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1808. June.

CHAP. for the repulse and the disgrace which he had

suffered. A regular siege was to be expected; how were the citizens to sustain it with their brick walls, without heavy artillery, and without troops who could sally to interrupt the besiegers in their works? In spite of all these discouraging circumstances, confiding in God and their own courage, they determined to defend the streets to the last extremity. Palafox, immediately after the repulse of the enemy, set out to muster reinforcements, to provide such resources for the siege as he could, and to place the rest of Aragon in a state of defence, if the capital should fall. He was accompanied by Colonel Butron, his friend and aide-de-camp; Lieut.-Colonel Beillan, of the engineers; Padre Basilio, and Tio Jorge. With these companions and a small escort he left the city by the suburbs, crossed the Ebro at Pina, and collecting on the way about 1400 soldiers who had escaped from Madrid, formed a junction at Belchite with Baron Versage and some newly raised troops from Calatayud. Their united numbers amounted to some 7000 men, with 100 horse and four pieces of artillery. Small as this force was, and still more inefficient for want of discipline than of nu. merical strength, Palafox resolved upon making an attempt with it to succour the city. The prudence of this determination was justly questioned by some; others proposed the strange measure of marching to Valencia: this probably originated with some of the stray soldiers who


1808, June.

were at liberty to seek their fortune where they CHAP. pleased, and the proposal was so well received that a considerable party prepared to set off in that direction, without orders. But Palafox called them together, exhorted them to do their duty, and offered passports to as many as chose to leave him in the moment of danger. The consequence of this offer was that not a man departed. From Almunia, where he had rested a day, he then marched towards Epila, thinking to advance to the village of La Muela, and thus place the invaders between his little army and the city, in the hope of cutting them off from their reinforcements. Lefebvre prevented this, by suddenly attacking him at Epila, on the night of the 23d: after a most obstinate resistance, the superior arms and discipline of the French were successful. The wreck of this gallant band retreated to Calatayud, and afterwards, with great difficulty, threw themselves into Zaragoza.

The besiegers' army was soon reinforced by G. Verdier General Verdier, with 2500 men, besides some febvre with

joins Lebattalions of Portugueze, who, according to the reinforcedevilish system of Buonaparte's tyranny, had been forced out of their own country, to be pushed on in the foremost ranks, wherever the first fire of a battery was to be received, a line of bayonets clogged, or a ditch filled, with bodies. They occupied the best positions in the surrounding plain, and, on the 27th, attacked the city and the Torrero; but they were repulsed with the loss of 800 men, six pieces of artillery, and five


icro taken.

CHAP. carts of ammunition. By this time, they had

invested nearly half the town. The next morning June. they renewed the attack at both places; from the

city they were again repulsed, losing almost all The Tor- the cavalry who were engaged. But the Torrero

was lost through the alleged misconduct of an artillery officer, who was charged with having made his men abandon the batteries at the most critical moment. For this he was condemned to run the gauntlet six times, the soldiers beating him with their ramrods, and after this cruelty he

was shot.

The French bombard the city.

The French, having now received a train of mortars, howitzers, and twelve-pounders, which were of sufficient calibre against mud walls, kept up a constant fire, and showered down shells and grenades from the Torrero. About twelve hundred were thrown into the town, and there was not one building that was bomb proof within the walls. After a time, the inhabitants placed beams of timber together, endways, against the houses, in a sloping direction, behind which those who were near when a shell fell, might shelter themselves. The enemy continued also to invest the city more closely, while the Aragonese made every effort to strengthen their means of defence. They tore down the awnings from their windows, and formed them into sacks, which tủey filled with sand, and piled up before the gates, in the form of a battery, digging round it a deep trench. They broke holes for musketry in the walls and intermediate buildings, and


1808. June.

stationed cannon where the position was favour- CHAP. able for it. The houses in the environs were destroyed.

“ Gardens and olive grounds,” says an eye-witness, " that in better times had been the recreation and support of their owners, were cheerfully rooted up by the proprietors themselves, wherever they impeded the defence of the city, or covered the approach of the enemy.” Women of all ranks assisted; they formed them- Exertions selves into companies, some to relieve the women. wounded, some to carry water, wine, and provisions, to those who defended the gates. The Countess Burita instituted a corps for this ser- Countess vice; she was young, delicate, and beautiful. Burita. In the midst of the most tremendous fire of shot and shells, she was seen coolly attending to those occupations which were now become her duty; nor throughout the whole of a two months' siege did the imminent danger, to which she incessantly exposed herself, produce the slightest apparent effect upon her, or in the slightest degree bend her from her heroic purpose. Some of the monks bore arms; others exercised their spiritual offices to the dying: others, with the nuns, were busied in making cartridges which the children distributed

Among threescore thousand persons there will always be found some wicked enough for any employment, and the art of corrupting has constituted great part of the French system of war, During the night of the 28th the powder magazine, in the area where the bull-fights were per


1808. June.

CHAP. formed, which was in the very heart of the city,

was blown up, by which fourteen houses were destroyed, and about 200 persons killed. This was the signal for the enemy to appear before three gates which had been sold to them. And while the inhabitants were digging out their fellow-citizens from the ruins, a fire was opened upon

them with mortars, howitzers, and cannons, which had now been received for battering the town. Their attack seemed chiefly to be directed against the gate called Portillo, and a large square building near it, without the walls, and surrounded by a deep ditch; though called a castle, it served only for a prison. The sandbag battery before this gate was frequently destroyed, and as often reconstructed under the

fire of the enemy. The carnage here throughAugustina out the day was dreadful. Augustina Zaragoza, Zaragoza.

a handsome woman of the lower class, about twenty-two years

of age, arrived at this battery with refreshments, at the time when not a man who defended it was left alive, so tremendous was the fire which the French kept up against it. For a moment the citizens hesitated to reman the guns. Augustina sprung foward over the dead and dying, snatched a match from the hand of a dead artilleryman, and fired off a sixand-twenty pounder; then, jumping upon the gun, made a solemn vow never to quit it alive during the siege. Such a sight could not but animate with fresh courage all who beheld it. The Zaragozans rushed into the battery, and

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