vessels, and torpedoes. 
The whole place is supposed to have been armed with 810 pieces 
of cannon. The appearance it presented from the sea is thus 
described by an eye-witness : " No lofty cliffs, no perpendicular 
granite forts were here to offer a fair mark, and crumble down 
under the concentrated fire of heavy ships, no tier upon tier of 
guns in casemates, but a string of low, rocky islands, separated 
by narrow channels which the eye could scarcely distinguish, 
and presenting at some distance the appearance of one long shore 
of broken and shelving ground rising gradually, but irregularly, 
to the height of some 30 or 40 feet. Along this coast we saw 
continuous lines of sloping earth-batteries, showing nothing for 
a mark but the very muzzles of the guns ; farther back, where 
the ground rose, little stone forts of seven or eight guns nestled 
in every nook, and here and there naked guns mounted en bar- 
bette upon every suitable slope of rock. Then among the build- 
ings every now and then a window could be seen bearing a 
most suspicious likeness to an embrasure, and, on a closer 
examination, guns were seen projecting where, at first sight, 
nothing but a garret window showed." 

On the morning of Thursday the gi\\ August, 1855, the ships 
took up their stations. In front, at a distance of 3600 yards 
from the face of the works, were the gunboats, all steam, each 
armed with two of the heaviest guns in the service. Im- 
mediately behind the gunboats, ranged in line, were the mortar- 
boats, sailing vessels, which carried one 1 3-inch mortar each. 
Behind the mortar-boats, again, were the line-of-battle ships 
and the frigates and corvettes, ready to support the gun and 
mortar boats, and put the finishing stroke to any success they 
might achieve. The store-ships, hospital ships, despatch vessels, 


tenders, and the whole generation of unarmed craft that swelled 
up the fleet, kept a little farther out at sea. At 6.45 A.M. a 
signal from the flagship ordered " Gun and mortar vessels 
open with fire and shell." The yards of the frigates and the 
line-of-battle ships were manned by the seamen, while crowds 
of persons many of them ladies dressed in the height of 
fashion stood upon the batteries of Sveaborg, gazing eagerly 
upon the mighty fleet before them. 

At 7.30 A.M. the first shell went hissing on its fiery errand, 
and the bombardment began. Report after report went roaring 
over the water as the long line of mortars opened fire. A blaze 
of fire girdled the earth and granite walls of Sveaborg as the 
Russians promptly replied; but their round shot fell short, and 
splashed harmless in the sea, while their shells all burst high 
up in the heavens, except some few that burst near the muzzles 
of the guns. So it went on, the gun-boats bristling against 
Sveaborg like a swarm of angry wasps. The mortar-boats 
remained stationary, but the gunboats ran in, shot their missiles, 
and retired, steaming round. In this way, three, four, six, or a 
greater number of gunboats, formed a circle, all steaming round 
and round, and giving the enemy a salute as their guns bore 
upon him. It was like a witches' dance, and rendered it im- 
possible for the Russian gunners to keep a precise range. The 
sailors on the yards were never weary looking at it. Seldom 
was a gunboat hit, and then only slightly. While the gun- 
boats thus circled in front, the mortar-boats kept blazing away 
behind, the vessels perceptibly flinching from the recoil. Each 
shell weighed more than 200 Ibs., and made a report that was 
piercing and painful. The crews of the mortar-boats defended 
themselves against it by fortifying their ears with cotton, and 
wearing woollen flaps on either side of their caps ; but notwith- 
standing all their precautions, many of them were partially deaf 
for days afterwards. 

Suddenly, when the bombardment had continued for about 
three hours, a lurid pillar of flame and smoke leaped up into the 
air, and, bursting abroad, cast a shower of huge black fragments 
far and wide. A shell had found the large magazine in the 
centre of the principal island. Far over sea and land went the 
report, and our seamen, crowded in the tops, the cross-trees, 
arid out upon the yards, cheered vociferously. At noon another 
explosion took place, fires broke out on every side, and crash 

272 THE SCENE BY NIGHT. [1855. 

followed crash. The Russian gunners began to lose heart; they 
could not get the range of those pestilent badgers, pelters, 
weasels, pinchers, biters, snappers, which tormented them, and 
their fire slackened for some hours. All through the afternoon 
the attacking force kept up a rolling fire, while the defenders 
replied at long and lazy intervals. 

Grand as was the spectacle during the day, at night it 
approached the sublime. Soon after dark a squadron of cutters 
and launches from the ships, each fitted with a rocket tube, 
went in and let off their fireworks.- " It was a splendid sight," 
says the eye-witness just quoted, "to see the curved flight of 
the rockets, five or six sometimes under way together, chasing 
and crossing each other as they flew. The rockets are some of 12, 
others of 24 Ibs. weight, and contain a small shell, which explodes 
when the rocket reaches its destination, and flames and disjecta 
membra of smashed properties could sometimes be seen as they 
fell among the buildings of the enemy. All this time little 
bright stars might be seen, careering in bold curvilinear orbits 
over our heads. These were shells from the mortar-boats and 
the French battery, which never rested day or night." 

All Thursday and Friday the bombardment continued, but 
on Saturday morning the small craft were withdrawn, and the 
operations ended. The guns of the allies hurled 1000 tons of 
balls and shells into an area of three square miles, and destroyed 
several hundred acres of buildings barracks, and magazines 
filled with stores belonging to the Russian Government. The 
loss of life was never known ; the Russians declared they had 
only one man killed, and it is certain that on board the allied 
fleet no one was killed, and only a few were wounded. If 
Admiral Dundas intended no more than to make a demonstra- 
tion to satisfy the public, and to do the enemy as much harm 
as could be done without loss or damage to himself, his success 
was complete. 

The siege of Sebastopol was now drawing to a close. In the 
hope of forcing the allies to raise the siege, Prince Gortschakoff 
made an attack in force on the French position at Traktir Bridge 
on the Tchernaya (August 16), but was repulsed with great loss. 
This battle gave the Sardinians, under Delia Marmora, an 
opportunity of meeting the soldiers of the Czar. The sixth and 
last bombardment began at dawn on the 5th September, and 


continued almost without intermission, till the 8th, when the 
signal was given for the assault. "At five minutes before 
twelve o'clock," says Dr. Russell, " the French, like a swarm of 
bees, issued from their trenches close to the doomed Malakoff, 
scrambled up its face, and were through its embrasures in the 
twinkling of an eye. They crossed the seven metres of ground 
which separated them from the enemy at a few bounds ; they 
drifted lightly and quickly as autumn leaves before the wind, 
battalion after battalion, into the embrasures ; and in a minute 
or two after the head of their column issued from the ditch, the 
tricolour was floating over the Korniloff bastion. The musketry 
was very feeble at first indeed, our allies took the Russians by 
surprise; but they soon recovered themselves,- and from twelve 
o'clock till past seven in- the evening,- the French 1 had to meet 
and repulse the repeated attempts of the enemy to regain the 
work, when, weary of the slaughter of his men, who lay in 
thousands over the exterior of the works, and despairing of 
success, the Muscovite general withdrew his exhausted legions. 
As soon as the tricolour was observed waving, through the 
smoke and dust, over the parapet of the Malakoff, four rockets- 
were sent up from Chapman's battery,-, as a signal for our assault 
upon the Redan." 

In this we were not so successful. Instead of sending up 1 
the Highlanders or the marines, both of whom volunteered! 
and were refused, General Simpson entrusted the matter to 
his raw recruits,^ men who had spent their few days in camp 1 
in listening to long stories about what a dreadful place the 
Redan was, all undermined and stuffed full of powder. Wlieir 
the assault was made, there were not above 150' Russians in the' 
place, and the storming party ran along the open space and 
were over the crest of the parapet with no great loss,- but un- 
fortunately, instead of following their officers and rushing on 
with the charged bayonet, they commenced independent file- 
firing. The moment of victory passed away ; ; the Russian sup- 
ports came up in vast numbers,- drove the remnant of the 500 
stormers over the parapet, recovered the guns, turned them on 
the British supports,* who were standing irresolute between the 
trenches and the fort,- and mowed them down in scores. The 
slaughter was dreadful: 29 officers killed and 125 wounded, 
with 356 non-commissioned officers and men killed and 1762 
wounded. It was a great misfortune, independently of the loss 


of life, for if the Redan had been taken simultaneously with 
the Malakoff, the Russian army must have capitulated or been 

The Highlanders were brought up to the front to storm the 
place next morning, but that night Corporal John Ross of the 
engineers, humanely going out to look after some wounded 
comrades, observed the absence of the Russian outpost, crept 
cautiously forward, climbed the slope, and entered the Redan. 
The post was vacant, and returning to the trenches he reported 
that the Russians had fled. It was true. Without blare of 
bugle or tuck of drum they had filed over to the north side by 
the bridge of boats. Their retreat was followed by the explosion 
of forts, the burning of barracks, palaces, theatres, arsenals, stores, 
and the scuttling of all the ships in the harbour. 

Sebastopol had fallen, and the war was virtually over, but all 
winter the armies lay inactive, facing each other beside the ruins 
for which they had so long contended. The allied fleets resolved 
to operate against all the sea-coast places in the Crimea still held 
by the Russians. They began with Kinburn, a fortress occupy- 
ing a sandy spit of land at the mouth of the Dnieper, opposite 
to Oszakoff. Kinburn was a strong casemated fort, armed with 
70 heavy guns, and supported by two well-made earthworks, 
each armed with ten guns. The troops were landed on the i5th, 
and on the iyth October, at nine in the morning, the attack 
was commenced. The three French floating batteries the 
precursors of the present race of ironclads were in line about 
600 yards from the fort, and engaged the casemates. The 
mortar vessels anchored at a distance of 2800 yards. The gun- 
boats attacked the earthworks. The Russians, exposed to a 
continuous shower of iron, replied sullenly at intervals. About 
eleven a fire broke out in their barracks. The flames spread 
from one end of the fort to the other. The heat and smoke 
drove the enemy from their guns, and explosions of ammunition 
were from time to time heard above all the din of the bombard- 
ment. At a quarter-past eleven the Russian ensign was shot 
away, and was not rehoisted. 

At this crisis the ships of the line, headed by the Royal 
Albert, the stately flagship of the commander-in-chief, attacked 
the forts on the southern side from a distance of 1200 yards, 
while, the steam frigates, led by Sir Houston Stewart and 

1855-56.] TREATY OF PARIS. 275 

Admiral Pellion, the seconds in command, attacked the northern 
face. It was a splendid sight to see the allies advancing in line 
under steam, and still more splendid to see the three-deckers 
veering round to deliver their fire, their jibs set to bring their 
guns to bear. The cannonade was deafening, and the fire in 
the Russian barracks, fed by constant bombs and rockets, grew 
terrible in its proportions. 

Bravely did the Russians defend their post, but their guns 
were silenced one by one, and at length a man waved a white 
flag from the ramparts. As by magic the firing ceased, boats 
pulled to the shore, and Major-general Kokonovitch delivered 
his sword to Sir Houston Stewart and General Bazaine. Our 
loss was only two seamen wounded. The Russians had 43 
killed, 1 14 wounded, and 1200 prisoners. Avast quantity of 
warlike stores, provisions, and guns, was the prize of the con- 
querors. Oszakoff was blown up by the Russians themselves, 
and the purposes of the expedition were completed by Sir 
Houston Stewart, who sailed up the Bog-, and silenced a battery 
on its banks. 

It was intended to operate against Simpheropol and other 
places, but the setting in of winter caused all further proceed- 
ings to be deferred to the spring. In the meanwhile Austria 
used her influence to induce Russia to accept terms of peace, 
and, after long negotiations, the treaty was signed at Paris, on 
the 3oth March, 1856, amid the thunder of cannon and the 
rejoicings of all. 

On a review of the Russian war, it will be found that what 
was positively effected by our navy was scarcely commensurate 
with its great reputation. This was largely due to the fact that 
the Russian fleet persistently declined an encounter on the o'pen 
sea which in itself was homage sufficient to our invincibility 
on our own element. Still, when looked at more closely, the 
services of the navy will be seen to have been not unimportant. 
Though our ships did not dare to attack Cronstadt, and, for 
obvious reasons, failed before Sebastopol, they captured Bomar- 
sund and Kinburn, and battered Odessa and Sveaborg. Finally, 
the Baltic and Black Seas, which before the war were little more 
than Russian lakes, were swept clear of the Russian flag ; and 
one Russian fleet dared not venture from behind stone fortresses 
in the shallow waters of Cronstadt, while another Russian fleet 
was sunk in the harbour of Sebastopol. 

2/6 BLUE-JACKETS ON SHORE. [1855-56. 

The conduct of the naval brigade on shore showed that the 
seamen of the fleet were still animated by all their ancient dash 
and daring. To take one example among many : on the 26th 
October, a conspicuous act of gallantry was performed by Mr. 
N. Hewitt, a young man, acting mate of the Beagle. It was on 
that day that the Russians made a sortie on the division of Sir 
de Lacy Evans. Mr. Hewitt was in charge of a Lancaster gun 
in that part of the field, and when the enemy were within 300 
yards of the battery, he received an order to spike the gun and 
retreat. But Mr. Hewitt would not believe, or affected not to 
believe, that the order came from Captain Lushington, and with 
the aid of his blue-jackets and some soldiers, he slewed the 'gun 
round, blew away the parapet, and opened so effective a fire on 
the advancing column of Russians, that they gave way and 
retreated. Mr. Hewitt was promoted to a lieutenancy, and 
received the Victoria Cross. 

PERSIA CHINA 1856-1858. 

Busliire Khooshab Mahommerah and Aliwaz Fatshan Creek Cau ton : 
The Peiho Forts. 

EFORE the Russian War was over, Britain was em- 
broiled with Persia, which endeavoured to infringe 
the Convention of 1853, by which Herat, a city and 
state on the borders of Khorassan and Afghanistan, so 
situated as to command the approaches to India through the 
Hindoo Koosh, was declared independent. A squadron, under 
Admiral Leeke, appeared before Bushire on the yth December, 
1856, and on the loth the place fell before a cannonade. Then 
came Sir James Outram, with Stalker and Havelock. The deci- 
sive battle of the campaign took place at Khooshab, on the 8th 
February, 1857. The Persians attempted a midnight surprise, 
but failed, and when day broke their army was seen drawn up 
in line, with cavalry on both flanks, their right resting on the 
village of Khooshab, and their left on a hamlet with a round 
fortalice. In front of their centre were two rising mounds, 
where they posted their guns. Their right front and flank were 
protected by deep nullahs, lined with skirmishers. Their num- 
bers were judged at 6000 foot and 2000 horse. The British 
army was drawn up in two general lines ; the front line consist- 
ing of the y8th Highlanders, 26th Native Infantry, 2d Light 
Infantry, and 4th Bombay Rifles ; the second line, of the 64th, 
2oth Native Infantry, and the Belooch battalion. The Persian 
artillery was soon silenced by ours, which advanced to close 
action, and the Persian cavalry was swept from the field by a 
brilliant charge of the 3d Bombay Light Cavalry, accompanied by 

2/8 TREATY OF BAGDAD. [1857. 

Blake's Horse Artillery. The British infantry, meanwhile, was 
advancing rapidly to the attack, but just as they were getting 
into action, the Persian infantry lost heart, broke, and fled, 
leaving 700 dead on the field, and casting away everything to 
accelerate their flight. Only three Persian battalions on the 
right made any stand. The British loss was only 19 killed and 
64 wounded. 

Two officers gained the Victoria Cross at Khooshab, Lieu- 
tenants Moore and Malcolmson of the 3d Bombay Light Cavalry. 
Lieutenant Moore was first in among the enemy. His horse 
sprang into the centre of their square, but instantly fell dead, 
crushing the rider, and breaking his sword. The Persians pressed 
around Moore, who endeavoured to force a way through the 
throng with his broken weapon ; they would have bayoneted 
him, had not Lieutenant Malcolmson ridden up to his assistance, 
cut down the boldest of his assailants, and, giving him a stirrup, 
carried him out of the throng. 

The capture of Mahommerah and Ahwaz taught Persia the 
folly of continuing the contest, and on the 2d May, 1857, a 
treaty was signed at Bagdad, by which the Shah agreed to 
evacuate Herat. 

We were at this time at war with China also our second war 
with the Celestial Empire. The Chinese forgot the lesson they 
received in 1842, and commenced a series of aggressive acts on 
British subjects. Their insolence culminated in the seizure of 
the Arrow, a lorcha or small native ship flying the British flag, 
which was boarded in the Canton river by the Chinese police, 
who, in search of a pirate, arrested the crew. Sir John Bowring, 
the English minister at Hong-Kong, demanded an apology, 
which Commissioner Yeh of Canton did not see fit to give. The 
British navy was therefore called upon to act, and Sir Michael 
Seymour, the admiral commanding-in-chief, sailed up the Bocca 
Tigris, destroyed several war-junks, captured the Bogue forts, 
mounting 200 guns, and on the i2th January, 1857, took pos- 
session of the suburbs of Canton, and put a stop to all native 
trade on the river. Commissioner Yeh now began to offer re- 
wards for the heads of the barbarians, but this did not prevent 
the " barbarians " from attacking the Chinese fleet 80 war- 
junks, powerfully armed and manned by 6000 picked braves, and 
judiciously drawn up across the Fatshan creek. The attack was 


made on the ist June by Admiral Seymour in person, assisted 
by Commodores Elliot and Keppel, with n gun-boats and 50 
or 60 ships' boats. The Chinese fought bravely, and nearly all 
the boats in Commodore Keppel's squadron were lost or dis- 
abled ; but when the British got to close quarters, the Chinese 
thought only of making their escape, and, pouring in a broadside 
of grape, which generally went over the heads of the boarders, 
leaped overboard on the other side, and swam towards the shore. 
Of the whole fleet only three or four junks escaped destruction. 

During the first burst of the Indian Mutiny operations lan- 
guished, but reinforcements gradually arrived from England, and 
the free admission of British subjects to Canton being refused, 
the fleet bombarded the town on the 28th December. Next day 
the troops advanced to the attack. These consisted of marines, 
artillery, engineers, the 59th and the 38th Madras Native In- 
fantry, under General Van Straubenzee, the British naval brigade, 
1829 strong (formed in three divisions under Captains Sir R. 
M'Clure, Key, and Stewart), under Admiral Seymour, and the 
French naval brigade, 950 strong, under Admiral de Grenouilly. 
As the troops advanced to the attack, the ships ceased firing, and 
the Chinese on the walls opened with their matchlocks. " Some 
minutes before the time," says Mr. Wingrove Cooke, " the 
French advanced, and the English could not be kept back. !They 
had crossed the ditch, and were clustered under the walls before 
the scaling ladders could be brought up. A young Frenchman 
had taken off his shoes and gaiters, and was trying to work him- 
self up to the southern angle of the bastion, aided by Major 
Luard (of the 59th), who was propping him up with the muzzle 
of the Frenchman's own firelock, when a ladder was placed, and 
Luard, leaping on it, stood first upon the wall. He was followed 
by a Frenchman, the bandmaster of the 59th, and Colonel Hope 
Graham (also of the 59th). At the same time, Stuart, of the 
engineers, was balancing in air on a breaking ladder at the north 
side of the bastion ; but though he sprang to another, two or 
three Frenchmen got up before him. Here, also, Corporal 
Perkins and Daniel Donovan, volunteer sappers, pushing on 
with the French, were among the first over the wall. Meantime 
the Chinese had been tumbling down all sorts of missiles ; but 
when the allies were, once upon the walls, the great body of them 
retired. They poured down into the city, and fired from the 
streets ; they dodged behind the buildings on the ramparts, and 




thence took aim with their cumbrous matchlocks. A few single 
encounters occurred, and Major Luard's revolver disposed of one 
lingerer ; but the allies generally fired right and left, and pushed 
on to the right, so as to sweep the wall towards the hill. Helter- 
skelter they went, driving the Tartars close into the town and 
before them along the wall, until, some hundred yards in front, 
they came upon Captain Fellowes and his blue-jackets, who were 
just accomplishing another escalade." 

Anxious to prevent the destruction of life, the allied chiefs 
would not allow the troops to descend into the streets, but the 
Chinese still continuing obstinate, this measure had at length to 
be adopted (January 5, 1858). Commissioner Yeh, a very fat 
man, with b}ac;k teeth and a short pigtail, was taken by Captain 
Cooper Key, as he was trying to escape in a porter's dress, and 
sent to Calcutta. A portion of the fleet, accompanied by a 
French squadron, now sailed to the Peiho, and (May 20) the 
forts at the mouth of the river were taken with little loss. From 
thence the gunboats, having on board Lord Elgin and Baron 
Gros, the plenipotentiaries of England and France, sailed up to 
Tientsin, where (June 26) a treaty was signed opening to our trade 
five new ports, and allowing British subjects with passports to 
visit any part of the interior. 



the last day of 1600, a charter was granted by Queen 
Elizabeth to a number of London merchants, under 
the title of " The Governor and Company of Mer- 
chants of London trading to the East Indies." Ships 
were sent out to Java and Sumatra, and returned laden with 
calicoes, silks, indigo, and spices. In a few years it was deter- 
mined to make settlements in Hindostan itself, and, about 1612, 
permission was obtained from the native princes to establish 
factories at Surat, Ahmedabad, Cambay, and Gogo. The number 
of these factories was gradually augmented ; Madras dates from 
1640, Calcutta from 1645, and Bombay, which came to England 
with the Portuguese Queen of Charles II., from 1665. 

In 1662, Charles II. granted the East India Company per- 
mission " to make war and peace on the native princes" a 
privilege which was not suffered to lie idle, especially after the 
death of the famous Aurungzebe (1707), when the great Mogul 
Empire rapidly fell to pieces. The French were at this time our 
rivals in India, and long and severe was the struggle between the 
two European nations, but the genius and fortune of Clive at 
length gained the ascendancy. In his memorable capture and 
defence of Arcot (1751), he broke the spell of French invinci- 
bility, and laid the foundation of British supremacy in the East ; 
and by the battle of Plassey (23d June, 1757), in which, with 
3100 troops, of whom only 800 were British, he defeated the 
vast army, 70,000 strong, of Surajah Dowlah the same who the 
year before cast 146 Englishmen into the Black Hole of Calcutta 
he made the Company masters of Bengal, as well as Behar and 


Orissa. The Company was confirmed in these possessions by the 
Mogul Emperor, Shah Alum, who after the battle of Buxar 
(1764) sought the protection of the British. 

Warren Hastings (1773-85) was the first Governor-general 
of India appointed under the Kegulating Act. Enraged at not 
receiving help from the British against the Mahrattas, and in- 
stigated by the French, Hyder Ali, the powerful Mussulman 
Sultan of Mysore, invaded the Carnatic with 100,000 men. While 
trying to join Sir Hector Munro at Conjeveram, Colonel Baillie 
was attacked by the whole Mysore army, and defeated, chiefly 
through the blowing-up of the powder-waggons. This disaster 
was followed by the fall of Arcot (November 3, 1780). Sir 
Eyre Coote, being sent to undertake the management of the 
war, defeated Hyder at Porto Novo, and besieged the Marquis 
de Bussy in Cuddalore (1781). Five naval actions were fought 
(1782-83) between the French and English fleets under Suffrein 
and Hughes; and Mangalore was defended (1784) by Colonel 
Campbell (" with a valour seldom equalled and never sur- 
passed") against all the troops of Tippoo, whose father, Hyder, 
had died in 1782. Peace was made between England and 
France, and Tippoo found it necessary to follow the example. 

The Marquis Cornwallis (1786-93) succeeded Warren 
Hastings. Another war broke out with Mysore, Tippoo having 
invaded Travancore, then under British protection. Cornwallis 
took the field himself, captured Bangalore, and dictated the 
terms of peace under the walls of Seringapatam(i793), compelling 
Tippoo to cede half his dominions. 

The administration of Sir John Shore (179398) was not 
marked by any memorable event. 

The Marquis Wellesley (1798-1805) soon found himself com- 
pelled to declare war against Tippoo, who was intriguing both 
with the French and with the native princes. He determined to 
strike a decisive blow. Seringapatam was besieged. The assault 
took place on the 4th May, 1799. On went Sir David Baird 
with the stormers of the i2th, 33d, 73d, and 74th, and in seven 
minutes the British flag floated on the breach. Tippoo was shot 
through the head by a soldier who sought to rob him of his 
jewelled sword-belt, and thus fell the great Mahommedan king- 
dom of Mysore. 

The Mahrattas were now the most powerful native people 
in India, and our next war was with them. General Lake 


marched with a portion of the Bengal army towards Delhi ; 
while General Wellesley the future Duke of Wellington 
crossed the Godavery in the south. Wellesley met the Mah- 
rattas under Scindia at the village of Assaye, in the north-west 
corner of the Deccan (September 21, 1803), and with the 74th 
and 7 8th Highlanders, and five battalions of Sepoys, routed the 
immense hordes opposed to him. The blow was followed up at 
Argaum (November 29). General Lake was equally successful 
in the north. Storming the strong fortress of Allyghur (August 
29th), he advanced and routed the Mahrattas at Delhi (Sep- 
tember nth), and finally broke the power of Scindia at Leswaree 
(November ist), while General Fraser, with the 76th and other 
troops, routed Holkar at Deeg (November i3th), taking 87 
cannon, all of the finest European fabric. The Mahratta war 
added considerably to the territory of the Company. 

With the exception of the siege of Bhurtpore (1805), nothing 
of much importance occurred until the administration of the 
Marquis of Hastings (1813-23), who waged war with the 
Ghoorkas, Pindarees, and Mahrattas. The Ghoorkas were sub- 
dued at Mukwanpore by General Ochterlony (1816) with the 
24th, 66th, and 87th ; the Pindarees a race of mounted free- 
booters, who roamed the country in large bands of from two to 
three thousand were cut off in detail (1817); the Mahrattas 
were defeated at Nagpore (1817), Madeidpore, and Corregaum 
(1818); and, finally, Sir John Malcolm captured Aseerghur 
(1819), "the Gibraltar of the East," which, from its position, 
commands the great passes of the Deccan into Hindostan. 

Earl Ambers t's administration was marked by the first Bur- 
mese war, and the capture of Bhurtpore (1826), in Northern 
Bengal, by Lord Combermere. The loss of the besiegers was 
565, and of the defenders, the warlike Jauts, more than 4000. 
The British regiments at Bhurtpore were the i4th, 59th, and 
1 6th Lancers. 

There was peace in India until the disastrous Afghan war 
(1839-42), entered into by Lord Auckland, who espoused the 
cause of Shah Soojah, because Dost Mohammed was believed to 
be under Eussian influence. An army of 19,350 men, under Sir 
John Keane, marched northward through the passes on the 
western bank of the Indus, took possession of Candahar (May 
4, 1839), stormed Ghuznee (July 23), and entered Cabul (August 
7). The surrender of Dost Mohammed seemed to complete the 


conquest of the country ; but the Dost's son, Akbar, was actively 
at work in secret. At the beginning of winter, when help was 
impossible from India, the outbreak took place at Cabul 
(November 2, 1841), where the inhabitants rose and murdered 
Sir Alexander Barries, the political agent, his brother, and 
Lieutenant Broadfoot. Sir William Macnaghten was treacher- 
ously shot dead (December 23) by the Dost's son Akbar, by 
whom he had been invited to a conference. Then (January 6, 
1842) began the fatal retreat. Out of a host of 16,000, or, in- 
cluding women and children, 26,000, with the exception of 70 
who were made prisoners, only one man (Dr. Brydon) escaped 
to carry the dismal tidings to General Sale, who still held 
Jellalabad, as Nott did Candabar. All the rest perished of cold, 
or by the bullets of the long jezails of the Afghans. At length 
came the spring, and the Army of Retribution, under General 
Pollock, who forced the Khyber Pass, joined Sale at Jellalabad, 
and entered Cabul (September 15, 1842), where Pollock was 
joined by Nott from Candahar. Akbar delivered up his captives ; 
and after burning the grand bazaar at Cabul, where Sir William 
Macnaghten's head had been exposed, and inflicting other pun- 
ishments on the Afghans, the British returned to India. Shah 
Soojah having met his death, Dost Mohammed again mounted 
the throne after all. The British regiments engaged at Cabul 
were the 3d Light Dragoons, 9th, i3th, 3ist, 4oth, and 4ist. 
The 1 3th, in particular, gained immortal renown by the heroic 
defence of Jellalabad, from October to April, against all the 
hosts of Akbar. 

