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Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland


History of the Royal Highland Regiment

Section II

Campaign of 1813—Battle of Vittoria—Siege of St Sebastian-Pyrenees—Succession of Battles— France—Bidassoa—Bayonne—Series of desperate Actions—Battle of Orthès—Bourdeaux—Bayonne—Ayre—Tarbes—Toulouse—Peace 1814— War 1815 Quatres Bras— Waterloo—Peace.

The successful campaign of 1812 led to another of equal difficulty and enterprise, in which the consummate talents of the Commander-in-Chief had ample scope for exertion. The troops were soon refreshed after their fatigues, and being reinforced from England, and supplied with the necessary equipments for the field, active operations commenced by a forward movement to Salamanca, which was now occupied by the British for the third time, on the 24th of May, and that celebrated city once more delivered from a foreign yoke. Sir R. Hill's division was stationed between the Tormes and the Douro, Sir Thomas Graham commanding the left wing at Miranda de Douro. The enemy gave way to the progress of the Allies, and Valladolid was evacuated on the 4th June. On the 12th General Hill attacked and defeated, with little loss on his part, the division under General Reille, General Ponsonby at the same time turning the right of the French. These manoeuvres quickened the retreat of the enemy, who, in his progress, blew up the works of the castle of Burgos, on which they had bestowed so much labour in the preceding year, and which they had so gallantly defended.

Thus the able dispositions and movements of the Commander-in-Chief of the Allies, and the improved state of his army, had completely turned the course of events. The enemy directed their march on Vittoria, their central depot in the frontier provinces, occasionally skirmishing with the advanced guards; and on the 20th, Lord Wellington made a disposition of his army on the river Bayas, separated by some high grounds from Vittoria. Here the enemy made a stand, seemingly with an intention of resisting the farther progress of the Allies.

On this march and pursuit of the enemy, the influence of hope, and the prospect of success on the minds of the soldiers, were strongly exemplified; for while, on the retreat from Burgos, they desponded and were disorderly, having become careless of their character, and regardless of the orders of their officers,—now, in pursuit of the same enemy, the most perfect regularity and the greatest cheerfulness prevailed, the buoyancy of the mind invigorating the body, and no privation or fatigue being thought or complained of. In a long inarch of more than 250 miles, (frequently extending to 60 miles in three days), under the burning sun of a Spanish summer, and although the soldiers were loaded with arms, ammunition, and necessaries, to the weight of three or four stones, yet, as an example of the condition of the troops, Lord Dalhousie's division, consisting of 6000 men, arrived at Vittoria with less than 150 sick.

Such was the perfect state of this high-spirited army, when, on the morning of the 21st of June, they marched, in three columns, to take possession of the heights in front of Vittoria; the right being commanded by General Hill, the centre by Lord Dalhousie and General Cole, and the left by General Graham. From thence the French army, under the command of Joseph Buonaparte and Marshal Jour-dan, was seen drawn up, with their right supported by Vittoria, and destined to defend the passages of the river Za-dorra, the centre on a height commanding the valley of that stream, and the left resting on the heights between Arunez and Puebla de Arlanzon. The hostile armies amounted to about 70,000 men each.

General Hill commenced the operations of this memorable day by an attack on the heights of Puebla, on which, as already stated, the enemy's left rested, and which he speedily carried; but the enemy being reinforced from the centre, the Honourable Lieutenant- Colonel Cadogan, [This brave young man was mortally wounded in Sir Rowland Hill's attack on the heights on the enemy's left. Finding his end approaching, he directed that he should be carried to a height, that he might contemplate, to the last moment, the scene in which he had borne so honourable a part.] with the 71st regiment, and the Light infantry battalion of General Walker's brigade, were sent to the support of the troops who had already gained the heights. The contest at this point was peculiarly obstinate, as the enemy discovering, when it was too late, the importance of the position which they had lost, and which they had not strengthened with the necessary care, made the most strenuous and persevering efforts to regain possession of it. At length, however, they were forced back at all points, and pursued across the Zadorra, which, from the melting of the snows on the Pyrenees at that season of the year, was not fordable. The enemy having neglected to destroy the bridges, Sir Rowland Hill passed over at that of La Puebla, attacked and carried the village of Sabijana de Alava, and retained possession of it in defiance of repeated attempts to regain it; Immediately subsequent to the gaining of this advantage by Sir Rowland Hill, the Fourth and Light divisions crossed the Zadorra at two different points; and almost at the same instant the column under Lord Dalhousie reached Mendonza, while the third under Sir T. Picton, followed by the Seventh division, crossed a bridge higher up. These four divisions forming the centre of the army, were destined to attack the right of the enemy's centre on the heights, while General Hill pushed forward from Alava to attack the left. These combined movements, admirably planned, and gallantly executed, completely neutralized and defeated the combinations and manoeuvres of the enemy, who, dreading the consequences of an attack on his centre, which he had already weakened to strengthen his posts on the heights, abandoned his position, and commenced a rapid but orderly retreat to Vittoria. During this proceeding, Sir Thomas Graham, who commanded the left, drove the enemy's right from the hills above Abechuco and Gamarra, which nearly intercepted their communication with Bayonne. To preserve this passage, the enemy had occupied the villages of Gamarra Mayor, and Menor, near which the great road touches the banks of the Zadorra. To dispossess the enemy of these positions, which covered the only road by which they could retreat to Bayonne, Colonel Longa, with a Spanish division, and General Pack, with the Portuguese, sup-ported by General Anson's cavalry brigade, and the 5th division of infantry under General Oswald, were ordered to force these two points, while General Graham attacked the village of Abechuco. All these attacks were completely successful; the Spanish and Portuguese conducting them-selves with great gallantry.

While these operations were going on at Abechuco, the enemy made every effort to regain the village of Gamarra Mayor, but they were repulsed by General Oswald's division at every point; and, as soon as the centre of the Allies had penetrated to the town of Vittoria, the enemy retreated with great precipitation. The success of the troops under General Graham having cut off the retreat by the great road to France, the enemy saw that all was lost, and fled towards Pampluna, the only other road left open,—a difficult and circuitous route, on which they had no fortified positions to cover their retrogade movement. The different French corps being thus beaten and thrown back on one another, they got into inextricable confusion; and, as the pressure increased by the precipitation of the retreat, the greatest part must either have surrendered or been cut to pieces, if the difficult nature of the broken country, intersected by hills, small ravines, and ditches, had not prevented the artillery from being brought forward and the cavalry from acting with effect.

As it was, they abandoned all their baggage and artillery, except one gun and one howitzer, which those who were foremost on the retreat were able to carry off, but the gun was taken on the following day; so that one howitzer was all that remained of 151 pieces of cannon, protected by an army of upwards of 70,000 men, now completely scattered, broken down, and beaten, leaving behind them all their stores and baggage, both public and private,—every thing, in short, that constitutes the materiel of an army. [It is singular that England has twice triumphed almost on the same spot. In the proudest days of her martial fame in former times, a great victory was achieved by Edward the Black Prince, near the same spot, where he defeated the usurper of the Spanish throne, who was also supported by the troops of France.]

It is impossible, for those interested in the honour of these kingdoms, to contemplate this complete overthrow of a great hostile army without sentiments of unmixed pleasure and exultation, heightened, as these feelings must be, by the consideration, that the influence of former victories, and an increasing respect for the discipline and courage of the army, began to be displayed; for, although both wings of the enemy's line fought with great desperation, the usual impetuosity of the French in attack was, on the whole, much abated. Their former confidence had been considerably subdued by what they had already seen and heard of the superior military talents of the British Commander, nobly supported as he was by his brave army.

On reaching Pampluna, and being refused admittance, such was the panic of the enemy, that they attempted to force into the garrison by scaling the walls, and were only prevented by the guns being turned upon them. This caused so much delay, that the rear of the flying army was in sight when General Hill's division approached. His pursuit in that direction was momentarily checked by a fire from the town; but, leaving this fortress to its fate, he pushed through the Pyrenees, driving the French from one position to another till the 7th of July, when he reached and took post on the summit of the Pass of Mayor, "those lofty heights, which," as the French General lamented, "enabled him proudly to survey our fertile valleys." [Soult's proclamation.]

While the right was so well employed, General Graham made a movement to the left to intercept General Foy, then on his march to join Jourdan; but, when the latter heard of the defeat of the French army, he hastily retired. Attempting to make a stand at Tolosa, he was quickly driven from thence, and pursued beyond the Spanish boundaries. This part of the north of Spain being now cleared of the enemy, with the exception of Pampluna and St Sebastian, it was resolved to blockade the former, and lay siege to the latter. The latter part of this service was intrusted to General Graham.

St Sebastian being next in strength to Gibraltar, and the key of one of the entrances into France, no exertion had been spared to put it in the best possible state of defence. [St Sebastian was formerly one of the finest cities in Spain, and is situated on a peninsula, running nearly east and west, having its northern side washed by the river Urumea, and the southern by the sea, and being about a league distant from Passages. When besieged, the defences of the place were very formidable. On the line that crosses the isthmus at right angles had been constructed a double line of works, consisting of the usual counterscarp, covered way, and glacis, while those erected along the peninsula, in a longitudinal direction, formed only a single line, and were built without any cover, from a calculation that the water in front would render them inaccessible. The error of this calculation is the more unaccountable, as the Urumea, for some hours both before and after low water, is fordable, and the tide ebbs so much that there is a large space left dry along the left bank of the river, so that troops can march to the very foot of the wall. With regard to the northern line of defence, it is quite exposed, from the top to the bottom, to a range of hills on the right bank of the river, at the distance of 600 or 700 yards from the works. In 1701, Marshal the Duke of Berwick, natural son of James VII., breached the town wall from these heights, while he pushed his approaches along the neck of land, and formed a lodgment in the covered way. The town surrendered by capitulation, and the governor, with the garrison, retired into the castle.]

