The British Army in Portugal and Spain: Its Order-of-Battle (June 1808 - April 1809)
Part IV: The British Garrison in Portugal
By Ron McGuigan
The garrison in Portugal on 26 September 1808, was to consist of:
Commanding the force: Lieutenant General Sir Harry Burrard
Appointed to the Staff:
Major General John Murray
Cavalry4 Troops, 20th Light Dragoons (327)
Due to the high number of sick in the regiments chosen to go into Spain, Lt General Burrard added the 2nd Regiment, 1/9th Regiment, an the 20th Regiment to Lieutenant General Moore's Army. On 13 October, Lt General Burrard received orders to retain in Portugal eight regiments [including 4 of the King's German Legion], 20th Light Dragoons and artillery. The remainder were to go with Lieutenant General Moore's force. On 18 October, Brigadier General John Sontag [Sontag being one of a number of officers used by Lord Castlereagh to report on the affairs in Portugal] was left in Lisbon to look after the sick and forward supplies to the army in Spain.
By 22 October, Moore had ordered the 1/3rd Regiment and the 1/50th Regiment to join his army.
Lieutenant General Burrard was recalled by 1 November. He resigned the command and left Lisbon on 18 November, leaving Brigadier General R. Stewart in temporary command in Portugal. (Two officers who were senior to him were not available. Major General Murray was not in Portugal at this time and Major General Mackenzie was serving with Baird's Corps.) Mackenzie was recalled to Lisbon, taking command by 29 November. Lieutenant General Sir John Cradock was appointed to the command in early November. He sailed for Portugal on 3 December 1808.
The 3/27th Regiment and 2/31st Regiment from Baird's Corps arrived on 1 November. On 20 November, an order was received to send two weak battalions [3/27th and 2/31st] to Gibraltar in exchange for the 1/48th and 1/61st Regiments which were to join Moore's army. Cradock was informed that another cavalry regiment was being sent out and that the detachment of the 20th Light Dragoons could be sent to join their regiment [in Sicily].
On 1 November, Lieutenant Colonel Robe reported the artillery in Portugal consisted of nine light 6 pounders and three 5½ inch light howitzers in two brigades [originally landed with Wellesley's force]; five medium 12 pounders, five heavy or long 6 pounders and two 5½ inch heavy howitzers in two brigades which were still on board ship, never having been landed; four medium 12 pounders, twelve light 6 pounders, two 5½ inch heavy howitzers and two 5½ inch light howitzers in three brigades for the King's German Legion artillery and four light 3 pounders and two [actually four] 5½ inch light howitzers in one brigade from Gibraltar. This made a total of 52 guns available to be horsed and sent forward to Moore's army, if requested by Colonel Harding. Harding had thought that he might require the heavy guns sent forward.
14 November 1808
On 14 November the stations of the garrison were reported as:
Craddock Takes Command
When Lieutenant General Cradock assumed command on 14 December 1808, the garrison consisted of:
Major General John Murray
20th Light Dragoons
Major Generals Murray and Leveson Gower were not in Portugal at this time. Other units in the garrison included:
Major General Stapleton Cotton and 8 Troops 14th Light Dragoons (672) from England arrived on 21/22 December.
On 24 December, six light 3 pounders with limbers were embarked in England for service in Portugal.
6 January 1809
The stations of the Portuguese Garrison on 6 January 1809 were:
Lisbon: Lieutenant General Cradock; Major General Cotton; Brigadier General Sontag and Brigadier General Baron Langwerth.