The Earl of Ellenborough (1842-44) was now Governor- 
general. It was he who sent the Army of Retribution to 
Cabul. Other two wars occurred during his short administra- 
tion the Conquest of Scinde and the Gwalior Campaign. The 
Ameers of Scinde fancied, from the disasters in Afghanistan, 
that the British power was on the wane and Sir Charles Napier 
was ordered to take the field. He met the enemy at Meeanee, 
(February 17, 1843) near Hyderabad, 36,000 strong, all Beloochee 
mercenaries, fierce and warlike. Napier's little army numbered 
but 2600 fit for duty, yet he did not hesitate to attack them, 
and after a long and obstinate contest completely routed them, 
with the loss of 6000. Another victory at Dubba (March 24th), 
also near Hyderabad, finished the war, and Scinde was annexed 
to the Company's empire. The 22d were the heroes of this 


war; they bear " Meeanee," "Hyderabad," and "Scinde" on 
their colours. Gvvalior was at this time rent by factions, in- 
surrections, plots, conspiracies, and assassinations ; and in the 
interest of tranquillity the British interfered. The enemy were 
found drawn up (December 29, 1843) at the village of Maharaj- 
pore 18,000 infantry and cavalry, and 100 guns. The British 
and Sepoys, under Sir Hugh Gough, were 14,000 strong and 40 
guns. The Mahrattas fought with tlieir usual bravery, but 
after losing their guns, and more than 4000 of their numbers, 
they dispersed and fled. Neither was the British loss light : 
1 06 killed and 684 wounded. Another, though smaller, victory 
was won the same day at Punniar by General Grey, and the 
war was at an end. The 39th, "Primus in Indis" which 
fought at Plassey nearly a century before and the 4oth, bear 
u Maharajpore " on their colours. 

Lord Ellenborough was recalled by the East India directors, 
who thought his policy too warlike, and Sir Henry Hardirige 
(1844-48) was sent out to take his place; but scarcely had 
the new governor-general commenced his duties when he was 
called on to do battle with the Sikhs of the Punjaub. Not only 
were the Sikhs the bravest people in India, but they were 
highly disciplined, and possessed of a military organisation 
directed and controlled by French officers. Thinking more of 
Cabul than of Scinde or Gvvalior, and indulging themselves 
with the idea of the conquest of British India, the Sikhs crossed 
the Sutlej. The war was short and sharp. Sir Hugh Gough 
repulsed the invaders at Moodkee (December 18, 1845), an< ^ 
stormed the rectangular camp at Ferozeshah (December 22). 
Then came a pause, which the Sikhs misinterpreted. Crossing 
the Sutlej they threatened Loodiana, but at Aliwal (January 28, 
1846) they were met by Sir Harry Smith, who defeated them 
with great loss. The crowning battle of the war was fought at 
Sobraon (February 10, 1846) on the Sutlej, where the Sikhs 
had strongly entrenched themselves. The battle began at 6 A.M. 
After a three hours cannonade, the infantry (zoth, 53d, 8oth, 
and four regiments of Sepoys) advanced in line, leaped the 
ditch, swarmed up the walls, and jumping down engaged the 
Sikhs in their own camp, where for two hours the battle ebbed 
and flowed with the fortune of the combatants. However often 
they were checked, the British returned to the charge, and in 
the end discipline prevailed. The camp was won, and the 


Sikhs crowded the narrow bridge which led over to their reserve 
camp on the other side of the Sutlej. Many were drowned, 
many were struck down by the British shot, and in the battle or 
the retreat more than a third of the Sikh army perished. A few 
days later the British took possession of Lahore. In the four 
battles the British had 1351 killed and 4885 wounded. The 
3d, 9th and i6th Light Dragoons, Qth, loth, 29th, 3ist, 5oth, 
53d, 62d, and 8oth, were the British regiments engaged in the 
first Sikh war. 

The Marquis of Dalhousie (1848-55) succeeded Sir Henry 
Hardinge. A second Sikh war broke out in 1848. Lord 
Gough allowed himself to be drawn into a battle at Chillianwalla 
(January 13, 1849) wne n late in the evening; the 22d, rushing 
breathlessly on the guns, were almost annihilated, and the I4th 
Light Dragoons, thrown into disorder by a voice shouting 
' Threes about ! ' fled, panic-struck, before a body of bhang- 
maddened Ghorchurras. In the end, however, the Sikhs re- 
treated, and the British remained masters of the field. Our 
loss was terribly severe : 757 killed, and 1512 wounded. The 
surrender of Moultan (January 21) released General Whish, 
who reinforced Lord Gough. The enemy, 60,000 strong, 
including 1500 Afghan horse, and 59 guns, were met at Goo- 
jerat (February 21). Lord Gough halted his infantry out of 
range, and sent forward his artillery. The terrific fire of the 
British guns compelled the enemy to fall back. The infantry 
were then deployed and ordered to advance, the heavy guns and 
field batteries keeping pace with them, and unlimbering at 
successive points. The enemy were completely defeated, and 
their camp and baggage and 53 guns were captured. Then, at 
the proper moment, the cavalry was launched forward in pursuit. 
It was a total rout. The Sikhs dispersed over the country, and 
threw away their arms and accoutrements, in the hope that they 
might be taken for peasants or camp followers. The Afghans 
were pursued to Peshawur. By a proclamation, dated March 
30, 1849, the Punjaub was annexed to the British Empire in 
India. The Marquis of Dalhousie pursued a vigorous policy 
of annexation, and added no less than four kingdoms to the 
empire the Punjaub, Pegu, Nagpore, and Oude. 



Siege of Delhi Massacre of Cawnpore Defence of Lucknow Relief of 
Lucknow by Sir Henry Havelock Rescue of Lucknow by Sir Colin 
Campbell Siege of Lucknow Bareilly Victorious march of Sir Hugh 
Rose Capture of Jhansi and Gwalior. 

I HE Mutiny of the Sepoys burst upon the English in 
India like a thunderbolt. Everything seemed to be 
in the most perfect state of repose. The Marquis of 
Dalhousie, on resigning the reins of power to Viscount 
Canning, in 1856, penned a glowing picture of the country, 
describing its prosperity and peace. But it was only the 
treacherous calm before the storm. While the English in 
India were taking steps to render homage to Clive, " the Daring 
in War," on the hundredth anniversary of the battle of Plassey, 
the Mahommedans and some of the Hindus were preparing to 
celebrate the anniversary in a different fashion. A prophecy 
was current among them, said to have been made by a Punjaub 
fakir, or mendicant devotee, seven hundred years before, to the 
effect that after various dynasties of Mahommedans had held 
sway, the Christians should rule India for one hundred years ; 
that the Christians would then be expelled, and the true believers 
resume their former position. Whether they were moved by 
this prophecy, or by the wholesale annexations of the Marquis 
of Dalhousie ; whether they were inspired by the religious zeal 
which the proclamation of the Shah-in-Shah, the head of the 
faithful in the East, appealing to them to exterminate the 
Feringhees, was so well calculated to produce, or were merely 
stung by the snubs which General Anson, the commander-in- 


chief, levelled at caste ; whether they were moved by a patriotic 
dislike of the foreigner, or were actuated by no higher motive 
than the lust of power, and a desire to tax and oppress their 
countrymen at their own pleasure, the ringleaders found an apt 
instrument in the religious prejudices of the Hindu and Mahom- 
medan soldiery in the East India Company's service, and the 
introduction of the so-called greased cartridges for the new 
Enfield rifle, which was put into the hands of the Sepoys with- 
out a word of explanation or precaution. Now, this was a very 
serious matter for the Sepoys. In the East the fat of pigs and 
cows is regarded in a very peculiar light. The pig is as much 
held in abhorrence by the Mahommedans, as the cow is vener- 
ated by the Hindus; to touch the former with the lips is 
defilement to the one, and to touch the latter is sacrilege to the 
other. The religious feelings are different, but the results are 
the same. It was not difficult to persuade the Sepoys that the 
introduction of the so-called greased cartridges was part of a 
long-cherished design of the hated Feringhees to threaten purity 
of caste, to break down all religious distinctions, and convert 
them forcibly to Christianity. Such things had been done in 
India before, and why not again ? 

Intelligent observers among the English in India were, how- 
ever, not altogether easy in their minds. The transmission of 
the chupatty, or flat cake, from station to station and from hand 
to hand, boded no good. During the early days of 1857 
murmurs were heard at Dumdum, a great artillery arsenal six 
miles from Calcutta. Matters came to a crisis at Berhampore, 
where the ipth Native Infantry refused to make use of the 
cartridges served out to them, though the same which they had 
been long accustomed to use. Expostulation was of no avail, 
and at a general parade of the garrison (February 25), Colonel 
Mitchell so arranged matters that the refractory regiment found 
itself completely commanded by the loaded guns of a battery, 
supported by a battalion of Europeans. Ordered to ground 
arms, they were marched as disarmed prisoners to Berhampore, 
where (April 3) they were disbanded and turned adrift to spread 
their grievances through the upper provinces. Nearer and 
nearer the catastrophe was approaching. At Barrackpore, a 
private of the 34th Native Infantry, stationed there, named 
Mangul Pandy, inflamed with bhang and religious zeal, loaded 
his musket and drew his sword, and staggered about in front of 


the lines, uttering seditious cries (March 29). Lieutenant Baugli, 
adjutant, and Sergeant-major Hewson attempted to seize and 
disarm the fanatic, who in the struggle wounded them both, 
while the quarter-guard looked passively on. Mangul Pandy 
and the native officer of the guard were hanged next day, and 
that wing of the regiment was at once disbanded. The Oude 
Irregular Infantry were the next to mutiny, but Sir Henry 
Lawrence turned a battery of guns upon them, and they fled in 
disorder. Events were now fast ripening. At Meerut 90 
sowars (i.e., horsemen) of the 3d Light Cavalry were ordered 
out for carbine-practice with the new cartridges, and 85 who 
refused to use them were tried by court-martial, and sentenced 
to ten years' imprisonment. The sentence was read aloud at 
the general parade on Saturday, the 9th May, and then they 
were marched off to gaol. Next day (Sunday, May 10), while 
the Europeans were at church, the nth and 2oth regiments of 
Native Infantry rose tumultuously in their cantonments. The 
European officers rushed from church, seized their weapons, and 
hurried to the parade-ground, in the hope of pacifying them. 
While haranguing the 2oth regiment, Colonel Finnis was shot 
through the back and cut to pieces. It was tke signal for the 
outpouring of blood. Thirty other European officers were 
butchered, and their houses and bungalows given to the flames. 
The gaols were broken open, and the 85 sowars of the 3d Light 
Cavalry, with a great crowd of miscreants and felons of every 
description, \vere released. Through the supineness of the 
commandant at Meerut, a brave but aged veteran, the British 
troops were not called out till most of the mutineers had made 
good their escape. 

The mutineers went to Delhi, which now became the focus of 
the revolt. The aged pensioner there, the last Great Mogul and 
heir of the house of Timour, assumed the title of Emperor of 
India. The British were all brutally murdered. Unfortunately, 
though there was no British force in the place, Delhi was the 
principal depot for military stores in India. The mutineers 
assailed the magazine. It was guarded by only nine Englishmen 
Lieutenants Willoughby, Forrest, and Ray nor, Conductors 
Buckley, Shaw, and Scully, Sub-conductor Crowe, and Sergeants 
Edward and Stewart. These brave men defended the place for 
some time nine against thousands. When further defence was 
hopeless, Lieutenant Willoughby gave the order to fire the 


290 " CHARGE, AND CARRY THOSE GUNS ! " [1857. 

magazine. This was done by Conductor Scully, who lighted 
the trains in the most careful and methodical manner. The 
explosion took place immediately, hurling hundreds of the 
enemy into the air, or burying them in the ruins. Strange to 
say, most of the little band of defenders escaped alive, though 
much stunned, blackened, scorched, and burned. Willoughby 
and three others were afterwards murdered in a village on the 
road to Meerut. The brave Scully, who was much hurt, was 
killed by a sowar while trying to escape. Lieutenants 
Forrest and Raynor and Conductor Buckley reached Meerut 
in safety. 

Fortunately it is not our task to follow the progress of the 
mutiny, and describe the dreadful scenes that were enacted 
at every British station. Erelong the North- West Provinces 
were in a flame of insurrection. Lucknow, Agra, Cawnpore, 
and many other places, were either seized by the rebels, or so 
beset by them that no British commander was able to assist his 
brother officers. But the prompt energy of Sir John Lawrence 
saved the Punjaub, and the Sepoys were disarmed at Lahore, 
Peshawur, and Mooltan. Not only so, but he made the greatest 
efforts to collect a force for the recovery of Delhi, the heart 
and soul of the rebellion. A small army, under Sir Henry 
Barnard, was assembled at Alleepore, a day's march from the 
Imperial City. Besides artillery and sappers and -miners, it 
contained the whole, or portions, of the pth Lancers, 6th Dragoon 
Guards, 6oth Rifles, 75th, ist and 2d Bengal Fusiliers (Euro- 
pean), and a battalion of Goorkhas, the warlike race of Nepaul. 
But in all it amounted to scarce 3000 men. On the morning of 
the 8th June this force proceeded from Alleepore to Delhi. A 
three miles' march brought the British upon a body of mutineers," 
3000 strong, intrenched in a good position, with 12 pieces of 
cannon. The British artillery was unable to cope with the 
heavier guns of the enemy, who, thanks to British training, 
were able to use them with great precision. There was only 
one thing to be done. " Charge, and carry those guns ! " 
shouted Sir Henry Barnard. Forward rushed the 75th, under 
a stor-m of musketry, and drove the Sepoys in rout and terror to 
their next position. By 9 A.M. the Army of Retribution was 
in possession of the parade-ground and the cantonments, on the 
plateau two miles from Delhi. The British advanced position 


was a large strong brick house on the top of a high hill over- 
looking the city. Near this house three batteries were con- 
structed, and played on Delhi day and night. The mutineers 
had also three batteries, which played night and day on the 
British camp. 

Fighting before Delhi was almost of daily occurrence. The: 
mutineers generally sallied out in the afternoon, with a couple 
of guns, some cavalry, and a strong force of infantry, and 
skirmished up over the rocky entangled ground towards the 
large brick house on Hindoo Rao's hill. They were invariably 
repulsed, but not without the loss of many brave men who 
could ill be spared. But reinforcements arrived under Brigadier 
Nicholson, raising the besieging force to 9700 men, 4600 of 
whom were British. 

On the 4th September the long-expected siege-train arrived 
in camp ; and, what was of almost equal consequence, the com- 
mand passed into the hands of General Archdale Wilson, of the 
Bengal Artillery, who was seconded by several able officers, 
among whom was Colonel Baird Smith, of the Bengal Engineers, 
who had been called, early in July, to the defence by Sir H. 
Barnard. Colonel Baird Smith turned his attention to the sani- 
tary condition of the camp, to the strengthening of the position, 
and the carrying out of the plan which he had matured and 
talked over with friends before he had any thought of being 
called to such an onerous place. Colonel Baird Smith had been 
wounded early in his career in the foot, and was a prey to those 
scourges of the camp, scurvy and dysentery ; but he neither 
would nor could give himself the rest he needed, his tact and 
firmness being considered by his brothers-in-arms essential to 
secure resolute action. 

Forty heavy guns, mortars, and howitzers opened on Delhi ; 
nine 24-pounders battered the towers and curtain of the Cash- 
mere gate ; and on the i3th two breaches were reported prac- 
ticable for escalade near the Cashmere and Water bastions. 

The assault took place next morning (September 14, 1857). 
In his general order, General Wilson told the troops he need 
hardly remind them of " the cruel murder committed on their 
officers and comrades, their wives and children, to move them 
in the deadly struggle. No quarter should be given to the 
mutineers ! At the same time, for the sake of humanity and 
the honour of the country they belong to, he called upon them to 


spare all women and children that may come in their way." 
The stormers were divided into five columns of about a thousand 
men each. The first, composed of detachments of the 75th, 
ist Fusiliers, and 2d Punjaub Infantry, under Brigadier Nichol- 
son, to storm the breach near the Cashmere bastion. The 
second, composed of Her Majesty's 4th and 8tb, and the 2d 
Fusiliers, under Brigadier Jones, to carry the breach in the 
Water bastion. The third, composed of the 52d Oxford Light 
Infantry, the Kumaon battalion, and the ist Punjaub Infantry, 
to blow open and enter by the Cashmere gate. The fourth, com- 
posed principally of Ghoorkas, the Guides, and the Cashmere 
contingent, under Major Reid, to enter by the Lahore gate. The 
fifth, consisting chiefly of native troops, formed the reserve. 

At one o'clock in the morning the men turned out in silence, 
the batteries keeping up an incessant fire on the city, and 
noiselessly moved down to the trenches. There they lay down, 
awaiting the signal, which was to be given at daybreak, by the 
blowing in of the Cashmere gate. The party selected for this 
hazardous operation were Lieutenants Home and Salkeld, with 
Sergeants Smith and Carmichael, and Corporal Burgess of the 
Royal Sappeps and Miners, Bugler Hawthorne of the 52d, to 
sound the advance, and a number of native sappers, covered by 
the fire of the 6oth Rifles. By some mistake it was daylight 
before the party reached the spot. Lieutenant Home rushed 
through the outer barrier gate, and across the broken drawbridge, 
followed by four men, each carrying a bag of powder. Having 
arranged his bags, under a heavy fire directed through the open 
wicket, he jumped into the ditch. The firing party then fol- 
lowed, with four more bags of powder and a lighted port-fire. 
Lieutenant Salkeld, while endeavouring to fire the train, was 
shot through an arm and leg. He sank, but handed the port- 
fire to Sergeant Carmichael, who fell dead in the attempt to 
apply it. Corporal Burgess seized the fatal port-fire : he too 
fell mortally wounded, but not before he had successfully fired 
the train. The mighty gate was burst into fragments ; Bugler 
Hawthorne sounded the advance, and with a cheer the 52d 
burst through the gateway and secured the barrier. Of all the 
explosion party only Sergeant Smith and Bugler Hawthorne 
lived to be rewarded with the Victoria Cross. 

But Delhi was not won without a severe struggle, for the 
rebels knew they fought with halters round their necks. At 


the Cashmere breach the fight was long and fierce. The ladders 
were thrown down, and some of the stormers fell to rise no 
more. Others, less injured, tried again, and the groans of the 
wounded and the feeble cries of the dying were overpowered 
by the shouts and shrieks of the combatants. The first to 
mount the breach was Lieutenant Fitzgerald of the 75th; he 
fell dead on the spot. But others followed; the enemy gave 
way, the British were in at last, and the old colours were hoisted 
over the broken wall. The first and second columns now dashed 
along the circuit of the walls, but on nearing the Lahore gate 
they were stopped by a narrow street, barricaded, and swept by 
some pieces of artillery. The brave Brigadier Nicholson fell 
mortally wounded, with Major Jacob and Lieutenant Speke. 
By nightfall, however, the British were in possession of all 
the northern front of Delhi. Progress was made day by day. 
At dawn on the i6th the magazine was stormed by Colonel 
Deacon and the 6ist, and so completely were the enemy taken 
by surprise that the artillerymen dropped their port-fires and 
ran, though the breach was commanded by six pieces crammed 
with grape. Next morning the bank was captured, and General 
Wilson was able to turn his guns on the palace. By the 2ist, 
after seven days of continuous fighting, the place was swept of 
the enemy ; as the rising sun gilded the domes and minarets of 
the city, the guns on the battlements thundered forth a royal 
salute, and in the palace of the Great Mogul, Wilson and his 
officers drained a goblet to the health of Her Majesty as Empress 
of India. The storming of Delhi cost us 1 145 in killed, wounded, 
and missing. The king and his infamous sons, the chief insti- 
gators of the atrocities, had fled to Hoomayon's tomb, but were 
discovered by Captain Hodson of the Guides. In respect for 
his hoary hairs and his ninety years, Hodson spared the king, 
who was sent as a prisoner for life to Tongu in Pegu ; but the 
sons he pistoled, and hung their naked bodies by the neck in 
the mayor's court, in presence of the people. 

Most of the mutineers who escaped from Delhi fled to Luck- 
now, which was now the great centre of the rebellion. But, 
meanwhile, we must turn to Cawnpore, the scene of the blackest 
treachery and most revolting cruelty that ever disgraced human 
nature. Sir Hugh Wheeler was in command here, with some 
300 English troops, and the ist, 53d, and 56th Bengal Native 


Infantry, and the 2d Native Cavalry. Besides the combatants, 
there were in the cantonments upwards of 700 European civi- 
lians merchants, railway officials, shopkeepers, and women and 
children. At two o'clock on the morning of the 5th June, the 
native cavalry rose in a body, gave a great shout, mounted their 
horses, set fire to the bungalow of their quartermaster-sergeant, 
took possession of 36 elephants in the commissariat cattle-yard, 
and marched off to join the mutineers. The three infantry 
regiments followed. Burning bungalows were now seen in all 
directions, and an alarm-gun was fired to call the English popu- 
lation of the city into the safety of the entrenchment. This was 
a sort of stronghold which Wheeler had wisely constructed, so 
as not to be totally unprepared in the event of the mutiny 
spreading to the native troops under his command. It stood 
on the grand military parade, measuring about 200 yards in each 
direction, and enclosing two barrack hospitals and some other 
buildings. Its boundary was formed by a trench and a breast- 
work of earth, intended to be armed and defended in case of need. 

Early next morning four regiments of mutineers were seen 
advancing to besiege the entrenchment. They had with them a 
battery of six guns, and about ten in the morning opened fire. 
Instantly, the bugle sounded within the entrenchment, and every 
man, from the highest officer to the lowest clerk or drummer, 
flew to arms, and took up the position assigned to him. For 
three weeks the little handful of Englishmen heroically defended 
themselves against the bloodthirsty horde, but famine began to 
press them sore. The treacherous Nana Sahib, a name which 
will be held in everlasting infamy, opened negotiations through 
a Mrs. Greenway, whom he had in his hands, and in an evil 
hour Wheeler consented to surrender, on promise of a safe-con- 
duct to Allahabad. Besides a savage desire for vengeance on 
all who bore the British name, Nana Sahib's object was to ob- 
tain possession of three or four lacs of rupees which he knew to 
be in the entrenchments. 

On the morning of the 2yth June, the survivors marched down 
to the landing-place on the Ganges, to go down the river to 
Allahabad, but before the embarkation was completed, they 
were startled by the report of a masked battery of three guns. 
The dreadful truth now became evident ; the false-hearted Nana 
had given orders for the slaughter of the hapless Europeans. 
Volley after volley of musketry was poured upon the unfortur 


nates, who were shot dead by the score. Those who tried to 
swim away were picked off. A few boats rowed hastily across 
the river, but there a body of rebels intercepted all escape. The 
ruffians on both banks waded into the water, and seizing the 
boats within reach sabred all those in them yet remaining alive. 
The women, many of whom were wounded, were reserved for a 
worse fate. Of the men only four succeeded in escaping to tell 
the dreadful tale. The massacre completed, Naua Sahib caused 
it to be proclaimed, by beat of tom-tom, throughout Cawnpore 
and the surrounding district, that he had entirely conquered the 
British, and that the period of their reign in India was com- 

Wheeler's critical position had been well known at Calcutta, 
and the utmost exertions were made to relieve him. On the 7th 
July too late, alas ! Brigadier-general Sir Henry Havelock 
set out for Allahabad with a small movable column of about 
2000 men. It was a long march of 130 miles between Allaha- 
bad and Cawnpore, and the worst season of the year j the heat 
was intense, and the monsoon having set in the rain fell in tor- 
rents, rendering the country one great morass. Ekit Havelock's 
little band was of the right heroic stuff, and pressed on in the face 
of all difficulties to the relief of their unfortunate countrymen 
for as yet they were ignorant of their fate. They had their first 
brush with the enemy at Futtehpore (July 12), a town about 
midway in the line of march. Thinking they had only the ad- 
vanced guard, under Major Renaud, to deal with, the Sepoys, 
3500 strong and 12 guns, boldly maintained their position, a 
very strong one, and one which might easily have been defended 
against a force thrice as large as Havelock's. Their army was 
posted in front of the city, where were many enclosures of great 
strength, with high walls, villages, hillocks, and mango groves. 
Havelock placed his eight guns in and near the main road (from 
Allahabad to Cawnpore), protected by 100 riflemen of the 64th. 
The infantry came up at deploying distance, while the small 
body of cavalry mounted volunteers moved forward on the 
flanks. The action was soon decided. The Enfield rifle had 
only recently been issued to part of the army, and the rebels 
knew little of the length and accuracy of its aim. When the 
riflemen advanced and set to work, the Sepoys shrank back in 
amazement. And when Captain Maude, dashing over the road 
and through the swamps with his artillery, poured in his fire, 


they could stand it no longer, and three guns were abandoned at 
once. Havelock steadily advanced ; the Madras Fusiliers and 
the ySth Highlanders on the right, the 64th in the centre, and 
the 84th and Ferozepore regiment of Sikhs on the left. In their 
advance the soldiers had to wade up to the knees in mud and 
water, for the rains had covered the fields on either side of the 
road to the depth of a couple of feet. As the British pressed 
forward, the enemy's guns were captured one by one, and the 
rebels, driven from the hillocks, villages, enclosures, and mango 
groves, retreated through the streets of the town to a mile beyond, 
where they were put to final flight. 

By this victory Havelock became master of Futtehpore, and 
parked 12 captive guns. The list of casualties was perhaps the 
lightest that ever accompanied such success. Not' a single 
British soldier was hurt in the action, and of the native troops 
only 6 were killed and 3 wounded. But 12 British soldiers 
were struck down by the tropical sun, and never rose again. 
"To what is this astonishing effect to be attributed?" said 
Havelock in his general order of the following day. " To the 
fire of the British artillery, exceeding in rapidity and preci- 
sion all the brigadier-general has witnessed in his not short 
career ; to the power of the Enfield rifle in British hands ; to 
British pluck that good quality which has survived the revolu- 
tion of the hour ; and to the blessing of Almighty God on a 
most righteous cause the cause of justice, humanity, truth, and 
the good government of India." 

On the 1 4th July Havelock again pushed forward. Next 
day he dislodged a strong party of rebels from the village of 
Aong, four miles from Pandoo Nuddee. The bridge over this 
place was strongly defended, but the rebels were quickly driven 
off, and the passage secured. 

When Nana Sahib heard that Havelock had defeated his 
troops at Pandoo Nuddee, and cleared the road to Cawnpore, he 
ordered the massacre of all the English women and children in 
his power; and between four in the afternoon and nine next 
morning, 206 persons, mostly women and children of gentle 
birth, were barbarously butchered, and their bodies thrown into 
a dry well, situated behind the building in which they had been 

Ignorant of this brutal massacre, Havelock pushed swiftly 
forward from Pandoo Nuddee, and at an early hour next morn- 


ing (July 1 6) came in sight of the forces of Nuna Sahib, who 
had taken up a position at the village of Aherwa, where the 
road to the cantonment branches off from the Grand Trunk Road 
to Cawnpore city. The position which the JSTana occupied was 
very strong. His troops had cut up both roads and rendered 
them impassable, and his entrenchments were armed with seven 
heavy guns. Havelock, seeing that his men would be shot down 
in great numbers before the entrenchments could be carried by 
a direct attack in front, resolved on a flank movement on the 
enemy's left. After giving his exhausted troops two or three 
hours' rest in a mango grove, until the fierce heat of the sun 
should be somewhat abated, he gave the word to advance. The 
Madras Fusiliers led, followed by two guns ; then came the ySth 
Highlanders, followed by the central battery of six guns ; the 
64th and 84th had two guns more in the rear ; and the regiment 
of Ferozepore Sikhs closed the column. The flank movement 
was screened for a considerable distance by clumps of mango, 
but when the ISTana at length discovered it, he sent forward a 
large body of horse, slewed round his guns, and opened fire with 
shot and shell. Havelock, however, quietly continued his ad- 
vance until the enemy's left was completely turned. He then 
ordered his little column to form in line, and while the British 
guns opened fire upon the rebel batteries, the infantry advanced 
in direct echelon of regiments, covered by a wing of the Fusiliers 
as skirmishers. 

Then came a series of operations in which were strikingly dis- 
played the superb qualities of the British infantry. Villages 
were attacked and captured one after another by mere fragments 
of regiments. Excluding the native troops, the Madras Fusiliers 
were only about 350 strong, the y8th scarcely 300, the 64th not 
much more than 400, and the 85th about 150. The 64th, 84th, 
and Sikhs pushed forward on the left, and gallantly captured 
two guns planted at the village of Aherwa. On the right were 
three guns, strongly posted behind a lofty hamlet, well en- 
trenched. Havelock directed the 7 8th to advance, " and never," 
he says, "have I witnessed conduct more admirable. They 
were led by Colonel Hamilton, and followed him with surpassing 
steadiness and gallantry under a heavy fire. As they approached 
the village they cheered, and charged with the bayonet, the pipers 
sounding the pibroch. Need I add that the enemy fled, the 
village was taken, and the guns captured." Havelock him- 

298 FLIGHT OF THE ENEMY. [1857. 

self followed close behind when this charge was made, and after 
the 78th were halted in rear of the village, rode up to them 
and exclaimed, "Well done, 7 8th, you shall be my own regi- 
ment ! Another charge like that will win the day ! " After 
taking breath a few moments, the regiment pushed on at the 
double to another village across the road, arid sent the enemy 
flying pell-mell. " I never saw anything so fine," wrote an eye- 
witness ; " they went on with sloped arms, like a wall, till 
within a hundred yards, and not a shot was fired. At the word 
' Charge ! ' they broke like a pack of eager hounds, and the 
village was taken in an instant." 

