Sivut kuvina

discipline, must conduct you to it : if other side ; upon this they retired these are wanting, in vain will you seek by the Conil road fast enough to sefor fortune. Woe to him who forgets cure their retreat. Three of their or abandons them: he shall die with. gun-boats and three pieces of cannon out remission. The gold, whose weight were taken here; the enemy s:iffered makes cowards of those who have plun- no other loss, but the chief object in dered it from us, the bounties which view was accomplished, for the possesa generous government will bestow, sion of this post secured the flank of and the endless blessings of those who the allies. will call you their deliverers, behold Meantime the main body advanced in these your reward !” At Facinas against Casas Viejas : the distance was the operations were to commence ; only twelve miles, and Lapena suppo. here, therefore, the order of march was sed, from the information of his guides, arranged, and the troops formed into that he should arrive some hours be. three divisions, the van being under fore day-break. But there were so General D. Jose Lardizabal, the cen- many streams to cross, and so many tre under Camp Marshal the Prince of intervening marshes, that notwithstand. Anglona, and the reserve under Gene- ing the hard labour of the pioneers, ral Graham.

and the utmost exertions of the artil. At night-fall on the first of March, lery officers, these twelve miles were a a detachment under Colonel D. Jose journey of twelve painful hours, so Aymerich with two four-pounders, be- that he did not arrive in time to recongan its march to surprise Veger. A noitre the fort before it was broad day. squadron accompanied it under the The enemy having fired a few shot, first adjutant of the staff, Major-Gene- took post upon a hill behind the fort, ral Wall, as far as the Fountain del on the Medina road. The German Hierro, where these two parties sepa. hussars in the British service, and the rated, Aymerich taking the direct Spanish carbineers under General line for Veger, Wall going to the Whittingham, were ordered to wheel right across the lake of Janda and the round upon the enemy's right, to sur. river Barbate, to cut off the retreat of round them in that direction, while the enemy by the roads to Medina and Baron Carondelet, with another squa. Chiclana. It was hardly probable that dron of cavalry, 'forded the Barbate, he should succeed in this attempt, for and crossing a flooded marsh, where the way was not only circuitous and the water was up to their saddle-girths, full of difficulties, but there was also advanced to charge them. Two batanother road, that of Conil, by which talions of infantry, the one Spanish, the they might make their retreat, and other English, crossed at the same time which lay so wide of the others, that to support him. The enemy presentit could not be occupied : Wall's move- ly gave way, leaving about 30 killed ment, however, covered Aymerich's, and wounded, 33 prisoners, two pieces and facilitated his operations. The of cannon, and all their stores. Barbate is navigable as far as Veger The troops from St Roques joined Bridge, where it touches the foot of this day, marching by way of Las Ca. the high hill upon which Veger stands. sas de Castano, and leaving a small deAt this bridge Aymerich arrived in tachment in Alcala de los Gazules. the morning ; it was fortified, and the This division, consisting of 1600 men, French, under every advantage of si. was added to the centre, whose force tuation, was preparing to defend it, now amounted to 6000, that of the van. when Wall's cavalry appeared on the guard was 2100, that of the rear 6100%


4300 being British and Portugueze, bear upon the allies in case they should the rest Spaniards. The cavalry were advance upon either. General Lapena, in a separate body under Whitting. however, had no thought of moving ham. The whole force when thus upon Medina : “ it was strong by na. united consisted of 11.200 foot, 800 ture,” he said, “ fortified with seven horse. "Marshal Victor, in his official pieces of cannon, besides some in its account, affirmed, as positively as false. castle, and distant only two leagues ly, that there were 22,000 men, among from the Cortijo." whom were at least 8000 of the best Camp Marshal D. Jose de Zayas, English troops,—thus, according to who commanded in the Isle of Leon, the system of his government, doubling meantime had well performed his part the number of his opponents. They of the concerted operations. He pushhad 24 pieces of cannon. Lapena's ed a body of troops over the Santi Pe. plan was now to march by Veger, up- tri, near the coast, on the first, threw on the Santi Petri, and attack the en- a pontoon bridge across, and formed a trenchments there which formed the tete-du-pont the following evening. - left of the enemy's lines. Thus the The French General Villatte was impass of the river would be laid open, mediately ordered to attack this point and a communication established with during the night, and, in the customary the Isle of Leon, from whence the ar- phrase of French insolence, to drive my would receive provisions, which it the Spaniards into the sea. About now began to want, and would be re- midnight the enemy made their attack inforced with artillery, foot, and horse: with three regiments, and by dint of thus too they might combine their ope- their superior numbers, forced their rations with those which would be way into the works at various points. made from the Spanish line of defence, Zayas speedily reinforced the post and and from the bay, in such manner, that drove them out with the bayonet : it while the success appeared almost cer- was wholly an affair of the bayonet, tain, the risk even 'in case of defeat for the troops were too much interwould be avoided, which must be incur. mingled to permit of firing. Some of red upon any other plan from the nature the French had reached the middle of of the ground and the want of stores. the bridge, others crost it, probably as • There must surely have been some the best means of saving themselves

