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Title: Wellington's Army 1809-1814
Author: Oman, Charles
Language: English
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[Illustration: _PLATE I._


_From a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence._]


  C. W. C. OMAN




  [_All rights reserved_]


Much has been written concerning Wellington and his famous Peninsular
Army in the way of formal history: this volume, however, will I
think contain somewhat that is new to most students concerning its
organization, its day by day life, and its psychology. To understand
the exploits of Wellington’s men, it does not suffice to read a mere
chronicle of their marches and battles. I have endeavoured to collect
in these pages notices of those aspects of their life with which no
strategical or tactical work can deal, though tactics and even strategy
will not be found unnoticed.

My special thanks are due to my friend Mr. C. T. Atkinson, Fellow of
Exeter College, Oxford, for allowing me to use the admirable list of
the brigade and divisional organization of the Peninsular Army which
forms Appendix II. It is largely expanded from the article on the same
topic which he printed eight years ago in the _Historical Review_, and
enables the reader to find out the precise composition of every one of
Wellington’s units at any moment between April, 1808 and April, 1814.
I have also to express my gratitude to the Hon. John Fortescue, the
author of the great _History of the British Army_, for answering a good
many queries which I should have found hard to solve without his aid.
The index is by the same loving hand which has worked on so many of my
earlier volumes.

            C. OMAN.

    _September, 1912_.


  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

      I.  INTRODUCTORY—THE OLD PENINSULAR ARMY                         1

              WAR                                                      9












    XIV.  DISCIPLINE AND COURT-MARTIALS                              237

     XV.  THE ARMY ON THE MARCH                                      255


   XVII.  A NOTE ON SIEGES                                           279

  XVIII.  UNIFORMS AND WEAPONS                                       292

    XIX.  THE COMMISSARIAT                                           307

     XX.  A NOTE ON THE SPIRITUAL LIFE                               320

                     1809                                            333

                     1809–1814, BY C. T. ATKINSON, M.A., FELLOW OF
                     EXETER COLLEGE, OXFORD                          343

                     MEMOIRS OF THE PENINSULAR WAR                   375

  INDEX                                                              385


     I.  ARTHUR WELLESLEY, DUKE OF WELLINGTON             _Frontispiece_
              _From a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence_

                                                             FACING PAGE
    II.  LORD HILL, G.C.B.                                           118

              _From the picture by Sir George Hayter_

    IV.  GENERAL SIR THOMAS PICTON, K.C.B.                           138

     V.  OFFICER OF RIFLES, 1809                                     188

         PRIVATE, INFANTRY OF THE LINE, 1809                         188

    VI.  OFFICER OF LIGHT DRAGOONS, UNIFORM OF 1809                  194

         OFFICER OF LIGHT DRAGOONS, UNIFORM OF 1813                  194

   VII.  PRIVATE OF HEAVY DRAGOONS, 1809                             284

         OFFICER OF FIELD ARTILLERY, 1809                            284

             ORDER, 1813                                             296




While working for the last nine years at the History of the Peninsular
War, I have (as was inevitable) been compelled to accumulate many
notes, and much miscellaneous information which does not bear upon the
actual chronicle of events in the various campaigns that lie between
1808 and 1814, but yet possesses high interest in itself, and throws
many a side-light on the general course of the war. Roughly speaking,
these notes relate either to the personal characteristics of that
famous old army of Wellington, which, as he himself said, “could go
anywhere and do anything,” or to its inner mechanism—the details of its
management. I purpose to speak in these pages of the leaders and the
led; of the daily life, manners, and customs of the Peninsular Army,
as much as of its composition and its organization. I shall be dealing
with the rank and file no less than with the officers, and must even
find space for a few pages on that curious and polyglot horde of camp
followers which trailed at the heels of the army, and frequently raised
problems which worried not only colonels and adjutants, but even the
Great Duke himself.

There is an immense amount of interesting material to be collected,
concerning the inner life of the Peninsular Army, from public
documents, such as despatches, general orders, and regimental reports,
and records of courts martial. But I shall be utilizing to a much
greater extent non-official information, collected from the countless
diaries, memoirs, and series of contemporary letters, which have come
down to us from the men who took part in the great war. Nor are the
controversial pamphlets to be neglected, which kept appearing for
many a year, when one survivor of the old army found, in the writings
of another, statements which he considered injurious to himself, his
friends, his regiment, or his division. The best known and most copious
of these discussions is that which centres round the publication of
Napier’s _Peninsular War_; the successive appearance of its volumes led
to the printing of many protests, in which some of the most prominent
officers of Wellington’s army took part—not only Lord Beresford,
who was Napier’s especial butt and _bête noir_, and replied to the
historian in terms sometimes not too dignified—but Cole, Hardinge,
D’Urban, and many more. This set of “strictures”, as they were called,
mainly relate to the Albuera campaign. But there are smaller, but not
less interesting, series of controversial pamphlets relating to the
Convention of Cintra, to Moore’s retreat, to the campaign of 1810
(Bussaco), the storm of Badajoz, and other topics.

The memoirs and autobiographies, of course, possess the greatest share
of interest. And it may be noted as a remarkable fact that those
coming from the rank and file are not very much less numerous than
those which come from the commissioned ranks. If there are scores
of diaries and reminiscences of colonels, captains, and subalterns,
there are at least dozens of little books by sergeants, corporals, and
privates. Many of these are very quaint productions indeed, printed
at local presses—at Perth, Coventry, Cirencester, Louth, Ashford—even
at Corfu. Very frequently some knot of military or civilian friends
induced a much-travelled veteran to commit to paper the tales which had
been the delight of the canteen, or of the fireside of some village
inn. They are generally very good reading, but often give rather the
spirit of the time and the regiment than an accurate record of its
long-past exploits. One or two of these veterans’ artless tales show
all the characteristics of the memoirs of the prince of their tribe—the
delightful but autolatrous Marbot. I have thought it worth while to
give in an appendix the names and titles of the best of them. One
or two, above all the little book of “Rifleman Harris” of the 95th,
well deserve to be republished, but still await that honour. Perhaps
regimental patriotism may some day provide us with a series of reprints
of the best Soldiers’ Tales.[1]

[Sidenote: Memoirs of the Rank and File]

It is a very notable fact, which requires (but has never hitherto
received) an explanation, that it is precisely with the coming in of
the nineteenth century that British soldiers and officers alike began
to write diaries and reminiscences on a large scale, and in great
numbers. I do not, of course, mean to say that there were none such
produced in the eighteenth century. Besides serious military histories
like those of Kane, Stedman, or Tarleton, there do exist a certain
number of narratives of personal adventure written by officers, such
as Major Rogers the Scout, or the garrulous and often amusing diarist
(unfortunately anonymous) who made the campaign of Culloden with
the Duke of Cumberland—not to speak of the semi-apochryphal Captain
Carleton. But they are few, and the writings from the ranks are fewer
still, though there are certain soldiers’ letters which go back as far
as Marlborough’s time, and one or two small books like Bristow’s and
Scurry’s Indian reminiscences, and Sergeant Lamb’s _Journal_ in the
American War of Independence, which are worth mentioning. But it is
quite certain that there was more writing going on in the army during
the ten years 1805–1815 than in the whole eighteenth century.

What was the explanation of the phenomenon? There are, I think, two
main causes to be borne in mind: the first was the glorious and
inspiring character of Wellington’s campaigns, which made both officers
and men justifiably proud of themselves, and more anxious than any
previous generation had been to put on paper the tale of their own
exploits. It must have been a man of particularly cheerful disposition
who cared to compile the personal narrative of his adventures during
the Old American War, which was largely a record of disaster, or
even in the ups and downs of the Seven Years’ War, when for every
Minden or Quebec there had been an evil memory like Ticonderoga
or Kloster-Kampen. It is to this instinctive dislike to open up
old memories of misfortune that we may attribute the fact that the
first British campaigns of the French Revolutionary War, the unhappy
marches and battles of the Duke of York’s army in 1793, 1794, 1795 are
recorded in singularly few books of reminiscences—there are only (to my
knowledge) the doggerel verse of the “Officer of the Guards,” with its
valuable foot-notes, and the simple memoirs of Sergeant Stevenson of
the Scots Fusilier Guards, and Corporal Brown of the Coldstream. This
is an extraordinarily small output for a long series of campaigns, in
which some 30,000 British troops were in the field, and where gallant
exploits like those of Famars and Villers-en-Cauchies took place. But
the general tale was not one on which any participant could look back
with pleasure. Hence, no doubt, the want of books of reminiscences.

But I fancy that there is another and a quite distinct cause for the
extraordinary outburst of interesting military literature with which
the nineteenth century begins, and we may note that this outburst
certainly commences a little before the Peninsular War. There exist
several very good personal narratives both of the Conquest of Egypt
in 1801, of the Indian Wars during the Viceroyalty of Lord Wellesley,
and of the short campaign of Maida. And this cause I take to be the
fact that the generation which grew up under the stress of the long
Revolutionary War with France was far more serious and intelligent
than that which saw it begin, and realized the supreme importance
of the ends for which Great Britain was contending, and the danger
which threatened her national existence. The empire had been in danger
before, both in the Seven Years’ War, and in the War of American
Independence, but the enemy had never been so terrifying and abhorrent
as the Jacobins of the Red Republic. The France of Robespierre was
loathed and feared as the France of Louis XV. or Louis XVI. had never
been. To the greater part of the British nation the war against the
Revolution soon became a kind of Crusade against the “triple-headed
monster of Republicanism, Atheism, and Sedition.” The feeling that
Great Britain had to fight not so much for empire as for national
existence, and for all that made life worth having—religion, morality,
constitution, laws, liberty—made men desperately keen for the fight, as
their ancestors had never been.

[Sidenote: The Sword and the Pen]

Among the many aspects which their keenness took, one was most
certainly the desire to record their own personal part in the great
strife. It is in some such way only that I can explain the fact that
the actually contemporary diaries and journals become so good as the
war wears on, compared to anything that had gone before. Memoirs and
reminiscences written later do not count in the argument, because they
were compiled and printed long after the French war was over, and its
greatness was understood. But the abundance of good material written
down (and often sent to the press) during the continuance of the war
is astounding. In some cases we can be sure that we owe the record
to the reason that I have just suggested. For example, we certainly
owe to it the long and interesting military diaries of Lord Lynedoch
(the Sir Thomas Graham of Barrosa), who most decidedly went into the
Revolutionary War as a Crusader and nothing less. As I shall explain
when dealing with his remarkable career, he started military life at
forty-four, mortgaging his estates to raise a battalion, and suddenly
from a Whig M.P. of the normal type developed into a persistent and
conscientious fighter against France and French ideas—whether they were
expressed (as when first he drew the sword) in the frenzied antics of
the Jacobins, or (as during his latter years) in the grinding despotism
of Bonaparte. His diary from first to last is the record of one who
feels that he is discharging the elementary duty of a good citizen, by
doing his best to beat the French wherever they may be found.

I take it that the same idea was at the bottom of the heart of many a
man of lesser note, who kept his pen busy during those twenty eventful
years. Some frankly say that they went into the service, contrary to
the original scheme of their life, because they saw the danger to the
state, and were ready to take their part in meeting it. “The threat of
invasion fired every loyal pair of shoulders for a red coat.”[2]

Of the men whose memoirs and letters I have read, some would have
been lawyers (like Sir Hussey Vivian), others politicians, others
doctors, others civil servants, others merchants, if the Great War
had not broken out. I should imagine that the proportion of officers
who had taken their commission for other reasons than that they had
an old family connection with the army, or loved adventure, was
infinitely higher during this period than it had ever been before. A
very appreciable number of them were men with a strong religious turn—a
thing I imagine to have been most unusual in the army of the eighteenth
century (though we must not forget Colonel Gardiner). One young diarist
heads the journal of his first campaign with a long prayer.[3] Another
starts for the front with a final letter to his relatives to the effect
that “while striving to discharge his military duties he will never
forget his religious ones: he who observes the former and disregards
the latter is no better than a civilized brute.”[4]

[Sidenote: The Men of Religion]

There were Peninsular officers who led prayer-meetings and founded
religious societies—not entirely to the delight of the Duke of
Wellington,[5] whose own very dry and official view of religion was as
intolerant of “enthusiasm” as that of any Whig bishop of Mid-Georgian
times. Some of the most interesting diaries of the war are those of
men who like Gleig, Dallas, and Boothby, took Holy Orders when the
strife came to an end. One or two of the authors from the ranks show
the same tendencies. Quartermaster Surtees was undergoing the agonies
of a very painful conversion, during the campaign of 1812, and found
that the memories of his spiritual experiences had blunted and dulled
his recollection of his regimental fortunes during that time.[6]
A very curious book by an Irish sergeant of the 43rd devotes many
more pages to religious reflections than to marches and bivouacs.[7]
Another writer of the same type describes himself on his title-page
as “Twenty-one years in the British Foot Guards, sixteen years a
non-commissioned officer, forty years a Wesleyan class leader, once
wounded, and two years a Prisoner.”[8]

On the whole I am inclined to attribute the great improvement alike
in the quantity and the quality of the information which we possess
as to the inner life of the army, during the second half of the great
struggle with France, not only to the fact that the danger to the
empire and the great interests at stake had fired the imagination of
many a participant, but still more to the other fact that the body of
officers contained a much larger proportion of thoughtful and serious
men than it had ever done before. And the same was the case _mutatis
mutandis_ with the rank and file also. Not but what—of course—some
of the most interesting information is supplied to us by cheerful and
garrulous rattlepates of a very different type, who had been attracted
into the service by the adventure of the soldier’s life, and record
mainly its picturesque or its humorous side.



It will be well, perhaps, to give a short account of the main sources
from which our knowledge of the Peninsular Army is derived. The
official ones must be cited first. The most important of all are,
naturally enough, the Wellington Dispatches. Of these there are two
series; the first, in twelve volumes, was published during the Duke’s
lifetime by Colonel Gurwood between 1837 and 1839. The second, or
supplementary series, in fifteen volumes, was published with copious
notes by the second Duke of Wellington between 1858 and 1872.

The series edited by Gurwood is absolutely necessary to every student
of the Peninsular War, but is most tiresome to handle, and is by no
means complete. The Duke forbade the publication of a great number
of his more confidential letters, and ordered portions of others to
be omitted. He had a strong notion that a great deal of historical
information could be, and ought to be, suppressed; this fact has caused
much trouble to the modern historian, who wishes to obtain not a mere
official and expurgated view of the war, but a full and complete survey
of it. To show Wellington’s attitude it may be sufficient to quote
his answer to William Napier, who asked for leave to utilize all his
papers. “He could not tell the whole truth without hurting the feelings
of many worthy men, and without doing mischief. Expatiating on the
subject, he related many anecdotes illustrating this observation,
showing errors committed by generals and others—especially at
Waterloo—errors so materially affecting his operations that he could
not do justice to himself if he suppressed them, and yet by giving them
publicity he would ungraciously affect the favour of many worthy men,
whose only fault was dullness.”[9]

[Sidenote: Gurwood and the Duke’s Dispatches]

The Gurwood edition of the dispatches was published some fifteen
years after Napier made his application, but numbers of the old
Peninsular officers were still alive, and the Duke adhered to his
already-expressed opinion that it would not be well to expose old
quarrels and old blunders. Paragraphs, accordingly, are often omitted
in the reprint, and in a large majority of cases, where blame was
imputed or reproofs administered to any individual, the name was
left blank. This makes the edition most tiresome to read. It is
exasperating to find that _e.g._ “nothing has given me more concern in
the late operations than the conduct of Lieut.-Colonel —— of the ——
Regt.”[10] or that “no means exists of punishing military disorders
and irregularities of the kind committed by Brigadier-General ——
and Colonel ——.” Or again, when Wellington writes to the Patronage
Secretary at the Horse Guards that “I am much obliged to you for
relieving me from Major-General —— and Colonel ——. I have seen General
—— and I think he will do very well, and so will ——”[11]; or that “——
appears to be a kind of madman,” and “—— is not very wise,” the reader
is reduced to despair. The only way of discovering the names, which
are often those of officers of high rank, who figure repeatedly in any
narrative of the Peninsular War, is to go to the original dispatches
at the Record Office, or, when the communication is a private and not
a public one, to the letters at Apsley House. Meanwhile, few have the
leisure or the patience to do this, so that Wellington’s judgments on
his lieutenants are still practically inaccessible.

It was, perhaps, still necessary to leave all these blanks in 1837.
And Gurwood was no doubt acting in strict obedience to the Duke’s
orders. But nothing can excuse his own slack editing of the massive
tomes that he published. There are no tables of contents to the
volumes, nor does the title page of each indicate the dates between
which it runs. To find out which volume will contain a letter of
November, 1810, we must take down Vols. VI. and VII., and see from the
date of the last dispatch in one and the first in the other, when the
break comes. Supposing we wish to discover how many communications were
sent to Graham or Spencer in 1811, there is no other way of achieving
our object than running through every page of the two volumes in which
the correspondence of that year is contained! There is a so-called
index to the whole series, but it is practically useless, from the
small number of headings given. The reader will look in it vainly for
obvious places-names such as Chaves, Casal Novo, Castello Branco,
Vera, St. Pierre, for personal names such as Lapisse, Latour-Maubourg,
Bonnet, Montbrun, Abadia, Penne-Villemur, O’Donnell, Del Parque,
Erskine, Anson, Victor Alten, Barnard, Beckwith. On the other hand he
will find silly headings such as under L, “Lies, encouragement of,” or
under I, “Invincibility of British Troops.” Perhaps the most ridiculous
entry in this absurd compilation is that of “Light Division,” to which
there is annexed just one note, “satisfactory conduct of, on April
6, 1811,” as if that was the sole occasion on which it was necessary
to mention that distinguished unit of the British army. There are no
headings under regiments at all, so that if one wishes to see what the
Duke said about the 52nd or the Black Watch, one simply gets no help.

But there is another trick of Gurwood’s which is even worse than his
want of tables of contents or adequate index-entries. He omitted all
the elaborate statistics which used to accompany the Duke’s dispatches,
without exception. The beautiful tables of casualties which explain
the distribution of losses between regiments and divisions, are in
every case boiled down into three bald totals of “killed, wounded,
and missing,” for the whole army, no indication of units being
left. Even Lord Londonderry’s modest two volumes, the first attempt
at a general history of the Peninsular War, give far more useful
information on the all-important topics of strengths and losses than
all Gurwood’s tomes. For that sensible author rightly saw that nothing
could be more serviceable to the reader than an occasional table of
the organization and numbers of the whole allied army, and that the
detailed casualty-list of such a fight as Talavera or Albuera is
indispensable. The purblind Gurwood preferred to put in a note, “the
detail of divisions, regiments, and battalions has been omitted, being
too voluminous,”[12] when he was dealing with an important return. The
historian owes him small thanks for his precious opinion.

It is an immense relief to pass from Gurwood’s ill-arranged work to
the volumes of the _Wellington Supplementary Dispatches_, which were
published by the second Duke between 1858 and 1872. Though the mass of
Peninsular material contained in this series is comparatively small,
it comprises a great quantity of familiar and private correspondence,
which had been deliberately omitted from the earlier publication.
And, moreover, it is admirably edited; the second Duke knew what was
important and what required explanation, appended valuable and copious
notes, and was able (since the elder generation was now practically
extinct) to abandon the exasperating reticence used by Gurwood.
Moreover, he added a vast quantity of letters written not by, but to,
his father, which serve to explain the old Duke’s sometime cryptic
replies to his correspondents. Even a few necessary French documents
have been added. Altogether these volumes are excellent, and make one
wish that the editing of the whole of the Wellington papers had fallen
into the same hands.

[Sidenote: Wellington’s “General Orders”]

There is a third series of Official publications which though not
so “generally necessary for salvation” as the Dispatches, for any
student of the Peninsular War, is very valuable and needs continually
to be worked up. This is the seven volumes of _General Orders_, from
1809 to 1815, which are strictly contemporary documents, as they were
collected and issued while the war was in progress—the 1809–10 volumes
were printed in 1811, the 1811 volume in 1812, and so on. The last, or
Waterloo volume, had the distinction of being issued by the British
Military Press in Paris, “by Sergeant Buchan, 3rd Guards,” as printer.
The _General Orders_ contain not only all the documents strictly so
called, the notices issued by the commander-in-chief for the army, but
an invaluable _précis_ of all courts-martial other than regimental
ones, and a record of promotions, gazettings of officers to regiments,
rules as to issue of pay and rations, and directions as to all matters
of detail relating to organization, hospitals, depôts, stores, routes,
etc. If any one wishes to know on what day the 42nd was moved from
the first to the second division, when precisely General Craufurd got
leave to go home on private business, what was the accepted value of
the Spanish dollar or the Portuguese Cruzado Novo at different dates,
when expressed in English money, or what was the bounty given when a
time-expired man consented to renew his service for a limited period,
these are the volumes in which he will find his curiosity satisfied.
They cannot be called interesting reading—but they contain facts not
elsewhere to be found.

There is an exactly corresponding series of General Orders for the
Portuguese Army, in six yearly volumes, called _Ordens do Dia_: it was
issued by Marshal Beresford, and contains all the documents signed
by him. Whenever a student is interested in the career of one of the
numerous British officers in the Portuguese service, he must seek out
the records of his doings in these volumes. They are not easy to work
in, as they have no yearly indices, and much patience is required to
discover isolated notices of individuals. These volumes are practically
inaccessible in England. It was with the greatest difficulty that a
Lisbon friend hunted me up a copy after long search, and I am not
aware that there is another on this side of the sea. But by its
use only can we trace the service of any Anglo-Portuguese officer.
There was supposed to be an “Ordem” every morning, and when nothing
was forthcoming in the way of promotions, court-martial reports, or
decrees, Beresford’s chief of the staff used to publish a solemn
statement that there was no news, as thus—

                Quartel-General de Chamusca, 7. 1. 1811.
                             Nada de novo.
                      _Adjudante-General_ Mosinho.

This happened on an average about twice a week.

In addition to these printed series there is an immense amount of
unprinted official correspondence in the Record Office which bears
on the Peninsular War. It will be found not only in the War Office
section, but in those belonging to the Foreign Office and the
Admiralty. As an example of the mysteries of official classification, I
may mention that all documents relating to French prisoners will have
to be looked for among the Admiralty records, under the sub-headings
_Transport_ and _Medical_. If, as occasionally happens, one wishes to
find out the names and regiments of French officers captured on some
particular occasion, _e.g._ Soult’s retreat from Oporto, or the storm
of Badajoz, it is to the Admiralty records that one must go! Officers
can always be identified, but it is a herculean task to deal with the
rank and file, for they used to be shot into one of the great prisons,
Norman’s Cross, Porchester, Stapleton, etc., in arbitrary batches, with
no regard to their regimental numbers. It would take a week to hunt
through the prison records with the object of identifying the number
of privates of the 34th Léger captured at Rodrigo, since they may have
gone in small parties to any one of a dozen destinations. Many of the
prison registers have lost one or other of their outer-boards, and the
handling of them is a grimy business for the fingers, since they are
practically never consulted.

[Sidenote: The Record Office and its Wealth]

While nearly the whole of the Wellington dispatches have been printed,
it is only a small part of the Duke’s “enclosures”, added to each
dispatch, that have had the same good fortune. These always repay
a cursory inspection, and are often highly important. The greater
part of Sir John Moore’s correspondence with Lord Castlereagh, and
many dispatches of Moore’s subordinates—Baird, Leith, and Lord W.
Bentinck—with a number of valuable returns and statistics,—are printed
in a large volume entitled “_Papers Relative to Spain and Portugal,
Presented to Parliament in 1809_.” There are, to the best of my
knowledge, no similar volumes relating to Graham’s campaign from Cadiz
in 1811, or Maitland’s and Murray’s operations on the east side of
Spain in 1813–14. A good deal of information about the latter, however,
may be got from the enormous report of the court-martial on Murray,
for his wretched _fiasco_ at the siege of Tarragona, which is full of
valuable facts. The details of the other minor British enterprises
in the Peninsula—such as those of Doyle, Skerret, Sir Home Popham,
and Lord Blayney, all remain in manuscript,—readily accessible to the
searcher, but not too often consulted. The Foreign Office section
at the Record Office is highly valuable not only to the historian
of diplomacy, but to the purely military historian, because Stuart,
Vaughan, Henry Wellesley, and the other representatives of the British
Government at Madrid, Seville, and Cadiz, used to send home, along with
their own dispatches, numberless Spanish documents. These include not
only official papers from the Regency, but private documents of great
value, letters from generals and statesmen who wish to keep the British
agent informed as to their views, when they have clashed with the
resolves of their own government. There are quite a number of military
narratives by Spanish officers, who are set on excusing themselves
from responsibility for the disasters of their colleagues. And the
politicians sometimes propose, in private and confidential minutes,
very curious plans and intrigues. Sir Charles Vaughan kept a certain
number of these confidential papers in his own possession when he left
Cadiz, and did not turn them over to the Foreign Office. They lie,
along with his private correspondence, in the Library of All Souls’
College, Oxford.

Since we are dealing with the British army, not with the general
history of the Peninsular War, I need only mention that unpublished
documents by the thousand, relating to the French, Spanish, and
Portuguese armies, may be found at Paris, Madrid, and Lisbon, and
that the researcher is invariably welcomed and courteously treated.
It may be worth while to make a note, for the benefit of beginners,
to the effect that the French military documents are not concentrated
in one mass, but are divided between the _Archives Nationales_, and
the _Archives de la Guerre_ at the Ministry of War. If a return or a
dispatch is not to be found in one of these repositories, it may yet
turn up in the other. The Spanish records are very “patchy,” full
on some campaigns, almost non-existent on others. For example, the
documents on the luckless Ocaña campaign of 1809 are marvellously few;
there does not exist a single complete “morning state”, by regiments
and divisions, of Areizaga’s unhappy army. I fancy that the whole
of the official papers of his staff were captured in the rout, and
destroyed by ignorant plunderers—they did not get into the French
collections. Hence there have only survived the few dispatches which
Areizaga and some of his subordinates sent to the Spanish Ministry of

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Contemporary Journals]

So much for Official Records. Passing on to the publications of
individual actors in the war, we must draw a sharp line between those
which were issued during or immediately after the campaigns with which
they deal, and those which were written down, with or without the aid
of contemporary notes or journals, many years after. The former, of
course, possess a peculiar interest, because the writers’ narrative
is not coloured by any knowledge of what is yet to come. An officer
writing of Corunna or Talavera with the memory of Vittoria and Waterloo
upon him, necessarily took up a different view of the war from the
man who set down his early campaign without any idea of what was to
follow. Early checks and hardships loom larger in the hour of doubt
and disappointment, than when the recollection of them has been dimmed
by subsequent hours of triumph. The early material, therefore, is very
valuable, but it is not so copious as that which was written down
later, and it largely exists in the form of letters and diaries, both
of which are less readable than formal narratives. As good types of
this sort of material we may name Ormsby’s and Ker-Porter’s _Journals
of the Campaign of 1808–09_, Hawkers’ _Journal of the Talavera
Campaign_, Stothert’s _Diary of 1809–11_, and General MacKinnon’s
Journal of the same three years, all of which were published within a
few months of the last entry which each contains. Next to these come
the books which consist of contemporary material, published without
alteration from the original manuscripts, but only many years after
they had been written. The best of these for hard facts, often facts
not to be found elsewhere, is the diary of Tomkinson of the 16th Light
Dragoons:[13] with it may be mentioned the Journal of George Simmons of
the 95th, published in 1899 with the title, “A British Rifle Man,”[14]
the Journals of Sir William Gomm, 1808–15,[15] Sir George Warre’s
Letters of 1808–12,[16] which only saw the light two years ago, and
Larpent’s _Private Journal_, printed in 1852.[17] These volumes all
have short notes by the editors, but the text is the writing of the
Peninsular time, untampered with and unaltered.

These books and their minor contemporaries stand in a class by
themselves, as contemporary material reflecting accurately the spirit
of the times. Much more numerous, however, are the books which, though
produced by actors in the Great War, appeared at dates more or less
remote from the years whose events they narrate. The formal histories
are comparatively few, the reason being that Napier’s magnificent (if
somewhat prejudiced and biassed) volumes completely put off other
possible authors, who felt that they lacked his genius and his power of
expression, from the idea of writing a long narrative of the war as a
whole. This was a misfortune, since the one book which all students of
military history are thereby driven to read, was composed by a bitter
political partisan, who is set on maligning the Tory government, has an
altogether exaggerated admiration for Napoleon, and owned many personal
enemies in the British army, who receive scant justice at his hands.
At the same time we must be grateful that the work was written by one
who was an actual witness of many of the campaigns that he relates,
conscientiously strove to get at all other first-hand witnesses, and
ransacked the French as well as the British official papers, so far as
he could obtain access to them. The merits of his style are all his
own, and will cause the _History of the Peninsular War_ to be read as
an English classic, as Clarendon’s _History of the Great Rebellion_ is
read, even when research has shown (as in Clarendon’s case) that much
of the narrative needs reconstruction, and that the general thesis on
which it is constructed lacks impartiality.

[Sidenote: Napier, Southey, and Lord Londonderry]

The only other general histories of the war which appeared were
Southey’s (three vols. published 1832) and Lord Londonderry’s.[18] The
former was written by a literary man without any military experience,
who had seen nothing of the Peninsula during the years of the
struggle, and had as almost his only merit, a good knowledge of the
Spanish sources, of which he was too uncritical. The book fell dead,
being unable to compete with Napier, and lacking all the authority of
personal knowledge which was the latter’s strong point. The smaller
book of Lord Londonderry (two volumes, published 1829) is by no means
without merit, but has many faults, always hovering on the edge between
formal history and personal reminiscences. Wherever Charles Stewart
had not been present, he passes lightly over the episodes of war,
and obviously had taken no very great pains to collect first-hand
material. At the same time the book has value, as giving the views
of a highly-placed staff officer, who had the opportunity of seeing
every episode from the point of view of Head Quarters, and had strong
convictions and theories of his own. He had also the saving grace of
loving statistics, and printed many valuable appendices of “morning
states” and casualty-lists, things of which Napier was far too
sparing, and which Gurwood suppressed altogether. As a general record
the book could not cope with Napier, and has been forgotten—somewhat
undeservedly—no less than Southey’s vast quartos. There is absolutely
no other general history by a contemporary which needs mention. Of
course I omit foreign sources, which help us little with regard to the
British army, though they are indispensable for a general study of the
war. Foy’s unfinished _Guerre de la Peninsule_, if we may judge from
the volumes which appeared before his death, would have been a very
prejudiced affair—his account of the British troops in Vol. I. is a
bitter satire, contrasting oddly enough with his confessions concerning
their merits in his _Journal_, of which a large portion was published
a few years ago by Girod de l’Ain under the title _Vie Militaire du
Général Foy_. After all the detraction in his formal history, it is
interesting to read the frank letter which says, in 1811, that for a
set battle on a limited front he acknowledges the superiority of the
English infantry to the French, “I keep this opinion to myself,” he
adds, “and have never divulged it, for it is necessary that the soldier
in the ranks should not only hate his enemy, but also despise him.”[19]
Foy kept the opinion so closely to himself, that no one would have
suspected it who had read only his formal history of the Peninsular War.

Another French general history is Marshal Jourdan’s _Guerre d’Espagne_,
issued only ten years ago by the Vicomte de Grouchy, though large parts
of it had been utilized in Ducasse’s _Life and Correspondence of King
Joseph Bonaparte_. This covers the whole war down to Vittoria, and
is notable for its acute and often unanswerable criticism of Soult
and Masséna, Marmont, and, not least, of Napoleon himself. It is less
satisfactory as a vindication of Jourdan’s own doings. Marmont’s
autobiography only covers his fifteen months of command from May, 1811,
to July, 1812: while St. Cyr’s and Suchet’s very interesting accounts
of their own periods of activity relate entirely to Catalonia and the
eastern side of the Peninsula. St. Cyr does not touch British affairs
at all; Suchet treats his campaigns against Maitland and Murray in a
much more cursory style than his previous successes against the Spanish
armies.[20] The other French formal narratives by contemporaries and
eye-witnesses are for the most part monographs on particular campaigns
in which the writers took part—such as Thiébault’s work on Junot in
Portugal—full of deliberate inaccuracies—which was published in 1817,
and Lapène’s _Conquête d’Andalousie, en 1810–12_, and _Campagnes de
1813–14_ (both published in 1823 in volumes of different size) which
deal only with the army of Soult. There are, however, two general
histories by German officers—Schepeler (who served with the Spaniards),
and Riegel (who served with the French)—which both require mention. The
former is especially valuable.[21]

[Sidenote: Toreno, Belmas, John Jones]

Among Peninsular historians two deserve special notice. The Conde
de Toreno, a Spanish statesman who had taken part in the war as a
young man, produced in 1838 three massive volumes which are, next to
Napier, the greatest book that makes this war its subject. He is a
first-hand authority of great merit, and should always be consulted
for the Spanish version of events. He was a great master of detail,
and yet could paint with a broad brush. It is sometimes necessary
to remember that he is a partisan, and has his favourites and his
enemies (especially La Romana) among the generals and statesmen of
Spain. But on the whole he is a historian of high merit and judgment.
With Toreno’s work must be mentioned the five small volumes of the
Portuguese José Accursio das Neves, published in 1811, when Masséna had
but just retreated from before the Lines of Torres Vedras. This is a
very full and interesting description of Junot’s invasion of Portugal,
and of the sufferings of that realm which came to an end with the
Convention of Cintra. It is the only detailed picture of Portugal in
1808. Unfortunately the author did not complete the story of 1809–10.

At the end of this note on historical works, as distinguished from
memoirs or diaries of adventure, we must name two excellent books, one
English and one French, on the special subject of siege operations.
These two monographs by specialists, both distinguished engineer
officers—Sir John Jones’ _Journal of the Sieges in Spain 1811–13_,
and Colonel Belmas’ _Journaux des Sièges dans la Peninsule 1808–13_,
published respectively in 1827 and 1837—are among the most valuable
books dealing with the Peninsular War, both containing a wealth of
detail and explanatory notes. The work of Belmas is especially rich in
reprints of original documents bearing on the sieges, and in statistics
of garrisons, losses, ammunition expended, etc. They were so complete,
and supplemented each other so well, that little was done to add
to the information that they give, till Major J. Leslie’s admirable
edition of the _Dickson Papers_ began to appear a few years ago, and
appreciably increased our knowledge of the English side of the siege

Having made an end of the formal histories written by contemporaries
and eye-witnesses, it remains that we should speak of a class of
literature much larger in bulk, and generally much more interesting,
considered in the light of reading for the general student—the books
of autobiographies and personal reminiscences which were written by
participants in the war some time after it had come to an end—at any
time from ten to forty years after 1814. Their name is legion. I am
continually discovering more of them, many of them printed obscurely
in small editions and from local presses, so that the very knowledge
of their existence has perished. And so many unpublished manuscripts
of the sort exist, in France no less than in England, that it is clear
that we have not even yet got to the end of the stock of original
material bearing on the war. Some of the most interesting, _e.g._ the
lively autobiography of Blakeney of the 28th,[22] and that of Ney’s
aide-de-camp Sprünglin,[23] have only appeared during the last few

[Sidenote: Inaccuracies of Memoir-writers]

These volumes of personal adventures differ greatly in value: some were
written up conscientiously from contemporary diaries: others contain
only fragments, the most striking or the most typical incidents of
campaigns whose less interesting every-day work had been forgotten, or
at least had grown dim. Unfortunately in old age the memory often finds
it hard to distinguish between things seen and things heard. It is not
uncommon to find a writer who represents himself as having been present
at scenes where he cannot have been assisting, and still more frequent
to detect him applying to one date perfectly genuine anecdotes which
belong to another. One or two of the most readable narratives frankly
mix up the sequence of events, with a note that the exact dating can
not be reconstructed. This is notoriously the case with the most vivid
of all the books of reminiscences from the ranks—the little volume of
“Rifleman Harris,” whose tales about General Robert Craufurd and the
Light Division flow on in a string, in which chronology has to take its
chance, and often fails to find it.

Another source of blurred or falsified reminiscences is that an author,
writing many years after the events which he has to record, has
generally read printed books about them, and mixes up this secondary
knowledge with the first-hand tale of his adventures. Napier’s
Peninsular War came out so comparatively early, and was so universally
read, that screeds from it have crept into a very great number of the
books written after 1830. Indeed, some simple veterans betray the
source of their tales, concerning events which they cannot possibly
have witnessed themselves, by repeating phrases or epigrams of Napier’s
which are unmistakeable. Some even fill up a blank patch in their own
memory by a _précis_ of a page or a chapter from the great history.
It is always necessary to take care that we are not accepting as a
corroboration of some tale, that which is really only a repetition of
it. The diary of a sergeant of the 43rd mentioned above,[24] contains
an intolerable amount of boiled-down Napier. It is far more curious to
find traces of him in the famous Marbot, who had clearly read Mathieu
Dumas’ translation when it came out in French.

The books of personal adventure, as we may call the whole class, may
roughly be divided into three sections, of decreasing value in the way
of authority. The first and most important consists of works written
upon the base of an old diary or journal, where the memory is kept
straight as to the sequence of events by the contemporary record,
and the author is amplifying and writing up real first-hand material.
Favourable examples of this are Leach’s _Rough Sketches of the Life
of an Old Soldier_,[25] Leslie of Balquhain’s _Military Journal_,[26]
which in spite of its title is not in journal shape, but reads as a
continuous narrative, and Sir George Bell’s _Rough Notes of Fifty
Years’ Service_,[27] all of which are definitely stated by the authors
to have been founded on their note-books of the war time, and therefore
can as a rule be treated as first-hand evidence. They can generally
be trusted as authorities against any divergent tales based on the
narratives of writers who wrote their reminiscences without any such
foundation, and where they get off the lines of contemporary evidence
they usually give the reader warning. For example, Leach gives valuable
material to show the inaccuracy of Napier’s exaggerated estimate of
the length and pace of the Light Division’s march to Talavera, whose
erroneous figures have been repeated in so many subsequent books. And
yet Leach was not conscious of the fact that the data which he gives
were incompatible with Napier’s story, and repeats it in a general
way—because he published his book several years after the appearance
of Napier’s second volume, and had (like many other members of the
Light Division) absorbed the legend as a matter of faith on Napier’s
authority. It was reserved for Sir John Bell,[28] who had served under
Craufurd but joined too late for Talavera, to explode the story. But
his demonstration of its inaccuracy has not travelled far, while the
original legend has gone all round the world, and is still reproduced,
as an example of unparalleled rapidity of movement, in serious military

[Sidenote: Gleig, Blakeney, Hennegan]

Infinitely less valuable than the books founded on private diaries
or letters of contemporary date, are those which were written down
long after the war, from unaided memory only. They are, of course,
progressively less valuable for evidence according as the date at which
they were indited recedes from the period with which they deal. Gleig’s
charming _The Subaltern_, printed as early as 1825, may be better
trusted for matters of detail than Blakeney’s equally vivid narrative
written in the remote island of Paxos about 1835, and Blakeney is more
valuable than Hennegan’s highly romantic _Seven Years of Campaigning_,
published only in 1847, when thirty winters had blurred reminiscence,
and allowed of the accretion of much second-hand and doubtful material
round the original story. The strength of men’s memories differs, so
does their appreciation of the relative value of a dramatic narrative
as compared with a photographic record of personal experiences. But
in a general way we must allow that every year that elapses between
the event and the setting down of its narrative on paper decreases
progressively the value of the record. As an example of the way in
which the failing powers of old age can confuse even a powerful memory,
we may mention the curious fact that Wellington himself, twenty years
after his last campaign, seems to have told two auditors that he had
visited Blücher’s camp on the very eve of Waterloo, the night between
the 17th and 18th of June, 1815, a statement quite incredible.[29]
It was apparently a blurred memory of his real visit to the Prussian
headquarters on the early afternoon of the 16th, of which ample details
are known.

Failing memory, the love of a well-rounded tale, a spice of autolatry,
and an appreciation of the picturesque, have impaired the value of
many a veteran’s reminiscences. Especially if he is a well-known
_raconteur_, and has repeated his narrative many times before he
sets it down on paper, does it tend to assume a romantic form. The
classical example, of course, is Marbot, whose memoirs contain many
things demonstrably false, _e.g._ that he brought the news of the _Dos
Mayo_ insurrection at Madrid to Napoleon, or that in 1812 he took his
regiment from Moscow to the neighbourhood of Poltava, and brought it
back (400 miles!) in less than a fortnight with a convoy of provisions,
or that he saw 6000 men drowned on the broken ice of the lake of
Satschan at the end of the battle of Austerlitz.[30] Marbot is, of
course, an extreme example of amusing egotism, but parallels on a minor
scale could be quoted from many of his contemporaries, who wrote their
tale too late. We may mention Thiébault’s account of the combat of
Aldea da Ponte, when he declares that he fought 17,000 Anglo-Portuguese
and produced 500 casualties in their ranks, when he was really opposed
by one British brigade and two Portuguese battalions, who lost
precisely 100 men between them. Yet the account is so lengthy and
detailed, that if we had not the British sources before us, we should
be inclined to think that we were reading an accurate narrative of
a real fight, instead of a romantic invention reconstructed from a
blurred memory. It was the only Peninsular fight in which Thiébault
exercised an independent command—and every year added to its beauties
as the general grew old.

While, therefore, we read the later-written Peninsular narratives
with interest, and often with profit, as reflections of the spirit of
the time and the army, we must always be cautious in accepting their
evidence. And we must begin by trying to obtain a judgment on the
“personal equation”—was the author a hard-headed observer, or a lover
of romantic anecdotes? What proportion, if any, of the facts which he
gives can be proved incompatible with contemporary records? Or again,
what proportion (though not demonstrably false) seem unlikely, in face
of other authorities? Had he been reading other men’s books on a large
scale? Of this the usual proof is elaborate narrative concerning
events at which he cannot possibly have been present, with or without
citation of the source from which he has obtained the information. It
is only when the author has passed his examination with credit on these
points, that we can begin to treat him as a serious authority, and to
trust him as evidence for scenes at which we know that he was actually
present. Many a writer of personal adventures may finally be given his
certificate as good authority for the annals of his own battalion,
but for nothing more. It is even possible that we may have to make
the further restriction that he may be trusted on the lucky days, but
not on the less happy ones, in the history of his own beloved corps.
Reticence as to “untoward incidents” is not uncommon. As to things
outside the regiment, there was often a good deal of untrustworthy
gossip abroad, which stuck in the memory even after long years had

[Sidenote: Books of Regimental Adventure]

Among all the books of regimental adventure, I should give the first
place for interest and good writing to Lieut. Grattan’s _With the
Connaught Rangers_. It is not too much to say that if the author
had taken to formal history, his style, which is vivid without
exaggeration, and often dignified without pomposity, would have made
him a worthy rival of Napier as an English classic. His descriptions
of the aspect and psychology of the stormers marching down to the
advanced trenches at Ciudad Rodrigo, and of the crisis of the battle
of Salamanca, are as good as anything that Napier ever wrote. A reader
presented with many of his paragraphs would say without hesitation that
they were excerpts from the great historian. Unfortunately Grattan
suffered from one of the faults which I have named above—he _will_
give untrustworthy information about episodes at which he was not
present—it is at best superfluous and sometimes misleading. But for
what the 88th did at Bussaco and Fuentes, at Badajoz and Salamanca,
he is very good authority. And he is always a pleasure to read. Two
good books—Gleig’s _The Subaltern_, and Moyle Sherer’s _Recollections
of the Peninsula_—have a share of the literary merit of Grattan’s
work, but lack his power. They give respectively the day-by-day camp
life of the 85th in 1813–14, and of the 48th in 1811–13, in a pleasant
and life-like fashion, and since both were published within ten years
of the end of the war—Gleig’s in 1825, Sherer’s in 1824—the writers’
memories were still strong, and their statements of fact may be relied
upon. Both have the merit of sticking closely to personal experience,
and of avoiding second-hand stories.

Those lively tales of adventure—Kincaid’s _Adventures in the Rifle
Brigade_, Sir Harry Smith’s _Autobiography_, and Blakeney’s memoir
(which its editor called _A Boy in the Peninsular War_)[31]—were
all written at a much later date, from twenty to thirty years
after Waterloo, and show their remoteness from the time that they
describe not so much by want of detail, nor of picturesque power of
description,—all three authors were good wielders of the pen—as by
the selection of the facts that they record. Much of the every-day
life of the regiment has been forgotten or grown dim, and only the
great days, or the most striking personal experiences, or quaint and
grotesque incidents, are recorded. This very fact makes them all very
good reading—they contain (so to speak) all the plums of the cake
and comparatively little of the less appetizing crust. Harry Smith’s
chapters are practically the tale of his Odyssey in the campaigns of
1812–13 along with the heroic little Spanish wife whom he had picked
up and married at the storm of Badajoz. Kincaid is a humourist—he
remembers all the grotesque incidents, ludicrous situations, practical
jokes, and misadventures, in which he and his comrades were concerned,
and pours them out in a string of anecdotes, loosely connected by a
narrative of which he says that he refuses to be responsible for the
exact sequence or dating. It is very amusing, and some of the more
striking stories can be verified from other and better authorities.
But the general effect is often as if we were reading a chapter out
of Lever’s _Charles O’Malley_, or some such old-fashioned Peninsular
romance. Blakeney’s book gives a better impression for solidity, and
he fills up many an incident, otherwise known to us only in outline,
with picturesque detail which bears every appearance of truth. But
I have once or twice found his narrative refusing to square in with
contemporary documents, and when this is the case the story written
twenty-five years after the event must go to the wall.[32] He must be
used with caution, though he is giving a genuine record to the best of
his ability.

[Sidenote: Reminiscences from the Ranks]

Nearly all the reminiscences from the ranks are subject to these same
disabilities. With hardly an exception they were written down long
years after the events recorded. Usually the narrator had no books
or notes to help him, and we get a genuine tale, uninfluenced by
outer sources, but blurred and foreshortened by the lapse of time.
The details of personal adventure are perfectly authentic to the best
of the veteran’s memory; incidents of battle, of camp hardships, of
some famous court-martial and subsequent punishment-parade, come out
in a clear-cut fashion. But there are long gaps of forgotten months,
frequent errors of dating, and often mistakes in the persons to whom an
exploit, an epigram, or a misadventure are attributed. Yet these little
volumes give the spirit of the rank and file in the most admirable
fashion, and enable us to realize the inner life of the battalion as
no official document can do. There are a few cases where the author
has got hold of a book, generally Napier’s great history, and to a
great extent spoils his work by letting in passages of incongruous
eloquence, or strategical disquisition, into the homely stuff of his
real reminiscences.[33]

One soldier’s little volume stands out from all the rest for its
literary merit—it is the work of a man of superior education, who had
enlisted in a moment of pique and humiliation to avoid facing at home
the consequences of his own conceit and folly. This short story of 150
pages called _Journal of T. S., a Soldier of the 71st Highland Light
Infantry, 1806–15_, was written down as early as 1818,[34] when memory
was still fresh. Its value lies in the fact that the author wrote from
the ranks, yet was so different in education and mental equipment from
his comrades, that he does not take their views and habits for granted,
but proceeds to explain and comment on them. “I could get,” as he
notes, “no pleasure from their amusements, but found it necessary to
humour them in many things, and to be obliging to all. I was thought
saucy, and little courted by them, they not liking my dry manner as
they called it.” His narrative is that of an intelligent observer
of the behaviour of the regiment, in whose psychology he is deeply
interested, rather than that of a typical soldier. Having a ready pen
and a keen observant eye, he produced a little book of extraordinary
interest. The chronicle of his marches, and the details of the actions
which he relates, seem very accurate when compared with official

Sergeant Donaldson of the 94th was another notable Scot whose book,
_The Eventful Life of a Soldier_, is well worth reading. He was not
so well educated as T. S., nor had he the same vivid literary style.
But he was an intelligent man, and possessed a wider set of interests
than was common in the ranks, so that it is always worth while to
look up his notes and observations. His description of the horrors
of Masséna’s retreat from Portugal in 1811 is a very striking piece
of lurid writing. After him may be mentioned a quartermaster and
a sergeant—Surtees and Costello—both of the Rifle Brigade,—whose
reminiscences are full of typical stories reflecting the virtues and
failings of the famous Light Division. For the views and ways of
thought of the ordinary private of the better sort, the little books
of “Rifleman Harris,” already cited above, Lawrence of the 40th, and
Cooper of the 7th Fusiliers,[35] are valuable authority. They are
admirable evidence for the way in which the rank and file looked on a
battle, a forced march, or a prolonged shortage of rations. But we must
not trust them overmuch as authorities on the greater matter of war.

[Sidenote: Memoirs of French Veterans]

There is a considerable bulk of French reminiscences dealing with
the purely British side of the Peninsular War. Beside Marbot’s and
Thiébault’s memoirs, of which I have already made mention, three
or four more must not be neglected by any one who wishes to see
Wellington’s army from the outside. By far the most vivid and lively
of them is Lemonnier-Delafosse of the 31st Léger, whose _Souvenirs
Militaires_ were published at Havre in 1850. He is a bitter enemy, and
wants to prove that Wellington was a mediocre general, and ought always
to have been beaten. But he does his best to tell a true tale, and
acknowledges his defeats handsomely—though he thinks that with better
luck they might have been victories. Failing memory can be detected in
one or two places, where he makes an officer fall at the wrong battle,
or misnames a village. Fantin des Odoards, also (oddly enough) of the
31st Léger, kept a journal, so that his reminiscences of 1808–11 are
very accurate. He is specially valuable for Moore’s retreat and Soult’s
Oporto campaign. A far more fair-minded man than Delafosse, he is full
of acknowledgments of the merit of his British adversaries, and makes
no secret of his disgust for the Spanish war,—a nightmare of plunder
and military executions naturally resulting from an unjust aggression.
A third valuable author is Colonel St. Chamans, an aide-de-camp of
Soult, whom he cordially detested, and whose meanness and spirit
of intrigue he is fond of exposing. He is of a light and humorous
spirit—very different from another aide-de-camp, Ney’s Swiss follower,
Sprünglin, whose journal[36] is a most solid and heavy production, of
value for minute facts and figures but not lively. Unlike St. Chamans
in another respect, he is devoted to his chief, the Marshal, of whom
he was the most loyal admirer. But I imagine that Ney was a much more
generous and loveable master than the wily Soult.

Other useful French volumes of reminiscences are those of Guingret
of the 6th corps, full of horrible details of Masséna’s Portuguese
misfortunes; of D’Illens, a cavalry officer who served against Moore
and Wellesley in 1808–09; and of Vigo-Roussillon, of the 8th Line, who
gives the only good French narrative of Barrosa. Parquin is a mere
_sabreur_, who wrote his memoir too late, and whose anecdotes cannot be
trusted. He survived to be one of the followers of Napoleon III. in his
early and unhappy adventures at Boulogne and elsewhere. Other French
writers, such as Rocca and Gonneville, were long in Spain, but little
in contact with the British, being employed on the Catalan coast, or
with the army of the South on the Granada side. So much for the works
of actors in the Great War, who relate what they have themselves seen.
We need spend but a much smaller space on the books of the later
generations, which are but second-hand information, however carefully
they may have been compiled.

The British regimental histories ought to be of great value, since the
series compiled by the order of the Horse Guards, under the general
editorship of Richard Cannon, in the 1830’s, might have been enriched
by the information obtainable from hundreds of Peninsular veterans,
who were still surviving. Unfortunately nearly every volume of it is
no more than bad hack-work. In the majority of the volumes we find
nothing more than copious extracts from Napier, eked out with reprints
of the formal reports taken from the _London Gazette_. It is quite
exceptional to find even regimental statistics, such as might have been
obtained with ease from the pay-lists and other documents in possession
of the battalion, or stored at the Record Office. Details obtained
through enquiry from veteran officers who had served through the war
are quite exceptional. Some of his volumes are less arid and jejune
than others—and this is about all that can be said in favour of even
the best of them.

[Sidenote: Regimental Histories]

All the good regimental histories, without exception, are outside the
official “Cannon” series. Some are excellent; it may be said that, as
a general rule, those written latest are the best: the standard of
accuracy and original research has been rising ever since 1860. Among
those which deserve a special word of praise are Colonel Gardyne’s
admirable _The Life of a Regiment_ (the Gordon Highlanders), published
in 1901; Cope’s _History of the Rifle Brigade_ (full of excerpts from
first-hand authorities) which came out in 1877; Moorsom’s _History of
the 52nd Oxfordshire Light Infantry_ (the first really good regimental
history which was written), published in 1860; Davis’s _History of
the 2nd Foot_ (Queen’s West Surrey), and Colonel Hamilton’s _14th
Hussars_. By the time that these began to appear, the level of research
was beginning to rise, and it was no longer considered superfluous to
visit the Record Office, or to make enquiries for unpublished papers
among the families of old officers. All those mentioned above are large
volumes, but even the smaller histories are now compiled with care,
and their size is generally the result not of scamped work (as of
old), but of the fact that some regiments have, by the chance of their
stations, seen less service than others, and therefore have less to
record. I may mention as books on the smaller scale which have proved
useful to me, Hayden’s history of the 76th, Smyth’s of the 20th, and
Purdon’s of the 47th. A rare example of the annals of a smaller unit,
a battery not a battalion, is Colonel Whinyates’ story of C Troop,
R.H.A., which he called _From Corunna to Sebastopol_, in which much
loyal and conscientious work may be found. But the history of the whole
of the Artillery of the Peninsular Army, Portuguese as well as English,
is now being worked out in admirable detail in the _Dickson Papers_,
edited by Major John Leslie, R.A., who knows everything that can be
known about the units of his corps which served under Wellington.
Sir Alexander Dickson, it may be remarked, was Commanding Officer of
the Artillery in the later campaigns of 1813 and in 1814, and before
he obtained that post had been in charge of all the three sieges of
Badajoz as well as those of Olivenza and Ciudad Rodrigo. Since he
had been lent to the Portuguese artillery, his papers give copious
information as to the auxiliary batteries of that nation which were
attached to the Peninsular Army. It is devoutly to be wished that some
officer would take up a corresponding task by compiling the annals of
the Royal Engineers in the Peninsular War. Connolly’s _History of the
Royal Sappers and Miners_ (published so far back as 1857), has much
good information, but infinitely more could be compiled by searching
the Record Office, and collating the memoirs of Boothby, Burgoyne,
Landmann, and other engineer officers who have left journals or

Along with the British regimental histories should be named two sets
of volumes which are of the same type, though they relate to larger
units than a regiment, and do not deal with our own troops. The first
class deals with our German auxiliaries, and is headed by Major Ludlow
Beamish’s valuable and conscientious _History of the King’s German
Legion_. This was written in 1832, but is a very favourable example
of research for a book of the date, when Cannon’s miserable series
represented the level of English regimental history. The two volumes
contain many original letters and documents, and some excellent plates
of uniforms. In 1907 Captain Schwertfeger went over the same ground
in his _Geschichte der Königlich Deutschen Legion_,[37] and added
appreciably to Beamish’s store of facts. The Brunswick Oels regiment,
which served Wellington from 1811 to 1814, has also a German biographer
in Colonel Kortfleisch, who has served in the 88th German Infantry,
which now represents that ancient corps. There is no similar history
for the _Chasseurs Brittaniques_, the last of the old Peninsular
foreign corps.

[Sidenote: Portuguese Authorities]

For the Portuguese Army a good description of the state of affairs in
1810, when it had just been reorganized, is contained in Halliday’s
_Present State of Portugal_, published in 1812. Chaby’s _Excerptos
Historicos_[38] contains a good deal of valuable material for its
subsequent history, but is sadly ill-arranged and patchy. Only the
Portuguese artillery in the Peninsular War has been dealt with in
Major Teixeira Botelho’s _Subsidios para a Historia da Artilheria
Portegueza_, which is very full and well documented. The life of a
British officer serving with a Portuguese regiment can be studied
in the _Memoirs of Bunbury_ (20th Line),[39] and Blakiston (5th

After regimental histories, the next most important source of
information, in the way of books not written by those who served under
Wellington, is personal biographies. Captain Delavoye’s _Life of Lord
Lynedoch_ (Sir Thomas Graham)[41] is perhaps the most useful among
them, not so much for any merit of style or arrangement, as for the
excellent use of contemporary documents not available elsewhere. A
large portion of the volume consists of excerpts from Graham’s long and
interesting military journal, and letters from and to him are printed
_in extenso_. Thus we get first-hand information on many events at
which no other British witness was present, _e.g._ Castaños’ campaign
on the Ebro in 1808, as well as comments on better known operations,
such as Sir John Moore’s Corunna retreat, and the Barrosa expedition
of 1811. Unfortunately both journal and letters fail for the campaign
of 1813, in which Graham took such a distinguished part.

H. B. Robinson’s _Memoirs of Sir Thomas Picton_[42] was a book of
which Napier fell foul—there are many caustic comments on it in his
controversial appendices. But it is not nearly so bad a work as might
have been expected from his way of treating it. Indeed I fancy that
Napier was paying off an old Light Division grudge against Picton
himself, whom he personally disliked. The narrative is fair, and the
quantity of contemporary letters inserted give the compilation some
value. Sidney’s _Life of Lord Hill_[43] is far inferior to Robinson’s
book: the author did not know his Peninsular War well enough to
justify the task which he took in hand, and the letters, of which he
fortunately prints a good many, are the only valuable material in it.
It is curious that both Picton and Hill had their lives written by
clergymen, when there were still a good many old Peninsular officers
surviving who might have undertaken the task.

Of the other chief lieutenants of Wellington, Beresford has never
found a biographer, though the part which he played in the war was
so important. There must be an immense accumulation of his papers
somewhere, in private hands, but I do not know where they lie. The only
account of him consists of a few pages in a useful but rather formal
and patchy little book by J. W. Cole, entitled, _Memoirs of British
Generals Distinguished during the Peninsular War_.[44] Lord Combermere
(Stapleton Cotton) was in high command throughout Wellington’s
campaigns, but was hardly up to his position, though he earned his
chief’s tolerance by strict obedience to orders, a greater merit in the
Duke’s eyes than military genius or initiative. There is a biography of
him by Lady Combermere and Captain W. Knollys (1866) but the Peninsular
chapters are short. Of Sir Lowry Cole, Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant,
and several other prominent divisional generals and brigadiers, the
only biographies are those in J. W. Cole’s book mentioned above. Sir
James Leith, more fortunate, had a small volume dedicated to his memory
by an anonymous admirer in 1818, but it was written without sufficient
material, Leith’s private correspondence not (as it seems) being in
the author’s hands, while official documents were not for the most
part available at such an early date. There is a good deal, however,
concerning this hard-fighting general’s personality and adventures to
be gleaned from the memoirs of his nephew and aide-de-camp, Leith Hay.

[Sidenote: Biographies of Gough, Colborne, etc.]

Of officers who did not attain to the highest rank under Wellington,
but who in later years made a great career for themselves, there are
two biographies which devote a large section to Peninsular matters,
those of Lord Gough by R. S. Rait (two vols., 1903), and of Lord
Seaton (Colborne of the 52nd) by Moore Smith. These are both excellent
productions, which give much private correspondence of the time, and
have been constructed on modern lines, with full attention to all
possible sources first- and second-hand. They are both indispensable
for any one who wishes to make a detailed study of the Peninsular
campaigns. There are also short memoirs of Sir Denis Pack[45] and Lord
Vivian,[46] each produced by a grandson of the general, and giving
useful extracts from journals and correspondence. The campaign of Sir
John Moore can, perhaps, hardly be considered as falling into the
story of Wellington’s army, but it is impossible to avoid mentioning
the full (and highly controversial) biography of the hero of Corunna
by Sir J. F. Maurice,[47] which contains an invaluable diary, and much
correspondence. It is an indispensable volume, at any rate, for those
who wish to study the first year of the Peninsular War, and to mark the
difference between the personalities and military theories of Moore and

Of formal and detailed histories of the Peninsular War written in
recent years there is one in Spanish by General Arteche, a very
conscientious and thorough-going worker at original documents, who
got up a good many English authorities, but by no means all. For the
Spanish version of the whole war he is absolutely necessary. So, for
the Portuguese version, is the immense work of Soriano da Luz, which is
largely founded on Napier, but often differs from him, and brings many
unpublished documents to light. Colonel Balagny has started a history
of the war in French on a very large scale, delightfully documented,
and showing admirable research. In five volumes he has only just got
into 1809, so the whole book will be a large one. Mr. Fortescue’s
fine history of the British Army has just started on the Peninsular
campaign in its last volume. To my own four volumes, soon I hope to be
five, I need only allude in passing. There is one immense monograph on
Dupont’s Campaign by a French author, Colonel Titeux, which does not
touch English military affairs at all. Two smaller but good works of
the same type by Colonel Dumas and Commandant Clerc are both, oddly
enough, dedicated to the same campaign,—Soult’s defence of the Pyrenean
frontier in 1813–14: the former is the better of the two: both have
endeavoured, in the modern fashion, to use the reports of both sides,
not to write from the documents of one only; but Dumas has a better
knowledge of his English sources than Clerc.

It is beyond my power to guess why similar monographs on separate
campaigns of the war do not appear in English also. But the few
_brochures_ purporting to treat of such which have appeared of late
on this side of the channel, are mostly cram-books for examinations,
resting on no wide knowledge of sources, and often consisting of little
more than an analysis of Napier, with some supplementary comments
hazarded. They contrast very unfavourably with a book such as that of
Colonel Dumas.



So much for our sources. We may now proceed to discover what we can
deduce from them. And we must inevitably begin with a consideration
of the great leader of the British army. I am not writing a life of
Wellington, still less a commentary on his campaigns—with which I
am trying to deal elsewhere. My object is rather to paint him as he
appeared to his own army, and as his acts and his writings reveal him
during the course of his Peninsular campaigns. The Arthur Wellesley of
1809 is difficult to disentangle in our own memories from the familiar
figure of Victorian reminiscences. We think of him as the “Great
Duke,” the first and most honoured subject of the crown, round whom
centre so many stories, more or less well founded, illustrating his
disinterestedness, his hatred of phrases, insincerities, sentiment, and
humbug generally, his punctiliousness, his bleak frugality, and his
occasional scathing directness of speech—for he could never “suffer
fools gladly.” He had become a legend long before he died, and it takes
an effort of mind to differentiate the old man of 1850 from the general
of 1809, who had still, in the eyes of most men, his reputation to
make. For those who understood the greatness of his Indian exploits
were few. It was not Napoleon only who thought that to call Wellesley
a “sepoy general” was sufficient to reduce his reputation to that of a
facile victor over contemptible enemies.

When he took command of the Peninsular Army in the April of that
year, Arthur Wellesley was thirty-nine: he had just reached early
middle age. He was a slight but wiry man of middle stature, well built
and erect, with a long face, an aquiline nose, and a keen but cold
grey eye. His reputation as a soldier was already high; but few save
those who had served under him in India understood the full scope of
his abilities. Many undervalued him, because he was a member of a
well-known, but ill-loved family and political group, and had owed
his early promotion and opportunities of distinguishing himself to
that fact. It was still open to critics to say that the man who had
commanded a battalion in the old Revolutionary War at the age of
twenty-three, and who had headed an army in India before he was quite
thirty, had got further to the front than he deserved by political
influence. And it was true (though the fact is so often forgotten),
that in his early years he had got much help from his connections, that
he had obtained his unique chance in India because he was the brother
of a viceroy, and that since his return from the East he had been more
of a politician than a general. Was he not, even when he won Vimeiro,
Secretary for Ireland in the Tory government of the day? It was a post
whose holder had to dabble in much dirty work, when dealing with the
needy peers, the grovelling place-mongers, and the intriguing lawyers
of Dublin. Wellesley went through with it all, and not by any means
in a conciliatory way. He passed the necessary jobs, but did not hide
from the jobbers his scorn for them. When the Secretary for Ireland
had to deal with any one whom he disliked, he showed a happy mixture
of aristocratic hauteur and cold intellectual contempt, which sent the
petitioner away in a bitter frame of mind, whether his petition had
been granted or no. Unfortunately, he carried this manner from the
Irish Secretaryship on to the Headquarters of the Peninsular Army. It
did not tend to make him loved.

[Sidenote: Wellington and the Whigs]

Fortunately for Great Britain, it does not always follow that, because
a man has been pushed rapidly to the front by political influence, he
is therefore incompetent or unworthy of the place given him. Every one
who came into personal contact with Arthur Wellesley soon recognized
that Castlereagh and the other ministers had not erred when they sent
the “Sepoy General” to Portugal in 1808, and when they, despite of all
the clamour following the Convention of Cintra, despatched him a second
time to Lisbon in 1809, this time with full control of the Peninsular
Army. From the first opening of his Vimeiro campaign the troops that he
led had the firmest confidence in him—they saw the skill with which he
handled them, and criticism very soon died away. It was left for Whig
politicians at home, carpers with not the slightest knowledge of war,
to go on asserting for a couple of years more that he was an over-rated
officer, that he was rash and reckless, and that his leadership
would end, on some not very distant day, with the expulsion of the
British army from the Peninsula. At the front there were very few such
doubters—though contemporary letters have proved to me that one or two
were to be found.[48]

To say that Wellington from the first was trusted alike by his officers
and his men, is by no means to say that he was loved by them. He did
everything that could win confidence, but little that could attract
affection. They recognized that he was marvellously capable, but that
he was without the supreme gift of sympathy for others. “The sight of
his long nose among us,” wrote one of his veterans, “was worth ten
thousand men any day of the week. I will venture to say that there was
not a heart in the army which did not beat more lightly when we heard
the joyful news of his arrival.”[49] But this does not mean that he was
regarded with an enthusiasm of the emotional and affectionate sort.
Another Light Division officer sums up the position in the coldest
words that I have ever seen applied to the relations of a great general
with his victorious army. “I know that it has been said that Wellington
was unpopular with the army. Now I can assert with respect to the
Light Division that the troops _rather liked him than otherwise_....
Although Wellington was not what may be called popular, still the
troops possessed great confidence in him, nor did I ever hear a single
individual express an opinion to the contrary.”[50]

There must, indeed, have been something to repel enthusiasm and
affection in the leader of whom, after five years of victories won and
hardships suffered in common, it could be said that his troops “rather
liked him than otherwise.” But they found that he was a hard master,
slow to praise and swift to blame and to punish. Though he knew the
military virtues of his rank and file, and acknowledged that they had
more than once “got him out of a scrape” by performing the almost
impossible, he did not love them. He has left on record unpardonable
words concerning his men. “They are the scum of the earth. English
soldiers are fellows who have enlisted for drink—that is the plain
fact: they have _all_ enlisted for drink.”[51] Quite as bad in spirit
is one of his sayings before a Royal Commission on the Army. “I have no
idea of any great effect being produced on British soldiers by anything
but the fear of immediate corporal punishment.” Naturally enough
a leader with such views never appealed to the better side of his
men: he never spoke or wrote about honour or patriotism to them, but
frequently reminded them of the lash and the firing-party, that were
the inevitable penalty for the straggler, the drunkard, the plunderer,
and the deserter. Nothing cooled the spirits of officers and men alike
more than the strength and vigour of his rebukes, as compared with the
official formality of his terms of praise. It was possible to have a
full appreciation of his marvellous powers of brain, and a complete
confidence in him as a leader, without feeling the least touch of
affection for this hard and unsympathetic figure.

[Sidenote: Wellington and his Men]

The distressing point in all this is that the Peninsular Army, though
it had its proportion of hardened sots and criminals, was full of good
soldiers who knew what honour and loyalty meant, and were perfectly
capable of answering any stirring appeal to their heart or their
brain. There are dozens of diaries and autobiographies written in the
ranks which show the existence of a vast class of well-conditioned
intelligent, sober, even religious men, who were doing their work
conscientiously, and would have valued a word of praise—they often got
it from their regimental officers—seldom from their commander-in-chief.
And we may add that if anything was calculated to brutalize an army
it was the wicked cruelty of the British military punishment code,
which Wellington to the end of his life supported. There is plenty
of authority for the fact that the man who had once received his
500 lashes for a fault which was small, or which involved no moral
guilt, was often turned thereby from a good into a bad soldier, by
losing his self-respect and having his sense of justice seared out.
Good officers knew this well enough, and did their best to avoid the
cat-of-nine-tails, and to try more rational means—more often than not
with success.[52]

It might have been expected that Wellington would at least show more
regard for the feelings of his officers, however much he might contemn
his rank and file. As a rule he did not. He had some few intimates
whom he treated with a certain familiarity, and it is clear that he
showed consideration and even kindness to his aides-de-camp and other
personal retainers. But to the great majority of his officers, even to
many of his generals and heads of departments, he bore himself very
stiffly: he would administer to them humiliating snubs or reproofs
before others, and ignore their remarks or proffered counsel in the
most marked way. A few examples may serve. Sir Thomas Picton was one
of his most distinguished lieutenants, and was specially summoned by
him to come over to Brussels to take his part in the campaign of 1815.
The moment that he arrived in the Belgian capital he sought the Duke,
who was walking in the Great Park. We have the witness of Picton’s
aide-de-camp for the following reception. “The general’s manner was
always more familiar than the Duke liked in his lieutenants, and on
this occasion he approached him in a careless sort of way, just as he
might have greeted an equal. The Duke bowed coldly to him, and said, ‘I
am glad you are come, Sir Thomas. The sooner you get on horseback the
better: no time to be lost. You will take the command of the troops in
advance.’ That was all. Picton appeared not to like the Duke’s manner,
and when he had bowed and left, he muttered words which convinced those
who were with him that he was not much pleased with his interview.”[53]
Such was the welcome vouchsafed to one of the best officers in the
army, whom Wellington had specially sent for, and whom he had not seen
for a long space of time. Another picture of Wellington’s manners may
be taken from the memoir of one of his departmental chiefs, Sir James
McGrigor. “One morning I was in his lordship’s small room, when two
officers came to request leave to go home to England. An engineer
captain first made his request: he had received letters informing him
that his wife was dangerously ill, and that the whole of his family
were sick. His lordship quickly replied, ‘No, no, sir. I cannot spare
you at this moment.’ The captain, with a mournful face, drew back. Then
a general officer, of noble family, commanding a brigade, advanced
saying, ‘My lord, I have lately been suffering much from rheumatism——’.
Without allowing him time to complete his sentence, Lord Wellington
rapidly said, ‘and you want to go to England to be cured. By all means.
Go there immediately.’ The general, surprised at his lordship’s tone
and manner, looked abashed, but to prevent his saying anything more,
his lordship turned and began to address me, enquiring about the
casualty-returns of the preceding night, and the nature of them.”[54]
An interview with the commander-in-chief was such a trying thing for
the nerves that some officers went away from it in a flood of tears—as
did Charles Stewart after one famous reproof—and others suffocating
from suppressed maledictions.

[Sidenote: Wellington and his Officers]

Wellington’s temper was tried by having to deal with some inefficient
and slack officers—foisted upon him from home—for never till the end
of the war (as he bitterly complained) was he allowed complete liberty
in choosing his subordinates. But it was not on them alone that his
thunders fell. He often raged at zealous and capable subordinates,
who had done no more than think for themselves in an urgent crisis,
when the orders that they had received seemed no longer applicable.
Sir James McGrigor, whom I have just quoted above, once moved some
commissariat stores to Salamanca, where there was a great accumulation
of sick and wounded. “When I came to inform him his lordship started
up, and in a violent manner began to repudiate what I had done. ‘I
shall be glad to know,’ he asked, ‘who commands this army—I or you? I
establish one route, one line of communication—you establish another
by ordering up supplies by it. As long as you live, sir, never do
that again. Never do _anything_ without my orders.’ I pleaded that
there had been no time to consult him, and that I had to save lives.
He peremptorily desired me ‘never again to act without his orders.’”
Three months afterwards McGrigor ventured to say, “My lord, you will
remember how much you blamed me at Madrid, for the steps that I took
when I could not consult your lordship, and acted for myself. Now, if
I had not, what would the consequences have been?” He answered, “It is
all right as it has turned out, but still I recommend you to _have my
orders for what you do_.” This was a singular feature in his lordship’s

Anything that seemed to Wellington to partake of the nature of
thinking for oneself was an unpardonable sin in a subordinate. This
is why he preferred blind obedience in his lieutenants to zeal and
energy which might lead to some contravention of his own intention.
Thus it came that he preferred as lieutenants not only Hill, who was
a man of first-class brain-power notwithstanding his docility, but
Spencer and Beresford, who most certainly were not. Hence, too, his
commission of the cavalry arm throughout the war to such a mediocre
personage as Stapleton Cotton (of whom he used the most unflattering
language).[55] These men could be trusted to obey without reasoning,
while Robert Craufurd, the ablest general in the Peninsula, or Picton,
could not, but were liable to think for themselves. It may be noted
that Hill, Beresford, Graham and Craufurd, were the only officers to
whom Wellington ever condescended in his correspondence to give the why
and wherefore of a command that he issued: the others simply received
orders without any commentary. There are instances known in which a
word of reasonable explanation to a subordinate would have enabled him
to understand a situation, and to comprehend why directions otherwise
incomprehensible were given him. Tiresome results occasionally
followed. This foible of refusing information to subordinates for no
adequate reason has been shared by other great generals—_e.g._ by
Stonewall Jackson, as Colonel Henderson’s biography of that strange
genius sufficiently shows. It is a trick of the autocratic mind.

It hardly requires to be pointed out that this determination to allow
no liberty of action to his lieutenants, and to keep even small
decisions in his own hands, effectually prevented Wellington from
forming a school of generals capable of carrying out large independent
operations. He trained admirable divisional commanders, but not leaders
of armies. The springs of self-confidence were drained out of men who
had for long been subjected to his _régime_.

[Sidenote: Wellington’s Dispatches]

Probably the thing which irritated Wellington’s subordinates most
was his habit of making his official mention of names in dispatches
little more than a formal recital in order of the senior officers
present. Where grave mistakes had been committed, he still stuck
the names of the misdemeanants in the list, among those of the men
who had really done the work. A complete mystification as to their
relative merits would be produced, if we had only the dispatches to
read, and no external commentary on them. He honourably mentioned
Murray in his Oporto dispatch, Erskine in his dispatch concerning
the actions during Masséna’s retreat in 1811, Trip in his Waterloo
dispatch, though each of these officers had done his best to spoil the
operations in which he was concerned. On the other hand, he would make
the most unaccountable omissions: his Fuentes de Oñoro dispatch makes
no mention of the British artillery, which had done most brilliant
service in that battle, not merely in the matter of Norman Ramsay’s
well-known exploit, which Wellington might have thought too small a
matter to mention, but in the decisive checking of the main French
attack. There are extant heart-rending letters from the senior officers
commanding the artillery, deploring the way in which they have been
completely ignored: “to read the dispatch, there might have been no
British artillery present at all.” A similar inexplicable omission
of any record of zealous service occurs in Wellington’s dispatch
recording the fall of Badajoz, where no special praise of the services
of his engineer officers is made, though 50 per cent. of them had
been killed or wounded during the siege. “You may suppose we all feel
hurt at finding our exertions have not been deemed worthy of any sort
of eulogium,” writes John Jones, the historian of the sieges of the
Peninsula, to one of his colleagues. And Fletcher, the commanding
engineer, writes to a friend: “You will observe that Lord W. has
not mentioned the engineers in the late actions: how I hate such
capriciousness!”[56] The cold phrase in which their desperate service
was acknowledged is “the officers and men of the corps of engineers
and artillery were equally distinguished during the operations of
the siege and its close.” Fletcher would gladly have exchanged the
personal honour of a decoration, which was given him along with other
senior officers, for three lines of warm praise of the exertions of his

[Sidenote: Lord Roberts on Wellington]

Perhaps, however, the most astounding instance of Wellington’s
ungracious omissions is that his famous Waterloo dispatch contains
no mention whatever of the services of Colborne and the 52nd, the
battalion which gave the decisive stroke against the flank of the
Imperial Guard, during Napoleon’s last desperate assault on the British
line. Colborne, the most unselfish and generous of men, could never
forget this slight. He tried to excuse it, saying, “dispatches are
written in haste, and it is impossible for a general to do justice
to his army.” And when he heard his officers complaining that the
British Guards had been given all the credit for the final repulse of
the French column, he said, “For shame, gentlemen! One would think
that you forgot that the 52nd had ever been in battle before.” But
there was a bitter comment in the table talk of his later years. “The
Duke was occasionally not above writing in his dispatches to please
the aristocracy.... I don’t mean to say that this was peculiar to
him. It used to be a common thing with general officers.”[57] Enough,
however, of these illustrative anecdotes of the limitations of a very
great soldier and a very honourable man. They have to be mentioned in
order to explain how it came to pass that Wellington was implicitly
trusted, and never loved. But they compel me to acquiesce in the hard
judgment which Lord Roberts wrote in his _Rise of Wellington_—“the
more we go into his actions and his writings in detail, the more do
we respect and admire him as a general, and the less do we like him
as a man.” I conclude this paragraph with two quotations from two
eloquent writers who served through long years of the Peninsular
campaigns. “Thus terminated the war, and with it all remembrances
of the veteran’s services” are the last words of William Napier’s
penultimate chapter.[58] Grattan of the 88th, a forgotten writer now,
but one who wielded a descriptive pen no less vivid than Napier’s,
puts the complaint more bitterly. “In his parting General Order to
the Peninsular Army he told us that he would never cease to feel the
warmest interest for our welfare and honour. How that promise has
been kept every one knows. That the Duke of Wellington is one of the
most remarkable (perhaps the greatest) men of the present age, few
will deny. But that he neglected the interests and feelings of his
Peninsular army, as a body, is beyond all question. And were he in his
grave to-morrow, hundreds of voices that now are silent would echo what
I write.”[59]

If I have dwelt perhaps at over-great length on the limitations of
Wellington’s heart, it is only fair that full credit should be given to
his wonderful powers of brain. To comprehend the actual merit of his
military career, it is not sufficient to possess a mere knowledge of
the details of his tactics and his strategy. The conditions under which
he had to exercise his talents were exceptionally trying and difficult.
When he assumed command at Lisbon on April 22, 1809, the French were in
possession of all Northern and Central Spain, and of no inconsiderable
part of Northern Portugal also. The Spanish armies had all been
dashed to pieces—there was no single one of them which had not
suffered a crushing defeat, and some of them (such as Cuesta’s army
of Estremadura, and La Romana’s army of Galicia) were at the moment
little better than wandering bands of fugitives. The British army of
which Wellesley took command when he landed at Lisbon, though it only
mustered 19,000 men present, or 21,000 including men in hospital, was
the only solid force, in good order and intact in _morale_, on which
the allies could count in the Iberian Peninsula. The task set before
Wellesley was to see if he could defend Portugal, and co-operate in the
protection of Southern Spain, it being obvious that the French were in
vastly superior numbers, and well able to take the offensive if they
should chose to do so. There were two armies threatening Lisbon. The
one under Soult had already captured Oporto and overrun two Portuguese
provinces, shortly before Wellesley’s landing. The other, under Victor,
lay in Estremadura close to the Portuguese border, and had recently
destroyed the largest surviving Spanish army at the battle of Medellin
on March 28. Was it possible that 19,000 British troops could save
the Peninsula from conquest, or even that they could keep up the war
in Central Portugal? Never was a more unpromising task set to the
commander of a small army.

[Sidenote: Wellington’s Powers of Prescience]

Fortunately we possess three documents from Wellesley’s own hand, which
show us the way in which he surveyed the position that was before him,
and stated his views as to the future course of the Peninsular War.
He recognized that it was about to be a very long business, and that
his task was simply to keep the war going as long as possible, with
the limited resources at his disposition. Ambitious schemes for the
expulsion of the French from the whole Peninsula were in 1809 perfectly
futile. The hypothesis which he sets forth in the first of the three
documents to which I allude, his _Memorandum on the Defence of
Portugal_, laid before Castlereagh on March 7, before he had taken ship
for Lisbon, is a marvel of prophetic genius. No more prescient document
was ever written. Rejecting the decision of Sir John Moore, who had
declared that Portugal was quite indefensible, Wellesley states that
a British army of not less than 30,000 men, backed by the levies of
Portugal, ought to be able to maintain itself for an almost indefinite
period on the flank of the French army in Spain. Its presence on the
Tagus would paralyse all offensive movements of the enemy, and enable
the Spaniards to make head in the unsubdued provinces of their realm,
so long as Portugal should remain intact. The French ought, if they
were wise, to turn all their disposable forces against the British
army and Portugal, but he believed that even then, when the geography
of the country was taken into consideration, they would fail in their
attempt to overrun it. They could not succeed, as he held, unless they
were able to set aside 100,000 men for the task, and he did not see how
in the spring of 1809 they could spare such a large detachment, out of
the forces which they then possessed in the Peninsula. If they tried it
with a smaller army, he thought that he could undertake to foil them.
He believed that he could cope with Soult and Victor, the two enemies
who immediately threatened Portugal.[60]

Further forward it was impossible to look. If a war should break out
between Napoleon and Austria, as seemed likely at the moment in March,
1809, to one who (like himself) was in the secrets of the British
Cabinet, the Emperor would not be able to send reinforcements to
Spain for many a day. But, even so, the position of the French in the
Peninsula was so strong that it could only be endangered if a very
large allied force, acting in unison under the guidance of a single
general, should be brought to bear upon them. Of the collection of such
a force, and still more of the possibility of its being entrusted to
his own command, there was as yet no question. Wellesley was aware of
the jealousy of foreign interference which the Spanish Junta nurtured:
there was little probability that they would entrust him with the
supreme control over their armies. It was, indeed, only in 1812,
when he had acquired for himself a much greater reputation than he
owned in 1809, and when the Spanish Government had drunk the cup of
humiliation to the dregs, that he was finally given the position of
commander-in-chief of the Spanish armies.

This memorandum is a truly inspired document, which shows Wellesley
at his best. It is not too much to say that it predicts the whole
course of the Peninsular War—whose central point was to be invasion of
Portugal in 1810 by a French army of 65,000 instead of the required
100,000 men, and that army, as he had foreseen, Wellesley was able to
check and foil.

The second document of a prophetic sort that we have to notice is
Wellesley’s reply to Mr. Canning’s question to him as regards the
future general policy of the war, written on September 5, 1809. The
whole aspect of affairs had been much changed since March, by the fact
that Austria had tried her luck in a war against Napoleon, and had been
beaten at Wagram and forced to make peace. It was therefore certain
that the Emperor would now have his hands free again, and be able to
reinforce his armies in the Peninsula. Wellesley replies that it is
hopeless to attempt to defend both Southern Spain and Portugal also,
even if the British army were raised to 40,000 men. But Portugal can
still be defended.[61] He expresses the strongest objection to any
attempt to cover Andalusia and Seville, for to endeavour to do so must
mean that Lisbon would have to be given up.

[Sidenote: The Lines of Torres Vedras]

The third great prophetic despatch is the Memorandum of October
26, 1809, ordering the construction of the Lines of Torres Vedras.
Wellesley looks a full year ahead. He sees that Napoleon can now
reinforce his Spanish armies, but that the new troops cannot get up
till the next spring. When they appear, the British army will have to
retreat on Lisbon, where lines of such strength can be planned that
there is a good prospect of bringing the invaders to a stand. Meanwhile
the countryside shall be cleared of population and provisions, so that
the French, if they keep concentrated, must starve, and the allied
army shall so conduct its operations that the enemy will be compelled
to remain _en masse_. Then follow directions to Colonel Fletcher
(commanding the engineers) to make his plans for an immense line of
redoubts covering the Lisbon peninsula from sea to sea. What was
foreseen came to pass: the French reinforcements arrived: the invasion
of Portugal under Masséna took place in 1810. But the whole countryside
was swept clear of food, and when the marshal reached the Lines with
his half-starved army, he was completely blocked, refused to attack the
formidable positions, and, after a few weeks of endurance in front of
them, withdrew with his famished troops. It was on October 26, 1809,
that Wellington ordered the Lines to be laid out. On October 14, 1810,
Masséna appeared in front of them and was foiled: Wellington had made
his preparations exactly a year ahead!

Careful long-sighted calculation was perhaps the Duke’s strongest
point. He had an immense grasp of detail, kept intelligence officers of
picked ability out on every front, and had compiled an almost exactly
correct muster-roll of the forces opposed to him. Seldom had a general
of his time such a complete knowledge of his adversaries, and this he
owed to the pains that he took to obtain it. His great scouts Colquhoun
Grant,[62] Waters, and Rumann were always far out to the front, often
within the French lines, sending him daily information, which he
filed and dissected. In addition he had many Spanish and Portuguese
correspondents, whose information would have been more valuable if it
had not contained too much hearsay, and if they had been able to judge
numbers with the trained eye of a soldier. Once he complained that he
and Marmont were almost equally handicapped as regards information from
the natives—for if the Frenchmen got none, he himself got too much:
the proportion of it which was inaccurate spoiled the value of the
rest. But Grant or Waters never made mistakes. Part of his system was
the cross-questioning of every deserter and prisoner as to the number
and brigading of his regiment, and the amount of battalions that it
contained. By constant comparison of these reports he got to know the
exact number of units in every French corps, and their average strength.

