Book review: Wellington’s Worst Scrape: The Burgos Campaign 1812 by Carole Divall

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Just over 200 years ago, as the long-running Napoleonic Wars raged across Europe, the British Army under the great Duke of Wellington suffered one of the most disastrous periods in its history.

The catastrophic failure of the siege of Burgos in northern Spain in 1812 has been overshadowed in the history books by the series of victories that eventually drove Napoleon and his French army from the Iberian Peninsula two years later.

In the early years of the 1808-1814 Peninsular War, the British and their allies had suffered a series of defeats and retreats, including the infamous near disintegration of Sir John Moore’s army on the road to Corunna in 1809, but none of these setbacks was as grave or ignominious as the events at Burgos which the Duke of Wellington himself described as his ‘worst scrape.’

 

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