Page:A book of the Pyrenees.djvu/60

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


jolly-boats, the passage of troops ceased. At this time only six companies of the Guards, two of the 60th Rifles, and a small party of the rocket corps, had been passed to the right bank. All seemed quiet in their front; when, suddenly, about five o'clock in the evening, two columns issued from the citadel to attack this detachment. Colonel Stopford, in command, drew up his troops in a position that secured his flanks, and enabled him to avail himself of the support of the guns on the opposite bank. His right rested on the Adour, his left on a morass. The artillery could sweep his front with a defensive fire, and he judiciously placed his rocket men on each flank. The French had nearly 1500 men, and advanced to the attack with some show of resolution; when the rockets opened on them, and being well directed, swept through their ranks with so rushing a sound, and so destructive an effect, that the novelty startled and appalled them. They seemed paralyzed with astonishment, and a few quickly following discharges of the ground-rockets drove them back in haste and fear. More men were crossed over in the night at slack water; and on the following evening the first division, two guns, and a squadron of dragoons, were established on the right bank."[1]


The flotilla appeared off the Adour on the morning of the 25th, the bar was successfully passed, thirty-four chassemarées were brought into position, and anchored head and stern upon the line selected; the sappers worked all night, and by noon next day a solid bridge was laid down. Troops and artillery now filed over it, and the citadel of Bayonne was invested.

Upon the morning of 14 April the governor of the citadel made a furious sortie upon the investing corps, which was wholly unprepared for the attack, as peace had been declared, and Bonaparte had abdicated on 5 April. The news had

  1. Sherer, Military Memoirs of the Duke of Wellington. London, 1832.