But this was less important than his faculty for judging the individual
characters of his opponents. After a few weeks he got his fixed opinion
on Masséna or Victor, Soult or Marmont, and would lay his plans with
careful reference to their particular foibles. I think that this is
what he meant when he once observed that his own merit was, perhaps,
that he knew more of “what was going on upon the other side of the
hill,”—in the invisible ground occupied by the enemy and hidden by the
fog of war—than most men.

[Sidenote: Wellington’s Insight into Character]

This insight into the enemy’s probable move, when their strength, their
object, and the personal tendencies of their leader were known, was
a most valuable part of Wellesley’s mental equipment. The best known
instance where it came into play was on the day of Sorauren. In the
midst of the battles of the Pyrenees, when the British army had taken
up its fighting position, though its numbers were as yet by no means
complete, and two divisions were still marching up, Wellington arrived
from the west to assume command. He could see Soult on the opposite
hill surrounded by his staff, and it was equally certain that Soult
could see him, and knew the reason of the cheer which ran along the
front of the allied army as he rode up. Wellington judged, and rightly,
that the news of his arrival, and the sight of him in position, would
cause the marshal to delay his attack till the last of the French
reserves had come on the field. “I had an excellent glass: I saw him
spying at us—then write and send off a letter: _I knew what he would
be writing_, and gave my orders accordingly.”[63] Wellington judged
Soult a cautious general, knew that his own presence would redouble
his caution, and so judged that the order given by the marshal would
be for the checking of a threatened attack, which would have been very
dangerous at the moment, if it had been pressed. “The 6th Division will
have time to come up, and we shall beat him,” is said to have been his
comment, when he saw Soult hurriedly write and dispatch an order to his
front line.

Wellington played off a similar piece of bluff on Marmont at Fuente
Guinaldo in September, 1811, when he drew up in a position strong
indeed, but over-great for the numbers that he had in hand, and seemed
to offer battle. He was aware that his own reputation for caution was
so great that, if the enemy saw him halt and take up his ground, they
would judge that he had concentrated his whole force, and would not
attack him till their own reserves were near. He absconded unmolested
in the night, while Marmont’s rear columns were toiling up for the
expected battle of the next day.

For a long time in 1809–10 Wellesley had to assume a defensive
attitude. It was not till 1811 that it at last became possible for him
to think of taking the offensive, nor was it till 1812, the glorious
year of Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and Salamanca, that the dream reached
its realization. Hence came it that for a long time he was regarded
only as a cautious and calculating general, a master of defensive
warfare. This conception of him was wrong; as events showed, in
1812–1813, that he could be a very thunderbolt of war, when propitious
chance gave him the opportunity, could strike the boldest blows, and
launch his army upon the enemy with the most ruthless energy. But, in
the earlier years of his command, he was always hopelessly outnumbered,
and forced to parry rather than to strike. He had to run no risks with
his precious little army, the 30,000 British troops on whom the whole
defence of the Peninsula really depended: because if it were destroyed
it could not be replaced. With these 30,000 men he had covenanted, in
his agreement with Castlereagh, when first he sailed to take command at
Lisbon, that he would keep up the war indefinitely. If by taking some
great risk he had lost 15,000 or even 10,000 men, the government would
have called him home, and would have given up the struggle. Thus he
had to fight with the consciousness that a single disaster might ruin
not only his own plans, but the whole cause of the allies in Spain.
No wonder that his actions seem cautious! Yet even in 1810–1811 he
took some serious risks, such as the offering of battle at Bussaco and
Fuentes de Oñoro. When even a partial defeat would mean his own recall,
and the evacuation of Portugal, it required no small resolution even
to face such chances as these. But his serene and equable temper could
draw the exact line between legitimate and over-rash enterprise, and
never betrayed him.

[Sidenote: Wellington on the Offensive]

All the more striking, therefore, was the sudden development into a
bold offensive policy which marked the commencement of that year of
victories 1812. The chance had at last come: Napoleon was ceasing to
pour reinforcements into Spain—the Russian War was beginning to loom
near at hand. The French no longer possessed their former overwhelming
superiority: in order to hold in check Wellington’s army, now at last
increased by troops from home to 40,000 British sabres and bayonets,
they had to concentrate from every quarter, and risk their hold on
many provinces in order to collect a force so large that the British
general could not dare to face it. At last, in the winter of 1811–1812,
Napoleon himself intervened as Wellington’s helper, by dispersing
his armies too broadcast. The actually fatal move was the sending of
15,000 of Marmont’s “Army of Portugal,” the immediate adversary of
the Anglo-Portuguese host, for a distant expedition to the coast of
the Mediterranean in aid of Marshal Suchet. It was the absence of
this great detachment, which could not return for many weeks, that
emboldened Wellington to make his first great offensive stroke, the
storming of Ciudad Rodrigo on January 19, 1812, after a siege of only
twelve days.

Following on this first success came the dear-bought but decisive
success of the storming of Badajoz on April 7; this was a costly
business, because Wellington had to operate “against time,” since, if
he lingered over-long, the French armies from north and south would
combine, outnumber him, and drive him back into Portugal. Badajoz had
to be stormed by sheer force, before all the arts of the engineer and
artillerist had worked their full effect. The fire of the besieged had
not been subdued, nor had the approaches of the assailants been pushed
close up to the walls, as science would have dictated. But by making
three simultaneous attacks on different points of the fortress, and
succeeding at two of them, Wellington achieved his object and solved
his “time problem.” He showed here, for the first time, that he could,
if it was necessary, spend the lives of his men remorselessly, in order
to finish in a few days a task which, if much longer delayed, would
have had to be abandoned. This was to his French enemies a revelation
of a new side of his character. He had been esteemed one who refused
risks and would not accept losses. If they had known of the details of
his old Indian victory of Assaye, they would have judged his character
more truly.

But Salamanca was the real revelation of Wellington’s full powers. It
was a lightning stroke, a sudden offensive movement made at a crisis of
momentary opportunity, which would have ceased if the hour had not been
seized with all promptitude. Wellington hurled his army unexpectedly
at the enemy, who was manœuvring in full confidence and tranquillity
in front of his line, thinking that he had to deal with an adversary
who might accept a battle (as at Vimeiro, Talavera, or Bussaco), but
might be trusted not to force one on. Salamanca surprised and dismayed
the more sagacious of the French officers. Foy, the most intelligent
observer among them, put down in his diary six days later, “This battle
is the most cleverly fought, the largest in scale, the most important
in results, of any that the English have won in recent times. It
brings up Lord Wellington’s reputation almost to the level of that of
Marlborough. Up to this day we knew his prudence, his eye for choosing
good positions, and the skill with which he used them. But at Salamanca
he has shown himself a great and able master of manœuvring. He kept
his dispositions hidden nearly the whole day: he allowed us to develop
our movement before he pronounced his own: he played a close game; he
utilized the “oblique order” in the style of Frederick the Great....
The catastrophe of the Spanish War has come—for six months we ought to
have seen that it was quite probable.”[64]

This is one of the most striking and handsome compliments ever paid
by a general of a beaten army to the commander of the victorious
adversaries. It is perfectly true, and it reflects the greatest credit
on Foy’s fair-mindedness and readiness to see facts as they were. The
conqueror of Salamanca was for the future a much more terrifying enemy
than the victor of Bussaco or Talavera had been. It is one thing to be
repulsed—that had often happened to the French before—another to be
suddenly assailed, scattered, and driven off the field with crushing
losses and in hopeless disorder, as happened to Wellington’s enemies
under the shadow of the Arapiles on July 22, 1812.

Wellington as a great master of the offensive came into prominence
in 1812, and for the rest of the war it is this side of him which is
most frequently visible, though the retreat from Burgos shows that his
prudence was as much alive as ever. During the few days that preceded
that retreat there was very great temptation to try a hard stroke at
one of the French armies that were converging on the two halves of his
own force. Napoleon would undoubtedly have made the attempt. But,
Wellington, knowing that his own total numbers were much inferior to
those of the enemy, and that to concentrate in front of either Soult or
Souham would be to take a terrible risk on the other flank, preferred
a concentric retreat towards his base on the frontier of Portugal, to
a battle in the plains of Castille, where he was far from home and
support, and where a defeat might lead to absolute ruin.

[Sidenote: The Campaigns of 1813–1814]

This was the last time that he was outnumbered and forced back upon
his old methods. In 1813, owing to Napoleon’s drafts from the army
of Spain, which were called off to replace the troops lost in the
Moscow campaign, the allies had at last a superiority in numbers,
though that superiority consisted entirely in Spanish troops of
doubtful solidity. But even these were conditions far more favourable
than Wellington had ever enjoyed before—he knew how to use his newly
joined Spanish divisions in a useful fashion, without placing them in
the more dangerous and responsible positions. The campaigns of 1813
and 1814 are both essentially offensive in character, though they
contain one or two episodes when Wellington was, for the moment, on
the defensive in his old style, notably the early part of the battles
of the Pyrenees, where, till his reserves came up, he was fending off
Soult by the use of his more advanced divisions. But the moment that
his army was assembled he struck hard, and chased the enemy over the
frontier, again in the series of operations that begun on the last day
of Sorauren. There was a very similar episode during the operations
that are generally known as the battle of the Nive, where Wellington
had twice to stand for a movement in position, while one of his wings
was assailed by Soult’s main body. But this was distinctly what we may
call defensive tactical detail, in a campaign that was essentially
offensive on the whole. The main character of the operations of 1813–14
may be described as the clearing out of the enemy from a series of
positions—generally heavily fortified—by successful breaking through of
the lines which Soult on each occasion failed to hold. Invariably the
French army was nailed down to the position which it had taken up, by
demonstrations all along its front, while the decisive blow was given
at selected points by a mass of troops collected for the main stroke.



Everyone who takes a serious interest in military history is aware
that, in a general way, the victories of Wellington over his French
adversaries were due to a skilful use of the two-deep line against
the massive column, which had become the usual fighting-formation for
a French army acting on the offensive, during the later years of the
great war that raged from 1792 till 1814. But I am not sure that the
methods and limitations of Wellington’s system are fully appreciated,
and they are well worth explaining. And on the other hand it would
not be true to imagine that all French fighting, without exception,
was conducted in column, or that blows delivered by the solid masses
whose aspect the English knew so well, were the only ideal of the
Napoleonic generals. It is not sufficient to lay down the general
thesis that Wellington found himself opposed by troops who invariably
worked in column, and that he beat those troops by the simple expedient
of meeting them, front to front, with other troops who as invariably
fought in the two-deep battle line. The statement is true in a general
way, but needs explanation and modification.

The use of infantry in line was, of course, no invention of
Wellington’s, nor is it a universal panacea for all crises of war.
During the eighteenth century, from Marlborough to Frederic the Great,
all European infantry was normally fighting in line, three or four
deep, and looking for success in battle to the rapidity and accuracy
of its fire, not to the impetus of advances in heavy masses such as
had been practised by the pikemen of the sixteenth or seventeenth
century, and were to be introduced again by the French generals of the
Revolutionary period. Everyone knows how the victories of Frederic the
Great were in part to be attributed to the careful fire-drill of his
infantry, who, with their iron ramrods and rapid manual exercise, used
to put in a far larger and more effective discharge of musket-balls per
minute than their adversaries. But both parties were as a rule fighting
in three-deep line, Austrians no less than Prussians. Armies had a
stereotyped array, with infantry battalions deployed in long lines in
the centre, and heavy masses of cavalry covering the wings. A glance
at the battle-plans of the War of the Austrian Succession, or of the
Seven Years’ War, shows a marvellous similarity in the general tactical
arrangements of the rival hosts, and front-to-front collisions of long
parallel lines were quite common, though commanders of genius had their
own ways of varying the tactics of the day. Frederic the Great’s famous
“oblique order,” or advance in _échelon_, with the strong striking-wing
brought forward, and the weaker “containing-wing” held back and
refused, is sufficiently well known. Occasionally he was able to vary
it, as at Rossbach and Leuthen, and to throw the greater part of his
troops across the enemy’s flank at right angles, so as to roll him up
in detail. But these were “uncovenanted mercies” obtained owing to the
abnormal sloth or unskilfulness of the opposing general. Torgau needs a
special word of mention, as Frederic’s only battle fought of choice in
a thoroughly irregular formation.

There were one or two cases in the old eighteenth-century wars of
engagements won by the piercing of a hostile centre, such as Marshal
Saxe’s victory of Roucoux (1746), and we may find, in other operations
of that great general, instances of the use of deep masses, battalion
deployed behind battalion, for the attack of a chosen section of
the hostile position, and others where a line of deployed infantry
was flanked or supported by units practically in column. But this
was exceptional—as exceptional as the somewhat similar formation of
Cumberland’s mass of British and Hanoverian infantry at Fontenoy,
which, though often described as a column, had originally consisted of
three successive lines of deployed battalions, which were ultimately
constricted into a mass by lateral pressure. Some of Marshal Broglie’s
and Ferdinand of Brunswick’s fights during the Seven Years’ War were
also fought in a looser order of battle than was normal.

Normally the tactics of the eighteenth century were directed to the
smashing up of one of the enemy’s wings, either by outflanking it,
or by assailing it with very superior forces, while the rest of the
enemy’s army was “contained” by equal or inferior numbers, according
as the assailant had more or less troops than his enemy. The decisive
blow was very frequently delivered by a superior force of cavalry
concentrated upon the striking wing, which commenced the action by
breaking down the inferior hostile cavalry, and then turned in upon the
flank of the infantry of the wing which it had assailed. Such a type of
battle may sometimes be found much later, even in the Peninsular War,
where Ocaña was a perfect example of it.

[Sidenote: Frederic II. and Marshal Saxe]

Speaking roughly, however, the period of set battles fought by enemies
advancing against each other in more or less parallel lines ended with
the outbreak of the war of the French Revolution. There had been a
fierce controversy in France from 1775 to 1791 between the advocates
of the linear, or Frederician, battle-order—headed by General Guibert,
and the officers who wished to introduce a deeper formation, which they
claimed to have learnt from the instructions of Marshal Saxe—of whom
the chief was General Menil-Durand. The former school had triumphed
just before the war began, and the _Réglement d’Infanterie_ of 1791
accepted all their views. It was on this drill-book that the French
infantry stood to fight in the following year, when the war on the
Rhine and in Belgium began.[65]

But the attempt of the first generals of Revolutionary France to fight
on the old linear system was a failure. The troops of the Republic had
been demoralized by the removal or desertion of the greater proportion
of their commissioned officers, and their _cadres_ had been hastily
filled with half-trained recruits. At the same time hundreds of new
units, the battalions of volunteers, had been formed on no old _cadre_
at all, but, with officers and men alike little better than untrained
civilians, took the field along with the reorganized remains of the old
royal army. It is hardly necessary to remark, that these raw armies
suffered a series of disgraceful defeats at the hands of the Austrian
and other allied troops in 1792–93. They were beaten both in tactics,
in manœuvring, and in fire-discipline by the well-drilled veteran
battalions to which they were opposed.

The French Republic, when it came under the control of the Jacobins,
tried to set matters right by accusing its generals of treason, and
arrested and guillotined a considerable proportion of the unfortunate
commanders-in-chief to whom its armies had been entrusted. But neither
this heroic device, nor the sending to the armies of the well known
“representatives _en mission_” from the National Assembly, who were to
stimulate the energy of the generals, had satisfactory results. As the
representatives were generally as ignorant of military affairs as they
were self-important and autocratic, they did no more than confuse and
harass the unhappy generals on whom they were inflicted.

One thing, however, the Jacobin government did accomplish: it pushed
into the field reinforcements in such myriads that the armies of
the allies were hopelessly outnumbered on every frontier. The first
successes of the Republican armies in the North were won by brute
force, by heaping double and triple numbers upon the enemy. And the new
tactics of the Revolutionary leaders were evolved from a consciousness
of superiority in this respect, a determination to swamp troops that
manœuvred better than their own, by hurling preponderant masses upon
them, regardless of the losses that must necessarily be suffered. For
they had inexhaustible reserves behind them, from the newly-decreed
levies _en masse_, while the bases of the allies were far off, and
their trained men, when destroyed, could only be replaced slowly and
with difficulty.

[Sidenote: Tactics of the French Revolution]

When the generals of the Revolution threw away the old linear tactics
learned in the school of Frederic the Great, as inapplicable to troops
that could not manœuvre with the same speed and accuracy as their
enemies, the improvised system that succeeded was a brutal and wasteful
one, but had the merit of allowing them to utilize their superiority
of numbers. It is possible that those of them who reasoned at all upon
the topic—and reasoning was not easy in that strenuous time, when a
commander’s head sat lightly on his shoulders—saw that they were in a
manner utilizing the idea that had been tried in a tentative way by
Maurice de Saxe, and by one or two other generals of the old wars—the
idea that for collision in long line on a parallel front, partial
attacks in heavy masses on designated points might be substituted. But
it is probable that there was more of improvisation than of deliberate
tactical theory in the manœuvres of even the best of them.

The usual method was to throw at the hostile front a very thick
skirmishing line, which sheathed and concealed a mass of heavy columns,
concentrated upon one or two critical points of the field. The idea
was that the front line of _tirailleurs_ would so engage the enemy,
and keep him occupied all along his front, that at the crucial section
of the combat the supporting columns would get up to striking distance
with practically no loss, and could be hurled, while still intact, upon
those points of the hostile array which it was intended to pierce; they
would go through by their mere impetus and weight, since they were only
exposed to fire for a few minutes, and could endure the loss suffered
in that time without losing their _élan_ or their pace. The essential
part of the system was the enormously thick and powerful skirmishing
line: whole battalions were dispersed in chains of _tirailleurs_, who
frankly abandoned any attempt at ordered movement, took refuge behind
cover of all sorts, and were so numerous that they could always drive
in the weak skirmishing line of the enemy, and get closely engaged with
his whole front. The orderly battalion-volleys of the Austrian, or
other allied troops opposed to them, did comparatively little harm to
these swarms, who were taking cover as much as possible, and presented
no closed body or solid mark for the musketry fire poured upon them.
It looks as if the proper antidote against such a swarm-attack would
have been local and partial cavalry charges, by squadrons judiciously
inserted in the hostile line, for nothing could have been more
vulnerable to a sudden cavalry onslaught than a disorderly chain of
light troops. On many occasions in the campaigns of 1792–93 the French
infantry had shown itself very helpless against horsemen who pushed
their charge home, not only in cases where it was caught unprepared,
but even when it had succeeded in forming square with more or less
promptitude.[66] But this particular remedy against the swarm-attack
does not seem to have been duly employed, and indeed many parts of
Flanders are so cut up by small enclosures, that the use of cavalry as
a universal panacea might often have proved impossible.

[Sidenote: Tactics of the French Column]

The masses which supported the thick lines of _tirailleurs_ were formed
either in columns of companies or columns of “divisions,” _i.e._ double
companies.[67] In the former case the eight companies, each three deep,
were drawn up behind each other. In the latter the front was formed by
a “division,” and the depth was only twelve men. In either case none
but the two front ranks could use their firearms properly, and the rest
were useless save for the impetus that they gave the rolling mass. But
such a column, when properly sheathed by the skirmishing line till the
last moment, generally came with a very effective rush against the
allied line opposed to it, which would have been already engaged with
the _tirailleurs_ for some time, and had probably been much depleted
by their fire. It is equally clear that, without its protective sheath
of skirmishers, such a heavy column would have been a very clumsy
instrument of war, since it combined the minimum of shooting power
with the maximum of vulnerability. But when so shielded, the columns
which attacked in masses at a decisive spot, leaving the rest of the
hostile line “contained” by an adequate force, had a fair chance of
penetrating, though the process of penetration might during the last
two or three minutes be very costly to the troops forming the head of
the column.

The best early summary of this change in French tactics which I know
occurs in an anonymous English pamphlet published in 1802, which puts
the matter in a nutshell. “The French army was composed of troops of
the line without order, and of raw and undisciplined volunteers. They
experienced defeats in the beginning, but in the meantime war was
forming both officers and soldiers. In an open country they took to
forming their armies in columns instead of lines, which they could not
preserve without difficulty. They reduced battles to attacks on certain
points, where brigade succeeded brigade, and fresh troops supplied
the places of those who were driven back, till they were enabled to
force the post, and make the enemy give way. They were fully aware
that they could not give battle in regular order, and sought to reduce
engagements to important affairs of posts: this plan has succeeded.
They look upon losses as nothing, provided they attain their end; they
set little store by their men, because they have the certainty of being
able to replace them, and the customary superiority of their numbers
affords them an advantage which can only be counterbalanced by great
skill, conduct, and activity.”[68]

After 1794, when the Republican armies had won their first series
of great successes, and had driven their enemies behind their own
frontiers, there is a distinct change in the tactical conceptions
of the French. The troops had improved immensely in morale and
self-confidence: a new race of generals had appeared, who were neither
obsessed by reminiscences of the system of Frederic the Great, like
some of their predecessors, nor spurred to blind violence and the
brutal expenditure of vast numbers of men like certain others. The
new generals modified the gross and unscientific methods of the
Jacobin armies of 1793–94, which had won victory indeed, but only by
the force of numbers and with reckless loss of life. There remained
as a permanent lesson, however, from the earlier campaigns two
principles—the avoidance of dispersion and extension, by which armies
“cover everything and protect nothing,” and the necessity of striking
at crucial points rather than delivering “linear” battles, fought out
at equal intensity along the whole front. In general French tactics
became very supple, the units manœuvring with a freedom which had been
unknown to earlier generations. The system of parting an army into
divisions, now introduced as a regular organization,[69] gave to the
whole army a power of independent movement unknown in the days when
a line of battle was considered a rigid thing, formed of brigades
ranged elbow to elbow, none of which ought to move without the direct
orders of the general-in-chief. A front might be composed of separate
divisions coming on the field by different roads, and each adopting
its own formation, the only necessity being that there should be no
great gaps left between them. As a matter of fact this last necessary
precaution was by no means always observed, and there are cases in
the middle, and even the later, years of the Revolutionary War, in
which French generals brought their armies upon the field in such
disconnected bodies, and with such want of co-operation and good
timing, that they were deservedly defeated in detail.[70] Bonaparte
himself is liable to this charge for his order of attack at Marengo,
where he committed himself to a general action before the column of
Desaix was near enough to the field, and as nearly as possible suffered
a crushing reverse for the want of a mass of troops whose action was
absolutely necessary to him. Hoche, Jourdan, and Moreau (the last
especially), all committed similar mistakes from time to time. But
these errors were at least better than an adhesion to the stereotyped
tactics of the older generation, where formal set orders of battle had
been thought absolutely necessary.

[Sidenote: Disadvantages of the Column]

As a rule we find the French operating in the later years of the
Republic with methods very different from those of 1793, with skill
and swiftness, no longer with the mere brute force of numerical
superiority, winning by brilliant manœuvring rather than by mere
bludgeon work. Yet, oddly enough, there was no formal revision of
official tactics; the _Reglement d’Infanterie_ which had been drawn
up in 1791, whose base was the old three-deep line of Frederic the
Great, had never been disowned, even when it was for the most part
disregarded, in the period when swarm-attacks of _tirailleurs_,
supported by monstrous heavy columns, had become, perforce, the
practical method of the French armies. When that unsatisfactory time
passed by, the same old drill-book continued to be used, and was no
longer so remote from actual practice as it had been. For the use of
the deployed battalion began to come up again, as the handiness of the
troops increased, and their self-reliance was restored. Only the early
Revolutionary War had left two marks upon French tactics—for hard and
heavy work, such as the forcing of passes, or bridges, or defiles,
or the breaking of a crucial point in the enemy’s line, the deep
column remained habitually employed: while the old idea of the orderly
continuous line of battle was gone for ever, or almost gone, for (oddly
enough) in Napoleon’s last and least lucky fight, Waterloo, the order
of the imperial host was more like the trim and symmetrical array of a
Frederician army than any French line of battle that had been seen for
many a year. Certainly it would have pleased the eye of the Prussian
king much better than the apparently irregular, though carefully
thought out, plans of battle on which Jena or Wagram, Borodino or
Bautzen were won.

[Sidenote: The “Ordre Mixte”]

It would be doing injustice to Napoleon to represent him as a
general whose main tactical method rested solely on the employment
of massive columns for the critical operation on each battlefield.
He was quite aware that infantry ought to operate by its fire, and
that every man in the rear ranks is a musket wasted. If the Emperor
had any favourite formation it was the _ordre mixte_, recommended by
Guibert far back before his own day, in which a certain combination
of the advantages of line and column was obtained, by drawing up the
brigade or regiment with alternate battalions in line three-deep and
in column. This formation gave a fair amount of frontal fire from the
alternate deployed battalions, while the columns dispersed among them
gave solidity, and immunity from a flank attack by cavalry, which
might otherwise roll up the line. If, for example, a regiment of three
battalions of 900 men each were drawn up in the _ordre mixte_, with one
deployed battalion flanked by two battalions in column, it had about
730 men in the firing line, while if arranged in three columns, it
would only have had about 200 able to use their muskets freely. Still,
at the best, this formation was heavy, since all the serried back-ranks
of the flanking battalions had no power to join in the fusillade. For
simple fire-effect it was as inferior to the line as it was superior to
the mere column.

Napoleon, however, was certainly fond of it. From the crossing of the
Tagliamento (1797), when he is first recorded to have used it, he made
very frequent employment of it. In a dispatch to Soult, sent him just
before Austerlitz, he directed him to use it “_autant que faire se
pourra_.” It is curious, however, to note that the marshal, less than a
week after, having to strike the decisive blow in that battle, did not,
after all, use the _ordre mixte_, but fought in lines of battalions in
“columns of divisions,” as he particularly mentions in his report to
the Emperor.[71]

But the _ordre mixte_ was certainly employed again and again, not only
in those parts of the battle where Napoleon was simply “containing” his
enemy, and where he was merely keeping up the fight and pinning the
adversary to his position, but also on the crucial points, where he was
endeavouring to deal his main blow. We have notes to the effect that
Lannes’ Corps at Jena, Augereau’s at Eylau, and Victor’s at Friedland,
which were all “striking forces,” not “containing forces,” used this
formation. Its supposed solidity did not always save it from disaster,
as was seen in the second of the cases quoted above, where Augereau’s
whole corps, despite of its battalions in column, was ridden down by a
flank attack of Russian cavalry, charging covered by a snowstorm.

In spite, however, of Napoleon’s theoretical preference for the _ordre
mixte_, and his knowledge that the column was a costly formation to
employ against an enemy whose fire was not subdued, it is certain that
he used it frequently, not only for the forcing of bridges or defiles
(as at Arcola and Ebersberg[72]), but for giving the final blow at a
point where he was determined to break through, and where the enemy was
holding on with tiresome persistence. At Wagram the flank-guards of
Macdonald’s conquering advance were formed by 13 battalions in solid
column, one behind the other, though its front consisted of eight
deployed battalions. Friant’s division on the right wing also attacked
with three regiments formed “_en colonne serrée par bataillons_.”
At Friedland, Ney’s right division (Marchand) came to the front in
a single file of ten battalions one behind the other, and never got
deployed, but attacked in mass and was checked. In 1812 and 1813
advance in heavy masses was usual—whole regiments formed in “column
of divisions,” battalion behind battalion,[73] with only 200 yards’
distance between regiment and regiment.

Napoleon was quite aware of the disadvantages of such formations,
“même en plaine,” he observed in a celebrated interview with Foy, “les
colonnes n’enfoncent les lignes qu’autant qu’elles sont appuyées par
le feu d’une artillerie très supérieure, qui prépare l’attaque.”[74]
And his advances in column were habitually prepared by a crushing
artillery fire on the point which he was about to assail, a fire which
he himself, as an old artillery officer, knew how to direct with the
greatest accuracy and efficiency. It seems that he relied much more
on such preparation by concentrated batteries for the shielding of
his columns, than on sheathing them by a thick skirmishing line, the
old device of the generals of the Republic. An enemy’s firing line
might be occupied and demoralized by shot and shell, as well as by a
screen of skirmishers. Jena, indeed, seems to be about the only one
of his battles in which a hostile line was masked and depleted by a
heavy _tirailleur_ attack, before the columns in support charged and
routed it. Often the light infantry seems to have been practically
non-existent, and it was artillery and formed battalions alone which
fought out the engagement. French generals in the imperial campaigns
appear habitually to have used for the skirmishing line no more than
the _Voltigeur_ company of each battalion,[75] a force making one-ninth
of the whole unit only, till the number of companies was cut down in
1808 from nine to six, when the _Voltigeurs_ became one-sixth of the
total. We are very far, by 1805 or 1809, from the day of the great
“swarm-attacks” of the early Republic.

[Sidenote: Tactics of Napoleon’s Generals]

It was the tactics of the Empire, not those of the Republic, which
Wellington had to face, when he took command of the allied army in
the Peninsula in 1809. He had to take into consideration an enemy
whose methods were essentially offensive, whose order of infantry
fighting was at the best—in the _ordre mixte_—rather heavy, and in
many cases, when the column of the battalion or the regiment was used,
exceptionally gross and crowded. He knew that the enemy would have a
far more numerous cavalry than was at his own disposition, and that
it would be used with reckless boldness—the cavalry stroke in the
Napoleonic battle accompanied, if it did not precede, the infantry
stroke. Moreover, the French army would have a very powerful and
effective artillery, trained to prepare the way for infantry attacks
by the greatest artillerist in the world. His own proportion of guns
to infantry was ridiculously low: there was not even one battery per
division in 1809.

What was there to oppose to this dangerous enemy in the way of
tactical efficiency? Roughly speaking we may say that the one point of
superiority on which Wellesley counted, and counted rightly, was the
superiority of the English formation for infantry in the two-deep line
to the heavier order of the enemy’s battalions. For this formation he
was, of course, not responsible himself: he took it over as an accepted
thing, and thought that he knew how to turn it to the best account.

The effects of the French War on British tactics had been notable and
interesting. The first reflections published on the new type of war
on this side of the Channel seem to have been mainly inspired by the
experience of the Duke of York’s army in 1793–94, when the thick chains
of _tirailleurs_, which formed the protective screen, or first line,
of the Republican armies, had done so much damage to troops which
fought them in the old three-deep order, adopted from Frederic the
Great, without any sufficient counter-provision of skirmishers. We find
early in the war complaints that the British forces had no adequate
proportion of light troops—that the one light company per battalion,
normally used, was wholly unable to prevent the French _tirailleur_
swarm from pressing up to the main line, and doing it much harm
before the real attack was delivered. Two remedies were proposed—the
first was that the proportion of light companies in a battalion
should be increased from one to two,[76] or that in each regiment a
certain number of men should be selected for good marksmanship, and
taught light infantry drill, while still remaining attached to their
companies. Of these proposals the first was never tried: the second was
actually practised by certain colonels, who trained fifteen or twenty
men per company as skirmishers: they were called “flankers,” and were
to go out along with the light company. The only British battle where
I have found them specially mentioned is Maida, where their mention
illustrates the danger of the system. Generals wanting more light
troops habitually purloined the light companies of regiments to make
“light battalions”; but not only did they do this, but they sometimes
even stole the “flankers” also from the centre companies. Stuart had
at Maida not only the light companies, but also the “flankers” of
regiments left behind in Sicily, which had therefore been deprived of
every marksman that they possessed—an execrable device. The system,
however, was only tentative; it soon disappeared; Wellington never
skimmed the centre companies of their good shots, though he did
occasionally create a light battalion of light companies—even this was

[Sidenote: British use of Light Troops]

But there was a second alternative course open to the British: instead
of developing more skirmishers in each battalion, they might create
new light-infantry corps, or turn whole units of the line into light
troops. For the former there was good precedent: in the War of the
American Revolution the British generals had of necessity embodied
corps of riflemen, to oppose to the deadly marksmen from the backwoods
who formed the most efficient part of the American armies. Such
were Simcoe’s Rangers, and the dismounted part of Tarleton’s famous
Legion—whose remainder consisted of veritable mounted infantry—the
first of their sort in the British army, since dragoons had forgotten
their old trade and become cavalry of the line. But all the Rangers,
etc., had been disbanded in 1783, and their use seems to have been
forgotten before the French War began; the system had to begin again
_de novo_. It was not till 1798 that the first British rifle battalion
was created, to wit the 5th Battalion of the 60th Regiment, or Royal
Americans, which was formed as a Jäger unit out of the remains of
many defunct foreign light corps in British pay: it remained mainly
German in composition even during the Peninsular War. This was the
first green-coated battalion; the second was Coote Manningham’s
“Experimental Rifle Corps,” formed in January, 1800, and finally taken
into the service after some vicissitudes, as the 95th—a name famous
in Peninsular annals, though now almost obliterated by its new title
of the “Rifle Brigade.” The regiment was enlarged to three battalions
before it came into Wellington’s hands. Later on, though the number of
rifle corps was not increased, yet an addition was made to the light
troops of the British army by turning certain picked battalions into
light infantry. They were armed with a special musket of light weight,
not with a rifle, and all the companies equally were instructed in
skirmishing work. The first corps so treated was the 90th or Perthshire
Light Infantry, which received the title in 1794. The precedent was
not, however, acted on again till in 1803, the 43rd and 52nd, the
famous regiments of the Peninsular Light Division, were honoured with
the same designation. The last additions during the period of the
Napoleonic wars were the 68th and 85th in 1808, and the 51st and 71st
in 1809. Most of these corps had two battalions, but, even so, the
provision of light infantry was not large for an army which had then
nearly 200 battalions embodied. There were also some foreign corps to
be taken into consideration, which stood on the British muster-rolls,
such as the two Light Battalions of the King’s German Legion, the
Brunswick Oels Jägers, and the Chasseurs Britanniques, who all four
served in the Peninsula. All these save the last were created after
1803: but at least during the second period of the great French War,
our armies were not practically destitute of light troops, as they were
in 1793. We shall see that this had no small importance in Wellington’s
tactical devices.

[Sidenote: The British Two-deep Line]

The other lesson that might possibly have been deduced from the
campaigns of the earlier years of the great war was the efficacy of
columns for striking at the critical points of an enemy’s line. The
continental enemies of France were affected by what they had seen
of this sort of success, and often copied the formation of their
adversaries. But it is notable that the old and wholesome prejudice of
the British in favour of the line was in no way disturbed by what had
happened of late. The idea that the column was a clumsy and expensive
formation was not shaken, and the theory that infantry ought to win by
the rapidity and accuracy of its shooting, and that every musket not
in the firing-line was wasted, continued to prevail. The reply of the
British to the _ordre mixte_ was to reduce the depth of the deployed
battalion from three ranks to two, because it had been discovered
that the fire of the third rank was difficult, dangerous to those in
front, and practically ineffective. Sir David Dundas’s drill-book
of 1788 with its Prussian three ranks, which had been the official
guide of the British infantry of late, was not formally cancelled at
first, but it was practically disregarded, and the army went back
to the two-rank array, which it had habitually used in the American
War, and had abandoned with regret. Apparently the Duke of York did
not altogether approve this change: he at least once issued a General
Order, to remind colonels that the formation in three ranks was still
officially recognized and ought not to be forgotten. But the permission
given by an order in 1801, that inspecting officers might allow
regiments to appear “even at reviews” in the two ranks, probably marked
the practical end of the Prussian system.[77] It had certainly been
disused by many officers long before that date, and it is certain that
in Abercrombie’s Egyptian campaign the double instead of the triple
rank was in general use.[78] British military opinion had decided that
fire was everything, and that the correct answer to the French columnar
attack was to put more men into the firing line.

A conclusive proof of the efficacy of the double when opposed to the
triple rank was very clearly given at the half-forgotten Calabrian
battle of Maida, three years after the commencement of the second half
of the great French War. At this fight the French General Reynier
had deployed the whole, or the greater part, of his battalions, who
were not as usual fighting either in _ordre mixte_ or in battalion
column. The result was very decisive—5000 British infantry in the
thinner formation received the attack of 6000 French in the heavier,
and inflicted on them, purely by superior fire-efficiency, one of the
most crushing defeats on a small scale that was ever seen, disabling or
taking 2000 men, with a total loss to themselves of only 320.[79] It is
worth while remembering that some of the officers who were afterwards
to be Wellington’s trusted lieutenants were present at Maida, including
Cole, Kempt, Oswald, and Colborne.[79] This was about the only instance
that I know where English and French came into action both deployed,
and on a more or less parallel front. Usually it was a case of “column
against line.”

[Sidenote: Wellington’s System]

Sir Arthur Wellesley had been nine years absent in India before he
returned to England in 1805, so that he had to learn the difference
between the Republican and the Imperial armies by new experience. The
problem had long been interesting him. Before he left Calcutta he is
said to have remarked to his confidants that the French were sweeping
everything before them in Europe by the use of column formations, but
that he was convinced that the column could, and would, be beaten by
the line. What he heard after his return to England evidently confirmed
him in this opinion. A conversation which he had with Croker, just
before he set sail on the expedition which was to end at Vimeiro,
chances to have been preserved in the latter’s papers, under the date,
June 14, 1808. Sitting silent, lost in reverie for a long time, he was
asked by Croker the subject of his thoughts. “To say the truth,” he
replied, “I am thinking of the French I am going to fight. I have not
seen them since the campaigns in Flanders [1793–94] when they were
capital soldiers, and a dozen years of victory under Bonaparte must
have made them better still. ’Tis enough to make one thoughtful. But
though they may overwhelm me, I don’t think that they will outmanœuvre
me. First, because I am not afraid of them, as every one else seems
to be, and secondly, because (if all I hear about their system is
true) I think it a false one against steady troops. I suspect all the
continental armies are half-beaten before the battle begins. I at least
will not be frightened beforehand.”

Wellesley went out to Portugal, there to try what could be done with
steady troops against the “French system.” But it would be to convey a
false impression of his meaning if we were to state that he simply went
out to beat column with line—though the essential fact is sufficiently
true. He went out to try his own conception of the proper way to use
the line formation, which had its peculiarities and its limitations.
The chief of these were that—

(1) The line must not be exposed before the moment of actual conflict:
_i.e._ it must be kept under cover as much as possible.

(2) That till the critical moment it must be screened by a line of
skirmishers impenetrable to the enemy’s _tirailleurs._

(3) That it must be properly covered on its flanks, either by the
nature of the ground, or by cavalry and artillery.

When we investigate all his earlier pitched battles, we shall see that
each of these three requisites was as far as possible secured.

(1) It was necessary for success that the line should be kept concealed
from the enemy’s distant fire of artillery and infantry as long as
possible. Hence we find that one of the most marked features of
Wellesley’s many defensive battles was that he took up, whenever it was
feasible, a position which would mask his main line, and show nothing
to the enemy but his skirmishers and possibly his artillery, for the
latter having to operate before the infantry fighting began, and being
obliged to take up positions which would command the ground over which
the enemy must advance, were often visible from the first. At Vimeiro,
Wellesley so concealed his army that Junot, thinking to turn his left
flank, found his turning column itself outflanked by troops moved under
cover behind a skyline. At Bussaco, Masséna, no mean general, mistook
Wellington’s centre for his extreme right, and found his attacking
columns[80] well outflanked when the attack had been pressed to its
issue. At Salamanca it was much the same; the main part of the British
line was well concealed behind a low ridge of hills, while Pakenham’s
division and its attendant cavalry, the force which executed the great
stroke, were concealed in a wooded tract, far outside the French
marching column that vainly thought to get round the allied right
wing. At Waterloo, the clearest case of all, the whole of Wellington’s
infantry of the front line was so far drawn back from the edge of
the slope that it was invisible, till the enemy had climbed to the
brow of the plateau on which it was arrayed. Only the artillery, the
skirmishing line, and the troops in the outlying posts of Hougoumont
and La Haye Sainte could be made out by Napoleon’s eye. Talavera, as I
shall mention below, is the only exception to this general rule in the
Duke’s defensive battles.

[Sidenote: The Advantages of Cover]

Wellington’s ideal position was a rising ground with a long _glacis_
of slope in front, and a plateau or a dip behind it. The infantry was
drawn back from the skyline, and placed behind the crest, if the hill
were saddle-backed, or some hundreds of yards away from the edge, if it
were flat-topped. There they stood or lay till they were wanted, secure
from artillery fire: they moved forward to their actual fighting ground
only when the fire-combat of infantry was to begin. Every one will
remember Wellington’s caustic comment on the Prussian order of battle
at Ligny, where Blücher had drawn out his army in a chequered array
all along the declivity of a descending slope. “Damnably mauled these
fellows will be—every man visible to the enemy.”[81] Or in more solemn
phrase, as he afterwards consigned it to paper: “I told the Prussian
officers, in the presence of Colonel Hardinge, that according to my
judgment, the exposure of the advanced columns, and indeed of the army,
to cannonade, standing as they did displayed to the aim of the enemy’s
fire, was not prudent.”[82]

By the end of the Peninsular War, as I have already had occasion to
observe, it had become so well known to the French that Wellington’s
army, ready for a battle, would be under cover, that he was able, as at
Fuente Guinaldo in 1811, and at Sorauren in 1813, to play off on them
the trick of offering to fight in a half-manned position, because he
knew that they would take it for granted that the ground invisible to
them was held by an adequate force. There is an interesting testimony
to the same effect in the Waterloo campaign. On the morning before the
battle of Quatre Bras began, General Reille, a veteran of the Spanish
war, remained halted for some time before a position held by nothing
but a single Dutch-Belgian division, because (as he expressed it), “Ce
pourrait bien être une bataille d’Espagne—les troupes Anglaises se
montreraient quand il en serait temps.”[83] This was the lesson taught
by many years of Peninsular experience—but on this occasion it chanced
to be singularly ill applied—since a vigorous push would have shown
Reille that there were as yet no red-coats concealed behind the trees
of the Bois de Bossu.

It was only when absolute necessity compelled, owing to there being no
cover available in some parts of his chosen position, that Wellington
very occasionally left troops in his battle-front visible to the
enemy, and exposed to artillery fire from a distance. The best known
instance of this occurred with his centre brigades at Talavera, who
were unmasked perforce, because between the strong hill which protected
his left, and the olive groves which covered his right, there were
many hundred yards of open ground, without any serviceable dips or
undulations to conceal the line. And this was almost the only battle in
which we find record of his troops having suffered heavily by artillery
fire before the clash of infantry fighting began.[84]

(2) The second postulate of Wellington’s system was, as I have remarked
above, that the infantry of his battle-line must be covered by such
a powerful screen of skirmishers, that the enemy’s advanced line of
_tirailleurs_ should never be able to get near enough to it to cause
any real molestation, and that it should not be seriously engaged
before the French supporting columns came up to deliver the main
attack. His old experience in Flanders in 1794 had taught him that the
line cannot contend at advantage with a swarm of light troops, who
yield when charged, but return the moment that the charge has stopped
and the line has drawn back to its original position. There were evil
memories of this sort not only from Flanders, but from the Egyptian
Expedition of 1801, when Abercrombie’s less engaged brigades suffered
severely at the battle of Alexandria from the incessant fire of
skirmishers at long range, to whom no proper opposition was made.[85]

The device which Wellesley practised was to make sure that he should
always have a skirmishing screen of his own, so strong that the French
_tirailleurs_ should never be able to force it in and to get close to
the main line. The moment that he had assumed command in April, 1809,
he set to work to secure this _desideratum_. His first measure was to
add to every brigade in his army an extra company of trained riflemen,
to reinforce the three light companies of the brigade.[86] In April,
1809, he broke up the oldest rifle battalion in the British army, the
fifth of the 60th regiment, and began to distribute a company of it to
each of his brigades, save to those of the King’s German Legion, which
were served by special rifle companies of their own.[87] Thus each of
the brigades which fought at Talavera had a special extra provision of
light troops. Furthermore, when the new Light Division was instituted
on the 1st of March, 1810, each of its two brigades was given a number
of companies of the 95th rifles: and of the other brigades formed in
1810–11 most were provided with an extra light company by means of
taking fractions from the 95th or the newly arrived Brunswick Oels
Jägers, and those which were not, had light-infantry corps of their own
inside them. But this was not all.[88]

[Sidenote: Ample Provision of Light Troops]

In the summer of 1810, Wellington began the system of incorporating
a Portuguese brigade of five battalions in each British division. Of
these five one was always[89] a Caçador or light battalion, specially
trained for skirmishing. The old Portuguese army had not included
such battalions, which were all newly raised corps, intended entirely
for light infantry work. There were originally only six of them, but
Wellington ordered a second six to be raised in 1811, utilizing as
the cadre of the 7th, 8th, 9th the old Loyal Lusitanian Legion, which
Sir Robert Wilson had formed early in the war. As the Portuguese army
contained just twenty-four regiments of the line, in twelve brigades,
the Caçador battalion gave precisely one unit to each brigade, save
that two were incorporated in the Light Division, while none was left
with the two regiments which remained behind in garrison at Abrantes
and at Cadiz respectively.

As the Caçador battalions were essentially light troops, and used
wholly for skirmishing, it resulted that when an Anglo-Portuguese
division of the normal strength of six British and five Portuguese
battalions set itself in battle array, it sent out a skirmishing line
of no less than eight British and ten Portuguese companies, viz. one
each from the line battalions, two of British rifles, six of Caçadores,
or a total of from 1200 to 1500 men to a total strength of 5000 to
5500. This, as will be obvious, was a very powerful protective sheath
to cover the front of the division. It was not always required—the
French did not invariably send out a skirmishing line in advance of
their main attack: but when they did, it would always be restrained
and kept off from the main front of the divisional line. If the enemy
wished to push it in, he had to bring up his formed battalions through
his _tirailleurs_, and thus only could he reach the front of battle.
The French regiments, whether formed in _ordre mixte_ or (as was more
common) in column, had to come to the front, and only so could reach
the hitherto intact British line. It may be noted that the enemy rarely
used for his skirmishing line more than the _voltigeur_ company of
each battalion; as his divisions averaged ten to twelve battalions[90]
and the unit was a six-company battalion of 600 men or under, with
only one _voltigeur_ company, a French division would send out 1000 to
1200 skirmishers, a force appreciably less than the light troops of a
British division of approximately equal force. Hence Wellington never
seems to have been seriously incommoded by the French skirmishers.

[Sidenote: Advantages of the Skirmishing Screen]

So considerable was the British screen of light troops that the French
not unfrequently mistook it for a front line, and speak of their column
as piercing or thrusting back the first line of their opponents, when
all that they had done was to drive in a powerful and obstinate body
of skirmishers bickering in front of the real fighting formation.[91]
Invariably, we may say, they had to use their columns to attack the
two-deep line while the latter was still intact, while their own masses
had already been under fire for some time and were no longer fresh.

It will be asked, perhaps, why the marshals and generals of Napoleon
did not deploy their columns before the moment of contact. Why do we so
seldom read of even the _ordre mixte_ in use—Albuera is the only battle
where we distinctly find it mentioned? The answer to this objection
is, firstly, that they were strongly convinced that the column was
the better striking force to carry a given point, and that they were
normally attacking not the whole British line but the particular
section or sections where they intended to break through. But,
secondly, we may add that they frequently did attempt to deploy, but
always too late, since they waited till they had driven in the British
skirmishing line, and tried to assume the thinner formation when they
were already under fire and heavily engaged. It was not always that
the British noted this endeavour—so late was it begun, so instant was
its failure. But there is evidence that it was tried by Kellermann’s
grenadiers at Vimeiro, by part at least of Leval’s division at Barrosa,
by Merle’s column at Bussaco, when it had already reached the summit
of the Serra, and was closely engaged with Picton’s troops. At Albuera
we have a good description of it from the British side. When Myers’
fusilier brigade marched against the flank of the 5th Corps, in the
crisis of that battle, Soult launched against them his reserve, the
three regiments of Werlé, which became at once locked in combat at
very short range with the fusiliers. “During the close action,”
writes a British officer (Blakeney of the 7th), “I saw their officers
endeavouring to deploy their columns, but all to no purpose. For as
soon as the third of a company got out, they would immediately run back
in order to be covered by the front of their column.” The fact was,
that the effect of the fire of a British regiment far exceeded anything
that the enemy had been wont to cope with when engaged with continental
troops, and was altogether devastating. Again and again French officers
who came under it for the first time, made the miscalculation of
trying the impossible. Nothing could be more inevitably productive
of confusion and disorder than to attempt deployment under such a
heavy fire. Wherefore many French commanders never tried it at all,
and thought it more safe to go on to the final shock with their
battalions in the usual “column of divisions,” in which they had begun
their attack. This was little better, and quite as costly in the end.
“Really,” wrote Wellington, in a moment of unwonted exhilaration, after
the combat of Sabugal, “these attacks in column against our lines are
very contemptible.”[92] This was after he had viewed from the other
bank of the Coa, “where I could see every movement on both sides,” the
43rd regiment repulse in succession three attacks by French columns
which came up against it, one after the other.

[Sidenote: Necessity of Flank Cover]

(3) We now come to the third postulate of Wellington’s system—the
two-deep fighting line must be covered on its flanks, either by the
ground, or by cavalry and artillery support, or by infantry prolonging
the front beyond the enemy’s immediate point of action. At Talavera
one of his flanks was covered by a precipitous hill, the other by
thick olive plantations. At Bussaco both the French attacks were
hopelessly outflanked by troops posted on high and inaccessible ground,
and could only be pushed frontally. At Fuentes de Oñoro the final
fighting position rested on a heavily occupied village at one end, and
on the ravine of the Turon river upon the other. At Salamanca the 3rd
Division, the striking-force which won the battle, had its line covered
on its outer flank by a British and a Portuguese brigade of cavalry.
At Vittoria the whole French army was enveloped by the concentric
and converging attack of the much longer British line. At Waterloo
flank protection was secured by the advanced post of Hougoumont and
a “refused” right wing at one end of the position: by the group of
fortified farms (Papelotte, La Haye, etc.), and a mass of cavalry
at the other. Wellington, in short, was very careful of his flanks.
Only once indeed, so far as I remember, did the French get round the
outlying end of his army and cause him trouble. This was in the first
episode of Fuentes de Oñoro, where the 7th Division, placed some way
out, as a flank-guard, suffered some loss by being taken in rear
by French cavalry which had made a great circuit, and only escaped
worse disaster because two of its battalions, the 51st and _Chasseurs
Britanniques_, had time to form front to flank, and adapt themselves
to the situation, and because a few British squadrons sacrificed
themselves in checking, so long as was possible, the enemy’s superior

There was one universally remembered instance during the war which
demonstrated the terrible risk that the line might run if it were not
properly protected on the flanks. At Albuera Colborne’s brigade of
the 2nd Division was thrown into the fight with its flank absolutely
bare—there was no support within half a mile—by the recklessness of its
divisional general, William Stewart. It was caught unprepared by two
regiments of French cavalry, charging in at an angle, almost on its
rear, and three battalions were literally cut to pieces, with a loss of
1200 men out of 1600 present, and five colours. Wellington would never
have sent it forward without the proper support on its wings, and it
is noteworthy that, later on the same day, Cole took the 4th Division
into action on the same hill, and against the same enemy, with perfect
success, because he had guarded one flank with a battalion in column,
and the other (the outer and more exposed one) with a battalion in
square and a brigade of cavalry.

These, then, were the necessary postulates required for the successful
use of line against column, and when they were duly borne in mind,
victory was secure with any reasonable balance in numbers. The
essential fact that lay behind the oft-observed conclusion was simply
that the two-deep line enabled a force to use every musket with effect,
while the “column of divisions” put seven-ninths of the men forming it
in a position where they could not shoot at all, and even the _ordre
mixte_ praised by Napoleon placed from seven-twelfths to two-thirds of
the rank and file in the same unhappy condition.[93] But Albuera is the
only fight in the war in which there is definite proof that the enemy
fought in the _ordre mixte_ with deployed battalions and battalions
in column ranged alternately in his front.[94] Usually he came on
with his units all in columns of divisions, and very frequently (as at
Bussaco and in certain episodes at Talavera) he had battalion behind
battalion in each regiment. It was a gross order of fighting, but
D’Erlon invented a worse and a more clumsy formation at Waterloo, where
he sent forward whole divisions with eight or nine battalions deployed
one behind the other, so as to produce a front of only 200 men and a
depth of twenty-four—with only one man in twelve able to use his musket.

[Sidenote: Superior Fire of the Line]

Clearly, however, the column of divisions (double companies) was the
normal French order, _i.e._ in a battalion of 600 men in six companies,
we should get a front of 66 muskets and 132 men able to fire, while
468 were in the rear ranks, able to be shot but not to shoot. If an
English battalion of equal strength lay in front, in its two-deep
line, it could give a discharge of 600 muskets against one of 132, and
this was not all. Its front was nearly five times that of the French
battalion, so that its fire lapped round the flanks of the advancing
mass, demoralizing it because there was no proper power to reply. Often
the British line, during the moments of fire-combat, somewhat threw
forward its wings in a shallow crescent, and blazed with three sides of
the column at once. This was done by the 43rd and 52nd at Bussaco, with
great effect, against the French brigade, that of Simon, which came
up the slope in front of them, with its leading regiment ranged three
battalions deep, in a most vulnerable array. How could it be expected
that the column would prevail? Effective against an enemy who allowed
himself to be cowed and beaten by the sight of the formidable advancing
mass, it was helpless against steady troops, who stood their ground and
emptied their muskets, as fast as they could load, into a mark which
it was impossible to miss. This, probably, is what Wellington meant
when (as mentioned above) he stated to Croker, ere ever he sailed for
Portugal, that “if all I hear about their system is true, I think it a
false one against steady troops. I suspect all the continental armies
are half-beaten before the battle begins.” That is to say, the column
might win by the terror that its massive weight and impetus inspired;
but if the enemy refused to be terrorized, he would be able to hold his
own, and to inflict enormous losses on the crowded formation.

It only remains to be said that, with the battalion in column of
divisions as unit, the French had two ways of drawing up their
attacking line. They might either draw up the battalions of each
regiment in a line of columns, or they might place them one behind the
other, making the whole regiment into a single column. Both methods
were from time to time employed. It was not details of arrangement
like this which made the difference—the essential weakness was the
“column of divisions” which formed the base of all the array—it was too
helpless in fire-contest against the line.

The physical aspect of the contest between line and column we have
now sufficiently dealt with. What was the moral aspect? Fortunately
we can explain it with accuracy, because one of the many thousands
of French officers who went through the Peninsular War has left us,
not personal anecdotes or confused impressions like so many of his
fellows, but a real account of the mental state of a battalion going
forward in column to attack the British line. I make no excuse for
quoting in full the paragraphs of Bugeaud, a _chef de bataillon_ in
1812—a marshal of African fame thirty years later—because they give
us exactly what we want to know. It should be premised, however, that
Bugeaud did not serve in the Army of Portugal, nor face Wellington’s
own troops. He served in Suchet’s army, along the Mediterranean Coast
of the Peninsula, and his personal observations must have been made at
Castalla and other combats in the East. It is to be noted also that he
gives no account of the clash of skirmishers which so often took place,
and describes his column as going forward unsheathed to the main clash
of battle.

[Sidenote: Bugeaud on Column versus Line]

“I served seven years in the Peninsula,” he says; “during that time we
sometimes beat the English in isolated encounters and raids [_e.g._
Ordal] which as a field officer detached I was able to prepare and
direct. But during that long period of war, it was my sorrow to see
that only in a very small number of general actions did the British
army fail to get the better of us. We almost invariably attacked
our adversaries, without either taking into account our own past
experience, or bearing in mind that the tactics which answered well
enough when we had only Spaniards to deal with, almost invariably
failed when an English force was in our front.

“The English generally held good defensive positions, carefully
selected and usually on rising ground, behind the crest of which
they found cover for a good part of their men. The usual obligatory
cannonade would commence the operation, then, in haste, without duly
reconnoitring the position, without ascertaining whether the ground
afforded any facilities for lateral or turning movements, we marched
straight forward, ‘taking the bull by the horns.’[95]

“When we got to about a thousand yards from the English line the men
would begin to get restless and excited: they exchanged ideas with
one another, their march began to be somewhat precipitate, and was
already growing a little disorderly. Meanwhile the English, silent
and impassive, with grounded arms, loomed like a long red wall; their
aspect was imposing—it impressed novices not a little. Soon the
distance began to grow shorter: cries of ‘_Vive l’Empereur_,’ ‘_en
avant à la baïonnette_,’ broke from our mass. Some men hoisted their
shakos on their muskets, the quick-step became a run: the ranks began
to be mixed up: the men’s agitation became tumultuous, many soldiers
began to fire as they ran. And all the while the red English line,
still silent and motionless, even when we were only 300 yards away,
seemed to take no notice of the storm which was about to beat upon it.

“The contrast was striking. More than one among us began to reflect
that the enemy’s fire, so long reserved, would be very unpleasant when
it did break forth. Our ardour began to cool: the moral influence
(irresistible in action) of a calm which seems undisturbed as opposed
to disorder which strives to make up by noise what it lacks in
firmness, weighed heavily on our hearts.

“At this moment of painful expectation the English line would make a
quarter-turn—the muskets were going up to the ‘ready.’ An indefinable
sensation nailed to the spot many of our men, who halted and opened a
wavering fire. The enemy’s return, a volley of simultaneous precision
and deadly effect, crashed in upon us like a thunderbolt. Decimated by
it we reeled together, staggering under the blow and trying to recover
our equilibrium. Then three formidable _Hurrahs_ termined the long
silence of our adversaries. With the third they were down upon us,
pressing us into a disorderly retreat. But to our great surprise, they
did not pursue their advantage for more than some hundred yards, and
went back with calm to their former lines, to await another attack. We
rarely failed to deliver it when our reinforcements came up—with the
same want of success and heavier losses.”[96]

[Sidenote: Helplessness of the Column]

This is the picture that we need to complete our study of the conflict
of column with line. The psychology of the huddled mass going forward
to inevitable defeat could not be better portrayed. The only thing that
is hard for us to understand is the reason which induced capable men
like Soult, D’Erlon, or Foy to continue to use the columnar formation
all through the dark days of 1813–14, and even in the final campaign of
Waterloo. All honour must be paid, however, to the rank and file who,
with five years of such experience behind them, were still steadfast
and courageous enough to put up a good fight even in their last
offensive battles in the Pyrenees, as well as in the defensive actions
of Orthez and Toulouse.



Hitherto we have been confining our outlook on Wellington’s tactics
to his use of infantry. But a few words must be added as to his
methods of handling the other two arms—cavalry and artillery. There
are fortunately one or two _memoranda_ of his own which enable us
to interpret his views on the use of these arms, which were to him
mainly auxiliary; for the epigram that he was “essentially an infantry
general” is in the main correct, though it needs some comment and
explanation. In the early part of his Peninsular campaigning he was
forced to be an “infantry general,” since the home government kept him
unreasonably short in the matter of horsemen and guns till the year
1811 was far spent. Moreover, the ground over which he had to fight in
1809–10–11 must be considered.

The Iberian Peninsula may from the point of view of the cavalry
tactician be divided into two sets of regions, in the one of which the
mounted arm is all-important, while in the other it may, almost without
exaggeration, be described as well-nigh negligible as an element of
military strength, being only usable on a small scale, for exploration
and observation, and not being able to be employed effectively in mass.

To the first-named class of regions, the tracts eminently suitable for
the employment of cavalry, belong the great plateau of Central Spain,
the broad arable plains of Old Castile and Leon, from Burgos to Ciudad
Rodrigo and from Astorga to Aranda. Here, in a gently undulating
upland, little enclosed, and mainly laid out in great common-fields,
cavalry has one of the suitable terrains that can be found for it in
Europe—as favourable as Champagne, or the lowlands of Northern Germany.
This is also, almost to the same extent, the case with the loftier and
less cultivated plateau of New Castile, and with the melancholy thinly
peopled moors of La Mancha and Estremadura, where the horseman may ride
ahead for twenty or thirty miles without meeting any serious natural
obstacle, save at long intervals the steep cleft of a ravine, dry in
summer, full of a fierce stream in winter. Nor are the great central
uplands the only tracts of Spain where cavalry finds an admirable field
for operations: the central valley of the Ebro in Aragon, and the
whole of the broad plain of the Guadalquivir in Andalusia, are equally
suited for the employment of the mounted arm, on the largest scale.
Napoleon, therefore, was entirely justified when he attached a very
large proportion of horse to his Army of Spain, and when he uttered his
_dictum_ that great portions of it must inevitably be the possession
of the general who owned the larger and the more efficient mass of

On the other hand, there are large tracts of the Peninsula where
cavalry is almost as useless as in Switzerland or Calabria. Such are
the whole Pyrenean tract on the north, extending from Catalonia, by
Aragon and Navarre, to the Asturian and Galician lands along the
southern shore of the Bay of Biscay. It will be remembered that, during
the Pyrenean Campaign of 1813, Wellington sent back very nearly all his
cavalry to the plain of the Ebro, while Soult left his in the plain of
the Adour. Sir John Moore’s small but fine cavalry force was useless
to him in the Corunna retreat, when once Astorga had been passed, and
the Galician mountains entered. He sent it on before him, with the
exception of a squadron or two kept with the rear-guard. Soult’s more
numerous mounted force, in that same campaign, was only useful in
picking up Moore’s stragglers, and keeping the British continuously on
the march—it was brought to a dead stop every time that the retreating
army showed an infantry rear-guard, and stood at bay in one of the
innumerable Galician defiles.

There is another tract of the Peninsula almost as unsuited as the
Pyrenean and Galician highlands for the use of cavalry—and that is
Portugal, where so much of Wellington’s earlier campaigning took place.
Deducting some coast plains of comparatively small extent, all Northern
and Central Portugal is mountainous—not for the most part mountainous
on a large scale, with high summits and broad valleys, but mountainous
on a small scale with rugged hills of 2000 or 3000 feet, between
which flow deeply-sunk torrents in narrow ravines—where roads are all
uphill and downhill and a defile occurs every few miles. It was the
character of this countryside which made Wellington’s army of 1810–11,
with its very small cavalry force—only seven British and four or five
Portuguese regiments—safe against Masséna’s immensely preponderant
number of squadrons. All through the long retreat from Almeida to the
lines of Torres Vedras the allied army could never be caught, turned,
or molested; the cavalry on both sides was only employed in petty
rear-guard actions, in which the small force brought the larger to a
check in defiles, and generally gave back only when the invader brought
up infantry to support his attack. For all the good that it did him,
Masséna might have left his 7000 cavalry behind him when he entered
Portugal—a few squadrons for exploration was all that he needed. Jammed
in narrow defiles, where they were helpless, his mounted men were often
more of an incumbrance than a help to him.

On the other hand, when the slopes of the Portuguese mountains were
once left behind, Wellington was forced to be most cautious, and to
restrict his action to favourable ground (as at Talavera, and Fuentes
d’Oñoro) so long as the enemy was hopelessly superior in his number
of squadrons. It was only after 1811, when his cavalry regiments
were about doubled in numbers, that he could venture down into the
plains, and deliver great battles in the open like Salamanca—the first
engagement which he ever fought in the Peninsula where his cavalry was
not inferior by a third or even a half to that of the French.

Beside the Pyrenean regions and Portugal, there are other districts
of the Peninsula where the cavalry arm is handicapped by the
terrain—Catalonia for example, where the inland is one mass of
rugged valleys, the coastland of the kingdom of Granada, and the
great ganglion of mountain lands where Aragon, Valencia, and New
Castile meet. But as these were tracts where the British army was
little engaged, I pass them over with a mention. But it must also be
remembered that each of the great upland plateaux of Spain—Leon, New
Castile, La Mancha, and Estremadura, is separated from the others by
broad mountain belts, where the Spanish guerillero bands made their
headquarters, and rendered communication between plain and plain
difficult and perilous.

[Sidenote: French Cavalry Tactics]

In such a country of contrasts, how did the various combatants use
their mounted men during the six long years between Vimeiro and
Toulouse? What was the relative value of the different national
cavalry, and what were its tactics for battle and for the equally
important work of exploration, and of the covering and concealing the
movements of the other arms?

French cavalry tactics had, by 1808, when the war began, developed
into as definite a system as those of the infantry. Napoleon was fond
of massing his horsemen in very large bodies, and launching them at
the centre no less than at the flank of the army opposed to him.
In the times of Marlborough and of Frederic the Great cavalry was
almost always drawn up in long lines on the wings, and used first for
the beating of the hostile containing cavalry, and then for turning
against the unprotected flank of the enemy’s infantry in the centre.
A cavalry dash at a weak point in the middle of the hostile front was
very rare indeed, and only tried by the very few generals of first
rate intelligence, who had emancipated themselves from the old routine
which prescribed the regular drawing up of an army. Marlborough’s
cavalry charge at the French right-centre at Blenheim is almost the
only first-rate example of such a stroke in the old wars of the
eighteenth century. Frederic’s great cavalry charge at Rossbach, which
is sometimes quoted as a parallel, was after all no more than a sudden
rush of the Prussian flank-cavalry at the exposed wing of an army which
was unwisely trying to march around the position of its adversary. But
Napoleon was the exponent of great frontal attacks of cavalry on chosen
weak spots of the enemy’s line, which had already been well pounded
by artillery or weakened in some other way. He would use 6000, 8000,
or (as at Waterloo) even 12,000 men for one of these great strokes.
At Austerlitz and Borodino these charges were made straight at the
enemy’s front: Marengo and Dresden were won by such rushes: Eylau was
only saved from falling into a disaster by a blow of the same kind.
But cavalry had to be used at precisely the right moment, to be most
skilfully led, and to be pushed home without remorse and despite of all
losses, if it was to be successful. Even then it might be beaten off
by thoroughly cool and unshaken infantry, as at Waterloo. It was only
against exhausted, distracted, or untrained battalions that it could
count with a reasonable certainty of success.

All through the war the raw and badly-drilled Spanish armies supplied
the French squadrons with exactly this sort of opportunities. They were
always being surprised before they had been formed by their generals in
line of battle, or caught in confusion while they were executing some
complicated manœuvre. If attacked while they were in line or in column
of march, they always fell victims to a cavalry charge, being from want
of discipline extraordinarily slow to form square. As if this was not
enough, they were often weak enough in morale to allow themselves to
be broken even when they had time to form their squares. The battles
of Medellin, Ocaña, the Gebora, and Saguntum, were good examples of
the power of a comparatively small mass of cavalry skilfully handled,
over a numerous but ill-disciplined infantry. But the little-mentioned
combat of Margalef in 1810 is perhaps the strongest example of the
kind, for there six squadrons of Suchet’s cavalry (the 13th Cuirassiers
supported by two squadrons of the 3rd Hussars) actually rode down in
succession, a whole division of some 4000 men, whom they caught while
forming line of battle from column of march. This was done, too,
despite of the fact that the Spanish infantry was accompanied by three
squadrons of cavalry (who made the usual bolt at the commencement of
the action), as well as by a half-battery of artillery.

[Sidenote: Successes of the French Cavalry]

It was of course a very different matter when the French cavalry had
to face the steady battalions of the British army. Looking down all
the record of battles and skirmishes from 1808 down to 1814, I can
only remember two occasions when the enemy’s cavalry really achieved
a notable tactical success. Oddly enough both fell within the month
of May, 1811. At Albuera there occurred that complete disaster to
a British infantry brigade which has already been described in the
preceding chapter. The other, and much smaller, success achieved by
French cavalry over British infantry at Fuentes de Oñoro, a few days
before the greater disaster at Albuera, has also been alluded to.[97]
These two disasters were wholly exceptional; usually the British
infantry held its own, unless it was absolutely taken by surprise, and
this even when attacked frontally by cavalry while it was deployed in
the two deep line, without forming square. If the British had their
flanks covered, they were perfectly safe, and turned back any charge
with ease.

Indeed the repulse of cavalry by British troops in line, who did not
take the trouble to form square because their flanks were covered, was
not infrequent in the Peninsular War. The classic instance is that of
the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers at El Bodon in 1811, who advanced in
line firing against two French cavalry regiments and drove them off
the heights, being able to do so because they had a squadron or two of
British horse to protect them from being turned. A very similar feat
was performed by the 52nd at Sabugal in 1811: and Harvey’s Portuguese
brigade did as much at Albuera.

Much more, of course, was the square impregnable. When once safely
placed in that formation, British troops habitually not only withstood
cavalry charges at a stand-still, but made long movements over a
battlefield inundated by the hostile cavalry. At Fuentes de Oñoro the
Light Division, three British and two Portuguese squares, retreated at
leisure for _two miles_ while beset by four brigades of French cavalry,
and reached the ground which they had been ordered to take up with a
total loss of one killed and thirty-four wounded. Similarly at El Bodon
the square composed of the 5th and 77th retreated for six miles, in the
face of two cavalry brigades which could never break into them.[98]

Indeed it may be stated, as a rule almost without exception, that
troops in square, whether British or French, were never broken during
the Peninsular War even by very desperate and gallant charges. One of
the best instances of this general rule was the case of the combat of
Barquilla, where two grenadier companies of the French 22nd, surprised
while covering a foraging party by five squadrons of British cavalry,
got away in a level country after having been charged successively by
three squadrons of the 1st Hussars of the German Legion, the 16th and
the 14th Light Dragoons. One of these three squadron-charges, at least
(that of the 14th), had been pushed home so handsomely that an officer
and nine men fell actually among the French front rank, and a French
observer noted bayonets broken, and musket barrels deeply cut into by
the sweeping blows of the light dragoons, who yet failed entirely to
break in.

[Sidenote: Cavalry Action against Squares]

There was indeed only one extraordinary case of properly formed squares
being broken during the whole war, a case as exceptional in one way as
the disaster to Colborne’s brigade at Albuera was in the other. This
was at the combat of Garcia Hernandez, on the morning after the battle
of Salamanca, where the heavy dragoons of the K.G.L. delivered what Foy
(the French historian of the war) called the best charge that he had
ever seen. The rear-guard of Marmont’s army had been formed of the one
division which had not been seriously engaged in the battle, so that
it could not be said to have been composed of shaken or demoralized
troops. Nevertheless, two of its squares were actually broken by
the legionary dragoons, though drawn up without haste or hurry on
a hillside favourable for defensive action. According to Beamish’s
_History of the German Legion_, a work composed a few years later
from the testimony of eye-witnesses, the first square was broken by a
mortally wounded horse, carrying a dead rider, leaping right upon the
kneeling front rank of the square, and bearing down half a dozen men
by its struggles and kicking. An officer, Captain Gleichen, spurred
his horse into the gap thus created, his men followed, a wedge was
thrust into the square, and it broke up, the large majority of the men
surrendering. The second square, belonging to the same regiment, the
6th Léger, was a little higher up the hillside than the first: it was a
witness of the destruction of the sister-battalion, and seems to have
been shaken by the sight: at any rate, when assailed a few minutes
later by another squadron of the German Dragoons, it gave a rather wild
though destructive volley, and wavered at the moment of receiving the
attack, bulging in at the first charge. This was, of course, fatal. The
broken squares lost 1400 prisoners, beside some 200 killed and wounded.
The victorious dragoons paid a fairly high price for their success,
losing 4 officers and 50 men killed, and 2 officers, and 60 men wounded
out of 700 present; the extraordinary proportion of killed to wounded,
54 to 62 marking the deadly effect of musketry at the closest possible

This (as I said before) was the exception that proved the rule: the
invulnerability of a steady square was such a commonplace, that Foy and
the other old officers of the Army of Spain, looked with dismay upon
Napoleon’s great attempt at Waterloo to break down the long line of
British squares between La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont, by the charges
of some ten or twelve thousand cavalry massed on a short front of less
than a mile. The Emperor had not allowed for the superior resisting
power of a thoroughly good infantry.

Of fights between cavalry and cavalry, when the two sides were present
in numbers so fairly equal as to make the struggle a fair test of their
relative efficiency, there were comparatively few in the Peninsular
War. In the early days of the war Wellington was too scantily provided
with horsemen, and could never afford to engage in a cavalry battle
on a large scale. He had only six regiments at Talavera in 1809, only
seven in the Bussaco campaign of 1810. When he divided his army for the
simultaneous campaign in Beira and in Estremadura in March, 1811, he
could only give Beresford three regiments, and keep four for himself.
Nor could the deficiency be supplied (as was done in the artillery arm)
by using Portuguese auxiliaries. The cavalry of that nation was so weak
and so badly mounted that it is doubtful whether there were ever so
many as 2000 of them in the field at once. Many of the twelve regiments
were never mounted, and did garrison duty as infantry throughout the

[Sidenote: Wellington and his Cavalry]

It was not till the summer and autumn of 1811 that Wellington at last
began to get large reinforcements of the mounted arm from England,
which more than doubled his strength, for in the campaign of 1812 he
had no less than fifteen regiments instead of seven. In the winter of
1812–13 further reinforcements came out, and in the Vittoria campaign
he had at last a powerful cavalry equal or superior to that of the

Yet even allowing for the weakness of Wellington’s mounted strength
in his earlier campaigns, we must acknowledge that they played a
comparatively small part in his scheme of operations. Though his
dragoons did good service in keeping his front covered, and performed
many gallant exploits (we need only mention Talavera and Fuentes de
Oñoro to instance good self-sacrificing work done), they were seldom
used as part of the main striking force that won a victory. Indeed,
the charge of Le Marchant’s heavy brigade at Salamanca is about the
only instance that can be cited of really decisive action by cavalry
in any of the Duke’s battles. There were other notable successes to
be remembered, but they were in side issues, and often not under
the chief’s own eye—as, for example, Bock’s breaking of the squares
at Garcia Hernandez on the day after Salamanca, and Lumley’s very
creditable victory over Latour-Maubourg at Usagre on May 25, 1811.

Even when Wellington had at last a large cavalry force in 1812–14, it
was seldom found massed, and I believe that more than three brigades
were never found acting together. Such a force as six regiments was
seldom seen in line and engaged. For the use of cavalry as a screen
we may mention the combat of Venta del Pozo, during the retreat from
Burgos in 1812. This was a skirmish fought by two brigades to cover the
withdrawal of the infantry, which had to hurry hard on the way toward
Salamanca and safety.

Something, no doubt, must be allowed for the fact that Wellington
never, till the Waterloo campaign, had an officer of proved ability in
chief command of his cavalry. Stapleton Cotton, who served so long
in that capacity, was not a man of mark. Lumley, who had a short but
distinguished career as a divisional commander, went home sick in 1811,
and Le Marchant, who came out from home with a high reputation, was
most unfortunately killed in his first battle, Salamanca, where his
brigade did so much to settle the fortunes of the day. But allowing for
all this, it remains clear that Wellington made comparatively little
use of the cavalry arm—which could hardly have been expected when we
remember how effectively he had used his horse at Assaye, quite early
in his career. Possibly the fact that he was so hopelessly outmatched
in this arm in 1809–11 sunk so much into his soul, that when he got
his chance, later on, he was not ready to use it. Certainly several
cases can be cited where it was not duly used to press a completed
victory—most particularly after Vittoria and Orthez. There is no
concealing the fact that Wellington’s reluctance to use great cavalry
attacks was, at bottom, due to his doubts as to the tactical skill of
his senior officers, and the power of his regiments to manœuvre. He
divulged his views on the subject, twelve years after the war was over,
in a letter to Lord John Russell, dated July 31, 1826. “I considered
our cavalry,” he wrote, “so inferior to the French from want of order,
that although I considered one of our squadrons a match for two French,
yet I did not care to see four British opposed to four French, and
still more so as the numbers increased, and order (of course) became
more necessary. They could gallop, but could not preserve their order.”

[Sidenote: Some Reckless Cavalry Charges]

This seems a very hard judgment, when we examine in detail the cavalry
annals of the Peninsular War. There were cases, no doubt, where English
regiments threw away their chances by their blind fury in charging, and
either got cut up from pursuing an original advantage to a reckless
length, or at any rate missed an opportunity by over-great dispersion
or riding off the field. The earliest case was seen at Vimeiro just
after Wellington’s first landing in the Peninsula, when two squadrons
of the 20th Light Dragoons, after successfully cutting up a beaten
column of infantry, pushed on for half a mile in great disorder, to
charge Junot’s cavalry reserves, and were horribly maltreated—losing
about one man in four. An equally irrational exploit took place at
Talavera, where the 23rd Light Dragoons, beaten off in a charge against
a square which they had been ordered to attack, rushed on beyond it,
against three successive lines of French cavalry, pierced the first,
were stopped by the second, and had to cut their way back with a loss
of 105 prisoners and 102 killed and wounded—nearly half their strength.
An equally headlong business was the charge of the 13th Light Dragoons
at Campo Mayor on March 25, 1811, when that regiment, having beaten in
fair fight the French 26th Dragoons, and captured eighteen siege-guns
which were retreating on the road, galloped on for more than six miles,
sabring the scattered fugitives, till they were actually brought up
by the fire of the fortress of Badajoz, on to whose very glacis they
had made their way. The captured guns, meanwhile, were picked up by
the French infantry who had been retreating along the high-road behind
their routed cavalry, and brought off in safety—the 13th not having
left a single man to secure them. Here, at any rate, not much loss was
suffered, though a great capture was missed, but similar galloping
tactics on June 11, 1812, at the combat of Maguilla, led to a complete
disaster. Slade’s heavy brigade (1st Royals and 3rd Dragoon Guards)
fell in with L’Allemand’s French brigade, the 17th and 27th Dragoons.
Each drew up, but L’Allemand had placed one squadron in reserve far
beyond the sky line, and out of sight. Slade charged, beat the five
squadrons immediately opposed to him, and then (without reforming or
setting aside any supports) galloped after the broken French brigade in
complete disorder for a mile, till he came parallel to the unperceived
reserve squadron, which charged him in flank and rear: the rest of
the French halted and turned; Slade could not stand, and was routed,
having 40 casualties and 118 prisoners. Wellington wrote about this
to Hill: “I have never been more annoyed than by Slade’s affair. Our
officers of cavalry have acquired a trick of galloping at everything.
They never consider the situation, never think of manœuvring before
an enemy, and never keep back or provide for a reserve. All cavalry
should charge in two lines, and at least one-third should be ordered
beforehand to pull up and reform, as soon as the charge has been
delivered, and the enemy been broken.”[100]

In the first three of the cases mentioned above, the discredit of
the rash and inconsiderate pressing on of the charge falls on the
regimental officers—in the last on the brigadier, Slade. It must be
confessed that Wellington was not very happy in his senior cavalry
officers—Erskine, Long, and Slade have all some bad marks against
them—especially the last-named, whose proceedings seem nearly to have
broken the heart of the lively and intelligent diarist Tomkinson, of
the 16th Light Dragoons, who had the misfortune to serve long under
him. Stapleton Cotton, the commander of the whole cavalry, was but a
mediocrity; every one will remember his old chief’s uncomplimentary
remarks about him _àpropos_ of the siege of Bhurtpore. The man who
ought to have been in charge of the British horse during the whole war
was Lord Paget, who had handled Sir John Moore’s five cavalry regiments
with such admirable skill and daring during the Corunna campaign: his
two little fights of Sahagun and Benevente were models in their way.
But he was unhappily never employed again till Waterloo—where his
doings, under his new name of Lord Uxbridge, are sufficiently well
known. But a question of seniority, and an unhappy family quarrel with
the Wellesleys (having absconded with the wife of Wellington’s brother
Henry, he fought a duel with her brother in consequence) prevented him
from seeing service under the Duke in the eventful years 1809–14. Of
the cavalry generals who took part in the great campaigns, after Paget
the most successful was Lumley, who has two very fine achievements to
his credit—the containing of Soult’s superior cavalry during the crisis
of the battle of Albuera, and the combat of Usagre, of May 25, 1811,
noted above. This was considered such an admirable piece of work by the
enemy, that it is related at great length in Picard’s _Histoire de la
Cavalerie_, alone among all British successes of the Peninsular War.

[Sidenote: Lumley’s Victory at Usagre]

It needs a word of notice, as it is hardly mentioned in the Wellington
dispatches, and very briefly by Napier. Latour-Maubourg had been
sent by Soult to push back Beresford’s advanced posts, and discover
his position. He had a very large force—two brigades of dragoons and
four regiments of light cavalry, in all 3500 sabres. Lumley, who was
screening Beresford’s movements, had only three British regiments (3rd
Dragoon Guards, 4th Dragoons, 13th Light Dragoons), 980 sabres, and
Madden’s and Otway’s Portuguese brigades, 1000 sabres, with 300 of
Penne Villemur’s Spanish horse. Wishing to contain the French advance
as long as possible, he took up a position behind the bridge and
village of Usagre, a defile through which the French must pass in order
to reach him. Latour-Maubourg, relying on the immense superiority of
numbers which he possessed, was reckless in his tactics. After sending
off a brigade of light horse to turn Lumley’s position, by a very long
detour and distant fords, he pushed his other three brigades into
the village, with orders to cross the bridge and press the enemy in
front. Lumley was showing nothing but a line of Portuguese vedettes,
having withdrawn his squadrons behind the sky line. He was apprised
of the turning movement, but, knowing the ground better than the
French, was aware that it would take a very much longer time than the
enemy expected, so resolved to hold his position to the last moment.
He allowed the two leading regiments of Bron’s dragoons to pass the
bridge and form on the nearer side, and then, while the third regiment
was crossing the river, and the second brigade was entering the long
village, charged suddenly in upon the first brigade, with six English
squadrons in front and six Portuguese squadrons on the right flank.
The two deployed French regiments were thrown back on the third, which
was jammed on the bridge. Hence they could not get away to reform and
rally, the road behind them being entirely blocked, while the second
brigade in the village could not get to the front to give assistance.
All that Latour-Maubourg could do was to dismount its leading regiment
and occupy with it the houses on each side of the bridge, from which
they kept back the victorious British by their carbine fire. Lumley,
meanwhile, dealt with the three routed regiments at his leisure,
killing or wounding 250 men and capturing 80 prisoners before the
disordered wrecks succeeded in re-crossing the river. Latour-Maubourg,
warned by this bloody check, showed for the future no anxiety to press
in upon Beresford’s cavalry screen.

How _not_ to deal with an exactly similar situation, it may be
remarked, was shown on the 23rd October of the following year, 1812,
by two British brigadiers, who, charged with the covering of the
retreat of Wellington’s army from Burgos, were holding a position
behind the bridge of Venta del Pozo or Villadrigo, when the part
of the French cavalry immediately opposed to them, the brigade of
Faverot, ten squadrons strong, came down to the defile. Faverot, like
Latour-Maubourg at Usagre, took the hazardous step of ordering his
leading regiment to pass the bridge at a trot, and form on the other
side. This Bock, the senior British brigadier, allowed it to do, and
was right in so doing, for the proper moment to strike was when the
enemy should have half or three-quarters of his men across the bridge,
and the rest jammed upon it. But Bock allowed the psychological moment
to pass, and did not charge till the French brigade had almost entirely
crossed, and could put very nearly equal numbers in line against him.
Then, moving too late, with some squadrons of Anson’s brigade in
support, he came to a desperate standing fight with the enemy, in
which both suffered very heavily. But when all the British and German
Legion regiments were already engaged, the rearmost squadrons of the
French, which had crossed the bridge under cover of the fighting
line, fell upon Bock from the flank, and turned one of his wings; the
British cavalry had to give way and retreat, till it was covered by the
infantry of the 7th Division. If Bock had charged five minutes earlier,
he would have nipped the French column in the middle, and probably have
destroyed the leading regiments. The French brigade, as it was, lost 18
officers and 116 men, Anson and Bock about 200, among whom were four
officers and 70 men prisoners.

[Sidenote: Surprise of Arroyo Dos Molinos]

On the whole, I am inclined to think that Wellington was a little
hard on his cavalry. There was, of course, considerable justification
for his criticisms. There was a want of decision and intelligence
among some of his brigadiers, and a tendency to headlong and reckless
charging straight ahead among many of his regimental officers. But
looking dispassionately at the cavalry work on both sides, it is
impossible to say that the French marshals were any better served.
There is no striking instance in the annals of the British campaigns
of 1809–14 of the army, or even a division, being surprised for want
of vigilance on the part of its cavalry screen, while several such can
be quoted on the French side—especially Ney’s surprise at Foz d’Arouce
on March 15, 1811—caused by his light cavalry under Lamotte having
completely failed to watch the roads, or the better-known rout of
Girard at Arroyo dos Molinos later in the same year. On that occasion
an infantry division, accompanied by no less than two brigades of light
cavalry, was attacked at dawn and dispersed with heavy loss, owing to
the fact that the cavalry brigadiers, Bron and Briche, had taken no
precautions whatever to feel for the enemy. They, like the infantry,
were completely surprised, being caught with the horses unsaddled,
and the men dispersed among houses; hence the chasseurs were taken
prisoners in large numbers by Hill’s sudden rush, one of the brigadiers
and a cavalry colonel being among the 2000 unwounded prisoners
taken. There is no such large-scale surprise as this among all the
records of the British cavalry. The worst that I know were those of
a squadron of the 13th Light Dragoons on April 6, 1811, near Elvas,
and a very similar one of the 11th Light Dragoons two months later,
not far from the same place. In the last case the disaster is said to
have happened because the regiment had only just landed from England
after long home-service, and the captain in command lost his head from
sheer inexperience. With regard to this I may quote the following
pregnant sentence, from the _Diary_ of Tomkinson, who wrote far the
best detailed account of the life of a cavalry regiment during those
eventful years. “To attempt giving men or officers any idea in England
of outpost duty was considered absurd, and when they came abroad they
had all to learn. The fact was that there was no one to teach them.
Sir Stapleton Cotton (who afterwards commanded the cavalry in Spain)
once tried an experiment with the 14th and 16th Light Dragoons near
Woodbridge in Suffolk. In the end he got the supposed enemy’s vedettes
and his own all facing the same way. In England I never saw nor heard
of cavalry taught to charge, disperse, and reform, which of all things,
before an enemy, is most essential. Inclining in line right or left
is very useful, and that was scarcely ever practised.” He adds in
1819: “On return to English duty, after the peace, we all continued
the old system, each regiment estimating its merit by mere celerity of
movement. Not one idea suggested by our war experience was remembered,
and after five years we shall have to commence all over again, if we
are sent abroad.”