On the 14th of July the batteries opened on the convent of St Bartolomeo, and on the 17th this stronghold, though fortified with a protecting work, and a steep hill on its left flank, was so nearly destroyed, that General Graham ordered both to be stormed. This attack was made by the division under General Oswald, and executed with such determination and vigour, that a strong body of men who defended the posts could not withstand the impetuosity of our troops, who got possession of both. On the 25th, two breaches being supposed practicable, they were assaulted by a party of 2000 men, who advanced with their usual resolution ; but, after an obstinate contest against a numerous enemy, the troops were obliged to be recalled, having sustained a very severe loss; and, as other events called away the attention of the Commander-in-Chief, the siege was for the present suspended.

Marshal Soult, who had been recently appointed to the command of the French, having collected an army on the north side of the Pyrenees, was now ready to advance and attempt to force the positions occupied by the Allies. These positions were, by nature, almost impregnable; each formed a stronghold of itself either on an elevated hill, or as commanding a pass or ravine. But it was necessary to occupy a great extent of country, containing a range of bold and precipitous mountains, intersected in every direction, but more particularly from north to south, by deep passes, ravines, and valleys, which, in a confined space, afforded the best means of defence. But a distance of sixty miles now-intervened between St Sebastian on the left, and the outward posts on the right of the allied army at Roncesvalles. To command every pass, therefore, was impossible; some must either be left open to the entrance of an enemy, or so weakly guarded, that Soult might force through, and turning the flank of one position, get in rear of another, and thus endanger the whole.

These mountains had been, in former times, the scenes of many desperate rencounters, and the grave of many a valiant knight. The valley of Roncesvalles, now the station of Brigadier-General Byng's brigade, had been celebrated in many a heroic ballad and romance, as the field of battle in which Charlemagne met his celebrated defeat. The mountain passes in the possession of the Allies were defended by the following troops:—The valley of Roncesvalles on the right was occupied by Major-General Byng's brigade, and General Morillo's division of Spanish infantry, in support of which at Piscarret was posted Lieutenant-General Cole's division, with General Picton's in reserve at Olaque:—Sir Rowland Hill, with Lieutenant-General William Stewart's, and Silviera's Portuguese divisions, and the Spanish corps under the Condé de Amaran, occupied the valley of Bastan, and the Pass of Maya:—Brigadier-General Archibald Campbell's Portuguese brigade was detached to Los Alduidos:—The heights of St Barbara, the town of Pera, and the Puerto de Echelar, were protected by Lord Dalhousie and Baron Allen's light division, Brigadier-General Pack's being in reserve at St Estevan:—General Longa's Spanish division preserved the communication between Lord Dalhousie and General Graham, and the Condé de Abisbal blockaded Pampluna.

Marshal Soult having collected a great and numerous force, formed his plan of operations for a general attack on the allied army. On the 25th of July he advanced at the head of upwards of 36,000 men against Roncesvalles, while General Count d'Erlon, with 13,000 men, advanced on the Pass of Maya. General Byng was so hard pressed by this overwhelming force, the numbers of which enabled them to attack several parts of the position at once, that, although reinforced by part of the division of Sir Lowry Cole, he was obliged, in order to preserve his communication, to descend from the heights that commanded the Pass; and thus situated, he was attacked by Soult, and driven back to the top of the mountain; while the troops on the ridge of Arola, part of General Cole's division, were compelled to retire, with considerable loss, and to take up a position in the rear.

This they maintained till the evening, when General Cole, seeing a superior force in his front, and another in his flank, endeavouring to get round to his rear, retired as soon as it became dark to Lizoain, where he was joined by Brigadier-General Archibald Campbell, from Alduidos. On the 26th General Picton moved forward to support the troops at Lizoain, on which place Soult advanced after mid-day, when General Picton retired, keeping up a skirmishing fire till he reached a strong position, in which he formed in order of battle.

During these proceedings, Count d'Erlon advanced against all the narrow ridges occupied by some battalions near the post of Maya, and being superior in numbers to those who occupied them, or could be brought up to their support, he forced them to give way; but they were promptly supported by Brigadier-General Barnes's brigade. A series of spirited actions ensued, the weight of which fell upon Major-Generals Pringle's and Walker's brigades, of Lieutenant-General Sir William Stewart's division. The gallantry of the 20th and 82d was particularly noticed. Nothing material occurred on the 26th; but General Hill, hearing of the retrograde movements of the troops from Roncesvalles, retired behind the Irurita, and there took up a strong position. On the 27th Sir T. Picton resumed his retreat, the troops meanwhile being much dejected at this temporary reverse so soon after their late successful achievements; but the appearance of Lord Wellington seemed to act like electricity. They hailed his presence as the omen of returning victory; and when he gave orders to halt, and prepare to meet the enemy, all was animation and energy. He had been with the army before St Sebastian when he heard of the events on his right; and, hastening to the scene of action, directed the troops in reserve to move forward in support of the division opposed to the enemy. General Picton's divisions he formed on a ridge, on the left bank of the Argua, and General Cole's on high grounds between that river and the Lanz. General Hill was posted behind the Lizasso, ready to support the positions in front; but on the arrival of General Pakenham on the 28th he took post on the left of General Cole, facing the village of Sourarem, under a high mountain, on the left of which Soult had formed his army ; but, before the ground had been fully occupied by the British divisions, they were vigorously attacked by the enemy from the village. After a short but severe contest, Soult was driven back with immense loss.

Disappointed in his attempt, Soult brought forward a strong column, and advanced up the hill against the centre of the Allies, on the left of General Cole's line. Of this post the French obtained a temporary possession, but the Fusileers running up, drove them back with the bayonet. They returned to the charge, but were again quickly repulsed. Another attack was made on the right of the centre, where a Spanish brigade, supported by the 40th regiment, was posted. The former gave way, but the 40th drove the enemy down the hill again with great loss.

The battle now became general along the whole front of the heights occupied by the fourth division, the enemy pushing forward in separate bodies with great vigour; but they were uniformly repulsed, except on a post occupied by a Portuguese battalion, which was overpowered and obliged to give way, when the enemy established themselves on the post. This being immediately on the right of Major-General Ross's brigade, his flank was exposed to a destructive fire, which forced him to withdraw. At this instant Colonel John Maclean advanced with the 27th and 48th regiments, charged and drove the enemy who had got possession of the Portuguese post, and immediately afterwards attacked and charged another body of the enemy who were advancing from the left. Both charges were completely successful, and the enemy drove down the heights they had ascended with great loss. In this manner the enemy continued to push forward strong bodies, but with equally bad success, the defeat on every successive attack being more destructive, and attended with greater loss to the enemy than the preceding. The bayonet was the principal arm employed; several regiments charged four different times.

On the following day Lord Dalhousie's division from the left reinforced the centre. This induced Soult to withdraw a body of troops from his strong position in front of the right of the British, trusting that, from the nature of the ground, the remainder would be able to maintain themselves against any force that might be brought to oppose them, and to attempt to turn the left of the position. His hopes of success from this movement do not appear to have been very confident, as he had previously ordered his artillery back to France; a pretty conclusive proof of the impression made upon him by the preceding actions. Lord Wellington, instantly availing himself of this reduction of force in his front, determined to attempt the position, al-though apparently almost impregnable. On the morning, therefore, of the 30th, Lord Dalhousie made an admirably conducted attack on the heights on the right, which was executed with much gallantry by Brigadier-General Inglis's brigade. During this operation, Sir T. Picton succeeded in turning their left, while General Pakenham, at the same time, drove them from the village of Ostiz. Amidst such a series of arduous and successful attempts, an attack in front was made by General Cole's division, upon which the enemy abandoned "a position which is one of the strongest and most difficult of access that I have yet seen occupied by troops," [Lord Wellington's Despatches.] and were pursued beyond Olaque, in the neighbourhood of which Sir R. Hill had been hotly engaged during the whole day, and had repulsed every attack made by Count d'Erlon, and the troops sent by Soult for the purpose of driving him back on Pampluna. In consequence of this success, the General took possession of the heights of Eguarrus, which enabled him to set all the efforts of the enemy at defiance.

On the night of the 31st the main body of the enemy retreated, leaving a strong body posted on a mountain, at the Pass of Donna Maria, from which they were next day dislodged i Lord Dalhousie on the one side, and Sir R. Hill on the other, ascended the hills, and General Barnes's brigade of the 50th, 71st, and Gordon Highlanders, whose gallantry had been so often conspicuous, pushed up a steep ascent, in defiance of all resistance, and against double their number. The enemy, however much favoured by the natural strength of the country, could not withstand such resolute and undaunted movements, and were forced back at all points.

In this manner position after position was successfully turned in flank, or taken in front, at the point of the bayonet, so that, on the 2d of August, the Allies occupied the same position as on the 25th of July, when Soult made his first attack : and thus ended those operations which were to retrieve the disgrace of Vittoria, and the previous reverses of the enemy; and to conclude with driving back the Allies from the sight of the fertile valleys of France, and ultimately to reconquer the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal.

