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of the 27th. On the following morning the light infantry were again partially engaged on the left of the line. At mid-day, the enemy's cavalry and several columns of infantry were observed in motion on the road from Mortigao over the mountains, towards the Vouga. This movement leading Lord Wellington to conclude it was the intention of Marshal Massena to place his whole army on the Oporto road, and the position of Busaco being actually turned on the 29thr, he recrossed the Mondego, and continued to retreat to the position he had previously determined on, in front of Lisbon, with his right at Alhandra on the Tagus, passing by Torres Vedras, and his left on the sea.
Marshal Massena having reconnoitred the strong line of defence taken up by Lord Wellington, remained inactive before the position until the 14th November, with his right upon Sobral de Montgare, his left Alank on the Tagus at VillaFranca. On that evening he retired in two columns, the right by the road of Alemquer to Alcoentre, and his left by Villa Nova, continuing his retreat to Santarem, where he halted and
Lord Wellington, on the 15th, followed the march of the enemy, and, finding the position of Santarem remarkably strong, he desisted from attacking it, and fixed his head-quarters at Cartaxo; and Major-General Hill's division of the army crossed the Tagus at Vallada, and was cantoned in the towns' on the opposite bank.
The retreat of Marshal Massena to Santarem must be con.. sidered as a tacit acknowledgment of the unexpected resistance he met with, and also of Lord Wellington's abilities in frustrating his original plans. Distressed by the want of provisions, and his foraging parties being continually harassed by desultory attacks, Marshal Massena retired from his position at Santarem, and the neighbourhood, in the night of the 5th March, and was pursued by Lord Wellington on the following morning. It was now that the talents of the rival chiefs were to be tried in a series of most difficult operations, and both maintained the high character their former services had earned.
Lord Wellington having detached a considerable part of his army under Marshal Beresford, contented himself with pressing upon and harassing the enemy's rear-guard during this memorable
retreat, 'which continued until the 8th April, on which day the whole of the army of Portugal had passed the Aqueda, leaving Almeida to'its fate. “Lord Wellington now invested Almeida, to relieve which place Marshal Massena collected the whole of his disposable force in Castile and Leon, and crossed the Aqueda on the 2d of May, without opposition. In consequence of this movement, the whole of the allied army in the north of Portugal was concentrated betwixt the villages of Fuentes D'Onor, in Spain, and Villa Formosa, in Portugal, two leagues from Almeida, and four from Cuidad Rodrigo. In the course of the following day, the enemy, in number 40,000 infantry and 4,500 cavalry, arrived in the plains on the other side of Fuentes ; the light division and the British cavalry gradually retiring before him as he advanced. On the same afternoon the enemy attacked the village of Fuentes D'Onor, with large bodies of troops, and the contest for this important place was maintained with great vigor on both sides until night, when the British kept possession. The village was several times taken and retaken, and nothing could equal the obstinacy of the combatants, but their bravery.
At day-break, on the 5th, (the enemy having employed the preceding day in making a reconnoissance, it was discovered that he had moved the whole of his cavalry and the 8th corps, in two columns, on the opposite side of the Duas Casas to Posobello, and that the 6th and 9th corps had also made a movement to their left. About six o'clock his manoeuvres seemed to indicate an attack on that point, and the cavalry, deriving confidence from their numbers, advanced upon the British, which was their weak arm, and compelled them to give way; but in retreating, the British cavalry repeatedly faced about, and made some successful charges upon the enemy.
Meanwhile, the 7th division, which had been considerably advanced on the plain near Posobello, retired in good order; and Major-General (now Sir William) Houston was enabled to ex-, ecute this retrograde movement, principally by the steadiness and gallantry of the two foreign corps in his division, the Duke of Brunswick Oels' infantry and the Chasseurs Brittanniques, who checked the advance of the French cavalry by several wellR. M. Cal.
directed vollies. The line was now formed with the 7th divivision across the Turon, in rear of the right of the first division, the light division and cavalry being in reserve. Beyond, on the ridge betwixt the Turon and Duas Casas rivers, were the divisions of Major-Generals (the late Sir Thomas) Picton, A. Campbell, and Sir Wm. Erskine; the left of the whole was on Fort Conception, covering Almeida. In taking up this position, Lord Wellington abandoned one of the objects he had originally in view, to keep up the communication across the Coa by Sabugal, which was, however, found to be incompatible with the blockade of Almeida.
