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Wellington's Dispatches
September 18th - 20th, 1810


Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to C. Stuart, Esq.

' Cortiço, 18th September, 1810,

' The enemy collected the whole of the 2nd and 6th corps in the valley of the Mondego on the 15th, and on the 16th in the morning moved upon Celorico, from the two directions of Guarda and Marçal do Chaõ. They at the same time moved a large column on their right towards the right of the Mondego.

' Our cavalry retired from Celorico, and the enemy then moved a column of infantry and cavalry from thence on Fornos towards Mangualde. I understand that they had not yesterday arrived at Mangualde, although it was at first reported that they arrived there on the night of the 16th. They were all day yesterday employed in moving troops from Celorico on Fornos. I have not heard what they have done this day.

' It is said that the 8th corps moved by Trancoso on Penaverde on the 16th, so that the whole are collected on the right of the Mondego.

' This movement has enabled me to call in all my detached corps, and I expect that Hill will cross the Zezere this day, or will do so to-morrow. Leith will move when Hill does.

' I have begun by securing Coimbra with six brigades of infantry, against any advanced guard that might have been pushed forward.

' The other three divisions and the cavalry are on and in front of the Alva, the advance of the latter still observing the enemy near Celorico.

' As soon as I shall hear that Hill has moved, I shall cross the Mondego, move up the troops from Coimbra, and have Hill, Leith and Le Cor joined to my right.

' I shall be in a good position, covering Coimbra and the communication with Oporto, which I hope to be able to preserve.

' There are certainly many bad roads in Portugal, but the enemy has taken decidedly the worst in the whole kingdom.

' You will hear a good deal of these movements, and I conclude that it will be necessary to appease the mob by the imprisonment of a few French partizans ; but I think the enemy are mistaken in their plan : they evidently do not know the country, and in the mean time we are safe.

' I have received your letters of the 15th; I never was so shocked as upon hearing the account of the arrests. I declare publicly against it ; and if I find that justice is not done to us by the Portuguese nation upon this subject, I shall take some opportunity of making known my opinion of it to the public.

' I make no objection to the publication of any official papers received by the Government ; but I wish to give them reports of the transactions which I am conducting, and if they publish any other reports, I shall not give them any. Of course, both Beresford and you must make regular reports to the authorities by which you are respectively employed ; but it is impossible to lay before the public two reports on the same transactions, in which the ingenious public, or rather, the newswriters, will not discover an inconsistency : this I want to avoid.

' I have not heard one word from Romana of the plan which Mr. C. Johnstone says he entertains ; and I do not believe he entertains it.

' Believe me, &c.; ' WELLINGTON.

Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to Colonel Pavetti.

' Au Quartier General,
ce 18 Septembre, 1810.

' Je viens de recevoir vos lettres. Les gendarmes sont prisonniers de guerre comme les autres soldats.

' Votre domestique Bernard Gomarki ne sera pas censé prisonnier de guerre ; ni votre domestique Baptiste Cella s'il est envoyé ici.

' J'ai l'honneur d'être, &c.;' ' WELLINGTON.

Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to Major General Leith.

' Cortico, 19th September, 1810.

' I have received your letter of the 18th, and I conclude that you will be this day at Espinhal.

' I beg that you will march your division to-morrow morning to Foz d'Arouce, stretching the head of your column on as far as Villa Franca.

' Let General Hill know that you have received these orders, and that I expect that he will be at Espinhal to-morrow, and that he shall receive directions to march on the next day. The advanced guard of Regnier's corps moved yesterday along the left of the Mondego to Sampayo, where they arrived at eleven o'clock. I believe that the rear of the 6th corps crossed the Mondego to Fornos yesterday, and the movements of the advanced guard of the 2nd corps of this day will show definitively what line this corps will take.

' Send this letter on to General Hill.

' Believe me, &c.; ' WELLINGTON.

Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to Lieut. General Sir Stapleton Cotton, Bart.

