'Ma foi! La discipline anglaise est bien sévère.'
As SOON AS he landed at Lisbon, 'the most Horrible Place that ever was seen', 1 Wellesley threw himself into work on those administrative details which he always regarded as essential to the proper conduct of a military campaign. He turned his attention to bullock carts and food supplies, to horse transport and forage, to blankets and kettles. He commandeered all the boats he could lay his hands on so that Marshal Soult, whose army was quartered in and around Oporto, some two hundred miles to the north, could not attack him across the Tagus; and he arranged for all his brigades to have a company of riflemen attached to them.
He had studied the way in which France's Revolutionary armies had swept across the plains of Central Europe in dense columns behind a screen of voltigeurs and tirailleurs, both protective and destructive. Their new formations had proved highly effective against the ranks of infantry that opposed them. Wellesley had also studied the tactics employed in the forests of America by Colonel Bouquet, the brilliant Swiss officer who commanded the 60th (Royal American) Regiment, later the King's Royal Rifle Corps, and who had taught his men to fight the French as the American Rangers had done, not as unthinking parts of a clumsy whole but as intelligent men with individual duties to perform in a scheme of warfare that had no rigid rules. 2
The Duke of York, always ready to listen to new ideas as a reforming Commander-in-Chief, had instructed various regiments to send officers and men for a course of instruction in light infantry tactics at the newly created camp of the Experimental Rifle Corps at Horsham. Two years later, in 1801, the 95th Regiment (later the Rifle Brigade) was formed and the green jackets which the men wore so proudly gave a name to their own and other regiments which were to become among the finest in the Army.
Wellesley had cause to regret that so many of the soldiers in his regiments of the line were far from being as good soldiers as his