In this important, complicated, and lengthened engagement of so many days, on ground the most difficult, and in some places almost impassable, so that, on several occasions, it was necessary to climb precipices to the point of attack, during which the men were fully exposed to the shot of their opponents above, success, with a comparatively moderate loss, was certainly the more honourable. [See the amount of the killed and wounded in the Appendix.] A more detailed account of the various incidents, skilful manoeuvres, and deeds of gallantry, which led to this long succession of splendid and important victories, would have been most desirable. But when it is recollected, that the actions both of defence and attack were not only numerous, but involved in a variety of complicated movements,—that they were continued through a period of several successive days,—and that they were fought in a mountainous tract, more than fifty miles in extent, and every where full of the most embarrassing obstacles; it must be obvious, that a narrative embracing the minute particulars of the scene could be the work only of an eyewitness, capable of noticing what passed under his own immediate observation, and of estimating the nature, consequences, and importance of more distant movements, such as occurred among the ravines and precipices of the Pyrenees, when this continued succession of attacks, repulses, charges, and assaults was exhibited. To military men, indeed, a minute description would be both interesting and instructive; but as my turn of duty led me to a distance from those important events, I have not attempted more than a mere outline of what took place.

On this occasion the 42d and 79th Highlanders did not belong to those brigades whose good fortune it was to be more actively engaged; but the Gordon Highlanders, who had more than once to oppose and attack the enemy, fully supported their former character. I have just mentioned my misfortune in not serving with this army, and consequently cannot speak from personal knowledge, and have not been able to procure any particular information, or to learn any characteristic anecdotes of the Highland regiments, either as a body, or as individuals. Such an illustration would be interesting, as tending to show the character and habits of Highland soldiers as contrasted with those of former times.

The siege of St Sebastian, which had been suspended on the advance of Soult, was now resumed on his discomfiture, and pressed with much ardour. A continued fire from eighty pieces of cannon was opened. The enemy withstood this with a courage and perseverance the more commendable, as the late defeat of their friends left them but small hopes of succour. On the morning of the 31st of August, a practicable breach having been made, the troops advanced to the assault. Notwithstanding the extent of the breach, there was but one point where it was possible to enter, and this only by single files. All the inside of the wall to the right of the curtain formed a perpendicular scarp of twenty feet. Every thing that the most determined bravery could attempt was repeatedly tried in vain by the troops, who were brought forward in succession from the trenches, but each time, on attaining the summit, a heavy fire from the entrenched ruins within destroyed all who offered to remain, and "no man outlived the attempt to gain the ridge." [General Graham's Despatches] It was at this critical moment that General Graham,—confiding in the perfection to which the artillery had been brought, and in the unshaken steadiness of the troops,—with admirable presence of mind, ordered the fire of the Artillery to be directed against the curtain, so as to pass a few feet over the heads of the troops in the breach. Playing with unparalleled accuracy, it checked the enemy's fire, and the troops advanced with perfect confidence under the correct and undeviating aim of the guns in their rear. After the most persevering exertions for two hours to force the breach, an explosion of ammunition within the ramparts causing some confusion, the assailants redoubled their efforts, and the men assisted each other over the walls and ruins. But it was not till an hour afterwards that the enemy were driven from the complicated works, which they had so resolutely defended. They retreated with great loss to the castle, leaving the town, a heap of ruins, in possession of the assailants, who had also to deplore the loss of many valuable lives. But a place of such strength, and of such importance to the future operations of either party, and so defended, must, of course, be dearly purchased. [The loss during the whole siege, from 28th July to 8th September, was 43 officers, and 547 soldiers, killed.]

Aware of the great importance of this fortress, Soult collected a force of nearly 40,000 men, and, with an intention of raising the siege, crossed the Bidassoa on the very day when the assault took place. This attempt, after repeated attacks, in which the brigades of Generals Inglis and Ross, and a division of the Spanish army, were actively engaged, proved as unsuccessful as the former. The conduct of the Spaniards at the post of St Marcial, the defence of which had been intrusted to them, was particularly noticed "as being equal to that of any troops which the Commandeivin Chief had ever seen engaged." [General Orders.] Thus the French saw themselves beaten by the Spanish soldiers, whom they had formerly accustomed themselves to despise; and their humiliation at this defeat must have been rendered more acute by the recollection of those times when a French army believed that an advance to battle was a prelude to certain victory, often obtained on very easy terms. As nothing inspires a man with greater courage than the belief that there is no danger or hazard of victory, so nothing cools an advance, or breaks the resolution of troops, sooner than the presentiment of defeat on an encounter with an enemy. Not that the French evinced a loss of energy, or a want of determination to fight, however unsuccessful they might be. Their gallantry, under discouraging reverses, was proved at St Sebastian, as well as by the loss the Allies sustained, amounting to more than 2000 men in killed and wounded.

On the 7th of October Lord Wellington entered France, crossing the Bidassoa, at low water, near its mouth. General Graham, with a combined force of British and Portuguese, attacked and carried the entrenchments of Andayo, which were gallantly defended by the enemy. General Don Manuel Freyre, with a Spanish division, crossed higher up, and drove the enemy from their works. General Baron Alten, with the light division, encountered more difficulty, but was equally successful. He drove the enemy from a succession of redoubts, raised one over the other, on steep and difficult ascents. General Giron's division of Spanish troops attacked and carried the lower part of the mountain La Rhune; but on their subsequent attempt to ascend to the second position, they found the obstructions insurmountable. However, on the following morning, the attack was renewed on the right of the enemy's position, when they withdrew and left it to be occupied by the Spaniards. All these operations were accomplished with the usual spirit of the assailants; the 9th regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel (now Major-General) John Cameron, which met with more opposition than any other, was particularly distinguished, as were likewise the 52d, the 95th, and the 1st and 2d Cacadores.

General Graham having thus established the army within the French territories, he resigned his command to the Honourable Lieutenant-General Sir John Hope, now appointed second in command.

On the 31st of October Pampluna surrendered after a blockade of four months. This acquisition rendered the whole of the allied force disposable; and as the weather had now become very severe on the high ridges of the Pyrenees, Lord Wellington lost no time in commencing operations, and carrying the war into France. After the battle of the Pyrenees, the French had occupied a position, with their right upon the sea, at a short distance from St Jean de Luz, their centre on a village in Sare, and on the heights behind it, with their left resting on a strong height in the roar of Ainhoe.

The whole of this naturally strong position, especially their right, they had fortified with the greatest care. Heavy falls of snow and rain obliged Lord Wellington to defer, till the 10th of November, his attempt to force the enemy's centre, and establish the allied army in rear of their right. The attack was to be made in columns of divisions. Sir Rowland Hill, with Sir William Stewart's, Sir Henry Clinton's, Sir John Hamilton's Portuguese, and General Morilla's Spanish divisions, formed the right; the centre, under Marshal Beresford, consisted of Sir Thomas Picton's, (in his absence, commanded by General Colville), Sir L. Cole's and Lord Dalhousie's divisions, (commanded in his absence by Colonel Le Cor), Baron Alten's Light division, and the Spanish Reserve under Generals Giron and Freyre; the left, commanded by Sir John Hope, consisted of Major-Generals Howard's and Oswald's, Brigadier-Generals Wilson's and Bradford's Portuguese brigades, and Lord Aylmer's independent British brigade; the whole amounting to more than 85,000 men.

On the morning of the 10th, the Allies moved forward to the enemy's lines. General Hill marched against the left, while Marshal Beresford was to attack the centre, supported on his left by the Spanish division of General Giron; and, in the mean time, the Light division and General Longa's were to attack La Petite Rhune. General Hope was directed to move against all the lines from the centre to the sea.

General Cole's division commenced the operations; and after a short but hot cannonade against the principal redoubt in front of Sare, the troops advanced with such expedition, that several of the enemy were taken in the redoubt before it could be evacuated. That on the left being also evacuated in the same haste on the approach of General Le Cor, General Cole's division then attacked and took possession of the village, which had already been turned on the right by Generals Colville's and Le Cor's divisions, and on the left by General Giron. General Alten, with the Light division, was equally successful against La Petite Rhune. The whole then united, and formed a joint attack on the enemy's principal position behind the village. Generals Colville's and Le Cor's divisions carried the redoubt on the left of the enemy's centre. The light division, at the same time, advanced from La Petite Rhune to attack the works in their front. In this duty they met with some difficulties, which were quickly overcome by a spirited advance of the 52d, headed by Colonel (now Major-General) Colborne. This point could only be attacked in front, over a low neck of land, exposed to the fire of two flanking batteries. This neck the regiment crossed by a very rapid movement; and, when they had passed the defile, rushed up the hill with such impetuosity, that the enemy did not wait the shock, but retired with great expedition.

General Hill attacked, in divisions, the heights of Ainhoe; General Clinton's division leading, and marching on the left of five redoubts, forded the Nivelle, the banks of which were steep and difficult, and attacked the troops in front of the works. These were quickly driven back with loss; and, General Hamilton joining in the attack on the other redoubt, the enemy could not withstand this combined force, and hastily retired. The picquets in front of Ainhoe were driven in by General Pringle's brigade of General Stewart's division, while General Byng's brigade attacked and drove the enemy from the entrenchments, and a redoubt farther to the left.

