Page images
PDF
EPUB

: "Major-General Kempt mentions in high terms, in his report, the cool and persevering gallantry of the officers and troops; of which indeed the strength of the work, which they carried, affords the best proof. He particularly mentions Lientenant-Colonel Hardinge, of the staff of the Portuguese army, who attended him on this occasion, Captain Bennett, his aid-decamp, and Brigade-Major Wilde, who was unfortunately killed by a cannon-shot after the work was in our possession ; likewise Captain Holloway, Lieutenants Gipps and Stanway, of the Royal Engineers, who conducted the several detachments to the points of attack, and Majors Shawe and Rudd, and the Hon. Captain Powys, who commanded the several detachments. These three officers were wounded, the latter on the parapet of the work, which he had been the first to mount by ladders.

“ I have to add to this account the high sense I entertain of the judicious manner and gallantry with which Major-General Kempt carried into execution the service which I had entrusted to him.

o We thus established ourselves in La Picurina on the night of the 25th, and opened the second parallel within 300 yards of the body of the place: in which two batteries were commenced last night.

“ It is impossible that I can do justice to the zeal, activity, and indefatigable labor of the officers and soldiers with which these operations have been carried on in the most unfavourable weather.”

Camp before Badajoz, April 3, 1812. “ We opened our fire on the 31st of March from twentysix pieces of cannon, in the second parallel, to breach the face of the bastion at the south-east angle of the fort called La Trinidad; and the flank of the bastion by which the face is defended called Santa Maria. The fire upon these has continued since with great effect.

“ The enemy made a sortie upon the night of the 29th, upon the troops of General Hamilton's division, which invest the place to the right of the Guadiana, but were immediately driven in with loss. We lost no men on this occasion.

“ The movements of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Graham and of Lieutenant-General Sir Rowland Hill have obliged the enemy to retire by the different roads towards Cordova, with the exception of a small body of infantry and cavalry, which remained at Zalamea de la Sereva, in front of Belalcazar.

“ Marshal Soult broke up in front of Cadiz on the 23d and 24th, and has marched upon Seville with all the troops which were there, with the exception of four thousand men.

“I understand that he was to marchi from Seville again on the 30th or 31st.

“ I have not heard from Castile since the 30th ultimo. One division of the army of Portugal, which had been in the province of Avila, had on that day arrived at Guadapero, within two leagues of Ciudad Rodrigo ; and it was supposed that Marshal Marmont was on his march with other troops from the side of Salamanca.

“ The river Agueda was not fordable for troops on the 30th."

My Lord, Camp before Badajoz, April 7, 1812. My dispatch of the 3d instant will have apprised your Lordship of the state of the operations against Badajoz to that date, which were brought to a close on the night of the 6th, by the capture of the place by storm.

“ The fire continued during the 4th and 5th against the face of the bastion of La Trinidad, and the flank of the bastion of Santa Maria ; and on the 4th, in the morning, we opened another battery of six guns, in the second parallel, against the shoulder of the ravelin of St. Roque, and the wall in its gorge. .

« Practicable breaches were effected in the bastions above mentioned, in the evening of the 5th ; but as I had observed that the enemy had entrenched the bastion of La Trinidad, and the most formidable preparations were making for the defence as well of the breach in that bastion, as of that of the bastion of Santa Maria, I determined to delay the attack for another day, and to turn all the guns in the batteries in the second parallel on the curtain of La Trinidad, in hopes that by effecting a third breach the troops would be enabled to turn the enemy's works for the defence of the other two, the attack of which would besides

be connected by the troops destined to attack the breach in the curtain.

“ This breach was effected in the evening of the 6th, and the fire of the face of the bastion of Santa Maria and of the flank of the bastion of La Trinidad' being overcome, I determined to attack the place that night.

“ I had kept in reserve, in the neighbourhood of this camp, the 5th division, under Lieutenant-General Leith, and which had left Castile only in the middle of March, and had but lately arrived in this part of the country, and I brought them up on that evening.

