General the Earl of Wellington, K.B., to the
Earl Bathurst, Secretary of State.
' Flores de Avila, 24th July, 1812.
' MY LORD,
' My aide de camp, Captain Lord Clinton, will
present to your Lordship this account of a victory which the allied troops
under my command gained in a general action, fought near Salamanca on the
evening of the 22nd instant, which I have been under the necessity of delaying
to send till now, having been engaged ever since the action in the pursuit of
the enemy's flying troops.
' In my letter of the 21st, I informed your Lordship that
both armies were near the Tormes; and the enemy crossed that river, with the
greatest part of his troops, in the afternoon, by the fords between Alba de
Tormes and Huerta, and moved by their left towards the roads leading to Ciudad
' The allied army, with the exception of the 3rd division,
and General D'Urban's cavalry, likewise crossed the Tormes in the evening by
the bridge of Salamanca and the fords in the neighbourhood; and I placed the
troops in a position, of which the right was upon one of the two heights called
Dos Arapiles, and the left on the Tormes, below the ford of Sta Marta.
' The 3rd division, and Brig. General D'Urban's cavalry,
were left at Cabrerizos, on the right of the Tormes, as the enemy had still a
large corps on the heights above Babila-fuente, on the same side of the river;
and I considered it not improable that, finding our army prepared for them in
the morning on the left of the Tormes, they would alter their plan, and
manuvre by the other bank.
' In the course of the night of the 21st, I received
intelligence, of the truth of which I could not doubt, that General Clausel had
arrived at Pollos on the 20th, with the cavalry and horse artillery of the army
of the North, to join Marshal Marmont; and I was quite certain that these
troops would join him on the 22nd or 23rd at latest.
' There was no time to be lost therefore, and I determined
that if circumstances should not permit me to attack him on the 22nd, I would
move towards Ciudad Rodrigo without further loss of time, as the difference of
the numbers of cavalry might have made a march of manuvre, such as we
have had for the last four or five days, very difficult, and its result
' During the night of the 21st, the enemy had taken
possession of the village of Calvarassa de Arriba, and of the heights near it
called Nuestra Senora de la Peña, our cavalry being in possession of
Calvarassa de Abaxo; and, shortly after daylight, detachments from both armies
attempted to obtain possession of the more distant from our right of the two
hills called Dos Arapiles.
' The enemy, however, succeeded; their detachments being the
strongest, and having been concealed in the woods nearer the hill than we were;
by which success they strengthened materially their own position, and had in
their power increased means of annoying ours.
' In the morning, the light troops of the 7th division, and
the 4th Caçadores belonging to General Pack's brigade, were engaged with
the enemy on the height called Nuestra Senora de la Peña, on which
height they maintained themselves with the enemy throughout the day. The
possession by the enemy, however, of the more distant of the Arapiles rendered
it necessary for me to extend the right of the army en potence to the height
behind the village of Arapiles, and to occupy that village with light infantry;
and here I placed the 4th division, under the command of Lieut., General the
Hon. L. Cole: and although, from the variety of the enemy's movements, it was
difficult to form a satisfactory judgment of his intentions, I considered that
upon the whole his objects were upon the left of the Tormes. I therefore
ordered Major General the Hon. E. Pakenham, who commanded the 3rd division in
the absence of Lieut. General Picton, on account of ill health, to move across
the Tormes with the troops under his command, including Brig. General D'Urban's
cavalry, and to place himself behind Aldea Tejada; Brig. General Bradford's
brigade of Portuguese infantry, and Don Carlos de España's infantry,
having been moved up likewise to the neighbourhood of Las Torres, between the
3rd and 4th divisions.
' After a variety of evolutions and movements, the enemy
appears to have determined upon his plan about two in the afternoon; and, under
cover of a very heavy cannonade, which, however, did us but very little damage,
he extended his left, and moved forward his troops, apparently with an
intention to embrace, by the position of his troops, and by his fire, our post
on that of the two Arapiles which we possessed, and from thence to attack and
break our line, or, at all events, to render difficult any movement of ours to
' The extension of his line to his left, however, and its
advance upon our right, notwithstanding that his troops still occupied very
strong ground, and his position was well defended by cannon, gave me an
opportunity of attacking him, for which I had long been anxious. I reinforced
our right with the 5th division, under Lieut. General Leith, which I placed
behind the village of Arapiles, on the right of the 4th division, and with the
6th and 7th divisions in reserve; and as soon as these troops had taken their
station, I ordered Major General the Hon. E. Pakenham to move forward with the
3rd division and General D'Urban's cavalry, and two squadrons of the 14th light
dragoons, under Lieut. Colonel Hervey, in four columns, to turn the enemy's
left on the heights; while Brig. General Bradford's brigade, the 5th division,
under Lieut. General Leith, the 4th division, under Lieut. General the Hon. L.
