Wellington's Light Division in the Peninsular War (Hardback)
The Formation, Campaigns, and Battles of Wellington's Famous Fighting Force, 1810
In February 1810, Wellington formed what became the most famous unit in the Peninsular War: the Light Division. Formed around the 43rd and 52nd Light Infantry and the 95th Rifles, the exploits of these three regiments is legendary. Over the next 50 months, the division would fight and win glory in almost every battle and siege of the Peninsular War.
Key to the understanding how the division achieved its fame is an understanding of their excellence and tradition that was established from its founding. It began on the border of Spain and Portugal where it served as a screen between Wellington’s Army and the French. For six months while vastly outnumbered, it manned outposts, guarded fords and bridges, and fought numerous skirmishes. When it came time pull back from the border, the division endured a harrowing retreat with a relentless enemy at their heels. It was during this eventful year it developed an esprit-de-corps and a belief in its leaders and itself that was unrivalled in Wellington’s Army.
Wellington's Light Division in the Peninsular War uses over 100 primary sources to recount the numerous skirmishes, combats, and battles, as well as the hardships of a year of duty on the front lines. Many of these sources are from British and Portuguese archives and have never been published before. Others are from long-forgotten books published over 150 years ago. It is through the words of the officers and men who served with it that this major, and long-anticipated study of the first critical year of the Light Division is told.
During the Waterloo Campaign, Wellington had only one division that was composed entirely of British infantry, the 1st Division. This consisted of two brigades of the most famous regiments of the British Army – the three regiments of Guards. The exploits of the Guards at Waterloo have passed into legend. On that day, Wellington entrusted the most crucial part of his line to the men he knew would hold their position at all cost. That vital position was the Château d'Hougoumont, and those men were the Guards. As the great battle unfolded, the French threw more and more troops at the walls of…By Robert Burnham, Ron McGuigan
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