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cause of Spain--while the authorities even France has produced. King Jo-
• You should occupy Tudela, because it is an
honourable position, and Milagro is an obscure • If General Dupont were to suffer a check, it
one.'-p. 331. would be of little consequence, and could have no other effect than obliging him to recross the And again he desires another
to mountains; whereas a blow directed against take up a position at Burgos rather than Bessières would strike the heart of the army, and Trevino, which had been proposed, bebe felt like a tetanus to all its extremities.
• The true way to reinforce General Dupont • Burgos is a position threatening, offensive; [in the south] is not to send him troops, but to send troops to Marshal Bessières (in the north). honourable, whilst that of Trevino would be blind General Dupont and Verdier have troops enough
and shameful Chonteux el borgne.)'—p. 334. to maintain themselves in their intrenched po This anxiety about the moral character sitions ; and if Bessières were reinforced, and the of a military position would seem extraSpaniards routed in Gallicia, Dupont would find himself in the best possible position, both by the vagant in any other man ; but the truth reinforcements which might then be sent to him, is, that Buonaparte was well aware how and still more by the moral situation of affairs. much his reputation, and, consequently, There is not a citizen of Medina- not a peasant his power, were dependent on prestige, of the valleys, that does not feel that the whole delusion and stage-effect, and he was fate of Spain is to-day in the operations of Mar- anxious that despatches dated from imshal Bessières. How unfortunate it is that in this great concern you should have gratuitously la, should keep up in France, and through
portant places, such as Burgos and Tudegiven twenty chances against us!' -vol. i. p. 320.
out Europe, the idea that his position in
Spain was firm and commanding. We will here observe that Buonaparte
Another paragraph of these notes is was in the habit of estimating the total important to a just appreciation of the chances of any object-say, at one hun- share which the British army had in the dred, and of proportioning off the chances subsequent successes. After recapitulatof success or failure at so much per cent., ing all the events, the numbers and poin a style that seems to us somewhat pe sitions of the French and Spanish armies, dantic, and, in spite of its affected preci- he concludes by saying, sion, very vague-as in this very instance: Bessières, he says, at Rio. Seco, had 75
• What I have thus stated proves that the chances for, and 25 against him : while forces united would not be capable of defeating
Spaniards are not to be feared: all the Spanish Dupont, he says, with 21,000 men, would 25,000 French in a tolerable position.'—p. 338. have 80 chances for, and only 20 against him.
At last, however, in November, 1808, Now the result was the very reverse of
the great man came to Spain himself, to Buonaparte's opinions, predictions, and purge the Peninsula of the hideous prescalculations. Bessières, with 15 or 16,000 ence of the leopards-je les chasserai," men, had more than enough; for Buo- said he, de la Péninsule ! but he soon naparte afterwards admits that he had abandoned that chasse to his lieutenants, employed but 8000 in winning the great and returned suddenly to Paris to conduct
Of his own probattle of Rio-Seco—which, though the success was more complete than could be ceedings in Spain these volumes contain hoped for, had very limited results : while only two documents, both dated from the Dupont, with more than the specified Madrid, the 8th December, one to Mar
obscure position of Chamartin, near force, instead of being in the best possible shal Ney, and the other to Mortier, in position, was beaten, and, instead of re- which he criticises rather severely the crossing the Sierra, was forced to surrender to Castaños--the single event which conduct of both, and particularly that of had the greatest influence on the ultimate Ney, with whom, says M. Belmas, he was destinies of the war.