The enemy were now completely driven from their original 
position, and in full retreat towards Cawnpore ; but Nana Sahib 
made a last desperate effort to retrieve the fortunes of the day, 
by opening fire from a reserve 24-pounder which he had planted 
on the cantonment road, in such a position as to cause Havelock's 
people considerable loss. Under cover of the fire of this piece 
the rebel infantry once more rallied, while two large bodies of 
their horsemen rode forward over the plain and threatened the 
British infantry, which was again drawn up in line, front 
changed to rear. Captain Maude endeavoured to bring forward 
the guns to reply, but the artillery cattle were so tired they 
could not drag them onward to the desired position. The men 
were suffering, not only from the fire of the gun, but from the 
Sepoy musketry ; the sun was setting, darkness was at hand, 
and there was not a moment to be lost. " That gun must be 
taken by the bayonet," cried Havelock, riding up ; " no firing, 
64th and 78th, and remember that I am with you." The 
enemy sent in round-shot, and, at 300 yards, grape ; but Have- 
lock cheered on the men, who rushed along the road, and never 
slackened their pace until they reached the gun and captured 
it. The honour of taking this gun was more especially due to 
the men of the 64th, whose position in the line placed them 
directly in front of it. 

This last charge was irresistible ; the enemy, losing all heart, 
emptied their muskets at random, and gave way in total rout. 
Their flight was accelerated by four of the British guns, which 
had by this time been got up the road. In their retreat the 
Sepoys blew up the magazine at Cawnpore, and then went on 
to Bithoor, where their leader, the arch-fiend Nana Sahib, had 
his palace. 

1857.] "THINK OF US ! " "AVENGE US ! " 2Q9 

Next day (July 17) the British entered Cawnpore. Imagine 
their grief, their indignation, and their rage, when they learned 
the hideous revelations of the slaughter-room and the well, 
when they came upon the mangled bodies of upwards of 200 
women and children as yet scarcely cold. One letter says, " The 
house was alongside the Cawnpore hotel, where the Nana lived. 
I never was more horrified. I am not exaggerating when I 
tell you that the soles of my boots were more than covered with 
the blood of these poor wretched creatures. Portions of their 
dresses, collars, children's socks, and ladies' round hats lay about, 
saturated with blood ; and in the sword-cuts on the wooden 
pillars in the room, long dark hair was sticking, carried by the 
edge of the weapon, and there hung in tresses a most painful 
sight. I picked up a mutilated Prayer-book ; it appeared to 
have been open at page 36 of the Litany, where I have little 
doubt these poor creatures sought and found consolation in that 
beautiful supplication ; it is there sprinkled with blood." An- 
other letter : " It is an actual and literal fact that the floor of 
the inner room was several inches deep in blood all over ; it 
came over men's shoes as they stepped. Tresses of women's 
hair, children's shoes, and articles of female wear, broad hats 
and bonnets, books, and such like things, lay scattered all about 
the rooms. There were marks of bullets and sword-cuts on the 
wall not high up, as if men had fought but low down, and 
about the corners where the poor crouching creatures had been 
cut to pieces." Some of the officers, by carefully examining 
the walls, found scraps of writing in pencil or scratched in the 
plaster, such as, "Think of us," "Avenge us," "Oh, oh! my 
child, my child." Officers and men did think of the poor vic- 
tims, and the thought nerved their arms in many a bloody 
charge, and gave their countenances a look of grim satisfaction 
when they saw mutineers blown by fifties from the mouths of 
the guns. 

But it was no time to mourn over the past. Brigadier Inglis 
and his handful of British, with many women and children, were 
besieged in the Residency at Lucknow by the bloodthirsty horde 
of mutineers who held the city, and the fate of the defenders of 
Cawnpore might, be theirs at any moment. As early as April 
there had been burning of bungalows and cartridge troubles in 
the cantonment of Lucknow. On the 3d May, as we have seen, 


the 3d Oude Infantry was broken into fragments. Sir Henry 
Lawrence, the chief authority, both military and civil, in Oude, 
took prompt measures to protect his fellow-countrymen from the 
storm which he saw was brewing. In particular, he fortified the 
English quarter of Lucknow, or the Residency as it was called, 
from that being the principal building in the centre; he brought 
up all the women and children and the sick into this part of the 
town, and stored it with six months' provision for a thousand 
persons, and plenty of ammunition. On the last two days of May 
lie had the vexation to see most of the other native troops under 
his command march off to join their countrymen in mutiny, 
and during the month of June was informed that the mutineers, 
after reducing nearly all the districts of Oude, were approaching 
Lucknow as a hostile army. On the last day of June, hearing 
that 6000 of the rebels were encamped eight miles distant on 
the Fyzabad Road, Lawrence marched out with 700 men and n 
guns to give them battle. Misled, either by accident or design, 
by informants on the road, he fell into an ambush of the enemy 
at Chinhut. Nothing daunted, he manfully struggled against 
superior numbers, and confidently looked forward to victory ; 
but at the critical moment the Oude artillerymen proved 
traitors, overturned their six guns into the ditches, cut the traces 
of their horses, and went over to the enemy. This defection 
rendered a retreat imperative ; the retreat soon became a rout, 
and officers and men fell rapidly, to rise no more. A sad day 
that for the English in Lucknow, all of whom, soldiers and 
civilians, men, women, and children, now found themselves hotly 
besieged in their own quarters by tens of thousands of deadly 
foes thirsting for their blood. On the second day of the siege 
the gallant Lawrence was mortally wounded by a shell, and the 
command devolved on Brigadier Inglis. 

" There does not stand recorded in the annals of war," wrote 
Viscount Canning, Governor-general of India, " an achievement 
more truly heroic than the defence of the Residency of Luck- 
now." For the long period of eighty-seven days, the English, both 
soldiers and civilians, endured hardships which only the dread 
of their wives and children meeting the fate of those of Cawnpore 
could have nerved them to undergo. It was no impregnable fort 
which sheltered them, but simply a few houses in a large garden, 
with a low wall on one side and an earthen parapet on the other; 
and these houses were in the middle of a large city, of which the 


buildings completely commanded them. Such was the Residency. 
Not an open spot of it but was liable to be swept by the mus- 
ketry of the enemy, shot in security from the loopholes of the 
neighbouring houses ; not a building but was exposed to their 
heavy guns, posted within fifty yards of the entrenchment. Nor 
were the mutineers despicable assailants, for they had learnt the 
art of war in all its branches from the English themselves. They 
advanced no less than twenty mines against the outposts, and 
if but one of these had completely succeeded, Lucknow would 
have been a second Cawnpore. All ranks and all classes, civi- 
lians, officers, and soldiers,^bore an equally noble part in the 
defence. All descended into the mine, all handled the shovel for 
the interment of putrid bullocks all, accoutred with musket 
and bayonet, relieved each other on sentry, without regard to dis- 
tinctions of rank. Day and night all were on duty, either repell- 
ing real attacks, or standing prepared because of the false alarms 
which the enemy were constantly raising to harass the small and 
exhausted force. Sleep was only to be had by snatches. Fatigue, 
want of all proper sustenance, cholera, and small-pox, claimed 
their victims as well as the shot of the enemy ; and as the force 
diminished, the difficulty of defending all the posts necessarily 
increased. Amongst the women and children the mortality was 
frightfully great ; and by the end of the siege there were only 
24 English gunners to work 30 guns ! The 32d and 48th greatly 
distinguished themselves in the defence of Lucknow. 

Havelock knew the desperate condition of Lucknow, and 
burned to rescue its defenders. But, first, it was necessary 
to chastise Nana Sahib, who had collected his routed forces, 
and was preparing to make a stand to defend his palace at 
Bithoor. The enemy were defeated with the loss of 16 guns, the 
powder magazine was blown up, and the Nana's palace at Bithoor 
reduced to ashes. Then, leaving Brigadier-general Neill, who 
had arrived from Allahabad with 227 men, in command at 
Cawnpore, with his small band of about 1500 Havelock com- 
menced his heroic march to relieve Lucknow. As expedition was 
of the first importance, all baggage was left behind, and though 
it was the season of the monsoon, and the whole country was one 
vast morass, the army took the field without tents or covering 
of any kind, their only chance of shelter being the deserted and 
ruined hamlets on the road. 


Five days were spent in the passage of the Ganges, which at 
Cawnpore varies from 500 to 2000 yards in width, with a rapid 
current, and it was the 25th July before Havelock found him- 
self in Oude, and fairly on the road to Lucknow. On the 29th, 
he encountered the mutineers at Oonao and at Busserut Gunge, 
the latter a walled town with wet ditches. In the two battles, he 
was successful in capturing 19 guns ; but, notwithstanding these 
brilliant victories, he reluctantly found himself compelled to make 
a retrograde movement towards Cawnpore. Besides officers and 
men killed and wounded in battle, numbers had been struck 
down by the sun j while others, through exposure to swamps and 
marshes, had been seized with cholera, diarrhoea, and dysentery. 
In short, Havelock was losing at the rate of 50 men a day, and 
his force was further weakened by the necessity of taking all the 
sick and wounded with him, as he could leave no men behind 
to keep open the communications with Cawnpore. He fell back 
to Mungulwar. While he was lying entrenched there, General 
Neill sent over a dozen men, and with this small reinforcement 
Havelock once more took the field. He met the enemy at their 
old position of Busserut Gunge, and drove them from the town 
with severe loss ; but his force being again diminished by sick- 
ness and the sword, he was once more compelled to fall back. 
This time, he resolved to retire to Cawnpore, now threatened on 
all sides by the Dinapore mutineers, the Gwalior contingent, and 
Nana Sahib at Bithoor, The rebels, however, had no intention 
of permitting him to repass the Ganges quietly, and again assem- 
bled at Busserut Gunge. A third battle was fought near this 
place (August 12). The action was decided by a charge of the 
7 8th, who rushed upon the enemy's redoubt and captured two 
out of three of the horse batteries with which it was armed. Lieu- 
tenant Crowe, of the 7 8th, the first man to climb into the redoubt, 
received the Victoria Cross. By evening the next day, the whole 
of Havelock's little army had crossed the Ganges from the Oude 
bank to the Cawnpore bank, by a bridge of boats and a boat 
equipage, which had been prepared by the greatest exertions. 
Nana Sahib had taken advantage of Havelock's absence in Oude 
to re-collect a motley assemblage of troops near Bithoor, for the 
purpose of re-establishing his power in that region, and again 
attacking Cawnpore. Accordingly, after giving his troops a couple 
of days' rest, Havelock marched out with about 1300 men, 
almost all that Neill and he could spare between them, and came 

1857.] THE BAYARD OF INDIA. 303 

upon the enemy, 4000 strong, and completely routed them (August 
1 6). During the next month Havelock and his small force 
rested at Cawnpore, while reinforcements arrived from Calcutta. 
In their wonderful campaign of thirty-seven days, Havelock's 
little army had fought ten battles in each case against an 
enemy vastly superior in numbers ; and now, reduced by shot, 
shell, sabres, bullets, heat, fatigue, and disease, its fighting power 
was almost extinguished. 

On the 1 6th September, Sir James Outram arrived at Cawn- 
pore with reinforcements, consisting of the 5th Northumberland 
Fusiliers, the goth Perthshire Light Infantry, detachments of the 
64th, ySth, and 84th, and an artillery company, yet only 1500 
men in all. Sir James had been appointed to the military com- 
mand of the Cawnpore and Dinapore divisions, and as such might 
have claimed the command of the expedition, but with a magna- 
nimity worthy of " the Bayard of India," as Sir Charles Napier 
called him, he resolved not to rob Havelock of the glory of re- 
lieving Lucknow, and rode on his staff as a simple volunteer. 

Havelock's army now mustered 2500 men of all arms, and was 
divided into two brigades. The first consisted of the ist Madras 
Fusiliers, 5th Northumberland Fusiliers, 64th, 84th, Maude's 
bullock battery, and the Volunteer Cavalry, about 150 strong. 
The second brigade consisted of the ySth, Qoth, Ferozepore Sikhs, 
Olphert's horse battery, and a body of Irregular Cavalry. At 
length everything was ready for another attempt to relieve Luck- 
now, where the garrison was still successfully holding out, though 
in the utmost straits ; and the British army crossed the bridge 
of boats and once more took the field (Sept. 21). Driving the 
enemy from Mungulwar, where they had been busily fortifying 
their position for some weeks, the army pushed forward in 
column of route over the well-known scene of its former struggles 
at Busserut Gunge ; forced the village of Bunnee, on the Sye ; 
and about two in the afternoon of the 23d came in sight of the 
Alum Bagh, a country palace situated in a large walled park to 
the south-east of the city of Lucknow, and about four miles from 
the Residency. The rebels were strongly posted, their left 
oecupying the enclosure of the Alum Bagh, and their right and 
centre some low hills. The British had to advance along the 
trunk road between morasses, and suffered much from the 
enemy's guns ; but these once passed, the troops deployed into 
line to the right and left, and, charging through a sheet of water, 


quickly added another to their list of victories. The men passed 
the night on the ground they had won, and as they had been 
marching for three days under a perfect deluge of rain, irregu- 
larly fed and badly housed in villages, Havelock gave them one 
whole day's rest on the 24th. 

At length came the 25th September, the eventful day when 
the beleagured garrison of Lucknow were to see the faces of those 
for whose arrival they had so long anxiously wished and fer- 
vently prayed. Havelock got his troops under arms early in the 
morning, resolved that before night he should clear the three or 
four miles between him and the Residency at all costs. Sir 
James Outram commanded the first brigade, which led, with all 
the artillery. The second brigade, under Havelock, followed in 
support. A canal skirts the south-east side of Lucknow, and a 
bridge crosses the canal at Char Bagh. Here the enemy had de- 
termined to make a stand and dispute the entrance to the city. 
The bridge was defended by 6 guns in position, while a numer- 
ous force of rebel Sepoys occupied the gardens and enclosures of 
the villages, from which they poured a destructive fire on the ad- 
vancing troops. Nearly every man of Captain Maude's two 
guns was killed or wounded, and volunteers had to be called for 
from the infantry to replace the artillerymen. Lieutenant Arnold 
and 19 men of the Madras Fusiliers boldly charged the bridge 
a discharge of grape swept most of them down : but before the 
enemy could reload, the main body of the regiment advanced 
with a cheer, rushed on the guns, and bayoneted the gunners. 
From the Char Bagh bridge, the Cawnpore road runs in an 
almost straight line to the Residency, and the distance is less 
than two miles ; but the rebels had cut up the road and crossed 
it by palisades, so that Havelock made a detour by a narrow 
roundabout road, which for some distance skirts the left bank of 
the canal. The column marched with little molestation until it 
came opposite the Kaiser Bagh (King's Palace), where two guns 
and a body of mutineers were placed, and here the fire was so 
tremendous that, in Havelock's words, " nothing could live under 

The 7 8th Highlanders had been left at Char Bagh, to hold the 
position until the whole column, with the ammunition and stores, 
had passed ; and as the lane through which the army marched 
was very narrow, and the heavy guns cut it up very much in 
their passage, rendering it a work of great difficulty to get the 

I857-] THE CHAR BAGH. 305 

long line of commissariat carts and cattle along, the 78th were 
in a few hours separated from the main body by a long distance. 
No sooner did the enemy perceive that the Highlanders were 
isolated than they returned in swarms to attack them, and, 
bringing two guns down to within 500 yards of the position, 
' opened a destructive fire of shot and shell. This became so in- 
tolerable that the Highlanders charged both guns at the point of 
the bayonet, spiked the one and threw the other into the canal. 
At length the main body of the army had passed over the Char 
Bagh bridge, bag and baggage, and the duties of the 7 8th in that 
position being over, they quitted it and proceeded along the 
narrow lane taken by the column on the left bank of the canal ; 
thus forming the reargua'rd of the army. The mutineers imme- 
diately seized the bridge, and planting upon it a gun, enfiladed 
the narrow lane along which the Highlanders were marching, 
while their infantry lined the right bank of the canal, and 
under cover of a wall poured in a galling musketry fire. The 
regiment suffered much loss, but after about a mile and a half 
the road diverged from the banks of the' canal and led up by 
Major Banks r s house. A little beyond this four streets meet,-aud 
the question arose what road to take, to the right or to the left ? 
The main body of the army was completely out of sight,- but it 
was evident that the r'oad to the left led straight up to the Resi- 
dency. This road, therefore, the 78th took, with the volunteer 
cavalry and a company of the Qoth, who had been sent back by 
Havelock to their assistance, on a report that they were hard 
pressed.- They ran the gauntlet of a whole street of fine houses,- 
loopholed and occupied by the rebels, tintil they got to the gate 
of the Kaiser Bagh, where they came in reverse upon the battery 
that was firing upon the main body of the army, who had taken 1 
the roundabout road to the right. After spiking the guns, they 
again pushed on under the walls of the palace, and about four in' 
the afternoon joined the main body of the army near the entrance- 
to the Furrah Buksk, where they got a short rest. 

The Residency was now only half a' mile distant, and it was- 
here the rebel Sepoys were collected in greatest force. The 
Highlanders and Sikhs were ordered to take the lead. " They 
pushed on with a desperate gallantry," says Havelock, 'led 
by Sir James Outram and myself and staff, through streets of 
flat-roofed, loopholed houses, from which a perpetual fire was 
kept up ; and overcoming every obstacle, establish ed> themselves 


within the enclosure of the Residency. To form an idea of the 
obstacles overcome, reference must be made to the events that 
are known to have occurred at Buenos Ayres and Saragossa." 

The deliverers were received with unbounded joy. " We ran 
up to them, officers and men without distinction, and shook 
them by the hands how cordially, who can describe?" " Our 
new friends," says Mr. Rees, " were hungry and thirsty, but sat 
down to a repast that was spread for them unsparingly. But 
one great grief, one great sorrow damped the universal joy the 
death of one of their bravest and most beloved leaders, General 
Neill. Yet even this loss was momentarily forgotten, and the 
evening found us dancing to the sound of the Highlanders' 
pibroch. The remembrance of that happy evening will never 
be effaced from my memory. Of course, I could not sleep that 
night. It was three o'clock when I retired to bed." 

" Never," says a lady, " shall I forget the moment to the latest 
day I live. It was almost overpowering. We had no idea they 
were so near, and were breathing air in the portico as usual at 
that hour, speculating when they might be in not expecting 
they could reach us for several days longer ; when suddenly, just 
at dark, we heard a very sharp fire of musketry close by, and 
then a tremendous cheering. An instant after, the sound of the 
bagpipes, then soldiers running up the road, our compound and 
verandah filled with our deliverers, and all of us shaking hands 
frantically, and exchanging fervent ' God bless you's ! ' with the 
gallant men and officers of the 7 8th Highlanders. Sir James 
Outram and staff were the next to come in, and the state of 
joyful confusion and excitement was beyond all description. The 
big, rough-bearded soldiers were seizing the little children out of 
our arms, kissing them with tears rolling down their cheeks, and 
thanking God they had come in time to save them from the fate 
of those at Cawnpore." 

Lucknow was relieved, but the united forces were too few to 
attempt to retreat, with 1500 sick, women, and children, to 
Cawnpore. Distracted by the double duty of protectors and 
combatants, the little army would have been found too weak for 
either. Indeed, so far from being able to escape to Cawnpore, 
fifty or sixty miles distant, the British cooped up in the Resi- 
dency could hold no communication with the detachment under 
Major M'Intyre which held' the Alum Bagh could neither send 
aid to it, nor receive aid from it. There was nothing for it, 


then, but to continue to hold the position till Sir Colin Campbell, 
the commander-in-chief of the forces in India, should be able to 
advance with a new army. 

After remodelling the whole military machinery of the empire, 
Sir Colin Campbell started from Calcutta on the 28th October, 
and arrived at Cawnpore after a week's journey, in which he 
narrowly escaped capture by the rebels. Remaining at Cawnpore 
no longer than was necessary to organise his various military 
arrangements, he crossed the Ganges, and on the Qth November 
joined Hope Grant's column at Buntara, six miles short of the 
Alum Bagh. Here he waited three days for reinforcements, arid 
on the 1 2th advanced to the Alum Bagh, where he left the 75th 
in garrison, and formed the former garrison 400 men of the 
7th, 64th, and 78th into a battalion of detachments. His 
whole force now numbered something over 4000, including the 
8th, 53d, 93d, 700 men of the 23d and 82d, 400 men of the 
7th, 64th, and 78th, the 2d and 4th Punjaub Cavalry, the gth 
Lancers, detachments of the ist, 2d, and 5th Punjaub Cavalry, a 
detachment of Hodson's Horse, sappers and miners, artillery, the 
naval brigade, engineers, and military train in all, 700 cavalry, 
3400 infantry, and a considerable strength in the artillery arm. 
The naval brigade, under Captain Peel of the Shannon, was about 
500 strong, and at least 100 of the men were sailors of the mer- 
chant service, who, on learning that there was " something " 
going on up at Lucknow, had agreed to join the brigade with 
great willingness. 

As Sir Colin Campbell's object was not to strengthen the 
beleaguered garrison of Lucknow, but to clear a path by which 
it might safely retire, he did not advance by the direct Cawn- 
pore road, and set about cutting his way through the heart of the 
city, as Havelock and Outram did two months before. The 
plan of approach he proposed to himself was, to make a flank 
march on the right, and. taking the city on the eastern side, 
batter down the enemy's defences step by step until he reached 
the Residency. A clear passage would thus be opened between 
the heart of the city and the river Goomtee, by which the be- 
leaguered garrison might retire in comparative safety. This 
plan was the more feasible, as there was a large open space at 
this end of the city, containing many mosques, palaces, and other 
large buildings, and but few of those deep narrow lanes, the capture 


of which would have required a larger force than he had at his 
command. His tactics were therefore to consist in a series of 
partial sieges, each directed against some particular building, 
and each capture to form abase of operations for attacks on other 
buildings farther in advance. The principal buildings to be en- 
countered on the route were the Dil Khoosha (Heart's Delight) 
palace and park, the Martiniere College (Martin's college for 
half-caste children) both on the east side of the canal, and there- 
fore in the suburbs the Secunder Bagh (Alexander's Garden), 
the Shah Nujeef (a domed mosque with a garden), the palace 
mess-house, the Matee Mohul (Pearl Palace), and the Kaiser Bagh 
(King's Palace). 

At nine in the morning (November 14) the flank march com- 
menced* The 4th Punjaub Rifles moved on in skirmishing order, 
supported by the 93d, while the naval brigade kept up a heavy 
fire from the great guns on the left. The enemy replied with 
spirit, but they were driven, first from the Dil Khoosha, and then 
from the Martiniere College, across the canal, and the troops 
bivouacked on the ground they had won. 

Next morning (November 15) the troops were under arms by 
six o'clock. All the baggage was left at the Dil Khoosha, and 
each soldier's haversack was filled with provisions for three days. 
The men were formed in quarter-distance column in a part of the 
canal where the bed was dry, and commenced their advance about 
nine o'clock, the line of march lying close along the western bank 
of the Goomtee. For a mile and a half or two miles no opposi- 
tion was met with : not until the skirmishers of the 53d came 
upon a strong body of the enemy, posted in the loopholed build- 
ings and garden enclosures of a cluster of houses near the 
Secunder Bagh. The enemy were quickly driven from this post, 
and some guns were brought up to batter a breach in the south- 
west angle of the Secunder Bagh a palace with a high-walled 
enclosure of stone masonry, about 120 yards square, and held by 
the enemy in great force. The assault was delivered by the 4th 
Punjaub Rifles and the 93d (Sutherland) Highlanders, supported 
by a part of the 53d and the battalion composed of detachments 
of the yth, 64th, and ;8th. " Never," said Sir Colin Campbell 
in his despatch, " was there a bolder feat of arms." On went 
Sikh and Highlander side by side in a glorious and exciting rush. 
The breach was so narrow that only one man could enter at a 
time, but a few, having forced their way in, kept the mutineers 


at bay, until they were joined by a considerable number of their 
comrades, when they boldly advanced into the open square. In 
a short time a company of the 93d, which had been sent to clear 
a serai on the left, advanced to the main gate and blew it open, 
killing a number of the enemy in two large recesses on either side ; 
then, pressing their way in, they rushed to the support of their 
comrades who had entered by the breach. The men of the 53d, 
too, forced an entrance through a window away on the right of 
the building. All assembled in the square, and now commenced 
a terrible struggle. The mutineers, knowing there was no escape 
for them, fought with the courage born of despair ; the British, 
roused to fury by memories of Cawnpore, dashed furiously on, 
giving no quarter. For hours the terrible work continued, and 
by three in the afternoon the square of the Secunder Bagh was 
littered with the dead bodies of 2000 Sepoys, almost all bearing 
the deep gash of the Sikh tulwar, or the small but not less 
deadly bayonet wound. During the desperate struggle within, 
Captain Stewart of the 93d, with two companies of that regi- 
ment and a few men of the 53d, dashed forward, seized two of 
the enemy's guns which were raking the road, and immediately 
after effected a lodgment in the European barracks, thus securing 
the position on the left. For this achievement Captain Stewart 
was elected by the officers of the regiment for the Victoria Cross. 
Captain Peel's naval siege train, with a field battery and some 
mortars, had meanwhile gone forward to batter the Shah Nujeef. 
A heavy cannonade was maintained for three hours, but with no 
visible effect, the Sepoys all the while keeping up a destructive 
fire of musketry. As it would soon be dark, fiery Sir Colin 
began to get impatient, and riding up to the 93d (his favourite 
regiment), then resting after its fatigues " I had no intention," 
he said, " of employing you again to-day, but the Shah Nujeef 
must be taken ; the artillery cannot drive the enemy out, so you 
must with the bayonet." The order was given to advance, Sir 
Colin accompanying the regiment himself. The artillery re- 
doubled its fire, and under cover of the iron storm the 93d went 
forward to the nearest angle of the building, exposed to a galling 
musketry fire. A single glance showed that the wall was quite 
uninjured by the artillery ; it was twenty feet high, there was no 
breach, and there were no scaling ladders. A party of the regi- 
ment pushed round the angle to the front gate, but found it per- 
fectly unassailable. Determined to effect an entrance somehow 


or other, Captain Peel dragged forward two of his big guns, and 
opened fire on the masonry protecting the gate, at the distance 
of only a few yards. " Captain Peel," says Sir Colin Campbell, 
" led up his heavy guns with extraordinary gallantry to within a 
few yards of the building, to batter the massive stone walls. 
The withering fire of the Highlanders effectually covered the 
naval brigade from great loss ; but it was an action almost un- 
exampled in war. Captain Peel behaved very much as if he had 
been laying the Shannon alongside an enemy's frigate." But it 
would not do j the heavy shot made no impression, and as even- 
ing was fast closing in, the guns were withdrawn, and the 
wounded collected. Unwilling to give up the attempt without 
one effort more, Brigadier Adrian Hope took 50 men of the 93d, 
and crept cautiously through the brushwood, where a sergeant 
of the regiment named Paton discovered a spot so injured that 
he thought an entrance might be effected. The rent was just 
large enough for one man to be pushed through at a time, and 
after several of the officers and men had scrambled up and stood 
on the inside of the wall, the sappers were sent for to enlarge the 
opening. More men followed, and the small party then made a 
dash for the main gate, and threw it open to the rest of the regi- 
ment, who entered just in time to see the enemy in their white 
dresses gliding through the garden and disappearing in the dark- 
ness of the night. For his valuable services on this day Sergeant 
Paton received the Victoria Cross. 

Havelock on his side had not been idle ; and next day 
(November 17) the 53d and goth captured the mess-house, 
hospital, and Matee Mohul, and communication with the Resi- 
dency was opened. The British were now in possession of the 
whole river side of Lucknow, and a path was cleared by which 
the garrison might retire. 

The women and children, the sick and wounded, were all re- 
moved, Sir Colin covering his real intentions by bombarding the 
Kaiser Bagh. On the night of the 2 2d, while the enemy hourly 
expected the assault, he withdrew the garrison and all the 
Europeans through his chain of out-pickets. "The retreat," 
says the commander-in-chief, " was admirably executed, and was 
a perfect lesson in such combinations. Each exterior line came 
gradually retiring through its supports, till at length nothing 
remained but the last line of infantry with the guns, with which 
I remained myself, to crush the enemy, had he dared to follow 


up the pickets. The only line of retreat lay through a long and 
tortuous lane, and all these precautions were absolutely necessary 
to insure the safety of the force." The joy of the garrison at 
their deliverance was clouded by the death of the great and good 
Sir Henry Havelock, who died at the Dil Khoosha camp 
(November 25) of dysentery, brought on by overfatigue and the 
severe privations of the campaign. 

Sir Colin Campbell fully intended to afford the troops a few 
clays' rest at the Alum Bagh ; but on the 2 ;th he heard very 
heavy firing in the direction of Cawnpore, and no news having 
reached him from that place for several days, he feared some 
disaster, and felt it necessary to push forward as quickly as pos- 
sible. Leaving Outram in command of part of the forces at the 
Alum Bagh, to keep the enemy in check, and hold the place as 
a base for future operations, he hurried on with his enormous 
train of 2000 women, children, sick, and wounded to Cawnpore, 
whence he sent it forward under a sufficient escort to Allahabad. 

