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This was sent to us by a First Year at my old University. It has been un changed so please be critical.  So I can pass where to improve on. Thank you guys

How and why did the United States Win and the British lose the War of Independence?

“The War of Independence plays such an important part in American popular ideology” it is the creation myth of the American people, but how did the United States win? How could it manage to take on one of the worlds great powers and win? There are many factors that lead to American victory, which in a sense could have been over before it began. British indecisiveness after the battle of Brandywine Creek, with the chance to finish Washington’s force and effectively, end the Revolution, and with the splitting of his force the British would lose the Battle of Saratoga on September 19 and October 7, 1777 effectively destroyed a large part of the British army in North America. Another principle to look at, at the reason why America won was due to the over stretched supply lines, with a total of two months travel time across the Atlantic ocean, this meant a communications with London were out of date by the time they reached, the Generals in the field, this combined with that the war will eventually engulf other nations against Great Britain, lead to a strain on their armed forces and an eventual downfall, and the crippling economic cost that was accumulated during the war. All these factors provide and insight into this interesting question, how did a super power lose.

If you first look at the military aspect of the war the Continental army, was raised quite quickly after the battle of Lexington and Concorde, were a group of volunteers, Washington said of them after that “I dare say the men should fight very well (if properly officered) although they are an exceedingly dirty and nasty people” which shows the contempt that Washington had for the Continental army. Even with this lack of contempt for the Army that Washington had created, even to this extent it did show the skill of Washington as a General, to rally his troops as Valley Forge after the British capture of Philadelphia. With this considering General Howe had the tactical advantage then and there to effectively end the American cause. Colin Berwick believed that to this point, “Had he displayed greater energy he might have captured the entire army and possibly terminated the rebellion” Howe was provided the most credible chance of ending the war at an early stage, but with this the Continental had time to regroup and retrain especially, since the battle of Saratoga, which gave the fledgling country some impetuous on the world stage, with the implementation of Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus, a Prussian officer who’s work at Training the American Forces was invaluable, to helping them over come the British. “His work at Valley Forge was to turn the ragged Continentals into a far more professional and competent army. First he selected a model company, which he trained personally, although he eventually needed a translator for his orders. The members of this company were then able to spread his methods across the army. Those methods were intelligently modified from the Prussian models to make them better suit American conditions and the character of the American volunteer soldiers.” This shows that effective training provided a Washington, with a much more viable force than he started with, this increased Training would give the Americans a much more effective edge against there British counterparts, more ever in marksman ship, and Guerrilla tactics, which in affect the British army were not used to. “Much of the fighting especially in the south, took the form of guerrilla warfare, at which American militiamen proved more adept than British regulars” to this extent the British Red Coats were more used to fighting a general European war, with rigged formations and formations, not the hit and run tactics used in the American village areas this made it especially hard for the British to effectively hold onto any ground that they have taken. “Though every important American town fell to the British during the war, there were not enough troops to garrison them. The moment the British moved away from a subdued region, rebellion flared up in their rear.”

With what every bit of ground the British had taken, there was a matter of re supply and garrisoning those towns. Once British troops move out of the area, they would evidently rise up against the British again, coupled with the reliance on supplies from Britain, this lead to a more pressure on the Royal Navy, even though the most powerful navy at that time, it became very hard once the French navy became involved in the conflict.

The essence, of supply is vital. The impact of this affect can be considered by Harry Wards statement that “Soldiers plundered the countryside for food” showed how important the rule of supply, was for the British in the war, unlike the Americans who could relay on the local communities except for the Loyalists, who would side with the British but the support there was minimum, to a extent, this wasn’t a worry but until the French involvement a strain became evident on the Royal Navy. “The Royal Navy was hard put to it to contain the new powerful French fleet. Spain’s entry into the war added further to the strain” to this extent even with the British to a point winning slightly on land, they could effectively not deal with threats to the two combined fleets, even though Spain was not actually allied to America during the war, and was only dragged in due to an alliance with France. It would only be a matter of time this coupled, with the supply issue and the lack of support in the local population in the towns that they have take. Jones states that “Thus if the Americans could but retain the will to fight and some capacity for doing so, they were bound to win in the end”. In a sense it was possible for the British to effectively defeat the Americans but in a long protracted war, with supply problems, and command issues, it would effectively take reinforcements, and messages, three months to get across the channel, and this would be vital time lost, and with the dissipation of the Royal Navy to protect other British interests. This can be more ever seen at the battle of Yorktown at the end of the war, the British army was pinned in the bay with out any means of naval escape, it would lead to General Cornwallis to surrender and in affect end the war.
Over all in retrospect if you look at the initial position of Britain before the War it seemed impossible for them to lose, the war yes they lost some battles against the Americans but, tactical indecisiveness by the British Generals notably General Howe, having the chance to finish the rebellion after the capture of Philadelphia, but the long nature of the supply lines for the British, and then the need to protect these supply lines from French and Spanish as they came into the war on Americans side this made the situation, much harder for the British as supply of the land was harder due to the Americans cause was strong. The Ironic idea is that at the treaty of Paris the British didn’t lose as much as you would expect from a defeated power. The war could have turned a different way if certain turning points went a different direction.

Colin Bonwick The American Revolution (Macmillan 1991 )

Richard Holmes (accessed 15/02/2010)

Maldwyn A. Jones The Limits of Liberty American History 1607-1992 (Oxford University Press)

Rickard, J. (28 May 2003), Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus, Baron von Steuben (1730-94),

Harry M.Ward The American Revolution Nationhood Achieved, 1763-1788,


The Darkest Day Bloody Badajoz


“Let any man consider this and he must admit that a British Army  bears with it an awful power.” [1]


 Robert Knowles would use this term in his memirors. This quote is specifically related to the siege of Badajoz and its sacking. What happend during those few days would become one of the most infamous events in the history of the British Army.


The Siege of 1812 was not the first attempt at taking Badajoz. Two previous attempts were made in 1809 and then in 1811, both were called off due to French reinforcement column approaching from the Madrid Garrison. What we gather from accounts at the time is an interesting letter from Lord Wellington  to Colonel Beresford stating “of the difficulty of breaching”[3] This letter signifies the real difficulty of taking Badajoz. The reason why this is stated is due to the defence nature of the fortress. It is not simply a wall as some might think. The nature of the construction of the outer star fort provides a real challenge for any potential assailant. Nine Bastions  made up the defences of the star fort; each segment consisted of five to six and a half foot ditch between a scarp and counter scarp . So in effect the glacis which is the slope towards the wall would obscure the ditch. In reality this type of defensive styling had not changed since the sixteenth century.


These defences consisted of cannon, musket and occasionally a primitive form of anti-personnel mine. Especially when the breach was made, French garrison Commander General Armand Phillipon would utilise Chevaux-de-Frises and planks of wood along the breaches with twelve inch spikes and cannon covering the breach exits, which would provide devastating grapeshot. The most interesting of all would be the decision to fill the ditch with water, which would be a strange throw back towards medieval fortifications.[5]  With this we can see that the original letter could foresee the sheer scale and potential casualty list that could accumulate if an assault was to take place.

The offensive nature of the British offensive in 1812 made it crucial for Badajoz to fall. Even though some historians argue that the siege may not have been necessary; it has to be recognised that this is with the benefit of hindsight.  We need to look at the British assault plan to get some context towards the movement of the siege. The plan was to construct the trench system near the St Rouge Road along to the River Guadiana. This would allow the Batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery , to attempt to form a practical breach in the fortresses defences. On the issue of defence it was not simply the French confined to the fortress itself. The British forces  had to assault fort San Christobal, Tete de Pont, Fort Pardeleras and Fort Picurina. These were commonly held by a small French force of cannon and French Voltigeur’s. These were taken very quickly and the initial barrage on Badajozs walls began on the 25th May and it would fall to the night of the 6th of April to actually begin an effective assault on the fortress.

The assault would be made on three sections of the Fortress . The main British assault force would assault the greater breach at the Saint Maria bastion, which consisted of the Light Division  and the 4th Division under Wellington’s direct command. Picton’s 3rd Division would use ladders to scale the Castle and create a secondary attack on the St Vincent bastion.  At the breaches we can start to see the state of mind that would affect the besiegers once inside the fortress. A Times newspaper reporter who was imbedded with the army, this was surprisingly quite common at the time, stated that: “Of all the awful sights I have ever beheld, the attack on Badajoz was the most so. It began at ten at night, when the enemy threw up a racket, and afterwards several fire-balls. As soon as our troops approached the breaches, tremendous explosions took place; and as the night was very dark, you may form to yourself some idea how great and awful was the effect.”[6]  You can begin to see the effect that the initial assault would have on the troops at the breaches due to the defensive setup that General Phillipon had constructed. It became hard for the army to effective get a lodgement within its walls and the casualties would begin to mount. “Let any man picture to himself this frightful carnage taking place in a space less than one hundred square yards. Let him consider that the slain died not all suddenly, nor by one manner of death; that some perished by steel, some shot, some by water, that some crushed and mangled by heavy weights, some trampled upon, some dashed to pieces by the fiery explosions.” Sir William Naiper’s words sum up the mounting dead and injured at the breaches, and when you add in the French taunting: “Come into Badajoz”[7], it is initially reasonable to understand a sense of frustration and anger among the besieging troops that no progress was being made. The best way to describe this is from a Sergeant in the Forty Third light infantry division assaulting the St Maria breach. “As the battle grew hot, I caught the contagion that burned all around, and in this desperate and murderous mood advanced to the breach of Trinidad.”[8]  George Simmons would go onto show the ferocity of the French defence . “The French cannon sweeping the breaches with a most destructive fire. Lights were thrown among us….that burned most brilliantly, and made us easier to be shot at…I had seen some fighting, but nothing like this”[9] . The fighting and its aftermath would be ‘nothing likes this’.

