By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Autobiography of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Smith Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej G.C.B.
Author: Smith, Harry George Wakelyn
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Autobiography of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Smith Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej G.C.B." ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

(This file was produced from images generously made


  FIRST EDITION (_2 vols._)       _December, 1901_.
  _Reprinted_                      _January, 1902_.
  _Reprinted_                     _February, 1902_.
  _Reprinted_                        _April, 1902_.
  ONE VOL. EDITION               _September, 1903_.

[Illustration: Harry Smith]

  Sir Harry Smith






The Life of Sir Harry Smith here offered to the public consists of
an Autobiography covering the period 1787 to 1846 (illustrated by
notes and appendices), and some supplementary chapters contributed by
myself on the last period of Sir Harry’s life (1846-1860). Chapter
XXXI. carries the reader to the year 1829. This, it is interesting to
remark, is a true turning point in the life of the great soldier. Till
then he had seen warfare only on two continents, Europe and America
(the Peninsula, France, the Netherlands, Monte Video, Buenos Ayres,
Washington, New Orleans); from that date onwards the scene of his
active service was Africa and Asia. Till 1829 his responsibility was
small; after 1829 he had a large or paramount share in directing the
operations in which he was engaged. This difference naturally affects
the tone of his narrative in the two periods.

The Autobiography (called by its author “Various Anecdotes and Events
of my Life”) was begun by Sir Harry Smith, then Lieutenant-Colonel
Smith, at Glasgow in 1824. At that time it was only continued as far
as page 15 of the present volume. On 11th August, 1844, when he had won
his K.C.B., and was Adjutant-General of Her Majesty’s Forces in India,
he resumed his task at Simla. He then wrote with such speed that on
15th October he was able to tell his sister that he had carried his
narrative to the end of the campaign of Gwalior, that is, to 1844 (p.
490). Finally, on 7th September, 1846, when at Cawnpore in command of a
Division, he began to add to what he had previously written an account
of the campaign of the Sutlej, which had brought him fresh honours.
This narrative was broken off abruptly in the middle of the Battle of
Sobraon (p. 550), and was never completed. Accordingly, of Sir Harry
Smith’s life from February, 1846, to his death on 12th October, 1860,
we have no record by his own hand.

The Autobiography had been carefully preserved by Sir Harry’s former
aide-de-camp and friend, General Sir Edward Alan Holdich, K.C.B.,
but, as it happened, I was not myself aware of its existence until,
owing to the fresh interest awakened in Sir Harry Smith and his wife
by the siege of Ladysmith early in 1900, I inquired from members of
my family what memorials of my great-uncle were preserved. Sir Edward
then put this manuscript and a number of letters and documents at my
disposal. It appeared to me and to friends whom I consulted that
the Autobiography was so full of romantic adventure and at the same
time of such solid historical value that it ought no longer to remain
unpublished, and Mr. John Murray, to whom I submitted a transcription
of it, came at once to the same conclusion.

My task as Editor has not been a light one. In Sir Harry’s letter to
Mrs. Sargant of 15th October, 1844,[1] he says of his manuscript,
“I have never read a page of it since my scrawling it over at full
gallop;” and in a letter of 14th January, 1845, “Harry Lorrequer would
make a good story of it. You may ask him if you like, and let me know
what he says of it.” It is clear from these passages that Sir Harry did
not contemplate the publication of his story in the rough form in which
he had written it, but imagined that some literary man, such as Charles
Lever, might take it in hand, rewrite it with fictitious names, and so
fashion out of it a military romance. The chapters[2] on Afghanistan
and Gwalior, already written, were, however, of a serious character
which would make them unsuitable for such treatment; and the same was
the case with the chapters on the Sikh War, afterwards added. Whether
Lever ever saw the manuscript I do not know; at any rate, the author’s
idea was never carried out.

It is obvious that now that fifty years have passed, some of the
reasons which made Sir Harry suggest such a transformation of his story
are no longer in force. The actors in the events which he describes
having almost all passed away, to suppress names would be meaningless
and would deprive the book of the greater part of its interest. And for
the sake of literary effect to rewrite Sir Harry’s story would be to
destroy its great charm, the intimate relation in which it sets us with
his fiery and romantic character.

The book here given to the public is not indeed word for word as
Sir Harry wrote it. It has often been necessary to break up a long
sentence, to invert a construction—sometimes to transpose a paragraph
in order to bring it into closer connexion with the events to which it
refers. But such changes have only been made when they seemed necessary
to bring out more clearly the writer’s intention; the _words_ are the
author’s own, even where a specially awkward construction has been
smoothed; and it may be broadly said that _nothing_ has been added to
Sir Harry’s narrative or omitted from it. Such slight additions to the
text as seemed desirable, for example, names and dates of battles,[3]
have been included in square brackets. In some cases, to avoid awkward
parentheses, sentences of Sir Harry’s own have been relegated from
the text to footnotes. Such notes are indicated by the addition of his
initials (“H. G. S.”).

Sir Harry’s handwriting was not of the most legible order, as he
admits, and I have had considerable difficulty in identifying some
of the persons and places he mentions. Sometimes I have come to the
conclusion that his own recollection was at fault, and in this case I
have laid my difficulty before the reader.

I have not thought it my duty to normalize the spelling of proper
names, such as those of towns in the Peninsula and in India, and
the names of Kafir chiefs. Sir Harry himself spells such names in a
variety of ways, and I have not thought absolute consistency a matter
of importance, while to have re-written Indian names according to
the modern official spelling would have been, as it seems to me, to
perpetrate an anachronism.

I have, indeed, generally printed “Sutlej,” though Sir Harry frequently
or generally wrote “Sutledge;” but I have kept in his own narrative his
spelling “Ferozeshuhur” (which is, I believe, more correct) for the
battle generally called “Ferozeshah.” Even Sir Harry’s native place
(and my own) has two spellings, “Whittlesey” and “Whittlesea.” In his
narrative I have preserved his usual spelling “Whittlesea,” but I have
myself used the other, as I have been taught to do from a boy.

Perhaps it is worth while to mention here that Sir Harry’s name was
strictly “Henry George Wakelyn Smith,” and it appears in this form in
official documents. But having been always known in the army as “Harry
Smith,” after attaining his knighthood he stoutly refused to become
“Sir Henry,” and insisted on retaining the more familiar name.[4] As
the year of his birth is constantly given as 1788, it is worth while to
state that the Baptismal Register of St. Mary’s, Whittlesey, proves him
to have been born on 28th June, 1787.

While the documents put into my hands by Sir Edward Holdich enabled
me to throw a good deal of additional light on the events recorded
in the Autobiography, I thought it a prime duty not to interrupt Sir
Harry’s own narrative by interpolations. Accordingly I have thrown this
illustrative matter into Appendices. In some of these, especially in
his letters to his wife of 1835 (Appendix iv.), one sees the writer,
perhaps, in still more familiar guise than in the Autobiography.

But I had not merely to illustrate the period of Sir Harry’s life
covered by his Autobiography; I had a further task before me, viz. to
construct a narrative of the rest of his life (1846-1860), including
his Governorship of the Cape (1847-1852). For the manner in which I
have done this, I must crave indulgence. At the best it would have
been no easy matter to continue in the third person a story begun by
the main actor in the first, and in this case the letters and personal
memoranda, which were tolerably abundant for Sir Harry’s earlier years,
suddenly became very scanty when they were most required. Accordingly,
for much of Sir Harry’s life I had no more sources to draw on than are
accessible to anybody—histories, blue-books, and newspapers. I can
only say that in this situation I have done the best I could. My chief
difficulty was, of course, in dealing with the time of Sir Harry’s
command at the Cape. It would have been inconsistent with the scope of
the whole book to have attempted a systematic history of the colony
or of the operations of the Kafir War. At the same time I could not
enable my readers to form an estimate of Sir Harry’s conduct at this
time without giving them some indication of the circumstances which
surrounded him. If I am found by some critics to have subordinated
biography too much to history, I can only hope that other critics will
console me by finding that I have subordinated history too much to

Amid a certain dearth of materials of a private kind, I do
congratulate myself on having been able to use the packet of letters
docketed by Sir Harry, “John Bell’s and Charlie Beckwith’s Letters.”
General Beckwith was an earlier General Gordon, and his letters are
so interesting in matter and so brilliant in expression that one is
tempted to wish to see them printed in full. Perhaps some readers
of this book may be able to tell me of other letters by the same
remarkable man which have been preserved.

The latter part of this book would have been balder than it is, if it
had not been for the help I have received from various friends, known
and unknown. I must express my thanks in particular to the Misses
Payne of Chester, who lent me letters addressed to their father,
Major C. W. Meadows Payne; to Mrs. Thorne of Chippenham, who lent me
letters addressed to her father, Major George Simmons; to Mrs. Fasson,
daughter of Mr. Justice Menzies of the Cape, and Mr. W. F. Collier of
Horrabridge, who gave me their reminiscences; to Colonel L. G. Fawkes,
R.A., Stephen A. Aveling, Esq., of Rochester, Major J. F. Anderson
of Faringdon, R. Morton Middleton, Esq., of Ealing, Captain C. V.
Ibbetson of Preston, Mrs. Henry Fawcett, my aunt Mrs. John A. Smith,
Mrs. Farebrother of Oxford, Mr. B. Genn of Ely, Mr. Charles Sayle of
Cambridge, Mr. G. J. Turner of Lincoln’s Inn, Mr. A. E. Barnes of the
Local Government Board, the Military Secretary of the War Office,
and others, for kind assistance of various kinds. I am indebted to
my cousins, Mrs. Lambert of 1, Sloane Gardens, S.W., and C. W. Ford,
Esq., for permission to reproduce pictures in their possession, and
to General Sir Edward Holdich for much aid and interest in my work
in addition to the permission to use his diary of the Boomplaats
expedition. Lastly, my thanks are due to my brothers and sisters who
assisted in transcribing the Autobiography, and in particular to my
sister, Miss M. A. Smith, who did most of the work of preparing the

I shall feel that any labour which I have bestowed on the preparation
of this book will be richly repaid if through it Harry and Juana Smith
cease to be mere names and become living figures, held in honour and
affection by the sons and daughters of the Empire which they served.

      G. C. MOORE SMITH.

  _September, 1901_.

For some of the corrections now introduced I am indebted to Lieut.-Col.
Willoughby Verner, Rifle Brigade, and to the Rev. Canon C. Evans, late
Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

      G. C. M. S.

  University College, Sheffield,
  _April, 1902_.



  Second Lieutenant, 1st Battalion 95th Regiment       8 May,   1805
  Lieutenant                                          15 Aug.   1805
  Captain                                             28 Feb.   1812
  Major, unattached                                   29 Dec.   1826
  Lieut.-Colonel, unattached                          22 July,  1830
  Lieut.-Colonel, 3rd Foot                            13 May,   1842
  Lieut.-Colonel, unattached                          25 Aug.   1843
  Colonel, 47th Foot                                  18 Jan.   1847
  Colonel, 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade                16 April, 1847
  Colonel, 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade                18 Jan.   1855


  Major                                               29 Sept. 1814
  Lieut.-Colonel                                      18 June, 1815
  Colonel                                             10 Jan.  1837
  Local rank of Major-General in the East Indies      21 Aug.  1840
  Major-General                                        9 Nov.  1846
  Local rank of Lieut.-General in South Africa            1847-1852
  Lieut.-General                                      20 June, 1854


Peninsular War.

  A.D.C. to Colonel T. S. Beckwith                        Oct. 1810
  Brigade Major, 2nd Brigade, Light Division under   } Mar. 1811 to
    Major-General Drummond, Major-General Vandeleur, } the end of
    Major-General Skerrett, and Colonel Colborne     } the war, Mar.
    successively                                     } 1814

  Washington Expedition.

  D.A.G. to Major-General R. Ross                              1814

  New Orleans Expedition.

  A.A.G. to Major-General Sir E. Pakenham                      1814

  Military Secretary to Major-General Sir J. Lambert           1815

  Waterloo Campaign.

  Brigade-Major, afterwards A.Q.M.G. to 6th Division
      (Major-General Sir J. Lambert and Major-General
      Sir Lowry Cole successively)                             1815

  [Returns to his regiment.]

  Occupation of France.

  Major de Place of Cambray                               1815-1818

  [Returns to his regiment.]


  Major of Brigade to Major-General Sir T. Reynell
      (commanding Western District) and Lieut-General
      Sir T. Bradford (Commander-in-Chief in
      Scotland) successively                              1819-1825

  [Returns to his regiment.]

  Nova Scotia.

  A.D.C. to Lieut.-General Sir James Kempt, Governor           1826


  D.Q.M.G. under Lieut.-General Sir John Keane,
      Governor                                                 1827

  Cape of Good Hope.

  D.Q.M.G. under Lieut.-General Sir Lowry Cole, Lieut.-General
      Sir B. D’Urban, Major-General Sir G.
      T. Napier, Governors, successively                  1828-1840

  Chief of the Staff under Sir Benjamin D’Urban in
      the Kafir War                                            1835


  A.G. to Her Majesty’s Forces, under Lieut.-General
      Sir Jasper Nicolls and Lieut.-General Sir Hugh
      Gough, Commanders-in-Chief, successively            1840-1845

  Sikh War.

  In Command of the 1st Division Infantry                 1845-1846

  Cape of Good Hope.

  Governor and Commander-in-Chief                         1847-1852

  Home Staff.

  In Command of the Western Military District             1853-1854

  In Command of the Northern and Midland Military
    Districts                                             1854-1859


  C.B. for Waterloo                                         1815
  K.C.B. for Maharajpore                                    1844
  G.C.B. for Aliwal and Sobraon                             1846


 _An Authentic Narrative of the Proceedings of the Expedition
     under ... Craufurd until its Arrival at Monte Video, with
     an Account of the Operations against Buenos Ayres.... By an
     Officer of the Expedition_ (1808).

 Sir William F. P. Napier: _History of the War in the Peninsula_.

 Sir H. E. Maxwell: _Life of Wellington_.

 Sir William H. Cope: _History of the Rifle Brigade_ (1877).

 Edward Costello: _Adventures of a Soldier_ (1852).

 _A British Rifleman_ (Major George Simmons’ Diary), edited by
     Lt.-Colonel Willoughby Verner (1899).

 Sir John Kincaid: _Random Shots by a Rifleman_.

 Sir John Kincaid: _Adventures in the Rifle Brigade_.

 _Recollections of Rifleman Harris_ (1848).

 Surtees: _Twenty-five Years in the Rifle Brigade_ (1833).

 Colonel Jonathan Leach: _Rough Sketches in the Life of an Old
     Soldier_ (1831).

 _A Narrative of the Campaigns of the British Army at Washington
     and New Orleans. By an Officer_ (1821).

 Charles Dalton: _The Waterloo Roll Call_ (1890).

 George McC. Theal: _History of South Africa_, vol. iv. (1893).

 R. Godlonton: _A Narrative of the Irruption of the Kafir Hordes
     into the Eastern Province of the Cape of Good Hope, 1834-5_

 Sir J. E. Alexander: _Narrative of a Voyage, etc._ (1837). This
     work contains in vol. ii. a history of the Kafir War of
     1835, with illustrations.

 H. Cloete: _The Great Boer Trek_.

 _The War in India. Despatches of Viscount Hardinge, Lord Gough,
     Major-General Sir Harry Smith, Bart., etc._ (1846).

 J. D. Cunningham: _History of the Sikhs_.

 McGregor: _History of the Sikhs_.

 General Sir Chas. Gough and A. D. Innes: _The Sikhs and the Sikh
     Wars_ (1897).

 J. W. Clark and T. McK. Hughes: _Life of Adam Sedgwick_.

 Harriet Ward: _Five Years in Kaffirland_.

 J. Noble: _South Africa_ (1877).

 A. Wilmot and J. C. Chase: _Annals of the Colony of the Cape of
     Good Hope_ (1869).

 Alfred W. Cole: _The Cape and the Kaffirs_ (1852).

 W. R. King: _Campaigning in Kaffirland_ (with illustrations),

 W. A. Newman: _Memoir of John Montagu_ (1855).

 _Correspondence of General Sir G. Cathcart_ (1856).

 Earl Grey: _The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russell’s
     Administration_ (1853).

 Blue-Books: _Cape of Good Hope (1830-1852)_.

 M. Meille: _Memoir of General Beckwith, C.B._ (1873).



  I. Monte Video and Buenos Ayres, 1806-7      1

  II. With Sir John Moore—Battle of Coruña,
  1808-9      14

  III. Back to the Peninsula under Sir Arthur
  Wellesley, 1809      18

  IV. Campaign of 1810—The 1st German Hussars      24

  V. Campaign of 1810—Battle of the Coa      28

  VI. Campaign of 1811      41

  VII. Campaign of 1812: Storming of Ciudad Rodrigo      55

  VIII. Campaign of 1812: the Storming of Badajos—Harry
  Smith’s Marriage      61

  IX. Campaign of 1812: Battle of Salamanca—Occupation
  of Madrid—Retreat to Salamanca      75

  X. Campaign of 1812: Retreat to the Lines of
  Torres Vedras—Winter of 1812-13      84

  XI. Campaign of 1813: Battle of Vittoria      93

  XII. Campaign of 1813: Advance to Vera      104

  XIII. Campaign of 1813: In the Pyrenees—General
  Skerrett—Combat of Vera—Fight at the
  Bridge, and Death of Cadoux      113

  XIV. Campaign of 1813: Colonel Colborne—Second
  Combat of Vera      129

  XV. Campaign of 1813: Battle of the Nivelle      140

  XVI. Combat of the 10th December—Harry Smith’s
  Dream and the Death of his Mother      152

  XVII. Campaign of 1814: Battle of Orthez—Anecdote
  of Juana Smith      162

  XVIII. Campaign of 1814: at Gée, near Aire—Battle
  of Tarbes—Battle of Toulouse—end
  of the War      170

  XIX. Harry Smith parts from his Wife before
  starting for the War in America      182

  XX. Voyage to Bermuda—Rendezvous in the
  Chesapeake—Battle of Bladensburg and
  Capture of Washington—Harry Smith
  sent Home with Dispatches      191

  XXI. Harry Smith once more in England—Reunion
  with his Wife in London—Interview
  with the Prince Regent—Dinner at Lord
  Bathurst’s—A Journey to Bath—Harry
  Smith introduces his Wife to his Father—Visit
  to Whittlesey—He receives Orders
  To return to America under Sir Edward
  Pakenham      209

  XXII. Sails with Sir Edward Pakenham on the
  Expedition against New Orleans—Reverse
  of 8th January, 1815, and Death of
  Pakenham—Sir John Lambert succeeds to
  the Command, appoints Harry Smith his
  Military Secretary, and withdraws the
  Force      226

  XXIII. Capture of Fort Bowyer—Disembarcation
  on Ile Dauphine—End of the American
  War—Visit to Havana and Return-Voyage
  to England—News of Napoleon’s Return
  to Power—Harry Smith at his Home at
  Whittlesey      248

  XXIV. Harry Smith and his Wife start together
  for the Waterloo Campaign—Ghent—Battle
  of Waterloo      263

  XXV. Juana’s Story      281

  XXVI. March to Paris—Harry Smith Quartermaster-General
  of the Reserve—He
  becomes Lieut.-Colonel and C.B.—The 6th
  Division moved from Neuilly to St. Germain—the
  Duc de Berri as a Sportsman—On
  the Reduction of the 6th Division Harry
  Smith rejoins his Regiment as Captain—March
  to Cambray—He is made Major de
  Place of that Town      290

  XXVII. Cambray, 1816-1818—Sport and Gaiety—The
  Duke of Wellington—Harry Smith receives
  a Visit from his Father      301

  XXVIII. Return to England (1818)—Harry Smith rejoins
  his Regiment—Shorncliffe—Gosport—Discharge
  of the Peninsular Veterans      317

  XXIX. Glasgow (1819-1825)—Radical Disturbances—Harry
  Smith once more on the Staff as
  Major of Brigade—George IV.’s Visit to
  Edinburgh—Harry Smith revisits Paris—He
  rejoins his Regiment in Ireland      324

  XXX. 1825-1828: Harry Smith accompanies his
  Regiment to Nova Scotia—Sir James Kempt—Harry
  Smith parts with his old Regiment
  On Being Appointed Deputy Quartermaster-General
  in Jamaica—He has to deal with
  an Epidemic of Yellow Fever among the
  Troops—Appointed Deputy Quartermaster-General
  at the Cape of Good Hope      338

  XXXI. After staying Three Weeks at Nassau,
  Harry Smith and his Wife sail for England,
  and after a Miserable Voyage land
  at Liverpool—He visits London and
  Whittlesey, and leaves England (1829),
  not to return till 1847      351

  XXXII. Voyage to the Cape—Military Duties and
  Sport, 1829-1834—Sir Benjamin D’Urban
  succeeds Sir Lowry Cole as Governor of
  the Colony      359

  XXXIII. Outbreak of a Kafir War—Harry Smith’s
  Historic Ride to Grahamstown—On his
  Arrival he proclaims Martial Law—Provides
  for the Defence of the Town—Attacks
  the Kafirs and rescues Seven
  Missionaries      369

  XXXIV. Harry Smith Chief of the Staff under Sir
  Benjamin D’Urban—He makes Two Forays
  into the Fish River Bush and One into
  the Umdizini Bush—The Force under Sir
  B. D’Urban marches from Fort Willshire
  to the Poorts of the Buffalo, from
  whence Harry Smith makes another Foray      382

  XXXV. Over the Kei into Hintza’s Territory—War
  declared against Hintza—His Kraal
  being destroyed the Chief comes in, and
  agrees to the Terms of Peace—He
  remains as a Hostage with the British
  Force, which marches back to the Kei—Harry
  Smith marches under Hintza’s
  Guidance into his Territory to recover
  the Stolen Cattle—Near the Xabecca
  Hintza tries to escape, and is shot      390

  XXXVI. March across the Bashee to the Umtata
  and back to the Bashee—Death of Major
  White—Difficult March from the Bashee
  to rejoin Sir B. D’Urban on the Kei—Annexation
  of the Territory called
  the “Province of Queen Adelaide,” and
  Founding of its Capital, “King William’s
  Town”—Return of the Governor to
  Grahamstown      408

  XXXVII. Harry Smith left in Command of the New
  “Province of Queen Adelaide” at King
  William’s Town—Death of Lieutenant
  Bailie—Harry Smith joined by his Wife—Forays
  on the Kafirs—Conclusion of
  Peace      420

  XXXVIII. Harry Smith’s Attempts at civilizing the
  Kafirs—The Chiefs made British Magistrates—A
  Census taken—A Police Force
  established—A Great Meeting of Chiefs—Witchcraft
  forbidden—A Chief punished
  for Disobedience—A Rebellious
  Chief awed into Submission—Agriculture
  and Commerce introduced—Nakedness
  discountenanced—Burial of the Dead
  encouraged—Buying of Wives checked—Hopes
  of a General Conversion to Christianity      430

  XXXIX. Lord Glenelg orders the Abandonment
  of the Province of Queen Adelaide, and
  appoints Captain Stockenstrom to succeed
  Harry Smith on the Frontier—Grief of
  the Kafirs at the Change—Journey of
  Harry Smith and his Wife to Cape Town—He
  is exonerated by Lord Glenelg,
  and receives Testimonials for his Services
  to the Colony—Leaves Cape Town
  June, 1840, on being appointed Adjutant-General
  of the Queen’s Army in India      452

  XL. Voyage from Cape Town to Calcutta—Harry
  Smith’s Disappointment at not
  receiving the Command in the Afghan
  War—His Criticism of the Operations      469

  XLI. Sir Hugh Gough succeeds Sir Jasper Nicolls
  as Commander-in-Chief in India—Affairs
  in Gwalior—Battle of Maharajpore—Harry
  Smith made K.C.B.      480

  XLII. Affairs in the Punjaub—Sir Henry Hardinge
  Succeeds Lord Ellenborough as
  Governor-General—Outbreak of the
  First Sikh War—Battle of Moodkee      497

  XLIII. Battle of Ferozeshah (or Ferozeshuhur)
  21st December, 1845, and Resumed Battle
  of 22nd December—The Army moves into
  Position at Sobraon      507

  XLIV. Sir Harry Smith detached from the Main
  Army—He reduces the Fortresses of
  Futteyghur and Dhurmcote—Combines
  with Colonel Phillips at Jugraon, and
  after changing his Route To Loodiana
  encounters the Enemy at Budowal, and
  loses Some Part of his Baggage—He relieves
  Loodiana, and, being reinforced
  and the Enemy having retreated, occupies
  his Position at Budowal      523

  XLV. The Battles of Aliwal and Sobraon—End
  of Sir Harry Smith’s Autobiography      536

  XLVI. (_Supplementary._) Honours and Rewards, and
  Knitting of Old Friendships      554

  XLVII. (_Supplementary._) In England once more—A
  Series of Ovations—London, Ely, Whittlesey,
  Cambridge—Appointed Governor
  of the Cape of Good Hope      571

  XLVIII. (_Supplementary._) South Africa in 1847—Sir
  Harry’s Reception at Cape Town and on
  the Frontier—End of the Kafir War—Extension
  of the Boundaries of the
  Colony and Establishment of the Province
  of “British Kaffraria”—Visit to
  the Country beyond the Orange and to
  Natal—Proclamation of the “Orange
  River Sovereignty”—Triumphant Return
  to Cape Town—Disaffection among the
  Boers in the Sovereignty—Expedition
  thither and Battle of Boomplaats—Return
  to Cape Town      582

  XLIX. (_Supplementary._) The Question of the Establishment
  of a Representative Assembly
  in the Cape Colony—The Convict Question—Kafir
  War—Recall of Sir Harry
  Smith—His Departure from the Cape      609

  L. (_Supplementary._) Again in England—Last
  Years, 1852-1860      652

  APPENDIX I.—Diary of the Expedition to Monte
  Video, etc., 1806-7      691

  APPENDIX II.—Some Family Letters preserved by
  Harry Smith with Particular Care      700

  APPENDIX III.—Memorandum addressed to Sir B.
  D’Urban on the Diet and Treatment of
  Soldiers in Confinement      715

  APPENDIX IV.—Extracts from Harry Smith’s Letters
  to his Wife during the Kafir War, 1835      718

  APPENDIX V.—Address of Colonel Smith to the
  Caffer Chiefs, 7th January, 1836      760

  APPENDIX VI.—Extracts from Sir Harry Smith’s
  Letters from India, to his Sister, Mrs.
  Sargant      766

  APPENDIX VII.—Sir Harry Smith’s Recall from the

  A. _Earl Grey’s Despatch_      782
  B. _Sir Harry Smith’s “Memoranda” in Reply_      787

  APPENDIX VIII.—Sir Harry Smith’s Paternal and
  Maternal Ancestry      794

  INDEX      795


  Sir Harry Smith                                  _Frontispiece_
  (_From a picture painted by Levin about 1856._)

  Sir Harry Smith’s Birthplace, Whittlesey       _To face p._ 156
  (_From a photograph by A. Gray, Whittlesey, 1900._)

  Juana Smith                                            "    218
  (_From a picture painted in Paris in 1815._)

  St. Mary’s, Whittlesey                                 "    260
  (_From a photograph by A. Gray, Whittlesey, 1900._)

  Lieut.-Colonel Harry Smith                             "    294
  (_From a picture painted in Paris in 1815._)

  John Smith (Sir Harry Smith’s Father)                  "    314
  (_From a picture painted by J. P. Hunter in 1837._)

  Cape Town and Table Mountain                           "    370
  (_From a lithograph, 1832._)

  Map to illustrate the Sutlej Campaign, 1845-6          "    498

  Plan of the Battle of Aliwal                           "    536

  “Aliwal,” Sir Harry Smith’s Charger                    "    576
  (_From a picture painted by A. Cooper, R.A., 1847._)

  Government House, Cape Town                            "    584
  (_From a lithograph, 1832._)

  Map of South Africa, 1847-1854                         "    594

  Plan of the Field of Action at Boomplaats              "    600

  Map of the Eastern Frontier of the Colony
  of the Cape of Good Hope (Seat of the
  Kafir War, 1850-1853)                        _To face p._   620

  Lady Smith                                            "     658
  (_From a drawing by Julian C. Brewer, 1854._)

  Sir Harry’s Chapel (in St. Mary’s Church, Whittlesey) "     684
  (_From a water-colour by Mrs. B. S. Ward._)

_On the Cover._

Arms granted to Sir Harry Smith in 1846.

They are thus described by Sir Bernard Burke:—

 Arms—Argent, on a chevron between two martlets in chief gules,
     and upon a mount vert in base, an elephant proper, a
     fleur-de-lis between two lions rampant, of the first: from
     the centre-chief, pendant by a riband, gules, fimbriated
     azure, a representation of the Waterloo medal.

 Crest—Upon an Eastern crown or, a lion rampant argent,
     supporting a lance proper; therefrom flowing to the
     sinister, a pennon gules, charged with two palm-branches, in
     saltier, or.

 The supporters are a soldier of the Rifle Brigade and a soldier
     of the 52nd Regiment.


Lt.-Gen. Sir Harry Smith,





_Written in Glasgow in 1824._—H. G. Smith.

I was born in the parish of Whittlesea and county of Cambridgeshire
in the year [1787]. I am one of eleven children, six sons and five
daughters. Every pains was taken with my education which my father
could afford, and I was taught natural philosophy, classics, algebra,
and music.[5]

In 1804 the whole country was _en masse_ collected in arms as
volunteers from the expected invasion of the French, and being now
sixteen years of age, I was received into the Whittlesea troop of
Yeomanry Cavalry, commanded by Captain Johnson. During this year the
Yeomanry in the neighbourhood patrolled through Norman Cross Barracks,
where 15,000 French prisoners were kept, when the Frenchmen laughed
exceedingly at the young dragoon, saying, “I say, leetel fellow, go
home with your mamma; you most eat more pudding.” In the spring of
1805 the Whittlesea Yeomanry kept the ground at a review made by
Brigadier-General Stewart (now Sir W. Stewart), when I was orderly
to the General, who said, “Young gentleman, would you like to be an
officer?” “Of all things,” was my answer. “Well, I will make you a
Rifleman, a green jacket,” says the General, “and very smart.” I assure
you the General kept his word, and upon the 15th [8th?] May, 1805,
I was gazetted second lieutenant in the 95th Regiment Riflemen,[6]
and joined at Brabourne Lees upon the 18th of August. A vacancy of
lieutenant occurring for purchase, my father kindly advanced the money,
and I was gazetted lieutenant the 15th September [August?], 1805. This
fortunate purchase occurred when the 2nd Battalion of the corps was
raising and the officers had not been appointed, by which good luck
twenty-seven steps were obtained by £100.

In the summer of 1806 a detachment of three Companies was directed
to proceed from the 2nd Battalion of the corps from Faversham to
Portsmouth, there to embark and form part of an army about to proceed
to South America under the command of Sir Samuel Auchmuty. This
detachment was under the command of Major Gardner, and I was appointed
Adjutant, a great honour for so young an officer.[7] The army sailed
for America, touching at Plymouth, Falmouth, Peak of Teneriffe, and Rio
Janeiro, at which place it stayed one week to take in water, stores,
etc., and, covered by the detachment of Riflemen, landed within a few
miles of Monte Video upon the 16th of January, 1807. Some skirmishing
took place the whole day with the light troops of the enemy. Upon the
17th and 18th the army halted for the artillery, stores, etc., to be
landed. The outposts (Riflemen) were employed both of these days.

Upon the 19th the army moved forward, and a general action took
place, the result of which was most favourable to the British, and a
position was taken up in the suburbs of Monte Video. Upon the 20th
the garrison made a most vigorous sortie in three columns, and drove
in our outposts, and a heavy and general attack lasted for near two
hours, when the enemy were driven to the very walls of the place. The
Riflemen were particularly distinguished on this occasion.

The siege of Monte Video was immediately commenced, and upon
the morning of the 3rd of February, the breach being considered
practicable, a general assault was ordered in two columns, the one upon
the breach, the other an escalade. Both ultimately succeeded. Not a
defence was destroyed nor a gun dismounted upon the works. The breach
was only wide enough for three men to enter abreast, and when upon the
top of the breach there was a descent into the city of twelve feet.
Most of the men fell, and many were wounded by each other’s bayonets.
When the head of the column entered the breach, the main body lost
its communications or was checked by the tremendous fire. Perceiving
the delay, I went back and conducted the column to the breach, when
the place was immediately taken. The slaughter in the breach was
enormous owing to the defence being perfect, and its not being really
practicable. The surrender of this fortress put the English in the
possession of this part of the country.

I was now afflicted with a most severe fever and dysentery, and owe
my life to the kind attentions of a Spanish family in whose house I
was billeted. My own relations could not have treated me with greater
kindness. My gratitude to them can never be expressed or sufficiently

In the autumn[9] an outpost was established on the same side of the
river as Monte Video, but nearly opposite to Buenos Ayres, at Colonia
del Sacramento. This had formerly belonged to the Portuguese. It was
situated on a neck of land, and a mud wall was carried from water to
water. There were no guns up, and in one place a considerable breach.
One particular night a column of Spaniards which had crossed the
river from Buenos Ayres stormed this post, and were near carrying it
by surprise had it not been for the valour of Scott and his guard
of Riflemen, who most bravely defended the breach until the troops
got under arms. The enemy were not pursued, as their numbers were
not known and the night was dark. Why this breach was not repaired
one cannot say, except that in those days our commanders understood
little of the art of war, and sat themselves down anywhere in a state
of blind security without using every means to strengthen their posts.
Experience taught us better.

The enemy did not re-cross the river, but took up a position about
fourteen miles from Colonia, in which Colonel Pack (afterwards Sir
Denis Pack), who commanded the British force, resolved to attack them.
The column consisted of three companies of Riflemen, the 40th Regiment,
two 6-pounders, and three light companies. It marched upon the night
of [6-7 June], and arrived in sight of the enemy at daylight in the
morning. They were drawn up on an elevated piece of ground, with a
narrow but deep, muddy, and miry river in their front. Their cavalry
formed a right angle upon the right of their infantry and they had
seven guns upon the left. The Rifle Brigade covered the troops whilst
crossing the rivulet, and in about twenty minutes by a rapid advance
the position was carried, the enemy leaving behind him his guns, tents,
stores, etc., with a great quantity of ammunition. In the destroying
of the latter poor Major Gardner and fourteen soldiers suffered most
dreadfully from an explosion. Some flints had been scattered upon the
field; the soldiers took the shot to break the cartridges, and thus
the whole blew up. About two hundred shells also exploded. The army at
a short distance lay down, and not an individual was touched. Colonel
Pack, with his army, the captured guns, etc., returned to Colonia in
the evening.[10]

A considerable force having arrived under General Whitelock, who took
the command, the army was remodelled and embarked in August [really on
the 17th of June], 1807, to attack Buenos Ayres. The post of Colonia
was abandoned, and the three companies of the 2nd Battalion Rifle
Brigade were embodied with five of the 1st just arrived from England,
and I was appointed adjutant of the whole under the command of Major
McLeod. The army landed upon [28 June], and was divided into two
columns, the one consisting of the light troops under General Craufurd,
and of a heavy brigade, the whole under Major-General Leveson-Gower.
[Some uncomplimentary epithets are here omitted.] His column was one
day in advance of the main body commanded by General Whitelock in
person. His orders were to march up to the enemy’s outposts and take
up a position. In place of obeying his orders, General Leveson-Gower
immediately attacked the enemy in the suburbs of Buenos Ayres, and
drove them in with great loss, leaving their cannon behind them.
Having thus committed himself, in lieu of following up the advantage
he had gained and pushing forward into Buenos Ayres, which would have
immediately surrendered, he halted his column and took up a position.
The enemy recovered from his panic, and with the utmost vigour turned
to and fortified the entrances of all the streets. (Buenos Ayres is
perfectly open on the land side, but has a citadel of some strength
within the town and upon the river. The houses are all flat-roofed,
with a parapet of about three feet high.) The day after the affair
alluded to, General Whitelock with his column arrived. The next day
he reconnoitred the enemy, drove in their outposts, and partially
invested the city. Some very heavy skirmishing took place in the
enclosures, the fences consisting of aloe hedges, very difficult to get
through, but making excellent breastworks. The Rifle Corps particularly
distinguished themselves.

Upon the [5 July] the whole army attacked in four columns. The men were
ordered to advance without flints in their musquets, and crowbars,
axes, etc., were provided at the head of the column to break open the
doors, which were most strongly barricaded. It must be stated that
the streets of Buenos Ayres run at right angles from each other. Each
street was cut off by a ditch and a battery behind it. Thus the troops
were exposed to a cross fire. The tops of the houses were occupied by
troops, and such a tremendous fire was produced of grape, canister, and
musquetry, that in a short time two columns were nearly annihilated
without effecting any impression. The column I belonged to, under
Brigadier-General Craufurd, after severe loss, took refuge in a church,
and about dusk in the evening surrendered to the enemy. Thus terminated
one of the most sanguinary conflicts Britons were ever engaged in,
and all owing to the stupidity of the General-in-chief and General
Leveson-Gower. Liniers, a Frenchman by birth, who commanded, treated
us prisoners tolerably well, but he had little to give us to eat,
his citadel not being provisioned for a siege. We were three or four
days in his hands, when, in consequence of the disgraceful convention
entered into by General Whitelock, who agreed within two months to
evacuate the territory altogether and to give up the fortress of Monte
Video, we were released. The army re-embarked with all dispatch and
sailed to Monte Video. Our wounded suffered dreadfully, many dying from
slight wounds in the extremity of lockjaw.

The division of troops I belonged to sailed upon [12 July], under
the command of Brigadier-General Lumley. I confess I parted from
the kind Spanish family, who during my illness had treated me with
such paternal kindness, with feelings of the deepest sorrow and most
lively gratitude. The old lady offered me her daughter in marriage and
$20,000, with as many thousand oxen as I wished, and she would build me
a house in the country upon any plan I chose to devise.

Now that I am brought to leave the fertile plains of the Plate, let
me make some little mention of its climate, soil, and productions.
Its summer is, of course, in January; during this time it is very
hot. Still you have a sea breeze and a land breeze, which is very
refreshing. During the rainy seasons the weather is very tempestuous.
The climate altogether is, however, most mild and salubrious. Corn of
all descriptions grows with the least possible care. The fertile grass
plains are immense. The country is not a dead flat, but undulated like
the great Atlantic a few days after a gale of wind. Upon these plains
thousands of oxen and horses are grazing; they are so thick that were
an individual ever entangled amongst them he would be lost as in a
wood. These animals are, however, all the property of individuals,
and not wild as supposed, and each horse and ox is branded. You could
buy a most excellent horse for two dollars (I gave ten for one, he
being very handsome, which was a price unheard of before), a cow and
calf one dollar, a pair of draft oxen five (they are thus dear in
consequence of being trained). The country abounds in all sorts of
wild fowl and innumerable wild dogs, which nature must have provided
to eat the carcases of the slaughtered cattle, many of which are
killed merely for their hides, a few of the prime pieces alone being
made use of for food. The marrow is usually also taken and rendered
into bladders, with which they cook everything, using it, in short,
as we use butter, which makes their dishes very palatable. The native
inhabitants, called “peons,” or labourers, are a very superior race of
men, almost Patagonians, are beautiful horsemen, and have a peculiar
art of catching horses and oxen by what is termed the “lasso.” This
is a leathern thong of about thirty feet resembling the lash of a
hunting-whip. An iron ring is at one end, through which the other end
is passed, by which means a noose is formed; the end is then fastened
to the girths of the horse. The lasso is collected in the man’s hand,
he swings it circularly round his head, and when the opportunity
offers, he throws it over the head of the animal he wishes to catch. He
is sure of his aim; the noose draws tight round the animal’s throat,
and he is of course choked, and down he drops.

In killing bullocks they are very dexterous. The moment the bullock
finds himself caught he begins to gallop round; the end being fast
to the saddle, the horse turns gradually round so that he is not
entangled. A second peon with his lasso gallops after the bullock, and
throws his lasso round the hind leg above the hough and rides in a
contrary direction to the other horseman, consequently the bullock is
stretched between the two horses. The riders jump off and plunge their
knives into the bullock, and other persons are employed to dress it,

The fleet separated in a gale of wind off the Azores. During this gale
the transport I was in carried away its rudder. Our captain had kept so
bad a reckoning we ran four hundred miles after he expected to make
the Lizard. In the chops of the Channel we fell in with the _Swallow_,
sloop of war, to whom we made a signal of distress, and she towed us
into Falmouth Harbour [5 Nov.]. It blew the most tremendous gale of
wind that night. A transport with the 9th Dragoons aboard was wrecked
near the Lizard, and this would inevitably have been our fate had we
not been towed in by the sloop of war. The rudder was repaired, we
were driven into Plymouth, and in the middle of December anchored at
Spithead, where we delighted to have arrived. However, to our great
mortification, we were ordered to the Downs, there to disembark.

I obtained leave of absence, and was soon in the arms of a most
affectionate family, who dearly loved me. My mother’s delight I shall
never forget. There are feelings we possess in our youth which cannot
be described. I was then only nineteen. My brothers and sisters were
all well, and every moment called to my recollection some incident of
juvenile delight and affection.




I stayed in this happy land of my sires for two months, when I was
ordered to join. The Regiment was then quartered at Colchester.
Although there were many subalterns present who were senior to me,
I had given to me, for my exertions abroad as Adjutant, the command
of a Company. This was the act of my kind and valued friend Colonel
Beckwith, whom I shall have occasion frequently to mention in these
memoirs, but never without feelings of affection and gratitude. The
Company was in very bad order when I received it, which Colonel
Beckwith told me was the reason he gave it me. I now procured a
commission for my brother Tom, who was gazetted over the heads of
several other candidates.

In the summer [spring] of 1808 10,000 men were ordered to Sweden under
the command of Sir J. Moore. Three Companies of the Rifle Brigade
under Major Gilmour were to form part of the expedition. By dint of
great exertion I was appointed Adjutant to this detachment. We marched
to Harwich to embark. When the fleet was collected, we anchored a
few days in Yarmouth roads. The fleet arrived at Gottenburgh [on 7
May], blowing a heavy gale of wind. The harbour of this place is most
beautiful. The army never landed, but the men were drilled, embarking
and disembarking in flat-bottomed boats. I jumped against three
regiments, 95th, 43rd, and 52nd, and beat them by four inches, having
leaped 19 feet and 4 inches.

_Commenced at Simla, Himalayas, 11th Aug. 1844_—H.G.S.

At this period Napoleon announced his unjust invasion of Spain, and
Sir John Moore’s army was ordered to sail and unite with the forces
collecting on the coast of Portugal for the purpose of expelling
Junot’s army from Lisbon. On approaching the mouth of the Mondego, a
frigate met us to say Sir Arthur Wellesley’s army had landed in Mondego
and pushed forward, and that Sir John Moore was to sail for Peniche,
and there land on arrival. The battle of Vimiera had been fought [21
Aug. 1808], and the Convention was in progress. Sir John Moore’s army
landed one or two days after the battle and took the outposts. The
three Companies to which I was Adjutant joined Colonel Beckwith and the
headquarters of the Regiment, and I was appointed to Captain O’Hare’s
Company (subalterns Smith, W. Eeles, Eaton).

After the embarcation of the French army, an army was formed under Sir
John Moore for the aid of the Spaniards, and it moved on the frontier
of Alemtejo.

The 95th were quartered in Villa Viciosa, in an elegant palace. I
occupied a beautiful little room with a private staircase, called the
Hall of Justice. I was sent by Sir Edward Paget to examine the fort
Xuramenha and report upon it, the fords of the Guadiana, etc., near the
important fortress of Badajos.

In the autumn of this year (1808), Sir John Moore’s army moved on
Salamanca. As I could speak Spanish, I was employed by Colonel
Beckwith to precede the Regiment daily to aid the Quartermaster in
procuring billets and rations in the different towns, and various
were the adventures I met with. The army was assembled at Salamanca,
and never did England assemble such a body of organized and elegant
troops as that army of Sir John Moore, destined to cover itself with
glory, disgrace, victory, and misfortune. The whole of this campaign
is too ably recorded by Napier for me to dwell on. I shall only
say that never did corps so distinguish itself during the whole of
this retreat as my dear old Rifles. From the severe attack on our
rear-guard at Calcavellos [3 Jan. 1809], where I was particularly
distinguished, until the battle of Coruña, we were daily engaged with
a most vigorous and pushing enemy, making most terrific long marches
(one day 37 miles). The fire of the Riflemen ever prevented the column
being molested by the enemy; but the scenes of drunkenness, riot, and
disorder we Reserve Division witnessed on the part of the rest of the
army are not to be described; it was truly awful and heartrending to
see that army which had been so brilliant at Salamanca so totally
disorganized, with the exception of the reserve under the revered Paget
and the Brigade of Guards. The cavalry were nearly all dismounted, the
whole a mass of fugitives and insubordinates; yet these very fellows
licked the French at Coruña like men [16 Jan.]. The army embarked the
following day. I shall never forget the explosion of a fortress blown
up by us—the report cannot be imagined. Oh, the filthy state we were
all in! We lost our baggage at Calcavellos; for three weeks we had no
clothes but those on our backs; we were literally covered and almost
eaten up with vermin, most of us suffering from ague and dysentery,
every man a living still active skeleton. On embarcation many fell
asleep in their ships and never awoke for three days and nights,
until in a gale we reached Portsmouth [21 Jan.]. I was so reduced
that Colonel Beckwith, with a warmth of heart equalling the thunder
of his voice, on meeting me in the George Inn, roared out, “Who the
devil’s ghost are you? Pack up your kit—which is soon done, the devil
a thing have you got—take a place in the coach, and set off home to
your father’s. I shall soon want again such fellows as you, and I will
arrange your leave of absence!” I soon took the hint, and naked and
slothful and covered with vermin I reached my dear native home, where
the kindest of fathers and most affectionate of mothers soon restored
me to health.[11]




In two months I rejoined the Regiment at Hythe. From Hythe we marched
for Dover, where we embarked for Lisbon [25 May] to join the Duke’s[12]
army. Having landed at Lisbon, we commenced our march for Talavera. On
this march—a very long one—General Craufurd compiled his orders for
the march of his Brigade, consisting of the 43rd, 52nd, and 95th, each
upwards of 1000 strong. These orders he enforced with rigour (as it
seemed at the moment), but he was in this way the means of establishing
the organization and discipline of that corps which acquired for it its
after-celebrity as the “Light Division.”

We had some long, harassing, and excessively hot marches. In the last
twenty-eight hours we marched from Oropesa to Talavera, a distance
of fourteen Spanish leagues (56 miles), our soldiers carrying their
heavy packs, the Riflemen eighty rounds of ammunition. But the
battle of Talavera was thundering in our ears, and created a spirit
in the Brigade which cast away all idea of fatigue. We reached the
sanguinary field at daylight after the battle [29 July], greeted as if
we were demi-gods by all the gallant heroes who had gained _such_ a
victory. We took up the outposts immediately, and some of us Riflemen
sustained some heavy skirmishing. The field was literally covered
with dead and dying. The bodies began to putrefy, and the stench was
horrible, so that an attempt was made to collect the bodies and burn
them. Then, however, came a stench which literally affected many to
sickness. The soldiers were not satisfied with this mode of treating
the bodies of their dead comrades, and the prosecution of the attempt
was relinquished. After our stay at Talavera [29 July-3 Aug.], during
which we were nearly starved, the army commenced its retreat, passing
the bridge of Arzobispo in the most correct and soldier-like manner,
our Brigade forming the rear-guard. The army retired on Deleytosa,
the Light Brigade remaining in a position so as to watch the bridge
of Almaraz. Here for three weeks we were nearly starved [6 Aug.-20
Aug.], and our position received the name of Doby Hill.[13] We marched
every evening and bivouacked so as to occupy the passage of the
Tagus, and at daylight returned to our hill. Honey was plentiful, but
it gave dysentery. My mess—Leach’s Company (Leach, Smith, Layton, and
Bob Beckwith)—were not as badly off as our neighbours. We had a few
dollars, and as I could speak Spanish, I rode into the lines of the
Spanish troops, where I could always purchase some loaves of bread
at a most exorbitant price. With this and some horrid starved goats
we lived tolerably for soldiers in hard times. The army retired into
quarters—the headquarters to Badajos, our Division (which had added to
it Sir Rufane Donkin’s Brigade, the 45th, 87th, and 88th Regiments) to
Campo Mayor [11 Sept.], where sickness and mortality commenced to an
awful extent. On our reaching the frontier of Portugal, Castello de
Vidi, wine was plentiful, and every man that evening had his skin full.

During the period we were at Campo Mayor [11 Sept.-12 Dec.], the Hon.
Captain James Stewart and I got some excellent greyhounds. We were
always out coursing or shooting, and were never sick a day; our more
sedentary comrades many of them distressingly so. The seven right-hand
men of Leslie’s Company died in the winter of this year.

While at Campo Mayor the convalescents of my Light Brigade were
ordered to our old fortress, called Onguala, on the immediate frontier
of Portugal, and opposite to Abuchucha, the frontier of Spain. They
consisted of forty or fifty weakly men. I was first for Brigade duty,
and I was sent in command, with a Lieut. Rentall of the 52nd Regiment
and my brother Tom, who was sick. I knew this country well, for we had
had some grand battues there, and shot red deer and wild boars. So
soon, therefore, as I was installed in my command, lots of comrades
used to come from Campo Mayor to breakfast with me and shoot all day.
On one occasion Jack Molloy, Considine, and several fellows came, and
while out we fell into the bivouac of a set of banditti and smugglers.
We hallooed and bellowed as if an army were near us. The bandits jumped
on their horses and left lots of corn-sacks, etc., in our hands; but
on discovering our numbers, and that we fired no balls (for we had
only some Rifle buttons pulled off my jacket), being well armed, they
soon made us retreat. This, after my friends returned to Campo Mayor,
so disconcerted me that I made inquiry about these same rascals, and
ascertained there were a body of about twenty under a Catalan, the
terror of the country. I immediately sent for my sergeant (a soldier
in every sense of the word) to see how many of our convalescents he
could pick out who could _march at all_. He soon returned. He himself
and ten men, myself, Rentall, and my sick brother Tom (who _would_
go) composed my army. I got a guide, and ascertained that there were
several haunts of these bandits; so off I started. We moved on a small
chapel (many of which lone spots there are in all Roman Catholic
countries), at which there was a large stable. On approaching we heard
a shot fired, then a great and lawless shouting, which intimated to
us our friends of the morning were near at hand. So Pat Nann and I
crept on to peep about. We discovered the fellows were all inside a
long stable, with a railed gate shut, and a regular sentry with his
arms in his hand. They were all about and had lights, and one very
dandy-looking fellow with a smart dagger was cutting tobacco to make
a cigar. Pat and I returned to our party and made a disposition of
attack, previously ascertaining if the stable had a back door, which it
had not. I then fell in our men very silently, Mr. Rentall being much
opposed to our attack, at which my brother Tom blew him up in no bad
style of whispering abuse, and our men went for the gate. The sentry
soon discovered us and let fly, but hit no one. The gate was fast and
resisted two attempts to force it, but so amazed were the bandits, they
[never] attempted to get away their horses, although their arms were
regularly piled against the supports of the roof of the stable, and
we took twelve banditti with their captain, a fine handsome fellow,
horses, etc. His dagger I sent to my dear father. I sent my prisoners
on the next day to Campo Mayor, galloping ahead myself, in an awful
funk lest General Craufurd should blow me up. However, I got great
credit for my achievement in thus ridding the neighbourhood of a nest
of robbers; and the captain and five of his men (being Spaniards) were
sent to Badajos and sentenced to the galleys for life, being recognized
as old offenders. The remainder received a lesser punishment. My men
got forty Spanish dollars each prize money, the amount I sold the
horses for. I bought for forty dollars the captain’s capital horse. The
men wanted me to keep him as my share, but I would not. Dr. Robb, our
surgeon, gave sixty Spanish dollars for a black mare. Thus ended the
Battle of the Bandits.



In the winter of this year [12 Dec. 1809] we marched towards the
northern frontier of Portugal. We marched towards Almeida, and were
cantoned in villages to its rear—Alameda, Villa de Lobos, Fequenas, not
far from the Douro. Here too was good shooting and coursing; but I was
not permitted to be idle. We moved into Spain [19 Mar. 1810], and at
Barba del Puerco had a most brilliant night attack, in which Colonel
Beckwith greatly distinguished himself.

At Villa de Ciervo a detachment of one sergeant and twelve Hussars
(1st German) were given me by General Craufurd to go right in among
the French army, which had moved on Ciudad Rodrigo and then retired.
Many are the hairbreadth escapes my Hussars and I had, for we were very
daring; we were never two nights in the same place. One night at Villa
de Ciervo, where we were watching a ford over the Agueda, two of my
vedettes (two Poles elegantly mounted) deserted to the enemy. The old
sergeant, a noble soldier, came to me in great distress. “O mein Gott,
upstand and jump up your horse; _she_ will surely be here _directly_!”
I was half asleep, with my horse’s reins in my hand, and roared out,
“Who the devil is _she_?” “The Franzosen, mein Herr. Two d——d schelms
have deserted.” So we fell back to the rear of the village, sitting
on our horses the remainder of the night, every moment expecting the
weakness of our party would cause an attempt to cut us off. At daylight
we saw fifty French dragoons wending their way on the opposite bank to
the ford. I immediately got hold of the _padre_ and _alcalde_ (priest
and magistrate), and made them collect a hundred villagers and make
them shoulder the long sticks with which they drive their bullock-carts
and ploughs, which of course at a distance would resemble bayonets.
These villagers I stationed in two parties behind two hills, so that
the “bayonets” alone could be seen by the enemy. Then with my sergeant
and ten Hussars (two having deserted) I proceeded to meet the enemy,
first riding backwards and forwards behind a hill to deceive him as to
my numbers. The French sent over the river about half their number. I
immediately galloped up to them in the boldest manner, and skirmished
advancing. The enemy were deceived and rapidly retired, and I saved
the village from an unmerciful ransacking, to the joy of all the poor

At this period General Craufurd had officers at two or three of the
most advanced vedettes where there were beacons, who had orders to
watch the enemy with their telescopes, and, in case of any movement,
to report or fire the beacon. I was on this duty in rather a remote
spot on the extreme left of our posts. The vedette was from the 1st
Hussar picquet. These men would often observe a patrol or body of
the enemy with the naked eye which was barely discernible through a
telescope, so practised were they and watchful. Towards the evening my
servant ought to have arrived with my dinner (for we officers of the
look-out could take nothing with us but our horse and our telescope),
but he must have missed his way, and as my appetite was sharpened by a
day’s look-out, I began to look back, contrary to the vedette’s idea of
due vigilance. He asks, “What for Mynheer so much look to de rear?” I,
sad at the fast, “Hussar, you are relieved every two hours. I have been
here since daylight. I am confounded hungry, and am looking out for my
servant and my dinner.” “Poor yonge mans! but ’tis notings.” “Not to
you,” said I, “but much to me.” “You shall see, sir. I shall come off
my horse, you shall up clim, or de French shall come if he see not de
vedette all right.” Knowing the provident habits of these Germans, I
suspected what he was about. Off he got; up get I _en vedette_. With
the greatest celerity, he unbuckled his valise from behind his saddle,
and took out a piece of bacon (I had kept up a little fire from the
sticks and bushes around me), from a cloth some ground coffee and
sugar, from his haversack some biscuit, and spread on the ground a
clean towel with knife, fork, and a little tin cup. He had water in
his canteen—his cooking-tin. He made me a cup of coffee, sliced some
bacon, broiled it in the embers, and in ten minutes coffee, bacon,
biscuit were ready and looked as clean as if in a London tavern. He
then says, “Come off.” Up he mounts, saying, “Can eat. All you sall
vant is de schnaps.” I fell to, and never relished any meal half so
much; appetite was perfect, and the ingenious, quick and provident
care of the Hussar added another to the many instances I had witnessed
of this regiment to make them be regarded, as indeed they were, as
exemplary soldiers for our emulation.

My servant soon after arrived. The contents of his haversack I
transferred to my kind friend the Hussar’s, and half the bottle of
wine, on which the Hussar remarked, “Ah, dat is good; the schnaps make
nice;” and my servant put up his valise again for him. I was highly
amused to observe the momentary glances the Hussar cast on me and my
meal, for no rat-catcher’s dog at a sink-hole kept a sharper look-out
to his front than did this vedette. In the whole course of my service I
never was more amused, and nothing could be more disinterested than the
Hussar’s conduct, which I never forgot.



Soon after this the French invested Ciudad Rodrigo, and regularly
commenced the siege. The Light Division (into which fell the three
regiments 43rd, 52nd, and two Battalions of Rifles, 1st and 3rd
Portuguese Caçadores, the latter under Elder, a most brilliant Rifle
officer), 1st Hussars, 14th Light Dragoons, 16th Light Dragoons
occupied Gallegos, Exejo, etc., our advanced post being at Marialva,
on the road to Ciudad Rodrigo. During the whole siege our alerts were
innumerable, and at Marialva we had several very smart skirmishes, but
so able were Craufurd’s dispositions, we never lost even a vedette.

The French were in the habit of patrolling over the Agueda with
cavalry and infantry, about 30 Dragoons and 200 foot. General Craufurd
determined to intercept one of these patrols [10 July], and [moved out
with] the cavalry, 1st Hussars, 14th and 16th Light Dragoons, and Light
Division. It may now be asked, Was it necessary to take out such a
force to intercept so small a party? Certainly. Because the enemy might
have crossed the Agueda to support the patrols. We were all moved to
where directed, the infantry were halted, some of the cavalry moved
on. At grey daylight the patrols of the enemy appeared, their Dragoons
some way in advance of the infantry. The patrol was very incautiously
conducted (not like our 1st Hussars), and the Dragoons were taken in
a moment. The infantry speedily retired to an eminence above the ford
and formed square. Craufurd ordered them to be attacked by the cavalry,
and several right good charges were made; but the French were steady,
the dead horses in their front became a defence, and our cavalry never
made the slightest impression. Craufurd never moved one of _us_. The
charges of cavalry ceased for a few seconds—the fields around were
high-standing corn. The gallant fellow in command gave the word, “Sauve
qui peut.” In a moment all dispersed, ran through the standing corn
down to the banks of the river, and were saved without the loss of a
man. The officer was promoted on his arrival in his camp.

Our loss was very considerable. Poor Colonel Talbot of the 14th
(commanding) killed, and a lot of men. I and Stewart, Adjutant of the
Rifle Brigade, asked leave to go ahead, and we saw it all. Indeed, it
was in sight of the whole division. Had two Companies of ours only been
moved to threaten the ford, the enemy would have laid down their arms.
Such a piece of soldiering as that morning presented the annals of war
cannot produce.[14]

While we were at a village called Valde Mula, in the neighbourhood of
Fort Concepcion, that most perfect little work was blown up [21 July].
It was the neatest fortification I ever saw (except the Moro in the
Havana subsequently), and the masonry was beautifully executed.

After the fall of Ciudad Rodrigo, which made a brilliant defence, our
advanced line fell back to the Dos Casas, and in front of Alameda we
had a brilliant affair with the French, in which Krauchenberg 1st
Hussars and McDonald Royal Artillery greatly distinguished themselves.
The 3rd Caçadores were this day first under fire, and behaved _nobly_.
After this our advanced posts were retired behind the Dos Casas to
cover Almeida. While Massena prepared his army to invade Portugal
and besiege Almeida, we were daily on the alert and had frequent
skirmishes. General Craufurd, too, by a variety of _ruses_ frequently
made the whole French army turn out.

In the early morning of the 24th of July (I was on picquet with Leach
and my Company that night) the enemy moved forward with 40,000 men. Our
force, one Brigade of Horse Artillery, three Regiments of cavalry, five
of infantry, were ordered by the Duke to remain as long as possible on
the right bank of the Coa, where there was a bridge over the river on
the road from Almeida into Portugal to Celerico and Pinhel, posting
ourselves between the fortress and the bridge, so as to pass over so
soon as the enemy advanced in force. In place of doing this, Craufurd
took up a position to our right of Almeida, and but for Colonel
Beckwith our whole force would have been sacrificed. Fortunately a
heavy rain had fallen, which made the Coa impassable except by the
bridge, which was in our possession, and the enemy concentrated his
force in one rush for the bridge [24 July].

During the Peninsular War there never was a more severe contest. The
43rd lost 17 officers and 150 men, my Regiment 10 officers and 140 men.
When we passed the bridge my section was the rear-guard of the whole,
and in a rush to drive back the enemy (with whom we were frequently
absolutely mixed), my brother Tom and I were both severely wounded,
and a Major Macleod, a noble fellow, afterwards killed at Badajos, put
me on his horse, or I should have been taken. The enemy made several
attempts to cross, but old Alister Cameron, Captain in the Rifle
Brigade, had posted his Company in a ruined house which commanded the
bridge, and mainly contributed to prevent the passage of the enemy, who
made some brilliant attempts. The bridge was literally piled with their
dead and they made breastworks of the bodies. On this day, on going to
the rear wounded, I first made the acquaintance of my dear friend Will
Havelock,[15] afterwards my whipper-in, who was joining the 43rd fresh
from England, with smart chako and jacket. I had a ball lodged in my
ankle-joint, a most painful wound. We were sent to Pinhel, where the
3rd Division was seven leagues from the action, the nearest _support_
(?). Sir Thomas Picton treated us wounded _en princes_.

The wounded were ordered to the rear, so as to embark on the Mondego
at Pinhel. In collecting transport for the wounded, a sedan chair
between two mules was brought, the property of some gentleman in the
neighbourhood, and, fortunately for me, I was the only person who
could ride in it, and by laying my leg on the one seat and sitting
on the other, I rode comparatively easy to the poor fellows in the
wretched bullock-cars, who suffered excruciating agony, poor brother
Tom (who was very severely wounded above the knee) among the rest. This
little story will show what wild fellows we were in those days. George
Simmons’ (1st Rifles) bullocks at one stage had run away. As I was the
spokesman, the surgeon in charge came to me in great distress. I sent
for the village magistrate, and actually fixed a rope in my room to
hang him if he did not get a pair of bullocks (if the Duke of W. had
known he would have hung _me_). However, the bullocks were got, and
off we started. The bullocks were not broken, and they ran away with
poor George and nearly jolted him to death, for he was awfully wounded
through the thick of the thigh. However, we all got down to Pinhel [31
July], and thence descended the Mondego by boats, landing every night.
At one house a landlord was most insolent to us, and Lieut. Pratt of
the Rifles, shot through the neck, got very angry. The carotid artery
must have been wounded, for it burst out in a torrent of blood, and he
was dead in a few seconds, to our horror, for he was a most excellent
fellow. On the same bed with me was a Captain Hull of the 43rd Regiment
with a similar wound. I never saw any man in such a funk.

On our reaching the mouth of the Mondego, we were put on board a
transport. In the ship with me was a stout little officer, 14th Light
Dragoons, severely wounded, whose thigh afterwards disgorged a French
6-lb. shot. On arrival in Lisbon [7 Aug.] we were billeted in Buenos
Ayres, poor Tom and I in awful agony in our miserable empty house.
However, we got books, and I, although suffering, got on well enough.
But poor Tom’s leg was in such an awful state he was sent home. George
Simmons’s wound healed.[16] My ball was lodged on my ankle-joint,
having partially divided the _tendo Achillis_. However, we heard of the
army having retired into the celebrated lines of Torres Vedras, and
nothing would serve us but _join the Regiment_. So our medical heroes
very unwillingly sent us off to Belem, the convalescent department
under Colonel Tucker, 29th Regiment, a sharp fellow enough. When I,
George Simmons, and Charlie Eeles, 3rd Battalion, just arrived sick
from Cadiz, waited on him to express our desire to join, he said, “Oh,
certainly; but you must be posted to do duty with convalescents going
up the country.” I was lame and could not walk. George Simmons cantered
on crutches, and Charlie Eeles was very sick. However, _go_ or _no
go_, and so we were posted to 600 villains of every Regiment in the
army under a long Major Ironmonger of the 88th (afterwards of Almeida
celebrity, when the garrison escaped). We marched in a day [7 Oct.]. On
the first day’s march he pretended to faint. George Simmons, educated a
surgeon, _literally_ threw a bucket of water over him.[17] He recovered
the faint, but not the desire to return; and the devil would have it,
the command devolved on me, a subaltern, for whom the soldiers of other
corps have no great respect, and such a task I never had as to keep
these six hundred rascals together. However, I had a capital English
horse, good at riding over an insubordinate fellow, and a voice like
thunder. The first bivouac I came to was the Guards (these men were
very orderly). The commanding officer had a cottage. I reported myself.
It was raining like the devil. He put his head out of the window, and I
said, “Sir, I have 150 men of your Regiment convalescent from Belem.”
“Oh, send for the Sergeant-major,” he very quietly said;—no “walk in
out of the rain.” So I roared out, “We _Light Division men_ don’t do
duty with Sergeant-majors, nor are we told to wait. There are your
men, every one—the only well-conducted men in 600 under my charge—and
these are their accounts!” throwing down a bundle of papers, and off
I galloped, to the Household man’s astonishment. That day I delivered
over, or sent by officers under me, all the vagabonds I had left. Some
of my own men and I reached our corps that night at Arruda, when old
Sydney Beckwith, dear Colonel, said, “You are a mad fool of a boy,
coming here with a ball in your leg. Can you dance?” “No,” says I; “I
can hardly walk but with my toe turned out.” “Can you be my A.D.C.?”
“Yes; I can ride and eat,” I said, at which he laughed, and was kind as
a brother; as was my dear friend Stewart, or Rutu, as we called him,
his Brigade Major, the actual Adjutant of the Regiment.

That very night General Craufurd sent for me, and said, “You have
come from Sobral, have you not, to-day, and know the road?” I said,
“Yesterday.” “Well, get your horse and take this letter to the Duke
for me when it is ready.” I did not like the job, but said nothing
about balls or _pains_, which were bad enough. He kept me waiting about
an hour, and then said, “You need wait no longer; the letter won’t
be ready for some time, and my orderly dragoon shall take it. Is the
road difficult to find?” I said, “No; if he keeps the chaussée, he
can’t miss it.” The poor dragoon fell in with the French patrol, and
was taken prisoner. When the poor fellow’s fate was known, how Colonel
Beckwith did laugh at my escape!

At Arruda we marched every day at daylight into position in the hills
behind us, and by the ability of Craufurd they were made impregnable.
The whole Division was at work. As Colonel Beckwith and I were standing
in the camp one day, it came on to rain, and we saw a Rifleman rolling
down a wine-cask, apparently empty, from a house near. He deliberately
knocked in one of the heads; then—for it was on the side of a rapidly
shelving hill—propped it up with stones, and crept in out of the rain.
Colonel Beckwith says, “Oh, look at the lazy fellow; he has not half
supported it. When he falls asleep, if he turns round, down it will
come.” Our curiosity was excited, and our time anything but occupied,
so we watched our friend, when in about twenty minutes the cask with
the man inside came rolling down the hill. He must have rolled over
twenty times at least before the rapidity disengaged him from his
round-house, and even afterwards, such was the impetus, he rolled over
several times. To refrain from laughing excessively was impossible,
though we really thought the noble fellow must be hurt, when up he
jumped, looked round, and said “I never had any affection for an empty
wine-cask, and may the devil take me if ever I go near another—to be
whirled round like a water-mill in this manner!” The fellow was in a
violent John Bull passion, while we were nearly killed with laughing.

When Massena retired, an order came to the Light Division to move on De
Litte, and to Lord Hill to do the same on our right at [Vallada?]. This
dispatch I was doomed to carry. It was one of the utmost importance,
and required a gallop. By Jove, I had ten miles to go just before dark,
and when I got to Colborne’s position, who had a Brigade under Lord
Hill, a mouse could not get through his works. (Colborne was afterwards
my Brigadier in the Light Division, and is now Lord Seaton.) Such a job
I never had. I could not go in front of the works—the French had not
retired; so some works I leaped into, and led my noble English horse
into others. At last I got to Lord Hill, and he marched immediately,
night as it was. How I got back to my Division through the night I
hardly know, but horse and rider were both done. The spectacle of
hundreds of miserable wretches of French soldiers on the road in a
state of _starvation_ is not to be described.

We moved _viâ_ Caccas to Vallé on the [Rio Mayor], where our Division
were opposite Santarem. The next day [20 Nov.] the Duke came up and
ordered our Division to attack Santarem, which was bristling on our
right with abattis, three or four lines. We felt the difficulty of
carrying such heights, but towards the afternoon we moved on. On the
Duke’s staff there was a difference of opinion as to the number of the
enemy, whether one _corps d’armée_ or two. The Duke, who knew perfectly
well there were two, and our move was only a reconnaissance, turned to
Colonel Beckwith. “Beckwith, my Staff are disputing whether at Santarem
there is one _corps d’armée_ or two?” “I’ll be d——d if I know, my Lord,
but you may depend on it, a great number were required to make those
abattis _in one night_.” Lord Wellington laughed, and said, “You are
right, Beckwith; there are two _corps d’armée_.”[18] The enemy soon
showed themselves. The Duke, as was his wont, satisfied himself _by
ocular demonstration_, and the Division returned to its bivouac. Whilst
here, Colonel Beckwith was seized with a violent attack of ague.

Our outposts were perfectly quiet, although sentries, French and
English, were at each end of the bridge over the Rio Mayor, and
vedettes along each bank. There was most excellent coursing on the
plains of Vallé, and James Stewart and I were frequently out. Here I
gave him my celebrated Spanish greyhound, Moro, the best the world ever
produced, with a pedigree like that of an Arab horse, bred at Zamora
by the Conde de Monteron; but the noble dog’s story is too long to
tell here. In one year Stewart gave me him back again to run a match
against the Duke of Wellington’s dog. But the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo
prevented our sports of that description. Colonel Beckwith going to
Lisbon, and I being his A.D.C., it was voted a capital opportunity for
me to go to have the ball cut out from under the tendon Achillis, in
the very joint. I was very lame, and the pain often excruciating, so
off I cut.

Soon after we reached Lisbon, I was ordered to Buenos Ayres to be near
the surgeons. A board was held consisting of the celebrated Staff
Surgeon Morell, who had attended me before, Higgins, and Brownrigg.
They examined my leg. I was all for the operation. Morell and Higgins
recommended me to remain with a stiff leg of my own as better than a
wooden one, for the wounds in Lisbon of late had sloughed so, they were
dubious of the result. Brownrigg said, “If it were my leg, out should
come the ball.” On which I roared out, “Hurrah, Brownrigg, you are the
doctor for me.” So Morell says, “Very well, if you are desirous, we
will do it _directly_.” My pluck was somewhat cooled, but I cocked up
my leg, and said, “There it is; slash away.” It was five minutes, most
painful indeed, before it was extracted. The ball was jagged, and the
tendonous fibres had so grown into it, it was half dissected and half
torn out, with most excruciating torture for a moment, the forceps
breaking which had hold of the ball. George Simmons was present, whose
wound had broken out and obliged him to go to Lisbon.[19] The surgeon
wanted some linen during the operation, so I said, “George, tear a
shirt,” which my servant gave him. He turned it about, said, “No, it
is a pity; it is a good shirt;” at which I did not —— him a few, for
my leg was aching and smoking from a wound four or five inches long.
Thank God Almighty and a light heart, no sloughing occurred, and before
the wound was healed I was with the regiment. Colonel Beckwith’s ague
was cured, and he had joined his Brigade before I could move, so when I
returned to Vallé he was delighted to see his A.D.C.



I found the army in hourly expectation to move, and the Captain of my
Company—Leach—was gone sick to the rear, so I said to my Colonel, “I
must be no longer A.D.C., sir. However grateful I am, my Company wants
me.” “Ah, now you can walk a little, you leave me! Go and be d——d to
you; but I love you for the desire.” Off I started, and the very next
day we marched [6 Mar. 1811], Massena retreating out of Portugal, and
many is the skirmish we had. My leg was so painful, the wound open, and
I was so lame. When others could lie down I was on horseback, on a dear
little Spanish horse given me by James Stewart, afterwards an animal of
still greater renown.

At Pombala I had with my Company a very heavy skirmish [11 Mar.]. At
Redinha my Company was in the advance [12 Mar.], supported by Captain
O’Hare’s. A wood on our front and right was _full_ of Frenchmen. The
Light Companies of the 3rd Division came up. I asked, “Are you going
to attack that wood?” A Captain of the 88th Light Company, whom I
knew, quite laughed at my question. I said very quietly, “You will be
beat back, and when you are, I will move on the edge of the wood and
help you.” How he laughed! My prediction was very soon verified: he
was wounded, and picked up by my Company, which I moved on the right
flank of the French and stopped them immediately. I sent to my support,
O’Hare, to move up to me. The obstinate old Turk would not, and so I
was obliged to come back, and had most unnecessarily five or six men

The Plain of Redinha is a fine field for military display, and our
lines formed to attack Ney’s rearguard were magnificent. The enemy had
many guns in the field, with prolonged lines, an excellent mode for
retreat on such ground, and no rearguard was ever drawn off in more
masterly style, while I thought our attack in lines was heavy, slow,
and not half so destructive as a rush of many contiguous columns would
have been. The enemy had to retire over a bridge through the village
of Redinha, and we Riflemen sorely pressed them on their left. A line
of French infantry, concealed behind an _atalaya_ (or tower) on a
hill good for the purpose, were lying down as my Company and the one
commanded by that wonderful Rifleman, Willie Johnstone, got within
twenty yards of them. To our astonishment, up jumped the line, fired a
volley (they did not hit a man), and went about. At them we all went
like devils, a regular foot race, except for me and my little horse
Tiny, from which I could not dismount. In the pursuit he carried me
down a rock twelve feet high, and Johnstone and I got to the bridge
and cut off half a Battalion of French. So many Legions of Honour I
scarcely ever saw in a group, but the eagle was off! We _never_ told
what we had done, though we enjoyed the fun, but it is an anecdote
worthy of record in Napier’s _History_.

We were engaged with the enemy every day. The next turn up was at
Condesia [Condeixa]; the next at Casal Nova [14 Mar.], where we had as
heavy a skirmishing fight as ever occurred. We Light Division gentlemen
had our full complement of fighting, for the French were obliged to
hold a village to give their column time to retire, and if the Duke’s
orders had been obeyed, our Division ought not to have attacked until
the 3rd and 4th Divisions were well up on the Frenchmen’s left. I lost
several men that day, as did all our Companies, and particularly the
52nd. Poor Major Jack Stewart,[20] a dear little fellow, a friend of
mine, was shot through the lungs and died in three days, (Beckwith’s
Brigade-Major, Lieut. James Stewart, was in three days [28 Mar., near
Freixadas] killed off the very same little English horse, called Tom);
Strode, a Lieutenant, received his death-wound while talking to me,
etc. That night I was on picquet. The enemy were retiring all night,
but their sentries and ours were in sight. At daylight a thick fog came
on. Beckwith’s Brigade, with him at its head, moved up to where I was
posted. He said, “Come, Harry, get your Company together, and fall in
at the head of the column.” At this moment two of the 16th Dragoons
rode back, and Beckwith said, “Where do you come from?” “We have
patrolled a league and a half in the front, and seen naught.” “A league
and a half, my friend,” says old Sydney, “in a thick fog is a d——d long
way. Why, Harry, you said the vedettes were close to you.” “So they
are,” I said, “and you will be fired at the moment you advance.” We had
not gone fifty yards when “Pop! pop!” Oh, how old Sydney laughed! “A
league and a half!” But the fog was so thick we could not move, and the
enemy, hearing our column on their rear, being clear, moved off.

In a few days, as we had got well up to the French rear-guard and were
about to attack, a General Order was received, to my astonishment,
appointing me Brigade Major[21] to the 2nd Light Brigade, not dear
old Sydney’s. _He_ expected it, since he and Colonel Pakenham (dear
Sir Edward!) were trying to do something for me on account of my lame
leg. Beckwith says, “Now give your Company over to Layton, and set off
immediately to Colonel Drummond,” who commanded the Brigade. Hardly
had I reached it, when such a cannonade commenced, knocking the 52nd
about in a way I never saw before and hardly since. We were soon all
engaged, and drove the French, with very hard fighting, into and over
the river, with a severe loss in killed, prisoners, and drowned. A very
heavy fight it was, ending just before dark. I said to my Brigadier,
“Have you any orders for the picquets, sir?” He was an old Guardsman,
the kindest though oddest fellow possible. “Pray, Mr. Smith, are you my
Brigade Major?” “I believe so, sir.” “Then let me tell you, it is your
duty to post the picquets, and mine to have a d—d good dinner for you
every day.” We soon understood each other. He cooked the dinner often
himself, and I _commanded_ the Brigade.

Our next great fight was a bitter one, Sabugal [3 April]. I shall
never forget the German 1st Hussars, my old friends, moving on that
day; their singing was melodious. Sir W. Erskine commanded the cavalry
and Light Division, a near-sighted old ass, and we got _meléed_ with
Reynier’s _corps d’armée_ strongly posted on heights above Sabugal, and
attacked when the Duke intended we should have moved round their left
to Quadraseyes, as the 5th, 4th, and 3rd Divisions were to attack their
front in the centre of their position. However, we began, and never
was more gallantry mutually displayed by friend and foe than on this
occasion, particularly by dear old Beckwith and his 1st Brigade. Some
guns were taken and retaken several times. A French officer on a grey
horse was most gallant. Old Beckwith, in a voice like thunder, roared
out to the Riflemen, “Shoot that fellow, will you?” In a moment he and
his horse were knocked over, and Sydney exclaimed, “Alas! you were a
_noble fellow_.”

My Brigadier, as I soon discovered, left the command to me, so I led
away, and we came in for a pretty good share in preventing Reynier’s
turning the left of Beckwith’s Brigade. Fortunately, the 5th Division
got into action just in time, for the French at the moment were
squeezing us awfully. The Light Division, under the shout of old
Beckwith, rushed on with an impetuosity nothing could resist, for,
so checked had we been, our bloods were really up, and we paid off
the enemy most awfully. Such a scene of slaughter as there was on one
hill would appal a modern soldier. The night came on most awfully wet,
and the 5th and Light Division were sent back to Sabugal for shelter.
Most dilapidated the place was, but the roofs were on, and Sir W.
Gomm, A.Q.M.G. of the 5th, and I divided the town between us, our poor
wounded lying out in the rain and cold all night. The next morning
was fine, and as the sun rose we marched over the field of battle.
Our soldiers’ blood was then cool, and it was beautiful to hear the
remarks of sympathy for the distress of the numerous dying and wounded
all around us. Oh, you kings and usurpers should view these scenes and
moderate ambition!

This evening [4 April] we had a long march into Quadraseyes, but
did not see a vestige of the enemy all day, nor of our commissariat
either. We were literally starving. That old rogue Picton had seized
the supplies of the Light Division for his 3rd. If he be now in the
Purgatory that we condemned him to, he is to be pitied.

We closely pursued the French over the frontier, but never had a real
slap at them. Almeida, which was garrisoned by their troops, was
invested by the 5th Division, while the Light Division moved into its
old lines, Gallegos, Marialva, Carpio, and Espeja. From the French
garrison of Ciudad Rodrigo the enemy frequently came out. The Duke had
gone into the Alemtejo, and Sir Brent Spencer commanded—a regular old
woman, who allowed the French to commit all sorts of extravagances
under our noses, when a rapid move on their rear from Espeja would have
punished them. Sir W. Erskine commanded the advance Cavalry and Light

I was at breakfast one morning with Sir William Erskine, who, early in
the morning, with his staff had taken out a small party to reconnoitre
Ciudad Rodrigo. The enemy immediately sent over a detachment of cavalry
to check the advance, and a great argument occurred between Sir
William and his A.A.G., Macdonald, whether the enemy crossed one or
two squadrons. During the discussion in came Sir William’s orderly, a
clever old dragoon of the 1st German Hussars. “Ah!” says Sir William,
“here is my old orderly; he can tell us. Hussar, how many squadrons of
the enemy crossed the Agueda this morning?” With a body as stiff and
erect as a statue, and a salute with an arm braced as if in the act of
cutting down his enemy, “Just forty-nine mans, no more; I count him.”
The laugh was against both disputants.

Now occurred the dreadful disaster of the escape of the French garrison
of Almeida. I shall never forget the mortification of our soldiers or
the admiration of our officers of the brilliancy of such an attempt,
the odds being a hundred to one against success. My long friend
Ironmonger, then of the Queen’s, into whose face George Simmons threw
the bucket of water when marching, as before described, from Belem,[22]
was grievously to blame.

Massena’s army were rapidly recovering. They had received
reinforcements, and were preparing to throw into Ciudad Rodrigo a large
convoy of provisions. For this, it was necessary for them to put us
back, and the present moment seemed a favourable one, as it was the
intention ultimately to withdraw the French army to Salamanca and the
neighbouring large towns, so that no demand might be made on the ample
supplies required for Ciudad Rodrigo. At this moment Soult was making a
formidable demonstration in the Alemtejo and Estremadura, our attempt
on Badajoz had failed, and a large portion of our army had moved
towards the south; it was therefore a fair opening for Massena to drive
us over the Coa.

However, the dear Duke of Wellington took a braver view of the
situation, and concentrated his army behind Fuentes D’Oñoro, and there
fought that celebrated battle which lasted a day and a half [5 May].
General Craufurd joined us here on the day of the general action. The
soldiers received him with every demonstration of joy. The officers
at that time execrated him. I did not; he had appointed me his
A.D.C., though I would not go to him, and he was always most kind and
hospitable to me.

On the morning of this day old Sydney again distinguished himself, for
the enemy from Poza Velha turned our right flank and licked our cavalry
(14th Light Dragoons and Royals) awfully, bringing 4000 fresh fellows
against them. There never was a more heavy fight than for several hours
in the village of Fuentes. Here I saw the 79th Regiment, in an attack
on the head of a French column coming up the road, bayonet eight or
nine French officers and upwards of 100 men, the only real bayonet
conflict I ever witnessed. After the battle of Fuentes d’Oñoro, the
French retired unmolested, for we were glad to get rid of them. As
they had such a formidable body of cavalry, on that open country we
literally could not molest them.

At this time almost all our army moved into the Alemtejo _viâ_
Arronchas, where, on Sir John Moore’s advance to Salamanca, I had a
nice quarter which I occupied four different times during the war. The
poor family were always delighted to see me. On our advance into the
Alemtejo we heard of the bloody battle of Albuera [16 May], and many of
us rode on to see the field, which was well demonstrated by the lines
of dead bodies, a most sanguinary conflict, and beautifully and truly
described by Napier.

I must here record a most ridiculous night alarm the Light Division
had, although leagues from any enemy, on their march into the Alemtejo.
A drove of bullocks galloped over our men asleep in the bivouac, and
for some time the officers could hardly persuade our best soldiers they
were not French cavalry. My Brigadier, Drummond, was sleeping under a
tree on his little portable iron bedstead. The light of a fire showed
him, to my amusement, in his shirt (not a very long one), endeavouring
to climb into the tree. I fell in his guard, and manfully charged
_nothing_ up a road leading to our camp, while General Craufurd lay on
his back laughing to hysterics, poor fellow. Drummond soon after died
at Guinaldo, in my arms, of a putrid sore throat, and Craufurd was
killed in the storm of Ciudad Rodrigo.

During all this summer our army was assembled watching Soult, who
neither attacked us nor we him. Never did we spend a more inactive
summer. The enemy from Ciudad Rodrigo moved on Castello Branco, and
threatened thereby our left flank and line of communication over the
Tagus. When Soult could no longer feed his assembled army, he retired,
and our Light Division were rapidly moved on Castello Branco, the
remainder of the army of the north following.

Our army this autumn was cantoned, as near as it could be fed, on
the frontiers to watch Ciudad Rodrigo, which the Duke contemplated
besieging. After the death of General Drummond, Major-General Vandeleur
was appointed to my Brigade, a fine, gentleman-like old Irish hero. We
were quartered at Martiago, and our Division, some at El Bodon, others
at Zamora, Guinaldo, etc. It was a very hot autumn, but towards the end
of the year, when the rains commenced, there was capital coursing.

General Craufurd this year, in one of his mad freaks, reported that
the Light Division was in want of clothing, etc., and it must go to
the rear. The Duke ordered us to march one cold night over the Agueda
to Larade, not far from Guinaldo, for his inspection. A great scene
occurred. Craufurd had not arrived before the Duke rode down the line,
and the Duke laughed and said, “Craufurd, you are late.” “No, my Lord;
you are before your time. _My watch_ is to be depended on.” (I was
riding a brown mare which I gave £120 for to Charlie Rowan, who had
been thrown by her, after buying her from General Craufurd because _he_
could not ride her. The mare charged the Duke, I on her back. “Hallo,
Smith,” says the Duke, “your horse masters you.”) The Duke, to _our_
delight, says to General Craufurd, “I never saw the Light Division look
better or more ready for service. March back to your quarters; I shall
soon require you in the field.” About this time Marmont moved up to
Ciudad Rodrigo with an enormous convoy of provisions, and he compelled
the Duke to assemble, and the brilliant affair of cavalry and squares
of infantry behind El Bodon took place [24 Sept.].

About this time we had some heavy and laborious manœuvring, night
marches, etc. During these movements we marched a dark night’s march
from Guinaldo, and, as the road was wet and far from good, we had
several checks in the column, when I heard a conversation between
a 16th Light Dragoon and one of the German 1st Hussars, neither of
whom had abstained from the ingredient which formed the subject. 16th
Dragoon: “I say, Hussar, I likes it strong and hot and sweet, and
plenty of ——. How do you like it?” Hussar: “I likes him raw.”

Marmont, having accomplished his object, fell back, and we returned
to our old cantonments. The Duke of Wellington’s dispatch dated
“Quadrasies, Sept. 29,” so fully details all these operations and shows
the beauty of the manœuvres so distinctly, I may confine myself to what
occurred the evening General Pakenham’s brigade had such a formidable
brush at Aldea de Ponte.

The 4th Division was to return at dusk, as was the Light. I was lying
in bivouac, talking to General Craufurd and John Bell, when a dragoon
rode up with a note from General Cole, requesting Craufurd to send
an officer as a guide to lead his division to the heights of Rendo at
dusk. I said, “Oh, John Bell will go, of course.” “No,” says John;
“Harry Smith knows the road best.” So I was ordered to go. Before I
reached Cole it was dark. I found his Division moving: they were all
right. I reported myself to him—the first time I had ever spoken to
him. Colonel Brooke, brother of the “Shannon” Brooke, his Q.M.G., was
with him. “Oh,” says Cole, “sent by Craufurd, are you? Do you know the
road?” We Light Division gentlemen were proper saucy fellows. I said,
“I suppose I should not have been sent if I had not.” “Ugh,” says Cole,
as hot as pepper. Here I may remark upon the difficulty there is at
night to know roads, even for one well acquainted with them. Fires
lighting, fires going out, the covering of the country with troops—such
things change the face of nature, and a little anxiety adds to the
difficulty. Cole, a most anxious man, kept saying, “Are you sure you
know the road, sir?” etc., etc., etc. At last I said, “General Cole,
if you will let me alone, I will conduct your Division; if you thus
attract my attention, I cannot.” It was an anxious moment, I admit. I
was just at a spot where I might miss the road, a great road which I
knew was near. I galloped ahead to look for it, and oh, how General
Cole did blow me up! I found my road, though, and so soon as the head
of the column had fairly reached it, I said, “Good night, General,”
and in a moment was in full speed, while he was hallooing to me to
come back. I had some difficulty in finding my own Division, which
was moving parallel with the force. When I told Craufurd of my first
acquaintance with that hot Irishman Cole, how he laughed! Poor dear Sir
Lowry! I was afterwards A.Q.M.G. to him after the battle of Waterloo,
and served under him as Commandant of Cape Castle and Senior Member of
Council when he was Governor, and many is the laugh we have had at our
first acquaintance.

On one of our marches from the Alemtejo to the north, in a house
where General Drummond and I were quartered at Idanha a Nova, a
very facetious Portuguese gentleman showed us a sort of a return of
the British, so incorrect that General Drummond laughed at it; but
Charlie Rowan, our A.A.G. (now the great policeman in London[23]), who
was dining with General Drummond, told this anecdote at the Duke’s
table at Guinaldo, and I was sent back about 150 miles to fetch my
friend. I could speak Portuguese as well as English. I therefore
persuaded our hero to accompany me to the Duke without telling why,
but a more unpleasant ride than this, in charge of my friend and all
alone, without groom, etc., I never had, and many was the blessing
I bestowed on Charlie Rowan’s tongue. I delivered my friend to the
Adjutant-General at Guinaldo, and had twenty-four miles to join my
General at Robledillo.



As the winter approached we had private theatricals. The Duke appointed
so many days for horse races, greyhound matches, etc., and the very
day they were to come off, which was well known to the French army, we
invested Ciudad Rodrigo, namely, on the 8th of January, 1812, and that
very night carried by storm the outworks called Fort San Francisco, up
to which spot it took the French several days to approach. We broke
ground, and thus the siege commenced.

When the detachments of the Light Division Brigades were parading,
my Brigade was to furnish 400 men. I understood four Companies, and
when Colonel Colborne (now Lord Seaton) was counting them, he said,
“There are not the complement of men.” I said, “I am sorry if I
have mistaken.” “Oh, never mind; run and bring another Company.” I
mention this to show what a cool, noble fellow he is. Many an officer
would have stormed like fury. He only thought of storming Fort San
Francisco, which he carried in a glorious manner.[24]

The siege was carried on by four Divisions—1st, 3rd, 4th, and Light,
cantoned as near Ciudad Rodrigo as possible. One Division was on duty
at a time, and each had to ford the Agueda the day it was for duty. The
Light was at El Bodon. We had a distance of nine miles to march every
fourth day, and back on the fifth, so that we had only three days’
halt. The frost was excessive, and there was some little snow, but
fortunately the weather was fine above head.

The Light Division stormed the little breach on the evening of the 19th
of January (nine o’clock). I was supping with my dear friend Captain
Uniacke, and brother Tom, his only subaltern not wounded. When I parted
from Uniacke—he was a noble, light-hearted fellow—he says, “Harry, you
will be a Captain before morning.” Little, poor fellow, did he think he
was to make the vacancy. I was senior subaltern of the 95th, and I went
to General Craufurd and volunteered the forlorn hope that was given to
Gurwood. Craufurd said, “Why, you cannot go; you, a Major of Brigade,
a senior Lieutenant, you are sure to get a Company. No, I must give it
to a younger officer.” This was to me a laborious night. Just as my
Brigade had to march, I discovered the Engineer officer had not brought
up the ladders, fascines, and bundles of hay, and old George Simmons
was sent for them.

In ascending the breach, I got on a ravelin at the head of the 43rd and
52nd, moving in column together. Colborne pulled me down again, and up
the right breach we ascended. I saw the great breach, stormed by the
3rd Division, was ably defended, and a line behind a work which, as
soon as we rushed along the ramparts, we could enfilade. I seized a
Company of the 43rd and rushed on the flank, and opened a fire which
destroyed every man behind the works. My conduct caused great annoyance
to the Captain, Duffy, with whom I had some very high words; but the
Company obeyed me, and then ran on with poor Uniacke’s Company to meet
the 3rd Division, or rather clear the ramparts to aid them, when the
horrid explosion took place which killed General Mackinnon of the 3rd
Division on the spot and many soldiers, awfully scorching others. I and
Uniacke were much scorched, but some splinters of an ammunition chest
lacerated him and caused his death three days after the storm. Tom, my
brother, was not hurt.

I shall never forget the concussion when it struck me, throwing me back
many feet into a lot of charged fuses of shells, which in the confusion
I took for shells. But a gallant fellow, a Sergeant MacCurrie, 52nd
Regiment, soon put me right, and prevented me leaping into the ditch.
My cocked hat was blown away, my clothes all singed; however the
sergeant, a noble fellow, lent me a catskin forage-cap, and on we
rushed to meet the 3rd Division, which we soon did. It was headed by a
great, big thundering Grenadier of the 88th, a Lieutenant Stewart, and
one of his men seized me by the throat as if I were a kitten, crying
out, “You French ——.” Luckily, he left me room in the windpipe to d——
his eyes, or the bayonet would have been through me in a moment.

Gurwood got great credit here unfairly. Willie Johnstone[25] and poor
Uniacke were the two first on the ramparts, Gurwood having been knocked
down in the breach and momentarily stunned, which enabled them to get
before him. However, Gurwood’s a sharp fellow, and he cut off in search
of the Governor, and brought his sword to the Duke, and Lord Fitzroy
Somerset buckled it on him in the breach. Gurwood made the _most_ of it.

We had many officers of rank wounded. George Napier, of the 52nd, lost
an arm; the General of Brigade, Vandeleur, was wounded severely in the
shoulder; and Colonel Colborne, of the 52nd, received an awful wound,
but he never quitted his Regiment until the city was perfectly ours,
and his Regiment all collected. A musket-ball had struck him under
the epaulette of his right shoulder, and broken the head of the bone
right off in the socket. To this the attention of the surgeons was of
course directed. Some months after Colborne complained of a pain four
inches below where the ball entered, and suppuration took place, and
by surgical treatment the bone was gradually exposed. The ball, after
breaking the arm above, had descended and broken the arm four inches
below, and was firmly embedded in the bone. The pain he suffered in the
extraction of the ball was more even than his iron heart could bear. He
used to lay his watch on the table and allow the surgeons five minutes’
exertions at a time, and they were three or four days before they
wrenched the ball from its ossified bed. In three weeks from that day
Colborne was in the Pyrenees, and in command of his Regiment. Of course
the shoulder joint was anchylosed, but he had free use of the arm below
the elbow.

After this siege we had a few weeks’ holiday, with the exception of
shooting some rascals who had deserted to the enemy. Eleven knelt on
one grave at Ituero. It is an awful ceremony, a military execution.
I was Major of Brigade of the day. The Provost-Marshal had not told
the firing off, so that a certain number of men should shoot one
culprit, and so on, but at his signal the whole party fired a volley.
Some prisoners were fortunate enough to be _killed_, others were only
wounded, some untouched. I galloped up. An unfortunate Rifleman called
to me by name—he was awfully wounded—“Oh, Mr. Smith, put me out of my
misery,” and I literally ordered the firing-party, when reloaded, to
run up and shoot the poor wretches. It was an awful scene.

          “Blood he had viewed, but then
    It flowed in combat....”



At this period of the year (February, March) the coursing in this part
of Spain is capital, and by help of my celebrated dog Moro and two
other excellent ones, I supplied the officers’ mess of every Company
with hares for soup. We had a short repose, for the army moved into
Estremadura for the purpose of besieging Badajos. We Light, 3rd and
4th Divisions, thought, as we had taken Ciudad Rodrigo, others would
have the pleasure of the trenches of Badajos, but on our reaching Elvas
[17 Feb., 1812] we were very soon undeceived, and we were destined
for the duty,—to our mortification, for soldiers hate sieges and
working-parties. The Guards work better than any soldiers, from their
habits in London. Badajos was invested by the 3rd, 4th, and Light
Divisions on the Spanish side, or left bank of the river, and by the
5th Division[26] on the Portuguese side, or right bank. On the night
of the 17th March, St. Patrick’s Day, the Light Division broke ground
under a deluge of rain, which swelled the Guadiana so as to threaten
our bridge of boats. Our duties in the trenches were most laborious
during the whole siege, and much hard fighting we had, sorties, etc.
The night [26 Mar.] the outworks La Picurina was carried by my dear
friend Sir James Kempt, part of the 3rd Division (which was his) were
to compose the storming party. The Light Division, the working party,
consequently were sent to the Engineer Park for the ladders. When they
arrived, General Kempt ordered them to be planted (Sir H. Hardinge,
D.Q.M.G. of the Portuguese army, was here distinguished). The boys of
the 3rd Division said to our fellows, “Come, stand out of the way;”
to which our fellows replied, “D—— your eyes, do you think we Light
Division fetch ladders for such chaps as you to climb up? Follow
us”—springing on the ladders, and many of them were knocked over. A
notorious fellow, a Sergeant Brotherwood, a noble fellow on duty, told
me this anecdote. The siege was prosecuted with the same vigour from
without with which it was repelled from within.

After some hours in the trenches, when we returned I invariably ate and
went out coursing, and many is the gallant course I had, and many the
swift hare I and my dog Moro brought home from the right bank of the
Guadiana. One day James Stewart, I, and Charlie Eeles set off, having
three hours off duty, to look for a hare or two at a celebrated spot
where the hares ran very strong because there was a rabbit warren
which saved them. Moro, of course, was of the party. We soon found
an unusually strong hare, and, although the greyhounds fetched round
a dozen times, she still worked her way for the warren. I was riding
a great stupid Irish horse bought from General Vandeleur, called
Paddy, and as it was important for the soup to kill this hare, however
unsportsmanlike on quiet occasions it would be deemed, I rode to head
her from the warren. My stupid beast of a horse put his foot into a
hole and rolled over me. Stewart and Eeles picked me up, but I was
insensible. Although I have generally managed on such occasions to get
away from the horse, the animal had rolled over me, and when I came to
myself I was sitting on Eeles’ knee, my arms tied up with a whip-thong,
and James Stewart, with a blunt-looking penknife, trying to bleed me,
an operation I quickly prohibited by starting on to my legs. Moro
killed his hare, though, without my help.

On the night of the 6th April the 3rd Division were to storm the
citadel, the 4th and Light the great breach, the 5th the Olivença
Gate, and to escalade, if possible. The command of the Light Division
had devolved on Colonel Barnard. Vandeleur was wounded, and stayed at
Portalegre, and poor Beckwith had gone to the rear with violent ague;
he never joined us again, noble soldier that he was.

This escalade has been so frequently described, I shall only say that
when the head of the Light Division arrived at the ditch of the place
it was a beautiful moonlight night. Old Alister Cameron, who was in
command of four Companies of the 95th Regiment, extended along the
counterscape to attract the enemy’s fire, while the column planted
their ladders and descended, came up to Barnard and said, “Now my men
are ready; shall I begin?” “No, certainly not,” says Barnard. The
breach and the works were full of the enemy, looking quietly at us,
but not fifty yards off and most prepared, although _not firing a
shot_. So soon as our ladders were all ready posted, and the column in
the very act to move and rush down the ladders, Barnard called out,
“_Now_, Cameron!” and the first shot from us brought down such a hail
of fire as I shall never forget, nor ever saw before or since. It was
most murderous. We flew down the ladders and rushed at the breach, but
we were broken, and carried no weight with us, although every soldier
was a hero. The breach was covered by a breastwork from behind, and
ably defended on the top by _chevaux-de-frises_ of sword-blades, sharp
as razors, chained to the ground; while the ascent to the top of the
breach was covered with planks with sharp nails in them. However, devil
a one did I feel at this moment. One of the officers of the forlorn
hope, Lieut. Taggart of the 43rd, was hanging on my arm—a mode we
adopted to help each other up, for the ascent was most difficult and
steep. A Rifleman stood among the sword-blades on the top of one of
the _chevaux-de-frises_. We made a glorious rush to follow, but, alas!
in vain. He was knocked over. My old captain, O’Hare, who commanded
the storming party, was killed. All were awfully wounded except, I do
believe, myself and little Freer of the 43rd. I had been some seconds
at the _revêtement_ of the bastion near the breach, and my red-coat
pockets were literally filled with chips of stones splintered by
musket-balls. Those not knocked down were driven back by this hail
of mortality to the ladders. At the foot of them I saw poor Colonel
Macleod with his hands on his breast—the man who lent me his horse when
wounded at the bridge on the Coa. He said, “Oh, Smith, I am mortally
wounded. Help me up the ladder.” I said, “Oh no, dear fellow!” “I am,”
he said; “be quick!” I did so, and came back again. Little Freer and I
said, “Let us throw down the ladders; the fellows shan’t go out.” Some
soldiers behind said, “D—— your eyes, if you do we will bayonet you!”
and we were literally forced up with the crowd. My sash had got loose,
and one end of it was fast in the ladder, and the bayonet was very
nearly applied, but the sash by pulling became loose. So soon as we got
on the glacis, up came a fresh Brigade of the Portuguese of the 4th
Division. I never saw any soldiers behave with more pluck. Down into
the ditch we all went again, but the more we tried to get up, the more
we were destroyed. The 4th Division followed us in marching up to the
breach, and they made a most uncommon noise. The French saw us, but
took no notice. Sir Charles Colville, commanding the 4th Division (Cole
having been wounded at Albuera), made a devil of a noise, too, on the
glacis. Both Divisions were fairly beaten back; we never carried either
breach (nominally there were two breaches).

After the attacks upon the breaches, some time before daylight Lord
Fitzroy Somerset came to our Division. I think I was almost the first
officer who spoke to him. He said, “Where is Barnard?” I didn’t know,
but I assured his Lordship he was neither killed nor wounded. A few
minutes after his Lordship said that the Duke desired the Light and
4th Divisions to storm again. “The devil!” says I. “Why, we have had
enough; we are all knocked to pieces.” Lord Fitzroy says, “I dare say,
but you must try again.” I smiled and said, “If we could not succeed
with two whole fresh and unscathed Divisions, we are likely to make
a poor show of it now. But we will try again with all our might.”
Scarcely had this conversation occurred when a bugle sounded within
the breach, indicating what had occurred at the citadel and Puerto de
Olivença; and here ended all the fighting. Our fellows would have gone
at it again when collected and put into shape, but we were just as well
pleased that our attempt had so attracted the attention of the enemy as
greatly to facilitate that success which assured the prize contended

There is no battle, day or night, I would not willingly react except
this. The murder of our gallant officers and soldiers is not to be
believed. Next day I and Charlie Beckwith, a brother Brigade-Major,
went over the scene. It was _appalling_. Heaps on heaps of slain,—in
one spot lay nine officers. Whilst we were there, Colonel Allen of
the Guards came up, and beckoned me to him. I saw that, in place of
congratulating me, he looked very dull. “What’s the matter?” I said.
“Do you not know my brother in the Rifles was killed last night?” “God
help him and you! no, for I and we all loved him.” In a flood of tears,
he looked round and pointed to a body. “There he lies.” He had a pair
of scissors with him. “Go and cut off a lock of his hair for my mother.
I came for the purpose, but I am not equal to doing it.”

The returns of killed and wounded and the evident thin appearance
of our camp at once too plainly told the loss we had sustained. O
memorable night of glory and woe! for, although the 4th and Light were
so beaten, our brilliant and numerous attacks induced the governor to
concentrate all his force in the breaches; thus the 3rd escaladed the
citadel, and the 5th got in by the Olivença gate. Although we lost so
many stout hearts, so many dear friends and comrades, yet not one staff
officer of our Division was killed or wounded. We had all been struck.
My clothes were cut by musket-balls, and I had several contusions,
particularly one on my left thigh.

Now comes a scene of horror I would willingly bury in oblivion.
The atrocities committed by our soldiers on the poor innocent and
defenceless inhabitants of the city, no words suffice to depict.
Civilized man, when let loose and the bonds of morality relaxed, is a
far greater beast than the savage, more refined in his cruelty, more
fiend-like in every act; and oh, too truly did our heretofore noble
soldiers disgrace themselves, though the officers exerted themselves to
the utmost to repress it, many who had escaped the enemy being wounded
in their merciful attempts! Yet this scene of debauchery, however cruel
to many, to me has been the solace and the whole happiness of my life
for thirty-three years. A poor defenceless maiden of thirteen years was
thrown upon my generous nature through her sister, as described so ably
in Johnny Kincaid’s book, of which this is an extract—

 “I was conversing with a friend the day after, at the door of his
 tent, when we observed two ladies coming from the city, who made
 directly towards us; they seemed both young, and when they came near,
 the elder of the two threw back her _mantilla_ to address us, showing
 a remarkably handsome figure, with fine features; but her sallow,
 sun-burnt, and careworn, though still youthful, countenance showed
 that in her ‘the time for tender thoughts and soft endearments had
 fled away and gone.’

 “She at once addressed us in that confident, heroic manner so
 characteristic of the high-bred Spanish maiden, told us who they
 were—the last of an ancient and honourable house—and referred to an
 officer high in rank in our army, who had been quartered there in the
 days of her prosperity, for the truth of her tale.

 “Her husband, she said, was a Spanish officer in a distant part of the
 kingdom; he might, or he might not, still be living. But yesterday
 she and this her young sister were able to live in affluence and in
 a handsome house; to-day they knew not where to lay their heads,
 where to get a change of raiment or a morsel of bread. Her house, she
 said, was a wreck; and, to show the indignities to which they had
 been subjected, she pointed to where the blood was still trickling
 down their necks, caused by the wrenching of their ear-rings through
 the flesh by the hands of worse than savages, who would not take the
 trouble to unclasp them!

 “For herself, she said, she cared not; but for the agitated and almost
 unconscious maiden by her side, whom she had but lately received over
 from the hands of her conventual instructresses, she was in despair,
 and knew not what to do; and that, in the rapine and ruin which was
 at that moment desolating the city, she saw no security for her but
 the seemingly indelicate one she had adopted—of coming to the camp and
 throwing themselves upon the protection of any British officer who
 would afford it; and so great, she said, was her faith in our national
 character, that she knew the appeal would not be made in vain, nor the
 confidence abused. Nor was it made in vain! Nor could it be abused,
 for she stood by the side of an angel! A being more transcendingly
 lovely I had never before seen—one more amiable I have never yet known!

 “Fourteen summers had not yet passed over her youthful countenance,
 which was of a delicate freshness—more English than Spanish; her face,
 though not perhaps rigidly beautiful, was nevertheless so remarkably
 handsome, and so irresistibly attractive, surmounting a figure cast in
 nature’s fairest mould, that to look at her was to love her; and I did
 love her, but I never told my love, and in the mean time another and
 a more impudent fellow stepped in and won her! But yet I was happy,
 for in him she found such a one as her loveliness and her misfortunes
 claimed—a man of honour, and a husband in every way worthy of her!