We are amused fort mécontent. In this letter he tells with a couple of instances of what the Ney, that French used to call the lofty concep- • the English are flying as fast as they can (a tions of the Emperor,' but which seem to loules jambes); but we have been for a moment us less characteristic of le plus grand Cap
in a serious position.'—p. 348. itaine, than of le plus grand charlatan that! This serious position must have been
the situation of the French prior to the tracing a plan for the ensuing campaign, passage of the Somo Sierra, when Ney he says, had made a movement, with which Buo
• The Emperor considers that there is nothing naparte now reproached him as a blunder in Spain dangerous but the English ; that all the which compromised for a moment the rest is canaille, that can never keep the field.'safety of the whole army. M. Belmas p. 423. throws no light on a question which has always interested us, namely, why, just
We find, however, in these volumes as Buonaparte had enveloped, as it were, one instance, at least, of a pitched battle, Sir John Moore with three armies, each in which the Spaniards, though miserably considerably greater than ours, and all beaten, deserve more honourable mention. capable of being united with an over. Marshal Victor, two or three days after whelming superiority,, and with every
his victory of Medellin (28th March, 1809), prospect of a brilliant success against the writes to King Joseph :English—why he should at that moment • The loss of the Spaniards was so great that (1st January, 1809) have suddenly given it must be seen to be believed. I myself have over the command to Soult, and hastened gone over the field of battle to ascertain the away to Paris. It is everywhere stated facts. All the Spanish battalions which General that this was in consequence
Cuesta had stationed to oppose us, whether in
line or in columns, are still lying there in the same gence received at that date of the prepa- order. Every man, officer, and soldier was rations of Austria ; but pressing as that killed ! I at first stated their loss at from 10,000 danger might be, it does not appear to to 12,000 killed ; I now believe it was more. have been so extremely urgent as not to All my staff have seen it as well as myself. But have allowed him a week or ten days for you must not suppose that this was a massacre of an object of such importance to his cause, last extremity, exclaiming No quarter. The
prisoners; no, they defended themselves to the and such éclat to his personal glory as a sight of the field of battle is really frightful.?-victory over the English army would p. 372. have been, particularly as we find that he did not leave Paris for the Austrian cam- Such steady bravery is admirable ; but paign before the 18th February. Our much more astonishing is the alleged fact, conjecture is, that he foresaw that he that the death of these 12,000 heroes, the could not force the British to a battle be- capture and utter dispersion of the rest of fore they reached Corunna, and that there the Spanish army, cost the French but he could be by no means sure of a victo- 340 men killed and wounded ! ry, and was therefore not unwilling to But though the Spaniards were thus escape, de sa personne, from a doubtful powerless in the field, their defences of operation, in which he could not count their towns exhibit the highest degree, upon having ninety-nine chances' for not merely of courage and enthusiasm, himself. Yet if he had persevered and but of skill and ability. The details given succeeded, it might have had a more last- by M. Belmas of the well-known sieges of ing influence on his fortunes than even Saragossa and Girona are exceedingly inthe wonderful triumphs of that Austrian teresting, and raise, if possible, the repu. campaign-England would probably have tation of those wonderful defences; and abandoned the Peninsula, and WELLING- particularly that of Don Mariano Alvarez, TON not have marched from Lisbon to the Governor of Girona, whose resistance, Paris !
though less romantic, and therefore less In a letter, dated Paris, 31st August, celebrated, was even more obstinate, and, 1809, Buonaparte criticises pretty severe in the loss incurred by the French, more ly the conduct of Soult, Victor, Jourdan, important, than that of Saragossa. It lastand, in short, of every body in the cam- ed nine months, during which the French paign of Talavera, and disapproves, of fired 11,910 bomb-shells, 7984 howitzercourse, not only the mode in which that shells, and 80,000 cannon-balls. Of a garbattle was fought, but its being fought at rison of 10,000, and a population of 20,all, when there were only '50,000 French 000, one-half perished by famine, sickto 30,000 English, who have thus been ness, and the sword. allowed to brave the whole French army. The siege cost the French at least as A battle never should be fought unless you dear. M. Belmas admits their loss to have three-fourths of the chances in your have been 15,000 ; but this must be far favour.'--p. 405.