It is common knowledge, even to the modern day period, that anger needs to be vented for psychological well being. This helps us to understand the anger of so many fallen and injured at the breach would have a huge physiological impact on the army. Ian Fletcher agrees with my hypothesis with regards to the detrimental value of anger  but also on the combined issue of the presence of alcohol. “They had endured a miserable last 21 days in the trenches and had suffered terribly getting inside the town. Once there, however, their anger found vent and they dissolved into a dangerous mob of drunken disorderly soldiers.”[10] Ironically it was General Picton’s troops that managed to take the castle rather than the troops at the greater and lesser breach. What is also interesting to note is that the ladders used for the siege were too small and a lot of troops had to assault by scaling the last part of the wall.

When an effective lodgement had been made, the French General Phillipon promptly surrendered once the castle was captured. The French garrison was allowed to leave un- molested. What followed became a venting of anger as described by the anonymous sergeant who said that there was “desperate and murderous mood”[11] That really described the atmosphere of the men that assaulted the breaches and the castle, and really begins to explain the reasoning for the outpour of anger and violence.

What we can clearly see is a disproportion of violence dependent on rank and class. It may seem clichéd that people from different classes act differently in certain situations, and we can see this through firsthand accounts at the time. This point is best described is Robert Blakeney who arrived in the town in the second wave at the Saint Vincent breach.

“When the savages came to a door which had been locked or barricaded, they applied the muzzles of a dozen firelocks against the part of the door where the lock was fastened, and fired off together into a house and rooms, regardless of those inside Men, Women and children were shot for no other reason than pastime; every species of outrage was publically committed and in a manner so brutal that a faithful recital would be shocking to humanity.”[12]

The account describes the situation that he found himself in. Ironically though it was his role to actually maintain discipline and order, but if we look at the town planning map[13] the maze of streets and alley ways shows how hard it was for officers and Non- Commissioned officers to regain control as there was no central town square to funnel the troops into. This allowed basic command and control to break down.

We do have one piece of evidence from a soldier who took part in the sacking, that of Edward Costello who even admits the mistakes he made during events that night. “I must confess that I participated in the plunder, and received about 26 dollars for my share.”[14] The money he did obtain was ironically by accident as he was injured after the assault, he describes how he became involved in the sacking. “We then turned down a street which was opposite the foregoing scene, and entered a house which was occupied by a number of men of the Third Division. One of them immediately, on perceiving me wounded, struck off the neck of a bottle of wine with his bayonet, and presented it to me, which relieved me for a time form the faintness I had previously felt.”[15]  The extract goes onto the next day but we can see that Edward Costello’s actions are credited to alcohol, which in turn attributed to his actions that night.



The sacking went on for many a few days, and this is known through the private correspondence of Captain JL Blackmen of the Coldstream Guards in letters to his parents dated the 8th April 1812. “Should the advance we our found for him- Lord Wellington is still at Badajoz.”[16] We begin to see the sheer scale of the problem that was created by the sacking. At the time this letter was written the main body of the army was still at Badajoz trying to stop the sacking, which was proving to be more difficult than at Ciudad Rodrigo due to the town’s natural make up. When order was eventually restored no punishments were given out, only the threat of punishment, and this is where I think the problem lies. William Grattan would agree with my statement as he openly states his disgust. “Many men were flogged, but although the contrary has been said, none were hanged-yet hundreds deserved it.”[17] It is crucial to understand that the lack of punishment at Ciudad Rodrigo caused this problem and I suspect that William Grattan was contemplating this at the time, however  it may be the fear of  death that brought the men out of the city after they have ‘let off steam’. This did not end the darkest day of the British army; the camp women had their part to play as well. “An officer of the king Germans Legion observed around 200 women pouring into the town when it was barley taken to have their share of the plunder and was ‘sickened when saw them coolly step over the dying, indifferent to their cries for a drop of water, and deliberately search the pockets of the dead for money, or even divest them of their bloody coats’.”[18]  The women were feared by the Spanish locals more so than the men. Mainly due to the conditions that the women faced and the possibility of becoming a widow very quickly after becoming married it was not common for women to cover the battlefield in search of loot, clothing and food to help support them-selves before they had a chance to re-marry. So in that sense it was not just the men that took part in the sacking the armies’ women had their part to play too

[1] Lieutenant Knowles Robert. The War in the Peninsula (Stroud: Spellmount Military Memoris 2001).,pg87

[2] The Times, Monday, Apr 27, 1812; pg. 3; Issue 8588; col B

[3] Letter From Wellington to Colonel Beresford 1809

[4] Profile of the European fortress wall from the 16th century.

[5] Fletcher Ian. In the Hell Before Daylight the Siege and Storming of the Fortress of Badajoz 16th March- 6 April 1812 ( Gloucestershire: Spellmount Military 2008).,pg62

[6] Capture of Badajoz.The Times Saturday, Apr 25, 1812; pg. 4; Issue 8587; col D

[7] Fletcher Ian. Wellington’s Regiments: The Men and their Battles from Rolica to Waterloo 1808-1815 ( Staplehurst: Spellmount Military 1994).,pg67

[8] Anon., Memoirs of a Sergeant late in the Forty-Third Light Infantry Regiment (Kessinger Publishing 2010) .,pg168

[9] Esdaile J Charles. Peninsular Eyewitness The Experience of War in Spain and Portugal 1808-1813 (Barnsley: Pen and Sword 2008) .,pg208

[10] Fletcher Ian.  Wellington’s Regiments: The Men and their Battles from Rolica to Waterloo 1808-1815 ( Staplehurst: Spellmount Military 1994).,pg69

[11] Anon., Memoirs of a Sergeant late in the Forty-Third Light Infantry Regiment (Kessinger Publishing 2010) .,pg168

[12] Boy in the Peninsular War. The services, adventures, and experiences of Robert Blakeney, subaltern in the 28th .,pg273

[13] Spanish Planning Office Town Map of Badajoz

[14] ^IBID.,pg274

[15] Rifleman Costello. The Adventures of a Soldier of the 95th (Rifles) in the Peninsular & Waterloo Campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars (Great Britain: Leonaur 2005 ).,pg273

[16] Personal Letters of Cpt JL Blackman Coldstream Guards, April 8th 1812

[17]Holmes Richard. Wellington the Iron Duke (London: Harper Collins 2003).,pg161

[18] Venning Annabel. Following the Drum, The lives of Army Wives and Daughters (London: Review 2006).,pg160



The Following was written by a guest to our blog looking at the City of God in the Context of the fall of Rome and the greater sphere of education;  please enjoy.

In this analysis I will be looking at Book 5, Chapter 24 of ‘The City of God’, summarising and looking
at it from an analytical perspective, taking into account both social and political contexts. St.
Augustine wrote ‘The City of God’ in response to the sacking of Rome in August 410AD directing ‘at
the paganism of an empire now in dissolution’ (Palmer, 2001: 26), due to the accusations that
Christianity was the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire.

This chapter of the ‘City of God’, a ‘Mirror of Princes’, was written by St Augustine to depict the
image of how Christian Roman Emperors ought to act. It criticises the Romans for not restraining
themselves in its strive for power and control, and forgetting that they were only temporal rulers of
the earthly city and that the power of the true God comes from God. Furthermore this was power
willing given by god to the Emperors and should be used as an extension of his worship to ‘promote
true religion’ (Deane, 1963:134), and the teachings of Christianity.

In addition Augustine continues on that Christian emperors should act both morally and religiously.
Be humble and not be surrounded by the sense of grandeur and power of those who honour them
with meaningless praise. This strive for praise makes virtues, not a true virtue, and pride is the root
of all sin. Augustine continues on that Christian emperors must be compassionate and be willing to
pardon those who have committed injustice, with mercy whatever severity of the crime, so that the
committee of the crime can amend their ways and be penitent before god, as all men are depraved
with sin and are fallen.

So in conclusion to my summery Augustine is stating that Christians emperors should be humble
not seeking out empty glory, ‘vain conceit’, and be restrained in searching for control and power.
Emperors should use their power as an extension of God to promote the true faith of Christianity
and its teachings. Emperors should also remember that they are in turn just men and only temporal
rulers of the plane and the God is the true ruler of all. As all men are fallen including the emperor,
and he as well as other men must be penitent and pray to God to forgive him for his transgressions
and sin.

