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peared rather serious to me, for the owner of the cellar might find the rosette, and carry it to the captain, who, although a good man, never allowed favour to interfere with justice, when he caught any person in the fact. We asked each other what was to be done, and we all agreed, that we would tell the secret to several of our comrades whom we knew we could trust. Before day-light, every thing suspicious was put out of sight, the wine secreted in an unoccupied stable under the straw; at length we were relieved, and returned to our quarters at the town-house. We immediately began our operations. Our comrades were ready to second us, and half a dozen rosettes were immemediately taken off and concealed. It was Christmas day, and in the afternoon our captain came and asked in an open manner, “ my lads, have any of you lost a rosette ?” No answer.-" That is extraordinary,” he continued, “ for a countryman has brought oņe to me which he found on the road, that we came yesterday. We were all silent,
Sergeant-major, make the men fa!l in, and see whose rosette this is ; if you find the owner of it, put him immediately under arrest” was the next order. The company was immediately paraded, but half-a-dozen wanted rosettes. A further enquiry was made; one had lost his here, another there ; one had been shot off, another broken off. Thiele also was asked ; and he answered, with apparent simplicity--he had long lost his. The captain could hardly credit him, yet he was obliged to pass it by.
Being Christmas day, we were to receive double allowance of wine, but the captain threatened as a punishment, that he would order it all to be stopped. The whole company murmured at this, and said, with one voice, that the captain had no right to take away from the soldiers what the emperor and government gave them; this settled the matter just as we wished. For three days we remained in the town, and shutting ourselves up in the stable every evening, succeeded in emptying the bag without any person being the wiser. On the fourth day we continued our route, and during the march, the captain, who had no dislike to wine, asked his servant for some ; when he received a glass, the man told him that was his whole stock ; the captain regretted it, and censured his servant for his want of attention, in not providing more. Thiele who was marching near the captain, immediately offered him a glass of wine. “Let us taste it, is it good ?”—" You shall be convinced of that yourself, sir,”. After the captain had drunk, he enquired where Thiele had got the wine.-—"At Villa Alba."" I did not taste any there half so good;
; did you buy it?”—“As you take it, (replied Thiele,) at least I was obliged to pay very dear for it,”- Give me another glass, and I will soon repay you.”- Readily, but you may do that directly.”—“How so ?” said the captain.-"Only give me my rosette, captain, and I shall be well paid.”“ Vagabond! (said the other,) I thought immediately it was you, and nobody else who had bought the wine ; here it is!” drawing the rosette out of one of his holsters, " but if I had known this in Villa Alba, you should have been punished by fifteen days' confinement, on bread and water.”- I was quite aware of that,” said Thiele.
The Rifleman was with Massena when he entered Portugal, and the following is his description of the retreat of the French army.
Five months we remained here, and in that time the army had been so melted away by the sword, and still more by sickness, that Massena had no hopes of completing his undertaking, and giving up the idea of making himself master of Lisbon, resolved, on March 3rd, 1811, to retreat back to Spain. The works which had been erected in three months, were destroyed; the few stores remaining were divided amongst the troops, each of whom received thirteen pieces of ship-biscuit; the baggage and the wounded, as we had no horses, were left behind, and every thing pepared for marching. The army was in a most miserable condition, without shoes, without clothing, and without provisions ; diminished to one half ; obliged to march through an exhausted and devastated country, the road in the worst condition, and we, pressed by an enemy eager for the combat, and well provided with stores of every description ; it was under these circumstances, that we began our most difficult retreat. Many of the soldiers had eaten up all their little stock of provisions by the end of the second day, and were then, unless they were willing to die of hunger, obliged to procure them. selves food by some means or other. No man had any superfiuity, and nothing to give a distressed comrade. We were obliged therefore, to plunder, and the greatest disorder in consequence ensued. The soldiers left the army by half companies at a time, and did not again join till it reached the Spanish frontiers, where they were again taken into the ranks without punishment. Many of them were fortunate enough to obtain more than provision ; but many, from their cupidity, or from gratifying some other unbridled desires, were sacrificed by the revenge of the Portuguese peasantry. Woe to him who fell into their hands! for even if he were innocene, he was maile to answer for the conduct of others. *
Fortunately for me, at the commencement of our retreat, I had a small stock of bears, which, not:sithstanding my heavy load, I would not leave behind, and when my stock of biscuit was consumed, they kept me from starving. Towards the end of the march the distress was so great, that the soldiers collected the undigested grains of maize out of horre-dung, washed them, and eat them. We lost a great many jnen during ibe whole march; for the Portuguese being well acquainted with the country, and swift-footed as deer, made their appearance on every elevated point, at the distance of tiity paces, and tired into the midst of our ranks without our being able to prevent it. The light cavalry also of the English army allowed us no breathing-time, and were, literally speaking, continually at our heels, so that they scarcely permitted us even to swallow our scanty meal.