One-half of the 20th Light Dragoon
Almeida:Brigadier General Cameron
Santarem:Brigadier Generals Stewart and Drieberg
one-half 20th Light Dragoons
Sacavem: Major General Mackenzie
one-half 14th Light Dragoons
Elvas: Colonel James Kemmis and 1/40th Regiment
Re-inforcing General Moore
Lieutenant General Cradock had tried to reinforce Moore's army in early December by sending forward Brigadier General Cameron with the 1/45th Regiment, 1/82nd Regiment, and the 97th Regiment. Only the 1/82nd Regiment got through and the others turned back. Sometime betwen 26-29 December, Brigadier Generals R. Stewart and Drieberg with the 29th Regiment, 2/31st Regiment, 5th Battalion and 7th Line Battalion King's German Legion, and half-brigades of light 6 pounders under Lawson and Rettberg were sent to reinforce Moore' s army; however, they only reached Castello Branco and on 8 January they turned back to Abrantes. On 5 January, Brigadier General Cameron, with 1/45th Regiment 97th Regiment and the convalescents of Moore's army, advanced again into Spain, but on 9 January news of Moore's retreat caused him to return. Lieutenant General Cradock, on 14 January, ordered a Brigade [probably commanded by Major General Mackenzie] of 14th Light Dragoons, 2/9th Regiment, and 3/27th Regiment to embark for Vigo and try to reach Moore's army from there. While still in the Tagus, news of Moore's retreat caused them to disembark.
In February 1809, Major General Mackenzie was despatched to Cadiz with the 2/9th Regiment, the 29th Regiment, the 3/27th Regiment, and Major Hartmann with Bredin's Company Royal Artillery and the 4th Company [Heise] King's German Legion Artillery. They were again refused permission to land and returned 11March. Colonel Kemmis with the 1/40th Regiment was sent to garrison Seville.
In January and February 1809, Brigadier General Cameron had organized two battalions of detachments from soldiers of Moore's army left behind when that army went to Spain. Later more of the sick and the stragglers from Moore's army in Spain were added. On 6 February, they numbered about 1,463 rank and file.
Reinforcements continued to arrive. On 4 March, more Royal Artillery landed:
May's Company 1st Battalion (127)
Re-inforcements from Home
The Government had ordered out more reinforcements in December 1808 for Spain [they sailed 15 January 1809]. With news of Corunna, they were sent to Cadiz instead. Refused admittance they went to Lisbon, arriving by 13th March 1809. The force consisted of:
Commanding the force: Major General John Sherbrooke
Guards Brigade: Brigadier General Henry Campbell1/Coldstream Foot Guards (1120)
The Spring of 1809
On 18 March the British Garrison in Portugal stood as:
Commanding the force: Lieutenant General Cradock
Second-in-command: Major General Sherbrooke
Brigades of Major General Cotton and Brigadier General Stewart; 14th Light Dragoons with detachment 3rd Light Dragoons King's German Legion; 2/9th Regiment, 29th Regiment, 97th Regiment, and 5 companies 5/60th Regiment
At Seville: 1/40th Regiment
The Artillery: On 23 March, the artillery under Lieutenant Colonel William Robe and Major Julius Hartmann was:
May's Company 1st Battalion (light 6 pounders with the Guards)
The garrison continued to be reinforced as the British were reluctant to give up Portugal. In April, Colonel Edward Howorth arrived to command the artillery. On 2 April, Lieutenant Colonel Hoylet Framingham and Lieutenant Colonel George Fisher of the artillery also arrived.
On 5 April reinforcements from Cork arrived under Major General Rowland Hill and Brigadier General Alexander Campbell:
The Re-organization of 6 April 1809
the force was re-organized 6th April as:
King's German Legion: Major General Murray with Brigadier Generals Drieberg and Langwerth1st Line Battalion King's German Legion (748)
Sontag's Brigade: Brigadier General Sontag97th Regiment (660)
Cavalry Brigade: Major General Cotton8 Troops 14th Light Dragoons (672)
In Lisbon: 2/9th Regiment (645)
At Seville: 1/40th Regiment (871)
On 10 April, the artillery (949) was organized as: Colonel Howorth, Lieutenant Colonel Framingham, Lieutenant Colonel Robe, Lieutenant Colonel Fisher and Major Hartmann
May's Company [under Baynes] of five light 6 pounders and one 5½ inch howitzer
On 15 April, 8 Troops 16th Light Dragoons (672) from Falmouth arrived at Lisbon.
When the British Government finally decided not to evacuate Portugal, but to continue the struggle, they chose Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley once again to command. He was to supersede Lieutenant General Sir John Cradock as the Commander-in-Chief in Portugal. Lieutenant General Cradock was appointed, as a Local General, the Commander-in-Chief at Gibraltar. Wellesley was informed on 2 April 1809. He arrived in Lisbon on 22 April.
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