When analysing this text, historical, political and social contexts is of the up most importance,
as Augustine writes this in response to the paganism of the falling Roman Empire which was on
a ‘Slippery slope of moral decline… Rome had free rein to indulge in selfish passions of greed and
domination, only the city of god in heaven was eternal and supreme’ (Baker, 2006).

To begin with, the beliefs of Augustine and the historical contexts are hugely interlinked, and must
be considered, when looking at this chapter. Given that Augustine was a theologian more than a
philosopher and furthermore that his works were not his own ideas about how to live a virtuous
life or how society should act but rather the Word of God, written from the scriptures, (Deane,
1963). He was also a preacher of the Word of God, so his audience would be the pagans who were
in dissolution, frighten at the events of the Sacking of Rome in 410 AD. Augustine saw his task as the
preacher to set forward the message of God’s Word, and defend the word of god against enemies of
the faith e.g. pagans. This was motive of writing the city of God, to defend the Word of God against
the accusations that Christianity was the reason of the Sacking of Rome.

However this may seem somewhat hypocritical when we look at the historical contexts of the

Sacking of Rome. The Sack of Rome was led by a leader of the Visigoth, or Goth tribe, who were

asylum seekers to Rome to escape the attack of the Huns. However they were met great difficulty
due to not having equal status in the eyes of the Roman Empire, this was due to the Romans being
anxious of the Goth tribes. However when the attempted assignation of leaders of the tribe failed,
Alaric saw this as just cause to fight for their right as citizens and as Christian. Alaric was a Christian
and so was the Goth Tribe, however they were far from virtuous, they killed and tortured the
Romans who were fleeing and looted the pagan temples. (Baker, 2006)

Additionally when looking at this chapter of ‘The City of God’, Augustine’s Theology can be seen
directly, especially his theology of the Fallen man, even more critically when he doesn’t condemn
Alaric’s behaviour as a Christian. The Theology of the fallen man stems from Augustine’s previous
work the ‘Confessions’ where he confesses the multiple sins he committed as a child but also in
adulthood. He comes the conclusion that it is in mans nature to sin, because when Adam and Eve
were condemned for ‘original sin’, by turning away from gods wishes and eating from the Tree of
Knowledge, therefore committing themselves to the root of all sin pride. ‘Disobedience and rebellion
against God, which had its root in mans pride and in his presumptuous desires’ (Deane, 1963: 16).
Augustine dictates in this chapter that the emperor must turn to the true God, and through prayer
ask god forgiveness for his sins, because this pride and ‘free-will’ to sin is what led to the sacking
of Rome, as the pagans turned their back on God, for pride and power to control vast amounts of

In regards to contemporary education in today’s standards, St. Augustine’s ideas are more idealistic
towards Christianity. With society today, especially in the United Kingdom, it has become secularised
and multicultural, so Augustine’s ideas of using power and an ‘extension of worship’ to promote
the true faith would be highly inappropriate, as this would ignore other faiths and beliefs in society.
The idea of teaching humbleness, and restrain against sinning or perhaps even classing this as bad
behaviour is rooted to religion, as some of the laws we see are based on teachings from the bible and
we cannot get past that as it’s in our history, such as the idea of morality and punishment for our
crimes may it be in this life or the next.

Perhaps this may be biased on my account due to being an atheist, and this has therefore led me to
the idea that his teachings in a modern-day perspective would not be effectively applied. Perhaps
by becoming secularised we are losing our restraint and are in a city of dissolution because we are
not ‘God-fearing’.

However when looking at this on a grander scale of more historical education of the middle ages, it
did supply some deviance on contemporary education, after the ‘dark ages’. Where most education
establishments were churches where future members of the clergy were taught how to read and
write in Latin, and when the protest church was created English.

Deane, H.A (1963) The Political and Social Ideas of St. Augustine. USA: Columbia University Press.

Baker, S (2006) Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, UK:BBC Books, pg 276-312

O’Daly, G (1999) Agustine’s City of God: A Reader’s Guide. . Oxford: Clarendon Press. pg 99-100

Palmer, J.A (2001) Fifty Major Thinkers on Education, , Oxon: Routledge., pg 25-29

History For Kiddies

Just something I would put up for an younger viewers of the Blog


The military success of the First Crusade from 1095 till 1099 at the fall of Jerusalem can be considered as a major military success. As to western Christians at the time the movement if Islam needed to be checked. The Islamic faith was beginning to expand through Spain and lower Italy and through Sicily, the later would be taken back by Norman and Frankish knights, who would make up most of the army in the First Crusade.  The Byzantine Empire initially called for military aid from the west to help stop the Seljuq Turks advance on their borders after a military set back at the battle of Manzikert in 1071 which meant that the Seljuq Turks would regain areas of importance like Antioch which historically including Jerusalem were main holy sites for the Christian faith. Asbridge would state that “At the start of the eleventh century, the church of the Holy Sepulchre, thought to enclose the site of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, had been partially demolished by the volatile Fatimid ruler known to history as the Mad Caliph Hakim.” [1]  increased the tension between the West and East but the important idea is that Islam as a whole was not united as most Christians think. There was internal divides in the Islamic world that would actually in a way help the First Crusaders to victory.  The Islamic Chronicler Al- Azimi could see the coming of the Crusade and could see a link “between the fall of Toledo to the Christians of Muslim Spain in 461/1068, the taking of al-Mahdiyya in North Africa by the Normans of Sicily in 479/1086, and the coming of the Crusaders to the Levant.”[2] Show that some Islamic Chroniclers could see the on coming Crusade, but the action against was not unified.

The force which travelled to the Holy Land was in affect small compared to the estimated size that the Muslim armies could muster, some historians approximate the number between fifty thousand including women and children and it is possible that only one sixth of the movement was made up of the fighting force of the First Crusade. The fighting style of the Western armies where in a sense much different than its Eastern counterpart. The Muslim forces that of the Turks and the later Egyptians would use light cavalry to very good affect, even though after a time they adopted more Western style especially the Egyptians[3], and try to envelope an enemy and slowly begin to pick them off. This tactic would come into great affect at the Battle of Hatin in the second crusade. This was due to the Muslim armies adapting to the Crusading armies tactics which made use of the heavy horse or Knights .The comparative size of the army which is recorded by the papal Legate Daimbert who stated at the end of the crusade, gives us an idea on the size of the force before and after the first engagement at the siege of Nicosia stated that “an army 300,000 strong had been reduced to 20,000 be the battle of Ascalon[4] This does show the scale of the military force that the crusaders had but what is does also show in foresight is that it was a one way show for the Crusaders, if they lost one battle they could easily lose the Crusade.

A dividing difference is that the Muslim armies could easily replace their forces. An example of this would be that after the defeat at the battle of Hatin “The huge loss of Christian manpower on 4 July left the Kingdom of Jerusalem in a state of extreme vulnerability, because its cities, towns and fortresses had been all but stripped of their garrisons.”[5] even though this is years later during the second crusade, it underlines a problem that was present at the time of the First Crusade. The need for the crusaders not to lose as the manpower could not easily be replaced. This is also combined with the need of supply in a hostile territory, much noted at the siege of Antioch “The Crisis of supply saw the crusade come desperately close to failure. Albert of Achen says they had simply eaten up the resources of the surrounding countryside and the surrounding cities round about.”[6] Ralph of Caen also talks about “how food had to come from afar: Syria, Cilicia, Rhodes, Cyprus, Samos, Crete and Mytilene” [7] . Supply is an important part of any military campaign, it is remarkable that the train of supply was possible, in the later years it would become strained as the important sea ports of Acre and Antioch would be the only way for supplies and manpower to come into the Crusading kingdom after the first crusade due to the power of the Italian city states like Venice and Genoa, they would provide the logistical support. The sufferings of the Crusaders Raymond of d’Aguiliers writes how hard and stretched the supply line had become. It would provide an interesting insight into the future. “ and so the poor began to leave, and many  rich who feared poverty. If any for love of valour remained in camp, they suffered their horses to waste away by daily hunger.”[8] this is pivotal in the first crusade supply, once this supply had dried up the it would be the end of the First Crusade, this shows in the eventual fall of the Jerusalem.

There was one important factor of the First Crusade this was the division in the Muslim world  between Sunni and Shea. It would in directly help the Crusaders by not providing a unified force against them, as in a sense the main powers in the region Iraqi and Turkey and Egypt where in affect fighting amongst themselves. Muslim Chronicler Abu Shama states that “ Maliksha’s [two] sons, Barkyaruq and Muhammad, fought each other and the wars between them lasted for around twelve years until Barkyaruq died and the sultanate became established for Muhammad. In the period of these wars the Frankish appeared on the Syrian coast [the Sahil] and took possession first of Antioch and then of other parts of the country.”[9]. In a sense this really highlights the divisions in the Muslim world. This allowed the Crusaders to have impressive victories due to local rivalries in the areas an example would be the at the siege of Antioch three Muslim armies were present but not under one single command Fulcher of Chartres would say that “ We, however, by standing on another height opposite this citadel, guarded the path descending to the city between both armies, so that they, far more numerous then we, might not break through and by fighting within and without by night and day forced them to reenter the citadel gates and return to camp.”[10]. The scale of the odds against the Crusaders at Antioch should have meant a defeat for the Crusaders, but the disunity is highlighted by John France “most of the emirs of Kerbogah’s army this was a war for this or that advantage – that was the tradition in this fractured borderland of Islam.”[11]. This factionalism in the Muslim ranks would be the main reasons for the success of the First Crusade, but it would also highlight how much of a close run Victory the first crusade was, and how difficult it would be for any future Christian force to hold out against a united force. As would the later contribute to the fall of Edessa to Zenghi in 1144 this showed the effectiveness of a unified attack on a crusading force.