la this manner we ran out of Portugal faster than we bad overrun it. To stop was not possible, for, besides the enemy's troops, the peasantry, who followed the army in great multitudes, attacked us daily, and there was no safety for us but in continued jlight. At length we reached the long-desired frontier; the army passed the Alva on March 17, 1811, passed by Almeida, and entered the Spanish territories; my fate was not so favourable, for I belonged to the troops which were detached to Almeida.
Here he remained during the time the place was blockaded by the English, and till the French garrison escaped in the masterly manner which will be recollected by our readers.
During the blockade, (he says,) we made a good many sorties, one of which, I having been one of the party, was to me of some importance. Our commarder was a captain of the 15th regiment of light infantry, a German by birth, and a bol?, enterprising man. He sent me with men as a side patrole, to examine an old house, fearing there might be an ambush. We approached it with the greatest caution till we were within five paces, when a voice called out, " who comes there!" we imme. diately ran at the Englishman, who had time indeed to fire off his musket, but the next moment he was banging on our bayonets. About forty paces further was an English out-post, which, being aroused by the report of the musket, marched towards us and fired several times ; but as it was very dark, and we did not fire, they could not bee us, though we could distinguish them very clearly. As we did not wish to betray our intentions we retreated silently to the rest of our men, and informed the commander of what we had seen and done. Close to the road, and near a ruined windmill, was a strong post of English, whom we wished to surprise ; they had, indeed, been alarmed by the musket-shot, were prepared, and saluted us as we approached with a steady fire. We attacked them boldly, teserving our fire till we were quite close to them, and then, after firing at them, we set up a loud cry, and charged them with fixed bayonets. Being too weak to resist such an attack, they gave way, but not wishing to go beyond the reach of the guns of the fortress, we only made prisoners of the fert wounded, whom in their haste they could not carry off. They were conducted into Almeida and closely examined as to the strength and condition of the army, but they would tell nothing.
The fortifications of Almeida, though they had been repaired since the explosion formerly mentioned, were not in a condition to withstand a regular siege, and still less could they enable a garrison to hold out against a bombardment. The houses were still in a most miserable state, for the besieged, wanting wood, had made use of what the explosion had spared for fuel. A want of provisions also began to be felt; for the detachments which had passed through before our arrival, as the 9th corps d'armée, whether going or coming, had always taken with them six or eight days' provision, and the garrison amounting to 2000 men, was too numerous for the small supplies the place contained. There were very few inbabitants, and they had nothing; most of them had been buried under the ruins of their houses by the blowing up of the magazine, and others had left the city before that event took place.
A flag of truce was sent us by the English, demanding the surrender of the city, but our general would not listen to the proposal, badly off as we were,
and the messenger returned without accomplishing his object. We hoped continually that the city would be relieved, till at length orders came from Marshal Massena (how they were con
* The number of marauders was so great, that they had chiefs of their own, and were known by the name of the eleventh corps.
veyed into the blockaded fortress I have never been able to learn) to ruin the walls, and when this was accomplished the garrison were to cut their way through the enemy, first destroying the guns, the military stores, and the town. For us, who were half starved and worn out by watching and sorties, this was a serere task ; but it was begun with good will, and before fourteen days had passed, fourteen mines, all communicating with each other, were dug under the walls. Every man who could work was obliged to assist, and those who were not at work took their stand on the walls, so that there was no rest for any man.
