GURWOOD, John (1790-1845, colonel). A collection of military papers and correspondence relating to his service in the Peninsular War and in the Waterloo campaign and as secretary to the Duke of Wellington and editor of the latter's dispatches, 1810-1847, approximately 300 items, 740 pages, tipped on guards into four albums, folio and 4to, four volumes, half pigskin with the bookplate of Viscount Esher; also one letter book containing transcripts of his letters from the Peninsula to his mother and others, and an autograph diary of the period 1812-15, approximately 130 pages, 4to, cloth.
Provenance: Colonel John Gurwood; his stepdaughter, Eugénie, Viscountess Esher; and by descent.
Three of the volumes include autograph letters signed by Lord Raglan (as FitzRoy Somerset, six); Earl of Munster (seven); 5th Earl Stanhope (as Viscount Mahon, six, principally on points of military history); Sir John Macdonald; Sir John Conroy (twelve); Sir Charles Stuart (during his diplomatic mission to Lisbon and Brazil, severely reprimanding Gurwood for his unhelpful negotiations with the Governor of Pernambuco); Lieutenant General Sir Samuel Whittingham (including long autograph memorandum on the battle of Talavera in which he served as brigadier general in the Spanish Army); 3rd Earl of Clarendon; 2nd Duke of Wellington (eight); Viscount Palmerston; Earl of Ripon; Lord Holland; Field Marshal Sir Colin Campbell [Lord Clyde]; General Lord Hill; Count d'Orsay (eleven); Viscount Combermere; Donald McDonald (Sergeant, 52nd Regiment, concerning the assault on Ciudad Rodrigo); General Sir George Napier; Lord Lynedoch; Earl of Aberdeen and many others, including retained copies of some of Gurwood's out-letters and miscellaneous family correspondence.
The memoranda include copies of Wellington's correspondence, return of casualties in battle near Toulouse, 1st Bn, 11th Foot (1814); 'Mémoire sur la Bataille de Waterloo', in French, 25 pages; document relating to Prize Money in the Peninsula, 1816; papers relating to Mrs Fitzherbert's estate including the correspondence with George IV, 1832; analysis of the handwriting of Edward Bulwer Lytton; and documents relating to Gurwood's property and the settlement of his estate, 1846.
The fourth album of correspondence contains a series of 20 autograph letters signed by Richard Seymour Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford ('B', 'Yarmouth', and, after the death of the 3rd Marquess in 1842, 'Hertford'), to Gurwood, together with two autograph letters signed by the 3rd Marquess, and letters to Fanny Gurwood by the 4th Marquess (two) and Maria [Fagnani], widow of the 3rd Marquess (two), approximately 80 pages, 4to and 8vo.
Colonel John Gurwood CB entered the Army in 1808 as ensign 52nd Light Infantry. He served throughout the Peninsular War and commanded one of the 'forlorn hopes' at Ciudad Rodrigo (1812). He was appointed brigade major first to the Household Cavalry and later to Lambert's brigade of the 6th Division in the Peninsula. He fought at Nivelle, Nive, Orthez and Toulouse, was ADC to Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton and was severely wounded at the battle of Waterloo serving with Xth Royal Hussars.
In 1825-26 he accompanied Sir Charles Stuart [Baron Stuart de Rothesay] on a special diplomatic mission to Portugal and Brazil.
Gurwood was secretary to the Duke of Wellington and was entrusted with the editing (1837-44) of the Duke's general orders and selections from his dispatches. He lived in Paris for many years and settled with his wife Fanny in London in 1838. The correspondence reveals his convivial if neurotic character and his devotion to chronicling the campaigns in which he fought. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the Tower of London and died by his own hand 27 December 1845. (5)