 “That a being so young, so lovely, and so interesting, just
 emancipated from the gloom of a convent, unknowing of the world and to
 the world unknown, should thus have been wrecked on a sea of troubles,
 and thrown on the mercy of strangers under circumstances so dreadful,
 so uncontrollable, and not have sunk to rise no more, must be the
 wonder of every one. Yet from the moment she was thrown on her own
 resources, her star was in the ascendant.

 “Guided by a just sense of rectitude, an innate purity of mind, a
 singleness of purpose which defied malice, and a soul that soared
 above circumstances, she became alike the adored of the camp and of
 the drawing-room, and eventually the admired associate of princes. She
 yet lives, in the affections of her gallant husband, in an elevated
 situation in life, a pattern to her sex, and everybody’s _beau ideal_
 of what a wife should be.”[27]

I confess myself to be the “more impudent fellow,” and if any reward
is due to a soldier, never was one so honoured and distinguished as
I have been by the possession of this dear child (for she was little
more than a child at this moment), one with a sense of honour no knight
ever exceeded in the most romantic days of chivalry, an understanding
superior to her years, a masculine mind with a force of character no
consideration could turn from her own just sense of rectitude, and all
encased in a frame of Nature’s fairest and most delicate moulding,
the figure of an angel, with an eye of light and an expression which
then inspired me with a maddening love which, from that period to this
(now thirty-three years), has never abated under many and the most
trying circumstances. Thus, as good may come out of evil, this scene
of devastation and spoil yielded to me a treasure invaluable; to me
who, among so many dear friends, had escaped all dangers; to me, a wild
youth not meriting such reward, and, however desirous, never able to
express half his gratitude to God Almighty for such signal marks of His
blessing shown to so young and so thoughtless a being. From that day to
this she has been my guardian angel. She has shared with me the dangers
and privations, the hardships and fatigues, of a restless life of war
in every quarter of the globe. No murmur has ever escaped her. Bereft
of every relative, of every tie to her country but the recollection of
it, united to a man of different though Christian religion, yet that
man has been and is her all, on whom have hinged the closed portals
of hope, happiness, and bliss; if opened, misery, destitution, and
bereavement, and every loss language can depict summed up in _one_
word, “_He_ is lost to me.” But, O my God, Thou hast kindly spared us
for each other; we have, through Thy grace, been but little separated,
and we have, in unison of soul, received at Thy holy altar the Blessed
Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.[28] May we, through His
mediation, be still spared to each other in this life, and in the life
to come be eternally united in Heaven!

After the disorganization our troops had rushed into, it became the
duty of every officer to exert himself, and nobly did Colonel Barnard
set about the task, and ably supported was he by every officer in the
Division. We had not marched for the north two days when our soldiers
were, like Richard, “themselves again.” When the French garrison
were marched to the rear, my Brigade furnished an escort to the next
Division _en route_ to Elvas. I paraded upwards of four thousand
very orderly, fine-looking fellows. Many of the officers praised the
gallantry of our men, and all said, “Why break ground at all with such
soldiers? Had you stormed on the rainy night of the 17th March, you
would have taken the place with half the loss.” This is creditable to
us, but the Duke of Wellington would have been by no means borne out in
such an attempt.

However, as all this writing is to show rather my individual
participation in these scenes of glory and bloodshed, I must dwell a
little upon the joy of my marriage. I was only twenty-two, my wife
just on the verge of fourteen.[29] But in southern climates Nature
more early develops herself and attains maturity. Every day was an
increase of joy. Although both of us were of the quickest tempers, we
were both ready to forgive, and both intoxicated in happiness. All
my dearest friends—Charlie Beckwith, John Bell, Johnstone, Charlie
Eeles, Jack Molloy, etc.—were saying to themselves, “Alas! poor Harry
Smith is lost, who was the example of a duty-officer previously. It
is only natural he must neglect duty now.” I assured them all that the
contrary would be the case, for love would incite me to exertions in
hopes of preferment, the only mode I had to look to for a comfortable
maintenance; and my wife’s love, aided by her good sense, would see
I was never neglecting her if engaged in the performance of my duty.
Conscientiously did I act up to my feeling then, and no one ever did or
ever could say, I was out of my place night or day.

My duty was my duty—I gloried in it; my wife even still more so, and
never did she say, “You might have been with me,” or complain if I
was away. On the contrary, after many a day’s fatiguing march, when
I sought her out in the baggage or awaiting me, her first question
invariably was, “Are you sure you have done all your duty?” _Then_ I
admit my attention was unbounded, and we were happy—oh, how happy,
often amidst scenes of distress and privation that would have appalled
stouter hearts, not devoted like ours! And oh, when I reflect on God’s
mercy to us both! In a succession of the most brilliant battles for
years I was never even wounded, and, although I say it, no man ever
exposed himself in every way more as a soldier, or rode harder as a
sportsman. Wonderful, most wonderful, have been my hairbreadth escapes
from falls of horses under and over me all over the world.



But to the thread of my narrative. Hardly had we reached the frontier
of Portugal [24 April, 1812], our old haunts, Ituero, Guinaldo,
etc., when our army moved on again for Spain, and fought the Battle
of Salamanca. Before this battle we had an immense deal of marching
and manœuvring. The armies of Marmont and Wellington were close to
each other for several days, so that a trifling occurrence would have
brought on a general action, and we were frequently under cannonade.

My wife could not ride in the least at first, and oh, the difficulty
I had! although she had frequently ridden a donkey on her pilgrimage
to Olivença, once to avoid the siege of Badajos, and at other times
to her grandmother’s at Almendrajos.[30] However, I had one of my
saddles turned into a side-saddle most ably by a soldier of Ross’s
Troop of Horse Artillery, and at first made her ride a great brute
of a Portuguese horse I had; but she so rapidly improved, took such
pains, had so much practice and naturally good nerves, that she soon
got ashamed of her Portuguese horse, and wanted to ride my Spanish
little fellow, who had so nobly carried me at Redinha and in many other
fights. I always said, “When you can ride as well as you can dance
and sing, you shall,” for in those accomplishments she was perfect.
In crossing the Tormes [21 July], the very night before the battle of
Salamanca (there are quicksands in the river), her Portuguese horse was
so cowardly he alarmed me, and hardly had we crossed the river when
a clap of thunder, louder than anything that can be described, burst
over our heads. The Portuguese horse was in such a funk, she abjured
_all Portuguese_, and insisted hereafter on riding her own gallant
countryman, as gallant as any Arab. He was an Andalusian, which is a
thorough-bred descendant of the Moosul horse, which is literally an
Arab. The next day she mounted her Tiny, and rode him ever afterwards
over many an eventful field, until the end of the war at Toulouse. She
had him afterwards at my father’s house. The affection between them
was of the character of that between spaniel and master. The dear,
gallant horse lived to twenty-nine years of age, and died a happy
pensioner on my brother Charles’s estate.

It is difficult to say who was the proudest on the morning of the
battle [22 July], horse, wife, or Enrique (as I was always called).
She caracoled him about among the soldiers, to their delight, for he
was broken in like a Mameluke, though very difficult to ride. (The
soldiers of the whole Division loved her with enthusiasm from the
events so peculiar in her history, and she would laugh and talk with
all, which a soldier loves. Blackguards as many of the poor gallant
fellows were, there was not a man who would not have laid down his life
to defend her, and among the officers she was adored, and consulted on
all occasions of baggage-guard, etc.) Her attendant, who also had a led
horse in case of accident, with a little tent and a funny little pair
of lanterns, my dear, trusty old groom West, as the battle began, took
her to the rear, much to her annoyance, and in the thunder of cannon,
the pride of equestrianism was buried in anxiety for him on whom her
all depended. She and West slept on the field of battle, he having made
a bed for her with the green wheat he had cut just in full ear. She had
to hold her horse all night, and he ate all her bed of green wheat, to
her juvenile amusement; for a creature so gay and vivacious, with all
her sound sense, the earth never produced.

Next morning soon after daylight she joined me on the march. I was at
that time so afflicted with boils, I could hardly live on horseback.
I had eleven immense ones at the time on my legs and thighs, the
excruciating pain of which is not to be described. Our surgeon, old Joe
Bowker, insisted on my going to Salamanca, and one particular boil on
the bone of the inside of my knee proved a more irresistible argument.
So to Salamanca I had to go, my brother Tom doing my duty. I stayed
fourteen days at Salamanca, a time of love and excitement, although,
so distressed was the army for money, we lived almost on our rations,
except for a little assistance from the lady of our house in coffee,
etc. Wade, Sir Lowry Cole’s A.D.C., lent me one dollar out of forty
which he had received to support his General (who had been severely
wounded in the battle), and his staff. In such times of privation
heroism is required which our countrymen little dream of.

At the end of the fourteen days I had as many boils as ever, but, boils
and all, off we started, and rode some terrible distances for three or
four days. We overtook the Division, to the joy of the soldiers, before
we crossed the Guadarama Pass [11 Aug.]. There had been no fighting in
my absence, thank God.

We soon reached the neighbourhood of Madrid. No city could be better
laid out for pomp and show, and the Duke’s entry [13 Aug.] was a most
brilliant spectacle. My vivacious wife used to enjoy her native
capital, and in her admiration treated London and Paris as villages in
comparison. We spent a very happy time. It was a great amusement to
improve our wardrobe for the walk on the elegant Prado of an evening,
in which no love among the Spanish beauties showed to greater advantage
than my Estremenha, or native of Estremadura. During our stay in the
vicinity of Madrid we made several agreeable acquaintances, among
others the vicar of one of the many rich villages around Madrid,
Vicalbaro, a highly educated and clever fellow, a great sportsman and
excellent shot, with a morbid hatred to a Frenchman. Upon our moving
forward beyond Madrid as far as the beautiful and _clean_ city Alcala
[23 Oct.], I was brought in contact with the celebrated and unfortunate
General Elio, whom I had known in South America at Monte Video. He was
very conversational, and we had a long talk as to that colonial war;
but, as I was acting as interpreter for my friend James Stewart, the
A.Q.M.G. of our Division, who was making arrangements of march with
Elio, conversation on the past turned into plans for the future. We
moved forwards towards our right to Arganda [27 Oct.]. At this period
the Duke had gone to Burgos, and Lord Hill commanded. We soon felt
the loss of our decided and far-seeing chief, and we made marches and
counter-marches we were unaccustomed to. At ten at night, at Arganda,
Major-General Vandeleur received an order from General Alten, who
remained in Alcala, to march immediately back to Alcala with the whole
Division. Vandeleur sent for me and told me to order the assembly to
sound. I remonstrated and prayed him to wait until two hours before
daylight, for every soldier in the Division had more or less indulged
in the wine for which Arganda was celebrated. The good general had been
at the shrine of Bacchus too, and was uncontrollable. Blast went the
assembly, and staggering to their alarm-posts went the soldiers. Such
a scene of good-natured riot I had never seen in my own Division. With
the Duke we generally had a sort of hint we might be wanted, and our
tried soldiers would be as steady as rocks. Oh, such a dark night’s
march as we had back to Alcala! Vandeleur repented of his obstinacy,
and well he might.

We halted the next day at Alcala. Here, although it was now October,
it was evident to me that a long retreat to the frontier was about to
be undertaken, and I got from a Spanish officer, called Labrador, his
fine large Andalusian horse in exchange for an Irish brute I had bought
from General Vandeleur. He gave me three Spanish doubloons to boot, a
fortune in those days, particularly to me.

These three doubloons were given to my vivacious Spanish wife, who
put them up most carefully in my portmanteau, among my few shirts. On
the march the motion of the mule had shaken them out of place, the
doubloons were gone, and all our fortune! Her horror, poor girl, is not
to be described. She knew it was our all, and her delight when I gave
the treasure into her charge was now more than eclipsed by the misery
of the loss. I only laughed, for in those days hardships and privations
were so common, they were missed when comparative affluence supplied
their place.

We marched [30 Oct.] to Madrid, or rather its suburbs, where the poor
inhabitants were in indescribable distress, seeing that they were
again to be abandoned to French clemency and contributions. While our
troops were halted, waiting for orders whether to bivouac or whether
to retire, to our astonishment up came the Vicar of Vicalbaro. He
took me on one side, and told me most pathetically that he had made
himself so obnoxious to the French, he feared to stay, and had come
to crave my protection. This I gladly promised. While I described to
him the hardships a winter retreat would impose upon him and us, he
said gallantly, “I am young and healthy like yourselves; what you
suffer, I can. My only fear is that I may inconvenience you and my
young countrywoman, your wife.” I laughed, and called her. She was
all fun, notwithstanding the loss of the doubloons, and began to quiz
him; but in the midst of her raillery he observed, as he said to me
afterwards, her soul of kindness, and the Padre was installed in my
establishment, while my old comrades laughed and said, “Harry Smith
will do, now he has a father confessor,” by which name the Padre always
went—“Harry Smith’s confessor.” The hour or two of halt was occupied by
the Padre in buying a pony, which he soon effected, and his marching
establishment, a few shirts, with an immense _capa_, or cloak, almost
as much as the pony could carry.

It rained in torrents, and we marched to Aravaca, some miles to the
rear of the capital, where we found Lord Hill’s headquarters in
possession of every hole in the village, which was a very small one.
General Vandeleur, who was still suffering from his wound at Ciudad
Rodrigo, found a Captain of the Waggon Train in possession of a small
house. In walks the General to a nice clean little room with a cheerful
fire. “Who are you, sir?” says the General. “I am Captain ——, of the
Royal Waggon Train, attached to Lord Hill, and this house is given
me for my quarters.” “I, sir, am General Vandeleur, and am d——d glad
to see you in my quarters for _five minutes_.” The poor Captain very
quietly packed up his traps and went—I know not where.

I, my young wife, the Padre, all my greyhounds and dogs, about
thirteen, got into a little hole about six feet square, and were glad
enough to get out of the rain, for, though my wife had her little tent,
that, pitched on exceedingly wet ground, was a horrid shelter for any
one. Owing to the kindness of our Provost-Marshal (Mr. Stanway), I got
my horses also under a kind of out-office. We marched the next day to
the foot of the Guadarama Pass, where our soldiers, when dismissed in
bivouac, had a fine hunt after a wild boar, which they killed. The
sunshine brightened, and when I returned from a variety of duties I
found the young wife as neat as a new pin in her little tent, her habit
and all her things which had got wet in yesterday’s rain hung out to
dry. So after breakfast I proposed to decorate my person (shave I need
not, for as yet that operation was unnecessary), and _the_ portmanteau
was opened, the delinquent from which our doubloons had escaped. Some
of the shirts were wet from the rain, and in searching for a dry one,
out tumbled the three doubloons, which had been shaken into the folds
of the shirt by the motion of the mule, and so lost. Oh, such joy and
such laughing! We were so rich. We could buy bread and chocolate and
sausages and eggs through the interest of the Padre (for we found the
holy friar could get things when, however much money was exhibited,
it proved no talisman), and our little fortune carried us through the
retreat even to Ciudad Rodrigo, where money was paid to us.

This retreat was a very severe one as to weather, and although the
enemy did not actually press us, as he did the column from Burgos,
we made long marches and were very broad awake, and lost some of our
baggage and stores, which the wearied bullocks obliged us to abandon.
On reaching Salamanca, my wife, with the foresight of age rather than
youth, expended some of the doubloons in buying me two pairs of worsted
stockings and a pair of worsted mits, and the same for herself, which I
do believe saved her from sickness, for the rain, on the retreat from
Salamanca, came in torrents.



The army concentrated again under the dear Duke of Wellington, and took
up its old victorious position on the Arapiles [14 Nov.], but not with
the same prospects. Soult, an able fellow, had nearly double our force,
and so soon as our rear was open the army was in full march on Ciudad
Rodrigo. It rained in torrents, and the roads rose above the soldiers’
ankles. Our supplies were _nil_, and the sufferings of the soldiers
were considerable. Many compared this retreat with that of Coruña,
at which I then laughed, and do now. The whole distance from Ciudad
Rodrigo is only forty-four miles. On one day to Coruña we marched
thirty-seven miles, fighting every yard, and the cold was intense; on
this retreat it was cold, but no _frost_ in the atmosphere.

In crossing the Huebra [17 Nov.], at San Muños, the enemy pressed our
rear-guard very sharply, and we had some very heavy skirmishing. Sir
E. Paget, by his own obstinacy in not believing the French Dragoons
had intervened upon our line of march, was taken prisoner, and our
rear-guard (my Brigade) driven from the ford. They had to take to the
river as well as they were able, the soldiers leaping from a steep bank
into it.

The sense and strength of my wife’s Spanish horse were this day put
to the test, for she had nothing for it but to make him leap into the
river from the high bank, which the noble animal did, all fours like
a dog. The poor Padre attempted the same, with the result that he and
pony floated down the stream, and the pony was drowned, but his large
Spanish _capa_ or cloak kept him afloat, and he was dragged out by some
of our soldiers. His holiness began now to think I had not exaggerated
the hardships of a soldier’s life. When well out of the river, he
quietly asked my poor old West for a horse I always had ready to jump
on in case my own were killed. West very quietly said, “Never lend
master’s other fighting horse, not to nobody.” My wife interceded for
the poor Padre, but had the same refusal. Old West says, “We shan’t
march far; the river bothered us, it will stop the French. Our Riflemen
don’t mean to let those fellows over. Night and the walk will warm you.”

I, seeing the distress my poor wife was likely to be in, had told her
particularly to stay with the 52nd, thinking they would move into
bivouac, while the Riflemen held the bed of the river where we had
crossed, to which alone my attention was drawn. There was a ford,
however, lower down the river, to which the 52nd were suddenly ordered.
It was impassable, but in the enemy’s attempt to cross, a heavy
skirmish ensued, in which poor Captain Dawson was killed and forty or
fifty men wounded; my wife in the thick of it, and the friar.

As soon as the ford was ascertained impassable, I was sent to bring
back the 52nd, when, to my astonishment and alarm, I found my young
wife drenched with leaping in the river, as much as from the torrents
of rain above. The poor Padre might have been drawn for “the Knight of
the Woeful Countenance.” I brought the whole into our wet and miserable
bivouac, and gave some Portuguese of my Brigade a dollar for a large
fire, when, cold and shivery as she was, she laughed at the Padre. We
had nothing to eat that night, as our mules were sent on, and there
was this young and delicate creature, in the month of November in the
north of Spain, wet as a drowned rat, with nothing to eat, and no cover
from the falling deluge. Not a murmur escaped her but once. I had had
no sleep for three nights, our rear being in a very ticklish position.
In sitting by the fire I had fallen asleep, and fell between the fire
and her. She had previously been roasted on one side, a cold mud on the
other. This change of temperature awoke her, and for the only time in
her life did she cry and say I might have avoided it. She had just woke
out of her sleep, and when cold and shivery our feelings are acute. In
a moment she exclaimed, “How foolish! you must have been nice and warm,
and to know that is enough for me.”

I took the Padre a mule; the rain broke, the little rivulet would soon
be fordable, and at daylight the next morning we expected a regular
squeeze from the enemy. To amend matters, too, in place of our moving
off before daylight and getting a start, we were to follow the 1st
Division, and this did not move. General Alten sent repeatedly to poor
dear Sir William Stewart (who gave me my commission), to represent the
prospect he had of a brush which ought to be avoided, when up rides to
Charlie Beckwith, our A.Q.M.G., the Honourable Arthur Upton, saying,
“My _dear-e_ Beckwith, you could not inform me where I could get a
_paysano_ (a peasant)? The 1st Division can’t move; we have no guide.”
“Oh, d——,” says Charlie, “is that it? We will do anything to get you
out of our way. Come to Harry Smith. He has a paysano, _I know_.”
I always had three or four poor fellows in charge of a guard, so
requisite are guides with light troops. I gave him his paysano, and by
this time the sun was an hour high at least. To our delight, in place
of a _fight retreating_, which partakes neither of the pomp nor majesty
of war, but of nothing but hard and often inglorious losses, we saw the
French army dismissed, all drying their clothes, and as little in a
state to attack as we were desirous of their company. We had a clear,
cold, but unmolested long march, and fell in with some stores coming.
Yesterday the soldier’s life was one of misery, to-day all joy and

Just as the rear-guard had moved off the ground, I heard the voice
of a soldier familiar to me calling out, “Oh, Mr. Smith!” (The Rifle
soldiers ever called me “Mr. Smith.”) “Don’t leave me here.” I rode
up. As gallant a Rifleman as ever breathed, by name O’Donnell, lay
there with his thigh fractured the day before by a cannon-shot. I was
grieved for him. I had no means to assist him but one which I deemed
it impossible he could avail himself of—the tumbril of a gun. He
said, “Oh, I can ride.” I galloped to Ross, who literally sent back
with me a six-pounder, and took the poor fellow on the tumbril, the
gunner cheerfully giving him his place. It was grievous to see poor
O’Donnell hoisted up with his thigh smashed. We got him there, though,
and he said, “I shall do now.” He died in two hours. I shall ever feel
grateful to Ross; few men could have done it, but his guns were drawn
by noble horses, and he was, and is, a SOLDIER.

Over the bivouac fire this night the Padre became eloquent and
sentimental. “When you told me at Madrid what were the hardships and
privations of a soldier’s life in retreat, pursued by a vigorous
enemy, I considered I had a very correct idea; I now see I had no
conception whatever. But what appears to me so extraordinary is that
every one acts for himself alone. _There_ you see a poor knocked-up
soldier sitting in the mud, unable to move; _there_ come grooms with
led horses. No one asks the sick man to ride, no one sympathizes
with the other’s feelings—in short, every one appears to struggle
against difficulties for himself alone.” I could see the Padre had not
forgotten my old man West’s refusal of my second war-horse.

On the day following [19 Nov.], the weather was clear but bitterly
cold. We reached the suburbs of Ciudad Rodrigo, happy enough to know
that for this campaign the fighting was over. Although some of our
troops had a long march before them into Portugal, we Light Division
gentlemen were close at home. Many of our stoutest officers were sick,
John Bell, Charlie Eeles, etc., and we had many wounded to look after.
The Padre and my cheerful, light-hearted wife were cooking in a little
house all day long. The Padre was a capital cook, and equally good when
the food was prepared. I went out coursing every day, and some of our
regiment fellows, notwithstanding the “retreat” and its hardships, went
out duck-shooting, up to their middles in water, Jonathan Leach among
the rest.

My brigade was ordered into our old villages of Alameda, Fuentes
d’Oñoro, Guinaldo, and to march _viâ_ San Felices el chico, there to
cross the Agueda. The weather was very rainy and cold, but my vivacious
little wife was full of animation and happiness, and the Padre usually

Fuentes d’Oñoro was to be the head-quarters of our Brigade. General
Vandeleur took up his quarters in the Curé’s house, around which in
the battle had been a sanguinary conflict. I was at the other end of
the village for the sake of an excellent stable. It belonged to the
father of the beautiful Maria Josefa, who fled from her father’s house
with a commissary, was infamously treated by him, returned to her
fathers house, and was received by the good old man kindly, although
with nearly a broken heart. Songs were sung about her all over Spain,
and she was universally condemned, pitied, and pardoned. I put the
Padre in this house, told him the tale of woe, and, to his credit, he
did everything a Christian clergyman ought, to urge on the parents
pardon of the ill-used penitent. Nor did he plead in vain, the poor
thing was forgiven by every one but herself. The Padre requested my
generous-hearted wife to see her, and this was a consolation to poor
Maria Josefa worth a general action to behold.

My billet was some little distance from the stable, and while there my
landlord married a second wife. The inhabitants of this part of Spain
are very peculiar and primitive in their manners, dress, and customs;
they are called Charras. The dress of the women is most costly, and
a marriage feast exceeds any feast that I ever saw, or that has been
described by Abyssinian Bruce. We had fun and much feasting for three
days. One of the ceremonies is that during a dance in which the bride
is, of course, the _prima donna_, her relatives and friends make her
presents, which she receives while dancing in the most graceful, though
rustic, attitudes. The presents are frequently considerable sums in
gold, or gold and silver ornaments of singular workmanship. All
relatives and friends give something, or it is regarded as a slight.
My wife, who learned to dance the rustic measure on purpose, presented
a doubloon in the most elegant and graceful manner, to the delight of
her compatriots around, although, being an Estremenha, she was regarded
by these primitive, but hospitable and generous, creatures, as half
a foreigner. The bride has a knife in her uplifted hand, upon it an
apple, and the smaller presents are presented by cutting the apple, and
placing in the cut the money or ornament.

In this part of Spain the pigs are fed most delicately; they are driven
first into woods of cork trees, which produce beautiful, sweet acorns,
then into woods of magnificent chestnut trees, the keeper getting into
the trees and flogging down the acorns and chestnuts with an immense
long whip. The pigs thus fed yield a meat different from the usual meat
of the animal. They are of a beautiful breed, become exceedingly fat,
and the season of killing them and making black puddings and sausages
for the year’s supply is one of continual feasting. The peasants also
cure the meat along each side of the backbone called _loma de puerco_.
This they do in a very peculiar manner with salt, red pepper, and of
course a _soupçon_ of garlic in a thick slice; and, notwithstanding the
little garlic, when simply boiled, it is the most delicious food, for
breakfast particularly, that even a French cook could boast of.

During our stay at Fuentes, many were the rides my wife took on her
horse Tiny to our friends in the different villages. At last, however,
an order came to our Brigade head-quarters to vacate Fuentes d’Oñoro,
as it was required for a part of the head-quarters establishment not
far off at Freneda, and we moved to Guinaldo, to our deep regret. The
Padre a few days before had taken his departure for his living at
Vicalbaro. Two most magnificent mules, and his servant, came for him.
We parted with mutual regret, but I am sorry to say he only wrote to us
twice afterwards, and once to ask a favour for some individual.

At this time I was sporting mad. The Duke had a capital pack of
fox-hounds. James Stewart, my chum, our A.Q.M.G., had an excellent
pack of harriers to which I acted as whipper-in. After a very severe
run, swimming two rivers, my Andalusian, which produced the doubloons
at Alcala, died soon after he got back to his stable. Mr. Commissary
Haines, at head-quarters, had a beautiful pack of little beagles.
I was too proud to look at them. I had the best greyhounds in the
world,—“Moro,” and some of his almost equally celebrated sons.



At Guinaldo we soon saw it was requisite to prepare for another
campaign, and without any previous warning whatever, we received, about
twelve at night, an order to march, which we did at daylight [21 May,
1813], and marched nineteen successive days without one halt.

I commenced this campaign under very unfortunate circumstances as far
as my stud was concerned. I had five capital horses, and only two fit
for work. Tiny, my wife’s noble little horse, had received a violent
injury from the pulling down of the bullock-manger (an immensely heavy
timber, with mere holes in it for the ox’s muzzle), when the extreme
end and sharp point fell on his off fore-hoof, and he was so lame he
could hardly travel to Vittoria. This was an awful loss to my wife.
General Vandeleur now and then mounted me, or I should have been badly
off indeed. James Stewart gave me a celebrated English hunter called
“Old Chap.” He had picked up a nail in his hind foot, and was not fit
to ride for months, and an English mare had thrown out a ring-bone. (I
must observe that winter quarters to my stud was no holiday.)

The march from Guinaldo to Palencia and thence to Vittoria was
exceedingly interesting; the weather delightful; supplies, the
mainspring of happiness in a soldier’s life, plentiful; and never
was any army (although the Duke had so censured us after the retreat
from Burgos) inspired with such confidence in their leader, and such
dependence on their own prowess. All was cheerfulness, joy, and
anticipation. On reaching Toro [2 June], we found the bridge over the
Douro destroyed. The river was full and barely fordable for cavalry
and baggage animals. The bridge was partially repaired, some boats
collected, and by boats our artillery, baggage, and material crossed,
some of the infantry in boats, some scrambling over the bridge. The
Douro, a magnificent and deep flowing river, was much up for the time
of year. The passage was a most animating spectacle; it would have
been a difficulty to an inexperienced army. With us, we were ordered
to cross, and it was a matter of fun and excitement. No halt of
Divisions, the river was crossed, and the day’s march completed. My
wife’s dear Spaniard being lame, she rode a thoroughbred mare, which I
gave £140 for, an elegant animal, but it no more had the sagacity of
Tiny than a cur has that of a foxhound, and the day before we reached
Palencia, upon a greasy bank, the mare slipped up and fell upon my
poor wife and broke a small bone in her foot. This was to me an awful
accident; heretofore health and happiness facilitated all; now, but for
her natural vivacity and devotion, such was the pain, she must have
remained at Palencia, and we must have separated. The bare idea aroused
all her energy, and she said, “Get me a mule or an ass, and put a
Spanish saddle for a lady on it; my feet will rest upon the foot-board,
and go I will!” Dozens of officers were in immediate requisition, some
trying mules to find a very easy one, others running from shop to shop
to get a good easy and well-cushioned saddle. There was no difficulty.
The word “stay behind” was the talisman to move pain, and the mule
was put in progress next morning with that success determination ever
ensures, for “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

The whole of the Duke’s army passed this day through the narrow main
street of rather a pretty city, Palencia [7 June]. From a little after
daylight, until past six in the evening, there was a continued stream
of men—cavalry, artillery, infantry, and baggage, without a moment’s
interruption the whole day. To view this torrent of life was a sight
which made an indelible impression upon a beholder.

But to my wounded wife. At the end of the march, the Brigade
head-quarters went, as usual, into the village near the bivouac. Oh,
the ceremony of her dismounting, the quantity of officers’ cloaks
spread for her reception; the “Take care! Now I’ll carry the leg,” of
the kind-hearted doctor! Talk of Indian attention! Here were a set of
fellows ready to lay down their lives even to alleviate momentary pain.

As we approached Burgos, the scene of previous failure, we Light, 3rd,
and 4th Divisions expected the reluctant honour of besieging it, and so
flushed with hope were we to meet the enemy in an open field and not
behind bastions, curtains, embrasures, and defences, we fairly wished
Burgos at the devil.

The day we were moving upon it [13 June] (the Duke knew it would not be
defended), to our delight, one, two, three, four terrific explosions
took place, and well did we know the enemy had blown Burgos to where we
wished it. The universal joy was most manifest, for, if we had besieged
it, former failure would have excited these crack Divisions to get
into it with the determination they had ever previously evinced, but
the blowing it up happily got us out of the difficulty to our hearts’

My wife’s foot gradually improved, and in a few days she was on her
horse again, and _en route_ in the column; for the soldiers, although
generally averse to be interfered with by horses on the line of march,
were ever delighted to get her to ride with their Company. Seeing her
again on her horse was a great relief to my mind, for, in her peculiar
and isolated position, the bare surmise of our separation was horrid,
and, if I must have left her behind, the fact of a true Catholic
allying herself to a heretic would, among bigoted inhabitants, have
secured her anything but tender attention.

Our Division at San Millan, near Vittoria [18 June], intercepted
the route of one of the French Columns as it was retiring into their
position at Vittoria, and had as brilliant a fight entirely of our
own as any one throughout the campaign. Some of the 1st Hussars also
had a severe brush. Our Division halted the next day [20th], but the
army never did, from the day of breaking up its cantonments until they
fought the battle of Vittoria. It was a most wonderful march, the army
in great fighting order, and every man in better wind than a trained

At the Battle of Vittoria [21 June] my Brigade, in the middle of the
action, was sent to support the 7th Division, which was very hotly
engaged. I was sent forward to report myself to Lord Dalhousie, who
commanded. I found his lordship and his Q.M.G., Drake, an old Rifle
comrade, in deep conversation. I reported pretty quick, and asked for
orders (the head of my Brigade was just getting under fire). I repeated
the question, “What orders, my Lord?” Drake became somewhat animated,
and I heard His Lordship say, “Better to take the village,” which the
French held with twelve guns (I had counted by their fire), and seemed
to be inclined to keep it. I roared out, “Certainly, my Lord,” and off
I galloped, both calling to me to come back, but, as none are so deaf
as those who won’t hear, I told General Vandeleur we were immediately
to take the village. There was no time to lose, and the 52nd Regiment
deployed into line as if at Shorncliffe, while our Riflemen were sent
out in every direction, five or six deep, keeping up a fire nothing
could resist. I galloped to the officer commanding a Battalion in the
7th Division (the 82nd, I think). “Lord Dalhousie desires you closely
to follow this Brigade of the Light Division.” “Who are you, sir?”
“Never mind that; disobey my Lord’s order at your peril.” My Brigade,
the 52nd in line and the swarms of Riflemen, rushed at the village,
and although the ground was intersected in its front by gardens and
ditches, nothing ever checked us until we reached the rear of the
village, where we halted to reform—the twelve guns, tumbrils, horses,
etc., standing in our possession. There never was a more impetuous
onset—nothing could withstand such a burst of determination. Before
we were ready to pursue the enemy—for we Light Division ever reformed
and got into order before a second attack, thanks to poor General Bob
Craufurd’s most excellent tuition—up came Lord Dalhousie with his
Q.M.G., Drake, to old Vandeleur, exclaiming, “Most brilliantly achieved
indeed! Where is the officer you sent to me for orders?” “Here I am, my
lord.” Old Drake knew well enough. “Upon my word, sir, you receive and
carry orders quicker than any officer I ever saw.” “You said, ‘Take the
village.’ My lord, there it is,” I said, “guns and all.” He smiled, and
old Drake burst into one of his grins, “Well done, Harry.”

We were hotly engaged all the afternoon pursuing the French over very
broad ditches. Until we neared Vittoria to our left, there was a plain
free from ditches. The confusion of baggage, etc., was indescribable.
Our Brigade was moving rapidly on, when such a swarm of French Cavalry
rushed out from among the baggage into our skirmishers, opposite a
company of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, commanded by Lieutenant
Tom Cochrane, we thought they must have been swept off. Fortunately
for Tom, a little rough ground and a bank enabled him to command his
Company to lie down, and such a reception they gave the horsemen, while
some of our Company were flying to their support, that the French fled
with a severe loss. Our Riflemen were beautiful shots, and as undaunted
as bulldogs. We knew so well, too, how to support each other, that
scarcely had the French Dragoons shown themselves when Cochrane’s rear
was supported, and we had such mutual confidence in this support that
we never calculated on disaster, but assumed the boldest front and

A rather curious circumstance occurred to me after the first heights
and the key of the enemy’s central position was carried. I was standing
with Ross’s Brigade of guns sharply engaged, when my horse fell as if
stone dead. I jumped off, and began to look for the wound. I could see
none, and gave the poor animal a kick on the nose. He immediately shook
his head, and as instantly jumped on his legs, and I on his back. The
artillerymen all said it was the current of air, or, as they call it,
the wind, of one of the enemy’s cannon-shot. On the attack on the
village previously described, Lieutenant Northey (52nd Regiment) was
not knocked off as I was, but he was knocked down by the wind of a
shot, and his face as black as if he had been two hours in a pugilistic

The fall of my horse had been observed by some of our soldiers as
they were skirmishing forward, and a report soon prevailed that I was
killed, which, in the course of the afternoon, was communicated to my
poor wife, who followed close to the rear on the very field of battle,
crossing the plain covered with treasure. Her old groom, West, proposed
to carry off some on a led horse. She said, “Oh, West, never mind
money. Let us look for your master.” She had followed the 1st Brigade
men, the 2nd having been detached, unobserved by her, to aid the 7th
Division. After the battle, at dusk, my Brigade was ordered to join the
1st Brigade, with General Alten’s head-quarters. I had lost my voice
from the exertion of cheering with our men (not cheering them _on_, for
they required no such example), and as I approached the 1st Brigade,
to take up the ground for mine, I heard my wife’s lamentations. I
immediately galloped up to her, and spoke to her as well as I could,
considering the loss of my voice. “Oh, then, thank God, you are not
killed, only badly wounded.” “Thank God,” I growled, “I am neither,”
but, in her ecstasy of joy, this was not believed for a long while.

After putting up my Brigade (we required no picquets, the Cavalry
were far in our front in pursuit of the flying enemy) we, that is, my
General and Staff, repaired to a barn, where we got in our horses and
some forage, and lay down among them. It was dark; we had no lights,
and sleep after such a day was as refreshing as eating, even if we
had any means. At daybreak our luggage had arrived, and we were busy
preparing some breakfast. Hardly did the kettle boil when “Fall in!”
was the word. Just as we were jumping on our horses, my young wife,
her ears being rather quick, said, “I am sure I hear some one moaning,
like a wounded man.” We looked round, and I saw there was a loft for
hay over our barn. I immediately scrambled up with assistance, for the
ladder, like Robinson Crusoe’s, had been hauled up. When I reached
the landing-place, such a scene met my eye! Upwards of twenty French
officers, all more or less severely wounded, one poor fellow in the
agony of death, and a lady, whom I recognized as Spanish, grieving
over him. At first the poor fellows funked. I soon assured them of
every safety and protection, and put my wife and the poor Spanish
lady, her countrywoman, in communication. All we could spare, or,
rather, all our breakfast, was given to the wounded, for march we must.
The General sent his A.D.C. for a guard; we did all we could at the
moment, and the poor fellows were grateful indeed. The Spanish lady
had a most beautiful little pug dog, a thoroughbred one, with a very
extraordinary collar of bells about its neck. She insisted upon my
wife’s accepting the dog as a token of gratitude for our kindness. The
little animal was accepted immediately, and named “Vittoria”; we jumped
on our horses, and parted for ever, gratified, however, at having had
it in our power to render this slight assistance to the poor fellows
wounded and in distress. The dog became afterwards a celebrated animal
in the Division, universally known and caressed, and the heroine of
many a little anecdote, and hereafter at Waterloo must claim half a
page to itself. It was the most sensible little brute Nature ever
produced, and it and Tiny became most attached friends.

On this day’s march our soldiers could scarcely move—men, in such wind
and health as they were—but the fact is they had got some flocks of the
enemy’s sheep, and fallen in with a lot of flour; they had eaten till
they were gorged like vultures, and every man’s haversack was laden
with flour and raw meat, all of which, except a day or two’s supply,
the Generals of Brigade were obliged to order to be thrown away. We
were soon, however, close on the heels of the enemy, and the first
shot revived the power to march. The retreat of the enemy was marked
by every excess and atrocity and villages burning in every direction.
Oh, my countrymen of England, if you had seen the twentieth part of the
horrors of war I have, readily would you pay the war-taxes, and grumble
less at the pinching saddle of National Debt! The seat of war is hell
upon earth, even when stripped of the atrocities committed in Spain and
Portugal, and everywhere else, I believe, except dear old England, by
the French Army.

We Light Division had the pleasure, ere we reached Pamplona, to take
the enemy’s only remaining gun.[32]



The night before we reached Pamplona [24 June], the enemy, rather
unexpectedly to us, drove in the picquets of my Brigade in a very sharp
skirmish, although we were as ever prepared, and the Division got under
arms. This convinced us that the whole army, except the garrison at
Pamplona, was in full retreat into France. It is a peculiar custom of
the French unexpectedly to put back your picquets when they are about
to retire; that is, when the ground admits no obstacle of bridge,
river, or village, intervening. The object of such forward moves I have
never heard satisfactorily given.

On this evening a stout French gentleman came in to our advanced post,
saying he wanted to see the Duke. I took him to General Vandeleur. He
dined with us, and a most jawing, facetious fellow he was. At first we
regarded him as a spy, which he afterwards told General Vandeleur he
was, and in the employ of the Duke. He could not proceed that night,
for we did not know in the least where head-quarters were, and the
night was excessively dark; so the French gentleman, whom I wished at
the devil, was given in charge to _me_. If he had had any inclination
to escape I defied him, for I put some of our old vigilant Riflemen
around him, so that not a man could get in or out of the room I had put
him in. We afterwards heard my friend was a man of great use to the
Duke, and one of King Joseph’s household.

The next day [25 June] we Light Division passed Pamplona, leaving it by
a very intricate road to our right, and were cantoned in the village
of Offala. It was necessary to keep a look-out towards Pamplona, and
my General, Vandeleur, and I, rode to look where to post our picquets.
I had a most athletic and active fellow with me as a guide, very
talkative, and full of the battle of Vittoria. He asked me what was the
name of the General before us. I said, “General Vandeleur.” I heard
him muttering it over to himself several times. He then ran up to the
General, and entered into conversation. The General soon called me to
him, for he could not speak a word [of Spanish]. “What’s the fellow
say?” “He is telling all he heard from the Frenchmen who were billeted
in his house in the retreat. He is full of anecdote.” He then looked
most expressively in Vandeleur’s face, and says, “Yes, they say the
English fought well, but had it not been for one General _Bandelo_,
the French would have gained the day.” “How the devil did this fellow
know?” says Vandeleur. I never undeceived the General, and he fancies
to this day his Brigade’s being sent to assist the 7th Division was
the cause of the Frenchmen’s remark. My guide, just like a “cute”
Irishman or American, gave me a knowing wink.

This very fellow turned out to be owner of the house my wife and
baggage and I got into—the General’s Aide-de-camp, as was often the
case, having shown her into one near the General. After I had dressed
myself, he came to me and said, “When you dine, I have some capital
wine, as much as you and your servants like; but,” he says, “come
down and look at my cellar.” The fellow had been so civil, I did not
like to refuse him. We descended by a stone staircase, he carrying a
light. He had upon his countenance a most sinister expression. I saw
something exceedingly excited him: his look became fiend-like. He and
I were alone, but such confidence had we Englishmen in a Spaniard,
and with the best reason, that I apprehended no personal evil. Still
his appearance was very singular. When we got to the cellar-door,
he opened it, and held the light so as to show the cellar; when,
in a voice of thunder, and with an expression of demoniacal hatred
and antipathy, pointing to the floor, he exclaimed, “There lie four
of the devils who thought to subjugate Spain! I am a Navarrese. I
was born free from all foreign invasion, and this right hand shall
plunge this stiletto in my own heart as it did into theirs, ere I
and my countrymen are subjugated!” brandishing his weapon like a
demon. I see the excited patriot as I write. Horror-struck as I
was, the instinct of self-preservation induced me to admire the deed
exceedingly, while my very frame quivered and my blood was frozen,
to see the noble science of war and the honour and chivalry of arms
reduced to the practices of midnight assassins. Upon the expression
of my admiration, he cooled, and while he was deliberately drawing
wine for my dinner, which, however strange it may be, I drank with
the gusto its flavour merited, I examined the four bodies. They were
Dragoons—four athletic, healthy-looking fellows. As we ascended, he
had perfectly recovered the equilibrium of his vivacity and naturally
good humour. I asked him how he, single-handed, had perpetrated this
deed on four armed men (for their swords were by their sides). “Oh,
easily enough. I pretended to love a Frenchman” (or, in his words,
‘I was an Afrancesado’), “and I proposed, after giving them a good
dinner, we should drink to the extermination of the English.” He then
looked at me and ground his teeth. “The French rascals, they little
guessed what I contemplated. Well, we got into the cellar, and drank
away until I made them so drunk, they fell, and my purpose was easily,
and as joyfully, effected.” He again brandished his dagger, and said,
“Thus die all enemies to Spain.” Their horses were in his stable. When
the French Regiment marched off, he gave these to some guerrillas in
the neighbourhood. It is not difficult to reconcile with truth the
assertion of the historian who puts down the loss of the French army,
during the Spanish war, as 400,000 men, for more men fell in this
midnight manner than by the broad-day sword, or the pestilence of
climate, which in Spain, in the autumn, is excessive.

The next day we marched a short distance to a beautiful village,
or town, rather,—Villalba, where we halted a day, and expected to
remain three or four. It was on a Sunday afternoon, and some of the
recollection of the Sunday of our youth was passing across the mind of
the lover of his family and his country—the very pew at church, the
old peasants in the aisle; the friendly neighbours’ happy faces; the
father, mother, brothers, sisters; the joys, in short, of home, for,
amidst the eventful scenes of such a life, recollection will bring the
past in view, and compare the blessings of peace with the horror, oh!
the cruel horror, of war! In the midst of this mental soliloquy, my
dear wife exclaims, “Mi Enrique, how thoughtful you look!” I dare not
tell her that my thoughts reverted to my home. Hers being a desolate
waste, the subject was ever prohibited, for her vivacious mind, and her
years of juvenile excitement, could never control an excess of grief if
the words, “your home,” ever escaped my lips.

My reverie was soon aroused by the entrance of a soldier, without
ceremony—for every one was ever welcome. “Sir, is the order come?”
“For what?” I said. “An extra allowance of wine?” “No,” he said, “for
an extra allowance of marching. We are to be off directly after these
French chaps, as expects to get to France without a kick from the
Light Division.” I was aware he alluded to General Clausel’s division
that was retiring by the pass over the Pyrenees, called La Haca. It is
most singular, but equally true, that our soldiers knew every move in
contemplation long before any officer. While we were in conversation,
in came the order; away went all thoughts of home, and a momentary
regret on quitting so nice a quarter was banished in the excitement of
the march.

In twenty minutes our Division was in full march to try and intercept
Clausel’s Division. That night we marched most rapidly to Tafalla, next
day to Olite, thence brought up our right shoulder towards Sanguessa.
This was a night-march of no ordinary character to all, particularly
to me and my wife. Her Spanish horse, Tiny, was so far recovered from
his lameness that she insisted on riding him. On a night-march we knew
the road to be difficult. In crossing the Arragon [30 June], although
the bridge was excellent, on this march by some singular accident
(it was very dark and raining) an interval occurred in our column—a
thing unprecedented, so particular were we, _thanks to Craufurd’s
instructions_—and the majority of the Division, in place of crossing
the bridge, passed the turn and went on a league out of the direction.
My Brigade was leading. Two Battalions came all right, and I stayed
more at the head of the column than was my wont, to watch the guides.
So dark and intricate was the road we were moving on, I proposed to the
General to form up, and see that our troops were all right. After the
two first Battalions formed, I waited a short time in expectation of
the next, the 2nd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade. I hallooed, seeing
no column, when a voice a long way off answered. It was that of the
most extraordinary character, the eccentric Colonel Wade. I galloped
up, and said, “Colonel, form up your Battalion, so soon as you reach
the Brigade.” “By Jesus,” he said, “we are soon formed; I and my
bugler are alone.” I, naturally somewhat excited, asked, “Where’s the
Regiment?” “Upon my soul, and that’s what I would like to ask you.” I
then saw some mistake must have happened. I galloped back in the dark
to the bridge, saw no column whatever, but heard voices far beyond the
bridge. The column, after passing it in the dark, had discovered the
error and were coming back. Meanwhile, my wife heard me hallooing and
came towards me. I had dismounted, and was leading my horse a little
way off the road up the left bank of the Arragon; the rain was falling
in torrents, the bank of the river gave way under me, and a flash of
lightning at the moment showed me I was falling into the bed of the
river about thirty feet below. I had firmly hold of my bridle—the
avalanche frightened my noble horse (the celebrated “Old Chap,” the
hunter that James Stewart gave me); he flew round and dragged me
from inevitable perdition. My wife and old West were close behind at
the moment, and she witnessed the whole, equally to her horror and
satisfaction. Then such a tale of woe from herself. The uneven ground
at night had so lamed her dear little horse, Tiny, that he could not
carry her. She got off in the rain and dark, herself still excessively
lame from the broken bone in the foot, and literally crawled along,
until the rocky road improved, and West again put her upon her
faithful Tiny. I could devote neither time nor attention to her. Day
was just beginning to break. I directed her to the bivouac, and most
energetically sought to collect my Brigade, which, with the daylight,
I soon effected. When I got back, I found my wife sitting, holding
her umbrella over General Vandeleur (who was suffering dreadfully
from rheumatism in the shoulder in which he had been wounded at the
storm of Ciudad Rodrigo), recounting to him her night’s adventures and
laughing heartily. The weather totally precluded any possibility of our
molesting Clausel, and we were ordered to march to Sanguessa, which we
did the following day, and Charlie Gore, General Kempt’s A.D.C., gave
a ball [1 July], where there was as much happiness as if we were at
Almack’s, and some as handsome women, the loves of girls of Sanguessa.

That night’s march was the most extraordinary thing which ever occurred
to our organized Light Division. We all blamed each other, but the fact
is, the turn of the road to the bridge was abrupt, the night dark,
the road so narrow that staff-officers could not ride up and down the
flank of the column; it may be regarded as “an untoward event.” From
Sanguessa we made rather long marches for the Valle of San Estevan,
through a most beautiful country covered in a great measure with
immense chestnut trees. After we had halted a day or two [7-14 July] in
this valley, of which the beauty is not to be conceived, we marched on
towards Vera by a road along the banks of the river Bidassoa. At Vera,
the enemy had fortified a large house very strongly, and their picquets
were upon its line. On our advance, we put back the enemy’s picquets,
but not without a sharp skirmish, and we held the house that afternoon.

In front of the mountain of Santa Barbara was a very steep hill, which
the enemy held in force, but a dense fog of the mountains prevented
us seeing each other. Colonel Barnard, with the 1st Battalion Rifle
Brigade, was sent to dislodge them [15 July]. They proved to be three
or four times his numbers. His attack, however, was supported, and as
he himself describes it, “I hallooed the fellows off in the fog.” We
had a good many men and officers, however, severely wounded. The next
day, or in the night, the enemy abandoned the fortified house of the
large village of Vera in their front, retired behind the village, and
firmly established themselves on the heights, while we occupied Vera
with some sick officers, our picquets being posted beyond. The enemy’s
vedettes and ours for many days were within talking distance, yet we
never had an alert by night or by day.



Just before we reached Vera, my dear friend and General, Vandeleur,
was moved to a Cavalry Brigade, and General Skerrett, a very different
man, was sent to us, with a capital fellow for an A.D.C.—Captain Fane,
or, as usually designated, “Ugly Tom.” I, who had been accustomed to go
in and out of my previous Generals’ tents and quarters as my own, and
either breakfast or dine as I liked, was perfectly thunderstruck when
it was intimated to me I was to go only when asked; so Tom the A.D.C.
and we lived together, to the great amusement of my wife, who was
always playing Tom some trick or other.

During our halt in this position, the siege of San Sebastian was going
on. Soult, an able officer, who had been appointed to the command
of the beaten French force, soon reorganized it, and instilled its
old pride of victory, and inspired all again with the ardour and
vivacity of French soldiers. The siege of San Sebastian was vigorously
prosecuted. Pamplona was closely invested, and, from want of
provisions, must inevitably ere long surrender. Soult, therefore, had
a brilliant opportunity either to raise the siege of San Sebastian,
or to throw supplies in to Pamplona, or to do both, if great success
attended his operations. This opportunity he ably availed himself of,
by making a rapid movement to our right to the Pass of Roncesvalles
of knightly fame, and obliging the Duke of Wellington to concentrate
a great part of his army to protect Pamplona, or, rather, to ensure
its strict blockade, while the siege of San Sebastian was for the time
suspended, awaiting supplies which were on their passage from England.
My Division, the Light, was kept between the two, as were Lord Dacre’s
“horsemen light,” to “succour those that need it most,”[33] and we
had some very harassing marches, when it was discovered Soult had
penetrated the Pyrenees and was resolved on a general action. This he
fought on the 27th and 28th July, with the Frenchman’s usual success, a
good thrashing.[34]

The Light Division made a terrible night march on this occasion, one
of the most fatiguing to the soldiers that I ever witnessed. On the
Pyrenees, as on other mountains, the darkness is indescribable. We were
on a narrow mountain path, frequently with room only for one or two
men, when a soldier of the Rifle Brigade rolled down a hill as nearly
perpendicular as may be. We heard him bumping along, pack, rifle,
weight of ammunition, etc., when from the bottom he sang out, “Halloa
there! Tell the Captain there’s not a bit of me alive at all; but the
devil a bone have I broken; and faith I’m thinking no soldier ever
came to his ground at such a rate before. Have a care, boys, you don’t
follow. The breach at Badajos was nothing to the bottomless pit I’m now

After the battles of the Pyrenees, our Division was pushed forward with
great rapidity to intercept the retreat of one of the _corps d’armée_,
and General Kempt’s—the 1st—Brigade had some very heavy fighting [at
Jansi, 1 Aug.]; while at [Echallar], poor General Barnes, now no more,
in command of a Brigade of the 7th Division, made one of the boldest
and most successful attacks on five times his number, but one in which
bravery and success far exceeded judgment or utility.

We moved on again, and on one of our marches came to some very nice
cottages, one of which fell to the lot of myself and Tom Fane, the
A.D.C. The poor peasant was a kind-hearted farmer of the mountains, his
fields highly cultivated, his farm-yard supplied with poultry; every
domestic comfort his situation in life demanded was his—poor fellow, he
merited all. He killed some ducks for our supper, his garden supplied
beautiful peas, and we had a supper royalty would have envied with our
appetites. My wife had spread her cloak on the floor—she was perfectly
exhausted—and was fast asleep. I awoke her, she ate a capital supper,
but the next morning upbraided me and Tom Fane for not having given her
anything to eat; and to this day she is unconscious of sitting at our
supper-table. Judge by this anecdote what real fatigue is. The next
morning we could hardly induce our host to receive payment for his
eggs, his poultry, his bread, bacon, peas, milk, etc., and he would
insist on giving my wife a beautiful goat in full milk, which was added
to the boy Antonio’s herd.[35] We marched with mutual feelings of
newly-acquired but real friendship. Three days afterwards, we returned
to the very same ground, and we again occupied our previous dear little
mountain retreat, but the accursed hand of war had stamped devastation
upon it. The beautiful fields of Indian corn were all reaped as
forage, the poultry yard was void, the produce of our peasant’s garden
exhausted, his flour all consumed—in a word, he had nothing left of
all his previous plenty but a few milch goats, and that night he, poor
thing, supped with us from the resources of our rations and biscuit. He
said the French had swept off everything the English did not require.
The latter paid for everything, and gave him _bons_ or receipts for the
Indian corn reaped as forage, which he knew some day our commissary
would take up and pay. I never pitied man more, and in the midst of his
affliction it was beautiful to observe a pious resignation and a love
for his country, when he exclaimed, “Gracias a Dios, you have driven
back the villainous French to their own country.”

    “O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint,
    Agricolas ... procul discordibus armis.”

We returned to our line on this side of Vera, and the siege of San
Sebastian was again vigorously resumed. We Light Division, with the
3rd and 4th, were out of that glory, which we did not regret, although
the Duke never took the town until he sent to these three Divisions
for volunteers for the storming party [31 Aug.]. Then we soon took it;
but in candour I should state that the breaches were rendered more
practicable than when first stormed, the defences destroyed, and the
enemy’s means of defence diminished. It was, however, still a tough
piece of work, in which we lost some valuable officers and soldiers.
The enemy made a forward movement [the same day, 31 Aug.] for the
purpose of reinforcing the garrison, and in the morning put back our
picquets, and we anticipated a general action. However, the whole of
the enemy moved to the Lower Bidassoa, and crossed in force. The day
was very rainy, and the river was so full the French were compelled to
retreat rapidly; in fact, so sudden was the rise of the river, many
were obliged to retire by the bridge in our possession, as described by

I have only, therefore, to relate an incident which occurred between
me and my new General—who, I soon discovered, was by nature a gallant
Grenadier, and no Light Troop officer, which requires the eye of a hawk
and the power of anticipating the enemy’s intention—who was always
to be found off his horse, standing in the most exposed spot under
the enemy’s fire while our Riflemen were well concealed, as stupidly
composed for himself as inactive for the welfare of his command.[36]
When the enemy put back our picquets in the morning, it was evidently
their intention to possess themselves of the bridge, which was
curiously placed as regarded our line of picquets. Thus—


We did not occupy Vera, but withdrew on our own side of it, and I
saw the enemy preparing to carry the houses near the bridge in the
occupation of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade. I said, “General
Skerrett, unless we send down the 52nd Regiment in support, the enemy
will drive back the Riflemen. They cannot hold those houses against the
numbers prepared to attack. Our men will fight like devils expecting to
be supported, and their loss, when driven out, will be very severe.” He
laughed (we were standing under a heavy fire exposed) and said, “Oh,
is that your opinion?” I said—most impertinently, I admit,—“And it
will be yours in five minutes,” for I was by no means prepared to see
the faith in support, which so many fights had established, destroyed,
and our gallant fellows knocked over by a stupidity heretofore not
exemplified. We had scarcely time to discuss the matter when down
came a thundering French column with swarms of sharpshooters, and, as
I predicted, drove our people out of the houses with one fell swoop,
while my General would move nothing on their flank or rear to aid them.
We lost many men and some officers, and the enemy possessed the houses,
and consequently, for the moment, possessed the passage of the bridge.
From its situation, however, it was impossible they could maintain it,
unless they put us farther back by a renewed attack on our elevated
position. So I said, “You see now what you have permitted, General, and
we must retake these houses, which we ought never to have lost.” He
quietly said, “I believe you are right.” I could stand this no longer,
and I galloped up to Colonel Colborne, in command of that beautiful
52nd Regiment, now Lord Seaton, who was as angry as he soon saw I
was. “Oh, sir, it is melancholy to see this. General Skerrett will do
nothing; we must retake those houses. I told him what would happen.”
“I am glad of it, for I was angry with you.” In two seconds we retook
the houses, for the enemy, seeing our determination to hold them, was
aware the nature of the ground would not enable him to do so unless he
occupied the position we intended to defend, and his effort was as much
as not to see whether we were in earnest, or whether, when attacked in
force, we should retire. The houses were retaken, as I said, and the
firing ceased the whole afternoon.

The evening came on very wet. We knew that the enemy had crossed the
Bidassoa [31 Aug.], and that his retreat would be impossible from the
swollen state of the river. We knew pretty well the Duke would shove
him into the river if he could; this very bridge, therefore, was of
the utmost importance, and no exertion should have been spared on
our part so to occupy it after dark as to prevent the passage being
seized. The rain was falling in torrents. I proposed that the whole of
the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade should be posted in the houses, the
bridge should be barricaded, and the 52nd Regiment should be close at
hand in support. Skerrett positively laughed outright, ordered the
whole Battalion into our position, but said, “You may leave a picquet
of one officer and thirty men at the bridge.” He was in the house on
the heights he had previously occupied. I had a little memorandum-book
in my pocket; I took it out for the first time in my life to note my
General’s orders. I read what he said, asking if that was his order.
He said, “Yes, I have already told you so.” I said most _wickedly_,
“We shall repent this before daylight.” He was callous to anything. I
galloped down to the houses, ordered the Battalion to retire, and told
my brother Tom, the Adjutant, to call to me a picquet of an officer
and thirty men for the bridge. Every officer and soldier thought I was
mad. Tom said, “Cadoux’s company is for picquet.” Up rode poor Cadoux,
a noble soldier, who could scarcely believe what I said, but began
to abuse me for not supporting them in the morning. I said, “Scold
away, all true; but no fault of _mine_. But come, no time for jaw, the
picquet!” Cadoux, noble fellow, says, “My company is so reduced this
morning, I will stay with it if I may. There are about fifty men.”
I gladly consented, for I had great faith in Cadoux’s ability and
watchfulness, and I told him he might rest assured he would be attacked
an hour or two before daylight. He said, “Most certainly I shall, and I
will now strengthen myself, and block up the bridge as well as I can,
and I will, if possible, hold the bridge until supported; so, when
the attack commences, instantly send the whole Battalion to me, and,
please God, I will keep the bridge.” It was then dark, and I rode as
fast as I could to tell Colborne, in whom we had all complete faith and
confidence. He was astonished, and read my memorandum. We agreed that,
so soon as the attack commenced, his Battalion should move down the
heights on the flank of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, which would
rush to support Cadoux, and thus we parted, I as sulky as my hot nature
would admit, knowing some disaster would befall my dear old Brigade
heretofore so judiciously handled.

In the course of the night, as we were lying before the fire, I _far
from asleep_, General Skerrett received a communication from General
Alten to the purport “that the enemy were retiring over the swollen
river; it was, therefore, to be apprehended he would before daylight
endeavour to possess himself of the bridge; that every precaution
must be taken to prevent him.” I, now being reinforced in opinion,
said, “Now, General, let me do so.” As he was still as obstinate as
ever, we were discussing the matter (I fear as far as I am concerned,
very hotly) when the “En avant, en avant! L’Empereur récompensera le
premier qu’avancera,” was screeched into our very ears, and Cadoux’s
fire was hot as ever fifty men’s was on earth. “Now,” says I, “General,
who is right?” _I_ knew what the troops would do. My only hope was
that Cadoux could keep the bridge as he anticipated. The fire of the
enemy was very severe, and the rushes of his columns most determined;
still Cadoux’s fire was from his post. Three successive times, with
half his gallant band, did he charge and drive back the enemy over the
bridge, the other half remaining in the houses as support. His hope and
confidence in support and the importance of his position sustained him
until a melancholy shot pierced his head, and he fell lifeless from
his horse.[37] A more gallant soul never left its mortal abode. His
company at this critical moment were driven back; the French column
and rear-guard crossed, and, by keeping near the bed of the river,
succeeded in escaping, although the Riflemen were in support of poor
Cadoux with as much rapidity as _distance_ allowed, and daylight saw
Colborne where he said he would be.

I was soon at the bridge. Such a scene of mortal strife from the fire
of fifty men was never witnessed. The bridge was almost choked with
the dead; the enemy’s loss was enormous, and many of his men were
drowned, and all his guns were left in the river a mile or two below
the bridge. The number of dead was so great, the bodies were thrown
into the rapid stream in the hope that the current would carry them,
but many rocks impeded them, and when the river subsided, we had
great cause to lament our precipitancy in hurling the bodies, for the
stench soon after was awful. The Duke was awfully annoyed, as well
he might be, but, as was his rule, never said anything when disaster
could not be amended. I have never told my tale till now. Skerrett
was a bilious fellow (a gallant Grenadier, I must readily avow), and
I hope his annoyance so affected his liver it precipitated a step he
had desired—as his father was just dead, and he was heir to an immense
property—to retire home on sick-leave. You may rely on it, I threw
no impediment in his way, for when he was gone, Colonel Colborne was
my Brigadier, whom we all regarded inferior to no one but the Duke.
Many is the conversation he and I have had over the lamentable affair
which killed poor Cadoux. I really believe, had he survived, he would
have held the bridge, although the enemy attacked it in desperation,
and although each time the column was driven back, a few men in the
dark succeeded in crossing, and these fellows, all practised soldiers,
posted themselves under cover on the banks of the river below the
bridge, and caused the loss our people sustained, that of noble Cadoux
among the rest, with impunity. Cadoux’s manner was effeminate, and, as
a boy, I used to quiz him.[38] He and I were, therefore, although not
enemies, not friends, until the battle of Vittoria, when I saw him most
conspicuous. He was ahead of me on his gallant war horse, which he took
at Barossa with the holsters full of doubloons, as the story went. I
was badly mounted that day, and my horse would not cross a brook which
his was scrambling over. I leaped from my saddle over my horse’s head
(I was very active in those days), seized his horse by the tail, and
I believe few, if any, were as soon in the middle of the Frenchmen’s
twelve guns as we were in support of the 7th Division. From that day we
were comrades in every sense of the term, and I wept over his gallant
remains with a bursting heart, as, with his Company who adored him, I
consigned to the grave the last external appearance of Daniel Cadoux.
His fame can never die.

The enemy retired into their previous position, as did we, and San
Sebastian was ours. We were in this line for some time, daily watching
the enemy making works with extraordinary vigour and diligence, which
we knew ere long we should have the glory (the pleasure, to most of
us) to run our heads against, for such was the ardour and confidence
of our army at this moment, that, if Lord Wellington had told us to
attempt to carry the moon, we should have done it.

During the occupation of our present position, I found the Basque
inhabitants on the Spanish side, and those on the French side of the
Pyrenees, carried on a sort of contraband trade, and that brandy and
claret were to be had. One day, therefore, upon General Skerrett’s
complaining to me he could get no wine or sheep, I told him I could get
him both. My smugglers were immediately in requisition. They got me
eight sheep and one dozen of claret. I was disappointed at the small
supply—accustomed to hospitable old Vandeleur’s consumption—and I told
my new General. He said he was exceedingly obliged to me; he should be
glad of one sheep and two bottles of wine. It did not make a bad story
through the Brigade. I and the A.D.C., Tom Fane, however, managed to
consume all.

One day (the man may now be conceived) Skerrett gave a great dinner,
and the _liberal_ Barnard and Colborne, commanding Regiments in the
Division, were asked to dine. Tom Fane and I were amused, for we knew
he had but little to give them to eat and less to drink, and where
were the materials to come from? And Barnard loved a good dinner, with
at least two bottles of good wine. To my astonishment, when I waited
on him, as I usually did every morning, for orders, he was dressed.
I said, “Where are you going, General?” (To me he was ever a most
affable, and rather an amusing, fellow.) He said, “To head-quarters at
Lesaca.” So Tom and I supposed he would come back laden with supplies.
(At head-quarters there was an excellent sutler, but the prices were,
of course, beyond any moderate means.) So Tom, A.D.C., was on the
look-out for his return. He soon arrived with a bottle of sherry in
each pocket of his military blue coat, viz. two, and says, “Fane, tell
Smith, as my wine stock is not large, to be cautious of it.” Tom did
tell me, and, when we met in the dining-room, the joke was too good not
to tell such noble and liberal fellows as Barnard and Colborne. Down we
sat to, oh! such a dinner; our soldiers in camp lived far better. So
Barnard says, “Being so near the French, we shall have plenty of cooks
in camp soon; come, Smith, a glass of wine,” and I think we drank the
pocket two bottles in about as many minutes; when Barnard, as _funny a
fellow_ and as _noble a soldier_ as ever lived, says, “Now, General,
some more of this wine. We camp fellows do not get such a treat
everyday.” Barnard had a French cook, taken at the battle of Salamanca,
and lived like a gentleman. “Barnard,” Skerrett says, looking like a
fiend at me, “that is the last, I very much regret to say, of an old
stock” (Barnard winked at me); “what I must now give you, I fear, won’t
be so good.” It was produced; it was trash of some sort, but not wine.
“No,” says Barnard, “that won’t do, but let us have some brandy.” We
got some execrable coffee, and here ended the only feast he ever gave
while in command of my Brigade. Poor Skerrett, he soon inherited £7000
a year, not long to enjoy it. He was killed in the most brilliant, and
at the same time the most unfortunate, affair that ever decorated and
tarnished British laurels, at Bergen Op Zoom.



In our Division, generally speaking, the officers of each Company had
a little mess of their own, an arrangement indispensable, so much
detached were we on picquets, etc. Some of us lived most comfortably,
and great interchange of hospitality existed. We all had goats, and
every mess had a boy, who was in charge of them on the march and in
quarters, and milked them. On the march the flock of each Regiment and
Brigade assembled and moved with their goat-herds, when each drove his
master’s goats to his quarters. We observed extraordinary regularity
with these goats, and upon inquiry we found out the little fellows
organized themselves into regular guards. They had a captain, quite
a little fellow of dear old Billy Mein’s (52nd Regiment); their time
of duty was as regular as our soldiers’; they had sentries with long
white sticks in their hands, and Mein’s little boy held a sort of
court martial, and would lick a boy awfully who neglected his charge.
My little boy’s name was Antonio, and when he was for guard, I have
seen him turn out unusually smart, with his face and hands washed.
This little republic was very extraordinary, and quite true to the
letter as I have drawn it. Mein’s little captain told it all to my
wife, who took great interest in them after she was acquainted with
their organization, and the captain often consulted her. When our army
was broken up after Toulouse, and all the Portuguese Corps of course
marched back into Portugal, and the followers with them, we all of us
gave our goats to the poor little boys to whom we had been so much
indebted. My little fellow had a flock of fifteen. Many are probably
great goat-proprietors now from this basis for future fortune.

Our Brigade was now commanded by Colonel Colborne, in whom we all had
the most implicit confidence. I looked up to him as a man whose regard
I hoped to deserve, and by whose knowledge and experience I desired
to profit. He had more knowledge of ground, better understood the
posting of picquets, consequently required fewer men on duty (he always
strengthened every post by throwing obstacles—trees, stones, carts,
etc.—on the road, to prevent a rush at night), knew better what the
enemy were going to do, and more quickly anticipated his design than
any officer; with that coolness and animation, under fire, no matter
how hot, which marks a good huntsman when he finds his fox in his best

The French were now erecting works, upon a position by nature strong
as one could well devise, for the purpose of defending the Pass of
Vera, and every day Colonel Colborne and I took rides to look at them,
with a pleasant reflexion that the stronger the works were, the greater
the difficulty we should have in turning them out—an achievement we
well knew in store for us. On Oct. 7, the Duke resolved to cross
the Bidassoa, and push the enemy at once into his own country, San
Sebastian having been taken. Now had arrived the time we long had
anticipated of a regular tussle with our fortified friends on the
heights of Vera. The Duke’s dispatch, Oct. 9, 1813, No. 837, tells the
military glory of the exploit. My object is the record of anecdotes
of myself and my friends. On the afternoon of the 7th, about two
o’clock, we were formed for the attack, and so soon as the head of
the 4th Division under that noble fellow, Sir Lowry Cole, appeared in
sight, we received the command to move forward. We attacked on three
different points. Advancing to the attack, Colborne, who had taken
a liking to me as an active fellow, says, “Now, Smith, you see the
heights above us?” “Well,” I said, “I wish we were there.” He laughed.
“When we are,” he says, “and you are not knocked over, you shall be a
Brevet-Major, if my recommendation has any weight at head-quarters.”
Backed by the performance of our Brigade, next day off he posted to
Lord Fitzroy Somerset, and came back as happy as a soldier ever is who
serves his comrade. “Well, Major Smith, give me your hand.” I did,
and my heart too (although not as a blushing bride). Kind-hearted
Colonel Barnard heard of this, went to Lord Fitzroy Somerset, asking
for the Brevet for one of his Captains, remarking that I should be made
a Major over the heads of twenty in my own Regiment. This startling
fact obliged Lord Fitzroy to lay the matter before the Duke, who, I am
told, said, “A pity, by G——! Colborne and the Brigade are so anxious
about it, and he deserves anything. If Smith will go and serve as
Brigade-Major to another Brigade, I will give him the rank after the
next battle.” Colborne’s mortification was so great that I banished
mine altogether by way of alleviating his disappointment. There was
such a demonstration of justice on the part of his Grace, and so did I
love the fellows whose heads I should have jumped over, that, honestly
and truly, I soon forgot the affair. Colborne said, “Go and serve with
another Brigade.” “No,” says I, “dear Colonel, not to be made of _your_
rank. Here I will fight on happily, daily acquiring knowledge from your

The 1st Caçadores, under poor Colonel Algeo, moved so as to threaten
the enemy’s left, and intercept or harass the retreat of the troops
in the redoubt (which the noble 52nd were destined to carry at the
point of the bayonet without one check), and the 2nd Battalion of the
95th and the 3rd Caçadores moved to the enemy’s right of this redoubt
for a similar purpose. This Battalion was fiercely opposed, but so
soon as it succeeded in putting back the enemy, Colonel Colborne, at
the head of the 52nd, with an eye like a hawk’s, saw the moment had
arrived, and he gave the word “Forward.” One rush put us in possession
of the redoubt, and the Caçadores and 2nd Battalion 95th caused the
enemy great loss in his retreat to the top of the pass where his great
defence was made. The redoubt just carried was placed on the ridge of
the ravine, and must be carried ere any advance could be made on the
actual [position].

In this attack poor Algeo was killed. He rode a chestnut horse marked
precisely as my celebrated hunter and war-horse, “Old Chap,” which
I rode on that day. My wife was looking on the fight from the very
cottage window we had occupied so long, barely without the range of
musketry, and saw this horse gallop to the rear, dragging for some
distance the body by the stirrup. The impulse of the moment caused her
with one shriek to rush towards it, and so did anxiety and fright add
to her speed that my servant for some time could not overtake her. The
horse came on, when she soon recognized it was poor Algeo’s charger,
not mine, and fell senseless from emotion, but soon recovered, to
express her gratitude to Almighty God.

After this attack—and there never was a more brilliant one—the 4th
Division was well pushed up the hill, and, so soon as our Brigade was
reformed, we prepared for the great struggle on the top of the Pass of
Vera. Colborne sent me to Sir Lowry Cole, to tell him what he was about
to attempt, and to express his hope of a support to what he had just so
vigorously commenced. General Cole was all animation, and said, “Rely
on my support, and you will need it, for you have a tough struggle
before you.” On my return, we again advanced with a swarm of Riflemen
in skirmishing order keeping up a murderous fire. Firing up a hill is
far more destructive than firing down, as the balls in the latter case
fly over. The 52nd Regiment, well in hand, with their bayonets sharp
and glistening in the sun (for the afternoon was beautiful), were
advanced under a most heavy fire, but, from the cause mentioned, it was
not near so destructive as we expected. Still more to our astonishment,
the enemy did not defend their well-constructed work as determinedly as
we anticipated. Although they stood behind their parapets until we were
in the act of leaping on them, they then gave way, and we were almost
mixed together, till they precipitated themselves into a ravine, and
fled down almost out of sight as if by magic.

On the opposite side of this ravine, a few of the Riflemen of General
Kempt’s Brigade were pushing forward with a noble fellow, Reid, of the
Engineers, at their head. At the moment he did not know how full of
the enemy the ravine was. Colonel Colborne and I were on horseback. We
pushed on, a little madly, I admit, followed by those who could run
fastest, until the ravine expanded and a whole column of French were
visible, but we and Reid on the opposite side were rather ahead, while
the enemy could not see from out the ravine. The few men who were there
could not have resisted them, and certainly could not have cut them
off, had they been aware. Colonel Colborne, however, galloped up to the
officer at the head of the column with the bearing of a man supported
by 10,000, and said to the officer in French, “You are cut off. Lay
down your arms.” The officer, a fine soldier-like looking fellow, as
cool as possible, says, presenting his sword to Colonel Colborne,
“There, Monsieur, is a sword which has ever done its duty,” and then
ordered his men to lay down their arms. Colborne, with the presence
of mind which stamps the character of a soldier, said, “Face your men
to the left, and move out of the ravine.” By this means the French
soldiers were separated from their arms. At this moment there were up
with Colborne myself, Winterbottom, Adjutant of the 52nd Regiment, my
brother Tom, Adjutant of the 95th, and probably ten soldiers, and about
as many with Reid on the opposite ridge. Reid wisely did not halt,
but pushed forward, which added to the Frenchman’s impression of our
numbers, and Colborne turns to me, “Quick, Smith; what do you here? Get
a few men together, or we are yet in a scrape.” The French having moved
from their arms, Colborne desired the officer commanding to order them
to sit down. Our men were rapidly coming up and forming, and, when our
strength permitted, we ordered the enemy to march out of the ravine,
and there were 22 officers and 400 men. Three pieces of cannon we had
previously carried (_vide_ the Duke’s dispatch, Oct. 9, 1813, No.
837). Colonel Colborne, myself, and others were called madmen for our
audacity. I never witnessed such presence of mind as Colborne evinced
on this occasion, and when, like a _man_ as he is, he returned the poor
Frenchman’s sword, “There,” he says, “wear the sword, your pride; it is
not yet disgraced.” The fortune of war gave us the advantage over equal

By this time our men had got well out of the Pyrenees into the plain
of France below, and as night was rapidly approaching, I was sent on
to halt them, ready for Colonel Colborne to take up his position. The
prisoners were sent to the rear (what became of their arms I never
knew) under charge of a Lieutenant Cargill, of the 52nd Regiment, a
manly, rough young subaltern, who on his march, just at dusk, met the
Duke, who says, “Halloa, sir, where did you get those fellows?” “In
France. Colonel Colborne’s Brigade took them.” “How the devil do you
know it was France?” “Because I saw a lot of our fellows coming into
the column just before I left with pigs and poultry, which we had not
on the Spanish side.” The Duke turned hastily away without saying a
word. The next morning Mr. Cargill reported this to Colonel Colborne,
whom I hardly ever saw so angry. “Why, Mr. Cargill, you were not such a
blockhead as to tell the Duke _that_, were you?” In very broad Scotch,
“What for no? It was fact as death.” It did not escape the Duke, who
spoke to Colborne, saying, “Though your Brigade have even more than
usually distinguished themselves, we must respect the property of
the country.” “I am fully aware of it, my lord, and can rely upon
the discipline of my soldiers, but your lordship well knows in the
very heat of action a little irregularity will occur.” “Ah, ah!” says
my lord, “stop it in future, Colborne.” Nor had his Grace cause to
complain of us.

This night we slept on our arms, and cold and miserable we were, for
no baggage had been permitted to come to us. The next day we occupied
the heights of Vera, our outposts remaining pushed forward, and
head-quarters and our general hospital were established at Vera. My
wife joined me very early, and I never before had seen her under such
excitement, the effect of the previous day, when, as she conceived
at the moment, she had seen me killed. She did not recover her usual
vivacity for several days, and the report of a musket acted on her like
an electric shock. We remained in this position several days.

One day I dressed myself in all my best to do a little dandy at
head-quarters, to see some of my wounded comrades and officers, and
to look into our hospitals. In galloping through the country, I heard
a very melancholy and faint call, repeated once or twice without
attracting my attention. When I turned towards it, it was repeated. I
rode up and among several dead bodies of the enemy, I found the poor
fellow who had called to me greatly exhausted. _Four days_ had elapsed
since the action, and he had both legs shot off high up. I dismounted
and felt his pulse, which was still far from faint. Of course he prayed
me to send succour. I promised to do so, and I proceeded to tie some of
the bushes of the underwood to mark the spot, and continued to do so
until I reached a mountain track leading to Vera. I now even hear the
hideous moans he uttered when I turned from him, although I earnestly
assured him of help. Away I galloped to the hospital, not to visit my
own poor fellows, but to get a fatigue party and a stretcher, and off
I set for my poor wounded enemy, whom, from the precautions taken, I
easily found. Poor thing, from the belief that I had abandoned him, he
was nearly exhausted. We got him on the stretcher, the party set off
to the hospital, and I to my bivouac, for it was late and I was well
aware the poor thing would be treated just as one of our own soldiers.
I had literally forgotten the circumstance, when one day after we had
advanced considerably into France, a month or five weeks after the man
was picked up, a large convoy of disabled men, as an act of humanity,
were sent to their own country from the rear. My Brigade was of course
on the outpost, and it became my duty to go to the enemy’s advanced
post close to, with a letter and flag of truce. I was received as usual
with great civility, and the convoy passed on. While I was talking to
the French officers, a poor fellow on one of the stretchers called to
me and the officer, and began a volley of thanks, which, if it had
been of musquetry, would have been difficult to resist. I said, “I know
nothing about you, poor fellow; that will do.” “I know you; I owe my
life to you; you fetched the party who carried me to hospital. Both
stumps were amputated; I am now doing perfectly well, and I was treated
like one of your own soldiers.” I never saw gratitude so forcibly
expressed in my life.



Our Division was soon after pushed forward to our right on a ridge
somewhat in advance, and fully looking upon the enemy’s position. His
right extended from St. Jean de Luz, his left was on the Nivelle, his
centre on La Petite Rhune[40] and the heights beyond that village. Our
Division was in the very centre opposite La Petite Rhune.

One morning Colonel Colborne and I were at the advance vedette at
daylight, and saw a French picquet of an officer and fifty men come
down to occupy a piece of rising ground between our respective advanced
posts, as to which the night before I and a French staff-officer had
agreed that neither should put a picquet on it. (Such arrangements
were very commonly made.) Colonel Colborne said, “Gallop up to the
officer, wave him back, or tell him he shall not put a picquet there.”
Having waved to no purpose, I then rode towards him and called to him.
He still moved on, so I galloped back. Colborne fell in our picquet,
ordered up a reserve, and fired five or six shots _over the heads_ of
the Frenchmen. They then went back immediately, and the hill became,
as previously agreed, neutral ground. I give this anecdote to show how
gentlemanlike enemies of disciplined armies can be; there was no such
courtesy between French and Spaniards.

A few days previously to Nov. 10, the Battle of the Nivelle, the
Division took ground on the ridge of hills in our occupation, and the
extreme right of the Division became the left. Gilmour, commanding the
1st Battalion of the Rifles, then in the 1st Brigade, had built a very
nice little mud hut about ten feet square with a chimney, fireplace,
and a door made of wattle and a bullock’s hide. When my wife rode
up, Gilmour had just turned out. The night was bitterly cold; it was
November in the Pyrenees. Gilmour says, “Jump off, and come into _your
own castle_, which I in perpetuity bequeath to you.” When I returned
from my Brigade and new line of picquets, etc., I found my wife as
warm and as snug as possible—dinner prepared for me and Tom Fane,
our horses all bivouacked, our cold tent pitched, and our servants
established in it; all was comfort, happiness, and joy, every want
supplied, every care banished. At night we retired to our nuptial
couch, a hard mattress on the floor, when a sudden storm of rain came
on. In ten seconds it came down through the roof of our black-earth
sods, and, literally in a moment, we were drenched to the skin and as
black as chimney-sweepers. The buoyant spirits of my wife, and the
ridiculous position we were in, made her laugh herself warm. We turned
the servants out of our tent, and never enjoyed the late comforts of
our castle again.

The enemy, not considering this ground strong enough, turned to it
with a vigour I have rarely witnessed, to fortify it by every means
art could devise. Every day, before the position was attacked, Colonel
Colborne and I went to look at their progress; the Duke himself would
come to our outpost, and continue walking there a long time. One day
he stayed unusually long. He turns to Colborne, “These fellows think
themselves invulnerable, but I will beat them out, and with great
ease.” “That we shall beat them,” says Colborne, “when your lordship
attacks, I have no doubt, but for the ease——” “Ah, Colborne, with your
local knowledge only, you are perfectly right; it appears difficult,
but the enemy have not men to man the works and lines they occupy. They
dare not concentrate a sufficient body to resist the attacks I shall
make upon them. I can pour a greater force on certain points than they
can concentrate to resist me.” “Now I see it, my lord,” says Colborne.
The Duke was lying down, and began a very earnest conversation. General
Alten, Kempt, Colborne, I, and other staff-officers were preparing to
leave the Duke, when he says, “Oh, lie still.” After he had conversed
for some time with Sir G. Murray, Murray took out of his sabretache his
writing-materials, and began to write the plan of attack for the whole
army. When it was finished, so clearly had he understood the Duke, I do
not think he erased one word. He says, “My lord, is this your desire?”
It was one of the most interesting scenes I have ever witnessed. As
Murray read, the Duke’s eye was directed with his telescope to the spot
in question. He never asked Sir G. Murray one question, but the muscles
of his face evinced lines of the deepest thought. When Sir G. Murray
had finished, the Duke smiled and said, “Ah, Murray, this will put us
in possession of the fellows’ lines. Shall we be ready to-morrow?” “I
fear not, my lord, but next day.” “Now, Alten,” says the Duke, “if,
during the night previous to the attack, the Light Division could be
formed on this very ground, so as to rush at La Petite Rhune just as
day dawned, it would be of vast importance and save great loss, and by
thus precipitating yourselves on the right of the works of La Petite
Rhune, you would certainly carry them.” This Petite Rhune was well
occupied both by men and works, and a tough affair was in prospect.
General Alten says, “I ‘dink’ I can, my lord.” Kempt says, “My Brigade
has a road. There can be no difficulty, my lord.” Colborne says, “For
me there is no road, but Smith and I both know every bush and every
stone. We have studied what we have daily expected, and in the darkest
night we can lead the Brigade to this very spot.” I was proud enough at
thus being associated, but no credit was due to me. “Depend on me, my
lord,” says Colborne. “Well then, Alten, when you receive your orders
as to the attack, let it be so.”

Just before starting on this night’s march, [9 Nov.], having had many
military arrangements to make before I got on my horse, I had got a
short distance when I remarked that, although I knew a proper tough
fight was in hand, I had forgotten to bid my “goodbye” to my wife,
which habit (on my part, at least) had rendered about as formal as if
going to London out of the country. Her feelings were acute enough
on such occasions, so I went into my hut, and avowed my neglect. She
looked very sad, and I said, “Hallo, what’s the matter?” “You or your
horse will be killed to-morrow.” I laughed and said, “Well, of two such
chances, I hope it may be the horse.” We parted, but she was very sad

As we started for our position before the great, the important day
[Battle of Nivelle, 10 Nov.], the night was very dark. We had no road,
and positively nothing to guide us but knowing the bushes and stones
over a mountain ridge. Colborne stayed near the Brigade, and sent me on
from spot to spot which we both knew, when he would come up to me and
satisfy himself that I was right. I then went on again. In this manner
we crept up with our Brigade to our advanced picquet within a hundred
and fifty yards of the enemy. We afterwards found Kempt’s Brigade close
to our right, equally successfully posted. When Colborne and I rode up
to our most advanced picquet, of course by the rear, we found, to the
delight of us both, the Sergeant, Crowther, and his men, all sitting
round a fire, as alert as if on sentry themselves, with their rifles
between their legs, the sentry a few paces in their front. We had crept
up by ourselves. Without any agitation, they stood up very quietly to
reconnoitre us, when Colborne spoke, and commended their vigilance.
[I and] Tom Fane, Skerrett’s A.D.C., who nobly stayed with me rather
than go to the rear, lay down for about two hours, when I could sleep,
but Tom told me he could not. He had had a small flask of brandy, but,
what with the cold and the necessity of keeping it out, the brandy was
exhausted. About an hour before daylight, by some accident, a soldier’s
musket went off. It was a most anxious moment, for we thought the
enemy had discovered us, and, if they had not, such shots might be
repeated, and they would; but most fortunately all was still. I never
saw Colborne so excited as he was for the moment. The anxious moment
of appearing day arrived. We fell in, and our attack was made on the
enemy’s position in seven columns, nor did we ever meet a check, but
carried the enemy’s works, the tents all standing, by one fell swoop
of irresistible victory. Napier, the author of the _History of the
Peninsular War_, at the head of the 43rd, had his pantaloons torn by
the ball, and singed by the fire, of one of the enemy from the parapet
of their works. Such was the attack and such the resistance, that a
few prisoners whom we took declared that they and their officers were
perfectly thunderstruck, for they had no conception any force was near
them. The 4th Division had some heavy fighting on our right. _Vide_
Napier and the Duke’s despatch.[41] Ours was the most beautiful attack
ever made in the history of war.

The key of the enemy’s position was in our hands, and the great
line was our next immediate object. We were speedily reformed, and
ready for our attack on the enemy’s line-position and strong field
fortifications. In descending La Petite Rhune, we were much exposed
to the enemy’s fire, and when we got to the foot of the hill we were
about to attack, we had to cross a road enfiladed very judiciously by
the enemy, which caused some loss. We promptly stormed the enemy’s
works and as promptly carried them. I never saw our men fight with such
lively pluck; they were irresistible; and we saw the other Divisions
equally successful, the enemy flying in every direction. Our Riflemen
were pressing them in their own style, for the French themselves are
terrific in pursuit, when poor dear gallant (Sir Andrew) Barnard was
knocked off his horse by a musket-ball through his lungs.[42] When
Johnny Kincaid (the author), his adjutant, got up to him, he was
nearly choked by blood in his mouth. They washed it out for him, and he
recovered so as to give particular orders about a pocket-book and some
papers he wished sent to his brother. He did not want assistance; the
soldiers loved him; he was borne off to the rear, and, when examined
by Assistant-Surgeon Robson, it was found that the ball had not passed
through, but was perceptible to the touch. The surgeon had him held
up, so that when he made a bold incision to let the ball out, its own
weight would prevent its being repelled into the cavity of the chest.
The ball was boldly and judiciously extracted, no fever came on, and
in three weeks Barnard was at the head of a Brigade, with one wound
still open, and in the passage of the Gave d’Oleron he plunged into the
water, and saved the life of a soldier floating down the river.

But to the fight. Everything was carried apparently, and our Division
was halted. Some sharp skirmishing was going on, and Colborne and I
were standing with the 52nd Regiment, again ready for anything, on a
neck of land which conducted to a strong-looking star redoubt, the only
work the enemy still held, when Charlie Beckwith, the A.Q.M.G. of our
Division, came up with orders from General Alten to move on. “What,
Charlie, to attack that redoubt? Why, if we leave it to our right or
left, it must fall, as a matter of course; our whole army will be
beyond it in twenty minutes.” “I don’t know; your orders are to move
on.” “Am I to attack the redoubt?” says Colborne. “Your orders are to
move on,” and off he galloped. Colborne turns to me, and says, “What
an evasive order!” “Oh, sir,” says I, “let _us_ take the last of their
works; it will be the operation of a few minutes,” and on we went in a
column of companies. As we neared the enemy, Colborne’s brilliant eye
saw they were going to hold it, for it was a closed work, and he says,
“Smith, they do not mean to go until fairly driven out; come, let us
get off our horses.” I was just mounted on a beautiful thoroughbred
mare, my “Old Chap” horse being somewhat done, and I really believed
anything like _fighting_ was all over. I said nothing, but sat still,
and on we went with a hurrah which we meant should succeed, but which
the garrison intended should do no such thing. My horse was struck
within twenty yards of the ditch, and I turned her round so that I
might jump off, placing her between me and the fire, which was very
hot. As I was jumping off, another shot struck her, and she fell
upon me with a crash, which I thought had squeezed me as flat as a
thread-paper, her blood, like a fountain, pouring into my face. The
52nd were not beat back, but swerved from the redoubt into a ravine,
for they could not carry it.[43] While lying under my horse, I saw one
of the enemy jump on the parapet of the works in an undaunted manner
and in defiance of our attack, when suddenly he started straight up
into the air, really a considerable height, and fell headlong into the
ditch. A ball had struck him in the forehead, I suppose—the fire of our
skirmishers was very heavy on the redoubt. Our whole army was actually
passing to the rear of the redoubt. Colborne, in the most gallant
manner, jumped on his horse, rode up to the ditch under the fire of the
enemy, which, however, slackened as he loudly summoned the garrison to
surrender. The French officer, equally plucky, said, “Retire, sir, or I
will shoot you!” Colborne deliberately addressed the men. “If a shot is
fired, now that you are surrounded by our army, we will put every man
to the sword.” By this time I succeeded in getting some soldiers, by
calling to them, to drag me from under my horse, when they exclaimed,
“Well, d—— my eyes if our old Brigade-Major is killed, after all.”
“Come, pull away,” I said; “I am not even wounded, only squeezed.”
“Why, you are as bloody as a butcher.” I ran to Colborne just as he
had finished his speech. He took a little bit of paper out, wrote
on it, “I surrender unconditionally,” and gave it to me to give the
French officer, who laughed at the state of blood I was in. He signed
it, and Colborne sent me to the Duke. When I rode up (on a horse just
lent me), his Grace says, “Who are you?” “The Brigade-Major, 2nd Rifle
Brigade.” “Hullo, Smith, are you badly wounded?” “Not at all, sir; it
is my horse’s blood.” “Well.” I gave him the paper. “Tell Colborne I
approve.” The garrison began to march out just as my Brigade were again
moved on, and General Downie was left to receive it with his Spaniards.
The garrison was composed of the whole of the French 88th Regiment,
complete in every respect. The Duke was sorry we had attacked, for the
52nd lost many men, and it never was the Duke’s intention, as he saw
what Colborne had previously observed. Some discussion afterwards took
place as to the order Colborne received. However, I think now, as I did
then, _move on_ implied _attack_.

This was a most brilliant day’s fighting, and showed how irresistible
our army was. As the Duke foretold, the enemy had not men enough. We
were never opposed to a formed body. The whole army was in occupation
of their works, and when we penetrated, retired. A proclamation had
been issued to show the French inhabitants we made war on their army,
not on them, and never in an enemy’s country was such rigid discipline
maintained as by the British Army. It is scarcely to be credited.
The day after the battle our baggage moved up, and my wife joined
me, horror-struck at the state of my cocked hat, clothes, and only
half-washed face. She would not believe I was not awfully wounded, and
then reminded me of her prophecy, that either I or my horse would be
killed the following day.

A curious coincidence occurred in respect to this horse. Shortly
before the Battle of Salamanca [22 July, 1812] a great friend of mine,
Lindsay,[44] of the 11th Dragoons, came and prayed me to take it in
exchange for a magnificent brown mare I had bought from Charlie Rowan;
he had often tempted me, but I resisted, but upon this occasion I
yielded, so earnest was he for a Dragoon’s charger; and he gave me
sixty guineas to boot. In a few months he was killed off my gallant
mare on the Bridge of Tudela on the Douro, and now his mare was killed
under me as described. Lord Fitzroy Somerset bought his mare at the
sale; his lordship afterwards sold her to me, and she went with me to
Washington. I brought her back, gave her to a brother, and she bred
many foals afterwards.



The following day we moved into a most beautiful country, intersected
with hedgerows, and the finest and sweetest second crop of hay I ever
saw, which our horses rejoiced in. We took up our posts in front of
Arbonne [15 Nov.], and the following day had a sharp skirmish at our
advanced posts. We halted here a day or two, and then moved on to a
line more approaching Bayonne. The first Brigade occupied the Chateau
d’Arcangues [17 Nov.], of which Johnny Kincaid recounts some anecdotes;
the second the Chateau of Castilleur, where Colonel Colborne packed the
52nd Regiment as close as cards; and the 2nd Battalion, 95th Regiment,
and the 1st and 3rd Caçadores also had cover. Our posts were here very
close upon each other, and we had far more skirmishing and alarms than

Upon the morning of the 9th December, the 1st and 7th Divisions came
close up to our rear, which led us to suppose something was going on.
The enemy in our front were alarmed, and stood to their arms. Shortly
after these Divisions moved to our right, for the purpose of crossing
the river [Nive], and our Division moved on to drive back the enemy’s
picquets in the direction of Bayonne. To occupy his attention, our
Riflemen formed up before the firing commenced close to the enemy’s
strongest post, on the high-road to Bayonne, where we had been watching
each other for several days. When I and Beckwith, the A.Q.M.G., rode
up and ordered our people to advance, not a shot was fired. The French
saw we were going to attack, but did not withdraw their picquet. We
beckoned to them to do so, but they would not take the hint. We then
actually fired some shots over their heads. There was positively a
reluctance on our part to shoot any man in so cold-blooded a manner.
The moment a shot was fired the affair became general, and we drove in
the French picquets, who rapidly retired, and we had little fighting
all day. In the evening, having effected the demonstration required,
the Division retired to its old ground, and we resumed our usual line
of picquets.

On the following morning [10 Dec.], having a presentiment the enemy
would create a considerable diversion upon the left of our army, I was
with our most advanced picquets before daylight. I had not been there
many minutes, when I was joined by Beckwith, and soon after up came
Colborne. We said, “The enemy are going to attack us.” Colborne said,
“No; they are only going to resume their ordinary posts in our front.”
I said, “But look at the body in our immediate front, and a column far
off, evidently moving on the 1st Division,” which was on the extreme
left. It was evident we should be attacked immediately, and I said so,
but Colborne asserted it was no such thing. I prayed him to allow me to
order my Brigade under arms. At last he consented, and, although I rode
at the utmost speed, our troops were barely out in time, so furiously
did the French drive us back. They took the Chateau of Castilleur from
us, making at the same time a heavy attack on that of Arcangues. Much
of our baggage fell into the enemy’s hands, although they could not
carry it off. My wife had barely time to slip on her habit and jump
upon her horse; her Vittoria pug-dog in the scuffle was left behind,
so sharp was the fire on the Chateau. A bugler of the 52nd Regiment,
however, knew pug, whipped him up, and put him in his haversack. This
was nearer a surprise than anything we had ever experienced. For some
time the enemy possessed our quarters and bivouac, and—what was of
great importance to Tom Fane—rifled his portmanteau. They also carried
off a goose which was fattening for our Christmas dinner. We soon
repaid our friends with interest and retook our position, but it was
one of as heavy attacks as I have ever witnessed.

In the afternoon of that day, the enemy made a most vigorous attack
on Sir J. Hope, particularly at the Mayor’s House of Biaritz,[45]
sharply skirmishing with us at the same time to occupy our attention.
I thought then, and I think now, if my Brigade had been moved on the
left of the attack on Sir J. Hope, it would have caused the enemy great
loss, as his flank was exposed, but the Duke of Wellington knew better,
and never attempted hazardous and little affairs, but ever played a
great and safe game.

That evening the Regiments of Nassau and Frankfort walked over to
us from the French lines into those of the 7th Division at Arbonne.
Colonel Beyring,[46] Count Alten’s A.D.C., was said to have been for
some time with them, and it was evident the Duke knew about their

Upon the 11th [Dec.] we had some partial skirmishing. The 2nd Battalion
Rifle Brigade struck their tents for the purpose of moving their
ground. The enemy were most alarmed, and took up their ground to
receive us. That night, when our armies were dismissed, rations were
served out. In my life I never heard such a row as among the French
when preparing to cook. I was posting the night’s sentries, when I saw
a French officer doing the same. I went towards him, and we civilly
greeted each other. I said I wished to speak to him. He came up with
the greatest confidence and good humour. I showed him my vedette,
and then remarked that his was too far in advance and might create
an alarm at night when relieving. He said he did not see that, but
to please me, if I would point out where I wished he should be, he
would immediately move him—which he did. He presented his little flask
of excellent French brandy, of which I took a sup, and we parted in
perfect amity.

When I returned to Colborne, who was in the Chateau, I found him lying
asleep before a fire just as he had got off his horse. I did not awake
him, nor had I anything to eat. Sleep at night readily supplies the
place of food, and hunger at night on that account is not nearly so
acute and painful as in the morning, when your day’s work is before
you. Down I lay, without one thought in the world, from exhaustion. I
had a long dream, its purport that the enemy had attacked my father’s
house (the front of which opened to the street, the back into a
beautiful garden, by what we children called “The Black Door”). My
father had my mother in his arms; I saw them as plainly as ever I did
in my life, he carrying her through the Black Door, at the moment
calling out, “Now, some one shut the door; she is safe and rescued.”
At the instant I sprang on my feet, and in our usual military words in
cases of alarm, roared out in a voice of thunder, “Stand to your arms.”
Colborne was on his feet like a shot, the light of the fire showed me
the room and my delusion, and I said, “Oh, sir, I beg your pardon; I
have been dreaming.” He said, in his noble way, “Never mind, it is
near daylight, and it shows that, asleep or awake, you are intent on
your duty.” He lay down, and was asleep in a moment. I never felt
so oppressed in my life, so vividly was depicted to my mind the scene
described, and I took out of my pocket a little roster of duties and
picquets bound in calf-skin, and noted down the hour and particulars
of my dream. In a few days I received a letter from my afflicted
father,[47] telling me my mother died on Sunday morning, Dec. 12, at
one o’clock, at the very moment I cried out, “Stand to your arms.” Such
is the fact. When I lay down, I was tired and exhausted, as before
expressed. I had not a thought in the world of home or anything, nor
was I prepared for the probability of the event. I presume to make no
remarks on such intimations from God alone, but the whole day I was
heavy and oppressed, nor did I ever shake off the vivid impression
until the receipt of the letter put me in possession of the loss I had


(The “Black Door” is seen to the right.)

_From a photograph by A. Gray, Whittlesey, 1900._

      [_Opposite p. 156._]

Her dying moments were perfectly composed; to the last she blessed
her two sons engaged in the wars of their country, and died saying,
“Would I could have seen them after their dangers and good conduct!”
Among all our relations and friends we receive kindness and attention
and unbounded love, but the love of a mother is distinct in character;
youth in distress turns to the mother for sympathy and pardon; in
joy it desires to impart its feeling to the mother, who participates
in it with the warmth of a mother’s heart. The mother is the friend,
the counsellor, the pardoner of offences, and, happen what may, the
mother ever clings to her offspring. When I first parted from my
mother to join my Regiment, the French Army was assembled at Boulogne,
and every day was full of news that the French were coming. We dined
early that day, I and my father, who was kindly to accompany me to
Brabourne Lees, in Kent. At dinner I held up manfully. Then I ran to
the stable to part with a beautiful little horse I had reared almost
from a foal—he was thoroughbred, and carried me hunting in such a style
that no one could beat me. I threw my arms round Jack’s neck, and had
a good cry. I saw my poor mother observed what I had been doing, and a
smile of approbation curled upon her placid lip. The awful moment now
approached: the buggy was at the door. I parted with my dear brothers
and sisters (five boys and five girls) tolerably well, my poor mother
glad to observe in me a force of character which _she hoped_ in greater
and more eventful scenes I might evince. It came next to her turn. She
seized me in her arms, and wept awfully. Suddenly, with an effort I
shall never forget, her tears were dried, she held me at arm’s length,
and, gazing at me most intently, said, “I have two favours to ask of
you: one is that you never enter a public billiard-room; the next—our
country is at war—if ever you meet your enemy, remember you are born a
true Englishman. Now, God bless and preserve you, which I hope He will,
and listen to the constant, the fervent prayers, I will offer up for
your welfare.” I exclaimed, “Dear mother, I promise!” God knows the
first request I have honestly fulfilled, the latter I hope I have—at
least, my superiors and comrades ever gave me credit for a bold and
courageous bearing. I returned to her beloved embrace after South
America, and got a commission for my brother Tom, and again to her
nearly naked and a skeleton after the retreat to Coruña. I was covered
with vermin, and had no clothes but those on my back. _To her alone_
did I impart what, although I felt no disgrace, I did not want to be
known. She dressed me, and put me in a hot bath, and we preserved our
secret mutually inviolate. I soon again left her for Talavera, restored
to health by her care, never to see her again, but our intercourse by
letters was constant. The last she received from me was after we had
carried the heights of Vera in such a brilliant manner, and it told
her that for my conduct I was promised the brevet rank of Major. May
every soldier obey the fifth commandment as I did! I never was in a
situation of appalling death, mortality, and danger, but my mother’s
words rang in my ears, “Remember you were born an Englishman.” My dear
wife participated and sympathized in all my grief, for I admit it was
excessive, saying ever, “I have lost father and mother, and my brother
died in my arms of his wounds. Your home and relatives you have still
left, while I live alone for you,—my all, my home, my kindred.”

The morning after my dream [12 Dec.] I was very early at our advanced
posts, and I saw some French soldiers coming on in a very unusual
manner to attack us, while the mass of their force were dismissed in
bivouac. The 1st Caçadores had the advance. I never saw the French
so daring since the retreat to Coruña, and they were most excellent
shots, and actually astonished our Caçadores. Colborne, hearing a smart
firing, rode up, and stopped in the road opposite one of the barricades
of our picquets. I said, “I don’t know what the devil we have got in
our front to-day. Don’t stand there, you will be shot in a moment!”
He laughed, but would not move. In a second a ball went through his
cap just above his noble head. He moved then and laughed. “Look at the
fellows,” he says, “how viciously they come on; it is evident it is no
general attack, for the troops in their bivouac are not under arms.
They want this post.” “Which,” says I, “they will have in ten minutes,
unless I bring up the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade,” for our Caçadores
were evidently not equal to their task. Colborne says, “Fetch them!”
In a very short time our Riflemen came up. By this time the enemy had
driven in everything beyond the barricade, and were prepared to assault
it. Our 95th fellows had a few men wounded as they were coming up the
road, before they could be extended, which made them as savage as the
enemy, who were capering about the fields in our front as if drunk.
Our fellows turned to, and soon brought them to repent any pranks or
exposure. We took a few prisoners, and ascertained the Regiment was
the 32nd Voltigeurs, a crack corps of Suchet’s army which had joined
the night before, when we heard all the noise going on in the bivouac.
These gentlemen had ever previously been venturous and laughed at the
tales of British prowess; that morning’s lesson, however, seemed to
have made converts of them, for I never after observed any extra feats
of dancing; but Colborne and all of us were perfectly astonished when
the fact was known, and our 2nd Battalion 95th Regiment were rather
elated in having thus shown themselves such able instructors.

We were very much on the alert all day, and a few shots were exchanged.
At night our picquets were strengthened, for we were not aware if our
friends, the new Voltigeurs, intended a fresh prank. After these three
days’ fighting and vigilance, the enemy withdrew close to Bayonne,
their and our advanced posts being nearly as before. Notwithstanding
the loss of our goose, we had a capital Christmas dinner, at which, of
course, we had the Commissary of the Brigade, and induced him to find
us champagne, which many commissaries were able to do.



From the Chateau of Castilleur we moved more into the mountains to the
rear and to our left of Ustaritz, where we never saw the enemy [Jan.
1814]. Our time was spent in shooting, and exploring the mountains.
While we were in this position forage was very scarce, and we chopped
up the furze-bushes very small by way of hay. It is astonishing how it
agreed with the horses. The natives use it in the same way for their

We remained in this position until the end of February, when we moved,
reaching Orthez on the 26th. Here our Division had one of the sharpest
skirmishes in a town which I ever saw. Orthez is situated on both sides
of the Gave de Pau and has a bridge, which the enemy held with great
jealousy. On the afternoon of this day, the Duke and his head-quarters
came up. It was his intention to have fought the battle that afternoon,
had the 3rd Division been able to reach its position in time. I heard
the Duke say, “Very well, Murray, if the Division does not arrive in
time, we must delay the attack till to-morrow. However, I must have
a sleep.” He folded his little white cloak round him, and lay down,
saying, “Call me in time, Murray.” Murray awoke the Duke, saying, “It
is too late to-day, my Lord.” “Very well, then, my orders for to-morrow
hold good.”

At dark we withdrew all our posts out of Orthez but a picquet near the
bridge in the town, and at daylight [27 Feb.] we crossed by a pontoon
bridge below Orthez, and marched over difficult ground. We saw the
enemy very strongly posted, both as regards the elevation and the
nature of the ground, which was intersected by large banks and ditches,
while the fences of the field were most admirably calculated for
vigorous defence. As we were moving on the right of the 3rd Division,
Sir Thomas Picton, who was ever ready to find fault with the Light,
rode up to Colonel Barnard. “Who the devil are you?” knowing Barnard
intimately. “We are the Light Division.” “If you are Light, sir, I
wish you would move a little quicker,” said in his most bitter and
sarcastic tone. Barnard says very cool, “Alten commands. But the march
of infantry is quick time, and you cannot accelerate the pace of the
head of the column without doing an injury to the whole. Wherever the
3rd Division are, Sir Thomas, we will be in our places, depend on it.”

