ページの画像
PDF
ePub

tier Sir John Moore, and how instantaneously order and animation were restored during the greatest despondency, and the utter absence of all discipline, whenever the sound of the order to battle reached the ears of the troops. Harassed and half famished, they met the enemy with a spirit which was fully manifested by the result .

On the retreat in question, which was short in comparison with that of Corunna, and during which the weather, although rainy, was not so unsupportablc or destructive as the snowy tempests on the mountains of Gallicia; much of the same disorganization was exhibited, and intermingled with the same display of spirited gallantry, whenever the soldiers faced about, and fronted the enemy. Similar causes produced similar effects in the division commanded by General Hill, who was also hard pressed by Marshal Soult. Both armies indulged in a laxity of discipline to a greater degree, according to the words of Lord Wellington, "than any army with which he had ever served, or of which he had ever read," and, he continues, "it must be obvious to every officer that, from the time the troops commenced their retreat from Burgos, on the one hand, and from Madrid on the other, the officers lost all command over their men. Irregularities and outrages of every description were committed with impunity." Notwithstanding all this, whenever the enemy appeared in sight, however harassing the fatigues, and however much the soldiers had suffered from hunger or thirst, all was forgotten and lost in the hope of victory, which renovated their spirits, and invigorated their strength. In the numberless rencounters and skirmishes, which were daily occurring during the retreat, and the various manoeuvres and changes of position from Burgos and Madrid to Salamancha, and from thence to the winter quarters at Frenada and Corea, the same spirit and energy were uniformly exhibited: every advance of the enemy was repulsed with such celerity, that the loss from the commencement

* General Orders.

[graphic]

of the retreat on the 22d of October to the 17th of November, when all hostilities for the winter ceased, was only 1 officers, 16 serjeants, and 81 rank and file, killed: 47 officers, 46 serjeants, 5 drummers, and 6W rank and file, wounded. The number of those who dropped behind from disease, or fatigue, or were taken by the enemy, has not been stated, although it must have been great.

After this masterly retreat, before a superior army, which found itself unable to make any impression beyond the rearguard, the Commander-in-Chief allowed his army that rest now rendered so necessary by a constant succession of marches, counter-marches, battles, and sieges, from January to November, and accordingly placed them in winter quarters on the frontiers of Portugal. The enemy followed the example, apparently " unable to advance, unwilling to retire, and renouncing the hope of victory." This opinion, expressed at the time, was proved by subsequent events to be just; for, after the campaign of 1812, every movement of the enemy was retrograde, every battle a defeats

• While the 42d regiment lay in winter quarters, a melancholy instance occurred of the force of unbridled passion. Lieutenant Dickenson was quartered in the small village of Villatora, a short distance from the regiment . He had sent a Corporal of the name of Macmoran, one of the recruits from the Irish militia, on some duty in the neighbourhood. The man returned before evening parade, but did not attend, imagining, that as he had been on another duty, he was not called upon to be present . The officer sent for him, and, after a sharp reprimand, ordered him to get his arms and accoutrements. He accordingly went for his arms, and returned to the officer, who stood waiting for him. When the corporal reached within two yards of the lieutenant, be presented his piece, and shot him through the heart . He had loaded his musket for the purpose, and fixed his bayonet, in case, as he said afterwards, that, if he missed his aim, he might run Mr Dickenson through with his bayonet . They had had no previous difference, nor had the corporal the least apparent cause, except the affront of being ordered to parade by himself; and being both from the same county in Ireland, the circumstance excited the greater surprise among the Highlanders, whose affection for their fellow countrymen is almost proverbial. The man was tried and executed.

[graphic]

4 SECTION XIII.

Campaign of 1813— Battle of VUtoria—Siege of St SebastianPyreneesSuccession of battlesFranceBidassoaBayonne Series of desperate actionsBattle of OrthesBordeaux Bayonne AyreTarbesToulousePeace 1811—War 1815 Quatres BrasWaterlooPeace.

