Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan was the key figure in an extraordinary, controversial and ultimately tragic episode during the Peninsula War. He was the commanding officer held responsible for the dramatic night escape of the French garrison from Almeida over a vital bridge. For this disaster he incurred the extreme wrath of the Duke of Wellington but whether this was fair remains highly debatable.
Drawing on letters and papers of the Bevan family and other contemporary sources this book examines the background to Wellingtonís order to defend the bridge; the subsequent blame heaped upon Bevan for the part played by him and his Battalion; and the very questionable role of the incompetent, drunken, General Erskine in the affair. It tells of Wellingtonís acceptance of Erskineís version of events and then his obstinacy, even poor judgement, in refusing Bevanís request for an inquiry. Finally there is lead up to Bevanís suicide directly related to his and his Regimentís honour being unjustly tarnished by Wellington.
The book also covers the six earlier campaigns in which Bevan served with distinction before joining Wellington in Portugal, and so builds a picture of his competent character and military experience.