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SPIRIT OF MAGAZINES.
I Ro M T H E UNIver SAL MAGAZINE.
MASSACRE AT JAFFA.
DR. CLARKE in his travels through the Holy Land passed through Jaffa, the scene of the supposed massacre by Bonaparte. Of this he gives the following account, on which no comments are necessary. The testimony of this learned traveller, and of a captain of a man-of-war, with that of other gentlemen now living, must weigh against the uncertain reports of individuals not within two hundred miles of the spot:—
“Jaffa appeared to be almost in as forlorn a state as Rama ; the air itself was still infected with the smell of unburied bodies. We went to the house of the English consul, whose gray hairs" had not exempted him from French extortion. He had just ventured to hoist again the British flag upon the roof of his dwelling; and he told us, with tears in his eyes, that it was the only proof of welcome he could offer us, as the French officers under Bonaparte, had stripped him of every thing he possessed. However, in the midst of all his complaints against the French, not a single syllable ever escaped his lips respecting the enormities supposed to be committed, by means of Bonaparte's orders or connivance, in the town and neighbourhood of Jaffa. As there are so many living witnesses to attest the truth of this representation, and the character of no ordinary individual is so much implicated in its result, the utmost attention will be here paid to every particular likely to illustrate the fact ; and for this especial reason, because that individual is our enemy. At the time we were in Jaffa, so soon after the supposed transactions are said to have occurred, the indignation of our Consul, and of the inhabitants in general, against the French, were of so deep a nature, that there is nothing they would not have said to vilify Bonaparte, or his officers; but this accusation they never even hinted. Nor is this all. Upon the evening of our arrival at Jaffa, walking with Captain Culverhouse along the shore to the south of the town, in order to join some of our party who were gone in search of plants and shells, a powerful and most offensive smell, as from dead bodies, which we had before experienced more than once, in approaching the town, caused us to hesitate whether we should proceed or return. At this moment the author observed the remains of bodies in the sand ; and Captain Culverhouse being in doubt whether they belonged to human bodies, or those of cattle, removed a part of the sand with his sword, and uncovered part of a hand and arm. Upon this, calling to our friends, we told them what we had discovered ; and returning to the Consul’s house, asked him the cause of the revolting spectacle we had witnessed. He told us, that these were the remains of bodies carried thither, during the late plague, for interment; but that the sea, frequently removing the sand which covered them, caused them to be thus exposed ; and he cautioned us in future against walking that way, as the infection might possibly be retained, not only by those bodies, but by the clothes, and other things there deposited. “Some years after, Captain Wright, who is now no more, waited upon the author, at Ibbotson's Hotel, in Vere-street, London, to give an account of what he jocosely termed his scepticism upon this subject; when these and the following particulars were related to him, and an appeal made to the testimony of Captain Culverhouse, Mr. Crips, Mr. Loudon, and others who were with us in Jaffa, as to the fact. Captain Wright still maintained the charge ; and the author, finding the testimony afforded by himself and his friends liable to give offence, reserved all he had to say upon the subject until it should appear in its proper place, as connected with the history of his travels ; always, however, urging the same statement, when appealed to for information. A few months after Captain Wright's visit, Captain Culverhouse, who had been employed in a distant part of the kingdom, recruiting for the Navy, came to London, and meeting the author in public company at table, asked him, with a smile, what he thought of the reports circulated concerning the massacre, &c. at Jaffa. The author answered, by saying, that it had long been his intention to write to Captain Culverhouse upon the subject, and that it was very gratifying to him to find the purport of his letter so satisfactorily anticipated. Captain Culverhouse then, before the whole company then present, expressed his astonishment at the industrious propagation of a story, whereof the inhabitants of Jaffa were ignorant, and of which he had never heard a syllable until his arrival in England. The author knows not where this story originated ; nor is it of any consequence to the testimony he thinks it now a duty to communicate.”
Pro M the Month LY Ma GAzix E.
DEEMING the following interesting account worthy of a less perishable record than the columns of a newspaper, I transmit it for insertion in your magazine. It was communicated to me by a mutual friend, as exhibiting a striking picture of war in reality, divested of “the pride, pomp, and circumstance,” of its parade. So splendid, and yet at the same time so mournful at: event, to many families, as the storming and capture of Badajoz, has rarely occurred in modern times. A. O. C
Camp before Badajoz, 5th April, 1812.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I arrived here a few days since, with a detachment, by Villa Franca, Santarem, Thomar, Abrantes, and Elvas. We marched fourteen days up a hilly country, about eighten miles a day, without halting. The Portuguese behaved tolerably well, but they usually put on a most forbidding aspect when presented with a billet, (looking like some people in England when they receive a lawyer's bill,) yet I met with good accommodations in general, except at Abrantes. An opinion is very prevalent among the common Portuguese that they are under no obligation to us; they therefore make their market of us, and will be sorry whenever the war is finished. The more enlightened think, however, very differently; their soldiers improve much ; and we have two fine regiments with us.
