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THE

ANNUAL REGISTER,

For the YEAR 1809.

THE

HISTORY

OF

EUROPE.

CHAP. I.

General Instructions to Sir John Moore, before he set out on his March to Spain. Plan of Leading a British Army into the Heart of Spain -By whom formed. The British Ministry deplorably ignorant both of the French Force in Spain, and the real State of that Country-The French concentrated behind the Ebro.-The whole of their Force in Cantonments and Garrisons-Exaggerated Accounts of the Enthusiasm of the Spaniards.Fond Credulity of the British Ministry on that Subject, and, in Consequence of this, the most romantic projects. The flatter ing Expectations of Co-operation held out to Sir John Moore utterly disappointed. Central Junta of Spain. Their Character, incredible Weakness and Folly-Traitors among them.-False Intelligence of the Approach of the French in great Force to Salamanca.-Measures announced by Sir John Moore under the Impression of this to the Junta of that Place. Amazing Apathy and Indifference to public Affairs and the Fate of the Country-Tardy and deficient Supplies to our Army-The Situation of Sir David Baird, who had landed in Gallicia, materially affected by the Defeat of the Spanish army of the North. -Design of Sir John Moore to take a Line of Positions on the Duero-Frustrated by the total Defeat of General Castanos-By this the British General determined to retreat on Lisbon-This Plan of Retreating abandoned, and why-False and treacherous Intelligence

B

transmitted

transmitted by the Civil and Military Junta of Madrid to the Com mander of the British Army-Warmly seconded and supported by Dispatches from Mr. Frêre-Strange Infatuation, as well as Arrogance and Presumption, of that Minister-Means by which the false Intelligence was happily counteracted.--The Force brought against Spain by Buonaparte after the Conference of Erfurth.-The bold Measures, adopted by the British Commander for the Extrication of his Army, draw the whole of the French Forces from their March to Southern to the Northern Provinces.-The British Army commences its Retreat-Closely pursued by 70,000 French.-General Orders by Sir John Moore, reflecting on the Conduct of both Officers and Soldiers.-Difficulties overcome, and dreadful hardships, privations, and Losses sustained during the retreat to Corunna-Which is at last effected-Battle of Corunna.-Death and Character of Sir John Moore.-Embarkation of the British Troops for England.

I
T will be recollected that in our

Moore at Lisbon under instruc-
tions to march through Spain with
his face towards Burgos: which
was to be the general rendezvous
of the British troops; not only
then under the command of that
officer, but of those with which
he was to be reinforced from Eng-
land. It appears from the most
authentic documents that this
plan of sending a British army
into the heart of Spain, to act in
the plains of Leon and Castille,
was formed by LordCastlereagh and
the Marquis of Romana, not only
without any communication either
with Sir Hew Dalrymple, then
commander in chief of the British
forces in Spain, or Sir John Moore,
who was destined to command the
army to be sent there, but also
without any concert either with
the Supreme and Central, or any
of the provincial Juntas. The en-
thusiastic ardour of the Spaniards
was supposed to be universal; and
it seems to have been presumed
that this patriotic ardour of the

HIST. EUR. p. 225.

universal Spanish nation, without

ment, would quickly run into some
form or other, in which it might aid,
support, and co-operate with a Bri-
tish army. The manifestoes of
all the provinces breathed the
most exalted patriotism and de-
termined spirit to resist the French
or perish in the attempt; nor had
the first efforts of the patriots been
unworthy of those declarations.
A number of young officers too,
sent into Spain for the double
purpose of exciting the people,
and transmitting information
our government, conversing only
with such as were of congenial'
sentiments, views and hopes with
themselves, and carressed and
and flattered with Spanish rank and
honours, made such reports
to ministers, as they themselves, no
doubt, believed to be true, and
which for certain they knew to be
such as ministers wished for and

expected. The event proved
how miserably ignorant Lord Cas-
tlereagh and the Marquis of Ro-
mana were both of the strength of

+ Papers laid before both Houses of Parliament.

the

the enemy, and the real state of the country that was about to become the theatre of hostilities. We find Sir John Moore writing to Lord Castlereagh, from Salamanca, 24th of November 1808, as follows: "The information, of which your lordship must already be in possession, renders it, perhaps, less necessary for me to dwell upon the state of affairs in Spain, so different from that which was to be expected from the reports of the officers employed at the head-quarters of the different Spanish armies. They seem all of them to have been most miserably deceived; for until lately, and since the arrival of Mr. Stuart and Lord William Bentinck at Madrid, and of Colonel Graham at the central army, no just representation seems ever to have been transmitted. Had the real strength and composition of the Spanish armies been known, the defenceless state of the country, and the character of the central government, I conceive that Cadiz, not Corunna, would have been chosen for the disembarkation of the troops from England; and that Seville, or Cordova, not Salamanca, would have been selected as the proper place for the assembling of this army. The Spanish government do not seem ever to have contemplated the possibility of a second attack, and are certainly quite unprepared to meet that which is now made upon them. Their armies are inferior to the French even in numbers.-In the provinces no armed force whatever exists, either for immediate protection, or to reinforce the armies.-The enthusiasm of which we have heard so much no where

appears. Whatever goodwill there is, (and I believe among the lower orders there is a great deal) is taken no advantage of." These opinions, expressed not long after Sir John had entered Spain, he did not find any reason to retract afterwards: as will fully appear from the following narrative.

