chapter  4
The Peninsular War
Pages 24

Perhaps owing to the numerous personal accounts of the Peninsular War that were published a er the peace which gave lurid accounts of ‘amputation hospitals’ and the horrors of battle eld medicine, British involvement in the Peninsular War has received more attention from medical historians than any

other campaign of the Wars. In particular, the retreat from Corunna and the latter campaigns of the Duke of Wellington (1812-14) have been extensively researched.2 e Peninsular War is usually seen as signi cant because of the reforms and achievements of James McGrigor while at the head of the service from 1812 to1814, and most medical histories of the period focus on him, taking as their guide his own account of the campaigns.3 However, McGrigor’s tenure was actually shorter than that of his predecessor, Dr James Franck, who headed the medical department from 1808, returning to England as an invalid in the summer of 1811.