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satisfied themselves that, in the event of ance. In none of these qualities was he their being exposed to short commons dur- found wanting; and he appears to have ing a siege, they might rely, as a last re- uniformly discharged the responsible trust source, upon their boots if dressed with which devolved on him in such a manner lemon.
as to deserve the gratitude of the country. Even during the voyage, we find Colonel Among the numerous alarms of invasion Hill diligently studying the theory of field which were then propagated from time to fortification, and improving himself in his time, one is mentioned which may almost profession. He also kept a pocket-journal, vie with the celebrated bonfire" on the hill in which he regularly noted down what above Glenwithershins,” to which the Anseemed most worthy of attention. Traits tiquary has given a deathless rer.own. It like these well deserve to be noted, in con- would appear that Killala Bay, in the north nexion with that which has been just com- of Connaught, was one of the spots which mented on, as both explaining and en- excited apprehension, as being likely to nobling the success and advancement of afford a landing-place for the French. Colonel Hill. It was neither to mere And sure enough, in October 1803, the talent nor yet to mere fortune, that he was scouts in that quarter did observe two indebted, but to talent, diligently improved frigates enter the bay, and speedily lower by sedulous culture. It is of such talent from their decks what seemed to be boat only that Fortune will generally be found after boat, which made directly and rapidly the handmaid.
for the beach. A report was immediately The notice given of this part of Colonel transmitted that the French troops had Hill's history is brief. But we learn from arrived, and were disembarking; and farhis diary, that he landed in Egypt on the ther, that “they were landing very fast." 8th of March, and that
It appeared on inquiry, however, that the
two vessels were English frigates, which “On the morning of the 13th, at six, the had entered the bay together for the purBritish army began to move, the 90th regiment as its advanced guard. At this moment pose of watering. For facilitating their a considerable body of cavalry made a spirited operations, they had each heaved their and impetuous charge on the 90th, who, as empty water-casks overboard, and the wind Walsh says, with the coolness and intrepidity carried them quickly to the shore. But of veterans, received them, unbroken, upon still more quickly had the rumor of the the points of their bayonets. The French landing preceded them, and much alarm were obliged to retreat. I was wounded by was excited, and various movements were a musket-ball, which struck the peak of the helmet now at Hawkstone.
made for the purpose of repelling the sup
After being wounded, I was taken on board Lord Keith's posed invaders, before the true state of the ship, where I remained about three weeks, fact was communicated throughout the and then returned to the regiment.”—pp. 39, country. 40.
It was in 1805, and while preparing for
the abortive expedition to the Weser, that While confined by his wound, Colonel Hill first met with Wellington, then Sir Hill was on board the Foudroyant, com- Arthur Wellesley, who was also appointed manded by Lord Keith. And after the to a command in the same expedition. Sir great victory of the 21st of March, in Arthur dined with him," at his lodgings at which Abercromby received his mortal Mrs. Chitty's," at Deal; and that acquaintwound, he was brought froin the field of ance commenced, which was destined to his fame to the same cabin where Hill was have so powerful an influence on Hill's recovering, and where Abercromby linger- subsequent career. ed for a week and died.
After spending the year 1806 in EngIn 1803, Colonel Hill, at the age of land, during part of which he was encampthirty-one, was promoted to the rank of ed with a portion of the troops who were brigadier-general, and, until 1805, was em- kept in readiness to repel threatened invaployed in Ireland, then menaced with inva- sion-and spending the year 1807 again sion, at the same time that it was the scene in Ireland-he was ordered, in 1808, to of much internal excitement. The various join the troops then destined for the contiduties devolving on General Hill required nent, under Sir Arthur Wellesley. On not merely courage and energy, but often learning that General Hill was to serve in a still higher degree called for the exer- under him, Sir Arthur wrote him on 23d cise of discretion, temperance, and forbear- June 1808,
“My dear Hill—I rejoice extremely at the student of his life. By his care to avoid prospect I have before me of serving again exposing the lives of his men unnecessarily, with you, and I hope we shall have more to do and by his attention to their comforts and than we had on the last occasion on which we were together.”—p. 75.
