Book Review – Fix Bayonets!

Just to prove I’m researching when not posting on the blog, here’s a quick book  review I did for Napoleonic Wars Forum


Fix Bayonets!: A Royal Welch Fusilier at War, 1796-1815 : Being the Life and Times of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Pearson, CB, KCH 1781 – 1847 by Donald E Graves

Phew – that was a long title! And it took me a long time to read, but that wasn’t the author’s fault.

This is partly the biography of a regiment – the 23rd Foot – but mostly of their enthusiastic and capable (but sometimes not-too-likeable) officer Thomas Pearson. While detailing the Fusiliers’ actions in Holland and Egypt, the book is most notable – to me, at any rate – for a superb description of the battle of Albuera in which the Royal Welch were hotly engaged.

Seriously wounded at Aldea de Ponte in September 1811, Pearson was evacuated and on his recovery struggled to find an active service post until and old CO heard of his trouble and wangled him a post as an inspector of militia in North America. Thus Pearson found himself involved fighting US incursions into Canada from 1812 to 1814, battles I’d never even heard of! Regrettably that means we don’t find out what the 23rd were doing at the time, but hey, you can’t have everything.

One really useful feature of Canadian author Graves’ book is his sprinkling of maps and illustrations throughout the text so one doesn’t have to go back to the beginning or leaf through a wodge of glossy pages mid-block: they’re within the relevant chapter. There’s also a pretty comprehensive appendix and bibliography listing sources, the addition of Napier’s description of the fusilier brigade at Albuera being a nice touch.

Well worth the money, IMO.

~ by cavalrytales on January 22, 2013.

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