Over all it can be seen the military victories of the first crusade are a remarkable feet by themselves, but other factors contributed towards that victory. The disunity in east is the main example. With the victory as I have highlighted above came little problems that will arise in the future and how lucky in a sense the first crusade was in achieving its aims and objectives. John France states that it was “their belief in god and themselves, and their able commanders which gave them victory in the East.”[12] He also says which in a sense I have argued is that “Its success was limited in that it established bare outposts with poor communications with the west and uncertain relations with Eastern Christendom.”[13] John France argument is a realistic view it shows how hard it would have been to keep the land taken after the First Crusade.


Asbridge Thomas. The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land (London: Pocket Books 2010)

France John. Victory in the East: A military history of the First Crusade (Cambridge: University Press Cambridge 1994)

Hillenbrand Carole. The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 1999)

Phillips Jonathan. The First Crusade: Origins and Impact (Manchester: Manchester University Press 1997)

Peters Edward. The First Crusade: The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres and other Source Materials (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press 1995)


Smith R Jonathan. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (Oxford: Oxford Paperbacks; New Edition 2001)

[1] Asbridge Thomas. The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land (London: Pocket Books 2010).,pg28

[2] Hillenbrand Carole. The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 1999).,pg51

[3] See Muslim Warriors Image Smith R Jonathan. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (Oxford: Oxford Paperbacks; New Edition 2001) .,pg230

[4] France John. Victory in the East: A military history of the First Crusade (Cambridge: University Press Cambridge 1994).,pg125

[5] Asbridge Thomas. The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land (London: Pocket Books 2010).,pg353/354

[6] France John. Victory in the East: A military history of the First Crusade (Cambridge: University Press Cambridge 1994).,pg236

[7] .,ibid.,pg236

[8] Peters Edward. The First Crusade: The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres and other Source Materials (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press 1995).,pg159

[9] Hillenbrand Carole. The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 1999).,pg83

[10] Peters Edward. The First Crusade: The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres and other Source Materials (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press 1995).,pg66

[11] France John. Victory in the East: A military history of the First Crusade (Cambridge: University Press Cambridge 1994).,pg294

[12] .ibid,pg373

[13] ibid.,pg371

What is Coming up !

It been feeling good to re open the History Guys project. This is just a heads up to what is coming in the next month.

We will be carrying on with a two part post on the Two darkest spots on the British army in 1812. Followed by a few posts on all that is Roman and Greek in British Primary Schools.

And lastly will be posting the groundwork for a mini part series on the battle for Europe, the apex at Waterloo and Mons. So keep the eyes on this. Hope you are enjoying the new quality and extensive work put into this blog.

You guys keep me going

This war is really forgotten in the United States and in Great Britain, but it is a war which set the foundations of one nation and nearly brought another to its knees. This is 1812. (also I thought I would use evidence that the BBC history magazine would never use, enjoy)

The War of 1812 was principally at first a war over America gaining Canada. It was believed in the United States that Canada would be more than happy to be liberated from British control. President Madison and his reasons for going to war were down to British capture of US neutral Vessels, by which at the time of 1812 constituted to around 400 US merchant ships. Any ship which was found to have British Citizen on that said ship would be pushed into service into fighting for the British crown. On top of this in the Midwest territories of the United States a Native American rebellion, under a confederacy of tribes Iroquois and the Shawnee tribe to name some of the more predominant ones, lead by the Tecumseh. The US government believed that the British Government was supporting this rebellion which to a point is true as Britain believed in an area for the First Nations. The impact of this would lead to the rallying cry of “Free Trade and Sailors’ rights,” It was decided that Canada would be the way America could strike back at Britain for these issues. Even though some US states didn’t support the war most prominent was New England and Main, who conducted a lot of trade and it would in turn damage their economy.

When we talk of the Invasion of Canada and the Failure of the United States to annex Canada, the years which the actual invasion took place was from 1812 to the start of 1814, after 1814 America was on the defensive due to a British counterattack with fresh troops from Europe after the final defeat of Napoleon. To understand why America failed you need to look at how the war changed from an offensive to a conflict of defence. The United States had a numerical advantage. Thomas Jefferson would stat that “The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighbourhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, and the final expulsion of England from the American continent.”[1]. To an extent this idea that the invasion of Canada would be easy, was very much possible. The disposition of population sizes, 500.000 people in Canada , compared to Americas 7.5 million, means that the manpower base which America has, on paper at least suggests and easy victory. The US army at the time consisted on estimates 7,000 regular troops plus militia (458, 63) on top of that figure but they would cause more problems than good. The British at that time could only muster 40 battalions, 15 artillery companies and 1 cavalry regiment[2]. Most of those units at the time of the American invasion were ready to be shipped across to fight against Napoleon. Considering that issue America should have found it easy to march across and take Canada. Sir George Provost, the commander in charge of defence in Canada agreed to that in a letter to London, about the situation. “Commencing with the upper Canada, as the most contiguous to the Territory of the United States and frontier to it along its whole extent, which renders it, in the event of war, more liable to immediate attack”[3] on the regard of Montreal “ Montreal is the principle commercial city in the Canada’s, and in the event of war, would become the first object of attack:- It is situated on an extension island, and does not possess any means of defence.”[4]  Even the British were in fear of losing Canada so why didn’t they.


There are many reasons why America failed even with the numerical superiority. In a sense the United States campaign was doomed from the start due to the issue of poor leadership and supply problems, coupled with the command problem with the Militia. The US War department which was used for defence was in effect a mess William Eustis was not regarded well at all. The department was under funded and over worked even in peace time. A Philadelphia senator said that “No man in the country”….”Is equal to one- half his duties which devolve on the present secretary” [5]. Shows how little in regard the American government actually had of the war department, and not much can be said about the United States army itself. Even though by 1814 at the war’s end the United States army and Navy would become respected, by the British and most nations around the world, but in 1812 including the militia it was a mess. Peter B Porter in 1813 said that the US army was “ Full of men, Fresh from lawyer shops and counting rooms, who knew little of the physical force of a man- of the proper means of sustaining and in proving it or even the mode of its application” [6]. The standard US solider was paid $8 a month which was more than the standard private citizen’s wage, but due to the inefficiency of the War department even though with the founds at their disposal, most of the men would not get paid. This would lead to many of the troops not to march, and not to mention the Militia would get paid much less. Most of the time the Militia would not march due to bad rations and non equal pay, the reason certain battle were lost was due to the Militia not moving from there state lines. This would be issues all the way through the war, until it was fought on American soil. Jeremy Black would state that “A deficiency in American planning that, in part, reflected the lack of an effective planning structure and process, accompanied the organizational and political limitations that affected the war effort”[7].

The opening moves of the conflict highlight the problems that in a way both sides had to contend with during the Canadian part of the war. The prime example of this would be General Hulls advance from Detroit, into Upper Canada. He had to turn back to lack of supplies, this was due to the War Departments use of outside sources for its supplies there was no central logistics core, The British on the other hand did not have enough men to cover the whole border so in effect both sides in a way suffered from a deficiency of one or the other. “The Irregularity in the supply and badness of rations had done more than anything else to retard American operations” [8] this would seriously impede the Americans in most of their offensives, even during the later periods of the conflict.  British General Brocke who would become a hero of the conflict, provided tactical leadership to help defeat the American advances, he would use the American general’s fear of Native American troops and deception to gain many victories against the United States until his death at the battle of Queenston heights. He used his native allies to massive effect a Detroit 500 regular British troops and a supplement of Native warriors marched around the fort then back again to make it seem like the force was bigger than it was. Major Thomas Evans of the 8th Regiment of Foot stated that “it having more than doubled our own regular force in the enemy‘s eye”[9] . The American General William Hull was reported to say at the time “My God!” “What shall I do with these women and children?” [10]. The fort was in a sense taken without a shot. The fear of the Native American warriors was great in the mind of the US Army. There was cases of after ambushes and battles American troops being butchered. This lead to another reason why Militia would not fight outside of American soil. This poor leadership would plague American forces, up till 1814. Another example of this would be at the battle of Beaver Dam on the 24th June 1813 Mohawk tribes men encountered an American force, and forced them to surrender because of the fear of the Native forces, the ambush would mark the turning point in the 1813 campaign.

