« PreviousContinue »
for a few instants; but enthusiasm soon giving occurred in the course of it, it is not my place to fear, the fighting ceased, and the inha- intention to trouble your Majesty with any bitants submitted. This affair, which doch further details of the earlier parts of our opethe greatest honour to the cavalry, cost us the rations, which, having terminated in the boss of thirty men.
speedy reduction of Walcheren by your MaThere were found in the place 148 pieces jesty's troops, and the occupation of the ad. of Cannon of various calibres, and a great quan- jaceni islands, and of the important post of tity of ammunition and stores of every kind. Batz, received, at the time, your Majesty's There was a train of 23 field pieces, which most gracious approbation; but to confine was on the point of being seni off to Tarra: myself principaily in the narrative, which sam gona. There were only twenty five vessels anxious to be permitted to bring under your in the harbour : three English ships of war Majesty's view, to the consideration of the two which had been there, had the precaution to follo:ving points, as most immediately applying causa such as they wished to carry with them, to the conduct and final result of the expedito put to sea before they could be seized. tion to the Scheldt. First, The ground upon The English merchandise at Malaga was put which, after the army was at length assemunder sequestration. An inventory will be bled near Batz, a landing in prosecution of taker, and a report of the contents transmit the ulterior objects of the expedition was not ted.
deemed advisable. Secondly, Why that arThe occupation of Malaga is, at this mo my was not sooner there assembled in readi. nent, of great importance. It completes the ness to commence further operations. submission of the province of Grenada, and With respect to the former proposition, I am cumpletely cuts off that part of the country inclined co think that it is so clear and evident, which is contiguous to Gibraltar and Cadiz. It that no further operations could at that time, is, therefore, probable, that it will influence and in the then sickly state of the army, have the determination of the inhabitants of the been undertaken with any prospect of suc. Latter place. The effect produced by this cess, that it would be unnecessarily trespassevent is so much the greater, as the next day ing on your Majesty to enter into much more che inhabitants of Velez de Malaga arressted detail on this point than has been already the chiefs of this new insurrection, and deli- brought before your Majesty in my dispatch vered thens over to the imperial army, with a of the 29th of August; and the chief object request that they should be punished. of this paper will be directed to show to your
Marshal the duke of Treviso has reported Majesty, that the second point, namely, from Los Santos on the road of Estramadura, Why the army was not brought up sooner to that the troops of the üch corps had, on the the destination from whence its ulterior ope. Sth, established themselves there and at rations were to commence, is purely a naval Zafia, from which they pushed reconnoitring consideration, and that the delay did in no parties in the direction of Badajoz and Merida. shape rest with me, or depend upon any arHe continued to collect artillery, ammuni. rangements in which the army was concerntion, and provisions, left behind by the insur. ed; every facility, on the contrary, having genis; he aiso found several posts a bandoned, been afforded by their movements to the which the insurgents had strongly entrenched. speedy progress of the armament. To-morrow the oth corps will be on the Gua In doing this, it will, I conceive, be nediana, where it will obtain information of the cessary, for the sake of perspicuiry, that I movement of the 2d corps, and of what is should take up the consideration of this busipassing in the valley of the Tagus.
ness from its commencement. I have the honour to request that your se Your Majesty will permit me here to resene highness will be pleased to lay my report cal to your recollection the change which before his majesty the emperor and king, and took place in the original project forved for to accept the homage of my respect.
the attack of Antwerp, and of the French The Marshal the Duke of DALMATIA. feet in the West Scheldt, in consequence of Seville, Feb. 10, 1810.
the opinions of the general and staff officers
to whom this question was referred; and a GREAT BRITAIN.
combined operation of the army and navy, In consequence of an Enquiry instie the whole, with the exception of the force tuted in the House of Conimous tu ene
to be left for the reduction of Walcheren,
to proceed up the West Scheldt, was accor. guire into the origin and failure of the
dingly determined on. late expedition to Walcheren, the fol
Upon the practicability of such an operation lowing curious document is discovered being at once carried into execution, which to have been laid before the king by was, however, the ground-work of the es. the earl of Chatham:
pedition, and which alone, in the opinion of In submitting to your Majesty a statement
all persons consulted, seemed to afford any of my proceedings in the execution of the prospect of success, even in the most sanservice your majesty was graciously pleased guine view of the subject in all other re. to confide to ine, and of the events which pects, I must confess, I entertained great
doubts, till the communication of a distinct tined for the attack of Walcheren was enabled official opinion, given on this point by the to effect its landing from a more sheltered lords of the Admiralty, decided in the affir. anchorage on the Bree Sand to the westward mnative this important question.
