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NARRATIVE OF THE SERVICES OF THE SECOND BATTALION
TWENTY-EIGHT REGIMENT OF FOOT
by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Cadell

1809 - The Second battalion of the 28th regiment remained in Ireland until June 1809, when it embarked at Cork for Lisbon, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. Alexander Abercrombie, forming part of the reinforcement of 3000 for Lord Wellington's army, under General Lighthume. The fleet, conveyed by the Virgina frigate, arrived at Lisbon, after a fine passage of six days, on the 30th of June. The troops disembarked the following day at Belem, and were encamped near Lisbon, with the 5th Regiment, which had arrived from England. The light brigade, consisting of the 43d, 52d, and 95th, marched on the 4th of July to join the army, then understood to be moving upon Talavera de la Reyna, where they arrived the morning after the action. But the troops recently arrived, consisting of the 2d battalion of the 28th, 34th, 39th, 42d, and 92d regiments, not being able to complete their equipments, did not leave Lisbon until the 22d or 23d of July, when they embarked in boats, and ascended the Tagus as far as Santarem. Thence they moved to Abrantes and Castello Branco, towards the Spanish frontier, - the 2d battalions of the 28th, 42d, and 92d, being brigaded together under that excellent officer Brigadier-General Catlin Crawford. (The gallant Highlanders and the 28th were often destined to serve together during the war, and these three fine corps of young soldiers were each commanded by Scottish officers of distinguished families. The brave but unfortunate Lord Blantyre led the 42d, Abercrombie the 28th, and Lamont the 92d. Upon their separation, the young Highlanders gained their first laurels in the field of Fuentes d'Onor, and the 28th in that of Albuera.)

On reaching Zara Mayor, intelligence reached them of the battle of Talavera, and of the movement of the army under Lord Wellington, upon the Gaudiana. General Crawford's brigade was therefore ordered to move in the direction of Elvas, but on their arrival at Niza, was halted there, and encamped for three weeks. Having no tents, the young officers and soldiers, unaccustomed to bivouack in the open air, here suffered severely from fever and ague. In the beginning of September, the brigade marched through Elvas, and joined the main body of the army in cantonments on the Guadiana, at Montigo de la Calzada, and the neighbouring villages on both sides of the river. Here a new arrangement was made, the second battalions of the 28th, 34th, and 39th, being sent as a brigade to join Lieutenant-General Hill's division, and the second battalions of the 42d and 92d, being ordered to join their first battalions. The division under General Hill, after breaking up from cantonments in Estremedura, passed by Badajos and Niza, to the neighbourhood of Abrantes, the 2d battalion 28th being quartered for some time in the village of Sardial.

1810 - In the beginning of 1810, the division moved towards Castello Branco, where they remained some time watching the corps d'armee under the Count D'Erlon. In September 1810, the 2d, 28th, formed part of General Hill's division, when he executed that rapid and able march to the support of Lord Wellington at Busaco, where they joined the right of the line and partook of the glory of that action. The army afterwards retiring to the lines of Torres Vedras, the 2d battalion 28th were posted in the village of Bucellas, celebrated for its wine.

Almost every other house in the town was a wine-store, and immense vats and tuns, containing many hogsheads each, were to be found even in rooms occupied by officers and men; far too great a temptation to put in the way of soldiers, as the following anecdote will prove. The officers of our light company, having given a wine party, to which some brother officers were invited, had found, rather too late in the evening, the stock of wine which they had laid in for the occasion to be exhausted; upon which the junior subaltern was requested to proceed with a camp kettle to the vat for a fresh supply, as it was so excellent. On turning the cock, and finding no wine to run, the vat was pronounced dry. However, it was determined to make another attempt by letting down the camp kettle by a rope through a trap door in the top of the vat. Still finding it not return replensihed, but rather that some obstacle interposed, the officer procured a lamp to examine the interior, when to his horror, the first object that presented itself was a British drummer, in full regimentals, pack, haversack and all, floating in the wine, who had been missing for some days, and was supposed to have deserted! "Drummer Wine" was long a bye-word with us.

1811 - The 2d battalion 28th crossed the Tagus with General Hill, and was cantoned at Almeyrim, opposite to the enemy's head-quarters. On the retreat of Marshall Massena, they formed part of the 2d division in its movements on the frontiers, and assisted in the expulsion of the French from Campo Major; whence they crossed the Guadiana, and after several affairs of smaller importance, formed part of the army that invested Badajos on the second of May, 1811. In consequence of the advance of Marshal Soult the siege was raised on the 14th of May, when they marched to Albuera, and shared in that memorable but dearly bought victory, in which these young soldiers well maintained, by their gallantry, the character of the corps to which they belonged, under the command of Major (afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel) Paterson, the Hon. Colonel Abercrombie having succeeded to the command of the briagde. In this action the 2d battalion 28th suffered severely; and their conduct procured them on this, as well as on other occasions, the thanks of that excellent officer, Major-General the Honourable William Stewart. At the battle of Albuera we had Captains Gale and Carroll, Lieutenants Crummer, Cottingham, and Shelton, and Ensign Ingram, wounded.

After going into cantonments for some time on the frontiers, they joined our first battalion at Villa Viciosa, in August, 1811, and on the 24th of that month were incorporated with the first battalion, whilst the officers and non-commissioned officers were sent home as a skeleton battalion, after receiving the thanks of both General Hill and the Commander-in-Chief, for their gallantry and good conduct, as already related in the narrative of the first battalion. During the remainder of the war they were stationed principally at Berryhead, in Devonshire, whence they furnished excellent supplies of officers and men, to fill the gaps made afterwards in our first battalion in many a hard-fought field; and in 1814, at the close of the war, were reduced, with the other 2d battalions of the army.