With Napoleon’s Guns: The Military Memoirs of an Officer of the First Empire

Frontline Books
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In 1795 – the year Napoleon Bonaparte was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the French army in Italy – the seventeen-year-old Jean-Nicolas-Auguste Noël entered the Artillery School at Châlons. A year later, with Napoleon proclaiming himself the liberator of Italy, Noël was appointed second lieutenant in the 8th Regiment of Horse Artillery. Written in 1850, With Napoleon’s Guns is his remarkable memoir of two decades in the Emperor’s service. A trained artilleryman himself, Napoleon dramatically transformed the role of artillery from a cumbersome and tactically limited force into a fluid, independent and highly mobile trans d’artillerie. This new organisation required fresh, new officers who could act on their own initiative – officers such as Noël. From the optimism of the early years in Italy , through the privations of the retreat from Moscow and the horrors of the Battle of Leipzig to the disillusionment of the Emperor’s defeat at Waterloo, Noël charts both his personal career and, at close hand, the rise and fall of the First Empire with frankness and percipience. Based on his journal he kept from his cadetship at Châlons, With Napoleon’s Guns is a revealing account of an officer at the heart of Napoleon’s army.
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About the author

It was during the invasion of Russia in 1812 that Jean-Nicolas-Auguste Noël was appointed to the command of an artillery train squadron. He was involved in the Battle of Leipzig and the defence of Paris in 1814. He rallied to Napoleon upon the latter's return from Elba to fight in the Waterloo campaign. After Waterloo he was Director of Artillery in Bayonne.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Frontline Books
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Published on
Feb 29, 2016
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9781784380298
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
History / Military / Napoleonic Wars
History / Military / Weapons
History / Modern / 19th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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True, first-hand accounts of combat and soldiering from the men who fought for Napoleon Bonparte and the First French Empire: “Fascinating stuff” (Stuart Asquith, author of Military Modelling).
 
The French side of the Napoleonic Wars is often presented from a strategic point of view, or in terms of military organization and battlefield tactics, or through officers’ memoirs. Fighting for Napoleon:French Soldiers’ Letters, 1799–1815, based on more than sixteen hundred letters written by French soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, shares the perspectives and experiences of the lowest, ordinary ranks of the army who fought on the frontlines.
 
Authors Bernard Wilkin and René Wilkin provide an informative read of common soldiers’ lives for military and cultural historians as well as a fascinating counterpoint to the memoirs of Cpt. Jean-Roch Coignet, Col. Marcellin de Marbot, or Sgt. Adrien Bourgogne.
 
“A superb guide to the experience and motivation of military service that is based on a wide trawl of relevant letters . . . A first-rate work that is of much wider significance.” —Professor Jeremy Black, author of The Battle of Waterloo
 
“Provides the reader with a good insight into the lives of ordinary French of the Napoleonic Wars . . . Direct accounts of campaigns and battle, recruitment and training, barrack life, the experience of captivity and being wounded are all here, based on letters written most by uneducated men to their immediate family . . . This really is fascinating stuff, and surely a ‘must’ for students of Napoleonic warfare.” —Stuart Asquith, author of Military Modelling: Guide to Solo Wargaming
Sharpe and his adventures has made the 95th Foot renowned again and the discovery of an unpublished diary by an American from Charleston South Carolina who served, despite his father’s objections, as an officer in this elite regiment has caused great excitement. James Penman Gairdner was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but he was sent back to the ‘Old Country’ for his education, receiving his schooling at Harrow. After school, rather than joining his father’s merchant business he decided to become a soldier, receiving a commission in the famous 95th Rifles. He subsequently served, without a break, from the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in January 1812 until the end of the war in 1814. He then fought in the Waterloo campaign and formed part of the Army of Occupation. He was wounded on three occasions. Throughout his service he kept a journal, which he managed to maintain on almost a daily basis. This journal, along with a number of letters that he wrote to his family, have been edited by renowned historian Gareth Glover and are presented here to the public for the first time. Readers will not find dramatic stories of great battles or adventurous escapades. Instead, Gairdner, details the everyday life of one of Wellington’s soldiers; one of marches and billets, of the weather, the places and the people of the Iberian Peninsula and of Paris and Occupied France – the real nature of soldering. His diaries also highlight the very strange relationship between these newly independent Americans and the ‘Old Country’ they had so recently fought with; which even allowed for a true American boy to fight in the British Army, but not in America!
“A mesmerizing account that illuminates not just the Napoleonic wars but all of modern history . . . It reads like a novel” (Lynn Hunt, Eugen Weber Professor of modern European history, UCLA).
 
The twentieth century is usually seen as “the century of total war.” But as the historian David A. Bell argues in this landmark work, the phenomenon actually began much earlier, in the era of muskets, cannons, and sailing ships—in the age of Napoleon.
 
In a sweeping, evocative narrative, Bell takes us from campaigns of “extermination” in the blood-soaked fields of western France to savage street fighting in ruined Spanish cities to central European battlefields where tens of thousands died in a single day. Between 1792 and 1815, Europe plunged into an abyss of destruction.
 
It was during this time, Bell argues, that our modern attitudes toward war were born. Ever since, the dream of perpetual peace and the nightmare of total war have been bound tightly together in the Western world—right down to the present day, in which the hopes for an “end to history” after the cold war quickly gave way to renewed fears of full-scale slaughter.
 
With a historian’s keen insight and a journalist’s flair for detail, Bell exposes the surprising parallels between Napoleon’s day and our own—including the way that ambitious “wars of liberation,” such as the one in Iraq, can degenerate into a gruesome guerrilla conflict. The result is a book that is as timely and important as it is unforgettable.
 
“Thoughtful and original . . . Bell has mapped what is a virtually new field of inquiry: the culture of war.” —Steven L. Kaplan, Goldwin Smith Professor of European history, Cornell University
 
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