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passable every where for horse and with two heavy columns of infantry, foot; Beresford formed his army in two then marched out of the wood, points lines nearly parallel to the Albuhera, ing toward the front of the allied posi. and on the ridge of the gradual ascent tion, as if to attack the village and from its banks, covering the roads to bridge of Albuhera ; while, at the Badajoz and Valverde; General Blake's same time, under protection of that corps was on the right in two lines ; superior cavalry which in such a counits left on the Valverde road joined the try gave them command of the field, right of Major-General Stewart's divitheir infantry filed over the river be. sion, the left of which reached the Ba. yond the right of the allies. Their indajoz road, and there Major-General tention to turn the allies by that flank, Hamilton's division closed the left of and cut them off from Valverde, was the line. General Cole's division, with now apparent; upon which Marshal one brigade of General Hamilton's, Beresford ordered General Cole's divi. formed the second line. The allied sion to form an oblique line to the rear force consisted of 8000 British, 7000 of the right, with his own right thrown Portugueze, and 10,000 Spaniards; back, and requested Blake to form part hardly two thousand of these were ca of his first line and all his second to valry. Soult had drawn troops from that front. the armies of Victor and Sebastiani, While the French General Godinot and left Seville with 16,000 men ; La- made a false attack upon Albuhera, tour Maubourg joined him with five Soult, with the rest of the army, bore or six thousand ; but he had a very on the right wing of the allies, The superior cavalry, not less than 4000, attack began at nine o'clock; a heavy and his artillery also was superior. He storm of rain came on about the same had the greater advantage of com. time, as favourable to the French, who manding troops who were all in the had formed their plan, and consequent. highest possible state of discipline, ly arranged their movements, as it was and whom long habits had formed into disadvantageous for the allies, whose one army, of whatever nation the troops measures were to be adapted to meet were composed, whereas the allied force those of the enemy. After a strong consisted of the troops of three differ- and gallant resistance, the Spaniards ent nations, the Portugueze indeed were forced from the heights, and the disciplined by British officers, but enemy set up a shout of triumph which one third of the army not understand.. was heard from one end of the line to ing, or understanding imperfectly, the the other; their exultation was not language of the other two.
without good cause, for the heights Soult did not know that which they had gained raked and enMay 16. Blake had joined during the tirely commanded the whole position,
night, and thought to an- The Spaniards to a man displayed the ticipate the junction by attacking the utmost courage ; but their want of disnight of the allies, thus throwing him cipline was felt, and the danger of self upon their line of communication, throwing them into confusion whenwhen the possession of the rising ground ever change of position was necessary; would decide the battle. At eight a great error therefore was committed in the morning his troops were obser- in giving them that precise station upved in motion; his cavalry crossed the on which the fate of the whole army Ferdia, and formed under cover of the depended. They rallied at the bottom wood in the fork between the two of the hill, turned upon the enemy, and rivulets. A strong force of cavalry, withstood them, while Lieutenant-Co
lonel Colbourne brought up the right from whence he produced it when his brigade of General Stewart's division, to wounds were dressed after the battle. endeavour to retake the ground which T he 31st regiment, being the left had been lost. Finding that they could of the brigade, was the only one which not shake the enemy's column by their escaped this charge, and it kept its fire, they proceeded to attack it with ground under Major L'Estrange. The the bayonet ; but while in the act of fate of the day was at this time worse charging, they were themselves sud- than doubtful, and nothing but the most denly turned and attacked in the rear determined and devoted courage saved by a body of Polish lancers : these men the allies from a defeat, of which the carry long lances with a red flag sus- consequences would have been even pended at the end, which, while it is more deplorable than the immediate so carried by the rider as to prevent his slaughter. The third brigade under own horse from seeing any other object, Major General Houghton, and Genefrightens those horses who are opposed ral Cole's division, advanced to recover to them. Never was any charge more the lost heights, their officers declaring unexpected, or more destructive; the that they would win the field or die. rain, which thickened the whole atmos- Houghton and Sir William Myers fell, phere, partly concealed them; and those each leading on his brigade. The fu. of the brigade who saw them approach- zileers brigade, and the Loyal Lusitaing, mistook them for Spanish cavalry, nian legion, 3000 when they advanced and therefore did not fire. A tremen- to the charge, could not muster one dous slaughter was made upon the thousand when they had gained the ritroops who were thus surprised ; and sing ground, for they did gain it after the loss would have been still greater, all this carnage ; 2000 men, and 60 if these Poles, instead of pursuing their officers, including every lieutenant-coadvantage, had not given way to their lonel, and field officer, were either kill. ferocious nature, and ridden about the ed or wounded. But the enemy in field to spear the wounded. The three their turn suffered greater slaughter regiments of Colonel Colbourne's bri. when they were forced down into the grade lost their colours at this time ; low ground toward the river, our musthose of the Buffs were recovered, after ketry and shrapnells then mowed them signal heroism had been displayed in. down. Soult's great superiority of catheir defence. Ensign Thomas, who valry enabled him effectually to cover bore one of the flags, was surrounded, his retreat, and the allies therefore conand asked to give them up. Not but tented themselves with driving him with my life! was his answer, and his across the Albuhera. The attack uplife was the instant forfeit; but the on the village was continued somewhat standard thus taken was recovered, and longer; but the enemy were never able the manner in which it was defended to make any impression there. They will not be forgotten wherjit is borne retired to the ground which they had again to battle. Ensign Walsh, who occupied before the action, and on the carried the other colour, had the staff night of the 17th commenced their rebroken in his hand by a cannon-ball, treat toward Andalusia. and fell at the same moment, being se. This was one of the most murderous verely wounded; but, more anxious battles of modern times. The British about his precious charge than himself, loss consisted of nearly 900 killed, 2732 he separated the flag from the shatter- wounded, 544 missing; the Portued staff, and secured it in his bosom, gueze, of whom only a small part were brought into action, lost about 400; the ving gained the height, he was surprised Spaniards about 1600. The French to see so great a number of troops, and left 2000 dead on the field ; about 1000 that he then first learnt from a prisoner were made prisoners ; Generals Werle how Blake with 9000 Spaniards had and Pepin were killed. Soult, in his effected a junction during the night.
