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General Wellington


Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, (29 April 1769 – 14 September 1852), was an Anglo-Irish soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century. He is often referred to as simply "The Duke of Wellington"

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ARTHUR WELLESLEY, DUKE OF WELLINGTON, one of England's greatest generals, was the third son of Garrett, first Earl of Mornington, and brother of the Marquis of Wellesley.
He was born May 1st, 1769, at Dangan Castle, Ireland, and completed his military education a few years before the French Revolution, in the military school of Angers, in France.

He entered the army as ensign in the 41st regiment in 1787, and became lieutenant of the 33rd in 1793. In 1796, he accompanied his regiment to India, where his brother, the Marquis of Wellesley, shortly afterwards arrived as governor-general. It was in the Mahratta war of 1803 that the young general won his first fame. After besieging and capturing Ahmednuggur, Wellington, with only 450 men, came upon the Mahratta forces, 40,000 or 50,000 strong, and not waiting for the larger British force that was on its way, won the brilliant victory ot Assaye. The victory of Argaum followed; and the great fort Gawulghur, supposed to be impregnable, having been taken in December, the Mahratta chiefs sued for peace, after one of the most extraordinary campaigns on record. In 1805, he returned to England, and in 1806, he obtained a seat in the House of Commons, for Newport, Isle of Wight; in April, 1807,he was appointed Chief-Secretary of Ireland.

On the death of Sir John Moore, he resigned the office of Chief Secretary of Ireland, and assumed command of the Peninsular army. He now had to contend with Soult and Victor, who had entered Portugal at the head of a veteran army, and were in possession of its finest northern provinces. On the 27th and 28th of July 1809, the army commanded by Victor and Sebastiani, was defeated by the British under Wellington, at Talavera. The slaughter on both sides was terrible, in their desperate, almost hand to hand conflict. The thanks of parliament were voted for the victory of Talavera, and Sir Arthur Wellesley was created a peer by the titles of Baron Douro of Wellesley, and Viscount Wellington of Talavera, and a pension of £2000. In April, 1811, he received the thanks of parliament for the liberation of Portugal.

Spain, however, was now subdued by the French. The Spanish armies were annihilated, and it was of the greatest importance that Wellington should be able to keep his rear open to the Tagus. Wellington having invested Almeida, Massena attempted to relieve it, but was skillfully repulsed at Fuentos de Onoro, May 3rd and 5th. The fall of Almeida followed. He next laid siege to the strong fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo; and on the night of January 19th, 1812, it was carried by storm and the garrison made prisoners. For this achievement he again received the thanks of Parliament, and a further pension of £2000, and was advanced in the British peerage by the title of Earl of Wellington. He next marched towards Badajoz; invested it in March, and carried it by storm April 6th, after a frightful carnage, the allies losing nearly 5000 men. On the 22nd of July, he gained at Salamanca, one of his greatest military triumphs. Ammunition, stores, two eagles, eleven cannons, and 7000 prisoners were the trophies of victory.

In May following, he marched his army into Spain in two columns, and on the 21st of June, gained at Vitoria another signal victory over the French, commanded by King Joseph, assisted by Marshal Jourdan. The enemy lost all their ammunition and 151 cannons. By this splendid and important series of victories, he had reached the summit of martial glory. The deliverance of Spain from the French was now certain. He pursued the French army to France by Pamplona. He failed July 5th, to carry San Sebastian by assault, but gained another decisive battle over Soult at the Pyrenees, and the French army retreated into France. A second attempt to carry San Sebastian by assault was successful, but it cost Wellington 2300 in killed and wounded. He now crossed the Bidassoa and invaded France. Pamplona surrendered. After the passage and battle of the Nivelle, and the passage of the Nive, the victorious army of Wellington was attacked December 10th to 18th, on the right and left, by Soult, who was defeated. Leaving two divisions to blockade Bayonne, Wellington followed Soult with the rest of the army. On February 27th, he defeated Soult at Orthes, and on April 10th, consummated this series of victories, by again defeating Soult under the walls of Toulouse. The allied Russian and German armies having entered Paris, and Napoleon having signed his abdication a few days before, this last great battle would not have been fought, but for the nonarrival of news of the events of Paris. In a few weeks Wellington was in Paris, presenting the trophies of his brilliant campaign to the allied monarchs. He was created, May 3rd, Marquis Duke of Douro, and Duke of Wellington in the British peerage, and received an additional grant of £400,000. He received for the twelfth time the thanks of parliament for his services, and on his arrival in England was greeted with the greatest enthusiasm.

Napoleon having escaped from Elba; Wellington was appointed commander of the British forces on the continent of Europe, and from Vienna joined the army at Brussels. The battles of Ligny, and Quatra Bras, were succeeded on the 18th of June 1815, by the great battle of Waterloo. Here the grand and decisive blow was struck; here for the first and last time the great Emperor and the English general met and measured swords, and here the power of Napoleon was finally crushed.

When the allied armies evacuated Paris in 1818, the emperors of Russia and Austria, and the King of Prussia, created Wellington field Marshal of their armies. The gratitude of the English nation was, meanwhile, enthusiastically manifested. Statues were raised to his honor in the metropolis. Parliament voted £200,000, in addition to former grants. In 1827, he succeeded the Duke of York as commander-in-chief of the army, and was made colonel of the Grenadier Guards. From this period his political career may be said to begin. When Mr. Canning received the commands of George IV to form an administration, Wellington, with six other members of the Liverpool administration, resigned office. In August, 1827, after Mr. Canning's death, he again accepted command of the army, which he resigned on being called upon by George IV to form an administration. In January 1834, he was elected chancellor of the University of Oxford. Upon the enforced resignation of Lord Melbourne in November 1834, he was sent for by William IV. He declined to take the premiership, and was entrusted by the King with the whole charge of the government, and the seals of the three Secretaries of State, until Sir Robert Peel could arrive from Rome. Peel constructed a conservative government, in which Wellington took the office of Foreign Secretary. In April, Peel resigned, and henceforward Wellington ceased to take a prominent share in the civil government of the country. On September 14th 1852, he was seized at Walmer Castle with an epileptic fit, became speechless, and died the same afternoon. His "Despatches," published by Colonel Gurwood, in 12 vols., are the proudest monument of his glory; they exhibit him as a commander who overcame countless difficulties by honesty, sagacity, singleness and constancy of purpose, and devotion to duty. He enjoyed an iron constitution, and was not more remarkable for his personal intrepidity than for his moral courage. The union of these qualities obtained for him the appellation of the "Iron Duke,"