Pakenham Letters 1800 to 1815
Pakenham Letters 1800 to 1815
Pakenham Letters 1800 to 1815

PAKENHAM, Sir Edward Michael. Pakenham Letters 1800 to 1815.

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PAKENHAM, Sir Edward Michael. Pakenham Letters 1800 to 1815. [London], Privately printed, John and Edward Bumpus, 1914.

4t. Original red cloth-backed boards, spine lettered in gilt; pp. vii, 261, title in red and black, partly unopened and uncut, printed on high-quality paper; edges and corners of boards with wear, library marks (see provenance), light offseting from endpapers; internally very clean and fresh; provenance: ALS by a relative of Thomas Pakenham, 5th Earl of Longford (1864-1915), the editor of this book, tipped in on preface leaf, dated 1919, accompanying the book sent to the Sir Thomas Moore Library in Shorncliffe, Kent (their bookplate and shelfmark).
Extremely rare first edition of primary sources by one of Wellington's favourite commanders. The army officer Edward Michael Pakenham was the second son of Edward Michael Pakenham (second Baron Longford) and in 1809 joined Wellington 'who in 1806 had married his sister Catherine (Kitty), in the Peninsula after the battle of Talavera (27–8 July 1809). He liked, admired, and worked well with Wellington. He was employed as an assistant adjutant-general to the fusiliers; the officers of the battalion placed his portrait in the mess, and presented him with a sword valued at 200 guineas. He was appointed deputy adjutant-general in the Peninsula on 7 March 1810; no desk soldier, he disliked what he called "this insignificant clerking business" … Pakenham commanded a brigade of the two battalions 7th fusiliers and the Cameron Highlanders, in Sir Brent Spencer's division at Busaco and Fuentes d'Oñoro in 1810, and in 1811 he received the local rank of major-general in the Peninsula, and served with the headquarters staff. At the battle of Salamanca, on 22 July 1812, described by Wellington as the best manoeuvred battle in the whole war, Pakenham commanded the 3rd division, which broke the French centre. The two armies faced each other, and had been moving on parallel lines for three days. They saw each other clearly, from opposite rising grounds, as the valley between was not more than half a mile wide. Marmont's design was to interpose between Wellington and Badajoz; Wellington's object was to prevent this. In their eagerness to gain their point the French leading divisions outmarched those following, and thus left a vacant space in the centre, which Wellington saw, and at once exploited. ‘Now's your time, Ned’, he said to Pakenham, who was standing near him; Pakenham gave the order to his division, and began the movement which won the battle. Wellington wrote to the Horse Guards on 7 September 1812: "I put Pakenham to the third division, by General Picton's desire when he was ill; and I am very glad I did so, as I must say he made the movement which led to our success in the battle of 22 July last with a celerity and accuracy of which I doubt if there are very many capable, and without both it would not have answered its end. Pakenham may not be the brightest genius, but my partiality for him does not lead me astray when I tell you that he is one of the best we have" [Dispatches, 6.434]' (ODNB) He was killed in 1815 during the British assault on New Orleans, a campaign he very much disapproved of because it was more for plunder than military gains.
This volume, which is not mentioned as a source in the Oxford Dictionary of Biography unites letters by Pakenham from the expedition to the West Indies and the Peninsular War, including one from Lady Wellington to another member of the Pakenham family and an 80-page memoir by Lt.-Colonel Campbell on the peninsular campaign and the end of Napoleon's reign in 1815. Other documents refer to the New Orleans campaign and Wellington's position.

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