Orders, Decorations and Medals (7 April 1994)

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Date of Auction: 7th April 1994

Sold for £2,400

Estimate: £1,500 - £2,000

The Peninsula War medal awarded to Major-General Henry von Brandenstein, Brunswick Light Infantry, later Commander-in-Chief of the Brunswick Army

MILITARY GENERAL SERVICE 1793-1814, 6 clasps, Fuentes D'Onor, Salamanca Vittoria, Pyrenees, St. Sebastian, Nive (Henry von Brandenstein, Capt., Brunsk. Lt. Infy.) nearly extremely fine and rare

Footnote

The Brunswick Light Infantry was formed from the remnants of a volunteer army which, led by the hard-fighting Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick and nephew of George III, cut its way through French dominated Westphalia to Brake on the Frisian coast and thence by ship to England. Reformed as rifle and hussar regiments whose black uniforms earned them the nickname 'Black Brunswickers', the units were taken into British service and landed at Lisbon on 8 October 1810. However, as the war continued, the black-clad ranks were filled by deserters of all nationalities and their early promise faded. Professor Oman in 'Wellington's Army' writes, 'They were a motley crew much given to desertion.... One great Court-Martial in 1811 sat on ten Brunswick Oels deserters in a body, and ordered four to be shot and the rest to be flogged'. But he also adds, the regiment was full of good shots and bold adventurers.' Brandenstein was one of the officers who accompanied the Duke through Northern Germany. He eventually retired in the rank of Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the Brunswick Army. The combination of clasps on his medal is unique amongst those awarded to the Black Brunswickers.