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The French side of the Napoleonic Wars is often seen from a strategic point of view, or in terms of military organization and battlefield tactics, or through officers' memoirs. It is rarely seen from the perspective of the lowest ranks of the army, and the experience of the ordinary soldiers is less well known and is often misunderstood. That is why this account, based on more than 1,600 letters written by French soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, is of such value. It adds to the existing literature by exploring every aspect of the life of a French soldier during the period 1799-1815. The book will be fascinating and informative reading for military and cultural historians, but it will also appeal to anyone who is interested in the war experience of common soldiers. It offers the English-speaking audience a French view of a conflict which is too often limited to the traditional memoirs of Captain Coignet, Colonel Marbot or Sergeant Bourgogne.
An elite battalion under Louis XVI, the 9th Light Infantry regiment were with Napoleon from almost the beginning, turning the field at Marengo and breaking the Austrians. They then spent over a decade fighting their way across the continent, following Napoleon to the bitter end. Bringing their Eagle out of hiding when Napoleon returned from exile in 1815 they almost saved the day again, at Waterloo, spearheading a charge to rejoin Napoleon. But unlike at Marengo, they failed. Napoleon dubbed them 'Incomparable', and their story is extraordinary even by the standards of the dramatic and turbulent years in which they lived.
If not a field marshal's baton, what did Napoleon's soldiers really carry in their backpacks? ??Napoleon's Infantry Handbook is an essential reference guide, filled with fascinating detail on the training, tactics, equipment, service and administration of Napoleon's infantry regiments. Based on contemporary training manuals, regulations and orders, Napoleon's Infantry Handbook details the everyday routines and practises which governed the imperial army up to the Battle of Waterloo and made it one of history's most formidable military machines. ??Through years of research, Terry Crowdy has amassed a huge wealth of information on every aspect of the infantryman's existence, from weapons drill and maintenance, uniform regulations, pay, diet, cooking regulations, hygiene and latrine digging, medical care, burial of the dead, how to apply for leave and so on. This remarkable book fills in the gaps left by campaign histories and even eyewitness memoirs, which often omit such details. This book doesn't merely recount what Napoleon's armies did, it explains how they did it. The result is a unique guide to the everyday life of Napoleon's infantry soldiers.
The Wars of the French Revolution, 1792–1801 offers a comprehensive and jargon-free coverage of this turbulent period and unites political, social, military and international history in one volume. Carefully designed for undergraduate students, through twelve chapters this book offers an introduction to the origins and international context of the French Revolution as well as an in-depth examination of the reasons why war began. Aspects unpicked within the book include how France acquired a de facto empire stretching from Holland to Naples; the impact of French conquest on the areas concerned; the spread of French ideas beyond the frontiers of the French imperium; the response of the powers of Europe to the sudden expansion in French military power; the experience of the conflicts unleashed by the French Revolution in such areas as the West Indies, Egypt and India; and the impact of war on the Revolution itself. Offering extensive geographical coverage and challenging many preconceived ideas, The Wars of the French Revolution, 1792–1801 is the perfect resource for students of the French Revolution and international military history more broadly.
This book offers a new perspective on the cultural politics of the Napoleonic Empire by exploring the issue of language within four pivotal institutions - the school, the army, the courtroom and the church. Based on wide-ranging research in archival and published sources, Stewart McCain demonstrates that the Napoleonic State was in reality fractured by disagreements over how best to govern a population characterized by enormous linguistic diversity. Napoleonic officials were not simply cultural imperialists; many acted as culture-brokers, emphasizing their familiarity with the local language to secure employment with the state, and pointing to linguistic and cultural particularism to justify departures from which what others might have considered desirable practice by the regime. This book will be of interest to scholars of the Napoleonic Empire, and of European state-building and nationalisms.
This is a fascinating account of Napoleon and his Grande Armee invading Russia and then the torturous retreat that is now a by-word for poor military leadership and even worse decision making. Written by an officer serving under Napoleon, it gives a heart stopping first person view of one of the most famous botched campaigns in military history, a campaign that ended with 30,000 troops returning to France from an original force of over 600,000.
The British army during the Napoleonic Wars is often studied using English sources and the British view of their French opponents has been covered in exhaustive detail. However, the French view of the British has been less often studied and is frequently misunderstood. This book, based on hundreds of letters, memoirs, and reports of French officers and soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, adds to the existing literature by exploring the British army from the French side of the battle line. Each chapter looks at a specific campaign involving the French and the British. Extensive quotes from the French soldiers who were there are complemented by detailed notes describing the context of the war and the career of the eyewitness. Throughout the emphasis is on the voices of the lower ranks, the conscripts and the noncommissioned and junior officers. They describe in their own words the full range of warfare during the period - not only land battles but battles at sea, including the Nile and Trafalgar - and accounts of captivity in England are included too. This original and revealing material gives a fascinating insight into the attitudes and concerns of the French soldiers of the period and their views about their British enemy.

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