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The Battle of Barrosa, 1811 (Hardback)

Forgotten Battle of the Peninsular War

Military WWII

By John Grehan, Martin Mace
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 212
ISBN: 9781848848269
Published: 17th April 2013



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By the winter of 1810-11, the armies of Napoleon had overrun most of Spain and Joseph Bonaparte sat on the throne in Madrid. Yet the Spanish Government had found refuge in the fortress-port of Cadiz and the Spaniards refused to admit that they had been conquered. With a British army under Sir Thomas Graham helping to defend Cadiz, the Spanish cause seemed certain to prevail.

But then the Spaniards wanted to throw Graham's force into a reckless battle against the French. If the battle was won, the siege of Cadiz would be lifted; if the battle was lost Cadiz would be rendered defenceless and the Spanish government left at the mercy of the invaders.

The opposing forces met on the heights of Barrosa in a battle which Sir John Fortescue, the great historian of the British Army, described as 'one of the bloodiest and one of the most creditable to British troops that is to be found in the history of the Army.' At stake was the very survival of the Spanish nation and the future course of the war against Napoleon.

The Battle of Barrosa is the first book to examine this crucial encounter in detail and to reveal its true historical importance.

As featured in.

Gloire & Empire magazine, No.50

The Battle of Barrosa includes three maps which are both extremely detailed and easy to read – a rarity in many histories! One that I found quite useful was the map pinpointing all the batteries, forts, and strongpoints of both the besieged and besiegers. The book closes with a guide to the battlefield and siege works as they are today, plus appendices giving orders-of-battles for the various forces involved in the siege and the Barrosa Campaign.

The Battle of Barrosa is a well written account of an often overlooked, but important aspect of the Peninsular War. It is the best account of the battle written in English that I know of it. The fact that the authors provide so much detail on the siege of Cadiz is an added bonus!

Napoleon Series - Robert Burnham

A great read. Beautifully researched book. The story of the Peninsular War leading up to the Battle is well presented. Highly recommended especially if the reader has an opportunity to visit the site and surrounding areas. A perfect guide to the battlefield.

Amazon Reviewer - Elaurens

This is an excellent examination of an important but neglected part of the Peninsular War, looking at the heart of Spanish resistance and the British contribution to the successful defence of Cadiz, the longest siege in the Peninsula, and one of the few examples of a successful defence of a city against Napoleon's armies.

History of War

This book can be recommended as the best guide to the area for battlefield visitors, it also gives the best account so far of Graham's part in the defeat of Napoleon's ambitions in Spain.

The Bulletin

“The importance of Cadiz as a hold-out against the French is well illustrated and the impact that had on French Operations in the Peninsula is displayed.”
“While very strongly presented from the British Perspective, enough French and Spanish sources are used to keep some balance”

The Napoleonic Historical Society Newsletter

About John Grehan

JOHN GREHAN has written, edited or contributed to more than 300 books and magazine articles covering a wide span of military history from the Iron Age to the recent conflict in Afghanistan. John has also appeared on local and national radio and television to advise on military history topics. He was employed as the Assistant Editor of Britain at War Magazine from its inception until 2014. John now devotes his time to writing and editing books.

About Martin Mace

Martin Mace has been involved in writing and publishing military history for more than twenty years. He began his career with local history, writing a book on the Second World War anti-invasion defences in West Sussex. Following the success of this book, he established Historic Military Press, which has published a wide range of titles. Having launched Britain at War Magazine, he has been its editor since the first issue in May 2007.

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