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That which we have to guard against then is,-first, a march into Portugal; secondly, an attempt upon the right of the Spaniards to force their way to Cordova.
• It might be hereafter convenient that we should re-establish the bridge at Almaraz, but that is out of the question at present. Even if a tempting opportunity of striking a blow were offered to us, we require rest and food for men and horses, before we could take advantage of it.
* In a view either to the march into Portugal, or to the defence of the passage of the Tagus at Almaraz, my opinion is, that the following arrangements ought to be adopted :
• First, we ought to break up the bridge over the channel on the right bank, preserving the planks, and bringing them over to the left bank.
. Secondly, we ought to separate the boats of the bridge tied to this side. The boats might be removed to the dry creek just below the passage, and the beams and planks to the hill behind the passage.
Thirdly, we ought to construct works upon those points of the ground which would best enable us to defend the
passage. • By the adoption of these measures, we should be enabled to defend the passage, if the enemy should attempt to force it; and on the other hand, if we should find that the enemy move towards Portugal, and that we are obliged to move that way, the Spanish division, which will be at Mesa de Ibor, will take your place in security, and we shall have it in our power to burn the materials of the bridges; or, if it should turn out to be expedient to cross the river, we can easily re-establish them.
• I am in hopes that, to-morrow, I shall be able to send you some guns. I shall, this afternoon, send you an Engineer and tools for the construction of such works as may be necessary. I understood that there were Spanish artillery at the batteries at the bridge; but I have been misinformed on this as well as on other subjects. I have written to General Cuesta, to desire that Spanish artillery of a heavy calibre may be sent to defend the passage at Almaraz.
• I have ordered provisions to be sent to you. I have hopes that after this day we shall receive our regular rations.
Believe me, &c. *Brig. General R. Craufurd.
Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to
Deleytosa, 8th August, 1809. I have had the honor of receiving the letter which your Excellency did me the honor of writing to me on the 31st July, in which you have expressed the approbation of the Central Junta of the conduct of the British army under my command in the action of the 29th of July.
• I am very sensible of the value of the approbation of the Central Junta, and I beg that you will convey to them my respectful acknowledgments.
· I am particularly flattered by the confidence they have reposed in me, in appointing me one of the Captains General of the Spanish armies; and I have this day written to his Majesty's principal Secretary of State, to request him to lay before his Majesty this testimony of the approbation and confidence of the Central Junta, and to request his Majesty's permission for me to accept the commission in the Spanish army with which the government are pleased to honor me.
• Until his Majesty's answer shall be received, I shall be happy to render the Government every service that may be in my power.
• I have the honor to be, &c. • Don Martin de Garay.'
· Arthur WELLESLEY,
Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to
Don Martin de Garay. • SIR,
• Deley tosa, 8th August, 1809. * I have in a separate letter expressed my acknowledgments to the Government for the honor they have done me in appointing me a Captain General in the Spanish army, and I have now to return them my thanks for the horses which they have been pleased to present to me in the name of his Majesty King Ferdinand VII.
' In respect to the pay attached to the rank of Captain General, I hope the Government will excuse me if I decline to become a burthen upon the finances of Spain during this contest for her independence.
. I have the honor to be, &c. Don Martin de Garay.'
Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to Viscount
Castlereagh, Secretary of State. - MY LORD,
. Deleytosa, 8th August, 1809. • I apprised your Lordship on the Ist instant of the advance of a French corps towards the Puerto de Baños, and of the probable embarrassment of the operations of the army, which its arrival at Plasencia would occasion ; and these embarrassments having since existed to a degree so considerable as to oblige us to fall back, and to take up a defensive position on the Tagus, I am induced to trouble you more at length with an account of what has passed upon this subject.
• When I entered Spain, I had a communication with General Cuesta, through Sir Robert Wilson and Colonel Roche, respecting the occupation of the Puerto de Baños, and the Puerto de Perales; the former of which it was at last settled should be held by a corps to be formed under the Marquis de la Reyna, to consist of two battalions from General Cuesta's army, and two from Bejar; and that the Puerto de Perales was to be taken care of by the Duque del Parque, by detachments from the garrison of Ciudad Rodrigo. I doubted the capacity of the garrison of Ciudad Rodrigo to make the detachment to the latter, but so little as to the effectual occupation of the former, that in writing to Marshal Beresford on the 17th July, on this subject, I desired him to look to the Puerto de Perales, but that I considered Baños secure, as appears by the extract of my letter, which I enclose.
