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Post Info TOPIC: Battle of Busaco


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Posts: 1845
Date: Aug 21 9:36 PM, 2010
RE: Battle of Busaco

Very interesting write-up indeed thanks Namparagirl, look forward to seeing if anything about the anniversary appears on the Net.  Amazing how WG takes you straight into the scene every time.....

Hope you had a nice relaxing holiday  

Ross smile


"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.




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Posts: 723
Date: Aug 21 9:03 PM, 2010

Namps, what an interesting piece....a very enjoyable be a lovely evening and I be off shortly for an evening at Sally's.....there be a beautiful sunset outside my window.  I shall be walking home with the full moon....

Love Bella xxx

PS please make sure you take me house/pool sitting next time my friend



Honorary life member

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Posts: 1217
Date: Aug 21 3:32 PM, 2010

Just back from vacation in Portugal where I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks on the south-western Atlantic coast, up in the hills above Aljezur whilst house/pool-sitting for a friend.  Unfortunately, due to the great surf conditions, we didn't get the time to explore as far north as Busaco, but having spent a little time exploring the hills and mountainous regions between Aljezur and Sagres, I can only say that I am full of admiration and awe for the brave soldiers who obviously endured tremendous hardship, searing heat, ever present dust, difficulties, fear and discomfort which they had to overcome when going into battle to fight for their king and country in 1810 under the leadership of Wellington or 'Old Douro', against the might of the Napoleon's French troops.

This September 27th 2010 sees the 200th anniversary of the battle of Busaco (Bucaco) and there are many events planned to commemorate the victory.  I will definitely plan a trip to Porto and a visit to the area next time I'm over there. 

I think this link might be interesting for anyone wanting to know a little more of the history of the battle in which, according to the fiction, our two famous Captain Poldarks were involved as part of Crauford's 43rd light division.

I can't help feeling sorry for Demelza and all the other wives and families, who had to wait months and even years sometimes to find out whether their men were alive or dead in battle, never mind knowing when they would arrive home safely.  We know from the book that Ross didn't step foot on English soil again until he sailed into Chatham on 12 January 1811 and immediately sent a letter to Demelza to say he had arrived back in London.

From 'Stranger from the Sea', Ross seeks out Geoffrey Charles on the eve of the battle:

They had supped off cold food and the night was quiet, except for the scraping of cicadas and the soughing of the wind.  Once or twice the keening of the pipes grew out of the dark, a dree sound, mourning as if for the slaughter on the morrow, yet quietly stirring, both a lament and an incitement.  Down below in the plain the roll of drums sounded.  It was as if the French were making no secret of their power - the power that had decimated all the other armies of Europe - so that the knowledge might seep into the minds and hearts of their opponents and sap their courage before dawn broke.  The English knew there would be a battle tomorrow, for Wellington had said that this was as far as they would retreat - and what Wellington said he always meant.  But the French could not know whether the army encamped on the slopes above them might not have done the wise thing and slipped away before morning, leaving no more than a rearguard to delay their advance.  It had happened often enough in the last few years.  The British victory at Talavera last year was the exception, not the pattern.

It was near midnight when they had finished eating, and as a soldier led Ross through the lines many men were already asleep - or at least they were lying down wrapped in their cloaks.  They were all it seemed fully clad; no one bothered to take greater ease knowing the day ahead.  Groups lay on elbows or squatted, quietly talking.......

It was more than half a mile and Ross was limping by the end of it.  He rode a horse longer than he walked these days.  Then it was an asking and a questing, a seeking among dark and sprawling figures, the thumb jerked, the finger pointed.  Ross's escort moved like a small Scottish ferret from group to group.  At last a man sat up and said:
"Yes, I'm Poldark.  Who wants me?"
"One of your own blood," said Ross.  "Who else?"
There was as startled oath, and a thin man scrambled to his feet.  He had been lying, his back propped against a tree, his scabbard across his knees.  He peered in the uncertain starlight.
"By the Lord God!  It's Uncle Ross!"
"Geoffrey Charles!  I never thought I should have the good fortune to meet you in this way!  But I'm conceited enough to believe that no other person with such a name exists in the British army!"
"By God!" Geoffrey Charles embraced his kinsman cheek to cheek, voice and tone light with pleasure, then held him by the biceps in a firm examining grip.  "It is too much to believe!  Just when I was thinking of home - here, with the snap of a finger, as out of a magic bottle, comes the person I remember best of that motley crew - and with one exception, value most highly!  God save us!  It can't be possible!"
Ross explained his presence.
"Then you should go at once to Wellington instead of frittering your time discovering an unimportant nephew?  Go and see Old Douro and then when he is done with you, I shall be happy to talk."
Ross hesitated, unwilling to explain the precise nature of his presence here, uncomfortable indeed that, stated in a few sentences, it might not commend itself to his nephew at all.
"Geoffrey Charles," he said, "I am sent here for the value of my observation rather than my communication, and I suspect General Wellington has not a little on his mind tonight.  What I have to say to him will not help him win or lose the battle in the morning and can be as well said after as before."
"You are staying?"
"Of course.  Wouldn't miss it.  Can you use another sharpshooter immediately under your command?"
"My command, mon Dieu! C'est a ne pas y croire -"
"Well, I see you are now a Captain.  And that, since I have so long been a civilian, gives you the seniority.  I'd be willing to accept."
Geoffrey Charles snorted.  "Uncle, you do yourself no sort of honour, since I understand you have been in and out of a number of scrapes during the last ten years!  To say nothing of your membership of that talk-house in Westminster!  However, if you wish to be by my side in any little action which may take place to dissuade the French from climbing this escarpment .... well, I'll be happy to accommodate you!"
"Good, then that's settled."
"You've seen the French encamped below?"
"Colonel McNeil gave me the opportunity."
"So you'll appreciate that there could be at least a chance of your never being able to deliver your message to Wellington?"
"It's a risk my conscience will entitle me to take."  

-- Edited by namparagirl on Sunday 22nd of August 2010 01:50:14 AM


Tide was nearly full. Mist lay in a grey scarf along the line of the cliffs.
.. and they walked home hand in hand through the slanting shadows of the new darkness.

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