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On Foreigners in the British Service.
trusted, and immediately put in charge of an advanced post. I should think the expedient a dangerous one. I would indeed accept of them as soldiers, but let the battalion of the 60th reziment, raised for colonial service only, be increased ; let these men, under British officers, or at least a proportion of them British, be sent to garrison our West India colonies ; let them relieve the British regiinents now serving there, and which have served some of them for ten or twelve years (surely too long a period), and which now cannot be relieved so long as the war in the Peninsula continues, unless some plan of this sort is resorted to. Increase this regiment, or any other, with six additional battalions, and you can withdraw nearly all the British regiments now in the West Indies, leaving only one regimeut iv Martinique, another in Guadaloupe, and one or two in Jamaica; these troops would, no doubt, mostly return skeletons ; but in twelve or eighteen months they would be filled up and fit for sesvice, as many of them are favourite corps, viz. the Royals, 15th, 16th, 18th, 25th, 54th, 55th, 630, 64th, goth, 96th, &c.
I cannot but think it hard for the corps above mentioned to be stationed for so many years on distant and inactive commands (laying the unhealthiness' of the climate out of the question), as a soldier goes wberever ordered; but it is surely not fair to keep them there for a larger period than six or seven years ; yet at the present moment many of them can have no prospect of being relieved, so long as we have all our disposable force in Spain, Portugal, and Sicily. I would therefore add six or more additional battalions to the 60th Regiment, composed of men of different nations, who have recently deserted from the enemy, the officers to be composed of foreigners partly, if you please, as the other battalions, but into no other British regiment ought any foreigner, not educated in England, to be introduced.
The 5th battalion of the 60th is now serving in Portugal with disinguished reputation, and if increased and kept efficient by drafts from the German Legion of both men and officers as they are required, that corps, the German Legion, might be gradually reduced to a proper establishment; at present, the only resource for filling up its ranks, and the men cannot be sent out of Europe, according to the agreement entered into on their leaving Hanover, is by receiving deserters from the enemy; these men I would transfer to the colonies, but at the same time I would keep one lattalion always at home for recruiting, and which should in its turn go to the West Indies, and another come home; every battalion also to have a depot in Eugland, and the officers to take the duty by turns.
THE SOLDIER'S FRIEND. N. B. I also think the West India regiments, which have been seen very useful, might be increased to the number raised last war, viz. twelve, thereby rendering the services of two or three European corps unnecessary.
April 10, 1812.
Operations of Sir David Baird's Division.
CONTINUATION OF THE OPERATIONS OF SIR DAVID BAIRD.
Further particulars of the conduct of the Spaniards in the retreat of
Sir David Baird's army, their customs, fe.-Continued from our last.
IN my last communication I referred to some paragraphs contained in the letters of officers of raak and experience :-the following has since particularly struck my attention.
“ How much I lament the miserable changes made in our cavalry ; a fine regiment was rendered unfit for service. The horse so appropriate, so exactly suited for the light dragoon service, is thrown aside, to make room for wretched, half-blooded animals; the useful, elegant uniform of the light cavalry done away, and all the gaudy frippery of fancy collected together, to disguise and disfigure the light dragoon. Mustachios, enormous whiskers, and, in short, every species of bombast, are substituted, and man and horse completely disfigured. 'i his dostructive fancy has spread itself like a pestilential meteor, and many regiments have abandoned good sense to adopt it.' Three of these regiments, -misnamed hussars, with the Lieutenant-General parade of bussar staff drapery, were destined to the service of Spain. They were embarked in confusion and discord : two of the regiments remained on board the horse transports three weeks, and one ten days; yet that this species of service might be conducted, as it would seem, in a destructive manner, the horses of one of the regiments which had rea mained three weeks in the hot hold of a horse transport, were cast headlong into the water, swam to the shore, and left to dry. After only continuing four days to recover from the voyage, they were, with a brigade of horse artillery, ordered to commence their march. And what followed ? Ill provided with forage, and the little they obtained not of
Notes made while the army was advancing.--The Archbishop, who certainly is a very hospitable priest, and bears himself with much attention and liberality to the officers of the English forces, besides keeping two of them constantly in lois house, gave a dinner to some of the generals, their suite, and other officers. The introdaction of some rich wines, lavishly bestowed, enlivened the feast, which lasted from five o'clock to nine, when coffee was distributed in a separate room The company.were numerous, consisting of officers, priests, and the chief persons of the town. This Archbishop certainly has only the exterior of a high-priest, for a greater bon vivant, or lascivious character, I never met with in any shape. He has e sister of a similar disposition, particularly coarse in her inanuers and expressions, I was informed this high church-man bad been the Queen's confessor,--had intro, duced Godoy and his brother to her, and was a convenient personage to all, for cer. taio little performances of his, similar to that of Gil Plas to the Prince of Asturias, TOL. I8. No. 20.
