Earlier accounts portrayed Prevost as overly cautious and attributed the preservation of Canada to other officers, but Grodzinski challenges these assumptions and restores the general to his rightful place as British North America’s key military figure during the War of 1812. Grodzinski shows that Prevost’s strategic insight enabled him to enact a practicable defense despite scarce resources and to ably integrate naval power into his defensive plans.
Prevost’s range of responsibilities in British North America were daunting. They included overseeing joint endeavors with Indian allies, managing logistical matters, monitoring naval construction and personnel needs, supervising colonial governments, and commanding the defense of Canada. Tasked with protecting an extensive and complex territory, Prevost employed a mix of soldiers, sailors, locally raised forces, and indigenous people in taking advantage of the American military’s weaknesses to defeat most of its plans.
Following his recall to Britain in 1815 after the defeat at the Battle of Plattsburgh, Prevost would have been court-martialed had he not died unexpectedly. In carefully examining the charges leveled against Prevost, Grodzinski shows the general to have preserved the integrity of Canada, allowing diplomats to ensure its continued existence.
“The period from the opening of the War of the Spanish Succession to the meeting of the Estates-General is generally looked upon as a period of decadence in the history of the French Army. Compared with the great days of Louis XIV or with those of the Revolution and Napoleon this estimate seems correct enough. It was a period of many humiliations. The disasters inflicted upon France by Marlborough and Prince Eugene were followed by the much more humiliating failures of the Seven Years’ War. Yet the record is not without its glorious moments. During the War of the Austrian Succession, a series of brilliant successes was won under the leadership of the great Saxe.
If the combat record of the French Army was, to say the least, uneven during the eighteenth century, such was not the case with its intellectual achievements. The French Army stood foremost among all those of Europe in this respect. Throughout most of the years of the century, there was a great intellectual ferment within the Army leading to major developments in ideas and in material improvement.
Within a few years after the War of the Spanish Succession, books began to appear, pointing out defects in the tactics then in use and proposing changes. After the Seven Years’ War, the number of such books greatly increased. The result was to stimulate an ardent and at times acrimonious debate. Book countered book; pamphlets and memorials multiplied. Gradually, through the abandonment of more extreme ideas, a compromise was worked out. Embodied in the Ordinance of 1791, this became the basis for the tactics of the Wars of the French Revolution and of Napoleon.”-Introduction.
The subjects of study range widely and interestingly. They include a discussion of the views of historians from the time of Herodotus to the nineteenth century, and an account of the Secret Service which, as the author says in his Preface, illustrates “the underworld of political and military intrigue which escapes notice in general histories”. Here, too, are Oman’s seminal reflections on “Column and Line in the Peninsula”. Along with his study of the Battle of Maida, also included in the book, this was the result of his investigation of British tactics before the Peninsular War, upon which he based his comprehension of Wellington’s method of warfare. The discussion of Napoleon’s use of cavalry draws from the whole period of the campaigns of 1800 to 1815, arising from the author’s endeavours to discover the principles according to which Napoleon’s generals handled cavalry during the Spanish War.
The reappearance of these absorbing studies by one of the great masters of British military history will be warmly welcomed by specialist historians and general readers alike.”-Print ed.
***Please Note: This is a Military Short History***
Two world war history books inside:
• The Forgotten Heroes: Untold Stories of the Extraordinary World War II - Courage, Survival, Resistance and Rescue Mission.
• World War One: A Concise History - The Great War.
Scott’s Other Books:
Unforgettable World War II: Aftermath of the Extraordinary Second World War
Unforgettable Vietnam War: The American War in Vietnam - War in the Jungle
Hitler's War and the Horrific Account of the Holocaust
On the Brink of Nuclear War: Cuban Missile Crisis - Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States
Bamford draws his title from the words of Captain Moyle Sherer, who during the winter of 1816–1817 wrote an account of his service during the Peninsular War: “My regiment has never been very roughly handled in the field. . . But, alas! What between sickness, suffering, and the sword, few, very few of those men are now in existence.” Bamford argues that those daily scourges of such often-ignored factors as noncombat deaths and equine strength and losses determined outcomes on the battlefield.
In the nineteenth century, the British Army was a collection of regiments rather than a single unified body, and the regimental system bore the responsibility of supplying manpower on that field. Between 1808 and 1815, when Britain was fighting a global conflict far greater than its military capabilities, the system nearly collapsed. Only a few advantages narrowly outweighed the army’s increasing inability to meet manpower requirements. This book examines those critical dynamics in Britain’s major early-nineteenth-century campaigns: the Peninsular War (1808–1814), the Walcheren Expedition (1809), the American War (1812–1815), and the growing commitments in northern Europe from 1813 on.
Drawn from primary documents, Bamford’s statistical analysis compares the vast disparities between regiments and different theatres of war and complements recent studies of health and sickness in the British Army.