2/83rd Regiment rest in Portalegre, Peninsular War.

Thursday, 23 May, 1811

Following the action at Fuentes d'Oñoro, Masséna's French Army of Portugal withdrew and the Marshal himself was ordered back to France. Wellington then marched south with Picton's 3rd and Houston's 7th Division to reinforce Beresford's Second Siege of Badajoz and counter the French army moving to relieve Badajoz.

The 2nd Battalion 83rd Regiment, with the rest of Colville's Brigade of the 3rd Division, made a fatiguing march of 20 miles to Alfayates. This was the first stage in an exhausting and interminable march over the mountains of Beira. The roads were bad and the weather very broken with thunderstorms alternating with spells of absolutely tropical heat. The country was very thinly populated, and little was to be found in the way of food to supplement the beef and biscuit rations. The Brigade did not halt at Castello Branco, the only considerable town on the route, but was quartered, each night, in small and miserable villages. On 20 May the 83rd reached the floating bridge of Villa Velha over the River Tagus where, after tiresome delays caused by the defile being blocked by the baggage of Mackinnon's Brigade (including 1/88th Connaughts), the Battalion crossed the great river and toiled uphill to Niza. Straggling was now beginning - footwear was worn out and sunstroke was prevalent causing men and officers to drop behind with fatigue.

Arriving in the large town of Portalegre on 22 May, a town that had never been in French hands, the main body of the 2/83rd found it to be in a condition better than most Portuguese centres of population. The Battalion found it very acceptable and enjoyed a well deserved rest there on 23 May 1811. This pause also allowed many foot-sore stragglers to catch up with the main body.