We were soon engaged, but less for some time than the troops to our
right and left. I never saw the French fight so hard as this day,
and we were actually making no advance, when the Duke came up, and
ordered the 52nd Regiment to form line and advance. The Battalion was
upwards of seven hundred strong. It deployed into line like clockwork,
and moved on, supported by clouds of sharpshooters. It was the most
majestic advance I ever saw. The French, seeing this line advance so
steadily, were appalled; their fire, which at first was terrific,
gradually decreased as we neared. The Divisions on our right and left
also moved on. The battle was won.

In this advance the 52nd suffered considerably. The present Duke of
Richmond, then Lord March, a Captain in the corps, received a severe
wound in the side; the ball still annoys him. The Duke himself also
got a crack on his knee, which lamed him for several days. When Lord
March lay on the ground after the attack, I went to bring up Maling,
Surgeon of the 52nd Regiment. As soon as he arrived, to my horror, he
poked his forefinger into the wound to trace the course of the ball. At
this moment up rode Lord Fitzroy Somerset, and Lord March’s brother,
Lord George Lennox, awfully affected, believing the wound mortal. Lord
March said, “Maling, tell me if I am mortally wounded, because I have
something I wish to impart to George.” Maling said, “If you will be
quiet, you will do very well.” Maling did not think so. However, Lord
March made a miraculous recovery. I never knew a finer young fellow,
braver or cooler. In those days, he would not have opposed his kind
patron, the Duke, as he did subsequently. That every peer and every
other man should speak out his mind according to his conscience,
I earnestly desire; but, as Duke of Richmond, he opposed the Duke
of Wellington politically in a manner rather partaking of personal
hostility than political consistency.[48] Every admirer of Lord March
in the army, and he had many, lamented the course he pursued.

But to the fight. We drove the enemy in great confusion before us. On
this occasion, I literally lost a Battalion of my Brigade, the 1st
Caçadores, for two days, they got so mixed with the 6th Division. The
night I found them, after much diligence, I and my Brigadier, Barnard,
got into a little sort of inn, kept by an old soldier disabled in
Bonaparte’s Italian campaigns. He did not require to be told the wants
of a soldier, but from habit and sympathy turned to like a “good ’un”
to cook us some dinner. As he was hard at work, he said to Barnard,
“Ah, the French are not always victorious, and I see war now is [not?]
what it was when I served. The Cavalry give way first, then come the
Artillery, and then follow the Infantry in disorder.” He became in the
course of the evening very eloquent over his own wine, and told us some
very amusing stories. The next morning, when Barnard paid him for
everything we had consumed, he was perfectly thunderstruck. I shall
never forget his astonishment or his “Eh bien! monsieur, comme vous

The baggage reached us early the following day [1 March], and in the
afternoon we forded the Adour, which was deep, rapid, and broad. My
wife had ridden over the field of battle, and described it as covered
with dead, dying, and wounded. She observed an extraordinary number
of wounds in the head. These were due to the fact that, owing to the
cover of the high banks before described, the head only was vulnerable
or exposed. She saw one fine fellow of an Artilleryman with both his
arms shot off, which he said occurred while he was ramming down the
cartridge into his own gun. She offered him all she had in the eating
or drinking way, but he most disdainfully refused all.

The same afternoon we made a long and rapid march on Mont de Marsan,
where a Division of Cavalry and Marshal Beresford and his head-quarters
preceded us. We did not reach Mont de Marsan until some hours after
dark. We were ordered to take up quarters for the night, but so full
of Cavalry and head-quarters was the place, and all scattered over
the town, not collected, as we Light Division used to be by streets
and regiments as if on parade, we had great difficulty in getting in

The night was showery, with sleet drifting, frosty and excessively
cold. My poor wife was almost perished. We at last got her into a
comfortable little house, where the poor Frenchwoman, a widow, lighted
a fire, and in about half an hour produced some bouillon in a very
handsome Sèvres slop-basin, saying this had been a present to her many
years ago on the day of her marriage, and that it had never been used
since her husband’s death. She, therefore, wished my wife to know
how happy she was to wait on the nation who was freeing France of
an usurper. The widow was a true “Royaliste,” and we were both most
grateful to the poor woman. The next day we were ordered back to St.
Sever, on the high-road to Toulouse, and parted with our widow with
all mutual concern and gratitude, our baggage being left to follow. We
had a very showery, frosty, and miserable long march over an execrable
road, after which we and Barnard got into a little cottage on the
roadside. At daylight the following morning we were expecting to move,
but, having received no order, we turned to to breakfast, my wife
relating to Barnard the kindness she had received the previous night
and the history of the basin. To our horror in came my servant, Joe
Kitchen, with the identical slop-basin full of milk. The tears rolled
down my wife’s cheeks. Barnard got in a storming passion. I said, “How
dare you, sir, do anything of the sort?” (he was an excellent servant.)
“Lord, sir,” he says, “why, the French soldiers would have carried off
_the widow_, an’ she had been young, and I thought it would be so nice
for the goat’s milk in the morning; she was very angry, though, ’cos I
took it.”

Barnard got on his horse, and rode to head-quarters. About ten o’clock
he came back and said the Duke told him the army would not march until
to-morrow. My wife immediately sent for the trusty groom, old West,
and said, “Bring my horse and yours too, and a feed of corn in your
haversack.” She said to me, “I am going to see an officer who was
wounded the day before yesterday, and if I am not back until late, do
not be alarmed.” Young as she was, I never controlled her desire on
such occasions, having perfect confidence in her superior sense and
seeing her frequently visit our wounded or sick. I went to my Brigade,
having various duties, just before she started. It became dark, she
had not returned, but Barnard would wait dinner for her, saying, “She
will be in directly.” She did arrive soon, very cold and splashed from
hard riding on a very dirty, deep, and wet road. She laughed and said,
“Well, why did you wait dinner? Order it; I shall soon have my habit
off.” Barnard and I exclaimed with one voice, “_Where have you been?_”
“Oh,” she says, “do not be angry, I am not taken prisoner, as you see.
I have been to Mont de Marsan, to take back the poor widow’s basin.” I
never saw a warm-hearted fellow so delighted as Barnard. “Well done,
Juana, you are a heroine. The Maid of Saragossa is nothing to you.” She
said the widow cried exceedingly with joy, but insisted on her now
keeping the basin for the milk, which my wife would on no account do.
She had ridden that day thirty miles and had every reason to expect
to meet a French patrol. I said, “Were you not afraid of being taken
prisoner?” “No, I and West kept a good look-out, and no French dragoon
could catch me on my Spanish horse, Tiny.” She was tired from the
excessive cold, but the merit of her act sustained her as much as it
inspired us with admiration. The story soon got wind, and the next day
every officer in the Division loaded her with praise. It was a kind and
noble act which few men, much less a delicate girl of sixteen, would
have done under all the circumstances. Our worthy friend, Bob Digby, of
the 52nd Regiment, Barnard’s A.D.C., overhearing my wife’s orders to
West, after she had started, most kindly followed and joined my wife on
the road, for, as he said, he was alarmed lest she should fall in with
a patrol.



On our advance [9 March, etc.], we were for some days at a village
called Gée, near Aire, where the 2nd Division, under Sir W. Stewart,
had a brilliant little affair.

But I must first interpose an anecdote. One of his A.D.C.’s, his
nephew, Lord Charles Spencer, a Lieutenant of the 95th Regiment, was
mounted on a very valuable horse which he had paid more for than he
could afford, contrary to the advice of Sir William. In driving the
French through the town, Lord Charles’s horse was shot on the bank of a
large pond, into which he himself was thrown head foremost. (The fire
at this moment was very heavy, and in a street more balls take effect
than in the open.) Sir William very quietly says, “Ha, there goes my
poor nephew and all his fortune,” alluding to the price he paid for his

I have often heard Colonel Colborne (Lord Seaton) affirm that if he
were asked to name the bravest man he had ever seen (and _no one_ was
a better judge), he should name Sir William Stewart. Although he gave
me my commission, I never saw him under fire. If he exceeded in bravery
my dear friend, Sir Edward Pakenham, he was gallant indeed. Pakenham’s
bravery was of that animated, intrepid cast that he applied his mind
vigorously at the moment to the position of his own troops as well as
to that of the enemy, and by judicious foresight ensured success, but
he never avoided a fight of any sort.

The village of Gée was to the right of the high-road to Toulouse, the
River [Adour] running to our right. The Cavalry were posted on the main
road, their advance vedettes looking on to the village of [Tarsac?]
where the enemy were very alert and obstinate in resisting our approach.

On the day the army advanced,[49] the French Cavalry made a fierce
resistance in the village, and when driven out, made some desperate
charges on the chaussée, in one of which the officer in command was
cut down while gallantly leading his Squadron. An officer of our 15th
Hussars (I think Booth), having admired his gallant bearing, dismounted
to his assistance. He said he believed he was not mortally wounded,
and he requested to be carried to the Chateau in the village he had
so gallantly fought for, where his father and family resided. This
peculiar tale may be relied on, like everything else, as I hope,
which I have asserted. For several days it was the usual topic of
conversation, and when any one came from the rear, inquiry was always
made if the French Captain who was wounded and in his fathers house,
(we never knew his name), was doing well. We learnt afterwards that he
perfectly recovered, but the sword wound had stamped him with a deep

At Gée we had several alerts, and our baggage for some successive days
was loaded for hours. On one of these occasions the old housekeeper of
a large house which Barnard occupied, and whom he had paid for many a
fat fowl and fish out of tanks, etc., came into the room where my wife
remained waiting to join the troops, seized my wife and vowed she would
put her to death, grasping her with a fiend-like strength. Fortunately,
at this moment my servant returned to say the Division were not to
march, and rescued my poor affrighted and delicate wife. We afterwards
learnt that this violent woman, if anything excited her, was afflicted
with temporary insanity, and she had been put in a rage below, and came
up to vent her spleen on my poor wife. We were in this house for two or
three days after, but my wife had been so alarmed she would never allow
her servant to quit her. The latter was a powerful woman of the 52nd,
rejoicing in the name of Jenny Bates.

While in this village, Charlie Beckwith, the Q.M.G., came to me and
said, “Harry, I want a Company for picquet immediately.” I named the
Corps, 1st Battalion 95th, who had one ready accoutred in waiting,
as we always had in positions subject to alerts. It was out in five
minutes, and Charlie Beckwith marched to point out where the officer
commanding was to post it. I invariably went out with every picquet
when possible. On this occasion I had other duty. In the afternoon
I got on my horse to look for my picquet. I met Charlie Beckwith in
the village. He said, “I will ride with you.” We did not find the
picquet where we expected—on our side of a bridge (beyond which was
a comfortable village). Having heard no firing, we were not alarmed
for the safety of the Company, still we could not find it. We rode to
the bridge, the object of the officer’s watch, saying, “There will
surely be a sentry upon it.” We rode up and found one certainly, but on
the enemy’s side. We asked where the Company was. The vedette was an
Irishman. “By Jasus, the Captain’s the boy. It was so rainy and cold on
the plain, he harboured us all comfortably, like the man that he is,
in the village.” The French were in the habit of patrolling into this
village in force, and, although the Captain had so posted himself as I
do believe he would have been able to hold his own until the Division
came up, it would have cost us a fight to rescue him from the far side
of the bridge, which he ought never to have crossed. So the Captain
got a blowing-up, and the Company had to make their fires in a cold,
wet, and miserable bivouac. I never had a picquet out from the Brigade
without visiting it so as to judge how it was posted, and how to
withdraw it either at night or in case of abrupt necessity.

We had also a sharp skirmish at Vic Begorre, but the brunt of it fell
on the 3rd Division, where one of the most able officers got himself
killed where he had no business to be—Major Sturgeon, of the Staff. I
hold nothing to be more unsoldierlike than for officers well mounted
to come galloping in among our skirmishers. The officers of companies
have always some little exertion to restrain impetuosity, and your
galloping gentlemen set our men wild sometimes. We Light Division,
while ever conspicuous for undaunted bravery, prided ourselves upon
destroying the enemy and preserving ourselves; for good, light troops,
like deer-stalkers, may effect feats of heroism by stratagem, ability,
and cool daring.

At Tarbes [20 March] we fell in with the enemy, strongly posted,
but evidently only a rear-guard in force. The Duke made immediate
dispositions to attack them, and so mixed up did we appear, that we
concluded a large number of the enemy must be cut off. The Light
Division, however, alone succeeded in getting up with them. Our three
Battalions of the 95th were most sharply engaged. Three successive
times the enemy, with greatly superior force, endeavoured to drive
them off a hill, but the loss of the enemy from the fire of our Rifles
was so great that one could not believe one’s eyes. I certainly had
never seen the dead lie so thick, nor ever did, except subsequently at
Waterloo. Barnard even asked the Duke to ride over the hill and see
the sight, which he consented to do, saying, “Well, Barnard, to please
you, I will go, but I require no novel proof of the destructive fire of
your Rifles.”

At this period we lived capitally. It was delightful to see one of our
soldiers with a piece of cold bacon, slicing it over his bread like an
English haymaker.

We had at this time exceedingly wet weather. Notwithstanding the
fulness of the Garonne, however, after a feint or two and some skilful
demonstrations to deceive the enemy, the Duke succeeded [4 April]
in throwing over the 3rd, 4th, and 6th Divisions with as much ease
as he had previously overcome what seemed to others insurmountable
difficulties. These Divisions were strongly posted under Marshal
Beresford as a _tête du pont_. They were barely established on the
opposite side when such a torrent of rain fell, our bridge could
not stem the flood. It was hauled to the shore, and, of course, our
communication cut off. Marshal Beresford had every reason to apprehend
an attack, for the enemy, being in his own country, possessed perfect
information, and would know the moment the bridge was impassable.
The Marshal wrote very strongly to the Duke, who was ferried over in
a little boat with one or two of his Staff, while their horses swam
across. His Grace quickly but narrowly examined the position, which
was excellent, behind a very difficult ravine. “Beresford,” said the
Duke, “you are safe enough; two such armies as Soult’s could make no
impression on you. Be assured, he is too clever a General to attempt to
drive you into the river.” Our Division was immediately opposite the
bridge, but on the left, or opposite bank, to the Marshal. The river
soon subsided sufficiently to enable us to relay the bridge, and at
daylight on the 10th of April the Light Division crossed, followed by
the remainder of the army, except Lord Hill’s corps, which was posted
on the Pyrenees side of Toulouse. It was evidently the Duke’s intention
to attack Soult’s position this day. Nor were we long on the march
before each general officer had his point of rendezvous designated.

The battle of Toulouse [10 April] has been so often fought and
refought, I shall only make two or three remarks. Sir Thomas Picton,
as usual, attacked when he ought not, and lost men. The Spaniards
made three attacks on a very important part of the enemy’s position
defended by a strong redoubt. The first was a very courageous though
unsuccessful attack; the second, a most gallant, heavy, and persevering
one, and had my dear old Light Division been pushed forward on the
right of the Spaniards in place of remaining inactive, that attack of
the Spaniards would have succeeded. I said so at the moment. The third
attempt of the Spaniards was naturally, after two such repulses, a
very poor one. At this period, about two o’clock in the afternoon, the
Duke’s Staff began to look grave, and all had some little disaster to
report to His Grace, who says, “Ha, by God, this won’t do; I must try
something else.” We then saw the heads of the 4th and 6th Divisions
coming into action immediately on the right flank of the enemy, having
been conducted to that particular and vulnerable spot by that gallant,
able, and accomplished soldier, my dear friend, John Bell, A.Q.M.G.,
4th Division.

I must record an anecdote of John. He was mounted on a noble English
hunter, but the most violent and difficult horse to manage I ever
rode to hounds, and would of course, in a fight, be equally so. This
animal knew by the mode in which she was mounted whether her rider was
an artist or not, and in a moment would throw her rider down by way
of fun. Colonel Achmuty, a noble fellow, would ride John Bell’s horse
awkwardly, and she would then plunge like a devil, but if _ridden_, she
was as quiet as possible. John Bell had on this horse a very large and
high-peaked Hussar saddle, with his cloak strapped on the pique before,
a favourite mode of General Robert Craufurd, who indeed gave Bell the
identical saddle. Over this pique Craufurd’s black muzzle could barely
be discovered (he was a short man), so entrenched was he. In conducting
their Divisions, the Staff officers moved on small roads through a
country intersected by deep and broad ditches full of water. Many of
them attempted to ride on the flanks, but no one succeeded but Bell on
his fiery horse. At one ditch John Bell was fairly pitched over the
pique on to the neck of his horse, a powerful mare six feet high. “Oh,”
says John, in telling this story, “Ah, to get there was extraordinary,
but wait! The horse tossed up her head, and by some violent exertion
pitched me over the pique back again to my saddle.” “Oh, John!” I
exclaimed, “how is that possible?” “With that, Harry, I have nothing to

But to the fight. The 4th and 6th Divisions were brought up in most
gallant style, carrying redoubt after redoubt, which were ably defended
by the enemy. It was the heaviest fighting I ever looked at, slow
owing to the redoubts. The ground was gained step by step, and so was
the battle of Toulouse. Our Cavalry lost a brilliant opportunity of
distinguishing themselves and punishing the rearguard of the French.

This battle appeared to me then, and does the more I reflect on it, the
only battle the Duke ever fought without a weight of attack and general
support. It was no fault of the Duke’s. There are fortunate days in
war as in other things. Our attacks were commenced by that of the 3rd
Division; then came those of the Spaniards, in which the Light Division
did not support as the 4th Division supported us at the heights of
Vera. Thus, until the afternoon, we literally had done rather worse
than nothing. The success of this battle is to be attributed mainly
to the 4th and 6th Divisions, but I will ever assert that the second
attack was most heavy and energetic, and would have succeeded if my
dear old Division had been shoved up. As a whole, the French lost a
great number of men and were thoroughly defeated. The French have now
agitated a claim to the victory, which they are as much borne out in as
they would be in claiming the victory at Waterloo.

The next day [11 March] various were the reports flying about camp
as to peace, etc. In the afternoon I was posting a picquet, and in
riding forward no nearer than usual to a French sentry, the fellow most
deliberately fired at me. I took off my cocked hat and made him a low
bow. The fellow, in place of reloading his musket, presented arms to
me, evidently ashamed of what he had done.

Peace was soon made known. The French moved out of Toulouse, and we
occupied it. (The most slippery pavement to ride over in Europe is that
of the streets of Toulouse.) My Division was most comfortably cantoned
in the suburbs. I and my wife, and two or three of my dear old Rifle
comrades—Jack Molloy and young Johnstone (not the Rifle hero of Badajos
and Ciudad Rodrigo, old Willie)—had a delightfully furnished château.
We got a French cook, and were as extravagant and wanton in our ideas
as lawless sailors just landed from a long cruise. The feeling of no
war, no picquets, no alerts, no apprehension of being turned out, was
so novel after six years’ perpetual and vigilant war, it is impossible
to describe the sensation. Still, it was one of momentary anxiety,
seeing around us the promptitude, the watchfulness, the readiness with
which we could move and be in a state of defence or attack. It was so
novel that at first it was positively painful—at least, I can answer
for myself in this feeling. I frequently deemed the old Division in
danger, who had never even lost a picquet, or, to my recollection, a
sentry, after so many years’ outpost duty.

We had one melancholy duty to wind up our period of war—the funeral of
poor Colonel Coghlan, 61st Regiment. The officers of the army attended,
the Duke himself as chief mourner. Many is the gallant fellow we had
all seen left on the field or with some trifling ceremony consigned to
his long home; but this funeral, in the midst of a populous city, in a
graveyard, after a ceremony in a Protestant chapel, where the corpse
was placed, in the custom of our home and infancy, while the service
was read by a clergyman, after death in the last battle, and nearly at
the end of it, too—all so tended to excite our comrade-like feelings,
it positively depressed us all, for the love a soldier bears another
tried and gallant soldier is more than fraternal.

Toulouse, a royalist city, soon rushed into the extravagant and
vivacious joy of France. We had theatres, balls, fêtes, etc., until
the army moved into regular cantonments. There we had plenty of room
and quarters, no squabbling about the shade of a tree in bivouac, or
your stable being previously occupied by cavalry or artillery horses.
Abundance of food, drink, and raiment, and the indolence of repose,
succeeded the energetic and exciting occupation of relentless and cruel
war. I had a safeguard in a lovely young wife; but most of our gallant
fellows were really in love, or fancied themselves so, and such had
been the drain by conscription of the male population, you never saw
a young Frenchman. The rich and fertile fields in this part of France
were cultivated by female exertion.

My Division went to Castel Sarrasin [towards the end of April]. This
place is situated on the Tarne, which divides it from Marsac, where
were a body of French troops; but, as they seldom came to visit us,
we seldom encroached upon them, for the Napoleonist officers were
brutally sulky and so uncivil, John Bull could not put up with it
with impunity. This part of France is a garden, and the views, trees,
beautiful rivers, etc., and the idleness rendered it a perfect Elysium.
I say “idleness;”—because it was so totally novel, it was amusing.
Fortunately—for we were _nine months_ in arrear of pay—money was so
scarce that a trifle of ready money produced a great deal. Among the
rich inhabitants money was never seen, any more than young men. Rents
were paid in produce, wages in kind, purchases made by barter. Oh,
dear John Bull, grumbling, still liberal John Bull, had you witnessed,
felt, and suffered all this, and then had the best rooms in your house
occupied by soldiers (for, however orderly, there is much riot and
fun ever going on amongst them), you would now wear the yoke of the
national debt as a light burden!



My happiness of indolence and repose was doomed to be of short
duration, for on the 28th of August I was in the Battle of Bladensburg,
and at the capture of the American capital, Washington, some thousands
of miles distant. Colborne, my ever dear, considerate friend, then in
command of his gallant Corps, the 52nd, sent for me, and said, “You
have been so unlucky, after all your gallant and important service,
in not getting your Majority, you must not be idle. There is a force,
a considerable one, going to America. You must go. To-morrow we will
ride to Toulouse to headquarters; send a horse on to-night—it is only
thirty-four miles—we will go there and breakfast, and ride back to
dinner.” I said, very gratefully, “Thank you, sir; I will be ready.
This is a kind act of yours;” but as I knew I must leave behind my
young, fond and devoted wife, my heart was ready to burst, and all my
visions for our mutual happiness were banished in search of the bubble
reputation. I shall never forget her frenzied grief when, with a sort
of despair, I imparted the inevitable separation that we were doomed
to suffer, after all our escapes, fatigue, and privation; but a sense
of duty surmounted all these domestic feelings, and daylight saw me
and dear Colborne full gallop thirty-four miles to breakfast. We were
back again at Castel Sarrasin by four in the afternoon, after a little
canter of sixty-eight miles, not regarded as any act of prowess, but
just a ride. In those days there were men.

On our arrival in Toulouse, we found my name rather high up—the third,
I think—on the list of Majors of Brigade in the A.G.’s office desirous
to serve in America. We asked kind old Darling who had put my name
down. He said, “Colonel Elley,” afterwards Sir John. He had known my
family in early life, and was ever paternally kind to me. He had asked
my ever dear friend, General Sir Edward Pakenham, to do so, which he
readily did. Colborne then said, “My old friend Ross, who commanded
the 20th Regiment while I was Captain of the Light Company, is going.
I will go and ask him to take you as his Major of Brigade.” Ross knew
me on the retreat to Coruña, and the affair, in a military point of
view, was satisfactorily settled. But oh! the heaviness of my heart
when I had to impart the separation now decided on to my affectionate
young wife of seventeen years old! She bore it, as she did everything,
when the energies of her powerful mind were called forth, exclaiming,
“It is for your advantage, and neither of us must repine. All your
friends have been so kind in arranging the prospect before you so
satisfactorily.” At the word “friends” she burst into a flood of tears,
which relieved her, exclaiming, “You have friends everywhere. I must be
expatriated, separated from relations, go among strangers, while I lose
the only thing on earth my life hangs on and clings to!”

Preparation was speedily made for our journey down the Garonne, which
we performed in a small boat, accompanied by our kind friend Digby. My
wife was to accompany me to Bordeaux, there to embark for England with
my brother Tom, who had recently suffered excessively in the extraction
of the ball he had received in his knee five years previously at the
Coa. The great difficulty I had was to get my regimental pay (nine
months being due to me), and I only did so through the kindness of our
acting-paymaster, Captain Stewart, and every officer readily saying,
“Oh, give us so much less the first issue, and let Smith have what
would otherwise come to us.” Such an act, I say, testifies to the
mutual friendship and liberality we acquired amidst scenes of glory,
hardship, and privation.

Before I left my old Brigade, the 52nd Regiment, the 95th Regiment
(Rifle Brigade now), the 1st and 3rd Caçadores,[50] with whom I had
been so many eventful years associated—and I may say, most happily—all
gave me a parting dinner, including the good fellows, the Portuguese,
whom I never had any chance of seeing again. Our farewell dinner
partook of every feeling of excitement. The private soldiers, too,
were most affectionate, and I separated from all as from my home. The
Portuguese are a brave, kind-hearted people, and most susceptible of
kindness. We had also ten men a Company in our British Regiments,
Spaniards, many of them the most daring of sharpshooters in our corps,
who nobly regained the distinction attached to the name of the Spanish
infantry in Charles V.’s time. I never saw better, more orderly,
perfectly sober soldiers in my life, and as vedettes the old German
Hussar did not exceed them. The 52nd Regiment I was as much attached to
as my own corps, with every reason.

My old 1st Battalion embarked at Dover just before Talavera, 1050 rank
and file. During the war only 100 men joined us. We were now reduced to
about 500. There was scarcely a man who had not been wounded. There was
scarcely one whose knowledge of his duty as an outpost soldier was not
brought to a state of perfection, and when they were told they must not
drink, a drunken man was a rare occurrence indeed, as rare as a sober
one when we dare give a little latitude. My old Brigade was equal to
turn the tide of victory (as it did at Orthez) any day.

It was early in May when we left Castel Sarrasin, where we had been
happy (oh, most happy!) for a month—an _age_ in the erratic life
we had been leading. We were quartered in the house of a Madame La
Rivière, an excellent and motherly woman, a widow with a large family
and only one son spared to her—the rest had perished as soldiers.
Never was there a more happy and cheerful family, and never did mother
endeavour to soothe the acute feelings of a daughter more than did this
good lady those of my poor wife. We often afterwards heard of her in
Paris in 1815.

Our voyage down the Garonne in our little skiff was delightful. We
anchored every night. In youth everything is novel and exciting, and
our voyage was such a change after marching! The beauties of the
scenery, and the drooping foliage on the banks of the river, added
to our enjoyment. We landed each night at some town or village, and
ever found a comfortable inn which could give us a dinner. After such
privations as ours, the delight of being able to order dinner at an inn
is not to be believed. On reaching Bordeaux, the most beautiful city I
was ever in, I found I had only three or four days to prepare to reach
the fleet and the troops embarked in the Gironde (a continuation of
the Garonne), and that I was to embark on board his Majesty’s ship the
_Royal Oak_, 74, Rear-Admiral Malcolm, for the troops under General
Ross were destined for a peculiar and separate service in America. I
did, of course, all I could to draw the attention of my poor wife from
the approaching separation. There was a theatre, various spectacles,
sights, etc., but all endeavour was vain to relieve the mind one
instant from the awful thought of that one word “separation.” Digby
was most kind to her. He had an excellent private servant, who was to
embark with her for London. My brother Tom was to her all a brother
could be, and in the transport she was to proceed in were several old
and dear Rifle friends going to England from wounds. I wished her to
go to London for some time before going down to my father’s, for the
benefit of masters to learn English, etc.—for not a word could she
speak but her own language, French, and Portuguese,—and to every wish
she readily assented.

Time rolls rapidly on to the goal of grief, and the afternoon arrived
when I must ride twenty miles on my road for embarcation. Many a year
has now gone by, still the recollection of that afternoon is as fresh
in my memory as it was painful at the moment—oh, how painful! To see
that being whose devotedness in the field of three years’ eventful war,
in a life of such hardship at the tender age of fourteen, had been
the subject of wonder to the whole community, in a state bordering on
despair, possessing, as she did, the strong and enthusiastic feelings
of her country-women—who love with a force cooler latitudes cannot
boast of—_this_ was to me an awful trial, and although she had every
prospect of care and kindness, to be _separated_ conveyed to the
sensitive mind of youth (for I was only twenty-four[51]) every anguish
and horror that is to be imagined. I left her insensible and in a
faint. God only knows the number of staggering and appalling dangers I
had faced; but, thank the Almighty, I never was unmanned until now, and
I leaped on my horse by that impulse which guides the soldier to do his

I had a long ride before me on the noble mare destined to embark with
me. On my way I reached a village where I received the attention of
a kind old lady, who from her age had been exempt from having any
troops quartered on her; but, the village being full of Rifle Brigade,
Artillery, and Light Division fellows, the poor old lady was saddled
with me. The Artillery readily took charge of my horse. The kind old
grandmamma showed me into a neat little bedroom and left me. I threw
myself on the bed as one _alone_ in all the wide world, a feeling
never before experienced, when my eye caught some prints on the wall.
What should they be but pictures in representation of the _Sorrows of
Werther_, and, strange though it be, they had the contrary effect upon
me to that which at the first glance I anticipated. They roused me from
my sort of lethargy of grief and inspired a hope which never after
abandoned me. The good lady had a nice little supper of _côtelettes de
mouton_, and the most beautiful strawberries I ever saw, and she opened
a bottle of excellent wine. To gratify her I swallowed by force all I
could, for her kindness was maternal.

We soon parted for ever, for I was on horseback before daylight, _en
route_ to Pauillac, a village on the Garonne, where we were to embark.
On my ride, just at grey daylight, I saw something walking in the air.
“It is like a man,” I said, “certainly, only that men do not walk in
the air.” It advanced towards me with apparently rapid strides, and in
the excited state of mind I was in, I really believed I was deluded,
and ought not to believe _what I saw_. Suspense was intolerable, and I
galloped up to it. As I neared my aeronaut, I found it a man walking
on stilts about twenty-five feet high. In the imperfect light and the
distance, of course the stilts were invisible. The phenomenon was
accounted for, and my momentary credulity in I did not know what called
to mind stories I had heard recounted, evidently the results of heated
imaginations. This walking on stilts is very general in the deep sands
of this country.

On reaching Pauillac, I found my trusty old groom West waiting for
me. He led me to a comfortable billet, where my portmanteau, all my
worldly property, and my second horse, which was to embark with me,
were reported “All right, sir.” Old West did not ask after “Mrs.,” but
he looked at me a thousand inquiries, to which I shook my head. I found
a note for me at our military post-office from dear little Digby, as
consolatory as I could expect.

I was detained two days at Pauillac, in the house of another widow,
an elderly lady (all women in France of moderate or certain age were
widows at this period). One morning I heard a most extraordinary shout
of joyful exclamation, so much so I ran into the room adjoining the one
I was sitting in. The poor old woman says, “Oh, come in and witness
my happiness!” She was locked in the arms of a big, stout-looking,
well-whiskered Frenchman. “Here is my son, oh! my long-lost son, who
has been a [prisoner] in England from the beginning of the war.” The
poor fellow was a _sous-officier_ in a man-of-war, and, having been
taken early in the war off Boulogne, for years he had been in those
accursed monsters of inhuman invention, “the hulks,” a prisoner. He
made no complaint. He said England had no other place to keep their
prisoners, that they were well fed when fed by the English, but when,
by an arrangement with France at her own request, that Government fed
them, they were half starved. The widow gave a great dinner-party at
two o’clock, to which I was of course invited. The poor old lady said,
“Now let us drink some of this wine: it was made the year my poor son
was taken prisoner. I vowed it should never be opened until he was
restored to me, and this day I have broached the cask.” The wine was
excellent. If all the wine-growers had sons taken prisoners, and kept
it thus until their release, the world would be well supplied with good
wine in place of bad. Poor family! it was delightful to witness their
happiness, while I could but meditate on the contrast between it and my
wretchedness. But I lived in hope.



That afternoon, after seeing my horses off, I embarked in a boat, and
I and all my personal property, my one portmanteau, reached the _Royal
Oak_, at her anchorage a few miles below, about eight o’clock. I found
General Ross had not arrived, but was hourly expected. We soldiers had
heard such accounts of the etiquette required in a man-of-war, the
rigidity with which it was exacted, etc., that I was half afraid of
doing wrong in anything I said or did. When I reached the quarters, the
officer of the watch asked my name, and then, in the most gentlemanlike
and unaffected manner, the lieutenant of the watch, Holmes (with whom
I afterwards became very intimate), showed me aft into the Admiral’s
cabin. Here I saw wine, water, spirits, etc., and at the end of the
table sat the finest-looking specimen of an English sailor I ever saw.
This was Admiral Malcolm, and near him sat Captain Dick, an exceedingly
stout man, a regular representation of John Bull. They both rose
immediately, and welcomed me on board in such an honest and hospitable
manner, that I soon discovered the etiquette consisted in nothing but
a marked endeavour to make us all happy. The fact is that Army and
Navy had recently changed places. When I joined the Army, it was just
at a time when our Navy, after a series of brilliant victories, had
destroyed at Trafalgar the navy of the world. Nine years had elapsed,
and the glories of the Army were so fully appreciated by our gallant
brothers of the sea service, we were now by them regarded as the heroes
whom I well recollect I thought them to be in 1805.

The Admiral says, “Come, sit down and have a glass of grog.” I was so
absorbed in the thought that this large floating ship was to bear me
away from all I held so dear, that down I sat, and seized a bottle
(gin, I believe), filled a tumbler half full, and then added some
water. “Well done!” says the Admiral. “I have been at sea, man and
boy, these forty years, but d—— me, if I ever saw a stiffer glass
of grog than that in my life.” He afterwards showed me my cabin,
telling me he was punctual in his hours. “I breakfast at eight, dine
at three, have tea in the evening, and grog at night, as you see; and
if you are thirsty or want anything, my steward’s name is Stewart, a
Scotchman like myself—tell the Marine at the cabin door to call him
and desire him to bring you everything you want.” I shall never forget
the kindness I received on board the _Royal Oak_, and subsequently on
board the _Menelaus_ (commanded by poor Sir Peter Parker), and from
every ship and every sailor with whom I became associated. Our Navy are
noble fellows, and their discipline and the respect on board for rank
are a bright example to the more familiar habits of our Army.

General Ross arrived next morning, with his A.D.C., Tom Falls, a
Captain in the 20th, and Lieut. De Lacy Evans (subsequently of great
notoriety), both as good-hearted fellows as ever wore a sword. The
fleet sailed in the afternoon. The troops all embarked in men-of-war,
with the lower-deck guns out. We had on board a Company of Artillery;
otherwise the force consisted of the 4th Regiment, the 44th, and the
85th. We had a very slow but beautiful passage to St. Michael’s, one of
the Western Islands, where, as Admiral Malcolm said, “that d——d fellow
Clavering, the Duke of York’s enemy, had the impudence to call on me,”
and we embarked live bullocks, fruit, and vegetables.

The parts capable of cultivation in this island are most fertile, and
the inhabitants (all Portuguese) looked cheerful and happy. I could
then speak Portuguese like a native. One day on shore I walked into a
large draper’s shop, where I was quite struck by the resemblance of the
man behind the counter to my old clerk, Sergeant Manuel. After some
little conversation, I discovered he actually was his brother. At first
I doubted it, but he fetched me a bundle of letters in which my name
frequently appeared. It was an extraordinary rencontre, and my friend
Señor Manuel’s attention to me was very “gostozo” indeed.

We sailed for Bermuda in a few days. It was a long passage, but we had
fine weather until we neared Bermuda, when we fell in with a violent
thunderstorm, which carried away the mizen topmast of the _Royal Oak_.

Much of my time was spent with my friend Holmes, and many is the time
I have walked the quarter-deck with him. In any state of grief or
excitement, some one who participates and sympathizes in your feeling
is always sought for, and this warm-hearted fellow fully entered
into all I must feel at the fate of my wife—a foreigner in a foreign
land, to whom, though surrounded by many kind friends, everything was
strange, everything brought home the absence of that being on whom her
life depended.

On reaching Bermuda we found the 21st Regiment awaiting us, and a
communication from the Admiral, Cochrane, Commander-in-chief of
the Navy (who commanded on the coast of America 170 Pennons of all
descriptions), that a Battalion of Marines was organized under Colonel
Malcolm, the Admiral’s brother, upwards of 800 strong, so that General
Ross’s force became respectable. The Admiral proposed to _rendezvous_
in Chesapeake Bay so soon as possible.

Ross organized his force into three Brigades, one commanded by Colonel
Thornton, the second by Colonel Brooke, the third, which comprised all
Naval auxiliaries, by Colonel Malcolm. A Brigade-Major was appointed
to each. I was put in orders Deputy Adjutant-General; Evans, Deputy
Quartermaster-General. The price of things on this spot in the ocean
was enormous; I, Evans, Macdougall, of the 85th, Holmes of the Navy,
etc., dined on shore at the inn one day, and were charged fifteen
Spanish dollars for a miserable turkey; but the excellent fish called a
“groper” made up for the price of the turkey.

General Ross left the troops here, and proceeded to join the Naval
Commander-in-chief in a frigate. I was the only Staff officer left
with Admiral Malcolm, who was quite as much a soldier in heart as a
sailor; he prided himself very much on having brought home the Duke of
Wellington (when Sir A. Wellesley) from India, and he landed his army
at Mondego Bay, before Vimiera. I never saw a man sleep so little: four
hours a night was plenty, and half that time he would talk aloud in his
sleep, and if you talked with him would answer correctly, although next
morning he recollected nothing.

To get from the anchorage at Bermuda is difficult, and the wind was
contrary, and appeared so likely to continue so, that the Admiral
resolved on the boldest thing that was ever attempted, viz. to take
the whole fleet through the North-east Passage—a thing never done but
by one single frigate. There was only one man in the island who would
undertake to pilot the 74 _Royal Oak_ through. The passage is most
intricate, and the pilot directs the helmsman by ocular demonstration,
that is, by looking into the water at the rocks. It was the most
extraordinary thing ever seen, the rocks visible under water all round
the ship. Our pilot, a gentleman, said there was only one part of the
passage which gave him any apprehension. There was a turn in it, and
he was afraid the _Royal Oak_ was so long her bows would touch. When
her rudder was clear, on my honour, there appeared not a foot to spare.
The breeze was very light; at one period, for half an hour, it almost
died away. The only expression the Admiral was heard to make use of
was, “Well, if the breeze fails us, it will be a good turn I have done
the Yankees.” He certainly was a man of iron nerves. The fleet all got
through without one ship touching. The Admiral’s tender, a small sloop,
ran on a rock, but was got off without injury.

At night, after the fleet was well clear (and the bold attempt was of
every importance to the success of our expedition, which, as we now
began to observe, evidently meditated the capture of Washington), we
had rather a good passage to the mouth of the Chesapeake, where we
met the Admiral Chief in Command and General Ross. We did not anchor,
having a leading wind to take us up the bay. We were going ten knots
when the frigate struck on the tail of a bank, with a crash like an
earthquake; she got over, however, without injury. We anchored off the
mouth of the Patuxen, the river which leads to Washington.

Next day all the Staff were assembled on board the _Tonnant_, and all
the Admirals came on board. We had present—Sir A. Cochrane, Admiral
Cockburn (of great renown on the American coast), Admiral Malcolm,
Admiral Codrington, Captain of the Fleet, and, if I recollect right,
Sir T. Hardy, but he left us next day. After much discussion and poring
over bad maps, it was resolved the force should sail up the serpentine
and wooded Patuxen in the frigates and smaller vessels. This we did,
and it was one of the most beautiful sights the eye could behold. The
course of the large river was very tortuous, the country covered with
immense forest trees; thus, to look back, the appearance was that
of a large fleet stalking through a wood. We went up as far as we
could, and the Navy having very dexterously and gallantly burned and
destroyed Commodore Barney’s flotilla, which was drawn up to oppose our
passage [19, 20 Aug.], the army was landed about thirty-six miles from
Washington. I cannot say my dear friend General Ross inspired me with
the opinion he was the officer Colborne regarded him as being. He was
very cautious in responsibility—awfully so, and lacked that dashing
enterprise so essential to carry a place by a _coup de main_. He died
the death of a gallant soldier, as he was, and friendship for the man
must honour the manes of the brave.

We fell in with the enemy on our second day’s march, well posted on the
eastern bank. We were told that the only approach to their position
was by a bridge through the village of Bladensburg. The day we landed,
a most awful spectacle of a man named Calder came in to give us
information. He was given in my charge, the secret service department
having been confided to me. The poor wretch was covered with leprosy,
and I really believe was induced to turn traitor to his country in the
hope of receiving medical [aid] from our surgeons, in the miserable
state of disease he was in. If such was his object, he is partly to be
pardoned. He was a very shrewd, intelligent fellow, and of the utmost
use to us. He was afterwards joined by a young man of the name of
Brown, as healthy a looking fellow as he was the reverse, who was very
useful to us as a guide and as a scout.

When the head of the Light Brigade reached the rising ground, above
the bridge, Colonel Thornton immediately proposed to attack, which
astonished me [Battle of Bladensburg, 24 Aug.], We old Light Division
always took a good look before we struck, that we might find a
vulnerable part. I was saying to General Ross we should make a feint
at least on the enemy’s left flank, which rested on the river higher
up, and I was in the act of pointing out the position, guns, etc.,
when Colonel Thornton again proposed to move on. I positively laughed
at him. He got furiously angry with me; when, to my horror and
astonishment, General Ross consented to this isolated and premature
attack. “Heavens!” says I, “if Colborne was to see this!” and I could
not refrain from saying, “General Ross, neither of the other Brigades
can be up in time to support this mad attack, and if the enemy fight,
Thornton’s Brigade must be repulsed.” It happened just as I said.
Thornton advanced, under no cloud of sharpshooters, such as we Light
Division should have had, to make the enemy unsteady and render their
fire ill-directed. They were strongly posted behind redoubts and
in houses, and reserved their fire until Thornton was within fifty
yards. Thornton was knocked over, and Brown, commanding the 85th Light
Infantry, and Captain Hamilton, a noble fellow from the 52nd, were
killed, and the attack repulsed. “There,” says I, “there is the art of
war and all we have learned under the Duke given in full to the enemy!”
Thornton’s Brigade was ordered to hold its own until the arrival of the
Brigade consisting of the 4th and 44th under Brooke, many men having
dropped down dead on the march from the heat, being fat and in bad wind
from having been so long on board. As the Brigades closed up, General
Ross says, “Now, Smith, do you stop and bring into action the other two
Brigades as fast as possible.” “Upon what points, sir?” He galloped
to the head of Thornton’s people, and said, “Come on, my boys,” and
was the foremost man until the victory was complete. He had two horses
shot under him, and was shot in the clothes in two or three places. I
fed the fight for him with every possible vigour. Suffice it to say we
licked the Yankees and took all their guns, with a loss of upwards of
300 men, whereas Colborne would have done the same thing with probably
a loss of 40 or 50, and we entered Washington for the barbarous purpose
of destroying the city. Admiral Cockburn would have burnt the whole,
but Ross would only consent to the burning of the public buildings.
I had no objection to burn arsenals, dockyards, frigates building,
stores, barracks, etc., but well do I recollect that, fresh from the
Duke’s humane warfare in the South of France, we were horrified at the
order to burn the elegant Houses of Parliament and the President’s
house. In the latter, however, we found a supper all ready, which was
sufficiently cooked without more fire, and which many of us speedily
consumed, unaided by the fiery elements, and drank some very good wine
also.[52] I shall never forget the destructive majesty of the flames
as the torches were applied to beds, curtains, etc. Our sailors were
artists at the work. Thus was fought the Battle of Bladensburg, which
wrested from the Americans their capital Washington, and burnt its
Capitol and other buildings with the ruthless firebrand of the Red
Savages of the woods. Neither our Admirals nor the Government at home
were satisfied that we had not allowed the work of destruction to
progress, as it was considered the total annihilation of Washington
would have removed the seat of government to New York, and the Northern
and Federal States were adverse to the war with England.

We remained two days, or rather nights, at Washington, and retired
on the third night in a most injudicious manner. I had been out in
the camp, and when I returned after dark, General Ross says, “I have
ordered the army to march at night.” “To-night?” I said. “I hope
not, sir. The road you well know, for four miles to Bladensburg, is
excellent, and wide enough to march with a front of subdivisions. After
that we have to move through woods by a track, not a road. Let us move
so as to reach Bladensburg by daylight. Our men will have a nights
rest, and be refreshed after the battle. I have also to load all the
wounded, and to issue flour, which I have also caused to be collected.”
(I had seized in Washington everything in the shape of transport, and
Baxter, the Staff Surgeon, brought away every wounded man who could
travel.) General Ross said, “I have made the arrangement with Evans,
and we must march.” I muttered to myself, “Oh, for dear John Colborne!”

We started at nine, and marched rapidly and in good order to
Bladensburg, where we halted for about an hour to load the wounded.
The barrels of flour were arranged in the streets, the heads knocked
in, and every soldier told to take some. Soldiers are greedy fellows,
and many filled their haversacks. During a tedious night’s march
through woods as dark as chaos, they found the flour far from agreeable
to carry and threw it away by degrees. If it had not been for the flour
thus marking the track, the whole column would have lost its road. Such
a scene of intolerable and unnecessary confusion I never witnessed. At
daylight we were still not three miles from Bladensburg. Our soldiers
were dead done, and so fatigued, there was nothing for it but to halt
and bring into play the flour, which was soon set about, while we Staff
were looking out like a Lieutenant of the Navy in chase, to see the
Yankees come down upon us with showers of sharpshooters. Thanks to
their kind consideration they abstained from doing so, but we were very
much in their power.

I now began to see how it was that our Light Division gentlemen
received so much credit in the army of the dear Duke. I recommend
every officer in command to avoid a night march as he would the devil,
unless on a good road, and even thus every precaution must be taken
by all staff officers to keep up the communications, or regularity
cannot be ensured. I have seen many night marches, but I never yet saw
time gained, or anything, beyond the evil of fatiguing your men and
defeating your own object. You may move before daylight, _i.e._ an
hour or two, if the nights are light. By this means, about the time
the column requires collection, daylight enables you to do it. You have
got a start of your enemy, your men are in full vigour either to march
rapidly or, in case of difficulty, to fight. But avoid night marches.
However, owing to their want of knowledge of the art of war, the enemy
on this occasion allowed us to get to our boats perfectly unmolested.

On one of the days we were near Washington a storm came on, a regular
hurricane. It did not last more than twenty minutes, but it was
accompanied by a deluge of rain and such a gale that it blew down all
our piles of arms and blew the drums out of camp. I never witnessed
such a scene as I saw for a few minutes. It resembled the storm in
Belshazzar’s feast,[53] and we learnt that even in the river, sheltered
by the woods, several of our ships at anchor had been cast on their
beam ends.

We gave out we were going to Annapolis, and thence to Baltimore to
re-act the conflagration of Washington, and the bait took. Some
American gentlemen came in under a flag of truce, evidently to have
a look at us, but avowedly to ask how private property had been
respected. Their observations were frustrated by our vigilance. I was
sent out to receive them, and nothing could exceed their gentlemanlike
deportment. I loaded them with questions about roads, resources,
force, etc., etc., at Annapolis and Baltimore. It was evident they
took the bait, for that night we heard their army was off in full
force to Annapolis, leaving us quietly to get down to our ships. We
made arrangements for the care and provisioning of the wounded we had
left at Bladensburg, and the attention and care they received from the
Americans became the character of a civilized nation.

We reached our landing-place unmolested, and at our leisure embarked
our army, which began to suffer very much from dysentery. A long
sea voyage is the worst possible preparation for long and fatiguing
marches. The men are fat, in no exercise, have lost the habit of
wearing their accoutrements, packs, etc.—in short, they are not the
same army they were on embarcation. Before our men left the Gironde,
thirty miles a day would have been nothing to them.

General Ross, just before we went on board, sent for me (there never
was a more kind or gallant soldier), and said, “Smith, the sooner I
get my dispatch home the better. As you know, it is nearly ready, and
as poor Falls, my A.D.C., is too unwell, it is my intention you should
be the bearer of my dispatches, and that Falls should go home for the
benefit of his health.” This most unexpected arrangement set me on the
_qui vive_ indeed. I had not been in England for seven years. Wife,
home, country, all rushed in my mind at once. The General said, “A
frigate is already ordered by the Admiral.”

This day my information man, Calder the Leper, came to me, and told me
that Brown had been taken and would be hung. I was much distressed.
Although one cannot admire a traitor to his country, yet I was some
degree of gratitude in his debt, and I said, “Well, Calder, but can
we do nothing to save him?” “Well, now I calculate that’s not to be
denied, and if I hear General Ross say, ‘If I catch that rascal Brown,
I will hang him like carrion,’ he may be saved, for I would go at once
among our people (they will not injure me), and I will swear I heard
General Ross say so.” I immediately went to the General. On the first
view of the thing, his noble nature revolted at making an assertion
he never intended to abide by. At length, however, to save the poor
wretch’s life, he consented, and in course of a desultory conversation
with Calder, dovetailed the words required into it. I saw Calder catch
at it. When he left the General’s tent, he said to me, “Well, now, I
calculate Brown may yet live many years.” He left us that night with
a purse of money and a long string of medical instructions for the
benefit of his health from one of our surgeons. “Ah,” says he, “this
will save _me_” (meaning the medical advice); “I can save Brown.” I
had an hieroglyphical note from him brought by a slave, just before I
sailed [30? Aug. 1814], to say “All’s right, you may reckon.” I told
this story afterwards to the Prince Regent. He was exceedingly amused.

The _Iphigenia_ frigate, Captain King, was to take me home, and
Captain Wainwright of the _Tonnant_ was to be the bearer of the naval
dispatches. Sir Alexander Cochrane, Admiral Cockburn, and Evans,
burning with ambition, had urged General Ross to move on Baltimore. The
General was against it, and kindly asked my opinion. I opposed it, not
by opinions or argument, but by a simple statement of facts.

“1. We have, by a ruse, induced the enemy to concentrate all his means
at Baltimore.

“2. A _coup de main_ like the conflagration of Washington may be
effected once during a war, but can rarely be repeated.

“3. The approach to Baltimore Harbour will be effectually obstructed.”
“Oh,” says the General, “so the Admirals say; but they say that in one
hour they would open the passage.” I laughed. “It is easier said than
done, you will see, General.” (The passage defied their exertions when

“4. Your whole army is a handful of men, and the half of them are sick
from dysentery.

“5. Your success in the attack on Washington is extraordinary, and
will have a general effect. Your success on Baltimore would add little
to that effect, admitting you were successful, which I again repeat I
doubt, while a reverse before Baltimore would restore the Americans’
confidence in their own power, and wipe away the stain of their
previous discomfiture.”

General Ross says, “I agree with you. Such is my decided opinion.”
“Then, sir, may I tell Lord Bathurst you will not go to Baltimore?” He
said, “Yes.” I was delighted, for I had a presentiment of disaster,
founded on what I have stated.

The day we were to sail in the _Iphigenia_, as I left the _Tonnant_,
kind-hearted General Ross, whom I loved as a brother, accompanied me to
the gangway. His most sensible and amiable wife was at Bath. I promised
to go there the moment I had delivered my dispatches, and of course I
was charged with a variety of messages. In the warmth of a generous
heart he shook my hand, and said, “A pleasant voyage, dear Smith,
and thank you heartily for all your exertions and the assistance you
have afforded me. I can ill spare you.” My answer was, “Dear friend,
I will soon be back to you, and may I assure Lord Bathurst you will
not attempt Baltimore?” “_You may._” These were the last words I ever
heard that gallant soul utter. He was over-ruled: attempted Baltimore
[12 Sept. 1814], failed, and lost his noble life. A more gallant and
amiable man never existed, and one who, in the continuance of command,
would have become a General of great ability. But few men, who from a
Regiment to a Brigade are suddenly pushed into supreme authority and
have a variety of conflicting considerations to cope with—Navy, Army,
country, resources, etc., are at the outset perfectly at home.

The _Iphigenia_ had a most extraordinary passage from the Chesapeake to
our anchorage at Spithead. We were only twenty-one days. The kindness
I received from Captain King I shall never forget. The rapidity of our
voyage was consonant to my feelings and in perfect accordance with my



Wainwright and I started from the George Inn, Portsmouth, which I
well knew, with four horses at five o’clock. I do not know what he
considered himself, but I was of opinion that, as the bearer of
dispatches to Government, I was one of the greatest men in England.
Just before we started, our outfit merchant and general agent, tailor,
etc., by name Meyers, who had been very civil to me going out to South
America, begged to speak to me. He said, “I find the _Iphigenia_ is
from America, from the Chesapeake: that little box under your arm
contains, I see, dispatches.” “Well,” I said, “what of that?” “If you
will tell me their general purport, whether _good news_ or _bad_, I
will make it worth your while, and you may secure some pounds for a
refit.” At first I felt inclined to knock him down. On a moment’s
reflexion I thought, “every one to his trade,” so I compromised my
feelings of indignation in rather a high tone of voice, and with “I’d
see you d—— first; but of what use would such general information be
to you?” He, a knowing fellow, began to think _the pounds_ were in my
thoughts, so he readily said, “I could get a man on horseback in London
two hours before you, and good news or bad on ‘Change’ is my object.
Now do you understand?” I said, “Perfectly, and when I return to
America I shall expect a capital outfit from you for all the valuable
information I have afforded you. Good-bye, Meyers.”

Oh! the delight of that journey. I made the boys drive a furiously
good pace. D—— me, if I had rather be beating off a leeshore in a
gale, tide against me! The very hedgerows, the houses, the farms, the
cattle, the healthy population all neatly clothed, all in occupation;
no naked slaves, no burned villages, no starving, wretched inhabitants,
no trace of damnable and accursed war! For seven years, an immense
period in early life, I had viewed nothing beyond the seat of a war, a
_glorious_ war, I admit, but in that glory, death in its most various
shapes, misery of nations, hardships, privations, wounds, and sickness,
and their concomitants. The wild excitement bears a soldier happily
through. My career had been a most fortunate one. Still the contrast
around me was as striking as the first appearance of a white and
clothed man to a naked savage. The happy feeling of being in my native
land once more, in health and in possession of every limb, excited a
maddening sensation of doubt, anxiety, hope, and dread, all summed up
in this—“Does your young wife live? Is she well?” Oh! the pain, the
hope, the fear, and the faith in Almighty God, who had so wonderfully
protected me, must have turned the brain if endurance had continued,
for I had never heard of her since we parted.

At twelve o’clock we were in London, and drove to Downing Street, where
I lodged my dispatches; then we sought out a bivouac, I and poor Falls.
The navy man was off to the Admiralty. Every inn was full near Downing
Street, at least where I desired to be. At last we got to the Salopian
Coffee-house in Parliament Street. The waiter said, “One spare bedroom,
sir; nothing more.” “Oh, plenty!” we said. We had been feasting on the
road on that indigenous-to-England luxury of bread, butter, cream,
and tea. All we wanted was an hour or two’s sleep, for, at that time
of night, as to finding any one, we might as well have been back in
America! The chambermaid said, “Only one room, sir.” “Plenty,” we
said. “But only one bed, gentlemen!” “Plenty,” we said. “Bring up the
portmanteau, West.” When we got to the room and proceeded (West and I)
to divide this copious bed into two by hauling half the clothes on the
floor, according to our custom of seven years, the astonishment of the
poor chambermaid is not to be described. We bundled her out and were
asleep before a minute.

By daylight I was in a hackney coach, and drove to the British (the
Scotch) barracks of my old Rifle comrades. There I asked the porter the
name of any officer he knew. At last he stammered out some. “Colonel
Ross? What regiment?” says I. “He had a green jacket when he came up.”
I knew it was my dear friend John Ross. “Where is the room?” I said.
“Oh, don’t disturb the gentleman, sir; he is only just gone to bed.”
Says I, “My friend, I have often turned him out, and he shall quickly
be broad awake now.” He showed the room. In I bolted. “Halloa, Ross,
stand to your arms.” “Who the devil are you?” “Harry Smith,” I said;
“fall in.” Our joy was mutual. “Well, but quiet, John; is my wife alive
and well?” “All right, thank God, Harry, in every respect as you would
wish. I was with her yesterday.” “Where, John? where?” “In Panton
Square, No. 11.” It is difficult to decide whether excess of joy or of
grief is the most difficult to bear; but seven years’ fields of blood
had not seared my heart or blunted my naturally very acute feelings,
and I burst into a flood of tears. “Oh, thank Almighty God.” Soon I was
in Panton Square, with my hand on the window of the coach, looking for
the number, when I heard a shriek, “Oh Dios, la mano de mi Enrique!”
Never shall I forget that shriek; never shall I forget the effusion of
our gratitude to God, as we held each other in an embrace of love few
can ever have known, cemented by every peculiarity of our union and the
eventful scenes of our lives. Oh! you who enter into holy wedlock for
the sake of connexions—tame, cool, amiable, good, I admit—you cannot
feel what we did. That moment of our lives was worth the whole of your
apathetic ones for years. We were unbounded in love for each other, and
in gratitude to God for all His mercies. Poor little Pug was, in her
way, as delighted to see me as her more happy mistress, and many an
anecdote was told me of her assisting by moaning pitifully when my wife
grieved aloud, as she was sometimes induced to do.

This happy reunion effected, I was off to Downing Street, where my Lord
Bathurst received me in the kindest manner, and said, “The intelligence
you bring is of such importance, the Prince Regent desires to see you.
We will go immediately.” I said, “My Lord, be so good as to allow me
to take the map I brought you.” “It is here.” And off we started to
Carlton House. We were shown into a large room where Lord Bathurst
fortunately left me for half an hour, which enabled me somewhat to
allay my excited imagination and return to the battlefields. I was
soon deep in thought, when a sort of modesty came over me at the idea
of approaching England’s (_actual_) king. I gave my head a toss,
saying, “I never quailed before the dear Duke of Wellington, with his
piercing eye, nor will I now, and General Ross begged of me to talk;”
for His Royal Highness, the story went, complained that “the bearer
of dispatches will never talk.” Johnny Kincaid says I was an “impudent
fellow.” At any rate, I determined, if I saw His Royal Highness really
desired me to be communicative, I would not be unready. While I was
forming all sorts of plans for both attack and defence, in came Lord
Bathurst: “The Prince will see you.” So I said, “My Lord, if we were
in camp, I could take your Lordship all about, but I know nothing of
the etiquette of a court.” So he says, “Oh, just behave as you would
to any gentleman; His Highness’s manner will soon put you at ease.
Call him ‘Sir,’ and do not turn your back on him.” “No,” says I, “my
Lord, I know that; and my profession is one of ‘show a good front.’” In
we went to the Prince’s dressing-room, full of every sort of article
of dress, perfumes, snuff-boxes, wigs, every variety of article, I
do believe, that London could produce. His Highness rose in the most
gracious manner, and welcomed me to his presence by saying, “General
Ross strongly recommended you to my notice[54] as an officer who can
afford me every information of the service you come to report, the
importance of which is marked by the firing of the Parliament and Tower
guns you now hear.” I could not refrain from smiling within myself
at Harry Smith of the Light Division sitting with the Prince Regent,
and all London in an uproar at the news he brought. I was perfectly
thunderstruck at the military questions the Prince asked me. He opened
a map of America, and then referred to the plan of Washington I had
brought home, with the public buildings burnt marked in red. He asked
the name of each, and in his heart I fancied I saw he thought it a
barbarian act. On all other topics he spoke out. I said it was to be
regretted a sufficient force had not been sent to hold Washington. His
Highness said, “What do you call a sufficient force?” I said, “14,000
men.” He very shrewdly asked on what I based such an opinion. I talked
of Navy, of population, etc., and perfectly satisfied His Highness I
did not give an opinion at random. He asked a variety of questions, and
laughed exceedingly when I told him the anecdote of Calder’s promising
to save Brown. When I got up to leave the room, and was backing out,
His Highness rather followed me, and asked if I were any relation of
his friend, Sir —— Smith, in Shropshire. I said, “No.” He then said, “I
and the country are obliged to you all. Ross’s recommendations will not
be forgotten, and, Bathurst, don’t forget this officer’s promotion.”
It was the most gentlemanlike and affable interview I could possibly

That evening I was to dine at Lord Bathurst’s at Putney. I never met
a more amiable-mannered man than Lord Bathurst; and his secretary,
Punch Greville,[55] volunteered to drive me out in his tilbury. When
I got into the drawing-room, who should be there but my dear friend
Lord Fitzroy Somerset? He had been recently married. At dinner I sat
between Lady Fitzroy and an elderly gentleman whose name I did not
know, and, as the party was small, and I the lion, every one induced me
to talk. Lord Fitzroy and I across the table got back into Spain; and,
of course, as I regarded the Duke of Wellington as something elevated
beyond any human being, and I was in high spirits, I did not hesitate
to launch forth our opinion of him. The elderly gentleman who sat next
me said, “I am very glad to hear you speak in such raptures of the
Duke. He is my brother.” I laughed, and said, “I have not exceeded
in anything, to the best of my judgment.” After dinner Lord Fitzroy
Somerset and I had a long talk. He had travelled after Toulouse, in
a little carriage from Bordeaux to Cadiz with the Duke, and their
conversation frequently turned on the Army. Fresh are the words on
my mind at this moment. “The Duke often said to me, ‘The Light, 3rd
and 4th Divisions were the _élite_ of my army, but the Light had this
peculiar perfection. No matter what was the arduous service they were
employed on, when I rode up next day, I still found a _Division_. They
never lost one half the men other Divisions did.’” I was delighted,
for this was what we so prided ourselves on. I have often heard our
soldiers bullying one another about the number such a Company had lost,
always attaching discredit to the loss. It was a peculiar feeling, and
one which actuated them throughout the war, combined with the most
undaunted bravery and stratagem as sharpshooters.

But I must revert to domestic matters. My wife had refused all the
entreaties of my family to leave London before my return. She availed
herself of masters, and saw so many friends daily. She had a forcible
impression that I should not be long away. We started for Bath, and
I wrote to my father to come to London in a few days, and we would
return with him to Whittlesea. We found poor Mrs. Ross in the highest
spirits at the achievement of our arms under her husband. Poor thing!
at that very moment of her excessive happiness he was in a soldier’s
bloody grave. The delight of our journey to and from Bath is not to be
described. Everything was modern, novel, and amusing to my wife: every
trifle called forth a comparison with Spain, although she admitted that
there was no comparison between our inns and the Spanish _posadas_, so
accurately described in _Gil Blas_. No brutal railroads in those days,
where all are flying prisoners. We dined where we liked; we did as we
liked. At the last stage back into London, my wife, in looking at a
newspaper (for she began to read English far better than she spoke),
saw my promotion to the rank of Major—“The reward,” she said, “of our

[Illustration: JUANA SMITH.

_From a picture painted in Paris in 1815._

      [_Opposite p. 218._]

On arrival in London we found my father had arrived from the country.
I had not seen him for seven years. In this period _he_ had been
deprived of his devoted wife, leaving him eleven children, _I_, of a
mother; for everything that word comprises in its most comprehensive
sense I had lost. Our pleasure at meeting, as may be supposed, was
excessive, while we mingled our tears for the departed. As my wife had
just come off a journey, and it was late in the afternoon, I would
not show her to my father until she was dressed for dinner: a little
bit of vanity and deception on my part, for I led him to believe she
was of the stiff Spanish school, as stately as a swan and about as
proud as a peacock. She liked the fun of the deception, and promised
to dress in full Spanish costume, and act up to the supposition. In
she came, looking—oh! if I could but describe her! but in place of
acting either the swan or the peacock, she bounded into my fathers
arms, who cried like a child, between joy, admiration, astonishment
and delight at seeing so young and beautiful a creature who had gone
through so much, and showed a heart evidently framed for love. She was
now nearly eighteen, but a woman—not a girl, and certainly a person
of most distinguished appearance, especially in her Spanish costume;
not handsome, if beauty depends on regularity of features, for she
had the dark complexion of the fairer part of her countrywomen, but
with a colour beneath the clearest skin of olive which gave a lustre
to her countenance—a countenance illumined by a pair of dark eyes
possessing all the fire of a vivid imagination, and an expression
which required not the use of speech. Her figure was beautiful, and
never was any costume so calculated to exhibit it in perfection and
in all its graces as that of her native land. She had a profusion
of the darkest brown hair; teeth, though not regular, as white as
pearls; with a voice most silvery and sweet in conversation, and she
would sing the melancholy airs and songs of constancy of her country
(so celebrated for them) with a power and depth of voice and feeling
peculiar to Spain. Her foot and ankle were truly Spanish. She danced
beautifully. Thus it was that the natural grace of her figure and
carriage was developed, while the incomparable elegance and simplicity
of her manner was a thing not to be forgotten, rarely to be met with.
Her pronunciation of English at this period was most fascinating,
and when she wanted a word, the brilliancy and expression of the eye
would supply it. It flashed perpetually as she spoke, and filled up
the intervals her slight knowledge of our language could not supply.
She was animated and intelligent, with a touching tone of confidence
and gentleness which made the hearer a willing listener to her words,
but still her meaning was supplied by her vivid countenance. Such
was the being my affectionate and kind-hearted father held locked in
his paternal embrace, the faithful wife of his son. They were ever
afterwards friends in every sense of the word, and, as he was the
best and boldest horseman I ever saw in my life, and she could ride
beautifully and any horse, they were inseparable. Poor “Old Chap,”
my war horse, which, together with her Andalusian “Tiny,” I had sent
to him, was dead, but, the morning after our arrival at Whittlesea,
we were taken to the stall. There was Tiny in _such_ condition! The
meeting between my wife and the horse was, as she said, that of
compatriots in a foreign land. It was rendered still more amusing by
the little pug and horse equally recognizing each other, for many a
day had Tiny carried Pug. (My dear little thorough-bred horse I had so
cried over[56] was still alive and fresh, but alas! I had grown out of
his memory. He was standing in the next stall, and had acquired the
name of “Old Jack.”) My wife let Tiny loose, to the alarm of my father,
who expected to see him fly off full speed into his garden, which he
prided himself on considerably. To his astonishment, and to mine too
(for my father told me the groom could barely lead him), she says, “Now
don’t make a noise, and he will follow me like a dog,” which he did
into the drawing-room, occasionally licking her hand or face when she
allowed him. The saddle, however, was soon on him, and, as if proud to
show off that he was broken in like a Mameluke’s, she figured him so
that few Mamelukes, jerreed[57] in hand, could have touched her with

In the midst of [happiness] I had the most melancholy visit to pay
to my mothers tomb. If ever souls on earth could commune, I was so
fascinated by the hallowed spot, which contained all which I so adored
from my infancy, my consoler, my counsellor, my guide to the holy hill
of God, I really believed I heard her speak when I prayed over her head
and again vowed my promises at parting. Oh! that she could have lived
to know my elevation, my being the bearer of dispatches to our King,
that she could have seen my wife, that she could have shared, Heaven
bless her, in the happiness of her children around! This one blank
was for the moment all I lacked. I consoled myself that while we were
revelling on earth with every uncertainty before us, she, my mother,
was in heaven, where I dare firmly believe she is, for God is gracious
and bountiful.

On my return from that hallowed and sacred spot, I found letters from
the Horse Guards. The first was to order me to London immediately, the
next was to tell me what I little anticipated. General Ross, contrary
to his own opinion and his promise, had attempted Baltimore [12 Sept.],
failed, as I anticipated, and lost his gallant life from not following
the dictates of his own good sense and ability. My dear friend Sir
Edward Pakenham was appointed to succeed him. I was appointed A.A.G.
to the increased force going out! I had been nearly three weeks under
the paternal and hospitable roof—my only holiday for years—when that
blighting word “separation” was again to be imparted to my faithful
and adoring wife; and, cut off from all social ties of happiness and
endearment, I was again immediately, in the very middle of winter,
to encounter the stormy Atlantic and all the horrors of war in the
distance. It is only a repetition of the former tale to talk of my
poor wife’s distress. It was agreed she was to accompany me to London,
and my father was to bring her back; and twenty-four hours later,
while brothers and sisters re-echoed each others’ promises, and indeed
feelings, of affection, we started back to London, with hearts as heavy
as they were light coming down. I little thought then of what I had to
go through, witness, and endure, but, if I had, my task would still
have been to affect a cheerfulness in the prospect of more promotion
which, I avow candidly, I did not feel. However, I was a soldier, and
as much wedded to my profession and a sense of duty as any man, so I
lit up my torch of hope and did all in my power to cheer and comfort
her I so loved.

On our arrival in London I immediately went to poor dear Sir Edward
Pakenham, who was delighted to see me, and said that we must be in
Portsmouth in a few days, and that the _Statira_ frigate was waiting
for us. I then sought out Macdougall of the 85th, who before I left the
Army had been acting, in place of sick Falls, as A.D.C. to poor Ross,
and I readily learned all that occurred before the service lost that
gallant soldier. My firm and faithful friend John Robb, surgeon of the
95th when I joined, was appointed Inspector-General of Hospitals, and
he and I agreed to send our baggage by coach, and go down together to
Portsmouth in a post chaise on Sunday afternoon, for the _Statira_ was
to sail on Monday. Old West was started off per coach, and at three
o’clock on Sunday, the — November, the horrible scene of parting was
again to be endured. It was less painful to me than the first, I admit,
for my dear wife was now known and beloved by all my family; but to her
the dread of separation, and separation for the exploits of war, was
as painful as before, and, when I tore myself from her, which I was
literally obliged to do, that heart must be hard indeed that was not,
as mine was, ready to break. I can see her now, with her head resting
on the chimney-piece (as I left the room, and took a farewell glance)
in a state bordering on despair. My father, too, was awfully overcome.

In a few minutes I was rolling on my road to Portsmouth, deeply
absorbed, I admit, but my companion Robb was a man of strong mind, of
whom I had a high opinion, and not to appear desponding before him, I
exerted all my energy and began to talk of my plans on my return. Robb
said—the only thing I ever heard him say that I thought would have been
as well unsaid—“Oh, that’s capital! a fellow going out to be killed
by an American Rifleman, talking of what he will do when he comes
back!” Now, such is the perversity of human nature, this so put up my
blood, that grief and anguish were mitigated in a determined spirit of

We arrived at the George at twelve at night, and found West, who
reported all right. We found an order directing us to be on board by
ten o’clock, as the ship would get under weigh at twelve, and we knew
that our men of war are punctual fellows.

The next morning, at breakfast, we directed old West to parade our
portmanteaus. My kit had increased just double, viz. I had now _two_
portmanteaus. “Here they are, sir,” says West. “Why, that is not mine,
West!” He overhauled it, and soon agreed with me. We went to the coach;
there was no other. So I opened it, and, to my horror, in place of
my things, it contained the dirty linen of a Frenchman and his silk
stockings and evening pantaloons, etc., etc. Upon a little inquiry
from poor old West, we learned that two coaches were loading at the
same time, one for Dover, the other for Portsmouth. It was evident,
therefore, my red coats were in company with my French friend. In my
portmanteau were all my boots, my uniform, and my flannel waistcoats.
We were to embark immediately, and I had nothing for it but to go to my
_friend_,[58] and tell him, “Now’s the time for the outfit: I have lost
my portmanteau.” He very kindly undertook to write to Charing Cross and
send back the Frenchman’s, and in three weeks after the failure at New
Orleans my portmanteau was sent out to me by my dear friend John Bell.
It is a very odd coincidence that, on my first going abroad to South
America, I lost my kit and all my large stock of silver given me by my
poor mother—some teaspoons, etc. On that occasion I never recovered



We soon reached our frigate, and oh, so crowded as she was!—Sir
Edward Pakenham and all his Staff, the Commanders of the Engineers
and Artillerymen with their Staff, and about thirty passengers! The
most of us slept in cots in the steerage. Young D’Este, the real Duke
of Sussex,[59] was a fund of great amusement, the most gentlemanlike,
kind-hearted young fellow possible, affable to a degree, and most
unpretending; but he had a thirst for obtaining information, I never
beheld before. Consequently he laid himself open to some very peculiar
replies to his queries. He proved himself on shore, like all the royal
family, a gallant and intrepid soldier, and the best shot with a
rifle for a youth that I have almost ever seen. He attached himself
passionately to me on board and on shore, and if he ever became Elector
of Hanover, I was to have been his Secretary.

We had a very agreeable party of gallant old Peninsular soldiers,
and dear Sir Edward was one of the most amusing persons imaginable—a
high-minded and chivalrous fellow in every idea, and, to our
astonishment, very devoutly inclined; and Major Gibbs, who was
afterwards killed on the same day as Sir Edward, was a noble fellow.

The _Statira_ was a noble frigate; she had a full complement of
men, and was in crack order, having every individual on board but
the individual who had put her in—that Irish Captain Stackpoole, of
duelling celebrity, who had very shortly before been shot in the West
Indies by a Lieutenant of another ship on whom he saddled a quarrel
originating in an occurrence when both were middies. The Lieutenant
denied all recollection of it to no purpose. Stackpoole insisted on his
going out. The Lieutenant, it was said, had never fired a pistol in his
life, but at the first shot Stackpoole fell dead. I never saw a body of
officers and men more attached than these were to their last Captain.
Every one had some anecdote of his kindness and ability as a seaman.
The propensity which cost him his life can be attributed, I am firmly
of opinion, to nothing but a strain of insanity upon that particular
subject alone. His prowess as a shot with a pistol, it was asserted,
was inconceivable, but “the battle is not always to the strong.”

On this voyage I had two opportunities of writing to my wife, or,
rather, sending her the sheets of a sort of journal which she made
me promise to keep. Our Captain, Swaine, a neighbour of mine in
Cambridgeshire, was of the old school, and made everything snug at
night by shortening sail, to the great amusement of poor Stackpoole’s
crew, accustomed to carry on night and day. But for this, we should
have been off the mouth of the Mississippi at the time when Sir Edward
was informed a fleet and his army would rendezvous for an assault on
New Orleans. As it was, we did [not] reach the fleet until [25 Dec.]
three days after the landing had been effected, and our army under
Major-General Sir J. Keane, now Lord Keane (as noble a soldier as our
country ever produced) had sustained a sharp night-attack. Stovin, the
A.G., had been shot through the neck, and I was at the head of the

I never served under a man whose good opinion I was so desirous
of having as Sir Edward Pakenham, and proud was I to find I daily
succeeded. I was always with him, and usually lay in my cloak in his
room. The second day after we reached General Keane [28 Dec.], the
army was moved up to reconnoitre the enemy’s position, or to attack,
if we saw it practicable. I was that day delighted with Sir Edward:
he evinced an animation, a knowledge of ground, of his own resources
and the strength of the enemy’s position, which reminded us of his
brother-in-law, _our Duke_. The Staff were very near the enemy’s line,
when I saw some riflemen evidently creeping down and not farther off
than a hundred yards, and so I very abruptly said, “Ride away, Sir
Edward, behind this bank, or you will be shot in a second. By your
action you will be recognized as the Commander-in-Chief, and some
riflemen are now going to fire.” The American riflemen are very slow,
though the most excellent shots. My manner was so impressive he came
away. As we were returning that evening he called me to him, and said,
“You gentlemen of the Craufurd school” (he was very fond of our old
Light Division) “are very abrupt and peremptory in your manner to your
Generals. Would you have spoken to Craufurd as you did to me to-day?” I
said, “Most certainly, for if I had not, and one of us had been killed
or wounded, and he became aware I observed what I did when I spoke to
you, he would have blown me up as I deserved. He taught us to do so.”
How my dear friend Sir Edward laughed!

We soon found that, with our present force, the enemy’s position was
impregnable. A Brigade was, however, daily expected, under Sir J.
Lambert. While we were looking out with our telescopes, Sir Edward
turned very abruptly to me, and said, “Now for a Light Division
[opinion]. What do you say, Smith, as to the practicability of an
attack on the enemy’s line?” I replied, “His position is strong—his
left being on an impracticable morass, his right on the Mississippi;
the ground is a dead flat, intersected with ditches which will impede
our troops. The enemy has, literally, a breastwork, and plenty of men
upon it, and their fire will sweep the plain with unerring precision,
causing us great loss; for we can produce no fire, flank or otherwise,
to render them uneasy or unsteady. As yet, the enemy has not occupied
the opposite bank of the river. He has two armed vessels in the river.
We must destroy these as soon as possible, possess the right bank of
the Mississippi, enfilade the enemy’s position with our fire (the
width of the river being only from seven to eight hundred yards),
and, so soon as we open a fire from the right bank, we should storm
the work in two, three, or more columns.” “You Rifle gentlemen have
learnt something, I do believe.” I did not know at the time whether
he said this in jest or not, for he was a most light-hearted fellow;
but, when we got back to the house we put up in, he sent for me. He had
a plan of the works and position of the enemy before him, and said,
“Smith, I entirely [concur] in all you said in the field to-day. In
the meanwhile, we must facilitate our communications by roads in our
rear, etc. I will erect batteries and destroy the ships, and, when
the batteries are complete, they shall open on the enemy. If they can
destroy the enemy’s defence in any part, or silence the fire of his
batteries, the army shall storm at once. Lambert’s arrival is very
uncertain.” I remarked, if Lambert’s arrival was so uncertain, we had
no alternative, and under any circumstances the ships must be destroyed
and batteries erected, whether Lambert’s force arrived or not.

We succeeded in destroying one ship—we _might have_ destroyed both. We
erected several batteries, their defences principally sugar-casks,—for
here on the plain, on the banks of the Mississippi, if you dug eight
inches, water followed: hence to erect batteries with earth was
impracticable, and we had not sufficient sand-bags. The defences of
our batteries, therefore, were reported complete on the night of the
31st December. The army was formed into two columns of attack—one
threatening the right flank, the other the left, and a party was hid
in the reeds in the morass on the enemy’s left flank with orders to
penetrate, if possible, and disturb the enemy’s left.

At daybreak on the 1st of January, 1815, our troops were formed, and
our batteries opened. They had not the slightest effect on the enemy.
On the contrary, his shot went through the imperfect defence, caused
our noble artillerymen great loss, and silenced our batteries. Hence
there was no attack, and Sir Edward still more strenuously adhered to
the necessity of occupying the right bank of the river. The troops were
withdrawn, except such strong picquets as were left to protect the guns
in the [batteries].

Poor Sir Edward was much mortified at being obliged to retire the army
from a second demonstration and disposition to attack, but there was
nothing for it. It came on to rain in the evening, and was both wet
and cold. Sir Edward slept in a little house in advance of his usual
quarters. He told me to stay with him, and all his Staff to return to
the usual house. He said, “Smith, those guns must be brought back; go
and do it.” I said, “It will require a great many men.” “Well,” he
says, “take 600 from Gibbs’s Brigade.” Off I started. The soldiers
were sulky, and neither the 21st nor the 44th were distinguished for
discipline—certainly not of the sort I had been accustomed to. After
every exertion I could induce them to make, I saw I had no chance of
success—to my mortification, for to return and say to Sir Edward I
could not effect it, was as bad as the loss of a leg. However, the
night was wearing, and my alternative decided; so I told him as quietly
as I could. He saw I was mortified, and said nothing, but jumped up
in his cloak, and says, “Be so good as to order my horse, and go on
and turn out Gibbs’s whole Brigade quietly.” They were under arms
by the time he arrived, and by dint of exertion and his saying, “I
am Sir Edward Pakenham, etc., and Commander-in-Chief,” as well as
using every expression to induce officers and soldiers to exertion,
just as daylight appeared he had completed the task, and the Brigade
returned to its ground. As we were riding back Sir Edward said, “You
see, Smith, exertion and determination will effect anything.” I was
cruelly mortified, and said, “Your excitement, your name, your energy,
as Commander-in-Chief with a whole Brigade, most certainly has done
that which I failed in with 600 men, but I assure you, Sir Edward,
I did all I could.” His noble heart at once observed my misery. He
said, “I admire your mortification; it shows your zeal. Why _I_ barely
effected, with all the exertion of the Commander-in-Chief, and, as you
say, a Brigade, what I expected you to do with one-fourth of the men!”
He might have added, “and I did with some of the guns what you dare
not even recommend to me.” Oh, how I was comforted! To fall in his
estimation would have been worse than death by far.

In a day or two we had information that Lambert’s Brigade, the 7th
Fusiliers and the 43rd Foot, [had arrived]. Two such Corps would turn
the tide of a general action. We were rejoiced! Sir Edward then made
preparations to cross the river, and so to widen a little stream as
to get the boats into the Mississippi. The story has been too often
told to repeat. Lambert’s Brigade landed, and, upon a representation
made to Sir Edward by Major Sir G. Tylden, who was an Assistant
Adjutant-General like myself, but a senior officer (as kind a fellow as
ever lived), that, in Stovin’s incapacity from his wound, he must be at
the head of the Adjutant-General’s Department, Sir Edward sent for me.
“Smith,” he said, “it was my intention you should have remained with
me, Tylden with Lambert; but he claims his right as senior officer. You
would not wish me to do an unjust thing when the claim is preferred?”
I said, with my heart in my mouth, “Certainly not, sir.” (I do believe
I was more attached to Sir Edward, as a soldier, than I was to John
Colborne, _if possible_.) “You must, therefore, go to Lambert. I will
[enter] this arrangement in Orders; but, rely on it, I shall find
enough for you and him to do too.”

The night of the 7th January, the rivulet (or bayou, as then called)
was reported dammed, and the boats above the dam ready for the banks of
the Mississippi to be cut. The water within the banks was higher than
the level of the water in the bayou, consequently so much water must
be let into the bayou as to provide for the level. In the meanwhile,
the enemy had not been asleep. They had been apprised of our operations
to establish ourselves on the right bank; they had landed the guns
from the second ship (which we ought to have destroyed), and were
respectably in possession of that which we must turn them out of. Sir
Edward Pakenham went to inspect the bayou, the boats, etc. I heard him
say to the engineer, “Are you satisfied the dam will bear the weight
of water which will be upon it when the banks of the river are cut?”
He said, “Perfectly.” “I should be far more so if a second dam was
constructed.” The engineer was positive. After dark the banks were
cut, the dam went as Sir Edward seemed to anticipate, and the delay in
repairing it prevented the boats being got into the river in time for
the troops under Colonel Thornton of the 85th to reach their ground
and make a simultaneous attack with the main body, according to the
plan arranged. Sir John Lambert’s Brigade, the _élite_ 7th Fusiliers
and 43rd, were in reserve. Sir Edward said, “Those fellows would storm
anything, but, indeed, so will the others, and when we are in New
Orleans, I can depend upon Lambert’s Reserve.” We were all formed in
three columns [8 Jan.], about 6000 British soldiers and some sailors: a
column under Colonel Renny of the 21st were destined to proceed on the
banks of the river and right of the enemy, and carry a powerful battery
which enfiladed the whole position: General Keane’s Brigade was to
assail the enemy’s right-central position: General Gibbs’s Brigade to
attack well upon the enemy’s left: General Lambert’s Brigade to be in
reserve nearer Gibbs’s Brigade than Keane’s.

About half an hour before daylight, while I was with General Lambert’s
column, standing ready, Sir Edward Pakenham sent for me. I was soon
with him. He was greatly agitated. “Smith, most Commanders-in-Chief
have many difficulties to contend with, but surely none like mine. The
dam, as you heard me say it would, gave way, and Thornton’s people will
be of no use whatever to the general attack.” I said, “So impressed
have you ever been, so obvious is it in every military point of view,
we should possess the right bank of the river, and thus enfilade and
divert the attention of the enemy; there is still time before daylight
to retire the columns now. We are under the enemy’s fire so soon as
discovered.” He says, “This may be, but I have twice deferred the
attack. We are strong in numbers now comparatively. It will cost more
men, and the assault must be made.” I again urged delay. While we were
talking, the streaks of daylight began to appear, although the morning
was dull, close, and heavy, the clouds almost touching the ground. He
said, “Smith, order the rocket to be fired.” I again ventured to plead
the cause of delay. He said, and very justly, “It is now too late: the
columns would be visible to the enemy before they could move out of
fire, and would lose more men than it is to be hoped they will in the
attack. Fire the rocket, I say, and go to Lambert.” This was done. I
had reached Lambert just as the stillness of death and anticipation
(for I really believe the enemy was aware of our proximity to their
position) [was broken by the firing of the rocket]. The rocket was
hardly in the air before a rush of our troops was met by the most
murderous and destructive fire of all arms ever poured upon column. Sir
Edward Pakenham galloped past me with all his Staff, saying, “That’s
a terrific fire, Lambert.” I knew nothing of my General then, except
that he was a most gentlemanlike, amiable fellow, and I had seen him
lead his Brigade at Toulouse in the order of a review of his Household
Troops in Hyde Park.[60] I said, “In twenty-five minutes, General,
you will command the Army. Sir Edward Pakenham will be wounded and
incapable, or killed. The troops do not get on a step. He will be at
the head of the first Brigade he comes to, and what I say will occur.”
A few seconds verified my words. Tylden came wildly up to tell the
melancholy truth, saying, “Sir Edward Pakenham is killed. You command
the Army, and your Brigade must move on immediately.” I said, “If Sir
Edward Pakenham is killed, Sir John Lambert commands, and will judge
of what is to be done.” I saw the attack had irretrievably failed. The
troops were beat back, and going at a tolerable pace too; so much so,
I thought the enemy had made a sortie in pursuit, as so overpowering
a superiority of numbers would have induced the French to do. “May
I order your Brigade, sir, to form line to cover a most irregular
retreat, to apply no other term to it, until you see what has actually
occurred to the attacking columns?” He assented, and sent me and other
Staff Officers in different directions to ascertain our condition.
It was (summed up in few words) that every attack had failed; the
Commander-in-Chief and General Gibbs and Colonel Renny killed; General
Keane, most severely wounded; and the columns literally destroyed. The
column for the right bank were seen to be still in their boats, and not
the slightest impression had been made on the enemy.

Never since Buenos Ayres had I witnessed a reverse, and the sight to
our eyes, which had looked on victory so often, was appalling indeed.
Lambert desired me, and every Staff Officer he could get hold of, to go
and reform the troops, no very easy matter in some cases. However, far
to the rear, they (or, rather, what were left) were formed up, Sir John
meanwhile wondering whether, under all the circumstances, he ought to
attack. He very judiciously saw that was impossible, and he withdrew
the troops from under a most murderous fire of round shot. Soon after
this we heard the attack on the right bank, which succeeded easily
enough. The extent of our loss was ascertained: one-third.

The Admirals came to the outlying picquet-house with faces as long
as a flying jib: a sort of Council of War was held. I had been among
the troops to find out how the pluck of our soldiers [stood]. Those
who had received such an awful beating and been so destroyed were far
from desirous to storm again. The 7th and 43rd, whose loss had been
trifling, were ready for anything, but their veteran and experienced
eyes told them affairs were desperate. One Admiral, Codrington,
whose duty as Captain of the Field was to have seen it supplied
with provisions, said, “The troops must attack or the whole will be
starved.” I rather saucily said, “Kill plenty more, Admiral; fewer
rations will be required.” A variety of opinions were agitated. I could
observe what was passing in Sir J. Lambert’s mind by the two or three
remarks he made. So up I jumped, and said, “General, the army are in
no state to renew the attack. If success now attended so desperate an
attempt, we should have no troops to occupy New Orleans; our success
even would defeat our object, and, to take an extreme view, which every
soldier is bound to do, our whole army might be the sacrifice of so
injudicious an assault.” A thick fog was coming on. I said, “We know
the enemy are three times our number. They will endeavour immediately
to cut off our troops on the right bank, and we may expect an attack
in our front. The fog favours us, and Thornton’s people ought to be
brought back and brought into our line. The army is secure, and no
farther disaster is to be apprehended.” The General was fully of my
opinion, as was every officer of experience. I think my noble friend,
“fighting MacDougall,” was the only one for a new fight. That able
officer, Sir A. Dickson, was sent to retire Thornton, and, thanks to
the fog, he succeeded in doing so unmolested, though, at the very
time our people were crossing the river, a powerful body of the enemy
(as I had supposed they would) were crossing to dislodge Thornton;
and the woods on the right bank so favoured their species of warfare,
that Thornton would have met the fate he did at Bladensburg but for
Lambert’s cool judgment. This was my view of the position then, and it
is now.

The number of wounded was three times what the Inspector-General Robb
was told to calculate on, but never did officer meet the difficulties
of his position with greater energy, or display greater resources
within himself. He was ably assisted in the arrangements of boats,
etc., by that able sailor, Admiral Malcolm, and I firmly assert not a
wounded soldier was neglected.

Late in the afternoon I was sent to the enemy with a flag of truce, and
a letter to General Jackson, with a request to be allowed to bury the
dead and bring in the wounded lying between our respective positions.
The Americans were not accustomed to the civility of war, like our old
_associates_ the French, and I was a long time before I could induce
them to receive me. They fired on me with cannon and musketry, which
excited my choler somewhat, for a round shot tore away the ground under
my right foot, which it would have been a bore indeed to have lost
under such circumstances. However, they did receive me at last, and the
reply from General Jackson was a very courteous one.

After the delivery of the reply to General Lambert, I was again sent
out with a fatigue party—a pretty large one too—with entrenching tools
to bury the dead, and some surgeons to examine and bring off the
wounded. I was received by a rough fellow—a Colonel Butler, Jackson’s
Adjutant-General. He had a drawn sword, and no scabbard. I soon saw
the man I had to deal with. I outrode the surgeon, and I apologized
for keeping him waiting; so he said, “Why now, I calculate as your
doctors are tired; they have plenty to do to-day.” There was an awful
spectacle of dead, dying, and wounded around us. “_Do?_” says I, “why
this is nothing to us Wellington fellows! The next brush we have with
you, you shall see how a Brigade of the Peninsular army (arrived
yesterday) will serve you fellows out with the bayonet. They will lie
piled on one another like round shot, if they will only stand.” “Well,
I calculate you must get at ’em first.” “But,” says I, “what do you
carry a drawn sword for?” “Because I reckon a scabbard of no use so
long as one of you Britishers is on our soil. We don’t wish to shoot
you, but we must, if you molest our property; we have thrown away the

By this time our surgeon had arrived. There were some awful wounds
from cannon shot, and I dug an immense hole, and threw nearly two
hundred bodies into it. To the credit of the Americans not an article
of clothing had been taken from our dead except the shoes. Every body
was straightened, and the great toes tied together with a piece of
string. A more appalling spectacle cannot well be conceived than this
common grave, the bodies hurled in as fast as we could bring them. The
Colonel, Butler, was very sulky if I tried to get near the works. This
scene was not more than about eighty yards away from them, and, had our
fellows rushed on, they would not have lost one half, and victory would
have been ours. I may safely say there was not a vital part of man
in which I did not observe a mortal wound, in many bodies there were
three or four such; some were without heads; there were others, poor
fellows, whom I recognized. In this part of America there were many
Spaniards and Frenchmen. Several soldiers and officers gathered round
me, and I addressed them in their own language. Colonel Butler became
furious, but I would not desist for the moment, and said, “The next
time we meet, Colonel, I hope to receive you to bury your dead.” “Well,
I calculate you have been on that duty to-day,” he said. God only knows
I had, with a heavy heart. It was apparently light enough before him,
but the effort was a violent one.

At night it was General Lambert’s intention to withdraw his line more
out of cannon shot, for we were on a perfect plain, not a mound as
cover, and I and D’Este (His Royal Highness, as I used to call him)
were sent to bring back Blakeney’s Brigade. Blakeney was as anxious a
soldier in the dark as he was noble and gallant when he saw his enemy.
He would fain induce me to believe I did not know my road. I got all
right, though, with the aid of D’Este, who, if the war had lasted,
would have made as able a soldier as his ancestor George the Second. I
did not regard myself, though, as Marlborough, who was little employed
on any retiring duty.

That night I lay down in my cloak, in General Lambert’s room, at twelve
o’clock, so done that all care or thought was banished in sleep. Before
daylight [9 Jan.] I awoke to the horror of the loss of the man I so
loved, admired, and esteemed, and to the feelings of a soldier under
such melancholy circumstances. Those feelings could be but momentary.
It was my duty to jump on my horse and see what was going on at our
post, which I did, after returning Almighty God thanks. Thence to
the hospital to render the Inspector whatever aid he required in
orderlies, etc. Robb deserved and received the highest encomiums for
the arrangements, which secured every care to our wounded.

In returning from the outposts, I met General Lambert. Upon my assuring
him everything was perfectly quiet, he said, “I will now ride to the
hospital.” “I was just going there, sir, and will ride with you.” The
General said, “You must have been pretty well done last night, for
I did not see you when I lay down.” “Yes, I had a long day, but we
Light Division fellows are used to it.” “Smith, that most amiable man
and cool and collected soldier, Secretary Wylly, will take home the
dispatches of the melancholy disaster, and of the loss of his General
and patron, and I offer for your acceptance my Military Secretaryship.”
I laughed, and said, “Me, sir! I write the most illegible and
detestable scrawl in the world.” “You can, therefore,” he mildly said,
“the more readily decipher mine. Poor Pakenham was much attached to
you, and strongly recommended you to me.” I had borne up well on my
loss before, but I now burst into a flood of tears, with—“God rest his
gallant soul.” From that moment to the present, dear General Lambert
has ever treated me as one of his own family. Our lamented General’s
remains were put in a cask of spirits and taken home by his Military
Secretary, Wylly, who sailed in a few days with dispatches of no
ordinary character—a record of lamentable disaster, and anything but
honour to our military fame.

It was resolved to re-embark the army, and abandon the idea of further
operations against the city of New Orleans, for the enemy had greatly
added to his strength in men and works on both banks of the river. This
decision was come to although we were expecting reinforcements, the
40th and 27th Regiments, and that noble soldier, Sir Manley Power. The
enemy continually cannonaded our position, and caused us some loss.
We were obliged, however, to maintain an advance position to cover
effectually the embarcation of all the impedimenta, etc., invariably
giving out as a ruse that we were only disencumbering ourselves of
wounded, sick, etc.

I was sent in, also, with a flag of truce to propose an exchange of
prisoners. Two Companies of the 21st Regiment and many of our Riflemen
had crowned the works, and, not being supported by the rush of the
column, of course were taken prisoners. (It was all very well to
victimize[61] old Mullins[62]; the fascines, ladders, etc., could have
been supplied by one word which I will not name,[63] or how could
these two Companies have mounted the works?) Similarly we had several
men of theirs taken the night the enemy attacked General Keane.[64]

In the negotiations for this exchange I was always met by a Mr.
Lushington, General Jackson’s Military Secretary, a perfect gentleman,
and a very able man. He was well known in London, having been Under
Secretary of the Legation. I never had to deal with a more liberal and
clear-headed man. His education had not been military, however, and
in conversation, by questions, etc., I always induced him to believe
we had no intention of abandoning our attempts. On the afternoon when
our prisoners were mutually delivered, I said, “We shall soon meet in
New Orleans, and after that in London.” He was evidently impressed
with the idea that we meant to attack again, and I led him to the
supposition that a night attack would succeed best. We parted excellent
friends, and shook hands, and many notes of courtesy passed between us

So soon as it was dark [18 Jan.] our troops began to move off, and
about twelve o’clock all were well off the ground, and the picquets
were retired. As we were so engaged, the enemy heard us, and in a
moment opened a fire along their line, evidently under the belief that
our night attack was actually about to be made. We retired, up to our
necks in mud, through a swamp to our boats, and the troops and stores,
etc. were all embarked in three days without interruption, or any
attempt whatever, on the part of the enemy.

Thus ended the second awful disaster in America it had been my lot to
be associated with—Buenos Ayres and New Orleans. In the circumstances
of both, many military errors may be traced. But in the case of Buenos
Ayres, Whitelock is more abused than he merits. General Leveson-Gower
was the great culprit; an overbearing, disobedient man, whose first
disobedience, like Adam’s, entailed the misfortune. He was ordered,
when advancing on Buenos Ayres, not to engage the enemy before it
was invested. He did engage, beat them, and might, in the _melée_,
have possessed the city. That he neglected, and he ought to have been
dismissed our service, probably with greater justice than Whitelock,
whose orders were wantonly disobeyed, and the Church of San Domingo
shamefully surrendered. Had it been held, as it might, it would have
enabled Whitelock, from the base of his other success, to have made an
attempt either to rescue the force in San Domingo, or again to have
moved against the city. Whitelock’s plan of attack was injudicious, too
many columns, no weight and ensemble, and when he knew the city was
fortified at every street, he should have effected regular lodgments
and pushed forward from their base. The troops behaved most gallantly.

Poor dear Sir Edward Pakenham, a hero, a soldier, a man of ability
in every sense of the word, had to contend with every imaginable
difficulty, starting with the most unwise and difficult position in
which he found the Army. By perseverance, determination, and that
gallant bearing which so insures confidence, he overcame all but one,
which he never anticipated, a check to the advance of British soldiers
when they ought to have rushed forward. There was no want of example
on the part of officers. The fire, I admit, was the most murderous I
ever beheld before or since; still two Companies were successful in
the assault, and had our heaviest column rushed forward in place of
halting to fire under a fire fifty times superior, our national honour
would not have been tarnished, but have gained fresh lustre, and one of
the ablest generals England ever produced saved to his country and his

In General Lambert’s dispatches he was good enough to mention me.[65]



After the Army was somewhat refreshed, an attempt on Mobile was
resolved on, for which purpose the fleet went down to the mouth of
Mobile Bay. Here there was a wooden fort of some strength, Fort Bowyer,
which some time previously had sunk one of two small craft of our
men-of-war which were attempting to silence it. It was necessary that
this fort should be reduced in order to open the passage of the bay. It
was erected on a narrow neck of land easily invested, and required only
a part of the army to besiege it. It was regularly approached, and when
our breaching batteries were prepared to burn or blow it to the devil,
I was sent to summon it to surrender. The Americans have no particular
respect for flags of truce, and all my Rifle education was required
to protect myself from being rifled and to procure a reception of my
flag. After some little time I was received, and, upon my particular
request, admitted into the fort, to the presence of Major Lawrence, who
commanded, with five Companies, I think, of the 2nd Regiment. I kept
a sharp look-out on the defences, etc., which would not have resisted
our fire an hour. The Major was as civil as a vulgar fellow can be. I
gave him my version of his position, and cheered him on the ability he
had displayed. He said, “Well, now, I calculate you are not far out in
your reckoning. What do you advise me to do? You, I suppose, are one
of Wellington’s men, and understand the rules in these cases.” “This,”
I said, “belongs to the rule that the weakest goes to the wall, and if
you do not surrender at discretion in one hour, we, being the stronger,
will blow up the fort and burn your wooden walls about your ears. All
I can say is, you have done your duty to your country, and no soldier
can do more, or resist the overpowering force of circumstances.” “Well,
if you were in my situation, you would surrender, would you?” “Yes, to
be sure.” “Well, go and tell your General I will surrender to-morrow at
this hour, provided I am allowed to march out with my arms and ground
them outside the fort.” “No,” I said, “I will take no such message
back. My General, in humanity, offers you terms such as he can alone
accept, and the blood of your soldiers be on your own head.” He said,
“Well, now, don’t be hasty.” I could see the Major had some hidden
object in view. I said, therefore, “Now, I tell you what message I
will carry to my General. You open the gates, and one of our Companies
will take possession of it immediately, and a body of troops shall move
up close to its support; then you may remain inside the fort until
to-morrow at this hour, and ground your arms on the glacis.” I took out
pen and ink, wrote down my proposition, and said, “There, now, sign
directly and I go.” He was very obstinate, and I rose to go, when he
said, “Well, now, you are hard upon me in distress.” “The devil I am,”
I said. “We might have blown you into the water, as you did our craft,
without a summons. Good-bye.” “Well, then, give me the pen. If I must,
so be it;” and he signed. His terms were accepted, and the 4th Light
Company took possession of the gate, with orders to rush in in case of
alarm. A supporting column of four hundred men were bivouacked close
at hand with the same orders, while every precaution was taken, so
that, if any descent were made from Mobile, we should be prepared, for,
by the Major’s manner and look under his eyebrows, I could see there
was no little cunning in his composition. We afterwards learned that
a force was embarked at Mobile, and was to have made a descent _that
very night_, but the wind prevented them. We were, however, perfectly
prepared, and Fort Bowyer was ours.

The next day [12 Feb.] the Major marched out and grounded his arms.
He was himself received very kindly on board the _Tonnant_, and his
officers were disposed of in the Fleet. The fellows looked very like
French soldiers, for their uniforms were the same, and much of the same
cut as to buttons, belts, and pipe-clay.

In a few days after the capture of this fort the _Brazen_ sloop-of-war
arrived with dispatches [14 Feb.]. The preliminaries of peace were
signed, and only awaited the ratification of the President, and until
this was or was not effected, hostilities were to cease. We were
all happy enough, for we Peninsular soldiers saw that neither fame
nor any military distinction could be acquired in this species of
milito-nautico-guerilla-plundering-warfare. I got a letter from my dear
wife, who was in health and composure, with my family all in love with
her, and praying of course for my safe return, which she anticipated
would not be delayed, as peace was certain. I for my part was very
ready to return, and I thanked Almighty God from my heart that such
fair prospects were again before me, after such another series of
wonderful escapes.

Pending the ratification, it was resolved to disembark the whole
army on a large island at the entrance of Mobile Bay, called Isle
Dauphine.[66] This was done. At first we had great difficulty in
getting anything like fresh provisions; but, as the sea abounded with
fish, each regiment rigged out a net, and obtained a plentiful supply.
Then our biscuit ran short. We had abundance of flour, but this began
to act on the men and produce dysentery. The want of ovens alone
prevented our making bread. This subject engrossed my attention for
a whole day, but on awakening one morning a sort of vision dictated
to me, “There are plenty of oyster-shells, and there is sand. Burn
the former and make mortar, and construct ovens.” So I sent on board
to Admiral Malcolm to send me a lot of hoops of barrels by way of
a framework for my arch. There was plenty of wood, the shells were
burning, the mortar soon made, my arch constructed, and by three
o’clock there was a slow fire in a very good oven on the ground.
The baker was summoned, and the paste was made, ready to bake at
daylight. The Admiral, dear Malcolm, and our Generals were invited to
breakfast, but I did not tell even Sir John Lambert why I had asked a
breakfast-party. He only laughed and said, “I wish I could give them
a good one!” Oh, the anxiety with which I and my baker watched the
progress of our exertions! We heard the men-of-war’s bells strike eight
o’clock. My breakfast-party was assembled. I had an unusual quantity
of salt beef and biscuit on the table, the party was ready to fall to,
when in I marched at the head of a column of loaves and rolls, all
piping hot and as light as bread should be. The astonishment of the
Admiral was beyond all belief, and he uttered a volley of monosyllables
at the idea of a soldier inventing anything. Oh, how we laughed and ate
new bread, which we hadn’t seen for some time! At first the Admiral
thought I must have induced his steward to bake me the bread as a joke,
when I turned to Sir John and said, “Now, sir, by this time to-morrow
every Company shall have three ovens, and every man his pound and
a half of bread.” I had sent for the Quartermasters of Corps; some
started difficulties, but I soon removed them. One said, “Where are
we to get all the hoops?” This was, I admit, a puzzle. I proposed to
make the arch for the mortar of wood, when a very quick fellow, Hogan,
Quartermaster of the Fusiliers, said, “I have it: make a bank of sand,
plaster over it; make your oven; when complete, scratch the sand out.”
In a camp everything gets wind, and Harry Smith’s ovens were soon in
operation all over the island. There were plenty of workmen, and the
morrow produced the bread.

The officers erected a theatre, and we had great fun in various
demi-savage ways. Bell, the Quartermaster-General, dear noble fellow,
arrived, and a Major Cooper, and, of some importance to me, my stray
portmanteau. I was half asleep one morning, rather later than usual,
having been writing the greater part of the night, when I heard old
West say, “Sir, sir.” “What’s the matter?” “Thank the Lord, you’re
alive.” “What do you mean, you old ass?” “Why, a navigator has been
going round and round your tent all night; here’s a regular road about
the tent.” He meant an alligator, of which there were a great many on
the island. The young ones our soldiers used to eat. I tasted a bit
once; the meat was white, and the flavour like coarsely-fed pork.

In this very tent I was writing some very important documents for my
General; the sandflies had now begun to be very troublesome, and that
day they were positively painful. I ever hated tobacco, but a thought
struck me, a good volume of smoke would keep the little devils off me.
I called my orderly, a soldier of the 43rd, and told old West, who
chawed a pound a day at least, to give him plenty of tobacco, and he
was to make what smoke he could, for of two evils this was by far the
least. The old Peninsular soldiers off parade were all perfectly at
home with their officers, and he puffed away for a long time while I
was writing, he being under my table. After a time he put his head out
with a knowing look, and said, “If you please, sir, this is drier work
than in front of Salamanca, where water was not to be had, and what’s
more, no grog neither.” I desired West to bring him both rum and water.
“Now, your honour, if you can write as long as I can smoke, you’ll
write the history of the world, and I will kill all the midges.”

The ratification at length arrived [5 March], and the army was prepared
to embark. Sir John Lambert, Baynes his Aide-de-camp, and I were to go
home in the _Brazen_ sloop-of-war, with a Captain Stirling, now Sir
James, who was ultimately the founder of the Swan River Settlement. A
more perfect gentleman or active sailor never existed: we have been
faithful friends ever since. As many wounded as the _Brazen_ could
carry were embarked, and we weighed with one of our noble men-of-war.

