Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Memoir of the Operations in Estremadura, in 1811.

this advantage, which appears to have been totally neglected by General Mendizabel, the French army crossed the Evora and the Guadiana, and what would seem incredible, surprized, from the valley and low grounds, an enemy posted on the hills. The consequence was the total defeat of the Spaniards. General Maddan's brigade suffered very severely. The 8th regiment (Portuguese), led on by Colonel Brown, cut its way through the French ranks, and retired upon Elvas. Colouel Brown was himself very severely wounded. The French cavalry pursued the fugitives, who us usual threw away their arms, across the plain to the walls of Elvas, and captured the whole of the Spanish artillery and baggage.

The enemy was thus enabled to set down quietly before Badajoz ; and Marshal Mortier lost no time in breaking ground and commencing the siege. A small breach being effected, March '10th, but by no means practicable for assault, if properly defended, the town, with a garrison nearly equal to the besieging army, surrendered on capitulation. The Governor, who signed this disgraceful instrument, was Imaz, who had succeeded to the command on the death of the brave, Menacho. General vienacho, previously to his being killed, nad made every disposition for defending the place to the last extremity; the streets were barricadoed, and the garrison well supplied with provisions and ammunition for a month. What rendered this capitulation the more vexations and disgraceful, Imaz had been informed that Marshal Beresford was coming to his relief.

in the mean time, Massena had estered upon his rapid retreat, and Lord Wellington was in an equally rapid pursuit of him. His Lordship, however, being informed of the danger of Badajoz, ordered Marshal Beresford to march to its relief. The Marshal began his march from Abrantes with this purpose, March the 10th. At Portalegre and Aronches it was joined by Major-General Cole's division. After halting to refresh thie troops, which had had a long and fatiguing march, the whole moved forwards on the 25th on the road for Campo Mayor. Upon approaching this town, they found the enemy, consisting of four regiments of cavalry, three battalions of infantry, and some horse artillery, drawn up in front of the place. The cavalry were forined in line, and the infantry in close column of divisions in their rear. The 13th Dragoous, consisting of not inore than two hundred, coming almost in contact with the enemy's lines, were ordered to charge, which they did in a very gallant style. The enensy's cavalry were completely routed, and Colonel Head, being supported by two squadrons of the 7th Portuguese Dragoons, pursued them to the very gates of Badajoz. In this action the Portuguese Dragoons behaved remarkably well, and Colonel Otway found some difficulty in restraining their ardour. This brilliant affair was not performed without a severe loss to the allied cavalry; for, having to pass the front of the column of infantry, they were tired upon with considerable effect. Their loss, however, certainly bure no (6.0 parison to that of the enemy.

After this affair Marshal Beresford threw a bridge over the Guadiana at Jurumenta, and in the course of the 4th and 9th of April he crossed with bis army. He left General Cole's division to atttack Olivenza, and advanced with the whole of his remaining force to clear the enemy before biin. The enemy did not deen it expedient to risque au action, and therefore retired into the Sierra Morena. Having so far accomplished his purpose, and Olivenza having by this time surrendered to General Cole, Marshal Beresford returned to undertake the siège of Badajoz,

Memoir of the Operations in Estremadura, in 1811.

which place was completely invested on the 7th of May by the allied army, and a Spanish corps command by Don Carlos of Spai). On the following day the butteries were opened a ainst Fort St. Christoval, and the garrison returned a very brisk tire upon the besiegers. Our the 12th Mars'.al Beresford received undoubted information that Soult was on the inarch to the relief of the city. The Marshal immediately dispatched a courier to Lord Wellington, and judging it necessary to suspend his operations against Badajoz, the heavy field train was sent to Elvas.

Lord Wellington, upon receiving the courier of Marshal Beresford, immediately sent inn ihe 3il and 71. divisio is of infantry, under Generals Picton and Houston, and proceeded himself to Elvas, which bis Lordship reached on the 19th. lu the mean time, however, the inemorable battle of Albuera had been fought. Marshal Soult, as has been above said, commenced his march from Seville on the 10th of May, with the avowed intention of raising the siege of Badajoz. Soult had 16,000 men with bin upou leaving Seville; and upon descending the mountains into Estremadura, he was joined by 5000 more under General Latour Mauboury. With these lie advanced to Albuera, where Marshal Berestord had taken up a position to await hin. The Marshal was fortuBa'tty joined in the night of the 15th of May by the corps of General Blake, and by a brigade of Don Carlos of Spain. He was thereby brought more nearly on an equality with his enterprising enenry.

It is unnecessary to detail the proceedings of the battle of Albuera. Neither the enemy nor ourselves will shortly forget it. Suffice it to say, that Soult retreated to Seville with feathers somewhat drooping, and was followed as far as Usagre by some English and Portuguese detachments. The mountains then interposed to shelter him.

