SAILS WITH SIR EDWARD PAKENHAM ON THE EXPEDITION AGAINST NEW ORLEANS – REVERSE OF 8 JANUARY, 1815, AND DEATH OF PAKENHAM – SIR JOHN LAMBERT SUCCEEDS TO THE COMMAND, APPOINTS HARRY SMITH HIS MILITARY SECRETARY, AND WITHDRAWS THE FORCE.
WE soon reached our frigate, and oh, so crowded as she was -Sir Edward Pakenham and all his Staff, the Commanders of the Engineers and Artillerymen with their Staff, and about thirty passengers! The most of us slept in cots in the steerage. Young D’Este,1 the real Duke of Sussex, was a fund of great amusement, the most gentlemanlike, kind-hearted young fellow possible, affable to a degree, and most unpretending; but he had a thirst for obtaining information, I never beheld before. Consequently he laid himself open to some very peculiar replies to his queries. He proved himself on shore, like all the royal family, a gallant and intrepid soldier, and the best shot with a rifle for a youth that I have almost ever seen. He attached himself passionately to me on board and on shore, and if he ever became Elector of Hanover, I was to have been his Secretary.
We had a very agreeable party of gallant old Peninsular soldiers, and dear Sir Edward was one of the most amusing persons imaginable – high-minded and chivalrous fellow in every idea, and, to our astonishment, very devoutly inclined; and Major Gibbs, who was afterwards killed on the same day as Sir Edward, was a noble fellow.
The Statira was a noble frigate; she had a full complement of men, and was in crack order, having every individual on board but the individual who had put her in – that Irish Captain Stackpoole, of duelling celebrity, who had very shortly before been shot in the West Indies by a Lieutenant of another ship on whom he saddled a quarrel originating in an occurrence when both were middies. The Lieutenant denied all recollection of it to no purpose. Stackpoole insisted on his going out. The Lieutenant, it was said, had never fired a pistol in his life, but at the first shot Stackpoole fell dead.
I never saw a body officers and men more attached than these were to their last Captain. Every one had some anecdote of his kindness and ability as a seaman. The propensity which cost him his life can be attributed, I am firmly of opinion, to nothing but a strain of insanity upon that particular subject alone. His prowess as a shot with a pistol, it was asserted, was inconceivable, but “the battle is not always to the strong.”
On this voyage I had two opportunities of writing to my wife, or, rather, sending her the sheets of a sort of journal which she made me promise to keep. Our Captain, Swaine, a neighbour of mine in Cambridgeshire, was of the old school, and made everything snug at night by shortening sail, to the great amusement of poor Stackpoole’s crew, accustomed to carry on night and day. But for this, we should have been off the mouth of the Mississippi at the time when Sir Edward was informed a fleet and his army would rendezvous for an assault on New Orleans. As it was, we did [not] reach the fleet until [25 Dec.] three days after the landing had been effected, and our army under Major-General Sir J. Keane, now Lord Keane (as noble a soldier as our country ever produced) had sustained a sharp night-attack. Stovin, the A.G., had been shot through the neck, and I was at the head of the department.
