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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 74

Dated: 22 April 1811. CB Aldea de Bispo Addressed to Mrs C Bevan, Money Hill, Rickmansworth, Herts. Stamped on address fold MY 16 1811


Aldea de Bispo April 22nd 1811

I was, my dearest Mary, rather premature when I told you that we were now in peaceful quarters, for the very night after I had written to you, about half past twelve, we were ordered to march to support the Light Division which were supposed to have been engaged; the enemy however did not choose to fight, therefore after having been about fourteen hours under arms and marching nearly twenty miles, we returned home. We are still obliged to be very alert as the French have a strong force on the other bank of the river and as the weather is just now very bad it is not very agreeable. It is as cold and uncomfortable here now as in the month of November in England, and we have no fires nor no carpets but what are made of stone. This however cannot last very long, and we shall soon enjoy the more enlivening beams of the sun whos cheery countenance we now seldom see.

What a noble fight the troops under General Graham have made! I see my old Friends the 28th came in for their share: How fortunate is Col Belson. Browne of course will get a Lt Colonelcy now. I think the General is not sparing of his recommendations. I suppose the retreat of Massena and the fatigues and services of this army will not be thought of in the rejoicing over this dish of blood; so much for military fortune!

I am, and I hope you will most particularly tell her so, very, very much obliged to Eleanor for the Gazette. Had she not sent the supplement as she did I should have thought her guilty of High Treason at least. I am also very glad to hear that you are going to town for a little while. You will have the opportunity of paying your respects to Mrs Shaw and all our friends in that part of the world, in which part I most sincerely wish I also was and that I had money enough to be comfortable in it. Our Chief has gone into the Alentjo for a short time, you will hear from Paterson what he is about; in his absence Sir Brent Spencer commands here. Sir William Erskine joins this Division tomorrow. General Leith we understand is not sufficiently recovered to come out: he lives in Montagu Square where Mrs Petrie did formerly reside. James I conclude is by this time off for La Guerriere; I most heartily wish all sort of success, honor, and riches that so joly a command promises to him. An American (hole under seal) would now just suit him. It was a civil ?greeting? of Mr Yorke and does him much credit. I have had a letter from Caroline whence I learn that nothing is decided about a place of abode. If some people were like you, & I had none at all, how easily they would be --- to find: but I suppose nobody is ever completely so be they as rich as Croesus.

I hope we shall soon have another Packet from England, our latest papers were up you 3rd April only, therefore we may expect much news. I am anxious to see Lord Welllingtons dispatches from this country. I am happy to hear so good an account of all your family. Pray give my best love to them all. And my best love to my little Boys who I hope conduct themselves with decorum upon their visit. I shall write a line to Caroline therefore shall not give you any messages to that part of our family. I shall direct this to Money Hill as by your account you will now be there

Farewell
Ever yours C.B.


NOTES BY TRANSCRIBER

i) Aldea de Bispo now Aldea del Obispo see note on letter 71
ii) Gen Graham this refers to the Battle of Barrosa fought on 5 March 1811 and decisively won by Lieut Gen Thomas Graham (1748-1843 later Gen Sir) Aide to Moore at Corunna; Brigade at Walcheren; Div at Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz; commanded left Wing at Vittoria and the siege of San Sebastian. Invalided home after Bidassoa. Peer in 1814.
iii) 28th not only was 1st 28th prominent at Barrosa under Col Belson, but Major Browne the 2i/c commanded a Battalion of Flank Companies with great elan and success. He led the frontal attack through which the Guards Brigade were to pass through for the final attack (and did so) but Browne and his men joined them and were there first Graham personally leading the Guards. The Spanish General, nominally in command declined to participate.
iv) Eleanor Marys sister married to CBs friend Paterson now in 2nd 28th
v) Mrs Shaw CBs cousin from whom he hoped to inherit
vi) Gen Sir Brent Spencer 1760-1828 with Abercrombie at Alexandria, at Copenhagen, 2i/c at Rolica and Vimiero. Commanded Division at Busaco & Fuentes superceded by Graham when Wellington lost faith following a pessimistic letter home. CB had met him in Ireland when BM to Paget & in 1808 used his offices to get letter home to Mary.
vii) Alentjo Portugese District along the Spanish border facing Badajoz
viii) Maj Gen Sir William Erskine Bart hopeless case wished on Wellington by Horse Guards. 1769-1813; failed as stand in for Craufurd in Light Div and as a Cavalry Brigadier. In 1812 declared insane and 1813 killed himself
ix) Gen James Leith invalided home sick from 5th Div but returned later. Lived near CBs mother in Montagu Square
x) Mrs Petrie not identified unless connected with Lady Petre who lived in a Square near Montagu
xi) Capt James Dacres RN Marys brother had just got the Frigate Guerriere captured French of 38 guns to go to America
 

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