Dragon Rampant (Hardback)
The Royal Welch Fusiliers at War
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'I never saw any regiment in such order,' said Wellington before the Battle of Waterloo, 'it was the most complete and handsome military body I ever looked at.' The object of the Duke's admiration was the 23rd Regiment of Foot – the famous Royal Welch Fusiliers – and this is their story during the tumultuous and bloody period of the wars with France between 1793 and 1815. Based on rare personal memoirs and correspondence and new research, this compelling book offers fresh insight into the evolution of the British Army. Scorned by even its own countrymen in 1793, it was transformed within a generation into a professional force that triumphed over the greatest general and army of the time.
The men of the Royal Welch Fusiliers come alive as Graves tracks them across three continents, joining them in major battles and minor skirmishes, surviving shipwrecks and disease. We come to know such fighting men as the intrepid Drummer Richard Bentinck, the eccentric Major Jack Hill, and their beloved commander, Lt-Col. Harvey Ellis, who led his Fusiliers in some of the most famous actions only to fall at the greatest of them all – Waterloo.
This is a book that will appeal to all those interested in the Napoleonic wars, contemporary tactics and the meaning and the cost of courage.
Donald E. Graves is the author or editor of 16 full-length books dealing with Napoleonic warfare and World War II. The Times Literary Supplement called his most recent work, Fix Bayonets!, 'military history at its very best'. Graves is the managing director of the Ensign Heritage Group, a consulting firm that provides military historical expertise. He is also a popular lecturer and in demand as a battlefield tour guide in North America and Europe.
The author reconstructs people, place and events from primary sources, and then breathes life into them with a reporter-like writing style... Dragon Rampant is not another dry regimental history, but comes off like the author is seizing an opportunity to tell engaging stories about people and their accomplishments. Battles like Albuera are told with authority, and with an insight into military tactics of the time period that other authors are often painfully lacking.Amazon.com
A lively account which deservedly holds the attention of the reader.British Historical Association.
Wellington's men were not brutes, but rather decent human beings who were inspired to fight by positive factors as much as negative ones, not the least of these positive factors being the regimental pride which is so evident a theme in Grave's fine study.JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY, October 2010
This research is based firmly on diaries and period documents but they improve rather than distract from the strong narrative line. The easy-to-read and entertaining style is hard to put down makes this an accessible introduction to this fine regiment but the Peninsular War for the re-enactor and amateur historian alike.The Napoleon Series website
No doubt, the world is filled with books on the battles of the Napoleonic Wars, but Donald Graves' latest really stands out. Focusing on the history of the famous 23rd Regiment of foot, Royal Welch Fusiliers, Graves introduces you to the officers and men of the unit and invites you to accompany them aboard ship, in garrison, through unimaginable hardship and as they attain astonishing victories over a 22 year period. Based firmly on diaries and period documents, it is written in such an easy-to-read and entertaining style that one has a hard time putting the book down. Thus, it is a must have for not only the armchair warrior, but the reenactor and historian alike.Erik Goldstein, Curator of Mechanical Arts & Numismatics, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Graves specializes in Napoleonic period warfare, and this study of the 23rd Foot rose from his biography of Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Pearson of that regiment, Fix Bayonets! He draws on the regiment's rich archive of correspondence, memoirs, and other documentation to let the men tell their story by and large, but also uses sources a little further afield in order to place the account within the larger political and social background of the period.SciTech Book News
A lively account which deservedly holds the attention of the reader.The Historical Association
THE Royal Welch Fusiliers, the 23rd Regiment of Foot, have a long and splendid history dating back to 1689. Generations of the same family have worn the cap badge with pride. This book brings together 22 years of the regiment’s history – the story of the titanic struggle with Napoleonic France, which ended with the battle of Waterloo in 1815. War is described largely in the words of the men fighting the battles.Soldier Magazine
Donald Graves has an entertaining and engaging style of writing and has penned a diligently researched title that will be of interest to the military historian and those who served in the regiment.
The well written text is supported by a good use of quotes from letters and books written by members of the regiment, along with some useful maps and illustrations and a decent section of higher quality plates.... This is a high quality piece of work, and of great value as a regimental history, for students of the British army and for anyone interested in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.History of War Website