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Lieutenant Colonel Felton Hervey’s Diary 1812

Siege of [Ciudad] Rodrigo

On the ground – January 9th

Batteries opened – January 14th

Taken by assault – January 19th

March 4th Brigade consisting of the 12th, 14th & 16th Lt Dragoons marched from Abrantes to Ponte de Sor 5 leagues, road good for artillery, the place puts up 400 horses well, the quarters are good forage & water abundant.

5th Avis & Benavila, to the former 4 leagues (short), the last mile of the road hardly passable for artillery, contains 400 horses, abundance of forage. Avis gives its name to one of the three military orders of Portugal. To Benavila is three leagues, the road good quarters for about 2 squadrons. Just out of Ponte de Sor you pass a river of the same name by a ford, after violent rains it is not practicable. You likewise pass two branches of the river being by stone bridges.

6th Ervedal, Figuiera [Barros] & Casa Branca 1 league, 1½ & 2 leagues, good roads & the regiment well put up put up, plenty of forage at the foot of Ervedal runs the river of the same name.

7th Vimieiro 3 leagues & a ½, very good road cross the Ervedal river & another rivulet which likewise empties itself into the Sorraia by fords, regiment well put up, green barley rather scarce. 12th Dragoons Sousel & Caro, 16th at Avis & Benavila cantonments.

8th Halt. Rode to Claros Montes 7 miles.

9th Halt.

10th Halt. Rode to Sousel 3 leagues.

11th Halt.

12th Halt.

13th Halt. Rode to Evora [Monte] 5 leagues short. Very good road, the new barracks & what was formerly the Jesuits convent will contain 700 horses.

14th Stationary.

15th Stationary.

16th Marched to Estremoz 3 leagues, good road, about a league & a half from Estremoz cross the River de Tera by a stone bridge before coming to the bridge you enter the main road from Lisbon. Rain.

17th Vila Vicosa 2 leagues & a half, good road, pass through Borba which would contain regiment of cavalry well. Villa Vicosa holds 1,000 horses, 16th Dragoons with us, 12th Alandroal & Feire.

Badajoz Invested.

18th Halt. Rain.

19th 14th Regiment only marched to Elvas to take up duties of the siege, 4 leagues, road not very good, heavy rain. In the night of this day [the] enemy made an unsuccessful sortie.

20th Sent a squadron to camp, heavy rains.

21st Bridge established over the Guadiana for the purposes of the siege carried away. Heavy rains.

22nd Continued rains.

23rd Badajoz invested more closely on the north side of the river by General Leith. Heavy rains.

24th Weather cleared up.

25th Fort Renaudt stormed & carried at night, slept in camp.

26th Rode [to] de Nova [Novelda del Guadiana?]

27th ditto.

28th Went to camp to remain.

29th Blank.

30th Brigade marched to Olivenza.

31st Blank.

1st April

2nd Badcock joined from England.

3rd Brigade marched to Almendral, Torre d’Almendral [Miguel Sesmero?] & Nogales, joined the regiment at Nogales.

4th Villalba [de los Barros] & Fuente del Maestre 4 leagues, road good, pass through Sta Marta.

5th Marched with the 16th to Villafranca [de los Barros], sending on a squadron of each regiment under Cox to Ribera [del Fresno], 12th Regiment at Los Santos [de Maimona].

6th Visited the picquets, French occupied Usagre & Bienvenida with cavalry & infantry. Badajoz stormed & taken at 10 p.m., marched 12 at night to Fuente del Maestre.

7th Nine a.m. marched with the 14th to Villalba, brigade encamped behind the River Robledillo, enemy in Villafranca &c &c.

8th Marched at daybreak to Sta Marta, Soult had collected about 23,000 infantry & 3,500 cavalry with 50 pieces of artillery in the neighbourhood of Villafranca on hearing of the fall of Badajoz for some dragoons who escaped from the place gave orders for his retreat.

9th 14th & 12th Dragoons marched at 11 a.m. to Villafranca, 2 squadrons as before at Ribera [del Fresno], 16th & headquarters of the cavalry at Zafra, French in Usagre, Bienvenida.

10th 5 o’clock p.m. marched from Villafranca, entered it at night having driven in the French picquets.

