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OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

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OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:49 am

[This shall be the thread for the Main Army Assault, under the Command of Lt-Gen. Edward Paget, and Maj-Gen. Rowland Hill. All other threads can be found at the Battle Index.]

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:26 pm

[From here]

Bryony trotted down from the seminary, and Edrington joined Major Vereker. "We have boats... bring the men down to the landing place, and they will be here directly. The General's orders are that the Rifles go across first - so I will be with them, but after that, it's our turn."

He turned from the redcoats to find his Rifles Officers. "Captain Vickery, Mr Sharpe - now that we have boats, you will have the honour of crossing first. I am not sure how many men each of them can carry, but we're to take the Seminary, and hold it, to protect the landing place."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:31 pm

Padstowe was waiting down by the bank under the shade of a tree, across from the seminary. With him was Luis, the Portuguese barber who had caught his attention and revealed the presence of the the wine barges. The first troops would be on their way, and when they arrived two others would have to accompany Luis across in his small rowboat to bring one of the barges back - Padstowe, incapacitated as he was, had been unable to offer help on that front.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:04 pm

Harris came down the back in the wake of Mr Sharpe and Sergeant Harper, and followed them over the Redcoat. Because of the shade he did not immediately recognize Captain Padstowe, who had been on that mission with them, but when he did he was shocked at how ill he looked. That beating he took had been as bad as described, clearly.

Rowing was not something he had much experience in, but someone would have to do it, and he allowed himself to be volunteered.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:57 am

"Good day, gentlemen," Padstowe said, stepping out from under the shade to meet the advancing officers - he recognised Edrington, General Paget, Sharpe and Vickery. "The barges are currently still on the other side, and we will need men to volunteer to go across with this gentleman-" He indicated Luis. "- to retrieve them. The barges take four men to steer, and I estimate will carry approximately thirty men across as passengers."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:04 am

"Permission to speak, sir?" said Harper, stepping forward.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:17 am

Padstowe looked to Edrington, puzzled, seeing whether he would allow the sergeant to speak.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:23 am

Edrington fielded the glance, and, as it were, tossed it to Mr Sharpe. Then looked at the big Irishman.

"Permission given, Sergeant. Carry on."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:36 am

"I'd like to volunteer, sir, me and a few of the lads. We'll fetch the boats for you in no time at all."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:50 am

"Will that suit you?" Edrington asked Padstowe, as the Riflemen of the 95th moved backwards or forwards, depending on their enthusiasm for rowing.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:05 am

"Entirely, sir," Padstowe replied, gesturing at his injured arm. "I regret not being able to offer more active assistance for the moment."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:18 am

"Very well, then. Thank you, Mr Sharpe, Sergeant. Four volunteers to go across for the first barge," he said, looking at the small rowboat in which they would have to cross.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:19 am

Harper saluted to the officers and trotted down to the rowboat, followed by Tongue.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:20 am

Carty stepped forwards as well, but Perkins pulled him back. "Don't be silly, you'd never manage the oar."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:37 am

Harris gave him a smile as he stepped forward to join Harper and Tongue. "We'll come straight back for you, Carty."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:44 am

Harper picked Tartt out of the remaining volunteers; a Thames waterman who had joined the army to avoid being pressed. He could row well himself, having had much practice in the rough seas around Donegal; the river would be like glass in comparison.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:28 pm

Harris checked the priming on his rifle - the far bank, to which they would be rowed looked quiet enough, and presumably this Luis was not leading them into a trap - but the French were only a couple of miles away, and one of their lookouts could see them. At least on this trip, the rowing would be done by the Portuguese. He gave another cheerful smile to Carty, and followed Harper down to the shore.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:51 am

Edrington watched the four riflemen walk down to the small rowing boat, and then turned to Vereker. "We will need good shots, who can row - or who are strong enough and agile enough to learn quickly!" He calculated quickly. "They must be the first across: sixteen men to bring the barges back, and the rest to protect the landing stage - and to spell the other. If possibly we should have three sets. The 62nd if possible, though the other line regiments may have volunteers... The Riflemen are going to have other work to do."

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:54 am

Harper stood at the water's edge, watching as the Riflemen clambered gracelessly onto the small boat. It leaned precariously as the tall Sergeant got in last, holding on tight to his rifle. Settling as close to the middle as he could fit, he kept his eyes on the far bank - he had spent too long in this part of the world to risk taking any chances.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:06 am

Harris had heard the Colonel's words and was relieved. Volunteering to be the first men over, was one thing, but he had no wish to spend the entire day acting as ferryman. There was, as the Colonel said, other work more suited to them. Tongue, next to him, was as alert, his rifle barrel following his eyes along the bank, and then coming back to focus on the stone steps which they were making for. Above them rose the bulk of a building, which appeared to be deserted....

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:09 am

Mícheál watched anxiously as the boat approached the opposite bank, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. "You'll get your chance, boy," said Will Brown in his usual insouciant way, checking his flint.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:36 am

It was Tartt who told them what to do - Sergeant Harper's weight and strength that counted, while the Portuguese, keen as mustard, hung onto the steering oar, fighting to keep the barge straight, when it seemed to want to turn round and round, rolling like a log. By the time it scraped on the gravel on the south bank, there were men, redcoats ready to hold the barge, while they boarded.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:54 am

The men picked for duty on the barges were taking their place eagerly, and someone began to whistle Rule Britannia. The 62nd was proud of its time serving as Marines in the Seven Years' War, and this, although not something they had trained for, appealed to regimental pride.

Edrington stepped on board as two men pushed the barge back into the swift flowing current, and the Riflemen at the oars pulled them across.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:10 am

Harris was relieved to find that they would not have the duty of rowing this damned heavy barge all day - when they returned to the northern shore, redcoats clambered aboard the stranded barges, after which they brought the rest to the landing stage with its stone steps. And there the riflemen surrendered their oars to four burly privates from the 62nd, and climbed up, to look at the Seminary which stood solid and imposing above the steps. There was no cheering as the barges set off to bring more men over, although still there was no sign of any response by the French.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:14 am

Throughout the operation, Harper kept an eye on the surrounding landscape; he knew the French too well to truly believe that they would allow their enemy to perform such a task with such ease. The Chosen Men, reliable as always, appeared to have a similar idea as him.

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Re: OPORTO, 22nd May - The Seminary

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