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British Battles of the Napoleonic Wars 1807-1815 (Paperback)

Despatches from the Front


By John Grehan, Martin Mace
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781781593349
Published: 14th November 2013



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The Napoleonic Wars was truly a world-wide conflict and Britain found itself engaged in battles, sieges and amphibious operations around the globe. Following every battle the commanding officer submitted a report back to the Admiralty or the War Office. Presented here together for the first time are those original despatches from some forty generals, captains and admirals detailing more than eighty battles that took place in India, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

This unique collection of original documents will prove to be an invaluable resource for historians, students and all those interested in what was one of the most important periods in British military and naval history.

The reports include those from some of Britain's most famous battles, the likes of Trafalgar and Waterloo, as well as less well-known but just as important engagements which resulted in the capture of the islands and territories which helped form the greatest empire the world has ever known.

An interesting new insight into some of the less well known clashes of arms and naval actions. For the wargaming purist, the despatches also have some very detailed observations on troops, battalions and regiments etc. This will allow many fans of the period to recreate the smaller actions easily, as well as refine the details of the larger battles.

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

This book is "exactly what it says on the tin". A single 'go-to' source for researchers.

Society of Friends of the National Army Museum

The two books [in this series] present a collection of despatches written by British commanders (generals, admirals and captains) following selected battles that involved British land and/or naval forces during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
The format of the two books is the same, with despatches from the selected battles presented in chronological order. Each simply comprises a heading with the name of the battle or action, followed by the note of the receipt of the original despatch and then the despatch itself reproduced in full.
The presentation of despatches, transcribed from the originals, provides a bonus for students of language. The despatches are replete with variations in spelling and the nuances of English writing of the time, all of which varied between corresponding generals. Grehan and Mace discuss this facet at some length in the introduction to each book, particularly since it is an aspect that has been maintained as the despatches presented are unedited transcripts of the originals.
"This then is our assembly of facts, raw and untainted. Their interpretation is yours alone."
A 'student' of history cannot ask for much more.


This unique collection of original documents will prove to be an invaluable resource for historians, students and all those interested in what was one of the most important periods in British military and naval history

Skirmish - Living History

Finding a fault seems unsporting, but if I had one it would be the fact that the introductory chapters - timeline essays that explains the background to the campaigns and serve as a linking device to tie them all together - I would have preferred as a short introduction to each chapter to set the tone for the despatch to follow. But that may be personal inclination and small beer overall; it does not diminish the utility of the books. In this 100th Anniversary of the Great War, these books will help the reader understand the ‘original’ Great War of a century earlier, a conflict which defined the shape of the nineteenth century.

The Napoleon Series - September 2014 - reviewed by Steve Brown

About John Grehan

John Grehan has written more than 150 books and articles on military subjects, covering most periods of history. John is currently employed as the Assistant Editor of Britain at War Magazine.

About Martin Mace

Martin Mace has been involved in writing and publishing military history for more than twenty years. He began his career with local history, writing a book on the Second World War anti-invasion defences and stop lines in West Sussex. In 2006 he began working on the idea for Britain at War Magazine, This publication has grown rapidly to become the best-selling military history periodical.

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