The successful campaign of 1812 led to another of equal difficulty and enterprise, in which the consummate talents of the Commander-in-Chief had ample scope for exertion. The troops were soon refreshed after their fatigues, and being reinforced from England, and supplied with the necessary equipments for the field, active operations commenced by a forward movement to Salamancha, which was now occupied by the British for the third time, on the 24th of May, and that celebrated city once more delivered from a foreign yoke. Sir R. Hill's division was stationed between the Tormes and the Douro, Sir Thomas Graham commanding the left wing at Miranda de Douro. The enemy gave way to the progress of the Allies, and Valladolid was evacuated on the 4th June. On the 12th General Hill attacked and defeated, with little loss on his part, the division under General Reille, General Ponsonby at the same time turning the right of the French. These manoeuvres quickened the ra» treat of the enemy, who, in his progress, blew up the works of the castle of Burgos, on which they had bestowed so much labour in the preceding year, and which they had so gallantly defended.

Thus the able dispositions and movements of the Commander-in-Chief of the Allies, and the improved state of his army, had completely turned the course of events. The enemy directed their march on Vittoria, their central depot in the frontier provinces, occasionally skirmishing with the advanced guards; and on the 20th, Lord Wellington made a disposition of his army on the river Bayas, separated by some high grounds from Vittoria. Here the enemy made a stand, seemingly with an intention of resisting the farther progress of the Allies.

On this march and pursuit of the enemy, the influence of hope, and the prospect of success on the minds of the soldiers, were strongly exemplified; for while, on the retreat from Burgos, they desponded and were disorderly, having become careless of their character, and regardless of theorders of their officers,—now, in pursuit of the same enemy, the most perfect regularity and the greatest cheerfulness prevailed, the buoyancy of the mind invigorating the body, and no privation or fatigue being thought or complained of. In a long march of more than 250 miles, (frequently extending to 60 miles in three days,) under the burning sun of a Spanish summer, and although the soldiers were loaded with arms, ammunition, and necessaries, to the weight of three and four stories, yet, as an example of the condition of the troops, Lord Dalhousie's division, consisting of 6000 men, arrived at Vittoria with less than 150 sick.

Such was the perfect state of this high-spirited army, when, on the morning of the 21st of June, they marched, in three columns, to take possession of the heights in front of Vittoria; the right being commanded by General Hill, the centre by Lord Dalhousie and General Cole, and the left by General Graham. From thence the French army, under the command of Joseph Buonaparte and Marshal Jourdan, was seen drawn up, with their right supported by Vittoria, and destined to defend the passages of the river Zadorm, the centre on a height commanding the valley of that stream, and the left resting on the heights between Arunez and Puebla de Arlanzpn. The hostile armies amounted to about 70,000 men each. General Hill commenced the operations of this memorable

day by an attack on the heights of Puebla, on which, as already stated, the enemy's left rested, and which he speedily carried; but the enemy being reinforced from the centre, the Honourable Lieutenant-Colonel Cadogan, * with the 71st regiment, and the light infantry battalion of General Walker's brigade, were sent to the support of the troops who had already gained the heights. The contest at this point was peculiarly Obstinate, as the enemy discovering, when it was too late, the importance of the position ,which they had lost, and which they had not strengthened with the necessary care, made the most strenuous and persevering efforts to regain possession of it . At length, however, they were forced back at all points, and pursued across the Zadorra, which, from the melting of the snows on the Pyrenees at that season of the year, was not fordable. The enemy having neglected to destroy the bridges, Sir Rowland Hill passed over at that of La Puebla, attacked and carried the village of Sabijana de Alava, and retained possession of it in defiance of repeated attempts to regain it. Immediately subsequent to the gaining of this advantage by Sir Rowland Hill, the fourth and light divisions crossed the Zadorra at two different points; and almost at the same instant the column under Lord Dalhousie reached Mendonza, while the third under Sir T. Picton, followed by the seventh division, crossed a bridge higher up. These four divisions forming the centre of the army, were destined to attack the right of the enemy's centre on the heights, while General Hill pushed forward from Alava to attack the left. These combined movements, admirably planned, and gallantly executed, completely neutralized and defeated the combinations and manoeuvres of the enemy, who, dreading the consequences of an attack on his centre,' which he had

* This brave young man was mortally wounded in Sir Rowland Hill's attack on the height! on the enemy's left. Finding his end approaching, he directed that he should be carried to a height, that he might contemplate, to the last moment, the scene in which he had borne so honourable a part.

[graphic]
« 前へ次へ »