As soon as the word was given, we sailed to the Havannah for fresh
provisions. We spent a merry week there, when Stirling and I were
inseparable. We were all _fêted_ at the house of a Mr. Drake, nominally
a wealthy merchant, but actually in every respect a prince. I never saw
a man live so superbly. He put carriages at our disposal; one for Sir
John Lambert, and one for me and Stirling. He was married to a Spanish
woman, a very ladylike person, who played and sang beautifully. I could
speak Spanish perfectly, and the compatriot connexion I told her and
her maiden sisters of made us friends at once. My spare time, however,
was spent in the house of the Governor, Assuduco, who had a daughter
so like my wife in age, figure, etc., and speaking English about as
much as she could, I was never so much amused as in her society; and
my wife and she corresponded afterwards. We stayed in the Havannah a
week, and the public drives brought us all back again to the Prado of
Madrid. Although the beauty of the ladies of the capital was wanting,
the costumes were equally elegant.

The celebrated Woodville, the cigar manufacturer, asked us to a public
breakfast at his house, four or five miles out of the city. He was
about six feet two, as powerful a man as I ever saw; his hair in
profusion, but as white as snow; the picture of health, with a voice
like thunder. He was rough, but hospitable, and after breakfast showed
us the various processes of his manufactory, and the number of hands
each went through. “Now,” says he, “Sir John, I have another sight to
show you, which few men can boast of.” With his fingers in his mouth,
he gave a whistle as loud as a bugle, when out ran from every direction
a lot of children, of a variety of shades of colour, all looking happy
and healthy. Not one appeared above twelve or thirteen. “Ah,” he
said, “report says, and I believe it, they are every one of them my
children.” “Count them,” he said to me. I did; there were forty-one. I
thought Stirling and I would have died of laughing. Sir John Lambert,
one of the most amiable and moral men in the world, said so mildly,
“A very large family indeed, Mr. Woodville,” that it set Stirling and
me off again, and the old patriarch joined in the laugh, with, “Ah,
the seed of Abraham would people the earth indeed, if every one of his
descendants could show _my_ family.”

After a week of great amusement we sailed from Havana. The harbour and
entrance are perfectly beautiful: the works most formidable, but the
Spaniards would not let us inside. Sailing into the harbour is like
entering a large gateway; the sails are almost within reach of the
Moro rock, and there is a swell setting into the harbour, which gives
the ship a motion, as if every wave would dash her on the Moro.

In the Gulf of Florida we encountered a most terrific gale, wind and
current at variance, and oh, such a sea! We lay to for forty-eight
hours; we could not cook, and the main deck was flooded. Sir John
and I never got out of our cots: he perfectly good-humoured on all
occasions, and always convincing himself, and endeavouring to convince
us, that the gale was abating. The third morning Stirling came to my
cot. “Come, turn out; you will see how I manage my craft. I am going to
make sail, and our lubberly cut may set us on our beam-ends, or sink
us altogether.” A delightful prospect, indeed. He was and is a noble
seaman, all animation, and he was so clear and decided in his orders!
Sail was made amid waves mountains high, and the _Brazen_, as impudent
a craft as ever spurned the mighty billows, so beautifully was she
managed and steered, rode over or evaded seas apparently overwhelming;
and Stirling, in the pride of his sailor’s heart, says, “There, now,
what would you give to be a sailor?” It really was a sight worth
looking at—a little bit of human construction stemming and resisting
the power of the mighty deep.

As we neared the mouth of the British Channel, we had, of course, the
usual thick weather, when a strange sail was reported. It was now
blowing a fresh breeze; in a few minutes we spoke her, but did not
make her haul her main-topsail, being a bit of a merchantman. Stirling
hailed as we shot past. “Where are you from?” “Portsmouth.” “Any news?”
“No, none.” The ship was almost out of sight, when we heard, “Ho!
Bonapart_er_’s back again on the throne of France.” Such a hurrah as I
set up, tossing my hat over my head! “I will be a Lieutenant-Colonel
yet before the year’s out!” Sir John Lambert said, “Really, Smith, you
are so vivacious! How is it possible? It cannot be.” He had such faith
in the arrangements of our government, he wouldn’t believe it. I said,
“Depend upon it, it’s truth; a beast like that skipper never could have
invented it, when he did not even regard it as news: ‘No, no news; only
Bonaparte’s back again on the throne of France.’ Depend on it, it’s
true.” “No, Smith, no.” Stirling believed it, and oh, how he carried
on! We were soon at Spithead, when all the men-of-war, the bustle, the
general appearance, told us, before we could either see telegraphic
communication or speak any one, where “Bonaparter” was.

We anchored about three o’clock, went on shore immediately, and shortly
after were at dinner in the George. Old West had brought from the
Havannah two pups of little white curly dogs, a dog and bitch, which
he said were “a present for missus.” They are very much esteemed in
England, these Havana lapdogs; not much in _my_ way.

The charm of novelty which I experienced on my former visit to England
after seven years’ absence, was much worn off, and I thought of
nothing but home. Sir John and I started for London in a chaise at
night, and got only as far as Guildford. I soon found our rate of
progression would not do, and I asked his leave to set off home. At
that time he was not aware of all my tale. I never saw his affectionate
heart angry before; he positively scolded me, and said, “I will report
our arrival; write to me, that I may know your address, for I shall
most probably very soon want you again.” My wife and Sir John were
afterwards the greatest friends.

So Mr. West and I got a chaise, and off we started, and got to London
on a Sunday, the most melancholy place on that day on earth. I drove
to my old lodgings, where I had last parted from my wife. They
could assure me she was well, as she had very lately ordered a new
riding-habit. So I ordered a post-chaise, and ran from Panton Square to
Weeks’ in the Haymarket, and bought a superb dressing-case and a heavy
gold chain; I had brought a lot of Spanish books from the Havannah. So
on this occasion I did not return to my home naked and penniless, as
from Coruña.

I got to Waltham Cross about twelve o’clock. I soon found a pair of
horses was far too slow for my galloping ideas; so I got four, and we
galloped along then as fast as I could wish. I rattled away to the
Falcon Inn in my native place, Whittlesea; for I dare not drive to my
father’s house. I sent quietly for him, and he was with me in a moment.
The people were in church as I drove past. My wife was there, so as
yet she was safe from any sudden alarm. She and my sisters took a walk
after church, when servants were sent in every direction in search of
them, with orders quietly to say that my father wanted my sisters. A
fool of a fellow being the first to find them, and delighted with his
prowess, ran up, shouting, “Come home directly; a gentleman has come
in a chaise-and-four”—who, he did not know. My poor wife, as he named
no one, immediately believed some one had arrived to say I was killed,
and down she fell senseless. My sisters soon restored her, and they ran
home, to their delight, into my arms. My wife and I were never again
separated,[67] though many an eventful scene was in store and at hand
for us.

[Illustration: ST. MARY’S, WHITTLESEY.

_From a photograph by A. Gray, Whittlesey, 1900._

      [_Opposite p. 260._]

We were now all happiness. During my few months’ absence nothing had
occurred to damp their contentment; so we all blessed God Almighty
that I had again been protected in such awful situations both by land
and sea, while so many families had to grieve for the loss of their
dearest relatives. Pug and Tiny recognized me. I heard from Sir John
Lambert that he was to be employed with the army assembling at Brussels
under the Duke, that I had better be prepared to join him at a few
hours’ notice, that my position near him would require horses. I knew
that “Major of Brigade” was the berth intended for me. My wife was
to accompany me again to the war, but nothing affected us _when
united_; the word “separation” away, all was smooth. All was now
excitement, joy, hope and animation, and preparation of riding-habits,
tents, canteens, etc., my sisters thinking of all sorts of things for
my wife’s comfort, which we could as well have carried as our parish
church. My youngest brother but one, Charles, was to go with me to join
the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade, as a Volunteer,[68] and his departure
added to the excitement. I never was more happy in all my life; not a
thought of the future (though God knows we had enough before us), for
my wife was going and all the agony of parting was spared.

I immediately set to work to buy a real good stud. Two horses I bought
at Newmarket, and two in my native place; and as Tiny the faithful was
voted too old, as was the mare I had with me in Spain and Washington, I
bought for my wife, from a brother, a mare of great celebrity, bred by
my father, a perfect horse for a lady who was an equestrian artist.

In a few days I had a kind letter from Sir John Lambert, saying I was
appointed his Major of Brigade; and as he was to proceed to Ghent in
Flanders, recommending me, being in Cambridgeshire, to proceed _viâ_
Harwich for Ostend, as I must find my own passage unless I went on a
transport. West was therefore despatched with my four horses _viâ_
Newmarket for Harwich, and I intended so to start as to be there the
day my horses would arrive.

The evening before we started, my father, wife, sisters, myself, and
brothers had a long ride. On returning, at the end of the town, there
was a new stiff rail, with a ditch on each side. I was riding my dear
old mare, that had been at Washington, etc., and off whose back poor
Lindsay had been killed;[69] she was an elegant fencer, and as bold
as in battle. I said to my sisters, “I will have one more leap on my
war-horse.” I rode her at it. Whether she had grown old, or did not
measure her leap, I don’t know, but over she rolled. One of my legs was
across the new and narrow ditch, her shoulder right upon it; I could
not pull it from under her. I expected every moment, if she struggled,
to feel my leg broken, and there was an end to my Brigade Majorship! I
passed a hand down, until I got short hold of the curb, and gave her a
snatch with all my force. She made an effort, and I drew my leg out,
more faint than subsequently in the most sanguinary conflict of the
whole war. I never felt more grateful for an escape.



My wife and I and my brother Charles were to start in a chaise at
three o’clock the next morning. I never saw my poor father suffer so
much as at thus parting from three of us at once, and feeling that his
companion, my wife, was lost to him. He said, “Napoleon and Wellington
will meet, a battle will ensue of a kind never before heard of, and I
cannot expect to see you all again.”

We reached Harwich in the afternoon, found West, his horses, and
all our things right, and went to the Black Bull, from whence I
had embarked years before for Gottenburgh. There we found my old
acquaintance, the landlord, Mr. Briton, a man as civil as full of
information. He said I had no chance of embarking at Harwich, unless I
freighted a small craft that he would look out, and fitted it up for my

Next day I came to terms with the skipper of a sloop of a few tons’
burden, himself and a boy the crew. I couldn’t help thinking of the
74’s and frigates in which I had been flying over the ocean. We
measured it, and found there was just room for the horses, and a hole
aft, called a cabin, for my wife and self and brother. I did not intend
to embark the horses till the wind was fair—a fortunate plan, for I
was detained in the Black Bull by foul winds for a fortnight. The wind
becoming fair, in the afternoon we embarked all our traps. Mr. Briton
amply provided us with provisions and forage, and brought his bill for
myself, wife, brother, two grooms, five horses, lady’s maid, sea stock,
etc. I expected it to be fifty or sixty pounds; it was twenty-four
and some shillings, and we had lived on the fat of the land, for
having been half-starved so many years, when once in the flesh-pots of
England, we revelled in a plenty which we could scarcely fancy would

A gentle breeze carried us over to Ostend in twenty-four hours,
where we landed our horses by slinging them and dropping them into
the sea to swim ashore. My wife’s noble mare, which we called the
“Brass Mare” after her son of that ilk, when in the slings and in
sight of the shore, neighed most gallantly, and my wife declared it
an omen of brilliant success. We went to the great inn of Ostend. The
difference between it and our late bivouac, the Black Bull, is not to
be described. I found an English horse-dealer there. I bought two mules
of him and a stout Flanders pony for our baggage, and in three days we
were _en route_ for Ghent, stopping one night at Bruges, where was an
excellent inn, and the best Burgundy I had drunk up to that hour. My
wife was delighted to be once more in campaigning trim.

When we reached Ghent we found Sir John Lambert had reached it the day
before. Louis XVIII. was there, his Court and idlers, and Ghent was in
as great a state of excitement as if the Duke of Marlborough was again
approaching. I found our Brigade were all New Orleans Regiments—three
of the best regiments of the old Army of the Peninsula, the 4th, 27th,
and 40th, and the 81st in garrison at Brussels. We were ordered to be
in perfect readiness to take the field with the warning[70] we had been
so many years accustomed to.

Louis held a Court while we were there. I was near the door he entered
by. He was very inactive, but impressive in manner. He laid his hand on
my shoulder to support himself. His great topic of conversation was how
delighted he was to see us, and how much he was indebted to our nation.
A more benign countenance I never beheld, nor did his subsequent reign
belie the benignity of his expression.

While at Ghent I waited on Sir John Lambert every morning just after
breakfast for orders. On one occasion we heard a voice thundering in
the passage to him, “Hallo there, where the devil’s the door?” I went
out, and to my astonishment saw our noble friend Admiral Malcolm. “Why,
where the devil has Lambert stowed himself? The house is as dark as
a sheer hulk.” He was delighted to see us, and sang out, “Come, bear
a hand and get me some breakfast; no regular hours on shore as in the
_Royal Oak_.” He had been appointed to the command of the coast. He
was very much attached to the Duke. During our stay at Ghent we had
Brigade parades almost every day, and my General, an ex-Adjutant of the
Guards, was most particular in all guard mountings, sentries, and all
the correct minutiæ of garrison. The three regiments were in beautiful
fighting trim, although the headquarters ship with the Grenadiers, the
27th, had not arrived from America. Poor 27th! in a few days they had
not two hundred men in the ranks.

As we anticipated, our march from Ghent was very sudden. In an hour
after the order arrived we moved _en route_ for Brussels. We reached
Asche on the afternoon of the 16th June. The rapid and continuous
firing at Quatre Bras, as audible as if we were in the fight, put us in
mind of old times, as well as on the _qui vive_. We expected an order
every moment to move on. We believed the firing to be at Fleurus. As we
approached Brussels the next day [17 June], we met an orderly with a
letter from that gallant fellow De Lancey, Q.M.G., to direct us to move
on Quatre Bras.

In the afternoon, after we passed Brussels, the scene of confusion,
the flying of army, baggage, etc., was an awful novelty to us. We were
directed by a subsequent order to halt at the village of Epinay, on
the Brussels side of the forest of Soignies, a report having reached
his Grace that the enemy’s cavalry were threatening our communication
with Brussels (as we understood, at least). The whole afternoon we
were in a continued state of excitement. Once some rascals of the
Cumberland Hussars, a new Corps of Hanoverians (not of the style of our
noble and gallant old comrades, the 1st Hussars), came galloping in,
declaring they were pursued by Frenchmen. Our bugles were blowing in
all directions, and our troops running to their alarm-posts in front of
the village. I went to report to Sir John Lambert, who was just sitting
quietly down to dinner with my wife and his A.D.C. He says very coolly,
“Let the troops——; this is all nonsense; there is not a French soldier
in the rear of his Grace, depend on it, and sit down to dinner.” I set
off, though, and galloped to the front, where a long line of baggage
was leisurely retiring. This was a sufficient indication that the alarm
was false, and I dismissed the troops and started for the _débris_ of
a magnificent turbot which the General’s butler had brought out of
Brussels. This was in the afternoon.

Such a thunderstorm and deluge of rain now came on, it drenched all
that was exposed to it, and in a few minutes rendered the country deep
in mud and the roads very bad. All night our baggage kept retiring
through the village.

In the course of the night, Lambert’s Brigade were ordered to move
up to the position the Duke had taken up in front of the forest of
Soignies, and our march was very much impeded by waggons upset,
baggage thrown down, etc. [18 June]. We met Sir George Scovell, an
A.Q.M.G. at head-quarters, who said he was sent by the Duke to see the
rear was clear, that it was choked between this and the Army, and the
Duke expected to be attacked immediately; our Brigade must clear the
road before we moved on. Our men were on fire at the idea of having to
remain and clear a road when an attack was momentarily expected, and
an hour would bring us to the position. The wand of a magician, with
all his spells and incantations, could not have effected a clear course
sooner than our 3000 soldiers of the old school.

This effected, General Lambert sent me on to the Duke for orders.
I was to find the Duke himself, and receive orders from no other
person. About 11 o’clock I found his Grace and all his staff near
Hougoumont. The day was beautiful after the storm, although the
country was very heavy. When I rode up, he said, “Hallo, Smith, where
are you from last?” “From General Lambert’s Brigade, and they from
America.” “What have you got?” “The 4th, the 27th, and the 40th; the
81st remain in Brussels.” “Ah, I know, I know; but the others, are
they in good order?” “Excellent, my lord, and very strong.” “That’s
all right, for I shall soon want every man.” One of his staff said,
“I do not think they will attack to-day.” “Nonsense,” said the Duke.
“The columns are already forming, and I think I have discerned where
the weight of the attack will be made. I shall be attacked before an
hour. Do you know anything of my position, Smith?” “Nothing, my lord,
beyond what I see—the general line, and right and left.” “Go back and
halt Lambert’s Brigade at the junction of the two great roads from
Genappe and Nivelles. Did you observe their junction as you rode up?”
“Particularly, my lord.” “Having halted the head of the Brigade and
told Lambert what I desire, ride to the left of the position. On the
extreme left is the Nassau Brigade[71]—those fellows who came over to
us at Arbonne, you recollect.[72] Between them and Picton’s Division
(now the 5th) I shall most probably require Lambert. There is already
there a Brigade of newly-raised Hanoverians, which Lambert will give
orders to, as they and your Brigade form the 6th Division. You are the
only British Staff Officer with it. Find out, therefore, the best and
shortest road from where Lambert is now halted to the left of Picton
and the right of the Nassau troops. Do you understand?” “Perfectly, my
lord.” I had barely turned from his Grace when he called me back. “Now,
clearly understand that when Lambert is ordered to move from the fork
of the two roads where he is now halted, you are prepared to conduct
him to Picton’s left.” It was delightful to see his Grace that morning
on his noble horse Copenhagen—in high spirits and very animated, but
so cool and so clear in the issue of his orders, it was impossible not
fully to comprehend what he said; delightful also to observe what his
wonderful eye anticipated, while some of his staff were of opinion the
attack was not in progress.

I had hardly got back to Lambert, after reconnoitring the country and
preparing myself to conduct the troops, when the Battle of Waterloo
commenced. We soon saw that where we should be moved to, the weight of
the attack on Picton would be resisted by none but British soldiers.
For a few seconds, while every regiment was forming square, and the
charge of Ponsonby’s Brigade going on (which the rising ground in
our front prevented us seeing), it looked as if the formation was
preparatory to a retreat. Many of the rabble of Dutch troops were
flying towards us, and, to add to the confusion, soon after came a
party of dragoons, bringing with them three eagles and some prisoners.
I said to General Lambert, “We shall have a proper brush immediately,
for it looks as if our left will be immediately turned, and the brunt
of the charge will fall on us.” At this moment we were ordered to
move to the very spot where the Duke, _early in the morning_, had
expected we should be required. Picton had been killed, Sir James Kempt
commanded on the left of the road to Genappe, near La Haye Sainte;
his Division had been already severely handled, and we took their
position, my old Battalion of Riflemen remaining with us.

The Battle of Waterloo has been too often described, and nonsense
enough written about the Crisis,[73] for me to add to it. Every moment
was a crisis, and the controversialists had better have left the
discussion on the battle-field. Every Staff officer had two or three
(and one four) horses shot under him. I had one wounded in six, another
in seven places, but not seriously injured. The fire was terrific,
especially of cannon.

Late in the day, when the enemy had made his last great effort on
our centre, the field was so enveloped in smoke that nothing was
discernible. The firing ceased on both sides, and we on the left knew
that one party or the other was beaten. This was the most anxious
moment of my life. In a few seconds we saw the red-coats in the centre,
as stiff as rocks, and the French columns retiring rapidly, and there
was such a British shout as rent the air. We all felt then to whom the
day belonged. It was time the “Crisis” should arrive, for we had been
at work some hours, and the hand of death had been most unsparing.
One Regiment, the 27th, had only two officers left—Major Hume, who
commanded from the beginning of the battle, and another—and they were
both wounded, and only a hundred and twenty soldiers were left with

At this moment I saw the Duke, with only one Staff officer remaining,
galloping furiously to the left. I rode on to meet him. “Who commands
here?” “Generals Kempt and Lambert, my lord.” “Desire them to get into
a column of companies of Battalions, and move on immediately.” I said,
“In which direction, my lord?” “Right ahead, to be sure.” I never saw
his Grace so animated. The _Crisis_ was general, from one end of the
line to the other.

That evening at dark we halted, literally on the ground we stood on;
not a picquet was required, and our whole cavalry in pursuit. Then
came the dreadful tale of killed and wounded; it was enormous, and
every moment the loss of a dear friend was announced. To my wonder,
my astonishment, and to my gratitude to Almighty God, I and my two
brothers—Tom, the Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, who had,
during the day, attracted the Duke’s attention by his gallantry, and
Charles, in the 1st Battalion, who had been fighting for two days—were
all safe and unhurt, except that Charles had a slight wound in the
neck. In the thunderstorm the previous evening he had tied a large silk
handkerchief over his stock; he forgot to take it off, and probably
owed his life to so trifling a circumstance. There was not an instance
throughout the Army of _two_ brothers in the field escaping.[74] We
were three, and I could hardly credit my own eyes. We had nothing to
eat or drink. I had some tea in my writing-case, but no sugar. It had
been carried by an orderly, although in the ranks. He found me out
after the battle, and I made some tea in a soldier’s tin for Sir James
Kempt, Sir John Lambert, and myself; and while we were thus regaling,
up came my brother, of whose safety I was not aware.

Captain McCulloch of the 95th Regiment wished to see me. He was a
dear friend whom I had not seen since he was awfully wounded at Foz
d’Aruz [Foz de Aronce] on Massena’s retreat, after having had seven
sabre-wounds at the Coa, in Massena’s advance, and been taken prisoner.
He was in a cottage near, awfully wounded. I found him lying in great
agony, but very composed. “Oh, Harry, so long since we have met, and
now again under such painful circumstances; but, thank God, you and Tom
are all right.” I had brought all my remaining tea, which he ravenously
swallowed. The ball had dreadfully broken the elbow of the sound arm,
and had passed right through the fleshy part of his back, while the
broken bone of the arm previously shattered at Foz d’Aruz was still
exfoliating, and very painful even after a lapse of years. I got hold
of a surgeon, and his arm was immediately amputated. When dressed, he
lay upon the stump, as this was less painful than the old exfoliating
wound, and on his back he could not lie. He recovered, but was never
afterwards able to feed himself or put on his hat, and died, Heaven
help him, suddenly of dysentery.

No one, but those who have witnessed the awful scene, knows the horrors
of a field of battle—the piles of the dead, the groans of the dying,
the agony of those dreadfully wounded, to whom frequently no assistance
can be rendered at the moment; some still in perfect possession of
their intellect, game to the last, regarding their recovery as more
than probable, while the clammy perspiration of death has already
pounced upon its victim; others, again, perfectly sensible of their
dissolution, breathing into your keeping the feelings and expressions
of their last moments—messages to father, mother, wife, or dearest
relatives. Well might Walter Scott say—

    “Thou canst not name one tender tie
    But here dissolved its relics lie.”

Often have I myself, tired and exhausted in such scenes, almost
regretted the life I have adopted, in which one never knows at any
moment how near or distant one’s own turn may be. In such dejection
you sink into a profound sleep, and you stand up next morning in fresh
spirits. Your country’s calls, your excitement, honour and glory,
again impel, and undauntedly and cheerfully you expose that life which
the night before you fancied was of value. A soldier’s life is one
continued scene of excitement, hope, anticipation; fear for himself he
never knows, though the loss of his comrade pierces his heart.

Before daylight next morning [19 June] a Staff officer whose name
I now forget, rode up to where we were all lying, and told us of
the complete _déroute_ of the French, and the vigorous pursuit of
the Prussians, and that it was probable that our Division would
not move for some hours. At daylight I was on horseback, with a
heart of gratitude as became me, and anxious to let my wife know
I was all right. I took a party of each Regiment of my Division
with me, and went back to the field; for I was now established as

I had been over many a field of battle, but with the exception of
one spot at New Orleans, and the breach of Badajos, I had never seen
anything to be compared with what I saw. At Waterloo the _whole_ field
from right to left was a mass of dead bodies. In one spot, to the
right of La Haye Sainte, the French Cuirassiers were literally piled
on each other; many soldiers not wounded lying under their horses;
others, fearfully wounded, occasionally with their horses struggling
upon their wounded bodies. The sight was sickening, and I had no means
or power to assist them. Imperative duty compelled me to the field of
my comrades, where I had plenty to do to assist many who had been left
out all night; some had been believed to be dead, but the spark of life
had returned. All over the field you saw officers, and as many soldiers
as were permitted to leave the ranks, leaning and weeping over some
dead or dying brother or comrade. The battle was fought on a Sunday,
the 18th June, and I repeated to myself a verse from the Psalms of that
day—91st Psalm, 7th verse: “A thousand shall fall beside thee, and ten
thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee.” I blessed
Almighty God our Duke was spared, and galloped to my General, whom I
found with some breakfast awaiting my arrival.

So many accounts and descriptions have been given of the Battle of
Waterloo, I shall only make one or two observations. To those who say
the ultimate success of the day was achieved by the arrival of the
Prussians, I observe that the Prussians were part of the whole on which
his Grace calculated, as much as on the co-operation of one of his own
Divisions; that they ought to have been in the field much sooner, and
by their late arrival seriously endangered his Grace’s left flank;
and had Napoleon pushed the weight of his attack and precipitated
irresistible numbers on our left, he would have forced the Duke to
throw back his left and break our communication with the Prussians. The
Duke’s army was a heterogeneous mass, not the old Peninsular veterans;
young 2nd Battalions most of them, others intermixed with the rabble
of our allied army. Thus the Duke could not have counter-manœuvred on
his left, as he would have been able with his old army; and we had one
Division under Colville far away to our right.

Napoleon fought the battle badly; his attacks were not simultaneous,
but partial and isolated, and enabled the Duke to repel each by
a concentration. His cavalry was sacrificed early in the day. If
Napoleon did not desire to turn our left flank, and the battle is to
be regarded as a fight hand to hand, he fought it badly.

By a general attack upon our line with his overpowering force
of artillery, followed up by his infantry, he might have put
_hors-de-combat_ far more of our army than he did. His cavalry would
have been fresh, and had he employed this devoted and gallant auxiliary
late in the day as he did early, his attempts to defeat us would have
been far more formidable.

His artillery and cavalry behaved most nobly, but I maintain his
infantry did not. In proof, I will record one example. On the left,
in front of the 5th Division, 25,000 of the Young Guard attacked in
column. Picton was just killed, and Kempt commanded. It is true this
column advanced under a galling fire, but it succeeded in reaching
the spot where it intended to deploy. Kempt ordered the Battalion
immediately opposite the head of the column to charge. It was a poor
miserable Battalion compared with some of ours, yet did it dash like
British soldiers at the column, which went about. Then it was that
Ponsonby’s Brigade got in among them, and took eagles and prisoners.

As a battle of science, it was demonstrative of no manœuvre. It was no
Salamanca or Vittoria, where science was so beautifully exemplified:
it was as a stand-up fight between two pugilists, “mill away” till one
is beaten. The Battle of Waterloo, with all its political glory, has
destroyed the field movement of the British Army, so scientifically
laid down by Dundas, so improved on by that hero of war and of drill,
Sir John Moore. All that light-troop duty which he taught, by which
the world through the medium of the Spanish War was saved, is now
replaced by the most heavy of manœuvres, by squares, centre formations,
and moving in masses, which require time to collect and equal time to
extend; and all because the Prussians and Russians did not know how to
move quicker, we, forsooth, must adopt their ways, although Picton’s
Division at Quatre Bras nobly showed that British infantry can resist
cavalry in any shape. It is true the Buffs were awfully mauled at
Albuera, but what did my kind patron, Sir William Stewart, order them
to do? They were in open column of companies right in front, and it
was necessary at once to deploy into line, which Sir William with his
light 95th had been accustomed to do on any company: he orders them,
therefore, to deploy on the Grenadiers; by this the right would become
the left, what in common parlance is termed “clubbed;” and while he
was doing this, he kept advancing the Grenadiers. It is impossible
to imagine a battalion in a more helpless position, and it never can
be cited as any criterion that a battalion must be in squares to
resist cavalry. At the Battle of Fuentes d’Oñoro, the overwhelming
French cavalry, having rapidly put back our very inferior force, were
upon a regiment of infantry of the 7th Division, to the right of the
Light Division, before either were aware. The French advance of the
Chasseurs Britanniques, I think (it was _one_ of the mongrels, as we
called those corps, anyhow), was imposing, heavy, and rapid (I was
close to the left of our infantry at the time), but it made not the
slightest impression on the regiment in line; on the contrary, the
Chasseurs were repulsed with facility and loss.

But to return to our narrative. A party was sent to bury the dead of
each regiment as far as possible. For the Rifle Brigade, my brother
Charles was for the duty. In gathering the dead bodies, he saw among
the dead of our soldiers the body of a French officer of delicate mould
and appearance. On examining it, he found it was that of a delicate,
young, and handsome female. My story ends here, but such is the fact.
What were the circumstances of devotion, passion, or patriotism which
led to such heroism, is, and ever will be, to me a mystery. Love,
depend upon it.

That afternoon we moved forward by the Nivelles road. I had to go into
my General’s room. I was not aware he was there, and entered abruptly.
He was changing his shirt, when I saw he had received a most violent
contusion on his right arm. It was fearfully swelled (in those days
our coat-sleeves were made very large), and as black as ebony from the
shoulder to the wrist. “My dear General,” I said, “what an arm! I did
not know you had been wounded.” “No, nor you never would, if accident
had not shown you.” He made me promise to say nothing, about which I
compromised by saying, “To no one but to a surgeon, whom you must see.
An arm in that state, if inflammation succeed, might slough, and you
would lose it.” The General would not see a surgeon, and thank God he
got well.

But turn we now to the poor wife. I left her at daylight on the 18th,
prepared to get on her horse and go to Brussels, to await the result of
the storm of war which I had prepared her for. Her tale of wonder must
form a separate and distinct narrative.



When the troops had moved forward on the morning of the 18th June, I,
as you directed, got on my horse and went to Brussels, intending to
await the result of the pending battle. On arrival I found my baggage
and servant in the great square, and an order had just arrived for the
whole of the baggage of the army to move on the road towards Antwerp,
and afterwards to cross the canal about five miles from Brussels, at a
village on the Antwerp side. On reaching the village I dismounted, the
baggage was unloaded, and West was endeavouring to get something for
me to eat in the inn. It was about five o’clock. Suddenly an alarm was
given that the enemy was upon us. West brought my mare to the door as
quickly as I could run downstairs, but from the noise, confusion, and
everything, my horse was perfectly frantic. West succeeded in tossing
me up, but my little pug, Vitty, was still below. I said, “Now, West,
give me my dog;” when, as he put her into my lap, I dropped my reins.
West, knowing I always gathered up my reins before I jumped up, let go,
and off flew the mare with such speed that, with the dog in my lap, it
was all I could do for some time to keep my seat. I had the snaffle
rein in my hand, but I could not restrain her; the curb rein was flying
loose, and I couldn’t stoop to get hold of it. She flew with me through
the streets of Malines, across a bridge over the river, the road full
of horses and baggage, still flying away, away, until I was perfectly
out of breath. I saw a waggon upset lying immediately before me across
the road, and I knew that if I could not turn her on one side, I must
inevitably be knocked to pieces. The mare would not answer my snaffle
rein, and I felt her charge the waggon as at a fence to leap it. The
height was beyond the spring of my horse. As the animal endeavoured
to leap, the loose curb rein caught. This brought her at once to a
halt, and I was precipitated on her head, pug and all. I had come at
this rate eight miles, over a road covered with mud and dirt. The mare
was as much out of breath as I was. I managed to get back into the
saddle, and felt that now was my only chance to get hold of the curb. I
succeeded in doing so, and we were then on terms of equality.

Having righted my habit, I looked back and saw some five or six men on
horseback, whom of course I construed into French Dragoons, although,
if I had considered a moment, I should have known that no Dragoon could
have come the pace _I_ did; but I was so exhausted, I exclaimed,
“Well, if I am to be taken, I had better at once surrender.” The first
horseman proved to be one of my servants, riding one of the Newmarket
horses, having taken the animal from West against his orders. The
others were a Commissary, an officer of the Hanoverian Rifles, and an
officer, I regret to say, of our own Hussars. I addressed myself to
the Hussar, who appeared the oldest of the party. “Pray, sir, is there
any danger?” (I had forgotten almost all the little English I knew in
my excitement.) “Danger, mum! When I left Brussels the French were in
pursuit down the hill.” “Oh, sir, what shall I do?” “Come on to Antwerp
with me.” He never pulled up. During the whole conversation we were
full gallop. One of the party says, “You deserve no pity. You may well
be fatigued carrying that dog. Throw it down.” I was very angry, and
said I should deserve no pity if I did.

Our pace soon brought us to Antwerp, where the Hussar was very civil,
and tried to get me a room in one of the hotels. This he soon found
was impossible, as all the English visitors at Brussels had fled
there. We must now go to the Hôtel de Ville and try for a billet.
Whilst standing there, the officer having gone inside, I was an object
of curious attention. I was wet from head to foot with the black mud
of the high-road. On my face the mud had dried, and a flood of tears
chasing each other through it down my cheeks must have given me an
odd appearance indeed. While standing on horseback there, an officer
of the English garrison, whom I did not know (he must have learnt my
name from my servant) addressed me by name. “Mrs. Smith, you are in
such a terrible plight, and such is the difficulty of your getting
in anywhere, if you will come with me, I will conduct you to Colonel
Craufurd, the Commandant of the Citadel; his wife and daughters
are most kind and amiable people, and readily, I know, would they
contribute with happiness anything to your comfort.” My situation was
not one to stand on delicacy. I therefore promptly accepted this offer,
leaving my kind Hussar in the Hôtel de Ville. When I arrived, nothing
could exceed the kindness of all, which was as striking at the moment
as it seems to me now. I was stripped from a weight of mud which, with
my long riding-habit, I could hardly move under. A shower of hot water
again showed my features, and I was put in the clothes of good Mrs.
Craufurd, a very tall woman; and in these comfortable dry clothes I was
nearly as much lost as in the case of mud I had been washed out of.

The hospitality of this night ought to have soothed me, but the agony
of hope, doubt, and fear I was in absorbed every other feeling,
although I was so sensible of kindness.

The next day [19 June] the officer who had so kindly brought me to
Colonel Craufurd came to tell me a great quantity of baggage was
momentarily arriving: could I give him any directions or clue to find
mine? In about an hour he returned with my spare horses, old trusty
West, who had never left anything behind, my baggage, and my maid.

In the afternoon we heard of the battle having been fought and won,
but no news of my husband. So, contrary to the wishes of my kind host
and hostess, I ordered my horse to be ready at three o’clock in the
morning to rejoin my husband, whatever shape fate had reduced him to.
It was all I could do to resist the importunity of those kind people
who wished me to remain. But at three o’clock [20 June] West and I
were on horseback, desiring baggage, servants, and horses to follow.
In conversation with West, I ascertained that at the village we fled
from, my mattrass, and in it my dressing-case (bought on a Sunday
at Weeks’[76]) with all my fortune, two Napoleons, had been left in
the inn. When I arrived, I asked the landlord of the little wretched
inn about it. He pretended he knew nothing, but old cunning West got
information in the stable-yard, and gave a boy five francs to conduct
him to the hayloft where my treasure was. West soon transported what
he called _ours_ to me, and upon opening it, I found my important
dressing-case there untouched. I had something in the shape of
breakfast. In the mean time my servants had arrived, the lost mattrass
was restored to the baggage, and West and I, in light marching order,
started for Brussels. We were only five miles away, and arrived by
seven in the morning.

Seeing some of our Rifle soldiers, with an eagerness which may be
imagined, I asked after my husband, when to my horror they told
me that Brigade-Major Smith of the 95th was killed. It was now my
turn to ask the “Brass Mare” to gallop, and in a state approaching
desperation I urged her to the utmost speed for the field of battle to
seek my husband’s corpse. The road from Brussels to the field almost
maddened me, with wounded men and horses, and corpses borne forward to
Brussels for interment, expecting as I was every moment to see that
of my husband, knowing how he was beloved by officers and soldiers.
The road was nearly choked which was to lead me to the completion, as
I hoped, of my life; to die on the body of the only thing I had on
earth to love, and which I loved with a faithfulness which few can
or ever did feel, and none ever exceeded. In my agony of woe, which
of course increased as my expectations were not realized (it was now
Tuesday), I approached the awful field of Sunday’s carnage, in mad
search of Enrique. I saw signs of newly dug graves, and then I imagined
to myself, “O God, he has been buried, and I shall never again behold
him!” How can I describe my suspense, the horror of my sensations,
my growing despair, the scene of carnage around me? From a distance
I saw a figure lying; I shrieked, “Oh, there he is!” I galloped on.
“No, it is not he! Find him I will, but whither shall I turn?” O ye in
peaceful homes, with every comfort around you, you wonder how I did
not sink under my afflictions, a foreigner in a strange land, thus at
once bereft of my all! I will tell you. Educated in a convent, I was
taught to appeal to God through Jesus Christ. In this my trouble I did
so. At this moment, as a guardian angel, a dear and mutual friend,
Charlie Gore, A.D.C. to Sir James Kempt, appeared to me. In my agony
and hope, hope alone of finding the body, I exclaimed, “Oh, where is
he? Where is my Enrique?” “Why, near Bavay by this time, as well as
ever he was in his life; not wounded even, nor either of his brothers.”
“Oh, dear Charlie Gore, why thus deceive me? The soldiers tell me
Brigade-Major Smith is killed. Oh, my Enrique!” “Dearest Juana, believe
me; it is poor Charles Smyth, Pack’s Brigade-Major. I swear to you, on
my honour, I left Harry riding Lochinvar in perfect health, but very
anxious about you.” “Oh, may I believe you, Charlie! my heart will
burst.” “Why should you doubt me?” “Then God has heard my prayer!”
This sudden transition from my depth of grief and maddening despair
was enough to turn my brain, but Almighty God sustained me. Gore told
me he had returned to Brussels to see poor Charlie Beckwith, who had
lost, or must lose, his leg; and that he was then in the act of looking
for the grave of our mutual friend, poor Charlie Eeles. Gore said, “I
am now going to Mons: can you muster strength to ride with me there?”
I said, “Strength? yes, for anything now!” and we reached Mons at
twelve o’clock at night. I had been on the same horse since three in
the morning, and had ridden a distance from point to point of sixty
miles; and after all the agony, despair, relief, and happiness I had
gone through in one day, I ate something, and lay down until daylight
next morning [21 June], when I rapidly pushed on to Bavay, on my really
wonderful thoroughbred mare.

I first met Sir John Lambert, who showed me where Enrique was to be
found. Until I saw him, I could not persuade myself he was well, such
a hold had my previous horror taken of my every thought and feeling.
Soon, O gracious God, I sank into his embrace, exhausted, fatigued,
happy, and grateful—oh, how grateful!—to God who had protected him, and
sustained my reason through such scenes of carnage, horror, dread, and
belief in my bereavement.

[_Narrative resumed._]

I was afterwards told all this, and I could not but reflect on what we
had all gone through since the morning we had parted with my father,
and how his prediction of a terrific struggle had been verified. Our
adventures formed the subject of a long letter, and from him came one
soon after.

“Never did I receive two letters with such pleasure as your two last
after the glorious Battle of Waterloo. For three of you, my sons, to
have been so hotly engaged, and to have come off unhurt, must not have
been chance or fate; but Providence seems to have watched over you all
and protected you. How grateful ought we all to be to the Almighty God!
I assure you my prayers have ever been offered up to the Throne of
Grace for the protection of you all, and a safe return to England.”

This letter is now on my table before me, fresh as when written,[77]
while the author, God bless him, has mixed with the earth to which
all must return. He lived to the age of 87, and died in Sept. 1843, a
strong and healthy man until within a few months of his dissolution. It
is difficult to say whether he was the more proud of having three sons
at Waterloo, or grateful to Almighty God for their preservation.



Our march to Paris was unaccompanied by anything to relate except that
I had a gallop round Mons and a good look on Malplaquet, but could
picture to myself no position, while I felt as a soldier standing on
the classic ground of the gallant achievements of my country and our
former army of heroes (for I regard Marlborough and Wellington as the
greatest men England or the world ever produced). But the latter days
of Wellington are as conspicuous for ability and energy as the days
of his youth. Poor Marlborough dwindled into imbecility, and became
a miser. To Wellington his country has ever been enthusiastically
grateful, while Marlborough, by ill-treatment, was driven into
voluntary banishment. Although I love Wellington with a fervour which
cannot be exceeded, I pray my God he may never outlive his mental
faculties, but leave this world and the country and cause he has so
eminently served while that world and country are still in admiration
and wonder. Alava, the Spanish General, so attached and devoted to
the Duke (by-the-bye, he was a Captain of a Spanish battleship or
frigate, I forget which), told me and Juana two years after the Battle
of Waterloo that the night after that eventful day, the Duke got back
to his quarters at Waterloo about nine or ten at night. The table was
laid for the usual number, while none appeared of the many of his staff
but Alava and Fremantle. The Duke said very little, ate hastily and
heartily, but every time the door opened he gave a searching look,
evidently in the hope of some of his valuable staff approaching. When
he had finished eating, he held up both hands in an imploring attitude
and said, “The hand of Almighty God has been upon me this day,” jumped
up, went to his couch, and was asleep in a moment. At this period he
was not aware of the extent of his wonderful victory.

When we approached the capital, we found the French army strongly
posted in a position near St. Denis and the previously shamefully
abandoned post of Mont Martre. From this position we expected to have
to drive them, but a day or two’s suspense relieved us. In a day or two
we went to see the _entrée_ of Louis into Paris—a humble spectacle
indeed compared to the magnitude of the struggle that brought it about.

Lieut.-General Sir Lowry Cole had now arrived to take the command
of the 6th Division, previously under Lambert. The 5th, 6th, and
Brunswickers composed the Reserve, about 17,000, Sir James Kempt, the
senior General, commanding; whose Quartermaster-General, Sir William
Gomm, gave all orders for marching, bivouac, etc. Now it became my
province to do so, and I never felt more proud than in having the
movement and arrangement of march of 17,000 soldiers.

Our army was in the environs of Paris, the 5th Division at Clichy,
the 6th at Neuilly, the Brunswickers near Clichy. The house I and my
wife occupied in the town of Neuilly we found was a sort of country
residence belonging to a nice old lady in Paris. There was a beautiful
and most productive garden, and an establishment of regular gardeners.
When I sent for the head man and desired him to take to his mistress
the vegetables he was accustomed to send her, and to obey her orders,
whatever they were, he was thunderstruck. I said, “If the garden is not
kept in real good order, then I will show you what an Englishman is.”
The poor old lady, hearing this, came out to thank us, and we often
dined with her in Paris. She lived in great style, and was of use to
my wife in showing her milliners, etc., for a refit _à la mode_ was

Our life was now one of continued pleasure and excitement—nothing
but parties at night and races by day. At these I was steward. The
crowd of foreign officers being very unruly in riding in after the
race-horses, I put some proper fellows of soldiers at the distance-post
(who, having resisted many a charge of French cavalry, cared little for
an unarmed galloping man), with orders to run the rope across to stop
this disorder. My orders were obeyed, as I expected, and that gallant
hero, Marshal Blucher, not seeing the rope, rode his horse full speed
against it and fell, and in the crash the noble old fellow broke his
collar-bone, to my annoyance and distress.

While one day walking in my garden at Neuilly, my old friend Tom Fane,
who had come to Paris as one of the sight-seers, came full gallop up
to me and Juana, “Hurrah, Harry, the _Gazette_ has arrived! You are
Lieutenant-Colonel, and here is a case for you; it has some order in
it, I think. I found it at the Military Secretary’s office, and, being
to your address, brought it. Let me open it.” It was the Order of
Companion of the Bath, which pleased poor Tom more than it did me. Thus
again had I and Juana cause to be grateful to Almighty God, not only
for perfect safety, but for worldly distinction and promotion. It was
barely fourteen months since the Battle of Toulouse. I had crossed the
Atlantic to and from America four times; fought a gallant action, and
captured the metropolis of that world; brought home dispatches, and
received £500; was in communication with ministers, and honoured by a
long audience of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent; again went out;
again was under fire for three weeks, and in the sanguinary disaster at
New Orleans; was in the Battle of Waterloo, and had been promoted from
Captain to Lieut.-Colonel and Companion of the Bath; without a wound;
restored to my wife in health and contentment, and nothing to distress
or annoy me beyond the loss and wounds of so many gallant and dear
friends. Cold must that heart be which could not feel to its inmost
core God Almighty’s providence.

While in our cantonments around Paris we had frequent reviews with
Emperors, Kings, etc., as spectators, and nothing could exceed the
style and bearing of our army. The conduct, too, was exemplary. The
taking down of the horses from Venice, from the Place du Carrousel; the
execution of poor Ney, that hero of reality, not romance; the desire
of Blucher to destroy the bridge of Jena, which the Duke of Wellington
prevented; the escape of La Vallette, etc., kept us all in a state of
excitement, while the lions of Paris, then the _entrepôt_ of every
article of value in the arts, afforded daily occupation. Not a valuable
picture in Europe but was in the Place du Carrousel. It was my delight
to stand, often an hour at a time, looking at Paul Potter’s small
painting of the bull and the peasant behind the tree, and I have been
so fascinated I have expected the bull to charge.


  _From a picture painted in Paris in 1815._      [_Opposite p. 294._]

In the autumn [1815] it became necessary to move the army into more
permanent quarters, and my Division, the 6th, was sent to St. Germain,
that magnificent and ancient resort of former kings. The woods were
in perfect order, and cut into beautiful _foci_ and avenues like radii
of circles, for hunting in the French style. The Duke de Berri had
hounds, and was passionately fond of the sport. The stag was turned
out, there were relays of hounds in couples, and huntsmen of various
denominations with large French horns, all in a _costume de chasse_,
with large cocked hats and a _couteau de chasse_ by their sides. The
carriages, full of ladies of the court and others, assembled in one
of the _foci_, or centres, from which the avenues radiated. When the
stag crossed into another part of the wood, the carriages galloped
to the “_focus_” of that part of the forest where the hunt was now
going on, and such a crash of horns as there was to denote that the
stag had changed his direction! The Duke went galloping up and down
the avenues, changing very frequently from one fat brute of a horse
to another. My wife and I, who went out every day and galloped after
the Duke, an ill-tempered fellow, up and down the avenues, were barely
able to keep our real good hunters warm. It was, however, capital fun,
although foreign to our ideas of hunting. I always fancied myself a
figure in a tapestry, hunting being a favourite subject for that kind
of delineation.

At the _mort_ (or death), or when the stag was at bay, there was always
a great row of horns and shouting, but _no dog-language_. On one
occasion the stag, a noble animal, was at bay, and fiercely contending
with the hounds. The Duke de Berri jumped off his horse and drew his
_couteau de chasse_, making great demonstration of going up to the
stag, while his courtiers were screeching, “Oh, monsieur, monsieur,
prenez garde, pour l’amour de Dieu.” He reminded me of the Irish hero,
“Hold me, Jim; you know my _temper_,” for the Duke had no real idea of
doing anything of the sort, although, when the poor noble animal had
been shot by some of the _piqueurs_, the Duke then ran in _valorously_
and dipped his _couteau_ in the beautiful animal’s chest. For this feat
a lot of us were determined to play the Duke a trick, and the next
hunting-day we contrived to break down the paling of the forest and
to induce the stag to bolt. We succeeded to our hearts’ content, and
away into the open went stag safe enough, the hounds in no wind after
him. The Duke and all his equipage were soon planted, and he was in a
furious passion. The _couteau de chasse_ was not required that day.

The most ridiculous thing is that they do not let the hounds “tear him
and eat him” while their blood is up. The stag is taken to the kennel
and skinned, and all the meat cut into small pieces and put again into
the hide, and the hounds then, in this cold-blooded way, rush at a
_mess_, instead of the whole pack, in a state of excitement, falling on
the hunted animal reeking with fatigue.

We were all amused one day at observing a man elegantly mounted on an
English horse in the full costume of the French _chasse_ (_couteau_,
etc.), when who should this be but our own dear Duke! He looked so neat
and smart, and we had such a laugh. He himself had a beautiful pack of
hounds and some boxed stags, which gave runs sometimes, but he was not
of the age for a sportsman.

About this time I and Will Havelock set on foot a pack of foxhounds.
We sent to England for hounds. The numbers of our pack being thirteen
couple, we sent to Brussels for [five couple more] from the Prince of
Orange’s establishment. This pack afterwards became a capital one.

On the conclusion of the treaty between the Allied Powers and
France, by which an Army of Occupation was designated to remain on
the northern boundary of France for three or five years, the large
armies (except their quota of the contingent) marched back to their
respective countries. Of the British Army four Divisions alone were to
remain. Mine was reduced, and being no longer on the staff, I joined
my regiment. Some of my old comrades said to Charlie Beckwith, who
had also joined, “Now, how will Harry Smith, after a career of such
extended authority, like to come back to the command of a Company?”
Charlie says (for he loved me), “In the execution of his duty and care
of his Company he will be an example to us all.”

My corps was moved again into the environs of Paris preparatory to
its march to the north. I was now visited by the deepest distress
and grief, for three days expecting the death of all I loved and
cherished—my dear wife. Nothing but vigour of mind and a good
constitution saved her. I had encountered many previous difficulties,
dangers, and disasters, but never aught like this. God in His continued
mercy spared her to me. Praised be His Name.

She was scarcely fit to move when we marched from Paris to Louvres [16
Jan. 1816] and an adjacent village. My Company went to Vernais. We were
again under Sir John Lambert, who had been moved from one Brigade to
another. My wife drove herself in my tilbury; I marched with my men. We
had a large cold château as a quarter, with a very civil landlord. I
had with me the hounds—eighteen couple. He put them up most kindly, and
appeared delighted—so much so that I had no delicacy in asking him to
get me a dead horse or to buy a dying brute for a few shillings. To my
astonishment, he regarded the request as a direct insult. It was all I
could do to make him understand I had no idea of offending. He was with
difficulty appeased, but I saw he never forgot the dead horse, any more
than the Antiquary’s nephew the “_phoca_ or seal.”

From hence we marched to Cambray, around which place and Valenciennes
the greater part of the army was to be cantoned. Three fortresses were
to be garrisoned by us. The Duke’s head-quarters were to be at Cambray.
One day Major Balvaird came to me. He was my commanding officer (I
being only a _Brevet_ Lieut. Colonel and _Captain_ under his command).
He was an excellent fellow, and as gallant a soldier as ever lived, a
bosom friend, and a Scotchman with a beautiful accent. “Weel, Harry,
mi mon, the deevil is in it. I have an order to send a Captain to the
depôt at Shorncliffe. You are the first for my duty, my lad. You canna
be more hurt at being ordered than I am to order you. So be prepared.
There is a just ane chance for you, but you must be prepared.” My
mortification was excessive, for with my habits, hounds, horses, and
wife, etc., the income I should get in England was not at all to my
desire. However, I said nothing to my wife, always hoping something
might turn up.

On the march one night my Company was in a wretched little village,
my quarters a miserable dirty little farmhouse. On any other occasion
I should have cared more than my wife herself, but she was still very
delicate, and I was awfully afraid of a relapse. It was February, and
the cold very severe. In watching her, I did not go to sleep until
just before it was time to jump up and march, when I had a curious
dream that the Duke of Wellington sent for me and said, “Smith, I have
two staff-appointments to give away, you shall have one,” and that as
I went out, poor Felton Hervey, the Military Secretary, said, “You
are a lucky fellow, Harry, for the one you are to have is the most
preferable by far.” I told my wife this dream, and said, “Mark my words
if it does not turn out to be true.”

On reaching our cantonment at Bourlon, a little beyond Cambray, I had
just put up my Company when General Lambert sent for me. “Smith,”
he says, “I am ordered to send a field officer to Cambray, who, in
conjunction with an officer of Engineers, is to take over Cambray, its
guns, stores, etc., from the French Commander and Engineers. It may
lead to something further. I therefore wish you to start at daylight;
the duty is important.” _His_ wish was _my_ law. Off I started. I had
scarcely completed the transfer when the General Orders were put into
my hand in which I saw I was appointed Major de Place, or Town-Major
of Cambray, and Charlie Beckwith Major de Place of Valenciennes,
each with the pay or allowance of Assistant Quartermaster-General,
to which department we were to report. Thus my dream was verified,
for, as Cambray was headquarters, and I had none of that horrid duty,
billeting on the inhabitants, which was attached to Valenciennes (the
headquarters A.Q.M.G. being desired to do it), I was given the better
place of the two, as Hervey said in my dream.



Soon after our establishment at Cambray, I received a note from one
of His Grace’s Aides-de-Camp. “The Duke desires you will come to him
immediately, and bring with you the sheet of Cassini’s map of the
environs of Cambray.” Fortunately I had this map. I asked myself what
in the name of wonder the Duke could want. Off I cut. “Well, Smith, got
the map?” I opened it. “Now, where is my château?” “Here, my lord.”
“Ah, the coverts are very well shown here. Are there foxes in all
these?” “Yes, my lord, too many in every one.” “Well, then, hounds must
always know their own country”—he drew his finger as a line across the
map. “Now, your hounds hunt that side, mine this.”

On one occasion, when Lord Castlereagh was staying with His Grace, the
former wanted to see some coursing in France, and about 2 o’clock in
the afternoon the Duke sent for me to bring some greyhounds. We went
out, and were lucky in finding, and killed a brace. I never saw a man
in such spirits as the Duke. He rode like a whipper-in.

I once trained some greyhounds for the Duke, almost puppies, against
some of the same age which that noble fellow, Sir Edward Barnes had
bred. We were to meet near the Duke’s château, where there were plenty
of hares. We had great sport to beat Sir Edward every match. My wife
rode her “Brass” seventeen miles before we looked for a hare. The Duke
made her one of his umpires. She rode every course, and back again at

Poor Felton Hervey was prejudiced against Spanish greyhounds, and he
and the present Duke of Richmond got out some English hounds to the
Peninsula to beat my celebrated “Moro,” which Harry Mellish, a gallant
hero alike as soldier and sportsman, declared the best dog he ever saw
in his life. Of course the English dogs had no chance.

While at Cambray I had two dogs, sons of the “Moro,” and we had a great
coursing party—the Duke of Wellington, Lord Hill (who had beautiful
English greyhounds), Sir Hussey Vivian, etc. We were near the Duke’s
château, where there were plenty of right good hares. Hervey objected
to my Spaniards running. We had been coursing all day and not a hare
was killed, so I rode up to the Duke and said, “My lord, this won’t
do. A hare must be killed to go to the château.” The Duke said, “Ah!
but how?” “My Spaniards should kill you a hare, my lord.” The sun was
almost down. Felton Hervey says, “Lord Hill’s ‘Laura’ and ‘Rattler’
shall get a hare. We will put them in slips; Smith shall call ‘Loo,’
and if they don’t kill their hare, then let the Moro blood try, and
I will halloo them out of their slips.” At it we went. A hare jumped
up under the nose of Lord Hill’s dogs. I hallooed. The hare hadn’t
twenty yards’ law. “Ah,” says the Duke, “you gave the hare no chance.”
“Plenty, my lord. They won’t kill her.” After a terrific course she
fairly beat them. Hervey was very angry. It was nearly dark, when hares
run like devils. My dogs, two brothers, were in the slips. So late in
the evening hares are sly. One jumped up sixty yards off, and Hervey
hallooed. The honesty of the field went with me, and all sung out,
“Shame, Hervey! your dogs were close to their hare.” “Never mind,”
I said. “My lord, you shall have the hare.” I was on that wonderful
horse Lochinvar, and never did I so ask him to go along. My dogs soon
closed with their hare, when I knew, if they once turned her with such
a law, she was ours. We had a terrific course, and killed her in a
bank, within three yards of a covert where she would have been safe. I
galloped back in triumph with my hare, for not a horse could live with
Lochinvar, and I threw the hare down at his Grace’s feet. Hervey was
furious, and insisted that I and Lochinvar acted third greyhound. I did
not, and I gained accordingly. The Duke laughed, and turned round to go
home, saying, “Thank you for the hare, Smith. We should have gone home
without one but for your Spanish greyhounds.”

Coming home from riding one afternoon, I overtook the Duke on the
bank of the canal, all alone. When I rode up I must either pass him,
or saddle myself on him as companion, neither of which etiquette or
delicacy tolerated. After my usual salutation, the Duke, with his
brilliant imagination in trifles as well as things of moment, said,
“If not in a hurry, ride home with me.” After a little talk about
hounds, greyhounds, etc., he said, “What! no dogs with you?” I said,
“On Sundays, my lord, I never take them out.” “Very proper,” he said,
“although I fear in our late struggle we respected Sunday but little.
All our great battles were fought on that holy day which ought to
be.” “Yes,” said I, “my lord, so was Trafalgar, and so was that dire
disaster, New Orleans.” “Was it?” he said. “You were there, were you
not?” “Indeed was I, my lord.” His Grace never mentioned dear Sir
Edward Pakenham, and of course I never did, although my heart was full
of him. “Tell me all about it.” I did so. “What! the troops stood and
fired in column, did they? What corps?” I named them. “Ah,” he said,
“they had not been accustomed to victory, but it was quite right to
keep two such corps as the 7th Fusiliers and the 43rd in reserve.” “We
ought not to have landed where we did, my lord.” “Certainly not,” he
said. “I was consulted about those lakes, and I immediately asked, ‘Is
there navigation there for purposes of trade?’ When I was answered
‘No,’ I said, ‘Then it is injudicious to use them to land an army, and
craft of any size will never get up to land the troops.’”

I had received and carried many orders from his Grace, but of course
never held a military conversation with him before. I was never
so struck as by the pointed questions he asked and the more rapid
questions my answers elicited. In half an hour’s ride he was perfectly
acquainted with all I could tell him, and said, “I am glad I have had
this conversation with you. It agrees as nearly as may be with the
opinion I had previously formed. If you are not engaged, you and Juana
come and dine with me to-day. Her friend Alava will be there.” I was
as proud as may be, because I knew by this his Grace was satisfied
with my explanation. How I longed to tell him how I loved and admired
his brother-in-law, Sir Edward Pakenham! But although I talked of
“the General,” I never made use of the magic word (to me at least)

One night, at a great ball at the Duke’s, the Prince and Princess
Narinska were present, and a lot of Russian and Cossack officers. The
Princess was the only Russian lady, a very beautiful and accomplished
woman. The Duke wished that the mazurka should be danced in compliment
to her, but none of our ladies would stand up with the Princess. So the
Duke came up to my wife, and took her hand: “Come, Juana, now for the
Russian fandango; you will soon catch the step.” A young Russian came
forward as her partner. The Princess danced elegantly, and the Duke was
as anxious as I was that Juana should acquit herself well. She did, and
he was as pleased as possible.

The Duke was in great spirits in those days, and whenever he was
surrounded by Emperors and Kings he showed himself the great man that
he was. His attention to them was most marked, but we ever observed
that his Grace felt he was the representative of our King and country,
and we could see the majesty and still the delicacy with which he
conducted himself.

On one occasion the King of Prussia begged to see as many of the
British Army by themselves as could be collected, and the majority
were assembled not far from the pillar erected by the French in honour
of the victory of [Denain[78]], and which was equally in honour of
the Duke of Marlborough. (The French never gained a battle until
[Marlborough] was so madly taken away by the intrigues of the British
Government.) The King arrived much before his time, and our troops
were not formed to receive him. The Duke’s quick eye detected his
approach in the distance, and he says, “Hallo, Fremantle, there he is!
He will be upon us before we are ready, and we can’t keep him back
with picquets. Ride up and make him take a long détour until you see
we are ready, although a few minutes will suffice us.” Our troops were
in position like lightning, and it was beautiful to see the Duke so
animated, so cool, so proud of his Army and the rapidity with which we
all moved to act up to his wishes. He was altogether very popular with
his Army, but not so much so as after Toulouse. He felt that everything
that occurred at his headquarters must be a precedent for the guidance
of all the Armies he was in command of, and he was frequently rigid, as
it seemed, to extremes, particularly in all cases of disputes between
officers and the French inhabitants. At Cambray it was part of my duty
to receive all complaints, and, generally speaking, our own people were
the aggressors. When the French were, his Grace demanded that _their_
authorities should make an equal example. This correct principle of
action was as highly extolled by all thinking men as it deserved,
especially as the French had degraded themselves all over the world
(except in dear old England which we protected) by acts of cruelty,
oppression, and tyranny towards the inhabitants. The Duke said, “We are
Englishmen and pride ourselves on our deportment, and that pride shall
not be injured in my keeping.” On parting with his Army, he thanked
the British contingent after all the others. “He begs them to accept
his best acknowledgments for the example they have given to others by
their own good conduct, and for the support and assistance they have
invariably afforded him to maintain the discipline of the Army.” This I
thought at the time, and I do so more now, was the highest compliment
his Grace could pay us. We had saved Europe, and now we were thanked
for our conduct in quarters, when in occupation of the country of our
enemy, who had been the oppressors of the world; although, as good does
come out of evil, so has Europe been wonderfully improved owing to
the liberal principles moderately derived from the madness of French

Our life in Cambray was one excess of gaiety. My dear old friend and
commander, Sir Andrew Barnard, had been appointed Commandant, so
that, surrounded by my old generals, friends, and comrades, I was
at home at once. We were both young; my wife was beautiful. We were
fêted and petted by every one. I was the huntsman of a magnificent
pack of hounds, steward of races, riding steeplechases, etc. My wife
was taken the greatest notice of by every one, especially by the
Duke, who, having known her as a child, always called her his Spanish
heroine, Juana. She rode beautifully hunting, was the best of waltzers,
and sang melodiously. We were surrounded by the best society. All
England’s nobility poured forth to see the lion of the day, the Dukes
headquarters. No wonder that in the midst of this gaiety and in this
land of plenty, after the life of hardship and privation which we had
led, we should have been somewhat intoxicated by the scene around us,
and I spent a lot of money which, had I saved it prudently, would
have now nearly accumulated to a fortune. I had prize-money for the
Peninsula, for Washington, and for Waterloo paid at this period. I had
money left me by my grandmother. All went as fast as I could get it.

In 1817, I and a friend went to look over the field of Waterloo. The
wood of Hougoumont had been cut down, which very much altered the
appearance of the ground, as did the want of troops, etc. To those
unaccustomed to look at ground with and without troops, the difference
cannot well be explained. I trod, however, upon this immortal field
with a thrilling sensation of gratitude to Almighty God, first for
personal safety and for the additional honour and glory my country’s
Army had acquired there, and next for the beneficial results to Europe
ensured by the achievement of that wonderful battle. The left of the
position as well as the centre was as during the battle, with the
exception of the many tombs and monuments erected to mark the spots
where lay interred so many gallant spirits, and many is the burning
tear I shed over the mounds of some of my dearest friends, many of
England’s brightest sons and rising soldiers. No one can feel what a
soldier does on such a spot, especially one who was in the midst of
the strife. But nothing struck me so forcibly as the small extent of
the field. It appeared impossible that so many thousands of troops
could have contended on so constricted a space, the one spot on earth
which decided the fate of Emperors and Kings, and the future destiny of

Every year we had a grand review of the whole Army of the
contingencies. One year the Duke of Kent was the Review-Marshal. The
last year of occupation, viz. the third, we had an immense sham-fight,
which ended on the heights of Fimare, where the Army passed in review
[23 Oct.] the Emperor of Russia, King of Prussia, the Grand Duke
Constantine, the Grand Duke Michael, etc. In the course of the day
the Duke, riding with their Majesties, saw Juana. He called her up
and presented her to the Emperor of Russia, “Voilà, Sire, ma petite
guerrière espagnole qui a fait la guerre avec son mari comme la héroine
de Saragosse.” The Emperor shook her hands, and asked her to ride for
some time with him as she spoke French fluently, when he put a variety
of questions to her about the war in Spain, all of which she could
answer as intelligently as most officers. At night she danced with the
Grand Duke Michael, an excellent waltzer. When the Emperor’s courtiers
observed the attention paid by the Emperor to my wife, they sought out
the husband. I was in my Rifle uniform. One fellow said, “Are you aware
to whom Madame has had the honour to be presented?” “To be sure,” I
said, saucily, “and by _whom_—the greatest man in the world.”

That night, riding into Valenciennes on the _pavé_, both sides of the
road being covered with troops marching to their cantonments, it was
very cold, and I was clapping my hands on my shoulders, _à l’anglaise_,
when my wife says, “You have lost your Star of the Bath.” I had felt
something catch in the lace of my sleeve, so I turned back. A column
of Russian Cuirassiers were marching over the ground I had traversed,
and the sides of the road being excessively dusty, I said to myself,
“What nonsense! I can never find it,” and was in the act of turning
back to my wife, when a flat-footed dickey dragoon horse, having set
his hollow foot upon it, tossed it under my horse’s nose out of the
dust upon the _pavé_. It is a most ridiculous occurrence to record, but
my astonishment at the time was excessive. The star was bruised by the
horse’s foot, in which shape I wore it twenty-nine years.

The period of occupation was now reduced to three years, and the
Army was prepared to withdraw—to _our_ mortification, for we should
have been delighted with two years more. It was now, on winding up
my private accounts which had been miserably neglected, I discovered
my money was far exceeded by my debts. I therefore, as one of my
auxiliaries, put up to raffle, for 250 napoleons, a celebrated
thoroughbred horse, the Young Lochinvar, by Grouse, out of Dab Chick,
Vandyke’s dam. This horse I had bought for a large sum in my native
town, just before the Battle of Waterloo, from a gentleman who had
bought him at Newmarket for an immense price and whose circumstances
compelled him to become a bankrupt. My father was aware of his pending
situation, and just on the eve of it bought Lochinvar. I had ridden him
hunting three years; he was the only horse in the Army that was never
planted in the deep fields of France. As a horse he was as celebrated
as His Grace was as a General, 16 hands high and equal to 14 stone,
It went to my heart to part with him. My wife said, “Oh, I will have
a ticket.” “Oh, nonsense, it is only throwing five napoleons away.”
However, she had her own way, as wives always have (especially Spanish
wives), and, by another piece of my continued good luck, her ticket won
the horse, and I had Lochinvar in my stable, while the 245 napoleons
readily found claimants. It was a piece of fortune I was very grateful
for. I loved the horse, and he carried me in that stiff county of Kent
afterwards, as he had ever done elsewhere.

From the day on which I presented my billet to my landlord in Cambray,
I was much struck with his manly bearing and open conduct. He was a
man of a large family, a Monsieur Watin, and his brother, also with a
family, resided with him. He showed me all his house and his stables
(he had built a kitchen and servants’ rooms for any one who should
be quartered on him). He said, “In this life, happiness is not to be
attained, but it must not be impeded. I am aware of the way French
officers behave in quarters. I hear you English are less _exigeant_.
This part of the house I reserve for myself and my brother, the rest
I give to you.” And I certainly had the best, for he only reserved
to himself one sitting-room. I said, “I have more than enough.” “No,
no,” he said, “when you give a soirée you shall have this too.” I
was three years in his house, and I never had a word with either him
or any member of his family. On the contrary, nothing could be more
amicable. In the course of the second year my father came and paid me
a visit for near three months. Never was man more happy and delighted.
He was fond of field sports and of flowers. The Bishop of Cambray had
a magnificent garden, and many an hour did my father spend there. When
he arrived, of course I begged him to tell us what he liked best at
table. “Oh, anything,” he says, “only take care your French cook does
not make the pastry with oil, which I know they do, but with butter.” I
had an excellent cook, and I told him to be careful about his pastry,
which was, of course, made with oil. Every day my father praised the
pastry. After some weeks I let him into the secret. “Ah,” says he,
“such through life is prejudice.” He was far from disliking French
wines. The day he left us—“Well it is very true that you and the poor
man of the house live very friendly, but you have the whole nearly. I
shall go home now and pay my taxes with delight. Even were they double,
readily would I pay rather than have such a fellow as you and your
establishment quartered on me!” Poor dear father! I had been your pet
son. Everything I practised that was manly, you taught me, and to my
equestrian powers and activity, which first brought me into notice, did
I owe my rapid rise in the service.

[Illustration: JOHN SMITH.

(Sir Harry Smith’s father.)

_From a picture painted by J. P. Hunter, Somersham, Hunts, May, 1837._

      [_Opposite p. 314._]

The day having at length arrived when we were to leave Cambray,
[27 Oct.?] Sir Andrew Barnard and I were asked to at least twenty
breakfasts. My first was with the family on whom we were billeted, and
if they had been our nearest relations no greater feeling could have
been evinced. Monsieur Watin was a great carpenter. To him I gave a
capital chest of tools, to his brother, who was a sportsman (in his
way), I gave one of Manton’s double-barrelled guns, and my wife made
many presents to the female part of the family. Then came my nineteen
breakfasts with Barnard. We positively sat down a few minutes with all
our hosts and ate something; both of us laughing and saying, “We have
been together in situations when the sight of such breakfasts would
have been far from objectionable, but ‘enough is as good as a feast.’”
I never was so tired of the sight of food. I felt as though I never
could feel the sensation of hunger again. All this attention, however,
was very gratifying, and upon parting with our worthy family, as our
carriage drove through the streets, there was nothing but waving of
handkerchiefs and adieus. The garrison had marched two days before. The
most complimentary letter I ever read was addressed to the Commandant
Barnard by the Mayor, a Monsieur Bethune, a Bonapartist too, to the
purport that, although every Frenchman must rejoice at the cessation
of the foreign occupation of his country, as individuals he and all
the city would and must ever remember the English with gratitude for
their generosity and liberality, and for the impartial justice ever
shown by Barnard during his three years’ Commandantship. In a French
fortress the Commandant has far more authority than the Prime Minister
in England. Thus we parted from Cambray, where we had had three years’
gaiety amidst the wealth and aristocracy of England, in the country of
an enemy that had contended and struggled to subdue our own in a most
sanguinary war by sea and land, lasting with but little intermission
from 1798 to 1815. The garrison of Cambray was composed of a Brigade
of Guards,—the 1st Battalion Grenadiers under Colonel the Hon. William
Stewart, and the Coldstreams under Colonel Woodford. I never before or
since served with such correct soldiers, and they had the very best
non-commissioned officers. There were peculiarities in the mode in
which the officers performed their duties, but, according to their own
rules, it was a lesson of rectitude, zeal, honour, and manliness. I
quite agree with Johnny Kincaid that the officers in our Army who come
from our aristocracy are ever most zealous as officers, and certainly
most agreeable as companions, and I have now served with most corps of
the Army, Hussars, Guards, Infantry, etc.



On reaching Calais I could not avoid calling to memory the British
possession of that celebrated fortress, for so many years the bone of
contention and strife. All was bustle and embarcation. We embarked in
a small vessel [31 Oct.?], and the wind obliged us to go to Ramsgate.
The London Custom House had provided for baggage to be examined at
Ramsgate as well as at Dover, and nothing could be more liberal and
gentlemanlike than the Custom House officers (of course acting under
instructions). My wife had an immense box of French dresses which,
being all extended on account of the large flounces then worn, required
great room. While I was passing my baggage, one of the officers said,
“And that large box—what does it contain?” I said, “My wife’s dresses.”
“I have not the least doubt of it, sir, as you say so, sir; but I
declare I never saw such a box of ladies’ dresses in my life before.”
Then came her guitar. “What is this?” “Oh, hand it along, it’s naught
but a fiddle.”

The celebrated Cavalry officer, Sir John Elley, a very tall, bony,
and manly figure of a man, with grim-visaged war depicted in his
countenance, with whiskers, moustaches, etc. like a French Pioneer,
came over to Dover during the time of our occupation of France. He
was walking on the path, with his celebrated sword belted under his
_surtout_. As the hooking up of the sword gave the coat-flap the
appearance of having something large concealed under it, a lower order
of Custom officer ran after him, rudely calling, “I say, you officer,
you! stop, stop, I say! What’s that under your coat?” Sir John turned
round, and drawing his weapon of defence in many a bloody fight, to the
astonishment of the John Bulls, roared out through his moustache in a
voice of thunder, “That which I will run through your d——d guts, if you
are impertinent to me!”

My Regiment was at Shorncliffe, and thither I and my wife proceeded,
parting with many friends of the Guards, some of whom she has never
seen since. I was given an entirely new Company, that is, one composed
of recruits. I interceded with Colonel Norcott, however, to give me a
few of my dear old comrades into each squad, and with their help and
example I soon inspired the rest with the feelings of soldiers. There
was a pack of hounds too in the neighbourhood, and though it is a
stiff, bad country, fox-hunting is fox-hunting in any shape, and I had
two noble hunters, Lochinvar and a celebrated mare, besides the “Brass
Mare” for my wife. My whole income at the moment was my pay, 12_s._
6_d._ a day. One day, after a capital run with the hounds, Mr. Deedes
asked me to dine with him, and I had a post-chaise to go in to dinner,
which cost me 17_s._ Thus—

    “How happy’s the soldier who lives on his pay,
    And spends half-a-crown out of sixpence a day!”

My Battalion was ordered to Gosport, and soon after at Shorncliffe,
which had been the depôt of the Regiment during the whole war, not
a Rifleman was left. I marched [about Dec. 24-28] in command of the
Headquarters Division, all our old soldiers. Neither they nor I could
help remarking the country as a difficult one to make war in. You would
hear the men, “I say, Bill, look at that wood on the hill there and
those hedgerows before it. I think we could keep that ourselves against
half Soult’s Army. Ah, I had rather keep it than attack it! But, Lord,
the war’s all over now.”

When I first joined at Shorncliffe we heard of nothing but “the French
are coming over.” We have been in among _them_, I take it, since. They
never could have got to London through such a stiff country. We would
have destroyed the roads and cut down the trees to make those d——d
things they used to do—_abattis_[79]; besides, where would be the use
of all their capering cavalry, etc.?

During this march, when the men were billeted in the inns and scattered
over the country, I could not divest myself of the feeling of
insecurity I had acquired after so many years’ precautionary habits;
and although I repeated to myself a hundred times daily, “You are
in England,” the thought would arise, “You are in the power of your
enemy.” Before dismissing the men, I always told them the hour I should
march in the morning, and men who were billeted either ahead or on the
sides of the road were to join their Companies as I arrived. During
the whole march I never had a man absent or irregular. Such a band of
practised and educated soldiers may never again traverse England.

My wife posted from Shorncliffe into Sussex—to Beauport, Sir John
Lambert’s temporary seat, where the kind family insisted on her staying
until I came to fetch her to Gosport, which I did soon after. On
arrival at Gosport we were led to believe we should be a year or two
there, and we began to (what is called) make ourselves comfortable.

We had a great number of guards and sentries literally over nothing.
One night, however, on visiting the different guards and counting
them, I found every man present. I asked, “What! no man on sentry?”
“Oh no, sir; the 86th, whom we relieved, say they always bring in all
sentries at night.” “Why, this is a new way—new to us.” “Certainly,”
the sergeants said.

The following day I and two or three officers went to inspect every
sentry’s post. We found some with orders “to see that no one took that
gun away” (a 32-pounder dismounted), one “to see as them goats did not
leave the rampart.” He was one of our soldiers, and I said, “Confound
you, did you take such an order from a storekeeper?” He said, “Why, I
hardly look on it as a _horder_, only civil-like of me; and you know,
sir, goats were worth looking after at Dough Boy Hill” (near Almaraz,
so called from our having nothing to eat for three weeks but dough and
goats’ flesh, and very little of either).[80] I represented all this to
Lord Howard of Effingham, who very readily entertained the report, and
sentries were all taken off, where not required. Colonel Norcott soon
after joined.

While we were here 300 of our oldest and best soldiers were discharged.
Every one came to say farewell to my wife; and there was a touching
parting between officers and soldiers, now about to be dispersed
through Great Britain, after so many years’ association under such
eventful circumstances. There was not one who could not relate some act
of mutual kindness and reciprocity of feeling in connexion with the
many memorable events in which they had taken part. I and many of the
officers marched several miles on the road with these noble fellows.
In the Barrack Square they had prayed me to give them the word of
command to march off. “Sure,” says an Irishman, “it’s the last after
the thousand your honour has given us.” I did so; but when the moment
arrived to part every man’s tears were chasing each other down his
bronzed and veteran cheeks. They grasped their officers’ hands,—“God
bless your honour!” then such a shout and cheer. Such feelings in times
of peace are not, cannot be acquired. My faithful old West was of
the party; but he parted from me and his mistress in our house. Poor
faithful, noble fellow, as gallant as a lion, he had been with me from
Vimiera and Coruña until 1819.

The 18th June, the first anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo which
we had spent in England, was such a day throughout the Regiment,
with dinners for the soldiers, non-commissioned officers, wives and
children. Among the officers there was such a jubilee of mirth, mingled
with grief for our lost comrades, as must be conceived, for never was
there a Regiment in which harmony and unanimity were more perfect.

In the autumn the manufacturing districts, Glasgow, Manchester,
Birmingham, etc., became much disturbed, and our soldiers, who
invariably know everything first, insisted on it we should go to
Glasgow. My Company was out at target practice with others, when we
heard the assembly sound. “Hurrah for Glasgow!” said the men. We
all marched home, and found we were to embark on board a man-of-war
immediately. By four o’clock that afternoon [18 Sept.] we were all
on board the _Liffey_. Sir James Kempt had succeeded Lord Howard of
Effingham in the command at Portsmouth, and proud he was to see one of
his old Battalions in peace the same ready soldiers they were in war.
My wife remained behind to go in the _Spartan_ frigate, which had been
recently fitted up for the Duchess of Kent. The Captain put her up
superbly, and she reached Leith Roads in time to join my Company on the



Glasgow at this season of the year, October, is a most melancholy,
dirty, smoky city, particularly the end in which the barracks are
placed; and such was the state of the city, my wife had to live in
barracks and we were again shut up in one room, as during the war.
When matters approached the worst, I sent my wife to Edinburgh, where
she received every kindness and hospitality. There was living there
then Mrs. Beckwith, who had campaigned with her husband in Prince
Ferdinand of Brunswick’s time. She was then ninety-four, and lived
afterwards to upwards of a hundred, the mother of Sir George Beckwith,
my dear Sir Sydney, and several other sons. She was in full possession
of her intellect, and was delighted to talk of war with my wife.
The latter said one day, “I am afraid I do not speak English well
enough to explain myself.” “Not speak well enough! Why?” “Because I
am a Spaniard, and have only recently learned to speak English.” “A
Spaniard? Stand up, and let me look at your feet and ankles, for I have
always heard your countrywomen celebrated for their neatness.” My wife
was still in heart a Spaniard, and as particular as ever in shoes and
stockings, and the poor old lady was delighted. After talking for a
certain time, she used to say, “Now go; I am tired.”

Our duty in Glasgow was very laborious and irksome. We had neither
enemy nor friends: a sort of _Bellum in Pace_, which we old campaigners
did not understand. But, although constantly insulted by the mob in the
streets, either individually or in a body, our deportment was so mild
that we soon gained rather the respect than otherwise of the misguided
and half-starved weavers. They had many old soldiers amongst them, and
had organized themselves into sixteen Battalions. Many of these old
soldiers I knew; one was a Rifleman—an old comrade who had lost his arm
at New Orleans—and from him I ascertained their perfect organization.
They had a General, or Central, Committee of Delegates (“a House of
Lords”), and each district had a committee, who sent a delegate to the
Central Committee. The regiments were formed by streets, so that in
case of a turn-out they could parade—“Ah, just as we did in the towns
of Spain and France,”[82] my comrade said.

One day my Company was sent out with twenty of the 7th Hussars, just
before daylight, to arrest a party of delegates. We had magistrates,
etc. with us, and succeeded in arresting every man. I saw a violent
storm of mob assembling. I put the prisoners in the centre of my
Company, under the command of my subaltern, Henry Havelock,[83] now a
hero of Burma, Afghanistan, and Maharajpore celebrity, a clever, sharp
fellow, and said, “Move you on collected to the barracks, and I will
cover you with the Hussars.” On my word, they were violent, and the
Hussars, with the flat of their swords, as I particularly directed, did
make the heads of some ache, while brickbats, stones, etc. were flying
among us half as bad as grapeshot. The magistrates were horridly timid
and frightened lest I should order the troops to fire. I said, “You
command,” which in those days they did, nor could the officer fire,
according to law, without their order.

The Commander-in-Chief in Scotland, Major-General Sir T. Bradford, was
then in Glasgow, and also Sir W. Rae, the Lord-Advocate. Officers who
had been on duty were to report direct to the Commander-in-Chief. This
I did, and hardly was my report received, when I was sent for to the
Inn where these authorities were. Sir Thomas, ever a kind friend to me,
met me at the door of the room where they were, and said, “Smith, the
Lord-Advocate is most annoyed that you permitted His Majesty’s troops
to be insulted this morning with impunity, and desires to speak with
you.” Sir W. Rae, although afterwards I found him a capital fellow, was
dictatorial in his manner, and violent and pompous in his address. He
sat when I advanced towards him. I saw by his eye what was coming, and
my blood was as hot as his; and the thought rushed into my mind, “What!
to be rowed by this man, who have ever been approved of by _the Duke_!”

“Pray, sir, are you the officer who allowed His Majesty’s troops
to be insulted in such a manner, with arms in their hands? _I am
surprised, sir._ Why did you thus tamely act?” So I replied, quite
as dictatorially as my lord, “Because, my lord, I was acting under
the officers of the law, the magistrates, of whom you are the
Commander-in-Chief. They would not act, and I did not desire to bring
upon my head either the blood of my foolish and misguided countrymen,
or the odium of the Manchester magistrates.” (An affair of Yeomanry[84]
had lately occurred.) “I brought off every prisoner; but, my lord,
since that is your feeling, give me a written order to march through
Glasgow with the same party of soldiers and my prisoners. A mob will
soon attempt the rescue, and d—— me, my lord, but I will shoot all
Glasgow to please you.” I saw Sir Thomas Bradford biting his lips, and
looking at me as much as to say, “Gently, Smith.” I turned on my heel,
and said, “Good morning, my lord.”

From that day the Lord-Advocate took a great fancy to me, and gave me
some of the most laborious night-marches I ever made, especially one to
Galston New Mills and Kilmarnock. It was so dark (and an _ignis fatuus_
dancing before us to make it worse), I had a 6-pounder upset over a
bridge. Throughout my previous services I never had more arduous duties
than on this occasion.

A Battalion of Volunteer Riflemen were organized here,[85] all
young gentlemen, under the superintendence of my old Regiment, now
called the Rifle Brigade.[86] This corps more nearly deserved the
comprehensive appellation “soldiers” than any corps ever did, except
those of the line. Their Colonel, Sam Hunter, walked twenty-two
stone, an enormous man, with a capacity of mind fully proportioned
to his corporeal stature. Many are the arduous duties I exacted of
these Volunteers, and they were executed with cheerfulness and prompt

Sir Hussey Vivian came down to command, bringing with him as his
Major-of-Brigade, my friend, (now Sir) De Lacy Evans. Evans did not
wish to serve, but to study in London to prepare himself to be a
senator, and he kindly went to the Horse Guards and said, “If my
appointment is filled up by Harry Smith of the Rifles, I will resign.”
This arrangement was readily assented to, and I was again on the Staff,
where I remained until 1825.

I had occasionally the most disagreeable duty, and always a difficulty
to resist the importunity of the kindest hospitality that ever I and
my wife received in this world. Immediately after I was appointed
Major-of-Brigade, Major-General (now Sir T.) Reynell was appointed to
command the district of Glasgow and the West of Scotland in place of
Sir Hussey Vivian. In a year, as affairs in Glasgow assumed a more
tranquil appearance, Queen Caroline’s trial being finished and Her
Majesty’s death having occurred, Major-General Reynell was removed from
the Staff of Glasgow, and went out in the _Glasgow_ frigate to the East
Indies to a command in Bengal, but I, the Major-of-Brigade, was kept
on. My orders were to report direct to the Commander-in-Chief, Sir
T. Bradford, in Edinburgh, and to receive no orders from any one but
himself; and I could give any orders in his name which the exigencies
of the moment required. Of course I was very cautious, fully aware
of the delicacy of my position as regarded my senior officers, some
of whom were very jealous of the authority vested in me, although
personally I had never had a controversial word with them.

A great part of my duty in the summer was to inspect the various Corps
of Yeomanry throughout the Western District, a most delightful duty.
I was treated _en prince_ by the Duke of Montrose, Lord Glasgow, Lord
Douglas, Lord-Lieutenants of counties, Lord Blantyre, etc. The officers
of the Corps of Yeomanry, too, all belonged to the aristocracy of the
country, and their houses were open as their hospitable hearts.

In 1820 I had with me Sir John Hope’s and Lord Elcho’s Troops of the
Edinburgh Light Horse, consisting entirely of gentlemen of the highest
class in Scotland, and we were employed upon some very arduous duty
together. I have seen these gentlemen after a long, heavy, and wet
night’s march, every one dressing his own horse, feeding him, etc.,
like a German Hussar, ere they thought of anything for themselves. One
of the Troop, Corporal Menzies, is now a Judge at the Cape, my most
intimate friend, and many is the laugh we have had at his military

When we see the gentlemen of the country thus devoted to it, we need
have little fear of its continued prosperity. In my opinion there is no
system which can be adopted of such importance to our country as the
yearly calling-out of the Yeomanry for a few days’ exercise. It brings
the educated aristocracy in contact with the less favoured in life, the
cultivators of the soil,—landlords with tenants. It shows the latter in
their true character—honest, manly, and liberal fellows, and teaches
them to look up to their superiors, while it also shows the former what
a noble set of men their tenants are, obedient, but as proud as an
English yeoman ought to be, and that, thus engaged in the defence of
our country and in the maintenance of our rights as British subjects,
they are to be treated with the respect due to every individual of the
social compact.

When His Majesty George IV. paid a visit to Edinburgh [15-27 Aug.
1822], I was ordered thither, and sent to Dalkeith (where His Majesty
was to reside in the palace of the Duke of Buccleugh) to superintend
the guards and escorts, etc., for his Majesty’s state (his _protection_
was in the safe custody of the hearts of his loyal people); and when
Sir Walter Scott and the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Thomas Bradford, had
planned all the various processions, the organization and conduct of
them was given to me, and His Majesty was kind enough to say they were
conducted to his royal satisfaction. He never once was delayed in the
streets by a check, thanks to the lesson I learnt in the Light Division
how to regulate the march of a column.

Early every day I went, as I was ordered, to the palace to receive
orders through the Gold Stick. The morning His Majesty was to leave
Dalkeith, he sent for me to express his approbation of all I had done,
and as I left the apartment Sir William Knighton followed me, and
asked me, by the king’s command, if there was anything I desired. I
was so young a Lieutenant-Colonel, only of eight years’ standing, with
hundreds senior to me, that I neither desired to ask such an exorbitant
thing as to be Aide-de-Camp to His Majesty, nor felt any inclination,
on account of such pacific services, to be exalted above so many of my
more meritorious comrades. Knighthood I would not accept, so I very
quietly said, “I will ask a great favour of His Majesty—to give Sir
Thomas Bradford’s Aide-de-Camp the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.” Sir
William said, “If the Commander-in-Chief will write me a note, it shall
be done,” and thus as good a fellow as ever lived got his rank. There
is much honour attached to the charge of royalty, and as many of my
old comrades were about the king, Barnard, Vivian, etc., I spent a most
agreeable time, but the expense for myself and my wife was enormous. It
cost me upwards of a year’s income in new uniforms, court dresses, etc.
His Majesty particularly admired my wife’s riding.

Never was the old adage of “like master, like man” more exemplified
than in the royal household. In the organization of the processions,
etc. I was frequently engaged with the servants, coachmen, footmen,
etc. I never saw such obedient, willing, and respectful fellows in my
life; and I never had to express more than a wish, to have any order
implicitly, readily, and agreeably obeyed. Accustomed to the obedience
of soldiers, I was particularly struck with equally obedient deportment
on the part of those whom imagination had led me to believe to be a set
of troublesome fellows. George IV. was a gentleman, and from His Noble
Majesty was derived a “_ton_” which spread throughout his court and his
household, an example and honour to the great nation he ruled.

In 1824 my gallant friend, Macdougall, requested me to accompany him to
Paris to arrange a little matter of delicacy with a gentleman who had
ill-used a lady, a great friend of Mac’s family. We soon arranged that
matter, the gentleman being one in fact, as well as in name, and acting
as well as any could under the circumstances. Ten years had now elapsed
since my first acquaintance with the south of France, and six since I
had quitted Cambray. We landed at Boulogne, and had a long journey to
Paris by _diligence_, that renowned and cumbrous and slow machine now
replaced by the flying steam-coaches. Our _diligence_ adventures were
numerous but not unusual. But my new visit to France, and entry into
Paris, forcibly brought to mind the immense Armies assembled around us
in 1815,—the streets filled with uniforms of every civilized nation,
the public resorts ornamented with the spoil of every nation in Europe
except Great Britain!

Paris was now a quiet city, much like any other, and the only thing
which attracted my attention was the number of drunken soldiers in the
streets. In London such a thing is of rare occurrence indeed. But it
appeared to me that the French Army had acquired some of those habits
of the English which we would willingly resign to them in perpetuity. I
visited my old quarters at Neuilly. My good old landlady was no more.
Imagination aroused a variety of feelings closely cemented with the
past, while the present showed Paris aiming at English habits, just as
London was rapidly acquiring French manners. In the streets of Paris
we saw young dandies driving tilburys in the last style, with grooms
in brown top-boots. To speak English was becoming fashionable, whereas
formerly any Frenchman attempting to speak English was regarded as a
Bourbonist, or an enemy to the blood-acquired liberties of his country.
We left France now certainly flourishing, and speedily returned to
our own land of fair and handsome faces, well-fed inhabitants, richly
cultivated and enclosed fields. And oh, my countrymen, had you seen as
many countries as I now have, and been banished so many years from your
own, then would you bless that land of happiness and liberty which gave
you birth, that land which was exempt from the horror of war through
the ability of your statesmen, the blood of your sailors and soldiers,
and the patriotism of the people!

During my residence in Glasgow, I twice went over to the Isle of Man,
in expectation of succeeding to the Government of the House of Keys.
The Governor was very ill, and desirous to retire. He got well, and
forgot his former inclinations.

In 1825, such was the tranquillity in this immense manufacturing
district, I was put off the Staff, and received from the Lord-Provost,
Town Councillors, and Municipality every demonstration of their
gratitude for the efficient aid I had afforded them to maintain
tranquillity and subdue riots, mobs, and popular ebullitions.[87] My
answer was, that the only merit I claimed was that in the service
of my country and in the execution of this duty on very trying and
most irritating occasions for five years, not a drop of my deluded
countrymen’s blood had been shed, though it was often indeed difficult
in the extreme to avoid it.

The parting of myself and wife from our numerous and most hospitable
and kind friends in Glasgow, and the whole of the West of Scotland, is
not to be described. My principal quarters I may say were Elderslie
House,[88] where the most amiable and numerous family were ever to us
a source of happiness, Harhead, Lord Glasgow’s, and Cumbernauld House,
Admiral Fleming’s, whose wife was a county-woman of mine; but to name
these houses in particular is hardly fair, for throughout the country
we received equal hospitality. Certainly the happiest five years of my
life were spent in Scotland, amidst the society of such people. Books
were to be had of every description, intellectual conversation was ever
enjoyed, and amidst the learned professors of the colleges I have spent
some of the most agreeable evenings.

I was to join my Corps in Belfast, and as we went down the Clyde in the
steamer, the inmates of every seat on its banks were assembled to wave
us, alas! a _last_ farewell, for many of those dear and valued friends
are now in the silent grave. Glasgow, with all your smoke, your riots,
mobs, and disaffections, I look back to you with perfect happiness,
and I love the Scotch nation with a similar degree of patriotism to
that with which I have fought for my native land, the words of my dear
mother ever ringing in my ears, “Remember, if ever you fight for your
country, you were born an Englishman.”

Belfast, although then a flourishing city, showed a great contrast
to Glasgow in regard to the appearance of its population, although
the gentlemen were as hospitable as possible, and most enthusiastic
sportsmen, and, as I could ride a bit, I was soon at home among them.
I was soon, however, ordered to Downpatrick, where my Company and two
others were quartered. I was received by my dear old Regiment with
every demonstration of affection, and spent a few months most happily
at this little town of Downpatrick, among very amiable and kind
people. The peasantry there were my delight, such light-hearted, kind
creatures I never saw, and as liberal as primitive Christians. Not a
day I had not sent me presents of eggs and butter, etc. It was painful
occasionally to accept them, but as I saw that refusal created pain, I
had no alternative. There were many of our old Light Division soldiers
discharged and living in this neighbourhood, and every market day
(Saturday) a re-enacting of old times was imposed on my patience. One,
a noble soldier of the 43rd, celebrated every anniversary of a battle
by getting gloriously drunk. On one occasion he was drunk without this
exciting cause. I said, “Come, come, Murphy, this is too bad; to-day is
no anniversary.” “Maybe not, your honour, but, by Jasus, there are so
many it is hard to remember them all, and the life’s blood of me would
dry up, if I missed the ‘cilibration’ of one of ’em—so it’s safest to
get drunk when you can.”



Shortly after this, my Corps was ordered to embark at Belfast [30
July] for Nova Scotia on board three transports, the _Arab_, the
[_Speke_[89]], and the _Joseph Green_. I had the command of two
Companies and a half in the last ship. When we arrived on board, with
the quantity of baggage, etc., the ship was in a wild-looking state.
The Captain and the agent came to me and said, “We are ordered to go
to sea to-morrow, but this is impossible from the state of the ship;
it is of no consequence, if you would give us a certificate to this
effect; the day after to-morrow will do quite as well.” “The devil it
will,” says I, “when you are ordered. Have you everything belonging
to the ship’s stores on board?” “Everything.” Johnny Kincaid was my
subaltern, so I said, “Johnny, at daybreak in the morning turn out all
hands, and prepare a certificate for my signature at eight o’clock if
required.” Eight o’clock arrived, and no man-of-war’s decks were ever
more ready for action—our baggage all stored below, our soldiers’ arms
and everything else arranged, and I told the Captain, “Now, you see,
I need sign no certificate. We Riflemen obey orders and do not start
difficulties.” We were under way in no time. This Captain Lumsden
was an excellent fellow; some years after he took Sir James Stirling
out as Governor to Swan River and touched at the Cape, when I had an
opportunity of returning some of his many acts of kindness.

Our voyage was much like other voyages across the Atlantic, but an
odd circumstance occurred. Although each ship sailed from Belfast
separately and at an interval of two days, mine the last, we were all
three sailing into Halifax Harbour the same day [1 Sept.?], in the very
order in which we left Belfast, and anchored within a few hours of each
other. Our dear old friend, Sir James Kempt, the Governor there, was
delighted with this odd re-union, and laughed and said, “I see my old
comrades, whether separated by sea or land, get together in the old
way, however distantly extended.” In Halifax we were soon found by our
other dear old friends, the 52nd Regiment. They had more old soldiers
in their ranks than we had, having embarked for America two or three
years before us; and oh, the greeting with us all, and the happiness of
the old soldiers at meeting my wife again! They were inquiring after
her horse Tiny, her dog, etc., and expecting all were alive as when we
had parted at Bordeaux in 1814.

If ever happiness existed in this world, we may claim it for Halifax
when the Government was administered by Sir James Kempt. Society, by
the force of his example, was the most agreeable thing imaginable.
Government House was princely in its style; we had private theatricals,
races, sham-fights, regattas, and among all our varied amusements (to
which were added in the winter four-in-hand and tandem driving-clubs,
and picnics at the Half-way House), harmony the most perfect prevailed
between civilians and officers, soldiers and sailors. (Our noble
fellows of the Navy were commanded by Admiral Lake.)

We had a great re-union of Governors there one year; Lord Dalhousie,
Governor-General of North America, Sir James Kempt, Governor of Nova
Scotia, General Sir John Keane, Governor of Jamaica, Sir Howard
Douglas, Governor of New Brunswick, and Colonel Reid, Governor of
Prince Edward’s Island—a regular court of magnates—and never were
people more happy than all. For some time I had the command of the
Regiment, Colonel Norcott that of the Garrison. I afterwards accepted
an unattached half-pay majority, expecting to be brought in again,
and I was appointed A.D.C. to my dear and valued friend, Sir James
Kempt. I thus learned much of the administration of a Government, which
was afterwards of the greatest possible use to me when administering
a Government myself. I had often witnessed Sir J. Kempt’s ability as
a soldier; but I cannot avoid saying he perfectly astonished me and
all who knew him as a statesman and a ruler. Evincing such temper,
such a clearness of judgment, such discretion and most uncompromising
justice, he soon carried with him the Colony. The House of Assembly,
and even the Whig opposition, admired his talent and never opposed
any of his great acts, while, by his amiable manners and kind, though
unostentatious, hospitality, society was cemented, and indeed, what the
word implies, _social_.

The day I was gazetted out, my old Company came in a body to ask me to
allow them to give me a dinner, “that is, we don’t expect your honour
to sit down with us, but we will have a dinner, and you will drink with
us a parting glass.” I readily consented, and sat down with them, too,
for a few minutes. Old Johnny Kincaid, who succeeded me as Captain, and
my subalterns, were present, and the parting glass was drunk with that
mutual feeling of strong affection which exists between officers and
soldiers. I was a most rigid disciplinarian, but good conduct was as
much distinguished by me as bad was visited, and I carried all with me.

I was not long permitted to enjoy this comparative repose, but was
appointed [23 Nov.] Deputy Quartermaster-General in Jamaica. I
speedily prepared to join, taking a passage on board a little brig
for ourselves and our horses. I had a farewell dinner given me by the
Governor and by the Admiral, and many of the kind inhabitants, and by
every Regimental Mess, while the Regimental Order issued by Colonel
Norcott speaks for itself.[90]

I had served twenty-five [twenty-one?] years in this Corps during the
most eventful periods. It had never been on service but I was fighting
with some portion of it. No officer had ever posted it so often on
outlying picquet, and I had fought where it had not been; thus were
severed no ordinary or transient ties.

The day we were to leave we can never forget. Sir James Kempt sent for
me to his private room. I saw his warm heart was full. He said, “Harry,
I am going to exact a promise of you. The climate you are going to is
one where life and death so rapidly change places, it would be folly to
rush into unnecessary danger, by exposing yourself to the effects of
the sun or leading that life of violent exercise you have ever done.
My desire, therefore, is your promise never to go out snipe-shooting
or to ride any more races, in a tropical climate at least.” Of course
I promised. He then said, holding a letter in his hand, “Here are some
notes for your guidance in Jamaica, and as you have paid three times
more for your passage [than the allowance?], there is a note enclosed
which makes up the difference.” The tears rolled down his gallant
cheeks, and I left the room in the deepest affliction.

On descending to the ball-room I found every gentleman of Halifax and
every officer of the garrison awaiting to accompany us on board. Sir
James, taking my wife under his arm, led the procession.

As I was with Sir James, three non-commissioned officers, one Rifles,
one 52nd, and one 74th, came up and begged to speak to me. They said,
“Your Honour, the whole garrison are turned out and in column in
the street. There’s the head of it to carry your Honour on board.”
By Jupiter, there they were, sure enough, in a column of sixes,
one file Rifles, one 52nd, one 74th. They had a chair in which they
seated me, and carried me after the procession of officers on board.
These compliments _at the time_ are impressive, but when we look back
remind us of the pain of parting, and that many who were then most
loud in their shouts of parting acclamation are long ago mingled with
the mortal dust we shall all add to. The little brig was weighed
immediately. All officers who had sailing boats accompanied us to the
mouth of the harbour, and thus we parted from faithful friends, veteran
comrades, and three of the most renowned Regiments of the Duke’s old
Army, and in a few hours found ourselves alone on the wide Atlantic,
with a crew of one captain and seven sailors, and one quadrant the
only nautical instrument on board. But as we were all in all to each
other, so were we still in possession of the world. This quadrant the
captain would leave about the deck in a careless manner when taking
his observations. I almost worshipped it, and therefore watched over
it accordingly. We had a very favourable passage, and dined every
day on deck but one (for our cabin was not that of the _Royal Oak_),
and ourselves and horses reached Jamaica in twenty-eight days all
right. Soon after we landed, the crew, all but one man, an old German
carpenter, died of yellow fever, and in the harbour commenced one of
those awful visitations to the island which sweep off hundreds.

We landed at Kingston, where Sir J. Keane’s house was prepared for us.
The Governor was at Spanish Town, but came in with his generous warmth
of heart next day to entertain us. Our worthy friend, Admiral Fleming,
of Cumbernauld House,[91] was in naval command. Mrs. Fleming was with
him, so that, although in a new world, we were among faithful old

As Quartermaster-General, my first attention was directed to the
barrack accommodation, furniture, utensils, etc. The barracks at
Upper Park was a Royal Establishment in every respect; the buildings
were most beautifully provided, capacious, and built on arches with a
current of air passing beneath; they had a bath-room, etc. The barracks
in every other quarter of the island were Colonial Establishments,
the buildings at many execrable, and the barrack furniture, bedding,
etc., horrible. The soldier’s bed was a blanket, though the very touch
of a blanket in a tropical climate is disagreeable; and this, laid on
the floor, was his all: a wooden floor certainly, but full of bugs,
fleas, etc., to an incredible extent. So soon as I laid my report
before Sir John Keane, he was most desirous to effect an improvement.
We turned to and framed a statement to the Horse Guards (the Duke was
then Commander-in-Chief), and in a few months every soldier had a bed,
sheets, iron bedstead, etc., and every other requisite.

Still the troops did not escape the yellow fever, of which the
seeds, as usual in its visitations, had first germinated among the
shipping (where the mortality was fearful). The disease spread to our
troops—first to the Artillery at Port Royal, then to the 84th at Fort
Augustus, next to the 22nd Regiment at Stony Hill (in both cases to an
appalling extent), then partially to the 33rd Regiment at Upper Park
Camp, the Royal Barracks. In about six weeks we buried 22 officers
and 668 soldiers, out of the 22nd and 84th Regiments principally.
Sir John (now Lord) Keane was up the country, and I had a _carte
blanche_ to do what I thought best. I therefore, in conjunction with
the Acting Inspector-General of Hospitals, resolved to move the 84th
from Fort Augustus to a bivouac at Stony Hill. Tents were sent up
and huts were in progress. So soon as they were ready I marched the
corps, and from that day the yellow fever ceased; there was only one
admission afterwards. The day previously to the march of the poor
84th, I went down to Fort Augustus and paraded the Regiment. Only two
subalterns were fit for duty, and although only sixty men were in
hospital, seventeen died that day. The admissions into hospital were
not so great in proportion as the mortality, one in four being the
average of deaths. The Regiment was in a perfect state of despondency
(it consisted like the 22nd Regiment, of young fresh soldiers recently
arrived from England); but I cheered them up. I wheeled them into line
a time or two, formed close column, and told them, whether a soldier
died by yellow fever or on the battle-field, it was all in the service
of his country; that I should move them to a healthy spot the next day
where they would leave the yellow fever behind, and now three cheers
for his Majesty! The poor fellows were all alive again in no time. When
we consider that every officer but two was sick, that already upwards
of two hundred out of six hundred of their comrades had been buried,
when death in this passive shape lay hold of them, it is not to be
wondered at that a young (or any) Regiment should be appalled.

In Jamaica, while this yellow fever was raging, I have ridden
thirty-five miles in the sun and gone sixteen miles in an open boat in
one day, and been for a long time in the wards of different hospitals,
where sickness and death in every stage was progressing around me. It
is an awful sight to the afflicted patients in the large wards of a
hospital, reduced by sickness to the excess of debility, to see the
men on either side probably dead or dying, and there is no remedy
and very little power of at all alleviating such a calamity. Many
a man who would live if in a solitary room, dies from the power of
imagination on the debilitated frame. Then, again, when a man has lost
the fever, the surgeon is obliged to discharge him, because he requires
the accommodation for recent admissions. He goes to his Company, his
appetite has somewhat recovered, he eats heartily, a relapse ensues, he
goes to hospital and dies to a certainty. It is rarely indeed that a
case of relapse recovers. To obviate this, I established convalescent
hospitals. I had various difficulties to contend with, but the success
of the institution was an ample reward for labour, and established a
precedent since equally advantageously acted on.

Nothing can be more capricious than these epidemics in tropical
climates. On the very day twelvemonth that I paraded the 84th and
seventeen men died, Sir John Keane made his half-yearly inspection of
the corps at the same place, Fort Augustus. There was not a man in
hospital and only one man out of the ranks; he paraded in the rear of
his Company, being lame from a fractured leg.

The poor 22nd Regiment at Stony Hill suffered equally with the 84th;
the Colonel, the Major, the Paymaster, and five officers died in a few
days. The Adjutant’s room, next the Orderly room, possessed the mortal
seeds of the yellow fever. Every one who sat to write in the room was
knocked down and died in a few days; in consequence I prohibited the
use of it. Major Stewart, a most excellent officer, though not obedient
in this instance, treated the prohibition slightingly, wrote there
_two_ days, on the fifth he was buried.

In a short time this fearful epidemic disappeared, and the troops, five
regiments in all on the island, were healthy. Sir John Keane proposed
a tour of inspection throughout the island. He was to sail in his
yacht, landing every night. I, having a terrestrial turn, drove my wife
four-in-hand. The daughter of the Receiver-General, Miss Stevenson,
accompanied us, the beauty of the island.

A very curious appearance presents itself nearly all round Jamaica.
The coast is very bold, and ships to load sugar are navigated through
sunken rocks within a few yards of the very shore. At a distance the
ships look as if _on_ shore, but they ride in perfect safety, the
sunken rocks forming the protection of the harbour. To all these spots
a road is made from the adjacent sugar estates, called a _barcadero_,
from the Spanish _embarcaro_, “to embark.”

