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received advice that Suchet had mainder of the infantry arrived, he left that place on the 7th with 9000 in- was induced to land them likewise, fantry; from the corps in his rear, he in the hope of being able to cut had ample means to reinforce this body; off a division of the French stationed 10,000 men had actually arrived at at Bandillos, whither they had reTortosa before this time, and 2500 had tired on the arrival of the feet at the reached Lerida. Late in the evening of Coll de Ballaguer. On the night the Ilth, information was received that of the 15th, however, Suchet with. Suchet had quitted Tortosa on the drew this corps ; and on the 16th the 10th ; and it was clear, that if he division of the allied army which had chose to pass by the mountain roads been opposed to it returned to the (as he actually did) to the plain of Coll de Ballaguer. On the 17th the Tarragona, he might arrive before the British general expected an attack,allied army on the 1 sth. The head for the corps from Barcelona had adof one of his columns actually ap- vanced to Cambrills, about ten miles peared on the plain in the course of from the position now occupied by the that day; and the British cavalry were allies ; but, for what reason it is imengaged with it.—The incumbrance possible to explain, this corps with of artillery might have impeded his drew to Reuz during the night: In march ; but this arm he thought un- the afternoon of the same day, Lord necessary, as there was none to oppose William Bentinck ré-embarked the him. He knew he would have to coa- army. tend with infantry alone, of which a Such is the history of this unforvery small proportion was British, oc- tunate expedition as given by its comcupied in a siege, and obliged to divide mander, and such the views upon its attention between a more powerful which he justified his conduct. The enemy on the one side, and the gar- opinion of the public was much divirison of Tarragona on the other.- ded, respecting the character of these Such, according to Sir John Murray's operations. The friends of the geneaccount, would have been the state of ral defended his conduct with zeal. the army, had he delayed the embarka- “ On hearing,' said they, “that a very tion, and had the French general chosen superior force was advancing against to push forward ; and when the stake him, he thought proper to embark his was so great, there was every reason troops, which he did without loss, leave to believe the enemy would act with ing some pieces of heavy ordnance in vigour,
the advanced batteries. Was there An express from the Coll de Balla. any humiliation in this for our army?-guer, during the night of the 19th, and what is the fault of Sir John Murmforming General Murray that the ray? Having an army inferior in force enemy
had passed a large body of in- to that of the enemy, and which might fantry towards Tarragona, induced have been of great use at another point, him to proceed thither immediately. he did not chuse to risk its destruction. The cavalry and part of the field-train But it was said, “there are positions had already been sent to the Coll de near Tarragona--a goodone especially Ballaguer to be embarked; and on to the eastward-where, if Sir John his arrival, he found that the cavalry had entrenched himself, he would have had been engaged, and that it would been quickly joined by thousands of be necessary to land more regiments of Catalonians. Eroles and Manso alone infantry than were stationed there to were able to stop the Barcelona force, protect the embarkatiom As the re. and in the critical situation of the
French affairs in Spain, Suchet would sight of the besieged fortress. The neither have had time nor inclination embarkation of the army on the 13th to carry on a protracted and hazard. became a measure of necessity, Tarra. ous warfare in that part of the coun- gona not having been reduced, and the try.'-low, without giving Sir John allied troops being placed between two Murray too much credit, it may be armies, one of which was certainly suassumed, that if there had been such perior, and the other probably equal 'good positions a little to the east- in numerical strength to themselves.ward,' if he had thought he would But why then, it might be asked, attack have been joined by thousands of Ca- Tarragona at all, if the enemy could talonians, and if Eroles and Manso send this superior force against us ? To could have stopped the Barcelona this it was replied, that hopes were reaforce, he would not have re-embark- sonably entertained of taking it before ed. But " in the critical situation of the enemy approached to its relief; the French affairs, Suchet could not particularly as a Spanish army under have spared time to carry on a pro- the Duke del Parque and general Elio tracted warfare in that part of the had been left at Valencia. The .excountry." Let us recollect, however, pedition had been ordered by Lord that when Sir John Murray embarked, Wellington himself, and the Marquis the great
battle of Vittoria had not Wellesley stated, that “ the force at been gained. Reference was on this Alicant had been embarked by Lord subject made to the official accounts by Wellington's orders, and had landed Suchet, which appeared in the French near Tarragona, precisely according papers, and in which it was stated that to that noble lord's plan.” It were on the 10th June troops had been col superfluous to say any thing more to lected at Barcelona ; and on the same prove the wisdom of the plan. Does day a strong corps had arrived at Tor
any unnecessary delay appear to have tosa. Thus were the French upon taken place in the operations? On the 10th within 20 miles of both flanks the 31st of May the army embarked, of the allied army, and in very superior -on the 3d of June it landed near Sa. numbers. On the 11th, Suchet, bylon; the Coll de Ballaguer and Tarrahis own account, had a partial engage. gona were immediately invested, and ment with the English dragoons near
