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On the 4th in the afternoon I perceived the enemy, who had marched that morning by the right, had left fix pieces of artillery, with a detachment of cavalry, and some picquets of infantry, incamped upon two fina!! separate eminences in the plain of Villa Velha. At sun-set I had an opportunity of reconnoitring all the avenues to his camp, and found he had no outposts, except a small grand guard of cavalry, and a small i. of infantry, both in the front ooking towards my camp; that there was 110 füpport upon his flanks nearer than the village of Villa Veha, which was a mile and a half, nor in the rear nearer than the great camp of Castel Branco. . Upon these observations, I determined to attempt a surprise, by marching a detachment round the enemy's camp by a path I had discovered over the mountains to a difficult but practicable ford, about a league up the river. I accordingly put the detachment in march as soon as I returned to camp : but fo much time had been necesarily employed in examining the ford, and in pasfing the defiles of the mountains, that Col. Lee, who commanded it, found he could not reach his destination before day-light, and very prudently retired to camp. On the 5th, observing there was no change in the enemy's disposition, I sent off 100 grenadiers, by ten and twenty at a time, to prevent their being taken notice of by the enemy's posts which overlook my camp, and fixed the rendezvous at the head of the raviue, which was two miles on the road to the mountains, and where I had already left 200 royal voluntiers, which I designed for the at- * tack, and ico cayalry, of which 59 were
Affairs in Portugal.