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HISTORY

OF THE

PENINSULAR WAR.

CHAPTER IX.

SIEGE OF ZARAGOZA.

IX.

June.

tions at

IMPORTANT as the battle of Baylen was in its CHAP. direct and immediate consequences to the Spaniards, their cause derived greater celebrity and 1808. more permanent strength from the defence of Zaragoza

Order had been restored in that city from Preparathe hour when Palafox assumed the command. Zaragoza. Implicit confidence in the commander produced implicit and alert obedience, and preparations were made with zeal and activity proportioned to the danger. When the new Captain-General declared war against the French, the troops which he mustered amounted only to 220 men, and the public treasury could furnish him with no more than an hundred dollars; sixteen illmounted

guns were all the artillery in the place, and the arsenal contained but few muskets.

VOL. II.

B

IX.

1808. June.

CHAP. Fowling-pieces were put in requisition, pikes

were forged, powder was supplied from the mills at Villafeliche, which were some of the most considerable in Spain, .. for every thing else Palafox trusted to his country and his cause.

And his trust was not in vain; the Zaragozans were ready to endure any suffering and make any sacrifice in the discharge of their duty; the same spirit possessed the whole country, and from all those parts of Spain which were under the yoke of the enemy officers and soldiers repaired to Zaragoza as soon as it was seen that an army was collecting there; many came from Madrid and from Pampluna, and some officers of engineers from the military academy at Alcala. And the spirits of the people were encouraged by the discovery of a depôt of fire arms walled up in the Aljafaria; they had probably been secreted there in the succession war, when one party resigned that city to its enemies, and their discovery in this time of need was regarded by the Zaragozans as a manifestation of divine Providence in their favour. The defeats which their undisciplined levies sustained at Tudela, Mallen, and Alagon abated not their resolution; and in the last of these actions a handful of regular troops protected their retreat with great steadiness. The French general, Lefebvre Desnouettes, pursuing his hitherto uninterrupted success, advanced, and took up a position very near the city, and covered by a rising ground planted with olive trees.

IX.

1808. June.

Zaragoza was not a * fortified town; the brick CHAP. wall which surrounded it was from ten to twelve feet high, and three feet thick, and in many places it was interrupted by houses, which formed

Description part of the inclosure. The city had no ad

of the city. vantages of situation for its defence, and would not have been considered capable of resistance by any men but those whose courage was sustained by a virtuous and holy principle of duty. It stands in an open plain, which was then covered with olive grounds, and is bounded on either hand by high and distant mountains; but it is commanded by some high ground called the Torrero, about a mile to the south-west, upon which there was a convent, with some smaller buildings. The canal of Aragon divides this elevation from another rising ground, where the Spaniards had erected a battery. The Ebro bathes the walls of the city, and separates it from the suburbs; it has two bridges, within musketshot of each other; one of wood, said to be more beautiful than any other of the like materials in Europe; the other of freestone, consisting of seven arches, the largest of which is 122 feet in diameter; the river is fordable above the city. Two smaller rivers, the Galego and the Guerva, flow at a little distance from the city, the one on the east, the other on the west; the latter being

« Elle est sans defense et bravoure des habitans.After sans fortification,” said Colme- the proofs which the inhabitants nar, writing a century ago, have given of their patriotism, “ fermée d'une simple muraille; this praise appears like prophecy. mais ce défaut est reparé par la

IX.

1808. June.

CHAP. separated from the walls only by the breadth of the

common road: both are received into the Ebro. Unlike most other places of the peninsula, Zaragoza has neither aqueduct nor fountains, but derives its water wholly from the river. The people of Tortosa, (and probably of the other towns upon its course,) drink also of the Ebro, preferring it to the finest spring; the water is of a dirty red colour, but, having stood a few hours, it becomes perfectly clear, and has a softness and pleasantness of taste, which soon induces strangers to agree with the natives in their

preference of it. The population was stated in the census of 1787 at 42,600; that of 1797, excellent as it is in all other respects, has the fault of not specifying the places in each district; later accounts computed its inhabitants at 60,000, and it was certainly one of the largest cities in the peninsula. It had twelve gates, four of them in the old wall of Augustus, by whom the older town of Salduba upon the same site was enlarged, beautified, and called Cæsarea-Augusta, or Cæsaraugusta ; a word easily corrupted into its * present name.

The whole city is built of brick; even the convents and churches were of this coarse material, which was bad of its kind, so that there were cracks in most of these edifices from top to bottom. The houses are not so high as they usually are in old Spanish towns, their general

* The Spaniards, by a more curious corruption, call Syracuse, Zaragoza de Sicilia.

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