During the blockade I heard the particulars of the explosion of the magazine, which, when the city was formerly besieged, had been caused by a shot from our batteries. At the very moment when the ammunition-waggons were standing before the magazine, in order to carry the necessary supplies to the different parts of the walls, a grenade fell close to the magazine, and immediately set fire to one of the waygons. The fire was communicated with the rapidity of lightning to the magazine itself. In its interior, the artillery-men were employed at the very moment filling shells and grenades, and of course were annihilated. Among the innumerable losses occasioned by this single mischievous shot, we must place the death of about six hundred persons, who had taken refuge with the greater part of their property in the fortress, in order to secure themselves against being plundered. A casemate had been assigned to them near the magazine as a dwelling, and they, with all their dearly saved goods, were crushed at once. They could not escape their fate, and would have done better to have remained at home, where they would probably have lost their property, but might have saved their lives. The spot which they and their treasure had occupied was well known to the inhabitants and to us. We would willingly have dug into it, and the search might have been greatly to our advantage, had it not been strictly forbidden. A guard was placed at the spot to prevent it, because it was apprehended with reason, that bringing forth so many corpses might produce some pestilential diseases.
One morning, it was the 6th of April, 1811, General Brenier had the whole garrison drawn up in the great square of the city, and placing himself on horseback in the middle of the troops, he made a most impressive speech. He praised the ready zeal. and perseverance which we had so long displayed, in our severe toils. Then he represented to us that we must muster up courage to perform still greater deeds, a hard battle was before us, for there was no means left of saving ourselves, and reaching the French army, which was three leagues off, but to hew our way through the English blockading troops. He hinted low shameful it was in a soldier to grow fainthearted and spiritless, and desert his colours in a time of danger; and he hoped no one of us was capable of such conduct. He concluded by saying, that any one of us who chose, might freely go over to the English. As no person gave any answer, he called out, “ Swear then once more that you will all do your duty like brave soldiers,” and we all swore to conquer or die. The little remaining provision, spirits, and wine was then divided amongst us; and we made the last a very cheerful day.
In the evening, about eleven o'clock, we began our march in deep silence ; we passed out of a small gate through the trench, which was full of spiked guns, ammunitionwaggons, &c. &c. that were all afterwards blown up by the springing of the mines. When the whole garrison had reached the glacis, a detachment of the Bergian artillery received orders to set fire to the mines, and in a short time the walls fell down with a terrible crash. At the same moment the advanced guard encountered a Portuguese piquet, and the soldiery were instantly bayoneted. In every part of the English camp, we observed movements going on, but it was there supposed, ag 1 afterwards heard, that our powder-magazine had blown up, and no further notice was taken of the matter.
General Brenier had very wisely preceded us, and gone to the French army; for he had surrendered at Lisbon, with the troops under General Junot; he had been released on condition of not again serving against England during the war; and had be been again captured, he might have answered with his life, for not keeping his word. We marched under the command of the Colonel of the 82nd regiment, by difficult and circuitous paths ; we were unmolested during the night, but at daylight, when the English saw our column, a regiment of Highlanders and of Hussars immediately attacked us.
The country around Almeida, towards the Spanish frontiers, is, for several leagues, quite flat, and here and there rises a broken rock, or there is an old watch-tower in ruins. On approaching it, however, by San Felice, the country is uneven and hilly. We had nearly traversed the plain, and were already at the foot of the hills, where the cavalry could not do us much injury, yet the mass hurried onward: cannon was brought up, and we got into disorder. Our little corps was gradually lessened, till at length it was entirely dispersed. We all ran off in the best manner we could, jumping from rock to rock, climbing from tree to tree, and each seeking to save his life, or sell it as dearly as possible; so that of the cavalry, who were closely behind us, many were killed. The lesser half of pur troops were so fortunate as to reach the French lines; of the others, the greater part were killed; the remainder, I being one of them, were made prisoners.
A close-fisted Scot seized me by the collar, a Hussar swung luis sabre over my head, but when they saw that I made no further resistance, they suspended their blows. Without further ceremony, these gentlemen seized on my knapsack and my money; they selected what they liked for themselves; and I was obliged quietly and patiently to look on and say nothing; for I should only have exposed myself to the most brutal treatment by offering the least resistance.
