In the Peninsula, altogether, the French had upwards of two hundred thousand men, but the force which Massena led against Wellington did not amount to more than sixty thousand, Drouet remaining, for the present, in Spain with eighteen thousand men, and Regnier lying in Estremadura with ten or twelve thousand more. To contend against Massena’s sixty thousand veterans, Lord Wellington had only twenty-four thousand British on whom he could rely. He had thirty thousand Portuguese regulars, who had been drilled by General Beresford, and had received many British officers. Wellington had great expectation that these troops, mixed judiciously with the British ones, would turn out well; but that had yet to be tried. Besides these, there were numerous bodies of Portuguese militia, who were employed in defending the fortresses in Alemtejo and Algarve, thus protecting the flanks of Wellington’s army.
In June Massena advanced, and laid siege to Ciudad Rodrigo. This was almost within sight of Wellington’s lines. The town was defended by a Spanish garrison, and Wellington was called upon to co-operate by attacking the besiegers. This he offered to do if Romana would undertake to prevent the march of Regnier from Estremadura on his rear the while; but Romana would not undertake to maintain himself against Regnier if the British force under General Hill crossed the Tagus. Wellington, whose object was to defend Portugal and not Spain, therefore lay still; and the Spaniards, after a brave defence, were compelled to capitulate on the 10th of July. Then there was a wild cry of indignation raised against Wellington by the Spaniards, and even by his own officers, that he should see a place taken from our allies, under his very eyes, and not attempt to relieve it. The French taunted him with it in the Moniteur, and regarded it as a great sign of his weakness. But none of these things moved Wellington. He knew what he had to do—which was to defend Portugal—and he had made his plans for doing it; but this was not by exposing his small army in any situation to which the Spanish chose to call him, while, at the same time, they declined to co-operate with him. He soon had the division of Marshal Ney upon his outposts, where he fell in with our light division under General Craufurd. Wellington had ordered that, on attack, Craufurd should retire on the main body in order, because he did not wish to reduce his small numbers in skirmishes, but to reserve them for favourable occasions; but Craufurd, being hotly pursued, turned and gave the French a severe rebuff, killing and wounding above one thousand of Massena’s
men. Craufurd, having driven the French back three times, made a masterly passage, by a bridge, over the Coa, and joined the main army.
When he entered Portugal Massena issued a proclamation, informing the Portuguese that the British were the troublers and mischief-makers of Europe, and that they were there only for their own objects of ambition, and calling on the inhabitants to receive the French as their friends and saviours. Lord Wellington issued a counter-proclamation, remarking that the Portuguese had had too much occasion to learn what sort of friends the French were; that they had learned it by the robbery of their property, their brutality towards the women, and oppression of all classes. He called on them, as the sole means of rescue, to resist to the death; and he ordered them, as the British army retired from Lisbon,
to withdraw from their towns and villages, carrying whatever they could with them, so that the enemy might find no means of support. This was part of his great plan; and he assured the Portuguese that those who stayed behind after their magistrates had ordered them to withdraw should receive no assistance from him; and that whoever was found holding any communication with the enemy should be deemed a traitor, and treated accordingly.
On the 26th of August Massena arrived before Almeida, a strongly fortified town not thirty miles from Ciudad Rodrigo. Wellington hoped that it would detain him at least a month, for it had a good Portuguese garrison, commanded by Colonel Cox, an English officer: and he himself drew near, to be able to seize any opportunity of damaging the besiegers. But in the night of the 27th there was a terrible explosion of a powder magazine, which threw down part of the wall, and made the place untenable. Treachery was immediately suspected, and what followed was sufficient proof of it; for the Portuguese major, whom Colonel Cox sent to settle the terms of the capitulation, went over to the French, and was followed by a whole Portuguese regiment with the exception of its British officers. This was a great disappointment to Lord Wellington, whose plan was to detain Massena till the rainy season set in, when he would at once find himself embarrassed by bridgeless floods and in intolerable roads, and, as he hoped and had ordered, in a country without people and without provisions.
