Page images

Swedes; and it was intended that we should co-operate with him.

Our force consisted of the following regiments,—the 25th, 33rd, 54th, 73rd, first Royals, and 91st, amounting altogether, to about 3,000 men; under the command of General Gibbs.

In the latter part of August, we arrived at the island of Rugas; where we disembarked, and marched across the island to Stralsundthe place which acquired so much celebrity under the romantic Charles XII. of Sweden. Our baggage, which took some time getting on shore—the ships not being able to come within half-a-mile of the beach-was afterwards conveyed, by some small vessels, up the river, and did not reach Stralsund till next day.

The whole of the troops were quartered on the inhabitants, and were very kindly treated by them : but for further particulars, I must refer the reader to the next chapter.


Sound, sound the clarion! fill the fife,

To all the sensual world proclaim
One crowded hour of glorious life

Is worth an age without a name !"

The first morning after our arrival in Stralsund, we

discovered that our duties were likely to be of the most onerous, if not of the most dangerous, nature. The French General, Morrand, had taken possession of it some few months before; and being called away suddenly, he destroyed most of the batteries and fortifications; and was a probability of its being now again attacked, it was necessary to place it in a state of defence. The Crown Prince, who paid us a visit, drew off all the men capable of bearing arms, the tradesmen and wealthy burghers mounted guard at the town hall as

as there

private soldiers, and every man capable of labour, was obliged to assist in repairing the batteries; we also were compelled to assist them; and there still being a deficiency of labourers, about a thousand young women, of the lower classes, were engaged, and dressed in male attire, were set to work, and were found very efficient; the women in that country being inured to field labour. Some ludicrous mistakes took place with some of our men, who in carrying on affairs of gallantry, were not always able to distinguish the women from the men.

Our duty now became very severe, as may be seen from the following statement for one week. Namely, Monday forenoon, attend parade at ten o'clock, eleven o'clock mount guard. Tuesday morning (at eleven) relieved from guard, go to quarters, change dress, and work for the rest of the day

the fortification. Wednesday, fall in two hours before daybreak, or as they say on service, 6 until we can see a grey horse a mile :" this was to prevent our being taken

by surprise. Attend regimental parade at eleyen; at eight o'clock in the evening fall in for picket; and patrol the streets till twelve. Go to quarters, get an hour or two rest; fall in two hours before daybreak on Thursday, get back to quarters by seven, attend regimental parade at ten, mount guard at eleven. Friday, relieved from guard at eleven, change dress and go to work. Saturday, fall in two hours before daybreak, attend parade at ten, work the rest of the day, picket at night. Sunday morning, fall in before daybreak as usual, parade at ten, mount guard at eleven.

Thus, it will be seen that we had very little time for rest; and we were so completely worn out, that one night, when I was placed as sentinel on a' post of very considerable importance—although I knew the safety of the town depended on my vigilance-I could not resist the inclination to sleep; so, deliberately laying myself down on the ground, resting my firelock by my side, and placing a stone for my pillow, I

fell asleep. Time passed quick; and I was awakened by a most terrific dream. An immense lion, I fancied, was about springing on me. In the utmost terror I started to my feet, instinctively grasping my firelock, and heard footsteps approaching. I had sufficient presence of mind to give the usual challenge" Who comes there?” and “The Grand Round” was the reply. I demanded, “ Stand fast, Grand Round; advance sergeant, and give the countersign.” The sergeant advanced a few paces, pronounced the mystic word, and I called out,

« Pass on,

Grand Round; all 's well.”

It would not have been “well” for me, had they caught me asleep; the inevitable punishment for such a crime, under such circumstances, would have been death. In a few minutes afterwards, the relieving sentinels came round, so that I had been asleep nearly two hours. I did not feel any more an inclination for sleep that night. I thanked God for my deliverance; and vowed never again to indulge in a nap while on sentry.

« PreviousContinue »