Every movement was thus completely successful, and firmly established the Allies on the right bank of the Niville. Farther efforts, however, were still necessary, as the troops driven from the enemy's centre were concentrating above the heights of Saint Pé. But Generals Colville's and Le Cor's divisions, improving the advantages already acquired, crossed the river below the village, dislodged the enemy from the heights, and established themselves on the position beyond them. The day was, however, too far advanced to make any farther movements; and the enemy, taking advantage of the night, abandoned all their positions and works in front of St Jean de Luz, and retired upon Bidart, destroying all the bridges on the Lower Nivelle. These measures of the Allies were to have been followed up next morning; but the excessive rains, and the destruction of the bridges, rendering a rapid progress impossible, the enemy gained the entrenched camp at Bayonne, leaving in the hands of the victors 51 pieces of artillery and 1500 prisoners, with a proportional number of killed and wounded. And thus was concluded a second and successful series of complicated movements, in opposition to so masterly and experienced a tactician as Marshal Soult, stationed on ground certainly much inferior in natural strength to the stupendous and intricate passes and mountains of the Pyrenees, but still possessing many natural advantages, chosen by himself, and carefully strengthened and fortified by his army, during a space of more than three months.

Looking to the number of troops engaged, and the length of the contest, the strength and extent of the enemy's position, the judgment with which it had been taken up, and the labour and expense with which it had been fortified,— the loss, [The loss was 21 officers, and 244 soldiers, killed.] though considerable, was less than could, with less spirited troops, have been expected, which may in some measure be accounted for by the diminished spirit of the French, and by the increased ardour of the Allies, who saw themselves victorious in every encounter, and whose confidence in their Commander afforded every hope of a continuance of the same victorious career.

The enemy, having been thus driven from all his posts on the Nivelle in a manner so honourable to his opponents, placed his army within an entrenched camp, close to Bayonne. The allied troops were cantoned between the Nivelle and the sea, and occupied in preparations to dislodge Marshal Soult from his new position. Incessant rains, from the middle till the end of November, put a total stop, during their continuance, to all active movements. On the beginning of December, Lord Wellington directed bridges to be constructed over the Nive, and on the 8th commenced his operations for the passage of that river, with a view to make a movement to the right, and thereby to threaten the enemy's rear, for the purpose of inducing his antagonist to abandon his present position, which was deemed too strong for any direct attack. These movements led to a series of desperate contests, the result of which fully realized the views of the Commander of the Allies. On the 9th the army moved forward. General Hope met with small opposition, and General Hill encountered as little in crossing the Nive by the ford of Cambo. The enemy retired in great haste to avoid being intercepted by General Clinton's division, which had crossed at Ustariz, and assembled in considerable force at Ville Franche, but they were driven from thence by the Light infantry and two Portuguese regiments, under Colonels Douglas and Browne. On the following day Sir Rowland Hill's division was established, with his left on this position, and his right on the Adour. The communication between Bayonne and St Jean Pied de Port being thus cut off, the troops at the latter place were compelled to fall back on St Palais. On the morning of the 10th, Soult, leaving a force to keep General Hill in check, quitted his entrenched camp, made a furious attack on the Light division of Sir John Hope's wing, and succeeded in forcing back the outposts. The enemy established themselves on a ridge between the corps of Baron Alten and Major-General Andrew Hay's fifth division; and turning upon the latter with a vigour that required no common firmness to resist, they were, after a severe struggle, repulsed by Brigadier-General Robinson's brigade of the fifth division and Brigadier-General Archibald Campbell's Portuguese brigade. All the troops engaged particularly distinguished themselves. The 9th regiment, under Colonel Cameron, already so often and so honourably mentioned, had now another opportunity of showing how well they could use the bayonet, and what a powerful arm it was in their hands.

Undismayed by these repulses, the enemy renewed the attack about three o'clock, but were again unsuccessful. Thus passed the day, and in the course of the night Soult made dispositions to attack the Light division at Arcangues. But Sir John Hope, perceiving his intention, and ready to meet every change of position, moved towards the threatened point. His opponent, equally on the alert, again changed his dispositions to the left, and here also he was as quickly met by General Hope. In this manner passed the first part of the night between two masters of their profession, each watching, with intense anxiety, the movements of the other, and possessing that acute discernment necessary to avail himself of any mistake committed by his opponent.

The following day passed in partial skirmishing with the outposts, and on the 12th the enemy renewed the attack on the left, but with no better success. During the night of the 12th, however, they determined on an entire change in the plan of their operations, drew their army through Bayonne, and on the morning of the 13th, made a powerful effort, with 30,000 men, to pierce through between the centre and right of the British position. Advancing with equal vigour and celerity, they would probably have succeeded in the attempt, had not General Hill, with that prompt decision of which we have seen so many instances, ordered his troops on the flanks to support the centre. This opportune aid arrived at the moment when, without such assistance, this immense body would have forced through. The enemy were now repulsed with great loss, and retreated with such expedition, that they were out of reach before the arrival of the sixth division, which had been ordered up to support General Hill. The weight of this attack was sustained by General Barnes's brigade and the Portuguese brigade of General Ashworth, stationed on the road to St Jean Pied de Port. The result fully evinced the spirit with which the attack had been repelled. [The 79th distinguished themselves here; the number killed by their fire on this occasion, in a small space, was one of the remarkable circumstances of the war.]

During this affair General Byng's, supported by General Buchan's Portuguese brigade, carried an important height, from which the enemy made several ineffectual attempts to dislodge them; but, being unsuccessful at all points, they at length retired to their entrenchments. General Hill's division followed, and took up a parallel position.

The winter had now set in with unusual inclemency, and a succession of violent rains had so swelled all the rivers, and destroyed the roads, that ulterior movements were for a short time impracticable. This interruption of active warfare allowed Marshal Soult time to strengthen his position in front of Bayonne. About the middle of February 1814, the weather becoming more favourable, Lord Wellington lost no time in commencing a series of movements calculated to force Soult to draw his troops from their strong position, or allow the Allies free entrance into the heart of France, and thereby cut off his communication with that country. The first operation was to drive back the French from the vicinity of St Palais. After a series of movements, Lord Wellington succeeded in getting the command of the Adour, down which the enemy received their supplies from the interior. Being deprived of this resource, Soult was obliged to withdraw from Bayonne; and leaving a strong garrison for its defence, he marched with the main body in the direction of Daxe.

Sir John Hope was left to blockade Bayonne; and, on the 24th of February, the right and centre of the army made a general movement, the former crossing the Gave d'Oleron at the post of Villeneuve, and the latter between Montford and Laas, all without opposition, and marched forward on the 25th to dislodge the enemy from a position on the Gave de Pau at Orthes. Between the two extreme points of this position ran a chain of heights receding in a line bending inwards, the centre of which was so retired as to be protected by the guns of both wings. In this strong post Soult was supported by the town and the river on the left; his right resting on a commanding height in rear of the village of St Bois; while the centre, accommodating itself to the incurvation of the chain of heights, described a horizontal reversed segment of a circle, protected, as has been already stated, by the strong position of both wings.

Against this advantageous post the dispositions were quickly made. Marshal Beresford, with Generals Cole's and Walker's divisions, and with Colonel Vivian's brigade of cavalry, was ordered to attack and attempt to turn the right; Generals Picton and Clinton, with General Cotton's and Lord Edward Somerset's brigades of cavalry, were directed to attack the heights on the left and centre; General Alten, with the Light division in reserve in rear of the two columns of attack, was to be ready to support either; while General Hil was to cross the Gave, two miles above Orthes, and to attack the left flank and rear of the position. Marshal Beresford attacked and carried the village of St Bois, after an obstinate resistance. General Cole then advanced against the heights above the village; but two flanking ravines narrowing the approach, only two battalions could be brought forward in line to oppose the weight of the whole force on the heights, the troops being flanked also by a body of the enemy in the ravines, and the guns on the heights. Notwithstanding the firmness displayed by the troops, it was found necessary to relinquish the advance by this direction. A new plan was instantly adopted, and a joint attack, consisting of the troops of the Reserve and those of the right, was made upon the enemy's left, in the expectation of turning them in that flank. This attack was led by the 52d, under Colonel Colborne, supported on the right by Brigadier-General Brisbane and Colonel Keane's brigade, and, at the same moment, by Major-General Anson on the left; while, on the right of the whole, General Picton, with a part of his own division and of General Clinton's, rushed forward almost at the same time. This shock was irresistible: every point was carried; the enemy, however, retreating in a masterly manner, firing by echelons of divisions, each covering the other as they retreated, till General Hill, who had by this time crossed the river, advanced upon their left flank on the road from Orthes to St Sever. The French now became apprehensive of being entirely intercepted, and this hitherto well-ordered retreat was immediately converted into a total rout, their troops hastening away at a running pace, followed by their pursuers with the same speed. In this manner the latter kept to their rear at a full trot for nearly three miles, till at length the French breaking, and throwing away their arms, spread themselves all over the country. Still, however, they were pursued to Sault de Navailles, when there no longer remained even the appearance of an army, every ditch, hedge, or obstacle that could impede their flight, being strewed with the dead and the wounded.

If the nature of the country would have allowed the cavalry to act early in the retreat, the greater part of the enemy must have been destroyed; or, if they had attempted to form and resist the cavalry, the delay occasioned by such a determination would have enabled General Hill, the head of whose division was nearly parallel with their rear division, to get so far in advance as, by a quick movement to his left, to take them in flank, and thus, by checking their farther retreat, force them to surrender. As it was, their loss was estimated at 8000 killed, wounded, and taken. [See Appendix for particulars of British loss, 14 officers, and 173 soldiers, killed.]

