August 05 , 2009


The British Soldiers of the Napoleonic Wars


What was a British soldier’s life like during the Napoleonic Wars? How was he recruited and trained? How did he live on home service and during service abroad? And what was his experience of battle? In this landmark book Philip Haythornthwaite traces the career of a British soldier from enlistment, through the key stages of his path through the military system, including combat, all the way to his eventual discharge. His fascinating account shows how varied the recruits of the day were, from urban dwellers and weavers to plowboys and laborers, and they came from all regions of the British Isles including Ireland and Scotland. Some of them may have justified the Duke of Wellington’s famous description of them as the ‘scum of the earth’. Yet these common soldiers were capable of extraordinary feats on campaign and on the battlefield that eventually turned the course of the war against Napoleon.

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