History: Major-General Robert Craufurd (1764 – 1812)

craufurdBorn in 1764 into an aristocratic family, Craufurd had a privileged upbringing and education. He entered the British Army in 1779 as an Ensign in the 25th King’s Own Borderers Regiment of Foot. He quickly rose through the ranks, seeing action in India, with the Austrians in Europe, at New Ross in 1798 and serving on the great Russian General Suvarov’s headquarters staff during the Italian campaign of 1799. In 1800 he returned to England to marry, while in 1803 he became a member of parliament.

Always the soldier at heart, he returned to the colours in 1806 as a Colonel. In 1807 he commanded a light brigade in South America, emerging from the debacle at Buenos Aires with honour and a reputation for handling light infantry. In 1807 Craufurd commanded the Light Brigade under Moore in the Peninsula, but left with them the following year for England.

In 1809 he returned to the Peninsular War at the head of the soon to be famous Light Division. To reach Wellington as soon as possible, the Light Division covered an amazing sixty-two miles in twenty-six hours. He returned to the Light Division in time to command it at the battle of Fuentes de Oñoro, and skilfully extracted it from terrible danger when threatened by a French flanking manoeuvre. Promoted to Major-General in 1811 he was mortally wounded at the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in 1812.

Craufurd was one of Wellington’s best generals with a quick mind and an ability to understand the reality of warfare in the Napoleonic era. He was a harsh disciplinarian, bad tempered and had a fiery nature with a knack of succumbing to violent mood swings, all of which earned him the nick name “Black Bob”. All that said, he was loved by the men under his command who would attempt any feat for their commander.

Black Powder Special Rules

  • Craufurd has a command rating of 8.
  • He is classed as having High Independence as a personal quality (page 95 of Black Powder).
  • He adds +1 attack to any combat he is involved in.
  • He has the special rule ‘Epic March’ – Troops under his command may make a free move before the start of the battle.