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most brilliant success, and the enemy, the battle of Vittoria, and as troops driven from one of the strongest posi- were not immediately wanted in Ger. tions which it was possible for troops many, many divisions which must to occupy, were soon in full retreat to otherwise have been sent thither, were wards their own frontier. To cover dispatched to the frontiers of Spain, their retreat they placed a strong rear- where hostilities were still carried on, guard in the pass of Donna Maria, and the danger was most pressing, from which, however, it was driven by Much speculation was now excited Lord Dalhousie. The retreat now re- as to the future operations of the Brisembled a flight ; many prisoners were
tish commander. Some affected to brought in, and a large convoy with doubt whether he would enter France, baggage was taken at the town of while others conceived this step to be Elizonda. The French endeavoured, the necessary result of his previous however, to make another stand at the operations. A descent into the south Puerto de Echalar, immediately within of France seemed to be advisable in the Spanish frontier ; but two of their every point of view, military as well as divisions were driven from these heights moral-military, because while the alin the most brilliant style, by a single lies remained on the Spanish side of British division ; and Soult was com- the Pyrenees, the enemy must always pelled reluctantly to abandon the ob- have had the power of attacking the ject of all his exertions.
different passes, while it must have Thus terminated these great con- been impossible for them, unless they ficts. - How different was the result established a post in France, to ascerfrom that expected by the French ge. tain his movements—what reinforceneral, may be discovered by attending ments he received or what projects he to his proclamation to the army on ta. had in contemplation : moral, because king the command. In this address Buonaparte had always represented he states, “ that he had been sent by France as a country not exposed to the emperor to the command of his invasion : “the sacred country,” which armies in Spain ; and that his imperial none of her antagonists dared to enter ; majesty's instructions and his own in- but when the people of France found tentions were, to drive the British a. a British army in their own territories, cross the Ebro, and celebrate the em. this circumstance, it was thought, must peror's birth-day in the town of Vitto. abate very much their pride and confi. ria.” It so happened, however, that dence in their arms. When they saw the Prince of Orange arrived in Lon. an invading army in France, they don with the intelligence of the ene. could have no doubt of the failure of my's having been driven into France their projects upon Spain ; and the alon the very day which they had fixed lies might then say to them with truth, for celebrating their own triumphs. See the result of your treacherous at
Soult expected not only to relieve tempts against this fine country : hisPampluna, but to fix himself again on tory does not furnish an instance of the Ebro, and unite with Suchet's greater crime, an example of more in. army. That he should so soon have famy, than this invasion of Spain. But collected a force of 70,000 men—the mark the result-the unburied bones number engaged in the late battles,- of half a million of your countrymen might appear extraordinary ; but it whiten the valleys and mountains of the must be recollected that the armistice invaded country, and yet you have not in the north was signed the day before been able to effect your purpose. Spain has been wrested from your grasp, tions of Lord Wellington were prompt, and a British army has come to turn skilful, and consecutive ; and that the the evils of invasion against yourselves. valour and steadiness of the British -Such, it was said, must be the moral troops were admirable. He desired advantages of the invasion of France.- his soldiers not to forget, however, that The measure, besides, could be attend- it was to the benefit of their example ed with no hazard to the invader. Sta- the British owed their present military tioned on this side the Pyrenees, Lord character. This was certainly true ; it Wellington could have no apprehension had been to the example the French for his rear while he commanded the afforded Europe of being invariably passes; and if he had done nothing more beaten when they hazarded a battle with than occupy the country to Bayonne, British troops, that the latter owed he would not only have wounded the their present military character. Lord pride and weakened the character of Wellington and Lord Nelson were inthe French government, but he would debted for their reputation to an uninhave been able, if he had chosen, to terrupted series of victories over the make the south of France provide sub- land and sea forces of France; and no sistence for his troops.
small addition had been made by this How bitter were the disappoint. very Soult to the military character of ments which the French had already the British general and his armies.sustained, was apparent from a variety After this censure of his predecessor, of circumstances. The proclamation and boast of what he would effect himwhich Soult addressed to the troops self—after threatening to drive the on taking the command, and which has British across the Ebro, and date his already been noticed, seems to prove dispatches from Vittoria, what had that the French armies had lost much Soult been able to do against this of their ardour in the course of this “ motley levy," which a skilful genepeninsular war, and required every sti. ral might easily have discomfited ? The mulus to encourage their exertions.- very same thing that Jourdan had done. In this curious document there was Jourdan was beaten and driven out of moch promise of what the general Spain ; and nobody could affirm that would effect himself, with the usual the fate of Soult was very
different. sprinkling of French falsehood. Soult The efforts of the enemy in the field had the folly to assert what no one had proved unavailing to avert the could believe that the British army downfall of their fortresses. At St Se. was much superior in numbers to that bastian, however, they had displayed of the enemy when it advanced to the more than their usual dexterity in fortiDouro; he added, however, that a good fying the place; but a breach having general might have “ discomfited this been effected, the assault was ordered to motley levy.” Timorous and pusilla. take place at day-break of the 25th. nimous councils, however, he says, The storming party, (about 2000 were followed ; fortresses were aban. men,') were ordered to assemble in the doned ; the marches were disorderly ; trenches, and the explosion of the mine and a veteran army was compelled to was to be the signal for advance. The yield all its acquisitions. Of the bat. uncovered approach from the trenches tle of Vittoria he says, that the re- to the breach was about 300 yards sult would have been different had the in length, before an extensive front of general been worthy of his troops, al- works, and over very difficult ground, though he confesses that the disposi. consisting of rocks covered with sea.
