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but to the wretched country people in the line of march, whom the French, in retaliation for the cruelties inflicted in their sight upon the maimed and footsore of their own people, shot without scruple or remorse, at the same time firing their dwellings, thus marking every step of their flight with blood and flame and ruin. It was doubtful, too, if after all they would escape, for at every pause for scanty rest the tramp and gallop of the British army sounded more and more distinctly in their rear, and tidings reached Soult that the only bridge by which escape was possible—that of Ponte Nova, on the Cavado - was partly cut, and in possession of a Portuguese guard. Sending for Major Dulong, an officer of distinguished bravery, the marshal, after briefly explaining the situation, said: “Take a hundred grenadiers and twenty-five horsemen, and endeavour to surprise and repair the bridge. If you are successful, let me know immediately; if you fail, you need send no message—your silence will be enough. Dulong, favoured by the storm and darkness of the night, succeeded in his perilous and wellnigh desperate enterprise. Only a narrow ledge of the bridge remained passable, and over this he and his grenadiers crawled in single file upon their hands and feet. One soldier lost his hold and fell into the Cavado, his cry of agony, fortunately for his comrades, being drowned in the roar and splash of the howling storm and rushing waters. The Portuguese sentinel was surprised and slain, and the heedless guard were overpowered and dispersed. The bridge was hastily repaired, and the French army was enabled to pass slowly over, a portion of the British artillery only arriving in time to strew the passage and defile the river with numerous dead and wounded men of the rearguard. Soult ultimately reached Orense in Galicia, and there the British cavalry desisted from further pursuit. The French marshal had left that town eleven weeks previously with 25,000 veteran troops, fifty-eight pieces of artillery, numerous stores, and valuable baggage. He returned to it with 19,000 men, destitute of everything but the arms in their hands and the ragged clothing on their backs. With such passages in this terrific war as this frightful retreat or rather flight presents, and with the dreadful misery and ruin inflicted and suffered fresh in the memory—the war, it is impossible to deny, originating in the insatiable ambition of the French Emperor—the recollection of the sentimental cry set up against the cruelty of Napoleon's imprisonment at St Helena strikes the mind with a feeling of astonishment at the infinitely- varied and discordant scale by which human actions are sometimes judged in this strange world of ours.

Marshal Victor, on hearing of the disaster which had befallen Soult, united himself with Jourdan and King Joseph, and, conjointly with them, on the 28th and 29th of July, fought the battle of Talavera de la Reyna against General Wellesley's army and the Spanish force under Cuesta. This battle would never have been hazarded by the British general had he not been misled into an almost inextricable position by the imbecility and braggadocia of Cuesta. The Spanish soldiers, individually as brave perhaps as others, were so wretchedly organised, so inefficiently commanded, that they, on the day of trial, proved almost useless. The position of the British army when it was ascertained that Cuesta's army could not be relied upon was manifestly one of extreme peril. Joseph, Victor, and Jourdan, were in front with an army immensely superior to that commanded


by General Wellesley; and Soult, who with veteran readiness had already re-organised and re-equipped his so lately-beaten force, which had moreover been powerfully reinforced, was in full march upon Sir Arthur's communications with Portugal, with the intention of falling upon the British

Soult sent messenger after messenger to King Joseph, begging him not to fight till he (Soult) could get up. Fortunately Victor's presumption and Joseph's pliancy prevented this wary counsel from being adopted. Talavera was fought : the French, after a tremendous contest, were driven beyond the Alberche with the loss of ten guns, and Sir Arthur Wellesley, whom victory alone could enable to retreat, withdrew his army, by this time reduced to 17,000 men, by the line of the Tagus into Portugal. The Spanish troops, now become a mere armed mob, followed, hotly pursued by Marshal Victor, who captured the British hospitals, unavoidably left for a brief space under Cuesta's charge. General Craufurd's brigade was sixty-two miles distant from Talavera when he first heard of the imminence of the unequal fight. He instantly put his troops in motion, marched without rest towards the scene of action, his own and his soldiers' impatience but stimulated by meeting scores of runaways from the first day's fight-not all of them Spaniards, nor private soldiers—who asserted that the British were beaten and in full retreat. Craufurd crossed the field of battle on the evening of the victory, having brought his men in heavy marching-order sixty-two miles in twenty-six hours, and this, too, in the July of a Spanish summer. That ground had been traversed a short time before his arrival by a far deadlier enemy than the French. The tall dry grass had by some accident caught fire, and hundreds of wounded soldiers thickly scattered over the field of death perished miserably in the flames. For this battle, and the passage of the Douro, the British general was on the 26th of the following August created a peer of England by the title of Baron Douro and Viscount Wellington. He also received the thanks of parliament for Talavera, a battle in which he had unquestionably displayed consummate mastery in the art of handling troops in the face of an enemy, and abundant resources in moments of perilous emergency. On the 10th of February 1810, the Commons voted Lord Wellington & pension of £2000 a year, with succession for two generations.

