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SICKNESS, SUFFERING, AND THE SWORD: The British Regiment on Campaign -- 1805-1815

SICKNESS, SUFFERING, AND THE SWORD: The British Regiment on Campaign -- 1805-1815
by Bamford, Andrew

1-202360

Although an army's success is often measured in battle outcomes, its victories depend on strengths that may be less obvious on the field. This work assesses the effectiveness of the British Army in sustained campaigning during the Napoleonic Wars and a fresh and controversial look at Britain's military system -- showing that success or failure on campaign rested on the day-to-day experiences of regimental units rather than the army as a whole.

Bamford draws his title from the words of Captain Moyle Sherer, who during the winter of 1816-1817 wrote an account of his service during the Peninsular War: 'My regiment has never been very roughly handled in the field. . . . But, alas! What between sickness, suffering, and the sword, few, very few, of those men are now in existence.' Bamford argues that those daily scourges of such often-ignored factors as non-combat deaths and equine strength and losses determined outcomes on the battlefield.

In the 19th century, the British Army was a collection of regiments rather than a single unified body, and the regimental system bore the responsibility of supplying manpower on that field. Between 1808 and 1815, when Britain was fighting a global conflict far greater than its military capabilities, the system nearly collapsed. Only a few advantages narrowly outweighed the army's increasing inability to meet manpower requirements. This book examines those critical dynamics in Britain's major early 19th-century campaigns: the Peninsular War (1808-1814), the Walcheren Expedition (1809), the American War (1812-1815), and the growing commitments in northern Europe from 1813 on.

Drawn from primary documents, Bamford's statistical analysis compares the vast disparities between regiments and different theaters of war and complements recent studies of health and sickness in the British Army.

1 vol, 328 pgs 2013 US, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA PRESS
NEW-dj, available early July 2013 ......$40.00

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Updated as of 6/20/2024

ABBREVIATIONS: dj-dust jacket, biblio-bibliography, b/w-black and white, illust-illustrations, b/c-book club addition.
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