Wellington s Headquarters is an essential introduction to the administration of the British army in the early nineteenth century.
It offers a fascinating insight into the structure and operation of the Duke of Wellington s command during the Peninsular War. S.G.P. Ward s classic study, first published over sixty years ago, describes the complicated tangle of departments that administered the army, departments which had grown up haphazard and survived virtually unchanged until the time of the Crimean War. Wellington adapted the existing system in order to turn it into an efficient instrument in the war against Napoleon, despite clashes of responsibility and personality that frustrated him and impaired the army s performance on campaign. Chapters cover peacetime and wartime administration, the relationships of the staff officers, the supply and maintenance of the army in the Peninsula, the gathering and interpretation of intelligence, the organization of the army on the march and the sometimes tense relations between Wellington and his subordinates. The study raises the quartermaster general s department to its proper position, and discusses Wellington s attitude to the chief of staff system which was then favoured on the continent. The result of this lucid and absorbing survey is an enhanced understanding of the system that had evolved to administer the British army two hundred years ago.