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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 37

Dated: 8th May 1810 from CB Ceuta
Addressed to Mrs C Bevan, Money Hill, Rickmansworth, Herts

You will, I am sure my dearest Mary, be quite surprised to hear that I am still without news from home, two packets are now due and we are very much at a loss to comprehend the reason of their non-appearance --- I shall hope you have been more fortunate in receiving my letters. This dearth of news from England occasions a great want of intelligence here we are so much out of the world as to look for news even from Gibraltar which has been twice ---- ------- --- the hot bed of lies. I beg your pardon for so indelicate an expression – We have here now most extraordinary weather, one day so hot that one can scarcely -- -- then two or three days of most violent rain, wind etc. I fear when it looks more settled it will be less congenial to English constitutions – It is favoured preferable to Gibraltar – in that respect as well as in others – We have had no account whatsoever from our first Battalion since I left England – I am very anxious to know what Col Wynch is doing. I most sincerely hope they will not send them here. This place would be the grave of the old men in First Battn. Our men gave no ground but on the contrary our numbers a tall increase. (sic) they gave. If therefore Cadiz is given up, marching Regiments will be at liberty, and we may perhaps return to England; I understand that the 28th expect to do so shortly in consequence of their very shaky (??) state – I should favour the cause that counts (?) three part tragedy as – But should rejoice much in the effect – This is a vile place – and I think we do not manage well with the Spaniards – To this ------ they will give no quarters to the English officers, but are filling all the houses they can lay their hands upon with the people who are deserting their own country and cause. The new governor is, we directly see, no friend to us – I hope our governors at home will be decisive, it they are not all of them frightened by Sir Francis Burdett and his doings – Probably they are –

I hope, among other accounts, when they do reach us, that I have very good ones of you and your Mother – Though I fear she will never be very strong – I know too well the effects of the Bile disorder. My Mother ---- I hope you hear from, if not see, them once for a day – Mrs Main and people (?) also pretty well, - I intend to wait to hear by the next ---- that offers. Poor Genl Fraser is such a great hero here. He is not able to get any quarters and his Family are obliged to remain in Gibraltar and other people applying for the house they inhabit – How happy am I that you are where you are – I do not know what we should have done – So for once I did right – Where is Paterson? Which (word under seal torn out) T.R. Davies? I wish you would tell me when you next write how Lady Williams does! I hear that Captain Gordon was coming here in the Rattler but has returned to England – I wish I could find somebody who was going and would be likely to take charge of what I want to send – Patience – I envy our little Boys their nice garden & Boat – I wish we had one & I was with you all –

God Bless you my best Mary until we meet, and God grant that may be soon –

Farewell! Ever Yours C.B.

Ceuta May 8th 1910


i) News of 1st Bn: 1810 Jan–Oct at Gosport Oct-Nov Harwich Nov arrived Lisbon
ii) Wynch – C.O. 1st Bn 4th Ft who was to be promoted to a Brigade when CB would replace him.
iii) Cadiz – The text of this letter is particularly difficult to decipher but CB seems to assume wrongly that if the siege of Cadiz ended and French troops in S. Spain withdrew (to join the main forces confronting Wellington) British troops in the South would be withdrawn – in fact when this happened the regiments went North to Wellington’s main force
iv) Burdett, Sir Francis – an eccentric British MP who opposed the French War inter alia; eventually The Speaker issued a Warrant for his arrest – which he defied for some days and the Army had to attack his house – he was sent to the Tower, let out and rearrested the following year.
v) Gen Fraser or Frazer – Lieut. Gen. Alexander Frazer GOC Ceuta
vi) Paterson – CB’s close friend in 28th who had recently married Mary’s sister Eleanor. Killed with 28th in 1812
vii) Capt Gordon HMS Rattler. May have been the Gordon who distinguished himself in the Channel in another ship, or the Gordon who took Alexandria in 1812 (on the Potomac River). Rattler was a 16 gun ship, probably one before the f
viii) amous screw-driven which won the contest with a paddle steamer – CB’s grandson Capt George Bevan was to serve in that Rattler in the 1840s
ix) Davies and Lady Williams – not identified+


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