I never served under a man whose good opinion I was so desirous of having as Sir Edward Pakenham, and proud was I to find I daily succeeded. I was always with him, and usually lay in my cloak in his room. The second day after we reached General Keane [28 Dec.], the army was moved up to reconnoitre the enemy’s position, or to attack, if we saw it practicable. I was that day delighted with Sir Edward: he evinced an animation, a knowledge of ground, of his own resources and the strength of the enemy’s Position, which reminded us of his brother~in~law, our Duke. The Staff were very near the enemy’s line, when I saw some rifle-men evidently creeping down and not farther off than a hundred yards, and so I very abruptly said, “Ride away, Sir Edward, behind this bank, or you will be shot in a second. By your action you will be recognized as the Commander-ln-Chief, and some riflemen are now going to fire.” The American riflemen are very Slow, though the most excellent shots. My manner was so impressive he came away. As we were returning that evening he called me to him, and said, “You gentlemen of the Craufurd school” (he was very fond of our old Light Division) “are very abrupt and peremptory in your manner to your Generals. Would you have spoken to Craufurd as you did to me today?” I said, “Most certainly, for if I had not, and one of us had been killed or wounded, and he became aware I observed what I did when I spoke to you, he would have blown me up as I deserved. He taught us to do so How my dear friend Sir Edward laughed! We soon found that, with our Present force, the enemy’s position was impregnable. A Brigade was, however, daily expected, under Sir J Lambert. While we were looking out with our telescopes, Sir Edward turned very abruptly to me, and said, “Now for a Light Division [opinion]. What do you say, Smith, as to the Practicability of an attack on the enemys line ?” I replied, “His Position is strong ~ his left being on an impracticable morass, his right on the Mississippi; the ground is a dead flat, intersected with ditches which will impede our troops. The enemy has, literally, a breastwork, and plenty of men upon it, and their fire will sweep the plain with unerring precision, causing us great loss; for we can produce no fire, flank or otherwise, to render them uneasy or unsteady. As yet, the enemy has not occupied the opposite bank of the river. He has two armed vessels in the river. We must destroy these as soon as possible, possess the right bank of the Mississippi, enfilade the enemy’s position with our fire (the width of the river being only from seven to eight hundred yards), and, so soon as we open a fire from the right bank, we should storm the work in two, three, or more columns.” “You Rifle gentlemen have learnt something, I do believe.” I did not know at the time whether he said this in jest or not, for he was a most light-hearted fellow; but, when we got back to the house we put up in, he sent for me. He had a plan of the works and position of the enemy before him, and said, “Smith, I entirely [concur] in all you said in the field to-day. In the meanwhile, we must facilitate our communications by roads in our rear, etc. I will erect batteries and destroy the ships, and, when the batteries are complete, they shall open on the enemy. If they can destroy the enemy’s defence in any part, or silence the fire of his batteries, the army shall storm at once. Lambert’s arrival is very uncertain.” I remarked, if Lambert’s arrival was so uncertain, we had no alternative, and under any circumstances the ships must be destroyed and batteries erected, whether Lambert’s force arrived or not. We succeeded in destroying one ship – we might have destroyed both. We erected several batteries, their defences principally sugar-casks, – for here on the plain, on the banks of the Mississippi, if you dug eight inches, water followed: hence to erect batteries with earth was impracticable, and we had not sufficient sand-bags. The defences of our batteries, therefore, were reported complete on the night of the 31st December. The army was formed into two Columns of attack – one threatening the right flank, the other the left, and a party was hid in the reeds in the morass on the enemy’s left flank with orders to penetrate, if possible, and disturb the enemy’s left.
At daybreak on the 1st of January, I815, our troops were formed, and our batteries opened. They had not the slightest effect on the enemy. On the contrary, his shot went through the imperfect defence, caused our noble artillerymen great loss, and silenced our batteries. Hence there was no attack, and Sir Edward still more strenuously adhered to the necessity of occupying the right bank of the river. The troops were withdrawn, except such strong picquets as were left to protect the guns in the [batteries].
Poor Sir Edward was much mortified at being obliged to retire the army from a second demonstration and disposition to attack, but there was nothing for it. It came on to rain in the evening, and was both wet and cold. Sir Edward slept in a little house in advance of his usual quarters. He told me to stay with him, and all his Staff to return to the usual house. He said, “Smith, those guns must be brought back; go and do it.” I said, “It will require a great many men.” “Well,” he says, “take 600 from Gibbs’s Brigade.”
