Vol 1 of Peninsular Journal of Charles Crowe
 of Coddenham, Suffolk: Soldier 1785-1854.

The following is the journal of Charles Crowe covering his time in the Peninsular War 1812-1814.  This is volume 1 of a 2 Volume work (click here for Vol 2).  The document is all in script and reads very well as Charles had in fact rewritten it some years later in 1851. 

Please note that an edited version of Charles Crowe's full diary has now been published 'An Eloquent Soldier' edited by Gareth Glover and published by Pen & Sword 2011.  Copies can be bought from most book sellers.  This published version has comprehensive notes all the way through explaining the people the places and the background to the events.  The version below is a basic unedited version.

Volume 1 reads as follows:

 

A Faithful Transcript of my own Letters and Diary from The Peninsula In the years 1812 - 1813 - 1814

By Charles Crowe 

With my recollections of concurrent events

(Commenced Dec 29th 1842)

In the month of September 1812, the 2nd Battalion of the 48th Regiment, stationed at the new Barracks Chelmsford, was roused one morning, soon after the arrival of the mail, from the monotony of Garrison Duty, by the unusual early call from the bugle for orders. The sound put every one on the alert, but no one could explain the cause, for the Adjutant had not returned from the Colonel's quarters: whither clerks from the orderly room were repairing loaded with books and papers of returns. Curiosity and conjecture were at the highest pitch, when the Adjutant, his officials all bustle and haste, made their appearance; and encountered from many voices at once, the eager enquiry of "Well Dixon, what's in the wind now?"

His laconic response was "A detachment for Portugal: nine officers, and every effective man: parade an hour later, in heavy marching order; every one to be present; so my hearties look out!!" - and off posted this important functionary.

 

While the parade was forming, Colonel - now Lieutenant General Sir William Hutchinson Knight.G.C.H, put his arm into mine, drawing me aside, said, "The order I have received is very peremptory, that I shall be obliged to insert your name in the return, in spite of my wish to retain you here!"

I replied "I feel highly satisfied Colonel, by your kind wish, but truly I have now worn a Red Coast so long, that I feel anxious to earn a title to it, by foreign service."

"Well, well!" Rejoined the Colonel, "that is a right feeling on your part. I wish it was participated by others, but I am determined that some of our "skulkers" shall go! Captains Grey and Watkins, belong to the 9th Battalion, but are in no hurry to join! They shall go!" It will be shown hereafter how this good resolve was partially over rided.

 

Some weeks passed, and when the route arrived, I was unable to raise myself in bed, in consequence of a violent inflammation of the liver, and was so reduced that, when the Detachment passed under my window to 'The Grenadiers March' I could not help crying with vexation and disappointment. I was roused from my despondency by a knocking at my door, and in compliance with my feeble call of "Come in" that amiable and warm hearted creature, Mrs Hambly , who had just parted with her husband, brought back some music books, which I had lent her. She was naturally, all sorrow and excitement! She gave me her blessing, and good wishes for my recovery and rushed out again. This was the last time we met. Poor dear Lady! Hers was a short, but strange and eventful life!!!

 

In the course of that day Colonel Hutchinson kindly visited my sick room, and cheered my spirits by his animated witty and gentlemanly conversation. My recovery was rapid, for in about ten days I was able to creep into the sunshine in the Barracks Square where the Colonel, and even Mrs Hutchinson kindly joined my walk, occasionally.

 

During one of these saunterings, I told the Colonel that finding myself convalescent, I was anxious to obtain his leave to join the Detachment at Portsmouth by means of the coaches. He admitted the plan was practicable, if I was equal to the exertion, for after a long fortnight's march the Detachment had but just reached Wilsea Barracks, where, in all probability, they would wait three or four weeks for embarkation. In the most friendly manner he gently urged me to give up my plan, but finding me resolved, issued the order for my proceeding and kindly prepared for me, an early dinner in his own apartments before I started. The kindness I experienced on this occasion, I shall ever remember with gratitude and pride!

 

Saturday October 16th afternoon I packed myself into the coach for London and when I arrived at the Old Slaughter's Coffee House in St.Martin's Lane, a great resort at that time for military men, I found thirty miles journey was quite enough for my strength. And I began to think I had been rash in not harkening to the friendly advice of Colonel Hutchinson. The arrival of my old schoolfellow, my cousin, a surgeon near Pall Mall, cheered my exhausted spirits.

 

A good night's rest and excellent breakfast did me much good, so that when my brother joined me from Surrey, and offered to accompany me to Portsmouth I felt all my energies renewed. The proximity of The Golden Cross, Charing Cross, induced us to take the coach from thence. Of this we afterwards bitterly repented for we were from five o'clock on the Monday afternoon 'till nearly eight the next morning travelling seventy two miles. I was quite exhausted by fatigue, but roused up when my brother told me we were about to enter the Fortress, for we were approaching the palisades of the Half Moon, or Ravelin. How fervently did I wish myself outside the coach, that I might have had a full view of the imposing aspect of a regularly fortified town! I did make the utmost use of my languid senses, but our provoking coachman, who had for so many hours been drawing "his long length along" redoubled his speed, and we passed the palisades and the ravelin, rumbled over the drawbridge under the portcullis, and through the dark gateway into the town, with a celerity, which gratified his whipship, but not my curiosity. My military ardour awakened with the conviction that I was at length within a formidable fortress, the defence of which would require at least twenty thousand soldiers!!

 

We took up our quarters at the George Hotel, and engaged private apartments, that we might uninterruptedly enjoy the society of each other, until the following evening when my brother would return home.

 

Philip [Philip Crowe, 1779-1831], were it possible! Participated with more than a brothers feelings in my situation, because in the year 1799, he was in the same hotel, with our kind uncle Wisemann, previous to his own embarkation for the East Indies Army! During breakfast Philip questioned me relative to my prospects of promotion to a Lieutenant, when I expressed the utmost confidence which I felt in the promises of Lord Moira [Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1754-1826], to our uncle Henry [Rev Henry Crowe, 1741-1816], and his Lordship's letter to myself acknowledging the receipt of Colonel Hutchinson's strong testimonial, especially as these were supported by the provisional application of my former Colonel Sir William Parker Bart of the West Suffolk Militia, who had been private secretary to his Lordship when Ambassador.

 

Philip admitted my hopes were well grounded, but thought that a letter to his Lordship from the port of embarkation for foreign service would be a good auxiliary. I therefore wrote the following, under his superintendence.

 

(copy)

Portsmouth Oct 19th 1812

My Lord,

Before embarking for Spain, I once more trouble your Lordship with my thanks for kindness, which I shall recollect with pride and gratitude, though it has not hitherto been accompanied with the success your Lordship intended.

 

I observed in last Tuesday's Gazette the promotions in the 27th Regiment but, however, my ambition may feel hurt at the non appearance of my nam. I trust that as a soldier I feel other sentiments which will not allow me to repine at so equitable an arrangement when, to the generosity which prompted your Lordship's former patronage, I have added the hopes, which a faithful discharge of my duties on service is allowed to encourage, I have finally to request that I may still be remembered. And then if your Lordship has an opportunity of getting me into the 27th Regiment I shall no longer regret the present delay.

 

My late Commanding Officer Colonel Hutchinson has given me so many flattering assurances of his approbation, and of his willingness to testify the same, that if your Lordship should have an opportunity of applying by letter to him, concerning my character, I feel confident that the result would be honourable to me, and satisfactory to your Lordship.

 

I have the honor to be etc etc

Etc etc

Charles Crowe

Ensign 48th Regiment. 

 

To Lord Moira

Etc etc

 

To this, when in the Peninsula, I received the following flattering reply.

 

London 28th October 1812

Sir,

There was so much proper feeling and delicacy in the letter which you addressed to me that I thought it would be advantageous for you to have it perused by the Commander in Chief* (The Duke of York) and I am persuaded it has made an impression very favourable for you.

 

There being no less than six vacancies occasioned by the casualties of Service in the list of Lieutenants of my Regiment, I thought I could without injustice recommend you and another young man for whom I was interested for two of them, four Ensigns of the Regiment being to be promoted before you. The other person I knew to be as much an object of the Duke of York's patronage as of mine, yet His Royal Highness found it necessary to reject the application on the ground that there were eight Ensigns in the Regiment older than you two. In the event of another recruiting company being added to my Regiment (a measure long pressed by me as urgently necessary to keep up three Battalions on service) I have great hopes you would be appointed to a Lieutenantcy in it. The Duke of York has recommended the addition of that Company to my depot, but the Secretary at War has made difficulties.

 

I have the Honor, Sir, to be

Your obedient servant

(signed) Moira

Ensign Crowe

48th Regiment

 

With the forgoing, I find I have preserved the following copy (the original I transmitted to Lord Moira) it is so characteristic of my kind friend, that I must transcribe it here:-

 

New Barracks

August 29th 1812

Dear Sir,

You were pleased some few days ago, to apply to me for a testimonial of my opinion of you as an Officer under my command. It becomes, therefore, a matter not more due to justice than productive of sincere satisfaction to me thus to certify that I have marked with an highly approving eye your diligent attention towards, and accurate performance of your duty in all respects, since I have enjoyed the honor of commanding the second Battalion.

 

Believe me to be 

Dear Sir

Your very faithful humble servant

Colonel & Lieutenant Colonel. 48th Regiment

 

Ensign Crowe

48th Regiment

Chelmsford.

 

My brother and I were about to sally forth to view the town, when I spied Captain Grey. This gave me a good opportunity of reporting my arrival, and I requested him to obtain permission from the Commandant at Wilsea Barracks, where the Detachment was quartered, for me to remain in lodgings near the seaside, for the recovery of my health in conformity to the instructions of our Surgeon at Chelmsford. My request was readily granted for the Barracks were so over full, that Officers were living two, three and even four, in one room. In our walk I met with my fellow Ensign, Hambly, and told him my plan when he promised to ask his brother-in-law, Twincham [William Holloway Twynam of the Magicienne ], a Purser in the Navy, residing at Southsea to search for lodgings for me. We met many more of my old companions, all of whom were surprised to see me there. Philip and I wearied ourselves in our peregrination over the town, and along or rather round the fortifications, and mutually regretted the supineness of Government in having suffered a densely inhabited town, like Southsea, to have sprung up within less than half range of shot immediately in front of the Queen's, and nearly so of the King's Bastion where an enemy might at once make a strong lodgement.

 

The next evening my kind brother left me by the Mail. When I went into the coffee room of the hotel, and found myself very solitary!!! I was looking at a newspaper, without reading a word, for my thoughts were far away when I was roused by the loud voice of my compeer Hambly , as he entered with some Officers of the Fusiliers. He came across and asked me to join their supper party, but I declined by saying my health and spirits would not enable me, and that I intended to go off to bed early. He regretted I would not, for he had promised to show his friends some of his sleight of hand tricks, and he wanted my assistance, so he would call me to join them after supper to which, at his earnest request I assented. It was very evident that some of the party had encountered a previous carousal, for they soon became very talkative, and my chum very easily conglomerated their bewildered senses by his expertness. One of the salt cellars from the table, he apparently swallowed, somewhat, of the cut edges hurting this throat, but offered to swallow any other moderately sized article with a smoother surface if they would offer it. The young fellows had been preparing for their voyage, accordingly one produced a cake of Windsor soap, another a bottle of Cheltenham Salts. Both of which followed the salt cellar - "not heeding consequences!" Weary as I was, I could not help laughing at the utter astonishment of the dupes. Hambly next offered if any one had a half crown in his pocket, he would show the reflection of it from the ceiling, with the King's head downwards. The coin was soon produced, and very soon after was sticking to the ceiling, as promised to the confusion of the owner, and to the great delight of the waiter, who was watching the proceedings. This man was very attentive to my breakfast next morning, and expressed a fervent hope that my friend would come every evening, for he was the most clever gentleman ever seen, and it was very kind of the gentleman not to conjure the half crown down again, for he had himself taken care of that before he went to bed.

 

The most ludicrous part of the exhibition next ensued. With the flow of language indispensably requisite with legerdemain, Hambly complained very much of the uneasiness of his stomach, and expressing his fears that the glass salt cellar would come up, begged the excuses of the company if he should be obliged to disgorge it. The apology was readily assented to, for every one expressed an earnest desire to see it again, that they might be convinced that it had been down. Consequently after much groaning, and many contortions and distortions, the salt cellar was seen half way out of his capacious mouth, and was replaced on the table. All gazed with astonishment, but no one would defile his fingers by touching it! While their attention as thus engaged a sudden noise brought the bottle of salts again to sight. In course of time and after much palaver, the cake of soap reappeared.

 

Hambly offered each article to their respective owners but No! Neither would touch an article which had been into a man's paunch!! Consequently, at the close of the evening, I, as an invalid, received the bottle of salts as my share of the proceeds of the performance, and Hambly retained the soap to assist him in scraping off his black beard.

 

His next trick was new to me, for I had never seen him preform it before. He bit a good sized piece out of a wine glass, and to appearance, ground it with his teeth into an impalpable white powder. This, I afterwards found out, was a piece of tobacco pipe which he had dexterously substituted for the piece of glass. The trick however succeeded to the admiration of all the party. But one young fellow, who was decidedly the worse for his potations, would, in spite of our remonstrances, attempt the performance of this trick himself, ant bit the glass so unguardedly, that he cut his lips and face most lamentably. Beyond all doubt he bitterly repented his folly next morning. This bloody circumstances broke up the party.

 

The following day, through Hambly's assistance, I ensconced myself in very comfortable lodgings, in Belle Vue Terrace, Southsea, facing the Queen's Bastion. The upper story was occupied by Major Dickerson of the Marines, who had come from Plymouth with his bride to spend the honeymoon. I sent a note up to him requesting permission for the private marine who waited on him to clean my accoutrements. This was granted and after a few days I found the Major's card on my table. I duly returned the compliment, and the first evening that I was invited to take tea with them, I found the bride's youngest sister, and brides maid, was of the party which was increased by the arrival of Lieutenant Foot, Flag Lieutenant to the Port Admiral, and his wife who was another sister.

 

Foot was a frank, open hearted, merry Jack Tan, "full of life and full of glee." When I alluded to having been in the West Suffolk Militia, Foot enquired of I knew Lieutenant Patrick and his wife. I replied, "Indeed I do, for I am happy to say I was most intimate with them, and spent most of my evenings at their lodgings!" At which declaration, Foot surprised me by exclaiming

"Holla, avast young fellow! I have found you out - Oh, ho! You are an old flirt of my sister's, Mary Patrick!!! Can Poll talk as fast as ever?"

I answered - "Not quite so fast as her brother!" At this he gave my hand a grip from which it did not fast recover. 

"Aye, yea!" He replied, "I find that my sister Polly has taught you some of her pertness! Now then," he continued, "that I know all about you young chap, I will give you some good advice. You see that little fire frigate on the other side of the room," pointing to his young sister-in-law, "she has twice been bride's maid, to my wife, and to Dickerson's, and is now keeping a sharp look out for her own promotion. I see she is preparing all her sails to bear down on you. And if you do not keep your weather eye up, she will carry you into Port Matrimony before you know your bearings!!" The jocase sally produced a hearty laugh from all the party, and a lusty box on the starboard bows of the rattling Lieutenant from the lively and lovely bride's maid. I enjoyed many pleasant evenings with this merry company.

 

Hambly introduced me to his sister Mrs Twincham and her husband. And they introduced me to the family of the Comptroller of Customs, Mr Williams, a very find handsome man, and his wife was also very handsome. Their family were very engaging particularly the second daughter, about twenty years of age, with flaxen hair, bright blue eyes, a beautiful complexion, an amiable and lovely countenance, and most prepossessing manners. In fact I verily believe that had I been long stationed there, I should, like Corporal Trim, have fallen souse over head and ears in love! Thus a fortnight passed very quickly and very pleasantly.

 

November 6th

The troops were embarked, before I was aware. And Hambly engaged a berth for me, on board the ship John, with himself. Accordingly I sent my sea stock on board the next day

 

November 8th

I met my friend Lieutenant Vander [Vandermeulan ? page 18], who, when he had heard of my plan, exclaimed "That will not do! You will lose all the benefit gained by living quietly in lodgings. There are seven Commissary Clerks on board the John, whom Hambly will keep playing cards all night, and worry you into another illness! You shall go in the Isabella with me, there is only Lieutenant Cobbould of the Dragoons, a very gentlemanly pleasant fellow. Come with me to the Transport Office. I know the old Comptroller, and will persuade him to transfer you to my ship." After much persuasion the sturdy weather beaten tar granted our request. Fortunately we were enabled to arrange about my sea stock sent on board for just as we regained the High Street we met Hambly who reimbursed me. By Vander's assistance I very soon prepared another, and more frugal stock, and sent it to the Blue Ports Hotel, at the Point, where Hambly and I had engaged beds for the night, that we might embark early the next morning.

 

I was well pleased with this new arrangement for I found Hambly's unceasing flow of spirits was at times very overpowering! We very wisely engaged a boat's crew to call us, and to take us on board for Sunday November 9th. We were awakened before daylight by a violent knocking at the house door, and before we could half dress ourselves, the waiter in great hast came into the room to say the Commodore had fired his signal gun and hoisted the Blue Peter! Under these circumstances not a moment could be lost. We swallowed a hasty breakfast while the men were taking our luggage to the boat, then hurried off.

 

As we passed out of the harbour we beheld the whole of the fleet under way, and, apparently leaving us behind, which made me regret very much that I did not go on board the day before with my friend Vander instead of spending the evening with Mrs Twincham to console her on the departure of her husband, appointed Purser to the Magicienne [42 gun frigate under Capt Hon Willam Gordon], our Commodore's ship, a beautiful new frigate, and this her first voyage. My anxiety not to loose my passage convinced me of the risk Officers run by lingering on shore to the last minute and resolved in my own mind to profit by the present experience, should the chances of war allow me to see another embarkation. Thus, on reaching Lisbon, I was not surprised to find both our Captains Grey and Watkins, had not arrived.

 

At the same time there were strong grounds for suspecting they had purposely stayed behind! If such was the fact, the plan did not answer their purpose. For Colonel Hutchinson on being informed of the circumstances, determined to follow up his resolution as expressed to me in the Barrack Square at Chelmsford and lost no time in making his report to the War Office. In consequence of which the two renowned sculkers were ordered to remain at Wilsea, until another opportunity offered for them to embark.

 

The morning was very fine, the bright sun enlivened the animating scene, and as the wind was light, we rapidly gained on the fleet, which dispelled my fears and raised my spirits so that I was able fully to enjoy the very imposing sight which amply repaid me for my past anxiety. The whole channel between the Hampshire coast and the Isle of Wight was covered with canvas, every vessel being under full sail, all bound to the same port conveying so many hundreds of Britain's hardy sons, eager to fight for their country's glory!!!

 

Beyond the middle of the fleet we came up with the Isabella, and the John, not far distant to windward. I was heartily rejoiced to get on board and to receive the congratulations of my friend and his companions.

 

Vander having returned from Portugal with the skeleton of the 2nd Battalion after the fatal battle of Albuera, was quite an old sailor, well versed in all that was going forward, and kept up the interest of the scene by imparting a great deal of information. He possesses a book of signals by which he explained the one made by the part or our convoy in the van, the Niemen frigate and the Columbine, Brig of War - "Lay to for the Commodore!"

 

Soon afterwards we saw the Magicienne coming up with every sail set and swelling with the breeze.

 

She passed not far from us, in most beautiful and gallant state, towering over us, as a lofty steeple over the nave of a church making our Brig the Isabella and all the other transports look like Cockboats attending her Sovereign will! It may be truly said, "that an English Man-of-War under full sail is on of the grandest sights in the world!!" The delay however proved unfortunate for us, by enabling a boat to reach us, which, but for that, could not have come up with the ship. Vander was on the sharp look, and exclaimed "I am sorry to say there is a boat making for this vessel with a grim shabby looking old chap in a brown great coat, and confound the old curmudgeon! I declare he has no sea stock with him!!" How shall we manage this business my friends?" For as the old soldiers say on service 'A joke is a joke, but keep your hand out of my haversack these hard times!' We agreed that there was no alternative but to admit him to share with us. When he came on board, we were glad to find his address was more gentlemanly than his dress! And that he was Dr Rice, a Staff Surgeon of long standing. He very handsomely apologized for not having any sea stock, and assured us that he did not receive his Order for Embarkation until Friday, and reached Portsmouth so late on Saturday, that he had not time to do more than obtain his order for a ship.

 

We passed the Needles in fine order about 4pm with a fine and favourable wind. After which we went to dinner but only the Doctor and myself could sit it out.

 

At night I found my bed excessively hard. The tow of which my mattress was made was so scanty that it had become two knots in hard earnest. The next day I made a friend of the Mate who had exchanged it for me and lent an additional one. We were now out at sea, with a brisker wind which convinced us that our vessel lived best in a fresh breeze. No small consolation this, in the month of November! The master explained this circumstance by informing us that a ship is coppered for three years service, but his had been seven as a transport. And her owners apprehending that she would be paid off ere long were unwilling to spend their money about repairs.

 

As nothing but a distant view of the Isle of Alspunt on the French coast occurred for some days I will fill up the tediousness of a sea voyage with a brief sketch of the extraordinary life of my brother Officer Hambly , whom I have already so often mentioned and of whom I shall have much to say hereafter.

 

His father was a merchant at Truro, in Cornwall, and more than once Mayor of that Borough. According with the spirit of the time, he made some rash ventures, and the French ouivzers took off his cargoes, whereby his prospects were ruined. He then went to Gibraltar, and opened a store or warehouse.

 

My companion obtained a commission in the Cornwall Militia from which he volunteered as Lieutenant of the 23rd Fusiliers, taking with him his quota of men, which would entitle him to retain the same rank in the Line, according to the Regulation then in force. Every Officer was obliged under such circumstances to give each man an additional bounty to accompany them, and thus Hambley expended nearly a hundred pounds. He had a very long march to perform with his men, to join the Depot of the Fusiliers at Colchester. When he arrived near London, he learned with vexation and dismay, that another Regulation had been issued and that no more Officers would be allowed to retain their rank. Full of indignation he hastened to the War Office, and from what he stated to me I am inclined to think, demeaned himself more according to the justice of his claim, than the peculiarity of the case. However this may have been he was so dissatisfied with the reception he had experienced, that he returned to the Detachment, rashly gave over the charge to a Serjeant, sent his Commission back to his old Commanding Officer, and embarked for Gibraltar.

 

He was soon weary of an idle life, and being well versed in the Spanish language, accepted an appointment as Lieutenant Colonel of a corps of Patriots up the Mediterranean. There he remained nearly a year and half, but disgusted with the service, where the men were so badly fed, worse clothed, and still worse paid, he again returned to Gibraltar. His next essay was to join Lord Wellington's army as a volunteer, was attached to, and carried his musket in the very Regiment, the 23rd, in which, but for his rashness, he might most probably been a Lieutenant of some standing. Here he encountered much privation and hardship. But after the Battle of Albuera obtained an Ensigncy in the 48th Regiment, one of the eleven then appointed at Northampton a few days after I had joined the 2nd Battalion. But there was too great a dissimilarity to admit of our being very intimate.

 

Hambley was senior in years to most of the Officers present, but was nevertheless boon companion with all the youngsters, and accompanied them by day and by night in all their wild pranks. One evening when thus engaged, Hambley was collared by a Footman, whom he knocked down, and then escaped.

 

The man's master was wealthy and independent, a retired lawyer, disliked by all his neighbours for his litigiousness, a violent Whig, fond of finding fault with Government and everything therewith connected. A complaint against the Military was consequently quite to his taste. He therefore compelled his servant to identify his assailant. No easy task this, in a dark winterly night! Thus the servant guided solely by size fixed on me, and the third morning afterwards, when I was at breakfast, a Constable walked in with a summons from the Mayor. I was totally ignorant of the event until that moment. But having been the whole evening in question, in company with Assistant Surgeon Wright, and the night also, for we occupied the same room at the George Hotel, I was enabled to establish a most unquestionable alibi, and carried the business through with a very high hand! Not failing to give the Whig lawyer a right good wiggin for his want of courtesy.

 

I have detailed this circumstance, because I know of no other reason for Hambley's partiality to me. 

 

Soon after this we marched to and occupied Weedon Barracks, with the Depot of the 14th Regiment. At mess one evening the conversation related to a Ball at Daventry, about five miles distant. Some present were much disposed to accompany those Officers of the 14th who were going. When Surgeon Wright casually said, he had no doubt his old flirt, Miss Bayley would be there.

"And who is Miss Bayley?" enquired Hambley. Wright told him that Miss B. was the daughter of a Clergyman, a D.D. [Doctor of Divinity] in that neighbourhood. That she was a very pleasant and animated young lady of about five and twenty, and very fond of dancing.

"Give me," said Hambley, "a note of introduction, and I will go and dance with her, or forfeit a dozen of wine to the mess." After very great persuasion Dr Wright did write a chit that note, and off started the votaries of Terpsichore.

 

Suffice to say that, that day three weeks, Ensign Hambley and Miss Bayley were dully married! And a very happy couple they were while they lived, pool souls!! Hambley had not been long with the 1st Battalion in Portugal ere he received a letter from his wife, stating that her father was dead, and that if he did not return to her assistance there was great probability that she would not receive even seven instead of ten thousand pounds. This letter was submitted to Lord Wellington, and Hambley obtained leave to return to England on private affairs. After this I saw him no more. He purchased a Lieutenancy in the 49th and sailed with a Detachment to join that Regiment in Canada. The ship was wrecked on the coast of Newfoundland. Hambley exerted himself with his wanted activity and presence of mind, but a tremendous wave swept him and many others of the wreck. He made good his landing on the shore, and when he had recovered his strength a little, returned on board to save his wife. This unfortunate pair was next day washed ashore locked in each others arms!

 

The history of my ship mates is quickly told. Vander is now Senior Major in the 73rd Regiment, and Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. Poor Cobbold soon returned home, and died of consumption.

 

Sunday 16th November. 

Vander and I agreed to reverence the day, and a parade for Divine Service had been ordered. I was to have officiated as Chaplain, but the rain was too heavy to allow any but the sailors working the ship to remain on deck. The Master dined with us. When he left our cabin he foresaw a storm, and gave orders accordingly. Late in the evening the Hatchways were closed, and covered over with tarred purlings and a most awful night ensued. The wind blew great guns, and the sea ran mountains high. Our ship pitched and tossed and reeled most furiously. Sleep was out of question, especially after midnight, when the table broke from the lashings to the floor, and set at liberty all our trunks stowed beneath, which drove slap bang from side to side as the vessel rolled. Thus Cobbold and myself in the lower berths were alternately in dread of unwelcome intruders. I succeeded in catching hold of and securing my own trunk, and was leaning forward to reach Vander's when Dr Rice, anxious about his case of instruments, dropped from the berth above, and caught my head between his thighs. At this very juncture, the ship lurched suddenly to narboard [Page 30], so that the Doctor, being rather short, could but just reach the floor, and by clinging to his own berth, save himself from falling backward. Thus I remained in a pillory without the possibility of withdrawing my head, to the great amusement of our opposite companions. Pinching and thumping availed me not, for the Doctor could not budge a jot, until the ship righted on its way to falling to starboard, which made the Doctor scramble up to save his legs from the trunks, and thus set me free. All of us now could join the hearty laugh, and joke the Doctor's nimbleness in saving his shanks. Our glee was however, cut short, for as the ship was rising on a lofty wave and appeared to stand on end, a cross wave struck our stern, made every plank and timber quiver, smashed our dead lights, or storm window shutters, to atoms, and shipped much water.

 

Cobbold and I had now to change our operations, and were obliged as the vessel rolled to either side, to hold up our bed clothes to prevent the water washing into our berths, and were thus employed until the water by degrees found its way under the cabin door to the ship's waste. All this was bad enough, but in the hold, where men and horses were so closely stowed, the scene was horrible! Three fine horses were suffocated, and falling against those next to them, threw them down, and they by their plunging injured others. When the storm mitigated in the morning, so as to allow the hatchways to be partly opened and fresh air admitted some men fainted.

 

As soon as practicable the dead horses were drawn out of the hold and thrown overboard. But it was a very difficult undertaking to set the other poor fallen and frightened animals again on their legs, during the continued rolling of the vessel. Other ships also threw their dead horses, the most crowded had, consequently, more casualties. There were very many detachments of Dragoons embarked in the fleet, particularly of the Oxford Blues, who lost a very many of their fine black horses. The sea presented a melancholy scene, covered with floating carcases as far as we could see. Our rigging stood well, but some vessels were greatly shattered, and some two or three were obliged to run before the gale, and returned to Plymouth.

 

Our convoy scudded about in all directions to collect their scattered charge. We maintained our central position. About 3pm Vander descried a suspicious square rigged ship close in shore hugging the wind under easy sail, for we had crossed the bight of the Bay of Biscay, and could discern the Spanish coast. Our Master pronounced the stranger to be an American Man-of-War. This unwelcome intelligence induced us to go down and muster our men between decks, as well as we could, and make them look to, and prepare their arms and ammunition, in case of an attack during the night. When we returned on deck our Commodore had the signal flying "Look to the strange sail at Windward." And away went the Brig of War, our Columbine, dashing and splashing in most gallant style through the lofty billows which seemed all to combine to oppose her progress. We watched her with a lively interest, as long as the daylight lasted, then returned to our cabins, and having made as good a meal as the rolling of the vessel would allow, we laid down, sword in hand, prepared for any alarm. Having however, to make up for lost sleep the night before, we soon forgot our cares and anxieties until the morning.

 

The weather continued very rough, and on the Friday 21st November we encountered another boisterous gale. The want of exercise made me very unwell, and not even the conjured bottle of Cheltenham salts could conjure me relief.

 

22nd November. 

We stood close in to the coast of Portugal and expected to enter the Tagus, but the wind was adverse.

 

Sunday 23rd November. 

We were roused early by the Master conversing in Portugese with the pilot he had engaged, and found the scene around us very interesting. On our left was the formidable Fort St.Julian. Behind and much above were the rocks which formed part of the Grand Aquaduct supplying all Lisbon with most excellent water, the interstices connected by lofty arches. On our right was a dangerous shoal which we skirted within pistol shot, the channel being so narrow. On this shoal is built the strong Fort de Bugio [Saint Lawrence of the Dry Head], bristled with numerous guns. From thence the shore on each side is rocky, and bold. That on our left was well inhabited all the way. But the southern, separated from the city by the broad river, or estuary, alternated by clusters of rocks, hamlets, and vineyards. In one of these I saw, to my surprise, ten or a dozen men hard at work, totally regardless of the holy day. The wind was light and unfavourable, barely sufficient to enable us to make head way against the strong tide which runs six knots per hour. This however afforded us ample time to admire the beautiful appearance of the city, hanging, as it were, on the side of a rock. The glare of the white buildings was oppressive to the eye at mid day, but the setting sun threw a pleasing tinct on the whole, and made every house visible. The uniformity of the buildings, with the streets at right angles presented a very prepossessing aspect.

 

We anchored opposite the fish market, after five o'clock. Our companion Dr Rice having no charge on board, and being as much at home, as he would have been in London, landed with the pilot, leaving a pressing invitation for all of us to dine with him on the morrow. After it became dark I watched in vain for the lamplighters, the paucity of light scarcely made darkness visible, and afforded no appearance of the extent of the city, and scarcely of its locality. But all doubts on this latter point were silenced by the horrible barking and howling of the innumerable dogs. To this we became insensible when ensconced in our berths, and in full enjoyment of the quietude of a harbour, we did not fail to redeem the lost sleep of the week past.

 

24th November  

Cobbold would not leave the ship. But Vander and I went on shore, reported ourselves at the offices of the Adjutant General, and Town Major, and obtained a billet for both at the same house, which we could not visit that day. So to make the most of our time we went to dine with our late chum Dr Rice and much enjoyed our visit. In the evening about 9 o'clock we engaged a boat to take us on board. The tide was flowing rapidly, but our boatman pulled so lazily that I was soon convinced we should not reach our ship. This probability annoyed me excessively for we had been on shore without authority and I was vexed that in the very outset I should expose myself to the censure of Captains Grey and Watkins, whose conduct towards me at Chelmsford I had been obliged to highly resent, when they betrayed their foolish jealousy of Colonel Hutchinson's partiality for me. My friend Vander was too old a soldier to heed such things. He did however expostulate and exhort the men, but all to no purpose.

 

I was provoked at their want of energy, and standing up, I half drew my sword, and pointed significantly to the bright blade while I made it glitter with the light of the moon. Vander telling them at the same time, that I was a most desperate blood thirsty fellow. All this was of no avail, for we went more than a boat's length astern of our ship.

 

There was only one expedient, namely to return to the lee of the shore and make another attempt, to which our boatman agreed, but as soon as we regained the shore, the scoundrels jumped out and ran away, shouting aloud "that the English were going to kill them!" I was much too angry to join my friend's hearty laugh at this upshot. But I could not have carried my resentment so far as he did, by kicking the boat off into the current, whereby the men lost their boat as well as their pay.

 

It was now too late to obtain another boat. We were obliged, therefore, to return and state our case to the Doctor, who prevailed on his landlady to make two beds on the floor of the sitting room where we dined.

 

25th November 

Our men disembarked, and marched into Belem Castle, where we left them in charge of an Officer of the Regiment stationed there on Depot Duty. Here we learned that Captain Grey had lost his passage, and that Captain Watkins, his ship had returned to England during the storm. Thus my friend Vander became the Senior Officer of the Detachment.

 

We two traced three miles through vile and dirty streets to Lisbon, to make good our billet on an "Illustrissimo!" who was not at home, but his servant according to orders received from this illustrissimo, conducted us to a house in a back street where we were shown one room, with one table, and six chairs, and were informed that was all we had to expect.

 

This was too bad! So we obtained another billet, which was on an Archbishop, No.39 Rua do Salibie, and in a back wing of the house we were accommodated with four rooms and a kitchen, all very clean, and facing to the south we did not need any fire. At night we greatly enjoyed the clean beds. We were far away from active parts of the city, to the northward of the Inquisition, and lived very comfortably free from idle callers. Only once did we catch a glimpse of His Holiness the Archbishop, at a window towards the garden. His Major Domo was very civil, but a crafty old chap. For instance, we desired him to take a bottle of porta, part of the small residue of our sea stock, to the Archbishop with a polite message. The next day when we enquired if His Holiness relished the porta, the old fox confessed that considering it much to heavy a beverage for a person so grievously afflicted with the gout as the Archbishop, he had drank it himself, and as it was so very good he would gladly accept another bottle! But we thought this was too much of a good thing!! I will not attempt a history of Lisbon but as a passing soldier merely state that I found it much smaller, more poverty stricken, and by far more filthy, than I expected. Its extent I thought somewhat larger than Dublin. The dock yard was a burlesque on the name, all its stores consisted of five small anchors, a small quantity of cordage and the frame of a frigate on the stocks, in the same state as when the English first entered Portugal.

 

In most of the old streets the ruins left by the earthquake of 1755 still stare you in the face, and form dens for the innumerable half wild dogs which lurk therein by day, and by night act partly scavengers to the city at large by feeding on the refuse thrown from the various houses, to which they rush in swarms by the instinct of experience, and many quarrels occur while the more peaceably disposed members of the community cull the choice morsels! When the French occupied Lisbon, Marshal Janot [Jean Janot, 1754-1820] gave an order and two thousand of these dogs were killed one night!! By the numbers we saw we should not have imagined that such a slaughter had ever taken place. The declivity of the city is from north to south, consequently the transverse streets are generally on a level, and these are filthy beyond the apprehension of an Englishman!! It is no easy task to cross them by day, and rashness by night, as we found on our return from the river to the Doctor's lodgings. In our progress we heard the vile shouts "Aqua Ni" water is coming, which they are obliged to call thrice and show a light. But the shout and light were on our side of the street, and as these execrable deluges are thrown from the attic or fifth story, we could not identify the exact house from whence the nuisance was coming, and our only recourse was to ensconce ourselves in the recess of some door way, and escaped tolerably well. Had the light been on the opposite side, we could have bolted away at once. In Lisbon there are no underground sewers, no water closets of any kind. A large bucket with a board laid on the top receives the slops etc etc of all the house, and at night is poured from the attic into the street.

 

At our billet we enjoyed the comfort of a regular retreat at the corner of the garden. The walk to it was planted on one side with orange trees, on the other with Qumous each bearing half ripe fruit, and an abundance of blossoms.

 

Except in the modern streets, the ground floor of the houses is used as a stable, or store for wood and lumber. The large arched doorway is open during the day, facing which is a broad staircase leading to the top of the house. Each story of which is generally occupied by a separate family, who burn frequently during the day lavender and various herbs to drown obnoxious scents. And as every family makes its own selection for such purposes multifarious are the fumes which assail the olfactory nerves when ascending a flight of these stone steps as we fully experienced when we called on the worthy old Quarter Master of our regiment, who had arrived to take charge of the stores which we had brought out.

 

My friend Vander urged me to obtain Dollars for a spare Bank of England note which, like a young soldier, I had failed to get exchanged at Portsmouth, and conducted me to a banker on the quay, where the ground floors are occupied as stores or warehouses. In one of these, the whole front occupied by the door and the open window, the shutters to which hung down outside, like a butcher's shop, an elderly man stood listlessly behind a counter, whereon were placed an ink stand, some pens, a quire of long writing paper, and a few piles of dollars, about 20 or 30 in each, these formed the whole visible stock of this Yeleped Banker, alias, Money Changer. Being satisfied by inspection of my bank note, he went to work with pen, ink and paper, in a long multiplication sum. I could not resist calling out "What on earth is the fellow about?" "Let him along, replied my friend, he will not produce a dollar for your note until he has rendered the sum into Mille Rez, twenty of which make a Nintin, that is not worth three halfpence. The old chap at length crept into division: his paper barely long enough to allow him to ascertain that my ten pounds were worth 35 dollars! Just three fourths of its sterling value, or six and three pence for the dollar. The Officers of the Life and House Guards purchased all the horses and mules in the market. A very indifferent mule fetched 120 dollars, equal to £31.10.0 so that many were satisfied with a donkey, or booro, to carry their luggage, and to make use of their own legs.

 

I purchased a canteen consisting of an oval hamper covered with an undressed bullocks hide containing the following appurtenances. A tin boiler capable of holding a gallon or more, another within that into which event a tea kettle and a pot, with shifting handles, pepper box, a salt cellar, and a gridiron occupied a half of the space. The next partition was fitted with two tin canisters filled with two pounds of moist sugar and about a pound and half of tea. In the other compartment were two tin plates, two knives and forks, two iron spoons, two earthen cups and saucers with pewter spoons. For this ordinary fit out I paid twenty dollars, or £6.5.0! I grudged my money excessively at the time, but every day's experience made me better satisfied with my purchase.

 

4th December 

At half past seven a.m. Lieutenants Delacey, Hambley and I embarked from Belem Castle with our men, in Men-of-War's boats, and floated up the river on the tide. The weather was delightful, and the scenery interesting, particularly when we reached Alliandra, the right of the famed Lines of Torres Nedras by which Lord Wellington defended Lisbon. This was considered the weakest point in the whole position on account of the level ground and broad road skirting the river. To counteract this difficulty, gun boats were moored, so as to command the valley to the first hill. Weak as the point might have been, I should not have relished the duty of forcing it in the face of a brave enemy. We landed at Villa Franca [Villa Franca de Xira] between one and two p.m., a distance of 25 miles which was accomplished without great exertion to the sailors who rowed us. And a very pleasant trip it was. Moreover, we thus gained a point that would have required two days long marching. I obtained a good billet with a clean comfortable bed on the floor and slept very soundly as any soldier need to do.

 

Hambley and I agreed to mess together during the march. He was glad to avail himself of the comfort of my canteen and I was glad to make use of his knowledge of the Portuguese language.

 

5th December

We marched to Azambuja, and every one of the party felt himself a soldier in right earnest. The men felt the weight of their knapsacks loaded with a blanket in addition to their usual contents, surmounted with their tin canteens containing the remains of three days rations, and of their cartridge boxes charged with sixty rounds of ammunition.

 

And the Officers, followed closely by their loaded Booroes, marching in the rear, felt their responsibility for any misdemeanour of their men. This place showed the devastation of war, few houses were habitable, and scarcely one had escaped injury. The inhabitants we found remaining were emblems of poverty and dirt. My bed - nay the walls and the floor of the room - swarmed with fleas. Truly "their name was Legion!" And they were as avaricious of English blood as their masters of English money. I was regularly flea botomised. I had no fear of plethora, on the morrow, for my body corporate was far more dense studded with punctures than this paper is with letters! And the Muschetos maintained a full share in the concert.