' Cortiço, 19th September, 1810, 8 A.M.

' I have only now received your letter of 5 P.M. yesterday. I shall wait here this day.

' Desire Arentschildt to watch well the movements of Regnier's advanced guard, particularly if they turn off at Pinhanços to the bridge over the Mondego.

' Keep up the communication with Waters.

' Believe me, &c.; ' WELLINGTON.

Lieut, Colonel Bathurst, Military Secretary, to Marshal Beresford.

'Cortiço, 19th September, 1810, 7 P.M.

' Lord Wellington desires me to inform you that he forgot to mention he is very desirous that you should send off to Trant to direct him to proceed as expeditiously as possible to Agueda and Sardao, crossing the Vouga, if possible, at St. Pedro do Sul, or any where below it. When at Sardao he will be on the left flank of the army, and will cover the road over the Serra leading towards Oporto.

' Believe me, &c.; ' J. BATHURST.

Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to Lieut. Colonel Waters.

' Cortiço, 20th September, 1810.

' I am very much obliged to you for all the information you have sent me, and I beg you will come to head quarters with Captain Goldfinch, when you please.

' Believe me, &c.; ' WELLINGTON.

Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to Lieut. General Sir Stapleton Cotton, Bart.

' Cortico, 20th September, 1810.

' I have given you this day's rest in order that you may distribute the remount horses to the different regiments.

' You see that the enemy have all crossed the Mondego, and I propose that you should cross to-morrow, upon which subject Murray writes to you.

' You must take care to cross the Mondego below its junction with the Daõ, otherwise you will find it difficult to cross the latter.

' Be so kind as to leave on this side of the Mondego an intelligent officer, either Krauchenberg or Cordemann, or Cocks, with about a squadron, to observe the enemy's movement between the Daõ and the Mondego, and do you take care to keep up a communication with him.

' Believe me, &c.; 'WELLINGTON.

' Send the enclosed to Waters.'

Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to Colonel Le Cor.

' Au Couvent de Lorvao, ce 20 Septembre, 1810.
10 heures du soir.

' Je viens de recevoir une lettre du Général Hill de la date d'hier, par laquelle j'apprends que vous êtes arrivé hier au soir à Pedrogao Grande. Aussitôt que vous recevrez cette lettre je vous prie de marcher sur Ponte da Murcella et par la route et faisant les marches qui vous conviendront le mieux. Faites moi savoir ce qu'elles seront. Je compte que vous ferez une marche demain le 21 et que vous serez en arrière de la Serra da Murcella à St. André de Poyares après demain le 22.

' J'ai l'honneur d'être, &c.; ' WELLINGTON.

Lieut. General Viscount Wellington, K.B., to the Earl of Liverpool, Secretary of State.

' Lorvao, 20th September, 1810.

' The 2nd corps, under the command of General Regnier, was again brought to the northward, and arrived at Sabugal and Alfayates on the 12th and 13th instant. On the 15th, the enemy moved a large force of cavalry, infantry, and artillery upon Guarda the third time, and passed the hill into the valley of the Mondego, and obliged our party of observation which had been stationed there under Captain Cocks, of the 16th light dragoons, to retire upon the Serra. On the same day, a large column passed the hill of Alverca (which forms the left of the Guarda range) and Marçal do Chaõ, and halted at Baraçal, likewise in the valley of the Mondego ; and the 8th corps, under General Junot, passed the Coa at Porto de Vide.

' Lieut. General Sir Stapleton Cotton withdrew the British cavalry through Celorico on the morning of the 16th, and the enemy entered that place on that day from the side of Alverca and Guarda ; and the 8th corps entered Trancoso. ' The enemy, instead of following the retreat of our troops from Celorico by the valley of the Mondego and the left bank of that river, immediately marched by Jejua to the bridge of Fornos, and the advanced guard was in Fornos on that night. They followed this movement on the succeeding days by passing all the troops of the 2nd and 6th corps from Celorico over the bridge of Fornos, with the exception of the advanced guard of the 2nd corps, which, on the 18th, protected the passage of the rear of the column, and passed yesterday at a bridge lower down the river. A small party entered Viseu yesterday.