Off I started. The soldiers were sulky, and neither the 21st nor the 44th were distinguished for discipline – certainly not of the sort I had been accustomed to. After every exertion I could induce them to make, I saw I had no chance of success-to my mortification, for to return and say to Sir Edward I could not effect it, was as bad as the loss of a leg. However, the night was wearing, and my alternative decided; so I told him as quietly as I could. He saw I was mortified, and said nothing, but jumped up in his cloak, and says, “Be so good as to order my horse, and go on and turn out Gibbs’s whole Brigade quietly.” They were under arms by the time he arrived, and by dint of exertion and his saying, “I am Sir Edward Pakenham, etc., and Commander-in-Chief,” as well as using every expression to induce officers and soldiers to exertion, just as daylight appeared he had completed the task, and the Brigade returned to its ground. As we were riding back Sir Edward said, “You see, Smith, exertion and determination will effect anything.” I was cruelly mortified, and said, “Your excitement, your name, your energy, as Commander-in-Chief with a whole Brigade, most certainly has done that which I failed in with 600 men, but I assure you, Sir Edward, I did all I could.”
His noble heart at once observed my misery. He said, ‘I admire your mortification; it shows your zeal. Why I barely effected, with all the exertion of the Commander-in-Chief, and, as you say, a Brigade, what I expected you to do with one-fourth of the men!” He might have added, “and I did with some of the guns what you dare not even recommend to me.” Oh, how I was comforted! To fall in his estimation would have been worse than death by far.
In a day or two we had information that Lambert’s Brigade, the 7th Fusiliers and the 43rd Foot, [had arrived]. Two such Corps would turn the tide of a general action. We were rejoiced! Sir Edward then made preparations to cross the river, and so to widen a little stream as to get the boats into the Mississippi. The story has been too often told to repeat. Lambert’s Brigade landed, and, upon a representation made to Sir Edward by Major Sir G. Tylden, who was an Assistant Adjutant-General like myself, but a senior officer (as kind a fellow as ever lived), that, in Stovin’s incapacity from his wound, he must be at the head of the Adjutant-General’s Department, Sir Edward sent for me. “Smith,” he said, “it was my intention you should have remained with me, Tylden with Lambert; but he claims his right as senior officer. You would not wish me to do an unjust thing when the claim is preferred?” I said, with my heart in my mouth, “Certainly not, sir.” (I do believe I was more attached to Sir Edward, as a soldier, than I was to John Colborne, if possibie.) “You must, therefore, go to Lambert. I will [enter] this arrangement in Orders; but, rely on it, I shall find enough for you and him to do too.”
The night of the 7th January, the rivulet (or bayou, as then called) was reported dammed, and the boats above the dam ready for the banks of the Mississippi to be cut. The water within the banks was higher than the level of the water in the bayou, consequently so much water must be let into the bayou as to provide for the level. In the meanwhile, the enemy had not been asleep. They had been apprised of our operations to establish ourselves on the right bank; they had landed the guns from the second ship (which we ought to have destroyed), and were respectably in possession of that which we must turn them out of. Sir Edward Pakenham went to inspect the bayou, the boats, etc. I heard him say to the engineer, “Are you satisfied the dam will bear the weight of water which will be upon it when the banks of the river are cut?” He said, ” Perfectly.” “I should be far more so if a second dam was constructed.” The engineer was positive.
After dark the banks were cut, the dam went as Sir Edward seemed to anticipate, and the delay in repairing it prevented the boats being got into the river in time for the troops under Colonel Thornton of the 85th to reach their ground and make a simultaneous attack with the main body, according to the plan arranged. Sir John Lambert’s Brigade, the elite 7th Fusiliers and 43rd, were in reserve. Sir Edward said, “Those fellows would storm anything, but, indeed, so will the others, and when we are in New Orleans, I can depend upon Lambert’s Reserve.” We were all formed in three columns [8 Jan.], about 6000 British soldiers and some sailors: a column under Colonel Renny of the 21st were destined to proceed on the banks of the river and right of the enemy, and carry a powerful battery which enfiladed the whole position: General Keane’s Brigade was to assail the enemy’s right-central position: General Gibbs’s Brigade to attack well upon the enemy’s left: General Lambert’s Brigade to be in reserve nearer Gibbs’s Brigade than Keane’s.
