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Monday, February 4, 2013


Porto Salvo, Queluz & the 43rd MLI

Last year, around this same time, I added a post called “A Napoleonic Birthday”, which was a day I've organized for myself regarding places, names and situations which reminded me of the French Invasions.
Well, this year, I decided to have a day for myself again and visit, again, something historical, beautiful and in relation to this blog.
I'll post it in 2 different times: one, about this curious situation involving me finding out that the Napoleonic group I re-enact with stayed originally (in 1808) in Oeiras, where I live (bringing this whole situation to a full circle kind of thing); and the other one, about the palace of Queluz, which will be posted later this month.

My yesterday's journey began at the bus stop, where I was going to get the bus to Queluz, where the palace is and where, according to one theory, the treaty of Sintra was signed but another theory says it wasn't. I'll be posting more on that on the 2nd part of this blogpost. Anyways....
On my way, I hope to take a few pictures of the places where the 43rd Monmouthshire Light Infantry could have stayed after arriving with Wellington's army at the Lisbon harbor’s to help the Portuguese to fight the French, since the bus to Queluz is passing those 2 places.
Those are the pictures I'll be sharing with you and also parts of the book called “Historical Records of the Fourty-third Regiment Monmouthshire Light Infantry” written by Sir Richard George Augustus Levinge in 1868, where there's said where the 43rd MLI stayed . The one I've read and jumped up in awe once I saw how close these regiments stayed from where I live.
On page 106, at the chapter of the year 1808, it says:

«On the 8th (September) the 43rd moved from Porto Salvo to Quelus, where the battalion was encamped until the 12th of October. The men were payed up and necessaries supplied from Lisbon. For nearly six weeks the officers luxuriated in the beautiful villas and "quintas" (farms), with their richly laden gardens and vineyards. After the departure of the French (from the 15th of September on) they payed occasional visits to Lisbon and partook of its amusements. Dysentery was very prevalent amongst the men, owing probably to the indiscriminate use of light wines, abundance of fruit, and exposure to the heavy night-dew. A return being called for, it was necessary to leave behind 8 sergeants, 13 corporals, 2 buglers, and 190 privates. Lieutenant Brown (late General Sir George Brown, Commander of the forces of Ireland) remained in charge.»

What we can conclude from this text, is that the 43rd not only stayed in Oeiras (Porto Salvo is a parish from the Council of Oeiras, meaning “safe harbor”), but most likely also from the beginnings of August.
The Sintra treaty was signed on August the 30th of 1808, the battle of Vimeiro was at the 21st and Wellington saw the need to protect Lisbon and it's surroundings, not only because it was the main harbor but also because the French threatened to destroy all the fortifications and leave the city burning.
About the fortifications, Oeiras was the town which protected the shoal line of the Tagus river and where most of the fortifications where. So, it is only logic to assume that British troops would be sent to protect the town. But that it would be the 43rd....
On another note, a more realistic one and far from the History being told by the winners, when I see historical texts describing how comfortable the houses were and how good the food and the wine were, I have always, in the back of my mind, the fact that not all was offered. And leave it at that.
And now some pleasant pictures(all taken by me, while the bus was driving, don't forgett!)!

These were probably the scenaries that the 43rd would have seen whuile satying at Porto Salvo. Farmed fileds and windmills.

Chapel and it's quinta before the town of Porto Salvo.

These would have been the type of houses that would have been in Porto Salvo at the time of the French Invasions. You can still see the border walls of the quintas.

The church of Porto Salvo, that to me looks like a late 17th century cosntruction, but I don't know it's history.

One of the many quintas surroinding the town of Porto Salvo. This one is near the Gunpowder Factory of Bracarena. The creek you see would give water to the factory's mills.

A view of the Gunpowder factory of Barcarena. You don't see it, right? That's the point!!!

The 18th century aquaduct of the town of Queluz (belonging to the Sintra Council and not Oeiras anymore) and some of the old buildings.

A military building at the Queluz's royal palace. I don't know if it always has been a military building and if it has anything to do with the French Invasions. Perhaps I'll find that out one day.

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