Military Correspondence.

forms a striking object, but has been completely Frenchified, that is to say, reduced to mere walls.—Pitached Almeida about four of clock; waited on General Leith for his orders, and to state that I was ordered to hearl-quarters, and from thence to the division. Though tired by my way's exercise, I could not sit down until I had been round the walls of Almeida. It stands ou a very considerable eminence, particularly on the Portuguese side: ou the Spanish side are the celebrated plains of Almeida. The city is little better than one heap of ruins, and, with the exception of the town-house, near the main guard, a row of buildings on twenty arches, now used as a barrack, and some few houses round the inarket-place, there is hardly a remnant of a house standing. By engineers, I believe, Almeida is not considered to possess many natural advantages; but every thing tliat art can supply has been done, nor has any expence been spared. The works are now nearly repaired, but it will take many years to restore the city. There are a thousand Portuguese peasants employed, besides a great many of the Portuguese soldiers, and a working party from each division of the English army. At present there are a part of the artillery, and four Portuguese regiments of inilitia, that for the only garrison. There is a tolerable market, but every thing is very dear; an onion a shilling, and potatoes six-pence per pound. - Almeida certainly gave me the notion of a place of great strength, particularly the parts iminediately contiguous to the entrance.

25th.--Set ont for Galegos, the head-quarters of the British army; crossed the justly celebrated plains of Almeida, the weather delightfully dice and frosty, so as to make every part of the road good. Saw a vast Bunumber of dead animals, from the scarcity of forage in the front, more, indeed, than usually mark the advance or progress of an army. On these occasions the wolves and vultures even appear necessary evils, or contagion would be more frequent. On these plains the largest armies in the world might engage; there is fine scope for cavalry.--Came to the small village of Villa de Mula, where our regiment was for soine months quartered while the French were in Almeida, and where they built a bridge over the small stream that separates the kingdoms of Spain and Pirtugal. On the other side of the stream is Fort Conception, one of the most elaborate fortifications in Spain, but now a ruin. It seems to have been built to mark the boundaries, which are hardly discernable, and to keep Almeida in check, which is but a league and a half from lience. I cannot pass the boundaries, without making a few remarks on the natives: they uwlerstand one another, though the languages are, in inany instuces, widely different, as well as the pronounciation., The Spaniards aspirate almost every word: Don Julian they pronounce Don [toolia! ; General, Ileneral; Celorico, Telorico, and so on; while the Portuguese is much more readily understood : the Spanish is the finer ::d more sonorous. They do not, therefore, in this respect, differ so Military Correspondence.

much as the inhabitants of Cheshire and Flintshire, divided by the river Dee only, and who are altogether unintelligible to one another. Between the Spanish and Portuguese there is the most mortal hatred, such as, in former times, has led to a war of extermination on the frontier; and even now a Spaniard never mentions a Portuguese but with contempt, or a Portuguese a Spaniard, without adding, that they are muito falsa, very treacherous. They are as reconcilable as oil and water: the proud and unsubmitting disposition of the former has hitherto operated most forcibly to their prejudice, and prevented them being regularly disciplined, so as to be capable of meeting the veteran troops of France in the field ; wbile the passive obedience and tractability of the latter have made them a military nation, capable of fighting by the side of our best troops, and, in my opinion, as troops equal to any in Europe. The Portuguese have one of the finest countries in the world for defence; and we have already done much for them, in inspiring the confidence that, if left entirely to themselves, they can defend Portugal against the French as well as the Spaniards. The Spaniards are excessively hardy: the peasantry in this part of Spain have no beds, but just sleep in any dry corner on the floor, wrapped up in their cascote, or a blanket, éven in the severest weather. They never take their clothes off' until they are worn out, or until they marry, and invariably wear a broad leather belt round the loius, that would be no inconsiderable inconvenience to any other people. About a league from hence is the Spanish town of Alamada.—Passed the situation where the glorious battle of Fuentes d'Honore was fought; nor could I contemplate this scene without grateful exultation. Our position certainly was the best of the two; they were only divided by a rivulet, and the heights on either side were sufficiently covered by the ever-green oak, to protect the skirmishing of light troops, while they were covered with the opposing armies. The French were greatly superior in numbers, so much so, that it is astonishing they did not provoke a general engagement. The British liue ex. tended with its right beyond Fontes, and its left beyond Alamada : the French position was more concentrated. Reached the village of Alamada, a very pretty place, and appearing to great advantage after the general desolation which Portuguese towns have received. The church is very neat, and, on the top of the steeple, close by the bells, is a stork's nest, which I understand continued there, without interruption, during the heavy cannonade at the battle of Fuentes. A league further is Galegos, which is a most wretched hole for the bead quarters of Lord Welliugton. I saw his Lordship, with all his attendants, just returned from the funeral of General Craufurd. I regret to say that his health appears to have suffered considerably since I saw him last. On reporting myself and party, I was not a little disgusted at the reception. I had just come off a march fatigued, with my blanket strapped behind me, and my eanteed and haversack, and though accoutered like a soldier for service, VEL, IV. NO. 19.


