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Home arrow Historical arrow Peninsular Notes arrow Hunting in the Lines

Hunting in the Lines Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 05 February 2008
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Hunting in the Lines
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an excerpt from
"Sport in War "
 by Lionel George Dawson, illustrated by Lionel Edwards
 Published by Collins : 1936

riding out
The sport of hunting was in great favour with the officers of the peninsular Army, particularly when it lay behind the Lines of Torres Vedras.

Throughout the campaign Viscount Wellington hunted a pack of hounds which he had sent out from England. The pack provided excellent sport for the Headquarters Staff, and those who cared to join in. In addition to his, most divisions kept a scratch pack of hounds - and were encouraged to do so.
"The Lord" like many famous soldiers of later years, regarded hunting both as an excellent sport, and as admirable training for teaching a soldier to learn how to find his way about a country as quickly as possible, and also to improve his horsemanship.
The period spent behind the Lines of Torres Vedras saw, perhaps, the peak of Peninsular hunting achievement. On an average three days a week hounds were out hunting fox, and all who could get near the meets were out too, some simply because it was "the thing", and others for the love of it. The fields were therefore large.
All rode in uniform - all arms being represented. The red coats, grey overalls, and furred casquets of Dragoon Officers were well to the fore, and with them went the thrusters of the Horse Artillery, infantrymen of every regiment of the line, in every conceivable kit, and on every sort of horse, joined the main body of the field, whilst plainly turned-out Officers of the Staff took pains to keep their cocked hats within view of "Old Douro" as he cantered tirelessly in the van. Civilian commissaries, anxious to keep in the limelight and break down some of the unpopularity which was their lot, bumped along as best as they might in the rear. His lordship liked to be well in front, and near hounds - too near sometimes for the peace of mind of his huntsman, since, by emulation, the somewhat unwieldy field thus became inclined to press too closely for comfort.

Last Updated ( Friday, 09 October 2009 )
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