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fated field. « Immediately after the capture of Ciudad Rodrigo, Our soldiers, setting all restraint at detiance, and impelled by a brutish frenzy, gave loose to the foulest passions. Dispersed in parties of from four to thirty, they butchered the stragglers of the Aying garrison, plunderert the houses of the citizens, ransacked their celiars for liquor, and, brutalized by intoxication, sallied forth, yelling, and holding an internal carnival of riot and burning, violation and massacre.
“ Passing through a narrow street with two Scottish sergeants, I heard the shriek of a female; and, looking up, we saw at an open lattice, by the light of the lamp she bore, a girl about sixteen, her hair and dress disordered, and the expression of her olive countenance marked with anguish and extremne terror. A savage in scarlet uniform dragged her backward, accompanying the act with the vilest execrations in English. We entered the court-yard, where the hand of rapine had spared as the necessity of forcing a passage; and my companions, armed for whatever might ensue, kept steadily by me until we arrived at a sort of corridor, from the extremity of which issued the tones of the same feminine voice imploring mercy in the Spanish tongue. Springing forward, my foot, slipped in a pool of blood; and, before I could recover, the door of the apartment whither we were hurrying, opened, and two soldiers of my own company discharged their muskets at us, slightly wonnding one of the gallant Scots. Interperance had blinded the ruffians, and frustrated their murderous intentions. We felled them to the ground, and penetrated into the chamber, where I had a hair-breadth escape from falling by the fury of another of the desperadoes, Parrying his bayonet which he aimed at my breast I could not prevent its taking a less dangerous course, and lacerating my left cheek nearly from the lip to the eye; a frightful gash, but a light matter in comparison with the wretchedness visible around me.
". The room wherein we stood, contained the remnants of those decent elegancies which belong to the stranger's apartment in a dwelling of the middle class, Mutilated pictures, and fragments of expensive mirrors strewed the floor, which was uncarpeted, and formed of different kinds of wood curiously tesselated. An ebony cabinet, doubtless a venerable heir-loom, had suffered as if from the stroke of a sledge. Its contents, consisting of household documents, and touching domestic memorials, were scattered about at random. An antique sideboard lay overturned, and a torn mantilla on a sofa ripped, and stained with wine. The white drapery, on which fingers steeped in gore had left their traces, hang raggedly from the walls.
“ Pinioning our prisoners, we barricaded the doors against intrusion, and proceeded to offer all the assistance and consolation in our power to the inmates of the desecrated mansion. On investigation, the sergeants found the dead body of a domestic whose fusil and dagger showed that he had fought for the roof which covered him. His beard had been burned in derision with gunpowder, and one of his ears was cut off, and thrust into his mouth! In a garret recess for the storage of fruit, two female servants were hidden, who could scarcely be persuaded that they had nothing to fear. Having fled thither at the approach of their ferocious intruders, they had suffered neither injury nor insult. They came to the room where I lingered over an object unconscious, alas! of my commiseration, and calling, in accents half choked by sobs, upon Donna Clara! I pointed to the alcove where the heartbroken lady had flung herself on the bleeding corpse of her grayhaired father. She too might have had a sheltering place, could her filial piety have permitted her to remain there when her highspirited sire feebly strove to repel the violaters of his hearth. Master of a few Spanish phrases, I used them in addressing some words of comfort to the ill-starred girl. They were to her as the song of the summer-bird carolled to despair. Her sole return was a faintly recurring plaint which seemed to say, let my soul depart in peace!' I motioned to her attendants to separate her from her father's corpse; but they could not do it without a degree of force bordering on violence. Bidding them desist, I signified a desire that they should procure some animating restorative. A flask of wine was brought. The sergeants withdrew. One of the women held the lamp, while the other gently raised the head of her mistress. Kneeling by the couch in the alcove, I poured a little of the liquor into a glass, applied it to her lips, and then took it away, until I had concealed my uniform beneath the torn mantilla.