In short, the proper work of cavalry, apart from mere charging, had to
be learnt on Spanish soil when any regiment landed. But it was in the
end picked up by the better corps, and on the whole the outpost and
reconnaissance work of the Peninsular Army seem to have been well done,
though some regiments had a better reputation than others. Much of the
work of this kind speaks for itself. The most admirable achievement
during the war was undoubtedly that of the 1st Hussars of the K.G.L.,
who, assisted afterwards by the 14th and 16th Light Dragoons, kept for
four months (March to May, 1810) the line of the Agueda and Azava, 40
miles long, against a fourfold strength of French cavalry, without
once letting a hostile reconnaissance through, losing a picket or even
a vedette, or sending a piece of false information back to General
Craufurd, whose front they were covering.

[Sidenote: Wellington’s Cavalry Tactics]

Allusion has been made in the opening words of this chapter to
Wellington’s memorandum for the tactical management of cavalry. It was
only issued after Waterloo, in the form of “Instructions to Officers
commanding Brigades of Cavalry in the Army of Occupation,” but, no
doubt, represents the tactics which he had evolved from his Peninsular
experience.[101] Too long to give in entirety, it is worth analysing.
The heads run as follows:—

(1) A reserve must always be kept, to improve a success, or to cover
an unsuccessful charge. This reserve should not be less than half the
total number of sabres, and may occasionally be as much as two-thirds
of it.

(2) Normally a cavalry force should form in three lines: the first and
second lines should be deployed, the reserve may be in column, but so
formed as to be easily changed into line.

(3) The second line should be 400 or 500 yards from the first, the
reserve a similar distance from the second line, if cavalry is about to
act against cavalry. This is found not too great a distance to prevent
the rear lines from improving an advantage gained by the front line,
nor too little to prevent a defeated front line from passing between
the intervals of its supports without disordering them.

(4) When, however, cavalry is charging infantry, the second line should
be only 200 yards behind the first, the object being that it should be
able to deliver its charge without delay, against a battalion which
has spent its fire against the first line, and will not be prepared for
a second charge pushed in rapid succession to the first.

(5) When the first line delivers its attack at a gallop, the supports
must follow at a walk only, lest they be carried forward by the rush,
and get mingled with the line in front at the onset. For order in the
supports must be rigidly kept—they are useless if they have got into
confusion, when they are wanted to sustain and cover a checked first

A note as to horses may finish our observations on the cavalry side
of Wellington’s tactics. In countless places, in diaries no less than
dispatches, we find the complaint that the trooper of 1810 was, when
not well looked after by his officers, a bad horse-master—careless as
to feeding his mount, and still more so as to saddle-galls and such
like. It is often remarked that the one German light cavalry regiment
in the original Peninsular Army, the 1st Hussars of the King’s German
Legion, set an example which some other regiments might have copied
with advantage, being far more conscientious and considerate to their
beasts. It is interesting to find that the French cavalry reports have
exactly the same complaints, and the number of dismounted men shown
in French regimental states as a consequence of sick horses was as
great as our own. Several times I have found the report that when a
considerable number of French cavalry had been captured, quite a small
proportion of their horses could be turned over to serve as remounts
for their captors, because of the abominable condition in which they
were found. The fact was that the climate and the food seem to have
been equally deleterious to the English and French horses: a diet of
chopped straw and green maize—often all that could be got—was deadly
to horses accustomed to stable diet in England or France. Wellington
sometimes actually imported hay and oats from England; but they
could not be got far up country, and only served for regiments that
chanced to be put into winter quarters near the sea. Practically
all the remounts came from England—the Portuguese and Spanish horses
having been tried and found wanting many times. In 1808 the 20th
Light Dragoons were embarked without horses, being ordered to mount
themselves in Portugal; but the experiment failed wholly.

[Sidenote: Wellington’s Artillery Tactics]

Only a short note is required as to Wellington’s use of artillery. In
his early years of command he was almost as weak in this arm as in
cavalry. There was not one British battery per division available in
1809. But the Portuguese artillery being numerous, and ere long very
efficient, was largely used to supplement the British after 1810. Yet
even when it had become proportioned to the number of his whole army,
the Duke did not use it in the style of Bonaparte. He never worked
with enormous masses of guns manœuvring in front line, and supporting
an attack, such as the Emperor used. Only at Bussaco, Vittoria, and
Waterloo do we find anything like a concentration of many batteries
to play an important part in the line of battle. Usually the Duke
preferred to work with small units—individual batteries—placed in
well-chosen spots, and often kept concealed till the critical moment.
They were dotted along the front of the position rather than massed,
and in most cases must be regarded as valuable support for the infantry
that was to win the battle, rather than as an arm intended to work for
its independent aims and to take a special part in war. Of several of
Napoleon’s victories we may say that they were artilleryman’s battles;
nothing of the kind can be predicated of any of Wellington’s triumphs,
though the guns were always well placed, and most usefully employed, as
witness Bussaco, Fuentes de Oñoro, and Waterloo.

As to Wellington’s use of siege artillery, we must speak in a later
chapter.[102] It was, through no fault of his own, the weakest point
in his army: indeed till 1811 he never had a British battering-train,
and in the early sieges of Badajoz he worked _in forma pauperis_, with
improvised material, mainly Portuguese, and very deficient in quality.
The record is not a cheerful one; but it must be said that the home
authorities, and not Wellington, were the responsible parties for any
checks that were suffered. A great general who is not an artillery
or engineering specialist must trust to his scientific officers, and
certainly cannot be made responsible for shortage of men and material
due to the parsimony of his masters at home.

So much for the great Duke’s tactics. We shall presently be
investigating his system of military organization—the inner machinery
of his army. But before dealing with it, we shall have to spare some
attention for his greater lieutenants, whose individualities had an
important share in the management of his army.



There can be no stronger contrast than that between the impression
which the Iron Duke left on his old followers, and that produced by his
trusted and most responsible lieutenant, Sir Rowland Hill. Hill was
blessed and kindly remembered wherever he went. He was a man brimming
over with the milk of human kindness, and the mention of him in any
diary is generally accompanied by some anecdote of an act of thoughtful
consideration, some friendly word, or piece of unpremeditated, often
homely charity. A wounded officer from Albuera, who is dragging himself
painfully back to Lisbon, reports himself to Hill as he passes his
headquarters. Next morning “the general himself attended me out on my
road, to give me at parting a basket with tea, sugar, bread, butter,
and a large venison pasty.”[103] A grateful sergeant, who bore a letter
to Hill in 1813, remembers how he expected nothing but a nod and an
answer from such a great man, and was surprised to find that the
general ordered his servant to give the messenger a supper, arranged
for his billet that night, and next morn had his haversack stuffed with
bread and meat, presented him with a dollar, and advised him where to
sleep on his return journey.[104] He would give an exhausted private a
drink from the can that had just been brought for his personal use, or
find time to bestow a piece of friendly advice on an unknown subaltern.
This simple, pious, considerate old officer, whose later portraits
show a decided resemblance to Mr. Pickwick, was known everywhere among
the rank and file as “Daddy Hill.” An officer of the 2nd Division
sums up his character in a well-written letter as follows[105]: “The
foundation of all his popularity with the troops was his sterling worth
and heroic spirit, but his popularity was strengthened and increased as
soon as he was personally known. He was the very picture of an English
country gentleman: to the soldiers who came from the rural districts
of old England he represented _home_; his fresh complexion, placid
face, kind eyes, kind voice, the absence of all parade or noise in his
manner delighted them. The displeasure of Sir Rowland was worse to them
than the loudest anger of other generals. His attention to all their
wants and comforts, his visits to the sick in hospital, his vigilant
protection of the poor peasantry, his just severity to marauders, his
generous treatment of such French prisoners and wounded as fell into
his hands, made for him a warm place in the hearts of his soldiery; and
where’er the survivors of that army are now scattered, assuredly Hill’s
name and image are dearly cherished still.”

[Sidenote: Merits of Sir Rowland Hill]

The description sounds like that of a benevolent old squire, rather
than that of a distinguished lieutenant-general. Nevertheless, Rowland
Hill was a very great man of war. Wellington liked him as a subordinate
because of his extraordinary punctuality in obedience, and the entire
absence in him of that restless personal ambition which makes many able
men think more of opportunities for distinguishing themselves than of
exact performance of the orders given them. Wherever Hill was, it was
certain that nothing would be risked, and nothing would be forgotten.
His beautiful combination of intelligence and executive power more
than once brought relief to his chief’s mind in a critical moment,
most of all on the march to Bussaco in September, 1810, when it was
all-important to Wellington’s plans that his own detached force under
Hill should join him as soon as Masséna’s similar detached force under
Reynier should have reached the main French army. Hill executed a long
and difficult march over a mountainous country with admirable speed,
and was duly up in line on the day before the battle of Bussaco, which
could not in common prudence have been fought if he had been late.

This we might have expected from a man of Hill’s character; but what
is more surprising is that when he was trusted—a thing that did not
often occur under Wellington’s _régime_—with a command in which he was
allowed to take the offensive on his own account, he displayed not
only a power of organizing, but a fierce driving energy which none of
Wellington’s more eager and restless subordinates could have surpassed.
Speedy pursuit of an enemy on the move was not one of the great Duke’s
characteristics; he was often, and not unjustly, accused of not making
the best profit out of his victories. But Hill’s rapid following up
of Girard, in November, 1811, ending with the complete surprise and
dispersion or capture of the French force at Arroyo dos Molinos, was
a piece of work which for swift, continuous movement, over mountain
roads, in vile rainy weather, could not have been surpassed by the
best of Napoleon’s lieutenants. Another blow of the most creditable
swiftness and daring was the storming of the forts of Almaraz five
months later, when Hill, with a light force, plunged right into the
middle of the French cantonments and broke the all-important bridge
by which Soult and Marmont were wont to co-operate. The forts were
stormed, the bridge thoroughly destroyed, and Hill was off, and out of
reach, before the neighbouring French divisions were half concentrated.

But the crowning glory of Hill’s Peninsular service was the one general
action in which he was fortunate enough to hold independent command.
This was at the end of the war, the battle of St. Pierre, near
Bayonne. He was forming the right flank of Wellington’s line when his
communication with the main army was cut off by a rise in the river
Nive, which carried away the bridges by which he communicated with
the main host. Soult, transferring the bulk of his field force, then
in front of Wellington, by means of the bridges in Bayonne town, fell
upon Hill with five divisions. Hill had only two, those which he had
commanded for the last three years, the 2nd and Hamilton’s (now Le
Cor’s) Portuguese. With 15,000 men he fought a defensive battle against
30,000 for the greater part of the short December day. His reserves
were used up, every regiment had charged many times, the losses were
heavy, and it seemed hardly possible to hold on against such odds. But
Hill did so, and at last the reinforcements from the other side of the
river Nive began to appear in the late afternoon, and Soult desisted
from his attack and drew off beaten. This was one of the most desperate
pieces of fighting in the Peninsular War, and Hill was the soul of the
defence. He was seen at every point of danger, and repeatedly led up
rallied regiments in person to save what seemed like a lost battle.
Eye-witnesses speak of him as quite transformed from his ordinary
placidity—a very picture of warlike energy. He was even heard to swear,
a thing so rare that we are assured that this lapse from his accustomed
habits only took place twice during the whole war. The first occasion
was in the desperate melée in the night attack that began the battle of

[Illustration: _PLATE II._


It is clear that Hill was a man capable of the highest feats in war,
who might have gone very far, if he had been given the chance of a
completely independent command. But such was not his fortune, and in
his last campaign, that of Waterloo, he was almost lost to sight,
as a corps-commander whose troops were operating always under the
immediate eye of Wellington. He survived to a good old age, was made
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army when Wellington gave up the
office on accepting the Premiership in 1827, and held it till within
a few months of his death in 1842. Almost the last recorded words of
the kindly old man upon his death-bed were, “I have a great deal to be
thankful for; I believe I have not an enemy in the world.” And this was
literally true: to know “Daddy Hill” was to love him.

[Sidenote: Lord Beresford]

The other lieutenant to whom Wellington repeatedly entrusted a
semi-independent command was one who was neither so blameless nor so
capable as Rowland Hill. Yet William Carr Beresford was by no means to
be despised as a soldier. The illegitimate son of a great Irish peer,
he was put into a marching regiment at seventeen, and saw an immense
amount of service even for those stirring days of the Revolutionary
War, when a British officer was liable to be sent to any of the four
continents in rapid succession. This was literally the case with
Beresford, who was engaged in India, Egypt, the Cape of Good Hope,
Buenos Ayres, and Portugal in the eight years between 1800 and 1808.

When the Portuguese Government asked for a British general to
reorganize their dilapidated army in 1809, Beresford was the man
selected—partly because he had the reputation of being a good
disciplinarian, partly because he knew the Portuguese tongue, from
having garrisoned Madeira for many months, but mostly (as we are told)
because of political influence. His father’s family had never lost
sight of him, and he was well “pushed” by the Beresford clan, who were
a great power in Ireland, and had to be conciliated by all Governments.

If this appointment to command the Portuguese Army was a job, we may
say (with Gilbert’s judge) that so far as organization went, it was “a
good job too.” For he did most eminent service in creating order out
of chaos, and produced in the short space of a year a well-disciplined
force that was capable of taking a creditable part in line with the
British Army, and won well-deserved encomiums from Wellington and every
other fair critic for the part that it took at Bussaco, its first
engagement. The new army had not been created without much friction
and discontent: to clear out scores of incapable officers—many of them
_fidalgos_ with great court influence—to promote young and unknown men
to their places, to enforce the rigour of the conscription in a land
where it existed in theory but had always been evaded in practice,
gained Beresford immense unpopularity, which he faced in the most
stolid and unbending fashion. At last the Portuguese Army was up to
strength, and had learnt to obey as well as to fight. The teaching
had been by the most drastic methods: Beresford cashiered officers,
and shot deserters or marauders in the rank and file, with a rigid
disregard alike for personal and court influence, and for public
opinion, which Wellington himself could not have surpassed. He was,
indeed, an honest, inflexible, and hard-working administrator; but
with this and with a personal courage that ran almost to excess his
capacities ended. His virtue in Wellington’s eyes was that, after one
short tussle of wills, he completely and very wisely submitted himself
to be the mere instrument of his greater colleague, and did everything
that he was told to do, working the Portuguese army to the best effect
as an auxiliary force to the British, and making no attempt to assert
an independent authority. Instead of being kept under his hand in a
body, it was cut up into brigades, each of which, with few exceptions,
was simply attached to a British division.

[Sidenote: Beresford’s Limitations]

It was no doubt because Beresford showed himself so obedient and loyal,
and exhibited such complete self-abnegation, that Wellington, both
in 1809 and 1811, entrusted him with the command of large detached
forces at a distance from the main army. But the marshal was by no
means up to the task entrusted to him, and after the unhappy experiment
of the first siege of Badajoz, and the ill-fought battle of Albuera,
Wellington removed him from separate command, on the excuse that more
organizing was needed at Lisbon, and kept him either there, or with the
main army (where he had no opportunities of separate command) till the
last year of the war. In 1814 he was for a few weeks entrusted with the
conduct of the expedition to Bordeaux, but as it was unopposed by the
enemy—and was bound to be so, as Wellington well knew—this was giving
him no great responsibility. During the three last years of the war
he was really in a rather otiose and equivocal position, as titular
Commander-in-Chief of an army which was not treated as a unit, but
dispersed abroad among the British divisions. Occasionally he was used
as a corps commander under Wellington’s own eye, as at Toulouse, where
he led the turning column of the 4th and 6th Divisions which broke
down Soult’s flank defences. For such a task, when hard fighting and
obedience to orders was all that was needed, he was a fully competent
lieutenant. It was when thrown on his own resources and forced to make
decisions of his own that he showed himself so much inferior to his
successor Hill.

Beresford was a very tall and stalwart man of herculean strength—every
one knows of his personal encounter with a Polish lancer at Albuera:
he parried the Pole’s thrust, caught him by the collar, and jerked him
out of his saddle and under his horse’s feet, with one twist of his
powerful arm. His features were singularly rough-cast and irregular,
and a sinister appearance was given to his face by a discoloured and
useless left eye, which had been injured in a shooting accident when
he was quite a young man. The glare of this injured optic is said to
have been discomposing to culprits whom he had to upbraid and admonish,
a task which he always executed with thoroughness. He had been forced
to trample on so many misdemeanants, small and great, during his
five years in command of the Portuguese army, that he enjoyed a very
general unpopularity. But I have never found any case in which he can
be accused of injustice or oppression; the fact was that he had a
great many unsatisfactory subordinates to deal with. His own staff and
the better officers of the Portuguese service liked him well enough,
and the value of his work cannot be too highly praised. He came
little into contact with the British part of the army, but I note that
the 88th, whom he had commanded before the war in Spain began, much
preferred him to their later chief, Picton, and had a kindly memory
of him. There are singularly few tales or anecdotes connected with
his name, from which I deduce that in British military circles he was
neither much loved nor much hated.

[Sidenote: Early Career of Graham]

A far more picturesque figure is the third of the three generals to
whom, at one time or another, Wellington committed the charge of a
detached corps, Thomas Graham of Balgowan, later created Lord Lynedoch.
I have already alluded to him in my preface, as in one way the most
typical figure of the epoch—the personification of all that class of
Britons who took arms against France when the Revolutionary War broke
out, as a plain duty incumbent upon them in days when the country and
Crown were in danger. He had seen the Jacobin mob face to face in its
frenzy, in a sufficiently horrid fashion. In 1792 he had taken his
invalid wife—the beautiful Mrs. Graham of Gainsborough’s well-known
picture—to the Riviera, in the vain hope that her consumption might be
stayed. She died, nevertheless, and he started home towards Scotland
with her coffin, to lay her in the grave of his ancestors. On the way
he passed through a town where the crazy hunt after impossible royalist
conspiracies was in full swing. A crowd of drunken National Guards were
seized with the idea that he was an emissary in disguise, bearing arms
to aristocrats. The coffin, they declared, was probably full of pistols
and daggers, and while the unhappy husband struggled in vain to hold
them off, they broke it open, and exposed his wife’s long-dead corpse.
After this incident Thomas Graham not unnaturally conceived the idea
that his one duty in life was to shoot Jacobins. When he had buried his
wife at Methven he was ready for that duty, and the war with France
breaking out only five months after, his opportunity was at hand.
Though a civilian, a Whig member of Parliament, and forty-four years
of age, though he had no knowledge of military affairs, and had never
heard a shot fired in anger, he went to the front at once, and fought
through the siege of Toulon as a sort of volunteer aide-de-camp to Lord
Mulgrave. It is odd that both Julius Cæsar and Oliver Cromwell started
at this same age as soldiers. This was the first of an endless series
of campaigns against the French; Graham got a quasi-military status by
raising at his own expense the 90th Foot, or Perthshire Volunteers, of
which he was in reward made honorary colonel. With the curious rank of
honorary colonel—he never held any lower—he went as British attaché
to the Austrian Army of Italy, getting the post because Englishmen
who could speak both German and Italian were rare. He saw the unhappy
campaigns of 1796–97 under Beaulieu, Würmser, and the Archduke Charles,
being thus one of the few British observers who witnessed Bonaparte’s
first essays in strategy. Then he held staff appointments during the
operations in Minorca and Malta, and again served with the Austrians
in Italy in 1799. After much more service, the last of it as British
attaché with the army of Castaños in Spain, during the Tudela campaign,
he was at last informed that—all precedents notwithstanding—from an
honorary colonelcy he was promoted to be a major-general on the regular
establishment, on account of his long and distinguished service. Down
to 1809 he had seen more fighting than falls to most men, without
owning any proper military rank, for his colonelcy of 1794, which he
had held for fifteen years, was only titular and temporary, and gave
him no regular rank. He had technically never been more than a civilian
with an honorary title!

Yet in 1810 he was entrusted with the important post of commander of
the British troops in Cadiz, and commenced to take an important part in
the Peninsular War. He was now sixty-two years of age, and would have
been counted past service according to eighteenth century notions.
But his iron frame gave no signs of approaching decay, no fatigue or
privation could tire him, and he was one of the boldest riders in the
army. His portrait shows a man with a regular oval face, a rather
melancholy expression—there is a sad droop in the eyelids—and abundant
white hair, worn rather long. His mouth is firm and inflexible, his
general expression very resolute, but a little tired—that of a man
who has been for nearly twenty years crusading against an enemy with
whom no peace must be made, and who does not yet see the end in sight,
but proposes to fight on till he drops. He was a fine scholar, knew
six languages, had travelled all over Europe, and was such a master
of his pen that both his dispatches and his private letters and diary
are among the best-written and most interesting original material that
exists for this period.

[Sidenote: Graham at Barrosa]

The crowning exploit of Graham’s life was the victory which he won,
with every chance against him, at Barrosa on March 7th, 1811, a
wonderful instance of the triumph of a quick eye, and a sudden resolute
blow over long odds. Caught on the march by a sudden flank attack of
Marshal Victor, owing to the imbecile arrangements of the Spanish
General La Peña, under whose orders he was serving, Graham, instead of
waiting to be attacked, which would have been fatal, took the offensive
himself. His troops were strung out on the line of march through a
wood, and there was no time to form a regular order of battle, for the
French were absolutely rushing in upon him. Victor thought that he had
before him an easy victory, over a force surprised in an impossible
posture. But Graham, throwing out a strong line of skirmishers to hold
back the enemy for the few necessary minutes, aligned his men in the
edge of the wood, without regard for brigade or even for battalion
unity, and attacked the French with such sudden swiftness that it
was Victor, and not he, who was really surprised. The enemy was
assailed before he had formed any line of battle, or deployed a single
battalion, and was driven off the field in an hour after a most bloody
fight. Graham led the centre of his own left brigade like a general of
the Middle Ages, riding ten yards ahead of the line with his plumed hat
waving in his right hand, and his white hair streaming in the wind.
This was not the right place for a commanding officer; but the moment
was a desperate one, and all depended on the swiftness and suddenness
of the stroke; there was no manœuvring possible, and no further orders
save to go straight on. Improvising his battle-order in five minutes,
with only 5000 men against 7000, and attacking rather uphill, he won a
magnificent victory, which would have ended in the complete destruction
of the French if the Spaniard La Peña had moved to his aid. But that
wretched officer remained halted with his whole division only two miles
from the field, and did not stir a man to aid his colleague.

A few months after Barrosa, Graham was moved from Cadiz to join the
main army in Portugal, at the request of Wellington, who gave him the
command of his left wing during the autumn campaign of 1811, and again
through the whole of that of 1813. For the greater part of that of 1812
Graham was away on sick leave, for the first time in his life, his eyes
having given out from long exposure to the southern sun. Unluckily
for him, his promotion to command a wing of the grand army meant that
he was generally under Wellington’s own eye, with small opportunity
of acting for himself. But his chief chose him to take charge of the
most critical operation of the Vittoria campaign, the long flank march
through the mountains of the Tras-os-Montes, which turned the right
wing of the French and forced them out of position after position in
a running fight of 200 miles. Still outflanking the enemy, it was he
who cut in across the high-road to France at Vittoria, and forced the
beaten army of Jourdan to retire across by-paths, with the loss of all
its artillery, train, baggage, and stores.

For the dramatic completeness of this splendid old man’s career, we
could have wished that it had ended in 1813. But the Home Government,
seeking for a trustworthy officer to command the expedition to Holland
in the following winter, chose Graham to conduct it, and his last
campaign was marred by a disaster. He drove, it is true, the remnants
of the French army out of Holland, though his force was small—only
7000 men, and formed of raw second battalions hastily collected from
English garrisons. But his daring attempt to escalade the great
fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom, the one stronghold still held by the enemy,
was a sad failure. Taking advantage of a hard frost, which had made
the marsh-defences of that strong town useless for the moment, Graham
planned a midnight attack by four columns, of which two succeeded in
crossing all obstacles and entering the place. But when all seemed
won, the general’s part of the scheme having succeeded to admiration,
the officers in immediate charge of the attack ignored many of their
orders, dispersed their men in unwise petty enterprises, and finally
were attacked and driven out of the town piecemeal by the rallied
garrison. The loss was terrible, fully 2000 men, of whom half were
prisoners. But the bold conception of the enterprise rather than its
failure should be put down to Graham’s account. The mismanagement by
his subordinates was incredible. Wellington, looking over the fortress
a year later, is said to have observed that it must have been extremely
difficult to get in. “But,” he added, “when once in, I wonder how the
devil they ever suffered themselves to be beaten out again.”

[Illustration: _PLATE III._


_From the picture by Sir George Hayter._]

Graham’s last campaign was marred by this check. But, in the general
distribution of rewards at the peace of 1814, he was given a peerage,
by the title of Lord Lynedoch, and shared in the other honours of
the Peninsular Army. Though sixty-six years old when the war ended,
he survived till 1843, when he had reached the patriarchal age of
ninety-six. He did a good service to his old comrades by founding
the United Service Club, which he originally designed as a place of
rendezvous for old Peninsular officers, of whom he had noticed that
many were lonely men without family ties, like himself, while others,
stranded in London for a few days, had no central spot where they could
count on meeting old friends.[106] His portrait hangs, as is right, in
the most prominent place in the largest room of the institution which
he founded.

[Sidenote: Graham and his Admirers]

I have never found one unkindly word about General Graham, in the
numerous diaries and autobiographies of the officers and men who
served under him. All comment on his stately presence, his thoughtful
courtesy, and his unfailing justice and benevolence. “I may truly say
he lives in their affections; they not only looked up to him with
confidence as their commander, but they esteemed and respected him
as their firm friend and protector, which, indeed, he always showed
himself to be.”[107] “What could not Britons do, when led by such a
chief?” asks another.[108] I might make a considerable list of the
names of British officers who relate their personal obligation to his
kindness;[109] but perhaps the most convincing evidence of all is
that of the French Colonel Vigo-Roussillon, one of the enemies whom
he captured at Barrosa, who has no words strong enough to express the
delicate generosity with which he was treated while a wounded prisoner
at Cadiz. Graham came to visit him on his sick bed, sent his own
physician to attend him, and made copious provision for his food and
lodging. For a conscientious hatred for French influence, whether that
of the red Jacobin republic, or that of the Napoleonic despotism, did
not prevent him from showing his benevolence to individual Frenchmen
thrown upon his mercy.[110]



If Graham had no enemies, and was loved by every one with whom he
came in contact, the same cannot be said of the two distinguished
officers with whom I have next to deal, General Robert Craufurd and Sir
Thomas Picton. They were both men of mark, Craufurd even more so than
Picton; they both fell in action at the moment of victory; they were
both employed by Wellington for the most responsible services, and he
owed much to their admirable executive powers; but both of them were
occasionally out of his good graces. Each of them had many admiring
friends and many bitter enemies, whose reasons for liking and disliking
them it is not hard to discover. Both of them were to a certain extent
embittered and disappointed men, who thought that their work had never
received adequate recognition, a view for which there was considerable
justification. In other respects they were wholly unlike; their
characters differed fundamentally, so much so that when they met it was
not unfrequently to clash and quarrel.

Picton, a Welsh country gentleman by birth, was a typical eighteenth
century soldier, who had (after the old fashion) entered the army at
thirteen years of age, and had gone on foreign service at fifteen.
His manners, we gather, were those of the barrack-room; he was a hard
drinking, hard swearing, rough-and-ready customer. Wellington, who
was not squeamish, called him “a rough, foul-mouthed devil as ever
lived,[111] but he always behaved extremely well on service.” The
notorious Duke of Queensberry, “Old Q,” was his friend and admirer, and
left him a good legacy of £5000 in his will. Old Q’s model heroes were
not of the Wesleyan Methodist type. One of the strongest impressions
left on one’s mind by the diaries of those who served under him is that
of his astounding power of malediction. Kincaid’s account of the sack
of Ciudad Rodrigo is dominated by “the voice of Sir Thomas Picton,
with the power of twenty trumpets proclaiming damnation to all and
sundry.”[112] But if he was destitute of all the graces and some of the
virtues, Picton was a very fine soldier, with a quick eye, unlimited
self-confidence, and the courage of ten bulldogs. He had, when once
the Revolutionary War commenced, made his way to the front with great
rapidity. A captain in 1794, he had become a brigadier-general by
1799, and his promotion had been won by undeniable good service. For
his ultimate misfortune, he was made in 1797 governor of the newly
conquered Spanish island of Trinidad in the West Indies, while still
only a colonel. This was the beginning of his troubles; the post was
lucrative, dangerous, and difficult. The garrison was insufficient,
and the island was swarming with disbanded Spanish soldiers, runaway
negro slaves, French adventurers, and privateers and pirates of all
nations from the Spanish Main. Picton had to create order from chaos,
and then to keep it up; his methods were drastic: the lash and the
pillory, the branding-irons, and, where necessary, military execution.
It does not appear on impartial examination that he ever showed himself
self-seeking, partial, or corrupt in his administration; he merely
tried, in his own rough way, to dragoon into order a very unruly and
lawless community. The majority of the better classes approved his
rule, which, as one of them said, “was of the sort required by the
colony” where a governor “had to make himself feared as well as
beloved.” Naturally he made many enemies, white, black, and brown,
English and Spanish, adventurers and officials. They kept up a rain
of petitions against him at the Colonial Office, in which he was
represented as a sort of Nero. The most acrid and ingenious of them, a
Colonel Fullarton, succeeded in finding a method of attack which was
certain to have a great vogue when tried in England. The old Spanish
law still ran in Trinidad, and under it various forms of durance and
torture were permitted against suspected persons under arrest. A
case had happened in which a mulatto girl, who had been concerned in
stealing 2000 dollars from a Spanish tobacco merchant, was put to the
barbarous punishment of picketing (standing with the heels on a stake)
by the local magistrates, to make her confess who had taken the money,
and where it was hidden. After a few minutes she admitted that her
lover had stolen it, with her aid and consent; and this was proved to
be the fact. Thus under Picton’s rule, and (as it turned out) with his
knowledge, a woman had been put to the torture, though the torture was
slight and the woman guilty.

[Sidenote: Picton in Trinidad]

Picton, on returning to England, was therefore accused by Colonel
Fullarton of many tyrannical acts, but, above all, of having put
a woman to the torture in order to extract a confession, a thing
abhorrent alike to the laws of England and to the common sentiments
of humanity. There followed a long political trial, (for it became a
matter of Whig and Tory partizanship), in which the Government finally
dropped the prosecution, because it was amply proved that Spanish, not
English, law was running in Trinidad in 1801, since the island had not
been annexed till the peace of Amiens in the following year, and that
the governor had simply allowed the local magistrates to act according
to their usual practice. The other charges all fell through.

Nevertheless, the mud stuck, as Fullarton had intended, and Picton
was generally remembered as the man who had permitted a woman to be
tortured. The trial had dragged over several years, and had been
most costly to the accused. Since there had been no verdict, owing
to the prosecution having simply been dropped, he had not even the
satisfaction of being able to say that he had been acquitted by a jury
of his countrymen. There was a sort of slur, however unjust, upon his

It therefore argued considerable independence and disregard of public
opinion on the part of Wellington, when he wrote home to ask that
Picton might be sent out to him to command a division,[113] purely on
his military record as a hard fighter. The general came out to Portugal
with a name unfavourably known, and to colleagues and subordinates
who were prepared to view him with a critical eye. “It is impossible
to deny,” writes an officer who served under him, “that a very strong
dislike towards the general was prevalent. His conduct in the island of
Trinidad ... had impressed all ranks with an unfavourable opinion of
the man. His first appearance was looked for with no little anxiety.
When he reached the ground, accompanied by his staff, every eye was
turned towards him, and his appearance and demeanour were closely
observed. He looked to be a man between fifty and sixty, and I never
saw a more perfect specimen of a splendid-looking soldier. In vain did
those who had set him down as a cruel tyrant seek to find out such a
delineation in his countenance. On the contrary, there was a manly
open frankness in his appearance that gave a flat contradiction to the
slander. And in truth Picton was _not_ a tyrant, nor did he ever act
as such during the many years that he commanded the 3rd Division. But
if his countenance did not depict him as cruel, there was a sarcastic
severity about it, and a certain curl of the lip, that marked him as
one who despised rather than courted applause. The stern countenance,
robust frame, caustic speech, and austere demeanour told in legible
characters that he was one not likely to say a thing and then not do
as he had said. In a word, his appearance denoted him a man of strong
mind and strong frame.”[114]

[Sidenote: Picton and the 88th Foot]

It was considered characteristic that he ended his first inspection of
the division by holding a drum-head court-martial on two soldiers who
had stolen a goat, and witnessing their punishment. He then rode up to
the regiment to which the culprits belonged, the 88th, and “in language
not of that bearing which an officer of his rank should use,” said,
“You are not known in the army by the name of Connaught Rangers, but
by the name of Connaught _footpads_,” with some unnecessary remarks on
their country and their religion.

This untoward incident was the commencement of a long feud between
Picton and the 88th, which endured all through the war, and led, at
the end of it, to the Rangers refusing to subscribe to the laudatory
address and plate which the rest of the 3rd Division offered to their
general, after nearly five years of glorious service. Yet the feud was
not incompatible with a good deal of reluctant esteem on both sides.
On the morning after the storm of Ciudad Rodrigo, in which the Rangers
had taken a most gallant part, we are told that some of the men, more
than usually elated in spirits, called out to their commander, “Well,
general, we gave you a cheer last night: it’s your turn now.” Picton,
smiling, took off his hat and said, “Here, then, you drunken set of
brave rascals, hurrah! And we’ll soon be at Badajoz,” to which scene of
even greater glory for the 3rd Division he did conduct them within a
few weeks.

The considerable string of stories, true, half-true, or apocryphal,
which cling round the name of Picton relate in about equal proportions,
on the one hand, to his extreme intrepidity and coolness in action,
and, on the other, to his vehemence alike of language and of action,
which struck terror into the objects of his wrath. The best of the
former with which I am acquainted comes from the same diarist,
Grattan, of the 88th, whom I have already been quoting. It relates
to the day of El Bodon (September 25, 1811), when the 3rd Division,
caught in a somewhat isolated position owing to one of Wellington’s few
tactical slips, was retreating in column across a level upland, beset
by Montbrun and three brigades of French cavalry. “For six miles across
a perfect flat, without the slightest protection from any incident of
the ground, without artillery, almost without cavalry, did the 3rd
Division continue its march. During the whole time the French cavalry
never quitted us, and six light guns, advancing with them and taking
the division in flank and rear, poured in a frightful fire of grape
and canister. General Picton conducted himself with his accustomed
coolness. He rode on the left flank of the column, and repeatedly
cautioned the different battalions to mind the quarter distance and the
‘tellings off.’ At last we got within a mile of our entrenched camp at
Fuente Guinaldo, when Montbrun, impatient lest his prey should escape
from his grasp, ordered his troopers to bring up their right shoulders
and incline towards our column. The movement was not exactly bringing
up his squadrons into line, but it was the next thing to it. They were
within half pistol-shot of us. Picton took off his hat, and holding it
over his eyes as a shade from the sun, looked sternly but anxiously at
the French. The clatter of the horses and the clanking of the scabbards
were so great, as the right squadron moved up, that many thought it the
forerunner of a general charge. Some mounted officer called out, ‘Had
we not better form square?’ ‘No,’ replied Picton; ‘it is but a _ruse_
to frighten us, and it _won’t do_.’ In half an hour more we were safe
within our lines.”[115]

This was a fine example of cool resolution, and ended happily what
had been a very anxious hour for Wellington. But I imagine that the
occasion on which the Commander-in-Chief owed most to the commander of
the 3rd Division was the storm of Badajoz. It will be remembered that
on that bloody night the main attack on the breaches failed completely,
despite of the desperate exertions of the 4th and Light Divisions.
The attempt by escalade upon the towering walls of the castle, which
proved successful and caused the fall of the fortress, had not been in
Wellington’s original plan, but was suggested to him by Picton, who
had viewed the breaches, and had not been convinced that they could
be carried. Picton pleaded that he might be allowed to try the castle
with his own division as a subsidiary operation.[116] He succeeded
triumphantly, and so saved the day. If he had not made his offer, the
chance of the city’s falling would have been infinitely less, even
though a brigade of the 5th Division did succeed in entering Badajoz at
another point remote from the fatal breaches. Though Picton got plenty
of praise for his courage on this night, it was not generally known
that he ought to have been praised even more for his prescience.

[Sidenote: Picton at Badajoz]

Numberless instances of Picton’s skill and tenacity might be quoted,
all through the six years of his service under Wellington. But the
anecdote which best illustrates his Spartan courage is one which
belongs to the last three days of his life. At Quatre Bras, where his
division so long held back the vehement attacks of Ney, he received
a musket ball in his left side, which, though it gave a somewhat
glancing blow and did not penetrate, broke two of his ribs. Believing
that the battle would be continued next day, he resolved not to return
himself as wounded, lest the surgeons should insist on sending him to
the rear. He roughly bound up the wound with the assistance of his
soldier servant, and was on his horse throughout June 17, conducting
the retreat of his division. On the 18th, as every one knows, he was
killed—shot through the head—while leading the decisive charge which
beat d’Erlon’s corps from the heights of Mont St. Jean. Only when his
body was stripped, to be laid in the coffin, was it discovered that
he had gone into action at Waterloo with a dangerous, perhaps mortal,
wound two days old upon him. For his side was so swollen and blackened
around the broken ribs, that the surgeons thought that the neglected
wound might very possibly have caused his death, if he had come
unharmed through the battle of June 18.

Such virtues were not incompatible with grave faults. Picton’s violent
language and reckless disregard of common forms of propriety form the
subject of many tales. When he thought that the assistant engineer who
guided the 3rd Division at the storm of Badajoz had led them astray, he
drew his sword, and with an oath said that he would cut the blind fool
down if he had gone wrong. This we have on the first-hand evidence of
that officer, who was fortunately able to demonstrate that the right
path had been taken.[117] A better-known tale is that of Picton and
the commissary, a story which has also been attributed to Craufurd,
and recently by Mr. Fortescue to General Sherbrooke. The commissary
had been ordered, during one of Wellington’s long marches, to have the
rations of the 3rd Division ready at a certain spot at a certain hour.
They were not forthcoming, but only a series of excuses, to account
for their non-arrival. Picton grimly pointed to a neighbouring tree
and said, “Well, sir, if you don’t get the rations for my division to
the place mentioned by twelve o’clock to-morrow, I will hang you on
it at half-past.” The commissary rode straight to Lord Wellington and
complained, with much injured dignity, of the general’s violent and
ungentlemanly language. His lordship coolly remarked, “Oh, he said
that he’d _hang_ you, did he?” “Yes, my lord.” “Well, General Picton
is a man of his word. I think you’d better get the rations up in
time.” Further advice was unnecessary; the rations were there to the
moment.[118] It is odd to find that many years after Picton’s death
a question was asked in Parliament, and a controversy raged in the
newspapers, as to which of three named commissaries was the object of
Picton’s anger.

It would be wrong, however, to paint Picton as a mere vial of wrath,
foaming into ungovernable rage in and out of season. When he was
angry he generally had good cause; it was only the over-vehemence of
his language that caused him to become a centre of legends. Odd as
it may seem, the rank and file did not consider him a tyrant; it was
acknowledged that he was very just, that he never punished without
hearing the defence, that he was capable of pardoning, that when he
hit hard he did so not without reason. A sergeant of the 45th wrote on
him thus: “He was strict sometimes, especially about plunder, always
talking about how wrong it was to plunder the poor people because
countries happened to be at war. He used to flog the men when they were
found out; but where he flogged, many generals took life. Besides this,
the men thought that he had their welfare at heart. Every soldier in
the division knew that if he had anything to complain of, ‘Old Picton’
would listen to his story, and set him right if he could. On the whole,
our fellows always thought him a _kind_ general, in spite of his strong

[Sidenote: Picton and Wellington]

This same sense of justice is brought out in the diaries of several
officers, who speak in feeling terms of his endeavours to get obscure
merit rewarded, and to keep down jobbery in promotion,[119] or tyranny
of senior officers over their juniors. He was very accessible, and
even friendly and considerate, to his subordinates. This familiarity,
which endeared him to subalterns, was (as we have already noticed) not
agreeable to Lord Wellington. Their intercourse was formal and not very
frequent. Wellington once went out of his way to say that it was not
true that he had ever had a quarrel with Picton, or been on anything
but good terms with him. But while acknowledging his services, he
never pretended that he had any personal liking for him.

Picton always thought that he suffered grave injustice at the end of
the war, by not being included in the list of five Peninsular officers
who were made peers for their services. “If the coronet were lying
on the crown of a breach, I should have as good a chance as any of
them,” was his caustic remark. The explanation formally given for his
omission was that all the five generals honoured, Beresford, Hill,
Graham, Hope, and Stapleton Cotton, had held for some time “distinct
commands,” and that Picton had not. But though this explanation held
good for the first three, it did not really cover the cases of Hope and
Cotton, whose independent commands had been little more than nominal;
and Picton had on several occasions—notably in the Pyrenees—exercised
independent authority in a very similar way. The fact was that he was
an unpopular man, and that the Ministry omitted him, while Wellington
made no effort to push his claims. He showed his displeasure by
announcing his intention to retire from the army in 1814, and would
have done so in the next year, if Napoleon’s return from Elba had not
called him into the field, to die at Waterloo.

To finish our sketch of this curious and contradictory character, we
must mention that Picton was a profound despiser of all sorts of pomp
and ceremony. His dress, except on gala days, was careless and often
unmilitary. He fought Quatre-Bras, as several witnesses remarked, in a
tall beaver hat, and in the Vittoria campaign, because he was suffering
from his eyes, wore a very broad-brimmed variety of the same type.
His aide-de-camps copied him, as was natural, in their disregard for
appearance, and it is said that from their manners and dress they were
known as “the bear and ragged staff,”[120] a term that has been applied
on several more recent occasions to similar parties.

[Illustration: _PLATE IV._


[Sidenote: General Robert Craufurd]

A very different man from Sir Thomas Picton was the last of the
divisional generals whose character we have to deal with, Robert
Craufurd. They were both effective weapons in the hands of Wellington,
but Picton’s efficiency was rather that of the battering ram, while
Craufurd’s was rather that of the rapier. Robert Craufurd, like Picton,
came to the Peninsula as rather a disappointed man, his grievance
being that, despite much brilliant service, he had dropped behind in
promotion, and found himself a junior brigadier-general, when men
several years his junior, like Hill, Beresford, and Wellington himself,
were holding posts of much greater importance. Craufurd was one of
our few scientific soldiers; he had studied so far back as 1782 the
tactics of the army of Frederic the Great at Berlin, and had translated
into English the official Prussian treatise on the Art of War. His
knowledge of German, which none other of Wellington’s officers save
Graham possessed, had caused him, in 1794, to be given the important
post of military attaché with the Austrian Army in the Netherlands,
and afterwards on the Rhine, and he followed Coburg and the Archduke
Charles for three years through a series of campaigns, in which failure
was much more frequent than success. When the war broke out once more
between Austria and the French republic, he was again sent in 1799 to
serve with his old friends, and accompanied the headquarters of General
Hotze’s army in Switzerland, till he was called off to share in the
Duke of York’s ill-managed invasion of Holland in the end of the same
year. Like Graham, therefore, Craufurd had the sorrow of witnessing
a long series of disasters, for which he was not in the least
responsible. As his reports and dispatches show, he discharged his duty
with zeal and excellent capacity; but his sarcastic tongue and violent
temper seem to have stood in the way of his promotion. A major in 1794,
after thirteen years’ service, he was still only a lieutenant-colonel
in 1801, and during these years had seen numberless comrades climb
over his head, though he had all the while been discharging important
duties in a fashion which won the admiration of all with whom he came
into personal contact. It looks as if the constant reports of disaster,
which he had to make, had connected his name in official circles with
the notion of ill-luck. In 1801, disappointed of an official post in
Ireland for which he had applied, he went on half-pay, and entered
Parliament as member for a pocket-borough which chanced to be in his
brother’s gift.[121] For the next five years he was a constant speaker
in Parliament on military topics, and a very bitter critic of the
policy of Pitt, Dundas, and Addington. His views as to the proper
organization of the British forces, in first and second line, for the
beating off of French invasion were set forth at vast length, and
always clashed with those of ministers. It is only fair to say that he
was in the main right, and they wrong; he pleaded for the reduction of
the numberless ill-disciplined volunteer corps, and wished to see in
the first line a very large regular army raised for short service, and
behind it the second line, levied by conscription, as a sort of _levée
en masse_ trained for irregular fighting, and not expected to manœuvre
or to take part in pitched battles. Craufurd’s virulent criticism was
very telling, but hardly likely to help his promotion as a military
man, so long as the Addington and Pitt ministries were in power.
When, however, Pitt died, and the Whig administration called “All the
Talents” came into power, the new War Secretary, William Windham, was
disposed to do everything possible for Craufurd, who was not only his
personal friend, but often advised him on matters of organization and
technical military subjects.

[Sidenote: Craufurd at Buenos Ayres]

At last, after five years spent in rather acrid parliamentary
criticism, Craufurd was given an opportunity by his friend Windham
to see service in a higher post than had ever before fallen to his
lot. Though only just promoted to a full colonelcy, he was given the
command of a brigade of 4000 men, destined for a distant expedition.
This adventure was one of the most hare-brained of the many futile
schemes of the unlucky cabinet then in power. Craufurd was to take
in hand nothing less than a voyage round Cape Horn, for the conquest
of Chili! He never saw the straits of Magellan, however, for his
force, after it had sailed, was distracted to form part of the unhappy
armament under General Whitelocke, which made the disastrous attack on
Buenos Ayres in 1807. Placed in the front, in command of Whitelocke’s
Light Brigade, and thrust forward into the tangle of streets among
which the incapable general dispersed his troops in many small columns,
Craufurd fought his way so far on that he was surrounded, cut off from
the main body, and compelled to capitulate with the remnants of his
men. Thus his first chance of distinction in the field, at the head of
a considerable force, ended in absolute disaster. He was acquitted of
all blame at Whitelocke’s court-martial, but the thought that he was
remembered as the officer who had surrendered a British brigade rankled
in his mind, and sat heavy on his soul down to the end of his life.

The fact that he was held blameless, however, was marked by his
appointment to the command of a brigade in the Peninsular Army in 1808.
But his usual ill-luck seemed at first to attend him. He arrived too
late for Vimeiro; when serving under Moore he was detached from the
main army, and did not fight at Corunna. In the next year, returning
to serve under Wellesley, he was late for Talavera, though to reach
the battlefield he made his well-remembered march of forty-three miles
in twenty-six hours, which Napier, by a slip of memory, has converted
into an impossible achievement—a march of sixty-two miles in that time,
which not even Craufurd and the famous 43rd, 52nd, and 95th could have

[Sidenote: Craufurd and the Light Division]

From 1809 onward Craufurd at last got his chance, and for the greater
part of three years[122] was in command of Wellington’s advance, his
“Light Brigade” of 1809 becoming the “Light Division” in 1810. At
length he got what Fate had denied him in all his earlier career, a
post of great distinction and responsibility, and a sight of victory;
for fifteen years he had been witnessing nothing but retreats and
disasters. On his happy days, and they were many, Craufurd was
undoubtedly the most brilliant lieutenant that Wellington ever owned.
Yet he was not trusted by his chief as Hill, for example, was trusted,
because of his occasional lapses from caution, and from the blind
obedience which his chief exacted. Occasionally he took risks, or
ventured to modify the orders given him—the faults of an eager and
ambitious spirit in an hour of excitement.

His achievements were great and noble. The most splendid of them was
the protection of the north-east frontier of Portugal throughout the
whole spring and summer of 1810, when he was set with his own small
division and two regiments of cavalry to lie out many miles in front
of the main army, and to watch the assembling host of Masséna, till
the moment when it should make its forward move for serious invasion.
For five months he guarded a long front against an enemy of sixfold
force, without allowing his line to be pierced, or suffering the French
to gain any information as to what was going on in his rear. This
was a great feat, only accomplished by the most complete and minute
organization of his very modest resources. There were fifteen fords
along the Agueda, the river whose line he had to keep, all of which had
to be watched in dry weather, and many even when the stream was high.
The French had 3000 cavalry opposite him in March and April, 5000 in
May and June, the latter a force exceeding in numbers the total of his
whole division. Behind the hostile cavalry screen he knew that there
were two full army corps, or over 40,000 men; and many detachments of
this infantry lay only four or five miles from Craufurd’s outposts, and
might attack him at any moment. Yet he never suffered any surprise;
so well were his observation-posts placed and managed, that the least
movement of the enemy was reported to him in an incredibly short time.
The whole web of communications quivered at the slightest touch, and
the Light Division was concentrated ready to fight or to retreat, as
prudence dictated, long before the attack could develop. So wonderfully
had he trained his troops that any battalion, as Napier records, was
ready under arms within seven minutes from the first alarm signal,
and within a quarter of an hour could be in order of battle on its
appointed post, with its baggage loaded and assembled ready for
departure at a convenient distance to the rear.

As his aide-de-camp, Shaw Kennedy, the historian of this summer,
writes, “To understand Craufurd’s operations the _calculation_ must
never be lost sight of, for it was on calculation that he acted all
along.” Special reports were made of the numerous fords of the Agueda
_every_ morning, and the rapidity of its rises was periodically marked.
Beacons were placed on conspicuous heights, so as to communicate
information as to the enemy’s offensive movements. To ensure against
mistakes in the night, pointers were kept at the stations of
communication, directed to the beacons. The cavalry regiment at the
outposts was the first Hussars of the King’s German Legion, a veteran
corps, chosen because its officers were considered superior in scouting
power to that of any other light cavalry unit with the army. Craufurd,
knowing German well, communicated with each of its squadron leaders
directly; each knew his own duty for the front that he covered, and
each worked out his part admirably. The general was untiring, could
remain on horseback unwearied for almost any length of time, and knew
personally every ford, defile, and by-path. Hence nothing was left to

[Sidenote: Craufurd and Wellington]

It was a pity that Craufurd ended this splendid piece of service, which
lasted over five months of daily danger, by fighting the unnecessary
“Combat of the Coa” on July 4, 1810. Staying a day too long beyond that
stream despite of Wellington’s clear direction to retire the moment
that he was hard pressed, he was suddenly attacked by the whole of
Ney’s corps, 20,000 men or more, and forced over the Coa, with loss
which might have been great but for the excellence of the battalions
he had trained and the cool-headed tactical skill of his regimental
officers. He held the bridge of the Coa successfully when he had
crossed it, and lost no more than 300 men; but he had disobeyed orders
and risked his division. Wellington was justly displeased, and let
his lieutenant know it. But he did not rebuke him in his dispatches,
and continued him in his command. He wrote home in a confidential
letter, “You will say, ‘Why not accuse Craufurd?’ I answer, ‘Because
if I am to be hanged for it, I cannot accuse a man who meant well,
and whose error was one of judgment, not of intention.’” But for the
future he kept Craufurd nearer to himself, and did not place him so
far away that he had much chance of trying strategical experiments on
his own responsibility. Even so, there were other occasions on which
the general’s proneness to think for himself got him into trouble.
One was on September 25, 1811, on the day of the combat of El Bodon,
when Craufurd, thrown forward into a hazardous position by his chief’s
orders, was twelve hours late in joining the main army. He had been
told to make a night march, but waited till dawn, because he was moving
in a difficult and broken country full of ravines and torrents, where
he judged that movement in the dark was dangerous. By his delay the
army was concentrated half a day later than Wellington intended. “I
am glad to see you safe,” observed the Commander-in-Chief with some
asperity, as the Light Division filed into the scantily manned position
at Fuente Guinaldo. “Oh, I was in no danger, I assure you.” “But _I_
was, from your conduct,” answered Wellington. Whereupon Craufurd
remarked to his staff, “He’s d——d crusty to-day.”[124] In this case
it must be remarked, in justice to Craufurd, that it was his chief
who had placed him in the hazardous position, not himself, and that
his judgment that the night march was impracticable was very probably
correct. But he had disobeyed an order, and it was remembered against
him by the inflexible Wellington.

Against these lapses must be set a long career of careful and
scientific soldiering, with movements of brilliant manœuvring, and
sudden strokes, in which no other Peninsular general could vie with
him. The repulse of Ney’s corps at Bussaco was perhaps the most
glorious exploit of Craufurd and his Light Division. The way in which
the French on this occasion were detained and harassed by light troops,
and then, just as they reached the crest of the position, charged and
swept downhill by the rush of a much inferior force, launched at the
right moment, was a beautiful example of tactics. The most astonishing
part of it was that, by his careful choice of a position, and judicious
concealment of his line till the critical minute, Craufurd beat his
enemy with hardly any loss; he had only 177 casualties, the French
opposed to him over 1200. Yet there was another feat which, though less
showy, was probably an even greater example of tactical skill than
the stroke at Bussaco. This was the advance and retreat of the Light
Division at Fuentes de Oñoro (May 5, 1811), when Craufurd was sent out
of the main British position to rescue the 7th Division, which was cut
off and nearly surrounded by an overwhelming force of French cavalry.
Having disengaged the compromised division, Craufurd had to retreat
back to the main body with five brigades of fine cavalry, aided by
horse artillery, surging round him on all sides, and seeking for an
opportunity to burst in. To retreat in square across two miles of open
plateau, very well adapted for the action of horsemen, was a delicate
and dangerous task. Yet Craufurd achieved it with perfect security,
and brought in his whole division to Wellington’s position with a loss
of less than fifty men. As an exhibition of nerve and skill it even
exceeded Picton’s retreat at El Bodon, for the French horse on this
occasion were more numerous, and flushed with previous success, and the
Light Division was a smaller body than the 3rd division by 4000 men to
5200. The distance covered, however, during the crisis of retreat at
Fuentes was much shorter, only two miles to seven at El Bodon.

Craufurd fell in action before 1812 was many days old, being killed
by a chance shot while watching and directing the storm of the lesser
breach at Ciudad Rodrigo from the further side of the glacis (January
19). Otherwise his peculiar talents would no doubt have been exhibited
in commanding the rear-guard during the retreat from Burgos, and the
advance during the campaign of Vittoria. The character of the fighting
in the Pyrenees would also have suited admirably his particular style
of management. He was bitterly missed by his officers, Charles Alten,
his successor in command of the Light Division being a general of much
more pedestrian quality,[125] who might never fail to make an attempt
to obey Wellington’s orders to the best of his ability, but could
never supplement them by any improvisation of his own, of which he was
incapable. The operations of the Light Division after Craufurd’s death
were always admirable so far as the conduct of officers and men went,
but there was no longer any genius in the way in which they were led.

[Sidenote: Craufurd’s Faults]

Craufurd, unlike Hill or Graham, and like his rival Picton, had many
enemies. He was a strict disciplinarian, to his officers even more
than to his men, and had a quick temper and a caustic tongue. His
anger used to vent itself not in bursts of swearing, such as Picton
would indulge in, but by well-framed and lucid speeches of bitter
sarcasm, which probably gave more offence than any amount of oaths.
Being a highly educated man, and a practised parliamentary speaker,
he could put an amount of polished contempt into a rebuke which was
not easily forgotten. It was probably this trick that made enemies of
the Napiers, both of whom speak very bitterly of him in their diaries
and other writings, though William Napier in his history gives him the
due credit for his many brilliant achievements.[126] Several others of
his officers speak bitterly of his intellectual arrogance; one calls
him a “tyrant”; another says that he never forgot a grudge. But he had
no fewer friends than enemies; many of the best of his subordinates,
like Shaw Kennedy and Campbell, loved him well, and (what is more
surprising) the rank and file, on whom his wrath often fell in the form
of the lash, felt not only confidence but enthusiasm for him. The best
of all his eulogies comes from a 95th man, Rifleman Harris, and is well
worth quoting, for its simple manliness.

“I do not think I ever admired any man who wore the British uniform
more than I did General Craufurd. I could fill a book with descriptions
of him, for I frequently had my eye upon him in the hurry of action.
The Rifles liked him, but they feared him, for he could be terrible
when insubordination showed itself in the ranks. ‘You think because
you are riflemen that you may do whatever you think proper,’ said he
one day to the miserable and savage crew around him on the retreat to
Corunna; ‘but I’ll teach you the difference before I have done with
you.’ I remember one evening during that retreat he detected two men
straying away from the main body; it was in an early stage of that
disastrous flight, and Craufurd knew that he must keep his division
together. He halted the brigade with a voice of thunder, ordered a
drum-head court-martial on the instant, and they were sentenced to a
hundred a-piece. While the hasty trial was taking place, Craufurd,
dismounting from his horse, stood in the midst, looking stern and angry
as a worried bulldog. He did not like retreating, that man.

“When the trial was over, it was too dark to inflict the punishment.
He marched all night on foot, and when morning dawned his hair, beard,
and eyebrows were covered with the frost; we were all in the same
condition. Scarcely had dawn appeared when the general called a halt,
among the snow on the hills. Ordering a square to be formed, he spoke
to the brigade.

“‘Although I shall obtain the good will neither of the officers nor of
the men here by so doing, I am resolved to punish those men according
to the sentence awarded, even though the French are at our heels. Begin
with Daniel Howans.’

“The men were brought out, and their Lieutenant-Colonel, Hamilton Wade,
at the same time stepped forward, and lowering his sword, requested he
would forgive these men, as they were both of them good soldiers, who
had fought in all the battles of Portugal. ‘I order _you_, sir,’ said
the general, ‘to do your duty. These men shall be punished.’ After
seventy-five lashes, Craufurd stopped the flogging. But before he put
the brigade in motion again, he gave us another short address, pretty
much after this style—

“‘I give you all notice that I shall halt the brigade again the very
first moment I perceive any man disobeying my orders, and try him by
court-martial on the spot.’ He then gave the word, and we resumed our

[Sidenote: Craufurd’s Severity]

“Many who read this may suppose that it was a cruel and unnecessary
severity, under the dreadful and harassing circumstances of that
retreat: but I, who was there, a common soldier in the regiment to
which these men belonged, say that it was quite necessary. No man but
one formed of stuff like General Craufurd could have saved the brigade
from perishing altogether. If he flogged two, he saved hundreds from
death by his management.”

There was a curious anecdote concerning Craufurd’s funeral published in
the _Saturday Review_ lately,[127] from the unpublished reminiscences
of a contemporary, which illustrates well enough the reverence with
which the Light Division looked upon its old chief. One of his
strongest principles had been that troops on the march must never
make a detour to avoid fordable streams or deep mud, nor break their
ranks to allow each man to pick shallow water, or hard stones among
the wet. The delay so caused was, he held, such a hindrance to rapid
movement that it must not be allowed. He had been known to flog men who
straggled from the ranks in the water, in order to fill their bottles,
or to stoop down to take a long drink.[128] He had even caused an
officer, whom he caught evading a wetting by riding pick-a-back upon
his soldier-servant, to be set down with a splash in the middle of a
stream.[129] Coming back from Craufurd’s funeral, the leading company
of the Light Division passed by an excavation at the rear of the siege
works, half-filled by mud and water. Instead of turning its end to
avoid the wet, the men looked at the inundation, pulled themselves
together, and marched straight through it, with great regularity and
steadiness, as if they were passing before a general officer at a
review. The whole division followed through the slush. It seemed to
them that the best testimony to their old commander’s memory was to
honour his best-known theory, when he was no longer there to enforce
its acceptance by his usual drastic methods.

I could write much more of this notable character, with all its
faults and merits. But so much must suffice. Nor have I space to tell
of the other senior generals of the Peninsular War, though some of
them, such as Leith and Cole, were great fighting men, just the tools
that suited Wellington’s hand. They were, however, never trusted
with independent commands, so that it is impossible to judge of
their full mental stature. I should be inclined to think very highly
of Cole from his conduct at Albuera, for it was he who ordered, on
his own responsibility, without any permission from Beresford, the
famous advance of the Fusilier Brigade and Harvey’s Portuguese, which
turned into a victory that most perilous battle.[130] But of most
of Wellington’s divisional officers we can only say that they were
competent for the task set them—the vigorous carrying out of orders
which were given them, but in whose framing they had no part. At the
most, tactical skill in execution can be attributed to them, and of
this there was no lack, as witness details of Salamanca, Vittoria,
and the scattered fighting in the Pyrenees. Almost as much can be
predicated of some of the great brigadiers, who managed their details
well, but never had the chance of showing their full powers. It would
be easy to make a long list of them; at least Kempt, Pack, Barns,
Mackinnon, Colborne, Hay, Lumley, Ross, Halkett, Byng, Pakenham,
Beckwith, and Barnard should be included in the list. Some of them died
or were invalided early, others commanded brigades at Waterloo again,
but none, save Byng, of this string of names, was ever given permanent
command of a division, though several of them had held the interim
charge of one in the Peninsula, when their regular chiefs were sick or
absent. Ross and Pakenham alone were promoted to a separate command,
both in America. The former had charge of the expedition which went to
the Potomac and Chesapeake in 1813–14; he took Washington by a vigorous
stroke, but fell in action shortly after, while conducting an attack
on Baltimore, which ceased when he fell. Pakenham’s expedition to New
Orleans was a series of misfortunes, of which some part at least must
be attributed to his own fault. It is certain that Wellington never
trained a general who proved himself a first-rate exponent of the art
of war; but his system (as we have said above) was not calculated to
foster initiative or self-reliance among his lieutenants.

[Sidenote: Some Unsatisfactory Subordinates]

Other subordinates Wellington possessed, of whom we can say that they
were not up to their work, even in the carrying out of the orders
given them with common self-reliance and clear-headedness. Such were
Spencer and Slade, who were only capable of going forward to carry
out a definite order; it was necessary, so to speak, that they should
simply be put like trams on a line, and shoved forward, or they would
slacken the pace and come to a stop, from want of initiative and moving
power. Some few, like Sir William Erskine, who was Wellington’s pet
aversion—yet irremovable because of the political influence that backed
him—were positively dangerous from a combination of short-sightedness,
carelessness, and self-will. In one dispatch Wellington says that he
thinks that he is a little wrong in his head.[131] It is astounding
that after Erskine’s mistakes at Casal Novo and Sabugal, Wellington
did not get rid of him at all costs; but he simply tried to shunt
him on to commands where it was unlikely that he could do much harm,
and continued solemnly to rehearse his name with approval in his
dispatches, along with those of all other officers of his rank, till
the unfortunate man committed suicide, in a moment of insanity,
in the interval between the campaigns of 1812 and 1813. This was
the strongest case of difficulty which Wellington, for reasons of
politics and patronage at home, did not care to face by the decisive
step of sending home the general in disgrace. But there were several
brigadier-generals whom he had not asked for, whom he disliked, and
whose departure from the Peninsula he saluted with a small psalm of
thanksgiving in his private letters.[132] It is certainly astonishing
that, even after 1811, he was not given a free hand to get rid of
subordinates whom he knew to be incompetent or recalcitrant, any more
than he was given the power to promote officers without a tedious
reference to the Horse Guards. It is true that in the later years of
the war his recommendations were generally (but not always) carried
out; yet it took whole months for a request made in a letter from
Salamanca or Madrid to reach London, to be there acceded to, and then
to take effect by a publication of the _Gazette_. The power to punish
or reward with promptness was never granted; there was always a long
delay. And both punishment and reward lose much of their salutary
effect when there is an interval of months between the act and its
consequence. Napoleon had a unique advantage in being at once the
commander-in-chief and the dispenser of favours and chastisement; with
him there was no time lost in lengthy reference to a home government.



Having dealt with the greater personalities among Wellington’s
lieutenants, it remains that we should speak of the organization by
which his army was set in motion.

Some great commanders have trusted much to their staff, and have kept
their ablest subordinates about their person. This was pre-eminently
not the case with Wellington: he was as averse to providing himself
with a regular chief-of-the-staff, as he was to allowing a formal
second-in-command to accompany his army. The duties which would,
according to modern ideas, fall to the chief-of-the-staff, were by
him divided between three officers, one of whom was of quite junior
standing, and only one of whom held a higher rank than that of colonel.
These officers were the Military Secretary, the Quartermaster-General,
and the Adjutant-General.

The Military Secretary was merely responsible for the correct drawing
out, and the transmission to the proper person or department, of the
correspondence of the commander-in-chief. The post was held from April
27, 1809, to September 19, 1810, by Lieutenant-Colonel Bathurst, of
the 60th. On the last-named date he went home on leave, and Captain
Lord Fitzroy Somerset was given the status of acting-secretary, and
confirmed as actual secretary three months later on January 1, 1811.
This officer, better remembered by his later title as the Lord Raglan
of the Crimean War, held the office till the end of the war—by which
time he had reached the rank of colonel. He was one of Wellington’s
best-trusted subordinates, and his personal friend, but being very
young, and junior in rank to all heads of departments, he was in no
sense an appreciable factor in Wellington’s conduct of the war. In
fact, he was nothing more than his title of secretary indicated, and
was in no way responsible for organization, or entitled to offer advice.

Much more important were the two great heads of departments, the
Quartermaster-General and Adjutant-General. The former was charged
with all matters relating to the embarkation or disembarkation,
the equipment, quartering, halting, encamping, and route-marching
of the various units of the army. He had to convey to all generals
in command of them the orders of the general-in-chief, and for
this purpose had under his control a number of officers bearing
the clumsy titles of assistant-quartermaster-generals, and
deputy-assistant-quartermaster-generals. Of the former there were
five, of the latter seven, when the army was first organized in April,
1809, but their numbers were continually increasing all through the
war, for each unit had an assistant-quartermaster-general and a
deputy-assistant-quartermaster-general attached to it, and as the
divisions and brigades grew in number, so did the officers of the
Quartermaster-General’s department told off to them. There was also a
parallel growth in the number of those who remained at headquarters,
directly attached to their chief.

There is an interesting minute by Wellington, laying down the relations
between the divisional generals and the staff-officers of the
department: he points out that, though the latter are the organs of
headquarters in dealing with divisions, yet they are under the command
of the divisional general: and the responsibility both for the orders
given through them being carried out, and for their acts in general,
lies with the division-commander. “Every staff officer,” he says, “must
be considered as acting under the direct orders and superintendence of
the superior officer for whose assistance he is employed, and who is
responsible for his acts. To consider the relative situation of the
general officer and the staff officer in any other light, would tend to
alter the nature of the Service, and, in fact, might give the command
of the troops to a subaltern staff officer instead of to their general

[Sidenote: The Quartermaster-General]

The officers of the Quartermaster-General’s department, besides their
duties with regard to the moving of the army, or the detachments
of it, had often to undertake independent work at a distance from
headquarters, and sometimes remote from the theatre of war. It was
they who made topographical surveys, reports on roads and bridges, and
on the resources of districts through which the army might have to
move in the near or distant future. There was issued early in 1810 a
little manual called _Instructions for the officers in the department
of the Quartermaster-General_ which was given to all its members: it
contains a selection of orders and forms, relating to every possible
duty with which its recipients might be entrusted. The most interesting
section is that on topographical surveys, to which there is annexed
a model report of the road from Truxillo to Merida, containing notes
on everything which a staff officer ought to notice,—positions,
defiles, size of villages, character of sections of the road, amount
of corn-land as opposed to pasture or waste, warnings as to unhealthy
spots, notes as to the depth of rivers and the practicability of fords,

So far as I can ascertain, Wellington had only two
Quartermaster-Generals during the whole of the long period of his
supreme command. Colonel George Murray of the 3rd Guards held the post
from April, 1809, to May 28, 1812: he must be carefully distinguished
from two other Murrays, who sometimes turn up in the dispatches.
One is Major-General John Murray, who commanded a brigade in the
Oporto campaign, went home because he considered that Beresford had
been unjustly promoted over his head, and came out later to the
Peninsula on the Catalan side, where he was responsible for the
mismanaged operations about Tarragona. The other is John Murray, the
Commissary-General. When Wellington sometimes uses such a phrase in his
dispatches as “Murray knows this,” or “see that Murray is informed,”
it is often most difficult to be sure which of the three men is meant.
Early in 1811 Colonel George Murray became a major-general, and in
the following May he appears to have gone home. He was replaced as
Quartermaster-General by Colonel James Gordon—who, again, must not be
confused with Colonel Sir Alexander Gordon, who was one of Wellington’s
senior aides-de-camp, and was killed at Waterloo. This is another of
the confusions between homonyms which often give trouble. If a diarist
speaks of “Colonel Gordon” we have to find which of the two is meant.
James Gordon, having acted as quartermaster-general from May, 1811, to
January, 1813, went home, and George Murray, returning early in that
year, worked out the remaining fifteen months of the war in his old

[Sidenote: The Adjutant-General]

Parallel with the Quartermaster-General was the other great
departmental chief at headquarters, the Adjutant-General, whose sphere
of activity was disciplinary and statistical. He was charged with
all the detail of duties to be distributed, with the collecting and
compiling for the use of the commander-in-chief of all returns of men
and horses in “morning states,” etc., with the supreme supervision of
the discipline of the army, and with much official correspondence that
did not pass to the Military Secretary. Roughly speaking, the internal
condition of the troops fell to his share, while their movement
belonged to the Quartermaster-General. He had to aid him on the first
organization of the army in 1809, eight assistant-adjutant-generals
and six deputy-assistant-adjutant-generals, but (as in the
Quartermaster-General’s department) the number of subordinates mounted
up, as the war went on, and new units were from time to time created,
since an assistant-adjutant-general was attached to each division.

The first holder of the office was Major-General the Hon. Charles
Stewart (afterwards Lord Londonderry, the earliest historian of the
Peninsular War), who was discharging its functions from April, 1809,
till April, 1813, just four years. He was then sent on a diplomatic
mission to Berlin, and Wellington offered the post to his own
brother-in-law, Major-General Edward Pakenham, who, while in charge of
the 3rd division, had made the decisive charge at Salamanca. Pakenham
was adjutant-general for the last year of the war, April, 1813, to
April, 1814, and went straight out from Bordeaux to command the unlucky
New Orleans expedition, in which he lost his life.

It will be noted that Wellington had actually only two
Quartermaster-Generals and two Adjutant-Generals under him during the
five years of his Peninsular command—a sufficient proof that when he
had found his man he stuck to him. Charles Stewart, who served him
so long, was a person of some political importance, as the brother
and confidant of Lord Castlereagh. In the early part of his tenure of
office he seems sometimes to have made suggestions to his chief, but
met little encouragement, for Wellington loved his own way, and was not
to be influenced even by his own highest staff officers.[134] He did
not wish to have a Gneisenau or a Moltke at his side: he only wanted
zealous and competent chief clerks.

[Sidenote: Minor Heads of Departments]

Attached to headquarters in addition to the three great functionaries
already named, were the heads of several other departments of great
importance. These were—

(1) The general officer commanding the Royal Artillery, who had a
general supervisory charge of the batteries attached to the divisions,
and a more specific control of the battering-train and reserve
artillery, when these came into existence in 1811, as well as of the
ammunition columns. The first artillery chief was Brigadier-General
E. Howarth, who arrived at Lisbon in 1809, about the same time as
Wellington himself. He was promoted major-general in 1811, and went
home that year. The command then went through a rapid succession of
hands. Howarth was followed by Major-General Borthwick, who apparently
crossed Wellington, and went home in March, 1812, after less than
a year’s tenure of the post. Borthwick was succeeded by Colonel H.
Framingham, and he within a few months by Colonel G. B. Fisher, who
(like Borthwick) fell out with the commander-in-chief, and applied for
leave to go home ere 1813 was six months old. Wellington then appointed
Colonel Alexander Dickson to the command late in May. This officer had
been for the last two years in charge of the Portuguese artillery under
Beresford. He had given such satisfaction at Rodrigo and Badajoz that
Wellington re-transferred him to the British service, and finished the
campaign of 1814 with Dickson in chief charge of this branch.

(2) After the artillery chief we encounter as a prominent figure at
headquarters the commanding officer of Royal Engineers. He had the
superintending duty over his own staff and the engineer officers
attached to the divisions, and control over the “Royal Military
Artificers,” as the rank and file of the scientific corps were
named till 1812, when they changed their title to Royal Sappers
and Miners.[135] The commanding engineer had also charge over the
engineers’ park and the pontoon train. The officer who held this post
from 1809 till he was killed at St. Sebastian in September, 1813,
was Colonel Richard Fletcher, who has left a fame behind him as the
designer of the Lines of Torres Vedras. On his death the command fell
to Lieut.-Colonel Elphinstone, who was responsible for the celebrated
bridge of boats across the mouth of the Adour which made the siege of
Bayonne possible in 1814.

(3, 4) At headquarters were also to be found the officers commanding
the Staff Corps Cavalry, and the Corps of Guides. The former, a small
unit of some 200 men, created in 1812, discharged the police duties of
the army, and were worked along with the Provost Marshal. They were
occasionally also employed as orderlies, and in other confidential
positions.[136] The Guides were a small body also, some 150 or 200
strong, partly British, partly Portuguese, the latter preponderating.
They were detached in twos or threes, to act as interpreters as well
as guides to bodies of troops moving in country not known to them.
For this reason they had to be bilingual, either English knowing some
Portuguese, or Portuguese knowing some English, as they had always to
be acting as intermediaries between the army and the peasantry, in
making inquiries about roads, supplies, etc. The officer commanding the
Guides had also the charge of the post office, and the transmission of
letters to and from the front.

(5) The Provost Marshal was also attached to headquarters: he had
charge of all prisoners to be tried by general court-martial, of
deserters, and prisoners of war. He had powers of jurisdiction on
offenders caught red-handed, but as Wellington remarks, “Whatever may
be the crime of which a soldier is guilty, the Provost Marshal has not
the power of inflicting summary punishment for it, unless he should
see him in the act of committing it.”[137] Men arrested on evidence
only, had to be tried by court-martials. For the better management of
these last, Wellington added a Judge-Advocate-General to his staff in
1812, whose duty was to see that trials were conducted with proper
forms and due appreciation of the validity of evidence—in which the
commander-in-chief considered that they had often failed. Mr. Francis
Larpent, who has left an interesting diary of his duties and his
personal adventures, discharged the function of this office from his
arrival late in 1812 down to the end of the war.[138]

As to aides-de-camp, Wellington kept a very limited number of them—he
only employed some twenty in the course of the war, and not more than
eight or ten at once. They were nearly all young men of the great
political families,[139] nearly half of them were Guards’ officers, and
the rest mostly belonged to the cavalry. The Prince of Orange served
among them in 1811–12. None of them, save Lord Fitzroy Somerset (Lord
Raglan) and Colonel Cadogan, came to any very great military position
or reputation.

So much for the military side of headquarters. There were also attached
to it seven civil departments, small and great, of which it may be
well to give a list. On one or two of these we shall have to speak at
some length in later chapters—notably the Commissariat and the Medical
department. They consisted of—

(1) The Medical Department under an Inspector of Hospitals, who was in
general charge of the physicians, surgeons, assistants, etc., attached
to the various units of the army. There is an excellent account of
the management of this department, and all its difficulties, in the
_Autobiography_ of Sir James McGrigor, chief of the Medical Staff in
1812–13–14. His predecessor since Wellington’s first landing in 1809
was Dr. Frank, who was invalided in the autumn of 1811.

(2) The Purveyor’s Department was independent of the medical, though it
might well have been attached to it: the establishment consisted of a
Purveyor to the Forces, with deputies and assistants, who had charge of
the hospitals and all the material and details required for them—from
the drugs for the sick to the burial expenses of the dead.

(3) The Paymaster-General, with his assistants, was responsible for the
transmission of the money received to the regimental paymasters of the
various units. He was a much-worried man, generally from three to six
months in arrears with his specie, from no fault of his own, but from
the immense difficulty of obtaining the hard dollars, doubloons, and
“cruzados novos,” which alone had currency in the Peninsula till a late
period in the war. It was useless to issue English money to the troops,
for the natives would not accept crowns and guineas, and refused even
to look at the one-pound notes which were almost the sole circulating
medium in Great Britain during this period. It was only in a late year
of the war that the gold guinea was at last tariffed by the Spanish and
Portuguese Governments, and became readily current.[140]

[Sidenote: The Commissariat]

(4) Most important of all the Civil Departments was the
Commissariat, under the Commissary-General, who had
under him Deputy-Commissary-Generals, Assistant and
Deputy-Assistant-Commissaries, Commissariat Clerks, and many other
subordinates. The department was divided into two branches, stores and
accounts. The post of Commissary-General was successively held by John
Murray (already mentioned above) from 1809 to June, 1810, by Kennedy
from June, 1810, to September, 1811, and by Bisset from September,
1811, onward. An assistant commissary was attached to each brigade of
infantry and each regiment of cavalry, but a single official had to
attend to the needs of the whole of the artillery with the army, and
another to the needs of headquarters.[141]

The whole future of the army in 1809 depended on whether the
Commissariat Department would be able to rise to the height of its
duties. It was absolutely necessary that Wellington should be able to
keep his army concentrated, if this small force of 20,000 or 30,000
men was to be of any weight in the conduct of the war in the Peninsula.
The much-cursed and criticized Commissariat succeeded in doing its
duty, and the length of time for which the British army could keep
concentrated was the envy of the French, who, living on the country,
were forced to disperse whenever they had exhausted the resources of
the particular region in which they were massed. In a way this fact was
the key to the whole war. Wellington’s salvation lay in the fact that
he could hold his entire army together, while his adversaries could
not. On this advantage he relied again and again: his whole strategy
depended upon it. How the Commissariat worked we shall show in a later

(5) The Storekeeper-General had charge of the field equipments, tents,
and heavy baggage of the army. Often the heavy baggage was left at
Lisbon, and all through 1809–10–11 no tents were taken to the front. It
was only in the Vittoria and South-French campaigns that the whole army
regularly carried them. In the days when the transport trains were not
fully organized, it was necessary to leave even valuable impedimenta

(6) To the Controller of Army Accounts all departments, save the
Commissariat, rendered their statistics of money received and spent.

(7) Last, we may name the Press, for a travelling Press and a small
staff of military printers accompanied the headquarters when possible,
and printed general orders, and other documents and forms, of which
many copies were required. I have seen much of its work at the Record
Office,[142] but have never come across an account of its organization,
or of any anecdotes of its wandering life, in which it must have passed
through many vicissitudes. The press was under the general supervision
of the Adjutant-General.



It will probably surprise some readers to learn that Sir Arthur
Wellesley fought out the first campaign in which he held supreme
command, that of Oporto in May, 1809, with no higher organized unit
than the brigade. But this is the fact: the 18,000 infantry of which
he could dispose were distributed into eight brigades of two or three
battalions each, varying in strength from 1400 up to 2500 bayonets. But
Wellesley was not so belated, in failing to form divisions, as might
be thought. They were still rather an abnormal than a usual unit for a
British army: indeed, in the large majority of the expeditions in which
Great Britain had been engaged since 1793, the numbers were so small
that no unit above the brigade had been necessary. But it is notable
that neither in the Duke of York’s first expedition to the Netherlands
in 1793–94, nor in his second in 1799, nor in Abercrombie’s Egyptian
Campaign of 1801 had divisions been formed—though in each of these
cases a very large force had been assembled. When several brigades
acted together, not under the immediate eye of the commander-in-chief,
the senior brigadier present took temporary charge of the assemblage.
In the Low Countries York generally speaks of his army as being
divided into “columns” of two or three brigades each,[143] but there
was no fixity in the arrangement. Abercrombie, on the other hand,
in the last dispatch which he wrote before his victory and death at
Alexandria, lays down the theoretical organization that the army is to
be considered as being divided into three “lines”—the first composed
of three brigades, the second and third of two each. If the _word_
division is used in any official documents of these campaigns, the
term has no technical military sense, but is used as a vague synonym
for a section or part of the army.[144] Indeed, so far as I know, the
first British force during the great French War which was formed into
divisions, in the proper modern sense, was the army which went on the
Copenhagen Expedition of 1807, which was regularly distributed into
four of such units, each under a lieutenant-general, and each composed
of two, three, or four weak brigades, generally of only two battalions.
This was a force of some 26,000 men.

The original Peninsular Army of 1808, which landed at the mouth of the
Mondego, and won the battle of Vimeiro, was not far, therefore, from
being the first British force organized in divisions. It may be noted
that they were rather theoretical than real, for several brigades
had not yet landed when Vimeiro was fought, and Wellesley, while in
temporary command, worked the incomplete army on a brigade system:
no trace whatever of the use of the divisions as real units will be
found in that battle. Indeed, even the theoretical composition of
some of the brigades differed from that actually seen in action. No
genuine divisions were formed in the Peninsula, till Sir John Moore
took command of the army from which its old chiefs, Dalrymple, Burrand
and Wellesley himself had been removed and sent home. We must not,
therefore, be surprised to find that for three months after he landed
at Lisbon in April, 1809, Wellesley worked his 21,000 British troops in
detached brigades, only connected in a formal and temporary way, under
the senior brigadier, when two or more chanced to form a marching or
fighting unit.

But two other points concerning Wellesley’s Oporto campaign deserve
notice. This was the first and only occasion on which he tried the
experiment of mixing British and Portuguese regiments in the same
brigade.[145] To five of the eight brigades forming his infantry a
Portuguese battalion was attached, picked as being one of the best
of the rather disorderly assembly which Beresford had collected at
Abrantes and Thomar. Though the Portuguese fought not amiss during
this short campaign, and are mentioned with praise in Wellesley’s
dispatches, yet the experiment was not continued, evidently because it
was found not to work happily. The five Portuguese battalions were sent
back to Beresford not long after the fall of Oporto.

The other point to be noted in considering Wellesley’s organization
of his army in the Oporto campaign, is that already he had begun the
system of strengthening his skirmishers by the addition to them of a
rifle company per brigade, all taken from the 5/60th. The importance of
this arrangement in the general scheme of his tactics has been already
explained in an earlier chapter.[146]

So much for Wellesley’s first organization of his army. It did not
endure for so much as three months, for on June 18, 1809, a General
Order, dated from the Adjutant-General’s office at Abrantes, gave to
the army the organization in divisions, under which it was to win all
its subsequent victories. In the midst of some insignificant directions
as to forage and ammunition, appears the clause that “as the weather
now admits of the troops hutting, and they can move together in large
bodies, brigades can be formed into divisions, as follows.”

[Sidenote: The Original Four Divisions]

The original disposition was for four divisions only, of which the
first consisted of four brigades, the other three of two brigades each.
All the battalions in them were in the British service, no Portuguese
being included. The four line battalions of the King’s German Legion
were arranged first as one, and then as two brigades of the First
Division. Of the ten brigades into which the infantry of the army were
now divided, seven had two battalions only, the other three three
battalions each. The cavalry, which had recently been increased by the
arrival of two regiments from England, was organized as a division of
three brigades of two regiments each. The artillery, of which only five
field batteries (or “companies” as they were then called) had reached
the front, was not yet told off to the individual divisions in a
permanent fashion, though certain units are generally found acting with
the same division.