of Fort den Haak. At tbis time, the divi. At the same time it is to be remarked, sion under Lieutenant-general lord Rosslyn, , that the occupation of Walcheren, which by as well as that under Lieutenant-general, some persons it had been thought possible to Grosvenor, also the cavalry, art llery, &c. leave behind us, and che reduction of Flush were not arrived; but they were afterwards, ing, which ic had once been proposed only on their making the island, ordered by the to mask, were deemed indispensible to the admiral into the Veer Gat. It is, however, security of the feet, in case of disaster; and particularly deserving of attention, that chis accordingly a considerable sepata e force was measure, though in itself one of great ada, allotted to this service ; and, in this view, Vantage, as far as it applied to the division it was besides distinctly agreed upon, that a
destined for the attack of Walcheren, by vignrous attack by the navy upon the sea. placing the transports, store-ships, and small front should be made at the sanie time that craft, in security, was, if carried jurther, the troops, after effecting their landing, ad. certainly not a little at variance with the vanced to invest Flushing; it being hoped leading purpose of the expedition, namely, that by a powerful co-operation from the sea, the running with a right wing, and the ad. at the moment the troops presented them vance of the army at once up the West selves before the place, the labour and delay Scheldt, at the same momenu that the atof a regular siege might have been avoided, tack upon Walcheren was proceeding. But that and a considerable portion of the force al even this need have delayed it for more than lotted to this service set at liberty to follow three or four days, unless on account of naval the army up the Scheldt. How far this ex. difficulties, which it will be for the admiral, pectation was fulfilled, or whether the as not for me, to explain, I deny; for as soon surance given that the whole of the arma. as Ter Veere and the Fort of Rammekins ment (the part to be landed at Walcheren fell, which happened on the 3d of August, excepted) should be at once transported up the passage of the Sloe was open to the transthe Scheldt, in prosecution of the ultimate ports and yun-vessels; or they might have objects of the expedition, was carried into entered by the Durloo or by the Zoutland effect, or was wholly disappointed, the in- passages, the bacteries of Dyshook, of Vygeformation already before your majesty will teer, and the Nolle, having been all carried have in a great measure shewn, and which it by the army early on the first of August; will be my duty to bring more particularly and on the same day the battery of Borslen, under your majesty's view, when I detail at the southwest end of South Beveland, the subsequent course of our proceedings. was abandoned on the movement of a Jerach
From what cause this failure ensued-whe. ment from the corps under sir Jolin Hope; ther it arose from insufficient arrangements
and I know of nothing (but this, of course, on the part of the admiral, or was the una. is a point for the admiral to speak to) to have voidable result of difficulries inherent in the prevented the line of battle ships and frigates nature of the expedition itself, it is not for from coming in and passing up above Fiuslime, considering it entirely as a naval ques.' ing, in the first instance, according to the tion, to presume to offer any opinion upon to plan originally decided upon. your majesty.
Before, however, I pursue further the de. It may, however, be here proper to re tails of the proceedings of the army, govern. mark, that in all the projects which have at ed as they necessarily were (until a footing various times been brought forward on the should be gained on the continent) by the subject of an attack upon the Island of Wal movements of the navy, I must for a mocheren atid the Scheldt, the necessity of hav. m.cot refer to two separate operations ; the ing a wind a good deal to the westward, with one under Lieutenant-general lord Huntly moderate weather, has always been insisted and commodore Owen, and the other under
Without these advantages, in the one Lieutenant-general sir John Hope and rear case, the passage would be difficult; in the admiral sir Richard Keats; but both directed other, the surf would prevent a landing on
to assist and ensure a rapid progress up the the points deemed most favourable in other Scheldt, had the admiral found it practicable respects. In the present instance, owing to in oiher respects. With respect to the fore the wind blowing strong from the westward, mer, which was destined to destroy the Cad. the surf was actually such as to prevent a sand ba:teries, and particularly that of Breslanding on either of the poirits first fixed on kens, bad it been carried at once into effect, for that purpose by the armiral; and the si- and that the admiral could have availed hinja tuation of the gun boats and transports at an self of it, to take the ships up the West chor in the Sione Deep becoming very criti- Scheldt by the Weeling Passage, it would cal, and the gale encreasing, he found it have been of the uimost advantage ; but it Decessary to carry such part of the feet as was certainly ratber fortunate it did not take was arrived for safety into the Roompot, and place at a later period, as after all the tripsa by which means the division of the army des. ports, store-ships, &c. Were ordered into the MONTHLY MAG, No. 197,
