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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.
“Little can be found on the foreign units that were an integral part of the French army ... For a long time a gap has existed, but now Napoleon’s Mercenaries fills this gap.” Robert Burnham, Napoleonic Series. This superb and comprehensive book details the foreign units which formed such an important part of Napoleon's forces. It examines each non-French unit in turn, giving an overview of the unit's origins, its organizational and combat history, its uniforms and standards, and details of the unit's eventual fate. Colourful accounts, taken from contemporary reports and memoirs, emphasize the qualities of the unit and throw light on what life was like for many of the foreign soldiers recruited into the Grande Armée. In total more than 100 different foreign units that served in the French Army are investigated in detail in this ambitious publication. Some foreign units fought and flourished throughout the Consulate and Empire, whilst others lasted for just a few months. Covers Polish, German, Swiss, Italian, Spanish, and other units in the French Army and presents a combat history and details uniforms for each regiment. Napoleon's Mercenaries is the best single-volume study of this aspect of Napoleon’s army and a vital reference for every Napoleonic enthusiast.
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.
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.
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.
In 1795 - the year Napoleon Bonaparte was appointed commander-in-chief in Italy - the seventeen-year-old Jean-Nicolas-Auguste Noel entered the Artillery School at Chalons. A year later, with Napoleon proclaiming himself the liberator of Italy, Noel was appointed second lieutenant in the 8th Regiment of Horse Artillery. Written in 1850, With Napoleon's Guns is his remarkable memoir of twenty years in the Emperor's service. A trained artilleryman himself, Napoleon dramatically transformed the role of the artillery from a cumbersome and tactically limited force into fluid, independent and highly mobile trains d'artillerie. This new organisation required fresh new officers - officers with intelligence who could act under their own initiative: officers such as Noel. From the optimism of the early years in Italy, through the privations of the retreat from Moscow and the horrors of the Battle of Leipzig, to the disillusionment of the Emperor's decline, Noel charts both his personal career and, at close hand, the trajectory of the First Empire with frankness and percipience. Based on the journal he kept from his cadetship at Chalons, With Napoleon's Guns is a dignified and revealing account of an officer at the heart of Napoleon's army.In 1795 - the year Napoleon Bonaparte was appointed commander-in-chief in Italy - the seventeen-year-old Jean-Nicolas-Auguste Noel entered the Artillery School at Chalons. A year later, with Napoleon proclaiming himself the liberator of Italy, Noel was appointed second lieutenant in the 8th Regiment of Horse Artillery. Written in 1850, With Napoleon's Guns is his remarkable memoir of twenty years in the Emperor's service. A trained artilleryman himself, Napoleon dramatically transformed the role of the artillery from a cumbersome and tactically limited force into fluid, independent and highly mobile trains d'artillerie. This new organisation required fresh new officers - officers with intelligence who could act under their own initiative: officers such as Noel. From the optimism of the early years in Italy, through the privations of the retreat from Moscow and the horrors of the Battle of Leipzig, to the disillusionment of the Emperor's decline, Noel charts both his personal career and, at close hand, the trajectory of the First Empire with frankness and percipience. Based on the journal he kept from his cadetship at Chalons, With Napoleon's Guns is a dignified and revealing account of an officer at the heart of Napoleon's army.In 1795 - the year Napoleon Bonaparte was appointed commander-in-chief in Italy - the seventeen-year-old Jean-Nicolas-Auguste Noel entered the Artillery School at Chalons. A year later, with Napoleon proclaiming himself the liberator of Italy, Noel was appointed second lieutenant in the 8th Regiment of Horse Artillery. Written in 1850, With Napoleon's Guns is his remarkable memoir of twenty years in the Emperor's service. A trained artilleryman himself, Napoleon dramatically transformed the role of the artillery from a cumbersome and tactically limited force into fluid, independent and highly mobile trains d'artillerie. This new organisation required fresh new officers - officers with intelligence who could act under their own initiative: officers such as Noel. From the optimism of the early years in Italy, through the privations of the retreat from Moscow and the horrors of the Battle of Leipzig, to the disillusionment of the Emperor's decline, Noel charts both his personal career and, at close hand, the trajectory of the First Empire with frankness and percipience. Based on the journal he kept from his cadetship at Chalons, With Napoleon's Guns is a dignified and revealing account of an officer at the heart of Napoleon's army.
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.
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