Journal of the Campaign in 1809.

points by the approach of the enemy's light troops, who were received with a brisk discharge of musketry, which ceased in about ten minutes, when the silence of night again prevailed on the field of battle.

At length day-light broke upon the contending armies, who were drawu up opposite to each other on the positions they respectively occupied at the beginning of the action on the preceding evening. About six the engagement was renewed, and continued without intermission until eleven o'clock, when the firing ceased, as if by mutual consent, for nearly three hours, during which interval, the French appeared to be employed in cooking, and the British army reposed on the ground, seemingly regardless of the enerdy's presence. It was at this time also the wounded were carried off to the rear, and while engaged in this painful duty, the British and French soldiers shook hands with each other, and expressed their admiration of the gallantry displayed by the troops of both nations. The principal efforts of the French throughout the morning were again directed upon the left, but Major-General Hill successively repulsed every attempt to turn his position, and obliged the enemy to retire with considerable loss.

Sir A. Wellesley, with his Staff, observed the progress of the battle on a height to the left of the British line. From this point he witnessed every movement that was made, and issued all the necessary orders. Two of bis Aid-de-Camps, Captains Bouverie and Burgh, were wounded by his side.

At one P. M. the enemy was observed bringing up fresh troops, and forming his columns apparently for the purpose of renewing the action; and in fact, about two o'clock the French again advanced under a heavy cannonade, and made a general attack upon the whole of the position occupied by the British. The enemy's attacking columns on the right had arrived within a short distance of the unfinished redoubt, when General A. Campbell made a vigorous charge upon thein, and drove them back with the loss of their artillery.

The efforts of the enemy on the left were equally unsuccessful. Brig. Gen. Anson charged a solid column of their infantry with the 230 Light Dragoons and German Hussars; and though the 23d suffered very considerably, the enemy were effectually pushed back.

Meanwhile the centre was warmly engaged. Exactly at three o'clock several heavy columns advanced upon this front, and deployed with the utmost precision into line as they entered the plain, which lay betwixt the heights occupied by the hostile armies. This was the grand attack, and on the first indication of the enemy's intention, General Sherbroke gave directions that his division should prepare for the charge. At this awful moment all was silent, except a few guns of the enemy answered by the British artillery on the hill. The French came on over the rough and broken ground in the valley in the most imposing manner, and with great resolution, and were met by the British with their usual firmness, Journal of the Campaign in 1809.

The division advanced as if with one will against the eneniy, whose ranks were speedily broken, and thrown into confusion, by a well-directed volley. The impetuosity of the soldiers was not to be repressed ; and the brigade on the immediate left of the Guards being halted, that flank, froin its advanced situation in the eagerness of pursuit, became exposed to the enemy. The latter had previously given way, and was deserting its guns on the hill in front, when it observed this denuded part of our line; upon which the French imme liately rallied, and returned with increased numbers to the attack of the centre,

Brig. Gen. H. Campbell now gave orders for the guards to return to their original position in line, and the Ist Battalion of the 48th Regiment was directed to cover this movement. Foiled at all points, the French now withdrew their columns ; they however continued the fire of their artillery, and the engagement ceased only with the setting of the sun.