When the cause of the heavy firing was ascertained, it afforded 
Sir Colin Campbell little satisfaction. General Windham, who 
had been left to maintain Cawnpore, had suffered himself to be 
surprised by the mutineers of the Gwalior contingent. After 
their victory the Sepoys took possession of the town, from which 
it was necessary to dislodge them. Their position was one of 
great strength. Their left was posted on some wooded high 
grounds, thickly intersected with nullahs and ruined bungalows, 
between the city and the river ; their centre occupied the city 
itself, and lined the narrow barricaded streets and houses and 
bazaars overhanging the Ganges Canal; while their right stretched 
away into the plain. Their number was estimated at 25,000 
men and 40 guns. The battle was fought on the i6th December. 
Campbell saw that the wall of the town really divided the enemy 
into two parts, and that if the right were vigorously assailed ifc 
would be defeated without assistance being able to come to it 
from the centre and left. General Windham, therefore, held the 
entrenchment beside the bridge of boats over the Ganges, and 
cannonaded the enemy's left, so as to draw their attention to that 
side, and lead them to accumulate their troops there. After a 
few hours of this cannonade, Brigadier Greathed advanced with 
his brigade (2d Punjaub Infantry, 8th, and 64th), and engaged 
in a sharp musketry battle across the canal, to keep the enemy's 

312 ROUT OF THE SEPOYS. [1857-58. 

centre in play ; while Brigadier Walpole (with the 2d and 3d 
battalions of the Eifle brigade and a wing of the 38th) crossed 
the canal just above the town, and, skirting the wall, effectually 
prevented all communication between the right and the centre 
and left. These arrangements completed, Brigadiers Hope 
Grant and Inglis (with the 23d, 32d, 42d, 53d, 82d, 93d, and 
Sikhs) assailed the enemy's right, while the cavalry and horse 
artillery crossed the canal about a mile farther up than the ex- 
treme right of the rebels, and turned their flank. Captain Peel 
and his naval brigade assisted in the direct attack of Grant's and 
Inglis's brigades in front, and received the highest praise for the 
energy with which they pushed forward their guns. " I must 
here draw," says the commander-in-chief in his despatch, " atten- 
tion to the manner in which the heavy 24-pounder guns were 
impelled and managed by Captain Peel and his gallant sailors. 
Through the extraordinary energy and goodwill with which the 
latter have worked, their guns have been constantly in advance 
throughout our late operations, from the relief of Lucknow till 
DOW as if they were light field-pieces. The service rendered 
by them has been incalculable. On this occasion there was 
beheld the sight of 24-pounder guns advancing with the first line 
of skirmishers." 

The rout of the enemy was complete. The cavalry and horse 
artillery, followed by the 42d, 53d, and Sikhs, pursued them 
along the road to Calpee for fourteen miles, cutting them up 
terribly. The slaughter became so great that the mutineers, 
despairing of effecting their retreat by the road, or in anything 
like order, threw away their arms and accoutrements, and, dis- 
persing over the country, took to the jungle. As soon as the 
rout of the Gwalior contingent commenced on the right, Nan a 
Sahib's men in the town were pushed vigorously. In this part 
of the field the fortune of the day was decided by General Mans- 
field, with some guns, the Rifles, and the main body of the 93d, 
securing possession of the Subader's Tank in rear of the enemy's 
left. By sunset the Nana's men were completely routed, and 
during the night they retreated northward by the Bithoor road, 
leaving all their guns, fifteen in number, and a vast quantity of 
ammunition, provisions, and camp equipage. 

Campbell now directed all his energies to the siege of Lucknow. 
By the beginning of March, 1858, he was again at the Alum 


Bagh, with 1500 artillery, 1700 engineers, 4000 cavalry, and 
18,000 infantry a force of 25,000 men, and 36 guns; and 
during the course of the siege he was joined by the Ghoorka 
army under Maharajah Jung Bahadoor, numbering about 9000 
men, and 24 guns. On a reconnaissance of the enemy's position, 
he found that the new lines of defence, constructed since the 
rescue in November, were both vast and well planned. Treat- 
ing the Kaiser Bagh as a sort of citadel, the mutineers had raised 
three lines of defence between it and the besieging army. Al- 
most every house and enclosure was loopholed and fortified, 
strong counterguards were constructed in front of gateways, 
and isolated bastions, stockades, and traverses were placed across 
the principal streets. It was computed that there were between 
30,000 and 50,000 Sepoys in the city, 50,000 volunteers and 
armed retainers of the turbulent chieftains of Oude, and 100 
guns. The city itself contained an ordinary population of 
300,000, and all went about more or less armed with match- 
lock, pistol, gun, tulwar, and shield. Sir Colin's reconnaissance 
convinced him that no immediate attack could safely be made 
upon the enemy's position by infantry, without a great sacrifice 
of life, and as he was well supplied with artillery, he resolved 
to make a good use of that arm before sending his foot soldiers 

The Dil Khoosha palace was first seized. Sir James Outram 
was then directed to cross with a portion of the army to 
the left bank of the Goomtee, and drive the enemy before 
him, till he was enabled to enfilade the works on the canal 
the first line of the enemy's defences (March 9, 1858). 
After a few hours Sir Colin, being informed by telegraph of 
Outram's success, ordered the naval brigade to open with four 
guns on the Martiniere College. As soon as breaches were 
practicable, the 42d, 93d, and 4th Punjaub Rifles, with the 38th 
and 53d in support, were ordered forward to the assault the 
42d Royal Highlanders to lead the attack, and nothing but the 
bayonet to be used. Silently, at first, the 42d advanced, four 
companies in skirmishing order and the other five in line. At 
200 yards they gave a wild cheer and rushed on at the double 
to the favourite tune of "The Campbells are Coming." The 
Sepoys did not wait to cross bayonets, but leaped from the 
trenches and ran towards the city, closely pursued by the 420!, 
and at a greater distance by the rest of the stormers, who pushed 

314 A STERN STRUGGLE. [1858. 

on and took possession of the whole of the enemy's first line of 
defences. So ended the operations of the gth. 

At sunrise next morning a few heavy guns were opened 
against Banks's bungalow, and, after the artillery had done its 
work, several companies of the 42d advanced and took posses- 
sion of the house and adjacent gardens, with little opposition. 
The capture of this place enabled the commander-in -chief to 
proceed against the enemy's second line of defence, of which the 
Begum Kotee (Begum's Palace), strongly fortified and garrisoned 
by the Sepoys, was the key. Brigadier Napier now Lord Napier 
of Magdala the chief engineer, brought up his batteries. Two 
68-pound naval guns commenced breaching, while the whole 
building was subjected to a destructive shower of shell from 16 
mortars and cohorns placed in Banks's bungalow. All the night 
of the loth, and all next morning, the guns roared and the iron 
storm rattled on the devoted Begum Kotee. Between three and 
four in the afternoon of the nth, two breaches were reported 
practicable, and the 93d Highlanders, the 4th Punjaub Rifles, 
and 1000 Ghoorkas, were ordered forward to the assault, the 
93d to lead the attack. The storming of the Begum Kotee was, 
Sir Colin Campbell said, " the sternest struggle which occurred 
during the siege." The place was held by a large portion of 
eight picked Sepoy regiments, numbering in all about 5000 men, 
who had sworn to die in defence of this position, the key to all 
the fortifications of Lucknow. Nothing had been left undone to 
obstruct the passage of the stormers through the buildings. Not 
a room, not a door, not a gallery, but was fortified and bar- 
ricaded ; not a window, loophole, or crevice but was occupied by 
the enemy. But steadily, if slowly, the stormers continued to 
advance, in small parties of twos and threes, and at length all 
emerged into the first square of the palace, where the great 
body of the enemy stood drawn up prepared for battle. Then 
occurred one of those dreadful fights at close quarters, of 
which we have already seen an example. No quarter was 
asked or given. As darkness was closing in, about seven 
o'clock, all resistance ceased, the enemy retreating to the 
Kaiser Bagh. More than 1000 of their dead bodies were 
buried next day, and as the wounded were probably twice or 
thrice as many more, few of them could have escaped unhurt. 
The desperate nature of the struggle may^be inferred from one 
example : Lieutenant and Adjutant M'Bean of the 93d en- 


countered eleven Sepoys in succession, and after a Land to hand 
struggle killed them all ; a feat which was rewarded with the 
Victoria Cross. Dr. Russell visited the place next morning and 
says, " I saw one of the fanatics, a fine old Sepoy, with a grizzled 
moustache, lying dead in the court, a sword-cut across his temple, 
a bayonet thrust through his neck, his thigh broken by a bullet, 
and his stomach slashed open, in a desperate attempt to escape. 
There had been five or six of these fellows together, and they had 
either been surprised and unable to escape, or had shut themselves 
up in desperation in a small room, one of many looking out on the 
court. At first, attempts were made to start them by throwing 
in live shell. A bag of gunpowder was more successful, and out 
they charged, and with the exception of one man were shot and 
bayoneted on the spot. The man who got away did so by a 
desperate leap through a window amid a shower of bullets and 
many bayonet thrusts." 

The Emaumbarra (or private mosque of Gazee-u-deen-Hyder), 
a magnificent building between the Begum Kotee and the Kaiser 
Bagh, was assaulted by sap and bombardment, and taken by Briga- 
dier Franks on the i4th. Not only so, but Major Brasyer's Sikhs, 
pressing forward in pursuit of the enemy, entered the Kaiser 
Bagh along with them ; and the third or inner line of defence 
was thus turned without a single gun being fired from it. 
Before the night closed in, the mess-house, the Tara Kotee, the 
Matee Mohul, and the Chutter Munzil, were all occupied by 
the British troops. Moosa Bagh was captured by Sir James 
Outram and Sir Hope Grant on the ipth, and by the 2ist the 
rebels had been everywhere put down, and Lucknow was once 
more under British rule. 

Lucknow was captured, but unfortunately the heart of the 
rebellion was not crushed. Fleeing from Oude, the rebels over- 
ran the equally mutinous province of Rohilcund. At Bareilly 
in that province were some of the best known rebel leaders 
Khan Bahadoor Khan, Nana Sahib, and two shahzadas or 
princes of the royal family of Delhi. It became painfully 
evident that a summer campaign would be necessary, and the 
army before Lucknow was broken up into three divisions the 
Azimgurh field force, under Sir Edward Lugard, the Lucknow 
field force, under Sir Hope Grant, and the Rohilcund field force, 
under Brigadier-General Walpole. Sir Colin Campbell joined 


the Rohilcund field force, and marched against Bareilly, now the 
focus of the rebellion. On approaching the town (May 5, 1858) 
his videttes detected a body of rebel cavalry, and Sir Colin 
immediately formed his army in order of battle. To the fire 
of our field guns the enemy replied from a battery set up at the 
entrance to the town, but they made little or no attempt to 
fortify or defend the nullah that crosses the high road, or the 
bridge that spans the nullah, and soon fell back to occupy the 
topes, or clumps of trees, and the ruined houses of the canton- 
ments. As every tope and house had to be shelled in succes- 
sion, the advance was necessarily slow. 

About ten o'clock, the 4th Punjaub Rifles were sent forward 
to occupy the old cavalry lines, and the 42d and the 79th High- 
landers were ordered to their support. Mr. Russell, who was 
with the army, describes what followed : " As soon as the 
Sikhs got into the houses, they were exposed to a heavy fire from 
a large body of matchlockmen concealed around them. They 
either retired of their own accord, or were ordered to do so ; at 
all events, they fell back with rapidity and disorder upon the 
advancing Highlanders. And now occurred a most extra- 
ordinary scene. Among the matchlockmen, who, to the 
number of 700 or 800, were lying behind the walls of the 
houses, was a body of Ghazees or Mussulman fanatics, who, 
like the Roman Decii, devote their lives with solemn oaths 
to their country or their faith. Uttering loud cries of 'Bis- 
millah, Allah, deen, deen ! ' these fanatics, sword in hand, 
with small circular bucklers on the left arm, and green cum- 
merbungs, rushed out after the Sikhs and dashed at the left 
wing of the Highlanders. With bodies bent and heads low, 
waving their tulwars with a circular motion in the air, they 
came on with astonishing rapidity. At first they were mistaken 
for Sikhs, whose passage had already somewhat disordered our 
ranks. Fortunately, Sir Colin Campbell was close up with the 
42d ; his keen quick eye detected the case at once. 'Steady, 
men, steady, close up the ranks. Bayonet them as they come 
on.' It was just in time, for these madmen, furious with 
bhang, were already among us, and a body of them sweeping 
around the left of the right wing, got into the rear of the regi- 
ment. The struggle was sanguinary but short. Three of them 
dashed so suddenly at Colonel Cameron that they pulled him 
off his horse before he could defend himself. His sword fell 

1858.] A HOT SUMMER. 317 

out of its sheath, and he would have been hacked to pieces in 
another moment but for the gallant promptitude of Colour- 
sergeant Gardiner, who, stepping out of the ranks, drove his 
bayonet through two of them in the twinkling of an eye. The 
third was shot by one of the 42d. Brigadier Walpole had a 
similar escape ; he was seized by two or three of the Gbazees, 
who sought to pull him off his horse, while others cut at him 
with their tulwars. He received two cuts on the hand, but he 
was delivered from the enemy by the quick bayonets of the 42d. 
In a few moments the dead bodies of 133 of the Ghazees, and 
some 1 8 or 20 wounded men of ours, were all the tokens left of 
the struggle." 

The result of the day's fighting was that the British entered 
Bareilly on the yth March, but the main body of the enemy had 
made their escape the evening before. After the fall of Bareilly 
the Ilohilcund field force was broken up, and placed under the 
command of various officers, to scour the country. The strong- 
holds were quickly captured or evacuated at the approach of the 
victorious British arms, but the great body of the rebels in- 
variably contrived to make their escape. In this desultory kind 
of warfare this stamping out of the fire the troops suffered 
comparatively little loss from the rebels, but they had a more 
deadly enemy to contend with in the climate. The summer of 
1858 was an exceptionally hot one even for India the hottest 
within the memory of man since 1833 and the British suf- 
fered severely in their " continuous and unexampled marching " 
after an enemy who was always reported to be near, was fre- 
quently in sight, but could seldom be caught. At the battle 
of Bareilly, ten men were sun-struck and fell dead in the 
ranks, and nine others, officers and men, had to be car- 
ried from the field, utterly exhausted with the heat. It was 
pitiable to see the poor fellows lying in the dhoolies breathing 
their last. The veins of the arm were opened, and leeches 
applied to the temples, but, notwithstanding every care, the 
greater number of cases proved fatal, and even of those who 
recovered, there were few who were fit for active service again, 
except after a long interval of rest. 

The veteran Sir Colin Campbell seemed to be the man of all 
the army least incommoded by the extraordinary heat. " The 
natives, when any of them sought for and obtained an interview 
with him, were a good deal surprised to see the commander of 


the mighty British army in shirt sleeves and a pith hat ; but 
the keen eye and the cool manner of the old soldier told that he 
had all his wits about him, and was none the worse for the 
absence of glitter and personal adornment." 

All during the summer there was much suffering from sun- 
stroke, diarrhoea, and fever. Sometimes there was a little hard 
fighting as when 40 men of the 42d were cut off in a dense 
jungle from the remainder of the force, and, assisted by only 
40 men of the Kumaon levies, raw recruits, who could with 
difficulty be held to their posts, kept 2000 rebels of all arms at 
bay from sunrise to sunset, the old soldiers cheering on the 
others after all the officers had fallen. Two companies of the 
regiment arrived at the scene of action about five o'clock in the 
afternoon, and the rebels were defeated with great slaughter, 
and two of their guns captured. 

The Central India field force, organised at Bombay and 
Madras, and commanded by Major-generals Sir Hugh Rose, 
K.C.B., Whitlock, and Roberts, performed distinguished service 
during the mutiny. It prevented the spread of the mutiny 
south of the Gangetic provinces, afforded support to our staunch 
allies the Mahratta chieftains Scindia, Holkar, and others, and 
cleared Central India and Rajpootana of Sepoy mutineers, rebel 
rajahs, and scoundrel budmashes. The greatest interest attaches 
to the operations of Sir Hugh Rose, whose victorious campaign 
equals in brilliancy that of Havelock. Starting from Sehore 
(January 12, 1858), seizing town after town arid fort after fort, 
relieving the British garrison at Saugor, and defeating the 
enemy in the field wherever he could find him, Sir Hugh pressed 
on to Jhansi, the principal town of Bundelcund. 

Like Cawnpore, Jhansi had become a name hateful to British 
ears. Early in June the year before, all the British residents 
there, upwards of 50 in number, men women, and children, 
were mercilessly slaughtered by a crowd of mutinous Sepoys, 
irregular sowars, disaffected police, and fanatic Mussulmen, and 
not one left to tell the tale. The massacre at Jhansi was not 
attended by those revolting accompaniments which added so 
indescribably to the horrors of Cawnpore, but it had one dark 
feature which even that was without it was committed at the 
instigation of a woman, the Ranee or chieftainess of Jhansi. 
This Ranee was a remarkable woman. Under the impression, 

1858.] 7 IST AND 86TH AT CALPEE. 319 

right or wrong, that she had been unjustly treated by the East 
India Company, she espoused the cause of the mutiny, and was 
certainly one of the most able leaders the rebels had abler than 
the Moulvie of Fyzabad or the Begum of Oude, and beyond all 
comparison better and braver than Nana Sahib or Tanteea Topee. 
Personally she was a perfect Amazon. She rode like a man, 
bore arms like a man, and fought like a man, leading her troops 
herself, and exhorting them to contend to the last against the 
hated Feringhees; and, but for her unbounded licentiousness 
and cruelty, bore a stamp of heroism which would have com- 
manded respect. 

Sir Hugh Rose arrived before Jhansi on the 2ist March, 1858, 
and immediately commenced to besiege the town and fort, occu- 
pied by some eleven or twelve thousand rebel Bundelas and muti- 
nied Sepoys. Tanteea Topee marched to the relief of his brother 
rebels shut up in the beleaguered city, but Sir Hugh defeated 
and pursued him, slew 1500 of his men, and took all his guns 
and ammunition (April i). After this victory Jhansi was taken 
by breach and escalade (April 2), and 3000 of its defenders 
slain ; but the Ranee had evacuated the place during the night, 
with such of her troops as were able to break through the cordon 
which Rose had endeavoured to draw round the city. 

After the fall of Jhansi, the main body of the Bundelcund 
rebels assembled at Calpee, on the road to Cawnpore, and Rose 
set out to attack them. The Ranee and Tanteea Topee en- 
deavoured to dispute his passage at a place towards Kooneb, 
but Rose drove them from their entrenchment, entered the 
town, cut them up severely, pursued them to a considerable 
distance, and captured eight guns. The heat was intense, and 
many men fell dead in the ranks from sunstroke. 

The affair at Kooneh was followed by a great battle at Calpee. 
The enemy were 15,000 strong, but a grand bayonet charge put 
them completely to the rout, the yist and 86th working terrible 
execution among the dense masses opposed to them." This 
victory was a great blow to the rebels, for there were three 
cannon foundries at Calpee, with all the requisites for a wheel 
and carnage manufactory ; and there fell into the hands of the 
British, with* guns, 24 standards of the mutinied regiments, and 
a great quantity of ammunition and ordnance stores. 

After securing Calpee, and sending out flying columns in pur- 
suit of the enemy, Sir Hugh Rose considered that his exhausted 

320 "TOO LATE!" SAID THE VETERAN. [1858-59. 

troops might take rest. On the ist June he issued a glowing 
address, beginning: " Soldiers! you have marched more than a 
thousand miles, and taken more than a hundred guns. You 
have forced your way through mountain passes and intricate 
jungles, and over rivers. You have captured the strongest forts, 
and beaten the enemy, no matter what the odds, wherever you 
met him." But his labours were not yet ended. On the very 
day this address was issued, the rebels defeated at Calpee 
engaged in battle with Maharajah Scindia, our firm ally. 
Scindia being deserted by a large body of his own troops, the 
day went against him, and the rebels entered Gwalior, the 
strongest and most important fortress in Central India. Scindia 
appealed to the British for assistance, and Sir Hugh Rose again 
took the field. Defeating the rebels in the encampment at 
Gwalior, by a series of well-planned manoeuvres he captured both 
the town and the fort (June 19), the latter situated on a high 
isolated hill peculiar to the plains of India. 

The Ranee of Jhansi fell in fighting beside Scindia's capital. 
In trying to make her escape over a canal she was cut down by 
a hussar ; she still endeavoured to get over, when a bullet struck 
her on the breast, and she fell to rise no more. Tanteea Topee 
escaped from Gwalior, taking with him all Scindia's crowns, 
jewels, and treasures, to the value of .3,000,000 sterling. 
He managed to elude the British forces for many months, but 
was at last captured through the treachery of Maun Singh, and 
hanged at Sippree (April 18, 1859). The rebel leaders were 
thus cut off one by one, and the mutiny was gradually stamped 
out. By the beginning of 1859 India was again at peace. 

The Mutiny led to the passing of an important Act of Parlia- 
ment (Sept. 1858), transferring the government of India from 
the Company to the Queen, who, by another Act, recently passed, 
has been proclaimed Empress of India. 

Sir Colin Campbell was raised to the peerage as Lord Clyde. 
" Too late ! " said the war-worn veteran ; "there is nobody alive 
to whom I care to tell the news." 



Capture of the Taku Forts The Anglo-French troops enter Pekin Destruc- 
tion of the Chinese Emperor's Summer Palace. 

HE second war with China was closed, as we have 
seen, by the treaty of Tientsin ; but it soon became 
apparent that the Chinese Government had no in- 
tention of acting in good faith. While Mr. Bruce, 
the British envoy, was about to ascend the Peiho for the 
purpose of having the treaty of Tientsin ratified, he was 
fired on at the mouth of the river. This could not be 
borne, and Admiral Hope, who had succeeded Sir Michael 
Seymour as commander-in-chief in Chinese waters, resolved to 
storm the offending Taku forts. The attack was made (June 25, 
1859) by a division of gunboats, consisting of the Starling, 
Janus, Plover, (flying the admiral's flag), Cormorant, Lee, 
Kestrel, and Banterer, with the Forester, Nimrod, and Haughty 
in reserve. At 2 P.M. the Opossum commenced operations by 
pulling up the iron stakes that lay between her and the boom. 
The gunboats then advanced, and the Chinese unmasked their 
batteries. From the first it was evident the gunboats were 
completely overmatched. In the Plover Lieutenant Rason was 
killed, the admiral was wounded, and of the crew of 40 men 
but nine remained unhurt. Admiral Hope shifted his flag to 
the Opossum, which was disabled and rendered unmanageable. 
Nothing daunted, though he had received a second wound, the 
admiral shifted his flag to the Cormorant, and, lying on the 


deck, issued his orders with his usual coolness, until he was 
compelled to resign the command to Captain Shadwell. The 
Kestrel was sunk ; the Lee and Haughty were disabled ; but the 
Opossum and the Plover, reinforced with fresh crews, returned 
into action, and after four hours' cannonading, only five of the 
enemy's guns replied. 

It was now determined to land and storm the forts, and 500 
men pushed on shore, under Captains Shadwell andVunsittart, and 
Colonel Lemon of the marines, supported by Commanders Heath 
and Commerell, and Major Fisher of the engineers. While the 
men were struggling through the mud left by the receding tide, 
the enemy opened a heavy fire of great guns and musketry. 
Vansittart was struck in the neck, and had his leg taken oft 7 by 
a cannon-ball ; Shad well's foot was smashed by a jingall-ball ; 
and Lemon fell severely wounded. Still, the survivors pressed 
on, and passed the first ditch, which was nearly empty, but the 
second ditch, close under the walls, was full of water, and there 
remained but 200 men alive and unwounded. A retreat was 
inevitable. In this disastrous affair in which a party of French 
seamen, under Captain Tricault, took part we had 80 men 
killed and 350 wounded, many of them mortally ; the Cormorant, 
Lee, and Plover were lost, and the Haughty, Kestrel, and Starling 
were only got afloat with difficulty. 

The repulse at the Taku forts was not suffered to remain long 
unretrieved. An Anglo-French expedition was sent out to 
Hong-Kong 10,000 British, under Sir Hope Grant, of Indian 
fame, and 5000 French, under General Montauban. The 
British troops employed on the expedition were (Cavalry 
Brigade) ist Dragoon Guards, Probyn's Sikh Cavalry, Fane's 
Cavalry, and Milward's Battery; (ist Division of Infantry, ist 
Brigade) ist Royal Scots, 3 ist, Loodianah Infantry; (2d Brigade) 
2d or Queen's, 6oth Rifles, i5th Punjaub Infantry, Barry's and 
Desborough's batteries, and Engineers ; (2d Division of Infantry, 
3d Brigade) 3d or Buffs, 44th, 8th Punjaub Infantry; (4th 
Brigade) 6yth, 99th, igth Punjaub Infantry, Mowbray's and 
Gavin's batteries, and Graham's Engineers ; (Reserve) Guns of 
Position, the Madras Sappers, the Mountain Guns, and Rotton's 

On the ist August (1860) the expedition, consisting of 66 
sail, commenced disembarking on the bare mud of Pehtang, 12 
miles north of the Peiho. The first brush with the enemy took 


place on tlie I2th at Sinho, where a body of 7000 Tartar horse- 
men, armed with bows and arrows, spears, and a proportion of 
matchlocks, attempted to arrest the invaders. In vain; the 
Armstrong guns now employed for the first time tore through 
their ranks, and laid many of them low. Our loss was but two 
Sikhs killed and a dozen wounded. 

Advancing next day, the i3th, along the causeway which 
bridged the muddy flat, the allies attacked Taugku. The 
fortifications of this place consisted of a semicircular, crenellated 
mud wall, three miles long, and terminating at both ends on the 
banks of the river. 200 of the Rifles, under Major Eigaud, 
advanced in skirmishing order, to support the Armstrong 
batteries and the Q-pounders. After the guns came the Royal 
Scots and 3ist, then the 6oth Rifles and i5th Punjaubees. 
Some Chinese batteries and junks that annoyed the column of 
attack were silenced by a small party of blue-jackets from the 
Chesapeake, who crossed the river in a boat, routed the Tartars, 
spiked the guns, and left the junks in a blaze. The Chinese in 
front opened fire, at 800 yards, from their wall pieces and heavy 
guns, but these were soon silenced by the superior artillery of 
the allies, and Sir John Michell ordered forward the infantry, 
who poured into the works across a little dam. " The Rifles," 
says an eye-witness, " were first in, and bowled over the Tartars 
as they scampered with precipitancy from the wall across the 
open into the village ; while rockets, whizzing fiercely through 
the air over their heads, in graceful curves, spread dismay among 
their retiring numbers and accelerated their speed. The fugitives 
escaped along a causeway to a village farther down the river, 
whence they crossed, by means of a floating bridge, to the 
village of Taku." 

The way was now clear for the assault of the Taku forts. 
The upper north fort, the key to the whole, was stormed on the 
2ist. The British force told off for the assault was 2500 men, 
composed of the 44th, 6yth, marines, and engineers, under 
Brigadier Reeves; the French force, about 1000 men, under 
General Collineau. We had 16 guns and 3 mortars in action, 
the French 4 guns ; and at daybreak all these opened fire at 
about 800 yards from the doomed fort. The Chinese replied 
briskly, among their guns being 2 English 32-pounders, taken 
from the gunboats sunk the year before. Suddenly, about 6 
A.M., when the fire waxed hotter and hotter, a tall black pillar 

324 sm HOPE GRANT'S DESPATCH. [1860. 

shot up from the midst of the fort, and rising to a great 
height, burst, with a loud, booming sound, into a vast shower 
of wood and earth. A magazine had blown up, and half an 
hour afterwards a similar catastrophe occurred in the lower 
north fort. 

On this, says Sir Hope Grant in his despatch, " the field-guns 
were all advanced to within 500 yards of the forts, and redoubled 
their efforts. The fire of the forts having almost entirely 
ceased, a breach was commenced near the gate, and a portion of 
the storming party was advanced to within 30 yards to open 
a musketry fire ; the French infantry were on the right, the 
British on the left. The fire of our artillery being thus partially 
compelled to slacken, the enemy emerged from their cover, and 
opened a heavy fire of musketry on our troops. The French, 
under General Collineau, immediately pushed on to the salient 
next the river, crossed the wet ditches in the most gallant style, 
and established themselves on the berm, from which they 
endeavoured to escalade the walls; this, however, they were 
unable to effect, from the vigorous resistance of the Chinese. 
The efforts of the sappers to lay down the pontoon-bridge were 
unavailing ; no less than fifteen of the men carrying it being 
knocked over in one instant, and one of the pontoons destroyed. 
At this juncture Sir Robert Napier caused the two howitzers of 
Captain Gavin's battery to be brought up within 50 yards of the 
gate, in order more speedily to create a breach \ and a space 
sufficient to admit one man had just been made, when our 
storming party, now joined by the headquarter wing of the 
6yth, under Colonel Knox, which had partly crossed by the 
French bridge, and partly swam over, forced their way in by 
single file in the most gallant manner. Lieutenant Rogers, of 
the 44th regiment, and Lieutenant Burslem, of the 67th, were 
the first to enter, when they assisted in the regimental colours 
of the 67th, carried by Ensign Chaplin, who first planted them 
on the breach, assisted by Private Lane, of the 67th, and 
subsequently on the cavalier, which he was the first to mount. 
At the same moment, the French effected their entrance, and 
the garrison was driven back step by step, and hurled pell-mell 
through the embrasures on the opposite side. Here the same 
obstacles which had impeded our advance obstructed their 
retreat ; in addition to two wet ditches and belts of pointed 
bamboo stakes, there was a third wet ditch and bank. The 


storming parties opened a destructive fire on tliem from the 
cavalier, arid this was enhanced by the canister fire of Captain 
Gavin's guns, which had been moved to the left of the fort for 
this purpose. The ground outside the fort was literally strewn 
with the enemy's dead and wounded. Three of the Chinese 
were impaled on the stakes." Our loss in this capture was 17 
killed and 183 wounded. The French casualties were 130. 
The lower north fort yielded without firing a single gun, the 
southern forts also hauled down their flags of defiance, and 
before night of the 2ist August the capture of the Taku forts 
was complete. 

