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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 21

Dated: 12 August 1809 from CB Jersette, South Beveland.
Addressed to Mrs C Bevan

I yesterday, my dearest Mary received your two letters of the 3rd and 7th Inst. by which I learn for the first time with very great concern that you are unwell, you mention this as having in some previous letter told me the nature of your indisposition, which I have not however received – I thank God that you are in good hands and where you will be taken good care of – Pray follow Mr ?illeg? ‘s advice and do not for God’s sake fatigue yourself by too much exercise – I hope in a day or two’s to have better accounts as you talk of writing soon at the same I should be really glad to hear better accounts of your Mother. I hope you have by this time received the few lines I sent to you, but I think it is more then probably it has not yet left Walcheren – When that will go I have no idea, but I shall endeavour to smuggle it by Mr Le Geyt Adm Keates’ Secretary, if it fails through this means I fear it will not go as the letters of the Army have certainly not such good opportunity – We have been perfectly idle in the Fighting way but constantly moving and daily expecting to move to attack Antwerp, on the way to which there is a strong fort called Lillo to be taken. They have had too much time to prepare themselves & as to any news of the Austrians we are as much in the dark as the people of the Antipodes – Flushing is I fancy a tougher job than was expected & until that is taken our Fleet cannot enter the Scheldt.

I enclose you a little plan of the Islands marking the different Division’s stations – I am very well for me – I have almost left off wine & certainly am much the better for it; therefore if I ever entirely recover my health I shall owe that happening as well as many others to my good little fellow. I intend to give it up entirely. I am now come to two glasses. It certainly cannot to Dr Baillies prescribing altogether as I have nothing on shore to take of his & no baggage except what is on my back, this lies still on board the Lavinia – Ld W Stuart was every thing that was kind & hospitable – I hope you meet Miss Maude frequently. You will I trust my dearest dearest Mary take the best care of yourself for my sake & for our little Boys – Remember we may be comfortable I think we shall see England again very shortly and I hope to find you quite well. I am going to hear how Mrs Shaw continues ?illeg? I hope as the weather improves she will get better. Lady Williams is a sad sufferer, I know not if death is not to be wish for in so wretched state instead of being treated. I hardly know what will be the fate of this ?illeg? for we have no communications with the headquarters of the Army & therefore it is for the publick Pray say anything that is affectionate for me to give your family & to my own I will to Mrs Bevan ? whenever I have more writing time or anything to say of the Campaign. I hardly know what to think.

(In the typed collection the following appears as a separate letter)

I hope you will be able to understand my plan of the scene of action. I have copied it from a very good chart against the window – I will write to you again in a day or two and take the chance of my letter being forwarded – We have hitherto been in tolerable Quarters and always under cover – The Division at Walcheren have had several affairs with the Enemy’s riflemen, and Gen Graham’s Brigade drove back a considerable body which had made a sortie. This happened several days ago – I believe that you know better in England what we are all doing than we do ourselves. I have seen no Newspaper or even Book since we have been here. God Bless you my dearest Mary – I hope soon to hear better accounts of you & your family – Kiss our dear Children for me and believe me

Most affectionately & truly yours

Ld W. Stuart has most likely had opportunities of writing & you will hear from Miss M tidings of me.


i) South Beveland – The Reserve, incl 28th Ft landed on S. Beveland north and East of Walcheren – the defenders of various forts withdrew or surrendered. The major fort – Fort Batz gave in similarly
ii) Le Geyt unid; Rear Admiral Sir Richard Keats commanded a squadron & was responsible for conducting and landing Gen Hope’s Reserve on S. Beveland. He later achieved Vice Admiral and commanded the fleet at the Cadiz landings
iii) Lillo – important Fort on the Scheldt covering Antwerp – from which a boom blocked the river. A formidable obstacle never attacked although Chatham moved his HQ to Fort Batz in order to oversee this – shortly before he ordered withdrawal
iv) Flushing – main town on Walcheren – withstood siege until 15 August by when intensive bombardment had badly damaged most main buildings
v) Captain Lord William Stuart commanded HMS Lavinia; later he was one of 14 naval officers who were MPs – he sat for Cardiff Miss Maude was evidently a friend or relative of his and known to Mary Bevan
vi) Mrs Shaw – cousin of CB owning a large house in Berkshire – eventually bequeathed to CB’s children
vii) Lady William’s unidentified
viii) Major En Graham commanded a Brigade of the Right Wing involved in the siege of Flushing (1st 5th 35th – elements of 95th 68th)

Annexe to Letter 21

Dated: 12 August 1809 from CB Jersette, South Beveland.
Addressed to: Mrs C Bevan

(The single sheet with plan on one side and following note is badly tattered)

The Island of Walcheren is occupied by the Left Wing of the Army under Sir Eyre Coote. Divisions of Lord Paget –Frazer -Grosvenor – Lord Chatham also there –
The Town of Veer was secured with little or no opposition
- - - Middlebourg by Capitulation
- - - Flushing may appear inclined to defend

The Island of South Beveland occupied by the Reserve under Sir John Hope in the first instance, when the Enemy held Fort Batz and some smaller forts in the Island, all of which they evacuated without resistance – They have since attacked Fort B. with Gun Boats.

The Divisions of Lord Rosslyn & Marquis of Huntley have since landed in S. Beveland
The Island of Schoenen had no troops
“ Molenland occupied by the French

Louis Buonaparte is at Bergen Op Zoom – It is said that they have 16,000 men between that place and Antwerp, but not regular troops. These Batteries are well manned by the crews of the ships – It was intended to have occupied Cadsand by Lord Huntley’s Division but from various circumstances could not be effected, which leaves the communication between Flushing and the Continent open -

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