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Atiack of Arapiles.
The possession of the enemy, however, of the more distant of the Arapiles, rendered it necessary for Lord Wellington to extend the right of the British army, en potence, to the heights behind the village of Arapiles, and to occupy that village with light infantry; and for that purpose he placed there the 4th division, under the Honourable Lieutenant-General Cole; and although, from the variety of the enemy's movements, it was difficult to form a satisfactory judgment of Marmont's intentions, his Lordship considered that, upon the whole, his subjects were upon the left of the Tormes.
He therefore immediately ordered the Honourable Major-General Pakenham, who commanded the 3rd division in the absence of Lieutenant-General Picton on account of ill health, to move across the Tormes, with the troops under his command, including Brigadier-General D'Urban's cavalry, and to place himself behind Aldea Tejada ; Brigadier-General Bradford's brigade of Portuguese infantry, and Don Carlos D'Espera's infantry, having been moved up likewise to the neighbourhood of Las Torres, between the 3rd and 4th divisions.
After a variety of evolutions and movements Marmont appeared at last, to have determined upon his plan, about two in the afternoon; and under cover of a very heavy cannonade, which, however, did the British but little damage, he extended his left, and moved forward his troops, apparently with an intention to embrance, by the position of his troops, and by his fire, the single post on the Arapiles which Lord Wellington occupied, and from thence to attack and break the line ; or, at all events, to render difficult any movement, on the part of the allies, to their right.
However daring, or even judicious, was this plan of Marmont's, yet it comprised within itself the primary elements of his defeat, when opposed to such a general as the gallant and discriminating Welling
3 0 2
Commencement of the attack.
ton; for, as his Lordship observes, this extension of his line to its left, and its advance upon the British right, notwithstanding that his troops still occupied yery strong ground, and his position was well defended by cannon, gave to the allied army an opportunity of attacking him, for which his Lordship had long been anxious.
Lord Wellington, with a happy rapidity, seconded by the ardour of his gallant companions, immediately reinforced the right with the 5th division, under Lieutenant-General Leith, which he placed behind the village of Arapiles on the right of the 4th division; and with the 6th and 7th divisions in reserve; and, as soon as these troops had taken their stations, he directed the Honourable Major-General Pakenham to move forward with the 3rd division, and General D'Urban's cavalry, and two squadrons of the 14th light dragoons, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hervey, in four columns to turn the enemy's left on the heights, (thereby outmaneuvring him in his own move,) whilst Brigadier-General Bradford's brigade, the 5th division under Lieutenant-General Leith, the 4th division under the Honourable MajorGeneral Cole, and the cavalry under Sir Stapleton Cotton, should attack them in front, supported in reserve by the 6th division, under Major-General Clinton the 7th division under Major-General Hope, whilst Don Carlos d'Espagna's Spanish division, and Brigadier-General Pack's, should support the left of the 4th division, by attacking that of Dos Arapilas, which the enemy held. The 1st and light divisions occupied the ground on the left, and were in reserve.
Such were the judicious movements, which, with the eye of an eagle, the gallant Wellington saw at a glance were necessary to counteract the preconcerted 'hostile manœuvres in bis front ; and such were the names of those, whose task it was to execute a plan so rapidly conceived, and so judiciously combined,
Rapid movements of the British.
In fact nothing could be more daring than the plan of his Lordship, who thus changed a defence against the outtlanking and attack of Marmont, into the very same movements upon his assailant !
This important attack upon the French left was instantly made, according to the plan of the Commander-in-Chief, and as completely, and almost as in. stantly, succeeded.* General Pakenham, fully comprehending the plan of his noble brother-in-law, formed the 3rd division across the enemy's Aank, and overthrew every thing that opposed him.
These troops were supported in the most gallant style by the Portuguese cavalry, under Brigadier-General D'Urban, and Lieutenant Colonel Hervey's squadrons of the 14th, who successfully defeated every attempt made by the enemy on the flank of the 3rd division.t
Whilst this was going on, Brigadier-General Bradford's brigade, the 4th and 5th divisions, and the cavalry under Lieutenant-General Sir Stapleton Cotton, attacked the enemy in front, and drove his troops before them, from one height to another, bringing forward their right so as to gain strength upon the enemy's flank in proportion to their ad
* “ After ascending the hill till within forty yards of them, we never, but for a moment, once saw them. At the above distance we gave three cheers, receiving their fire, (one of their ranks kneeling,) returned it, and directly charged; upon which they immediately faced about and set oft, but rallied again for a short time; when, finding us inclined for nothing but the bayonet, they set off before us altogether, and our cavalry dashed in amongst them and played the devil!”
