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Journal of the Siege of Tarifa.
Captain Carroll, royal navy, took, on his passage from Gibraltar, titleen deserters on board, from off a cliff, near the bay of Warmersea; one of whom reported, that fifty poles, and an officer had deserted to Algeziras, having defeated a cavalry piquet that had been sent by the enemy to bring them back.
Two deserters came in this day, from whom we learnt, that General Leval had' with him sixteen pieces of artillery, twelve of which are in battery. They represented the condition of the French to be deplorable. They said they had had but little bread issued since the 30th December; that they had one thousand sick in the convent of La Luz; that, from an apprehension of a mutiny, General Leval had sent for Marsbal Soult to assist him; and that, from the swelling of the rivers, they had no chance either of receiving supplies, or of effecting their retreat.
January 4. The same party of the 47th regiment made another sally last night, and having found the trenches, as before, deserted, brought away some intrenching tools, and a wall piece.
In the course of the night arrived from Gibraltar, four Spanish gun-boats laden with ammunition, and bringing the light company of the 82d regiment, under command of Captain Vincent. They were landed about four in the morning of the 4th, and immediately inarched into town, where they were attached to the 47th regiment. About an hour after the 82d light company landed, there arose one of those dreadful hurricanes to which this part of the straits is subject. Three of the boats, laden with ammunitiort, were driven ashore, and great apprehensions were entertained for his majesty's ship Stately, which lay at anchor about two miles to the westward of the island. However, she rode it out.
One of those boats being cast on shore, a mile from the enemy's advanced piquet to the west, and they having been seen possessing themselves of another wreck higher up, apprehensions were entertained by Major King, that the animunition might fall into the enemy's hands; he therefore dispatched Lieutenant Field, acting town adjutant, to order out the light company of the 11th, and fifty of the 82d, who were at that time at Santa Catalina, to march to the beach, and flank the wreck. This he did, and then reporting to Lord Pruby the circumstance, bis lordship went to see the situation of the wreck, and ordered that the garrison of Santa Catalina should flank the wreck, while the 82d light company should carry off, or destroy, the stores and ammunition. The boat having four carronades on board, they were spiked. The orders of his lordship were executed amidst torrents of rain, and the companies returned to their respective stations.
Towards evening, a column of the enemy were seen advancing from La Luz; and from a deserter, who came in about that time, we learned, that the enemy proposed attacking us at the three points at once, viz. the island, the town, and Santa Catalina; and, should they fail in this effort, they were then determined to retreat. VOL, IV.
Journal of the Siege vt Tarifa.
About an hour after night, the enemy accordingly approached close to the eastern wall, and pou ed a quantity of musketry into the town, but being warmly received by the guards on the wall, they retired; not, however, with out exciting a considerable degree of alarm, and the whole of the troops marched to their respective alarm posts; but they soon returned to their quarters.
At midnight the enemy manifested another attack, by firing on all sides of the town; when the troops were again called out, and the three points of defence prepared for their reception. Suddenly the firing ceased, and every thing remained quiet, till an hour before day-light, wher, from a particular movement, it was found, that the enemy had made his retreat at midnight.
The guerillas, the 951h, and light companies, advanced immediately to the trenches Nothing, however, was in view at the dawn of day, but the enemy's rear guard, which was warmly pursued by the 95th and the light compavies, supported by the grenadiers. They followed the flying enemy as far as the river Salada, and found its banks, as it had been in the year 1339, strewed with the bodies of these modern Saracens.
The light companies returned, bringing with them a few prisoners and deserters, who complained bitterly of their sufferings, during the siege, from scanty food, and incleinent weather.
The abandoned trenches exhibited immense quantities of carts, limbers, and intrenching tools; some destroyed, others left whole, and fit for immediate use. The enemy, notwithstanding their panic, found time, however, to spike their guns, and to burn the wheels of inany of their limbers. The buried cannon, the broken machines of war, and the ghastly dead lying around, or floating in the waters, afforded a melancholy picture of the horrors of war, and of the folly of that infatuation and presumption, which led the eneiny to despise the courage of British troops, and bring on themselves so much disgrace and misery.