The 3<i Buffs were left to garrison the Taku forts, and the 
rest of the army received orders to march for Tientsin, which 
was entered on the 6th September. Foiled in arms, the Chinese 
had resort to treachery. San-Kolinsin, the Chinese Commander- 
in-chief, was determined that not one of the "Hats" should 
return alive. He pretended to negotiate in order to beguile 
the allies till they were quietly encamped, and he could fall 
upon them unawares and massacre them all. Fortunately, he 
sprung his mine too soon, and the only " Hats " that fell into 
his hand were a small party which had gone forward to arrange 
about the camping ground for the army, that day (September 
1 8) on the march to Chang-Chai-wan. Those who fell into the 
enemy's hands were Mr. Parkes, interpreter ; Lieutenant 
Anderson, Fane's Horse ; Mr. De Norman, one of Mr. Bruce's 
attache's; Mr. Bowlby, "Times" correspondent; Mr. Loch, private 
secretary to the Earl of Elgin ; Major Brabazon ; one dragoon ; 
and 1 8 Sikh sowars. Colonel Walker and his party escaped by 
clinging to their horses' necks and spurring their chargers through 
the Tartar ranks, which gave way before them ; and though a 
fire was opened on them, only one man was wounded. The 
arrival in the camp of Colonel Walker and his people was the 
signal for instant attack. The battle lasted two hours, and 
the Tartars, unable to stand the fire of the Armstrong guns, 
broke and fled. In their retreat they were much cut up by 
Fane's Horse on the right, and by the Royal Dragoon Guards 
and Probyn's Horse on the left. 

The Tartars suffered another severe defeat on the 2ist, and 
the allies then advanced towards Pekin. The Chinese endea- 
voured to check their march by their usual crooked diplomacy, 
but the Emperor was informed that unless the prisoners were 


restored, and one of the gates of the Imperial City placed in the 
hands of the allies, Pekin would be stormed. On the 6th 
October the allies took possession of the Emperor's Summer 
Palace, situated without the city, in a park ten miles in diameter. 
The Chinese still endeavoured to avert the humiliation of 
surrendering one of the gates of Pekin, but Sir Hope Grant was 
not to be trifled with. If, he said, his terms were not complied 
with by noon on the i2th day of October, he would storm the 
city. The breaching guns were ready, troops were paraded to 
storm the breach when practicable, and Sir Hope Grant stood 
beside the guns, watch in hand. It was almost twelve, and the 
word " fire ! ; ' was hovering on his lips, when Colonel Stephenson 
came galloping up to say that the An-ting gate had been sur- 
rendered. The 6yth and the 8th Punjaubees were immediately 
sent forward to take possession of it j and the strange spectacle 
was seen of a great city, strongly fortified, with a population of 
two millions, and a stationary garrison of 100,000 men, sur- 
rendering to 10,000 European troops. 

The prisoners those who survived of them were restored 
by degrees. Their sufferings had been dreadful. Thrown 
down on their face, and their feet and hands tied together 
behind, they were left three days in the sunshine without food 
or water, subjected to the grossest indignities and the most 
brutal treatment. At the end of the third day a little food was 
given them, lest they should die too soon. Twelve succumbed 
to this treatment : Mr. De Norman, Lieutenant Anderson, 
Private John Phipps of the Dragoon Guards, Mr. Bowlbj'-, and 
8 Sikhs. Major Brabazon and the Abbe de Luc were decapi- 
tated ; their headless bodies were afterwards found floating 
about in the canal. " The survivors of each party," said Sir 
Hope Grant, " tell the same sad tale of how they remained with 
their hands tightly bound with cords until mortification ensued, 
and they died. The whole party would have shared the same 
fate, had not their cords been cut on the ninth day, or there- 
abouts." It was well for the Chinese that the murder of the 
prisoners did not come to light until after Sir Hope Grant had 
given his word that Pekin should be spared if the An-ting gate 
were surrendered. However, the Summer Palace, the scene of 
the atrocities, was ordered to be looted and given to the flames, 
and the Chinese Government was fined ioo ; ooo for the benefit 
of the murdered men's relatives. 


" Even before the order had gone forth, French officers," says 
an eye-witness, " had taken the liberty to arracher everything they 
took a fancy to ; gold watches and small valuables being thrust 
with amazing velocity into the capacious side-pockets of their 
voluminous red pantaloons. Though General Montauban asserted 
that nothing was to be touched till Sir Hope Grant arrived, yet 
the looting went on. One French officer found a string of 
gorgeous pearls, each being the size of a marble, which he after- 
ward foolishly sold at Hong Kong for ^3000. Others had 
pencil-cases set with pure diamonds ; others, watches and vases, 
thickly studded with pearls." When the place was thrown open, 
it presented a terrible scene of destruction. Some, armed with 
clubs, smashed to atoms what they were unable to carry away ; 
others took " cock" shots at the magnificent mirrors and chan- 
deliers; all rushed about in search of valuables. The French 
were particularly adroit at this kind of work, and many of them 
amassed small fortunes, in watches, jewels, jade ornaments, silks 
and furs, bronzes, gold and silver statuettes, and state robes. The 
sale of plunder in the camp lasted three days. " Fancy," says 
Swinhoe, " the sale of an emperor's effects beneath the walls of 
the capital of his empire, and this by a people whom he despised 
as weak barbarians, and talked of driving into the sea. The 
proceeds of the sale amounted to 32,000 dollars, and the amount 
of treasure secured was estimated at over 61,000, making a 
rough total of over 93,000 dollars. Of this, two-thirds were set 
apart for distribution, in proportionate shares, to the soldiers, 
and one-third to the officers. Sir Hope Grant generously made 
over his share to the men, and, as a token of respect, the officers 
presented him with a claret jug, richly chased, one of the hand- 
somest pieces of the booty." 

A Convention, signed at Pekin on the 24th October, opened 
Tientsin to our trade, gave us a representative at the Court of 
Pekin, and added to our Eastern possessions Kooloon, a district 
at the mouth of the Canton River. Pekin was evacuated on 
the 5th November. 

The North China Campaign was followed by the Maori War 
in New Zealand (1861-63) which arose from a dispute between 
the natives and the settlers about the purchase of land. So 
well did this brave .race defend themselves in their pahs that our 
red-coats and blue-jackets suffered more than one repulse, but in 


the end tlie Maoris saw the futility of resistance, and, laying down 
their arms, sued for peace. 

Next came the Bhotari War (1864-66). The natives of this 
district, which lies on the southern slope of the Himalayas, had 
made themselves very troublesome as marauders, and it was 
found necessary to annex their country. The European troops 
engaged in these operations were two batteries of the Royal 
Artillery, the 55th, and the head-quarters of the 8oth. 



The March on Magdala Battle of Aroje Release of the Abyssinian prisoner 
Capture of Magdala, and Suicide of Theodore. 

Y a strange succession of events, the year 1867-68 saw 
our troops in Abyssinia, the land of Prester-John, 
the Sheba of Scripture (according to the natives), 
whose emperors are the lineal descendants of David 
and Solomon. The Emperor of Abyssinia at this period was 
Theodoras, a name he had assumed because an ancient Abys- 
sinian prophecy declared, that an emperor of that name should 
extend his power over all Ethiopia and Egypt, and deliver 
Canaan from the Moslems. His real name was Kussai, and he 
is said to have been the only son of a widow, who had been 
reduced by poverty to the humble calling of a kousso seller. 
Young Kussai received some education, probably in a convent, 
but at an early age he enlisted under the banner of his uncle, 
the governor of Dembea, and proved himself such a master of 
the art of war, that the governor gave him his favourite daughter 
in marriage, and appointed him to the charge of a district. These 
honours were not, however, sufficient for the aspiring mind of 
Kussai, who declared war against his kinsman, defeated his 
troops, proclaimed himself governor of the province, fought 
battle after battle with the" neighbouring chiefs, and never 
rested until he became master of all Abyssinia. It was in 1851 
that he assumed the name and title of "Emperor Theodorus 
by the Power of God." Theodore had many great and good 
qualities, but his life was embittered by the constant rebellions 
which harassed his empire, and his nature underwent a violent 


change. He became intemperate, and in his drunken fits his 
cruelties were absolutely diabolical. The mere mention of them 
makes the blood curdle : brands, stakes driven through the 
heart, the back flayed with the courbach, the stomach ripped 
open, shooting, and crucifixion. He began to be execrated by his 

Theodore had a great desire to cultivate the friendship of 
England, and wrote a letter to the Queen, but Earl Russell, who 
was then Foreign Secretary, did not rate the importance of the 
Abyssinian Emperor nearly so high as he did himself, and the 
letter remained unanswered. This was unfortunate. Theodore's 
jealousy and anger were further excited by certain visits ^which 
Consul Cameron paid to some of the neighbouring provinces; for 
the viceroy of Egypt was his mortal enemy. "Your Queen," he 
exclaimed to Cameron, " can give you orders to visit my enemies 
and then return to Massowah ; but she cannot return a civil 
answer to my letter to her. You shall not leave me till that 
letter comes." So (July, 1863) Cameron became a prisoner. 
Cameron's servant and two belonging to a Mr. Stern, an English 
missionary, were beaten to death. Mr. Stern himself, who acci- 
dentally put his hand to his mouth in horror at the spectacle, 
was accused of biting his thumb at the Emperor, and he too was 
beaten till his life was despaired of. On the 22d November, a 
despatch came from the Foreign Office, borne by an Irishman 
named Kearns, but still no allusion to Theodore's letter to the 
Queen. This put him in a fresh rage. Captain Cameron was 
now put in chains, and the missionaries and other Europeans 
in the country were thrown into prison and tortured. Mr. 
Ilassam was sent as ambassador to try and obtain the release 
of the prisoners, but he himself was seized and detained. So 
were his companions, Lieut. Prideaux and Dr. Blanc. Fresh 
efforts were made for the release of the captives, but in vain, and 
it was resolved to send an army to compel Theodore to deliver 
them up. 

Then there were great preparations at Bombay, where the ex- 
pedition began to embark in December, 1867. The landing was 
made at Zoulla, on the south side of Annesley Bay, an inlet of 
the Red Sea. Everything was on the most extensive scale and 
of the most complete character. The number of vessels em- 
ployed in the transport of the army and its belongings was 291. 
Spain, Turkey, and other countries were ransacked for mules, 


horses were sent from various quarters, and elephants from India. 
The total number of animals landed at Zoulla was 36,094. The 
number of fighting men who went on the expedition was 13,164, 
of whom 4044 went to the front, and the camp followers, men 
of every race and calling, numbered 62,220. These figures show 
better than any laboured description the serious task which Eng- 
land had undertaken when she determined to release her captives 
from the hands of Theodore. 

The leader of the expedition was Sir Robert Napier, Com- 
mander-in-chief of the Bombay army, an officer who had served 
in the campaign of the Sutlej, as senior engineer at the siege of 
Moultan, at Goojerat, at Lucknow, and in China. An engineer's 
war, there was much propriety in conferring the chief command 
on an engineer. Napier's second in command was General Sir 
Charles W. D. Stanley, C.B., an officer who had served with 
credit in the Crimean war. Colonel Mere wether was appointed 
political agent, with the special duty of selecting a place suited 
for a base of operations, and obtaining carriage and supplies 
from the natives. Colonel Phayre, Quarter-master-general of 
the Bombay army, led the pioneer force. To Colonel Wilkins, 
of the Royal Engineers, was assigned the duty of erecting piers 
and floating wharfs at Zoulla, and advising upon positions to be 
selected during the march. The land transport train was under 
the command of Major Warden. The European troops that 
accompanied the expedition were the 3d, or Prince of Wales' 
Dragoon Guards, the 4th or King's, the Cameronians, the 33d 
or Duke of Wellington's Regiment, the 45th or Nottinghamshire, 
with a body of the Royal Artillery, two batteries of Armstrong 
guns, and a naval brigade to work the rockets, under Captain 
Fellowes of the Dryad. The rest were native Indian troops, 
including some Beloochees and a body of pioneers. 

On the 3d January, 1868, Sir Robert Napier arrived at Zoulla 
in H.M.S. Octavia. Great progress had already been made. A 
convenient port had been established on a desert shore ; a road 
for cart traffic had been formed through a difficult mountain pass 
to Senafe, 60 miles inland in the highlands of Abyssinia, and 
friendly relations had been struck up with the native chiefs. A 
few days afterwards, news arrived that Theodore had removed his 
prisoners from the capital, Debra Tabor, to the stronghold of 
Magdala, 400 miles inland, and Napier resolved to march thither. 
It was a most adventurous undertaking, only possible to the 

332 ON THE MAECH. {1868. 

firmest resolution, the most heroic contempt of privation and 
danger, and the most advanced science ; and after all it was 
very like to prove abortive, for nothing could be easier than for 
Theodore to remove the captives from stronghold to stronghold 
and lead the army a wild-goose chase, or to settle the matter at 
once by murdering them, as he had murdered so many others. 
The march commenced on the 22d January. 

It would be tedious to follow the army day by day on its march 
of 400 miles from Senafe to Magdala Zoulla to Addigerat, 
from Addigerat to Antalo, from Antalo to the front. Some- 
times the road lay through plains full of immense herds of cattle ; 
sometimes by steep conical mountains, on the top of which, 
perched like eyries, stood the strongholds of the robber-chiefs, 
moated and palisaded ; sometimes by lakes and waterfalls, dotted 
with geese, heron, ibis, snipe, pelicans, and toucans, and sur- 
rounded with forests of tropical vegetation, the haunt of the 
jackal and the hyena ; sometimes by terrible gullies and ravines, 
where roads had first to be made by the Royal Engineers and 
the Punjaub Pioneers. Everywhere the land had a war-wasted 
appearance, everything proclaimed the chronic disorder of the 
country. Watchful warders paced the ramparts of the robber 
chiefs, and the poorest class of peasants lived, like the ancient 
Troglodytes, in the cavernous recesses of the rocks. The chiefs 
and principal men always went abroad armed, with a numerous 
band of retainers. Their dress consisted of drawers, a cotton 
shirt, a syma or white cotton cloth cloak with a scarlet border, 
and a lion-skin tippet with long tails. Their arms were a curved 
sword, which hung at the right side in a red leather scabbard, 
a long spear grasped in the right hand, and a hide shield, orna- 
mented with gold filagree bosses and silver plates, worn on the 
left arm. 

On the 24th March, the army arrived at Dildee. At Dildee, 
says Mr. Henty, " we were told that it was only four marches 
distant. We have made three marches, and have sixty miles 
more to go ! And yet Magdala is not more than twenty-five 
miles distant in a straight line, and is visible from a point four 
miles distant from this camp. It is found, however, that the 
country is perfectly impracticable, and that we must make a 
detour of sixty miles to get there. . . . We have scaled mountains 
and descended precipices, we have traversed along the face of 
deep ravines, where a false step was death ; we are familiar with 

1868.] IN VIEW OF MAGDALA. 333 

smooth slippery rocks and with loose boulders ; and after this 
expedition it can hardly be said that any country is impracticable 
for an army determined to advance. I hear, however, that be- 
tween this and Magdala there are perpendicular precipices which 
could scarcely be scaled by the most experienced cragsmen, much 
less by loaded mules." The sufferings and privations of the 
troops in marching over a country such as this may be faintly 
imagined. Each infantry-man carried 55 Ibs. weight, more than 
half the load of a mule. In the low valleys they were scorched 
with heat and parched with thirst ; frequently they were drenched 
with thunder-storms ; and on the uplands the nights were pierc- 
ing cold. All superfluous baggage was necessarily left behind, 
and the camp was destitute of everything that makes camp- 
life endurable. Tough beef and chupatties were the only 
rations. No spirits remained, and but a small quantity of tea 
and compressed vegetables. 

On the 8th April, the army encamped on the Delanta plateau, 
in full view of Magdala. The army was divided into two brig- 
ades. The ist brigade consisted of the 4th or King's Own, under 
Colonel Cameron, a company of the Royal Engineers, under 
Major Pritchard, two regiments of native Indian infantry the 
Beloochees and 2/th Pnnjaub Pioneers and two companies of 
the loth Native Indian Infantry. The 2d brigade consisted of 
the 33d or Duke of Wellington's Own, the 45th or Sherwood 
Foresters; Colonel Penri's 6-gun battery of Mountain Train 
Artillery (100 men), the Naval Brigade in charge of the rocket 
battery (100 men), and the Armstrong battery of six 12 -pounders 
and two 8-inch mortars, manned by about 200 men. With incre- 
dible labour Theodore had formed roads across deep ravines, 
and up the steep sides of mountains, for the transport of his 
artillery, on which he mainly depended for success. Under his 
orders at Magdala were 6000 warriors, besides a few European 
workmen, Russians and Germans, and a host of camp-followers. 
Besides the British captives, he held 570 of the natives as pri- 
soners, many of them chiefs. 

Sir Robert Napier wrote a letter to Theodore demanding the 
surrender of the captives, but no answer was returned. Theo- 
dore wa*s by this time little better than a madman. For days 
he took nothing but the Abyssinian beer called tej and drams of 
arachi. On the day before the arrival of the British army, he 
had all the European captives out, and, says one of the corres- 


pendents who accompanied the expedition, " before their eyes 
he put to death 340 prisoners, many of whom he had kept in 
chains for years. Among them were men, women, and little 
children. They were brought out chained, and thrown on the 
ground with their heads fastened to their feet. Among this 
defenceless and pitiable group the brutal tyrant went with his 
sword, and slashed right and left until he had killed a score or 
so. Then getting tired, he called out six of his musketeers, who 
continued to fire among the wretched crowd until all w r ere 
despatched. Their bodies were then thrown over a precipice." 

No answer being made to his demand, Sir Eobert Napier de- 
termined to storm the fortress. By the night of the gth April, 
all the preparations were made. On the morning of the loth 
(Good Friday), the troops crossed the Bachelo, a muddy, swift 
river, fifty yards wide. Muddy as it was, the soldiers drank eagerly 
of it and filled their canteens, for they were dying of thirst. 
From the Bachelo a broad flat-bottomed ravine ran straight 
towards one of the peaks of Magdala. Theodore had made a 
road along the ravine, and it was determined that the mountain 
guns, rocket train, and baggage should proceed by this road, 
with Colonel Phayre's sappers marching in front. The infantry 
were ordered to climb the hills to the right, and scour them of 
the enemy should any be posted there. Sir Robert Napier and 
his staff galloped up to the head of the ravine. Eight in front 
of them, more than 1000 feet high, " like a great ship among the 
surrounding billows," was Magdala ; and they saw how diffi- 
cult was the task before them. Magdala and the numerous 
peaks and saddles around it form a curve. Magdala is in the 
centre, and the peaks of Fahla and Selasse guard the approach to 
it, like pillars of Hercules. Between Magdala and the ridge 
where Sir Robert Napier and his staff stood, stretched the plain 
of Aroje. " Colonel Milward, the officer commanding the artil- 
lery, remarked to me," says one of the correspondents, " that in 
the hands of European troops Magdala would not only be impreg- 
nable but perfectly unattackable. Gibraltar is absolutely nothing 
to this group of fortresses. After capturing Fahla and Selasse 
if such a thing were possible an attacking force would still have 
Magdala to deal with ; and Magdala rises from the end of the 
flat shoulder which connects it with Selasse in an unbroken wall, 
except at one point, where a precipitous road leads up to a gate." 


Theodore had posted his army, consisting of 3000 soldiers armed 
with percussion guns, as many spearmen, and several pieces of 
ordnance, on the flat-topped hill of Fahla. What now ensued, 
we shall relate in the graphic words of Mr. Stanley, taking, 
however, the liberty of abridging them. 

"About 3.30 P.M. two men were seen going from gun to gun 
on the salient of Fahla the summit of which rose to the per- 
pendicular height of TOGO feet above the ground on which 
Napier and his staff stood. It was supposed that they were 
loading them : and a critical survey, made through a field-glass, 
verified the supposition. With the exception of the sappers 
and miners, Sir Robert Napier and other chiefs of the crusade 
had no help at hand. And, ' Just God.! ' the enemy were seen 
pouring down Fahla slope en masse; and a pearly wreath of 
smoke, a thundering report, and a chain-shot, shrieked the Em- 
peror's defiance ! In quick succession flashed the fire-flames 
from the rude mouths of his cannon in quick succession rolled 
the white smoke in quick succession a series of hideous wailing 
sounds were heard in the air ; indubitably, Theodore was in ear- 
nest. ' Away you, sir,' Sir Robert commanded in sharp tones ; 
' bring up the King's Own on the double quick ;' * and you, sir, ' 
to another aide-de-camp, 'order the naval brigade here in- 
stantly, and you, Sir Charles Stanley, let the Punjaubees deploy 
across that narrow plateau in front, but do not fire until the 
enemy are within 200 yards of you.' 

"Nearer and nearer was the advent of the enemy, 3500 
strong. They all appeared confident of the issue. Their war 
songs came pealing towards us. We could see their cavalry 
caracoling and bounding joyously along ; the foot soldiers leap- 
ing and brandishing long spears, and swinging their black 
shields. With loud chorus all sang the death-doom of the in- 
vader. Onward, still onward they came, horsemen and foot 
soldiers vieing with each other. They flung away their flowing 
symas, their bezans, and many their loin clouts, and with 
lances and shields in rest they bore down the hill, reached the 
plateau, and inundated it with their dusky bodies. A clear 
open plain was before them, over which they rolled like a huge 
wave ! Closer they drew, until we momentarily expected to see 
them launch their spears, and annihilate the sappers and miners. 
' Here it is, general ; the naval brigade has arrived ! ' said a 
smartish aide-de-camp. ' Very good ! ' responded Napier ; ' let 


Captain Fellowes take position on that little knoll in front.' 
Not a minute too soon did the little band of sailors appear on 
the scene. Quick as lightning and prompt as powder are sailors 
when they hear the well-known voice of their commander ! JSTo 
useless time was wasted here. ' Action, Front ! ' shouted the 
naval captain. ' Action, Front ! ' repeated the lieutenant and 
boatswain \ and hardly had the words died away from their lips 
before the sailors had unstrapped rocket tubes and carriages, 
and had them arranged on the knoll ; muleteers in the rear with 
their animals ; rocket carriers with their ammunition ; rocket 
men ready with their pry poles. ' Fire ! ' and, even in the act 
of launching their spears, a stream of fire darted along the 
enemy's ranks, ploughing its fiery way through their swaying 
masses. Another, and another, rushed through them ; and cheer 
after cheer issued from the lips of the sailors and marines. 

" The battle had begun ! The cheers of the naval brigade 
were echoed fiercely behind; and as the general turned his 
head, he saw the King's Own coming up at the double quick, 
with cartridge-boxes rattling on the hips, and men's fingers 
manipulating cartridges, and fixing their Sniders for the strife 
as they ran. There were only 300 of the King's Own together ; 
the others of the regiment were on duty as baggage guards ; but 
they were pure Britons. A low ridge of ground rising but a 
few feet above the narrow plain and a hollow divided the 
enemy from the rocket battery. The sappers and miners had 
been withdrawn for the support of its flanks, and thus a clear 
space was left for the rocket guns to do good execution, and in- 
cessantly they vomited their fiery darts at the enemy, now but 
fifty paces from the battery. Without pause or hesitation the 
King's Own kept on their way, forming line the while. Into 
the little hollow in front of the battery they shook themselves, 
with their arms. Into, and through the scrub oak and under- 
bush, and in a second almost, the head of the 4th foot crested 
the slope and confronted the enemy, a few of whom were on the 
rise on the other side. ' Commence firing from both flanks,' 
rang out clear as a silver bell from Colonel Cameron ; and, in- 
stantaneously, two quick volleys of musketry were flashed in 
the faces of the dusky foe, and like a stream of fire volleys ran 
from side to side without a pause, raining such a storm of leaden 
hail, that for the second time the enemy halted from sheer 
astonishment It was as if they were paralysed at the very 


moment they intended to launch their spears, and one could 
almost fancy that these weapons vibrated in their hands from, 
the impetus they were about to give them. Slowly they seemed 
to regain consciousness, and horrified they gazed upon the awful 
result. Strangest sight it was to them, who had ever been vic- 
torious in the field of battle, to see their own men tumble by 
the dozen, by scores, by fifties, into the embrace of death. 
' Retreat ! ' cried the chiefs. The enemy did retreat, but not 
fast enough. They broke out en tirailleur, and endeavoured to 
take vantage of boulders to escape the whizzing bullets ; but 
the bullets found them out, searched out each bush and mound 
and rock, and stretched the men behind dead upon the ground. 
Here was one running for dear life for a copse, but suddenly 
you saw him leap into the air and- fall on his face, clutching the 
ground savagely. Here was another one, with head bent low, in 
the vain thought that if his head escaped he would be safe, 
making all haste to get iirto a hollow, out of the reach of the 
leaden storm ; but even as the haven dawned upon his frenzied 
eyes, a whirring pellet caught him, and sent him rolling down 
the incline. There was another one,- just about ta dodge behind 
a massive boulder, from where he could take slight revenge, but 
before he could ensconce himself the unerring ball went crashing 
through his brain ; and there was another one about to plunge 
in hot haste down a ravine to the left,- who had his skull shat- 
tered by a rocket, and with a dull sound the body fell down the 

" Some chiefs there were who turned round to take a parting 
shot, and some who,- not entirely panic-struck, strove to re-form 
the natives. They were partly successful, and under their 
leadership 1000 of them precipitated themselves down the 
steep sides of the' narrow plain, and seemed determined to 
capture Penn's battery, isolated on their little knoll below 
Selasse. The guns of the mountain train artillery were ranged 
in a semicircle, and when the enemy were within 500 yards of 
them, Colonel Penn smilingly gave the word to ( Fke. 3 A sharp 
yelp-like report, and six shells flew through the clear air with 
a strange diapason, and directly burst among the advancing 
masses. Another astonished pause ! Here were other strange 
things for the Abyssinians. Music like that of distant harps ; 
while missiles were tearing and rending men to pieces. Simul- 
taneously the enemy, instead of advancing, turned their faces 



upward to listen to the novel music, and seek the solution of 
what was a dark enigma to them ; and while they were halting, 
and listening, and dubitating, they heard a concatenation of 
sharp cracks above their heads, and immediately afterwards a 
thousand pieces of iron were flying amongst them, laying whole 
groups of them level with the ground. They ascertained at last 
that the horrible hubbub proceeded from the little knot of men 
on the knoll. ' Forward ! ' yelled a bull-hearted chief, Dajatch 
Deris, using his spear freely among the most craven. Coerced 
into activity by gesture and example, they leaped downward 
like tigers, mad rage in each heart, up and across knolls and 
curves, and down again into a ravine choked with wild olive and 
tamarisk, until they were at the base of the hill on which the 
battery was posted. Just as the Abyssinians were coming up 
towards the battery, the Punjaub pioneers showed themselves to 
the enemy on each flank of the guns. ' Commence firing ' was 
the command ; and again rattling volleys were discharged in the 
faces of the sorely harassed natives who had almost made sure 
of capturing the cannon dashing them backward, and down- 
ward into the bottom of the ravine many times quicker than 
their advance. Against shell-vomiting cannon, and against a 
very wall of fire, discharging bullets by the hundred to their one, 
what could matchlocks and spears effect 1 

" Round the base of the battery knoll the ravine ran a serpen- 
tine course, emptying itself into the Aroje. It was overgrown 
with tangled brake and dense jungle. Along this ravine the 
baffled enemy crawled. ' They are going after our baggage, sir/ 
said an expostulating voice. ' Ah, are they indeed ? so they 
are ! ' said Colonel Perm, after an examination. * Right about ! 
Left oblique ! Forward, march !' were the sharp, firm, composed 
orders given at once and understood. The Punjaubees went 
sweeping across the knoll in an oblique direction towards the 
brow overlooking the Aroje. Up the Aroje were advancing 
long trains of baggage, ammunition, and commissariat stores, 
pell-mell, in confused masses and in straggling lines. Warned 
by the thousandfold echoes that the embosoming hills flung far 
and near, Captain Roberts, who was at the time commander of 
the baggage-guard, mustered a few companies of the Duke of 
Wellington's Own and two companies of the 4th, and stationed 
them at the head of the valley. No sooner had they done so 
than a confused noise was heard a little above, and presently 

i868.] THE PUNJAUBEES. 339 

a large body of men issued out of a narrow gloomy gully 
and, as Captain Eoberts said, * By Jove ! ' the enemy was upon 
them. ' About face ; fire !' and along the line of soldiers drawn 
across the Aroje ravine there ran a rattle of muskets, a clicking 
of triggers, and a sharp roar of musketry, -steady, deep-toned, 
like the thunder rush of an express train through a tunnel. 
Practised men were at work with the Snider rifle. The Pun- 
jaubees came directly upon the scene, looking down from the 
summit of the knoll, with their dusky faces as dark as the 
Ethiops'. They saw the enemy, and again the dreadful word 
for slaughter was given a word that will be remembered by 
Abyssinians, and handed down to their posterity. The enemy 
dropped dead on all sides. Had they stopped ten minutes 
longer, not a man would have been left alive to tell of the grie- 
vous disaster that met them. Here, as elsewhere, they seemed 
to be too much astonished to fire in return. I did not hear a 
single Abyssinian musket fired ; they seemed to wish to fight 
hand to hand, but the rapidity of the Sniders gave them no 
chance. Some six hundred all that seemed left of the thousand 
turned swiftly about, when they found no impression could 
be made. They dived back into the jangles whence they came ; 
keen-eyed riflemen following them up, and ' potting ' the fugi- 
tives unerringly. 