 

6th December 

We marched to Santarem, and never did I spend a Sunday so little to my own satisfaction. We were fully aware that the Commandant, Lieutenant Colonel Royal of the 61st Regiment was the greatest martinet in the service, and that he was posted here in virtue of that very amiable qualification!! True it is, that the distance from Lisbon, and the steep ascent of the day's march, especially from Cartaxo (pronounced Cartashio) were sure to daunt the ardour of fresh arrived troops. And equally true it is, that Santarem was not a resting place for any of Sergeant Scully's party, i.e. no sculkers could remain there. Lieutenant Delacey commanding our party, having been in Portugal formerly, well knew the necessity of strict discipline, and was very anxious to avoid the severe censure which most generally was bestowed on detachments arriving at this station. He appointed me to bring up the rear, and not to leave a man behind promising to lead the party slowly forward, and to await my arrival before he marched in. The day was bright and warm, and our whole route exposed to the sun, the towering rocks on our left kept away every breath of the northern breeze. I had a most laborious duty, but with threats and persuasions, and occasionally carrying two or three muskets for the poor young fellows, I brought up the rear in good time, and we marched forward in compact order. The buffstick Colonel was on the watch, and accompanied us to the Market Square. When we formed line, he deigned to speak. "What Regiment? What is your rank and name? How many men have you left in the rear?" "None Colonel!" "Then Sir," rejoined this petty tyrant "I must admit I have never seen a Detachment march into this station in such soldier like order!!"

 

Delacey turned and gave me a wink of his eye, denoting congratulation on the success of our exertions.

 

Part of a large monastery formed an excellent barrack for our men, but we had to seek billets in the lower town, which was as dirty and beggarly as any other Portuguese town or village. Although not large, Santarem must have been a handsome city, before the arrival of the French Republican Army. The many large stone built mansions, with spacious courtyards in front, protected by substantial walls, with lofty arched gate ways, surmounted with Coats of Arms well cut in stone, proved the wealth and consequence of the Fidalgoes - or noblemen - who had been compelled to forsake their hereditary grandeur. The numerous convents and monasteries deserted, likewise showed the departed magnificence of this city on a rock.

 

All these religious houses possess great architectural beauties. The one where our men were stationed was very spacious, with an interior quadrangle, surrounded by a cloister, supported on Norman, or semicircular arches, which were sadly blackened by smoke from the fires lighted within by soldiers of various nations, who had at various times been stationed there.

 

After Lord Wellington's advance, this place was prepared for a hospital station. No one could be more admirably adapted to the purpose in every respect but in consequence of the rapid advance of the army it was only used for doubtful or lingering cases.

 

I was very sorry to find my shipmate Cobbold here. I believe the poor fellow never left it until he returned home to die. I also found here Lieutenant Brotheridge of our regiment. He was the first Officer I knew when I joined at Northampton where he used to amuse me in our walks with his desperately long yarns, relative to the Battle of Albuera [16th May 1811], the only one he ever saw! - of his being taken prisoner, his making his escape the same night by jumping out of a window of a large house in which he and the other prisoners were confined. Tom never forgot this sprain, but ever after had a knowing limp in his gait, with which, and his swaggering roll, his large cocked hat fore and aft, strapped like a Brigade Major's, and a long Staff Officer's feather dangling behind. Tom Brotheridge used to cut a desperate swell in the town. I have no doubt his minute recollection of Albuera  was fresh in his remembrances until he died a Captain in East India for, some how or other, Tom took especial care not to burthen his mind with the recollection of another hard fought battle. Disregarding all his foppery, I was at the time much obliged by my old chum obtaining a bed for me, on the floor of his room, for my billet in the town was very indifferent. Brotheridge was suffering from chronic rheumatism. I could have borne evidence that he could not sleep at night, or allow me to do so. In one of his nocturnal perambulations in our room, he kept me awake by the following anecdote of the noble Commandant of that station.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Royal rose from the ranks, and had been Master Shoemaker to the regiment. Thus making good the old saying "Set a beggar on horseback and he will ride to Devil." I must confess I generally found such men were the greatest tyrants in the services. Watching the proceedings in the market, as he was want to do, the Colonel's attention was one day fixed on an Irish woman bargaining for a pair of shoes. Observing the watchfulness of the Commandant, the woman gave more for the shoes than she intended, and taking up her purchase advanced and addressed him - "Now Colonel, do you think that these shoes are really worth the money?" "Get away woman! What should I know about shoes!" "Och, now sure!" rejoined the soldier's wife, the time was when you knew good leather from bad!"

 

This leathery Colonel was pushed up in promotion by the Duke of Kent, the acme of martinets, and well known throughout the army as the especial patron of Officers risen from the ranks, on account of their rigid discipline whereas an Officer with gentlemanly feeling, and good sense, could be a strict disciplinarian without being a tyrant as we have witnessed in Sir John Moore, and the Duke of Wellington with very many others.

 

But this leathery Colonel was decidedly a tyrant, an inhuman monster as proved by his own confession at the mess table of the 2nd Regiment in Sicily. The conversation turned on the necessity of Courts Martial. "Oh! It is very easy to avoid that" exclaimed Royal, "for when I was Adjutant, a man was detected in stealing a leg of mutton. I shut him up in the Black Hole, with the leg of mutton suspended, and allowed him neither rations, nor release, until the bone was clean picked." An Officer present indignantly replied, "I beseech of you never again mention that circumstance, for, Sir, let me tell you it was disgraceful to a British Officer in every respect! Nay it was the act of a fiend!!"

 

Four of our men were obliged to go into hospital with diarrhoea, brought on by eating unripe oranges. 

 

Tuesday, 8th December

Marched to Gallegoâ. [Golegâ]

 

9th December 

Our march this day was pleasantly diversified. The chief of the route skirted the river Tagus [Tejo], and on our left the country was bold and very picturesque. We passed through Tancos, a dirty village delightfully situate under the hills, by the river side. Here Hambley unexpectedly met an old acquaintance, Lieutenant Wilbraham R.N. stationed here to forward the Commissary boats up and down, between Lisbon and Abrantes, a very poor recompense for 33 years long service. Although dignified with the high sounding title of Grand Cava da Mar - High Constable of the Sea - I thought his post was not in any wise an enviable one. He was surrounded with Portuguese soldiers who had been cavalry, but were sent to the rear disgraced and dismounted, for refusing to charge the French at Salamanca. Some of these dastards attacked Wilbraham a few months before in the execution of his duty, but like a true British tar, he beat them off, although they were four to one.

 

Wilbraham accompanied us some way on our march, and pointed to the spot where an English Officer and his servant had been murdered by these scoundrels. A curve in the road presented to us a most beautiful scene. A village embowered with orange trees, loaded with the half ripe fruit, and an abundance of fresh blossoms close to it. The Tagus gurgled in its rapid course, in the centre of which was an island crowned with a Moorish castle, very perfect in its outline, and once formidable, but now useless, except its pictorial effect. If I had been master of the graphic art, I must have stayed to have sketched this lovely picture.

 

Our route continued flat to the banks of the Zezêre river, which has its source at  Beimento [Belmonte], below Guarda in the Serra de Estralla [Serra da Estrela] mountains, and in its course forms the segment of an ellipsis, before it joins the Tagus at this point, where it is very rapid and so broad as to require five and twenty pontoons or boats to form a floating bridge and which was guarded by these dismounted scoundrels. I was very much struck with the bold and commanding situation of the town of Punhete [Constancia] on the opposite side, where the Zezêre joins the Tagus at a right angle. The rock is perpendicular and lofty, on its summit to the town surrounded by ever greens had a very pleasing effect. The steep ascent from the river was a very sharp trial to our weary legs and feet. The fine church was despoiled and desecrated by the French, and ever since has been used as a barrack. At night the wife of one of our soldiers gave birth to a fine girl in this once holy place. We had been obliged to leave the poor woman on the road in a most forlorn condition. But as soon as I could unload my baggage I sent the pony and the husband back to fetch the poor creature. The next day, by the assistance of Lieutenant Wilbraham we procured a boat and sent the mother and infant to Abrantes to the Quarter Master's stores, with which she afterwards joined the Regiment.

 

10th December 

We were well drenched this day, for it rained all the way to Abrantes. This small fortress was crowded with these dastardly cavalry, sent hither to be drilled into infantry, but I much doubt their ever proving worth the trouble, for they are thorough scamps. Some of them attacked a small party of the 68th Regiment at Punhete the night before our arrival there. The young ensign was frightened and ordered his men to fire, by which, one Portuguese rascal was killed and two wounded. We found a Court of Enquiry sitting here, and it was greatly feared that the poor young lad would lose his commission.

 

This fortress, although small, is formidable, placed as it is on a small hill, and approachable only by two roads. It stands at the distance of about a mile above the curve of the Tagus, and, by a telegraph on the castle, communicates with Lisbon. No boats of burthen can ascend beyond this. Every man of our party was rejoiced to halt here. More especially as our route is altered and our marched prolonged with only one short halt, in consequence of the Regiment moving to cantonments in advance. With this prospect before me I felt very anxious to procure some animal to carry me, for with long marches and lean rations, I did not regain my strength. But my purse began to be as slender as my body. I had only twelve dollars left, and yet was rich by comparison with my companions who had only two each. Still I was not able to compete with the rascally pisans [peasants] in their demands for their lean animals. I had already managed to exchange my booro for an old raw boned pony and as he had a good spirit I was well pleased with my bargain.

 

The Commissariat stores brought from Lisbon were landed on the Alentejo shore, or southern bank of the Tagus, near the village of Perales. Where they were piled in huge stacks, and covered with tarpaulins and painted cloths, occupied a vast extent of ground, and to the casual observer appeared inexhaustible! But reflection admonished me that there were more than a hundred thousand persons besides animals to be fed from these stores, and the vast piles dwindled into molehills. Large cargoes were daily forwarded up the country by brigades of mules or cars, each under the charge of a Capatras, or conductor. And the animals from England replenished the stock.

 

In the course of our march hither, I had frequently felt an interest in noticing the threshing floors, so often mentioned in scripture, and I felt no doubt that the lading of the mules was much the same as when Jacob's sons went into Egypt to buy corn from their brother Joseph. But I was quite astonished to see, in the 19th century of the Christian era, in a part of civilised Europe, cars of such truly primeval construction. The wagons presented to Moses by the Princes of the People at the dedication of the Tabernacle were very far superior, since, they were covered wagons! But these vehicles - I cannot call them machines, for they are undeserving the appellation - were merely a strong frame of wood, covered with boards, about five feet long and four broad, from the centre in front projected a rude beam of wood, with a cross bar at the end, to which two oxen were yoked by their horns, with broad straps of untanned hide. This frame is placed on a moveable axletree, which is a fixture at each end in a solid piece of wood, worn by friction into strange oblong shapes, however round they might perchance have been originally, causing a noisy and most laborious motion in their progress, incessantly rocking from side to side, which has oft times excited the execrations of the badly wounded soldiers who had to endure the additional misery of being conveyed to the rear on these rudely formed and vile carriages. The screeching and groaning of the revolving axletree, moreover, under its heavy burthen, added greatly to the wretchedness of the journey. 

 

During our sojourn here, our soldiers had to pass over the Bridge of Boats, which afforded a communication with the stores, to draw periodically their rations of biscuit and fresh meat. On one of these occasions a brother Officer and myself were returning with the party, and two young Irishmen were carrying on a pole between them the fore quarters of a lean bullock, we met a Roman Catholic Priest, who looked attentively at the meat, and good naturedly exclaimed "Oh, noa estar bon, Senors (that is not good ) "No!" replied one of the young paddies "Why Old Buck, you are no judge of meat, for, in truth, it is all bone!!" This equivoke caused a general laugh, and the good tempered Padre laughed as heartily as any one, thereby denoting that he understood our language sufficiently to enter into the spirit of the repartee.

 

Sunday 13th December - I was well pleased to be able to employ the quietude of this holy day agreeably to my own inclinations. We pursue our march tomorrow, and are very thankful for this long halt.

 

14th December 

We returned to Punhete, but not by the same route, for the Tagus was so swollen by the late rains that we were obliged to take a guide over the mountains, and to pass along the edge of precipices which made some of the Johnny Newcomes stare and tremble.

 

15th December 

Marched to Thomar [Tomar], where our men were lodged in a monastery of vast extent, situated on a very steep mountain and capable of holding two thousand men without incommoding the small fraternity of monks, who, through all the vicissitudes of war and desolation had retained possession of the place of their former grandeur and power. They were very polite to us Officers, and offered accommodation in their own apartments, but we declined, and took up our billets in the town, which were unusually good. The architecture of this stupendous edifice was very remarkable, very elaborate, and even handsome, although I must think in very bad taste. Some of the large windows above had escaped the ruthless fury of French devastation, they were of the Norman, or semi circular arch. The stone work was carved to represent large cables entwined, and studded with sea shells, and were supported by pillars representing coral, with a vast variety of other devices, equally incongruous with ecclesiastical architecture.

 

The town of Thomar stands at the foot of the mountains, well built, the best we had seen, the streets tolerably well paved, clean, wide and regular. Everything, in fact, denoted the former wealth and influence of the monastery above.

 

16th December 

We reached Friera [Ferreirra do Zezere ?], after a tedious march, for we strongly suspected that our guide wilfully led us a circuitous route. Here we found a strong contrast to our last quarters, empty houses divested of everything, even of door and window frames, and our men had very comfortless lodgings. Some Officers had joined us from the rear, and we here mustered seven, all of whom repaired to a large mansion near the town. The owner fled to Coimbra when the French took possession of the country, leaving an old gardner in charge. This man very kindly brought a large quantity of wood for me to burn, for, excepting the kitchen, mine was the only room possessing a fire place. I soon made a good fire and resolved to spend a comfortable evening in writing home, and drying my little wardrobe. But I was soon found out, and five of our comrades came to spend the evening with me, and were so well pleased with so agreeable a companion, to wit, the fire, that they stayed late, and left me with a small store of fuel for the night, which was very cold, the room large, and my blanket damp. My great coat was my only covering, a deal form was my pallet, and my writing case served for bolster and pillow.

 

The old gardner had a long story to tell about this house having been garrisoned by 200 French men, whom the natives attacked and, after an obstinate resistance, took the survivors prisoners. It must have been a most desperate affray. The Frenchmen fought for life, and that very many endured the forfeit, was evidenced by the large patches of blood dried on every floor. In my room there were many, and the window shutters were riddled by musket balls. I took a ball out of one. 

 

17th December 

To Cabacos, a small desolated village.

 

18th December 

To Chaô de Coco (Chao de Couce - I was left behind to press a booro, or ass for a sick man, and thrice lost my way amidst the mountains and deluge of rain. My chum and self were billeted on the Padrè, or priest who was very civil and gave us wine, with good bedding on the floor. We were glad to accept his invitation to the kitchen fire, for the night was cold and damp, and we had not recovered from the chilling effects of our drenching on the march. Under such circumstances we scarcely heeded the almost infernal darkness of the apartment into which we entered for the warmth. It was about sixteen feet square, there was only the one door by which we entered, and a small oblong aperture opposite, and just below the lofty ceiling, and exit for the superabundant smoke, with every part as black as smoke could make them. The wood fire was on the hearth, with the chimney projecting over it in a hood like shape. We had small low stools to sit on. The further side was occupied by the old hag of a house keeper, or cousin Caithleene, as the Padrè called her, whose brown and wrinkled hands and face were equal strangers to the purifying quality of fresh water as were her garments. She occasionally rose to stir up the porridge in the caldron, or pot, for being Friday it was a fast, and again sinking on her low seat, resumed her cabalistic mutter of the Maria and Paternosters, and the fumbling of the rosary.

 

The Padrè enjoyed the full warmth of the fire in front. He frequently urged us to fish out from the pot, the half boiled chestnuts, and evinced a much greater interest in our conversation and jokes than the large bead roll which he held in his hand. I admit he did, ever and anon, mutter over something and slip a bead, but if such were prayers, they were "like Angels' visits, few and far between!!"

 

I have often thought our group would have most admirably suited the painters of the old school. There was an amplitude of impervious shade on the dexter side of the picture might be the sombre fire place, with the glowing embers, reflected on the brown face and hands of Cousin Caithleene, and shining on the fair, round, fat face of the Padrè. And our scarlet jackets in shade would well fill up the foreground. When we retired to our own room, the jolly priest most readily accepted our invitation to take tea with us. He drew a bunch of small keys from the capacious pocket in his flowing gown, and unlocked two small closets in the panels of the wainscot of the room, and took from each, three small puffs, or turnovers, containing a preserve of different plums. We ate them like hard fed soldiers, and never thought of the probability that the pastry was made by the dirty hands of his cousin Caithleene!

 

In the course of conversation we talked about oranges, and found our host was quite an amateur in the cultivation of that fruit. He went into his orchard and, dark as it was, selected six different kinds. The three we first ate were like many apples grown in our orchards, scarcely worth the cultivation. The next was better, and the two others were very superior. The Padrè was so much pleased with our encomiums that he said we should taste The Forbidden Fruit, such as "Our mother Eve ate in paradise!" Our curiosity was quite on the tiptoe, until he returned with a lemon tinged with an orange colour, possessing the leading qualities of the two fruits, the acidity of the lemon subdued by, and heightening the flavour of the orange. This produced the following jocularity.

Hambly "Why, Signor Padrè, this could not have been the Forbidden Fruit, for it was an apple, and not a sweet lemon, which our great grandmother Eve ate!"

Padrè "Och, Signor Capitain, that is only your erroneous version of the affair. I assure you this was the actual Forbidden Fruit!"

Hambly "But Signor Padrè, although Adam was at that time, what we should call, a jolly old man, he was but a young gardener and never thought of engrafting a fruit for he had aplenty!"

Padrè "Never heed that Signor Capitain. I can assure you this was actually The Forbidden Fruit which our great grandmother ate! Depend on it, I am correct!!"

Accordingly each retained their own opinion. 

 

19th December

We marched to Espinhel [maybe in Agueda]. We had to pass over the summit of the Estrella Mountains, which run diagonally across the western part of the peninsula of Portugal, and are very lofty. The road was cut on the side of the summit for the chief party of our route, in a strong clay sodden with wet, which drew the soles off from many of the soldiers shoes. The baggage animals had the greatest difficulty to get on. On our right hand the precipices were quite appalling to look into, and a large stone thrown down made a noise equal to the report of a very large cannon. The wind raged tremendously and frequently blew the soldiers down before they could draw their feet out of the stiff clay to steady themselves. I was riding in rear of the detachment, to enable the men to pick the best path, on the left of the road, when a furious gust of wind blew my pony and self fairly off our balance and laid us on to the clay bank, or slope of the summit where we both left as perfect an impression of our forms as ever intaglio left on the finest wax. This town is marked in some maps as of consequence , but I cannot say more for it than most others we have passed. It had shared amply of the devastation of war, in every part. I find in my letter one very moving remark relative to this place, to wit, "the mattress we had to lay on the floor for a bed swarmed with flea!"

 

20th December - Sunday 

A halt. Our billet was a miserable and very dirty abode, although from the size of the house it had no doubt been formerly a good residence. There was no fire place in our room and the rain drove freely in at the windows. After breakfast I drew my great-coat over my shoulders, and read the full morning service. Subsequently, I made further progress in my letter for England, when and opportunity should offer for sending it. But truly it was not an easy task to draw my thoughts together with the buzz and clatter in the market just below. Very many women and some few men from the scattered houses in the surrounding district had come to the Church for Matins, which being over they adjourned to their merchandise in the Prasso, or market place where there were exhibited for sale salt, onions, garlic, potatoes, barley, wheat, maize, leather, chestnuts, wine, haberdashery, rosaries, beads, crucifixes, bread, pork, salt fish, etc, etc, etc. All of which were produced in such a dirty manner that required the relish of the natives or the appetite of a marching soldier to partake of them.

 

21st December 

To Miranda de Corvo. The day was fine, the march short, and we all enjoyed our walk for here we began to descend the mountains. We found tolerably good quarters but our patron, or host, stole from us half a Dutch chase, which proved a very great loss subsequently, when we had only Pan Metto, or bread made of Indian Corn, to eat.

 

The town is delightfully situated on the banks of a rapid mountain stream, flowing from the snow melted on the summits by the meridian sun. Over which are two bridges, at one of which 25 pisans most gallantly defended the town against 320 french soldiers, who attempted to ransack this retired spot. On a considerable eminence beside the town stands the handsome church, certainly not a very ancient edifice, but which well repaid our exertions in ascending to it. We found it unusually clean and light. The first bore proof of its recent erection and the second resulted from there being no painted glass in the large windows. WE were about to descent but the approach of a small procession excited our curiosity. It proved to be the funeral of an infant three months old, which died that morning. Four young girls in white, bedecked with ribbons and flowers bore a tray which oft times conveyed bread to the oven, in which was the little corpse covered, excepting the face, with a white linen cloth, and likewise decked with rose coloured ribbons and flowers. The girls were evidently pleased with their finery and there were a few female followers, and all were very cheerful. Not a mourner was there to be seen! They rested at a certain place in the church, the Priest came, the lighted a candle, and the large crucifix were placed beside him, for a minute he muttered something to himself, and retired. While the girls were stripping the ribbons from the bread tray, the old sexton, by means of a strong iron inserted to a sort of keyhole, raised a ponderous wooden plank, then descending about three feet, scratched, with his large broad hoe, for the use of the spade is not known in this country, a cavity, not half a yard deep, into which the little corpse, covered with a white frock, was thrown, without any care or trouble, as to its exact position. He then scraped in a sufficiency of each to cover it, and with the butt of his heavy hoe, rammed it closely down, breaking every bone in the little body! He then levelled the earth, and replaced the plank, when all parties walked away. I believe I did not conceal the horror and disgust with which I quitted the place! But if, perchance, any of the natives noticed my expression, they of course only pitied the fastidiosity of a heretic.

 

22nd  December

Marched to St.Miguel do Payares, a miserable hole. But I will not fail to recount the civility of our worthy patron, the Padrè, who felt very proud of being the same age, as Good King George of England as he expressed himself.

 

23rd December 

Crossed the river Alva, a branch of the Mondego, a very rapid stream, confined on each side by perpendicular rocks. The stone bridge is a noble structure of three large arches, the piers rising from the vast chasm below have a very imposing effect and prove that the architect must have been a master of the art. The French in their retreat left a rear guard of more than a thousand men to defend the approach to the bridge, while their engineers were occupied in blowing up the centre arch. This guard then endeavoured to join the army by another route, but not being able to find another passage over the Alva, were obliged to return to this bridge and endeavour to form a passage over the break by cutting down some large pines growing near. On the second day of their laborious task, they were attacked by the British and Spanish advanced guard. They fought with the desperation of men without hope of succour, and very few survived to lay down their arms. The pines which these poor fellows had felled greatly accelerated the work of our engineers, and when we passed over we found them well tracked by the artillery and cavalry of the combined army.

 

While crossing Hambly and I duly attended to the injunction of our late kind host, good Padrè George, as we dubbed him, and took especial notice of a good square house three stories high, standing within half musket shot of the bridge, and between that and a road beside the river, and which bore evident confirmation of the following circumstances related by the Padrè. The late owner, actuated by an ill-directed patriotic zeal, barricaded the lower parts, and from above, kept up a deadly fire on the party employed in blowing up the centre arch of the bridge. Exasperated by such temerity, some of the French soldiers showed a daring front, as if they were about to storm the little citadel, in meantime, another party stole round to the rear of the house, and by unroofing a lower building gained an entrance. They took their prisoner on their route, and then proved themselves true Frenchmen by having recourse to the instinct of the tiger and the monkey, as assigned to them by their countryman Voltaire: they deprived their hapless victim of his ears, his nose, his lips, his eyelids, scooped out his eyes, and left him by the road side in this agonizing state, till death came to his relief.

 

We were this day joined by two more brother Officers. When passing a solitary and deserted hut, Lieutenant Kinder noticed some fragments of clothing, which looked very fresh, and induced him to search around when he discovered, in the ditch of an adjoining field, the naked corpse of an Englishman. This was too strong a lesson to be lost. We therefore made our men go and look at the remains of the murdered man and in strong terms pointed out the fate they must expect if they left their ranks, and turned marauders. This had a very good effect for the rest of our march.

 

We took up our quarters in Sabiers [Sarzedo ?] and St.Martineo.

 

24th December 

We marched for Galizes, but as that place was occupied as an hospital station, we were halted at Vinda do Valle. These short marches were extremely irksome, for all of us were anxious to join the Regiment.

 

This village of the valley is a miserable dirty hole, with only one large house and this standing on a parapet, above the muddy road. It was occupied by the second son of a Fidalgo, and the junior branches of the family, living in celibacy, sloth, pride and dirt! Four of us were quartered on this house, and a few of the inhabitants peeped in at us through the inner door of our large apartment, the entrance hall, while we were at dinner, but sought no intercourse. So we followed our usual habit and at ten at night crept into our blankets. But at eleven o'clock we were awakened from our sound sleep by the loud peels from the organ in the chapel attached to the mansion, which reminded us that it was Christmas Eve, and that, beyond a doubt, High Mass was about to be performed.

 

The faded grandeur of bygone days, with the pride and dirt of the present, made me unwilling to leave my warm, though humble bed, on the floor. In truth, I found the effects of my late severe illness pressing me solely. And I could not muster resolution to encounter the chill of so cold a night. To sleep in such a hubbub was impracticable! But I offered up my silent raisons with all the zeal and ability I could muster, until two o'clock in the morning, when my companions returned to their beds, and told me a strange tale of the mummery they had witnessed. "A prostrate figure of the Virgin, her supposed groans sounded by the organ. A figure of a child in swaddling clothes drawn from beneath her vest!" I was extremely sceptical of the account of my volatile companion Hambly, and should have considered it as one of his romances, but the indignation and disgust of the other two, especially De Lacey, who was far from joking on topics of religion, and the strong assurances of both of them, obliged me to believe all they told me of this preposterous. No! I will leave an hiatus and not suffer my feelings to prompt my pen!

 

I felt afterwards great regret that I had lost an opportunity which may never again offer. 

 

25 December 

A short march to Vaille do Poco, or the "little village: where four of us were billeting in a convent, and apartments of a miserable description were assigned to us in a back yard, to remove us, we imagined , as far as possible from the nuns. We were admitted into the chapel during the afternoon service. The nuns were in the organ gallery, screened by a thick trellis, or lattice, so that we could only perceive their sparkling eyes peering down upon us. Their singing was very delightful, some of them had most melodious voices. One of our party declared that they sang like nightingales! Not quite so, replied another, for the nightingale sings only during incubation of its mate! After the service we were informed that one of the sisters was an Irish lady, and would be happy to speak with any one Irish Officer. Lieutenant Clarke accepted the invitation, but was greatly chagrined that he was not able to see the fair incognita, who was ensconced in a dark closet, with a small latticed window. She, however, told him of her name and family, and that she was placed there by her parents twenty years ago. From this and the sound of her voice, Clarke inferred that the bloom of the peach had long since faded.

 

26th December 

We were glad to take our quarters at Tordsillas amongst a brigade of British Artillary. This cheered our way worn spirits, for we now felt assured that we had at length reached the cantonments of the Grand Army.

 

27 December - Sunday 

We expected to halt at Lea, but found it occupied by the 42nd Regiment, and invalids. We were obliged to leave a Corporal and four men sick here. We received a fresh route, and proceeded to Pinhancos [Pinhanços].

 

28th December 

To Ville do Cortez. This was a good march.

 

29th December 

March for Celonico, but before we reached it, we were again jostled, and ordered off to the small village of Espinhas, a poverty stricken spot. In the afternoon, when visiting Celorico, we were convinced that there was no room for us. Five hundred convalescents had left this morning to join their respective regiments, but there were still very many poor fellows not yet recovered from the hardships of the retreat from Salamanca, and there were six or seven deaths daily.

 

Celonico is the cleanest and most respectable town we had seen on our long march. On the map it is denoted by the same characteristics as Penhadua, which we passed through from Sobiera to Villa da Venda, but is far superior. It is larger, the streets wide and clean, the houses large, lofty and are plastered over the stone work, and white washed. There are many very good houses in the town.

 

The Commandant Brevet, Major Cimietra, is the Senior Captain of our Regiment, but he showed us no more civility than if we had belonged to another corps so that we had nothing to thank him for, but much to talk of, when we joined the Regiment.

 

Cimietre is a Frenchman by birth and education. When stationed at Gibraltar he married a Jewess, certainly a very fine woman, but of the Amazonian mould! But this must be the fastidiosity of my taste, for I have since been informed that the Major has frequently pronounced her to be "the finest Vomans in all de Vorlds!!"

 

From Espinhal to this place Espinhas, we have been traversing a comparatively level plain, in what the sailors call a bight, or Bay of the Estrella, from east to west. And we found we were again within the influence of the cold air from the snow clad summits, on which we frequently saw the mists of the evening gather, and the next morning they were deposited in an expanse of snow. While we enjoyed fine clear frosty weather, like what in England, precedes a sharp winter. From hence to the Regiment we have only four days march. The Moorish walls and Citadel of Francosa attracted our especial notice, their striking effect when approaching them is bold and interesting.

 

At Mocevia we also found the remains of a Moorish castle, situate to the westward of the village on a regular cone of rock, with a fosse around it thirty or forty feet deep. Before the use of gun powder this must have been a very inaccessible fortress. The only approach is by a very narrow causeway on the eastern side. It is a circular building, of no great extent, for the rocky cone would not admit of it. A small portion of the walls, westward, is some eighteen feet high, but the rest are not above four or five. All constructed of blocks of stone of various lengths, from 4 to 10 feet in length, and less than 3 feet square. I was silently contemplating these walls, and wondering how such huge masses of stone could have been so regularly placed, when I was roused by a cry for help from my chum Hambly.

 

Bonaparte used to say there was but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous, and thus it was with me. One minute admiring the Herculean labours of the ancients, and the next helping to destroy them! But the fact was, that Hambly with his wanted, monkey like restlessness, finding a block of stone loose on the north wall, and endeavoured to push it over, to create an echo. It required however, more power than even his great muscular strength could supply, but he had got it to such an equipoise that when I turned round, there appeared a much greater chance of the stone rolling on to him than into the fosse. With this impression I rushed to his assistance, and we tumbled the large block down the almost perpendicular rock, thereby causing a great hubbub, for the echo was tremendous, quite appalling! The villagers rushed from their dwellings in amazement, as if they had actually experienced an earthquake, and, on our return to our quarters, ran away from us as if we had been demons of another world.

 

I have often reflected upon this event, and greatly regretted this school boy like propensity for mischief which thus assisted the demolition of this time stricken edifice. Never the less the circumstances afforded me some very instructive information. On close inspection, I found that no mortar had been used in the construction of this castle. The external and internal face of each block of stone was well wrought, but the upper and under surface, and the ends, were left rough, as when they were brought from the quarry. And the irregularities of each were embedded, most ingeniously, in the adjacent, the recumbent, and the super-incumbent block, like teeth. We were very desirous to learn the history, or any tradition relating to this interesting relic of antiquity, but the natives, as I have before stated, shunned us, and would not enter into any converse. Not that they were angry at what we had done, but because we had effected that which they imagined no human beings could accomplish! For their inveterate indolence, would never have allowed them to make use of their muscular powers in like manner.

 

Monday - 4th January 1813

This day we had the satisfaction of joining the Regiment, about an hour after they had marched into the town of Meda, and taken up fresh cantonments.

 

Officers and man were so fully occupied making good their new billet, that few of them were aware of our arrival, and we waited some little time before the Adjutant came to us, who, to my surprise and delight, proved to be my very particular friend Lieutenant Close who left us eighteen months before at Danbury Barracks, near Chelmsford. He gave me a most cordial welcome, delivered my animals and baggage to his own batman, and when I enquired for my billet, told me to wait until he had apportioned off the men of our Detachment to the different Companies. This duty performed Close gave me another hearty shake of the hand, and taking my arm, said, "Come my old boy, I will show you your billet, you are my prisoner. I told the Quarter Master's Serjeant I should take you into my billet, for, being now Adjutant I am entitled to a good house by myself but we two can be, I think, very snug and comfortable, and talk about our long walks near Danbury. This town is so small that chief of the Officers are doubled up, and the juniors are three and four in one house. I am sure you will be glad to get away from that rattle Hambly."

 

I was highly gratified by this unexpected act of friendship, and was, certainly, well pleased to join the companionship of one whose character I so highly esteemed, and whose quiet habits and pursuits were so congenial to my own. Moreover, Close's most intimate friends and acquaintances were Senior Officers and the most gentlemanly members of the corps. I felt very proud of their early calls, and the marked manner in which they welcomed my arrival.

 

The house on which my friend was billeted had two rooms, about seven feet high, on a level with the street. The first was a stable, the other was crammed with empty wine butts and apparatus for making wine, for we had reached the district where Port wine is made, and were not far from the banks of the Douro. Some rudely formed stone steps, between theses two doors, led to the habitable part of the house. Over the stable was the kitchen, with a fireplace, where the family resided during the winter, and which served them "for bedroom, parlour and all." Our apartments were over the wine store. The first room had one window, about three feet wide, and three and a half high, and had shutters to it. There were two doors opposite. One led to steps into a small garden behind the house, the other into an inner room without any window in which was a stump bedstead and a straw palliasse. This, a large chest, and small round table, in the front room, was the only furniture. The walls of these apartments were plastered, but there was no ceiling, and as the pantiles were not pointed with mortar, we could, when in bed, study astronomy by watching the transit of the stars. The walls were built with slabs of micarock, loosely put together with a scanty proportion of mortar. These particulars give a fair description of Portuguese houses of the third class. There were in this town four of a better description. That of the Capitain Mayor, or May-yor, the Sheriffe of the district, was a good, and comfortable house, the walls plastered and white washed outside as well as within. It was three storeys high, the lower, as usual, was the stable, from which a wide and good stone staircase led to the dwellings. The rooms were large and lofty, had good ceilings, and glass windows opening like doors to small iron balconies. Here the Commanding Officer was quartered. And the second Major had as good, at the other side of the town.

 

The Paymaster's house as of the second class, only two storeys high, and the ceilings were not plastered, and the rooms not so lofty. The stable were detached. It was altogether like a good old fashioned English farmhouse. So likewise was the spacious house appropriated as a hospital. When we reached our billet we heard a great hubbub within, and my friend summonsed his servant Pat Feeley to explain the matter, who replied with true Irish volubility, "Och the devil of an old woman has been quarrelling with me because I would sweep all that out of your rooms," pointing to a heap of rubbish, dust, straw, chips, rags, etc, etc. Sufficient to fill three large barrows, "and now the old baggage is making a blatherumskite about a little piece of dirty wood, which she calls Saint Antonio which I turned out of the niche of the wall of the back room. When I sought the figure out of the rubbish and gave it to her she abused more and more, and asked me if I knew where Saint Antonio was and what he is now doing? Froth not, I, for I niver had the honour of the gentleman's acquaintance! Know then, you vile heretic, said she, that Saint Antonio is now in Lisbon, making shoes for the poor soldiers! Then long life to his honour, said I, and I hope he will send me a right strong pair as a present for the great pains I have taken here to fetch him out of the rest of the rubbish!"

 

My friends risibility was excited, and he led me into the house. "That fellow, said Close, is always getting into such squabbles, by his jocularity which the natives cannot understand. I had to get him out of one in our last quarters. When passing a cottage he saw a fowl pecking about, and thought to purchase it for my eating. He accordingly accosted a young woman sitting by the door. Phshew! Seniora, no cara venda! You cara venda the galina for the Capitaine? No Senhor, no cara venda por le Capitain! Then I tell you what, you no cara vend the galina for the Capitain, me fetch the Spring guarda for the romper you (I will fetch the gun to shoot you) Enough of this jargon was understood to frighten the girl, who alarmed all the natives.

 

Major White was in command of the Regiment, and the little imp was, according to his wanted custom, at variance with most of his brother Officers, but most particularly with the seniors, who by their standing could venture to show a front against his capricious and tyrannical rule, especially our Senior Captain Brevet Major Thwaites, who was supported by Officers of every grade, in his undisguised opposition. Under these circumstances, the arrival of a fresh batch of Officers was a most happy event to the little Commandant, who invited all the juniors, whom he had known at Weedon and Danbury Barracks, to dine with him. I would more willingly have dined with my kind friend, but he urged me to accept the Major's invitation, fearful that my refusal might renew the enmity Major White evinced towards me in England. We certainly partook of a much more comfortable meal than we had had for a long time, and did ample justice to the soup and bouille etc.  Also to the wine, which was good, far superior to any we had been able to procure on the march. We were all much pleased with our entertainment, and our host was pleased with our company. He played his antic tricks, and was as merry as the youngest of the party. Regardless of the Major's well known love of patronising , I frankly admit that his reception of us was truly hospitable. We found here English newspapers to the 22nd December speculating on the supposition that the Army would take the field by the 1st of March. Also, announcing the appointment of Colonel Hutchinson as Brigadier of this Army. He, however, obtained the post of Lieutenant Governor of Malta. The next day Close and I dined with our worthy Paymaster W.Hughes, a kind warm hearted old gentleman of the old school, generous almost to a fault, his heart and purse were ever open to those whom he esteemed as friends. The following day we two dined with our Second Major, Lieutenant Colonel, now Major General Sir Jas Wilson K.C.B., a man of education, and the perfect gentleman, a frank, open hearted hard fighting soldier, who had been through all the Peninsula campaign, and frequently mentioned in Lord Wellington's despatches. Particularly when he gallantly stormed a formidable hom work, and then turned the guns on the curtain of the strong fortress, by which he greatly assisted the progress of the storming party which carried the breach.

 

There was nothing homogenous in our two Majors. White was not over burdened with courage, was always glad to avail himself of any excuse for returning to England, was detested by the soldiers, for he was always annoying them with drills and buff stick minutiae. Wilson was brave without rashness, always with the regiment, even with open wounds, and beloved by everyone, sparing the men where ever he could.

 

As he could not act with Major White, he did not interfere about the management of the regiment. He never appeared at parade, but might be seen in the fields, in a gray great coat and round hat, with a small whip in his hand, attended by half a dozen dogs, especially his two favourite greyhounds. In figure and appearance Colonel Wilson was very much like Lord Wellington. We also dined with Close's particular old friend Lieutenant Duke, a good worthy fellow and sturdy old soldier.

 

I could not consent to live on my friend's hospitality and therefore told him frankly that all my money was expended. He jocosely replied very likely, for I dare say all you chaps who joined the other ay could not muster six dollars amongst the whole. You were paid two months in advance, and have been more than three living on it. The pay of the Army is six months in arrear, so that it will be a long time before you can draw any but make yourself easy, I will manage that matter for you before long. I cannot offer to lend you money, for having so recently taken the Adjutancy the purchase of my horse and accoutrements has emptied my pockets. In a few days my friend brought me twenty dollars, which, at his request the good old Paymaster had advanced on account.

 

Major White finding his host and family very obliging, was desirous to give them an entertainment, and to please the two daughters, each about 20 years of age, invited all the Officers, with whom he was not at variance, to a ball, and had the band in attendance. It was rather a strange sight to see so many men dancing together but every one seemed determined to be pleased, and to keep the affair up with spirit. We led our partners most politely to their seats, or promenaded with them in due etiquette of an English ballroom. My partner was Miss Bell, a huge broad shouldered Captain of the Grenadiers. The whole went off remarkably well, to the great delight and gratification of the Capitain Mayor, his wife and daughters. The young ladies joined us and were much charmed with the animation and sociability of our country dance. And no wonder, for their country dance is the most stupid monotonous concern imaginable. Only one person stands up and jumps from side to side, within the space of a cabbage leaf, to the thump py tum thump, thump py tum thump, of a rudely constructed lozenge shaped tambourine, as long as their muscular strength will last. The excellency of the dance consisting in its tiresome durability.

 

I did not ask either of the nymphs to dance with me, for I did not in the least feel romantically inclined, in fact the hue of their neither garments  was quite anti sentimental. Any one might imagine the damsels had worn them without washing ever since they had entered their teens. Their black silk gowns were full and handsome, but went badly on the sides, showing most inopportunity that the young ladies did "not" wear "white" petticoats.

 

Our billet was altogether certainly a good one for this place, but our front room was very cold and decidedly a temple for the mind. There was a currant from front to rear, from the floor to the roof, from the openings between the tiles to the apertures in the floor, the boards of which, if ever united, had long been parted, so that in very many places we could pass our fingers or even hand through into the winestore beneath. 

 

My friend employed one of our soldiers, a bricklayer by trade, to make a fireplace at the corner. He established props below, to support the floor, carrying the chimney through the roof in a workmanlike manner to the utter astonishment of our landlord, and to our very great comfort. Close's time was very fully engaged with his official duties, for Major White had established drills twice a day, at which every non-commissioned Officer and private off duty was obliged to be present. This made the Adjutants day very onerous, and the more so that the measure was excessively annoying to veterans who had for more than six years been fighting for their King and Country. Their indignation at being sent to drill like raw recruits bordered very hard an open mutiny, which I verily believe was prevented by their esteem for the Adjutant.

