A MONTH elapsed without the
sound of a shot being heard, and the troops at the passes of Maya and
Roncesvalles lay quietly encamped and unmolested amidst the fine scenery
of the Pyrenees. The weather was now remarkably agreeable, and the
officers procured plenty of wine from Elizondo and other Navarese towns in
their rear, and they were beginning to be as comfortable as it is possible
for troops to be under canvas. But a cloud was gathering in the valleys of
Gascony below them.
The great victory at
Vittoria, and the important events which followed it, had not failed
deeply to interest and concern Napoleon, to rouse his wrath and to wound
his pride. That object for which he had shed so much French blood was now
completely wrested from his grasp, and France herself remained in imminent
peril while the armies of the conqueror hovered on the mountains which
overlooked their territories. Fresh conscriptions were levied, and again
France, in her folly, poured forth another army, which directed its march
to the Pyrenees, to fight the battles of the insatiable Buonaparte. Soult
was recalled from Germany to place himself as its head, as the 'Lieutenant
of the Emperor.' Joining the French army on the 13th of July, 1813, he
commenced reorganizing and preparing for a second invasion of Spain, with
an energy and activity which restored the confidence, and roused, as
usual, the arrogance of the French troops, who commenced their march with
the intention of driving the allies beyond the Ebro, and celebrating the
birthday of the great Emperor at Vittoria.
At that time Lord
Wellington's responsibilities and difficulties were not of a slight
nature, having to cover the siege of two strong fortresses and defend the
wide space between them, which compelled him to extend and weaken his
line. His skill was evinced in the distribution of his army, which he
posted in the best manner likely to defend effectually the passes of the
Pyrenees, and to cover the investments of San Sebastian and Pampeluna.
To effect the relief of the
latter was the first grand object of the Duke of Dalmatia. From St. Jean
Pied-de-Port, on the morning of Sunday, the 25th July, he marched
thirty-five thousand men against the troops of General Byng, occupying the
pass of Roncesvalles, which post they completely turned in the afternoon,
after a most desperate conflict, from which the general and Sir Lowry
Cole, who had moved up to his support, were compelled to retire.
On the same day General Drouet led thirteen
thousand men against the right of Hill's position,—Cameron's command at
the Maya pass, which he had orders to force, as the Highlanders had to
defend it,—at all hazards. At the time the attack was made, no movement
was expected, yet Drouet found the British not altogether unprepared for
such an event. It was a beautiful Sunday, and the heat, even on the
summits of the Pyrenees, was intense. As it was not supposed that the
enemy were near, the tents were all standing, just as they been for a
month before ; and the camp and baggage-mules were miles away down on the
Spanish side, whither they were usually taken for grass.
Stuart on that morning had wandered from the
encampment to some distance, where he was enjoying the appearance of
solitude, so like that of his ' Highland home,' which reigned far and wide
around him. The vast hills rose on every side, heaving their green summits
to the sky. A death-like stillness prevailed, save when now and then
broken by the scream of a wild bird, the hollow flap of a partridge's
wing, or the faint and far-off tinkle of a mountain rill murmuring through
some solitary gorge, leaping from rock to rock as it descended to the
bright plains of Gascony or Beam. For nearly an hour he had wandered about
there, when his solitary reveries were broken by the sound of a distant
shot, the echoes of which rang among the splintered rocks and grassy
peaks, recalling him at once to the present; and he hurried away to the
camp, where the brigade was getting under arms, the soldiers mustering
with their usual rapidity and coolness, without betraying the least
surprise or confusion. From an out-picket the word had been passed that
the French ' were in motion in front,' and the fixing of fresh flints,
snapping of locks, unrolling and examining of ammunition, gave token of
every preparation being made to receive them with due honour. Nearly an
hour elapsed, and no more was seen or heard of the foe. All began to
suppose it a false alarm, and many of the officers went forward to the
outposts to reconnoitre.
'Where are the enemy now, Armstrong?' asked
Cameron of an officer of the 71st, commanding the picket which had given
the alarm. 'In which direction did you see them?'
'Directly north, and far down on the French
side,' replied the other, pointing with his sword; 'we distinctly saw a
strong party pass yonder defile between the mountains: the glitter of
their arms was apparent to us all.'
'I'm afraid their feet were cloven,' observed
Seaton, 'I see nothing but a herd of cattle crossing the defile you speak
of 'Horned nowte, just black short-legged Argyleshires,' said Dugald, who,
as usual, was close to Cameron's skirts. 'I see them plain aneuch mysel,
sirs; but the loons may be amang the hills for a' that.' A loud laugh
arose at the old man's observations.
