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      [19] Thus, when Bressani, tortured by the tightness of the cords that bound him, asked an Indian to loosen them, he would reply by mockery, if others were present; but if no one saw him, he usually complied.


      By this dispersion of the Spaniards the British battalions were wholly exposed, and the whole might of Soult's force was thrown upon them. A tremendous fire from the hills, where the Spaniards ought to have stood, was opened on the British ranks, and several regiments were almost annihilated in a little time. But the 31st regiment, belonging to Colborne's brigade, supported by Horton's brigade, stood their ground under a murderous fire of artillery, and the fiery charge of both horse and foot. They must soon have fallen to a man, but Beresford quickly sent up a Portuguese brigade, under General Harvey, to round the hill on the right, and other troops, under Abercrombie, to compass it on the left; while, at the suggestion of Colonel (afterwards Lord) Hardinge, he pushed forward General Cole with his brigade of fusiliers up the face of the hill. These three divisions appeared on the summit simultaneously. The advance of these troops through the tempest of death has always been described as something actually sublime. Moving onward, unshaken, undisturbed, though opposed by the furious onslaught of Soult's densest centre, they cleared the hill-top with the most deadly and unerring fire; they swept away a troop of Polish lancers that were murderously riding about goring our wounded men, as they lay on the ground, with their long lances.


      On the 28th Massena had discovered the pass of Boyalva through these hills, to the north of Busaco, which Wellington had ordered Colonel Trant to occupy. But Trant had missed his way, and did not reach the pass in time. Wellington saw, therefore, his flank turned, and the enemy on the highway to Oporto. He therefore quitted his position, and, taking Coimbra in his way, compelled such of the inhabitants as had not obeyed his order to march along with him. On the 1st of October he was on his route southward, accompanied by this strange crowd. It was a perfect exodus, and appeared to the poor inhabitants as a severe measure, but to it they owed their after-salvation. Had they remained, it would have been only to suffer the oppressions and insults of the French, and to see them supporting themselves on their provisions. As it was, the French, on entering Coimbra, found it, as they had done Viseu, totally deserted, and the stacks of corn and provision that could not be carried away, for the most part too adroitly buried to be easily found. They were left to the starvation that the English general designed for them. But what a scene on the road! The whole country moving south with the cattle and sheep, and waggons laden with their goods. "No power of description," said an eye-witness, "can convey to the mind of any reader the afflicting scenes, the[605] cheerless desolation that we daily witnessed on our march from the Mondego to the lines. Where-ever we moved, the mandate, which enjoined the wretched inhabitants to forsake their homes and to remove or destroy their little property, had gone before us. The villages were deserted; the churchesretreats so often, yet so vainly confided inwere empty; the mountain cottages stood open and untenanted; the mills in the valley, but yesterday so busy, were motionless and silent. From Thomar the flanks of our line of march were literally covered with the flying population of the country. In Portugal there are at no time many facilities for travelling, and those few the exigencies of the army had very greatly diminished. Rich indeed were those who still retained a cabriolet, and mules for its service. Those who had bullock-cars, asses, or any mode of transporting their families and property, looked contented and grateful; for respectable men and delicate women of the second class might on every side be seen walking slowly and painfully on foot, encumbered by heavy burdens of clothes, bedding, and food." It was a whole country in emigration; quitting their cities, homes, and fields to coop themselves up in the vicinity of Lisbon, for the stern purpose of starving the detested enemy out of the land.[Pg 350]

      * Dumesnil, Mmoire. Under date August 31 the Journal des


      [239] Tonty, 1684, 1693. In the spurious narrative, published in Tonty's name, the account is embellished and exaggerated. Compare Membr in Le Clerc, ii. 227. La Salle's statements in the Relation of 1682 (Thomassy, 12) sustain those of Tonty.

      VIEW IN THE OLD TOWN, WARSAW.

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      CHAPTER XVI. THE REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued). H. M. Sandford, made Lord Mount Sandford.

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      Bagration, prevented by Jerome of Westphalia from pursuing his route towards Drissa, changed his course towards Minsk; but finding himself outstripped there too, he made for the Beresina, and effected a passage at Bobruisk. He then ascended the Dnieper as far as Mohilev; but, finding himself anticipated by Davoust, he attacked that general in the hope of cutting his way through. In this he failed, after a sharply-contested engagement, and once more he retired down the Dnieper, and crossed at Nevoi-Bikoff, which enabled him to pursue his course for a union with Barclay de Tolly, who was making for Smolensk. Thus Bagration, though running imminent hazard of being cut off, managed to out-man?uvre Napoleon himselfa new event in his campaigns. On his march, his troops had several encounters with the French and Polish cavalry; but Platoff showed great gallantry, and often severely punished the enemy. day. A very interesting account of it was published in the


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