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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 7

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The loss and damage to the French were very heavy. Three generals were killed, four wounded, one taken prisoner, and with him, six field and one hundred and thirty inferior officers; of rank and file, the prisoners were seven thousand, of killed and wounded the total could not be much less, by the calculation of lord Wellington, than seventeen thousand; besides twenty cannons, a number of ammunition wagons, and much baggage. He adds, that the French themselves admitted that, if there had been another hour of daylight, the whole army would have been in the hands of the English. Clausel, too, was wounded; three successive Commanders on that day being in this case. The allies suffered considerably. They had general Le Marchant killed, and generals Beresford, Cole, Leith, Spey, and Cotton wounded; but general Stapleton Cotton's wound was received, not in battle, but from one of his own sentinels, in the darkness of the night. There were six hundred and ninety-four killed, and four thousand two hundred and seventy wounded; of whom two thousand seven hundred and fourteen were English, and one thousand five hundred and fifty-two Portuguese. The Spaniards had only four wounded.

Lord Wellington did not give the retreating enemy much time for repose; within the week he was approaching Valladolid and Clausel was quitting it in all haste. On the 30th of July Wellington entered that city amid the enthusiastic acclamations of the people. In his haste, Clausel abandoned seventeen pieces of artillery, considerable stores, and eight hundred sick and wounded. The priests were preparing to make grand processions and sing a Te Deum in honour of Wellingtons victories, as they had done at Salamanca; but his lordship was too intent on following up his blows to stay. He was on his march the very next day. He re-crossed the Duero, to advance against king Joseph Buonaparte, who had set out from Madrid to make a junction with Marmont, but on arriving at Arevalo he had learnt with consternation of that general's defeat, and diverted his march, with twenty thousand men, on Segovia, in order to reinforce Clausel. Wellington left a division to guard against Clausel's return from Burgos, whither he had fled, and, collecting provisions with much difficulty, he marched forward towards Madrid. Joseph fell back as the English general advanced. Wellington was at St. Ildefonso on the 9th of August, and on the 11th issued from the defiles of the mountains into the plain in which Madrid stands. On the 12th he entered the capital amid the most enthusiastic cheers - Joseph having merely reached his palace to flee out of it again towards Toledo. He had, however, left a garrison in the palace of Buon Retiro; but this surrendered almost as soon as invested, and twenty thousand stand of arms, one hundred and eighty pieces of ordnance, and military stores of various kinds were found in it. These were particularly acceptable; for it can scarcely be credited under what circumstances Wellington had been pursuing his victorious career. We learn this, however, from his dispatch to lord Bathurst, dated July 28th - that is, very shortly before his arrival at Madrid. After declaring that he was in need of almost everything, he particularises emphatically: " I likewise request your lordship not to forget horses for the cavalry, and money. We are absolutely bankrupt. The troops are now five months in arrears, instead of being one month in advance. The staff have not been paid since February, the muleteers not since July, 1811; and we are in debt in all parts of the country. I am obliged to take the money sent to me by my brother for the Spaniards, in order to give a fortnight's pay to my own troops, who are really suffering from want of money."

Amid this want of everything, the British army had, however, now plenty of applause. The Spaniards were no longer blaming Wellington for not abandoning his own able plans to follow those of their own counsellors, which had brought themselves so much ruin. Wherever he appeared, he was surrounded by applauding crowds, who strewed the way before him with green boughs and gay shawls shouting, " Long live the duke of Ciudad Rodrigo! Long live Wellington!" The balconies and windows were filled with ladies to catch a sight of the conqueror, and from every part of the houses hung carpets and tapestry, and flowers and laurels were scattered about on all sides. A new council of government was appointed; the new constitution of the Cortes, prepared at Cadiz, was proclaimed, and Don Carlos de Espana, who had long attended Wellington through his campaigns, was made governor of Madrid. The new council waited on lord Wellington with a con- gratulatory address, to which his lordship replied, saying, " The events of war are in the hands of Providence!"