 

One day Close came home at noon as usual, and was evidently much disconcerted. When I enquired the fresh source of vexation, he gave me a letter to read, just received from the Secretary of War in England, demanding in most peremptory style, that the Adjutants monthly muster rolls, now eighteen months in arrear, and which had been thrice before written for, should be sent home forthwith, or the circumstances should be reported to the Commander in Chief! Having twice perused the letter, I said "This is really a very serious affair, but it rests with your predecessor, it is his duty to fill up and swear to these rolls."

"I grant that," replied Close "but the idle fellow would never be able to get through such a task. He scarcely sent home a return of any sort, all the time he was Adjutant. I dread the arrival of an English mail, there is always something called for. Major White has now, in spite of my remonstrances, peremptorily ordered me to despatch these muster rolls. The real truth is, that after what occurred when Lieutenant Steele resigned the Adjutancy, White dare not issue an order in which he will be obliged to mention Steele's name, and to avoid so doing he has just now declared to me that he has nothing to do in this business, for the neglect occurred while Colonel Wilson was in command, and the therefore it rests with him and Steele."

"O, ho!" I exclaimed, "I can see the drift of all this, the vile little imp wants to be at his dirty work again, it is very evident that he would be right well pleased to see Wilson and Steele brought to a  Court Martial, for such will be the upshot of this affair if neglected, to accomplish which he would not scruple to bring you into the scrape He imagines that by ordering you to accomplish the task he is complying with the mandate of the Secretary of War although he full well knows that it is next to an impossibility you being able to do it, occupied hourly as you now are. But never heed! Do you go instantly and borrow the Paymaster's quarterly pay list, and then we two will try hard to out flank the little fiend and his malevolent designs."

 

We set to work in good earnest, and with the assistance of Serjeant Farrer from the Orderly Room surmounted the numerous difficulties that occurred more especially at first, and succeeded by sending off three of the rolls. This gave us encouragement. I worked hard by day, and at night we called over and corrected. But our progress was impeded, for I was one day ordered on a foraging party, with the assurance that I should soon find fodder, and be able to return before night. This however, did not prove true. I took my haversack with provisions for the day, but no blanket or great coat for the night. It was quite late in the evening before we found any provender, and that was pallia, ie maize straw with a small quantity of maize. Our animals were tired with the weary day's march, the day was past, and we were obliged to wait for the morrow. My men got into out houses with their animals, and made good beds of the pallia they had secured. I ensconced myself in the chimney corner of a miserable farm house, and the pisan kept me company all night in the opposite corner. He was wrapped in his capoota, or large cloak, but I had naught so comfortable! The five was scanty, and the chimney was open so that I was excessively cold, and before daybreak was glad to muster my men. I accepted gladly, the pisan's offer of some coarse bread and meagre wine, and marched off on our return to the regiment. I caught a very violent cold, which caused a return of the inflammation of my liver, and I was confined to my comfortable bed on the large chest at the corner of the room. In the evening the Surgeon helped me our to bleed me, but the cold room gave me such a chill that he could not succeed, although he made nine incisions in my arms.

 

During my illness, Hambly, my companion on the march, called to bid me farewell, 'ere he left for England, in consequence, as I have before stated, the death of his father-in-law.

 

We had resumed our labours only a few days, and I was not yet off the sick list, when another event occurred, which at first appeared a complete foil to our further exertions. My friend Close came running home one noon earlier than usual, and with a joyous countenance, put his hand to his cap in a regular salute, and shouted out "Long life to Lieutenant Charles Crowe of the 101st Regiment." "Come, come old boy!" I replied, "No tricks upon travellers!" It is a fact, he rejoined, a mail is just arrived, and in one of the newspapers is a long gazette, dated 24th December, Ensign Lima of this Regiment ahs gained our vacant Lieutenancy, and you are promoted into the 101st Regiment, which is in America, but that will convince you! Giving me the notification from the agents. When Close returned to his drill duty, I began to ruminate on the conflicting feelings which I experienced. I had obtained promotion, which is always dear to a soldier and which I had so assiduously sought! But I was disappointed in not being appointed to Lord Moira's own regiment, the 3rd Battalion of which, was cantoned only one league off. Moreover, the fearful apprehension of having to leave Lord Wellington's Army, to return to England and embark for America, weighed heavily on my mind. I must admit, that these two considerations greatly depressed the joy and gratitude I ought to have felt for my good fortune.

 

My musings were broken off, by Major White calling to congratulate me. And many sincere friends also came. Colonel Wilson came, when he returned late from coursing, and I was glad to have him alone. I stated to him every particular and he entered fully into my feelings. The contents of Lord Moira's letter dated October 28th coupled with the remarkable circumstance, that although the notification had arrived from the agents, no order from the War Office had been sent to me to join the 101st Regiment induced the Colonel to advise me to wait patiently the result of another mail.

 

The next day Major White called again, brimful of patronage, and urged me to memorialise Lord Wellington and request to be attached to some regiment under his command, and he would forward it to His Lordship, with strong recommendations. This did not accord with Colonel Wilson's advice, or my own feelings but I acquiesced, because I was in fact, living and drawing my rations with the 48th Regiment by sufferance, for I did not belong to them or their army.

 

Lord Wellington returned a very flattering reply. He expressed himself pleased with my application, and regretted he could not comply with my request, the 101st Regiment not being under his command. But if I could find any Lieutenant in his army willing to exchange with me, he would himself confirm the exchange, without sending to England. This put me and my friends on the alert, and we made enquiries at every Regiment of our own Division and where ever opportunity offered.

 

About this juncture the 48th moved to Frixo near Almeida, on the Guarda road. Here my friend obtained a much more comfortable billet. In a small wainscotted room with a good ceiling, and facing the south, we managed well without a fireplace, and worked very hard until we accomplished our great task, much to our own satisfaction, as well as the grateful acknowledgments of Colonel Wilson, who most handsomely thanked us. Good old Mr. Hughes the Paymaster likewise expressed his commendations. And in a private conversation with Close, expressed his regrets at my leaving the regiment, for he should very much liked to have employed me in regulating his own accounts.

 

Poor, good, indolent old man! I fear he made a bad ruffled skin! And how he was disentangled I could never learn. There was not an Officer in the regiment who was not, for Colonel Wilson's sake, rejoiced with our success, excepting Major White. He never alluded to the business, for he was foiled. He studiously, however, made the duty of the Adjutant so excessively irksome, that my friend resigned the Officer two or three months afterwards. This gave White an opportunity of patronising, and he promoted our late co-adjutor Serjeant Farrer, from the Orderly Clerk, to the Adjutancy. This good luck proved fatal, for in the following July he was killed at Pamplona. Major White's revived enmity to me will be related hereafter.

 

Soon after our arrival at Freixo, I received the following kind and friendly letter from Colonel Hutchinson 

 

Private

Chelmsford 

5th November 1812

 

My Dear Sir, 

There being no post hence tomorrow, I, immediately on the receipt of yours last procured a frank, and herewith transmit you the Certificate {entitling me to travelling expenses from Chelmsford to Portsmouth}

 

The many, more in fact than merited, very obliging expressions in your former favour on your arrival at Portsmouth, claim from Mrs. H and me numberless acknowledgments. I had, indeed, when writing to Captain Gray requested him to be so good as to offer you our thanks, except, however, one letter on the march, a second from Hilsea Barracks, at the conclusion of it, Captain Gray has not allowed me the indulgence of hearing from him, although he could not, I presume, at least , but know how sincerely I felt interested in everything that concerned the detachment. Vander's letter therefore was extremely acceptable, independent of the satisfaction enjoyed of receiving one from a young man so entirely worthy of my regard.

 

We rejoice that your health is recovering its tone, that the vessel you and W.Hambly are embarked in seems likely to prove comfortable to you both.. You are lucky in your associate. I know that he is a pleasant companion on shore, and I might in truth add when "half seas over," likewise, the latter, therefore, you will doubtless experience on the passage.

 

Adieu, my dear Sir. I hope the enclose will reach you in time, and effect all the purposes in view.

 

Make my remembrances to my brother Officers, a remeeting with whom would give me pleasure.

 

Mrs H unites in all good wishes with, my dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully

Wm. Hutchinson

 

P.S. I heartily wish that the testimonials, which you had so good a right to from me, could have, in anyway so, tended towards the promotion of your interest as to have roused Lord M.. to have procured you a Lieutenancy . W.H.

 

I cannot imagine where this letter had been travelling from the 5th of November, the day before we sailed from Portsmouth, till the following February.

 

By the same mail came a letter from my brother Philip, which relieved me from my peculiarly painful suspense, that would have been greatly aggravated, had not this letter arrived so promptly for there was no official letter or order relative to me. The very receipt dates of this mail, proved that it had come quickly, also that intermediate mails were still due. My brother's letter was dated 26th January. Philip congratulated me on my success, and like an old soldier, stated minutely that I was promoted into the 101st Regiment on the 24th December and that on the 24th January I was transferred into the 27th Regiment according to the Gazette, then before him. This letter proved very useful to me afterwards.

 

A circumstance occurred here, which had well nigh destroyed the harmony I had hitherto enjoyed. It was customary in this Regiment for the Officer to form a temporary Mess, when any one gained promotion. And the promoted was required to give a skin of wine to the Mess. (Wine is conveyed to Oporto in goat skins duly prepared, each holds about seven gallons) the rations of the Officers were drawn collectively, so as to secure joints of meat. Mutton, fowls, and what ever could be met with, were added to the dinner.

 

Lima and I were called in for our donations and we two agreed to purchase the two skins of wine from the same person, to avoid any comparison. My friend Close approved the plan, and as Lima was a native of Portugal, and had been long with the regiment, I made him my purveyor, and we purchased the wine. Some three of four Officers who acted as Mess Committee on this occasion, bought or bespoke wine, without consulting either of us. When an explanation took place, Lieutenant Robinson, a rough blustering fellow, expressed his dissatisfaction in terms which gave umbrage to both of us. I was strongly inclined, and but for Close's advice, should have taken the matter up with a very high hand. The dinner was as excellent as could be. Colonel Wilson presided.

 

When Lieutenant Lima's health was drunk he did not fail to animadvert to what had passed respecting the wine. When my turn came for speaking, I was about to support what Lima had said, but was stopped by a cry of No! No! from some of my particular friends, and Colonel Wilson exclaimed, the wine is excellent, we want no better! I took my due from this remark, and went on to say, "It is not better than I wish it, nor so good as I could desire at this juncture when drinking health and speedy promotion to every one present. I sincerely thank you for your hearty congratulations on my promotion, dear to every one, but especially to a soldier, at the same time my preferment is attended with allay, since it removes me from the society of some kind friends with whom I could live and die!!"

 

I felt what I said, and as such, might, purchance give full accent to my words, without being aware how forcibly I had struck the chord of concordance of friendship, and was startled by Colonel Wilson rising with evident emotion and exclaiming "Say no more! Say no more! My good fellows!! Now sit down!! My first impression was, that, I had given offence. I looked round at my friends. The Colonel was urging forward the wine. The old Paymaster on his right had pulled his old large cocked hat down to his very nose. Close had tucked his short chin into his breast. Duke was rubbing his nose furiously. And when I met him the next day, giving me a hearty thump, said "You old villain! Why did you ask us to drink wine and then make us snivel!"

 

The evening however, passed off most agreeably.

 

Towards the end of this month, February, we were ordered five days march, to the northward, to Escalhas. There to take cantonments with the 27th Regiment. This event seemed to promise the completion of my wish, of joining the Corpse to which I belonged. Accordingly, when the 48th halted half a mile short of the town, to give time for the Quartermaster to prepare the billets, I took leave of my kind of friends, also of Major White, and told him I was going to fulfil my intention, which I had before explained to him, of joining the 27th Regiment. He fully approved of the measure, he shook my hand very cordially, and wished me full success. And we parted on the best of terms.

 

Colonel Maclean received me very politely, but with, very great reserve, assured me he knew nothing about my appointment to his regiment, for no notification had arrived. He enquired what grounds I had for supposing that I belonged to the 27th. I explained my interest with Lord Moira and produced his Lordship's letter, also my brother's. The Colonel perused both with great attention,, particularly the latter, and, evidently was pondering what to do. At length he said "You are Sir, most certainly very peculiarly circumstances, and it must be, as you have stated, very irksome to you. But I have no authority for taking you on the strength of this regiment. You represent your brother as an Old Officer, and he writes like one. Relying on his information I will venture to order our Quartermaster to find you a billet, and to put you on the strength for drawing your rations. I will also desire the Serjeant Major to send a clean steady soldier to you as a servant." He then called to his orderly man to escort me to Quarter Master Lynch who was obliged to give me a house far away from every one, for every one was allotted and occupied long before I arrived. But it was an excellent billet. When left by myself, and in the first quarter I ever had singly, I began to reflect on the events of the day. In spite of this good billet, I am got from bad to worse. I am still nobody, nothing! An Outcast! I have left those by whom I was known and respected to live unnoticed among perfect strangers! My old companions 'The Old and the Bold,' the often tired, and never failing Forty Eighth wills soon be in town, I can here their drums approaching.

 

I went to meet them, and report what had occurred when every one congratulated me, even Major White. I conducted my baggage to my billet, where I found my new servant waiting my return. I have him charge of all, and produced my store of provender for my ponies. As I could not draw rations for myself till the morrow, I went and dined with Close.

 

I found myself very solitary in the evening when I returned. My room was lofty and of a good size. The walls and ceiling were plastered and white washed, and the brick floor was clean. I was in fact a recently erected house, and better built than the generality of Portuguese houses. The furniture was very scanty, therefore easily accounted, two small stools, a small clumsy table, and two deal benches each about ten feet long with rails at the backs. These I placed at the end of the room, side by side, to serve as a bedstead, but I was obliged to climb over the front rail to my bed. I preferred this, however, to the cold bricks. Unfortunately, one bench was nearly an inch lower than the other, which greatly offended my hips and shoulders. Nor could I rectify the annoyance all the time I remained here, for although I endeavoured to fold my cloak for that purpose, yet the space in which I lay, and soldiers blankets so scanty, that I could not slide into them without displacing everything. It was very fortunate that the kind assistance of Quarter Master Stubbs, at Lisbon enabled me to obtain a second blanket from His Majesty's stores, or I should have them much harder.

 

Having nothing to do, I could leisurely examine our new cantonment, and the environs. Lord Wellington, with his wanted judgement, had selected this town of Escalhao, as a hospital station. And the Engineer and Artificers had long been preparing it for that purpose. The inhabitants had been prevailed on to evacuate the very long street running east and west on the north of the town, and locate themselves with their neighbours on the south side. Each received half a years rent and very few demanded so much as a Guinea. In two days very house was empty. The Engineers made door ways through the party walls from house to house, so that each side of the street was a continuation of hospital wards capable of holding a thousand patients. My house was in this street, it stood by itself and was reserved for the residence of one of the medical staff. There was also a convent about a league off to the north west to which buildings were added, the whole forming a very capacious hospital. About a league and half to the northward was the Douro, with a ready communication to Oporto for bringing up stores and shipping off invalids.

 

I led this solitary life for more than a week, when I received a summons to wait on Colonel Maclean. On my way I felt some misgivings as to the result of this interview, but they were dispersed as soon as I entered the room, by the following laconic address from the Colonel. "I sent for you that I might inform you the two mails, so long missing, are at length arrived and have brought your notification. You will be placed on the strength of the 27th Regiment this day, and attached to the 4th Company. Come and dine with me at three o'clock." I had a quite tete a tete for three hours with my new Commanding Officer who asked me many questions about the 2nd Battalion 48th.

 

On parade next morning Captain White, the only Captain with the regiment, most of the Lieutenants, and Ensigns Byrne and Radcliffe came forward in a body and welcomed me to the regiment. But the other Ensigns kept aloof, being jealous of my having been put over their heads. In the afternoon the Color Serjeant brought me the Orderly Book, and I was greatly surprised to find an order for me to take the Payment and Charge of the 4th Company and to receive the Books and Accounts from Ensign Drew forthwith! I was well pleased at being so soon put in command of a company, but was very fearful this event would increase the jealousy of my juniors. Nor was this apprehension allayed when I called to thank the Colonel for he told me he had long been displeased by Mr Drew's carelessness, and desired me to lose no time in examining the accounts of the Company most minutely. Compliance with this injunction proved that there was too much ground for the Colonel's censure. But all originated from negligence, for Drew had made many errors against himself. After the next mornings parade, Drew requested me to accompany him home to breakfast, and then to receive over the accounts.

 

We got through very well, for he very willingly added to his Balance Sheet, errors excepted! He have me voluntarily a full description of every Officer present with the regiment, and made out there were, according to his own peculiar expression, many "Queer Poets" among my new associates. His lavish crimination awakened my suspicions that I should 'ere long, find out that my informant, himself, was a queer poet! And such prove to be the fact, for a few mornings after Lieutenant Pollock invited me to breakfast at his house with the Grenadiers' mess, as it was called, because Pollock and Weir were both Grenadiers. Lieutenant Harding was also of this mess but Harry Franklin the Assistant Surgeon was absent on detachment. I had here a good opportunity of noticing three of Mr Drew's 'Queer Poets.' I found Pollock a fine handsome fellow, was the perfect gentleman in all he said or did, very sedate for a young man, which at first had the appearance of haughtiness, but that impression soon wore away.

 

His bible and prayer book formed a conspicuous part of his small collection of books, and I had subsequently many opportunities of observing that they were not the least useful part for as Corporal Trim declared "A soldier, when he has time, can pray as fervently as any other person!" I certainly did find that Weir was a queer poet, an uncouth quarrelsome fellow. But again, Harding was the little gentleman in manners and appearance, with an ever flowing buoyancy of spirits, that kept his body and tongue for ever in motion. He was the only person that was not afraid of Weir's surly temper, and constantly chafed him with his merriment. His name was Frederick, but Weir in his resentment always called him Jack, or Jack Magpye, he thus obtained the name of Jack Harding, and it was long 'ere I knew his proper name.

 

These two left soon after breakfast, but I prolonged my visit by Pollock's desire and soon found out his kind motive. "I am not in the habit" he said "of patronising new comers, but your friend Close has spoken to me about you, and I have promised to give you some hints which my prove serviceable. In the first place, let me advise you to be very guarded towards your own Company Officer, Ensign Drew, for he is a very specious dangerous chap! He will be sworn friend with you one hour, and in the next will call you out to fight a duel."

"Oh, ho!" I exclaimed, "I did strongly suspect that he was "A Queer Poet, for he gave me a strange report of you all!" 

"Most likely," continued Pollock, "as such you will readily comprehend my next hint. Avoid Party! A short time ago it was the curse of this Corpse. The spirit is now subsiding for some of the active leaders were killed in the late campaign, and others are wounded and absent. But there are still some relics of it, especially among the Ensigns. This is, as you know, an Irish Regiment, Colonel Maclean, Lieutenants McDain  [McLain ?] and Gordon, and three Ensigns are Scotch, yourself and Ruddock are the only English. The rest are Irish. The Colonel was so much annoyed by party spirit that he is exceedingly sensitive about it. Therefore be on your guard. Take heed not to affront Weir, there is no reasoning with him, a pistol is his only argument! Lieutenant Hill does not mind a shot with any one, but Joe is a careless good hearted fellow, and never quarrelsome. In our last cantonments he gave an effective check to the jealousy and animosity among the ensigns. Mr Drew made a taunting remark with the intent that Hill might take it up, but Joe would not heed it. This incensed Drew, who spoke of the circumstance, reflecting on Hill's conduct. Joe called him out, and having received Drew's fire, said "Look here Mr Drew!" and fired his pistol in the air. Now Sir, be you cautious, for the future, how you trifle with Joe Hill's name, fro the next time he will send a bullet through your body!"

 

I was much obliged to Pollock for his friendly admonition and went home full of meditation, but I felt a hope that I should be able to pursue a straight path aided by these hints, and a little plain judgement. Thus I began to flatter myself that I had at last surmounted all my difficulties. This however proved fallacious. For calling on the Colonel one day relative to my Company, I found him cold and reserved, nay almost churlish. A suspicion flashed instantly across my mind that a viper I once scotched was again trying to bite me. Indignant with the thought, I at once resolved to prove it, and said "You must please Colonel to excuse the remark I am about to make, but finding your reception of me today so different from what I have heretofore experienced, it makes me apprehensive you heard something which prejudices you against me, for I am not aware of having done anything to incur your displeasure."

 

The Colonel sternly replied, "Sir I understand that you are a very troublesome fellow in a regiment, and that you are extremely deficient in paying a proper respect to your Commanding Officers!" I am very sorry, Colonel, to find that my suspicions are but too well founded. I will not ask you Sir, any question, because Major White is the only man on earth who would make such a vile and false assertion, and he is also the last man who ought to attempt to impugn my character! I have no hesitation in giving, not merely a plain contradiction, but the lie direct, to every assertion Major White has made to my prejudice!."

 

"Oh!" exclaimed Colonel Maclean, this confirms what I have heard! Besides, Sir, you left the 48th Regiment and came to report yourself to me, without asking your late Commanding Officer to introduce you." To this accusation I, at once, plead guilty, but had you Colonel, witnessed the leave I took of the 48th before they entered this town, with my reception when I met them after having reported myself to you Sir, you would not have discounted that any umbrage had been given to any one individual. Unacquainted as you are Sir, with the cause of my exasperated feelings, you are at present warranted in construing every circumstance to my disadvantage. But you must Colonel, allow me to state some particulars for my own justification. To make a long story short, I assure you Colonel, that Major White was obliged to beg my pardon twice in one morning, first, by desire of Colonel Hutchinson, in the presence of all the Officers, assembled in the messroom, and afterwards through his own Second Lieutenant Wightman, in my guardroom. I was in my power to have cashiered Major White. For as you Colonel know full well, the Mutiny Act admits of no mitigation of the offence of sending a challenge to an Officer on guard!" "Really!" exclaimed Colonel Maclean, in a very subdued tone, "this is a very extraordinary case, and that I may form my own opinion, I must desire you to state every particular."

 

"I can refer you Colonel Maclean to many Officers here present with the 48th Regiment (mentioning their names) for the accuracy of what I am about to relate. You must excuse my detailing a trifling circumstance because it will at once show you the absurdity of Major Whites original prejudice against me. Captain Reid commended the 2nd Battalion 48th Regiment when we marched to Weedon Barracks, where the Depot of the 14th Regiment was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Tidy. As Officer of the Day, I ran down from my room to the signal for the soldiers' dinners. On reaching the entrance hall to the Officers Barracks, I saw many of both regiments on the flight of steps outside, and without checking my speed I called out jocosely, "Stand clear, for if I am too late I shall spoil all the puddings." And jumped down over the steps. As I passed, I noticed Captain Reid in plain clothes, talking with a little man in a shabby hat and brown coat, but knew not who he was. When the Orderly Book was brought in the afternoon I found that Major White had joined, and taken the Command. Meeting Captain Reid, I enquired when the Major arrived. He replied, you saw him talking with me, when you passed out to the Dinner Drain. And I can tell you, young chap, that you are already in the Major's black book!. For when you had passed he enquired who you were? I spoke in high terms of your performance of your duty, but the Major replied "umph! He is a very cavalier sort of a fellow!" You ought, said the Captain, ironically, to have stopped, and been introduced to the Major. Why, I rejoined, that could not have been, for I did not see him until I was past, besides I was on duty. Moreover, I did not know he was arrived until just now I saw him in orders.

 

This, Sir, was my first dereliction!

 

Lieutenant Wightman in being absent on leave, the active duties of the Mess Committee devolved on me, under the superintendence of the President, Captain Reid. We found it troublesome to make the careless young Officers keep a clear account of wine and the corkage, for the week they were successively Vice Presidents. One week the Vice was sick absent three or four days, and another officiated for him. I found that between the two, I could not make the accounts distinct, and therefore submitted them to Captain Reid, who after a long and fruitless attempt, desired me to pay the sum total to the Paymaster, our Treasurer, without stating the two separate accounts. The same evening it chanced, that when dinner was ready, the Chairman was not present. And Major White volunteered to take the chair. All passed very well until we had taken about half the allowance of wine. When the Major said in an audible voice, "There is a circumstance come to my knowledge this day, which I wish to mention to the Mess." The Committee has paid to the Treasurer the wine money for the past, but they have not paid the corkage. Of course the Committee know where the corkage money is!"

 

I was sitting beside Captain Reid, who instantly desired me to leave the room, when I was out, he retorted on the Major for his vile insinuation, and also reproved him for usurping the Chair, when Commanding Officer, contrary to the etiquette of every well regulated Mess, and likewise for abusing the Chair, by broaching any topic for discussion after dinner. And Captain Reid left the room. Soon after this event Colonel Hutchinson joined. But he was in Command only a short time when a route came for us to march to Danbury Barracks, near Chelmsford in Essex. We were not settled in our new quarters many days, when an order arrived for Captain Reid to proceed to Enniskillen on the Recruiting Service, as recommended by the private letter to the War Office from Major White. I was thus left sole Committee man. On the 24th March, according to Mess rules, after dinner I required the Chairman to wait on, and request the Commanding Officer to call a meeting of the Officers on the next day, to nominate a new Committee, and to take into consideration such other matters as might be brought before the meeting. Major White rose instantly and evidently under excitement and desired the Chairman to demand an explanation of what other matters were to be brought forward. I calmly reminded the Chairman that any discussion after dinner was contrary to the rule. And having repeated my injunction to him, I left the room.

 

My decisive conduct awakened the Major's suspicions. And in the evening I was visited by a young Officer whom I brought to confess that he was sent by the Major to learn the business for the morrow. Afterwards came Lieutenant Wightman, who had returned that very day, and who came under the specious pretext of being one of the Mess Committee. I felt excessively indignant at this intrusion, but preserved my self control, and told him very quietly, that as he went away a few days after he was appointed on the Committee, he had nothing to do with its transactions during the three months he had managed to stay from his duty. And that since all his old comrades considered him to be decidedly one of Major White's skirt ornaments, I must decline all conversation with him! In consequence of a punishment that was to take place in the morning the Regiment mustered before breakfast. As early as half past six o'clock while I was inspecting my Company on its private parade, Major White came and endeavoured to draw me into conversation, but I declined all intercourse. After muster I went on guard from whence I was summonsed to join the Officers assembled in the Mess room. When I had stated all particulars, and brought my accusation against Major White, the Colonel very sternly addressed me. "It is my duty, Sir, to remind you of the critical situation in which you have placed yourself by bringing so heavy a charge against a Field Officer and who is second in Command! I must demand of you, Sir, what were your feelings and impressions at the time of this occurrence! And also what proof you have to substantiate this heinous accusation?"

I firmly replied, I can assure you Colonel Hutchinson, I had but one impression and but one feeling, which was, that if my accuser had not been my Commanding Officer, I would most assuredly have led him out of the room by his nose! Such, and such Officers here present can corroborate what I have advanced. I have not consulted with any one of them, for I only require that each of them will state fairly and openly what did actually occur.

 

I was utterly astonished at hearing the mugatory evidence of the four junior Ensigns! Although I had noticed Major White standing opposite had brow beaten them while speaking. And I began to think I was actually, as the Colonel had said, in a very critical situation, for if the Senior Officers did not support me more strongly, my Commission was not worth a brass button! And I could place no reliance on my next witness, for although a perfect gentleman in his deportment, he was very eccentric. However when called on Ensign Stowell clenched the business by declaring, that he was quite surprised at my forbearance from first to last, for had it been his case, he must have bundled his accuser out of the room, and then kicked him out of the parish.

 

This gave a turn to the whole affair, coming from such a person, and so unexpectedly. And the Major was the only person not perplexed in coercing his risibility. The Colonel was some time before he could resume the stern look with which at the beginning he had addressed me, then turning to the Major he said "Major White I demand of you Sir, that you immediately in the presence of these Officers make Mr Crow a most full and ample apology for the insult you offered him!" The Major most readily acquiesced. The Colonel then calling me familiarly by name enquired if I was satisfied. I thanked him and said as far as myself was concerned I was perfectly satisfied. But the remark made under such circumstances was an insult to the Mess generally, he must allow me to apply to those members, who were present at the time. Reversing the custom of a Court of Enquiry as the Colonel pursued, I applied to the Seniors first, who requested me to drop the subject. Hearing which, Colonel Hutchinson kindly requested me to give him my "Word of Honour" that nothing further should pass on this business and he then demanded the same from the Major who promised as readily as I had done.

 

I returned to my Guard room highly gratified by the result of this trying affair, which had so long pressed on my. But I could no0t enjoy my satisfaction one brief hour, before Lieutenant Wightman entered and after a short preamble, said he came from Major White who thought I was not satisfied with what had just passed, because I had spoken "of leading him out of the room by the nose!"

 

I promptly replied, Let us Mr Wightman correctly understand each other, tell me plainly. Do you come to me with a challenge from Major White? I do, he said, For the Major is anxious to afford you every satisfaction. Now then Mr Wightman I perfectly understand your errand. Pray have the kindness to give my compliments to Major White, and assure him that one hour after I am relieved from Guard on the morrow, I will meet him in Danbury Park. And if I can shoot him through the body, I will, for the good of the Service! But you must first oblige me by attending to my Guard, until I can engage a friend. On my return I referred him to Captain Wauch, who would settle all preliminaries on my behalf. I had full two hours reflection on this unexpected turn of affairs before my friend Wauch came to persuade me to allow him to arrange a reconciliation, for he said he had been considering the affair within himself, and trembled to think what might be the consequences, for if it came ot the Colonel's knowledge, the chances were that both Major White and Lieutenant Wightman would lose their Commissions, and the Major had a wife and family in Ireland dependant on him! I told Wauch I could not listen to his arguments. What ever might be the consequences to my two opponents they would be their own seeking! That as for myself I was resolved to brave the worst! I had received insult upon insult, and could not consent to be bullied by anyone. If I did not carry the present affair with a high hand, I must submit to the Major's tyranny, as long as I remained in the regiment. Moreover, I added, what reliance can I place on the professions of any one, who in these few hours has so grossly violated his pledged "Word of Honour"? But I request of you do not come again to consult me, for I feel so highly indignant, that I cannot trust my own judgment! Go and consult with my friend Lieutenant Close. And I promise to acquiesce in whatever you two may decide on.

 

Again I was left to a long reflection before Wauch returned, accompanied by Lieutenant Wightman, who delivered to me an ample and most submissive apology from Major White! At Mess that evening my kind friends sat near me and followed my example by taking wine with the Major and Mr Wightman.\

 

After this we had another very unexpected collision. A Public Order required Major White to attend the drilling of the junior Officers, in the manual and platoon exercise, and to report their proficiency to the Commanding Officer. When my rotation came to take the squad, Major White objected to the instructions I gave, and appealed to the Adjutant, who pronounced me to be correct. The Blue Book was sent for and confirmed the Adjutant's decision. Disconcerted at this result, the Major kept us at drill a fortnight. And Colonel Hutchinson having learned from the Adjutant what had occurred joked me for being such a stupid fellow to remain so long at drill. The next day he dismissed the drill in Pubic Order without any report from the Major.

 

Colonel Maclean knowing the character of Major White, my long narrative carried conviction with it. At least I could never learn that he enquired of any one about its accuracy. And his subsequent kindness to me gave assurance that I had effectually outflanked the Major's malicious rear attack. Two days after this explanation however, and before I could ascertain what might prove its effect, I had to give proof of my efficiency as an Officer by examining my Company, then off duty by rotation for private inspection. This duty always took place on the opposite side of the square to the Colonel's house and the Orderly Room was on the left. I was fully prepared to be well watched from both points, and so it proved. I did not flinch from the duty, but examined every musket, closely inspected the ammunition and flints in the cartouch boxes, in short, I did not pass over the most minute article. And when my Color Serjeant carried my Returns to the Orderly room, the Serjeant Major, for at the time we had no Adjutant, declared that, long as he had been in the Service, he had never seen a Company inspected in such a thorough and soldier like manner. I have no doubt he expressed the same opinion to the Colonel who could well judge of its accuracy, for I frequently espied him in the dark back part of his room watching my proceedings.

 

I had yet another ordeal to pass, but it was off a very different character. It was neither by fire nor by water, but partaking of both in a certain degree. The festival of St.Patrick was to be kept. Long before daybreak I was awakened by the tune of "Patrick's Day in the morning," by the drums and fifes under my window. In the evening all the Officers, excepting the Colonel, dined together in a large room in my street, fitted for an hospital ward. I cannot praise the elegance of our apartment, we had ample space but the large holes through the floor were ill adapted to a jovial meeting. The dinner over, I was called to the head of the table to be christened an Irishman. Dr Wray, our Surgeon, officiated as Priest. He immersed a large shamrock with its roots and the earth attached, in a plated goblet containing more than the third of a bottle of wine, and ordered me to kneel. He then dipped his finger in the wine, made a cross on my forehead, and profanely naming the Trinity, christened me. Mr O.Lochlan O'Shaughnessy. To prove myself a riggillar Irishman, I had to swallow in one draught all the contents of the goblet. This done Mr O.Lochlan O'Shaughnessy was ordered to rise. Lieutenant Ruddock then went through the same ceremony. I fully expected that such a potion would have intoxicated me, but instead of exhilarating, it turned me cold as ice, and as I could not enjoy society, I was about to leave when Radcliffe caught me and urged my staying. I replied, Let me alone Tom. I have got enough!" "Och!" he shouted, "here is a pretty sort of an Irishman indeed, to know when he had got enough!"

 

I returned to my house and forcing my fingers into my throat, got rid of all my lately acquired honours. After drinking some hot tea I went to bed and the next morning felt no effects from my copious dose.

 

After all these trials I considered myself fully established. And wrote to thank Lord Moira for my promotion into his own regiment.

 

Three of our soldiers went by night to rob a sheepcot. The two shepherds made a brave resistance. One of them struggling on the ground with his assailant, plucked a button from his fatigue jacket and also scratched the backs of the villains hands. The shepherds accompanied by the Colonel, attended the mornings parade, and challenged two of the offenders. But could not find the one who had been most ferocious. I was on duty with a fatigue party of 30 men employed in clearing the houses in my street and received orders not to dismiss my party to dinner until the Colonel came. The two shepherds came with him and soon picked out Pat Gallagher of my own company. There was no button deficient on his jacket, but he was the only man wearing gloves, which the shepherd requested might be ordered off, when the damning marks were visible enough. The three miscreants were confined. The affair reported to the Lieutenant General Sir Lowry Cole [Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, 1772-1842], Commanding the Division. A General Court Martial assembled. Our Brigadier Major General Anson was President and a thousand lashed was awarded to each offender. The 48th Regiment was ordered to attend the punishment, with our own, which from the appalling number of lashes occupied a long time, but as most of our drummers were boys did not prove so severe as I dreaded. The first culprit did not received 875, the second 925 and Gallagher 975. When he was taken from the halberts the audacious villain turned round and said "Thank you Colonel! The next battle we are in we will settle this affair!"

 

Nothing daunted by this threat Colonel Maclean desired them to take the impudent fellow away, or he should be obliged to have him tied up again.

 

That afternoon I had to bury a poor young fellow of my company who came out in the same fleet as myself, and who had died of dysentery. He was a clean steady lad, and promised to have made a good soldier. As I ascended the steps to the hospital to see that the corps was properly prepared for interment, I was called by name by a man lying on clean fresh straw in a small out house below, and a sentry placed over him. This proved to be Pat Gallagher, whose back had been dressed and as there was not room in the hospital, he was placed in the pigsty. To those who have never parted from the comforts of an English home, this will, beyond doubt, appear to be very cruel, nay quite horrible, but, many were the times that I should have been rejoiced to have secured so snug a berth.

 

Gallagher gave me to understand, in true Hibernian style, the horror he felt at the of burying that young chap in a new blanket, whereas his was old and worn out, and would answer the purpose very well, for ti was only fit to be put into the ground, he therefore requested me to order the blankets to be changed,, the he might have the new one. Highly incensed by this application I replied indignantly, "You good for nothing villain. If your blanket were ten times worse, it would be good enough for you, who have disgraced not only hour Company, but your Regiment! No! Sir, this poor young fellow had not committed his first offence, and shall be buried in the new blanket he brought with him from Lisbon! Master Pat sent many threatening promises after me, as I proceeded in the hospital, but I did not tarry to learn their import. The Serjeant following me said they were as flattering as the one to the Colonel in the morning. 

 

The solemn duty I had not be perform was quite new to me, and the summons was so short that I had no time to enquire what part of the burial service was generally read. I therefore took out my prayer book and read the whole, and with the impression that chief of those present were Roman Catholics, I gave full emphasis to that beautiful and imposing rite. I was much gratified by the reverential behaviour of my men at the time, and to learn afterwards from my Color Serjeant that every man had felt the awfulness of the ceremony. I confess that the solemnity of my new office took such hold of my own feelings that I found I was quite hysterical, and was well pleased to regain my own room and be alone. I had complained that the grave was not deeper, but I found they had dug to the solid rock and could not go any deeper. The field assigned to us as a burial ground was a short distance beyond the town. So to prevent the wolves prowling around from tearing the body of our departed comrade we piled a large heap of ponderous stones over his grave.

 

The Portuguese, at whose house the poor departed youth had been quartered, attended the funeral with part of his family and some of his neighbours, and we gave them credit for coming out of respect for the deceased. But as there had been but few funerals curiosity may have had some influence. Whatever was their inducement, they frankly acknowledged that they were awed by the solemn ceremony, and declared that they were convinced that the English must be Christians. Those who have witnessed the funeral of Roman Catholics of humble life and marked the cold, heartless and slovenly indifference there betrayed, can fully appreciate the unfettered impression and judgement thus expressed.

 

The following circumstances may at first glance appear to savour too much of egotism, but I will mention it to show how a little firmness in one person may influence the conduct of many, and the subsequent part of my narrative will prove what beneficial effects results from it.

 

We had another Mess dinner, to commemorate a great battle in which our regiment was actively engaged. But as I was not a participant in the fight, I kept very quiet and drank cautiously. When chief of Senior Officers had left the party I remained that I might thereby show a good inclination to associate with the Juniors, and I resolved to watch the working of the old maxim, 'in vino veritas.'

 

I had chosen a seat beside the middle of the table, on the opposite side sat four Ensigns, the most active of the troublesome clique. Mr Drew became very loquacious, when freed from restraint by the departure of his Seniors. And at length made a very pointed remark which evidently he expected Lieutenant Gough on my right would resent. Poor Gough was never quarrelsome, and at the time was too much conglomerated by his potation, to perceive that Drew wanted to pick a quarrel with him. I parried the remark for Gough and soon after prevailed on him to accompany me home. The next day I found him totally unconscious of what had occurred and he promised to call on me to be his second if anything further should take place.

 

Two days passed before Drew spoke to Gough, who instantly desired him to send his second to me. 

 

After three days more, Mr O'Shea called as Mr Drew's second. I pointed out the absurdity of the imaginary quarrel, and the impropriety of delay in calling for an explanation but promised to call on him when I had maturely considered the singular circumstances of the case, and had resolved what course to pursue. 

 

Soon after Ensign O'Shea was gone Ensign Radcliffe came, to whom I related all the circumstances. Tom perfectly coincided with me about the affair and with all his wanted fervency agreed to assist me in exposing all the party. He went immediately and explained the business to Captain White, who readily entered into our plan. And after parade next morning more than a dozen Officers assembled at Radcliffe's quarters, whither I had summonsed Mssrs Drew and O'Shea with some of their cronies. We also took care to have the Scotchmen present, who strenuously supported the animadversions I most freely passed on the systematic plan of picking quarrels out from trifles and then referring all arbitration to the dangerous and inconsiderate use of pistols! The clique were very glad to get away from the meeting for they could not but feel they were thoroughly beaten and exposed. The other Officers unanimously thanked me for what I had done, and expressed a confident hope that the eclaircissement [The clearing up of anything which is obscure or not easily understood] would prove an effectual check to the quarrelsome spirit which had so long been a pist in the corps, and also to the ambition of the Ensigns in seeking promotion for themselves by disabling a Senior. Bot points were attained, we subsequently found, for the clique was quashed, and I never heard of but one bloodless duel which Weir fought with some one, and two messages which were adjusted by explanation. One of these was sent to myself, and I went at once to Ensign Ovens, my challenger, and declared that my conduct during that day's march, by which he fancied himself offended, was prompted by a sense of duty, and no ways personal towards him. On which we shook hands, and afterwards when attached to the same corps we became very sociable. A great good resulted to myself from this affair by the warm friendship between Radcliffe and me, which remained unbroken until the Regiment was disbanded. Tom was the son of a clergyman in Dublin, perfectly the gentleman, a very tall and large young man, with a round, fat open countenance which was a just index of his generous heart. He was in the 3rd Company under Captain White, who had his own private Marque, and messed with the Surgeon Dr Wray. Tom proposed that the two should mess together when we took the field. I willingly assented, for he had the experience of the last campaign and with the tack of his countrymen had picked up the language, he was likewise a capital forager. I had to offer, for my part of the compact, the comforts of a double canteen, for Tom had not cup, dish or spoon. A Grenadier of our Regiment was attached to the Commissary as a butcher, who was under Radcliffe's command at the depot in Ireland, and my chum occasionally made use of his old comrade, and obtained from him a meat's tongue, to serve us in camp. The good housewives at home would have been greatly amused could they have heard our consultations about the curing of this tongue. All the culinary knowledge we could avail ourselves of, was my recollection that good brine ought to float a fresh egg, and that some saltpetre was requisite. There was a great difficulty in procuring this ingredient, but my chum went from house to house until he obtained it.

