battalions which had once been Le Cor’s and was now under Campbell. The new 7th Division, which had just landed, had not 杭州楼凤 yet commenced its march from Lisbon.
The aspect of the region through which the army was marching was piteous in the extreme. Santarem town was a wreck, ‘the houses torn and dilapidated, the streets strewn with household furniture half-burnt and destroyed, many streets quite impassable with filth and rubbish, with an occasional man, horse, or donkey rotting, and corrupting the air with pestilential vapours: a few miserable inhabitants like living skeletons.’ The country-side was worse—cottages burnt and unroofed, and corpses of murdered peasants, some fresh, some mere heaps of bones, lying in every ravine. The survivors were just emerging from woods or caverns to cut up the French sick
and stragglers. A single quotation may suffice to give some idea of the wayside sights of this distressing march. It comes from a 3rd Division qq chronicler, who is describing the village of Porto de Mos, south of Leiria: ‘When we entered the place, there was a large convent fronting us, which, as well as many of the houses, had been set on fire by the French. I never before witnessed such destruction: floors torn up, beds cut in pieces, their contents thrown about intermixed with kitchen utensils, broken mirrors, china, &c.[p. 89] There was a large fire in the chapel, on which had been heaped broken pieces of the altar, wooden images, picture frames, and the ornamental woodwork of the organ. Searching for a clean place to put down bags of biscuit, we found a door leading to a chamber apart from the chapel. It was quite dark, so I took up a burning piece of wood to inspect it. It was full of half-consumed human bodies, some lying, others kneeling or leaning against the 杭州夜生活 walls. The floor was covered with ashes, in many places still red-hot. Such an appalling sight I have never witnessed. Of those who had sunk on the floor nothing remained but bones: those who were in a kneeling or standing posture were only partially consumed. The expression of their scorched faces was horrible beyond description. In a bag lying at the upper end of the apartment was the dead body of a young child, who had been strangled: the cord used was still tight about its little neck.’
It was on the morning that followed his arrival at Torres Novas (March 8th) that Wellington, encouraged by the reports of his cavalry scouts, to the effect that the French were marching day and night, and showed no wish to fight, issued the orders already alluded to in a previous chapter, which bade Beresford turn back the 2nd Division, and march with it and the 4th to the relief of Badajoz. The report of Menacho’s death and of the rapid advance of the French siege-works had just reached him. Beresford was to take with him Hamilton’s Portuguese division, which had not yet passed the Tagus, and De Grey’s cavalry brigade. The boat-bridge at Abrantes was floated down to Tancos near Punhete, in order t