Researching the British Soldiers of the Napoleonic Wars
Date of publication: March 2012
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Two hundred years ago the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars convulsed the whole of Europe. These were key events in the history of the continent, and for Britain, and they are a fascinating field for historical – and family history – research. More records than ever are available on the men who served in the British army during the wars – and on their families - and Carole Divall’s new book is the perfect guide to how to locate and understand these sources - and get the most out of them. She gives a vivid insight into what soldiers’ lives were like during the period and shows how much of their experience can be recovered from the records.
Using the full range of sources - contemporary military records, correspondence, diaries, memoirs – she reconstructs in detail the stories of a representative group of individuals who took part in the wars - a soldier who saw action as a marine in the Mediterranean fleet, a Gordon Highlander who was taken prisoner, riflemen who served at Walcheren, in the Peninsula and at Waterloo, artillerymen who played a crucial role in battles and in sieges, a gentry family whose sons served as officers in the Peninsula and in India, and two remarkable women who were among the many who went to war with the men.
Carole Divall’s informative and accessible book will be essential reading and reference for anyone who wants to find out about the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and is keen to understand the part an ancestor played in them.