But, undiscouraged, Lord Wellington ordered General Hill, who had already crossed the Tagus, to hasten onward, and he then carefully fell back, and took his position on the grim and naked ridges of Busaco, a sierra extending from Mondego to the northward. Behind this range of hills lay Coimbra, 长沙桑拿洗浴全套价格 and three roads led through the defiles to that city. These, and several lesser ravines used by the shepherds and muleteers, he thoroughly fortified; and, posting himself on these difficult heights, he calmly awaited the advance of Massena. The ascents by which the French must reach them were precipitous and exposed; and on the summit, in the centre of the range, Wellington took up his headquarters at a Carmelite convent, whence he could survey the whole scene, having upwards of thirty thousand men disposed along these frowning eminences.
On the 26th of September the hostile host was seen in full march—cavalry, infantry, and artillery, attended by a vast assemblage of waggons and burden-bearing mules. The spectacle, as described by eye-witnesses, was most imposing in its multitudes and its beautiful order. At night, the whole country along the foot of the hills was 长沙桑拿会所哪里最好 lit up by the enemy’s camp fires, and towards morning the din of preparation for the contest was plainly audible. Nothing but the overweening confidence of Massena in his invincibility, and the urgent commands of Napoleon, could have induced him to attack the Allied army in such a position; but both he and Buonaparte held the Portuguese as nothing, regarding them no more than as so many Spaniards, unaware of the wonderful change made in them by British discipline. A letter of Buonaparte to Massena had been intercepted, in which he said that “it would be ridiculous to suppose that twenty-five thousand English could withstand sixty thousand French, if the latter did not trifle, but fell on boldly, after having well observed where the blow might be struck.” Ney, it is said, was of opinion that this was not such a situation; that it was at too great odds to attack the Allies in the 长沙夜网论坛 face of such an approach. But Massena did not hesitate; early on the morning of the 27th he sent forward several columns both to the right and left of Wellington’s position, to carry the heights. These were met, on Wellington’s right, by Picton’s division, the 88th regiment being commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace, and the 45th by Lieutenant-Colonel Meade. They were supported by the 8th Portuguese regiment. The French rushed up boldly to the very heights; but were hurled back at the point of the bayonet, the Portuguese making the charge with as much courage and vigour as the British. Another attempt, still farther to Wellington’s right, was made, the French supposing that they were then beyond the British lines, and should turn their flank; but they were there met by General Leith’s division, the Royals, the 9th and the 38th regiments, and were forced down the steeps with equal destruction. Both these sanguinary repulses 长沙桑拿洗浴休闲中心 were given to the division of General Regnier. On the left of Wellington the attack was made by Ney’s division, which came in contact with that of General Craufurd, especially with the 43rd, 52nd, and 95th regiments of British, and the 3rd Portuguese Ca?adores, and with the same decisive and destructive result. There, too, the Portuguese fought gallantly, and, where they had not room to kill with their bayonets, they imitated the British soldiers, and knocked down the French with the butt-ends of their guns. Everywhere the repulse was complete, and Massena left two thousand slain on the field, and had between three and four thousand wounded. One general was killed, three wounded, one taken prisoner, besides many other officers. The Allies lost about one thousand three hundred, of whom five hundred and seventy-eight were Portuguese. Wellington was delighted with the proof that General Beresford’s drilling had answered the very highest expectations, and that henceforth he could count confidently on his Portuguese troops, and he wrote in the most cheering terms of this fact in his dispatches home.
