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Picton’s Division at Waterloo (Hardback)

Napoleonic British History

By Philip Haythornthwaite
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 231
ISBN: 9781781591024
Published: 2nd March 2016

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In the two hundred years since the Battle of Waterloo countless studies examining almost every aspect of this momentous event have been published – narratives of the campaign, graphic accounts of key stages in the fighting or of the role played by a regiment or by an individual who was there - an eyewitness. But what has not been written is an in-depth study of a division, one of the larger formations that made up the armies on that decisive battlefield, and that is exactly the purpose of Philip Haythornthwaite’s original and highly readable new book. He concentrates on the famous Fifth Division, commanded by Sir Thomas Picton, which was a key element in Wellington’s Reserve. The experiences of this division form a microcosm of those of the entire army. Vividly, using a range of first-hand accounts, the author describes the actions of the officers and men throughout this short, intense campaign, in particular their involvement the fighting at Quatre Bras and at Waterloo itself.

An invaluable tool for those whose interest lies in this period.

Medal News, November 2017 – reviewed by Alan Stainstreet

Picton’s Division at Waterloo is a detailed analysis of a British Division in Wellington’s Army, looking not only at the role it played in the campaign, but how that campaign affected its constituent units, and how the command structure continued to function despite heavy casualties. Philip Haythornthwaite writes in an easy informative style and has produced a study that adds to our understanding of the events of 1815 and the men who took part in them. This is a very useful addition to any library on the Waterloo campaign.

The Waterloo Journal

This accessible account for general readers and history buffs describes the
actions of the Fifth Division, commanded by Sir Thomas Picton, in the Battle
of Waterloo. The book gives details on how Picton’s Division was organized, its
leadership, and logistical issues such as supplies. There is special focus on
the division’s actions at Quatre Bras and at Waterloo. The book relies on
first-person accounts and includes b&w historical illustrations.

Protoview

As featured in

VaeVictis, July-August 2016

In the 200 years since Waterloo, studies have examined almost every aspect of the battle. What has not been published however is an in depth study of a division, one of the larger formations that made up the armies on that decisive battlefield and that is the purpose of the author’s – a highly regarded military historian – original and readable work.

The writer concentrates on one of the perhaps most famous divisions in the Allied Army, namely the 5th Division, commanded by Lieutenant Sir Thomas Picton GCB, an uncompromising and tough soldier whose three brigades formed the nucleus of Wellington’s reserve formations. As the author tells the story of the division, he explains how it functioned, how it was commanded, organised and supplied. Using first-hand accounts he outlines the experiences of officers and men throughout the 1815 campaign, particularly at Quatre Bras and Waterloo where General Picton was killed.

There are numerous monochrome illustrations in the text, which is accompanied by notes, appendices including the order of battle of the 5th Division, a bibliography, and an index. Military writing at its very best and an excellent addition to the Waterloo library.

Stuart Asquith, Author

As featured in

Pembrokeshire Life

About Philip Haythornthwaite

Philip Haythornthwaite is one of the most distinguished and prolific writers on the military history of the Napoleonic era. He has long been established as an authority on the major battles of the time, in particular those fought in the Iberian peninsula, and he has made a special study of the armies and the soldiers who confronted each other across Europe during 15 years of almost continuous warfare. His many previous books include: The Peninsular War: The Complete Companion to the Iberian Campaigns 1807-14; The Armies of Wellington; Waterloo Men: The Experience of Battle, 16-18 June 1815; Die Hard! Famous Napoleonic Battles; The Napoleonic Source Book; Who Was Who in the Napoleonic Wars; Wellington's Army: The Uniforms of the British Soldier 1812-1815 and Waterloo Armies.

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