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same atrocious spirit. Another decree of the following day relates to the collection of the contributions imposed by the French army two articles will suffice to show its spirit.
Art. III. The parson of every parish-the alcade—and the magistrates and the clergy in general, are to be held responsible-1st. For the payment of all contributions. 2d. For the supply of the French army with equipments, goods, merchandise and means of transport.
Art. IV. Any village which shall not imme. diately execute any order it shall have received shall be subjected to military execution.'-vol. i. p. 567.
Even in the annals of French violence in Spain, we have never before found such avowed atrocity as this-which was testable, not only in itself, but as provoking and justifying retaliatory measures on the part of the Spaniards: yet Bessières had the reputation of being one of the least savage of Buonaparte's pro-consuls; and these infernal ordonnances are countersigned by
And these abominations are not the exde-aggerated imputations of enemies, but French themselves, and were practised in facts published and republished by the province which, as Buonaparte wrote to he intended to make a part of France. Marshal Macdonald, a few months after, (i. 435.) Of this last insanity we do not recollect to have before had such positive
'The Auditor of the Council of State,
'Prince Berthier to General Count Dorsenne, com-
How is it that you had not news from that place twice a week?
'What were you doing with Souham's fine divi. sion ?
-vol. i. p. 567.
De Broglie! What, the present Duke de Broglie? Alas, yes! The self-same Lord Wellington had now taken Ciudad liberal and tender-hearted gentleman who Rodrigo, and again discomposed his Imcould not endure the intolerable despot-perial Majesty's temper-who thereupon ism of the Restoration, and who was so sets to criticising, and lecturing, and repeculiarly indignant at the Polignac or- proaching his generals with his usual acridonnances which, compared with these mony. of his own manufacture, were, we venture to think, as honey to vitriol--as water to blood!
We shall exhibit some specimens of these jobations, with the replies of the accused party in the opposite columns::
Bessières, notwithstanding the bloody zeal of his and M. de Broglie's proclamations, was soon recalled, and replaced by General Dorsenne, with whom Buonaparte very soon showed that he was no better satisfied.
'General Count Dorsenne, commanding the army of the North, to Prince Berthier.
Burgos, 23d Feb. 1812: 'Monseigneur,-If your Excellency had been pleased to read my despatches of the 15th, 16th, and 23d January,* before writing yours of the 11th, you would have seen that I was in no degree to blame about Ciudad Rodrigo.
'I ordered General Barrié to send me reports, not twice a week, but every day. They were intercepted-is that my fault?
'Souham's division passed from my command under that of Marshal Marmont, so long age as the 10th January.
* We beg pardon :-Colonel Jones, in his late so good as to read these pages before publication, work on Spain, quotes, from the uncontradicted recalls to us this horror, and adds-'I saw with my pages of a French military writer, a distinct state-own eyes, when Massena had retired from before ment that, in Massena's army, detachments sent the lines of Torres Vedras, forty or fifty of these out to forage had orders to bring in all girls between wretches in a state of discase, famine, and insanity, twelve and thirty years of age for the use of the beyond all conception.' soldiery. A gallant friend of ours, who has been 4
Misprinted February in the original.
'Your Highness had yourself placed me under Marshal Marmont's orders, to whom you had given direct instructions relative to the defence of Rodrigo, with which, therefore, I had nothing at all to do.
If the Emperor does not change his unfavourable opinion of me, I beg he will recall me, as I cannot remain in Spain with the conviction of having lost his confidence.'-vol. i. p. 609.
'Marshal Marmont to Prince Berthier.
'Valladolid, 26th Feb. 1812. Your Highness forgets that the Emperor had previously ordered me to leave the three divisions on the other side of the mountains.
'If I were to concentrate the army on Salamanca, it could not exist a fortnight. If I were to advance toward Ciudad Rodrigo, I could not remain three days before the place would have ruined my army. You say "my honour requires the re-capture of that place." My honour will al· ways prompt me to do what is useful to the Emperor's service; but it seems to me that his Majesty reckons as nothing the difficulties of feeding the army. Perhaps his Majesty may not be satisfied with my reasons-in that case I beg that he will give me a successor, and place the command of his army in better hands.'-vol. i. p. 628. Marmont to Berthier.
'Valladolid, 22d Mar. 1812.
My army is, I admit, strong enough to beat the English-[witness SALAMANCA but it is inferior in the means of moving. The English have their abundant magazines behind them, and ampler means of transport. I, on the contrary, must be guided, not by the principles of military manœuvres, but by the resources of the localities, and the possibility of existing. This state of things will last till the harvest.
'If this alludes to the detachments in the valley of the Tagus, it cannot apply to me, for I did not send them there, and, on the contrary, have stopped move. ments that were making, and have taken the greatest pains to spare my troops all unnecessary fatigues.
