Saturday, February 03, 2007

Napoleonic Soldier's Handbook Discovered

A rare surviving 1809 copy of The Soldier’s Friend and Traveller’s Vade Mecum (a sort of Napoleonic-era pocket guide to soldiering in Europe - phrase book, currency converter, journal, &c.) has been found in England. The book, owned and used by James Chatterton of the 12th Prince of Wales Light Dragoons, contains an inscription outlining the regiment's travels through the Peninsular Campaign to Waterloo, where he served.

Chatterton later "commanded the fourth Dragoon Guards from 1831 to 1848 and was colonel of the regiment from November 22 1868 until his death in January 1874," according to Richard Knowles of Rickaro Books, who purchased the guidebook. Knowles said that he could find no other copies of the 1809 edition in the UK (ESTC doesn't even list the 1809 edition; WorldCat lists one copy held at the Newberry Library in Chicago).

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