« EelmineJätka »
No one could, as far as first impressions are concerned, come in contact with the British Legion under more unfavourable circumstances than myself. It was on the 16th of March, a day ever unfortunate in its annals, that. I landed at St. Sebastian, when the battle was raging and the sound of the firing tremendous. I was fortunate enough, through the assistance of an officer's servant, who had quitted the Legion under a sick certificate, at once to find a room, where I could throw down my small baggage, and, without difficulty, I prevailed on him to act
as my guide in conducting me by the nearest road towards the field of battle. About half a mile from the gates of St. Sebastian, the instant you arrive at the Molino battery, , the road is only wide enough for four lancers to charge in front.
This narrow space was so completely blocked up with wounded, stragglers and runaways of all kinds and descriptions, who were fleeing from the pursuing enemy, that I found it impossible to get forward in that direction. Under the advice and conduct of my guide, I bent my steps towards the Puyo hill, ascending which, the officer in command very kindly permitting me to enter into the battery, I witnessed, what was certainly a most disorderly retreat. It was not the first I had beheld, for, being at Paris in 1830, during the memorable days in July, I there saw the discomfiture of the royal guard, the artillery, and the cavalry, when they fled from the armed citizens of Paris, making the best of their way to St. Cloud, across the Champs Elysées. On my
road to the Puyo battery, several
wounded of the Legion passed, as well as numerous stragglers and runaways, who appeared to have thrown down their muskets and taken to their heels, when the left wing was turned by the enemy. I generally stopped the runaways and stragglers,—“ What is the matter, my lads,” I said to them, “ what are you running
away for? where is your regiment?” I found them very civil in their answers.
One said, “Oh, sir, our rations have not been given “ out to us; we have had nothing to eat, “ and we had no more strength left, and
many of our poor fellows have fallen “ down through weakness, and have been “ skivered by the Carlists, and they are
killing all our wounded.” Another said, “ We are beaten, your honor, for those “ rascally Spaniards have run away, and “ sold us again.” Another said, “ It is not
our fault, for they allowed our left wing to “ be turned; all I say is, damn such generals.”
I mention these details to shew, that not from one of these poor fellows did I hear the least cry for vengeance, the least fero
city of language, or any expression or gesture, that was not becoming their situation under the unfortunate circumstances they were placed in.
Since accusations of cruelty and ferocity have been brought against the British Legion, both individually and collectively, it will now be my pleasing task to relate many traits of humanity, shewn both by the officers and men of this much abused and most falsely abused corps. During the morning of the 16th of March, a party of Carlist lancers advanced on the high road; the moment the British lancers saw them, they charged, and made the Carlist colonel pri
At much personal risk on their part, they saved his life from the fury of the Chapelgorris, who vowed that nothing should prevent their putting him to death, by taking the precaution to dress him up in British uniform, that he might not be recognised on his road to prison, a step necessary to save him from the fury of his own countrymen; and how did these mercenaries act, as a certain young lord