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Author: Benjamin Harris
ISBN13: 978-0208010490
Title: Recollections of rifleman Harris
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ePUB size: 1101 kb
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Language: English
Category: Europe
Publisher: Archon Books; First Edition edition (1970)
Pages: 128

Recollections of rifleman Harris by Benjamin Harris

The Recollections of Rifleman Harris is a memoir published in 1848 of the experiences of an enlisted soldier in the 95th Regiment of Foot in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars

by Harris, Benjamin, 1781-1858; Curling, Henry, 1803-1864. Publication date 1848. Topics Peninsular War, 1807-1814. Publisher London : H. Hurst. Collection university pittsburgh; americana. Digitizing sponsor Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation. Contributor University of Pittsburgh Library System.

The Recollections of Rifleman Harris is a memoir published in 1848 of the experiences of an enlisted soldier in the 95th Regiment of Foot in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Publisher: Arcadia PressReleased: Oct 18, 2017ISBN: 9788826498447Format: book. carousel previous carousel next.

I thought this was a very good rea This book gives a very up-close and personal look of the 95th Rifles. The 95th Rifles formed the background of the Sharpe's series by Bernard Cornwell. The real Rifleman Harris was a sheepherder in Dorset when he joined the British Army in 1801(?). Really enjoyed reading the recollections of the real Rifleman Benjamin Harris of the 95th, as opposed to the Bernard Cornwell version.

This one CD production by Explore Multimedia is read by Jason Salkey, who played Chosen Man Harris in the Sharpe films and provides a brilliant complement to his Harris diaries DVD series. Sound FX are provided by The 95th Rifles Re-enactment Society. A musical score by Adam Wakeman adds to this excellent production. I think through Sharpe, Bernard Cornwell has helped to rectify this and reading Harris' recollections gave my version of the 95th rifleman a good grounding in reality. Death, starvation, injury, disease, ineffectual doctors, and incompetent over lings waited around every corner in all the campaigns Harris graced.

It is however with his entrance into Portugal in 1808, that his adventures really begin to take shape; as his fellow soldiers fall around him at the battles of Roliça and Vimiero he describes the horrific injuries sustained, the plundering of the dead that took place (which he was not above joining in) and the task of the surgeons to try and stitch. His tales of the retreat are vividly described; from the capture of the French general at Benavente, the privation, the wifes of the soldiers and their struggle to stay with the column, to the iron resolve of General Craufurd to keep going. Eventually and in a pitiable state Harris reaches Vigo and embarks for England.

Reviews: 7
Additional commentaries to those already published:
The value in this authentic work is the description of the life of the common soldier, the tacit acceptance of appalling conditions, 300 lashes for minor offences and totally incompetent medical care.
The poem describing the death of Moore at Corunna is well known, less well known are the dreadful conditions of the British soldiers retreating in defeat by the French, barefoot across the mountains of northern Spain, to reach Corunna and evacuation to England.
Also poorly remembered now is "Walcheren Fever" which accounted for the total destruction of a British invasion force; its symptoms are well described by Harris who suffered from it but survived although eventually discharged from the army as a consequence.
Steamy Ibis
These memoirs give a rare view into the daily life of a private solder in the British army during the Napoleonic wars. Harris, drafted into the 66th Regiment of Foot from his quiet life as a shepherd's son, shares his adventures, war stories, and privations over several years of active service during a very busy time for the Army. In a short while he sees the riflemen as the most dashing and exciting of the units he had seen, with the smartest uniform, and volunteers into an Irish battalion of the 95th Rifles, where he spent most of his career.

Since the writer is a shepherd and part time shoemaker, his writing is rather straightforward than eloquent, and he recalls events in no particular order, so it is not a linear history, but it gives a good feel of the daily life on campaign of the regular foot soldiers, a picture we seldom see.

As a Rifleman, Harris was frequently, as he states it, it the van of the vanguard on advance, and the tail of the rearguard on retreat, which neither he nor his General liked to do. He was heavily involved in the Penninsular Campaign against Napoleon, and describes action in the battles of Roliça, Vimeiro, and the march from Portugal into Spain. He loved the glorious appearance presented by the advancing Army, colours flying, appearing invincible, but also describes the desperate fatigue and debilitating hunger of the long retreat to Corunna and their pathetic arrival at the coast, where the sailors had to push the weakened survivors and their wives and children up the rope ladders onto the troopships to take them home to England.

Harris' recollections include several interesting vignettes of life on campaign. He met Wellington before he was made a Duke, and describes General Craufurd creeping among his weary troops as they lay hidden in the grass to refresh and inspire them with a canteen full of rum during a long battle watch. He also describes the severe discipline on campaign, but maintains that only by dint of that strict control did so many of them as did survive a grueling retreat to return home. He also describes several instances where, given a few minutes or hours to rest, he took out the cobbling tools he carried in his pack to repair shoes and boots for the men and officers who still had any.

Overall, Harris gives his reader an invaluable glimpse into the life of a foot soldier of 200 years ago. We see accounts by and about officers with much greater frequency, which is what makes Rifleman Harris' recollections so valuable. Through his eyes we experience the excitement, thrills, chills, and hardships of the common soldier.
One of the great things about Kindle, I have found, is the availability of first-person accounts, many of which were first published (not to mention written) years ago. Why this particular book caught my eye I really can't say, but I did enjoy it, in large part due to the style of writing by Rifleman Harris. I don't believe his level of education is ever touched on, but he writes in a clean, clear -- although not always concise -- style that's easy to read. And, what a story he has to tell, slogging through Europe battling Napoleon. This is not a book about great political upheavals or grand strategies, but rather about a man doing his duty under often terrible conditions at a time when the poor and under-educated were truly cannon fodder. Not a particularly introspective person, the one thing I regret is that he didn't reflect more on why he was able to plod through the worst situations, and keep plodding when many of his fellows fell by the wayside. However, He does provide a straightforward account of army life at that time, and by the time he reaches his separation from the army, I was glad he had survived and I hope he had an enjoyable life in retirement. I'm also grateful he wrote his "Recollections."
Excellent yet horrifying! The author's writing is a simple and factual reporting of what it was like to serve as a Rifleman during that period in time. It's a fast read, brutal and yet very interesting. Imagine getting 300 lashes for a minor offense and still having to perform your daily duties. Imagine a simple wound whose only treatment was a bone saw. Imagine walking hundreds of miles, night and day, with no shoes or boots. Unimaginable today but yet it's true.
digytal soul
A very good collection of anecdotes and reminiscences from a man who lived through a lot of the early Peninsular Campaign under the command of General Arthur Wellesley, before he became the Duke of Wellington. This is not a start-to-finish narrative, rather, it is a collection of vignettes, observations, and recollections of the experiences of Benjamin Harris. A very informative view of the life of a common soldier during the Napoleonic wars.
Nothing personal
Excellent history from the ranks. This man only wrote on what he personally experienced and did. His comments on life in the army of that time was fascinating and sometimes chilling.
This book gives excellent insight to the actions and the misery of the British soldiers in the Pennisular War. The viewpoint of a common soldier is dramatic and often a clearer picture of the actual situation.
He was there, a vet from the peninsula war. Amazing accounts, sad to hear him lament, as he committed this to paper when in the twilight of his years. A Brit amongst the Irish ....