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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 80

Dated: 4 July 1811. CB Portalegre Addressed to Mrs C Bevan, Money Hill, Nr Rickmansworth, Herts. Stamped on address fold ‘JY 23 1811’

We are once more, My dearest Mary, on the march but for what place we are entirely ignorant; and are now waiting for orders whither to proceed – some people think we are to remain here but I fear this is too good a place for the Fifth Division – I imagine our movements depend totally on those of the Enemy, therefore I have no doubt but they will contrive to give us trouble enough – The weather is terribly hot and very uncomfortable, our men feel the effects of it, indeed so do most of the Regts, in a greater or less degree.

I had the pleasure to receive your letter of the 17th. I hope you are all quite well for you say only pretty well: but I know you never conceal from me anything of this kind, I therefore am so far satisfied. I should be most unhappy was I left to torment myself with constant apprehension on this account – I am much afraid you will trouble or rather difficulty enough in procuring a house for my Mother – Col Williams is now here and quite recovered from the wound he received at the Battle of Fuentes D’Onoro. He also informed me that the Montague Square house was to be disposed of.

What is to become of all of us I know not, but suppose we shall linger out the summer and in the latter part of the year the French will either bring reinforcements or evacuate the country – I was just going to see Paterson when we received an order to march – and God knows when I may have another opportunity – I have only one horse that I can ride and he has a sore back, so I am not able to make many distant excursions. I have the opportunity to send this letter immediately and having really nothing to tell you but that I am very much fatigued and very anxious to hear that all at Money Hill are well, I shall conclude by begging my best love to all your party – and many blessings for yourself and Children

God protect you my beloved Mary
I am always yours C.B.
I will write to Caroline in a day or two


i) Portalegre – Substantial cork producing town on the modern IP2 motorway, close to the Spanish border. Centred on a Castle of which only two towers are left – and the grounds built up in late 19th century. Wellington had a H.Q. house at Reguengo on its southern edge. 4th Ft per Cowper were there 2-28 July having been a week at Arronches before coming back 73k
ii) Col Williams – one officer of that name and rank was wounded at Fuentes D-Onoro: Lt Col William Williams C.O. 5th Bn 60th Ft. He had served longer as a Major in 81st. In Wellington’s dispatch he is said to have commanded “the light infantry bns of .. Picton’s division”. Later KCB & Col 13th Ft – perhaps a resident of Montague Square?
iii) Paterson – 2/28th were now within reasonable reach – if the order had not arrived and he had seen Paterson perhaps he would not have shot himself. Certainly nothing in the letter seems final – but with Wellington close and perhaps able to deal with paperwork he was just about to receive the note that the Duke would not have a Board of Enquiry
iv) CB’s last letter – he shot himself on or about 9 July and was buried on 11th.

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