Page images
PDF
EPUB

being the only means of saving the country, and carried into effect by the inhabitants, was on their part a noble sacrifice in defence of their nation, which has eyer since redounded to its glory and prosperity. Exasperated by these circumstances, and baffled in their hopes of finding all in Lisbon---the French determined upon revenging themselves in the best way they could, by destroying such little furniture as remained, and doing all the injury they were capable of to the tenements and buildings of every description they found in their way, so that what with the havock first made by the inhabitants and afterwards by the French, the country presented a scene of ruin and devastation truly designative of the seat of war, and which no other occasions I should imagine would produce. It will naturally be supposed that our army, in the pursuit of an enemy through such a country, would be subjected to distresses and privations which no measures of the Commander in Chief nor exertions of the Commissariat could fully remedy. From the extreme badness of the roads, the transport of the country could seldom follow and never keep pace with the

march of the

army ;

and in consequence of the exhausted state of the country through which we were compelled to march, our chief dependance for the support of our troups rested on magazines formed upon the rivers, which were supplied by means of water carriage, subject of course to unavoidable delays and disappointments. On leaving the Tagus, therefore, our object was to gain the Mondego.

16th. Leaving Thomar in the afternoon we marched through a large forest of cork trees, of which there are many in this country, and were overtaken by a dark and wet night while passing through some high and rocky mountains, which obliged us to halt and bivouac under a large tree, where I slept in my blanket, being the first night I had slept in the field. The 3d Dragoon Guards were at bivouac at the foot of a high mountain not far from us.

This regiment was one of the two on the march to join Marshal Beresford in the Alentejo.

17th. We came to Pombal, and the town being very much crowded by troops of the 7th Division, we were forced to sleep in the stable where we had put our horses.

20th. We left Pombal in the morning and were obliged to take up our nightly quarters at Condexa, in a house so much injured and abused that the floor was not fit to sleep upon, so I lifted a door from its hinges for the purpose of a bedstead, and in the morning restored it to its

proper

station. 21st. From Condexa we proceeded to Coimbra, a small city seated on the right bank of the river Mondego, where we remained three days, during which time several detachments of French prisoners were brought in from the army.

24th. We repassed the Mondego and proceeded to Espinhal, which we found to be in the same state as the rest of the country: very few of the inhabitants had returned from the mountains.

27th. Left Espinhal, passed through Fosse de Arroz, and in the afternoon came to the river Alva, a branch of the Mondego, about thirty English miles above Coimbra: slept under an apple tree in an orchard not far

[ocr errors]

from the village of Ponte Murcella, where we found a French soldier in a stable severely wounded. Colonel Jackson of the Foot Guards and Mr. Dumaresq, behaved with great humanity to him. We here sent our servants and muleteers down to Raiva for rations, as nothing could be purchased on the road but fruit---the few inhabitants left subsisting chiefly on herbs and Indian-corn bread, which were very scarce.

28th. We arrived in the evening at Galizes and slept in a room without any furniture.

29th. At Pinhances, about six leagues from Celorico, we took up our quarters in a room which as usual had neither furniture or ceiling.

30th. We came up with Lord Wellington's head quarters at Celorico, a town seated upon a rock near the banks of the Mondego. It was here that Marshal Massena wrote his dispatches to Buonaparte a few days before, explaining the causes of, and detailing the progress made in his retreat.

31st. Being ordered to proceed to Lamego on the Douro, I left Celorico in the afternoon, and slept at Trancoza.

April 1st. After passing through Moimento de Beira and several inhabited villages we were quartered at a large convent, where we slept upon beds with sheets and pillows, a luxury I had not enjoyed since I left Lisbon.

2d. Arrived in Lamego, and got quarters in the Bishop's Palace. Meanwhile the

army had passed over the mountains of Guarda, following the enemy as far as the river Coa; and Lord Wellington had moved his head quarters from Celorico to Marmeliero, a few miles from Sabugal.

AFFAIR OF SABUGAL.

April 3d. Two Divisions of the enemy having taken a position on the rising ground above the town of Sabugal, the Light Division and part of the 3d attacked them in the morning, and obliged them to fall back upon Alfaiates. Colonel Beckwith of the 95th regiment was much distinguished, and received a wonnd on this occasion. After the affair the enemy passed the Coa, and not only crossed the frontiers into Spain, but retired beyond the Agueda, leaving garrisons in

« PreviousContinue »