Riflemen of Wellington’s Light Division in the Peninsular War: Unpublished or Rare Accounts from the 95th Rifles 1808-14
Publisher : Frontline Books (November 30, 2023)
Hardcover : 248 pages
ISBN-13 : 978-1399087421
No other regiment in Wellington’s Peninsular army can compare with the 95th Rifles. Even before Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels and television series, the Rifles were the most famous of all the British Army’s fighting formations.
Unlike the red-coated regiments of the Line, the Riflemen were trained to act with a degree of independence, selecting their own targets in battle. As a result, a number of the officers and some of the men were more literate than their counterparts in the Line, or at least were more willing to record their experiences fighting the French. Consequently, many of the finest memoirs of the era have come from the pens of the likes of Harry Smith, Johnny Kincaid and Riflemen Harris and Costello, and have found their places on the shelves of every enthusiast of the era.
However, these well-known works were written years after the fighting when memories had faded and were bulked out with incidents borrowed from others and heavily edited with grand descriptions of ‘derring-do’ for their Victorian audience, and heavily constrained by the strict morals of the day. Through many years of research, Gareth Glover has uncovered other memories written by members of the 95th which have never been published before or have not been brought to the attention of the present-day public, that were written at the time. These honestly state what really happened on the battlefields of Spain and Portugal – the suffering, the awkward incidents, the rumors and camp gossip – presenting a very different picture of life in Wellington’s army than the sanitized versions we have been presented with until now.
Also included are rare or unpublished memoirs written by members of the staff of the Light Division, enabling the reader to understand the division’s command structure and organization to provide a rounded and realistic vision of this famous fighting force.