On the 28th Massena had discovered the pass of Boyalva through these hills, to the north of Busaco, which Wellington had ordered Colonel Trant to occupy. But Trant had missed his way, and did not reach the pass in time. Wellington saw, therefore, his flank turned, and the enemy on the highway to Oporto. He therefore quitted his position, and, taking Coimbra in his way, compelled such of the inhabitants as had not obeyed his order to march along with him. On the 1st of October he was on his route southward, accompanied by this strange crowd. It was a perfect exodus, and appeared to the poor inhabitants as a severe measure, but to it they owed their after-salvation. Had they remained, it would have been only to suffer the oppressions and insults of the French, and to see them supporting themselves on their provisions. As it was, the French, on entering Coimbra, found it, as they had done Viseu, totally deserted, and the stacks of corn and provision that could not be carried away, for the most part too adroitly buried to be easily found. They were left to the starvation that the English general designed for them. But what a scene on the road! The whole country moving south with the cattle and sheep, and waggons laden with their goods. “No power of description,” said an eye-witness, “can convey to the mind of any reader the afflicting scenes, the cheerless desolation that we daily witnessed on our march from the Mondego to the lines. Where-ever we moved, the mandate, which enjoined the wretched inhabitants to forsake their homes and to remove or destroy their little property, had gone before us. The villages were deserted; the churches—retreats so often, yet so vainly confided in—were empty; the mountain cottages stood open and untenanted; the mills in the valley, but yesterday so busy, were motionless and silent. From Thomar the flanks of our line of march were literally covered with the flying population of the country. In Portugal there are at no time many facilities for travelling, and those few the exigencies of the army had very greatly diminished. Rich indeed were those who still retained a cabriolet, and mules for its service. Those who had bullock-cars, asses, or any mode of transporting their families and property, looked contented and grateful; for respectable men and delicate women of the second class might on every side be seen walking slowly and painfully on foot, encumbered by heavy burdens of clothes, bedding, and food.” It was a whole country in emigration; quitting their cities, homes, and fields to coop themselves up in the vicinity of Lisbon, for the stern purpose of starving the detested enemy out of the land.
WELLINGTON’S RETREAT FROM COIMBRA. (See p. 604.)
[See larger version]
But, sorrowful as the sight itself was, the news of it in Great Britain excited the strongest condemnation in the party which had always doubted the power of Wellington to cope with the vast armies of France. They declared that he was carrying on a system that was ruining Portugal, and must make our name an opprobrium over the whole world, at the same time that it could not enable us to keep a footing there; that we must be driven out with terrible loss and infamy. But not so thought Wellington. Before him were the heights of Torres Vedras, about twenty-four miles from Lisbon. These, stretching in two ranges between the sea and the Tagus, presented a barrier which he did not mean the French to pass. He had already planned the whole scheme; he had already had these heights, themselves naturally strong, made tenfold stronger by military art; he had drawn the enemy after him into a country stripped and destitute of everything, and there he meant to stop him, and keep him exposed to famine and winter, till he should be glad to retrace his steps. Neither should those steps be easy. Floods, and deep muddy roads, and dearths should lie before him; and at his heels should follow, keen as hornets, the Allied army, to avenge the miseries of this invaded people.
By the 8th of October Wellington was safely encamped within these impregnable lines, and the crowd of flying people sought refuge in Lisbon, or in the country around it. The British did not arrive a moment too soon, for Massena was close at their heels with his van; but he halted at Sobral for three days to allow of the coming up of his main body. This time was spent by the British in strengthening their position, already most formidable. The two ranges of mountains lying one behind the other were speedily occupied by the troops; and they were set to work at more completely stopping up roads, and constructing barriers, palisades, platforms, and wooden bridges leading into the works. For this purpose fifty thousand trees were allowed them, and all the space between Lisbon and these wonderful lines was one swarming scene of people bringing in materials and supplies. The right of the position was flanked by the Tagus, where the British fleet lay anchored, attended by a flotilla of gunboats, and a body of marines occupied the line of embarkation; Portuguese militia manned the Castle of St. Julian and the forts on the Tagus, and Lisbon itself was filled with armed bands of volunteers. There was no want of anything within this busy and interesting enclosure, for the British fleet had the command of the sea and all its means of supply. Seven thousand Portuguese peasantry were employed in bringing in and preparing the timber for the defences; and every soldier not positively on guard was enthusiastic in helping the engineers and artillery in the labour of making the lines impregnable.
