At the end of a long and uncommonly eventful life, when these thrilling memoirs were written, it was his distant youth as a soldier in the Peninsular War that Joseph Anderson (1790-1877) recalled most vividly. A Scottish soldier, who ended his career a Lieutenant-Colonel, a CB and a Knight of Hanover; Anderson joined the 78th Regiment of Foot in his native Stirlingshire at the tender age of 15. After service in Italy and Egypt, the 78th landed in Spain where Joseph took part in the Battle of Talavera where he was wounded. His potential was soon recognised and he was quickly commissioned as a Lieutenant. After battling the French under the wily Marshal Massena, Wellington’s army retreated into Portugal, taking refuge behind the lines of Torres Vedras before Lisbon. Anderson took part in the battles of Busaco and Fuentes D’Onoro – where he risked death to recover the body of a comrade. Training in the army as a Judge-Advocate, Anderson was ordered to accompany a shipload of three hundred convicts bound for Australia where he was placed in charge of the penal colony on Norfolk Island. The convicts promptly mutinied, but after it was put down Anderson was cleared of any responsibility for the outbreak.and retired to Melbourne where he wrote these much-admired memoirs at 74 and died aged 88.
RECOLLECTIONS OF A PENINSULAR VETERAN
Despite the title his experiences in Spain form only part of this long and fascinating mlitary memoir. After taking part in the battles of Talavera, Busaco, and Fuentes D’ONoro Anderson was in charge of the penal colony of Norfolk Island, Australia when the inmates miutinied…