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Item:  BSL - GENERAL ANSON 1813

 

RARE PENINSULAR WAR AUTOGRAPHED LETTER SIGNED (ALS)
1813  MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE ANSON WRITES FROM AVEIRO

VERY CLEAN SUPERB ALS FROM ONE OF THE BETTER KNOWN
CAVALRY GENERALS OF THE PENINSULAR WAR

This is the only Anson wardate letter we have handled and is missing in most collections

Along with Baron Bock (1st & 2nd Dragoons KGL) Anson's was one of two brigades who fought a notable rearguard action covering the retreat from Wellington's failed attempt to take Burgos in October 1812. Commanding the 11th, 12th & 16th Light Dragoons, Anson faced 6000 French Cavalry backed by infantry. Wellington in his Supplemental Dispatches quotes from a letter to his brother Henry (British Envoy in Cadiz), "I twice thought Anson's brigade (which is weak in numbers and much exhausted by constant service) would be annihilated."

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Transcription:


Aveiro 6th April 1813

My Dear Sir Charles,

     I have had a most pressing application from João Rangel de Quadros Brother to Jose Maria Rangel de Quadros, Hidalgo in this Town, and in whose house I am staying, & lay before you the enclosed Memorial for the consideration of the Regency. - I should be particularly obliged to you, if you would give it your support and Interest on the occasion; João Rangel appears to be a very respectable man and I understand his name has been previously transmitted by General Trant, to fill the situation which he petitions for. -

                       Believe me ever faithfully yours,
                                           G[eorg]e Anson, MG

Sir Charles Stuart, KB
Lisbon

Notes

This letter was written in the lull between Wellington's push into Spain with his tactical retreat back to Ciudad Rodrigo at the end of 1812 and the resumption of action in June 1813 at Vittoria. The Spanish guerillas in the north were constantly harassing the French lines of supply and communications. By June, Anson would be back in the saddle and playing an important role at Vitoria.

Aveiro is the capital city of the Aveiro District and an important seaport on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal. It is known in Portugal for its traditional sweets, the ovos-moles and the trouxas de ovos, both made from eggs. It is sometimes called "The Portuguese Venice", because of its canals and boats.

Trant is General Nicholas Trant, Military Governor of Oporto and Coimbra (after taking it from Massena) and one of those British Officers attached to Marshal Beresford to command Portuguese Militia Units. Played a key role at Buçaco, the Lines at Torres Vedras and Coimbra. The Aveiro city history notes on October 7, 1810 that "the Regimental Militia of Aveiro covered itself with glory in the taking of Coimbra by Colonel Trant, and formed the vanguard of the column of Infantry. The small Anglo-Portuguese division was formed only by the Bylaws of Militias of Coimbra, Aveiro, Olivier de Azeméis, Porto, Maia and Everton, while the 5000 French troops were made "aprisionadas" (prisoners); Trant, writing on the same day to Marshal Beresford: "I would say to you that  all their men are distinguished briosamente."

Rangel de Quadros  is a reference to one of the leading Hidalgo Families of Aveiro. in 1802 the Prince-Regent and future Don João VI appointed José Maria Rangel de Quadros and Queirós and João Rangel de Quadros and Queirós, Fidalgos Knights of the Royal House for their 'relevant' military service. (Fidalgo in Portuguese and Hidalgo in Spanish)

The Anson's represented Lichfield as MP's along with Lord Granville Leveson Gower, who was Sir Charles Stuart's diplomatic Mentor and took him to St Petersburg in 1804 as Secretary to the Legation. It is quite likely that Anson and Stuart were social friends.

Commanded 16th Light Dragoons under Cotton at Oporto
Commanded 3rd Cavalry Brigade (23rd Light Dragoons & 1st Hussars KGL) under Wellesley at Talavera
Commanded 2nd Cavalry Brigade (11th, 12th & 16th Light Dragoons) under Cotton at Salamanca
Commanded 1st Cavalry Brigade (12th & 16th Light Dragoons) under Graham in the Left Column at Vittoria

 


Older brother of General Sir William Anson, 1st Baronet.