"The Punjaubees, fleet of foot and prompt at command, 
swept to their old position near the battery, and deploying along 
the prolongation of the slope, calmly waited the flying foe to 
emerge out of the bushes. Not long had they to wait ; as the 
dark forms bounded out of the recesses, the Punjaubees com- 
menced their withering fire upon them once more, descending 
the slope as they fired. The position in which the Abyssinians 
now found themselves was a perilous one indeed. It was an 
open hollow, with clear slopes rising abruptly about a hundred 
feet from the bottom. On one side were the Punjaubees, 600 
in number up the opposite side, some fifty paces across, scram- 
bled the Abyssinians, with the main desire now simply to get 
away as quickly as possible from the dangerous place. How 
easy to imagine the result of the unequal contest, where slope 
lined with cool riflemen fronted counter-slope clear and open as 
an artificial glacis. The fight became a battue a massacre ! 
Down the slope rushed the Sepoys, with bayonets fixed to their 
guns, and, fresher than the tired natives, they soon came up with 


them, as breathless they panted up the deadly steep. Out of 
that very despair which the most craven heart feels when hard 
driven they mustered new courage, and determinedly they turned 
round at bay. The fiery, hot-blooded, impulsive Sikhs came 
hand to hand with Ethiopian mountaineers, fierce and as impul- 
sive as they. Now came the tug of a genuine contest ! The 
Abyssinians launched their spears, drew their curved shotels, 
and charged down with loud cries. The Sikhs, undismayed, 
rushed up to meet them with their bayonets, and deftly crossed 
weapons with them. Blows were nimbly warded, stroke was 
met with counter- stroke, and murderous thrusts skilfully parried. 
Two companies of the loth Native Infantry rushed down from 
the battery knoll to the support of the Sikhs. No mercy was 
asked ; no high-toned sentiment found utterance ; no puny blows 
were dealt ; heads were chopped of, arms and limbs severed 
from trunks, and dead men lay stark and stiff plentifully. But 
they were all Abyssinians; very few of the Punjaubees were 

While shells, rockets, and musketry were mowing down the 
Abyssinians, Theodore was belching his war thunder from the 
summits of Fahla and Selasse. A short, sharp storm of 
thunder and lightning, followed by torrents of rain, added to the 
uproar. The 4th, supported by the Beloochees, moved closer 
to Fahla, and picked the enemy out from every rock and bush. 
The rockets mounted the heights of Fahla, and destroyed some 
of the cannoneers. The last lingering group of the enemy was 
dispersed by Perm's guns. At 5.30 P.M. Theodore's guns ceased 
their fire, because, as he said, " The English are not afraid of my 
chain shot; they march up in spite of my big balls;" and l-e- 
cause it was useless to fire any longer, as the guns could not 
be depressed enough to bear on men 1000 feet directly under- 
lie ath.- 

One of the correspondents remarks of the battle of Aroje that, 
" It was a terrible slaughter, and could hardly be called a fight, 
between disciplined bodies of men, splendidly armed, and scat- 
tered parties of savages, scarcely armed at all. . . . Some had 
died instantaneously; others had fallen mortally wounded. Some 
of these had drawn their robes over their faces and died like 
Stoics. Some were only severely wounded, and these had 
endeavoured to crawl into bushes, and lay there uttering low 
moans. Their gaudy silk- bodices, and the white robes with 


scarlet ends, which had flaunted so gaily but two hours since, 
now lay dabbled with blood, and dank with the heavy rains 
which had been pitilessly coming down for the last hour." 

Through some blunder or other it was midnight before the 
baggage came up; " the tents could not be pitched, and the only 
resource left for us was to bivouac close to the smoky and un- 
comfortable fires. Sentries were posted plentifully around the 
camp, and soldiers slept with their arms ready for immediate 
use. Before rolling ourselves up in our rug?, and while thinking 
of the events that marked the day, our ears caught the sounds 
that betokened the presence of the beasts of prey. In ravenous 
packs the jackals and hyaenas had come to devour the abundant 
feast spread out by the ruthless hand of war." 

Next morning the doctor presented his report : one officer 
Captain Roberts and 3 1 privates, wounded ; Captain Roberts 
and eight privates severely. Seventy-five wounded Abyssiniaris 
carried to hospital, 560 dead of the enemy buried by detailed 
party. But this did not nearly represent the loss of the Abys- 
sinians. Hundreds of the wounded had crawled off to die, 
hundreds of the dead had been earried off during the night by 
their friends, and hundreds more had fallen where our burial 
parties failed to find them. 

Bitter were the feelings of Theodore. When night came on 
he took to drinking arachi to drown his agony of spirit. Thrice 
he attempted suicide, but his attendants kept good watch and 
prevented him. He began to threaten that the English captives 
should pay for his defeat ; but better counsels prevailed. On 
Saturday evening (April n) all the captives, 61 in number, 
arrived in the British camp. Theodore hoped that w r ould suffice, 
but Napier told him he still required the instant surrender of 
himself and the fortresses of Selasse, Fahla,and Magdala, assuring 
him of honourable treatment. " Rather than surrender," said 
Theodore, " I would fight to the death. Can you not be satisfied 
with the possession of those you came for, and leave me alone in 
peace T' Next day he sent 1000 beeves and 500 sheep to Sir 
Robert Napier, hoping that, as the day was Easter Sunday, the 
British soldiers would eat their fill, for were they not all Chris- 
tians 1 But Napier sent an officer up to Magdala to say that he 
could not think of accepting anything from His Majesty, until 
himself, his family, and his fortresses were surrendered to the 
Queen of England. Napier almost implored him to surrender, 


but assured him that unless an affirmative answer was received 
by nine next morning he would move forward to the attack. 
Every preparation was made : scaling-ladders were constructed 
out of the long bamboo dhoolie poles, the rungs being the handles 
of the pioneers' pickaxes ; powder charges and hand grenades were 
made ready for use ; the elephants took the Armstrong guns to 
the front ; and the mules were brought up from the Buchelo with 
two days' ration of grain. 

Monday, i3th April Easter Monday the sun was shining 
brightly. At eight in the morning eight Abyssinian chiefs came 
into camp, and announced that they were ready to surrender 
Fahla and Selasse, on condition of being allowed to depart with 
their families and property unharmed. Sir Kobert Napier gave 
them a solemn promise of protection until they crossed the 
Bachelo on their way home. Colonel Locke and Captain Speedy, 
with 50 of the 3d Dragoon Guards, were ordered to see them off. 
No signal of surrender having been received from Theodore, the 
troops were formed, and marched forward to the assault of 
Magdala. The 330! led the way, the band playing " Yankee 
Doodle ; " the 4th followed, to the strains of " Garry Owen ; " 
next came the 45th, marching to "Cheer, Boys, Cheer; 5 ' then 
came the Sepoy regiments, the Beloochees, the Punjaubees, two 
companies of the loth Native Infantry, the sappers and miners, 
Penn's mountain train battery, with two mortars, the naval 
brigade in charge of the rocket battery, and two companies of the 
3d Light Native Cavalry. All the rest of the cavalry were sent 
round into the valley, rearward of Magdala, to prevent Theodore's 
escape in that direction. 

The heights of Fahla and Selasse were cleared by the 3d Light 
Cavalry and six companies of the 33d, and as the natives reached 
the foot of the hill they were disarmed by the loth Native In- 
fantry. While this operation was going on, some ten Abyssinians 
were seen careering about on the plateau of Islamgee, the saddle 
which connects Selasse and Magdala. One of these cavaliers 
rode a white horse, gaily caparisoned, and was clothed in gorgeous 
robes. Captain Speedy, who had been in Theodore's service, re- 
cognised this horseman as the Emperor, which was a great satis- 
faction, as it had been reported that he had escaped from Magdala. 
The object of the demonstration was quickly apparent when some 

1863.] FALL OF MAGDALA. 343 

of our people stumbled upon twenty guns and mortars, which 
Theodore had probably intended to convey into Magdala, but 
had been compelled to abandon. They were immediately taken 
possession of in the name of Her Majesty. 

When the natives were cleared out, the British flag was hoisted 
on Fahla and Selasse, amid exulting cheers. A small guard was 
left in these fortresses, and the rest of the troops came down and 
took their places for the assault. The artillery was so posted 
as to give a convergent fire. At two P.M. Penn's battery piped 
for battle, and soon twenty guns of all calibres were thundering 
at the gates of Magdala. Covered by the fire of the artillery 
and rockets, the 33d formed columns at quarter distance, and 
advanced to storm, preceded by a small party of engineers and 
sappers deployed as skirmishers, and supported by the 45th. 
The 4th and the rest of the brigade formed in reserve. As the 
troops advanced along the plateau with trailed arms, signals for 
rapid firing were made to the artillery. When the storming party 
was within 50 yards of the rock, the artillery ceased firing, and the 
advancing column opened fire with their Sniders. Theodore had 
the men who still adhered to him posted at loopholes and along 
the cliff wall topped with wattled hurdles, and their fire wounded 
Major Pritchard and three or four of the most advanced of the 
engineers. The engineers rushed forward and made a dash upon 
the barbican, but found the gate closed, and the squane tower 
blocked up with stones to the depth of ten feet. Most unac- 
countably the engineers had forgotten all their tools powder, 
hammers, crowbars, pickaxes, and ladders. This mistake might 
have been a most unfortunate one, but Drummer M'Guire of the 
33d found a way over the cliff wall topped with wattled hurdles, 
and the rest of the regiment followed, and cleared the plateau of 
Magdala with a few volleys. Theodore was found lying behind 
a haystack, scarcely dead, his right hand convulsively clutching 
a revolver, which in happier times he had received from Queen 
Victoria. The hoisting of the British flag, the hurrahs of the 
33d, and the strains of the National Anthem, proclaimed that 
Magdala had fallen. During the assault there had been a 
thunderstorm, but now, as if in approbation, the sun shone forth 
in all his evening splendour. 

All fighting ended. with the life of Theodore. The greater 
part of his soldiers escaped down a path on the other side of 


the rock ; the rest fled to their homes, and secreted the arms 
which had proved of so little avail against the strange weapons 
of the European invaders. The soldiers set to work with hammer 
and chisel and undid the fetters of the native prisoners, many 
of whom had lingered for years in ponderous iron chains. Some 
of them were so weak that they were unable to walk, and had 
to be borne by their friends. The booty was of the poorest 
description, though large sums were said to be buried some- 
where. A few gold crosses and the brocade hangings of the 
king's tents were the only articles of value. A royal shield of 
Abyssinia and an ancient gold chalice were reserved for the 
British Museum. 

On the 1 8th, Magdala was set on fire, and its thatched huts 
were in a few minutes one sheet of flame. The wind was blow- 
ing freshly at the time, and the whole plateau was covered with 
a fierce blaze, which suggested the burning of a gigantic farm- 
yard of three-quarters of a mile, containing above 300 hayricks. 
The troops then commenced their return march. On the 2oth 
May, when at Delanta, a general review was held ; the division 
was formed into a hollow square, six deep, and the Adjutant- 
general (Colonel Frederick Thesiger) read aloud the following 
general order, reviewing the objects and incidents of the cam- 
paign : 

the people of England entrusted to you a very arduous and 
difficult expedition to release our countrymen from a long and 
painful captivity, and to vindicate the honour of our country, 
which had been outraged by Theodorus, King of Abyssinia. I 
congratulate you with all my heart on the noble way in which 
you have fulfilled the commands of our sovereign. You have 
traversed, often under a tropical sun, or amid storms of rain and 
sleet, 400 miles of mountainous country. You have crossed 
many steep and precipitous ranges of mountains, more than 
10,000 feet in altitude, where your supplies could not keep pace 
with you. When you arrived within reach of your enemy, 
though with scanty food, and some of you for many days with- 
out either food or water, in four days you passed the formidable 
chasm of the Bachelo, and defeated the army of Theodorus, which 
poured down upon you from their lofty fortress in full confidence 
of victory. A host of many thousands have laid down their 


arms at your feet. You have captured and destroyed upwards 
of thirty pieces of artillery, many of great weight and efficiency, 
with ample stores of ammunition. You have stormed the almost 
inaccessible fortress of Magdala, defended by Theodorus with 
the desperate remnant of his chiefs and followers. After you 
forced the entrance, Theodorus, who never showed mercy, dis- 
trusted the offer of mercy held out to him, and died by his own 
hand. You have released not only the British captives, but those 
of other friendly nations. You have unloosed the chains of more 
than ninety of the principal chiefs of Abyssinia. Magdala, on 
which so many victims have been slaughtered, has been given to 
the flames, and remains only a scorched rock. 

" Our complete and rapid success is due, first to the mercy of 
God, whose hand, I feel assured, has been over us in a just 
cause. Secondly, to the high spirit with which you have been 
inspired. Indian soldiers have forgotten the prejudices of race 
and creed, to keep pace with their European comrades. Never 
has an army entered on a war with more honourable feelings 
than yours : this has carried you through many fatigues and 
difficulties ; you have been only eager for the moment when you 
could close with your enemy. The remembrance of your priva- 
tions will pass away quickly, but your gallant exploit will live in 
history. The Queen and the people of England will appreciate 
your services. On my part, as your commander, I thank you for 
your devotion to your duty, and the good discipline you have 
maintained. Not a single complaint has been made against a 
soldier, of fields injured, or villagers wilfully molested in person 
or property. We must not forget what is due to our comrades 
who have been labouring for us in the sultry climate of Zoulla 
and the pass of Komaylee, or in the monotony of the posts which 
have maintained our communications. Each and all would have 
given all they possessed to be with us. But they deserve our 

" I shall watch over your safety to the moment of your re- 
embarkation, and to the end of my life remember with pride that 
I have commanded you. 

" Lieutenant-general, Commander-in-chief" 

So ended this remarkable crusade, which Mr. Disraeli (Lord 




Beaconsfield), speaking in the House of Commons, said, re- 
minded him of the advance of Cortez into Mexico more than any 
other event of history. Sir Robert Napier was rewarded with 
a pension and the title of Lord Napier of Magdala, and medals 
were issued to the army. Theodore's queen, who had taken 
refuge in the British camp, died on the march homeward. 
Theodore's son and heir was consigned to the care of Captain 
Speedy, to be educated for service in our Indian cavalry. 


THE ASHANTEE WAR 1873-1874. 

Crossing the Prah Skirmish at Borborassie Battle of A moaful Capture of 
Becquah Battle of Ordahsu, and March on Coomassie Destruction of 
Coomassie and return of the troops Treaty of Fommanah. 

the west coast of Africa, between the Bight of Benin 
and Cape Palmas, are a number of forts. Some of 
these forts formerly belonged to the Danes, some to 
the Dutch, and some to the English, but at the period 
of the Ash an tee war the English flag alone waved on the Gold 
Coast. The most important of the forts is Cape Coast Castle, 
and to the west of it is Elmina, ceded to us by the Dutch. The 
principal river in this part of Africa is the Prah, which, after 
running for some distance from the north-east to the south-west, 
makes a sudden bend, and taking a course almost due south, 
falls into the Atlantic about twenty miles west of Cape Coast 
Castle. The whole of the country through which it runs is 
covered by a dense scrub, except where the natives have made 
clearings for their villages, or noxious swamps prevent the growth 
of trees. During the rainy season especially, the climate is fatal 
to Europeans. The country between Cape Coast Castle and the 
Prah is inhabited by the Fantees, a tribe which seems to have 
lost all manly vigour, and will neither work nor fight. Beyond 
the Prah, to the north and west, the country is inhabited by the 
Ashantees, a brave and warlike people, but disgraced by in- 
credible cruelty. Their chief delights are gold and blood. 
Thousands of victims annually perish at their " customs," and 
the graves of their chief people, kings, queens, and caboceers, are 
always watered with torrents of human blood. But with all 


their faults the Ashantees are the most vigorous and enterpris- 
ing of the native races of that part of Africa, and their capital of 
Coomassie, which stands about 140 miles to the north of Cape 
Coast Castle, showed that they had made very considerable pro- 
gress in many of the handicrafts and some of the arts of life. 
Their great ambition \vas to open up their territory to the sea, 
and this brought them in contact with the Fantees, who suffered 
terribly from their inroads and invasions. For obvious reasons, 
in all these quarrels our people at Cape Coast Castle sided with 
the Fantees, who, however, proved miserable allies. The bond 
was drawn closer in 1844, when a Protectorate was established 
over all the Fantee territory, the Fantees agreeing to acknow- 
ledge the jurisdiction of Queen Victoria, and obey the British 
laws, in return for British protection. 

The recent transference of Elmina to the British gave great 
offence at Coomassie, the Dutch having been in the habit of 
paying the king of Ashantee X8o a-year j not, however, they 
alleged, as tribute or rent, but simply as a friendly gift. The 
war party at Coomassie professed to see in this transference an 
insult to the Ashantee name, and goaded King Coffee Calcallee 
on to war. They artfully insinuated that the young king, who 
took his seat upon the stool of royalty in 1868, had not yet 
equalled the warlike achievements of his distinguished ancestors, 
and that such another opportunity might never occur again of 
proving the invincibility of the Ashantee arms. King Coffee 
was young, rash, and ambitious of military renown, and on the 
eve of a grand custom, when the whole people were mad with 
drink and the sight of torrents of human blood, he arose, and in 
presence of his nobles, knights, and courtiers, swore by " Me- 
minda Coromantee," the sacredest of oaths, that he would carry 
his golden stool of royalty to Cape Coast Castle, and there wash 
it in English blood. He then caused to be brought to him the 
skull of Sir Charles McCarthy slain in battle with the Ashantees 
in 1824 and this ghastly drinking-cup he drained to the toast 
of victory, and to the conquest of all lands and peoples between 
Coomassie and the sea. 

King Coffee began his invasion of the Fantee and other 
territories nominally under British protection in January, 1873, 
with an army of 60,000 men. Colonel Harley's entire force at 
Cape Coast Castle at this time was only 600 men, consisting of 
167 West Indian troops, divided between five or six forts, 200 


Houssa police negroes like the Ashantees themselves, imported 
from the lower Niger and 200 local volunteers. The Fantees 
could have brought into the field a force equal to that of the 
invaders, but they had no stomach for fighting, and after a double 
defeat at Yancommassie, their levies dispersed. The Ashantee 
invasion now swept on, meeting with little or no resistance, and 
the Ashantee army sat down at Dunquah, 25 miles from Cape 
Coast Castle. But Cape Coast Castle itself was secured, chiefly 
by the exertions of Lieutenant Gordon, who raised and drilled 
a body of Houssas, and formed a redoubt at the village of 
Napoleon, 5 miles inland. The native town of Elmina showed 
a disposition to side with the invaders, and on the refusal of 
the chiefs to give up their arms, the place was bombarded and 
set on fire. While the bombardment was going on, a force 
of 2000 or 3000 Ashantees emerged from the forest, and, 
attacking the loyal part of Elmina, were about to burn it, when 
the Houssas, the royal marines, under Colonel Festing, and a 
party of blue-jackets, under Captain Fremantle of the Barra- 
couta, came to the rescue. Taking cover under a garden wall, 
our people poured such a fire upon the Ashantees that they 
retreated into the bush, leaving two or three hundred dead on 
the field. 

Several other affairs occurred among others the bombard- 
ment of Chamah, by the guns of the Rattlesnake, on account of 
the treachery of the natives, who agreed to an amicable con- 
ference, and then fired from an ambuscade upon our boats, 
wounding Commodore Commerell, commanding on the West 
African station in H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commander Percy 
Luxmoore of H.M.S. Argus, Captain W. Helden, 2d West 
India regiment, and six seamen. By this time it was clear to 
all the officers acquainted with the country, that if peace was to 
be restored on the Gold Coast, a small army must be despatched 
from England to strike a decisive blow. But the Government 
was not yet convinced of the necessity of what must prove so 
expensive an undertaking, and appointed Sir Garnet Wolseley, 
who had given proofs of high ability as leader of the Canadian 
Expedition, in 1870, to proceed to Cape Coast Castle, and report. 
Sir Garnet and his staff landed at Cape Coast Castle on the 2d 
October. He first endeavoured to form an army of Fantees, 
but after a month's experience gave up the attempt as hopeless, 
and wrote home requesting that the regiments which had been 


selected for the expedition, should they be found necessary, 
might be immediately sent out. 

Pending the arrival of the troops from England, Sir Garnet 
set himself to work to free the Protectorate from the Ashantee 
invaders. The forces at his disposal consisted of only 20 royal 
marine artillery, under Lieutenant Allen ; 169 royal marine light 
infantry, from H.M.S. Simoom, under Captain Crease ; 500 blue- 
jackets and marines, under Captain Fremantle ; 200 West India 
negro troops, under Captain Forbes and Lieutenant Eyre; 20 
Kroomen and 126 Houssas, under Lieutenant Richmond; besides 
a few armed police, and 300 labourers with axes to clear the path. 
His efforts were admirably seconded by Captain Rait and Lieu- 
tenant Eardley Wilmot, of the royal artillery, who drilled a 
number of Houssas for Gatling guns and rockets ; and by Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Wood and Major Russell, who raised two efficient 
regiments of between four and five hundred men each, from the 
bravest tribes. After sweeping the Ashantees from their posi- 
tions near Cape Coast Castle and Elmina, anoT so pre vent ing 
them from continuing to obtain smuggled supplies of arms from 
foreign traders at the sea-coast villages, Sir Garnet commenced 
his march inland, about the end of October. The Ashantees 
made an effort to arrest his progress by besieging Abrakrampa, 
the chief town of the province of Abra, of which the native king 
was our staunch ally. The place was defended by besides the 
native king and his people Major Baker Russell of the i3th 
Hussars, with 50 marines and seamen, and 100 Kossohs and 
other natives, under Captain Bromhead and Lord Gifford of 
the 24th, and one or two more English officers. After a three 
days' ineffectual leaguer, during which the Ashantees sustained 
heavy losses, while not so much as one Englishman was 
wounded, the Ashantees crossed the Prah at Prahsu, and re- 
treated to Coomassie. While pressing the pursuit, the gallant 
Lieutenant Eardley Wilmot was shot through the heart. On 
the 1 5th December, 1873, Sir Garnet Wolseley was able to report 
" That the first phase of the war had been brought to a satis- 
factory conclusion, by a few companies of the 2d West India 
regiment, Rait's artillery, Gordon's Houssas, and Wood's and 
Russell's regiments, admirably conducted by the British officers 
belonging to them, without the assistance of any other troops 
except the marines and blue-jackets, who were on the station on 
his arrival." 


This task accomplished, Sir r Garnet sketched out the plan 
of the campaign, and made every preparation for it in his 
power. The main body of the army, consisting of the Euro- 
pean troops, the naval brigade, Wood's and Kussell'a regi- 
ments, and Rait's artillery, was to advance from Prahsu on 
the main road to Coomassie. On the extreme right, Captain 
Glover was to lead a native force across the Prah somewhere at 
Assum ; and, as a connecting link between him and the main 
body, a column composed of natives, under the command of 
Captain Butler, of the 69th, author of the " Great Lone Land," 
was to cross the river lower down. On the left, another column 
of natives, under Captain Dalryrnple of the 88th, was to march 
on Coomassie by the Wassaw road. The real difficulties of the 
campaign lay in the nature of the country and the climate. 
First, a road had to be pierced into the very heart of the Ash- 
antee kingdom, through a country of marshes and matted forests, 
forming an almost impenetrable ambush to an enemy who knew 
how to take advantage of it. In the second place, the health of 
the soldiers had to be preserved in every possible way, to enable 
them to hold out against the pestiferous climate. And lastly, 
the final blow must be struck and the campaign finished by a 
certain day, because, if our white troops were caught by the 
sudden downpouring of the usual rains at the end of February, 
their return would be stopped, and half of them sick of fever. 
As Lord Derby remarked, it was to a large extent an engineers' 
and doctors' war. As to the Ashantees themselves, they were no 
contemptible enemies, but neither in weapons nor discipline were 
they any match for our troops. In his " Notes " for the use of 
the army, Sir Garnet Wolseley says : " Each soldier must re- 
member that, with his breechloader, he is equal to at least twenty 
Ashantees, wretchedly armed as they are with old flint muskets, 
firing slugs or pieces of stone that do not hurt badly at more 
than forty or fifty yards' range. Our enemies have neither guns 
nor rockets, and have a superstitious dread of those used by us." 

With the aid of native labourers, the royal engineers cleared 
and widened the forest path for the passage of the troops and 
stores, flooring the marshy parts with a " corduroy " of tree 
trunks laid side by side. Bit by bit as the road was made they 
erected an electric telegraph, to flash the latest news to Cape 
Coast Castle. They constructed pontoon bridges over the Prah 
arid other smaller rivers, and they provided huts for the men at 


the nightly halting places. These huts were constructed of 
bamboo framework, thatched with palm leaves, and furnished 
with raised bedsteads made of bamboo wattle. Each hut was 
some 80 feet long by 18 feet wide, and large enough to lodge 
half a battalion. 

The troops sent to the Gold Coast consisted of the 42d Koyal 
Highlanders, with 135 volunteers from the ypth Highlanders, 
the rifle brigade, a detachment of the royal engineers, the 230! 
Welsh fusiliers, and a detachment of the royal artillery in 
all 2504 men. The disembarkation took place on the ist day 
of January, 1874, and by seven o'clock that evening the whole 
force was at Inquabim, six miles from Cape Coast Castle. 
Several days were occupied in making the march to Prahsu, 84 
miles inland, where .Sir Garnet Wolseley and his staff had 
arrived on the 2d, and the naval brigade on the 3d. The 
British troops were accompanied by 350 men of the 2d West 
India regiment, Bait's artillery, 50 men, arid Wood's and 
Russell's regiments, numbering together 800 men. The land 
transport service had great difficulties to contend with. Nearly 
5000 of the Fantee porters and roadmakers deserted when 
ordered to carry their burdens to the front. This caused some 
delay at Mansu, 35 miles inland, and as idleness in such a 
climate is utterly prostrating to white men, this short period of 
inaction did more harm to our soldiers than all the hard work 
of the campaign. Another vexation consequent on the desertion 
of the Fantees was that the Welsh fusiliers and the royal 
artillery had to re-embark, all but 200, as there was no convey- 
ance for their stores. The 42 d volunteered to act as their own 
porters, and actually performed this unusual service for a day 
or two. 

Seventy medical officers accompanied the expedition, most of 
them volunteers, and everything was done to preserve the health 
of the soldrers that medical science and untiring devoted zeal 
could do. Instead of the regimental uniforms, which were left 
behind in the transports,- all wore a suit of grey tweeds, light 
and easy, with pockets, and a pith helmet to protect the head 
from the rays of a tropical sun. The men were allowed to march 
with their jackets off, but had orders to put them on the instant 
they halted, and when on sentry or at rest to court the shade as 
much as possible. The food supplied was wholesome in quality 
and sufficient in quantity; fresh meat and bread at every second 


road station, tins of Australian beef, with biscuits, served out 
on alternate days, with preserved vegetables, potatoes, and rice. 
Every soldier had chocolate in the morning, and tea with sugar 
at night ; but latterly, instead of tea at night, a little rum. A 
dose of quinine was administered daily to prevent sickness, and 
a potion of lime-juice several times a week. 

Prahsu was reached in the early part of January. During 
the stay here ambassadors arrived from King Coffee, with letters 
expressive of a desire for peace. Sir Garnet told the ambas- 
sadors that he would only grant peace, on condition, first, that 
the king must sign a treaty securing the British Protectorate 
from future aggression ; second, that he must release all European 
captives for two German missionaries and their families, named 
Kuhne and Ramseyer, M. Bonnat, a French merchant, and one 
or two others, had been captives at Coomassie for four years, 
having been sent thither in irons after a treacherous invitation 
to a friendly conference at the Ashantee camp and lastly, that 
he must pay 50,000 ounces of pure gold, or nearly a quarter of 
a million sterling, towards the expenses of the war. As security 
for the performance of these articles, Sir Garnet demanded as 
hostages the Queen Dowager and the king's brother, Prince Men- 
sah, the heir apparent to the throne. One of the Ashantee ambas- 
sadors came to a melancholy end at Prahsu. The ambassadors 
were shown the practise of the Gatling guns, and this one told 
his colleagues that it was vain to fight against foes so armed. 
They threatened to accuse him of cowardice to the king, and 
the miserable man, dreading the fate which awaited him on his 
return to Coomassie, shot himself in the night. 