Cole, and the cavalry under Lieut. General Sir Stapleton Cotton, should attack
them in front, supported in reserve by the 6th division, under Major General
Clinton, the 7th, under Major General Hope, and Don Carlos de España's
Spanish division ; and Brig. General Pack should support the left of the 4th
division, by attacking that of the Dos Arapiles which the enemy held. The 1st
and Light divisions occupied the ground on the left, and were in reserve.
' The attack upon the enemy's left was made in the manner
above described, and completely succeeded. Major General the Hon. E. Pakenham
formed the 3rd division across the enemy's flank, and overthrew every thing
opposed to him. These troops were supported in the most gallant style by the
Portuguese cavalry, under Brig. General D'Urban, and Lieut. Colonel Hervey's
squadrons of the 14th, who successfully defeated every attempt made by the
enemy on the flank of the 3rd division.
' Brig. General Bradford's brigade, the 5th and 4th
divisions, and the cavalry under Lieut. General Sir Stapleton Cotton, attacked
the enemy in front, and drove his troops before them from one height to
another, bringing forward their right, so as to acquire strength upon the
enemy's flank in proportion to the advance. Brig General Pack made a very
gallant attack upon the Arapiles, in which, however, he did not succeed,
excepting in diverting the attention of the enemy's corps placed upon it from
the troops under the command of Lieut. General Cole in his advance.
' The cavalry under Lieut. General Sir Stapleton Cotton made
a most gallant and successful charge against a body of the enemy's infantry,
which they overthrew and cut to pieces. In this charge Major General Le
Marchant was killed at the head of his brigade; and I have to regret the loss
of a most able officer.
' After the crest of the height was carried, one division of
the enemy's infantry made a stand against the 4th division, which, after a
severe contest, was obliged to give way, in consequence of the enemy having
thrown some troops on the left of the 4th division, after the failure of Brig.
General Pack's attack upon the Arapiles, and Lieut. General the Hon. L. Cole
having been wounded.
' Marshal Sir William Beresford, who happened to be on the
spot, directed Brig. General Spry's brigade of the 5th division, which was in
the second line, to change its front, and to bring its fire on the flank of the
enemy's division; and, I am sorry to add that, while engaged in this service,
he received a wound which I am apprehensive will deprive me of the benefit of
his counsel and assistance for some time. Nearly about the same time Lieut.
General Leith received a wound which unfortunately obliged him to quit the
field. I ordered up the 6th division, under Major General Clinton, to relieve
the 4th, and the battle was soon restored to its former success.
' The enemy's right, however, reinforced by the troops which
had fled from his left, and by those which had now retired from the Arapiles,
still continued to resist; and I ordered the 1st and Light divisions, and
Colonel Stubbs's Portuguese brigade of the 4th division, which was reformed,
and Major General William Anson's brigade, likewise of the 4th division, to
turn the right while the 6th division, supported by the 3rd and 5th, attacked
the front. It was dark before this point was carried by the 6th division; and
the enemy fled through the woods towards the Tormes. I pursued them with the
1st and Light divisions, and Major General William Anson's brigade of the 4th
division, and some squadrons of cavalry under Lieut. General Sir Stapleton
Cotton, as long as we could find any of them together, directing our march upon
Huerta and the fords of the Tormes, by which the enemy had passed on their
advance; but the darkness of the night was highly advantageous to the enemy,
many of whom escaped under its cover who must otherwise have been in our hands.
' I am sorry to report that, owing to this same cause,
Lieut. General Sir Stapleton Cotton was unfortunately wounded by one of our own
sentries after we had halted.
' We renewed the pursuit at break of day in the morning with
the same troops, and Major General Bock's and Major General Anson's brigades of
cavalry, which joined during the night; and, having crossed the Tormes, we came
up with the enemy's rear of cavalry and infantry near La Serna. They were
immediately attacked by the two brigades of dragoons, and the cavalry fled,
leaving the infantry to their fate. I have never witnessed a more gallant
charge than was made on the enemy's infantry by the heavy brigade of the King's
German Legion, under Major General Bock, which was completely successful; and
the whole body of infantry, consisting of three battalions of the enemy's 1st
division, were made prisoners.