The siege of Badajoz was now resumed. On the 18th of May General Ilamilton's division of Portuguese infantry, and B. G. Maddan's brigade of cavalry, returned to the investment, and on the IGth Lord Wellivytou reached Elvas. The third and seventh divisions, likewise, which Lord Wellington had ordered up, arrived on the 29th, and the siege was now recommenced under the immediate direction of the Commander-inChief. On the 2d of June, we began to fire upon the fort of St. Christoval, from four baiteries, on the right of the Guadiana, as also upoa the epeiny's batteries, upon the castle which had been constructed to support

that fort. Two batteries were also open on the left of the Guam diana, and their tire directed against the eastern part of the castle.

The tire froin the fort of St. Christoval being likely to occasion the loss of a nuinber of lives during the operations on the left of the Guadiana, 'it became necessary to attempt to take it by storm. June 6th the breach was reported practicable, and a party of the British and Portuguese, under Major Milotosth of the 85th, was ordered to attempt it the sume night. The inen advanced uuder a heavy tire of musquetry and grenades, from the out-works, and of shots and sheils, from the town, with the utmost intrepidity, to the bottoin of the breach; but the enemy having cleared away tlie rubbish from the bottom of the escarp, their ladders were too short, and after suffering severely, they were obliged to: retire, without being able to mount it.

On the 7th and 8th (Juve, 1811) the fire was renewed, and the breach again declared practicable by the engineers. On the night of the 9th, therefore, the Commander-in-Chief ordered another storm, and the commaud was given to Major M.Geachy, of the 17th Portuguese régie ment. These brave men again reached the bottom of the breach, and Captain Budd, and about thirty men, actually mounted it, and for a Memoir of the Operaiiuns in Estremadura, in 1811. short time kept pessession of it. The ladders, however, were again too short, the enemy having again cleared away the rubbish, upon which our men had expected to ascend. Capiain Budd was wounded and taken prisoner with his brave companions; and Major-General Houston, seeing how much they suffered, gave orders that they should retire, winch they did in good order, but with the loss of their leader and several otiser officers,

No troops could behave with greater heroism than tlie Portuguese in both these attacks ; and the service of the batteries of the right bank of the Guadiana (the Elvas bank), was entirely conducted by their ariillery, and with great success. Lord Wellington accordingly gave them great praise, in his official reports. Major-General Hamilton, and the division under his orders, were mentioned with great distinctiou.

During these operations, Soult, who had retired to Seville, after the battle of Albuera, was busied in collectiny, ia the Estremadura, the whole French force in the ceutre and south of Spain.

Drouet's corps was brought from Toledo ; Marmont was moved down from Castile, and several battalions drawn off from the blockade of Cadiz. Lord Wela lington, therefore, turned the siege of Badajoz into a blackade, and took post, with the greater part of bis army, at Albuera, on the 13th of June. On the same day, the enemy's advanced guard, of about 10,000 men, arrived at Los Santos. On the 17th Lord Heilington quitted Albuera, crossed the Guadiana (raising the blockade of Badajoz), and took up a strong position between Elvas, Campo Major, and Arronches. As Marinont moved from Castile towards Estremadura, in order to form his junction with Soult, Sir Brent Spencer, who bad been left on the Coa, also altered his position, and kept in a parallel direction with the French columns. When the eneiny crossed the Tagus at Almoraz, Sir Brent crossed to the same side with them at Villa Vellia, and shortly afterwards joined Lord Wellington, as Marmont joined Soult.

On the 2d of June the enemy advanced forty squadrons of his caralry, and some field-pieces, for the patpose of making a reconnuisance; but although they carried off a piqnet of the 11th Dragoons, commanded by Captain Lutyens, yet on the appearance of the British and Portu-. guese cavalry, the Freneh retired without having seen the position of the Allied Ariny, the right of which rested upou Elvas, the line extending along a ridge, intersected by the sinall river Caya, towards the fortress of Canpo Major, in which the 7th division of the army was 'quartered. The main body of the Allied Army was in huts.

Whilst Soult, however, was thus assembling the whole French force in Spain, to consolidate it against Lord Wellington, his Lordship had prepared a plan upon bis part, which now had its effect. It had been arranged by his Lordship, that as Soult advanced with this iminense force

upon the allied army, that Blake with his corps should avail bimself of the opportunity to endeavour to get rouvd bis auks, and proceed with all dispatch for Seville, from which city Soult had drawn all the troops; So well was this measure concerted, and in part executed, that Blake was at Castellegos before Soult was aware that he was in his rear. Soult now deemed it time to consider of his own safety, and had the Spaniards acted with more vigour, the success would have been dodoubted. As it was, Soult sent a considerable detachment agaiust them, and shortly afterwards followed himself.

In the beginning of July the consolidated French army separated as rapidly as they had asseinbled ; they left 5000 men in Badajoz (the present garrison), and then went into cantouments : Soult, to Seville ; Marmont, to Truxillo; and Regnier, in Merida.

Memoir of the Operations in Estremadura, in 1811.

