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well conducted chace. Such was the privateer's rate of sailing, and dexterity of management, that the English captains were convinced neither of their ships could have taken her singly.
The Indian sea, off Madagascar, was the scene of a severe action between an English and French squadron in the month of May. Three French frigates, with troops on board, having appeared off Mauritius on May 7th, and borne away on discovering the capture of that island, it was conjectured by Capt. Schomberg, of the Astræa, that they would push for Tama
He accordingly sailed thither, accompanied by the Phoebe and Galatea frigates, and the Racehorse sloop; and the enemy being discovered on the 20th near Foul Point, Madagascar, the signal to chace was made from the Astræa. Variable winds and calms rendered it impossible for the English ships to get up together to close action; and while the Astræa was lying almost immoveable on the water, the enemy succeeded in rounding the two other frigates, and raking them with consider able effect. Night came on before any thing decisive was effected, but the Galatea had suffered so much in her masts that she could not be brought again to action. In the morning the Astræa led towards the enemy, followed by the Phoebe and Racehorse, and bringing the commodore's ship to close action, in 25 minutes she struck Another frigate also struck, but afterwards attempted to escape; and was chased without success. One which had been worsted by the Phoebe, on the preceding night, also got off. The captured ship
proved to be La Renommée of 44 guns and 470 men, of whom 200 were picked troops. She was reduced to a wreck, with 145 killed and wounded, among the former of whom was the gallant captain.
After this action the English squadron proceeded to Tamatave, then repossessed by the French, and brought the fort to surrender, with all the vessels in the harbour, among which was the Nereide of 44 guns, one of the ships in the preceding engagement. agreed that the garrison and the crew of the Nereide should be sent to France without being considered as prisoners of war.
The close of the year was unfortunately distinguished by disasters at sea arising from storms, of which the royal navy partook in a full proportion. On the night of Dec. 4th, the Saldanha frigate of 32 guns, the Hon. Capt. Pakenham, was lost off Lough Swilley on the northern coast of Ireland, and every soul on board perished. One man alone got to land, but in so exhausted a state that he soon expired.
A dreadful gale in the German ocean, on Dec. 24th, was the occasion of a much more serious loss. The Hero of 74 guns, Capt. Newman, with the Grasshopper sloop, Capt. Fanshawe, which had sailed on Dec. 18th from Wingo Sound, with the Egeria and the Prince William armed ship, and a convoy of 120 sail, encountered tremendous weather after leaving the Sleeve, and being separated from the rest of the fleet, were in company on the 23d, together with about 18 of the convoy steering to the south-west. A heavy squall of
snow and sleet coming on, the Grasshopper lost sight of the rest, and got upon a sand-bink, whence she shifted into deeper water and anchored. In the night the Hero was perceived firing guns, and burning blue lights; but when day broke, she was totally dismasted, on her beam-ends, lying upon the Haak sand, off the Texel island, the crew all crowded to gether on the poop and forecastle. She hoisted a flag of truce and fired a gun, and soon after some small vessels were seen plying out of the Texel to her assistance, but the violence of the wind, and a flood-tide, rendered all their exertions ineffectual, and she went to pieces, not a single person escaping to tell her tale. The Grasshopper, after encountering much danger, was carried into the Texel, and her crew made prisoners to the squadron of Adm. de Winter, who treated them with great humanity. Several ships of the convoy shared the fate of the unfortunate Hero.
