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All being ready, on the 6th of January Wellington suddenly pushed forward to Gallegos, and on the 8th invested Ciudad Rodrigo. Nothing could be more unexpected by Marshal Marmont, who had never suspected any attack in winter, and had placed his army in cantonments, and had, moreover, sent several divisions to distant points. On the very first evening Wellington stormed an external redoubt called the Great Teson, and established his first parallel. On the 13th he also carried the convent of Santa Cruz, and on the 14th that of San Francisco. He then established his second parallel, and planted fresh batteries. On the 19th he made two breaches, and, hearing that Marmont was advancing hastily to the relief of the place, he determined to storm at once, though it would be at a more serious exposure of life. The assault was rapid and successful, but the slaughter on both sides was very severe. A thousand killed and wounded were reckoned on each side, and one thousand seven hundred prisoners were taken by the British. What made the British loss the heavier was that General Mackinnon and many of his brigade were killed by the explosion of a powder magazine on the walls. General Craufurd of the Light Division, was killed, and General Vandeleur, Colonel Colborne, and Major Napier were wounded. Much ammunition and a battering train were found in Ciudad Rodrigo. Marmont was astounded at the fall of the place. The Spanish Cortes, who had been so continually hampering and criticising Wellington, now created him Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo. He was also, in England, advanced to the dignity of an earl, and an annuity of two thousand pounds was voted him by Parliament.
Having, for the third time, expelled the French from Portugal, with the exception of the single fortress of Almeida, Wellington proceeded to reconnoitre the situation of affairs in Spain. Whilst on his march after Massena he had sent word to General Menacho to maintain possession of Badajoz, promising him early assistance. Unfortunately, Menacho was killed, and was succeeded in his command by General Imaz, who appears to have been a regular traitor. Wellington, on the 9th of March, had managed to convey to him the intelligence that Massena was in full retreat, and that he should himself very soon be able to send or bring him ample assistance. Imaz had a force of nine thousand Spaniards, and the place was strong. He was besieged by about the same number of French infantry and two thousand cavalry, yet the very next day he informed Soult of Wellington's news, and offered to capitulate. Soult must have been astonished at this proceeding, if he had not himself prepaid it in French moneythe surrender of Badajoz, under the imminent approach of Wellington, being of the very highest importance. On the 11th the Spaniards were allowed to march out with what were called the "honours of war," but which, in this case, were the infamies of treachery, and Soult marched in. He then gave up the command of the garrison to Mortier, and himself marched towards Seville.
The chief items are the brewery and a house of some value onDuring the year 1796 strong forces were sent to the West Indies, and the Island of Grenada was recovered by General Nichols; St. Lucia, by General Abercromby, whilst General Whyte conquered the Dutch settlements of Demerara, Berbice, and Essequibo; but some of these possessions were dearly purchased by the number of the troops who perished from the unhealthiness of their climate. The Dutch made an effort to recover the Cape of Good Hope. They were to have been assisted by the French in this enterprise, but their allies not keeping their engagement, they sailed alone, and reached Saldanha Bay on the 3rd of August, when Rear-Admiral Sir George Elphinstone surprised and captured the whole of their vessels, consisting of two sixty-four-gun ships, one fifty-four, five frigates and sloops, and a store-ship. A squadron then proceeded from the Cape to Madagascar, and destroyed a French settlement there, seizing five merchant vessels.
The enthusiasm which now pervaded the whole Italian peninsula was unbounded, and broke forth in frantic expressions of joy and triumph. The days of Continental despotism seemed numbered at last. Everything promised well for the cause of Italian freedom and unity. The Italian troops stationed at Bergamo, Cremona, Brescia, and Rovigo joined the insurgents. The Grand Duke of Tuscany set his troops in motion; the Pope blessed the volunteers; even Naples sent a contingent. The Austrian garrisons had to abandon Padua and several other places, while the great fortress of Verona was held with difficulty. In the south of Italy the cause of despotism seemed to be going down rapidly. Deceived by the promises of the King of Naples, the people of Sicily determined to trust him no longer. In January, 1848, an address to the Sicilians was issued from Palermo, which stated that prayers, pacific protestations and demonstrations had all been treated by Ferdinand with contempt. Palermo would receive with transport every Sicilian who should come armed to sustain the common cause, and establish reformed institutions, "in conformity with the progress and will of Italy and of Pius IX." Property was to be respected, robbery was to be punished as high treason, and whoever was in want would be supplied at the common charge. The king's birthday was kept by unfurling the banner of revolution, and calling the citizens to arms. The royal troops retired into the barracks, the forts, and the palace, leaving the streets and squares in possession of the insurgents. The determination of the Sicilians caused the weak and wavering king, Ferdinand II., to yield; and on the 28th of January a royal decree appeared upon the walls of Naples, granting a Constitution for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Orders were sent the same day to Palermo for the withdrawal of the Neapolitan troops, and an amnesty for political offences soon was published. The troops remained in the garrison, however, and occasional conflicts took place between them and the citizens till the 2nd of May, when an armistice was agreed to, which lasted to the 2nd of August. In the meantime the elections had taken place under the new Constitution, which the king had promulgated; but the Neapolitan Chamber proceeded to modify it, to which the king objected. The people, led on by the National Guard, which had been established, determined to support the Assembly. On the 15th of May, therefore, barricades were erected in the streets, the royal palace was occupied by troops, and artillerymen stood by their guns with lighted matches in their hands. The accidental firing of a gun led to a collision with the Swiss troops; thereupon, a tremendous battle ensued, lasting for eight hours, in which the royal troops were completely victorious.