About half an hour before daylight, while I was with General Lambert’s column, standing ready, Sir Edward Pakenham sent for me. I was soon with him. He was greatly agitated. “Smith, most Commanders-in-Chief have many difficulties to contend with, but surely none like mine. The dam, as you heard me say it would, gave way, and Thornton’s people will be of no use whatever to the general attack.” I said, “So impressed have you ever been, so obvious is it in every military point of view, we should possess the right bank of the river, and thus enfilade and divert the attention of the enemy; there is still time before daylight to retire the columns now. We are under the enemy’s fire so soon as discovered.” He says, “This may be, but I have twice deferred the attack. We are strong in numbers now comparatively. It will cost more men, and the assault must be made.” I again urged. delay. While we were talking, the streaks of daylight began to appear, although the morning was dull, close, and heavy, the clouds almost touching the ground. He said, “Smith, order the rocket to be fired.” I again ventured to plead the cause of delay. He said, and very justly, “It is now too late: the columns would be visible to the enemy before they could move out of fire, and would lose more men than it is to be hoped they will in the attack. Fire the rocket, I say, and go to Lambert.” This was done. I had reached Lambert just as the stillness of death and anticipation (for I really believe the enemy was aware of our proximity to their position) [was broken by the firing of the rocket]. The rocket was hardly in the air before a rush of our troops was met by the most murderous and destructive fire of all arms ever poured upon column. Sir Edward Pakenham galloped past me with all his Staff, saying, “That’s a terrific fire, Lambert.” I knew nothing of my General then, except that he was a most gentlemanlike, amiable fellow, and I had seen him lead his Brigade at Toulouse in the order of a review of his Household Troops2 in Hyde Park. I said, “In twenty~five minutes, General, you will command the Army. Sir Edward Pakenham will be wounded and incapable, or killed. The troops do not get on a step. He will be at the head of the first Brigade he comes to, and what I say will occur.”
A few seconds verified my words. Tylden came wildly up to tell the melancholy truth, saying, “Sir Edward Pakenham is killed. You command the Army, and your Brigade must move on immediately.” I said, “If Sir Edward Pakenham is killed, Sir John Lambert commands, and will judge of what is to be done.” I saw the attack had irretrievably failed. The troops were beat back, and going at a tolerable pace too; so much so, I thought the enemy had made a sortie in pursuit, as so overpowering a superiority of numbers would have induced the French to do. “May I order your Brigade, sir, to form line to cover a most irregular retreat, to apply no other term to it, until you see what has actually occurred to the attacking columns?” He assented, and sent me and other Staff Officers in different directions to ascertain our condition. It was (summed up in few words) that every attack had failed; the Commander~in~Chief and General Gibbs and Colonel Renny killed; General Keane, most severely wounded; and the columns literally destroyed. The column for the right bank were seen to be still in their boats, and not the slightest impression had been made on the enemy.
Never since Buenos Ayres had I witnessed a reverse, and the sight to our eyes, which had looked on victory so often, was appalling indeed. Lambert desired me, and every Staff Officer he could get hold of; to go and reform the troops, no very easy matter in some cases. However, far to the rear, they (or, rather, what were left) were formed up, Sir John meanwhile wondering whether, under all the circumstances, he ought to attack. He very judiciously saw that was impossible, and he withdrew the troops from under a most murderous fire of round shot.
Soon after this we heard the attack on the right bank, which succeeded easily enough. The extent of our loss was ascertained: one-third.