. On the 30th, intelligence was received at Talavera that 12,000 rations had been ordered at Fuenteroble for the 28th, and 24,000 at —- for the same day, for a French corps, which it was believed was on its march towards the Puerto de Baños. General Cuesta expressed some anxiety respecting this post, and sent me a message, to propose that Sir Robert Wilson should be sent there with his corps. Sir Robert was on that day at Talavera, but his corps was in the mountains towards Escalona ; and as he had already made himself very useful in that quarter, and had been near Madrid, with which city he had had a communication which I was desirous of keeping up, I proposed that a Spanish corps should be sent to Baños without loss of time. I could not prevail with General Cuesta, although he certainly admitted the necessity of a reinforcement when he proposed that Sir Robert Wilson should be sent to Baños; and he was equally sensible with myself of the benefit to be derived to the cause from sending Sir Robert back to Escalona.
• At this time we had no further intelligence of the enemy's advance, than that the rations were ordered; and I had hopes that the enemy might be deterred from advancing by the intelligence of our success on the 28th; and that the troops in the Puerto might make some defence; and that, under these circumstances, it was not desirable to divert Sir Robert from Escalona
* On the 31st, however, I renewed my application to General Cuesta, to send there a Spanish division of sufficient strength, in a letter to General O'Donoju, of which I enclose a copy, but without effect; and he did not detach General Bassecourt till the morning of the 2nd, after we had heard that the enemy had entered Bejar; and it was obvious that the troops in the Puerto would make no defence.
• On the 2nd, we received accounts that the enemy had entered Plasencia in two columns. The Marquis de la Reyna, whose two battalions consisted only of 600 men, with only 20 rounds of ammunition each man, retired from the Puerto and from Plasencia, without firing a shot; and went to the bridge of Almaraz, which he declared that he intended to remove. The battalions of Bejar dispersed without making any resistance.
• General Cuesta called upon me on that day, and proposed that half of the army should move to the rear to oppose the enemy, while the other half should maintain the post at Talavera. My answer was, that if, by half the army, he meant half of each army, I could only answer, that I was ready either to go or to stay with the whole British army, but that I could not divide it. He then desired me to choose whether I would go or stay; and I preferred to go, from thinking that the British troops were most likely to do the business effectually, and without contest; and from being of opinion, that to open the communication through Plasencia was more important to us than to the Spanish army, although very important to them. With this decision General Cuesta appeared perfectly satisfied.
The movements of the enemy in our front since the 1st had induced me to be of opinion that, despairing of forcing us
at Talavera, they intended to force a passage by Escalona, and thus to open a communication with the French corps coming from Plasencia.
· This suspicion was confirmed in the night of the 2nd by letters received from Sir Robert Wilson, of which I enclose copies; and before I quitted Talavera on the 3rd, I waited upon General O'Donoju, and conversed with him upon the whole of our situation, and pointed out to him the possibility, that in the case of the enemy coming through Escalona, General Cuesta might find himself obliged to quit Talavera before I should be able to return to him; and I urged him to collect all the carts that could be got, in order to remove our hospital. At his desire, I put the purport of this conversation in writing, and sent him a letter to be laid before General Cuesta, of which I enclose a copy.
· The British army marched on the 3rd to Oropesa, General Bassecourt's Spanish corps being at Centinello; where I desired that it might halt the next day, in order that I might be nearer it.
* About five o'clock in the evening, I heard that the French had arrived from Plasencia at Navalmoral, whereby they were between us and the bridge of Almaraz.
* About an hour afterwards, I received from General O'Donoju the letter and its enclosures, of which I enclose copies, announcing to me the intention of General Cuesta to march from Talavera in the evening, and to leave there my hospital, excepting such men as could be moved by the means he already had, on the grounds of his apprehension that I was not strong enough for the corps coming from Plasencia ; and that the enemy was moving upon his flank, and had returned to Sta. Olalla, in his front.
· I acknowledge that these reasons did not appear to me sufficient for giving up so important a post as Talavera, for exposing the combined armies to an attack in front and rear at the same time, and for abandoning my hospital, and I wrote the letter of which I enclose a copy.
• This unfortunately reached the General after he had marched; and he arrived at Oropesa shortly after daylight on the morning of the 4th.
• The question what was to be done was then to be considered. The enemy, stated to be 30,000 strong, but at all