The Peninsular War was the first of Britain's many foreign conflicts in which increasing literacy produced a bumper crop of memoirs, not only by Generals and senior officers, but by ordinary rankers and subalterns too. This book is one of the very best. It's author, Robert Blakeney, enlisted in 1804 in the 28th regiment of Infantry as an Irish boy at the tender age of fifteen. As such, he was in at the beginning of the long war in the Iberian peninsular, and stuck through to the end, witnessing at first hand the changing fortunes of war. He was with Sir John Moore in his advance - and in his fatal retreat to Corunna. When Wellington took command, Blakeney served under him at the battles of Arroyo Molinos and the siege of Badajoz; crossed the Pyrenees and took part in one of the war's final battles at Nivelle. Apart from his own experiences and adventures, Blakeney gives unvarnished pen portraits of many of the Iron Duke's great subordinates, including Generals Picton, Paget and Hill. For all Napoelonic fans this charming memoir is a must.

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