Marshal William Carr Beresford
Marshal William Carr Beresford (1768-1854) was born in Ireland, with perhaps half a silver spoon in his mouth. Born out of wedlock he had few expectations, but his father, the Marquis of Waterford, enabled him to enter the British army as an officer and supported him thereafter. Following military school in Strasbourg, Beresford served in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America before being sent to Portugal. There he achieved the rebuilding of the Portuguese army between 1809 and 1814; demonstrating his organizational and administrational skills. He relied on training and strict discipline to bring the Portuguese army to the equal of any in Europe. Tough and determined, he was nonetheless devastated by the losses incurred at the battle of Albuera, an engagement he would have preferred to postpone while waiting for Wellington to join him. Later he was to play a prominent role in the battles of Salamanca, the Nive, Orthez and Toulouse. He established a firm friendship with Wellington, whose correspondence reveals his support for Beresford, even in adverse circumstances. That friendship was to endure throughout their lives; and in Wellington’s first government (1828-30) Beresford served as Master-General of the Ordnance, at that time still a cabinet position.
Major-General Sir Denis Pack
Denis Pack joined the British army at the age of sixteen in 1791. Court martialed within two years, this Irishman nevertheless went on to prove himself a determined and successful soldier on the global stage during the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. He served under Generals David Baird, William Carr Beresford, John Whitelocke, John Moore, John Pitt, Earl of Chatham and the Duke of Wellington, becoming a talented brigade commander, and one of Great Britain’s most decorated officers that served in the Iberian Peninsula.
Marcus’s biography of Denis Pack’s extraordinary life is titled ‘Peninsular and Waterloo General; Sir Denis Pack and the war against Napoleon‘. It is published by Pen & Sword and available to purchase online here and in all good bookstores. Readers in Ireland are advised to check their local outlet of The Book Centre to pick up a copy.