As to the command of the divisions, Wellington contemplated that
each should ultimately be in the charge of a lieutenant-general; but
as he had only three officers of such rank at his disposition—Hill,
Sherbrooke, and the cavalry commander Payne—the General Order directs
that “the senior general officers of brigades will respectively take
the command of the division in which their brigades are placed, till
other lieutenant-generals shall join the army.” This placed two
brigadiers, McKenzie and A. Campbell, in temporary charge of the
3rd and 4th divisions, Sherbrooke taking the 1st, and Hill the 2nd.
Sherbrooke went home before a year was out, but Hill was to remain
in command of the 2nd division throughout the war, except during the
short periods when he was on leave. But during his last three years
in the Peninsula, when he was practically acting as commander of
an army corps, the 2nd division was, in fact, under the leadership
of William Stewart as his substitute. The only modification caused
in internal organization by the creation of the new divisions was
that an assistant-adjutant-general, and quartermaster-general, and a
provost-marshal were attached to each of them, and that the brigadiers
acting as division-commanders were authorized to take on some extra

[Sidenote: Rearrangements after Talavera]

It was with this organization that Wellington’s army went through the
Talavera campaign, and the retreat to the Guadiana which terminated
it. The whole force was British, no single Portuguese battalion
accompanying it. The troops of that nation were being employed under
Beresford during this summer, to cover the frontier of Beira, between
the Douro and the Tagus. Long before the campaign was over, more
British reinforcements had begun to arrive at Lisbon, and had been
pushed forward some distance into the interior. One brigade, that
composed of the three light battalions,[147] under Robert Craufurd,
afterwards to be famous in Peninsular annals as the nucleus of the
“Light Division,” got to the front after a tremendous march—somewhat
exaggerated by Napier and by tradition—only a day after the battle
of Talavera. Wellesley incorporated it for a movement in the 3rd
division, in which it finished the campaign. There were seven other
battalions[148] which did not get so far forward, and ultimately
joined Beresford’s Portuguese on the frontier of Spain. In September
Wellington drew down these troops to join him in Estremadura, and made
from them a third brigade each for his 2nd and 4th Divisions. But there
was about this time a shifting about of battalions from division to
division, which it would be tedious to give in detail. The net result
was that at the end of 1809 Wellington had four much stronger divisions
than he had possessed in the summer, the 1st counting nine battalions
instead of its old eight, the 2nd ten instead of six, the 3rd still
six, but the 4th eight instead of five.

The early months of 1810 were spent by Wellington in an expectant
attitude, behind the Portuguese frontier, as he waited for the
inevitable French invasion under Masséna, so long announced and so long
delayed. In this time of long-deferred anxiety, while the Lines of
Torres Vedras were being busily urged towards completion, Wellington
carried out some most important changes in the organization of his
army, which made it (except in the matter of mere numbers) exactly what
it was to remain till the end of the war.

The most notable of these changes was that he made up his mind to
revert to his old plan of April, 1809, for mixing the Portuguese
and British troops. It took a new form, however: instead of placing
battalions of each nationality side by side in his brigades, he
attached a Portuguese brigade of four or five battalions to most of
his British divisions, as a distinct unit. This system was started
with the 3rd and 4th Divisions on Feb. 22, 1810. A complete Portuguese
brigade consisted of two line regiments (each of two battalions) and
one caçador or rifle battalion. The latter was always employed for the
brigade’s skirmishing work; when joined by the four light companies of
the line battalions, it gave a very heavy proportion of light troops to
the unit. This Wellington considered necessary, because of the untried
quality of the whole Portuguese Army, which had not yet taken a serious
part in any general action. In the autumn they justified Wellington’s
confidence in them at the battle of Bussaco, where all of them, and
especially the two caçador battalions attached to the Light Division,
played a most creditable part.

[Sidenote: The Light Division]

The second great innovation made in the spring of 1810 was the creation
of the celebrated Light Division, which came into existence on Feb.
22, 1810; it was formed by taking Robert Craufurd’s brigade, the
1/43rd, 1/52nd, and 1/95th out of the 3rd division, and adding to them
the above-mentioned two Portuguese caçador battalions. Wellington’s
design was to produce for the whole army, by the institution of this
new unit, what he had already done for the individual brigades when
he added their rifle companies to them in April, 1809. The Light
Division was to be, as it were, the protective screen for the whole
army,—its strategical skirmishing line, thrown out far in front of the
rest of the host, to keep off the French till the actual moment of
battle, and to hide the dispositions of the main body. At the head of
this small corps of picked light troops was placed Robert Craufurd,
whom Wellington rightly considered his best officer for outpost and
reconnaissance work. How well this trusted subordinate discharged
the duty laid upon him has been told in the chapter dealing with his
character and exploits. All through the war Wellington used the Light
Division as his screen, for his advanced guard when he was moving to
the front, for his rearguard when he was on the retreat, and he was
never betrayed by it, even after Craufurd’s death had left its conduct
in the hands of chiefs who were not always men of special ability.

After the creation of the Light Division, Wellington had five instead
of four divisions, and another was added to them in the summer of
1810, when in August he created the 5th Division, so long commanded by
General Leith. This was formed by adding to a British brigade, newly
arrived from England,[149] two of the hitherto unattached Portuguese
brigades. A second British brigade was provided in October for Leith,
from troops newly come from Cadiz.[150] These having come to hand, the
5th Division dropped one of its Portuguese brigades, and became a unit
of the normal shape and size, two-thirds British, one-third Portuguese.
It did not, however, receive its caçador battalion (drawn from the
Lusitanian Legion) till 1811.

During the campaign of Bussaco, therefore, Wellington had six
divisions—the old ones numbered 1st to 4th, the Light Division, and
the newly-created 5th. In addition to the Portuguese brigades which
had now been absorbed into the divisions, there remained six more
brigades of that nation which were still unattached. Of these two,
under the Brigadiers Archibald Campbell and Fonseca, were formed into a
division under General Hamilton, which always marched with Hill’s 2nd
Division, but was never formally made part of it. But since Hamilton
invariably moved along with Hill, this pair of units, with their ten
British and eight Portuguese battalions, practically formed a double
division, or a small army corps, if a term which Wellington never
used in the Peninsula may be applied to it.[151] There remained four
more independent Portuguese brigades, those of Pack, Alex. Campbell,
Coleman, and Bradford. By the next year these were reduced to two, as
one brigade was withdrawn to serve with the new British 7th division,
and another with the 2nd. The surviving units continued as unattached
brigades till the end of the war, under a series of commanding
officers, whose succession is sometimes hard to follow.[152] They often
accompanied the main army, but were sometimes separated from it for
special duties, when some force less than a division was wanted, as a
detachment for a subsidiary operation.

[Sidenote: Creation of the 6th and 7th Divisions]

The completion of the Peninsular Army in its final shape, which was not
again to be varied, took place during its stay by the Lines of Torres
Vedras, in the winter of 1810–11. It was then that the two junior
divisions were created, the 6th in October, the 7th early in March.
Their appearance in the field was, of course, due to the arrival of a
considerable number of fresh battalions from England during the autumn
and winter. But Wellington did not take all the new-comers and build up
fresh divisions from them. The 6th Division was made by taking an old
brigade (Archibald Campbell’s) from the 4th Division, and uniting it
to the extra Portuguese brigade of the 5th Division.[153] The second
British brigade of the 6th division was provided some months later
from newly-arrived troops from England.[154] The 4th Division was
compensated for the brigade it had given to the 6th by taking over a
brigade (Pakenham’s) from the 1st Division—while the 1st Division, to
replace this last unit, received three battalions[155] which had just
come out from home.

This was a complicated shift and transfer, intended to secure a level
quality in the divisions by the mixture of recently arrived and veteran
battalions. But in organizing his last creation, the 7th Division,
Wellington was prevented by circumstances from carrying out the same
wise plan. Much belated in their arrival at Lisbon by contrary winds,
the last batch of reinforcements sent to him for the campaign of 1811,
landed when the main army was already in pursuit of Masséna, who had
just started on his retreat from Santarem. Wellington was forced to
keep them together, since he had no time to distribute them when the
troops were all on the move. The 7th division was at first very weak,
containing only one brigade in British pay, consisting of two English
and two foreign corps,[156] and one Portuguese brigade (Coleman).
Two more foreign corps belonging to the German Legion[157] formed
the second brigade of the 7th Division, but did not join it till the
summer, being distracted meanwhile to another field of operations.

The 7th Division was for some time looked on as the “ugly duckling,”
or backward child of the army. Having only two British to four foreign
battalions, it was sometimes called “the Mongrels;” its first début
in action at Fuentes de Oñoro was not a very happy one, as it was
the outlying flank force that was turned and partly cut up by French
cavalry. After this it was never seriously engaged in battle for more
than a year. Moreover, its foreigners earned a bad reputation for their
habit of desertion—a habit not altogether unnatural, for they had been
largely recruited from the pontoons and prison-camps in England.[158]
Hence a cruel joke in the list of divisional nicknames given by
several Peninsular diarists. The sobriquets run: Light Division, _The_
Division; no doubt the title given to it by its own proud members.
First Division: “The Gentlemen’s Sons,” because it contained one,
and afterwards two, brigades of the Foot Guards. The Second Division
is called “the Observing Division,” because it was so often detached
as a containing force against Soult, on the side of Estremadura and
Andalusia, while the main body was more actively engaged on the side
of Leon. So much was this its duty that it was only present at one
general action, Albuera, between the autumn of 1810 and the summer of
1813. There were some brilliant episodes between those dates, such
as the surprise of Arroyo dos Molinos, and the storming of the forts
at Almaraz. The 3rd Division was called “the Fighting Division,” its
fiery leader, Picton, having led it into the forefront of the battle
both at Bussaco and Fuentes de Oñoro, not to speak of smaller fights
like Redinha or El Bodon; it had also done the hardest of work at the
storms of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. The 4th Division was called the
“Supporting Division;” I suppose because it was sent off to support
the 2nd in Estremadura, and most effectually discharged that duty
at Albuera.[159] The 5th division was called “the Pioneers,” a name
whose source I cannot explain: possibly it refers to some road-making
work done in 1810. The 6th was the “Marching Division,” mainly, I
believe, so-called because down to Salamanca it was accompanying all
Wellington’s great movements from north to south and south to north,
yet never had the good fortune to get into the thick of the battle. At
Salamanca, however, it had as much fighting as any man could crave.
The note to the 7th Division, however, is very malicious, being “We
have _heard_ that there is a Seventh Division, but we have never
_seen_ it.” The fact is, that after its mishap at Fuentes, and some
unsuccessful siege work at the second leaguer of Badajoz, this unit was
very little engaged for two years. In 1813, however, it was gloriously
prominent in the battles of the Pyrenees, and the dash at the French
line, made by Barns’s brigade, was called by Wellington about the best
and most effective attack that he had ever seen.

[Sidenote: Rearrangement of Units]

After the creation of the 7th Division in March, 1811, Wellington never
again organized a new divisional unit. He received, of course, a great
number of new battalions during the years 1811–12–13, but contented
himself with adding them in ones or twos to existing brigades, or at
most gave two or three of them as a fresh brigade to one of the old
divisions. The former practice was the more usual: the only instances
of the latter that I recall being that in 1812 the 1st Division got a
second Guards brigade, and in 1813 a new line brigade (Lord Aylmer’s)
from reinforcements that had just come out. The increase of the total
number of battalions at the front was not so great as might have been
expected, because from time to time corps that had got thinned down
almost to the point of extinction, were sent back to England to be
recruited and reorganized. The number of British battalions (including
the King’s German Legion and two other foreign corps) with Wellington’s
field army in March, 1811, was fifty-eight; in March, 1814, it was no
more than sixty-five, a gain of only seven units. There had been a
considerable exchange of service between the 1st and 2nd battalion of
regiments—in several cases when the 2nd battalion had been the original
unit in the Peninsular Army, it went home when the first battalion
came out, returning as a mere _cadre_ of officers and sergeants, after
turning over its serviceable rank and file to the newly-arrived sister

There was only two more considerable rearrangements of the internal
organization of a division. One took place in May, 1811, owing to the
fearful losses suffered by the 2nd Division at Albuera. Of the seven
battalions forming the brigades of Colborne and Hoghton, which had
been so dreadfully mauled in holding the all-important heights, two
were sent home, and the four others shrank into a single brigade. To
fill the place of the vanished unit a whole brigade (Howard’s) was
transferred from the 1st to the 2nd Division, and became part of it for
the rest of the war. There was also a shifting about of two brigades
from one unit to another during the winter of 1812–13, after the Burgos

The normal divisional organization, however, remained unchanged from
1811 onwards, viz. with three exceptions, each division for the
remaining three years of the war consisted of two British brigades
and one Portuguese, the former having usually three battalions each,
and the latter five. This rule worked for the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th,
7th divisions. The Light Division, smaller than the rest, had only
three (or three and a half) British battalions, and two of Portuguese
caçadores. The 1st Division alone had no Portuguese attached, but one
of its three (after 1813 _four_) brigades was foreign, consisting of
the line battalions of the King’s German Legion. The 2nd Division (as
explained above) had three British brigades and no Portuguese, but to
it was attached Hamilton’s (and in 1812–14 Ashworth’s) Portuguese, so
that it did not vary from the normal arrangement so much as the 1st

It would not be quite accurate to say that a British brigade always
had precisely three battalions. Several had four, one five, a few
appeared with only two, but Wellington generally made these last up to
the three-battalion total as soon as he was able, save in two cases.
In the Guards brigades of the 1st Division the two battalions were
always so strong that between them they gave 1800 or 2000 bayonets at
the beginning of a campaign—which was as much as most three-battalion
brigades produced. Moreover, there was an objection to brigading
together units of the Guards and of the line. In the Light Division the
1/43rd and 1/52nd were also very strong and well recruited: each formed
the nucleus of a small brigade, of which the rest was composed of a
Portuguese caçador battalion and a certain number (often six) companies
of the 95th Rifles.

[Sidenote: The Anglo-Portuguese Division]

Roughly speaking, then, an Anglo-Portuguese division usually amounted
to something under 6000 men, save the Light Division, which numbered
under 4000, and the 1st Division, which in 1810, and again in 1813,
had four brigades, and over 7000 men. Of the 5500 or 5800 men in one
of the normal divisions about 3500 were British and 2000 (or a little
more) Portuguese. The 2nd Division, however, was a double-unit, with
5500 British, and attached to it 6500 of Hamilton’s and Ashworth’s

The mixture of nationalities in the divisions, normal with the
infantry, was nearly unknown in the cavalry arm. The very few
Portuguese regiments which took the field—never more than seven, I
believe—often four only—were normally kept separate. Wellington, for
the first three years of the war, had so few cavalry regiments of
either nation that there was no possibility of dividing them into
divisions. In 1809, as has been already stated,[161] there were only in
the Peninsula six British cavalry regiments, divided into three weak
brigades. Only one more corps joined them in 1810, and in the spring
campaigns of 1811, when he had left three regiments with Beresford in
the south, he had only four to take with him for the pursuit of Masséna
and the battle of Fuentes de Oñoro—a miserable provision—1500 sabres
for an army of over 30,000 men, about a fourth of the proper proportion
in those days.

It was not till later in 1811 that Wellington got cavalry
reinforcements which more than doubled his mounted strength, bringing
him up to fifteen regiments of British and German horse. He did then at
last divide them into two divisions, one of eleven regiments, which
followed his main army, the other of four regiments only, which he left
with Hill in Estremadura. But no Portuguese regiments were put into
either—though he took one brigade with himself (D’Urban’s) for the
Salamanca campaign, and left two brigades (or four regiments) with the
southern force (those of Otway and Madden).

But the organization in two cavalry divisions was dropped in the spring
of 1813—Wellington had had sickening experience of the incapacity of
General Erskine, who commanded the small second division, and, Erskine
being now dead, for the rest of the war all the seven cavalry brigades
were theoretically again made into one division, under Wellington’s
chosen cavalry leader, Sir Stapleton Cotton. As a matter of fact,
Cotton was not allowed any independent command of them, and the
brigades were moved in twos and threes under the direct orders of the
commander-in-chief. Wellington never used his cavalry in mass for any
great separate manœuvre. He employed them for scouting, for covering
his front, and for protecting his flanks, sometimes (but rarely and in
small units) for a blow in battle, such as that which Le Marchant’s
heavy dragoons gave at Salamanca, or Bock’s Germans at Garcia Hernandez
on the following day. But of this we have already spoken when dealing
with the general character of Wellington’s tactics.

[Sidenote: Distribution of Batteries]

The rule of the combination of British and Portuguese units which
prevailed in the infantry, though not in the cavalry, was to be found
in the artillery also. In 1810, when Wellington drafted a Portuguese
brigade of foot into each of his divisions, he also attached to several
of them batteries of Portuguese artillery. So small was his allowance
of British gunners, that in 1811, when he had created his two last
infantry divisions, he would not have been able to provide one field
battery for each of his eight units, unless he had drawn largely
for help on his allies. At the time of Fuentes de Oñoro and Albuera
there were in the field only three British horse artillery batteries
(attached to the cavalry and the Light Division) and five British field
batteries attached to infantry divisions. The 3rd and 7th Divisions
had only Portuguese guns allotted to them. But by utilizing the very
efficient artillery of the allied nation, to the extent of eight
units, Wellington was able to put thirteen field batteries in line,
which enabled him to provide the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and Hamilton’s
Portuguese divisions with two batteries apiece, the 1st, 4th, and 7th
with one each. The two nations were worked as successfully in unison in
the artillery as in the infantry organization.

Owing to the arrival of new batteries from home Wellington was able, in
1812, not only to allot one or two field batteries to every division
except the Light (which kept its old horse artillery troop, that of
Major Ross), but to collect a small reserve which belonged to the whole
army and not to any particular division. In 1813–14 he was stronger
still, though the mass of guns of which he could dispose was never
so powerful in proportion to his whole army as that which Napoleon
habitually employed.



In the year 1809, when Wellington assumed command in Portugal, the
infantry of the British Army consisted of 3 regiments of Foot Guards
and 103 regiments of the line, beside 10 battalions of the King’s
German Legion, the 8 West India regiments, the 8 Veteran Battalions,
and some ten more miscellaneous foreign and colonial corps. Of the
103 regiments of the line the majority, 61, had 2 battalions. Of the
remainder one (the 60th or Royal Americans) had 7 battalions, one (the
1st Royal Scots) 4, three (the 14th, 27th, and 95th) 3 each, while the
remaining 37 were single-battalion regiments.[162] As the 1st Foot
Guards had 3 battalions, and the Coldstream and Scots Fusiliers 2 each,
the total number of British battalions embodied was 186.

The reason for the curious discrepancy between the number of battalions
in the various regiments was that (putting aside the Guards, the Royal
Scots, and the Royal Americans, who had always more battalions than
one, even in the eighteenth century) the British Army at the time
of the rupture of the Peace of Amiens in 1803 had been composed of
single-battalion regiments. On the outbreak of war fifty regiments in
the British Isles and other home stations were ordered to raise second
battalions,[163] and a little later the same directions were given
to a few more. Two corps (the 14th and 27th) succeeded in raising two
fresh battalions, as did also the Royal Scots, which was already a
double battalion corps. But few of the regiments serving beyond seas
were ordered to carry out the same expansion, owing to their remoteness
from recruiting centres; they remained single-battalion regiments, save
that the 35th, 47th, and 78th, though they were quartered respectively
in Malta, Bermuda, and India, provided themselves with a second
battalion. Seven new regiments raised in or after 1804 (these numbered
97 to 103) remained from the first to the last single-battalion corps.

A considerable number of the corps which were on foreign or colonial
service in 1803–4 had returned to Great Britain since that time. But
they were never, save in a very few cases, able to raise additional
battalions, the number of such created after 1805 being only eight[164]
in all. Hence the regiments from which Wellington’s Peninsular Army
was drawn must be divided with care into one-battalion corps and those
which owned more than one battalion.

[Sidenote: Establishment of the Line]

The Estimates presented to the House of Commons in 1809 show that there
were several “establishments” of varying strength for regiments in
Great Britain and other European stations. For corps absent in the East
Indies there was a wholly different set.[165]

A regiment of two battalions, with both of them on active service,
stands on the higher establishment at either 2250 or 2031, or
thereabouts. When the senior battalion was sent on active service it
was generally completed to 1000 rank and file, which, with sergeants,
officers, and musicians, should have made up a total of over 1100. Its
less effective men were drafted into the second battalion, which, if
the establishment was full (which was by no means always the case),
would have left somewhat over 900 for the second battalion. And,
indeed, we find such figures as 906, 929, 916, etc., given for the
strength of several second battalions whose senior sister-unit had gone

[Sidenote: Weakness of Second Battalions]

But these 900 and odd men of all ranks now included not only the weak
and ineffective men of the second battalion, but also those of the
first. Therefore if a second battalion was sent out to the war, it
had to leave behind a disproportionately large number of men unfit
for active service, and would be lucky if it sailed for Portugal with
700 bayonets. Many cases are on record where a far smaller number
disembarked at Lisbon or elsewhere. More than 200 would often have to
be left behind to form the depôt, wherefore second battalions were
usually much weaker than first battalions when at the front.

For single-battalion regiments, such as the 2nd, 29th, 51st or 97th, we
find very various “establishments” given in the Army Estimates of 1809.
They vary down from 1151 to 696; one or two exceptional corps are even
smaller. As a rule, it may be taken that the ideal would be to recruit
such a corps, when it was sent on active service, up to the higher
figure: but having to leave 200 men or so at home—the inefficients who
were drafted off for the depôt—it would be lucky if it landed 800 in
the Peninsula. And to keep up the battalion the depôt could not always
suffice; it was full of unserviceable men, and could only send out
recruits newly gathered.

Single-battalion regiments not on active service are those which are
found with the smaller establishments—of such figures as 716, 696, etc.
Not being expected to take the field, they have not been brought up
to the higher establishment, either by drafts from the militia or by
specially vigorous recruiting.

The three regiments of Foot Guards had much higher establishments than
any line battalion. The three battalions of the 1st Guards mustered no
less than 4619 of all ranks, the Coldstream and Scots Fusiliers each
2887. Thus the former could easily send abroad two strong battalions
of 1100 or 1200 men apiece, and the two latter one each, while leaving
behind a battalion and a big depôt on which to draw for recruits for
the active service units. Therefore a Guards battalion in the Peninsula
seldom fell under 800 men, and was sometimes up to 1000. The Cadiz
detachment of the Guards, which fought at Barrosa, was made up from the
home battalions as a sort of extra contribution. It consisted of six
companies of the 1st Guards, two of the Coldstream, and three of the
Scots Fusiliers. They are sometimes called a brigade—for which they
were too small in reality—sometimes a provisional regiment. Their total
force was about 1200 or 1300 of all ranks.

With these figures before us, we begin to see why individual battalions
came and went in the Peninsular Army. A regiment which had two
battalions, one at home and one in Portugal, was always able to keep
up the strength of the service unit by regular and copious drafts from
the home unit. Or if the original one serving in the Peninsula was a
_second_ battalion, the first could be sent out to relieve it. Second
battalions were never sent out to replace first battalions, it being
always the rule that the senior unit had a right to preference for
active service. But occasionally both battalions of a regiment were
absent from Great Britain, and in a few cases they were both in the
Peninsula.[166] When this happened the second battalion was invariably
sent home after a time, discharging its effective rank and file into
the sister battalion, and returning to Great Britain as a _cadre_
of officers and sergeants, with a few old, unserviceable, or nearly
time-expired rank and file.

Having laid down these general rules, we shall see how it came to pass
that of Wellington’s original army of 1809 some battalions stopped with
him for the whole war, while others were successively sent away and
replaced by fresh units.

The greater part of the British Army which had been in the Peninsula
in 1808 went home from Corunna at the end of Sir John Moore’s retreat.
Of these units some never came back at all to share in Wellington’s
triumphs;[167] others returned only in time to see the end of the
war in 1812, 1813, and 1814.[168] Only Craufurd’s three famous light
infantry battalions, the 1/43rd, 1/52nd, and 1/95th came back, after an
absence of no more than a few months, in the summer of 1809.

[Sidenote: The Original Peninsular Regiments]

The real nucleus of the permanent Peninsular Army was composed, not
of the regiments which had operated under Moore, but of that small
fragment of the original landing force of 1808 which had not followed
Moore to Salamanca, Sahagun, and Corunna, but remained behind in the
Peninsula.[169] To this mere remnant of eleven battalions and one
cavalry regiment there were added the reinforcements which preceded or
accompanied Sir Arthur Wellesley when he came to take up the command
in April, 1809, which amounted to twelve battalions more, with four
regiments of cavalry.[170] The whole, when first divided into brigades
and organized as an operating force at Coimbra on May 4, 1809, only
amounted to 23,000 men—a modest nucleus for the army which was destined
not only to save Portugal, but ultimately to thrust out of Spain a
body of invaders which at this moment amounted to over 200,000 men,
and which in 1810–11 was brought up to 300,000, a figure which it
maintained till drafts began to be made upon it for the Russian War in

Moore’s host had been, as he himself wrote to Castlereagh in a
noteworthy dispatch, not so much _a_ British army as the _only_ British
army fit for the field. Since no more than an infinitesimal fraction
of this picked force was able to return to the Peninsula at once, it
followed that Wellesley’s army of 1809 was composed, for its greater
part, of troops that had been considered of secondary quality, and less
fit for service than the battalions which had been put _hors de combat_
for a long space by the exhaustion which they had suffered in the
terrible retreat to Corunna. Excluding the Guards and the King’s German
Legion units, Wellesley’s Field Army in July contained eighteen British
battalions, of which only six were first battalions of regiments of
full strength, two (the 29th and 97th) were single-battalion corps,
and the remaining ten were junior battalions, _i.e._ were the usually
depleted home-service units of regiments which already had one
battalion abroad, or of which the first battalion had just returned
from Corunna unfit for immediate use.[172] It was an army whose quality
was notably inferior to that of the force which had marched into
Spain under Moore six months before. And the second battalions were
invariably under strength, because they had, until their unexpected
embarkation for the front, been engaged in supplying their sister units
abroad with the necessary drafts for foreign service. Many of them
were woefully weak in numbers, showing, instead of the theoretical 900
bayonets, such figures as 638, 680, 749, 776, which, after deducting
sick and men on command, meant under 600 for the field. Indeed, a few
months later, at Talavera,[173] six of the second battalions and both
the single-battalion corps showed less than that number present, all
ranks included.

Bearing in mind the fact that a British regiment, owing to the
difficulties of recruiting, in a time when men were scarce and bounties
high, could not as a rule provide drafts to keep up to strength more
than one battalion on active service, we can already foresee the fates
that were destined to attend the battalions of Wellington’s original
Peninsular Army. Nearly all the second battalions in time were worn
down by the exhaustion of war to a figure so low that they could no
longer be worked as regular battalion units. When they had reached this
stage one of two things happened to them. If their first battalions
were available, being on home service and fit for the field, they came
out to the Peninsula and replaced the depleted second battalions. But
if the first battalion of any corps was already abroad in India or
elsewhere, the Peninsular battalion was, during the earlier years of
the war, sent home to recruit, and its regimental number disappeared
from Wellington’s muster-rolls. In the later years of the war this was
not so regularly done: for reasons which will be explained, several of
the veteran second battalions, which had survived at the front till
1812, were retained with the army, but cut down to four companies each,
and worked together in pairs to make a unit of serviceable size. Of the
eight original second battalions of 1809, two were drafted into their
first battalion, which had come out to the Peninsula;[174] one (2/87th)
was sent away for a time to Cadiz, though it returned to the field
army in 1812; four were cut down in 1811–12 to half battalions.[175]
Only one, the 2/83rd, remained continuously in the Peninsula as a full
battalion till the end of the war.

The same fate attended the single-battalion regiments, which had no
sister battalion at home to draw upon, but only a depôt. Both the 29th
and the 97th went home, reduced to skeletons, in 1811.

But the six first-battalions present with the field army in May, 1809,
were still at the front in fair strength at the termination of the
war in 1814, and this, though two of them had been among the worst
sufferers in the bloody field of Albuera. Indeed, there is throughout
the war, I believe, only one case in which the first battalion of a
complete regiment went out to the front, and was sent away before the
end of the campaigning in 1814.

[Sidenote: Reinforcements from Home]

The reinforcements which were sent out to Wellington from 1810 to 1812
may be divided into two sections, of which the larger was composed of
the reorganized and recruited battalions of Moore’s Corunna army. Of
these, six battalions came out in 1810, nine in 1811, eight in 1812,
and three in 1813–14. The greater number of them were first battalions,
or putting aside the Guards and German Legion units, fifteen out of
twenty-three: of these all save one (the 1/26th) fought out the rest
of the war. Of single-battalion regiments there were four (2nd, 51st,
20th, 76th); of junior battalions belonging to corps which already
had one battalion abroad, there were also only three (3/1st, 2/52nd,
2/59th). Of these two last classes the 2/52nd was soon sent home, after
drafting its men into the 1/52nd. The 2nd got so depleted that it
was cut down to four companies, and put into a provisional battalion
in 1812 till the end of the war. The 76th on its return was only in
the field for a few months in 1813–14, so that it had no time to get
worked down. The 3/1st, though a junior battalion, belonged to a large
regiment of four battalions, and for that reason never shrank below
its proper size, there being a sister unit at home to send it drafts.
We may therefore say that, of the eight battalions which were not
first battalions of full regiments, only three saw long service, yet
survived unimpaired to the peace of 1814 (20th, 51st, 2/59th); and of
these three two only came out in 1812, and were less than two years
in the Peninsula. It is clear, then, that the same rule prevailed in
the reinforcements as in the original 1809 army; only first battalions
could be relied upon not to melt.

The battalions sent out as reinforcements to Wellington which had not
formed part of Moore’s Corunna army, were decidedly less numerous
than the other class, amounting to only nineteen. Of these six were
first battalions,[176] eight second battalions,[177] and five single
battalion corps.[178] All of the first-named category fought out the
whole war: but several of the other two were sent home, either when
they had been depleted to reinforce their first battalions, or for
other reasons. The proportion would have been larger but for the fact
that several of them were among the last arrivals in the Peninsula, who
only joined in the later autumn and winter campaigns of 1813–14, and
had not time to get worn down.[179] One second battalion (2/58th) was
worked as a four-company unit during the last two years of the war.

The net result of all the interchange of battalions, and of the sending
home of weak units, was that in 1814, when the struggle with Napoleon
had come to its end, out of fifty-six British line battalions present
at the front, only thirteen were second battalions, and of these last
five[180] were (as has been already mentioned) so depleted in numbers
that they were being worked in pairs, being each only four companies
strong, and not mustering more than 250 or 300 men.

[Sidenote: The Walcheren Regiments]

That such weak half-units were detained in the Peninsula was due to a
resolve of Wellington’s, made after the campaign of 1811. During the
latter part of that year the chief of his worries was that he had been
sent out among his reinforcements a number of corps which had served
in the Walcheren expedition, where almost every man had the seeds of
ague in him, from a sojourn in the marshes of Holland. The heat of
the Portuguese summer and the torrential rains of the autumn at once
brought out the latent weakness in the constitution of men who were
little more than convalescents, and regiments which had landed at
Lisbon in July 850 strong showed only 550 in the ranks in October.[181]
So appalling was the accumulation of fever and ague cases in the
hospitals[182] that Wellington wrote home to beg that not another unit
which had been at Walcheren might be sent out to him. He now made up
his mind to keep old regiments, even when they had dwindled rather low
in numbers, rather than to send them home to recruit, and to receive
new battalions in their stead. The reason was that it took a corps many
months before it learnt to shift for itself, and to grow acclimatized.
During their first few months in the Peninsula, newly arrived units
always showed too many sick and too many stragglers. For men fresh
from barrack life in England were at first prostrated by the heat of
the climate and the length of the marches. They had still to pick up
the old campaigner’s tricks, and were very helpless. Veteran troops
were so superior in endurance to new regiments from England, most of
whom had been on the pestilential Walcheren expedition, and were still
full of rickety convalescents, that Wellington determined to keep
even remnants of old corps accustomed to the air of the Peninsula,
rather than to ask for more unacclimatized battalions from home. Hence
came the institution, in the end of 1812, of two of the “provisional
battalions” already mentioned.[183] At an earlier period of the war
they would undoubtedly have been sent back to England.[184] But now
these fractions of depleted veteran corps were taken, with excellent
results, all through the campaign of 1812–13–14.

[Sidenote: Fate of Second Battalions]

It is perhaps worth while to make a note how curious was Wellington’s
attitude in face of that rather exceptional occurrence the appearance
of two strong battalions of the same regiment in his army. If the
second battalion was weak, he soon drafted it into the first and sent
it home. But when, from some chance, both had full ranks, it did not
by any means always strike him as necessary to brigade them together.
For example, the 1/7th and 2/7th were both at the front from October,
1810, to July, 1811; but for several months of the time one was in the
4th Division, the other in the 1st. A still more striking instance
is that of the 48th. Its two battalions were both from their first
arrival placed in the 2nd Division, but they served from June, 1809,
to May, 1811, in different brigades of it.[185] The occasions when
the two battalions of the same regiment served for any time in one
brigade were very rare—I only know of the cases of the 1st and 3rd
battalions of the Foot Guards in 1813–14, of the two battalions of the
52nd between March, 1811, and March, 1812, and of those of the 7th
Fusiliers, who (after some service apart) had been brigaded together
in the 4th Division six months before Albuera. In the last two cases
the first battalion presently absorbed the second, which was sent home
as a skeleton _cadre_ when its strength at last began to run low. All
other cases of juxtaposition were so short that it would seem that
Wellington only brought the two battalions together for the purpose of
drafting the second into the first at the earliest convenient moment.
In this way the 2/88th (long in garrison at Lisbon) were brought up to
the front to be amalgamated in less than four months with the 1/88th
(March-July, 1811). The 1/5th, coming out in the summer of 1812, seems
to have served along with the 2/5th for about the same number of
months, the latter being sent home in October. The 1/38th similarly
arrived at about the same time, and served from June to November beside
the 2/38th, which then departed. These are very different cases from
those of the two battalions of the 7th, the 48th, and the 52nd, all of
which were present for a year or more together in the army.

[Illustration: _PLATE V._





The working unit of the Peninsular Army was always the ten-company
battalion, commanded by a lieutenant-colonel. When, as in the
exceptional cases just named, it chanced that two battalions of a
regiment got together, the senior of the two commanding officers
had no authority over the other. Both were directly responsible to
the brigadier. The battalion theoretically had thirty-five officers
and 1000 rank and file, besides sergeants and drummers. A pestilent
practice prevailed in all British general returns, of giving in
statistics of the larger sort only the number of rank and file (_i.e._
corporals and privates), officers, sergeants, and musicians being all
omitted. To bring the figures up to the real general total in such a
case, an allowance of about one-eighth or one-ninth has to be added to
the number given. Fortunately detailed returns of all ranks are always
available, when absolute correctness is required, from the fortnightly
general states at the Record Office.

The theoretical establishment of about 1150 of all ranks for a first
battalion was, of course, hardly ever seen in the field. Regiments
which landed at Lisbon with a full complement soon dwindled, even
before they got to the front, and nothing was rarer than a battalion in
line of battle with a total strength in the four figures.[186] A good
well-managed corps which had not been in action of late, and had not
been stationed in an unhealthy cantonment, might keep up to 700 and
even 800 men throughout a campaign. The Guards battalions, which had a
decidedly larger establishment than those of the line, were frequently
up to 900 men or more.

On the other hand, a battalion which had seen much fighting, which had
not received its drafts regularly, and had long starved on the bleak
mountains of Beira, or sweltered in the pestilential valley of the
Guadiana, often worked down to 450 men or less, even if it were a first
battalion which had landed with its full 1000 rank and file. A second
battalion under similar circumstances might shrink to 250 or 300. At
the end of the very fatiguing campaign of 1811, which had included
the toilsome pursuit of Masséna, the Fuentes de Oñoro fighting, and
the long tarrying on the Caya during the unhealthy summer heats, of
forty-six battalions present with Wellington’s main army only nine (all
save one first-battalions, and two of them belonging to the Guards)
showed more than 700 of all ranks present. Sixteen more had between
500 and 700, ten between 400 and 500. No less than eleven were down to
the miserable figure of under 400 men, and it is to be noted that of
these nearly all were either second battalions or single-battalion
regiments; there were six of the former three of the latter among them.
The average of the whole, it may be seen, was about 550 men per unit;
the extreme variation was between 1005 for the strongest battalion and
263 for the weakest.[187] At this time, it should be noted, the army
was more sickly than it had ever been before, having over 14,000 men
in hospital to 29,300 present with the colours. Wellington was never
again so encumbered with sick, save for one period of a few weeks—that
which followed the end of the retreat from Burgos to Ciudad Rodrigo
in October-November, 1813. During the first months of this winter the
troops, tired by incessant marching in the rain, and low feeding, sent
into hospital a number of cases not less distressing than those which
had been seen in September, 1811. But a short period of rest served to
re-establish their health, and in 1813–14 the troops were very healthy,
even during the trying weeks when many of them were cantoned high among
the snows of the Pyrenean passes.

[Sidenote: The Cavalry Regiments]

So much for the infantry regiments. A few words as regards the cavalry
must be added to this chapter on organization. From first to last
Wellington had under him twenty-one regiments of British horse, besides
four more of the light and heavy cavalry of the King’s German Legion.
But at no time had he such a force as would be represented by this
total. He started in 1809 with eight regiments. Before he had been
many weeks in command one of his units (a fractional one, composed
of two squadrons of the 20th Light Dragoons) was taken from him and
shipped off to Sicily. Before the end of the year another (23rd Light
Dragoons), which had been badly cut up at Talavera, and lost half
its strength there, was sent home to recruit. Thus he had only six
regiments[188] on January 1, 1810, and as only one joined him that
year,[189] seven was his total force, till he at last received large
reinforcements in the late summer and autumn of 1811. But he started
the campaign of 1812 with sixteen regiments,[190] which was almost the
highest figure that he was to own. For although during the campaign of
1813 he was sent four new Hussar regiments, yet at the same time four
depleted corps were sent home to be recruited and reorganized. This
would have left his total at the same figure of sixteen units as in
1812, if he had not also received a large composite regiment (or weak
brigade) composed of two squadrons from each of the three units of the
Household Cavalry. By this addition alone did his cavalry force in
1813–14 exceed that which he had possessed in 1812. If we reckon the
Household squadrons as roughly equivalent to two units, the total at
the end of the war was eighteen regiments.

[Sidenote: Faults of Raw Cavalry]

Unlike the infantry, the cavalry of the British Army was organized
without exception in isolated units, as it is to-day. A corps sent
to the Peninsula left a depôt squadron behind it, and there was no
source except this depôt from which it could draw recruits. Nothing
resembling the sister-unit on which an infantry battalion depended was
in existence. Hence if a cavalry regiment sank low in numbers, and
exhausted the drafts which the depôt squadron could send out, it had
to return to England to recruit. During the whole war only one corps
(the 23rd Light Dragoons at Talavera) suffered a complete disaster,
corresponding to that which the 2nd Infantry Division incurred at
Albuera, and this unlucky regiment was sent home that autumn, when the
British Army had retreated to the Portuguese frontier. But four others
worked down so low in strength, and especially in horses, during the
campaign of 1812, that, although they had none of them been thinned
down in a single action like the 23rd, they had become ineffective,
and had to quit the Peninsula. It is most noteworthy that all of these
four corps were comparatively recent arrivals; they had come out in
1811, and in little over a single year had fallen into a state of
inefficiency far exceeding that of the regiments whose service dated
back to 1809, and who had seen two years more of hard campaigning.[191]
The moral to be drawn is the same that we have noted with the infantry:
the regiments which had served Wellington since his first arrival had
become acclimatized, and had learnt the tricks of the old soldier.
They could shift for themselves, and (what was no less important)
for their horses, far better than any newly-arrived corps. We find
bitter complaints of the defective scouting and outpost work of the
new-comers. After a petty disaster to the outlying pickets of two
of the lately-landed regiments Wellington wrote: “This disagreeable
circumstance tends to show the difference between old and new troops.
The old regiments of cavalry throughout all their service, with all
their losses put together, have not lost so many men as the 2nd Hussars
of the Legion and the 11th Light Dragoons in a few days. However, we
must try to make the new as good as the old.”[192] This was evidently
not too easy to accomplish; at any rate, at the end of the next year it
was four of the new corps[193] which were sent home as depleted units,
not any of the seven old ones. All these, without exception, endured
to the last campaign of 1814, though they nearly all[194] had to be
reduced from a four-squadron to a three-squadron establishment in
the autumn of 1811, owing to their shrunken effective. But they never
fell so low as the four corps condemned to return to England in the
next year. No more regiments went home after the winter of 1812–13;
the campaign of Vittoria and the Pyrenees did not bear heavily on the
cavalry, most of whom, during the mountain fighting in the autumn, were
comfortably cantoned in the Ebro Valley. They only moved forward again
in the spring of 1814 for that invasion of France which was brought to
such an abrupt end by the fall of Napoleon.

The theoretical establishment of the regiments of cavalry (putting
aside the Household Cavalry) was in 1809 fixed at 905 men in nearly
every case. But a large depôt was always left behind in England, and if
a regiment landed 600 sabres in Portugal, in four squadrons, it was up
to the average strength. At the front it would seldom show more than
450, as horses began to die off or go sick the moment that they felt
the Peninsular air and diet. A regiment which had been reduced from
four squadrons to three might show only 300 men on parade in the middle
of a campaign.

[Illustration: _PLATE VI._







Hitherto we have been dealing with the regiment considered as a whole,
and mainly with its place in the brigade and division to which it had
been allotted. We must now pass on to consider it not as a whole, but
as an assemblage of parts—officers, staff, sergeants, rank and file,
and musicians.

To understand the mechanism of a regiment it is first necessary to
say something about the establishment of officers. Battalions and
cavalry regiments were normally commanded by a lieutenant-colonel:
there were very few full colonels with the army, and almost the only
ones who commanded a unit were those of the brigades of Guards, where
owing to the “double rank” which made all lieutenants “captains in
the army,” all captains lieutenant-colonels, and all majors and
lieutenant-colonels _full_ colonels, it resulted that the battalion
commander always held a colonelcy.

[Sidenote: Devolution of Command]

When the lieutenant-colonel in a battalion was dead, wounded, or sick,
the unit was often commanded by the senior major—there were normally
two of them—sometimes for many months at a time, till the absent
officer returned, or his place was filled by promotion. Cases were
known where, owing to great mortality or invaliding in the senior
ranks, a captain might be found in command of the battalion for a
certain space. I note that about the time of Bussaco the “morning
state” of the army shows two units (both of the Guards) commanded by
colonels, 30 by lieutenant-colonels, 16 by majors, one by a captain,
and this, I think, was a fairly normal proportion.

In addition to the colonel and the two majors, an infantry battalion at
full strength would possess ten captains and twenty subalterns, or a
trifle more, giving the allowance of three officers per company, with a
few over. How many of the subalterns would be lieutenants and how many
ensigns (called 2nd lieutenants in the rifle regiments) was a matter of
mere chance, but the lieutenants were nearly always in a majority.[195]
A glance down the morning state of the Bussaco army of September, 1811,
shows that one battalion (1/45th) had no more than one ensign, another
(the 74th) as many as eleven. It was very rare for a regiment to have
its full establishment of ten captains present; there were nearly
always one or two companies commanded by their senior lieutenants.
In addition to its company officers every battalion had its “staff,”
composed of the adjutant, paymaster, quartermaster, and the surgeon,
with his two assistant surgeons. The adjutant was usually a lieutenant,
but occasionally an ensign; in the Guards (where most ranks counted
a step higher than in the line), he was usually a “lieutenant and
captain.” In addition to the officers regularly commissioned, a
battalion had often with it one or two “volunteers”—young men who
were practically probationers; they were allowed to come out to an
active-service battalion on the chance of being gazetted to it without
purchase, on their own responsibility. They carried muskets and served
in the ranks, but were allowed to wear uniforms of a better cloth than
that given to the rank and file, and messed with the officers.

The most astonishing case of devolution of acting rank through the
death or wounding of many seniors was at the battle of Albuera. On
the morning after that action the wrecks of the second brigade of
the 2nd Division, temporarily united into one battalion because of
the dreadful losses which had fallen on every one of the three units
of which it consisted, were commanded by the senior captain of the
1/48th regiment—and he (as it chanced) was a French _emigré_, with the
somewhat lugubrious name of Cimitière. The brigade had been reduced
(it may be remarked) from a strength of 1651 to 597 in the battle, no
less than 1054 officers and men being killed, wounded, or missing,
and the brigadier, with five lieutenant-colonels and majors senior to
Cimitière having been killed or wounded.[196] But the Albuera losses
were, of course, the record in the way of heavy casualties; there is
nothing that can be compared to them in the annals of Wellington’s army
for general slaughter extending all through an army, though certain
individual regiments in particular engagements suffered almost as
heavily—_e.g._ in the storm of Badajoz and at Waterloo.

The chances of temporary command were sometimes curious. The gallant
Colborne, whom I have already had occasion to mention, though only
a lieutenant-colonel, commanded a brigade at Albuera, owing to the
absence of the brigadier—he being the senior of four battalion
commanders. He then commanded his own regiment only during 1811–13, but
succeeded as senior lieutenant-colonel to the charge of a brigade of
the Light Division for the last six months of the war. Though he had
thus twice commanded a brigade with distinction in the Peninsula, we
find him in the Waterloo campaign once more at the head of his own 52nd
Foot, in Adam’s brigade. It is true that with his single battalion he
there did more than most of the generals, by giving the decisive stroke
which wrecked the attack of the French Guard.

Not only did lieutenant-colonels practically become brigadiers, in an
interim fashion, pretty frequently, but once at least an officer with
no higher rank commanded a whole division for some months. This was
Colonel Andrew Barnard, who after Craufurd fell at Ciudad Rodrigo,
and the only other general with the division (Vandeleur) was wounded,
had charge of the most precious unit of Wellington’s whole army for
nearly five months, and headed it at the storm of Badajoz. There seems
to have been a similar, but a shorter phenomenon of this sort with the
3rd Division, after the fall of Badajoz, when, Generals Picton and
Kempt being both disabled, Colonel Wallace of the Connaught Rangers
commanded the division for a week or two—till Wellington drafted in his
brother-in-law, General Pakenham, to lead it, which he did with great
distinction at Salamanca.[197]

[Sidenote: The Purchase System]

Promotion in the British Army at this period was working in the most
irregular and spasmodic fashion, there being two separate influences
operating in diametrically opposite ways. The one was the purchase
system, the other the frequent, but not by any means sufficiently
frequent, promotion for merit and good service in the field. The
practice at the Horse Guards was that casualties by deaths in
action were filled up inside the regiment, without money passing,
but that for all other vacancies the purchase system worked. When a
lieutenant-colonelcy, majority, or captaincy was vacant, the senior
in the next lower rank had a moral right to be offered the vacancy at
the regulation price. But there were many cases in which more than the
regulation could be got. The officer retiring handed over the affair
to a “commission broker,” and bidding was invited. A poor officer at
the head of those of his own rank could not afford to pay the often
very heavy price, and might see three or four of his juniors buy their
way over his head, while he vainly waited for a vacancy by death, by
which he would obtain his step without having to pay cash. The system
of exchanges, which prevailed on the largest scale, also pressed very
hardly on the impecunious; officers from other corps, where there
was a block in promotion, managed for themselves a transference into
battalions where there seemed to be a likelihood of a more rapid
change of rank, by paying large differences for an exchange to those
who stood at the head of the list. But there was also a good deal of
exchanging for other reasons—officers whose regiments were ordered
to unhealthy or unpopular stations, such as the West Indies or New
South Wales, offered considerable sums to others who were ready to
accept the ineligible destination in return for hard cash. By careful
management of this sort, a wealthy officer could procure himself very
rapid promotion—_e.g._ a lieutenant might buy a captaincy in a West
India regiment for a comparatively modest sum, and then, as a captain
in such a corps, exchange on a second payment with a broken or needy
captain in some other regiment on a European station, to whom money was
all-important, and so get well established in his new rank, without
ever really having quitted home, or served in the corps into and out
of which he had rapidly come and gone—on paper only. It is said that
one young officer, who had the advantages of being wealthy, a peer,
and possessed of great family influence in Parliament, was worked up
from a lieutenancy to a lieutenant-colonelcy in a single year. This,
of course, was a very exceptional case, and happened long ere the
Peninsular War began; but it may be remembered that Wellington himself,
was, through similar advantages on a smaller scale, enabled to move
up from ensign on March 7, 1787, to lieutenant-colonel in September,
1793—five steps in seven years, during which he had been moved through
as many regiments—two of horse and five of foot. He was only nineteen
months a captain and six months a major, and he had seen no war service
whatever when he sailed for Flanders in command of the 33rd at the age
of twenty-three! The Duke of York later insisted on a certain minimum
service in each rank before promotion could be obtained.

Contrast with such promotion that of the poor and friendless officer
who, after twenty-five years of service, six Peninsular campaigns, and
two wounds, found himself still a captain at the age of 43![198] But
there were plenty of unlucky men who at the end of the war were still
only lieutenants after six campaigns, and were placed on half-pay as
such, at the great disbandment of the second battalions which took
place in 1816–17. The juxtaposition of rapid promotion obtainable by
influence and the purchase of steps, with absolute stagnation in a
low rank, which often fell on the impecunious officer, whose regiment
did not chance to have many casualties in action, was appalling and

I take it that the most pernicious of all the disturbing causes
which told against the right distribution of promotion was political
influence. As a contemporary pamphleteer wrote: “Instances are very
few indeed of preferment being obtained by other corrupt means[199]
compared to the omnipotence of Parliamentary interest. Thence
originates the shameful practice of thrusting boys into a company
over the heads of all the lieutenants and ensigns of the regiment.
The Duke of York has done something to check it, but he can never
remove the Colossus of Parliamentary interest, an interest that
disdains solicitation, and imperiously _demands_ from the minister of
the day that which no minister ever found it convenient to deny. To
this species of influence the commander-in-chief must give way—for it
is capable, when slighted, of removing both commander-in-chief and

[Sidenote: The King’s Hard Bargains]

It was to the unscrupulous use by great men of their parliamentary
influence upon the ministry of the day that the army owed a great
proportion of its “King’s hard bargains” in the commissioned
ranks. The obscure but necessary instruments of one of the great
borough-mongers—Whig no less than Tory—were often paid by the
nomination of their sons or other young relatives to a commission, by
the influence of their patron: and the families that did the dirty
work of a great politician were not likely to be distinguished for
high morals or uprightness. Sometimes the nominations were absolutely
shameful—it is said that the son of the keeper of a fashionable
gaming-house in St. James’ was slid into the list of ensigns on one
occasion, by a politician whom his father had obliged. Whether this
be true or not, it is certain that there was a sprinkling of officers
who were not gentlemen in any sense of the term serving throughout the
war.[201] Others about whose gentle blood there was no doubt, were
undesirable in other ways—prominent among them a section of young
Irish squireens with the bullying and duelling habits, as well as
the hard-drinking, which were notoriously prevalent among the less
civilized strata of society beyond St. George’s Channel. I find in
one memoir a note of a newly-joined ensign after mess addressing the
assembled officers as follows: “By Jasus, gentlemen, I am conscious you
must have the meanest opinion of my courage. Here have I been no less
than six weeks with the regiment, and the divil of a duel have I fought
yet. Now, Captain C., you are the senior captain, and if you please I
will begin with you first: so name your time and place.” As the diarist
very wisely writes, “one could not be too guarded in one’s conduct with
such heroes.”[202]

Duels, I may remark in passing, were much less frequent in the
Peninsular Army than might have been expected. Wellington (though long
after he most foolishly “went out” with Lord Winchelsea in 1829) set
his face against them on active service, because he could not afford to
lose good officers on account of personal quarrels. There certainly
were much fewer duels proportionately in the Peninsula than in England
at the time—not to speak of Ireland and India, where they were beyond
all reason common. I have only found records of four fatal duels in the
records of court-martials, and though non-fatal ones could have been
(and were) hushed up, they cannot have been very numerous, for one may
read through scores of memoirs and diaries without running upon the
mention of one. It is curious to note that when they did occur, and a
court-martial followed, that body invariably found that though there
was no doubt that Captain A. or Lieutenant B. was dead, yet there was
no conclusive proof that he had been killed by C. or D.—the mouths of
the seconds being sealed by the fact that they were also on their trial
for having acted in such a capacity.[203] The whole matter was clearly
a solemn farce. But the fact remains that duels were not frequent,
and that duellists had a bad mark against them. Good commanding
officers took immense trouble to prevent a duel from arising over silly
mess-table quarrels, exerting every influence to make one party, or
both, apologize for words spoken in anger, or in liquor.[204]

The body of officers of a Peninsular regiment was often a very odd
party—there might be a lieutenant-colonel of twenty-six, who had risen
rapidly by purchase or interest, and captains of fifty or even sixty; I
found a note of one who had attained that age in the 73rd. At the head
of each rank there might be several impecunious and disappointed men,
waiting for the promotion that could only come by casualties in action,
since they could never hope to purchase their step. Nevertheless, the
feuds that might have been expected to follow such a situation do not
seem to have been so many, or so bitter, as might have been expected.
The grudge was set against the system rather than the individual, in
most cases, and the sight of a mess cut up into cliques and coteries
of enemies, though it can be found recorded occasionally, was quite
exceptional.[205] The saving fact was that there was always the chance
of promotion for merit, in reward of some specially gallant deed, and
it often came—though the Duke was occasionally incomprehensible in the
way in which he mentioned or did not mention officers in dispatches.
The lieutenant who brought down the French flag from the castle of
Badajoz, and who was sent with it by Picton to the commander-in-chief,
was thanked and asked to dinner, but was still a lieutenant years
after, in spite of his general’s vehement remonstrances.[206] Dozens of
such instances could be quoted.

[Sidenote: Professional Training]

Professional training for officers had perforce been non-existent in
the early years of the French war. There was no institution which
supplied it, and all military knowledge had to be acquired by rule
of thumb at regimental headquarters. An improvement of the greatest
importance was made by the establishment in December, 1801, of the
“Royal Military College” at High Wycombe for the use of young officers,
followed by the creation of its “Junior Department” in May, 1802,
“for the instruction of those who from early life are intended for
the military profession.” The latter, the origin of the college at
Sandhurst, to which the department was removed in 1811, accepted boys
as early as thirteen. Its first inspector-general was the French
_emigré_ Jarry, to whom we owe the “Instructions for Light Infantry
in the Field” of 1804, while Colonel John Gaspard Le Marchant was
“Lieutenant-governor and Superintendant General.” This was the
accomplished cavalry officer who fell in 1812, at the head of his
brigade, in the crisis of the battle of Salamanca, when he had just
delivered a decisive charge. The military college men were already
numerous when the Peninsular War began.

[Sidenote: The “Belemites”]

The French General, Foy, a witness whose authority can hardly be
called in question, for he is making grudging admissions, says that he
considered the general mass of the British officers excellent.[207] The
more we study detailed records, the more willingly do we acknowledge
that his praise is well deserved. The weaker brethren were very few—so
few that an enemy did not even notice them. Misconduct on the field was
the rarest of offences; there are hardly half a dozen court-martials
for suspected slackness, among the hundreds that were held for other
offences. There were an appreciable number of officers “broke” for
faults that came from hard drinking, “incapable when on duty,” and so
forth, or brawling, and a very few for financial irregularities; but
considering the unpromising material that was sometimes pitchforked
into a regiment by the unscrupulous exercise of patronage at home,
they were exceedingly few. The only class of failures who had any
appreciable numbers, and earned a special name, were the “Belemites,”
so called from the general depôt at the convent of Belem in the suburbs
of Lisbon. This was the headquarters of all officers absent from the
front as convalescents or on leave, and the limited proportion who
stayed there over-long, and showed an insufficient eagerness to return
to their regiments, were nicknamed from the spot where they lingered
beyond the bounds of discretion. Wellington occasionally gave an order
to Colonel Peacocke, the military governor of Lisbon, to rout up this
coterie—there were always a sprinkling there who were not over-anxious
to resume the hard life of campaigning, and loved too much the
gambling-hells and other sordid delights of Lisbon.[208] Occasionally
the notices which appear in General Orders about these gentry are
rather surprising—one would not have thought that such men could even
have obtained a commission. Take, for example, “The commanding officer
at Lisbon (or the commanding officer of any station at which Captain
—— of the 88th may happen to be found), will be pleased to place that
officer under arrest, and send him to join his regiment, he having been
absent for several months without leave, and having been in Portugal
since October 20th last, without reporting himself to or communicating
with his commanding officer.”[209]

Wellington in his moments of irritation sometimes wrote as if the
majority of his officers were slack and disobedient. Such men existed;
but, as one who knew the Duke well observed, “by long exercise of
absolute power he had become intolerant of the slightest provocation,
and every breach of discipline, no matter how limited its range,
made him furious with the whole army. Hence frequent General Orders,
as violent as they were essentially unjust, wherein, because of the
misdeeds of a few, all who served under him were denounced—the officers
as ignorant of their duty, the rank and file as little better than a

But the duty-shirking officer, and still more the disreputable officer
was, after all, a very rare exception. The atmosphere of contempt which
surrounded him in his regiment as a rule sufficed to make him send
in his papers, after a longer or a shorter period of endurance, in
proportion as his skin was tough or thin. Opinion was not so hard upon
the man who was merely quarrelsome and ungentlemanly in his cups. But
there were limits even to the boisterousness permitted to the tippler,
and drunkenness when in face of the enemy, or in a position of military
responsibility, was always fatal.

[Sidenote: Officers from the Ranks]

There was, throughout the war, a perceptible proportion of officers who
had risen from the ranks. Meritorious service, showing good capacity as
well as courage, not unfrequently led to the promotion of a sergeant
to an ensigncy. A well-remembered case is that of the Sergeant Newman
of the 43rd who rallied the stragglers during the march from Lugo to
Betanzos, in the Corunna retreat, and beat off the pursuing French
dragoons. Another is that of Sergeant Masterson of the 2/87th, who
captured the eagle of the _8th Ligne_ at Barrosa. Many more might be
quoted, though none of them is so striking as that of a man who did not
serve in the Peninsula, but in contemporary campaigns in India, the
celebrated John Shipp. He was _twice_ given a commission for deeds of
exceptional daring. After winning his first ensigncy in the storming
party at the Siege of Bhurtpoor in 1805, he was forced to “sell out”
a little later by improvident living. He enlisted as a private in
another regiment, and was again promoted from the ranks for a single
combat with a Nepaulese chief during the first Goorkha War of 1815.
Conducting himself with more wisdom on his second chance, he served
long as an officer, and when he went on half-pay became chief-constable
of Liverpool. His autobiography is an artless and interesting piece of
work well worth perusal.

When a regiment had greatly distinguished itself in the field,
Wellington not unfrequently directed its colonel to recommend a
sergeant for a commission. This, for example, was done for all three
battalions of the Light Division after their splendid exploit at
Bussaco. Yet he did not approve of this system of promotion as anything
but a very exceptional measure, and in his table-talk with Lord
Stanhope we find some very harshly worded verdicts on old rankers,
“their origin would come out, and you could never perfectly trust
them,”[211] especially in the matter of drink. This seems to be a
typical instance of the Duke’s aristocratic prejudices—but there was
something in what he said. The position of the promoted sergeants was
certainly difficult, and it required a man of exceptional character to
make it good. As a rule, they drifted into the position of paymasters,
recruiting officers, barrack masters, and such-like posts. But many of
them made useful and efficient adjutants. In command they were not as a
rule successful,[212] and I have only come on a single case of one who
reached the rank of full colonel, and of two who were fortunate enough
to obtain a majority. It is clear that the purchase system pressed
very hardly upon them: with no private resources it was impossible for
them ever to buy a step, and, after reaching the rank of captain, they
almost invariably went upon half-pay or looked for employment in some
civil or semi-civil capacity.

Concerning the equipment of the officer, his baggage, his horses and
mules, and his servants, information will be found in another chapter.
Here we are dealing with him as an item in the machinery of the



He who would make himself acquainted in detail with the many
experiments by which British Governments, from the rupture of the Peace
of Amiens onward, strove to keep on foot in full numbers the very large
army that it had raised, must satisfy his curiosity by studying the
admirable volumes of Mr. Fortescue. Here we are concerned only with
the methods which prevailed from 1809 till 1814, and gave Wellington
the invincible, though often attenuated, battalions which conquered at
Talavera and Bussaco, at Salamanca and Toulouse.

[Sidenote: Volunteers from the Militia]

In the Peninsular Army the system of territorial names prevailed for
nearly all the regiments of the line, but in most cases the local
designation had no very close relation with the actual _provenance_ of
the men. There were a certain number of regiments that were practically
national, _e.g._ most of the Highland battalions, and nearly all of
the Irish ones, were very predominantly Highland and Irish as to
their rank and file: but even in the 79th or the 88th there was a
certain sprinkling of English recruits. And in some nominally Scottish
regiments like the 71st Highland Light Infantry, or the 90th Perthshire
Volunteers,[213] the proportion of English and Irish was very large.
Similarly in almost all the nominally English regiments there was a
large sprinkling of Irish, and a few Scots. This came partly from the
fact that, though the corps recruited in their own districts, yet they
were often allowed to send recruiting parties to great centres like
London, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, or Dublin. But still more was it
due to the fact that the larger half of the recruits were raised not in
the old normal fashion, but by volunteering from the embodied militia,
and that in this system practically no attempt was made to confine
the choice of militiamen wishing to join the regular army to their
territorial regiment. Nothing, for example, was more usual than to
find such things as 100 of the King’s County Militia joining the 31st
or Huntingdonshire Regiment. When the 77th or East Middlesex Regiment
returned from India in 1808, it was completed, before going out to the
Peninsula, from the 1st West York, North and South Mayo, Northampton,
and South Lincoln Militia, but did not get a single man from the
Middlesex Militia.[214] The Shropshire Regiment (53rd) when allowed in
a similar case to call for volunteers, did get 99 from its own county
militia, but 144 more from the Dorset, East York, and Montgomery local
corps.[215] The 81st or Loyal Lincoln was filled up in 1808, before
sailing for Portugal, from the Dublin, King’s County, South Devon, and
Montgomery Militia. Instances might be multiplied _ad nauseam_. It was
quite exceptional for any English corps to contain a preponderance of
men from its own nominal district, and nearly all of them had from a
fifth to a fourth of Irish.

It is impossible to exaggerate the advantage to the Peninsular Army
of the system, the invention of Castlereagh when War Minister, which
enabled it to draw in such a heavy proportion on the militia for
recruits.[216] The men thus obtained had all had at least twelve
months’ drill and discipline, in a corps which had been under arms for
many years: they were trained soldiers of some little experience, much
superior in fact to the recruits who had been procured in other ways.
The permanent militia represented the force raised by the counties by
ballot, though substitutes rather than principals were procured by
that device. Being forced to serve at home for a period of years, the
militiamen freely volunteered into the line, from love of adventure,
dislike of dull country quarters in England or Ireland,[217] and,
it must be added, the temptation of the enormous bounty, running at
various times from £16 up to £40, which was given to those changing
their service.[218]

It is a mistake to make a point, as some writers have done, of the fact
that many regiments appeared in Spain with their ranks “full of raw
militiamen, who sometimes still bore their old militia badges on their
knapsacks.” So far from their being ineligible recruits, they were the
very best, for the militia of 1808–14 was not a body called out for
short service during one month of the year, but a permanent institution
which practically formed a second line to the field army. And no man
was allowed to volunteer into the regulars till he had served a full
year in the local corps in which he had enlisted. A regiment must get
drafts on active service, and these were the very best sort that could
be obtained. Of course a corps filled up hastily with a great number
of them, would want a little time to shake down, but it would take
far longer to assimilate a corresponding number of ordinary recruits,
hurried out from its regimental depôt—for these men would neither
have had a whole year’s drill, nor would they have been accustomed to
the daily economy of a full regiment—depôts seem to have been slackly
administered, in many cases by officers and sergeants invalided and
past service, or who had of their own desire shirked the service at the

[Sidenote: The Normal Recruit]

The other moiety of the recruits who came out to the Peninsula, to
fill up the never-ending gaps in the ranks of a battalion at the
front, were on the whole worse material than the militiamen. They
were the usual raw stuff swept in by the recruiting sergeant—all
those restless spirits who were caught by the attraction of the red
coat, country lads tired of the plough, or town lads who lived on the
edge of unemployment, and to whom a full stomach had been for some
time a rarity. We have autobiographies of runaway apprentices who
had bolted from a hard master,[219] and of village Lotharios who had
evaded an entanglement by a timely evasion.[220] Sons of hard fathers,
and stepsons of intolerable stepmothers drifted in, and still more
frequently the rowdy spirits who were “wanted” by the constable for
assault and battery, or for some rural practical joke which had set the
parish in an uproar. The oddest cause of enlisting that I have come
upon is that of a son of a respectable Edinburgh tradesman’s family,
whose account of the fortunes of the 71st in 1808–15 is one of the best
written of all the soldier-biographies. A stage-struck youth with a
little money in his pocket, he had often gone on (no doubt as a super)
at the Theatre Royal, carrying a banner or a five-word message. At last
the summit of his ambition came—a friendly manager gave him a short
part, where he had actually some share in the action. He invited all
his friends to the performance to see his glory, came on the boards,
and was suddenly struck with stage fright, so that he stood gaping and
silent before the audience, and heard the laughter and hooting begin.
The poor wretch bolted straight away from the stage in his costume
and paint, ran down to Leith, and enlisted with a sergeant of the
71st, whose party was sailing that night for the South. Anything was
preferable to him rather than to face next morning the jeers of the
friends to whom he had boasted of his histrionic powers, and who had
come to see his début.[221]

[Sidenote: Undesirable Recruits]

But these were the better spirits. There was a much lower stratum
among the recruits, drawn from the criminal or semi-criminal classes,
whom the enormous bounty offered for volunteers had tempted into
the service—generally with the purpose of getting out of it again
as soon as possible. Not only were there poachers, smugglers, and
street-corner roughs, who had been offered by the local authorities
the choice between enlistment and the jail, but pickpockets, coiners,
and footpads, who had made London or some other great town too hot
for them, often enlisted as a _pis aller_, intending to desert and
“jump another bounty” when they could. But sergeants were lynx-eyed
when they found that they had enlisted a slippery customer, and the
evasive recruit often found himself kept under lock and key in a fort,
and shipped off to Spain before he got his opportunity to abscond. The
number of these “King’s hard bargains” varied much between different
regiments, but Colborne, a good authority, says that the battalion was
lucky which had not its fifty irreclaimable bad characters, drunkards,
plunderers, stragglers, would-be deserters, actual criminals “whom
neither punishment nor any kind of discipline could restrain; for the
system of recruiting was defective and radically bad.”[222] It was this
scum, a small proportion of the whole, but always swimming to the top
when there was mischief to be done—peasants to be plundered or churches
to be pillaged—that provided the subject-matter for court-martials,
and engrossed the majority of the attention of the Provost Marshal.
Officers of undoubted humanity, and men in the ranks who knew what they
were talking about, unite in stating that there was a residuum in the
Peninsular Army which could only be governed by the lash.

This small percentage of irreclaimables provided the nucleus around
which misconduct sometimes grew to a great scale, in moments of
special privation or temptation. In abominable orgies like the sack of
Badajoz, or the lesser but still disgraceful riots at Ciudad Rodrigo
and San Sebastian, it was the criminals who started the game, but the
drunkards—a far more numerous class—who took it up. When the drink
was in them, the mob was capable of any freak of wanton mischief or
cruelty. Wellington more than once complained that the most reckless
and ungovernable of his rowdies were the newly-joined Irish recruits.
It seems that when in liquor they became irresponsible madmen, and
had not undergone enough of discipline to get them into a habit of
obedience, which might serve as a substitute for moral sense. And I can
well believe this from casual evidence picked up in the diaries of his
obscure subordinates. The account of the difficulties of officers and
sergeants in getting a large draft of Irish recruits from Cashel to
Deal, which I met in one soldier-diary reads like a nightmare[223]—or
a glimpse of some primitive pagan heaven, in which all was objectless
fighting in the intervals between frequent and limitless potations.
As a side-light on the national failing, I may quote the fact that
going through the complete record of general court-martials for the
whole period 1809–14, I found that after putting aside all trials of
officers, non-combatants, and foreign auxiliaries (the last almost
always for desertion) there was an unmistakable over-percentage of men
with Irish names, just as there was an under-percentage of Scots. The
offences for which the former were tried were generally desertion and
crimes of violence, plundering or maltreating the peasantry.[224]

The way in which the habitually criminal element makes itself visible
in this list of court-martials is in the not infrequent cases of
scientific and habitual burglary, robbery of the convoys going to
the military chest, or of the private property of officers, and the
stealing of church plate—all offences often punished with death, for
Wellington rarely pardoned the professional thief, though he sometimes
let off a deserter with a sound flogging. But the queerest glimpse
into the lowest stratum of the army is the curious anecdote recorded
in Napier’s fifth volume. Nonplussed in the winter of 1813–14 by the
refusal of the French peasantry to accept the dollars or the guineas
which were all that he could offer, Wellington determined to set up
a mint of his own, which should melt down Spanish and Portuguese
silver and recoin it in the form of five franc pieces. He sent private
appeals to the colonels to find him all the professional coiners that
they could discover in the ranks, collected as many as forty at St.
Jean de Luz, and with their aid struck a large quantity of money, of
which he was careful to see that the weight and the purity were both

[Sidenote: The Gentleman-Ranker]

Occasionally the gentleman-ranker was to be found in a Peninsular
regiment. He was generally an “undesirable,” who had enlisted in
consequence of some disgraceful quarrel with a family who had refused
to do anything more for him. Persistent drink, gambling, or dishonesty
were the usual causes that had broken him—not undeserved misfortune or
dire poverty. Occasionally he pulled himself together, became a good
soldier, and was ultimately promoted to a commission. More often he
sank into a persistent drunkard or a criminal. Surtees of the 95th,
in an interesting chapter, gives the biographies of the four privates
of this class that he had known.[226] One conducted himself well for
some years, became a paymaster-sergeant, and then broke out into a
wild fit of dissipation, embezzled the company’s money, and committed
suicide on detection. The second was always in scrapes: finally he was
caught deserting to the French, and was lucky to get off with penal
servitude for life instead of death. The third, “always excessively
wild,” was once made a corporal, but was not fit for that or any other
rank. The fourth was one of the exceptional cases—being a retired
lieutenant without friends or means, who had enlisted as a private in
sheer poverty. He was an exemplary and deserving man, who was soon made
secretary, or private clerk, to his colonel, behaved excellently, and
was in the end restored to his former rank in the army by interest made
in his behalf.

A regiment on Peninsular service depended for its strength on the
regularity with which it was fed from its home-battalion or its depôt.
Whenever a convoy sailed from Spithead, it contained an immense number
of small detachments, varying from a few scores to over a hundred men,
under charge of officers newly gazetted to the service battalion, or
returning from sick leave. There was often much wrangling on shipboard
(unless the weather reduced every one to the same level of nausea
and helplessness), not only between the men but between the young
officers in charge of them. After an angry comparison of the exact
date of commissions, which settled seniority in the choice of berths,
and in dealing with the transport-captain, two ensigns in charge of
detachments would often settle down to a feud destined to last for the
whole voyage to Lisbon. Their men gleefully joined in the wrangle.
There are some absurd sidelights, in court-martials, on these frequent
shipboard quarrels, which sometimes ended in affrays and “conduct
unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.”

When a detachment landed at Lisbon, the officer in charge, often
a lad of sixteen, had to shepherd his flock to the front, perhaps
over 200 miles of mountain roads. Neither officers nor men knew a
word of Portuguese, or had the slightest notion of the manners,
government, prejudices, or food of the peasantry. They went forward
in a perpetual haze of mistakes and misunderstandings. Every draft
had its percentage of undesirables, or even of criminals. Hence the
young officer, responsible for their safe delivery at the front, found
himself embroiled in constant disputes with the natives, often ending
in his arrest on his final arrival at headquarters. We must feel
nothing but sympathy for the unfortunate young man who delivered only
twenty-nine out of a detachment of forty-one entrusted to him; or the
other who found that fourteen men out of twenty had privately disposed
of their new blankets.[227] The only way of managing the draft was by
reliance on the sergeant or two who formed a part of it: and if the
sergeant was himself a sluggard or a tippler, ill fared his superior.
Imagine the feelings of the second-lieutenant who having left his
one non-commissioned officer behind, to hunt up footsore stragglers,
found no one arrive at the nightly billet, and returning for miles to
seek the lost ones, discovered his sergeant dead drunk and snoring in
the middle of the high-road.[228] Ability to conduct a draft to the
battalion was one of the greatest tests of the character and capacity
of a junior officer.

[Sidenote: Concerning Sergeants]

The responsibility of the non-commissioned officer cannot be
exaggerated. It was easy to make sergeants, but not easy to secure them
of the proper quality. Too often the man promoted for an act of courage
or of quick cleverness had to be reduced to the ranks again, for some
hopeless failing—he was prone to drink,[229] or he was an over-harsh or
an over-slack administrator of discipline. One of the commoner types of
court-martial was that of the non-commissioned officer who connived at
and profited by the misdeeds of the men under his charge—whose silence
was bought by a percentage, when peasants were plundered, or convoys
lightened of food, shoes, or clothing. It was often difficult to get at
him—to prove that he had known of what was going on, and had contrived
to see nothing. But the numbers of reductions to the ranks were
notable, and lashes were often added when part of the _corpus delicti_
was found in the sergeant’s pack.

However, the ideal sergeant was not unfrequently found, and when
found he was invaluable; he had to be a steady man with a modicum of
education and a sense of duty, who could be relied upon neither to
connive at his men’s graver faults, nor, on the other hand, to be
perpetually spying on them and reporting them to their captains for
every minute breach of discipline. Tact was as necessary as the power
to get orders carried out. The bullying sergeant would, in the end,
get left in some quandary or dilemma by the men that he was always
harrying, while the considerate sergeant would get the benefit of his
popularity by receiving loyal and intelligent service instead of mere

Most important of all non-commissioned officers was the sergeant-major,
concerning whose position I cannot do better than quote the homily of a
Highland soldier more given to philosophical disquisitions than most of
the diarists from the ranks.[230]

“The sergeant-major has an arduous duty to perform; in all the
arrangements of regimental duty he takes, or ought to take, the most
active concern. He has, of course, been considered by his colonel a
meritorious man, before he appoints him to this highest step to which
a non-commissioned officer can attain: and, as it is frequently found
necessary to consult him on the interior economy of the regiment, if
he is possessed of any talents they are sure to be seen and called
forth. Fortunate is the regiment which possess a good sergeant-major.
His rank is not such as to make him above associating with and advising
the other non-commissioned officers: his own personal example is
the means of swaying their actions: he cautions them against unjust
oppression, yet shrinks not from pointing out the cases which require
coercive measures. He recommends for promotion those who meritoriously
aspire to rise from the ranks. His commanding officer is seldom
troubled with complaints, for he settles them to the satisfaction of
the accuser and accused. No mercenary motive actuates his conduct
in reconciling differences, and his hands are never soiled with the
gift of an inferior. To those who are unacquainted with the influence
which sergeant-majors generally possess this may seem a hyperbole;
but to me it appears a fact; I speak not of one regiment but of many.
A sergeant-major, on the other hand, can be a little tyrant in the
corps, without the knowledge of his colonel: his unnecessary acts of
oppression may be made to appear to his superiors as laudable zeal, and
his severity as merit deserving reward.... If the commanding officer
be of an easy, complying turn, or again of a repulsive, haughty,
_don’t-trouble-me_ disposition, and the adjutant (which is often the
case) not over well informed, the sergeant-major is consulted on all
occasions. His opinion is asked as to character, he can establish or
injure at pleasure, for who will be called in to contradict him? In
short he has much more to say between the non-commissioned officers
and the colonel, concerning the poor soldiers’ conduct, than all the
captains and subalterns of the regiment.”[231]

[Sidenote: The Sergeant’s Self-Respect]

The gap between the sergeant and the men in the ranks was necessarily a
well-marked one. The non-commissioned officers kept together and formed
messes of their own. “Pride and propriety” kept them from joining in
the carouses of the rank and file. “He who has once joined the company
of sergeants is disincluded for any other,”[232] writes one veteran
proud of well-deserved promotions. The non-commissioned officer who was
too familiar with his inferiors was generally one of those who profited
by their misdeeds, and would some day be convicted of sharing their
plunder, or conniving at their excesses.



Of the two classes of foreign troops which assisted to make up the
invincible divisions of the Peninsular Army, the one formed at the
time an integral part of the British military establishment; the other
was the contingent of an allied Power, placed at the disposition of
Wellington, and incorporated with the units of his host, but preserving
its own national individuality.

We must deal with the first class before we proceed to explain the
position of the second. Copying old British precedent, the governments
of George III. had taken into pay a number of foreign corps from the
very commencement of the Revolutionary War. They were the successors of
the Hanoverians against whom the elder Pitt had railed so fiercely in
his hot youth, and of the Hessians who had taken such a prominent part
in the War of American Independence.

The regiments raised in the early years of the great struggle with
France had mainly been composed of Swiss, or of French royalist
_emigrés_. Most of these corps had disappeared by 1809, and of those
of them which survived the majority were doing garrison duty in the
Mediterranean and elsewhere.[233] Wellington never had them under his
hand. The foreign troops which came under his command were nearly all
German, and consisted of regiments raised after the rupture of the
Peace of Amiens.

[Sidenote: The King’s German Legion]

By far the largest number of them belonged to that admirable corps the
King’s German Legion, whose history was written with great care and
enthusiasm by Ludlow Beamish, while the generation which fought in the
Peninsula was still alive. They were the legitimate representatives of
the old Electoral army of Hanover, the comrades of the British troops
in many a fight of the War of the Austrian Succession and of the Seven
Years’ War. When in June, 1803, Napoleon invaded Hanover, and overran
it with the troops of Mortier, the 15,000 men who formed the standing
army of the electorate could make no effective resistance. They laid
down their arms in accordance with the Convention of Lauenburg (July
5, 1803), which disbanded them, and permitted officers and men to go
where they pleased, with the proviso that none of them would bear arms
against France till they should have been exchanged for French officers
or men in the hands of the English Government.[234]

The best and most loyal of the Hanoverian officers began at once
to betake themselves to England, and by the end of the year were
streaming thither by dozens and scores. Men soon began to follow in
considerable numbers, and after two provisional infantry regiments had
been formed in August, a larger organization, to be called the King’s
German Legion, was authorized in December. It included light and line
infantry, heavy and light cavalry, artillery and engineers. All through
1804 new units were being rapidly created, mainly from Hanoverians, but
not entirely, for other recruits of German nationality were accepted.
But all the officers, nearly all the sergeants, and the large majority
of the rank and file came from the old Electoral army. By January,
1805, there were in existence a dragoon and a hussar regiment, four
Line and two Light battalions, and five batteries of artillery.

In November, 1805, when Lord Cathcart’s expedition sailed for the
Weser, to make a diversion in favour of Austria, the whole German
Legion went with him. For a few short weeks the invaders were in
possession of Bremen and Verden, Stade, and Hanover city, before
the news of the disastrous peace that followed Austerlitz came to
hand. During this space immense numbers of Hanoverians flocked to
the colours, some old soldiers, others volunteers who had not served
before. When the army evacuated Hanover in February, 1806, it brought
back so many recruits that the Legion was raised to ten battalions of
infantry and five regiments of horse.

These were almost the last genuine Hanoverians that were raised for
service in the corps, for when the electorate was annexed to Jerome
Bonaparte’s “Kingdom of Westphalia,” it became part of the French
Imperial system, and was subjected to the conscription for Jerome’s
service. Only a few individuals henceforth succeeded in getting to
England and joining the Legion by circuitous ways. But there were
some good recruits obtained at Stralsund and in Denmark during the
Copenhagen Expedition at the end of 1807, when the Legion was for some
weeks in the Baltic.

The battalions and squadrons were still mainly Hanoverian, when, in
1808, the larger half of them was sent to the Peninsula. In that year
one Hussar regiment (the 3rd), two Light and four Line battalions (Nos.
1, 2, 5, 7), landed in Portugal. Of these only the two Light battalions
and the Hussars marched with Moore, and re-embarked for England after
his disastrous retreat. The four Line battalions remained in Portugal,
as did two German batteries, and made part of Wellesley’s original
army of 1809. They were joined in the spring of that year by the 1st
Hussars, who (as has been already mentioned) were considered the most
efficient light cavalry regiment in Portugal, and were long the chosen
comrades of Craufurd’s Light Division.

[Sidenote: Recruiting the K.G.L.]

In the spring of 1811 the K.G.L. contingent in Portugal was increased
by the 2nd Hussars and the two Light Battalions, who returned about two
years after their departure in the company of Moore. In the winter of
1811–12 the two heavy dragoon regiments joined Wellington’s army. Thus
in the beginning of 1812 four of the five cavalry regiments, and five
(the 7th Line battalion had gone home) of the ten infantry battalions
were serving in Spain. But at the end of the year the 2nd Hussars were
drafted back to England, owing to depleted numbers.

It had now become impossible to keep the ranks of the Legion filled
with the genuine Hanoverians who had been its original nucleus.
Communication with the electorate was completely cut off, and German
recruits of any kind had to be accepted. Many of them were volunteers
from the English prison camps, where thousands of Napoleon’s German
troops were lying. Of these only a fraction were Hanoverians born.
The large majority could not, of course, share in the loyalty and
enthusiasm of the original legionaries, being subjects of all manner of
sovereigns in the Rheinbund, who had marched at Napoleon’s orders. The
quality of men was much worse, and many enlisted only to escape from
prison life, and readily deserted when they reached the front, having
no interest in the cause for which they were fighting. From 1811 onward
desertion, not at all usual in the early years of the Legion, became
very common, and plunder and misconduct (previously very rare) were
also rife. Matters became still worse when, later in the war, German
recruits of any sort became so hard to obtain that Poles, Illyrians,
and miscellaneous foreigners of any sort[235] were drafted out to
fill the shrinking ranks. But the splendid Hanoverian officers still
continued to get good service out of a rank and file that was no longer
so homogeneous or loyal as it had been when the war began, and the
regiments of the German Legion, the cavalry in especial, continued to
be among Wellington’s most trusted troops. The charge of Bock’s Heavy
Dragoons at Garcia Hernandez, on the day after Salamanca, was, as has
been already stated, considered by Foy to have been the most brilliant
and successful cavalry attack made in the whole Peninsular War. After
the peace of 1814 all the “mongrels” were discharged, and the officers
and native-born Hanoverian rank and file became the nucleus on which
the new Royal Army of Hanover was built up. The fact that the aliens
had been discharged in 1814 was the cause of all the K.G.L. battalions
appearing at Waterloo in the following year with very small effectives,
in no case reaching 500 of all ranks.

Another foreign corps which served under Wellington from the end of
1810 till 1814 had an origin and a history much resembling that of the
German Legion. This was the Brunswick Oels Jägers, whose history starts
from 1809. The hard-fighting Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick, the
nephew of George III., had made a gallant diversion in Northern Germany
during the Wagram Campaign. At the head of a small body of adventurers,
he had thrown himself into the middle of Jerome Bonaparte’s Kingdom
of Westphalia, and had stirred up an insurrection there, particularly
in his own old hereditary states. He was joined by several thousands
of patriotic volunteers, and inflicted a series of small defeats on
the Westphalians. But surrounded in the end by overwhelming numbers
of enemies, he cut his way to the sea, and embarked the remnants of
his followers aboard English ships at Brake on the Frisian coast.
The British Government at once offered to take the refugees into its
service, and from them organized the Brunswick Oels Jäger and Hussar
regiments, whose black uniform reproduced that of the duke’s old

[Sidenote: The Brunswick Oels Jägers]

The kernel of this corps was originally excellent—the officers were
North-Germans, largely Prussians, who had risked their lives by joining
an insurrection contrary to the orders of their sovereign, and could
never return to their homes: while the rank and file had been patriotic
volunteers. But, like the German Legion, the Brunswick regiment could
find no more recruits of this sort when it had left Germany, and soon
had to depend for the continuance of its existence on the men in the
English prison camps, who could be induced to buy a release from
confinement by enlisting in the British service. It is clear that the
German Legion got the best of these turncoats, and that the worst fell
to the lot of the Brunswick corps. Not only Germans but Poles, Swiss,
Danes, Dutch, and Croats were drafted into it. They were a motley crew,
much given to desertion—on several occasions large parties went off
together. One great court-martial in 1811 sat on ten Brunswick Oels
deserters in a body, and ordered four to be shot and the rest to be
flogged. Such men had all the vices of the mercenary, though in time of
battle they displayed many of the virtues. Their officers had a hard
task to keep them together, and they could never be trusted at the
outposts. But the regiment was full of good shots and bold adventurers,
and furnished several of the detached rifle companies with which
Wellington strengthened the light infantry of his brigades.