“I bless an all-merciful God that I have not a second time been doomed to witness aught so overwhelming in wo as the situation of that young and beautiful creature! She had battled with a might exceeding the strength of her sex, against nameless indignities, and she bore the marks of the conflict. Her maidenly attire was rent into shapelessness; her brow was bruised and swollen; her abundant hair, almost preternaturally black, streamed wildly over her bosom, revealing in its interstices fresh waving streaks of crimson which confirmed the tale of ultra-barbarian violence; and her cheek had borrowed the same fatal hue from the neck of her slaughtered parent, to whom, in her insensibility, she still clung with love strong in death! Through the means adopted, she gave tokens of reviving. Her hand still retained a small gold cross, and she raised it to her lips. The clouded lids were slowly expanded from her large dark eyes. A low, agonizing moan followed. I hastened to present the wine ; but in the act the mantilla, concealing my uniform, fell from the arm which conveyed the glass. She shrieked appallingly, became convulsed, passed from fit to fit, and expired !”
Nor is this vivid, truthful picture of the woes carried by war into the bosom of families, a solitary case. War abounds with them, and cannot rage without multiplying them by hundreds and thousands. On the capture of Hamburg in 1813, the soldiers, with drawn swords and loaded muskets, ran from house to house, demanding of the citizens, your money and your women, or your life, INSTANTLY! All this, too, after they had suffered during the siege an incredible amount of cruelty and distress. The French com
mander, Davorat, fortified the city, says Pourienne, "at incalculabie loss to the inhabitants. From the immense stores heaped up in the piace, the garrison was plentifolly supplied, while provisions in the town were to be obtained with much difficulty even in small quantities, and for exorbitant prices. All the horses were seized for the artillery: the best were selected, and the rest glanghtered in the streets, and the flesh distributed to the goldiers, while the inhabitants, pregged with farmine, bought the hideg at a dear rate. At length provisions began to fail in December, and all useless mouths were ordered to leave the city on pain of receiving fifty strokes of the bastinado. Still the inhabitante clong to their natal soil; and there was jegoed on the 25th an order which declared that, out of compassion, twenty-four hours longer would be granted, when all found in the city, who could not contribute to its defence, should be considered as in league with the enemy, and consequently liable to be shot! But even this was not enough; and on one of the last and coldest nights in December, all the proscribed, without distinction of age or sex, health or sickness, were torn from their beds, and carried beyond the walls.
What safety or repose for families during an assault upon the city where they dwell! When the English fleet was bombarding Copenhagen, and every woman and child was flying in terror from the destructive migsiles, and from burning and falling houses, a little child was seen running across the street for shelter he knew not where, when a rocket struck the poor innocent, and dashed him to pieces! In 1845, an old bomb-shell, dug out of the sand, and brought into the city of New York to be used as old iron, accidentally exploded, and killed several men. Guided by hundreds who were rushing to the spot,' says an eye-witness, 'I entered Charlton street, and observed on both sides for some distance, that the windows were entirely demolished, the doors shattered, and holes actually blown through the sides of the houses, large enough in one case, some forty rods from the spot of the explosion, for a man to enter. Upon the side-walk in front of a shop of old iron, lay some thirty or forty rusty bomb-shells about eight inches in diameter. It was said by the crowd, that a man had one of these between his knees, endeavoring to loosen the charge with a stick, when it exploded, and produced the terrible scene before me. The body of the man was torn to pieces, and scattered through the streets. Observing a crowd around an object at a short distance, I approached, and saw apparently a large piece of butcher's meat which a boy was pushing about with his foot ;-it proved to be the lower part of a man's leg, with the crushed bones, and mangled flesh! The other leg,' said a by-stander, was blown over into Hudson street.' I saw a crowd collected around a windowsill, gazing at some object;- it was a man's hand, torn from his body, and thrown with violence against the wall, the fingers burnt, and crushed, and blackened. The mangled trunk of the unfortunate inan, headless and limbless, had been carried into the house, and the shrieks of his wife were now heard over the bloody remuins. Upon an iron window frame lay the torn body of another man, already dead, and his blood and brains dripping down upon the pavement. Two young men, who happened to be passing by in the middle of the street, were literally blown up into the air, and fell with broken and mangled limbs, and both died the next day. Such was the horrid execution of a single shell; and yet Napoleon, in less than ten hours, threw three thousand such projectiles into the heart of Vienna, three hundred every hour, five every minute, crashing through the roofs of dwellings, and exploding at the fireside, in the infant's cradle, or on the couches of the sick!'
