Father Robertson in Denmark

In 1808, writes H.J. Barnes, a Scottish Benedictine played an important part in securing the return of Spanish troops from Denmark for service in the Peninsular War against Napoleon.

H.J. Barnes | Published in History Today

On February 21st, 1808, Russia declared war on Sweden. The move was part of the plan drawn up between Napoleon and the Emperor Alexander when they concluded the treaty of Tilsit after their dramatic meeting on a raft in the river Niemen in the summer of 1807. The Emperors had agreed to force Sweden to join the continental powers or to go to war with her.

On February 29th the twin kingdom of Denmark and Norway followed the Russian example, having been drawn into the war on Napoleon’s side after the British bombardment of Copenhagen and the seizure of the Danish fleet in September, 1807.

Within a matter of days, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Prince of Pontecorvo, Marshal of France and Imperial Governor of the Hanse Cities, began to march his army, a motley crew of Portuguese, Dutch, German and Spanish as well as French troops, towards the Danish frontier, preparatory to invading Sweden across the Sound.

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