There was, however, one foreign regiment which was even more tiresome
to manage than the Black Brunswickers. This was the _Chasseurs
Britanniques_, a corps formed early in the Revolutionary War from
French royalists, and taken into the British Service in 1801. It was
recruited entirely from deserters of all sorts when it came out to
Portugal in the spring of 1811. At absconding it was far worse than
the Brunswickers—the latter were raised from many races, but at least
they were not born Frenchmen as were the most important section of the
Chasseurs. A glance down the names of the rank and file of the corps
seems to show that after Frenchmen the next most important section
were Italians, and that there were a few Poles and some Swiss, the
latter supplying the men with Teutonic names. It seems to have been
the working rule with the officers who accepted volunteers from the
prison-camps to draft French and Italians into the Chasseurs, while
Germans of all sorts went into the Legion or the Brunswick Corps,
and Swiss partly into the Chasseurs, partly into Watteville’s old
Swiss regiment: Poles and Croats went anywhere. Now a German prisoner
who volunteered into the British service might do so from patriotic
motives, and make an excellent soldier. A Swiss or an Italian or an
Illyrian could not be very heavily blamed for desertion—he had been
conscribed, and sent to fight for Napoleon, in a quarrel that was
not his own. But the French deserter was no longer an old royalist,
like the _emigré_ soldiers of 1794, but one of two things. Either he
was a man who enlisted in the Chasseurs simply to get a chance of
deserting back to his own friends, or else he was a _mauvais sujet_,
a man without patriotic feeling or morality, who was ready to fight
against his own countrymen for pay or plunder. Both classes were amply
represented: the former fled back to the French ranks when they could,
often taking valuable information with them. The latter were the worst
class of mercenaries, since they had no inspiring cause to keep them
true to their colours, while individually they were for the most part
bad characters who had been the curse of their regiments while in the
French service.

[Sidenote: The Chasseurs Britanniques]

The unenviable task of keeping together this body of deserters and
adventurers fell to a body of officers who were almost without
exception furious French royalists, the second generation of the
_emigrés_. They looked upon the war with Bonaparte as a family feud,
in which they fought under any colours (many of their kin were in the
Russian or the Austrian, or the Spanish service) in order to avenge the
death of Louis XVI., the atrocities of the Terror, or the Massacres
of Quiberon. With old loyalty to the Bourbons, and personal hatred
for the new French _régime_ as their inspiration, they were fierce
and desperate fighters. They kept the miscellaneous horde committed
to their charge under an iron discipline, and used the lash freely.
All that their personal courage could accomplish was done, to make
the Chasseurs an efficient fighting force. But they could not stop
desertion, nor frequent misconduct. The most astonishing court-martial
in the war was that held on October 5, 1812, upon no less than 18
Chasseurs who had deserted in a body, two corporals and 16 men, of whom
all but two bore Italian names.[236] This was only the largest case of
a constant series of defections. The regiment melted away whenever it
came near the French lines, and Wellington had a standing order that it
must never be trusted with the outposts. Yet as a fighting body it had
no bad record—as witness Fuentes de Oñoro and many other fields. This
was the work of the zealous service of its officers—and was indeed a
wonderful _tour de force_. The material with which they had to work was

These were the only foreign corps, strictly speaking, in Wellington’s
army, but there were two more units which had a large, indeed a
preponderating, German element in them, though they were numbered
in the British line. These were the 5/60th, the rifle battalion of
the “Royal Americans,” and the 97th, a single-battalion corps which
started its existence as Stuart’s “Minorca Regiment,” but got a place
in the British line in 1804 as the “Queen’s Germans.” Neither of these
battalions were purely German either in officers or men: of the 5/60th
the disembarkation roll on its original landing in Portugal shows
eighteen officers with German and ten with British names.[237] The
colonel, De Rottenbourg, was a foreigner, but the second in command,
Davy, an Englishman. The British element was not proportionally so
strong in the rank and file at the commencement of the war, but was
apparently increasing as it went on. English and Irish recruits were
drafted in, in order that such a fine corps might not be spoilt with
the bad class of German recruit such as was alone procurable in 1812 or
1813. When the corps returned from the Peninsula in 1814 it had only
nine officers with German names and twelve with British, and I fancy
the balance in the rank and file between the nationalities had changed
in the same way. When amalgamated with the 1/60th, after the end of the
war it had certainly 400 British to something under 300 Germans in its

This was a most distinguished corps: the green-coated rifle companies
which it supplied to many brigades of the Peninsular Army were
universally praised for their cool courage and admirable marksmanship.
The battalion had very few deserters save for one period in 1808–9,
when it had received a batch of recruits from Junot’s Army of Portugal,
who proved unsatisfactory. It would be an absolute insult to the 5/60th
to class them with the Brunswickers or the Chasseurs Britanniques.

The 97th being a single-battalion corps, with nothing to maintain
it but a depôt which could only collect German recruits in the same
fashion as the K.G.L., wasted down to a very small remnant after two
years of war, and was sent back to England in 1811, with a handsome
epitaph of praise by Wellington. It never got to the front again,
remained at home on a very weak establishment, and was disbanded at the
end of the war. Like the 5/60th it was not wholly German; among the
officers we find individuals with British names like Carter, Biscoe,
Wilson, Lyon. Its colonel and one of its two majors were English, and
there was a proportion of non-Germans among its rank and file. Its
Peninsular record if short was distinguished.

[Sidenote: The Portuguese Army in 1809]

It remains to speak about the Portuguese, who formed about two-fifths
of Wellington’s fighting force. We have already had occasion to
speak of the way in which they were distributed among the British
troops, when dealing with the character of Beresford,[238] and the
composition of the Peninsular divisions.[239] But the inner mechanism
of the Portuguese army remains to be detailed. It consisted in 1809 of
twenty-four regiments of infantry of the line, each of two battalions,
save the 21st which had been cut up at Soult’s storm of Oporto in
March, and only mustered one.[240] There were also six light infantry
battalions of caçadores, all raised in 1808–9, and twelve weak
regiments of horse. The artillery, divided into four local regiments
of unequal strength (those of Lisbon, Oporto, Elvas, and Algarve),
supplied nine or ten field batteries, and a number of garrison
companies which manned the guns of Elvas, Almeida, Abrantes, Peniche,
and many other minor fortresses. There was in addition an abnormal
corps, the Loyal Lusitanian Legion, raised by Sir Robert Wilson at
Oporto in 1808, which furnished three battalions of light infantry, a
squadron of horse and an incomplete battery. This legion, which had
done very good service in 1809–10, was absorbed into the regular army
in 1811, its three battalions becoming the 7th, 8th, and 9th caçadores.
At the same time Wellington ordered the raising of three new light
battalions bearing the numbers 10, 11, and 12.

The establishment of a Portuguese two-battalion line regiment was
nominally 1540 men, that of a caçador battalion 770 men: they were
each divided into six strong companies. The cavalry regiments, with a
nominal effective of 590 men, seldom showed 300 apiece in the field.
The infantry corps, with the conscription to keep their ranks full,
could from 1809 onward generally take the field with over 1200 of all
ranks, not including men in hospital or detached, and very seldom
shrank as low as 1000. The caçador battalions were generally somewhat
weaker in proportion to their nominal effective, rarely showing more
than 500 men in line.

The organization of the Portuguese Army was made on a strictly local
basis, each of the twenty-four line regiments having its proper
recruiting district. Two corps were furnished by the province of
Algarve, five by the Alemtejo, four by Lisbon city and its surrounding
district, three by the rest of Portuguese Estremadura, four by
the Beira, four by Oporto and the Entre-Douro-e-Minho, and two by
Tras-os-Montes.[241] Some of the recruiting-districts being less
populous than others, had a greater difficulty in keeping up their
territorial regiments. This was especially the case with the five corps
of the Alemtejo, where the waste bears a greater proportion to the
inhabited land than in other provinces of Portugal.

The caçador battalions were mainly raised in the better peopled north,
which supplied not only the three (Nos. 7, 8, 9), formed from the
Lusitanian Legion (all raised in and about Oporto), but also numbers 3,
4, 6, and after 1811 the additional numbers 10, 11, 12. The southern
provinces only provided numbers 1, 2, 5. These brown and dark green
battalions, whose sombre colours contrasted strongly with the bright
blue and white of the Portuguese line,[242] supplied, along with the
green British riflemen, the main skirmishing line of Wellington’s army.
Eight of the twelve were raised and commanded by British officers, only
the remaining four by Portuguese colonels.

Portugal is not a country abounding in horses, and of the twelve
dragoon regiments of which its cavalry consisted, three (Nos. 2, 3,
12) were never put into the field at all, but utilized as dismounted
troops in garrison duty. Of the other nine corps several were mere
fragments, and none ever took anything like its establishment of 500
sabres to the front. Three hundred was as much as was usually shown:
in the 1811 campaign the two regiments which Wellington used in the
Fuentes de Oñoro campaign had not 450 mounted men between them.

[Sidenote: Beresford’s Work]

Beresford’s conversion of the disorganized and depleted army of which
he took the command in 1809 into a serviceable and well-disciplined
force was a remarkable achievement. He found it in a chaotic
state—Junot had disbanded the whole, save a few battalions which he
sent to France to serve Napoleon. The regiments had collected again
as best they could, but the cadres were incomplete, and the corps of
officers left much to be desired. The Portuguese army before 1808 had
all the typical faults of an army of the _ancien régime_ which had
rusted in a long period of peace. It was full of old or incapable
officers put into place by court intrigues or family influence.
Promotion was irregular and perfectly arbitrary; the lower commissioned
ranks of the regiments were choked with officers whose want of
education and military knowledge made them unfit for higher posts. They
had often grown grey as lieutenants, and were perfectly useless in a
crisis. The pay was very low, and the temptation to make up for the
want of it by petty jobbing and embezzlement too strong.

When Beresford took command, in the early spring of 1809, he had found
about 30,000 regular troops in arms on an establishment which ought
to have shown nearly 60,000. The deficiency in mere numbers could be
remedied by a stringent use of the conscription: but the deficiencies
of organization could not. Beresford complained that “Long habits of
disregard of duty, and consequent laziness, made it not only difficult
but almost impossible to induce many senior officers to enter into any
regular and continued attention to the duties of their situations, and
neither reward nor punishment would induce them to bear up against the
fatigue.”[243] In the lower ranks there was a good deal of zeal, there
being great numbers of young officers from the higher classes, who had
just accepted commissions from patriotic motives; but there was also a
heavy dead-weight of old and slack officers, and an appalling want of
professional knowledge.

Beresford made it a condition of accepting his post that he should
be allowed a free hand to retain, dismiss, or promote, and should
be permitted to introduce a certain amount of British officers into
the army. The Regency granted his request, of necessity and not with
enthusiasm. He then proceeded to use his permission with great energy.
A vast number of old officers, both in the higher and lower ranks,
were put on half pay: only a minority of the colonels and generals
were retained on active service. All the regiments which had been
cursed with notoriously inefficient commanders were placed in charge
of British officers, of whom four or five were drafted into every
unit. Beresford’s system was that “since national feeling required
management,” and “he must humour and satisfy the pride of the nation,”
a sufficient number of the higher places must be left to natives, but
each must have British officers either immediately over or immediately
under him. Where a Portuguese general commanded a brigade, it was
managed that the colonels of his two regiments should both be English.
Where there was a Portuguese colonel, his senior major was English;
where an English colonel, his senior major was Portuguese. In addition
there were two, three, or four British captains in each regiment, but
hardly any subalterns. For, to encourage good officers to volunteer
into the Portuguese service, it was provided that every one doing so
should receive a step in promotion, lieutenants becoming captains, and
captains majors. This system seems to have worked well, though friction
was bound to occur, since the blow to Portuguese national pride, when
so many high posts were given to foreigners, was a heavy one.

[Sidenote: The Portuguese Officers]

Yet according to those who had the working of the newly organized army
in their hands, the effect was very satisfactory. “The Portuguese
captains are piqued into activity and attention, when they see their
companies excelled in efficiency by those under English, and do from
emulation what a sense of duty would never, perhaps, bring them to.
There are a variety of oblique means and by-paths by which the parts
of a Portuguese corps are constantly, and almost insensibly, tending
to return to their old habits, to which they are so much attached. To
nip this tendency, from time to time, in the bud, it is necessary to be
aware of it: without the constant surveillance of English subordinate
officers (who ever mingling with the mass of the men cannot but be
aware of what is going on) the commanding officer can rarely be warned
in time.”[244] D’Urban, the author of this memorandum, adds that one
of his great difficulties was to secure that the junior officers of
the old noble families were kept up to their work. “Even supposing
a sufficient energy of character in a native officer, he does not,
and will not, unless he be a _fidalgo_ himself, exercise coercive or
strong measures to oblige one of that class to do his duty. He is aware
that by doing so he will make a powerful enemy, and all the habits of
thought in which he has been educated inspire him with such a dread of
this, that no sense of duty will urge him to encounter it. Whenever
a regiment is commanded by a non-_fidalgo_ it never fails to suffer
extremely: the noblemen are permitted to do as they please, and set a
very bad example.” The only remedy was to see that any regiment where
the _fidalgos_ were numerous had an English colonel.

Such were the difficulties under which Beresford and the body of picked
British officers whom he selected as his subordinates built up the
army, which by 1811 was fit to take its place in battle line along with
its allies, and in 1812–14 did some of the most brilliant service of
the Peninsular War. Some of the exploits of the Portuguese brigades
hardly obtain in Napier’s history the prominence that is their due.
While he acknowledges the good service of the Light Division caçadores
at Bussaco and elsewhere, there is scarcely praise enough given to
Harvey’s brigade at Albuera, who received and repulsed _in line_ the
charge of Latour-Maubourg’s dragoons, a feat of which any British
troops would have been proud. And the desperate resistance for many
hours of Ashworth’s Portuguese at St. Pierre near Bayonne is hardly
noticed with sufficient gratitude—forming the centre of Hill’s thin
line, pressed upon by overwhelming numbers, and with both flanks turned
from time to time, they fought out a whole long morning of battle, and
never gave way an inch, though their line was reduced to a thin chain
of skirmishers scattered along a hedge and a coppice. The advance of
the 13th and 24th Portuguese at the storm of St. Sebastian, across a
ford 200 yards wide and waist-deep, swept by artillery fire from end
to end, does however receive from Napier its due meed of admiration.
This was a great achievement—every wounded man was doomed to drowning:
on the other side was the blazing breach, where the British assault
had come to a dead stop after dreadful slaughter, but the Portuguese
regiments won their way over the deadly water, and took their share in
the final assault with unflinching courage.

On the whole, the caçador battalions had the finest record in the
Portuguese Army, the cavalry the least satisfactory. Some good work
is recorded of them, _e.g._ the charge of Madden’s squadrons saved
the whole of La Romana’s army at the combat of Fuente del Maestre in
1810, and that of D’Urban’s brigade gave efficient help to Pakenham’s
great flank attack at Salamanca in 1812. But there were some “untoward
incidents,” such as the general bolt at the battle of the Gebora, and
the panic at the combat of Majadahonda, just before Wellington’s entry
into Madrid. Of the last D’Urban writes,[245] “My poor fellows are
still a most daily and uncertain sort of fighting people. At Salamanca
they followed me into the enemy’s ranks like British dragoons;
yesterday they were so far from doing their duty that in the first
charge they just went far enough to land me in the enemy’s ranks. In
the second, which (having got them rallied) I rashly attempted, I could
not get them within 20 yards of the enemy—they left me alone, and
vanished before the French helmets like leaves before the autumn wind.
They require a little incentive of shouts, and the inspiring cheers
of a British line advancing near them. I am afraid they will never be
quite _safe_ by themselves, or in silence.” These are bitter words, but
the record of Majadahonda is not a creditable one.

[Sidenote: The Portuguese Militia]

Of the Portuguese militia and the irregular levies of the Ordenança
it is not necessary to speak here at length. They formed part of
Wellington’s tools for carrying on the war, but not of his army. For,
excepting in the Lines of Torres Vedras, he never put the militia
side by side with the regulars, but always left them out in the open
country, to watch frontiers or harass French lines of communication.
They were under strict orders not to fight—orders which enterprising
officers like Silveira and Trant sometimes disobeyed, to their own
sorrow. Their duty was to screen the countryside against small French
detachments, to make the movement of the enemy save in large bodies
impossible, to capture convoys, or to cut off stragglers. Their most
brilliant exploit was the capture of Masséna’s hospitals at Coimbra in
1810. More could not be expected from levies only intermittently under
arms, not furnished with proper uniforms, and officered by civilians,
or by the inefficients weeded out of the regular army. They were a
valuable asset in Wellington’s hands, but not a real fighting force.
Even far on in the war, so late as 1812, whole brigades of them broke
up in panic in face of a very small force of cavalry—as at the unhappy
combat of Guarda, where Trant and Wilson tried to do too much with
these amateurs.

As to the ordenança or _levée en masse_, it had not even the
organization of the militia, and was largely armed with pikes for want
of muskets. Its only duty was to infest the countryside and prevent
the enemy from foraging. The French shot them as “brigands” whenever
caught; it was their natural practice to retaliate by making away with
all stragglers and marauders who fell into their hands. Wellington
offered a bounty for prisoners, but it was not very often asked for, or



In the chapters that dealt with the officers and the men of the
Peninsular Army, we have had occasion to speak of the percentage of
undesirables that were to be found in every rank, and of their special
weaknesses and crimes. It is necessary to explain the way in which the
British military code of the day dealt with them.

For the officers there was a long gradation of punishments, ranging
down from a simple reprimand to discharge from the service with
ignominy. For the non-commissioned officers reduction to the ranks
was the most usual chastisement inflicted; but in cases of a
particularly disgraceful sort, the lash was not infrequently allotted
as an additional penalty. For the rank and file flogging was the
universal panacea; the amount of strokes might range up from a
minimum twenty-five strokes—which was a mere nothing to the habitual
offender, but a serious thing for the good soldier who lost much of
his _morale_ when once he had “gone to the halberds,” even for such a
light punishment. The maximum, a very unusual one, was 1200 strokes,
an amount calculated to kill many men, and to permanently disable many
more. But this awful tale of lashes was not very frequently awarded,
being reserved for bad cases of desertion to the enemy, robbery with
violence, or striking an officer, all of them offences which might have
had death as their punishment. As far as I can count, 1200 lashes were
only awarded nine or ten times by general court-martial during the
whole six years of the war. The hardly less severe sentence of 1000
lashes was given more frequently—over 50 cases may be reckoned up—the
offences were the same as those which earned the still heavier maximum
amount. During the latter years of the war, from 1811 onward, two
additional forms of punishment for very serious crimes were invented.
The first, mainly reserved for deserters who had not gone over to the
enemy, but had simply left the colours and hidden themselves in the
Peninsula, was long service in a colonial corps, such as the African or
the New South Wales Regiment. The other, a much more severe sentence,
was that of penal servitude, either for a term of years (seven was the
usual period), or for life. The penal settlement to which the convict
was sent is generally stated, and is almost invariably New South Wales.
This sentence was generally awarded for cases of repeated desertion
(not to the enemy) and habitual theft without violence. The moment that
violence was added to robbery, the offender came within a near distance
of the gallows or of the much-dreaded 1000 lashes—which often had the
same meaning in the end.

[Sidenote: Cashiering of Officers]

It may be interesting to give some account of the various causes for
which an officer might incur the heaviest penalty that could be laid
on him—to be cashiered. This sentence was awarded some thirty times
during the war. Twice only was it the reward of shirking or cowardice.
In three or four cases it was inflicted for swindling merchants; in
as many more for embezzling public money or stores. Five or six were
instances of insulting or openly disobeying a commanding officer. Three
or four cashierings were the direct result of drink—the offender having
been found intoxicated and incapable while on duty in a responsible
position. The most repulsive case of the whole list was one where
drunkenness was the indirect, but not the actual, cause of disgrace.
Three young officers, at the break up of a debauch, found the corpse
of a priest lying in state in a room in the quarters where two of
them were lodged. They mishandled it, and cast it forth, stripping
off the vestments, and breaking the candles, etc., with which it was
laid out.[246] This disgusting freak, apparently caused by drunken
resentment at finding a corpse in close proximity to their bedroom,
drew down a commentary from Wellington as to the noxious effects of
drink—which not only makes men incapable of performing their duty, but
renders them “unaware of the nature or effect of their actions.”

The remaining cases of cashiering were for such offences as public
and disgraceful brawling, violently resisting arrest, and flagrant
immorality.[247] There is just one case of dismissal from the service
for tyranny—that of a colonel who habitually bullied his officers and
inflicted arbitrary and illegal punishments on his men.[248] Of this I
shall have to say more in its place.

All the thirty cashierings cited above are those of combatant
officers. There are about an equal number of cases in which persons
employed under the civil departments of the army were dismissed the
service—commissaries, purveyors, surgeons, hospital mates, etc. In the
commissariat department (as might have been foreseen) embezzlement
was the snare to unscrupulous men, often far from the eye of their
superior—it was too easy to issue false vouchers as to the number of
men or horses rationed, or to make corrupt agreements with contractors
or local authorities, certifying that a larger amount of food or forage
had been supplied than had really been given in. Selling public mules
or horses, and returning them as dead, was another profitable fraud.
Two non-combatant employés of the army (a paymaster and a conductor of
stores) were “broken” for absconding from the army during the battle of
Talavera, and spreading false reports of disaster in the rear.

The medical staff, not nearly such frequent offenders as the
commissariat staff, are occasionally dismissed the service for brawling
and drunkenness, which last inevitably resulted in the neglect of the
wounded on the march or in hospital.

After cashiering, the next most serious punishment inflicted on an
officer was suspension from pay and rank for a term of months, six and
three were the usual periods named. This might be inflicted for any
one of a great variety of offences. By far the most frequent fault was
neglect of details of duty, such as quitting the regiment or detachment
for many hours without leave, allowing a convoy or a draft to straggle,
permitting the rank and file to pull down cottages for firewood, or to
waste crops, or to fell fruit trees. Sleeping away from the company, in
a rather distant house or village, was another frequent misdemeanour.
We may place second in the category of offences the one that may be
called quarrelling with native authorities. Owing to high-handed
action on the one side, and provocative sulkiness on the other, these
wrangles were very common. Officers in charge of detachments fell
out with a _juiz de fora_ or a _corregidor_, or the governor of some
petty garrison, about billets or payments due, and ended by insulting,
occasionally by assaulting, him. This generally cost the offender six
months’ suspension, for Wellington was resolved that the officers of
his army must not override lawful local authority, and sometimes, in
his comments on a court-martial sentence, asks what would be thought of
a lieutenant who should treat in such a fashion the mayor of an English
borough, or the commandant of an English fort.

[Sidenote: Wellington and Petty Quarrels]

The third list of offences which were usually visited with shorter
or longer “suspension” may be put together under the general head of
relations of officers to each other. This includes equally oppressive
or insulting acts of superiors to inferiors, and insubordinate conduct
of inferiors to superiors. The latter was far the more common failing,
if the statistics of court-martials may be trusted. But no doubt
allowance must be made for many cases in which a bullied subaltern
preferred to hold his tongue, rather than to appeal against the
acts or language of his captain or colonel—the failure of his case
would leave him in a very dangerous and unpleasant position for the
future. Intemperate language, or “improper” letters from inferiors to
superiors, are a not uncommon cause of court-martials. Even colonels
occasionally wrote or spoke in insubordinate terms to generals.[249]
But “answering back” on the part of subalterns to captains or majors
was of course far more frequent. Wellington grew, on occasion,
exceedingly wrath at reading the reports of court-martials on petty
cases of this kind. We may give a typical comment.

“I cannot but consider the transaction which has been the subject
of this court-martial as simply a private quarrel, it has as little
connection with the public service or the discipline and subordination
of the army, as any that has ever come under my notice. It is certainly
true that the private quarrels of officers may be proper subjects for
the investigation of a court-martial. But the complainant, in order
to obtain a decision in his favour, must come with a fair case. He
must not himself have been guilty of any breach of the general order
of the army, or of discipline. His authority as a superior must not
have been exerted over his inferior (of whom he complains) in order
to enjoy the advantage of his own improper conduct. Above all, he
must have refrained from the use of abusive or improper language and

Another comment is—

“The Commander of the Forces cannot but feel that both his time, and
that of the officers composing court-martials, is occupied very little
to the advantage of the public service, in considering the unbecoming
and ungentlemanlike behaviour of officers to each other.”[251]

The mildest form of punishment for officers was the reprimand, which
varied much in shape. It might amount to no more than the publication
of the fact that an officer _was_ reprimanded in the General Orders,
without any further publicity. Or, on the other hand, the sentence of
the court-martial might be directed to be read out to his regiment,
or even to his division, in the most public fashion. And to the
sentence there might be added a caustic and scathing postscript by the
Commander-in-Chief. Take, for example, “This person may think himself
very fortunate that the sentence of the court has been so lenient. A
different view of the evidence on the charge would have rendered his
dismissal from the service necessary under the Articles of War. The
Commander of the Forces hopes that he will take warning by what has
occurred, and will in future conduct himself on all occasions as a
gentleman should. This reprimand is to be read to him by the commanding
officer at the station where he may happen to be, in presence of the
officers and troops, paraded for that purpose.”[252]

Reprimands were generally the punishment for the smaller derelictions
of duty, such as failing to report arrival at a station, striking a
soldier who was insolent instead of arresting him, brawling with a
civilian or a Portuguese militia officer, or boisterous and unseemly
conduct in the streets when off duty.

There was no court-martial on an officer for desertion during the
whole war, and only one case of the sort in the commissioned ranks.
This was that of an Irish lieutenant who passed over to the French
outposts while Masséna’s army was lying behind the lines of Santarem
in February, 1811. He was discovered to be insane or suffering from
delusions, being captured during Masséna’s retreat, while wandering in
an objectless way in the rear of the enemy’s march: he was sent to a

[Sidenote: Executions for Desertion]

As to the punishments of the soldier, the heaviest was death, either
by the bullets of a firing party, or by the Provost Marshal’s gallows.
Shooting was almost exclusively reserved for the military offence of
desertion to the enemy; but it was two or three times awarded for
mutiny and striking an officer or sergeant, and once only (as far as
I can make out) to a non-commissioned officer for robbing valuable
stores which he had been set to guard.[254] It would have been more
usual to hang for the latter offence, and I do not know why this
particular case was punished with shooting. There seem to have been
78 men shot in all during the war, of whom 52 were British, and 26
foreigners. The disproportion, of course, is enormous, as there were
some fifty or sixty British battalions in the army, and only ten
foreign battalions.[255] Among the last the main body of deserters
were supplied by two battalions only, the _Chasseurs Britanniques_ and
Brunswick Oels Jägers, both of which corps were largely recruited, as
has been already explained, from Germans, Italians, Poles, and other
aliens from prison camps at home. They had volunteered into the British
service in order to get the chance of escape, and took it at the first
opportunity. The deserters from the King’s German Legion were in
proportion very few. During the last two years of the war many of these
foreign deserters were not shot, but given life service in a colonial
corps, in places such as New South Wales, from which they could not
desert again. Some others got off with a heavy sentence of flogging.

[Sidenote: The Punishment of Hanging]

Hanging was the penalty for practically all capital offences except
desertion to the enemy. It was not so frequent as shooting. The records
of the General Court-Martials show a total of about forty executions,
and a few more were apparently carried out by the Provost Marshal on
criminals caught _flagrante delicto_ murdering or wounding peasants.

The punishment of hanging covered many offences. It is rather
surprising to find that two men who killed their officers (one in the
Buffs, one in the 42nd) were hanged rather than shot—but apparently
each case was ruled to be one of private spite, and not of mutiny, and
was treated as simple murder. There were six or eight instances of men
who slew a comrade in the ranks, by deliberate assassination, not in
a quarrel, and were hanged for it. It may be noted, however, that one
private who stabbed an unfaithful wife, at the moment of detection,
was found guilty of manslaughter and given one year’s imprisonment
only. Far the most frequent cause for the use of the gallows, however,
was the killing or wounding of peasants who attempted to defend their
houses or cattle from plunder. This was a crime for which Wellington
seldom if ever gave pardon; he was as inflexible on the point in the
hostile land of France as in the friendly Spain and Portugal. It did
not matter whether the peasants were killed or not—the use of musket or
bayonet against them in pursuit of plunder was the thing that mattered.
There are certainly some most atrocious cases in the list, where a
whole family had been murdered or left for dead. But in others, where
the violence had been no more than a blow with a butt-end, or a bayonet
prod in the shoulder, the offenders seem to have been unlucky in not
getting off with a sound flogging. But in Wellington’s code petty
stealing without violence was punished with the lash, but armed robbery
with death.

In an age when in England theft to the value of over forty shillings
was still punishable in theory with death, (though the penalty was
more often evaded than not), it is not surprising to find that some
of the cases of hanging in Wellington’s army were for mere stealing.
But it was always for stealing on a large scale, or under aggravated
circumstances. Mere petty larceny led to the lash only. The most
notable achievement in this line was that of two foreigners who
succeeded in breaking open the commissary-general’s chest and stole no
less than £2000 from it; others were those of a soldier-servant who
absconded with his master’s mule, baggage, and purse; of a sentry over
the tent of a brigadier, who took the opportunity of making off with
the general’s silver camp-equipage and plate; and of a man who being
on treasure-escort, succeeded in opening a barrel and stealing some
hundreds of dollars from it. In two or three instances large sums of
£40 or £60, burglariously stolen from the house or tent of an officer,
a commissary, or a sutler, brought men to the gallows. Finally, there
was one case of hanging for the crime of sodomy—which was still a
capital offence in English law for more than thirty years after the
Peninsular War ended.

There are one or two instances on record of rather surprising leniency
in the sentences inflicted by court-martial for crimes which in most
other cases entailed the death-penalty—_e.g._ plundering and wounding
a peasant was on two occasions in 1814 punished with 900 and 1000
lashes only, and three artillerymen, who stole the watch, purse, and
papers of the Spanish General Giron, got off with transportation to New
South Wales, instead of suffering the hanging that was usual for such
a serious offence. A dragoon convicted of rape in 1814 was lucky also
in receiving no more than a heavy flogging. No doubt there was in such
light sentences some consideration of previous good conduct and steady
service on the part of the offenders.

We have already spoken of the penalties which came next after death
in the list—the terrible 1200 and 1000 lash awards, and of the crimes
which usually earned them. Much more frequent were the 700, 500, and
300 lash sentences, which are to be numbered by the hundred, and
were awarded, as a rule, for casual theft without violence, making
away with necessaries (_e.g._ selling blankets or ball-cartridge to
peasants), or “embargoing” carts and oxen, _i.e._ pressing transport
from the countryside without leave, to carry baggage or knapsacks
when a small party, without an officer in charge, was on the move.
Purloining shoes or food from a convoy was another frequent offence,
worth about 500 lashes to the detected culprit. The bee-hive stealers
of the retreat from Talavera got 700 lashes each—a heavy sentence for
such a crime. The tale concerning them is too good to be omitted.

After the general order against plundering from the peasantry was
issued at Jaraicejo to the half-starved army, Sir Arthur Wellesley, in
a cross-country ride, saw a man of the Connaught Rangers posting along
as fast as his legs could carry him, with his great coat wrapped around
his head, and a bee-hive balanced upon it, with a swarm of furious bees
buzzing around. Furious at such a flagrant breach of orders issued
only on the previous day, the Commander-in-Chief called out to him,
“Hullo, sir, where did you get that bee-hive?” Pat could not see his
interlocutor, having completely shrouded his face to keep off stings:
he did not pay sufficient heed to the _tone_ of the question, which
should have warned him, and answered in a fine Milesian brogue, “Just
over the hill there, and, by Jasus, if ye don’t make haste they’ll be
all gone.”[256] The blind good-nature of the reply stayed the General’s
anger; he let Pat pass, and told the story at dinner with a laugh. But
the order was no joke to the men of the 53rd caught at the same game a
few days after.[257] They got the nickname of the “honeysuckers” along
with their flogging.

[Sidenote: Charles Reilly’s Excuse]

There is another tale of “embargoing” belonging to the regimental
history of the Connaught Rangers, which may serve as a pendant to that
about the bee-hives.

Early in 1812 a commissary had pressed country carts to go to the
Douro, to bring back pipes of wine for the troops. On such occasions,
with a hilly country and very tedious work, the men would often
contrive, in spite of the vigilance of the subaltern in charge of the
convoy, to let the driver escape with his bullocks for a pecuniary
consideration. Other carts were then illegally pressed as substitutes.
On one of these occasions a detachment of the 88th regiment was sent to
St. João da Pesqueira for some wine. On their return, the commissary
observed that the two fine white bullocks, which he had sent with one
cart, had been exchanged for two very inferior blacks. He made his
regular complaint, and the two men in charge, a corporal and private,
were brought to a court-martial. On the trial everything was proved,
save the act of receiving money from the driver to allow the white
bullocks to escape; and the president, on summing up the evidence of
the commissary, said to the prisoners, “It is quite useless denying
the fact; it is conclusive. You started from hence with a pair of fine
white bullocks, and you brought back a pair of lean blacks. What can
you have to say to that?” Private Charles Reilly, noways abashed at
this, which every one thought a poser, and ready with any excuse to
save himself from punishment, immediately exclaimed, “Och! plaise your
honour, and wasn’t the white beasts lazy, and didn’t we bate them until
they were black?” The court was not quite satisfied of the truth of
this wonderful metamorphosis, and they were condemned to be punished
(_see_ General Order, Freneda, January 22, 1812)—the corporal to be
broke and get 700 lashes, Reilly to get 500. But in consideration
of the great gallantry displayed by the 88th at the storm of Ciudad
Rodrigo a few days before, the culprits were in the end pardoned.

All these cases quoted are from records of general court-martials. But
of course the huge majority of floggings were inflicted by regimental
courts, which had jurisdiction over all minor offences, such as
drunkenness, disobedience, and petty breaches of discipline inside the
regiment, but could not give the heavier sentences such as death or
transportation, or the 1000 lashes.

A glance through the records of court-martials shows that some
battalions gave much more than their proper percentage of criminals,
some much less. Two main causes governed the divergence: the first was
that some corps got more than their share of bad recruits—wild Irish
or town scum; but I fancy that the character of the commanding officer
was even more important than the precise proportion of undesirables
drafted into the ranks. A colonel who could make himself loved as
well as feared could reclaim even very unpromising recruits: a tyrant
or an incapable could turn even well-disposed men into bad soldiers.
It is clear that an excessively easy-going and slack commanding
officer, who winked at irregularities, and discouraged zeal among his
officers, ruined a battalion as surely as the most inhuman martinet.
Among the court-martials of the Peninsular Army there are very few on
colonels—not half a dozen. But one chances to be on a tyrant, and the
other on a _fainéant_, and the evidence seems to show that the latter
got his corps into quite as wretched condition as the former. Though
he received over the regiment, as every one allowed, in excellent
order, in a few months of slack administration and relaxed discipline,
it became not only drunken and slovenly, but so slow on the march,
and at the rendezvous, that the other units in the brigade had always
to be waiting for it, and the brigadier complained that he could not
trust it at the outposts. The officers, gradually coming to despise
their colonel, treated him with contempt, and finally sent in a
round-robin to the Horse Guards, accusing him not only of incapacity
but of cowardice, which last, in the court-martial which followed, was
held to be an unfounded charge.[258] The colonel, as a result of the
investigation, was reprimanded, and put on half-pay; his subordinates,
for grave breach of discipline, were all drafted into other regiments,
and a new body of picked officers was brought together, to reorganize
a corps which was evidently in a thoroughly demoralized condition; the
new-comers got the nickname of the “Elegant Extracts.”

[Sidenote: A Tyrannical Colonel]

The reverse-picture, of a regiment ruined by arbitrary strictness and
inhuman exaggeration of punishments, may be studied in the records
of a court-martial held in the spring of 1813.[259] In this case a
commanding officer was found guilty not only of “violent conduct”
and “using intemperate and improper language to his officers, being
in breach of good discipline, and unbecoming the character of an
officer and a gentleman,” but of inflicting corporal punishment at
large without any form of trial, when there were sufficient officers
present to form a proper regimental court-martial; of disobeying the
direction of the Commander-in-Chief by piling up sentences of flogging
passed on men on different occasions, so as to inflict several separate
punishments at the same time, and of releasing men sentenced to
punishment in order to send them into action, and then returning them
to arrest after the battle in order to receive their lashes. This last
was specially in conflict with Wellington’s orders, for he held that
good conduct in action ought to work out a sentence, pronounced but not
inflicted, and that no man convicted of a disgraceful offence ought to
be put into line till he had expiated it by undergoing his punishment.
This officer was dismissed the service, but, in consideration of a good
fighting record in the past, was allowed the value of his commission as

One diary from the ranks, that of Donaldson of the 94th, gives a very
interesting and complete picture of the fate of a battalion which, by
the invaliding of its colonel, had fallen into the hands of a major who
had the soul of a tyrant. This was a case of an old ranker who knew
too much of soldiers’ tricks, and had a sort of system of espionage
through men who were prepared to act as his toadies and secret
informers. “By this eaves-dropping he knew all the little circumstances
which another commanding officer would have disdained to listen to,
and always made a bad use of his knowledge. When he got command of
the regiment he introduced flogging for every trivial offence, and in
addition invented disgraceful and torturing modes of inflicting the
lash. But this was not enough—he ordered that all defaulters should
have a patch of black and yellow cloth sewed on to the sleeve of their
jacket, and a hole cut in it for every time they were punished. The
effect was soon visible: as good men were liable to be punished for the
slightest fault, the barrier between them and hardened ill-doers was
broken down, and those who had lost respect in their own eyes became
broken-hearted and inefficient soldiers, or else grew reckless and
launched out into real crime. Those who were hardened and unprincipled
before, being brought by the prevalence of punishments nearer to a
level with the better men, seemed to glory in misconduct. In short,
all idea of honour and character was lost, and listless apathy and
bad conduct became the prevailing features of the corps. Reckless
punishment changed the individual’s conduct in two ways—he either
became broken-hearted and useless, or else shameless and hardened....
The real method of accomplishing the desired end of keeping good
discipline, is for the officers to make themselves acquainted with the
personal character and disposition of each man under their command.
A commanding officer has as good a right to make himself acquainted
with the disposition of his men, as the medical officer with their
constitutions.”[260] When the colonel came back from sick leave he was
shocked to find the men he had been so proud of treated in this manner.
His first act was to cut off the yellow badge; his second to do away
with the frequent punishments. But though the regiment was again on a
fair footing, it was long before the effect of a few months’ ill-usage

[Sidenote: Good-Conduct Medals]

What certain misguided officers tried to maintain by a reign of terror,
was sought in other ways by wiser men. It is to the Peninsular War
period that we owe the first of our “Long Service and Good Conduct”
medals—all at first regimental, and not given by the State. Honorary
distinctions for the well-conducted man are both a more humane and a
more rational form of differentiation between good and bad than the
black and yellow badge for every man punished for any cause, which the
detestable major quoted above tried to introduce.[261] In addition
some regiments instituted a division of the men into classes, of which
the best behaved had graduated privileges and benefits. Any man after
a certain period of certified good conduct could be moved up into a
higher class, and the emulation not to be left among the recognized
black-sheep had a very good effect.[262] But even without “classes” or
good-conduct medals, the best could be got out of any regiment by wise
and considerate conduct on the part of the officers. There were corps
where the lash was practically unknown,[263] and others where it had
only been felt by a very small minority of hopeless irreclaimables.

On the other hand, there is a record or two of punishments in a
unit, inflicted by officers who do not seem to have been regarded by
public opinion as specially tyrannical or heartless, which fills the
reader with astonishment. I have analysed the list of men noted for
chastisement in one battery of artillery, where on an effective of 4
sergeants and 136 rank and file, three of the former had been “broken,”
and 57 of the latter had received punishments varying downwards
from 500 lashes, in the space of twelve months (July, 1812, to July,
1813), over which the record extends. Though some of the offences were
serious enough, there were others for which the use of the cat appears
altogether misplaced and irrational. As an observer in another corps
wrote “the frequency of flogging at one time had the effect of blinding
the judgment of officers who possessed both feeling and discrimination.
I have known one who shed tears when his favourite horse was injured,
and next day exulted in seeing a poor wretch flogged whose offence was
being late in delivering an order.”

Floggings were inflicted by the drummers of the regiment, under the
superintendence of the drum-major and the adjutant. The culprit was
bound by his extended arms to two of three sergeants’ halberds,
planted in the ground in a triangle, and lashed together at the top.
The strokes were inflicted at the tap of a drum beaten in slow time.
Each of the wielders of the cat retired after having given twenty-five
lashes. The surgeon was always present, to certify that the man’s
life was not in danger by the further continuance of the punishment,
and the prisoner was taken down the moment that the medical man
declared that he could stand no more. Often this interference saved
a culprit from the end of his punishment, as if the tale was fairly
complete he might never be called upon to undergo the balance. But in
grave cases the prisoner was merely sent into hospital till he was
sufficiently convalescent to endure the payment of the remainder of
his account. Inhuman commanding officers sometimes refused to allow of
any abatement, even when the crime had not been a very serious one,
and insisted that the whole sentence should be executed, even if the
culprit had to go twice into hospital before it was completed.

[Sidenote: A Memory of a Flogging]

The autobiographical record of a flogging is rather rare—the diarist in
the ranks was generally a steady sort of fellow, who did not get into
the worst trouble. The following may serve as an example, however. It
is that of William Lawrence of the 1/40th, who in 1809 was a private,
though he won his sergeant’s stripes in 1813.

“I absented myself without leave from guard for twenty-four hours, and
when I returned I found I was in a fine scrape, for I was immediately
put in the guard-room. It was my first offence, but that did not screen
me much, and I was sentenced to 400 lashes. I found the regiment
assembled all ready to witness my punishment: the place chosen for it
was the square of a convent. As soon as I had been brought up by the
guard, the sentence of the court-martial was read over to me by the
colonel, and I was told to strip, which I did firmly, and without using
the help that was offered me, as I had by that time got hardened to my
lot. I was then lashed to the halberds, and the colonel gave the order
for the drummers to commence, each one having to give me twenty-five
lashes in turn. I bore it very well until I had received 175, when I
got so enraged with the pain that I began pushing the halberds, which
did not stand at all firm (being planted on stones), right across the
square, amid the laughter of the regiment. The colonel, I suppose
thinking then that I had had sufficient, ‘ordered the sulky rascal
down’ in those very words. Perhaps a more true word could not have been
spoken, for indeed I was sulky. I did not give vent to a sound the
whole time, though the blood ran down my trousers from top to bottom. I
was unbound, and a corporal hove my shirt and jacket over my shoulder,
and convoyed me to hospital, presenting as miserable a picture as I
possibly could.

“Perhaps it was as good a thing for me as could then have happened, as
it prevented me from committing greater crimes, which might at last
have brought me to my ruin. But I think a good deal of that punishment
might have been abandoned, with more credit to those who then ruled
the army.”[264] Yet to be absent twenty-four hours when on guard was
certainly a serious crime.

Lawrence got off with 175 lashes out of 400 ordered, but was in
hospital nearly three weeks. But 300 or 400 lashes were often inflicted
at a time, and there were men who could take them without a groan.

“Corporal punishment was going on all the year round,” writes a veteran
officer of the 34th,[265] “men were flogged for the small offences, and
for the graver ones often flogged to death—the thousand lashes were
often awarded by court-martial. I have seen men suffer 500 and even 700
before being ‘taken down,’ the blood running down into their shoes,
and their backs flayed like raw red-chopped sausages. Some of them
bore this awful punishment without flinching for 200 or 300 lashes,
chewing a musket ball or a bit of leather to prevent or stifle the
cry of agony: after that they did not seem to feel the same torture.
Sometimes the head drooped over to one side, but the lashing still went
on, the surgeon in attendance examining the patient from time to time
to see what more he could bear. I _did_ see, with horror, one prisoner
receive the 700 before he was taken down. This was the sentence of
a court-martial, carried into effect in the presence of the whole
brigade, for an example.[266] We certainly had very bad characters sent
out to fill the gaps in our ranks, sweepings of prisons in England
and Ireland: but such punishments were inhuman, and I made up my mind
that, if ever I had the chance of commanding a regiment, I would act
on another principle. That time _did_ come. I _did_ command a gallant
corps for eleven years, and I abolished the lash.”

But enough of such horrors. The memory of them is a nightmare.



It is rare in Peninsular literature to find any general descriptions
of the normal working of the military machine. In personal diaries
or reminiscences the author takes for granted a knowledge of the
daily life of the army, which was so familiar to himself, and only
makes remarks or notes when something abnormal happened. Official
documents, on the other hand, are nearly always concerned with changes
or modifications in routine. They explain and comment upon the reasons
why some particular detail of practice must be abandoned, or be more
strictly enforced, but they do not give descriptive accounts of the
whole system of which that detail is a part. A notion as to the methods
on which Wellington’s army was moved could be got together by the
comparison of a great many of his “General Orders.” But, fortunately,
we are spared much trouble in the compilation of such a sketch by the
fact that, for once, it is possible to lay one’s hand on a careful
detailed narrative of how the army marched. It is to be found in the
anonymous introduction to the second edition of _Selected General
Orders_, which Gurwood published in 1837. It was apparently not by
the editor himself, as he states in his introductory note that it
“was written, as a critique, at the suggestion of the author of a
distinguished periodical review; but being found too long and too
professional for columns usually destined to literature or politics, it
was not inserted.”[267] Since authors do not review their own books,
it is clear that this critique was written by some friend, not by
Gurwood himself. It extends to about thirty-seven pages, of which nine
are devoted to the long and interesting sketch of Wellington’s army on
the march, which is reproduced in the following paragraphs. The author,
writing for the general public, not for the professional public, tells
us precisely what we want to know.

“The orders for movement from the Commander of the Forces were
communicated by the Quarter Master General to the General Officers
commanding divisions, who detailed them, through their Assistant
Quarter Master Generals, to the Generals of brigades, who gave them out
immediately to the battalions of their brigades, through the Brigade
Majors. The drum, the bugle and the trumpet sounded the preparation
for the march at a certain hour, generally one hour and a half before
daylight, in order that the several battalions might be assembled on
the brigade alarm-posts, so as to be ready to march off from the ground
precisely at daylight. It must be observed that the alarm-post is the
place of assembly in the event of alarm; it was generally, and should
always be, the place of parade.

“It is singular to refer to these orders to see how a division of 6000
men, and so on in any proportion, rolled up in their blankets ‘in
the arms of Murphy,’ were all dressed, with blankets rolled, packed,
equipped, squadded, paraded in companies, told off in subdivisions,
sections, and sections of threes, marched by companies to the
regimental alarm-posts, and finally to that of the brigade, formed in
close columns, all by sounds as familiar to the soldier as the clock at
the Horse Guards to a corporal of the Blues. Guns were paraded, baggage
packed and loaded, Commissariat mules with the reserve biscuit, the
Storekeeper with the spare ammunition-bullocks placed under charge, all
assembled with the same precision and order, ready to march off under
the direction of the Assistant Quarter Master General attached to the
division or corps, who had previously assembled the guides, whom he
attached to the column or columns directed to be marched to the points
or towns named in the Quarter Master General’s instructions. In the
mean time the formidable Provost Marshal attached to the division made
his patrols.

[Sidenote: Starting the March]

“The report of ‘All Present’ being made in succession by the Brigade
Majors to the Assistant Adjutant General, and by him to the General
commanding the column, the word ‘By sections of threes, march,’ was
given, from the right or left, as directed in the Quarter Master
General’s instructions, the whole being formed either right or
left in front, according to the views of the General in command of
the army. The advanced guard of the column was then formed under
the superintendence of the Brigade Major of the Brigade, right or
left in front. This advanced guard consisted of one company of
varying strength. The whole was marched off at sloped arms, with the
greatest precision and regularity, and remained in that order until
the word ‘March at ease’ was given to the leading battalion, which
was successively taken up by the others in the rear. The women, in
detached parties, either preceded the column or followed it—none were
permitted to accompany it; they generally remained with the baggage,
excepting when their finances enabled them to make little speculations
in bread and _comfort_ in the villages or towns in the neighbourhood
of the line of march. The Assistant Provost Marshal with his guard
and delinquents brought up the rear of the column, followed by the
rear guard, under an officer who took up all the stragglers, whom he
lodged in the main guard on his arrival, where those who had received
tickets of permission to fall out were directed to join their corps,
non-commissioned officers being in waiting to receive them.

“The first halt was generally made at the expiration of half an hour
from the departure, and afterwards once an hour; each halt lasted at
least five minutes after the men had piled their arms; this might vary
a little, as the weather, distance, or other circumstances of the
march might point out. The object of halting was for the purpose of
allowing those who had fallen out to rejoin their companies, which,
excepting in cases of sickness, usually occurred; as a man wanting to
fall out was obliged to obtain a ticket from the officer commanding his
company so to do, and to leave his pack and his firelock to be carried
by his comrades of his section of threes; he therefore lost no time
to return to his rank, and give back his ticket. This first halt was
generally passed in eating a piece of bread or meat set aside for the
march—arranging the accoutrements, pack, haversack, and canteen, so as
to sit well—in jokes about the last night’s quarters or bivouac, or in
the anticipations of the next. At the expiration of the halt the drum
or bugle sounded the ‘Fall-in,’ and, by word of command, the leading
battalion proceeded in the same order as in the beginning of the march;
the other battalions following in succession, always with music; then
‘March at ease’ as before; but when the word ‘Attention’ was given, the
whole sloped arms and marched in the same order as at a field-day; this
was always done in formations previous to the halt.

“When the army was not near the enemy, two officers preceded each
battalion on its march, one of them twenty-four hours before the
battalion, and, on his arrival at the station pointed out, received the
necessary information from the Assistant Quarter Master General. The
other officer marched the same day in charge of the camp-colour men of
each company, so as to arrive early, and take over the quarters from
the officer who went on the day before.

[Sidenote: Distribution of Billets]

“The Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General always preceded these
officers, to make arrangements with the magistrates as to quarters: and
the town was parcelled out by him, in proportion to the strength of the
several battalions or corps, to their respective officers; they divided
it according to their judgment to the ten orderlies, who chalked on the
doors the letter of the company and number of men to occupy, as also
the officers’ quarters, which invariably were in the quarters of the
company. The officer first marked off the quarters of the Commanding
Officer, staff, orderly-room, guard-room, Quarter Master’s stores, all
in the most central position in the quarters of the regiment. The first
officer then proceeded to the next station; the second officer and the
ten orderlies proceeded to the road by which the troops were to arrive,
and accompanied them to the alarm-post fixed for them: which spot the
Assistant Quarter Master General, under the direction of the General
in command, had pointed out, either in front or in rear of the town.
Here they halted in column, as also assembled the following morning,
or at any other time that the alarm or assembly might be sounded. The
brigades, the battalions, and the companies each had their respective
alarm-posts or places of formation in the most central parts of their
quarters. The officers commanding companies then put their men up,
and made reports to the Officer Commanding as to the accommodation,
or the want of it, the officers commanding battalions to those
commanding brigades, and the Generals of Brigades to the General of the
Division. The Assistant Quarter Master General was always ready to be
appealed to, in case of a battalion being crowded, to afford further
accommodation, as there was generally some building or street reserved
in a central position for this purpose, or in the event of detachments
of other corps arriving.

“When the column was to bivouac in huts, or, as afterwards, encamp
in tents, there occurred less difficulty. On arrival on the position
pointed out in the Quarter Master General’s instructions, the General
commanding chose what he considered the most favourable ground in
accordance with needs as to front, communications with his flanks
and rear, reference to wood and water, and the health of the ground,
avoiding proximity to marshes, where the night damps might affect
the troops. The Assistant Quarter Master General disposed of this
ground to the several officers sent on in advance by the battalions
for that purpose, as before described in quarters. The General then
proceeded to the front, and indicated where he wished his advanced
piquets to be posted, to be in communication with the outposts of the
cavalry in front, or, if there were none, to cover all the approaches
with detached posts and sentries, so that nothing should be able to
arrive by any of them without being seen and stopped; or if patrols
or other movements of the enemy should take place, either by night or
day, that the same might be made known by the chain of sentries to the
detached posts and outlying piquets, and communicated to the main body,
if thought necessary, by the Field Officer of the outlying piquets.
Preconcerted signals of setting fire to beacons, or a certain number of
musket shots fired, communicated the alarm more quickly, and allowed
the troops more time to get under arms, until the precise cause of the
alarm was ascertained.

“The division having arrived on its ground, the outlying piquets
were immediately marched off to take the covering of the front just
described. The temporary division-hospital, and the Commissariat
magazines, being pointed out to the Commanding Officers, Surgeons,
and Quarter Masters, the brigades and battalions proceeded to their
respective alarm-posts and ground for the encampment or bivouac,
accompanied by the officers and the camp-colour men as before stated.
The quarter and rear guards were then mounted, to be relieved always
in two hours afterwards by fresh troops. The sentries from the quarter
guards watched the communications to the front, and to the detached
posts between the camp and the outlying piquets, to communicate alarm
if announced in any manner from the front.

[Sidenote: Tents and Huts]

“If the troops were to encamp, the tent mules, which always immediately
followed the column, under charge of an officer, preceding all other
baggage, were unloaded, and the company’s tents pitched in column on
the alignment given to the battalion, brigade, and division.

“If there were no tents, then the bill-hooks came speedily into play:
regular squads were formed for cutting branches, others for drawing
them to the lines, and others as the architects for constructing
the huts: this was an amusement more than a duty, and it was quite
wonderful to see how speedily every one was under cover. It was the
pride of each company that their officers’ huts should be the first and
the best built. The soldier became quite re-invigorated by the mere act
of piling arms, getting off his accoutrements, pack, haversack, and
other incumbrances, which weigh generally about sixty pounds, and set
to work in right earnest at the hut-building. Although the huts were
not quite so speedily erected, or pitched with the same regularity,
as the tents, yet still the order and alignment were preserved when
the ground permitted. This might not have been essential, yet still no
opportunity should be allowed to escape in inculcating the habit of
order and regularity in whatever is done by the soldier; and, however
simple the act, it should be impressed on his mind, that what is
ordered is the easiest, and that what is his duty is his interest.

“The regular fatigue parties for bread, meat, and spirits were
regularly told off and warned, before the companies were dismissed to
pitch tents or build huts. These parties consisted generally of two or
three men per company, under a corporal, for each particular article
of provisions, to be ready to turn out when that article was called at
the quarter guard. A company’s guard or watch, of a corporal and four
privates, furnishing one sentry with side arms only, always remained in
the lines of the company to repeat communications and preserve order.

“The Commanding Officers made their reports through the Majors of
brigade, that their respective battalions had received bread, meat,
spirits, and forage, specifying the number of days for each; that they
had marched off one or more companies, of such and such strength, for
the outlying piquets, to the posts directed under the orders of the
Field Officer of the outlying piquets; and that the orderlies who had
accompanied them had returned, knowing where to find them. The outlying
piquets were under the Field Officer of the day, who again received his
instructions from the Assistant Adjutant General of the division. The
Commanding Officers at the same time reported the force of the company
or inlying piquet, which were ready to turn out to support the outlying
piquet in the event of being required, and were under the Field Officer
of the day of the inlying piquets, and kept on their accoutrements,
although in other respects, like the remaining companies, not on duty,
and in their tents or huts. The company on inlying piquet, as also the
Field Officer of the day in charge of the whole of the companies of the
brigade, were always first for the outlying piquet.

“All particular duties were taken by companies, under their own
officers, and not by the old way of individual roster of so many men
per company; such were the company for outlying piquet; the company
for inlying piquet, which gave the quarter and rear guards within the
lines; the first company for general fatigue, from which the Quarter
Master’s fatigues were taken for ammunition, equipment, working
parties, and all other fatigues, excepting rations; all these duties
were taken by the roster of companies.

[Sidenote: On Drawing Rations]

“The issue of rations was regulated by the Quarter Master and
Commissariat, agreeably to the instructions of the General commanding
the division or brigade, communicated in orders to the battalions,
and was done regimentally by individuals from all the companies, and
not by the company on general fatigue. On the issue of any article,
such as bread, meat, wine, or forage, the fatigue parties from each
company, as before described, were summoned from the quarter guard
by the Quarter Master, who called out the watch in the lines of each
company; those previously warned for each article turned out under
their respective non-commissioned officers, and assembled under the
officer of the inlying piquet named in the orders at the quarter guard.
He then proceeded with the Quarter Master or Quarter Master Sergeant
to the place of issue; after the delivery he returned to the quarter
guard, reported to the Captain of the Day, who was the captain of the
inlying piquet, the regularity or irregularity of the particular issue
under his superintendence, and then dismissed the parties under their
several non-commissioned officers to their respective companies, where
the delivery was immediately made under the orderly Officer of each
company. The same routine took place when in quarters; and, although
the recapitulation may appear tedious, still the whole was performed
with a celerity which leaves more time to the soldier when in camp than
in any other situation.

“At an appointed hour the sick reports were gathered from the
companies, and the men paraded for the inspection of the Surgeon;
he reported to the Staff Surgeon, who, in his turn, reported to
the General commanding the division, sending his own report to the
Inspector General of Hospitals.

“The General commanding the division made his reports to the Adjutant
and Quarter Master Generals for the information of the Commander of the
Forces, according to the importance of the report and the circumstances
of the moment.

“When before the enemy, the issue of the provisions and the cooking
were attended to with every consideration to the position of things,
so that what was to be done should be done with speed as well as
precaution; for it would be bad management to throw away the soup
before it was well made, or swallow it boiling hot, in case of
interruption, and still worse to leave it to the enemy. All this is
sufficiently dwelt upon in the Duke’s ‘Circular Letter,’ and in the
admirable orders of General Robert Craufurd, from whence the greater
part of the foregoing details were learned and proved in the field.[268]

“The new tin camp-kettle, carried alternately by the men of each
squad, was a great improvement upon the old Flanders iron cauldron,
which required a whole tree, or the half of a church door, to make it
boil; and which, being carried on the camp-kettle mule (afterwards
appropriated to carry the tents), only arrived with the baggage. This
improvement, as the Duke truly observed in his ‘October Minute,’ left
much valuable time disposable for other purposes. It is to be hoped
that in any future wars some improvement will also take place in the
weight and temper of the old bill-hook, which, in the early part of
the Peninsular War, was immoderately heavy, and had edges which, on
attempting to cut any wood not absolutely green, bent like lead: many
of the men threw these away, but the more prudent _exchanged_ them for
the lighter and better tempered bill-hook used by the Portuguese in
their vineyards, exchange being no robbery with our fellows.

[Sidenote: The Miseries of Wet Weather]

“In the camp or bivouac, in fine weather, all went on merrily, but
there came moments of which the mere remembrance even now recalls
ancient twitches of rheumatism, which the iron frame of the most hardy
could not always resist. On the night previous to General Craufurd’s
affair on the Coa, on those previous to the battle of Salamanca and the
battle of Waterloo, and on many other less anxious nights, not hallowed
by such recollections, deluges of rain not only drenched the earth, but
unfortunately all that rested or tried to rest upon it; the draining
through the hut from above by some ill-placed sticks in the roof, like
lightning conductors, conveyed the subtle fluid where it was the least
wanted; while the floods coursing under, drove away all possibility
of sleep: repose was, of course, out of the question, when even the
worms would come out of the earth, it being far too wet for them. ‘In
such a night as this’ it was weary work to await the lagging dawn with
a craving stomach; and, worse still, to find nothing but a bellyful
of bullets for breakfast. But, on the Pyrenees, in the more fortunate
and healthy days of tents, it was not unusual, when the mountain blast
and torrents of rain drew up the pegs of the tents, for them to fall,
as nothing in nature falls, squash on the soldier, who lay enveloped
and floundering in the horrible wet folds of canvas. Then nothing but
the passing joke ‘Boat a-hoy!’ or the roars of laughter caused by some
wag, who made this acme of misery into mirth, could re-animate to the
exertion of scrambling out of these clammy winding-sheets. These are
recollections, however, which, notwithstanding the sufferings in the
experience of them, and their legacies of rheumatism, still afford
pleasurable feelings to the old soldier, now laid up by his Christmas

To this long and lively description by an anonymous Peninsular veteran
(probably from the Light Division) of the way in which Wellington’s
army moved, we need only add a few words by way of caution and
supplement. The smoothly-working regularity which it described could
not always be secured in actual practice. There were marches where
the system could not be carried out, by reason of hurry, unexpected
changes of direction, and the vagaries of the weather. When some
sudden movement of the French forced the Duke to throw his army on a
route that he had not intended to take, the elaborate provision of
officers going before to act as harbingers could not be carried out.
When a division halted, late at night, at some unforeseen destination,
there could be neither the selection of billets, nor (in the open
field) the erection of huts described above. All had to be done more
or less haphazard in the dark. In hot or stormy weather stragglers
were numerous, and the “ticket” routine broke down altogether. The
description above will do for long orderly movements like the advance
on Madrid in 1812, or the march to Vittoria, in 1813, but it fails to
reproduce the impression of confusion and misery caused by the perusal
of any good narrative of the Burgos retreat, or of the disorder in
the hasty marches to intercept Soult on the eve of the battles of
the Pyrenees. A quotation from a diarist in the ranks,[269] giving a
picture of the first-named march may suffice to give the reverse of
the shield.

[Sidenote: The Retreat from Burgos]

“Retreating before the enemy at any time is a grievous business, but
in such weather as that of November, 1812, it was doubly so. The rain
pouring down in torrents drenched us to the skin, the road, composed
of clay soil, stuck to our shoes so fast that they were torn off our
feet. The nights were dismally dark, the cold winds blew in heavy
gusts, and the roads became gradually worse. After marching in this
state for hours, we halted in a field by the roadside, piled our arms,
and were allowed to dispose of ourselves as we best could. The moon,
wading through dense masses of clouds, sometimes threw a momentary
gleam on the miserable beings huddled together in every variety of
posture, and trying to rest or to screen themselves from the cold. Some
were lying on the wet ground rolled in wetter blankets, some placed
their knapsack on a stone, and sat on it, with their blankets wrapped
about them, their heads resting on their knees, their teeth chattering
with cold. Long before daylight we were again ordered to fall in, and
proceeded on our retreat. The rain still continued to fall, the roads
were now knee-deep in mud. Many men got fatigued and could not follow:
the spring waggons could not hold them all; they dropped behind to
fall into the hands of the French cavalry. By some mismanagement the
commissary stores had been sent on ahead with the baggage, toward
Rodrigo, and we were without food. The feeling of hunger was very
severe: some oxen that had remained with the division were killed and
served out to us, but our attempts to kindle cooking fires with wet
wood were abortive. Sometimes we just managed to raise a smoke, and
numbers would gather round a fire, which then would go out, in spite of
their efforts.

“A savage sort of desperation took possession of our minds: those
who lived on most friendly terms with each other in better times now
quarrelled with each other, using the most frightful imprecations on
the slightest offence. A misanthropic spirit took possession of every
breast. The streams from the hills were swollen into rivers, which we
had to wade, and vast numbers fell out, among them even officers. It
was piteous to see the men, who had long dragged their limbs after
them with a determined spirit, finally fall down in the mud unable to
proceed further. The despairing looks that they gave us, when they saw
us pass on, would have pierced the heart at any other time; but our
feelings were steeled, and we had no power to assist, even had we felt
the inclination.

“At last the rain somewhat abated, but the cold was excessive: at
the nightly halt many men threw themselves down in the mud, praying
for death to relieve them from their misery. And some prayed not in
vain, for next morning, starting in the dark, we stumbled over several
who had died in the night. Setting my foot inadvertently on one, I
stooped down to feel, and I shall never forget the sickening thrill
that went to my heart, as my hand touched his cold, clammy face. This
day we halted earlier than usual, and the weather being clearer, got
fires lighted; but there was nothing to eat save acorns from a wood in
which we encamped—we greedily devoured them, though they were nauseous
in the extreme. Next day’s sufferings were of the same nature—only
more aggravated, till at last we neared Rodrigo in the dark, halted,
and heard at last the well-known summons of ‘Turn out for biscuit,’
ring in our ears. We had got to food at last. Instead of the usual
orderly division each man seized what he could get, and began to allay
the dreadful gnawing pain which had tormented us for four days of
unexampled cold and fatigue.”



[Sidenote: The Baggage Animals]

The train of Wellington’s army was very heavy. In addition to the long
droves of mules and ox-waggons which carried public stores, there was
a very large accumulation of private baggage. The field equipment
of officers—especially of officers of the higher ranks—strikes the
modern student as very heavy, and was much commented on by French
observers at the time. “To look at the mass of impedimenta and
camp-followers trailing behind the British,” says Foy, “you would
think you were beholding the army of Darius. Only when you have met
them in the field do you realize that you have to do with the soldiers
of Alexander.” The cause of this accumulation was partly a survival
of the lax customs of the eighteenth century, but it resulted still
more from the character of the country over which Wellington’s host
moved. In the interior of Spain or Portugal absolutely nothing was to
be procured. The simplest small luxuries, tea, sugar, coffee, were
ungettable, save in the largest towns; to renew clothing was equally
impossible. He who required anything must carry it with him. It was
not like campaigning in France, Belgium, Germany, or Italy. At the
commencement of his term of command Wellington laid down the rule[270]
that no private baggage was to be carried upon carts: “those who have
baggage to carry, must be provided with mules and horses.” This order
is repeated again and again during later years.[271] A regular scale
of the amount of horses and mules allowed to officers of different
rank was shortly produced. Two subalterns must share one sumpter-beast
between them, a captain was allowed a whole mule or horse, and so on,
in a mounting scale.[272] But as early as September 1, 1809, it would
seem that a more liberal allowance was made legal. In a “general order”
of that day we get an elaborate table of rations of forage for all
ranks, from the commander-in-chief downwards. While subalterns are
allowed one ration each, the number rises enormously for the seniors,
a captain commanding a company is set down for five rations, a major
for seven, a lieutenant-colonel in charge of a battalion for ten, the
Adjutant-General for twenty, etc., etc. This was a far too liberal
allowance for the senior ranks, and led to an accumulation of beasts,
both riding horses and pack-mules, far surpassing what was reasonable.
To enable them to equip themselves for field service, all officers
(whether staff or regimental) when ordered for the first time to join
the army, were allowed to draw 200 days “bât, baggage, and forage
money.” This presumably would go towards the purchase of their animals.
The forage allowed was 14 lbs. of hay or straw of the country, and 12
lbs. of oats, or 10 lbs. of barley or Indian corn. When English hay was
procurable (as at Lisbon) only 10 lbs. of it might be issued instead of
the 14 lbs. of native stuff. On this system the captain would provide
himself with a riding horse, generally a small Portuguese nag, and have
a mule for his baggage. The subaltern must walk if he kept a mule:
but it seems that very soon the juniors also took to riding. At any
rate, lieutenants and other juniors often appear with a riding horse.
Nothing is more common in a diary than to find, on his first arrival in
Portugal the young officer procuring himself not one but two beasts,
generally a nag and a mule. Sometimes he brought out a horse of his own
from England.[273] More usually he bought—

       “A mule for baggage, and a ‘bit of blood’”[274]

in the horse-market at Lisbon, of which one who had been through the
business writes:—

“The only convenient opportunity to make the purchase was at a sort of
fair held every Tuesday in the lower part of the town. There horses,
mules, and asses were bought and sold, and (as in all markets) the
price chiefly depended on the demand. The Portuguese horse-dealer has
all the avidity of the English jockey to pick your pocket, but is
not so _au fait_ at the business. At this Fair you buy or sell your
animal, the bargain is struck, the money paid, and the contract is
indissoluble. English guineas had no attraction: the dollar or the
moidore was the medium; but since the guinea has been introduced in
the payment of the army (1813) the Portuguese begin to appreciate its
value. It was customary for officers who wanted cash to give their
draft on some house in London; but it was purchasing money very dearly,
giving at the rate of six and sixpence for a dollar that would only
bring five shillings, so losing eighteen pence on every crown.”[275]

Good and large Spanish mules cost as much, or almost as much, as the
small horses of the country. Fifty to ninety dollars was an ordinary
price. Thirty to forty-five pounds was considered cheap for an English
riding horse.[276] A Portuguese nag might be bought for fifteen or

[Sidenote: Concerning Messes]

“In consequence of the difficulty of transporting baggage,” writes
one of the liveliest commentators on daily life at the front, “a
regiment on active service could not keep up a regular mess, as in
England. Each officer was obliged to manage for himself: they generally
divided themselves into mess-parties by twos and threes. This greatly
incommoded the subaltern: allowed only the carriage of half an animal
[or at the most of one] it was not possible to admit, for the purpose
of having extra eatables, any addition to his share of baggage. The
mere ration was all that he got, with a camp-kettle for culinary
purposes. Besides we must recollect the difficulty of getting extra
food, and also the want of money. So the bit of beef and the ration of
biscuit was frequent fare for perhaps two-thirds of the officers—with
the allowance of ration-rum or wine (generally execrable stuff). The
prime luxuries were a drop of brandy and a segar. With respect to
articles of dress, the contents of a small portmanteau being all that
could be taken about, if a subaltern wore out or lost his regimental
jacket, he had to improvise a substitute, _e.g._ his great coat.
Waistcoats were as fancy directed, black, blue, or green, silk or

Nevertheless, though the officer, or at least the junior officer,
thought himself much stinted in baggage, the private mules of the
regiment, and in particular those of the senior officers, made up
quite a drove—at least some thirty or forty. In addition there were
the public mules of the corps, some thirteen in number—one for each
company’s camp kettles, one for entrenching tools, one for the
paymaster’s books, one for the surgeon’s medical paniers. If we add to
these the private riding horses of the senior officers and such of
the juniors as could afford them, there was quite a cavalcade—enough
to block a road or to encumber a ford. And unfortunately the mules
and horses presupposed drivers and attendants. Wellington set his
face against the withdrawal from the ranks of soldier-servants to act
as muleteers.[277] Each officer, of course, had one; but they were
supposed to be available for service, and could only look to their
master’s business in the halts and encampments. Hence native servants
had to be hired—even the poorest pair of ensigns wanted a Portuguese
boy to look after their single mule. The colonel had probably three or
four followers. Thus to take charge of its baggage, private and public,
each battalion had a following of twenty or thirty such attendants, a
few English, the large majority Spanish or Portuguese.

[Sidenote: The Camp Followers]

It cannot be denied that these fellows had a villainous reputation, and
largely deserved it. Though many decent peasant lads were picked up in
the countryside by the earlier comers, and made trustworthy and loyal
servants, the majority were not satisfactory. The sort of followers
whom the officers of a newly-landed regiment engaged at short notice
upon the quays of Lisbon, when only two or three days were given them
for selection, were mostly “undesirables.” If there were a few among
them who were merely “broken men,”—ruined peasants seeking bread at any
hand that would give it,—the majority were the scum of a great harbour
city, ruffians of the lowest sort. The best of the Portuguese were with
the army: the net of the conscription was making wide sweeps, and few
young men of the decent class escaped the line or the militia. Personal
service under an English officer, who was certainly an incomprehensible
foreigner, and might well be a hard and unreasonable master, was not so
attractive as to draw the pick of the Portuguese working classes. It
did, on the other hand, appeal to needy rascals who wanted the chance
of cheating an employer who knew nothing of the country, its customs,
and its prices. There was splendid opportunity for embezzlement.
Moreover, many looked for more lucrative, if more dangerous gains. The
diaries show that a very considerable proportion of the hastily-hired
muleteers and servants absconded, after a few days, with their master’s
mule and portmanteau, and were never seen again. Those who did not,
were looking after the plunder of the battlefield, the camp, and
the wayside. It was they who robbed drunken soldiers, ill-guarded
commissary stores, or lonely villages. They slunk out at night to
make privy plunder in the lines of the regiments in which they were
not employed. On the battlefield they were ruthless strippers of the
wounded—English and Portuguese no less than French—as well as of the
dead. Unless report much mistreats them, they habitually knocked
a wounded Frenchman on the head, if they were out of sight of the
red-coats.[278] Considering the atrocities of which the French had been
guilty in Portugal, this might pass for not unnatural retaliation; but
it is certain that the British wounded were also frequently plundered,
and there is more than a suspicion that they were sometimes murdered.
The Spanish camp-followers passed as being even more blood-thirsty than
the Portuguese. Of course it was not the officers’ private employés
alone who were guilty of these misdemeanours; the public muleteers
of the commissariat staff, and other hangers-on of the army, had an
equally bad reputation. The most daring theft of the whole war, as has
been already mentioned, was done by two “authorized followers,” who
burglariously entered the house of the Commissary-General in 1814,
and got off with no less than £2000 in gold. They were detected, and
naturally suffered the extreme punishment of the law. By their names
one would seem to have been French, the other a Spaniard. There is an
awful story, told in two diaries, of a camp follower who in a time of
starvation sold to British soldiers as pork slices cut off a French
corpse.[279] He got away before he could be caught and shot. But enough
of these ghouls!

[Sidenote: The Soldiers’ Wives]

The followers of a British army were by no means exclusively foreign.
One of the worst impediments to the free movement of the host came from
the unhappy practice that then prevailed of allowing corps on foreign
service to take with them a proportion of soldiers’ wives—four or six
per company. Forty or sixty of these women, mostly mounted on donkeys,
formed the most unmanageable portion of every regimental train. They
were always straggling or being left behind, because they could not
keep up with the long marches that the army had often to take. Wayside
tragedies of this sort are to be found recorded in almost every
Peninsular memoir—often of the most harrowing sort. In especial we
may mention the number of these poor women who dropped in the Corunna
retreat, and died in the snow, or fell into the hands of the French.
The interesting little book of a married sergeant of the 42nd, who took
his wife about with him during the last three years of the war, is full
of curious little shifts and anxieties that they went through.[280] The
best description of this curious stratum of the Peninsular Army that I
know is in the autobiography of Bell of the 34th.[281]

“The multitude of soldiers’ wives stuck to the army like bricks: averse
to all military discipline, they impeded our progress at times very
much, particularly in retreats. They became the subject of a General
Order, for their own special guidance. They were under no control, and
were always first mounted up and away, blocking up narrow passes and
checking the advance of the army with their donkeys, after repeated
orders to follow in rear of their respective corps, or their donkeys
would be shot. On the retreat from Burgos I remember Mrs. Biddy Flyn
remarking, ‘I would like to see the man that wud shoot _my_ donkey:
faith, I’ll be too early away for any of ’em to catch me. Will you
come wid me, girls?’ ‘Aye, indeed, every one of us.’ And away they
started at early dawn, cracking their jokes about divisional orders,
Wellington, commanding officers, and their next bivouac. Alas! the
Provost Marshal was in advance—a man in authority, and a terror to evil
doers: he was waiting a mile or two on, in a narrow turn of the road,
for the ladies, with a party all loaded. He gave orders to shoot the
first two donkeys _pour exemple_. There was a wild, fierce and furious
yell struck up, with more weeping and lamentation than one usually
hears at an Irish funeral, with sundry prayers for the _vagabone_ that
had murdered the lives of the poor darling innocent _crathers_. ‘Bad
luck to the ugly face of the Provost, the spy of the camp, may he niver
see home till the vultures have picked his eyes out, the born varmint,’
and so on. The victims picked up what they could carry, and marched
along with the regiment, crying and lamenting their bitter fate. It
was wonderful what they endured—but in spite of this warning they were
foremost on the line of march next morning again. As Mrs. Skiddy, their
leader, said, ‘We must risk something to be in before the men, to have
the fire and a _dhrop_ of tay ready for them after their load and their
labour: and sure if we went in the _rare_ the French, bad luck to them,
would pick me up, me and my donkey, and then Dan Skiddy would be lost
entirely without me.’”

The soldiers’ wives were indeed an extraordinary community—as hard as
nails, expert plunderers, furious partisans of the supreme excellence
of their own battalion, much given to fighting. Many of them were
widows twice and even thrice over—for when a married man was shot, and
his wife was a capable and desirable person, she would receive half a
dozen proposals before her husband was forty-eight hours in his grave.
And since the alternative was a hazardous voyage back to relatives in
England or Ireland, who had probably broken off with the “girl who ran
away with a soldier,” most of the widows concluded to stop with the
battalion, with a new spouse and a new name. As the war dragged on many
of the men picked up Portuguese and Spanish helpmates, who joined the
regimental drove, and made it strangely polyglot. At the end of the
struggle in 1814 there was a most harrowing scene at Bordeaux, when the
general order was issued that all these foreigners who could not prove
that they had been legitimately married to soldiers, with the colonel’s
leave, were to be refused transport to the British Isles.[282] There
were hundreds of them, and only in a few cases could the men find money
to get them taken home in private merchantmen. The bulk marched back
to the Peninsula in charge of a brigade of homeward bound Portuguese—a
most melancholy and distressful assembly.[283]

[Sidenote: Ladies at the Front]

It is extraordinary to find that a sprinkling of the officers of the
Peninsular Army were unwise enough to take their wives with them to the
front—thereby securing a life of wearing anxiety for both, and of dire
hardship for the poor ladies. One of the best known cases was that of
Hill’s senior aide-de-camp, Captain Currie, whose wife I have found
mentioned half a dozen times as making tea for the second division
staff, and holding a little reception whenever the division was settled
down for a few days. Another was Mrs. Dalbiac, wife of the colonel
of the 4th Dragoons, whose adventures on the field of Salamanca are
mentioned by Napier.[284] But the best chronicle of the ups and downs
of a young married couple may be found in the breezy autobiography
of Sir Harry Smith, then a subaltern in the 95th Rifles. His tale is
well known—he rescued a young Spanish lady among the horrors of the
sack of Badajoz, married her two days later, and had her with him for
the remaining three years of the war. The story of their Odyssey, as
related by him, is one of the most touching narratives of loyal love,
and hardship cheerfully borne, that any man can read. They lived
together for forty years in storm and sunshine, and she survived to
christen the town of Ladysmith by her name, while her husband was
commanding the forces in South Africa. He gave his name to the sister
town of Harrismith, less well remembered now than the long-besieged
place with which the memory of Juana Smith is linked.

There is a sketch in Paris by the well-known artist, Colonel Lejeune,
who, when a prisoner at Elvas, made a drawing of an English military
family which passed him. As he describes it in his diary, “The captain
rode first on a very fine horse, warding off the sun with a parasol:
then came his wife very prettily dressed, with a small straw hat,
riding on a mule and carrying not only a parasol, but a little black
and tan dog on her knee, while she led by a cord a she-goat, to
supply her with milk. Beside madame walked her Irish nurse, carrying
in a green silk wrapper a baby, the hope of the family. A grenadier,
the captain’s servant, came behind and occasionally poked up the
long-eared steed of his mistress with a staff. Last in the procession
came a donkey loaded with much miscellaneous baggage, which included a
tea-kettle and a cage of canaries; it was guarded by an English servant
in livery, mounted on a sturdy cob and carrying a long posting-whip,
with which he occasionally made the donkey mend its pace.”[285] If
this picture is not exaggerated, it certainly helps us to understand
the strong objection which Wellington had for ladies at the front, and
all forms of impedimenta.



Every one knows that the record of the Peninsular Army in the matter
of sieges is not the most brilliant page in its annals. It is not to
the orgies that followed the storm of Badajoz or San Sebastian that
allusion is here made, but to the operations that preceded them, and to
the unhappy incidents that accompanied the luckless siege of Burgos.
Courage enough and to spare was lavished on those bloody leaguers;
perseverance was shown in no small measure; and to a certain extent
professional skill was not lacking. But the tale compares miserably
with the great story of the triumphs of Wellington’s army in the open
field. Reckless bravery had to supply the place of the machinery and
organization that was lacking, and too much blood was spilt, and
sometimes spilt to no effect.

The responsibility for these facts is hard to distribute. As is
generally the case when failures are made, it is clear that a system
was to blame rather than any individual, or body of individuals.
Great Britain had been at war with France for some sixteen years;
but in all her countless expeditions she had never, since 1794, been
compelled to undertake regular sieges on a large scale. The battering
of old-fashioned native forts in India, the blockades of Malta or
Alexandria, the bombardments of Flushing or Copenhagen, need hardly
be mentioned. They were not operations such as those which Wellington
had to carry out in 1811 or 1812. For a long time the Peninsular War
had been considered as a purely defensive affair; it was concerned
with the protection of Portugal, almost (we might say) of Lisbon, from
the French invader. The home Government kept sending reinforcements to
Wellington, but they were under the impression that an over-powerful
combination of the enemy’s forces might some day force him to
re-embark. He himself regarded such a contingency as by no means

[Sidenote: Wellington’s Battering Train]

But in the spring of the year 1811 it became clear that a defensive
war may have offensive episodes. After Masséna’s retreat from before
the Lines of Torres Vedras, Wellington had to protect the frontiers
of Portugal; and to guard them efficiently he needed possession of
Almeida, Ciudad Rodrigo, and Badajoz, which had all been in the hands
of the allies in the summer of 1810, but were now French fortresses. To
subdue these three places he required a large battering-train, properly
equipped for movement, and such a thing was not at his disposition.
There were a number of heavy guns mounted on the Lines of Torres
Vedras, and on the ramparts of Elvas, Abrantes, and Peniche. There were
also many companies of Portuguese gunners attached to those guns, and
a lesser number of British companies which had been immobilized in the
Lisbon lines. But heavy guns and gunners combined do not complete a
battering train. An immense amount of transport was required, and in
the spring of 1811 it was not at Wellington’s disposition. Well-nigh
every available ox-cart and mule in Portugal was already employed
in carrying the provisions and baggage of the field army. And water
transport, which would have been very valuable, could only be used for
a few miles of the lower courses of the Tagus and Douro. To begin a
regular siege of Almeida in April, 1811, was absolutely impossible,
not because there were not guns or gunners in Portugal, but because
there were no means of moving them at the time. Wellington did not
even attempt it, contenting himself with a mere blockade. On the other
flank an endeavour was made to besiege Badajoz, but this was only
possible because within a few miles of that city lay the Portuguese
fortress of Elvas, from whose walls was borrowed the hastily improvised
and imperfect battering-train with which the Spanish stronghold was

The first two sieges of Badajoz in 1811 were lamentable failures,
precisely because this haphazard battering-train was wholly inadequate
for the end to which it was applied. Alexander Dickson, the zealous
and capable officer placed in charge of the artillery, was set an
impossible task. He had about 400 Portuguese and 120 English gunners,
all equally untrained in siege duty, to work a strange collection of
antiquated and unserviceable cannon. The pieces borrowed from Elvas
were of irregular calibre and ancient pattern. Almost incredible as
it may appear, some of these long brass 24-pounders were nearly two
hundred years old—observers noted on them the arms and cyphers not only
of John IV. the first king of the Braganza dynasty, but of Philip III.
and Philip IV. of Spain, the contemporaries of our James I. and Charles
I.[286] Even the better guns were of obsolete eighteenth-century types.
No two had the same bore, nor were the shot supplied for them uniform
in size; it was necessary to cull and select a special heap of balls
for each particular gun. The whole formed, indeed, a sort of artillery
museum rather than an effective battering-train. The guns shot wildly
and weakly, and their gunners were inexperienced. No wonder that their
effect was poor.

But this was not all: indeed, the inefficiency of the guns was perhaps
the secondary rather than the primary cause of the failure of the two
early sieges of Badajoz. More important still was it that Wellington
was as weak in the engineer as in the artillery arm. The number of
trained officers of engineers with the Peninsular Army was very
small—not much over thirty; but of rank and file to serve under them
there were practically none. Of the corps called the “Royal Military
Artificers,” the ancestors of the “Royal Sappers and Miners,” there
were actually only thirty-four attached to the army in 1810, and it
was far on in 1811 before their numbers reached a hundred. Many of them
were with Wellington’s field army on the distant frontier of Beira,
and before Badajoz, in May, there were little more than a score. For
the trench-work of the siege untrained volunteers had to be borrowed
from the line battalions, and to be instructed by the engineer officers
actually under the fire of the French guns. Their teachers were almost
all as ignorant of practical siege operations as themselves; the
British Army, as has already been remarked, had done little work of the
sort for many years.

The officers, it is true, were zealous and often clever; the men
were recklessly brave, if unpractised in the simplest elements of
siegecraft. But good-will could not atone for want of experience, and
it seems clear that in these early sieges the plans were often unwise,
and the execution unskilful. The points of attack selected at Badajoz
were the strongest and least accessible points of the fortress, not
those against which the French had operated in their earlier siege in
February with success. This choice had been made because the British
were working “against time”; there were French armies collecting
for the relief of Badajoz, and if the leaguer took many weeks, it
was certain that an overwhelming force would be brought against the
besiegers and compel them to depart. Hence the engineer officers,
in both the unsuccessful sieges, tried to break in at points where
victory would be decisive; they thought it would be useless to begin
by capturing outworks, or by making a lodgment in the lower parts of
the city, which would leave its stronger points intact and capable of
further defence. They battered the high-lying fort of San Cristobal,
and the citadel on its precipitous height, arguing that if they could
capture either of them the whole fortress was at their mercy. Both
the points assailed turned out to be too strong: the stony hill of
San Cristobal proved impossible for trench work; desperate attempts
to storm the fort that crowned it, by columns advancing across the
open, were beaten off with heavy loss. The castle walls, after long
battering, refused to crumble into practicable breaches. Before
anything decisive had been accomplished, the French armies of succour
came up. Beresford beat the first at Albuera in May and renewed the
siege; the second (Soult and Marmont combined) was so strong that
Wellington dared not face it, and withdrew from his abandoned trenches
to within the Portuguese frontier in July.