After this signal victory, the French General had to encounter a new and formidable enemy in the disaffection of a part of his troops. French soldiers now, for the first time, abandoned their standards; numbers of them went over to the Allies, and others fled to their different homes. But no defeat, desertion, or disaster, seemed to affect Soult, who continued to exert his great abilities with a spirit and energy undismayed and undiminished. He grasped at every opportunity of opposing the victorious and irresistible progress of his opponent. Of this determination he exhibited an early instance, and, on the 2d of March, made a stand to cover the removal of considerable magazines, which had been established at Ayre. He posted his men on a strong ridge of low hills, extending across the road in front of that town, having their right on the Adour. In this position they were attacked by General Hill's corps. Sir William Stewart's division attacked the right, and General La Costa's Portuguese division the left. Both succeeded in gaining possession of the ridge; but the Portuguese were so shaken by the resistance they met with, that, in the confusion, they could not be re-formed before the enemy had rallied, and were returning upon them in great force. At this moment General Stewart, who had completed his share of the duty, detached to their assistance General Barnes, with the 50th, 71st, and the Gordon Highlanders. With the gallantry which had so often distinguished these corps under the same leader, they instantly drove the enemy from the heights. Several desperate attempts were made to retrieve what had been lost. In these they were repulsed at every point: and being at last driven from the town, took the route to Pau. Numbers threw away their arms, and fled with the utmost speed. The magazines, of course, fell into the hands of the British.

This affair afforded additional evidence of the confidence which had been acquired, and which was increased by every successive action. No enterprise during the war had contributed more to depress the spirits of the enemy than the storming of St Sebastian. In all the general actions, however disastrous the result, they had always reserved some consolatory pretext to evade the acknowledgment of defeat or inferiority. The General must have committed some mistake, or miscalculated his manoeuvres; the position was not good, or the troops were not judiciously stationed; some divisions advanced too soon, others were too late; their antagonists were numerous beyond all proportion, or some accidental circumstance had given them an unexpected advantage which surprised even the victors themselves, and which would have certainly ended in their defeat, had it not been for one or other of such causes as have been enumerated. Thus ingeniously did these sanguine and brave troops labour to find out reasons to cover and to conceal, even from themselves, the real cause of their numerous compulsory retreats. But, in such a place as St Sebastian, there could be no manoeuvring General to commit mistakes; and the defences were so strong, and had been so little impaired, that, even with small resistance on the part of the besieged, a body of assailants would have required a considerable time to force an entrance. In a fortress possessing an accumulation of every means of defence that could be well brought forward, with a brave and numerous garrison, the being compelled to surrender was an indication of undaunted resolution, and superior physical power, on the part of the assailants, which no sophistry could explain away. The loss was indeed great; but it will be supplied and forgotten, while the impression made by this irresistible attack will endure for ages, and have its influence in establishing the character, and proving the capability of British soldiers. With such qualifications for the most arduous of military enterprises, the assault of a place of strength, we find that, in the field, under their great commander, and opposed to the most celebrated of the numerous and able generals of the enemy, the French were driven from position to position with great celerity, and with a comparatively small loss to the victors. Outflanked, outmanoeuvred, checked, and turned, in a country remarkable for the strength of its military positions, they found that these defeats, so often repeated, were not effected by superiority of numbers, nor by accidental advantages, but by the admirable execution of a combined series of movements, conceived and planned with an acuteness, a decision, and a vigour of intellect, that, with brave troops to execute them, made success a matter of certainty.

Much rain having lately fallen, the rivers overflowed their banks, and laid a considerable portion of the country under water; and the French having destroyed the bridges, the advance of the army was unavoidably delayed. By Soult's retreat on Tarbes, all the western part of Gascony had been left open to the operations of Lord Wellington, who, therefore, detached Marshal Beresford and Lord Dalhousie, with three divisions, to Bourdeaux, of which city they took possession not only without opposition, but amidst the enthusiastic acclamations of the inhabitants,—a circumstance very uncommon on the entrance of a victorious army into an enemy's city; but the truth seems to be, that the pressure of Napoleon's despotism had become utterly intolerable, and the sufferers naturally hailed the first dawnings of emancipation, come from what quarter they might. Besides, in Bourdeaux and the province of Gascony, there were a great number of individuals of property and influence, sincerely attached to the cause of the Bourbons.

Marshal Beresford, after leaving Lord Dalhousie with 4000 men at Bourdeaux, was recalled, and Lord Wellington, having received a reinforcement of troops from Spain, and regimental detachments from England, and of men who had recovered from the hospitals, immediately put the army in motion. The right column advanced on Vicq Bigorre, by Lembege, and the centre through Manbourget. At Vicq the enemy, with two divisions, attempted to make a stand, but were soon dislodged by General Picton, with the third division, and driven beyond Tarbes, where Soult concentrated his whole force, with a seeming intention of disputing the farther progress of the Allies; placing his left at Tarbes, and extending his right towards Rabastens. On the 20th, Generals Hill and Picton moved forward on the enemy's front at Tarbes, while General Clinton, with the 6th division, crossed the Adour to turn his right at Rabastens, General Alten's Light division being destined to attack the heights above Orleix. These combined movements succeeded in the most perfect manner. But no sooner had the British driven the enemy from the heights which they occupied, than a second line was seen drawn up on two hills running parallel to those in front. This commanding position being reinforced by the troops driven from that in advance, it was found to be too formidable to be attacked in front, without a great sacrifice of men ; and before the necessary movements for taking it in flank could be completed, the night closed in, and Soult, unwilling to risk another engagement, took advantage of the darkness, and moved off towards Toulouse, whither he was, next morning, followed by the Allies, who reached the banks of the Garonne on the 27th of March.

The contending armies were now separated by a great river, recently swollen by heavy rains, and the melting of the snow on the Pyrenees. The only bridge being in possession of the enemy at Toulouse, it was a matter of some difficulty, and caused some loss of time, before pontoons of size and strength sufficient for the crossing of the army could be procured. But every hour's delay increased the difficulty of the ultimate enterprise, as the French were busily occupied in fortifying a formidable position close to Toulouse, and as Soult, driven so far back towards the centre of France, had approached nearer the source of his sup-plies, while the allies, on the other hand, had receded to a proportional distance from theirs. But matters were now coming to a crisis. In this formidable and imposing position, Soult might flatter himself with a successful operation, if not the total defeat of his hitherto victorious opponent; and that, should the closing scene of such a course of important events end in victory, it would eraze from men's memories all traces of the numerous defeats which he had already sustained. Hence, a battle gained at Toulouse would be a conclusion of the war, glorious for the arms of France. Acting on such views, the Marshal, (or, as the French soldiers familiarly called him, Le vieux Renard, the old Fox), strained every nerve to put himself in the best possible state of defence. It was indeed asserted at the time, and is still generally believed, that he knew of the events in the north, and the abdication of Buonaparte; and, therefore, his motive in concealing this information, and his determination once more to encounter his formidable antagonist under the walls of Toulouse, must have arisen from some ultimate view of a signal triumph, as a set-off against all previous disappointments and defeats.

The city of Toulouse is defended by an ancient wall, flanked with towers; is surrounded on three sides by the great Canal of Languedoc, and by the Garonne; and, on the fourth side, is flanked by a range of hills close to the canals, over which pass all the roads on that side the town.

On the summit of the nearest of these heights, the French had erected a chain of five redoubts, and formed entrenchments and lines of connection with the defences of the town, consisting of extensive field-works, and of some of the ancient buildings in the suburbs well fortified. At the foot of the elevated ground, and along one half its length, from the most distant extremity, ran the small river Ers, all the bridges of which had been destroyed. On the summit of the height was an elevated and elongated plain, in a state of cultivation, and having a farm-house, with its usual accompaniments, towards the end next the town. Around this house some trenches had been cut, and three redoubts raised on its front and left. The ascent to the summit was easy; but the ground having been recently sown and harrowed, formed an excellent glacis, which, from its breadth and smooth surface, gave a full range to the shot from the redoubts as it swept along when the troops marched up to the attack. Three roads, sunk deep into the earth by long use, and having very high banks on each side, traversed the summit. On this field Soult resolved to stand his last battle; and, from the insulated nature of the town, no mode of attack was left to Lord Wellington but to attempt the works in front.

Part of the army crossed the Garonne on the 4th; but, owing to a few hot days, the melting of the snow on the Pyrenees swelled the river so much, that it was necessary to remove the pontoons; and accordingly it was the 8th before they could be replaced, and more troops could cross over. Soult was too much occupied with his defences to attack the part of the army which had crossed; and, besides, he now began to feel the want of numbers,—a misfortune well known to the English in many enterprises, but seldom experienced by the French in the course of their late wars.

On the 8th, the falling of the river allowed the whole army to cross, except General Hill's division, which remained opposite the town, in front of the great bridge, to keep the enemy within their works on that side. On the 10th of April 1814, all was ready for the last struggle. The Spaniards, under Don Manuel Freyre, were to attack the redoubts fronting the town; General Picton, and the Light Division, were to keep the enemy in check on the great road to Paris, but not to attack; and Marshal Beresford, with General Clinton and the sixth Division, were to attack the centre of the entrenchments, while General Cole, with the fourth, marched against the right. The Divisions having to march along the valley, it required some time to get into the order of attack. When ready, they marched in a parallel direction to the heights on their right, from which they were exposed to a smart cannonade till they came opposite to their respective points of attack, when they immediately changed their front to the right, and marched up the heights. General Pack's brigade, of the 42d, 79th, and 91st, supported by General Lambert's brigade, of the 36th, 37th, and 61st regiments, attacked and carried the lines and a redoubt on the right, and established themselves on the summit, the enemy retreating to the redoubt at the farmhouse.