 

The brine was duly prepared and with the tongue put into a large bowl which Tom borrowed of his Patrona, and placed in a niche in the wall of his own room where erst the image of St Antonis, or some such august personage was wont to dwell. He turned the tongue every day for a month, then made his servant hang it up in his own chimney, until we marched. In the month of July we regretted that there was but one tongue for two mouths, for it was excellent.

 

By Division Orders we now commenced weekly marches in heavy marching order for a couple of leagues. This was a plain hint of what we had to expect would take place 'ere long. The cumbrous old camp kettles had long since been given over to the Commissary of Stores, and smaller ones were delivered out, adapted for six men each, to be carried day about by each man of the mess, on the top of his knapsack. But this plan soon proved abortive, for in the first skirmish more than half were rendered useless, being perforated by musket balls, and were thrown away. Afterwards each man was supplied with a small half round kettle, barely large enough for boiling the pounds of meat, when it was requisite to distribute three days rations at once. These small kettles rode behind the knapsack and were seldom injured. A strap passed over the lid, so that a soldier could carry his cooked rations securely, and free from dust and flies. This was an admirable arrangement, for every man would take care of his own kettle, which made him independent whether on guard, or picquet, or detachment. A bill hook for cutting wood for camp fires was also given to six men, which was an excellent plan. They likewise required no looking after by Officer or Serjeant, for every man was willing to carry a hook, the want of which had been long felt. Nor did I ever see a hook left on the field of battle, for if a soldier possessing one was killed or wounded, some one of his comrades would secure it, as belonging to the company himself. Thus after a time many companies possessed more than their proper number.

 

Another grand and very important alteration in the materials of the army was made. Four bell tents were delivered to each company. One for the Officers to be carried with their own baggage, and three for the use of the soldiers, to be carried by the Bat Mule, in lieu of the camp kettles, who, had he been consulted, would have entered his protest against the alteration for his burden became much heavier with three tents saturated with nocturnal rains, or the very heavy dews of day break. But the increase of his burden contributed to the health of the army, and thereby its efficiency, so that this and many other hospital stations prepared by wise forethought were never filled.

 

Lieutenant General Sir Lowry Cole personally inspected the Bat Mules of each Brigade of his Division. I sent mine with the utmost confidence that so fine an animal could not be found fault with, but to this astonishment of every Officer of the regiment, he was rejected, and I was ordered to procure another before the next inspection. Here were two great difficulties to be surmounted. The acting Paymaster obviated one, by advancing money to enable me to purchase. But where could I find a better mule.

 

Three days before the time appointed a string of mules for sale arrived. I looked at them in despair, for not one of them could be compared with mine. I was however, obliged to purchase, and paid most reluctantly $56 (about 12 guineas) for a raw boned beast, selected by my friends Pollock and Radcliffe, that kicked everything off her as soon as the girth was loosened. I felt extremely anxious till the inspection was over, and eagerly hailed the Batman at a distance on his return to learn my fate, and was truly rejoiced when the fellow with a broad grin on his countenance assured me that the ugly beast was accepted. "But how," I enquired "did you manage, Barney, about her kicking?" Barney laughed heartily and said "Truth but she cut five capers, sure and was very near kicking the General's ribs of his body! I told him how she would behave but he would not get out of the way, when however, she showed him her heels, he sprung back and swore, and laughed, and then called out 'Take her away, take her away! She will do! For I never knew an anxious mule knock up on the longest march."

 

By this unlooked for arrangement I became unintentionally possessed of an excellent baggage animal, for the mule which I had taken as belonging to the company was not my own property. I therefore sold the rat of a pony which brought my baggage from Abrantes, and was well prepared to enter into Radcliffe's proposal for me to join him in the 3rd Company tent, and by giving up the tent for the 4th Company to Mr Drew, I should keep clear of his disagreeable society. And all parties concerned were well pleased with the measure. Soon after the delivery of the tents, a cricket match took place on the plain where I quitted the 48th Regiment. Only a few of the natives came to see this truly English game, and they were greatly interested, loudly shouting "Viva" when a good hit was struck, but were exceedingly displeased when a ball was caught and the player laid down his bat. This match offered an excellent opportunity for us to pitch our tents, and ascertain that they were complete, and ready for service. My friend Tom Radcliffe and I were well satisfied with the experiment. On my way home I called on Close, and found him conversing with his Patron, the Priest, about a Grenadier of the 48th who had committed some offence. "Oh! Signor Capitain," exclaimed the Priest, "you must excuse him, for his is a good Catholic!" "That may be," replied Close, "but he is a very bad soldier, and a good for nothing scoundrel and must be punished." The jolly Padre laughed heartily, and left the room, and the "very good Catholic" to his deserts!

 

April 30 1813. 

I finished my last letter from these peaceful cantonments, with the following remarks. 

 

We learn, by the best information we can obtain, that our Division (The 4th) will  cross and advance on the right bank of the Douro. If so, we shall be fortunate for the French have never been there, we shall therefore be able to procure plenty of fodder for our animals, and cheap provisions for ourselves. I shall thus have a chance of seeing Salamanca and Burgos, but we shall be in advance of Madrid. When we get into Spain I must endeavour to improve my stud. The pony I bought at Abrantes back, and I have sold him, as Tom sold his top for very little. The other one purchased at Santarem has been fighting, and literally come off with monkey's allowance, more kicks than halfpence.

 

My baggage mule is excellent. Also my Company's mule, only a little vicious. I have a double set of shoes for each of them. My pack saddles are good. My baggage light, with a good stock of tea, sugar, and everything ready for the march. The tea is brought by settlers but from Oporto, as the natives only use it as medicine. The nights are cold in the rainy season, and are so even in summer in comparison with the warmth of the day, but I have three good blankets and my boat cloak, and shall do very well.

 

This will probably be my last letter fro some time as we daily expect the order to take the field. We suppose that our march has been delayed by the heavy rains which will continue another week. The rivers are much swollen. A continuation of rain in England is thought but little about, except for its dreariness and inconvenience, but here it is a most important event. Exhausted nature revives and the bare fields are covered with vegetation, as if by magic! The almond, cherry peach and plum trees have long since lost their beautiful blossoms, as well as the few apple trees we meet with. The mulberry, fig and vine are looking green and remind us of their delicious fruits. The wheat is in the spindle, rye off the blossom. And barley sown last week is already ankle high. Yet with all these, there is no comparison with spring in England, no coppices bursting into leaf to adorn the landscape, no feathered choristers to cheer you in your walk, a solitary whitethorn may occasionally be found to regale the sense of smelling, but it grows among large blocks of stones and dark butting rocks!

 

 

 

Before I open my diary I will transcribe the Standing Orders of our Division. They will evince the strict discipline enforced in the British Army by Lord Wellington, and the consequently responsibility of Officers of every rank.

 

Standing Orders. 4th Division

 

On a March.

 

No.1 Men upon any pretence whatever excepting sudden illness will not be permitted to fall out from their Company on the march.

The Assistant Provost Martial who will be in the rear of the line of march has received directions to punish on the spot, any man disobeying these order, and to report the man, Company and Regiment to which he may belong.

2. When on a march, an Officer of each Regiment will accompany the Quarter Master General of the Division in order to procure quarters for their respective corps. A Serjeant per Company will likewise be sent in advance for the same purpose.

When the Division is cantoned in separate villagers, the Officers will return and remain at the place, where the road leading to the village allotted to them branches off from that on which the Division is marching, in order to conduct the Regiment to their quarters. They will have previously arranged wit the Serjeant, the houses for each Company and these latter will meet their Corps at the entrance of the village, for the purpose of conducting their respective Companies to their quarters.

It is particularly recommended to the Commanding Officers not to detain men under arms longer than is absolutely necessary, and when more than one Regiment is to be stationed in a town or village, the proceeding one must file off immediately with its Serjeant in order to prevent the halt of those in the rear.

 

Light Companies

 

No.1 The Light Companies of the Brigade will be formed, with the Rifle Company attached to them as directed by the General Orders, 4th May 1809. No.3 under the command of a Field Officer of the Brigade appointed for that purpose, they will form the advance and rear guards according to the situation of their respective Brigades.

 

Baggage

 

1.When the army is advancing against the enemy the Baggage to be in the rear of the Division; when retreating, it will proceed.

2.One Subn one Serjeant one Corporal and 6 privates with 2 batmen and Comp 3rd who the Major General recommends to be found from the Officers servants are all that will be allowed to attend to the Baggage of a Battalion. It is recommended indispensable that one of the Batmen should invariably be attached to the Camp Kettle Mule of the Company.

3.The Baggage is to assemble ¼ of an hour previous to the time appointed for the Battalion to march, and the Officers ordered Baggage Duty will report to the Officer commanding the Brigade any deviations from the order.

4.The Baggage will parade and move in the same order as their Regiment and in case of accidents mules must be taken out of the line of march to be unloaded.

 

Arrival at Halting Place

 

1.Officers commanding Brigades and Regiments upon their arrival at the supposed halting place for the day will without delay make themselves  acquainted with the nearest communication between their respective cantonments and the high road on which the Army is moving and will report the same to the Major General commanding, as likewise the distance they may be form it, they will also dispatch from each Corps a steady Non-Com Officer to the Head Quarters of the Division who will remain there for Orders.

2.If Commanding Officers of Corps find that their men straggle about the country they are directed to call the rolls every two hours, if necessary every hour or half hour, and should this not have the desired effect, the Major General will feel himself under the necessity of keeping the Corps under arms the whole of the day.

3.The Major General of the Division requests that whenever the Regiment arrives at their halting place the rolls may be called previous to their dismissal, and Commanding Officers of Corps will report immediately after the names of absentees and the Company to which they belong,, to the Assistant Adjutant General. Should the men be 'All Present' a report to such effect is equally expected.

4.The Officer from each Battalion sent forward for the purpose of taking up ground or quarters will report to their several Commanding Officers what gardens, corn stacks or other property there may be in the vicinity of their respective quarters or encampments. Commanding Officers then take measures effectually to preserve them, previous to the dismissal of the Battalion by posting safe guards etc. And each Corps will be held responsible for all depredations committed in its neighbourhood, whether by men of their own, or other Corps.

 

Wood and Forage Parties.

 

1.The Major General commanding the Division request that Officers in command of Corps will give most pointed instructions to their men to abstain from using articles of furniture or materials of houses etc for fire wood, except from unroofed and ruined buildings, and these only by the authority of an Officer. Any soldier detected in carrying off furniture or in pulling down buildings will be made a severe example. An Officer or Non-Commanding Officer of the Regiment will accompany those sent on to procure the quarters of the Corps, for the purpose of ascertaining whether wood can be obtained in the vicinity of the place of halting, and when the Regiment arrives (if the hour is not too late0 regular parties may be sent out for it. The General Orders respecting Olive trees is referred to.

2.The Major General requests that Officers commanding Regiments will exert themselves in order to prevent their men from straying about the country either for the procuring of pipe clay or any other purpose. When these parties are authorised they will be attended regularly by a Non Commanding Officer,, who will be responsible for the behaviour and regularity of the men under his charge until they are brought back and dismissed.

3.When the inhabitants have abandoned the country, regimental detachments are permitted to be sent out in the vicinity of the camp or quarters in search of vegetables for the messes, but positively forbid unless accompanied by an Officer.

4.In places where the inhabitants have not abandoned their houses, the General Orders respecting forage are to be attended to and no soldier or servant is on any account to be permitted to go in search of forage without a pass signed by the Commanding Officer of the Regiment. Such as are found disobeying are to be sent to the Provost and punished immediately.

 

Sick

 

1.Upon all removals of sick, the Surgeons of Regiments are required to transmit to the Staff Surgeon of the Division the number of men to be sent from their respective Corps, who will without delay report the total to the Assistant Adjutant General of the Division, to enable him to order the necessary escort of soldiers to attend them.

2.Surgeons of Regiments and Division Order on that head are strictly complied with. A sufficient quantity of straw (if to be procured0 with a blanket over it, must be placed in the cars previous to the men being put into them.

 

Picquets

 

1.Whenever the Division is in face of an enemy, the Picquets are to stand to their arms a full hour and half before day-break and continue so until it is sufficiently light to be able to distinguish every object in front of the post.

2.When the Field Officer or General visits the picquets during the night (which the former should do frequently) the is (they are?) immediately to turn out with ordered arms, otherwise it is impossible for the Field Officer to judge of their alertness.

3.Field Officers are requested to be very particular in their report and not from a mistaken idea of compassion, as is too often the case, or from any indolence or carelessness on their own parts, report everything alert, when they know it to have been to the reverse.

4.Officers or Non Commanding Officers in charge of guards or picquets and &ldots; whom any man should desert are to report the same to the Field Officer of the day immediately. The Field Officer of the day will forward his report without any delay to the Officer commanding the Brigade, and to the Major General commanding the Division

5.Officers whom commanding Officers in charge of guards or picquets are always to report to the Field Officer of the day, and the Field Officer to the Major General commanding the Division, any extraordinary occurrences or appearance that they may observe in the enemy's lines, or in the vicinity of their post, being careful to state not only the day of the month but the hour at which such report was dispatched.

 

Brigade Majors

 

1.Brigade Majors will be held responsible that all orders are issued to their several Corps as soon as possible after they have received them.

2.When it  is necessary to dispatch a Guide Courier or Dragoon with letters the Brigade Major who dispatches them will be careful to note down on the back of the Dispatch the hour he sends them off, he will also specify the number of letters and for whom

3.Majors of Brigade detached from the Head Quarters of the Division are to acknowledge the receipt of all General Orders or letter that may be sent to them.

4.Brigade Majors are to forward all returns they receive which are required at a given time without waiting for those that have been neglected to be sent to them, as otherwise it is impossible for the Major General to know who have and who have not complied with the Order.

 

Provost Martial.

 

1.The Provost Martial is not on any account whatever to receive or punish soldiers sent to him by any Officer, excepting Staff Officers and Officers commanding Regiments. The Major General having heard that men are sent to the Provost Martial to be punished by Officers who have no authority whatever for so doing, strictly forbids this practice, and desires that it may be understood that no Officer whatever can send men to be punished, or can confine soldiers in the Provost Guard, unless detected in the very act of plundering or that no Guard is at hand to receive them, except Staff Officers or Officers in command of Regiment, Corps or Detachments.

 

Ammunition

 

1.The Major General commanding desires that Officers commanding Regiments will in their returns for Ammunition always state in the column of cause of deficiency, the number of rounds lost by neglect, the number wanting to complete men joined from General Hospital, or otherwise, in which case the number of men joined, must also be stated; the number of rounds damaged in the men's pouches; which last will be charged against the men unless it can be proved to have occurred through unavoidable accident.

 

Miscellaneous.

 

1.Commanding Officers of Brigades will take the earliest opportunity of making any new Corps that may join their Brigade acquainted with all General and Division Orders, selecting in the first instance those that apply to the situation of the Corps at the time of joining. If on the march the General Orders of the 24th May, 1st, 19th of June, 24th July 1809 are particularly recommended to their attention.

2.It is the desire of the Major General commanding that the men's blankets should be carried inside of their packs in preference to their great coats.

3.Officers commanding the Regiment will consider themselves as responsible for the execution of all orders which concern their respective Battalions.

4.Any yeoman found with Aquedent or plunder of any kind is to be sent to the Provost,, in the latter case he is to be reported to the Major General, and in the former punished immediately.

5.In compliance with an order received from Head Quarters the Major General commanding directs that all reinforcements officially reported to Regiments as arriving at Lisbon or elsewhere shall be returned in the Column of Detachments; and on the strength of the Regiments to which these belong.

6.In consequence of a representation from the Quarter Master General, Major General Cole desires that in the monthly returns of articles of Field Equipage, such articles only as are actually necessary to complete the present strength of the Corps are to be specified in future under the Head of Wanting to go Complete. The proportion ordered by the Commanding Officer of the Forces, of camp kettles and bill hooks is one of each to every ten men. The above returns are to be sent to the Quarter Master General of the Division on the 1st of every month, who will forward them to the Head Quarters without delay; reporting to the Major General any neglect of those orders.

7.No Commanding Officer is permitted to allow soldiers of his Regiment to be absent as but men or servants to Staff Officers without previous sanction of the Major General commanding the Division.

8.Officers wishing to enter the Portuguese Service, are to make their applications through the Commanding Officer of their Regiment who will transmit them through the Officer in command of the Brigade to the Major General commanding the Division.

9.Any soldier or servant convicted of inducing those of Officers entitled to draw forage to sell their master's coin shall be punished with severity, and shall not be permitted if a servant, to remain as such.

10.The Major General commanding the Division directs that no sentry is posted either by day or night, in a forage cap, or with a forage cap under his regiment cap. When sentries have their Great Coats on the accoutrements are to be worn on the outside: and in fine weather the first relief after day break will mount without their Great Coats.

11.The Colors are always to be born by Officers: and the Ensigns must never separate from them during the march.

12.Officers proceeding to Lisbon on account of ill health will without delay upon their arrival report themselves to the Deputy Inspector of Hospitals.

13.When a Brigade is detached, and the Commissary attached to it, the Officer commanding is enjoined to pay particular attention that a central place is allotted for the Commissary stores; and he will be pleased to recollect in the performance of this duty, that individual accommodation, whatever the rank may be, must yield to a concern of such general importance.

14.When any Officer is taken ill, the Surgeon of the Regiment to which such Officer belongs will if he deem it necessary, make application to the Staff Surgeon of the Division for a Medical Board to be held on him, and the proceedings of which are to be transmitted to the Major General for his approval. When time will not admit, or circumstances prevent a compliance with those orders, it is immediately to be made known to the Major General who will give such orders in consequence thereof, as he may judge expedient. But no Officer whatever is to be permitted to quit, or stay behind his Corps, without the previous approbation of the Major General.

15.It is in future to be considered as Standing Order of the Division that whenever troops are bivouacked before an enemy the accoutrements are invariably to be worn from sunset until broad daylight; and on no account to be taken off, unless particularly ordered by the Major General. The men will sleep with their packs under their heads, and put them on at the first moment of alarm.

16.Officers and Non Commissioned Officers in command of detachments on route to join the Division are immediately on their arrival at the place of destination to make a written report to the D.A.A. General and in the event of any man of the detachment having been left on the road, the cause is to be stated and every individual satisfactorily accounted for.

17.All returns called for are to be sent in duplicates.

 

May 5th 1813

On a march, one Field Officer the Adjutant and Surgeon to march in rear of their Regiments. The Commanding Officers of Companies in rear of their Companies.

 

Officers to remain constantly at their Sections. No man to fall out in the rear without a ticket of permission from the Officer commanding the Company if sick he will receive one from the Surgeon. These tickets are to be returned to the Officer commanding the Corps when a man rejoins his Company.

 

When a man is permitted to fall out on a march in consequence of sickness, or any other account, no Non-Commissioned Officer or any other person is to be left with him, as doing so weakens the Regiment still more; the Rear Guard will take care of them.

 

When leave is granted by the Officer commanding the Company to a man to fall out to ease himself he must give his arms to be carried by the other men of the Section as the troops will have frequently leave to fall out, for this purpose leave must seldom be granted.

 

Any man who shall obtain leave to fall out on pretence of sickness and it shall afterwards appear he was not really sick must be punished by a Court Martial or otherwise.

 

The Baggage Guard will consist of a Subaltern from the Division with a Serjeant and eight rank and file from each brigade including a Corporal from each Regiment will march in rear of the baggage, and must not leave behind them a sick man or straggler. The Officer will be answerable for bringing them all up, however long it may be. On the arrival of the Guard at the place of halting the sick and stragglers will be conducted to their several Corps by the Corporal of each Regiment attached to the Guard for that purpose. The men not having tickets will be given up to the Regimental Guard.

 

Any man whether he shall have obtained permission or not, to fall out, who shall straggle into the villages on the line of march, or stop in those, through which the column may pass, must be made prisoner, and tried by a Drum's Head Court Martial for disobedience of orders, on the arrival of the troops at their camp or quarters, if not previously punished for the offence by the Provost Marshall.

 

No Battalion, Company or Section is at any time to diminish its front, or attempt in anyway to avoid a bad spot in the road, until the preceding Battalion, Company or Section had done so. When a defiling is necessary it must be done with order and precision and by word of command.

 

When a Battalion or Company comes to a bad piece of road when it might be convenient to the men individually to file the Officer must be on the alert and must call to the men to keep their ranks or sections.

 

It is of the greatest importance that the men should not at any time be hurried on the march, they are to be instructed that they are not to step out beyond the regular pace still, still less to run, unless by word of command. And they must never be directed to do so by any person under the rank of a Field Officer.

 

When the proper distance of Companies or Sections can not be preserved without altering the step it must be effected by making the Head of each Battalion or Company to step short instead of allowing those who cannot keep distance to step out. The leading Companies therefore of each Battalion will step short until the last Company of the Battalion had closed up, even although a large interval should be occasioned between it and the preceding one. The leading section of each Company will also step short until the last is closed up, even although a large interval should take place, between that and the leading Company.

 

Baggage

 

One Captain of the Division will march with the Baggage, One Subaltern Officer, and a Serjeant will have charge of the Baggage of each Regiment.

 

The following number of Bat men are all that can be allowed with the baggage of each Regiment on the march:-

 

Company Officer - two

Each Field Officer - one

Each Company - one, to be immediately attached to mule carrying the tents of the Company

Pay Master - 1

Adjutant - 1

Surgeon & Assistant Surgeon - 1

--trenching tool - 1

For the Medical  Chest - 1

 

 

 

 

The 4th Division take the Field

 

May 18th 1813

Regiment marched at 4 o'clock am

We had not proceeded far when the sun arose in full splendour, a more lovely morning was never seen. The love of change inherent in a soldier made every one joyous - possibly - I was the only who mentally asked the question "How many and which of us all will survive this campaign?" The four miles to Barea de Alva [Barca De Alva] was but a pleasant mornings walk. Here about 300 yards below the junction of the Agueda River we found boats, such as convey the skins of wine to Oporto, ready to carry us across to the road on the north bank of the Doura. Two strong cables secured on each shore rendered the passage direct in defiance of the rapid currant. The baggage was reloaded and we commenced at 8 o'clock our march up the steep ascent of the rocky road of Fras as Montes, which was so narrow that we could only march in file. The ravines on each side were thickly studded with the beautiful Gum Sistus  in full blossom, interspersed with innumerable almond trees, both sweet and bitter, with the green nuts trying to force off the old fruit.

 

I ran under the trees and, from off the ground, quickly filled both my hands, but when I had rejoined my post and was eating the fruits of my extra enjoyments in life, the bitter was very predominant. The ascent was very steep and the sun very powerful, without a breath of wind, so that many men fell out unable to proceed. The Officer of the Rear Guard had no enviable duty this day. We made frequent halts which afforded good opportunities for us to survey the grandeur of the scenery. On each side were mountains that peered into the clouds, when any were extent. The ravines diversified the scene beneath by the white blossoms of the shrubs, and the light green of the tender foliage of the almond, below the noble Douro wending her swift course through her serpentine bed, between perpendicular banks of granite rocks. The 48th Regiment crossed the river quickly after our leaving it, and halted until noon. Not being an artist I will not pronounce whether their red jackets were in keeping with the mountain scenery but unquestionably they enlivened the prospect.

 

They did not look so well when they commenced their march. Twice we saw them in the distance and could we have marked their making progress, we should have compared them to a small red worm trying to ascend the mountains, but we left them resembling a small faint red mark on a large map to denote some particular spot. This halt of the 48th proved very unfortunate, for, in consequence, they encountered between 2 and 3 o'clock a hollow on their route, exposed to the south west, and three soldiers fell dead! No doubt from Coup de Soliel! Between 4 and 5 o'clock pm we arrived at the town of Legeares [Legares], the new quarters of our Brigadier, Major General Anson. The inhabitants were very kind, and gave us a variety of fruits, almonds were very abundant. No French soldiers had been in this place, and only an occasional foraging party from our own army.

 

19th May

This day the 40th and 48th Regiments joined us, and payment to 24th December last was made to the troops. Which gave plenty of employment to Officers in charge of Companies all the next day.

 

21st May

We had a pleasant march to Moz [Mós], where we encamped in a delightful green field. Here the whole Division assembled. 

 

22nd May

Marched to Logoaca, where Lieutenant General Sir Lowry Cole joined us, and was much gratified by the appearance of his Division, and truly he might well be so, for few Generals ever had the good fortune to  take the command of seven thousand finer men in full health and well supplied with every requisite for an obstinate campaign.

 

Encamped near Fornass de Mon Cona [Fornos], left in front the order of the day's march.

 

23rd May

Encamped near Villa Della

 

24th May

Marched to and encamped under the town of Sedina, called Sindin on some maps. The Paymaster mustered the Regiment in the evening. The 6th Division was on this ground yesterday.

 

24th May

I was on the Baggage Guard of the Division, and had to wait three hours at Dosogregias for a detachment of the Fusiliers that was sent on the 21st to Carca de Poino for the pontoons. Passing the camps of the 6th and 7th Divisions we reached our own ground at half past 2.pm. My chum Radcliffe and I were enjoying our dinner at 5 o'clock when an order arrived to strike tents and march at six for a better ground which we reached at 8 o'clock and encamped near the Church of Espicosa.

 

26th May

A halt. I road through the 6th Division to the 7th to visit Lieutenant Mendham of the 68th Regiment who was with me in the West Suffolk Militia. He received me very cordially, but expressed his regrets that I should be in a Regiment of three Battalions, with 72 Lieutenants. He strongly urged me trying to exchange into his own Corps. I replied I could not, under the very peculiar circumstances by which I had entered the 27th Regiment, think of leaving it, but must take my chance.

 

27th May

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Graham reviewed each Brigade of our Division, on its own ground, which gave us the opportunity of seeing our Left, or the Fusilier Brigade, consisting of 7th Fusiliers, the 20th Regiment and the 23rd Fusiliers, about 1,700 bayonets. It was really a beautiful sight to see such a fine body of men. We were amused and grieved at the same time, at noticing a poor little fellow, attached as a volunteer and marching his short legs to keep the step through the thick mud, ankle deep, the poor little chap could not keep this musket upright. The Hussar Brigade, attached to our Division passed to the front this day. The pontoons, 19 in number, are on our left. These pontoons are very interesting from their simplicity of construction, their lightness for conveyance, and their buoyancy when afloat. A strong frame of wood, about the length and breadth of a coal barge on the Thames, is covered with sheets of tin, nailed on, and well soldered together forming a case of atmospheric air hermetically sealed. The ends are sloped off on each side to about half the full breadth, and instead of having bows like a barge, declines from top to bottom at an angle of about 45 degrees presenting a flat surface, which draws a current under the flat bottoms, and thus contributing to their own buoyancy. Each pontoon has a light four wheeled carriage.

 

Ten days have now elapsed since we left our graceful cantonment, during which the whole of the Grand Army, one hundred thousand men, with ample material has been quietly put in motion by the master spirit of our Commander in Chief, Lord Wellington.

 

28th May

Marched and encamped near Brandelanes.

 

I called on our Brigade Major Captain Westcott, German, very gentlemanly and a gallant Officer. From him I learned that the rations for the 4th Division on the 24th were 9.200 inclusive of Staff Officers and soldiers wives at half rations. The Right Brigade consisting of the 2nd Provisional Battalion comprised of the 2nd Queen's Regiments, and part of the 53rd Regiment with the Staff Officers of the latter, the 40th Regiment, the 48th and the 27th Regiment, has 2,500 bayonets. The Centre Brigade consisting of 1st Battalion, 11th, 23rd, Regiment, and 2nd Battalion, 11th Portuguese Regiment was stronger. The Left Brigade 7th Fusiliers, 20th Regiment and 23rd Fusiliers has 1,750 bayonets. Thus our Division, the Centre of the Grand Army may be considered to have 7,000 bayonets, of which the 27th Regiment has its due proportion, to wit 700.

 

29th May

Marched at 4.30 am en route crossed the river Woolgas and entered Spain. At this point we distinctly heard a slight cannonading which we suppose was at the River Eslau, whither our Cavalry are gone, accompanied by the Flying Artillery and we have no doubt of their having begun the campaign in good earnest. We encamped on an immense plain near Gravigalas at quarter distance. The 6th and 7th Divisions followed, and encamped in the same order.

 

30th May

A halt. Our camp very pleasant. An order to march at 2 in the morning proves that our Commander in Chief has planned some great movement and every man went to his bed as soon as he could.

 

31st May

Our bugle sounded the "Rise Up" at half past 1 o'clock. When we had struck our tents and got them with the baggage ready for loading, there was the "Call for Orders." We then found that a Counter Order had arrived late in the evening, for us not to march until 4.30 pm, but our Serjeant Major did not promulgate it, and thus put all of us to this comfortless inconvenience, for the morning was excessively cold and as we retired to rest so early, all our fires were burnt out.

 

My chum and I went off to a good fire we saw at a distance which proved to be that of a Company of the Brunswick Oels Riflemen attached to our Division. We were unwilling to intrude on these Germans but they, perceiving us to be Officers, urged us to approach and made room for us close to the fire most respectfully in a manner which we should not have experienced from British soldiers. The 48th Regiment also struck their tents and packed their baggage supposing that our "Rise Up" was occasioned by some unexpected alarm so that our Serjeant Major had to encounter the maledictions of two Regiments. At 8.am we resumed our march.

 

At 3o'clock we crossed the Eslau over a bridge of thirteen pontoons and formed again under a battery erected by the French to command the river. But we had five field pieces on the opposite bank which spoke so audibly this morning when we were by the Woolgas.

 

Our pontoon bridge was established across a narrow part of the river at the bottom of which were huge masses of broken rock from the lofty banks on each side. Our Cavalry about a quarter of a mile further down at what is called The Ford, where the river is thrice as broad and the current so strong that it carried away and drowned 14 of our German Hussars and their horses last night.

 

The position of the Eslau is very strong. Why the French did not defend this part more vigorously furnished us with conversation and conjectures for the remainder of the day. When the Advanced Picquet of our Hussar Brigade, consisting of a Lieutenant and 30 men, crossed the Eslau they encountered and took prisoners the Rear Picquet of the enemy, a Lieutenant and 34 men of the 16th Regiment of the Heavy Cavalry. Four of the Frenchmen were wounded on their heads. This may be considered as our first chapter of the campaign. At 7.pm took up our camp ground half a mile from the town of Almandra. The baggage not having arrived my chum and I walked to the town where we saw the prisoners, very fine men, four years in the country, very well clothed, but not well satisfied with their new berth. From the information which they gave us, it is evident that the French Marshal Jourdan expected that we could win his position on the Douro and the Eslau. This at once accounts for our easy passage this morning. And thus has Lord Wellington's skill and judgment out flanked the enemy at the very outset of the campaign, and rendered his strong position untenable! We were about to leave Almandra when the 4th and 5th Dragoon Guards passed. An Officer of the latter a very soldier like looking fellow, posted a Dragoon to wait for and direct the regimental baggage, leaving especial orders for his own, Lieutenant Alpe's, servant.

 

Oh, ho! I exclaimed to my friend Radcliffe, "here is my dearly beloved second cousin, Ham Alpe from Hardingham in Norfolk, but we have never met since we were boys, there is no use in cousining with a man as weary as myself, for in all probability he has been nearly as long on his saddle as I have been on my legs, so let him pass on!" The 12th and 15th Light Dragoons, with the Light Artillery also passed, and we returned to our camp, to our dinners and our bed after a day of 19 hours weary duration. The Dragoon Guards were on horseback 16 hours. Lord Wellington joined us this day, and with his staff took quarters in the village we passed through before we halted in the morning.

 

1st June

Marched at 4.30am. The Irish lads are excellent marchers. We have not left one man behind, and only one sick, sent to the rear. Now we consider ourselves close to the enemy, the French vacate the towns only a few hours before we march through. They have left Zamora, and Lord Wellington will establish his quarters there this day. The French retreat rapidly before our Hussars, and intend, according to the accounts of the Spanish peasants, to take up a strong position for fighting near Valladolid. If they wait there we may march round them. We encamped on the bank of a small deep river near Montiselies, and we were scarcely under canvass before a very heavy rain and tremendous thunder storm lulled us to our mid day slumbers, and continued by gusts until midnight. Consequently, it was difficult to cook our scanty dinners, or heat water for our tea in the evening. The towns now begin to wear a totally different appearance. Instead of an assemblage of low and loosely constructed houses of stones with an accumulation of filth before them as in Portugal, we now find regular streets, very clean and in some places even paved. The houses with porches at their doors are constructed of clay clumps about 18 by 12 inches and 4 thick, baked by long exposure to the sun, and cemented together with moist clay by way of mortar, and as clean within as pipe clay can make and clean brick floors add much to their comfortableness. No wood is used except for doors, windows and rafters for the roof. The fields are divided by clay walls, and towns are protected from wolves by higher walls of the same kind, made in a mass, frames of wood about 12 feet long and the height required are placed and the interstice filled with clay well kneaded with straw, and left to dry and harden.

 

Thus the want of timber stimulates man's ingenuity. A corresponding difference is seen in the face of the country. Instead of overhanging rocks and rough roads over rocks, we now behold grand ranges of mountains covered with the richest verdure and march along plains abounding withy crops of wheat, barley and rye that 'laugh and sing!" In every valley we behold 10 or a dozen towns, each marked by a lofty church spire of good workmanship and unsullied by coal smoke. But the paucity of windows obliges us to look sharp for the fronts of the houses. We mark an equal difference in the natives themselves, when we recall to recollection the listless menacing dirty faces of the Portuguese and compare them with the open and intelligent countenances we now meet with. The comparison is equally borne out in their dealings, candid, straight forward and free from suspicion. The Spanish women are proverbially handsome and truly there is great fascination in the high and open forehead with the dark and sparkling and intellectual eyes beneath, the delicate line of he profile, the intelligent countenance, the frank manners, the taste in dress, and last though not least, the outward appearance of, (outwardly at least) person, and place the Spanish damsel for above her sister in Portugal.

 

It is hard to imagine how there can be such a wide difference between two nations so closely situated, and only separated by boundaries so easily passed.

 

The Spanish League is three English miles in length, but the deficiency of objects near our line of march to beguile the time and attention makes them appear as long as the four miles leagues in Portugal.

 

2nd June

Marched at the usual hour, passed through two towns where the natives welcomed us with shouts of Viva! and ringing of bells. Their method of bell ringing afforded us much amusement. A man ascended to two bells hanging in arches at the west gable of the church and with a mallet in each hand tried the variations his imagination could prompt, but hearing our laugh below, he hammered away with redoubled fury.

 

After a good eighteen miles march without a halt, we encamped at 1.pm on the south of the town of Villa de Vendemia. While at breakfast we could clearly discern the enemy on the opposite hills reconnoitring our camp, and before we had half finished our long wished for repast, the Spanish pisans brought into camp spoils from the field of battle, which our Hussars had fought this morning near Mosales, about two miles off. One of our Captains was taken prisoner, a Lieutenant, a Cornet and three men killed. But the French left 70 on the field and 180 prisoners were marched into our lines, all of the 16th Heavy Cavalry.

 

From intelligence since obtained, I believe our Captain taken prisoner was Lord Bergherse. He received the day before a notification of his promotion to the rank of Major but as his name was in Orders as Captain of the Advanced Picquet he gallantly refused to shirk his turn of duty. He was overpowered by numbers, taken and sent on parole to Verdun in France, where he distinguished himself by his urbanity and compassionate assistance to his fellow captives.

 

Our Assistant Surgeon, Harry Franklin brought into our tent a French casque, or helmet, well mounted with brass ornaments. Presenting it to me he exclaimed, "Here old boy! What think of this?" I replied "Of a truth, Harry, I am well pleased that my head was not in it, for I must think the one that was will never ache again!" "You may rest assured of that," said my friend Harry, pointing to a ghastly cut, clean through everything and the inside clotted with blood on the left side near the crown of the head a sharp cut had severed the brass scales under the ear, as if they had been formed of cheese. High on the right side also, was long and broad indent, sufficient to stupefy the thickest skull! All of us agreed that this casque was an admirable trophy of the superiority of the sabre of Hussars, over the long straight French sword. To every appearance the French Dragoon must have attempted their favourite mode of attack by a desperate lunge. 'Front give point,' and the length of his sword, when parried threw him off his balance, and he, for his good intention, received 'a receipt in full,' of cuts 1, 2 and 3 given in am most soldier like manner. We ascended the steeple to look over the field of battle, but it had resumed its wanted quietude. From the position we ascertained that we were within a short league of Toro. We found the church was neat and handsome, with an altar, as usual, glaringly fine.

 

We found Lord Wellington had fixed his quarters in Toio [Toro?] No place could be better adapted for his Lordship, good in its self, close to, and in the centre of his army. The native were proud of their guest, every one appeared to be joyful and happy. The very thick walls of clay around Toco are embattled and the French must have considered them capable of being defended, for they carefully repaired them in many places. But I must think that a Brigade of nine pound field pieces approaching from the north east would soon crumble them down. The lofty arch of the stone gateway is well proportioned, neat and handsome. The streets are regular and clean, paved with small round stones. The houses are of brick, uniform and lofty.

 

In the centre, or rather half way in the main street stands a very lofty tower with three thoroughfare arches in its basement. The usefulness of this tower we did not ascertain. Two pair of storks maintained here solitary possession of the two turrets, and stood attentively watching the bustling scene below. These birds are here, as in Portugal, protected by Royal Ordinance. The punishment is death to shoot one of them! The Grand Prassa, or Square is uniform and good. A public building erected by Charles 3rd forms one side, the others are occupied by shops of every kind. At one of them we each took an excellent draught of iced lemonade, the glass held more than a pint, for each of which we paid 5 quartres quarters, 5 vintems, or 7½ English.

 

I was very glad to supply want, I had hitherto greatly felt, and purchased a wicker bottle, compressed at the sides, and lined with cement, to hold wine, and wear over my shoulder on the march. It was very neatly made and being the exact kind of thing I had long wanted, I was much pleased to meet with it. My chum kept, as usual, a sharp look out in foraging, and bought for our little mess some Mantaga de Vaca, or butter of the cow, at three shillings per pound. Pork lard is called Mantaga de Pocco, butter of the hog. Both kinds are crammed into large sausage skins, to prevent their being lost, when heated by the weather. We went into the fort, or citadel, on the south west side of the town, and found many Staff Surgeons employed dressing the wounds of the prisoners taken this morning, many of which were very ghastly, and all on the heads and shoulders. I was utterly astonished in noticing the third prisoner, waiting for his twin to be dressed and directed my chum's attention to him. It was the very man who had lost the helmet which was brought into our tent in the morning. A remarkably fine and handsome fellow, he stood upright and undaunted with his arms folded and returned our looks of compassion with haughty frowns of defiance. The long gash on the upper part of his head gaped horribly and his shoulders were covered with coagulated blood. The lobe or lower part of the ear was clean cut off and gone, but the extremity of the lower jaw bone hung down over his collar.

 

The scene was altogether so painfully repugnant that we were soon desirous to quit it, but a French Officer whose shoulder had been dressed came and entered into conversation with my friend Tom, for his volubility was much too rapid for my imperfect knowledge of the French language and I rested satisfied with the conviction that if his arm was disabled, his tongue was not. Unfortunately however, he fell so desperately in love with my new purchased wicker bottle the compassionating a brave fellow in distress I gave it to him. His thanks flowed with true French garrulity, we cordially shook hands, when Tom and I left, to admire the prospect from the ramparts.