[Sidenote: Colonel Dickson’s Work]

A great change for the better in Wellington’s position as regards
sieges had been made by the autumn of 1811. He had at last received
a number of good modern British iron guns, much superior to the old
Portuguese brass 24-pounders. And with infinite trouble and delay he
had at last created a battering-train that could move. This was the
work of Alexander Dickson, already mentioned, who was occupied from
July to November in accumulating at the obscure town of Villa da
Ponte, behind Almeida, masses of waggon-transport and trains of mules
and oxen, for the moving of the heavy cannon and the immense store of
ammunition belonging to them. The guns were brought up the Douro to
Lamego, where the river ceased to be navigable, and then dragged over
the hills by oxen. Several companies of Portuguese and British gunners
were attached to the park, and instructed, so far as was possible, in
siege work. At the same time the military artificers—still far too few
in numbers—were instructing volunteers from the line in the making of a
great store of gabions, platforms, fascines, and other necessaries.

This long preparation, which was almost unsuspected by the French,
because it was unostentatious and made at a great distance from the
front, enabled Wellington to execute the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in
January, 1812, with unexampled rapidity and success. The fortress
was not one of the first class, the garrison was rather weak, the
battering-train was now ample for the task required of it, and, to the
surprise and dismay of Marmont, Rodrigo fell after a siege of only
twelve days at midwinter (January 7–19) long before he could collect
his scattered divisions for its relief.

The third attack on Badajoz, in March-April, 1812, turned out a much
less satisfactory business, though it ended in a triumphant success.
Like the two sieges of the preceding year, it was conducted “against
time”; Wellington being fully aware that if it went on too long the
relieving armies would be upon him. The means employed were more
adequate than those of 1811, though only a part of the battering-train
that had subdued Ciudad Rodrigo could be brought across the hills from
the distant frontier of Beira. The remainder was composed of ship-guns
borrowed from Lisbon. But though the artillery was not inadequate, and
the walls were thoroughly well breached, both the trench-work and the
storm cost over-many lives. Indeed, the main assault on the breaches
failed, and the town fell because two subsidiary attacks by escalade,
one carried out by Picton, the other by General Walker with a brigade
of the 5th Division, were both triumphantly successful. Wellington laid
the blame of the fearful loss of life upon the fact that his engineers
had no trained sappers to help them, and were unskilled in siegecraft.
They had attacked a point of the defences far more promising than those
battered in 1811, and had opened up immense gaps in the defences, but
nevertheless he was not satisfied with their direction. In a private
letter to Lord Liverpool, which is not printed in either of the two
series of his dispatches, he wrote:—

[Illustration: _PLATE VII._





“The capture of Badajoz affords as strong an instance of the gallantry
of our troops as has ever been displayed. But I anxiously hope that I
shall never again be the instrument of putting them to such a test as
that to which they were put last night. I assure your lordship that it
is quite impossible to carry fortified places by ‘_vive force_’ without
incurring great loss, and being exposed to the chance of failure,
unless the army should be provided with a sufficient trained corps
of sappers and miners.... The consequence of being so unprovided with
the people necessary to approach a regularly fortified place are,
first, that our engineers, though well-educated and brave, have never
turned their minds to the mode of conducting a regular siege, as it
is useless to think of that which it is impossible, in our service,
to perform. They think they have done their duty when they have
constructed a battery with a secure communication to it, which can
breach the place. Secondly, these breaches have to be carried by _vive
force_, at an infinite sacrifice of officers and soldiers.... These
great losses could be avoided, and, in my opinion, time gained in every
siege, if we had properly trained people to carry it on. I declare that
I have never seen breaches more practicable in themselves than the
three in the walls of Badajoz, and the fortress must have surrendered
with these breaches open, if I had been able to ‘approach’ the place.
But when I had made the third breach on the evening of the 6th, I could
do no more. I was then obliged either to storm or to give the business
up, and when I ordered the assault, I was certain that I should lose
our best officers and men. It is a cruel situation for any person to be
placed in, and I earnestly recommend to your lordship to have a corps
of sappers and miners formed without loss of time.”[287]

[Sidenote: Wellington and His Engineers]

The slaughter of Badajoz, then, in Wellington’s estimation, was due
partly to the fact that the British Army, unlike all other armies,
lacked regular companies of sappers and miners, and partly to the
inexperience of the engineer officers in carrying out the last stages
of a siege—the advance towards the glacis and the ditch by scientific
trench-work. They did not, he says, “turn their mind” towards such
operations, because they had never been furnished with skilled workmen
to carry them out. That sappers and miners did not exist as yet was not
the fault of Wellington, nor of the ministers, but of the professional
advisers of the administration, who should long ago have pointed out
that such a corps was wanted. That the Liverpool ministry was not
slow to take advice was shown by the fact that they at once converted
the already existing “Military Artificers” into sappers. On April 23,
less than three weeks after Badajoz fell, a warrant was issued for
instructing the corps in military field works, and shortly after six
companies were ordered to be sent to the Peninsula the moment that they
should have received such training. On August 4 the name of the whole
corps was changed from Royal Military Artificers to Royal Sappers and
Miners.[288] It was not, of course, till very late in the year that the
first of the new sapper companies joined Wellington, but by the next
spring he had 300 trained men with him.

Meanwhile they had of course arrived too late for the siege of
Burgos, the most unhappy of all Wellington’s leaguers, where the
whole trench-work was conducted by volunteers from the line directed
by precisely eight of the old artificers—of whom one was killed and
the remaining seven wounded. The story of the Burgos operations reads
like an exaggerated repetition of the first siege of Badajoz. The
battering-train that took Badajoz had been left behind, and to attack
Burgos (whose strength was undervalued) Wellington had with him no
proper means. Only eight guns were brought up—because the transport
with the army could only provide a few spare teams, and the whole of
Castile had been swept clear of draught-beasts. This ridiculously weak
train proved wholly insufficient for the work set it. “Had there been
a siege establishment with the army even moderately efficient, so as
to have admitted of the performance of the rudiments of the art, the
attack (even with the inadequate artillery) might have been carried
through,” writes the historian of the Peninsular sieges.[289] But there
were only five engineer officers present, just eight artificers, no
tools save regimental picks and shovels borrowed from line regiments,
no _material_ save wood requisitioned from the town of Burgos, and so
little transport that the fire had sometimes to cease, to allow fresh
ammunition to be brought up from the distant Madrid. Wellington ordered
repeated assaults on the inadequately battered walls; they all failed,
and he finally retired after thirty-two days of open trenches, and with
the loss of nearly 2000 men, from before a “bicocque,” as the French
called it, which could not have withstood a proper battering-train for
a third of that time.

[Sidenote: The Failure at Burgos]

The fact is that Wellington had undervalued the strength of Burgos;
he thought it would fall easily. If he had known that it would hold
out for more than a month, he could have procured more guns from the
captured French arsenal at Madrid, and might have requisitioned all
the beasts of the army to draw them. But by the time that it began to
be seen that Burgos was not about to yield to a mere demonstration, it
was too late to get up the necessary means of reducing it. Finally, the
French armies mustered for its relief, and the British had to retire.
It may be added that the besieging troops, thoroughly disgusted with
the inadequate means used to prepare the way for them, did not act with
the same energy that had been shown at Rodrigo or Badajoz. Several of
the assaults were not pushed well home, and the trench-work was slack.
Wellington wrote, in his General Orders for October 3, a stiff rebuke,
to the effect that “the officers and soldiers of this army should know
that to work during a siege is as much a part of their duty as to
engage the enemy in the field; and they may depend upon it that unless
they perform the work allotted to them with due diligence, they cannot
acquire the honour which their comrades have won in former sieges....
The Commander-in-Chief hopes he shall have no reason to complain in

The leaguer of San Sebastian, the last of Wellington’s sieges, bore
a great likeness to the last siege of Badajoz. It was conducted in
a time of considerable anxiety, while the army of Soult was making
vigorous and repeated efforts to frustrate it. The place was strong
by nature—a towering castle with the town at its foot joined to the
mainland only by a narrow sandy spit; the defences of this isthmus
were short, and reached from sea to sea: they were fully commanded by
the castle behind. The first great assault (July 25, 1813) was made
while the trenches were still far from the walls, and while the fire
of the besieged had not been silenced. It failed with heavy loss. The
second assault (August 31) was successful, but very bloody—2000 men
were killed or wounded. The most authoritative commentator writes:
“The operations against San Sebastian afford a most impressive lesson
on the advantages of proceeding step by step, and with due attention
to science and rule. The attempt there made to overcome or trample on
such restrictions caused a certain operation of twenty days to extend
to sixty. It bears strong testimony to the truth of the maxim laid down
by Marshal Vauban: ‘La précipitation dans les sièges ne hâte point
la prise des places, la retarde souvent, et ensanglante toujours la

[Sidenote: Trench Work]

There can be no doubt that siege-work was loathed by the rank and file,
not so much for its danger—there was never any lack of volunteers for
a forlorn hope—but for its discomfort. There was a sort of underlying
feeling that entrenching was not soldier’s but navvy’s work; the
long hiding under cover in cramped positions, which was absolutely
necessary, was looked upon as a sort of skulking. With an unwise
disregard for their personal safety, which had a touch of bravado and
more than a touch of sulkiness in it, the men exposed themselves far
more than was necessary. I fancy that on some occasions, notably at
the early sieges of Badajoz and at Burgos, there was a general feeling
that matters were not being scientifically or adequately conducted, and
that too much was being asked of the rank and file, when they were
made to attempt a hard task without the proper means. It must have been
clear to them that there were too few engineer officers, not enough
artillery, and no proper provision of tools. Hence came a spirit of
anger and discontent.

At Ciudad Rodrigo, and at the third and last leaguer of Badajoz, the
weather was so abominable that the siege-work was long looked back
on as a perfect nightmare. At Rodrigo, in the high upland of Leon,
the month of January was a combination of frost and rain; the water
accumulated in the trenches and there often froze, so that the men
were standing ankle-deep in a mixture of ice and mud, and since they
could not move about, because of the enemy’s incessant fire, suffered
horribly from cold. At Badajoz there was no frost: but incessant
chilling rain was almost as bad during the early weeks of the siege;
the trenches were often two feet deep in water, and the work of the
spade was almost useless, since the liquid mud that was shovelled
up ran away in streams out of the gabions into which it was cast,
and refused to pile up into parapets for the trenches, spreading out
instead into mere broad accumulations of slime, which gave no cover,
and had no resisting power against the round shot of the garrison.
I imagine that the desperate and dirty toil in those operations,
protracted over many days of abominable discomfort as well as danger,
accounts in great measure for the ferocious spirit shown by the victors
both at Rodrigo and Badajoz. The men were in a blind rage at the misery
which they had been enduring, and it found vent, after the storm was
over, in misconduct far surpassing that which would have followed a
pitched battle where the losses had been equally great. One observer
writes: “The spirit of the soldiers rose to a frightful height—I say
frightful because it was not of that sort which denoted exultation at
the prospect of achieving an exploit which was about to hold them up
to the admiration of the world; there was a certain _something_ in
their bearing which told plainly that they had suffered fatigues of
which they had not complained, and seen their comrades and officers
slain around them without repining, but that they had smarted under
the one and felt acutely for the other. They smothered both, so long
as body and mind were employed, but now, before the storm, they had a
momentary licence to think, and every fine feeling vanished—plunder and
revenge took their place.... A quiet but desperate calm replaced their
usual buoyant spirits, and nothing was observable in their manner but a
tiger-like expression of anxiety to seize upon their prey.”[292]

[Sidenote: Waiting for the Storm]

Preparation for the storm affected different men in different ways:
some tried to make up old quarrels and exchanged words of forgiveness;
a good many wrote letters home, which were to be delivered only in
the case of their falling. “Each arranged himself for the combat
in such manner as his fancy would admit of: some by lowering their
cartridge-boxes, others by turning them to the front for more
convenient use; others unclasped their stocks or opened their shirt
collars; others oiled their bayonets. Those who had them took leave
of their wives and children—an affecting sight, but not so much so as
might have been expected, because the women, from long habit, were
accustomed to such scenes of danger.”[293]

One intelligent sergeant speaks of the moment of waiting for the order
to storm as full of a stress that nothing else could produce: “We felt
a dead weight hanging on our minds; had we been brought hurriedly into
action, it would have been quite different, but it is inconsistent with
the nature of man not to feel as I have described. The long warning,
the dark and silent night, the known strength of the fortress, the
imminent danger of the attack, all conspired to produce this feeling.
It was not the result of want of courage, as was shown by the calm
intrepidity of the advance when we came in range of the French
cannon.”[294] That the revulsion from the long waiting took the shape
of frenzied violence, when the men were at last let loose, was not
unnatural. A certain amount of the horrors which took place at Badajoz
and San Sebastian may be ascribed to mere frenzy, if the rest was due
to more deliberate wickedness on the part of the baser spirits of the



Without going into the niceties of regimental detail, which were fully
developed by 1809, it is necessary to give a certain attention to the
dress of the army—we might almost add, to its occasional want of dress.

[Sidenote: Concerning Head-Gear]

The Peninsular Army was fortunate in having started just late enough
to be rid of the worst of the unpractical clothing—the legacy of the
eighteenth century—which had afflicted the troops of the earlier years
of the war. The odd hat, shaped something like a civilian beaver,
with a shaving-brush at the side, which had been worn in Holland and
Egypt, had just been superseded for the rank and file by a light felt
shako, with brass plate in front,[295] and a woollen tuft with the
regimental colours (worn sometimes in front, sometimes at the side),
and ornamented with white loops and tassels.[296] This was a light
head-dress, compared with what had gone before, and no less with the
heavy, bell-topped leather shakos that were to come after. Wellington
protested against an early attempt to introduce these, saying that he
always knew his own troops at a distance, even when great-coated, by
the fact that their shakos were narrower at the crown than the base,
while the French headgear was always bell-topped, swelling out from the
bottom to the crown, and the distinction was useful. The felt shako
had a peak to protect the eyes from the sun, and a chin-strap. It was a
serviceable head-dress, whose only fault was that, after long wear, and
exposure to much rain, the felt became soft and might crease or bulge,
and then dry into unsightly and lop-sided shapes.[297]

Down to 1811, officers of the line, except in rifle and light infantry
corps, were wearing cocked hats, as had been the custom since the
eighteenth century. The new clothing which came out in 1812 had
shakos (of a more ornamental sort) for officers as well as men. The
very sensible reason for the change was that obvious difference in
dress between commissioned and non-commissioned ranks enabled the
enemy’s marksmen to single out the officers, and to give them more
than their fair share of bullets. The discarded cocked hat had been
a stupid survival—a “burlesque of a _chapeau_ usually topped by some
extraordinary-looking feather,” says one wearer of it, while others
wore it without any feather at all. The “cut-down” hat, exactly a span
in height, was all the rage in the Lines of Torres Vedras during the
winter of 1810–11.[298] The felt shako was an enormous improvement in
every way. After 1811, only generals and staff officers, engineers,
doctors, commissaries, and drum-majors retained the cocked hat. The
last case that I remember of its being used in the line was that of
Lieutenant Maguire, of the 4th, who, leading the “forlorn hope” at the
storm of San Sebastian (Aug., 1813) put on a cocked hat with a white
feather “to make himself conspicuous and recognizable.” Clearly this
head-dress was by that date wholly abnormal.[299]

Another evil which the Peninsular Army escaped also belonged to the
head. Pigtails and hair-powder went out in 1808—an immense boon. As one
who had endured them says, “The hair required to be soaped, floured,
and frizzed, in order to be tortured into an uncouth shape, which gave
the man acute pain, and robbed him of the power of turning his head
easily, unless he brought his body round with it.” The grease and flour
matted the hair, and inclined towards all sorts of scalp diseases.
Wellington, who had discarded hair-powder and dressing long before
most officers,[300] must have been rejoiced when it became legally
permissible to do without it in all ranks. It was not every one who
agreed with him—a few old-fashioned men still wore pigtails and powder
for some time in the Peninsula; but they soon died out.

In the same year, 1808, that these monstrosities vanished another
affliction was relieved. Trousers of a blue-grey colour were
substituted for breeches and gaiters, as service dress, just before the
first brigades sailed, in 1808. The many-buttoned gaiters to the knee
had been an intolerable nuisance; there was every temptation not to
strip them off at all, when it took twelve minutes to button them up
efficiently, more if they were wet through. Hence troops liable to be
alarmed at any moment were tempted not to take them off at all for many
days, which led to uncleanliness and diseases in the legs. Trousers
were a great improvement—they were less tight, and could be easily
slipped into and out of. Under the trousers short boots (often called
shoes) were worn.

[Sidenote: The Regimental Coat]

The coat for all ranks in the infantry was cut short in front,
and had fairly small tails; it still preserved, more or less, the
late eighteenth century cut in this respect, but differed from the
earlier type in having the stiff upstanding collar supported by a
leather stock, an evil device which constricted the neck and tended
to apoplexy. On hard service, such as storming parties, the men
unbuttoned their collars and threw their stocks aside.[301] The most
characteristic point that strikes the eye in pictures of the rank and
file of the Peninsular period is the series of white stripes across the
front of the coat, caused by the ornamental prolongation of the button
guards. Bayonet and cartouche box were supported by the broad white
leather cross-belts, ornamented with a brass plate with the regimental
badge. The very heavy knapsack, normally of oilskin or glazed canvas,
was supported by a separate attachment of straps passing under the
arm-pits. The whole kit weighed some sixty pounds, when the canteen
and haversack are taken into consideration. Officers had only a single
leather belt coming from the right shoulder to the left hip, to sustain
the sword, and wore their red silk sashes girt tight, in several turns
around their waists.

One of Wellington’s most sensible traits was an intense dislike of
worrying officers or men about details of uniform on active service.
“Provided we brought our men into the field well appointed,” says
Grattan of the 88th, “with their sixty rounds of ammunition each, he
never looked to see whether trousers were black, blue, or grey: and
as to ourselves, we might be rigged out in any colour of the rainbow
if we fancied it.” The consequence was that scarcely any two officers
were dressed alike! Some wore grey braided coats, others brown: some
again liked blue; many (from choice, or perhaps necessity) stuck to the
“old red rag.” Some wore long-skirted frock-coats, as better protection
to the loins than the orthodox regimental cut. There are some curious
records of the odd clothing in which officers finished a campaign. One
records that he did the Burgos retreat in a garment improvised from the
cassock of a priest, slit up and cut short and furnished with buttons.
Another, a captain in the 29th, landing in Great Britain in a braided
pelisse and a fancy waistcoat with silver buttons of Spanish filigree
work, was taken for some sort of French prisoner by a worthy general,
who congratulated him on being allowed such freedom in the place of
his captivity.[302] As to the men, they wore anything that could be
got: a quantity of French trousers found at the capture of Madrid, in
the Retiro fort, were issued to some corps. A more rough expedient was
that of a colonel with a very ragged regiment in the winter of 1813–14,
who allowed blankets to be cut up by the regimental tailors, to make
up into trousers for such of the men as were absolutely disreputable
in appearance. The battalion made some sensation when it marched into
Mont-de-Marsan a few days later.[303]

All this did not vex Wellington’s soul in the least—from Picton’s
tall beaver hat to the blanket-trousers, he saw and disregarded every
detail. He himself was the most simply dressed man in the army, with
his small cocked hat unornamented save by the English and Portuguese
cockades, his blue, tight-buttoned frock-coat, and the short cloak with
cape which has been immortalized by a score of statues and pictures.

I ought, perhaps, to mention that the winter-clothing for the infantry
was a grey pepper-and-salt coloured great coat, of very thick cloth,
with a cape reaching down to nearly the elbow, so as to give a double
thickness of protection to the shoulders. There was also an oilskin
cover to the felt shako, which could not always be easily adjusted to
the latter, when it had got distorted in shape from much wear. Plate
No. 8 gives an illustration of this costume.

[Illustration: _PLATE VIII._



When the Peninsular Army first started on its campaigns, the heavy
dragoons were the most archaic-looking corps in it, for they still wore
the broad and heavy cocked hats, which had prevailed in all armies
during the middle years of George III., and jack boots up to the knee.
This headgear, which after a single campaign in the tropical rains
of the Peninsula always became sodden and shapeless, and hung down
limply towards the shoulders, was fortunately abolished by a royal
warrant of August, 1812, and during the following winter many of the
heavy dragoon regiments received brass helmets of a classical shape,
with a crest and plume, which, though rather heavy, were an immense
improvement on their former shapeless hats. At the same time they were
given instead of jack-boots (which had made skirmishing on foot almost
impossible) grey cloth overalls, with a broad red stripe, and short
boots. This was the dress of the heavies in 1813–14 and during the
Waterloo campaign.

The light dragoons had gone to the Peninsula in 1808 with the black
japanned helmet with a bearskin crest along its crown, which had been
in use since the time of the American War. With it they wore blue coats
with white froggings, and buckskin breeches with Hessian boots. The
general effect was handsome, and in use the dress was not unpractical.
General Foy mentions it with approval in his history. The French
outposts were much puzzled when, at the commencement of the Vittoria
campaign, the English vedettes and outposts appeared in a new uniform,
which was introduced for light cavalry at the same time as the changes
made for heavy cavalry just mentioned above. It was at first suspected
that new regiments had been joining from England. The 1813 uniform
substituted, for the black helmet with fur, a shako with a small
upright plume, slightly bell-topped in shape, and with ornamental cord
and tassels. It looks as if it had been suggested by the head-dress of
the French _chasseurs à cheval_, and was much too like it to please
Wellington. At the same time the blue jacket barred with white lace
was changed for a blue coat, with a very broad plastron of the colour
of the regimental facings in front, extending from collar to waist,
and the buckskin breeches were replaced by tight-fitting breeches of
webbing. This was the Waterloo uniform of all light dragoon regiments.

[Sidenote: Cavalry Uniforms]

The large majority of the British cavalry regiments in the Peninsula
were light dragoons: for the first three years of Wellington’s command
there were only three heavy dragoon regiments in the field, and no
British hussars. Of the latter, a new introduction in the national
Army, there was one brigade present in 1808 during Sir John Moore’s
operations,[304] and the same regiments came out in 1813, to see the
last year of the war.[305] During the greater part of Wellington’s
campaigns the only hussars present with the army were Hanoverians,
the very efficient corps belonging to the King’s German Legion. The
fantastic hussar uniform of the period, a development from a much
simpler Hungarian original, is well known. Over a jacket fitting
tight to the body, was worn the furred and braided pelisse, which was
usually not completely put on, but flung back, so as to hang over the
left shoulder. It flapped behind, and was a hindrance rather than a
covering. On the legs long overalls were worn. The head-dress was a
very large fur cap, or, as it would have been called later, a busby.
I find very severe criticisms on this head-gear. One officer says,
“These flimsy, muff-like appendages encumber the heads of our soldiers.
The awkward cap, being constructed partly of pasteboard, soaks up a
great quantity of wet during the violent rains of this country, and
so becomes unbearably heavy and disagreeable, while it affords no
protection to the wearer. At all times it can be cut down to his skull
with the greatest ease.”[306] The cause of its adoption seems to have
been rather the Prince Regent’s eye for splendour in military costume
than anything else. For strength and protection, no less than comfort,
the light helmet of the early dragoons was universally preferred by
critics. Later improvements made the busby more solid and less heavy,
but in 1808 it was evidently a most unsatisfactory head-dress.

[Sidenote: Artillery Uniforms]

Artillery uniform may be described in a few words. That of the horse
artillery was a close copy of that of the original light dragoon—black
japanned helmet with fur crest, blue jacket laced with gold (instead
of the dragoon’s silver) and buckskin breeches. Field artillery, on
the other hand, were clothed almost exactly like infantry of the
line, save that their coats were blue instead of red. Their tall felt
shako and tuft, trousers, and coat with white stripes, were exactly
similar to those of the linesmen. Engineer officers wore a dress like
that of line officers before the shako came in, having a cocked hat
down to the end of the war, and trousers. The rank and file of that
department—Royal Military Artificers down to 1812,[307] Royal Sappers
and Miners after—had shako and blue coat down to 1813, but changed the
latter for a red coat, like that of the line, in the last-named year.
It was braided with yellow across the front instead of white, the only
practical difference in appearance.

Doctors and commissaries down to the end of the war were wearing a
cocked hat, like that of a general or a staff officer. Hence some queer
mistakes, when these peaceful gentlemen were mistaken for combatant
officers, the colour of their plume, the one differentiating point,
failing to be observed in the dusk or in dirty weather. It is said that
some young commissaries were prone to pass themselves off as staff
officers on the Spanish and Portuguese peasantry, and even on local
authorities. A ridiculous anecdote is told of Doctor Maurice Quill,
the surgeon of the Connaught Rangers, who was the best-known humorist
in the army.[308] A general, who caught a glimpse of his cocked hat
behind a hedge, took him for a staff-officer shirking, and hunted him
for some time from cover to cover, the doctor meanwhile shouting back
to him, “I’m off; seen plenty of fighting for one day.” It was only
when he took refuge with his mules and medical panniers, that his irate
pursuer discovered that he was not a combatant officer. Other wearers
of the cocked hat were the drum-majors of the line, who are said to
have had much adulation paid to them by the country-folk, because of
their enormous gold-laced head-dress and lavish display of braiding,
which caused them to be taken for brigadiers at the least.

The most distinctive infantry uniform in the whole army was that of
the rifle battalions, whose sombre colours contrasted in the most
marked way with the red of the British and the bright blue of the
Portuguese line. The dress of the 5/60th and the two light battalions
of the K.G.L. differed from that of the three battalions of the 95th,
in that while both wore the dark rifle-green jacket, the three German
units had grey-blue trousers not unlike those of the line, while the
latter were in green from head to foot. All wore black shakos of a
high shape, like those of other regiments, and with a green tuft or
ball at the front. The accoutrements were all black, in order to avoid
the showing of light or shining points on the body, when the men were
dispersed in skirmishing. In the head-dress of the officers there was
a certain variety, the 5/60th and 1st Light battalion K.G.L. having a
tall shako similar to that of their rank and file, while those of the
95th and the 2nd Light battalion K.G.L. had a peculiar head-dress,
something like that of an eighteenth-century hussar; it was a tall,
narrow cap, much adorned with diagonal twists of braid, and destitute
of the peak to shade the eyes which formed part of the normal shako;
it had a green tuft at the front. The 95th officers for some time wore
over their tight jackets a black furred and braided pelisse, in the
hussar style—surely a most absurd and inconvenient encumbrance for men
who were continually scrambling through hedges, and working among
thick brushwood. When thrown back, as it seems generally to have been,
it must have caught in every possible twig. The officers’ jackets were
distinguished from the plain-breasted coat of the rank and file by
having a great quantity of narrow braiding across the front: they all
wore falling “wings,” instead of epaulettes. The Portuguese caçador
uniform, save that it was brown and not bottle-green, reproduced very
closely the cut and form of that of the 5/60th.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: “Brown Bess”]

A word as to armament naturally follows on notes concerning uniform.
The weapon that mainly won the Peninsular victories was the “Tower
musket” of the line battalions, the famous “Brown Bess.” It was a heavy
flint-lock, fitted with a pan, and weighing about nine pounds. Its
effective range was about 300 yards, but no accurate shooting could be
relied upon at any range over 100. Indeed, the man who could hit an
individual at that distance must not only have been a good shot, but
have possessed a firelock of over average quality. Compared with the
rifle, already a weapon of precision, it was but a haphazard sort of
arm. At any distance over the 100 yards the firing-line relied upon the
general effect of the volley that it gave, rather than on the shooting
of each man. Nevertheless, the British musket was decidedly a stronger,
better made and more accurate weapon than that used by Continental
armies, and was much preferred by our Spanish and Portuguese allies to
those of their own manufacture. Its calibre was sixteen, its missile
was a round leaden bullet (a little heavier than the French ball,
whose weight was twenty to the pound), and made up with a stout paper
cartridge, of which each man normally carried sixty. In order to secure
certain ignition by the snapping of the flint, the butt-end of the
cartridge had to be torn open by the teeth, before it was placed in the
musket barrel, and a splash of powder had to be thrown into the pan
to catch the spark and communicate it to the cartridge. The latter
was driven down the barrel by an iron ramrod. Raw recruits in a moment
of excitement, firing too fast, are said not infrequently to have
forgotten to withdraw the ramrod after loading, and to have shot it
away—which left them helpless.

The greatest hindrance to good musketry was wet. Long-continued
rain might penetrate the cartouch box, and damp all the powder, so
that every cartridge missed fire. But even a sudden heavy squall
might drench the particular cartridge that was being handled, and
make its torn-open end incapable of ignition. Or it might wash the
priming-powder out of the pan, or damp it into a paste, so that it
could not catch fire. In either case, infantry fighting in a rainstorm
could not count on any certain fire-effect; not one shot in four might
go off, and troops surprised in open order by cavalry would be very
helpless. Their only chance of salvation would be to form square and
trust to the defensive power of the bayonet. The latter weapon was
long, triangular, and rather heavy; its weight did not make accurate
shooting easier, when it was fixed.

There was a somewhat lighter and more carefully made weapon for light
infantry battalions, called the light infantry musket; except that its
sights were more accurately seen to, and that its length was slightly
less, I cannot find that it greatly differed from the normal Tower
musket. The same may be said of the _fusil_, which was an older type
of light musket, which had originally given its name to all fusiliers.
The last time that it occurs in use, was when it was given during the
latter years of the war to the experimental home battalions, into which
boys under seventeen were drafted. To suit their short stature and
younger muscles, fusils instead of full-sized muskets were served out
to them.

[Sidenote: The Baker Rifle]

Quite different from all muskets were the rifles served out to the
5/60th, the 95th, and the Light Battalions of the K.G.L. The pattern
was called the Baker rifle, from its inventor. It was a short weapon
with a barrel two and a half feet long, furnished with seven grooves
within, which made a quarter-turn in the length of the barrel. Its
calibre was a twenty bore, and it was stiff to load. An interesting
letter from one of the majors of the 5/60th to the assistant
adjutant-general at Cork, written just before the battalion sailed
for Portugal, makes a demand for 450 small mallets, for the purpose
of forcing the bullet down the barrel. “They should be made of hard
wood, with a handle about six inches long, pierced with a hole at the
extremity for fastening a string to it.” Major Davy adds that “the
instrument is absolutely necessary,” and a mallet for every two men
should be furnished.[309] These tools, however, were in use only for a
few months, were found not indispensable, and were finally withdrawn.
But to ram the ball home was always a hard job, owing to the grooves.
The rifleman carried no bayonet, his second weapon being a very short
and curved sword, more useful for wood-chopping than anything else.

Sergeants were not yet armed like the rank and file, except in
the rifle battalions, where they carried the normal weapon of the
“Baker” type. In the Guards and line alike they had a seven-foot
spear with a cross-piece below the head, to prevent over-penetration
after a thrust.[310] The names of pike and halberd were used for it
indifferently, though the former was the more correct, the original
halberd having been a cut-and-thrust weapon with an edge as well as
a point. In addition, the sergeant carried a brass-hilted sword at
his left side. I have never found any mention of its being used, the
halberd being always the preferred weapon—though in action a sergeant
often picked up a dead man’s musket, and joined in the firing.[311]
But, _en revanche_, I have found a confession by a newly made sergeant
of his having caught it between his legs, and had a nasty fall, on
his first appearance with the three stripes. The weapon was slightly
curved, and meant for cutting rather than thrusting.

On the other hand, the infantry officer’s sword was quite straight and
rather light, a thrusting weapon essentially. There are many complaints
that it was too slight for its work—_e.g._ it had no chance against a
French cavalry sword, which would always batter it down, when the two
clashed in stroke and parry. I have found it called a “toasting-fork,”
and other insulting names. Many officers provided themselves with
foreign weapons of a heavier make, and better adapted for cutting; no
objection was made to this departure from the regulations. Mounted and
staff officers carried a different sword—a curved broad-bladed sabre,
of the type of that used by light cavalry. Rifle officers also used a
curved sabre, of a rather short make, and not the straight infantry

Heavy cavalry used the broad-sword with steel hilt and guard, straight
and very heavy. It could be used for the thrust as well as for the
cut, but it would seem that the British dragoons (unlike the French
cuirassiers) always preferred the edge to the point. The sabre of
the light dragoon and the hussar was a markedly curved weapon, very
broad in the blade, and only suitable for the stroke, though very
occasionally we hear of a thrust being made.[312] From the enormous
proportion of wounded to killed in engagements where the French and
English light cavalry met, it is clear that the sabres of both sides
were better suited to maim than to slay. The thrusting sword of the
cuirassiers had a much more terrible reputation.

The rank and file of the Royal Sappers and Miners carried muskets
and bayonets like infantry of the line, and their sergeants the
regulation halberd. Horse artillery gunners had sabres of the light
dragoon type; but field artillery only very short curved swords, like
those of the rifle regiments. The drivers, who were organized as a
separate corps, had no weapons at all, in order that their attention
might not be distracted from their horses. This seems to have been a
very doubtful expedient, leaving them absolutely helpless if attacked
by hostile cavalry. It may have originated from the fact that the
driver, far into the eighteenth century, had not been a soldier at all,
but a “waggoner,” a civilian without uniform or arms. It was only in
1794 that the corps of Artillery Drivers was formed upon this rather
unpromising basis.

[Sidenote: Regimental Colours]

This is probably the place in which mention should be made of the
standards under which the army fought.[313] Cavalry banners or
_guidons_ had just gone out—if used at all in the Peninsular War, it
was only in its first year. Reports from the later years show that all
regiments had left them either at their depôt in England, or in some
cases at Lisbon. But infantry regiments, with few exceptions, took
their flags into the field, as was the custom with their successors
down to the last generation. It was only in the 1880’s that they
finally ceased to be displayed on active service. The Rifles, always
destined to fight in extended order, never had colours, and the
regimental annals of some Light Infantry corps (the 68th and 71st)
show that for similar reasons they had left their standards behind in
England. But this was not the case with all Light Infantry: the famous
43rd and 52nd carried them all through the war.

Of the two battalion colours the one or “King’s Colour” was a large
Union Jack, with the regiment’s number on a shield or medallion, often
encompassed with a wreath, and sometimes also with the badge of the
corps, when such existed. The second or Regimental colour was of the
same hue as the facings of the corps, and only had a small Union Jack
in its upper left corner, next the pole. On the plain silk of the main
surface of the flag were disposed the number of the regiment, often
in a wreath, and its badges and battle-honours, where such existed.
Since facings had many hues, the main effect of the two flags was very
different, the large Union Jack of the King’s Colour being contrasted
with the yellow, green, crimson, or white, etc., of the Regimental

The colours were borne in battle by the two junior ensigns of
the battalion, who had assigned to them for protection several
colour-sergeants. It was the duty of these non-commissioned officers to
take charge of the flag if the proper bearer were slain or hurt, and
in many battles both colours came out of action in sergeants’ hands.
The post of colour-sergeant was honourable but dangerous, for the
enemy’s fire always beat hardest about the standards in the centre of
the battalion line. Sergeant Lawrence of the 40th notes, in his simple
diary, that at Waterloo he was ordered to the colours late in the day,
because both the ensigns and all the colour-sergeants had been hit.
“Though used to warfare as any one, this was a job I did not like.
There had been before me that day _fourteen_ sergeants already killed
or wounded around them, and both staff and colours were almost cut to
pieces.”[314] This was, of course, very exceptional carnage; but the
posts of junior ensign and colour-sergeant were always exceptionally



As I have already had occasion to remark, when dealing with the central
organization of the Peninsular Army, of all the departments which had
their representatives at Head Quarters that which was under the charge
of the Commissary-General was the most important.[315] It is not too
much to say that, when the long struggle began, the whole future of
the war depended on whether the hastily organized and inexperienced
Commissariat Department could enable Wellington to keep his army
concentrated, and to move it freely in any direction.

Spain and Portugal are countries where large armies cannot be supplied
from local resources, except in a few favoured districts. Any attempt
to live on requisitions was bound to fail in the end, as the French
realized to their sorrow, after a long series of endeavours to subsist
on the countryside in the Peninsula, as they were wont to do in Italy
or Germany. Wellington from the first forbade it, and resolved that
the main dependence of the troops must be on regular stores brought
up from the base of operations. Requisitions were only a subsidiary
resource; they could only be made by an authorized commissary, and
must be paid for at once. It was his misfortune that specie was often
not forthcoming, and the payments had to be made by Treasury orders
or other paper, which the peasants who received them found hard to
negotiate. But payment in some form was always made.

[Sidenote: All-Importance of Convoys]

At the best, requisitions were only a secondary aid, and the army
relied for the staple of its provisions on the stores which the
Commissary-General had to bring up from Lisbon or other bases. This
was a hard task for him, when it is remembered that the cross roads of
the Peninsula were mule-tracks, on which heavy wheeled traffic could
not pass; and that the army was often operating at a distance of 150
or 200 miles from its depôts. Moreover, in 1809, the staff of the
Commissariat had all their work to learn—no British army for many years
had been operating in heavy force, and for many months on end, in a
thinly-peopled continental theatre of war. The difficulty of bringing
up the daily food of the troops seemed at first almost insuperable.
At the end of the Talavera campaign the men were well-nigh famished,
simply because the attempt had been made to depend more than was
possible on local resources, to the neglect of convoys from the base.
After this experience Wellington resolved that he must live on his own
stores, and this principle was remembered throughout the war. Hence
the work which fell on the commissariat, in collecting and forwarding
food from the base, was appalling. Most of it had to be conveyed by
brigades of pack-mules with native drivers, who were hard to manage
and prone to desert. The rest came up on country carts—ox-waggons for
the most part. That mistakes and delays occurred, that a brigade or a
division was occasionally foodless for several days, and forced to halt
in the middle of a critical operation, is not wonderful. But on the
whole after much toil and trouble the Commissariat succeeded in doing
its duty, and the length of time for which the British army could keep
concentrated was the envy of the French, who, living on the country,
were forced to disperse whenever they had exhausted the resources of
the particular region in which they were massed.

All through the years 1811–12 the central fact in the Peninsula was
that if the French armies of Portugal and the North concentrated at
Salamanca and Rodrigo, or if (on the other hand) those of Portugal and
Andalusia joined on the Guadiana, in the region of Badajoz and Merida,
the Anglo-Portuguese were too weak to face the combination. Wellington
had to abandon the offensive, and to seek refuge behind the Portuguese
frontier. But when he did so, as in June, 1811, and again in September
of the same year, he knew that the overwhelming force in front of him
could not hold itself together for more than a very short period of
days. Troops brought from enormous distances, and destitute of any
adequate magazines or transport, could not live on the countryside for
more than a limited period. They were forced to disperse, in order to
feed, and so the threatening conjunction passed, and, when the enemy
had drawn apart, the allied army could once more abandon the defensive,
and take some positive project in hand. The same was the case in
the late autumn of 1812, during the retreat from Burgos. Wellington
on this occasion had on his hands the largest combination of French
troops that he ever faced—the four armies of Portugal, the North, the
Centre, and Andalusia were all pressing in upon him. It would have
been hopeless to fight, and so retreat was persevered in, so long as
the enemy continued to advance. But Wellington knew that the progress
of the 100,000 men now pursuing him must inevitably come to an end,
for in their rapid course they could bring no stores with them, and in
the war-worn country between Salamanca and Rodrigo they could obtain
nothing. Where his own troops, though returning toward their base
and their depôts, were hard put to it for food, the French must be
suffering even more. Wherefore he retreated, waiting for the inevitable
moment when the pursuit could be no longer urged. It mattered little
whether it stopped at Salamanca, or a march or so beyond (as actually
happened), or whether it might get a little further, as far as the
Portuguese frontier. It was certain, within a period of days, that it
must break down. Meanwhile he himself was retreating on to his stores,
and could depend upon them: after Rodrigo the men were getting their
full rations once more.

The duties of the Commissariat may be divided into three sections—the
first was the accumulation of great masses of sea-borne stores at the
regular bases, the second was the distribution of those stores to the
troops at the front by an immense system of convoys; the third and
subsidiary task was the supplementing of these base-stores, by getting
in what could be procured in the countryside, where the army was
operating; for, of course, every _fanega_ or _arroba_ of food-stuff
that could be obtained at the front was helpful. It had not to be
carried far, it saved convoy work, and it kept the magazines at the
base from depletion. Yet, as has been already remarked, what was got
in the countryside was always considered as the secondary source of
supply; the main reliance was on the food-ships, which poured into the
base-depôt of Lisbon corn sought in the ends of the earth, not only in
such limited parts of Europe as could be drawn upon in the days of the
Continental System, but in Morocco, Turkey in Asia, and America.

The maintenance of the Peninsular War entirely depended on the naval
predominance of Great Britain in all seas; if the army of Wellington
had not been able to draw freely on distant resources, his position
would have been little better than that of his French enemies. Hence
it was that, in one sense, the greatest danger that he ever incurred
was the American War of 1812–14, which turned loose upon his line
of communications, in the North Atlantic, many scores of active and
enterprising privateers, who did considerable damage among British
shipping, and for the first time since the war began made the high
seas insecure. But fortunately the commencement of the American War
exactly synchronized with the beginnings of Napoleon’s downfall, and
the struggle in Europe took a favourable turn just as the peril on the
ocean came into being. If the American War had broken out in 1809 or
1810, its significance would have been of much higher importance.

The normal condition of commissariat affairs, during the first four
years of the war, was that there were daily arriving in Lisbon supplies
of all sorts, not only food but clothing, munitions, and weapons of
war, which had to be got forward to the army as quickly as possible.
In the winter of 1810–11, when the whole of Wellington’s host lay
concentrated behind (or later in advance of) the Lines of Torres
Vedras, the problem was comparatively simple, as the troops were close
to the magazines. But during the remainder of the years 1811–12 the
British divisions were lying out at a long distance from their base—by
Guarda, Celorico, or Almeida, or at other times near Merida, Campo
Mayor, and Portalegre. In 1812, when Wellington moved forward as far as
Madrid and Burgos, the _étapes_ between the base-depôt and the field
army were even greater.

[Sidenote: Water Transport]

The Commissary-General’s duty was to see that convoys went regularly
to the front, so that the army should never be in want. This was a
hard business, since most of the transfer had to be made on mule-back,
and the rest on ox-carts of primitive construction and small capacity.
Water-carriage, which would have been comparatively easy, could only
be utilized on a limited scale; the Tagus was generally navigable
to Abrantes, and when the main army lay in Estremadura this was a
great help, since stores could be sent up in barges and country boats
with much greater ease than by road. When unloaded at Abrantes, they
had a comparatively short way to travel by mule or ox-cart to Elvas
or Portalegre. But usually only Hill’s two divisions were on the
Estremadura frontier, and Wellington with the main force was somewhere
on the Beira frontier, in the direction of Guarda, Sabugal, and the
Coa. These regions are 150 miles or more from Lisbon, and the roads
beyond Coimbra on the one side and Abrantes on the other were rugged
and badly kept. It was a trying business to secure the constant and
regular forwarding of the necessary convoys, and the return of beasts
and men to the base, when they had discharged their loads at the
front. A very slight assistance was got by using the river Douro as a
secondary line of water carriage—but it was only navigable to Peso da
Regoa near Lamego, which was so far from the Spanish frontier and the
normal haunts of the army, that little was gained by sending stores to
Oporto as a secondary base-depôt. In 1811 the only large consignments
forwarded on that line were the heavy guns and ammunition, which
were to form the siege-train that Dickson was organizing at Villa da
Ponte,[316] which is comparatively close to Lamego, though the roads
between them were very bad. In 1812 Wellington’s engineers, by patient
blasting and dredging in the bed of the Douro, made it navigable as far
as Castro de Alva, which is forty miles up-stream from Peso da Regoa,
and lies not very remote from Almeida. After this the Douro became
much more useful as a line of supply, and it was largely used for the
forwarding of stores before the opening of the campaign of 1813. But,
just as it had become available on a better scale, Wellington started
the great march to Vittoria, whose success took him away for ever
from Portugal. During the last year of the war he suddenly shifted
his base, and made Santander and Passages his base-ports, so that the
improvements in the navigation of the Douro were of no further utility.

[Sidenote: The Mule-Train]

A great part of the Commissary-General’s staff was kept at Lisbon,
with a smaller sub-department at Oporto, receiving from the ships,
unloading, and repacking the immense stores that came to hand.
Every few days a convoy started for the front, under the charge of
a deputy-assistant-commissary, a commissariat-clerk, or some such
subordinate. It would usually consist of a large drove of hired
mules, worked by their owners, who generally acted together in gangs
or parties, of which a _capataz_ or head-driver, chosen by his
comrades, was the chief, and did the bargaining with the commissariat
authorities. The convoy would probably consist of the gangs of five
or six _capatazes_, and would number many scores of beasts. The
commissariat official in charge had no easy task to make the muleteers
get over a reasonable daily stretch of road, and to see that they did
not steal from the stores, or (what was not unknown when there was a
quarrel) desert with their beasts. When the convoy got near the front,
it would have to be provided with an escort—generally convalescents
returning to their battalions, or drafts newly arrived from England.
But the escorts were not an unmixed blessing—they were terribly prone
to picking and stealing from the stores, with or without the connivance
of the muleteers. There was nearly always trouble when a small escort,
without an officer to keep his men in hand, got associated with a mule
train. Brawls were frequent between soldiers and muleteers, and the
assistant-commissary in charge could not get the escort to obey him:
sergeants looked upon him as a mere civilian in a cocked hat, who
might be contemned. Nor was the task of such an unfortunate official
rendered more easy by the fact that, owing to sheer want of hard cash,
his muleteers were usually in long arrears of their stipulated hire.
They naturally grumbled, but on the whole stuck to their service far
more faithfully than might have been expected; there were times when
the whole body of them were many months unpaid, yet only a small
proportion disappeared. Probably the fact that they escaped the
conscription by being registered as authorized followers of the British
Army had something to do with their long-suffering: probably also real
patriotism had some share, for they all loyally hated the French, and
were prone to cut the throats of their wounded, if left unshepherded
near a recent battlefield.

Wheeled transport was much less satisfactory than the mule trains for
continuous movement. The British waggons sent out to the Peninsula
turned out to be quite useless for Portuguese by-roads. Wellington
finally gave up all idea of relying on them for load-carrying, and
mainly employed them for his sick and wounded. A few of the “spring
waggons” (as they were called to distinguish them from the springless
Portuguese vehicles)[317] were attached to each brigade for the
carriage of invalids, and the “Royal Waggon Train” in the later years
of the war seem to have been almost treated as an ambulance corps.
Certainly the army would have been in evil case, if it had been forced
to rely on them for the moving of its food.

Such stores as did move upon wheels, and not upon mule-back, were
carried on Portuguese ox-waggons, to which Wellington was compelled to
have recourse for want of better vehicles. These were very primitive
structures—the sides of wicker work, the wheels made of solid circles
of wood bounded with iron, turning axle and all, which made their
grinding noise almost intolerable. The excruciating thrills caused to
the ear by a train of such carts are mentioned with disgust by nearly
every Peninsular diarist, on his first introduction to life at the
front. The only advantages of ox-waggons were that they were light,
easy to repair, and specially built for the bad roads of the country:
moreover, every peasant knew how to drive them, or to mend them at a
pinch. Their weak points were that they were intolerably slow—two miles
an hour was a full allowance—and that they were too small to carry
much. However, they had to serve for want of better vehicles—and the
army could not have lived without their service. An immense amount of
them were employed, some on regular and long terms of hire, as part of
the permanent transport of the army, others in a more temporary way,
by requisition from the district. These last were always difficult
to manage; professional muleteers would not object to travel, but
impressed peasants loathed quitting their own district, fearing that
they might be taken far afield—perhaps into Spain—before they were
released. They were always trying to abscond with their precious
bullocks, abandoning the comparatively worthless cart and its stores.
A picture of the sort may be taken from Hennegan’s lively narrative of
a march in 1809, when he had to take an unwilling train of “embargoed”
waggoners across the mountains of Northern Beira.

[Sidenote: Desertion of Drivers]

“Leaning on their oxen at nightfall, they contemplated in mute dismay
on one side the gigantic hill which they had just descended, on the
other the roaring torrent of the Douro, which in its impetuous course
seemed to threaten with destruction the temerity that would brave its
power. The _Santa Marias_ of some were answered by the more emphatic
_carajos!_ of others, but even these died away before the necessities
of the moment, and unyoking the oxen, to afford them the shelter of
trees, the drivers spread their large cloaks in the empty sheds, and
soon in sleep seemed to forget their disappointment. The poor men,
taken from their homes for our service, risked in the loss of their
oxen the only means of support for themselves and families.

“The following morning, however, presented a curious scene. There stood
the wains, securely packed, but looking as if the earth had brought
them forth, for no vestige remained of the means by which they had been
brought to this lonely spot. The rumour of the proximity of the French
had determined these Portuguese on sacrificing the wains, if only they
could ensure the preservation of themselves and oxen. What was now to
be done?”[318]

As a matter of fact, the non-plussed guardian of the deserted convoy
had to remain motionless for many days, risking the possible arrival of
the French, till at last he procured boats on the Douro, and shipped
his charge down to Oporto. Hennegan’s peasants got away with their
bullocks—he and his escort were evidently sleepy and unsuspecting: but
often a good watch was kept on the teams, and sentries placed over
them. In such cases, if the weather was bad, or the French too near,
the drivers would often sacrifice even their loved beasts, and simply
abscond themselves, abandoning their means of livelihood.

It says much for the general zeal of the Commissariat Department
that, even with such difficulties about them, they usually succeeded
in keeping the army supplied with food. Occasionally there were
desperate pinches of starvation, when the army had out-marched its
convoys—this, for example, happened on the Alva in March, 1811, when
half of the army, in pursuit of Masséna, had to stop dead for several
days, because their rapid advance had left the slow-moving mule-trains
several marches behind. To press the French would have been most
profitable—but if the troops had gone on, through the depopulated
land before them, they must have perished of sheer want of food, and
Wellington reluctantly halted till the convoys began to creep up
to the front. Another period of empty stomachs was seen during the
retreat from Burgos, from the opposite cause; forced to give back,
Wellington started his train betimes for Ciudad Rodrigo, to get it out
of the proximity of the oncoming enemy. Hence the rear divisions, who
had to contain the pursuers and to move slowly, found, when they had
eaten what was in their haversacks, that the convoys were all several
marches ahead of them. They suffered terribly, and existed for two days
mainly on acorns gleaned from the oak forests through which they were
marching. But mischances of this kind were hardly to be considered the
fault of the Commissariat.

[Sidenote: The Resources of the Country]

As I have already had to remark, the duty of the officers of this
department did not merely consist in bringing up and distributing
food forwarded from the base depôts. They had also, as a subsidiary
resource, to get what they could out of the countryside. A good
assistant-commissary was always casting about, through the villages on
either side of the route of the brigade to which he was attached, to
find cattle and corn that could be bought. He was forced to pay for
them, since Wellington strictly forbade requisition without value
given. When the commissary had dollars the matter was not so difficult,
for the peasants were generally ready to sell. But when, as often
happened, the military chest was empty, and payment could only be made
in _vales_—paper promises to pay—the inhabitants soon got wind of the
fact, hid their corn, and drove their oxen up into the hills. The good
commissary was the man, who, under such circumstances could discover
and get possession of the concealed resources of the land. But even if
there was money in hand, a good deal of tact was required in dealing
with the natives, and it was not every one who would make the most of
his store of cash or paper for the benefit of his brigade. How the
ingenious man worked may be gathered from a note of Commissary Dallas,
dealing with a march through Northern Andalusia in 1812.[319]

“Having made careful inquiries as to the properties and farms which lay
at some distance to right or left of the road, our plan was to seek
them, not saying a word of our object, but simply asking hospitality. I
do not remember that this was ever refused, though sometimes we failed
to gain anything. We usually began with talking of the horrors of the
French, of which Andres had many terrible chapters to relate. This led
to expressions of grief as to the ravages that the enemy had made: by
degrees we introduced a word of rejoicing that some people had so well
known how to hide their property from such rapacious robbers. It often
happened that at the word _esconder_, to hide, there were indications
on the countenances of some of the party which led to further
inquiries. On many occasions we drew out hints from various members of
the community which enabled us to jump to conclusions, which surprised
other members, as to the concealment of stores of wheat, barley, Indian
corn, etc. The difficulty was to obtain access to the supplies, when we
had become aware of their existence; but I had power to give a good
price, and was armed with plenary authority of Spanish officials to say
that my drafts would be honoured in due course.

“An incident or two will illustrate the manner in which we got
supplies. At one distant solitary house of poor appearance Andres
discovered that, while everything looked poverty-stricken about the
place, there was somewhere in a thick wood a barn which contained
concealed stores. I told the mistress of the house of the very high
price that I would give for wheat, Indian corn, or forage. In the grey
October dawn I was awoke by her husband, who told me he could supply
what I wanted, if I would give a certain price, which he named. I said
that I must see the supplies before I gave money. He bade me rise, and
he would show me. He led me two miles to a thick wood, in which was a
deep ravine; here he brought me safely to a receptacle of much hidden
store, which I took at his own price, and gave him the proper document.
In one part of the Sierra Morena we heard of a considerable flock of
sheep secreted in the depth of a forest. I obtained the permission of
the owner to possess them for a certain price _if I could get them_,
for he himself could not point out the spot where they were to be
found. After gathering what information I could, I set forth in the
hope of finding them, and did so by following a track of sheep till I
arrived in the middle of the flock. I told the two shepherds that I had
purchased them—they were doubtful and one very refractory. But at last
one of them drove the sheep to the open plain outside the forest, and
then disappeared among the trees with his dog, leaving me to drive the
flock as I could. It was no easy task—but I got them into an enclosure
a considerable way off.”[320]

[Sidenote: The Unpopular Commissary]

If these were the experiences of a Commissariat official who had been
three years in Spain, and knew the language well, it is easy to guess
how inefficient a newly landed clerk or assistant must have been,
when he was sent to sweep the countryside for what he could discover.
It was a thankless task—often the seeker came back empty, to be
frowned upon by his departmental chief and the brigadier. When he did
discover food, it was taken for granted, and he was little thanked.
The fighting men seem to have had a general prejudice against their
providers—they were accused of being timid, arrogant, and selfish,
and the embezzlements of certain black sheep were made to cover a
general charge of dishonesty against the whole tribe, which was
far from being justified. Misfeasance there certainly was, when an
unscrupulous commissary credited a peasant with more _fanegas_ than he
had received, and divided the balance of cash with the seller. But on
the whole the work was well done, despite of the many complaints of the
military—from Wellington himself downwards. That the Peninsular War was
successfully maintained in 1810–11–12 was surely, at bottom, the work
of the much-maligned commissaries, and the motley band of ill-paid and
sometimes ruffianly muleteers and waggoners, who, through a thousand
difficulties,[321] generally got the biscuit and the rum-barrels, the
droves of bullocks, and the packs of clothing and shoes, to their
appointed destination.



In the first chapter of this volume I had occasion to remark that
Wellington’s army had in its ranks a considerable sprinkling of men
of religion, and that three or four of the better Peninsular memoirs
were written by them. Some were Methodists, some Churchmen, so that
both sides of the great spiritual movement which had started about the
middle of the eighteenth century were represented in their diaries. The
spiritual side of the soldier’s life during the great war has had so
little written about it, that a few illustrative pages on this topic
must not be omitted.

We may trace the existence of the admirable class of men who have
left us these memoirs to two separate causes. The one, of course, was
the way in which the movement started by the Wesleys had influenced
all ranks of life, from the lowest upward. Its effects had not
been confined to avowed Methodists, but had led to the rise of the
Evangelical party within the Church of England, which was developing
very rapidly all through the days of the Great War. But I think that
even if the Wesleys had never lived, there would yet have been a
strong reaction in favour of godly living and the open profession of
Christianity, in consequence of the blasphemous antics of the French
Revolution. Nothing in that movement so disgusted Englishmen (even
those of them who were not much given to practical religion) as the
story of the “Goddess of Reason,” enthroned on the high-altar of
Notre Dame, at the time when an orgy of bloodshed was making odious
the flatulent talk about humanitarianism and liberty which was the
staple of Revolutionary oratory. The peculiar combination of insult
to Christianity, open evil living, and wholesale judicial murder,
which distinguished the time of the Terror, had an effect on observers
comparable to nothing else that has been seen in modern times. Even
men who had not hitherto taken their religion very seriously, began to
think that a hell was logically necessary in the scheme of creation
for beings like Chaumette or Hébert, Fouquier Tinville or Carrier of
the _Noyades_. And, we may add, a personal devil was surely required,
to account for the promptings of insane wickedness which led to the
actions of such people. A tightening up of religious observances, such
as the use of family prayer and regular attendance at Church, was a
marked feature of the time. It required some time for the movement to
spread, but its effect was soon observable. It naturally took shape
in adhesion to Evangelical societies within the Church of England, or
Methodist societies without it; since these were the already existing
nuclei round which those whose souls had been stirred by the horrors in
France and the imminent peril of Great Britain would group themselves.

[Sidenote: Effects of the French Revolution]

Very soon the day was over in which “enthusiasm” was the dread of all
normal easy-going men. Something more than the eighteenth century
religious sentimentalism, and vague spiritual philosophy, was needed
for a nation which had to fight for life and empire against the French
Republic and all its works. Those methods of thought were sufficiently
discredited by the fact that there was a touch of Rousseau in them:
it was easy to look over the Channel, and see to what a belief in
some nebulous Supreme Being, and in the perfectibility and essential
righteousness of mankind at large, might lead. The God of the Old
Testament was a much more satisfactory object of worship to the men
who had to face the Jacobin, and Calvinism has always proved a good
fighting creed. If ever there was a justification for a belief that
the enemy were in a condition of complete reprobation, and that to
smite them was the duty of every Christian man, it was surely at
this time. The conviction of the universality of sin and the natural
wickedness of the human heart was the exact opposite and antidote
to the optimistic philosophy of the eighteenth century, and to its
belief that man is essentially a benevolent being, and that if he
sometimes breaks out into deplorable violence “_tout comprendre est
tout pardonner_.” As a working hypothesis for an enemy of the French
Revolution the Calvinistic theory had everything in its favour.

The army, like English society in general, contained an appreciable
proportion of those whom the stress and terror of the times had made
anxious about their souls. Some took their religious experience
quietly, and found sufficient edification in accepted forms. Many,
however, filled with a fervent belief in original sin and in the
blackness of their own hearts, only got comfort by “conversion” in
the prevalent form of the day, and in subsequent reliance on complete
Justification by Faith.

“Conversion” was frequently a matter of dire spiritual agony and
wrestling, often accompanied by fits of horrible depression, which
were generally fought down, but sometimes ended in religious mania.
Sergeant Donaldson of the 94th, whom I have often had to quote in other
chapters, tells a terrible tale from his own regiment of a man whose
weak point had been a violent temper, and a tendency to use his fists.
Being under strong religious emotion, and having determined never again
to offend in this way, he had the misfortune to break out once more
in unjustifiable blows, administered to his peasant landlord in the
village of Ustaritz. Ashamed of his backsliding he fell into a fit of
despair, and brooding over the text “if thy right hand offend thee, cut
it off,” he resolved that this was the only cure for his irascibility.
Whereupon he went, and without any display of emotion or eccentricity,
very quietly borrowed a felling-axe from one of the regimental
pioneers, placed his right hand upon a window-sill, and cut it off with
a single blow delivered very dexterously with his left. He then went
and reported his act and its reason to the regimental surgeon, with
great calmness and lucidity.[322]

[Sidenote: The Agonies of Conversion]

Such incidents as this were rare among those who were undergoing the
process of Conversion, but it was generally accompanied by long spasms
of conviction of sin, when, as one memoir-writer records, “all the
crimes of his life passed before him in black array, when he felt
that if he could but bury himself in a cave or den of the earth, and
forego all intercourse with mankind, it would be to purchase pardon
and peace easily and cheaply.... Life was but the dreadful expectation
of that fatal hour when the fiend would be commissioned to seize and
carry off the guilty soul to its abode of everlasting misery.”[323]
Another diarist records that, as he went down toward the great breach
of Badajoz, he was repeating to himself very forcibly, “You will be in
hell before daylight” all the time, till he received a disabling wound.
This rifleman, when he experienced conversion, received therewith an
unexpected gift of metrical exposition. His autobiography is curiously
sprinkled with his impromptu verses such as—

       “Then why let our minds be encumbered
        ’Bout what such poor worms may befall,
        When the hairs of our head are all numbered
        By Him who reigns King over all?”

And again—

       “I shall go where duty calls me,
        Patient bearing what befalls me,
        Jesus Christ will bring me through!
        Bullets, cannon balls or death
        Cannot hurt ‘the better part,’
        So I’ll list to what He saith
        Till He bids me home depart.”[324]

This ecstatic confidence of the converted man is very clearly expressed
in many a little book. A Guards’ sergeant, whose memoirs I have had
occasion to quote in earlier chapters, mentions that, all through the
hard experience of his brigade at Talavera, he was comforted by the
thought that, however disastrous the day was looking, “the Lord can
save us now.”

“Standing between the enemy and my own men, with the shot ploughing up
the ground all about me, the Lord kept me from all fear, and I got back
to my place in the line without injury and without agitation. Indeed,
who should be so firm as the Christian soldier, who has the assurance
in his breast that to depart and to be with Christ is far better than
to continue toiling here below?”[325] On another occasion this diarist,
in a long waiting spell before a dangerous disembarkation, found
Wesley’s two hundred and twenty-seventh hymn running in his mind all
the morning, to the inexpressible comfort of his soul during an anxious

This kind of comfortable ecstasy did not by any means preclude a ready
and competent employment of musket and bayonet. One or two of the
notable personal exploits of the Peninsular War were done by “saints.”
There is a special mention in several diaries, regimental and general,
of John Rae, of the 71st, a well-known Methodist, who at the combat of
Sobral (October 14, 1810), being the last man of the skirmishers of his
battalion to retire, was beset by three French _tirailleurs_, on whom
he turned, and shot one and bayoneted the other two in the twinkling of
an eye. He received a medal for his conduct from his brigadier, who had
been an eye-witness of the affair.[326]

[Sidenote: Wellington’s Views on Religion]

The attitude of Wellington toward religion at large, and religious
soldiers in particular, was very much what one might have expected
from his peculiar blend of personal characteristics. He was a sincere
believer in Christianity as presented by the Church of England, but he
had not been in the least affected by recent evangelical developments,
and his belief was of a rather dry and official sort; an officer who
took to public preaching and the forming of religious societies was
only two or three degrees less distasteful to him than an officer who
was foul-mouthed in his language and openly contemned holy things.
I fancy that the Duke would have been inclined to regard both as
“ungentlemanly.” Religion with him was the due recognition of the fact
that man has a Creator, who has imposed upon him a code of laws and a
system of morality which it is man’s duty to remember, and so far as he
may, to observe. He was quite ready to acknowledge that he had his own
failings, but trusted that they were not unpardonable ones. The two or
three Evangelical enthusiasts who had the courage to tackle him in his
later days on the subject of his soul, got small profit thereby.[327]

It is highly to his credit that he made from 1810 onward a serious
attempt to organize a system of brigade chaplaincies for his army, and
to see that the men should not lack the possibility of public worship.
Down to that year the chaplains’ department had been much neglected:
large expeditions had gone out without a single clergyman attached, and
in the first Peninsular Army of 1808 there had been very few—though
two of them, Ormsby and Bradford, happen to have left interesting
books behind them, the latter’s beautifully illustrated by sketches.
Wellington complained that the provision that he found in 1809 was
wholly inadequate, asked for and obtained an additional establishment,
and made arrangements for regular Sunday services in each brigade.

The letter of February 6, 1811, in which he explains his views to
the Adjutant General at the Horse Guards is a very characteristic
document. “The army should have the advantage of religious instruction,
from a knowledge that it is the greatest support and aid to military
discipline and order.” But there are not enough chaplains, and those
that exist are not always “respectable.” The prospects of a military
chaplain are not attractive enough; on retirement he is much worse
off than he would have been “if he had followed any other line of the
clerical profession besides the army.” Hence few good men are obtained.
For want of sufficiently numerous and influential official teachers,
spontaneous religious life has broken out in the army. There are three
Methodist meetings in the 1st Division alone. In the 9th regiment two
officers are preaching, in despite of their colonels’ dissuasions.

“The meeting of soldiers in their cantonments to sing psalms, or to
hear a sermon read by one of their comrades is, in the abstract,
perfectly innocent; it is a better way of spending their time than many
others to which they are addicted. But it may become otherwise, and
yet, till the abuse has made some progress, their commanding officer
would have no knowledge of it, nor could he interfere.”

Official religious instruction is the proper remedy. A “respectable
clergyman” is wanted, who “by his personal influence and advice, and
by that of true religion, would moderate the zeal and enthusiasm of
those people, and prevent meetings from becoming mischievous, even if
he could not prevail upon them to discontinue them entirely.” Wherefore
the Adjutant General must provide for a larger establishment of
“respectable and efficient clergymen.”

[Sidenote: The Chaplains]

The Horse Guards complied at once: chaplains, it was replied, should be
sent out “selected with the utmost care and circumspection by the first
prelates of the country.” Their pay was raised, and they were directed
to conclude every service with a short practical sermon, suited to
the habits and understanding of soldiers. “Good preaching,” adds the
Adjutant General, “is more than ever required at a time peculiarly
marked by the exertions and interference of sectaries of various

The chaplains duly appeared. There were good men among them, but
they were not, taken as a whole, a complete success. Perhaps the
idea, equally nourished by Wellington and by the Horse Guards, that
“respectable” clergymen rather than enthusiasts should be drafted out,
was the cardinal mistake; the sort of men that were really wanted
at the front were precisely the enthusiasts, like that Rev. T. Owen
(afterwards secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society), of
whom we are told that he was in days of action so far forward in the
field that officers warned him that he would infallibly be killed. His
reply was that his primary duty was “to be of service to those now
departing this life.”[329] This sort of laudable energy, I am bound to
say, does not seem to have been the most common characteristic of the
chaplains, if we may trust the diaries of the time.

A good many of them were sent straight out from a country curacy to the
front, had no special knowledge of soldiers and their ways, and were
appalled at having to face the great facts of life and death in their
crudest form day after day. There is one distressing picture of a young
clergyman suddenly confronted in the guard-tent with five deserters
who were to be shot that afternoon. They were all criminals who had
been actually taken in the French ranks, fighting against their old
comrades, at the storm of Ciudad Rodrigo. The chaplain helplessly read
prayers at them, felt that he could do no more with callous ruffians
who had met the death-sentence with an oath, and followed them to the
execution-place looking very uncomfortable, quite useless, and much
ashamed of himself.

It was almost as trying, if not so horrible, to be tackled by a
Calvinist in the throes of conversion, who gave glowing pictures of
hell-fire, and asked for the means of avoiding it, refusing to take as
an answer any dole of chapters from the New Testament or petitions from
the Prayer Book. Here is a picture of the situation from the point of
view of the penitent, Quartermaster Surtees, whom I have already had
occasion to quote.

“From the clergyman, though a kind and sympathizing man, I, alas!
derived but little benefit. He did not direct me to the only source of
a sin-sick being’s hopes—the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of
the world. He tried to make my hopes centre more on good resolutions,
and after-doings. How thankfully would I have accepted the true method
of salvation pointed out in the gospel; but already I was but too much
(as the natural man always is) inclined to expect pardon from the
acts of penitence which, if God spared me, I intended to perform. The
kind gentleman wrote me out prayers, and seemed much interested in my
welfare. But reading and praying seemed more like an irksome task than
an exercise which brought spiritual profit.... Indeed the Scriptures
were still at this time a ‘sealed book’ to me; until the grace of God
has dispelled our darkness there is no light in anything.”[330]

Clearly the Quartermaster had come upon one of those sensible and
commonplace clergy whom Wellington had requisitioned from the
Chaplain-general’s department, when he wanted an Evangelist who would
have preached to him Justification by Faith in its simplest form.

There are a good many humorous anecdotes concerning the race of
Chaplains preserved in the Peninsular diaries, not for the most part
imputing to them any serious moral failing—though several are accused
of having become “Belemites,”[331] and of shirking the front—but
tending to prove that they often failed to rise to the occasion in
their difficult calling. This was indeed to be expected when most of
them had not the least knowledge of military life and customs, and
were wandering about for many months in a world quite new to them.
Clearly only men of experience should have been sent—but (as Wellington
remarks in one of his letters) the pay offered was so small that
only enthusiasts or very poor men could be expected to take it—and
enthusiasts, for other reasons, the commander-in-chief did not like.
The soldier seems often to have been struck by the helplessness of the
chaplain—he let himself be robbed by his servants, wandered outside the
picquets and got captured by the French, or was deceived by obvious
hypocrites. There is one ridiculous story of a young clergyman who,
when first brought forward to take a brigade Sunday service, and placed
behind the big-drum, which was to serve him as a sort of central mark,
mistook its function for that of a pulpit, and endeavoured to mount
upon it, with disastrous results, and to the infinite laughter of the

[Sidenote: The Methodists]

Not unfrequently the chaplains fell out with the Methodists among
their flocks. They had been specially imported by Wellington in order
that they might discourage the prayer meetings—“getting up little
conventicles” as one of them called these assemblies. “The Church
service is sufficient for the instruction of mankind,” said another,
and “the zeal for preaching” tended to self-sufficiency and incipient
pharisaism. On the whole, however, there was no regular or normal
opposition between Church of England and Methodist soldiers; they were
in such a minority among the godless that it would have been absurd
for them to have quarrelled. The Methodists regularly received the
sacrament from the chaplains along with the churchmen, and the latter
were frequently to be found at the prayer meetings of the former.

Sergeant Stevenson’s memoir, a mine of useful information in this
respect, informs us that the regular organized prayer meeting of the
Wesleyans in the 1st Division was begun in a gravel-pit just outside
the walls of Badajoz, in September, 1809, and never ceased from that
time forward. During the long sojourn behind the Lines of Torres Vedras
it was held for many weeks in a large wine-press, holding more than a
hundred men, behind the village of Cartaxo, quite close to Wellington’s
headquarters, where indeed the hymns sung could be clearly heard.
There were similar associations in other divisions, some mainly Church
of England, some (as in the 79th regiment) Presbyterian. Stevenson
says that he never heard of any opposition on the part of commanding
officers, save in the case of one captain, whose preaching was finally
ended by a course of persecution on the part of his colonel. But of
course the “saints” had to endure a good deal of ridicule from their
comrades, more especially those of them who took occasion to testify
against drunkenness or blasphemy. Stevenson gives a verse of his own,
which he says that he pasted up in the sergeants’ room of the 3rd
Guards, to discourage profane swearing at large.

       “It chills the blood to hear the Blest Supreme
        Rashly appealed to on each trifling theme,
        Maintain your rank: vulgarity despise;
        To swear is neither _brave_, _polite_, nor _wise_.”

We may observe a certain canny appeal to the self-respect of the
non-commissioned officer, in the insinuation that by blasphemy he
lowers himself to the ranks, and is guilty of vulgarity and want of
politeness. It is to be feared that these couplets might have been not
inappropriately hung up in the mess rooms of certain regiments whose
colonels were by no means choice in their language.

[Sidenote: Soldier-Parsons]

Among the senior officers of the Peninsular Army there were a good
number who were not merely like Wellington, conformists of an official
sort, but zealous Christians, such were Hill, Le Marchant,[332]
Colborne, and John Beckwith—the Light Division colonel, who devoted
his later years to taking care of the Waldenses of Piedmont, among
whom he settled down in the evening of his life. Quite a sprinkling
of the younger officers took orders when the war was over, after the
great disbandment of 1816–17, when all the second battalions were
disembodied. Such were three men who have left us excellent Peninsular
diaries, Gleig of the 85th, the author of “The Subaltern,” and other
works, afterwards Chaplain-General to the forces; Dallas, who made a
great name as an evangelist at Burford, was another soldier-parson;
Boothby, who wrote a good journal concerning Maida, Corunna, and
Talavera, was a third. The type generally ran to strong Evangelicalism,
as was natural, considering that this was the really live and vigorous
element in the Church of that day.

It is clear that the religious condition of regiments varied
extremely—that in some the influence of serious and devout officers
and men was large, in others practically invisible. The character of
the colonel made some difference for good or bad, but I imagine that
more depended on the existence or non-existence of some small knot of
officers or sergeants who did not fear to let their views be known,
and formed a nucleus around which steady men gathered. Their names
are mostly forgotten, the record of their witnessing has perished, or
emerges only in some obscure corner of a little-read biography or an
old religious magazine. I could wish that some sympathetic hand could
devote a whole book to collecting and recording that which I have only
been able to touch upon in this short chapter. It is a side of the life
of the Peninsular Army which well deserves recording, since without
some notice of it the picture of military society during the great war
is wholly incomplete.



N.B.—The star * affixed to a battalion’s station means that it had just
returned from Sir John Moore’s Corunna Campaign.

   No. of  |   Territorial   |Establishment.|   Station   | Station
  Regiment.|    or other     |   Officers   |   of 1st    | of 2nd
           |   Designation.  |   and men.   |  Battalion. |and other
           |                 |              |             |Battalions
           |                 |              |             | [if any].
      1st  |Royal Scots      |     4926     |West Indies  |2nd East
           |                 |              |             |Indies;
           |                 |              |             |3rd Home*
           |                 |              |             |[went to
           |                 |              |             |Walcheren];
           |                 |              |             |4th Home
           |                 |              |             |
      2nd  |Queen’s Royal    |      906     |Home* [went  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
      3rd  |The Buffs        |     1610     |Peninsular   |Home
           |                 |              |Field Army   |
           |                 |              |             |
      4th  |King’s Own       |     2031     |Home* [went  |Home [went
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
      5th  |Northumberland   |     2031     |Home* [went  |Home
           |Regiment         |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
      6th  |1st Warwickshire |     1820     |Home* [went  |Home
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
      7th  |Royal Fusiliers  |     2031     |Nova Scotia  |Lisbon
           |                 |              |             |[later
           |                 |              |             |Gibraltar]
           |                 |              |             |
      8th  |The King’s       |     1610     |West Indies  |Home [went
           |Regiment         |              |             |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
      9th  |East Norfolk     |     2289     |Home* [went  |Peninsular
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     10th  |North Lincoln    |     1610     |Sicily       |Home [went
           |                 |              |             |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
     11th  |North Devon      |     2031     |Madeira      |Home [went
           |                 |              |[later       |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |Peninsula]   |
           |                 |              |             |
     12th  |East Suffolk     |      941     |East Indies  |[Raised
           |                 |              |             |a 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion in
           |                 |              |             |1813]
           |                 |              |             |
     13th  |1st Somerset     |     1126     |West Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     14th  |Bucks Regiment[A]|     2290     |East Indies  |2nd Home*
           |                 |              |             |[Walcheren];
           |                 |              |             |3rd Sicily
           |                 |              |             |
     15th  |East Riding      |     1400     |West Indies  |Home
           |Regiment         |              |             |
           |                 |              |             |
     16th  |Bedfordshire[333]|      406     |West Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     17th  |Leicestershire   |     1151     |East Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     18th  |Royal Irish      |     1669     |West Indies  |West Indies
           |                 |              |             |
     19th  |1st York, North  |      930     |East Indies  |No 2nd
           |Riding           |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     20th  |East Devon       |      930     |Home* [went  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     21st  |Royal North      |     1820     |Sicily       |Home
           |British Fusiliers|              |             |
           |                 |              |             |
     22nd  |Cheshire         |      941     |East Indies  |[Raised
           |                 |              |             |a 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion in
           |                 |              |             |1814]
           |                 |              |             |
     23rd  |Royal Welsh      |     2079     |Nova Scotia  |Home* [went
           |Fusiliers        |              |             |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
     24th  |2nd Warwickshire |     2031     |Cape of Good |Peninsular
           |                 |              |Hope         |Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     25th  |King’s Own       |     1400     |West Indies  |Home
           |Borderers        |              |             |
           |                 |              |             |
     26th  |Cameronians      |     1610     |Home* [went  |Home
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     27th  |Inniskillings    |     3448     |Sicily       |2nd
           |                 |              |             |Battalion
           |                 |              |             |Sicily; 3rd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |Garrison of
           |                 |              |             |Lisbon
           |                 |              |             |
     28th  |North            |     2031     |Home* [went  |Peninsular
           |Gloucestershire  |              |to Walcheren]|Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     29th  |Worcestershire   |     1126     |Peninsular   |No 2nd
           |                 |              |Field Army   |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     30th  |Cambridgeshire   |     2242     |East Indies  |Gibraltar
           |                 |              |             |[late Lisbon]
           |                 |              |             |
     31st  |Huntingdonshire  |     2079     |Malta        |Peninsular
           |                 |              |             |Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     32nd  |Cornwall         |     1820     |Home* [went  |Home
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     33rd  |1st West Riding  |      941     |East Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     34th  |Cumberland       |     1845     |East Indies  |Home [later
           |                 |              |             |to Peninsula]
           |                 |              |             |
     35th  |Sussex           |     1820     |Sicily       |Home [went
           |                 |              |             |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
     36th  |Herefordshire    |     1610     |Home* [went  |Home
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     37th  |North Hants      |      706     |West Indies  |[Raised
           |                 |              |             |a 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion in
           |                 |              |             |1811]
           |                 |              |             |
     38th  |1st Stafford     |     1820     |Home* [went  |Home
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     39th  |Dorsetshire      |     1820     |Malta        |Peninsular
           |                 |              |             |Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     40th  |2nd Somerset     |     1820     |Peninsular   |Home
           |                 |              |Field Army   |
           |                 |              |             |
     41st  |None             |      696     |Canada       |[Raised
           |                 |              |             |a 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |1814]
           |                 |              |             |
     42nd  |Black Watch      |     2031     |Home* [went  |Peninsular
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     43rd  |Monmouth         |     2031     |Peninsular   |Home* [went
           |                 |              |Field Army*  |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
     44th  |1st Essex        |     2030     |Sicily       |Gibraltar
           |                 |              |             |
     45th  |Nottinghamshire  |     1610     |Peninsular   |Home
           |                 |              |Field Army   |
           |                 |              |             |
     46th  |South Devon      |      496     |West Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     47th  |Lancashire       |     2242     |East Indies  |Home [later
           |                 |              |             |Cadiz]
           |                 |              |             |
     48th  |Northamptonshire |     2251     |Peninsular   |Peninsular
           |                 |              |Field Army   |Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     49th  |Hertfordshire    |      906     |Canada       |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     50th  |West Kent        |     1820     |Home* [went  |Home
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     51st  |2nd West Riding  |      906     |Home* [went  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     52nd  |Oxfordshire      |     2079     |Peninsular   |Home* [went
           |                 |              |Field Army*  |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
     53rd  |Shropshire       |     2242     |East Indies  |Peninsular
           |                 |              |             |Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     54th  |West Norfolk     |      706     |West Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     55th  |Westmoreland     |      706     |West Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     56th  |West Essex       |     2301     |East Indies  |2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |East Indies
           |                 |              |             |[raised
           |                 |              |             |a 3rd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |1813]
           |                 |              |             |
     57th  |West Middlesex   |     1610     |Gibraltar    |Home
           |                 |              |[later       |
           |                 |              |Portugal]    |
           |                 |              |             |
     58th  |Rutland          |     1820     |Sicily       |Garrison of
           |                 |              |             |Lisbon
           |                 |              |             |
     59th  |2nd              |     1290     |East Indies  |Home* [went
           |Nottinghamshire  |              |             |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
     60th  |Royal Americans  |     4847     |West Indies  |2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |West
           |                 |              |             |Indies; 3rd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |ditto; 4th
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |ditto; 5th
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |Peninsular
           |                 |              |             |Field Army;
           |                 |              |             |6th and 7th
           |                 |              |             |West Indies
           |                 |              |             |
     61st  |South            |     1820     |Peninsular   |Home
           |Gloucestershire  |              |Field Army   |
           |                 |              |             |
     62nd  |Wiltshire        |     1610     |Sicily       |Sicily
           |                 |              |             |
     63rd  |West Suffolk     |     1610     |West Indies  |Home [went
           |                 |              |             |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
     64th  |2nd Staffordshire|      916     |West Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     65th  |2nd Yorks, North |      731     |East Indies  |No 2nd
           |Riding           |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     66th  |Berkshire        |     2031     |East Indies  |Peninsular
           |                 |              |             |Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     67th  |South Hants      |     2031     |East Indies  |Home
           |                 |              |             |
     68th  |Durham           |      716     |West Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     69th  |South            |     1337     |East Indies  |Home
           |Lincolnshire     |              |             |
           |                 |              |             |
     70th  |Surrey Regiment  |      706     |West Indies  |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     71st  |Glasgow          |     1820     |Home* [went  |Home
           |Highlanders      |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     72nd  |Highlanders      |     1600     |East Indies  |Home
           |                 |              |             |
     73rd  |2nd Royal        |     1180     |Sailing to   |Home [only
           |Highlanders      |              |N.S. Wales   |formed in
           |                 |              |             |1809]
           |                 |              |             |
     74th  |Highlanders      |      696     |Home [went   |No 2nd
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     75th  |Highlanders      |      696     |Home         |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     76th  |Hindostan        |     1126     |Home* [went  |No 2nd
           |Regiment         |              |to Walcheren]|battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     77th  |East Middlesex   |      696     |Home [went   |No 2nd
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     78th  |Rosshire Buffs   |     1885     |East Indies  |Sicily
           |                 |              |             |[later Home]
           |                 |              |             |
     79th  |Cameron          |     1820     |Home* [went  |Home
           |Highlanders      |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     80th  |Staffordshire    |     1151     |East Indies  |No 2nd
           |Volunteers       |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     81st  |2nd Loyal Lincoln|     2079     |Sicily       |Home* [went
           |                 |              |             |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
     82nd  |Prince of Wales’ |     1820     |Home* [went  |Home
           |Volunteers       |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     83rd  |None             |     2461     |Cape of Good |Peninsular
           |                 |              |Hope         |Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     84th  |York and         |     2276     |East Indies  |Home [went
           |Lancaster        |              |             |to Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |
     85th  |Bucks Volunteers |      716     |Home [went   |No 2nd
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     86th  |Leinster Regiment|      731     |East Indies  |[Raised
           |                 |              |             |a 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |1814]
           |                 |              |             |
     87th  |Prince of Wales’ |     2299     |Cape of Good |Peninsular
           |Irish Fusiliers  |              |Hope         |Field Army
           |                 |              |             |
     88th  |Connaught Rangers|     2031     |Peninsular   |Lisbon
           |                 |              |Field Army   |[later
           |                 |              |             |Gibraltar]
           |                 |              |             |
     89th  |None             |     2031     |Cape of Good |Gibraltar
           |                 |              |Hope         |
           |                 |              |             |
     90th  |Perthshire       |     1610     |West Indies  |Home
           |Volunteers       |              |             |
           |                 |              |             |
     91st  |Highlanders      |     1390     |Home* [went  |Home
           |                 |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     92nd  |Gordon           |     1820     |Home* [went  |Home
           |Highlanders      |              |to Walcheren]|
           |                 |              |             |
     93rd  |Sutherland       |     1126     |Cape of Good |[Raised
           |Highlanders      |              |Hope         |a second
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |1814]
           |                 |              |             |
     94th  |Scotch Brigade   |      696     |Home         |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     95th  |Rifles           |     2283     |Peninsular   |2nd Home*
           |                 |              |Field Army*  |[went to
           |                 |              |             |Walcheren]
           |                 |              |             |3rd Home
           |                 |              |             |[only just
           |                 |              |             |raised]
           |                 |              |             |
     96th  |None             |     1400     |West Indies  |Home
           |                 |              |             |
     97th  |Queen’s Germans  |      907     |Peninsular   |No 2nd
           |                 |              |Field Army   |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     98th  |None             |      906     |Bermuda      |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
     99th  |Prince of Wales’ |      696     |Bermuda      |No 2nd
           |Tipperary        |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
    100th  |County of Dublin |      696     |Canada       |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
    101st  |Duke of York’s   |      906     |West Indies  |No 2nd
           |Irish            |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
    102nd  |New South Wales  |      906     |New South    |No 2nd
           |                 |              |Wales        |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised
           |                 |              |             |
    103rd  |None             |      486     |Canada       |No 2nd
           |                 |              |             |battalion
           |                 |              |             |raised

  Total.                   1st          2nd      3rd and Junior  Total.
                        Battalions.  Battalions.   Battalions.
  At Home                  25[334]      42[335]       3[336]      70
  Peninsula                11[337]      15            2           28
  Sicily and Malta         10            3            1           14
  East Indies              21            2            0           23
  West Indies              21            2            4           27
  Cape of Good Hope         5            0            0            5
  Canada and Nova Scotia    6            0            0            6
  New South Wales           2            0            0            2
  Gibraltar and Madeira     2            2            0            4
                Total                                            179

A consideration of the prefixed table of “establishments” shows
the following results. Putting aside the regiments with many
battalions (the 1st, 14th, 27th, 60th, 95th), the remainder fall into
two-battalion and single-battalion corps.