Veere Gat, and the plan of running at pose was happily and early accomplished, once up the West Scheldt by che Weeling though the roops were carried a great way Channel seemed abandoned, the object of in schuyts and boats; and this division was destroying the Cadsand batteries ceased, and landed near Ter Goes, from whence shey a landing there would only have been an swept all the batteries in the island that unnecessary, risk, and a very inconvenient could impede the progress of our ships up separation of our force, and, of course, ucca the Wese Scheldt, and possessed themselves sion great delay in collecting it for ulterior on the 2d of August of the important post operations. It must not, however, be for of Batz, to which it had been promise! gotten, that the difficulties here turned out the army should at once have been brought to be much greater than had been at all up foreseen before we sailed. In the first place, Sir John Hupe remained in possession of che beach was so exposed, that in blowing this post, though not without being ewice weather it was found impossible to land; and attacked by the enemy's Acrilla, fornire from what cause I know not, the morquis of diys before any of the gun-bulis under caps. Huntly's division could not be taken up, in sir Home Pupham were moved up the the first instance, high enough to attack the
Scheldt to his support. Breskens battery, the only one, from its But it will be ricollected, that both these situation, of much importance. In addition operations tended directly to forward the orito this, the enemy, who had been repre- ginal purpose of a rapid progress up the sented by all the intelligence communicated Seheldt ; the former by opening the Cadsand, to me to be very weak, almost actually with- Channel, could the landing of lord Hunt. out troops in that quarter, appeared to be well ly's division have been effected; the second, prepared, and in considerable force. Under by covering the progress of our feet along these circumstances,
according to lord the coast of South Beveland, while the die Huntly's report, commodore Owen appeais vision under sir John Hope was at the same to have experienced great disappointment in time so far advanced towards the destinatioa not having the sur port of lord Gardner's fleet at which the rest of the armament was to be and of his boats: but his lordship, as I be-' assembled. lieve, could never enter the Weeling Chan It will now only be necessary for me to nel at all; nor indeed was I ever acquainted bring before your majesty the dates at which with what instructions were given to him un the several parts of the armament were enithis head,
bied, according to the arrangement of s'i When it was found that lord Huntly's Richard Strachan, to pursue their progress division could neither land nor proceed by up the Scheldt. In this place, however, it the Weeling Passage up the Scheldr, as I had may be proper that I should previously advert intended they should, it was determined to to the grounds on which the 3d division, withdraw them; but som the boisterous under lieutenant general Grosvenor, as wel! state of the weather, it was sorr.e days before as the two light battalions of the King's this could be effected, As soon as it was German L-gion (composing part of the force accomplished, they were passed over 10
detained in the first instance to proceed South Beveland.
against Antwerp), vere landed at Walcheren, With respect to sir John Hope's operation, and employed before Flushing. it was more prosperous. The object of it Your majesty will be pleased to recollect, was chis: In the original arrangement for that the troups which sailed from Portsmouth, carrying the army at once up the West under lieutenant-general sir Eyre Cuote, Scheldi, sir John Hope's division was includ were destined for the service of Walcheren, ed; but just before we sailed, the adatiral and had been considered as sufficient for that received intelligence that the French ficet object, according to the intelligence receivest. was come down abreast of Flushing, and and the supposed strength of the enemy i seemed to threaten to oppuse our passage up though, at the 's me tinie, certainly relying the Scheldt.
for the first efforts against Flushing, on the ; In this view, it was conceived that, by promised co operation of the navy, and on landing on the north side of South Beveland, their establishing, as was held oor, in the the island might be possessed, and all the first instance, a naval blockade, except on batteries laken in reverse, and thereby the the side of Veer and Rammekins. Unfortuposition of the French feet, if they venturednately, however, this did not take place, to remain near Flushing, would be, as it and for several nights after the army way were, turned, and their retreat rendered hefore Flushing, the enemy succeeded in more difficult, while the attack on them by throwing from the opposite coast, probably our ships would have been nuch facilitated; from the canal of Ghent, considerable rein. and, for this ohject, the division of sir John forcements into the place, which enabled Hope rather preceded, in sailing from the him constantly 10 annoy our out posts and Downs, the rest of the ticet.
