BRIGADIER GENERAL WILLIAM COX

GENERAL WILLIAM COX AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED  (ALS)
RARE WAR DATE LETTER FROM THE PENINSULAR WAR
DATELINE: ALMEIDA FORTRESS, PORTUGAL FRONTIER - 25 APRIL 1810
WITH TRANSCRIBED & TRANSLATED SPANISH INTELLIGENCE EXTRACT

4 page Autograph Letter Signed plus 2 page Spanish Intelligence Extract
Brigadier General William Cox, Military Governor of the Almeida Fortress
 and brother-in-law to Field Marshal Beresford
provides a stream of intelligence on the movements of the French
 as they prepare to invest Ciudad Rodrigo

"Lord Wellington also agrees with me in thinking that great advantages
might result from such a scheme". 
"
The troops were accompanied by four or five Cars [carts/wagons] laden with scaling ladders"
"The movement amongst the Enemy's troops spoken of in these letters is confirmed by a peasant who is just come in here from Ledesma which place he left yesterday morning."

Incredibly detailed intelligence reports concerning the French approach to Ciudad Rodrigo and their preparations for the investment of that city. Cox notes that there are "four or five cars laden with scaling ladders"! This letter also provides an important insight into Cox's strategic thinking and his regular communications with Lord Wellington and Charles Stuart regarding theater wide considerations. Cox proposes "the organization of a military force in the remote Provinces of Spain". This is a rich and important report mentioning among others: Wellington, Beresford, Ney, Marchand, Loison & Kellerman as well as place names: Salamanca, Ciudad Rodrigo, Zamora, Gallega, Ledesma, Formoselle, Alba, Bejar, Tamames, Barbadillo, Garci Rey and others. Note that the reference to Bitigudiño is the British name - more locally known as Vitigudiño.


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PLEASE SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR FULL SIZE IMAGES


 


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English Letter Transcription:

Almeida 25th April 1810


My dear Sir,
           I have this day had the honor of receiving your letter of the 21st Inst, and am much flatter'd at finding that your ideas are coincident with mine with regard to the plan which I ventured to suggest for the organization of a military force in the remote Provinces of Spain. Lord Wellington also agrees with me in thinking that great advantages might result from such a scheme; but fears that neither the Spaniards would consent to our interference, nor Great Britain furnish the necessary means. I have had no answer at all, as yet, from Marshal Beresford upon the subject; and without both Lord Wellington's & his entire consent & approbation, I should not like to have any steps taken in this Business. Taking these for granted I should have no objection whatsoever to your sending my letter to Mr. Wellesley [Wellington's brother Henry who was the British Envoy to the Spanish Government in Cadiz], or making whatever use of it you may think fit; but if any thing is to be done, it should be done quickly.
     I have the pleasure to send you herewith Extracts of two letters written from the village of Garci Rey? to a Spaniard of my confidence who has communicated them to me. The movement amongst the Enemy's troops spoken of in these letters is confirmed by a peasant who is just come in here from Ledesma which place he left yesterday morning. On the 20th Inst three Companies of Infantry and two pieces of Artillery moved out of that town and march'd towards Bitigudiño. On the 22nd 150 Dragoons which were stationed in Formoselle arrived at Ledesma & pass'd on to Bitigudiño; and the same evening there arrived 500 Cavalry from the villages in that neighborhood, which proceeded the following morning in the same direction. Yesterday Gen'l Loison with the remainder of the Garrison of Ledesma about 1000 men march'd also to Bitigudiño. In that town and the neighboring Villages about 4000 men had collected, besides those which were station'd in them before.
     The troops were accompanied by four or five Cars [
carts/wagons] laden with scaling ladders; and yet it was not generally supposed that they were going to attack Ciudad Rodrigo; it was rather imagined that they had an intention of passing the Puerto de Perales. The troops which were in Salamanca & that neighborhood have moved towards Tamames.
     I enclose a letter [
no longer attached] for you which I received last night from Ciudad Rodrigo, and have the honor to remain,

My dear Sir,                                          
Your very faithful,                             
Will’m Cox
                                 

To: Chas Stuart, Esq.