Determined never again to trust to the co-operation of Spanish generals or armies, Lord Wellington now anxiously directed his attention to the best mode of effectually defending Portugal by the British army, aided by the Portuguese regiments which were being disciplined, organised, and officered under the direction of General Beresford, created for that purpose a marshal in the Portuguese service. His meditations resulted in the conception of the celebrated lines of Torres - Vedras, which were at once commenced, but without the slightest ostentation or hint of the purpose to which they were destined.

In the spring of 1810 Marshal Massena, 'the spoiled child of victory,' as he was designated by Napoleon, was appointed to the as yet bafiled task of driving, with Ney's assistance, the English Leopards into the sea; but the renowned commander quickly found that Dame Fortune has frowns as well as favours for the most indulged of her children. Massena crowed loudly, assuring the French Emperor that he was certain of success, and the aspect of affairs appeared to justify his vaunting arrogance. The French army destined to operate against Wellington had been increased to 90,000 men, chiefly veteran soldiers, to whom the English general could not oppose more than 40,000 British troops, the remainder of his army being composed of the as yet untried Portuguese regiments. The thousands of gallant men sent to perish in the pestilential marshes of the low countries might indeed have more than restored the balance; but they died uselessly, victims of the presumptuous ignorance of such men as Perceval and Canning, who, unwarned by failure, would persist in directing the military operations of Great Britain. Massena opened the campaign with great spirit, and advanced with elate step towards Lord Wellington, who, having concentrated his force, slowly retired, to give time to the Portuguese people to retire, as he commanded, with all the provisions and property they could take with them to Lisbon, after destroying and laying waste that which could not be carried off.

These orders were in general cheerfully obeyed. His plan of defence, as yet not guessed at by the French marshal, worked efficiently: and in order to give a hopeful tone to the mind of a nation whom imperious necessity compelled to submit to such terrible sacrifices, as well as to check the exulting tide of French impetuosity, he halted and offered battle at Busaco. He was unhesitatingly attacked, Ney leading one of the divisions—all of which were defeated, and hurled back with heavy loss and discomfiture. Not the slightest impression could be made by the spoiled child of victory;' and after waiting in position a sufficient time to enable Massena to renew the attack, if he had so willed, Wellington, in pursuance of his settled purpose, leisurely withdrew to the lines of Torres Vedras, which he reached and occupied on the 10th of October. The French marshal, with confidence restored by this retrograde movement, eagerly followed through a wasted country an enemy whom he fondly imagined was retreating to the shelter of his ships. On the 12th Massena arrived in front of the lines and looked at them. He did no more, remaining in a state of stupor and inaction till the 16th of November, when no food of any kind, not even pulse or horse-flesh, being any longer attainable, his suffering, demoralised army retreated, pursued by Wellington, who had been reinforced seaward, and the enemy were ultimately driven out of Portugal.

In 1811 Lord Wellington received the thanks of the British crown and parliament for the liberation of Portugal. We have no space to recount the incidents of the battles of Fuentes d'Onor on the 3d and 5th of May, wherein victory, as was her wont, rested with the British general; nor those of the terrific fight at Albuera, in which the desperate bravery and hardihood of the rifle brigade, under the direction of Captain, now Lord Hardinge, retrieved a battle perilled by the hesitation or incapacity of Marshal Beresford; and the dashing enterprise of General Hill at Arroyo de Molinos—where that gallant officer surprised Girard, dispersed his force, captured all his cannon, and 1700 cavalry of the Imperial Guard—must be passed over. 'The spoiled child of victory' had been recalled, and his place filled by Marshal Marmont, who was ordered to finish with the British general at any sacrifice; and that he might do so, the army placed under his orders was powerfully reinforced by numerous battalions of the Imperial Guard. Marmont very speedily concentrated between 60,000 and 70,000 admirable soldiers, who, confident of victory, marched exultingly to battle. The first rencontre of Marmont's troops with the British was in a slight affair, as far as numbers were concerned, at El-Bodon, and remarkable only for the proof it afforded of the impossibility of overthrowing a valiant, well-disciplined infantry, by charges of cavalry, however brave, numerous, and determined may be the horsemen.