' The enemy's intention in these movements is apparently to obtain possession of Coimbra, with a view to the resources which that town and the neighbouring country will afford them. The movements, however, which I had previously made to enable me to withdraw the army without difficulty from a position in which I did not consider it advisable to risk an action, enabled me to secure Coimbra against the attack of any small corps ; and the whole of that part of the army which has been under my immediate command, with the exception of five regiments of cavalry, has passed to the right of the Mondego, and in front of Coimbra, Brigadier General Pack's brigade of Portuguese infantry being at St. Cambadao with the Royal Dragoons, and Brigadier General Craufurd's division at Mortagoa. The cavalry will pass to-morrow.

' When Regnier made the former movement to the northward, apparently with the intention on the part of the enemy of attacking this part of the army with his whole force, I had directed Lieut. General Hill, and Major General Leith, who commanded a small corps upon the Zezere, to prepare to join me ; and as soon as I found, from the enemy's movement of the 15th, that he was then about to carry his intention into execution, and that the plan was decided, I directed those officers to march. Major General Leith is this day at Foz d'Arouce, and will join the army to-morrow : the head of Lieut. General Hill's corps is at Espinhal, and will join on the next day. I also expect that Colonel Le Cor, who has been with a small body of troops in the mountains of Castello Branco, will join about the same time. I shall thus have collected in one body the whole of the disposable force in Portugal, and I hope to have it in my power to frustrate the enemy's design.

' I imagine that Marshal Massena has been misinformed, and has experienced greater difficulties in making his movements than he expected. He has certainly selected one of the worst roads in Portugal for his march.

' Since the affair of the 11th August, in Estremadura, which I heretofore reported to your Lordship, the Marquis de la Romana has been successful in carrying off two of the enemy's small detachments, one in the neighbourhood of Cordova, and the other in proceeding as a relief to the enemy's garrison in Castillo de las Guardias ; and the Marquis's advanced posts were within three leagues of Seville.

' Marshal Mortier, however, collected his corps, and moved out of Seville in strength, and the Marquis de la Romana was obliged to retire into Estremadura. On the 14th, the Spanish cavalry was engaged with that of the enemy near Fuente de Cantos, the Portuguese brigade, under Brigadier General Madden, being at La Calzadilla. After the engagement had lasted a considerable portion of the day, the Spanish cavalry gave way in some confusion, and Brigadier General Madden having moved forward, fell upon the enemy in a most decided and effectual manner, overthrew and pursued them to their cannon, and killed and wounded many, and took some prisoners, and saved the Spaniards. The Marquis de la Romana, from whom I have received the account, mentions in high terms the conduct of Brigadier General Madden, and of the Portuguese troops under his command, which he says has excited the admiration of the whole army.

' The Marquis de la Romana has retired upon Merida, and after fixing a good garrison in Badajoz, is about to take a position between the Tagus and the Guadiana.

' I must take this opportunity of mentioning to your Lordship the obligations I am under to the British cavalry commanded by Lieut. General Sir S. Cotton. Since the end of July, they have alone done the duty of the outposts, and the enemy has never been out of sight of some of them ; and on every occasion their superiority has been so great, that the enemy does not use his cavalry excepting when supported and protected by his infantry. The 1st hussars, under Colonel Arentschildt, in particular, have had many opportunities of distinguishing themselves ; and it is but justice to mention the zeal and intelligence with which the duty of the outposts has been performed by Captain Krauchenberg and Cornet Cordemann, of the 1st Hussars, and by Captain the Hon. C. Cocks, of the 16th Light Dragoons.

' Nothing of importance has occurred in the north. My last letter from Cadiz is of the 9th.

' I have the honor to be, &c.; ' WELLINGTON.

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