The hospitality of the superb mansions we stopped at, the fortunate
union with Sir John every night—for the sea-breeze blows so regularly
he could calculate his arrival as by land—made this one of the most
pleasant tours I ever made. Nothing can be more picturesque than the
whole island, and its fertility exceeds anything I have ever seen;
while its population (slaves) were more happy, better fed, less worked,
and better provided for in sickness than any peasants throughout the
many parts of the world in which I have been. Slavery there was merely
nominal; the young were educated to a necessary extent, the able-bodied
lightly worked, the sick comforted, the aged provided for. All had
little huts, some very comfortable, according to the turn and industry
of the occupants. All had a nice garden, and all were well fed.

After our tour we went to live in the Liguanea Mountains, in Admiral
Fleming’s Pen (as a country residence is there called); a most
delightful spot, the climate luxurious, though enervating if you
descend into the plains, which I did to my office regularly twice
a week. In these hills you have constant thunder-showers; hence the
gardens produce every European vegetable as good as in Covent Garden,
and the fruits are unequalled.

While in this happy retreat, I received a note one evening from my
worthy friend, Lord Fitzroy Somerset, to say _the Duke_, having been
pleased with my exertions in Jamaica, had appointed me [24 July] to
succeed my old friend John Bell (recently made Colonial Secretary) as
Deputy-Quartermaster-General at the Cape of Good Hope. I never received
any official communication of my appointment, and in forty-eight hours,
bag and baggage, I was on board the _Slany_ man-of-war, and under way
for Nassau to Admiral Fleming, in the hope of some ship being ordered
to proceed direct for the Cape, or to some intermediate port from
whence I could take a fresh departure for my destination.

I was very fortunate in disposing of my furniture, carriage, buggy,
horses, etc., particularly the latter, which I had brought from
Halifax. They sold for three times what I had paid for them. They have
an excellent breed of thoroughbred horses on the island, excessively
dear, but for carriages the American horses are preferred.

Without egotism, our departure from Jamaica was as gratifying to us
both as that from Halifax. Nothing could exceed the kindness of a vast
number of friends, and I had a letter from every officer commanding a


     ENGLAND (1829), NOT TO RETURN TILL 1847.

We sailed in that, to appearance, heavenly climate with a fresh
sea-breeze, and as the magnificent Blue Mountains of Jamaica receded,
the appearance of an island towering from the sea into the very heavens
became as it were a speck on the mighty ocean. On our way to Nassau
we passed New Providence—the first land discovered by Columbus, the
joyful realization of his anticipations and the fruit of his wonderful
perseverance. The transparency of the water in all the harbours of
these islands is very singular. At the depth of many fathoms you see
your anchor, cable, fish, etc., at the bottom as distinctly as if no
water intervened. A sixpence may be discovered at a depth of twenty

On arrival at Nassau we found Admiral Fleming away on a cruise. It
was supposed he had gone to Halifax. So, there being no chance
of a man-of-war, we had to await the arrival of a brig called the
_Euphemia_, which was daily expected, and which would sail again for
Liverpool so soon as her cargo was landed and a fresh one shipped.

General Sir Lewis Grant was the Governor, and for three weeks he and
his staff put Government House at our command in every way, and did all
in their power to render our visit delightful, and to provide my wife
with every little amusement the island afforded. The island of Nassau
is a coral formation, but many parts of it are exceedingly fertile. The
wells, which produce most excellent fresh water, rise and fall with the

On the arrival of the _Euphemia_ our passage was soon arranged, but I
could have only half the stern (and only) cabin partitioned off with
canvas during the night (the other half being already engaged for two
officers of the West Indian Regiments), and a small mate’s cabin for my
wife’s maid. The prospect before my poor wife was miserable enough, and
we were afraid that in a three weeks’ voyage we should not always have
a fair wind, but her buoyant spirits laughed at the ideal distress.

We soon left the hospitable Governor and the happy island of Nassau.
Luckily, I put on board ship goats and dry stock of every description,
although the captain (a well-spoken, smart-looking young Scotchman,
married to a Liverpool woman, on board with him) engaged to find us
capitally. Our misery soon began. The ship sailed like a witch,
but we were constantly in a terrific storm, with the little cabin
battened down, no means of cooking, and but little to cook if we
had the means, and we should have been literally starved but for
the things I fortunately shipped. We were upwards of thirty days at
sea. Our captain assured me he had a timekeeper on board, and so he
had, but he knew no more how to use it than I did. We had to lay to
for forty-eight hours, during which we shipped a sea which swept the
boats, caboose, binnacles, etc., clean off the deck. It was December,
and as we approached Liverpool the weather was excessively cold, the
sailors were frost-bitten in the hands, and the captain had not a
glass of grog on board for them. I was, luckily, able to broach for
them a small cask of peculiarly good rum of great antiquity, which
I was taking as a present to an old Glasgow friend. In the midst of
all these miseries, we fortunately fell in with a little Irish smack,
which put us into the Bristol Channel, for my skipper knew no more
where he was than the ship did, the weather having been very cloudy, no
observations taken, and he and his mate execrable navigators. We made
the Tuskar Light most accidentally, and then the previously cast-down
fellow was all elevation. We got hold soon after of a Liverpool pilot.
This was no small relief to me, who, although I said nothing, saw what
an ignorant brute we were in the care of. He had neither candles nor
oil, and the very binnacle light was supplied from my wax candles. He
said he was never before more than three weeks on the voyage, and his
store (a pretty misnomer) was laid in only for that period. For the
last two days the sailors had no biscuit, and three days more would
have exhausted meat, flour, and water. The fellow was a capital seaman
on deck, and managed the beautifully-sailing brig most skilfully, and
whenever he did get a start of wind, as he termed it, he carried on
like a man.

We reached our anchorage in the Mersey long after dark, so beautifully
lighted is the approach, and lay at anchor all night in a strong
north-east wind, cold enough to cut off our tropical noses. We left our
dirty, miserable, exhausted, and stinking brig, and landed as soon as
we could the next morning, about five o’clock, in a state of the most
abject filth and misery.

We went to the Adelphi Hotel, where in a moment we were surrounded by
every luxury and attendance our wealthy country so sumptuously affords.
The sudden transition from a state of dire misery into such Elysian
Fields is not to be described by me, or forgotten by myself and wife.
It was like a miracle. No complaint ever escaped her while on board,
but after baths and every imaginable want had been supplied in one of
the best of English inns, she then exclaimed, “I hope we may never
again experience such a month of wretchedness, misery, and tempest; and
if we must, that we may bear it equally well (for it was a heavy task),
be equally protected by Divine Providence, and as happily situated
after it as at this moment.”

The next day I made every inquiry about ships, and found a very fine
brig, the _Ontario_, bound for Calcutta without a passenger. She was
to sail in a fortnight. The captain offered to take me, provided the
underwriters would allow him to go into Table Bay without an additional
premium; and this they assented to, the season of the year being

My wife stayed at Liverpool, and I started for London, to make a few
arrangements for our voyage and to thank Lord Fitzroy Somerset and the
Duke. While I was with Lord Fitzroy Somerset, who was delighted to see
me, he said, “Hardinge, the Secretary at War, wants to see you.” I
offered to go, but he said, “No, he will come, he told me, if I would
let him know when you are here.” That able soldier and Secretary at War
and statesman (now Governor-General of India) was soon with us, and
made as useful and practical inquiries about barracks, etc., in Jamaica
as if he had been there. I then parted with these two of the Duke’s
staff with a full heart, and went to Downing Street.

The Duke was just appointed First Lord of the Treasury. I found my old
friend and brother staff-officer with Sir John Lambert, Greville[92]
(as good a fellow as ever breathed), the Duke’s private secretary.
Greville was delighted to see me, and expected his Grace every moment.
He said the Duke as Prime Minister was as light-hearted and as lively
as when comparatively idle at Cambray, that no great question seemed
to stagger him, and the facility with which all business progressed
under his conduct was truly wonderful. Greville added, “I will give
you an anecdote. The Duke is very fond of walking from Apsley House to
Downing Street, and we go through the Park, from which a small door
opens into the Prime Minister’s office. We arrive regularly at ten,
and the porter is ready to open and close the door. One day we were
rather late, and the porter looked like a weary sentry and was moving
very slow. The Duke observed this, and in his usual emphatic manner
said, ‘Greville, look at that careless fellow; I will turn his flank,
by G——.’ The Duke watched his opportunity, slipped in unperceived,
and says to the porter, ‘Hallo, you sir, a pretty _look-out_ this!’
and laughed, and enjoyed the feat, as much as he did when he played
the same flank-turning game in war.” This little anecdote depicts the
character of the man of mind, free, unshackled from thought until the
question is brought before him, and then his powerful mind is absorbed
in it, and in it solely.

I waited until three, when I was obliged to go, as I was to dine with
Sir John Lambert, and leave town for my father’s in Cambridgeshire by
seven o’clock. I was a few hours with my dear sister, Mrs. Sargant,
and then dined in my travelling costume. Dear, warm-hearted Sir John
Lambert had all his family to bid me farewell. O what a happy and
united family of brothers and sisters! and his own children were
perfectly beautiful.

At daylight the next day I was in my native place, Whittlesea. O home,
our happy home! how altered! I stayed in the house of my third Waterloo
brother, now settled as Captain of the Troop of Cavalry, magistrate,
etc.; but I could not remain more than forty-eight hours, when I was
again on my road back to London. Here I stayed a few hours with my
sister, and then off to Liverpool to join my lonely wife, a total
stranger and a foreigner in a great, commercial city!

My baggage, by the kind and civil attention of the Custom-house
officers, was transferred from one brig to the other without the usual
and laborious ordeal of landing. My new things arrived from London, and
in a few days we were summoned to embark. It was daybreak, and the brig
was floating in dock ready for the gates to be opened. We were soon on
board; I had taken a little shore-boat to row me the few yards across.
After paying my outfit, my bill at the inn, passage, insurance of
baggage, etc., the last remains of my money was half a crown. “There,”
says I, “my friend!” “Lord, sir, my fare is only threepence.” “Keep
it,” says I, “and drink the health of a man banished from his native
land.” The fellow stared at me at first as if looking at a convict. At
last, in that manner so peculiarly English, he made up his mind, “He
must be a gentleman.” “I’ll drink to your Honour’s health, depend on
it, and success attend you wherever you go.” My friend and his boat
were the farewell to my native land. It was then January, 1829; this is
1844, and I have never been home since.



The stormy element, as if to atone for the violence with which it
treated us on our voyage from Nassau, now behaved most moderately.
We had a strong breeze across the Bay of Biscay, but as it was abaft
the beam we did not feel it, and our whole passage was one of fine
and moderate weather. This was very fortunate, as the brig was so
heavily laden, that at the beginning of the voyage her main chains were
positively under water. We were well found in everything, and had the
whole after-cabin to ourselves. The captain was an able navigator, both
nautical and astronomical. He gave me a list of his stock on board,
and requested me to manage dinner, etc., saying, “There is, I think,
plenty, so that if we live badly you will be to blame; but the brig is
deep and no great sailer at any time, so calculate on a three months’
passage, to make sure.”

The captain was a most excellent and kind-hearted man, a regular
British tar. During the war he had been in the Navy, and prided himself
on having been the coxswain of Captain Seymour on a frigate whose name
I forget. “Lord, Sir,” he would say, “he was a proper taut hand, but a
real gentleman.”

During the whole voyage our captain, who had a studious turn for
mathematics and astronomy, was always hard at work, and highly
delighted to explain the methods of his nautical calculations. He would
exclaim, “Oh! if I had been so lucky as to have had a real education,
I think I should have made a mathematician and astronomer.” He was a
large powerful man, and had a forehead as clear and as prominent as
that of Dr. Chalmers.

Our voyage was more fortunate than the captain had anticipated, and
in eleven weeks we anchored in Table Bay. I had never been at the
Cape before, but I had heard much of it from part of my Corps which
touched there years before [March, 1807] on their way to Buenos Ayres,
and as I had read every book about it which I could lay my hands on,
I was scarcely in a foreign land. As soon as I landed, I found that
the Governor, my old and noble General, Sir Lowry Cole, was not at
Government House, but residing in the country. I then went to look
for my dear old friend John Bell and his noble wife, Lady Catherine.
They were in an excellent house of their own, and as rejoiced to see
me as I was to see them. John and My Lady would hear of nothing but
our putting up with them, Johnny saying, “Harry, you and I and Juana
have fared more sparingly together than we will now.” The carriage was
ordered, and John and I went on board to bring the wife ashore, all
delighted at our happy union after an absence of years.

Next day John and I drove out in his buggy to breakfast with the
Governor. He and Lady Frances, that noble and accomplished woman, were
delighted to see me, but oh, how she was altered! When I first knew her
in 1815, a few days after her marriage, she was in the prime of life,
a full-blown beautiful woman, and the most interesting I ever knew. As
soon, however, as my old recollection of her was somewhat subdued, I
found her ladyship everything I had a right to expect, the mother of
six beautiful children, whose education she conducted herself, and my
gallant General all kindness and hospitality.

He and I had a long walk in the garden, when he said, “I shall appoint
you Commandant of the Garrison. You are _ex officio_, as second in
command to me, the senior Member of Council, and, if any accident
happened to me, the administration of the government would devolve
on you—John Bell, your senior officer, being Colonial Secretary and
holding no military position.”

No man was ever more happily placed than I was. The quarter in Cape
Castle forming the residence of the Governor was excellent, with a
little square in the rear with capital stables and out-offices. The
garrison consisted of one company of Artillery, the 72nd Highlanders, a
magnificent corps, and the 98th, very highly organized, considering the
short period they had been raised.

My first object was to visit and reduce the guards, which I soon did
very considerably on a representation to the Governor. The next was
to do away with guards over convicts working on the road. This could
not be effected at once, but such a friend to the soldier as Sir Lowry
was, readily received my various representations of the ill effects on
discipline of these guards, and, so soon as arrangements could be made,
these were also abolished. The next guard to dispose of was one of
one sergeant, one corporal, and six privates at the Observatory, four
miles from Cape Town, and it was not long before the building, or the
star-gazers, discovered that their celestial pursuits could be carried
on without the aid terrestrial of soldiers.

Some months after my arrival, the Kafirs being on the eve of an
outbreak, the Governor, Sir Lowry Cole, went to the frontier. He
requested me to remain at Cape Town unless a war began, when I was
immediately to join. I frequently had the troops bivouacked, and taught
them to cook in camp, piquets, etc., and every other camp duty. On one
occasion I had ball cartridges, every company at its target, and I had
out two six-pounders with their target. I manœuvred the troops, so
moving the targets as to be in their front, and I never saw half so
good target practice with muskets before. The men were delighted and
emulous beyond measure. The six-pounders, too, made excellent shots,
and I had not a single casualty.

About this time that noble fellow, General Lord Dalhousie, arrived on
his way out to India as Commander-in-Chief. I gave him a capital sham
fight, concluding by storming Fort Amsterdam, at which he was highly
amused. I knew his Lordship in America,[93] and we then and now had
many a laugh at our performances at Vittoria, previously related.

The Kafir war ended in patching up old treaties, and the Governor
returned. About this time I acted as Military Secretary and
Deputy Adjutant-General, holding the appointments of Deputy
Quartermaster-General and Commandant; and ultimately the appointments
of Deputy Adjutant-General and Deputy Quartermaster General were
blended, and I held both, being called Deputy Quartermaster-General.

Horses at the Cape are excellent. The breed had been much improved by
Lord Charles Somerset, the former Governor, by the importation of some
mares and several of the highest-bred English thoroughbred sires. I
soon had a most beautiful stud. The sporting butcher Van Reenen had an
excellent pack of fox-hounds, which he virtually allowed me to hunt,
and many is the capital run we had, but over the most breakneck country
that hounds ever crossed—sands covered with the most beautiful variety
of the _erica_, or heath, and barren hills of driftsands. These are
dug up by moles literally as big as rabbits. Their ordinary holes on
hills and under-excavations no good hunter will fall in, but in their
breeding-holes I defy any horse to avoid going heels over head, if his
fore-legs come on them, although many old experienced hunters know them
and jump over. I had one little horse not fourteen hands, descended
from Arabs; he never gave me a fall, and I never failed to bring the
brush to his stable when I rode him; but with all other horses I
have had some awful falls, particularly after rain, when the sand is
saturated with water and very heavy. Falls of this description are
far more serious than rolling over our fences at home, where activity
enables you to get away from your horse, as he is some seconds or so
coming down, but in a mole-hole you fall like a shot, the horse’s head
first coming to the ground, next yours, and he rolls right over you.
When a horse’s hind legs go into a breeding-earth the sensation is
awful, and how the noble animals escape without breaking their backs
remains one of the wonders.

Every shooting-season I made a capital excursion, first to my sporting
friend’s, Proctor’s. He was a retired officer of the 21st Dragoons, a
capital sportsman, an excellent farmer, a good judge of a horse, and a
better one of how to sell him to those whom he saw he could make money
of. He had a family of thirteen children; his wife was a Dutch lady,
still good-looking. My wife always accompanied me, as well as my friend
Bob Baillie, of the 72nd Regiment, who was subsequently celebrated in
the sporting magazines as a rider. We started with an immense waggon,
eight horses, every description of commissariat stores, greyhounds,
pointers, setters, retrievers, terriers, spaniels, and, under Proctor’s
guidance, we had capital sport.

The partridge-shooting was nearly as good as grouse-shooting; the bird,
called the grey partridge, very much resembled the grouse, and was a
noble sporting bird. There is also the red partridge, large, but stupid
to shoot. The best sport with them is to ride them down with spaniels.
There are several sorts of antelopes, which lie in the bushes and jump
up under your feet as hares do. These you shoot with buck-shot. Near
Cape Town there is only one sort of antelope “on the look-out” like our
fallow deer, grey, very handsome, and fleet, called by the Dutch the
rhee-bok. On the frontier and in the interior there are a great variety
of this gazing-deer, the most remarkable being the springbok, which is
exceedingly swift, parti-coloured or pied, and they almost fly from
you. They have the power of expanding their long hair on the top of the
back, like opening and shutting a fan. The bonte-bok is in very large
herds. These you are prohibited to shoot without a special authority
from Government, and the number even which you may shoot is limited.

The variety of modes of shooting these antelopes is highly amusing. To
shoot the eland, the largest species, as big as a two-year-old heifer,
you go full speed in a waggon over ground so rough that, what with the
speed, you can hardly hold on and preserve your guns. The animals,
hearing all the noise, stop to gaze. The waggon is instantly pulled up,
and you fire balls. After such a jolting, he is a steady fellow who
fires with any precision.

You have pheasants, too, inmates of very stiff and thorny-bushed
ravines; they afford good sport, but you must shoot them dead, or you
will never find them. There are also several species of the bustard
genus, but near Cape Town only the black and grey khoran, so called.
On the frontier you have the ordinary bustard, a noble bird and
excellent eating, weighing from 9 to 12 lbs., and a species of great
bustard, weighing from 20 to 25 lbs. The latter is eatable, but coarse.
These you shoot with balls. On the frontier, too, you have buffaloes,
elephants, lions, camelopards, ostriches, etc., so well described by
Major Harris that it is impossible to add to his faithful account.

Coursing at the Cape is not good. I pursued it much for the sake of
hunting four or five couple of spaniels. Hares there never sit in the
open as in Europe, but in low stunted bushes—half rabbits. However,
this sort of coursing with the spaniels and greyhounds teaches your
horse to become a hunter, and by rushing him after hares, he well
learns how to tumble or to avoid tumbles.

In the course of our sporting tour, I used to visit the breeding
establishments (then called kraals) of all the great breeders, I
think, Melk, Kotze, Proctor, Van Reenen, Van der Byl, etc. Melk has
six hundred mares, all running out in unenclosed fields. With such
an establishment you would expect that he could show you three or
four hundred one, two, and three year olds (for they are all sold by
this age). He can never show more than seventy or eighty colts of the
year, and the rest of the breeders can show no higher proportion.
The thoroughbred mares are invariably in miserable condition, the
cock-tails fat and sleek. Many of the mares, etc., are afflicted with a
disease from an accumulation of sand in their stomachs and intestines.

It was thought far beneath the dignity of a gentleman at the Cape to
ride or drive mares, but seeing that the mares were far finer and
larger than the horses, and one-fifth of the price, I bought from
Proctor two immense mares, as like English hunters as possible, for
£45; a thoroughbred mare, 16 hands high, four years old, for my wife
(a beautiful creature which very much delighted Lord Dalhousie); and
another thoroughbred mare, 15½. They were the four finest horses
in Cape Town. One of the carriage mares ruptured her bladder in
the carriage, and died in a few hours. The large thoroughbred got
a most tremendous fall out hunting, nearly broke my neck, and was
chest-foundered ever afterwards. The other two I sold remarkably well.
By some accident I never set up mares in my establishment again, but I
was never so elegantly horsed.

What with my military duties and those of Council, I led a far from
idle life, and there is an elasticity in the atmosphere at the Cape
which conduces to a desire to take violent rides. The sun never heats
you. I have ridden 140 miles in thirty hours to go to look at a horse
or buy one, or to look at a particular line of country. I have been
out shooting in the middle of the summer from daylight to dark, the
sun like a furnace, the pummel of the saddle like a red-hot poker,
your gun-barrel, after a few rapid shots, so heated you almost fear to
reload, then come home at night (or slept out in the fields, if you
like) and eaten a right good dinner, not in any way heated, and without
either headache or cold. An exposure of this sort to the sun of India
would probably cause a roaring fever or death.

This is the sort of life which I and my wife lived from 1829 to the end
of 1834, enjoying the greatest kindness and hospitality, and living in
happiness and sociability with every one. We had lost our dear kind
friends, Sir Lowry and Lady Frances Cole, but he was succeeded as
Governor and Commander-in-Chief, early in 1834, by a most amiable man,
Sir Benjamin D’Urban, the most educated and accomplished soldier I have
ever served with.[94]



The Kafir tribes, which for many months had been greatly agitated and
excited, at length burst into the Colony in what was for the moment an
irresistible rush, carrying with them fire, sword, devastation, and
cold-blooded murder, and spoiling the fertile estates and farms like
a mountain avalanche. Such were the reports received from the Civil
Commissioners and the Commandant of the troops. His Excellency Sir B.
D’Urban determined to dispatch me immediately, with full powers civil
and military to adopt whatever measures I found requisite, while he
would himself follow as soon as possible. His Excellency told me a
sloop of war was ready to take me to Algoa Bay. I, however, preferred
riding post, and the horses were laid for me for a seven days’ ride,
600 miles. It was needless to start until the horses were on the road,
so I had two days[96] to make arrangements, and to ship military
stores of every description, ordnance, etc. One half of the 72nd
Regiment was to proceed in waggons, the other by sea.

On the night of the 31st December [1834], I dined with Sir B. D’Urban
at Cape Town (my own dear little cottage at Rondebosch being four miles
off), and after dinner His Excellency and I had a long conversation.
I fully ascertained his views and desires, and then made a resolution
in my own mind never to swerve from his principles where circumstances
admitted of their application. He on his part was most frank, honest,
and decided, saying, “You now understand me thoroughly. Rely on
my support in every way, and my perfect readiness to bear all the

I parted with this noble soldier and able statesman at half-past
twelve, drove out to my cottage, and lay down for three hours. I then
started with a single Hottentot for a ride of 90 miles the first
day [1st January, 1835], the heat raging like a furnace. My orders,
warrants, etc., were sewn in my jacket by my own dear wife. From the
anxiety and exertion of the previous day’s running about Cape Town from
store to store, and the little sleep I had had, as I rode the first 25
miles to the first change of horses I was half tired, but I got a cup
of tea at the post-house, and never felt fagged again.


_From a lithograph by Day and Haghe, 1832._

      [_Opposite p. 370._]

I arrived at Caledon at one o’clock, when it was threatening a heavy
thunderstorm. I had then 25 miles to ride. The storm came on violently,
the rain poured behind me, but I reached my stage, Field Cornet
Leroze, by three, perfectly dry.

The next day I started before daylight, and got to Swellendam to
breakfast. I had two heavy, lazy brutes of horses. In Swellendam
I wrote letters of instructions to that able fellow the Civil
Commissioner, Harry Rivers, and I then started for an additional ride
of 70 miles. I found the Buffeljagts river out. My first horse from
Swellendam had a 20-miles stage, but through having to go up the river
to ford, this noble little four-year-old had 30 miles, which he did,
crossing the river too, in two hours and twenty minutes. I was so
pleased with him, I wrote to Rivers to buy him and bring him up with
the burghers. He bought him for £18 5_s._ I afterwards rode him very
hard for two years, and sold him to Sir George Napier for £50. This day
was excessively hot. I reached my stage at three o’clock.

I started the next day for George, with a long ride of 100 miles
before me. At the second stage I found no horses and was kept waiting
one hour. I got to a Field Cornet’s where there was a great assembly
of burghers enrolling their names for service, and a great dinner
prepared at twelve o’clock, at which I was fool enough to eat,
the remainder of my ride to George being rendered thereby a great
exertion. Unfortunately, after a ride of 100 miles, I found all the
civil authorities and inhabitants prepared to receive me, a ceremony I
could readily have dispensed with. I soon got rid of these well-meant
attentions, had a hot bath, lay down, and dictated letters to the Civil
Commissioner, Mynheer de Bergh, until eleven at night.

I was off before daylight with a tremendous ride before me, over
mountains, etc., etc. About halfway I met the mail from Grahamstown,
and such a task as I had to open it! Not till I had opened the last
bag did I find the packet of letters I wanted from the Commandant and
the Civil Commissioner, Grahamstown. Their descriptions of disaster,
murders, and devastations were awful; the Commandant talked of the
troops being obliged to evacuate Grahamstown. I made comments on all
these letters, and resolved to reach Grahamstown in two days. The heat
to-day and the exertion of opening the letter-bags were fatiguing. On
my arrival at my stage, I got hold of the Field Commandant Rademeyer,
and sent on expresses all night to have the horses ready a day before
they were ordered, being determined to reach Uitenhage the next night
(the fifth from Cape Town),—500 miles.

Off two hours before daylight. One river, so tortuous is its bed, I
had to cross seven times. I galloped through, and was as wet for hours
as if I had been swimming, with a sun on me like a furnace. About
halfway to Uitenhage, the heat was so excessive my horse knocked up,
and no belabouring would make him move. About half a mile off I saw
a sort of camp, went up, and found a Dutch farmer with his family,
herds, flocks, etc., fleeing from the scene of devastation. I told him
who I was, where and what I was going for, and asked him to horse me
to the next stage, about seven miles. To my astonishment (for nothing
can exceed the kindness and hospitality of the Dutch Boers on ordinary
occasions), he first started a difficulty, and then positively refused,
which soon set my blood boiling. He was holding a nice-looking horse
all ready saddled, so I knocked him down, though half as big again as
myself, jumped on his horse, and rode off. I then had a large river
to cross by ferry, and horses were waiting for me. The Boer came up,
and was very civil, making all sorts of apologies, saying until he
spoke to the _guide_ who _followed_ me, he did not believe that in
that lone condition I could be the officer I represented myself. The
passion, the knocking him down, the heat, etc., was very fatiguing,
and I reached Uitenhage at five o’clock, having been beating grass-fed
post-horses from three in the morning until that hour, and ridden over
some very bad and mountainous roads, 140 miles. To my horror, the Civil
Commissioner (though a very worthy, good man) had all the town turned
out to receive me, and a large dinner-party to _refresh_ me, while I
wanted repose. To add to this, a Colonel Cuyler, an officer retired on
half-pay, of great experience and abilities on this frontier, waited
on me. He was very communicative, of great use to me, but, being as
deaf as a beetle, the exertion of calling loud enough for him to hear
(although naturally I have a very powerful voice) I cannot describe.
I had a wash, went to the great dinner—I dare not eat, quite to the
astonishment of my host—soon retired, got hold of his secretary, and
lay on my back dictating letters until twelve o’clock, when, fairly
exhausted, I fell asleep.

Off again next morning for Grahamstown. If the previous day’s work
had been excessive, it was short of what I this day encountered from
the wretched brutes of knocked-up horses laid for me. About half way
I found the country in the wildest state of alarm, herds, flocks,
families, etc., fleeing like the Israelites. Everything that moved near
a bush was a Kafir. I was forced to have an escort of burghers on tired
horses, and oh, such a day’s work, until I got within ten miles of
Grahamstown! There I found awaiting me a neat clipping little hack of
Colonel Somerset’s (such as he is celebrated for) and an escort of six
Cape Mounted Rifles. I shall never forget the luxury of getting on this
little horse, a positive redemption from an abject state of misery and
labour. In ten minutes I was perfectly revived, and in forty minutes
was close to the barrier of Grahamstown, fresh enough to have fought a
general action, after a ride of 600 miles in six days over mountains
and execrable roads, on Dutch horses living in the fields without a
grain of corn. I performed each day’s work at the rate of fourteen
miles an hour, and I had not the slightest scratch even on my skin.

If it be taken into consideration that there was no previous training,
that I started without sleep almost and after two days’ excessive
fatigue of mind and body in Cape Town, embarking stores, troops, etc.,
the little sleep I had on the journey from being obliged to dictate
letters and give orders, the excessive heat, the roads, the horses,
then it must be admitted a performance of no ordinary exertion for a
man who, when it was over, was ready and required to use every energy
of mind and body.

On reaching the barricaded streets, I had the greatest difficulty
to ride in. I found Colonel Somerset parading the night duties.
Consternation was depicted on every countenance I met, on some despair,
every man carrying a gun, some pistols and swords too. It would have
been ludicrous in any other situation than mine, but people desponding
would not have been prepossessed in my favour by my laughing at them,
so I refrained, although much disposed to do so. I just took a look at
the mode adopted to defend Grahamstown. There were all sorts of works,
barricades, etc., some three deep, and such was the consternation, an
alarm, in the dark especially, would have set one half of the people
shooting the other. I at once observed that this defensive system would
never restore the lost confidence, and I resolved, after I had received
reports and assumed the command, to proclaim martial law, and act on
the initiative in every respect.

I rode to Somerset’s, where I was treated _en prince_. I sent for
the Civil Commissioner, Captain Campbell, and from him learned the
exact state of the country—that despondency did exist to a fearful
extent, originating from the sight of the horrors perpetrated by the
remorseless enemy, but any vigorous steps and arbitrary authority
boldly exerted would still ensure a rallying-point for all. I said,
“Very well; I clearly see my way. At as early an hour as possible
to-morrow morning I shall declare martial law, and woe betide the
man who is not as obedient as a soldier. Be so good as to prepare
the necessary document and copies to be printed for my signature. I
will be with you soon after daylight in your office, where I shall
take up my abode.” I was there according to my appointment, and found
everything ready upon this and every other occasion when I required
the services of this able public officer. No man was ever better
seconded and supported in every way than I was by Captain Campbell.
I learnt the number of regular troops to be a little above 700, the
civil force under arms 850, then occupying Grahamstown, Fort Beaufort,
the connecting post of Hermanus Kraal (the civil force being at
the Kat River Settlement, a location of Hottentots, where Captain
Armstrong with a troop of Cape Mounted Rifles acted in a civil and
military capacity). Fort Willshire had been most shamefully abandoned.
I received a report that a body of 200 Burghers of the Graaf Reinet
district, under their Civil Commissioner Ryneveld, was approaching.
I knew the front of the 72nd Regiment in waggons would reach me in
a day or two. I resolved, therefore, as soon as possible to make
an inroad into the heart of the enemy’s country in one direction,
reoccupy Fort Willshire, and thence march to rescue the missionaries
who were assembled in one house, “Lonsdale,” in Kafirland, and whose
safety could not be calculated on for one moment. I then directed the
population of Grahamstown, so soon as martial law was proclaimed, to
be formed into a Corps of Volunteers, and I would issue them arms. The
church in the square in Grahamstown being occupied as a military post
and a council chamber, I desired the principal gentlemen to assemble,
to name their own officers, etc., and to submit them for my approval,
and told them that they and the organization of the corps should be
instantly gazetted.

This was in progress, when there were so many speakers and so few
actors, the Civil Commissioner recommended me to go to the meeting. I
deemed this a good opportunity to display my authority, which I was
resolved on doing most arbitrarily on such a momentous occasion.

When I went in, there was a considerable assembly of very
respectable-looking men. I asked what was the cause of delay in
executing my demands? One gentleman, a leader in what was called the
Committee of Safety, which I very soon complimentarily dissolved, stood
up and began to enter into argument and discussion. I exclaimed in a
voice of thunder, “I am not sent here to argue, but to command. You
are now under martial law, and the first gentleman, I care not who he
may be, who does not promptly and implicitly obey my command, he shall
not even dare to give an opinion; I will try him by a court martial and
punish him in five minutes.”

This sally most completely established my authority, and I never met
with any opposition afterwards; on the contrary, a desire on the part
of all to meet my wishes. The corps were formed, officers gazetted.
As we issued, and on parade that evening, I gave the command, as was
promised, to Captain Sparks of the 49th Regiment, on leave of absence
with his family at Grahamstown.

My attention was next turned to the defence of Grahamstown. I found
that the officer in command of the 75th Regiment had taken great care
of the barracks, distant half a mile or more, but that he was averse to
detaching troops to the defence of Grahamstown. This I soon settled,
opened all the barricades, established fresh alarm posts, and at once
showed the alarmed inhabitants that defence should consist in military
resources and military vigilance, and not in being cooped up behind
doors, windows, and barricades three deep, from which they would shoot
each other. That evening, the first after I assumed the command, the
aspect of affairs had changed. Men moved like men, and felt that their
safety consisted in energetic obedience.

The next day two hundred Graaf Reinet burghers arrived. I despatched
some of them and Colonel Somerset with a force to the rear to improve
our communication with Algoa Bay, which was interrupted, and I prepared
a force of three hundred men to invade the kraal of the Kafir chief
Eno, and, if possible, to seize that double-faced old murderer and
breaker of treaties. This command I gave to an old brother Rifleman,
Major William Cox, then in the 75th Regiment, a soldier by experience,
nature, and courage, the most useful and active officer under my
command. I never expected they would seize old Eno—he had a very
narrow escape, though—but, as I anticipated, the object of my inroad
was completely achieved, and from that moment all the invading Kafirs
rapidly withdrew from the Colony. It also showed the Kafirs that
the Hottentots would fight against them, which previously they had

A party of the 72nd Regiment having arrived, I immediately reoccupied
Fort Willshire.

My next object was to rescue the missionaries from the very heart of
Kafirland, where seven of them (I think) with their families expected
momentarily to have their throats cut. I again employed my old brother
Rifleman, Major Cox, who succeeded to the utmost of my most sanguine
expectations and brought off every British subject.

After [leaving] his command at Fort Willshire, and [the missionaries]
were in perfect security, he pushed on to Grahamstown to report his
success. When he reached the Fish River he found it full, and swam
across, leading his horse in his hand, like a gallant fellow as he
is. On reaching me, he found that Sir B. D’Urban, the Governor, had
arrived; and highly delighted Cox and I were that the last act of
mine before resigning the command was one of brilliant success and an
achievement of no ordinary enterprise. The Governor was as pleased as
we were. This rescue of the missionaries was the best thing I ever did
during the war, but one which these holy gentlemen and their Societies
never acknowledged as they ought, though always ready to _censure_.
“Charity is a comprehensive word.”

The day after the arrival of the Governor he issued a General Order, of
which the following is an extract:—

      “Headquarters, Grahamstown,
      “Frontier of the Cape of Good Hope, 22 Jan. 1835.

 “The Commander-in-Chief desires to offer Colonel Smith the expression
 at once of his unqualified approbation and of his warmest thanks for
 the important services which he has rendered to the King and to the
 Colony during the period of his commanding the forces on the Frontier

 “The unparalleled rapidity with which he rode from Cape Town to
 Grahamstown, a distance of 600 miles, accomplishing it in less than
 six days; his indefatigable and most able exertion from the moment of
 his arrival to expel the savage enemy from the ground their unexpected
 and treacherous invasion had gained—to afford protection and support
 to the inhabitants; to restore confidence and to organize the armed
 population, and combine the resources of the country—have been beyond
 all praise, and justly entitle him to the grateful acknowledgments of
 the Colony and of the Commander-in-Chief.”[97]



My duty now, although not of so directly responsible a nature, was
laborious and active in the extreme in conformity to the General Orders
which follow:—

 “Colonel Smith will, for the present, resume his duties as Deputy
 Quartermaster-General and acting Deputy Adjutant-General of the
 forces, and, in this capacity as Chief of the Staff, will take charge
 of the organization of a force to be prepared for active operations;
 for carrying which into effect he is hereby authorized to make
 requisitions upon the competent departments, and to approve all
 requisitions and contracts, which approvals will be then sufficient
 warrant for the corresponding issues and purchases; and he will be so
 good as to make a daily report of the progress of this service to the

In the progress of these arduous services, I organized two corps of
Hottentots, consisting of every loose vagabond I could lay my hand on,
called the 1st and 2nd Battalion Hottentot Infantry. They consisted
of four Companies each, 100 men to a Company. It is scarcely to be
credited how rapidly these men trained as soldiers. No nation in the
world, with the exception of the inhabitants of the South of France,
have such a natural turn to become soldiers as the Hottentots.

In the various operations I had carried on, I had never been able
to give a command to Lieut.-Colonel Z—— of the — Regiment, who had
been active and useful under me, but I promised him that, as soon
as I possibly could do so, he should have one. I ascertained that a
considerable body of Kafirs, cattle, etc., were concentrated in the
dense fastnesses of the Fish River bush, from which it was necessary to
dislodge them before the advance of the invading force. I laid my plan
before Sir Benjamin D’Urban, who fully approved of it, and as I wished,
he consented that Colonel Z—— should have the command of the troops to
effect this service. I sent for the Colonel, and he was delighted. I
said, “Now, make your own arrangements. You know the country; you know
the desire I have had to give you a command, and I should be sorry if I
did not everything in my power to make it agreeable.”

All was arranged, and Z—— and his expedition marched. I was under no
apprehension of its success, and my mind was devoted to the eternal
subject of organization of Boers, Hottentots, waggons, etc., when
most unexpectedly Colonel Z—— returned to headquarters, and I could
observe by his manner victory was not the subject. He of course never
acknowledged reverse; said he had not sufficient troops, etc., and
that to dislodge the savages, as he always termed them, more must be
employed. “But,” I said, “how came you to leave your command?” “Oh, I
thought I could best explain matters myself.” “Well,” I said, “come to
the Commander-in-Chief.”

His Excellency received him very coldly, being exceedingly offended
at his leaving his troops, especially under the circumstances. When
Colonel Z—— went, Sir Benjamin D’Urban broke out and said, “G——, he has
had a licking, and what the devil made him leave his troops? Smith,”
says Sir B., “this check must be immediately repaired, and you must go
yourself. Take with you what you deem sufficient, and lose no time.”

I certainly did not, for that afternoon some more infantry were on the
march. In the course of the day Jim Cox came to me from Z——, describing
how hurt he was that I had to command. I positively laughed at the
idea of such a command adding to anything but my labours, and I said,
“Willingly will I go to Sir Benjamin D’Urban and tell him Z—— is hurt
and in some degree imputes to me the arrangement.” The only time Sir
Benjamin D’Urban was ever angry with me was on this occasion. “I have
decided on what I consider the service demands, and I little expected
any remonstrances from you, Smith.” I said quietly, “It was only to
serve another, sir.” “Yes, at the risk of the public service.” Z—— was
furious. He was ordered to rejoin his former command.

So soon as I reached the troops on the banks of the river, I
reconnoitred the enemy’s position, rendered extraordinarily strong from
dense bush, almost impenetrable to any but a creeping Kafir, ravines,
mountains, etc. I found it necessary to attack at three points, and
disposed of my troops accordingly, giving the command of the right and
cavalry division to Colonel Somerset, and the left to Colonel Z——,
while I remained with the centre.

The river was up, and prevented me crossing for three days. The heat on
its banks was intense. I determined, however, that so soon as the river
was practicable, I would attack and that my infantry should penetrate
the thickets while the cavalry should intercept the retreat of the
enemy and their cattle. The evening before the attack, when I gave
Colonel Z—— his orders, he said, “Any further orders?” I said, “None.”
He laughed in a very satirical manner. “Ah, ah, catch a Kafir with
infantry.” I said, “Yes, Colonel, I intend it, and _you shall too_.”
Our success exceeded my most sanguine expectations.

Such was the extent of the country, that a considerable part of it I
had not been able to penetrate. I was resolved, therefore, to make a
second attempt, which I was not long about.

The evening previous to a long march for the different columns to gain
their ground, I received an application from Colonel Z—— for permission
to return to Grahamstown. I was thunderstruck, but of course said, “Go
when you like”; and I had to send Major Gregory, an excellent officer,
thirty miles to take the command of Z——’s force, which he reached just
in time for it to commence its march. On my second attempt I completely
scoured the holds and fastnesses of the Kafirs, namely, “the dense
and extensive thorny ravines, etc., of the great Fish River bush,”
which they had deemed impenetrable, and which in no previous war had
they ever been driven from. The Kafirs never again occupied this bush
permanently, although a brilliant affair subsequently occurred [9th
March] between some Boers under Field Commandant Rademeyer and a large
body of them.[98] Thus Kafirs were caught by infantry, and we secured a
considerable quantity of cattle, upwards of 5000, for which the savage
fights desperately. The nature of this bush service requires the most
practised light troops, and the advantage I derived from the service of
my old comrade Cox is not to be described.

After this I brought my two battalions of Hottentots into play. The
enemy in this bush had about thirty renegade Hottentots, many of them
runaway servants who had deserted with their masters’ double-barrelled
fowling-pieces. I never had more difficulty to dislodge a few men in
my life, and these fellows caused me a loss of some valuable men.

Sir Benjamin D’Urban was highly gratified with my success, and issued a
very complimentary General Order to that effect.[99]

Soon after this I went to Fort Willshire, to prepare the camp for the
rendezvous of the army under Sir Benjamin D’Urban in person, and, the
troops being much in want of cattle from the country having been so
driven, spoiled, and devastated, I resolved to make an inroad into
Kafirland to a dense bush (as it is in this country called) beyond the
Umdizini, where I was led to believe a considerable quantity of Kafirs
and cattle were collected. The distance from my camp was thirty-five
miles, and I had the rapid Keiskamma River to cross. I marched at
one o’clock in the morning, with a corps of mounted men, principally
composed of the Swellendam Burghers or Yeomanry, under a veteran old
Commandant who had made seven Kafir campaigns. My inroad was perfectly
successful, and I reached my bivouac at nine the following night,
having marched a distance from point to point of 70 miles, exclusive of
operations in the bush. I brought with me upwards of 2000 head of fat
cattle, which were most acceptable for the consumption of our troops.

In a few days the Commander-in-Chief reached the camp [31 March] at
Fort Willshire, and the troops were all ready for the field, and
as highly organized as such a mob of armed inhabitants could be.
Our train of commissariat waggons, each with twenty oxen in it, was
immense. With the head-quarters column alone we had 170 occupying about
two miles. From the length of these teams, I expected great difficulty
with them, and certainly took every pains to regulate and divide them
into divisions, departments, etc., appointing a captain over the whole.
To my astonishment, so excellent were the bullocks, I never had the
slightest trouble, and they could march over any country whatever with
the troops.

From Fort Willshire we marched to a position at the foot of what are
termed the Poorts of the Buffalo, very high wooded ridges, high up
the river of this name, and, as we were obliged to halt there for our
left column to get into its line, I requested Sir Benjamin D’Urban to
allow me to conduct a patrol into this bush. He consented; and I had
the prettiest affair by far of any during the war, and the most like a

I took with me a detachment of the 72nd Highlanders, under Captain
Murray, my faithful attendant always; one of the Hottentot Battalions;
and my Corps of Mounted Guides, gentlemen of the country and merchants
who had traded all over Kafirland and knew the country perfectly.
Never was there a more useful body. The Hottentot Battalion had a
considerable _détour_ to make, and I wished to occupy a ridge to
support and to observe their movement. In attempting this, I was
opposed by a considerable body of Kafirs posted on a sort of natural
castle of rocks, steep and scarped by nature, and so well did the
Kafirs maintain themselves, wounding Murray and several of his men,
that I had to turn them ere they were dislodged.[100] In the meanwhile,
the Hottentot Battalion, hearing the firing and seeing the bush full
of cattle, came flying on and drove the Kafirs in every direction,
killing many. We captured upwards of four thousand cattle. The care of
these cattle and the sending them to the rear were a very laborious and
arduous duty.



From the Poorts of the Buffalo we marched up to the Kei, the right
bank of which was the great chief Hintza’s territory. Every overture
of a pacific character had been made this chief, but no satisfactory,
nor indeed decided, answer could be obtained. It was, in the first
instance, ordered that we should cross the river without committing
any act of hostility, but our sentries and picquets were to be most
watchful and vigilant, our avowed object being to recover the cattle
which had been so treacherously stolen out of the colony and driven
into Hintza’s country, and from which he would undoubtedly take a
considerable duty. The troops marched on to the missionary station of
Butterworth, close to one of Hintza’s great kraals.

The army remained here some days, constantly receiving shuffling
messages from Hintza. Here the whole of the Fingoes in Hintza’s
territories threw themselves on the protection of the Governor. These
Fingoes were once a powerful nation, but, being defeated in war, fled
to Hintza’s territories for protection, which he promised. However, so
soon as they were dispersed and powerless, he and his chieftains seized
all their cattle, and reduced the whole to the most abject state of
slavery. These were the remains of eight powerful nations.[101]

After a day or two’s shuffling, Hintza sent into camp his Prime
Minister, Kuba, a sharp wolf-like looking fellow, with the cunning of
Satan. I would back him eating beef-steaks against any devil. After the
Governor had given Kuba several audiences and patiently heard all he
had to urge in extenuation of Hintza’s evasive conduct, it was evident
he had not the slightest intention of restoring the cattle, or making
any reparation for the murder of British subjects early in the war, the
destruction of the missionary station at Butterworth, etc. Accordingly,
war was formally declared.

At ten o’clock our tents were struck, and the army marched [24 April].
A mounted patrol of three hundred cavalry were given to me, and some
Fingoes. I made a most rapid march on another of Hintza’s kraals, where
his great wife Nomsa frequently resided. I reached it just before
dark, and had a smart brush with the enemy and took a lot of cattle.
The next morning at daylight I pushed forward to the bed of the Upper
Kei, where information led me to believe a considerable quantity of
colonial cattle were secreted. I had a tremendous march this day, and
the heat on the banks of the river was excessive. At dark this night I
had captured 14,000 head of cattle, principally colonial. I ascertained
some months afterwards that these were Macomo’s booty. The next day I
joined the headquarters column to get rid of my cattle and to get some
fresh troops.

At daylight the following day I crossed the rocky bed of the T’somo,
very deep and rapid, and made a most precipitate march on Hintza’s
kraal. He was not there, but many of his followers were; his cattle
were all driven off. I immediately burnt his kraal—in Kafirland
regarded as the possession of his territory—the only kraal I burnt in
his country.

The rapidity of these inroads, the extraordinary extent of country
traversed by the troops with me, the burning of Hintza’s kraal, were
viewed by Hintza with the utmost surprise and consternation, and
this chief, who had treated with the utmost evasion and contempt all
previous overtures, on the day after his kraal was burnt came into our
camp with his son and court, a humble suppliant for peace and mercy.
A few years before, a detachment of troops under Colonel Somerset
had been sent to assist him against his enemies, and saved him from
destruction. He therefore rode into our camp in an undaunted manner.
(The poor savage always buries the past in oblivion, and regards the
present only. He has not the most distant idea of right or wrong as
regards his line of conduct. Self-interest is his controlling impulse,
and desire stands for law and rectitude.) The Governor, Sir B. D’Urban,
recorded on paper, in a clear and strong manner, all the grievances
he had to complain of, and the redress which he sought and would
have. Hintza, with about fifty followers, was immediately prepared
to enter into treaty. Kuba was not with him, but he had another of
his councillors, a man of great repute, Umtini. As the interpreter
translated the Governor’s statement paragraph by paragraph, Hintza
acknowledged everything. The demand was made for restitution of cattle
stolen and redress for all other grievances. Hintza asked to have till
next day to consider it, which was granted.

That night he dined with me, while a bullock was given for a feast to
his followers, one of whom acted as butcher. The slaughtering is done
with great ceremony, but it is horrible to behold. The ox is thrown on
his back. The butcher then makes an incision between the chest and the
abdomen, through which protrudes immediately a considerable portion
of the omentum. This is cut off for the great man of the party as the
most acceptable relish. The butcher then introduces his hand and arm
up to the very shoulder into the incision, gets hold of the heart and
turns it, the animal giving a terrific roar of excruciating pain which
is really appalling. But he is dead in a moment, the circulation being
stopped by the twisting of the blood-vessels. By this method of slaying
the animal, all the blood is preserved in the meat, which the Kafir
thinks adds to its flavour and nutritious power.[102]

Hintza, Umtini, myself, and the interpreter were together four hours.
I was never more astonished than by the ability with which Hintza
argued on every point and by the shrewd and cautious opinions expressed
by Umtini. The interpreter, Mr. Shepstone,[103] a very clever youth
of nineteen, was the son of a missionary. He had been born among the
Kafirs, and the language was as familiar to him as that of his father.
He was the only interpreter we had who could convey your meaning in the
Kafir idiom and in conformity to their usages and knowledge of men and
things. After all this discussion, Hintza said, “Well, I shall agree
to-morrow to the Governors demands in every respect.” He then left me,
having eaten enough for seven men. I walked with him to his people,
where the protruding omentum of the slaughtered bullock was prepared
for him. Curiosity induced me to remain. He ate every bit of this fat
fried lightly; there could not have been less than four pounds.

The next day a sort of court was held, and Hintza formally accepted
the conditions of peace offered by his Excellency. Peace was therefore
proclaimed, and Hintza went through the ceremony of despatching
messengers in all directions to collect the quota of cattle he was to
furnish, as well as to bring to headquarters the colonial cattle.

On one of my predatory expeditions I had taken a great chief, by name
Maquay. My A.D.C., Balfour, seized him and saved his life, and he was
a prisoner in our camp, and I had several others. I now released them
all, being very glad to get rid of their custody. If ever a savage can
feel any sensation approaching to gratitude, this chief Maquay did when
I gave him his liberty. He thanked me for his life, while he frankly
acknowledged that, under similar circumstances, he should have taken

Hintza’s promises were so strong that the army commenced its march [May
2] towards the ford of the Kei, since called Smith’s Tower, there to
remain until the conditions of the treaty were fulfilled. A deluge of
rain detained us some days. In daily expectation of the arrival of the
cattle, the army was as well in one camp as another. Hintza remained
with us, which gave us every confidence. When pressed to name hostages,
he said, “Oh, I shall willingly remain myself.” This act of frankness
was evidently intended as a cloak, and he meditated his escape. He was
frequently asking me leave to ride out to meet his people bringing in
cattle. This I usually refused. One fine sunny day he so pressed me
that I asked the Governor’s permission, saying that I would provide for
his security. Sir Benjamin D’Urban said, “Depend on it, he meditates
his escape”; for some days over the period stipulated had elapsed, and
not an article of the treaty acted on.

I sent with Hintza a well-mounted escort of the Cape Corps under a
Lieut. Wade, a smart, active and well-mounted officer. I directed him
to examine his pistols in Hintza’s presence, and the escort their
carbines, and to be most vigilant. Hintza endeavoured to lead him
into intricate ground, but Wade was far too sharp a fellow, and said,
“Hintza, riding about in this way is all folly. I shall take you
back to camp.” That very day Hintza’s and Boku his brother’s people
had commenced a general massacre of all the Fingoes near them who,
in virtue of the treaty of peace, had wandered from the camp. The
Governor, seeing the treachery and the absolute want of all faith,
became exceedingly indignant, and threatened to hang Hintza himself,
and Kreili his son, and Boku his brother, if an instant cessation of
this carnage did not take place. The fellows funked, and immediately
sent messengers scampering in every direction.

The same night, Hintza’s sort of confidential man, a notorious
thief and spy, came to me requesting a private audience. I said,
“Let him come in.” The sergeant of my escort, who always had his
double-barrelled carbine in his hand, made me a sign he would be at
hand. I then, alone with the fellow (a copper-coloured half-Hottentot,
half-Kafir, a strong athletic fellow), said in Dutch, which he spoke
perfectly, “Well, what do you want?” He began to abuse Hintza, saying
he was a robber, a traitor to his own people and to us (I saw by the
rascal’s eye there was mischief in it), and that he wished to serve
me. “You scoundrel,” I said, “you have been well treated by Hintza;
you now wish to desert him because you think he is in difficulties. I
will show you how Englishmen treat runaway servants.” I called Japps,
and desired him to give the fellow a good flogging and kick him into
Hintza’s camp. Japps was not long in obeying my orders, and soon came
back with a large clasp-knife in his hand. “There,” says he, “this fell
from under the rascal’s arm, and he has confessed Hintza sent him to
murder you.”[104]

We moved our camp from the bed of the Kei on the road. The Governor
began to think Hintza had no intention whatever of fulfilling his
promises, but he did not desire to bring him over the Kei a prisoner,
which would have been regarded throughout his country as an insult;
he therefore proposed that two of his comrades should remain as
hostages. Hintza would only offer two common men. The Governor then
said, “Hintza, I shall keep Kreili and Boku.” This startled Hintza
exceedingly, and he renewed a proposal to me which he had often made,
that if I would go with him and take troops, he would himself speedily
collect the cattle. After all our marches and exertions, it was as
annoying as unsatisfactory to recross the Kei without the redemption
of the colonial cattle. I therefore rather urged this proposal on the
consideration of his Excellency, who was always of opinion that Hintza
was playing false and that his liberty was his sole consideration.
“However,” his Excellency said, “it is a chance in our favour; you may
go with him, but, depend on it, you have undertaken a laborious task.”

I prepared, therefore, to march immediately, while the Governor
intended to cross over the Fingoes—an operation something resembling
the flight of the Israelites out of Egypt—and then to pass the troops.
I took with me—

 50 Cape Rifles, under an old Peninsular officer, a Captain Ross.

 2 Companies 72nd Regiment, under Captain Murray, who had now perfectly
 recovered from his wound.

 3 Companies 1st Battalion Hottentots.

 15 of the Corps of Guides.

 My A.D.C., Balfour, and my worthy friend Major White, the Q.M.G. of
 the Burgher force.

 Some commissariat stores of bread, flour, and spirits packed on oxen.

Hintza had been treated by me with every possible kindness, and always
affected to acknowledge it. He had been loaded with presents by the
Governor, and I candidly admit I had a feeling of kindness towards the
chief daily growing upon me, which I could not account for.

We were all soon _en route_ [10 May]. The troops had a very long,
steep, and winding road, the ascent from the bed of the Kei to the
tableland. Hintza, I, my A.D.C., and interpreter, with my escort of
Guides, rode on, dismounted, and sat looking at the troops climbing
the ascent. Hintza said to the interpreter, “Ask the Colonel in what
position I now stand as regards myself and my subjects.” I was very
glad he put this question, and in very deliberate terms and in an
impressive manner I thus expressed myself through the interpreter:
“Hintza, you have lived with me now nine days; you call yourself my
son, and you say you are sensible of my kindness. Now, I am responsible
to my King and to my Governor for your safe custody. Clearly understand
that you have requested that the troops under my command should
accompany you to enable you to fulfil the treaty of peace you have
entered into. You voluntarily placed yourself in our hands as a
hostage; you are, however, to look upon me as having full power over
you, and if you attempt to escape, you will assuredly be shot.[105] I
consider my nation at peace with yours, and I shall not molest your
subjects provided they are peaceable. When they bring the cattle
according to your command, I shall select the bullocks and return the
cows and calves to them.”

Hintza replied that he came out to fulfil his treaty of peace, and
with no intention to escape, and that the fact of his son’s being in
our hands was a sufficient guarantee of his sincerity. I replied most
emphatically, “Very well, Hintza; act up to this, and I am your friend.
Again I tell you, _if you attempt to escape, you will be shot_.”

Notwithstanding these specious professions, that very afternoon my
suspicions were aroused. I observed two Kafirs coming towards us with
five head of cattle. On seeing us, they stopped, and Hintza, without
asking my leave, sent a mounted man to them—as he said, to bring them
in; but, in place of that, the messenger and the others went off
together. My officer, Mr. Southey of the Corps of Guides, attached much
importance to this little circumstance. On closely questioning Hintza,
I received from him such evasive replies I began to think there must
be some little act of treachery, and I pressed him to define the route
which he proposed I should take. I could never get more from him than
“We are going right.”

I knew any chance of success in my expedition depended on the rapidity
of my march, for the Kafirs themselves would drive the surrounding
country as we approached. I marched, therefore, till dark, having
crossed the Guadan Hills that night. Before daylight the next morning
[11 May] I was again _en route_, and reached the Guanga late in the
afternoon. There I bivouacked and my men cooked. Hintza always ate
with me, and, with his councillor Umtini, lay near me at night. I
kept a very Light Division watch over him. After eating, I said,
“Now, Hintza, we are a long way in your country; I must know where you
propose to conduct me.” He was on this occasion very communicative,
and requested that I should march towards the mouth of the Bashee by a
route which he would point out, and that we should move at midnight. To
this request I readily acceded, having observed during the day’s march
all the cattle to be driven in that direction. At twelve I marched [12
May], keeping a very sharp look-out on Hintza, whose manner I observed
to be excited, and continued marching till eight in the morning, when
it became necessary to halt and cook.

At breakfast the chief appeared particularly uneasy and evidently
annoyed at the vigilance with which I watched him. He observed
peevishly, “What have the cattle done that you want them? or why must
I see my subjects deprived of them?” I said, “These are odd questions
to ask, Hintza. You well know the outrages committed in the Colony by
your people; it is in redress of these wrongs I march, and at your own

At ten o’clock I again marched. Hintza suddenly became in high spirits,
and observed sarcastically, “See how my subjects treat me: they drive
the cattle away in spite of me.” “Hintza,” I said, “I do not want your
subjects’ cattle; I am sent for the colonial cattle which have been
stolen, and which I _will have_.” “Then,” said the chief, “allow me to
send forward Umtini, my principal councillor, to tell my people I am
here, that they must not drive away their cattle, and that the cattle
of your own nation will alone be selected.” This proposal I immediately
agreed to, as it appeared to hold out some chance of success, although
I could not divest myself of the opinion that Hintza was meditating
some mischief. I particularly enjoined Umtini to return at night, and
this he promised faithfully to do.

Umtini quitted the line of march at full speed, accompanied by one of
Hintza’s attendants, the chief exclaiming, in high spirits, “Now you
need not go to the Bashee; you will have more cattle than you can drive
on the Xabecca”—a small river which we were rapidly approaching.

On my nearing the stream, it was found that the spoor or track of
the cattle branched off in two directions—one to the left, up a high
mountain; the other to the right, up a very steep, abrupt, high, and
wooded hill upon the banks of the Xabecca.[106] The river-bed below was
rugged, precipitous, and covered with brushwood. Hintza said, “We must
follow the track to our right; the cattle which are gone to the left up
the mountain are lost to us.” This desire of his I resolved to follow,
and crossed the Xabecca accordingly.

It had been remarked that this morning Hintza rode a remarkable fine
and powerful horse, which he spared fatigue by leading him up any hill
we came across during the march. On the opposite side of the Xabecca
the ascent was steep, precipitous, and woody. I was riding at the head
of the column, when I heard a rush of horses behind me, and called out
to the Corps of Guides, in whose particular charge Hintza was. I then
observed the chief and all his followers riding up quickly to me and
passing me in the bushes on both sides. The Corps of Guides called my
attention to the circumstance, and I exclaimed to Hintza, “Stop!” At
this moment the chief, having moved to one side of the track which we
were marching on, became entangled among the bushes and was obliged to
descend again on to the path before us. I drew a pistol, at which the
chief smiled so ingenuously, I nearly felt regret at my suspicions,
and I allowed the chief to ride on, preceded by some of the Corps of
Guides, his guards, who had pushed forward to intercept him if he
attempted to escape.

On reaching the top of this ascent, we found the country perfectly
open, and parallel with the rugged and wooded bed of the Xabecca
(calculated for the resort, cover, and protection of the Kafir), a
considerable tongue of land ran for about two miles and terminated at
the bend of the river, where was a Kafir village. On reaching the top,
my mind was occupied with the march of the troops up this steep ascent,
and I was looking back to observe their appearance, when the chief set
off at full speed, passing the Guides in front, towards the village
in the distance. Two of the Guides, active fellows, Messrs. Southey
and Shaw, set off, exclaiming, “Oh, Colonel, Colonel, look!” My first
glance showed me the treachery, and both spurs were dashed into my
horse’s sides, a noble animal of best English blood. The chief was at
least two hundred yards ahead of me, and for half a mile his horse was
as fast as mine. It was a capital horse in good condition, given to him
some months before by Colonel Somerset. After that distance I found I
rapidly neared him, and when within a distance of forty yards I pulled
out a pistol. It snapped. I tried a second, with equal ill success.
At this moment Hintza’s horse gained on me, and I found that in the
pursuit I had rushed my horse with such violence I had nearly blown
him, and that, if I must take the chief, it was necessary to nurse my
horse a little. In about a quarter of a mile I again closed with him. I
had no sword on, but I struck him with the butt end of a pistol, which
flew out of my hand. He was jobbing at me furiously with his assagai.
I rode upon his right to prevent him turning down into the bed of the
river, which I supposed (as afterwards it proved) was full of Kafirs in
waiting to receive him.

I was now rapidly approaching the Kafir huts, and the blood of my horse
gave me great advantage over Hintza. I tried to seize his bridle-reins,
but he parried my attempt with his assagai. I prayed him to stop, but
he was in a state of frenzy. At this point of desperation, a whisper
came into my ear, “Pull him off his horse!” I shall not, nor ever
could, forget the peculiarity of this whisper. No time was to be lost.
I immediately rode so close to him that his assagai was comparatively
harmless, and, seizing him by the collar of his karosse (or tiger-skin
cloak), I found I could shake him in his seat. I made a desperate
effort by urging my horse to pass his, and I hurled him to the ground.

My horse was naturally of a violent temper, and, from the manner I
had spurred him and rushed him about, he became furious. Having now
recovered and running on his second wind, I could not pull him up, and
he ran away with me to the Kafir village. I expected to feel a hundred
assagais at me in a moment, but all the Kafirs had gone down into the
river. I dropped the reins on one side, and with both hands hauled his
head round. I then spurred him violently and drove him right upon a
Kafir hut, by which he nearly fell, and I got him round with his head
the right way, viz. back again, and did not spare the spurs.

The Kafir’s fall created delay sufficient for the foremost of the
Guides, Southey, to approach within gunshot. Southey shot the Kafir
Larunu, and as Hintza was running into the bed of the river, called
to him to stop. At this moment I was within hailing distance, and I
desired Mr. Southey, “Fire, fire at him.” He did so from about two
hundred yards off. The chief fell, and I pulled up, thinking he was
knocked over. He was on his legs again in a moment, and so close to
the bush he succeeded in gaining it. I made instant arrangements with
the troops to invest as much of the bush as I could, in the hope of
intercepting him. In the mean time, however, with the utmost rapidity,
Southey and my A.D.C., Lieut. Balfour, 72nd Regiment, pursued him into
the bush, the former keeping up, the latter down the stream, when
Southey was suddenly startled by an assagai striking the stone or cliff
on which he was climbing. Turning quickly round, he perceived a Kafir,
his head and uplifted assagai only visible, and so close, he had to
recoil to bring up his gun. It was an act like lightning; either the
Kafir would send the assagai first, or the shot must fall. Southey was
first, and fired and shot the Kafir, whom to his astonishment he found
to be the chief.

Southey immediately galloped towards me. There was a cry, “Hintza is
taken,” at which I was not a little delighted, and I sent the sergeant
of my escort, Japps, to bring him to me in a rein or halter, but by
no means to treat him roughly. In a few seconds Southey reported the
melancholy truth. I say “melancholy” because I had much rather he had
been taken, but I thanked Southey for his exertions, and there was no
one act I could upbraid myself with as contributing to the chief’s
attempt to escape after the warning I had given him and the kindness
and respect I had treated him with, and after having, merely to please
him, marched, as he pretended, to his assistance.

I had the corpse brought up the hill carefully wrapped in the karosse,
and laid near the Kafir village with every mark of decency. I had no
tools, or I would have buried it. In the distance, with my telescope
I saw the confederate Umtini, and observed by his gestures that he was
exciting and calling together the Kafirs in all directions by means of
messengers running from hill to hill. This is their ordinary method of
communication, and it is nearly as rapid as our telegraph.



I collected my troops, and saw many of my officers look somewhat
staggered as to what was to come next, considering that they were such
a handful of troops in the heart of a country swarming with people
who were now our most avowed enemies. Some of Hintza’s followers were
in my hands. These I despatched to their countrymen, to tell them how
Hintza’s treachery had cost him his life, and that I should [not?] make
war upon them. I called the officers to the front, and some of the
influential non-commissioned officers of the Hottentot companies, and
told them the Bashee was not far distant. I should march upon it, and
cross or otherwise as circumstances demanded, for I had been informed
that the bed was full of cattle, principally colonial. I was now
without a guide, for on this important point I had naturally depended
on Hintza. However, I could distinguish the line of the bed of the
Bashee, to which it had been told me by Hintza that the cattle would be
driven, and the tracks of cattle all converged in that direction.

Late in the afternoon the waters of the Bashee were discernible and
on its further bank a considerable number of cattle. The troops had
been marching fourteen hours, but I resolved to push forward with my
cavalry, whom I ordered to lead their horses down the precipitous
banks of the river. I forded the beautiful and widely flowing stream
in an oblique direction, and ascended the rugged and steep banks of
the opposite side by a cleft in the rocks, which admitted of only one
horseman at a time. After gaining the heights, I immediately pushed
forward, and succeeded in capturing 3000 odd fine cattle, but very few
colonial ones among them, and had there been an hour’s more daylight,
I should have taken double the number. Night, however, came on, and I
bivouacked my party on the left bank of the Bashee, ground well adapted
for the security of the captured cattle. This was the third day since I
left the Kei, and the troops had marched 84 miles.

Having observed at dusk that the cattle I could not come up with were
driven in the direction of the Umtata, I resolved, as the moonlight
was greatly in my favour, to move at three o’clock in the morning [13
May], leaving the jaded horses, weakly men, and captured cattle, with
as large a guard as I could afford, in the bivouac. I gave this command
to Captain Ross, of the Cape Mounted Rifles, an old and experienced
Peninsular officer, with orders to concentrate everything as soon as
it was daylight. I told him that he might rely on it the Kafirs would
attempt to retake the cattle.

A most gallant officer and dear friend, Major White, the
Quartermaster-General to the Burgher force, had accompanied me, and had
rendered me great assistance, having also been busily employed each day
in adding to the topographical information so much required in this
country. He proposed to remain in camp to make sketches, and asked me
to give him a guard of one corporal and three men. I desired Captain
Ross to give him six, to keep a sharp look-out on this party, and (as I
anticipated what _did_ occur) to reinforce it in case of need. I also
particularly requested my friend White to go a very short way from
the bivouac, and to keep a sharp look-out, for he might rely upon the
enemy’s showing the utmost activity to retake the cattle and destroy
every man remaining behind.

Upon my return to camp, the first report was that Major White and
all his party were cut off. On the first alarm by a shot, the old
Peninsular officer Ross was broad awake, but his reinforcement only
arrived in time to find the body of poor White lying pierced with
wounds, and all his papers, double-barrelled gun, etc., borne off,
and the party lying murdered near him. In him the Colony lost a man
of superior ability and vast utility, a noble-minded public-spirited
fellow, formerly a lieutenant in our service, and I a friend I was
proud of.

During these disasters in camp, which my foresight had anticipated, I
pushed forward, detaching Captain Bailie with sixty excellent men of
the Hottentot battalion down the Bashee to a distance, then to bring up
his right shoulder and rejoin me on the banks of the Kakke[107] River,
equidistant between the Bashee and Umtata, where I proposed to halt and
cook, if circumstances permitted me. I had no guide, and my movements
were conducted by reference to a very defective map. I marched from the
mountainous bank of the Bashee through a most beautiful and fertile
country, strongly undulating and rich in pasturage, over which was
visible the track of vast numbers of cattle. I pushed on with vigour
until the bed of the Umtata was perfectly visible, but not a head of
cattle was discernible. The whole country had been driven on the alarm
and capture of the previous night. The enemy had assembled in vast
numbers all around me, but I never could get near him, so wary and so
vigilant was he. I succeeded, however, in taking one prisoner, and
two Fingoes came in to me. From them I learned what I indeed saw—the
cattle of the whole country had been driven, previously and by Hintza’s
orders, over the Umtata, those I had captured the night before being,
as it were, the rear-guard.

From the distance marched, the fatigue of the troops, and the powerful
concentration of the immense population all around me, I naturally
began to turn my attention to the security of the bivouac I had left
behind and the captured cattle. I had previously directed Captain
Bailie not to join me, if he found the country I had detached him
into excessively difficult to traverse. He was in that case to follow
the bed of the Bashee a reasonable distance, and then return straight
to the bivouac. My own observation of the country I had marched over
confirmed me in thinking it would be impossible for him to join me. I
therefore made no halt on account of any such expectation.

The enemy on my march back made some attempts on my rear. The officer,
a Lieutenant Bailie, son of the man previously mentioned, a very sharp
fellow, laid himself in ambush in the long grass and several times made
the Kafirs pay dearly for their temerity.

On approaching my bivouac I saw all was secure, and did not anticipate
the extent of the melancholy report I was to receive of the loss of my
friend White, as before described. Captain Ross told me that he had
been kept on the most vigilant alert all day; that every moment he
expected a rush from the immense numbers of Kafirs all round him, and
he was very glad to see me back.

Every moment the numbers increased around me, and their daring to
approach me indicated great confidence. I was perfectly satisfied that
an attempt would be made at night to retake the cattle, and I made my
defensive dispositions accordingly, giving the command of the picquet
to an active officer on whom I could depend—Captain Lacy of the 72nd

Scarcely was it perfectly dark when on came, in the most stealthy
manner, a swarm of Kafirs. Their design was anticipated, however, by
our vigilance, and the assailants were driven back with great loss.
Captain Bailie had not yet returned with his sixty men, and I was very
anxious he should do so, although I felt no great apprehensions for his
safety, as I heard no firing in his direction, and I was well aware he
would not give in without a desperate struggle. However, between eleven
and twelve at night I heard him approaching—joyfully, I admit; for he
and his men had been marching from three o’clock in the morning, and
taking into consideration the previous day’s march, I then considered,
and I now maintain, that these sixty men marched a greater distance
than was ever traversed in the same number of hours by any infantry
in the world. I was aware that unless they fell in with cattle they
would have nothing to eat, and I had their dinners prepared; the active
fellows had eaten nothing from the previous night. Captain Bailie
reported to me that he had had various rencontres with parties of
the enemy; that after dark he was closely invested, and several bold
attempts were made to assagai his men in the very ranks.

Seeing the number of the enemy, their increasing hostility and daring,
the difficulty of the road I had to retire by, being obliged to recross
the Bashee by a path admitting of only one bullock at a time, it became
necessary to make my arrangements with every skill and attention, lest
the enemy should retake my capture, the abandonment of which would be
contrary to the feelings of most of my party. Accordingly I made the
soldiers cook at daylight, and went in among my doubtful troops—the
new levies; for in my _soldiers_ of the 72nd Regiment I had every
confidence, as they deserved. I found my Hottentots, who are very
sharp fellows, perfectly aware of the delicacy of our position, which,
indeed, I did not attempt to conceal, as I wished to impress upon them
that our safety and the getting away of the cattle depended on their
silence and obedience and their never firing a shot without orders.
They always called me “father.” An old spokesman now said to me in
Dutch, “We will do all our father desires, if he will stay near us, and
not go galloping about to have his throat cut; for if we lose him we
are all lost.”

I sent Captain Ross over the river to establish himself on the opposite
bank, and I placed parties in the river above and below the ford to
keep the Kafirs from driving off the cattle, as they are very expert
at this, and a few men could have effected it if once an opening had

So soon as the enemy saw me under arms and observed my retrograde
movement, they disposed of themselves in the most dexterous manner,
so as to attack me wherever able, and made frequent feints in one
direction so as to attack in another. But so well were my orders
obeyed, and so alert was every officer and soldier, fully aware that
one error would occasion dire disaster, all these bold attempts were
defeated: and I succeeded in crossing the river to the full extent of
my most sanguine hopes. When I reached the open country about four
miles from the river, the enemy had no cover or ground favourable for
molesting me, and I pursued my march uninterrupted, but with great
caution and in as compact a body as possible. Three thousand cattle
cover a deal of ground, and but for the ability of the Hottentots as
drovers I should never have succeeded in bringing them off.

In all my previous service I was never placed in a position requiring
more cool determination and skill, and as one viewed the handful of
my people compared with the thousands of brawny savages all round us,
screeching their war-cry, calling to their cattle, and indicating by
gesticulations the pleasure they would have in cutting our throats, the
scene was animating to a degree. I continued my march and recrossed the
Kei on the 17th May, and rejoined the main body under his Excellency
Sir B. D’Urban, having completed a march of 218 miles in seven days
and a half, over a rugged and mountainous country, intersected by deep
rivers at the bottom of precipitous ravines and rivulets difficult to
cross, having had to march for hours without any road at all, bringing
with me 3000 captured cattle and 1000 Fingoes, who had flocked to
me with their families for protection, and added considerably to my
difficulties; and all this effected without the loss of an individual
except those whose fatuity, or rather indiscretion, had placed them—so
contrary to my caution and my anticipation of danger—within the grasp
and power of the undaunted and stealthy savage.

On my reaching Sir Benjamin D’Urban, he gave out—

      “21 May, 1835.

 “The Commander-in-Chief has again the gratification of recording the
 military skill and indefatigable activity of Colonel Smith, and the
 admirable discipline, zeal, and determined spirit of the troops under
 his orders in the recent expedition beyond the mouth of the Bashee.
 Upon no former occasion—and there have been many during this campaign
 where they have well earned praise for their high qualities—have they
 displayed them in a more eminent degree. They marched in seven days
 218 miles; overcame all opposition, notwithstanding that this was
 obstinately attempted by several thousands of armed and determined
 savages; crossed and recrossed a large river of very difficult banks,
 and brought off from the further side three thousand head of cattle
 which had been plundered from the Colony. They have also achieved a
 still more important service in the course of this bold and rapid
 inroad: they have rescued from destruction and safely brought in one
 thousand of the Fingo race, who from their remote situation had been
 before unable to join their countrymen now under British protection,
 and who would inevitably have been sacrificed to the fury of the
 savages so soon as they should have had leisure to think of them.

 “For these services, effected too without loss from the ranks, the
 Commander-in-Chief returns his thanks to all the troops employed,
 officers and soldiers, and he especially offers them to Colonel Smith.”

The Governor was much depressed at the unfortunate loss of the chief
Hintza by his own treachery, not only from the natural feeling of
humanity towards the individual, but because he fully anticipated the
hold the canting party would take of it in England. Such men, stripping
facts of all collateral circumstances, so changed the features of that
incident as to twist it into the tortuous shape of their own cunning
duplicity. For my own part, I was firmly based in my conscientious
rectitude, of which Almighty God alone was Witness and Judge, and
anything which man could say I disregarded. I admit, however, that at
the moment I did not expect to be called a bloodthirsty murderer in
every print in every quarter of our dominions, or to be shamefully
abandoned by the Minister of the Colonies,[108] whose duty it was in
such assaults honestly to have supported and sustained me against the
misled voice of the public, and not to have sacrificed me at the shrine
of cringing party spirit when I had so faithfully, so zealously, and
so energetically saved for him the Colony of the Cape. He remained
in office long enough to repent and acknowledge his error. My own
rectitude of conscience prevented me ever caring an iota for these
miscreants’ assaults, and I was ultimately thanked by the minister;
although not till I had undergone the ordeal of inquiry by a court of
investigation, levelled at _me_, but assembled on Mr. Southey, by whose
hand the chief lost his life (August and Sept., 1836).

The Governor prepared to move into the colony, as soon as he had taken
possession of the country on the right bank of the Kei, some years
previously wrested from the Hottentots by the Kafirs, and as soon as
he had founded the city of King William’s Town [24 May] immediately
on the left bank of the Buffalo, and established corresponding posts
throughout the newly added “Province of Queen Adelaide.”

The army marched from its position on the Kei, establishing posts on
the line of road towards Grahamstown, and headquarters were established
on the 22nd May, on the site of the new city, King William’s Town, and
remained there till the 11th June, when the Commander-in-Chief returned
to Grahamstown.

During this period, with a small force of cavalry and infantry, I made
some most rapid and extensive marches throughout the whole of the new
province, the object being, in virtue of the proclamation, to compel
the Kafirs to return behind the Kei in the spirit of that conquest by
which they had some years previously crossed it. A more harassing duty
for myself and troops cannot be imagined, although the troops had the
best of the fatigue, for after each excursion I took fresh parties.

The day previously to headquarters returning to Grahamstown a General
Order was published, of which the following is an extract:—

 “The Commander-in-Chief publishes three reports made to him on the
 1st, 3rd, and 7th inst. [June, 1835] by Colonel Smith _at length_,
 because they are full of valuable instruction for young officers
 (whose attention, therefore, is earnestly invited to them), setting
 forth in the clearest and most emphatic manner how such duties
 should be performed, as well with regard to arrangement of plan, as
 to activity and energy of execution; and, above all, they furnish a
 practical illustration of this great military principle, which should
 be foremost in the mind of every soldier, and which so strikingly
 characterizes this distinguished officer, ‘Nil actum reputans, siquid
 superesset agendum.’”

After thanking the troops, the Order continues—

 “It diminishes the regret of the Commander-in-Chief at quitting this
 personal command, that he leaves them in charge of Colonel Smith, an
 officer in whom they must all have the fullest confidence as well on
 account of those high military qualities which they have witnessed,
 and which have made him a main cause of the recent successes, as
 because they know from experience he is a soldier, and will always
 have a watchful care of all that can contribute to their health,
 comfort, and convenience.

 “Colonel Smith, C.B., is appointed to the command of the District of
 the Province of Queen Adelaide and all the troops therein, until his
 Majesty’s pleasure be known.”



Upon my taking the command, my first object was to provide for the
security of the various posts established by his Excellency; to
facilitate communication by improving roads, fords, etc.; then to
endeavour to compel the Kafirs, in conformity with my instructions,
to withdraw beyond the Kei and sue for peace. I endeavoured by every
means in my power to assure them that peace was within their reach, and
that if hostilities were continued, it would be due to them alone. I
most assuredly never allowed the troops one moment’s repose from the
furtherance of the great object—a peaceful possession of the province
wrested from the enemy.

Of the many patrols which I sent out, one consisted of sixty of the
1st Battalion of the Hottentots under Lieutenants Bailie and Biddulph.
I had frequently employed Lieutenant Bailie on such duties. His
achievements were always to my perfect satisfaction, and I had implicit
confidence in his judgment, discretion, and bravery. The evening this
patrol went out, I proceeded some distance with it, impressing upon
Lieut. Bailie the necessity there was for vigilance. Above all he must
never divide his party, as utility and safety consisted in union. With
this injunction I left him, and for ever. It will appear that this
excellent officer had received some information by which he hoped to
effect great service, and he divided his sixty men into two bodies,
thirty with himself, and thirty with Biddulph. They were to meet at
a given point of rendezvous well known to both. Biddulph reached the
rendezvous, but Bailie’s party never again appeared. They were cut
off to a man. Biddulph, having heard no firing, after waiting for
some time, believed Bailie to have returned to my camp. I had so much
confidence in this officer’s ability, that I was not in the slightest
apprehension for his safety, and as to sending out parties in quest
of him, I had no clue whatever, for Biddulph could not even give an
opinion where he could have proceeded to. Afterwards, on the conclusion
of peace, it was ascertained that with his small party he protracted
a most gallant and unflinching resistance for four days against many
hundreds of the savages, who had hemmed him in in one of the deep
woody ravines of the Tabendoda[109] Mountains, a resistance which did
not cease till his ammunition was exhausted. It is most extraordinary
that, though I sent patrols in various directions, no one ever heard
the report even of a musket.

Being thus established “Governor” of a Province, and my dear, faithful,
adventurous, and campaigning wife being impatient under her unusual
separation, we resolved with mutual gratification that she should
start to join me—a distance of nearly 800 miles over a wild country of
bad roads, difficult passes, and deep rivers. But what will not woman
undertake when actuated by love and duty? Such distances are travelled
in large covered or tilted waggons drawn by ten, twelve, fourteen, and
even twenty horses according to the road. The roads may be of deep
sand, hard, or over mountains; but they are invariably rough. One of
the judges’ circuit waggons was kindly placed at my wife’s disposal,
and she, her maid, dogs, and two faithful servants started. Reliefs of
horses were collected on the road at the usual stages by authority, my
wife paying for the same. She travelled at an average rate of 70 miles
a day, receiving, wherever she stopped the night or for refreshment,
every attention from the families of the Dutch Boers, most of whom
were, or had been, under my command, and with whom I was very popular.
She reached Grahamstown much fatigued from the jolting of so unwieldy a
thing as a Cape waggon, but no other vehicle can bear the shock caused
by the roughness of the mountain roads. On reaching Grahamstown she
found it necessary to rest for a day or two, after which the troops of
Volunteers spontaneously prayed to be her escort to Fort Willshire,
about halfway between Grahamstown and King William’s Town, the furthest
point to which I could venture to proceed from my command. On the day
we were to meet, so punctual were we both that her waggon and my escort
appeared on two heights on either side of Fort Willshire at the same
instant, and we were again united in gratitude to Almighty God.

The next day we proceeded to the seat of my government, King William’s
Town, where my dear campaigning wife was again under canvas, surrounded
by all the circumstance of war. There was, however, little “pomp” in
my posts, every man who strayed a few yards from the cantonment being
murdered to a certainty. We only occupied the ground we stood on, and
chains of sentries were round us each night, as hundreds of Kafirs
were watching every post night and day for the purposes of murder and
plunder, and most daring attempts were frequently made to carry off
cattle from the very centre of our camp. My tents were near the garden
of an old missionary station which had been burnt during the war; and
in that garden two Kafirs were shot while attempting to steal my cows.

Close to King William’s Town, and somewhat under cover of it, I had
a large Fingo encampment. One night the Kafirs in great force made a
desperate attempt to destroy them and their camp and carry off their
cattle. But the Fingoes, even before the picquet in readiness for the
purpose could reach them, not only defended themselves most gallantly,
but bravely beat the Kafirs, left them lying dead in their camp, and
pursued them until daylight. I shall never forget the screeching,
yelling, hooting, Tower of Babel noise made in the dead of night by so
many hundred desperate savages fighting with every degree of animosity
that bitter hatred and enmity inspire. But so well did the Fingoes
conduct themselves, that no further attempt was ever made to molest

In all the many forays I made on these determined barbarians, I
endeavoured to impress upon them, through the medium of their women,
that submission and a desire on their part for peace would be readily
listened to, and that they alone would be the culprits if the horrors
of war continued. The many forays I ordered are best described in a
General Order, of which the following is an extract:—

      “7 August.

 “With reference to the General Order of the 1st July, when the
 Commander-in-Chief had last the satisfaction of thanking the troops
 in the Province of Queen Adelaide, he now desires to record his
 approbation of their continued and gallant and excellent services
 as reported by Colonel Smith during the latter part of June and the
 whole of the month of July. These have been hardly and brilliantly
 achieved, with great loss to the enemy and the capture of 5000 head
 of cattle. And for these the Commander-in-Chief desires to express to
 the officers and soldiers his approbation and his thanks, which are
 especially due to Colonel Smith.”

If ever these anecdotes meet the eye of the public, let it bear
in mind that although as an _united_ enemy nothing could be so
contemptible as the poor athletic barbarians, yet to inflict any
punishment upon them the most rapid and gigantic marches were
requisite, and every patrol must be conducted on the most vigilant
and scientific principles. Most enterprising men were watching every
movement, ready to take advantage of inactivity or error. On one
occasion a most desperate attempt, boldly planned and executed, was
made on a redoubt near the frontier, and only repulsed by the soldiers
of the 72nd Regiment hand to hand. On the whole a more harassing duty
was rarely undertaken.

My Hottentot levies—the 1st and 2nd Provisional Battalions (not
enlisted soldiers)—began to be very tired of the war. The excitement
of cattle-hunting no longer existed; and in lieu of it, when I sent
them into the bush they encountered an enemy fully as gallant as
themselves. After the loss of Lieutenant Bailie’s party, too, they
became somewhat cowed; and I never sent any of them out without a
proportion of our own redcoats. From the various communications I began
to receive through the women, it was evident that the Kafirs also
were heartily tired of war. In order, therefore, to accelerate peace,
I determined to make from Fort Cox (commanded by the gallant officer
of that name) a desperate and very extended attempt on the tribes of
the great chiefs Macomo and Tyalie, who were in that neighbourhood.
I therefore reinforced Major Cox with all the troops I could spare,
and sent him very detailed instructions, dwelling particularly on
the attainment of my object, peace. Any overture was to be received
cordially, but no cessation of hostilities was to be permitted without
previous communication with me; which a few hours would effect.
This enterprise was so ably conducted by my gallant comrade, and so
energetically supported by officers and soldiers, that Macomo sued for
peace; and I consented to a provisional cessation of hostilities whilst
I communicated with the Governor at Grahamstown.

Sir Benjamin immediately sent out Captain Warden and Major Cox. Both
officers were personally known to Macomo and liked by him; and he with
his council and Tyalie met them beyond our posts [15 August].[110] The
basis of the treaty was then communicated to the chiefs, who consented
to almost everything, the articles were taken to Grahamstown by Captain
Warden, and Major Cox, to my deep regret, sent back the reinforcements
I had furnished him with. I was so convinced that the chiefs would not
conclude a peace on these terms, that I marched back to Cox the troops
(or rather fresh ones), and wrote to the Governor to request that, in
the event of Macomo, as I anticipated, demurring to the terms, I might
be sent to conclude the peace. The whole turned out as I expected.
Macomo, seeing we were willing to make peace, at his second meeting
with Cox and Warden [25 August] rose in his demands, and was most
violent and even insulting in his conduct. Warden, in conformity to his
orders, came to me 30 miles off; and at dusk I was in my saddle, and
troops were marching in all directions on certain points around Macomo.

On my arrival at Fort Cox, I sent a summons to Macomo to meet me with
his chiefs in front of my picquet, describing to him the position of
my troops, and pointing out that the line of his retreat over the Kei,
previously left open for him, was now intercepted. I added that if he
was not with me in two hours after the receipt of my message, I would
sweep him and all his host off the face of the earth. This bold menace
had the desired effect, and he speedily met me.

I went out [6 September] with only Cox, Warden, and my A.D.C., to show
I did not anticipate treachery, although I had some able support hard
by. On meeting me, Macomo was in a state of terrible agitation, as was
his brother Tyalie. The spot was near the place called the grave of
their father, the great chief Gaika. I therefore, in their own mode of
incantation, invoked Gaika to our council, for whom they had profound
respect and veneration, and then most abruptly demanded a repetition
of his dying injunction to his sons Macomo and Tyalie, which was to
remain in peace and amity with the English and never make war upon
them. I would not allow the chiefs to have an opinion, much less to
give one, saying, “You made war in the most brutal and unjust manner
upon our colony, without observing _your own_ and _our_ unvaried
custom of declaring war, but burning, murdering, and spoiling all you
approached. Beaten in war, you sue for peace, and peace is granted to
you. On a second meeting called to ratify it, you rise in your demands.
You are insolent and overbearing to two officers for whom you profess
respect and esteem. Now I read the only terms and conditions on which
I make peace with you. Unless you accept them after the several days
you have had to deliberate on them—for they are the very same articles
you previously accepted without any reserve—you shall return to your
people. I give you half an hour to reach them, after which I will
instantly attack you, and never cease until you are all destroyed. I
am here to command, not to _listen_.” (“Listen” is a most impressive
expression in the Kafir language and habit. It means everything.)

This decided mode of dealing with these treacherous savages, with
whom self-will alone is law, astonished them, and they all agreed to
the former treaty. Tyalie, an ignorant fellow, began to talk, but I
shut his mouth in a voice of thunder, and threatened to make peace
with the others and exclude him, which settled his presumption. The
whole body—chiefs and council—then formally ratified the treaty, and
all accompanied me to Fort Cox, where I regaled them with all in my
power. I told them they should soon see the difference in me between
a friend and an enemy; that as I had waged vigorous war on them, so
would I teach them by every kindness to become men and shake off their

The Governor came to Fort Willshire, halfway between Fort Cox and
Grahamstown, to meet the chiefs [dates of meetings, 11 and 17
September]. The tribes had become, in consequence of the war, somewhat
unruly, and I do believe that at the moment the chiefs, with every
desire, had not the power to restrain many lawless and predatory acts
of their followers, pending the final arrangement of the new order of

On the conclusion of the treaty of peace, a deputation was sent to
Kreili and his mother, Nomsa. Kreili was now the great chief in place
of his father Hintza. If a Kafir has any heart, this youth Kreili
showed one on all after-occasions to me, for my kindness to him when
he was in our camp with his father. I ever found him docile and
reasonable, and ever had paramount authority with him.



During the assembly of the chiefs and their great men at Fort
Willshire, I had many and long conferences with them. They had become
British subjects at their own request, and now each chief was appointed
a magistrate in his own tribe and district, with orders to look up to
me and report to me as the Governor of the Province. To introduce a new
order of things diametrically opposed to their former habits required
much consideration; and the success of the undertaking depended on
the _gradual_ introduction of innovation and change. I joyfully and
enthusiastically entered upon the task of rescuing from barbarism
thousands of our fellow-creatures endowed by nature with excellent
understanding and powers of reasoning as regards the _present_; for
there was only one man among them—Umhala, the chief of the T’slambie
tribe—who had an idea of the _result_ of measures, or futurity. I saw
that innovations must be so introduced as to render them agreeable, not
obnoxious, and that anything acquired by conciliatory and palatable
means was an important point gained. I requested each chief to give me
one of his most able councillors, and several messengers on whom he
could depend, to accompany me to King William’s Town, now the “Great
Kraal” or seat of government, that we might freely communicate, or,
in their expression, “that they might have my ear.” This they all
cheerfully assented to. The Governor returned to Grahamstown [25
Sept.], I to my “Great Kraal” with my new court, and the chiefs to
their tribes.

By this arrangement much of the territory, indeed almost the whole,
between the Kei and the Keiskamma was restored to the previous
occupants. But the labour and difficulty I had to prevent locations on
the tracts of country reserved for military purposes and sites of towns
is not to be described. Frequently I have been compelled to resort
to very harsh measures; but I never would admit of any arrangement
bordering on a compromise. I started on the principle of Yes and
No, Right and Wrong. I was ever inflexible, and I ever strove most
energetically to establish that faith in my word and uncompromising
justice which aided me beyond anything to effect what I ultimately
did. I closed the door to all appeal or reference to events which
occurred prior to the conclusion of peace. In their own words, “the
old kraal was shut,” never to be reopened. It was fortunate for me
that I adopted this policy, for no records of the Court of Chancery
embraced more retrospect than my new subjects were disposed to. They
were all by nature subtle and acute lawyers. The councillor given me by
Macomo was an old man of great ability; Lords Bacon, Thurlow, and Eldon
were not more acquainted with our laws than was this old fellow with
the laws of his people. He had been Gaika’s Prime Minister and Lord
Chancellor, and was attached to the English. With this old fellow I
spent six hours a day for several successive days, until I made myself
thoroughly acquainted with their laws and rights of person. Although
these closely resembled the law of Moses given in Leviticus, and, if
correctly administered, were excellent, I soon discovered that might
was right, that the damnable forgery of sorcery and witchcraft was
the _primum mobile_ of oppression and extortion, and that under the
cloak of punishment for this offence there was committed oppression of
so barbarous and tyrannical a kind as it was hardly to be conceived
that beings endowed with reason could perpetrate on each other. The
following sketch will give some idea of what commonly takes place.

In Kafirland the witch-doctors and the rain-makers are in the
confidence of their respective chiefs. Whenever any individual renders
himself obnoxious to the chief or any of his family or influential men,
he is accused of bewitching either the chief, his wife, or child, or
cattle, or any other thing, but no one is ever considered capable of
this sort of sorcery but a man rich in goods, viz. cattle.

A witch-dance is then called, special care being taken to summon the
individual upon whom it is intended to affix the crime. An old hag,
perfectly naked, comes forth; the assembled people dance round her in a
circle; she is, in their expression, to “smell out” the person who has
bewitched the supposed sufferers. After a variety of gesticulations,
this hag approaches the individual already named by the chief, and
literally _smells_ him, proclaiming him the culprit. If he is very
rich, the chief and his _pagate_, or councillors, are satisfied with
“eating him up” (the native expression for having all one’s property
confiscated under an accusation of witchcraft); if not so, or if he is
very obnoxious, they have various punishments, such as putting him at
once to death by a species of hanging, or rather strangulating by a
leather thong, throwing the poor wretch on the ground upon his back,
tethering his arms apart above his head, his legs apart and fully
extended, then bringing large quantities of large black ants,[111]
throwing them upon him, and leaving him exposed until the pain and
anguish of the stings put an end to his existence; burning the body
all over with large flat stones (the poor wretch on whose account I
punished Umhala so severely[112] had thirty large places burned on his
person); taking the accused to the edge of a particular precipice and
hurling him down; and several other methods. No individual, man, woman,
or child, is safe. The witch-doctors are in the confidence of the
chief, as much as the Inquisitors are in that of the Pope, and no more
arbitrary oppression is exercised on earth than by these Kafir chiefs
and witch-doctors.

I soon saw that the witch-doctors and rain-makers, _i.e._ fellows who
professed and were believed to be capable of bringing down rain in time
of drought, would be my formidable opponents in introducing a new order
of things, as their supposed power, if I succeeded, must ultimately be

Having thus made myself acquainted with the laws of the barbarous
people whom I was to govern and lead on to become civilized beings
and British subjects, I was in a position to begin proceedings. At
my suggestion, the Governor appointed magistrates to each tribe,
consisting principally of officers of the army. With Macomo and Tyalie
and the widow Suta, and with the heir-apparent Sandilli, Gaika’s
young son, I had Captain Stretch; with Dushani’s tribe, the widow
Nonibe,[113] and her son, I had Captain Southey; with Umhala and the
T’slambie tribes, Captain Rawstorne.

The missionaries all came back to their respective missions, and with
the magistrates, the missionaries, and other aid afforded by the kind
attention paid by Sir Benjamin D’Urban to all my wants, I proceeded to
take a nominal census of the whole male population arrived at puberty,
with the number of their women, children, etc. At first the Kafirs
were much opposed to this, but through the aid of my councillor Ganya,
the common sense of which they have a great share, and my patient
explanation of the utility of the measure, I succeeded. I found I had
upwards of 100,000 barbarians to reclaim who had no knowledge of right
or wrong beyond arbitrary power, desire, and self-will. To attach the
people to the new order of things was of vast importance; to lessen the
power of the chiefs equally so; but this had to be gradual, for if I
removed the hereditary restraint of the chiefs, I should open the gates
to an anarchy which I might not be able to quell.

A fortunate circumstance occurred, which enabled me to make gigantic
steps. The Kafirs have a barbarous festival, when all the maidens
are compelled to attend to undergo a sort of “Rape of the Sabines.”
These maidens, during the festival, are appropriated by the chiefs
to themselves and their followers, and then sent back to their
families. Old Ganya, who came to tell me this, said, “Now you have
an opportunity, by preventing this brutal custom, to restrain the
lawlessness of the chiefs, and to win the hearts of their subjects.” He
added that there were many fathers of families in camp, who had come to
appeal to me for protection. I immediately gave them an audience,[114]
as I invariably did every one who desired to see me. I acquired great
ascendancy by first ascertaining through the interpreter the grounds
on which they had come, and when they were ushered into the presence,
exclaiming, “Ah, you want so and so!” The poor wretches were much
astonished at this, believing that I had the power to divine their
thoughts; and I frequently saved myself from listening to a string of
lies very plausibly linked together.

I also established with every magistrate a police of Kafirs, and I had
a considerable number with me, to apprehend delinquents and culprits
and summon the heads of the kraals. These police carried with them
from the magistrate a long stick with a brass knob. This is a custom
of their own. Fakoo has a cat’s tail on his wands of office. At
headquarters I had a very long stick with a _large knob_, which was
always held by my Gold Stick when I was in council, or upon trials,
cases of appeal, mandates, issuing proclamations, etc. And when I
seized the stick, held it myself, and gave a decisive order, that was
formal and irrevocable. For when once I had decided, no power could
induce me to swerve from that decision.

When the police were out, if they were treated with contumely, and
the head of a kraal refused obedience or compliance, this stick was
stuck in his cattle-kraal, and he was obliged to bring it himself
to the authority whence it emanated; while so long as it remained
in the kraal, the proprietor was under _the ban of the Empire_,
excommunicated, or outlawed. The fear they had of this wand was
literally magical. I never had to use military aid in support of my
police but once, and then I did so, more as a display of the rapidity
with which I could turn out troops and rush them to the spot than from
any absolute necessity. Such was the respect for these policemen, that
the neighbours of a delinquent would voluntarily turn out in their
support, and I always rewarded such support by a present of cattle from
my treasury (formed from fines levied for offences).

Having now begun to have some weight and influence among the whole of
the tribes, and having taught the people to look up to me rather than
to their own chiefs, I had next to re-establish the power of the chiefs
as derived from myself. I therefore, with the sanction of the Governor,
resolved on a great meeting on the 7th January of all the chiefs,
their relatives, councillors, rain-makers, and as many as chose to
attend. I had previously prepared English clothes for Macomo, Tyalie,
Umhala, and some others, with a medal, which was to be the emblem of
their magisterial power. Some thousands assembled in a most orderly
and obedient manner. I had taken very good care to strengthen my force
at headquarters, for I made it an axiom never to place myself in such
a situation with these volatile savages as not to be able to enforce
obedience to my commands like lightning.

I gave them a sort of epitome of their own history, especially of the
Kafir wars. I dwelt particularly on their cruelty and treachery in
the late war, and reminded them that they had voluntarily proposed to
become British subjects. I then administered the oath of allegiance to
all the chiefs in the name of their respective peoples. Two councillors
from Kreili (the new Hintza and Great Father) whom I had invited to the
meeting, proposed that they should take the oath of allegiance too,
which of course I could not accept, all the inhabitants beyond the Kei
being independent. It is a curious fact that after this meeting had
been held, and the messengers from Kreili had disseminated throughout
the tribe the improved state of things under my rule, Kreili himself
and many of his influential men were most anxious to become British
subjects, and I received many deputations to that effect.

To return, however, to my meeting. I described the duties of the
magistrates, British and native, and the necessity of the people’s
obedience, and declared that, while no one should be “eaten up”[115]
or any way punished except for robbery, etc., I should oblige them
to be obedient to the laws and the jurisdiction of their respective

After this meeting, my system began to work with the greatest
facility, and the rain-makers, who had most scrupulously kept aloof
from me, began to pay me visits, particularly the chief of that
department of deceit. I received these first visitors with great ease
and ceremony of reception, made them all presents, and dismissed them
without any discussion of their power and respectability. At the great
meeting I had prohibited every branch of witchcraft, so that the
rain-makers, being fully aware that the axe was laid to the root of
their power, thought it as well to worship the rising sun and court me.
Knowing that the presents would bring back the great rain-maker, and
induce the little rain-makers to come to me, I was prepared, on the
visit of the great one, to prove to him the fallacy and deceit by which
he led the people to believe that he possessed a power which he knew he
did not.

One day when the great rain-maker was in my camp, and many others, as
well as an unusually large number of Kafirs, I assembled them all for
the avowed purpose of hearing a disputation between the “Great Chief”
or “Father,” as they invariably called me, and the rain-makers. My
first question to them was, “So you can make rain, can you?” I never
saw in men’s countenances more caution. I said, “Speak out, speak
freely to your Father.” The great rain-maker said he could. I then
showed him one by one all the articles on my writing-table, knives,
scissors, etc., my clothes, my hat, boots, etc., etc., asking, “Can
you make this?” “No.” “Do you know how it is made?” “No.” Having
explained everything and how it was made through the medium of my
invaluable interpreter, Mr. Shepstone, I then called for a tumbler of
water. I showed all the people the water, and asked the rain-makers if
what was in the glass was of the same quality as the water or rain they
invoked. All agreed “Yes.” Their anxiety was intense. I then threw down
the water on the dry ground, which immediately absorbed it, and desired
the rain-makers to put it again in the tumbler. They were aghast, and
said, “We cannot.” In a voice of thunder, I said, “Put the rain again
in this glass, I say.” I then turned to the spectators. “Now you see
how these impostors have deceived you. Now listen to the ‘_Word_.’”
(This is the phrase they use in giving orders and decisions on all
points of law and in trials.) I took my wand of office, planted it
violently before me, and said, “Any man of my children hereafter who
believes in witchcraft, or that any but God the Great Spirit can make
rain, I will ‘eat him up.’” I then left the meeting and the rain-makers
thunderstruck and confounded.

On principle, however, I never directly contradicted or prohibited
their customs, or left them without hope or a friend; so in about two
hours I sent for the great rain-maker and two or three others,—clever,
acute fellows all, and I said, “Your Father has now proved to the
people that you are impostors, but as you have been taught to fancy
that you possess a power you have not, I must provide another and
an honest livelihood for you, and I shall expect you to assist me in
administering the new and true laws.” I then made each presents, giving
them so many bullocks apiece—a stock-in-trade. These fellows were many
of them of great use to me afterwards. By the line of conduct I had
pursued, I had carried them with me instead of rendering them my secret
and bitter enemies.

In Umhala’s tribe, I heard of an awful case of his “eating up” a
man for witchcraft, and afterwards cruelly burning him with red-hot
stones. The poor wretch, so soon as he could move, came to me and
showed me the cicatrized wounds all over his body—how he had lived
was a wonder. I kept him closely concealed. I sent for Umhala and his
English magistrate and council to come to me immediately. This Umhala
was a man of superior intellect, and the only one who could judge cause
and effect, and future results. He never quailed in the slightest,
as all others did, under my most violent animadversions. He gave me
more trouble to render obedient than all the other chiefs. Still,
he respected me, and I him; and he afterwards showed more real and
permanent affection for me than the others.

Upon his arrival, he did all in his power to find out what I wanted
him for, and he apprehended the real cause. So soon as he and all
his people were assembled in my courthouse, I went in _with my wand
behind_, borne by my great councillor Ganya. Umhala then saw something
was coming. I came to the point at once, as was my custom. “Umhala, did
I not give the word—no more witchcraft?” He boldly answered, “You did.”
“Then how dare you, Umhala, one of my magistrates sworn to be obedient
to my law, infringe the Word?” He stoutly denied it. I then brought
in the poor afflicted sufferer, and roared out, “Umhala, devil, liar,
villain, you dare to deceive me. Deny now what I accuse you of.” He
then confessed all, and began to palliate his conduct. To this I would
not listen, but seized my wand to give the Word. “Hear you, Umhala! you
have eaten a man up. Give back every head of his cattle, and ten head
of your own for having eaten him up. And you forfeit ten head more to
me, the Great Chief, for my government.” He was perfectly unmoved, but
I saw that he intended to do no such thing. I then deprived him of his
medal of office, and said, “Now go and obey my orders,” and I desired
the English magistrate to report in two days that he had done so. He
had 30 miles to return to his kraal.

According to my custom, I sent the “news” all over Kafirland
immediately. I sent out a Court Circular daily. I had no secrets. This
they much admired. There never were such newsmongers. Their greeting is
“Indaba” (“the news”). The mode adopted to give the news was by so many
messengers running out at night-time in different directions, waving
their cloaks or karosses. The whole country is strongly undulating,
and there are always a number of fellows on the look-out. My messenger
called out the news. Others took it up, and so it passed from hill
to hill by a sort of telegraph; and every day I could communicate
information throughout the whole province in a few hours. This open
procedure was of vast importance.

The hour arrived when the news of Umhala’s obedience should be received
by me. The report came that Umhala had not obeyed my order nor did
Captain Rawstorne think he would. This letter was brought me by two
Kafir messengers. I had held two troops of cavalry ready to march to
reinforce the post of Fort Wellington at Umhala’s kraal. I sounded
the assembly, and in five minutes they were on the march. When I
ordered Rawstorne to “eat up” the chief, a thing never done before
in Kafirland, my old councillor Ganya asked me in consternation what
orders I had given, and when I told him, he said, “Then war is again
over the land.” For in old times such an act as seizing any of the
cattle of a chief was regarded as a formal declaration of war. I roared
out, “Either obedience or war. _I will be Chief_, and Umhala shall
see it, and every chief and man in Kafirland.” I seized all Umhala’s
cattle, and I desired the magistrate cautiously to count every head,
to give him a regular receipt, and send a copy to me. The cattle were
to be guarded by Umhala’s own people. I saw that now was my time to
establish or lose my power throughout my government. For this Umhala
was much looked up to throughout Kafirland, and regarded as the boldest
warrior, having distinguished himself by many daring acts in the war.

The news was sent out, and I immediately summoned to my “Court” Macomo,
Tyalie, Suta, and Gazela, a chief of whom I must speak hereafter. I
knew that this would so intimidate all parties that there would be no
danger of a war. Scarcely was Umhala’s cattle seized than he sent in
succession the most penitent messages, promising to obey my orders and
never transgress again. I would not “listen,” but desired Umhala to
come to me, and meet the chiefs for whom I had sent. He boldly, though
penitently, came, as did all the chiefs I had sent for.

