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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 43

Dated: 9th July 1810 from CB Ceuta
Addressed to Mrs C Bevan, Money Hill, Rickmansworth, Herts

I have been made very happy, my dearest Mary, by receiving good accounts of yourself and of our children by the Packet which arrived just before my return to Ceuta –I had very great hopes I should have heard that Mrs Dacres had quite recovered her indisposition but it is some satisfaction to know that she is better – I failed in my object in going to Gibraltar, at least I fear so for I wished as I have before mentioned to you, to get some of our men employed in more active service than that of garrisoning Ceuta – I am promised fairly but promises you know are but promises. I was most heartily tired of Gibraltar. There is however some society and some keenness to keep people awake – in this place had I not the Command of the Regt I am sure I know not what I should do – The weather is so warm that it is quite impossible to read and there is little other amusement left but that of riding and the same spot of ground day after day.

The Spaniards are not interested to give us more accommodation in the way of quarters and when the winter arrives I am sure I know well what the Troops both Officers and the men will do. I hope however by that time to be in England, for if Col Wynch is not appointed Brigadier I shall get leave of absence and I hope before the expiration of that leave, he must get something. Old Baird who is a younger Col is now Brigadier – This I hope will make Wynch exert all his interest, machinations he most certainly does not want – For all portents (?) of (?) such a change would be to him very advantageous. For me it will also be everything as then I have no more changes, and it is not pleasant after having formed an acquaintanceship with the Officers of a Battalion to be momentarily in expectation of leaving them, which is just my case with these Officers, and of course theirs with me, and, as they do not expect it, I shall imagine living among them they probably feel differently. Few see what they would bar a man with them likely to be --?—(illeg word). I do wish to thank all my friends of my Military Career – I was even placed so little as to my satisfaction as in Ceuta – But I live in hopes that my banishment will not evidence for the qualification to general – (very difficult scrawl) – But that I shall very soon have the happiness of seeing you and my little Boys. The latter much improved, then for her I cannot wish for improvement in any thing, but happiness and fortune -----

I -------(4 illeg words) --- October and if you were too at Money Hill – I dare say you will make all comfortable and --!

Oh, my good fellow I wish I was with you and assist you in all your labours and ---?--

I do not entirely comprehend what Lady Dalrymple’s history is or who the lady is who made the communication to her – Pray give my best love to Mrs Shaw – to your family and to my Mother and sisters – God Bless you & ours

I am always Your own C.B.
Ceuta July 9th 1810


i) Gibraltar – though troops in Ceuta were commanded by Maj Gen Fraser, they were all under command of the HQ at Gibraltar, which was facing the French at Cadiz and at Tarifa – CB was evidently sniffing around at the HQ for hope of action more to his taste than garrisoning Ceuta – though with a Bn at less than half strength he could not expect much
ii) Portents – the writing is a difficult scrawl throughout and I am not confident about this passage: CB expected Wynch to be promoted and had been promised the succession to the 1st Bn – which was in England – so he felt sure he would soon be in England to take over (at Gosport)
iii) Banishment – CB though only just promoted to Lt Col is already starting to worry about what inactivity at Ceuta may do for his prospects
iv) Baird – not identified. Clearly not Lt Gen Sir David Baird who had brought Moore’s reinforcements from Corunna in 1808 and retreated thither, losing an arm in the final battle 16 Jan 1809



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