sábado, 24 de setembro de 2011

Lieutenant-General Sir Rowland Hill, 1º viscount Hill of Almarez


Joanna Hill. Wellington's Right Hand: Rowland, Viscount Hill, The History Press Ltd, 2011


«One of the most unlikely soldiers of his day, General Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill of Almarez was imaginative, brave – and perhaps more surprisingly for the period in which he lived and fought – compassionate towards those under his command. This is the compelling story of one of history’s forgotten heroes, a man who frequently led from the front in some of the deadliest battles of the Napoleonic Wars. Hill was given his own ‘detached’ corps and fought his way through Spain, Portugal and France, winning battles against the odds – such at St Pierre, where he defeated the redoubtable Marechal Soult when outnumbered two to one. When ministers at home asked that Hill be allowed to leave the Peninsula and lead an army elsewhere, Wellington dismissed the idea with ‘Would you cut off my right hand?’

Hill fought at Roliça, Corunna, Talavera, Bussaco, Almarez, Vitoria and Waterloo. He succeeded the Duke in 1828 as Commander-in-Chief of the forces and served as such until he resigned in 1842, a period marked by civil unrest that he reluctantly was obliged to confront. Based upon the Hill papers and a wide range of other primary sources, Wellington’s Right Hand is an important addition to the literature of the Napoleonic age and in particular to that of the Peninsular War.

Writer and historian Joanna Hill is the great, great, great niece of Rowland Hill and as such has gained unique access to the Hill family archives. In April 2005, she published her first book on the Hill family, The Hills of Hawkstone and Attingham; the Rise, Shine and Decline of a Shropshire Family» (from the Editor’s Synopsis)

Lieutenant-General Sir Rowland Hill, 1º viscount Hill of Almarez, Hawkestone and Hardwicke (1772- 1842) was one of the ablest Generals of the Peninsular War and second-in-command to Lord Wellington in the last period of the War. He first commanded a Brigade (Vimeiro and Oporto), having rapidly been promoted to Commander of the 2nd Division (Talavera and Buçaco) and as Commander of an Army Corps which included the 2nd and 4th Divisions, under the command of Lieutenant-Generals Sir William Stewart (Com TS) and Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole (Com TE), the Heavy Cavalry Brigade of Colonel De Grey, the Light Cavalry Brigade, under Lieutenant-General John Slade and 4 Portuguese Brigades.

In 1812 he was awarded the Order of the Tower and Sword, Knight Commander, whose Star he is wearing in the portrait above (cf. José Vicente de Bragança, King John VI and the Order of the Tower and Sword (1808-1826), Lisbon, 2011).