# Anstruther, Robert (DNB00)

He embarked at Ramsgate in August 1808, and, on reaching the mouth of the Douro in company with Brigadier-general Acland, found orders from General Wellesley to proceed at once down the coast to Maceira Bay. Wellesley himself had, after his success at Rorica, marched along the coast, for he wished to receive reinforcements before he either attacked Lisbon or engaged Junot's whole army. At Paymayo and Maceira accordingly Anstruther and Acland met Wellesley and disembarked their brigades, though with much difficulty and loss from the heavy surf. When disembarked, Wellesley formed his whole army in a strong position at Vimeiro, and awaited the attack which Junot was meditating. At the battle of Vimeiro, the churchyard which formed the key of the English situation was occuped by the brigades of Fane and Anstruther, and on them fell the brunt of Junot's attack. The French were, however, repulsed with heavy loss, and Anstruther proved his ability as a brigadier. On the arrival of Moore, Burrard, and Dalrymple, the army was re-divided, and Anstruther had the other companies of the 95th given to him, and was put under the orders of Edward Paget, who was to command the reserve. On the advance into Spain, Paget led his brigades by way of Elvas and Alcantara, to join Moore at Salamanca.

It was in the retreat from Salamanca, or rather from Toro, that Anstruther's most important military duties were performed. The reserve was ordered to form the rear division, and Anstruther's brigade actually closed the retreat. The conduct of the troops was now severely tried, but the reserve stood the test well. While the leading divisions were perpetually in disorder, the reserve, of which both officers and men had been trained by Sir John Moore himself at Shorncliffe, maintained perfect discipline, and in Anstruther's brigade served two of the regiments, the 52nd and 95th, which were to form the nucleus of the famous light division under Wellington. As far as Lugo, the French were never a day's march behind, every day saw sharp skirmishes, and there were at least two smart engagements at Cacabelos on 3 June and Constantino on 5 June, in which the reserve and cavalry were alone concerned. General Anstruther proved himself a model officer, and Moore declared that to the conduct of the reserve, and of Paget and Anstruther in particular, the safe arrival of the army at Corunna was due. But the exertions of this trying time were too much for General Anstruther, and on 14 June, the day but one after he had led his brigade into Corunna, and the day but one before the battle, he died from fatigue and exhaustion. He was buried at Corunna, and when Moore was himself dying, he expressed a wish to be buried beside his gallant friend and companion, so that the column erected by Marshal Soult over Moore's remains marks also the grave of Robert Anstruther. He presents a singular instance of military devotion; with wealth, domestic happiness, and a certain seat in parliament, he preferred to risk his life and lose it in the service of his country.

[There is a short sketch of Anstruther's career in the Royal Military Panorama, vol. iv. For his more important services in the Peninsula see Napier, book ii. chap. 5, and book iv.]

H. M. S.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.7
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

 Page Col. Line 46 i ii 6f.e. 3 ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\left.{\begin{matrix}\ \\\ \end{matrix}}\right\}\,}}$ Anstruther, Robert: for June read January 1809