Although the 32nd Regiment was primarily recruited in and around Cornwall, leading to many scraps with the Navy for manpower, in its ranks during the Napoleonic wars the two Irish brothers of the Ross-Lewin family fought, the elder brother Harry left an exciting and vibrant account of his campaigning.
His adventures took him from the West Indies, engagements with rebel Irishmen, Copenhagen, even before his arrival in the Peninsular to start his campaigns under Wellington in 1808. His first major trial under fire begins at Rolica and Vimiero, before he and his brave men are sent off to the pestilent climes of Walcheren. Returning to the Spain once again he is heavily engaged during the battle of Salamanca, during which he is wounded, once mended his service takes him onward to France via a number of battles at Bayonne, Orthez and Toulouse. During his campaigning he suffers the loss of his brother Edward and writes touchingly of his bravery before he fell. His account of the Waterloo campaign is amongst the best that survive, accurate and vividly written, he was lucky to survive the culminating battle as his regiment was one of the most severely depleted.
Major Ross-Lewin originally wrote three volumes of his memoirs of his time in the British army under the title of “The Life of a Soldier, by a Field Officer” in three volumes; this edition has been expertly trimmed the then reader of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin.
This work shares the tone of his countryman William Grattan’s memoirs, with a wry view of the antics of his soldiers, an eye for the details of what passed before him, interspersed with battle vignettes that convey the fire and confusion of battle.
Text taken, whole and complete from the 1904 edition, Hidges and Figgis & Co, Dublin.
Original –368 pages
Author – Major Harry Ross-Lewin (1781-1872)
Editor – Prof. John Henry Wardell (1898- Aug 1957)
About Major Harry Ross-Lewin
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Published August 23, 2011
by Pickle Partners Publishing.
History, Travel, War.