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A Guardsman in the Crimea (Hardback)

The Life and Letters of William Scarlett

Military > By Century > 19th Century Military > Pre-WWI > Crimean War P&S History > By Century > 19th Century

By Martin Sheppard
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 20 colour illustrations, 20 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399069786
Published: 4th December 2023


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The Brigade of Guards was the elite force of the British Army in the Crimea. William Scarlett, a captain in the Scots Fusilier Guard and one of the most active junior officers in the regiment, fought throughout the entire campaign. After the Allied landing at Kalamita Bay, Scarlett rallied his regiment at a critical moment during the battle of the Alma, supported by his company sergeant, who was awarded the VC.

William Scarlett’s life may well have been saved after the battle of Balaklava by becoming an aide de camp to his uncle, General James Scarlett, the commander of the Heavy Brigade. This meant that he did not fight at Inkerman, which took a heavy toll on the officers of the Guards Brigade. Returning to the trenches early in 1855, William Scarlett was involved in all the phases of the siege of Sebastopol until its fall in September 1855.

The survival of 139 previously unpublished letters record Scarlett’s deeds and thoughts. Written to nineteen different correspondents, and deliberately intended by him to form a personal account of his role in the war, his letters provide a forceful commentary on the successes and failures of the British army in the East. His life before and after the war is well recorded. Becoming the third Lord Abinger in 1861, Scarlett was the second English peer to marry an American. He built a castle in Scotland, where Queen Victoria stayed in 1873, and two of his daughters became notable suffragettes.

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About Martin Sheppard

Martin Sheppard founded and ran the distinguished history publisher Hambledon, editing and publishing 300 books by leading historians. Since selling Hambledon, he has himself written or edited six books on London and on family history.  Martin lives in Primrose Hill, on the history of which he is the world’s leading expert. He is an ex-Chairman on the Independent Publishers Guild and was part of a Keble College, Oxford, team which lost University Challenge on the last question of the third round of the final. 
The great, great, great nephew of General Scarlett, he inherited a family archive which included over forty of the General's unpublished letters. A member of the Crimean War Research Society, he lives in London with his two dogs.

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