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PENINSULA WAR. Sixteen autograph letters signed by Captain Robert Candler of the 50th Foot to his wife Mary, Abrantes, Lisbon and vicinity, Almeida, Talavera, Almandralejo, 5 December 1808 - 15 April 1812, 64 pages, 4to, integral address panels (some soiling; wear to folds, separated in two case).

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PENINSULA WAR. Sixteen autograph letters signed by Captain Robert Candler of the 50th Foot to his wife Mary, Abrantes, Lisbon and vicinity, Almeida, Talavera, Almandralejo, 5 December 1808 - 15 April 1812, 64 pages, 4to, integral address panels (some soiling; wear to folds, separated in two case).

The correspondence brings to life the bloody and difficult progress of the campaign in the Peninsula, including a vivid eye-witness account of the siege of Almeida (May 1805): 'Sunday last, the 5th, was a most bloody conflict on which day I was on picquets ... the oldest officer never recollected the firing so incessant as it was ... we three times drove in their light troops when about 700 dragoons charged us ... I had the most miraculous escape from three dragoons who made several cuts at me but most fortunately a deep ditch gave me a chance by jumping over by which I escaped their sabres'. The forced marches through driving rain before the Battle of Arroyo dos Molinos (28 October 1811) and the extraordinary success of the battle are also described in detail, 'we caught them napping as the old saying is and what makes the Battle of Arroyo de Molinos so glorious is that so very few lives were lost'. Candler is always enthusiastic about his commanders, in particular Wellington, 'the idol of the whole army' and Hill, but is often frank about the terrible fighting, 'I am unable to describe to you the dreadful carnage and slaughter I have been witness to' (11 June 1811), 'it would make your blood run cold with horror were I to describe the thousands of dead laying on the field and the horrid stench together with horses it almost suffocated me' (25 June 1811). Portugal too meets with his disapproval: he finds Abrantes 'an infamous place', and wonders at Junot having chosen it as his title, and comments of the country near Lisbon 'I am unable to describe to you the misery and desolation of this unfortunate country and its inhabitants'.

Candler's affectionate letters, which often refer to his desire to return to his wife and 'beloved babes', have a sad epilogue: he was killed at the capture of Fort Napoleon during the Battle of Almaraz on 19 May 1812, barely a month after the last letter in the present series; his wife was awarded a pension of £40 after being reduced to 'circumstances of distress' (House of Commons Estimates and Accounts, 1813-14, vol.XI, p.48).
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