The news of Wellington’s defeat of Marmont, and his occupation of the capital, caused Soult to call Victor from the blockade of Cadiz; and, uniting his forces, he retired into Grenada. The French, after destroying their works - the creation of so much toil and expenditure - retreated with such precipitation from before Cadiz that they left behind a vast quantity of their stores, several hundred pieces of ordnance - some of which, of extraordinary length, had been cast for this very siege - and thirty gun-boats. They were not allowed to retire unmolested. The English and Spanish troops pursued them from Tarifa, harassed them on the march, drove them out of San Lucar, and carried Seville by storm, notwithstanding eight battalions being still there to defend it. The peasantry rushed out from woods and mountains to attack the rear of Soult on his march by Carmona to Grenada, and the sufferings of his soldiers were most severe from excessive fatigue, the heat, the want of food, and these perpetual attacks. General Hill meantime advanced from the Guadiana against king Joseph, who fell back to Toledo, hoping to keep up a communication with Soult and Suchet, the latter of whom lay on the borders of Valencia and Catalonia. But general Hill soon compelled him to retreat from Toledo, and the English general then occupied that city, Ypez, and Aranjuez, thus placing himself in connection with lord Wellington, and cutting off the French in the south from all approach to Madrid.

But Wellington had no expectation whatever of maintaining his head-quarters at that city. His own army was not sufficient to repel any fresh hordes of French who might be poured down upon him; and, as for the Spaniards, they had no force that could be relied upon for a moment. The incurable pride of this people rendered them utterly incapable of learning from their allies, who, with a comparatively small force, were every day showing them what discipline and good command could do. They would not condescend to be taught, nor to serve under a foreigner, though that foreigner was everywhere victorious, and they were everywhere beaten. They continued, as they had been from the first, a ragged, disorderly rabble, always on the point of starvation, and always sure to be dispersed, if not destroyed, whenever they were attacked. Only in guerilla fight did they show any skill, or do any good.

When, therefore, lord Wellington looked around over Spain from Madrid, he looked in vain for anything like a regular Spanish army, after all the lessons which had been given to them. The army of Galicia, commanded by Santocildes, considered the best Spanish force, had been defeated by Clausel, himself in the act of escaping from Wellington. Ballasteros had a certain force under him, but his pride would not allow him to co-operate with lord Wellington, and he was soon afterwards dismissed by the cortes from his command. O'Donnel had had an army in Murcia, but he, imagining that he could cope with the veteran troops of Suchet, had been most utterly routed, his men flinging away ten thousand muskets as they fled. To make worse of it, he had been greatly disappointed in his hopes of a reinforcement from Sicily. He had urged on ministers the great aid which an efficient detachment from the army maintained by us in Sicily might render by landing on the eastern coast of Spain, and clearing the French out of Catalonia, Valencia, and Murcia. This could now be readily complied with, because there was no longer any danger of invasion «f Sicily from Naples, Murat being called away to assist in Buonaparte's campaign in Russia. But the plan found an unexpected opponent in our commander-in-chief in Sicily, lord William Bentinck. Lord William at first appeared to coincide in the scheme, but soon changed his mind, having conceived an idea of making a descent on the continent of Italy during Murat's absence, Lord Wellington wrote earnestly to him, showing him that Suchet and Soult must be expelled from the south of Spain, which could be easily effected by a strong force under English command landing in the south-east and co-operating with him from the north, or he must himself again retire to Portugal, being exposed to superior forces from both north and south. The expedition was at length sent, under general Maitland, but such a force as was utterly useless. It did not exceed six thousand men; and such men! They were chiefly a rabble of Sicilian and other foreign vagabonds, who had been induced to enlist, and were, for the most part, undisciplined. There was no cavalry at all, very little artillery, and that of very little capacity, and destitute of the proper tools, or the proper knowledge for carrying on sieges. With these miserables, general Maitland landed at Port Mahon, in Minorca, towards the end of July, and there re-embarked, with an addition of four thousand five hundred still more piebald and despicable troops. These men consisted chiefly of convicts, deserters, invalids discharged from the hospitals, who had fled from their colours, and were ready to run again on the first appearance of danger. These miscreants, clothed, armed, and fed by England, were declared to be troops in an efficient state of discipline!