11th Daybreak marched upon Villagarcia [de la Torre], fell in with their advanced posts 2 miles from the village. Skirmished with them to the village where we found 8 squadrons drawn up in an olive grove on the Llerena side. The two regiments formed opposite & some sharp skirmishing ensued. Enemy apparently by the dust in their rear, brought up more force, advanced upon our skirmishers, drove them in, threatening an attack upon our left flank which we threw back at this time before the General le Marchant’s Brigade & 16th Light Dragoons appeared on the enemy’s left flank. The first regiment of Le Marchant’s Brigade, the 5th Dragoon Guards charged them in flank while our brigade attacked in front & drove them at speed to Llerena where they formed under cover of seven squares of infantry & 6 field pieces. Their loss consisted in 30 killed, 1 Lt Colonel, 2 Captains, 1 Lieutenant, 130 men & horses taken. The loss of the 4 regiments engaged on our side, 13 killed, about 23 wounded & 4 prisoners. Brigade fell back to Usagre & bivouacked upon the enemy’s leaving Llerena, leaving two squadrons to observe the enemy & ascertain the direction of the retreat.

12th Marched to Ribera [de los Molinos], outposts at Villagarcia, sending patrols before Azuaga, Guadacanal &c &c.

13th Halt, rode to Zafra, three leagues.

14th Marched to Villalba [de los Barros] 4 leagues.

15th Almendral & Torre Almendral

16th Olivenza, 4 leagues, road rather bad from the quantity of rain which had fallen since the 13th, crossed the Valverde River by a deep ford.

17th Halt. Heavy rains.

18th Marched by the bridge of Badajoz to Elvas, the [Fortaleza de] Juromenha ford being impassible, the ford over El Caya between Badajoz & Elvas excessively deep, one man of the 16th drowned crossing. Some rain. Distance 7 leagues, road good.

19th Estremoz, 5 leagues, fine.

20th Fronteira, 4 leagues.

21st Crato & Flor da Rosa 3½ & 4 leagues.

22nd Nisa 4 leagues from Crato.

23rd Camp Sarnadas [de Rodao] 3½ leagues.

24th Castelo Branco 2½ leagues.

25th Halted by order of the Quarter Master General.

26th Halt, received a route for Crato where we arrived on the 29th by the same marches as before.

Halted on 30th and marched on the 1st of May to Fronteira, the 14th Dragoons Cano, Ervedal & Casa Branca, 12th Dragoons Avis & Benavila, 16th Dragoons, headquarters of the cavalry Cabeco de Vide.

2nd Stationary.

3rd Stationary, rode to Cabeco de Vide 1 league.

4th Stationary.

5th Stationary, rode to Cano, 2 leagues short. Orders arrived to send a Cap[tain] of the brigade & sub[altern] per regiment to Lisbon for the remounts.

6th Townshend & Cust started for Lisbon.

20th Marched to Campo Maior through Monforte & Santa Eulalia 7 leagues.

21st To quarters [Torre Fresno?] 5 leagues, good road.

22nd Torremayor 2 leagues.

23rd By Esparragalejo to Merida, advanced picquets at Valverde [de Merida] on the Medellin road & at San Pedro [de Merida] on the road between Merida & Medellin. The object of this movement which was likewise made by the 6th Division of infantry & 12th Dragoons was to protect the return of General Sir R[owland]. Hill from Almaraz where he had destroyed the bridge over the Tagus taking Fort Napoleon & making between 2 & 300 prisoners.

24th Merida.

25th Montijo 4 leagues.

26th Talavera Real near which you cross the Guadiana by a ford passable only in the summer.

27th Sao Vicente & by Badajoz 7 leagues, lost our road.

28th Fronteira 5 leagues, found Major Brotherton, Captain Townshend & Captain Humphreys, 19 men & 29 remount horses arrived from Belem, a good lot.

29th Cust returned with camp equipage from Lisbon.

June 2nd Marched to Crato.

3rd Nisa bivouac.

4th Vila Velha [de Rodao] bivouac.

5th Castelo Branco, bivouac.

6th Bivouac, Escalos de Cima 3 league.

7th Bivouac Pedragao 3 leagues.

8th Meimoa 4 leagues on a service of the same name, pass the Pieron.

9th Quadrazais 4 leagues, pass the Coa at a ford above Sabugal.