 

An expanded vale lay before us, covered with the richest verdure. The Douro, full to its brim, meandered in the midst and was only lost in the perspection on either side. To the right was an island covered with stately trees in full foliage, and the banks beyond were equally wooded as far as we could see. To our left the rich and verdant pastures were delightful to behold. The substantial and handsome bridge a little to our right, the declivity to which from the town was very abrupt, was a great ornament to the landscape, but at this juncture was a particularly interesting object, this end being covered with our engineers actively employed in repairing the part which the French had destroyed. The camp of the Light Division on the opposite bank gave great life and interest to the scene, we were so much above our comrades that we could count their tents and discern every part as if drawn on paper. The softened light of the declining sun heightened the loveliness of the prospect. When returning to our camp we saw six little girls dancing a fandango with their castinettes, and met many ladies escorted by their father confessor. The priests returning from the camp of the 6th Division about a mile to northward. Encountering so many lovely faces and sparkling eyes made us sigh for the society of our own dear country women! A very fine woman of about 20 years leaning on the arm of her Padre passed much nearer to us than the rest, and attentively regarding my big friend Tom, exclaimed 'Muito wappeto! What a very fine fellow.' The horses taken this morning are to be sold by auction tomorrow. They are of a very indifferent kind, and very poor.

 

This night the Division commenced out lying picquets.

 

It was about this time that my chum Radcliffe was one day absent from our tent longer than usual, and returned in such a serious and thoughtful mood, that I was induced to rally him with "Why Tom! How now? What black eyed Spanish lass has stolen your heart? You look quite pensive and love sick"

"Truth not I, indeed," replied honest Tom indignantly. "Sure now I am grieved for one of the young fellows attached to our regiment as volunteers. The one who joined us in cantonments is a complete churl, better adapted to a musket than an epaulette! But the one I have been conversing with is really a very nice genteel young man, and I am quite hurt at seeing him living a solitary life in rear of the Grenadier Company, his two only blankets suspend by piled muskets by way of a tent, under which he sleeps on the bare ground!

 

Excepting the Colonel, when he reported himself on joining, not one Officer had spoken to him. He was so gratified by my casual notice that he told me his history. He is a Londoner and was educated at a private school expecting to be a clerk in a bank of which his father was a junior partner. The failure of the bank left his father, with a large family, totally destitute. The Congregation of Dissenters to which his family belonged equipped and sent him out as a volunteer to our army, with strong recommendatory letters to General Vivian of the Light Cavalry, who has thrice sent for him to dine and sleep at his quarters.

 

"Well, well, my good friend Tom!" I replied, "I see how it is. You are disquieted that this youth, nursed in affluence, should be living amongst us like an outcast, and in the kindness of  your heart, you are desirous of taking him into our tent to sleep."

 

"Sure now, is not that just what I would like!" exclaimed generous Tom Radcliffe. "Then go Tom! And by way of introduction, ask him to dine with us this day, for I have never yet seen this young chap!" We found poor Kenyon so amiable and unassuming the he became our guest and lived as we did, until he met his early doom as one of the storming party at St.Sabastian.

 

From what I have written many people would imagine that there was a great want of good feeling towards volunteers. But numerous as they were, so few had even a slight claim to notice. Generally speaking they were not gentlemanly in appearance, or manners. Some associated with the private soldiers. Others dismayed by the hardships they had to encounter left in disgust.

 

If the numbers who came out and the few who obtained rank were recorded, the disproportion would be very surprising. The churl, to whom my friend Tom alluded, instead of being foremost in the advance was found by our Colonel quietly reclining in the shade of some small brushwood. "Pray what do you do here!" was the enquiry. "Oh, I was hot and tired, so I stopped to rest myself under these shrubs" was the cool reply. "Then sir," rejoined the Colonel, "it is very evident you have mistaken your profession! So the sooner you return home the better!" The cub took the hint for we never saw him after.

 

3rd June 

Being so close to the enemy we stood to our arms an hour before daylight, a most tedious and comfortless duty, to stand motionless and silent in the dark on one spot, soaked by the copious dew, nothing to divert the attention but the chattering of teeth from every man. We were all well pleased to be dismissed and return to our tents with the assurance of a day of rest. We halted here to allow the Divisions in our rear to come up. The Light Division did not wait for the restoration of the Bridge, but have forded the Douro and encamped on the ground occupied yesterday by the 6th Division. We received General Orders, dated Salamanca May 29th: Lord Wellington was in Toco, the evening of the 30th having ridden the 14 leagues (42 miles) that day. My chum Radcliffe again visited Toco where he learned that 50 more prisoners had been taken by the Spanish Corps, under Don Julian. He saw the French horses sold, which in consequence of the number of Officers present, were eagerly purchased at high prices. The best of he horses were reserved to mount the Corps of Guides. An ugly one, wounded in the thigh by a carbine shot was sold for 69 dollars. The lowest price was 43 dollars. The dollar is now worth more than six shillings.

 

4th June

After marching a league we halted in close column beside the road to allow the Light Division to pass. Lord Wellington and staff passed our left at the same time. Proceeding on our march we passed the village to which the French retreated after the skirmish near Morales. On leaving it, they set fire to every house, that we saw only blackened walls, not one roof was to be seen. Soon afterwards we passed through another, uninjured, and his Lordship had fixed the quarters there. When passing the 3rd Division, I saw Captain Elliot of the 83rd Regiment whom I know at Danbury Barracks in Essex.

 

The whole army is now concentrated and within seven leagues of Valladolid, where we expect to bring the enemy to battle. After a very tedious, dirty and hot march of about five leagues we took up our ground, soon after noon, on a very extensive plain. A dry, gravely soil, covered with short grass, and a profusion of wild thyme, the fragrance of which made us, while rolling upon it, forget our fatigue and our hungry longings for our breakfasts, for the baggage did not arrive until three in the afternoon. A very laughable incident also served to beguile us. Our Central Brigade, the Portuguese, encamped on the border of this plain, which brought the Fusiliers close to us, and in the same line. Our ground was high, not a tree to be seen, the sun very powerful, and not a breath of wind stirring. A Spanish servant of an Officer of the Fusiliers had, contrary to Division Orders, broken the line of march and brought his master's baggage up soon after us. Delighted with his servant's audacity and alertness the merry lieutenant pulled off his jacket and quickly pitched his tent, tying up the walls to admit a circulation of air from beneath. Having accomplished all this, he reclined on his odoriferous carpet of thyme in the shade of canvas, and tried to heighten his own enjoyment by laughing at us broiling in the sun. 

 

While enjoying our jocular comrade our attention was attracted by a low whistling noise, to a small cone of dust whirling along the surface of the plain until it passed under the tent and filled it instantly with a suffocating cloud of dust. Confined by the canvas, the whirlwind concentrated, forced the pegs from out the loose soil, and carried the inflated tent whirling high in the air. The small holes for ventilation, in the wooden cone in the head of the tent afforded no egress for the infuriated wind.

 

We watched the event with curiosity and surprise but the prostrate Lieutenant, with the fallen tent pole beside him gazed after his departed tent with annoyance and dismay! Every man's attention was riveted, that a dead silence pervaded the whole line, until the canvas began to collapse, and the tent gradually descending, returned to the earth, gave two or  three violent throbs, and was lost to our sight in the distance of near two miles.

 

The laugh was now on our side, which roused our forlorn comrade to action. He did not stop for bridle or saddle, but seized the tether, and rode off full speed to regain his tent. During his absence our baggage arrived, and some of his own brother Officers managed to pitch their tents and offered him on his return, a shelter from the sun after his great exertions.

 

The wood parties had a very fatiguing duty this day. Nothing was to be found but bushes of wild lavender, which they pulled up by the roots. The scent from which was quite overpowering while the soldiers were cooking their dinners.

 

5th June

Marched at daybreak. Our road lay in a rich and pleasant vale, in which are the remains 'Convento les Spina" - formerly inhabited by Bernardine Friars. This stately edifice was destroyed by the French in Sir John Moore's campaign. The towers and remaining walls, built of a soft white stone, demonstrate its former grandeur. I could have much delighted in a close inspection of the ruins. Passed close by a walled town with ruined gateway. The handsome tower of the church, with a double dome, was the only object we could discern. About noon we encamped on ploughed ground covered with large stones. An English mail to 19th May arrived, but no letter for me. By this day's march we appear to be advancing on Palencia and Burgos. The 3rd, 4th and Light Divisions, under General Picton, form the centre column of the army. The right is commanded by General Hill, and the left by General Graham.

 

The French have been five years in quiet possession of this province, Leon. They have taken away very many of the women, and left behind them a very bad character. Had we arrived a fortnight sooner, we should have saved this district the last contribution. There were to have been 20,000 rations delivered at Toco, on the 2nd, the day we walked there. It is no wonder that we are daily welcomed with ringing of bells, with cheers and smiles. At evening we had very heavy thunder and rain, which lasted till midnight.

 

Sunday 6th June. 

At the termination of this day's march, we encamped on the north side of Ampudia, which is protected in the usual manner with clay walls, stone towers and gateways. It stands in a fertile valley, and whatever may be the date of its foundation, it is evident that precaution was deemed necessary to guard against attack from a promontory, within half musket shot, on the north west. Such must have been the purport of an immense and very lofty tower opposed to this danger. Time, or a sinking of the foundation, has made a stray mark on this formidable tower, which shows, that excepting the staircase, it is a mass of solid masonry. The large north gateway has nothing to engage attention. The round towers nevertheless attract the observant eye, and suggest the query - "When, and by whom, were ye built?" The large square steeple is a fine edifice, supported by well proportioned buttresses. The spire above rises in an irregular octagon, presenting to the east and west two arches, but only one at the other angles. These arches are lofty and have a very light and elegant effect. They are crowned with a dome, from which spring eight smaller arches, also covered with a dome, these are surmounted with a ball and ornamental crucifix. The steeple and spire ornamented with numerous pinnacles and vanes, had an imposing effect at first sight, but there was too much of them, the evident studied effect was incompatible with church architecture. And the church itself was as plain as bare walls could make it.

 

A Lieutenant of French artillery came in this afternoon, with his wife, a very beautiful Spanish lady, disguised as a French Hussar Officer, who had induced him to desert his guns. According to his report Burgos is to be left in charge of Iuramentados, who will surrender on promise of pardon.

 

A wet and comfortless night, and our camp ground a stiff chalky clay. 

 

7th June

We marched through and encamped eastward of the city of Palencia. The French left it this morning at 7, and our Cavalry entered at 8 o'clock. Report says they required three days for vacating this city. But Lord Wellington sent six squadrons of Dragoons to reply to this modest request. The bridge over the Carrion is very long, substantial   and handsome, from which we could see that the walls of the city were very thin and ruinous. The main street through which we passed is straight, but very narrow and badly paved. The white washed houses were lofty. The inhabitants welcomed us with great apparent joy, and decorated their dwellings by suspending silks of various hues, curtains, counterpanes and every showy article from their windows.

 

Very few men were to be seen, but the women and children and girls, many of whom were very handsome, ranged themselves in front of their houses, with very joyous faces. Their delight was greatly heightened at the sight of his Lordship's fox hounds trudging beside of us. The huntsman was close in our rear, but could not control the dogs, as they pressed forward in this narrow road, noticing individuals in the ranks as they passed. The natives had never before seen a pack of hounds, and the old women and their children actually screamed with delight. The attention of the younger women was attracted by an animal of a very different description. My right hand man of my Company, Michael Farns had red hair, very red hair, and finding himself oppressed by the heat, pulled off his cap to wipe his forehead. The sight of his fiery-looking cabaca [head] caused a general and violent shout, followed by a loud and hearty laugh, from every one of them. This was very natural for certainly the contrast with the universal black hair of the Spanish was very striking.

 

We noticed on our right a strange looking house, which we at once concluded was a prison, and such it was in fact, for it proved to be Convent of Saint Clara. It was four stories high, the door was the only break in the wall, below, above were compartments of small holes, apparently for ventilation, or the admission of pigeons, instead of windows. From every one of the pigeon holes in the two upper stories, projected a hand waving a white handkerchief. The poor recluses could not see our return of their courtesy, so we could only breath our benedictions, with an assurance that they would be far happier and more useful members of society, if they would join our ranks, and live according to the law of nature.

 

The Cathedral is a very large building, and the inside very splendid, I was informed. It was shut before I could visit it, having been detained in camp at a court martial. I called and found my friend Colonel Wilson nearly recovered with his broken ribs, occasioned by his horse falling with him over a stone wall, when coursing near Escalhao. I saw many Officers of his Lordship's staff. The Prince of Orange, Lords March and Fitzroy Somerset, and Marshal Beresford, Marquis Worcester and many other people of distinction.

 

Like other Spanish towns the entrances to this place, four in number, are adorned with a kind of triumphal arches, the gates of which could not stand against a nine pounder. The Carmina Real, or Royal Road leading from each of them, and which extends throughout the kingdom to every place of any consequence, is straight, wide and good, planted with trees on both sides, for nearly a mile. North east of the city is an extensive, but unfinished building intended for a paper manufactory. The locks and dams adjoining it appeared to be scientifically constructed.

 

8th June

 We were in great hopes of a halt this day that we might see more of Palencia. But we marched along the Carmina by Monzon to Amuseo. And were scarcely under cover, when rain fel lin torrents, and continued all night. The pisons told us that the French artillery, in their retreat, made the most of the (40 Feet) width of the Carmina, and drove tow guns abreast. Whither are they hastening?

 

9th June

Under arms at 6.am but did not leave our ground until the Light Division passed. The rain continued and afforded only a dreary prospect.

 

We proceeded along the Carmina, parallel with it, at a short distance, ran a noble canal, furnished with locks of excellent masonry, and in many places we noticed well constructed brick sluices, for irrigating the adjoining lands. There were likewise many large flour mills worked by cuts from the main river at Palencia. These works and buildings show plainly what Spain has been, and what she might be. The French were so astonished at the fertility of this rich province, and supposing that other parts of the kingdom were equally so, declared to the natives that all the armies of Europe might be supplied by Spain. Beyond all doubt, the resident population could not consume the twentieth part of the surprisingly abundant crops we daily see burdening the earth. The vast quantity of green barley and wheat heavy in the ear, which we consume for forage is not missed. The vineyards are most luxuriantly fruitful and every town through which we march, the outstreets consist of wine stores.

 

We did not march a league before we halted and piled arms, near the small town of Pena. We must change our route, for the enemy had destroyed a bridge on the road by which we were to have approached Burgos. They have also destroyed two others, one three leagues distant, over the Pysuerga. According to the accounts brought to us by the natives.

 

The Chapel of Pena was well worth seeing, the altars and shrines were decorated with a profusion of gilding, and the organ was quite bedizened, the gilt pipes projecting their trumpet mouths all to the front. At the Virgin Mary's altar was a good sized figure holding the infant on her left side, but a hoop petticoat was so very absurdly appended, that the infant appears as if peeping out of her pocket hole! We could not restrain our risibility at the grotesque effect. A painting of the Ascension seemed worthy of notice, but was hung so high and in such a very bad light, that it was difficult to make out even the subject. A good painting of St.Paul and one of St.Peter which well depicted his sorrow at the crowing of the cock. But we were quite disgusted with a large painting on the north wall, and deemed it quite profane! In the upper part was portrayed the Godhead attended by angles, beneath which Gabriel was driving Satan down to hell, the remaining and larger portion of the picture elaborately displayed the infernal regions, with various kinds of punishments by fire, and the subordinate devils of every kind and shape, that the most fertile imagination could suggest, over actively employed stirring the sufferers up to fresh tortures, turning them over with tridents, as a cook turns over sausages in a frying pan.

 

At the further end of town stands the shell of a old castle, with a round tower at each angle, surmounted with high battlements, on every one of which was a different and well cut figure.

 

We are not surprised at, but nothing obliged to, the enemy, for compelling us to leave the Carmina for we have found the by-roads very wet and dirty. The day cloudy, with frequent heavy showers, so that our march has been very comfortless and far from pleasant.

 

Encamped near Santa Dellas, in a field of luxuriant grass, well soaked by the rain. The natives say we are in Old Castile, of course they are correct., and our maps erroneous. The direction of this day's march must conduct us far northward of Burgos, and more in a line with St.Andero. But we imagine the intent of our new route is to turn the position of the enemy, by marching round the sources of the River Ebro.

 

10th June

Under arms by daylight, but did not march for nearly two hours until the 3rd Division passed. We did not thank the Adjutant General for disturbing us at so unnecessarily early hour. I was on Baggage Guard, and enjoyed my ride very much, brought all into camp safely in spite of the bad roads.

 

The bridge over the Pysuerga by which we entered Old Castile, was plain and substantial. Our march was short, not three leagues, the camp was formed by noon, and for once we had an early breakfast. We were close by Villa Sandrino, a ruinous small town, which could never have contained more than eight hundred inhabitants, nevertheless has two large churches.

 

The larger one has a very neat and handsome tower containing, for a wonder, four bells, two large and two smaller ones, but not in key with each other. It also has a clock with a bell! We felt quite an awe on entering this spacious church which like all Roman Catholic churches, being unencumbered by pews or seats, the noble edifice had a very imposing effect! Four immense pillars, full nine feet in diameter, and forty feet in height, supported a very beautiful stone roof of intersected arches. We were much astonished at discovering so fine a building in such a remote situation.  The great altar is grand, in spite of its tawdry painting, intended for an ornament. That to the south is brilliantly handsome without any painting. The one on the north is also brilliant, and is adorned with a painted of a nun, whose black drapery is well executed. Above this, is a painting of St. Sebastian tied to a tree, and pierced by five darts. From the tower we obtained an extensive and pleasing view of the rich surrounding country.

 

 

Saturday 11th June

A halt, very acceptable.

 

12th June

Marching very early and till very late at ever. I made no memorandum of this day's scenery, or the country through which we passed. But I well recollect the day was fraught with an event of Regimental interest, which, but for the chances of war, might have proved of serious importance to one individual of the Corps. An order was received that all the men in the Division incapable of continuing the march should on the morrow return to the rear under the command of a Subaltern. Our Regiment was to furnish this Officer, and Lieutenant Boyle was appointed for this duty. Boyle was an excellent Officer, and a brave soldier. He had rejoined us from England, since our march, having been sent home wounded. A worthy excellent fellow, a plain unpretending old solider!

 

He was so annoyed by this turn of duty, that he applied to the Colonel, who reminded him of the infallibility of the Rota, or Roaster, expressed his own regret to part with such an Officer at such a critical juncture, but gave his assurance that if any one would take the duty instead, he would sanction the exchange. "But," he added, "I should be very sorry to find any Officer in my Regiment willing to leave the ranks now that we are immediately in face of the enemy!" This very pointed remark did not deter the exertions of Boyle. He, however, almost despaired of finding a substitute, until Ensign Drew "the fiery, fire-eating Drew!" declared himself willing, but that it was very comfortless, to go to the rear without money, and he had none. This difficulty was soon removed by Boyle giving him two guineas.

 

During the evening Drew became sensible of his indiscretion and told Ensign Owens to take  notice of any remark that might be made on his conduct, and inform him of it when he should rejoin the regiment, for he would parade (ie challenge) every Officer from right to left. Ovens not only mentioned this to his relation Boyle, but spoke of it to others, to prevent, as he thought, any aspersions on the character of his friend Mr. Drew. Captain White was so indignant when he heard of this threat to bully the whole body of Officers, that he promised to bring forward the whole matter, on the return of Mr Drew and oblige him to leave the Regiment. But Drew did not return until just before the Battle of Pampeluna, in which poor Captain White was killed, and Drew lost his right arm at the shoulder joint.

 

13th June. 

We marched with dawn of day, leaving behind us our sick men, according to order. There were 53 from the whole Division, of which only three were of the 27th Regiment. Here was a strong proof of the indomitable spirit of the British soldier under bodily sufferings, for many men in the Division looked more like moving mummies than able soldiers. We have been three days without bread or biscuit, our advance has been so rapid that the commissariat stores from the rear cannot overtake us. Consequently, an extra half pound of meat per man has been supplied. This was highly expedient, but, salt, wherewith to flavour this pound and half of beef, reeking from the fresh slain bullock was not to be procured for nine days we have been destitute of this, lightly esteemed, blessing of providence.

 

No one at home duly appreciates the value of this inestimable, but apparently insignificant ingredient because all food is savoured with it by the cook.

But the nausea with which we swallowed our soup meagre, and the sodden flesh, lacking salt, made many of us painfully sensible of its great value. The effect of the want of this important article, was that all of us suffered dreadfully from diarrhoea, our eyes, and our noses, told us how woefully some of our men were afflicted, and their pale hollow cheeks and their nether garments confirmed the fact, for the flux ran from them as they marched. Late in the evening, when we encamped in a rich vale, near two small villages, we received fro our rations, rum of the very worst quality, it must have been more than half turpentine. My chum and I did not drink our quota. How fervently did we wish that the rascally contractor who sent such vile stuff could be made to suffer like our poor soldiers. It would have cost him more for physicians fees, than he had gained by his villainy.

 

14th June 

On this day's march, over a high tableland, which appeared to have no bound, we passed a convent, which the French had converted into a magazine. A store of flour was delivered to the care of the Commissary, but an abundant store of salt was freely given out to each regiment as they passed. We received 3 or 4 haversacks full per company, the soldiers ate it with the greatest avidity, and it seemed to impart vigour to them instantaneously. When the baggage passed the batmen obtained an abundant supply. My servant received more than a peck.

 

Opposite to this convent is an Estallask, or Inn, as sacked by the French, when they first entered this fine country. Our attention had been so absorbed by the acceptable dole of salt, that we were regardless of what occurred in our front, and when we looked up to pursue our march, the three leading regiments of the Brigade were no where to be seen, they had disappeared as if by magic! But our wonder soon ceased when we brought right shoulders forward, and followed their steps into a vast chasm on the north of this tableland, leading to a bridge over the source of the river Ebro. The descent was rapid and the road, about five paces broad, very rough, formed of flat pieces of rock placed edgeways, without any soil to fill up the interstices, so that we were obliged to tread daintily and pick our steps. This singular road was supported on our left by a wall of the same material. Many feet below it gurgled the vast draining from the flat we had passed above. The rocks on either side were perpendicular with box trees and other evergreens growing luxuriantly on every small ledge.

 

A check in our progress induced me to clamber up one of these ledges, and pull up a small box tree to make a walking stick as a memorial of this remarkable spot, the roots gave way suddenly, and punished me for my intrusion by a rough roll down. I could now be very proud of my handsome stick, but the drummer of my company, in whose care I left it, at the Battle of Vittoria completely left it behind him. About half way down this ravine the rocks on our right, or eastward opening, formed a bay, the chord of which may be some 3 or 450 yards. In this extraordinary spot were clustered together a number of hovels, a good sized village. The inhabitants had fled, but would, I trust, find on their return that their humble dwellings had not been disturbed. It was a very puzzling question to us, why the natives could have selected such a cheerless spot for their habitations, except that the fragments of rock furnished ample materials for building, and the stream a never failing supply of water. There was not a handful of earth to cultivate, and only the rays of the declining sun could peer into this secluded nook.

 

We had traversed a good march before we entered this pass, its long and rugged, and its rapid declivity, proved very harassing of our weary legs and tender feet after seven or eight leagues.  At the bottom we passed through the town of Almine and over the bridge of Arenas, not more than ten feet wide, across the main source of the river Ebro, and ascending to a small plain eastward of the town of Arenas, took up our ground, where wee soon forgot our fatigue and our hunger, by gazing on the most beautiful valley that mortal eye ever beheld. Every space was occupied, and heavy clouds passing the setting sun threw a softness over the scene that rendered it enchanting. Above us, on our right, was the large town of Mejangas, embossed in trees, below which, and in the centre of the scene was a noble mansion - Lord Wellington's quarters, facing the river, and the ravine beyond, by which we descended, the chasm enlivened by the inhabited nook noticed as we passed. To our left the town of Arenas and the bridge, beyond was Ocina on the north, and Valdenoceda on the south of the river, both abounding with vineyards and fruit trees heavily laden, the half ripened cherry shining most invitingly.

 

The Ebro, meandering in the narrow and deep bed from her western source, completed the picture with her banks crowded with thick crops of  corn, whose luxuriant verdure was pleasingly contrasted by the brown and retiring rocks above, on each side.

 

The baggage did not arrive till after sunset, its progress down the pass was tedious and dangerous, for many of the animals fell, from their small feet slipping into the cavities between the stones. I never saw the poor beasts so thoroughly jaded.

 

15th June

The scenery of this day's march was as grand as that of yesterday was beautiful. Our road on the left bank of the Ebro, was of the same construction as that down the ravine. On each side the rocks rose in the boldest grandeur, clad in many parts with flourishing trees of the richest foliage, in others, their rudely shaped summits seemed to defy "the war of elements, the wreck of matter or the crash of worlds!" So very striking was the scenery, and the different points of view which it afforded, that the private soldiers gazed with admiration and expressed their delight, regardless of the sharp stones which at every step goaded their poor feet. The noisy river, rushing through its narrow course, dashed indignantly against the masses of fallen rock, and prostrate trees, which obstructed its progress. The greater part of our march was beside the Ebra, with this scenery, and everyone, from the General to the Drum Boy seemed at a loss for words to express their delight.

 

 

The Brigade reached the destined camp ground at noon, the town of Miranda being on the other side of the river. We piled arms, and were mustering the different fatigue parties, when Lieutenant General Cole galloped up, and ordered a Drum's Head Court Martial forthwith, to try some men of the 27th and 48th Regiments for breaking into a wine store last evening, and gave further orders that the two regiments should remain under arms until 7.pm. I was fortunate in escaping from these disagreeables, it being my turn for foraging.

 

I proceeded with my party along a flat district not far distant from the river, crowded with abundant crops of corn which my men were impatient to be cutting, but my orders were peremptory, not to cut any grain but barley, and I was obliged to be very resolute with the daring fellows, bot Batmen are intuitively a reckless set, to prevent them from transgressing the instructions I had received, and my firmness made them very sulky, marching for a league and half with profusion on each side. And when they raised the shout of Barley! Barley! I made every man stand by his own animal, for I could not trust their judgement or my own. The thick crop, to which they pointed, was full six feet high, of the most verdant green, the stems like reeds, the bearded ears, larger and longer than clog wheat, were half pendant from their great weight. I ordered the Serjeant of my party to fetch a handful of ears for my inspection, and I was utterly astonished at what he brought to me. Each ear of corn had five sets, or rows of kernels, instead of two rows like the English barley, and each kernel of unusual size. I was obliged to skin some half dozen before I could believe that it was actually barley, and one minute after I gave the word "Cut away," not one of my men was to be seen, there were all engulfed in the corn. I sat on my pony watching the scene, and was greatly amused by observing how each man made an opening, denoting where he was helping himself. This process was of very short duration, for every one quickly secured as much as he could bring out, and, beyond all doubt, much more than our Val - see note - authorized us in taking -

 

'A Val is a certain written form signed by the Commissary of the Division, and given to the Quarter Master of a Regiment, who inserts therein the number of Officers of each rank, present with the corps, requiring their regulated quota of forage, and countersigns it, and delivers it to the Officer of the Foraging Party to give to the owner of the crop of corn, from which the forage is taken. This Val is paid on demand by the Paymaster or Commissary General. Many very many of these Vals were never presented for payment, the owners not troubling themselves. Some were sold to the camp followers for a mere trifle. The Sutlers were said to be the chief purchasers and to make a good market thereby.'

 

On my return to camp, I called the attention of every Officer I could meet with, who had been long in the country, to this barley we had procured. All of them declared they had never before seen such in Portugal or Spain. Our camp was delightfully situated on a rich soft turf, beside the small river, a tributary to the Ebro, which we crossed shortly before we took up our ground. The ancient bridge on our left, partly covered with ivy, was an interesting and picturesque object, of itself. It had, moreover, a noble arched gateway at one end, which probably in former times was a barrier to the ruined convent not far distant in our front, almost buried in ivy and weeds. Any artist would have rejoiced in the opportunity of sketching our camp in such a location.

 

16th June

Continued our pursuit of the enemy.

 

17th June

We were right in front this day, and did not advance far before our Light Companies in front were engaged in a smart skirmish, and we fully expected it was the prelude to a general engagement. Our Brigade of Artillery kicked up a cloud of dust as they galloped past us, towards some sand hills, a little in advance on our left, where in most admirable despatch, in the time that I can describe it, the halted, unlimbered their guns, the drag ropes were affixed, and the men dragging the cannons to the summit, with the ammunition wagons to a secure place a little below. The first gun opened its fire before the second could be posted. All this was highly interesting to us, as we trudged over the hot sand in an oblique direction, but we were soon convinced that our locality was by no means a desirable one. We heard the French Artillery at a distance, open in support of their Rear Guard, and found their aim was to dismount our guns, their balls, passing over the hills, alighted on the plain, bounded, and crossed our line of march in most unwelcome proximity. This was the first time I was under fire, and shall never forget it. There none of the excitement of battle to draw off the attention and the oldest soldiers in the ranks expressed their dislike to our situation. They however found a resource by watching the conduct of the Officers who had joined since the last campaign, and expressed their opinions very unreservedly.

 

We were in sections of three, with peremptory orders to keep as closely locked up as was possible. I saw a cannon ball fall within a hundred yards on my left, and rebound so tardily that the thought instantly occurred, that fellow will kill three of my men at least, in the impulse of the moment. I shouted to the men before me, 'Lock up! Third Company!" and sticking out my elbows at the same time, kept my own Company in check, in a moment the ball passed through the narrow space, parallel with my chest, sending a sharp current of air across my face thereby intimating what would have been the result if I  had not shunned his acquaintance! Instantly I ordered my men to close up, this broke the silence of apprehension, for every man watched the ball, and was answered by many remarks, my statement of them will be open to the imputation of egotism and self praise, but they so strongly betoken the character of the private soldier, on service, that I must give the detail. My right hand man, who had been in the Peninsular from the beginning of the campaigns responded to my order "Go on, go on, we will stick thick to you my boy! You will do! Long as I have been in the country I never saw a cooler thing done!"

 

This ejaculation recalled my attention to my duty, and I called out "Silence, silence! Close up fourth Company!" Many other remarks were made but my attention was riveted unconsciously to the progress of the ball to mark its devastation among my old comrades of the 48th on the right, the regiment was advanced beyond the range, but my old enemy Major White, instead of being at the head and leading his Corps, was toddling after it on his pony charger, and was directly in the range. I fully expected to have seen him cut in two, but he threw himself a long the neck of his little nancy, and the ball just passed over his back! I cannot describe my instantaneous conflict of feelings and thought, and afterwards when silently pursuing our march, the reflection preferred that the first shot which endangered my own life should have so narrowly escaped the destruction of the only man with whom I had ever been at enmity!

 

Numerous exclamations burst from the men in both companies, for the little Major's character was well known throughout the whole Division. "Arrah!, Bad luck to him! Had be been a good fellow he would have been killed!" I am afraid I did mentally assent to the regret implied by these words, knowing full well that the Corps could willingly dispense with the non-effective services of this petty tyrant.

 

As we advanced we passed the body of a French soldier. A cannon shot had taken off his head, leaving only the lower jaw. Our Division took up a strong position on two hills of brushwood, opposite a village which the enemy obstinately defended till after dark. When we pitched our camp.

 

18th June.

We could not see the enemy, but pursued them until the night.

 

19th June

We marched four or five hours, supported by the Light Division, before we came up with the enemy, who made a firm resistance to our light troops in advance. I cannot form any estimate of the skirmishers sent forward by the Light Division, but we must have had about three or four hundred men in our front. Three were the Light Companies of the four regiments of our right Brigade, three from our Portuguese Brigade, and the gallant Company of Brunswick Oels, attached to our Division. The small band, who so valiantly resisted French aggression and escaped to England with their heroic Commander, the Duke of Brunswick, were Cavalry, and were received into our Service, as a distinct Corps, under the foregoing Cognomen. They were dressed in dark brown, with black collars and cuffs, a broad black belt round their waists, their large caps were covered at top with shinny black leather surmounted with a tuft of long black horse hair. Below was a white metal plate perforated to represent Death's head and marrow bones, the monogram of their motto - 'No Quarter! Victory or Death!'

 

Many German soldiers, disgusted with the French service came over to the English, when opportunity offered, and were enrolled in the same Corps as Infantry, and were armed as riflemen. Such were the men attached to us. And although we did occasionally her of one having deserted back to the French, they were collectively a very valiant body of men, and bravely acted p to their motto. Our Portuguese behave valorously. One of them, slightly wounded, a young fellow, who probably had never before been in battle, passed our left flank, when we were halted. We conclude by his closely hugging his left arm that he was winged, spite of his bitter weeping and wailing he could not have been much hurt, for he quickly pursued his rear guard course. Our waggish fellows could not let him pass without remarks in his own language, "Arrah! Fille da Poota! [Porta ?], Where is your musket? Where is your knapsack? Where is your cap?" These are seldom left on the field of battle by a British soldiered, unless he is badly wounded. Our brave comrades drove the enemy along the valley, to the village of Subijana, built on a rising ground, which they stoutly defended for some time, but were driven out about five o'clock pm. A heavy rain drenched us before we could pitch our tents about 8 o'clock on rising ground in front of Subijana. The night was, throughout, as stormy as the day had been and would scarcely allow us to peep out to admire the very brilliant effects of the very numerous fires in different lines industriously made by the French. As a young campaigner, the ruse deceived me, for I mentally drew the inference that the enemy in our front was in great force, but was soon convinced of my error by the remarks of the old soldiers in their tents close by.

 

"Ah ha! Master Jack Frenchman, so you are up to your old trick again. We know well enough that you will not remain by those fires if you are scampering off we will overtake you tomorrow and if you come to look for us, we will dry your jackets by our sharp firing."

 

Sunday 20th June

By Orders received just before we crept between our blankets last night, we halted this day to wait for the Divisions in our rear to come up with us. Early in the morning I peered out at the tent door to ascertain the position of the enemy, but could only see a solitary sentinel under the clay wall of Subijana. This was quite sufficient to convince us that although not visible the enemy was very close, or we should have retained possession of this village, not a mile in our front. A plain intimation that we must be ready to leave our comfortable camp any moment. The day was very fine. In the course of the morning our reconnoitring parties were saluted by many shots in various directions. While we were at breakfast, Barry Carr, my chum's servant, came to the door in his fatigue dress, and said he was going to look for some grass to cut for the poor bastes, his master's horse and pony. Radcliffe replied, take care where you go Barry or you get into trouble. When we rose from our repast, my friend was astounded at noticing Barry mounted on the gray pony, deliberately making his way towards Subijana, occasionally stopping to cut grass whenever he found it lay enough.

 

At this juncture General Cole, attended by his staff came walking in front of our tents. As soon as he noticed old Barry's advanced position, he stormed and stamped about, and called for the master of that scoundrel. Radcliffe instantly exculpated himself that it was not by his sanction or wishes that his valuable baggage animal was taken into such jeopardy. During this conference Barry had proceeded further until he reached the garden in which the French sentry was posted. Here Sir Lowry Cole's indignation burst all bounds. "Look at that daring rascal! Loot at that impudent scoundrel! Did ever anyone see the like!" We could perceive by the gestures of the two "Dramatis persona," that an amicable parley was going on, and very soon Barry's blarney prevailed, for Barry dismounted, and the Frenchman lodging his musket against the wall, busily assisted Barry in scratching something out of the earth. This was too much, it fairly upset the General and his attendants. Laughing immoderately, he marched on protesting that in all his services he never before witnessed such a very cool old soldier's trick.

 

It was impossible but that Sir Lowry, a native of Fermanagh and lately in command of our regiment must enjoy the circumstance, however he might feel it incumbent on a General to reprove such irregularities.

 

My chum in great anxiety for his little horse left me full possession of the tent, and I was well pleased with the quietude. I read the service for the day of the month, selecting a Collect, for although well versed in Fasts, I knew nothing of Festivals. I then arranged my little worldly affairs, preparatory for the events of the morrow, since there could be no doubt, with the enemy in a crescent before us, we were on the eve of a fearful conflict. I had just finished my avocations, when my warm hearted friend returned, shouting out that little Gray was safely returned and that Barry had brought some young pototoes for our dinners, adding, "And wont we have a grand feast, for the butcher has given me a fine kidney, and sure wont we have a feast this day. Tomorrow we will have nothing but leaden bullets to eat!"

 

In due time our dinner was paraded. We fastidiously partook of the wonted soup and bouilli, the table was cleared and anon the second course! At the top was a dish of green peas. Stewed kidney at the bottom, on one side a kettle lid with pototoes, another lid opposite with young beans. Oh ye Gods of the Roman Legions, what a repast for fighting soldiers. But with all these luxuries, we were obliged to small and nibble at a crust of bread, not so long or thick as our two fore fingers, the relics of a loaf purchased many days before, and dry as it was it was better than the whole wheat served to us for rations for some days past in lieu of bread. Our servants managed to eat it, but we could not.

 

After dinner my chum had time to recount the events of the morning. Lord Wellington noticed Barry Carr's manoeuvre, and laughed at the cool tenacity of the veteran, while he censured it. General Cole waited Barry's return, and assailed him with long vituperation. Barry coolly replied "Auch, Lowry dear and don't I know right well, and sure enough the town land you were born in. Sure now havn't I brought a nice bundle of grass for the poor bastes!!, taking right good care not to betray the haversacks filled with peas beans and pototoes which helped to swell the bundle of fodder."

 

The evening was cloudy, but calm and pleasant.

 

Monday 21st June

As usual we stood to our arms before day, and then returned to our tents. The Commissary issued a quarter pound of bread to each man.  This staff of life we had been destitute of for ten days, receiving in lieu of it an extra half pound of meat and unground wheat. And it was seldom we had the chance of purchasing. My chum exhausted our stock purse the other day by giving a dollar for a loaf of about four pounds weight.

 

Under these circumstances we were indifferent about breakfast, and laid ourselves down to sleep away hunger. Not long did we enjoy our morning's nap, ere the rumble of passing artillery followed by the Light Division roused us, to strike our tent and pack our baggage as quickly as possible. And thus, with craving stomachs did we prepare for the longest day I ever experienced, before it was finished I could almost have imagined that our Commander in Chief had had the power to say like Joshua "Sun stand thou still upon Gidion, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon." The events of which will be read when not one of the actors survive to tell the tale. As we formed the centre of the army, we advanced from time to time as our Divisions on either flank succeeded in repulsing the enemy. When we got beyond the position which the French had occupied, we halted for an hour and half on rising ground, leaving the small road on our left clear for the advance of Cavalry. From this spot we peaceably watched the stirring and interesting procedures in front and on our right. The hills on our left were so steep and thickly covered with trees and brush wood that we could only judge by sounds of the merry game going on there. Along the low ground on our right was a narrow river with deep bed and precipitous banks, passable by three small bridges with fords near them. Beyond was the Carmine Real, which at a few miles distance branches on the left to Vitoria, and on the right to Burgos. It runs by the base of steep and high hills well studded with fine trees, behind each of which was a French rifleman watching to be attacked. In this direction appeared the main position of the enemy, to prevent, as we imagined our proceeding to Burgos. Numerous regiments were posted in various lines, supporting each other for the defence of the bridges and fords, and others were placed on, and over the hills, to support their riflemen. While watching this scene with anxious attention, to see who should drive these foxes from their well chosen hiding places, we perceived the tops of caps emerging from an intervening hill on the Carmine Real, and the Advanced Guard of the 2nd Division presented themselves. A strong party of about three companies of the Gallant Old 95th Riflemen. It was quite delightful to note the buoyancy of step with which these valiant fellows advanced, and still more so, when they approached a break in the hill, where the French opened on them to see them climb the steep as nimbly as goats.

 

They were soon hidden by the trees but we could trace their progress by the direction of the smoke from their rifles. Midway they experienced a desperate resistance, and we began to fear their being able to stand their ground before such a host of opponents, but the joyful sound of the bugles to "Advance" dispersed our apprehensions, and we saw them pursue their brave progress to the summit. The sound of musketry here was incessant, and we rejoiced to see a Grasshopper taken up to support these brave fellows. This is a small cannon which carries a four pound shot, it is painted dark green the uniform color of the Riflemen. The gun in conveyed on a mule, the carriage on another, and the ammunition by similar means, and is altogether well adapted to mountain warfare. In a very short time we heard the little fellow begin to chirp, and take an active part in the conflict, and his chirping was very persuasive, for soon the woods echoed the merry advance again, and the sound of the skirmishing died away in the distance.

 

The right and centre of the 2nd Division followed their advanced guard, the left Brigade proceeded along the Royal Road, and experienced a sharp resistance. The French skirmishers proved themselves real soldiers and retired in good order on their supports. But a part, between the road and the river, were so hard pressed that their strong support began to feel uneasy in their situation, and all huddled together in a condensed circle. A troop of our Cavalry was ordered to charge them. Our lads promptly obeyed and galloped down, but in the bottom found the deep water course. The Lieutenant in Command called a halt, but the cornet on the left, and two men had in the time leaped over the chasm, and were obliged to return.

