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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 62

Dated: 25th January 1811. C.B. Lisbon Addressed to Mrs C Bevan, Money Hill, Rickmansworth, Herts
Stamped on address fold “Foreign FE 13 1811”

My dearest Mary, I have just been informed by our General that he is going to send to Lisbon & if there is an opportunity for England his letters will go; I therefore seize these moments to tell you I am quite well in health as to which concerns us much. I have not yet got quite settled with my new corps, and of course be some time before I can feel quite at home. What is to be done here we know not, and we know less than you can well imagine – the officer who commanded this division of infantry is just gone to England, and much regretted by the people who knew him – he lives in Montagu Square opposite to Mrs Walton. Paterson I have no heard of since I last wrote to you, but I believe he is perfectly well, as they have had no moving of consequence and the weather has been remarkably fine - this place, Torres Vedras, is situated in a nasty hollow and filled with swamp surrounded by lofty mountains, or rather hills, the summits of which are strongly fortified and contain distancing (?). The French we hear are reinforced but very quiet and do not seem inclined to make any move on this side the Tagus, what they are at on the other does not seem to be quite so clear; if it is true that the King is dead I imagine we shall have many changes in this part of the world – God send they may be good ones, but I fear more depends on interest than on any other thing. I have not yet had a letter from you indeed I do not well believe I could have any right to expect one until the arrival of the next packet; which we most anxiously expect. If it brings me good (hole by seal) you and about friends at Money Hill I shall have some pleasant moments in thinking so. Pray kiss our children for me & give my best love to all the circle at Rickmansworth.

God Bless you my dearest Mary – I am always your own C.B.

Torres Vedras
25 Jany 1811


i) Torres Vedras – small town near the Atlantic end of the defensive Lines. It is surrounded by pleasant hills on three sides – on the west the hill is crowned by the fortress Sao Vicente
ii) General – The divisional commander who left was James Leith (later Lt Gen Sir) who returned in 1812
iii) Mrs Walton Montague Square – CB’s maternal grandmother
iv) King – George III’s insanity & confinement evidently gave rise to many rumours – the formal Regency was looming
v) Interest – presumably this was a reference to what would now be the Bank Rate
vi) Tagus – other side – on the east of the Tagus and further south was Soult’s army but they never managed a junction with Massena – and intense Naval gunboat activity helped to deter this


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