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Journal of the Siege of Tarifa. Major King, in surprise a piquet of the enemy, which lay on a rising ground near the western shore. He was to march an hourl before day-light. Captain Wren, with his light company, accordingly sallied out, on the morning of the 29th, but it being bright moon-light, a French sertinel saw him, and, having fired, gave the alarm, which turned out their whole line. The sentinel was immediately killed, and several of the enemy shared his fate, Captain Wren being well supported by Lieutenant Davenport, 82d regiment, who volunteered on that occasion, and Lieutenant Welstead, with fifty of lhe 82d regiment. The enemy, advancing under the range of the guns, suffered severely from a well-directed fire from the east tower, under Captain Mitchell, which covered the retreat of Captain Wren, to Santa Catalina. Lieutenant Guantee, assistant.quarter-master-general, was badly wounded; his loss was felt severely, being a most useful and accomplished officer; Lieutenant Stan. ton, 11th infantry, was slightly wounded, with one serjeant and five privates of the same corps, dangerously. This was the whole of our loss in this brilliant affair.
At ten o'clock, the enemy opened a fire from two batteries; the one, intended for breaching, consisted of four sixteen, and two twelve-pounders, situated in the valley, and nearly opposite the Retiro tower, at the distance of three hundred yards; and the other, about one hundred yards in rear of the first, consisted of two eight-inch howitzers, and one twelve pounder. The latter commenced its fire against the boats at anchor in the eastern bay, (the wind then blowing westerly) and they were soon obliged to cut their cables, and put to sea. It then threw shot and shells to almost every part of the island, but the men being at work at the traverses, received but little damage. Two of the female inhabitants, who had taken refuge on the island, were wounded, and one of them lost a leg. Several borses and mules were also destroyed on the island, by the bursting of shells.
A heavy firing was kept up by these two batteries till evening, when the enemy established a breach in the wall, to the right of the Retiro tower, about five feet wide; but Captain Smith, of the royal engineers, had taken his measures so effectually, that the front of the breach was the least practicable part; an enemy, having on entering, to descend fourteen feet into a narTOW street, barricaded on each side, well flanked, and armed with temporary chevaux de frize, made of the iron-balconies, which, according to the custom of Spain, fortunately happened to be numerous in the town, and answered admirably for the purpose.
The eastern tower was yet untouched, but the enemy approached it by sap, within at least fifty yards. During all this day, the men being ordered to keep under cover, both at the town and the island, our loss was trifling. Some , of the inhabitants, however, in their retreat to the island, were killed and wounded, by the bursting of the enemy's shells.
The sixteen pounder, on Gusman's tower, and a thirty-two pound carropade, were spiked by Captain Hughes, of the royal artillery; a circumstance
Journal of the Siege of Tarifa. wKich, being whispered among our troops, they were filled with indignation, and expressed much apprehension and discontent, lest they should be ordered to abandon the town, without having a fair set-to with the enemy. Whence the order proceeded, is unknown, but General Copens appeared highly enra. ged when he was informed of it.
Monday, December 30. All this morning the enemy continued firing from both his batteries; and by ten o'clock had enlarged the breach to twenty. three yards.
About noon a large column of the enemy moved to the rear of the suburbs, and seemed to threaten Santa Catalina and the island. Lieutenant Robe, royal artillery, therefore kept up a neavy fire, as usual; but by some accident one of the twenty-four pounders recoiled from its frame, and was disabled for that day.
About half past twelve, a flag of truce was discovered, with difficulty, for the atmosphere was extremely foggy and thick. It brought the following summons from General Leval.
Summons from General Leval to the fortress of Tarifa; and the answer to the
same, from Camp-marshal Copens. CAMP BEFORE Tarifa, Dec. 30, 1811. The General of Division, Baron of the Empire, Superior Officer of the Legion of Honour, Grand Cross of the Order of Charles Frederic, commanding the troops besieging Tarifa
To the Governor of that Fortress. Sie_The defence made by the fortress under your command has sufáciently established that fair name, which is the basis of military honour. I do not doubt, but that, convinced of the uselessness of a longer resistance, you will endeavour to avert the fatal consequences with which your obstinacy may be attended to the city and inhabitants of Tarifa.
