Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors]

We beg leave to return our thanks to the Correspondents who have favoured os with the articles inserted in this Number, and more particularly to J. P. and J. C. We should be infinitely obliged by the latter Gentleman if he would remit the remainder of bis Joornal by the both of the month, as we have not enough remaining for an insertion.

The Eleventh Number of the Military and Historical Classics will be published on The ist of next Month, and will conclude Arrian's Expedition of Alexander the Great. The 10th Number is published this day, and New Editions of the first Numbers are ready for delivery, so that complete Sets may be had.

* THE SUPPLEMENT to the Third Volume of the Military Chronicle is

published this Day, Price 2s.6d. It contains the Life of Prince Eugene of Savoy, by himself, complete, a book selling in London for 78. 6d. It is here presented to the Army for Half a Crown, reprinted from the first English Edition.

ROYAL MILITARY CHRONICLE.

MAY, 1812.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

THE DUKE OF YORK.

AS the public Life of the Royal Family is no sufficiently known as to leave us nothing to say beyond the common-place within the reach of every one, we deem it unnecessary to add any memoir of His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief. We shall content ourselves, there fore, with expressing our satisfaction, in common with that of the army, with the present system of the office of the Commander-in-Chief, and more particularly with the zeal and ability, with which his Royal High dess attends to the permanent amelioration of the condition of the sole djers by the support and recommendation of Dr. Bell's system of National Education. The best roots of true courage and disciplined obedience are in the feeling and knowledge of inoral and religious duty. And assuredly, the best security of our Constitution is in the honour and honesty, the attachment to liberty and law, of our soldiery. The milie tary character of the times, and the necessities which it has induced, bave worn out those peculiar distinctions of our militia, to which we bave been accustomed to look as the constitutional controul upon our standing armies. It has become necessary, therefore, to look for other checks, and these are no where to be found but in the improved knowledge, and therein the improved morals and feelings of the army itself. We must conclude, therefore, with expressing our hopes, that within a few months there will not be a soldier in the English army, who will not be instructed, at least in reading, by the system of Dr. Bell, I have always attributed the evident superiority of the morals of the people of England (I am speaking of the great body of the people of England, the country people) to two very simple causes, the parish churches, and the number and cheapness of our Free and Sunday Schools. It is in England only, in this free and happy country, that one chay in seven the simple and sweet morality of the Christian Gospel is explained in their own native language, to the sons and daughters of our villages and hamlets; and it is in England only that the Bible, in the common tongue of the country, is put into the hands of all who can read, and is as necessary and as constant a part of the furniture of every decent cottage as the bed and the chair. What, therefore, is the sum of this sitis YOL, IV. NO. 19.

B

Memoir of the Operations in Estremadura, in 1811,

briefly this, that every man has at his elbow a constant daily instructor; the purest morality, enforced in a language which comes home to the hearts and bosoms of all.

MEMOIR OF THE OPERATIONS IN ESTREMADURA, IN 1811.

AS the siege of Badajoz is the present object of public attention, and as it is probably the commencement of a new line of operation (i.e. to Seville, thence to Cadiz, and thence along the coast, in which case the army will be accompanied by a fleet on its flank), the following brief memoir of the former operations against this city may be of some interest to your inilitary readers. It may enable them to form some judgment of what is now intended, and may be of use to them in understanding the campaign.

The first operation against Badajoz was in January, 1811, when Massena was at Santarem, and Lord Wellington opposite hiin at Cartaxo. Marshals Soult and Mortier were at Seville. Massena, who was then thinking of moving his quarters, probably applied to the two Marshals to attempt a diversion in his favour, and they in consequence began their advance towards Badajoz, Mortier arrived at Ronquillo on the 3d of January, and continuing to advance into Estremadura, he formed a junction with the division under General Girard, at Guadalcanal.. On the 9th he obtained possession of Merida, and the bridge over the Guadiana at that place. He then marched to Olivenca, which containe ing but a small garrison, and being badly provided with provisions, was taken possession of on the 93d.