The Admirals came to the outlying picquet-house with faces as long as a flying jib: a sort of Council of War was held. I had been among the troops to find out how the pluck of our soldiers [stood]. Those who had received such an awful beating and been so destroyed were far from desirous to storm again. The 7th and 43rd, whose loss had been trifling, were ready for any thing, but their veteran and experienced eyes told them affairs were desperate. One Admiral, Coddrington, whose duty as Captain of the Field was to have seen it supplied with provisions, said, “The troops must attack or the whole will be starved.” I rather saucily said, ” Kill plenty more, Admiral; fewer rations will be required.” A variety of opinions were agitated. I could observe what was passing in Sir J. Lambert’s mind by the two or three remarks he made. So up I jumped, and said, “General, the army are in no state to renew the attack. If success now attended so desperate an attempt, we should have no troops to occupy New Orleans ; our success even would defeat our object, and, to take an extreme view, which every soldier is bound to do, our whole army might be the sacrifice of so injudicious an assault.” A thick fog was coming on. I said, “We know the enemy are three times our number. They will endeavour immediately to cut off our troops on the right bank, and we may expect an attack in our front. The fog favours us, and Thornton’s people ought to be brought back and brought into our line. The army is secure, and no farther disaster is to be apprehended.”
The General was fully of my opinion, as was every officer of experience. I think my noble friend, “fighting MacDougall,” was the only one for a new fight. That able officer, Sir A. Dickson, was sent to retire Thornton, and, thanks to the fog, he succeeded in doing so unmolested, though, at the very time our people were crossing the river, a powerful body of the enemy (as I had supposed they would) were crossing to dislodge Thornton; and the woods on the right bank so favoured their species of warfare, that Thornton would have met the fate he did at Bladensburg but for Lambert’s cool judgment. This was my view of the position then, and it is now.
The number of wounded was three times what the Inspector-General Robb was told to calculate on, but never did officer meet the difficulties of his position with greater energy, or display greater resources within himself. He was ably assisted in the arrangements of boats, etc., by that able sailor, Admiral Malcolm, and I firmly assert not a wounded soldier was neglected. Late in the afternoon I was sent to the enemy with a flag of truce, and a letter to General Jackson, with a request to be allowed to bury the dead and bring in the wounded lying between our respective positions. The Americans were not accustomed to the civility of war, like our old associates the French, and I was a long time before I could induce them to receive me. They fired on me with cannon and musketry, which excited my choler somewhat, for a round shot tore away the ground under my right foot, which it would have been a bore indeed to have lost under such circumstances. However, they did receive me at last, and the reply from General Jackson was a very courteous one.
After the delivery of the reply to General Lambert, I was again sent out with a fatigue party a pretty large one too – with entrenching tools to bury the dead, and some surgeons to examine and bring off the wounded. I was received by a rough fellow – a Colonel Butler, Jackson’s Adjutant General. He had a drawn sword, and no scabbard. I soon saw the man I had to deal with. I outrode the surgeon, and I apologized for keeping him waiting; so he said, Why now, I calculate as your doctors are tired; they have plenty to do to-day.” There was an awful spectacle of dead, dying, and wounded around us. “Do?” says I, “why this is nothing to us Wellington fellows! The next brush we have with you, you shall see how a Brigade of the Peninsular army (arrived yesterday) will serve you fellows out with the bayonet. They will lie piled on one another like round shot, if they will only stand.” “Well, I calculate you must get at ’em first.” “But,” says I, “what do you carry a drawn sword for?” “Because I reckon a scabbard of no use so long as one of you Britishers is on our soil. We don’t wish to shoot you, but we must, if you molest our property; we have thrown away the scabbard.”
By this time our surgeon had arrived. There were some awful wounds from cannon shot, and I dug an immense hole, and threw nearly two hundred bodies into it. To the credit of the Americans not an article of clothing had been taken from our dead except the shoes. Every body was straightened, and the great toes tied together with a piece of string. A more appalling spectacle cannot well be conceived than this common grave, the bodies hurled in as fast as we could bring them. The Colonel, Butler, was very sulky if I tried to get near the works. This scene was not more than about eighty yards away from them, and, had our fellows rushed on, they would not have lost one half; and victory would have been ours. I may safely say there was not a vital part of man in which I did not observe a mortal wound, in many bodies there were three or four such; some were without heads; there were others, poor fellows, whom I recognized. In this part of America there were many Spaniards and Frenchmen. Several soldiers and officers gathered round me, and I addressed them in their own language. Colonel Butler became furious, but I would not desist for the moment, and said, “The next time we meet, Colonel, I hope to receive you to bury your dead.” “Well, I calculate you have been on that duty to-day,” he said. God only knows I had, with a heavy heart.It was apparently light enough before him, but the effort was a violent one.
