« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Unfortunate affair of the Portuguese cavalry.
the 8th where he halted one day, in order to allow the right of the army more time to come up.
No opposition was made to the passage of the troops through the mountains; and Brigadier-General D’Urban with the Portuguese cavalry, the first light battalion of the king's German legion, and Capt. Macdonald's troop of horse artillery, had been brought through the Guadarama pass as early as the 9th. The Brigadier-General then moved forward on the morning of the 11th from the vicinity of Galapagus, and supported by the heavy cavalry of the king's German legion from Torrelodonas, drove in the French cavalry, about 2000 in number, and placed himself at Majalahonda, with the Portuguese cavalry and Captain Macdonald's troop, and the cavalry and light infantry of the king's German legion at Las Royas, about three quarters of a mile distant.
The enemy's cavalry which had been driven off in the morning, and had moved towards Naval Carnero, returned about five in the afternoon of that day; and Brigadier-General D’Urban, having formed the Portuguese cavalry in front of Majalahonda, supported by the horse artillery, ordered the cavalry to charge the enemy's leading squadrons, which appeared too far advanced to be supported by the main body. The Portuguese cavalry advanced to the attack, but unfortunately turned about before they reached the enemy and they fled through the village of Majalahonda, and back upon the German dragoons, leaving behind them unprotected and unsupported, those guns of Captain Macdonald's troop, which he had moved forward to co-operate with the cayalry.
By the activity of the officers and soldiers of Captajni Macdonald's troop, the guns were however, move ed off ; but, owing to the unfavourable state of the ground over which they were moved, the carriage of one was broken, and two others were overturned and these three guns fell into the enemy's hands.
The Portuguese dragoons, after flying through 22.
Entrance into Madrid.
Majalahonda, were rallied and reformed upon the heavy dragoons of the king's German legion, which were formed between that village and Las Royas. The German cavalry then charged the enemy, although under many disadvantages, and stopped their further progress; but this they did only after suffering considerable loss, and having Colonel Jonquieres, who commanded the brigade, taken prisoner.
At this moment the left of the army was about two miles and a half distant, at the Puente de Ratemer, on the Guadarama river, and Colonel Ponsonby's brigade of cavalry, and a brigade of infantry of the 7th division having moved forward to the support of the troops in advance, the enemy retired upon Majalahonda as soon as they observed those troops; and night having come on, they retired upon Alcorcon, leaving the captured guns at Majalahonda, where they were again taken possession of.
In this unpleasant affair of the Portuguese cavalry it was still a satisfaction to the Marquis that he was able to report that their officers bad behaved remarkably well, and shewed a good example to their men, particularly the Visconde de Barbacena, who was taken prisoner. But the conduct of the brave German cavalry was particularly excellent, as well as that of Captain Macdonald's troop of borse artillery. After this partial affair, the whole army moved forward on the morning of the 12th, and its left took possession of the city of Madrid, Joseph Buonaparte having retired with the army of the centre by the roads of Toledo and Aranjuez, leaving a garrison in the Retiro.*
* The retiro is not a park-like enclosure adjacent to Madrid, but the ancient palace of the Spanish monarchs, and inhabited as such until the last two reigns, when Charles the Second, who completed the new palace at the western side of the metro olis, repaired thither with his court, The palace of “ El Bueno Retiro” is seated rather on an eminence at tie câșt side of the city, and is surrounded by extensive
Reception in the capital.
The Marquis, in his public dispatches, declared it was impossible to describe the joy of the inhabitants of Madrid, upon the arrival of the British ; at the same time he expressed a hope that the prevalence of the same sentiments of detestation of the French yoke, and of a strong desire to secure the independence of their country which first induced them to set the example of resistance to the usarper, would still induce them to make exertions in the cause of their country, which will be more efficacious than those formerly made.
The Marquis, finding himself completely in possession of the city of Madrid, directed the operations for the investment of the Retiro to take place, which were completed on the evening of the 13th ; and on that night detachments of the 7th division of infantry under the command of Major-General Hope, and of the 3rd division of infantry under the command of the Hon. Major-General Edward Pakenham, drove in 3 s2
grounds and gardens. In this venerable, but now much mutilated, édia fice, Charles thé Fifth, who was King of Spain, as well as Emperor of Germany, meditated the establishment of a vniversal monarchy in Eu-, rope ; and his son Philip the Second, who, as far as in him lay, emua lated the ambitious conduct of his father, enjoyed, by vain anticipation, the imagined conquest of England !
On the removal of the court to the new palace, the Retiro, and its umbrageous walks, were neglected, and telt into consequent decay. A part of the extensive pile of buildings were afterwards converted into a royal Porcelain manufactory, called “ La China ;" other parts of it were allotted to the reception of a museum, and also a menagerie. Part of the gardens was also used as a botanical nursery. The whole more or less, therefore, was by the Bourbon Princes assigned to objects of public utility. The Gallic plunderers, on their obtaining possession of Madrid, instantly destroyed these works of peace and civilizațion, converted this once famed residence of royalty into a place of arms, or species of citadel, to menace and overawe the devoted city. Between the gardens of the Retiro, and the inclosure of Madrid, ran, in a direction north and south, the famous walks and promenades of the Prado, which have been generally esteemed the most magnificent of their kind in Europe ; but now, alas ! almost totally destroyed by those who may now be justly called “ Les Sauvages de l'Europe !"
Capture of the Retiro.
the enemy's posts from the Prado and the Botanical Garden, and the works which they had constructed outside of the park wall; and, having broken through the wall in different places, they were established in the palace of the Retiro, and close to the exterior of the enemy's works, enciosing the building called La China.
The troops were preparing in the morning to attack these works, preparatory to the arrangements to be adopted for the attack of the interior line and building, when the governor sent out an officer to desire to capitulate, and the Marquis granted him the bonours of war, wịth the security of the soldier's bago
On the 14th the garrison' marched out on their road to Ciudad Rodrigo ; and the works, on being taken possession of, were found to contain a garrison consisting of two colonels, a number of other officers, and a total of rank and file, &c. amounting in the whole to 2508.
Of all kinds of stores there were found 181 pieces of ordnance, 21,831 round shot, 1,148 shells, 23,000 musquets, near three millions of ball cartridges with a profusion of oiher stores belonging to the army of the centre; to which we must add a great quantity considered as belonging to the army of Portugal, amounting to eight field guns, a quantity of shot, 700 barrels of powder, 800,000 ball cartridges, with an immense quantity of intrenching tools, &c. &c.
The events which took place at Madrid, previous to, and after this success, are too important to be slightly passed over, and will in fact, if recorded here, form a text book for the future bistorian. It was, in deed, well observed in the first Madrid Gazette published after the liberation of that city from the grasp of the invader, that the many and important occurrences which passed in that capital from the 10th to the 16th of August were of such a nature as to fix the attention of Europe; and, we may add, to stamp the