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Wellington's Dispatches
July 3rd - 6th, 1809


Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to Don Martin de Garay.

' Zarza Mayor, 3rd July, 1809.

' SIR,

'I have had the honor of receiving your Excellency's letter of the 29th June. When I was about to march the British army into the north of Portugal, I wrote to General Cuesta and to your Excellency on the 29th of April, recommending a defensive system for the Spanish armies on the frontiers of Andalusia. I gave this recommendation, not because the continuance of the Spanish armies on the defensive was likely to prevent the enemy from interrupting the operations of the British army; for it was obvious to me, as it must be to your Excellency, that the best mode of preventing the enemy from undertaking such an operation would have been for the Spanish armies to act upon the offensive; but I recommended that General Cuesta and General Vanegas should continue on the defensive till I should be able to return to their assistance, from a conviction, that although the army under the command of each was more numerous than that opposed to it, yet the armies of the enemy were more inured to war; and I promised to return and give that assistance which would render the contest more advantageous, at least as soon as I should have settled affairs to the northward.

'According to my promise, I did return, as soon as Marshal Soult was driven out of Portugal; and my march into Spain has been delayed till this moment only on account of the want of some necessaries, without which the army could not move; and it did move, without waiting for its reinforcements, on the day after its wants were supplied.

' I have the pleasure to inform your Excellency, that the advanced guard passed the frontier this day; the army will follow to-morrow and the following days; and no time shall be lost in placing ourselves in communication with General Cuesta.

'I shall be much concerned if, in the intermediate time, the enemy should fall with his whole concentrated force on General Cuesta or General Vanegas. But as both these Generals are aware of the superiority of the enemy's strength, and the former, in particular, is aware of my near approach to him, I conclude that each of them will have placed themselves in such a situation, as that the misfortune which your Excellency apprehends cannot occur.

' I have the honor to be, &c. ' ARTHUR WELLESLEY,

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to Commissary General Murray.

'Zarza Mayor, 3rd July, 1809.


' I have received your letter of the 1st. It is necessary that your measures adopted both at Gibraltar and Cadiz, to procure money for bills upon England, should be much more extensive than you have stated them to be. Your agents at those places and at Lisbon should have unlimited power of drawing upon the Lords of the Treasury, otherwise some money may be directed into other channels, and I know that we have no chance of receiving supplies of money in future excepting for our bills upon England.

' Claims for deliveries of provisions must not be paid, of course, unless the receipts for the deliveries should be produced. It may be proper to allow those claims, upon a consideration of the particular circumstances in which the deliveries were made by the Commander of the Forces. But the safe rule for your Commissariat is, to reject, in the first instance, all claims not duly vouched by receipts.

' Believe me, &c. ' ARTHUR WELLESLEY.

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to the Right Hon. J. H. Frere.

'Zarza Mayor, 3rd July, 1809.


' I enclose the copy of a letter which I have received from Don Martin de Garay, and my answer, which I beg of you either to send to that gentleman, or to communicate to him its purport.

' I do not think that Don Martin has made a correct or a fair reference to my letter of the 29th of April to General Cuesta and himself; nor does he act very fairly in attributing to me the misfortune which may possibly befall General Cuesta or General Vanegas. I have repeatedly warned General Cuesta of the danger to which he was exposed till I should join him.

' Believe me, &c. ' ARTHUR WELLESLEY.

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to lieut. Colonel Roche.

Zarza Mayor, 4th July, 1809.

' SIR,

' I have just received your letter of the 3rd. I shall be obliged to you to send me to Coria, where I shall be on the 6th, the particulars of the intelligence acquired by the intercepted letters from Victor to King Joseph.

' I am glad that General Vanegas has put himself in safety.

' I shall be very much obliged to you if you will endeavor to obtain for me an accurate account of the course of the Alberche, the nature of its banks, the depth of water, &c., particularly low down towards Talavera; whether there are many bridges over that river besides that which has been broken up, or fords, or ferries, the nature of the roads leading to such passages on both sides the river, through what towns they pass.

' I shall also be obliged to you if you will mention to General O'Donoju, that I think it would be very desirable, if possible, to get some intelligent person to examine the lower part of the Alberche, and the enemy's position upon that river. Till the post of cavalry, mentioned by you, and the infantry which they must have at Talavera, are driven in, it will be impossible to employ an officer in this reconnoissance, unless in disguise.

' I also request you to mention to General O'Donoju, that I conceive it will be desirable to occupy the Puerto de Baños with the Spanish infantry, which I understand are at Plasencia, as soon as I shall arrive at that city with the British army; they will strengthen our whole position, while we are engaged in our operations against Victor.

' I have the honor to be, &c. 'ARTHUR WELLESLEY.

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to the Right Hon. John Villiers.

' Zarza Mayor, 4th July, 1809.


' I received this day your letters of the 29th June and 1st instant. I think you had better employ the physician you mention with the Portuguese troops; I am afraid that he would not answer for us.

'I shall appoint Mr. Lees to the Commissariat, and Mr. Melville shall go back to the Pay Office, if the Paymaster General requires his services.