gross improvidence when so small a when they found that they had pushed force on the fourth day of its march on too far; they fell in with the Spashould begin to feel this want, having niards who were hastening to assist à direct communication with the sea. their comrades, and in this manner efVictor did not suspect that any diffi. feçted their escape. culties upon this head could influence Haying failed in this attempt, Vic. the movements of the allie's, and he tor marched towards Chiclana, and orseems to have expected that his posi. dered Cassagne to join him from the tion would be attacked in a' more vital Cortijo, rightly concluding that Lapart. He reinforced with a battalion pena meant to attack the French lines of voltigeurs, General Cassagne, who at Santi Petri, which, should he sucoccupied Medina 'Sidonia with three 'ceed, would enable him to receive rebattalions and a regiment of chasseurs, inforcements from the Isle, and then and he took a position himself with he would march upon Chiclana. The ten battalions at the Cortijo de Guerra, Spanish general thought to deceive the intermediate point between Medina him into a belief that the attack would and Chiclana, from whence he could be made by Medina, and for this purpose left a party at Casas Viejas to of Alcornocal, and the fortified mill mount guard, and keep up fires, as if of Almansa. Villatte had about 4000 the whole force was there, while on men to defend this position, but his the third they proceeded to Veger. force had been considerably weakened An excess of caution seems to have in his unsuccessful attempt upon the been Lapena's failing ; lest the enemy tete-du. pont. He had, however, from Medina, which was about ten very considerable advantage in the namiles from the beaten road, should ture of the broken ground, a thick think of attacking him upon his march, wood through which the assailant must he chose a bye-road on the left of the advance, and the perfect knowledge, Barbate, unfrequented, because there which, in the course of twelvemonths' was the lake of Janda to be crossed on undisturbed possession, he had acqui. the way by a narrow ford, 300 paces red of every path and every inequality in length, and nearly breast deep. On of surface. This wood so covered the the evening of the 4th, they advanced enemy, that only four of their battafrom Veger, by way of Conil, towards lions in the first line were visible ; they Santi Petri. This place Lapena ho. had their right supported by the Torre ped to reach by day-break; but upon Bermeja, and three guns in their centre. entering a wood about ten miles from Lardizabal, reinforced by part of the the village, and about as much in ex- second division, advanced to attack tent, his advanced guard was suddenly them : the remainder of the troops attacked by some cavalry who sallied held a position upon the Cabeza del from the cover. The enemy was re- Puerco, or hill of Barrosa, the cavalry pelled, but the column halted while the being in advance upon the right. wood was explored, and this, with the Villatte anticipated their movements, doubt and hesitation of the guides, and fell upon both flanks of Lardiza, heightened by the fears and feelings bal's advance at the same time; at first which night excited, and the local cir. he had the advantage, but the regi. cumstances of a country where carria- ment of Murcia, under its Colonel D. ges seldom or never past, caused a de- Juan Maria Munoz, checked his pro. lay of two hours, so that they did not gress, Lardizabal with a battalion of get out of the wood till it was broad the Canaries attacked his right, and day; and the hope which Lapena had the Spanish guards, and the regiment with little reason indulged, of surpri- of Africa under Brigadier D. Raysing his vigilant enemy, was destroyed. mundo Ferrer, and Colonel D. Tomas The three divisions therefore advanced Retortillo, charged with the bayonet. in as many columns; their movements The enemy were routed, and the comcould not possibly be concealed ; the munication with the Isle of Leon was enemy did not appear to molest them, thus cpened by this well-conducted and but an officer of the French staff was successful attack. Two battalions of seen singly reconnoitring them. The the French escaped and carried off their operation was to commence from a field-pieces, the nature of the ground height called the Cabeza del Puerco : saving them. Lapena's first object they halted here to refresh themselves, was thus accomplished, and in order and Lapena harangued the van which to maintain the important position that was destined to make the attack. he had gained, which had in its front

The lines which were to be attack- a thick pine forest, extending to Chi.ed formed the left of the French works. clana, and which he apprehended the

They were supported by the sea on enemy would use their utmost efforts one side, on the other by the channel to recover, he directed, in concert with General Graham, that the British lake called the Laguna del Puerco : troops should move down from Bar- the ridge itself was called Cabeza del rosa towards the Torre de Bermeja, Puerco by the Spaniards, but it will leaving some Spanish regiments under retain the better name which was this Brigadier Begines upon the heights. day acquired for it. Victor with 8000 The position which it was intended to men advanced against this point. The occupy is formed by a narrow woody troops which had been left there were ridge, the right on the sea cliff, the the regiments of Siguenza and Cantaleft falling down to the creek of Al. bria, a battalion of Ciudad Real, anmansa, on the edge of a marsh. From other of the Walloon guards, and a the position of Barrosa to that of Ber- battalion of the King's German legion. meja, the communication is easy along Ignorant of Graham's movements, and a hard sandy beach upon the west. knowing themselves unable to maintain General Graham's division had halted the post against such very superior on the eastern slope, his road therefore numbers, they thought it best to form lay through the wood, and having sent a junction with the British, whose rear cavalry patroles toward Chiclana, who they should by this means cover, and saw nothing of the enemy, he began be themselves covered on the way by his march about noon.

