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we expected that they would lose no time in attempting to rush in upon us, and take the city by storm.
“We were not kept long in suspense. One awfully dark night everything in the vicinity of the fortress was remarkably still. “The English do not mean to pay us a visit to-night,' was the remark of some of our men. 'No,' was the mirthful reply. • They have no fancy for a hot supper.' I was then on duty, and looking listlessly over the ramparts, when all of a sudden up went a fire-ball. It had been let off by our wary commander; it exploded, and burnt brilliantly in the air. All eyes were fixed on it for a moment, and only for a moment, for by the light which it gave forth, we were enabled to see what was of infinite more importance, the British army silently advancing to attack the place. They passed the narrow bridge over the Rivilas in single files, with the exception of those, not a few, whom our musket-balls arrested in their march, The fire-ball had shewed them their path, and they pressed forward with increased speed. Hand-grenades, bags of gunpowder, shells, and huge stones were hurled from the wall on the enemy; and many a mother had to mourn that the son who entered that ditch never left it alive. Our guns thundered at them, then the powder-bags and the shells exploded, and those who escaped the balls were in numerous instances suffocated by the smoke in which they found themselves enveloped. Forward they came, and at length reached the principal gap in our works. Then commenced a scene of murderous strife, such as had rarely been witnessed in modern warfare. Each of our soldiers was provided with four muskets, and, besides the usual ball-cartridge, they were charged with a wooden cylinder, stuck round with small pieces of lead, which, in the discharge, were scattered like hail, inflicting disabling wounds, where they did not cause instantaneous death. As fast as one was fired it was snatched away to be reloaded; while the marksman, that not an instant should be lost, pulled the trigger of another. Thus an incessant stream of bullets was poured through the breach, and when the assailants who escaped, almost by a miracle, our fatal aim, pressed towards the opening, they trod on loose planks, studded with spikes, which tilted up and turned over on the foremost men, and threw them on their comrades, who, exasperated at the annoyance, pushed their own men angrily forward, and with savage cries and horrid oaths still endeavoured to advance.
“But this was not all. General Philippon, determined to neglect nothing that might ensure the defeat of the English, had caused a range of sharp sword blades to be fixed in heavy beams of timber, and these were laid across the ruins, so that when the first ranks had got there, they saw that to proceed was certain destruction. The poor fellows in front were well aware of the peril, but those behind allowed no pause. Eager to get out of the reach of our shot, they urged their companions headlong forward against the glittering sword-blades. Hundreds fell, and still no progress was made. The English were confounded, while the defenders of the bastion called La Trinadad, where I was engaged, enjoyed their distress, and some of us who had learned their language called scornfully to them—Come on Mr. Jean Bull. Why do n't you walk in to Badajos? Are you going to take it? Do n't you wish you may get it?'
“And thus we were engaged for hours. By midnight we calculated that more than two thousand of the enemy had
fallen. We had no thought of giving in, when news was brought to us that the castle which commanded a great portion of the tower had been carried. This, of course, dispirited us all. General Philippon attempted to retake it ; but the attack did not succeed. He was obliged to retire into Fort Christoval; the enemy now rushed in on all sides, and on the following morning Badajos, reduced to a heap of ruins, surrendered.
“ The scenes which preceded the capture of the city were awful; but, if possible, those which followed that event were still more so. The conduct of the English was so fierce, so. cruel and rapacious, that it tarnished the laurels they had won. Truth, however, demands that I should tell you it was not to the conquerors of Badajos, that all the horrors witnessed in those sad days ought to be ascribed. Portuguese vagabonds, who had had nothing to do with the storming, entered the city to plunder; and many Spaniards even, in the confusion that prevailed, joined to attack the property of their countrymen. The shopkeepers were turned out of their houses; English soldiers took their places, and began to sell the goods they found for any prices they could obtain. Then came another party and turned out the first, in order to act the same part: and, in more than one case, I saw a second set expelled, in their turn, by a third, or by the first returning with a strong re-inforcement, to resume the thievish trade.”
“ And was this the conduct of the British ?” inquired Philip. “ Could they act so meanly in the hour of victory ?”
“ Yes !” replied the veteran; “ but such things are not uncommon where a city is taken by storm."
« Plunder,” said Monsiuer Le Blanc, “is, I believe, in