'Well, gentlemen,' said Armstrong, while his
cheek reddened with anger, and he cast a furious glance on Dugald Mhor,
'you are all at liberty to think as you please ; but I tell you that there
are cattle among the hills carrying bayonets on their horns, and that such
is the fact some here may learn to their cost, ere long.'
What fire the Borderer displays!' said Ronald,
as Armstrong left the group abruptly; 'and here is Alister, his sub, quite
fierce likewise about the matter.'
'Search round,' chimed in Campbell, in the
same tone of jest; 'search about, and probably we shall find the pigskin
at the bottom of which they saw the enemy. I remember once in Egypt, that
old Ludovick Lisle-----'
'What mean you, gentlemen? said Macdonald
angrily: 'do you take us for fools? I believe we have seen the enemy often
enough to know them.'
'Halt, Macdonald; you take our jests far too
seriously,' said Stuart. 'If you saw the French, where are they now?'
'In front!' was the tart reply.
'They have been so, down in
Gascony, for this month past.' 'By all eternity! 'tis something new for me
to have assertions doubted thus,' replied Macdonald, considerably ruffled,
yet loath to have high words with his old friend; and adding, 'I will make
no further explanations,' he turned and left them, following Armstrong,
who was reconnoitring intently through a telescope. While Stuart's cheek
grew red with anger at the contemptuous manner in which Macdonald took
leave of him, his sleeve was plucked by old Dugald Cameron.
'Dinna speak to him juist the noo,' whispered
that aged retainer solemnly; 'his birse is up, and it is an ill thing to
warsle wi' a Macdonald at sic a time. Dinna gloom wi' het faces at ane
anither, for I tell you one will no behauld the ither lang, sae turn not
the back o' your hand upon him; he may be mixed wi' the mools ere the
hills grow dark wi' the gloaming, or redden again in the morning sun.'
'What do you mean, Dugald?' asked Stuart,
surprised at the Highlander's manner.
'Sir, I am farer seen than maist folk, and so
was my faither before me. Baith loud and lang did you and Macdonald laugh
ower your wine in the cornel's tent last nicht, and every laugh o' the
puir lad gaed to my heart. I kent by its hollow ringing he was fey.'
'Fey?' replied the other, respect for Dugald's
white haffets alone restraining a violent inclination to laugh; 'fey,
laughter, I mean laughter such as his, aye portends sudden death. Ony
cailloch that ever wore a mutch, or ony giglet o' a lassie that ever wore
a snood, will tell ye the same thing, sir. Sae dinna girn at or be thrawn
gebbit wi' young Inchkenneth, for he'll no be lang amang us. Mony heads
will there be on the heather ere the sun gaes doon.' Dugald moved off,
leaving Stuart considerably surprised at his superstition. At that moment
Alister rushed towards them, with his bonnet in his hand.
'Look ye now, gentlemen!' he exclaimed,
tossing his long feathers in the direction of the winding way which led to
France, 'what call you these?'
Even while he spoke, a dense column of French
infantry appeared in the defile between the mountains; and a cloud of
others, battalion after battalion, with their tricolours fluttering in the
breeze, advanced in succession, until thirteen thousand bayonets were
gleaming in the light of the noonday sun. It was the whole of General
'There is nae heather here, but I thocht and I said there would be mony a
head on the greenswaird ere the hills grew mirk in the gloaming,' muttered
Dugald ominously, as he viewed the advance of the French with kindling
eyes. With the first blast of the bugle the troops were again under arms,
and marched to the front of the pass to stem the approaching torrent; and,
resolute as the soldiers were, they knew that the attempt to keep their
position against such an overwhelming power was vain, unless Lord
Wellington, who was distant at San Sebastian, could by some means succour
them. But obedience is the first duty of the soldier, and their orders
were to defend the passes and fight to the last, —orders never yet
mistaken by British troops.
The out-pickets first opened their fire upon
the advancing masses, and although seconded by a body of light troops,
were forced of course to give way. The 28th and 39th Regiments, from
Wilson's brigade, moved off to support the pickets on the right. With
courage and resolution unparalleled, these corps sustained the onset of
their opponents, whose tremendous fire, however, compelled them to waver
and recoil. The 34th or Cumberland Regiment, with the 50th, came to their
assistance. These last, forming a junction, rushed upon the French while
exposed to the deadly fire of their extended front, and with Unexampled
intrepidity charged them with the bayonet, giving a check to their
progress up the mountains. The French returned the charge, but at the same
time made a flank movement, which their great numbers enabled them to do
easily, to surround and cut off their rash assailants, who were at once
placed in a critical position.
