This is the remarkable story of one of the most celebrated and decorated Irish soldiers ever to fight in overseas service, and who was considered in all opinion as the Duke of Wellington’s ‘strong right arm’. Despite being fiercely critical of his generals, Wellington described Beresford as ‘the ablest man in the army’ and relied heavily on his Irish-born commander.
Marshal Sir William Carr Beresford was the illegitimate son of the 1st Marquis of Waterford and rose to the rank of General in the British army and Marshal to the Portuguese forces during the Peninsular War. Sent to Portugal to rebuild its demoralised forces against Napoleon, Beresford was so successful that Wellington combined the Portuguese and British regiments and positioned Beresford as commander-in-chief.
Their friendship and trust are revealed in their correspondence, which shows them not only writing to each other almost daily but meeting regularly to discuss strategy or to socialise. It was an amicable and supportive relationship that continued for the rest of their lives, leading to Beresford’s appointment as Master General of Ordinance in Wellington’s first government in 1828.
Table of Contents
- Early Life
- Cape of Good Hope and the Rio de la Plata, 1806–1807
- Madeira, 1807–1808
- The Defeat of the First French Invasion of Portugal and the Convention of Cintra, 1808
- With Sir John Moore into Spain,1808–1809
- Marshal of Portugal: The Spring Campaign 1809
- Reform of the Portuguese Army, the Summer Campaign of 1809 and Preparations for the Defence of Portugal
- The Portuguese Army, 1809–1810
- Busaco, The Lines of Torres Vedras and the Left Bank of the Tagus
- The French Retreat from Portugal
- The Battle of Albuera and its Aftermath, 1811
- The Portuguese Army Goes from Strength to Strength, 1811–1812
- Vitoria, a Return to Portugal and the Crossing into France, 1813
- Winter in the Pyrenees, the Battles of Orthez and Toulouse, 1814
- Family, Friends, Finance and Politics
- A triumphant return home
- Portugal and Brazil 1814-1820
About the Author
Marcus de la Poer Beresford trained at Trinity College Dublin as an historian, before qualifying as a lawyer. A former partner in A & L Goodbody, solicitors, Marcus retired from his legal practice after three decades, and returned to his first love, history, in 2010. His earlier research focused on Ireland in the eighteenth century and the Irish diaspora following the Treaty of Limerick in 1691. He is a distant relative of William Carr Beresford.