Under the command of the Peninsular War hero General Sir Thomas Graham, an inexperienced and under-strength British army, short on supplies and enduring terrible winter weather, sought to capture the port of Antwerp and neutralise the French fleet based there. The problems of liaison and cooperation between the British and their Prussian allies under von Bülow, which blighted their attempts to capture the city despite Graham’s success on the battlefield at Merxem, prefigured similar difficulties during the Hundred Days. There were further controversies with the Dutch, and with the Crown Prince of Sweden – once the French Marshal Bernadotte, but now overall Allied commander in the Low Countries – who was accused of hindering operations for his own ends. The campaign culminated in the disastrous night attack on the French fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom, in which British soldiers paid with their lives for the failures of their masters.
The book deals with all aspects of the campaign, from grand strategy and the proposed marriage alliance between the House of Orange and the House of Hanover, to tactical analysis of the battles
and sieges that took place. This is a fascinating account both of a neglected Napoleonic campaign and of Britain’s wider role in the Sixth Coalition against Napoleon.
A Bold and Ambitious Enterprise The British Army in the Low Countries, 1813–1814
The British campaign in the Low Countries in 1813–14 in support of the Dutch revolt against the French is one of the lesser-known campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, but one of which the great historian of the British Army Sir John Fortescue wrote that it was impossible to understand the Waterloo campaign without a knowledge of.