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self at what he not inaptly calls the mutiny of Vinegar Hill. He re-entered the merchant service, and some years afterwards was wrecked returning from the West Indies as mate—having suffered unspeakable hardships in an open boat for three weeks, during which time they were reduced to the horrible alternative
“When out they spoke of lots for flesh and blood,
And who should die to be his fellow's food.”
From this state of misery and privation they were providentially rescued by one of our Kinsale hookers; to the inhabitants of which place he still retains feelings of the utmost gratitude. He again entered the
navy, and immediately after served at the Nile; was wounded at Trafalgar, on board the Bellerophon ; boasts the honour of an acquaintanceship with Nelson, and was present when Parker suffered at the yard-arm, after the mutiny at the Nore. He served in one of the transports in this bay, at the time of the retreat, and seems perfectly acquainted with all the transactions concerning it. After this he betook himself to the merchants' service ; soon rose to be a master, and had acquired some wealth, but was again shipwrecked, and he alone of all his crew saved. He was thrown ashore, and beside him lay his ship’s compass, the sole remnant of all his earthly possessions. He still preserves it with the greatest veneration, and exhibits it with delight to strangers.
The ocean's greedy wave had robbed him of his home; the rocks and sands had spoliated his wealth ; the drenching spray had damped, but could not quench, the fire of his enthusiasm, so characteristic of his calling, till love, all-powerful, induced him to resign the ocean for one of the dark-eyed maids of Corunna. He married, and here, by years of industry and perseverance, he rose to comfort, if not to wealth.
Short-lived was his day of happiness. In the year 1823, when the French bombarded this town, his house, which stands outside the walls, was struck by'a random ball, and in the very spot* where he had concealed all his treasure, (some thousands of dollars,) which the French soldiers soon pounced upon, and fearing their vengeance for concealing his own property, he had actually to swim to one of the Spanish vessels in the harbour. Still he has weathered the storm, and supports himself in some comfort by the proceeds of a small posada sacrata, or lodging-house. He is now a stout old man of seventy-six—a fine honest tar of the olden days of long queues and wide trowsers. He has seen much of the world, and, what is rare in his profession, profited by it; to use his own expression, “ a man who travels much seldom dies a fool.” He is master of most of the European languages, and speaks English well. His long yarns of the days
* It is still to be seen, and this account is verified by the British Consul.
VISIT TO THE BATTLE FIELD.
of Nelson, and the various scenes he had been partaker in, were highly amusing. He is universally known in Corunna, as “old Russian George."
The heights of Corunna are about four miles from the town; the tract of intervening ground is very uneven, and thrown into a succession of mounds and small enclosures, intersected in every direction by dirty lanes, the banks of which rise, in many instances, high above the head; while the deep and narrow bridle-paths admit of only two passengers abreast.
. You proceed, eastward, along the Madrid road, for about two miles ; when turning to the right into one of the deep lanes, you traverse these miserable tracks for another mile and half, until you reach a range of secondary hills, distant about half a mile from the summits of the heights. On the former of these was posted the British line ;* its right resting upon one of the by-roads leading to Elvina, and its extreme left stretching downwards to the great Madrid road; while, on the heights above, and commanding a point blank
of their opponents, stood the French during the time of the engagement. At a farm-house situated some way down the hill, on the edge of a pine wood, and to the right of Elvina, was planted the battery which proved so destructive to our troops.
The hamlet of Elvina, from which the enemy
* See Moore's History of the Campaign, and Napier's Peninsular War.
was driven, is a wretched collection of about ten or a dozen scattered houses, at which three or four ways meet.
It is a filthy, sunken hole-its only attraction, at present, being a small old church, of Saracenic architecture, a few hundred yards to the left of the village. Its door-way and windows are of the deeply groined arch, having the impost ornamented, on the left side, with a rudely carved ram's head, bearing the crescent on the forehead. Near this the most trying part of the contest took place, and, beside one of the walls that surround it, Major (now Sir Charles Napier) when in advance of his men, and severely wounded, was timely rescued from the bayonets of several French soldiers by the generosity of one of their drummers, for which Napoleon justly conferred on him the order of the legion of honour. Beyond the church the road turns to the left, with high fences on both sides, but still greatly exposed to the French battery which was planted on the hill in front and a little to the right. Here, at a sudden turn of the lane, about one hundred yards from the church, is pointed out the spot where fell one of the ablest of British soldiers—the immortal Moore.
The farm-house is still in existence at the angle of the pine wood, to which his attention was directed, when a cannon-shot carried away a greater part of the shoulder-joint.
We erected a small cairn of stones on the sad spot. After this we directed our course by the
REVIEW OF THE RETREAT.
above-mentioned farm-house, from the battery of which came the principal assault, and gained the heights occupied by the enemy's lines ; and certainly it was a position of extraordinary strength and advantage, commanding a view of not only the whole extent towards the town, but of the inland country to a great distance. And here it
be asked, why did Moore abandon those very heights, which he held till a day or two before the French took possession of them? The conclusive answer is this ; that although it is granted that he could have retained his position as long as his supplies lasted, even against a very superior force, yet having only 15,000 men, a number quite inadequate to completely defend the whole extent of heights, and on his right a great expanse of open country, he would have ensured the destruction of his own army, by rendering his wings liable to be turned. Again, it may be asked, why, having left this vantage-ground, did he not throw his
into the town, a tolerably fortified place ? For this reason; that, independent of his being still liable to an attack on the walls, guns could in many places be brought to the water's edge, especially near to fort St. Lucia, (as was done on the next day,) and the embarkation greatly embarrassed, or completely prevented. And, be it remembered, that Moore had already determined on removing the British army from Spain.
Corunna, as seen from this point, presents the