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contend; and it may with truth be asserted, that while the necessity of checking evil and abuse led to the enforcement of regulations which had been neglected, or to the establishment of others indispensable to the general welfare of the service, of which the effect was felt as a grievance by many, the utmost care was taken by H. R. H. not to afford just cause of complaint to any. No detail escaped his vigilant superintendance, and the interests of the old officer, the comfort of the old soldier, were blended in his endeavours to place the army upon a footing of efficiency and respectability, which should conduce to the security and the honor of the country. In the discharge of these duties, H. R. H. enjoyed, as he merited, the full confidence and the support of his Majesty, and his government, and was assisted by officers whom a sense of their merit and efficiency, and not private favor, induced him to select for situations of office and of command.
In September, 1799, the Duke of York was called from the immediate duties of his official situation at home to assume the command of an expedition, undertaken by the British Government, for the deliverance of Holland, at a period when there was reason to hope that the successes obtained by the Austrian and Russian armies in Germany and Italy, would prevent the French from offering any vigorous resistance in Holland, especially if the attempt to emancipate that country should be supported by the inhabitants, as there appeared just ground to expect.
Preparations were made early in the summer for this enterprize, for which it was intended to assemble 30,000 British troops, who were to be joined off the coast of Holland by 17,000 Russians.
It is not intended to enter into any minute statement of this expedition, but to furnish a brief sketch of the operations, and a few general observations upon the principal events.
The first division, or the advanced guard of the expedition, of about 12,000 men, under the orders of Lieut. General Sir Ralph Abercrombie, and escorted by a considerable naval armament under Admiral Mitchell, put to sea on the 13th August, but did not make the coast of North Holland, until the 20th; and contrary winds and tempestuous weather prevented
Sir Ralph Abercrombie from effecting a landing until the 27th. It succeeded completely, although opposed vigorously by General Daendels, who had collected 10,000 men, and who retired from his position near the Helder to that of the Zuype, after sustaining a loss of 1400 men. That of the British troops was 454 in killed and wounded-among the latter was Lieut. General Sir James Pulteney, who very much distinguished himself in this action.
The evacuation of the Helder was its immediate consequence. On the 28th a reinforcement of 5,000 men landed under Major General Don, and on the same day possession was taken of the Naval Arsenal, at the Nieuwe Diep, and of the ships of war and Indiamen in it. On the Soth, Admiral Mitchell passed the Helder, and entered the channel which leads to the Vlieter, where the Dutch fleet was at anchor. Adıniral Story who commanded it was summoned to surrender the fleet, to which he agreed after some communication, and thus the maritime part of the expedition was realized in three days from the first landing of the troops.
On the 1st Sept. Sir Ralph Abercrombie advanced and occupied the position of the Zuype, with his right to Petten, and his left at Oude Sluys; General Daendels having retired from it on the 30th August in the direction of Alkmaar, upon the line of the Schermer. Here the latter was soon joined by French troops which arrived in great baste from Zealand and other parts, and on the 2nd Sept. by General Brune, who had the chief command in Holland. Upon the 8th General Dumonceau joined him with a Batavian division, when the total number of the enemy opposed to Sir. R. Abercrombie, amounted to 20,000 men, including about 7000 French
Sir R. Abercrombie, not having a force sufficient or equipments which could authorize further progress, had employed the interval between the 1st and 10th Sept. in strengthening his position; and in taking every precaution which might enable him to resist attack, until the arrival of reinforcéments from England, or of the Russians. The 11th light dragoons (about 500) had landed on the 6th and joined him.' The Hereditary Prince of Orange arrived at the Texel on the 8th, and proceeded to the Helder.
On the 10th, the enemy made a general attack upon Sir R. Abercrombie's position, directing their principal efforts against the Aank of the Slaper Dyke, which was defended by the two brigades of guards under M. General Burrard; and against the post of Crabbendam which formed a salient angle in the position ; and where they were resisted by Sir R. Abercrombie in person, with a proportion of the 20th regiment. Their attempts to force these and other points on the right and centre of the position, were gallant but unavailing; those made upon its left were weak and easily checked. They retired in disorder upon Alkmaar with the loss of nearly 2000 men, of which 1200 were French, the latter having attacked the right. The British, who were much sheltered by the dyke and intrenchments, lost only 180 killed, wounded, and missing. Among the wounded was Major General, the late Sir John, Moore.