' I think that I shall not want either of the gentlemen you recommend as my aide de camp, for I have as many as I want; and I read Spanish, and always enter my answers in English'

' I shall have the officers tried by a General Court Martial; but I should wish to have a line from you officially upon the subject.

'We are advancing towards Plasencia, where, I think, the army will be collected by the 12th. Cuesta is upon the Tagus; but whether on the right or left bank I cannot say. I heard on the 29th that he intended to pass again to the left bank, as he had heard that King Joseph had arrived at Toledo with 5,000 men, and that the whole French army was collecting at Talavera.

' Vanegas is at Villarta with his army. I should not be surprised if we had to fight a battle for the possession of Madrid.

' I do not think it quite certain that the Donegal has passed Lisbon. Lord Wellesley was not expected at Portsmouth, on the 18th June, till the middle of that week, which would have brought us to the 23rd or 24th; and it is not probable that he would have passed by on the 29th. The Resistance passed Oporto on the 28th, and most probably Lisbon on the 29th, on her way to Messina.

' Believe me, &c. ' ARTHUR WELLESLEY.

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to Vice Admiral the Hon. G. Berkeley.

' Coria, 5th July, 1809.

' SIR,

' It is desirable that the transports, lately arrived from Ireland and the islands, should be sent back to England, as well as those respecting which I wrote to you on the 30th June reserving, of those last arrived, tonnage for infantry to carry 2000 men, of the two battalions of detachments which I propose to send back from the army, and to England, as soon as I shall have ascertained exactly the movements and intentions of the enemy. This tonnage is in addition to the 5000 tons mentioned in my letter of the 30th June. I am also of opinion that the transports which brought out the horse artillery ought to be sent home as soon as possible.

I have the honor to be, &c. 'ARTHUR WELLESLEY.

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to the Right Hon. John Villiers.

' Coria, 6th July, 1809.


'Since I wrote to you last, I find that Cuesta has passed, and is on the left bank of the Tagus. The French have crossed the Alberche, near Talavera, where they have a good position. They have detached across the Tagus; and I believe King Joseph himself is gone in pursuit of Vanegas, who has retired towards the passes of the Sierra Morena, so that all is safe till we shall arrive.

'I shall be at Plasencia on the 8th. The whole army will be there on the 12th, Craufurd excepted.

' Believe me, &c. ' ARTHUR WELLESLEY.

'I believe that the northern French were at Zamora in the beginning of the month. I have reason to think they are moving from thence to Valladolid. Franceschi has been taken, with his two aides de camp, riding post between Toro and Tordesillas, on his road to Valladolid; and I understand that a division of troops was in march at no great distance from the place where he was taken, in the same direction.'

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A Wellesley, K. B., to Marshal Beresford.

' Coria, 6th July, 1809


' I received your letter of the 2nd last night. I have done every thing you have recommended respecting our new troops; that is, I have ordered them to encamp near Lisbon for some time.

'I am ordered positively to give you nothing; particularly neither ordnance nor military stores, as every thing of that kind was to be given in the way of subsidy. I am willing, however, to assist you, if Mr. Villiers will give me a receipt, or will authorize any one else to give me a receipt for the articles delivered.

' If Mr. Villiers should decline to do this, to which, by the bye, he has consented both in conversation and by letter to me, I cannot allow you to have any thing, even though I do not want what is essentially necessary to you. If the service should fail in consequence, the fault is not mine.

' I have written to the commandants of Abrantes and Castello Branco, to beg them to assist our convoys with escorts of militia. Our battalions are so lamentably weak, that this is necessary.

' I observe, from a letter from Colonel Cox, that the Duque del Parque is disposed to annex conditions to the permission you have asked to encamp within the Spanish frontiers, a compliance with which will defeat the great object of collecting your army.

' Believe me, &e. ' ARTHUR WELLESLEY.

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to the Junta of Plasencia.

' Coria, 6th July, 1809.


' I have had the honor of receiving the letter of the Junta of Plasencia, dated the 4th instant; and I am very sensible of the attention and kindness of the Junta in their expressions in their letter to me, as weld as in their proclamation to the people under their government.

' I shall, on my part, do every thing in my power to maintain the discipline of the army; and I have no doubt but that the people of Plasencia will have no reason to complain of the troops; and, in order that they may put the inhabitants of the towns, through which they pass, to as little inconvenience as possible, they construct huts for themselves, and lodgings will be required only for the general officers, and officers of the staff.

' I have the honor to be, &c. ' ARTHUR WELLESLEY.

Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B., to Vice Admiral the Hon. G. Berkeley.

' Coria, 6th July, 1809.


' I have received your letter of the 2nd. I believe there is no doubt that all the French have withdrawn from Galicia, and Kellerman's corps from the Asturias. They were in some strength at Zamora in the beginning of July, and I have some reason to believe were to move towards Valladolid This looks like a general retreat.

' I am much obliged to you for the trouble you have taken about our boating.

' Believe me, &c. ' ARTHUR WELLESLEY.

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