I then had a council, told everything that had occurred, and asked if
Umhala merited what I, the Great Chief, had done to him, being one of
the magistrates who had sworn allegiance and obedience. There was a
mutter of assent. I had previously instructed Ganya to watch my eye and
to speak in mitigation of punishment. I said, “Now, Umhala, you see
how insignificant you are, unless obedient, and how powerful I am. I
will be obeyed, and I will ‘eat up’ every chief who dares disobey me or
sanction witchcraft. Here is your medal of magistrate, which I place
under my foot.”

The crowd were perfectly petrified, and looked at old Ganya, who
stood up and made a most eloquent speech. (Some of the Kafirs speak
beautifully.) He dwelt on their own desire to be British subjects and
my exertions for them; and then turned most judiciously to Macomo and
Tyalie. “Now, sons of my old chief, whose councillor I was, the great
Gaika, speak to our Chief for Umhala; and I hope he will ‘listen.’”
Macomo instantly stood up, and spoke capitally and to the purpose.
Umhala sat unmoved, until I said, “Now, Umhala, all depends on you. Can
I ‘listen’ or not?” He spoke modestly, but powerfully. I made a merit
of forgiving him, put his medal again on his neck, ordered his cattle
to be restored the moment he had returned the cattle of the burnt man
and paid the fines; and I immediately sent off the news throughout the
province. Umhala returned, received all his cattle, and reported to me
that he had got every head back, and had paid his fines and restored
the cattle to the sufferer.

This decision and determination established most effectively my
absolute power. I was fully prepared for some underhand work on
the part of the chiefs, and it was speedily started through the
instrumentality of Macomo; but the _people_ whom I protected were with
me, and nothing occurred which I was not informed of immediately.

Macomo had driven his cattle to graze over the Keiskamma contrary
to treaty and my orders, whereupon I strongly desired that he would
never do it again. This offended the gentleman, a restless, turbulent,
uncontrollable spirit, and he sent to all the other chiefs to say that
if they would join, he would strive for independence. At all the
courts this message was received most contemptuously. Tyalie turned
the messenger from his kraal; Suta and young Sandilli were indignant
and would not “listen”; Umhala listened, but his council opposed the
measure, and a subordinate chief of Umhala’s, a noble little fellow,
Gazela, stood up and spoke out like a man. “You, Umhala, and all know
how I fought during the war, and never was for giving in until I saw
we had no chance of success. Macomo made peace. He has received more
kindness than all of us put together. He is now false, and wants to
make us break the word given to our Great Chief,” etc.

All this I knew in a few hours. I sent for Macomo, received him as
usual, and said, “I have a fable to tell you.” They are very fond of
speaking in parables themselves. I then recounted a tale, viz. myself
and himself. I never saw a creature in such a state of agitation.
“Now,” I said, “if you were the Great Chief, what would you do?” He
threw himself at my feet, bathed in tears. “Ah, Macomo,” I said, “if
I were only to say the Word, your people would no longer _know you_.”
Oh, how Ganya did abuse him! “Ah, cry,” he said; “your tears can’t
wash away your sins. You caused the last war, disregarding the dying
words of Gaika. You are now treated with every kindness, yet treachery
and that same restlessness which has plunged the Colony and Kafirland
in blood, still guide you.” I said, “Rise, Macomo, and go. I will
not touch my stick and give the Word for _two hours_. I must cool.
Englishmen are generous, but they must be just to all. I must consider
for two hours how my actions may be guided, but for the good of all my
children, _go_.”

He never had such a lesson. I sent for him and forgave him, with a
full assurance that on the next offence I would eat him up and banish
him over the Kei. I sent off the news, and my authority was ever after
perfectly undisputed.

I now began to turn my attention to teaching them cultivation and
the use of money. In the former I had but little difficulty compared
with what I anticipated, although previously their fields had been
cultivated by their women in a miserable manner. I gave them Hottentots
to teach them, and I had soon several chiefs with ploughs and good
yokes of oxen. The chief Gazela, a man of great use to me, and with
more idea of honesty than any one, had also a commercial turn. I proved
to him that it was by the use of money that _we_ became a great people,
and could make everything and do everything, and I made him perfectly
understand our banking system—which I could induce no other Kafir to
attend to. Gazela sold me some bullocks for the Commissary. Afterwards
he let out horses to people travelling at so much a day, and he induced
others to sell me cattle; this I considered the greatest step towards

The missionaries had all returned to me, and were excellent good
men, doing all in their power. The chief Tyalie, in the English
clothes I had given him, attended divine service every Sunday, and
the missionaries had a considerable degree of moral influence; but as
to spiritual instruction or conversion, few indeed were the converts.
Macomo knew more theology than many Christians, but was still a
perfect heathen. Had I remained long enough, as cultivation and sale
progressed, I would have built churches, and by feasts and slaughtering
cattle have induced all influential men to attend; I would have had
schools, and, by educating the children, would have reared a generation
of Christians, but to convert the aged barbarian was a hopeless task.

The world does not produce a more beautiful race of blacks than these
Kafirs, both men and women; their figures and eyes are beautiful beyond
conception, and they have the gait of princes. It was one of my great
endeavours to make them regard appearing naked as a grievous sin,
now that they were British subjects; and no one was ever permitted
in my camp, much less in my presence, but dressed in his karosse.
This karosse is the skin of a bullock, but beautifully dressed so as
to be pliant and soft, and then ornamented by fur, beads, buttons,
etc. The head-dresses of the chiefs’ wives are really beautiful. No
creatures on earth are more the votaries of fashion than these Kafirs.
In Grahamstown I could procure no beads and buttons of the mode of the
day, but great quantities exceedingly cheap, which the Kafirs would
not buy because they were out of fashion. I therefore bought up the
whole. I had always about me some of the rejected buttons and of the
blue beads that had been once their delight, and I found fault with
every button that was not of my shape and every bead that was not of my
colour. The discarded buttons and the blue beads were soon established
as the _haut ton_ of fashion.

My wife, who took equal interest in the reform of these poor barbarians
with myself, was always surrounded by numbers of the chiefs’ wives
and hangers-on, particularly the queens Suta and Nonibe (the former
was Gaika’s widow, the latter Dushani’s, and both had sons in their
minority). She taught many of them needlework, and was for hours daily
explaining to them right and wrong, and making them little presents, so
that she became so popular she could do anything with them.

The Kafirs have a horror of burying their dead, or even touching
them. They will carry out a dying creature from their kraal, mother
or father, wife or brother, and leave him exposed to wild beasts and
vultures for days, if nature does not sink in the mean time. I not
only prohibited this, but I had three or four Kafirs who died in my
camp regularly buried. (Many came to me to be cured of diseases.) In
each case I made my Kafir messengers dig the grave, and I, with my
interpreter, read the funeral service over the dead. Then the news was
sent over the land—the Great Chief does it, and whenever any one came
and told me he had _buried_ his deceased relative (I took care to
_prove_ it, though), I gave him a bullock, and sent the news over the

The Levitical law as to uncleanness is fully in force among the Kafirs,
and they practise circumcision, but not until the age of puberty. It is
a great ceremony, after which the youths are able to marry, provided
they have enough cattle to buy a wife from the father. (A plurality of
wives is tolerated. Macomo had eleven, all very handsome women.) This
buying of wives is the great source of all robbery and inroads into the
Colony. I just began to prohibit it gradually by making the parents of
the bride and bridegroom contribute to the establishment of the newly
married pair, and myself giving a present.

I directed the magistrates to decide all cases of law themselves, but
when they were in any doubt, to send me, for my approval, the parties
and the opinion or decision proposed to be given. This strengthened
their power and also mine, for whatever I once decided on, I never
revoked, and admitted of no appeal or renewal of the subject.

Having thus gained an ascendancy over these people never attempted
before, my mind was dwelling on the great and important subject of
their conversion to Christianity, and many is the conference I had with
the missionaries upon the subject. Of ultimately effecting a general
conversion I never despaired, but I was convinced it could only be
through the educating of the youth and at the same time introducing
habits of industry and rational amusement. The Kafirs, like the
Hottentots, are great lovers of music and have remarkably good ears.
I have been wonderfully amused at observing the effect the playing
of our bands had on many who had never heard them before. Some would
laugh immoderately, some cry, some stand riveted to the spot, others
in a sort of vibrating convulsion, others would dance and sing, all
were animated and excited beyond measure. When poor Hintza heard the
bagpipes of the 72nd, he closed his ears with his hands and said, “This
is to make people cry.[117] I like the bugles and trumpets. When I hear
them I feel like a man.” Thus with the aid of music I should have made
some advance towards Christian conversion.



In the midst, however, of all I had effected, and all my visions of
what I could effect, the most crooked policy ever invented by the most
wicked Machiavellians blasted all my hopes for the benefit of the
100,000 barbarians committed to my rule, and the bright prospect of
peace and tranquillity for the Colony (for the frontier inhabitants
began to be in a state of security which was security indeed).

The Minister for the Colonies, Lord Glenelg, an excellent, worthy, and
able man, but led by a vile party, under the cloak of sanctity and
philanthropy, directed the Province of Queen Adelaide to be restored
to barbarism, the allegiance the Kafirs had sworn to to be shaken
off, and the full plenitude of their barbarity re-established. It
is grievous to reflect that any well-disposed individual like Lord
Glenelg, believing he was doing good, and under the influence and
guidance of others, should have thus blasted the bright prospects of
such rapidly progressing civilization.

But so it was. I was removed from the administration of affairs and
my command, and replaced by a man[118] violently obnoxious to Kafirs
and colonists. Owing to the view Lord Glenelg had taken and the _ton_
given, I was upbraided with every act of violence and oppression
the curse of war can impose, and branded as the murderer of Hintza
throughout the newspapers of the world. Every act of the murderous
Kafirs during the war was regarded as a just retaliation for previous
wrong; everything the colonists said or did or suffered, treated with
contempt, and they themselves believed to be the cause of their own
misfortunes. While our country’s treasury and private contributions
were open to the sufferers of the world from the temperate regions
of Portugal to the snows of Poland, the ears of the public were deaf
to the cries of the widows and orphans in the once happy and rapidly
thriving province of Albany, although its settlers had been induced to
come from England and there lay out their capital, were good subjects,
loyal and true, and regularly paid their taxes, and therefore had a
right to expect protection from the Government. All rule and just and
good government was banished under the influence of the philanthropic
party, who, by perversion of facts, evidently desire to lead others
(this Colony certainly) to the devil for God’s sake.

Do not let it be supposed that a man with a conscience so clear as
mine, with a head and heart so bent on exertion for the benefit of
others, tamely submitted to the opprobrium so cruelly, so unjustly
heaped upon him—I, who, while regarded by the world as a monster
stained with innocent blood, who had waged war contrary to the
tolerated rules and precedents of warfare (which is a scourge in its
mildest and most modified shape), was at the moment regarded by those
I was accused of oppressing as their “Father,” “their Great Chief,”
in whom they implicitly confided and believed contrary to the strong
prejudices of previous habit. No, I wrote a letter to the Minister
explanatory of every procedure—I opened his eyes—and I received from
him the atonement contained in the extracts following:—

_Extract from a dispatch of Lord Glenelg to His Excellency Sir B.
D’Urban, dated May 1st, 1837._

 “IV.—I perform a duty highly agreeable to me in declaring that Col.
 Smith is entitled to the grateful acknowledgments of His Majesty’s
 Government, not only for his Military Services, but for his zealous,
 humane, and enlightened administration of the Civil Government of the
 Province placed under his charge, and of the adjacent district. I am
 especially indebted to him for the very valuable suggestions which
 he afforded to Lt. Governor Stockenstrom, who, I have no doubt, will
 gladly avail himself of advice founded on so much observation and

      “(Signed) Glenelg.”

 _Extract from a dispatch of the Right Honourable Lord Glenelg to his
 Excellency Major-General George F. Napier, Governor of the Cape of
 Good Hope. Dated 13th November, 1837._

 “But I cannot close this communication without adverting to the
 high gratification with which I have read the testimony contained
 in the voluminous papers before me to the conduct of Col. Smith.
 That officer’s name is never mentioned but to his honour either by
 the Governor or the Lt. Governor; and in the superintendence of the
 Province of Adelaide under circumstances of the most trying nature, he
 appears to have been distinguished alike by the energy with which he
 maintained the public tranquillity, and the kindness of heart which
 won for him the affectionate gratitude of all classes of the people.

      “(Signed) John Bell,
      “_Secretary to Government_.”

But although this palliated his error towards me, it in no manner
re-established me in the eyes of the world at large, and Lord Glenelg
was bound, as a man of honour, to have instigated Majesty to have
conferred upon me some mark of distinction, which should have at
once proclaimed my merit and the injury His Lordship’s misconception
had done me. The Colony and the Horse Guards, however, took a far
different [view] of my merits and services, which I must relate

To return to my children. So soon as the Kafirs heard of this change,
the general exclamation was, “Ah, it is ever thus with the English,
always changing towards us. We were never before so happy; never so
protected; never saw such an improvement amongst us; our chiefs will
eat us up as before.” The chiefs again feared their people. Lamentation
and grief throughout the land were excessive. Hundreds of men and women
were around my house and tent, lamenting and praying me not to abandon
them, and, as far as their knowledge went, invoking the protection of
the Great Spirit, to preserve me and my wife to govern and instruct

I will candidly admit, I grieved too, for although at the outset, as
I took stock of my enthusiasm, I was often led into a belief that
my hopes would prove illusive, the consummation of my most sanguine
desires had now been effected; daily I saw improvement progressing,
not only by rapid strides, but on such a broad and firm path as to
ensure its permanency and induce the conviction that ten years would
have brought the Gospel of Christ and all the blessings of civilization
among the thousands of benighted barbarians around me.

It now became my duty, and one which I trust I executed with every
zeal, to do all I could to render the change palatable to the Kafirs
and to disabuse them of their bad opinion of my successor.

The odium with which they regarded him I believe I much mitigated. To
himself I wrote so soon as he arrived at Grahamstown, laying before
him the exact state of the frontier district, and recommending him to
convoke a general meeting of all the chiefs and their councillors at
King William’s Town, to explain to them the new order of things. I
said that I would call such a meeting for any day he would name, and I
was of opinion that it would have a better effect were I present than

My successor was a sensible man, and at once saw the advantage of the
arrangement I proposed, felt my attention and readiness to assist
him, and named a day. I convoked a meeting accordingly, and desired
Kreili, the great chief, to send a deputation. I had been in the
habit of communicating constantly with Kreili and the more distant
chiefs, Fakoo, Vadana, etc., and sending them all the news, thereby
establishing myself the _Great Chief_. I took the usual precaution to
reinforce my post, for when I told old Ganya that I should leave on
the day following the meeting, he exclaimed, “Then we shall have a
row!” A meeting, similar to the one I had convoked on the 7th January,
was accordingly held, and in a long explanation I delivered over the
government to my successor. Nothing could be more orderly than the
conduct of the people, and the expression of their regret. My successor
then explained to them their new position. Tyalie, always a forward
fellow, spoke to him in the most insolent manner; but I gave him such
a dressing, reminding him his bullocks were fat (meaning that he was
rich) under me, thus, if I only said the word, I could “eat” him “up”
in a moment.

I shall never forget that afternoon; never were my feelings or those of
my wife more excited. Our house and tents were surrounded by hundreds;
every chief and every one of the chiefs’ wives took off some of their
various ornaments and put them upon me and her; some wept aloud, others
lay on the ground groaning; and the man whom I had visited more than
others with the weight of power, Umhala, showed more real feeling then,
and even to this day often sends me messages of friendship and regard;
while Gazela and a fine young chief by name Seyolo, who had defended
the rocks on the heights of the Poorts of the Buffalo, declared life
was no longer worth having. The way the women shed tears around my
wife was piteous to behold. Barbarian emotion when over-excited is
uncontrollable, and nothing could exceed this demonstration.

The next morning I and my wife and staff departed from King William’s
Town, the seat of my labour in war and peace, and although every
demonstration of feeling was suppressed, I now admit my heart was full.
I had laboured day and night, God alone knows how I had laboured, and
to be so unkindly treated by the Minister of my country was galling to
a soldier whose good name is his only hope in the world. ’Tis true, a
rectitude of conscience sustained me which nothing could shake, but
human nature is weak enough to desire others should think well of
you, while inwardly and mentally you exclaim, “God is my Judge.” I was
attended by my successor and by the officers. The soldiers whom I had
given such gigantic marches turned out to cheer and bid me farewell,
while thousands of Kafirs followed me and my wife, yelling as if in

The parting with my old councillor Ganya and some others, as well as my
Kafir messengers at Fort Willshire, cannot be described. Ganya, poor
old fellow, came to me in a state of abject poverty, although a man of
great influence throughout Kafirland. I enriched him most deservedly,
for his assistance to me was invaluable and his attachment to me
faithful, while the most educated and upright man could never more
zealously feel or desire the welfare of his country and countrymen.

This barbarian was a most extraordinary character. He died a few
months later, as he told me he knew he should, having lost his Father,
his friend and benefactor. My messengers were very peculiar fellows,
too; they were all selected by the chiefs themselves, men, therefore,
of their own interest. In a country where writing is not known, all
communications, treaties, rules, laws, etc., are given _viva voce_ and
by message, and these fellows were brought up from infancy in that
department. Their power of memory is not to be believed. I had one
man from Macomo, by name Mani, a handsome fellow who had been shot
through both thighs in the war. My interpreter would read a long list
of orders, etc., addressed to Macomo of eighteen to twenty paragraphs.
He would then say, “Mani, do you understand all?” He would occasionally
ask for some explanation; then he would go to Macomo, 34 miles off. If
the chief did not detain him, he would be back with me after doing 68
miles in 28 hours, apparently not in the least fatigued, and bring me
an answer or comment on each paragraph in the order written down with
a correctness not to be credited. I declare I have been frequently

There is a curious law in Kafirland which shows how human nature in
a state of barbarism provides for its own wants. “The secret and
confidential” of our diplomatic and military correspondence is with
messengers provided for in this manner: it is death for any one
entrusted with a communication to divulge its purport to any one but
the chief of whose tribe he is a member. Thus if Mani was entrusted
with a message from me to Macomo, it was as safe in his company as
possible. If Tyalie had met him and demanded its purport, he would have
died ere he divulged it. All messengers would give me the purport of
their messages from one chief to the other if I demanded, being the
Great Chief. Thus, while secrecy is provided for, the supreme authority
reserves to himself the power of discovering plots and conspiracies.
Poor Mani! I see him now at my feet weeping. I do believe that poor
barbarian would have been cut to pieces limb by limb without a groan
if it would have served me, and many others would have done the same.
To this day I remember with gratitude their attachment. It was like
that of the most faithful dog, with this difference—reason told them we
parted for ever.

Upon nearing Grahamstown, the whole of the inhabitants turned out
to meet me, presented me with an address, begged me to name a day
agreeable to me for a public dinner, and if there was any consolation
to the feelings in the sympathy of those whom I had so served in need,
whose trade I had again so brightly re-established, I had a full
measure of it.

I accepted the dinner as an opportunity of thanking the inhabitants for
their assistance, obedience, and desire to meet my wishes, and telling
them, as they regarded me, to render that obedience and respect to my
successor which loyal subjects were bound to render to any one their
King had placed to rule over them.

We accomplished our journey from Grahamstown to Cape Town, I riding,
my wife again in a waggon. On this occasion, I had bought a very nice
light one, and had it fitted up with swing seats, etc., so that she
travelled in comparative luxury. All Grahamstown turned out to take
leave of me, and I could not fail to remark the difference between my
entrance into the beleaguered town and my quitting it, flourishing in
trade and prosperity.

At every town upon my road down dinners were given me in the Town Hall,
and every Boer, or Dutch farmer, came to see me. I never had to deal
with fellows who were more docile, if you took them in the right way,
viz. by kindness, by interesting yourself in their welfare, and by an
inflexible adherence to “Yes” and “No.”

Our journey down was delightful, through a country full of large and
small game, and many is the gallop I had after ostriches, which require
a fleet and right good-bottomed horse to ride down.

As I approached Cape Town, my many friends came out in shoals to meet
us, and I was received in the metropolis of the Cape by every public
demonstration of affection—ever so gratifying to the soldier who has
worked hard to serve his country—from the noble Governor, Sir Benjamin
D’Urban, to the mendicant.

I may, without any degree of mock modesty, say I worked hard, and
assert that from the period I left Cape Town, the 1st January, 1835,
to 18th October, 1836 (22 months), no man ever rode more miles, made
more night marches or such long ones, or wrote more letters than I did.
My correspondence was immense from the number of posts, and having to
carry on a war over a vast extent of thinly populated country, and in
peace to defend a frontier of 140 miles.

Soon after my arrival at Cape Town, a despatch was received from Lord
Glenelg, which was highly complimentary to me.[119]

A public meeting having been convened under the sanction of the
Government, this communication was made to me:—

 “At a meeting of the inhabitants of Cape Town and its vicinity, held
 in the Commercial Room on the 18th September, 1837, the Hon^{ble}
 Hamilton Ross in the chair, it was resolved—

 “That as the zealous, humane, and enlightened administration of
 Colonel Smith, during the time he commanded on the frontier, merits
 the gratitude and thanks of the colonists at large, the following
 gentlemen, as a mark of their esteem, have concluded to invite him to
 a public dinner.”

Of course I accepted the compliment, which afforded me a good
opportunity publicly to record my procedure, my gratitude to many
distinguished individuals and to the colony at large, my regret at
the system established among the Kafirs having been abolished, and
my everlasting feelings of respect and veneration for the Governor,
Sir Benjamin D’Urban, whose instrument alone I was, and whose support
and approbation of all I did or proposed enabled me to effect all I
had done; and, lastly, though I was far from being a man addicted
to view things darkly, my foreboding, based on a knowledge of every
circumstance on the frontier and the conflicting interests of the
colonists and Kafirs, that chaos would again be re-established.

Unfortunately, my prediction has been but too truly verified. Such was
the disgust of hundreds of valuable members of the Dutch population and
wealthy farmers, they emigrated in masses and seized the country of
the Zoolus, and have been a thorn in the government of the Cape until
lately, when matters have been adjusted and Port Natal added to the
British possessions.

Had my system been persisted in, and the order of things so firmly
planted and rapidly growing into maturity been allowed to continue, not
a Boer would have migrated. I am proud to say I had as much influence
over the Boers as over the Kafirs, and by a kind and persuasive manner
in expostulation, had they meditated such a step, I could at once have
deterred them.

The whole colony being desirous of substantially exhibiting their
gratitude towards me, subscriptions were opened for the purpose of
presenting me with plate in demonstration thereof. Although each
subscription was limited to half a guinea, £500 was very speedily

Upon the articles of plate is this inscription:

 “Presented to Colonel Henry George Wakelyn Smith, C.B., by his
 numerous friends at the Cape of Good Hope, as a token of their
 admiration of his distinguished military and civil services in that
 colony and in Kaffraria, 1835-6. Palmam qui meruit ferat!”

The two Hottentot battalions, officers and men, had previously set this
example, and by their 800 men a magnificent candelabra was presented to
me, like the other plate, manufactured by one of the first workmen in

This substantial mark of their consideration bore the inscription:

 “Presented to Colonel Harry George Smith, C.B., as a testimonial of
 respect for his distinguished military services during the late Kafir
 War, and the consummate skill and benevolence subsequently displayed
 in the civil administration of the conquered province of Queen
 Adelaide, which so eminently contributed to the peace and security of
 the colony and the amelioration of the condition of the barbarian thus
 brought within the pale of civilization.”

The plate presented by the zealous officers is inscribed:

 “Presented by the officers of the Cape of Good Hope Provisional
 Infantry to Colonel Henry George Wakelyn Smith, in testimony of their
 high sense of the eminent services rendered to the colony by his
 skill, gallantry, and unwearied activity in the field against the
 Kafirs in the year 1835, and by his subsequent, able, humane, and
 zealous exertions for the promoting the civilization of the native
 tribes as the best means of establishing with them a secure and
 lasting peace.”

Lord Hill being desirous to mark his approbation and that of my
Sovereign for the services above recorded, was kind enough to appoint
me to the responsible, important, and elevated post of Adjutant-General
to H.M.’s Forces in India; and in the very ship which brought
the newspaper gazette of my appointment did I embark for my new
destination, the ship waiting from Saturday until Thursday for me.
[June, 1840.]

Little was the time thus afforded for me to prepare for embarcation,
but a soldier must be ever ready, and my wife’s cheerful exertion soon
prepared everything, although our hearts were full at leaving so many
valuable, dear, and faithful friends and a country in which we had
spent eleven years of happiness and some excitement, and ever received
as much kindness and hospitality as the most sanguine could desire.

So short was the time that my friends in Cape Town who were desirous to
pay me some mark of their respect could do no more than present me on
the morning of my embarcation with the following address:—

 “_To_ Col. H. G. Smith, C.B., etc.


 “We, the undersigned inhabitants of Cape Town, do ourselves the
 pleasure of offering you our sincere congratulations on your recent
 appointment to serve in a country which can, better than this Colony,
 reward its brave and zealous defenders. But, cordial as our wishes
 are for your welfare and advancement, we deeply regret that the very
 circumstances which open brighter prospects to you must terminate your
 residence amongst us, and deprive this Colony of the services of one,
 whose well-known and long-tried courage and abilities have been once
 more tested in the performance of most difficult and important duties
 within our own observation.

 “The few years which have elapsed since the most brilliant of your
 services to this Colony were achieved have not dimmed our recollection
 of them, and on quitting our shores be assured you leave a name
 behind you which will never be forgotten by the present, and will be
 made known to, and remembered by, succeeding generations of the Cape

 “The suddenness of your departure prevents very many from joining in
 this expression of our feelings towards you; but to whatever quarter
 of the world your well-earned promotion may lead you, South Africa
 will learn with deep interest the history of your future career, and
 rejoice in the tidings of your prosperity.

      “We have, etc.”

To which I replied—

      “Cape Castle, 4th June, 1840.


 “I thank you most cordially for your congratulations on the mark of
 distinction which Her Majesty has been pleased to confer upon me, by
 appointing me Adjutant-General to the Queen’s troops in India.

 “On my return from the frontiers, you received me with warm
 congratulations—the services of which you were thus pleased, in a
 manner so gratifying to me, to express your approbation were of
 recent occurrence—but the feelings expressed by you in the address
 with which you have this day honoured me, prove that the recollection
 and appreciation of a soldier’s services may outlive the excitement
 produced at the moment by success, and I pray you to believe that the
 recollection of the feelings so warmly and kindly expressed will never
 cease to dwell in my memory, and will be matter of exultation to me in
 whatever clime or quarter of the globe it may be my lot to serve.

 “During a residence of eleven years, I have met with invariable
 kindness from all classes in the Colony—I may say, from the community
 at large; and although I cannot but feel that an honour of no ordinary
 class has been conferred upon me by Her Majesty, yet I say from my
 heart that I now quit your shores with deep regret.

 “I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,

      “Your most obedient, humble servant,
      “H. G. Smith, Colonel.”

And the Governor of the Cape, Sir George Napier,[120] issued the
following General Order:—

      “Headquarters, Cape Town, 1st June, 1840.

 “In consequence of the promotion of Colonel Smith to be
 Adjutant-General to the Army in India, the Commander-in-Chief takes
 this opportunity to express his high approbation of that officer’s
 services during his residence in this Colony, and he feels confident
 the officers and soldiers of this command will be highly gratified by
 so distinguished a mark of Her Majesty’s favour and approbation being
 bestowed on an officer of such long and gallant services in nearly
 every part of Her Majesty’s Dominions.

 “As one of his companions, and as an old Comrade in Arms, the
 Major-General offers Colonel Smith his warmest congratulations and
 best wishes for his health and happiness.

 “The Orders of the Garrison of Cape Town, and of the guards and
 sentries, etc., as established by Colonel Smith, C.B., are to be
 considered as Standing Orders for this Garrison, and will be strictly
 observed accordingly.”

However gratified we were by this distinguished mark of Her Majesty’s
approbation, we left the Cape of Good Hope as if we were leaving for
ever our native land, and in that patriotic expression “My native
land, good night” is comprised all the most feeling heart of man can
participate in.

Ah, Cape of Good Hope, notwithstanding your terrific south-easters in
the summer, your dreadful north-westers in the winter, your burning
sun, your awful sands, I and my wife will ever remember you with an
affection yielding alone to that of the “Land of our Sires!”



On the voyage we encountered terrific gales of wind; one night a squall
took us aback, carried away our topmasts, and shivered our sails into
shreds in a moment. I never knew or could conceive before what the
force of wind was capable of. This excessive violence lasted only
twenty minutes, leaving us a log on the water. The gale continued three
days, and on the 18th June, 1840,[122] we had staring us in the face
a watery grave. It was the anniversary of the day on which I and two
brothers escaped the slaughter of the eventful field of Waterloo. The
same Divine Hand, however, protected us, and the 91st Psalm was again
read in devotion and gratitude to the Almighty and Eternal Lord God,
“Who alone spreadest out the heavens and rulest the raging of the
sea;” and we reached Madras Roads in safety, after a most boisterous
but quick passage.

I embarked six horses, one of which died at sea, and all the rest were
much bruised and injured.

At Madras we had many friends. The Governor, Lord Elphinstone, whom we
had known as a boy, and to whom we were of use at the Cape on his way
out, was then in the Nilgherries. So soon as he heard of our arrival,
Government House and all its luxuries were placed at our disposal; but
we were already hospitably put up with one of my oldest and dearest
friends, Dr. Murray, the Inspector-General, who had for many years held
a similar appointment at the Cape, one of the most able professional
men in the world, and as an officer in his department never surpassed.
Poor fellow! in two years it was my melancholy duty to report his death
at Kurnal, in the Upper Provinces of Bengal, where he fell a gallant
victim to an epidemic disease. To his exertions to avert the progress
of its fatal ravages, and the rapidity with which he travelled from
Calcutta in the sickly part of the rainy season, may be attributed a
loss irreparable to the service, to his family, and to his friends.

From Madras to Calcutta we had a beautiful passage, flying along the
coast and passing the famous temple of Juggernauth with the rapidity
with which its votaries believe they ascend to the Regions of Bliss. On
reaching Calcutta we were surrounded by old friends of the army, and
many civil servants and military officers of the Honourable Company’s
Service whom we had known at the Cape, where they had repaired for
the recovery of health. Lord Auckland received us with every kindness,
and his Lordship’s amiable, accomplished, and highly educated sisters
showed us the most marked attention, kindness, and hospitality. As to
the Commander-in-chief, Sir Jasper Nicolls, we became, after some time,
as it were members of his family.[123]

Sir Jasper Nicolls is a man of very strong common sense, and very
wary of giving his confidence, or, indeed, of developing any of his
intentions. At first I thought he was a rough, hard-hearted man. I soon
discovered, however, he was one of the best men of business I ever
served, with a warm heart and a degree of honesty of purpose never
exceeded. His dear good wife is now, alas! no more—she died at Rome
on their return to their native land after years of travel, toil, and
burning suns. Her ladyship and daughters and my wife possessed a union
of hearts and feelings which gradually increased until, on the death of
Lady Nicolls, one important link of that chain of union was snapped,
but is now riveted in the most fervent affection for the daughters.

In the career of military life, no man can reasonably expect that so
rugged a path can be traversed without some personal disaster, and so
it was with me, previously one of fortune’s spoiled children. Lord
Auckland, from report and a knowledge of my exertions and successes at
the Cape, had imbibed a favourable opinion of me, and had the Burmese
made war in 1842, as was expected, it was his Lordship’s intention to
appoint me to the command of the troops destined to repel invasion
and re-establish our superiority. I had also a faithful friend in
the Lieutenant-Governor of the Upper Provinces, Mr. Thomas Campbell
Robertson—a man of superior ability and acquirement, and more versed in
the history and affairs of India than any man I ever sought information
from except Mr. Thoby Prinsep.[124] As I was likely to spend some years
in India if appointed Adjutant-General, as I had some reason to expect,
I had, when at the Cape, read thirty-three authors, made copious notes,
and generally studied the history and geography of this immense Empire.
This acquired knowledge enabled me to converse with such practical and
experienced men with great advantage to any information and knowledge I
had previously obtained.

After the death of the celebrated Runjeet Singh, the state of
our North-West Frontier, bordering on the seat of commotion, and
ultimately bitter war, in Afghanistan, was far from settled, and it
was contemplated that the Sikhs might interrupt our communication
with our troops, so fearfully extended from any base of operations,
and with the country of this doubtful ally intervening. Under these
circumstances, I placed my ready services at the disposal of Lord
Auckland and the Commander-in-Chief. Soon after this the insurrection
at Cabool commenced. Poor Elphinstone and I had been friends for
years,[125] and I had frequently impressed upon him the difficulty
of his position, the probability of an attempt on the part of the
restless and independent-spirited Afghan to shake off that yoke so
injudiciously imposed upon him (especially as our rupees were no
longer so lavishly, so indiscreetly scattered to acquire an ascendency
which, if necessary to acquire at all, should have been acquired by
the sword, and maintained by the sword, sheathed in inflexible and
uncompromising justice, equity, dignity, and honour), and the necessity
of his ever considering himself in the greatest danger when he felt the
most secure; but I must not set my foot on a field which to describe
would require volumes. The war broke out. The energy of a Wellington
or a Napoleon would have saved the destruction of that force; it was
perfectly practicable, as I then pointed out. The Lieutenant-Governor
and I were in hourly communication; I showed the military steps we
ought to pursue, and he urged them on the Government, and offered to
bear any responsibility with the Commander-in-Chief. Lord Auckland
was a sensible but timid man, and the Commander-in-Chief, ever most
judiciously and correctly averse to the occupation of Afghanistan, was
reduced to defensive measures at the moment when the most vigorous
and initiative steps ought to have been taken with the velocity of
lightning. The moment was lost. If time, that irrecoverable engine in
war, is neglected, disaster, as in this instance, must ensue. Before
the outbreak at Cabool, when my dear friend Elphinstone, from the
dire misfortune of sickness, was compelled to request his relief, the
Lieutenant-Governor urged the Government and Lord Auckland to send
me up. I offered my services on the condition that I had the supreme
and uncontrolled military authority from the source to the mouth of
the Indus and was aided by a civil servant; and Mr. George Clerk, the
Political Agent for the Punjaub, a man of first-rate abilities and
activity, most popular among the Sikhs, whose country and resources
intervened between our distant operations and their base, offered nobly
(for we were personally strangers) to serve with and under me.

Sir Jasper Nicolls, why I do not to this moment know, was opposed to
my being employed, although Lord Auckland wished it, and Major-General
Pollock was gazetted by the Government—“by the express recommendation
of the Commander-in-Chief”—but only to the command of the Upper
Indus, not the Lower, where Major-General Nott was senior officer.
Consequently, when these two officers’ forces united, they were like
the Corps d’Armée of Napoleon in Spain, jealous of each other, the
junior[126] was disobedient to the senior, and that _ensemble_, on
which success in war hinges, was lost.

The only reason I could ever suppose influenced Sir Jasper Nicolls
in his reluctance to employ me—for I know he had the highest opinion
of my activity—is that he apprehended, if I once got the command,
the wealthy Persia would have been attempted, and my progress alone
interrupted by the Caspian Sea. His thought day and night was to get
back the army from its advanced and dangerous position. Whereas had
the troops been rushed to the scene of action, as they might have been
(for on the commencement of the outbreak, the Khyberies were with us),
and Brigadier Wyld’s Brigade moved by forced marches to Jellalabad,
other troops rapidly following in succession, and when Wyld arrived
at Jellalabad, the whole of the weakly men, women, stores, etc.,
been securely placed in a small _Place d’armes_ constructed for the
purpose during Wyld’s approach, while General Sale’s and Wyld’s forces
combined precipitated themselves on Cabool, the force then would have
been saved, the spirits of the troops would have been sustained by the
knowledge of succour approaching, the enemy proportionately depressed.
Thus a want of exertion and decision in rendering support caused a
disaster and a loss England never before sustained. It is needless
here to enter into dates, number of marches, etc.; the thing I have
described was a simple matter of activity and well within the scope of
possibility. As soon as he arrived, Lord Ellenborough saw the necessity
of withdrawing the troops from Afghanistan, but was precipitate in
availing himself of the period so to do—which certainly was not at
the moment when our military prowess, the prestige of our arms, and
our national character for supremacy required to be re-established.
A government proposed by the Afghans should have been set up by us;
then the sooner we abandoned a nominal conquest, the better for the
true interests of British India. So astonished was I at the immediate
withdrawal, that I wrote the Memorandum No. 1. In the meanwhile the
Governor-General had left it optional to General Nott to retire by
Guznee, but had issued several peremptory orders to Pollock to retire.
When Nott, however, proposed his forward movement, Pollock was also
directed to move. I then wrote the Memorandum No. 2, and as the
campaign developed, No. 3.[127] The moment the Afghans were assailed
and the invasion pursued, they quailed immediately, and did not evince
the courage and perseverance in the cause of their country of the Swiss
and Vendeans. If they had done so, the three divisions of Pollock and
Nott and England, moving as they were upon the falsest of military
principles, would have been sacrificed; but in all wars the folly of
one party is exceeded by that of the other, and that which is the least
culpable succeeds. This example of the want of union and energy on the
part of the Afghans shows how easy it would have been to have crushed
the insurrection by adopting vigorous measures at the moment.

But to revert to my own command. If the Governor-General had selected
me and given me the authority I desired, viz. the whole line of the
Indus, with the aid of Mr. Clerk (whose popularity with the Sikh
Government and nation was so great that the resources of the Punjaub
would have been at his command, and consequently at my disposal for
the use of the army, which stood so much in need of them), I would
have waged war upon a great scale upon the Afghan, razed his forts and
fortresses from one end of his country to the other, established a
government, remained in the country until order, rule, and authority
were firmly established; then when the invincible character of our arms
had been maintained, marched out of the country triumphantly, and
not have sneaked out of it, as we did, with our tail down, like a cur
before a hound. That our national character for consistency, equity,
and superiority has suffered by this melancholy attempt on Afghanistan
is daily experienced throughout India. Would Scinde, Bundelkund, and
Gwalior have dared to resist us but for the example afforded them in
Cabool, that British troops could be not only beaten, but annihilated?
The whole of the transactions of this period afford such a lesson to
all Governors and Military Commanders, it is to be hoped posterity will
never forget them. First principles in government and war can never be
departed from: though success at the onset may attend irregularity,
in the end disaster will assuredly prove that consistency, rule, and
the true principles of strategy are indispensable to the achievement
of conquest. To buy the good-will of the influential men of nations is
folly and extravagance and the most temporary authority that can be
attained. Conquest must be achieved by force of arms, by the display of
irresistible power; then held by moderation, by a progressive system
of amelioration of the condition of the people, by consistency and
uncompromising justice. In this way the great movers of mankind, Fear
and Self-interest, perpetuate subjection.



At this period [1843] the time of command of Sir Jasper Nicolls
expired, and Sir Hugh Gough, the hero of Barossa and of China, was
appointed Commander-in-Chief. Headquarters was at the time in the
Himalaya Mountains at Simla, and, Sir Hugh having expressed a wish that
I should meet him, I and my dear wife started in the middle of the
rainy and unhealthy season on the 18th July for Calcutta by dâk.[128]
By this slow process you are carried at the rate of three and a half
miles an hour in a sort of wooden box called a palanquin. You railroad
flyers would regard it as slow indeed for a journey of 1300 miles. We
reached Allahabad, and from thence proceeded by steamboat and found
my new Commander-in-Chief. The parting with Sir J. Nicolls was as
painful as affectionate. With every member of his highly educated and
accomplished family we were on the most intimate and friendly terms,
and he was kind enough by letter to say that he ever regarded me as
a “most upright, straightforward gentleman and soldier.” On parting,
I could not fail to express regret that he had not appointed me to
command in Afghanistan, the only time I ever agitated the subject. His
answer was, “My reasons then are fully in force now, but it was no want
of the highest opinion of your abilities.” I shall ever entertain the
highest respect for Sir Jasper Nicolls as a most shrewd and sensible
man, laborious at papers, expressing himself by letter in as few words
as the Duke himself, and possessing a clear and thorough knowledge of
the affairs of India and its army. In his great error of command—I
allude to Afghanistan—there he was ever consistent, always opposed
to the occupation of that country, so distant from our resources, so
ruinous to our Treasury, but, though right in principle, he should have
yielded to the force of circumstances at the moment, _restored the
fight_, and ultimately given back the country to its lawful owners.

We were both received by Sir Hugh Gough and family with every
demonstration of a wish to cultivate that mutual friendship and good
understanding which education dictates and the good of our service
and the rules of the social compact demand. We were only in Calcutta
from the 1st to the 12th September, but twelve more laborious days we
never passed, what with an excess of correspondence, the meeting with
innumerable old friends, the formation of new, the _fêtes_ to the new
Commander-in-Chief, a great military dinner to Lord Ellenborough,
etc., and, added to it all, the muggy heat and damp of Calcutta. The
twelve days accordingly appeared to us almost months, from excitement
and fatigue mental and bodily.

His Excellency had no recreation from his labours and indefatigable
exertion, exposing himself to sun, wind, and weather both by sea and
land in the most enthusiastic manner. Such was the state of affairs in
Scindiah’s Dominions, it was evident that British interference alone
could establish any peaceful order of things. It was therefore not
only expedient, but necessary, to assemble an army for the purpose
of supporting diplomacy or of acting in open war. Lord Ellenborough
intimated this to Sir Hugh, who, with his characteristic energy, sought
information on all points, and soon saw his position, his resources,
and the means at his disposal to collect that army which should be
irresistible if compelled to take the field, or adequate to making
a demonstration which would no less surely bring about the required
result. To assemble an army in India requires much arrangement and
consideration. There are various points at which the maintenance of an
armed force is indispensable; the extent of country in our occupation
entails in all concentrations particularly long and tedious marches:
lastly, the season of the year must be rigidly attended to, for such is
the fickleness of disease and its awful ravages, that it would need an
excess of folly to leave it out of the account.

Affairs at Gwalior were still in a most disturbed state. The country
was divided into parties. One of them, since the death of the Maharaja
Scindiah [5 February, 1843], had adhered to the widow, a girl of only
fourteen, but intriguing, designing, and in the hands of a cunning
fellow, a sort of Prime Minister. This party was the strongest, and
was inimical to the British Government. Hence it became necessary, in
virtue of existing treaties, to re-establish by force of arms that
amicable relationship which the tranquillity of India demanded, as
well as to support the interests of the Maharaja, Scindiah’s heir by
another wife, a boy of ten years old. An army with a very efficient
battery train was accordingly assembled at Agra under the immediate
command of His Excellency, while a large division under Major-General
Grey was concentrated at and in the vicinity of Cawnpore. While
negotiations were in progress, the troops were to move on Gwalior to
menace the hostile party, so that we might secure the object in view
by negotiation rather than at once appeal to arms. The headquarters
army marched from Agra direct on Dholpore upon the Chumbul, while the
division under General Grey was to create a diversion and threaten
Gwalior by a march to southward. According to the rules of strategy
and correct principles of military combination, this division of the
threatening or invading forces may with great reason be questioned,
when we reflect that the army of Gwalior consisted of 22,000 veteran
troops and for years had been disciplined by European officers and
well supplied with artillery, and thus an overwhelming force might
have been precipitated on Grey and his army destroyed, for he was
perfectly isolated and dependent on his own resources alone. This,
however, had not escaped the observation and due consideration of the
Commander-in-Chief. As we calculate on the power of an enemy, so may we
estimate what, according to his system of operations, he is likely to
attempt. On this occasion it was considered that if the enemy made a
descent on Grey, his division was of sufficient force to defend itself,
while our main army would have rapidly moved on Gwalior and conquered
it without a struggle through the absence of the chief part of its
army, (for strategy is totally unknown to a native army, which usually
posts itself on a well-chosen position and awaits an attack).

The leading incidents which led to the outbreak of war have been so
recently and so distinctly recorded, I have only to observe that
the policy pursued by the Governor-General was of the most correct
character. He gave the State of Gwalior full time for reflexion, and
demanded only such an arrangement as could alone restore the youthful
Maharaja to his birthright, and produce harmony within the State and
peace and tranquillity without. It admits of considerable discussion
whether or not the Governor-General was justified in crossing the
Chumbul, and thereby invading the territory of a kingdom he was
treating with, when one of the great preliminaries had been granted,
viz. the surrender of the Dada Khasgee Wala, the adviser and lover
of the young widow and the Prime Minister. However, the army under
the Commander-in-Chief crossed the Chumbul by ford above Dholpore,
while Grey’s Division entered the dominion of Scindiah _viâ_ Koonah
and crossed the boundary, the river Scinde, in the neighbourhood of
Kohee, avoiding, however, the Antree Pass, which would have exposed
his advance to considerable interruption. The army, after crossing the
Chumbul, moved into a position on the Koharee rivulet (the banks of
which are intersected by small ravines so as to be impassable but by
certain roads), and about eight miles from the ford of the Chumbul. The
position was one rather chosen for the pomp and ceremony of a visit
from the widow, the Maharaja, and the Court, which was expected in the
then state of the negotiations. This meeting was all arranged,[129] but
never came to consummation. The army were so jealous of Grey’s advance,
they concluded, and naturally from their own Mahratta character (being
the most fickle and deceitful people, and capable of any treachery to
advance their desires), that while the Governor-General was encouraging
this meeting, which was to be attended by a considerable body of the
Mahratta army, Grey’s division would move into the rear and seize
the capital and the fortress of Gwalior. The suspicions of natives
(naturally jealous and ready to impute evil to all around them) are
not to be calmed, and the army prohibited this meeting (if the babe
widow and her party ever seriously meditated it) and moved forward in
a hostile attitude, crossing the Ahsin rivulet, which runs parallel to
the Koharee at a distance of eight or nine miles.

I was in the habit of taking long rides every morning to make myself
well acquainted with the country. When out riding on the 28th December,
I fell in with a patrol which the Quartermaster-General of the Army
had been directed to take out for the purpose of reconnoitring the
enemy, who, according to information, had crossed the Ahsin and posted
himself between the villages of Maharajpore and Chounda. The former is
advanced on the plain between the two rivulets, the latter is below the
Ahsin, the banks of which are also intersected by innumerable small
and impassable ravines. I accompanied Colonel Garden, the Q.M.G. On my
return I gave in the memorandum as follows:—

      “Camp Hingonah, 28th Dec. 1843.

 “Note on the position of the enemy on the left bank of the Ahsin

 “From what I saw this morning, I calculate the force of the enemy
 to be 10,000 men, and he fired from ten guns of small calibre. His
 position appeared to be on the plain in dense masses of troops, his
 left resting on the broken ground of the Ahsin River, his guns drawn
 out in front, his right ‘en air,’ as if _more troops_ were coming
 up to occupy the position selected. The sooner, therefore, it is
 practicable for our army to occupy the right bank of the Koharee
 and place itself in front of the enemy’s line, the better, not only
 to prevent a further advance of the enemy, but to enable a general
 action to be fought in two hours, when desired. This, however, is
 a single view of our army, as it does not take into consideration
 Major-General Grey’s Division. It therefore rests mainly to be
 considered whether General Grey’s troops should not be so brought
 into direct communication with the main body as either to attack
 simultaneously the enemy’s left flank, or be so posted as to act
 upon the line of the enemy when ‘en déroute’ of our main body. To do
 this it is obvious that the exact position of General Grey must be
 ascertained. If the information of the strength of the enemy renders
 it expedient to await direct communication with General Grey, some
 little delay is involved. On the contrary, if a general action be at
 once desirable, it may be fought by eleven o’clock to-morrow, Friday
 the 29th inst. To effect this, the army should march, crossing the
 Koharee disencumbered of the ‘impedimenta’ of war, before daylight
 the 29th inst. The distance hence to the enemy’s line is within eight
 miles. To fight this action early in the morning is most desirable,
 in order to enable the pursuit of the fugitives to be protracted,
 therefore effective, and to ensure the capture of every gun.

 “The morning was very hazy, and the smoke of the camp combining with
 it made reconnaissance difficult.”

The army marched before daylight on the 29th Dec.[130] in three
columns, all of which reached their ground with the utmost precision.
The enemy was attacked [Battle of Maharajpore], every gun (54) taken,
and the defeat general; but never did men stand to their guns with
more determined pluck, every gunner being bayoneted or cut down at
his post. It was the same at Puniar [General Grey’s victory of the
same day.] The result of these battles is well known. I was mentioned
in the dispatches of the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Hugh Gough, and was
rewarded with a step in the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath,
from C.B. (I had worn that decoration since Waterloo, twenty-nine
years before) to K.C.B., the Great Captain of the Age writing to me as

      “Horse Guards, 29 April, 1844.


 “I have the satisfaction to acquaint you that the Secretary of State
 has, upon my recommendation, submitted to the Queen your appointment
 to be a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Military Order of the
 Bath, of which Her Majesty has been most graciously pleased to approve.

      “I have the honor to be, Sir,
      “Your most obedient humble servant,
      “(Signed)      Wellington.”

 “Major-General Sir H. G. Smith, K.C.B.”

To which I replied—

      “Headquarters, Army of India, Simla, 23rd June, 1844.

 “My Lord Duke,

 “I have this day had the honour to receive your Grace’s letter, ‘Horse
 Guards, 29th April’ acquainting me with an expression of satisfaction
 that Her Majesty had, upon your recommendation, been graciously
 pleased to appoint me a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable
 Military Order of the Bath. While my gratitude to my Sovereign is
 unbounded, my heart dictates, it is to your Grace I am indebted for
 every honorary distinction, promotion, and appointment I have received
 during a long and an eventful period of the history of the world.
 Among the many thousands of the gallant soldiers who so nobly fought
 and conquered under your Grace, I may conscientiously hope none could
 desire more zealously to do his duty, or was ever more actuated by
 personal devotion or inspired with greater confidence throughout
 the numerous struggles of war, than he who now renders his grateful
 thanks for this mark of distinction so honourable to the soldier,
 and thus conferred by Her Majesty through the recommendation of his
 Commander-in-Chief, the Great Captain of the Age.

      “I have, etc.,
      “(Signed)      H. G. Smith.

 “Field Marshal His Grace the Duke of Wellington.”

I have now served my country nearly forty years, I have fought in every
quarter of the globe, I have driven four-in-hand in every quarter, I
have never had a sick certificate, and only once received leave of
absence, which I did for eight months to study mathematics. I have
filled _every_ staff situation of a Regiment and of the General Staff.
I have commanded a Regiment in peace, and have had often a great voice
in war. I entered the army perfectly unknown to the world, in ten years
by force of circumstances I was Lieutenant-Colonel, and I have been
present in as many battles and sieges as any officer of my standing in
the army. I never fought a duel, and only once made a man an apology,
although I am as hot a fellow as the world produces; and I may without
vanity say, the friendship I have experienced equals the love I bear my
comrade, officer or soldier.

My wife has accompanied me throughout the world; she has ever met with
kind friends and never has had controversy or dispute with man or woman.

      Harry Smith.


On the Battle of Maharajpore.

 In a letter to Sir James Kempt, dated “Gwalior, 15th January, 1844,”
 Harry Smith sketches the events which led to the battle, and cites his
 memorandum of 28th December given above. He continues—

 “The army did march as described in Sir H. Gough’s dispatches in three
 columns, each arriving at its designated post in excellent time—which
 I freely admit was scarcely to be expected, having to disengage itself
 from a mass of laden elephants, camels, and bullocks and bullock
 carts, etc., resembling rather the multitudes of Xerxes than anything
 modern, and having to traverse ground on the banks of rivulets most
 peculiarly intersected by numerous and deep small ravines, the pigmy
 model of a chain of mountains, but even more impassable. On such
 ravines was posted the enemy’s left flank; his right extended towards
 the village of Maharajpore, which he had filled with Infantry and ably
 supported by batteries enfilading its approach, his extreme right
 again thrown back upon the ravines of the Ahsin River, as described
 in the little pencil sketch enclosed, thus realizing the surmise in
 my report, ‘his right “en air,” as if other troops were coming up to
 complete the occupation of the position.’ If we could have caught the
 enemy in the state he was when reconnoitred the previous day, easy
 indeed would have been the victory. These Mahrattas, nor indeed does
 any Indian Army, know no more than to occupy a strong position and
 hold it as long as able, sticking to their guns _like men_. Having
 observed the enemy’s position the day before, it was obvious to me
 this morning that he had advanced very considerably, and that he held
 the village of Maharajpore in force, which I rode through the day
 previous. Upon a plain, and that plain covered with the high stalks
 of Jumna corn, not a mound of rising ground even to assist the view,
 reconnoitring is nearly nominal. However, so impressed was I from what
 a nearer view the day before had given me and what I then saw, that
 the enemy attached great importance to his left flank, the line of
 his retreat if beaten, I ventured to advocate that flank as the most
 eligible point for a weighty attack. However, things were differently
 conducted and as the heads of columns appeared, the enemy instantly
 opened a well-directed cannonade, particularly from the vicinity of
 the village of Maharajpore, and Sir H. Gough ordered an advance. His
 dispatch tells the tale, and the mode of resistance, the enemy’s
 guns, etc. I need, therefore, only bear testimony to the gallantry of
 the enemy’s resistance, which in my conscience I believe and assert
 would not have been overcome but for our gallant old Peninsular
 comrades, the 39th and 40th Regiments, who carried everything before
 them, bayoneting the gunners at their guns to a man. These guns were
 most ably posted, each battery flanking and supporting the other by
 as heavy a cross-fire of cannon as I ever saw, and grape like hail.
 Our leaders of brigades in the neighbourhood and in the village had
 various opportunities of displaying heroism, Valiant, Wright 39th and
 my Assistant, Major Barr, remarkably so, and many gallant fellows fell
 in this noble performance of their duty. The enemy was driven back
 at every point with great loss, yielding to force, not retiring in
 haste. A more thorough devotedness to their cause no soldiers could
 evince, and the annals of their defeat, altho’ an honour to us, can
 never be recorded as any disgrace to them. Turn we now to General
 Grey’s division. For many days before the 29th our communication was
 totally interrupted, and the wisdom of the route and the disunited
 approach to Gwalior must be tested by the fortunate result, not by the
 established rules and principles of strategy. Grey’s dispatch is not
 so well written as it might have been, I am led to understand, nor
 does he give full credit to the old Buffs for their gallant _double
 allowance_ with which they contributed to the achievements of the day
 and the capture of the enemy’s guns, every one of them. The old 50th
 had its share too, and the blockheads in the East, who ‘haver’ over
 their wine of India’s being in a state to require no British troops,
 are wrong: for, liberally contributing the full meed of praise to the
 Seapoy Battalions, that praise is so rested on the British soldier’s
 example, the want of that ‘point d’appui’ would entail a dire want
 indeed, that of victory! Now if we regard the victories recently
 obtained over the Mahratta force, 28,000 men whose discipline has
 gradually been improving under Christian officers since 1803 (the days
 of Lake and Wellington), well supplied with cannon and every implement
 of war, animated by a devotion to their cause not to be exceeded—in
 a military point of view they are achievements in the field which
 yield alone to Assaye and rank with Dieg, Laswarree, and Mehudpore,
 and in a political point of view, their importance is immense, struck
 in the very heart of India, within the hearing almost of the seat of
 government of our Upper Provinces, Agra. Remembering the disasters
 in Afghanistan, which still, as they ever will, hold their baneful
 influence over British India; reviewing the recent bloody murders,
 and present confusion and anarchy at Lahore; the still unsettled
 state of Bundelkund; the sickness in Scinde (that accursed Scinde),
 the grave of our army; the intrigues at the court of Nepaul, which
 have been rife and ready for mischief pending the late contest—then
 may my Lord Ellenborough and our country congratulate themselves
 upon the re-establishment of the ‘Prestige of our Arms’ as a sure
 foundation of our Indian Empire, the very base of which was tremulous,
 for it is well known that these Mahrattas have been _advocating
 hostility in every court of the East_. It is to be hoped, therefore,
 coupled with Lord E.’s moderation and the equity of his acts in thus
 re-establishing the youthful Maharaja on his throne, that our country
 and its Government will regard this as no war of foreign invasion, no
 war of conquest and unjust aggression, but one of absolute necessity
 to maintain the one Power paramount in India on the faith of old
 treaties of amity, and a demonstration to the present disturbed states
 of India, to the well-disposed, and to the World, that the British
 Lion will be ever triumphant; and that it will accordingly treat the
 soldiers who have achieved victories of such political magnitude
 with the liberality shown to _the heroes exiled_ from Affghanistan,
 their discomfitures conjured into triumphs of valour, their miserable
 retreat through the Khyber Pass into deeds of glory inferior to none
 but the passage of San Bernardo by Napoleon. In this hope we may
 venture to trust a fair construction will be put on our acts, and that
 I may see my gallant comrades promoted as they deserve, and honoured
 in the manner recent services have been.

 “I shall ever regard this battle as one of the most fortunate
 circumstances of my life, if the majority of its remainder is to be
 spent in India, by its having acquired me that experience in Indian
 warfare all require, and above all, to hold in just estimation your
 enemy, a creed I have ever advocated, and to a certain extent, in
 every instance practised. In the late conflict _no one_ gave our
 foe credit for half his daring or ability; hence our attack was not
 quite so scientifically powerful by a combination of the different
 arms as it might have been, and the defects of the unwieldy machine
 called the British Indian Army rendered most glaring:—its appalling
 quantity of baggage, its lack of organization and equipment of the
 soldiers, its want of experience in Generals and in officers, the
 extreme willingness but total inexpertness and inaptitude of the
 soldier in the arts of war, in the conflict, on picquet, on every
 duty which a protracted campaign alone can teach effectually. In this
 country almost every war has been terminated in one or two pitched
 battles fought so soon as the one army comes in sight of the other,
 and accordingly all the science attaching to advance and retreat,
 the posting of picquets, reconnaissance of the enemy, the daily
 contemplating his movements, both when he is before you and on the
 march, are lost, and war is reduced at once to ‘there are people drawn
 up who will shoot at you, so fire away at them.’ You blindly and
 ineptly rush upon them, drive them from the field with considerable
 loss, take all their guns, and never see the vestige of them after.
 Thus we must judiciously and with foresight organize ourselves for a
 campaign in the Punjaub—a very probable event—for the armies of India
 are not now the rabble they were in Clive’s time, but organized and
 disciplined by European officers of experience (many French), and the
 art of war has progressed rapidly among our enemies, whose troops are
 invariably far more numerous than those we oppose to them; thus by
 superior ability we could alone calculate on their defeat. As it is,
 we calculate alone on the bulldog courage of Her Majesty’s soldiers,
 and our loss becomes what we lately witnessed.

 “To obviate these deficiencies, apparent even to the most
 inexperienced eye, we must in the first place reduce our baggage, next
 give our Seapoys canteens and haversacks (a Regiment told me they were
 exhausted for want of water, the water-carriers having run away). We
 must then, every cold season, have divisions of the army assembled,
 and post the one half opposite the other, with outlying picquets,
 etc., and daily alarms, skirmishes, etc., then general actions with
 blank cartridges. Without this the British Indian Army will remain as
 it now is—a great unwieldy machine of ignorant officers and soldiers.
 The drill of the Seapoy is good enough, and that of his officer, and
 never will attain greater perfection, but unless the officers in their
 separate commands know how, as I call it, to feed the fight, to bring
 up or into action successively in their places their command, when
 the attack is ordered, I defy any general to defeat his enemy but by
 stupid bull-dog courage. It may be conceit in Harry Smith, but if
 10,000 men were given him in one cold season, if by sham fights, etc.,
 he did not make them practical soldiers, he would resign in disgust,
 for the material is excellent and willing, but now, like a dictionary,
 it contains all the words, but cannot write a letter.

 “I have given you no account of the death of our gallant old comrade
 Churchill; he was game, and tho’ not free from many errors he had
 virtues, and his loss cost Juana and me some honest tears.

 “Young Somerset is a fine, gallant young fellow who received four
 wounds, three severe ones, but is doing well, thank God both for his
 sake and his father’s. As I cannot write to all my many friends, if
 you think this letter would amuse any of my _old comrades_, soldiers
 such as I aim at making, Lord K.,[131] Sir J. Lambert, Sir T. Reynell
 (if better), Sir A. Barnard, pray send it. Lord F. Somerset I do not
 name, as I know you show him all my effusions which meet your own

 “Juana was under a heavy cannonade with Lady G., Miss G., and a Mrs.
 Curtis on their elephants. Juana had this command of Amazons, and
 as she was experienced and they young, her command was anything but
 satisfactory.[132] This Gwalior is a very extraordinary place. I have
 had some long rides in every direction, and the _débris_ of the army
 of Scindiah now disbanding are as handsome, well-clothed and appointed
 soldiers, as regular in their encampments, as Frenchmen, and inclined
 to fight in their gallant and vivacious style.

 “Thus our credit in the victory is the more.

      “Faithfully, dear friend,
      “(Signed) Harry Smith.”



      Cawnpore, 7th September, 1846.

The narrative by way of my history which ceased in 1843 must now be
renewed, as it embraces the most important period of my eventful life,
as far as public services go. In my capacity of Adjutant-General of
Her Majesty’s forces at Headquarters (which in the cold weather moved
about on the plains, in the hot enjoyed the cool and bracing atmosphere
of the Himalayas at Simla), I had every opportunity of watching the
gradually gathering storm in the Punjaub, until it was suspended over
our heads in November, 1845, ready to burst, though where, when, or how
no one dared venture a decided opinion. Most certainly, however, no
one contemplated a powerful invasion, or imagined that the Sikhs were
in communication with the [princes?] and influential men of British
India so far as Delhi. At the period when this was written, the history
of the rise of the Punjaub as a nation was well known to all, but ere
these pages come to light it may be forgotten or partially so. A
slight compendium of this history is therefore annexed.

The kingdom called the Punjaub extends from the Hindoo Koosh (a branch
of the Himalayas) on the north, is bounded by that range on the east,
by the Indus to the west, by the Sutlej, to its confluence with the
Indus, to the south. However, a considerable portion of the territory
_south_ of the Sutlej was under the rule of the Lahore Government, and
this became the seat of the great war in 1845-6.

This tract of country was consolidated by the conquest of various
independent principalities by the ability, enterprise, and foresight of
the celebrated Runjeet Singh, who raised himself to pre-eminence and
absolute power from the middle class of society. Hence the old Sikh
families, the ancient Rajpoots, although subdued into obedience, were
ever distrustful of him and he was ever obnoxious to them; hence the
seeds of discord which so rapidly sprung up on the decease of Runjeet
Singh, and which concluded in this war so fatal to the Sikh.

The whole Punjaub contains about a quarter of a million of Sikhs,
the chief part to be found around Lahore and the beautiful city of
Umritsir. A Sikh cultivator is seldom seen. The Sikhs, although
professing a religion of Brahmanical tenets and established by their
great priest and prophet Govind Gooroo, drink to excess, eat opium and
bangh (a species of wild hemp possessing narcotic and intoxicating
qualities of the most enervating description), and regard the
abstemious Hindoo and the sensual Mussulman with contempt. Hence the
labour of the fields and every other labour fall upon the two latter
races, and they have always been favourably disposed to the British.


  MAP TO ILLUSTRATE THE SUTLEJ CAMPAIGN, 1845-6.      [_Opposite p. 498._]

Runjeet Singh’s great policy was a firm adherence to the rulers of
British India. He had observed in 1811 [1808?] the discipline of
some of our Seapoys who formed an escort to Mr. Metcalfe (ultimately
Lord Metcalfe) on an embassy to the Court of Lahore. This escort,
when treacherously attacked by a fanatical sect not then subdued to
Runjeet’s authority, called Akalies, so boldly and ably defended
itself, that, observing the effect of discipline, the acute Runjeet
instantly set to work to organize his own army on a similar footing. He
invited foreigners, especially Frenchmen, to enter his service, and was
liberal to many of them in the extreme. Under such instruction, a most
powerful army sprung up, composed of Cuirassiers, Light Infantry most
highly equipped, numerous Artillery (in which Runjeet had great faith),
and beautifully appointed and organized Infantry. Runjeet spared
neither expense nor exertion, and such a spirit of superiority and
strength was infused into this army that it believed itself invincible
and the most powerful in the world. Runjeet died in June, 1839, leaving
this powerful army, estimated by us as of the following strength:—

 40,000 Cavalry, regular and irregular, among which a Brigade of
 Akalies in cuirasses and chain armour, “The Invincibles.”

 120,000 Regular Infantry.

 Innumerable Irregulars—every inhabitant being a soldier.

 400 pieces of cannon ready to take the field, (for Runjeet had spared
 neither pains nor expense to improve the breed of horses, and his
 efforts were attended with great success.)

From the death of Runjeet Singh in 1839 to 1845 a succession of
revolutions and murders of Kings and Princes continued, first one
party, then another, supporting a reputed son of Runjeet on the throne,
who was as sure to be murdered in the sanguinary struggles of that
Reign of Terror. A Hill family, elevated for their personal beauty
rather than their talents (although some of them were far from wanting
abilities), became conspicuous, and many fell with the puppets of
their creation. This family received the soubriquet of Lords of the
Hills, Jummoo being the fortified hold of the head of the family. Its
most conspicuous members were Goolab Singh and Dhyan Singh. Dhyan and
his son Heera Singh were both Prime Ministers, or Wuzeer, and both
were murdered in 1844. Such was the power of the standing army, it
acknowledged no other authority, set up Kings and deposed them at
pleasure, and at the period of the commencement of the war, a boy
(Dhuleep Singh), born of a Hill woman of great ability and reputed the
son of old Runjeet, was the nominal King, Lal Singh was Wuzeer, and Tej
Singh Commander-in-Chief of this rabble (though highly organized and
numerous) army. It must be obvious that such a state of things could
not last. The resources of the treasury were rapidly consuming, and
with them the only power of the Queen Mother, the Rani or Regent, which
consisted in her presents and consequent popularity. All the foreign
officers had absconded except one Frenchman, a man of neither note
nor talent, and a Spanish Engineer by name Hubon, a low-bred man, but
clever, acute, and persevering.

The British Government of India had acknowledged this Regency, and was
desirous to retain amicable relationship with the Punjaub, but in the
middle of the year 1845, so unruly and clamorous for war was the Sikh
army, all negotiations terminated, and a state of uncertainty ensued
which made it necessary for British India, without declaring hostility,
to place itself on a footing to resist it, should so mad an enterprise

Meanwhile in 1844 Lord Ellenborough was recalled, and succeeded as
Governor-General by Sir Henry Hardinge, a statesman and a soldier of
Wellington’s, in either capacity celebrated for judgment, ability,
and foresight. Upon his very arrival, he saw that a rupture with
the Punjaub was sooner or later inevitable, and he drew up an able
document on the prospects of British India in such an event, which
he submitted to the Directors. Immediately afterwards he commenced
moving every possible soldier, and commanded the material of war up to
the North-West Frontier, while a large flotilla of boats was built at
Bombay for the purpose of bridges, and sent up the Indus and thence
into the Sutlej opposite Ferozepore, where they were sunk under the
left bank of the river. By these arrangements, dictated by a perfect
military knowledge and by that foresight which bears the stamp of
prediction, Sir Henry Hardinge, in the autumn of 1845, had in readiness
for coming events nine regiments of British Infantry, three regiments
of British Cavalry, a most powerful train of Field Artillery (with
upwards of 100 field-guns, 6 and 9-pounders, and a powerful battering
train in progress), a large force of Regular and Irregular Cavalry, and
forty regiments of Native Infantry. The isolated post and fortress of
Ferozepore had been reinforced by twenty-four field guns, a regiment
of British Infantry, and Cavalry and Native Infantry, until a force
of upwards of 7000 men composed a Corps under Major-General Sir John
Littler, for the double purpose of defending Ferozepore from insult and
watching the ghauts, or fords, of the Sutlej. The assembling force was
put into Brigades and Divisions, and equipped to take the field either
on the initiative or defensive.

In December all negotiations and communications between the Regency
and ourselves had ceased at the dictation of the Sikh army, which
was clamorous for war with the British, and openly vaunted it would
place the Rani and her son upon the Imperial Throne of Delhi, and a
correspondence was actually established with that city and the line
conducting to it, for the supply of provisions to the Sikh army. This
act of treachery on the part of British subjects will show what would
be the stability of British rule in India on any other basis than that
of military power.

The means of obtaining information on the part of our political
officers, as results prove, was defective; nor can any credit attach
to Sir John Littler as a watchful outpost officer, when the enemy
gradually crossed by boats (not a bridge) an army of 70,000 men of all
arms, with an immense train of artillery and overwhelming force of
cavalry, with stores enormous, and positively established themselves
under the Commanders Tej Singh and Lal Singh, ere our authorities were
aware of it, civil or military, fortified a strong position near and
embracing the village of Ferozeshuhur, and made a demonstration as of
attack in front of Ferozepore. This was in the middle of December.
This development and invasion called for, and was met by, the most
active and vigorous measures on the part of the Governor-General and
Council. Every available regiment was pushed forward without waiting
to assemble Divisions and Brigades, although all were in order, and a
very able organization was effected, as far as the programme went. The
troops made double or forced marches, with the result that the force
of cavalry under Brigadier White, the 1st Division under Major-General
Sir Harry Smith,[133] and one Brigade of the 2nd Division under
Major-General Gilbert, reached Moodkee much fatigued and exhausted on
the morning of the eventful 18th December. One of the most able and
enterprising movements at this stage of the war was the evacuation of
Loodiana, except its fort, by order of the Governor-General, and the
march of the troops thence on Busseean, which reinforcement, joining
the troops on their hasty march on Moodkee, ensured the victory about
to be contended for.

On the 18th December a considerable force of the British army had
reached Moodkee, much exhausted, as has been said, by the necessary
length of marches and a want of water and the power of cooking.
Brigades were assembled, but not Divisions. The troops had some of them
barely reached their bivouac, when the advance of the Sikh army with
clouds of cavalry demanded an immediate turn-out in preparation to
resist an attack of fresh and infatuated troops, excited by personal
hatred, natural vanity, and the stimulants of spirits, opium, and
bangh. In place of awaiting the coming storm, our united forces being
compact, each arm in support of the other, the whole on an open plain
ready to receive the onslaught, our troops were hurried unnecessarily
into the field, and the cavalry and artillery rushed into action. Our
cavalry and artillery had driven back the Sikh cavalry most gallantly
into a very jungly or bushy country, when the enemy’s infantry brought
them up and occasioned a very considerable and most unnecessary loss.
The infantry meanwhile advancing, the right Brigade of the 1st
Division upon the right of the army under the command of Brigadier
Wheeler, but under the eye of Sir Harry Smith, was fiercely assailed
by an almost overwhelming force of Sikh infantry. These it boldly
repulsed, and, continuing to advance, took six guns and caused the
enemy an inconceivable loss. The dust was so darkening, the enemy could
only be discovered by its density and the fire.

The first part of this action was on an open country with occasional
large dense and thorny trees, into which the enemy climbed and caused
the 50th Regiment great loss. This Brigade (H.M.’s 50th, and the 42nd
and 48th Regiments Native Infantry) was more engaged than any other
part of the army. Many officers and upwards of 150 soldiers of the 50th
were wounded. Brigadier Wheeler was wounded severely; Major-General
Sale, Q.M.G. of H.M.’s Forces, who had attached himself to Sir Harry
Smith, mortally. On this occasion Sir Harry Smith greatly distinguished
himself on his celebrated black Arab “Jem Crow,” by seizing one of the
colours of H.M.’s 50th Regiment and planting them in the very teeth of
a Sikh column, and gloriously did the Regiment rush on with bayonet,
and fearful was the massacre which ensued. The left Brigade of the 1st
Division was engaged to the left of the line under Brigadier Bolton of
H.M.’s 31st Regiment (who fell mortally wounded), while the Brigades
of the 2nd Division under Major-General Gilbert and Major-General Sir
John McCaskill occupied the centre. Sir John was shot through the heart.

It is a curious circumstance in this battle that so obscured was all
vision by the dust, that it afterwards appeared that the bulk of the
Sikh forces passed in column along the front of the 1st Brigade of the
1st Division, and when repulsed by the 2nd Brigade 1st Division and
[ ] Brigade 2nd Division, were driven again across the front of the
50th, the advance of which was pushed by Sir Harry Smith. After the
troops were halted, the dust dispelled and the moon was up and shining
brightly. The 1st Brigade 1st Division then formed an obtuse angle
with the rest of the army. This brigade had gone right through the
Sikh repulsed columns. The 1st Division this day took twelve of the
seventeen guns captured from the enemy.

The Division lost at Moodkee—

  Killed.    Wounded.    Missing.    Total.

    79         339          19        437

Both Brigadiers were knocked down, and one died of his wounds.

After the action the troops returned to their camp, which they reached
about half-past twelve.



Early in the morning of the 19th parties were sent out to bring in the
wounded, and our cavalry outposts pushed forward to cover this, as
also to enable our artillery to bring in the captured guns, amounting
to seventeen. The enemy having made a reconnaissance with a large body
of cavalry, which created an alarm in the camp, the troops were turned
out and took up a very faulty position in front of Moodkee. In this
village there is a very tenable little fort, which was of great use to
us. About one o’clock, the enemy making no forward movement, the troops
were turned in to cook. During the afternoon all was quiet.

On the 20th every arrangement was made for the care of the sick,
wounded, stores, etc., at Moodkee, and the troops, well completed in
ammunition, prepared to march on the memorable 21st December. As yet no
direct communication was established with Sir John Littler, in command
of the 7000 men at Ferozepore. These were still isolated and subject
to a weighty attack of the enemy, who could attack with facility and
still hold his position around the village of Ferozeshuhur. This was
strongly fortified and bristling with cannon, and there was plenty
of water for both men and horses. Hence our object was to effect a
combination with the Ferozepore force ere the enemy anticipated us,
unless his correct information of our movements led him to attack
either one or both of our columns moving mutually to a point of
concentration, for Littler’s force was ordered to move out and meet our
advance. (This was by no means a difficult or dangerous movement, the
distance from Moodkee to Ferozepore not exceeding that from the Sikh
army at Ferozeshuhur.)

The troops marched from Moodkee in order of battle (almost crossing
the front of the enemy’s position), and moved in the direction of
Ferozepore, from whence Littler’s column was also moving to effect
the junction, which took place about ten o’clock in the morning. Sir
H. Hardinge, as Governor-General, had interdicted any attack upon
the enemy’s lines until the junction was effected, a most fortunate
interdiction for British India.[134] So soon as the army was collected,
Sir H. Hardinge turned to Sir H. Gough and said, “Now the army is at
your disposal.”

Sir Hugh made immediate arrangements to attack, although much most
valuable time was lost in those arrangements, nor were Generals of
Division made the least aware of how or what or where they were to
attack. The army was one unwieldy battalion under one Commanding
Officer who had not been granted the power of ubiquity. My opinion
may be called one after the result, but I formed it while the troops
were arranging in order of battle. I now record it leisurely and most
deliberately. Had I commanded, I should have moved in contiguous
columns of brigades, my cavalry protecting my advance up to the enemy’s
position till within range of his guns, the troops so moving as to
be able to anticipate any movement of the enemy to the discomfort of
Ferozepore, and to enable me to throw the weight of the attack upon
the right of the enemy, if, as I apprehended from all I had heard, he
was as assailable upon his right as on any other given point. I say I
would have thrown the weight of my attack upon his right, because he
was most formidable in his entrenched position, and if that right was
to be carried as I anticipated, my victorious troops could have acted
on the line of his retreat, which, being comparatively left open, gave
him an opportunity to avail himself of it, and not to fight with that
desperation that even bad troops will show if they are hemmed in. So
soon as my advancing columns had attained to barely within the range of
the enemy’s guns, I would have carefully reconnoitred him, and compared
ocular demonstration with the accounts of the enemy’s interior
arrangements of defence afforded by spies, taking with me each General
of Division as I passed the front of his troops. This reconnaissance
would have enabled officers in command to see their way. The whole
weight of my attack should have been on the enemy’s right and right
centre, which would have given me the advantage which the principles
of war so justly and truly demand, “To be superior to your enemy on
the point of attack.” The enemy’s position was his favoured one,
semicircular, the centre near the village of Ferozeshuhur, where there
were good wells, and also pond water for cattle. By a weighty attack
on a given point, the half of the enemy’s cannon in position would
have been lost to him and innocuous to us. Whereas we attacked in what
may almost be termed lines of circumvallation of the enemy’s crescent,
thus presenting ourselves as targets to every gun the enemy had.
Our artillery was massed about the centre of the army; six-pounders
opposed to the enemy’s guns in embrasures, and of a calibre or weight
beyond the range of our six-pounders; hence the mortality and wrongly
imputed inefficiency of that arm, a noble arm when called forth in its
legitimate field.

The 1st Division, mine, was separated, the 1st Brigade, under Brigadier
Hicks, being to the right of the mass of artillery, the 2nd Brigade to
the left of that arm, which covered from three-quarters to a mile of
ground. The whole Division was regarded as the reserve to the centre of
the army. Sir John Littler’s, the Ferozepore force, was on the left.
In this order the army advanced to the attack. There was plenty of
daylight; the imputation of attacking too late in the day is unfounded,
as I will plainly show, although I was not then, nor am I now, an
advocate for so precipitate an attack, made without any knowledge of
the enemy’s position beyond the lies and contradictory stories of
spies. An attack on a rear-guard ought to be precipitated _coûte que
coûte_; an attack on an army delayed until science can be applied with
the greatest decision.

Having posted my right Brigade, I joined the left and correctly posted
it, strictly in obedience to the orders I had received from the
Commander-in-Chief in person. My Division thus posted, I rode forward
with a desire of having a look at the enemy’s position, and came up
to Sir H. Hardinge, who was in doubt what some guns were upon our
left, which had just been brought into action. I galloped forward to
ascertain, and reported they were of Littler’s force, that his attack
appeared to me one of no weight from its formation, and that, if the
enemy behaved as expected, it would fail. Sir H. Hardinge said, “Then
bring up your Division.” I explained I had only one Brigade; I could
bring up that. He ordered it up, and I pretty quickly had it on the
move to the front, to the left of Gilbert’s, or the 2nd Division, and
to the right of Littler’s.

At this moment Gilbert’s left was not only checked in its advance,
but actually falling back, and I had some difficulty in establishing
myself on the front line in consequence of the broken troops falling
back upon me. Scarcely was I firmly established, when Major Broadfoot,
the Political Agent, rode up and said, “Be prepared, General. Four
Battalions of Avitabile’s[135] are close upon you in advance; I have
it from correct information—a man in my pay has just left them.” The
smoke and dirt rendered everything at the moment invisible. I saw,
however, that to resist this attack, which was evidently made to take
advantage of our check, and penetrate our line between Littler’s
right and Gilbert’s left, I must bring up the right of my Brigade.
I endeavoured to do so, and with H.M.’s 50th Regiment I partially
succeeded, under a storm of musketry and cannon which I have rarely,
if ever, seen exceeded. My native troops staggered and some receded,
while the gallant old 50th bore the whole brunt, opening a rapid fire.
At this moment poor Major Arthur Somerset[136] was struck down, a most
accomplished soldier for his experience, and of a promise to emulate
his great ancestor the Duke, had Almighty God been pleased to spare him
to his country. I never saw a more cool, judicious, and gallant officer
than my dear and lamented friend, Arthur Somerset. If the tears of a
veteran could decorate the hero’s tomb, every vein upon it would be
full. Poor youth! “Sic transit gloria mundi!”

The enemy was at this moment in his bearing noble and triumphant. So
fast were officers and men falling, I saw there was nothing for it but
a charge of bayonets to restore the waning fight. I, Colonel Petit, and
Colonel Ryan put ourselves at the head of the 50th, and most gallantly
did they charge into the enemy’s trenches, where such a hand-to-hand
conflict ensued as I had never before witnessed. The enemy was repulsed
at this point, and his works and cannon carried, and he precipitately
retreated. I pushed forward with the 50th in line until we reached the
enemy’s camp. All order was broken by the tents, but my orders and
example were “Forward! Forward! Forward!” I saw a village occupied
by the enemy full in my front, about 400 yards away. By this time I
was joined by many stragglers of regiments from my right or Gilbert’s
Division, but no one from my left or Littler’s. I was therefore
apprehensive of my left flank, nor was I aware (from the obscurity
created by the dust) whether the four Battalions of Avitabile’s were
repulsed, or indeed where they were. I resolved, therefore, to carry
the village, which I soon did in gallant style with H.M.’s 50th and
a detachment of the Honourable Company’s 1st European Light Infantry
under Captain Seaton and Lieutenant ——. The colours of H.M.’s 50th were
gallantly borne forward by Brevet Captain Lovett and Lieutenant de
Montmorency. I was the first officer in the Head-quarters village of
the Sikh army, Ferozeshuhur, and I planted one of the colours of H.M.’s
50th on the mud walls. A scene of awful slaughter here ensued, as the
enemy would not lay down their arms. The village was full of richly
caparisoned and magnificent horses, and there were camels around it

After about half an hour the dust cleared away upon my left, and I
saw that Avitabile’s Battalions had been driven back by my charge,
but Littler’s Division had made no impression upon the enemy where
he attacked. The victory appeared complete on my right; crowds of
advancing, straggling officers and soldiers came up, and I resolved
again to push forward. The evening was fast closing, but before
dark I carried the enemy’s camp half a mile beyond the village,
and endeavoured to collect and form the stragglers upon H.M.’s
50th—amounting, I conceive, to near 3000 men. For the first hour,
so excited were the men, I could make no formation, which I little
regarded at the moment, expecting every instant to hear the victorious
army upon my right. Not doing so, on the contrary, hearing the enemy
in force close to my front and right (it was very dark), I saw at once
I had pushed the victory far beyond [the ground held by our army],
and that my position was critical in the extreme. I therefore made a
vigorous and determined exertion to establish a formation, and I got
the 24th Regiment Native Infantry—one of my own Division—in line upon
my right under Major Bird, and about 150 of the 1st European Light
Infantry under Captain Seaton, and proceeded to form the whole in a
semicircle in front of the enemy’s camp, my flank being well refused
towards the village. Scarcely was this first formation effected, when
the enemy made rather a sharp attack upon my right and drove back the
formed troops. The darkness prevented the enemy continuing his success,
and the noise and clamour of my troops in the endeavour to form
indicated that I still held my ground. Thus I was compelled to reoccupy
my right and contract the circle of formation. In this arduous duty I
(and the Service still more so) was deeply indebted to Major Hull of
the 16th Grenadiers, who, after he received a wound of which he died in
a few hours, continued to do his duty, and aid me beyond my expression
under a murderous fire of musketry, grape, round shot, and grisaille.

I at length got all the stragglers, consisting of some of H.M.’s 9th
Regiment under Major Barwell,

  The 19th Grenadiers Native Infantry
   "  24th Regiment      "       "
   "  28th    "          "       "
   "  73rd    "          "       "

and many others, upon the 50th, which was well in hand.

The moon arose, and the night was as bright as day. The enemy soon
discovered the weakness and isolation of my force, and gradually
closed in upon me, keeping up a most destructive fire. My A.A.G.
and Q.M.G. were both wounded, their horses killed—every officer and
soldier dead-tired, so that many were killed fast asleep, both officers
and men. I was fully aware of the importance of my post, in the very
centre of and beyond the enemy’s entrenched position, and although I
could hear nothing of our army or see any bivouac fires, I resolved to
maintain myself to the last. The loss, however, became every moment
more heavy, and officers and soldiers were restless and sensible
of their critically advanced position. The enemy got a gun to bear
directly on my rear; my course was decided for me, and I at once saw
indications of the impossibility of maintaining myself any longer.

It was now three o’clock in the morning. To withdraw without being
compromised was a most perilous operation, for I was surrounded,
while the enemy were shouting and cheering, beating up troops, and
calling out to us in French and English, as well as Hindoostani, that
we were in their power. I therefore feigned to attack, opened a fire
and under the smoke quietly drew off, H.M.’s 50th leading. For the
last arrangement, this was my reason—if I were opposed, the 50th would
charge through such opposition; if pressed on my rear and the native
troops rushed past me, I then had a rear-guard of H.M.’s troops which
I could depend on. The enemy never discovered my retrograde movement
until I was out of his power.

I then marched straight, leaving Ferozeshuhur to my left and continuing
my route (guided by the moon and the dead soldiers on the line by
which I advanced). I soon fell in with a vedette, and, concluding
all was right and seeing a bivouac fire, regarded it as the picquet
of cavalry from which he was posted. Upon reaching the fire, I found
it belonged to the wounded men of H.M.’s 62nd Regiment and others,
under some surgeons, who knew nothing whatever of our army. It was
presumptuously urged upon me by several officers, who ought to have
thought before they spoke, to move on Ferozepore. My answer was decided
enough. “The Commander-in-Chief with his army is not far from us,
meditating an attack as soon as it is daylight, and find him I will if
in h—ll, where I will join him, rather than make one retrograde step
till I have ascertained some fact.” At the moment a large flame mounted
up, as if soldiers were lighting a large fire. I exclaimed, “There’s my
point, friend or foe.”

In about three-quarters of a mile I reached the fire, the village
of Misreewalla, where I found a Brigade of Cavalry, some Irregular
Horse, some Horse Artillery, and two or three thousand stragglers of
every Regiment in the army. I halted my people and got hold of some
spirits, which I issued to my gallant 50th and all the Europeans.
Soon after I reached Misreewalla I met Captain Lumley, A.A.G. of the
Army and at the head of the Department (General Lumley being sick,
and Major Grant desperately wounded at Moodkee). I was delighted to
see him, concluding he came direct from the Commander-in-Chief. He
said, “Sir Harry Smith, you are the very man I am looking for. As
senior officer of the Adjutant-General’s department, I order you to
collect every soldier and march to Ferozepore.” I said, “Do you come
direct from the Commander-in-Chief, with _such an order_? If you do,
I can find him, for, by G——, I’ll take no such order from any man on
earth but from his own mouth. Where is he?” “I don’t know, but these
in my official [position] are the orders.” “D—— the orders, if not the
Commander-in-Chief’s. I’ll give my own orders, and take none of that
retrograde sort from any Staff officer on earth. But why to Ferozepore?
What’s the matter?” “Oh, the army has been beaten, but we can buy the
Sikh soldiers.” “What!” says I, “have we taken no guns?” “Oh yes,” he
says, “fifty or sixty.” “Thank you,” I said; “I see my way, and want
no orders.” Turning round to my A.G., Captain Lugard, I said, “Now get
hold of every officer and make him fall in his men.”

At this moment Captain Christie, in command of an irregular Corps of
Horse, a most excellent officer, came up and said he knew the direction
the Commander-in-Chief was in and could point it out. I was delighted,
and I marched off every man able to move to join Sir Hugh Gough,
sending forward my wounded A.G. to report my whereabouts and what
troops I had with me. The Commander-in-Chief was as delighted to hear
of me and my troops as I was to find His Excellency. His orders were to
move up in support of the attack which I well and truly anticipated he
meditated, when to my astonishment I saw the village of Ferozeshuhur
full in my front two miles distant, the very post I had carried and
occupied the night before, and from which, after having held it until
three o’clock that morning, I was compelled to withdraw, or I should
have remained there nearly by myself.[137]

The attack was made on the part of the enemy’s camp he still held,
namely, his right, which had repulsed Littler’s attack on the afternoon
of the 21st. It was now carried without a check. The 1st Brigade of my
Division, especially H.M.’s 31st Regiment, greatly distinguished itself
and suffered severely.

Scarcely was the victory of the 21st and 22nd December over, when
a fresh body of the enemy (which had been watching Ferozepore
or threatening an attack if the garrison was withdrawn, and had
been deluded through Littler’s very judiciously leaving his camp
standing) came vaunting upon the left of our line and opened a fierce
cannonade upon us, literally within what had been their own camp and
entrenchments. The ammunition for our guns was fully expended, and our
troops were literally exhausted, and we could not attack what would
have been an easy prey under other circumstances. The whole of the
enemy withdrew and recrossed the Sutlej unmolested, for our troops
were in no condition to pursue. Our numerous wounded required to be
collected, our stores to be brought up, our troops to be refreshed.

From the march of the troops from Umbala and Loodiana upon Busseean,
our men had fought three actions, the battles of Moodkee, Ferozeshuhur,
and that of the 22nd December, gained three victories, and endured
great fatigue of marching and privations, especially of what is so
important to the native troops, water.[138] In a day or two the whole
were fresh, and we moved forward on the line the enemy had withdrawn
by. The 1st Division was on the right of the army, and subsequently
Brigadier Cureton’s Brigade of Cavalry (two troops of Horse Artillery,
H.M.’s 16th Lancers, 3rd Light Cavalry, and a corps of Irregular
Horse under a Captain Hill) were posted again to my right and under
my command. My outposts were opposite the enemy. At Sobraon, which
afterwards became so renowned, the enemy threw over a bridge and had
a ford near it; they ably constructed _têtes du pont_, and showed
an intention to cross. To do so was an act of madness which could
not be contemplated by any reasoning faculties, although ultimately

It appeared to me that our army was not posted where it ought to be,
and I strongly recommended to the Commander-in-Chief to move up the
left bank of the Sutlej, so that his centre should be opposite Sobraon,
and his left be kept in direct communication with Ferozepore by an
intermediate corps under the command of Sir John Grey, which could
also watch the reputed fords and ferries on that part of the river
on his front,—the right of the army, namely, my command, Cureton’s
Cavalry and my own Division, to be posted opposite the ford and ferry
of Hurreekee. The Commander-in-Chief called for the distribution of
the army as I proposed, which I gave in, accompanied by an explanatory
letter to His Excellency. In forty-eight hours it was adopted, and the
army moved into the celebrated position opposite Sobraon. Here the
enemy constructed a bridge of boats and pushed over his whole army,
most strongly fortifying and entrenching himself on the left side of
the river, a movement unparalleled in the history of war from time
immemorial. It may be asked, Why was he permitted? Answer, Because
we could not help ourselves. The right or enemy’s bank was high and
favourable for him in every way, and the bridge was judiciously thrown
over at a bend of the river; hence the natural formation presented a
formidable _tête du pont_, which the enemy entrenched and filled with
cannon of the heaviest calibre. We could not contend with him, our
heavy guns not having arrived, and the left bank of the river being
nearly perfectly flat. Thus he could cross, and did, unmolested, and
duly pushed his outposts forward and ours back, until it was deemed
necessary to counter-fortify our camp in his front, which was done
by bringing some of the heavy guns from Ferozepore. My Division and
command being well to the right, I had a line of outposts from the
confluence of the Beas and the Sutlej to within a mile of the enemy’s
entrenchments at Sobraon.



On the 16th January the Commander-in-Chief sent for me, and told me the
Governor-General was desirous that the small fortress of Futteyghur
and the larger one of Dhurmcote, both slightly garrisoned by the
enemy, should be reduced, as under their cover he was drawing supplies
from the left bank and crossing them over. His Excellency said, “A
Brigade will be sufficient to send, the 3rd Light Cavalry and some
Irregular Horse; but who will you send?” I replied I had rather go
myself. Sir Hugh Gough was much pleased with my offering to do so,
for I subsequently ascertained it was the Governor-General’s desire I
should be ordered. The Commander-in-Chief said, “When will you march?
there is no hurry.” I said, “Soon after this time to-morrow I shall
be writing my report that I have reduced them both.” He laughed and
said, “Why, the distance to Dhurmcote is twenty-six miles from your
right.” I replied, “I know that; still, what I say shall be, provided
that the officer and the Engineers supply me in time with the powder I
want to blow in the gates in the case of necessity.” I said to myself,
“However, powder or no powder, I march.”

When I reached camp, I found that, without my knowledge, the
Commissariat had sent almost all the tent elephants and other transport
into Ferozepore for provisions; some, however, arrived in the night.
These provisions I laid hold of, and I collected every animal in camp
for the use of the troops ordered to move, and I marched two hours
before daylight. On my approach Futteyghur was abandoned, and I pushed
on to Dhurmcote, which I reached by two o’clock in the afternoon, and
found it occupied, but without any gun deserving the name of cannon. I
invested it immediately with the 3rd Light Cavalry and Irregulars (the
infantry not being yet up), and summoned the garrison to surrender.
It received my flag of truce, and the leader or _killadar_ came out
and made a variety of stipulations, which I cut short by saying, “You
may march out with your arms, ground them on the glacis, and I will
endeavour to secure all hands six weeks’ pay. Go back to the fort. I
give you 20 minutes to consider, after which I shall make no terms,
but open my cannon upon you.” I waited 25 minutes, and no communication
being made, although I rode close to the works myself and beckoned to
them, I ordered our 9-pounders and a howitzer to open a few shots. The
Sikh flag was then hauled down, and a white one hoisted. I allowed the
garrison to march out and lay down their arms as prisoners of war,
and as the Infantry arrived, I immediately occupied the fortress and
commenced improving its defences. I was thus able to report, as I had
promised, to my Commander-in-Chief.

I had orders to reconnoitre the country around to ascertain its
resources and the feeling of amity or hostility of the neighbourhood.
Near me the villages were Mussulman and well disposed. Dhurmcote itself
belonged to a Sirdar in the enemy’s camp, but the people, when the hand
of power was manifested, were civil and brought me all the supplies I

Having made so long a march on the 17th and being desirous to put the
fortress in a state of defence, I had resolved to halt on the 18th,
when I received a communication to say that on the 19th I should
receive a reinforcement of two troops of Horse Artillery (viz. 12
guns), H.M.’s 16th Lancers, and the remainder of the corps of Irregular
Horse under Brigadier Cureton. Upon these reaching me, I should have
a Brigade of Cavalry, one of Infantry, and 18 guns. With this force I
was to move on to Jugraon, thence open a communication with Busseean,
the line nine miles to the interior of Jugraon, on which our enormous
battering train, stores, treasure, and ammunition, covering an extent
of ten miles of road, was marching. I was informed that I might get
hold of H.M.’s 53rd Regiment at Busseean, and if so, they were to obey
my orders. Under any circumstances, I was to open a communication
with Loodiana (distant from Jugraon, by the direct roads _viâ_ the
little fortress of Budowal, twenty-five or twenty-six miles), it being
threatened by Runjoor Singh’s army of 50 guns and 30,000 men, which had
crossed at Philour by boats and was in position at Baranhara, seven
miles from Loodiana. The force at Loodiana, under Lieutenant-Colonel
Godby, 30th Regiment N.I., consisted of one Regiment, the 5th Native
Cavalry, the 30th and 36th Sermoor and Nusseeree Battalions, and four
guns Horse Artillery.

On the 19th I marched the Infantry to Koharee, halfway to Jugraon,
which divided the distance, and I left orders at Dhurmcote for Colonel
Cureton to move on the 20th to Jugraon, where he was to join me, which
was effected accordingly. On reaching Jugraon, I received a report from
Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, commanding H.M.’s 53rd Regiment, to whom
I had sent orders to Busseean to move on without delay to Jugraon. He
begged a day’s halt, representing that his transport was done. I had
opened a communication with Colonel Godby commanding at Loodiana. I
received the most pressing and urgent reasons for my joining him, and
I was equally urged by the Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief
to move on to save Loodiana and drive back the invaders under Runjoor
Singh and the Rajah of Ladwa. Hence the necessity to concentrate every
soldier I could lay my hands on for the purpose. I therefore sent
Lieutenant Smith of the Engineers over from Jugraon to Busseean, with
a written order for Colonel Phillips to march immediately—provided it
were possible. He marched, and the 16th Lancers and guns had reached me.

I here annex a narrative written at the Period.

“When I reached Jugraon on the 20th January, all accounts agreed
that the enemy was still at Baranhara, thirty miles from me, between
Loodiana and Philour, a fortress of his on the right bank of the
Sutlej, under cover of which he had crossed and perfected his invasion;
but that he had also occupied with a small garrison the fortress of
Budowal, which had been abandoned by the troops of a chief in amity
with us, and that he had near it some two or three hundred Horse. He
was also known to possess a fortress called Gungrana, regarded as
very strong, to my right (that is, its parallel) about ten miles from
Budowal into our interior, where there was also Cavalry.

“I got hold of the 53rd Regiment on the evening of the 20th, the day
I arrived at Jugraon. My force therefore stood thus: eighteen guns,
one Regiment of English Cavalry (16th Lancers), one Regiment of
Native Light Cavalry, one Regiment of Irregular Horse, two Regiments
of British Infantry (H.M.’s 31st and 53rd), 250 convalescents, and
two very weak Regiments of Native Infantry (the 24th and 47th). At
Jugraon was a very tenable fortress occupied by the troops of a
Rajah considered to be friendly, but in time of war and doubtful
success friendship is precarious. I therefore occupied the fortress
(or rather its citadel) by two Companies of my Native Infantry, and
resolved as soon as the moon was up, viz. at half-past twelve, to
march on Loodiana, leaving Budowal to my right, _i.e._ by the best,
shortest, and direct road, and I ordered all baggage which consisted of
_wheel-carriage_ transport, to remain behind under the protection of
the fort of Jugraon.

“Meanwhile, every two hours I dispatched instructions of these my
intentions to the officer who commanded at Loodiana, whom I ordered to
meet me with his force of four Horse Artillery guns, an excellent and
strong Regiment of Native Cavalry, and four good and fresh Regiments
of Native Infantry. All the while I believed the enemy’s force to be
at Baranhara, thirty miles from me, but only seven from Loodiana. My
order of march was in writing, also my instructions for the baggage
and detail of its guards, and I read them on the afternoon of the
20th to all the officers in command. I marched in the most regular
order at the hour appointed, with the desire to leave Budowal to my
right, and not move by the interior line, _i.e._ between Gungrana and
Budowal, two fortresses in the occupation of the enemy, distant only
four miles from _both_ my flanks, so that my march would be subject
to double interruption. The large force nearly equal to mine was to
have approached me from Loodiana, within three miles of Budowal on its
own side, on a strong hill and position I well knew of, Sonnact. The
natives here were most hostile, and it is an axiom, and a very just
one, in the conduct of war, ‘distant combinations are not to be relied
on.’ Hence, although I calculated upon this combination, I did not
rely upon it, but adopted my own measures for advance with caution and
circumspection, relying alone on my own resources.

“When I had marched some sixteen or eighteen miles in the most perfect
order of advance to within two miles of Budowal, as day dawned, I
received a communication from Colonel Godby that the enemy had marched
from Baranhara and was encamped around Budowal with his whole force,
and from some villagers I ascertained that the enemy had received
considerable reinforcements. I found myself thus close upon him, and
he in force. I had one of two alternatives, viz. to move on, leaving
Budowal to my right and most probably the moving Sikh army on my
left—in other words, to force my passage; or to leave Budowal to my
left and make a _détour_ towards Gungrana. To return to Jugraon I never
contemplated, which would have exposed Colonel Godby as previously
stated. The stake at issue was too great, hence I changed my order of
march and proceeded with every precaution, leaving the fort of Budowal
on my _left_, and with my troops in order of battle by wheeling into
line to their left if required. Several times during our night march we
had observed rockets firing, as if for signals, and at broad daylight
we discovered the enemy preparing to interrupt my newly adopted line of
march, though his most ample preparation, as I afterwards discovered,
had been made for my reception on the more direct road by which I had
originally intended to move, and upwards of forty pieces of cannon
pointed there, so perfect was his information.

“So soon as the enemy had discovered that I had changed my line of
march for the relief of Loodiana, he immediately attempted to interrupt
my force by moving parallel to my column through a line of villages
which afforded him cover and protection, and by providing him with good
roads facilitated his march, while I was compelled to move in order of
battle over ploughed fields of deep sand. Hence the head of the enemy’s
column, principally a large body of cavalry, rapidly outflanked me a
mile at least, and his rear of guns and infantry equally so. With great
celerity he brought to bear on my troops a considerable number of guns
of very heavy metal. The cavalry moved parallel with the enemy, and
protected from the fire of his guns by a low ridge of sandhills. My
eighteen guns I kept together close in rear of the cavalry, in order
to open a heavy fire on the enemy and to check his advance, thereby
attracting his attention, so soon as the fortunate moment which I saw
approaching arrived.

“This fire, which I continued for some ten minutes, had a most
auxiliary effect, creating slaughter and confusion in the enemy’s
ranks. The enemy’s cannonade upon the column of Infantry had been
previously to this furious. I had reinforced the baggage guard, and
sent orders that it should close up and keep well on the reverse flank
and as much ahead as possible. A few round shot ricocheting among
the camels, many of the drivers abandoned their animals, and our own
followers and the hostile villages in the neighbourhood plundered a
part of the baggage: little of it fell into the hands of the enemy’s

“As the column moved on under this cannonade, which was especially
furious upon the rear of the Infantry, the enemy, with a dexterity
and quickness not to be exceeded, formed a line of seven battalions
directly across my rear, with guns in the intervals of battalions,
for the purpose of attacking _my_ column with _his_ line. This was a
very able and well-executed move, which rendered my position critical
and demanded nerve and decision to evade the coming storm. I would
willingly have attacked this line, and I formed up a part of the 31st
Regiment as a base, when so deep was the sand and so fatigued were my
men, I was compelled to abandon the project. I therefore, under this
fierce cannonade, changed front on the centre of the 31st Regiment and
of the 53rd by what is a difficult move on parade even—a countermarch
on the centre by wings. Then became conspicuous the majesty of
discipline and bravery. This move was executed as accurately as at a

“My Native Regiments were very steady, but I now directed the Infantry
to march on Loodiana in échelon of Battalions, ready to receive the
word ‘Halt, Front’ (when they would thus confront the enemy’s line if
he advanced), and the Cavalry to move in échelon of squadrons, the two
arms mutually supporting, the guns in rear of the Cavalry. The whole
were moving most correctly and the movement was so steady that the
enemy, notwithstanding his overwhelming force, did not attack, but
stood amazed, as it were, fearing to quit his stronghold of Budowal,
and aware that the junction of my force with that of Loodiana was about
to be accomplished.

“I was astonished, I admit, at hearing nothing from Colonel Godby. I
had reason to hope some of my two-hourly dispatches had reached him,
and when at daylight I changed the direction of my march on account
of the enemy having anticipated me, I sent Lieutenant Holmes with a
party of Irregulars, cautioning him to look as sharp to his right on
account of Gungrana as to his left. I soon after sent off Lieutenant
Swetenham of the 16th Lancers, and a short time later Lieutenant Band
Smith of the Engineers. All these officers reached their destination.
From the repeated and urgent requests made by Colonel Godby that I
should advance to his relief, from _his then knowledge_ that the enemy
had anticipated me, I had every reason (supposing he had secured no
_positive information_ of my march from Jugraon or my orders) to
expect some co-operation or demonstration in my support, as I moved
towards him. On the contrary, my first messenger found his troops only
turning out, he having only just received my instructions, and his
force did not move off until the firing had commenced, about half-past
seven or eight, at a distance of between eight and nine miles—another
illustration of the truth of the axiom, ‘distant combinations are not
to be relied on.’ The natural expectation, too, of Colonel Godby’s
move towards me cramped my manœuvres, for had I swerved from the
line on which I expected his co-operation, his force would have been
compromised and in the power of the enemy’s weighty attack. The
reinforcement of four guns, a strong and fresh Regiment of Cavalry, and
four Regiments of fresh Infantry is a powerful reinforcement to a large
army; to me it was nearly one-half of the whole. Decision, coolness,
and determination effected the junction and relief of Loodiana, while
it cut off the enemy from his line of communication with Philour, under
which fortress he had crossed the Sutlej.

“A want of water in a position near the enemy compelled me to encamp
in front of Loodiana, but I established my outposts close upon him,
and frequently made strong patrols up to his position, intending, if
he dared attempt to interrupt our line of communication _viâ_ Busseean
(which I did not, although I so closely watched him, anticipate, so
close was I upon him, and the fortress of Jugraon before him), to move
on, _coûte que coúte_, and attack under any circumstances. Indeed, my
combined force would well have enabled me to do so, had I come up with
him when on the march and out of his entrenchments.

“Meanwhile the Commander-in-Chief, with great foresight and judgment,
ordered the second Brigade of my Division, under Brigadier Wheeler, a
Regiment of Native Cavalry, the Body Guard, 400 strong, and four guns
Horse Artillery, to move from Hurreekee _viâ_ Dhurmcote and Jugraon
to join me, while a second Brigade under Brigadier Taylor was ordered
in support to Dhurmcote, and the Shekawuttee Brigade was moving on
Jugraon. Thus the enemy’s position at Budowal was menaced on three

“He expected considerable reinforcements _viâ_ the Tulwun Ghaut,
eight miles lower down the Sutlej than Philour. He therefore,
again with judgment, abandoned his position of Budowal, in which
I was making vigorous preparations to attack him, and fell back
upon the reinforcement of 12 guns and 4000 of Regular Infantry of
Avitabile’s Corps and a large addition of Cavalry. This movement,
however, must have been premeditated, for the stores of ammunition
and his fortifications around the ford were not the work of a day. I
immediately occupied the enemy’s position at Budowal, and as rapidly
as possible concentrated my force coming from Dhurmcote and Busseean
(viz.: Wheeler’s from the former, and the Shekawuttee from the latter),
while I dispensed with the service of Brigadier Taylor’s Brigade in
reserve at Dhurmcote, feeling myself now sufficiently strong, and being
aware of the importance of Infantry to the Commander-in-Chief, who to
reinforce me had considerably reduced his own means in the immediate
front of the main army of the Sikhs. This is the _précis_ of the
campaign leading to the Battle of Aliwal, and from this period taken up
in my report of that glorious battle, herewith annexed.”[139]



_Major-General Sir Harry Smith, K.C.B., to the Adjutant-General of the

      “Camp, Field of the Battle of Aliwal, Jan. 30, 1846.