It was at that moment that Cameron brought up
his Highlanders, and restored confidence to the regiments which had been
falling into confusion. It is impossible to describe the scene which the
Maya heights presented at that time. The deafening roar of the
musketry,—the driving clouds of smoke,—the tumultuous yells of the French,
who were fierce, wild, and eager to wash away in British blood the
disgraces of Vittoria, almost confounded those who were then for the first
time under fire. The advancing enemy continued to shout more like savages
than European soldiers, but their tremendous shower of shot was fast
mowing down the little band which so gallantly endeavoured to resist them.
Like a hail-shower the heavy leaden bullets were falling everywhere, and
tearing up the turf even after they had passed through the bodies of the
soldiers,— so close had the contending parties now come together. The
British had stood firm without flinching an inch; but the French, who were
now fighting in a great disorganized mob, had continued to advance, by the
rear men pushing on the front, until within thirty paces of the British
line ; and at so short a distance it may easily be supposed that the shot
on both sides told with fearful effect, especially among the dense masses
of the French, before whom, in five minutes, arose a pile of their own
dead and wounded like a breastwork. Beyond this ghastly line they would
not advance an inch, nor could they be prevailed upon to do so, even by
the most strenuous exertions of their officers, who, whenever the smoke
cleared away a little, were observed brandishing their sabres, waving
their colours and eagles, and enthusiastically crying, ''Vive la France!
Vive l' Empereur! Vive la Gloire!' But their soldiers heeded them not, and
continued to load and fire with the utmost sang froid, but would not be
led to the charge.
The brave 71st Highland Light Infantry, after fighting with their usual
obstinacy and intrepidity, had been compelled to give way, by which three
Portuguese pieces of cannon fell into the possession of the French. To
recapture these, a desperate attempt was made by Lieutenant Armstrong,
who, at the head of eight private soldiers, as brave and as rash as
himself, rushed furiously on the enemy. With his sword in one hand and his
bonnet in the other, the gallant Borderer was seen amidst the smoke
leading them on; but all perished under the leaden shower, within a few
feet of the French bayonets. After being reduced to half its number of
officers and men, this fine regiment began to retire in disorder. The 34th
and 50th were in the same perilous predicament, owing to the front and
flank movements of the enemy, when Fassifern, with his Highlanders,
entered the bloody arena. As the battalion moved in open column of
companies, along the hill-top from the camp towards the pass, Cameron
addressed a few words to them, exhorting them to fight to the last man,
and maintain the ancient fame of the North. He reminded them that they
were not fighting merely for the defence of Spain, but of those homes
where their kindred dwelt. His voice became drowned in the din of the
conflict which rolled along the face of the hills, and Stuart heard only
the concluding part of his address, and part of it was in Gaelic.
'Highlanders! we shall have a bloody Sabbath here to-day; but we go forth
to shed our blood that the Sabbath-bells may ring in peace at home, in
those green straths and wooded glens where many a Scottish heart is
praying for us at this hour.' The sound of the pipes, as the piper on the
flank of each company struck up 'On wi' the Tartan,' was the only reply.
What a gush of indescribable feeling came through every breast, when the
blast of the pipe was heard at such a moment! Every eye lighted up, and
every cheek flushed: the effect of the sound of that strange instrument on
the sons of Caledonia is well known.
' In halls of joy and in scenes of mourning it
has prevailed,—it has animated her warriors in battle, and welcomed them
back after their toils to the homes of their love and the hills of their
nativity. Its strains were the first sounded in the ears of infancy, and
they are the last to be forgotten in the wanderings of age. Even
Highlanders will allow that it is not the gentlest of instruments; but
when far from their mountain-homes, what sounds, however melodious, could
thrill their hearts like one burst of their own wild native pipe? The
feelings which other instruments awaken are general and undefined, because
they talk alike to Frenchmen, Spaniards, Germans, and Highlanders, for
they are common to all; but the bagpipe is sacred to Scotland, and speaks
a language which Scotsmen only feel. It talks to them of home and all the
past, and brings before them, on the burning shores of India, the wild
hills and oft-frequented streams of Caledonia,—the friends that are
thinking of them, and the sweethearts and wives that are weeping for them
there. And need it be told here to how many fields of danger and victory
its proud strains have led? There is not a battle that is honourable to
Britain in which its war-blast has not sounded ; when every other
instrument has been hushed by the confusion and carnage of the scene, it
has been borne into the thick of the battle, and far in the advance its
bleeding but devoted bearer, sinking to the earth, has sounded at once
encouragement to his countrymen—and his own coronach!' [Preface to
Macdonald's 'Ancient Martial Music of Scotland,']
Ranald-dhu with his comrades strove to call up
the 'fierce native daring' of the Highlanders, who continued to move
quickly forward. The balls now began to hiss and tear up the turf around
them, now and then striking down some poor fellow, who was left rolling on
the ground in agony.