I believe that all who know the country are of a contrary opinion. The enemy has neither maga. zines nor hospitals on that side; his magazines are at Abrantes and in Estremadura, and his hospitals in Castelbranco, Abrantes and Lisbon itself. For my part, I am convinced that, whenever the army attempts to operate by the north, the result will be disastrous.
You run great risks by receiving the initiative The Emperor thinks that I trouble myself instead of giving it-by thinking about the army of too much with other people's concerns, and not the south [Soult's], which does not need your as- enough with my own. But until now I had consistance, since it is composed of 80,000 of the best sidered that the Emperor himself had prescribed to troops in Europe; and by busying yourself about me as a duty to assist the army of the south, and districts which are not under your command-you this duty has been formally urged upon me in twenrisk, I say, by directing your attention to those ob- ty of your despatches, and lately repeated by the jects, the receiving a check which might be felt order to leave three divisions in the valley of the throughout Spain. Tagus; but being now relieved from this, my position is much clearer and better.
'I repeat, therefore, the Emperor's orders-with- 'His Majesty's orders are so imperative that I in twenty-four hours after the receipt of this letter shall obey; but if, in consequence, Badajos shall be you will set out for Salamanca. You will concen- taken, I hope I shall not be blamed. [It was taken trate your army on that place, Toro, and Benevent, in three weeks after.] It seems that his Majesty fixing your head-quarters at Salamanca. Work forgets that I have neither money to pay, nor vicactively at fortifying that town. Employ for that tuals to feed, these 12,000 workmen, and that every purpose 6000 troops and 6000 peasants. Collect kind of service on every side is on the point of fail. there a fresh equipage-establish magazines of ing utterly for want of resources; and as to maga. provisions. zines, if his Majesty were to send me the necessary means, and if I could collect one month's subsistance for the army, I should think I had done wonders; and it would be most advisable not to spend
these supplies in making demonstrations, but to reserve them for the moment when we are to act seriously on the enemy.
'Let your outposts exchange shots every day with His Majesty is then ignorant that our advanced those of the enemy. posts are, from the nature of things, no where nearer to the English than twenty leagues [50 or 60 miles]; and that if we are to exchange shots, it could only be with guerrillas, who come up to our very lines.
'You will immediately send an advance guard to occupy the debouchés on Ciudad Rodrigo, and another the debouchés on Almeida.
It will be eight days after these measures are taken before they will produce their effect on the enemy; but as you see the effect of these offensive operations on the enemy, you will gradually withdraw the division you will have left in the valley of the Tagus, and you will increase your offensive demonstrations so as to show that you only wait for the new grass to enter Portugal. (Signed) 'ALEXANDER.'
—vol. i. p. 614.
Our readers have seen that, in this correspondence, the inculpated generals were clearly in the right, and that Buonaparte's complaints were captious in spirit and unfounded in fact; and we shall see that -as in the former cases of Bessières and Dupont-the event contradicted his predictions, and that his own positive orders produced disasters of which he subsequently laid all the blame on the unfortunate generals. In spite of Marmont's explanations and remonstrances, we find that, in a letter of the 16th April, Berthier reiterates the preceding orders,—
I know not what is meant by the debouchés of Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida: the country between the Agueda and the Tormes is an immense plain, open in all directions.
I conclude, Monseigneur, by expressing the pain I feel at the manner in which the Emperor depreciates the efforts which I am constantly making for his service; and since his Majesty attributes the loss of Almeida to me, I am ignorant how I can possibly guard myself against any possible inculpation. (Signed) THE MARSHAL 'DUKE OF RAGUSA.' -vol. i. p. 634, &c.
placed at Salamanca, in furtherance of that general system, you ought not to have departed from it without the sanction of your commanderin-chief. The Emperor, therefore, considers your proceeding as a direct insubordination and disobedience of his orders.'-vol. i. p. 668.
Our readers will observe that, in the former instructions, there is not an allusion to King Joseph or his system, nor a hint that Marmont was placed at Salamanca in pursuance of any such system. On the contrary, he was there by the special and detailed orders of Napoleon himself, and he was told not to busy himself with anything beyond his own immesphere. But there is one point on which Buonaparte's criticisms appear to have been just, namely, Marmont's not having waited for the considerable reinforcements which he knew were within a couple of days of him. To these critiBut when Marmont, in pursuance of cismas Buonaparte directed Marmont to the spirit and almost the letter of these make precise and categorical answers ;' positive instructions, provoked the battle but M. Belmas does not give us the Marof Salamanca, and lost it, Buonaparte shal's defence, which we should be the (who, as Marmont had before hinted to more curious to see, as the Duke of WelBerthier, had a convenient facility of for-lington seems to concur with Buonaparte getting even his own orders) turned round in thinking Marmont's movements premaon Marmont, and on the receipt of the ture and injudicious. Our readers will despatches of the 22d July, directed the see with interest his Grace's short, yet Duke of Feltre, minister of war, to send comprehensive summary of this battle, him a very sharp censure of his conduct, addressed to Lord Lynedoch, then Sir which Feltre delayed to do for some T. Graham :— months, waiting Marmont's recovery from the severe wounds he received in the battle. The following are the main points of this letter:
To concentrate the army about Salamanca-diate to take the initiative, and give the war the character suited to the glory of the French army-and to exchange shots with the English every day under the very walls of Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida.'-vol, i. p. 642.