 

The French noticed this incident, and uttered a loud long, and hearty laugh. While we remained on this spot, we Officers rambled about on the flanks or rear of the Close Column, and I joined my old friend Adjutant Close of the 48th. The sun bore a great power, and I was excessively thirsty. Observing a horn slung over Close's shoulder, which I supposed contained the small wine of the country, I requested him to give me something to moisten my mouth, for nothing had passed my lips this day. Close, in his quiet way gave me the horn to drink. I eagerly took a mouthful, and to my horror and disappointment found it Brandy that I was about to drink. I spat it out, and exclaimed "You old rogue! How could you serve me such a trick, it will make me ten times more thirsty than before." "Oh ho!" he called out, "here is old Crowe taking 'French Courage' before he gets into action!" This drew the attention of all near to us, and a hearty laugh at my grimaced added to my chagrin. Not a drop of water was to be had to cool my parched mouth and I felt greatly annoyed at the practical joke.

 

Our Left Brigade was now ordered to force the passage of the river and carried the Centre Brigade in their wonted gallant manner. We and the Portuguese advanced in column of sections, and soon arrived at the watercourse, running at right angle with that to the bridges, it was 8 or 9 feet deep, with almost perpendicular banks, but as there was not much water at the bottom, we slipped down and clambered up on the other side, assisted by those who had passed. When at the bottom I observed that the soldiers were as thirsty as myself, but not so fastidious, for they used their caps as water jugs, and drank the puddled water with avidity. When over, a soldier of the 48th gave me half a pint of clear water which quite invigorated me. Having passed this obstacle we again halted in a field of standing corn, where we attracted the notice of some French artillery on our left. They systematically ascertained the range of our position and then rattled at us most furiously with shots and shells. Our own Artillery soon came to our assistance and in some degree diverted the fire. We were glad to move from this dangerous spot and form line under cover of the rising ground our artillery occupied. But here the rebounding shots were very troublesome. One came to pay his devoirs to me, but I stepped aside and he quietly passed between the two companies. The shells set fire to the ripe corn soon after we left the field. And my friend Pollock and I were afterwards assured by the peasants that many brave soldiers burnt to death.

 

In our next advance we took a direction to our left, but the enemy leaving the opposite hill, followed by some of our Cavalry, we crossed the Carmine on our right in eschellon of Battalions. We were then ordered to advance through brush wood five feet high studded with pollard oakes and some fine timber trees. It was evident to me that our Colonel did not like this duty more than we did, he fully anticipated an ambuscade, and rode close behind constantly calling to me to keep my men together, as the line of march depended on my company. I called and bawled "Eyes right 4th Company" and "Eyes centre" until I fairly cracked my voice and could only squeak. The Grenadiers had been sent forward as an advanced guard. When about midway, my company passed on either side of a fine lofty tree against which sat Lieutenant Weir of the Grenadiers, his sash, sword, cap and stock off, his jacket opened, and his body laid bare was blanched and betrayed rueful despair. I passed within a dozen yards of him, but had I felt the utmost regard could not have stopped. I was utterly astonished and disgusted to see one, who, for some imaginary trifling offence, or the caprice or ill temper of the moment, had so often hazarded his own life and those of other men in duels, thus acting the poltroon. I could not hear the Colonel's remarks, but his tone of voice was quite in unison with my feelings. And thus this once dreaded bully foiled his own fame. We saw very little of him after this. And when present his manner was subdued, and bespoke self conviction of his degradation. Phil Gordon our Senior Lieutenant commanding the Grenadiers, Lieutenant J Hill and Volunteer Murray were wounded before we got out.

 

Our Portuguese kept on our left, outside the wood to clear the road. The enemy retired beyond a ravine which afforded them a good opportunity to pepper at us as we emerged from the wood. The Portuguese, being in compact order, fired a well directed volley, gave a hearty shout and advanced to the charge. Seeing us out of the wood, the French took the Will for the Deed and scampered off along their ridge of ground like goats.

 

In our pursuit we came to three large well built huts constructed with great care and exactness. I gave a hasty glance into the centre hut, and should judge it twenty feet wide, the walls six feet high with a well spanned pointed roof, supported by long poles in the centre, a table extending the whole length, with a fixed bench on each side. There was a regular door way at each end, and on the south side. The whole was covered, inside as well as out, with small branches of fir and other trees, and offered a very comfortable abiding for more than 100 Officers, as the space between the walls and the benches would allow the tallest man to stretch his weary length. It was very evident that these huts were recently erected, their covering was not yet withered, the tables and benches were yet clean, the sward within was still verdant. On the whole extent of the long table, at the distance of five or six feet, were placed large cans, brimful of wine. General Cole placed a Staff Officer at each entrance to prevent ingress, while others were employed in pouring the wine on the grounds, as it was judged to be poisoned. Whether or not such was the fact, the policy was good, for some of our thirsty men would have been poisoned, or inebriated by hearty draughts. The profuse quantity of wine made the supposition very feasible. But if the French did intend a ruse, their plan was frustrated.

 

We marched past very contentedly, commenting on the mystery of the circumstance, which the oldest soldiers could not unravel. "Bad luck to Jack Frenchman," they said, "he cannot beat us by fair fighting so want to take us at odds, by physicking or poisoning us!"  Our Rifles and Light Companies pursued the fugitives until protected by a strong body of skirmishers, they reformed and then retreated in close column. Our line was halted on a high ground in an oblique direction. On our right were the flying French, in our front some close columns made a show of standing their ground, but it was only a cover for those in their rear, whom we could perceive were rapidly retreating. On our left was the City of Vitoria, with the battle still raging in its front. This was the exact epoch of the battle, selected and so faithfully portrayed in the panorama exhibited in Leicester Square.

 

We did not witness the explosion of the ammunition wagon, but we saw it still burning in the midst of the long line of baggage formed for retreating, consisting of vehicles of every description. From a covered baggage cart belonging to some married Officers my Pay Serjeant abstracted the book now before me containing my rough diary, a French porcelain cup and saucer which I carefully preserve, and a small female pug dog, which he cruelly took from her puppies. My new faithful and affectionate little friend I named Vit! She crouched closely under my blanket that night and during the next day's march kept close to my feet.

 

There were cars laden with trenching tools, scaling ladders pontoons and the material of an effective army, private carriages of every shape and description, Field pieces and battering cannons with their ammunition wagons extending the whole length of the valley.

 

I will here diverge from my personal observations and relate a circumstance connected with this scene which subsequently came to my knowledge.

 

(Insert Map between page 225 - 226)

 

The Paymaster of __ Regiment in one of the left Divisions, watching the events of the battle came to the line of French Baggage, weary from his long ramble, he seated himself in one of the close carriages to rest. During which the Line made a short advance and his attention was attracted by a tinkling sound of silver articles. He minutely inspected every part of the coach, until he discovered a false bottom beneath his feet, into which a large quantity of silver forks and spoons had been promiscuously thrown. The Pagador deemed this a good opportunity for enlarging his own stock of plate and tied into his pocket handkerchief two dozen of each article. But while he had been thus pleasantly and industriously occupied, a party of Life Guards had been posted to protect the baggage from plunder. Consequently, when Signor Pagador stepped out of his carriage a Life Guardsman presenting his long sword said, "You may go if you like, but leave the bundle behind you!" The Paymaster quickly replaced his silvery booty, and was well pleased to make his escape without being handed over to the clutch of the Provost Marshal as a marauder.

 

Some of the French Artillery halted in their retreat, hoping to rake our oblique line. They fired many rounds at us, but finding that they were beyond range and could not disturb us, they again limbered their guns and pursued their retreat. This was fortunate, for as we had no support in our rear, we did not wish to be obliged to change our position and betray our weakness.

 

General Anson, our Brigadier, was authorized to advance at his own discretion, without hazarding an attack, and we were quite as forward as our strength would justify. We next moved on a village to our right, and found it quite deserted. This brought us in advance of Vitoria, and we saw a long tract of the Carmine Real, crowded by the retreating foe, apparently in great confusion.

 

Our view was bounded by a range of mountains through which the road passed. As we saw from the distance, we compared the aperture to a space in a large cheese from which a wedge had been cut, or, as we should have said in these days, to a deep cutting for a railroad, except that the banks being rock, were more perpendicular. By the aid of telescopes we could discover great confusion at this spot.

 

Whatever passed along the centre appeared to go over a mound. We afterwards learned this was caused by some baggage cars breaking down in this defile, and some artillery endeavouring to drive over the fragments had also broken down, and formed a barrier of men and women, and horses, dead or dying, commingled with dismounted cannons and broken carriages of various descriptions. The Infantry scrambled along the steep banks as they could. And Joseph Bounaparte the nominal King of Spain was compelled to do the same. He proceeded to a small wine house beside the road a little further on, and waited till his horse was led over. While there, he called for some of their best wine, and a bottle was produced, the contents of which he drank at one draught, from which the Spanish ever after spoke of him, as "Jose Bouteille."

 

During this short halt, a Spanish Major came up to us and said, the enemy was retreating from all points in the direction of Pampelona. We were again advancing but were brought to check by three Close Columns with two guns. To make as much show as we could we formed close columns of regiments, apart. The enemy made a feint of taking up their ground for the night by posting picquets etc. Thus we found ourselves in an awkward predicament, for as a single Brigade and without support we could not attempt to force their position and guns, which opened on us but without effect, for we availed ourselves of the high hedge in our front, to conceal as much as possible our exact locality, and the smallness of our force.

 

Thus circumstanced we paid Jack Frenchman in his own coin, three Companies from each regiment were sent forward and under cover of the hedges opened a brisk fire on flanks and centre. This ruse answered well, for the French fearing a general attack, sent their guns off at full gallop and followed as quickly as they could. We pursued as long as day light lasted but saw no more of them.

 

It was dusky when I was sent forward with my company, but we encountered only a few stragglers and some half pillaged baggage cars. Our Colonel rode forward and finding some flour on the ground and some sheep in a field, returned and desired me to  secure them, while he again advanced with a few of my men, who proceeded to another village, from whence they frightened away some French Cavalry. They rejoined me, driving with them three small bullocks and three weaned calves. It now became very dark. I think I never witnessed so dark a night at this season of the year, and we had much difficulty in finding our Brigade, bivouacked in a sward, but how to join we knew not for we could not find any break in the deep ditch and high bank which opposed our progress. I desired my Color Serjeant to keep the Company and the cattle there, while I went to report our situation to the Major General.

 

I soon regretted that I had not sent the Serjeant on this duty for I had long to grope about and make innumerable enquires before I could find out where the General had housed himself. He thanked me, however, for my trouble, and ordered Quartermasters and butchers of the Brigade to attend me. But, alas! This was useless for during my long absence, the hungry soldiers in the wood, attacked by the bleating of my herd, had, under cover of the darkness and the high corn in which we halted, stolen the greater part of my booty. The sheep were all gone, excepting three I had secured for my Company, and two for myself, which we did manage to lead securely to our bevouiac. I found my chum, Radcliffe, with Kenyon, seated in hungry despair, under a large oak. The appearance of my two sheep renewed the energy of their weary limbs, they replenished their fire, and by means of two ramrods, broiled our warm mutton and the soldiers supplied us with some salt and bread, which they had picked up in the course of the day. Nor did we require any stimulating sauces to coax down our hearty supper.

 

Before our servants had finished their share of half a sheep, my friend Close's servant, with a quaint and rueful countenance came up to me. "Hollo, Master Feeley! What are you about prowling in our lines past midnight?" "Plaise your honor, Colonel Wilson and my master shall be mightily obliged if you can send them a smarl bit of mutton, for, sure, the devil a morsel at all, at all, have they to put in their mouths!" I clapped the live sheep on Feeley's broad shoulders and soon lost sight of both.

 

We borrowed a couple of blankets from the soldiers who were heedless of using them, placed big Tom in the middle to keep us two warm, and without additional opiate, slept till the Orderly Serjeant woke us an hour before day light, to stand to arms.

 

22nd June. 

On returning to our bivouac I scrutinized the scene around. Had a skilful artist been present he might have taken an interesting sketch of "The Morning Bivouac After a Great Battle" but words cannot describe it. Behind our large tree, not a dozen yards from where our weary heads had rested, I saw one of my bullocks, its throat had been cut ad libilum. This spot soon resembled an ant heap on a large scale, for numerous soldiers came to cut for breakfast. My musing was broken by the cheerful shout of my chum, "Barry Carr! Take the fore quarters of that mutton to W. Pollock," then turning to me "Come old boy, we are to breakfast with our friend Carlisle, his servant pounced yesterday on some coffee and sugar, and sure now wont we have a hearty meal once more!" The canopy of heaven was our saloon, the green sward our table cloth, and some five or six of us were well pleased with our repast.

 

We noticed the soldiers busily employed in examining their various booty. One man came to us and offered a silver fork and spoon for a dollar which was then equal to six and six pence. I bought them and still preserve them as mementos of the day and scene.

 

A soldier of the 5th Company requested his Captain Frank Bignold to accept a heavy tea caddy. Frank instantly broke it open, by aid of the soldiers bayonet, and to the astonishment of both, found it filled with doubloons, at that time worth £3.12.0 each. Frank frankly gave the money to the soldier, retaining the caddy as the original present. It was estimated that full three thousand dollars, besides plate, regimentals, swords, fowling pieces etc etc were secured by our regiment along, whatever fell to others of the brigade.

 

A Cant, or auction of French baggage was proclaimed and proved to be a most amusing and extraordinary scene. I really think it would have defied even Hogarth's graphical pencil. The Provost Marshal proved he was quite an adept as auctioneer, and made very appropriate remarks on Marshal Soult's stock of wigs. There was a scratch, or every day wig, a court wig, a Brutus, and I know not what. But many a broad joke was cracked when the Marshal's black velvet breeches were exhibited, which were purchased by a Drum Major. My Fifer's wife purchased Madame Soult's satin slippers. No doubt but that this worthless woman made a good market of these trophies in her marauding excursions.

 

I had the proud satisfaction of smoking one of Marshal Soult's cigars. But it was only the refuse of his baggage sent to a Cant, for the page of history prove that it had been overhauled, as the following letter from the Prince Regent will demonstrate.

 

Carlton House

July 3 1613

My Dear Lord.

Your glorious conduct is beyond all human praise and far above my reward. I know not language the world affords worthy to express it. I feel I have nothing left to day, but devoutly to offer up my prayers of gratitude to Providence that it was in its omnipotent bounty blessed my country and myself with such a General. You have sent me among the trophies of your unrivalled fame, the staff of a French Marshal and I send you in return that of England. The British army will hail it with enthusiasm, while the whole universe will acknowledge those valorous efforts which have so imperiously called for it. That uninterrupted health and still increasing laurels may continue to crown you through a glorious and long career of life are the never ceasing and most ardent wishes of, my dear Lord, your very sincere and faithful friend.

G.P.R.

 

The Marquis of Wellington.

 

We advanced about 10 o'clock and found the road strewed with various articles, fragments of regimentals, broken arms and accoutrements, French soldiers who had died of their wounds, carcases or horses, mules and asses, which had been shot, or their throats cut, all mingled together.

 

We passed close to the walls of Salvaterra, which the French had not time to plunder, and we were well pleased to find here some of the Spanish army in advance. This was the first time I had seen any of them, and am conscious that I viewed them with the prejudiced eye of an English soldier, but their gray clothing and dark facings gave a sombre hue to their ranks, and found a strong contrast to our scarlet jackets. There was besides a slovenly appearance in the men, no military gait.

 

We halted about six p.m. in a wood, but it was quite dark before any of the baggage came. Radcliffe's did not arrive, fortunately the tent was on my mule which proved a very happy chance, for the night was very wet and cold.

 

23rd June 

The weakly men were selected and sent into hospitals at Vitoria. We marched off at 6.am and encountered a most tedious and dirty march. The rain continued nearly all day, and our route seemed to be directed by the compass like a mariner's course. At times we passed along low and narrow roads, then across fields, low hedges and ditches, all saturated by the rain.

 

24th June

We continued our pursuit of the enemy whose passing had broken the ground, and after the almost incessant rain, we found every hollow a little pool of water. Thus our route was intolerably bad. And to make bad worse, the enemy had destroyed two bridges which obliged us to take a road to our right, and again across fields of stiff clay, where one foot went backward before the other could get forward. On a moderate calculation, we were two hours going one league!

 

Radcliffe was ordered to the rear to collect stragglers. 

 

25th June

In the course of this morning we regained the Great Road, and saw in a hollow on our right a nine pounder with a broken wheel. We were marching briskly along when we met Lord Wellington proceeding to the rear. He informed General Cole he had just sent forward a party to take the last gun from the enemy.

 

We encamped about 3 o'clock to the right of the road within good view of Pampelona. I missed my chum's cheerful company greatly at dinner.

 

Agreeable to a Division Order, the booty in possession of individuals was collected, or rather delivered at the Colonel's quarters for the equal benefit of every man in the regiment. The value of the whole was said to be very surprising. A strong ass was purchased to carry the treasure until it could be disposed of. And Color Serjeant Mick of the Light Company was put in charge of it, with authority to draw a file of men every day for its protection.

 

26th June

The division took up fresh ground, to the left of the road, within a league of Pampelona. This suggested the supposition that we were to remain here, and to have the honor of a chance of broken heads, in the reduction of the strong fortress. Accordingly we formed grand projects for the morrow, respecting the regulating our wardrobes and making up our companies accounts.

 

Sunday, 27th June 

Early this morning came an Order to march at noon and off we started westward, crossing a fine stone bridge over the deep river which winds round the fortress nearly from north to south. We halted an hour for our Artillery which looked as if some fresh stiff work was cut out for us elsewhere. We advanced to the next village and encamped.

 

Before the order for march arrived I had planned for spending this day quietly by myself. I was on Quarter Guard and posted on high ground above the bustle of the camp, from whence I had a fine view of the fortress and could see the French as they passed to and fro on the walls. I pitched my tent in a hollow, westward, and anticipated the quietude suited to the day. But I had not finished breakfast when my Orderly Corporal came up to inform me that three days meat was then delivering out. On my going down I found one of our soldiers haggling with some Spanish women about a string of pearls with a mother of pearl cross affixed. There were many natives and soldiers watching the bargain. And it was incumbent on my duty for the day to disperse such an assemblage. A lovely girl about 18 years of age was enthusiastically anxious to redeem the cross from an infidel soldier, as she had said. The Irishman being a Roman Catholic was tickled with this unguarded expression, and tried to make a harder bargain, and waggishly bantered the girl about her religion. I desired him to let the pool girl have the cross for the two dollars, and I would give three dollars for the beads. At this juncture General Cole rode briskly up and sternly accosted me "Who are you, Sir?"

"Officer of Quart Guard." 

"Where is your guard?" 

"On that hill General."

"Then what do you here sir?"

"I came to superintend the rations for my Company."

The General was beaten and disconcerted by my firm and prompt reply, but at that instant he saw the soldier dangling the pearls before the wistful girl. As quick as thought he sprang from his horse, uttered a volley of oaths against the soldier while he seized the pearls and crammed them into his pocket.

 

The fellow calmly replied "Ah Lowry, that is just like you!" He remounted as quickly and, desiring me to disperse the people, galloped off. I have no doubt that the Lady Cole has often exhibited those noble pearls at grand London parties. I have subsequently mentioned the circumstance to my old Commander, and expressed a query about the fine pearls, but he sententiously assured me they were put into the general stock. I could not prove the fact, but I could retain my own opinion.

 

The actual purport of the General's errand was to hasten our marching off, for the purpose of intercepting a Division of the French under General Clausel who were retreating by the pass of Jaca in Spanish pronounced Ha Ca! We pursued a westward course and saw a lofty aqueduct on arches and soon after when crossing the Carmine Real noticed its course under ground guarded by large blocks of stone parallel with the road. Towards evening we regained the Carmine, which was acceptable to our weary legs, for altogether it had been a muddling sort of a day, ascended a hill to our right and encamped in a woods.

 

28th June

I was on Baggage Guard and had a most harassing duty. The nature of our camp ground was such that I could collect all my party in a regular way. Some of the Batmen availed themselves of this circumstance and as I afterwards found, marched off to their own word of command, which in consequence of events caused me much anxiety. Our route lay on the reverse side of the hill, to that we ascended last evening. The descent was very bad, there being no direct road or even a path. Some badly packed loads fell, others shifted and were obliged to be reloaded. Thus at the bottom the baggage of the whole Division was huddled together. I could gain no tidings of the Colonel's or 2nd Master Serjeant's baggage. Just as I had mustered the greater part of my charge, an Orderly Dragoon posted by, telling us the French had sallied out of Pampelona to capture our baggage.

 

This was very unwelcome intelligence. I ordered every batman to shoulder his musket and to hasten on as well as he could but to prime and load for defence, at sound of the first shot. I then collected all I could of my guard, and followed slowly in doggedly mood for nearly an hour, when I perceived a party of our own Dragoons leisurely coming after us. The Lieutenant relieved all my anxiety by assuring me that all was safe and quiet an hour and a half before when he withdrew his picquet. After another hour's march we came up with the Division halted in close column. The alarm had reached General Cole, who stood waiting for orders or further intelligence. I was rejoiced to find all the baggage safely arrived. We encamped during the heat of the day, in a wood to the left of the road. To recompense me for my anxiety and trouble about his baggage the Colonel asked me to dine with him at one o'clock. I met my brother officer Lieutenant Charles Crawford and my old friend Lieutenant Charles Burke of the 48th Regiment. At 3.p.m. we pursued our march, and in the evening encamped very comfortably near Gallupenso.

 

29th June

A halt, to wait for the Light Division moving parallel with us. They encountered so bad a march that they did not reach their camp ground until ten o'clock this morning, leaving, of course very many stragglers, knocked up by fatigue. This morning was very fine, and every one was busily occupied in drying and regulating his baggage when a sudden and most tremendous storm of rain set us all afloat.

 

I made four channels through my tent, and fortunately, thereby succeeded in keeping my chattels dry. For two hours not a man could leave his tent. A scorching sun then burst upon us, and soon dried every thing. I took a hint from what had occurred, and shifted my tent to the reverse flank of the regiment, on a shelving bank, I made one trench above and through my tent like a Y to effect which, I had to cut away furze bush with my sword, which made me a most luxuriantly soft and dry bed.

 

Many of the tents were actually flooded and the streets in camp were ankle deep with mud. The poor soldiers were in a most deplorable condition. The Paymaster had not been able to make monthly muster of the regiment on the 24th but accomplished this afternoon by Companies, despite the frequent heavy showers.

 

30th June.

We were glad to leave such a miserable spot, and marched into cantonments at Leache near the town of Sanguessa, giving up all thoughts of seeing Jaca, and its noted pass of the Pyrenees. The little town of Leache is highly [ ?] by the Spanish soldiers in consequence of the Padre always having a State Bed ready for the Patriot General Mina, Chief of Spanish Guirillas. Here Mina lay badly wounded and heard the retiring French offering a large reward for his head.

 

We were obliged to lodge very closely. I had half my Company in my quarters. I would not trust my blankets or myself on either of the beds in my room, but neither of us were losers, for we had fleas and lice in all our quarters.

 

1st July.

All the animals captured on the 21st at Vitoria were sold by auction this day at Ayber, the Head Quarters of our Division. 

 

[Insert of sketch - A Spanish Guirilla. Sketched by Lieutenant E.C. Close of 48th Regiment. 1811]

 

2nd July 

We left our Cantonments about 8 o'clock. The morning was cloudy but promised a fine day. Our road was an easy ascent and we were soon enveloped in a thick haze which prevented our noticing the line of march. After a time the ascent became very abrupt and we at length were convinced that we were passing over a great mountain. On the summit the wind drove the haze against us, so strongly that we fancied it to be rain. The fact was we were marching through a very dense cloud. Our descent was precipitous, the path narrow and bad with large bushes of box wood hanging over which dashed their superabundant moisture in our faces as we staggered to retain our slippery footsteps in the clayey soil. When we had descended half way down the mountain we suddenly emerged from this cloud and were rejoiced to behold a bright sunshine to dry our jackets before we reached the plain, and encamped near Mon Real.

 

3rd July

This day's march brought us back to Pamplona, where we relieved the 7th Division in which I met with my old acquaintance Lieutenant Mendham of the 68th Regiment, and Ipswich man who was with me in the West Suffolk Militia. He was much distressed at my being in a Regiment of three Battalions and 72 Lieutenants, and strongly urged me to exchange into his corpse, a single Battalion. I declined his kindness by stating how I had obtained my present post. And ultimately I was right, such is the lottery of an Officer's life that I gained 36 steps while Mendham only 3 or 4, just sufficient to avoid being placed on the reduced establishment.

 

A brother Officer accompanied me to obtain as close a view of the fortress as prudence would sanction. Fortunately we met with an intelligent pisan who gave us much information and pointed out the Governer's House with yellow doors and green windows. There was more the appearance of a castellated stronghold of older times than a regular fortification; there was not a single outwork on the plain to protect the long curtain extending from the towers at the south west and north west angles. In the centre was a low gateway with portcullis and a turret above. Our guide explained this apparent anomaly by assuring us there were two wet fosses with a drawbridge to each. And the citadel we saw towering above the ramparts commanded the whole of this, as well as the northern and eastern approaches. He also assured us that if an enemy could gain possession of the town, the citadel was a fortress in itself and could hold out until starvation compelled the garrison to surrender. The evening was delightful and the setting sun gilded our view most gloriously.

 

4th July 

I was on Quarter Guard, the day windy and cold The Bat Mules were sent to Arcoui for entrenching tools. This is a strong indication of a regular investing of the fortress. Moreover, outlying picquets for 24 hours commenced last night.

 

5th July

Marched at one o'clock in the morning to the north eastward and relieved the Portuguese Cassidores (or Light Infantry). We took possession of a small cantonment, the 3rd and 4th Companies occupying one house. I had a room to myself, so I secured my pony and wrapping the warm blanket form under the saddle around me, stretched myself on the table, and was soon oblivious. I enjoyed a long and comfortable sleep, for the baggage did not start until 4 o'clock and I never moved until my servant's enquiries aroused me from my slumber.

 

At 3 p.m. I was ordered on a working party, but was soon relieved by a party from the 42nd Regiment. The 6th Division relieving our Regiment we followed our own Division and encamped within a mile and half due North East of Pamplona under cover of intervening hills, where, in the morning we saw some shots and shells fall.

 

6th July 

I was much annoyed by an order for another working party, from 5 to 10 a.m. I, yesterday, duly marched my party off the parade, thereby clearing the roaster for fatigue parties, and moreover I actually entered on the duties of my post. It was exactly that critical point, which the Rules of the Service require a soldier to perform the duty ordered and to appeal afterwards. Our Adjutant Lieutenant Ward had recently joined from our 2nd Battalion in the Valentia Army. He as a bustling fussey sort of a fellow, risen from the ranks, contempt was his best desert. I therefore obeyed orders, although it was no joke to take extra duty, to be exposed to the fire from the enemy. My post was on a hill commanding the Northern face of the fortress, also the Eastern with its gateway and stone bridge over the rapid river Arga, which affords great strength on this side. The Carmine Real runs on its eastern bank to the south. Westward is a circuitous road leading to our camp. Eastward and in front of the bridge, a road runs over a range of hills connected with my post. Below which at a little distance was the road described leading to our camp. Our duty was termed a Working Party, my men were certainly furnished with tools, and Lieutenant Franklin of the 2nd Regiment the Acting Engineer to the Division came and told them what to do. But my duty was decidedly outlying picquet, for the only orders I received was to watch the gateway and bridge and in case of a sortie to send immediately intelligence to the Field Officer of the day.

 

The garrison had a full view of our position in the centre of which was the remainder of a high bank covered with bushes. My men were at work at the west and I availed myself of the shade at the other, about 25 yards distant. We were favored with three large shells from the ramparts, judging by their appearance as they approached us, I should say, they must have been twelve inches in diameter. The first fell in a vineyard below, and for a short time was buried in the earth, when it burst it tore up three vines from their roots, and sent them above our heads, whirling about in a most fantastical and amusing manner. The second fell more short, or it might have done much mischief, for it was in a good direction for the men at work. I saw the explosion of the third mortar and watched the direction of the shell, noting its elevation, I was confident it would come nearer than the former. I ordered my men to throw themselves on the ground and quickly ensconced myself in my end of the bank as closely as I could. But in endeavouring to do so my knees became my predominant feature! The shell fell a short way of my right in a heap of stones, close by me, and burst with a tremendous explosion. A fragment of some kind struck my right knee in a slanting direction, fortunately, but it made me sneer and limp woefully. I felt this contusion for a long time afterwards.

 

At noon I was astonished at seeing my name again in orders for Duty for outlying picquet. I felt so indignant that I sought advice how to act. My friend Pollock told me I could not shirk the duty, because outlying picquet being a post of danger preceded all others and as such my refusing it might give an opening for unpleasant remarks. He agreed with me that there was a most egregious error in working the different roasters and went directly to request the Colonel to revise them before the same sharp turn of duty should befall another.

 

Colonel Maclean, Field Officer of the day: Brevet Major Scott, Captain 2nd Regiment, a Lieutenant of the 40th and myself, for outlying picquet, with the names for In-lying picquet etc etc. was the Division and Regimental Orders. About 3 o'clock p.m. the Colonel and Major accompanied Lieutenant Colonel Broke, (since then Sir Charles Vere K.C.B. and M.P.) Quarter Master General to our Division to reconnoitre the post we were to occupy at night, and to receive instructions relative thereto. At 6 o'clock we marched off our party and within a mile halted beside the right of the road, near a curvature of an impending rock.

 

Major Scott addressing us, his two Subalterns said "Gentlemen, you must now draw lots and ascertain which of you goes on the advanced post." It fell to me. And with all the pompousness, or pomposity of a vulgar fellow, gave me and my Serjeant full where our sentries were to be posted, and ordered me to find out and hold communication with the Portuguese picquet on the hills to my left. I requested, as he had viewed the ground by daylight, that he would show it to me. He churlishly refused, adding "Sir you have received your orders, and you must obey!" I rejoined "Major, if you will show me the ground our orders shall be punctually obeyed. If not, you must excuse my breaking my neck over those broken and unknown hills in the dark, besides the chance that during my absence my post might be attacked and I should be called on to account for my being absent from my advanced party."

 

This made the pompous Major excessively indignant, he protested that I was most insubordinate, nay, my conduct was down right mutinous, and that he would report me to the Field Officer! I was at not all frightened by the blustering of this vulgar Brevet Major, for as my own Colonel was the referee, I well knew my footing. Major Scott then marched me, 1 Serjeant, 2 Corporals and 28 men a mile in advance to a gravel pit in a hill to the left of the road, and with a most dignified step, returned to the main picquet.

 

I was well pleased that my Serjeant, Corporal and chief of my party were of my own regiment, they asked leave to make a fire, and as the night promised to be very dark and our post was entirely sheltered from the view of the garrison I granted their request, without sending for the permission of the magnanimous Major. In a short time the men brought half dried brakes, green furze and broom with whatever they could grope, and we soon had a cheerful blaze to enliven the banks of our gloomy position.

 

Before 11 o'clock I went to visit my sentries and in consequence of the darkness had much difficulty to find my way. During my absence the Field Officer had visited my post. Early in the morning I again went my rounds. When I reached my advanced sentry, within fifty yards of the bridge the moon began to peer over the hills on my left and threw the fortress out in beautiful and strong relief. My road was yet in shade and I was warily approaching the foot of the bridge when I was hailed by two Videttes of our German Hussars.

"Who is there!"

"Officer of outlying picquet!" 

"Oh my Gar! You no business here. You will draw the fire of the garrison on us. For our orders are to fire on any one that approaches our post!"

 

During this short parley I gained a view of the French picquet at the other side of the bridge and the gateway in their rear, and thanking the Germans for their civility and alacrity in their post retreated to my own sentry.

 

My curiosity, however, was not gratified. The moon now shone on the road but a tree growing in a garden below afforded a screen between me and the walls and I thought I would avail myself of such an opportunity to gain an exact view of all the works, but the loose stone wall against which I leaned gave way. Down rolled the stones, and I, on their top, a large gooseberry bush stopped my descent and there I remained ensconced for a very long time for the sentinels on the walls heard the noise, gave the alarm and soon the ramparts were manned against an unfortunate wight skulking under a gooseberry bush, who knew not how to escape from his critical position without being pelted with musket bullets. During my gooseberry retreat the moon travelled on most provokingly and shone on the broken wall I had to crawl up, that the glitter of the scabbard might not attract notice I kept my sword under my body and with great difficulty regained the road where "Richard was himself again!!"

 

Twilight began to dawn and the garrison sounded their reveille. I waited some little time and taking my sentries in succession with me, returned to my party, where Colonel Maclean accosted me with "My good fellow, where have you been? I have been waiting your return a very long time. When I visited your post before you were absent. I much wished to have some conversation with you, for Major Scott has made heavy complaints tome of your conduct! Where have you been?"

Colonel! I went to re-visit my advanced sentries and I admit that, finding the moon was rising, I did linger to obtain a close view of the fortress (not a wood dropped about the gooseberry bush) and when the French sounded their reveille, I deemed it prudent to bring in my own sentries!"

The Colonel replied in his quaint manner "Thank you my good fellow, thank you! I told the Major I could depend on you!" 

We then discussed the altercation I had with the Major in the evening. The Colonel significantly screwed up his face and said "Thank you my dear fellow! Good morning to you!"

 

"The sun had risen on the earth, when Sol entered into Zoar!" And it had long risen on my post before my advanced picquet was withdrawn. On joining the main body we all claimed the boon due to our watchfulness throughout the night, and slept soundly. Between 8 and 9 o'clock my servant brought me a kettle full with coffee and something to eat. I invited Major Scott to partake with me, but he sullenly declined my offer, which was gladly accepted by my brother Sub. We left the magnanimous Brevet Major to "chew the food of sweet and bitter fancy!" and finding a shady nook a little distant made a hearty meal. My chum amused me excessively by recounting Major Scott's vituperation against me to the Field Officer and of his wilful tardiness in withdrawing my advances. I felt quite rejoiced that hi had invited the churl to breakfast.

 

I sent my servant for my writing case. During his absence I borrowed a blanket from one of my own men, secured it to some roots on the bank above and extending it by two firelocks formed a comfortable shade. Here I made great progress in a long letter to my brother 'ere I fell asleep and dropped my pen, until the sun drove me from my berth.

 

At 6 o'clock p.m. we were relieved.

 

7th July to the 15th!

We remained here without any particular occurrence, except moving our camp further off, to be beyond the reach of any long shots the garrison might send over the hills to look for us. We had daily a market well supplied with apples, pears and plums at 3 vint each. Pork 2/- per pound, cheese 1/- butter 3/-, oil 3/- per pint, wine 8 the pinta. A loaf of bread of about four pounds varied from 1/6 to half a dollar. Besides two sutlers, who were more exorbitant in their charges: spirits one dollar or six shillings per bottle: tea 3½ dollars per pound, equal to one guinea: moist sugar 2/- per pound. In short money was the most scarce article.

 

My friend Radcliffe rejoined us here. I was heartily glad to welcome his return, again to behold his good tempered round fat face, and enjoy his ever flowing cheerfulness. He had been detained, much to his annoyance, in charge of a depot at a small village in the rear, consisting of a commissariat stores and foot-foundered soldiers. With great congratulation he told me of the large store of bread he had obtained from the Deputy Commissary and brought with him.

 

I readily participated in my friend's satisfaction on this matter, having restricted myself to my rations of hard biscuit. And well knowing that in the whole army there did not exist two better foragers than my friend Tom and his crafty old servant Barney Carr, I sat down to dinner with great anticipation of enjoying a hearty meal. I eagerly seized and cut into a loaf of bread, which proved to be quite mouldy. My friend Tom's self congratulations fell below par at the sight, for a moment he sat grave and motionless, then shouted out "Barney parade all the bread!" By the time Barney had brought the boasted store, I had recovered from my chagrin and disappointment and waggishly divided another stale loaf, which, to the utter astonishment and dismay of my chum and old Barney, was as mouldy as the first. This roused Tom's indignation, but as he fortunately pounced on a good loaf, equanimity was soon restored.

 

After dinner we made a careful inspection of the other loaves, and nearly a third part was given to our animals, who greedily devoured it. I find by what I wrote at evening in my diary that I thought all this was too good a joke to be lost, and made sharp remarks, feeling assured that Tom would not forego his privilege of perusing. My strictures finish with - The great, the Sage, Dr Moore annually states in his Almanack "there are strange mutations in mundane affairs, for which, the wisest of mortals cannot account." Moreover, the old proverb saith "No man is always wise!" Far be it from me to derogate the dignity of a Commandant! No! I would rather imagine that burthened with the onerous duties of his office, the Governor said "Bernardo! Take heed and carry a good store of bread to our camp!" And Barney even the wilely Barney, taking loaves as loaves, brought mouldy bread.

 

My good friend Close of the 48th was attacked by a violent bilious fever which made him delirious. He was carried to a small house on our left. I was glad to find him better and promised to revisit him, but that night we advanced to the village of Yza, where we had been on the 5th instant and my friend was conveyed to the rear. The remainder of the Brigade encamped about a mile and half from us, in a valley beside the main road to Roncesvalles. I dined with Colonel Maclean, meeting our worthy little Captain White and Captain Hamilton who had joined us from the army in Valencia, the advance of a batch of Captains ordered from our 1st and 2nd Battalions.

 

16th July

A part of the Spanish Army, the Walloon Guard under General O'Donnell arrived from Cadiz, a march of 203 leagues. They are to relieve us from the irksome duty of investing Pampelona. A fine sturdy of men 4 of 5,000 strong, their clothing chiefly dark blue and their arms and appointments of English manufactory, gave them a very martial appearance, although their profusion of whiskers reaching round their chins looked slovenly. They are broader across the shoulders and altogether more athletic in frame than the Spaniards of the north. Their countenances also were more prepossessing; totally devoid of that haughty suspicious and malevolent scowl we have been accustomed to notice. The bad organisation of the Spanish Army was very palpable. We noticed young beardless boys, as we imagined, scions of grandees, commanding Companies of men fully forty years old and Subalterns, all but gray headed. A solitary drum in the centre of each regiment preserved the cadence of step, by a beat, much resembling the Reveillo of the French, which the British soldiers facetiously vocalized by Old-trow-sers-old-trou-sers-old-trou-sers.

 

17th July 

We marched before day break to the camp and piled our arms. My worthy friend Duke of the 48th gave me breakfast. Before 8 o'clock the whole Brigade advanced. We passed the camp of 3rd or Light Division and had an excellent view of the southern face of the fortress, based in the rock which the river laves and spreading its broad bosom to the meridian sun, like a sunflower.

 

Our left and Portuguese Brigades, leaving their cantonments in which they had quietly reposed since the 3rd instant, preceded us through the village or Urdaniz. A large portion of the retreating French had passed this route and our olfactory nerves were most grossly assailed by the stench of numerous dead animals of every description on each side and in every hollow. Men, women, horses, mules, asses, and bullocks mingled together. Our road was bad, and our camp ground proved equally so.

 

I was fortunate in fixing on a spot which a little labour made tolerably good. The inconvenience of our ground was recompensed by the grandeur of the mountains on the opposite side of the river. One before my tent would have delighted any artist.

 

Sunday 18th July

Marched at 7 a.m. for some way beside the river increasing in rapidity but decreasing in depth so that we are not far form its source. Leaving it we ascended abruptly, the valleys beneath studded with magnificent beech trees, were very beautiful.

 

Hitherto we had seen the villages were built on small hills, but here we found them in the valleys most pleasingly diversifying the scenery. We passed a plain where nearly all the Brigade could have encamped at nearly full distance, and a little further on were ordered to pitch our camp at quarter distance, near the edge of a precipice. The Officers crammed in rear, within six paces of their companies.

 

19th July

A halt. Papers and letters from England arrived for the 48th Regiment but not one for ours. Nothing particular in the papers, excepting a rumour of a continental armistice. General Anson brought to the tent of Captain Parry of 48th the Portuguese Gazette of the Battle of Vitoria. Finished my letter to my brother begun on the 5th. Captain White rode to the front, gained a peep at France, and found a Brigade of 2nd Division on our right guarding the Pass of Jaca, forming with ourselves the advanced guard of the whole army. Our station is variously stated in different maps; Burgate and Biscaret. The road beside us leads direct to the grand pass of Roncesvalles, "the scene of many a bloody fight!" Especially when the Spaniards expelled the Moors, and again when they opposed the invasion of the French. Northward and below Roncesvalles, is the smaller Pass of Arotia, or Alatosti.

 

20th July to the 21st July

Incessant rain for thirty six hours, rendering our berths so bad we were obliged to shift the left of the line, regardless of the declivity.

