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OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

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OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:42 am

[This will be the thread for the Central Command and Artillery. All other threads can be found at the Battle Index.]

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:08 am

Edrington nodded to the young Captain, and followed him into the presence of the General, followed by the other Colonels of the Division.

"Sir Arthur, we are in position - but a trifle inconvenienced by the lack of boats and bridges."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:20 am

The slight flicker of irritation on the General's countenance conveyed the fact that he did not have to be reminded of the 'inconvenience'.

"Thank you, Edrington. We shall be able to move swiftly when the opportunity arises."

He had every exploring officer this side of the Douro out looking for boats - one boat, just any boat would do. Even a slightly leaky rowboat would be better than nothing if it allowed him to place redcoats on Enemy ground. His fingers drummed on the table top in a swift tattoo, as from the window he looked out across the Douro to the city beyond. It was most frustrating indeed.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:37 am

Edrington hid the smile. It was frustrating, but Soult's move was only to be expected. "Is there anything we should do - my men are ... quite eager. They have been quite affronted at what they saw on the road from the Vouga."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:42 am

Wellesley's attention was brought back into the room, and his eyes focussed on Edrington.

"Besides parade them, gentlemen, I do not see what else you can do with them for the moment. Boats are being sent from the blockading fleet, but their arrival is not guaranteed; so we must endeavour to find some of our own. Unless of course we fancy swimming." This last was added dryly. "The French cannot have sunk every boat on this river."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:32 am

"Will the Navy be attacking the French position at the mouth of the Douro?" Edrington asked. "Though I doubt if that would be enough distraction to allow them to send boats up river."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:36 am

"They will. But you are right, Edrington; and as I have said, we cannot wait upon the Navy."

If needs be he would have the men build boats to get across...

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:41 am

"I am not sure that I would like to swim the Douro ..." Edrington remembered their swim in the Mondego, but messing about in the shallows was a very different matter. "You may be able to get one or two men over, but not with dry powder. To bring back some boats though - if they are on the north shore."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:44 am

That also was a problem that had not escaped Sir Arthur's attention.

"So far we can only search the south bank. Were even a small boat to be found we could send men over to search and scout the north."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:58 am

"I realise it is probably rather late in the day - but has any thought been given to the possibility of carrying some of the smaller Naval boats overland - from the coast south of the river mouth, out of sight of the French. I believe that such things are done occasionally, and the maps show the land as relatively flat."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:02 am

It was a novel idea, Wellesley had to admit, but feasible. If word could be got to the Naval parties in time - a dispatch rider ought to do it... He was about to make a reply when there was a hurried knock and Sanders entered, somewhat flustered but with a huge grin on his face.

"Sir, I've just received a report from one of our scouts; we have boats!"

Wellesley was silent for a second, cautious in the face of hope; but Sanders had said 'boats' in the plural.

"How many?" he asked.

"Four," Sanders replied. "Four wine barges. They are hidden on the north bank up near the seminary. One of our scouts was along that when a Portuguese fellow got his attention - rowed over and showed him the barges."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:39 am

Edrington's face broke into a smile. "Then - with your leave, Sir Arthur - I will go back to my men. We will be crossing as soon as the boats are back, and I would not like to be too far behind."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:05 am

"By all means. Gentlemen," Wellesley turned to the rest of the commanding officers, a smile on his face. "You may return to your men, as it seems we shall have a battle today. Paget, you are to go across first and secure the seminary - take Edrington and his Rifles across first. Keep the seminary, at all costs - we shall give you covering fire from here."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:12 am

"And the 62nd," Edrington added softly. "They would not be happy to be left behind." He saluted and turned for the door.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:16 am

"I did include the 62nd in that, my lord," Wellesley said, apologising. "It seems I did not make myself clear. The 62nd and their accompanying riflemen if you please, Paget, followed by the 27th and the 33rd. The fourth Division shall follow in march order."

And pray to God they were not sunk.

"Gentlemen, to your stations. I wish you Godspeed."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:51 am

Edrington saluted, and left the Convent as quickly as possible, to find where Bryony was being walked up and down by a sensible groom. He swung into the saddle and rode back to his battalion.

[which is here]


Last edited by Edrington on Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:24 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To add link)

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:16 am

Prestwich lit the cigar that Starley offered to him and surveyed what they could see of the city from the convent. After sometime he pointed to one of Starley's guns, which the artillery officer had readied for the bombardment.

'That there is going to be a tricky angle, Starley.'
'I know it only too well, I've positioned it myself.'
They smoked in silence for sometime.

'I hope the order is going to come soon, I hate cooling my heels like this,' finally said Starley through a cloud of smoke.
'You should talk. My job starts after the battle. If we should win.'
'Well, Prestwich, you chose it yourself.'
'At least I don't get to kill anyone. When I think about the fact that each and everyone of your canonballs may kill some innocent bystander. A child, a cripple...' Prestwich grimaced and fell silent. Starley knew better than to take offence and only sighed.
'You know, Prestwich, if I thought about it every time I gave the order I'd probably go mad, so let's not talk about it, eh?' Starley turned away from the guns.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:23 am

After the 2nd Division's commanders had exited Wellesley drew his watch out from his pocket and checked the time. He looked up and out across the river again, then snapped the watch lid shut and replaced the timepiece back in his pocket.

"Time we gave Soult a rude awakening, eh? Inform the forward battery that they may begin the bombardment immediately."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:30 am

An ADC approached the two Colonels and saluting relayed the General's orders. Starley sighed, threw down his cigar and grinding it to a pulp with his heel, said:
'Well, time for me to go. I'll see you after the battle, Prestwich. Oh, sorry, I won't, you'll be working.' Grininng, he left to give the order for bombardment. Soon the first shots rang out and puffs of smoke hung over the convent. Prestwich turned away and trying to avoid Wellesley's eyes walked to the door leading inside.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:48 am

George actually found a strange pleasure in being able for once to watch the battle happening rather than participating in it. The guns boomed so close but for once he did not need to worry about being struck by them. He could see Starley pacing from gun to gun, taking too much interest for a man of his rank in the actual running of the guns. He saw the smoke spread and clear as the wind blew, as if a curtain being lifted in the theatre. For a moment he close his eyes and simply listened.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

Post  Guest on Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:56 am

Prestwich returned to the Staff Group, flanked by some of his officers. Should the day prove successful, they'd be charged with the task of building a pontoon bridge. He surveyed the river banks, keeping a running commentary on the suitabilty of the locations, one of the junior Lieutenants making notes of what he said.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Serra Convent

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