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March 17, 1812: Siege of Badajoz


Sir John Kincaid [1] provides the following account of March 17, 1812 at the Siege of Badajoz: 
On the 17th of March 1812, the third, fourth and light divisions encamped around Badajoz, embracing the whole of the inland side of the town on the left bank of the Guadiana and commenced breaking ground before it immediately after dark the same night. 
The elements on this occasion, adopted the cause of the beseiged; for we had scarcely taken up our ground when a heavy rain commenced, and continued, almost without intermission, for a fortnight; in consequence thereof, the pontoon bridge, connecting us with our supplies from Elvas, was carried away by the rapid increase of the river, and the duties of the trenches were otherwise rendered extremely harrassing. We had a smaller force employed that at Rodrigo; and the scale of operations was so much greater that it required every man to be actually in the trenches six hours every day and the same length every night, which, with the time required to march to and from them , through the fields more than ankle deep in stiff mud, left us never more than eight hours out of the twenty four in camp, and we never were dry the whole time. 

Sir Henry George Wakelyn Smith [2]  provides the following account of March 17, 1812:
On the night of the 17th March, St. Patrick's Day, the Light Division broke ground under a deluge of rain, which swelled the Guadiana so as to threaten our bridge of boats. Our duties in the trenches were most laborious during the whole siege, and much hard fighting we had, sorties, etc. 




J.H. Stockqueller [3] a biographer of Wellington provides this account of March 17, 1812:
17th of March, ground was broken and a parallel established within two hundred yards of an outwork called La Picurlna, which embraced the whole of the south-east angle of the fort. The weather was most inclement, the rain falling heavily, and the enemy making sorties and keeping up a lively fire upon the working parties, but without much damage. To animate the men Lord Wellington was constantly in the trenches, where they laboured up to their waists in water, cheerfully and manfully. Worn down as he was with fatigue of body and anxiety of mind, with a noble perseverance the Commander of the Forces nevertheless gave himself up wholly to the operations, for he felt it to be of momentous consequence, not to his own country only, but to Europe generally. 


Notes


1.    Adventures in the Rifle Brigade by Captain John Kincaid. (Leo Cooper, London, 1997) from the electronic version that can be found here.
2.    The autobiography of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Smith, baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G.C.B. by Sir Henry (Harry) George Wakelyn Smith (1788-1860). Ed. with the addition of some supplementary chapters by George Charles Moore Smith (1858-1940). London: J. Murray, 1903)at chapter VIII
3.    The Life of Field Marshall the Duke of Wellington, by J.H. Stocqueller, Esg. (Philadelphia, by JAS B. Smith & Co. 1855) 

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