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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 56

Dated: 13th November 1810 from CB Ceuta
Addressed to Mrs C Bevan, Money Hill, Rickmansworth, Herts

My dearest Mary. I have now lying by me three letters for you which I have had no opportunity of forwarding to Gibraltar. A new -------- of fever having broken out in that place which they will very apprehensive was of the same nature with one that proved so fatal a few years ago our communication has been most completely put a stop to & I have no idea when it will reopen – I shall communicate the substance of my other letters into this as very fortunately the Owen Glendower Frigate has been obliged to put in this day and is on her way to England direct. Your letters by the last Packet I have had the good fortune to receive. They were brought here in a Transport brig from Gibraltar & after being soaked in Vinegar and cut full of holes, the Spaniards allowed them to be landed – The Bug is now perfectly quarantined – I am sorry to hear you have suffered so much and so severely from your cold; pray take of yourself (sic) for me and our children for if Mr Staly’s (?) -?- be true I suppose there is an end of my Military career: at all events no thing can be too unlucky for my bad fortune – this piece of intelligence has naturally caused me much anxiety, but I think if any thing serious was in it I should have heard from E (one word underneath heavily struck out and capital E written above the deletion) or from Col T. Our first Battalion we believe to be in Portugal. I have received orders to send some officers to join them – and when the communications open I shall see what is to be done about getting leave of absence; at present I imagine they will hardly allow any person from this part of the world to land in England without performing a long and strict quarantine. But I rather think that Col Wynch will be a Brigadier as two or three officers junior in rank to him now hold that appointment under Lord Wellington – We have favourable accounts from that Quarter and it is generally believed that our Army will be able to maintain (word torn under seal) still in their present position in Winter at least. I however shall soon hear what is to become of me. The account you send me of our dear Boys are always most satisfactory and most pleasing to the fancies I allow myself sometimes to indulge of their future welfare and happiness. We must indeed look forward for that – as a recompense for privations and disappointments I think we shall talk of and laugh them to scorn. I wish the day was come! I do not know what you allude to about the thousand? Is it to be transferred to you now. This is an act of kindness I did not look for and am therefore doubly gratified or rather shall be if it is as I supposed.

I told you in my last letter that the Expedition under Lord Blayney had completely failed – I imagined it will make some noise at home. I have a letter by the last Packet from Julia, & am glad to find she was in good spirits – It was I must add the reason of going to Rottingdean or rather a very awkward embarrassment – The weather here is now particularly fine.

I am very well & think that my health has been much improved since I left England – I only suffer now when any thing occurs to annoy the as Italy’s stones & some other stones which I could wish to forget

I am very much obliged to your Mother for her remembering (word torn out by seal) My Madeira.

I wish we had a house to put it in. I think I shall see Mr Paterson soon. Pray give my love to Eleanor & tell her to order him to write to Ceuta

My best love to your Mother & to your sisters, to James & his wife – Kiss our Boys for me & believe me always your own C.B.

Ceuta 13 Nov 1810

You may tell my Mother I have not time to write by this conveyance – My best love to Mrs Shaw

Very fragmented Postscript, cross written on final page:

I know not when another opportunity – do not be anxious if you do not hear from me just when you expect it – God Bless James! – I hope the Boy is called James as it is your Mother’s wish


i) This letter is particularly difficult to read close written and heavily cross written
ii) Owen Glendower – a 36-gun Frigate
iii) Mr Staly – difficult capital – could by Holy or Haly – not previously met
iv) E – The word struck out is heavily inked over, and had been 4 times underlined a carefully drafted capital E is above the blacked out work – only guesses are Edward Paget, his Brigadier and Mentor, which fits the space, or Edward his brother but there is no reason to suppose he could have any knowledge here
v) Col T. – perhaps Col Torrens the Military Secretary at Horseguards – CB would have dealt with him over his own promotion
vi) First Battalion in Portugal: According to Cowper 1st 4th arrived in Lisbon 5th Nov. Movements were 5-7 Nov Lisbon; 7 Nov Mount Agraca (In the Lines of T.V.), 15-18 Nov Arroncho etc, 20 Dec-5 Mar Torres Vedras
vii) He had evidently not yet heard whether he was to move to 1st Bn – which rested on Wynch’s promotion materialising
viii) Blayney – as stated this expedition resulted in Blayney and half the 89th contingent being captured
ix) Julia – CB’s sister recently returned pregnant, after a runaway affair with a Mr Nevitt
x) Italy’s stones – hard to read but the second mention of stones seems clear though not apparent what they were
xi) James – Mary’s brother Capt J Dacres RN – CB’s gratitude to her mother was probably the more marked as the Dacres were en poste in Jamaica during Mary’s earlier pregnancies
xii) Mrs Shaw – CB’s cousin from whom he had hopes of inheritance



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