10th Bivouac near Ituero [de Azaba] 4 leagues.

11th Regiment ordered to the right wing under General Graham consisting of the 1st, 6th & 7th Divisions of infantry & Captain Macdonald’s Troop of Horse Artillery. Centre consists of Light Division & Hussars & Ross’ Troop of Horse Artillery. 12th & 16th Light Dragoons General Hill.

12th Halt.

13th Bivouac near Tenebron on the river.

14th Bivouac near Carrascalejo [de Huebra] on the Huebra 5 leagues posted Terrones.

15th Bivouac near Villalba de los Llanos on small brook.

16th Marched upon Salamanca, our advance fell in with the French picquets near a small brook & skirmished with them for about a league when they brought up [under?] the walls of Salamanca, bivouacked on the plain about 3 miles from the town 4 leagues from Hill.

17th Entered Salamanca with the 6th Division, enemy remaining in a fort who persist [determined & stubborn?] in town. Cavalry in front at Moriscos, Castillanos de Moriscos St Cristobal de la Cuesta, cavalry action over river etc 12th & 16th had a skirmish in the evening.

18th Enemy entered Arabayona & La Orbada &c with cavalry & the enemy took up a line extending Cabezabellosa [de la Calzada] on their left to a small hill in front of St Cristobal, their right , our army in position on the height of St Cristobal, batteries opened on the fort, enemy cavalry halt.

19th French joined by 7 or 8,000 fresh soldiers batteries, done.

21st Blank.

22nd Enemy broke up and retired to some strong heights over the River Tormes our line took ground to the right.

23rd Cantonned Castillanos de Moriscos.

24th Ditto.

25th Ditto. Commenced firing red hot shot at the forts.

26th Fort surrendered, enemy retired at night.

27th Squadrons on duty, followed the enemy Espino [de la Orbada] 3 leagues followed , our brigade occupied La Velles, Villaverde [de Guarena] & Pedrosillo [el Ralo].

28th Rode Morales de Toro 3 leagues brigade formed the advance of the left column leading Don [Julian] Sanchez corps of cavalry, 3rd Division & Spanish infantry, centre column 5th & 6th Division, Le Marchant’s Brigade, General Cole 1st, 4th & 7th Divisions, General Bock’s Brigade advance hussar brigade & 1st Light Division.

29th La Boveda [de Toro] 4 leagues.

30th La Nava del Rey.

1st July Fell in with 3rd line regiments picquets on the heights above Rueda, skirmished with them on the road to Tordesillas at which place they halted. Rain.

2nd Joined the 1st Hussars [KGL] in the place of the 11th ordered to General Anson’s Brigade Domon?

3rd Head Quarters came to Rueda.

4th General Sir T[homas] Graham left the army for England.

5th Nothing new.

6th Nothing new.

7th July Rueda.

8th till 15th Nothing new.

15th Marched at 10 o’clock at night to La Nava in consequence of information of Marmont’s moving on Toro & crossing.

16th Marched at night to Alaejos, we are there to cover the infantry & proceeded in the morning to Fuente la Reina which was the 17th.

18th Moved upon Alaejos, near that place received an order to bear to our right & support General Anson’s Brigade who were engaged with the enemy (who had returned by a most astonishing march & crossed his whole army at Torrecilla near Castrejon [de Trabancos], got a sharp cannonading for a quarter of an hour which killed some men & horses & then retired by Torecilla de la Orden across the Guarena & the enemy’s cavalry crossed by the bridge of Castrillo [de la Guarena] with about 11 squadrons & three four pounders over our brigade charged them and drove them from the village but they came on again with the support of a division of infantry, after several charges on our part gradually got possession of the plain & were followed by the division of infantry who were

charged with the bayonet by the 4th Division under General Cole & were driven to the village. Our brigade which moved on the left flank of General Cole secured about 200 prisoners. At our first charge General Carrier was taken. Major Brotherton189 & Lt Fowkes190 wounded, about 60 men & horses killed and wounded. We bivouacked at night between Guaratte & Castrillo, enemy in position.

19th French shy of attacking about 9 o’clock p.m. moved to their left, our army moved a little to their right.