Flores d'Avila, 25th July, 1812.
• I cannot allow the despatches to go off with out writing you a few lines respecting our action of the 22d. We had a race for the large Arapiles, which is the more distant of the two
The Emperor, in considering the case, has set out with a principle which you cannot dis-detached hills, which you will recollect on the pute, namely, that you should consider the King right of our position. This race the French won, (Joseph) as your commander-in-chief, and that and they were too strong to be dislodged without you were bound to conduct yourself by the gen- a general action. eral system which he should adopt! Now being
I knew that the French were to be joined by
the cavalry of the army of the north on the 224 or 23d, and that the army of the centre [Joseph's] was likely to be in motion. Marmont ought to have given me a pont d'or, and he would have made a handsome operation of it. But instead of that, and after manoeuvring all the morning in the usual French style, nobody knew with what object, he at last passed my right in such a manner, at the same time without engaging, that he would have either carried our Arapiles, or he would have confined us entirely to our position. This was not to be endured, and we fell upon him, turning his left flank, and I never saw an army receive such a beating.'-Wellington Dispatches, vol ix. p. 309.
What force, what simplicity, what true grandeur, even in this familiar note to a private friend!
Marmont, however, was not singular in his presumption that he was strong enough to beat the English, for Suchet writes to Joseph from Valencia, 30th June,
But Suchet had his own troubles. He ends the same letter by these words :
The Duke of Dalmatia had with him 20,000 the allied army was composed of 31,000, including 4000 Spaniards under Castanos, and 10,000 other Spaniards of Blake's expeditionary army, a division of Portuguese (about 5000) and two British divisions under Cole and Stewart (10,000 men.)'
The main attack was on the right of the allies, where the English were posted, while General Godinot was to make a diversion on the
left. General Girard advanced with the first French corps to attack the English right, while • Marshal Marmont may unite the greater took it in flank by a brilliant charge; the first four regiments of cavalry, hussars, and lancers, part of the army of Portugal, and I doubt line of the English yielded to these vigorous whether, in the present state of England-[the efforts, but soon rallied, and, returning en potence, French always calculated on the factious spirit directed a most effective fire (des mieux nourris) at home as a powerful auxiliary]-Lord Wellingon Girard's column, which soon suffered enorton dare hazard a battle. He has too much to mous losses, and was forced to retire. The lose, and the French too much glory to gain, to second division, under General Danican, immedi. venture an engagement so far from his ships.'-ately advanced, like the first, in close column; vol. i. p. 660.
but it suffered the same difficulty in deploying under the enemy's fire. It struggled for a while, revolving in confusion on itself (en tourbillonnant sur elle-même), but at last entirely disbanded itself in the most frightful disorder (se débanda dans le plus Werte, hastened up to protect the retreat, but affreux désordre.) The reserve, under General could not retrieve the victory. It, in its turn, (entraîné par les fuyards.) The artillery, which was carried away in the flight of the others amounted to from thirty to forty pieces, sustained for two hours the efforts of the English. Its fire was dreadful, and it, supported by the cavalry, saved the army. So ended one of the bloodiest battles of the Spanish war. The French, very inferior in number'-[by M. Belmas's own account they were double the number of the English, on whom he also admits the whole brunt of the action fell]-lost 7000 men hors de It is not surprising, considering combat, the allies more than 8000, the most part that this work was patronised by M. of the artillery and cavalry-two-thirds of the Soult, that M. Belmas should give us English were destroyed. The two armies renone of Buonaparte's criticisms and mained in presence of each other the next day, tirades against that marshal; but we find could no longer hope to face the allies, made his the 17th; but in the night, Marshal Soult, who that he, like the others, complained that retreat-but so slowly, that he did not reach he had not the Emperor's confidence, and Llerena till the 23d. The British cavalry'requested to be relieved in his command, [there was, it seems, cavalry enough left to take (vol. i. p. 459.) M. Belmas gives no pièces the offensive] pursued him, and there was a justificatives concerning the battle of Al- sharp affair at Usagre, but without result. Marbuera (17th May, 1811); but it is to his shal Soult remained in observation at Llerena to reorganise his army, which was very much discredit that his narrative presents a toler-couraged (dont le moral se trouvait fort affecté) by ably fair account of the action, which, the losses it had suffered.'-vol. i. p. 184. from the official pen of an enemy, is worth abstracting. He says:
Such was the battle as described by M.
