Hunter, Archie.


Barnsley, 1st ed., 2003. Xii + 212 pp., 18 photo & other plates, half of which are cold., + 7 maps. D.j., 24 x 16cm. Bookplate o/w FINE. Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan was the key figure in an extraordinary, controversial and ultimately tragic episode during the Peninsular War. He was the commanding field officer held responsible for the dramatic night escape of the French garrison from Almeida over a vital bridge. Drawing on family papers and other contemporary sources, the book starts by covering Bevan's six earlier campaigns where he made his name as a highly competent officer before focusing on the circumstances surrounding the fateful bridge episode. It examines the background to Wellington's orders, the operation itself and the subsequent blame heaped on the unfortunate Bevan. Then there is the part played by General Erskine whose version of events Wellington controversially accepted. This is military history at its best : high drama set against a graphic account of Napoleonic era campaigning.

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