An international scholarly online history journal on First and Second Empire subjects: articles, bibliographies, book reviews, in english and in french


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GLOVER Gareth (ed.), SMITHIES James, Adventurous Pursuits of a Peninsular War and Waterloo Veteran: The Story of Private James Smithies, 1st Royal Dragoons

<i>© Ken Trotman Books</i>

© Ken Trotman Books

From the publishers:
Memoirs by dragoons who fought in the Peninsular war are quite rare, which makes Smithies' account even more important. However, a word of caution must also be made. James Smithies apparently recounted his story shortly before his death, some fifty three years after the last events he describes had occurred and therefore, not surprisingly, he occasionally errs in his memory.
Which memoirs do not carry such fault? There is for those who bother to look properly, a thick vein of an honest account woven through his story and much that rings very true. His description of cavalry actions are not filled with heroics, but more the truth of confusion, lucky escapes and great relief to simply survive intact. And Waterloo, his last battle, is seen almost only through his own personal journey; his fear at encountering the cuirassiers and his tactic of riding close to them to prevent them having the room to make their deathly stab; his wounding and capture; his numerous brushes with death whilst being driven to the rear and eventual escape speak all too honestly of personal experience to have been added to.

Place and publisher: Ken Trotman Books

Date of publication: 2012

Number of pages: 80

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