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THE

DISPATCHES

OY

FIELD MARSHAL THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON,

IN

THE PENINSULA,

IN

1812.

To the Earl of Liverpool. My LORD,

'Camp before Badajoz, 20th March, 1812. * According to the intention which I announced to your Lordship in my dispatch of the 13th instant, I broke up the cantonments of the army on the 15th and 16th instant, and invested Badajoz, on the left of the river Guadiana, on the 16th instant, with the 3rd, 4th, and light divisions of infantry, and with a brigade of Lieut. General Hamilton's division on the right. These troops are under the command of Marshal Sir William Beresford and Lieut. General Picton.

• We broke ground on the following day, and have established a parallel within two hundred yards of the outwork called the Picurina, which embraces the whole of the southcast angle of the fort.

• The work has continued ever since with great celerity notwithstanding the very bad weather which we have had since the 17th.

• The enemy made a sortie yesterday from the gate called La Trinidad, on the right of our attack, with about 2000

They were almost immediately driven in, without effecting any object, with considerable loss, by Major Gene. ral Bowes, who commanded the guard in the trenches.

• We lost, upon this occasion, a very promising officer, Captain Cuthbert, aide de camp to Licut. General Picton, killed; and Licut. Colonel Fletcher was slightly wounded,

men.

VOL. IX,

B

but I hope that he will soon be able to resume his duties. I have not got the returns, but I believe that our loss since the commencement of these operations amounts to 120 men killed and wounded.

· On the same day that Badajoz was invested, Lieut. General Sir Thomas Graham crossed the Guadiana with the Ist, 6th, and 7th divisions of infantry, and General Slade's, and General Le Marchant's brigades of cavalry, and directed his march upon Valverde and Sta Marta, and thence towards Llerena; while Lieut. General Sir Rowland Hill, with the 2nd and Lieut. General Hamilton's divisions, and Major General Long's cavalry, marched from his cantonments near Alburquerque upon Merida, and thence upon Almendralejo.

· These movements induced General Drouet to retire from Villa Franca upon Hornachos, in order, I conclude, to be in communication with General Darricau's division, which was about La Serena.

. I have heard from Sir Thomas Graham and from Sir Rowland Hill to the 19th instant. The former was at Los Santos and Zafra, with General Slade's cavalry at Villa Franca, and the latter at Almendralejo. Lieut. General Hill took three officers and a few hussars prisoners in Merida.

• I have reports from the neighbourhood of Ciudad Rodrigo of the 17th instant, and from Salamanca of the 16th instant. The enemy had sent a small detachment to Bejar, principally with a view to plunder; but there was no appearance of

any immediate movement. * The 6th division had moved from Talavera through the Puerto del Pico on the 8th and 9th instant, and the 4th division from Toledo on the same days, through the Guadarrama, and the 1st division only remained on the Tagus, near Talavera. The march of these divisions was directed, as I understand, upon Valladolid; and I conclude either that the reports are founded which have been in circulation, that the Guards had been withdrawn from Spain, or that the enemy intend to endeavor to divert my attention from the attack of Badajoz, by making some movement upon Galicia, or upon the north of Portugal.

• The rain, however, which has annoyed us here, it may be expected, will have filled the rivers in the north ; and I

made arrangements, before I left Castille, to provide for any plans of that kind which the enemy might adopt. Having lost their train, they cannot attack Ciudad Rodrigo or Almeida, at least till they shall have replaced it.

I have not heard of any movements in the south. Marshal Soult was at the lines opposite Cadiz according to the last accounts.

I have the honor to be, &c. The Earl of Liverpool.'

WELLINGTON.

To the Earl of Liverpool.

• MY DEAR LORD, * Camp before Badajoz, 20th March, 1812.

I received this morning your letter of the 5th March, marked “ secret and confidential," enclosing your correspondence with Lord William Bentinck. I shall write to his Lordship, and to Sir E. Pellew, as soon as I can get a little leisure; in the mean time I think it proper to apprize your Lordship that the attack of Tarragona or of Barcelona appears to me, of all the objects on the Eastern coast, to be the most desirable. I think it probable, however, that neither (most probably not the latter) will succeed. A siege requires time, and the French will move heaven and earth to save these places; and they can bring troops from France as well as from Aragon and Valencia, in addition to what they have in Catalonia. Besides, 10,000 men are not quite sufficient to attack Barcelona, where there must be 5000 in garrison. Lord William may expect some assistance from General Lacy, but the foundation of his strength must be his British troops.

I do not know how I can give him any assistance from Cadiz. Your Lordship will recollect that from Cadiz we now occupy Carthagena and Tarifa, and that there are included in the division at Cadiz and those places 1400 Portuguese troops, and about 2000 foreigners in the Regiment de Watteville and the battalion of foreign detachments. In fact there is no British regiment now at Cadiz to be detached, excepting the 1st regiment of foot guards, which I have not allowed to be sent into Carthagena or Tarifa.

· I would besides beg leave to draw your Lordship’s attention to the result of the operation I have now in hand. If it should succeed and matters turn out as I wish, we may re

lieve the Andalusias. But if I should succeed in that object I shall bring the whole of the enemy's force upon me; and I cannot expect that, for some time at least, I shall receive any assistance from the Spaniards, or that they can make any material diversion in my favor. Will it not therefore be necessary to draw to this army the division at Cadiz ?

• If I should not relieve the Andalusias, I beg to have your positive orders respecting the degree to which I shall reduce the garrison of Cadiz, and what regiments I shall send to Lord William Bentinck. I beg once more to repeat that it is entirely a matter of indifference to me, and always has been so, as far as I am personally concerned, whether the body of troops under my command is large or small. I shall perform service in proportion to the means placed at my disposal, in comparison with those of the enemy, and adverting to your Lordship's instructions.

• We are getting on here, notwithstanding that the weather is excessively bad. The constitutions of the troops have been so much shaken with Walcheren, &c. &c., that I am always apprehensive of the consequences of exposing them to the weather. However, I have them in tents now, and I hope that the rain will not last.

Believe me, &c. The Earl of Liverpool.

WELLINGTON.

To His Excellency Charles Stuart. "Sir,

• Camp before Badajoz, 21st March, 1812. I have had the honor of receiving your letter of the 18th, enclosing a complaint from Dom Miguel Forjaz, that the British troops consumed all the green forage at Estremoz and Monte Mor ó Novo, which was the cause of the inefficiency of the post horses on the great road from Lisbon to Elvas.

* I cannot but observe in this complaint the desire which has been manifest for some time past, to complain of the British troops, at the same time that the Government are ready enough to avail themselves of their assistance to defend the country.

I repeat what I have often said before, that no country can enjoy the advantage of a large army to defend it, without suffering some inconvenience.

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