The commencement of the attack on the right was the signal for Don Manuel Freyre to advance with a Spanish Division, which marched up with great spirit, exposed to a very severe cannonade, that disordered them considerably. Some rushing forward, while others moved more slowly, they were soon so much broken and disordered as to be unable to cross one of the deeply indented roads which passed within one hundred yards of the lower redoubt. The enemy, perceiving this check, rushed out of their entrenchments, and drove them down the hill, where they formed behind a bank under which they had taken shelter. But the Light Division advancing to their support, they again rallied on the plain at the bottom, in front of General Picton's, who pushed forward the 45th regiment and part of his division, with an intention of crossing the canal; but, on reaching the work that defended the bridge, it was found that the canal was so wide and deep, that to cross it was impracticable ; and being now exposed to a heavy fire of cannon and musketry, which they could not return, they were forced to retire. In this attack Lieutenant-Colonel Forbes of the 45th, a valuable officer, was killed.

There was now a general cessation in all the points of attack, till the Spaniards were rallied and brought forward again. This was done by Lord Wellington in person. Marshal Beresford's artillery, which he had left at Montblanc, was now brought up to cannonade the heights. When all was again ready, the attack recommenced. The Spaniards made several attempts, but were unable to succeed. General Pack's brigade advanced on the summit of the heights to the attack of the works at the farm-houses and of the two centre redoubts, and marched forward several hundred yards, over a ploughed field, exposed to the whole fire of the lines, redoubts, and entrenchments, without returning a shot, and with a steadiness that surprised the enemy. "My God! how firm these sans culottes are!" exclaimed a French officer who saw them advance, (distinguishing the 42d and 79th by their dress). When they reached the redoubts, they leaped into the trenches, and carried them with the bayonet. Three of the redoubts, and two-thirds of the lines which defended the heights, were thus in possession of the British.

The 42d occupied two redoubts on the left, the 79th that on the right, and the 91st was stationed in rear of the farmhouse. The outward redoubt on the left was on the edge of the declivity towards the plain at the bottom of the hill. One of the deep roads already mentioned ran close to this redoubt, and, by some oversight, had not been properly occupied, the men being stationed in the inner entrenchment. With an intention of regaining, if possible, these positions, the enemy availing themselves of this kind of covered way, marched up a column of great force, and with such cautious silence, that the head of the column had nearly passed the unoccupied redoubt before they were perceived. Having reached the proper point, they instantly made a desperate rush forward, in such numbers, that they nearly overpowered the 42d, who were forced to retire to the farm-house. Here they were promptly supported by the 91st, and the enemy were again driven down the hill with heavy loss. The Highlanders also suffered very severely. [A highly distinguished officer (Lord Hill), whose judgment and professional talents have been proved by the uniform success which attended his enterprises, exemplified on this occasion how an eye, originally correct, may be improved by practice. The troops under his command had not crossed the Garonne, and were stationed beyond Toulouse, at the distance of more than two miles from the field of action, but in full view of the whole. I had gone to France at this period; and, talking over the battle of Toulouse with Lord Hill, a few days after it happened, he observed, in allusion to the attempt of the enemy to retake the redoubt, "I saw your old friends the Highlanders in a most perilous situation; and had I not known their firmness, I should have trembled for the result. As it was, they could not have resisted the force brought against them if they had not been so instantaneously supported." I asked him what was the amount at which he calculated the strength of the enemy's column of attack. He replied, "Not less than 6000 men."]

The enemy was soon afterwards travelling through Languedoc, and, in a field close to the road in the neighbourhood of Carcasson, I saw a brigade of French infantry exercising. Stepping out of the carriage, I walked into the field to view the troops; and, being in uniform, I was observed by the general officer commanding. He immediately rode up, and, after the usual salutations, invited me, with great politeness, to look at his brigade ; and, opening the ranks, we walked through each rank together. In the course of conversation, the recent battles were noticed; and, after discussing various points, "Well," said the French general, " we are quite satisfied, if the English army think we fought bravely, and did our duty well." The Highland corps were mentioned. "Ah!" said he, "these are brave soldiers. If they had good officers, I should not like to meet them unless I was well supported. I put them to the proof on that day." I asked him, in what manner? He answered, that he led the Division which attempted to retake the redoubt; and, on a further question as to the strength of that Division, "More than 5000 men," was the answer. Here we see that the English general, at the distance of more than two miles, calculated the number at not much less than 6000 men, and the French general who commanded stated it at more than 5000. The closeness of the estimate shows great accuracy of eye, and judgment of numbers at a distance,—a talent of the first importance to a military commander, and which must contribute in a very eminent degree to secure success in a complicated and extended campaign.

had scarce reached the plain below, when a fresh body advanced to retake the redoubts, which were now fully occupied; the 42d in the outward, the 79th in the centre redoubt, and the 91st in the farm yard. This was a most desperate attack; and the enemy, as if sensible that this was the last effort of that bravery and impetuosity which had made the French armies so often irresistible, persevered with a gallantry that would have secured success had their opponents been less resolute and firm.

This firmness prevailed, and the enemy were soon forced to give up the attempt; their retreat being perhaps hastened by the advance of the other brigades of General Clinton's Division on the right, and by the movement of the Spaniards, who were now well advanced on their left. The whole retired, leaving the heights in full possession of the Allies, who now overlooked the venerable city of Toulouse, within full reach of their guns.

But Lord Wellington was spared the cruel necessity of bombarding the town, which contained many loyal and sincere friends, who must unavoidably have suffered in the general confusion; and Marshal Soult, conscious that the city was not defensible, evacuated it the same evening, under the guns of the British army, but undisturbed by his opponent, who wished to avoid all hostilities against the inhabitants, who must have suffered had a cannonade been opened on the retreating enemy. And, indeed, the French army had no other alternative; for the Garonne, the canal, and the heights which had formed their principal defences, were now turned to a different purpose, and assisted the views of the Allies, who had only one side to guard against the entrance of supplies, and that entrance commanded by their guns. If Soult had not evacuated the town, he must soon have surrendered for want of the provisions necessary for the support of a population of 60,000 inhabitants, and of his own army of 36,000 men. To this number it was now reduced by the casualties of war and the recent numerous desertions. And thus, as a wary and experienced fox, (to use a familiar illustration,) who, after a long and intricate chase, and in spite of his numberless doublings and manoeuvres, is at length earthed under some bank,—so the Field Marshal of France was now cooped up within the small circle of a city, the capital of the second province of France, into which an army which had conquered two kingdoms had been driven for shelter, after a series of retrograde movements and manoeuvres from Seville to Toulouse. In the course of these operations the army of Great Britain and her Allies had liberated and given independence to two kingdoms, and had fought eight pitched battles against the bravest soldiers, and the ablest and most experienced generals, of France, who had been foiled by the British general in their boasted tactics, and out manoeuvred, out-marched, out-flanked, and overturned. That army had been also successful in many arduous sieges and assaults, and had at length established themselves in Bourdeaux and Toulouse, the two principal cities of the south of France. Such are a few of the glorious results of these campaigns: Quatre Bras and Waterloo completed a series of victories the more honourable, as they were gained over an enemy remarkable for transcendent military talents and genius.

On the following morning the army made a kind of triumphal entrance into the town, and were received by the inhabitants with An enthusiasm more like that which they might have been expected to show to their deliverers than to conquerors. In the course of the same day, official accounts, which it is said had been kept back on the road, were received of the abdication of Buonaparte, and the restoration of Louis XVIII.

In this manner ended the last battle in that series of difficult operations, which contributed so materially to the fortunate conclusion of twenty-one years' warfare. As the principal aim of my present undertaking is to show the importance to the state of preserving a warlike, moral, and hardy population, and likewise how far the natives of the north of Scotland possess these qualifications,—and to point out the influence exerted by the recent statistical changes and improvements, as they are called, on their moral and military character,—as well as to prove how easily battles may be gained by brave soldiers, in so far as regards actual loss from an enemy,—I may now be permitted to draw a comparison between the amount of the loss of useful subjects to the State sustained in a cause where its honour, and even its very existence as an independent nation, were concerned, and that occasioned by drains on the population by compulsory emigrations, such as have taken place in the North, which have removed from this country as many valuable members of society as were killed by the enemy in the whole of the Peninsular campaigns,—and this in a much shorter period than the duration of these apparently destructive and deadly operations. It will be seen, that from the first shot fired under General Sir Arthur Wellesley at Brilos, after the landing in Portugal in 1808, till the last battle under the Marquis of Wellington at Toulouse, in 1814, the number killed was 7 general officers, 45 field officers, 142 captains, 263 subalterns, 41 staff officers, 391 sergeants, 33 drummers, and 7449 soldiers. [See Appendix, page 63] Of these 1064 were of the German Legion and other foreign corps in the pay of Great Britain, leaving the loss sustained by the United Kingdom 6385 soldiers killed in battle.

