This was the first major battle for the reorganized Portuguese army, and is celebrated every year with parades in period uniforms and festivities to commemorate the distinguished part played by the Portuguese troops in this victory.
There is a small, but very interesting, military museum. Jan and I spent a few hours looking around waiting for the weather to improve
When we left the museum we were delighted to find the mist had cleared and it was bright blue skies and a warm sunny day. We returned to the monument to orientate ourselves and admire the view. We then drove across the valley to the site of Massena’s Windmill, where he commanded the battle.
While I read extracts from
Jan sketching, with the ridge behind
Driving back towards the ridge we came to the
Just in front of Maura we found a convenient log to sit on to read about Ney’s attack and study the route he took on the ridge opposite
We followed the road from Maura towards the ridge and soon came to the
I don’t suppose the village has changed much since that day. Wandering the narrow streets it was easy to imagine the hand to hand fighting as the French used their overwhelming strength to clear the allied light infantry from the buildings and push them up the hill before them.
We followed the road to the top of the ridge, and found the spot where the light division waited for the arrival of those same French infantry of Loison’s division. This windmill marks the spot where general Craufords famous division was deployed.
It was quite awe inspiring to stand at the very spot where Crauford unleashed the Light Division and defeated the first French attack. There could be no doubt that this is the exact spot, there is Crauford’s engraved rock to prove it We sat for an hour or so beside the rock and I read Wellers description of Neys attack on Busaco ridge. Throughout that whole time we had the spot to ourselves, not one other visitor in sight. It was one of those magic experiences which I will always remember.