20th A most beautiful sight, both armies drawn up in view of each other, a fight expected every moment, but about 8 o’clock they again moved to their left, our army corresponding, occasionally cannonading in execution. They established themselves at Babilafuente, Huerta &c. Our army Cabeca Vilcosa [Cabrerizos] to Aldealengua.

21st In the evening the enemy moved on Calvarrasa d’Ariba [ actually – de Abajo] by the ford of Huerta & Carpio [Bernardo]. Brigade crossed at Aldealengua & moved to Calvarrasa d’Ariba & [blank] a little crowded sharing with two squadrons under Gruben191. A great deal of thunder & lightning at night, regiment lost 3 horses strayed.

22nd Fell in with the enemy close to Calvarrasa d’Ariba our regiment skirmishing. Our brigadier Miller? Slightly wounded but the enemy still kept moving to our right evidently marching to get possession of Salamanca by alarming the direct communications with Rodrigo. About 2 o’clock p.m. they began cannonading our right & pressing another. The Lord could stand it no longer & ordered the attack which commenced about ½ past 4 & they were in full flight in 3 hours, the 1st & Light Division & what cavalry could be got together took the road to Calvarraso de Abajo & Huerta. In coming back from Huerta to Calvarraso Sir S. Cotton was unfortunately shot through the arm by one of our own sentries. The French lost on this day between 2 & 3,000 killed, 6,000 prisoners, 12 general officers & 16 pieces of cannon were found on the field of battle, it is said however they lost one or two & twenty pieces.

23rd Crossed the Tormes at Alba de Tormes, found there several sick & wounded abandoned by the enemy & took many stragglers and advanced on the road to Penaranda [de Bracamonte] & came up with General Anson’s & General Bock’s Brigades of cavalry who had first attacked the enemy’s rearguard, their cavalry, the latter the infantry, they took above 1,200 prisoners, mostly infantry, a good deal of cattle & baggage &c. The charge of the Heavy dragoons much spoken of. Skirmished with their rearguard which had become very strong up to Macotera, returned & bivouacked on the Almar River bank.

24th Again advanced at ½ past 3 p.m. through Peneranda, Flores [de Avila] & Cisla, fell in with the enemy in considerable force ½ a league in front but upon seeing us they broke up their camp & retired by Fuentes de Ano on Arevalo skirmishing with their rearguard which was actually lucky on those wounded & tired, but were not strong enough to attack. Bivouac Cabezos del Pozo. Hussars came up to the rear.

25th Our brigade only advanced, saw the French, the whole of whom had bivouacked at Arevalo, march out. Received information of Joseph being at Blascosancho the night before to 4 leagues on the Segovia road on his way to join Marmont at Salamanca. Sent a corporal & 8 men to ascertain the fact, who brought in 2 officers & 27 men and their horses, made him a sergeant (Hanley??).

26th Olmedo 4 leagues, here the French buried General Baron Ferey wounded on the 22nd.

27th Bivouac Ponte [Mediana?] 3 l[eagues].

28th Mojados advance Portillo enemy rearguard Aldeamayor [de San Martin].

29th Aldeamayor Anson’s Brigade 1st & Light Divisions came up, enemy crossed the Duero at night.

30th The 2 brigades of cavalry & Light Division crossed the Duero at the fords of Herreros [de Duero] & [blank – Tudela de Duero?]. Lord W[ellington] entered Valladolid, about 1,000 sick & some guns & stores found there.

31st Army halted, enemy retired in two or three different roads to Burgos. Bivouac Duero, no bridges except those we crossed by near that place.

1st of August. Marched through Cogeces [de Iscar] & encamped on the Cega near to Mata de Cuellar 4 leagues.

2nd To the Mojados 3 leagues

3rd Halted & head quarters.

4th ditto

5th Domingo [Garcia] to Moliere Ladron[?] 8 leagues higher up the river. 3rd & 7th Divisions, Ponsonby’s Brigade of heavy cavalry & Don Carlos Spanish infantry there.

6th Marched with Pack’s Brigade, the 4th & 5th Divisions 3 leagues & encamped on the Eresma River.

7th Same column marched 3 leagues, encamped on the Eresma River near Los Huertos.

8th Palacios del Rio Frio royal palace.

9th Halted, joined by the 1st and light divisions, rode to Segovia & St Eulalia.