The two battles which are remembered in the war are the Battle of Chateauguay, and the Battle of Crysler’s Farm, they effectively stopped the American invasion of Lower Canada and the threat of American forces taking Montreal. It also ended any hopes of America gaining control of the St Lawrence River which is one of the most vital water routes and in effect the key to taking Lower Canada and cutting supplies from Great Britain. Reason being they are so important is that the Battle of Chateauguay was in a way a French and British Canadian victory, more ever down to tactical skill of the General in charge but also American indecisiveness, and bad leadership. General Hampton the US commander ordered a flanking move at night which turned into a bad tactical decision. Hitsman states that “Even the best troops in the world, however, would have found difficulty covering 15 miles on such a night, stumbling along a narrow, winding trail through dense woods. Only about six miles were covered. Thoroughly lost by daylight, the guides then led the Americans to the river bank almost opposite De Salaberry’s forward defences.”[11] The effect of seeing a much stronger force than that was expected forced the Americans to retreat against a much smaller French Canadian force nearly half the size of their own. In a way this is how the defence of Canada could be seen as being run, through deception and fear against a much larger enemy force. The Americans did score some victories especially at Toronto where the British defence failed due, even though to the bravery of Roger Sheaffe, would become the cape goat of the battle even though he won the battle of Queenston Heights after General Brocke was killed. The political fighting in a sense on both sides wanting a victory was destroying some of its more capable Generals even though; the bad ones were being weeded out.

Time could be seen on America’s side as Britain was focused on Europe but by the end of 1813 after the defeats of the three American offensives of that year, Britain’s attention could be turned to America. In a Dispatch from Bathurst to the Provost Marshall on the 3rd of June 1814 states that. “I have now to acquaint you with the arrangements which have been made in consequence, and to point out to you the views with which His Majesty’s Government have made so considerable an augmentation of the Army of Canada. The 4th Battalion of the Royal Scots of the strength stated in the margin sailed from Spithead on the 9th ulto. Direct for Quebec, and was joined at Cork by the 97th Regiment destined to relieve the Nova Scotia Fencibles at Newfoundland; which latter will immediately proceed to Quebec. The 6th and 82nd Regiments of the strength as per margin sailed from Bordeaux on the 15th ulto. Direct for Quebec. Orders have also been given for embarking at the same port, twelve of the most effective Regiments of the Army under the Duke of Wellington together with three Companies of Artillery on the same service.”[12] The scale of forces being gathered against the invading US forces it would only be a matter of time before they would be pushed back into their own country. The irony is that after the war the Americans count the war as a victory Latimer would say that. “All that remained now was for the construction of a reassuring myth which might transform Madison’s futile and humiliating adventure that has aimed to conquer Canada into one of defending the republic.[13] The twisting of the meaning of the war and a clear defeat in America’s initial reason to go to war were plainly ridiculous even if, the United States might claim to have won the peace;”[14] It was in a way a good Public Relations move by the president as even today most Americans believe that they won the war of 1812 where in a sense they came so close to being defeated, and they didn’t even achieve the wars principle aim.

The Americans had every advantage on paper of attacking and taking Canada but in a way poor supply and poor leadership let them down, not to mark down the brave efforts of the men defending Canada, and the Native Allies which would provide a much needed fear factor, for the invading American army , but in a way also there was no stomach for the Americans to come and “liberate” Canada the French Canadians feared Protestant America to an extent that they didn’t want to join them, no matter how much animosity that they had for the British. The American army did improve to an extent to effectively beat the British in an open style field battle but by then it was in effect too late. The British in 1814 launched a counter attack since they could now concentrate there full efforts on the Americans after the defeat of Napoleon. Veteran units would arrive and in a way nearly take America, it would all culminate into the battle of New Orleans, after the official peace treaty was signed.  Canada would remain British.


 Bothwell Robert. The Penguin History of Canada (Toronto: Penguin 2007)

Brogan Hugh. The Penguin History of the USA, Second Edition (England: Penguin 1999)


Hickery R Donald. The war of 1812 “A Forgotten Conflict” (Illinois: Hickery Press 1989)

Hickery R Donald. The War of 1812: A short History (Illinois: Hickery Press 1995)

Hitsman J Mackay. The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History (Toronto: Robin Brass Studios 1999)

Jon Latimer. 1812 War with America (HarvardUniversity Press 2009)

Jeremy Black. The War of 1812 in the age of Napoleon (York: Continuum International Publishing Group 2009)

Smith M Daniel. War and Peace with Britain 1812-1818 (Houghten Miffin Company 1972)

Holmberg Tom. Thomas Jefferson on Great Britain: From the Conquest of Canada to the Cruelty of the British in America

[1] Holmberg Tom. Thomas Jefferson on Great Britain: From the Conquest of Canada to the Cruelty of the British in America

[2] Fig taken from Hitsman J Mackay. The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History (Toronto: Robin Brass Studios 1999).,pg295-310

[3] Fig taken from Hitsman J Mackay. The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History (Toronto: Robin Brass Studios 1999).,pg.283

[4] ^ibid.,pg285

[5] Hickery R Donald. The War of 1812: A short History (Illinois: Hickery Press 1995).,pg20

[6] Hickery R Donald. The War of 1812: A short History (Illinois: Hickery Press 1995).,pg20

[7] Jeremy Black. The War of 1812 in the age of Napoleon (York: Continuum International Publishing Group 2009).,pg50

[8]Hickery R Donald. The War of 1812: A short History (Illinois: Hickery Press 1995).,pg22

[9] Jon Latimer. 1812 War with America (Harvard University Press 2009).,pg67

[10]Hickery R Donald. The War of 1812: A short History (Illinois: Hickery Press 1995).,pg24

[11]Hitsman J Mackay. The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History (Toronto: Robin Brass Studios 1999).,pg186

[12]Hitsman J Mackay. The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History (Toronto: Robin Brass Studios 1999).,pg289

[13] Jon Latimer. 1812 War with America (Harvard University Press 2009).,pg400

[14]  Jon Latimer. 1812 War with America (Harvard University Press 2009).,pg400

The British Army ever since its conception has always been under funded and under equipped. The navy would always take the forefront of any of Britain’s wars. The army had to be drastically expanded to cope with the needs of the conflict. Most of Wellington’s army would predominantly be troops from the Home Islands in some cases in one unit of the 1st Battalion, 57th Regiment of Foot on the 9th May 1809 showed that Thirty Four percent of the unit were Irish, Four percent Scottish and the rest were Foreigners.[1] The foreigners in this instance would be the Portuguese core who would be restructured under British protocols, and would become a very effective force. The size of this contingent would eventually increase over the years and by 1813 over twenty percent of the army would contain ether Hanoverian troops and a Portuguese core. Edward Uffindell worked out that “At least a fifth of the soldiers in the vast majority of English Regiments were Irishmen.”[2]. Richard Holmes would provide a much more accurate figure “42 per cent in 1795-1810.”[3] This is because Ireland itself, during the period, was suffering hard economic difficulty, which was mainly due to a bad harvest, and a lack of economic investment by the British State.  This would lead to the permanent British Army presence in Ireland due to a fear it could be used as a French staging point for an invasion.

 The 1807 Militia Act would provide up to forty percent of the Militia for active service within the army. A few solders would fall into this bracket. Most notable was Riflemen Harris: “I grew a hardly little chap, and was one fine day in the year 1802 drawn as a solider for the Army of Reserve. Thus, without troubling myself much about the change which was to take place in the hitherto quiet routine of my days’ I was drafted into the 66th Regiment of Foot.”[4] The 66th was a Militia Raised regiment. Some would be folded into other Regiments, and Harris would eventually volunteer under the Militia Act into the 95th Rifles. There were a lot of cases like Riflemen Harris but what would cause others to volunteer?

The use of Recruitment Parties in certain areas of the British Isles would be used to try to bring up the numbers. The country was split into three different zones, South, North and Ireland. Each area would only recruit from their designated mustering area; however this would change with the Militia Act where people would be posted where needed the most. The point of a recruitment party is very much a simple affair, it would be a Sergeant or Sergeant Major who was dethatched to a local regiment who would provide tails of heroism and how your life would be much better. For example, the image below shows a typical recruitment party, where the Sergeant would take a potential recruit to the local Public House and promise said recruit a bounty if he signed on. This was usually five times what a regular Farm or Factory worker would earn on average in the period.


To many the bounty seemed very attractive and was potentially the main reason why most joined. The problem with this would be that the pay would be deducted for essential commodities; for example boot polish, haversack and washing equipment would have to come out of the recruits pay. Weekly pay can roughly calculated through accounts from two sources Riflemen Harris and Ensign George bell. The standard pay of a Private solider fluctuated.  At the start of 1797 it was seven shillings a week for a private solider[6]. For Officers it was roughly for low ranking five shillings and three pence a day.[7] This worked out less than what an average  recruit would have earned in a week in a civilian job; and sometimes, in worse conditions, and much worse punishment. For example a dock worker in 1805 would earn twenty eight shillings a week and with this in mind we need to think of what else could have caused people to volunteer. If we take into account the sense of adventure, and also the idea of self achievement and status, you begin to get this feeling of mystery and romanticism. This can be mainly attributed to tales told in the local tavern, as shown by the painting by A Eglington (Fig16).