working parties, and finally to attempt a The navigation of the Eost Scheldt was, sully in force, though, liappily, from the found must difficult; but by the skill and valour of your majesty's truops, without sucperseverance of sir Richard Klats, this pure cess. This proving very harassing, parti, u
larly from the great difficulty of communica- gust at furthest, and that the frigates and tion between the several parts of our line, I line of battle ships should follow as they determined, in order to relieve the troops, and came in succession. piess forward the siege with as much vigour as The frigates, however, did not pass Flushpossible, to avail myself for the time of the ing till the evening of the 14th, and the services of these corps ; but it is to be re- line of battle ships oily passed to che ancho.. membered, that this was only done because rage above Flushing on the 14th, the se. I saw no movement making to push forward cond day of the tombardment. a single vessel up the West Scheldt, and it These ships began to procee: up the river therefore seemed more advisable to have on the 18th, and arrived on the 19th; one their assistance before Flushing, chan that division as bigh as the bay below Waerden, they shouid lie inactive in cue Veer Gae; the other off the Hanswent, where they and they miglit at any time be re-embarked remained ; the Courageux passed above from Raromekins in a few hours, whenever Batz ; the cavalry ships only got through their transports couid be brought up from the Sioe Passage into the West Scheldt froin
Veer, and there was the least chance of our the 20th to the 23d, and arrived oft Batz on proceeding to our ulterior destination. the 22d and 941h; the ordnance ships and
I have already stated that Rammekins scure ships passed through from the 290 čo surrendered on ihe evening of the 3d of the 23d, and arrived at their destination of August.
Batz on the 24th and 25th; the transports immediately upon this event, feeling as for lieutenant.general Grosvenor's division I did great uneasiness at the delay which only came up to receive them on the 19th, had already taken place, and at the depar. on which day they embarked ; and those for ture from chie original plan, I wrote a letter major-general Graham's division on the 20th to the admiral, then at Ter Veere, expressing and 21st; and they arrived oft Batz on the my hope that the ships would now be able 241h. The corps of brigadier-general Rotten. to enter che West Scheldt by the Sloe Pas- burgh, and the light battalions of the German sage, and that no time should be lost in Legion, preceded to join the earl of Rossiyn's pressing forward as speedily as possible our division in South Beveland. further operations; and I requested, at the From this statement, your majesty will sipe time, that he would communicate to see that not withstanding every effort on my me the extent of naval co-operation he could part with the admiral, the armament was not afford, as well for the future blockade of assembled at the point of its destination till Flushing, as with a view to protecting the the 25th, and of course that the means of coasts of South Beveland, and watching the commencing operations sooner against Ana passa es from the Meuse to the East Scheldt, twerp were never in my power. as this consideration would govern very much It now became at this advanced period, my the (-Itent of force I must leave in South duty to consider very seriously the expediency Beveland, when the army advanced. To of lantling the army on the continent. On this letter he did not reply fully til the $th comparing all the intelligence obtained as to of August; but I had a note from him on the the strength of the enemy, it appeared to be 3th, assuring me the transports should be such as to leave (as stated in my dispatch of brought forward without delay; and I had the 29ch of August) no reasonable prospect also a very long conversation with him on of the force under my command, after accom. the morning of che 6th, on the arrangements plishing the preliminary operations of reducing to be taken for our further operations, when Fort Lillo as well as Licíkenshoeck, on the I urged, in the stongest manner, the neces. opposite side of Antwerp, without the posa sity of not losing a moment in bringing up session of which the destruction of the ships the cavalry and ordnance ships, transports, and arsenals of the enemy could not be effecte Glore-ships, victuallers, &c. in order that ed; and in addition to this, the sickness the armament might proceed without delay which had begun to attack the army about to its destination; and I added my hopes, the 20th, and which was hourly increasing that they would receive the protection of to an alarming extent, created the most seris the ships of war, none of which bad yet ous apprehensions in the minds of the medical entered the West Scheldt.
men, as to its further progress, at that you To all chis, and to the several arrange. healthy season, and which fatal experience ments explained to bim in detail, he fully has since shown to have been but to well assented.
