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Home arrow Historical arrow Peninsular Notes arrow The Commanders

The Commanders Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 08 November 2007
Article Index
The Commanders
General Andoche Junot
Sir Arthur Wellesley
Sir Brent Spencer
Marshal Jean-Andre Massena
Admiral Sir George Berkeley
General Etienne Kellermann
General Sir Lowry Cole

General Sir Brent Spencer (1760-1828)

 Spencer, perhaps?  
Twice Wellington's second in command (at Vimeiro and Buçaco) its is strange that he is almost anonymous - certainly much less has been written of him than his illustrious commander - but perhaps there are good reasons for that.

At any rate Wellesley was able to acknowledge his competence in command, even if a little grudgingly.  In his dispatch to London from Coimbra on 30th September 1810, reporting the action at Buçaco, he writes "I have received throughout the service the greatest assistance from the General and Staff Officers. Lieut. General Sir Brent Spencer has given the assistance his experience enables him to afford me....." 

In a later, more private comment (though still widely reported) Sir Arthur remarked that "He was exceedingly puzzle-headed. He would talk of the Thames for the Tagus."  Sir Harry Smith, however,  was not impressed with Sir Brent's abilities at controlling the army when the duke was away and comments in his autobiography (Chapter 6):  "... a regular old woman, who allowed the French to commit all sorts of extravagances under our noses..."  Spencer did impress at least one of his colleagues, though. Sir Charles Colville commented favourably on his social and military accomplishments.

The modern artist's impression above, bears some resemblance to a contemporary  "silhouette" portrait of Spencer and the story accompanying the silhouette throws some possible light on the need for anonymity.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 October 2015 )
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