The Peninsular War 1807-1814

The Peninsular war is probably the campaign when the British Army came of age. The Portuguese government having been ousted by a French army and French troops treacherously taking control of Spanish fortresses, despite being allies, led to unrest, which finally boiled over when Napoleon usurped the throne of Spain for his brother Joseph. The Spanish and Portuguese populations broke out in insurrection and asked for British help to oust Napoleons forces. So began a campaign of six gruelling years which helped to turn the tide against Napoleon and saw the meteoric rise to fame of one General Sir Arthur Wellesley, better known to the world as the Duke of Wellington. His small British army bolstered initially by German (raised from those who fled Napoleons conquest of their countries) and Portuguese troops and later still by Spanish troops, eventually pushed the French out of Spain and even invaded southern France before Napoleon was forced to abdicate by the combined forces of Austria, Prussia and Russia invading France from the east.

Titles in the Gareth Glover Collection that deal with the Peninsula Campaign

The Journal of Paymaster John Harley 47th & 54th Foot

Lieutenant George Barlow 52nd Foot

Chaplain to the Forces Samuel Briscall

Bandmaster John Westcott 26th Foot

Sergeant David Robertson 92nd Foot

The Journal of Trooper Samuel Gallagher 5th Dragoon Guards In Spain, Portugal & France 1810-15

The Letters of Private Henry Willis, 1st Regiment of Life Guards

Cover Gairdner

An American Sharpe, The Letters and Journals of Lieutenant James Penman Gairdner 1st Battalion 95th Rifles

The Journals of Lieutenant George Woodberry 18th Hussars

A Hussar Sergeant in the King’s German Legion, The Memoirs of Cavalry Sergeant Ebbecke, 2nd Hussar Regiment King’s German Legion 1803-15

Personal Adventures of a Young Officer at Walcheren & the Peninsular War, The Memoirs of Ensign Edward Watson 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot

Journal of Ensign John Drummond Coldstream Guards 1812-14

The Peninsular War Journal of Sergeant Samuel Harrison 43rd Foot

Walcheren, Spain, America & Waterloo, memoir of Captain Peter Bowlby 4th Foot 1791-1877

The Peninsular and Waterloo Journals of Lieutenant William Bates Ingilby Royal artillery 1810-15

The Letters of Lt. Colonel Sir John Cameron, 1st Battalion 9th Foot, 1808-14.

In Wellingtons Support Services , The memories of Conductor of Stores George Augustus Aynge, in the Peninsular War, with further references to his father Master Gunner George Aynge, Royal Horse Artillery.

Seven Years on the Peninsula. The memoirs of Private Adam Reed, 47th (Lancashire) Foot 1806-17

The Diary of Ensign William Gavin 71st Foot 1806-15

From Corunna to Waterloo. The letters and Journals of Two Napoleonic Hussars 1801-16.

A Life Guardsman in Spain, France and at Waterloo, the memoirs of Sergeant Major Thomas Playford, 2nd Life Guards 1810-30.

An Eloquent Soldier, The Peninsular War Journals of Lieutenant Charles Crowe, of the Inniskillings 1812-14

Captain Thomas Edwardes-Tuckers Peninsular Diary, 23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot, 1813-14 A.D.C to Sir Thomas Picton

Wellingtons Voice, The candid letters of Lieutenant Colonel John Fremantle, Coldstream Guards 1808-1821.

A Staff Officer in the Peninsula and at Waterloo. The Letters of the Honourable Lieutenant Colonel James H Stanhope, 1st Foot Guards 1809-15.

A Young Gentleman at War, the Letters of Captain the Honourable Orlando Bridgeman 1st Foot Guards, in the Peninsula and at Waterloo 1812-15.

Letters from Egypt & Spain. By Lieutenant Colonel Charles Morland 12th then 9th Light Dragoons.

The Letters of 2nd Captain Charles Dansey Royal Artillery 1806-13.

The Corunna Journal of Captain CA Pierrepoint, AQMG.

Wellington’s Lieutenant Napoleons Gaoler. The Peninsular letters & St Helena Diaries of Sir George Ridout Bingham 53rd Foot.

The Letters of Captain George Henry Dansey 88th Foot 1804-18.

Memoir of the Military Career of John Dayes, late Paymaster Sergeant of the 5th Foot

The Diary of a Veteran. The Diary of Sergeant Peter Facey, 28th (North Gloucester) Regiment of Foot 1803-19.

A Hellish Business. The Letters of Captain Charles Kinloch 52nd Light Infantry 1806-16

Ensign Carters Journal 1812. The Peninsular diary of Ensign John V Carter 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot.

The Peninsular & Waterloo Letters of Captain George Bowles of the Coldstream Guards 1809-15.

‘It all culminated at Hougoumont’ The letters of  Captain John Lucie Blackman 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards, 1812-15

The Military Adventures of Private Samuel Wray 61st Foot 1796-1815

At Wellington’s Headquarters  The letters of Robert Duffield Cooke Army Pay Corps 1811-14

The Peninsular War Diary of Captain John Frederick Ewart, 52nd Light Infantry, 1811-12

The Texas Papers – A Collection of Peninsular war Letters by Various Senior British Officers held at Rice University, Texas.

Campaigning In Spain and France – The Letters of Captain Thomas Charles Fenton, 4th Dragoons & The Scots Greys 1809-15

Eyewitness to the Peninsular War and the Battle of Waterloo The Letters and Journals of Lt Colonel James Hamilton Stanhope, 1st Foot Guards, 1803-25

The key events of each year are listed here:


  • 30 November General Junot occupies Lisbon


  • 6 June Joseph Bonaparte proclaimed King of Spain
  • 14 July Battle of Medina del Rio Seco
  • 1 August Arthur Wellesley begins landing troops at Mondego Bay
  • 17 August Action at Rolica
  • 21 August Battle of Vimiera
  • 30 August Convention of Cintra
  • 23 November Battle of Tudela
  • 30 November Battle of Somosierra
  • 21 December action at Sahagun


  • 16 January Battle of Corunna
  • 29 March Battle of Medellin
  • 12 May Battle of Oporto
  • 28 July Battle of Talavera
  • 19 November Battle of Ocana


  • 5 February Siege of Cadiz commences
  • 9 July French under Massena capture Ciudad Rodrigo
  • 28 August French capture Almeida
  • 27 September Battle of Bussaco
  • 10 October Massena halts at lines of Torres Vedras


  • 5 March Battle of Barossa
  • 11 March French capture Badajoz
  • 3-5 May Battle of Fuentes d’Onoro
  • 16 May Battle of Albuera
  • 25 September Battle of El Bodon
  • 28 October Battle of Arroyo dos Molinos


  • 19 January Wellington captures Ciudad Rodrigo
  • 6 April British capture Badajoz
  • 22 July Battle of Salamanca
  • 13 August Wellington takes Madrid
  • 24 August Siege of Cadiz finally ends
  • 2 November French re-enter Madrid


  • 12 June French abandon Madrid
  • 21 June Battle of Vitoria
  • 27-30 July Battle of Sorauren
  • 31 August Wellington captures San Sebastian
  • 10 November Battle of Nivelle


  • 27 February Battle of Orthes
  • 20 March Battle of Tarbes
  • 31 March Allies enter Paris
  • 6 April Napoleon abdicates
  • 10 April Battle of Toulouse
  • 14 April Sortie of Bayonne