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A Soldier must learn to obey, before he can command; it is a mistaken notion that subordination and passive obedience to superiors are debasing to a man of courage. Obedience is the foundation for regularity and order, and maintains discipline; it is through prompt obedience that great things are executed; to obey with punctuality is a sure method to obtain honour and reputation.
(SERJEANT NEWMAN, FORTY-THIRD REGIMENT OF foot.)
Copy of a Letter from Lieutenant Colonel Hull, of the 43d Regiment
of Foot, to the Committee for managing the Patriotic Fund.
Colchester, June 1st, 1809. GENTLEMEN,
“I beg to state for your information an instance of gallantry and conduct in a Serjeant of the 2d Battalion of the 43d Regiment of Foot, which I believe has seldom been exceeded by one in that rank. On the retreat of the british army through Spain, Serjeant William Newman was left at a village about four miles from Betanzos, to collect and bring in some stragglers and sick of the regiment, at which time there were about four or five hundred of that description belonging to the different corps of the army in the place. Sometime after the troops had marched, an alarm was given that a party of french cavalry was approaching, and the men were all endeavouring, in the greatest confusion, to make off as fast as their weak state would permit, when Serjeant Newman pushed on a little way to a narrow part of the road, where he contrived to stop nearly one hundred of those best able to march, and sent on the rest before to join the main army. These men so collected he formed into one corps (there being no officer present) and withstood and repulsed repeated attacks of the french cavalry, regut
larly retiring and facing about for four miles, when they were relieved from their perilous situation by the rear guard of our cavalry. The officer commanding the cavalry reported the behaviour of the Serjeant to General Fraser, who commanded the division, and who, having ordered an enquiry to be made, and finding the circumstances proved as before stated, recommended him for promotion; and the Commander in Chief has been pleased to appoint him to an Ensigncy in the 1st West India Regiment. As however there must necessarily be a great expence in fitting himself out and preparing for his voyage, I beg to recommend him in the strongest manner to your favourable notice.
I am, Gentlemen,
Commanding the 2d Battalion."
Extract from the Proceedings of the Committee.
That the sum of Fifty Pounds be presented to Ensign William Newman, in testimony of the high sense which the Committee entertain of his gallant and meritorious conduct.
To such an extravagant height did the ancient Caledonians and other Britons carry their absurd and pernicious notions of honour; that they imagined, that those who followed any other employment but that of arms, not only lived despised and died unlamented, but that their souls after death hovered in the lower regions among fens and marshes, and never mounted the winds nor mingled with the souls of warriors in their airy halls. Accordingly the British Chieftains and their marshal followers, thought it far below them, to put their hands to any useful labour.
Whilst at Cape St. Nicholas, had a narrow escape for his life from assassination. He was aroused one night from a profound sleep by the cries of murder, on hearing which, he ran down stairs with his sword, and found his servant boy dreadfully mangled, his arm being nearly severed at the shoulder. The villains, who were no less than eight men, of different nations, immediately on the appearance of the major made a desperate attack upon him, which he repelled with such effect as to lay six of the assailants dead at his feet, whose fate so appalled the other two, that they cried for quarter, and retreated; but in going off, one of the wretches turned suddenly round, ind fired, with an aim that had nearly proved fatal, as the shot grazed the temple, and carried away part of the hair. The report quickly brought up the patrole, who were astonished at the horrible scene of carnage below stairs, and naturally expected to find a more dreadful one in the bed-room of the major, whom they found lying in a fainting state, and bleeding to death. Medical aid being speedily procured, this brilliant ornament of his profession was snatched from the jaws of the grave, though his recovery was slow; and the effects of the wounds which he received in this unequal conflict, added to the fatigue and anxiety endured by him in that arduous service, were felt during the remainder of his life. That life, however, was providentially preserved for the public good, and to acquire immortal fame on a wider scale, in other regions. The relation of this romantic instance of personal valour spread rapidly throughout the neighbouring islands, and was conveyed to Europe, having, according to custom, some additions, one of which was, that the major died of his wounds. This embellishment had the unhappy effect of shocking the enfeebled frame and agitated nerves of his affectionate mother to such a degree, that before the contradiction of the report could minister the balm of consolation to her spirit, it had sought relief from sorrow in another and a better world.
Our late venerable sovereign was very sensibly affected by the narrative of this extraordinary circumstance; and so strong was the impression of it
that when our hero was afterwards presented at the levee, as Lieutenant Colonel Gillespie, the king instantly surveyed his comparatively diminutive stature with an expression of benignant surprise, and said, “What, can it be possible that this little man is the person who performed so great an exploit in St. Domingo?"
(By J. King, Private in the Renfrewshire Militia.)
BRITAINS, another laurel leaf
Looks back on Talavera.
He saw his eagles, hapless things,
And fled frae Talavera.
Tho' wisdom form’d his battle line,
It shone on Talavera.
The hill laughs at the lashing rain;
They fell on Talavera.
“ Invincible is Gallia's host!"
Dissoly'd on Talavera.
Egypt still thunders in his ears;
A stone on Talavera.
Oye, wha fell in days o' yore,
Retreats frae Talavera.
Joseph beheld the spreading woe;
Was rent on Talavera.
But Anglia sings her hero's praise;
Are heard o' Talavera.
(CORPORAL EDWARDS, WEXFORD MILITIA.)
The gallant and truly soldier-like conduct of Corporal Edwards, and four privates of the Wexford regiment of militia, who were wantonly and furiously attacked at Ballyporeen, in Ireland, by a multitude of those misguided wretches who have so long agitated and disturbed that country, cannot be too often or too highly extolled. The cool determined courage and abilities displayed by the corporal, and the bravery and strong sense of discipline evinced by the privates, have scarcely ever been exceeded; for although upwards of an hundred of those desperadoes, armed with cudgels and stones, demanded their firelocks, they, with one voice, refused to yield them. The corporal then drew a line across the road, and directed his men upon no account to pass it, or separate from each other, an order which