In September, 1811, Marmont, at the head of 54,000 infantry and 5000 horses, marched to raise the blockade of Ciudad Rodrigo. The cavalry action at El Bodón was a conspicuous affair.
The position was a rocky ridge, intersected by strong defiles, held by three squadrons of the hussars, two of the llth, and the 5th regiment, with some guns, the whole under the command of General Victor Alten. The French, under General Montbrun, amounting to two thousand cavalry, followed by infantry and guns, rapidly advanced in three columns against the front and flanks of the position. (...)
In the retreat towards (Ciudad) Rodrigo, on the 15th of November, Victor Alten's cavalry forming the rear-guard, consisting of but six squadrons, the French came on with their old superiority of number, and attacked him with fourteen squadrons.
An instance of intrepidity and intelligence of one of the hussars which occurred here, deserves to be recorded. Colonel Waters, well known as one of the most distinguished officers of the British staff, lying sick in a village through which the rear squadron of hussars passed on the retreat, Captain Aly, commanding the squadron, well aware of the loss which the army would sustain by the Colonel's capture, sent a brave soldier, named Etherott, to try to bring him off; the squadron passed on, while the hussar, going to the Colonel's quarters, took him out of his bed, dressed him, got his horse ready, and leading him from the village, made an attempt to join the squadron; but the French had already intercepted their march, and no resource remained but that of making a long detour.
The Colonel's illness prevented his riding fast, and by the time they reached a village where the hussar expected to find a ford, the French were already at their heels. No ford could be found, and they were obliged to swim their horses over the stream. The enemy were now every where round them, and the Colonel, much exhausted by his fatigue, was unable to go further, and was obliged to be hidden for an entire day, during which the hussar watched him.
At length this anxious journey was recommenced; but it was not till after several days' travel, and crossing several rivers, during which time they were in perpetual hazard of falling into the hands of the French patrols, that the brave hussar brought his charge in safety to headquarters.