The British and Portuguese army continued in camp till the 24th of July, and then moved into quarters; the Commander of the forces, and the heads of departments in Portalegre. Ju the beginning of August Marmont repassed the Tagus, and established bimself in Placentia, upon which the British army, following himn in a parallel direction, recrossed the river at Velba Villa, and Lord Wellington fixed his headquarters at Fueute Guinaldo, about seven miles from Ciudad Rodrigo ; and here ceased the operations in Estremadura during the late campaigu. There is every appearance, however, that this province will be the main, if not the sole scene of the present campaign.

With respect to the siege of Badajoz, and the time and manner of its fall, the best metliod of enabling your readers to form a judgment will he by subjoining the usual routine of such sieges.-'This routine is as follows:

Field-works of a Siege. Ist night.-Dig within 600 yards of the peak of the covered way, the first parallel with the lines of communication to the depôts; finish in the day the works of the wight. This measure to be pursued during the whole of the siege.

2d night.-- Begin the ricochet batteries, and the lines of communication in advance of the first parallel : continue the work of the batteries,

sd night.-Push forward the trenches of the former niglit; finish the batteries, and play them off by day.

4th night.--Establish the second parallel, at 300 yards from the place.

5th night.-- Advance from the second parallel by ziyzags, which are to be prolonged to within 150 yards of the covered way.

6th night.—Make three demi-places of arms, where are to be constructed the howitzer batteries against the covered way,

7th night.-Commence the demi-places of arms by sap; fire off the howitzers by day.

sth night.-Push on the saps, and finish the zigzags by the beginning of the third parallel, within 00 yards of the covered way.

9th night.-Finish the third parallel at the flying sap, and proceed from it towards the covered way, in a double and straight sap.

10th night.-Construct by sap the cavalier trenches, within 30 yards of the covered way.

11th night.-Proceed from the cavaliers by sap, and crown the saliant angles of the covered way : commence the construction of the counterbatteries.

121h night.-Crown the 'salient angles of the re-entering places of arms of the covered way: work at the breach baiteries.

131h night.-Descend into the covered way; finish the counter and breach-batteries; commence the descent of the dirch, and begin the breast-work against the fire of the flank of the opposite bastion : fire from all batteries by day.

15th night.---Finish the passage of the ditch, and continue to fire, in order to render the breaches practicable.

16th night.-Recouncitre the breaches by intelligent sappers, after which continue tiring during the whole night, to prevent the besieged from appearing there whilst the sappers are cleamog out the bottom of the breaches. At day-break assault all the breaches. Thus, the 16th day of open trenches, a place ought to be in the situatiou of being carried by storm, if the works of the siege are well directed and well executed. Badajoz therefore may be expected to fall about the 7th of this month (April), the treuches having been opened on the 20th of March.

Operations of Sir David Baird's Division.



The following Narrative is composed from Letters written by Oficers

employed in the Expedition to Spain, but principally from those of .an Officer on the Staff under Sir David Baird, to whose movements they principally refer; with a description of the conduct of the Spaniards in the advance and retreut of that division of the Army, and of the dress, customs, places, &c. in Galicia.

THE movements of the French Emperor iu 1807, after having subjected for a time the principal part of the Continent of Europe, were directed to the subjugation of Portugal and Spain. A demand was made on the former, that she should relinquish the possession of her. fleet, pay a contribution of four millions of crusades, and totally exclude froin her ports British vessels and commerce. To these terms the Prince Regent of Portugal conceded. On the 22d of October, 1807, he proclaimed his union in the cause of Buonaparte, and on the 8th of the following month sequestered all British property. This weak con- . duct and tame submission to the mandates of the Emperor were not sufficient, and from the advances which were made by the French army to the frontiers of Portugal, it became very apparent that his intention was to take possession of that country.

On the 18th of November, the French army entered Portugal, under the command of General Junot, which circumstance at length opened the eyes of the Prince Regent to the true state of his affairs. His wish was imunediately to gain the alliance of Great Britain, and a treaty of amity was signed by himself and Lord Strangford, our Minister in Portugal. On the preparations of the treaty being 'concluded, the Prince Regent determined to quit his kingdom; and having appointed a Regency, embarked on the 27th of November, 1807, for the Brazils.

Ou the 1st of February, 1808, General Junot assumed the government of Portugal, declaring at the same time by a decree, that the Prince Regent had renounced his sovereignty. Beavy taxes were immediately imposed, a great per centage on which became the property of the General. This measure, and the rapine which was universally practised, induced the Portuguese to revolt, and on the 18th of June they defeated the garrison of Oporto. At this critical period, Great Britain, whose object was to prevent an independent state and free people from falling into the grasp of Buonaparte, dispatched an arıny under the command of Lord Wellington, then Sir Arthur Wellesley, to Portugal, who arrived at Figueras, in that country, early in August. A complete little army had been sent from England, under the command VOL. IV, so, 19.


« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »