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the advance of the enemy rendering any farther operations impracticable. The siege had lasted almost a month during which the besiegers had lost more than 2000 men; its failure arose merely from want of the necessary means of attack, and not from any deficiency of ardour or perseverance on the part of the troops, who, with an adequate engineer force and a proper supply of artillery, would not have spent a third of the time, before they had taken the place. But its capture was of such importance as to justify the attempt even with such inadequate means, and the firmness and perseverance of Wel. lington, though in this case unsuccessful, were called into action for a worthy object. During the whole siege, the vigilance and active superintendence of the Commander were unremitting ; the arrangements for each attack were written out by himself as he sat on the ground watching the movements. He was so often within fire, that it was wonderful that he escaped injury. As he closely observed the assault on the night of the 29th of September, he was in imminent danger, for a field which he crossed was literally ploughed up by the grape and musketry.
On the 18th, most of the besieging corps joined the covering army, and two days after the General and his staff moved to the front. The siege was finally raised on the 21st, a measure rendered absolutely indispensable by the combined movements of the armies of the south and the centre, under Soult and the intruding sovereign. On the British front was an army reinforced, and possessing such a large proportion of cavalry as greatly to out-number that of the allies : the retreat had to be made in the presence of this superior army, along muddy roads, with the castle of Burgos commanding them, and the bridges on the Arlanzon. Yet in one night, by Lord Wellington's skilful arrangements, the army, with all its baggage and stores reached the other side of Burgos ; and in such an orderly manner were the movements conducted, that the 1st division filed over two bridges within musket-shot of the furt, without losing a single man, though it was bright moonlight. Afterwards indeed the artillery fired on the bridge but very few accidents happened. A march was thus gained on the enemy. Next day a cavalry skirmish took place. Orders were given to destroy the bridges so as to retard the French, which for the most part was effected. Sir Rowland Hill fell back and joined Lord Wellington on the retreat, and the French armies amounting to 80,000 foot, and 10,000 horse, formed their junction in pursuit, upon the Tormes ; while the allies had not more than 50,000 men, of which 9,000 were cavalry. In these circumstances, though a victory had been gained, the results could not have been such as to counterbalance the risk and certain loss; the retreat was therefore continued to Ciudad Rodrigo, and so far as regards active operations, the campaign of 1812 was closed.
During the whole of this retreat, though the enemy caused little trouble, still our troops suffered much ; for the weather was boisterous and cold, no shelter was procurable at night, and the torrents of rain prevented fires from being lighted. Provisions were irregularly issued, in consequence of the wretched and in many cases impassable state of the roads, and in spite of all the efforts of the officers, the bounds of discipline were much relaxed ; for argument, exhortation, and even threatening have little weight with soldiers who are almost starving. To them the droves of swine in the
extensive woods passed through by the army, were but too tempting; and many quitting the lines at nightfall, hunted, and shot them for food. No sooner had the army reached quarters, than Lord Wellington addressed a letter to the commanders of battalions, censuring strongly the misconduct of many of the men.
In England the news of the retreat from Burgos caused great disappointment and discontent-the brilliant opening of the campaign had raised such high hopes, that this unlooked for reverse was felt more keenly. Within and without Parliament loud accusations arose against the Ministry, who had unquestionably been too tardy in furnishing supplies and reinforcements, which, when they did come, were neither sufficiently large or efficient, and had thereby afforded opportunity to their enemies to say, that the blood and resources of England had been lavished in a hopeless struggle-and the Spaniards were satisfied that the contest was vain, and were content meekly to bow their necks beneath the feet of their insolent oppressors—and that it was needless to oppose longer the power of Napoleon. A shade even seemed in the eyes of many to have passed over the renown of that illustrious chief who had so often led the army of Britain to victory ; for a time he was not “gracious in the people's eye.” Yet though it was mortifying to have been compelled to retire from Madrid, the great objects for which he advanced to the capital had been attained; the only two fortresses which enabled the enemy to menace Portugal had been captured-a number of French troops equal in amount to that of the allies, destroyed-and the whole south of Spain freed, and that too at a time when the Spanish military power had been at the lowest ebb. Besides the pursuit of
an enemy overpoweringly superior had been totally baffled, even when the French had 200,000 men in the field, headed by vetern leaders, with whose feats of arms “ all Europe had rang.” Whatever factious clamour might be raised, Wellington was not the man to be awed by it, nor induced for a moment to quit the plans which with calm self-possession, perspicuity, and far-siglitedness he had laid down.
Temporary and vulgar popularity he then-as ever since--set aside, and he secured the reward in receiving the lasting gratitude of his country. The time was close at hand, when he who had already done so much with means so inadequate, who withoutco-operation and support, had taught the French so many repulsive lessons, and had loosened the chains of Spain, and shaken to its base the throne of the intrusive King, was to drive the last Frenchman from the country, and from the lofty ridges of the Pyrenees crested by his army, to descend upon that territory, which its people had so vainly called " the sacred soil of France.'
The unsuccessful issue of the attempt upon Burgos did not surprise Wellington ; for an important end he had justifiably besieged it, with small means ; and when the extensive combinations of the French Marshals rendered it necessary that he should retire, the skill of his movements, the firm face he shewed to the enemy, the shortness of his marches and his frequent halts, demonstrated the great master of the military art; as (what observers remarked) the placidity and composure of his coun. tenance manifested the due confidence and variety of resources which denote a great mind. So far as regarded the commanders, no retreat had ever been more skilfully made. “None,” says Lord Wellington himself, “was ever known in which the troops
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made such short marches, none in which they made such long and repeated halts ; none in which the retreating armies were so little pressed on their rear by the enemy. The army met with no disaster, it suffered no privation but such as might have been prevented by due care on the part of the officers, and no hardships but what unavoidably arose from the inclemency of the weather.” part,” said the Marquis of Wellesley, speaking with a due and becoming pride of his brother's merits and services, were I called upon to give my impartial testimony of the merits of your great general, I confess before Heaven, I would not select his victories, brilliant as they are :- I would go to the moments when difficulties pressed on him ;-when he had but the choice of extremities—when he was overhung by superior strength! It is to his retreats that I would go for the proudest and most umdoubted evidence of his ability !” To this we may here add upon Colonel Napier's cool, and with respect to Wellington, impartial testimony, that during, not only this campaign, but the whole war, “ no adequate notion of Lord Wellington's vigorous capacity and herculean labours can be formed, without an intimate knowledge of the financial and political difficulties which oppressed him.”
At this period, honours and rewards, so justly his due, were decreed to Lord Wellington by his grateful country. The restrictions on the Regency had now expired, and the first use the Prince made of his new power was to create him a Marquis of the United Kingdom, to which was added the Parliamentary grant of £100,000, to purchase lands, and enable him to support the dignity of the Peerage. The Prince of Brazil conferred on him the additional title of Duke of Vittoria. We must also