About six in the evening, the long dry grass having caught fire, the flames spread rapidly over the field of action, and consumed in their progress numbers of the dead and wounded.

A dim and cheerless moon threw a fiint lustre over the surrounding objects after the close of day ; small parties were sent out to bring in the wounded; the enemy was einployed in a similar manner, and had made large fires along the whole front of his.xtensive line.

The troops lay upon their arms without provisions of any kind. It was fully expected that the French would remain in their position, and would renew the battle in the moruing, but they retired under cover of the night, leaving in the hands of the British 20 pieces of artillery, and come prisoners. Their rear-guard, consisting of cavalry, was only visible at day-break. The retreat was conducted with great ability, and was not known in the British army till long after the enemy had abandoned his position.

Jaly 29th.-Soon after eight o'clock the British quitted their position in the field, and again halted in the wood of Olives. All was joy and transport, and mutual congratulation, upon the acquisition of a victory at once so useful and so honourable. The battle of Tamera will be remembered by posterity with the distinction which it so well merits.

August 3d. The insufficiency of the supplies compelled the General. in-Chief to think of moving his army from its present position, and accordingly, on the morning of this day, the army began its march from Talavera, and its retreat from Spain. It halted at Oropesa for the night. This retreat rendered it necessary to leave behind it a considerable vumber of the sick and wounded ; but as General Cuesta promised to remain behind, and to keep Victor at check, if he should atteinpt to move, little anxiety was felt this score. General Cuesta, however, forgot his promise as soon as his allies were out of sight, for be then immediately abandoned his post, and with the whole of his arms followed the route


Journal of the Campaign in 1809.

of the British. This conduct of General Cuesta put Sir A. Wellesley in a state of great embarrassment. Marshal Soult was at Placentia, on the right Aank of the British army, and Victor in the rear. Sir A. Wel lesley, under these circumstances, took the determination to withdraw his troops over the bridge of Arzobispo, with a view of retiring upon Badajoz.

August 4th.-At day-break on the 4th the troops were under arms, but did not move from the ground on which they bivuaced until nine o'clock. A

very small quantity of bread was issued to the army, which then marched six miles to the south of the bridge of Arzobispo, and, crossing the Tagus, halted for the night on the opposite bank.

Aug. 5th.—The army advanced 18 miles over a difficult country, and about four in the afternoon bivuaced on a hill near the viłlage of Valdela Cosa.

Aug. 6th. This day's march was 12 miles, through a mountainou's district. About noon the column halted in a romantic spot near the small river D'Irber. Several working parties were employed in dragging the artillery up the beights until a late hour.

Aug. 7th.—The country was mountainous in the extreme, and the heat excessive. The troops began to sink under their fatigues, They were without bread on the 5th and 6th, and only a very little flour was received this day.

Aug. 8th.—The troops were assembled at four in the morning, but the march was deferred five hours, to give the artillery time to ascend the heights. Halted near Deleytosa, a small pretty town. Aug. 9th. The troops were in motion at five. Halted in

wood. Marshal Soult, after making an unsuccessful attempt to force the bridge of Arzobispo, passed the Tagus with a body of cavalry, at a ford about two miles above, and surprised the Spaniards in their position. The latter retreated, after a slight resistance, pursued by the French. It was feared that the whole of the artillery would fall into the enemy's hands. Soult was estimated to have 30,000 men with him.

Aug. 10th.—The troops were halted this day.

Aug. 11th. The troops, being inuch refreshed by their halt, moved off their ground at day-break, and about eight o'clock came into the high-road from Madrid to Cadiz, one of the best in Europe. Halted on the barks of the Elmonte. They remained in this position till the 20th, as their fatigues required this interval of repose.

Aug. 20th.-Marched to Truxilio, close to which they bivuaced for the night.

On the 21st to Casas de Santa Cruz. On the 22d to Mayadas, and on the 23d to Medellin, on the Guadianą. The head quarters were now at Badajoz, in the immediate neighbourhood of which the whole army was, a few days after, assembled and cantoned.


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