With the Guns in the Peninsula (Kindle)
The Peninsular War Journal of Captain William Webber, Royal Artillery
Second Captain Webber of the Royal Artillery joined Captain Maxwell’s 9-pounder Brigade at Zafra in August 1812. His journal covers the period up to 16 June 1813, just before the Battle of Vitoria. In his journal Captain Webber records the events as they unfold on the actual day they happened, without being coloured by hindsight. He also records his impressions of the countryside and its people and customs.
His journal describes his personal experiences during the advance up to and along the Tagus to Aranjuez, the reversal of fortunes during the autumn of 1812, the difficult retreat into winter quarters in Portugal and finally his brigade’s part in the brilliant campaign of 1813 which saw the French pushed back across the Ebro. Webber gives vivid accounts of engagements with the enemy along the way; notably around Alba de Tormes during the retreat, and on the heights outside Burgos before the crossing of the Ebro.
The late Lieutenant Colonel Laws has set the journal within the context of the Peninsular War, and outlined Webber’s military career, which culminated at Waterloo where he was wounded.
Webber’s memoirs cover the period up to 16th June 1813, just before the battle of Vitoria and provide and interesting first-hand account of the day-to-day life in Wellington’s army.Stuart Asquith, Author
This journal is much more than simply a ‘good read’. From a historiographical perspective Webber’s account is more useful, and potentially more reliable, than most of the period. Due to it being a diary, which was not edited by its own author, Webber’s journal is free from the influence of Napier. Napier, who served in the Peninsula, wrote the first history of the war, and his focus on heroic Brits triumphing despite the incompetence of their Spanish allies influenced the work of many who published accounts of their experiences after his work. Furthermore, accounts from the Royal Artillery are rare, and Webber’s writing is so detailed that it is possible to establish a great deal about the wider strategic situation facing General Rowland Hill’s detachment, which remains a relatively neglected topic of the period.Zack White, Freelance
Rich in detail and wonderfully entertaining, Webber’s diary is essential reading for all those seeking to understand what it was really like to be on the frontline during the Napoleonic Wars. This book therefore represents a welcome addition to the renaissance of Peninsular War journal publication which Frontline Books has led in recent years.
The disastrous retreat and near disintegration of Sir John Moore's army on the road to Corunna in 1809 is traditionally regarded as the low point in the history of the British intervention in the Peninsular War. Yet under the Duke of Wellington the British and their allies suffered defeats and retreats that tend to be overshadowed by the series of victories that eventually drove the French from Portugal and Spain. None of these setbacks was graver than the retreat that followed the disastrous failure of the siege of Burgos in 1812. It is this, less than glorious, phase of the Peninsular campaign…By Carole Divall
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