The enemy's efforts on the right of the position, as now described, were confined to a cannonade, and some charges with their cavalry upon the advanced posts. The piquets of the first division repulsed one of these ; but as they were falling back, they did not see the direction of another in sufficient time to form and oppose it; in consequence, Lieutenant-Colonel Hill, commanding the piquet of the Guards, was taken, and several killed and wounded, before a detachment of British cavalry could be moved up to their support. The 2d battalion of the 42d regiment, commanded by Lord Blantyre, repulsed a charge of the cavalry directed against them. About the same time, the enemy pushed forward his light infantry upon the right, where they were met and repulsed by Colonel Guise, with the light companies of the Guards, and part of the 95th regiment under Captain O‘Hara. The principal contest was in the village of Fuentes D'Onor, the possession of which was of the utmost importance to either army, and of this the British General was well aware. In his attempts at this quarter, Marshal Massena sacrificed the choicest troops of the 9th corps, which formed his centre. Whenever the French appeared, the British retreated in admirable order, and under a continued fire, to the upper part of the village, where wellplaced batteries destroyed whole ranks of the French columns, and forced them to flight. Colonel Cameron was mortally wounded at the head of the 79th regiment in defending this village. The hostile armies remained in front of each other on the two following days; and in the afternoon of the 7th were
employed in burying their dead. During this interval, parties were continually occupied in strengthening the position of the British, by throwing up field-works.
On the 8th, the enemy collected the whole of his army, with the exception of part of the second corps, which remained opposite Almeida, in the woods near Gallegos, and on the 9th, continued his retreat, covered by his numerous cavalry. On the 10th, the British broke up from their position, and while the light division, supported by the cavalry, advanced towards the Aqueda, the rest of the army returned to cantonments, and the original investment of Almeida was resumed.
Early in the morning of the 11th, the French garrison of about 1000 men, which had been left in Almeida, finding that the attempt of Massena to relieve them had failed, blew up a part of the works of that fortress, and immediately marched out and attacked the piquets of a division of the British army which had formed the blockade, and forced their way through them. Owing to the darkness of the night, they were enabled to march almost unobserved, and at first with little opposition. Part of the garrison finally succeeded in crossing the Aqueda, leaving behind them, 470, who were either killed, or wounded and made prisoners.
Thus, after a series of brilliant operations, and with comparatively small loss, did Lord Wellington, for the third time, drive the French army before him, from Portugal ; an army which, according to Marshal Massena's proclamation, consisted of 110,000 men when it entered Portugal, but after the battle of Fuentes D'Onor was reduced to scarcely 40,000 effective soldiers.
In consequence of these victories, it was resolved, on the 26th of April, 1811, in the House of Commons," That the thanks of this House be given to Lieutenant-General Lord Viscount Wellington, for the consummate ability, fortitude, and perseverance displayed by him in the command of the British and Portuguese forces, by which the kingdom of Portugal has been successfully defended, and the most signal and important services rendered to his King and Country.
“ That this House doth highly approve of and acknowledge the eminent and meritorious services uniformly performed by the general officers, officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers of the
British army under the command of Lieutenant-General Lord Viscount Wellington, during the late arduous and memorable operations in Portugal, by which additional lustre has been reHlected on the reputation of the British arms.
“ That this House doth highly acknowledge the zeal, discipline, and intrepidity, so conspicuously displayed by the general officers, officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers of the Portuguese army under the inmediate command of FieldMarshal Sir William Beresford, which have essentially contributed to the successful result of the late military operations.”
A similar vote was passed in the House of Lords, and to which Lord Wellington made the following replies. “ My Lord,
“ Elvas, 25th May, 1811. " I have had the honor of receiving your Lordship's letter of the 29th of April, in which your Lordship enclosed the resolutions of the House of Lords of the 26th of April, expressing the approbation of their Lordships of the conduct of the army under my command, during the late campaign in Portugal ; which I have communicated, according to their Lordships' desire, to the allied British and Portuguese army.
“ The approbation of the House of Lords must be highly gratifying to the general officers, and officers, by whose able assistance and support, and to the troops, by whose good conduct, discipline, and bravery (under Providence), the service has been performed, which their Lordships have been pleased to distinguish in this manner; and I request your Lordship to convey to the House of Lords the expression of my gratitude for the favour with which they have been pleased to view my endeavours to serve his Majesty, and for the high honor which their Lordships have conferred upon me.
“ I likewise request your Lordship to accept my acknowledgments for the handsome terms in which your Lordship has conveyed to me the sentiments of the House of Lords.
“ I have, &c.
(Signed) “ WELLINGTON. “ The Right Honorable Lord Eldon,
Lord High Chancellor, &c.”