Twelve months in the British Legion. By an officer of the Ninth Regiment.

London, John Macrone, 1836.

8vo, pp. viii, 273, [1], xxx, with an errata slip; two very short tears in fore-edge of title, but a very good copy, untrimmed in the original purple cloth; faded and slightly rubbed; from the library of Ian Robertson (1928–2020).

£650

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Twelve months in the British Legion. By an officer of the Ninth Regiment.

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First edition; very scarce. Charles Thompson (1815–1896) was the second son of the army officer and radical politician Thomas Perronet Thompson. Before entering the army proper he served in Spain in the British Legion under Sir George de Lacy Evans. He fought at Arlaban on three consecutive days in January 1835, at Hernani on 30 August, and at San Sebastian on 5 May 1836 where he was wounded in the hip and hand (related in detail on pp. 238–243 here). For his services he was made a Knight first class of the Order of San Fernando.

‘It would have been useless for [the author] to attempt to give a military history of the proceedings of the British Legion, and to confine himself solely to the details of manoeuvres and actions . . . . He thought, therefore, that to give a personal account of what he himself saw, and did, and felt, with as much of military tactics as came within the scope of his intelligence and observation at the time, would prove more interesting to the reader, and perhaps give a better idea of the nature of the service, than a history in imitation of that style of which Caesar is the founder and Napier a disciple’ (preface, pp. iii–iv).

An appendix contains a list of officers who died of typhus between 14 January and 20 April 1836, and a list of officers killed or wounded at San Sebastian on 5 May 1836.

Alberich 1116; Palau 331813 (giving erroneous year of publication). Library Hub records two copies only (Bodleian and British Library).

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