The Armies of Wellington
by Philip J. Haythornthwaite
For most people this is definitely a reference book to be pulled out as necessary. Haythornthwaite has always shown himself to a be a master of British Army history and here he is in his element.
The book is in 12 chapters that break down the structure of the British Napoleonic Army - and most particularly, Wellington's army into subject areas such as Officers, everyday life, Infantry, cavalry, commiseriat, medical services and command staff. It also has an extremely useful set of Appendices in the back which includes and excellent glossary for the less initiated, pay rates in 1815, field marshals and a host of other things.
I can't help thinking that this is a good book as part of series of resources for life in the army. It would go well with the book Anthony Brett-James wrote few years back on Life in Wellington's army which included a bit more on everyday life (entertaiments, dinners, women in the army &c.) - unfortunately this book is also out of print. The other book I think this complements well is Rory Muir's work 'Tactics and Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon' - which is more on the actual battle plans and for all countries in the Napoleonic wars - but it does draw mostly from English accounts. The three seem to overlap each other well and so cover most questions about life in Wellington's Army.
Arms & Armour; (November 1994)
Escape from the French: Captain Hewson's Narrative 1803-1809
by Maurice Hewson, edited by Anthony Brett-James
This release of Captain's Hewson's narrative is a hard-cover version which has been edited by Antony Brett-James and is worth snatching up. He has taken Captain Hewson's accounts and provided an excellent introduction to the story which not only sets the scene, but explains much of the background to the narrative. It is also lavishly illustrated with both maps and pictures of the various places in France - and people.
The story itself is gripping. Captain Hewson was a Naval officer who was captured off the coast of France just after the failure of the treaty of Amiens in 1803 - and thus he became one of Napoleon's Prisoners. His march to his 'prison' in the central France town of Verdun was gruelling and he almost didn't survive. His description of his life in Verdun, the conditions and his further escape attempts are left unedited but Brett-James provides helpful footnotes to help explain things.
There have been several books on British prisoners of war over the years - Roger Boutet de Monvel and Mrs Elton have both written collective stories of several prisoners or escapees. These are also quite good - but out of print now, of course. However, they both lack the wonderful advantage this book has- its illustrations. They are drawn from many contemporary sources and bring the whole thing alive me for me.
Book Sales; (October 1983)
Anne Woodley is an Amazon top 500 reviewer as well as the patroness of Janeites, the Internet discussion, as well as mistress of the Regency Ring. Her excellent page, The Regency Collection is a treasure trove of information.