Upon our reluru from the pursuit of the enemy, Colonel Skerrett issued the following orders
TARIFA, January 9, 1812.-" G.O. As the action-part of the campaign at Tarifa has been brought to a glorious issue, Colonel Skerrett feels it a brunden duty, in justice to the brave troops he has had the honour and bappiness to serve with, to bear testimony to the following acts of bravery and good conduct, and to offer his best acknowledgments to the officers concerned; to all of which he has been an eye witness. He will submit the detail to the Lieutenant-governor of Gibraltar. that, in addition to Captain Mitchell, of the royal artillery, and Captain Wren, 11th regiment, who appears in the general orders of the 5th of January, the officers mentioned in it may be made known to his Royal Highness the commander-in-chief.
“ To Lieutenant Cocque, of that admirable corps, the 2d hussars, King's German legion, and the officers and soldiers of that detachment, (Captain Wense being at that time seriously ill) who, in a reconnoitring party, within Journal of the Siege of Tarifa. half a nile of the enemy's camp, three times put to flight an equal number of French dragoons sent to oppose him, although those dragoons were flanked by a very strong piquet of infantry, posted in a wood, within balf-musket shot; and under a heavy fire, the hussars continued, with a most singular coolness, a long time.
“ To Captain Hughes, commanding the artillery, who, with the officers and men under his command, on the 20th December, the day on which the town was closely invested, kept the immense force of the enemy in check, for near an hour, with the two guns under his command, and did considerable execution. To Captain Jenkins, and his company of the 95th regiment, who, at the same time advanced against a very superior force of the enemy's troops, and drove them, keeping them in check during the time the guns were in motion: bad Captain Jenkins been allowed to advance, bis company alone would probably have taken the enemy’s field pieces in front of them. To Major Broad, who commanded the piquets of the 47th and 87th regiments on that day; and who assisted in keeping the immense force of the enemy in check, and who advanced on the enemy, and repulsed them. And to Captains Levesey and Summerson, of the light companies of the 47th and 87th regiments; and to Lieutenant Haines, of the royal artillery, who, on the 22d December, made a sortie with a field piece, and with the greatest intrepidity drove a very superior force of the enemy's light troops from their strong position in front of the convent, a fire from the gun doing great execution.
“ To Captain Levesey and the officers and men of the light company of the 47th regiinent, and the reinaining officers and men of bis detachment, amounting to one hundred of the 47th regiment, who, in the first instance, defended the east tower, and flanked the right of the breach, during the assault; and who, with admirable coolness, kept their position under a heavy fire from the cannon and musketry, and afforded, on that distinguished occasion, the most essential service. To the zeal and activity of Captain Campbell, 47th regiment, who, with a very small detachment, twice entered the enemy's intrenchments, and brought away a wall-piece, and a great many intrenching tools. And particularly to that active, intelligent, and brave officer, Lieutenant Guantee, deputy-assistant-quarter-master-general, who has been present, and engaged in almost the whole of the above affairs, and the loss of whose services, Colonel Skerrett sincerely regrets. Colonel Skerrett is happy to bear due testimony to the zeal and bravery of Major. Broad, 47th regiment, who has offered himself on almost every occasion, on public service. To Brigade-major Banbury, and Captain O'Donahe, of my personal staff, wbo have always shewn the greatest zeal and activity, the last of whom has been wounded.
“ To Lieutenant-colonel Lord Proby, 1st guards, Colonel Skerrett is on every occasion highly indebted, for the great assistance he has afforded him,
Journal of the Siege of Tarifa.
for his military experience, great zeal, and activity: in most of the above affairs his lordship has been personally present.
" To Major King, of the 82d regiment, and to Captain Thompson, royal marines, all forming the garrison of the island; and to Captain Wren, of the 11th regiment, who commanded the recoubts of Santa Catalina, during the whole of the siege, Colonel Skerrett is much indebted for their zeal and activity, for the assistance they bave afforded the town, and for the fire kept up from the island, on the enemy's lines.
“ The royal marines will join their ship at the earliest opportunity.
“ Colonel Skerrett cannot part with this valuable detachment, without requesting Captain Thompson, with his officers and men, to accept his best thanks for their services, their zeal, and good conduct, and the good humour with which they bore all their hardships and fatigue, on a species of service so new to them.
