Corporal Logan




The 13th were under the command of General Beresford at this point in the Penninsula war. He was ordered by Wellington to deal with Soult in the area of Badajoz. Beresford heard that the French were withdrawing from Campo Mayor to the fortress of Badajoz so sent General Long with the 13th and some heavy cavalry to intercept them. Corporal William Logan charged with his troop and found himself fighting the 26th Dragoons, a French line cavalry regiment. He sabred a dragoon who fell dead from his horse, but was spotted by the commanding officer of the 26th, Colonel The Count Chamorin who took it upon himself to avenge his dragoon's death. Logan and the Count charged each other and engaged in a spectacularly single combat both displaying great skill. With sweeping strokes aimed at the Count's head, Logan managed to knock his helmet off and follow it up by splitting his opponent's head in two. Logan presented the Count's sword to his commanding officer and sold his helmet to the paymaster.
The 13th pursued the French cavalry for ten miles without heavy loss and returned in good order with prisoners and captured guns. Unfortunately they had to relinquish these as there was no back-up. Beresford, thinking that the 13th had lost, refused to commit the heavy cavalry. The failure to follow up the 13th's success was a big mistake and Beresford compounded this by giving Wellington a bad report of the 13th's actions. This earned the 13th Light Dragoons the following rebuke from the Duke: "Their conduct was that of a rabble, galloping as fast as their horses could carry them over the plain after an enemy to which they could do no mischief after they were broken...If the Thirteenth Dragoons are again guilty of this conduct, I shall take their horses from them and send the officers and men to do duty at Lisbon."
Smarting under this aweful injustice, the 13th won their first battle honour seven weeks later at the battle of Albuhera.


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by Stephen Luscombe