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With the Guns in the Peninsula (Hardback)

The Peninsular War Journal of Captain William Webber, Royal Artillery

Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Napoleonic Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Napoleonic Library Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic

Edited by Richard Wollocombe
Frontline Books
Series: The Napoleonic Library
Pages: 196
ISBN: 9781473882577
Published: 27th February 2017



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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.
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.

Zack White, Freelance

About Richard Wollocombe

Richard Henry Wollocombe is a direct descendant of Captain Webbers sister.

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