short of the mark, for we have the eviIn a letter of the 31st January, 1810, in dence of General Verdier, commanding
the besieging army himself, that on the fused, he gives him notice that “rather 21st of September, three months before the than continue in a command where his capture of the place, his own division of the honour and character are compromised, army, which was specially employed in he will go into the hospital as a private the siege, had already lost 12,000 men soldier.' But a wound in an officer's (Vol. ii. p. 769); and this is subsequently character not being an hospital case, he repeated by Augereau :
could not, we presume, find refuge there;
and we see by Gouvion's report to the • This division has suffered greatly, as well by minister of war, that the dissatisfied the enemy's fire as by sickness, to such a degree, ral took French leave, and quitted the
genethat, of 17,000 men, with which it began the siege, it has to-day (28th September) but 5,000 army altogether. Gouvion writes to the left.' --Augereau to the Minister of War, vol. ii. minister of war:
• Fornells, 24th September, 1809. But we notice this siege more particu
• I have the honour to announce to your exlarly as exhibiting some instances of that cellency, and with the greatest regret, the deincredible insubordination which Buona- I could do to retain him, in order to avoid the isl
parture of General Verdier, in spite of everything parte seems to have tolerated (and tole- effects which this evidence of his discouragement ration with him
was encouragement) might have on the troops of his division; as had amongst his generals. The fact is so cu- been the case on the relirement of Generals Ma. rious, that every fresh example which rio and Lechi, who have left the army during the emerges is worth notice.
siege, and whose departure has been as pernicious
on the spirit of the army as the diseases which The general of division, Count Gou
are gradually increasing. It was in vain that I vion St. Cyr, commanded in chief the army, earnestly pressed Generals Verdier, Sanson, and under whose protection the first corps, Taviel to continue at least the appearance (simuheaded by the general of division, Count lacre) of a siege,' &c.-vol. ii. p. 787. Verdier, was charged with the immediate operations against the town. Verdier,
This command before Girona was very however, began by declaring (28th March) unpopular; for Marshal Augereau, who that he could not undertake the siege with had been nominated to relieve Gouvion, so small an amount of force as Gouvion was detained at Perpignan by a fit of the had assigned to him, and he appealed to gout, which Gouvion, no doubt, thought Buonaparte direct against the decision of to be a pretence; for he-Gouvion-also the commander-in-chief. Buonaparte di- left his army without leave or licence, rected that Verdier's demand should be and came to Perpignan to hasten his succomplied with, and the siege proceeded; cessor, which, not being able to do so by but this
appeal of Verdier's produced fur' persuasion, he at length was obliged to ther differences, which, Verdier alleged, constrain him (le contraindre) to proceed went so far, that Gouvion wished to pre
to the army by suddenly (brusquement) vent the caplure of the place; but this quitting Perpignan on the 5ch of October, charge was, we suppose, unfounded. At and withdrawing (se refugiant) to his own length, on the 19th September, after six home in the interior of France, as a primonths of operations, and after one hun. vate gentleman-leaving the marshals, dred and five days of open trenches, an as the generals, the besiegers
, and the besault was made, but so gallantly and effect. sieged to settle their matters as they best ually repulsed, that the French were for might. Gouvion's secession cured at ced to turn the siege into a blockade, and once Augereau's gout and Verdier's fever, trust to the powerful 'auxiliaries of time,
and they both immediately joined the fever, and famine' for the eventual cap. months' further siege and blockade, took
army before Girona, and, after a three ture of the place. Upon this
the town by famine and capitulation. We "General Verdier, who had been already in. have no trace of the Emperor's decision disposed with a fever (?), and was desperately on this series of squabbles, and we supmortified, both by this failure and by his differ- pose he treated them as he did the disences with General Gouvion, withdrew himself sensions between Massena and Ney in (se refugia) to Perpignan, and the two generals the campaign of 1811, of which M. Belmade mutual complaints to the emperor.'-vol. ii. p. 612.
mas gives the following account:Verdier not only withdrew himself
• Marshal Ney, who had been from the comwithout leave but against orders; for he (scission) with the general-in-chief (Massena),
mencement of the campaign in open difference asked, under colour of his fever, Gouvi- positively refused to obey his orders, Ifor mainon's permission to retire, and being re-Itaining a menacing position at Guarda] preferring
the withdrawing from Portugal by Almeida, and killed and 3000 wounded in this actionthence on Salamanca, to recruit and refresh the but he soon after admits that, when Masarmy. Massena, irritated by a refusal which
sena arrived before the lines of Torres compromised his authority, thought it necessary to send away (renvoyer) Marshal Ney, hoping Vedras, his army had lost no less than that by this example of severity, exercised on 7000 men hors de combat. one of the first officers of the empire, he might Of the military foresight, skill, and restorc subordination in the army.'-vol. i. courage which designed, executed, and
defended these lines, the following sumThe following extracts from Massena's mary from the official mouthpiece of the own letter to Berthier, giving his account enemy is worth the attention of our readof this affair, are curious : • Celorico, 22d March, 1811, eleven at night.