The two Marshals now proceeded to invest Badajoz with their infantry. They pushed their cavalry forwards on the right bank of the Guadiana.

Lord Wellington was well aware of the value of this city, as well as of the designs of the enemy in these operations. He accordingly persuaded the Marquis Romana to march immediately to its assistance, The Marqnis, however, dying at Cartaxo, January 23, 1811, retarded the advance of the troops, as General Mendizabel, who succeeded to the command of the Spanish army, immediately halted them. Upon the recommendation, however, of Lord Wellington, Mendizabel again ordered his army to advance, and he joined it at Elvas on the morning of the 6th of February. Mortier, however, as if io contempt of his enemy, continued his position in the neighbourhood of Badajoz, and began to break ground before that place on the left for Seville side) of the Guadiana,

I have mentioned that Mortier had pushed his cavalry forwards to the right, or Elvas side of the Guadiana. This cavalry fell back as the Spanish army advanced. They were attacked by the Spanish troops as they were passing the Evora, and lost some few cattle and baggage. In this affair, a Portuguese brigade under Brigadier-General Maddan behaved with great gallantry, but not being supported by the Spaniards, the enemy rallied, and obliged them to re-cross the Evora with a very considerable logs.

After some trifling operations, the Spanish General threw bimself into the city, from whence he again withdrew bis army on the 9th of February, and took up a position on the ridge of St. Christoval, which commanded a most extensive view in every direction. Notwithstanding

[ocr errors]

Memoir of the Operations in Estremadura, in 1811. this advantage, which appears to have been totally neglected by General Mendizabel, the French army crossed the Evora and the Guadiana, and what would seem incredible, surprized, from the valley and low grounds, an enemy posted on the hills. The consequence was the total defeat of the Spaniards. General Maddau's brigade suffered very severely, The 8th regiment (Portuguese), led on by Colonel Brown, 'cut its way through the French ranks, and retired upon Elvas. Colonel Brown was himself very severely wounded. The French cavalry pursued the fugitives, who as usual threw away their arms, across the plain to the walls of Elvas, and captured the whole of the Spanish artillery and baggage.

The enemy was thus enabled to set down quietly before Badajoz ; and Marshal Mortier lost no time in breaking ground and commencing the siege. A small breach being effected, March 1oth, but by 10 means practicable for assault, if properly defended, the town, with a garrison nearly equal to the besieying army, surrendered on capitulation. The Governor, who signed this disgraceful instrument, was Imaz, who had succeeded to the command on the death of the brave Menacho. General Menacho, previously to his being killed, nad made every disposition for defending the place to the last extremity; the streets were barricadoed, and the garrison well supplied with provisions and ammunition for a month. What rendered this capitulation the more vexatious and disgraceful, Imaz had been informed that Marshal Beresford was coming to his relief.

In the mean time, Massena had entered upon bis rapid retreat, and Lord Wellington was in an equally rapid pursuit of him. His Lord, ship, however, being informed of the danger of" Badajoz, ordered Marshal Beresford to march to its relief. The Marshal began his march from Abrantes with this purpose, March the 10th. At Portalegre and Aronches it was joined by Major-Gearral Cole's division. After halting to refresh the troops, which had had a long and fatiguing march, the whole moved forwards on the 25th on the road for Campo Mayor. Opon approaching this town, they found the enemy, consisting of four regiments of cavalry, three battalions of infantry, and some horse artillery, drawn up in front of the place. The cavalry' were fortoed iu line, and the infantry in close column of divisions in their rear. The 13th Dragnons, consisting of not more than two hundred, coming almost in contact with the enemy's lines, were ordered to charge, which they did in a very gallant style. The enemy's cavalry were completely routed, aod Colonel Head, being supported by two squadrops of the 7th Portuguese Dragoons, pursued thein to the very gates of Badajoz. In this action the Portuguese Dragoons behaved remarkably well, and Colonel Otway found some difficolty in restraining their ardour. This brilliant affair was not performed without a severe loss to the allied cavalry; for, having to pass the front of the column of infantry, they were tired upon with considerable effect. Their loss, however, certainly bore no coinparison to that of the enemy.

