« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Interesting maneuvres of the armies.
another movement in several columns to his left, along the heights of the Guarena, which river he crossed below Canta la Piedra, and encamped that evening at Babila Fuente and Villa Mala; whilst the allied army made a correspondent movement to its right by Contalpino, and encamped the same evening at Cabesa Vellosa, the 6th division, and Major-General Alten's brigade, being upon the Tormes at Aldea Lingua.
During these movements there were occasional cannonades, but without any loss on the side of the British.
On the 21st in the morning, the Earl of Wellington moved the left of the British army to the Tormes, where the whole was thus concentrated ; and, at the same time, Marmont made a movement towards the river Huerta.
Through the whole of this moneuvring, the enemy's object was evidently to cut off the British communication with Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo; but in this he was out-manœuvred, whilst on his side his outlying posts found themselves so awkwardly situated, that they abandoned and destroyed the fort of Mirabete on the Tagus, so far back as the 14th, the garrison marching to Madrid, and there forming part of the army of the centre; in fact they were reduced to five days' provisons, and could no longer remain in an hostile country.
The important day, on which, perhaps, the fate of Spain depended, was now fast approaching ; and on the 21st, in the evening, Marmont crossed the Tormes with the greatest part of his troops, by the fords between Alba de Tormes and Huerta, moving by the left, towards the roads leading to Ciudad Rodrigo.
The allied army, closely watching his movements, with the exception of the 3d division, and General D'Urban's cavalry likewise crossed the Tormes in the evening by the bridge of Salamanca, and the fords
Anecdotes of Marmont,
in the vicinity ; when the Earl of Wellington placed those troops in a position, of which the right was upon one of the two heights called Dos Arapiles, and the left on the Tormes, below the ford of Santa Martha.
The 3rd division, and Brigadier-General D'Urban's cavalry, were left at Cabrerizos, on the right of the Tormes, as a precautionary measure on the part of his Lordship, as the enemy had still a large corps on the heights above Babilafuente, on the same side of the river: and also, as he considered it not improbable that, finding the British army prepared for them in the morning on the left of the Tormes, they would alter their plan, and maneuvre by the other bank.
The gallant and watchful Earl received intelligence in the course of that night, the truth of which he could not doubt, that General Clauzel had arrived at Pollos on the 20th, with the cavalry and horse artillery of the army of the North, to join Marshal Marmont ;* and, as he was quite certain that these 20. 30.
* Marmont, who is a Marshal of the Empire, is said to owe that situation less to his services than to his personal favour with Buonaparte. General Sarazin, who knew him well, tells us that he is now about forty years old, is well looking, his features regular, extremely well formed, and his gait very elegant ; but he is insupportable proud, and treats his subordinates with an air of contempt that has created bim many enemies in the French army. He keeps up a princely establishment, even in the very camps-he has always numerous equipages with him ; he either is, or effects to be, very fond of hunting : and is always followed by numerous packs of hounds wherever be goes.
Descended from a doble family, Marmont received a good education, and was intended for the artillery ; but during the first war of the revolution, whilst serving in the army of Italy, Buonaparte appointed bim one of his aid-de-camps ; and his courage and intelligence soon obtained him the confidence of his general, who employed him on many trying occasions, on all of which he succeeded : and though only chief of battalion, in 1796, yet he had the honour of being sent to Paris, to present to the directory twenty-two stand of colours taken from the Austrians under General Wurmser.
troops would be able to join him on the 22nd or 23rd at latest, it became an important object to hasten the action as much as possible.
During that night the enemy had taken possession of the village of Calvaroso de Arabi, and of the height near it, called Nuestra Senora de la Pena, the British cavalry still being in possession of Calvarosa de Abexo; and shortly after day-light on the morning of the 22nd, detachments from both armies attenipted to gain possession of the more distant from the British right of the two hills called Dos Aripiles.
In this manœuvre Marmont succeeded, not indeed by superior gallautry or skill; but the French detachment being the strongest, and having been concealed in the woods nearer to it than the British detachment, he was enabled to take it by priority of occupation, thereby materially strengthening his own position, and affording himself increased means of annoying those of Lord Wellington.
In the early part of the morning the light troops of the 7th division, and the 4th Caçadores, belong. ing to General Pack's brigade, were engaged with the enemy on the height called Nuestra Senora de la Pena : on which height they maintained themselves with the enemy throughout the day,
On the peace of Campo Fornio he returned to France, where he married the only daugliter of Peregaux, the rich and well knowil banker; one of the first houses in Paris for wealtli and probity; a match supposed to have been arranged under the immediate influence of Buonaparte himself,
He accompanied Buonaparte to Egypt, and was not only his compa; nion on bis return, but the principal agent in arranging matters for that part of the expedition. Afterwards, when Dessaix overthrew the Austrians at the battle of Marengo, Marmont contributed much to the success of the attack by the fire of the artillery, which he caused to advance nearly within inusquet shot of the enemy's linë.
General Sarazin asserts, that if military merit were to be appre• ciated by the quantum of foxuary, pride, and arrogant tone of the individual, then Marmont should be considered as the worthiest disciple of Buonaparte,