Bolivar's British Volunteers

August 4th, 2010  

Topic: Bolivar's British Volunteers

Just been looking at Osprey's website and have found out they are about to publish a book on Bolivar's British Volunteers. I've been fascinated by the Napoleonic era for some time now and have lived and travelled in South America extensively, but never knew about this?

Did any of you know that these guys existed? Here's a bit of blurb about the book and a link to the website.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo, over six thousand British volunteers sailed across the Atlantic to aid Simón Bolívar liberate Gran Colombia from her oppressors in Madrid. The expeditions were plagued by disaster from the start. Shortly after leaving Portsmouth, one ship, The Indian was driven onto the rocks off the Isle of Ushant, killing all one hundred and ninety-three men, women and children onboard. Others deserted or died after arriving in the New World. Lieutenant Watson was captured and executed whilst making his way up the Orinoco. Lieutenant Plunkett succumbed to yellow fever, vomiting blood yet lucid until the end, and Sergeant Cookson was devoured by jaguars after wandering off alone into the jungle.

Conditions on campaign were appalling. Forced marches left a trail of dead across flooded savannah, through tropical rainforest and over snowbound Andean passes. Massacres were commonplace, rations crude, pay infrequent and supplies insufficient. Nevertheless, those that endured made key contributions to Bolívar’s success. Colonel Rooke’s bayonet charge at Vargas saved the army from destruction, the Black Rifles were instrumental in victories across the continent and at the Battle of Carabobo the British Legion’s defiant stand proved decisive.

After the fighting had finished, several volunteers attained influential positions in military and political circles. Others returned to Britain and a few continued their adventures around the globe. Although the contemporary media followed their story closely, their memory soon faded once the war was won. In the intervening years, their role has been deliberately downplayed in the countries they helped to liberate and all-but-forgotten at home. Conquer or Die! aims to redress this imbalance. Conquer or Die! is their story.
September 5th, 2010  
you sometimes run across references to Chile and Admiral Lord Cochrane who was such a plague to Spanish forces all over the sth atlantic... rarely do you hear about the land campaigns..............

thanks for posting the links......

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