 

22nd July to 23rd July

Continuation of rain and our ground miserable.

 

24th July

This evening we moved across the road to another hill, just sufficient for the regiment, the Officers taking an adjoining one. The view from our tent was very interesting. The road below, with the camp of the 48th above it, behind them on beautiful green hill, backed by a majestic mountain. A Brigade Court Martial in the morning produced a flogging and prevented our evening walk. Order for parade for Divine Service at 11 o'clock on the morrow.

 

Sunday 25th July

We were roused and marched at a very early hour long before break of day. The sudden and totally unexpected order for all to be under arms excepting only batmen, precluded all arrangements of baggage and provisions. And off we went with the utmost despatch, ascending an intolerably bad road. At dawn of day we passed the frontier town, or village of Roncesvalles. I admit the site is very romantic but I am a stranger to the motive which could have induced the original settlers to build on a spot exposed to the depredations of mountaineers of both countries. Nearly every house was barricaded by thick planks with loop holes for musketry, but all of them on the Spanish side, which denotes them to be French works against the guirillas. Above and nearly the extent of the town is a monastery of stud and plaster two stories high erected on the very line of demarcation between Spain and France, the road passing under an archway in the centre of the building. As we approached, thee aged monks appeared at the upper windows and lustily shouted "Viva los Angloses" when one of my men promptly replied, "Bad luck to your bald pates, you sycophants, you sung the same tune to the French the other day when they passed!"

 

Arriving on the French territory we learned the errand on which we had been sent. The sharp fire on all sides left no doubt of the reality.

 

The Brigade of 2nd Division and Spaniards here posted had been furiously attacked at 2 o'clock in the morning. The report of musketry resounded from every mountain and hill, denoting the day to be fraught with dread events. An old song, relative to the expulsion of the Moors sayeth -

Sad and fearful was the story

Of the Roncesvalles fight

On that dreadful field of glory

Perished many a valiant knight!

 

From the monastery the road was more abrupt and more inconvenient, scarcely allowing two men to walk abreast, the soldiers involuntarily jousting against each other were greatly annoyed, which drew from old Barney Carr a quaint remark, "Och, now, and sure this is very pretty Divine Service, and is it not? Well nivir mind boys! For who iver is kilt to day will have great advantage, for sure, ain't we half way to heaven already!"

 

On our right we noticed a house occupied by a Spanish picquet. We inclined to our left and passed along a road so shaded by magnificent beech trees that we could not se far before us. Ascending another high hill to our right a most interesting scene opened to our view. The Brigade of 2nd Division above the picquet house, with the Spaniards were gallantly opposing a very superior force. The Spaniards had two grasshoppers, or four pounders: the enemy hauled up regular field pieces which in the evening they placed in battery against our position.

 

The further we ascended to apparently the very apex of a conical mountain so much the worse our road was, thickly strewed with boulder stones from the summit, and obliged us to pick our footsteps. At length we halted and reclined on the green face of the mountain with full leisure to admire the scenery before us. The sun shone in full splendour: the lower road in a deep valley beneath us was occupied by a small party of skirmishers who manfully performed their duty. Beyond them, to the extent of very many miles were the plains of France studded with villages and towns like a map spread on a table.

 

Our attention was riveted to hills, most gallantly contested by our Left Brigade: the possession of which would have enabled the enemy to force the whole position of our army. They had pursued a different route and reached the northern base of our mountain. The 20th Regiment charged and carried the two first hills. But a strong column of the French drove them back with severe loss. The Fusiliers rushed to support and succour their comrades, and by frequently relieving their advanced companies maintained possession of the first hill. From our exalted position we could see and with intense interest watch the fatal scene. It was heart rending to witness so many brave fellows fall, some to rise no more, others to badly wounded to leave the field of battle, and others crawling or limping down for assistance. One event served to cheer our spirits. The firing of both the skirmishing parties became very slack, in fact, they had expended all their ammunition and were obliged to search the pouches of the men who had fallen.

 

This coincidence brought a relief party from either side at the same juncture. A company of the French came down the hill in full confidence of the imaginary advantage of having the upper ground while Captain of the Fusiliers plodded up with his company. The Frenchmen exultingly shouted their Vives - but sturdy Fusiliers silently pursued their ascent. The French Officer chivalrously changed his flank, thereby seeking a personal conflict with the British Officer and tauntingly brandishing his sword advanced in the charge. The Captain of the Fuziliers with drawn sabre resting on his shoulder, John Bull-like, trudged on, until the adverse parties clashed bayonets - he then coolly tucked his sabre under the French Officer's sword arm and laid him lifeless on the sword. The Fusiliers then shouted their hurra, and pushing their charge, the French scampered up the hill much faster than they came down.

 

Now stood Eliza on the wood crown'd height

O'er Mindons plain spectatress of the fight."

 

Our's was not a "wood crowned height" nor could any gun or whatever calibre be elevated to throw a random shot to kill any of us. Here we remained quiet and hungry "spectators of the fight." In full view of the enemy, until about 3 p.m. when they having driven back the Spaniards hauled up their 9 pounders to bear on us. We were ordered to retire by a different path, whereby we passed in the rear of the Fusiliers position. On our march we opened our ranks to allow the bearers to carry down one of their Officers badly wounded, the poor fellow in a fainting state from loss of blood. The bearers - the drummers and fifers of a corpse - are supplied with a blanket attached on each side to a pole which they place on their shoulders and carry from the scene of action any disabled Officer. The French evidently watched our movement and imagined it to be directed against their right, for their skirmishers concentrated and reserved their fire. After a time we lost sight of each other.

 

We then retired by Companies, along the road by which the Left Brigade had ascended and reformed under another hill. The Portuguese Brigade did the same. When they had passed us we pursued our march in the full conviction that we were to bear the brunt of the next conflict. We descended very rapidly under beech trees, the most majestic I ever saw. The sun, ever and anon, peered through their thick foliage adding great beauty to their shade, but truly, I was too hungry to be extremely sentimental. Moreover, the very steep and slippery path obliged everyone to look to their steps. Our progress was so tardy that the thick darkness of night rendered our passage through another beech forest almost impracticable, we could not see our own hand when we held them up. The Colonel placed the drummers along the line of march to direct us by a single tap. Our route was very dreary and right glad were we to emerge from this utter darkness and again to observe the obscure outlines of objects, for the night was very cloudy and dark.

 

Somewhat before midnight we reached the ground we left in the morning. Our tents and baggage moved to the rear soon after we left. Weary and hungry our only resource was to secure our horses the best we could to ling or furze stumps, to take the blankets from under our saddles and to efface by the oblivion of sleep the events of the past day, and all anticipation for the morrow.

 

Captain Bignold from 2nd Battalion joined us this day.

 

26th July

We were awakened and under arms "long ere the lark could sing his matin song," and the break of day disclosed the duty allotted to us this day. The Light Companies of the Brigade, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Wilson of the 48th were extended before our regiment, left as their support. The remainder of the Brigade were in position in our rear and considerably in front of the town, or village of Zibui. [pg 271]

 

Our Colonel had the charge of the Rear Guard. The Brigade of the 2nd Division, who yesterday had so sturdily resisted the furious attacks of the enemy, finding themselves outflanked and their position turned, groped their way and retreated by our route, and as the sun rose, these brave fellows passed along our front within our skirmishers and expressed their cordial good wishes for our happy escape from our present predicament. They marched to the right in quest of their own Division.

 

Soon after this we retired about half a mile and took a stronger position but the whole extent of the valley was before us. The enemy came on very wearily, so little occurred during the morning that we felt assured there was hot work going on either side of us, although we could not hear it over the mountains.

 

The Commissary brought us fresh slain meat not yet cold and some rice, of which Barney Carr made us some tolerable soup, had it been even more maigre, we could have swallowed it.

 

Wile the Serjeants were doleing out the meat to their men, the Commissary began to dole the rations of rum. Old Barney, always awake to the emergency, watched his proceedings, ran off with four empty kegs with which he quickly made his cooking fire, but even with this alacrity we had not time to eat our meat, for the enemy, encouraged perhaps by the smoke of the fires, pressed on very sharply. It was pitiable at the same laughable, to see the hungry soldiers who had been less prompt in their proceedings hugging their muskets under their elbows, with their tin canteens snatched from the fire, dipping in, shaking and blowing their fingers in endeavouring to eat their half cooked messes as they formed into rank. The Commissary promptly stored his kegs and got himself off right gladly.

 

We had now to contend with the effects of the quietude of the morning. The French had surmounted the difficulties of the pass and brought forward a very strong body of men and some guns which they opened at a long range for the sake of effect.

 

One shot, however, proved fatal. A soldier of the 48th Light Company was in the act of taking aim, a cannon shot carried away the whole contents of his body, totally scooped him out. Death was instantaneous and the poor fellow fell to the ground grasping his musket as at the moment he was hit.

 

Soon afterwards Colonel Wilson was obliged to quit the field badly wounded. A musket shot entered his right shoulder and grazing both blade bones, went out at the left, leaving four wounds.

 

Our Light Infantry was so furiously attacked that our Colonel sent forward the chief of our left wing. The 8th Company commanded by my friend Lieutenant Pollock of the Grenadiers, he posted on gently rising ground to the right of the road, as his own body guard, to enable him to reconnoitre the proceedings of the brave fellows who relied on him for support. The 7th and 6th joined the skirmishers.

 

Lieutenant Charles Crawford of the 7th was carried to the rear badly wounded. Lieutenants Hanley and Burns of the 6th were also wounded. Beyond all doubt, Marshal Soult had sent forward his best marksmen who systematically picked out our Officers. Early in the afternoon a French Cavalry picquet advanced. Colonel MacLean ordered our Cavalry picquet to engage with them, but the Officer expostulated, urging that there was no ground on which the Cavalry could act! "Why, Sir," exclaimed the Colonel, "You see the French Cavalry advancing and why cannot you?" The coxcomb repeated his assertions. The Colonel, in his cool manner, called to Pollock to bear in mind the words that had passed because he might, hereafter, have occasion to call for his confirmation of the circumstance. Having demanded of this Dragoon "Hera" his name, rank and regiment, the Colonel desired him to take his men out of the way, adding "for if you cannot act, we must! And you must be prepared, Sir, to hear further on this affair at some future period!"

 

Even this broad hint could not rouse the poltroon's courage. He marched back his picquet without delay. Colonel MacLean never afterwards mentioned or spoke of this cowardly act, and by his desire Pollock was ever reluctant to talk about it, and never divulged the Officer's name. All that we could learn was from the next General Orders wherein an Officer of that Dragoon Regiment received full permission to return to England and he afterwards left the service. 

 

The Dragoons retired Colonel MacLean, said, "My good fellow Pollock, if I stay with you I cannot render you assistance and if I am taken prisoner it will throw the whole Rear Guard into disorder. The French picquet have, beyond a doubt, noticed this parley, for they have quickened their pace. I will go and send another Company to your support as quickly as possible. In the mean time do the best you can with these French men and God bless you, my dear fellow!"

"Oh Sir!" replied Pollock, "leave the rascals to us, and we will physick them!" He duly fulfilled his promise. Instantly he prepared his little squad for the approaching shock, of some thirty and odd men. Walking leisurely along the front he ordered every man to look to his priming, to rub his thumb nail on his flint, that no musket should miss fire. And as he passed up the rear, he said "Steady lads! Steady! Do not be in a hurry. I will warrant you that we punish these Frenchmen. Let no man throw away his fire. I will give the word that everyone shall hear it. Everything depends on your steadiness!"

 

The French posted on resolutely and as soon as the inequality of the [-?-] would admit it, they obliqued to attack this forlorn party. Pollock then called "Attention! Shoulder arm! Steady, men! Steady!" and when the horses were almost within reach of a bayonet - "Ready! Present! Fire!"

 

Every shot told. Horses and men dropped dead without a struggle. Some few horses stood on end, pawing with affright, but the greater part, in spite of curb and spur, turned tail and retreated with their riders and some without, in much greater speed than they had advanced, leaving my brave friend in quiet possession of his little hillock.

 

About sunset the whole Rear Guard again retired. In twilight the 5th Company was detached to the left as an outlying picquet. And I followed with the 4th Company along a narrow path on the side of a steep declivity whereon only one man could pass, a regular goatherd's path, but to my astonishment and still greater dismay, was charged with the care of the Colours of the Regiment, the drummers and fifers, also a Corporal Quarterly Guard with three prisoners under sentence of a General Court Martial. Serjeant Meak and two others for killing the ass and pillaging the booty collected after the Battle of Vitoria. Obscure as was the light, I could perceive that my post was critical enough, without such incumbrances and I felt extremely anxious. We found a spot where the pathway became broader, halted, and made a large fire, for the night proved as dark as the preceding. I posted sentinels down the hill some way to my front and seated myself on the brow with both ears open.

 

In course of half an hour a shot was fired by one of my own sentinels. I bawled out "What is the matter? Who is there?" but receiving no reply sent a Serjeant down to ascertain. Before he could return I received an order to return to the main road with the utmost promptitude.

 

I despatched the drums and fifes instantly and my Company as closely as possible. With the colours on m own shoulder, I ordered the Corporal with his guard and prisoners to tread on my heels. This order was not obeyed, for as I have since learned from two men of the guard who made their escape the prisoners threw themselves on the ground and refused to move even when pricked by bayonets, preferring being taken by the enemy than encounter the sentence of the Court Martial.

 

They were all taken prisoners. And Serjeant Meak was never again heard of. On regaining the road I could not see anyone, but enquired of those I heard moving near me, where the Colonel was. He heard me and promptly replied "My good fellow, I am rejoiced to hear your voice. Where are the Colours?"

"Here Sir! On my shoulder!" 

"Thank you! Thank you! I am glad of that, give them to me." I was truly glad to get rid of my charge. 

"And where are the drums and fifers?" 

"In my front Colonel."

"And where is the Quarter Guard and prisoners?"

"I gave them peremptory orders to tread on my heels but further I know not."

"Never mind the rascals," replied the Colonel, "muster your company on this spot and order arms!" My chum Radcliffe hearing my voice when mustering my men came to welcome my return and directed my attention to a glimmering fire, not far below us.

 

Approaching we found a party of the 40th Regiment strenuously exerting themselves to make a grave in the rocky ground to bury the body of poor Lieutenant Malone, who had for a short time held a Staff appointment and only rejoined his regiment in the morning. Radcliffe had known him and feelingly expressed his sorrow as we stood beside the fine, manly lifeless corpse in his trousers and shirt, describing him as having been a spirited generous hearted fellow beloved by all who knew him. The gloomy solemn melancholy scene can never be effaced from my memory, it was worthy the skill of the best artist, although he could not possibly delineate the feelings and circumstances attending: the impenetrable darkness of the night - the conviction of the proximity of the enemy - the difficulty of digging - the occasional firing of our skirmishers, which as half-minute guns, sounded the knell for the departed - could not be depicted - but added greatly to the solemnity.

 

The rubble baffled the exertions of the pioneers whose dark visages were gilt with a bright outline from a small fire above them, beside which a Serjeant on his knees endeavoured to make the green fuel burn to enlighten and accelerate the work. Ever and anon it glared up with a fitful blaze shewing the wax fraught countenances of Officers and men around. On the other side stood Lieutenant Anthony, the particular friend and chief mourner of the deceased absorbed in grief. The grave was little more than two feet deep when the order resounded on all sides "Stand by your arms and form ranks!" On which one of the pioneers dropped his shovel in utter despair. The Serjeant indignantly sprang from the fire, bundled the fellow out in an agony of desperation and levelled the bottom of the grave. Then mournfully received and deposited therein the corpse of his beloved Officer and every one around assisted with hands and feet to close the grave of the highly reputed subaltern.

 

At midnight we retreated beyond Zibou, when passing through Radcliffe learned that poor Crawford was lying in one of the houses and stopped to see him. His own servant and that good fellow Harry Franklin, our Assistant Surgeon were in attendance, but their utmost solicitude could little avail, for the poor fellow was shot through the abdomen, piercing the bladder, his bowels protruded from both wounds and he was supporting them in his hands with great agony. When taken to the house he had pulled off his clothes, but his two friends assisted in putting on his uniform that the French on their arrival might treat him as an Officer. They remained with him to the utmost they could, the enemy were actually in the village and they had to gallop at the utmost speed of their horses to escape from the French Cavalry. His servant staid yet longer and leaving his master, struggling with death, under cover of the darkness succeeded in making his escape.

 

We fully concluded this would be the last we should hear of our respected companion. But subsequently an Officer of the 2nd Division informed us that when our army again advanced he recognised the naked corpse of his old schoolfellow in the garden and had it buried.

 

On arriving behind Urdaniz, which stands at the south east base of a rock, the narrow road winding round it on the very brink of the river to our left we were obliged to halt in so small a spot that we were most truly a close column. Without troubling myself about the cause of our delay I dismounted, taking my bridle under my arm, laid down and was soon fast asleep.

 

My slumber was broken by a violent kick, and exclamation "What do you here? Why do you lie here?" I sprung up and saw a stout sturdy fellow dressed in a long dark coat and a round hat, and replied "Keep out of the reach of my arm or I will knock you down!" He drew back at this threat and demanded, "What Regiment is this?" I coolly answered "We are never ashamed, it is the 27th Regiment and who the devil are you to make this demand?"

"Don't talk to me Sir! Where is the Colonel?"

"Where is he always! At his post"

Away went my blustering chuffy visitor. It was no less than General Picton's voice, enjoyed our colloquy. He referred to it one day on the march and observed "an earnest blow from your strong arm would have great effect, but I assure you it is not easy to knock down Picton in person, or opinion!"

 

Picton soon recognised the Colonel's tall figure standing beside his horse, wrapped in his long capota or Spanish cloak, and vociferated, "What can induce you to stop here Colonel, why don't you pursue your march as I ordered, and in this spot too, the very worst on which you could halt. Why the enemy is close upon us, we shall all be taken prisoners!" MacLean calmly replied "I am compelled to halt General. The narrow road before us is blocked with broken down artillery and baggage of the Portuguese Brigade."

"Pashaw! Nonsense, bundle everything into the river, we must go on or be taken prisoners. March instantly!" And off we started, blundering over prostrate horses, broken down cannons, fallen burros, their loads and screaming Portuguese women.

 

27th July.

We were marching all night and before noon took up a position on a rocky mountain jutting between two roads leading to Pamplona, the ascent of which was very steep and on our right inaccessible, a perpendicular rock extending a broken cone along the chief of our rear. In the plain below this, the 3rd or 2nd Division occupied the ground on which we saw them encamped when we passed on the 17th. Below the right of our Brigade was a lower hill connected with the valley and formed the most vulnerable part of our position. On this some companies of our Portuguese Brigade were posted.

 

Regimental Orders were issued appointing Captain Hamilton to the Grenadiers and Officers who had joined after him Brevet Major Thomas to the Light Company Captain Kirkland to 1st Company, Captain Butler took the 4th Company from me, and Captain Bignold to the 5th Company. Our men had imbibed an opinion that Marshal Beresford had directed our line of march and while standing-at-ease, freely debated among themselves the eligibility of our position. "Truth," said one, "and sure it is a mighty pritty position for us to be stuck on this rock! What the devil can we see of the fight below!" "Och! Sure!" said another, "haven't Old Codshead," meaning Beresford, "brought us into another pretty predicament, as he did at Abuera?"

 

This discussion was stoped by the approach of Staff Officers, Generals Picton and Cole were in front, when they reached our centre Picton in his vehement manner, exclaimed, "There Cole, I have now seen the whole of your position, what could induce you to march your Division up to this rock. You can be of no use whatever!" General Cole replied, "This is the position I was commanded to take, and here I will remain til I am counter ordered!" At this juncture an aid-de-camp galloped up. "Now," said Cole, "we shall hear of His Lordship!" And under evident excitement from Picton's tart observations, stated the matter of contention. Casting a waggish leer towards Picton, the aid-de-camp with a significant smile, replied, "Rest where you are General Cole. Lord Wellington will be here very soon!"

 

A murmur instantly ran through our ranks. "Then we are all safe, Boys! If old Nosey come here we shall be all right!" His Lordship soon afterwards walked up with a few of his staff. Cole again stated the point of controversy. Lord Wellington briefly replied "You are exactly where I want you!" Whereupon Picton indignantly turned round and descended to his own Light Division, knowing well his  petulancy Lord Wellington did not heed his departure, but said "Now Cole, I should like to see what force you have here!"

"Well, my Lord, here is the 5th Battalion of 27th, I believe, a regiment of the smallest men under your Lordship's command, but wait awhile and see how they will fight!"

"Good," replied his Lordship, "they are the very fellows I want here!"

 

Hearing this, our men shouted "Hurra Boys! Three cheers for Old Nosey!" Instantly a hearty shout echoed through the mountains. With a broad smile His Lordship nodded his thanks and proceeded to the regiments on our right. In the course of half and hour His Lordship, unattended, again walked along our front, stoped, and steadfastly regarded the mountain on the other side of the road.

 

On his return there was something dissatisfactory in his gait, but he spoke to no one. Ere long he again came, with evident anxiety in his countenance. Our Colonel followed. After again wistfully surveying the mountain His Lordship turned short round and seeing Colonel MacLean said "I cannot imagine where the 6th Division is. I ordered them to occupy that mountain!"

The Colonel replied, "I can assure Your Lordship that British troops are there."

"How do you know?" eagerly enquired His Lordship. 

"We have seen them My Lord, through Captain Hamilton's telescope."

"Ask him to lend me that glass" it was soon brought. His Lordship gazed intensely, then closing it with a rap of satisfaction said, "Now we are all right! My compliments to the Captain and tell him it is the best glass I have looked through this day." There was a buoyancy in his step as he left us, which spoke His Lordships confidence as to the result of the approaching deadly conflict.

 

[Insert - drawing of map - page 288] 

 

By a careful examination of the map, I am induced to say that our position was on the heights of Huarte and Villialba, and the French obliquely to our right occupied the heights of Sauroun, from whence they made a furious attempt to force the road below. (see E in the foregoing sketch) direct to Pamplona but our Light Division stoutly defied their progress. At the same time they vigorously attacked a hill below our right, marked B, which was the key to our position. Here our Portuguese fought valiantly regardless of the eveness of the summit affording them no shelter in the act of firing, while their assailants could avail themselves of numberless shrubs and blocks of fallen rock. Lord Wellington with many Officers, stood on the brow of our height watching this deadly fight. Some of whom received very sharp contusions from the spent balls which flew over the hill. Captain Kirkland was struck in the pit of his stomach, and his breath fairly driven from him. His companions caught him as he staggered backward and he soon recovered. Lord Wellington jocularly expressed hope that he was not taken seriously ill? Radcliffe was struck on the ball of his foot, and shrieking involuntarily seized his foot with both hands and danced about on the other. Hi Lordship regarded him attentively for some time, then observing no flow of blood, jocosely enquired "Pray Sir, where did you learn to dance for you are very agile!" Tom instantly grounded his trotter.

 

This fun, and broken-head fair, below, were soon after this totally stopped by a most tremendous and appalling thunder storm, which broke immediately over us. The rain gushed like a water spout, that it was impossible to fire a musket! The lightning scarcely preceded the thunder. Our soldiers were ordered to ground their arms, leave their bayonets alongside and disperse themselves, for fear their cartouch boxes should be struck and blow up their sixty rounds of ball cartridges. I laid myself on the ground and resting my head on my saddle, strained a blanket lightly over me, thereby rendering it elastic, and shooting of much water.

 

When the storm had passed the French again renewed their attack and in a most resolved and determined manner, but the Portuguese again drove them down with the bayonet. They made a third desperate attempt at the very juncture when some Spanish troops were about to relieve our Portuguese. The Officer commanding the Spaniards was an Irishman, he addressed them, "Spaniards, the English assert that the Portuguese are soldiers, but you are not! Prove now to the whole British Army that you are as good as Portuguese!"

 

One loud shout rent the air, scarcely a shot was fired, and the enemy was again charged down the hill and compelled to recross the River Lanz - marked H at the ford. During the remainder of the day the enemy continued to make various changes in the disposal of their troops. And our Division was moved more directly to the centre.

 

28th June.

On this ever memorable day, the French seemed to be determined to efface the disgrace of their defeat at Vittoria. Beyond all doubt Marshal Soult had mustered and sent forward some of the best troops in France, in every direction their attacks evinced the cool firmness of well tried veterans. And his skirmishers were first rate marksmen. Our oldest soldiers noticed the above with the following characteristic remark "Hands up soldiers! For there will be wigs on the green today (i.e. dead men's heads on the grass) Here is no child's play, for Jack Frenchman is in right earnest!" The battle commenced with an attack on the hill below us, and instantly opened in every direction. A very strong column attacked our position with the utmost fury. Our 8th, 7th and 6th Companies were sent to support our Brigade of Light Companies under Major Thomas at the river below. Captain Bignold having been sent on Detachment to the rear early in the morning, I was ordered to take the command of the 5th Company. Lieutenant Drew having rejoined the 4th Company last evening.

 

Captain White was ordered to take forward the 5th, 4th, and 3rd Companies. I mentioned to him the policy of my taking the left of my company and thereby of his line, that I might better watch whatever might occur. He thanked me for the proposition and requested me to do so. We advanced direct to the brow in our front and on reaching the brink, I found the enemy close under our noses, quite surprised at our sudden appearance. Instantly I called out "Steady, Lads! Steady 27th. Do not throw away a single shot, but take cool aim and Fire away!" Thence followed the finest 'fue de joie' [page 293] I ever heard. We kept this game up for more than an hour, but my men being so much exposed suffered severely. I saw men after they were wounded continue the fight. One replied to me "I have expended all my ammunition; am faint from loss of blood; I must not fall here, but must go to the rear!"

 

The enemy was repulsed, the fire slackened, and I found leisure to look around. I was greatly surprised in finding how unconsciously I had, by the diminishing of my company, been drawn towards the right, and that I was at the foot of the rising ground or cliff, marked I, from which Captain White still securely kept up a rattling fire. This cliff presented a perpendicular face to the enemy. At is base a narrow goatherd's path K led up from the river. Perchance this very secluded pathway would have escaped my notice if I had not heard some shots and felt the wind from the balls as they passed my face. I looked, but alas, could see only two of my Company to call to the spot. A man of the Fusiliers was near, and I called him. The brave fellow said he would assist me if he could make "Brown Bess" i.e. his musket, fire, but I cannot be sure of her for she is become very rebellious. I fancy he added she is angry because I have been burning so much French ammunition, which I picked up. Only see how ill she had behaved to me! His shoulder was so swollen that the sling of his knapsack was totally hidden! I led these three men to the gauge of the path and saw three French men ready to fire. The two trios exchanged a volley. I believe the French were wounded, at all event they did not again show themselves. I left my men to watch the path and hastened up to report the circumstance to Captain White, and stated that I could no longer defend the left of his position, for my Company was annihilated.

 

He thanked, and requested me to go and inform the Colonel that he must have support instantly. I scrambled up the steep as quickly as possible and found the Colonel anxiously watching all our proceedings. I briefly told my tale, he quietly replied, "Thank you, my good fellow. Thank you! I have seen what you have been doing. Go and tell Captain White to do the best he can, for I cannot send him any assistance. Lord Wellington has ordered me not to part with another man, but that should the enemy appear on our ground, I am to give them a volley and charge with my three remaining Companies."

 

"Oh! Ho!" thought I, "This is very cheering intelligence truly! But we must fight it out!" I made all haste back, but in my speed my boots being slippery from the damp grass, my feet flew from under me and I fell thump on my shoulders, stunned with my fall. My friends above noticed the event and my chum Radcliffe who was that day with the Colors exclaimed "Bad luck to them, for they have hit the Old Crowe, at last!" But again seeing me get up and proceeding, "Hurra! He is yet safe, off he flies again!"

 

Poor White was not pleased with the result of my embassy. We were talking with Captain Butler about it and what we could do when an Aid-de-Camp galloped up with order for us to retire. Each of us most willingly went to must as many of our men s we could. I could find only eight of the fifty three I had brought into the field!

 

I told Captain Butler it was absurd for me to stick myself at the head of four file. I should therefore attach them to his left, and act as his Subaltern. He was very thankful for the proposal and said "Having only just joined I cannot know y men and find I have no control over them. Mr Drew has taken half my company down the hill in a very rash manner without any authority from me, and contrary to the orders with which we advanced."

 

Poor Captain White, proud of being second in command of the regiment had advanced on horseback, purchance, but for this circumstance the worthy fellow might have escaped. He was shot through the head as we retired!

 

Butler then took the command and soon after, when giving the word for word - a shot cut the right corner of his mouth and his tongue, knocked out all his good set of teeth, except three in front and one backward and passed through his left whisker, so that I had to march our reduced squad into line. I was truly glad to see the brave fellows once more standing at ease, but I had nothing to do, and felt too melancholy to stand still. Radcliffe had informed me that our friend Pollock was wounded and gone to the rear. I was wandering some way to the left of our line when the wind from a ball stung my left cheek. I returned instantly, but in my progress another stung my right cheek. I quickened my pace and then heard a strange whistling and saw something of an odd appearance fall. On examination it proved a bullion torn from my epaulette, drawn into long slender silver wires, with the gilding turned black in places. It was very evident that the French sharpshooters were bearding us in our very line.

 

Ere I reached it my attention was attracted by a wounded Frenchman, drawing himself along the ground by his elbows, he was wounded in the lower part of his spine, and his lower half was paralysed. I addressed him in broken Spanish. Wearied with his exertion, the poor fellow turned on his back. I thought I had never seen a finer model of a man about five feet and nine inches. He was a Swiss, and looked at me with stern defiance, not answering although evidently understanding what I said.

 

Taking the horn off my shoulder, I offered him wine - he eagerly drank - seized and kissed my hand and blessed me! His animosity was subdued for he requested me to take possession of three doubloons concealed in the lining of his cap. I assured him that an English Officer scorned to plunder the wounded! Again he kissed my hand, and gave me his blessing. I then ventured to expostulate on his temerity in thus venturing into our position. He assured me that Marshal Soult had promised three Doubloons (each at that time, according to our exchange, worth £3.12.0) to every man who should make his way into Pamplona.

 

Here there was the clew to the fierceness of the enemy's attacks, and the rashness of their sharpshooters, who had picked off so many of our Officers. I felt a painful sympathy for this poor sufferer, but observing that our men stood to their arms and were forming ranks, I rejoined the regiment.

 

Somewhat on our left, and much below us, stood a long barn with a thrashing floor before it, marked K. A strong column of French debouched from the valley with steady advance and took possession of the thrashing floor, bodily. We brought forward our right shoulders until we reached a slight brow on the face of the hill, halted, gave a steady volley, ported arms, and descended to charge. This had the desired effect! Helter, skelter, the French scampered back, leaving their dead and wounded. 

 

On which Colonel MacLean halted us on a lower brow and stood at ease. The 48th Regiment changed their position and followed in rear of our left to support us. Being on the extremity of the line, I heard, while we were advancing, someone shouting out "What are the Orders? What are the Orders?" When halted I had time to look back and beheld my precious acquaintance, Major White, on his pony, Little Nancy, in utter consternation. Recognising me, he appealed to me by name for the orders. I briefly told him "Advance to the first brow and fire; proceed to charge; should the enemy retire, halt on the second brow."

 

During this parley my brave old Corps continued their advance, and formed close column within the thrashing floor. My friend Close told me afterwards that we had given the French a full benefit from our short line. Every shot must have done its duty, for his regiment found it impossible to step over the low wall into the threshing floor without treading on dead bodies. While following (instead of leading) his regiment, Little Major White was wounded and his Little Nancy also. We saw no more of him during the war!

 

While we were advancing to the charge my friend Radcliffe huzzaing and waving his Color on high, was shot through the left arm. "Bad luck to them, they have hit me," exclaimed Tom. "Serjeant Achison (his covering Serjeant) take the Color!"

 

As the 48th advanced my amiable young friend Ensign Parsons did the same. The poor lad was shot through the head and fell without a word or a struggle. I felt this event very acutely. We joined the 48th at the same period and as junior ensigns were doubled up in the same room at Weedon Barracks, from which, and mutual regard, arose a great intimacy. He esteemed me as an elder brother applying for and acting upon my advice. When the baggage joined us after the Battle of Vitoria, poor Lucius Parsons came to my tent to utter his regards that he had been on Baggage Guard and not witnessed the battle. I replied, "Oh, Sir Lucius O'Trigger, as we used to call him, in contradiction to his innate good temper, "Do not be so pugnacious, be not in such haste to swallow fire! You may have many opportunities of smelling powder before our work is finished!"

 

We remained on this brow a long time during which the 48th were ordered back to their old alignment. The Medical Staff took possession of the barn, which was soon filled with wounded with wounded men carried thither. As I was strolling about I noticed an Hospital Assistant hurrying up the hill. He approached and abruptly addressed me, "Where is your Adjutant, Sir?"

"He is killed!"

"Where is your Colonel?"

"Truly I cannot say at this moment. He was here just now. There is his horse, that his is not far off."

"Oh then! You must deliver the message to him for I cannot wait. Tell him the Staff Surgeons sent me up to report that there is no Medical Officer from your regiment to attend to your numerous wounded men!" And back went this younger 'Son of Esculapta' [pg 301] who had never before seen, judging from his flurry, the carnage of a grand battle.

 

There was no one I could depute to deliver this message, and resolved to seek the Colonel myself. After much enquiry I was told that he had gone towards the rock above, marked L. On rounding the projection, I beheld at M Colonel MacLean standing beside Lord Wellington, seated on a large stone, his legs crossed, his paper case resting on his knee, and too intent in writing his Despatch of the battle, to notice my approach; his hat, sword etc, were lying on the ground beside him, and all  his thoughts appeared to be engrossed by the important facts which he was stating for the joy and admiration of the people of Old England.

 

Astonished, that I had thus unintentionally intruded on His Lordship, I drew back; and for awhile forgot my errand. My first impulse was pride that our illustrious Commander felt such confidence in our valour, to place himself in this unprotected manner in our rear; scarcely beyond musket shot when the enemy rushed to the thrashing floor. The afternoon's sun had not yet illumined this North Western spot, the beetling rock cast a dark shade which threw His Lordship's interesting position into bold relief! And Colonel MacLean's tall, solitary, motionless but attentive figure on the left finished the picture! Oft times since have I thought that many an artist would have rejoiced to have witnessed what I did at that juncture. My Colonel had noticed my arrival and my withdrawing, and broke my transient reverie with a quiet interrogation. "Well Crowe, what brings you up here?" I quickly told my message and my motive for coming. He replied "Thank you my good fellow! Thank you! It is like the rest of your conduct this day! I will attend to it."

 

Hearing this, Lord Wellington raised his head and with a most gracious smile bowed his acknowledgements! It might be self vanity and conceit, but instantly I felt prouder, and must consider it the proudest moment of my life, to receive under such circumstances, such a bow from Lord Wellington, Commander-in-Chief.

 

Soon after I had returned to the regiment the Colonel rejoined and marched us to very steep brow far to our left, marked N, from whence we saw a good deal of sharp firing between the persevering French skirmishers and our Fusiliers. Our new position was not at all agreeable, being on a direct plain with the acclivity, consequently many unwelcome shots struck our rank, that the Colonel ordered all of us to sit down. Twenty of our men were wounded here, six of them were my little  squad of eight which I had reclaimed in the morning. As Colonel MacLean stood watching the conflict below a shot whizzed by him and cut the pummel of the saddle on his horse, which his servant was holding.

 

Not regarding his own danger, he coolly said "The poor beast will get hurt! Lead the horse more to the rear Callaghan." My only remaining Serjeant extended his halberd and assisted a Fusilier Serjeant up the hill. He was horribly mangled in the face by the Serjeant in his rear incautiously discharging his fuzee. I saw a private of Fusiliers making many fruitless attempts to ascend, his shoes being so slippery. I reached out my hand and to my astonishment pulled up the very man who had assisted me in the morning, at the goat's path!

 

I congratulated him on having escaped the perils of the day and he frankly returned my civility, but said he, "Bad luck to the rascals, they have spoiled my blanket, I am told, although they could not hit me." On his turning around I saw that shots had perforated each upper corner of his knapsack, a strong proof how close he must have been to his antagonist; for the loose folds of the woollen blanket could not retard the progress of the balls. "Well, never mind Old Comrade," I said, "you can easily pick up a whole blanket, but what have you here?" shaking his canteen below. "Och! Sure, there is nothing but muddy water." At that instant 'whizz!' passed a ball between my fingers and thumb, through the canteen and the muddy water ran down to my elbow. I exclaimed "O! Ho! My brave fellow! They are determined to have a rap at you yet - here, take a swig of wine out of my horn, then take a wider berth lest they should hit me instead of you!" He thankfully accepted my offer and went away laughing heartily. The persevering bravery of this man was quite surprising, for his shoulder was much swollen and quite disfigured his appearance.

 

Soon after this Lieutenant Drew came up the hill, but no extended a helping hand! He had been skirmishing as a private soldier, disregarding his rank, and duties as an Officer. In the act of firing, his opponent shot him through the wrist and broke the upper arm, that the limb was amputated at the shoulder joint. This was a strong confirmation of the opinion I had formed that a man away from his proper post was sure to be hit!

 

We were relieved by the 57th Regiment about 7pm, right glad to get away from such an idle and dangerous situation. But our joy was dissipated as we returned to the ground we occupied last night, passing over forsaken arms and accoutrements scattered ammunition, caps, fragments of regimentals and dark blotches of blood! And then to resume our alignment with the Brigade and to notice our diminished strength and altered appearance. After which came the melancholy duty of 'Calling the Roll' to ascertain, as far as possible, what had become of our fifty comrades who went forward with us in the morning, exulting in manly strength and buoyancy of spirits. It was impossible for five, namely, 1 Lieutenant, 1 Serjeant, 1 Corporal and two men, to answer for every one the Serjeant called, but the responses were quite sufficient to heart wound the responsors - killed - killed - killed - wounded and dead by this time! Missing written against many a name that was never called again!

 

The enemy before him and a manly desire to do his duty induce every one to advance with spirited emulation, but to return to an original position faint with hunger and thirst, worn out by the exertions of the day, not a glow of triumph to relieve the mourning heart of friendship, or the watery eye of sympathy.

 

Now we had to mourn for, besides poor Crawford, the loss of Captain White, they good Officer, the brave soldier, the perfect gentleman, the warm hearted friend! No one was ever more beloved by all classes.

 

Our Adjutant was also killed, but had been with us only a few days, and was scarcely known. He was promoted from Sergeant in the Guards by General Cole's patronage, and had but a short time to rejoice in his advancement. Our Brigade Major was killed. He was a German, and a most excellent fellow in every respect. General Cole lost one of his Aid-de-Camps, but we sustained no loss thereby, for he had a prejudice against our regiment and often brought us disgrace - but, peace to his ashes! 

 

29th July.

We stood to our arms before daybreak but nothing ensued. The bat mules came up with the tents, but were ordered back until the evening. My servant brought me another shirt, a fresh pair of shoes and some tea. And that I might be as comfortable as possible, our Surgeon, Dr Wray, having granted me the loan of his razors from out of his medical chest, I allowed Private Casey to the 3rd Company to shave me. It was some what remarkable, that the first time I ever allowed any man to take me by the nose should be on the field of battle! As the kettle was on this occasion promoted to the Honorary Rank of a tea pot, I had an abundance of beverage, albeit not of the most potent kind, and carried some to the poor Swiss who was still wreathing and crawling about.

 

Hearing the pool old Barney Carr, Radcliffe's servant was in the barn below, badly wounded, I carried him some, for which he was very grateful, and said, as he had once more seen a friend he could now die contented. I endeavoured to cheer him by asserting my confident hope of soon seeing him and his master again in my tent. Barry shook his head "No Sir, No! My master will, I hope, soon return to you, but Barney never can! I have got my marching order and hope I shall find good quarters where I shall soon go, for I have always endeavoured to do my duty here, and if I ever lifted anything, it was because we wanted it!"

 

There was such a peculiar quaintnence in this expression of the worthy old fellows dirge, that in spite of my melancholy, I could scarcely restrain a smile. Barney was a regular Old Soldier, having been in the Peninsula from the first of the war. He would never plunder or steal, but was an excellent forager - as he proved on the 20th instant before Vitoria. Barney was badly wounded in his body, and had, but too true a presage of his approaching death. He died that afternoon. I confess that his ardent grasp of my hand at parting gave me a cold thrill.