the former was taken in four days. Perello, between the Coll de Balla. Suchet himself could not censure his guer and the sea. On the 12th his antagonist, but by inventing a story fires on the top of the mountains could that the fortifications of Tarragona be seen by the garrison of Tarragona; had been razed. Had this been true, and on the 13th his troops approached what necessity could there have been the place. Meanwhile General Ma- for investing Tarragona in the same thieu with the troops from Barcelona manner as all other fortified places are had reached Arbos and Vendrill, on invested ? the northern side of Tarragona. These “ I deny," said Sir John Murray, in circumstances stated by Suchet are suf- the close of the defence which he made ficient, it was said, to rescue the alli- before the court of enquiry appointed ed army from the charge of having em. to investigate his conduct, “ that any barked with precipitation upon recei. evidence exists to prove that I ever ving intelligence that the enemy was considered the capture of Tarragona as approaching. Before the troops did impracticable, till the hour I gave the embark, the columns both from Barce- orders to raise the siege. I have enlona and Valencia were almost within deavoured to prove this fact by the
continued operations which we carried of two of the objects pointed out by on, by the disposition for attacking the the Duke of Wellington ; but, at all out-works on the night of the îlth, events, on the certainty of drawing the and the arrangements made for the re- French armies to me, and occasioning ception of the enemy on the 12th. I them a long and harassing march, from have attempted to prove, that a perse- which they did, accordingly, most maverance in the siege was my positive terially suffer; and of ensuring a cerand prescribed duty, according to the tain time to the co-operating Spanish spirit of my instructions, and that a de. armies for the execution of their part parture from that line would, in all of the general plan, which, after all, probability, nay, I may say to a cer. was the most essential of the whole. I tainty, have occasioned the most fatal did incur this risk, whether with judgeconsequences to the allied armies on ment or not will rest with the court the eastern coast of Spain. It would to decide ; but, at least, I can affirm, have enabled Marshal Suchet to re-oc- that it was done in the best exercise of cupy the entrenched position on the my abilities, and with that due delibe. Xucar, and, probably, to crush the ration which the importance of the proDuque del Parque before there was a ceeding required. I was not blind to possibility that I could have come to the consequences which would proba. his assistance. I have shewn what the bly arise to myself in the first instance ; probable consequences might have been but if I had permitted so weak a con. to any division of marines and seamen sideration to seduce me from what my which Lord Exmouth might have judgement told me was for the advanlanded near the Bay of Rosas; and I tage of my king and country, I should have endeavooured to prove, that the richly have deserved the most severe siege of Tarragona, and not merely a sentence which could be pronounced feint upon it, was in the contemplation against me. Such was the view I took of of the commander-in-chief.
thecase, and the lineof conduct which it "I do not pretend to say, that in appeared to me right to adopt. It was the line of conduct I prescribed to my founded, in my humble opinion, less self no risk was incurred: I knew, with a view to the object itself, than when I decided on continuing the siege to the general plan of
Lord Wellingafter the 8th, that I did run a very ton's operations; and I contend, there. considerable risk; and what military fore, that my conduct was no way unoperation, may I ask, is free from it? military, and so far from being in op, Every battle which is fought is a risk, position to the spirit of my instructions, the whole expedition itself was a risk that it was in strict unison with the No one will surely assert, that in war letter itself. I deny this charge, therenothing is to be hazarded ; on the con- fore, both in its principle and its appli. trary, the first quality of a commander cation. In its principle, because I had appears to be, to risk with judgment, in my possession no express written or. and he does his best when he takes ders which directed my return to Va. care that the nature of the risk is infe- lencia, in a language so decisive as to rior to the importance of the object. deprive me of all discretion as to the I may apply this axiom to the present period of re-embarkation; and in its case : I risked a few pieces of iron can application, because, admitting such non, and some stores—for what? for order to have existed with a view to the contingent benefit, that I might by securing the acquisitions of the Duke this risk possibly succeed in the cap. del Parque, I contend, that, in the reture of the place, or ensure the success lative position of the hostile armies, these acquisitions were in no degree pressly disallowed by superior orders. endangered by my absence : on the In the instructions of Lord Wellingcontrary, I maintain that the line of ton, now before the court, beg leave conduct I pursued, was the best calcu- to express my firm, but humble con. lated to promote their extension and viction, there was no such limitation. their safety; and that my secondary