'The battalion will form line on the grenadiers,' cried Fassifern,—
'double quick!' The movement was performed with the rapidity and precision
of a home-review. As the covering sergeant of the light company took up
the ground of alignment, holding his long pike aloft, a shot struck him in
the head, passing through his right eye, and he fell dead. The line formed
across his body, and the word of command from Seaton, 'Light company!
halt,—front, dress!' had scarcely been heard on the left, before the
orderly bugler, who stood by Cameron's side, sounded to fire, and the
hoarse braying piobrachd now rang along the line.
The first volley of the Highlanders gave a
temporary check to the enemy, and enabled the 34th and 'old Half-hundred'
to reform in order. The French line was now, as I have said, within thirty
paces, and every lineament and feature of their dark and sallow faces
could be distinctly seen at so short a distance. They were now in the
midst of all the uproar, the smoke, the blood, the danger, the mingling of
hideous groans and cries,—in short, the hell upon earth of a hot
engagement, in which both parties became so heated by the slaughter around
them that all the softer passions were forgotten, and they longed, with a
tiger-like feeling, to bury their blades in each other's heart.
Ronald felt his pulses quickening, the blood
tingling in his ears, for the sound of the musketry had deafened them to
everything else, and his heart rebounded within his bosom until he could
almost hear it beat; but it was with feelings the reverse of fear,—a wish
to leap headlong among the enemy, to cut them down with his sword as he
would whin-bushes, and to revenge the slaughter the terrible fire of so
dense a column was making among his gallant and devoted regiment. So thick
was the smoke become, that he could scarcely see the third file from him,
and only at times it cleared up a little. What was then revealed served
only to infuriate him the more. The Highlanders were lying in heaps across
and across each other,—piled up just as they fell; while their comrades
fought above them, firing and reloading with all the rapidity in their
power until struck by a shot, and down they fell to perish unnoticed and
unknown. Almost every shot killed ; for the distance was short, and the
wounds were hideous and ghastly, the blood spouting forth from the orifice
as if through a syringe.
Now and then Ronald felt his heart momentarily
recoil within him when he beheld some poor soldier, while in the full
possession of life and energy, toss aside his firelock, and fall suddenly
backwards across some heap of corpses—stricken dead. But a battle-field is
no. place for sympathy, and the feeling lasted but for an instant.
'Shall we never get the word to charge? cried
Seaton fiercely. 'Oh, Stuart! this is indeed infernal work,—to be mauled
thus, and within a few feet of their muzzles.'
A charge would be madness, and our utter
destruction. A single regiment against thirteen columns of
possess the pass, though. Poor Macivar is on the turf, and Macdonuil is
shot through the heart. Hah! see to the left: the 50th are giving
way------God! I am struck!' He sunk to the earth, with the blood gushing
from his mouth and nostrils. A shot had pierced his breast, beating in
with it a part of the silver breast-plate, and in great agony he rolled
over several times, grasping and tearing the turf with fruitless efforts
to regain his feet.
'Never mind me, light bobs, but stand by Cameron to the last Hurrah!'
Convulsively he strove to raise himself up; but another bullet passed
through his neck, and a deadly paleness overspread his countenance. He
gave his claymore one last flourish, he cast a glance of fury and despair
towards the enemy, and expired. Scarcely a minute had elapsed since he was
struck, and now he was dead!