The plan for the attack was, that Lieutenant-General Picton should attack the castle of Badajoz by escalade with the 3d division; and a detachment from the guard in the trenches, furnished that evening by the 4th division, under Major Wilson of the 48th regiment, should attack the ravelin of St. Roque upon his left; while the 4th division, the Honorable Major-General Colville, and the light division, under Lieutenant-Colonel Barnard, should attack the breaches in the bastions of La Trinidad and of Santa Maria, and in the curtain by which they are connected. The 5th division were to occupy the ground which the 4th and light divisions had occupied during the siege, and Lieutenant-General Leith was to make a false attack upon the outwork, called Pardeleras, and another on the works of the fort towards the Guadiana, with the left brigade of the division, under Major-General Walker, which he was to turu into a real attack, if circumstances should prove favorable; and BrigadierGeneral Power, who invested the place with his Portuguese brigade on the right of the Guadiana, was directed to make false attacks on the tête-du-pont, the fort St. Christoval, and the new redoubt called Mon-coeur.

“ The attack was accordingly made at ten at night. Lieutenant-General Picton preceding, by a few minutes, the attack by the remainder of the troops.

Major-General Kempt led this attack, which went out from the right of the first parallel; he was unfortunately wounded in crossing the Rivellas below the inundation ; but notwithstanding this circumstance, and the obstinate resistance of the enemy, the castle was carried by escalade, and the 3d division established in it at about half-past eleven.

“ While this was going on, Major James Wilson, of the 48th regiment, carried the ravelin of St. Roque by the gorge, with a detachment of 200 men of the guard in the trenches, and with the assistance of Major Squire, of the engineers, established himself within that work.

“ The 4th and light divisions moved to the attack from the camp along the left of the river Rivellas and of the inundation. They were not perceived by the enemy till they reached the covered way, and the advanced guards of the two divisions descended without difficulty into the ditch, protected by the fire of the parties stationed on the glacis for that purpose ; and they advanced to the assault of the breaches, led by their gallant officers, with the utmost intrepidity ; but such was the nature of the obstacles prepared by the enemy at the top and behind the breaches, and so determined their resistance, that our troops could not establish themselves within the place. Many brave officers and soldiers were killed or wounded by explosions at the top of the breaches; others who succeeded them were obliged to give way, having found it impossible to penetrate the obstacles which the enemy had prepared to impede their progress. These attempts were repeated till after twelve at night, when, finding that success was not to be attained, and that Lieutenant-General Picton was established in the castle, I ordered that the 4th and light divisions might retire to the ground on which they had first assembled for the attack.

“ In the mean time, Major-General Leith had pushed forward Major-General Walker's brigade on the left, supported by the 38th regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Nugent, and the 15th Portuguese regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel De Regoa : and he had made a false attack upon the Pardeleras with the 8th caçadores under Major Hill. Major-General Walker forced the barrier on the road of Olivença, and entered the covered way on the left of the bastion of St. Vincente, close to the Guadiana. He there descended into the ditch, and escaladed the face of the bastion of St. Vincente.

“ Lieutenant-General Leith supported this attack by the 38th regiment and the 15th Portuguese regiment; and our troops being thus established in the castle, which commands all the works of the town, and in the town, and the 4th and light divisions being formed again for the attack of the breaches, all resistance ceased; and at day-light in the morning, the Governor, General Philipon, who had retired to furt St. Christoval, surrendered, together with General Vellande, and all the staff, and the whole garrison.

“I have not got, accurate reports of the strength of the garrison, or of the number of the prisoners; but General Philipon has informed me, that it consisted of five thousand men at the commencement of the siege, of which twelve hundred were killed or wounded during the operations, besides those lost in the assault of the place. There were five French battalions, besides two of the regiment Hesse D'Armstadt, and the artillery, engineers, &c.; and I understand there are four thousand prisoners,

“ It is impossible that any expressions of mine can convey to your Lordship the sense which I entertain of the gallantry of the officers and troops upon this occasion.

- The list of killed and wounded will show that the general officers, the staff attached to them, the commanding and other officers of regiments, put themselves at the head of the attacks which they severally directed, and set the example of gallantry, which was so well followed by their men.

“ Marshal Sir William Beresford assisted me in conducting the details of this siege, and I am much indebted to him for the cordial assistance which I received from him, as well during its progress, as in the last operation, which brought it to a termination.

“The duties in the trenches were conducted successively by the Honorable Major-General Colville, Major-General Bowes, and Major-General Kempt, under the superintendance of Lieutenant-General Picton. I have had occasion to mention all these officers during the course of the operations, and they all distinguished themselves, and were all wounded in the assault. I am particularly obliged to Lieutenant-General Picton, for the manner in which he arranged the attack of the castle, and for that in

« PreviousContinue »