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Part III: Wars of Succession, Independence, and Revolution in VS .NET
Part III: Wars of Succession, Independence, and Revolution
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India, 1803 Napoleon liked to sneer that Wellington was a sepoy general because of his service in India That was not only unfair to the sepoys, who were trained, disciplined, professional soldiers with fine fighting qualities, but also a very serious underestimation of Wellington s abilities as a commander One wonders how the French Emperor would have coped with the situation confronting the then Major General Sir Arthur Wellesley at Assaye on 23 September 1803 Assaye was a village in Berar located between the confluence of the Juah and Kaitna rivers, approximately 250 miles northeast of Bombay Wellesley had only 4520 British and Indian troops at his disposal, including 2170 infantry, 1200 cavalry, and a small number of guns His British troops included the 19th Light Dragoons, the 74th Highlanders (2/Highland Light Infantry), and the 78th Highlanders (2/Seaforth Highlanders) His object was to destroy the Mahratta field army in the Deccan, which may seem overambitious considering that that army, commanded by Dowlut Rao Scindia and the Rajah of Berar, consisted of 30,000 cavalry, 17,000 infantry (including 10,500 regulars), and 190 guns French instructors had trained it and a German officer named Pohlmann commanded its infantry Initially, both armies confronted each other across the Kaitna Wellesley observed that two villages faced each other on opposite banks of the river, some way beyond the Mahratta left, and correctly deduced that a ford connected them Using broken ground for concealment, he led his troops across and then deployed to face the enemy with his right protected by the Juah and his left by the Kaitna This forced the Mahrattas to turn towards him, but because the front narrowed as the two rivers flowed towards each other, they were only able to deploy a fraction of their strength Incredibly, it was the British who took the initiative Despite local checks it took them only three hours to drive the Mahratta army off the field with the loss of 6000 killed or wounded and 98 guns captured British casualties amounted to 428 killed and 1156 wounded or missing, about one-third of their strength Following a further defeat at Laswari, Scindia sued for peace In later years, Wellington described Assaye as his greatest victory, and proportionately the bloodiest action he ever witnessed Naples, 1806 Having crowned himself Emperor of the French in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte began seeing to it that his relatives were nicely settled on other people s thrones The throne of Naples he gave to his brother Joseph In 1806 a 5000-strong British force under General Sir John Stuart landed in Naples with the intention of helping guerrillas fighting in support of the deposed King Ferdinand IV General Jean Reynier, commanding 6440 men, opposed Stuart near the village of Maida The disciplined volleys of the British line blew the French attack columns apart and the French sustained further casualties as they broke and fled Stuart s losses amounted to 387 killed and wounded French casualties included 1785 killed or wounded plus a large number of prisoners As the anticipated guerrilla support was not forthcoming, Stuart withdrew his force to Sicily Maida Vale in London takes its name from the battle
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10: The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
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The West Indies, 1794 1810 The slaves on former French colonies (handed to the British at the peace of Amiens) thought that the revolutionary slogan of Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood applied to them, too Understandably, they reacted badly when they learned it didn t In Haiti they reacted with such extreme violence that a large British force was despatched in the hope that it would restore some sort of order, as they didn t want mayhem spreading to Jamaica and the rest of their islands, as this would destabilise the whole region In the event, the British only achieved partial success During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars estimates claim that no fewer than 100,000 British soldiers lost their lives in the West Indies, the majority dying from tropical diseases The South Atlantic, 1806 1807 Operations against Spain s South American territories proved less than fruitful (Spain being allied to France at this time) In June 1806 a small British force made an unauthorised landing at Buenos Aires, but the local militia forced it to surrender The following year General Joseph Whitelocke mounted a much larger expedition from the United Kingdom It occupied Montevideo, in modern Uruguay, in July 1807, then descended on Buenos Aires A popular uprising followed in which the British troops, unused to street fighting, were confronted by barricades and heavy firing from the rooftops, and were finally forced to surrender There was no point in pursuing these adventures further, as Spain s colonies were on the point of rebelling against their mother country anyway
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