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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 78

Dated: 10 June 1811. CB Sabugal Addressed to Mrs C Bevan, Money Hill, Nr Rickmansworth, Herts. Stamped on address fold ‘JY 15 1811’

My dearest Mary,

We are once more all in motion, the French Army having made a movement we are I imagine obliged to make a corresponding one, and I conclude before very long we shall all cross the Tagus and proceed to the neighbourhood of Badajoz where it appears the Enemy will collect a large force – there are a thousand rumours in consequence of this, some saying that they are going to evacuate Spain, others that they are going to fight a great fight – Time, however, and that not very distant, may clear up all these doubts. I hope we shall at last come in for our share of what is going on. Paterson had great good fortune in commanding the 28th on the day of action, and which he did very much to his credit. We are now pent up in the town of Sabugal, very hot and very uncomfortable, but as we expect an order to march every day our quarters are not of much importance – I have just received a letter from you of the 17th December; which has been to Malta by mistake, and which contains an account of Mrs Shaw’s letter to you on the subject of naming our little girl; all this was certainly new to me. I perfectly agree with you in thinking we have enough. And also in wishing we were likely soon to meet, but there seems to be no end of this campaign. We shall now see what the Marshal Soult can do. He is I believe esteemed the best officer in the French Army – I hope my next letter to you will be from Castelo Branco on our way to Badajoz. The surrender of this place is now looked for as the Batteries are all established against it. And I hear it is not very strong. What is to take place afterwards we have no idea.

Poor little Charles is much indebted to you, my dearest Mary, for your very kind attention to him and I hope he will live to repay your care – I can hardly forbear a smile at your description of Tom’s aversion to study, it is not an unnatural one, he is I think, quick enough. I shall be glad to hear that my Mother is able to get into your neighbourhood for this summer – Ah! Would (hole under seal) could join the party --- But such wishes are vain, vain indeed – I am called away & will therefore conclude my letter for the post which is just about to go. God Bless you, my dearest, dearest friend. I am always your won C.B.

10 June 1811


i) Sabugal – small town south-east of Guarda, at the junction of the modern N233 and N324 highways; scene of action on 3 April 1811 when 3 British Divisions faced Reynier’s corps also of 3 Divisions. Erskine temporarily commanding Light Div lost his way in fog and the French withdrew with light casualties
ii) Advance towards Badajoz – CB was probably right and the intention was probably to move them up for the siege – but that was called off because Badajoz had been reinforced. 4th marched as far as Arronches before 5th Div was turned back
iii) Castelo Branco – substantial town, now on Motorway IP2, near Spanish border – about 80k north of Portalegre
iv) Soult - Marechal Nicolas Soult 1769-1851 – Chief of ~Staff at Waterloo. Foreign minister 1839 – recalled to France in 1813 but came back in command after Vittoria. Fought doggedly in retreat for 10 months – though successively beaten back by Wellington


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