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together, but a few thousand men here, and a few thousand men there, so as to face the town on all sides. Conceive further, that by the incessant firing of cannon-balls against two particular spots not far distant from each other on one side of the town, gaps have been made in both the walls, laying open two narrow rubbish-blocked ways into the heart of the town. To carry the town by assault, meant to force an entrance into it through either or both of these gaps, in spite of all that the besieged could do to prevent it. The plan laid down by Lord Wellington was as follows. At ten minutes before seven o'clock, a body of men, stationed on the opposite side of the river Agueda, which runs past one side of the town, were to cross a bridge, provided with six ladders twelve feet long. Marching up to a particular outwork or projecting fortification not far from the end of the bridge, and to which the ditch did not extend, they were to climb it by means of their ladders, overpower the artillerymen, and destroy two guns, which were so stationed as to command the point where the counterscarp (the side of the ditch nearest the open country) terminated against the main wall. This was the special duty of party No. Exactly at the same time, however, another party were to advance from another direction, provided with twelve axes, and twelve scaling-ladders twenty-five feet long each. These were to march up to the point above referred tothe junction of the counterscarp, or outer side of the ditch with the main wall; and as it was supposed that ere this the two guns from which danger was to be apprehended would have been secured by the exertions of party No. 1, they would immediately cut down with their axes the gate opening into the ditch; then entering the ditch, they would scale the fausse braie by means of their ladders. Having mounted the fausse braie, they would turn to the left, and proceed along it, sweeping off all the enemy's posts intervening between them and the great breach. Such was the work prescribed for party No. 2. In the meantime, a third party, issuing from nearly the same quarter as the last, were to march up to a point of the ditch somewhat to the left of the former point, and nearer the great breach. They were to carry six ladders twelve feet long each, by which they were to descend into the ditch; and then they were to hasten along the ditch to the great breach, having ten axes to clear away palisades, or any other obstacles which might be in their way. Such was the part assigned to party No. 3. While these three parties were engaged in their several duties, a fourth party were to be doing their daring work on the great breach itself. There were to march up to the lip of the ditch, directly in front of the breach, 180 sappers, carrying bags of hay, which were to be thrown into the ditch to form a footing by which the fighting men might descend. As soon as the sappers, protected by a fire kept up against the besieged by a regiment stationed on purpose, had accomplished their task, the storming party of 500
men, who had advanced at the sappers' heels, were to jump upor the bags, gain the bottom of the ditch, dash across it, a forlornhope of some thirty men first, reach the gap in the fausse braie, fight, clamber, and struggle through the rubbish, scaling if necessary with their twelve-feet ladders, and cleaving obstacles with their axes. In the meantime a fifth party, issuing from a different quarter, were to perform a duty exactly analogous to that of party No. 3; with this difference, that instead of entering the ditch, as that party were to do, at a point on the right of the great breach, they were to enter it at a point about as far to the left, turning to tặe right when they were in the ditch, and clearing their way along it till they reached the great breach. Meanwhile, with all this tending of parties to the great breach, the smaller breach, which lay to the left of the great one, was not to remain unattacked. A sixth body of men, unconnected with the others, were to enter the ditch at a point near the small breach, to which they were to cut their way, storming first the gap in the fausse braie; after which they were to break up into two detachments, the one turning to the right, and scouring the fausse braie on from the smaller to the greater breach, thus performing a part exactly analogous to party No. 2, only on the other side of the great breach ; the other, pushing on from the gap in the fausse braie to the gap in the inner wall, storming it also; then having entered the city, to turn to the right, so as to form a junction with the troops who ere this would have forced their entrance by the great breach. The forces having thus effected their entrance into the city, were to be left to their own discretion, or rather to the inspiration of their own fury, for their subsequent procedure; only they were to endeavour, as soon as possible, to open one of the gates of the city called the Gate of Salamanca.