Operations of Sir David Baird's Division.
the same quality which the horses had been accustomed to, they dropped, and numbers died on the road. Their own officers, after ridiculing the ridicalous metamorphoses of the English light dragoon,-after lamenting the loss of the useful helmet, declared numbers of their squadrons unfit for service, at the time they arrived where they were to be employed, and where their services were required."
He had the second Order of Knighthood conferred on him, and was made an arche bishop. I must say he is a liberal man, and seems to like good living &c. The following is the Bill of Fare of the dinner alluded to, which is curious :
LISTA DE LA COMIDA. la Cubierta.
2a Cubierta. 4 Sopar.
16 Entremeser. i Puxé à la reyna,
2 de pasta flora, i de fideas,
2 de folleradas, i de Maccarrones,
i de casas de Almendra, i de Arroz.
i de Grillago,
i de Clema, 4 Relevez.
i de un Jlan, i de un pecho,
i de un toxta, i de una corvino,
i de ensalada de pimientz, 2 de lo cido.
1 de ensalada de remdaétra,
i de meneytra de Lombarda, 16 Entradaz.
i de meneytra de repollo, i de partelillos à la Vervamela, i de meneytra de lechuga, i de paita à la Espanola,
i de pescad. de Volanta con Anquila, i de un parrel de pichones,
4 Asados. i de frito de croquetas,
i de Cocbinellos, i de frito à la Espapola,
i de rigonada de tenera, i de un fricando,
i de Capones, į de Granadines mechandoz,
Otro de Rodaballo, i de panuloz con salsa ruba,
Otro de Colijol. i de un ganya, i de perdices à la Espanola,
A Pieza de fricas. i de un pecho de ternera rellens con 2 de famones glasados, salva sié,
i de Gato, i de una ensala de pollos,
i de una toxta. i de pollos à la Bresa, i de partelleres esparrilladoz, i de lenquas seterrena esparrilladoz.
The dining room is generally very large, but, like the general run of rooms, ertremely ill-fitted up.--A door of very clumsy pannels, with a lock, or rather latch, of which we have nothing so clumsy in England. The door is generally whitewashed, as is all the rooin. Small, old-fashioned, gilt-framed looking-glasses are hung áp, but so high that that they are only ornamental, or some religious pictures, painted and framed, equally bad. The chairs are of the kind formerly used in England,-clumsy and uneasy. The beauffett or capboard is of a piece with the rest.
Operations of Sir David Baird's Division.