When this combat occurred, the British general, now Earl of Wellington, was making a retrograde movement for the purpose of uniting his somewhat widely-sundered army. He himself took post at Guinaldo ; Craufurd, who with the light division was about sixteen miles distant, was ordered to join him there immediately; the left of the army under Graham was ten miles off; and the 5th division was at Parfo, in the mountains, twelve miles distant. In this situation of the army, Craufurd's disobedience or neglect of orders, but for the iron nerve of the British general, would have lost the light division. Instead of marching without pause upon Guinaldo, he halted for the day, after accomplishing about four miles only. This gave time for the concentration of Marmont's imposing force, consisting, as we have before stated, of nearly 70,000 excellent soldiers, in front of the position occupied by the Earl of Wellington at Guinaldo, with not more than 14,000 men! To leave the post without waiting for the light division was to abandon the latter to certain destruction or capture; and during that evening and night, and the next day till three o'clock in the afternoon, when the light division was out of danger, the British general held the position at Guinaldo so confidently that Marmont firmly believed himself to be in front of Wellington's entire army; and whilst meditating the best mode of attack, displayed his splendid troops by a grand parade in the plains below. The apparent coolness of Wellington, upon whose impassive countenance, as he looked upon the brilliant show beneath, only a grim smile was seen occasionally to pass, excited the wonder of his staff, all of whom were of course aware of the extreme peril of the situation. At last an officer galloped up to announce the safe arrival of the light division, when a longdrawn, heavy breath, and a broken exclamation of joy, which escaped the British general, shewed how keen had been the anxiety concealed beneath the marble exterior. The troops were instantly withdrawn, and an able concentric movement united the army on the following day.

The astonishment of Marmont on becoming aware of what had occurred was extreme, and his pre-occupation for several hours afterwards was remarked by all who approached him. During a conversation with the officers of his staff, one of them happened to speak of Napoleon's brilliant star. * And this Wellington,' said Marmont, looking suddenly up and speaking with vivacity, his star is brilliant too.' The remark was a prophetic one, as the French marshal before many days had passed learned to his cost.

We now come to the astonishing winter-campaign of 1812, but even that we may but briefly dwell upon. And here a statement must be made that will greatly surprise those readers who remember what enormous subsidies were squandered during the war by successive Eng. lish ministries upon inefficient foreign armies. Lord Wellington, whose victories were the sole aliment of hope to the struggling peoples of the continent, was, spite of the most urgent, almost pathetic entreaties,

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kept nearly penniless for weeks and months together. At the close of the year 1811, he was involved in enormous debt, contracted for the supply of his troops; and after all he could raise by way of credit, the pay of the army was more than three months in arrear, and that of the muleteers eight months! Half and quarter rations were frequently served out, and more than once the soldiers were without bread for three days together. An official personage wrote as follows to the harassed general: 'I have clamoured for money, money, money for

every office, and everywhere with no effect. Our great men (Messrs Perceval and Canning) seem just now more occupied with the 0. P. playhouse riots than with your necessities.' The clothing, too, of the British troops had become so patched and variegated, that a regiment could scarcely be distinguished by its uniform; and yet these scantily-fed and barely-clad troops had withal become terribly efficient in the field rough, stubborn soldiers, who would hesitate at no odds however great, shrink from no danger however imminent and terrible; would, in fact, in their general's words, 'go anywhere and do anything.' Lord Wellington was extremely anxious to strike a great blow, if it could be done with any chance of success, not only to gratify the British people—who little imagined how miserably, since the Marquis of Wellesley had ceased to influence the British councils, their gallant army and favourite general were starved and stinted—but to fan the rising flame of resistance, once more beginning to shew itself in the east and north of Europe. In order to do this, it was necessary to make even his needs subservient to his audacious purpose. There were two French armies at no great distance: one under Marmont; the other commanded by Soult in Andalusia. These armies remained separate, from the clear impossibility of both finding subsistence in one locality. The French marshals were informed by their numerous spies of the destitution in many important respects of their great antagonist, and he determined they should continue to believe him to be in every way helplessly crippled. His object was to storm the two strong and important Spanish fortresses, both garrisoned by choice French troops, of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajos, and so conceal and time his enterprise that neither Soult nor Marmont should be able to afford either of the garrisons any effectual relief or assistance. To effect this the closest secrecy as to his purpose was of course absolutely necessary. Hitherto his intentions, if intrusted to subordinate officers, or communicated to ministers, always by some means or other found their way into the English newspapers, translations of which were made in Paris and transmitted to the French commanders. He determined this time to put the ubiquitous journals on a wrong scent, and succeeded admirably. General Quartermaster Murray, requesting leave of absence, was granted it immediately, “as nothing could be done till the spring.' This was repeated by General Murray on his arrival in England, and extracts from the London newspapers in due time certified the fact to the anxious French marshals. Even the chief engineers of the army only guessed that a siege or the semblance of a siege was contemplated. He hit upon a still more effectual mode of deceiving the French generals. A splendid iron battering - train had arrived at Lisbon from England. Wellington had it reshipped with some ostentation for Cadiz, causing it to be met at sea by vessels of light draught, into which the cannon were shifted,


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