Spanish to English Extract Translation:

Excerpts from two letters in Garci Rey on April 23rd, 1810

I left on Friday for Salamanca and I couldn’t enter my house due to the fact that those in my house and many of my profession were not there as they lacked certain papers which were issued. I stayed outside and notified a friend, who told me that that very evening the cannons had arrived from Zamora and the surrounding area and with it, wheat, flour, crackers, and even the sick. If we now examine the munitions here we see that in Salamanca there are 36 to 40 cannons of various caliber, some of two caliber, some reinforced of sixteen caliber, some of twelve, of eight, and even of ten caliber, but all with little ammunition, not off of which is kept enclosed, with much of it lying at the base of the cannons. There are approximately 20,000 to 22,000 in all of Ney’s armada. There are barely 2,000 in the cavalry and even with this diminished number the following points are covered, Alba and the surrounding area, Marconet, Bejar, Marchand, Loison, Ledesma, Kellerman Formoselle, One cannot tell which places are occupied because they eat when they can and then abandon some towns. Yesterday they left Barbadillo, Rollan and Santa María and arrived to this town and then the order came to retreat and they retreated to the place that they had left. Generally from all points below, movement backwards have been noticed. I do not know their intentions, but I hope to know them tomorrow at the latest and if there is sufficient movement I will report. What is said in Salamanca with some probability is that they expect to penetrate into Extremadura to help those forces, but that is pure conjecture. Here, there, and everywhere we want the ascent and success of the English, from what I have been able to determine. The French are very unsettled, we do not know their ideas. Those stationed in Barbadillo and Rollan have gone down to Santa María as well as some from Ledesma, and the rest say that they have left by means of Bitigudiño, which is what a man hauling coal from La Moral has said. He also said that they seized his cars in Barbadillo and loaded them from Gallega. They have said that tomorrow evening they are coming to sleep at the fountain and Martín del Rio and others are going to Retortillo and that they are coming to establish a permanent seat.

Spanish Extract Transcription:

Extracto de dos Caxtas escritas en garrí rey el 23 de Abril.

El Viernes salí pa Salamanca y no pude entrar à causa de haber prendido à los de mi casa y professión por sonar de que alguno de ellos extendía ci ertos papeles y con esto me quedé fuera y avise al amigo y sino, el que me dixo que en aquella noche habían llegado los cañones de Zamora y sus inmediaciones, y con ellos trigo, harina y Galleta, y hasta los enfermos, De donde opinan examen aquella Ciudad. Hoy hay en Salamanca de 36 a’ 40 cañones de todos calibres, de ¿ hay algunos, de 16 reforzados, de se de 8 y aundelo?, pero con poco munición, y esta no es encaxonada, y la mayor parte està hecha muelos a los piès de los cañones. La gente de que se compone la armada de Ney en toda su extensión, compone de 20 à 22 mil. la caballería esasamente tendrà dos mil los puntos que ocupan son: merme con dos mil cubre Alba y sus inmediaciones, Marconet Bejar y su tierra Marchand en tamanes, Loisan Ledesma, Kellerman Formoselle. No se pueda deria los lugares que ocupan unos y otros, porque ellos se reunen quando quienen y desamparan por esto algunos pueblos. Ayer dexanon a Barbadillo, Rollan y Sta Maria y llegaron hasta este pueble, y les vino orden de retroceden y retrocedieron adonde habian salido. Generalmente se ha advertido en ellos, en todos los puntos de abaxo, movimientos retrogrados. ignoro sus intenciones, pero mañana de tarde espero saberlo, y si hay proporción, avisané. Lo que se dice en Salamanca con alguna probabilidad, es que piensan penetrar a Extremadura por auxilian aquellas fuerzas; mas es Conjetura. Alli y aquí y en todos partes deseamos la subida del exto ynglès. es quanto he podido averiguan.  Los franceses andan muy Rebueltos. no sabemos sus ideas. Han baxado à Ste Maria los de Barbadillo y Rollan, y algunas de Ledesma, y los demas dicen que han salido por Bitigudino: y esto lo ha dicho el carbonero de la Moral, que le embargaran sus carros en Barbadillo, y se los cargaron de Galleta, y han dicho que mañana en la noche vienen a dormir a la fuente y Martin del Rio y que otros por Retortillo; y que Vienen de asiento.

Document Specifications: Letter is 6 pages. This is on folded batonne laid paper with each page measuring ≈ 172mm wide x 220mm high or 6¾" x 8⅝" and showing a large ornate "D & C BLAUW" watermark. The 4 page body of the letter is written in Cox's hand and autograph signed by "Will'm Cox" and dated April 25th, 1810 dateline Almeida. Letter text on four sides (shown) of a single sheet bi-folium. Enclosed within the 4 page cover letter is a 2 page extract of a Spanish Report (in Spanish) concerning the French movements through Salamanca, this written in another hand. This letter is from the Lord Rothesay, Sir Charles Stuart Correspondence. Condition: Extremely Fine with several light file folds.

Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd.
Member: APS, BNAPS, CCNY, ICSC, DMSC & SPHS

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