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On Campaign With Moore and Wellington

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On Campaign With Moore and Wellington
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Author(s): Anthony Hamilton
Date Published: 2009/03
Page Count: 124
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-631-1
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-632-8

A 'Light Bob' tells of his war against Napoleon

Irishman Anthony Hamilton enlisted in the 43rd Light Infantry and soon found himself in action with the Danish expedition. Shortly thereafter the first campaign in the Iberian peninsula began and Hamilton sailed with his regiment to Portugal. Under Moore he experienced the campaign and battles of Rolica, Vimiero and the evacuation at Corunna. Returning under Wellington the author takes us to Talavera, Busaco, Albuera and many other pivotal actions leading to the momentous victory at Vittoria. This is a concise and entertaining account of the Napoleonic War the ordinary British soldier knew and is an essential book for the library of every student of the period.

During his advance, the enemy experienced little opposition, and without difficulty gained possession of a village situated on the brow of the ascent; but, no sooner did he crown the height, then he found us drawn up to receive him, and his column became exposed to a most destructive fire, both of musketry and artillery. This however was but of short duration, yet, so long, that the leading regiments of the assailants were almost totally annihilated. A charge of bayonets followed; the whole column was routed, and driven down the hill with prodigious slaughter.<br>
We pursued them into the village, when we were stopped by some artillery which they had there in reserve. While endeavouring to regain the hill, I ran into a house which was deserted, in order to avoid their fire, for a moment, and while there, I observed the end of a sword hanging from the chimney just below the jamb. Thinking there must be an owner to it; I looked up the chimney and discovered a French officer, who had hid there to escape pursuit. I immediately pulled him down and told him that he was my prisoner, upon which he took out a gold watch and gave it to me if I would release him. I immediately took the watch, and was leaving in a hurry, when unfortunately for the Frenchman; I met another soldier at the door, who however consented to let him go upon his giving him his gold epaulets.<br>
A very curious incident occurred before we charged the enemy upon the ascent. While they were advancing up the hill, a field-officer was observed upon a very fine horse at a short distance from the main body. A private of our regiment by the name of Carroll, asked permission from his captain, to go out and take possession of the officer’s horse. The captain readily gave him permission, though laughing at the idea and the soldier sprang out of the ranks towards the enemy, waving his shako upon his bayonet. The enemy surprised, and thinking that perhaps he was the bearer of some message, or something of the kind, did not fire upon him, and running up to the officer, as if about to communicate something, he seized him by the leg, and being a very strong, man, threw him instantly upon the ground. Throwing himself quickly upon the horse he rode back into our ranks, amid the cheers of his comrades.<br>
At about eight o’clock in the morning, a fog came on, which, for a time, particularly obscured the positions of the two armies; when the day cleared, however, it was discovered that the French had placed large bodies of light troops in the woods which skirted the bottom of the Sierra. In consequence, a continued skirmishing took place during the day. It was probably the intention of Massena, by this manoeuvre, to draw Lord Wellington into an engagement of some consequence, in a situation where the advantage of position should be less decidedly in his favour. But Lord Wellington was immovable. He advanced the brigade of Colonel Pakenham to the support of the light troops, but directed them to retire when pressed, leaving his position again open to the enemy, should he think proper to attack it. Massena however, was but little inclined to avail himself of the facility thus afforded.
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