wants, he gained so completely their affec
tion and confidence, that when occasion The “last occasion” here alluded to was required, he could rely implicitly on the the abortive trip to the Weser; and assur-zeal and devotion with which they were edly the hope of Wellington was gratified ready to follow wherever he led the way. before the close of the Peninsular war, Before his return from this expedition, which was now about to commence. his uncle, Sir Richard Hill, had died, and
It is not without surprise that we learn been succeeded by his father, now Sir that British troops were only relieved of so John Hill. His uncle bequeathed to him cumbrous an appendage as their queues or the property at Hardwick Grange, which pigtails in this year 1808, after the arrival he continued afterwards to occupy as his of Sir John Moore from Stockholm. The favorite residence, when at home. order to cut off the queues
After a very brief period spent in Eng24th July, and gave universal delight. land, General Hill was again despatched to The signal was made for all hair-cutters to the Peninsula, where he had not been proceed to head-quarters; and Cadell tells many weeks when Wellington achieved us, 'As soon as they had finished on board the brilliant exploit of crossing the Douro the head-quarter ship, the adjutant, Lieu- in the face of the French army under tenant Russell, proceeded with them and a Soult, and driving them, with great loss, pattern-man to the other troop-ships. The from Oporto, and beyond the limits of Portails were kept till all were docked, when, tugal. In the action at Oporto, General by a signal, the whole were thrown over- Hill had a very conspicuous share. board with three cheers.'”—p. 36.
The French had broken down the bridge Soon after the landing of the British over the Douro, a deep and rapid river, on forces at Mordego, the battles of Rolica the right bank of which the town of Oporto and Vimeiro followed, in which the British stands; and it had become important, as army had a foretaste of the laurels which Wellington's despatches bear,* that the they were to earn under Wellington. Ma- British troops, who had reached the left jor-General Hill was present at both of bank, should cross the river to expel the these battles, and in the former had an French without delay. active and important share. He was after- On ascending the height of the Sarea on wards mentioned by name among the offi- the left bank, where there was a convent, cèrs to whom, along with Wellington, the opposite to Oporto, Sir Arthur Wellesley thanks of both Houses of Parliament were descried a large unfinished building, called voted for their services.
the Seminary, which stood near the river The superseding of Wellington, the on the Oporto side. It was surrounded by Convention of Cintra, the expedition of a high stone wall which came down to the Moore, and the victory of Corunna, won at water, on either hand, and which had only the expense of that hero's life, belong more one entrance by an iron gate, opening on to general history than to the biography of the Vallonga road. There was sufficient Hill. But it may be observed, that it was space included within the wall for containon General Hill's brigade that the impor- ing two battalions of men in order of battle. tant duty devolved of protecting the army, The breadth of the river was about 300 at its embarkation for England, after the yards, and on the height of the Sarea the battle of Corunna. On their arriving at British guns could be planted so as to comPlymouth-where the troops, who had mand the whole enclosure round the Semisuffered so many privations in the retreat, nary. To all appearance no watch was experienced the utmost kindness from the kept by the French in that quarter, as they inhabitants-General Hill was conspicuous apparently relied on the impossibility of an for the consideration and solicitude which attempt being made to cross the river there. he showed for the welfare of his men. At that spot, however, Sir Arthur conceirHis name was long remembered with ad- ed it practicable to effect a passage; at the miration, on that account, by the inhabit- same time that a detachment of troops unants of Plymouth; and this is a trait in der General Murray was sen a few miles the character of Hill which is well worthy of attention, especially from the military
* Gurwood, iv., p. 298.
up the river to Avintas, to seek a passage had an important share. The French were there, where was soon ascertained that commanded by Marshals Victor and Joursome boats could be found. Sir Arthur dan, and King Joseph. The Spaniards also caused eighteen or twenty guns to be were commanded by Cuesta, campaigning planted on the height of Sarea, command in his coach and six. And it is well known ing the Seminary.
that on the two days' fighting, of the 27th A skiff, manned by a few brave men, and 28th July, 1809, the last of which was crossed to the Oporto side, and brought so bloody, the Spaniards were scarcely so back three or four large barges without at- much as noticed by the French, whose tracting the notice of the French. This whole efforts were directed against the operation was favored by the circumstance British alone ; and the Spaniards, on their that the river makes a rapid bend round the part, did as little to attract the notice of point on which the convent is placed, and the French as was possible. the town lies below this point, while the It is not a little remarkable that both crossing was effected above it. And Soult's Wellington and Hill made the narrowest personal position, as it happened, was be escape from being taken prisoners on the low the town.
