The Waterloo Association: Members Area

Lecture 12 Wellington’s Light Division Problems in Command and Control 1810

Battle of Garcia Hernandez

Problems in Command and Control in Wellington’s Light Division 1810 by Robert Burnham

About this Event

Wed, May 19, 2021

7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

In February 1810, Wellington created what became the most famous unit in the Peninsular War: the Light Division. There are many books about the division and its three famous regiments, but none discuss the birthing pains that came with its formation. Most problems can be traced to the army’s internal politics and traditions that prevented it from being given a proper command and staff structure. It can be said that Wellington unintentionally set it up to fail. These issues came to a head on 24 July 1810 at the Coa River when the division was nearly destroyed in its first major combat. This talk explores the command and control problems that plagued the division throughout its first year and how it evolved to overcome them.


Robert Burnham is a former U.S. light infantryman and intelligence officer who has served in operations on three continents. He recently retired after serving twenty-two years as the editor of the Napoleon Series and has written over 100 articles on the British Army in the Napoleonic Wars. He is the author of seven books on the era, including “Charging against Wellington: the French Cavalry in the Peninsular War”, “Wellington’s Foot Guards at Waterloo”, and “Wellington’s Light Division in the Peninsular War: 1810”.

Tickets are available on on Eventbrite, Free for members and £5 for non-members. Click link below.

Wellington’s Light Division Problems in Command and Control 1810