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Lord Raglan

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Category: Military
Reference No: 8572
Status: Available
Price: £85.00
  Lord Raglan

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British soldier, known as Lord FitzRoy Somerset before 1852.

In 1807 Somerset was selected to serve on the staff of Sir Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) in the expedition to Copenhagen. The following year he accompanied him in a similar capacity to Portugal, and during the whole of the Peninsular War was at his right hand, first as aide-de-camp and then as military secretary.

A brave man, Somerset was wounded at the Battle of Buçaco, receiving five stab wounds to the left shoulder,and became brevet-major after Fuentes de Onoro. He accompanied the stormers of the 52nd light infantry as a volunteer at Ciudad Rodrigo and specially distinguished himself at the storming of Badajoz, being the first to mount the breach, and afterwards securing one of the gates before the French could organise a fresh defence.

Following Napoleon’s return from Elba in 1815 he again became aide-de-camp and military secretary to the Duke of Wellington.

At Waterloo Somerset was wounded in the right arm and had to undergo amputation, but he quickly learned to write with his left hand, and on the conclusion of the war resumed his duties as secretary to the embassy at Paris.

In 1819 he was appointed secretary to Wellington as master-general of the ordnance, and from 1827 till the death of the duke in 1852 was Military Secretary to him as commander-in-chief. In October 1852 he was created Baron Raglan.

In 1854 he was promoted to full General and appointed to the command of the British troops sent to the Crimea.

Although blamed by the press and the government at the time for the hardships and sufferings of the British soldiers in the terrible Crimean winter before the Siege of Sevastopol (1854-55), the truth was that the chief neglect rested with the home authorities, and the appalling logistical support from England worsened an already poor situation.

Raglan was unaware of the growing rivalry between the Earl of Lucan and the Earl of Cardigan which would have tragic consequences in the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade. At Balaklava he sent small British units against larger Russian contingents and the complete destruction of the British units followed. One month later his luck changed when the British and French allied army gained a decisive victory at the Battle of Inkerman and he was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal

During the appalling winter of 1854–55 the anxieties of the siege seriously undermined his health and the failure of the assault of 18 June 1855 affected him further. Very shortly afterwards, on 29 June, with his body weakened by stress, he died due to complications brought on by a bout of dysentery.

This is an excellent signature in ink, as Raglan, to the lower left corner of an envelope panel (6" x 2.25") addressed to his wife at their London home ("5 Great Stanhope Street, May Fair"). Light album mounting residue to the reverse but otherwise in very good condition.

"Raglan" (rather than "FitzRoy Somerset") signatures are relatively rare. He was ennobled in 1852 and died in 1855 and much of the time in between was spent in Crimea and under great stress, with little time for casual correspondence.