This idea of story and adventure are coupled within a poster from the Seventh Hussars: “Young Fellows whose hearts beast high to tread the paths of Glory, could not have a better opportunity than now offers. Come forward then, and Enrol yourselves in a Regiment that stands unrivalled, and where the kind treatment, the Men ever experienced is well known throughout the whole Kingdom.”[9] The poster would try to couple to a man’s natural sense of curiosity and adventure, the idea of a smart uniform and a better life. Captain John Kincaid would state that he was “Attracted by the Glamorous green uniform and by the nature of its service and achievements. ‘Hurrah for the first in the field and the last out of it, the fighting Ninety fifth’.”[10] Most people are attracted by this idea of heroism and a chance to make a name for themselves. However you would find Officers like Lieutenant-General Robert Ballard Long, who in a letter to his Brother on the 14th March would say that: “I make a distinction between the duty that summons every man to the field to defend his own country & rights – but Armies which are formed for other purposes,(& all of them are) shd be made up of Volunteers; those who adopt the profession from preference & and predilection-who love War as a trade in all its form & features, & what they like- I say honestly that I have no business among this class of men, for I dislike the thing & always have.”[11] This brings to mind the idea that some may have objected to the war but feel a sense of duty to the country to fight even though considering their point of view.

A Sense of duty could be attributed to the higher classes amongst British society, due to the fear of a French invasion. British propaganda mainly used cartoons to play on the upper classes fear of losing their status in British society. We must remember that the French Revolution and what the Napoleonic period stood for put a fear into the upper regions of the British society.  This would provide a massive recruitment drive, even from people from working class backgrounds. Ian Fletcher would state that: “In 1805 the threat of invasion was a very real one indeed and although Nelson had long since dealt Napoleon’s plans a severe blow as Trafalgar the threat of invasion by Bonaparte’s battalions, portrayed as demonic, devilish hordes by the likes of Crikshank and Gilray, still lingered in the British people’s minds right up till his last gamble at Waterloo.”[12]  An example of this fear can be seen in a cartoon by John Dalrymple and James Gilray, showing the beheading of the upper classes in the House of Lords and the changing of the British Establishment. In a sense it is possible to see why many of the Officers in the higher reaches of the British army were from positions of wealth and landed gentry. Promotion in this part was mainly secured by a system of buying your way into promotion (perches). To modern day standards it seems completely devoid of any clear military thinking. On the other hand to the rank and file it can be seen that this was the mark of a proper officer due to the rigid class system at home. On odd occasion you would get filed promotions for acts of bravery or gallantry, and in these instances there would only roughly be around five percent of promotions achieved in this way.


Not all who enlisted joined for the reasons stated previously; they were the underbelly of the British state.  The Duke of Wellingtons term of calling the army ‘the scum of the earth’ would mainly apply to these individuals, who would make up in some instances the hardcore of most British Regiments and would be to blame for the darkest moments of the conflict. Ian Fletcher would call these men “the men of the underworld, the criminals, pickpockets, poachers, smugglers, bully-boys and thugs, who, if not on the run from the law, had been caught, convicted and offered the choice between jail and the army.”[14] These ‘scum of the earth’ would provide many problems for Wellington during the war, and can be attributed to the events at the siege Badajoz.  These men would easily raise the armies’ recruitment numbers as many would choose military service rather than prison. Ian Fletcher and Richard Holmes would calculate on average at least fifty in each regiment would fall into this category, and in most instances would not come to trial or used the army as an escape route. For those that were convicted, the option to join the Army or Navy would be more attractive as it would provide them a chance to make a name for themselves or a chance to become deserters, and disappear into a foreign landscape.  If you look at a selective period of time in London from the start of the French Wars and till its end, criminal convictions in the Old Bailey prove extremely insightful to these ideas. At the start of the war it seems that the number of convictions to the Army or Navy was high, however they would eventually tail off. Different regions and courts around the country would differ, but if we take London as an example in respect of the crime committed a pattern can be seen showing how important this area of British society was for filling the recruitment quota.


This would prove an intersting insight as most convictions would fall into two catagories: Grand Larceny, which is the stealing of property over a certian amount; or Rape would be the main convictions. This may be the case in London but it provides small insight into the people who would go into these battles and could shed some light into the actions that occured. Convicts would help bring the army up to strength, although from what can be seen they would account for most of the dissertions. This would create a lack in manpower resulting in a higher death toll. These statistics were calculated by Kevin Lynch in the most up to date record of manpower and recuritment lists in the British army during the period. Lynch recongnised it became hard for the dead to be replaced and that this would in turn lead to some of Welligtions cautious actions during the early period of the war.


Table of Deaths and Recruitment levels from 1808 till 1812

Year Deaths Discharges Desertions Total Causalities Recruits
1808 9,285 4,990 6,611 20,886 12,963
1809 16,343 3,323 4,901 24,567 11,780
1810 13,597 4,627 4,729 22,953 9,095
1811 13,448 3,986 5,026 22,460 11,772
1812 15,842 3,733 5,918 25,493 14,756

Taken From: Linch Kevin. Britain and Wellington’s Army: Recruitment, Society and Tradition, 1807-15 (War,Culture and Society, 1750-1850) (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2011).,pg34

The table represents the sheer scale of the bloodshed during the war, especially during the period of 1812 when the sieges took place. It also shows that with all the ways which recruitment was undertaken in the British Isles it was very hard to find replacements when death, desertions or discharges took place. Army commanders had to become very careful utilising the manpower that they had.

This differing mix of society would create quite a unique army in some respects compared to the other forces involved in the conflict. Peter Snow has summarized what these men, young and old, would face: “Very few would survive the coming battles unscathed; Most would die or suffer wounds that would leave them limbless or scarred for life. And disease, heat cold and thirst would take on even a grater toll than Battle”[16]  At Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz the casualty list would mount into one of the biggest in the war with nearly half of the Army lost at the Siege of Badajoz in 1812.

[1]Uffindell Andrew. The National Army Museum Book of Wellingtons Armies: British Campaigns in the Peninsular and at Waterloo 1808-1815 (London: Pal Macmillan 2003).,pg157

[2] ^IBID.,pg156

[3]Holmes Richard. Redcoat (London: Harper Collins 2002) .,pg55

[4] Curling H. Captain. The complete Riflemen Harris (Great Britain: Leonaur 2006 ) .,pg19

[5] A Recruitment party of the 33rd Regiment of Foot c.1814 (1961-10-67/3412

[6] Mcnab Chris. Armies of the Napoleonic Wars An Illustrated History ( Great Britain: Osprey Publishing 2009).,pg108

[7] Bell George. Ensign Bell in the Peninsular War The Experiences of a Young British Solider of the 34th Regiment ‘the Cumberland Gentlemen’  in the Napoleonic Wars (Great Britain: Leonaur 2006 ) .,pg7

[8]A Eglington, A recruiting party, including infantry and light dragoons, drinking and smoking in a tavern, 1805.

[9] 7th Hussars Recruiting poster, 1809

[10] Captain Kincaid John, Adventures in the Rifle Brigade In the Peninsular France and the Netherlands from 1809-1815.,pg v

[11] The correspondence of Lieutenant-General Robert Ballard Long 14th March 1812  (1968-07-04-431)

[12] Fletcher Ian. Wellington’s Regiments: The Men and their Battles from Rolica to Waterloo 1808-1815  ( Staplehurst: Spellmount Military 1994).,pg14

[13] Dalrymple, John.  Consequences of a successful French Invasion. No.1. Plate 2d – We explain de Rights of Man… Scene. The House of Lords

[14]Fletcher Ian. Wellington’s Regiments: The Men and their Battles from Rolica to Waterloo 1808-1815.,pg15

[15] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 6.0, 12th December 2011) Tabulating year where punishment category is military naval duty, between 1793 and 1815. Counting by verdict.

[16] Snow Peter. To War with Wellington: From the Peninsular to Waterloo (Great Britain: John Murry Publications 2011).,pg8

Below is a rough draft of a piece of work done months ago. Warning to readers there are errors hence the word first draft, but I thought i would share this with you all.

From Civil War England to an Empire: The Glorious Revolution

The events of 1688 are coined as the Glorious Revolution, but how revolutionary was the period? To answer this question it is vital to outline what we mean by the term Revolution.  According to the Oxford English dictionary, Revolutionary is a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system. In this respect we need to look at two key words in that statement. First is forcible, the events of 1688 were bloodless in England at least. In the rest of Britain you had the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland, which was to cement Williams power in the British Isles, plus the Jacobite Rising in Scotland. With that in mind we can hardly call the revolution bloodless,  if you take the Three Kingdoms as one crown. Second is the overthrow of a government and social order, in favor of a new system. Much of modern Britain’s modern Constitutional Monarchy stems from this event. Through the application of the Bill of Rights combined with rules on prerogative power, and the changes to the rules on succession. With this the immense changes in the preceding years in finance, the creation of the Bank of England on the Dutch model made it possible for the fruits of empire to become apparent, and for Parliament to become more powerful.


