Company Officer of the 2nd Foot and a Light Infantry Company
Officer of the 31st Foot.
2/31st continued to see action in the Peninsula
and was to join the Queen’s (Second) Royal Regiment
of Foot at the Battle of Vittoria, 21st June 1813. This
has been described as Wellington’s greatest victory of the
War, as his allied Army marched from Spain, over the Pyrenees
and into France.
of the Grenadier Company
The French armies were commanded by King Joseph, Napoleon’s
brother, and Marshal Jourdan. Wellington had advanced rapidly
in 1813, outflanking the French defence line and causing the French
abandonment of Madrid. On 17th June, the French had been outflanked
by the main allied army, which had turned north to Medina de Pomar,
just fifty miles west of Vittoria, whilst they continued to be
harassed by irregular Spanish cavalry. They halted in the valley
Wellington divided his army into four parts. Lord Hill led the
British 2nd Division, one Portugese (Silveira’s) Division
and one Spanish division to the west and Picton’s and Dalhousie’s
division were to move from the north. Wellington was to lead a
frontal assault with the Light and 4th Division, while the British
1st and 5th Divisons with two Portugese brigades and the Spanish
were to swing further to the north to cut the escape road to Bayonne.
The Queen’s formed part of Silveira’s Portugese Division
and the 2/31st were part of General Stewart’s 2nd Division.
Both battalions were part of the right column.
French collapse was absolute and this action practically ended
the Peninsula War. The French lost virtually all of their artillery,
ammunition, provisions, money and baggage, including King Joseph’s
personal belongings. Wellington was given a field marshal’s
Many styles of uniform were worn in the Peninsula and many of
them were not smart! Wellington was more concerned about the supply
of arms and equipment, than the Army’s appearance; the plates
are, therefore, a representative view of the uniforms worn in