· Such a mass of troops (English, Portuguese, • Monseigneur, -I find myself reduced at last and Spanish) intrenched in positions so formid. to an extremity which I have long endeavoured able, having in their rear the safe and spacious to avoid. The Marshal Duke of Elchingen (Ney] harbour of Lisbon, and affording the opportunity has put the finishing stroke to his preceding in- for bringing the maritime power and wealth of subordination. As this disobedience might have England to support her soldiers on the field, offers results disastrous to the Emperor's armies, I to the attention of mankind the most wonderful have ordered the generals of the several divisions combination of circumstances that can be found in of his army, no longer to obey any other orders than the military annals of the world.'-vol. i. p. 135. mine. It is, Monseigneur, very afflicting to an old soldier so long in the command of armies, and No doubt M. Belmas means, by attributso honoured with the Emperor's confidence, to ing so much of this success to a wonderbe forced to such extreme measures with respect to one of his colleagues. But the Marshal Duke ful combination of circumstances, to diof Elchingen has not ceased since my arrival at minish the personal glory of the Duke of the army to thwart me in all my military opera- Wellington. But what is military genius, tions. I have been, perhaps, too patient; but I but the faculty of preparing and combinwas far from supposing that he would abuse my ing circumstances? And when it is reforbearance to such a scandalous extremity as he collected that Sir Arthur Wellesley, in has now done. But the Duke of Elchingen's his defence of the Cintra Convention in character is well known ; and I shall say no more about it. I have ordered him to return into 1808, when there was no prospect of his Spain, there to await his Majesty's orders.' -vol. ever having anything to do with them, i. p. 509.
foretold, as it were, the capabilities of the
position of Torres Vedras, and when we The truth is, all went on smoothly with find him on his return to Portugal, and these gentlemen as long as they were during his advance into Spain in 1809, victorious, and had nothing to do but to preparing this barrier against future posdivide the spoils of the conquered and the sibilities, it cannot be denied that it was rewards of their master; but as soon as indeed a wonderful combination of cirthe tide began to turn, and when they cumstances,' in which genius did all, and had nothing to share but Wellington's left nothing to accident or chance. blows and Napoleon's censures, every In the retreat which followed, Ney French army exhibited the discord of commanded the rear-guard with skill and Agramant's camp. In this instance, the bravery, but without success, and was so real cause of dissension was, not so much dispirited, that, as we have seen, he inthe natural ill-temper of Ney, as the bat- sisted on retreating farther than Massena tle of Busaco, the estoppel put upon the at first thought of going ; but Wellington French at Torres Vedras, and their disas- soon forced Massena to be of Ney's trous retreat from Portugal. In all these opinion (vol. i. p. 171), and after a series operations, though Massena had the chief of unfortunate' affairs, they were at last direction, Ney, as second in command, driven back upon Salamanca. had the main share of the execution; and It was in the course of this retreat that certainly there was nothing in the result Berthier wrote from Paris a private letter of these campaigns to put either of the to Massena---in which, after stating the heroes into a very good humour. At Emperor's criticisms on Massena's conBusaco, M. Belmas states (vol. i. pp. 123, duci in Portugal, he adds a remarkable 130) Wellington's force at 27,000 Eng- assertion : lish, and 13,000 Portuguese (such as the Portuguese were, at this stage of the war),
• We are perfectly informed indeed better while Massena and Ney had 62,000 men. than you are—of the movements of the English The French lost, says M. Belmas, 1800 by the English themselves. The Emperor reads the London newspapers, and every day a great da, which they left to its fate-one single number of letters from the OPPOSITION ; some of soldier only contriving to get in with or. which accuse Lord Wellington, and speak in de ders to the Governor to blow it up and tail of your operations. England trembles for her
abandon it, which orders were obeyed ; army in Spain,' &c.
