The Battle of Toulouse

’Twas in the year of 1814, and on April the 10th day,
That Wellington with the British army came in grand array,
Prepared to attack the city of Toulouse without dismay,
And his heavy guns he planted there without delay.

Wellington called in his divisions and brought up nine thousand Spaniards strong,
And followed the retreating French, harassing them all along,
And the position held by Soult was ridges two miles in length,
And fortified by redoubts and of very great strength.

General Soult led on the French without dismay,
But the British and Spanish armies soon made them give way,
For Picton and Allan with the Portuguese advanced to the canal,
And smote the French with ringing volleys of musketry which did them appal.

The British and Spanish armies advanced in grand array
In a kind of semi-circle, and they made a beautiful display
As they marched on boldly and a heroic charge they made,
For they swept the French before them in the face of a heavy cannonade.

Oh! it was a fearful and melancholy sight
To see innocent men shooting each other with all their might,
While heavy cannon balls the earth uptore,
And the dead and the dying lay weltering in their gore.

The French kept shouting, “Vive L’Empereur,” as their battle-cry,
But the British sent a shower of rockets which made them fly,
And terror-stricken they retreated without delay
To their positions on the heights in great dismay.

Then Lambert’s division dashed fearlessly up the slope,
But the French against his division couldn’t cope,
And musketry fire blazed from rank to rank, and General Taupin fell dead,
And Lambert’s brigade drove the French from the heights without any dread.

Then the French cavalry charged, but all in vain,
But Lambert’s brigade repulsed them again and again,
And the French were fighting on three sides of a square,
While their derisive shouts did rend the air.

And the French on every side were falling back,
But General Soult rallied his men for a last attack,
Then the 42nd and 79th Highlanders joined in the fight,
And at the charge of the bayonet they scattered them left and right.

Then the Spaniards were rallied and they made a fresh attack,
And at every point and turning, the French were driven back,
And to continue the fight longer Soult thought it no use,
And he abandoned the heights and fell back into the city of Toulouse.

And on that night he evacuated the city without delay,
And retired with the main body of his army in disordered array,
Leaving behind four Generals and sixteen thousand men,
As prisoners confined there like sheep in a pen.

Thus ended the long war, and the French were disbanded,
And the British soldiers were sent home again and all safely landed,
And mothers, sisters, and brothers were glad to see them again,
While many of them couldn’t from tears refrain.

Wikipedia Article

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