The Old Corporal: Marlborough

D.G. Chandler introduces Marlborough; a man, ‘whose mind was not confined to battle ... at once a captain and a diplomatist,’ as Napoleon a century later said of the British commander.

On June 16th, 1722, at Windsor Lodge, John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, died at the age of seventy-two years. That he was one of the foremost men of both his country and his period, none has sought to deny, though some have qualified their recognition with reservations - about Marlborough’s character. His long and varied career over five reigns was one of the great success stories of his day.

Two-and-a-half centuries have done little to dim the impact of a man who made his way from impoverished family circumstances in Devonshire to become the virtual manager of Queen Anne, through the medium of his termagant of a wife, the Duchess Sarah; the controller of the Cabinet, with the aid of his staunch friend, Sidney Godolphin, Lord Treasurer; the inspiration and mentor of the Second Grand Alliance; and the field commander of the most important army it put into the field for ten successive major campaigns.

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