Agnes Harkness (1771-1856) is recorded on the monument to her husband James Reston as the ‘Heroine of Matagorda’. Her actions are detailed in a rare book entitled ‘The Eventful Life of a Soldier’ by Joseph Donaldson. The small fort of Matagorda was part of the outlying defences of Cadiz, the capital of
free Spain. It was occupied on the 22nd February 1810 by a detachment of British Artillery and the 94th (Scots Brigade) Regiment of Foot, aided by a small flotilla of Spanish Gunboats. Agnes Harkness and her four year old son, like many women and their families at this time, accompanied her husband on campaign.
The order to withdraw from Matagorda was given by General Graham on the 22nd April 1810. There were 64 casualties out of an original force of 140 men. During their withdrawal Agnes made three forays across the battery, amid shot and shell, to retrieve her husband’s and her own belongings and finally her last foray was for her four year old son. Agnes Harkness passed away
after a short illness on the 24th of December 1856, aged 85 years.