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amounting to about 10,000 men, after beating the seas from the 8th to the 27th of August, effected a landing near the Helder; that the enemy most unaccountably offered no opposition to our landing; and that, after a well-contested fight of ten hours, he retreated, and left us in quiet possession of the heights, extending the whole length of the Peninsula. The 4th brigade under General Moore, * consisting of the Royals, 25th, 49th, 79th, and 92d, landed to the left, where the greatest opposition was expected, as it was natural to suppose that so essential an object as the Helder would be defended to the last, but, to our utter astonishment, the enemy gave us no annoyance; on the contrary, soon after the affair on the right had terminated, he evacuated the town, which we took quiet possession of the following morning, and with it the whole of the fleet. The garrison, consisting of 1,600 men, could easily have been intercepted had it not been for a large body of cavalry and a number of cannon, which completely commanded a plain of a mile and a half in breadth, necessary to be crossed to get to them: as we had neither one nor the other, it would have been the height of folly to attempt it. The regiments which distinguished themselves most on this occasion were the 23d, 27th, and 55th. The evening of our landing, a reinforcement of 5,000 men arrived, but could not disembark until two days after, owing to the badness of the weather. During all this time the troops lay exposed on the sand hills, without the least shelter to cover them from the wind and rain. At length the army moved forward eleven miles, and got into cantonments along a canal extending the whole breadth of the country, from the Zuyder sea on the one side to the main ocean on the other, protected by an amazingly strong dyke, running half a mile in front of the line. In this position we remained unmolested until the 10th of September, on

* Afterwards Sir John Moore, who fell at Corunna.


which day the enemy made a most desperate attack in three columns, two on the right and one on the centre of the line: he could not avoid being beaten, as it was the most injudicious step imaginable, and his loss was in proportion very great. The Guards, 20th, and 40th, acted conspicuous parts in this affair. The 49th was here again out of the way, with the exception indeed of Savery, whom nothing could keep from going to see what was doing on the right, and as it happened he proved of great use to Colonel Smith, whom he assisted from the field after being wounded. The French soldier was taught to consider the British troops as the most undisciplined rabble in the world, and he advanced confident of conquest; but this affair, and others which followed, made him very soon change his opinion. Nothing remarkable occurred after this until the arrival of the Duke of York with the remainder of the British troops and 16,000 Russians, which increased the army to about 35,000 men. Continued rain, however, prevented any thing being done before the 19th, when the whole army was put in motion. Sir Ralph · took 12,000, of which the 4th brigade formed a part, to the left on the evening preceding, and got possession of the city of Horn the following morning at daylight, without a shot being fired: 200 prisoners were taken. Horn is a very populous, handsome city, and evidently in the interest of the Prince of Orange. Nothing could exceed the joy of the inhabitants at our arrival, and in proportion as they rejoiced they mourned our departure, which took place before sun-set, in consequence of a fatal disaster which had befallen the Russians on the right. They of course threw the blame off their own shoulders, and wished to attribute the whole misfortune to the want of concert and a proper support on the part

* Lieut.-Colonel Smith, commanding the 20th, a native of Guernsey, afterwards Colonel Sir George Smith, aide-de-camp to the king. He died at Cadiz, in 1809, and was a distinguished officer.

of the British; but I verily believe the real fact to be this. After most gallantly driving the enemy before them as far as Bergen, where it was previously arranged they should halt, they dispersed for the sake of plunder;-the French hearing of this disorder, renewed the attack, and never gave the Russians an opportunity to form, but continued driving them. with the bayonet until they encountered a body of English, under General Manners and Prince William, whose brigades suffered considerably. The Russians were, however, thus happily enabled to effect their retreat without further molestation; they were certainly the original cause of this disaster, but whether the British were sufficiently brisk in coming to their assistance is doubted. The Russians in their persons are rather short of stature, and very thick and clumsy; they have nothing expressive in their features, which resemble much the Chinese countenance. I remarked an exception to this rule in a grenadier battalion, who, with tall, elegant persons, possessed remarkably fine, commanding faces. The officers in general are the most despicable wretches I ever saw: accustomed, as they have always been, to fight with troops much inferior to themselves, they thought themselves invincible.* They take the field with an immense number of artillery, with which they cover their front and flanks, and thus never dreamed it possible, from their former experience, for troops to