It was one of the most interesting scenes in any warfare; and there was not a man who did not enjoy the astonishment and disappointment of the French when, on the 11th, they marched in wonder up to the foot of these giant fortifications. Wellington had doubly obtained his wish; for he was not only safely ensconced in his strong position, but the rainy season which he was anticipating had set in in earnest. The main body of the French had been detained by the bad roads and the floods, and now, when the proud general, who expected so rapidly to drive the British into the sea, surveyed the scarped cliffs bristling with cannon and with bayonets far above him, his astonishment was evident. He rode along the foot of the hills for several days reconnoitreing the whole position, which seemed suddenly to have altered the situation of the combatants, and not so much to have shut up Wellington and his army in Lisbon, as to have shut him and his numerous one out to famine and the wintry elements.
For more than four months the invincible Massena continued to watch the lines of Torres Vedras without striking a single effective blow. In fact, instead of attacking Wellington, Wellington attacked his advanced posts near Sobral on the 14th, and drove them in with the bayonet. The French then showed themselves in some force near Villa Franca, close to the Tagus; but there the gunboats reached them, causing them rapidly to retreat, and killing General St. Croix. After this, the French made no further attempt on those mountain lines which struck Massena with despair. After occupying his position for a month he fell back to the town of Santarem, and there and in the neighbouring villages quartered his troops for the winter. His great business was to collect provisions, for he had brought none with him; and had the people obeyed strictly the proclamation of Wellington and the Junta, he would have found none at all, and must have instantly retreated. But the Portuguese thought it hard to quit their homesteads and carry all their provisions to Lisbon or into the mountains, and the miserable Junta threw all the blame of the order on the British general. Not only, therefore, was a considerable amount of provisions left in the country, but boats were left at Santarem, on the Tagus, contrary to Wellington’s orders, by which provisions were brought over by the French from Spain.
Yet, during this winter, while Massena’s army was in a constant state of semi-starvation, badly clothed and badly lodged, and thus wasting away by sickness and desertion, that of Wellington increased in numbers, in physical condition, and in discipline. Whilst Massena’s army, originally seventy-one thousand men, was ere long reduced by the battle of Busaco and the miserable quarters in the wet country near Torres Vedras to fifty-five thousand, the forces of Wellington had been augmented, by reinforcements from England, and by the addition of Portuguese and Spanish troops, to fifty-eight thousand. When Massena retreated to Santarem, Wellington followed him to Cartaxo, and there fixed his headquarters, and ordered General Hill to post his division opposite to Santarem, so as to check the enemy’s foraging parties in that direction. At the same time, Colonel Trant, who had surprised the French rear as Massena’s army was leaving Coimbra on his march after Wellington to Torres Vedras, and had secured the sick and wounded in the hospitals there to the amount of five thousand men, and who retained possession of Coimbra, now joined Sir Robert Wilson and Colonel Millar, who commanded the Portuguese militia, and their united force appeared in Massena’s rear, cutting off his communication with the north and also with the Spanish frontier.
Such was Massena’s situation, so early as the commencement of November—having to maintain his army in a country reduced to a foodless desert by the art of his masterly antagonist, and, instead of being able to drive the British before him, finding them menacing him on all sides, so that he dispatched General Foy to make his way with a strong escort to Ciudad Rodrigo, and thence to proceed with all speed to Paris, to explain to the Emperor the real state of affairs. The state was that the whole of Portugal, except the very ground on which Massena was encamped, was in possession of the British and the Portuguese. There was no possibility of approaching Lisbon without forcing these lines at Torres Vedras, and that, if done at all, must be at the cost of as large an army as he possessed altogether. All the rest of Portugal—Oporto, Coimbra, Abrantes—and all the forts except Almeida were in the hands of the enemy. As to the destitution of Massena’s army, we have the description from his own statements in letters to Napoleon, which were intercepted. From this information, Lord Wellington wrote in his dispatches: “It is impossible to describe the pecuniary and other distresses of the French army in the Peninsula. All the troops are months in arrears of pay; they are, in general, very badly clothed; they want horses, carriages, and equipments of every description; their troops subsist solely upon plunder; they receive no money, or scarcely any, from France, and they realise but little from their pecuniary contributions from Spain. Indeed, I have lately discovered that the expense of the pay and the hospitals alone of the French army in the Peninsula amounts to more than the sum stated in the financial exposé as the whole expense of the entire French army.”
