Field sketch of the rivers Monego, Criz, and Dao
Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell (15 June 1792 – 5 October 1855), often called Major Mitchell, was a surveyor and explorer of Southeastern Australia. He was born in Scotland and served in the British Army during the Peninsular War. In 1827 he took up an appointment as Assistant Surveyor General of New South Wales. The following year he became Surveyor General and remained in this position until his death. Mitchell was knighted in 1839 for his contribution to the surveying of Australia.
[…] Utilising his skills as a draughtsman of outstanding ability, he was occasionally employed in the Quartermaster-General’s department under Sir George Murray. He was present at the storming of the fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajos and San Sebastian as well as the battles of Salamanca and the Pyrenees. Subsequently, he would receive the Military General Service Medal with bars for each of these engagements. When the war was over, Mitchell was selected to reside in Spain and Portugal for four years to complete sketches of the battlefields for the Military Depot. His duties also included conducting several other important surveys which had been impossible to finish whilst operations were in progress in the field. On 10 June 1818, during this posting, Mitchell married Mary Blunt (daughter of General Richard Blunt) in Lisbon and gained promotion to a company in the 54th Regiment.
In the summer of 1819, he returned to Britain where he devoted himself to finishing the drawings, but with the cessation of the government allowances he had to stop this work. The reductions in the military establishment which followed the withdrawing of the Army of Occupation from France forced Mitchell on to half-pay. It was not until much later, while Mitchell was in London between 1838 and 1840, that the work was completed. The finished drawings were published by the London geographer James Wyld in 1841 under the title Atlas containing the principle battles, sieges and affairs of the Peninsular War. Of high quality, the drawings are the prime source for the topography of the war.