A breach has been opened since yesterday, and within a few hours it will be practicable; make then your choice, between an honourable capitulation, and the horrors of au impending assault. I fatter myself that you will admit my first proposition, if you reflect, that the same honour which prompts you to resistance, at the same time imposes
as a duty upon you to spare the lives of a whole population, whose fate is in your bands, rather than see them buried amidst the ruins of their town. Be pleased, Sir; to accept the assurances of my highesi consideration. (Signed)
LEVAL. P.S. I beg leave to inform you, that I can give you but two hours, to send your answer.
Answer.-To General Leval. Tarifa, Dec. 30, 1811, a quarter past two in the afternoon.-SIR, When you propose to the governor of this fortress, to admit a capitulation, because the breach will shortly be practicable, you certainly do uot know THAT I AM HERE.
Journal of the Siege of Terija. When the breach shall be absolutely practicable, you will find me upon it, at the bead of my troops, to defend it; -- then we will negotiate. I am your's,
FRANCISCA DE COPENS.
P. S. Be pleased not to send any more flags of truce.
The truce lasted till three o'clock, when the enemy commenced firing at the breach, but did not enlarge it, most of the balls passing through into the houses which lay opposite.
Every preparation was made for defending it in case of attack. The 87th regiment, from the arrangements made on the 21st instant, bad the charge of the eastern wall and Retiro gate, where the breach was; and on observing a great bustle in the enemy's lines, on the morning of the 31st, the following arrangements were made
Tuesday, December 31. The 87th regiment flanked the breach to the north and south, leaving two companies in reserve, to bayonet the enemy, should they have leaped the wall, which was fourteen feet lower on the inside, than the outside.
Captain Levesey, with 100 of the 47th, was posted on the east tower, completely flanking any advancing column. . Thus they stood, and cool determigation sat upon their countenances.
Thus prepared, and both sides big with expectation, at eight o'clock the enemy moved forward from their trenches in every direction.
A party of 2,000 grenadiers and voltigeurs, the cbosen troops of their army, moved by the bed of the river, in front of the breach.
When Colonel Gough saw them advancing, he drew his sword, and throwing away the scabbard, ordered his band, which was stationed in the sear, to strike up the favourite Irish air of Garry-one. The men immediately cheered, and poured a most galling and treniendous fire on the advancing column. They were well seconded by the 47th, who lined a wall descending from the south-east tower, and completely flanked the column.
The enemy halted for a moment, as if stunned by the fall of those around; then advanced with desperation, as if to escape the fire they were then receiving. They ran to the edge of the breach, but, finding it impracticable, they hurried off under the wall to the right, and made a dash at the portcullis, Those being well barricaded, the eneniy were agaiu deceived; and observing the dreadful fate of hundreds of their companions, they faced about, and fled with precipitation.
Seeing them fly, Colonel Gough (though slightly wounded) called out to his band, to " play Patrick's day," and this national air so inspirited his men, that it was scarcely possible to restrain them from following the routed French up to their very
trenches. The artillerymen placed in the houses poured vollies of band grenades upon Journal of the Siege of Tarifa.
those who turned to the right, and who, to retire in security, fled by the wall. A six pounder too, under the command of Captain Mitchell, royal artillery, on the north-east tower, Aanked the column, and throwing many rounds of case shot, added to the dismay and destruction of the enemy.
One of the 87th regiment, who was restrained with difficulty from pursue ing the enemy, cried out, “ Colonel, I only want to táche'em what it is to attack the aiglers!" (alluding to the badge of honour his regiment obtained by taking an eagle from the 8th regiment of French grenadiers, at the battle of Barossa) “ Well! I'll go in; but the next time they come, we'll give’em Garry-one to glory, again." ; The enemy being thus repulsed, and miserably routed, sent in a flag of truce, lo obtain leave to bury their dead, which was granted. It was, indeed, a piteous sight, to see nearly 200 wounded men, crawling under the breach; 30 were brought into the town, as well as nine wounded officers, who had fallen immediately under the breach.