Sir R. Abercrombie continued in his position, and between the 12th and 15th three brigades of British troops, and two of the three divisions of Russians under Lieut.Gen. Hermann, and Major Gen. Essen, dis-embarked at the Helder, and proceeded to the Zuype. The Duke of York lạnded on the 15th, and assumed the command of the army; which on the 15th amounted to 33,000 men, including 1200 light cavalry, viz. 46 battalions and 10 squadrons ; the whole of this force was, however, not assembled in the Zuype - until the 18th. At this period H. R. H. possessed a superiority of force, of which it was material that he should avail himself as early as possible, to strike a decisive blow. The season was advanced, adverse winds, and other obstacles to the assembly of the several divisions forming his army, had produced delays which had enabled the enemy to collect the means of opposition from various quarters; and had in proportion damped whatever disposition might have existed in the country to favor the cause of the House of Orange. Finally, the operations of the allies in Switzerland had taken a turn, which forbad an expectation that, as a diversion, they would longer favor the attempt in Holland.
All these motives combined to induce H. R. H. to proceed with the utmost expedition to offensive measures; and on the 19th Sept. he made a general attack upon the extensive position occupied by the enemy; the principal points of which they had
strongly fortified. It would be superfluous here to describe minutely, operations of which the plan, the progress, and the result, have been so fully detailed in official documents. The attack was made in three columns : that of the right consisting almost wholly of Russians under Lieut. Gen. Hermann, was directed upon the villages of Groet, Schorel, and Bergen; the centre columa under Lieut. Gen. D. Dundas, upon Warmenhuysen, and Schoreldam, and thence to co-operate with the right; the left column under Lieut. Gen. Sir J. Pulteney, was to attack the Lange Dyke; which was defended by General Daendels' division of Dutch troops, and strongly fortified. A fourth column of 9000 British troops, under Lieut. Gen. Sir R. Abercrombie, was to turn entirely the rightof the enemy's position, and to march on the evening of the 18th, so as to reach Hoorn at the moment when the general attack should commence; and thence to direct itself on Purmerend, eventually, if the general attack should succeed, to threaten and even to endeavour to possess itself of Amsterdam.
The first operations of the several columns were successful. Lieut. Gen. Hermann rapidly carried Groet and Schorel, and penetrated into Bergen; Lieut. Gen. Dundas's columu carried Warmenhuysen and Schoreldam, and established itself at the latter point; while Sir James Pulteney's, later in the day, stormed the fornuidable works at Oudes Carpel, the head of the Lange Dyke, and drove the enemy with considerable loss of men and guns, from the villages which line the Lange Dyke, upon Alkmaar ; thus cutting off Gen. Daendels from the retreat on Purmerend, and removing all opposition to the progress of Sir R. Abercrombie, excepting such as the nature and state of the country offered. 1. The hopes which so brilliant a commencement afforded of a general and decisive success were destroyed by the imprudent conduct of the Russian troops under General Hermann ; whose hasty valor caused them to overlook every precaution which the art of war prescribes, and led to their being surrounded in the village of Bergen, and finally repulsed with very considerable loss, by an enemy inferior to them in number and valor, but superior in science and prudence; they retired in confusion,
and a very great proportion of General Dundas's column, was necessarily detached from the centre to support them, and to cover the right of the position of the Zuype. Sir James Pulteney was directed to suspend bis attack; Sir R. Abercrombie was recalled, and the whole of the troops which had been employed in this attack, resumed their stations in the position from which they had marched. The British lost in killed, wounded, and missing, about 1100 men, of whom 49 were officers. The Russians in killed and taken 1745 men, of whom 44 were officers, including Lieut. Gen. Hermann taken, and Lieut. Gen. Gerebzoff killed ; and in wounded 1225, of whom 49 were officers, including Major Gen. Southoff. The enemy suffered also very considerably, and left 3000 prisoners in the hands of the allies, chiefly taken by Sir James Pulteney's column.
The Duke of York has without reason been blamed, for having detached so large a corps under Lieut. Gen. Sir R. Abercrombie, instead of applying a greater force to the attack of the enemy's left. The objects to be gained by the movements of Sir R. Abercrombie would, if attained, have had material effect on the result of the whole expedition ; and could only be attempted while H. R. H. possessed a superiority of means; at the same time that its success could alone remove the evils, arising from the late period of the season, at which the operations had commenced. The enemy had left their right uncovered, and a very strong country unoccupied; from which it was evident that it would be very difficult to drive them, if time were allowed to them to correct their error; and they had left Amsterdam without defence on the side only by which it was accessible. The numbers of the column which attacked Bergen would have been more than sufficient, if they had been employed with common prudence. This column was at all times very superior to the enemy which opposed it, but it moved in mass in an intersected country, never covered its flanks, never deployed during its hurried progress, and its operations having, contrary to order, been commenced long before daylight, the fire of musquetry was directed on no positive point, extended through the whole depth of the column or mass; and proved probably more destructive to itself than to the enemy.