We expect to storm Badajoz to-night in three separate places, so I shall soon see real service; and it is expected to be very sharp work unless they surrender, which is not likely, as general Philippon is a very determined fellow. The French seem, however, to be short of powder and shot; or perhaps they are reserving it for us to-night. They fire a shell or bomb about every two minutes, while we keep up a constant fire upon the breaches and upon the town.
#: # # # 3: + # # # # Alvaon, 15th April.
I now proceed to give you an account of the storming of Badaioz.
o: eight o'clock at night, on Monday the 5th of April, we were formed without knapsacks, and in half an hour marched in an indirect line towards the town, under strict orders, “that not a whisper should be heard?” Part of the 5th division were to attack the town on the south side, while the 3d division, to which I was attached, with their ladders were to scale the citadel, and the rest were to assault the grand breach.
I procured a soldier's jacket, a firelock, sixty round of ballcartridges, and was on the right of my company. But, before I proceed, I will give you some information which I have since obtained, to shew you where, and to what we were going! The governor is allowed to be one of the best engineers in the French service, and he has so proved himself; though our fire was continued at the breach, he had pieces of wood fastened into the ground, with sword blades and bayonets fixed to them, slanting outwards; behind this a chevaux de frieze was chained at both ends across the breach; the beam of it about a foot square, with points on all sides projecting about a yard from the centre, and behind that was a trench four feet wide and four deep. Covering all these, soldiers were planted eight deep, . the two first ranks to fire as fast as they could, and those behind to load for them. Thus prepared, he told the men, “if they stuck to their posts, all the troops in the world could not enter.” Trenches were also dug about fifty yards round the breach in case we did get in ' In short the oldest officers say that no place has been defended with so much science and resolution in our times. On the march all was silent, except that our cannon kept up their fire at the breaches, till we got within a quarter of a mile of the town, when there were two or three fire balls thrown from it in different directions, one of which falling close to us, we silently whispered to each other, “Now it will begin " As the first division of our troops approached the place, the whole town appeared as if it were one mine, every yard throwing out bombs, cannon balls, &c. &c., grape-shot and musket-balls flying also in every direction. On the fire-balls striking near us, we moved out of the road to the green sward, but the cannon-balls hissed by us along the grass, and the musket-balls flew like hail about our heads; we immediately began, therefore, to run forward, till we were within about a hundred yards of the bridge across the first ditch, and then the balls came so thick that, as near as I can judge, twenty must have passed in the space of a minute, within a yard of my head. While we were running on the grass one or two men dropped every minute, and were left behind; but now they fell faster. When we came to the bridge, which was about two yards wide, and twelve yards long, the balls came so thick that I had no expectation of getting across alive. We then began to ascend the hill, and were as crowded as people in a fair. We had to creep upon our hands and knees, the ascent being so steep and rocky; and while creeping, my brother-officer received a ball in the brain, and fell dead Having got up this rock, we came to some palisadoes, within about twenty yards of the wall; these we broke
down, but behind them was a ditch three feet deep, and just behind that a flat space about six yards broad, and then a hill thrown up eight feet high. These passed, we approached a second ditch, and then the wall, which was twenty-six feet high, against which we planted six or seven ladders. The hill is much like that at Greenwich, about as steep and as high. Just as I passed the palisadoed ditch, there came a discharge of grape-shot from a twenty-four pounder, directly into that flat space, and about twelve fine fellows sunk upon the ground, uttering a groan that shook the oldest soldier to the soul. Ten of them never rose again, and the nearest of them was within a foot of me, and the farthest not four yards distant. It swept away all within its range. The next three or four steps I took, was upon this heap of dead! You read of the horrors of war, yet little understand what they mean' When I got over this hill* into the ditch, under the wall, the dead and wounded lay so thick that I was continually treading upon them. A momentary pause took place about the time we reached the ladders, occasioned I apprehend by the grape-shot, and by the numbers killed from off the ladders;–but all were soon up, and formed again in the road; just over the wall. We now cheered four or five times ' When we had entered the citadel, which was directly after we had scaled the wall, no shot came amongt us; the batteries there had been silenced before we were over, and we formed opposite the two gateways, with orders to “to let no force break through us.” I was in the front rank! As soon as Philippon heard that we were in the citadel, he ordered two thousand men “to retake it at all events;” but, when he was told that the whole of the third division had got in, “then,” said he, “give up the town.” One battery fired about two hours after we were in, but those near the breach were quiet in half an hour, part of the fifth division which got in on the south having silenced them. . The attack upon the breach failed; it was renewed a second time; and again a third time, with equally bad fortune, which made Lord Wellington say, “The third division has saved my honour and gained the town.” We continued under arms all night. About fifty prisoners were made in the citadel. Philippon withdrew into Fort St. Christoval, and most of the cavalry escaped by the Sally Port. By the laws of war we were allowed to kill all we found, and our soldiers declared they would do so; but an Englishman cannot kill in cold blood! Our regiment did not fire a gun the whole time. I saw one
* The Escarpment. + The Covered Way. VOLe VIII. 3 F