and the French army never stopped their This additional proof of the British spirit retrogade movement till they reached and true patriotism of the Opposition of Salamanca, where the unlucky Massena, that day needs no comment!
covered as he was with the glory of the We are always glad when we can find day,' was deprived of the command, and any statements of the relative forces of Buonaparte sent a new Marshal-Marthe armies in any degree clear of the ha- mont--to try his luck with the terrible bitual falsehood of the French bulletins; Wellington. Buonaparte, who knew at least his own
After the battle of Fuentes d'Onor, force, states in one of his confidential in- Bessières went back to his own headstructions dictated to Berthier on the quarters of Valladolid, where, however, night between the 29th and 30th of March, he soon received, like the others, some 1811
tokens of his master's good temper. * The head-quarters of the army of Portugal Berthier writes to him from Rambouillet, (Massena’s] remain at Coimbra. This army has 19th May, 1811 :-70,000 men under arms. It has orders to fight a battle, if Lord Wellington should attempt to pass
• The Emperor is dissatisfied at your not have the river—but Lord Wellington has under his ing furnished the prince of Essling (Massena) orders (altogether) but 32,000 English. After the necessary assistance. The Emperor hopes the harvest, Lisbon will be attacked by these you will repair the enormous fault you have com. 70,000 men of the army of Portugal, and by from
mitted.'-vol. i. p. 523. thirty to thirty-five thousand of the army of the south, under the Duke of Dalınatia--in all Whether it was this despatch that sour100,000 men, which, resting on Coimbra and ed Bessières' own temper, or whether he Badajos, must insure the conquest of Portugal,' had more direct orders for some proceed. &c.- vol. i. p. 523.
ings which immediately ensued, we know We wonder that these magnificent not, but certainly those proceedings are reveries were not a little disturbed by either the instigator or the perpetrator of
an indelible disgrace to whoever was the recollection that this very army of
such enormities. 70,000 French had been for the last two months retreating--always beaten-be- of Marshal Bessières, issued at Valladolid
M. Belmas gives us an arrêté, or decree fore as many of these 32,000 English as under date of the 5th of June, 1811, of were not in garrisons, hospitals, &c., and which we will offer a few extracts to the their Portuguese allies.
In these same notes, Buonaparte orders indignation of our readers :Bessières to send Massena 8,000 infantry
ARRETE. and 2,000 cavalry. On the 1st of May, • 1. There shall be made out lists of all persons Marshal Bessières himself joined Massena who have quitted their habitations. with his advanced guard-the rest joined • 2. Every such person shall return within a in a day or two-and then Massena, at month, and if they do not, they shall be reputed the head of, according to Buonaparte's shall be confiscated, and their tenants or debtors
to have joined the insurgents—their property own calculation, 80,000 men, attacked the shall pay the amount of their respective debts into allied army, which even he does not rate the hands of the government. higher than 50,000 (say 30,000 British 3. The fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and 20,000 Portuguese)—in a position children and nephews of any such person shall be which bore the (to the allies) auspicious held responsible in property and person for any
act of violence by such person committed. name of Fuentes d'Onor—the Fountains
• 4. If any inhabitant be carried off from his of Honour. This engagement lasted the residence, all the relatives, in the aforesaid de3d, 4th, 5th of April, 1811 ; and Massena grees, of any known insurgent, shall be immedisays that he had all the glory of the day, ately arrested as hostages; and if any inhabitant having killed or wounded 2,000 of the al so carried off should be put to death by the inlies, and taken about 1,000. No very surgents, the hostages (fathers, mothers, brothers, great result, even if it were true, con
sisters, children, or even nephews, of any insur
gent, and who may have had no connection whatsidering the superiority of his forces : soever with the offending parties] shall be shot to but, in fact, the French were entirely de- death on the spot, and without any form of trial.' feated--of which the best proof is, that -vol. i. p. 563. they fell back in such haste that they could not even communicate with Almei- Then follow eight other articles in the