At night it was General Lambert’s intention to withdraw his line more out of cannon shot, for we were on a perfect plain, not a mound as cover, and I and D’Este (His Royal Highness, as I used to call him) were sent to bring back Blakeney’s Brigade. Blakeney was as anxious a soldier in the dark as he was noble and gallant when he saw his enemy. He would fain induce me to believe I did not know my road. I got all right, though, with the aid of D’Este, who, if the war had lasted, would have made as able a soldier as his ancestor George the Second. I did not regard myself; though, as Marlborough, who was little employed on any retiring duty.
That night I lay down in my cloak, in General Lambert’s room, at twelve o’clock, so done that all care or thought was banished in sleep Before daylight [9 Jan.] I awoke to the horror of the loss of the man I so loved, admired, and esteemed, and to feelings of a soldier under such melancholy circumstances. Those feelings could be but momentary. It was my duty to jump on my horse and see what was going on at our post, which I did, after returning Almighty God thanks. Thence to the hospital to render the Inspector whatever aid he required in orderlies, etc. Robb deserved and received the highest encomiums for the arrangements, which secured every care to our wounded.
In returning from the outposts, I met General Lambert. Upon my assuring him everything was perfectly quiet, he said, “I will now ride to the hospital.” “I was just going there, sir, and will ride with you.” The General said, “You must have been pretty well done last night, for I did not see you when I lay down.” “Yes, I had a long day, but we Light Division fellows are used to it,”. Smith, that most amiable man and cool and collected soldier, Secretary Wylly, will take home the dispatches of the melancholy disaster, and of the loss of his General and patron, and I offer for your acceptance my Military Secretaryship.” I laughed, and said, ” Me, sir! I write the most illegible and detestable scrawl in the world.” “You can, therefore,” he mildly said, “the more readily decipher mine. Poor Pakenham was much attached to you, and strongly recommended you to me.” I had borne up well on my loss before, but I now burst into a flood of tears, with-” God rest his gallant soul.” From that moment to the present, dear General Lambert has ever treated me as one of his own family. Our lamented General’s remains were put in a cask of spirits and taken home by his Military Secretary, Wylly, who sailed in a few days with dispatches of no ordinary character – a record of lamentable disaster, and anything but honour to our military fame.
It was resolved to re-embark the army, and abandon the idea of further operations against the city of New Orleans, for the enemy had greatly added to his strength in men and works on both banks of the river. This decision was come to although we were expecting reinforcements, the 40th and 27th Regiments, and that noble soldier, Sir Manley Power. The enemy continually cannonaded our position, and caused us some loss. We were obliged, however, to maintain an advance position to cover effectually the embarcation of all the impedimenta, etc., invariably giving out as a ruse that we were only disencumbering ourselves of wounded, sick, etc.
I was sent in, also, with a flag of truce to propose an exchange of prisoners. Two Companies of the 21st Regiment and many of our Riflemen had crowned the works, and, not being supported by the rush of the column, of course were taken prisoners. (It was all very well to victimize3 old Mullins4; the fascines, ladders, etc., could have been supplied by one word which I will not name5, or how could these two Companies have mounted the works?) Similarly we had several men of theirs taken the night the enemy attacked General Keane6.