I will not here quote such horrid instances as Magdeburg in the seventeenth century; but look at Dresden in 1813. "To the public distress from other causes, were added the ravages of a contagious fever among the inhabitants. No less than three hundred of the citizens alone were carried off by it every week; and two hundred dead bodies were every day brought out of the military hospitals. Such was the accumulation in the church-yards, that the grave-diggers could not inter them; and they were laid naked, in ghastly rows, along the place of sepulture. The bodies were heaped in such numbers on the dead carts, that they frequently fell from them; and the wheels gave a frightful sound in cracking the bones of the bodies which thus lay in the streets. The hospital attendants and carters trampled down the corpses in the carts, like baggage or straw, to make room for more; and not unfrequently some of the bodies gave signs of life, and even uttered shrieks, under this harsh usage! Several bodies, thrown into the Elbe for dead, were revived by the sudden immersion in cold water; and the wretches were vainly struggling in the waves by which they were soon swallowed up!'
The battle-field makes terrible havoc of domestic sympathies and hopes. I once read of a devoted wife who left her babes, and walked some forty miles to see her husband in the army. She arrived the night before a battle, and contrived, by a dexterous appeal to the sentinel's heart, to gain admission to her husband's tent. The hours sped swiftly away, and the dawn heard the signal for battle. She hurried from his fond embrace with many a tender kiss for his babes, but lingered near the scene, and watched from a neighboring bill every movement of the two armies, until the combat ceased, and all was quiet once more. The shades of night now hang in gloom over that battle-ground, and forbid all search for the wounded, the dying, or the dead. Morn approaches; and with its earliest dawn this faithful wife, with a throbbing heart, wanders over that field of slaughter to see if the father of her babes has fallen. Alas, it is too true! There he is, all covered with gore. She sinks on his bosom in a swoon, and rises no more!
“For two or three days after the battle of Vittoria,” says a British officer, “I was employed in collecting the guns and various articles scattered over the battle-ground, and along the road. In one part, very near a half-destroyed barouche, I found a very interesting and beautiful letter written in English, and addressed to his wife by a Monsieur Thiebault, once treasurer to Joseph
Bonaparte. With a little trouble, I discovered not less than twenty written by the same person in the same amiable and affectionate strain. I gathered them up, and carried them home, rejoicing in my treasure. In the evening I went to a cafè, and seeing there several of the French officers who had been taken, I asked one if he knew a Mons. Thiebault? · Extremely well,' he replied ; "he was killed the other day by a chance-shot among the baggage; his son, now a prisoner, is quite disconsolate; and his wife, a most sweet woman, a native of Scotland, left only the day before for Bayonne, and is still ignorant of her irreparable loss.' ” —There was another touching case in the same battle. “A pay-master of a' British regiment had two sons in his own regiment, both lieutenants. He was a widower, and had no relations beside those youths; they lived in his tent, and were his pride and delight. The civil staff usually remain with the baggage when the troops engage, and join them with it afterwards; and when this pay-master came up in the evening, an officer met him. “My boys,' said the old man, how are they? Have they done their duty ? They have behaved most nobly; but you have lost'- Which of them?' • Alas! sir, both are dead.'”
In a sea-fight of the ship Swallow, a seaman named Phelan had a wife on board stationed, as usual, to assist the surgeon in his care of the wounded as they were brought below. Among these was one of Phelan's messmates whose dying agonies she was endeavoring to console, when she chanced to hear that her husband was wounded, and, rushing instantly on deck, she received the wounded tar in her arms. He faintly raised his head to kiss her. She burst into a flood of tears, and told him, like a true wife, to take courage, all might yet be well; but scarcely had she uttered the last syllable, when a shot took off her head! The poor tar, closely folded in her arms, opened his eyes once more, then shut them forever!
At the siege of Antwerp in 1833, a young French officer fell in the trenches; and his father, on being informed of his death, hastened from Paris to fetch his body. From Marshal Gerard he obtained permission to take away the beloved remains, that his wife might once more see her son even in death. They were laid in an open shell, and wrapped in a winding sheet, but so as to leave the face and neck exposed. Though the youth had been dead fifteen days, his corpse yet looked fresh. The shell containing it was placed lengthwise in a carriage so narrow, that, in sitting by the side of it, the father's arm rested on the breast of his son; but the venerable old man bore this trying situation with great firmness. Having rested at Brussels, he prepared, at the midnight hour, to proceed with his precious charge ; and calmly seating himself by its side, he merely remarked, “I shall now ride with my dear son for the last time. Thus he bore those remains to the fond mother; but her anguish over them can be better imagined than described.
What domestic desolation must come from such a battle as that of Waterloo, or a campaign like that of Napoleon in Russia! The