Such, omitting the various arrangements adopted for the support of the parties mainly engaged by other parts of the army, was the order for the assault of Ciudad Rodrigo on the 19th of January 1812. The execution of the assault did not deviate from the order. The evening was calm and chill; and in the faint light of a first-quarter moon, the bastions of the town stood out, gaunt and black, over the gloomy ditch. Not a whisper was heard in the British trenches; but many a heart was beating quick. In the breast of many a youth who that morning had leaped at the thought of the coming glory, strange memories were now stirring; softening, not unmanning. Home, mothers, sisters, old firesides, the village school, the parish church, the river bank, the dear island far away! Down, down ye twining thoughts, and hark that signal! Tenderest hearts be now the maddest ! Death or triumph! Up from the trenches start the men in waiting, and in the space in front of the ditch between the two breaches all is in motion. The garrison is roused; the rampart guns vomit their iron rage against the advancing crowd.
In vain. Already the sappers have thrown down their burden into the ditch opposite the great breach; the storming party, led by their forlorn-hope, have jumped the counterscarp, and are dashing on to the gap in the fausse braie through balls and bullets. Nor are they the first to reach it. Already the parties who were to scour the fausse braie and the ditch to the right have done their work, and are choking up the throat of the breach with their bodies. Madly the three parties thus united toil on from the gap in the fausse braie to that of the inner rampart; while upon their dense and heaving mass the besieged, from their intrenchments, and from the adjoining houses, pour down shells, shot, and blazing timbers. Meanwhile, at the smaller breach, the same desperate fight was going on. Not waiting for the haybags, the stormers had jumped the ditch, and pushed on to the fausse braie under a smashing fire. The breach was so narrow, that a gun placed lengthwise almost blocked it up. Trying to squeeze itself through this opening, the mass was staggered by the terrible fire from above. With gnashing teeth they threw their muskets simultaneously to their shoulders, and, goaded by the tinct of revenge, snapped the locks, although not one piece was loaded. The commander of the storming party, Major Napier, fell wounded by a grape shot, calling to the men to trust to their bayonets. Every officer in the party now sprang to the front, and with one terrible hurra the gap was carried. Then, according to orders, breaking up into two detachments, one party pushed on for the inside of the town, the other turned to the right, and swept along the fausse braie to the great breach. They came just in time. The French lost hope as they appeared, and the mass of stormers, enlarged by their addition, burst through the inner rampart. At this moment, however, the explosion of three small mines blew many of the bravest of them into the air, among whom was the commander, General M‘Kinnon, Both breaches having now been carried, the fighting soon ceased, and the town was won. The whole army now plunged in, some from one quarter, some from another. Fury and brutality succeeded ; and the men, their throats parched and their eyes bloodshot with the battle-fever, rushed through the streets to drench themselves in intoxication and excess. Churches were ransacked, doors split open, wine and liquor casks torn from shops and cellars, and many houses were set fire to. In vain the officers ran hither and thither to stop the frenzy; the men, on other occasions amenable to discipline, and even many of them respectable and well-behaved, threatened their officers, and shot each other. * At last the uproar increased to absolute lunacy; a fire was lighted in the great powder magazine, which would have blown the whole town, besiegers and besieged, to atoms, had it. not been extinguished by a few men who kept their senses.
Such was the awful storming of Ciudad Rodrigo, in which about 1600 men fell ; 300 of the besieged, and 1300 of the besiegers.
en down the
ASSAULT OF BADAJOZ.
No sooner was Ciudad Rodrigo in the possession of the allies, than Lord Wellington prepared to besiege Badajoz for the third, and, as it proved, for the last time. Accordingly, he quitted Ciudad Rodrigo on the 5th of March, and on the 16th Badajoz was invested. The brave and able governor, Phillipon, had provisioned the place for several months, and made incredible exertions so as to render its capture as difficult as possible. A different mode of attack was adopted from what had been pursued on the two former occasions. Without describing this mode of attack, suffice it to say that, after great loss on the part of the besiegers, the breaching batteries did their work in the walls, and it was resolved to carry the town by assault on the night of the 6th of April. Never were soldiers so eager for their desperate work; and never did general, with such cool resoluteness, issue orders of such astounding tenor. “The fort of Badajoz is to be attacked at ten o'clock this night. The attack must be made on three points—the castle, the face of the bastion of La Trinidad, and the flank of the bastion of Santa Maria. The attack of the castle to be by, escalade; that of the two bastions by the storm of the breaches.” Such' were the first three paragraphs of the order issued by Wellington for the direction of the assault: after which follow twenty-four other paragraphs, prescribing, with the most awful distinctness, all the details that were to be observed. Besides the three main points of attack above specified, several other points were to be assaulted, so as literally to encircle the town in a girdle of assailants.
