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Spanish Affairs continued.-Rapid Progress of the Allied Armies.--St Sebas.
tian and Pampluna invested.-Digression as to the Defects of the British Army in conducting Sieges.
great victory which had been at the northern entrance. A fine atchieved by the allied armies, was walk nearly encircles the town, and followed up with that promptitude a square on its southern side is well and decision which belong to the planted with trees, and abounds with character of their leader. Not a mo- promenades formed in different direc. ment was lost in pursuing the fugitive tions. A large convent in ruins supe army-in harassing its retreat-in. plies the place of barracks; and at. tercepting the reinforcements which tached to it is a crescent forming & sought to relieve it—or investing the convenient parade, the enclosed space strong fortresses which now formed of which had been originally designed the last hold of the enemy upon Spain. for bull-fights. The French, during Not a moment was left him to recover their stay in this town, constructed a from the consternation into which he very spacious and convenient building had been thrown by the sudden and for a military hospital, furnished with fatal blow so lately inflicted.
a kitchen and laboratory, store-rooms General Clausel, ignorant of the and surgery, which were afterwards defeat of his countrymen, had ap- taken and occupied by our troops, proached Vittoria, with part of the and proved a valuable acquisition to the army of the north ; but retired to. allied army. The town contains several wards Logrono, after ascertaining the handsome churches ; the collegiate result of the action of the 21st. He church in particular is a very elegant remained in the neighbourhood of that building. During the five years the place on the 24th, and till late on French occupied this town, they inhe 25th.
gratiated themselves very much with Logrono, which Clausel thus oc- the people. The arrival of the British, cupied, is a populous and fine town; however, produced a great sensation. the streets are narrow, but the houses Lord Wellington conceived, that as in general are good. The Ebro flows General Clausel had lingered so long by the north side of the town; a at this place, there might be some handsome bridge, with a gateway in chance of intercepting his retreat ; and the centre, is thrown over the river after sending the light troops towards
Roncesvalles, in pursuit of the army ing convents and large buildings in the under Joseph Buonaparte, he moved vicinity, they succeeded in rendering against General Clausel a large force it a strong position. It was necessary towards Tudela, and another towards to bring forward a nine-pounder in Logrono. The French general, how- order to burst open one of the gates. ever, made forced marches, followed by The allies made their way into the General Mina. He crossed the Ebro town; but it was already dark ; and at Tudela ; but being informed that the the troops of the different nations British were upon the road, he imme. could scarcely be distinguished. The diately recrossed, and marched towards perplexity thus occasioned enabled the Zaragoza. He did not attempt to make French to escape with smaller loss a stand at Zaragoza, but leaving a de. than they must otherwise have sustachment under General Paris, passed tained. The enemy made his last by a circuitous route through Jaca stand on the Bidassoa, which forms the across the Pyrenees. Paris, on the boundary, in this direction, between approach of General Mina, retreated Spain and France. He was driven in the same manner. Mina, how. across it by a brigade of the army of ever, still followed the enemy, and Gallicia under the command of Genetook from him two pieces of cannon, ral Castanos, and the bridge over the and some stores in Tudela, besides 300 river was destroyed. Port Passages, prisoners ; General Clinton also took a harbour of considerable importance possession of five guns which the ene- at the mouth of the Bidassoa, was then my left at Logrono.-- In the mean- taken by Longa, and its garrison of time the troops under the command of 150 men made prisoners. Lieutenant-General Sir R. Hill mo. The town of Passages is very sin. ved through the mountains to the head gularly constructed, and is as disagree. of the Bidassoa, the enemy having on able as it is peculiar. The sea fows that side retired into France.
through a defile of mountains, and While these events took place on forms a navigable river to a considerathe right of the army, General Gra- ble extent inland, affording a very ham with the left wing, composed safe and convenient harbour for shipchiefly of Portuguese and Spaniards, ping, with which it is exceedingly was not inactive.
