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Letters from Portugal and Spain: written during the march of the British troops under Sir John Moore

Length: 190 pages3 hours


Sir Robert Ker Porter’s life was as varied and dramatic as his paintings. A noted author, artist, soldier and diplomat, he was born into a military family in Durham. After developing a reputation for his painting, he travelled extensively in Northern Europe, before accepting commissions for historical paintings from the Tzar of Russia in 1805. He travelled on to Sweden where he met Sir John Moore. Sir John found him congenial company and invited him to accompany the expedition to Spain that he was to lead.
Sir John’s campaign in 1808 was to be brief, outnumbered by his French opponents by massive odds, and with the weight of British and Spanish hopes encumbering him, he opted for a bold thrust at an isolated French corps under Soult. The British troops were discovered on their approach march and, despite a number of successful small engagements, the imminent danger of the other French corps rushing to surround the small body of British men was obvious to Moore. His only choice was to retreat through some of the roughest country in Europe: through the crags, ravines and gorges on Northern Spain. Fending off successive French attacks, dealing with drunken starving soldiers, and rapidly diminishing supplies, Sir John drove his men on to Coruña, where he fought a sterling defensive battle to ensure that his men could be carried off by the Royal Navy.
Sir Robert Porter’s work illustrates the hardships and difficulties men and officers of the British force with all of the eye for detail that an artist can summon. His letters are one of the prime sources for the campaign of 1808.
Author — Porter, Robert Ker, Sir, 1777-1842.
Text taken, whole and complete, from the edition published in London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1809
Original Page Count – xiv, 320 p.
Illustrations — 7 engravings.

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