I'm not as well up on the Spanish struggle against Napoleon in the Peninsula as I should be. However, one chap you may be familiar with from your Patrick O'Brian is General Romana. I'm not giving away any state secrets when I say that the fictional Stephen Maturin steals another real man's glory.
Romana was born in the Spanish colonies and originally joined the navy. He was educated in France and studied at the university of Salamanca, which goes to show that he was quite a cosmopolitan chap. He served in the American war against the British and finished his service on the blockade of Gibraltar. He then left the service to travel Europe.
Rejoining the colours, though on land this time, he fought against the French revolutionary government in the war of the First Coalition. He remained in uniform, achieving general rank, and later being assigned to lead "The Division of the North". This ill fated formation was sent to Germany where it served as part of the French occupation forces, garrisoning Hamburg and later Denmark in the period 1807-1808.
The Napoleon Series has a rather fetching set of uniform plates depicting the Division of the North.
With the outbreak of hostilities in Spain, Romana communicated with the British and managed to get a substantial number of his men back to Spain on British ships. On arrival back in Spain, he took part in several rearguard actions assisting Moore's retreat to Corunna. In 1809, he led several limited attacks against French forces with rather more success than the more grandiose schemes of his Spanish colleagues.
Romana was later appointed to the Central Junta and fought under Wellington until his death in 1811 of dyspnoea, shortness of breath. Romana was unusual amongst Spanish generals of the time, for his willingness to work under Wellington and to set aside his amour propre in order to kick Frenchy in the pants. His death was considered a great loss.
A longer, much more scholarly article by Jose Manuel Rodrigeuz, from which the above was culled is available on The Napoleon Series.
This is a Falcata Spanish Officer from a set of Spanish infantry that I got from John Cunningham. The arm holding the hat is a seperate piece and was the very devil to get a good join on. Kristzian despite all his protestations that he is not really a painter of Napoleonics, has done an astonishingly good job on this fellow. I had told him that a generic Spanish uniform would do, but he got in touch with Uwe and produced this wonderful piece of work, which is quite literally a portrait of Romana (and his horse).
History does not record the name of his horse.
This chap will be doing duty as Spanish general for my Command & Colours Napoleonics Spanish in the very near future. I took delivery of some Spaniards from Mark a few days ago, so expect to see some Spanish battles relatively soon.
Really wonderful work. Very, very happy. I hope to see General Romana back on the field of Mars before too soon.
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