« From what has been said, I trust operations (if secondary they can be the court will be convinced (if argu. called) were in no respect contrary ment on the subject were necessary) of to the letter, while they were in direct the great imprudence, nay, the palpaunison with the spirit of my instruc- ble error I should have committed (be. tions. But to call them secondary ing resolved to re embark), had I delayoperations is to lose sight of the first ed the operation till the enemy should principle that produced them, and of have an opportunity of attacking me the ultimate object they had in view. during its progress. If I have been Their first principle was the army's fortunate enough to satisfy the court, safety, and their ultimate object its that the allied army was neither from entire re-embarkation ; that re-embark. its numbers, composition, or equipation which I am accused of unneces- ments, equal to contend with that of sarily delaying, which was decided on the enemy, it follows that whatever the moment it was determined to raise should have exposed it to the unequal the siege of Tarragona, and which eve contest, must have been injudicious and ry effort was exerted to carry into ef. culpable, as militating against my ore fect. Imperious circumstances inter- ders; and on these grounds I contend, rupted the operation. It was only that any measure which should have when these ceased that it could be brought me into contact with the enecompleted with safety; but the prin- my after the 11th at night, would have ciple and the end remained the same. been so much the more censurable, as In point of fact, I might assert that I should myself have sought the situathe siege of Tarragona could never be tion which it was my duty to avoid. said to be raised till the whole army I allude to the different plans, either was embarked for it was the embark of marching to oppose General De ation of the army which constituted Caen, or to arrest the progress of Marthe raising of the siege, and if the suc. shal Suchet. To both these I answer, ceeding operations growing out of cir- that my force was unequal to the concumstances which I could not con- test ; and that the portion of it which troul, have been satisfactorily ac. might have been left before Tarragocounted for, then am I accused of not na, must have fallen a sacrifice to the doing that, which every hour after I one or the other of these generals. I determined to raise the siege, was con. shall avoid all calculation on this point, sumed in the anxious attempt to ac. the strength of the contending armies complish. It is one thing to linger un. being already before the court I may necessarily in the execution of public be permitted, however, to observe, that duty, and it is another wisely to ex delay, in what way soever produced, tend the period of active operation for must ultimately have brought me in the accomplishment of an important presence of the united columns of the object, which falls within the sphere enemy : with the small divided force of rational and duly regulated discre. under my command, what termination tion,-a discretion which exists within could then have been expected ? The the breast of every officer, and the gallantry of the troops might indeed limits of every command, unless ex. have forced the enemy's ranks, and enabled them to reach the beach ; but the allied army, and the incapacity of what courage, what discipline, what its commander, but trophies, which arrangements, could have enabled them would have foretold to the world the to advance a step further? A death, inutility of all the efforts to be made glorious indeed to themselves, but un- to bring the war in Spain to a successprofitable to their country, or certain ful termination, during the course of captivity, would alone have remained the campaign which was then about to to them. No man can regret more than commence. An event, such as I de. I do, the cannon and stores which were scribe, while it must have darkened left in the hands of the enemy, or that the bright prospects then opening to he, as might be expected, should boast the British nation and to Europe, and of them as trophies. But he could not blasted every hope which the victories boast of them as useful trophies, he of Lord Wellington encouraged us to could not boast that the possession of cherish, must have brought down well them altered theaspect of the campaign, merited.condemnation on the head of or that the loss of the stores crippled the unfortunate commander. I do not in any degree an army, which subse. paint this scene too strongly: I had quently kept in check so large a por. every reason to expect that such would tion of the troops of the enemy. That have been our fate, had I listened to the army was still entire : it did not lose voice which counselled delay at such a by this embarkation one man, one moment." horse, or one piece of field-artillery. It Such was the defence of Sir John was not even disabled from undertaking Murray ;—but a very different view a siege in any material degree, for it lost of these operations was deduced by only seventeen serviceable and one un. many, even from the information which serviceable out of 91 pieces of cannon. the general was pleased to furnish in But, would not the enemy have been his own dispatches. From General enabled to boast of the importance as Murray's statements it appears, that well as the possession of trophies, if, on the 9th or 10th of June, he was ac. instead of the spiked and useless can. quainted with the arrival of Marshal Don, which he is so minutely represent- Suchet at Valencia, with 9000 mened as conveying into Tarragona, he intelligence having been previously recould have proclaimed the removal of ceived of the arrival of a French force all our field train, and its equipments, at Tortosa, and another at Lerida. into the fortress ? Would the lifeless From the comparative statement given bodies of some thousand soldiers, who of the strength of the allies, and of the had died unprofitably, or the carcases enemy, it seems to have been the opiof many hundred animals slaughtered nion of General Murray, that Marshal upon the beach unnecessarily; would Suchet could bring above 20,000 of these, I ask, have been less a trophy the best French troops into the field, than a few unserviceable and dismounts and might have attacked the allies with ed cannon ? Would the capture of our that force in the course of four or five standards, and the captivity of some days. It
appears also, that from the thousands of our countrymen, have arrangements which must necessarily been less a subject of triumph for the have been made, the force of the allies pen of Marshal Suchet? Would these in the field would have amounted only have been no trophies? They would to about 16,000 British, Germans, have been great trophies, and incon. Sicilians, and Spaniards ; and that of testible proofs, at the same time, not this number, nearly 13,000 were con. mly of the destruction and defeat of sidered as of a description to be relied
VOL. VI. PART I.