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left at Sabugal, and the 8th corps at Alfayantes. Their left flank only was exposed. On the 3rd of April, the light division was ordered to cross the Coa, at a ford several miles above Sabugal, in the rear of General Regnier, who was to be attacked in front by the 3rd and 5th divisions ; the 6th was to

; remain opposite Ruivina, and part of the 7th watched the bridge of Ferreras. The day was dark and cloudy, and mist, with storms of rain, confined the vision within a yard or two. An almost impervious fog hid the light division after it had crossed the river ; they drove in the enemy's picquets, and pursuing them, came unexpectedly upon the left of Regnier's main body, which they were intended to turn. The advance was driven back upon the 43rd regiment ; and Regnier, the mist dispersing, seeing the scanty numbers of the force opposed to him, sent against it a strong infantry column, with horse and artillery. They were boldly repulsed, and Colonel Beckwith’s brigade having advanced against the French, was attacked by a fresh column of infantry on the left, and a regiment of horse on the right. Beckwith was enabled to maintain his ground against increasing numbers, by promptly retiring behind some stone enclosures ; he then charged successfully, captured an howitzer, but was compelled to retire by the

French cavalry again advancing upon his flank. Beckwith, aided by the other brigade of the light division, returned to the attack. “In vain did Regnier bring forward fresh and stronger columns, in vain did cavalry fall in upon the skirmishers of the 52nd, and cause a momentary confusion; the fierce efforts of the enemy were all firmly repulsed, and the brave light division kept the howitzer, and still crowned the hill. In this short and bloody struggle, the French

lost more than 300 dead upon the ground, and their wounded were very numerous. The British had only 200 killed and wounded.”

Regnier was preparing to send out his reserves, when the fifth division carried the bridge of Sabugal, and a column of the third threatened his right flank. He retired in haste. Next day, Massena took the road for Ciudad Rodrigo, and on the 5th of April, entered Spain. Thus were the French, by the superior generalship and bold vigour of Lord Wellington, driven out of Portugal ; they had advanced, confident in their superior numbers, “ to drive the English into the sea ;" and a disgraceful and dangerous retreat had alone preserved them from destruction. The British cavalry chased them as far as the Spanish frontiers, after they had been exposed to one unbroken series of disaster and defeat. Every plan had been baffled, every engagement lost ; not one solitary exploit could console them in their discomfiture. Aided by British skill and valour, one of the smallest and weakest of European kingdoms had defied the arms of France, and vindicated her claims to liberty by the sword. Her oppressors had been most signally vanquished, and had left half their men dead in her mountain-passes.

Yet must we award to Massena the praise of having made the most of his defeated army. But here our praise must stop, for his retreat was oue continued course of barbarous devastation. No doubt the difficulties of his troops seemed to render pillage a necessary evil; but no palliation can be offered for the gratuitous and wanton cruelty of the French, which has cast enduring infamy upon all who abetted, or attempted not to check these outrages. “ The conduct of the French army,” said

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Lord Wellington, “throughout this retreat, has been marked by a barbarity seldom equalled, and never surpassed. Even in the towns of Torres Novas, Thomar, and Pernes, in which the headquarters of the corps had been for some months, and in which the inhabitants had been induced by promises of good treatment to remain, they were plundered, and many of their houses destroyed on the night the enemy withdrew from their position ; and they have since burned every town and village through which they passed.” The town of Leyria, with the Bishop's palace, was sacked. The convent of Alcobaça, one of the most ancient and magnificent structures in the kingdom, shared the same fate. They likewise destroyed Batalha, the most Gothic building, not in Portugal alone, but almost in Europe ; the royal tombs were broken open,

and among the bodies taken out to be torn in pieces for the mockery of the reckless enemy, was that of Prince Henry, the first patron of maritime discovery. All human sympathy and compassionate feeling seemed extinguished in the breasts of these ruthless barbarians. The claims of age and sex were both setat naught. The murdered Portuguese lay unburied in the road, especially those of the priests, mutilated in the most disgusting manner. * This is the mode," says Wellington with honourable indignation, “in which the promises have been performed, that were held out in the proclamation of the French Commander-in-chief, in which the inhabitants of Portugal were assured, that he was not come to make war on them, but, with a powerful army of 110,000 men, to drive the English into the sea.'

It is to be hoped that the example of what has occurred in this country, will teach the people of this and other nations, what reliance is to

be placed on such promises and assurances, and that there is no security for life, or for anything which renders life valuable, except in decided resistance to the enemy.” But this is a very imperfect description of the horrors caused by the French ; the extent of these were only revealed to those who saw the cantonments in which they had remained for several months. They were such that a veil must be drawn over them. In the district of Coimbra alone, nearly 3,000 persons were murdered. In short, as Napier remarks, “ Every horror that could make war hideous attended this dreadful march.”

On the 28th March, reinforcements sufficient to form a seventh division, arrived from England. They had been embarked in January ; but contrary winds detained them till the 2nd March. Had they but arrived a month sooner, Lord Wellington might have carried on offensive operations, before the French yielding to necessity left Santarem.

CHAPTER X.

Operations in the south-west of Spain-Battle of Barrossa

-- Position of the British–Description of the neighbourhood of Lisbon-Massena's retreat--Battle of AlbueraAlmeida-Battle of Fuentes d'Honore-Lord Wellington's movements-Proceedings in Spain-Blockade of Ciudad Rodrigo-Affair at Grunaldo-Aldea de Ponts-Lord Wellington's difficulties.

The abandonment of Portugal by the French raised the expectations of the people of England, and added power and weight to the government. Lord Wellington's successes induced both Parliament and the country to resolve to enable him to carry on the war with vigour and energy. In consequence of the illness of George III., affairs were now directed by the Prince Regent, who continued in office his father's ministers. Party-spirit was however far from having died away; there were not wanting men who—though the honour and interest of the country were pledged to the Peninsular war, and the withdrawal of our troops would not only endanger the safety of this country, but cover it with disgrace-still urged that the contest should be abandoned—that Portugal was untenable—that the retirement to Torres Vedras was a proof of this, and equivalent to giving that country over to the French. Even when British valour and ability had driven Massena beyond the frontier, they alleged that this was only a feigned movement-a change of position from the Zezera to the Agueda,-so as to lead the British from their resources and ultimately crush them, when worn out, by numerical superiority. Happily these views were held neither by the majority of Parliament, nor did they express

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