officialdispatch, declared, that his whole This discovery made him resolve not * loss amounted only to 2800 men ; but to pursue his victory, but content him.
a letter from General Gazan to Soult self with keeping the position which was intercepted, wherein he stated that had been taken from the enemy, and he had more than 4000 wounded under that position he retained, the enemy, his charge. The heat, he said, would after the carnage which was made prove very injurious to them, especially among them by Latour Maubourg as there were only five surgeons to at- and the Polish lancers, not having tend them, and many had died upon dared to attack him again. The disthe road. This letter was written patch, however, like other falsehoods three days after the action, and as the of the same kind, carried with it its bad cases die in numbers in the course own confutation ; for it stated that of the few first days, and the mortality the allies made no prisoners except two must have been greatly increased by or three hundred wounded, who were want of rest, of accommodation, and left on the field; but the same dis.. of surgical aid, it was inferred, upon patch said, that the French kept the sufficient grounds, that the total loss of field for two days, retaining the posi. the enemy could have been little less tion they had wong-howthen could the than 9000 men. Soult is said to have wounded who were left upon the field acknowledged to our officers who were have fallen into the hands of the allies ? made prisoners, that, in the whole course In reality, if Soult could have re. of his long service, he had never before tained the heights, the allied army must seen so desperate and bloody a conflict. not only have been defeated but de. He is said also to have told one of the stroyed: his superiority in cavalry, officers that he intended to exchange which proved his protection in retreat, all his prisoners on the following morn- would have almost ensured their destrucing, and that therefore they had better tion--in a country where cavalry could not attempt to escape. This artifice, act to such advantage, where they had for such it was, prevented many from an unfordable river in the rear, and the rejoining their victorious brethren while garrison of Badajoz ready to sally upon the two armies were near each other them in aid of their victorious country. many, however, escaped during the men. When defeat would have drawnaf. two first days, and so many afterwards, ter it such consequences, a battle ought that few ultimately remained in his not to have been risked ; especially as, hands. About 300 were put into a in order to fight the battle, it was ne. convent which had been converted in. cessary to raise the siege of Badajoz. to a prison : they undermined the wall, To have continued that siege without and escaped with their officers at their interruption was an object for which, head. The peasantry guided them, and perhaps, a battle ought to have been supplied them with food on their way, hazarded, if there had been force suffi. and they rejoined the army in a body cient ; but as this could not be done, on the thirteenth day after the battle. Soult's object was in a great degree
The official dispatch of the French accomplished before the action comgeneral was, as usual, falsified for the menced, and a barren and dearly-purpublic. Soult there asserted that, ha chased victory was the only reward of
the imminent danger to which the al- lies. Colonel Sir William Myers, lies had been 'exposed. The French leading on that brigade, which reco had expected so surely to out-number vered the fortune of the field, exclaimthe allies, (not calculating upon the ra- ed it would be a glorious day for the pidity with which the Spanish troops fuzileers. In ascending the ground effected their junction) and consequent. his horse was wounded, another was ly to overpower them, that Philippon, brought, which he had hardly mount. * the governor of Badajoz, had prepareda ed, when a ball struck him under the house for Soult's reception, and given hip, and past upward obliquely through orders for an illumination.
