Raglan: From the Peninsula to the Crimea, John Sweetman

Raglan: From the Peninsula to the Crimea, John Sweetman

Lord Raglan is now rather unfairly best known for his role in the Charge of the Light Brigade, but as this biography shows he actually had a much longer and rather more impressive career than is generally realised.

The key to his success was his close association with the Duke of Wellington. Raglan served as his military secretary in the Peninsular, and then worked for him in government until the Duke's death.

There is a slight tendency in the chapter on the Peninsular War to overdo the comparisons between the events in Portugal and Spain and Raglan's own command in the Crimea, but this is soon replaced by a more balanced assessment of the role his closeness to Wellington played in Raglan's career, both positive and negative (as he became associated with Wellington's later military conservatism).

Sweetman takes a generally positive view of Raglan's abilities. Raglan often takes much of the blame for the charge of the Light Brigade and for the poor conditions in the British camps on the Crimea. Sweetman defends him against both of these charges - the first by looking at the entire sequence of orders sent to Lord Lucan, the cavalry commander, before the charge began, the second by looking at the command structure in the British Army, which meant that Raglan had no authority over significant parts of his command.

This is a detailed well researched biography of a major figure in Victorian military history, painting a picture of a capable general and dedicated family man.

1 - Childhood, Adolescence and Military Service (1788-1808)
2 - The Peninsular War (1809-1814)
3 - Diplomacy and Warfare (1814-1815)
4 - Bureaucracy and Politics (1816-1827)
5 - Military Secretary, the Horse Guards (1827-1842)
6 - Wellingtonian Twilight, The Horse Guards (1842-1852)
7 - Disillusionment, The Ordnance (1852-1853)
8 - Advance to Contact (January to August 1854)
9 - Into Battle, The Crimea (September to December 1854)
10 - Defeat, Despair and Death (January-June 1854)
Epilogue: Burial and Memorial
Conclusion: In Retrospect

Author: John Sweetman
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 384
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2010 edition of 1993 original

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