weed and intermediate pools of water. to assure your lordship that the troops The fire of the place was yet entire, conducted themselves with their usual and the breach was flanked by two gallantry, and only retired when I towers, which, though considerably in. thought a further perseverance in the jured, were still occupied.
attack would have occasioned a useless At five in the morning the mine was sacrifice of brave men.' sprung, which destroyed much of the The breach having thus proved imcounterscarp and glacis, and created practicable, all the operations of the astonishment in the enemy posted on siege were to be recommenced ; the the works near to it. They abandon. repulse of the French army, however, ed them for the moment, and the ad. left the allies at fuli liberty to carry vance of the storming-party reached the them on. Their first object was to breach without much resistance. When cut off the communication which the they attempted to ascend the breach, besieged carried on by sea with the however, the enemy opened a destruc- coast of France ; and Sir George Col. tive fire, and threw down a profusion lier, with a party of marines, stormed of shells from the towers on the flanks, the island of Santa Clara, which lies and from the summit of the breachat the mouth of the harbour, and took The assaulting party returned into the the garrison prisoners. New breachtrenches with the loss of nearly 100 ing batteries were, in the mean time, men killed, and 400 wounded. The raised and carried forward with such advanced guard, with Lieutenant Jones, vigour, that on the 31st of August it who led them, were made prisoners on was determined to make another as. the breach, and Lieutenant Colonel sault. The result of this, however, apSir R. Fletcher was wounded at the peared in the first instance to be very same time in the trenches. This assault doubtful. does not appear to have failed from The columns for the assault moved want of exertion, but because the fire out of the trenches, and in a few mi. of the place had been left entire, and nutes after the advance of the forlorn the distance of the covered approaches hope the enemy exploded two mines, from the breach was too great. The which destroyed part of the walls, but troops are said in the Gazette to have as the troops were not in very close done their duty; but it was beyond order, nor very near the wall, their loss the power of gallantry to overcome was not great. From the Mirador the difficulties opposed to them. Sir and battery del Principe, on the castle, T Graham's words are, “notwith the fire of grape and shells was opened standing the distinguished gallantry of on the columns, and continued while the troops employed, the attack did they were disputing the breach. The not succeed. The enemy occupied in main curtain, which had been comforce all the defences of the place which pletely breached, was strongly occulooked that way, and from which, and pied by grenadiers ; the left branch of all around the breach, they were en- the horn-work was also well-manned ; abled to bring so destructive a fire of a heavy fire was maintained on the grape and musketry, Aanking and en. breach, great part of which was expolilading the column, and to throw over sed; but a tower called Amezquita, 80 many hand-grenades on the troops, on the left, was fortunately not manned. that it became necessary to desist from By the extremity of the curtain the the attack. Though this attack has breach was accessible ; but the enemy's failed, it would be great injustice not position there was commanding, and
the ascent much exposed to the fire of ketry on both flanks of the approach the besieged. Behind the breach was to the top of the narrow ridge of the a perpendicular fall from 15 to 25 curtain. "Every thing that the most feet in depth, under which were the determined bravery could attempt was ruins of the houses, and part of the repeatedly tried in vain by the troops, walls still left at intervals, by which who were brought forward from the alone it was possible to descend. A trenches in succession. No man outline of retrenchment, carried along these lived the attempt to gain the ridge ; ruins, was strongly occupied by the yet a secure lodgement could never enemy, and entirely swept the confined have been obtained without occupying sommit of the breach.
a part of the curtain.” The storming parties advanced to The breach was now covered with the breach, and remained on the side troops remaining in the same unfavour. of it without ascending the summit, as able situation, and unable to gain the they were prevented by the heavy fire summit: upwards of two hours of confrom the entrenched ruins within. tinued and severe exertion had elapsed. Many desperate efforts were made to On the instant Sir Thomas Graham gain the summit without effect; fresh adopted a new expedient; he ordered troops were sent on successively, as the guns to be turned against the curfast as they could be filed out of the tain. It was manifest that unless this trenches ; and 500 Portuguese, in two could be done with almost unexampled detachments, forded the river Urumea, precision, the assailants must have sufnear its mouth, under a heavy fire of fered more severely than their enemies grape and musketry.