27th. Sir Arthur was then at Casa de SaThe first of the barges, containing an linas, to reach which place the French had officer and twenty-five of the Buffs, then to ford the river Alberche, and to march crossed to the Seminary, where the men some distance through woods. But out of disembarked, and where instantly, so to say, these woods, Mr. Sidney states, “they in the midst of the French army, but still emerged so suddenly that they had nearly without any alarm being taken. A second made him prisoner at the instant of surand a third barge followed, filled with prise. Providentially this disaster was not troops, the last conveying General Paget. permitted to fall on our army and upon But no sooner had they gained their posi- Europe." tion than Soult commenced a furious attack The still more dangerous adventure of upon them with an overwhelming force of Hill was stated by himself as follows, in cavalry and infantry, supported by artillery. compliance with a request made by a friend To sustain them, General Hill crossed over some years alter the war was over :with the 48th and 66th regiments, and
“I recollect on the 27th of July I got some other troops, and as General Paget was dinner in my quarters in the town of Talavera soon disabled by a wound, the command of about four o'clock. Immediately after I rode this most important and trying post devolv- out, accompanied by Major Fordyce, towards ed, at the most critical moment, upon Gen- the Alberche, in which direction we heard eral Hill.
So violent was the struggle, that some firing. I returned to the bivouac of my Sir Arthur was with difficulty prevented division, I suppose about sunset, when I found
it had moved to take up a position. I instantfrom throwing himself across the river into
ly followed it, and found it deploying in line, the midst of it. But his confidence in and was shown by somebody where the right General Hill was such that he restrained was to rest. I pointed out the hill on the line himself from taking this step; and well did of direction we were to take up. I found, howHill justify the confidence of his leader. ever, I had not sufficient troops to occupy the The French made repeated and desper- ground without leaving considerable intervals ate attacks, which, however, were confined, tion I recollect perfectly well that I was with
between the regiments. During this operaby the sweep of the British guns on the the 48th Regiment, in conversation with Colheight of Sarea, to the side of the iron gate. onel Donellan, when, it being nearly dark, I They were successfully resisted by Hill, observed some men on the hill-top fire a few until some of the citizens of Oporto, having shots amongst us. Not having an idea that pushed across with large boats, brought the enemy was so near, I said at the moment, over the troops under General Sherbrooke's I was sure it was the Old Buff®, as usual, making command in large bodies, a little below the line, and I would ride up the hill and stop their
some blunder. I desired Donellan to get into point of conflict; and Murray's troops also firing. On reaching the hill-top, I found the were seen descending the river on the Opor- mistake I had made. I immediately turned
Then the rout of the French round to ride ofi, when they fired and killed forces became general and complete, and poor Fordyce, and shot my mare through the they suffered severely, both on that day and body. She did not fall, bút carried me to the in their subsequent retreat from Portugal
. stantly charged the French, and drove them
29th Regiment, which corps, by my orders, inIn less than three months afterwards, the from the hill. I do not know what numbers battle of Talavera followed, in which Hill the enemy had, but I think they were not
strong-perhaps some of their light troops.”- was near us. My post was on the left, General Pp. 111, 112.