After this affair Marshal Beresford threw a bridge over the Guadiana at Jurumenta, and in the course of the 4th and 9th of April he crossed with his army. He left General Cole's division to atttack Olivenza, and advanced with the whole of his remaining force to clear the eneiny before bimn. The enemy did not deern it expedient to risque au action, and therefore retired into the Sierra Morena. Having so far accomplished his purpose, and Olivenza having by this time surrendered to General Cole, Marshal Beresford returned to undertake the siege of Badajoz,

Memoir of the Operations in Estremadura, in 1811.

which place was completely invested on the 7th of May by the allied army, and a Spanish corps command by Don Carlos of Spain. On the following day the batteries were opened against Fort St. Christoval, and the garrison returned a very brisk fire upon the besiegers. On the 12th Marshal Beresford received undoubted information that Soult was on the march to the relief of the city. The Marshal immediately dispatched a courier to Lord Wellington, and judging it uecessary to suspend his operations against Badajoz, the heavy field train was sent to Elvas.

Lord Wellington, upon receiving the courier of Marshal Beresford, immediately sent hiin the 3d and 7th divisions of infantry, under Gea nerals Picton and Houston, and proceeded himself to Elvas, which bis Lordship reached on the 19th. In the mean time, however, the inemotable battle of Albuera had been fought. Marshal Soult, as has beer above said, commenced his march from Seville on the 10th of May, with the avowed intention of raising the siege of Badajoz. Soult had 16,000 men with him upon leaving Seville; and upon descending the mountains into Estremadura, he was joined by 5000 more under General Latour Maubourg. With these he advanced to Albuera, where Marshal Be. resford had taken up a position to await him. The Marshal was fortynately joined in the night of the 15th of May by the corps of General Blake, and by a brigade of Don Carlos of Spain. He was thereby brought more nearly on an equality with his enterprising enemy,

. It is unnecessary to detail the proceedings of the battle of Albuera. Neither the enemy nor ourselves will shortly forget it. Suffice it to say, that Soult retreated to Seville with feathers somewhat drooping, and was followed as far as Usagre by some English and Portuguese detachments. The mountains then interposed to shelter him.

The siege of Badajoz was now resumed. On the 18th of May General Hamilton's division of Portuguese infantry, and B. G. Maddan's brigade of catalry, returned to the investment, and on the 19th Lord Wellington reached Elvas. The third and seventh divisions, likewise, whicla Lord Wellington had ordered up, arrived on the 29th, and the siege was now recommenced under the immediate direction of the Commander-inChief. On the 2d of June, we began to fire upon the fort of St. Christoval, from four batteries, on the right of the Guadiana, as also upoa the eneiny's batteries, upon the castle which had been constructed to support that fort. Two batteries were also open on the left of the Guadiana, and their fire directed against the eastern part of the castle.

The fire from the fort of St. Christoval being likely to occasion the. logs of a number of lives during the operations on the left of the Guadiana, it became necessary to attempt to take it by storm. June 6th the breach was reported practicable, and a party of the British and Portuguese, under Major M’Intosth of the 85th, was ordered to attempt it tho same night. The inen advanced under a heavy fire of nusquetry and grenades, from the out-works, and of shots and shells, froin the town, with the utinost intrepidity, to the bottom of the breach; but the enemy having cleared away the rubbish from the bottom of the escarp, their ladders were too short, and after suffering severely, they were obliged to retire, without being able to mount it.

On the 7th and 8th (June, 1811) the fire was renewed, and the breack again declared practicable by the engineers. On the night of the 9th, therefore, the Commander-in-Chief ordered another storm, and the come mand was given to Major M'Geachy, of the 17th Portuguese regiment. These brave men again reached the bottom of the breach, and Captaju Budd, and about thirty men, actually mounted it, and for a

« ForrigeFortsett »