The 12th Light Dragoons served throughout Wellington’s campaigns in the Peninsular War, most notably at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812, and later at Waterloo where they suffered heavy casualties supporting the Union Brigade’s famous charge. The principal source for this book are the papers of Sir James Steaurt – Colonel of the regiment for almost all of the period in question – supplemented by other regimental records, Horse Guards paperwork, and letters and memoirs, allowing both an official understanding of events, and several threads of human interest which develop through the narrative.
The book is divided into two halves, first providing an overview of the regiment and the role of Steuart as Colonel. The narrative then moves onto an account of the regiment on home service during the early years of the Napoleonic Wars and on active service in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. It concludes with a discussion of the lessons learnt during the war, exemplified by the 12th being one of the regiments selected for conversion to lancers in the aftermath of Waterloo.
GALLANTRY AND DISCIPLINE The 12th Light Dragoons at War with Wellington
Distinguished Napoleonic military historian Andrew Bamford here offers the history of a British cavalry regiment which served with Wellington in the Peninsular War – notably at the Battle of Salamanca – and was later mauled but victorious at Waterloo. Under their Colonel, Sir James Steaurt, the 12th Light Dragoons wrote their page of glory in blood. Bamford’s monograph is unusual in that unlike most regimental histories it concentrates on a relatively short period, from 1791 to 1815, and is based largely on the volume of paperwork left by Sir James Steuart. Although this might appear a weakness, it is, in fact, its great strength, providing a consistent and well-documented viewpoint through a period of great change within the British army as a whole.