 

My kettle teapot afforded a drink to the Fuzilier Serjeant, mentioned yesterday, who was lying hard by. Anxious to ascertain what men of the Company under my command, I could find here, I proceeded to look at the poor fellows as they lay on each side. French, Germans, Dutch, Swiss, etc, etc, commingled with British, some dead, others dying, and all in misery, till my heart ached, and I was about to hasten away, when I caught sight of Barney Bruen of the 4th Company, Servant to Mr Drew, and whom I had threatened within the last week to bring to a Court Martial for selling his shirts for wine, and getting drunk. The audacious fellow knew full well that in presence of the enemy I could not fulfil my threat, and, Irishman like, promptly acknowledged his transgression, and added, "Long life to your Honor! Wait only a few days, shan't we soon meet Jack Frenchman, and wont I have a find kit then?"

 

With this incitement he accompanied his master in his rash enterprise down the hill and having shot a French soldier on the other side waded the river; deliberately searched his knapsack, selecting there from such articles as he needed, which he packed into his own knapsack, and, moreover, pulled off the Frenchman's half boots and put them on his own legs! The French soldiers indignant at this temerity repeatedly fired at him, but Barney accomplished his errand and returned to our side with some half dozen bullets in or through his body.

 

Regardless of his present condition I could not refrain from saying "Barney, Barney! I foretold what you would meet with, by meddling with Jack Frenchman's kit, but you would not heed."

"Och! Long life to your Honor, for you were always a raal jintilman! Sure have I not now got a famous kit, and these a rare pair of Crawleys?" stretching out his leg and pulling up his trousers to show his half boots ( a person was executed in Dublin, in half boots, named Crawley).

I replied, "They are your dear boots, Barney! For I fear you will die in Crawleys!" Disgusted by this fellow's recklessness I hastened back. And amused myself by pulling up young spruce firs growing here and there, with which I formed a bower to screen me from the sun, as I sat on the ground. And which served as a very comfortable bedroom at night, by doubling myself up closely: for the tents were not allowed to return to us.

 

Major Thomas and a few other Officers assembled in front of my bower to dine together. Our fare was not over sumptuous, and our repast was silent and melancholick, for all of us felt the loss of our chums and particular friends. Afterwards, when about to drink the wine, brought by some one, Major Thomas, in a sorrowful manner, which spoke more the fervency than faith in the wish drank "Health to all our friends!" When the canteen passed around to me - as it were - thinking aloud - I muttered to myself, the words of an old song -

A health to those, who were here to the day

But ne'er may be with us again! No! Never!

These words were in such strict accordance with all our feelings - and were more audible than I had intended - that a gloom instantly came over the whole party. Thomas hastily set down his tin tot, or goblet, sprang up, sputtered the wine from his mouth and exclaimed "Curse your preaching!" - and went sorrowfully away. Three of four remained for a short space, but there was no topic on which we could talk, that did not vibrate on the same chord!

 

 During the afternoon I requested my friend Harry Franklin, our Adjutant Surgeon, to have the wounded Swiss conveyed down to the barn. "My dear fellow," Harry replied,

that you should point to that miserable sufferer! The agony I have endured for the last twenty four hours from the carnage I have witnessed has been aggravated every time I have come up by seeing him. No human power or skill can render him any relief - what am I to do with him! He may linger another twenty four hours, in that state - in fact - until nature is worn out!"

"My dear Harry, the poor fellow is always before me! Do pray have him removed!"

He was taken and placed in the barn, but would not continue there. He soon crawled out. When the Commissariat mules arrived in the evening to take away the wounded the poor fellow was placed on one, but did not proceed a quarter of a mile when he wreathed himself to the ground and died.

 

30th July. 

We had received orders to be under arms by 3 o'clock this morning - full two hours previous to that, we were roused by a brisk firing, and English shouts to our left, on the road to St. Estevan; where the enemy had been so resolute on the 28th. Under cover of the dark night, they had endeavoured to take up a position that would enable them to surprise our advance at twilight. But our picquets detected them and gallantly drove them back. Lord Wellington had received, early last evening, intelligence of this projected attack, and consequently did not allow our tents to come up. When the morning dawned, we saw the enemy in as close array as ourselves, frequently making different movements - but we again piled our arms.

 

We were about trying to muster something in the shape of a breakfast, when a gun was hauled by Artillery men with hand ropes to the brow immediately in our front. It was almost as good as a breakfast to notice the celerity of opening its fire. Another followed to the left, and in a short time we had four field pieces in position and blazing forth their thunder. On the side of the opposite hill - marked P - beyond the river, was a company of French with skirmishers thrown in front, quite in parade order. General Cole ordered the Artillery Officer to fire shrapnel shells. He replied "Yes General, but I must first ascertain the range."

 

Two round shots were fired with such precision that, evidently, Jack Frenchman could not welcome such intruders. "Now!" said the Officer, "I will hit them!" and he fulfilled his promise. A shrapnel cut down the centre, full a third of the Company, they courageously reformed line. Another shell again cut down their centre! They then scattered themselves, that no two men were to be seen together. A brother Officer and myself, form our earnest desire to see the full effects of shrapnel shells, of which we had heard so much, glided some dozen yards below the muzzle of the cannon, that we might have a clear view under the smoke, and certainly we gained a full view of the deadly scene. But after the enemy had dispersed, General Cole noticed and instantly ordered us up, calling us fools in every awkward way he could think of, because he said, there was no answering what direction the fragments might take when the carcass of the shell burst.

 

Some of the French stole away from their post to the Roncesvalles road, on their left. Our gun commanded the curve of that road, and gave them a third shell. Some of them clambered up the steep ascent on one side but more rushed into the ravine, or dry water course, where shrubs and trees afforded shelter. Thus, for some time, closed all active operations in this direction, and we saw the bearers actively fetch away their wounded men.

 

From what we could observe, I am induced to think their stretcher, a kind of open ladder, is better than our method, because only two, instead of four, bearers are required.

 

Our attention was rivetted, a full hour, to an interesting scene on the hills covered by the right of the enemy's line, in front of the village, Lanz, on the road to San Estevan, much strengthened during the night. Our 7th Division, under Lord Dalhousie, for which we had been long watching, appeared on the summit of the position and gave a hearty shout. Finding himself thus outflanked, the enemy began to withdraw regiments from the rear of his Close Columns in our immediate front. The advance of our 7th Division explained Lord Wellington's motive for checking the progress of our Portuguese in the morning. The little hill which they so valiantly defended on the 27th was furiously attacked at an early hour. But our blue coaled Comrades gave them a second part of the same tune, with alterations, and improvements, driving them down again, and up their own position.

 

Had they been allowed to follow up their success, the flanking movement of the 7th Division would have been frustrated, besides other contingencies. The enemy appeared to be very confident of success in their determined attack of our left, for a Cavalry Picquet took a position on the road. Our gun soon favoured them with three or four round shot, and drove them off in double quick time, leaving their dead and wounded, horses and men.

 

Our Casadores, or Portuguese Riflemen, clothed in iron gray uniform, were ordered to carry the mountain C, on right, from which their countrymen were recalled in the morning. They valiantly rushed to the attack. The French had recovered from their panic, and re-invested this point, with an apparent determination to dispute every foot of ground. The Light Company, or as they were called, the 2nd Grenadiers of our Portuguese Regiment, the 11th, was ordered to ascend further to the right in support of the Casadores. Never had men a better opportunity of displaying their valour. Lord Wellington, and Lord Beresford, Field Marshal and Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Army watched the whole progress of the Casadores, who manfully performed their duty.

 

The first part of their ascent was rugged and steep, half way the Captain availed himself of a detached part of the rock, which afforded a covering to his men and allowed them to regain their breath, the ascent after was not so broken or steep. They soon arrived in sight of the enemy and steadily pursued their march with out scarcely firing a shot. The French Officer went on the left of his Company, as if resolved on a personal conflict, and commenced it by throwing stones at the Casadore Captain, who returned one; then, with sword in hand and his cap in the other, he sprang forward calling his opponent to come on like a man! The Casadores emulated their Captain's example and with a hearty shout rushed to the charge! The French fled in all directions. The Casadores lay panting, in quiet possession of the mountain until the reinforcements arrived and enabled them to follow up their success. Marshal Beresford was so pleased that he openly declared the Captain promoted to the rank of Major!

 

The village of Lanz was beyond the bend of the road to San Estevan, that we could not see, but distinctly heard the rattling fire there. We afterwards learned that the French had scientifically barricaded the bridge, made loop holes in the walls and houses, and courageously defended their post, in spite of round shot, shrapnells and musketry. The road ran through the village and local circumstances rendered it a most important point for checking our advance, and covering the retreat of the French Army. The French excel in defending a town, and this devoted band gallantly maintained this village, until our 6th Division forded the river and took them prisoners.

 

Marshal Soult was now foiled at every point. His left and centre were beaten on the 28th and here, the utmost exertions of his concentrated forces on his right were totally defeated.

 

The Spaniard, who had advanced from Pamplona as a reserve if needed, returned to reinvest the fortification.

 

This forlorn Garrison felt such confidence of being relieved, that the Governor invited all the principal inhabitants to a dinner and ball to welcome Marshal Soult. "A fatted calf to kill" they had not! And I fear that their preparations but ill accorded with their stores - heart-felt chagrin and disappointment must have formed their dessert!

 

We had been quiet spectators of the events of the morning, and about noon commenced our march, following the advance of our Fusilier Brigade in support of our Casadores, and Companies of 11th Portuguese Regiment. The numerous killed and wounded along our route showed a well fought field, and the disportion of our loss to that of the enemy's. The returns of every battle attest the fact, and perhaps stagger the credulity of folks in England, I always noticed it with surprise. For the French are much more careful to skurn strain? [page 320] themselves, [fire quicker crossed out] have great advantage in their dark clothing and their balls are better proportioned to the bore of their muskets, and the length of the barrel gives them a longer range. In this particular, it may be, and their hasty repetition of firing, the disproportion originates. They always have more killed, although they are very assiduous to carry off dead with wounded.

 

We proceeded along the summit for full an hour, then halted for some time. Near me lay a French soldier severely wounded, who eagerly drank the water I offered. Our Colonel's servant noticing the long draught of the poor sufferer, said "Plaise, Your Honor! We don't know when we shall again find water, on these divilish high mountains!"

"Never mind, Callaghan," I replied, "but I may live to go down to the water, but the water cannot come up to this dying man!" 

"Och!" exclaimed Callaghan, "Long life to your Honor, sure there is not another gentilman but your own self, would have done that thing!"

I turned round to reprove the fellow, but saw the Colonel attentively watching us. 

 

During our subsequent progress the Colonel rode up beside me, and said, "You were angry with my servant during our late halt, but his observations were correct. I have watched for this opportunity of speaking to you while we are unnoticed, for I am desirous to say, I have observed your conduct during the late eventful days. You know that our Brigade Major is killed; as our regiment had borne the brunt of the battle, our Brigadier, Major General Anson, requested me to mane an Officer to fill the post, until some one was officially appointed. I recommended, and General Anson readily accepted you, but General Cole overheard our conversation and asserted his claim to make the appointment. A very warm altercation ensued between the Lieutenant and Major General, and I am very fearful that you will not be called upon." I duly acknowledged my kind Colonel's unsolicited friendship and requested his advice, whether I should make myself known to Major General Anson, who was intimately acquainted with my uncle, the Reverend Henry at Holkam [Rev Henry Crowe 1741-1816].

"My dear fellow," replied the Colonel, "What good will it do you? During nearly forty years service, I have frequently been on the Staff with different General Officers, take my experience and advice, and remain where you are! Your post is much more honourable than if you were Aid-de-Camp to a Lieutenant General commanding a Division!"

 

This friendly advice annihilated all my ambition of a Staff appointment. 

 

We continued our pursuit of the enemy, long after sunset, and halted on a hill, with an apparently perpendicular in our front, occupied by a picquet of the French. More of them were stationed at a village in the valley to our left, but one of our Columns drove them out before it was dark.

 

31st July

We had, this day, a most tiresome march with scarcely anything to eat, our road narrow and bad. At one time we passed a lofty mountain, and halted. Our men, weary and hungry, flattered themselves that we were to take up our ground here, for the night, but an Order to advance undeceived them. While descending we passed the dead and half putrefied horses left by the French in their former retreat. In a ravine on our left, some 150 feet below was an empty car, and three fine horses, huddled together. On reaching the valley we passed some limbers and carriages of guns, apparently English. If this surmise is correct, they must have been left by our 2nd Division in their retreat on the 26th inst. Beside the road were shots and shells of various sizes. We halted again about 3 o'clock and again advanced, on our march passed a row of knapsacks, left with a guard belonging to a Brigade of the 2nd Division, who had pulled them off that they might in light marching order, overtake the enemy, they succeeded only, in taking many prisoners, and some cars, laden with provisions. 

 

We finally halted near Head Quarters. At dusk the captured cars passed along the road in our rear and in their progress were greatly lightened! I confess that bread, pork, brandy, etc, etc were brought to me. I considered it would be a breach of good fellowship to enquire from whence these acceptable things came, and recollecting the old proverb, that 'you should not look a gift horse in the mouth' I put the viands into my mouth, made an excellent supper, and fancied that I had never eaten better pork chops in all my life.

 

1st August.

We marched this day left in front and imagined that we were moving in support of some other Division in their pursuit of the enemy. Our direction was altered more to the left, until we arrived on a good hard road. When we had proceeded along it nearly two leagues, Lord Wellington, with his staff, overtook and passed us. This did not excite any suspicion for we well knew his alacrity in watching what was going forward in front. We passed through two villages. The inhabitants of which told us of the outrages of the French yesterday, when they passed. We trudged along very contentedly in the firm belief that we should not see any part of Broken head Fair. But were obliged to give up our fond hopes when we saw our Fuzileer Brigade file off to our right, under the direction of a Staff Officer, and our Portuguese followed in nearly the same route. Our Light Companies also. We were ordered to halt, with a river a little below our left. See A in Diagram. Surmises were rife and audible. "What does all this portend? We shall come into this fray yet! We will have wigs on the green this day!" etc etc. All which were confirmed by a smart firing on our right, and our 8th and 7th Companies were ordered to the front.

 

A number of us, Officers, were assembled at the head of the line of march, listening to the firing above, when General Anson rode towards us and called for the next Company. "Which is it?"

The Serjeant Major replied "The 6th Company, General, but there are few men, and no Officer."

"Then send forward the Fifth!"

"There is an Officer but no men!"

"Hallo" said the General, "You go from bad to worse!" 

 

 

I saluted him and offered to go forward with the remains of the two companies and the 4th Company was added. The General thanked me for my offer, and desired me to proceed along the road, and ascertain if it was clear, but to be cautious not to approach the bridge in the bend to the left. At this juncture General Cole rode up and was anxious for my party instantly to ford the river. But General Anson assured him, they were only pisans watching the scene, whom he saw on the other side. As I proceeded along the road from A to B, Major Thomas ordered me to incline to the right in support of the Light Companies. At that instant my attention was drawn towards the bridge C. by the brisk firing. I discovered a Column of the French 4 or 5,000 strong in the greatest precipitation rushing from San Estevan to our side of the river along the road D to the further bridge F1. The foot of the mountain K.K.K.K where we were gave us a good command of the road. And many a good shot was fired by our brave fellows.

 

When crossing the foot of the hill at about L, two French soldiers, bare headed, without arms, or accoutrements, ran up to me and offered themselves as prisoners. In the hope of gaining some information from them, I mustered the best Spanish I could, but it was of no avail. They were plainly fresh conscripts from Germany and only comprehended their own language. I could only make out their dislike to the French, and their wish to join the English. I saw one or our Grenadiers lurking about and convinced that the fellow had no business here, I gave him some duty to do by escorting these two Germans to the Colonel, for the chance of his being able to draw out some intelligence. The Colonel, afterwards, had a good laugh against me, for sending two German recruits to him, escorted by Mr Cay, one of the greatest poltroons in the regiment.

 

During the short parlance with these deserters, my men followed the advance of the Light Companies, excepting four, whom I ordered to follow me from L to D to search the road. At this point our Serjeant Major overtook us, and proceeded to our front, while we halted to regain breath, he soon returned however, assuring me that the French Cavalry was advancing along the road. I ordered him to return and report the circumstance to the Colonel. Having met with four more men, I advanced in good order, my four files making a tolerable front in the narrow road.

 

 

While giving them directions to fire by ranks and retire, as in street-firing, they reported their general want of ammunition, which induced me to lead them back to the mountain's side. Along we proceeded until we gained a view of all the road to the further bridge E, and distinctly saw that the house F, was occupied by our comrades, with nothing going forward. There was an artful, and malicious design, in the Serjeant Major's false report! But as his bones now rest on the field of Waterloo, there let the matter rest.

 

Assured that we were not wanted in front, we resolved to have a good draught of pure water from the river. While my men were filling their canteens I heard some shots and felt the balls as they passed my face. I was quite at a loss to imagine from whence these unwelcome visitors came, for the rock on the other side was perpendicular to the river, and apparently inaccessible. At length I discovered a Frenchman who, if he had not taken the wrong side of the question, had assuredly taken the wrong side of the river, in his hurry to retreat. And finding it impossible to get any further, diverted his chagrin and disappointment by endeavouring to shoot a British Officer. I saw him lie down to charge his musket, and sit up to take a deliberate aim at me. When I called to my men to come and watch the offender, a little fellow of the 3rd Company, scarcely five feet high, whose name was Story and who was always called "The Little Story" ran to me and seizing his musket, promised to punish the aggressor. Story watched for his rising, and fulfilled his promise! We saw the Frenchman drop his musket - fall back - and wreath about - until he rolled over the precipice - and if not killed by the fall, was drowned in the river.

 

Soon afterwards when advancing, Marshal Beresford with some of his staff, overtook, and ordered us to halt, for the skirmishing on the hill to our right, behind and beyond the house F, was very active. Our Left Brigade had been led a wide detour and was now come up to the enemy, very many shots fired at them came over to us, and if I could, would have soon rushed towards the house, from where a smart firing had commenced. Here occurred a circumstance worthy of remembrance. The Marshal was desirous to reach the house. The French in their retreat directed many shots to us. One Officer of his staff expostulated "Marshal you are too far in advance. You expose yourself too much!"

"Oh no I believe not!"

A few more whistlings around his head induced him to change his opinion. 

"Why I believe we are rather too forward, the French are coming fast down that hill. But where can we go? We must gallop back."

 

I pointed out a high bank, about twenty yards behind, that would shelter all their party, and they quickly availed themselves of my hint. When I saw the party fairly ensconced I gave the word "Forwards Lads!" and we rushed to the house. When the Marshal and his attendants ventured forward, Captain FitzClarence, one the Aid-de-Camps, met my friend Lieutenant Boyle, (a thorough hard-going veteran, with three bullets sticking in the front of his cap) and stated with much swell and bluster "Indeed, the Marshal and we, had a narrow escape just now! We were so far in advance that we were in danger of being taken prisoners!"

Boyle replied in his quaint manner "Och! Sure never a hair on your heads was in danger! For there are three Companies in yon village, of as brave fellows as ever fired a shot!" The great and mighty man did not relish this rebuff.

 

When approaching the house F I had a good opportunity of noting the scene before me. The French were in Close Column on a perpendicular rock, the other side of the river, parallel with, and within pistol shot of the bridge, E. The road declined as it approached this bridge, so much so, that it was not three feet above the summer stream. Consequently it was fenced by large slabs of stone, to protect travellers, when there was a flood. Some of our men had rashly kneeled behind these slabs to fire at the enemy above and I saw some half dozen of them lying dead. Among them, I found, to my great regret, the right hand man of my company - one of my two remaining men - a clean, steady, good soldier, dying on his back, at about M, with a wound in the middle of his forehead. He was not dead, but of course totally insensible. Compelled by grief and vexation I seized his musket and finding it loaded, fired at the enemy just above me. The recoil was tremendous and the whistling of the ball most extraordinary.

 

On examination, I found the barrel twisted. Beyond all doubt, the musket slipped between two slabs when the poor fellow was struck, and he, in his agonised grasp when falling, wrung it. This circumstance, most probably, saved me from the consequence of my thoughtless, rash, and foolish act, for had my ball taken effect, as I was fully resolved it should, the front platoon of the enemy would have given me a volley, and my body would have been riddled by bullets!

 

Convinced, and ashamed of my temerity, I hastened into the house - and was met by my friend Lieutenant Boyle, who had watched my rash procedure, and expostulated with me. I promised that I would never fire another musket.

 

Some men of my Old Company, the 4th fetched my dying comrade into the house, beyond which all human aid was useless. When Marshal Beresford arrived, he saw some soldiers wading the river, close to, and sheltered by the bridge, and gave peremptory orders that no one should cross to the other side. The Marshal ascended to an upper window to watch the passing events.

 

My friend Boyle, noticing my self abasement, and chagrin for my late folly, endeavoured to rouse me with the following narrative.

 

While we were advancing down the hill, behind the house, with the 8th and 7th Companies, the French were scampering along the road from San Estevan and crossing the bridge in our front to take up their present position. Their skirmishers hung steadfastly at this house, but as there are not - fortunately for us - any windows at the rear of the house, we drove them away at the point of the bayonets. We were resting ourselves in the room above, convinced that the main body of the enemy had passed, when a sharp firing commenced on our left, along the road. Looking out I saw a fine young fellow, a French Staff Officer, mounted on an excellent horse, running "The Gauntlet," at full speed.

 

He had gallantly waited behind, to watch the progress of our advance along the road not expecting us to come over the hill, and reached the crown of the bridge in safety. But a man of our 7th Company sitting under the parapet - at M - knocked him off his horse. The soldier ran and pulled his victim under the wall of the bridge regardless of the repeated showers of bullets fired at him, and deliberately plundered the deceased, taking his purse, gold watch, large epaulettes, and everything that could be converted into money or wine. He then made his way into the house and assisted by a comrade placed the epaulettes on his own shoulders, confining them under the straps of his knapsack. Thus adorned he strutted about this room with the utmost self-satisfaction, till he found that nearly all present were disgusted at his conduct. He then pulled off his finery and sneaked out. Personal inconvenience and annoyance enable me to furnish the sequel to my friend's narrative. The fellow went to the rear, where he purchased three skins of wine, and hired a pisan and his mule to bring them into our lines at evening when it was too dark for his proceedings to be noticed.

 

I had wrapped my blanket round me and composed myself for the night, but was roused from my sound sleep by a drunken hubbub close by. I soon learned that the fellow had given one skin of wine to his own, and another to teh6th Company. The third he reserved for the morrow, using it in the interim as a bolster, by placing his usual pillow, i.e. his knapsack, upon it, and thus I found him in a drunken sleep. I did manage, after much difficulty to restore, somewhat, of order and quietness. But when I was again asleep, some of the soldiers resolved to have the other skin of wine. On removing it, they discovered that their oblivious comrade had cunningly placed the greater part of the remainder of his ill gotten wealth on the wine skin, under his knapsack. The rest of my sequel belongs to the events of the morrow.

 

Our Companies, that had been sent into San Estevan to ascertain that all the French had cleared out, learned 'ere they reached us, of our check, and, to avoid our dilemma, forded the river above, followed by a party of the 48th and thereby entering the back of the opposite village, occupied the houses, from whence they fired securely and deliberately, as opportunity offered.

 

I have promised to write "A Faithful Account of Concurrent Events." And will not extenuate the horrors of war - because I can, with pride and confidence assert, that no misdemeanour of Officer or private soldier, when known, ever passed without due answer or punishment in our Army! Ensign Pollen of the 48thh was the senior of his rank and expected any mail to bring his promotion. He had been long in the Peninsular and given many proofs of his bravery.

 

He forded the river with his party, before mentioned, and took possession of one of the houses, the mistress of which, was the only in habitant who remained to take care of the household wealth. Pollen detected his men when about to debase the poor woman, drove them our, and then committed the vile act himself! Pollen was not allowed to shew himself in the ranks again! I know not his progress in crime after this event. But my friend Close, who settled in Australia, writes in one of his late letters, "I still see Pollen's name in the condemned fellon's list, working his irons in Van Dieman's Land."

 

The French Column maintained a good front, but could not prevent our perceiving that they were preparing for a retreat, by sending off, ever and anon, a  regiment from their rear. About noon all of them sheered off, and our two Fusilier Regiments pursued them all day. Our Brigade, and the Portuguese, with the 20th Regiment were halted about 4.pm. Our men amused themselves by conversing with a prisoner they fell in with, from the 27th French Regiment. I watched their proceedings with great interest, and drew a comparison. Purchance it as not an impartial one, but, certes, in the conduct of our lads there was no trace of the "Fierceness of the Tiger, or Cruelty of the Monkey," which Voltaire ascribed to his countrymen! Our lads were not over burthened with provisions, but when they learned that the Frenchman had not broken his fast he was presented with more biscuits than his hands could hold. What were in his right hand he was compelled to put into the breast of his jacket, when he said he belonged to the 7th Company, for every man in our 7th Company would shake hands with Bon Comerado! I must confess the Frenchman's jacket was nearly denuded of buttons, for many of our lads were ambitious to posses a French 27th button. This conference was broken off by an Order to move and take up our ground for encampment. And about 7 o'clock to our great joy and comfort, the baggage arrived. I made the most of the daylight, first pitched my tent, dug a cavity just before the door, and made a good fire therein, that as I undressed, I might burn my inner garments., as I drew them off, "With all the inhabitants therein!" For I was but too well convinced that one of the plagues of Egypt, "lice in all quarters," had visited me, by sleeping eight nights in my clothes on Spanish ground. I believe I was singular in my prompt cleanliness, but did not heed that, for I fully enjoyed the comfort for the remainder of the evening, besides my slumbers at night were less interrupted, my bedding remained the more pure, for my precaution, and as we were not roused very early next morning, I had leisure to enjoy my breakfast to the utmost.

 

Yet, withal - when I had finished my purifications I found myself alone! My chum was wounded and gone to the rear. Kenyon, whom we had taken into our tent, was missing. Being weary, I felt my solitude the more strongly, and thought of the reply of Captain Jones of the Sligo Militia when at Chelmsford "Why Tom, did you marry so early?"

"Och, sure. I felt naked like a milestone with never a letter upon it!" 

This was exactly my predicament so I went and invited myself to dine, supper if you like, with Boyle, Hamilton and Weir. The latter had gone out, when we halted, with his gun and brought home a calf. So that I had, luckily pounced on the best of the alternatives of a soldier's life, 'A feast, or, a famine.' We ate heartily of veal cutlets, and had plenty of wine. I got rid of all my dolefulls, and turned into my bed, quite comfortable.

 

2nd August.

Our Colonel was on detached duty this day, and Major Thomas commanded the regiment. Our road ran beside the river, and was strewed with baggage of every description.

 

Our acting Adjutant, Lieutenant Harding, Serjeant Major and Drum Major, secured, each, for themselves, a good English tent, which the French had taken from the 2nd Division, on Monday last, and were now glad to leave behind them. In one place we saw three loads of intrenching tools, pack saddles, and the animals dead under their loads. Other poor animals had been hockled, and variously destroyed. Three fine mules were forced into an empty lime kiln, and left to destroy each other by their struggles to extricate themselves. Etc, etc.

 

We had not been three hours on the march, when we were ordered to halt. The road was here a few yards from, and also above the bend of the river, we were outside the crescent, which enabled us to view the opposite bank, each way, covered to the summit with box, and other trees and shrubs. The scenery was delightful, and the cool air from the water allowed us fully to enjoy it - until our wine merchant of 7th Company disturbed the quietude of this scene also. Major Thomas came to enquire the cause of the fellow's riotous behaviour. I related how I had been annoyed last night, and the Serjeant of the Company stated that he was unable to rouse the man to stand to his arms before daylight. Nor did he awake till long after his companions had again piled their arms. When his indignation became quite furious, to find himself robbed of his reserved wine, and also much of his wealth, after much railing, he took a copious draught of what wine remained in the skin, and poured out the rest on the ground. His morning's potation made him so intoxicated on the march, that his comrades had to lead him, and carry his musket and knapsack.

 

He was now sufficiently sobered by the march to stand alone, and exclaim against the ingratitude he had experienced. During our converse with the Serjeant, we saw the fellow draw from his pocket a dollar at a time, and most indignantly make "Ducks and Drakes," with it, on the surface of the water. I endeavoured to persuade the infuriated wretch, to allow me to take charge of his money for him, but he was too much exasperated to harken to reason. Again he drew from his pocket and raised his hand to throw - I saw something glittering whirl around and seized his arm. When the Major took from his hand the gold watch, chain, and seals, destined to have followed the dollars into the river. Here upon the fellow's indignation was not to be trusted without restraint, but he was at length appeased by Major Thomas promising to  pay him twenty dollars for the watch, on the next issue of money. The watch was handsome and good and I have little doubt that Thomas still prizes it.

 

While we remained here we learned that the 7th Division had fallen upon, and sharply engaged the French Column we started from San Estevan yesterday. Our left and Centre Brigades partook of the affray, and we had to clear the road once, to allow the bearers to convey a Captain of our Fusiliers to the rear, badly wounded and fainting from loss of blood. There had not been a sufficiency of ammunition to supply us, and we waited its arrival till past noon, ere we could advance.

 

In the dusk of the evening we ascended a steep mountain, and found the air very chilling, until we arrived on the summit and were sheltered by many very large trees. Here we took our ground for the night, but our baggage could not venture the ascent in the dark. We had nothing to eat until meat was served out at 11 o'clock that night. I was on Quarter Guard, and laid myself down by the fire my men had made, and forgot my hunger in sleep.

 

3rd August.

Boyle brought the baggage up early this morning, with official intelligence that a mail for England would be closed by the Brigade Major at 2 o'clock pm. I unlocked my trunk, and under a very large and aged oak, wrote the following hasty letter.

 

Aug 3rd 1813 

6 o'clock a.m.

My dearest Mother, I write to you from the clouds on the Pyrenees as I now learn a mail for England will be closed at 2.o'clock and we are to march in an hour. But from the number of Officers we have had wounded I would spare your anxiety by informing you, I have, thank God, escaped unhurt. I am in prefect health, in spite of all hardships and privations. Lord Wellington's despatch will give the particulars of the last nine days campaign better than time will allow me. Sunday 25th we marched through Roncevalles, I had a most beautiful view of France, retreated that night. Our regiment next day became rear guard and we checked the enemy near the ground we lay on from 18th to 25th. Tuesday we retired on Pamplona and took up our position. Wednesday, they attacked us. Our regiment charged them (or rather 5 Companies and a few men I brought in from skirmishing.) they drew off their few guns, on Thursday Friday, we attacked and drove them like goats over the mountains. Saturday, pursued them. Sunday, came up to a Column. Our Regiment throw out, to skirmish, and we drove them delightfully. Yesterday we drove them from every position. They are now, I believe, to their old position at Roncesvalles, which certainly is very strong. The beauty of the mountains, the villages etc, would frighten even a Welshman.

 

I have had my clothes off only five hours during this time, and have been only one night under cover, but nothing hurts me, for I sleep as soundly on a rock, as I did in England on a feather bed. I wrote Philip after the Battle of Vitoria, which I trust he will receive.

 

Three English papers arrive this morning. One June 30th, I see an enquiry in House of Commons what time we are paid to, they say 24th March, but no one is paid beyond 24th December. I can write no more, being on Guard etc etc.

 

I was intercepted in the foregoing by some pisans with so fervent an application, that for a long time we could not comprehend their meaning. Confiding in the presence of the British Army, they had returned to their empty houses beside the road by which we had ascended, and craved my permission to allow them to take from out of the old oak, under which I was seated, their household chattels, for nearly three weeks secreted there. It was pleasing to notice their joy at finding their store all safe, and highly gratifying to mark the confidence with which they redeemed and carried away their hoard. I was astonished to see the vast quantity of bedding and multiplicity of articles drawn out. I enjoyed the shade of my venerable covering at my early dinner which I had scarcely finished when Kenyon returned form his perambulations in the mountains, where the peasantry had had sheltered and fed him since Sunday, when he lost his way. I was well pleased to welcome his return, for his own account as well as myself.

 

The mountain we were on had been occupied by the French in their retreat as their dirt and filth of every description testified the vast declivity of ground, every way, would in some measure excuse all this, for we were on the apex of a cone. Had our ground been more accommodating we should not have hailed the order to move to some other, for our view was picturesque and interesting and I may say very peculiar. The vast valley beneath was bounded by a semicircle of the Pyrenees, on which were posted the different Divisions of our Army. The French occupied the pass in the centre, and were busily employed in rendering it still more defensible, by throwing up breast-works and batteries on every commanding spot. We pitched our tents in the evening on much less elevated ground.

 

4th August.

A sale of effects of deceased Officers took place this morning and I became, unintentionally, the purchaser of one of the late Adjutant's mules, for I merely carelessly to support the sale. The price however will not break me, being only 20 dollars. But I did not want the beast. We moved at 3 o'clock pm and to relieve my old pony, I rode my new purchase, a short way only before the brute made a trip which was near precipitating me and himself to the bottom of the Pyrenees. And I preferred leading him the rest of the march, which was only over two other mountains.

 

We had now turned our backs on the fore, and before us was the most beautiful, bold, picturesque valley I ever beheld. I was so enchanted with the scene that I sat, outside the tent, watching the grandeur of the setting sun, and as he sank behind the mountains in the west, I was riveted to my eat, by the grand mass of clouds which came up to  resume the space from which his morning rays had dispelled them.

 

5th August.

We again changed our ground this morning, to the other face of the mountain, where the French position and their numerous field works diversified the scenery.

 

6th August.

On my return from foraging I learned that I had been selected as one of the Mess Committee, formed by the Colonel's desire to make arrangements for our winter cantonment.

 

I did not expect, and certainly did not covet the appointment. But perhaps the first will prove the least troublesome, for our measures can only be hypothetical. And our term of Office will expire before anything practicable will be required.

 

I visited my good friend Close in the course of the day, and am fearful he has rejoined his regiment sooner than he ought. In the evening Boyle accompanied me up the hill on our right, occupied by our 7th Division. We gained a peep into France, saw the whole position of the French army, with their picquets immediately under us, and within pistol shot of our picquets.

 

7th August.

We marched at 1 pm and encamped on what may here be called a low hill, opposite Lesaca, Lord Wellington's quarters. All around is so mountainous that every regiment has different ground.

 

8th August.

When at breakfast I had the pleasure of receiving a letter from each of my brothers, which afforded me very great pleasure, for so long a time had elapsed and so many events occurred since I had received one, that I thought much of them.

 

9th August

A fine rainy day in the Pyrenees. 

 

10th August.

I was on guard, and a Captain of the day was this morning established. 

 

11th August.

Scorching hot all day, that no Officer would leave his tent, to talk over the surmises and conjectures of our present in-activity, serrated as we are with the enemy. No one could glean one word at Head Quarters, to throw a glimmering of  light on "Why, and wherefore!" And the mystery was rendered more obscure by an order this day, requiring every Commanding Officer of a Regiment to select a Subaltern Officer who is well mounted, and conversant in the Spanish or French language and who it to be exempted from all Regimental Duty that he may hold himself in readiness, daily to accompany the Deputy 2nd Major General of the Division to explore and make himself well acquainted with all the roads and passes. S that in case of an attack he may be enabled to act as guide to his own respective corps. This seemed to indicate that we had advanced as far as we were authorised to go, and that we are not to cross the frontier into France. My friend Boyle was appointed to this duty, and spoke afterwards in very high terms of the great suavity of manner of Lieutenant Colonel Broke, Division Major General, the late and highly respected Sir Charles Broke Vere K.C.B. and Member of Parliament for East Suffolk. In the evening I went down to Lesaca, and as I passed the church saw Lord Wellington (looking, I thought, very ill) walking and earnestly conversing with Don Castanos, the Old Spanish Patriot.

 

12th August.

Visited my poor friend Close who is again ill, and conveyed to a house in Lesaca. I was rejoiced in finding him better, and preparing to go to the seaside. Accompanied by Lieutenant Thomas Valentine Blomfield of the 48th Regiment who is also in a very precarious state of health. Most fervently do I hope that these two worthy fellows may speedily recover! Blomfield - or Old Val - as we facetiously call him - volunteered from the West Suffolk Militia, that our intimacy almost equals the between Close and myself. Val has seen much service, and is highly esteemed by every one.

 

On my return, when passing Lord Wellington's house I saw all the Generals of our army in full uniform assembling to dine with his Lordship, to commemorate the Prince Regent's birthday. Thirty eight General, and Field Officers (of which our Colonel was one) sat down to every delicacy to be had. Fresh salmon, lobsters, trout, etc, etc. At ten, in the evening His Lordship, as usual, left the table, without any remark, leaving his companions to enjoy themselves as long as they pleased.

 

My table did not boast of this profusion, for we consumed all our meat yesterday, including this day's rations, excepting the large bones! Kenyon very wisely walked off to visit his friend in the Light Division with the hope of obtaining a dinner. Certes, my mess fund was very low, and from the whole army being so concentrated, every article was scarce and exorbitantly dear, so that I lived worse than I had done since I joined the Grand Army. Within quarter of a mile in our rear, was a spacious orchard, abounding with apples and sentinels were posted to protect the crop. From an adjoining hill, I did once behold the abundance, but never expressed a wish for any of the forbidden fruit. Nevertheless, when rising one morning I found a haversack of apples had been pushed under the wall of the tent, close up to my bed. I never enquired from whence they came, but next night carefully placed the empty haversack near the same spot, and saw not more of it.

 

I think that after a little consideration I did rightly adjudge the act of kindness to the right person, for some time afterwards, when on the march conversing with my old comrades of the 4th Company, I told Farns, the right hand man, how much obliged I was to someone for their kind present. He have a very significant look which acknowledged the fact.

 

It might be that the apples were not yet ripe or the sudden change of food, eating them, with bread in lieu of butter, which was exorbitantly dear, but dysentery attacked me in a violent degree. Being thus below par, when Kenyon was gone, I felt forlorn, and seeing no prospect of a meal this day, I wrote a note to my good friend Quarter Master Stuffs of the 48th who kindly sent me a handsome piece of roasted beef and a good wedge of apple pudding, with positive order when I had dined, to go and take some wine with him. "A friend in need is a friend indeed." Of course I did not offend so kind a friend by disobeying his orders.

 

13th August.

After a long consultation about the Mess, with our Surgeon Dr Ray, I rode down to the river Bidasao and enjoyed a good bathing. On my return the Orderly Corporal brought the unwelcome intelligence that I was in Orders for Detachment to Vitoria with money for the wounded Officers of the Brigade. By our Colonel's advice I went to the Brigade Major requesting that the money might be transmitted by the Commissariat, but this would not do, and I was obliged to make my mind up to my fate.

 

14th August [1813].

Our Paymaster having rejoined last night, pay was issued to private soldiers, up to February, and up to March for Officers. And I drew my first pay in the 27th Regiment. And in fact, the first in this country.

 

For what money that worthy kind hearted old man Paymaster Hughes of the 48th had advanced to me by the request of my friend Close was on account, and I know not how the balance stands. From the different Paymasters I received more than three hundred guineas.

 

I represented to our Colonel, who assented to my opinion that such a charge, required a guard, and sent me with his authority to Lieutenant Colonel Broke, our D.L.M.G. to request that I might be allowed to take one. Colonel Broke received me with the greatest courtesy, coincided with the opinion, but added that being so immediately in presence of the enemy he could not spare a single bayonet, beyond my own servant. I am fearful, I rather testily replied, that I could not go without a servant to look after the animals and the baggage.

 

I shall never forget how wretchedly depressed my spirits were all that day - never in my life have I experienced such! I felt an unconquerable presage that some evil would attend this journey!

 

Our Colonel urged me to make forced marches and gave me written instructions to that effect, that I might return quickly to settle the Company's account, and to be present in case of an attack from the enemy, there being so few Officers left with the regiment. He at the same time cautioned against travelling late in the evening, because the muleteers employed by the Commissariat were desperate marauders by night, when returning to the rear. This remark did not tend to cheer my painful forebodings. I stated this and every circumstance to Major Thomas whom I met on my way back, and gladly accepted the loan of one of his pistols, that I might be better armed. In the evening I went to ask my good Stubbs every particular about my route. He could not give me much comfort, being obliged to admit that my second and third stages were mountainous and very hazardous. He kindly endeavoured to cheer my spirits and gave me scalded wine well spiced.

 

The End of Volume 1.  Transcribed by Michael Heath-Caldwell, Brisbane 2006.

Please note that the above transcription is copyright JJ Heath-Caldwell.  You are permitted to make single copies for personal use.  You are not allowed to use any of the above transciption for commercial purposes.  Should you wish to request permission to use any of the above for commercial purposes, please contact JJ Heath-Caldwell, jj@jjhc.info

Please note that an edited version of Charles Crowe's full diary has now been published 'An Eloquent Soldier' edited by Gareth Glover and published by Pen & Sword 2011.  Copies can be ordered from most book sellers.  This published version has comprehensive notes all the way through explaining the people the places and the background to the events.

To read Vol 2 please click here.

 

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