Adverting also to the loss sustained at Waterloo, which may be said to have decided the fate of nations, we find that the number of soldiers in British pay killed, amounted to 1536; and, deducting 311 for the German Legion, there remains of the killed of British soldiers at Waterloo 1225 men. When it is remembered that, by the operations of one or two individuals, a greater number of Highlanders have been forced to abandon their native land, many of whom enlisting themselves under the protection of a foreign state, may therefore, at some future period, become the enemies of their native country; the blood spilt in battle to maintain its honour and independence, if not its existence, may be matter of less regret, in so far as regards the loss of subjects, which, in the instances above alluded to, is considered of so little importance, that, instead of reprobation, some of those who act upon the system which is so rapidly changing the character and the best principles of the people, call for applause as promoters of patriotic measures, and improvers of their country.

The objects of twenty-one years' warfare being now in a great measure accomplished, the troops were removed, without delay, to their appointed destinations, and the three Highland regiments ordered for Ireland, where they remained till the return of Buonaparte from Elba; when they embarked for Flanders, and reached Brussels in the end, of May, or early in June, 1815.

In my attempts to give some account of the share which several Highland corps have borne in different actions, I have been necessarily led, whenever my information enabled me, to give a more extended detail of events that occurred at a considerable distance of time than of those of a more recent date, both because the recollection of the former is obviously less distinct, and because they afford more frequent illustrations of the general principles and character of the natives of the Highlands in what may be called their primitive state. All, doubtless, have heard of Fontenoy, Ticonderoga, and the Heights of Abraham, but all may not have a recollection of the more minute circumstances by which they were characterized. Not so with respect to the battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo, of which so much has been already said and written, and that so recently, that every part is fresh in the memory of all. I shall, therefore, not attempt what has been already so often and so well performed. At Quatre Bras, as at Alexandria, the 42d had an opportunity of showing what share they possessed of that unyielding firmness which had so long distinguished their predecessors.—It is said that the soldiers of some European nations take such a comprehensive view of the scenes in which they are engaged, and are so quick-sighted in perceiving any movements of the enemy which may endanger their safety, that, assuming the functions of the general, they not only think and calculate on these movements, but act upon them. Hence when they see an enemy on their flank, in their rear, or in any place except in their front, they are apt to give way, and to suppose that the day is lost. But be that as it may, such is not the case with the British soldier, who is not apt to see cause for retiring till he is overpowered by superior physical force. At Quatre Bras, the enemy, especially at the commencement of the action, were so much more numerous than the British, and advanced from so many different points at once, that the regiments were obliged to fight independently, and at such a distance, that the one could not support the other, each being compelled to stand or fall by itself. This was a noble opportunity, and it was not lost. It is well known how well each regiment upheld the honour of their country, when opposed to a numerous, brave, and veteran enemy, who fought for victory or death, who had the honour, empire, and life of their master at stake, and who, should they lose this first turn of the game, would lay a foundation for the final and overwhelming stroke.

The 42d was drawn up in a field of wheat nearly breast high. In this situation they experienced that perplexity which must sometimes occur in armies composed of the troops of different nations, and even in an army of the same nation as our own, where our uniforms, once so distinguished by their showy and striking colours, are becoming so similar to those of foreign troops, that, if continued, it will be difficult, at any distance, to discover friend from foe, British from foreign troops. In this instance a body of French cavalry were mistaken for Prussians or Belgians. The mistake was not discovered till too late to receive the squadrons of the enemy in proper formation. The men threw themselves into a kind of square, which was not nearly completed when the enemy advanced in full charge, and with greater impetuosity, when they saw the imperfect state for resistance of the body which they were advancing to attack. But however imperfect the condition in which they were to receive the enemy, it was sufficient for the purpose. They were repulsed, and forced back at every point; but still they persevered, and renewed their attempts to break in upon the troops, with a degree of confidence increased by the expectation of a comparatively easy victory over men who appeared so incapable to stand their ground.

[The enemy could not comprehend this. In the case of men taken off their guard, and nearly surprised, rushing up into a hurried formation, and rapidly grouped in support of each other, their assailants expected an easy victory: Their officers frequently called out, "Why don't you surrender? down with your arms, you see you are beaten."

Speaking of this affair after the battle, some of the prisoners expressed their surprise: "Your people must be very ignorant; they knew not when to surrender, although conquered. We beat them, yet they stood." It is to be hoped that our soldiers will long continue in this state of ignorance in case that, if formed according to the highly finished state of education, where every soldier is an officer, and every officer a general, they may lose more of the best and most useful qualifications of brave soldiers, than they can gain of the general knowledge of those parts of their profession which belong to others.]

But these brave men were not possessed of such clear notions of their own danger, as to give way when they saw it approach. They stood back to back, every man fighting on his ground till he fell, or forced his enemy to retreat. At length, when the enemy's ardour was somewhat cooled, probably by disappointment at the little impression which they had made, and when they had relaxed in the frequency and fierceness of their attacks, the regiment completed the formation which was at first so imperfect. After the failure of these repeated attacks, the enemy did not again advance in great force. They contented themselves with pushing forward small parties, who kept up a galling fire, but produced no serious impression, till at length, despairing of success, they retired, leaving the British in possession of the field of battle.

Considering the situation of the 42d, and the force with which they were attacked, the loss was not severe. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Robert Macara who commanded, 2 officers, and 40 soldiers were killed. The wounded were numerous in proportion, which must have been occasioned by the distant and independent skirmishing. The wounds, at least many of them, were slight, as few died, and a small number only of those wounded on this occasion are now on the Chelsea pension as disabled. Indeed, the loss of the army that day was moderate; for a greatly superior and brave enemy, calculated at 40,000 men, had been repulsed at all points, with a loss to the British of 27 officers, 17 sergeants, and 269 rank and file, and to the Hanoverians of 2 officers, 2 sergeants, and 29 rank and file killed.

The Duke of Wellington, in his letter, detailing the operations at Quatre Bras and Waterloo, pays a high compliment to four British regiments, and a battalion of Hanoverians, these being the only corps he notices by name. "I must particularly mention the 28th, 42cl, 79th, and 92d regiments, and the battalion of Hanoverians." This is a mark of approbation never to be forgotten by these regiments. A testimony to their merits, given on an important occasion, and by so perfect a judge, who never conferred praise without ample and sufficient reason, is a desirable distinction.

The Royal Highland Regiment lost five men killed at the battle of Waterloo, the last of a long series of engagements, in which they had borne a conspicuous share since they first faced an enemy at Fontenoy in May 1745. On every occasion, when they fired a shot at an enemy they were successful, (except at Ticonderoga, where success was next to impossible,) successful to such an extent at least, that whatever the general issue of the battle might be, that part of the enemy opposed to them never stood their ground, unless the Highlanders were prevented from closing upon them by insurmountable obstacles. For, even at Fontenoy, though the army was defeated, this regiment carried the particular points ordered for them, and, on the two occasions of Fontenoy and Ticonderoga, they were the last in the field.

Having now brought the military service of the regiment to a conclusion, I shall subjoin a list of the killed and wounded from the year 1740 to the year 1815. The number amounts to 34 officers, and 778 soldiers, killed in battle in the course of seventy-five years' service, of which forty-five were a period of active warfare. The lists in the Appendix will show, in one view, the number of men killed and wounded in the different wars. [See Appendix.] In that from 1793 to the peace of 1814, there were 235 men killed, and at Quatre Bras and Waterloo 45, making the total number of soldiers killed in battle 280 in the twenty-two years' war; and in the same period, commencing in 1793, and ending in 1815, there died by sickness, wounds, and various casualties, (as appears by returns in the Adjutant-General's office,) 1135: [The deaths by sickness in the 2d battalion are not included. The loss by the enemy in this battalion is so trifling, as not to be worth notice.] of the soldiers 1489 were discharged.

[Of men discharged at different periods 563 are now alive receiving pensions from Chelsea. Great numbers were discharged at the conclusion of the different wars, without pensions, as they had served but a short time and were not disabled. John Stewart, living in Perth in. 1823, and several other men still receiving pensions, were wounded at Ticonderoga in 1758, Martinique in 1759, Guadaloupe in 1762, and Bushy Run in 1763. Captain Peebles wounded at Bushy Run, and residing in Irvine, and Major John Grant, late of the Invalids, were the only officers alive, in the year 1822, who served in the regiment during the Seven Years' War. Captain Peebles died in 1824.]

Thus the total number of those who have been killed, or have died in this regiment, in the course of twenty-two years of active, and what has been called sanguinary warfare, in every variety of climate, has been 1415, while it has been frequently stated that 13,800 men were destroyed in this corps in the first fifteen years of the war. These statements are credited too generally in the North, to the great detriment of recruiting; for, as I shall have occasion to mention afterwards, however brave a young man may be, he will be less inclined to enter the service, when he is told that it has proved so destructive; and, even in the case of spirited young men, to whom such tales would be no check, their families and female friends discourage them, and endeavour prevent their encountering such imminent hazards.

