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On the 31st October the garrison of Pampeluna, 4,000 in number, surrendered after a four months' blockade; and when Don Carlos de Espana took possession of it, he shewed a proper spirit, and refused to grant terms to the garrison till he ascertained that none of the inhabitants had been subjected to violence or ill-treatment during the blockade. In the autumn of this year, the British, exposed on the cold and cloudy summits of the Pyrenees, with only rude huts and tents to shelter them from the blasts, suffered many hardships; the piquet and night duties were rendered peculiarly harassing in consequence of the inclement weather. Their propinquity to France caused many desertions, which severe examples were required to check. But no sooner did operations commence for entering the French territory, than the spirits of the men arose, and every heart beat high with confident expectations of victory and triumph.
Lord Wellington enters France-Crosses the Nivelle-Actions in the Pyrenees-Position of the French at Bayonne -Napoleon's Situation-Crossing of the Adour-Battle of Orthez-Soult retires to Toulouse-Battle of Tou. louse-Marquis Wellington's return to England-His reception-Receives the thanks of Parliament-Made a Duke-Proceeds as Ambassador to Paris.
BEFORE Commencing operations in the French territory, Lord Wellington issued to his army a proclamation, prescribing to them the conduct which they were to observe after passing the frontier. It is well worthy of preservation, as an impressive contrast to the conduct of the French Generals in Spain, who not only permitted, but themselves shared in excesses, the recital of which, shocks humanity.
"Officers and soldiers," he said, "must recollect that their nations are at war with France solely because the ruler of the French nation will not allow them to be at peace, and is desirous of forcing them to submit to his yoke; and they must not forget, that the worst of the evils suffered by the enemy, in his profligate invasion of Spain and Portugal, have been occasioned by the irregularities of his soldiers, and their cruelties, authorized and encouraged by their chiefs, towards the peaceable inhabitants of those countries. To avenge this conduct on the innocent French, would be unmanly and unworthy of the nations to which the commander of these forces now addresses himself."
To enforce this admirable advice, was however, no easy matter. The British troops indeed under the strict discipline and inspection of their officers,
were effectually restrained; nor was any such restraint in most cases necessary; but the Spanish and Portuguese, burning with the sense of past wrongs, and their minds occupied by the remembrance of the atrocities committed by the French in the Peninsula, were disposed to retaliate on the inhabitants the injuries with which their own countries had been visited. Instances of outrage accordingly at first occurred; but Lord Wellington's firmness in bringing the culprits to punishment, soon put a stop to these vindictive acts, which the peaceable demeanour of the people had done nothing to provoke. The strictest discipline was preserved during the campaign in southern France; and the highest price demanded was paid for the forage and other supplies of the army. The inhabitants, many of whom had left their dwellings on the approach of the invaders, speedily returned; and secure of a favourable market for their produce, opened a lucrative traffic. It was in this instance shewn how much the moral conduct and character of an army depends on its generals; never perhaps since the days of the great Gustavus, had such discipline been maintained in an enemy's country; the Spaniards and Portuguese, stifling their bitter remembrances, obeyed the injunctions of the great chief whom they had followed, to victory, and behaved so well, that, by the confession of the French themselves, their own armies were those whom they chiefly dreaded.
On the failure of Soult's efforts in the Pyrenees, he proceeded to form a strong line of defence, twelve miles in length, protecting the town of St. Jean de Luz, and extending from the sea, across the Nivelle to the heights beyond Ainhoe. The whole position had been fortified with the utmost
care, particularly the right, which was protected by several formidable redoubts, and by a strong interior line. The central part of the line reached along the left of the Nivelle, which there forms a curve behind the mountain La Petite Rhone, and proceeding through a strong ridge beyond Ainhoe, crossed that river. All this time, the French General had been constantly receiving reinforcements from the general conscription, to which were added a special force of 30,000 conscripts, drafted from the provinces bordering on the Pyrenees: the inclement weather, by delaying the allies' advance, gave Soult time to organize and discipline these.
On the 10th of November the appointed attack took place. "Soon after midnight, the troops having formed under arms without the signal of trumpet or drum, began to descend the Pyrenean mountains by moonlight, by the different passes, and advanced to the verge of the line of the out-piquets, preparatory to the attack at dawn. This grand movement was made in the most profound stillness. As the columns moved onwards, the stillness was felt by all to be impressive. The village clocks striking the hours amid the darkness increased the general anxiety for day-break; and the first streaks of light in the east were watched by many thousand eyes with strong and almost feverish impatience. On reaching their stations, the troops were ordered to lie extended on the surface, and the columns were so posted that the intervening ground concealed them from the enemy.*
Lord Wellington's plan was to divert the enemy by feigned attempts on the right wing-the strongest part-while his main strength was brought to bear upon the centre; by piercing which, the
* Annals of the Peninsular Campaigns, Vol. III.
French wings would be separated. In event of this object being gained, it was possible, that by establishing his troops in rear of the enemy's right wing, it might be unable to retreat to Bayonne. At daybreak, a brisk cannonade and skirmish of picquets along the line, showed that the action was commenced. A French redoubt before Sarre was easily taken, and the village itself abandoned. The light division also impetuously forced the lines of La Petite Rhone, and drove the enemy from the redoubts and heights behind Sarre, in defiance of a heavy fire from the French fortifications; these however were abandoned successively without any great defence, and the enemy fled in disorder towards the bridges on the river; one battalion, more than 500 strong, defenders of a solitary redoubt, was captured by Marshal Beresford.
Meanwhile, Sir Rowland Hill advanced against the height of Ainhoe in echellons of divisions. The 6th, having crossed the Nivelle, attacked the French right, in position behind a village, and carried the defences on that flank; the 2nd division attacked a redoubt in a parallel ridge in the rear, with like success; the two united, then advanced to Epellate, where the enemy, afraid of having their retreat cut off, abandoned their advanced line, and retired to Cambo. By these able and intrepid movements, the allies had established themselves in rear of the enemy's original position, and drove back their centre on their right. The French now drew up a large force in fighting order on the heights above St. Pè and Ascain. These were attacked by the 8rd, 7th, and 6th divisions, advancing two on the left, and one on the right bank of the Nivelle. The enemy opened a heavy fire both with artillery and musketry, but retreated in disorder as soon as