the intestines. He did not fall, and Few battles have ever given the con attempted to proceed; but this was tending powers so high an opinion of impossible, and when he was carried each other. The French are said to off the field, he seemed to forget his have exhibited the highest possible own sufferings in his pride at beholding state of discipline on that day: nothing the conduct of his brave companions. could be more perfect than they were A heavy rain was falling, there was no in all their movements ; no general shelter near, and Valverde, where it could have wished for more excellent was thought proper to convey him, instruments, and no soldiers were ever was ten miles distant. He would radirected by more consummate skill. ther have had a tent erected over him ;
This was more than counterbalanced but his servants, hoping that he might by the incomparable bravery of their recover, insisted upon removing him to opponents. The chief loss fell upon a place where a bed might be procu. the Buffs and the 57th. The first of red. The body of General Houghton these regiments went into action with was borne past him, on a mule, to be 24 officers and 750 rank and file; interred at Elvas. Upon seeing it, Sir there only remained five officers and William desired, that if he should die thirty-four men to draw rations on the they would bury him on the spot. He following day. Within the little space lived, however, to reach Valverde, and where the stress of the battle lay, not till the following day. When his disless than 7000 men were found lying solution drew near, he desired that his on the ground, and the rain which ran ring might be taken to his sister, and from these heights literally reddened that she might be told he had died the rivulets with blood. Our dead lay like a soldier. Six of his own men in ranks as they had fought, and every bore him to the grave, and laid him wound was in the front. A captain of under an olive-tree near Valverde. It the 57th, who was severely wounded, is to be hoped that a monument will directed his men tolay himon the ground be placed there to mark the spot. at the head of his company, and thus Blake, Castanos, Mendizabal, Balcontinued to give his orders, Marshal lasteros, Zayas, and Carlos d'Espana, Beresford saved his life by his dexterity were all in the field, and all distinguishand personal strength : as he was en- ed themselves. Blake and Castanos couraging his troops after the charge had each an arm grazed, but not hurt. of the Polish lancers, one of these men Espana was run through the hand by attacked him ; avoiding the thrust, a lance. Ballasteros is said to have he seized the man by the throat, and encouraged his men by taking the unithrew him off his horse ; the lancer form of a French general from the recovered from his fall to aim a second ground, and holding it up, exclaiming, thrust at him, but at the very moment that Soult was killed. In the heat of was shot by one of the general's order. the action, when the issue of the battle
appeared most hopeless, many of the and outworks-this had been proved Spaniards were heard exclaiming to at Zaragoza and Gerona :--but it is each other, What will the Conciso one thing to assail stone walls, and ansay ?-thus stimulating themselves to other to defend them and the braver new exertion by remembering the ho.' the assailants, the greater and the more nour or dishonour which a free press lamentable must be their loss, if the would bestow, according to their de- necessary skill be wanting. Lord Wel. serts. Of three stand of colours which lington also was ill supplied with artilwere taken from the enemy, one was lery: he trusted to a Portugueze train presented to the cortes. Sr. Del from Elvas, and it was found insuffiMonte moved, that it should be depo. cient. On the 6th of June, a breach sited in some church dedicated to the had been made in Fort St Christoval; Virgin-Mother the patroness of the it was assaulted in the night, and when Spains; but Sr. Garcia Herreros ob- our troops arrived at the foot of the served, that the hall in which they met breach under a very heavy fire of muswould, after the dissolution of the cor- quetry and hand grenades from the tes, again be used as a church, and it out-works, and of shot and shells from was therefore decreed that the colours the town, they found that the enemy should remain there. It was propo. had cleared the rubbish from the bot. sed also, that a pillar should be erect. tom of the scarp,-and that even an ed in the plains of Albuhera, and that escalade was impracticable. On the as the little town of that name had 9th the attempt was renewed, and the been entirely destroyed, it should be same errors were repeated, and a still rebuilt by the nation, and exempted heavier loss was sustained. In the first from all rates and taxes for ten years. about 150 men were lost, in the second
The main body of the French retired above 300. . upon Llerena, having their rear-guard The next morning an intercepted at Usagre, where, in a very gallant affair letter from Soult to Marmont was of cavalry, about 150 of their horse brought to the British general, dated were killed, wounded, and taken, with the 5th, and saying that he was ready out loss on our part, though they had to begin his march, effect a junction, above three thousand men in the field, and complete the object of their wishes. and the allies not more than half that “ If they lost no time,” he said, " they number. By this time the 3d and 7th should reach the scene of action before divisions arrived from the frontier of the English reinforcements arrived, and Beira, and Lord Wellington invested Badajoz would be saved.” By other Badajoz on the 25th, and broke ground communications, Lord Wellington four days afterwards. But our army knew that Drouet's corps had marche had no experience in this branch of ed from Toledo, and would probably war; nor was there even a corps of sap. join Marshal Soult that very day, and pers and miners attached to it, so that that Marmont might be expected at all those preliminary operations, to Merida in a few days : for this genewhich men may be trained at home at ral, after having patroled on the 6th leisure and in perfect safety, were here unto Fuentes d'Onoro and Navedeato be learnt under the fire of an enemy, ver, as a reconnoisance, and to cover the who was as perfect in all the arts of march of a convoy to Ciudad Rodrigo, defence as we were deficient in those began his march the next day to the of attack. On the part of the besieged, south, by way of the Puerto de Banos courage and the high sense of duty and Placencia, crossing the Tagus at will supply all deficiences of science Almaraz, animportant point, where the