« ElőzőTovább »
Buffs;" this sobriquet has been since retained. The Twenty-eighth Regiment has been named the "Slashers;" the Fiftieth the "Dirty Half-hundred;" the Fifty-seventh the "Die-hards ;" and the Fiftysixth the "Pompadours ;"-cum multis aliis.
EXAMPLE OF BREVITY.
General Sir Robert Boyd was remarkable for the brevity of his despatches. Whilst governor of Gibraltar, he is said to have written an order to his agent, Mr. Browne, in England, for his own private stores, in three words, like Cæsar's-" Veni, vidi, vici "—namely, "Browne, beef, Boyd." The reply which accompanied the stores was equally laconic"Boyd, beef, Browne."
PRISONERS TO THE BURMESE.
When Dr. Sandford and Lieutenant Bennett, of the Royals, were captured during the first Burmese war of 1825-26, preparations were made to crucify them; but, after an hour's suspense, they were eventually forwarded in chains to the capital, a distance of 300 miles. On reaching Ava they were thrown into a loathsome dungeon, crowded with criminals and deserters, where the Doctor remained five, and Lieutenant Bennett ten days, with nothing but a little rice to support them, and even this was occasionally omitted. After being released from gaol they were kept separate. The Doctor was a prisoner at large in the house of Mr. Price, an American missionary and the king's interpreter, and Lieutenant Bennett was placed under charge of a Burmese constable, and was in chains in a lonely situation during the troubled and fearful
state of Ava. From the vindictive and sanguinary disposition of some of the Burmese ministers and chiefs, the lives of the prisoners were in constant jeopardy, particularly during the moments of excitement produced by disastrous intelligence from the army. The prisoners had also to dread that, through the influence and fury of the queen and priests, they should be sacrificed as a propitiatory offering to the Burmese gods. On the nearer approach of the British army, the Doctor and Lieutenant Bennett were frequently consulted on European modes of concluding treaties of peace; and the Burmese acknowledged they could not reconcile to their minds the idea that a victorious army, with nothing to impede its progress, should halt within a day or two's march of the capital and terminate the war on conditions; this was not Burman custom. To use their own simile, they could not believe the cat with the mouse in her claws would refrain from demolishing it, and therefore they concluded the pecuniary demand of the English general was merely a ruse to obtain as much precious metal as possible, and afterwards as much territory would be retained as was deemed convenient. To raise their opinion of British faith, the Doctor engaged to convey a letter to the British camp, and to return of his own accord, and his re-appearance astonished the Burmese ministers and the whole population of Ava.
Lieutenant (afterwards Major) Bennett wrote an interesting narrative of the various scenes and incidents he met with-all of a novel and singular nature, and exhibiting traits and peculiarities of the Burman character, which his situation as a prisoner of war
could alone develop. This narrative was published in the first and second volumes of the "United Service Journal."
A division of the Eighty-sixth Regiment, on marching through Tipperary, in 1823, halted at the village of Middleton: in the evening the commanding officer observed the soldiers assembled round a tomb in the burial ground, with their caps off; on inquiring the cause, a soldier of the grenadiers replied, "Your honour, we are come up to see our old captain." On joining the group, he observed the tomb of his old and respected comrade, Lieut.-Colonel Lanphier, and the following words, which had been scratched by the soldiers beneath the inscription of the tomb-stone:-"A BRAVE SOLDIER!" "Please, your honour," the soldier continued, "the boys of the company would like to fire three rounds over the grave, and would be glad to pay for the powder, if your honour will let them fire." On the following morning the grenadier company, which the deceased had gallantly commanded for a number of years, paid the last tribute of respect to their late captain's remains, which was duly appreciated by his surviving relatives, and also by the villagers. Lieut.-Colonel Lanphier entered the army as ensign in the Tenth Foot, in 1798, and was promoted to be lieutenant in the Eighty-sixth Regiment in 1800, to be captain in 1806, to the rank of BrevetMajor in 1810, and of Brevet Lieut.-Colonel in 1819; he retired from the service by the sale of his commission on the 30th of January, 1823, being then the senior captain of the Eighty-sixth Regiment.
BADAJOZ AND THE PIPER OF THE SEVENTY-FOURTH.
At the siege of Badajoz, in March, 1812, when the final attack was made on the night of the 6th of April, amongst the foremost in the escalade was John McLauchlan, the piper of the Seventy-fourth, who, the instant he mounted the castle wall, began playing the regimental quick-step, "The Campbells are Coming," at the head of the advance along the ramparts, as coolly as if on a common parade, until his music was stopped by a shot through the bag of the pipes; he was afterwards seen seated on a gun carriage, quietly repairing the damage, perfectly unconcerned about the shot flying around, and presently recommenced his animating tune. The poor piper was afterwards cut in two by a cannon-shot at the battle of Vittoria, in the following year, whilst playing in rear of the colours.
CAPTURE OF THE FIRST EAGLE.
The first French eagle taken during the Peninsular War, was that captured by Sergeant Patrick Masterson, of the Eighty-seventh Royal Irish Fusiliers, at the battle of Barrosa, on the 5th of March, 1811. It belonged to the Eighth French Light Infantry. The sergeant was promoted to an ensigncy in the Royal York Light Infantry Volunteers for this deed, and was subsequently removed to his old regiment, the Eightyseventh Fusiliers.
Alexander the Great, when traversing the deserts of Africa, and suffering, in common with his army,
excessive thirst, on a soldier presenting him with some water in a casque, he threw it away in the presence of the troops;—the lesson of temperance conveyed in this action was greater than giving it to his soldiers to drink.
This brings to remembrance the memorable anecdote of the illustrious Sidney.
Sir Philip Sidney, at the battle of Zutphen, displayed the most undaunted courage. He had two horses killed under him; and whilst mounting a third, was wounded by a musket-shot out of the trenches, which broke the bone of his thigh. He returned about a mile and a-half on horseback to the camp; and being faint with the loss of blood, and parched with thirst, he called for drink. It was presently brought him; but as he was putting the vessel to his mouth, a poor wounded soldier, who happened to be carried by him at that instant, looked up to it with wishful eyes. The gallant and generous Sidney took the bottle from his mouth, just when he was going to drink, and delivered it to the soldier, saying, "Thy necessity is yet greater than mine."
Similar self-denial is exemplified in the following interesting circumstance, which is recorded by Lieut. General Sir William Napier, in his history of the conquest of Scinde, respecting the march into the desert in pursuit of Meer Shere Mahomet :-
"On one of those long marches, which were almost continual, the Twenty-fifth Sepoys, being nearly maddened by thirst and heat, saw one of their watercarriers approaching with full skins of water. They rushed towards him in crowds, tearing away the skins and struggling together, with loud cries of Water!