After the most important events in the peninsula, of the summer of 1808, namely, the surrender of Dupont, the flight of Joseph Buonaparte from Madrid, and the convention of Cintra, the French army retired from Madrid, and repassed the Ebro. Their force in this direction consisted of about 50,000 men, concentrated in Navarre and Biscay. They had besides, garrisons in Barcelo na, Figueras, and other fortresses, amounting to above 15,000 more. In these positions they quietly waited for reinforcements which were on their march, as was announced from time to time by every foreign journal. By the 1st of November, the French Army on the Ebro was reinforced to the amount of 113,000. men. The Spaniards never had, at one time, more than 60, or 70,000 in arms. It was evident that the Spaniards must be defeated. Yet the probability, or even the possibility of this did not seem to enter at all into the contemplation of the British minister for the war department, when he gave orders that the different corps of British troops should form a junction at Burgos.

While the French rested in their cantonments behind the Ebro, expecting reinforcements and survey. ing at their ease the unconnected movements of the Spaniards, the Spanish and English newspapers B 2

.were

were full of the enthusiastic patriotism of the Spaniards. All ranks, they reported, and ages had taken up arms, were eager to rush upon their enemies, and determined to die rather than submit to a treacherous, cruel, and impious invader. Such also was the spirit of the proclamations published by the Provincial Juntas. So prevalent at this time was the conviction of the universal enthusiasm of the Spaniards, in the British cabinet, that in a memorial transmitted for the information of Sir John Moore, by the British secretary of state, it was stated, that the French armies could not enter the defiles of Asturias without exposing themselves to be destroyed even by the armed peasants. In the month of September it was considered as most probable, that the Spaniards alone would soon drive the French out of the Peninsula.-Lord William Bentinck was directed to make enquiries respecting the intentions of the Spanish government on the expulsion of the French. And directions were given, under particular circumstances, to urge the invasion, with a combined British army, of the South of France. Such was the flattering picture presented to the view of Sir John Moore, before he commenced his march, and was enabled to judge for himself.

In aid of Sir John Moore a considerable detachment from England was to land at Corunna under Sir David Baird, with whom he was to form a junction on the borders of Leon and Gallicia. Sir John was charged at the same time to act in concert with the British commander-in-chief at

Lisbon, and to receive requisitions or representations, either from the Spanish government or the British minister, upon all occasions, with the utmost deference and attention. The British minister prenipotentiary to the central government of Spain, was Mr. John Hookham Frere,who had been lately appointed to that office in the place of Lord William Bentinck.

By the resignations of the three generals, Dalrymple, Burrard, and Wellesley, which took place almost immediately on these arrangements, Sir John was liberated from a part of those embarrassments, in which so complicated a plan must have involved him, and, having become commander-in-chief as it were by accident, he was left unfettered by superiors to adopt such measures as appeared to be most proper and efficacious for giving speedy effect to the expedition.

These measures, however, necessarily produced delay. The secretary of state for the war department seems to have been wretchedly deficient in his calculations, or perhaps he had but a very vague and confused idea of the equipments necessary to a marching army, Sir John's was unprovided with carriages for the artillery or commissariat stores, or for the light baggage of the regiments. No magazines were formed on the line of march. Nor was the commissariat department in such a state as to give any great hope that these defects would be speedily or effectually remedied. It was not till the 27th of Octaber, that Sir John Moore, aboye a month after he had received his appointments

appointments from Lord Castle reagh, was enabled to quit Lisbon. The accounts of both Portuguese and British officers, sent to examine the roads, agreed in stating those leading through the mountains which form the northern boundary of Portugal to be impassable for artillery. The Spanish commissary-general had declared his inability to furnish provisions on the road by Elvas. The army was, therefore, necessarily divided. Five brigades of artillery, the whole cavalry, and four regiments of infantry, under General Hope, marched by Elvas on the Madrid road to Badajoz and Espinar: from whence they were to join the commander-inchief at Salamanca, by the Escurial road. Two brigades of infantry, under General Paget, moved onward by Elvas and Alcantara; two brigades, under General Beresford, by Coimbra and Almeida; and three brigades, under General Fraser, by Abrantes and Almeida: the total amount of the forces that left Portugal was 18,628; of which only 912 was cavalry.

The situation of Salamanca, nearly half way between Corunna and Madrid, seemed to point it out as a place where the columns of the generals Hope and Baird, moving in opposite directions, covered, as it had been promised they would, by the Spanish armies of the left and centre, might most conveniently effect their junction with the main body.

Sir David Baird arrived at Corunna on the 13th of October, but was not permitted to land till the 31st, by which time advices had been sent, and orders received from the Junta at Madrid. This

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intelligence, which was communicated to Sir John Moore previously to his leaving Lisbon, gave him some idea of the sort of co-operation and assistance he had to expect from the Spanish government.

The British army in its march through Portugal, had experienced sometimes the cool civility to allies whose assistance was acceptable; but oftener a constrained hospitality towards guests whom it would be dangerous to refuse. The people, entirely destitute of public spirit, took no part in public affairs whatever. They were, besides, slothful, and altogether uninformed of what was passing in the world, and even of the politi cal and physical circumstances of their own country. Of their ignorance, Sir J. Moore had a striking proof in the accounts they had given him of their own roads, which he found, on his arrival at Atalaia, to be practicable for artillery; a discovery which, if it had been sooner made, would have been of the utmost importance, in sparing General Hope's circuitous course by the Escurial, and thus enabling the various columns more speedily to effect their junction. These circumstances were not calculated to give the English any favourable prepossession of the people they were sent to defend. Better things, however, were to be expected from the Spaniards; and, with this impression, the army looked towards the elevated site of Ciudad Rodrigo, where it was received with shouts of“ Viva los Ingleses," and a greater degree of enthusiasm than had yet been witnessed.

As Sir John Moore approached the scene of action, he gradually B 3 acquired

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