But, from the intelligence brought him by Lord Gilford and 
Major Russell, in their scouting expeditions across the Prah, Sir 
Garnet had no faith in the king's overtures for peace ; and on 
the 2oth January, the engineers having put the last touches to 
the bridge over the Prah, the troops intended for the attack on 
Coomassie crossed over. The advance was preceded by Lord 
Gifford and his native scouts. The army passed the Adansi 
hills, the natural barriers of the Ashantee kingdom on the 
south, and on the 24th occupied Fommanah, a town about 30 
miles from Coomassie. Messrs. Kuhne, Ramseyer, and Bonnat 
now arrived with further overtures for peace, but as the king 
had not delivered up the hostages, Sir Garnet answered tha't te 
meant to go oil to Coomassie. Every day it became more plain 



that King Coffee was concentrating his forces, and on the 29th 
the naval brigade and some other troops had a skirmish with a 
party of the enemy at Borborassie. Captain John Nicol 
(formerly of the I3th, and late adjutant of the Hants militia), 
who led the advance with his dark-skinned Annamboes, was 
unfortunately shot dead while explaining to the Ashantees that 
if they did not fire they would not be fired on. Captain Nicol 
was the first officer who fell north of the Prah. On the night of 
the 3oth our advanced guard was at Quarman, within two miles 
of Amoaful, where the Ashantees were stated to be some 20,000 
strong, under their greatest General, Amanquatiah. The position 
was admirably adapted for their peculiar mode of fighting. 
The ground was covered with a mass of vegetation almost solid, 
intersected by lanes seldom above 8 feet wide, and, hollowed by 
rains, so uneven and steep at the sides as to afford but scanty 
footing. Between Quarman and Amoaful was the hamlet of 
Egginassie, on the bank of a stream that flowed through the 
densest forest. 

Sir Garnet Wolseley adapted his tactics to the peculiar exi- 
gencies of an engagement in the bush. He divided his forces 
into four columns, so disposed that when they closed up they 
would form a square ; the side columns to take in ground to the 
line of advance, so as to prevent any flank attack on the ad- 
vancing front centre. Paths through the jungle were cut for 
each column by large parties of native labourers. 

On the morning of the 3ist January, the army advanced to 
the attack in the following order : The front column, which 
was to extend in line as it advanced, was commanded by Briga- 
dier-general Sir Archibald Alison, C.B., and consisted of the 
42d Royal Highlanders, under Major Duncan Macpherson and 
Major Scott ; two y-pound guns, commanded by Captain Rait 
himself; and a detachment of royal engineers under Major 
Home. The left column, under the command of Colonel J. C. 
M'Leod, C.B., consisted of the right wing of the naval brigade, 
under Captain Luxmore of the Druid / Major Russell's regiment 
of native allies, part of Rait's Houssa artillery, two rocket de- 
tachments, and a detachment of royal engineers under Captain 
Buckle. The right column, under the command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Evelyn Wood, V.C., poth Light Infantry, consisted of 
;the left wing of the naval brigade, under Captain Grubbe of 


the Tamar ; Wood's native allies, a detachment of Bait's Houssa 
artillery, two rockets, and a detachment of the royal engineers. 
The rear column consisted of the 2d battalion of the rifle brigade, 
under Lieutenant-Colonel A. F. Warren. Each column was fol- 
lowed by a number of Fantee porters, bearing the reserve ammu- 
nition and thirty or forty hammocks for the wounded. The 
Fantees were carefully guarded by soldiers lest they should run 
away. The whole force numbered 2500 men. Sir Garnet was 
borne aloft in a Madeira cane chair, mounted on the shoulders of 
four Fantee porters. 

The battle commenced at 8.5 A.M., when Lord Gifford and 
his scouts carried the village of Egginassie. The front column 
then extended into the thick bush on each side of the road, which, 
says Sir Garnet Wolseley, " was cut and widened by labourers 
under the royal engineers, so as to admit of the advance of the 
guns. As the leading column advanced northward, the left column, 
according to orders previously issued, cut a path diagonally to 
the left front, with a view of protecting the left flank of the 
front column ; and as it moved along this path, the right column, 
closing up, cut a path diagonally to the right to protect the right 
flank, while the rear column extended, so as to gain touch of the 
right and left columns, and, should it be outflanked, to face east 
and west outwards. My intention was to fight in the form of a 
square, and so oppose the invariable flanking tactics of the 
enemy, which their superior numbers would probably allow them 
to carry out against any line which I could form." 

The advance of the front column is thus described by Mr. 
Stanley : " The front column, pushing on to occupy the village 
of Egginassie close after Gifford's scouts, had swept across the 
open ground of the clearing and deployed into position in the 
jungle. Reserving their fire until they encountered the enemy, 
the Highlanders had continued advancing until they had 
penetrated about 200 yards beyond the village, when the con- 
cealed enemy suddenly revealed himself by firing into their faces 
from cleverly-contrived ambuscades. Henceforward the High- 
landers continued to sweep the bush in front of them, with 
steadily-poured volleys, until they had silenced the enemy's fire, 
during which pause the engineer labourers were pushed forward 
to cut the bush for a farther advance. When the labourers had 
succeeded in clearing a space of ground in front, the Highlanders 
moved forward until they discovered the enemy again. The 


road to Amoaful from Egginassie served as a guide to the wings 
spread out on each side of Bait's artillery, which continued to 
move down in line with the infantry. Whenever a favourable 
opportunity presented itself, Captain Arthur Rait with his brave 
Houssas sent telling shots. Thus artillery and Highlanders 
slowly marched down the sloping ground, driving the foe steadily 
out of his numerous hiding-places, which he had constructed of 
bush, with a skill which almost defied detection by the eye. The 
best means of discovering his whereabouts were found to be 
telling volleys from Sniders, and booming rounds from the tiny 
7-pounders, which sent their shot with disastrous effect through 
the forest. 

" At the bottom of the slope ran a lazy stream, which coursed 
sluggishly through expanses of morass, and over depths of black 
slime. A hundred yards beyond this stream were seen the 
silvan huts which the Ashantees had constructed out of tree 
boughs and plantain leaves. These huts numbered hundreds, 
spread out far on each side of the road. Such was the place 
the Ashantees chose to defend, which they did with a pertinacity 
that won high praise and admiration from the Highlanders. 
The soldiers were put to their mettle, and the Houssas, as if 
catching the fierce enthusiasm which animated the Scotch High- 
landers, laboured with a vigour and energy not eclipsed by any 
on the field. Captain Rait, halting at the same altitude above 
the stream below as the Ashantee camp was on the other side of 
it, aimed his guns with such good effect at the huts that, on 
passing them, the ghastly heaps that met the sight, of rent 
bodies and disfigured dead, bore a silent but significant testi- 
mony to the important service the Houssa artillery had contri- 
buted on this day towards crushing the pride of the enemy. 

" When the front column had dislodged the Ashantees from 
their several positions, and finally driven them with fearful 
loss from their camps, Sir Archibald pushed it forward ; and 
while bagpipes blew their most strenuous notes, and the wild 
Highland cheers for victory pealed through the forest, the 
whole line surged across the stream, and swept up the opposite 
slope until the outskirts of Amoaful were reached. Here 
Highlanders and Houssas, now animated to the highest pitch 
of valour, rushed forward at the top of their speed, to the 
entrance of the broad avenue which divides the town into two 
equal portions. As they appeared within the town at the foot 


of this avenue, they saw several excited groups of natives hurry- 
ing away from it, some bearing away wounded chiefs, others 
transporting their household property. One group specially 
attracted the attention of Lieutenant Saunders, R.A. that of 
four slaves carrying on their shoulders the wounded body of their 
master, with two others following closely behind. Aiming a shell 
at them, the missile exploded but a few inches above their heads 
and in the centre of the group, killing every soul instantly. 
After a few more desultory shots, the capture of the town of 
Amoaful was complete.'' 

In the meantime, the other columns were not idle. " The left 
column," says Sir Garnet Wolseley, " advancing under a heavy 
fire, by which Captain Buckle, RE., was killed while urging on 
his labourers, occupied the crest of a hill, where a clearing was 
made, and the enemy was driven away from this position of their 
camp by an advance of the naval brigade and Russell's regiment. 
Colonel M'Leod, having cleared his front, and having lost touch 
of the left of the front column, now cut his way in a north- 
easterly direction, and came into the main road in rear of the 
Highlanders about the same hour that the advance occupied 
Amoaful. I protected his left rear by a detachment of the rifle 
brigade. Our left flank was now apparently clear of the enemy." 

Very hot was the contest which the right column was called 
upon to sustain. "At 11.30," says Stanley, " the right column 
was rudely awakened from apparent inactivity into a fierce blaze 
of excitement, and as the village of Egginassie was situated on 
the slope of the long low forest-clad hill, the enemy when he 
crested it and bore down on the right column in force, visited 
ourselves (with the head-quarters in the centre of the square at 
Egginassie) with a hail of slugs, which caused the trees around 
and the branches above us to shed their leaves over us as thick 
as flukes in a snow-storm. A few seconds after this tremendous 
firing in our vicinity began, Colonel Wood, commanding the 
right column, was brought in with an iron slug in his chest ; 
then his aide-de-camp followed, disabled with a slug in his hip ; 
then we find that in a short time fourteen blue-jackets have been 
assisted into the village, some of them grievously wounded. The 
firing at such close quarters to us waxes terrific. The line of the 
fighting right column, now hotly engaged with a persisting foe, 
who crawls serpent-like closer and closer to them, is not fifty 
yards away from us f .and we are plentifully touched and tapped,. 


lightly it is true, by a bail of slugs. Men with whom I am con- 
versing abruptly spin round as they feel the blows. Lieutenant 
Maurice, sitting on a log, listening to the thunder of the unceas- 
ing, ear-splitting fusilade, is struck in the back. Doctor Fegan, 
of the Active, while conversing for a moment with Commodore 
Hewett and myself, is violently struck on his scarf-pin, and others 
Lave similar experiences to relate. Every man of the right column 
feels that this is a critical moment, and that he must roll back 
the tide of attack, or be driven himself in hot haste to infamous 
flight, and so he plies his faithful Snider with that nervous 
rapidity born of desperate necessity. Probably Sir Garnet feels 
that it is a critical moment also, considering that Wood's regi- 
ment of native allies only lies between his head-quarters and the 
enemy, and he orders the 23d Royal Welsh Fusiliers forward to 
the support, to advance in a north-easterly direction. 

" The firing rises to a deafening pitch, there is not a break 
or pause in the thick volume of sound, lazy clouds of gunpowder- 
smoke enwrap the forest tops as with a curtain. Things proceed 
at this rate for a short interval, wounded combatants drop in 
rapidly; there are about 100 wounded, dying, and dead in the 
village, though several of the wounded, having had their wounds 
dressed, have been borne to Quarman, when Sir Garnet orders 
up a second support of two companies of the rifle brigade, with 
emphatic orders to push on and drive the stubborn enemy from 
his coverts. We, waiting to hear the support of fresh men, can 
tell the very minute they commence firing, can mark the progress 
which they make through the thick jungle by the diminishing 
volume of the musketry, can almost reckon the rate at which 
they advance, and feel very much relieved when at 12.30 the 
wild cheers which the Apoboes utter tell us of the rapid retreat 
of the Ashantees. 

" But while we are congratulating ourselves that the important 
battle of Amoaful is ended, loud and continuous musketry is 
heard in our rear along the road to (the entrenched post of) 
Quarman, whither the wounded have been taken for safety, and 
the entrance to the village from Quarman is choked by the forms 
of the frightened Fantee carriers. Sir Garnet thought of this 
possibility, and prepared his plan of battle for such a contin- 
gency. The four companies of the rifle brigade, hitherto 
unemployed in the battle, are ordered to take the back track 
and defend the line of communication, and they are soon engaged. 

1874.] LOSSES AT AMOAFUL. 359 

with the Ashantees in vigorous earnestness, until 1.45 P.M., when 
a cessation of the musketry announces that the enemy, having 
attempted the power of the Europeans on the left, the front, the 
right and rear columns, is convinced that he has been defeated, 
and is unable to withstand the strange weapons which the white 
men use in war." 

During the afternoon and evening the enemy made several 
partial attempts on Quarman, and on a large convoy of baggage 
which had been packed at Insarfu during the action, but were 
everywhere repulsed. It was 5 P.M. when Sir Garnet arrived at 
Amoaful. As all the baggage had been left behind at Insarfu, 
the troops kindled large bonfires, and bivouacked on the avenue 
in the open air. The loss in the battle of Amoaful was i 
officer (Captain Buckle) and 3 men killed, and 15 officers and 
193 men wounded. The greater part of this loss fell on the 42d, 
which had 2 men killed, and 9 officers and 106 men wounded. 
The naval brigade had 34 men wounded. 

The loss of the Ashantees was estimated at from 800 to 1200 
killed, and as many more wounded ; but it was difficult to judge, 
as it was the invariable custom of the enemy to bear his dead and 
wounded from the field, for fear of decapitation. This fearful 
fate occurred to one of our men, a Highlander, who fell back to 
Egginassie to have his wound dressed, but lost his way, and un- 
fortunately fell in with a body of Ashantees, who overpowered 
him and cut his head off. His body was afterwards found by 
some men of Russell's regiment, and buried at Amoaful. The 
slashed hands and almost 'severed fingers showed what a terrible 
struggle the poor man had made for his life. The Ashantees lost 
many of their best leaders at Amoaful. The king of Mampon, 
who commanded the right, was mortally wounded ; and Aman- 
quatiah, who commanded the left, and Appia, one of the great 
chiefs engaged in the centre, were killed. 

Next day (February i) the village of Becquah, about a mile 
and a half to the left front, was captured by Colonel M'Leod, 
with the naval brigade, a gun and rocket trough, Rait's 
artillery, Russell's regiment, Lord Gifford's guides, and a detach- 
ment of Major Home's engineers, supported by detachments of 
the Welsh fusiliers and the 42d. On the 2d, leaving the baggage 
behind, the army resumed its march to Coomassie, preceded by 
Russell's regiment and Gifford's scouts. The ground was every- 


where bestrewed by native accoutrements, silk-cotton bolsters, 
stools, and scores of corn rations in neatly plaited corn leaves, 
which the enemy had dropped in their hurried flight. The air 
was filled with a peculiar odour of death. " Each village had 
its human sacrifice lying in the middle of the path, for the pur- 
pose of affrighting the conquerors. The sacrifice was of either 
sex, sometimes a young man. sometimes a young woman. The 
head, severed from the body, was turned to meet the advancing 
army, the body was evenly laid out with the feet toward 
Coomassie. This laying out in this manner meant no doubt, 
* Regard this face; white men, ye whose feet are hurrying on to 
our capital, and learn the fate awaiting you. ; " On the evening 
of the 3d the army reached the left bank of the Ordah, the last 
natural barrier between them and the capital of the Ashantee 
kingdom. The engineers immediately set to work to throw a 
bridge over the river, and the troops encamped for the night ; 
but their rest was broken by a tornado and a tremendous down- 
pour of rain that drenched the bivouac. But no one thought 
much of these discomforts, for the enemy were reported to be 
in force at Ordahsu, a village a mile and a half beyond the 
northern bank of the river ; and if all went well to-morrow and 
who could doubt it ? they might make their next bivouac in 
Coomassie. During the course of the day (the 3d) Sir Garnet 
had received a letter from King Coffee, imploring him to halt 
and give him time to collect the indemnity, promising to give up 
the hostages ; to which Sir Garnet had replied that he would 
halt only when the money and the hostages were in his power, 
and if they were not in the camp, by next morning, he would 
inarch on Coomassie and burn it to the ground. 

Next morning, no money or hostages having arrived, the army 
crossed the bridge which the engineers had hastily thrown over 
the Ordah. Scarcely were the troops in motion when, at 7.40 
A.M., the advanced guard, consisting of Gifford's scouts, the 
rifle brigade, Russell's regiment, and Rait's artillery, found itself 
fiercely engaged with large numbers of the enemy, who had 
crowded into the village of Ordahsu, and manned the huts on 
each side of the road with great bravery and no little skill. King 
Coffee Calcallee directed the battle in person, from the village of 
Akkanwassi, about a mile and three-quarters farther on. Here, 
seated on his golden stool, under his red umbrella, sheltered by 

1 8 74 .] THE BLACK WATCH. 361 

the plantain fronds, with a number of his chiefs around him, he 
waited for that special intervention which the fetish ulemas 
had promised him, but waited in vain, for as the day wore 
oil, and the tide of war rolled slowly forward, a Snider bullet 
sang past his ears, and he was fain to be borne away by his 

But not without a fierce struggle did the Ashantees give way. 
For hours they kept our troops at bay ; but at length the rifle 
brigade gained the village of Ordahsu. Immediately its capture 
was reported, Sir Garnet ordered forward the baggage. Thus 
secured between the advanced guard and the main column, a 
panic flight of the Fantee porters was impossible. It was a 
happy inspiration, for no sooner were the Ashantees driven away 
in front than they surged round on the right flank, expectant of 
plunder, but were disappointed. 

" Sir Garnet," says Mr. Stanley, " now did that which he 
ought to have done before, but which done even at noon, half 
an hour before the battle ended, shows better than anything, in 
my opinion, the audacity of his character, and the quick intelli- 
gence of the active and capable General who is prompt to 
conceive and ready to execute. He ordered up the 42d High- 
landers, and gave orders to Colonel M'Leod to carry the positions 
in front, and march straight into Coomassie. Captain Rait's 
artillery was to cover the attack. No man is more cool than 
Colonel M'Leod in action. He drew up his men in double file 
from one end of the village (Ordahsu) to the other. The 
famous Black Watch appeared, though greatly reduced in 
numbers (340 on this day), to be fit followers of their colonel. 
Both colonel and soldiers mutually understood one another. 
There was no doubt or hesitancy in either commanding officer or 
men. Daring the brief halt, Colonel M'Leod surveyed his men, 
and then said, ' The 4.26. will fire volleys by companies, according 
to order. Forward ! ' 

"Then began the sublime march to Coomassie, the most 
gallant conduct, and most impressive action, of the Ashantee 
campaign. It was on the ' fast fire ' and ' advance fast ' principle. 
The Highlanders marched out of the village, from the garish 
sunlight of the open into the gloomy chasm of the forest, by a 
road beset by ambuscades, with a proud military bearing, full 
of determination and a joyous courage. Soon after they 
advanced into that fearful gaping pass in the forest, the enemy 

362 A NEW GAME OF WAR. [1874. 

opened on them from his coverts. Colonel M'Leod shouted out 
clear and loud, ' Company A, front rank fire to the right, rear 
rank fire to the left. Forward!' The companies fired in 
succession, according to order, front ranks firing to the right, 
rear ranks firing to the left, and, halting not even to deliver their 
volleys, marched past the ambuscades, the bagpipes playing, and 
the wild Highland cheers echoing as loud as the musketry; 
Captain Eait, with his hard-striking artillery, hurling his shot 
and rockets to the right and left of the enemy. 

"This was a new game of war which the white man inaugurated 
in Ashantee, and which the Ashantees did not understand. It 
was out of all precedent. The custom used to be to lie down 
and adhere to the earth, and fire away for hours until one party 
or the other expended all his ammunition, or got tired of the 
tedium of this kind of fighting to try in another part of the 
field. But this marching past ambuscades with salutes of 
bullets they did not understand ; they became anxious, and then 
panic-stricken, and within half-an-hour after the Highlanders 
hud departed, the impression that something unusual had 
happened in the front seemed to have been transmitted through- 
out the ranks of the enemy on all sides. A loud blowing 
of horns on our right and in our rear seemed to announce, * To 
your tents, Ashantees ! Coomassie is fallen, the battle is 
lost ! ' and subsiding notes heard at a distance, sounded like a 
wail of despair, as the gentle breeze bore them through the 
forest to our ears. At last the sounds of the battle of Or- 
clahsu died away, and the last clod of earth was thrown over 
the remains of the young and gallant gentleman (Lieutenant 
Eyre, of Wood's native allies) who had fallen in the early 
part of it. 

"Then the native regiments were ordered to advance, the 
porters carrying the reserve ammunition and medical stores were 
driven after them ; the staff followed, then came the rifles, and 
finally the naval brigade. It was in this manner we followed 
the road which the 42d Highlanders had cleared for us but half 
an hour before. A few of the results of their volleys we saw in. 
dead men lying across or on the side of the road. We saw one 
man who had evidently taken shelter behind a thick cotton-wood 
buttress. A Snider bullet with great penetrative force had gone 
clean through the five inches of cotton-wood, and had slain the 
man behind it. . 


" But the Highlanders continued their march past Karsi, 
meeting with flags of truce on the way Sir Archibald Alison 
on his white mule, and Colonel M'Leod on foot, leading them 
across the fetid deadly swamp which insulates Coomassie. 
While crossing this place, Sir Archibald's mule stumbled, and 
the gallant brigadier fell under the animal into the nauseous 
liquid, which reeked with human putrefaction. As Sir Archibald 
has but one arm, it would have been difficult for him to have 
extricated himself from his dangerous position, had not his 
brigade major, Captain Robinson, immediately relieved him. 

" In the meantime the main body, consisting of the 23d Royal 
Welsh Fusiliers, Wood's and Russell's regiments, rifles and 
naval brigade, were toiling on hard and fast after the 42d. On 
the road Sir Garnet received a cheery despatch from Sir 
Archibald Alison to this effect ' We have taken all the villages 
but the last before entering Coomassie. The enemy is flying 
panic-stricken before us. Support me with half the rifles, and 
I enter Coomassie to-night.' Then came, by two different flags 
of truce, letters from Dawson the missionary, begging in piteous 
terms for delay for the sake of his life and that of his fellow- 
captives. A bearer of one of them informed us that the king 
had left Coomassie the night before for the battle-field, and had 
not returned to his capital since, but he and his army were 
known to be in full flight towards Amineeha, a country residence 
of His Majesty. Still marching past we came through and 
passed by Karsi, and at 6 P.M. the staff and head of the main 
body of the column had crossed the swamp and entered a long 
broad avenue flanked on each side by pretentious-looking edifices 
of porticoed and alcoved houses. We were at last in Coo- 
massie ! 

"As we arrived in the market-place, we saw hundreds of 
wondering Ashantees, with their weapons in their hands, regard- 
ing us most curiously. It was attempted at first to disarm them, 
but the general, doubtless thinking that at this late hour of the 
day it was bad policy to begin hostilities, ordered them to be 
treated kindly and to be left alone. Turning to the left when 
we arrived at the market-place, we saw another wide and noble 
street, half a mile long, where the 42d Highlanders were drawn 
quietly in line, awaiting the arrival of the general. As the 
general arrived in front of them, the Highlanders uttered their 
victorious cheers ; and soon every straggler and new arrival of 


the main body caught up the hearty cries, and announced to 
those far behind, not yet arrived in the capital, as well as to the 
wondering citizens regarding us, and the advancing fugitives 
from the battle-field, the certain FALL OF COOMASSIE, the dread 
capital of the Ashantee kingdom." 

Sir Garnet spent the next day in Coomassie, in the hope that 
the king would arrive and come to terms ; but King Coffee did 
not make his appearance, and a heavy downpour of rain made 
the general apprehensive that the rainy season was coming on, 
in which case the health of the troops would suffer, and his 
retreat to the coast be interrupted by the flooding of the rivers. 
He resolved therefore to destroy Coomassie, and set out for the 
coast at once. Accordingly, early on Friday morning (February 
6, 1874) the streets were cleared of people by detachments of 
the naval brigade, and as the troops marched out on their 
homeward route, the engineers passed from house to house with 
fiery torches, the rear guard, composed of the 42d, moving 
slowly on before them. Scarcely had they left the town when 
several explosions were heard, proclaiming that the stone palace 
of King Coffee Calcallee had become a shapeless ruin. 

Sir Garnet was at Fommanah (February 13) when King 
Coffee sent, with an urgent request for peace, 1000 ounces 
of gold as the first instalment of the war indemnity. The 
humbled king's tardy submission was accepted, and a treaty of 
peace was drawn up, by which the war indemnity was fixed at 
50,000 ounces of gold ; the king of Ashantee confined himself 
strictly to his own kingdom, and withdrew all pretentious to 
Elmina ; freedom of trade was established between the sea-coast 
and Coomassie, the king guaranteeing that the roads from Coo- 
massie to the river Prah should always be kept open and free 
from bush to a width of 15 feet ; and, lastly, the king would use 
his best endeavours to check the practice of human sacrifice, 
with a view to putting an end to it altogether. 

Glover's force reached Coomassie on the lath. The day 
before, Captain Beginald Sartorius, of the 6th Bengal Cavalry, 
had ridden into the capital with 20 men. Captain Butler's and 
Captain Dalrymple's forces had ere this deserted them. 

By the 22d February the troops had nearly all arrived at 
Cape Coast Castle, and were immediately embarked for England 
the rifle brigade in the Himalaya, the Welsh fusiliers in th 


Tamar, the Black Watch in the Sarmatian, and the general and 
his staff in the Manitoban. On their arrival in England, officers 
and men were received with the greatest enthusiasm, and honours 
were showered on the successful warriors. Sir Garnet Wolseley 
received a baronetcy and a pension, and the Grand Cross of St. 
Michael and St. George. Most of the surviving officers many, 
alas ! had succumbed to the climate and the slugs of the enemy 
were promoted. The Victoria Cross the most coveted 
distinction of the soldier was conferred on Lord Gifford and 
Sergeant M'Gaw of the 42d. 

On the issue of the Ashantee war medals to those who had 
distinguished themselves during the campaign, Sir John M'Leod 
of the 42d penned the following Eegimental Order, which tells 
of many a deed of valour done in the gloomy depths of the 
African forest : 

11 MALTA, 24^ May 1875. 

" Sir John M'Leod considers the Ashantee war medals, now 
received in full and issued to the regiment, will be worn with 
satisfaction by the men. He thinks that, although the expedi- 
tion for which it is granted was only a little war, the medal may 
take its place, not unworthily, beside the other decorations on 
the breast. Though little, the war had a magnitude and audacity 
about it to awaken the interest of the civilized world, and to 
exhibit in a marked degree those same qualities, latent in you, 
which sustained the corps of old in the Savannah, in Flanders, 
and in other unhealthy places ; where, be it remembered, they 
were not cared for as you were on the Gold Coast by a beneficent 
government. Men who can act as you acted and the Bush 
has terrors of its own altogether as though the honour of the 
regiment was committed to each individual member of it, has 
given evidence of a standard of character blending a perfect 
obedience with a just self-reliance. There is no page of your 
regiment's annals brighter than that which tells of your en- 
counter with your savage foe in the murky bottoms of Amoaful ; 
of the valour and discipline which carried you into the gaping 
chasm of the forest at Ordahsu; through the fetid Soubang 
swamp headed by Colour - sergeant Barton, who, though 
wounded at Amoaful, continued working hard, hardly missing a 
shot never halting until you had set your foot in the market- 
place of Coomassie. And on this day it is fitting to remember 
the distinguished conduct of Privates Alexander Hodge and 

366 DEEDS OF VALOUR. . [1878. 

John Arthur, carrying Major Baird, more desperately wounded 
than themselves, to a place of safety; and the noble heroism 
of Private W. Thomson, one of the party, sacrificing himself 
rather than see his captain fall into the hands of the enemy ; 
how Sergeant M'Gaw won the Victoria Cross; the sustained 
gallantry throughout of Privates Thomas Adams and George 
Ritchie ; the cheerful disregard of personal danger of Sergeant- 
instructor-of- musketry Street, though badly wounded in the 
thigh ; of Quarter-master-sergeant Patterson running the gauntlet 
of fire upon the road, for a hammock to carry the dangerously 
wounded Sergeant-major to the rear, assisted by Paymaster- 
sergeant Bateman ; of Pioneer- sergeant Gairns's look of scorn 
when, disabled in the right arm, he was advised to fall to the 
rear ! how was the flame of battle to be fed if he was at the rear 
and not there to serve out the ammunition ? how Sergeant 
Butters, shot through the leg at Amoaful, marched with his 
company till again struck down in the gloomy pass of Ordahsu ; 
of Sergeant Graham Gillies, and Privates Jones and John Grant, 
of B Company, always to the front ; how wounded Piper Weather- 
spoon, taking the rifle and place of dead Corporal Samuel, 
fought till overpowered with wounds ; of Sergeant Milne and 
Private Hector White, and gallant Privates W. Bell, Imray, and 
M'Phail, fighting with remarkable bravery. But the space I 
would allow myself is more than filled, and I have before me 
Sergeant John Simpson, Colour - sergeant Farquharson, and 
Privates Calderwood, W. Armstrong, J. Miller, Peter Jeffrey, 
Colour-sergeant Cooper, and Piper Honeyman, ' tangled in the 
bush/ and lost to his company ; Surgeon-major Clutterbuck, 
your old doctor, using few hammocks, how he marched all the 
way his own recipe for surmounting all difficulties and de- 
fended successfully his wounded, on the roadside, with his 
revolver; and Hospital- orderly M'Cudden the hammock-men 
hesitating to follow the regiment into the dread Ordahsu Pass, 
encouragingly he threw aside his sword and revolver, placed 
himself at their head, led thus into Coomassie ; and Quarter- 
master Forbes unsurpassed how, in the hottest of the fray, 
you had your ammunition always handy, your rations some- 
times more ready. The first to swim the Dah on your return, 
few will forget the hot tea he welcomed you with at your 
bivouac on that wet dreary night ; Private Johnston, the last to 
pass over, how he lost his clothes in the dark, and was sand- 


wiched by the doctor in two hammocks, faring not so badly. 
And others unmentioned, generous men, and remembered. 
Scattered as you are in detachments over Cottonera, I regret I 
have been unable with my own hand, and the fever on me, to 
give to each of you his well-earned medal. But I address you 
on this the Queen's birthday, that you may be sure your good 
conduct is not forgotten. Wear the medal with its ribbon, 
yellow and black, significant colours to you." 