' The pursuit was afterwards continued as far as
Peñaranda last night, and our troops were still following the flying
' Their head quarters were in this town, not less than ten
leagues from the field of battle, for a few hours last night; and they are now
considerably advanced on the road towards Valladolid, by Arevalo. They were
joined yesterday on their retreat by the cavalry and artillery of the army of
the North, which have arrived at too late a period, it is to be hoped, to be of
much use to them.
' It is impossible to form a conjecture of the amount of the
enemy's loss in this action; but, from all reports, it is very considerable. We
have taken from them 11 pieces of cannon, several ammunition waggons, 2 eagles,
and 6 colors; and 1 General, 3 Colonels, 3 Lieut. Colonels, 130 officers of
inferior rank, and between 6000 and 7000 soldiers are prisoners ; and our
detachments are sending in more at every moment. The number of dead on the
field is very large.
' I am informed that Marshal Marmont is badly wounded, and
has lost one of his arms; and that four General Officers have been killed, and
' Such an advantage could not have been acquired without
material loss on our side; but it certainly has not been of a magnitude to
distress the army, or to cripple its operations.
' I have great pleasure in reporting to your Lordship that,
throughout this trying day, of which I have related the events, I had every
reason to be satisfied with the conduct of the General Officers and troops.
' The relation which I have written of its events will give
a general idea of the share which each individual had in them; and I cannot say
too much in praise of the conduct of every individual in his station.
' I am much indebted to Marshal Sir William Beresford for
his friendly counsel and assistance, both previous to, and during the action;
to Lieut. Generals Sir Stapleton Cotton, Leith, and Cole, and Major Generals
Clinton, and the Hon. E. Pakenham, for the manner in which they led the
divisions of cavalry and infantry under their command respectively; to Major
General Hulse, commanding a brigade in the 6th division; Major General G.
Anson, commanding a brigade of cavalry; Colonel Hinde ; Colonel the Hon.
William Ponsonby, commanding Major General Le Marchant's brigade after the fall
of that officer; to Major General W. Anson, commanding a brigade in the 4th
division; Major General Pringle, commanding a brigade in the 5th division, and
the division after Lieut. General Leith was wounded; Brig. General Bradford;
Brig. General Spry; Colonel Stubbs ; and Brig. General Power, of the Portuguese
service; likewise to Lieut. Colonel Campbell of the 94th, commanding a brigade
in the 3rd division; Lieut. Colonel Williams of the 60th foot; Lieut. Colonel
Wallace of the 88th, commanding a brigade in the 3rd division; Lieut. Colonel
Ellis of the 23rd, commanding Major General the Hon. E. Pakenham's brigade in
the 4th division, during his absence in the command of the 3rd division; Lieut.
Colonel the Hon. C. Greville of the 38th regiment, commanding Major General
Hay's brigade in the 5th division, during his absence on leave; Brig. General
Pack; Brig. General the Conde de Rezende of the Portuguese service; Colonel
Douglas of the 8th Portuguese regiment; Lieut. Colonel the Conde de Ficalho of
the same regiment; and Lieut. Colonel Bingham of the 53rd regiment; likewise to
Brig. General D'Urban and Lieut. Colonel Hervey of the 14th light dragoons;
Colonel Lord Edward Somerset, commanding the 4th dragoons; and Lieut. Colonel
the Hon. F Ponsonby, commanding the 12th light dragoons.
' I must also mention Lieut. Colonel Woodford, commanding
the light battalion of the brigade of Guards, who, supported by two companies
of the Fusiliers, under the command of Captain Crowder, maintained the village
of Arapiles against all the efforts of the enemy, previous to the attack upon
their position by our troops.
' In a case in which the conduct of all has been
conspicuously good, I regret that the necessary limits of a dispatch prevent me
from drawing your Lordship's notice to the conduct of a larger number of
individuals; but I can assure your Lordship that there was no officer or corps
engaged in this action who did not perform his duty by his Sovereign and his
' The Royal and German Artillery, under Lieut. Colonel
Framingham, distinguished themselves by the accuracy of their fire wherever it
was possible to use them; and they advanced to the attack of the enemy's
position with the same gallantry as the other troops.
' I am particularly indebted to Lieut. Colonel De Lancy, the
Deputy Quarter Master General, the head of the department present, in the
absence of the Quarter Master General, and to the officers of that department
and of the Staff corps, for the assistance I received from them, particularly
Lieut. Colonel the Hon. L. Dundas and Lieut. Colonel Sturgeon of the latter,
and Major Scovell of the former; and to Lieut. Colonel Waters, at present at
the head of the Adjutant General's department at head quarters; and to the
officers of that department, as well at head quarters as with the several
divisions of the army; and Lieut. Colonel Lord Fitzroy Somerset, and the
officers of my personal Staff. Among the latter I particularly request your
Lordship to draw the attention of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent to His
Serene Highness the Hereditary Prince of Orange, whose conduct in the field, as
well as upon every other occasion, entitles him to my highest commendation, and
has acquired for him the respect and regard of the whole army.
