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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 18

Dated: 13 November 1808 from CB at Ciudad Rodrigo Addressed to: Mrs C. Bevan

I have my Dearest Mary, now the first opportunity of sending a letter to Lisbon. It is through the means of Genl Paget who has just arrived here. We have had a long and fatiguing march of above 200 miles, We arrived here yesterday and move again tomorrow in our route to Salamanca which is 68 English miles from hence. From there we march again for Valladolid where we hear the whole of the Army will be assembled – This cold weather agrees wonderfully well with me. We have fared very well on the road - These are two things I know you will be glad to hear – and how seriously do I wish it was my good fortune to get a letter from my dearest Mary to hear good tidings of herself and so of our dear Boys. Of your comfort I have no fear while under the protection of your own family – But our long separation I know will give you many uneasy hours as it does to me – that I hope we shall after this be more together. A Soldier’s life is (illeg) not very stationary as you have already experienced – But I think we have been more unlucky then is usually the case. I hope for better times.

We entered Spain only at our last place of halting – the difference in the manners of the people is wide from those of the Portuguese. Especially in cleanliness which to an Englishman is an important consideration – but they do not give us anything to eat, which the others did. We have no news of any kind, having been traversing mountains for the last month – we are now I hope getting into a more civilised country and from Salamanca I know we shall have constant opportunities of writing to England if not of receiving letters – I do not even know where you are & I shall be very uncomfortable until I do receive some news about you –

I dare say Capt Adams wrote to your Father and forwarded my letters those I wrote by Gen Spencer I hope also arrived. The others went by conveyances I could not much depend upon and therefore I do not know what to think of their fates – I imagine my little Charles is now able to speak words; it is now nearly nine months since I left them all – when shall I again see them? Oh my dear Mary, most anxiously do I look forward to that happy time – I shall not care about the house we get – provided we are #** all well – I hope my dear sister Caroline has derived all the benefit we wish her from her recent change of air etc. My mother and Julia are I hope also well I am sure they will be happy if all goes well – Pray say everything for me to them for I must not make too large a packet as my letter is to go with Genl P.s, which proceeds to Lisbon by a Courier this evening and I am in hopes this will reach you shortly – would to God I could flatter myself with the hope of receiving one from you in an equally short period – I wanted much to have sent you some little thing from Lisbon by Genl S. to the non-execution of which my poverty but not my will consented.

We have no intelligence of the French army but merely reports which sometimes are too ridiculous to be believed in – Of this City have seen but little as the rain falls in torrents & I cannot now afford to get wet through for my amusement – I have no friend to take care that all is ready for me in the little Room against my return – ah! remembranzi amati!

I long to hear that your Father is perfectly recovered from the long sojourning in Jamaica and also that he is well and satisfactorily to himself in point of house – But if he is as difficult as some other persons that I know it will not be soon. –

How is our good friend Mrs Shaw I hope you write to her and remember me –

This letter I must enclose to Wm Adams and I know not where to direct to you – and this unluckily enlarges my packet. But I hope it will be safe – My best love to all your family – May God protect and Bless you, my Mary, & our dear Children is the constant prayer of your ever
Most faithful and affectionate

#** The sheet from this mark above appeared as a separate letter in the Book of Typed letters and was not connected with Ciudad as the complete letter shows was correct.


i) In the volume of typed transcripts the first part of this letter is omitted
ii) Paget-Major Gen Hon Sir Edward, whose Brigade major CB had been 1801-4. In 1808 he commanded the leading Division of Moore’s Army until the Retreat began when he was given command of the Rearguard – and selected 28th with 20th, 43rd and 52 and 95th Rifles – At Sweden CB had been sent off with Page’s ADC though not in his Brigade, nor was he here so he evidently retained his personal link.
iii) Capt Adams – not identified but there was a Capt Adams RN at this time – perhaps of the Pallas Frigate with which CB sent a letter in Sept.
iv) Spencer – Major Gen B Spencer see notes for Letters 16 & 17
v) Intelligence on the French – Moore did not know the large scale of napoleon’s army or that collapses by Spanish forces would free it for operations against him until after the Army reached Salamanca
vi) Jamaica – Vice Admiral Dacres, Mary’s father was C in C Jamaica station 1804-8
vii) Mrs Shaw – elsewhere referred to as a cousin, Mrs Shaw owned a substantial property in Berkshire which was eventually bequeathed to CB’s children
viii) Wm Adams – a connection either of the Dacres family or Edward Paget or both – possibly the Adams who was Private Sec to Pitt

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