This armament, with which Sir John Falstaff certainly would not have marched through Coventry, arrived off Tosa, in the bay of Blanes, on the coast of Catalonia, on the 1st of August. The brave Catalans, who had given the French more trouble than all the Spaniards besides, were rejoiced at the idea of a British army coming to aid them in rooting out the French; but Maitland received discouraging information from some Spaniards as to the forces and capabilities of Suchet, and refused to land there. Admiral Sir Edward Pellew and captain Coddrington in vain urged him to land, declaring that the Spaniards with whom he had conferred were traitors. Maitland called a council of war, and it agreed with him in opinion. This was precisely what lord Wellington had complained of to lord William Bentinck, who had propagated the most discouraging opinions amongst the officers regarding the service in Spain. He had assured him that a discouraged army was as good as no army whatever. The fleet then, much to the disappointment of the Catalans, conveyed the force to the bay of Alicante, and there landed it on the 9th of August. Suchet, who was lying within sight of that port, immediately retired, and Maitland, so long as lie retired, marched after him, and occupied the country; but, soon hearing that king Joseph was marching to reinforce Suchet, and that Soult was likely to join them, he again evacuated the country, cooped himself up in Alicante, and lay there, of no use whatever as a diversion in favour of Wellington, who was liable at Madrid to be gradually surrounded by a hundred thousand men. He must proceed against one of the French armies, north or south. Had a proper force, with a bold commander, been sent to the south, he could soon have dealt with the northern enemies. A long and more dubious necessity now lay before him; but it required no long deliberation as to which way he should move. Clausel was expecting reinforcements from France, and he proposed to attack him before they could arrive.

On the 1st of September he marched out of Madrid, and directed his course towards Valladolid, leaving, however, general Hill in the city with two divisions. He then proceeded towards Burgos, and, on the way, fell in with the Spanish army of Galicia, commanded by Santocildes, ten thousand in amount, but, like all the Spanish troops, destitute of discipline, and everything else which constitutes effective soldiers - clothes, food, and proper arms. Clausel quitted Burgos on the approach of Wellington, but left two thousand, under general Dubreton, in the castle. Wellington entered the place on the 19th, and immediately invested the castle. The French stood a desperate siege vigorously, and after various attempts to storm the fort, and only gaining the outworks, the news of the advance of the army of the north, and that of Soult and king Joseph from the south, compelled the English to abandon the attempt. General Ballasteros had been commanded by the cortes, at the request of lord Wellington, to take up a position in La Mancha, which would check the progress of Soult; but that proud and ignorant man neglected to do so, because he was boiling over with anger at the cortes having appointed lord Wellington commander-in-chief of the Spanish armies. General Hill, therefore, found it prudent to quit Madrid, and fall back on Salamanca; and lord Wellington, on the 21st of October, raised the siege of the castle of Burgos, and moved to Palencia, to be near to general Hill. At Placencia lord Dalhousie joined him with a fresh brigade from England; and he continued his retreat to the Duero, pursued briskly by the French, under general Souham. At Tudela, Souham halted to wait for Soult, who was approaching.

Wellington did not feel himself secure till he had crossed the Tormes. On his march general Hill came up, and, once more taking up his old position on the heights of San Cristoval, in front of Salamanca, which he did on the 8th of November, he declared, in his dispatch to the secretary at war, that he thought he had escaped from the worst military situation that he ever was in, for he could not count at all on the Spanish portion of his army. On the 10th Souham and Soult united their forces, now amounting to seventy- five thousand foot and twelve thousand cavalry; Welling- ton's army mustering only forty-five thousand foot and five thousand cavalry. He now expected an immediate attack, and posted his army on the heights of the two Arapiles for the purpose; but the French generals did not think well to fight him, and he continued his retreat through Salamanca, and on to Ciudad Rodrigo, where he established his head- quarters, distributing part of his army into their old cantonments between the Agueda and the Coa. This was accomplished before the end of November; and general Hill proceeded into Spanish Estremadura, and entered into cantonments near Coria, between the Alagon and Tagus. The French took up their quarters at some distance in Old Castile.

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