The reason itself for the Glorious revolution is quite an old fear in English society. This is the fear of a Catholic Plot against England and a Universal Monarchy under King Louis of France. This fear is highlighted in the Declaration of the Hague “It is also manifest and notorious that as His Majesty was, upon his coming to the crown, received and acknowledged by all the subjects of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as their King without the least opposition, though he made then open profession of the popish religion”[1]. This fear leads to a Coalition of Peers to write a letter to the Prince of Orange which was handed to Admiral Edward Russell. This man was the man in charge of communicating with William. To this request according to Stephen Baxter “The Prince answered, that, if he was invited by some men of the best interest, and the most valued in the nation, who should both in their own name, and in the name of others who trusted them, invite him to come and rescue the nation and the religion, he believed he could be ready by the end of September to come over”. [2] With this in mind it would lead us to assume this is what leads to the Declaration of The Hague. This stated Williams intent to reassure the people of England that he came in their good faith and was there to uphold the religious liberty of the land. This would in a sense try to put some legality toward Williams military intervention in England it is actually remarkable according to Tony Claydon. “It was something of a miracle that 1688 marked a turn towards stability, rather than a further decent into chaos” [3]. This in itself is true with what some historians believe the events of 1688 to be an invasion. Jacobite printing at the time stated that. “Invasion by a foreign force could only cause hopeless disorder and violence as the nation divided into two warring camps.”[4]  This tries to highlight the illegality of the Invasion. This is true to a certain respect, but this is outweighed by the fear of a popish plot and the threat of a Catholic line of succession, through James II son.


With James successfully removed from the opposition after fleeing to France, the convention Parliament was set up to provide a constitutional settlement. It can be stated that William could have simply just taken the throne; but this was not part of the Prince of Oranges leadership style. More ever he wanted to be offered the throne, and as Tony Claydon points out that “Williams Manifesto had made the already controversial point that the king could not act legally without the rest of the legislature”[5] . We can use this to understand the revolutionary form of government that would be transformed from the Convention Parliament. Williams leadership style in the United Provinces mainly relied on the local delegates and legislature, which provided the real constitutional power. We can see this represented in the Declaration of The Hague and the later constitutional settlement. More ever there is an alternative idea that “William’s main reason for interfering in English affairs was essentially pragmatic – he wished to bring England into his war against Louis XIV’s France and a free parliament was seen as more likely to support this.” [6]   This is put forward by Edward Vallance which gives the idea that the invasion and the eventual constitutional settlement that was accepted was merely a way for William to counter the threat of Catholic France; which was beginning the initial phases of preparation for the Nine Years War. This idea does hold some sway with certain historians who believe in the Invasion theory.  What comes out of the settlement can be seen as much of what was originally put forward in the treaties presented to Charles I. Blair Worden alludes to this idea. “William’s reign effected the peaceable alteration in the balance of crown and parliament that had eluded John Pym and his colleagues.”  [7] It does give the idea in a sense that the settlement that became apparent was not that different.


The Declaration of Rights, which was to become the Bill of Rights, would provide one of the corner stones of British constitutional history. It would in effect out lines the rights and powers of Monarchy. In this sense it can be seen as a real shift towards the Constitutional Monarchy, we have today. Initially in the original draft there were two sections but the latter was dropped due to William threatening to leave England. The fundamental changes that would be made were restrictions on the prerogative power of the Monarchy. For example Parliament had to be called ever three years, this time it was put into law so in a sense a mechanism was in place to stop any move towards Absolutism. Also the power of the army would eventually be transferred to Parliament under the Mutiny act of 1689. This made it possible only for Parliament to pay and raise the army if needed, coupled with the idea that a King could simply ignore and act of Parliament. These would be the main sticking points of the Bill of Rights, but what is striking to note is that you can begin to see a change to Parliament becoming the more dominant power in English governance. Gary Krey would state that. “The Declaration of Rights enhanced the rights of Parliament and of subjects; and it did so in language that would have been unacceptable to all previous English monarchs.”[8] It would be hard to see Monarchs like James or Charles accepting the Declaration of Rights they would have simply dismissed the bill. If you read the actual coronation oath which was changed for the occasion you can see the predominant shift towards Parliament ascendancy. “Will you solemnly Promise and Sweare to Governe the People of this Kingdome of England and the Dominions thereto belonging according to the Statutes in Parliament Agreed on and the Laws and Customs of the same?”[9] This simple change to the Oath reinforces the will of Parliament and the people, but Edward Vallance brings up an important point about this rise of Parliamentary power. “The revolution also failed to limit the power of parliaments and created no body of protected constitutional law. Therefore the Septennial Act of 1716 was able to effectively undermine the terms of the 1694 Triennial Act, ushering in the lengthy rule of a Whig oligarchy.” [10] This point is important and maybe slightly counterproductive to the argument, but the point makes an arbitrary claim to England’s unwritten constitution that this may have been to put down what power Parliament would effectively have as well as the king.


The Religious and Economic changes that would follow were profound and long-lasting and as important. The Act of toleration which provided religious freedoms to nearly all sects of the protestant religious sects coupled with the idea of removing Catholics from the line of succession, made sure there was a safe guard against any future fear of a catholic plot. It would also in a way also signify Whig dominance in the political sphere due to some Tories with Catholic connections under the old regime. Economically England and what would become the United Kingdom in 1707 the change of policy towards manufacturing and emphases on new markets in the West Indies linked with easy credit from the newly created Bank of England which would provide credit to the Government, would bring in the need to have a Parliament permanently in sitting to deal with state finances. Edward Vallance would state that “1688-89 completely reoriented England’s political economy. James had pursued an imperial policy emphasizing the importance of land and the East Indies. The new regime pointed England toward manufacturing and the West Indies.”[11] This change could be seen as a mirror image towards France which moved towards a land based economy may have led to many of the troubles that would lead to its Revolution. It would allow England to effectively expand the seeds of Empire and allow the access to free markets and an expansion of the Royal Navy.


In conclusion the events of 1688 could be seen as a re attempt to set down the old rights of the people over the Monarch which were stated during the Civil War period. What it does do is put into law the basic rights of the English people and the power of the Monarch. This coupled with Religious freedom in the act of Toleration and changes to the line of succession distanced England from France and allowed England to flourish economically into a growing Empire through the use of Dutch Markets and the East India Company. R Jones would describe the significance of the Glorious Revolution as “Its Significance lies primarily in the fact that it delivered the first decisive blow to what may rather generally be described as the principles and institutions of the ancien regime” [12]  It was a move away from the possible drive to an absolute Monarchy and set the ground work for a constitutional form of governance that has lasted till this day.





Baxter B. Stepehn, William III (London: Longmans, 1966)


Claydon Tony, William III Profiles in Power (London: Longman, 2002)


Claydon Tony, ‘Cambridge University Press: Williams III’s Declaration of Reasons and the Glorious Revolution’, The Historical Journal, Vol. 39, No.1 ( Mar., 1996)


De Krey S. Gary, Restoration and Revolution in Britain (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)


Jones R. J. The Revolution of 1688 in England  (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1972)


Miller John. The Glorious Revolution ( New York: Longman,1983)


Pincus C, A. Steven. England’s Glorious Revolution 1688-1989 A Brief History with Documents (New York:  Bedford/St Martins, 2006)


Worden Blair. The English Civil Wars 1640-1660 (London: Phoenix, 2009)


Vallance Edward. The Glorious Revolution 1688: Britain’s Fight for Liberty ( London Abacus, 2006)


Vallance Edward. British History in Depth: The Glorious Revolution


Coronation Oath Act 1688

[1] Pincus C, A. Steven. England’s Glorious Revolution 1688-1989 A Brief History with Documents (New York:  Bedford/St Martins, 2006).,pg40

[2]Baxter B. Stepehn, William III (London: Longmans, 1966) .,pg225

[3] Claydon Tony, William III Profiles in Power (London: Longman, 2002).,pg60

[4] Claydon Tony, ‘Cambridge University Press: Williams III’s Declaration of Reasons and the Glorious Revolution’, The Historical Journal, Vol. 39, No.1 ( Mar., 1996).,pg94

[5] Claydon Tony, William III Profiles in Power (London: Longman, 2002).,pg64

[6] Vallance Edward. British History in Depth: The Glorious Revolution

[7] Worden Blair. The English Civil Wars 1640-1660 (London: Phoenix, 2009).,pg155

[8] De Krey S. Gary, Restoration and Revolution in Britain (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).,pg264

[9] Coronation Oath Act 1688

[10] Vallance Edward. British History in Depth: The Glorious Revolution

[11] Pincus C, A. Steven. England’s Glorious Revolution 1688-1989 A Brief History with Documents (New York:  Bedford/St Martins, 2006).,pg25

[12] Jones R. J. The Revolution of 1688 in England  (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1972).,pg330

French Colonial Vietnam: Americas informal Empire ?


Did America Let the French back into Vietnam to gain there own quasi imperial needs, lets discuss.

