Journal of a Soldier of the 71st, Or Glasgow Regiment, Highland Light Infantry, from 1806 to 1815

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Balfour and Clarke, 1819 - Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1815 - 232 pages
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Page 77 - M'Donald, the hardy Highlander, began to fail. He, as well as myself, had long been barefooted and lame ; he that had encouraged me to proceed, now himself lay down to die. For two days he had been almost blind, and unable, from a severe cold, to hold up his head. We sat down together ; not a word escaped our lips. We looked around — then at each other, and closed our eyes. We felt there was no hope. — We would have given in charge a farewell to our friends ; but who was to carry it ? There were,...
Page 222 - The soldier, who was a Glasgow lad, could not speak. There is a music in our native tongue, in a foreign land, where it is not to be looked for, that often melts the heart when we hear it unexpectedly. These two girls had found their way from Paisley to Paris, and were working at tambouring, and did very well.
Page 7 - Thomas, Thomas, you will have our deaths to answer for," was all my mother could say ; tears and sobs choked her utterance. I was immovable in my resolves. The bills were printed, and I had given my word. This was the last time I ever saw them both. The scene has embittered all my former days, and still haunts me in all my hours of thought. Often, like an avenging spirit, it starts up in my most tranquil hours, and deprives me of my peace. Often, in the dead of night, when on duty, a solitary sentinel,...
Page 27 - ... was not yet seventeen years of age, and had not been six months from home. My limbs bending under me with fatigue, in a sultry clime, the musket and accoutrements that I was forced to carry were insupportably oppressive. Still I bore all with invincible patience. During the action, the thought of death never once crossed my mind. After the firing commenced, a still sensation stole over my whole frame, a firm determined torpor, bordering on insensibility. I heard an old soldier answer, to a youth...
Page 133 - During this day, the loss of men was great. In our retreat back to the town, when we halted to check the enemy, who bore hard upon us, in their attempts to break our line, often was I obliged to stand with a foot upon each side of a wounded man, who wrung my soul with prayers I could not answer, and pierced my heart with his cries to be lifted out of the way of the cavalry. While my heart bled for them, I have shaken them rudely off. We kept up our fire, until long after dark. About one o'clock in...
Page 87 - The officers, in many points, suffered as much as the men. I have seen officers of the guards, and others, worth thousands, with pieces of old blankets wrapt round their feet and legs ; the men pointing at them, with a malicious satisfaction, saying, " There goes three thousand a-year ;" or, " There goes the prodigal son, on his return to his father, cured of his wanderings.
Page 115 - ... to their shifts to get over again, and scarce could make it out. Next morning the French advanced to a mud wall, about forty yards in front of the one we lay behind. It rained heavily this day, and there was very little firing. During the night we received orders to cover the bugle and tartans of our bonnets with black crape, which had been served out to us during the day, and to put on our great-coats. Next morning the French, seeing us thus, thought we had retired, and left Portuguese to guard...
Page 206 - I shall ever remember an adventure that happened to me, towards the afternoon. We were in extended order, firing and retiring. I had just risen to run behind my file, when a spent shot struck me on the groin, and took the breath from me.
Page 116 - Portuguese to guard the heights. With dreadful shouts, they leaped over that wall before which they had stood, when guarded by British. We were scarce able to withstand their fury. To retreat was impossible; all behind being ploughed land, rendered deep by the rain. There was not a moment to hesitate. To it we fell, pell-mell, French and British mixed together. It was a trial of strength in single combat; every man had his opponent, many had two.
Page 106 - How dreadful to think, as they were carried from each side of me, it might be my turn next ! There was none to comfort, none to give a drink of water, with a pleasant countenance. I had now time to reflect with bitterness on my past conduct ; here I learned the value of a parent's kindness. I had been unable to write since my illness, and I longed to tell my mother where I was, that I might hear from her. I crawled along the wall of the hospital to the door, to see if I could find one more convalescent...

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