Of the 61 double-battalion regiments--

   9 were at a strength of 2250 or thereabouts.[338]
  17 were at a strength of 2031 or thereabouts.[339]
  16 were at a strength of 1820 or thereabouts.[340]
  12 were at a strength of 1610 or thereabouts.[341]
   7 were at a strength of under 1600.[342]

All the regiments on the two higher establishments (with one exception)
had both battalions on active service in 1809, either one in the Indies
and one in Europe, or both in Europe. Hence it was necessary to keep
them at a very high figure.

Those with 1820 or 1610 men were nearly all regiments which had one
battalion on active service and one on home service, though a very few
had both overseas (such as the 18th, 34th, 39th, 62nd); in such cases
the 2nd battalion, though on service, was very weak.

The two-battalion corps with under 1600 men were almost invariably
regiments which had one battalion in the Indies, worked down to very
low numbers by disease, and had failed to keep up its strength (the
15th, 25th, 96th in the West, the 59th, 69th in the East Indies).

The 37 single-battalion regiments stood on the following

   6 were at a strength of 1126 or thereabouts.[343]
  13 were at a strength of 940 or thereabouts.[344]
  15 were at a strength of 700–730 or thereabouts.[345]
   3 were at a strength of under 600.[346]

Those corps on the two higher establishments are either actually
serving, or are designated for immediate service abroad, and have
therefore their establishments fixed high. Those on the lower
establishments (730 or under) fall into two classes: either they are
regiments in the East or West Indies which have died down to a low
figure [_e.g._ 16th, 37th, 46th, 54th, 55th, 65th, 68th, 70th, 86th]
or they are battalions quartered in peaceful stations and not expected
to be sent on active service, [_e.g._ 41st, 99th, 100th, 103rd, in
Canada and Bermuda] or at home [74th, 75th, 77th, 85th, 94th]. All the
last-named five, on home service, were raised to a higher establishment
and sent to the front in 1810–12.

It will be noted that of the one hundred and three 1st battalions,
or single-battalion regiments, a great many were not available, viz.
twenty-one in the East Indies, twenty-one in the West Indies (including
Bermuda), eleven in the Mediterranean Garrisons, five at the Cape of
Good Hope, six in Canada, two in (or bound for) New South Wales. There
were only twenty-five 1st battalions at home, and of these twenty
had served under Moore in the Corunna retreat and then went on the
Walcheren expedition, so that in 1809 they were unavailable. Three
more battalions which had not served under Moore had shared in the
same descent on the Scheldt (74th, 77th, 85th). There were actually
only two single-battalion corps which had neither gone to Corunna nor
to Walcheren and were available at home (75th and 94th).[347] In the
way of the strongly organized first battalions, therefore, there was
absolutely nil to send to Wellington in 1809 save Craufurd’s three
Light Infantry battalions, which though they had been with Moore in
January were back in the Peninsula by July (1/43rd, 1/52nd, 1/95th).

It is easy to see, therefore, that there was the greatest possible
difficulty in finding battalions with which Wellesley’s Peninsular Army
could be reinforced. Of troops which had not gone to Walcheren there
were left in Great Britain only the 75th and 94th, with twenty-eight
2nd (or junior) battalions which had not joined in the expedition to
the Scheldt. These were almost without exception very weak units, the
first battalions of ten of these were in the Indies, then of five more
already in the Peninsula, all their strength was used up in keeping
their senior battalions full, of the remaining thirteen only two
(2/5th 2/34th, 2/38th), were strong enough to be sent to Portugal. The
reinforcements which Wellington was given in the autumn of 1809 and
the summer of 1810 were largely scraped up from foreign garrisons—the
1/7th from Nova Scotia, the 1/11th from Madeira, the 1/57th from
Gibraltar. But in 1810 Walcheren battalions began to come out, such
as the 3/1st, 1/9th, 1/50th, 1/71st, 1/79th, and to load Wellington’s
hospitals with ague-stricken convalescents. For later reinforcements
see Chapter VII.


  1st Dragoon Guards  |  905 | Home
  2nd Dragoon Guards  |  905 | Home
  3rd Dragoon Guards  |  905 | Peninsular Field Army
  4th Dragoon Guards  |  905 | Home
  5th Dragoon Guards  |  905 | Home
  6th Dragoon Guards  |  905 | Home
  7th Dragoon Guards  |  905 | Home
  1st Dragoons        | 1083 | Peninsular Field Army
  2nd Dragoons        |  905 | Home
  3rd Dragoons        |  905 | Home [went to Walcheren]
  4th Dragoons        |  905 | Peninsular Field Army
  6th Dragoons        |  905 | Home
  7th Hussars         |  905 | *Home
  8th Light Dragoons  |  720 | East Indies
  9th Light Dragoons  |  905 | Home [went to Walcheren]
  10th Hussars        |  905 | *Home
  11th Light Dragoons |  905 | Home
  12th Light Dragoons |  905 | Home [went to Walcheren]
  13th Light Dragoons |  905 | Home
  14th Light Dragoons |  905 | Peninsular Field Army
  15th Hussars        |  905 | *Home
  16th Light Dragoons |  905 | Peninsular Field Army
  17th Light Dragoons |  940 | East Indies
  18th Hussars        |  905 | *Home
  19th Light Dragoons |  905 | Home
  20th Light Dragoons |  905 | 1/2 Sicily and 1/2 Peninsula
  21st Light Dragoons |  905 | Cape of Good Hope
  22nd Light Dragoons |  928 | East Indies
  23rd Light Dragoons |  905 | Peninsular Field Army
  24th Light Dragoons |  928 | East Indies
  25th Light Dragoons |  940 | East Indies

N.B.—Note that there was no 5th regiment of Dragoons in 1809. The corps
last bearing that number had been disbanded in 1799, and its successor
was not raised till 1858.


  1st Life Guards       |  416 | Home
  2nd Life Guards       |  416 | Home
  Royal Horse Guards    |  654 | Home
  1st Foot Guards       | 4619 | 1st Batt.* Home [went to
             (3 batts.) |      |   Walcheren]; 2nd Batt.
                        |      |   Home; 3rd Batt.* Home
                        |      |   [went to Walcheren]
  2nd (Coldstream) Foot | 2887 | 1st Batt. Peninsular Field
    Guards (2 batts.)   |      |   Army; 2nd Batt. Home
  3rd Foot Guards       | 2887 | 1st Batt. Peninsular Field
             (2 batts.) |      |   Army; 2nd Batt. Home

N.B.—The Second Batts. Coldstream and 3rd Foot Guards both sent their
flank companies to Walcheren. The troops sent to Cadiz early in 1810
were detachments, viz. 4 companies of the 2/1st Guards, 3 of the 2/2nd,
3 of the 2/3rd.


In addition to the regular units shown in these lists, there are on
the estimates of 1809 twelve veteran battalions, with effectives
ranging from 693 to 1129, and eight garrison battalions, mostly with
an establishment of 906. Most of these were at home, but a few in the
Mediterranean garrisons.

There were also the foreign corps of Meuron, de Roll, Watteville,
Dillon, _Chasseurs Britanniques_, Royal Malta, Royal Corsicans and
the Sicilian regiment, all in the Mediterranean, with the York Light
Infantry, York Rangers, and Royal West India Rangers in the West
Indies. These were all single battalion corps ranging from 1361 men
(de Roll) to 694 (York L. I.). The black regiments, eight West India
battalions with 1125 men each, could only be used in their own regions.

Of the King’s German Legion there were at home the two Heavy Dragoon
Regiments with an establishment of 694 each, and the 2nd and 3rd
Hussars, with the same numbers. The 3rd Hussars were just back from
the Corunna Retreat: the 2nd went to Walcheren. Of the ten infantry
battalions, four (1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th Line) were with the Peninsular
Field Army, as was the 1st Hussars; four (3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th Line) were
in Sicily; 1st and 2nd Light battalions (just back from Corunna) were
at home, and went to Walcheren. Four battalions had establishments of
1062, six of 902, of all ranks.





[Sidenote: Changes in 1809]


  On April 22, when Wellesley arrived the troops were brigaded as

    Cavalry. G.O.C., Cotton. 14th Light Dragoons, 16th Light
        Dragoons, 2 squadrons 20th Light Dragoons, detachment 3rd
        Hussars K.G.L.: Fane’s brigade (not at the Douro), 3rd Dragoon
        Guards, 4th Dragoons.

    Guards’ Brigade (H. Campbell). 1st Coldstream, 1st 3rd Guards
        (_i.e._ Scots), 1 co. 5/60th.

    1st Brigade (Hill). 1/3rd, 2/48th, 2/66th, 1 co. 5/60th.

    2nd Brigade (Mackenzie). 2/24th (attached), 3/27th, 2/31st, 1/45th.

    3rd Brigade (Tilson). Headquarters and 5 cos. 5/60th, 2/87th,

    4th Brigade (Sontag). 97th, 2nd Detachments, 1 co. 5/60th.

    5th Brigade (A. Campbell). 2/7th, 2/53rd, 1 co. 5/60th.

    6th Brigade (R. Stewart). 29th, 1st Detachments.

    7th Brigade (Cameron). 2/9th, 2/83rd, 1 co. 5/60th.

    K.G.L. (Murray, Langwerth and Drieberg). 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 7th
        Line K.G.L., detachment Light Battalions K.G.L.

    The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Brigades each included a
        Portuguese battalion.

    [N.B.—The “Battalions of Detachments” were composed of
        convalescents and stragglers, left behind from the regiments
        which had marched from Portugal under Sir John Moore in the
        preceding autumn.]

  The organization in divisions dates from June 18. It was originally as

    _Cavalry._ G.O.C., Payne. A [Fane], 3rd Dragoon Guards, 4th
        Dragoons; B [Cotton], 14th and 16th Light Dragoons; Unattached,
        2 squadrons 20th Light Dragoons, 23rd Light Dragoons, 1st
        Hussars K.G.L., detachment 3rd Hussars K.G.L.

    _1st Division._ G.O.C., Sherbrooke. A [H. Campbell], 1st
        Coldstream, 1st Scots; B [Cameron], 2/9th, 2/83rd; C
        [Langwerth], 1st and 2nd Line K.G.L., detachment Light
        Battalions K.G.L.; D [Löw], 5th and 7th Line K.G.L.

    _2nd Division._ G.O.C., Hill. A [Hill], 1/3rd, 2/48th, 3/66th;
        B [R. Stewart], 29th, 1st Detachments.

    _3rd Division._ G.O.C., Mackenzie. A [Mackenzie] 3/27th,
        2/31st, 1/45th; B [Tilson], 5 companies 5/60th, 2/87th, 1/88th.

    _4th Division._ G.O.C., A. Campbell. A [A. Campbell], 2/7th,
        2/53rd; B [Sontag], 97th, 2nd Detachments.

        The detached companies of 5/60th at Talavera were with I A, I
        B, II A, IV A, IV B.

  Subsequent changes were as follows:--

    _Cavalry._ 20th Light Dragoons and detachment 3rd Hussars
        K.G.L., left the Peninsula before the end of July.

        By June 21 a new brigade, C, was added, under G. Anson,
        composed of 23rd Light Dragoons and 1st Hussars K.G.L.

        On November 1 Granby Calcroft was commanding A for Fane, absent.

        By November 24 1st Dragoons (who arrived at Lisbon in October)
        replaced the 16th Light Dragoons in B, now under Slade,
        as Cotton was assisting Payne in command of the division;
        16th Light Dragoons were transferred to C _vice_ 23rd Light
        Dragoons, ordered home after their losses at Talavera.

        _1st Division._ 1/40th, from Seville, replaced 2/9th before
        June 21, 2/9th going to Gibraltar and relieving 1/61st, who
        joined before Talavera, on which 1/40th were transferred to
        IV B.

        After Talavera 2/24th and 2/42nd were added to I B, 2/83rd
        being sent down to Lisbon.

        At Talavera, H. Campbell was wounded, Stopford replacing him
        in command of the division and brigade, but from November 8
        to December 15, Hulse had the brigade. Langwerth having been
        killed at Talavera, Beck of 1st Line K.G.L. succeeded to his
        brigade, but the two K.G.L. brigades were amalgamated under Löw
        from November 1.

    _2nd Division._ By June 21 Tilson (from III B) had taken over
        Hill’s own brigade. Before Talavera 1/48th (arrived at Lisbon
        June 22, on being relieved at Gibraltar by 2/30th) had been
        added to II B.

        In September, a new brigade, C, under Catlin Craufurd, was
        added, composed of 2/28th, 2/34th, 2/39th, and about the same
        time 2/31st (from III A) was added to II A. By November 1,
        1/57th (from Gibraltar) replaced 1st Detachments in II B, the
        Battalions of Detachments having been broken up.

        From December 15 on II A was under command of Duckworth of

    _3rd Division._ Tilson, moving to II A, was replaced by Donkin
        (June 21).

        Before Talavera 2/24th replaced 3/27th (sent down to Lisbon) in
        III A.

        Mackenzie was killed at Talavera, and the division passed
        under the command of R. Craufurd, whose brigade, 1/43rd,
        1/52nd and 1/95th, arrived just too late for the battle, and
        was apparently added to the division in place of Mackenzie’s
        brigade which was amalgamated with Donkin’s. On September 15,
        2/87th was ordered down to Lisbon for garrison duty, 2/24th
        being transferred to II B and 2/31st to II A about the same

        In October, Donkin gave up his brigade, Mackinnon obtaining

    _4th Division._ Myers of 2/7th seems to have commanded IV A for
        A. Campbell.

        By Talavera 1/40th had been added to IV B, of which Kemmis had
        taken command vice Sontag.

        At Talavera A. Campbell was wounded, and had to go home, the
        division being without a definite G.O.C. till the arrival of
        Lowry Cole in October.

        In September 1/11th (arrived at Lisbon from Madeira in August)
        was added to IV A. On the Battalions of Detachments being sent
        home (October), 3/27th, in garrison at Lisbon since after the
        Douro, replaced the 2nd Battalion in IV B.

[Sidenote: Changes in 1810]


 On January 1, the composition of the Army was as follows:--

    _Cavalry._ G.O.C., Payne; Cotton, second in command.

        A [Fane], 3rd Dragoon Guards, 4th Dragoons; B [Slade], 1st
        Dragoons, 14th Light Dragoons; C [G. Anson], 16th Light
        Dragoons, 1st Hussars K.G.L.

    _1st Division._ G.O.C., Sherbrooke. A [Stopford], 1st
        Coldstreams, 1st Scots; B [A. Cameron], 2/24th, 2/42nd, 1/61st;
        C [Löw], 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 7th Line, K.G.L., detachment Light
        Battalions, K.G.L.

    _2nd Division._ G.O.C., Hill. A [Duckworth, temporarily],
        1/3rd, 2/31st, 2/48th, 2/66th; B [R. Stewart], 29th, 1/48th,
        1/57th; C [C. Craufurd], 2/28th, 2/34th, 2/39th.

    _3rd Division._ G.O.C., R. Craufurd. A [R. Craufurd], 1/43rd,
        1/52nd, 1/95th; B [Mackinnon], 1/45th, 5/60th, 1/88th.

    _4th Division._ G.O.C., Cole. A [Myers acting for Cole],
        2/7th, 1/11th, 2/53rd; B [Kemmis] 3/27th, 1/40th, 97th; C
        [Lightburne], 2/5th, 2/58th.[348]

Subsequent changes were:--

    _Cavalry._ Payne went home before June 1, Cotton obtaining sole
        command from June 3.

        On April 1 the 13th Light Dragoons arrived at Lisbon, joining
        the army in May, and being attached to Hill’s division, along
        with four regiments of Portuguese cavalry, the whole under
        Fane, who gave over his brigade to de Grey from May 13. Two
        troops of the regiment went to Cadiz, but rejoined the regiment
        in September.

        Before the end of the year Fane seems to have gone home ill.

    _1st Division._ On April 26 Cotton was posted to the command of
        the division, _vice_ Sherbrooke, gone home ill, but gave place
        to Spencer, June 3, on getting the Cavalry Division.

        In the “States” of March 8 to August 1, no brigadier is given
        for I B. On August 4 Lord Blantyre (of 2/42nd) was appointed to
        command I B “during the absence of Brigadier-General Cameron.”
        Cameron was back in command from October 1, but on November 26
        he was invalided home, Blantyre probably commanding again.

        By the Orders of September 12, 1/79th (just arrived from
        Cadiz), was posted to I B _vice_ 1/61st, to be transferred to a
        new brigade to form part of the 1st Division. These orders were
        suspended from September 14, and at Bussaco 1/7th (arrived from
        Halifax before end of July), and 1/79th formed a brigade (I D)
        under Pakenham.

        On October 6, orders were given for the transfer of Pakenham’s
        brigade to the 4th Division, the exchange between the 1/61st
        and 1/79th having been carried out previously, and a new
        brigade was added under Erskine, comprising 1/50th (arrived
        September 24), 1/71st (arrived September 26), 1/92nd (arrived
        in October, before the 6th), and 1 company 3/95th.

    _2nd Division._ On June 20 Leith was appointed to command
        “Tilson’s brigade,” and to command the division “under Hill,”
        but in the “State” of July 8 his name appears as commanding
        the brigade composed of 3/1st, 1/9th, and 2/38th. On August 8
        orders were issued to W. Stewart to take command of Tilson’s
        brigade and of the division under Hill. In November Hill went
        on sick leave.

        Leith’s name ceases to appear in the returns as commanding
        II A from July 8, and W. Stewart’s name appears in his place
        from July 27. When Stewart commanded the division, Colborne of
        2/66th had the brigade. C. Craufurd died in September, and at
        Bussaco Wilson of 2/39th commanded II C. On September 30 Lumley
        was posted to command it.

        Before September 1 R. Stewart had gone home ill, and at
        Bussaco Inglis (of 1/57th) commanded II B. On October 8 Hoghton
        was posted to it.

    _3rd Division._ From January 8 on 5/60th no longer appear in
        the Returns as belonging to the division, and their place in
        the brigade was taken by 74th, who arrived at Lisbon February
        8, and are mentioned in Orders on February 22 as in III B.

        On February 22 the division was reorganized, R. Craufurd’s
        brigade becoming, with two battalions of Caçadores, the
        Light Division. Mackinnon’s brigade now became III A, and
        Lightburne’s brigade was transferred from the 4th Division and
        became III B. The headquarters and three companies 5/60th were
        posted to Lightburne’s brigade, the remaining companies having
        been posted to I A, I B, II A, II B, II C, IV A, IV B. At the
        same time a Portuguese brigade composed of the 9th and 21st
        Regiments (under Harvey) was added to the division.

        At Bussaco Champlemond was in command of the Portuguese
        brigade, by October 29 Sutton had it, Champlemond being wounded
        at Bussaco.

        On September 12 2/83rd was posted to III B, 2/88th having
        arrived from Cadiz to relieve them September 4. Hurrying to
        the front they joined their brigade before Bussaco. When they
        did join, 2/58th was detached from III B for garrison duty at
        Lisbon. 94th (arrived from Cadiz September 20), were added to
        III B on October 6, and on October 10 Colville was posted to
        command the brigade _vice_ Lightburne, who went home.

    _4th Division._ On the transfer of Lightburne’s brigade to
        the 3rd Division the other two brigades exchanged places,
        Kemmis’ becoming IV A, and being Cole’s brigade, but under the
        immediate command of Kemmis. A. Campbell, who had rejoined,
        took command of his old brigade.

        The 3rd and 15th Portuguese were added to the division in
        February, as a brigade under Collins.

        At Bussaco the Portuguese brigade consisted of the 11th and
        23rd, the 3rd and 15th having been removed to the 5th Division.

        On October 6 A. Campbell’s brigade was removed from the
        division to become the nucleus of the newly-formed 6th
        Division, its place being taken by Pakenham’s from the 1st
        Division, _i.e._ 1/7th, 1/61st, to which the Brunswick Oels
        Light Infantry (arrived Lisbon September 17) were added.

        On November 12 the Brunswick Oels were removed to the Light
        Division, but one company was posted to IV B, two more being
        detached to provide the newly-formed 5th Division, with extra
        light troops. Their place in IV B was taken by the newly
        arrived 1/23rd from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

        On November 17 2/7th and 1/61st were ordered to exchange, IV B
        thus becoming the Fusilier Brigade.

    _Light Division._ Formed on February 22 by the removal of
        R. Craufurd’s brigade from the 3rd Division, the 1st and
        3rd Portuguese Caçadores being added to it. On August 4 it
        was broken up into two brigades, as follows: A [Beckwith of
        1/95th] 1/43rd, 4 companies 1/95th, 1st Caçadores; B [Barclay
        of 1/52nd] 1/52nd, 4 companies 1/95th, 3rd Caçadores. Barclay
        having been wounded at Bussaco, Wynch of 1/4th got the brigade
        (in Orders of November 14th).

        A company of 2/95th (from Cadiz) was added to A before October
        1. On November 12 nine companies Brunswick Oels joined B.

    _5th Division._ Officially this division first appears in the
        “State” of August 8, when the 3/1st, 1/9th, and 2/38th,[349]
        are first called the “Fifth Division,” a Portuguese brigade,
        Spry’s (_i.e._ 3rd and 15th Line), being added, and Leith being

        On August 4 J. S. Barns of 3/1st was appointed to command the
        British brigade, being superseded by Hay September 30.

        On October 6 orders were issued that Leith should command
        the 5th Division, and that it should be composed of
        Brigadier-General Hay’s brigade, a brigade made up of 1/4th
        (from England, they first appear in the “State” of November
        15), 2/30th (from Cadiz), and 2/44th (from Cadiz), and Spry’s

        On November 5 Dunlop was posted to V B, hitherto under its
        senior battalion commander.

        On November 12 a company of the Brunswick Oels was posted to
        each of the British brigades.

    _6th Division._ Ordered to be formed October 6, by taking A.
        Campbell’s brigade out of the 4th Division and adding Eben’s
        Portuguese (_i.e._ 8th Line and Lusitanian Legion) to it: A.
        Campbell being G.O.C.

        On November 14, Hulse was posted to A. Campbell’s brigade.

        On November 17 1/61st from IV B exchanged with 2/7th.

    In addition to the Portuguese brigades attached to the 3rd,
        4th, 5th, and 6th Divisions there were at least five others,
        two of which, the 4th under Archibald Campbell (=4th and 10th
        Line), and 2nd under Fonseca (=2nd and 14th Line) formed a
        division under Hamilton, which acted throughout under Hill.
        Wellington says that he intended to organize this division like
        the rest, but the heavy losses at Albuera and the consequent
        necessity of reforming the 2nd Division made it impossible for
        him to carry out his resolve. [Cf. _Wellington Dispatches_,
        viii. 111.]

        The remaining brigades were the 1st (Pack’s), consisting of the
        1st and 16th Line and 4th Caçadores, the 5th (A. Campbell’s),
        6th and 18th Line, and 6th Caçadores; the 6th (Coleman’s), 7th
        and 19th Line and 2nd Caçadores. On the formation of the 7th
        Division in March, 1811, Coleman’s brigade was posted to it,
        the other two remaining unattached.

        The 12th and 13th Line and 5th Caçadores seem to have formed
        yet another brigade under Bradford, but in October the 13th
        Line was in garrison at Abrantes.

        Spry’s brigade ranked at the 3rd, Eben’s as the 7th, Sutton’s
        as the 8th, and Collins’ as the 9th.

[Sidenote: State of January 1, 1811]


  On January 1 the Army was organized as follows:--

    _Cavalry._ G.O.C., Cotton. A [de Grey], 3rd Dragoon Guards, 4th
        Dragoons; B [Slade], 1st Dragoons, 14th Light Dragoons; C [G.
        Anson], 16th Light Dragoons, 1st Hussars, K.G.L.; unbrigaded,
        13th Light Dragoons.

    _1st Division._ G.O.C., Spencer. A [Stopford], 1st Coldstream,
        1st Scots, 1 company 5/60th; B [? Blantyre, acting], 2/24th,
        2/42nd, 1/79th, 1 company 5/60th; C [Löw], 1st, 2nd, 5th,
        and 7th Line, K.G.L., detachment Light Battalions, K.G.L.; D
        [Erskine], 1/50th, 1/71st, 1/92nd, 1 company 3/95th.

    _2nd Division._ G.O.C., W. Stewart. A [Colborne], 1/3rd,
        2/31st, 2/48th, 2/66th, 1 company 5/60th; B [Hoghton], 29th,
        1/48th, 1/57th, 1 company 5/60th; C [Lumley], 2/28th, 2/34th,
        2/39th, 1 company 5/60th.

    _3rd Division._ G.O.C., Picton. A [Mackinnon], 1/45th, 1/74th,
        1/88th; B [Colville], 2/5th, 3 companies 5/60th, 2/83rd, 94th;
        also Sutton’s Portuguese.

    _4th Division._ G.O.C., Cole. A [Kemmis], 3/27th, 1/40th, 97th,
        1 company 5/60th; B [Pakenham], 1/7th, 2/7th, 1/23rd, 1 Company
        Brunswick Oels; also Collins’ Portuguese.

    _5th Division._ G.O.C., Leith. A [Hay], 3/1st, 1/9th, 2/38th,
        1 company Brunswick Oels; B [Dunlop], 1/4th, 2/30th, 2/44th, 1
        company Brunswick Oels; also Spry’s Portuguese.

    _6th Division._ G.O.C., A. Campbell. A [Hulse], 1/11th, 2/53rd,
        1/61st, 1 company 5/60th; also Eben’s Portuguese.

    _Light Division._ G.O.C., R. Craufurd. A [Beckwith], 1/43rd, 4
        companies 1/95th, 1 company 2/95th, 1st Caçadores; B [Wynch],
        1/52nd, 4 companies 1/95th, Brunswick Oels, 3rd Caçadores.

    _Portuguese._ Hamilton’s Division, brigades under Fonseca (2nd)
        and Archibald Campbell (4th). Unattached brigades under Pack
        (1st), Ashworth, late A. Campbell (5th), Coleman (6th), and
        Bradford (10th).

  Subsequent changes were:--

      _Cavalry._ Cotton went home January 15, returning April 22;
        in his absence Slade commanded the division until March 7,
        when Erskine seems to have been placed in command of both
        the Cavalry and the Light Division. While Slade had the
        division, his brigade was apparently under Hawker of 14th Light
        Dragoons, and from March 1 to May 15, G. Anson being absent,
        Arentschildt of 1st K.G.L. Hussars, commanded C.

        On March 19 Long was posted to command the cavalry of the
        force usually under Hill, but commanded by Beresford during
        Hill’s absence. At Albuera Lumley (of II C) was in command
        of Beresford’s cavalry, Long’s conduct not having given
        satisfaction to the Marshal. On May 11 Erskine was appointed to
        command “the cavalry south of the Tagus.”

        On June 13 a new brigade, D, was formed under Long, composed of
        13th Light Dragoons and 2nd Hussars K.G.L., two squadrons of
        which had landed April 8. On June 18 the 11th Light Dragoons
        (arrived June 1) replaced the 13th, transferred to Slade’s

        On June 19 a reorganization of the cavalry in two divisions was
        ordered, as follows:--

        1st Cavalry Division. G.O.C., Cotton. B [Slade], 1st Dragoons,
            13th and 14th Light Dragoons; C [G. Anson], 16th Light
            Dragoons, 1st Hussars, K.G.L.; also Madden’s Portuguese.

        2nd Cavalry Division. G.O.C., Erskine. A [de Grey], 3rd Dragoon
            Guards, 4th Dragoons; D [Long], 11th Light Dragoons, 2nd
            Hussars, K.G.L.

        On July 19 another reorganization took place, the final result
        being as follows:--

        1st Cavalry Division. G.O.C., Cotton. B [Slade], 1st Dragoons,
            12th Light Dragoons (arrived July 1), vice 13th (to C) and
            14th (to D); C [G. Anson], 13th and 16th Light Dragoons;
            E [V. Alten, a new brigade], 11th Light Dragoons (from D)
            and 1st Hussars, K.G.L. (from C); Madden’s Portuguese.

        2nd Cavalry Division. A [de Grey], 3rd Dragoon Guards, 4th
            Dragoons; D [Long], 14th Light Dragoons, 2nd Hussars, K.G.L.

        On August 1, 9th Light Dragoons (newly arrived) were posted
        to Long’s brigade, together with 13th Light Dragoons, which
        exchanged from C with 14th.

        On August 30, a new brigade, F, was added, comprising 4th
        Dragoon Guards, arrived August 15, and 3rd Dragoons, arrived
        before August 20, its commander being Le Marchant. By October
        1, 5th Dragoon Guards had been added to this brigade.

        On October 5 de Grey’s brigade was transferred to the 1st
        Cavalry Division, to which Le Marchant’s was attached by Orders
        of November 8, the Portuguese brigade being struck off that

        From December 8 on the States do not give any G.O.C. for the
        2nd Cavalry Division.

    _1st Division._ On January 23 Nightingale was posted to I B: on
        February 6 Howard obtained I D, when Erskine was transferred to
        the command of the 5th Division. On June 8 H. Campbell’s name
        is given in the “State” as in command of I A, Stopford being
        transferred to IV B (in Orders for this June 18). Nightingale
        departing to Bengal before June 25 his brigade had no permanent
        commander till July 28, when Stopford got it.

        Owing to the heavy losses of the 2nd Division at Albuera and
        its consequent reconstruction, Howard’s brigade was transferred
        to it on June 6, and at the same time the detachment of the
        Light Battalions of the K.G.L., hitherto in I C, rejoined those
        battalions, which had been posted to VII A.

        On June 26 orders were issued for the 7th Line K.G.L., to go
        home, its rank and file being drafted into the other three
        battalions. On July 21 1/26th were added to I B, having
        recently arrived from England.

        On August 9, Graham was appointed to command the division,
        Spencer having gone home in July, he received leave July 25.
        From December 1 onward I B appears in the “States” as having no

    _2nd Division._ The heavy losses at Albuera led to the
        reorganization of the division, detailed in Orders June 6.
        Howard’s brigade of the 1st Division was transferred to the
        2nd Division, becoming II A. The remainder of the brigades
        of Colborne and Hoghton (who was killed) were formed into a
        Provisional Battalion, less 1/48th and 2/48th; 1/48th, to which
        the rank and file of 2/48th were drafted (the cadre of 2/48th
        going home), was transferred to IV B.

        This Provisional Battalion was placed in Lumley’s brigade,
        of which Abercromby (of 2/28th) had had temporary command at
        Albuera, while Lumley was in charge of the cavalry. At the same
        time, Ashworth’s Portuguese brigade was definitely attached to
        it: this was the 5th Brigade, which had been under A. Campbell
        in October, 1810, but had come under Ashworth by March 11; it
        comprised the 6th and 18th Line and 6th Caçadores. Cf. also
        _Wellington Dispatches_, viii, 566, and S. D. vii. 135.

        Before the end of May Hill returned and took over command
        of the division, as well as of the whole force commanded by
        Beresford at Albuera.

        On July 22 1/28th (newly arrived from Gibraltar) was posted to
        Lumley’s brigade.

        On August 7 orders were issued for 1/3rd and 1/57th to resume
        their separate formations, large drafts having arrived from
        their second battalions in England. The division was again
        formed in three brigades, Howard’s being II A, and 1/3rd,
        1/57th, and the Provisional Battalion, [_i.e._ 29th (3
        companies), 2/31st (4 companies) and 2/66th (3 companies)]
        forming II B, apparently under Inglis of 1/57th, while 1/28th,
        2/28th, 2/34th, and 2/39th under Lumley formed II C.

        On August 21 2/28th was drafted into 1/28th, and sent home,
        and the company 3/95th, hitherto in Howard’s brigade, were
        transferred to Beckwith’s brigade of the Light Division, being
        replaced in II A by a company of 5/60th, there being three with
        the division.

        On September 21 Byng was posted to command II B, and on October
        9 Wilson was appointed to command II C, Lumley having gone home
        sick early in August.

        On October 3 orders were issued for 29th to go home to recruit;
        on October 20 1/39th, just arrived from Sicily, was added to II
        C, 2/39th being drafted into it and sent home by Orders issued
        December 17.

    _3rd Division._ Orders of March 5 direct the transfer of the
        headquarter companies 5/60th to III A, 2/88th, on garrison duty
        at Lisbon since September 4, 1810, being added to III B. On
        July 10, 2/88th was ordered to be drafted into 1/88th, and the
        cadre sent home.

        On July 22 the 77th were added to III B.

        From July 1 to October 31 Mackinnon was absent from his
        brigade, ill, Wallace of 1/88th commanding it in his place.

        On December 22 Colville was transferred to the command of the
        4th Division, in Cole’s absence on leave, J. Campbell of the
        94th getting III B.

        Champlemond had the Portuguese brigade on March 19; but by
        Fuentes Power had it.

    _4th Division._ By February 1 the headquarters and 9 companies
        Brunswick Oels had been added to IV A, having been removed from
        the Light Division, but on the formation of the 7th Division
        (March 5), they were removed to it.

        On January 23 Houston was appointed to IV B _vice_ Pakenham,
        but left the brigade again March 5, on being appointed to
        command the 7th Division: Myers would seem to have commanded IV
        B till Albuera, where he was killed. On June 18 Stopford was
        appointed to command IV B, but was transferred to I B on July
        28, Pakenham again getting IV B. From November 15 onwards the
        “States” do not give any brigadier for IV B, but it continued
        to be described as “Pakenham’s.”

        After Albuera 2/7th was drafted into 1/7th, the remnants being
        sent home June 26; 1/48th from the 2nd Division was added to IV
        B June 6. On October 3, the 97th, a single battalion regiment,
        was ordered home in consequence of its severe losses.

        On December 22 Colville was appointed to command the division,
        Cole having gone home ill.

        At Albuera Harvey was in command of the Portuguese brigade of
        the division, to which 1st battalion Loyal Lusitanian Legion
        had been added on March 14: by September this unit was renamed
        7th Caçadores, the brigade was then again under Collins, who at
        Albuera had led a provisional brigade from the Elvas garrison
        [5th Line, 5th Caçadores].

    _5th Division._ From February 1 to February 6 the division was
        without a G.O.C., Leith being absent: on February 6, Erskine
        was appointed to command it, but was transferred to the command
        of the advanced guard (the Light Division and cavalry), from
        March 7 to April 22. During this period Dunlop seems to have
        commanded the division, Egerton of 2/44th commanding V B.

        On May 11 Erskine was appointed to the 2nd Cavalry Division,
        and Dunlop again had temporary command of the division until
        October 2, when G. T. Walker was appointed to command his
        brigade. By December 1 Leith was again in command of the

        On March 14 the 2nd Battalion Loyal Lusitanian Legion had been
        added to Spry’s Portuguese brigade. By September it had been
        renamed 8th Caçadores.

    _6th Division._ Orders of March 5 directed the addition to the
        division of a new brigade under Burne (of 1/36th), comprising
        2nd and 1/36th.

        It seems to have been intended to put the Brunswick Oels into
        the 6th Division, but on the formation of the 7th Division
        (March 5), they were put in C. Alten’s brigade.

        On July 21 1/32nd, arrived at Lisbon before July 8, was posted
        to VI B.

        A. Campbell leaving for India in November, the division was
        without a definite G.O.C. till the end of the year, Burne
        commanding it temporarily.

        On March 14 the Loyal Lusitanian Legion was removed from the
        Portuguese brigade of the division, and distributed as Caçador
        battalions to the 4th and 5th Divisions, being replaced by the
        12th Line, formerly in Bradford’s brigade. At Fuentes Madden
        commanded the brigade.

    _Light Division._ Wynch dying January 6, the 2nd Brigade was
        without a commander till February 7, when Drummond (of 1/52nd)
        was appointed to it. Craufurd having gone home on leave before
        February 8, the division had no G.O.C., but was under Erskine
        from March 7 on, together with the Cavalry who also were in the
        advanced guard.

        On March 5 2/52nd, newly arrived at Lisbon, was added to
        Drummond’s brigade.

        R. Craufurd returned April 22 and took over the division from

        By August 1 Beckwith had been invalided home, Andrew Barnard of
        the 95th commanding the brigade in his place.

        On August 21 the headquarters and four companies of the 3/95th,
        which had gone out to Cadiz in 1810, arrived at Lisbon, and
        were added to the 1st Brigade, the company 3/95th hitherto with
        II A being also added to the same brigade.

        Drummond dying before September 8, Vandeleur was appointed
        to the vacant brigade on September 30. By October 1 another
        company 2/95th had been added to the 1st Brigade.

    _7th Division._ Orders were issued on March 5 for the formation
        of this division, to be composed of two British brigades
        under C. Alten and Long, and Coleman’s Portuguese, _i.e._
        7th and 19th Line and 2nd Caçadores. The composition of the
        British brigades is not given, but General Orders say that
        the Brunswick Oels should be in Alten’s brigade, and the
        Chasseurs Britanniques (arrived at Lisbon from Cadiz, January
        28) in Long’s. The other regiments in the division were 51st
        (arrived during February), 85th (arrived March 4), which were
        in Long’s brigade, and the 1st and 2nd Light Battalions,
        K.G.L., in Alten’s. These last only landed on March 21, and
        did not join the division till it came down with Wellington
        from Almeida to the Guadiana Valley for the second siege of
        Badajoz. Till then they had been attached to the force under
        Beresford: Schwertfeger (_Geschichte der K.G.L._, i. 317) says
        the battalions formed part of the 2nd Division, but this does
        not seem accurate. As they had no casualties at the siege of
        Badajoz, in which the 7th Division suffered severely, one may
        presume that they finally joined the division after the siege
        was raised.

        Thus the British brigade (at first there was only one) was
        51st, 85th, Chasseurs Britanniques, Brunswick Oels. On March
        31 Sontag was posted to it _vice_ Long, removed to command
        Beresford’s cavalry, March 19.

        On July 19 68th (just arrived) was posted to VII B.

        Houston was invalided home before August 1, Sontag commanding
        the division. By October he too was invalided (his A.D.C.
        received orders to rejoin his regiment on October 29). Alten
        was in temporary command, C. Halkett commanding his brigade.
        VII B was without a G.O.C. from October 15 till de Bernewitz
        got it on December 23.

        On October 3 85th (a single-battalion regiment) was ordered to
        go home to recruit.

        Le Cor was posted to Coleman’s brigade on March 14; at Fuentes
        Doyle had it.

    _Portuguese._ No changes seem to have taken place in Hamilton’s
        division, or in Pack’s brigade, but the other unattached
        brigade was under McMahon in September, and included the 13th
        and 22nd Line and 5th Caçadores, the 12th Line having been
        transferred to the 6th Division.

[Sidenote: Organization on January 1, 1812]


  On January 1 the organization of the Army was as follows:--

    _Cavalry._ 1st Division. G.O.C., Cotton. B [Slade], 1st
        Dragoons, 12th Light Dragoons; C [no G.O.C., G. Anson absent],
        14th and 16th Light Dragoons; E [Cuming of 11th Light Dragoons
        in absence of V. Alten], 11th Light Dragoons, 1st Hussars,
        K.G.L.; A [no G.O.C., de Grey absent], 3rd Dragoon Guards, 4th
        Dragoons; F [Le Marchant], 4th and 5th Dragoon Guards, 3rd

    _Cavalry._ 2nd Division. No G.O.C.; D [Long], 9th and 13th
        Light Dragoons, 2nd Hussars, K.G.L.

    _1st Division._ G.O.C., Graham. A [H. Campbell], 1st
        Coldstreams, 1st Scots, 1 company 5/60th; B [? Blantyre for
        Stopford], 2/24th, 1/26th, 2/42nd, 1/79th, 1 company 5/60th; C
        [Löw], 1st, 2nd, and 5th Line, K.G.L.

    _2nd Division._ G.O.C., Hill. A [Howard], 1/50th, 1/71st,
        1/92nd 1 company 5/60th; B [Byng], 1/3rd, 1/57th, 1st
        Provisional Battalion (i.e. 2/31st and 2/66th), 1 company
        5/60th; C [Wilson], 1/28th, 2/34th, 1/39th, 1 company 5/60th;
        also Ashworth’s Portuguese.

    _3rd Division._ G.O.C., Picton. A [Mackinnon], 1/45th,
        Headquarters 5/60th, 74th, 1/88th; B [J. Campbell for
        Colville], 2/5th, 77th, 2/83rd, 94th; also Palmeirim’s

    _4th Division._ G.O.C., Colville (for Cole). A [Kemmis],
        3/27th, 1/40th, 1 company 5/60th; B [? Pakenham], 1/7th,
        1/23rd, 1/48th, 1 company Brunswick Oels; also Collins’

    _5th Division._ G.O.C., Leith. A [Hay], 3/1st, 1/9th, 2/38th,
        1 company Brunswick Oels; B [Walker], 1/4th, 2/30th, 2/44th, 1
        company Brunswick Oels; also Spry’s Portuguese.

    _6th Division._ No G.O.C., Burne in temporary charge. A
        [Hulse], 1/11th, 2/53rd, 1/61st, 1 company 5/60th; B [Burne],
        2nd, 1/32nd, 1/36th; also Madden’s [?] Portuguese.

    _7th Division._ No G.O.C., Alten in temporary charge. A [C.
        Halkett for Alten], 1st and 2nd Light Battalions, K.G.L.,
        Brunswick Oels; B [de Bernewitz], 51st, 68th, Chasseurs
        Britanniques: also Coleman’s Portuguese.

    _Light Division._ G.O.C., R. Craufurd. A [? Barnard], 1/43rd, 4
        companies 1/95th, 2 companies 2/95th, 5 companies 3/95th, 1st
        Caçadores; B [Vandeleur], 1/52nd, 2/52nd, 4 companies 1/95th,
        3rd Caçadores.

    _Portuguese._ Hamilton’s division, with brigades under Fonseca
        and Arch. Campbell. Unattached brigades under Pack and McMahon.

  Subsequent changes were:--

    _Cavalry._ On January 1 the 1st and 2nd Dragoons, K.G.L., under
        Bock arrived at Lisbon: they remained near there till March 12,
        joining the army at Estremoz March 23, and being reckoned as
        the 2nd Brigade (= G) of the 2nd Cavalry Division.

        By January 8 V. Alten was again in command of his brigade.

        Several changes took place under orders issued January 29; the
        3rd and 4th Dragoon Guards were posted to Slade’s brigade, from
        which the 12th Light Dragoons were removed to G. Anson’s, the
        4th Dragoons replaced the 4th Dragoon Guards in Le Marchant’s,
        and de Grey’s brigade disappeared. F. Ponsonby of the 12th
        Light Dragoons took command of C in Anson’s absence.

        By April 8 Erskine had resumed command of the 2nd Cavalry
        Division, to which Slade’s brigade was transferred April 14,
        Bock’s joining the 1st Division.

        On July 1, an exchange was ordered between the 11th and 14th
        Light Dragoons: G. Anson, who had resumed command of his
        brigade, having 11th, 12th and 16th Light Dragoons, V. Alten
        14th Light Dragoons and 1st Hussars, K.G.L.

        At Salamanca Cotton was wounded, and Le Marchant killed. While
        Cotton was disabled, Bock commanded the Cavalry, de Jonquières
        having his brigade. W. Ponsonby, of 5th Dragoon Guards,
        succeeded to Le Marchant’s brigade (by orders of July 23).
        Cotton rejoined before October 15, but had to go home again
        in December invalided. From August 1 V. Alten was absent, but
        rejoined by the middle of September.

        By Orders of October 17, 2nd Hussars, K.G.L., were transferred
        to V. Alten’s brigade.

    _1st Division._ Stopford resumed command of I B before February
        1, but was gone again by April 8. On May 7 Wheatley was
        appointed to command the brigade until Stopford’s return.

        1/26th, being too sickly for field service, was out of I B
        before March 8, being sent down to Lisbon, and thence to
        Gibraltar to relieve 1/82nd. Their place in I B was taken by
        1/42nd, just arrived from England and posted to I B April 23.
        On May 19 2/42nd was ordered home, drafting its rank and file
        into 1/42nd. 2/58th was posted to I B by Orders of April 2;
        on June 1 its transfer to V B was ordered, but “orders will
        hereafter be given as to the regiment joining the brigade.” It
        seems to have remained with I B till after the retreat from

        Graham going home ill July 6, H. Campbell was appointed to
        command the division, Fermor getting I A.

        Wheatley died September 1, Stirling (of 1/42nd) being appointed
        to I B September 11.

        On October 11 E. Paget was posted to command the division, but
        he was taken prisoner November 17, his place being taken by W.
        Stewart, who had just returned to the Peninsula.

        After the retreat from Burgos the division was reorganized. A
        new brigade of Guards was added, composed of 1/1st (Grenadier)
        Guards, who arrived at Corunna from England October 1 and
        joined the army on the Carrion October 24, and 3/1st Guards,
        who had been at Cadiz, and came up to Madrid with Skerrett’s
        column. This was ordered October 17, but cannot have been
        carried out till later. On November 10 Howard was transferred
        from II A to command this brigade. On November 11 Stirling’s
        brigade was ordered to be removed to the 6th Division, the
        company of 5/60th attached to it remaining in the 1st Division.
        On December 6 the 1st and 2nd Light Battalions, K.G.L., were
        removed from VII A to the K.G.L. brigade of the 1st Division.

    _2nd Division._ In Orders of April 14, Tilson-Chowne (formerly
        Tilson) was appointed to command the division, “under Hill,”
        but though present at Almaraz in May does not seem to have been
        present to the end of the year. Howard being transferred to the
        1st Division, November 10, Cadogan (of 1/71st) took command of
        II A.

    _3rd Division._ At Ciudad Rodrigo Mackinnon was killed (January
        19), his brigade going to Kempt—in Orders February 8.

        At Badajoz Picton and Kempt were wounded (April 6), Wallace
        taking over Kempt’s brigade, and also having temporary command
        of the division when Picton was disabled: Forbes (of 1/45th)
        then commanded III A.

        After the fall of Badajoz 77th (a single battalion regiment)
        was sent down to Lisbon, being much reduced.

        On June 28 Pakenham was appointed to command “Colville’s
        brigade in the 3rd Division,” _i.e._ III B. At Salamanca he
        commanded the division, Picton having gone sick again, Wallace
        and J. Campbell having the brigades.

        1/5th, which arrived in May, was posted to III B June 1, both
        battalions were at Salamanca, but on July 27 2/5th was drafted
        into 1/5th, the skeleton going home in October.

        By Orders of October 17 2/87th, which had come up from
        Cadiz with Skerrett, was posted to III B, then still called

        Wallace was invalided home after the retreat from Burgos.

        Pakenham was to retain command of the division till the return
        of “Colville or some other” (_W. D._, v. 399), his name does
        not appear in the States as commanding III B after November
        1: Colville apparently came back before the end of the year:
        _D. N. B._ says in October.

        On April 8 Power took over the Portuguese brigade, Champlemond,
        who had it _vice_ Palmeirim by March 17, having been wounded at
        Badajoz: 12th Caçadores were added to it on April 8.

    _4th Division._ On February 9, Bowes was appointed to command
        “the brigade late under Pakenham,” _i.e._ IV B. In April
        Colville was wounded at Badajoz, and the division was without a
        G.O.C. till Cole returned—before July 8.

        At Salamanca (July 22), Cole was wounded, and was absent in
        consequence till October 15. In Cole’s absence W. Anson,
        who was appointed to IV A April 9, would have commanded the
        division. The vacancy in IV A was caused by the departure
        of Kemmis—before April 1: at Badajoz Harcourt (of 1/40th)
        commanded IV A.

        Bowes was transferred to the 6th Division May 2, and it would
        appear that Ellis (of 1/23rd) commanded IV B temporarily. He
        certainly was in charge of it at Salamanca, and apparently kept
        it till Skerrett took charge of it. It was then still described
        as “Pakenham’s,” as was also the case as late as November 28.
        Skerrett was appointed to it on October 17, but his force from
        Cadiz only joined Hill on October 26, and the arrangements
        ordered on October 17 can hardly have been carried out at once.

        Skerrett’s brigade (3/1st Guards, 2/47th, 2/87th and 2
        companies 2/95th) seems to have acted with IV after joining
        Hill’s force, but was broken up when operations ceased.

        Orders of October 17 directed 1/82nd, which had come up from
        Gibraltar in June and was with the 4th Division at Madrid, to
        join IV B, but the battalion was transferred to VII A by Orders
        of November 28, the 20th which arrived in December being posted
        to IV B instead. On 1/82nd joining, 1/48th was transferred to
        IV A.

        On December 6 the 2nd Provisional Battalion (_i.e._ 2nd and
        1/53rd) was posted to IV A.

        By Salamanca Stubbs had taken over command of the Portuguese
        Brigade, which had been under Harvey by March 17 and at the
        siege of Badajoz.

    _5th Division._ At Badajoz Walker was wounded (April 6): his
        brigade had no regular G.O.C. till Pringle was appointed to it
        June 28.

        On May 10 2/4th, arrived at Lisbon during April, was posted
        to V B. In June 1/38th came out and was present at Salamanca,
        apparently with V A, but it only appears as part of that
        brigade in the “States” of August 8 and afterwards.

        Orders of June 1 directed 2/58th to join V B, but the battalion
        seems to have been with I B till reorganized as part of the 3rd
        Provisional Battalion in December.

        Hay was absent from June 8, Greville of 1/38th commanding the
        brigade till July 31, when Hulse was transferred to it. Hulse
        must have also commanded the division, as Leith was wounded
        at Salamanca and invalided home. Hulse dying (September 6),
        Pringle commanded the division, until Oswald was appointed to
        it (October 25), when Pringle reverted to his brigade, of which
        Brooke (of 4th) had been in command.

        Orders of June 18 directed 1/9th to exchange with 2/30th and
        2/44th, but these were cancelled June 28. E. Barnes was in
        Orders to command V A October 28, but seems to have been with
        the brigade at Villa Muriel three days earlier. On December
        6 he was transferred to VII A. Hay appears to have returned
        before December 31.

        On December 6 Orders directed the drafting 2/4th into 1/4th
        and 2/38th into 1/38th, the skeletons being sent home, also
        for forming 2/30th and 2/44th into a Provisional Battalion,
        the 4th. By Orders of October 17 2/47th of Skerrett’s column
        had been posted to V B, which was then described as Walker’s

    _6th Division._ On February 9 H. Clinton was appointed to
        command the division.

        By April 1 VI B was without a brigadier: Bowes was appointed
        to it May 2, but he was killed in the attack on the Salamanca
        forts (June 24). On this Hinde, of 32nd, commanded the brigade,
        being appointed definitely to it September 30, but ante-dated
        to June.

        On Hulse being transferred to V A, July 31, VI A was without a
        brigadier, Bingham, of 2/53rd, being actually in command, until
        the amalgamation of the two brigades by Orders of November
        11. At the same time Stirling’s brigade was transferred from
        the 1st Division to the 6th, 1/91st, which arrived at Corunna
        October 8, being added to it by Orders of November 28—it
        actually joined December 14.

        On December 6 orders were issued for the formation of 2nd and
        2/53rd as the 2nd Provisional Battalion, and of 2/24th, and
        2/58th as the 3rd Provisional Battalion, and for their transfer
        to IV A and VII A respectively.

        The Portuguese Brigade was under Eben till April 30, when the
        Conde de Rezende took command. It was joined by 9th Caçadores
        on April 10. Rezende was invalided in November, and succeeded
        by Madden.

    _7th Division._ On May 2 Alten was transferred to command the
        Light Division: John Hope being given command of the 7th.
        Halkett of 2nd Light Battalion, K.G.L. seems to have commanded
        VII A, though in the “States” no brigadier is named from May 2
        till December 6, when E. Barnes was appointed to it.

        Hope having to quit the army on account of his health September
        23, the division had no G.O.C. till October 25, when Lord
        Dalhousie was appointed to it, having been put on the Staff of
        the Army September 12.

        On November 28, 1/6th, newly arrived from England, was added to
        VII A, then called “Colonel Halkett’s,” and 1/82nd, from IV B,
        was added to VII B.

        Orders of December 6 directed the transfer of the Light
        Battalions, K.G.L., to the 1st Division, the 3rd Provisional
        Battalion (_i.e._ 2/24th and 2/58th) being added to VII A.

        The Portuguese Brigade was under Palmeirim in March: later it
        seems to have been under Doyle of the 19th Line.

    _Light Division._ At Ciudad Rodrigo (January 19), Craufurd was
        killed, and Vandeleur wounded; Barnard then took command of the
        division, and Gibbs of 1/52nd of the 2nd Brigade. By April 15
        Vandeleur had resumed command, 2/52nd was drafted to 1/52nd by
        Orders of February 23, the skeleton being sent home.

        On May 2 C. Alten received command of the division.

        By May 8 1/95th had been united in the 2nd Brigade, but Orders
        of August 24 again divided it, 3 companies in each brigade:
        before the end of the year it was again united and placed in
        the 1st Brigade.

        Two more companies 2/95th came out from England in May, and
        joined those already out, the four being in the 2nd Brigade.
        Two more came up from Cadiz with Skerrett, and joined the

        3/95th seems to have been transferred temporarily to the 2nd
        Brigade, but was back in the 1st by the end of the year.

        The 20th Portuguese, which had come up with Skerrett, were
        posted to “Beckwith’s brigade,” October 17.

    _Portuguese._ In April, 1812, Power had replaced Arch. Campbell
        in command of the 4th Brigade, while Bradford had the 11th
        _vice_ McMahon: this now included the 5th Caçadores, 13th and
        24th Line.

        By July Power had exchanged the 4th Brigade for the 8th, which
        was in the 3rd Division. A. Campbell would seem to have again
        commanded the 4th, to which on April 8 the 10th Caçadores were

[Sidenote: Changes in 1813]


  On January 1 the Army was organized as follows:--

    _Cavalry._ 1st Division. No G.O.C., Cotton absent. F [W.
        Ponsonby], 5th Dragoon Guards, 3rd and 4th Dragoons; C [G.
        Anson], 11th, 12th, and 16th Light Dragoons; E [V. Alten], 14th
        Light Dragoons, 1st and 2nd K.G.L. Hussars; G [Bock], 1st and
        2nd K.G.L. Dragoons.

    _Cavalry._ 2nd Division. No G.O.C. B [Slade], 3rd and 4th
        Dragoon Guards, 1st Dragoons; D [Long], 9th and 13th Light

    _1st Division._ G.O.C., W. Stewart. A [Howard], 1/1st Guards,
        3/1st Guards, 1 company 5/60th; B [Fermor], 1st Coldstreams,
        1st Scots, 1 company 5/60th; C [Löw], 1st, 2nd, and 5th Line,
        K.G.L., 1st and 2nd Light Battalions, K.G.L.[350]

    _2nd Division._ G.O.C., Hill. A [Cadogan], 1/50th, 1/71st,
        1/92nd, 1 company 5/60th; B [Byng], 1/3rd, 1/57th, 1st
        Provisional Battalion (= 2/31st and 2/66th), 1 company 5/60th;
        C [Wilson], 1/28th, 2/34th, 1/39th, 1 company 5/60th; also
        Ashworth’s Portuguese.

    _3rd Division._ G.O.C.,? Pakenham. A [no brigadier], 1/45th,
        headquarters 5/60th, 74th, 1/88th; B [J. Campbell for
        Colville], 1/5th, 2/83rd, 2/87th, 94th; also Power’s Portuguese.

    _4th Division._ G.O.C., Cole. A [W. Anson], 3/27th, 1/40th,
        1/48th, 2nd Provisional Battalion (= 2nd and 2/53rd), 1 company
        5/60th; B [Skerrett], 1/7th, 20th, 1/23rd, 1 company Brunswick
        Oels; also Stubbs’ Portuguese.

    _5th Division._ G.O.C.,? Hay, acting. A [Hay], 3/1st, 1/9th,
        1/38th, 1 company Brunswick Oels; B [Pringle], 1/4th, 2/47th,
        4th Provisional Battalion (= 2/30th and 2/44th), 1 company
        Brunswick Oels; also Spry’s Portuguese.

    _6th Division._ G.O.C., H. Clinton. A [Stirling], 1/42nd,
        1/79th, 1/91st, 1 company 5/60th; B [Hinde], 1/11th, 1/32nd,
        1/36th, 1/61st; also Madden’s Portuguese.

    _7th Division._ G.O.C., Dalhousie. A [Barnes], 1/6th, 3rd
        Provisional Battalion (= 2/24th and 2/58th), Headquarters and 9
        companies Brunswick Oels; B [de Bernewitz], 51st, 68th, 1/82nd;
        Chasseurs Britanniques; also Doyle’s Portuguese.

    _Light Division._ G.O.C., C. Alten. A [no brigadier present:
        still called Beckwith’s], 1/43rd, 1/95th, 3/95th, 1st
        Caçadores; B [Vandeleur], 1/52nd, 2/95th, 3rd Caçadores,? 20th

    _Portuguese._ Hamilton’s division, brigades under (?) Fonseca
        and Campbell. Unattached brigades, Pack’s and Bradford’s.

  Subsequent changes were:--

    _Cavalry._ By January 25 a new brigade (H) was added, composed
        of two squadrons each of 1st and 2nd Life Guards and Royal
        Horse Guards, O’Loghlin had apparently been appointed to
        command it, but by Orders of November 28, 1812, F. S. Rebow
        was appointed to command it in his place. It ranked as 3rd
        Brigade, 2nd Division, but was transferred to the 1st on
        February 5. In March it was under Sir Robert Hill, Rebow having
        gone home.

        Orders of March 13 directed the distribution among the
        regiments remaining in the Peninsula of the horses of 4th
        Dragoon Guards, 9th and 11th Light Dragoons, and 2nd K.G.L.
        Hussars, these regiments going home. Their place was taken by
        a new brigade (I), under Colquhoun Grant, of 15th Hussars,
        composed of the 10th, 15th and 18th Hussars: this first appears
        in the “States” on April 15.

        Orders were issued April 21 for the amalgamation of the two
        divisions, “under the command of Sir S. Cotton”: Cotton did
        not, however, rejoin till June 25, and in his absence Bock
        seems to have commanded the cavalry, his brigade being under

        On May 20 Fane, appointed a Major-General on the Staff April
        24, was given B vice Slade, who had been ordered home April 23.

        On July 2 orders were issued to transfer the 18th Hussars to V.
        Alten’s brigade, vice the 14th Light Dragoons moved to Long’s,
        which had been reduced to one regiment by the departure of
        the 9th Light Dragoons (out of the “States” by April 4). Lord
        E. Somerset at the same time was given command of the Hussar
        brigade _vice_ Grant and Vandeleur, that of C _vice_ G. Anson,
        removed to the Home Staff.

        On September 6 Grant was appointed to take over Long’s
        brigade, Long having apparently gone home before the battles
        of the Pyrenees, as his name was not among the commanders of
        Cavalry brigades thanked by Parliament on November 8 for those
        operations. On November 24 Hussey Vivian was appointed to take
        Grant’s place.

        7th Hussars arrived in Spain in September, and were added to
        the Hussar brigade. They would seem to have been with the
        brigade by October 21, but were not in Orders till November 24.

        In October O’Loghlin seems to have taken over the Household
        Brigade, he had been placed on the Staff June 17.

    _1st Division._ In March Howard replaced W. Stewart in command,
        but on May 19 Graham was appointed to command the division
        Howard acting as his assistant while Graham commanded the left
        wing of the army. On October 8 Graham resigned command and went
        home ill. Sir John Hope[351] took his place: he was placed on
        the Staff October 10, as from September 25.

        While Howard commanded the division his brigade was under
        Lambert; it missed Vittoria, being too sickly to take the field
        with the army and only joined in August.

        On July 2 Lambert was transferred to VI B, and Maitland got the

        Löw went home May 6, the K.G.L. being certainly one brigade
        only at Vittoria, where Halkett commanded them.

        Lord Aylmer’s brigade (76th, 2/84th and 85th) which is first
        mentioned in Orders on July 23, and joined the army during
        August, may be reckoned as part of the 1st Division with which
        it always acted. By Orders of October 17 2/62nd was added to it
        vice 2/84th transferred to V B. On November 24 the 77th (from
        Lisbon) was added to it.

        On October 20 Hinüber was appointed to command the K.G.L.

    _2nd Division._ On March 25 W. Stewart was appointed to command
        the division “under Hill’s direction.” At the same time G. T.
        Walker got Howard’s brigade, on the latter taking over the 1st
        Division from Stewart.

        Wilson died in January and O’Callaghan of 39th commanded the
        brigade till July 23, when Pringle was appointed to it. On May
        1 Wellington had written that he was keeping it vacant for
        Oswald, should Leith come out and take over the 5th Division.

        At Vittoria Cadogan was killed and J. Cameron of 92nd took
        over II A; he was wounded at Maya (July 25), and Fitzgerald of
        5/60th commanded, till Walker actually joined in August. On
        November 18 Walker was transferred to command the 7th Division,
        Barnes being appointed to II A November 20.

    _3rd Division._ Pakenham was transferred to the 6th Division
        January 26, the division being under Colville who had returned
        before that date. Picton rejoined in May, Colville reverting
        to the command of his brigade. Picton was again absent from
        September 8, but returned just before the end of the year.
        Colville was in command at the Nivelle (November), but was
        transferred to command the 5th Division, when Picton came back
        in December.

        The 11th Caçadores were posted to Power’s brigade before April
        26, taking the place of the 12th.

        Brisbane, appointed to Staff of Army January 7, was given
        command of III A, _vice_ Kempt, March 25.

        Colville being given temporary command of the 6th Division on
        August 8, Keane commanded III B, as also when Colville came
        back to the division.

    _4th Division._ By Orders of July 2 Skerrett was transferred to
        the Light Division, his brigade going to Ross of 20th.

        By September 1 the Portuguese brigade was under Miller: at the
        Nivelle (November 10) Vasconcellos had it.

    _5th Division._ While Hay commanded the division Greville of
        38th had his brigade. In April Oswald took over the division
        and commanded it till Leith returned—August 30. Leith was
        wounded at San Sebastian on September 1, and Oswald again took
        command; but at the Bidassoa, (October 9) Hay was in command,
        Greville having V A. On March 9 Robinson was appointed to
        “Walker’s brigade,” _i.e._ V B.

        On April 12 2/59th from Cadiz was added to V B; on May 10
        the 4th Provisional Battalion was ordered to return home. On
        October 17 2/84th from Lord Aylmer’s brigade was added to V B,
        2/47th being transferred to V A. Robinson was wounded before
        Bayonne December 10, and his successor, Piper of 4th, being
        wounded next day the command passed to Tonson of 2/84th.

        At the passage of the Bidassoa the Portuguese brigade was
        commanded by de Regoa and until the end of the year.

    _6th Division._ On January 26 Pakenham was appointed to command
        the division in Clinton’s absence. On June 25 he was appointed
        Adjutant-General, and Clinton returned and resumed command. By
        July 22 Clinton was again absent, Pack getting the division.
        At Sorauren (July 28) Pack was wounded, and Pakenham took over
        the division temporarily, giving it over to Colville before
        August 8, Colville seems to have still been in command at the
        passage of the Bidassoa (October 9), but Clinton then returned,
        Colville reverting to the 3rd Division.

        Pack had been appointed to command VI A, _vice_ Stirling,
        July 2, Lambert at the same time getting VI B, _vice_ Hinde.
        Stirling commanded VI A when Pack got the division, but went
        home in October.

        The Portuguese brigade was under the command of Madden till the
        autumn: Douglas of the 8th Line had it at the Nivelle.

    _7th Division._ By April 16 de Bernewitz was no longer in
        command of his brigade, to which Inglis was appointed May 21,
        though at Vittoria Grant of 1/82nd commanded it, but Inglis
        took charge before the Pyrenees.

        Le Cor received command of the Portuguese brigade on March 9.
        When he was promoted in November Doyle had it.

        Dalhousie went home after the Bidassoa, October 9, and at the
        Nivelle (November 9) Le Cor was in command. On November 18
        G. T. Walker was given command “in Dalhousie’s absence.” Le Cor
        would seem to have been transferred to command the Portuguese
        division formerly under Hamilton.

        On Barnes returning to the 2nd Division November 20, his
        brigade seems to have gone to Gardiner.

    _Light Division._ On March 23 Kempt was appointed to A. On July
        2 Vandeleur was transferred to a cavalry brigade, Skerrett
        getting B. At the passage of the Bidassoa and to the end of the
        year Colborne of 52nd was in command of B, vice Skerrett, who
        went home in September.

        The 20th Portuguese never joined the division: in place of them
        on April 26 the 17th Portuguese appear in its “State.”

    _Portuguese._ Hamilton had had to give up command of his
        Portuguese division in February, owing to ill-health, upon
        which it was under Silveira, the brigades being under Da
        Costa and Campbell during the battles of the Pyrenees. By
        the passage of the Nivelle (November 9) Hamilton was again in
        command, Buchan had Da Costa’s brigade, but during the fighting
        on the Nive (December 9–11), Le Cor had the division and Buchan
        and Da Costa the brigades. Buchan was ordered to transfer
        himself to the Portuguese Brigade of the 7th Division on Nov.
        9, but this move was countermanded.

        When Pack was moved to a British command (July 2) his brigade
        went to Wilson, who commanded it at the Bidassoa, but had been
        replaced by A. Campbell by the Nive (December 9), Wilson having
        been wounded November 18.

        Bradford seems to have retained the other unattached brigade
        all the year.

[Sidenote: Organization on Jan. 1, 1814]


  On January 1 the organization was as follows:--

    _Cavalry._ G.O.C., Cotton. I [O’Loghlin], 1st and 2nd Life
        Guards, R.H.G.; F [W. Ponsonby], 5th Dragoon Guards, 3rd and
        4th Dragoons; C [Vandeleur], 12th and 16th Light Dragoons; D
        [Vivian], 13th and 14th Light Dragoons; E [V. Alten], 18th
        Hussars, 1st K.G.L. Hussars; G [Bock], 1st and 2nd K.G.L.
        Dragoons; B [Fane], 3rd Dragoon Guards, 1st Dragoons; H
        [Somerset], 7th, 10th and 15th Hussars.

    _1st Division._ G.O.C., Hope, with Howard as assistant; A
        [Maitland for Howard], 1/1st Guards, 3/1st Guards, 1 company
        5/60th; B [Stopford], 1st Coldstreams, 1st Scots, 1 company
        5/60th; C [Hinüber], 1st, 2nd and 5th Line, K.G.L.; 1st and 2nd
        Light Battalions, K.G.L.; D [Aylmer], 2/62nd, 76th, 77th, 85th.

    _2nd Division._ G.O.C., W. Stewart. A [Barnes], 1/50th,
        1/71st, 1/92nd, 1 company 5/60th; B [Byng], 1/3rd, 1/57th, 1st
        Provisional Battalion (2/31st and 2/66th), 1 company 5/60th;
        C [Pringle], 1/28th, 2/34th, 1/39th, 1 company 5/60th; also
        Ashworth’s Portuguese.

    _3rd Division._ G.O.C., Picton. A [Brisbane], 1/45th,
        Headquarters 5/60th, 74th, 1/88th; B [Keane], 1/5th, 2/83rd,
        2/87th, 94th; also Power’s Portuguese.

    _4th Division._ G.O.C., Cole. A [W. Anson], 3/27th, 1/40th,
        1/48th, 2nd Provisional Battalion (2nd and 2/53rd), 1 company
        Brunswick Oels; B [Ross], 1/7th, 1/20th, 1/23rd, 1 company
        5/60th; also Vasconcellos’ Portuguese.

    _5th Division._ G.O.C., Colville. A [Hay], 3/1st, 1/9th,
        1/38th, 2/47th, 1 company Brunswick Oels; B [Robinson], 1/4th,
        2/59th, 2/84th, 1 company Brunswick Oels; also de Regoa’s

    _6th Division._ G.O.C., Clinton. A [Pack], 1/42nd, 1/79th,
        1/91st, 1 company 5/60th; B [Lambert], 1/11th, 1/32nd, 1/36th,
        1/61st; also Douglas’ Portuguese.

    _7th Division._ G.O.C., Walker. A [Gardiner], 1/6th, 3rd
        Provisional Battalion (2/24th and 2/58th), Headquarters
        Brunswick Oels; B [Inglis], 51st, 68th, 1/82nd, Chasseurs
        Britanniques; also Doyle’s Portuguese.

    _Light Division._ G.O.C., C. Alten. A [Kempt], 1/43rd, 1/95th,
        3/95th, 1st Caçadores; B [Colborne], 1/52nd, 2/95th, 3rd
        Caçadores, 17th Portuguese.

    _Portuguese._ Le Cor’s division, with Da Costa and Buchan
        commanding brigades. Unattached brigades under A. Campbell and

  Subsequent changes were:--

    _Cavalry._ By January 16 several changes had taken place: V.
        Alten had gone and Vivian had been transferred to his brigade,
        Fane having transferred from B to D (late Vivian’s). Bock also
        went (he was drowned off the coast of Brittany in February)
        about the same time.

        From January 25 W. Ponsonby was absent, Lord C. Manners of 3rd
        Dragoons commanding his brigade.

        By March 25 Arentschildt (of 1st K.G.L. Hussars) had been
        given Bock’s old brigade: on Vivian being wounded (April 8)
        Arentschildt was transferred to E, and Bülow got the “German
        Heavy Brigade.”

        Fane’s name appears in the “States” both as commanding B and
        D. According to the _Regimental History of the 14th Hussars_
        (by Col. H. B. Hamilton) he commanded both, working them
        practically as a division, the brigades being respectively
        commanded by Clifton of the Royals (B), and Doherty of the 13th
        Light Dragoons (D).

    _1st Division._ 1/37th joined Aylmer’s brigade before March 25.
        On April 14 Stopford was wounded at Bayonne and his division
        went to Guise.

    _2nd Division._ On February 15 Pringle was wounded and
        O’Callaghan commanded the brigade.

        It was arranged that when Lord Dalhousie rejoined, and resumed
        command of the 7th Division, Walker should revert to II A and
        Barnes take over III B, but Walker was wounded at Orthez and
        went home, so the arrangement was never carried out.

        By January 16 Harding had replaced Ashworth in command of the
        5th Portuguese brigade.

    _3rd Division._ No changes: Brisbane was slightly wounded at

    _4th Division._ Ross was wounded at Orthez (February 27) and
        the brigade was without a G.O.C.

    _5th Division._ After February 1 Robinson was absent. Hay was
        killed before Bayonne April 14.

    _6th Division._ Pack was wounded at Toulouse, as was also

        1/32nd missed Toulouse, being at San Jean de Luz refitting.

    _7th Division._ Walker was wounded at Orthez and went home:
        Dalhousie arriving almost immediately after the battle and
        resuming command.

        By January 16, the Portuguese brigade was under Doyle (he may
        have got it when Le Cor obtained command of the Portuguese

    _Light Division._ 1/43rd and 1/95th both missed Orthez, being
        away refitting.

    _Portuguese._ Da Costa was ordered back to Portugal before
        March 15.



The subjoined list, which includes all the printed autobiographies,
diaries, journals, and series of letters utilized in this volume, makes
no pretensions to be exhaustive. It contains, however, all the more
important original sources of this character, as opposed to formal
histories, controversial monographs, and biographies of Peninsular
officers written by authors who were not themselves engaged in the war.
But I have added to the list those later biographies which contain a
great proportion of original and contemporary letters or diaries, such
as Delavoye’s _Life of Lord Lynedoch_, Rait’s _Life of Lord Gough_,
Wrottesley’s _Life of Sir John Burgoyne_, and C. Vivian’s _Life of Lord
Vivian_. Much valuable first-hand information is imbedded in such works.

The books are arranged under headings according to the position which
the writer held in the Peninsular War, mainly by regiments, but partly
under departmental sections [staff, commissariat, medical, etc.]. I
trust that the list may be found useful for those wishing to compile
regimental, brigade, or divisional annals of any part of the war.


  [_Including the Diaries, Memoirs, Correspondence, etc., of General
      Officers, their Aides-de-Camp, and Officers attached to

  Blayney (Lord). Narrative of a Forced Journey through Spain and
      France, by Major-General Lord Blayney [The Fuengirola Expedition,
      etc.]. London, 1814.

  Burghersh (Lord). Memoir of the Early Campaign of the Duke of
      Wellington in Portugal and Spain [anon]. London, 1820.

  Cotton, Sir S. Life and Correspondence of Field-Marshal Lord
      Combermere [Sir Stapleton Cotton], ed. by Viscountess Combermere
      and Capt. W. Knollys. London, 1866.

  Douglas, Sir H. Life of General Sir Howard Douglas from his Notes,
      Conversation, and Letters [Campaigns of 1811–14]. London, 1863.

  Fitzclarence, A. An Account of the British Campaign of 1809 under Sir
      A. Wellesley in Portugal and Spain by Lt.-Col. Fitzclarence [Earl
      of Munster]. London, 1831.

  Graham, Sir T. Life and Letters of Sir Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch,
      by Captain A. M. Delavoye. London, 1868.

  Gomm (Sir W.). His Letters and Journals from 1799 to Waterloo [1808–9
      and 1810–14]. London, 1881.

  Hill, Lord, Life and Letters of, by Rev. E. Sidney. London, 1845.

  Larpent, F. S. The Private Journal of Judge-Advocate F. S. Larpent,
      attached to Lord Wellington’s Headquarters, 1812–14. London, 1853.

  Leith Hay, A. Narrative of the Peninsular War, by Sir Andrew Leith
      Hay [Aide-de-Camp to General Leith]. 2 vols. London, 1879.

  Mackinnon, General Henry. Journal in Portugal and Spain, 1809–12
      [Privately Printed]. 1812.

  Moore, Sir J. The Diary of Sir John Moore, ed. by General Sir T. F.
      Maurice. 2 vols. London, 1904.

  Picton, Sir T. Memoirs and Correspondence of General Sir T. Picton,
      by H. B. Robinson. 2 vols. London, 1836.

  Porter, Sir R. K. Letters from Portugal and Spain written during the
      March of the British Troops [by Sir Robert Ker Porter], 1808–9.
      London, 1809.

  Shaw-Kennedy, T. [Aide-de-Camp to General Craufurd]. Diary of 1810,
      printed in Lord Fitzclarence’s _Manual of Outpost Duties_.
      London, 1849.

  Sorell, T. S. Notes on the Campaign of 1808–9, by Lieut.-Col. T. S.
      Sorell, Aide-de-Camp to Sir D. Baird. London, 1828.

  Stewart, Sir Chas. Lives and Correspondence of the Second and
      Third Marquesses of Londonderry [the third was Chas. Stewart,
      Adjutant-General to Wellington]. 3 vols. London, 1861.

  Vere, C. B. Marches, Movements, and Operations of the 4th Division,
      in Spain and Portugal, 1810–12, by Chas. Brooke Vere, Assistant
      Quarter-Master General of the Division. Ipswich, 1841.


(_a_) CAVALRY.

  7th Hussars. Vivian (Lord). Richard Hussey Vivian, First Baron
      Vivian, Memoir and Letters, by Hon. Claud Vivian [1808–9 and
      1813–14]. London, 1897.

  11th Light Dragoons. Farmer, G. “The Light Dragoon,” the story of
      Geo. Farmer, 11th Light Dragoons, ed. Rev. G. R. Gleig [1811 and
      Waterloo]. London, 1844.

  14th Light Dragoons. Hawker, Peter. Journal of the Campaign of 1809,
      by Lieut.-Col. Hawker, 14th Light Dragoons. London, 1810.

  ——. Reminiscences of 1811–12 by Cornet Francis Hall. In _Journal
      United Service Institution_ for 1912.

  16th Light Dragoons. Hay, W. Reminiscences under Wellington, 1808–15,
      by Captain William Hay, 52nd Foot and 16th Light Dragoons.
      London, 1901.

  ——. Tomkinson, W. The Diary of a Cavalry Officer in the Peninsular
      and Waterloo Campaigns, 1809–15. London, 1894.

  18th Hussars. Woodberry, G. Journal of Lieutenant Woodberry in the
      Campaigns of 1813–15. Paris, 1896.

  20th Light Dragoons. Landsheit (N.). The Hussar: the story of Norbert
      Landsheit, Sergeant in the York Hussars and the 20th Light
      Dragoons, ed. Rev. G. R. Gleig. London, 1837.

  Anonymous. Jottings from my Sabretache, by a Chelsea Pensioner
      [Campaigns of 1813–14]. London, 1847.

  ——. Personal Narrative of Adventures in the Peninsular War, 1812–13,
      by an Officer in the Staff Corps Cavalry. London, 1827.


  1st Foot Guards. Batty, R. The Campaign in the Pyrenees and Southern
      France, 1813–14, by Captain Robert Batty, 1st Foot Guards.
      _Illustrated._ London, 1823.

  2nd Foot Guards. Stepney, S. C. Leaves from the Diary of an Officer
      of the Guard, Sketches of Campaigning Life, by Lieut.-Col. S.
      Cowell Stepney, K.H., Coldstream Guards [Campaigns of 1810–12].
      London, 1854.

  3rd Foot Guards. Stevenson, J. Twenty-One Years in the British Foot
      Guards, by John Stevenson, 3rd Foot Guards, sixteen years a
      non-commissioned officer, forty years a Wesleyan class-leader
      [Campaigns of 1809–11]. London, 1830.

  3rd Foot Guards. Stothert, W. Journal of the Campaigns of 1809–11, by
      Captain William Stothert, 3rd Foot Guards. London, 1812.

  3rd Foot (the Buffs). Reminiscences of a Veteran, being Personal and
      Military Adventures in the Peninsula, etc., by Lieut.-Gen. T.
      Bunbury [only 1808–9 in the Buffs]. London, 1861.

  5th Foot. Morley, S. Memoirs of a Sergeant of the 5th Regiment,
      by Sergeant Stephen Morley, 5th Foot [Campaigns of 1808–11].
      Ashford, 1842.

  7th Foot. Cooper, J. S. Rough Notes of Seven Campaigns in Portugal,
      etc., by John Spenser Cooper, Sergeant 7th Royal Fusiliers.
      Carlisle, 1869.

  ——. Knowles, R. Letters of Lieut. Robert Knowles, 7th Fusiliers,
      during the Campaigns of 1811–13, ed. by Sir Lees Knowles, Bart.
      Bolton, 1909.

  9th Foot. Hale, J. Journal of James Hale, late Sergeant 9th Foot
      [1808–14]. Cirencester, 1826.

  20th Foot. Steevens, C. Reminiscences of Col. Chas. Steevens,
      1795–1818 [Campaigns of 1808 and 1813–14]. Winchester, 1878.

  24th Foot. Tidy, C. Recollections of an Old Soldier, a Biographical
      Sketch of the Late Col. Tidy, C.B., 24th Regt. [1808]. London,

  28th Foot. Cadell, C. Narrative of the Campaigns of the 28th Regt.
      from 1802 to 1832, by Col. Chas. Cadell [1809–1814]. London, 1835.

  ——. Blakeney, R. Services, Adventures, and Experiences of Capt.
      Robert Blakeney, “A Boy in the Peninsular War,” edited by Julian
      Sturgis [1808–14]. London, 1899.

  29th Foot. Leslie. Journal during the Peninsular War, etc., of
      Colonel Leslie of Balquain [1809–14]. Aberdeen, 1887.

  ——. Leith Hay, A. A Narrative of the Peninsular War, by Sir Andrew
      Leith Hay (personal adventures, first with the 29th, then as
      Aide-de-Camp to General Leith). London, 1839.

  31st Foot. L’Estrange, G. Recollections of Sir George L’Estrange,
      1812–14. London, 1873.

  32nd Foot. Ross-Lewin, H. Life of a Soldier, a Narrative of 27 years’
      service in various parts of the World, by a Field Officer [Major
      H. Ross-Lewin] [1808–14]. 2 vols. London, 1834.

  34th Foot. Bell, G. Rough Notes by an Old Soldier, during Fifty
      Years’ Service, from Ensign to Major-General. 2 vols. [Campaigns
      of 1811–14]. London, 1867.

  40th Foot. Lawrence, W. The Autobiography of Sergeant Wm. Lawrence,
      40th Regt., ed. by G. N. Banks [Campaigns of 1808–14]. London,

  42nd Foot. Anton, J. Retrospect of a Military Life, during
      the most Eventful Period of the late War, by James Anton,
      Quartermaster-Sergeant, 42nd Highlanders [1813–14]. Edinburgh,

  ——. Malcolm, J. Reminiscences of the Campaign in the Pyrenees and the
      South of France in 1813–14, by John Malcolm, Lieut. 42nd Foot: in
      Constable’s _Memorials of the Late Wars_. Edinburgh, 1828.

  ——. Anon. Personal Narrative of a Private Soldier who served in the
      42nd Highlanders for Twelve Years [1808–9 and 1811–14]. 1821.

  43rd Foot. Cooke, J. H. Memoir of the late War, a Personal Narrative
      of Captain J. H. Cooke, 43rd Light Infantry [Campaigns of
      1811–14]. London, 1831.

  ——. ——. A Narrative of Events in the South of France and America,
      1814–15 [continuation of the above]. London, 1835.

  ——. Napier, Geo. The Early Military Life of Gen. Sir Geo. Napier,
      K.C.B., written by himself. London, 1886.

  ——. Anon. Memoirs of a Sergeant late of the 43rd Light Infantry,
      previously to and during the Peninsular War, including the
      account of his Conversion from Popery to the Protestant Religion.
      London, 1835.

  47th Foot. Harley, J. The Veteran, or Forty Years in the British
      Service, by Capt. John Harley, late Paymaster 47th Regt.
      [Campaigns of 1811–14]. London, 1838.

  48th Foot. Moyle Sherer, G. Recollections of the Peninsula, by Col.
      G. Moyle Sherer [Campaigns of 1809–13]. London, 1823.

  50th Foot. MacCarthy, J. The Storm of Badajoz, with a Note on the
      Battle of Corunna, by J. MacCarthy, late 50th Regt. London, 1836.

  ——. Napier, Chas. Life and Opinions of Sir Charles James Napier, by
      Sir William Napier [First vol. for the 50th at Corunna, etc.].
      London, 1857.

  50th Foot. Patterson, J. Adventures of Captain John Patterson, with
      Notices of the Officers of the 50th Queen’s Regiment, 1807–21.
      London, 1837.

  ——. Patterson, J. Camp and Quarters, Scenes and Impressions of
      Military Life by the same Author. London, 1843.

  51st Foot. Wheeler, W. Journal from the year 1809 to 1816 by William
      Wheeler, a Soldier of the 51st or King’s Own Light Infantry.
      Corfu, 1824.

  52nd Foot. Hay, W. Reminiscences under Wellington, 1808–15, by
      Captain William Hay, 52nd Foot and 16th Light Dragoons. London,

  ——. Seaton (Lord). Life and Letters of Sir John Colborne [Lord
      Seaton], ed. by G. C. Moore-Smith. London, 1903.

  66th Foot. Henry, W. Events of a Military Life, being Recollections
      of the Service in the Peninsula, etc., of Walter Henry, Surgeon,
      66th Regt. [Campaign of 1812–14]. London, 1843.

  68th Foot. Green, J. Vicissitudes of a Soldier’s Life, by John Green,
      late of the 68th Durham Light Infantry. Louth, 1827.

  71st Foot. Anon. Vicissitudes in the Life of a Scottish Soldier, 1808
      to 1815, including some particulars of the Battle of Waterloo.
      London, 1827.

  ——. Anon, TS. Journal of T. S. of the 71st Highland Light Infantry,
      in _Memorials of the Late Wars_ [ed. Constable]. Edinburgh, 1828.

  82nd Foot. Wood, G. The Subaltern Officer, a Narrative by Captain
      Geo. Wood of the 82nd Prince of Wales’s Volunteers [1808 and
      1813–14]. London, 1825.

  85th Foot. Gleig, G. R. The Subaltern [Campaigns in the Pyrenees and
      South of France, 1813–14], by G. R. Gleig, 85th Foot. London,

  87th Foot. Gough [Lord]. See Letters 1809–14 in R. S. Rait’s _Life of
      Lord Gough_.

  88th Foot. Grattan, W. Adventures with the Connaught Rangers,
      1804–14, by Lieut. Wm. Grattan. London, 1847.

  ——. ——. Second series of Reminiscences. London, 1853.

  92nd Foot. Hope, J. Military Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, 1809–16
      [Lieut. Jas. Hope, 92nd Highlanders]. London, 1833.

  92nd Foot. Anon. Letters from Portugal, etc., during the Campaigns of
      1811–14 by a British Officer [92nd Gordon Highlanders]. London,

  ——. Robertson, D. Journal of Sergeant D. Robertson, late 92nd
      Highlanders, during the Campaigns between 1797 and 1818. Perth,

  94th Foot. Donaldson, J. Recollection of an Eventful Life, chiefly
      passed in the Army, by Joseph Donaldson, Sergeant 94th Scotch
      Brigade [1809–14]. London, 1825.

  95th [Rifle Brigade]. Costello, E. Memoirs of Edward Costello of the
      Rifle Brigade, comprising narratives of Wellington’s Campaigns in
      the Peninsula, etc. London, 1857.

  ——. Fernyhough, R. Military Memoirs of Four Brothers, by the
      survivor, Lieut. R. Fernyhough, Rifle Brigade. London, 1829.