The American policy towards French Indochina fluctuated from the midpoint of the Second World War till the later part of 1945. Why was it then France was allowed back into Vietnam under Truman? This can be seen as a complete policy reversal under what Franklin Roosevelt envisaged through his trustee scheme. This would be worked through the United Nations and his so called Four Policemen, United States, Britain, China and the Soviet Union.  These changes are much brought around due to Truman having to trust foreign policy advisers in the state department. This is due to no real experience on the world stage, plus a developing Cold War in its infancy.

The Original policy of anti colonialism comes strongly across from a conversation Roosevelt had with his son just after American entry into the war. “That Americans would be dying in the Pacific tonight, if it hadn’t been for the shortsighted greed if the French and British and the Dutch.”[1] This would in a way pave the way for American policy of Trusteeship and de colonization. This would be regulated by a body under a United Nations Mandate to effectively look after the colonial procession until it is seen fit to become an independent state in itself. This would give Roosevelt a lot of political backing in Indochina especially. Ironically though we need to consider the greater political spectrum this needs to play a part in the understanding of the issue. By this we will see later the need in 1945 that France was needed to play a part on the world stage. In this case in 1942 with the invasion of North Africa, a letter from the State department to General Henri Giraud stated that “The restoration of France to full independence, in all the greatness and vastness which it possessed before the war in Europe as well as overseas, is one of the war aims of the United Nations. It is thoroughly understood that French sovereignty will be re-established as soon as possible throughout all the territory, metropolitan or colonial, over which flew the French flag in 1939.” [2] The French government would have interpreted that they would regain their North African colonies and Indochina. Some in the state department could see the problem of not letting the French back in control of its colonies. George Blakeslee of the State department warned FDR that “If France is to be denied her position in Indochina she will be to that extent a weakened as a world power,”[3]  Roosevelt would not in some respect ignore this issue as much; he would be remarked later that “The case of Indochina is perfectly clear. France has milked it for one hundred years. The people of Indo-China are entitled to something better than that.”[4]  Roosevelt through his idea of trusteeship would worry Churchill especially, as these rules could effectively be transferred onto parts of the British Empire most notably India.  Churchill would try to play a big role in trying to bring Roosevelt on to his side.  Roosevelt even stated to an aid that with Churchill and his interference “I see no reason to play in with the British Foreign Office in this matter. The only reason they seem to oppose it is that they fear the effect it would have on their own possessions and those of the Dutch. They have never liked the idea of trusteeship because it is, in some instances, aimed at future independence. This is true in the case of Indo-China.”[5] From that we can ascertain that Roosevelt and his policies towards Indochina are solid but the idea would change slowly, much due to influence from the US State Department.

At the Dumbarton Oaks conference we begin to see a slight change, and this can mainly be attributed to Churchill and his persistence. From this point onwards you can say that Roosevelt and his resolve for trusteeship plan would begin to change. The principles would be the same but it would revolve around the United Nations but of a colonial nation’s eventual right to independence after a certain period.  “The blueprint for the post war international system was negotiated, skirted the colonial issue, and avoided trusteeships altogether. F.D.R. in fact assigned to Indochina a status correlative to Burma, Malaya, Singapore and Indonesia: free territory to be reconquered and returned to its former owners.”  This is quite important maybe we can see a softening of Roosevelt and his policy stance, this was re affirmed by Secretary of State Stettinius  on April 3rd  1945 just after the Yalta conference said that any territory taken by the enemy will be returned to its original owner but could be placed under voluntary trusteeship. The term voluntary is vital, in some sense it could be seen as the green light for the events to come. John Hickerson, working in the state department would state that these changes to a British diplomat at the United Nations conference in San Francisco. It was so that Roosevelt could “permit a climb-down from the position that President Roosevelt had taken in conversation as regards Indochina.” [6] Why has the United States position changed though?

The major change is the global political situation at the time and deep divisions in the State Department. With the death of Roosevelt and Truman ascendency to the Presidency you would have the beginning of the Cold War and the breakdown of East and West relations. One of the most important changes to take place during the 1944 to 1945 was the replacement of Cordell Hull with Edward Stettinius, this would fundamentally change US policy. George Herring would even go as far as saying that “With the retirement of Hull in November 1944 and his replacement by the inexperienced Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., the “Europeanists” took command in the State Department. They contended that the United States could not impose its views on unwilling allies, and warned that an extended impasse on the colonial question could endanger allied agreement on an international organization.”[7] With Truman having to decide cold war policy through the use of the State Department, because of his lack of experience, would cause infighting between the two spheres of Europe and the Asiatic departments. The Europeanists would eventually win out much due to the need for the United States need to keep strong European allied base on side to combat any Soviet threat in Western Europe, a Europe first policy was put into place. Also in a sense it would seem hypercritical of the United States as in effect the Philippines and Japan were ad hoc American dependences.

This policy change was very quick to be taken into effect Mark Bradley mentions in making sense of Vietnam that “Secretary of State Edward Stettinius told French foreign minister Georges Bidault on the 8th May 1945 that ‘Washington has no intention-and’, incredibly, ‘had never had any intention- of challenging French sovereignty in Indochina’.”[8]  This can be seen as a very much and exercise in pleasing the French government into joining the new United Nations and to in a sense keep them in the American sphere.  From this we can add that James Clement who was a leading Europeanist in the state department confirms this idea to Secretary of State Stettinius stating that “We have no right to dictate to France nor to take away her territory. We can only use our influence….to improve the Government of Indochina and conditions there but we should not interfere.”[9]  This policy of no interference would be put to the test during the initial months of the Allied move into Indochina. Truman would in effect turn a blind eye to the fact that Sir Douglas Gracey was using French troops that were part of the South East Asia Command, in American trucks to effectively put French civil service and control structure back into Indochina. Truman would even approve the movement of over eight hundred Lend Lease Jeeps on the pretext it would be impossible to remove them. To this effect we could say that the British and French in a way played the Americans hand.  John Springhall stated that “once martial law had been declared in Saigon, Gracey, with only three infantry battalions of British, Indian and Gurkha troops at his disposal, lacked the muscle to enforce his proclamation. Hence the subsequent and infamous coup engineered to restore French colonial rule in the city was the outcome of a combined Anglo-French operation.”[10]  The United States government would turn a blind eye to this issue to a point. Office of Strategic service agents were fighting alongside British and French troops to keep control of the country side from the Vietminh. Britain in itself played a part in allowing the French back into Vietnam for their colonial interests.

From what we can see is that the softening of American attitude during the late period of Roosevelt’s Presidency. This is partly due to the change of the head of the US State Department, where the infighting over policy would be changed mainly due to the balance of power moving towards the Europeanists. More ever we can see this taking effect as the fledgling Cold War begins to take shape and the need for the US government to keep its strong Colonial Powers Allies on side to combat and threat from the Soviet Union in Europe. The Trustee policy originally set out would be dwarfed by American need in this early period of the Cold War, the Americans would have to please French interests but also not to seem hypercritical about their undisclosed “Imperial” possessions in Japan and the Philippines. With this taken into account it can be said Truman did let the French back into Indochina, but only on the grounds of the advice given and the global political issue


Bradley P. Mark and Young B. Marilyn. Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives (New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 2008)

Ferrell H. Robert. Off the Record The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman (University of Missouri Press, 1997)

Gardner C. Lloyd. Approaching Vietnam From World War II Through Dienbienphu 1941-1954 ( London: W.W.Norton & Company Ltd, 1988)

George C. Herring, “The Truman Administration and the Restoration of French Sovereignty in Indochina”, Diplomatic History, 1/2, 1977, pp.97-117

Martin Thomas, review of Mark Lawrence, Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), H-Diplo, 2006.

Schulzinger D. Robert. A Time for War The United States and Vietnam 1941-1975 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Springhall John. ‘Kicking out the Vietminh’: How Britain Allowed France to Reoccupy South Indochina, 1945–46, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol 40(1), pp.115–130

The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1 Chapter I, “Background to the Crisis, 1940-50,” pp. 1-52. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971)


[1] Schulzinger D. Robert. A Time for War The United States and Vietnam 1941-1975 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).,pg13

[2] The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1 Chapter I, “Background to the Crisis, 1940-50,” pp. 1-52. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971)

[3] Schulzinger D. Robert. A Time for War The United States and Vietnam 1941-1975 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).,pg16

[4] The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1 Chapter I, “Background to the Crisis, 1940-50,” pp. 1-52. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971)

[5] The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1 Chapter I, “Background to the Crisis, 1940-50,” pp. 1-52. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971)

[6] George C. Herring, “The Truman Administration and the Restoration of French Sovereignty in Indochina”, Diplomatic History, 1/2, 1977.,pg100

[7] George C. Herring, “The Truman Administration and the Restoration of French Sovereignty in Indochina”, Diplomatic History, 1/2, 1977.,pg99

[8] Bradley P. Mark and Young B. Marilyn. Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).,pg27

[9] Gardner C. Lloyd. Approaching Vietnam From World War II Through Dienbienphu 1941-1954 ( London: W.W.Norton & Company Ltd, 1988).,pg58

[10]Springhall John. ‘Kicking out the Vietminh’: How Britain Allowed France to Reoccupy South Indochina,.,pg7