The Recollections of Rifleman Harris Book Review
Amazon describes the book:
Dorset , 1803.
A shepherd’s son is enlisted as a soldier of the Army of Reserve.
His name is Benjamin Randell Harris, private of the 95th Regiment of Foot.
The Recollections of Benjamin Harris are the classic memoirs of a foot soldier during the Napoleonic Wars, originally published in 1848.
With personal anecdotes, quick wit and vivid descriptions, The Recollections of Benjamin Harris is one of the few surviving accounts of military service from the Napoleonic era.
The memoir charts Harris’s years of active service from joining the 95th Rifles in Ireland, to the Peninsular Wars of Northern Spain.
Harris recollects the gripping campaign at Copenhagen, the engagement at the Battle of Rolica, the gruelling march to Salamanca and, finally, culminates with the Battle of Corunna.
The Recollections of Benjamin Harris is a personal military account from the eyes of a foot soldier, and offers military history fans a unique insight into the Napoleonic wars.
My Own Thoughts On This Book:
Having read the Sharpe Series by Bernard Cornwall I was convinced I had a good understanding of the life of a rifleman. That was until I read the Recollections Of Rifleman Harris.
I was hooked from the first chapter. I wish I had read this book before the Sharpe series. Rifleman Harris describes in a deeply personal way the hardships he endured and saw all around him. The fact he survived to record his recollections is amazing considering the military action he took part in and the medical hazards he faced.
His roll in society, his dedication to his country and his friendships and his faith in his officers explains his singular view of the horrors of war in this era.
The suffering of those around him as well as the wives and families comes across in vivid detail.
It is not all war and death. His exploits at recruiting whilst in England and the high jinks he witnesses all go to add colour to a life in an epoch of our society from long ago.
Sadly there is little detail of Rifleman Harris post war included by the author – historian who compiled the book and I was left wanting to know more about this endearing character. A worthwhile read.
About The Author:
Christopher Hibbert was educated at Radley and Oxford. He served as an infantry officer during the war, was twice wounded and was awarded the Military Cross in 1945. Described by Professor J.H. Plumb as ‘a writer of the hishest ability’, he is, in the words of The Times Educational Supplement. ‘perhaps the most gifted popular historian we have.’ He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Hon. D. Litt of Leicester University.
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