The assault was to take place at ten o'clock. "The night," says Colonel Napier, was dry, but clouded; the air thick with watery exhalations from the rivers ; the ramparts and the trenches unusually still; yet a low murmur pervaded the latter, and in the former lights were seen to flit here and there, while the deep voices of the sentinels at times proclaimed that all was well in Badajoz.” The accidental explosion of a bomb, by revealing the approach of one of the divisions to the besieged stationed in the castle, hastened the attack by half an hour. Picton's division-commanded first by General Kempt, and afterwards by Picton himself, who, made aware by the sound of firing that the combat had already commenced, rushed out of the camp to head it-made their way to the castle through a storm of bullets. Up against the lofty walls they placed their heavy escalading ladders; brave men ascending first, others swarming at the foot, eager to follow; while down, perpendicularly down, rained stones, crashing logs of wood, bars of iron, and bursting shells, the descending shower intersected slantwise by an iron sleet from the musketry of both flanks. Those who gained the top were thrust through with pikes and bayonets,
- as therapes
and flung down; some of the ladders were broken; and the shrieks and shouts of men mingled with the sounds of rasping stones, exploding bombs, and crashing timbers. The British were repulsed, and fell back a few paces. The French shouted. One moment, and back to the walls flew a young officer, Colonel Ridge of the 45th. “ Follow me," he cried in a voice heard and obeyed; and again a ladder leant against the castle. Up flew the youth, his sword flashing above his head, and bayonets bristling on the ladder behind him, while at the same moment a second ladder was freighted with its eager load. A few seconds, and Ridge stood on the ramparts, Canch of the grenadiers by his side. The French gave way astonished, retired into the town with a few parting volleys, and the castle was won—the baitlements strewed with the corpses of the assailants, among whom, the brave and bounding spirit now gone from the scene itself had made, was that of young Ridge.
Meanwhile the attack had been made on the breaches in the bastions. The divisions approached the ditch unchecked. “ Not a shot,” says Mr Alison,“ was fired on either side. Silently the haypacks were let down, the ladders placed to the counterscarp, and the forlorn-hopes and storming parties descended into the fosse. Five hundred of the bravest were already down, and approaching the breaches, when a stream of fire shot upwards into the heavens, as if the earth had been rent asunder; instantly a crash louder than the bursting of a volcano was heard in the ditch, and the explosion of hundreds of shells and powder barrels blew the men to atoms. For a moment the light division, which was to follow them into the ditch, paused on the edge of the crater, then with a shout, which drowned even the roar of the artillery, they leaped down into the fiery gulf, while at the same moment the fourth division came running up, and poured over with the like fury." The preparation of the mine in the ditch was not the only device which the remorseless ingenuity of Phillipon had fallen upon for the defence of his charge against assault. A deep cut in the bottom of the ditch had been filled with water by inundation, and into this trap a great part of the first division fell; no fewer than 100 veterans, who had stood unscathed on the hill at Albuera, perishing by suffocation in the horrid pit. Not a moment were the rest checked by this disaster; without a word, and almost mechanically, they turned a little to the left, avoiding the pit themselves, but with no more appearance of alarm than if they had expected so many of their comrades to disappear about that spot. The ditch was now filled, the rear pressing on, and all cheering vehemently, making for the breach of La Trinidad. In the darkness there was some difficulty in finding it. “ The enemy's shouts too,” says Colonel Napier,
were loud and terrible; and the bursting of shells and of grenades, the roaring of the guns from the flanks, answered by the iron howitzers from the battery of the parallel, the heavy