  ——. Green, W. A brief Outline of the Travels and Adventures of Wm.
      Green, Bugler, Rifle Brigade, during a period of ten years,
      1802–12. Coventry, 1857.

  ——. Harris. Recollections of Rifleman Harris, ed. by Capt. Curling
      [1808–09]. London, 1848.

  ——. Kincaid, J. Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, in the Peninsula,
      France, and the Netherlands, 1810–15, by Captain Sir John
      Kincaid. London, 1830.

  ——. ——. Random Shots from a Rifleman [Miscellaneous Anecdotes].
      London, 1835.

  ——. Leach, J. Rough Sketches of the Life of an Old Soldier, during
      a service in the West Indies, the Peninsula, etc. [1808–14],
      London, 1831.

  ——. ——. Rambles on the Banks of Styx [Peninsular Reminiscences], by
      the same author. London, 1847.

  ——. Simmons, G. A British Rifleman: Journals and Correspondence of
      Major Geo. Simmons (95th) during the Peninsular War, etc., ed.
      Col. Willoughby Verner. London, 1899.

  ——. Smith, H. The Autobiography of General Sir Harry Smith [vol. i.
      contains Peninsular Memoirs], ed. G. Moore Smith. London, 1901.

  ——. Surtees, W. Twenty-five Years in the Rifle Brigade, by Wm.
      Surtees, Quartermaster [1808, 1811–14]. London, 1833.


  Dickson, Alex. The Dickson Papers, Diaries and Correspondence of
      Major-General Sir Alexander Dickson, G.C.B. Series 1809–18. ed.
      by Major John Leslie, R.A. 2 vols. Woolwich, 1908–12.

  Frazer, A. S. Letters of Sir Augustus Simon Frazer, K.C.B.,
      Commanding Royal Horse Artillery under Wellington, written during
      the Peninsular Campaigns. London, 1859.

    [See also numerous short Journals and Series of Letters in the
        Journal of the Royal Artillery Institution, Woolwich, in recent
        years, Swabey, Ingilby, Downman, etc.]


  Burgoyne, J. F. Life and Correspondence of Sir John Fox Burgoyne, ed.
      Hon. Geo. Wrottesley. London, 1873.

  Boothby, C. Under England’s Flag, 1804–9, Memoirs, Diary, and
      Correspondence of Captain C. Boothby, R.E. [Corunna Campaign].
      London, 1900.

  ——. A Prisoner of France, by the same [Oporto and Talavera
      Campaigns]. London, 1898.

  Landmann, G. T. Recollections of Military Life, 1806–8 [Vimeiro
      Campaign], by Colonel Geo. Landmann, R.E. London, 1854.


  Dallas, A. Autobiography of the Rev. Alexander Dallas, including
      his service in the Peninsula [1811–14] in the Commissariat
      Department. London, 1870.

  Chesterton, G. L. Peace, War, and Adventure, an Autobiography by
      George Laval Chesterton [vol. i. contains service in Catalonia
      1812–14]. London, 1853.

  Graham, W. Travels in Portugal and Spain, 1812–14, by William Graham
      of the Commissariat Department. London, 1820.

  Head, F. Memoirs of an Assistant-Commissary-General (in the
      Peninsular War), by Gen. F. Head. London, 1840.

  Hennegan, R. D. Seven Years in the Peninsula and the Netherlands,
      by Sir Richard D. Hennegan, of the Field Train [Campaigns of
      1808–14]. London, 1846.


  Henry, W. Events of a Military Life, Recollections of the Peninsular
      War, etc., by Surgeon Walter Henry, 66th Regt. London, 1843.

  McGrigor, J. The Autobiography and Services of Sir Jas. McGrigor.
      Bart., late Director General of the Medical Department [1812–14].
      London, 1861.

  Neale, A. Letters from Portugal and Spain [Vimeiro and Corunna], by
      Adam Neale, M.D. London, 1809.


  Bradford, W. Sketches of the Country, Character, and Costume in
      Portugal and Spain, 1808–9, by Rev. Wm. Bradford, Chaplain of
      Brigade. 40 coloured plates. London, 1810.

  Ormsby, J. W. Operations of the British Army in Portugal and Spain,
      1808–9, by Rev. Jas. Wilmot Ormsby, with appendices, etc. London,


  Hartmann, Sir Julius, Ein Lebenskizze, 1808–15. Berlin, 1901.

  Ompteda, Baron, C. Memoir and Letters of Baron Christian Ompteda,
      Colonel in the King’s German Legion [Campaigns of 1812–14].
      London, 1894.

  Anon. Journal of an Officer of the King’s German Legion, 1803–16.
      London, 1827.


  Blakiston, J. Twelve Years’ Military Adventure, in three Quarters of
      the Globe [by Major John Blakiston], 1813–14, with the Portuguese
      Caçadores. 1829.

  Bunbury, T. Reminiscences of a Veteran, Personal and Military
      Adventures in the Peninsula, etc. [1810–14 with the 20th
      Portuguese Line]. 1861.

  Madden, G., Services of, 1809–13, by a Friend. London, 1815.

  Mayne, R., and Lillie, J. W. The Loyal Lusitanian Legion, 1808–10.
      London, 1812.

  Warre, G. Letters, 1808–12, of Sir George Warre [of the Portuguese
      Staff], ed. by Rev. E. Warre, D.D. London, 1909.


  Whittingham, Sir S. Memoir [and Correspondence] of Lieut.-Gen. Sir
      Samuel Ford Whittingham. London, 1868.


[1] John Shipp’s is the only book from the ranks which has been
reprinted within the last ten years, I believe. Mr. Fitchett reproduced
a few chapters of Anton and others in his rather disappointing
_Wellington’s Men_.

[2] Kincaid, _Random Shots from a Rifleman_, p. 8.

[3] This was Woodberry of the 18th Hussars.

[4] _Sir William Gomm’s Life_, p. 31.

[5] See his curious dispatch from Cartaxo dated February 6th, 1811,
concerning preaching officers.

[6] He describes himself as “rolling on the floor like one distracted,
with the pains of hell getting hold, and hope seeming to be for ever
shut out of my mind.”—_Surtees_, p. 172.

[7] He calls his little book _Memoir of a Sergeant late of the 43rd
Light Infantry, previously to and during the Peninsular War, including
an account of his Conversion from Popery to the Protestant Religion_.

[8] John Stevenson of the Scots Fusilier Guards.

[9] _Life of Sir W. Napier_, i. 235, 236.

[10] _Dispatches_, vii. p. 559.

[11] _Ibid._ vi. p. 485.

[12] This preposterous remark may be found on p. 28 of vol. vi.

[13] Only printed in 1894.

[14] Edited by Col. Willoughby Verner.

[15] Published 1881. Invaluable as a private record for the staff.

[16] Edited by his kinsman, the present Provost of Eton.

[17] Larpent was a lawyer who acted as Wellington’s Judge Advocate.

[18] It is hardly necessary to mention Jones’s slight Sketch (1818) or
Goddard’s mass of undigested contemporary material (1814).

[19] _Journal_ in Girod de l’Ain, p. 98.

[20] His well-written two volumes (issued 1829) are said to have been
very largely the work of his aide-de-camp, St. Cyr-Nugues.

[21] Vacani’s Italian general history of the war is very slight on the
English side, being mainly devoted to the doings of the Italians in

[22] Published under the rather romantic title of _A Boy in the
Peninsular War_ (which suggests a work of fiction), by Julian Corbett,
in 1899.

[23] Published in the _Revue Hispanique_ in 1907.

[24] See p. 7.

[25] Published 1831. A first-rate authority for Rifle Brigade and Light
Division matters.

[26] Of the 29th Regt. Published only in 1887.

[27] Published 1867.

[28] Not to be confused with Sir _George_ Bell.

[29] See for a dissection and disproof of this story Ropes’s
_Waterloo_, pp. 238–242, 3rd edition. Mr. Horsburgh (p. 138) and
others accept the story. But despite Lady Shelley’s note it is really

[30] For a dissection of Marbot’s blunders see the essay on his methods
in Holland Rose’s _Pitt and Napoleon_, pp. 156–166.

[31] Blakeney wrote about 1835, at Paxos in the Ionian Isles; Smith in
1844, in India; Kincaid in 1847.

[32] His extraordinarily vivid narrative of the fortunes of Browne’s
provisional battalion at Barrosa conflicts in detail with contemporary
evidence which there is no reason to doubt, _e.g._ as to the numbers of
the battalion, and as to the exact behaviour of General Whittingham.

[33] A strong case is that of the sergeant of the 43rd, mentioned
above, on p. 7, who lets in scraps of Napier into his patchwork with
the most unhappy effect.

[34] But only published by Constable & Co. in 1828. For more of his
story, see the chapter on “The Rank and File.”

[35] Sergeant Lawrence’s _Autobiography_ was not published till 1886.
Cooper’s _Seven Campaigns in Portugal_, etc., came out in 1869.

[36] Only printed quite lately in the _Revue Hispanique_ for 1907.

[37] Hanover, 1907, 2 vols.

[38] Published at Lisbon in 4 vols., 1862–80.

[39] His book is called _Reminiscences of a Veteran_, and was published
so late as 1861.

[40] _Twelve Years of Military Adventure_, published 1829.

[41] Published in 1880.

[42] Published 1835, 2 vols.

[43] Published 1845.

[44] Two vols., published 1856.

[45] By D. Beresford-Pack, 1905.

[46] By Hon. Claud Vivian, 1897.

[47] Two vols., 1904.

[48] _E.g._ the cavalry general Long, who was writing in the spring of
1810 that “the next campaign in the Peninsula will close the eventful
scene in the Peninsula, as far as we are concerned. I am strongly of
opinion that neither ‘Marshal’ Wellington nor ‘Marshal’ Beresford
will prevent the approaching subjugation of Portugal.” And, again,
“Wellington, I suspect, feels himself tottering on his throne, and
wishes to conciliate at any sacrifice.”

[49] Kincaid, chap. v., May, 1811.

[50] Cooke’s _Narrative of events in the South of France_, pp. 47, 48.

[51] Stanhope’s _Conversations with the Duke of Wellington_, p. 14.

[52] For a curious instance of this sort in the 92nd, see Hope’s
_Military Memoirs of an Infantry Officer_, pp. 449–451. Cf. Sir George
Napier’s _Autobiography_, pp. 125–128.

[53] Gronow’s _Recollections_, p. 66.

[54] McGrigor’s _Autobiography_, pp. 304, 305.

[55] When sending him to command in India.

[56] These two letters are in the Rice-Jones Correspondence (this R.E.
officer is not to be confounded with Sir John Jones, the historian),
lent to me by Hon. Henry Shore of Mount Elton, Clevedon.

[57] See _Colborne’s Life and Letters_, ed. Moore Smith, pp. 126, 127;
235, 236.

[58] _Napier_, vi. p. 175.

[59] _Grattan_, p. 332.

[60] The memorandum is on pp. 261–263 of vol. iv. of Wellington’s

[61] _Dispatches_, vol. v. pp. 123, 124.

[62] For an interesting chapter on the adventures of Colquhoun Grant
see the autobiography of his brother-in-law, Sir J. McGrigor.

[63] Stanhope’s _Conversations with the Duke of Wellington_, p. 19.

[64] Foy’s diary in Girod de l’Ain, p. 178.

[65] For an analysis of the controversy, see Dumolin’s preface to his
_Précis des Guerres de la Révolution_, and compare Colin’s _Education
Militaire de Napoleon_.

[66] See especially the record of the great English and Austrian
charges against French infantry at Villers-en-Cauchies, Beaumont, and
Willems (Fortescue’s _British Army_, lv. 240–56).

[67] The French battalion then comprising nine companies, of which one,
the Voltigeur company, would not be in the column.

[68] From an essay entitled _Character of the Armies of the various
European Powers_, in a collection called _Essays on the Theory and
Practice of the Art of War_. 3 vols. London: Philips & Co.

[69] Though Marshal Broglie had used something like an approach
to permanent divisions in the Seven Years’ War: see Colin’s
_Transformations de la Guerre_, p. 97.

[70] Colin quotes as bad examples of French armies coming on the field
dispersedly, without the proper timing and co-operation, Wattignies,
Neresheim (1796), and all Moreau’s operations beyond the Rhine in that
year from Rastadt to Ettlingen (_Transformations de la Guerre_, p. 99).

[71] See Dumolin’s _Précis d’Histoire Militaire_, x. p. 263, and
Colin’s _Tactique et Discipline_, p. lxxxv.

[72] At Arcola Augereau’s division attacked the bridge over a raised
road passing over a dyke only 30 feet broad, with marshes on each side.
There were three regiments, one behind the other. Cohorn’s column at
Ebersburg was not so deep, only a brigade. But it had to defile over a
bridge 200 yards long.

[73] _E.g._: this was the formation of the 3rd corps at Lützen, see
Fabry, _Journal des 3^{me} et 5^{me} Corps en 1813_, p. 7.

[74] Foy’s _Vie Militaire_, ed. Girod de l’Ain, p. 107.

[75] Habitually but not invariably: _e.g._ for a use of eight
skirmishing companies from five battalions at Villamuriel in Oct.
12, by Maucune, see Béchaud’s _Journal_, pp. 406–7, in _Études
Napoléoniemes_ I.

[76] Sir James Sinclair in his _Observations on the Military System of
Great Britain, so far as respects the formation of Infantry_, deals
with this idea at great length, and proposes to have 160 skirmishers to
each battalion of 640 men.

[77] See Fortescue, _British Army_, iv. p. 921.

[78] See the anecdote of the 28th regiment at Alexandria, whose rear
rank faced about, and fought back-to-back with the front rank, when
unexpectedly assailed from behind by French cavalry which had passed
through a gap in the line. Hence the grant of the double shako-plate,
before and behind, made to the regiment.

[79] Till lately I had supposed that Reynier had at least his left
wing, or striking _échelon_, in columns of battalions, but evidence
shown me by Col. James proves that, despite of the fact that the French
narratives do not show it, the majority at least of Reynier’s men were
deployed. This is borne out by Bunbury’s narrative, p. 244, where it is
definitely stated, as well as by Boothby’s, p. 78.

[80] Those of Reynier. See my _Peninsular War_, Bussaco chapter.

[81] See Stanhope’s _Conversations with the Duke of Wellington_, p. 109.

[82] The phrase comes from the _De Ros Manuscript_, quoted in Maxwell’s
_Life of Wellington_, ii. p. 20.

[83] Foy’s _Vie Militaire_, ed. Girod de l’Ain, pp. 270, 271.

[84] Donkin’s Brigade, Wellington’s last reserve, which was never
engaged with infantry all day, lost 195 men without firing a shot—save
by its skirmishers.

[85] See Fortescue, iv. p. 841.

[86] The interesting circular to Brigadiers conveying this information
runs, “The Commander of the Forces recommends the companies of the
5/60th regiment to the particular care of the officers commanding
the brigades to which they are attached: they will find them to be
most useful, active, and brave troops in the field, and they will add
essentially to the strength of their brigades.”—_General Orders_, p.

[87] These “independent rifle companies” of the K.G.L., which appear
in so many “morning states,” were isolated men left behind (mainly, no
doubt, in hospital) by the two “Light Battalions” of the K.G.L. when
they left Portugal in company with Sir John Moore.

[88] To descend into detail, in May, 1811, the 5/60th supplied light
companies to Stopford’s, Nightingale’s, Mackinnon’s (3 companies),
Myers’, Hulse’s, Colborne’s, Hoghton’s, and Abercrombie’s brigades. The
Brunswick Oels Jägers supplied the extra company to Hay’s and Dunlop’s
brigades, while the rest of the battalion was in Sontag’s brigade. The
3/95th gave a company to Howard’s brigade, while the other battalions
of this famous rifle corps were in the two brigades of the Light
Division. The German brigade of Löwe had its own “independent light
companies.” Only Colville’s and Burne’s brigades had no such provision
in the whole army.

[89] Save in Hamilton’s Portuguese division, which did not get its
Caçador battalions till 1812.

[90] In 1811 of the armies opposed to Wellington (Soult’s and
Marmont’s) there was one division of 6 battalions, one of 9, two of
10, one of 11, seven of 12, one of 13. The battalions varied from 400
apiece in the 5th corps to over 600 in the 1st corps. The average was
about 500, not including men detached or in hospital. A _voltigeur_
company would have varied between 80 and 110 men.

[91] Note especially Vigo-Roussillon’s account of Barrosa, where he
speaks of his regiment having pierced the first British line, when
all that it really did was to thrust back four companies of the 95th
rifles, and two of the 20th Portuguese. Similarly Reynier’s report on
Bussaco says that Merle’s division broke the front line of Picton, and
only failed before his second. But the “front line” was only five light

[92] Wellington to Beresford, _Dispatches_, vii. p. 427.

[93] If the _ordre mixte_ was formed by a regiment of three battalions
of 600 men each, only 634 men out of 1800 were in the front two ranks.
If by a regiment of four battalions (two deployed, two in column in the
flanks), the slightly better result of 1034 men out of 2400 able to use
their muskets would be produced.

[94] This I have from a document in the archives of the Ministry of War
at Paris, which says that “the line of attack was formed by a brigade
in column of attack. To its right and left the front line was in a
mixed formation; that is to say, on each side of the central column
was a battalion deployed in line, and on each of the outer sides of
the deployed battalions was a battalion or regiment in column, so that
at each end the line was composed of a column ready to form square, in
case hostile cavalry should attempt to fall upon one of our flanks.”

[95] A phrase used by a French marshal at Bussaco!

[96] Reprinted by General Trochu in his _Armée française en 1867_, pp.
239, 240.

[97] See page 87 above.

[98] For details see below, in the chapter dealing with General Picton,
p. 134.

[99] Though a few depleted regiments also went home, so that the total
strength never was over 18 regiments, 9000 horse or under, to 70,000
men in all. See pages 192–3.

[100] See _Dispatches_, vol. viii. p. 112.

[101] _General Orders_ (collected volume), pp. 481, 482.

[102] See Chapter XVIII., “A note on Sieges.”

[103] See the Diary of Major Brooke, in _Blackwood_ for 1908, p. 448,
which I edited.

[104] _Memoirs of Sergeant Donaldson (94th)_, ii. p. 217, and _cf._ for
a similar story, _Rifleman Harris_, pp. 30, 31.

[105] See Sidney’s _Life of Lord Hill_, p. 228.

[106] He wanted, he wrote, “to have a place of meeting where they can
enjoy social intercourse combined with economy, and cultivate old
acquaintance formed on service.” Hitherto “officers coming to town
for a short period were driven into expensive and bad taverns and
coffee-houses, without a chance of meeting their friends or any good

[107] _Twenty-five Years in the Rifle Brigade_, by Surtees of the 95th.

[108] Caddell of the 28th, p. 99.

[109] Especially Bunbury, Dallas, and Blakeney.

[110] “Le général était de haute stature,” says Vigo-Roussillon: “il
avait les cheveux tous blancs, et était encore alerte et très vif,
quoiqu’il avait soixante ans. Sa physionomie noble et ouverte m’avait
inspiré le respect, même sur le champ de bataille.”—_Revue des deux
Mondes_, August, 1891.

[111] Stanhope’s _Conversations with Wellington_, p. 69.

[112] _Kincaid_, p. 116.

[113] That he made the request is definitely stated in Stanhope’s
_Conversations_, p. 69.

[114] Grattan’s _Adventures with the Connaught Rangers_, p. 16.

[115] _Grattan_, pp. 116, 117.

[116] See McCarthy’s _Siege of Badajoz_, p. 35, and Robinson’s _Life of
Picton_, ii. p. 170.

[117] McCarthy’s _Siege of Badajoz_, p. 41.

[118] Robinson’s _Life of Picton_, ii. p. 390.

[119] See especially McCarthy, quoted above, and Macpherson (notes in
_Robinson_, ii. pp. 394–397).

[120] Cole’s _Peninsular Generals_, ii. p. 84.

[121] His brother, Sir Charles Craufurd, had married the Dowager
Duchess of Newcastle, and as the duke was a minor, his mother and her
husband disposed of the Pelham pocket-boroughs and other patronage.

[122] He was absent on leave from the winter of 1810 till May 1811, and
only just rejoined in time for the battle of Fuentes de Oñoro.

[123] All this comes from Shaw-Kennedy’s Diary, which is printed at
length in a most unlikely place,—the Appendix to Lord F. Fitzclarence’s
_Manual of Outpost Duties_, a book of the 1840’s.

[124] See _Larpent’s Journal_, p. 85, and Alex. Craufurd’s _Life of
General Robert Craufurd_, pp. 184, 185.

[125] William Napier refused to subscribe to a testimonial to Alten at
the end of the war, openly saying that he saw no sufficient merit in

[126] For a bitter story of how his brigadiers, Barclay and Beckwith,
spoke of him, see Moore-Smith’s _Life of Colborne_, p. 174. _Cf._
too p. 35 of Hay’s _Reminiscences_ of 1808–15, for an anecdote of
Craufurd’s occasional snubbing of his officers. _Cf._ also George
Simmond’s _British Rifleman_, pp. 26, 27.

[127] Jan. 20, 1912, in a letter from Colonel Willoughby Verner.

[128] See Hay’s _Peninsular Reminiscences, 1808–15_.

[129] See _Rifleman Harris_, p. 206.

[130] Hardinge advised the advance, but it was Cole who, being in
responsible command, ordered and executed it. He it is who should have
the credit both for the resolve and for the tactics.

[131] See Wellington to Torrens (the patronage secretary at the Horse
Guards), August 4, 1810.

[132] See, _e.g._, Wellington, _Dispatches_, vi., under Oct. 4, 1810.
Among the generals whose departure he viewed (for various reasons) with
equanimity, were Sir Robert Wilson, Lightburne, Tilson, and Nightingale.

[133] _Minute_ on p. 572 of the _Collected General Orders_.

[134] Stewart chafed at his checks, and wrote bitterly to Castlereagh
about the insignificance of his position.

[135] See Chapter XVIII. on Sieges, p. 286.

[136] For special note as to the functions of the “Staff Corps of
Cavalry” raised in March, 1813, see the _General Order_ of that date.
This body must be carefully distinguished from the Staff Corps,
concerning which see Fortescue’s _British Army_, iv. p. 881: it was a
kind of subsidiary corps of military artificers, independent of the
Ordnance Office to which “Royal Military Artificers” belonged. This was
a vicious duplication of parallel organizations.

[137] _General Order_, Freneda, Nov. 1, 1811.

[138] _Private Journal of Judge-Advocate Larpent, 1812–14_, published
London, 1853.

[139] Names may suffice to show the class from which they were drawn:
Marquis of Worcester, Lord March, Bathurst, Bouverie, Burghersh,
Canning, Manners, Stanhope, Fremantle, Gordon, de Burgh, Cadogan,
Fitzroy Somerset.

[140] See note on page 270 of chapter xvi on “Impedimenta.”

[141] See _General Order_ of May 4, 1809.

[142] Its most ambitious efforts were a small volume of maps printed at
Cambray, during the occupation of France after Waterloo, with notes by
Col. Carmichael Smith, R.E., and the _General Orders_ for 1815, printed
at Paris, by Sergeant Buchan, 3rd Guards, head printer to the Army of

[143] See, for example, York’s Alkmaar dispatch of Oct. 6, 1799.

[144] _E.g._ in Walsh’s _Expedition to Holland_ in 1799, p. 22, the
whole original landing force of the British, 15,000 bayonets, is called
the “first division,” but only in contrast to the troops not yet
landed, not technically.

[145] With the exception, of course, that the 1st and 3rd Caçador
battalions served all through the war in the two brigades of the Light

[146] See p. 83.

[147] 1/43rd, 1/52nd, 1/95th.

[148] 2/5th, 1/11th, 2/28th, 2/34th, 2/39th, 2/42nd, 2/58th. The 1/40th
and 2/24th joined Wellington in time for Talavera.

[149] The original British brigade of the 5th division consisted of the
3/1st, 1/9th, and 2/38th.

[150] The 2/30th and 2/44th, to which the 1/4th was subsequently added.

[151] The name Army-Corps appears first in the Waterloo Campaign of

[152] The succession of brigadiers seems to have been, in the one
brigade, Pack followed by Wilson and Alex. Campbell; in the other
Bradford continued almost through the whole war, but McMahon was in
command in part of 1811–12. After June, 1811, Ashworth’s Brigade was
regularly attached to the 2nd division.

[153] Now no longer wanted, as Leith had received his second British

[154] 2nd, 1/36th, and (added long months after) the 1/32nd.

[155] 1/50th, 1/71st, and 1/92nd.

[156] 51st, 85th, with the Chasseurs Britanniques and the Brunswick
Oels Jägers. The 68th joined in July, but the 85th went home in October.

[157] 1st and 2nd Light Battalions, K.G.L., which landed very late,
joined Beresford’s army in Estremadura, and only united with their
proper division in June.

[158] See notes on these battalions in the chapter on “The Auxiliaries.”

[159] After Albuera their nickname was changed to “the Enthusiastics.”

[160] This happened with the 5th, 28th, 38th, 39th, 42nd. The 2/4th and
2/52nd came out for a short time, and then discharged their serviceable
men into their 1st battalion, and went home.

[161] See p. 166.

[162] These thirty-seven were the 2nd, 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 19th,
20th, 22nd, 29th, 33rd, 37th, 41st, 46th, 49th, 51st, 54th, 55th, 64th,
65th, 68th, 70th, 74th, 75th, 76th, 77th, 80th, 85th, 86th, 93rd, 94th,
and 97th to 103rd.

[163] Which were intended for home service only, and were called the
“Army of Reserve.” But ere long they were utilized for general service.

[164] The regiments which raised belated second battalions were the
12th (in 1813), the 22nd (in 1814), the 37th (in 1811), the 41st (in
1814), the 73rd (in 1809), the 86th (in 1814), the 93rd (in 1814). The
95th (in 1809), and the 56th in 1813, raised a _third_ battalion.

[165] For all the establishments see Table in Appendix I.

[166] This was the case with the 7th, 48th, 52nd and 88th in 1811.

[167] The 3rd Hussars, K.G.L., 2/14th, 2/23rd, 2/43rd, 2/81st, never
returned to serve under Wellington in 1809–14.

[168] In 1810 the following returned to Portugal 3/1st, 1/4th, 1/9th,
1/50th, 1/71st, 1/79th. In 1811 the following: 2nd, 1/26th, 1/28th,
1/32nd, 1/36th, 51st, 2/52nd, 1st and 2nd Light K.G.L. In 1812 the
following: 1/5th, 1/6th, 20th, 1/38th, 1/42nd, 2/59th, 1/82nd, 1/91st.
In 1813 the 7th, 10th, 15th, 18th Hussars, the first and third
battalions of the 1st Foot Guards, and the 76th.

[169] These were the 1/3rd, 2/9th, 29th, 1/40th, 1/45th, 5/60th, 97th,
the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th Line Battalions of the K.G.L., and the 20th
Light Dragoons, the last-named incomplete.

[170] The regiments which arrived with Wellesley, or before him, during
the spring and the preceding winter of 1808–1809, were 3/27th, 2/31st,
and 14th Light Dragoons, during the winter; in April, 1st Coldstream
Guards, 1st Scots Fusilier Guards, 2/7th, 2/30th, 2/48th, 2/53rd,
2/66th, 2/83rd, 2/87th, 1/88th, 16th Light Dragoons, 3rd Dragoon
Guards, 4th Dragoons.

[171] Since April there had come out the 23rd Light Dragoons, 1st
Hussars, K.G.L., 1/61st, 1/48th, 2/24th; but the 20th Light Dragoons
had been deducted (sent to Sicily), while the 2/9th and 2/30th had been
sent back to Lisbon, for passage to Gibraltar. The net gain, therefore,
between April and July was only one cavalry regiment.

[172] To recapitulate again. 1st battalions: 1/3rd, 1/40th, 1/45th,
1/48th, 1/61st, 1/88th. 2nd battalions: 2/7th, 2/31st, 2/24th, 2/48th,
2/53rd, 2/66th, 2/83rd, 2/87th. Other junior battalions: 3/27th (left
at Lisbon), 5/60th. Single battalion regiments, 29th, 97th. There were
also two “Battalions of Detachments.”

[173] The strongest battalions at Talavera were 1/3rd Foot Guards 1019,
1st Coldstream 970, 1/48th 807; the weakest were 2/66th 526, 97th 502,
2/83rd 535.

[174] Viz. 2/7th, 2/48th.

[175] 2/24th, 2/31st, 2/53rd, 2/66th. The first battalions of three of
these were in the East Indies, that of the fourth in Sicily.

[176] 1/7th, 1/11th, 1/23rd, 1/37th, 1/39th, 1/57th.

[177] 2/5th, 2/34th, 2/38th, 2/44th, 2/47th, 2/58th, 2/62nd, 2/84th.

[178] 68th, 74th, 77th, 85th, 94th.

[179] This was the case with the 2/62nd, 77th, 1/37th, 2/84th.

[180] The sixth of the units of the provisional battalions being a
single battalion corps, the 2nd Foot or Queen’s.

[181] Typical figures are 77th, landed in July 859 of all ranks—had
only 560 present in September. The 68th, landed about the same time,
had 233 sick to 412 effective: the 51st, landed in April, 246 sick
to 251 effective! But the 51st had lost men in the second siege of
Badajoz. The other two regiments had not seen much service.

[182] Over 14,000 men in October, 1811.

[183] Wellington wrote to the Secretary of War (Lord Bathurst), “I
assure you that some of the best battalions with the army are the
provisional battalions. I have lately seen two of these engaged, that
formed of the 2/24th and 2/58th, and that formed from the 2nd Queen’s
and 2/53rd: it is impossible for any troops to behave better. The same
arrangement could now be applied with great advantage to the 51st and
68th, and also to other regiments” (_Dispatches_, x. p. 629). There was
another “provisional battalion” composed of the 2/30th and 2/44th for a
short time in 1812–13.

[184] Probably a year later Wellington would not have allowed the 29th
and 97th, both old single battalion regiments sent home after Albuera,
to depart, but would have worked them together as a “provisional
battalion.” He expresses great regret in his private correspondence at
losing two excellent units because they had fallen to about 250 men

[185] After Albuera, where they both suffered heavily, the 2nd was sent
home, discharging its serviceable men into the 1st, which was the first
connection with the sister-battalion that it had.

[186] Such figures are, however, occasionally found, _e.g._ the 1/4th
at Bussaco, and the 1/43rd in September, 1811, had over 1000 of all
ranks. So had the 1/42nd at Salamanca.

[187] These chanced to be the 1/43rd and the 2/38th respectively. The
two Guards battalions were each just under 900 of all ranks at this

[188] 3rd Dragoon Guards, 1st and 4th Dragoons, 14th and 16th Light
Dragoons, 1st Hussars, K.G.L.

[189] 13th Light Dragoons.

[190] 3rd, 4th, 5th Dragoon Guards; 1st, 3rd, and 4th Dragoons;
9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th Light Dragoons; 1st and 2nd Heavy
Dragoons, K.G.L.; 1st and 2nd Hussars, K.G.L.

[191] Tomkinson in his diary observes (p. 230) that the 11th Light
Dragoons was not in such bad state as the other condemned regiments,
but that their colonel was so senior that he stood in the way of the
promotion of several more capable officers to command brigades—hence
Wellington resolved to get him out of the country.

[192] _Dispatches_, vii. p. 58. To Lord Liverpool.

[193] 9th and 11th Light Dragoons, 4th Dragoon Guards, 2nd Hussars,

[194] Viz. the 1st Royals, 13th, 14th, and 16th Light Dragoons, and 1st
Hussars, K.G.L. See _General Orders_, October 2, 1811.

[195] In the Talavera army, taking the general totals, there were 536
lieutenants to 259 ensigns; in the Bussaco army 624 to 237; in the 1811
army (March) 739 to 323—in each case more than two to one.

[196] Viz. killed, the Brigadier-Gen. Hoghton and one major, wounded
two lieutenant-colonels and two majors.

[197] Picton, though wounded in the foot at Badajoz, rode with his
division for some time after it marched from Estremadura for the North,
but the wound getting inflamed he was compelled to go into hospital,
and Wallace had his place for some weeks in June, Pakenham appearing as
divisional commander in July.

[198] See the bitter remarks on pp. 367–369 on Blakeney’s
Autobiography. For a number of illustrative anecdotes see Leach’s
curious little book, _Rambles on the Banks of Styx_, which is full of
Peninsular grievances.

[199] The allusion is to the obscure business of influence in
distributing commissions said to have been used by the Duke of York’s
mistress, Mrs. Mary Ann Clarke.

[200] For more of this pamphlet, see Stocqueler’s _Personal History of
the Horse Guards_, pp. 60–67.

[201] For an astounding story of an ensign who had been a
billiard-marker in Dublin, and who was ultimately cashiered for theft,
see Col. Bunbury’s _Reminiscences_, vol. i. pp. 26–28.

[202] _Memoirs of Captain George Ellers, 12th Foot_, p. 43.

[203] See the instances in _General Orders_ for April 23, 1810, and
July 16, 1812.

[204] For a good example, see _Dickson Papers_, pp. 622, 623, where the
good Dickson gets one officer to own that he was “betrayed in a moment
of intoxication” into insulting words, and the other to say that the
counter-charge with which he replied was made “in a moment of great
irritation and passion.” The apologies were both passed as satisfactory.

[205] A series of court-martials in one Peninsular battalion shows us
such a picture, with the colonel on one side and the two majors on
the other. The former prosecuted the senior major for embezzlement,
while at the same moment a subaltern was “broke” for alleging that the
junior major had shown cowardice in the field. The Horse Guards finally
dispersed all the officers into different corps, as the only way of
ending the feud.

[206] See pp. 121–2 of vol. ii. of Robinson’s _Life of Picton_.

[207] Letter printed in _Vie Militaire_, _ed._ Girod de l’Ain, p. 98.

[208] See the heading “Lisbon” in the collected volume of _General
Orders_, pp. 206, 207.

[209] _General Orders_, Freneda, December 4, 1811. For anecdotes about
this officer’s shirking propensities, see pp. 27–36 of the second
series of Grattan’s _Adventures with the Connaught Rangers_. He was
ultimately cashiered.

[210] Gleig’s _Reminiscences of Wellington_, p. 303.

[211] _Conversations with Duke of Wellington_, pp. 13 and 18.

[212] See, for an instance, pp. 249–50.

[213] When the 90th was raised in 1794, out of the 746 men 165 were
English and 56 Irish—not much less than a third of the whole. Cf.
Delavoye’s _History of the 90th_, p. 3. In the Waterloo campaign the
71st had 83 English and 56 Irish in its ranks.

[214] Woolwright’s _History of the 77th_, p. 29.

[215] Rogerson’s _History of the 53rd_, p. 35.

[216] See Fortescue’s _History of the British Army_, vi. pp. 180–183.

[217] To quote an interesting explanatory note from the autobiography
of Morris of the 73rd. “The militia would be drawn up in line, and the
officers for the regiments requiring volunteers would give a glowing
description of their several corps, describing the victories they had
gained, and the honours they had acquired, and conclude by offering
the bounty. If these inducements were not effectual in getting men,
coercive measures were adopted: the militia colonel would put on
heavy and long drills and field exercises, which were so tedious and
oppressive that many men would embrace the alternative, and volunteer
for the regulars” (p. 13).

[218] A canny Scot makes his explanation for volunteering in a fashion
which combines patriotism, love of adventure, and calculation. “In the
militia I serve secure of life and limb, but with no prospect of future
benefit for old age (pension) to which I may attain. It is better to
hazard both abroad in the regular service, than to have poverty and
hard-labour accompanying me to a peaceful grave at home.” Anton’s
_Retrospect of a Military Life_, p. 39.

[219] See the amusing narrative of Lawrence of the 20th and his two
evasions from his stone-mason employer.

[220] See Stanhope’s _Conversations with Wellington_, p. 13.

[221] Journal of T. S. of the 71st in Constable’s _Memorials of the
Late War_, i. p. 25.

[222] Note by Colborne on p. 396 of his _Life_ by Moore-Smith.

[223] _Rifleman Harris_, pp. 10–16.

[224] In the Court-Martials on privates printed in _General Orders_,
out of 280 trials I make out 80 certainly Irish names, and a good many
more probably Irish—while there are only 23 Scots. There were certainly
not four times as many Irish as Scots in the Peninsular Army, though
there were more than twice as many.

[225] See also Stanhope’s _Conversations with Wellington_, p. 6.

[226] _Twenty-five Years in the Rifle Brigade_, pp. 47, 48.

[227] Both court-martialled, of course: see _General Orders_, vol. vii.

[228] This incident occurs in the unprinted letters of F. Monro, R.A.,
lent to me by his kinsfolk of to-day.

[229] One of the Duke’s acrid generalizations on this point was “the
non-commissioned officers of the Guards regularly got drunk once a day,
by eight in the evening, and got to bed soon after—but they always took
care to do first what they were bid.”—Stanhope’s _Conversations with
the Duke of Wellington_, p. 18.

[230] See Anton’s (42nd, Black Watch) _Retrospect of a Military Life_,
pp. 239, 240.

[231] _Retrospect of a Military Life_, pp. 57, 58.

[232] _Memoirs of Sergeant Morley, 5th Foot_, p. 101.

[233] The survivors in 1809 were the regiments of de Meuron, Rolle,
Dillon, and de Watteville.

[234] This proviso was neither submitted to nor approved by the British
Government, who refused to take notice of it. Napoleon, during many
disputes as to the exchange of prisoners in later years, always found
a good excuse for breaking off negociations in the fact that he held
that 4000 or 5000 Hanoverians of the K.G.L. should be reckoned as men
requiring exchange.

[235] I note among the deserters from the German Legion in 1812–14 the
strange and non-Teutonic names of Gormowsky, Melofsky, Schilinsky,
Wutgok, Prochinsky, Borofsky, Ferdinando, Panderan, Kowalzuch,
Matteivich, etc.

[236] The other two names are one Swiss the other Croatian.

[237] Names such as Davy, Woodgate, Galiffe, Andrews, McKenzie, Holmes,
Linstow, Wynne, Joyce, Gilbert are unmistakably British. See Colonel
Rigaud’s _History of the 5/60th_, Appendix i.

[238] See p. 120.

[239] See pp. 168–9.

[240] This corps only raised its second battalion in 1811.

[241] Algarve, Nos. 2 (Lagos) and 14 (Tavira). Alemtejo, Nos. 5 and 17
(1st and 2nd of Elvas), 8 (Evora), 20 (Campomayor), 22 (Serpa). Lisbon,
Nos. 1, 4, 10, 16. Estremadura, No. 7 (Setubal), 19 (Cascaes), 11
(Peniche). Beira, Nos. 3 and 15 (raised in the Lamego district), 11 and
23 (1st and 2nd of Almeida). Oporto region, Nos. 6 and 18 (1st and 2nd
of Oporto), 9 (Viana), 21 (Valença). Tras-os-Montes, Nos. 12 (Chaves),
and 24 (Braganza).

[242] The three Lusitanian battalions wore a uniform of ivy-green,
the nine others a dark brown dress. The cut of both was fashioned in
imitation of that of the British Rifle Brigade.

[243] Beresford to Wellington, _Supplementary Dispatches_, vi. p. 774.

[244] From a memorandum by Benjamin D’Urban, Beresford’s
Quartermaster-General, or rather Chief of the Staff, in the unpublished
D’Urban papers.

[245] From a letter to his friend, J. Wilson, in the unpublished
D’Urban Correspondence.

[246] General Orders, Santa Marinha, March 25, 1811.

[247] The case of an officer who openly cohabited with the wife of a
private, and fought with and thrashed her not-unreasonably jealous

[248] See General Orders, July 2, 1813.

[249] There is a long quarrel of this sort between Colonel Cochrane of
the 36th and General A. Campbell, whose original cause was in details
of mismanagement at the escape of Brennier from Almeida.

[250] General Orders, Lesaca, September 20, 1813. In this case a
lieutenant of the 5/60th had been condemned for violently resisting
the turning out of his horses from a stable by his senior, “using
opprobrious and disgraceful language” and threatening to strike him.

[251] General Orders, Garris, February 24, 1814.

[252] _Ibid._, Freneda, February 3, 1813.

[253] See _Wellington Dispatches_, vol. ii., pp. 330 and 369, and for
his recapture Stepney’s _Diary_, p. 55.

[254] Case of Corporal Hammond of the 87th, January 24, 1810.

[255] Viz. 5/60th, 97th, 1, 2, 5, 7 Line of the K.G.L., 1 and 2 Light
K.G.L., Brunswick Oels and _Chasseurs Britanniques_.

[256] The tale comes from p. xxxi. of the Introduction to the
_Collected General Orders_.

[257] General Orders, September 22, 1809.

[258] See the printed report of the Long _Court-Martial on Colonel
Quentin_, London, 1814, p. 272.

[259] Printed in _General Orders_, vol. v. 1813, the accused being Col.
Archdall of the 1/40th.

[260] Sergeant Donaldson’s _Eventful Life of a Soldier_, pp. 145, 146.

[261] There are Peninsular-period Good-Conduct medals for the 10th and
11th Hussars (starting 1812), 5th Foot (Northumberland Fusiliers), 7th
Fusiliers, 22nd, 38th, 52nd, 71st, 74th, 88th, 95th, 97th, and some
other corps, not to speak of others which were medals for special deeds
of courage or for marksmanship.

[262] See Hope’s _Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, 1808–15_, pp. 459–60.

[263] This is said to have been the case in the 1/48th when it was
under Colonel Donnellan, who fell at Talavera.

[264] _Autobiography of Sergeant William Lawrence_, pp. 48, 49.

[265] _Rough Notes_, by Sir George Bell, i. p. 120.

[266] Probably the case of a private of the 34th who had struck his
captain, in a rage. This flogging (1813) was the only one of such
severity which occurred in the regiment while Bell was serving with it
in 1812–1814.

[267] See footnote to p. xxv. of _Selected General Orders_.

[268] These can be found in _Fitzclarence on Outpost Duty_, mentioned
above, in which they were printed at full length. It is still easy to

[269] Donaldson of the 94th, pp. 179–181.

[270] General Order, May 23, 1809.

[271] See reproofs in 1811 and 1812 in _Collected General Orders_, p.

[272] “Under the orders of Sir John Moore a horse or mule was allowed
to each captain of a company of infantry, and a horse or mule in common
among the subalterns. And under the orders of Sir John Cradock, which
have been the rule for this army, the subalterns were allowed a horse
or mule between them” (_General Orders_, p. 122).

[273] I find, _e.g._, in diaries, that 2nd Lieut. Hough, R.A., got “two
domestics, a country horse, and a mule” immediately on landing. Geo.
Simmons and Harry Smith of the 95th were certainly habitually riding
when only lieutenants. So was Grattan of the 88th. Bell of the 34th
being impecunious had “only half a _burro_ along with another lad.”
Bunbury of the Buffs had half a horse and half a mule in conjunction
with another subaltern. Hay of the 52nd was just in the regulation with
one mule to himself, on his first campaign, but bought a Portuguese
mare before he had been a year in the field.

[274] From that amusing piece of doggerel (strictly contemporary) _The
Military Adventures of Johnny Newcome_.

[275] Notes to _Johnny Newcome_, p. 30.

[276] Grattan of the 88th, selling his horse on leaving the Peninsula
at the Lisbon Horse-Fair, says that he got 125 dollars for it,
equalling at the then rate of exchange £31 5_s._ Boothby, R.E., buying
a red English stallion, considers himself very lucky to get it for 30
guineas. A donkey fetched about 15 dollars only.

[277] There are several court-martials on officers who (disregarding
this order) kept a soldier-servant or bâtman out of the ranks.

[278] One officer relates that he came upon his own mule-boy, aged ten
or twelve, deliberately beating out the brains of a wounded Frenchman,
at Salamanca, with a large stone. Another diarist speaks of making
a wounded Frenchman comfortable while he went for a surgeon, and
returning to find him stabbed and stripped. A third (F. Monro, R.A.)
says, “I found myself among the dead and dying, to the shame of human
nature be it said, _both_ stripped, some half-naked, some wholly so,
and this done principally by those infernal devils in mortal shape,
the cruel, cowardly Portuguese followers, unfeeling ruffians. The
Portuguese pillaged and plundered _our own wounded officers_ before
they were dead!”

[279] See Ross Lewin’s _With the 32nd in the Peninsular War_, p. 205.

[280] Sergeant Anton’s _Retrospect of a Military Life_, pp. 60, 61.

[281] _Rough Notes of an Old Soldier_, vol. i. pp. 74, 75.

[282] Wellington (General Order of April 26, 1814) makes the concession
that colonels may permit “a few who have proved themselves useful and
regular,” to accompany the soldiers to whom they are attached “with a
view to being ultimately married.”

[283] For details see Donaldson’s _Eventful Life of a Soldier_, pp.
231, 232.

[284] _History of the Peninsular War_, vol. iv. p. 276. Also mentioned
in Tomkinson’s _Diary_, p. 185.

[285] _Memoirs of Lejeune_, vol. ii. p. 108. I am a little inclined to
think that this may have been the household establishment of Hill’s
senior aide-de-camp, Currie, as the sight was seen by Lejeune in the
Elvas-Olivenza direction, where the 2nd division was then quartered.

[286] See Dickson Papers I., p. 448.

[287] This letter, found among Lord Liverpool’s papers in 1869, was
communicated to me by Mr. F. Turner of Frome.

[288] See Connolly’s _Royal Sappers and Miners_, pp. 187–8 and 194.

[289] Jones, _Sieges of the Peninsula_, i. p. 169.

[290] _General Orders_, p. 275.

[291] Jones’ _Sieges of the Peninsula_, ii. p. 97.

[292] Grattan’s _With the Connaught Rangers_, pp. 193, 194.

[293] Grattan, dealing with the Storm of Rodrigo, p. 145.

[294] Sergeant Donaldson, p. 155: he is speaking of the last assault on

[295] Instead of the brass plate with regimental badge or number, the
Light infantry and rifles had only a bugle-horn.

[296] Light infantry had a small green tuft on the front of the shako;
regiments of the rest of the line a larger upright plume fixed on the

[297] Cooke of the 43rd says (in his _Narrative of Events in the South
of France_, p. 67) that “distorted by alternate rain and sunshine, as
well as by having served as pillows and nightcaps, our caps had assumed
the most monstrous and grotesque shapes.”

[298] Grattan’s _Connaught Rangers_, p. 51.

[299] See Leslie’s edition of the _Dickson Papers_, ii. p. 994.

[300] _Memoirs of Captain Ellers_, p. 124 (dealing with the year 1800).
“He never wore powder though it was the regulation to do so. His hair
was cropped close. I have heard him say that hair powder was very
prejudicial to the health, as impeding perspiration, and he was no
doubt right.”

[301] See for example the description of the 43rd preparing to storm
Rodrigo, in Grattan, p. 145.

[302] _Military Journal of Col. Leslie of Balquhain_, p. 229.

[303] _Memoirs of Captain Cooke_, ii. p. 76.

[304] 7th, 10th, 15th Hussars. The 18th were still called Light
Dragoons in 1808.

[305] In April, 1813, 10th, 15th, 18th Hussars, the 7th Hussars
followed in September of the same year.

[306] Ker-Porter’s _Letters from Portugal and Spain, 1808–9_, p. 219.

[307] The Royal Military Artificers were wearing in the early years of
the century a most extraordinary and ugly head-dress, a tall top-hat
with brim, looking more fit for civilian’s wear, and having nothing
military about it except the “shaving-brush” stuck at one side. It was
not unlike, however, the hat of the Marines. For illustration of it see
the plates in Connolly’s _History of the Royal Sappers and Miners_,
vol. i.

[308] There are plenty of stories about him in Grattan’s _With the
Connaught Rangers_. This one, however, is from Bell’s _Rough Notes_, i.

[309] See the letter in General Rigaud’s _History of the 5/60th_.

[310] See illustration in Plate 8 of a sergeant and private in winter
marching order.

[311] There is a curious anecdote in the diary (p. 28) of Cooper of
the 1/7th, of a sergeant, who, running with the point of his pike low,
caught it in the ground, and fell forward on its butt-end, which went
right through his body.

[312] _E.g._ there is a Waterloo story of a sergeant of the 18th
Hussars, who long engaged with a cuirassier, and unable to get at him
because of his armour and helm, ultimately killed him with a thrust in
the mouth. I should not like to take it as certain.

[313] For ample details about them see Mr. Milne’s _Standards and
Colours of the Army_, Leeds, 1893.

[314] _Autobiography of Sergt. Lawrence_, p. 239.

[315] See above, p. 161.

[316] See p. 283.

[317] Cf. p. 266 above.

[318] Hennegan’s _Seven Years’ Campaigning_, i. p. 52.

[319] Dallas was taking care of the brigade of Skerrett, then marching
(Oct., 1812) from Seville to Aranjuez, right across Central Spain.

[320] Autobiography of the Rev. Alexander Dallas, London, 1871, pp. 59,

[321] For the maddening delays, caused by the impossibility of finding
a mule-train ready to go back to the front, a good example may be found
in the autobiography of Quartermaster Surtees of the 95th, stranded at
Abrantes for unending weeks in the late autumn of 1812 with the new
clothing of his battalion, which (as he knew) was suffering bitterly
for want of it.

[322] See Donaldson’s _Eventful Life of a Soldier_, pp. 219, 220.

[323] Surtees’s _Twenty-five Years in the Rifle Brigade_, pp. 173, 175.

[324] From _Travels and Adventures of Bugler William Green, late of the
Rifle Brigade_, Coventry, 1857—a most interesting little book.

[325] _Memoirs of John Stevenson, 3rd Foot Guards_, p. 191.

[326] Recorded in Tancred’s _Historical Medals_: for details see
Stevenson, as also the _Life of a Scottish Soldier_, which is a 71st
book (p. 118).

[327] The absurd semi-religious correspondence of the Duke and ‘Miss
J.’ in the 1840’s, published some ten years back may be remembered.

[328] Sir H. Calvert, Adjutant General, to Wellington, 8th November,

[329] See Stevenson, p. 172.

[330] Surtees, pp. 177–9.

[331] For the “Belemites” see above, pp. 204–5.

[332] Who “never went into action without subjecting himself to a
strict self-examination, when after having (as he humbly hoped) made
his peace with God, he left the result in His hands with perfect
confidence that He will determine what is best for him.”—See Cole’s
_Peninsular Generals_, ii. 292.

[333] In 1809 the 14th, formerly Bedfordshire, took the Territorial
Designation of Bucks; and the 16th, formerly Bucks, became Beds.

[334] Of these 25, twenty had been with Moore’s army in the Corunna
Retreat, and 23 went to Walcheren.

[335] Of these 42, seven had been with Moore’s army in the Corunna
Retreat, and 14 went to Walcheren.

[336] Of these 11, three (l/43rd, 1/52nd, 1/95th) had been with Moore’s

[337] Of these 3, one (3/1st) had been with Moore’s army in the Corunna
Retreat and went to Walcheren.

[338] 9th, 30th, 47th, 48th, 53rd, 56th, 83rd, 84th, 87th. The 83rd was
far over this figure, 2461, a wholly exceptional strength.

[339] 4th, 5th, 7th, 11th, 23rd, 24th, 28th, 31st, 42nd, 43rd, 44th,
52nd, 66th, 67th, 81st, 88th, 89th.

[340] 6th, 21st, 32nd, 34th, 35th, 38th, 39th, 40th, 50th, 58th, 61st,
71st, 78th, 79th, 82nd, 92nd.

[341] 3rd, 8th, 10th, 18th, 26th, 36th, 45th, 57th, 62nd, 63rd, 72nd,

[342] 15th, 25th, 59th, 69th, 73rd, 91st, 96th.

[343] 13th, 17th, 29th, 76th, 80th, 93rd.

[344] 2nd, 12th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 33rd, 49th, 51st, 64th, 97th, 90th,
101st, 102nd.

[345] 37th, 41st, 54th, 55th, 65th, 68th, 70th, 74th, 75th, 77th, 85th,
86th, 94th, 99th, 100th.

[346] 16th, 46th, 103rd.

[347] The 94th went out to Cadiz in 1810; the 75th, not long back from
India, was very weak and did not go on foreign service (Sicily) till

[348] This brigade was added to IV on January 2.

[349] These regiments had arrived at Lisbon in April, but having been
at Walcheren were not at first sent into the field till July, since the
8th of which month they had been shown as a brigade under Leith.

[350] Some accounts represent the Light Battalions as forming a
separate brigade under Halkett.

[351] Not the same man who commanded the 7th Division in 1812, but the
1st Earl of Hopetoun.



  Abrantes, importance of, as a depôt, 311

  Accursio das Neves, José, Portuguese historian, 21

  Adjutant-General, office and duties of, in Wellington’s army, 156–7

  Albuera, battle of, strictures on Napier’s account of, 2;
    use of the _ordre mixte_ by the French at, 85, 86;
    Blakeney’s account of, 86;
    W. Stewart’s blunder at, 88;
    Beresford’s mistakes at, 120;
    losses at, 190;
    gallant behaviour of Harvey’s brigade at, 234

  Americans, the Royal, or 60th Foot, their rifle-battalion, 75,
    its uniform, 300

  American War of 1775–82, use of light troops in, 75

  American War of 1812–14, its influence on the Peninsular War, 308

  _Archives de la Guerre_, French military documents at, 16

  _Archives Nationales_, French military documents at, 16

  Arroyo dos Molinos, surprise of the French at, 109, 117

  Arteche, General, his History of the Peninsular War, 38

  Artificers, the Royal Military, 281;
    reorganized as Sappers and Miners, 285–6;
    uniform of, 299

  Artillery, Wellington’s use of, 113;
    distribution of, in divisions, 176;
    weakness of, in Wellington’s army, 281;
    use of, in sieges, 281–3;
    uniform of, 298

  Auxiliary troops, the German and Portuguese, with Wellington’s army,


  Badajoz, gallant services of Engineers at, 47, 48;
    storming of, 57;
    Picton at, 135;
    sack of, 213, 290;
    sieges of, 281–3, 284–5, 289

  Baggage, with the British army, 268–71

  Baird, General Sir David, his despatches in the Record Office, 15

  “Baker Rifle,” the, 302–3

  Barnard, Colonel Sir Andrew, commands Light Division after Craufurd’s
          death, 197–8

  Barquilla, combat of, 100

  Bathurst, Lieut.-Col. James, Military Secretary to Wellington, 153

  Battalions, establishment of the various, in the British army, 178–81;
    _and see_ Appendix I

  Beamish, Major Ludlow, his _History of the King’s German Legion_, 34;
    his description of combat of Garcia Hernandez, 101, 221

  Beckwith, Colonel John, his dealings with the Waldenses, 331

  “Belemites,” or “Belem Rangers,” the, 204, 328

  Bell, Sir George, his _Rough Notes of Fifty Years’ Service_, 24, 254;
    his description of soldiers’ wives, 274–5

  Bell, Sir John, his notes on Craufurd’s march to Talavera, 24

  Belmas, Colonel, his _Journaux des Sièges dans la Peninsule,
          1807–13_, 21

  Bentinck, Lord W., his dispatches, 15

  Beresford, William Carr, Lord, his strictures on Napier’s _History_, 2;
    his General Orders for the Portuguese Army, 13;
    account of, by Cole, 36;
    Wellington’s regard for, 46;
    his character and capacity, 119;
    reorganizes the Portuguese army, 119–20, 231–3;
    Wellington’s confidence in, 120

  Blakeney, Captain Robert, 28th Foot, his Autobiography, _A Boy in the
          Peninsular War_, 22, 25, 28, 29, 200

  Blakeney, Colonel T., 7th Foot, his account of Albuera, 86

  Blakiston, Major John, his _Memoirs_, 35

  Blayney, Lord, his MS. at the Record Office, 15

  Bock, General, his mismanagement of cavalry at Venta del Pozo, 108;
    his exploit at Garcia Hernandez, 176, 224

  Boothby, Captain Charles, R.E., his diaries, 7, 34, 331

  Botelho, Major Texiera, his history of Portuguese Artillery, 35

  Borthwick, Major-General, chief of artillery, 158

  Brigades, the, of Wellington’s army, their organization, 163–71;
    _and see_ Appendix II

  “Brown Bess” used in Peninsular army, 301

  Brunswick Oels, regiment, history of, by Colonel Kortfleisch, 35;
    used as light infantry, 76;
    services of, in the Peninsula, 224, 225, 243

  Bugeaud, Marshal, his account of an attack of column on line, 90–2

  Bunbury, Colonel Thomas, Memoirs of, 35

  Burgos, Wellington’s retreat from, 58, 59;
    hardships of the retreat, 266, 267;
    siege of, 286, 287

  Bussaco, battle of, Wellington’s tactics at, 80, 89;
    Craufurd’s tactics at, 145;
    Light Division Caçadores at, 234


  Caçadores, Portuguese light battalions with British army, 83, 230;
    uniform of, 301

  Camp-followers, with the Peninsular army, 272–3

  Camp-kettles, improvements in, 263

  Campo-Mayor, cavalry charge at, 105

  Canning, George, his correspondence with Wellington about the war, 52

  Cannon, Richard, his edition of Regimental Histories, 32–3

  _Capataz_, the Portuguese, 312–13

  Cashiering, the punishment of, how earned, 238–40

  Castlereagh, Robert Stewart, Viscount, his correspondence with Sir J.
          Moore, 15, 183;
    with Wellington, 50;
    develops system of recruiting from the militia, 209

  Cavalry, the, Wellington’s tactics, 94;
    difficulties of, in the Peninsula, 95–7;
    French tactics, 97–102;
    Wellington’s use of, 102–4;
    his remarks on British cavalry, 104, 109;
    shortcomings of British cavalry leaders, 106;
    Wellington’s “Instructions” for, 111, 112;
    strength of, in Wellington’s army, 191–4;
    uniforms of, 296–8

  Chaplains, army, their shortcomings, Wellington asks for adequate
          establishment of, 325–6

  _Chasseurs Britanniques_, no History of, 35;
    services of, 76, 86–7;
    formation and doings of, 225–7;
    desertion prevalent in, 243

  Cimitière, Captain, command of a brigade devolved on, after
          Albuera, 196–7

  Ciudad Rodrigo, storming of, 57;
    Craufurd slain at, 146;
    sack of, 213;
    siege of, 283, 289

  Cocked hat, the, disused by regimental officers, 293–4;
    worn by heavy dragoons, 296;
    by doctors and commissaries, 299

  “Conversion,” some anecdotes concerning, 322–4

  Corporal punishment, Wellington on, 43;
    details of, 148, 237–8, 251–4

  Clerc, Commandant, his account of Soult’s Pyrenean campaign, 38

  Coa, combat of the, 144

  Coiners in the army, 214

  Colborne, Sir John, Lord Seaton, Life of, by Moore Smith, 37;
    his remarks on Wellington’s Waterloo dispatch, 48;
    commands brigade at Albuera, 197;
    his remarks on the system of recruiting, 212;
    his religious character, 330

  Cole, J. W., his _Memoirs of British Generals_, 36

  Cole, General Sir Lowry, his controversy with Napier, 2;
    his achievement at Albuera, 150

  Combermere, Lord. _See_ Cotton

  Commissariat Department, importance of, 161;
    management of, in Wellington’s army, 307–19

  Commissary-General, his duties, 161, 311–14

  Connaught Rangers, feud of, with Picton, 133;
    anecdotes of, 246–7

  Connolly, T., his _History of the Royal Sappers and Miners_, 34

  Cooper, J., Sergeant 7th Foot, his _Seven Campaigns in Portugal_, 31

  Cope, Sir W. H., his _History of the Rifle Brigade_, 33

  Costello, Edward, his _Reminiscences_, 30

  Cotton, Sir Stapleton, Lord Combermere, biography of, 36;
    Wellington’s opinion of, 46;
    his capacity as leader of cavalry, 103, 104, 106, 110, 176

  Court-martials, character of, 241–8

  Craufurd, General Robert, his treatment by Wellington, 46;
    his abilities and career, 139–40;
    captured at Buenos Ayres, 141;
    commands the Light Division, 142–4, 167;
    fights the combat of the Coa, 144;
    his relations with Wellington, 145;
    repulses Ney at Bussaco, 145;
    his retreat at Fuentes de Oñoro, 145;
    killed at Ciudad Rodrigo, 146;
    incident at his funeral, 149;
    institution of the Light Division, 168–9;
    his arrangements for marching, 263

  Crime in the army, 237–51

  Currie, Captain R., his wife with the army, 276, 278, _note_.


  Dalbiac, Mrs., her adventures at Salamanca, 277

  Dallas, Rev. Alexander, his diary, 7;
    description of his commissariat work, 317;
    takes orders, 331

  Delafosse, Lemonnier, his _Souvenirs Militaires_, 31

  Desertion, punishment of, 243;
    prevalence of, in the foreign corps, 223, 225–6

  Dickson, Colonel Sir Alexander, commands artillery, 158;
    at the sieges of Badajoz, 281–3;
    at Villa da Ponte, 312;
    his papers edited by Major Leslie, 22, 34

  D’Illens, Major A., his reminiscences of Soult’s campaigns, 32

  Dispatches, the Wellington, 9–12;
    Supplementary, 12

  Divisions, the, of Wellington’s army, 163–77;
    sobriquets of, 172;
    _and see_ Appendix II

  Donaldson, Sergeant Joseph, 94th Foot, his Reminiscences, 30;
    anecdotes from, 249–50, 290, 322

  Douro, river, importance of, as a line of supply, 312

  Dragoons, uniform of, Heavy and Light, 296–7

  Drill-books, the French, 63, 69;
    the British, 77

  Duels, in the Army, 201–2

  Dumas, Colonel, his account of Soult’s campaign in the Pyrenees, 38

  Dundas, Sir David, his views on tactics, 77

  D’Urban, General Sir Benjamin, criticizes Napier, 2;
    his memorandum on the Portuguese army, 233;
    at Salamanca, 234;
    his account of Majadahonda, 235


  El Bodon, retreat of British troops in square at, 100;
    Grattan’s description of Picton at, 134

  Elphinstone, Lieut.-Colonel, commands Royal Engineers, 158

  Engineers, rank and file of, called “Royal Military Artificers,” and
          later “Royal Sappers and Miners,” 281, 286;
    weakness of Wellington’s army in, 281;
    Wellington’s criticism of, 284–5

  Erskine, General Sir William, Wellington’s mention of him in
          dispatches, 47;
    his blunders at Casal Novo and Sabugal, 151

  Executions, by shooting, 243;
    by hanging, 244


  Fantin des Odoards, General L., his Memoirs, 31

  Fisher, Colonel G. B., chief of artillery, 158

  Flanders, British campaigns of 1793–4 in, 4, 66, 74, 80

  “Flankers,” use of, in the British army, 74–5

  Fletcher, Colonel Richard, remarks on Wellington’s omission to mention
          Engineers at Badajoz, 48;
    Wellington’s instructions to, for Lines of Torres Vedras, 53;
    commanding officer of Royal Engineers, 158

  Forage, difficulty of providing, 112, 269

  Fortescue, Hon. J., his _History of the British Army_, 38, 208

  Foy, General M., his _Guerre de la Peninsule_, 19;
    his Life, 19;
    his estimate of English infantry, 20;
    remarks on Wellington’s strategy at Salamanca, 58;
    records Napoleon’s views on infantry tactics, 72;
    his account of cavalry charge at Garcia Hernandez, 101;
    his testimony to British officers, 204;
    his description of the impedimenta with the British army on
          the march, 268;
    note of, on the British dragoon uniform, 297

  Foz d’Arouce, Ney surprised at, 109

  Framingham, Colonel H., chief of artillery, 158

  Frederic the Great, infantry tactics of, 62;
    followed by French, 63–5, 69–70;
    his cavalry tactics, 97–8

  French Revolutionary War, its importance in English history,
          4, 5, 320–1;
    tactics of the, 63–8

  Fuente Guinaldo, Wellington’s tactics at, 55, 81

  Fuentes de Oñoro, Wellington’s omission to mention artillery
          service at, 47;
    retreat of the Light Division at, 100;
    cavalry at, 103;
    Chasseurs Britanniques at, 227

  Fusil, the, 302


  Garcia Hernandez, combat of, 101, 103, 224

  Gardyne, Colonel, his _Life of a Regiment_, 33

  “General Orders,” Wellington’s collection of, its value, 13;
    Beresford’s for the Portuguese Army, 13

  “Gentlemen Rankers,” notes on, 214–15

  German Legion, the King’s, History of, by Major Beamish, 34;
    by Captain Schwertfeger, 34;
    Light Battalions of, 76;
    dragoons of, at Garcia Hernandez, 101;
    outpost work of its hussars, 111;
    good management of their horses, 112;
    under Craufurd, 143;
    raised in 1804, 221;
    in the Peninsula, 222–4, 242;
    uniform of, 298, 300

  Gleig, Rev. G. R., his Diary, 7;
    _The Subaltern_, 25, 27, 331

  Gomm, Sir William, his Life, 6;
    journals, 17

  Gonneville, Colonel A. O., his Memories of the War in Spain, 32

  Gordon, Colonel James, Quartermaster General, 156

  Gough, Hugh, Lord, Life of, by R. S. Rait, 37

  Graham, Sir Thomas, Lord Lynedoch, his diary, 5–6;
    Life of, by Captain Delavoye, 35;
    Wellington’s confidence in, 46;
    his career, 122;
    commands British troops at Cadiz, 123;
    his victory at Barrosa, 124;
    his failure at Bergen-op-Zoom, 126;
    his character and popularity, 127

  Grattan, W., his _With the Connaught Rangers_, 27;
    complains of Wellington’s forgetfulness of Peninsular services, 49;
    his description of Picton, 132, 133;
    of the storm of Ciudad Rodrigo, 290;
    his description of the uniforms of the army, 293

  Guards battalions in Wellington’s army, 179, 180, 181, 194

  Guides, Corps of, in Wellington’s army, 158, 159

  Guingret, Captain, his reminiscences of Masséna’s campaign in
          Portugal, 32

  Guidons, disuse of, by the cavalry, 305

  Gurwood, Colonel J., his edition of Wellington’s Dispatches, 9–12, 19

  Guibert, General, tactical theories of, 63, 64, 70


  Hair-powder, disused on active service, 293;
    Wellington’s dislike for, 294

  Halberd, the, proper weapon of sergeants, 303

  Hamilton, Colonel H. B., his _History of the 14th Light Dragoons_, 33

  Hardinge, Sir Henry, his controversy with Napier, 2

  Harris, Rifleman, of the 95th, 3, 31;
    his views on Craufurd, 147, 148

  Hawker, Colonel Peter, his _Journal of the Talavera Campaign_, 17

  Henegan, Sir R. D., his _Seven Years of Campaigning_, 25;
    describes the march of a convoy, 315

  Hill, Rowland, Lord, his Life by Sidney, 36;
    Wellington’s regard for, 46;
    his success at Arroyo dos Molinos, 109, 117;
    character of, 115–116;
    his capacity as a leader, 116–117;
    Wellington’s confidence in, 117;
    his brilliant achievement at St. Pierre, 118;
    commander-in-chief, 118;
    commands the 2nd Division, 166;
    religious character of, 330

  Horse Artillery, in the Peninsular Army, 177;
    uniform of, 299

  Horses, difficulty of feeding, in the Peninsula, 112–13;
    private horses of officers, 269–71

  Howarth, Brigadier-General E., chief of artillery in Wellington’s
          army, 157

  Hussars, uniform of, 298


  Infantry tactics, the, of Wellington, 61–93;
    French system of, 63;
    in Wellington’s army, 178–91


  Jones, Sir John, his _Journal of the Sieges in Spain, in 1811–12_, 21;
    remarks on Wellington’s omission to record services of Engineers at
          Badajoz, 47;
    his note on the siege of St. Sebastian, 288

  Jourdan, Jean-Baptiste, Marshal, his _Guerre d’Espagne_, 20


  Ker-Porter, Sir Robert, his _Journal, 1808–9_, 17

  Kincaid, Sir John, 6 _note_;
    his _Adventures in the Rifle Brigade_, 28;
    his account of Ciudad Rodrigo, 130

  King’s German Legion. _See_ German Legion


  Ladies at the front, 276–8

  La Peña, General, his inactivity at Barrosa, 124

  Lapène, Major, his histories of Soult’s campaigns, 20

  Larpent, Francis, his _Private Journal_, 17, 159

  Latour-Maubourg, General, defeat of, by Lumley at Usagre, 107–8

  Lawrence, W., 40th Foot, his flogging, 253;
    anecdote of his experiences at Waterloo, 306

  Leach, Col. J., his _Rough Sketches of the Life of an Old Soldier_, 24

  Leith, Gen. Sir James, his dispatches at the Record Office, 15;
    memoirs of, 37;
    commands 5th Division, 169

  Lejeune, General, his picture of An English Officer’s family on
          the march, 278

  Le Marchant, General Sir John Gaspard, his cavalry charge at
          Salamanca, 103, 104, 176;
    head of the Military College, 204;
    his religious convictions, 330

  Lemonnier, Delafosse, his _Souvenirs Militaires_, 31

  Leslie, Major John, his edition of the _Dickson Papers_, 34

  Leslie, Colonel T., of Balquhain, his _Military Journal_, 24

  Light companies, use of, 74

  Light Division, institution of, 83, 168;
    achievements of under Craufurd, 142–9;
    at Bussaco, 145;
    at Fuentes de Oñoro, 145;
    commanded by Alten, 146

  Line _v._ Column, 61–92

  Ligny, Prussian tactics at, Wellington’s views on, 80–1

  Londonderry, Chas. Stewart, Lord, his _History of the Peninsular
          War_, 12, 18;
    Adjutant-General in Wellington’s Army, 156–7

  Long, General, R. B., his desponding views, 41;
    weak operations of, 106

  Lumley, General W., at Usagre, 103;
    at Albuera, 107;
    praise of, by Picard, 107

  Lusitanian Legion, the Loyal, formed by Sir R. Wilson, 84, 229

  Luz, Soriano da, his _History of the Peninsular War_, 38

  Lynedoch, Lord. _See_ Graham, Sir Thomas


  Mackinnon, General H., his Journal, 17

  Maguilla, cavalry combat of, 105

  Maguire, Lieutenant, leads the “forlorn hope” at San Sebastian, 293

  Maida, battle of, the use of skirmishers at, 74;
    tactics at, 77, 78

  Marbot, General M., uses Napier’s History, 23;
    his mistakes and exaggerations, 26

  March, the army on the, account of, 255–65;
    Foy’s description of the British, 268

  Marmont, Auguste, Marshal, his autobiography, 20;
    his misrepresentations, 26;
    commands Army of Portugal, 56

  Masséna, André, Marshal, his invasion of Portugal in 1809, 53;
    foiled by Lines of Torres Vedras, 53

  Masterson, Sergeant, captures an eagle at Barrosa, 206

  McGrigor, Sir James, his anecdotes of Wellington, 44, 45;
    his account of the Medical Department in the Peninsular army, 160

  Medals, institution of, for good service in the regiments, 251

  Medical Department, the, 160

  Menil-Durand, General, his system of infantry tactics, 63

  Methodists, the, influence of, in the army, 320–31

  Military Secretary, office of the, at Headquarters, 152–3

  Militia, recruiting from, in Wellington’s Army, 209–11

  Minorca Regiment, Stuart’s, later 97th, 227–8

  Money, current, difficulty of providing, in the Peninsula, 161,
          214, 270, 317

  Moore, General Sir John, biography of, by Sir F. Maurice, 37;
    his views on the defence of Portugal, 51;
    his army, 183

  Moorsom, Captain W. S., his _History of the 52nd Oxfordshire Light
          Infantry_, 33

  Mules, use of, for baggage and transport, 269–71, 308–9

  Muleteers, organization of, for the army, 312, 313

  Murray, Colonel George, Quartermaster-General to Wellington’s army,

  Murray, John, Commissary-General, 156, 161

  Murray, Major-General John, 15, 47, 155


  Napier, Sir William, criticism of his _Peninsular War_ by Beresford,
          Cole, Hardinge, D’Urban, etc., 2;
    his History, 18;
    its influence on other publications, 23, 24, 29, 32;
    his controversy with Picton’s biographer, 36;
    complains of want of recompense of Peninsular veterans, 49;
    overstates Craufurd’s march to Talavera, 141, 167;
    his severe judgment of Craufurd, 147;
    his failure to appreciate the work of the Portuguese army, 234

  Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor, his tactics at Marengo, 69;
    his infantry tactics, 70;
    his use of cavalry, 97;
    at Waterloo, 102;
    his use of artillery, 113, 177

  Naval predominance of Great Britain, its importance, 310–11

  Newman, Sergeant, of 43rd, his exploit, 206

  Nive, battle of, Wellington’s tactics at, 59


  Officers, establishment of, in Wellington’s army, 195;
    promotion among, 198–201;
    training of, 203;
    discipline of, 237–42

  Oporto, campaign of, Wellington’s, 163, 164

  Ordenança, the Portuguese, 235–6

  Orders, General, publication of, 13;
    the Portuguese, 13;
    account of the marching of the army in, 255–65

  _Ordre mixte_, the, Napoleon’s preference for, 70–72

  Organization, the, of Wellington’s army, 153–77, and Appendix II

  Ormsby, Rev. J. W., his _Journal of the Campaigns of 1809_, 9, 17, 325

  Owen, Rev. T., army chaplain, his gallant behaviour in action, 327

  Ox-waggons, use of, its drawbacks, 314–15


  Pack, Sir Denis, Life of, 37

  Paget, Lord, his ability as a cavalry leader, 106

  Pakenham, Major-General Edward, commands expedition to New
          Orleans, 151;
    Adjutant-General in Wellington’s army, 157;
    commands 3rd Division at Salamanca, 198

  Parquin, Captain D., his memoirs, 32

  Paymaster-General, office of, 161

  Peninsular War, history of, by Napier, 2, 18, 23, 24, 29, 32, 36;
    by Southey, 18;
    by Toreno, 21;
    by Accursio das Neves, 21;
    by Arteche, 38;
    by Soriano da Luz, 38;
    by Balagny, 38

  Prisoners, the French, 14;
    recruiting of foreign corps from, 225–6

  Picton, General Sir Thomas, Life of, by H. B. Robinson, 36;
    his personal relations with Wellington, 44, 46, 137, 138;
    character and career of, 129–38;
    Governor of Trinidad, 130;
    description of, by Grattan, 132, 133;
    at El Bodon, 134;
    his successful storm of the castle at Badajoz, 135, 284;
    wounded at Quatre Bras, 135;
    killed at Waterloo, 136;
    estimate of his character and abilities, 136–8

  Popham, Sir Home, his MS. at the Record Office, 15

  Portugal, defence of, Wellington’s scheme for, 50

  Portuguese Army, account of, 35;
    artillery of, by Major Botelho, 35;
    troops incorporated in British Army, 83, 168;
    organization of, by Beresford, 119–122, 231–3;
    its composition, 229–33

  Press, the Travelling, of Wellington’s army, 162

  Promotion, system of, in British army, 198;
    from the ranks 206–7

  “Provisional Battalions,” history of the, 187–8

  Purveyor’s Department, the 160


  Quartermaster-General, office of, in Wellington’s army, 155–6;
    duties of his subordinates, 258–9

  Quill, Doctor Maurice, surgeon of the Connaught Rangers, anecdotes of,


  Rae, John, 71st Foot, his exploit at Sobral, 324

  Raglan, Lord. _See_ Somerset, Lord Fitzroy

  Record Office, Peninsular documents in, 14

  Recruiting, notes on, 208–213

  Regiments, internal organization of, 208–219

  Regimental Histories, series, compiled by R. Cannon, 32;
    later histories, 33–4

  Reille, General, his mistake at Quatre Bras, 81

  Religion, influence of, in Peninsular army, 6–7, 320–1

  Reprimands, punishment by, 240–2

  Revolution, the French, British detestation of, 5, 320–1

  Reynier, General J. L., at Maida, 77, 78;
    at Bussaco, 85

  Rifle battalions, formed in the British army, 75;
    use of, by Wellington, 83, 84;
    uniform of, 300–1

  Rifle, the Baker type, its character, 302–3

  Rifle Brigade, the 95th Foot, 75, 305

  Rifleman Harris, 3, 23, 31;
    his account of Craufurd, 147–8

  Roberts, Lord, his estimate of Wellington’s character, 49

  Rocca, Captain M., his account of the war in Spain, 32

  Rodrigo, Ciudad. _See_ under Ciudad Rodrigo

  Ross, General W., commands expedition to America, 151

  Royal Military College, the, 203–4

  Russian War, its effect on the Peninsular War, 56, 59


  Sabugal, combat of, 86

  Salamanca, Wellington’s sudden attack at, 57;
    his tactics at, 80;
    use of cavalry at, 97, 170

  San Sebastian, sack of, 213;
    siege of, 287–8;
    the Portuguese infantry at, 234

  Sappers and Miners, the Royal, 286;
    uniform of, 299;
    weapons of, 304–5

  Saxe, Marshal, infantry tactics of, 62, 63, 65

  Schepeler, Colonel K., his _History of the Peninsular War_, 20

  Scouts, Wellington’s, 53

  Seaton, Lord. _See_ Colborne

  Sergeants, status of, in the Peninsular army, 216–19;
    their halberds, 303

  Shako, introduction of, in the British army, 292–3

  Shaw-Kennedy, T., aide-de-camp to Craufurd, his description of
          Craufurd, 143

  Sherbrooke, General J. C., commands the 1st Division, 166

  Sherer, Captain Moyle, his _Recollections of the Peninsula_, 27

  Shipp, John, his autobiography, 3;
    his romantic career, 206

  Siege train, Wellington’s, organized by Alex. Dickson, 281–3

  Sieges, the, of the Peninsular War, 279;
    of Badajoz, 281–6;
    of Ciudad Rodrigo, 283;
    of Burgos, 286–7;
    of San Sebastian, 288

  Silveira, General, commands Portuguese Militia, 235

  Simmons, George, 95th Foot, his _Journal_, 17

  Slade, General J., his rash charge at Maguilla, 105;
    Wellington’s remarks on, 106;
    estimate of his capacity, 151

  Smith, Sir Harry, his Autobiography, 28;
    romantic story of his marriage, 277

  Somerset, Lord Fitzroy (afterwards Lord Raglan), Military Secretary to
          Wellington, 153;
    aide-de-camp to Wellington, 160

  Sorauren, battle of, Wellington’s tactics at, 54, 81

  Soult, Nicolas, Marshal, at Sorauren, 54, 55;
    at St. Pierre, 118;
    at San Sebastian, 288

  Southey, Robert, his _History of the Peninsular War_, 18

  Spain, geography of, 93–7

  Spencer, Sir Brent, Wellington’s confidence in, 46;
    his limitations, 151

  “Spring Waggons,” the, 314

  Sprünglin, Colonel, his autobiography, 22, 32

  St. Chamans, Colonel, his Memoirs, 31, 32

  St. Cyr, Gouvion, Marshal, his History of the War, 20

  St. Pierre, Hill at the battle of, 118;
    gallant conduct of Ashworth’s Portuguese at, 234

  Staff Corps Cavalry, duties of the, 150

  Standards, types of, used in Wellington’s army, 305–6

  Stevenson, Sergeant, J., his memoirs, 4;
    his religious convictions, 324;
    description of the Methodist meetings at Badajoz, 329–30

  Stewart, Sir Charles. _See_ Londonderry

  Store-keeper General, office of, 162

  Stothert, Captain W., his _Diary of 1809–11_, 17

  Suchet, Marshal Louis Gabriel, his account of the war in Catalonia, 20

  Surtees, Sergeant W., his religious experiences, 7;
    his reminiscences, 30, 215;
    his remarks on army chaplains, 328

  “Suspension,” punishment of, 240–1

  Swords, types of, used by Peninsular army, 303–4


  T. S. of the 71st Foot, his autobiography, 30;
    why he joined the army, 211–12

  Tactics, infantry, French, 63–73;
    British, 74–91

  Talavera, battle of, Wellington’s tactics at, 80, 82;
    charge of 23rd Light Dragoons at, 105

  Tarleton, Colonel B., his History of the War in Carolina, 3;
    his “Legion” of light troops, 75

  Tents, advantages and disadvantages of, 259–60, 264–5

  Thiébault, General Dieudonné, his account of the war in Portugal, 20;
    of the combat of Aldea da Ponte, 26

  Tirailleurs, employed in French army, 65–7, 69

  Tomkinson, Colonel W., his Diary, 17, 106;
    his Notes on British Cavalry Regiments, 110, 193

  Torres Vedras, Lines of, Wellington orders their construction
          in 1809, 52–3

  Toreno, Conde de, his _History of the Peninsular War_, 21

  Trant, Colonel N., leads Portuguese militia, 235

  Trousers, introduced in the British army, 294–6


  Uniforms, the, in the Peninsular army, 292

  Usagre, cavalry combat of, 105


  Vaughan, Sir Charles, his dispatches, 15;
    his MSS., 16

  Venta del Pozo, cavalry combat of, 103, 108

  Victor, Claude Perrin, Marshal, defeated at Barrosa, 124

  Vigo-Roussillon, Colonel, his account of Barrosa, 32;
    his appreciation of Graham, 127

  Vimeiro, battle of, Wellington’s tactics at, 80

  Vivian, Hussey, Lord, 6;
    Life of, 37

  “Volunteers,” their status, 196


  Walcheren, expedition, the, disastrous effects of on health of
          regiments, 187

  Wallace, Colonel W., commands 3rd Division after fall of Badajoz, 198

  Warre, Sir George, his _Letters_ of 1808–12, 17

  Waterloo, battle of, Wellington’s tactics at, 80, 87

  Wellesley, Henry, diplomatist, his dispatches at the Record
          Office, 15, 106

  Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of, his dispatch concerning
          preaching officers, 7;
    Gurwood’s edition of his Dispatches, 9–12;
    the Supplementary Dispatches, 12;
    his General Orders, 13;
    views on publication of historical information, 9;
    his story of a visit to Blücher before Waterloo, 25;
    his early career, 39–41;
    his relations with his troops, 41–3;
    with his officers, 43;
    autocratic temper, 46;
    his dispatches, 47;
    Lord Roberts’ estimate of him, 49;
    extraordinary prescience of the course of the war, 50–3;
    his long-sighted calculation, 53–5;
    his strategy, 55;
    in offensive warfare, 57–80;
    his infantry tactics, 61, 73–93;
    his views on French tactics, 78;
    his tactics at Vimeiro, Bussaco, Salamanca, Waterloo, 80;
    remarks on the triumph of line over column, 86;
    his cavalry tactics, 94–102, 104;
    remarks on British cavalry, 104–109;
    “Instructions for Cavalry,” 111, 112;
    his confidence in Hill, 117;
    in Beresford, 120;
    in Graham, 125;
    his relations with Craufurd, 144;
    his estimate of Erskine, 151;
    his organization of the army, 154;
    his rapid early promotion, 199;
    remarks on promotion from the ranks, 206–7;
    adventure with the plunderer of bee-hives, 246;
    his orders for the army on the march, 255, 263;
    his remarks on the third siege of Badajoz, 284;
    at the siege of Burgos, 287;
    his attitude toward religion, 324–5;
    requisitions chaplains for the army, 325–7

  Wellington, Arthur Richard Wellesley, second Duke of, his publication
          of the Supplementary Dispatches, 9, 12

  Wesleys, the, influence of, 320

  Whinyates, Colonel F. A., his history _From Corunna to Sebastopol_, 33

  Windham, William, his appreciation of Craufurd, 140

  Wives, the soldiers’, at the front, 274–6

  Woodberry, Lieutenant G., 18th Hussars, his Diary, 6


  York, Frederick, Duke of, his campaign in Flanders, 66, 74;
    his views on infantry tactics, 77;
    on promotion in the army, 199–200



Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in this book.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation marks
were corrected when the change was obvious.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

The index was not systematically checked for proper alphabetization or
correct page references.

Sidenotes in this eBook contain the text of running headers in the
original book. They have been placed between paragraphs that were
near those headers. Like the original headers, the sidenotes are not
necessarily at the beginnings of the topics to which they refer.

Page 193: “lost so many men as the 2nd” was misprinted with a gap where
the word “as” should have been; corrected here.

Page 252: “to two of three” was printed that way.

Page 295: Transcriber added a missing closing quotation mark after “if
we fancied it.” The correct position may be later in the paragraph.

Tables on pages 333, 340 and 341: Asterisks in these tables are not
references to footnotes; their purpose is explained on page 333: “The
star * affixed to a battalion’s station means that it had just returned
from Sir John Moore’s Corunna Campaign.”

Page 339: “only two (2/5th 2/34th, 2/38th)” was printed that way, with
“two” and no comma after the first number.

Footnote 344, originally on page 338: “97th, 90th, 101st, 102nd”
probably includes a misprint, as “90th” is out of sequence and already
was mentioned in Footnote 341.

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