the pine forest through which they General Lacy, the chief of the Spa. were to pass. Accordingly they made nish staff, was sent forward by Lape this movement with perfect coolness, va to maintain the heights of Berme- and in perfect order, General Whit. ja; here it was that the danger was tingham covering one flank, Brigadier apprehended ; and the firing had re D. Juan de la Cruz Mourgeon the commenced in that direction. The na. other; for on both sides the enemy ture of the ground was such, that what endeavoured to envelope them. was passing at Barrosa could not be Graham, meantime, was marching seen at Bermeja ; perhaps there was rapidly back, but at a distance from a deficiency in those arrangements, by the shore; whereas these troops kept which, in a well-organized army, in- near it, apparently to lessen the dan. formation of what is passing in one ger of being turned on that side by part is rapidly conveyed to another, the enemy's light infantry. In such and there was certainly the want of a intricate and difficult circumstances it good intelligence between General Gra. was impossible to preserve order in the ham and the Spanish commander under columns; and before the troops were whom he had consented to act. The quite disentangled from the wood, they British troops had proceeded about saw that the detachment which they half way, and were in the middle of were hastening to support had left the the wood, when they were informed heights ; that the left wing of the that the enemy was appearing in force French were rapidly ascending there, upon the plain, and advancing towards and their right stood upon the plain, the heights of Barrosa. That position on the edge of the wood within cannon General Graham considered as the key shot. General Graham's object in of that of Santi Petri, and immediate countermarching had been to support ly countermarched in order to support the troops in maintaining the heights ; the troops who had been left for its “but a retreat," he says, “ in the face defence.

' of such an enemy (already within reach The heights of Barrosa extend to of the easy communication by the sea the shore on one side, and slope down beach) must have involved the whole to the plain on the other towards a allied army in all the danger of being attacked during the unavoidable con- the 67th, zealously supported their at. fusion of the different corps arriving tack, which was decisive in this part on the narrow ridge of Bermeja near of the field. An eagle, the first which ly at the same time.” Trusting, there. the British had won, was taken. It fore, to the courage of his men, and belonged to the 8th regiment of light regardless of the numbers and position infantry, and bore a gold collar round of the enemy, he resolved immediately its neck, because that regiment had so to attack them.

distinguished itself as to have received Marshal Victor commanded the the thanks of Buonaparte in person. French ; General Ruffin, whose name The enemy were closely pursued across was well known in the history of this a narrow valley, and a reserve, which wicked war, commanded the left upon they had formed beyond it, was char. the hill, General Leval the right. Gra- ged in like manner, and in like manner ham formed his troops as rapidly as the put to the rout. General Dilkes was circumstances required ; there was no equally successful on his side. Ruffin, time to restore order in his columns, confident in his numbers and in his po. which had unavoidably been broken in sition, met him on the ascent. A marching through the wood. The bri- bloody contest ensued, but of no long gade of guards, Lieutenant-Colonel duration, for the best troops of France Browne's flank battalion of the 28th, have never been able to stand against Lieutenant-Colonel Norcott's two the British bayonet. Ruffin was wound, companies of the 2d rifle corps, and ed and taken, and the enemy driven Major Acheson, with a part of the from the heights in confusion.' In less 57th, separated from the regiment in than an hour and a half they were in the wood, formed on the right under full retreat, and in that short time more Brigadier-General Dilkes. Colonel than 4000 men had fallen,-for the Wheatley's brigade, with three com- British loss in killed and wounded panies of the Coldstream guards, un- amounted to 1243, not a single British der Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson, (see soldier was taken. The French loss parated likewise from his battalion in was more than 8000. General Bellethe wood, and Lieutenant-Colonel Bar- grade was killed, and General Rous. nard's flank battalion, formed on the seau mortally wounded and taken ; the left ; Major Duncan, opening a power- prisoners were only 440, because there ful battery of ten guns in the centre, was no pursuit, protected the formation of the infan- The 20th Portugueze regiment try, and as soon as they were thus has fought side by side with the British in tily got together, the guns were ad. this memorable action, and behaved ad. vanced to a more favourable position, mirably. One squadron of the Gera and kept up a most destructive fire. man Legion, which had been attached

Leval's division, notwithstanding the to the Spanish cavalry, joined in time havoc which this battery made, conti. to make a brilliant and most successful nued to advance in imposing masses, charge against a squadron of French opening its fire of musketry. The dragoons, which it utterly routed, British left wing advanced against it General Whittingham, with the rest firing. The three companies of guards, of the cavalry, was engaged, meantime, and the 87th, supported by the re- in checking a corps of horse and foot mainder of the wing, charged them who were attempting to win the height with true British bravery ; Colonel by the coast. The Walloon Guards, Bilson with the 28th, and Lieute. and the battalion of Ciudad Real, nant-Colonel Prevost with part of the which had been attached to Graham's

« EdellinenJatka »