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    During the Peninsular War against Napoleon, Wellington writes from Portugal to a British General in charge of Portuguese troops that "It would appear that the French are collecting more forces upon the Agueda & Coa"

    Duke of Wellington Autograph Letter Signed: "Wellington", three pages, 4.5" x 5.5", front and verso. Castello Branco, April 17, 1812, 5 P.M. Addressed by Wellington on verso of third page to General Sir Nicholas Trant, the Conde de Montellegre. Matted and framed to 15.75" by 14.5". Framed under glass on verso as well, showing the second and third pages of Wellington's letter. Hinged at the left to a larger frame, 42.5" x 24.5", matted with a color portrait of Wellington and three metal plaques, one with Wellington's name, years of birth and death, and titles, another detailing the events relating to this letter, and a third, under the hinged frame, with the text of Wellington's letter.

    In full: "I arrived here about two hours ago. Marshall Beresford carried your letter of the 13th upon the Road and I received that of the 12th from Genl Bacellar this morning. We shall move on as soon as the troops move up. It would appear that the French are collecting more forces upon the Agueda & Coa. You should take care of yourselves on Guarda, if they should collect two Divisions at 8 in the neighborhood of Sabugal. Guarda is the most treacherous position in the Country; although very necessary to hold. I should prefer to see an advanced Guard upon it. & the Main Body on the Mondego behind. Have you rec'd my Magazines at Celorico? I inclose a lettre for the Commissary there; and one for Don Carlos d'Espagne. Pray forward both. The former is to order fresh Supplies to Celorico. Show this letter to Genl Bacellar I don't write to him, as I have no Portuguese with me."

    In April, 1809, Major General Marshal William Beresford, commanding the Portuguese Army, organized a portion of it to operate under the command of Wellington who was then appointed a Marshal General of the Portuguese Army. Beresford also incorporated under his command Portuguese Major General Manuel Bacellar's Brigade consisting of five regiments. Wellington once said that if anything ever happened to him then it was Beresford he wanted to take over.

    British General Sir Nicholas Trant was in command of Portuguese units. This letter was written to him just 11 days after Wellington's victory at Badajoz on April 6, 1812, said to be Wellington's bloodiest siege. It helped open the way to conquering central Spain during the last two years of the Peninsular War. The victory helped swing the momentum of the long struggle against Napoleon's forces in Portugal, Spain and southwest France to Wellington's favor as he prepared for the Battle of Salamanca (July 22nd) while maneuvering to capture Madrid (August 12th-13th).

    On April 8, 1812, Napoleon's forces under Marshal Auguste Marmont encircled Castello Branco. Upon learning of Wellington's victory at Badajoz, Marmont quickly abandoned it, retreated and settled with his troops between the Agueda and Coa Rivers where they were a threat to both Almeida, Portugal and Ciudad Rodrigo, Spain. This letter was written by Wellington just two hours after arriving at Castello Branco on April 17th. A week later, on April 24th, Marmont began to withdraw his forces from Portugal. Wellington relied heavily on Portuguese and Spanish troops. By late May, 1812, he had secured the Portuguese-Spanish border and with 48,000 troops, 28,000 of them British, marched toward Salamanca, Spain, from Ciudad Rodrigo. British Marshal Beresford commanded Portuguese forces while Portuguese Major General Bacellar and Spanish General Don Carlos d'Espana commanded Portuguese and Spanish divisions. Wellington succeeded in driving Napoleon's forces back into France.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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