The mode of marching and quartering in the night may be fully understood, by the description of one night's distribution, after a march of five leagues, which is equal to twenty-two and an half English miles. A party, consisting of a General, his Major of Brigade, and his Aide-decamp, came to a miserable possada, or inn. Fortunately the Major of Brigade had gone forward, and, by dint of money and perseverance, contrived to have on the fire, in a large kettle, suspended by a chain from an immense beam, a sort of cauldron, filled with pieces of beef, onions, turnips, and potatoes. After this was safely suspended by the iron hook, and a place provided for the horses, a chamber was prepared for the General and suite. This room was the receptacle of all kinds of animals, and, amongst others, the old graud-father of the family, who, though not seventy years of age, exhibited Shakespear's last stage, sans teeth, &c. &c. exposed to the hungry appetites of myriads of fleas, and entertained all night with grunting of pigs, squalling of cats, coughings of the old people, braying of mules, squalling of children, &c. &c. In short, it beggars all attempt at description,
I forgot to mention, in my last letter, that on the 17th of January, 1809, the French attacked the left wing of Sir John Moore's army, on the heights of Lugo. A body of men had penetrated up a lane, driven our light troops before them, and turned the flank of the picquet of the 92d regiment. Sir John Moore, who was on the left, rallied, and rated a few men of the 51st and 76th regiments, for retreating, and led them a few paces back. An officer on the staff of the brigade to which the 51st belonged (Brigade Major David Roberts), esteeming it his duty, passed Sir John Moore, huzzaed the men forward, and charged the French, himself shooting one man. He then rode into the field on their flank, and, having gained their front, ordered the officer to lay down his arms, who resisted, and directed his men to fire, which they did, but missed Major Roberts, who then fired, and shot the officer. He was then fired at, and two bullets passed through his right hand, whilst returning a pistol he had discharged to its holster-case; two more also passed through his cloak, and another cut in two his horse's bridle. Major Roberts's shattered hand was amputated on the field of action, and he proceeded with the army to Corunna. In this skirmish the French bad 83 killed and wounded, and 125 were made prisoners; the British, one officer, Major Roberts, wounded, and two privates killed. A work published in 1809, entitled, “ Letters from Portugal and Spain,” &c. gives the following description of this atlair :-" In this encounter we took a considerable number of prisoners, and killed many of the enemy. One only of our officers was wounded, Brigade Major Roberts, a brave veteran, whose right hand was carried away by a shot, but not until he had gallantly buried the point which it held repeatedly in the hearts of those whose bayonets threatened him on all sides.”
Operations of Sir David Baird's Division.
On the army arriviug at St. Jago, in full retreat, which town is the seat of learning, yet the monastic members of every university, however they may be learned in books, are certainly not adepts in attention to the higher decorums of fine manners. We were therefore not surprized at certain want of attention, but, in this instance, we experienced a most astonishing reverse to that we received in advancing. However, we caused the same guarded attention to their worldly effects to be observed, and sentries were posted over every moveable that was likely to attract the attention of the soldiery, who at meal times were not particularly inclined to respect the goods of others, which were every way likely to add to their own comforts. Misjudging Spaniards, when driven to your doors, after sustaining every species of distress that bad arrangements, and rapid marches over barren heaths, and through rugged paths,—when the men, whom a generous nation had transported to your shores, to combat with an enemy ready and resolved to overwhelm you, was it for you to implant in their breasts, by your cruel and inhospitable conduct, a hatred to your country, and contempt for yourselves, and you the self-assumed servants of a merciful God? Was it from you the languid, wearied soldier was to receive insolence and contempt, veglect and scorn? Can we lament, can we pity such a set of men, if rapacity, if the ravages of war haunt your monastic walls, stored with every luxury that can be exacted from the half-starved, bigotted peasantry? When the sanguinary revolution of France drove to Great Britain's hospitable shores hundreds of famished Frenchmen, were they not received with open arms ? Was pot every idea banished from the hearts of those hospitable islanders but sympathy for their sufferings? Were they not fed, cloathed and cherished ? Reflect, shrink within your cowls, and beseech that Omnipotent Father of all to grant you that blessed reflection that the good Samaritan so happily felt.. The eyes of the Spaniards seem now to be opened to the true state of affairs, and to the honour and disinterested motives which compelled Great Britain to send her veterans to protect their country against the seizure of Bona, parté. The bigotry which cast a veil over the people is removed, and priests and citizens must ever bless the name of Briton, whether in the end the contest shall terminate favourably or otherwise,
J.P. Mount-Street, Grosvenor-Square,
May 8, 1819.