Cornet 16th Light Dragoons 1786, Lieutenant 16th Light Dragoons 1791, Lieutenant 20th Light Dragoons 1792, Captain 20th Light Dragoons, 1792, Major 20th Light Dragoons 1795, Major 16th Light Dragoons 1797, Lieutenant-Colonel 20th Light Dragoons 1797, Lieutenant-Colonel 15th Light Dragoons 1798, Lieutenant-Colonel 16th Light Dragoons 1805, Brevet Colonel 1805, Brigadier General on Staff 1809-1810, Major General 1810, Lieutenant General 1819, General 1837.

Early Service: West Indies 1791-1797, Helder 1799.
Peninsular War: With regiment 1809. Commanded brigade 4th Division June- July 1809. Commanded cavalry brigade July 1809-March 1811, May-December? 1811 and July 1812- July 1813.
Other Service: Home Staff 1813-1814. Governor Royal Hospital Chelsea 1849.
Aide De Camp to the King 1805. MP 1806-1814. KCB 1815. GCB 1833.
Colonel of 23rd Light Dragoons 1814-1818, 4th Dragoon Guards 1827-1849.
[from Ron MacGuigan's British Generals of the Napoleonic Wars]

This Portrait is presented courtesy of Ted Abbott who is looking for information about the painting. The medals seem to match up with General Anson's honours, but if you have any info please contact us.

Biographical Note

General Sir George Anson, GCB KTS
(1769 - 1849)

     Anson was the second son of George Anson (previously Adams) and his wife the honorable Mary Vernon, daughter of the first Lord Vernon. Admiral George Anson, 1st Baron Anson, was his great-uncle and Thomas William Anson, 1st Viscount Anson, his elder brother (see Earl of Lichfield for more information on the Anson family). General Sir William Anson, 1st Baronet was his younger brother. He was also uncle to Thomas Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield, George Anson (who later became the Commander-in-Chief, India and to George Edward Anson, Keeper of the Privy Purse, who died a few days before him in 1849.
     He entered the British Army in 1786 and served under the Duke of York and Sir Ralph Abercromby in Holland. It was to be in the Peninsular War where his reputation grew markedly. He served in all the campaigns between 1809 and 1813 and gained distinction in his command of the 16th Light Dragoons at the Battle of Oporto. His reputation was further enhanced by his command of a brigade of light cavalry at the Battles of Talavera, Buçaco, Salamanca and Vittoria. For his services in the Battles of Talavera, Salamanca and Vittoria he received a medal and two clasps. So prominent was he during these campaigns that the House of Commons thanked him in November 1816 for his services generally during the Peninsular Wars. In February 1827 he was appointed to the colonelcy of the 4th Dragoon Guards and rose to the rank of General. Aside from his military career he also sat as Member of Parliament for Lichfield from 1806 to 1841. He was also the Groom of the Bedchamber to Prince Albert from 1836 to September 1841. In 1846 he was appointed the lieutenant-governor of the Chelsea College and became governor in May 1849.

Document Specifications:  A superb handwritten ALS letter signed by Major General George Anson as Brigade Commander of the 11th, 12th & 16th Light Dragoons in Aveiro and dated April 6th 1813. Single sheet letter measures 9½" tall x 7¼" wide (240mm x 188mm). On one sheet of gilt-edged, heavy cream, batonne laid paper, watermarked "1807". Writing on one page as shown. This is a beautiful handwritten autograph war-date letter by Major General George Anson as he attempts to use his influence with Sir Charles Stuart to obtain a favorable inclination towards the application of an Hidalgo family member, whose house he was coincidently living in at the time. A superb example of Anson's hand and signature and the only one we have handled from the Peninsular War.

From the Sir Charles Stuart, Lord Rothesay, Correspondence. Stuart was His Britannic Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal during the greater part of the Peninsular War (10 January 1810 to 26 May 1814). He was a personal friend and confidante of Wellington and Nelson, member of the Portuguese Regency (the only British Subject in the war ever permitted to hold an official position in a foreign government while also representing Britain), and later ambassador to Netherlands & France. The most important foreign diplomat of the Peninsular War, his archive of diplomatic, military and intelligence dispatches are second only to Wellington's Dispatches.

 Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd.
Member: APS, BNAPS, CCNY, ICSC, DMSC & SPHS

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End of Item - BSL - GENERAL ANSON 1813

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