No Ordinary General: Lt. General Sir Henry Bunbury (1778-1860): the Best Soldier Historian

No Ordinary General: Lt. General Sir Henry Bunbury (1778-1860): the Best Soldier Historian

No Ordinary General: Lt. General Sir Henry Bunbury (1778-1860): the Best Soldier Historian

No Ordinary General: Lt. General Sir Henry Bunbury (1778-1860): the Best Soldier Historian

Synopsis

Sir Henry Bunbury's main claim to fame is as a historian of the wars fought against Napoleon (principally in the Meditteranean). He was also an important figure in a number of fields of public service. Bunbury's writings and life give an absorbing picture of the British army and its commanders during the time of Napoleon, as well as of the contemporary political and economic scene. Illustrated.

Excerpt

It is unfortunate that in most people's minds the name of Bunbury is associated with comedy and even farce, through their familiarity with a fictitious character in Oscar Wilde's perennially popular play entitled The Importance of Being Earnest. Yet Bunbury is an ancient and respectable name, that of the family of St. Pierre who came over with King William in the Norman conquest, were assigned the manor of. Bunbury in Cheshire, from which they henceforth took their name, and subsequently settled in Suffolk. A baronetcy was conferred on a Bunbury during the reign of Charles II, and the sixth baronet, Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury, who died in 1821, was distinguished by being the fortunate owner of three horses that won the Derby. He died childless, and his title passed to the subject of this biography, Henry Edward Bunbury, then a major general.

Bunbury is an unusual name, and Sir Henry Bunbury was an unusual general. He managed to combine the qualities of a brave, successful soldier, a first-class administrator in both a military and civilian capacity, a Whig politician, with progressive views, a reforming landlord, and a memorable historian.

No biography of Bunbury has yet been published, though an excellent memoir by his eldest son, Sir Charles Fox Bunbury, was printed privately in 1868, eight years after his death. The present author has inevitably drawn very heavily on this source but has been able to make use of other materials, some that were not available to Sir Charles.

Bunbury, born in 1778, was that rare thing at the start of the revolutionary war against France, a soldier who took his profession seriously. He chose to study at a military academy that was to become in later years the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and the Staff College at Camberley. He cultivated the friendship of Sir John Moore (an outstanding commander and trainer of troops) and made a reputation for himself as a quartermaster . . .

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