I was now a prisoner, together with many others, and we were driven back by the English like so many cattle ; on the road I lost a good pair of shoes which I had on; I then made an exchange with an English soldier for his shoes, but I could not use them. We were all sent to Villa Formosa, where the Duke of Wellington had his head-quarters. He and several other generals came to see us, and they all scolded us, particularly the German officers, because we had so long served the Usurper, for so they called the Emperor Napoleon. One general in particular, most likely a German, was pleased not only to use the coarsest language to us generally, but even proceeded to lay violent hands on some of us : this ill-treatment made on us, who were already miserable enough, a very unfavourable impression.
We arrived at Pinlal on the third day, where we met several of our brothers in misfortune, particularly some belonging to the 5th regiment of Hussars, who had been taken the day before, Here also I saw, for the first time, the black troops of the Duke of Brunswick Oels, who had been described to us as thirsting for battle and blood, and as very cruel, but they did not at all answer this description; they were all dejected, wearied, and discontented with their situation in Portugal. Many of the corps had deserted within a short time, as I heard, and for this reason it had been broken up, and a company placed with each division of the English army. The soldiers of the King's German Legion called them in mockery, " The brothers of vengeance."
From Pinhal we were conducted on our route by some of the heavy cavalry of the German Legion; and on this journey a circumstance happened, which places the cruelty of the Portuguese and their love of revenge in a characteristic light. One of the prisoners of the name of Sterne, a native of Alsace, who is probably still living, was, on account of illness, unable to walk; a countryman seeing this, offered to buy him of a dragoon, and to give for him forty crusados. The dragoon enquired why he wanted to purchase the man; and the peasant answered, without the least repugnance, “ To torture him.” The dragoon, enraged at this inhumanity, drew his sword, gare the peasant a good drubbing, and drove him away. The same spirit existed in all the inhabitants of Portugal ; men and women, youth and age, seized hold of whatever was nearest to throw it at us, and kill us if possible. I once saw an old woman, as we were passing through a village, struggling with all her might to lift up a great stone ; as she was unable even to raise it, she took up a heap of mud, and to satisfy her vengeance, as I happened to be the nearest to her, threw it in my face. Such treatment were we obliged to bear unrevenged, in a country which we had marched through a short time before as conquerors and masters; of course, in these circumstances, we had no wish to run away.
After a short period, the Rifleman entered the English service; was sent to the Isle of Wight, and thence to Bexhill, where he was incorporated with the German Legion. In its ranks he served in Sicily, in Catalonia under Sir John Murray, and again in Sicily under Lord William Bentinck. After the final conclusion of the war, he returned to his native country, and there, after some trouble and seeking, he found, as
says, “the little place I now occupy. If I do not live as a nobleman, yet, thank Heaven! I do not suffer the least want; I can lay myself every evening peaceably in my bed, without any apprehension that I shall be roused too early by the drum or the trumpet.” . Like most of those who have engaged in the same career, he has found neither rewards nor honour, and has retired back into obscurity, glad to procure that common rest, which is the nightly restorer and friend of all the industrious and peaceable part of mankind.
The copious extracts we have made, have only brought us to the beginning of the second volume, and though his service in the English army was neither so perilous nor full of incidents as his service in the French army, yet the latter part of the book contains several pleasant and well-told stories. We regard it, on the whole, as an agreeable addition to one of the most amusing parts of literature ; and even those persons who look with the greatest distrust on the general education of the people, must be grateful for the pleasure it may afford, when common soldiers are the authors of such a book as this, and of those even still more agreeable volumes of a similar description which have lately appeared in the northern part of this country, of which a very copious notice was given in a previous number of this Magazine. We say more agreeable volumes, because we think this has been somewhat injured by a professional author. We mention this out of no disrepect to Goethe ; he may have seen the Rifleman, heard his stories, and have read the proof sheets; but the book has, it is plain, been manufactured by another hand. The periods are all rounded, the parts of the sentences are nicely dovetailed and jointed together, and they partake of that stately complicated character which is common to the written language of Germany. Goethe's name only stands on the title-page to introduce the foundling to public notice; the person who has really assisted the Rifleman having, most probably, no reputation of his own, to make his recommending it of any consequence. The book is not destitute of the naïveté and freshness of an original and observing mind, but it bears at every page too legible marks of the deadening hand of the regular trader in literature.
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