Letter from an Officer. † “ The French look at us, and looked savagely too, as if deter. inined to withstand our charges ;- it was all a fudge-we crossed bayonets, and away went the conquerors of Austrelitz and Eylau. We have lost few men in this battle; the French lost most of their men in their disorderly retreat. It was the second edition of Maida-we had only to cut down as they few.---Their arms, baggage, drums, musie, every thing was abandoned—the British and Portuguese cheering and killing till the night fall-that night fall which alone prevented the entire destruction and dispersion of the whole French grand army !"
Letter from an officer,
Anecdotes of General Le Marchant.
vance; and Brigadier-General Pack at the same time made a very gallant attack upon the Arapiles, in which, however, he did not succeed, excepting in diverting the attention of the enemy's corps placed upon it from the troops under the command of General Cole in his advance.
The cavalry, under Sir Stapleton Cotton, now made a most gallant and successful charge against a body of the enemy's infantry which they completely overthrew and cut to pieces; but in this charge the gallant Major-General Le Marchant was killed at the head of his brigade.*
After the crest of the height was carried, one division of the enemy's infantry made a stand against the 4th division, which, after a severe contest, was obliged to give way, in consequence of the enemy
* The gallant Le Marchant was a native of Guernsey; and, having embraced the military profession at an early period of life, served principally in the cavalry, being always considered as an officer of great activity, and strictly attentive to all the duties connected with his profession. In addition to his personal gallantry, he is particularly noticeable for the great improvements he brought forward in the army with respect to the sword exercise, and also in digesting the systems published for the cavalry in 1796 from the War-Office. But his pubHic spirit and perseverance were the most conspicuous from the share he bad in the framing and institution of the Royal Military College; a public semipary founded on a plan similar to that of the academy at Woolwich, but more extensively applicable to the education of every rank and description of army officers.
As a reward for his skill and perseverance, he was appointed Lientenant-Governor, and held that office for some years with credit 10 himself, and advantage to the institution ; but the last promotion previous to his joining the army in Portugal having given him a rank inq compatible with the situation, he was once more engaged in active service.
He bad been but a short time in Portugal when he received the afflicting intelligence of the death of his amiable consort, whoin ke had been obliged to leave in a state of pregnancy. His grief at $0 melan. cboly an event was now only to be soothed by the bustle of an active campaign : and there he fell leaving a large family unprotected, but who have all been handsomely provided for by the benevolent patronage of the Prince Regent, and the generous gratilade of an applauding country,
Anecdotes of the battle.
having thrown some troops on the left of the 4th after the failure of General Pack's attack upon the Arapiles ; and at this moment the Honourable Ge. neral Cole was wounded. But at this critical mo. ment Marshal Sir William Beresford being on the spot lie immediately directed General Spray's brigade of the 5th division, which was in the 2d line, to change its front, and to bring its fire on the Aank of the enemy's division; and whilst engaged in this ser. vice he received a severe wound, which, for a long time afterwards, deprived the service of his active exertions.
Nearly about the same time too Lieutenant General Leith received a wound which unfortunately obliged him to quit the field; on which Lord Wellington, whose eye was every where, immediately ordered up the 6th division, under Major-General Clinton, to relieve the 4th, and the battle was soon restored to its former success.
The enemy's right, however, reinforced by the troops which had fled from his left, and by those which had now retired from the Arapiles, still continued to resist; on which Lord Wellington ordered the 1st and light divisions, and Colonel Stubb's Portuguese brigade of the 4th divison, which was reformed, and General Anson's brigade, to turn the right, whilst the 6th division, supported by the 3d and 5th attacked the front.*
Nothing can more illustrate the gallantry of the Commander-ins Chief than the various anecdotes of the battle contained in different letters from the army: but to insert even the tenth part of them would far exceed our limits.
Clear as was his conception, and judicious as was his plan, nothing could be more concise than his orders ;-to General Leith, who was ordered to the attack of the hill, he had only time to say, and drive them to the Devil:"--and when the business was over, and the different officers came round his Lordship to congratulate him previous to his pursuit, he only smiled, and said, “Marmont has forced me to lick him!” Indeed, it is evident that his Lordship would not have 7
6. Push on,