The Baltic convoy had previously, in the month of November, undergone some severe storms while yet in and near the Belt, by which several were driven on shore, and came into the hands of the Danes. The convoy was under the care of Admiral Reynolds, on board the St. George of 98 guns, which suffered so much that she was obliged to cut away all her masts. She finally left the Baltic, with the Defence of 74 guns, Capt. Atkins, and was proceeding homewards, when, on the morning of the fatal Dec. 24th, they were both stranded on the
western coast of North Jutland. The Defence first took the ground, and in half an hour went entirely to pieces, all her crew being drowned with the exception of five seamen and a marine, who got to shore upon pieces of the wreck. The St. George inmediately let go. her anchor; but in bringing up, took the ground abaft. It was impossible to assist them from the shore; and all the boats that were hoisted out were driven from the ship, one excepted, in which about 20 men attempted to save themselves, but it upset by the ship's side, and all were drowned. Eleven of the crew only got on shore on pieces of the wreck, and when the last of them left the St. George, on the afternoon of the 25th, the admiral, and Captain Guion, commander of the ship, were lying dead beside each other on the quarter deck, as were also more than 500 of the crew. Only about 50 remained alive, whose cries were heard till it was dark: the ensuing night terminated their sufferings. With these ships were lost nearly 1400 men, who, added to those lost in the Hero and Saldanha, form a greater diminution of British seamen than has occurred in some of the most glorious naval battles. The loss of the St. George's masts in the Belt is assigned as the original cause of the misfortune; but some intelligent mariners assert that it was a fault both in these ships, and the Hero, not to have stood, immediately after clearing the Skager Rack, over to the English coast, as the merchantmen from the Baltic usually do.
Campaign in Portugal.-Retreat of Massena.-Action at Sabugal.Repulse of the French at Fuentes d'Honor.-Their Evacuation of Almeida.- Battle of Albuera.-Siege of Badajos raised.—State of the Portuguese Army.
T the commencement of this
A year, every British eye was Α
anxiously turned to the capital of Portugal, in the vicinity of which lay two powerful armies, one awaiting every opportunity to attack, the other equally vigilant to defend. The allied army under Lord Wellington occupied the strong lines of Torres Vedros, in front of which, at Cartaxo, the commander posted himself with the main body of British. Marshal Massena had his head quarters at Santarem, whilst his troops spread along the Tagus and the Zezere, and his foragers sought subsistence as far as the borders of the Upper Beira. He had strengthened his army by reinforcements from various quarters; and early in January had been joined by a corps estimated at eight thousand men, under General Gardanne. General Claparede had twice attacked the Portuguese General Silveira, in Upper Beira, and obliged him to retreat with loss, and at length had compelled him to evacuate Lamego, and retire across the Douro. In the mean time Marshal Mortier advanced southwards into Spanish Estremadura, took possession on June the 8th of Merida and the bridge over the Guadiana, the Spanish retiring on his approach, and
afterwards blockaded Olivença, which surrendered to the French on the 22d.
The Portuguese ordenanzas were active in Beira; and a body of them, commanded by LieutenantColonel Grant, made a spirited attack on February the 1st, near Guarda, upon a detachment of three thousand men, who were escorting General Foix on his way from Ciudad Rodrigo to join Massena. The result was a consider. able loss to the French of men and baggage.
The two great armies were in very different circumstances with respect to the facility of procuring necessary supplies. Lord Wellington had the capital behind him, with its noble port accessible to all the vessels that the power and wealth of Great Britain could freight; and how burdensome seever the maintenance, not only of the troops, but of a great portion of the population of the country, might be to the finances of England, the commander might rest assured that all his wants would be provided for. Massena, on the other hand, was lying in an already devastated country, remote from all sources of regular supply, and obliged to the precarious aid of convoys for the safe
transmission of such scanty collections of provision as could be made in the surrounding districts. These difficulties at length compelled the French general, however reluctantly, to abandon his boasted purpose of planting his eagles on the walls of Lisbon, and driving the English into the sea; and on the night of March the 5th, he quitted his strong camp at Santarem, leaving behind and destroying some of his heavy artillery and ammunition. The first movements of the French indicated an intention of collecting a force at Thomar; for which reason Lord Wellington caused a detachment of Marshal Beresford's corps to march in that direction, while he himself put the main army in motion to follow the enemy. Massena, however, proceeded for the Mondego, retreating from the country, as he had entered it, in one solid mass, and covering his rear with one or two divisions, which successively occupied the strong positions continually presented by the nature of the ground, and were supported by the main army. The allied army pressed closely upon the retiring French, bringing them to action whenever an opportunity offered, and occasionally killing and taking prisoners a considerable number, though the skill of their commander preserved them from any great disaster The result of Lord Wellington's operations was to save Coimbra and Upper Beira from the enemy's ravages, and obliged them to take the road fowards the Spanish frońtiers, with no other provisions excepting what they acquired by plunder on the spot. Necessity might excuse some pillage, but
