23 JANUARY 1909, Page 16


On Beard the 'Audacious' in the Channel, Sunday, Janry. 22d, 'D.

I had not time nor power to write you from Corunna my dr. Graham, for I was almost blind with an attack of opthahnia ; but I desired Ld. Cathcart to communicate to you what I had said to him in two lines. Before this can reach you Hope's report to Sir David Baird will have informed you of what happened on the 10th.

But for the sad loss of the most perfect Soldier & Gentleman I over knew, it was a most fortunate circumstance that the Enemy made the attack. It was what he (Sir J. M.) earnestly wished. I never saw him in such spirits as when their Columns were advancing, & that it was evident the attack was to be a serious one ; and he only regretted there would not be light enough to profit much of the advantages he anticipated as certain. His features were so little affected by the pain of a wound which broke the upper ribs and almost tore off the left arm, that I could hardly believe he was struck till I got off my horse to help to lift him against a Bank, & I saw with horror the state of the wound, which was evidently mortal. He lived however above two hours —was carried back to Corunna in a Blanket (near S miles) & spoke to Col. Anderson with perfect recollection about different things—particularly enquiring about the result of the action, & expressing his satisfaction at having beaten the French—asked after me & all his aides de camp by name, said that Anderson knew that that was the kind of death he wished for, sent messages to his family and Friends in England, & hoped his Country would be satisfied with his conduct. In short his death like his life was most exemplary, bespeaking that consciousness of rectitude & that firmness of mind which characterised him on every occasion. I have since reproached myself a good deal for not having remained with him, but the case seemed desperate. It was of much consequence to inform Hope that the command had devolved upon him, & I left him in the hands of others, & was surprised to hear after the action was quite over that he was still alive.—The Enemy did not expect to meet such a resistance.

Their attack was impetuous, entirely directed against our point (our right) in the first instance, & was in fact defeated by Ld. W. Bentinck's Brigade, with the left of which Sir John remained speaking to the 42d & reminding them of what they had done on former occasions. While it lasted, the fire was extremely hot. The Enemy had great advantage in artillery— most of ours was embarked. Theirs entirely commanded the right of our bad (but necessary) position, & it was admirably well served. With some hours of daylight, I have no doubt but that a complete victory would have been obtained, as Paget's division had nearly turned their left, & might have been supported by Frazer's, not at all engaged; our left was so strong as to be almost unattackabie & therefore many men might have been drawn from it in the advance. The whole of the Enemy's position was strong, but their left the least so.

Adieu, Ever yours, J. G."