The French evacu. crowded. This circumstance imparts ated all their stations in Biscay, ex. an interest to the place, which joined cept Santona and St Sebastian; and to the beauty of the surrounding coununiting their garrisons to the division try, compensates, in some degree, for of the army of the north, which was the extremefwretchedness of its accomat Bilboa, they assembled a force more modation. The town consists of two considerable than had at first been sup- exceedingly narrow and dirty streets, posed. Their first effort was made at one of which lies on one side of the the junction of the road from Pamp- river, and the other on the opposite luna with that from Bayonne; they bank, the communication between posted themselves on a hill command, the two being carried on solely by ing these two roads, and determined means of boats. to maintain it. A vigorous attack, When the enemy retired across the however, commanded by Lieutenant. Ebro, previously to the battle of VitColonel Williams, quickly dislodged toria, they left a garrison of about them. The enemy then retreated into 600 men in the castle of Pancorbo, Tolosa, a town slightly fortified, and by which they commanded the great by barricading the gates, and occupy. communication from Vittoria to Bour. gos. Lord Wellington therefore or became necessary to reduce the for. dered the Conde de Abisbal, on his tresses of St Sebastian and Pamplumarch to Miranda, to make himself na, two of the strongest in Spain. As master of the town and lower works, these were the last sieges undertaken and to blockade the place. The by the British troops in the peninSpanish general accordingly carried sula——as the reduction of both places the town and lower fort by assault on required from the British army efforts the 28th of July, after which the gar- almostincredible, –andas it seems to be rison surrendered by capitulation.- the general opinion among officers of The decision and dispatch with which science and experience, that considerathis place was subdued were highly ble improvements may yet be accomcreditable to the officers and troops plished in this branch of the service, employed.
a brief review of the opinions enterThe Spanish cortes, on receiving in- tained on this subject may not be untelligence of the great success of Lord interesting. We shall premise a short Wellington, voted thanks to the field. account of the situation and appearmarshal and his brave army by ac. ance of St Sebastian and Pampluna. clamation. They sent a deputation St Sebastian, which once formed to the British ambassador to compli. one of the finest cities of Spain, and ment him; and came to a unanimous which still bears marks of its former vote that a territorial property should splendour, is almost a league from Pasbe conferred upon their grandee, the sages. The houses appear to have Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo ; and that been in general large and handsome, the title of possession should contain and the streets, for the most part, are these words : “ In the name of the uniform and spacious. The town is Spanish nation, in testimony of its most built on a peninsula, running nearly sincere gratitude."
east and west, the northern side being The allied armies meanwhile pur- washed by the river Urumea, the sued their victorious career Though southern by the sea. The front de the enemy had withrawn the whole of fences, which crossed the isthmus to. their right and left wings into France, wards the land, when the place was three divisions of the centre, under besieged, consisted of a double line of General Gazan, remained in the valley works, with the usual counterscarp, of Bustan, of which they seemed de- covered way, and glacis, but the works termined to keep possession, as it is running lengthways of the peninsula very fertile and full of strong posi. were composed of only a single line ; tions. Upon the 4th, 5th, and
7th of and, trusting to the water in front to July, however, they were successively render them inaccessible, they were dislodged from all their posts, by two built without any cover. The nord brigades of British and two of Portu. thern line is quite exposed from the guese infantry, under Sir R. Hill; and top to the bottom, to a range of hills compelled to retreat into France: The on the right bank of the river, at the allies lost eight men killed, and 119 distance of six or seven hundred yards wounded. These affairs, by which from it. The neglect to cover these Sir R. Hill dislodged the enemy from walls appears unaccountable, as the this fine valley and drove him into Urumea for some hours before and France, were extremely brilliant. after low water is fordable, and the
Before the British army could be tide recedes so much, that for the same conveniently employed in more deci- period there is a considerable space sive operations against the enemy, it left dry along the left bank of the river, by which troops can march to vents, and other charitable endowments, the foot of the wall.-Marshal Ber. some of which are very handsome wick, when he attacked St Sebastian and costly, meet the eye in all direcin 1701. aware of this circumstance, tions. The collegiate church is a threw up batteries on those hills to large and handsome building, erected breach the town-wall, pushed an ap- on the summit of a hill, at the northern proach along the isthmus, and establish extremity of the town, and in the cena ed himself on the covered-way of the tre of a paved square. It appears to land front. So soon as the breach was be very ancient ; is of Gothic architecpracticable, the governor capitulated ture, and decorated, like many other for the town, and the Duke obliged Gothic edifices, by various figures in him, with the garrison, to retire into the most uncouth attitudes. The the castle.
