Published in 1900, Wellington’s Men is best summarized by the words of the author himself: “This volume is an attempt to rescue from undeserved oblivion a cluster of soldierly autobiographies, and to give to the general reader some pictures of famous battles, not as described by the historian or analysed by the philosopher, but as seen by the eyes of men who fought in them.”
Wellington’s Peninsula Campaign of the 1810s is told by four soldiers who lived through it: John Kincaid in his Adventures in the Rifle Brigade; Benjamin Harris (Rifleman Harris); James Anton in his Military Life; and Cavalie Mercer in his book Waterloo.
They are written by different ranks of soldier: two junior officers, a sergeant, and a private soldier. As a commentary on the texts, Fitchett inserts his own criticism and analysis of parts of four biographies.
Each of these men were eyewitnesses to the major events of Wellington’s Peninsula Campaign, and write critically about their own experiences in vivid prose that takes us directly back to the battlefields of Europe.
They are the “actual human documents, with the salt of truth, of sincerity, and of reality in every syllable,” as Fitchett writes.
‘Wellington’s Men’ is a fascinating history of the Napoleonic Wars as told by the men who saw it.
W.H. Fitchett (1841-1928) was a minister, educator and writer, who wrote a column for the Spectator magazine. He published works of fiction and non-fiction, including a four-volume collection How England Saved Europe in 1909.
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