On 7th July 1807 Lieutenant-General John Whitelocke stood amid the burning wreckage of some houses in Buenos Aires as he contemplated the terms of a surrender document to which he was about to put his name. It was the final act in Britain's disastrous attempt to add the Spanish colony of the Rio de la Plata to the possessions of His Britannic Majesty King George III. After two days of intense street fighting, the British army had been forced to surrender to a South American army, considered by them to be nothing more than a rabble. It was to be one of the most shameful yet obscure campaigns ever fought by a British army. This extraordinary Napoleonic campaign sees the British army in action on the eve of the Peninsular War and features such notables as William Carr Beresford, later one of Wellington's most trusted generals, and Robert "Black Bob" Craufurd, who led the Great Duke's Light Division. Originally published in 1991 this book was the first attempt in Britain since the campaign to tell its story in a single volume, drawing from English and Spanish sources.
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Ian Fletcher is one of the leading authorities on the Napoleonic period, having written and edited fourteen books on the subject including Wellington's Regiment and The Peninsular War. He lives in Rochester, Kent.
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