front has been modernized, and is Pampluna is represented by some tra- very finely ornamented. A royal pavellers as the finest town in Spain. Its lace is still shewn, more remarkable vicinity to France, and the sea-ports for its antiquity than its beauty. upon the coast of Biscay, which, from The citadel occupies a large space of the excellence of the roads, are easy of ground, and consists chiefly of a cresaccess even to carriages, combined with cent of small houses, where the artifia ready communication to the metro- cers reside ; it has no tower, or any polis, and the fine country of Catalo- thing indicating a castellated appear
nia; bestow on Pampluna many advan- ance, above its walls. A walk round : tages. The town itself is spacious, the ramparts commands many fine
airy, and handsome ; the streets are views of the surrounding country. The wider than those of other Spanish fortifications are unusually strong, and towns, and the houses are generally doubly ditched. Interposed between more commodious. The approach to these works and the citò, on one side, the city is noble; and, as a completely is a large square, ornamented with fine fortified place, Pampluna has a very im poplar trees, which forms a parade for posing appearance. Its elegant and the exercise of the troops. The town, lofty spires are seen from a great dis- though still populous, has been much tance, and altogether, with its walls, reduced of late years ; and its present bastions, and turrets, it has an ap. inhabitants have been greatly impovepearance of strength and grandeur. rished by their late connection with the The northern part of the town is much French. elevated, and the Ebro is seen ap- Such were the places which the Briproaching from a considerable dis- tish army was now ordered to reduce, tance. A handsome bridge is thrown strengthened as they were by all the over the river, which conducts the resources of French ingenuity, and detraveller to the city through a spa: fended by a chosen band of French cious gateway. The suburbs are troops. scattered over the banks of the river, The most inattentive observer of the but the French have done them con- campaigns in the peninsula, cannot but siderable injury. Within the town have remarked, that, in the field, on they practised their usual system of every occasion, the British have shewn plunder and spoliation. In the cen. a decided superiority over the French, tre of Pampluna there is a large mar- which neither inequality of numbers, ket place; a handsome municipal strength of position, nor other circumhouse, adjacent to which is a very stance, has been able to counterbalance : spacious square with piazzas ; con. Yet in every instance when a fortified
VOL. VI. PART I.
place has been attacked, this superio- not one fortress opposed a due resistrity has been lost, and the enemy has ance, to uphold its ancient reputation, either successfully resisted, or the place and all belief in their use was staggerhas been gained at a price above its ed. That torrent is happily now spent ; current value. So constant and so the operations of war are fast returning marked a difference in the result of into their former channels, and fortresscontentions between the same troops es are resuming their due rank in its when fighting in the field and at a siege, combinations. No longer do we hear cannot be the effect ng chance, but of towns surrendered on a first summust be explained by reference to some mons, or under the terrors of a bomconstantly operating cause.
bardment; no longer are fortified As the corps of artillery and engim places considered as useless drains on neers are the most prominent actors at an army. In the hands of the French a siege, it is natural to conjecture that they have suddenly assumed a new one or other of them is deficient in a character, and the most insignificant knowledge of its duty, but the former post makes a protracted resistance-a is universally and deservedly consider, resistance which to many appears uned as the best in Europe ; and Lord accountable. To profit by this feeling, Wellington's express declaration, that the French government have, by popu. the attacks were carried on by the en. lar treatises, and other arts, attempted gineers with the greatest ability, and but too successfully to impose a belief that by their conduct on such occasions that with them the defence has received they had augmented their claims to his some great improvement ; and the eneapprobation, must for ever remove any mies of France, by a strange perverse. suspicion of want of talent or zeal in ness of judgment, at the very moment this department. It becomes there. when they had to reconquer those posfore an object of considerable interest sessions which they readily surrenderto ascertain why so skilful a general, ed, were, without due examination, with the bravest troops in the world - imbibing an opinion of their impregnawith excellent artillery--and with en- bility. It is of considerable importance gineers whose conduct has always met to those who are likely to act only as with his approbation, should not have assailants, that such ideas should be carried on his sieges with the same cer. discouraged, since they appear to be tainty of success, and the same incon- founded in error. The only improvesiderable loss, which have attended the ment which the science of defence apoperations of the ordinary generals of pears to have received consists in the the French army:
negative advantage accruing to it from Whatever opinions the English may the disuse, of late years, of that science entertain against fortifying their own of attack, and of those powerful means towns, no doubt can exist, after the which formerly gave to the besiegers experience of so many costly sieges, as so irresistible a superiority. The best to the advantage occasionally to be de- method to restore its former character rived from having the power to reduce to the science of attack, would be, to those of an enemy. Within these few revive the knowledge of the art amongst years the judgment of men in all coun- military men generally, when its great tries on the value of fortresses, has un. powers would become apparent. Had dergone great changes. The over- This been done at an earlier period, whelming torrent of the French armies, the French would have derived no more supported by opinion, bore down every than a just value from their numerous thing ; the best fortified towns yielded fortified places.
; to it equally with the open village ; In the English language there exists