Bones of Burgos
"The ‘Dickson Manuscripts’ are a series of diaries, letters, accounts books, officers’ squad books, orders and returns, maps and drawings. They commence in 1794 and end in 1840. Series A covers ‘Notes on Artillery’ from 1294 to 1794 (the year of Dickson's commission) and consisted of notes compiled for Dickson by Captain Orde, his personal staff officer for many years. Major Murdoch edited these and they were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Artillery Institute (RAI) between 1899 and 1903. Series B, covering the years 1794 to 1808 were edited by Lieutenant Colonel Desmond Vigors and sent to the RAI in 1989. Series C, covering the years 1809 to 1813, were edited and published part by part by Lieutenant Colonel Leslie between 1906 and 1914. Lieutenant Colonel Desmond Vigors continued the series from 1814 to 1818 in four volumes between 1986 and 1991. (Chapter 9, Jan to Apr 1814; Chapter 10, May to Dec 1814; Chapter 11, Jan to Dec 1815; and Chapter 12, 1816 to 1818).
Lieutenant Colonel Desmond Vigors was subsequently allowed an additional Chapter 13, 1819 to 1840, published in 1992."
in Lipscombe, N. (1992). Wellington’s Gunner in the Peninsula” – Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Dickson.
A very good short Biography of Sir Alexander Dickson on the Peninsula from Nick Lipscombe:
Lipscombe, N. (1992). Wellington’s Gunner in the Peninsula” – Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Dickson
The Dickson Manuscripts are difficult to describe. They are part diary, part journal, notes to himself, letters from other people, letters he wrote, etc. To say he was a pack rat is an understatement. It appears he kept every piece of paper sent to him or that he wrote and just threw them in a box when he got home. I have a copy of the 5 volume set of Series C edited by Colonel Leslie, who also created an index / table of contents at the end of each volume.
In addition to his own material, the books also has "Diary of Captain Robert Lawson" which covers his Peninsular service from 14 May 1812 - 26 August 1813.
If you are looking only for a coherent set of memoirs by him this is not the book for you. The material is organized chronologically, but other than that there is no organization of it. That being said it is the best source of information on the Portuguese Artillery during the Peninsular War that has been published to date and is a gold mine of information for anyone patient to sort through it.
@Robert Burnham thanks for your reply, I do have the 5 volumes, I know in detail their content, there are pieces of information in them that are precious to confirm other sources.
Alexander Dickson, who was an excellent artilleryman and ended up as Wellington's artillery commander, could not get promoted in the British service, so he either transferred or was told to transfer to the Portuguese service and became a general. He was one of the outstanding artillerymen of the period in any army.
The Dickson Manuscripts, five volumes, are an excellent primary source on allied operations in the Peninsula.
He was assigned to Packenham's command in the New Orleans campaign of 1814-1815 and despite his herculean efforts to bring the British artillery into action and inflict significant damage on the American defenses in January 1815, the obstacles were too great to overcome with the material and guns he had. And the terrain was also an obstacle which didn't help. And it was the American artillery that inflicted the most damage and casualties on the attacking British in the main action on 8 January.
Admiral Codrington of the Royal Navy heavily criticized the failed artillery effort ashore, of which Dickson manfully took responsibility for. The Royal Navy seemingly blamed the army, and the artillery in particular, for even the terrain and weather, and the mud that resulted in a Louisiana winter.
Dickson returned to Europe in time for the campaign in Belgium, but Wellington had already named his chief of artillery, but he seemed to have preferred to have Dickson. Dickson was named as the commander of the siege train, so Wellington did have him on hand.