• In my present position, I find myself under the disagreeable necessity of intreating your Majesty [Joseph] to request the Emperor to give me a successor in this command, who-more happy than I-may find your Majesty disposed to believe his reports, and who may possess enough of your Majesty's confidence not to be selected to afford the example of a commander-in-chief's
being called from an extensive government and indispensable duties, to make a march of twenty days' distance from his head-quarters, with 12,000 men.'
The fact is, that at Albuera there were, of British infantry, nominally 7000, but really only 6000-of British cavalry 1200: there were 38 pieces of artillery, of which 24 were British; and the allied forces of all kinds were not quite 30,000 men:—while the enemy had 19,000 French infantry, 4000 French cavalry, and 50 pieces of artillery. But let us hear M.
It is ri
Belmas, Colonel of Engineers, from the archives of the French war-office, which Marshal Soult, with his usual modesty, described as a victoire signalée,' and which some English writers have pleased You will express to the Duke of Dalmatia to misrepresent in the same style. We my displeasure at his having sent me the colours* I shall not confirm heartily wish that M. Belmas had given of Albuera by a foreigner. It seems us Marshal Soult's original despatches, his appointment as his aide-de-camp. and above all, Buonaparte's observations that this Lafitte comes from the Austrian service. He has, therefore, fought against us. on them. We happen, however, to have an sent such a man. Let this Captain Lafitte be indication of Napoleon's opinion on the diculous that the Duke of Dalmatia should have subject, in an original note signed and un-informed that he shall not return to Spain, and derscored by his own imperial hand, in that I have given directions that he should join which he desires Berthier to acknow- the 9th regiment of light horse. ledge the receipt of Marshal Soult's despatches, which it seems had been forwarded by one Captain Lafitte, who, instead of promotion and reward, (with the expectation of which Soult had sent him,) received a sad rebuff, and suffered, poor man, for the misadventure of his patron.
On this I pray God to have you in his holy keeping.
We shall give this curious piece-of which the autograph is before us-both in French and English.
Au Major Général [Berthier.]
• Mon Cousin,
Vous témoignerez mon mécontentement au Duc de Dalmatie de ce qu'il m'a envoyé les draMon inten. peaux d'Albuera par un étranger. tion n'est pas de le lui accorder pour aide-decamp. Il paraît que ce Lafitte sort du service d'Autriche il a donc fait la guerre contre nous. Il est ridicule que le Duc de Dalmatie m'envoye
un pareil homme. Faites connaître à ce Capi
taine Lafitte qu'il ne retournera plus en Espagne et que je donne ordre qu'on le place dans le régt. de Chevau-légers.
Sur ce je prie Dieu qu'il vous ait dans sa sainte et digne garde.
St. Cloud, le 23 Aout, 1811.'
To the Major General.
It is hardly worth while to notice even M. Belmas's little inaccuracies-which, however, are always in favour of the French. One brigade of the British infantry could not cross the Guadiana; so that in reality we had but 6000 of our own infantry in the field. Of these 4500 were killed or wounded, so that we had but 1500 during the night. The Spaniards would not fight early in the day; and Soult, with 20,000 infantry and a very great superiority of cavalry, ought, by all rules, to have won that battle. But our 6000 British infantry, commanded by gentlemen, stood firm, in hap. py ignorance of the tactical pedantry which permits troops to run away whenever their flank is turned or their line broken. Thus, for example, the 57th
regiment had at Albuera, out of 25 officers, killed and wounded 22; of 570 rank and file, killed and
wounded 425. This regiment was composed chiefly of Londoners from the Middlesex militia. They had been notorious as marauders, and were nicknamed the Steelbacks, from being daily flogged by the provost; but after Albuera their more honourable style was the Die-hard's.'-MS. Note of an officer previously referred to.
St. Cloud, 23d August, 1811.
This needs no comment from us to ex
plain the temper with which Buonaparte
Before we conclude, we must add one or two important observations suggested by these papers-which, besides the light they throw on the conduct of the Peninsular war, afford an answer to a question which has been often asked, and never, that we know of, quite satisfactorily explained; namely, how it was that all Buonaparte's marshals abandoned him so suddenly, so readily, and apparently so ungratefully. It has been usually accounted for by their having grown old and rich, and being anxious to realize, as it were, and secure their prodigious but
No English nor Portuguese colours were lost, nor we believe any Spanish, but if in the melée the French carried off anything like colours, they must have belonged to the Spanish irregulars.