Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

HE ENTERS BARCELONA.

137

ing force under Caldaques. It was bravely re- CHAP. II. pulsed. But, on learning the result of the bat

1808. tle, Caldaques withdrew behind the Llobregat, December. relinquishing the large magazines which Vives had, with so much unfortunate industry, been long occupied in collecting.

On the seventeenth, St. Cyr entered Barcelona. On the twentieth, he took up a position Dec. 20. on the left of the Llobregat, fronting that of the Spaniards. The latter were encamped on the right bank of the river ; their centre ranged along the heights in rear of San Vicensa, their left was at Pelleja, and their right extended towards the little village of Llors. The headquarters of St. Cyr were at San Felici, his left at Cornella, his right at Molino del Rey.

The position of the Spanish army was strong ; but, in order to prevent their being reinforced by the arrival of Lazan, St. Cyr determined to attack them. Their chief attention had been directed to the works defending the bridge at Molino del Rey; but, at daybreak on the twenty-first, the two divisions of Souham and Pino Dec. 21. passed the river simultaneously, by the fords of San Felici, and San Juan d'Espi ; while Chabran

138

BATTLE OF MOLINO DEL REY.

CHAP. II. kept up a warm cannonade on the bridge, and 1808.

excited the enemy's alarm in that quarter. The December. Spaniards were attacked with vehemence by

Pino and Souham. Chabot, with three battalions, likewise passed the ford, and took up a position on the left of Pino, threatening the right of the Spanish army. To counteract this manceuvre, Reding extended his line; and, by so doing, weakened it. The consequence was, that the right was driven back behind the centre, and the centre, in its turn, behind the left. All then became confusion. The army fled, without order, towards the bridge ; but in that quarter the retreat to Villa Franca was cut off by Chabot, and that to Martorell by Chabran, who had succeeded in crossing a detachment at a ford. Had Chabran, at that moment, forced the passage of the bridge, all retreat for the Spaniards

ould have been cut off. But that General did not move till too late, though frequently urged to do so by General Rey.

The country, being rugged, woody, and full of ravines, was unfavourable for cavalry, and contributed to the escape of the fugitives. Not more than from one thousand to twelve lundred prisoners were taken. Among these, was Cal

ST. CYR ADVANCES TO TARRAGONA.

139

daques, who, during the progress of the opera- CHAP. II. tions, had been uniformly distinguished by zeal

1808. and talent.

December, The rout of the Spaniards was complete. About fifteen thousand were afterwards enabled to collect in Tarragona; but many continued their flight to the Ebro. All the artillery, consisting of about fifty pieces, was taken ; and large stores of ammunition were found by the enemy in Villa Franca.

After this important victory, St. Cyr pushed on his cavalry to the walls of Tarragona. That city had scarcely twenty gans on the ramparts, and disorder and consternation reigned in its population. Vives, on his arrival there, was deprived of his command, and thrown into a dungeon. It was with difficulty that he escaped

Some accused him of treason, others of imbecility ; crimes undoubtedly of very different magnitude and atrocity, yet nearly certain, in such a case, to encounter the same recompense.

Reding, by the almost unanimous voice of the soldiers and the people, was appointed successor to the unfortunate Vives. This measure tended greatly to restore that confidence which

massacre.

140

REDING APPOINTED LEADER.

CHAP. II. the recent disasters had contributed to over

throw. Efficacious measures were taken to 1808. December. re-organize the scattered troops. A reinforce

ment of three battalions was received from Grenada and Majorca ; supplies were sent from Valencia ; men came in from all quarters; and, before the middle of January, the force collected in Tarragona wore a formidable aspect.

ZARAGOZA.

141

CHAPTER III.

SECOND SIEGE OF ZARAGOZA.

The sufferings of the gallant Zaragozans, CHAP. III. during the former siege, had not subdued the

1808. spirit of heroic devotion by which they had

December been animated. Another trial awaited them, not less memorable and glorious, though less fortunate in its result.

After the defeat of Tudela, Palafox retired to Zaragoza, to make preparations for a second siege. He was not present in the action. The intelligence of its issue came upon him like a thunderbolt ; and the refusal of Castanos to throw his troops into Zaragoza, instead of retreating on Madrid, put an end to those feelings of confidence and frankness which had hitherto existed between the Generals,

« AnteriorContinuar »