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the French on the capture of Oporto.--Conduct of the British gov-
Landing of Sir Arthur Wellesley at Lisbon.--He is appointed to
Successes in Gallicia.--Capture of Vigo.-Romana enters Austu-
Distribution of the hostile armies.--Description of the country be-
Incapacity of Cuesta.—He is superseded by Eguia.-Position and
Recapitulation.-Speech of Napoleon to the Senate.-- Preparations
State of public feeling in England. - The French armies reinforced.
CAMPAIGN OF SIR JOHN MOORE.
1808. Oct.] On the liberation of Portugal, by the Convention of Cintra, it was determined by the British government to despatch an expedition to the north of Spain. Preparations for this purpose were immediately set on foot by Sir Hew Dalrymple, and continued by Sir Harry Burrard, without any considerable progress being made in the equipment of the army for active service.
It was not till the sixth of October that Sir John Moore received official information of his being appointed to command the troops destined for this service. The despatch stated, that the officer commanding the forces of his Majesty in Portugal, was directed to detach a corps of twenty thousand infantry, with two regiments of German light cavalry, and a suitable body of artillery, to be placed under his orders, and that this force would be joined by a
8 APPOINTMENT OF SIR JOHN MOORE : [1808. corps of above ten thousand men, then assembling at Falmouth, under command of Sir David Baird.
Sir John Moore was directed to proceed, with the troops under his more immediate command, without any, avoidable delay; and was instructed to fix on some place of rendezvous for the whole army, either in Gallicia or on the borders of Leon. The specific plan of operations to be subsequently adopted, he was to concert with the commanders of the Spanish armies.
Sir John Moore had no sooner assumed the command, than he found he had considerable difficulties to overcome. Few effective preparations had been made for the equipment of the troops by his predecessors in command. Magazines were to be formed, and means of transport to be provided, in an impoverished and exhausted country. The approach of the rainy season rendered it, above all things, desirable, that the army should, as soon as possible, set forward on its march; yet all the complicated preliminaries, necessary for this purpose, were still to be accomplished. These formidable difficulties were overcome by the energy of Sir John Moore ; and, in less than a fortnight from the period of his assuming the command, the greater part of the army was on its march to the frontier.
It formed part of the instructions of Government, that the cavalry should proceed by land; but a discretionary power was vested in the commander, to move the infantry by sea or land, as he might judge most advisable. Sir John Moore preferred the latter, because, at that season of the year, a coasting voyage was uncertain and precarious, and because he was informed that, at Corunna, there were scarcely means of equipment for the force under Sir David Baird, already destined for that port.
Considerable difficulties occurred in ascertaining the state of the roads; and, deceived by erroneous information on that point, Sir John Moore determin