-for the fire, to be effectual, must The greatest difficulties had thus have been elevated only a few feet above presented themselves after the troops the heads of our own troops in the had got to the breach.“ Never was any breach. But it was directed with adthing,” says Sir Thomas Graham, “so mirable precision, and proved effectual. fallacious as its external appearance. By a happy chance a quantity of comNotwithstanding its great extent, there bustibles exploded within the breach, was but one point where it was pose and the French began to waver ; the sible to enter, and there by single fles. assailants made fresh efforts ; the raAll the inside of the wall, to the velin and left branch of the horn-work right of the curtain, formed a per. were abandoned by the enemy; the pendicular scarp of at least 20 feet entrenchment within the breach was to the level of the streets, so that the soon deserted by them, and the assail. narrow ridge of the curtain itself,
ants got over the ruins and gained the formed by the breaching of its end and curtain. front, was the only accessible point. The troops being now assembled in During the suspension of the opera. great numbers on the breach, pushed tions of the siege, from want of ammu. into the town; the garrison, dispiritnition, the enemy had prepared every ed by its severe loss, and intimidated means of defence which art could de. by the perseverance and bravery of the vise, so that great numbers of men assailants, was quickly driven from all were covered by intrenchments and tra. its intrenchments (except the convent of Ferses in the horn-work-on the ram- Teresa,) into the castle. From the su. parts of the curtain—and within the perior height of the curtain--a circum. town opposite to the breach, and ready stance of which Sir T. Graham had so to pour a most destructive fire of mus. promptly availed himself, the artillery
in the batteries on the right of the cers and 512 men were in hospital.Urumea were able to keep up a fire on There were expended by the besie. that part during the assault ; and as gers in these operations, more than the artillery was extremely well served, 70,000 shot and shells, and upwards of it occasioned a severe loss to the ene. 500,000lbs. of gunpowder, my, and probably produced the explo. From the account which has been sion which led to final success.
given of this siege, it must be evident The assailants had upwards of 500 that the defence of breaches made and men killed, and 1500 wounded ; of the stormed under such circumstances is garrison, besides those who were killed so very advantageous, that against an and wounded during the assault, 700 intelligent governor, and a brave garriwere made prisoners in the town. Of son, accident alone can give the assault the engineers, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir a tolerable chance of success. As the R. Fletcher, Bart. Captains Rhodes fire of the batteries is entirely directed and Collier, were killed; Lieutenant- to breaching, the enemy's troops, preColonel Burgoyne, and Lieutenants viously to the assault, sustain little or Barry and Marshall, were wounded. no loss; and as their front is restricted,
So soon as the town was carried, it can be fully occupied, while a suffi. preparations were made to reduce the cient number of men remain to form castle. The plan of attack was to erect strong reserves. The assailants have no batteries on the north of the town, and help from their works, and depend for breach some of the main points of the success entirely on their own exertions ; defences of the castle. ' The town, while the height of situation, with the which had been on fire ever since the difficulty of ascent up the ruins of the assault, from the quantity of ammuni- wall, give a decided superiority to the tion and combustibles of all sorts scat- besieged. But if, in addition, the breach tered around, was now nearly con
be well intrenched, and the governor sumed ; and the flames had proved a has made use of the precautions regreat impediment to carrying the ap- commended in every treatise on deproaches forward. The enemy's fire, fence, by covering the approach to the however, had been nearly silenced since breach, and preserving a powerful flank the assault; and the roofs of the remain- fire, both direct and vertical, to play ing houses and the steeples were pre.
on the columns during the struggle, pared for musketry, the fire of which no conceivable superiority of courage was to open when the assault on the over a brave enemy will counterba. castle should commence.
lance such advantages. It is no disThe batteries opened on the castle paragement, therefore, to the troops, from the left of the attack. The fire that they failed in the first assault on was extremely powerful and well di- the 25th of July, and succeeded on the rected, ploughing up every part of the 31st of August, in a great measure by confined space of the castle : the ene- the unexpected accuracy of fire from my kept concealed chiefly in little nar- distant batteries, and the accidental ex. row trenches, which they had made plosion of the enemy's shells and am. along the front of the heights, but munition, which gave their heroic exthey lost many men. A white flag ertions a chance of success. Had the was at last hoisted, and the garrison contest been merely that of man to surrendered prisoners of war :-its man, the result would not have remain. numbers had been reduced to 80 offi- ed long doubtful—for the troops car. cers and 1756 men, of whom 23 ofli- ried the breach and gained the summit