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January 1st. AFTER hiring an Irish boy as my servant, I left Cartaxo, and in the evening arrived at Alverca.
2d. In the morning I took possession of an uninhabited house which had no doubt been the residence of a fisherman, as I found two old chairs, a kind of bureau, a barrel of salt and some fishing nets. Expecting to remain here some weeks, I got a straw bed and a blanket to make myself more comfortable. In the course of the month I had the pleasure of receiving my long-lost baggage, and went down to Lisbon for a few days, during which time the remains of the Marquis de la Romana were conveyed there from Cartaxo where he had died. This noble Spaniard (it will be remembered) was one of the most distinguished of the Spanish Patriots, and the same who adhered so faithfully to the interests of the British Army under Sir John
Moore in its critical retreat upon Corunna.
February 3d. A few minutes after 11 at night, as I was reading at a table formed by a door placed upon the salt-barrel in the fisherman's house, I was alarmed by the shock of an earthquake: it was sensibly felt in Lisbon and other places in its vicinity, but I heard of no serious injury occasioned by it.
Early in the month, a skirmish took place at the outposts, in which it was reported that the French general Junot was slightly wounded. About the same time, Marshals Soult and Mortier, holding commands in the southern and interior districts of Spain, cons centrated their forces in the neighbourhood of Seville, and moved down against Badajos, the frontier fortress of Spain on the Alentejo side of Portugal, then garrisoned by Spanish troops enlisted in the cause of Ferdinand 7th. This was a masterly movement of the French marshals, being calculated to prove a formidable diversion in favour of Massena, whose difficulties at Santarem increased daily from the extreme want his army was suffering of
provisions, forage and equipment; the whole face of the country from the Douro to the Tagus being laid waste and deserted by its inhabitants, whilst their foraging parties which attempted to pass the Douro or the Tagus, were repulsed, and their convoys from Spain often intercepted and cut off by the activity and gallantry of the Portuguese Militia on this, and the Spanish Guerillas on the other side of the Spanish frontiers. The Spanish army at Villa Franca now received orders to march for Badajos to succour their countrymen in garrison there. They passed through Alverca, crossed the Tagus in boats, and marching up to the frontiers, on the 19th of the month, met the French army under Soult and Mortier in the plains of Badajos; where, after a sharp but short contest, they sustained a complete defeat, were routed, and as a military force, totally destroyed; upon which the two French Marshals commenced the siege of Badajos without further molestation. All the movements of Marshal Massena at Santarem indicated the arrangement he was making to retrace his steps to the frontiers of Castile :---the forces here
under Lord Wellington (the Portuguese of which under the auspices of Marshal Sir W. C. Beresford had, during the winter, been wonderfully improved in discipline), now began to concentrate, and to prepare in their turn for offensive operations. On the 26th we moved up to Villa Franca.
Retreat of. Marshal Massena.
March 5th. Marshal Massena commenced his famous retreat from Santarem by the road of Thomar and Pombal to Coimbra; upon which orders were given for the reserves to move up. Cavalry, artillery and ammunition were passing through from Lisbon and the lines towards Cartaxo; and the army was to move forward on the morrow.
It was on this day that the British forces ụnder Major General Graham were engaged with and obtained a glorious victory over the French army under Marshal Victor at Barrosa, near Cadiz.
6th. The army advancing this morning, followed the route of the enemy, and our lead quarters moved from Cartaxo to Santarem. The communication with Abrantes on this side of the river was now thrown open, and the whole army joined in the pursuit. The route which the French Marshal had chosen, was (as above stated) by Thomar and Pombal upon Coimbra, at or near which place he would probably attempt to pass the river Mondego, with the view of taking up the stores and field equipage which we understood he had left in depôt at Viseu, and so by the mountainous route of Celorico and Guarda, ultimately reach the frontiers near Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo. It was calculated, that with whatever facility the French army continued its retreat, under such circumstances it could not possibly reach Almeida before the last day of March or the beginning of April, which would give time for the execution of a grand plan of operations said to be in agitation, to effect which one part of our forces was to continue in close pursuit of the enemy, while another, by a circuitous march, should act in his rear, and the 2nd Division with some cavalry under the command of Marshal Beresford, in the