From the year 1740 to 1815, two officers of the corps were brought to Courts-Martial. [Major George Grant, for the loss of old Fort George, near Inverness, taken by the rebels in September 1745. This was one of the many instances of the terror which the Highlanders, at that period, inspired. When they appeared before the fort, and were preparing to assault it sword in hand, the soldiers could not be kept to their guns, and the commander was obliged to surrender the garrison. For this he was tried and broke; but he had none of his own regiment in garrison with him. They were then in Flanders. The other officer was Lieutenant Sutherland, tried for neglect of duty in 1779, and reprimanded.] Few rose to great professional eminence, at the same time that many were highly respectable. I have already noticed, that Lord John Murray exerted himself to procure respectable officers; and while his success in this respect was acknowledged, various reasons have been assigned for the supposed deficiency of eminence in so numerous a body. In a country that has produced good soldiers, it may be presumed that among the game people good commanders may also be found, unless their talents are kept under by some powerful cause. Good officers are undoubtedly more rare than good soldiers; but, as the proportion among the Highland military is certainly in favour of the latter, the real cause may be, that the officers were, in general, without fortune, the great mass being the younger sons of gentlemen, or the sons of gentlemen-tacksmen, and who, consequently, had not the means to push forward by purchasing promotion early in life ; so that such of them as persevered were frequently too old, or too much worn out by previous service before they rose to any rank. Hence, with minds active and entire, they were obliged, by decay of constitution, to retire at the time when they were likely to attain the rank where talent could be shown to advantage. I knew two officers who had served thirty years in the earlier duties of the regiment, and who, so far as an opinion could be formed, without positive proof, were fit to command armies; and yet they had attained no command beyond that of a company, when bad health forced them to retire. In other professions, also, we find that superior talents are not always early distinguished. The celebrated Principal Robertson was twenty years a settled minister before his name was heard of, or known to the public, and he sat ten years as a member of the General Assembly before he ventured to speak in that venerable court, of which he afterwards became so distinguished a leader and ornament. The late Lords Kenyon and Ashburton were many years at the bar unnoticed and unknown. Had these eminent men belonged to a profession that would have exposed them to personal hardships, and prostration of health and constitution, they might have been cut off before their talents, which, at a late period in life, shone forth so conspicuously, were known or heard of. Sir Ralph Abercromby, although always known to be a man of superior strength of mind, never had an opportunity of showing his military genius as a commander till he was past sixty years of age. Had his constitution been less vigorous, his name would never have been heard beyond the confined circle of those who knew him in private life. In this manner, from want of money, or influence to procure early rank, or from a decay of constitution, forcing them to a premature retirement, many Highland officers have sunk in obscurity, who, under more favourable circumstances, might have risen to distinguished eminence in their profession.

The non-commissioned officers are stated to have been, at an early period, a superior class of men. I can speak from my own knowledge of individuals who served as sergeants fifty and sixty years ago, and who, in every respect, merited the character given them. Non-commissioned officers have latterly had sufficient inducement to obtain and preserve a good character. Twenty-eight sergeants of the 42d were appointed officers during the seventeen years that I belonged to the regiment. Of the privates six were executed from 1740 till 1815; three for mutiny in 1743; one for desertion in America in 1783; one for murder in Gibraltar in 1797; and one for shooting his officer in 1812. Besides these, there were tried by General Courts-Martial those who mutinied in 1743; a soldier for allowing a French prisoner to escape in 1745; two men for mutiny at Leith in 1779; one man for desertion in America in 1780; and one for striking an officer in 1801'. In the course of seventy-nine years' service, no individual has ever been brought to a General Court-Martial for theft, or any crime showing moral turpitude or depravity. After the reinforcements received in 1780, 1783, 1795, and at later periods, several petty crimes occurred requiring checks and punishments, formerly unknown; but none of such a nature as to call for any punishment beyond what the power vested in their own commanding officer could award. The time, however, is now come, when, with proper care, and the prospect of a long peace, the regiment may become, if not what it originally was, when so many of the soldiers were men of a superior class in society, at least such as to enable their country to bestow a portion of that approbation which their predecessors so fully enjoyed, when upholding its honour and military name among the armies of Europe. There are sufficient materials in the Highlands to supply a corps with recruits capable of exhibiting every military qualification; and when the object is to preserve the warlike reputation, and to give a stamp to the moral character of a whole people, the hope may be indulged, that the means will not be neglected, the more especially as they can be so easily attained. In the earlier service of the corps, the idea of one of their number being brought to disgraceful punishment, (as in the instance after the battle of Fontenoy), occasioned a feeling of horror and shame among. all, and no degrading punishments were required. If this reeling cannot be preserved, it will be a lamentable proof of the decay of that honourable sensibility to shame which formed a conspicuous feature in the character of the Highlanders. Since the beginning of the last century, a numerous class in the Highlands has been always well educated; but education is now more generally extended to all classes; and, if religious and moral instruction accompanies their reading and writing, the principles I have noticed may be preserved; but, if these are fundamentally unsound, and if, the love of country and of kindred, the belief that a man's character is reflected on all with whom he is connected, the consequent desire to preserve an honourable name for their sake, and the dread of being a reproach to them, be derided as the antiquated notions of uncivilized ages,— and if, agreeably to the creed of modern economists, the people be considered valuable in as far only so they are profitable, and retained or rejected accordingly, like any other animals, and with as little regard to their feelings or fate,—all the education of Oxford or Edinburgh will not make them virtuous and honourable soldiers, ready to prefer death to dishonour or defeat: And the Forty-second regiment must go to other countries than the Highlands to recruit for loyal and high-spirited men, faithful, and attached to their chiefs and superiors.

A man of good understanding and correct conduct may rank in estimation below his just level, merely from the circumstance of succeeding to an appointment previously filled by a man of superior talents and genius. In the same manner, the men of this corps,—the successors of the old Black Watch,—have an honourable task to perform,—a task perfectly easy, if it continues to be composed of good materials, but arduous, perhaps impossible, if the reverse. Scotland expects that they will preserve untarnished the character so honourably acquired by their predecessors, and transmitted to them to be maintained as pure as it descended to them. If, in the selection of recruits, only good men are taken, their principles may be easily preserved, but they may as easily be destroyed. If approbation and encouragement be a spur to honourable conduct, the 42d regiment has always had an ample share. But it has been said, that much of this proceeds from the character gained by their predecessors. That this feeling influences opinion is evident, for to this day the Black Watch is seldom mentioned in Scotland without an accompanying expression of respect. That the whole does not proceed from this source, is equally evident from the kind reception which the regiment experienced on their return home after the late peace, not merely in Scotland, but in England, where many towns turned out almost their whole population to welcome them. But in Edinburgh their welcome was altogether so extraordinary, and so enthusiastic, that I shall state the circumstances of it more minutely.

Some time after the surrender of Paris, the regiment passed over to England, and from thence marched to Scotland in the spring of 1816. It was understood that they were to march into Edinburgh Castle on the 18th of March. A crowd of idle spectators is not so easily collected in Edinburgh as in London; but, on this occasion, it seemed as if two-thirds of the houses and workshops in the city had been emptied of their inhabitants. Several hours before the regiment arrived, the road to Musselburgh was covered with carriages, horsemen, and pedestrians. At Portobello the crowd was great; and, on entering the Canongate, it was a solid moving mass, pressed together, as if in a frame, The pipers and band could not play for want of room, and were obliged to put up their instruments. Many of the crowd on raising up their hands to take off their hats to wave them in the air, could not without difficulty get them replaced again by their sides. Spacious as is the High Street of the city, not a foot of it was unoccupied; and the fronts of its lofty houses appeared as if alive, every window being crowded with heads, chiefly those of ladies.

Of the soldiers little was seen except their bonnets and feathers; the firelocks they were obliged to carry close to their bodies. In this state the movement forward was necessarily slow, and great apprehension was felt lest any person should fall, and be crushed under the feet of the multitude, as had any been so unfortunate, it would have been impossible to raise them. An hour and a quarter was occupied in the march from the Palace of Holyrood to the Castle gate, where the soldiers found considerable difficulty in disengaging themselves from the crowds which pressed around them.

[The following is an extract from the account published at the time:

"Tuesday, the first division of the 42d regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Dick, (who succeeded to the command of the regiment, on the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Robert Macara, killed at Quatre Bras), marched into the Castle. Major-General Hope, Commander of the Forces, and Colonel David Stewart of Garth, accompanied the Lieutenant- Colonel at the head of the regiment. Not only the streets of the city were crowded beyond all former precedent with spectators, but the windows, and even the house-tops, were occupied. The road from Musselburgh, a distance of six miles, was filled with relations and friends; and so great was the crowd, that it was after four o'clock before they arrived at the Castle Hill, although they passed through Portobello about two o'clock. It was almost impossible for these gallant men to get through the people, particularly in the city. All the bells were rung, and they were everywhere received with the loudest acclamations."]

Each soldier was presented with a night's free admission to the Theatre, and a public dinner was given to them in George Street Assembly Rooms; Sir Walter Scott, and several of the most eminent men in Edinburgh, superintending the entertainment.

If the approbation of their country be gratifying to good men, no stronger incitement to honourable actions need be required, than the assurance of receiving it when merited. The remembrance of scenes like these, exhibited in testimony of the most cordial approbation by all classes in the capital of their native country, ought to be carefully cherished by those who were the objects of them, and by all those, likewise, who may succeed them in the corps, as an incitement to imitate the same line of conduct, both in quarters and in the field,—conduct which, for a long succession of years, has secured to the Black Watch and Royal Highlanders as high and uninterrupted a feeling of respect and esteem for their private character, and of admiration for their courage in the field and success in arms, as an approving country could well bestow. This high character, uniformly distinguished by marked approval, deserves the notice of those whose province it will be to direct the recruiting of the corps, so that the men who fill the ranks may maintain its original character; and that, when mothers and sisters mourn the absence of their sons and brothers, they may soothe their hearts with a feeling of satisfaction, when they reflect, as I have often heard them do: "Well, if I should never see his face again, he is a companion to brave soldiers and honourable men; he belongs to the Black Watch."


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