"We have had no fighting since the Ashantee War, with the 
exception of another Kaffir outbreak at the Cape. But our 
Redcoats and Bluejackets are still made of the same stuff 
as in the days of Waterloo and the Alma, of the Nile and 
Trafalgar. This was shown, only the other day, so to speak, 
when complications arose in the East, and it seemed likely 
that Britain would have to draw the sword to defend her 
honour and her interests. Everything portended war. There 
was a great stir in the dockyards at Chatham and Portsmouth, 
the Mediterranean fleet was ordered first to Besika Bay and 
then to the Sea of Marmora, a contingent from the native 
Indian Army was conveyed to Malta to be in readiness, and 
the Reserves were ordered to join the colours. The ready 
and eager spirit which pervaded all ranks of the service was 
extremely gratifying. The soldiers of the regular army and 
the seamen of the fleet were, of course, elated at the prospect of 
a brush with their old enemies of Russia; but more remarkable 
was the pride of the native Indian troops at serving under the 
British flag in Europe, and the alacrity of the Reserves in 
leaving their peaceful occupations to obey the call of duty. 
Happily the war-cloud passed over, and the sword remained in 
its scabbard ; orders were therefore issued for the re-conveyance 
of the native troops to India, and the discharge of the Reserves. 
But before these orders took effect, the Duke of Cambridge 
reviewed the native Indian troops at Malta (June 17, 18, 19, 
1878), and the Reserves at Aldershot (July 24). Of both he 
gave the most favourable reports. Telegraphing to the Viceroy 
of India, he says : " Having completed the inspection of the 
Indian forces assembled at Malta, I beg to now congratulate you, 
and the Indian armies, on the admirable appearance and effi- 
ciency of the troops. Their health is excellent, and their con- 
duct admirable." In terms not less gratifying does he speak of 


the Reserves. In a general order of the 29th July, he says : 
" His Royal Highness, the Field-Marshal commanding-in-chief, 
has received the Queen's commands to convey to the non-com- 
missioned officers and soldiers of the army and militia reserves, 
who are now about to return to their homes, Her Majesty's 
entire approbation of the manner in which they performed their 
duties whilst serving with the colours. The cheerfulness and 
alacrity with which they responded to the call made upon them 
at a period of national emergency has made a deep and most 
favourable impression upon Her Majesty." 

Regarding the navy, the Right Honourable W. H. Smith, 
First Lord of the Admiralty, spoke as follows at the Banquet at 
the Mansion House, after the freedom of the City of London 
had been conferred, in the Guild Hall, upon the Earl of Beacons- 
field arid the Marquis of Salisbury, August 3, 1878: "It is 
usual on occasions like this to speak of the events of the remote 
past, and to say that the proud history of the navy will be re- 
peated in the future ; but I prefer on the present occasion to 
speak of the services of the navy at the present time to speak 
of the services rendered to this country within the last six 
months, that most eventful period in the history of this country 
and of the world. It will be recollected that some five months 
ago the order was given by Her Majesty's Government to 
Admiral Hornby to advance up the Dardanelles and to anchor 
in the Sea of Marmora. On that occasion the weather was so 
severe, a snowstorm was falling so dense and so thick, that it 
was impossible for one ship to make out the vessel that was 
leading immediately before it. But that duty was, nevertheless, 
discharged to the full the fleet arrived at its anchorage. . . . 
But this service has not been performed without strain, without 
anxiety, and without an exhibition of qualities which are far 
higher, in my estimation, than those which are required to fight 
a battle or to engage an enemy. Day after day, night after 
night, the boats and men of the fleet have kept watch and ward. 
They observed the proceedings of those whom, I would not say 
they feared, but who might have become their enemies at any 
moment. They were in a state of constant preparation and 
constant preparedness. They knew not when the blow would 
fall, or when it would become their duty to maintain the honour 
and interests of England. And during all this period of strain, 
a period of anxiety, a period of great difficulty on the part of 


those -who had to command of great self-denial and great self- 
control on the part of those who had to be commanded not one 
single breach of discipline so far as I know has occurred, not one. 
single error has been committed. We have remained at peace 
with him who might have been our enemy. Fortunately no 
mistake has been made, and now, after this long period of 
watching and waiting, we look forward with confidence to the 
blessings of rest and peace. I venture to think that those brave 
men who have endured this period of waiting and watching, of 
care and anxiety, who have not known what leave, or liberty, or 
rest is, deserve the expression of the confidence of the people of 
this country. I think we may well be proud, not only of the 
power and strength of the navy, as it is exhibited by guns and 
ships, but we may also be proud of the self-reliance, of the 
patience and the self-control, which is exhibited by the officers 
and sailors. Fortunately it has not happened that they have 
been called upon to engage in active war. . . . They have not 
been called upon to draw a sword or fire a gun. But I can 
assert with confidence that if it had been so if it had been 
their duty to engage in a conflict, there never was a time when 
England was so worthily represented as she has been during the 
last twelve months in the Mediterranean, and during the last six 
months still nearer the theatre and the scene of war." 

While such a spirit continues to be manifested, there is little 
fear of England losing her proud position among the nations. 
We are at peace with all the world ; but just at this moment 
there come rumours of threatened war from the Afghan frontier. 
Shere Ali, the Ameer of Afghanistan, has long been deeply 
offended with what he considers our encroaching border policy, 
with our expeditions against the hill-tribes although they are 
scarcely even in name subjects of the Ameer and with the 
occupation of Quettah ; and it does not seem to have soothed his 
irritation when he learned that the Indian Government were 
intending to send him a Mission, comprising contingents of horse 
and force, and mustering, all told, more than a thousand persons. 
On the 2ist of September this Mission set out from Peshawur, 
under the command of Sir Neville Chamberlain. The first stage 
of the journey was a place named Jumrood, on reaching which 
Major Cavagnari rode forward, attended by the friendly Khy- 
berees, to the first Afghan fort, Ali Musjid, to ask a safe passage 
through the Khyber Pass. To this demand a resolute negative 

2 A 


was returned. A three hours' interview terminated in the 
officer in charge assuring Major Cavagnari that any attempt to 
advance would be resisted by force ; and that this threat was 
not an empty one the troops which lined both sides of the Pass 
made too clear. Only one course remained for the representative 
of the Indian Government ; the inexorable officer was warned 
that Shere Ali would be held responsible for the refusal, and 
word was sent by telegraph to Lord Lytton, the governor- 
general of India, who ordered the Mission to return to 
Peshawur. * 

Just on the back of this news, as was to be expected, we 
were informed of prompt military measures taken by the Indian 
Government. Orders had been issued for the concentration of 
British troops on the Afghan frontier, with the view of under- 
taking immediate ulterior operations should circumstances ren- 
der military action necessary. A force of 8000 men was to 
assemble at Moultan, and be prepared to advance through the 
Bolan Pass to Quettah, where a large force is already assembled, 
and whence, if necessary, a forward movement could be made 
on Candahar, so as to separate Cabul from Herat. A second 
force, 6000 strong, was to proceed to Kohat, and enter Afghani- 
stan by the Koorum Valley, the occupation of which would 
separate Cabul from Chuznee. A third column was to proceed 
along the famous Khyber Pass. War was regarded by all 
parties to be inevitable, unless the Ameer came to his senses and 
made acknowledgment of his error. The insult offered to the 
conquerors of India was witnessed by two eminent Indian 
Princes, and, unless wiped [out by firm and resolute action, all 
India would ring with it. 

An Anglo-Indian correspondent gives the following account 
of the famous Khyber Pass, through which it was intended that 
the Mission should advance : 

" It is six and thirty years since the dreaded name of the 
Khyber Pass was familiar in the mouths of our fathers as a 
household word ; and now that the ominous Afghan war-cloud is 
reappearing over the Suffeld Koh, it is brought back to the minds 
of a generation which only associates it dimly with the annihila- 
tion of Elphinstone's unfortunate army. Nevertheless, that 
holocaust to official mismanagement of 4500 armed men, and 
from 12,000 to 13,000 camp followers, was not offered up in the 
Khyber at all, but in the Khurd-Cabul and Jugdulluck Passes, 


more than 100 miles distant from it. Formidable as the 'Iron 
Gate of India ' appears to be and really is, it has been successfully 
passed by armies, great and small, whether descending from the 
' Roof of the World' or ascending from the valley of the Indus. 
From the time of the great Macedonian down to that of Shah 
Zemaun, Suddozai ruler of Cabul and brother to our whilom 
protege, Shah Shoojah, in 1796, it has offered no serious impedi- 
ment to a long roll of conquerors, who have poured through it 
in their invasions of India. Seleucus, Mahmoud of Ghuznee, 
Mohammed Ghoori, Timour Leng, Baber, Nadir Shah, and 
Ahmed Shah Doorance, have all passed and re-passed it with or 
without the leave of its jealous janitors. Nearer to our own 
times the defile was forced by Sir Claude Wade in July 1839, 
who captured the fort of Ali Musjid, situated in the centre of 
the pass at the point where the northern and southern branches 
of it, coming from Peshawur, converge. In the following year 
Lord Keane retired through it with a portion of his army, after 
placing Shah Shoojah on the throne of Cabul. Brigadier Wild, 
who formed the advance portion of Sir George Pollock's aveng- 
ing army, certainly came to grief in a premature attempt to force 
a passage in January 1842, when he knocked his head against 
Ali Musjid ; but in the April following the famous old Field- 
Marshal himself wiped out the failure by his brilliant campaign. 
Taking the simple precaution to line the heights with his infantry 
before pushing through his guns and baggage with his cavalry, 
he led his relieving force, in spite of all opposition, not only 
through the Khyber, but also through the Khurd- Cabul and 
Jugdulluck to the Afghan capital, and back again to the Indus, 
with consummate skill and trifling loss. General Nott, who 
brought up the rear of the retiring army with his ' Glorious 
Candahar Brigade/ and who did not trouble himself to adopt 
the wise example of his leader, suffered in consequence from the 
murderous jezails of his despised enemy. Since our Sepoys of 
the plains have been quartered in Peshawur this once dreaded 
portal of Afghanistan has become familiarised to them, and the 
traditions of Elphinstone's retreat to Gundamuck have lost much 
of their old demoralising effect from lapse of time. . . . Thirteen 
miles from the cantonment of Peshawur stands the old fort of 
Jumrood, our frontier post towards the Khyber. Two miles 
farther we cross the border and enter the defile, but we do it at 
the peril of our lives without a safe -conduct from the head man 


of the neighbouring district, and without an escort of his trucu- 
lent clansmen. The entrance to the gorge is between two cliffs 
about 1 200 feet in height, and for the first few miles there is a 
good road, constructed by our sappers in 1841, and flanked on each 
side by cindrous-looking rocks, piled in interminable confusion, 
without a sign of vegetation, and as brown and forbidden-looking 
as the cut-throats that clamber over them. These worthies, clad 
in poshteens swarming with vermin, of the true Khyberee breed, 
with greasy puggarrees round their matted locks, and a complete 
arsenal of murderous weapons disposed about their persons, may 
be seen any day about the fort of Jumrood, when not otherwise 
engaged against each other. Their sole formula of existence is 
' an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' If one of them is 
killed his family or friends carry on a vendetta that would appal 
even a Corsican. They acknowledge no law or no rule, except 
that of their head man, as long only, however, as it suits them, 
and are as independent of Shere All as they are of the Kaiser- i- 



Feb. 3. France declares war against Great Britain and Holland : 
first coalition against France headed by England : a 
British army, under the Duke of York, joins the 
May 8. Coldstream Guards at St. Amand. 

25. British at the storming of Valenciennes. 
Aug. 1 8. The guards at Lincelles. 

28. Toulon declares for Louis XVII., and surrenders to 

Lord Hood's fleet. 

Dec. 19. English evacuate Toulon, and burn the French fleet 


April 24. The i5th Hussars at Villiers-en-Couche. 
,, 25. British cavalry at Caudry. 
22. Surrender of Bastia to the British. 
June i. Lord Howe's great victory over the French fleet off 


i. Surrender of Calvi to the British, and temporary con- 
quest of Corsica. 


Jan. End of the war in the Low Countries, and return of 

the British troops. 

Mar. 13, 14. Admiral Hotham's action. 
June 8. Admiral Cornwallis's masterly retreat. 
,, 22. Lord Bridport's victory. 
,, 27. Landing of the emigrants in Quiberon Bay. 
Sep. 1 6. First capture of the Cape of Good Hope. 
Oct. The Directory established in France. 


Aug. 17. Capture of a Dutch fleet in Saldanha Bay. 
Oct. 2. Spain declares war against Great Britain. 
Dec. Failure of a French expedition against Ireland. 


Feb. 14. Battle of Cape St. Vincent : defeat of the French 

fleet by Sir John Jervis. 

22. Landing of the French in Fishguard Bay. 
July 3. Bombardment of Cadiz. 

24. Nelson's attempt on Santa Cruz. 

Oct. ii. Battle of Camperdown : Admiral Duncan defeats the 


Aug. i. Battle of the Nile : Nelson destroys the French fleet. 
Sep. 8. General Humbert, sent to help the rebels in Ireland, 

surrenders at Mayo. 
Oct. ii. Defeat of a French squadron in Killala Bay. 


May 4. Siege of Seringapatam, and fall of the Kingdom of 

20. Sir Sidney Smith foils Napoleon at Acre. 


Aug. 27. Sir Ralph Abercrombie lands at the Helder : capture 

of the Dutch fleet. 
Sep. 10. Defeat of General Brune at Zype. 

,, 19. Battle of Alkmaar. 

30. Captain Louis of the Minotaur at Rome. 
Dec. 25. Napoleon declared First Consul. 


Sep. 4. Surrender of Malta to the British. 
Dec. 1 6. Maritime Confederacy formed against Great Britain by 
Russia, Sweden, and Denmark. 


Mar. 2 1 . Battle of Alexandria. 
April 2. Battle of the Baltic. 

Aug. 15. Threatened Invasion of England : Nelson attacks the 
Boulogne flotilla. 

Mar. 27. Treaty of Amiens signed. 


May 12. Rupture between France and Britain. 

Aug. 29. The Mahratta War : Lord Lake captures Allyghur. 

Sep. ii. Lord Lake routs the Mahrattas at Delhi. 

21. Battle of Assaye. 
Nov. i. Battle of Leswaree. 

29. Battle of Argaum : the Mahratta power utterly broken. 


May 1 8. Napoleon declared Emperor of the French. 
Oct. 5. Capture of the Spanish treasure-frigates. 
12. Spain declares war against England. 



July 22. Sir R. Calder engages the French fleet off Cape Finis- 


Oct. 21. Battle of Trafalgar and death of Nelson. 
Nov. 4. Sir Richard Strachan's action off Cape Ortegal. 


Jan. 8. Second Capture of the Cape of Good Hope. 
Feb. 6. Sir John Duckworth's victory at St. Domingo. 
June 28. Buenos Ayres capitulates to Sir Home Popham. 
July 6. Battle of Maid a. 


Feb. 2. Sir Samuel Achmuty takes Monte Video. 

19. Sir John Duckworth forces the Dardanelles : retreats 

March 3. 

July 7. General Whitelocke capitulates at Buenos Ayres. 
Sep. 7. Surrender of the Danish fleet to Admiral Gambier and 

General Lord Cathcart. 


June 6. Joseph Buonaparte proclaimed king of Spain. 
July 30. Wellington lands in Portugal. 
Aug. 17. Battle of Roliga. 

21. Battle of Vimiero. 

23. Convention of Cintra : the French evacuate Portugal. 


Jan. 1 6. Battle of Corunna, and death of Sir John Moore. 

April 1 1. Lord Cochrane in the Basque Roads. 

May 12. Wellington crosses the Douro. 

July 28. Battle of Talavera. 

Aug. 1 6. The Walcheren expedition: capture of Flushing. 



Sep. 27. Battle of Busaco : Massena invades Portugal, and 
Wellington retires within the lines of Torres Vedras. 


Mar. 13. Naval action off Lissa. 
May 3-5. Battle of Fuentes d'Onoro : deliverance of Portugal. 

1 6. Battle of Albuera. 
Sep. 26. Surrender to the British of Java, the last remnant of 

the Colonial Empire of France. 
Oct. 28. Hill surprises Girard at Arroyo dos Molinos. 


Jan. 19. Storming of Ciudad Rodrigo. 
April 6. Storming of Badajos. 
May 19. Hill surprises the bridge of Almaraz. 
June 1 8. Outbreak of the American War. 

22. Battle of Salamanca. 
Aug. 12. Wellington enters Madrid. 
Oct. 21. Wellington retreats from Burgos. 

June i. Sea-duel between the Shannon and the Chesapeake. 

21. Battle of Vitoria. 
July 25-Aug. 2. Battles of the Pyrenees. 
Aug. 31. Storming of San Sebastian, and liberation of Spain. 
Sep. 7-9. Wellington forces the passage of the Bidassoa, and in- 
vades France. 

Nov. 10-12. Passage of the Nivelle. 
Dec. 9. Passage of the Nive. 

10-13. Battles before Bayonne. 


Feb. 27. Battle of Orthes. 
April 10. Battle of Toulouse. 
May 10. Peade of Paris signed. 



Feb. 26. Napoleon escapes from Elba : Wellington and Blucher 

proceed to Belgium. 
June 1 6. Battle of Ligny : Napoleon defeats Blucher. 

Battle of Quatre Bras : Wellington defeats Ney. 

1 8. Battle of Waterloo. 

July 7. British and Prussian armies enter Paris. 
Aug. 7. Napoleon sails for St. Helena. 
Nov. 30. Second Peace of Paris. 

Aug. 27. Bombardment of Algiers. 

May ii. Bombardment of Rangoon. 

Oct. 27. Battle of Navarino : destruction of the Turkish fleet. 


July 23. Expedition to Afghanistan : storming of Ghuznee. 
Aug. 7. British enter Cabul. 


Sep. 27. Bombardment of Sidon. 
Nov. 2. Bombardment of Acre. 


Nov. 2. Outbreak at Cabul, and murder of Sir Alexander 


Jan. 6. Commencement of the retreat from Cabul. 

July 21. First Chinese War: storming of Chin-Kiang-Foo. 

Aug. 29. Peace signed with China. 

Sep. 15. Enter of the Army of Retribution into Cabul. 



Feb. 17. The War in Scinde : battle of Meeanee. 
Mar. 24. Battle of Dubba, and annexation of Scinde. 
Dec. 29. The Gwalior Campaign : battle of Maharajpore. 


Dec. 1 8. First Sikh War : battle of Moodkee. 
,, 22. Battle of Ferozeshah. 


Jan. 28. Battle of Aliwal. 
Feb. 10. Battle of Sobraon. 


Jan. 13. Second Sikh War : battle of Chillian walla. 
Feb. 13. Battle of Goojerat. 
Mar. 30. Annexation of the Punjaub. 


April 5. Second Burmese War : storming of Martaban. 
,, ii. Second bombardment of Hangoon. 

June 30. Peace concluded with Burmah. 

Mar. 12. Peace concluded with the Kaffirs. 


Mar. 27. War declared by France and England against Russia. 
April 22. Bombardment of Odessa. 
Aug. 1 6. Bombardment and surrender of Bomarsund. 
Sep. 20. Battle of the Alma. 
Oct. 17. First bombardment of Sebastopol. 


Oct. 25. Battle of Balaclava. 
Nov. 5. Battle of Inkerman. 


Jan. 26. Sardinia joins the Anglo-French alliance. 
Feb. 15, 1 8. Omar Pasha defeats the Russians at Eupatoria. 
April 9. Second bombardment of Sebastopol. 
May 27. Capture of Kertch. 
June 3. Bombardment of Taganrog. 
6. Third bombardment of Sebastopol : capture of the 

,,17,18. Fourth bombardment of Sebastopol: unsuccessful 

assault on the Malakoff and the Redan. 
28. Death of Lord Raglan. 

Aug. 9. Bombardment of Sveaborg by the Anglo-French fleet. 
1 6. Battle of Tchernaya : Russians defeated by the French 

and Sardinians. 

Sep. 6-8. Last bombardment of Sebastopol : the French cap- 
ture the Malakoff; the British are repulsed from the 
Redan : in the night of the 8th the Russians evacuate 
Oct. 17. Bombardment and surrender of Kinburn. 


Mar. 30. Treaty of Paris : peace with Russia. 
Dec. 10. War with Persia : bombardment of Bushire. 


Feb. 8. Battle of Khooshab : defeat of the Persians. 
May 2. Treaty of Bagdad : peace with Persia. 

10. The Indian Mutiny : outbreak at Meerut. 
Jane i. Second Chinese War : action with Chinese war-junks 

at Fatshan Creek. 

5. The Indian Mutiny : outbreak at Cawnpore. 
,, 27. First massacre at Cawnpore. 


June 30. English besieged in the Residency at Lucknow. 

July 12. Sir Henry Havelock on his march to the relief of 

Lucknow defeats the rebels at Futtehpore. 
15. Havelock gains two victories, at Aong and Pandoo 


Second massacre at Cawnpore. 
1 6. Havelock defeats Nana Sahib at Aherwa. 
Aug. 1 6. Havelock defeats the Nana at Bithoor. 
Sep. 14. Storming of Delhi. 

25. Havelock relieves Lucknow. 
Nov. 1 7. Rescue of Lucknow by Sir Colin Campbell. 
Dec. 6. Battle of Cawnpore. 

,,28,29. Second Chinese War: bombardment and storming 
of Canton. 


Mar. 21. Capture of Lucknow by Sir Colin Campbell. 
April 2. Sir Hugh Rose takes Jhansi. 
May 5. Battle of Bareilly. 
20. Second Chinese War : capture of the forts at the mouth 

of the Peiho. 
June 19. Sir Hugh Rose takes Gwalior. 

26. Treaty of Tientsin : peace with China. 
Sep. i. The government of India transferred from the East 
India Company to the Queen. 


June 25. Third Chinese War : Admiral Hope repulsed before the 
Taku forts. 


Aug. i. Anglo-French expedition to China lands at Pehtang. 

12. Defeat of the Chinese at Sinho. 

13. Defeat of the Chinese at Tangku. 

,, 21. The Taku forts stormed. 

Sep. 1 8. Seizure of Messrs Parkes and Loch at Ching-chai-wan : 
defeat of the Chinese. 


Oct. 8. The allies take possession of the Summer Palace of the 

Emperor of China. 

12. The allied troops enter Pekin. 
24. Convention of Pekin : peace with China. 

Nov. 19. Parliament sanctions the Abyssinian expedition. 


Jan. 3. Sir Ptobert Napier lands at Zoulla. 

,, 21. March on Magdala commences. 

April 10. Battle of Aroje, in front of Magdala. 

ii. Theodore releases the captives. 

,, 13. Capture of Magdala, and suicide of Theodore. 

July 10. Elevation of Sir Robert Napier to the peerage as Lord 
Napier of Magdala. 

Jan. The Ashantees invade the Protectorate. 

Oct. 2. Sir Garnet Wolseley arrives at Cape Coast Castle. 
Dec. 15. Sir Garnet Wolseley reports that the Ashantees have 
been driven across the Prah. 


Jan. i. Disembarkation at Cape Coast Castle of the troops sent 
from England. 

20. The army crosses the Prah. 

29. Skirmish at Borborassie. 

31. Battle of Amoaful. 
Feb. 4. Battle of Ordahsu, and march on Coomassie. 

,, 6. Destruction of Coomassie. 

13. Treaty signed at Fommanah : peace with Ashantee. 


Small crown 8vo, 384 pages, cloth, price 5s., 




With some Remarks upon True and False Success, and the Art ofmakina 

the Best Use of Life. ' 


Author of " English Party Leaders," "The Bird World," 
"Memorable Battles in English History," &c. 

" The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well. " 

H. W. Longfellow. 



Wherein are exhibited, in a Descriptive and Anecdotical form, the 
Habits, Kesources, and Mysterious Instincts of the more interesting 
portions of the Animal Creation. With upwards of 300 Engravings 
on Wood, chiefly by BEWICK and two of his Pupils. Dedicated by 
Permission to the Right Hon. the BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS 
(President), and the Members of the Ladies' Committee of the Royal 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 
Large crown 8vo, handsomely bound, gilt edges, price 7s. 6d. 

From Professor OWEN, C.B., F.R.S., D.C.L., L.L D., &c. (Director of the 

Natural History Department, B. Museum). 
To the Editor of the "Parlour Menagerie." 

" The early love of Nature, especially as manifested by the habits and instincts 
of animals to which you refer, in your own case, is so common to a healthy boy's 
nature, that the ' Parlour Menagerie,' a work so singularly full of interesting 
examples, culled from so wide a range of zoology, and so fully and beautifully 
illustrated, cannot fail to be a favourite with the rising generation and many 
succeeding ones of juvenile naturalists. When I recall the 'Description of Three 
Hundred Animals' (including the cockatrice and all Pliny's monsters), which fed 
my early appetite for natural history, I can congratulate my grandchildren on 
being provided with so much more wholesome food through your persevering and 
discriminating labours. " EICHARD OWEN." 

From the Right. Hon. JOHN BRIGHT, M.P. 
To the Editor of the " Parlour Menagerie." 

" I doubt not the 'Parlour Menagerie' will prove very interesting, as indeed it 
has already been found to be by those of my family who have read it. I hope one of 
the effects of our better public education will be to create among cur population a 
more humane disposition towards what we call the inferior animals. Much may be 
done by impressing on the minds of children the duty of kindness in their treat- 
ment of animals, and I hope this will not be neglected by the teachers of our 
schools. ... I feel sure what you have done will bear good fruit. 

''December 13, 1877." " JOHN BRIGHT. 

"The 'Parlour Menagerie' is well named. Full as an egg of information and 
most agreeable reading and engravings, where before was there such a menagerie ? " 
Animal World. 

London : JOHN HOGG, Paternoster Row. 

Decidedly, this life of De Quincey is the best biography of the year in 
the English language." Vide Critical Notices. 

In Two Volumes, crown 8vo, cloth, with Portrait, price 21s., 





Author of " Memoir of Hawthorne," " Golden Lives," 
" Fables for Old and Young," &c. 




"The work is enriched by letters which his two surviving daughters have 
brought out of long-closed repositories. ... In taking leave of this creditable 
book, we thank Mr. Page for his labour of love, and congratulate him on the colla- 
boration that he has been favoured with. We should add that there is, as frontis- 
piece, an excellent likeness of De Quincey, from a chalk drawing by Mr Archer. It 
is far superior to any other published portrait of him." Times. 

" An interesting record of a remarkable writer, and still more singular indi- 
viduality, is presented in these volumes Mr Page has succeeded in giving 

a vivid portraiture of an original and striking intellect. . . . De Quincey was 
by no means the least among a very noteworthy set of men who cast a light over 
English literature in the first half of the present century ; . . . but the man him- 
self was perhaps more interesting than his books. . . . The reminiscences of 
Mr. Hogg, the publisher, are very interesting ; and Dr. Eatwell's ' Medical View of 
Mr. De Quincey's Case ' is curious and instructive." Daily Neivs. 

"A carefully and temperately-written biography." Spectator. 

" A welcome addition to the library. . . . The reminiscences of Mr. Hogg are 
new and interesting ; so are those of Mr. Francis Jacox. Dr. Warburton Begbie's 
account of De Quincey's last days is really valuable. ... If ever there was a 
man of genius, Thomas de Quincey was one. His position in our literature is per- 
fectly unique." Athenceum. 

" One of the most interesting and well-written biographies which we have read 
for some time. " Standard. 

" At last we are indulged with a life of De Quincey, . . . and we are mistaken 
if the result be not to set Thomas de Quincey on a higher pinnacle as a man wit h 
conduct and conscience, a man with responsible family relations, a true gentleman 
as well as cultivated scholar, than he had hitherto reached. . . . The author is 
one practised in kindred pursuits, and has had the great advantage of Mr. James 
Hogg's reminiscences of De Quincey, as well as free access to De Quincey's 
daughters, and the papers and documents in their possession." Academy. 

" Here we at last find a full picture of De Quincey's life, with all the lights and 
shades so deftly touched in as to leave no canvas uncovered." Globe. 

London : JOHN HOGG, Paternoster Row. 



Stewart, Henry 

Our redcoats and