Apr 25 2011
2nd Batallion: Aldeo do Obispo, Portugal
The advance towards Spain in pursuit of the French has continued all month. On the 29th March the allied army left the Celorico road and advanced into the Estrella Mountains, very difficult country which involved days of hard marching. On the 2nd April they crossed the Mondego in heavy rain. The sight of dead French soldiers both distressed the men and at the same time encouraged them, because they knew they were following the same route as the enemy. They passed through the hill-top city of Guarda which was enveloped in cloud and then spent the night at Vila de Tor, where they could hear the sound of fierce skirmishing in the direction of Almeida. They also witnessed prisoners being escorted to the rear.
A contemporary view of Guarda, drawn by Captain Andrew Leith-Hay
They finally encountered the French at Sabugal. Although the main attack on Reynier’s Corps, which was the French rearguard at this point, was carried out by the light and 3rd divisions, the 5th division, including the 30th, crossed the river and occupied the castle, which caused the French to withdraw. Some of the officers of the 30th were lucky enough to enjoy a share of the food the French had left behind.
A contemporary view of Sabugal, drawn by Captain Andrew Leith-Hay
On the 7th April some men of the battalion were taken prisoner when theywent too close to the enemy while foraging. They were later released unharmed.
The fifth division reached Aldeo do Obispo on the 9th April. Nearby is Fort Concepcion, the fort on the Spanish side of the road to Almeida. General Dunlop kept the division standing out in heavy snow while distribution was made of quarters in 150 houses. The quarters themselves, however, turned out to be the best the battalion had enjoyed since Torres Vedras.
Meanwhile, General Brenier was continuing to resist the allied blockade at Almeida and on the 14th the 5th division marched to support the blockade. Two days later they were sent to intercept a convoy of reinforcements for Ciudad Rodrigo ( still in French hands) but arrived too late and the convoy continued unimpeded. After this failure they returned to Aldeo do Obispo for a welcome period of quiet as the weather turned wet and windy.
There are rumours that Marshal Masséna is reorganising in Salamanca, which means thisbattalion could finally go into action against the French, an opportunity the men are anticipating with enthusiasm.
Inevitably, during such a hard march there have been some casualties and five men have died during the past month. Sickness rates are low however, and the main problem has been exhaustion. There have been no demotions; behaviour has been good. Patrick Fitzpatrick was promoted to corporal on the 28th March, and Corporal Bernard Cline to sergeant today.
1st Batallion: Trichinopoly
Trichinopoly in the 19th Century
A generally quiet month here, although there has been some low-level misbehaviour. Two men are presently in the guard room awaiting trial by regimental court martial, and there have been several demotions: Corporal Thomas Phipps on the 29th March, Sergeant Andrew Walker and Corporal John Lawton on the 2nd April, and Corporal John Edmondson on the 10th April.
Ensign Arthur Poyntz (the former quartermaster) has been granted twelve months’ leave in Europe for recovery of health. Accompanying him is his son, Samuel Robert Poyntz, who has been with the battalion since it sailed to India. Lieutenant Owen Wynne Grey had also been granted leave, for three months to Nagapatam.
Like the second battalion, the first battalion has suffered five deaths this month, and a further three men have been invalided home.
Two ensigns have been commissioned into the 30th. John Roe arrived at the depot on the 7th April, and John Campbell two days later. It is expected that both will serve with the second battalion.
An officer of the 30th Regiment, courtesy of the Queen’s Lancashire Regimental Museum, Preston
A man has enlisted at headquarters, and another two volunteers have been received from the Tipperary Militia. A further two men have arrived from Portugal for recovery of health. Only time will tell whether they will be fit to serve again.
Reports from the recruiting parties list eighteen recruits as on their way to join.