they eternally disgraced themselves by the most wanton acts of cruelty. "Their conduct (says Lord Wellington) throughout this retreat has been marked by a barbarity seldom equalled, and never surpassed. Even in the town of Torres Novas, Thomar, and Pernes, in which the head quarters of some of the corps had been for fout months, and in which the inhabi tants had been induced by promises of good treatment to remain, they were plundered, and many of their houses destroyed on the night the enemy withdrew from their position; and they have since burnt every town and village through which they have passed." They facilitated their retreat by abandoning their wounded, and destroying their baggage, and whatever else could encumber their march. They were successively driven from various strong positions, but retained in force one upon Guarda till the close of March, when, upon the advance of the allied main army, they retired, without firing a shot, to Sabugal on the Coá, upon the banks of which river, which flows near and parallel to the Spanish border, they took a new position. Here they were attacked on April 3d, by the allied troops in several divisions, when a sharp action en, sued, which terminated in the retreat of the French with a loss of about two hundred killed and three hundred prisoners. They entered Spain on the following day, and continued their retreat across the Agueda. Lord Wellington then made arrangements for the blockade of Almeida; and active operations in this quarter being for a time suspended, he went to the
corps under Marshal Beresford in Spanish Estremadura. That general, after the capture of Badajos and Campo Mayor by the French, had advanced upon the enemy with an united force of British and Por tuguese, and on March 26th bad routed a French corps with considerable loss, and recovered Campo Mayor. He then threw bridges across the Guadiana, and pushed his advanced posts to the vicinity of Olivença, where the French attacked them on April 7th, but were repulsed He afterwards took a position whence he could invest both Olivença and Badajos, in both which places the enemy had left small garrisons on their retreat from the province. Olivença surrendered at discretion on the 15th, and the marshal met General Wellington at Elvas on the 21st. On the following day they reconnoitered Padajos, the blockade of which was established; and Lord Wellington then returned to his
During the absence of the general, the enemy had made two unsuccessful attacks upon the Biitish picquets upon the Azava, and bad collected a very large force at Ciudad Rodrigo, at which place were Massena's head quarters. On the 2d of May, the whole French army, consisting of the 2d, 6th, and 8th corps, with all the cavalry that could be collected in the provinces of Castille and Leon, recrossed the Agueda at Ciudad Rodrigo, and advanced towards the allied army posted between the Coa and the Agueda for the purpose of blockading Almeida. The inferiority of the latter in cavalry did not permit Lord Wellington to oppose their march, which they
continued the next day towards the river of Duas Casas, along which, aud at the sources of the Azava, the allied army was ranged, with their light division at Gallegos and Espeja. This division, with the British cavalry, as the enemy advanced, fell back upon Fuentes d'Honor on the Duas Casas, where three other divisions were posted, while others were guarding the passages of the river, and a corps was left to maintain the blockade of Almeida. On the afternoon of the 3d, the French with a large force attacked the village of Fuentes d'Honor, which was very gallantry defended by Lieut.-Col. Williams, at the head of some battalions of light infantry. The enemy, by repeated efforts, obtained momentary possession of part of the village, from which they were driven by a charge of the 71st regiment, led by the Hanourable Lieutenant-Colonel Cadogan. Other reinforcements were sent by Lord Wellington, and the contest, after continuing till night, left the allies in possession of the whole post.
On May the 4th, the enemy reconnoitred the position of the allies on the Duas Casas, and during that night General Junot's corps was moved from Alameda to the left of the position occupied by the 6th corp-opposite Fuentes d'Honor. On the morning of the 6th, all the different French corps, with the cavalry, united in a vigorous attempt to cross the Duas Casas, and gain possession of Fuentes d'Honor. After a variety of partial actions and movements, which cannot be made intelligible without a plan, but which seem to have been directed with great judgment