|Sir Henry Simmerson|
|Also known as:||none|
General (Sharpe's Peril, Challenge)
Sharpe's Sword Sharpe's Regiment, Challenge, Peril
Sir Henry Simmerson first appears in Sharpe's Eagle as commander of the South Essex Militia, raised with his own money. He was described as a cousin of General Banestre Tarleton,Wellington's political enemy and the power behind Simmerson.
He was described as a red faced man with pendulous jowls, small bloodshot eyes, and protruding ears. Sharpe thought he looked like a pig on horseback.
He was addicted to scarification for himself and flogging for his men, even for the slightest offense. With more money than sense, and completely lacking in humanity, honour, and decency, Sir Henry has neither morals nor backbone. Wellesley wants rid of him, and fortunately Simmerson obliges by turning tail at the Battle of Talavera. (Sharpe's Eagle) At the height of the Battle, Simmerson thinks the battle lost, and at the approach of a French column, orders the South Essex to withdraw from the line of battle. William Lawford summarily relieves Simmerson of command and takes the South Essex back into position, where their volleys destroy the column's cohesion.
After the death of his military aspirations, he is said to have taken a "lucrative job with the new-fangled Income Tax." (Sharpe's Company)
In Sharpe's Regiment, it is Simmerson running the recruiting scam with Lord Fenner, funneling recruits for the South Essex into other less popular regiments for cash. Simmerson's plans are foiled but he is never punished, always squirming out of justice's reach beneath a whitewash.
Simmerson returns to plague Sharpe in Sharpe's Sword, a novel in which he did not appear, where he betrayed a British attack on a French fort. And despite his disgrace on the field, managed to secure a promotion in the private military of the British East India Company to appear in the television movie, Sharpe's Peril, during the course of which he is tortured and staked out in the Indian sun to die. The resultant madness improved his personality a great deal. In the ensuing battle against opium distributor Colonel Dragomirov, Simmerson, still feeling the effects of heatstroke bravely repels Dragomirov's bandits. He survives the fight and slowly returns to his senses but still bids Sharpe a friendly farewell.