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Miguel Pereira Forjaz
Born 1 November 1769 (1769-11)
Died 6 November 1827 (1827-11-07) (aged 58)
Place of birth Ponte de Lima, Kingdom of Portugal
Place of death Kingdom of Portugal
Allegiance Portugal
Years of service 1785–1820
Rank Lieutenant-General
Battles/wars War of the Pyrenees
War of the Oranges
Peninsular War

Dom Miguel Pereira Forjaz Coutinho (1 November 1769 – 6 November 1827), 9th Count of Feira, was a Portuguese general in the Peninsular War.[1]

Life[edit | edit source]

He entered the army in 1785, as a cadet in the Regiment of Peniche, in which he met many members of his family. In 1787 he was promoted to alferes (lieutenant) and served as chief of staff to the Count of Oeynhausen, inspector-general of the Infantry, fighting alongside him at Porcalhota in 1790. He was promoted to captain in 1791 and to major (sargento-mor) in 1793, and was made adjutant to general Forbes, commander of the Portuguese division then fighting in Roussillon and Catalonia.

Already with the rank of colonel, in March 1800 he was made governor and captain-general of Pará, but did not set out for Brazil. In the War of the Oranges of the following year, at Alentejo, he served as quartermaster-general (chief of staff) to General Forbes. In 1806 he was promoted to brigadier and made inspector general of the army. On the royal family's flight to the Portuguese colony of Brazil in 1807, he was made deputy secretary of the government, to if necessary replace the Count of Sampaio.

When General Junot took over the government of the country, Forjaz retired to the provinces. In Coimbra he began the revolt against the French and went to Porto, where he reorganised the army, under the orders of his cousin Bernardim Freire de Andrade. Accompanying Andrade as adjutant general of the army of the north in their march on Porto-Lisbon, and was made secretary of the regency, after the Convention of Sintra, and was given the war and foreign affairs portfolios. In this capacity he took part in the further reorganisation of the army under William Carr Beresford (who had been appointed commander-in-chief by the Portuguese Royal family), completing the 1803 proposals' implementation in 1807. One of his initiatives was the creation of caçadores units and supporting general Beresford in a friendly but critical way, in adapting the Portuguese army to British training and tactics to better help the Anglo-Portuguese Army's campaign. In 1815 he successfully opposed sending a Portuguese division to fight in the Low Countries against Napoleon during the Hundred Days.

The Liberal Revolution of 1820 led him to leave his post as regent and his retirement from public life. By a decree of 13 May 1820 he received the title of Count of Feira and was elected a Peer of the Kingdom on the occasion of the giving of the Constitutional Charter by Peter IV of Portugal.

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Otto Von Pivka The Portuguese Army of the Napoleonic Wars 1977 -- Page 17 "The chivalrous ardour of the marechal-de-camp, Marquis d'Alorne, the activity and firmness of Gomez Freire de Andrada, the analytical and cool mind of Colonel Don Miguel Pereira Forjaz, were highly extolled. There were but few veterans left ..."
  • (Portuguese) FURTADO, Gregório de Mendonça, Ordenança de Campanha destinada às Tropas Ligeiras e aos Officiaes que servem nos pòstos avançados, Impressão Régia, Lisbon, 1809
  • (Portuguese) MARTELO, David, Caçadores. Os Galos de Combate do Exército de Wellington, Tribuna (editor), Lisbon, 2007

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