' I have had every reason to be satisfied with the conduct
of the Mariscal de Campo Don Carlos de España, and of Brigadier Don
Julian Sanchez, and with that of the troops under their command respectively;
and with that of the Mariscal de Campo Don Miguel Alava, and of Brigadier Don
Josef O'Lalor, employed with this army by the Spanish Government, from whom,
and from the Spanish authorities and people in general, I received every
assistance I could expect.
' It is but justice likewise to draw your Lordship's
attention upon this occasion to the merits of the officers of the civil
departments of the army. Notwithstanding the increased distance of our
operations from our magazines, and that the country is completely exhausted, we
have hitherto wanted nothing, owing to the diligence and attention of the
Commissary General, Mr. Bissett, and the officers of the department under his
' I have likewise to mention that, by the attention and
ability of Dr. M'Grigor, and of the officers of the department under his
charge, our wounded, as well as those of the enemy, left in our hands, have
been well taken care of; and I hope that many of these valuable men will be
saved to the service.
' Captain Lord Clinton will have the honor of laying at the
feet of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent the eagles and colors taken from
the enemy in this action.
' I enclose a return of the killed and wounded.
' By letters received from Lieut. Colonel Sir Howard
Douglas, I learn that General Santocildes had left 8000 men to carry on the
siege of Astorga, and had joined General Cabrera's division at Benavente with
about 3000; and that the whole 7000 were on their march along the Esla towards
' I have the honor to be, &c. WELLINGTON.
|Rank and File
General the Earl of Wellington, K.B., to
Lieut. General Sir Thomas Graham, K.B.
Flores de Avila, 25th July, 1812.
MY DEAR SIR,
' I cannot allow the dispatches to go off
without writing you a few lines respecting our action of the 22nd. You will see
our previous movements detailed in my dispatch of the 21st, and that of
' I took up the ground which you were to have taken during
the siege of. Salamanca, only the left was thrown back on the heights, it being
unnecessary, under the circumstances, to cover the ford of Sta Marta. We had a
race for the large Arapiles, which is the more distant of the two detached
heights which you will recollect on the right of your position: this race the
French won, and they were too strong to be dislodged without a general action.
' I knew that the French were to be joined by the cavalry of
the army of the North on the 22nd or 23rd, and that the army of the Centre was
likely to be in motion. Marmont ought to have given me a pont d'or, and he
would have made a handsome operation of it. But instead of that, after
manuvring all the morning in the usual French style, nobody knew with
what object, he at last pressed upon my right in such a manner, at the same
time without engaging, that he would have either carried our Arapiles, or he
would have confined us entirely to our position. This was not to be endured,
and we fell upon him, turning his left flank; and I never saw an army receive
such a beating.
' I had desired the Spaniards to continue to occupy the
castle of Alba de Tormes. -- had evacuated it, I believe, before he knew my
wishes; and he was afraid to let me know that he had done so; and I did not
know it till I found no enemy at the fords of the Tormes. When I lost sight of
them in the dark, I marched upon Huerta and Encinas, and they went by Alba. If
I had known there had been no garrison in Alba, I should have marched there,
and should probably have had the whole.
' Marmont, Clausel, Foy, Ferrey, and Bonet, are wounded
badly. Ferrey, it is supposed, will die. Thomière is killed. Many
Generals of brigade killed or wounded.
' I need not express how much I regret the disorder in your
eyes since this action.
' I am in great hopes that our loss has not been great. In
two divisions, the 3rd and 5th, it is about 1200 men, including Portuguese.
There are more in the 4th and 6th; but there are many men who left the ranks
with wounded officers and soldiers, who are eating and drinking, and engaged in
regocijos with the inhabitants of Salamanca: I have sent, however, to have them
all turned out of the town.
' I hope that you receive benefit from the advice of the
oculists in London.
' Believe me, &c.
' Lieut. General '
' Beresford's wound is not dangerous. Leith's arm is broken,
and his wound painful. Cole's wound is through the body, and it is apprehended
will be tedious. Cotton's is through the fleshy part, and the two bones of his
arm. It may be a bad wound, if there should be hæmorrhage.'