A COLLECTION OF PENINSULAR WAR LETTERS, WRITTEN BY VARIOUS SENIOR BRITISH & PORTUGUESE OFFICERS HELD AT THE WOODSON RESEARCH CENTRE, RICE UNIVERSITY, TEXAS.
58pp., 6 colour & 2 b/w plates, P.B. 2010.
Rice University, Texas, contains a remarkable collection of twenty four letters written between 1808 and 1813 covering various less mainstream aspects of the Peninsular War. They are an eclectic bunch, a few of the early ones are returns from the Franco-Spanish army that invaded Portugal under the terms of the Convention of Fontainbeau in 1807-8; this is followed by a fascinating series of reports from Portuguese commanders to the recently installed Marshal Beresford, observing Soult’s forces near Oporto, soon after his bloody capture of the city in 1809; completed by a further set of engaging letters from Beresford’s headquarters in 1811-13 dealing with numerous mundane issues, such as officer transfers, complaints against troops, pay and allowances, leave, a complete survey of the artillery at Elvas etc. This therefore forms a new and important source for the internal workings and activities undertaken by both regular and irregular Portuguese units during the Peninsular War.