The British Army in Portugal and Spain: Its Order-of-Battle (June 1808 - April 1809)
Part V: Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley's Army
By Ron McGuigan
Command and Staff
Wellesley assumed command of the army at Lisbon on 27 April 1809. It consisted of:
Appointed to the staff:
Major General John Sherbrooke [Lieutenant General in Portugal]
The units were those already in Portugal and the following embarked or under orders to proceed there:
8 Troops, 3rd Dragoon Guards [Portsmouth] (672)
22 April 1809
When Wellesley assumed command, the army was organized [from 22 April] or in orders as:
Commanding the force: Lieutenant General Wellesley [in orders on 27th April]
Second-in-command: Lieutenant General Sherbrooke
Adjutant General: Brigadier General C. Stewart
Quarter Master General: Colonel G. Murray
Cotton's Brigade: Major General Cotton14th Light Dragoons with detachment 3rd Light Dragoons, KGL
The 16th Light Dragoons were on the march to join Wellesley's army. The 2/24th Regiment . [at Lisbon 24 April], 3rd Dragoon Guards and 4th Dragoons [at Lisbon 27/28 April] had just landed. These three units were instructed to join Mackenzie's force. Major General Mackenzie with his Brigade, Fane's Cavalry Brigade and May's Company R.A. under Baynes [light 6 pounders] were to remain on the line of the Tagus River and guard Abrantes to Santarem. The 1/40th Regiment remained with the garrison in Seville, although arrangements were being made to have it join the main army.
The Lisbon Garrison
Left as the commander of the garrison of Lisbon was the Town Major, Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Walsh 9th Regiment:
Not joined until May were Lieutenant General Paget, Lieutenant General Payne and Major General Erskine.
Expected to arrive were the 1st Light Dragoons KGL and the 23rd Light Dragoons (672?) to form a brigade under Major General Erskine. Lieutenant General Payne was to command the cavalry. Lieutenant General Lord William Bentinck declined his staff appointment with the army. Apparently in April, Wellesley knew that the Light Brigade [Brigadier General Robert Craufurd with 1/43rd Regiment 1/52nd Regiment and 8 coys 1/95th Regiment ] and Horse Artillery [probably Ross's A Troop and Bull's I Troop] were to be ordered to Portugal and requested that they be sent as soon as possible.
In April, Marshal William Beresford [Major General and Local Lieutenant General in the British Service] commanding the Portuguese Army [appointed March 1809] organized a portion of it to operate under Wellesley's command. [Wellesley was the Marshal General of the Portuguese army, appointed April 1809.] Two regiments, the 10th Regiment of two battalions and the 16th Regiment of two battalions [with a unit known as the 1st Portuguese Grenadiers formed from the Grenadier Coys of the 1/6th & 2/6th Regiment . and the 2/18th Regiment .] were to be integrated into British Brigades with Wellesley's Army.
Under Marshal Beresford's immediate command to join the main army were:
1st Cavalry Regiment [3 squadrons]
Beresford was to also incorporate the following under his command:
Bacellar's Brigade: Major General Manuel Bacellar1/9th Regiment
Major General Mackenzie's Command
To be assigned to Major General Mackenzie's command on the line of the Tagus River:
Cavalry Brigade: Brigadier Manuel de Lusignamo, Conde de Sampayo4th Regiment & 7th Regiment [5 squadrons]
On 27th April, Lieutenant General Wellesley issued instructions to Lieutenant General Sherbrooke to begin the advance of the army on the 29th April. This then was the beginning of the Peninsular Army's journey down that long road to final victory.
Special Thank You to Michael Tänzer for providing obscure information, but especially for his kind assistance with the King's German Legion [see his excellent website at www.kgl.de], to Colm McLaughlin of the National Library of Scotland for his long hours of searching for and providing obscure General Orders, to Mrs M. Harding of the National Army Museum for finding and providing two General Orders and to Major Colin Robins OBE for his kind assistance with the Royal Artillery outside of his usual 'era' of research.
Thank-you to the Arquivo Histórico Militar, Lisboa, the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the British Library, London, The Gordon Highlanders Museum, Aberdeen, the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum, Lancaster, the National Army Museum, London, the Regimental Museum of the Queen's Own Highlanders, Inverness, Royal Artillery Institution, Woolwich, and the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, Gloucester. A special thanks to the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, for permission to use information from their manuscript collection of theMurray Papers.
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