“ Colonel Skerrett is happy to bear testimony of the zeal and exertions of Mr. Deputy-assistant-commissariat-general Dubre, and the officers of his department; as also to Surgeon Harper, as long as he continued at the head of the medical department; and to all the medical officers under him, since the period of this brigade Icaving Cadiz."
Thus ended a siege of seventeen days, during seven of which there was apparently a practicable breach, the wall in front of the besieged town, being but one yard thick, and incapable of bearing heavy artillery. From the first day it had been battered in breach, and was capable of returning little opposition, but in musketry. It was demonstrated, therefore, that the weakest points, when gallantly defended, can check the progress of boasting Invincibles. In fine, it appeared, that the losses suffered by the enemy in this fruitless attempt on this poor post, might safely be computed at about 2500 men, exceeding that of the garrison they assailed.
PRESENT STATE OF THE TOWNS OF SPAIN.
SEVILLE AND THE COUNTRY AROUND IT.
WE (i. e. the travellers from whom this itinerary is taken) left Cadiz aboul noon, in the middle of the month of September 1809, for Seville, being resolved to travel at our leisure, that we might see the surrounding country, We crossed the bay, and landed at St. Mary about two o'clock. We lost no time, but iminediately got into a coach, which was waiting for us, and were off. Our equipage was a coach and six mules; the coach resembled those which may be seen in French prints of the age of Louis XIV. solid, stately, and lined with yellow plush. It was roomy, however, and therefore cool and comfortable.
Present State of the Towns of Spain. The country around St. Mary's is very pleasant. The Alameda, or public walk, which we passed in going out of the city, is extremely shady and beautiful. The country around is delightful; the trees and plants are those of the south of Europe, and the scenery united all the beauties of culture, and a fertile soil. The hedges are formed of the aloe, and prickly pear; and as they are plentifully intermixed with flowers of all hues and odours, they produce a very beautiful appearance.
The road to Xeres, our first day's journey, was crowded with carts, loaded with stores; with horses, mules, and asses, carrying fruits and vegetables for the markets of Cadiz; together with flocks of sheep, and droves of oxen, attended by the owners well mounted ou Andalusian horses, and each of them with a gun slung over his shoulder. The road was occasionally bordered by extensive fields of wheat, mixed with vineyards and olive trees.
The approach to Xeres is striking; the entrance is by the end of the Alameda, a pleasant, and well shaded walk. The streets of Xeres are wider than those of Cadiz; there is a good paved footpath, and it is well lighted; some of the houses are splendid, and that belonging to Mr. James Gordon, a gentleman to whom we had letters, possesses every accommodation to be expected in an English babitation. This gentleman's family has been long established at Xerts, having sought a refuge here in consequence of its attachment to the House of Stuart. Mr. James Gordon, though married to a Spanish lady, sent his daughters to England for their education: they resided for some years in the convent at York, and then returned to this city. One of them is married to a colonel in the Spanish army. Mr. Gordon, besides being a wine merchant and distiller, is a very large farmer; he has purchased 2400 acres of good land, which is mostly in tillage, and which he farms upon the improved plan of English agriculture.
The rent of land is extremely low, being only about seven shillings and six-pence per acre, and the purchase money about £10. It is noble land, and an English farmer would raise a fortune on a very small capital, in three years. The greatest difficulty is to procure labourers.
The Roman walls are in excellent preservation. They divide the new from the old city, and are so thick that the wine merchants have formed excavations in them for their cellars. The parish church of St. Jago, is a fine pile of Gothic architecture, as well as those of St. Mathew and Mark. The church of St. Michael, however, is the finest building, and its tower is an excellent specimen of the Græco Roman architecture. About two miles from Xeres, stands the most celebrated convent in Spain, belonging to the Carthusians. The building is very magnificent, it is in the Gothic style.
We had a fine prospect of the surrounding country, froin a new house which Mr. Gordon is building in the midst of a vineyard just above the city; the scene is thickly wooded with olive trees, and the fields are small, snug, and richly hedged round with aloes. The view extends to the grounds about St. Lucar, but the principal beauty of the scene is the view of the