* As this character of the Russian officers may be thought too severe, we give the following confirmation of its correctness: "The Russian was so humbled by the disaster at Bergen, that, in all the subsequent affairs in Holland, he seemed to be an unwilling actor. In advancing to the field, the soldiers dropped off occasionally from the advancing lines; even officers assumed the retrograde. One general literally ran away; another, wounded as it were by the first fire, retired."-The Formation, Discipline, and Economy of Armies, by Robert Jackson, M.D. Third Edition, London, 1845.

It is added that the former general was cashiered by the Emperor Paul, in a passion, and it is insinuated that the latter wounded himself. The general who was cashiered, instead of being shunned and despised by the Russian officers, was even regaled by them, prior to his return home, and walked about as if nothing had happened; thus affording a striking example of the trivial light in which military cowardice was then regarded in Russia.

rally after being once beaten. This fatal security was the cause of the misfortune which befel the allies on the 19th. After the retreat from Horn, the 4th brigade took its station on the right, preparatory evidently to its being actively employed; accordingly, on the 2d of October, the weather not permitting it sooner, the brigade assembled before daylight at Petten, and formed the advanced guard of a column, consisting of 10,000 men, which was to proceed along the beach to Egmont-op-Zee. After every thing had been properly arranged, it moved forward, supported by 1,000 cavalry, under Lord Paget. It was intended that the reserve, under Colonel M'Donald, should cover our flank, and that the column should rapidly advance to Egmont, in order to turn the flank of the enemy at Bergen. This was, however, prevented by a strong body of the enemy, who engaged the reserve the moment it ascended the sand hills; and although he retreated before the reserve, he constrained Colonel M'Donald to follow in a different direction to that intended, thereby leaving our left flank uncovered. But this did not impede our moving forward, and it was not until we had proceeded five or six miles that we found the least opposition. The enemy then appeared in small force, and the 25th was ordered up the sand hills, but, he having increased, the 79th followed, and it was not long before the 49th was also ordered to form on the left of that regiment. It is impossible to give you an adequate idea of the nature of the ground, which I can only compare to the sea in a storm. On my getting to the left of the 79th, I found that its flank was already turned, and that the ground which we were to occupy did not afford the least shelter: my determination was instantly taken. I had gone on horseback to view the ground, and on my return to the regiment, which I met advancing, I found the left actually engaged with the enemy, who had advanced much beyond our left. I, how

ever, continued advancing with six companies, and left Colonel Sheaffe with the other four to cover our left the instant I came up to the 79th, I ordered a charge, which I assure you was executed with the utmost gallantry, though not in the greatest order, as the nature of the ground admitted of none. The enemy, however, gave way on every side, and our loss would have been very trifling had the 79th charged straightforward; but unfortunately it followed the course the 49th had taken, thereby leaving our right entirely exposed. I detached Lord Ayl mer* with the grenadiers, who, after charging different times, totally cleared our right. The 25th then advanced, and behaved with the greatest good conduct. The enemy after this never attempted to make a stand, but continued to retreat, and their loss on this occasion was very considerable. Nothing could exceed the gallantry of the 25th, 49th, 79th, and 92d. For my own part, I had every reason to be satisfied with the conduct of both officers and men, and no commanding_officer could be more handsomely supported than I was on that day, ever glorious to the 49th. Poor Archer brought his company to the attack in a most soldier-like manner; and even after he had received his mortal wound, he animated his men, calling on them to go on to victory, to glory; and no order could be more effectually obeyed he is an irreparable loss to the service. I got knocked down soon after the enemy began to retreat, but never quitted the field, and returned to my duty in less than half an hour. Savery acted during the whole of the day as aidede-camp either to Sir Ralph or Moore, and nothing could surpass his activity and gallantry. He had a horse shot under him, and had all this been in his line, he must have been particularly noticed, as he

The present General Lord Aylmer, G. C. B., formerly governorgeneral of British North America. He was then a captain in the 49th. See Appendix A, Sec. 1, No. 1.

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