'Poor Seaton!' muttered Ronald, and turned
away. He had now the command of the light company ; the other lieutenant
lay bleeding to death a few yards off, and in the intervals of pain crying
fruitlessly for water. One soldier, who had been struck by a shot across
the bridge of the nose, became blind, and rushed frantically among the
enemy, to perish under their bayonets. Another, who had his lower jaw
carried off, presented a horrible spectacle as he lay on the ground,
vomiting up blood through his open throat, and lolling out his exposed and
'Ninety-second! prepare to charge!' cried Cameron, animated to fury by
this deadly slaughter of his regiment. 'Gordon Highlanders! prepare to
charge,' he repeated, as he galloped along the broken line with his eyes
flashing fire, while he waved his bonnet aloft. 'Close up,— keep together;
shoulder to shoulder, Highlandmen,—charge!' Ronald alone heard him, and
repeated the rash order: but their voices were unheard amidst the din of
the conflict. At that moment the smoke cleared a little away, and in front
Ronald perceived a French grenadier sling his musket, and advancing a few
paces before his friends, stoop down to rifle an officer of the 71st
Regiment, who was lying dead between the lines.
'Iverach, mark that plundering rascal,' said
Stuart; 'aim steadily.'
Evan fired, and missed.
'That was not like a man from the braes of
Strathonan!' said his master angrily. 'Fire, Ian Macdonald; you are one of
the best shots in the company.'
'My father shot the Damh mhor a Vonalia toon
in Padenoch, and I was aye thouchten to be a petterer marksman than him,'
replied the young Highlander coolly, as he levelled his piece and fired.
The Frenchman fell forward, beat the earth with his heels for a moment,
and then lay motionless.
'He's toon, sir: I have pitten a flea in his
lug,' replied the marksman, as he bit another cartridge.
For two hours this desperate and unequal
conflict was maintained. The other regiments had given way in disorder,
and the Highlanders began to waver, after the loss of their gallant
colonel, who had retired severely wounded. Nearly all the officers were
dead or dying on the ground, while others were endeavouring to find their
way to some place where they could get their wounds dressed. Two alone
were left with the regiment,—Ronald and another lieutenant, who, being
senior, had the command, and finding that the battalion was reduced to
less than a company, ordered it to retire towards the pass of Maya, having
lost in two hours five-and-twenty officers, and three hundred rank and
file. The other regiments were cut up in nearly the same manner, but none
had lost so many officers. Stuart carried the king's colour, and a
sergeant the regimental—all the ensigns being killed or wounded. Poor
Alister Macdonald was left on the field among the former. A shot had
passed through his head, and he died without a groan. His friend Ronald
was considerably startled when he saw him lying dead. The prediction of
Dugald Mhor flashed upon his mind, and he looked round for that singular
old Highlander; but he was away with Fassifern, on the road for the
village of Irun.
whole of the British forces were now in retreat before the overwhelming
power of the enemy, column after column of whom continued to press
forward. The defenders of the pass retired on the rock of Maya, abandoning
their camp and baggage to the French. On retreating through the pass,
Major Campbell, whose horse had been as usual shot under him, and who had
first left the field, owing to a severe wound, headed a few Highlanders,
who scrambled like squirrels up the face of a precipitous crag, from the
summit of which they kept up a hot fire upon the French troops, not only
holding them decidedly in check, and giving their friends time to retire,
but revenging the previous slaughter in front of the pass. Here it may be
worth mentioning that Major Campbell lost his celebrated cudgel, which, in
the enthusiasm of the moment, he sent flying among the foe, and unhorsed a
mounted officer. He gave them also much weightier proofs of his goodwill.
Just as the flank of a column of French grenadiers reached the base of the
crag occupied by the Highlanders, a tremendous fragment of rock, urged
forward by the powerful hands of the major, came thundering down among
them, rolling through the dense mass of men with irresistible force and
fury, making a perfect but terrible lane, and doing as much mischief as a
dozen bomb-shells. Every man below held his breath for a moment, and then
cries of rage and fury burst from the whole division of Drouet; while the
Scots, pouring upon them a parting salute of. shot and stones, descended
from the other side of the rock, and rejoined their comrades in
double-quick time. Under the orders of General Stuart, the whole retired
to the rock of Maya, those in the rear maintaining an irregular skirmish
with the French; who, on perceiving the rearward movement, filled the air
with cries of 'Long live the great Emperor! Long live beautiful France !'
mingled with shouts —absolute yells of triumph and exultation.
