John Malcolm was not a Peninsular veteran of the same experience as a Harry Smith or a Thomas of the 71st, but his Memoirs, written in the 1820s, supply a fresh look at the later parts of the campaign, uncoloured by the rash of histories which began to appear at this time. His observations of his fellow officers, from the unpleasant man who claimed a berth on the basis of a day's seniority to the newly joined ensign who unhesitatingly picked up a musket and fired with the ranks when the regiment was threatened at Toulouse, remind us that to generalise about anything is dangerous. The odd glimpse of Wellington is also revealing, chatting with French peasants, sadly viewing the dead, calmly socialising prior to issuing orders - inspiring confidence rather than fear.
Malcolm sailed from England in late 1813, at the time of the Vittoria campaign, and had the "misfortune" to feel the effects of Wellington's change of supply line - on arriving in Lisbon he found he had to take ship again as it was no longer the supply depot. He arrived at San Sebastian in time for the last assault, and stayed with the army until wounded at Toulouse.
Intelligent and articulate, his observations give an interesting view of the every day life of Wellington's Peninsular Army.
I have attempted to correct all the typographic errors introduced during the scanning process, but have left original typographic errors untouched except for the addition of the traditional "[sic]" to indicate that the error is in the original.
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