founded. In his reply to my letter of the 4th, on Your rajesty will not be surpriset if, the 8th of August, le acquaints me, that under these circumstances, I paused in reseveral of the smaller vessels of different quiring the admiral to put the army on descriptions had passed through the intricate shore. Thit a landing might have been passage of the Sloe, and that he had ordered made, and that any force that had been opthe frigates to pass up the West Scheldt, to posed to us in the field would have yielded be followed by the line of bacele ships; and to the superior valour of British troops, I be gave hopes that he should be able to go up have no doube; but then, any such success the river with the flozilla on the 20th of Au could have been of no avail sowards the ato
tainment of the ultimate object, and there the earl of Chatham to correct the same, his was still less chance that the cnemy would majesty returned it to him. The report, as have given us the opportunity. Secure in altered, was again tendered to bis majesty by his fortresses, he had a surer game to play; the earl of Chatham on the 14th of February, for if ever the army, divided as it must ne- when his majesty directed it to be delivered cessarily have been in order to occupy both to the secretary of state. In consequence of banks of the river, exposed to the effects of these circumstances becoming known, the inundation on every side, and with all its House of Commons have passed a resolution communications liable to be cut off, while declaring, that they “saw with regret that any the force of the enemy was daily and hourly such communication as the narrative of lord increasing, had once sat down before An- Chatham should have been made to his majesty twerp, it is unnecessary for me to point out without any knowledge of tbe other ministers; to your majesty how critical must in a short that such conduct is highly reprehensible, and time have been their situation. But when, deserves the censure of the House". The aided to this, sickness to an alarming ex. effect of this has been, that lord Chatban tent bad begun to spread itself among the has resigned all the offices and appointments troops, and the certain and fatal progress of that he held, and is of course no longer a which, at ibat season, was but too well as. minister, certained, it appeared to me that all further Sir Richard Strachan, has, in reply, presented advance could only tend to commit irretrieva- a report to the Admiralty; and in the letter bly the safety of the army which your ma which served for the transmission of it, he jesty had confided to me, and which every observes: “ Feeling perfectly conscious that principle of military duty as well as the every exertion had been made by me in fordirect tenor of my instructions alike for. warding the objects of the expedition, and that bade.
no blame could be justly imputed to myself In this state of things, I considered that or the navy, I could not possibly suspect that there was left me no alternative, but to pur lord Chatham, to the irregularity of presentsue the course I have already stated, for your ing immediately to his majesty such a paper majesty's information, in my dispatch of the as that which I have received, had added the 29th of August; and that conduct I now impropriety (to use no stronger term) of enmust humbly, but at the same time with per- deavouring to exculpate himself by private fect confidence, submit to your majesty's insinuations against the conduct of others; judgment.
but to assume the privilege of conveying priI shall here close this report ; which has, vate insinuations to the prejudice of others, I fear, already delained your majesty but too from whose knowledge they are studiously con long; by observing, tbar wherever it has cealed, must prove utterly destructive of all been necessary for me to advert to the disap- mutual confidence in joint operations of the pointm.ents experienced, through the arrange. army and navy. Their Jordships will now ments of the admiral, in the naval co-opera to be able judge whether there is any foundation I had been taught to expect, I have con tion for the imputations, that the delays orifined myself to stating the facts; abstaining, ginated with myself, or with any others in the as it became me, from all comment, and naval service; or whether, during my comleaving it to the admiral, in such report.as mand on the late expedition, any proceeding he may make of bis proceedings, to bring on my part has in any respect justified the line under your majesty's view the circumstances of conduct which lord Chatham bas thought which may have occasioned them, and, above fit to adopt towards me." all, to account for the difficulties which pre The narrative itself contains many pointed ven'ed the investment of Flushing (a point observations, general charges of inaccuracy, never even doubted of before) as well as to and a refutation of the insinuations both show the obstacles which presented them against the gallant admiral and the navy, conselves to the early progress of the armament tained in his lordship's statement. In one up the West Scheldt, which operation I had part sir Richard says: When lord Chatham always looked upon as the primary object of contends in his statementthat the second point, his instructions, and on the accomplishment namely, 'why the army was not brezgla ap of which our best hopes of success, in any of soones to the destination from whence all its the ulterior objects of the expedition princi• operations were to commence, is purely a naval pally, if not wholly, depended.
consideration,' his position is certainly true in (Signed) CHATHAM, Lieut. Gen. words, but as certainly incorrect in its implied [Presented to ib: King, Oct. 15, 1809. meaning." The gallant admira) totally de14:6 Feb. 1810.]
nies the assertion that an agreement was enThis narrative, as appears by the king's tered into for a simultaneous attack by sea and answer to an address from the House of Com- land upon Flushing, for the purpose of avoidmoss, was originally presented to his majesty ing the delay of a regular siege: it was imon the 15ih of January, with a request that possible, he says, for such an agreement to his majesty would not communicate it for the have been made; as under the well-ascertains present. On the 10th of February, in con ed circumstances of the garsisop, it was 100 seguence of a wish having been expressed by desperate an enterprize to be entertained. Sir