Such were the advantages now possessed by the British over the French commander, that both the Portuguese and people at home were impatient that Wellington should at once attack and annihilate Massena’s army. But Wellington knew better. He knew that a great battle, or battles, must vastly reduce his own as well as Massena’s army. He knew that France could readily march down eighty or a hundred thousand fresh men into Portugal at extremity, but that Great Britain could not so readily do that; and, should the Whigs come into power, as was probable, he could not calculate on any support at all. The king now hopelessly insane, the Prince of Wales must be soon appointed Regent, and then, perhaps, would come in his friends the Whigs. There were many other considerations which made Wellington refuse to accede to a general attack on the French at present. He had, as it was, trouble enough with the Junta; but, should any reverse occur, his situation then would be intolerable. Just now the Portuguese troops were in good spirits for fighting, but defeat would ruin all the progress yet made with them. He knew that the winter would do for the French army all that he expected without any cost to himself, and he waited for that, ready then to follow up the advantages it would give him. It was his great plan of operations which already reduced them to the dilemma in which they were, and now came winter and did the rest, fully showing his superior sagacity. In November the weather became and continued wretched in the extreme. The country was flooded, cutting off the precarious supplies of the French, but adding strength to the encampment of Torres Vedras. The cross roads were impassable for artillery, and all but impassable for waggons bringing provisions, which had to be hunted for far and wide, with incredible hardships and little success. Leaving the hostile armies in this position till the spring, we must notice other important matters.
In the course of 1810 the French were expelled completely from the East and West Indies, and the Indian Ocean. Guadeloupe, the last of their West India Islands, was captured in February, by an expedition conducted by General Beckford and Admiral Sir A. Cochrane. In July an armament, sent out by Lord Minto from India, and headed by Lieutenant-Colonel Keating, reduced the Isle of Bourbon; and, being reinforced by a body of troops from the Cape of Good Hope, under Major-General John Abercromby and Admiral Bertie, the Isle of France, much the more important, and generally called Mauritius, surrendered on the 3rd of December. Besides a vast quantity of stores and merchandise, five frigates and about thirty merchantmen were taken; and Mauritius became a permanent British colony. From this place a squadron proceeded to destroy the French factories on the coast of Madagascar, and finished by completely expelling them from those seas.
Our forces in Sicily had an encounter, in the autumn, with those of Murat, King of Naples. Murat was ambitious of driving us out of Sicily, and Ferdinand IV. and his court with us. From spring till September he had an army lying at Scylla, Reggio, and in the hills overlooking the Strait of Messina, but he did not attempt to put across till the 18th of September. Seizing then the opportunity, when our flotilla of gunboats and our cruisers were off the station, he pushed across a body of three thousand five hundred men, under General Cavaignac. These troops were chiefly Neapolitans, but there were two battalions of Corsicans, and they were furnished with an embroidered standard to present to the Corsicans in our service, whom they hoped to induce to desert to them. General Cavaignac managed to land about seven miles to the south of Messina, and attacked the British right wing. Sir John Stuart made haste to bring up other troops to the support of the right, but before he could arrive, Colonel C. Campbell defeated the invaders, taking prisoners a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel, and forty other officers, with eight hundred men. There was a rapid retreat to their boats by the intruders, but the British pursued and cut to pieces great numbers of them, besides what were killed by the Sicilian peasantry. One boat full of soldiers was sunk as it went off, and the Neapolitans in another deserted to their old king.