In the negotiations for this exchange I was always met by a Mr. Lushington, General Jackson’s Military Secretary, a perfect gentleman, and a very able man. He was well known in London, having been Under Secretary of the Legation. I never had to deal with a more liberal and clear-headed man. His education had not been military, however, and in conversation, by questions, etc., I always induced him to believe we had no intention of abandoning our attempts. On the afternoon when our prisoners were mutually delivered, I said, “We shall soon meet in New Orleans, and after that in London.” He was evidently impressed with the idea that we meant to attack again, and I led him to the supposition that a night attack would succeed best. We parted excellent friends, and shook hands, and many notes of Courtesy passed between us afterwards.
So soon as it was dark [18 Jan.] our troops began to move off and about twelve o’clock all were well off the ground, and the picquets were retired. As we were so engaged, the enemy heard us, and in a moment opened a fire along their line, evidently under the belief that our night attack was actually about to be made. We retired, up to our necks in mud, through a swamp to our boats, and the troops and stores, etc. were all embarked in three days without interruption, or any attempt whatever, on the part of the enemy.
Thus ended the second awful disaster in America it had been my lot to be associated with – Buenos Ayres and New Orleans. In the circumstances of both, many military errors may be traced. But in the case of Buenos Ayres, Whitelock is more abused than he merits. General Leveson-Gower was the great culprit; an overbearing, disobedient man, whose first disobedience, like Adam’s, entailed the misfortune. He was ordered, when advancing on Buenos Ayres, not to engage the enemy before it was invested. He did engage, beat them, and might, in the melee have possessed the city. That he neglected, and he ought to have been dismissed our service, probably with greater justice than Whitelock, whose orders were wantonly disobeyed, and the Church of San Domingo shamefully surrendered. Had it been held, as it might, it would have enabled Whitelock, from the base of his other success, to have made an attempt either to rescue the force in San Domingo, or again to have moved against the city. Whitelock’s plan of attack was injudicious, too many columns, no weight and ensemble, and when he knew the City was fortified at every street, he should have effected regular lodgments and pushed forward from their base. The troops behaved most gallantly.
Poor dear Sir Edward Pakenham, a hero, a soldier, a man of ability in every sense of the word, had to contend with every imaginable difficulty, starting with the most unwise and difficult position in which he found the Army. By perseverance, determination, and that gallant bearing which so insures confidence, he overcame all but one, which he never anticipated, a check to the advance of British soldiers when they ought to have rushed forward. There was no want of example on the part of officers. The fire, I admit, was the most murderous I ever beheld before or since; still two Companies were successful in the assault, and had our heaviest column rushed forward in place of halting to fire under a fire fifty times superior, our national honour would not have been tarnished, but have gained fresh lustre, and one of the ablest generals England ever produced saved to his country and his friends.
In General Lambert’s dispatches he was good. enough to mention me.
1 – Augustus Frederick (b. 1794), only son of Augustus Frederick; Duke of Sussex (son of George III.), by his marriage with Lady Augusta Murray. The two children of this marriage, when disinherited by the Royal Marriage Act, took the name D’Este.
2 Sir J. Lambert was always in the Guards, and prided himself on being Adjutant of the Grenadier Guards, as his eldest son now i. – H.G.S. (1844)
3 i.e. make a scapegoat of.
4 Colonel Mullins was blamed for not having the ladders and fascines ready.
6After that attack I have always been of opinion that General Keane should have occupied the narrow neck of land behind the deep ditch which ran across from the river to the morass, and was afterwards (but then not at all) so strongly fortified by the enemy. I admit there were many, very many objections, but I still maintain there were more important reasons for its occupation, since our Army had been shoved into such a position, for, to begin from the beginning, it ought never to have gone there.~H.G.S.
7 “From MAJOR-GENERAL LAMBERT to EARL BATHURST.
“His Majesty’s Ship Tonnant off Chandeleur’s Island,
“January 28, 1815.
“Major Smith, of the 95th Regiment now acting as Military Secretary, is so well known for his zeal and talents, that I can with great truth say that I think he possesses every qualification to render him hereafter one of the brightest ornaments of his profession.”