 “My despatches to his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief of the
 23rd[140] instant, will have put his Excellency in possession of
 the position of the force under my command, after having formed a
 junction with the troops at Loodiana, hemmed in by a formidable body
 of the Sikh army under Runjoor Singh and the Rajah of Ladwa. The enemy
 strongly entrenched himself around the little fort of Budhowal by
 breastworks and ‘abattis,’ which he precipitately abandoned on the
 night of the 22nd instant (retiring, as it were, upon the ford of
 Tulwun), having ordered all the boats which were opposite Philour to
 that Ghat. This movement he effected during the night, and, by making
 a considerable détour, placed himself at a distance of ten miles, and
 consequently out of my reach. I could, therefore, only push forward
 my cavalry as soon as I had ascertained he had marched during the
 night, and I occupied immediately his vacated position. It appeared
 subsequently he had no intention of recrossing the Sutlej, but
 moved down to the Ghat of Tulwun (being cut off from that of Philour,
 by the position my force occupied after its relief of Loodiana),
 for the purpose of protecting the passage of a very considerable
 reinforcement of twelve guns and 4000 of the regular, or ‘Aieen’
 troops, called Avitabile’s battalion, entrenching himself strongly
 in a semicircle, his flanks resting on a river, his position covered
 with from forty to fifty guns (generally of large calibre), howitzers,
 and mortars. The reinforcement crossed during the night of the 27th
 instant, and encamped to the right of the main army.

 [Illustration: PLAN of the BATTLE



 JAN. 28^{th} 1846

      [_Opposite p. 536._]

 “Meanwhile, his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, with that foresight
 and judgment which mark the able general, had reinforced me by a
 considerable addition to my cavalry, some guns, and the 2nd brigade
 of my own Division, under Brigadier Wheeler, C.B. This reinforcement
 reached me on the 26th, and I had intended the next morning to move
 upon the enemy in his entrenchments, but the troops required one day’s
 rest after the long marches Brigadier Wheeler had made.

 “I have now the honour to lay before you the operations of my
 united forces on the morning of the eventful 28th January, for his
 Excellency’s information. The body of troops under my command having
 been increased, it became necessary so to organize and brigade them
 as to render them manageable in action. The cavalry under the command
 of Brigadier Cureton, and horse artillery under Major Lawrenson,
 were put into two brigades; the one under Brigadier MacDowell, C.B.,
 and the other under Brigadier Stedman. The 1st Division as it stood,
 two brigades:—Her Majesty’s 53rd and 30th Native Infantry, under
 Brigadier Wilson, of the latter corps;—the 36th Native Infantry, and
 Nusseree battalion, under Brigadier Godby;—and the Shekawattee brigade
 under Major Forster. The Sirmoor battalion I attached to Brigadier
 Wheeler’s brigade of the 1st division; the 42nd Native Infantry having
 been left at head-quarters.

 “At daylight on the 28th, my order of advance was—the Cavalry in
 front, in contiguous columns of squadrons of regiments, two troops
 of horse artillery in the interval of brigades; the infantry in
 contiguous columns of brigades at intervals of deploying distance;
 artillery in the intervals, followed by two 8-inch howitzers on
 travelling carriages, brought into the field from the fort of Loodiana
 by the indefatigable exertions of Lieutenant-Colonel Lane, Horse
 Artillery; Brigadier Godby’s brigade, which I had marched out from
 Loodiana the previous evening, on the right; the Shekawattee infantry
 on the left; the 4th Irregular Cavalry considerably to the right,
 for the purpose of sweeping the banks of the wet nullah on my right,
 and preventing any of the enemy’s horse attempting an inroad towards
 Loodiana, or any attempt upon the baggage assembled round the fort of

 “In this order the troops moved forward towards the enemy, a distance
 of six miles, the advance conducted by Captain Waugh, 16th Lancers,
 the Deputy Assistant Quarter-Master of Cavalry, Major Bradford, of
 the 1st Cavalry, and Lieutenant Strachey of the Engineers, who had
 been jointly employed in the conduct of patroles up to the enemy’s
 position, and for the purpose of reporting upon the facility and
 point of approach. Previously to the march of the troops it had been
 intimated to me by Major Mackeson, that the information by spies led
 to the belief the enemy would move somewhere at daylight, either on
 Jugraon, my position of Budhowal, or Loodiana. On a near approach
 to his outposts, this rumour was confirmed by a spy, who had just
 left the camp, saying the Sikh army was actually in march towards
 Jugraon. My advance was steady; my troops well in hand; and if he had
 anticipated me on the Jugraon road, I could have fallen upon his
 centre with advantage.

 “From the tops of the houses of the village of Poorein, I had a
 distant view of the enemy. He was in motion and appeared directly
 opposite my front on a ridge, of which the village of Aliwal may be
 regarded as the centre. His left appeared still to occupy its ground
 in the circular entrenchment; his right was brought forward and
 occupied the ridge. I immediately deployed the cavalry into line, and
 moved on. As I neared the enemy, the ground became most favourable
 for the troops to manœuvre, being open and hard grass land. I ordered
 the cavalry to take ground to the right and left by brigades; thus
 displaying the heads of the infantry columns; and, as they reached
 the hard ground, I directed them to deploy into line. Brigadier
 Godby’s brigade was in direct échellon to the rear of the right;
 the Shekawattee infantry in like manner to the rear of my left; the
 cavalry in direct échellon on, and well to the rear of, both flanks
 of the infantry; the artillery massed on the right and centre and
 left. After deployment, I observed the enemy’s left to outflank me,
 I therefore broke into open column and took ground to my right. When
 I had gained sufficient ground, the troops wheeled into line. There
 was no dust, the sun shone brightly. These manœuvres were performed
 with the celerity and precision of the most correct field day. The
 glistening of the bayonets and swords of this order of battle was most
 imposing; and the line advanced. Scarcely had it moved 150 yards,
 when, at ten o’clock, the enemy opened a fierce cannonade from his
 whole line. At first his balls fell short, but quickly reached us.
 Thus upon him, and capable of better ascertaining his position, I was
 compelled to halt the line, though under fire, for a few moments,
 until I ascertained that, by bringing up my right and carrying the
 village of Aliwal, I could with great effect precipitate myself
 upon his left and centre. I therefore quickly brought up Brigadier
 Godby’s brigade; and, with it, and the 1st brigade under Brigadier
 Hicks, made a rapid and noble charge, carried the village, and two
 guns of large calibre. The line I ordered to advance,—Her Majesty’s
 31st Foot and the native regiments contending for the front; and the
 battle became general. The enemy had a numerous body of cavalry on the
 heights to his left, and I ordered Brigadier Cureton to bring up the
 right brigade of cavalry, who, in the most gallant manner, dashed in
 among them and drove them back upon their infantry. Meanwhile a second
 gallant charge to my right was made by the light cavalry and the
 body-guard. The Shekawattee brigade was moved well to the right, in
 support of Brigadier Cureton, when I observed the enemy’s encampment
 and saw it was full of infantry: I immediately brought upon it
 Brigadier Godby’s brigade, by changing front, and taking the enemy’s
 infantry ‘en reverse.’ They drove them before them, and took some guns
 without a check.

 “While these operations were going on upon the right, and the enemy’s
 left flank was thus driven back, I occasionally observed the brigade
 under Brigadier Wheeler, an officer in whom I have the greatest
 confidence, charging and carrying guns and everything before it, again
 connecting his line, and moving on, in a manner which ably displayed
 the coolness of the Brigadier and the gallantry of his irresistible
 brigade,—Her Majesty’s 50th Foot, the 48th Native Infantry, and the
 Sirmoor battalion,—although the loss was, I regret to say, severe in
 the 50th. Upon the left, Brigadier Wilson, with Her Majesty’s 53rd and
 the 30th Native Infantry equalled in celerity and regularity their
 comrades on the right; and this brigade was opposed to the ‘Aieen’
 troops, called Avitabile’s, when the fight was fiercely raging.

 “The enemy, well driven back on his left and centre, endeavoured to
 hold his right to cover the passage of the river, and he strongly
 occupied the village of Bhoondree. I directed a squadron of the
 16th Lancers, under Major Smyth and Captain Pearson, to charge a
 body to the right of a village, which they did in the most gallant
 and determined style, bearing everything before them, as a squadron
 under Captain Bere had previously done, going right through a square
 in the most intrepid manner with the deadly lance. This charge was
 accompanied by the 3rd Light Cavalry under Major Angelo, and as
 gallantly sustained. The largest gun upon the field, and seven others,
 were then captured, while the 53rd Regiment carried the village by
 the bayonet, and the 30th Native Infantry wheeled round to the rear
 in a most spirited manner. Lieut.-Col. Alexander’s and Capt. Turton’s
 troops of horse artillery, under Major Lawrenson, dashed among the
 flying infantry, committing great havoc, until about 800 or 1000
 men rallied under the high bank of a nullah, and opened a heavy but
 ineffectual fire from below the bank. I immediately directed the 30th
 Native Infantry to charge them, which they were able to do upon their
 left flank, while in a line in rear of the village. This native corps
 nobly obeyed my orders and rushed among the Avitabile troops, driving
 them from under the bank and exposing them once more to a deadly fire
 of twelve guns within 300 yards. The destruction was very great, as
 may be supposed, from guns served as these were. Her Majesty’s 53rd
 Regiment moved forward in support of the 30th Native Infantry, by
 the right of the village. The battle was won; our troops advancing
 with the most perfect order to the common focus—the passage of the
 river. The enemy, completely hemmed in, were flying from our fire,
 and precipitating themselves in disordered masses into the ford and
 boats, in the utmost confusion and consternation; our 8-inch howitzers
 soon began to play upon their boats, when the ‘débris’ of the Sikh
 army appeared upon the opposite and high bank of the river, flying in
 every direction, although a sort of line was attempted to countenance
 their retreat, until _all_ our guns commenced a furious cannonade,
 when they quickly receded. Nine guns were on the river by the ford. It
 appears as if they had been unlimbered to cover the ford. These being
 loaded, were fired once upon our advance; two others were sticking
 in the river, one of them we got out; two were seen to sink in the
 quicksands; two were dragged to the opposite bank and abandoned.
 These, and the one in the middle of the river, were gallantly spiked
 by Lieutenant Holmes, of the 11th Irregular Cavalry, and Gunner Scott,
 of the 1st troop 2nd brigade Horse Artillery, who rode into the
 stream, and crossed for the purpose, covered by our guns and light

 “Thus ended the battle of Aliwal, one of the most glorious victories
 ever achieved in India, by the united efforts of Her Majesty’s and
 the Honourable Company’s troops. _Every gun_ the enemy had fell into
 our hands, as I infer from his never opening one upon us from the
 opposite bank of the river, which is high and favourable for the
 purpose—fifty-two guns are now in the Ordnance Park; two sank in the
 bed of the Sutlej; and two were spiked on the opposite bank; making a
 total of fifty-six pieces of cannon captured or destroyed.[141] Many
 jingalls which were attached to Avitabile’s corps and which aided in
 the defence of the village of Bhoondree, have also been taken. The
 whole army of the enemy has been driven headlong over the difficult
 ford of a broad river; his camp, baggage, stores of ammunition and of
 grain,—his all, in fact, wrested from him, by the repeated charges of
 cavalry and infantry, aided by the guns of Alexander, Turton, Lane,
 Mill, Boileau, and of the Shekawattee brigade, and by the 8-inch
 howitzers;—our guns literally being constantly ahead of everything.
 The determined bravery of all was as conspicuous as noble. I am unwont
 to praise when praise is not merited; and I here most unavowedly
 express my firm opinion and conviction, that no troops in any battle
 on record ever behaved more nobly;—British and native, no distinction;
 cavalry, all vying with H.M.’s 16th Lancers, and striving to head in
 the repeated charges. Our guns and gunners, officers and men, may
 be equalled, but cannot be excelled, by any artillery in the world.
 Throughout the day no hesitation—a bold and intrepid advance;—and thus
 it is that our loss is comparatively small, though I deeply regret to
 say, severe. The enemy fought with much resolution; they maintained
 frequent rencontres with our cavalry hand to hand. In one charge, upon
 infantry, of H.M.’s 16th Lancers, they threw away their muskets and
 came on with their swords and targets against the lance.

       *       *       *       *       *

 “The fort of Goongrana has, subsequently to the battle, been
 evacuated, and I yesterday evening blew up the fort of Budhowal. I
 shall now blow up that of Noorpoor. A portion of the peasantry, viz.
 the Sikhs, appear less friendly to us, while the Mussulmans rejoice in
 being under our Government.

      “I have, &c.,
      “H. G. Smith,
      “_Major-General Commanding_.”

My loss during the 21st January was, of killed and wounded and sick
taken, upwards of 200 men, but many of our wounded and exhausted
Infantry were brought off in the Artillery carriages and by the noble
exertions of H.M.’s 16th Lancers, who dismounted and put the sick and
wounded upon their horses. My orders to the baggage guard (composed
of 400 Irregular Horse, to which I afterwards added one squadron of
Regular Native Cavalry) were only half obeyed, or our loss of baggage
would have been next to nothing; but young soldiers are excited under
a heavy cannonade and apprehend more of its deadly effect than I have
ever seen the heaviest cannonade (not grape and canister) merit.

This short but most eventful campaign was one of great difficulty and
embarrassment for the General (or myself). The enemy was concentrated,
whilst my force was to accumulate contingent on a variety of
combinations distant and doubtful.

The political importance of my position was extreme. All India was at
gaze, and ready for anything. Our army—truth must out—most anxious,
the enemy daringly and exultingly regarding himself invincible, as the
_bold_ and _most able_ and energetic move of Runjoor Singh with his
whole force throwing himself between my advance from Jugraon _viâ_
Budowal to Loodiana most fully demonstrated. It is the most scientific
move made during the war, whether made by accident or design, and had
he known how to profit by the position he had so judiciously occupied,
he would have obtained wonderful success. He should have attacked me
with the vigour his French tutors would [have displayed, and] destroyed
me, for his force compared to mine was _overwhelming_; then turned
about upon the troops at Loodiana, beaten them, and sacked and burnt
the city—when the gaze I speak of in India would have been one general
blaze of revolt! Does the world which argues on my affair at Budowal
suppose I was asleep, and had not in clear perspective a full view of
the effect such success of the enemy would have had upon the general
features and character of the war? It must be remembered that our
battering train, an immense treasure, our ammunition, etc., etc., were
not ten miles from me, occupying a line of road of ten miles in length.

The end was accomplished, viz. the battle of Aliwal and its results. In
a few days after the victory I received from my Political Associate,
Major Murchison, a very clever fellow, a long report, of which this is
an extract: “I cannot help mentioning to you that the result of your
decisive victory of the 28th has been the abandonment by the enemy of
_all_ his posts south of the Sutlej from Hurreekee upwards to Nunapoor
Mackohoorvara, and the submission to our rule of a country yielding an
annual revenue of upwards of twenty-five lacs of rupees. The post of
the enemy at Sobraon is now the only one held by the Sikhs south of the
Sutlej.” And again, in a letter from Colonel Godby after he had crossed
into the Jullundur with Brigadier Godby, “I have no doubt the battle of
Aliwal will be esteemed in England as it deserves; it finished a most
painful crisis both in India and in England, and its moral effect in
Hindostan and the Punjaub was greater than any other achievement of
the war. In the Jullundur the natives speak of it as most unaccountable
that the soldiers they thought invincible should be overthrown and
driven into the river in two or three hours, and be seen scampering
through the country before the people had heard of their defeat. The
defeat was so cleanly and unquestionably done, that they ascribed it to
supernatural intervention for the many atrocious crimes of the Sikhs,
especially upon the oppressed followers of the true Prophet.”

All men, especially Generals, reflect in times of peace and quiet upon
their exertions, their enterprises, and the measures they adopted.
Human life once extinct is in this world gone, and how gratifying it is
under Divine Providence to feel that not a soldier under my command was
wantonly, unnecessarily, or unscientifically sacrificed to his country!
Had I adopted any other course at Budowal on the 21st of January than I
pursued, had I not pushed the war entrusted to my conduct with vigour
and effected a junction with the troops at Loodiana, they and the city
would have fallen, and next our treasure, battering train, ammunition,
etc., would have been captured or scattered and lost to the army; had
I sustained a serious reverse, all India would have been in a blaze.
I steered the course invariably pursued by my great master the Duke,
never needlessly to risk your troops or fight a battle without an
object. Hence the decisive victory of Aliwal and its wonderful results
and important aid in repelling the Sikh army at Sobraon and seizing
the capital of his vaunted glory.

Months have now passed since I conducted these operations,[142] and
although reflection as a guide for the future prompts me to find fault
with any movement or march, I cannot, but with the blessing of the
Almighty, I say, “Results even cannot dictate to me—if you had done
this or that, it would have been better.”

Having disposed of my captured cannon[143] (I sent forty-seven to the
fortress of Loodiana, and took five with me to Head-quarters, the most
beautiful guns imaginable, which will, I believe, be placed in St.
James’s Park, London), provided for my sick and wounded, replenished my
ammunition and stores, given over to Brigadier Wheeler the troops he
was to command on the Upper Sutlej, and furnished him and the Political
Agent, Major Murchison, with my views of their operations as a guide,
I marched on the morning of the 3rd February on my route back to the

I had with me three troops Horse Artillery, two 8-inch howitzers, the
16th Lancers, the 3rd and 5th Light Cavalry, one corps of Irregular
Horse, H.M.’s 31st, 50th, and 53rd Regiments, and 200 convalescents,
and of Native Infantry the 47th Regiment, and the Sermoor and Nusseeree
Battalions. The rest of my Aliwal heroes remained with Wheeler.

I reached the right of the army on the 7th, and was received by the
Commander-in-Chief with a burst of enthusiastic welcome[144] to be
equalled only by that of the army at large. His Excellency addressed
each Corps in terms as gratifying to them as to me, and I, Staff,
Commanding Officers of Corps, Prince Waldemar,[145] etc., dined with
the Commander-in-Chief, who again, in a speech when drinking our
healths, bestowed upon us every encomium, and attached the utmost
importance to the great cause—our signal victory. The Governor-General
was at Ferozepore.

The ground I had been directed to occupy being filthy to excess, I
begged to move my position, which I was permitted to do on the 8th.
On this day the Governor-General arrived in camp. He sent for me, and
received me with all the warmth of a long-standing friendship, and
bestowed personally upon me all the praises he had so lavishly given me
in his General Orders.

On the 9th, all Generals of Divisions, Brigadiers, and Heads
of Departments were summoned in the afternoon to attend in the
Commander-in-Chiefs tent. I pretty clearly guessed the purport of
such a summons. His Excellency explained to all that the enemy’s
most strongly fortified position was to be attacked at daylight, and
he clearly detailed to each General and Commander his position and
portion of the attack. In my own mind I very much disagreed with my
gallant Commander-in-Chief as to the place of his attack being the most
eligible one. I saw at once that the fundamental principle of “being
superior to your enemy on the point of attack” was lost sight of, and
the whole of our army, with the exception of my Division, which was
reduced to 2400 bayonets, was held in reserve just out of the reach
of the enemy’s cannon. At daylight our heavy guns (which had been
placed with the object of destroying or greatly impairing the enemy’s
defences) opened fire, and with apparent success where the fire was
the most heavy, but to our astonishment, at the very moment of this
success our fire slackened and soon ceased altogether, when it was
ascertained that the ammunition was expended, the officer in command
of the Artillery not having brought half the quota into the field which
was ordered by the Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief. Thus no
time was to be lost.

       *       *       *       *       *

At this point Sir Harry Smith’s autobiography breaks off. He laid
down the pen, probably through temporary illness, and never took it
up again. In place of any fuller account of the battle of Sobraon, we
have only the following passages relating to his individual share in
the victory. The first occurs in a letter dated “Camp Lahore, 25th
February, 1846,” and addressed to his sister, Mrs. Sargant.

 “Our last fight was an awful one. My reduced-in-numbers Division—only
 2400 bayonets—was, as in other fights, placed in reserve, but pretty
 soon brought into action, and as at Ferozeshuhur again I had the good
 luck to turn the fortune of the day. In so doing I lost out of my
 2400 men, 635 killed and wounded [100 more than out of 12,000 men at
 Aliwal]. My first attack on the entrenchments was repulsed. I attacked
 when _I_ did not wish, and had to take ground close to the river on
 the enemy’s left, consequently our right. [Never catch a butting
 animal by the horns; though, as a good soldier, obey your superior’s
 orders.] By dint of the hardest fighting I ever saw (except Badajoz,
 New Orleans, and Waterloo) I carried the entrenchments. By Jupiter!
 the enemy were within a hair’s-breadth of driving me back. Their
 numbers exceeded mine. And such a hand-to-hand conflict ensued, for 25
 minutes I could barely hold my own. Mixed together, swords and targets
 against bayonets, and a fire on both sides. I never was in such a
 personal fight for half the time, but my bulldogs of the 31st and old
 50th stood up like men, were well supported by the native regiments,
 and my position closed the fight which staggered everywhere. Then such
 a scene of shooting men fording a deep river, as no one I believe ever
 saw before. The bodies _made a bridge_, but the fire of our musquetry
 and cannon killed every one who rushed. The hand of Almighty God has
 been upon me, for I may say to you what all the army knows, I was
 foremost in the fight, and on a _noble_ horse the whole time, which
 sprang over the enemy’s works like a deer, neither he nor I nor my
 clothes being scratched. It is a _miracle_ for which I am, I trust,
 even more grateful to my God than humble towards my comrades. You
 always so desired I should distinguish myself. I have now gratified
 you, although I so egotistically write it to my sister, and in every
 battle have I with my noble horses been exposed without a graze. The
 only thing was my stick shot out of my hand; my clothes are covered
 with blood in many cases. Poor Holdich[146] got a bad wound in the
 shoulder and arm. He is a gallant and cool boy as ever lived. He is at
 Ferozepore, too far off for me to go and see, or I should do so and
 write to his mother.”

The words in square brackets are inserted from a letter to Mr. Justice
Menzies of the Cape. The following additional touches are taken from a
letter to Sir James Kempt, dated 24th February.

 “I never was in such a hand-to-hand fight; my gallant 31st and 50th
 literally staggered under the war of cannon and musquetry. Behind such
 formidable entrenchments I could not get in where I was ordered to
 attack, but had to turn my right close to the river, where, if left
 alone, I should have commenced. I carried the works by dint of English
 pluck, although the native corps stuck close to me, and when I got in,
 such hand-to-hand work I have never witnessed. For twenty-five minutes
 we were at it against four times my numbers, sometimes receding (never
 turning round, though), sometimes advancing. The old 31st[147] and
 50th[148] laid on like devils.... This last was a brutal bulldog
 fight, although of vast political and definite results; but my fight
 at Aliwal was a little sweeping second edition of Salamanca—a stand-up
 gentlemanlike battle, a mixing of all arms and laying-on, carrying
 everything before us by weight of attack and combination, all hands at
 work from one end of the field to the other.”

Sir Harry Smith’s services at Aliwal were thus acknowledged by Sir
Henry Hardinge:

 “To Major-General Sir Harry Smith, and to the brave troops he
 commanded, the Governor-General conveys the tribute of his admiration,
 and the grateful acknowledgments of the Government and the people of
 India. The service rendered was most important, and was accomplished
 by the ability of the commander and the valour of the troops.”

The following tributes were paid by Sir Henry Hardinge and Sir Hugh
Gough respectively to Sir Harry Smith’s conduct at Sobraon:—

 “The Governor-General has much satisfaction in again offering to
 Major-General Sir Harry Smith, K.C.B., commanding the 1st Division of
 Infantry, his best thanks for his gallant services on this occasion,
 by which he has added to his well-established reputation.”

 “In his attack on the enemy’s left, Major-General Sir Harry Smith
 displayed the same valour and judgment which gave him the victory of
 Aliwal. A more arduous task has seldom, if ever, been assigned to a
 Division. Never has an attempt been more gloriously carried through.”




The news of the victory of Aliwal reached London on 23rd March.[149] It
brought a sense of immense relief to the public mind, which had been
as much disturbed as elated by the costly struggles of Moodkee and
Ferozeshah. The relief was the greater inasmuch as exaggerated reports
had already been received of Sir Harry Smith’s rencontre with the Sikhs
at Budhowal and the loss of part of his baggage. It was at once decided
that the thanks of Parliament should be offered to the victorious
General and his gallant army—and although a few days later came the
news of the crowning victory of Sobraon, it was not allowed to affect
the determination which had been arrived at. The victors of Aliwal were
still to receive a special vote of their own.

None were so delighted at the news of Harry Smith’s victory as the old
Peninsular friends who had watched his career from the beginning,
and while they loved the man, marked in him that military genius and
gallantry which must bring him to the front if only fortune gave him
his chance. At last the chance had come, and he had seized it according
to their utmost hopes.

Captain Kincaid wrote on the 24th March to Mrs. Sargant—

 “I congratulate you most heartily on the brilliant success of your
 gallant brother, who has nobly vindicated the opinion entertained of
 him by every one who has had the opportunity of judging of his rare
 professional qualities, for he is one of Nature’s generals. History
 will no doubt do justice to his merits. The previous battles were won
 by the bulldog courage of the soldier, with the consequent unnecessary
 sacrifice of human life; here is a great victory, gained over superior
 numbers with comparatively little loss—the judicious proceedings
 throughout stamping it as a general’s, and not a soldier’s,

Sir James Kempt, the revered friend with whom Harry Smith had kept up
a monthly correspondence from India, wrote in similar terms—

 “You may well be proud, my dear Mrs. Sargant, of having such a brother
 as Harry Smith.... I have read many details of battles with real
 pleasure, but I felt something more than pleasure, I felt the highest
 gratification and delight in reading Harry’s admirable dispatch. It
 is spoken of by every one whom I have seen in terms of the highest

The _Times_ of 25th March, after speaking of Sir Harry’s avoiding
battle at Budhowal, continues—

 “The judgment and caution of General Smith on this occasion may be
 advantageously contrasted with the headlong and indiscriminating
 valour which hurried our troops into the frightful conflicts of
 Moodkee and Ferozeshah. In these actions it may literally be affirmed
 that Sir Hugh Gough had never seen the enemy until he was in the heat
 of action. The Sikh position had not been reconnoitred; the strength
 of the Sikh army was unknown.[152]... Sir H. Smith’s action at
 Ulleewal is exposed to none of these animadversions.”

The Aliwal dispatch in particular,[153] excited unbounded admiration.
Sir Robert Peel said of it, “The hand that held the pen used it with
the same success with which it wielded the sword.” And Thackeray’s
praise of it in the _Book of Snobs_ is a proof that it appealed to
a master of literary craft no less powerfully than it appealed to a

 “Let those civilians who sneer at the acquirements of the army read
 Sir Harry Smith’s account of the Battle of Aliwal. A noble deed was
 never told in nobler language.”

After referring to Sir Henry Hardinge’s conduct at Ferozeshah,
Thackeray continues—

 “No, no; the men who perform these deeds with such brilliant valour
 and describe them with such modest manliness, _such_ are not Snobs.
 The country admires them, their Sovereign rewards them, and _Punch_,
 the universal railer, takes off his hat and says, ‘Heaven save

On the evening of April 2nd the thanks of both Houses were given
unanimously by separate resolutions to the victors of Aliwal and
Sobraon. In the House of Lords Sir Harry Smith received, to quote the
_Times_, an “unreserved panegyric”[155] from his worshipped master in
warfare, the Duke of Wellington. It cannot be doubted that the proudest
moment of Harry Smith’s life was that in which he read these words of
one so sparing of praise. Some of them were in later days inscribed on
his tomb.

 “The distant points of the frontier were threatened; Loodiana was
 threatened—I believe it was even attacked, and the cantonments
 were burned; and then it was that Sir Harry Smith was sent with a
 detachment of troops towards Loodiana, taking possession of various
 points on his road—Durrumkote and other places, of which the enemy had
 taken possession by bodies of troops which had crossed the Sutlej.
 And I beg your Lordships to observe that, when Sir Harry Smith was
 sent, he had three objects in view: one to give security to the post
 at Loodiana, already reinforced by the arrival there of General
 Godby after the battle; the others to keep up his communications
 with the rear by the town of Busseean, a point of great strength and
 importance, with a view to the communication between Ferozepore and
 Loodiana, in the front line, and Ferozepore and Delhi in the rear,
 the point from which the heavy train and the means of carrying on
 the siege in the ultimate operations were to come. These must have
 passed between twenty and thirty miles of the enemy, while the main
 body of the army at Ferozepore was not less distant than fifty. These
 were the objects, to secure which Sir Harry Smith was detached from
 the army. He marched upon Loodiana, and communicated with the British
 commander there, who endeavoured to move out to his assistance.
 While he was engaged with the enemy on this march, which he made in
 order to perform a part of his instructions—namely, to maintain the
 communication with Loodiana, they came out from the entrenched camp
 and carried off his baggage. I desire to explain that, because it was
 the only check which the gallant officer met with throughout the whole
 of this operation, and in fact it is the only misfortune, trifling as
 it is, which has happened during the whole operations that have taken
 place in that part of the country. This loss of the baggage, such as
 it is, has been written up as a great misfortune; but, in point of
 fact, it could not be otherwise. He was obliged to march within sight
 of the entrenched camp, from which the enemy had an opportunity of
 attacking him on his march. I beg your Lordships to observe that Sir
 Harry Smith had not only to secure his communication with Loodiana,
 but likewise to secure his junction with General Wheeler, who, alone,
 was not able to contend against the enemy. He performed all those
 objects, was joined by General Wheeler, and then moved on to attack
 the new position which the enemy had taken up near the river. And, my
 Lords, I will say upon this, I have read the account of many a battle,
 but I never read the account of one in which more ability, energy,
 and experience have been manifested than in this. I know of no one in
 which an officer ever showed himself more capable than this officer
 has in commanding troops in the field. He brought every description
 of troops to bear, with all arms in the position in which they were
 most capable of rendering service; the nicest manœuvres were performed
 under the fire of the enemy with the utmost precision, and at the
 same time with an energy and gallantry on the part of the troops
 never surpassed on any occasion whatever in any part of the world. I
 must say of this officer, that I never have seen any account which
 manifests more plainly than his does, that he is an officer capable
 of rendering the most important services, and of ultimately being an
 honour to this country.”

Lord Hotham, who had himself served under the Duke, said that Sir Harry
Smith had had the advantage of seeing an extent of service which it had
been the fortune of few to witness; but besides, he had the natural
advantages of a remarkably quick conception, unceasing activity, the
most ardent zeal and devotion, and the most undaunted resolution.

In the House of Commons Sir Robert Peel moved the vote, with a recital
of Sir Harry’s many services to his country—

 “Of the battle itself I will not speak; the victory was complete,
 and it has been so admirably described by the illustrious commander,
 that I will not weaken the effect of his narrative. And what, let me
 ask, have been the services of this gallant officer? These recent
 events have given new lustre to his glory; but he was at the capture
 of Monte Video—at the attack upon Buenos Ayres; he served during the
 Peninsular War, from the battle of Vimeira to that of Corunna. He was
 then wounded in another action, but he was at the battles of Sabugal
 and Fuentes d’Onor and the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajos,
 at the battles of Salamanca, Vittoria, Orthes, the Pyrenees, and
 Toulouse. He was at Washington and at New Orleans, and finally he
 was at Waterloo. What a series of noble services, and how rejoiced I
 am that there should be an opportunity, through this new and signal
 victory, of bringing before the gladdened eyes of a grateful country
 a long life of military exertion, and an unbroken series of military
 honours! After he had achieved that success for which we are about to
 give him our special thanks—after he had driven back the enemy across
 the Sutlej, he instantly returned to rejoin his commanding officer,
 Sir Hugh Gough. He arrived on the 8th, two days before the decisive
 victory gained by the forces under Sir Hugh Gough and Sir Henry
 Hardinge. But for his services in the victory of the 28th of January,
 I propose that there should be a distinct and separate vote—distinct
 and separate from that which I shall recommend for that not more
 glorious, though perhaps more important achievement accomplished at a
 later date by the whole British army.”

Sir De Lacy Evans, an old friend,[156] took occasion to defend Sir
Harry from the unfounded notion that he had suffered any sort of
reverse at Budhowal.

On the 4th April Sir Robert Peel wrote to inform Sir Harry Smith that,
on his recommendation, the Queen had bestowed on him a Baronetcy of the
United Kingdom. To the title were appended, as a special distinction,
the words “of Aliwal.”[157] At the same time Sir Henry Hardinge and Sir
Hugh Gough were raised to the peerage as Viscount Hardinge and Baron
Gough. While, however, Viscount Hardinge was further granted an annual
sum of £3000, and Lord Gough one of £2000, in each case for three
lives, no such material reward was given to Sir Harry Smith.

On April 6th Sir Harry was appointed a Major-General on the staff
of the army in the East Indies, _vice_ Sir R. H. Dick killed in
action; and on the 7th Prince Albert and the Duke of Wellington
wrote separately to acquaint him that the Queen had approved of his
appointment to be a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath.

On April 2nd the General Court of the East India Company echoed the
thanks already passed by the Board of Directors; and on April 6th the
Court of Common Council of the City of London voted to Sir Harry Smith,
along with Sir Henry Hardinge and Sir Hugh Gough, their thanks and
congratulations and the freedom of the city. The Council of the Borough
of Liverpool passed resolutions of thanks on the same day.

Let us now turn to the recipient of these honours.

On 20th May Sir Harry Smith wrote to Sir Robert Peel to express his
gratitude to Her Majesty for the baronetcy conferred upon him and to
the House of Commons and Sir Robert himself for the honour paid him in
that assembly. He could not forbear adding—

 “I have been fortunate indeed to be reared in the military school of
 our great Duke. To meet His Grace’s unqualified approbation in the
 face of the world is an honour, I must admit, I have ever contended
 for, but never hoped to have thus realized.”

A week later he sent his thanks to the Duke himself, and also assured
him “how grateful I and Juana, my Spanish wife, are, for the messages
sent us.”

On 16th June he wrote from Simla to his old Peninsular friend, Major
George Simmons[158]—

 “I have received,” he says, “since the battle of Aliwal, more than
 150 letters of heartfelt gratification.... From every old General I
 have served with left to us, from every old comrade of the Light and
 4th Divisions, have I received every expression of their approbation,
 their happiness in my having realized their often-expressed
 anticipations. Your old friend Juana’s good sense, which you so
 kindly give her credit for, keeps pace with her delight in all the
 congratulations of our friends. Then, George, comes the encomium of
 the Duke. Dear old Master, if I have done that which meets _your_
 approbation, then is the cup of glory full indeed, for it is to your
 example I have desired to apply any share of ability bestowed upon me.
 I have had, too, from him the kindest messages, and to his old friend
 Juanita, as he still calls her.... I have had a letter from Joe, who
 tells me your happiness was such that your nerves so thrilled through
 your desperate old wounds as to make you quite ill.... I begin to long
 to get once more to my native land; mine has been an awful banishment.
 I do so long to seize by the hand all those old friends who have so
 adhered to me notwithstanding my absence, and who thus so kindly
 feel my success and honours _their own_.... Our old dear and mutual
 friends, Sirs Kempt, Barnard, and Lord F. Somerset, have written in
 most enthusiastic terms.”

To another old friend, Mr. Justice Menzies[159] of the Cape, he writes
on 26th June. After recounting the story of the campaign, he tells of
his coming movements—

 “I and Juana start _dak_ in the month of July for Cawnpore, my
 division. She will leave the hills before cold, contrary to sense, but
 in strict usage, with her unvaried attachment.”

After the significant statement, “I am out of debt,” he signs himself—

 “one who, if affection can make him so, is worthy of your faithful
 friendship, hot-headed Harry Smith.”

The following letters explain themselves:—

  “To Lieutenant-General Sir Andrew Barnard, G.C.B., K.C.H.,
  “Colonel 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade.

      “Cawnpore, India, 29th July, 1846.


 “The honorary distinctions recently conferred upon me by our gracious
 Queen enable me to take supporters to my family arms. I have the
 honour, therefore, to acquaint you, and to request you to be so
 good as to make it known to my gallant comrades, the Rifle Brigade,
 both 1st and 2nd Battalions—having served with each Battalion from
 the storm and capture of Monte Video [through] the whole of the
 Peninsular War, and the crowning Battle of Waterloo—I have adopted
 a soldier of the Rifle Brigade, a ‘Rifleman:’ and out of respect to
 that immortal Light Division, of which the Rifle Brigade and 52nd
 Light Infantry formed for so many eventful years the 2nd Brigade,
 in which I was the Major of Brigade at the many affairs and battles
 this Brigade was so distinguished in, the Coa, Pombal, Foz d’Aruz,
 Sabugal, Fuentes d’Onoro, siege, storm, and capture of Ciudad Rodrigo
 and of Badajos, Salamanca, San Millan, Vittoria, the heights of
 Vera, Irun, crossing the Bidassoa, Nivelle, Nive, many affairs near
 Bayonne, Tarbes, Orthes, and Toulouse, involving many days’ sharp
 fighting with each named battle, and as no officer in the army has
 posted so many outlying picquets of this Brigade as I have, and as I
 am indebted to it and the great school of the immortal Wellington for
 whatever knowledge of my profession I may have acquired, by which my
 most fortunate career has so prospered, I beg the support to my arms
 of a soldier of the 52nd Light Infantry and a Rifleman in token of my
 veneration for their Corps and as a connecting link of former times
 with my present fortune. I have, etc.

      “H. G. Smith,

  “To Major-General Sir Edward Gibbs, K.C.B.,
  “Colonel 52nd Light Infantry.

      “Cawnpore, India, 29th July, 1846.


 “The honorary distinctions recently conferred upon me by our gracious
 Queen, enable me to take supporters to my family arms. I have,
 therefore, the honour to acquaint you and to request you would make it
 known to my gallant comrades, the 52nd Light Infantry, that in full
 remembrance of the period I was Major of Brigade to the 2nd Brigade
 of the immortal Light Division, of which the 52nd formed so prominent
 and distinguished a part, involving the glorious contests of the
 Peninsular War; I have adopted a soldier of the 52nd Light Infantry
 and a ‘Rifleman’—my own regiment. The many affairs and battles the
 brigade so nobly fought in (no man better knows than yourself) include
 the Coa, Pombal, Foz d’Aruz, Sabugal, Fuentes d’Onoro; siege, storm,
 and capture of Ciudad Rodrigo; siege, storm, and capture of Badajos,
 where you lost an eye, as my brigadier; Salamanca, San Munos, San
 Millan, Vittoria, the heights of Vera, that most irresistible attack,
 although on a fortified mountain; Irun, the crossing of the Bidassoa,
 Nivelle, Nive, the many affairs near Bayonne, Tarbes, Orthes, and
 Toulouse, with the numerous skirmishes each of these actions entailed
 upon light troops. To this Brigade and to the great school of the
 illustrious Duke of Wellington am I indebted for that knowledge of
 my profession which has led to my personal aggrandisement, and which
 has lately acquired me the approbation of the Queen, the Duke of
 Wellington, and an expression of thanks from my grateful country. I
 pray you, therefore, Sir Edward Gibbs, and the 52nd Light Infantry,
 to give me that credit for the feeling of a grateful comrade I desire
 to demonstrate, and that you and this renowned corps may regard me as
 not unworthy to take a soldier out of your ranks to support me, in
 conjunction with their brother-in-arms, a Rifleman, and as the means
 in declining life of remembering the gallant Regiment who taught me to
 fight for my country. I have, etc.,

      “H. G. Smith,

In the autumn at Simla Sir Harry Smith was invested with the Grand
Cross of the Bath by the Governor-General, Lord Hardinge. In the
speech he made on this occasion, he exhorted young soldiers to draw
encouragement from his career—

 “In 1805, now 41 years ago, I entered the army, one of a family of six
 sons and five daughters. I had two brothers in the hottest part of
 the battle of Waterloo, and as your Lordship kindly asserted, I may,
 with humility, affirm, I have fought my way through the four quarters
 of the globe to my present elevated position, unaided by the power of
 aristocracy or the influence of wealth. I cite this as an example to
 my younger comrades that in our free and unrivalled constitution, the
 paths of ambition are open to all.”

On 18th January, 1847, he was appointed Colonel of the 47th Foot, but
was transferred on 16th April to the command of the 2nd Battalion of
his old Regiment, the Rifle Brigade, vacant by the death of Sir D. L.

In the letter written to Major Simmons on 16th June Sir Harry Smith
had said, “I wonder if Charley Beckwith ever bestows a thought on me
whom he once loved as a brother.” In the course of the autumn came a
charming letter from that noble man,[160] and henceforth the flame of
friendship burnt brightly till both gallant souls had passed away.

      “La Tour, Turin, 26th September, 1846.

 “My Dear Harry,

 “The noise of the guns at Aliwal and Sobraon having died away in the
 echoes of the Himalaya, and the éclat and movement of those brilliant
 days having melted into the calmer atmosphere of ordinary life, I have
 good hopes that the handwriting of one who has never faltered for one
 moment in the deep feeling of respect and affection which he will
 cherish to his dying day for all his old companions in arms, will not
 be unwelcome.

 “From the hour in which I saw your name associated with the army
 of the Sutlej, you may imagine how carefully I followed all your
 movements, how I rejoiced in your success, how anxious I felt in the
 usual intervals of doubt and trial.

 “I laughed heartily when you lost your baggage, I knew full well
 the hearty damns that you sent after Sikhs, coolies, syces, and the
 whole rabble rout; saw your keen face as you galloped on the sand,
 and admired the cool close order of your movements in the teeth of an
 enemy who held-in his very breath in anxious doubt and dread whether
 he should dare to touch you; saw the noble array of your clear decided
 movement of Aliwal, and went along with you pell-mell as you drove
 your enemy headlong into the waters of the Sutlej; triumphed in the
 crowning efforts of a long soldier’s life, formed in the school of
 true science, common sense, and right-hearted action, and felt a
 secret pride that I had been formed in the same school and was able to
 estimate such men as Hardinge and Harry Smith. But what did Juana do
 in all this row? Was she on horseback abaxo de los cañonaços? Give my
 kind love to her and kiss her for me.

 “Many years have now gone by, and our outward frames are but the
 shadows of what they were, but my mind continues of the same sort.
 Character never loses its indelible stamp. Thin and black, my hair
 is not yet gray, and you would yet be able to recognize the Charley
 Beckwith of the Light Division.... The last enemy has done his worst
 on very many of our Peninsular companions. Sir Andrew and some
 Riflemen still remain to dine together sometimes in Albemarle Street.
 Charley Rowan is letter A, No. 1. Old Duffy regulates the Club,
 Johnny Bell cultivates dahlias at Staines, Will Napier misgoverns the
 Guernseymen, Johnny Kincaid regulates the secrets of a prison-house,
 Jonathan Leach writes histories; thus each labours in his vocation,
 and has still a conceit left him in his misery. The chronicle of the
 out-pensioners of Chelsea is more spirit-stirring in its former than
 in its latter day.... Adieu, Harry, and believe me that you may always
 depend on the affection of

      “Your old friend,
      “Charles Beckwith.”[161]

Harry Smith was raised on 27th February, 1847, to the full rank of
Major-General, dating from 9th November, 1846. He received a further
gratification in an address from his native town, Whittlesey, which had
been prepared by the Rev. G. Burgess, his old schoolmaster, then in his
82nd year. His reply evinced that warm attachment to his birthplace
and native land which had been shown in so many of his private letters
during his long exile. At length he was to see them again. Already in
November, 1846, he had told his sister that he had taken his passage
in a steamer which was to leave Calcutta in the middle of March, and
that he would not “go mooning about the continent,” but “come straight
home.” He sailed as he had said, and reached Southampton after eighteen
years’ absence from his native land on 29th April, 1847.




Sir Harry Smith was received at Southampton by the General commanding
the South-Western District and a guard of honour. Salutes were fired,
and bells set ringing, and he landed in the presence of thousands of
spectators. The corporation presented an address, and had prepared a
civic banquet. Next day he travelled to London in a special train,
which was put at his disposal by the South-Western Railway Company.

On the 6th May he dined with Her Majesty at Marlborough House; on the
7th he received a deputation from the inhabitants of his native town
of Whittlesey, who were desirous of making him a presentation. It
consisted chiefly of old schoolfellows.

A series of invitations poured in from Her Majesty the Queen, the
Duchess of Kent, the Dukes of Wellington, Montrose, and Beaufort, the
Earl of Ripon, the Lord Mayor, Sir Robert Peel, Sir J. Cam Hobhouse,
Sir De Lacy Evans, etc.[162] On the 18th May his old friend and
commander, Sir Andrew Barnard, presided at a dinner in his honour given
by the Senior United Service Club. On the 20th the freedom of the City
of London was presented to Sir Harry at Guildhall. He returned thanks
for the honour in stirring sentences such as came naturally to him.

 “It has been my fate to call upon the British soldier to follow to
 victory, and never have I known him to fail. The fear of defeat never
 entered the bosom of any one man whom I have seen with the blood of
 John Bull in his veins” (great cheering). “So long as England is true
 to herself and loyal to her Sovereign, she will stand, as she now
 stands, the paramount power of the world” (immense applause).

In the evening of the same day Sir Harry was the guest of a memorable
company, his old Peninsular comrades, the survivors of the Light
Division. They included Sir Hew Ross, Sir Andrew Barnard, the Duke of
Richmond, John Kincaid, Sir John Bell, Jonathan Leach, and Major Smith
(Sir Harry’s “Brother Tom”). Next day the _Times_ wrote as follows:—

 “A hundred soldiers dined yesterday together in this city, and all the
 gatherings of all the capitals of Europe for half a century to come
 will not produce so memorable a reunion. If the muster roll of the Old
 Guard could be called and answered, a rival parade might perhaps be
 formed, but from no other body whose services modern history records
 could another such company be raised. The survivors of the most
 renowned division of the most famous army of England’s most famous
 war were yesterday once more collected to welcome an ancient comrade
 whose victories in more productive but not more honourable fields have
 gloriously terminated a career commenced amongst those who bear this
 grateful testimony to the fruits of a spirit and character which their
 own society and conduct so largely contributed to form.

 “On all sides is Sir Harry Smith receiving the due congratulations of
 his countrymen and the well-earned meed of his courage. For once, at
 least, the metropolitan season is supplied with a reasonable object
 of admiration and amusement, but we are much mistaken in Sir Henry’s
 disposition, if this, of all the festivities which greet his arrival,
 will not convey at once the greatest gratification and the highest
 compliment. The same recollections which led the newly created baronet
 to pass by the ordinary attractions of blazonry and to turn to the
 days and comrades of his youth, to Ciudad Rodrigo and the Pyrenees,
 to the 52nd and the 95th, for those figures which should support his
 shield and tell of the deeds by which it was won, will teach him
 also to value the tribute which he yesterday received above any more
 gorgeous or imposing testimony. His cordial countrymen, his gratified
 friends—appreciation of his service and admiration of his conduct, he
 may meet elsewhere; but at the festival in Willis’ Rooms last night
 only, and there perhaps for the last time, could he meet his fellows
 and companions in that noble school in which he learnt his soldiership
 and to which he owes his fame. Well does it tell for England’s justice
 that such merits are at length acknowledged, and that Sir Henry Smith
 comes back to find that his ancient comrades and his ancient deeds are
 no longer left without the decorations which have been lavished on
 more recent services.[163]

 “It cannot be the least part of his satisfaction at this
 entertainment, to think that, but for him, a gathering so memorable
 would never have occurred. This was no anniversary of a recurring
 solemnity, no periodical festivity or customary reunion. It did not
 take place last year, and it will not take place next. The last
 rendezvous perhaps was in the plains of Vittoria, or under the walls
 of Toulouse, the next will probably never occur. Already is the circle
 of survivors closing rapidly in under a slower but more resistless
 enemy than even they ever faced before; the actors, like the deeds,
 must soon become subjects of history and examples for imitation, and
 it is but too likely that yesterday was sounded the last assembly of
 the old Light Division.”

On the 30th June, Sir Harry with Lady Smith left London for Whittlesey,
his native place, and by desire of the people of Ely stopped there
on the way. The story is best told in the words of warm-hearted Adam



  Programme of Procession.

  Standard Bearer.


  Chief-Constable mounted.

  Three Police Officers mounted,

  Standard Bearer.


  BAND of the Scots Fusileer Guards.

  Drums and Fifes of the Scots Fusileer Guards.

  _Chairman of Breakfast—& Rev. E. B. Sparke, & Rev. A. Peyton._

  Standard Bearer.


  _LADY SMITH, and Attendants._


  Standard Bearer.

  Three Policemen mounted.

  Persons who join the PROCESSION are particularly requested
  to attend to the Directions of the Persons appointed to marshall it,
  and who will wear a distinguishing Badge.

  ☞ _The Procession must be formed punctually at a
  quarter before Eleven._

  ELY June 29, 1847.      CLEMENTS, PRINTER, ELY]

 “I was called away [from Cambridge] by the Dean of Ely to meet my
 old friend, Sir Harry Smith. I could not resist the temptation. So
 next morning (the 30th) I went to the station, and there I met the
 hero and his family party, and joined them in a saloon fitted up by
 the directors for their special reception. The entry into Ely was
 triumphant.[165] Thousands were assembled, with flags, branches of
 laurel, and joyful anxious faces. The Dean had provided me a horse,
 so I joined the cavalcade. After going through triumphal arches, and
 I know not what, preceded by a regimental band of music—Sir Harry
 mounted on the Arabian charger he rode at the battle of Aliwal,
 and greeted by lusty shouts from thousands—we all turned in to a
 magnificent lunch.[166] We then went on to Whittlesey, a similar
 triumphant entry. I should think not less than 10,000 men to greet the
 arrival of the hero at his native town. He was much affected, and I
 saw tears roll down his weather-beaten, but fine face, as he passed
 the house where his father and mother once lived.”[167]

At the station an address was read by Mr. Thomas Bowker, to which Sir
Harry replied that he felt proud to set his foot once more in his
native place, and he was delighted to see the Whittlesey Cavalry[168]
there before him, as he could not forget that in that loyal troop he
commenced his military career.


(_From a picture painted by A. Cooper, R.A., in 1847._)

      [_Opposite p. 576._]

A ball was given in the evening, at which Sir Harry joined in the set
dances, but refused to dance the polka. Next day he was entertained
at a dinner attended by three hundred persons, including Lords
Fitzwilliam, Aboyne, and Hardwicke, Professor Sedgwick, and other
leading men of the county, and an épergne of the value of £300 was
presented to him by residents of the Isle of Ely. In reply to the
chairman, the Rev. Algernon Peyton, who proposed his health, Sir
Harry said that that day was his mother’s birthday, and he recalled
her parting injunction to him,[169] which he claimed to have obeyed.
He concluded, “Many of my playmates, schoolmates, fellow-townsmen
are around me, and I trust that, with the other honourable gentlemen
present, they will accept the grateful thanks of their townsman and
countryman, Harry Smith.” When Lady Smith’s health had been proposed
by Lord Hardwicke and drunk by the company, Sir Harry returned thanks
for the kindness shown to one he loved so dearly, and who had followed
him with the greatest devotion over many fields of battle and in every
quarter of the world—a devotion not to him alone, but to the cause
in which he was engaged. From Whittlesey[170] Sir Harry proceeded to
Cambridge, where an honorary degree was to be conferred upon him in
connexion with the ceremony of installing Prince Albert as Chancellor.

Professor Sedgwick, it seems, told Prince Albert on Saturday, July 3rd,
that Sir Harry Smith was coming to Cambridge on the following Tuesday.
He writes—

 “The Prince said that the Queen would wish him to be there on Monday
 to take an honorary degree. So I fired a shot to Whittlesey, not
 doubting that I should bring the hero down in time; for the Queen’s
 wishes are, as you know, a soldier’s law. I returned to Cambridge
 on Saturday. On Sunday ... after evening chapel, I was rejoiced to
 find Sir H. Smith waiting at my rooms; he took my bed, and I took
 Dick’s.... I spent a delightful quiet evening with my hearty and
 gallant friend. We took a turn in the walks, but he was in plain
 clothes, and was not known by the multitude.

 “Next day (Monday the 5th) began the great hurly-burly. On Monday
 John told me that more than one hundred people came to lunch at my
 rooms, no doubt partly drawn there in the hope of meeting Harry Smith,
 who (after the Duke of Wellington) was the most popular of all the
 visitors. I could not be there myself except at very short intervals,
 as I was officially in constant attendance on the Prince.... There was
 a grand cheer on Monday morning when Sir H. Smith had his degree....
 The Vice-Chancellor that day had a dinner—the Queen attended—to a
 party of about sixty. I presided in Trinity College Hall over a party
 of more than three hundred; and a right merry party it was. Sir Harry
 Smith was at my right hand as the Vice-master’s guest, and among the
 distinguished foreigners were Le Verrier and Struvé. If we had not
 as much dignity as the Vice-Chancellor, we had more numbers and more

 “On Tuesday[171] we had the Installation Ode performed in full chorus,
 and of all the cheers I ever heard, the cheers after _God save the
 Queen_ in full chorus, accompanied and joined by a thousand voices,
 were the most enthusiastic.

 “When the Duke of Wellington was leaving the Senate House, a loud peal
 of cheers was raised for him; and, immediately after, Harry was caught
 sight of. ‘Cheers for Sir Harry Smith’ were called for; and the Duke,
 turning back, laid hold of Sir Harry and turned him round, saying,
 ‘There you have him.’ Indeed, he is more like the Duke’s son, so much
 is he attached to him.”[172]

On Thursday “the corporation brought an address to Sir Harry Smith, to
which he read them an answer. Soon afterwards he went away.”

Professor Sedgwick tells the romantic story of Lady Smith’s early life,
and ends, “And now she is a pleasant, comfortable-looking dame with
mild manners and soft, sweet voice.”[173]

But the intoxicating hour of honours and ovations was quickly to give
place to another period of hard service to Queen and country. During
a visit to the Rev. T. Holdich at Maidwell Hall, Northants, Sir Harry
received the news that he had been appointed to succeed Sir Henry
Pottinger as Governor of the Cape of Good Hope and High Commissioner,
and in September he was to leave England again. Another Kafir war was
in progress, and Sir Harry’s nomination gave the greatest satisfaction
to the country. Before his departure his old friends at Glasgow
presented him with a piece of plate of the value of £400 and upwards.
On the 16th September, in reply to an address presented at Portsmouth
on the eve of his departure, Sir Harry said—

 “I trust, if it should be my good fortune to render any additional
 service to my Queen and country, I may be able to do it through other
 instruments than that called war.... If I can avert war, I will. If I
 can extend the blessings of civilization and Christianity in a distant
 land, where, without any affectation of humility, I can say that some
 years ago I sowed its seeds, it will be a gratification to me beyond
 expression to do so.”

In the evening of the preceding day the 43rd, 52nd, and 60th Regiments
had entertained Sir Harry at the George (the inn which had so many
associations with his arrivals in and departures from England in early

In replying to the toast of his health, Sir Harry referred to the
dinner given him on his arrival in London by the survivors of the old
Light Division; to his own participation in every action recorded on
the colours of the 52nd before him; and to the special praise given by
the Duke of Wellington to the Light Division:

 “When I have set the Light Division to do anything which was difficult
 and dangerous, requiring enterprise, the next day I found that
 division, with scarcely any loss, ready again to fight.”

Sir Harry drew the moral, “He is the best officer who does the most
with the least loss of life.” On the relation of officers to men, he

 “Believe me, the tone of courage is taken from the officers; whatever
 the conduct of officers is, such will be the soldiers. And, gentlemen,
 if you knew the feeling of the British soldier in the field, ... then
 would your devoted service be for the comforts and happiness of your
 men. Do not let it be supposed, gentlemen, because I talk of the
 comforts and happiness of the men, that I am one of those officers who
 I regret to say exist in the present day, who have a kind of twaddle
 in talking about ‘the poor soldier.’ In the country I am going to,
 I regret to hear it said ‘the poor soldier’ sleeps here and sleeps
 there, ‘the poor soldier’ wants this and wants that. It is the duty
 of every officer to provide to his utmost for the comfort of his men,
 and when comforts are not to be had, ‘bad luck to the shilling.’ And,
 my gallant officers, believe me, our soldiers are equally gallant men,
 and where the comforts are not to be had, they don’t call themselves
 ‘poor soldiers’; they call themselves the glorious soldiers in the
 service of Her Majesty.”

In a later speech, replying to the toast of “Lady Smith,” Sir Harry
returned thanks for the honour to his wife—a wife who had participated
in the hardships of almost every one of the gallant actions recorded on
their colours; who had been three times besieged in her native city,
and after being finally rescued, had followed him through the four
quarters of the globe; a wife who had been not only honoured by all his
comrades, but respected by those of her own sex.

On the 24th September Sir Harry embarked on the _Vernon_ amid a great
demonstration, by which he seemed much moved.




Much had happened in South Africa since the period 1835-6 of which Sir
Harry’s autobiography has given us so full an account, and it was his
fortune as Governor to encounter difficulties traceable to the policy
of Lord Glenelg of which he had himself seen the short-sighted fatuity
at the time when it was adopted.

By Sir Benjamin D’Urban’s treaty with the Kafir chiefs of September,
1835, the country between the Fish River and the Keiskamma was to be
occupied by those settlers who had suffered most severely in the
war, while in that between the Keiskamma and the Kei (to be called
the “Province of Queen Adelaide”) a number of loyal Kafirs were to
be established under military protection. All this was upset by Lord
Glenelg’s dispatch of 26th December, 1835. No settlers were to be
permitted beyond the Fish River, and the Kafirs were to be reinstated
in the districts from which they had consented in their treaty with
Sir Benjamin D’Urban to retire; while the compensation which was to
have been paid to sufferers from the war was sharply refused. Well may
Cloete write, “A communication more cruel, unjust, and insulting to the
feelings both of Sir Benjamin D’Urban and of the colonists could hardly
have been penned by a declared enemy of the country and its Governor.”
The immediate consequence was the emigration from the Colony of numbers
of Dutch farmers (described by Sir B. D’Urban as “a brave, patient,
industrious, orderly, and religious people”). In another dispatch of
Lord Glenelg’s dated 1st May, 1837, Sir Benjamin D’Urban, perhaps the
best Governor the Colony ever had, was recalled. He was succeeded by
Sir George Napier. The policy entrusted to the new Governor was that
of entering into alliances with the Kafir chiefs. But experience soon
taught him that this was futile, and the only possible course was
that which had been pursued by his predecessor and Harry Smith. “My
own experience and what I saw with my own eyes,” he declared to a
Parliamentary Committee in 1851, “have confirmed me that I was wrong
and Sir Benjamin D’Urban perfectly right; that if he meant to keep
Kafirland under British rule, the only way of doing so was by having a
line of forts and maintaining troops in them.”

The Boers or emigrant farmers of Dutch descent who in 1835 and
subsequent years, to the number of 10,000, left the Cape Colony as men
shamefully abandoned by the British Government, settled themselves,
some north of the Orange River, some across the Vaal, some in Natal.

To prevent those in Natal from joining any other European power, the
British Government in 1842 took possession of Durban, and in 1843 of
the whole of Natal. In 1845 Natal was annexed to the Cape Colony under
a Lieutenant-Governor, Mr. West. But in consequence of dissatisfaction
in regard to a settlement of lands, a new emigration of Dutch farmers
began, and was in operation when Sir Harry Smith reached South Africa.

Meanwhile in 1845 Sir Peregrine Maitland, then Governor of the
Cape, had established Major Warden and a small British garrison at
Bloemfontein with authority over the emigrant Boers settled across the
Orange between the Modder and Riet rivers, the Boers who were settled
north of the Modder being left undisturbed. These had set up for
themselves in 1837 a simple form of government at Winburg.


_From a lithograph by Day and Haghe, 1832._

      [_Opposite p. 584._]

The treaty system failed to protect the settlers in the eastern
part of the Cape Colony from Kafir aggressions, and in 1846 Sandilli,
the successor of Gaika, openly defied the British authorities; and a
war broke out which was hardly ended when Sir Henry Pottinger, after
holding office for less than a year, resigned the government of the
Cape into the hands of Sir Harry Smith.

The _Vernon_ entered Table Bay on 1st December, 1847. The first news
signalled from shore was that five officers had been cut off by the
tribe of Galekas under Boku, on which Sir Harry remarked, “Doing
something they ought not, I’ll be bound!”[174] A few hours later he and
Lady Smith landed. “Amidst the most hearty cheering, mingled with the
roaring of cannon, the Governor passed through the streets, at every
moment recognizing and saluting old acquaintances. Immediately after
his arrival at Government House he took the oaths of office. That night
the town was brilliantly illuminated, and the windows in a solitary
house that was unlit were completely wrecked by the populace.”[175]
That the new Governor and Lady Smith were received by the Colony as
old friends was again shown when, at a public banquet, Judge Menzies
proposed the toast, not of “His Excellency and his Lady,” but of “Harry
Smith and his Wife.”[176]

Sir Harry lost no time in grappling with public business, and started
by sea on the 11th December for the frontier. At Port Elizabeth he saw
the chief Macomo, and, having upbraided him for his treachery, ordered
him to kneel, when he set his foot on the chief’s neck, saying, “This
is to teach you that I am come hither to teach Kafirland that I am
chief and master here, and this is the way I shall treat the enemies
of the Queen of England.” After-events may make us doubt the wisdom
of this public humiliation of the chief. After having an interview at
Sidbury with Sir Henry Pottinger, Sir Harry reached Grahamstown on the
17th. Mrs. Ward, who was there, writes in her diary—

 “The shops were closed, every one made holiday, triumphal arches were
 erected surmounted by inscriptions proclaiming welcome to the new
 Governor and old friend. The very _bonhommie_ with which Sir Harry had
 met his old acquaintances—even an old Hottentot sergeant with whom he
 shook hands on the road—procured for him a ready popularity ere he
 entered Grahamstown.”

And at night—

 “The frontier to-night was delirious with joy. Its own hero, its
 best friend next to Sir Benjamin the Good, has arrived. The town is
 illuminated, and beacon-lights telegraph from the hill-tops.... We
 watched the rockets ascending and the lights flashing from one end of
 Grahamstown to the other; the very Fingo kraals sent forth shouts,
 and torches flitted from hut to hut. But long before the lights were
 extinguished, Sir Harry Smith was up and at work. Three o’clock on the
 morning of the 18th found him at his desk, which he scarcely left till
 five in the evening.”

But even on the day of his arrival in Grahamstown he had made history.
He had released the captive chief Sandilli (an act of generosity
afterwards ill-requited), and sent him the baton of office of a British
magistrate; and, more than this, he had issued a proclamation creating
a new boundary for the Colony, which was now to include the district of
Victoria (to the east of Albany and Somerset), the district of Albert
(north-east of Cradock), and a vast territory stretching from the old
northern boundary of the Colony to the Orange River. The chief town of
Victoria he named “Alice,” doubtless after his beloved sister, Mrs.

On the 19th, by the submission of Pato, it appeared that the Kafir War
was at an end. The Governor at once set out for King William’s Town,
which he reached on the 23rd, and was again received enthusiastically.
The troops—the Rifle Brigade and the 7th Dragoon Guards—were drawn up
on the parade, and were praised in stirring terms for their services
in the recent war. On another part of the square an assembly of two
thousand Kafirs waited, sitting in a great hollow circle. Into this
circle Sir Harry rode with his staff, and read a proclamation, which
was practically a dramatic reversal of that abandonment by Lord Glenelg
of the “Province of Queen Adelaide” which he had felt so bitterly
in 1836. He declared the whole country between the Keiskamma and
the Kei, running northwards to the junction of the Klipplaats and
Zwart Kei rivers, to be under the sovereignty of the Queen, not,
however, as part of Cape Colony, but as a district dependency of the
Crown to be named “British Kaffraria,” and kept in reserve for the
Kafir people, over whom the Governor, as High Commissioner, was to
be “Inkosi Inkulu,” or Great Chief. Colonel Mackinnon was appointed
to a post such as Harry Smith had held in 1835-36—that of Commandant
and Chief Commissioner of British Kaffraria, with his headquarters at
King William’s Town.[177] Having read the proclamation, he gave an
illustration of those dramatic methods of treating the Kafirs on which
he had always relied, but which stirred some ridicule in England during
the time of his Governorship. “He called for a sergeant’s baton, which
he termed the staff of war, and a wand with a brass head, which he
termed the staff of peace. Calling the chiefs forward, he desired them
to touch whichever they pleased, when each of course touched the staff
of peace. After an address of some length upon their prospects if they
behaved themselves, and threats of what would happen if they did not,
he required them to kiss his foot in token of submission.” [He was, of
course, still on horseback.] “This they did also without hesitation.
The ceremony concluded by the High Commissioner shaking hands with all
the chiefs, calling them his children, and presenting them with a herd
of oxen to feast upon.”[178]

On 7th January,[179] 1848, the Chiefs were called to a second meeting
to hear the arrangements which had been made for the government of
the new province. Sir Harry addressed them, after which they took
oath to obey the High Commissioner as the Queens representative, and
to renounce witchcraft, violation of women, murder, robbery, and
the buying of wives, to listen to the missionaries, and on every
anniversary of that day to bring to King William’s Town a fat ox in
acknowledgment of holding their lands from the Queen. “Sir Harry then
addressed them again, telling them what would happen if they were not
faithful. ‘Look at that waggon,’ said he, pointing to one at a distance
which had been prepared for an explosion, ‘and hear me give the word
Fire!’ The train was lit, and the waggon was sent skyward in a thousand
pieces. ‘That is what I will do to you,’ he continued, ‘if you do not
behave yourselves.’ Taking a sheet of paper in his hand, ‘Do you see
this?’ said he. Tearing it and throwing the pieces to the wind, ‘There
go the treaties!’ he exclaimed. ‘Do you hear? No more treaties.’”[180]

Things being thus settled at King William’s Town, Sir Harry proceeded
to the country between the Orange River and the Vaal.[181] Here Major
Warden at Bloemfontein had authority over the emigrant Boers between
the Modder and the Riet rivers; the Boers north of the Modder were left
to themselves, and large tracts bordering on the Orange River were
assigned as reserves to the chiefs Moshesh and Adam Kok, who could also
exact quit-rents from the farmers outside the reserves.

“Sir Harry Smith came to South Africa with a fully matured plan for
the settlement of affairs north of the Orange. He would take no land
from black people that they needed for their maintenance, but there
were no longer to be black states covering vast areas of ground either
unoccupied or in possession of white men. Such ground he would form
into a new colony, and he would exercise a general control over the
chiefs themselves in the interests of peace and civilization. A system
antagonistic to that of the Napier treaties was to be introduced. Those
treaties attempted to subject civilized men to barbarians. He would
place an enlightened and benevolent government over all. But to enable
him to do so, the consent of Adam Kok and Moshesh must be obtained
to new agreements, for he could not take the high-handed course of
setting the treaties aside.”[182]

Accordingly, on 24th January he had an interview with Adam Kok. At
first the chief gave himself great airs, and Sir Harry, losing his
temper, threatened to have him tied up to a beam in the room in which
they were sitting unless he acted reasonably. Eventually an agreement
was signed by which Adam Kok, in return for a small annual income,
ceded his claim to jurisdiction over all the land outside the Griqua
reserve. At Bloemfontein the Governor received addresses from a number
of Boer settlers. “Among them were some who had served under him in
the Kafir war of 1835. At a public meeting speeches were made in which
old times were recalled, and enthusiastic language was used concerning
the future of South Africa, now that a true friend of the country was
at the head of affairs. At this meeting the Governor observed an aged
grey-headed man standing in the crowd. He instantly rose, handed his
chair to the old man, and pressed him to be seated, a kindly act that
was long remembered by the simple farmers, and which formed the subject
of one of the transparencies when Cape Town was illuminated on his

From Bloemfontein Sir Harry proceeded to Winburg, where on 27th January
he had a conference with Moshesh, in which the latter, like Adam Kok,
accepted his proposals. At Winburg twenty-seven farmers, heads of
families, and twenty-two others presented an address, in which they
requested the Governor to extend British jurisdiction over the country.
He probably took this as representing the general feeling, but he could
not wait for further information. He had heard that a number of the
Boers in Natal were “trekking” out of that colony. He therefore sent
an express to their leader, Pretorius, asking him to pause, and at
daybreak on the 28th January (the second anniversary of Aliwal) he was
hastening towards Natal.

In a graphic dispatch written from Pietermaritzburg on 10th February,
he describes his meeting with the “trekking” farmers.

 “On my arrival at the foot of the Drachenberg Mountains, I was almost
 paralyzed to witness the whole of the population, with few exceptions,
 ‘treking’! Rains on this side of the mountains are tropical, and
 now prevail—the country is intersected by considerable streams,
 frequently impassable—and these families were exposed to a state of
 misery which I never before saw equalled, except in Massena’s invasion
 of Portugal, when the whole of the population of that part of the
 seat of war abandoned their homes and fled. The scene here was truly
 heart-rending. I assembled all the men near me through the means of a
 Mr. Pretorius, a shrewd, sensible man, who had recently been into the
 colony to lay the subject of dissatisfaction of his countrymen before
 the Governor [Sir Henry Pottinger], where he was unfortunately refused
 an audience, and returned after so long a journey, expressing himself
 as the feelings of a proud and injured man would naturally prompt. At
 this meeting I was received as if among my own family. I heard the
 various causes of complaint. Some I regard as well founded, others as
 imaginary; but all expressive of a want of confidence and liberality
 as to land on the part of Government. I exerted my influence among
 them to induce them to remain for the moment where they were, which
 they consented to do. The scene exhibited by about three or four
 hundred fathers of large families assembled and shedding tears when
 representing their position was more, I admit, than I could observe
 unmoved.... To prove, if it be necessary, the faith which I place in
 their loyalty, I may mention that on one occasion when the little
 waggon in which I travel, and which they call ‘Government House,’ was
 nearly upset when crossing one of the tributary streams of the great
 Tugela, thirty or forty men on the bank stripped and sprang into the
 water, exclaiming, ‘Government House shall not fall—it shall not
 fall!’ and their efforts saved my only home from being carried down
 the current.”

Sir Harry proceeded to argue that the very existence of the Colony of
Natal depended on its preserving its white population, and stated that
he had therefore issued a proclamation to meet the grievances of the
farmers in regard to land, and had given Mr. Pretorius a place on the
Land Commission. “If the measures which I have adopted conduce to the
restoration of happiness to many thousands, tend to the preservation of
a Christian community by the erection of churches, schools, etc., and
are productive of general good, the glory of war will be eclipsed by
the blessings of [establishing] harmony, peace, and content.”

On 3rd February, from the emigrant camp Sir Harry Smith issued a
proclamation declaring the whole territory between the Orange and Vaal
rivers to be subject to the Queen. The country was to be divided into
magistracies; taxes were to be raised for the support of a small staff
and for erecting schools, churches, etc.; and the farmers were to
serve the Queen when required. So arose the Orange River Sovereignty,
destined to be known under altered conditions in turn as the Orange
Free State and the Orange River Colony.

Meanwhile Pretorius, with the Governor’s consent, had left the camp in
order to ascertain the real feelings of the emigrant farmers beyond
the Drakensberg. He seems to have thought that Sir Harry had promised
him that if the general opinion of the settlers was unfavourable,
the proclamation would not be issued. Sir Harry maintained that his
agreement with Pretorius only referred to the Boers north of the Vaal,
and in consequence of the agreement the territory they occupied was
excluded from the terms of the proclamation.

Mr. Theal states that “in issuing this proclamation Sir Harry Smith was
full of confidence in his personal influence with the emigrants. When
Major Warden, the British resident, expressed an opinion that if the
Queen’s authority was proclaimed north of the Orange River, additional
troops would be requisite, his Excellency replied, ‘My dear fellow,
bear in mind that the Boers are my children, and I will have none
other here for my soldiers; your detachment will march for the colony
immediately.’ And in this confidence a garrison of only 50 or 60 Cape
Mounted Riflemen were left to defend a territory more than 50,000
square miles in extent.”[184]

[Illustration: SOUTH AFRICA, 1847-1854.

(The coloured districts were annexed by Sir Harry Smith, those only
lightly coloured becoming part of Cape Colony.)

      [_Opposite p. 594._]

The creation of the Orange River Sovereignty was reluctantly agreed to
by the Home Government,[185] and the measures taken by Sir Harry to
induce settlers in Natal to remain there, and others to come there,
were to a great extent successful. But his belief that the settlers
in the northern part of the new Sovereignty and over the Vaal would
readily accept British supremacy when offered them by one whom they had
known and trusted in the past—this belief proved fallacious. The sense
of wrong created by the Glenelg policy could not be so easily assuaged.

By the 1st March Sir Harry Smith was back at Cape Town, “welcomed as
a successful pacificator and benefactor with pæans of praise from all
classes of the inhabitants. His meteoric progress over the length
and breadth of the country—all at once dispelling the idea of the
unwieldiness of the settlement and its dependencies—and the generous
character of the mission he had so triumphantly concluded were regarded
as the most signally happy events South Africa had ever witnessed.
His Excellency’s praise was on every lip, and his virtues were to be
symbolized to future generations by an equestrian statue.”[186]

But no sooner had he returned than he heard that among the farmers
of the Winburg district (constituting the northern part of the new
Orange River Sovereignty) there was a movement against the British
authority which had been imposed upon them. To counteract it, Sir Harry
issued on 29th March a manifesto of a rather unconventional kind. He
bade the farmers remember all the benefits he had lately conferred on
them [freedom from nominal subjection to native chiefs, etc.], and
contrast the misery from which he had endeavoured to raise them with
the happiness of their friends and cousins living under the Colonial
government. If they compelled him to wield the fatal sword, after all
he had attempted to do for them, the crime be on their own heads. He
concluded with a prayer to the Almighty in which he suggested that the
farmers might unite with himself.

Such a manifesto is not to be judged cynically. The religious passages
were sincere and characteristic of their author, and calculated to
appeal especially to the people to whom they were addressed. But the
distrust of England was too deep for such an appeal to have more than
a partial success. The disaffected party in the Winburg district
determined to make a struggle for independence, and invited Pretorius
to come over the Vaal to lead them. Pretorius arrived at Winburg on the
12th July. At his approach, Mr. Biddulph, the British magistrate, rode
off to Bloemfontein and informed Major Warden, who sent a report to the
Governor on the 13th.

On the 17th Pretorius reached Bloemfontein, and Major Warden, being
unable to offer resistance, capitulated, and was furnished by Pretorius
with waggons to take him, his troops, and the refugees who had sought
his protection, to Colesberg. Pretorius with his force marched to a
camp on the Orange River in the same neighbourhood.

Major Warden’s report of the 13th July reached Sir Harry Smith at Cape
Town on the 22nd.[187] On the same day he issued a reward of £1000 for
the apprehension of Pretorius and made arrangements for collecting a
force to put down the rebellion.

On the 29th July he left Cape Town for the Sovereignty, accompanied
by his Private Secretary, Major Garvock, Dr. Hall, Principal Medical
Officer, Mr. Southey, Secretary to the High Commissioner, and
Lieutenant Holdich, A.D.C, (now General Sir Edward Alan Holdich,
K.C.B.). The party travelled with three waggons.

I extract the following entries from Sir Edward’s diary, which he has
kindly lent me:—

 _5th August._—Reached Beaufort. Heard from Cape Town that Major Warden
 had left Bloemfontein.

 _9th._—Reached Colesberg, having been 11½ days from Cape Town,
 travelling 102½ hours at the rate of 6 miles an hour, making the
 distance about 615 miles. A hundred Cape Mounted Rifles and one gun
 had arrived from Grahamstown, with 30 of the 91st Regiment, and were
 encamped at Botha’s Drift. Boers occupying the opposite bank.

 _15th._—Detachment of 91st and C.M.R. which arrived yesterday encamped
 at Botha’s Drift. High Commissioner rode to Major Warden’s camp at
 Botha’s Drift to meet the rebel leaders, [Gert] Kruger and Paul
 Bester, who had been invited to a conference, but they did not come.
 About 60 Boers on opposite bank. No regular laager or appearance of
 defence. Mr. Rex (a settler in the Orange Settlement) crossed the
 river, and was civilly received by Pretorius and other leaders.

 _16th._—A letter received from the Rebel camp, petitioning His
 Excellency to withdraw the troops. Boers would never acknowledge
 British Government, but would trek to their friends across the Vaal.
 No reply sent to petition.

 _17th._—His Excellency and staff left Colesberg and pitched camp at
 Botha’s Drift. When on the way report arrived from Major Warden that
 the rebel Boers had left the opposite bank the preceding night, no
 vestige of them remaining. A Boer came across and confirmed the report
 that they had all trekked (about 100 men with Pretorius). They had 62
 waggons in the laager. Various reports as to the cause of the sudden
 flight. One was that Pretorius had heard of an army marching against
 them from Natal _viâ_ the Drakensberg. Detachment of 45th Regiment and
 C.M.R. reached Colesberg, and marched following day to Botha’s Drift.

 _20th._—The force encamped together on Botha’s Drift except 91st
 Regiment [which marched in on the 25th]. Preparations made for
 crossing the river.

 _26th._—Headquarters and staff crossed. In six days the whole
 force (about 1200), with 117 waggons and supplies for thirty days,
 followers, etc., had crossed a rapid river 240 yards wide, and that
 by means of a caoutchouc pontoon (then just invented and here put to
 a practical trial) and one small boat worked by a hawser. The pontoon
 had to be taken out of the water every night and refilled in the
 morning, and the line to be passed across and made fast to the bank
 each morning. Camp pitched on the north-east bank of the river, either
 flank resting on the river.

 _27th._—Commenced march on Winburg in following order:—Cape Mounted
 Rifles, two guns R.A., one Company Rifle Brigade, one gun, remainder
 of R.B., 45th and 91st, waggons (117), rearguard, composed of 20
 C.M.R., servants, burghers, followers, etc. At 2 pitched camp to
 right of Philippolis. Camp formed in line. Cavalry on the right,
 infantry on the left, guns and headquarters camp in centre.

 _28th._—Camp at Fuller’s Kloof. No tidings of the rebels. 250 Griquas
 under Adam Kok joined the camp.

 _29th._—Halt for breakfast at Touw Fontein. Rebels reported to have
 been in the neighbourhood the evening before. At 10 a.m. inspanned,
 fell in, and marched on Boomplaats in the same order as before. Route
 lay over an open plain. After an hour’s march saw a herdsman at a
 distance. He reported that he had seen fires the evening before along
 the Krom Elbe[188] river, beyond a few low hills in the direct route,
 also about 20 Boers riding about that morning, but he believed more to
 be in the neighbourhood.

 [Illustration: PLAN of FIELD of ACTION



      [_Opposite p. 600._]

 On approaching this low range of hills, through which the road led,
 we observed large herds of game, apparently uncertain which way to
 run. At length the herd crossed close in front of the column, as if
 avoiding the hill. A report (as above) having been received of Boers
 having been seen in the neighbourhood of the hills, Lieut. Warren,
 C.M.R., with three or four troopers, was sent to reconnoitre. On
 galloping up one of the hills for this purpose, he suddenly found
 himself close upon some 40 or 50 Boers, mounted and armed with
 “roers,” who immediately retreated round one of the hills, apparently
 joining a large body; this was assumed from the dust that arose. The
 White Company (or Europeans) of the C.M.R. under Lieut. Salis were
 ordered to cover the front of the column in skirmishing order, and
 to feel round the hills, but not to fire a shot unless fired upon.
 General[189] and staff rode to the front with tried troops. All
 waggons were moved up well in rear of the infantry. The column had not
 advanced many paces, when some one from the front cried out, “There
 they are!” and on looking in the direction intimated, the hills were
 observed to be suddenly lined with Boers in their duffle jackets and
 white hats, who soon opened a brisk and regular fire, which at first
 did not cause much more harm than to throw the leading party rather
 into confusion. The order was given for the troops to go “threes
 about” and make way for the guns. The Boers fired so low that not much
 mischief was done. The guns being brought to bear upon the enemy,
 the infantry were deployed into line, and the waggons, under charge
 of Mr. Green of the Commissariat, were withdrawn further to the rear
 and formed up in circle (laagered), and escort for their defence was
 composed of the servants and drivers accompanying them.

 The order of attack was Rifle Brigade to skirmish over the hills to
 the right; 45th to bear on the centre, and follow up any opening
 made by the artillery; 91st Regiment to escort the guns, and the
 Cape Mounted Rifles to sweep round to the left, where the Boers were
 advancing from their right, in good skirmishing order, into the
 plains, with the evident intention of getting round to our rear and in
 at the waggons. The 45th suffered a good deal in the centre, and the
 Rifle Brigade on the right, being too eager and not taking sufficient
 advantage of cover, lost a good many, Captain Murray being mortally
 wounded at the head of his company. The 91st were ordered in support
 of the 45th and the General’s escort (a party of Rifle Brigade) to
 form the escort for the guns.

 In about twenty minutes the first range of hills was cleared,
 and pushing on with all arms we observed the Boers reformed at a
 farm-house below, where they made a good defence from behind walls,
 and especially from an old kraal and the bed of the “Krom Elbe” river.
 From the kraal Colonel Buller was shot, a bullet taking a piece out of
 his thigh and killing his horse. The guns were advanced over a stony
 hill, which in ordinary times would have been deemed impracticable,
 and by their steady fire, under Lieut. Dyneley, soon drove the rebels
 out of their (natural) defence-works and they spread across an open
 plain that intervened in great disorder. (No cavalry available to
 pursue.) Their road lay across a neck between two hills, where they
 again made a stand, as if to cover their retreat, but were checked
 by a demonstration of the C.M. Rifles and the Griquas and other
 followers, who on observing the retreat had turned up on the right in
 a very valiant manner!

 The Infantry in the mean time under Major Beckwith (R.B.) had
 reformed, and marched in column across the plain as steadily as if
 their ranks had never been broken or thinned. A few shots from the
 R.A. soon dispersed the group at the neck, who before retreating had
 set fire to the grass. On reaching the neck, it was observed that the
 rebels had dispersed over the plain as fast as they could with tired
 horses. Halted at the neck, to collect stragglers, and make provision
 for the wounded and for bringing up the waggons. No water to be had
 within three miles. Only about 40 of the Cape Corps could be got

 Mr. Rex, with a party of Griquas, sent to bring up the baggage, the
 wounded remaining at Boomplaats under the superintendence of Dr. Hall,

 Advanced on Calvert Fontein, having been told by some friendly
 Burghers, who had followed rather close on the trek of the Boers,
 that they were collecting in great numbers round Calvert Fontein.
 Found that they were only collecting and carrying off the wounded, or
 something of this kind. There appeared to be no intention of waiting
 for any more of our fire. Reached Calvert Fontein at 4.30 p.m. (a
 great rush for water). Halted for the night. No trace of a human
 being. A picket of cavalry sent forward to reconnoitre and follow up
 the rebels till dark. On return reported having seen a large body of
 Boers at some distance, in great disorder, apparently “off saddled.”

 On roll being called, found the return of casualties to be—

 Commander-in-Chief, Sir H. Smith, struck on shin (very slight), and
 horse wounded;[191] Colonel Buller, wounded in thigh (severely), and
 horse killed; 7 officers wounded (Captain Murray, mortally); Rifle
 Brigade, 8 killed and 39 wounded.

 On strict inquiry among the men of the force, ascertained that 49
 _bodies_ of rebels were seen lying on the field.[192]

 Waggons came up at 5.30 p.m. On arrival at the bivouac, a Dutch letter
 was received by the Commander-in-Chief, stating that the Boer laager
 was about 12 miles off, west of the direct route to Bethany, at the
 farm-house of one Jan Cloete.

 _30th._—Leaving the camp standing in charge of convalescents and
 officers’ servants (Col. Buller in command), we marched at 3 a.m.,
 cavalry in advance, guns (with port-fires burning) following. A
 company of Rifles headed the column and were directed to sweep any
 suspicious places. Met with no impediment. On reaching Cloete’s farm
 at 6 a.m. found no trace of any laager. Column arrived at Bethany
 at 10 a.m. There is a large missionary chapel and a few native huts
 around it. A good house belonging to the missionaries, who had
 deserted it. Sir H. Smith and staff took possession of house and yard.
 Breakfasted upon biscuits and brandy, aided by a little tea made in
 an old pot. A Boer came in from his house half an hour distant and
 professed to be “loyal,” and said he had not been in the fight, though
 his son had. The son and another young man concealed in the house
 were brought into camp by Mr. Southey. They received a lecture and
 were sent off with the understanding that they were to bring in their
 “roers” next day, which they did.

 Two prisoners were brought up from the rear, taken on the field with
 arms, one a Dutchman named Dreyer, the other an Englishman, who proved
 to be a deserter from the 45th Regt. Both were remanded for trial by
 court martial on arrival at Bloemfontein.

 _2nd Sept._—Arrived at Bloemfontein at 9 a.m. Troops formed up into
 three sides of a square (Commander-in-Chief and staff, etc., in
 centre). Proclamation read and sovereignty proclaimed under a salute
 of 21 guns. General Court Martial ordered and assembled under Colonel
 Buller, R.B., for the trial of the two prisoners taken in the field.

 Bloemfontein, a small village, consisting of some half-dozen houses
 and some huts, prettily situated on the banks of a stream having
 its source in a bubbling fountain, and under a hill. A small fort
 (or stockade) had been built, which was commanded from every side.
 The rebels had taken possession of the various houses and at the
 Resident’s house had even commenced ploughing.

 Encamped on the opposite side of the stream to the town, very good
 ground and well sheltered by a hill.

 _Sept. 3rd._—Troops paraded at 10 a.m. in front of the camp for Divine
 Service. Service read by Sir Harry Smith.[193] Preparations afterwards
 made for the march on Winburg; a small force to be left to garrison
 Bloemfontein under Col. Buller (disabled by his wound).

 _Sept. 4th._—Camp struck before daylight and troops paraded, when
 the two rebels (who had been found “guilty” by the General Court
 Martial of “being in rebellion and bearing arms against Her Majesty’s
 subjects” and sentenced to death accordingly) were paraded in front
 of the troops assembled, in the very spot where, a short time before,
 the rebel leader Pretorius had demanded the submission of the British
 resident, and the sentence carried out—the rebels being shot in
 presence of the troops.[194]

 _6th._—Reached the Vet River at one. On the march joined by a party
 of friendly Boers, who greeted us with a salute from their “roers”
 and loud shouts, which caused no little excitement in the rear of
 the column. These Boers had formed a laager on the Vet River under a
 Field Cornet named Wessels, and had maintained their position against
 Pretorius and the rebels. [Gert] Kruger, one of the leading rebels,
 surrendered himself, and, professing penitence, after taking the oath
 of loyalty, was pardoned. Moroco, king of the Barolongs, also came in,
 with a small train.

 _Sept. 7th._—At 5.30 a.m. crossed the Vet River. Reached Winburg
 at 10.30. Here the troops were formed up in hollow square, the
 Proclamation read, and the sovereignty proclaimed under a salute of
 21 guns. Encamped on the far side of a stream on the slope of a hill.
 Village consisted of three or four houses and huts.

 _Sept. 8th._—Halt. King Moshesh and Sikonyela arrived in camp. Moshesh
 a clear-headed fellow and very sharp. He wore a general’s old blue
 coat and gold lace trousers, with a forage cap.

 _Sept. 9th._—Troops paraded, and a Review took place for the benefit
 of Moshesh, who was much amused with the movements, and particularly
 astonished at the Artillery, these being the first regular troops that
 had been so far into the interior.

 _Sept. 10th, Sunday._—Halt. Divine Service.

 _Sept. 11th._—Review of Moshesh’s army. Mounted men armed with old
 “roers.” Infantry with native weapons (assagais, etc.). About 700
 paraded and performed a war dance. A fine body of men for savages and
 undisciplined as they were. Preparations made for leaving Winburg
 and returning to the Colony, Mr. Southey, secretary to the High
 Commissioner, remaining to collect fines, with an escort of C.M.

 _Sept. 12th._—Leaving the troops to follow by ordinary marches, the
 Governor and Staff left Winburg in mule-waggons.

 _13th._—Reached Bloemfontein at noon.

 _15th._—Troops arrived from Winburg. Three guns R.A., two companies
 45th, and a company C.M.R. detailed to garrison the “Queen’s Fort”
 [now to be built]; the remainder to march back to their respective
 localities under Col. Buller.

 _18th._—Arrived at Smithfield on the Caledon River. Great gathering
 of Dutch and English farmers. Sir H. Smith laid the foundation-stone
 of a Dutch church [which was never built, the village being afterwards
 removed—E. A. H.].

 _26th._—Crossed the Orange River. Arrived at Ruffles Vlet, a beautiful
 site for a town.[195]

On the 28th Sir Harry received an ovation at Graaf Reinet, and on 6th
Oct. reached King William’s Town. It had now grown into a pretty town,
and it gratified him to see between 200 and 300 Kafirs hard at work
in building houses and aiding in the cultivation of the gardens. Next
day he held a meeting of chiefs, including Sandilli, Macomo, Umhala,
and Pato. The superior chief, Kreili (the son of Hintza), overtook Sir
Harry after he had left King William’s Town, and showed every sign of
affection, calling him “father” and “Inkosi Inkulu” (“Great Chief”).
The whole meeting was considered of very good omen for the success of
the system established in British Kaffraria.

After visiting Grahamstown, the Governor proceeded to Port Elizabeth.
In reply to an address praying for the formation of the Eastern
Province of the Cape Colony into a separate government, he asked “What
is Germany with her 33,000,000 struggling after but union? These
German states have sunk through their disunion, while Great Britain
is acknowledged to owe her strength and her greatness to the union
of her people. Nor at the present time must we have separation here.
When I was asked whether I would have a Lieutenant-Governor, I replied,
‘Certainly not.’ The office fulfilled no other part than that of giving
rise to very unprofitable correspondence.”[196] On the 21st October
the Governor returned to Cape Town, and, as elsewhere, was received
with enthusiasm and an address of congratulation. It stated that the
vigour and rapidity with which the rebellion had been repressed, and
the moderation shown afterwards, were characteristic of Sir Harry’s
genius as a soldier and of the generous sympathies of his nature, and
concluded with a prayer that he might long preside over the Colony, and
exercise that “justice and mercy” which had marked his career.




As early as 1841 the inhabitants of Cape Town had petitioned that their
present system of government by a Governor and a Legislative Council
consisting of officials and persons nominated by the Governor should
give place to a constitution resembling that of the mother-country,
to consist, that is to say, of a Governor and an Executive Council,
both appointed by the Crown, and a Legislative Assembly composed of
representatives freely elected by the people. Lord Stanley, in reply,
expressed a general concurrence with the prayer of the petitioners,
but desired further information. To this request no answer had been
received, when on the appointment of Sir Henry Pottinger to the
government of the Cape, Lord Grey instructed him (2nd Nov. 1846) that
Her Majesty’s Government entertained the strongest prepossessions
in favour of a representative system, and desired the Governor’s
assistance and advice. “Some difficulties,” he added, “may be wisely
encountered, and some apparent risks well incurred, in reliance on the
resources which every civilized society, and especially every society
of British birth and origin, will always discover within themselves for
obviating the dangers incident to measures resting on any broad and
solid principle of truth and justice.”

Sir Henry Pottinger, during his year of office, was too much occupied
with the Kafir War to carry out the instructions given him in regard to
the establishment of representative government, but the instructions
he had received were repeated on the appointment of Sir Harry Smith.
He lost no time in acting on them, and on the 29th July, 1848, the
very day on which he started to put down the rising beyond the Orange,
he transmitted to Lord Grey the opinions of a number of colonial
authorities on the questions at issue, and stated that they all, and
he with them, agreed on the main point that a representative form of
government was desirable. Lord Grey then put the matter in the hands
of a Committee of the Board of Trade and Plantations, who drew up the
main lines of a constitution, which received Her Majesty’s approval. On
31st January, 1850, Lord Grey transmitted this Report to Sir Harry. It
laid down that all subordinate arrangements should be made by Ordinance
in the Colony, and Sir Harry was instructed to collect information and
make all other arrangements for this purpose.

Meanwhile the Colony had been thrown into a state of hysterical
agitation by an unfortunate arrangement made by Lord Grey to send
thither some convicts from Bermuda in H.M.S. _Neptune_. These convicts
were Irish peasants who had been driven into crime during the time of
the famine, and Lord Grey seems to have thought that on this account
less objection would be taken to receiving them. But the name “convict”
was enough. The colonists of the Cape believed that this was only a
beginning and that their country was to be made a convict settlement
and flooded with criminals. An Anti-convict Association was formed, and
the Governor was petitioned to dismiss the _Neptune_ as soon as she
arrived to some other station.

Sir Harry Smith, who from the beginning shared the colonists’ objection
to Lord Grey’s proposal, wrote to that minister on 24th May, 1849,
begging him to revoke his decision, in accordance with the petitions
which he had been forwarding to him since 1st January. On the 29th May
he reported a combination of the people headed by the Anti-convict
Association “to hold in abhorrence any person who may aid the exiles
in landing, and may have any communication with them whatever,” and to
stop the supply of stores to Government. Government officials all over
the country were resigning, but he was still making preparations to
land the exiles and provide for their support on shore.[197] On July
24th he reported that all but one of the unofficial members of the
Legislative Council had resigned, and that on the 17th he had promised
by proclamation that the convicts should not be landed but detained on
shipboard till Her Majesty’s pleasure were known, while declaring he
had no legal power to send them to any other destination.[198]

No reply had been received from Lord Grey to the many appeals which
had been made to him, when on 19th September the _Neptune_ arrived. A
fresh storm of public passion arose, and for the first time since his
accession to office the Governor assembled the Executive Council. They
approved of all his measures, and agreed that it would not be legal
for him to dismiss the vessel. He offered a pledge, however, that he
would resign his office rather than assist in carrying out any measure
for landing the convicts. This declaration allayed the feelings of
more moderate men, but the extremists extended their operations, and
included the navy and the whole body of executive and judicial agents
of the Government under an interdict so long as the _Neptune_ should
remain in Simon’s Bay.

Sir Harry, while curbing the military from any act of retaliation
against the insults heaped on them,[199] was not to be daunted from the
line he had taken up, and with his usual energy devised arrangements
for supplying Government servants with meat and bread. He was thus able
to maintain his position until 13th February, 1850, when, in answer to
a dispatch of 30th September, he received one from Lord Grey dated 5th
December, which authorized him to send the unfortunate convicts to Van
Diemen’s Land.

To return to the question of the new constitution. On the receipt
of Lord Grey’s dispatch of 31st January, 1850, the Governor found
himself at a deadlock owing to the resignation of the five unofficial
members of the Legislative Council in the preceding July. The convict
agitation had spread such a spirit of dissatisfaction in the Colony
that the Governor thought that a Legislative Council filled up by men
who were merely his nominees, would not command public confidence. He
therefore arranged that the Municipalities and District Road Boards
should furnish him with the names of gentlemen whom they would desire
to be appointed, and from these he would fill up the vacancies. He
did not, however, commit himself to nominating the five highest on
the list. As a matter of fact, he chose the four highest, although he
believed their election had been largely procured by electoral devices
emanating from Cape Town, and with them the gentleman who was eleventh,
chosen as having the special confidence of the Eastern Province. No
sooner was the Council thus constituted and assembled than the four
gentlemen above mentioned resigned their seats (20th September), as a
protest against the Governor’s departure from the electoral results
and against the fact that the Legislative Council was called on to
vote the estimates and transact ordinary business instead of merely
preparing the way for a Representative Assembly. These gentlemen were
treated in the Colony as popular heroes, and two of them, Sir A.
Stockenstrom and Mr. Fairbairn, were deputed to proceed to England
to carry on an agitation against the Governor. Their position was,
however, an untenable one, and received no support from Her Majesty’s

The Governor in his difficulty had taken a step which was not well
received. He had constituted the remaining seven members of the Council
a Commission to draft the ordinances of the proposed constitution, and
on 19th Feb. 1851 suggested to Lord Grey that, there being no chance
of forming a Legislative Council which would have the confidence of
the Colony, the draft ordinances should be ratified in England. This
suggestion was accepted. However, in obedience to Lord Grey’s further
instructions, he set himself in September to fill up the Council,
and found four gentlemen willing to accept the vacant seats. On 10th
October the Council met again. On 16th December the draft ordinances
which had received Her Majesty’s approval in England were read for the
first time, and the second reading was fixed for February, 1852. In
spite of the great eagerness of the Colony to receive representative
government, it was then proposed that the further consideration of the
question should be deferred till the Kafir War was over, and this view
had the support of all the four unofficial members and of two out of
the five official members of the Legislative Council. When, however, it
was represented to the Governor, he promptly replied from his camp at
King William’s Town, in words full of political courage and sagacious

 “I desire the Legislative Council to proceed to the discussion of
 these ordinances as a Government measure, leaving each clause an open
 question. I apprehend far greater embarrassments to the Government by
 delay than by procedure. I am ordered by Her Majesty’s Government to
 proceed, and my own opinion concurs in the expediency of that order. I
 see no cause whatever for apprehension as to any public disturbance.
 Under any circumstances, however, I do not view a war upon the borders
 as affording cause for deferring the grant of a representative

Thanks, then, to Sir Harry’s firmness the business proceeded, although
it was not till the time of his successor that the long-desired boon of
Representative Government was actually received by the colonists.

Till the end of 1850, in spite of the Anti-convict agitation and the
political unrest caused by the desire for a Representative Assembly,
Sir Harry’s administration had been apparently a highly successful one.
He had felt himself able to send home the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade
in May, 1850, and so meet the demands for economy pressed on him by
the Home Government. The Orange River Sovereignty had been at peace,
and in British Kaffraria, under the rule of an able officer, Colonel
Mackinnon, the Kafirs seemed, as in 1836, to be making rapid progress
towards becoming orderly and civilized British subjects. But this happy
prospect was now suddenly over-clouded.

However contented the Kafirs at large might be with the new system, the
chiefs suffered a loss of wealth by being no longer able to “eat up”
whomsoever they liked, and with the loss of wealth a loss of dignity.
They felt that their followers were encouraged to appeal for justice
to the British Commissioner and that the feudal power of the chief
was being quietly undermined. Accordingly the Gaika chiefs of British
Kaffraria, Sandilli and his half-brother Macomo, became intriguing
agitators, and found in the terrible drought and distress of 1850 an
opportunity ready to hand for disturbing the peace.

In September of that year, Colonel Mackinnon, instead of his usual
satisfactory reports, wrote that the white colonists were alarmed,
as a new prophet, Umlanjeni, thought to be a creature of Sandilli’s,
was preaching war against the white, while the Kafirs had been on
their side alarmed by a report that the Governor wished to seize all
the chiefs. In consequence of this information, Sir Harry on the 15th
October left Cape Town for the frontier.

Having arrived at King William’s Town on the 20th, he called a meeting
of Kafir chiefs for the 26th. At this meeting great demonstrations of
loyalty were made, and the Governor was greeted with a shout of “Inkosi
Inkulu!” (“Great Chief!”); but Sandilli was absent. On the 29th Sir
Harry threatened him that unless he came and renewed his allegiance, he
would “throw him away” and confiscate his property—and when this threat
produced no effect, formally deposed him and appointed Mr. Brownlee,
the Civil Commissioner, chief of the Gaikas in his place.[201] The
act showed perhaps an over-sanguine estimate of the readiness of the
Kafir mind to recognize British authority as paramount to that of their
feudal chiefs; but at the moment it was approved by Colonel Mackinnon
and other men specially acquainted with the Kafir disposition, as it
was later by the Home Government.

At another meeting held on 5th November, the chiefs of the Gaikas and
other tribes acknowledged one and all that Sandilli by his contumacy
had deserved his fate, and the Governor wrote to Lord Grey, “The crisis
has passed, and, I believe, most happily.” He at once started on his
return journey, and after receiving various congratulatory addresses on
his way, reached Cape Town on the 24th November.

But news of fresh turbulent acts followed him, and (to quote the words
of Mr. Chase[202]) “Sir Harry Smith was to be pitied by all who loved
him—and who that knew him did not?—when he had to write in bitter
disappointment to the Secretary of State on the 5th December, ‘The
quiet I had reported in Kafirland, which I had so much and so just
ground to anticipate, is not realized, and I start this evening.’” He
left with the 73rd Regiment on the _Hermes_ for the frontier, destined
not to quit it again for sixteen months, and then as a man superseded
in his office.

Having landed at the Buffalo mouth on 9th December, he reached King
William’s Town the same night, and next day by proclamation called
on all loyal citizens to enrol themselves as volunteers. The Kafirs
were arming, and the farmers with their flocks and herds had fled
in panic from the frontier. After a meeting with the chiefs (14th),
which was again considered satisfactory, Sir Harry moved his troops to
positions round the Amatola Mountains to prevent any combined movement
between Kreili and the Gaikas. He proceeded himself to Fort Cox.
Here on the 19th he held another meeting, at which, except Anta and
Sandilli (who had now been outlawed), all the chiefs were present with
their councillors and 3000 of their people. When Sir Harry vigorously
denounced Sandilli’s conduct they apparently acquiesced, but asked the
Governor why he had brought the troops?

From Fort Cox Sir Harry sent Colonel Mackinnon on 24th December with a
patrol up the gorge of the Keiskamma in the direction in which Sandilli
was supposed to be hiding, it being thought that when the troops
approached he would either surrender or flee the country. Mackinnon
was, however, attacked in a defile, and twelve of his men were killed.
And so broke out a new Kafir War, a “fitting legacy,” says Chase, “of
the retrocessive policy of 1836,” and, we may add, unfortunately not
the last disastrous war to which those words could be applied.

Next day (Christmas Day) three of the four military villages which had
been established in British Kaffraria not quite three years before,
Woburn, Auckland, and Juanasburg, were treacherously attacked by
Kafirs, many of whom had just shared the Christmas dinner of their
victims, and the settlers murdered. The Gaikas sprang to arms; every
chief but Pato joined in the rising; and of a body of 400 Kafir police
365 rushed to their tribes with their arms and ammunition.

Meanwhile the Commander-in-Chief was shut up in Fort Cox in the Amatola
basin, with hordes of wild Kafirs filling the bush and heights on every
side, and the prospect before him of speedy starvation if he remained,
or death from a bullet or an assagai if he issued forth. Colonel
Somerset from Fort Hare made two unsuccessful attempts at relief. In
the second, on 29th December, after fighting for four hours, he was
forced to retire. After this he wrote to Sir Harry, begging him not to
move with infantry, or they would be cut to pieces, but to sally out
with 250 men of the Cape Mounted Rifles.

 “This Sir Harry, in the daring, dashing way so characteristic of him,
 gallantly did, wearing the forage cap and uniform of one of the Cape
 Rifles, and by this timely incognito he rode twelve hazardous miles
 through the desultory fire of the Kafirs on the way to King William’s
 Town. At the Debe Nek, about halfway, a strong attempt was made to
 intercept the Corps, but Sir Harry Smith and his escort vigorously
 spurred through their opponents, and after a smart ride reached the
 town, having eluded six bodies of Kafirs, who little suspected how
 great a prize was then in their power.”[203]


of the COLONY of the



      _Opposite p. 620._]

On the day of his arrival in King William’s Town, 31st December, Sir
Harry issued a Government notice of the most vigorous kind. “He hopes
colonists will rise _en masse_ to destroy and exterminate these most
barbarous and treacherous savages, who for the moment are formidable.
Every post in British Kaffraria is necessarily maintained.”[204]

Meanwhile, on the news reaching Cape Town that the Governor was shut up
in Fort Cox, the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Montagu, himself a Waterloo
man, showed the greatest energy in raising troops and despatching them
to the frontier. He sent in all 3000 men, chiefly Hottentots. On the
arrival of the first levies (1600 men), Sir Harry wrote to him, “Your
exertions are incredible, and they will enable me to take the field.”

Accordingly, at the end of January he ordered Mackinnon to throw
supplies into Forts White and Cox. This was accomplished, but he could
do little at the moment beyond maintaining the military posts, and
meanwhile difficulties were accumulating upon him. The Dutch farmers
did not come forward as they had done in 1835, to assist in repelling
an invasion from the colony; Kreili, the Great Chief beyond the Kei,
was wavering; and, worse than all, by the beginning of February Sir
Harry learnt that the Hottentots of the Kat River Settlement, people
nominally Christians, though of late suspected of disaffection, had one
and all revolted and joined the Kafirs, their hereditary enemies.

On the 3rd February, in once more appealing to the inhabitants of the
colony to rally in their own defence, he said, “I regard this almost
general disaffection of the coloured classes within the Colony as of
far greater moment than the outbreak of the Kafirs.”

At this time the British troops at Sir Harry’s disposal amounted only
to 1700,[205] of whom 900 were employed in holding a dozen posts.
Accordingly he had only 800 “available to control 4000 Hottentot
auxiliaries of doubtful loyalty, and to meet the hordes of well-armed
athletic and intrepid barbarians in the field.”[206] Both Colonel (now
Major-General) Somerset and Colonel Mackinnon had obtained successes;
the rebel chief Hermanus had been killed in attacking Fort Beaufort on
7th January; yet the enemy was still powerful and in the occupation of
a mountainous country next to impenetrable.

Sir Harry was compelled to act on two bases, the one from King
William’s Town to the mouth of the Buffalo, so communicating by the
port of East London with the Western Province and with the sea; the
other from Fort Hare _viâ_ Fort Beaufort and Grahamstown to Port
Elizabeth, Fort Hare being connected with King William’s Town by the
garrisons of Fort White and Fort Cox. The troops operating on the
first line in British Kaffraria were under the command of Colonel
Mackinnon, and had their headquarters at King William’s Town under the
eye of the Commander-in-Chief. In April, after the arrival of the new
levies, they amounted to 4700 men, of whom 1000 were occupying a line
of seven posts. The troops on the second line were under the command
of Major-General Somerset, whose headquarters were at Fort Hare. They
amounted to 2900, of whom 900 were garrisoning six posts. The general
plan of the campaign was to confine the war to neutral territory, to
detain the Kafirs in Kaffraria, and eventually to drive them out of
their fastnesses in the Amatola Mountains. The Kafir revolt would in
this way, Sir Harry writes, have been crushed at once, but for the
hopes raised by the defection of the Hottentots. That defection had
indeed gone far. Although Somerset on the 23rd February had crushed
the Kat River rebellion by the capture of the rebels’ stronghold, Fort
Armstrong, only a fortnight later 335 men of the Cape Mounted Rifles,
including the very men who had so gallantly escorted the Governor from
Fort Cox, deserted from King William’s Town in a body. This was another
crushing blow. “My horror cannot be described,” Sir Harry wrote on
the 17th March. “I assure your Lordship that no event of my military
career ever caused me so much pain as the defection of so large a
portion of a corps to which I am as much attached as I am to that
wearing the green jacket of my own regiment.” This detachment of the
Rifles had been drawn principally from the Hottentots of the Kat River
Settlement and had been much excited by rumours of the punishment which
was to be meted out to the Kat River rebels.