Thoroughly enraged and disheartened, the
British continued to retire, yet anxiously expecting that succour from
Lord Wellington would arrive in time to enable them to face about, and
beat Soult before nightfall. As the little band of Highlanders descended
straggling from the hills, Stuart saw a lady (the wife of an officer of
the 50th) on horseback, and in a miserable situation. Her horse had stuck
fast above the saddle-girths in a deep morass, and she was too much
terrified and bewildered to leave it. The balls of the sharpshooters were
whistling past her every second, and she cried imploringly to the
retreating Highlanders to yield her some assistance ; but it was
impossible, and she fell into the hands of the French. Her husband was
lying dead, with his sword in his hand, in the gorge of the fatal pass. On
the brigade of Sir Edward Barnes coming up from the rear, a new and
sanguinary conflict took place; but the enemy were defeated, and the pass
the shattered remains of the Gordon Highlanders bivouacked near Barrueta.
The consternation of the inhabitants in the mountain villages, when the
heights were abandoned, and the French again advancing, cannot be easily
described. From Barrueta, Elizondo, Maya, and Huarte, men, women and
children were seen pouring forth during the night, and descending the
mountain paths by torchlight, bearing along, with infinite toil, their
sick and infirm relatives, their bedding, furniture, etc., to save them
from the remorseless invaders, who, they too well knew, would give all to
the flames that was 'too hot or too heavy' to carry off.
So eager were the French soldiers for plunder,
that their searches were conducted upon a regular system. When a town was
entered, every piece of furniture was broken, every plank raised, to see
whether anything was hidden or buried; and the hammer and small saw,
carried by every man in his haversack, assisted greatly this unsoldierlike
work. It is said that in Germany the vaults of the churches, the very
graves in the churchyards, were searched; and the brutality with which
they treated those unfortunate Spaniards, male and female, who fell into
their power cannot be described. Therefore it is not to be wondered at
that the Pyrenean mountaineers fled at their approach, as from a legion of
were likewise crowded with wounded officers and soldiers, pouring down
from the passes of Maya and Roncesvalles. Those who were able to move were
ordered to retire to Vittoria, which had already been converted into a
vast hospital, and crowded to excess with the wounded of the great battle;
and the miseries these unfortunates suffered, travelling without baggage
or money in a strange country, weary, sick, and wounded, for a distance of
one hundred miles during a hot season, are utterly inconceivable. Many
wounds mortified, and became incurable; hundreds of men perished by the
wayside of starvation and loss of blood, or reached Vittoria only to
expire in the streets. Every medical officer had from ninety to a hundred
patients on his lists, and many lives were lost from the want of proper
astounding intelligence that the Duke of Dalmatia had forced the Pyrenean
passes reached Lord Wellington at night, and promptly, as usual, he took
means to concentrate his army, providing at the same time for the siege of
San Sebastian and the blockade of Pampeluna. The right wing was full in
retreat from the mountains when he directed it to halt, and soon arrived
himself to direct measures for covering Pampeluna, within a few miles of
which Soult, eager for its relief, had now arrived. The discomfited troops
from Maya were ordered to march on the position before Pampeluna, and
moved accordingly from Barrueta on Tuesday, the 27th. A melancholy
spectacle the parade of the Gordon Highlanders presented on that morning!
The colours, which had been shot almost to rags, were cased, and carried
by non-commissioned officers; two young lieutenants had the command, and
as the solitary piper, Ranald Macdonuildhu, blew the 'gathering,' he
watched with a stern and louring visage the few survivors of the late
conflict, as they paraded on the hillside, falling one by one into their
places. Here were five men of the grenadiers, twenty men of another
company, ten of a third, two of a fourth, and many others were totally
annihilated, neither officer nor private being present. The
sergeant-major, with his arm in a sling, presented a list of the
casualties to Lieutenant Logan, who commanded,—Logan of that Ilk, as he
was named by the mess.
'Where is Captain Maclvor?'
'Killed, sir. I saw him lying dead, close by
Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Macdonald.'
'Where is Captain Bevan?
'He retired, sir, with his arm shattered near
the elbow, and expired at the moment Dr. Stuart attempted to remove the
limb at the shoulder-socket.'
'Where is Gordon?'
'Severely wounded and gone to the rear.'
'Shot through the side.'
'Macpherson and Macdonald,—Ranald Macdonuil, I
sir.' And so on—killed, wounded, and missing, was the answer to every
us, sir!' said the worthy non-commissioned officer, as he raised his hand
to his bonnet and turned away with a glistening eye; 'but it's a
heart-breaking thing to see the regiment cut up in this way.'
The band was annihilated, and with a single
drum and bagpipe the little party moved off, just as the morning sun rose
above that deadly pass, where so many a gallant heart had grown cold, and
ceased to beat for ever.