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Stevenson also would move upon them on the 24th, and that they would withdraw their infantry and guns in the night. I therefore determined to make the attack.
“ The plan concerted, you will observe, failed, from the deficiency of our information concerning the enemy's position, and consequently, my coming too near them on the 23rd, with my camp, baggage, &c. &c.
« The enemy's first position was as shown in the plan. The Kaitna is a river with steep banks, impassable for carriages everywhere, excepting at Pepulgaon and Warsor. I determined, from the ground on which the cavalry was first formed, to attack the enemy's left flank and rear, and to cross the river at Pepulgaon. I determined at that time to throw my right up to Assaye.
“For a length of time they did not see my infantry, or discover my design. When they did, they altered their position, and threw their left up to Assaye, and formed across the ground between the Kaitna and Assaye ; but in more than one line. Luckily they did not occupy the ford at Pepulgaon : if they had, I must have gone lower down ; and possibly I should have been obliged to make a road across the river, which would have taken so much time, that I should not have had day enough for the attack. When I saw that they had got their left to Assaye, I altered my plan, and determined to manœuvre by my left, and push the enemy upon the Nullah, knowing that the village of Assaye must fall when the right should be beat. Orders were accordingly given. However, by one of those unlucky accidents which frequently happen, the officer commanding the picquets, which were upon the right, led immediately up to the village of Assaye ; the 74th regiment, which was on the right of the second line, and was ordered to support the picquets, followed them. There was a large break in our line between those corps and those on the left. They were exposed to a most terrible cannonade from Assaye, and were charged by the cavalry belonging to the Campoos ; consequently, in the picquets and the 74th regiment we sustained the greatest part of our loss. One company of the picquets, of one officer and fifty rank and file, lost one officer and forty-four rank and file.
This company belonged to the battalion left at Naulniah, Another bad consequence resulting from this mis. take was, the necessity of introducing the cavalry into the action at too early a period. I had ordered it to watch the motions of the enemy's cavalry hanging upon our right; and luckily, it charged in time to save the remains of the 74th and the picquets. It was thus brought into the cannonade; men and horses were lost; it charged amongst broken infantry, and separated ; the unity of the body was lost, and it was no longer possible to use it, as I intended when I placed it in the third line, to pursue and cut up the defeated and broken enemy, and thus, make the victory still more complete than it was. As I had foreseen, the corps at Assaye was not defeated till worked on by the centre and left of our line, notwithstanding the movements of the picquets, the 74th, and the cavalry, and then it went off directly, and was cut up.-N. B. The Juah river, or Nullah, has steep banks, impassable for carriages, scarcely passable for horses."
(From the public Despatch.) “The enemy's cavalry made an attempt to charge the 74th regiment at the moment when they were exposed to their cannonade, but they were cut up by the British cavalry, which moved on at that moment. At length the enemy's line gave way in all directions, and some of the British cavalry cut in among their broken infantry ; but some of the corps went off in good order, and a fire was kept upon our troops, from many of the guns from which the enemy had been driven, by individuals who had been passed by the line under the supposition that they were dead. Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell, with the British cavalry, charged one large body of infantry, which had retired and was formed again, in which operation he was killed ; and some time elapsed before they could put an end to the straggling fire which was kept up by individuals from the guns from which the enemy had been driven. The enemy's cavalry also, which had been hovering round us throughout the action, were still near us. At length, when the last formed body of infantry gave way, the whole went off, and left in our hands ninety pieces of cannon.”
THE GENERAL OFFICERS WHO LANDED WITH THE TROOPS
AT THE MONDEGO, TO LIEUT.-GEN. THE HON. SIR A. WELLESLEY, K.B.
Camp at St. Antonio de Tojal,
3rd September, 1808. MY DEAR SIR, -Anxious to manifest the high esteem and respect we bear towards you, and the satisfaction we must ever feel in having the good fortune to serve under your cominand, we have this day directed a piece of plate, value 1000 guineas,* to be prepared and presented to you.
The enclosed inscription, which we have ordered to be engraven on it, expresses our feelings on this occasion. We have the honour, &c. &c.
B. SPENCER, Major-Gen.
R. FERGUSON, Major-Gen.
B. F. Bowes, Brig.-Gen.
J. C. CRAWFARD, Brig.-Gen.
LIEUT.-GENERAL THE HON. SIR A. WELLESLEY, K.B., TO THE BEFORE-MENTIONED GENERAL OFFICERS.
Zambujal, 3rd Sept., 1808. GENTLEMEN,- I have the honour of receiving your letter of this day, and I assure you that it is a source of great gratification to me, to find that my conduct in the command, with which I was lately intrusted by his Majesty, has given you satisfaction,
As my efforts were directed to forward the service in which we were employed, I could not fail to receive your support and assistance; and to the cordial and friendly support and assistance which I invariably received from you collectively and individually, I attribute the success of our endeavours to bring the army into the state in which it was formed to meet the enemy on the days on which the gallantry of the officers and soldiers was stimulated by your example, and their discipline aided and directed by your experience and ability.
Under these circumstances my task has been comparatively light; and I imagine that its difficulty has been over
* This piece of plate was afterwards augmented in value by the addi. tional subscriptions of Generals Anstruther and Aeland, and the Field Officers of the army who served under the orders of Major-General Sir Arthur Wellesley, at the battle Vimiero.
INSCRIPTION..." From the General Officers serving in the British army, originally landed at Figueira, in Portugal, in the year 1808, te Lieut.-General the Right Hon. Sir Arthur Wellesley, K.B., &c. &c., their commander.---Major-General Spencer, second in command, Major-Generals Hill and Ferguson, Brig.-Generals Nightingall, Bowes, Fane, and Crawford, offer this gift to their leader, in testimony of the high respect and esteem they feel for him as a man, and the unbounded confidence they place in him as an officer."
rated by partiality: but I have a pride in the reflection that as I should not deserve so I should not possess your regard if I had not done my duty; and with those sentiments, and those of respect and affection for you all, I accept of that testimony of your esteem and confidence which you have been pleased to present to me.
I have the honour to be, &c. &c.
(Signed) ARTHUR WELLESLEY Major-Generals Spencer, Hill, and
Fane, and Crawford.
LIEUT.-GENERAL THE HON, SIR A. WELLESLEY, K.B., TO LIEUT.-GENERAL SIR JOHN MOORE, K.B.
Lumiar, 17th September, 1808. MY DEAR GENERAL,-I write to you on the subject to which this letter relates, with the same freedom with which I hope you would write to me on any point in which you might think the public interests concerned.
It appears to me to be quite impossible that we can go on as we are now constituted; the Commander-in-chief must be changed, and the country and the army naturally turn their eyes to you as their commander. I understand, however, that you have lately had some unpleasant discussions with the King's ministers, the effect of which might be to prevent the adoption of an arrangement for the command of this army, which, in my opinion would be best, and would enable you to render those services at this moment for which you are peculiarly qualified.
I wish you would allow me to talk to you respecting the discussions to which I have adverted, in order that I may endeavour to remove any trace which they may have left on the minds of the King's ministers, having the effect which I have supposed.
Although I hold a high office under Government, I am no party man; but have been long connected in friendship with many of those persons who are now at the head of affairs in England; and I think I have sufficient influence over them, that they may listen to me upon a point of this description, more particularly as I am convinced that they must be as