Robert Crauford (1764-1812)

'Black Bob' Crauford was one of Wellington's most able commanders during the Peninsula War. Born the 3rd son of a Sir Alexander Crauford a Scottish baronet he was to become a fine general who was a serious student of military science and a consummate professional.A fluent German speaker, renown for his sarcasm and violent temper he found throughout his early career that advancement was slow. He served (on attachment) with several foreign armies in places as far afield as India to the Netherlands gaining much first hand experience of continental warfare. In 1807 he took part in the attack on Buenios Aires but could gain no glory when the ill fated expedition collapsed. By 1808 he was commanding a brigade in the Peninsula. From 1809 to 1812 he commanded the Light Brigade, an elite formation of some of the best infantry units in the British army at that time. He had high standards and was the master of detail, at times he was like a spider at the centre of a web of scouts that detected the slightest movement. Despite his ability his temper and over confidence often proved a problem and he could not be trusted to follow Wellington's orders to the letter and could get him into trouble, as he did in 1810 by engaging Neys Corps on the wrong side of the river Coa. On 19th January 1812 he led his troops into the lesser breach of the fortress of Cuidad Rodrigo where he was wounded and after 5 days of agony finally died.

Napoleonic Home Page | Books on the Napoleonic Wars | Subject Index: Napoleonic Wars

Wellington: A Military Life, Gordon Corrigan. This in an excellent military biography of the Duke of Wellington. It focuses very heavily on Wellington the general, allows Corrigan to describe the wider campaigns in some detail, giving a good idea not only of what Wellington did, but also why he did it. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (31 July 2000), Robert Crauford (1764-1812), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_crauford.html

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