The two leading officers of the column, seeing it give way, remained under the wall, to the left, where they were taken prisoners, after the heat of the fire was over. They declared that they saw at least 500 men fall in the attack.
Our loss, considering the heavy fire we were exposed to, was not great. A Spanish lieutenant-colonel, two British officers, Lieutenant Langly, royal engineers, and Lieutenant Hall, 47th, and seven rank and file, were killed. Three officers, Lieutenant Hill, 47th, and Lieutenant M'Carroll, and Ensign Waller, of the 87th, one gunner, and 13 rank and file were wounded.
Towards evening, Colonel Skerrett issued the following: “ Colonel Skerrete “ most sincerely congratulates the British garrison, on the glorious result of " the affair of to-day. Two thousand of the enemy's best troops attacked " the breach, and were totally defeated, with immense loss. On our side, “ all behaved nobly; but the conduct of Lieutenant-colonel Gough, and " the 87th, whose good fortune it was to defend the breach, surpasses all
Wednesday, January 1, 1812. The new year commenced with a dreadful storm, the wind blowing strong from the eastward; two Spanish gun-boats were wrecked, under the guns of the island, being full of male and female fugitives from the town, of whom 42 unhappily perished! Fifteen men were taken off a rock, where the waves impetuously dashed over them, by the exertions of the officers and men stationed on the island, under the directions of Lieutenant Julian Kovary. On this occasion, John Layton, a private in the 82d regiment sprung off a rock, and saved the lives of two Spaniards, who were just perishing, at the risk of his own.
The unfortunate inhabitants, who had fled from the town at the approach of the enemy, being hutted on the eastern side of the island, were completely overwbelmed by the foaming surge. They lost the whole of their property, and many of them their lives. The rocks were strewed with their remains, Journal of the Siege of Tarifa. and a scene of woe presented itself, ibal might bave softened the heart even of the obdurate and relentless tyrant whose frantic ambition has been the sole cause of such a multiplicity of horrors and mischiels!
The rain and the storm continuing with unremitted violence, the enemy made no further attempt on the breach. They poured a few dead shells into the town and island, which gave us reason to believe that their ammunition had suffered from the inclement weather.
Several Spaniards having been seen to desert this day, the officer at the convent Santa Catalina, and every other guard, were ordered to fire on all Spaniards attempting to pass towards the enemy's line.
Thursday, January 2. This day was ushered in by torrents of rain, which lulled the tempest, that, during the night, had blown up several of the tents on the island, and exposed both officers and men to the merciless storm. The enemy did not make
further attempt on the breach, or move any of his guns, which we supposed he would have dope, in order to effect some other breach.
A flag of truce came in during the day, for the purpose of bringing money and clothes to the wounded French officers. After one of them they made particular inquiry: be was said to be a person of distiuction, and a page to the ci-devant Empress Josephine.
At four o'clock this day two regiments of infantry, and one of cavalry, were seen moving towards the pass of Lapena; their purpose supposed to be that of bringing up more ammunition.
Friday, January 3. Last night, at the convent, a company of the 47th regiment, under the command of Captain Campbell, sallied on that part of the enemy's trenches, near the north-east tower, and took away some intrenching tools. They found the lower trenches of the enemy so deluged, that they had been abandoned by their piquets. The weather cleared up, and thirteen deserters came in, who declared that the French force bad been 11,500; that Marshal Soult was at the convent of La Luz, having been sent for by Marshal Victor, in consequence of two regiments refusing again to storm; and of the dreadful state of the weather which had excited mutinous expressions among their allies.
Another flag of truce came in, for leave to bury the dead, which was granted.
An officer arrived with intelligence that General Ballasteros had embarked the day before at Algeciras, for Tarifa, with 2000 of the choicest of his troops, but had been prevented from sailing, by the inclemency of the weather. Upon it being discovered that the enemy were removing their guns higher up, and it being supposed that it was for the purpose of making another breach, application was made to Lieutenant-general Campbell for a reinforcement, for the purpose of defending it.
About four o'clock, the flotilla of gun-boats arrived with the light companies of the 9th regiment on board, who were landed immediately.