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History - by the winners.. Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 August 2008
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History, it is said, is always written by the winners.

Here is an account from The Times of 3rd September 1808 which shows a tendency, as Wellington himself might have put it, to "write me a victory!"  - so important politically in those days, as it is now...

(the spelling, punctuation, and CAPITALS of the original printing have been maintained as far as possible in this transcription)


The Times, 3rd September 1808



From the affairs of Spain we turn with no less pleasure to those of the neighbouring kingdom of Portugal, and again contemplate with pride the triumphant valour of another army, whose success can hardly be dearer to us, even though it has been purchased by the loss of kindred blood.

The dispatches from Sir ARTHUR WELLESLEY, containing the intelligence of the defeat of JUNOT, were brought by the Kangaroo sloop of war, which arrived at Portsmouth on Thursday morning. In the course of the same night, the following note was sent to the Lord Mayor:



"Downing street, Sept. 1, 1808.

"MY LORD, I have the honour to acquaint your Lordship, that Captain CAMPBELL arrived this evening with dispatches from Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur WELLESLEY, dated Vimeira, the 22,ult. giving an account of Two VICTORIES obtained over the French Arms in Portugal - the first the on 17th at Zambucica, over the Advanced Corps of the French, consisting of 6000 men commanded by Generals LABORDE and BRENIER, in which the French were defeated with the loss of 1500 men, killed, wounded, and prisoners; the second, over the WHOLE of the FRENCH ARMY in PORTUGAL, consisting of FOURTEEN THOUSAND MEN, commanded by General JUNOT, wherein the FRENCH were COMPLETELY DEFEATED, with the loss of 13 Pieces of Cannon, 23 Tumbrils of Ammunition, and about 3,500 Men, in Killed, Wounded, and Prisoners.
"In consequence of this Action, General KELLERMAN arrived with a FLAG of Truce at Head-quarters on the 22nd, to TREAT for TERMS.
"Lieutenant-General BURRARD landed, and arrived in the field of action after the battle had commenced on the 21st ult.; but he generously declined taking the command from Sir ARTHUR WELLESLEY. On the 22d, Lieutenant-General Sir HEW DALRYMPLE landed, and took the command.

I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed)
"To the Right Hon. the LORD MAYOR &c

At eight o'clock yesterday morning this important event was announced by the discharge of the Park and Tower guns. It was expected that the particulars of those brilliant actions, the result of which reflects immortal honour on the skill and intrepidity of all who were engaged in them, would have been communicated to the Public in the course of the day in an EXTRAORDINARY GAZETTE, but none was published when this Paper was put to press. In the absence of this official document, we have collected from different sources what, we have reason to suppose, will prove to be a tolerably correct abstract of the principal details.

Last Updated ( Monday, 25 August 2008 )
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