Having felt it necessary to disarm nearly all the Riflemen who had not
deserted, Sir Harry now found himself practically without any mounted
force at all, and wrote to ask for 400 young Englishmen to be sent out
as recruits, with the promise of receiving ten acres of land after
ten years’ service. This request, however, was not granted. In order
to anticipate any attempt at rescuing the Kat River prisoners at Fort
Hare, Sir Harry moved out himself on March 19th, and by a masterly
movement defeated the enemy at the Keiskamma, spent the 20th at Fort
Hare, obtained another success on the Tab’ Indoda Range on the 21st,
and returning by Fort White with 1000 captured cattle, reached King
William’s Town on the 25th.

A Cape newspaper, politically opposed to him, wrote of Sir Harry’s
conduct in these few days—

 “It is not a little gratifying to find the mingled fire and prudence
 of the veteran commander as conspicuous now as in former days. We see
 the value of such a leader more distinctly in comparing him with
 other officers of good standing and abilities.”

And it quotes from the _Frontier Times_—

 “Sir Harry Smith showed his usual energy, riding backwards and
 forwards to where the different parties were engaged and cheering them
 on. A new spirit has been infused among the troops and levies, and all
 speak of the bravery and activity of his Excellency.”[207]

Fresh signs of disaffection in the Cape Corps made it necessary to
disarm still more men, and the Kafirs were so much emboldened that but
for the loyalty of the one chief Pato, who held the country between
King William’s Town and the sea, the Governor’s position would have
been barely defensible. He continued to send out patrols, which were
invariably successful. Mackinnon scoured the Poorts of the Buffalo
in the middle of April and at the end of the month penetrated the
Amatolas; and Captain Tylden, in command of the position of Whittlesea,
which was twelve times assaulted, saved the Colony for the time from
the enemy. But larger operations were out of the question. “Had the
Kat River Rebellion and the defection of the Cape Corps not presented
themselves, Sandilli’s reign would have been a transient one. I have
been obliged to steer a most cautious course, one contrary to my
natural desire in predatory warfare, but imperatively imposed on me
by the dictates of prudence and discretion, my force being composed
generally of a race excitable in the extreme.” So Sir Harry wrote
on the 5th April. Ten days later he again complains of the little
assistance given him by the farmers. “A few spirited farmers have
performed good service, but where are the men who so gallantly fought
with me in 1835—Van Wyks, Greylings, Nels, Rademeyers, Ryneveldts,
etc.? Once more, my advice to the frontier inhabitants is to rush to
the front.”

Early in May Sir Harry received reinforcements from home, consisting of
drafts for the regiments already under his command (11 officers and 296
men) and the 74th Regiment. This he sent to Fort Hare to Major-General
Somerset, ordering him at the same time to be prepared to concentrate
for a move into the great Kafir stronghold, the Amatolas. Two more
regiments were still to come, and Sir Harry believed that the force he
would then have would be ample. In acknowledging the reinforcements,
he wrote on 6th May, “I had most zealously clung to the desire of
civilizing these savages. As regards the Gaikas generally, my attempt
has been an awful failure, while I congratulate myself on having
maintained at peace the T’Slambie tribes, comprising the half nearly of
the population of British Kaffraria. I am deeply indebted to the chief

On the 10th May he was gratified by receiving the following letter from
the Duke of Wellington:—

      “London, 8th March, 1851.

 “My dear General,

 “We heard on the day before yesterday of the renewal of your troubles
 at the Cape.

 “The 74th Regiment and all the drafts from Depôts that can be sent for
 the Regiments at the Cape will be sent off as soon as possible.

 “I have told the Government that I think that another Regiment ought
 to be sent.

 “I enclose the copy of a memorandum which I sent yesterday to Lord

 “Not knowing the latest or the exact state of the insurrection, I
 cannot say in what stations it would be necessary for you to carry on
 your operations, or whether with more than one Corps.

 “If with only one so much the better, but it will increase the
 security, confidence, and tranquillity of the Colony if you should be
 able to keep an efficient Corps in reserve in a second line.

      “Wishing you every success,
      “Believe me, ever yours most sincerely,
      “(Signed)      Wellington.

      “Lieut.-General Sir Harry Smith, Bt., G.C.B.”

It must have been satisfactory to Sir Harry to feel that in
establishing his two lines of defence he had anticipated the advice of
his great master.

While Somerset made a successful patrol against the combined Kafirs
and Hottentots of the sources of the Kat River, and Mackinnon another
in the Amatolas, there were still no signs of the submission of the
enemy. Meanwhile news came of trouble with Moshesh in the Orange River
Sovereignty, and the prospect of a new war there, and this was followed
by a revolt of the Hottentots of the missionary station of Theopolis,
25 miles from Grahamstown. The period of six months for which the
Hottentot levies in the army had been enlisted was now expiring, and
there was no disposition among them to enlist again, and in this way
the force would be reduced to 1800 men. Nothing could be done till
further reinforcements arrived from England. “The almost general
rebellion among the eastern Hottentots,” wrote Sir Harry on the 17th
June, “paralyzes my movements in British Kaffraria and compels me to
hold a force ready for the protection of Grahamstown.” Owing to the
cutting off of the mails, his letters to his wife at Cape Town were now
written almost entirely in Spanish.

The following letter to his sister Mrs. Sargant shows the feeling
excited in him by Sir William Molesworth’s attack on him in the House
of Commons on April 10th, in which he was accused of burdening the
empire by the annexation of 105,000 square miles of new territory and
provoking his local troubles by high-handed and despotic government.

      “King William’s Town, 18th June, 1851.

 “My dearest Alice,

 “I wish I was half the active fellow now I was then, for I have
 need of it, seeing I am Her Majesty’s ‘Despotic Bashaw’ from Cape
 Point to Delagoa Bay to the east, and to the great newly discovered
 lake to the north-west—without a legislature, and in the midst of a
 war with cruel and treacherous and ungrateful savages and renegade
 and revolted Hottentots. These Hottentots have been treated as the
 most favoured people, enjoying all the rights, civil and religious,
 of the inhabitants at large of the Colony—fed as a population when
 starving,—yet have these ungrateful wretches in great numbers (not
 all) revolted and joined their hereditary and oppressive enemy the
 Kafir, who drove them from the Kye over the Fish River, and who have
 destroyed them as a nation.

 “I have had so much to do and some little anxiety of mind, although
 I sleep like a dormouse, that I have not written lately to one so
 dear to me, but Juana has. The war-making Kafirs are cowed by the
 continued exertions among them of my numerous and vigorous patrols,
 but they are in that state of doggedness they will neither come
 in nor fight. By every communication I have open to me, I offer
 peace to _the people_, but the chiefs must await my decision, their
 conduct has been so treacherous, cunning, and deceitful. I have
 succeeded in maintaining in peace and tranquillity nearly one-half of
 the population of British Kaffraria, those fortunately next to the
 sea, while the Gaika Kafirs, natives of the mountains adjoining the
 Hottentot great location of the Kat Province, are all at war. This
 shows my system cannot be oppressive, or I should have had no friendly
 Kafirs, whereas the latter escort my waggons with supplies, slaughter
 cattle, carry my mails, assist me in every way in their power, which
 affords better argument in refutation of the Radical and garbled
 untruths, though founded on facts, of Sir W. Molesworth. I will give
 you an example [of one] among other accusations of my despotism. The
 Kafir Hermanus, who by birth is a negro slave, was ever heretofore
 with his people an enemy to the Kafir, because it was his interest to
 be friendly to us. After the war of 1835-6, Sir B. D’Urban gave him
 a grant of a beautiful tract of country within the Colony upon the
 ever-supplying-water, the Blinkwater, stream. His title was disputed
 by some of the colonists, and it was complained that _he_ paid no
 quit-rent as they all did. It was just, and only just, that if he
 was protected by the government, he should contribute, equally with
 others, his quota for its maintenance. I therefore, as a part of a
 general system, exacted a quit-rent, a mere trifle, which was the best
 possible title and deed of occupation, yet does this throating Sir W.
 M. bring forward this as an act of despotism. It is really ludicrous.

 “But for this inexplicable Hottentot revolution, I would have put
 down the Kafirs in six weeks. These Hottentots are the most favoured
 race on earth, yet have a set of Radical London Society missionaries
 been preaching to them like evil spirits that they were an oppressed
 and ill-used race, until, encouraged by violent meetings all over the
 Colony upon the convict question, they have met with arms in their
 hands, arms given to them by us, for the purpose of joining the Kafirs
 to drive the English over the Zwartkop River beyond Uitenhage.

 “I have endeavoured to administer this government so as to allow the
 all-powerful sun to shine forth its glory upon all its inhabitants,
 whether black or white, equally, and I have no other object than the
 welfare of the people generally. I have said, ‘Lay before me your
 wants; they shall be considered and your wishes met if practicable.’
 This was appreciated until the d—— convict question arose. The
 emancipated blacks in Cape Town, the Hottentots in the Kat River, held
 anti-convict meetings got up by white Radicals, who have thus induced
 the coloured classes upon this frontier and in many other parts of the
 Colony to believe that separate interests exist for white and black.

 “The Kafir has been fostered by the most benevolent acts of kindness
 by me as a Governor. My study has been to ameliorate their condition
 from brutes to Christians, from savages to civilized men. They
 progressed in three years beyond all belief until some white-faced
 devils (the sable king often wears a white face) got in among them,
 persuaded the chiefs my object was their extermination, and while the
 _people_ clung with avidity to my protection from the former tyranny
 they groaned under, the chiefs asserted their feudal authority, and
 such is man in a wild state of nature, he cleaves to the hereditary
 rule of oppressors of his forefathers—with tears in his eyes. I have
 seen many weep when they came to say to me farewell; ‘Our country will
 be lost.’ Let Sir W. M. and his myrmidons deny this; he cannot, but he
 can assert that just measures are foul, despotic, and arbitrary acts.

 “Juana is in better spirits now since the reinforcements have arrived,
 I hope. Since I have received the dear Duke’s kind letter, Juana
 regards me as supported by old friends and present master.[209] The
 latter gentleman and I understand each other. I will be _censured_
 by no man, but I will endeavour to obey where I can. He affronted me
 by finding fault with an ‘abortive attempt to reform the Legislative
 Council,’ which made my blood boil, although my remonstrance was
 as mild as milk. I think the recent attempt he and his colleagues
 have made to form a government has been fully as _abortive_ as mine,
 and they have discovered the impossibility of making legislators
 of men who will not undertake office. Since the outbreak all his
 communications have been most complimentary.

      “Your brother

 “P.S.—I have been urged by many friends to send home some one to
 support the cause of my government. I won’t. It is a weak line of
 conduct to appeal to friendship when conduct is in intention free from
 imputation of evil. Let Miss Coutts peruse this if she can. You had
 better copy it in your legible hand, for the enormous quantity I write
 has as much impaired my autograph as hard roads the fore-legs of a
 trotting horse, if England still produces one. That she does asses, I

One of Sir Harry’s nephews, writing home on the 21st, says—

 “My uncle’s health, thank God, considering all things, is far from
 bad, but he is obliged to be very careful, and cannot stand exposure
 to damp or cold. The Hottentots are mostly in the colony in small
 bands, plundering the poor defenceless farmers; constant outrages are
 committed by these rascals.... Sir Harry confidently expects that two
 or three regiments will be speedily sent out, and sincerely do I hope
 they may, for to end the war with his present force is impossible.”

On the last four days of June a combined movement to clear the
Amatolas which had long been preparing was at last accomplished, the
1st Division under the command of Somerset co-operating with the 2nd
under Michel (Colonel Mackinnon being ill), assisted by Tylden with
300 men from Whittlesea. The operations were conducted by four columns
converging to a centre. They were completely successful, but Sir Harry
saw no signs that they had hastened the end of the war, and warned
the inhabitants of the colony that the beaten Kafirs were likely to
go about in small marauding parties as “wolves”—an anticipation too
sadly realized by the rush which was now made into the Colony, and the
terrible depredations which accompanied it.

The trial of the Kat River rebels resulted in 47 of them being
sentenced to death—a sentence which Sir Harry commuted to penal
servitude for life; so bringing on himself in some quarters the charge
of excessive leniency. Chase, who considers the commutation a “grave
mistake,” excuses it on the ground that Sir Harry “pitied the poor
creatures, knowing that they had been deluded into the belief that they
are taught by the precept of the Bible to fight for independence with
the sword of Gideon.”[210] It is better to accept the explanation given
by Sir Harry himself in his dispatch of the 7th April, 1852.

 “Surrounded as I and Major-General Somerset were by these people drawn
 from the eastern and western districts, one false step or untimely
 exercise of power and martial law would have plunged the whole into
 the chaos of revolution. Her Majesty’s troops must have abandoned
 their advanced positions and fallen back on Grahamstown, and the
 T’Slambie tribes would have risen as well as every curly-headed black
 from Cape Town to Natal.”[211]

During July and August bands of the enemy filled the country between
Fort Beaufort and the Fish River, penetrating later into Lower Albany
itself, and burning and marauding wherever they appeared. It was
natural that the colonists should appeal to the Commander-in-Chief
to assist them. Feeling, however, that if he fell back from King
William’s Town, his retreat would be the signal for tribes on the east,
hitherto passive, to join the Gaikas, he expressed his wish to continue
operations in the Amatolas, and ordered Somerset to establish posts of
burghers, if they would turn out, at every eligible point. Somerset
replied that the burghers could not now withstand the attacks, and he
had established a camp at Haddon on the Koonap; and a month later Sir
Harry sent Colonel Eyre with the 73rd Regiment from King William’s Town
to Bathurst to protect Grahamstown and Lower Albany.

And so the war went on, the Commander ever sending out fresh patrols
to harass the foe in his fastnesses,—on the 8th August he says that
the 73rd regiment has now marched 2838 miles since the outbreak of
hostilities,—maintaining every single post, yet still, for want of an
adequate force, unable to effect any decisive action. Meanwhile there
were fresh defections among the Hottentots in the Cape Corps, and news
came from Warden in the Orange River Sovereignty that many of the Boers
there would not assist him against Moshesh, and their fellow-countrymen
over the Vaal were disposed to back them in their hostility to the
British Government. He was bidden to act only on the defensive till
troops could be sent to him.

In August the 2nd (Queen’s) Regiment arrived from England, and soon
after part of the 12th Regt. from the Mauritius. But there were a mass
of hostile Kafirs and Hottentots in the Colony estimated at more than
6000, one body being in the Fish River Bush 30 miles to the north-east
of Grahamstown, the other under Macomo in the Waterkloof 50 miles to
the north-west, and in a patrol made by Colonel Mackinnon in the Fish
River Bush on the 8th September, Captain Oldham and 25 men were killed
and 41 wounded, and the bush was re-occupied by the Kafirs immediately.
Meanwhile Somerset had failed in expelling Macomo, and Kreili and Fakoo
seemed on the brink of openly throwing in their lot with Sandilli.

Under these circumstances, although now reinforced by the 60th Rifles
and the 12th Lancers, Sir Harry asks on the 15th October for 400
English recruits for the Cape Corps and two additional regiments of
infantry. Meanwhile there were fresh operations of the most arduous
kind in the Waterkloof, and Somerset at the end of October succeeded in
dislodging Macomo from his fastness. In consequence of that success,
Sir Harry was able to write on the 1st November that he was now able
to undertake tasks of a more extensive character, and proposed, after
sweeping the Amatolas and driving the enemy from the Fish River Bush,
if he concentrated there, to march across the Kei with three columns to
invade Kreili, whose country was the great refuge of the beaten Gaikas,
after which it might be necessary to send a force over the Orange River
against Moshesh.

On November 12th, having received a despatch from Lord Grey suggesting
that, failing the support of the Boers in the Orange River Sovereignty,
the territory should be relinquished, Sir Harry forwarded it to his
Assistant-Commissioners, Major Hogg and Mr. Owen, with a strong
expression of his own views of such a proposal.

 “If Her Majesty’s sovereignty over this territory were now rescinded,
 the step would be regarded by every man of colour in South Africa as
 an unprecedented and unlooked-for victory to his race, and be the
 signal of revolt or continued resistance to British authority from
 Cape Town to the territory of Panda, and thence to the Great Lake. No
 measure during my administration of this Government has caused me so
 much consideration as that relating to the affairs of the Sovereignty.
 Property there, even during the late disturbances, has increased in
 value, and although the funds are not now flourishing, I am confident
 that locally they will speedily improve to a great extent. I am
 equally confident that if any change were made in the present state of
 things in the theoretical hope of gaining over a discontented party
 by yielding to their demands, such a precedence would evince weakness
 on our part, fraught with every evil, and perpetuate the belief that
 persevering resistance to Her Majesty’s authority would ultimately
 ensure success. It would, at the same time, be not only disastrous to
 the parties now dissatisfied, but would sacrifice to the vengeance of
 the disaffected those who have remained loyal and faithful.”

In this Sir Harry saw more clearly than most of his contemporaries.
When, contrary to the strong opinion of the Colony,[212] the
Sovereignty was abandoned in 1854, and a Republic hostile to England
was allowed to take its place, only one man, the present Lord Norton,
opposed the change in the House of Commons, and he on very narrow
grounds, and Sir Harry Smith’s successor in the Governorship of the
Cape wrote in blind satisfaction, “The foolish Sovereignty farce is at
length over, and we have done with it.”[213]

In November, in the course of Somerset’s continued operations to clear
the Waterkloof, Lieut.-Col. Fordyce of the 74th and four other officers
fell by an ambuscade, an incident the more unfortunate as the English
public, unable to realize the enormous difficulties of the situation,
was already much excited by the slow progress made in the war. Those
difficulties were enumerated by Sir Harry Smith on 18th Dec. in reply
to a querulous dispatch of Lord Grey. He reminded him that he had had
to carry on a desultory war over an extent of country twice the size
of Great Britain and Ireland, overrun by a most enterprising horde of
savages, and to maintain twelve forts. Had one retrograde step been
made, the _whole_ population of British Kaffraria would have been in a
blaze. What soldiers could do, his had done.

 “So long as the insurgents held together and acted in large bodies,
 they were defeated on forty-five different occasions between
 the 24th Dec. and 21st Oct.... I have maintained throughout my
 positions and forts—no convoy has been cut off, and no rencontre,
 however sanguinary, has been unattended with success.” Now that the
 reinforcements have arrived, they “will rescue the Colony from its
 misery ... and relieve the Governor of the Cape from difficulties,
 obstacles, opposition, and rebellion, such as it has been the fortune
 of few men to encounter.”

The worst was already past. In the middle of January Sir Harry reports
that the operations beyond the Kei have met with signal success,
that 30,000 head of cattle have been captured, 7000 Fingoes rescued
from thraldom, and that a meeting of all the Gaika chiefs and their
councillors has deputed emissaries to sue for peace, and that he has
insisted on an unconditional surrender. At the same time he has seven
columns of troops ready to move, if his terms are not agreed to.

Accordingly, when he received on 5th February a rather sarcastic
dispatch from Lord Grey written on the 15th December, he was in a good
position to reply to it. Lord Grey wrote—

 “It is some relief ... to find that you are so highly satisfied with
 the conduct of the officers and men under your orders, and that you
 regard the operations under Major-General Somerset on the 14th and
 16th October as having been attended with important success. I confess
 that from that officer’s own report, ... that is not the light in
 which I should have regarded these affairs. The very serious amount of
 our losses, and the fact that at the conclusion of the operations of
 the last day to which your intelligence reaches, it was the rear, and
 not the van, of the British force which was engaged with the enemy,
 and that the latter must therefore have been the assailants, would
 appear to me scarcely to justify the tone of satisfaction with which
 you relate these occurrences.”

In reply to this piece of civilian criticism, Sir Harry writes—

 “Those, my Lord, who have witnessed military operations, and are best
 acquainted with their varying character, success attending them in
 one part of the field, while in others partial bodies may be held in
 check, will not consider the affair of a rearguard as the criterion
 by which to judge of their general result. Neither in ancient nor
 in modern war has a rencontre of the kind been so regarded. And the
 peculiarity of the present contest must be borne in mind; it must
 be remembered that this Kafir warfare is of the most completely
 guerrilla and desultory nature, in which neither front, flank, nor
 rear is acknowledged, and where the disciplined few have to contend
 with the undisciplined but most daring and intrepid many, in the midst
 of the holds and fastnesses of the latter.... The country in which
 the operations were carried on is far more difficult to ascend and
 penetrate than even the Amatolas; hence the gallant and enterprising
 exertions of the troops became the more conspicuous, and called
 forth that expression of my satisfaction dictated by experience in
 war, which enables a Commander to estimate justly the success he has
 obtained, and to commend as it deserves the conduct of his officers
 and soldiers.

 “In my dispatch of the 19th November I have reported the ultimate
 success of Major-General Somerset’s operations. Although the loss
 of Lieut.-Col. Fordyce and of the other officers who unfortunately
 fell by an ambuscade of not more ... than 20 rebels, was deeply to
 be regretted, the success which I anticipated and have reported, but
 which your Lordship does not regard in the same light, founding your
 opinion on the affair of a rearguard, enabled me immediately to so
 organize the troops as effectually to watch and guard the frontier
 line to prevent inroads, and at the same time to invade the territory
 of the paramount chief, Kreili. The uninterrupted successes of the
 troops beyond the Kei ... established their superiority far and near.
 Meanwhile I was enabled to collect a depôt of provisions for 1000
 infantry and 500 horse at Bloemfontein, in case necessity should arise
 for a movement in that direction.... Thus, my Lord, viewing matters as
 a whole, you will, I think, consider me borne out by general results
 in having expressed my satisfaction at the conduct of the officers
 and troops, whose exertions and success I foresaw would lead to the
 result which has been attained, a general entreaty for peace by the
 enemy beyond the Kei, as well as by the rebels of British Kaffraria.”

Peace was in prospect, but it was not yet attained, and after a week’s
suspension of hostilities, seven columns were again operating in the
Amatolas. Little or no resistance was met with. A fresh operation in
the Waterkloof was now determined on. Accompanying the troops himself,
Sir Harry established his headquarters on 5th March at Fort Beaufort,
and on the 9th at Blinkwater Post. On the 11th Eyre, after enormous
difficulties in a precipitous country, captured “Macomo’s Den”—a
success of such magical effect that resistance seemed to vanish after

On the 17th March Sir Harry pronounced that the difficult and till then
well-maintained positions of the enemy, the Waterkloof, Blinkwater, and
Fuller’s Hoek, were completely cleared, and he was at once moving with
Michel’s and Eyre’s columns with fifteen days’ provisions to dislodge
Tyalie and penetrate into the heart of the Amatolas, while Somerset
pursued the retreating enemy, and the Tambookies were assailed from
Whittlesea. “Every part of the rebel enemy’s country will then be

But in the same dispatch in which he announced that the enemy was being
at last driven to bay, he had to acknowledge the receipt of Lord Grey’s
dispatch of 14th January, informing him that for a want of “energy and
judgment” in conducting the war he was recalled, and that General the
Hon. George Cathcart would shortly arrive in South Africa to supersede
him. It is needless to picture the bitter mortification of the veteran
Commander, who, after gallantly facing unexampled difficulties,
saw the sweets of victory snatched from his grasp and the military
qualities which had brought him fame condemned by a civilian of half
his years. Lord Grey’s dispatch—universally condemned in England and in
the Colony[214]—and Harry Smith’s vindication may be read in full in
Appendix V. to this volume, their length precluding them from finding a
place here.

It was a consolation to the recalled General to learn that the Duke
of Wellington, speaking in the House of Lords on 5th February, had
entirely repudiated Lord Grey’s censure.

 “I wish to express my sense of the services of General Sir Harry
 Smith, now in the command of the troops in the Colony of the Cape of
 Good Hope. Sir Harry Smith is an officer who, from the high reputation
 which he has already attained in the service, does not require any
 commendation from me. But having filled a high command in several
 important military operations carried on under his direction, and
 having been recalled by Her Majesty’s Government, it is but just to
 him to say that I, who am his commanding officer, though at a great
 distance, entirely approve of all his operations—of all the orders
 he has given to the troops, and of all the arrangements he made for
 their success. I approve entirely of the conduct of the troops in all
 their operations. I am fully sensible of the difficulties under which
 they laboured, and of the gallantry with which they overcame all those
 difficulties, and of the great success which attended their exertions.
 (Cheers.) My firm belief is that everything has been done by the
 commanding General, by the forces, and by his officers, in order to
 carry into execution the instructions of Her Majesty’s Government....
 I am proud to say that I have observed no serious error in the conduct
 of these late operations.... The only fault I find with Sir Harry
 Smith is” [that after storming a native fastness he did not destroy it
 by opening roads into it for the movement of regular troops with the
 utmost rapidity].

The Duke, however, acknowledged that to do what he suggested was not
the work of a moment.[215]

But the bitterness of his recall did not cool the energy with which
Sir Harry maintained the war against the flagging enemy. The Amatolas
were scoured again, and the satisfactory report brought in by
Colonel Michel: “The Gaika tribes generally have migrated from these
strongholds. Two companies may traverse with safety where heretofore
a large column was required. I deem the war in this quarter virtually
concluded.” With such news the Governor returned to King William’s Town
on 26th March. On 7th April he wrote his last dispatch as Governor and
Commander-in-Chief. He was able to say—

 “I transfer the civil government without a single particle of
 business in arrear, and with a treasury without a debt, while all the
 civil officers have worked under me with energy and zeal. The war
 impending over the Orange River territory has been averted, while had
 its prosecution become imperative, I had collected an ample depôt
 of commissariat supplies at Bloemfontein. Amicable relationship
 has been established with the Transvaal emigrant Boers.[216] The
 turbulent Boers within the Sovereignty, when convicted of overt acts
 of disloyalty, have had heavy pecuniary fines inflicted on them, many
 of which to the amount of £1075 have already been promptly paid,
 which I have caused to be placed in the imperial chest and to its
 credit. Property rises considerably in value, and the revenue of the
 Sovereignty exceeds its expenditure.

 “The flourishing condition of Natal is deeply indebted to the able
 and judicious government of Mr. Pine, who, in a letter to me of the
 20th March, thus expresses himself: ‘The only service I have really
 rendered your Excellency was the sending the contingent into the
 Sovereignty; and the greater part of any merit there may be attached
 to that service belongs fairly to you. It is an easy thing for a
 subordinate officer to do his duty when he feels that he has a chief
 above him, who, provided he acts honestly and straightforwardly will
 support him whether he succeeds or fails. Such a chief I have had in
 your Excellency.’

 “I relinquish the command of the troops ... at a period when,
 according to the reports I have received, ... the mass of the Gaikas
 have been expelled from the Amatolas—when the Kafirs, Cis- as well
 as Trans-Keian, have repeatedly sued for peace, and when the war is
 virtually terminated.”[217]

On the same day Sir Harry issued the following farewell to his troops,
dated “Headquarters, King William’s Town”:—

 “His Excellency Lieut.-General the Hon. George Cathcart having been
 appointed by the Queen to relieve me, I this day relinquish the

 “Brother officers and soldiers! Nothing is more painful than to bid
 farewell to old and faithful friends. I have served my Queen and
 country many years; and attached as I have ever been to gallant
 soldiers, none were ever more endeared to me than those serving in
 the arduous campaign of 1851-2 in South Africa. The unceasing labours,
 the night-marches, the burning sun, the torrents of rain have been
 encountered with a cheerfulness as conspicuous as the intrepidity
 with which you have met the enemy in so many enterprising fights and
 skirmishes in his own mountain fastnesses and strongholds, and from
 which you have ever driven him victoriously.

 “I leave you, my comrades, in the fervent hope of laying before your
 Queen, your country, and His Grace the Duke of Wellington these
 services as they deserve, which reflect so much honour upon you.

 “Farewell, my comrades! your honour and interests will be ever more
 dear to me than my own.

      “H. G. Smith.”

In a reply (also dated “7th April”) to an address from the inhabitants
of King William’s Town, in which they assured him, “We could have well
wished that Her Majesty’s Government had thought fit to have left the
final settlement of this war in the hands of your Excellency,” Sir
Harry chivalrously put in a plea for those who had inflicted upon him
so bitter a humiliation. “You on the spot must have observed how slow
the progress of the war occasionally appeared. It may therefore be
readily conceived how much Her Majesty’s Government must have been
disappointed, who could alone judge of events by reports, and had not
the various circumstances before them which were apparent to you.”

General Cathcart reached King William’s Town late on the 9th April,
having taken the oaths as Governor at Cape Town on 31st March. Sir
Harry received him on the 10th with the same generosity with which in
1836 he had received Capt. Stockenstrom under similar circumstances,
and, as General Cathcart writes,[218] devoted the whole of the day “to
the purpose of giving me every insight into the affairs of the colony
generally, and more particularly of the eastern frontier.”

Next morning at 3, Sir Harry left King William’s Town with his staff.
In the darkness of night the inhabitants and troops turned out
voluntarily, cheered him enthusiastically, and in considerable numbers
escorted him to Fort Murray. Here, though it was still dark, he was
met by a body of Kafirs under Pato, who greeted him with shouts of
“Inkosi Inkulu!” and, refusing all other escort, he committed himself
to their hands. He was much affected, we are told, at parting with his
officers, and his voice was scarcely audible when he uttered his last
words, “Gentlemen, take care of the soldiers. God bless you!” He then
continued his journey with the friendly Kafirs, who were joined on the
way by other parties of Kafirs, horse and foot. It was a strange and
romantic spectacle.[219]

A few days later, on board the _Styx_ he reached Cape Town. He was
received by an immense concourse, cheering enthusiastically, and
carried to his carriage under a triumphal arch. Though extremely
unwell, he bore himself with his usual energy, and from his carriage
rose and briefly thanked the multitude, adding emphatically, “I have
done my duty to the Cape of Good Hope.” A public dinner was offered
him, but in his situation he felt it right to decline it, upon which
the conveners opened a subscription for a “more lasting tribute of
respect and esteem.” It took the form of a gift of plate.

During his three days’ stay at Cape Town, addresses were presented to
him by the inhabitants, by the tradesmen and mechanics, and by the
inhabitants of Rondebosch, where he had resided both as Colonel Smith
and as Governor. In his reply to the first, he said—

 “In the service of this colony I have spent some of the best years of
 my life, and, excepting those during which I have been Governor, some
 of the happiest. At such a moment as this, nothing can be remembered
 by me, and I am equally certain nothing can be remembered by the
 citizens of Cape Town and the colonists at large, excepting what would
 serve to keep alive old kindness and good feeling, and to bury all
 past differences and temporary estrangements in oblivion.”

To the tradesmen and mechanics, he said, “I am myself a working man.
Whatever reputation I may have at any time possessed, I gained simply
and solely by being a working man who put his heart into his work.”

To the inhabitants of Rondebosch, after referring to the difficulties
he had had to contend with and the failure of his efforts for the good
of the Kafirs, he added, “Let us all hope that the distinguished
officer who has succeeded me in the government will be able to settle
permanently the elements which are already subsiding into peace,
and let us all be ready to aid him, heart and hand, in his arduous
undertaking.” Those words were the expression of a noble nature
incapable of jealousy.

On Saturday, 17th April, at 2 o’clock, Sir Harry and Lady Smith
embarked on H.M.S. _Gladiator_. The multitude of people that turned out
to bid them good-bye exceeded anything ever seen in the Colony before;
triumphal arches had been erected, the horses were taken out of the
carriage, and cheer after cheer arose, to which Sir Harry, in spite of
illness, responded with almost juvenile animation, while Lady Smith sat
by his side in tears.[220]

Cape Town honoured itself in honouring the veteran who, whatever his
faults of judgment, had served the Colony single-heartedly to the
utmost of his strength, who by his military genius and promptitude in
action had conferred upon it in the past enormous benefits, and whose
warmth of heart and loyalty of character had endeared him to all who
had known him.

As a Governor he had not been indeed beyond criticism. In his relations
with Hintza in 1835 he had shown an excessive confidence in the
protestations of a savage, and he had seen that confidence abused.
The same fault committed in the closing months of 1850 had preceded
events still more deplorable. In questions of imperial policy his
views were large and far-sighted. In regard to his civil government,
one may say that he had to face a series of situations which might
well have puzzled the most practised statesman. Standing alone with
an unpopular Colonial Secretary and a Legislative Council utterly
discredited, he had the task of smoothing the way for the introduction
of representative government, unaided by the support of the people
at large, who on their part, when a grievance presented itself,
being without any constitutional means of enforcing their views,
were driven to make a sort of civil war on their own executive. Sir
Harry was himself a believer in the advantages of popular government,
but he was also a soldier who felt himself bound to render implicit
obedience to his superior officer. If in this situation he temporarily
lost popularity and encountered obloquy and misrepresentation of the
grossest kind, it can only be set to his credit. As to his management
of the Kafir War, for which he was recalled, one may safely leave his
reputation in the hands of the Duke of Wellington.

The general judgment of the Colony upon him is perhaps expressed by
Chase, who calls him “the eagle-eyed and ubiquitous, a better general
than statesman,” and adds—

 “All men sympathized with the Governor on his recall. With some
 share of bluster (in the best acceptation of that term), he was in
 private life most warm-hearted, generous, and amiable, unforgetful
 of services done to him when plain Colonel Smith. Those who had the
 honour of being admitted to his confidence, and therefore best knew
 him, can bear testimony to his ardent desire to benefit the Colony and
 to his personal regard for its inhabitants. It is true, when under
 excitement, he employed somewhat strong expletives, which, like sheet
 lightning, are terrifying yet harmless; but the writer can add from
 personal and intimate knowledge that, notwithstanding this blemish, he
 was, perhaps strange to say, a devout and religious man.”[221]

Besides Whittlesea and Aliwal North, two towns in South Africa keep
alive the memory of Sir Harry Smith’s administration—Harrismith, over
the Orange River, founded early in 1849, and Ladysmith, in Natal,
founded in 1851. I may add that Sir Harry’s autobiography now sees the
light, only on account of the reawakening of interest in him and in his
wife during those long weeks of the beginning of 1900 in which the fate
of Ladysmith held the whole British race in suspense.




Before Sir Harry Smith reached England, Lord John Russell’s Government
had fallen, one main cause of its fall being a general and perhaps
excessive dissatisfaction with Lord Grey’s administration of the
colonies. It was widely felt that Sir Harry had been made the scapegoat
of the Whig Government, and there was every disposition to give him a
warm welcome.

The _Gladiator_ reached Portsmouth on the afternoon of Sunday, 1st
June, and at seven that evening Sir Harry and Lady Smith disembarked
and proceeded to the George. Next day he was visited by a great number
of persons, both official and private, and at four the Corporation
hastily came together to vote him an address. In sharp contrast to
the terms of Lord Grey’s dispatch, it expressed admiration for his
“capacity and fitness for command” shown amid almost unparalleled
difficulties. Sir Harry was brought to the Council Chamber to receive
it. In his reply he tersely described the situation in which he had
been placed. “I became a Governor without a Legislative Council, a
Commander-in-Chief without a British army.” Meanwhile the Mayor had
been requisitioned to call a public meeting of the inhabitants. It
was held to suit Sir Harry’s convenience at a quarter to ten next
morning, “military time.” At this meeting, which was enthusiastically
sympathetic, Sir Harry recalled an incident of his youth.

 “Many years ago I embarked on my first campaign from your shores,
 unknown to the world, nay, I may say, _unknown to myself_, for no
 youth is aware of the latent qualities which may hereafter be brought
 forth. At the storming of Monte Video, an event which is not known
 to many of you, because it occurred before many of you were born, I
 was Adjutant of three Companies, and was fast asleep when they fell
 in. A brother officer came and shook me by the shoulder and awoke
 me, saying, ‘The troops are falling in; come, wake up.’ I arose and
 exclaimed, ‘Lord, in Thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded,’
 and with many others came out unscathed from a dreadful storm. These
 words have guided me during my life.”

In each of the two speeches Sir Harry showed the most magnanimous
spirit towards the Government which had recalled him.[222]

The feeling displayed at Portsmouth was typical of that which prevailed
throughout the country, and as he acted at Portsmouth so he acted
throughout. He wrote in 1857, “All England upon my arrival again
received me with open arms. I was requested to stand as a member for
Cambridge, for Westminster, for Edinburgh, for Glasgow. I declined
to interfere with politics or to embarrass Her Majesty’s Government,
which I say my position enabled me to do, had not my desire been ever
to serve it faithfully and fearlessly.” Perhaps his determination not
to pose as a man with a grievance was manifested most strikingly when,
after his arrival in London, while declining an invitation of the
United Service Club, he accepted one even from Lord Grey. A writer in
_Colburn’s Magazine_ for November, 1860, is very indignant at this, and
calls it “the most lowering act” of Sir Harry’s life. But Sir Harry was
only maintaining the generous position he had taken up—that Lord Grey,
even if he had acted wrongly, had acted from a sense of duty.[223]

But with whatever mixture of feelings Sir Harry visited Lord Grey,
he received another invitation, we may be sure, with the most
unadulterated pleasure. On the 18th June he was the guest of his
beloved master and faithful defender, the Duke of Wellington, at the
Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House—the last Waterloo Banquet ever held.
Around the Duke’s table, with Prince Albert and the Duke of Cambridge,
sat between thirty and forty generals who had played their part in
the struggle of giants thirty-seven years before. They included Lord
Anglesey, Lord Hardinge, and Sir De Lacy Evans. At this gathering
of glorious soldiers and old comrades, Sir Harry Smith’s health
was proposed by the Great Duke himself and drunk with the greatest

Early in August Sir Harry and Lady Smith settled themselves at Belmont
House near Havant, where they were near neighbours of another famous
Peninsular and Indian soldier, Sir Charles Napier. A month later they
crossed to Guernsey to visit their old friends Sir John and Lady
Catherine Bell. Sir John as Lieutenant-Governor held a review of the
Guernsey Militia in his friend’s honour, and induced Sir Harry to
address them. He spoke on a favourite topic—the power of an armed
peasantry to resist an invader.

 “In the mountains of the Tyrol, under Hofer, the militia peasantry
 of the country repelled the attacks of the well-trained battalions
 of Napoleon. In Algeria for nearly thirty years have the peasantry
 defended their country, which even now is not conquered, although
 450,000 French soldiers have been sent there. In the Caucasian
 Mountains the peasantry have resisted for thirty years the efforts
 of 800,000 Russian soldiers to subjugate them, and the Russians have
 made to this hour no progress. In South Africa I have experienced what
 the determined efforts of an armed peasantry can do, for after having
 beaten the Kafirs in one place, they immediately appeared in another.
 I state this to you to show what a brave and loyal people as you are,
 are capable of doing.”[224]

After returning from Guernsey, Sir Harry visited Sir Charles Napier,
and here met, for the first time for many years, his old friend and
comrade of the Light Division, the historian, Sir William Napier. It
was while the three brilliant soldiers were thus together that they
heard, with an emotion easy to imagine, that their great chieftain,
the Duke, had passed away (14th Sept.).[225] At the Duke’s funeral on
the 18th November Sir Harry rode as Standard-bearer, attended by Col.

On 21st January, 1853, Sir Harry was appointed to the command of the
Western District, and to be Lieutenant-Governor of Plymouth. His
feelings on again obtaining employment were no doubt those expressed in
General Beckwith’s letter to him on the occasion: “We should all die
in our boots, with our spurs on, if possible; at any rate, the grand
affair is to keep the game alive to the last.” Accordingly, he and his
wife took up their abode at Government House, Devonport, where they
remained till the autumn of 1854. It was a busy time when troops were
constantly departing for the Crimea, and a great deal of hospitality
was dispensed at Government House.

Mr. W. F. Collier of Woodtown, Horrabridge, sends me the following
reminiscences of Sir Harry at this time:—

 “He was an active General, to be seen everywhere. When, inspecting
 or reviewing infantry, he usually rode his little Arab, Aliwal, and
 always, when the troops were in line, he would suddenly put his horse
 into a gallop and ride at the line as if he were going to charge
 through them (the men were, of course, well up to this trick and stood
 perfectly steady); the little Arab always suddenly halted within about
 a foot of the line. I have seen him perform this show for the benefit
 of the public often.

 “He went to the public balls in his tight Rifle uniform of the time—a
 tight ‘invisible-green’ jacket, with tight trousers to match. It
 was very trying to the figure, and _his_ then was rather spare and
 dilapidated, rather of the Don Quixote order.

 “Lady Smith was a dear old lady, very kind, and very popular.”

Sir Harry had distinguished himself from the beginning of his career by
his zeal for the common soldier, and in his last years no old soldier
appealed to him in vain. Through the kindness of Colonel L. G. Fawkes,
R.A., I am enabled to give the following charming letter addressed by
Sir Harry at this time to Sergeant T. Himbury, an old soldier of the

      “Government House, Devonport, May 20th, 1853.

 “Old Comrade Himbury,

 “I well recollect you. Upon the receipt of your letter of the 16th
 inst., I recommend your memorial to ‘The Lords and other Commissioners
 of Chelsea Hospital’ to have your pension increased to two shillings
 a day. There are few men now remaining in the British Army who have
 seen _so much_ service and been in so many actions as yourself; and
 the fact alone, of your having been wounded when one of the Forlorn
 Hope at the important storm of San Sebastian, where we, the Light,
 Third, and Fourth Divisions sent our gallant volunteers, is enough.
 The Lords Commissioners are very kind to such gallant old soldiers
 as yourself, and, if they can increase your pension, I am sure they
 will. Let this certificate accompany your memorial, and let me hear
 that another, though not a forlorn, hope has succeeded. My wife well
 remembers your picking her up when her horse fell upon her, and again
 thanks you.

      “Your old friend and comrade,
      “H. G. Smith, Major-General,
      “Colonel 2nd Battn. Rifle Brigade.”

Sir Harry’s interest was not confined to the rank and file, and early
in June, finding on the appearance of the _Gazette_ that various
officers whom he had recommended for promotion for their services in
South Africa had had their claims overlooked, he wrote some vigorous
letters to Lord Hardinge, the new Commander-in-Chief, and in some cases
obtained what he desired. In one of these letters (12th June) he adds,
“I had a great sham fight yesterday on Roborough Downs, horsed four
guns myself, and taught the troops a _forward_ fight.”

Early in 1854, we see the shadow of the Crimean War coming over the
land. It was a new experience for Harry Smith to be at home when there
was fighting to be done. But now Charles Beckwith wrote to him
from Turin, “I suppose, old boy, that our share in coming events will
be reading the _Gazette_ at breakfast, shutting the garden-gate, and
turning the siege of Dendermond into a blockade.” That was what it had
now come to.

[Illustration: LADY SMITH.

  _From a drawing by Julian C. Brewer, 1854._      [_Opposite p. 658._]

In March, 1854, Sir Harry had permission to appoint as his aide-de-camp
Lieut.-Colonel Holdich of the 80th Foot, who had held the same position
during the Sutlej campaign and in South Africa, and had since greatly
distinguished himself in Burmah. Although Colonel Holdich resigned this
position in 1856 in order to proceed with his regiment to South Africa
(Major Hugh Smith replacing him), he remained closely bound to Sir
Harry and Lady Smith to the end of their lives.

On the 20th June Sir Harry became Lieutenant-General (in South Africa
he had had the local rank of Lieutenant-General, but no more), and on
the 29th September he was transferred from Devonport to Manchester,
being appointed to the command of the Northern and Midland Military
Districts. Soon after he and his wife took up their residence at
Rusholme House, which was their home till 1857, when they removed to
Somerville, Victoria Park.

One of Sir Harry’s first duties, after taking up his command at
Manchester, was to proceed to Hull to supervise the military
arrangements for the reception of the Queen, who was to pay a visit
there on her way from Scotland. After being present at Her Majesty’s
arrival on the evening of 13th October, he dined by command with the
royal party at the Station Hotel. Next morning he was on the _Fairy_
when the Queen made a tour of the docks, but immediately afterwards
left Hull on another mission of great interest. At the request of Lord
Hardinge, now Commander-in-Chief, he proceeded on the 15th October
to Paris to represent the British Army at the funeral of Marshal St.
Arnaud, who had died in the Crimea. He was accompanied by his own
aide-de-camp, Lieut.-Colonel Holdich, Colonel Brook Taylor, A.G. of the
Manchester District, and Lord Arthur Hay, aide-de-camp to Lord Hardinge
(representing the Commander-in-Chief). On the 16th Lord Cowley, the
British Ambassador, entertained the military deputation at breakfast,
and then conveyed them to the Invalides, the place of interment. Sir
Harry was subsequently admitted to an audience of the Emperor at St.
Cloud, of which he has left the following note:—

 “After a very long conversation, the Emperor said, ‘You will see the
 Queen, and I pray you to assure Her Majesty how sensible I, the French
 Army and Nation are of the mark of respect paid to us by sending to
 attend the melancholy funeral of Marshal St. Arnaud, an officer of
 your rank and reputation with a Deputation of British Officers. The
 amicable relationship which existed between the Marshal and Lord
 Raglan renders his loss still more to be deplored.’”

Sir Harry was back in London on the 21st.

Christmas, 1854, brought Sir Harry a double sorrow. His “third
Waterloo brother,” Charles, died at Whittlesey on Christmas Eve, and
four days earlier his old friend Sir James Kempt passed away at the
age of ninety. On 17th January, 1855, Sir Andrew Barnard followed. On
Sir Andrew’s death, Sir Harry, who had been since 1847 Colonel of the
2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, was appointed to the command of the 1st
Battalion. In one of his strangely beautiful letters written on 27th
January, Charles Beckwith grieves over the sufferings of the men in the
Crimea, gives his friend some of his thoughts on the great mystery of
death, and then refers in particular to the recent deaths of their old

 “What a good old fellow Sir James was! I did not feel Sir Andrew’s
 loss so much, as they told me that his intellect had failed. I had a
 good letter the other day from Lord Seaton. All these men I regard as
 the patriarchs of all that is solid in England. These men and their
 fellows, the men of Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, of the _Birkenhead_,
 and the Arctic Regions, I hold to be the foundation-stones of England.
 In them is incarnate the sense of duty and obedience as a fixed habit,
 not a sentiment or conviction, as the people say, but a true witness
 of the Omnipotent who wills it thus.... Adieu. Love to Juana. We
 must expect to be rather ricketty at the best, but we may toddle on.
 It is highly desirable that we may all go together as nearly as may
 be. Bring Bright to a garrison Court Martial, take care of your old
 bones, remember me kindly to any old fellow that may write to you, and
 believe me,

      “Your affectionate friend,
      “Charles Beckwith.”

It might atone for many faults in Harry Smith that he loved and was
loved by Charles Beckwith.

The following letter to H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke’s
reply are self-explanatory:—

      “Manchester, March 9, 1855.

 “Dear Sir,

 “I cannot avoid expressing to Your Royal Highness my _delight_ on
 reading the opinion so nobly given by you, when in the Chair, as
 to the Patriotic Fund, of the _value_, _worth_, and _zeal_ of our
 Regimental Officers. In a service of fifty years I have ever found
 them the same, and ever looked up to and beloved by their soldiers.
 Your Royal Highness’s expressions in the Chair are calculated to do
 vast good in these twaddling and criminating times, and to uphold that
 class of men, alone qualified to command British soldiers, who feel
 themselves that gentlemen best command them.

      “H. G. Smith,

      “To H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge, etc.”

      “St. James’s Palace, March 10th, 1855.

 “My dear Sir Harry,

 “Many thanks for your most kind letter just received. I really am
 delighted to find that all my friends _approve_ of my speech the other
 day. I felt it was a duty I owed to the Officers of the Army to state
 what I did in their favour, they having been most unjustly assailed
 from all quarters, and not a soul to take their part, which I felt
 was too bad. Never are there a set of men who have worked harder, and
 their trials have been great. You know my devotion for the service. I
 could not allow such imputations to go by unanswered. The Departments
 have been very bad, though I admit their great difficulties, but the
 Army, as far as troops are concerned, cannot be improved.

      “I remain, my dear Sir Harry,
      “Yours most sincerely,

In May Sir Harry received with great pleasure from Prince Adalbert
of Prussia the beautifully illustrated volume on the First Sikh War
written by the lately deceased Prince Waldemar, who had fought in those
battles as a volunteer, and had gained the esteem and affection of his

On the 25th July Sir Harry wrote to Major George Simmons—

 “I have not been myself since the 18th June last. I went to Preston
 to inspect some militia and a Depôt Battalion of the line, and I was
 wet for six hours. George, on _one_ 18th June, I did not much mind a
 wetting. Age is a bore. Ah, poor dear Lord Raglan! He died, I fear,
 _of a broken heart_. I desire you write ‘Dear Harry S——,’ and not
 ‘Dear General,’ you old humbug. Juana sends you and yours her love, as
 does your old comrade,

      “Harry Smith.”

As General in command of the Midland District, Sir Harry was present
at Birmingham on 22nd November, when Prince Albert laid the foundation
stone of the “Midland Institute.” On rising to reply for the “Army and
Navy,” he called forth vociferous cheering by the words, “I pray my
country not precipitately to make peace. Let peace be based upon the
surest foundations.”

A letter of Lady Smith’s dated “31st March, 1857,” reminds us of the
regulation ordering all officers to leave the upper lip unshaven, of
which the effect is seen in portraits of Sir Harry after this date.
“Your uncle is, thank God, quite well. His moustaches are growing very
nicely, and I do think they become his dear old face.” A week later he
wrote to his nephew, Mr. George Moore Smith, of Whittlesey, his native
place, to express his delight at “the pluck” he had shown during some
riots, when the rioters had cheered him for going in among them.

On 5th May the Manchester “Art Treasures” Exhibition was opened by
Prince Albert, who wrote the same night to the Queen: “After luncheon
[at Abney Hall] we donned our uniform, and drove with an escort, etc.,
etc., to Manchester, some six miles, and through the town—Sir Harry
Smith upon his Arab ‘charging the multitude.’”[226] On 29th June
the Queen and various members of the Royal Family, including Prince
Frederick William of Prussia, newly betrothed to the Princess Royal,
visited the Exhibition. It was Sir Harry Smith’s duty to make all
the military arrangements, and he rode on the right of Her Majesty’s
carriage in the procession. When the Queen was about to knight the
Mayor, she turned to Sir Harry for his sword, telling the Mayor at the
same time that it had been “in four general actions.” On receiving it
back he respectfully bowed, and, stooping over it, pressed the hilt
to his lips. Her Majesty afterwards expressed a wish for the sword,
saying, “Do you value it very much, Sir Harry?” and, needless to say,
it was at once presented to her. Sir Harry had worn it from 1835.[227]

Sir Harry and Lady Smith having invited General and Mrs. Beckwith
to come over from Paris and stay with them during the time of the
Exhibition, the General replied, “You must understand that if I should
come to England, I shall certainly present my wife to Juana. As to the
Exhibition, it will be a thing to be seen and _felt_, but your house
will be little better than a hotel for a part of the time, and I think
much more of your blessed faces than of all other possible sights.
I had rather see John Bell’s ‘old divine countenance’ than that of
Raphael himself.”

That summer of 1857—the summer of the Indian Mutiny—filled the letters
of Harry Smith and Charles Beckwith with gloomy forebodings. It is
interesting to see the reminiscence of the old Light Division contained
in the last words of Beckwith’s letter of the 18th September: “Do you
think ‘Young Varmint’[228] can get to Lucknow? I have some doubts. God
protect him and bless him.”

General Beckwith did not achieve the visit to Manchester in 1857,
but wrote on 15th January, 1858, that he would like to come in the
following July. He says—

 “I am glad to hear from you, because you really know something of what
 is going on in the world, and, above all, something of the men who
 take an active part in directing its affairs. I have nothing but my
 own theories and the newspapers to direct me, two fallacious guides.
 It is impossible not to shed a tear on H. Havelock’s grave. I wish he
 could have once more embraced his wife and daughters. There is another
 thing, Harry, that hangs on my mind, and that is Punjaub Lawrence.
 As far as I can see, nothing was foreseen and nothing was prevented
 from Calcutta. Everything—wisdom, counsel, action, foresight—came from
 Lahore. ‘There was a little city and few men within it, and there came
 a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks
 against it. Now, there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by
 his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor
 man.’... My wife, the most simple-minded creature living, sends her
 duty to Juana, and I send my love. Is John Bell on the staff of your
 district? My kind regards to him. I think with reverence and affection
 of his ‘old divine face.’”

In May Sir Harry Smith, Lord Burghersh and the Garter King at Arms were
commissioned to go to Lisbon in attendance on the Marquis of Bath,
who was to invest Don Pedro V., on the occasion of his marriage,
with the Order of the Garter. The young queen, Princess Stephanie of
Hohenzollern, visited the English Court on her way to Portugal, and Sir
Harry and Lady Smith were bidden to a dinner-party at Buckingham Palace
on 7th May, and to a State Ball on the 10th, given in connexion with
her visit.

Lord Bath and his suite reached Lisbon on the 17th, a day before the
Queen. They were present at various festivities held in honour of the
royal wedding, and after the investiture at Belem Palace on the 27th
were the guests of the King at a State Dinner. Sir Harry received from
the King at this time the Order of St. Bento d’Aviz. It must have been
very interesting to the Peninsular veteran thus to revisit under such
different circumstances the place where he and George Simmons had
bathed together forty-eight years before when convalescent from their
wounds received at the Coa.[229]

Alas! the first letter he received from Charles Beckwith after his
return told him, in sentences worthy of Thackeray, that Simmons, with
his simple hero-worship of them both, had passed away.

 “Todas son muertas! and amongst the rest old George Simmons, who went
 out of the world in a few moments with a smile on his countenance. The
 first thing George would ask was, ‘Where’s the r_i_giment? My word,
 the General and Sir Harry will soon be here.’”

He adds—

 “I shall be ready to move on Manchester on the 14th July with my young
 wife. I hope to find you during an interregnum of giving dinners and
 dining out, as I want to comfort my head and heart during my stay
 in England, and have no reverence for cotton lords. Your blessed
 faces and those of the old stock that I may be lucky enough to meet,
 will mend up and comfort my soul which has passed through a dreary
 desert for the last thirty years. I had much rather see old Sousa e
 Silva[230] than Milner Gibson. In fact, it is not safe for me to get
 into a colloquy with this sort of chap, as I should certainly rap out
 something disagreeable.... Love to Juana. Corramba, how I shall enjoy
 myself at Manchester!”

In July the anticipated visit duly took place.

On the 9th October, at Newcastle, Sir Harry inspected for the last
time his own Regiment, the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade. When he had
inspected them and put them through some rapid manœuvres, he formed
the men into square, and addressed them in words full of his lifelong
affection for the corps. That was the only Regiment or Battalion, he
said, in which he had taken his place in the ranks, and their services,
their “everything, in fact,” would never be forgotten. He then desired
the men to let him get out of the square, observing that he well knew
he never could get into it if they wished to prevent him.[231]

Early in 1859 Sir Harry had a bad fall and cut his knee. He went to
London unwisely, inflammation came on, and he nearly lost his leg.
Beckwith writes to him—

 “My dear old Fellow,

 “What a spoony of a Manchester doctor to let you set off! Why
 didn’t you turn back? However, when you’ve got your nose in a given
 direction, you _never_ turn back.... You see how a man may be
 ‘severely wounded’ being at ease and in his own house, after riding
 through showers of lead and iron unscathed. I am certain that you will
 have greatly profited by this occasional martyrdom, and that you are
 now much fitter to ‘fall in’ in the ranks of the celestial army.”

For eight weeks the patient was confined to his room, and almost
constantly to his bed. He reports his return to Manchester on 12th
April and adds—

 “In a few days I hope to mount Alice’s[232] pony. I have suffered
 very much occasionally, but my pluck never forsook me. My greatest
 distress was to see my dear old faithful wife suffer so—her anxiety
 was intense.”

Sir Harry’s five-years’ command of the Northern District was to
expire on the 30th September. He hated the idea of being out of
harness, and wrote in May to the Duke of Cambridge, begging that he
might be reappointed, but the Duke replied that, though his feelings
were strongly in favour of continuing Sir Harry in the command he so
worthily filled, he could not, in justice to other officers, make an
exception in his case. Accordingly Sir Harry saw his time at Manchester
drawing to an end.

There, as in all his previous employments, he had gained the love
and esteem of all who came in contact with him, by his high spirit,
his generosity, and his kindness of heart, while they smiled at his
soldierly inflexibility in little things. A lady who visited him at
this time tells me how severe he would be on bad riders, or men who
used a spoon to their pudding or left a wine-glass unfinished; how
proud he was of his little beautifully-formed foot, and how when in
bad health he would scrupulously dress for dinner, perhaps to imitate
the Duke of Wellington, whom he made his pattern in all things; how he
would ride a very strong and spirited horse, although it exhausted him;
how he would take men into his employment from pure charity, because
they needed assistance; how in society he would devote himself still to
the prettiest woman present; how rigidly punctual he was in his house;
how charming with children and young people; how he would go through
whatever he felt to be his duty at any cost.

Sir Harry’s departure from Manchester was therefore a time of severance
from many friends. The Council of the City, in a formal resolution,
requested the Mayor to assure him of their regret at his removal, and
their thanks for the great courtesy and kindness with which he had
discharged his duties. In his reply to the Mayor, Sir Harry wrote—

 “After the approbation of his Sovereign, the greatest compliment which
 can be conferred on the soldier is to live in the affections of his
 countrymen. Thus to learn that the Council of the wealthy and populous
 City of Manchester appreciates any services it has been my duty to
 perform is, I assure you, most gratifying to my feelings. During the
 five happy years I have commanded the Northern District and resided
 in Manchester, I have received the greatest kindness and hospitality
 both in the City and in the neighbourhood, and joyfully do I record
 that during that period no single instance of any collision between
 the citizens and the soldiers throughout these extensive districts was
 ever brought before me.... The kindly feelings evinced by you, Sir, in
 your letter of transmission, are most forcibly impressed upon my mind,
 the more so as you include Lady Smith, the faithful partner of my
 joys, sorrows, and military career for so many years in every quarter
 of the globe.”

Lord De Tabley wrote—

 “I do assure you that, amongst the many neighbours who have had
 an opportunity of forming your acquaintance and cultivating your
 friendship during the period of your command here, there is no one
 who regrets the termination of the command more sincerely than I and
 my family. Most exceedingly also will the Regiment, which you have so
 kindly, more than once, inspected, miss the cheering and encouraging
 glance and word of the General they were always so glad and proud to
 see. As you say, time passes, but I trust that friendship and kindly
 feeling will remain.”

Similarly, Lord Derby, “the Rupert of debate,” wrote from Knowsley—

 “Your retirement will, I am sure, be a subject of very general regret.
 I hope that Lady Derby and I may have the pleasure of again seeing you
 and Lady Smith at this place. I beg of you to place me at the feet of
 the Doña Juana, and to believe me, my dear Sir Harry,

      “Yours sincerely,

To Major C. W. Meadows Payne, his second aide-de-camp, whom he had
first met in South Africa in the thirties, Sir Harry wrote a warmly
affectionate letter of farewell.

      “Manchester, 30th Sept. 1859.

 “My dear old and valued Friend Payne,

 “This day closes for the present our Military Career—but no change in
 our circumstances can effect any change in that Fraternal Love which
 has endeared us to each other for so many years. During the last five
 years, while my A.D.C., you have been of the greatest possible service
 to me in both your official and private capacity, my interests have
 been yours, and the frank confidence I have ever reposed in you has
 been observed with every regard for my honour.

 “It may happen, even at my advanced age, I may be again employed—if
 so, I hope you would again join your General who so valued your

 “Meanwhile, Payne, may every blessing attend you and yours, and may
 every Veteran General have such a Friend as yourself to confide in.

      “Your old friend,
      “H. G. Smith.

 “Major Payne, A.D.C.”

There was one other loved friend from whom Sir Harry had now to part.
His little Arab “Aliwal” had been ridden by him at Maharajpore and at
all the battles of the Sutlej Campaign; it had come home with him to
England in 1847, accompanied him to the Cape, returned with him in
1852, and had since served him faithfully in his commands at Devonport
and Manchester. A lady, the daughter of Sir Harry’s aide-de-camp, Major
Payne, writes—

 “My sister and I have a vivid recollection of the lovely horse, and
 how, when we used to meet Sir Harry when we were out walking and he
 was riding, he would call out, ‘Stand still, children,’ and then
 come galloping up at full speed, and Aliwal would stop at our very
 feet;[233] and my mother used to tell us that on the anniversary of
 the Battle of Aliwal, when there was always a full-dress dinner at
 the General’s house, some one would propose Aliwal’s health, and
 Sir Harry would order him to be sent for. The groom would lead the
 beautiful creature all round the dinner-table, glittering with plate,
 lights, uniforms, and brilliant dresses, and he would be quite quiet,
 only giving a snort now and then, though, when his health had been
 drunk and the groom had led him out, you could hear him on the gravel
 outside, prancing and capering. The horse was now old, and Sir Harry,
 in his new house in London, would not be able to keep him; and though
 Sir Robert Gerard (now Lord Gerard) kindly offered him a home, Sir
 Harry feared that his old age would perhaps be an unhappy one, and he
 resolved to shoot him. My father and the faithful groom were with Sir
 Harry when he did so, and I believe they all shed tears.”

That night Sir Harry’s place was vacant at dinner, and he was seen no
more till the following morning. The following epitaph on his horse in
Sir Harry’s handwriting is still preserved:—

  “Near this Stone is buried Sir Harry Smith’s celebrated
  Arab charger of the Purest Blood,


 Sir Harry rode him in the battles of Maharajpore, Moodkee,
 Ferozeshahur, Aliwal, and Sobraon. He was the only horse of the
 General Staff that was not killed or wounded. He came from Arabia to
 Calcutta, thence to Lahore; he has marched nearly all over India;
 came by ship to England, thence to the Cape of Good Hope and back
 to England. He was twenty-two years old; never was sick during the
 eighteen years in Sir Harry’s possession. As a charger, he was
 incomparable, gallant, and docile; as a friend, he was affectionate
 and faithful.”

On leaving Manchester Sir Harry and Lady Smith visited Sir John Bell at
55, Cadogan Place, London, and took a house for themselves a few doors
off (No. 15), which they entered at the end of November.

The letters of General Charles Beckwith show him to have been vexing
himself for years with the question, “How is England to defend herself
against invasion?” Although Harry Smith’s letters to him are not in
my hands, I do not doubt that he had also deeply pondered the same
momentous problem. Neither of the friends forgot the famous letter
which Wellington, in their eyes the wisest of all Englishmen, had
addressed in 1847 to Sir John Burgoyne, and in which, after saying that
he had studied our Southern Coast piece by piece and did not doubt that
a foreign army could be landed at many points, he added—

 “I know no mode of resistance excepting by an army in the field
 capable of meeting and contending with its formidable enemy, aided by
 all the means of fortification which experience in war can suggest.

 “I shall be deemed foolhardy in engaging for the defence of the empire
 with an army composed of ... a force of militia. I may be so, I
 confess it. I should infinitely prefer an army of regular troops. But
 I _know_ that I shall not have these. I may have others.

 “I am bordering upon seventy-seven years of age passed in honour. I
 hope that the Almighty may protect me from being the witness of the
 tragedy which I cannot persuade my contemporaries to take measures to

These solemn words of warning were present to the minds of Beckwith and
Harry Smith when, in 1859, they saw the public mind seriously alarmed
by the fear of invasion, and an army of citizen soldiers springing up
in its defence. They would have been untrue to their master if they had
not gladly hailed the Volunteer Movement, and seized the opportunity
of aiding their country to put its defences in order. Harry Smith,
as we have seen, had told the Guernseymen of the immense value of a
citizen army. On 17th May, 1859, he wrote at Manchester the following

 “1. I am one who thinks that the most formidable enemies are the armed
 population of a country—take Switzerland, America, Spain, etc., and I
 have never seen more formidable opposition than by armed savages even.

 “2. I would therefore _gradually_ enroll every man in England who has
 a vote, and teach them to _shoot_. That is all we require at present;
 plenty of time to talk of a little drill and embodiment. And as we may
 become threatened by war, I would enroll all gamekeepers and their
 helpers as Light Infantry, or rather _Riflemen_. I would enroll all
 the navvies, give them arms, but call them ‘Pioneers.’ I would enroll
 all the Railroad men, not to take them from the rail, but teach them
 to _shoot_.

 “3. I would never talk of war, but thus show such a set of Bulldog
 teeth as no sensible enemy would like the grip of. All this in aid of
 the Regular Army, the Militia, etc.

 “4. I would erect such works at Plymouth as I have long ago pointed
 out: no _great_ fortifications; _outworks_ of strength, on points
 which would render it unassailable. So at all our ports, etc.

 “5. Why, when _the_ Napoleon threatened us with invasion, Mr. Pitt
 had 800,000 men with arms in their hands; 200,000 more enrolled.
 Every waggon, boat, etc., was numbered, and alarm-posts established
 everywhere throughout England. By heavens, if any enemy, or _enemies_,
 thought of invading us, England would ‘chevaux-de-frises’ like a
 porcupine’s back, with lots of men everywhere. These are our resources
 if our Navy let them land. And we should have _swarms_ of little
 steamers with Armstrong’s guns on our coasts.

 “6. I should like some ‘Places d’armes’ on the Reigate Hills
 range—small, but capable to resist all but a siege. These points being
 occupied add to the defensive, and are capital Points of Rendezvous.

 “7. If the war[235] is protracted and our neutrality shaken, we must
 go back to the old constitutional plan of Ballot for the Militia.

 “8. All I have here written about would be easy, feasible, and
 requisite if a large French Camp was forming in Boulogne, Cherbourg &
 Co., but, as yet, John Bull’s steam is hardly up. Government measures
 of defence upon the basis of _strict neutrality_ would be acceptable
 to the People, and, by Government being energetic, the People would
 think there is more necessity than they see, and would rally round
 it in defence of Queen, Country, ‘pro aris et focis.’ And if they
 did not get their steam up, give them a touch of ‘The blessings of
 Tortona’[236] and various other interesting anecdotes of war and
 contributions, etc., etc.

      “H. G. S.”

Sir Harry’s interest in the question was still shown after his removal
to London. The _Times_ of 19th December having discussed in a leader
whether the country would be wise in following Lord Palmerston’s advice
and spending £10,000,000 on fortifications, or in trusting its defence
merely to its fleet, army, and volunteers, Sir Harry again put his
views on paper in a letter to the editor (which, however, seems not to
have been published). I give a few extracts:—

 “3. What you state as to Fortifications is truly correct. They must
 ever be regarded as auxiliaries, and no mode of defence would be more
 objectionable than ‘large fortifications,’ absorbing, as you observe,
 the men required in the field.

 “4. ‘Should we not take our stand upon the ocean and the coast
 rather than assume that an enemy will make good his advance into the
 country?’ On this allow me to observe that, in war, one of its first
 principles is to ensure a ‘reserve.’ This, if we were defeated at
 sea (which I by no means anticipate), your _small_ fortifications
 around your arsenals, docks, etc., and upon a few points on the most
 vulnerable side of the capital, would secure.

 “7. A movable Column or Columns of Riflemen and Armstrong’s guns might
 not arrive at the point in time. Defences must be permanent and leave
 nothing to chance.

 “8. The assertion that ‘No force would ever attempt a landing on
 a hostile shore in the face of 2000 Riflemen supported by good
 artillery,’ is very correct, but it must be observed that this small
 force would cover but an atom of the coast, and the enemy would land
 on either flank, leaving a force in front of the ‘atom of defence.’

 “11. Arm the People, who have demonstrated their readiness. Place
 such an armament under a system of organization which would ensure
 obedience. That authority to emanate and be exercised direct from the
 Crown, and to descend by a continuous chain of responsibility from the
 Crown to the private. Thus would England be so armed as to prevent the
 melancholy exhibition of a Panic, as injurious to her trade throughout
 the world as it is degrading to her position as a State. Nothing so
 well ensures the friendship of nations as irresistible power.

 “12. I conclude by asserting that the Navy, some small fortifications,
 the Army and Militia, and the ‘Rifle Volunteers’ (in other words,
 ‘the Armed People of invincible England’) will ensure her defence as
 effectually as they will re-establish her ‘prestige’ throughout Europe
 and the world.”

At Glasgow, when the survivors of the “Sharpshooters” of 1819 met
to consider the question of re-embodying the old force, they wrote
to their old commander, and received a letter from him full of
reminiscences of his Glasgow days, and full of encouragement to them to
do what they were proposing—

      “London, Feb. 7, 1860.

 “My war cry for England has ever been, _Arm the people!_... Some of
 my gallant and experienced comrades who write upon the subject of the
 defence of England take as extreme and one-sided a view as some of
 our leading journals do on the other—the one declaring the inutility
 of Volunteers, the other that they are omnipotent. I ask either of
 these extremities—If you saw a large French army in battle array,
 which must occupy a large tract of country, with artillery, cavalry,
 and _their_ sharpshooters, how do you propose to check their advance?
 I cannot conjecture the reply of either. But this I will assert and
 maintain, with my last breath—It is alone to be done by a combination
 of regular troops, as a barrier and a reserve, with swarms of riflemen
 everywhere as powerful—most powerful—auxiliaries. We must bear in
 mind that the distance from our coast to London is barely three days’
 march, hence the object of the enemy is to advance by a _coup de main_
 to seize London. Could I say loose troops would stop them? No. But a
 combination would ensure their defeat, and then let loose the sons
 of Britain, with this command—‘_Forward_ and shoot; you shall all be
 supported at the requisite points.’ Should any enemy have the audacity
 to attempt our shores, could he avoid our ever invincible Navy, I
 as a General of some experience in war, would be proud to command a
 combined force as I have described, and ‘Let deeds show.’...

 “One word more. _Teaze_ not our youths as Volunteers with the minutiæ
 of drill—a few things are alone necessary. To march in quick time,
 to march in column, form line, gain ground to the right and left,
 to advance again in line, to extend and occupy bridges or walls; a
 rallying square may be practised. Soldiers require these alone in the
 field. Then, to be _good shots_. Pluck enough they have, and, with
 prompt obedience, England’s regular army, so nobly supported and its
 numbers so increased, can, may, and _will_ defy the ——.

 “Let our watchword be,

      “‘Arm the People.’
      “Ever faithfully yours,
      “H. G. Smith.

 “To Peter Mackenzie, Esq., _Gazette_ Office, Glasgow.”[237]

When others were timorous of the Volunteer Movement as a danger to
public order, Harry Smith saw in it the possible salvation of the
country which he had served valiantly with the sword and could serve
now only by words.

His spirit was still high, and it chafed him to live in London without
horses and on a diminished income. He had never had the art of saving
money, and he now writes (7th March) to Major Payne—

 “You would laugh to see me poring over twopences. Hang me if I know
 how people in England live. I hate London, and I love you, Tom.

      “Your friend,
      “Harry Smith.”

He says in the same letter that he had taken a cold at the funeral of
his old friend Sir William Napier, but when he writes again on 12th
June he gives a better report of himself.

 “Everybody tells me I look well. I am thin, but as active as ever. I
 want horses and that stirring exercise. I _say nothing_, Tom, but I
 do feel the loss, for the last fifty years having ever had a right
 good stud. But you can’t eat your cake and have it. London full of
 _the world_, a most heartless reunion; it is for the _girls_ a regular
 Constantinople. Tom, do write often. I don’t care what the subject
 of your letter may be, so that it is not melancholy. Say it rains or
 don’t rain; yesterday ’twas fine, to-day pouring with rain again.”

Two months later the old man has had a warning that his sands are
nearly run. He asks his “dear old Tom Payne” to copy a paper which he
has drawn up.

 “You won’t d—— me, won’t you? I have not been well lately with violent
 palpitation of the heart, and I should not like to slip my wind
 without an attempt to secure for Juana the pension of my rank which
 must be an especial [one?]. I have consulted Yorke and Bell, who agree
 in my course; but, Tom, I am no nearer dropping off the hooks for
 doing this.

      “Harry Smith.

 “I write _on my back_ to-day, but _much better_. Say nothing of all

The following letter, addressed to Major Payne by Colonel Shadwell
(Q.M.G. at Manchester), though of the nature of a false alarm, shows
the coming of the end, and how it struck home to those who loved him.

      “Manchester, 15th Sept. 1860.

 “My dear Tom,

 “You will probably have heard from London direct of our dear old
 friend Sir Harry’s alarming state. From Alice’s account this morning,
 he was yesterday morning _in extremis_, and ere this has most likely
 breathed his last.

 “It has come like a thunderbolt on us, as only five days ago Lady
 Smith wrote to us in such good spirits about the dear old man.

 “We saw him, I am now thankful to say, when in town for a few days the
 middle of last month.

 “I presume, from the intense agony he has endured, that he has
 succumbed to an attack of angina pectoris.

 “What a friend we have lost! so true, so constant, so generous, so
 kind, and then to think of dear Lady Smith! I shudder to think of what
 her state will be when she comes to realize it.

 “My wife is quite upset by it, and so am I.

      “Always, my dear Payne,
      “Yours very truly,
      “Lawrence Shadwell.”

On the 12th October, at 1, Eaton Place West, which had been his home
for the last six months, the end came. Sir Harry had reached the age of
73 on the 28th June preceding.

A year before, in sending his nephew George Moore Smith a subscription
towards the restoration of St. Mary’s, Whittlesey, he had written, “I
enclose a cheque for _our_ subscription to the repairs of the Dear
Old Church, which I do most willingly, and should do more willingly
if _our_ bones could repose with our fathers.” But though the church
where his father and mother lay was closed for interments, he could
still be taken to Whittlesey, and there in a corner of the new cemetery
he was laid to rest on the 19th. All business in the little town was
suspended for the day, and some thousands of the inhabitants of the
town and district lined the route of the procession. The Rifle Corps
of Ely, Wisbeach, March, Ramsey, and Whittlesey were represented at
their own request, and with arms reversed preceded the hearse from the
station to St. Mary’s Church, and thence to the cemetery. The coffin
was borne by eight old soldiers who had all served under Sir Harry, and
had all won medals; the pall-bearers were six Whittlesey gentlemen,
most of them his schoolfellows. Among the mourners were his surviving
“Waterloo brother,” Major Thomas Smith, his nephew Lieut.-Colonel Hugh
Smith, Colonel Garvock, his Military Secretary at the Cape, and Colonel
Shadwell, whose letter has been printed above. Three volleys were fired
over the grave by the volunteers of Whittlesey, March, and Wisbeach.

A sum of £700 was subscribed to found a memorial to Sir Harry Smith’s
memory, and was spent on the restoration of that part of St. Mary’s
Church, Whittlesey—the chapel at the end of the south aisle—in
which, when it was used as a schoolroom, he had received his early
education.[238] It is now known as “Sir Harry’s Chapel.” On the south
wall was erected a monument of white marble surmounted by a bust of
Sir Harry, executed by Mr. G. G. Adams, A.R.A.[239] It bears the

 “This monument was erected and this chapel restored in 1862 by public
 subscription to the memory of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry G. W.
 Smith, Baronet of Aliwal, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable
 Order of the Bath, Colonel of the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade. He
 entered the 95th Regiment in 1805, served in South America, Spain,
 Portugal, France, North America, the Netherlands, India, and at the
 Cape of Good Hope, of which he was Governor and Commander-in-Chief
 from 1847 to 1852, and on the Home Staff to 1859, when he completed
 a most gallant and eventful career of fifty-four years’ constant
 employment. He was born at Whittlesey, 28th June, 1788,[240] and
 died in London 12th October, 1860. Within these walls he received
 his earliest education, and in the cemetery of his native place
 his tomb bears ample record of the high estimation in which his
 military talents were held by his friend and chief, the great Duke of

 “Coruna, Busaco, Fuentes d’Onoro, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca,
 Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthez, Toulouse, Waterloo,
 Maharajpore, Ferozeshuhur, Aliwal, Sobraon, South Africa.[241]

  “O Lord, in Thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.”[242]

[Illustration: SIR HARRY’S CHAPEL.

(His monument is on the left.)

_From a watercolour by Mrs. B. S. Ward._

      [_Opposite p. 684._]

On Sir Harry’s tomb in the cemetery, Lady Smith caused to be inscribed
the last sentences of the extract from the Duke of Wellington’s speech
of 2nd April, 1846, given above (pp. 558-560), though in a slightly
different version.

After her husband’s death, Lady Smith resided for some years at 19,
Robertson Terrace, Hastings, and later at 79, Cadogan Place, S.W.
Passionately cherishing her husband’s memory, she was the beloved
friend of all members of his family, and the goodness of heart and
active sympathy which she showed to some who were heavy-laden will
never be forgotten by their descendants. The editor of this book
recalls from his boyhood the proud and animated tones in which she
would speak of “Your uncle Harry”—pronouncing the name with the full
Continental _a_ and a strongly trilled _r_. Her noble heart ceased to
beat on the 10th October, 1872, and she was laid with her hero in his
last resting-place at Whittlesey.

Of the other close friends and companions of Sir Harry Smith, Charles
Beckwith died in July, 1862, among the Piedmontese whom he had
served so truly; Sir John Bell in 1876, having lived to the age of
ninety-four.[243] Sir Harry’s sister, Mrs. Sargant (of whom it has
been humorously said that she was “the only person in the world of
whom he was afraid”), died in 1869; his youngest sister, Miss Anna
Maria Smith, in 1875; his brother, Colonel Thomas Smith, C.B.—the last
survivor of the family of eleven—in 1877. Colonel Smith’s widow still
lives at the age of ninety-three, fresh in body and mind, though it is
ninety-three years since her husband sailed to the Peninsula under Sir
John Moore.[244]

Few words are necessary in bringing this book to a close. If it has
been a long one, the Editor can only plead that Harry Smith put more
into his seventy odd years than would make the lives of half a dozen
other men.

The autobiography shows us the strong family affections of his
boyhood, his abiding reverence for his father, who had made him a
_man_ and a bold horseman, his love of brave soldiers like Colborne
and Barnard and Pakenham, his supreme worship of his great master
and example, Wellington. Such were the influences under which he was
trained for the service of his Sovereign and of his country. In the
hour of responsibility it was seen that he possessed in rare harmony
qualities on which that training had not been thrown away—“an ardent
spirit, which inflamed a whole army with kindred ardour, combined with
a power of self-control which kept the mind clear and calm in the
most difficult emergencies—the union of fiery passion with temperate
reason.”[245] A born leader, he never lost the confidence of the
officers and men who were under his command—he had it as clearly amid
the anxieties and disappointments of the Kafir War of 1851-2 as after
his marvellous campaign of Aliwal. His soldiers literally loved him,
both for his bonhomie and for his lifelong zeal for their welfare.[246]

Sir Harry Smith was above all things a great soldier. In his civil
administration of the Cape, undertaken at a time of enormous
difficulty, his success was less brilliant than elsewhere, but even
here he justified Havelock’s opinion of him: “There is no species of
business which Harry Smith’s mental tact will not enable him to grasp.”
History will approve of the firm stand he made against mob-rule in
the time of the Anti-convict agitation, and, seeing events in true
perspective, will forget little errors of judgment (magnified at the
moment by party-feeling) when set side by side with his zeal for the
good of the Colony and his far-sighted perception of England’s true
policy in South Africa.

Such practical mistakes as Harry Smith made, both within the Colony
and in his dealings with Kafir chiefs, were due to a generous,
chivalrous disposition, which was ready to put the best construction
on other people’s conduct and to attribute to them a goodness of heart
resembling his own. With an open foe, in warfare, he was caution
itself, but he was too little of a Macchiavelli to read treachery in
the smile of a seeming friend. A generous open nature was similarly
responsible for such flaws in his character as his hastiness and warmth
of language under provocation,[247] as his extravagance in money
matters (strangely contrasting with the severity in many respects of
his own life), and a little vanity in regard to his own achievements,
a vanity perhaps not more real than other men’s, but occasionally
less carefully concealed. If he sometimes seemed to his subordinates
an exacting master, we may remember that during his whole career as a
soldier he had never spared himself.

If any one were disposed to take an unfavourable view of this or that
trait in Harry Smith’s character, I hope the picture given of him in
these pages would be a sufficient corrective. Praised by Wellington for
his generalship as hardly any man else was praised, acknowledged by
Havelock as the man who had made him a soldier, he had through life the
warm respect and love of a score or two of brave and worthy men, such
as D’Urban, and John Bell, and Kempt, and Barnard, and Kincaid, and
George Simmons, and Charles Beckwith. They recognized his rare military
genius: they respected him because, in his own words, he had always
been “a working man who put his heart into his work:” they loved him
for what Lord Raglan called “the chivalrous and gallant spirit” which
had been his guide in his military career; because he was fearless of
danger, indomitable in energy, overflowing in kindness, magnanimous and
placable towards those who seemed his foes, loving his friends, even
to his old age, with the ardour of a boy. Little wonder that one of
the noblest and largest-hearted of women also pardoned his faults and
adored him as only few men have been adored.

Historians may perhaps find some matter of instruction in the
autobiography now presented to them. But is it too much to hope that
it may have a still happier fortune, and that young Englishmen and
Englishwomen yet unborn may be kindled to a noble emulation by the
brave and glowing hearts of Harry and Juana Smith?


Diary of the Expedition to Monte Video, etc.


    “E’er since reflection beam’d her light upon me
    You, sir, have been my study; I have plac’d
    Before mine eyes, in every light of life,
    The father and the king. What weight of duty
    Lay on a son from such a parent sprung,
    What virtuous toil to shine with his renown,
    Has been my thought by day, my dream by night:
    But first and ever nearest to my heart
    Was this prime duty, so to frame my conduct
    Tow’rd such a father, as, were I a father,
    My soul would wish to meet with from a son.
    And may reproach transmit my name abhorr’d
    To latest time, if ever thought was mine
    Unjust to filial reverence, filial love.”


1806. _Nov. [Oct.?] 9th._—Sailed from Falmouth under convoy of
His Majesty’s ship _Ardent_ (Capt. Donnelly), _Unicorn_ frigate,
_Daphne_, 20-guns ship, _Pheasant_ and _Charwell_, Sloops-of-war, with
a fleet of about 25 transports, a store-ship for the Cape of Good
Hope, and a merchant ship for the East Indies. The force consists
of a Company of Artillery, under Capt. Dixon; three Companies of
the 2nd Battalion Rifle Regiment, under Major T. C. Gardner; 17th
Light Dragoons, Col. Loyd; 40th Regiment of Foot, Col. Browne; and
87th, Col. Sir Edward Butler; the whole under Brigadier-General
Sir Samuel Auchmuty. Brigadier-General the Hon. William Lumley,
Brigadier of the Horse; Lieut.-Col. Bradford, Deputy Adjutant-General;
Lieut.-Col. Bourke, Deputy Quartermaster-General; Captain Blake,
Assistant Adjutant-General; Lt. Tylden, Brigade-Major to Sir Samuel;
Captain Roach, Brigade-Major to General Lumley; Mr. Baddock, Deputy
Paymaster-General; Mr. Bissett, Deputy Commissary of Accompts; Mr.
Redman, Deputy Inspector of Hospitals. A fine breeze until the 12th,
when we were becalmed in the Bay of Biscay. Lovely weather.

_13th._—A breeze sprung up which increased into a gale. Blew dreadfully
hard. Sea ran mountains high. Continued until the 16th, when it
gradually died away; a heavy sea still running, with the heavy rolling
of the ship, sprang the main piece of our rudder. We made a signal
of distress, which was instantly answered by the Commodore, who made
a signal to the _Charwell_ to come alongside us, which she did, and
hailed us. She immediately sent a boat on board with her carpenter.
Soon after the _Unicorn_ came up with us. She also sent a boat on
board, with a lieutenant, midshipman, and carpenter, with everything
requisite to repair our rudder, which was soon done. A steady breeze
until the 18th, when it again blew hard. The _Daphne_ and a Transport
with 150 men of the 40th Regiment parted convoy in the night. Still
continued to blow until the 23rd, when we were becalmed. Lovely
weather. Captain of the ship took an observation for the first time
since at sea. Latitude 47° 35′ North.

_24th._—Breeze sprung up. Lat. 39° 37′. Breeze freshened. Continued
until the 30th. Commodore lost a man overboard. Lovely weather. In the
evening observed two large whales close to the ship. They followed us
some time and greatly amused us. Lat. 32° 9′.

_Nov. 1st._—At daybreak discovered land, to our great delight. It
proved to be the Canary Isles. In sight of them the whole of the day.
The ground appeared mountainous and barren, with an aspect bleak to a
degree. Beautiful weather, with a fine breeze which soon carried us
into the Trade winds. The flying-fish begin to be innumerable.

_Nov. 4th._—Lat. 23°. A shark passed close under our stern.

_Nov. 5th._—Lat. 21° 40′. Fine fresh breeze. The _Harriet_ Transport,
with the Artillery on board, made a signal of distress, which proved
to be from the death of her captain. Flying-fish so numerous, they
resemble large flocks of larks. Some of them were by accurate
observation seen to fly from 100 to 200 yards and upwards.

_Nov. 6th._—Lat. 18° 31′. Fine fresh breeze. In the evening an
unfortunate flying-fish flew on board us, being close pursued by an
enemy, which measured 8 inches from head to tail, and 9½ from the
extreme of each wing. Tail forked like a mackerel. Cooked him for
breakfast the next morning. Every one tasted him.

_Nov. 7th._—Lat. 16° 53′. Thermometer 80° in the shade. Weather
very warm. Signal from Commodore for Commanding Officers of Corps.
A fine turtle close to the ship. We wished for him on board. To our
astonishment, although a considerable distance from land, we were in
shoal water the whole of the day, supposed to be a sand-bank, the water
by times being quite discoloured. Commodore, not meaning to put into
any port, made a signal for the troops and seamen to be put on short
allowance of water, two quarts per man, all ranks.

_Nov. 8th._—Lat. 15° 19′. Therm. 84°. Scorching hot. Speared some fish
at the bow of the ship.

_Nov. 9th._—Lat. 15° 12′. Therm. 82°. Fine weather, but no breeze.
Caught two venata with bait. They resemble a mackerel as much as
possible, except that they are about twice as large. Cooked them.
Coarse, hard and bad eating. A flying-fish flew on board and fell into
a tub of water.

_Nov. 10th._—Lat. 14° 34′; long. 23°. Therm. 83°. _Pheasant_,
Sloop-of-war, made sail in search of land, which must be the Cape de
Verd Isles. Suppose she made it, as she joined convoy in the evening.

_Nov. 11th._—Lat. 12° 57′. Therm. 82°. Venata are innumerable. It is
very amusing to see them leap out of the water in pursuit of the poor

_Nov. 12th._—Lat. 10° 49′. Therm. 82°.

_Nov. 13th._—At 10 a.m. every appearance of a storm. The clouds put
on a terrible aspect. Fortunately it was not violent, going off with
torrents of rain. Five minutes before 5 p.m. a waterspout was observed
to the westward, which emptied itself in torrents over the bow of the
_Pheasant_ without intermission, until 5 minutes past 5.

_Nov. 14th._—Dark cloudy weather. No observations.

_Nov. 15th._—Lat. 7° 53′. Therm. 83°. A boat of the _Charwell’s_
swamped as they were about to hoist it up. All hands overboard, but
saved. Went on board the Commodore with returns to the General.

_Nov. 16th._—Lat. 6° 38′. Therm. 86°. Sultry close weather, with
storms of thunder and lightning. Stark calm, with tremendous showers,
the rain coming down in torrents, not drops.

_Nov. 17th._—Lat. 6° 17′. Therm. 82°. Weather less sultry, with heavy
showers. A large flight of birds resembling ducks ahead, so close
together in the water they resemble a floating island. Loaded rifles
and fired at them, but to no purpose.

_Nov. 18th._—Lat. 6° 1′ Therm. 84°. No breeze. Tremendous thunderstorm,
with torrents of rain.

_Nov. 19th._—No observation, being cloudy dirty weather. A signal for
masters of transports to go on board Commodore. A brig sent home for
inattention and not obeying signals. The troops on board her were
distributed on board different ships. Wrote letters home in hopes of
being able to send them by her, but a breeze springing up prevented our
lowering a boat, to my great disappointment.

_Nov. 20th._—Lat. 4° 44′. Therm. 82°. Nice breeze but rather ahead. At
6 p.m. the _Pheasant_ passed us under all sail. On coming alongside the
Commodore she hoisted his ensign, which was immediately returned by
him. It is always done when a ship parts convoy. Suppose she is sent
forward to Buenos Ayres.

_Nov. 21st._—Lat. 3° 45′; long. 26° 38′ West. Therm. 82°. Fine breeze.

_Nov. 22nd._—Lat. 3° 14′. Therm. 81°. Squally. Wind changing often and

_Nov. 23rd._—Lat. 2° 30′. Therm. 80°. Weather cool, considering how
near we are to the sun.

_Nov. 24th._—Lat. 1° 49′. Therm. 82°. Fine breeze but rather ahead.
Evening squally. A strange sail to windward. Proved to be an American.

_Nov. 25th._—Dark and cloudy. No observation. Plenty of wind.

_Nov. 26th._—Lat. 15′ South; long. 32° West. One of the sailors caught
an immense large albacore with a spear. Took three men to haul him in.
He had a curious prickly fin upon his back, which he could completely
hide in a crevice so as not to be perceived, and when hurt would set it
up. Sea completely covered with flying-fish. A signal made for our ship
to take in tow the _Three Sisters_, a small brig, she being to leeward.
Ran down to her and obeyed the signal.

_Nov. 27th._—Lat. 1° 29′; long. 32°. Speared another large albacore,
which measured 4 feet long and 2 feet 9 inches in circumference.

_Nov. 28th._—Lat. 3°. Therm. 82°. Signal made by Commodore signifying
land in sight, bearing south-south-west, upon which he altered his
course one point more to the westward. Supposed to be the island
Ferando Noronha.

_Nov. 29th._—Lat. 4° 12′. Therm. 84°.

_Nov. 30th._—Lat. 5° 27′; long. 34° 15′. Therm. 81°. Took in tow the
_Osborne_, a large ship with Dragoons on board.

_Dec. 1st._—Lat. 6° 39′. Therm. 82°. At 6 o’clock a.m. a signal made by
Commodore signifying land in sight, supposed to be Cape Augustin.

_Dec. 2nd._—Lat. 8° 20′. Therm. 82°. Have observed for these two or
three days the flying-fish have almost entirely disappeared.

_Dec. 3rd._—Lat. 10° 3′. Therm. 81°. The two merchant ships, the
_Lincoln_ and _Loyalist_, the former bound to the East Indies, the
latter store-ship for the Cape of Good Hope, parted convoy. On altering
their course every ship hoisted her ensign, which was returned by them
by way of farewell. Had a pretty effect.

_Dec. 4th._—Lat. 12° 42′. Therm. 81°. Lovely breeze. A signal for
masters of transports to caulk and prepare their boats for landing.

_Dec. 5th._—Lat. 15° 24′. Therm. 80°. A schooner in sight to the
westward bearing down for us. Overhauled by the _Charwell_, and proved
to be a Portuguese bound for San Salvador.

_Dec. 6th._—Fresh breeze. No observation.

_Dec. 7th._—Lat. 19° 26′. Therm. 82°. Observed a shark which followed
the ship a long time, accompanied with three pilot fish. Threw a bait
to him, upon which one of his pilot fish swam to it and tasted, and
reported accordingly to its master. Observed the breeze to die away by
day and blow by night.

_Dec. 8th._—Lat. 20° 8′. Therm. 86°. Dreadfully hot.

_Dec. 9th_—Lat. 20° 48′; long. 39° 34′.

_Dec. 10th._—Lat. 22° 5′; long. 40° 29′.—A signal from Commodore
signifying land in sight, supposed at first to be Rio Janeiro,
afterwards proved to be Cape Frio, about 40 miles distant from it.
Therm. 85°. A tremendous thunderstorm, louder than anything I ever

    “Loud thunder from the distant poles ensue,
    Then flashing fires the transient light renew.”

_Dec. 12th._—Beating all day off Cape Frio, endeavouring to get into
port. Wind ahead. At 9 p.m. wind came round. Weathered Cape Frio.

_Dec. 13th._—Made the bay. On the first appearance of the land it put
me in mind of the following lines in Thomson’s _Hymn on the Seasons_:—

    “Should fate command me to the farthest verge
    Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes,
    Rivers unknown to song; where first the sun
    Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beams
    Flame on th’ Atlantic Isles, ’tis nought to me,
    Since God is ever present, ever felt,
    In the void waste as in the city full,
    And where _He_ vital spreads, _there_ must be joy.”

Appearance of the land before the entrance of the harbour, mountainous
and woody. At 7 p.m. came to an anchor at the mouth of the harbour. The
darkness of the night prevented our going in. The hills surrounding
illuminated with the most vivid lightning I ever saw, equally beautiful
as awful.

_Dec. 14th._—At 12 weighed anchor. The entrance of the harbour is very
grand. On the left hand is an immense rock called the Sugar-loaf, which
it correctly resembles. At the foot of it is a strong battery. On the
right hand is a pretty little fort, apparently very strong, having
three tiers of heavy guns. At a small distance from the mouth of the
harbour is a little island with a fort upon it, which gives the bay a
pretty and rather romantic appearance. As soon as the Commodore came to
an anchor, he fired a salute of 19 guns, which was immediately returned
by the different batteries, the echo of which in the surrounding hills
was beyond description grand.

General, Staff, and Commodore went on shore to call upon the Viceroy.
When in the boat the _Ardent_ fired a salute of 15 guns to them. The
General obtained permission for the officers and a proportion of men to
go on shore.

_Dec. 15th._—Went on shore, and was highly delighted with the town of
Rio Janeiro. It is very large but irregularly built, situated on a
spacious and commodious bay. You land nearly opposite the Viceroy’s
palace, which stands on the south side of a large and regular square.
You see nothing scarcely but poor slaves carrying immense loads, and
friars in their cocked hats going to and from the monasteries. Their
carriages resemble in some manner our single-horse chaises, but badly
made and drawn by two mules. On the near one rides the charioteer, in
a huge cocked hat; the off one is in the shafts. They go astonishingly
quick. Saw but few horses, those small and bad. The mules are most
beautiful animals, and the inhabitants tell you are much more
serviceable then the horses. They are as clean about the legs as our
race-horses, and full of spirit. Fowls and ducks plentiful, but rather
dear. The oxen and sheep are small and bad. Pigs in abundance. Fruits
of all sorts. Pines are larger than ours, but not so fine flavoured;
you get them for 6_d._ apiece. Oranges, lemons, limes, sweet and sour,
bananas, yams, etc., etc. They make no butter or cheese. They get
it from England or America. The grandees, when they appear abroad,
are carried in a kind of palanquin, which is borne on two negroes’
shoulders. Most of these are blue, and adorned with fringes in general
of the same colour. They have a velvet pillow, and above the head a
kind of tester with curtains. He may either lie down or sit up. (See

I must think, from what we have seen of the inhabitants, Guthrie speaks
too harshly of them. They paid us every attention—nay, so much so that
they were troublesome; and were honest in their dealings. The canoes
afforded us great amusement. They are rowed by two or three negroes,
according to the size of them—not with oars, but a thing resembling a
spade. They appear, as they go along, to be digging the water.

I went into one of their monasteries, the chapel of which was very
grand. There was also a capital library. The monks were extremely
polite, and showed us everything particular. Their service is in Latin.
There are four monasteries, and two nunneries filled with poor wretches
of girls, who are not allowed to speak to their own fathers. I dined
in what they call a cooking-house. The host showed us into a miserable
back room looking into the kitchen, where was a black fellow cooking.
My stomach was not yet turned. No glass in the window (but that is
the case with all the houses, except those of the grandees), and the
light shining through the pantiles over our heads. We had for dinner
first some macaroni soup, half oil, and scraped cheese to eat with
it; afterwards some mutton chops swimming in grease, pork chops in a
similar way, a pair of fowls we could scarcely pull to pieces, not
an atom of flesh on their bones. There was also a piece of thin beef
rolled up with the stuffing in it and roast—a famous dish for a hungry
mastiff dog. These being removed, we then had a cold plum-pudding,
which was very good. We drank at dinner bad American bottled ale,
afterwards some decent port wine. When we called for our bill, we were
all amazingly astonished. It came to 4880—_whats_, we could not tell.
We afterwards found it was about six dollars. They give you always
their bills in that way in some imaginary coin about half a farthing

_Dec. 16th._—Did not go on shore. At 6 p.m. a Portuguese brig came into
harbour, laden with poor wretches of slaves just taken from the Guinea
coast—the most horrid sight imaginable.

_Dec. 17th._—Went to see a grand review of the Portuguese troops. They
performed pretty well. There was a regular regiment of militia, and a
volunteer, with some dragoons and artillery, amounting in all to about
2000 men. After it was over, all the English officers were presented to
the Viceroy. Nothing more worth setting down. All of us quite tired of
the place, and anxious to get away.

_Dec. 23rd._—Sailed for Buenos Ayres. Nice breeze.

_Dec. 24th._—Lat. 24° 47′. Out of sight of land. Therm. 80°.

_Dec. 25th._—Lat. 25° 32′. Therm. 76.° Blows hard, with a heavy sea.

_Dec. 26th._—Lat. 26° 51′. Heavy swell and no breeze. An immense shoal
of porpoises swimming towards the north. In hopes of a fair wind, as
they always swim against the wind.

_Dec. 27th._—Lat. 27° 48′. Stark calm. At 4 a.m. a strong breeze sprung
up, but quite ahead.

_Dec. 28th._—Lat. 27° 52′.

_Dec. 29th._—Lat. 27° 29′; long. 47° 9′. Went on board the Commodore.
A large shoal of porpoises by their swimming portending a fair wind,
which soon sprung up.

_Dec. 30th._—Lat. 30° 21′.

_Dec. 31st._—Lat. 32° 11′. Anxious to get along, but the wind against

1807. _Jan. 1st._—Lat. 32° 20′; long. 51° 15′.

_Jan. 2nd._—Lat. 32° 30′. Wind against us.

[_Remainder apparently written afterwards._]

Landed four miles north of Monte Video 16th Jan., had a sharp skirmish
with the enemy.

_19th._—A regular battle. Licked them confoundedly.

_20th._—A very severe action. The enemy’s loss very great.

_3rd Feb._—Stormed the fortress of Monte Video. A severe conflict.
Indeed, our loss, as well as that of the enemy, was very great.

_16th Jan., 1807._[248]—Sharp skirmishing with enemy.



_19th._—A regular and victorious battle in the open field.

_20th._—They made a sortie; were repulsed with great loss.

From the 20th Jan. to 3rd Feb. constant skirmishes. On the morning of
the 3rd Feb. stormed the fortress of Monte Video with severe loss on
both sides; but carried it.

_7th April, 1807_ [_7 June_?].—Colonel Pack made a sortie from Colonia
with 1000 men to meet Colonel Elio, whose force consisted of 1500.
Entirely routed him, and took six pieces of cannon.

_3rd June_ [_5 July_?].—Attacked Buenos Ayres by assault. Was made
prisoner, and confined three days and three nights.

Embarked for England, and arrived at Falmouth 5th Nov.

1808.—Embarked at Harwich for Sweden latter end of May [April?]. Sailed
soon afterwards. Was two months in Gottenburg harbour, when we sailed
for England, and refitted at Portsmouth for Portugal. Landed about 30
miles north of Lisbon latter end of July [August?]. Marched through
the south of Portugal into Spain. Had a very hot action with the
French between Villa Franca and Calcavellos 3rd Jan., 1809. The loss
was nearly equal on both sides. Take it all together, the most severe
conflict I ever saw.

Embarked at Corunna in January, and reached England soon after.

Ready to embark again.


Some Family Letters preserved by Harry Smith with Particular Care.

_Letter I._ Endorsed—“_7^{th} May, 1813. From Eleanor on Stona’s
marriage.—H. G. S._”

      Whittlesea, May 7^{th}, 1813.

 My Dear Henry,

 From the ardent desire which you have long expressed concerning
 Stona’s marriage, it will, I am convinced, give you pleasure to hear
 that the nuptials are at last solemnized. The ceremony took place on
 Tuesday, which was the fourth of May. Mr. Coleman was father, and
 of course led the bride to church. Stona, Kate, Charles, and Anna
 Maria followed, and my Uncle Ground’s John in a handsome livery,
 and Stona’s own servant (who is a particular smart-looking young
 man) dressed in a drab coat, and a gold band on his hat—all new for
 the occasion—attended to receive the bridesmaids’ parasols at the
 church door, and remained there in waiting during the ceremony. When
 concluded, the party returned to breakfast at my Uncle Ground’s,
 where were assembled to meet them a group of relations consisting of
 about two and twenty. Each of us was presented with a white favour,
 the ringers and servants also. There were forty favours given away.
 The bride and bridegroom, accompanied by Catherine, set off at twelve
 for Cambridge, and from thence they proceeded to London. I assure
 you they cut a dash. The postboy of course had a favour on his hat,
 and James, Stona’s man, attended them on horseback as far as Ramsey.
 Unfortunately it was a Newmarket meeting, and Cambridge was so full
 that they could not get beds, were therefore obliged to proceed
 another stage that evening. About five the next day they arrived in
 the Metropolis, and when they had dined, they dressed for Covent
 Garden Theatre. Stona repeatedly expressed a great wish that it
 was possible to meet you in town. Neither the bride nor bridesmaid
 would, I can venture to say, have had any objection to that. Never
 poor fellow I think was in a greater agitation than Stona during the
 ceremony and two days before. When he was being married he trembled in
 such a manner that Anna Maria expected no other than he would drop the
 ring—and he was himself much afraid lest he should have fainted at the

 I must not omit to tell you what a very pretty place Stona’s house is,
 and so handsomely furnished that I declare it is enough to make me
 long to be married....

 We are now always changing our Curates; next week Mr. Cook is going to
 leave us, and that handsome gentlemanlike man, whom I mentioned to you
 in my last, Mr. Powis, is to take his place. The young ladies, they
 say, will become very religious, and many of them attend prayers.

 I have, since writing the above, received a letter from you for which
 I thank you a thousand times. Believe me, I am not offended at the
 remark you made respecting my age, and the next time I hear from you,
 I expect the letter addressed to “Mrs. Eleanor Smith.” You will, my
 dear Henry, be six and twenty in June.

 My Mother, I am happy to say, is better than when I last wrote,
 though still rather delicate. My Father goes into quarters on Sunday.
 Wisbeach, as usual, is to be head-quarters.

 Mrs. W——, I fear, has not added much to her happiness by marrying
 W——, for he is excessively idle, an _epicure_, a free _drinker_, and
 a _notorious debauchee_. With such a man, can any woman be truly

 I hope you will lose no opportunity of writing, for, as I have
 frequently observed, it is the greatest pleasure I can have in your
 absence. Would to God we could have you among us. I never wished for
 you more than I do now. My Mother is quite delighted that you wish to
 see us.

 As you do not say anything about Tom, I conclude he is well. Pray give
 my love to him, and tell him that Mary Smith[249] is a pretty little
 black girl, and generally allowed to be more interesting than ever her
 sister was.

 All your friends, my dear Henry, join in affectionate remembrance to
 you and Tom; and sincerely wishing you health and happiness, believe
 me to remain, dearest Henry, your truly affectionate sister,



      Brigade-Major Smith,
      2nd Light Brigade,
      Light Division,

      Pd. 3/

 _Letter II._ Endorsed—“_19^{th} August, 1813. The last letter
     my dear Mother ever wrote to me. She died on the 12^{th}
     December, 1813, Sunday.—H. G. Smith._”

      Whitt^a, Aug^{st} 19, 1813.

 My beloved Child^n,

 What words shall I find sufficiently expressive to congratulate you
 upon y^r great escape from the great perils and dangers you have been
 exposed to, where so many of y^r brave countrymen have fallen? But
 to God alone must the praise be given, who has preserved you both, I
 hope to be an ornament to y^r country and a blessing to y^r friends,
 and may God Almighty of his infinite mercy still hold his protecting
 Arm over you both, and may we never lose sight of him, and have always
 his goodness in our sight as never to neglect our duty for his great
 mercies towards us at this time and all others.

 This, my dear Harry, is an anxious time, and, tho’ we have not a
 Lett^r from you, by the _Gazette_ we know that you are safe.

 As for Tom, I think he never intends to write to eith^r of us again,
 but I am proud to hear of him from you as being so brave a fell^w,
 and hope to have Lett^{rs} by the next dispatches. We can make every
 allowance for not hearing from you at this time, as indeed you must be
 so much ingaged, but pray write whenever you can, and indeed it is one
 of my greatest comforts.

 I have been very ill, so much so that I never expected seeing eith^r
 of you again, but with the blessing of God I am a very great deal
 bett^r, and with the kindness of y^r Fath^r and the attention of y^r
 Sis^{rs} I look forw^d with the hopes of seeing my beloved boys once
 more under their parental roof....

 We have been extremely healthy for a length of time that y Fath^r and
 Bro^r make great complaints some time for want of something to do.

 Poor R^d Binfield is no more. He payd the great debt of nature about
 three weeks ago, after being a very great sufferer. When he was taken
 to be buried, his Corpse was preceeded