Sherbrooke in the centre, and Gen. Campbell to
his right, and all the Spaniards to Gen. CampIt was an eventful day for Europe which bell's right. In the morning, when day broke, so nearly compromised the safety of both we observed the whole French army drawn Wellington and Hill.
up in order of battle; the greater part of their For the battle of Talavera itself, the his- force immediately opposite my post, which tories of the war may best be consulted.
was evidently the point of attack and which, if But with respect to General Hill's very im- them the day. Sir Arthur Wellesley came to
they could have gained, would have given portant share in the honors and dangers of it
, and in about half an hour after the sun was he contest, his own simple and affection- up, an immense column, since known to conate letters to his family are highly interest- sist of two divisions of 7000 each, under ing. They naturally relate chiefly to the Marshal Vietor in person, moved on and at
The fire was tremendous on both subjects which were of engrossing interest tacked us. to his family; but nothing could be more horse was wounded early in the action. I got
sides, but the French could not force us. My modest and unassuming than the manner in
another from an officer. Shortly before the which he refers to himself on an occasion enemy gave up the conflict, I was struck by a on which, by the confession of all, he dis- musket ball near my left ear and the back of played the greatest military qualities. my head. The blow was so violent that I was On 30th July he wrote from Tala-obliged to leave the field. I continued unwell
the whole of the next day, and the next; I am, Talavera, July 30, 1809.
however, thank God, much better to-day. My
hat saved my life; it has suffered as much as My dear Sister,
my helmet did on the 13th of March. Clement “God has proiected Clement (his brother) is safe ; his horse was killed, and he had three and myself in two of the severest battles. I musket-balls in him on the 28th. Currie is ever witnessed, which took place on the 27th also safe, but had his horse killed under him. and 25th. For the particulars 1 must refer you During the attack on me the enemy did not to the public despaiches, but cannot help men- allow the remainder of the line to be quiet, tioning a few circumstances which will show for, with their numerous artillery, they kept up you the providential escapes we have had.--
a constant and destructive fire on it, not reAbout a week ago I told you that the French garding the Spaniards at all. In about four had retired from Talavera, on our approach or five hours the enemy's fire slackened for a towards them. It now appears they did this. short time; they, however, afterwards began not with the intention of going off altogether, as serious an aitack upon General Campbell but for the purpose of meeting their reinforce
as they did upon me, and, meeting with the ments, which being done by the junction of
same reception from him and the whole as Sebastiani’s force of about 12.000, and King they did in the morning, were fairly beat, and Joseph, from Madrid, with 6000, they turned in the evening after dark went off. The loss back with near 50,000, with a determination on both sides is very great. Indeed, ours proto bring the whole of it against the British bably 4000, the enemy's 7000. King Joseph army, not half that number in the field. Early
was in the field, though not in the fire. When on the 27th we heard of the returning of the it is considered that the French force was French, and as the day advanced they ap-double ours, and solely employed against the proached nearer. By four in the evening their British, we may count the batile of Talavera whole force was in sight, and continued mov- amongst the most glorious that ever took place. ing forward, driving in our out-posts, till they You must excuse this hasty account-indeed came within reach of shot from our lines, when I must again refer you to the official details.they halted ; and as night was coming on, we The French are said to be still retreating. did not expect any serious attack till the next Kind remembrance to all our dear friends at morning. It was, however, scarcely dusk Hawkstone, who, I am sure, will be sensible when there was a heavy fire of musketry on of and thankful for the providential escapes my post, and a severe struggle on the part of
we have had.”—Pp. 108-110. the enemy to carry it, in which they did not succeed, and in about half an hour gave up
The letters of General Hill to the memthe contest. On this occasion poor Fordyce was killed, my horse was shot, and I myseltbers of his own family, which are publishhad a fortunate escape from the hands of a ed in this work, give us a very pleasing French soldier who had got hold of my right view of his personal character.
