William Warre was the spirited scion of one of the great commercial dynasties which helped make Portugal Britain’s oldest ally. Brought up in Oporto, his nature was too fiery to take kindly to the dull business of exporting port, and he gratefully left the family firm to take up a military career after sticking the pigtails of his father’s Portuguese partner to his desk with sealing wax while the man was sleeping off a liquid lunch. Warre returned to his native city as a young staff officer in 1808, and thereafter witnessed most of the major actions of the conflict at close quarters. He took part in Sir John Moore’s winter retreat to Corunna; the storming of the fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo, personally accepted the sword of the surrendering French commander of Badajoz after the famous siege; and fought at Vimieiro and Salamanca among many other actions. After the latter battle he was given the important task of reorganising the Portuguese Army and was Britain’s liasion man at the Portuguese court in Lisbon. This volume is composed of letters to Warre’s parents. He describes not only the military actions in which he was engaged, but also recounts the gossip among his fellow Staff officers and his own frank observations on the foibles of his Portuguese allies.
LETTERS FROM THE PENINSULA 1808-1812
Gossipy and revealing memoirs of the Anglo-Portuguese soldier who was present at most of the actions of the Peninsular War from Corunna to Salamanca. Warre was rare in having an inside knowledge of Portugal and it shows in this enthralling collection of his frank letters home.