And it is arm, and would have secured me if my horse not a little refreshing, amid the scenes of had not at the moment sprung forward. The Frenchman fired at me, but did not touch me. who had done the greatest service to his
so sanguinary a contest, to see one of those Clement and Captain Currie were in the midst of the whole, but fortunately escaped. Noth- country, and been in the very thickest of the ing very particular occurred during the night: fray, cherishing through it all the same conwe continued in our position, and the enemy stant attachment to his family and his home,
retaining the same simple modesty of mind mountain, scenes of indescribable grandeur. as ever, and never forgetful of the gratitude The whole country beneath them glowed with due to Him who had shielded his head in countless fires, showing thousands of shadowy
forms of men and horses, mingled with piles the day of battle.
of arms glittering amidst the flames. These The British head-quarters were soon af- gradually subsided into glowing patches of terwards at Badajoz, but Hill, now promo- red embers gemming the black bosom of the ted to the rank of lieutenant-general, was earth, and all seemed to threaten another stationed about twenty miles off, with his mighty conflict at the dawn of day. The men troops, at Montijo. Here he, and one of under Hill were kept in their full accoutrehis brothers who was with him, enjoyed the ments, and each with his musket by his side, pleasures of the chase-hunting the fox, the the mountain, awaiting the morn, and expect
front and rear ranks, head to head, lay upon deer, the wolf, and the wild boar—and pre- ing that an assailable gorge near at hand ferring country scenes and exercise to all would be the point of attack.”—Pp. 143, 144. the attractions of "the great display of Next day, however, the French moved off, beauty and fashion in Badajoz.” And Hill, without renewing the fight. having observed that almost all the wool
Then followed the occupation of the forfrom the district was sent to England, made tified lines at Torres Vedras, extending a purchase of a few of the sheep, to be from the right bank of the Tagus, near Alkept till an opportunity should occur of handra, to the sea, over a space of about sending them home, to improve the breed twenty-five miles, and covering Lisbon from in Shropshire.
the advance of the French under Massena. When making preparations for the cele. This is not the place to dwell on the debrated defence of Lisbon at the lines of tails of these celebrated lines, and the bafTorres Vedras, Sir Arthur Wellesly, now Aing of the French Marshal, who was at last Viscount Wellington, divided his army in. compelled to retreat with that large force to two principal corps, the first of which which Napoleon had given to "the spoiled he had under his own immediate command, child of fortune," with a peremptory manand the second he offered to General Hill
. date to seize on Lisbon, and drive the BritIn a letter to Hill, dated December 18, ish into the sea. But there is a letter of 1809, Lord Wellington stated as to this General Hill, written to his sister in Nosecond corps—“I will not make any vember 1810, from his post at Alhandra, arrangement, either as to the troops that are which mentions some curious particulars to comprise it, or as to the officer who is to respecting the extra-professional intercourse command it, without offering the command of the two great armies, which had been for of it to you.” A higher proof than this of
some time so near each other. Something the talents and services of General Hill it like personal acquaintance took place be. was impossible to give; and having accept-tween the soldiers in the hostile ranks, and ed the important trust thus tendered to him, even a species of friendship sprung up, upon most amply did he justify the confidence a soil where, most of all, it would have reposed in him by his great leader. It is seemed to be exotic. It is impossible to not a little interesting to observe, in the read the account of this, without having correspondence which ensued between these the mind most powerfully impelled to the two able soldiers, how often General Hill, reflection, how strangely human beings in the exercise of such discretionary pow- have been forced from the relations which ers as were intrusted to him, was found to their Maker designed them to hold towards have anticipated the instructions of Wel- each other, when they are mustered and lington, by making just those dispositions armed on the battle-field, as enemy and which Wellington's instructions, on their enemy, bent on mutual destruction.
, subsequent arrival, were found to point out. General Hill had an honorable share in
“My dear Sister,” he writes, "on this day the battle of Busaco, where the French, which time nothing of consequence has oc
week I wrote to Sir John, (his father,) since commanded by Massena and Ney, were curred. The two armies remain as they were, worsted in September 1810. The scene at the British in the position I mentioned in my last, nightfall after the battle, as beheld by the with the right on the Tagus, and the left on the British from the mountain of Busaco, at the sea near Torres Vedras, a distance, probably, foot of which the French encamped, is well of about 25 miles. The French advanced regidescribed by Mr. Sidney :
ments are close to us; that is, some of them not
more than a mile and a half from the place “ The night which succeeded this memorable where I am now writing, with the sentries day, afforded to the victorious occupants of the within musket-shot of each other. In this situa