A.L.F. SCHAUMANN    Book Number: 85257    Product format: Hardback

George III was not just the ruler of the UK, he was also King of Hanover, so when Napoleon's forces overran Hanover in 1803 many patriots fled to Britain where they formed the King's German Regiment, which soon became a Legion and were superb troops, their cavalry in particular. It was this unit which Hanover-born Augustus Schaumann joined in 1808 after a series of father-upsetting career failures, but not as a soldier. His job, Deputy Assistant Commissar, carried the courtesy rank of Lieutenant, but was actually a civilian appointment with a salary of 7/6d a day. He was responsible for the provisioning of an entire division: 10,500 tons of bread, 7,000 pounds of beef and 7,000 pints of wine - a day! Wellington knew how important it was to have a well-fed army and so Schaumann's job was very highly regarded, although the responsibilities were high - he and his family could be held liable for all the money that passed through his hands, so by necessity he was meticulous in his accounting, and this spawned the keeping of an equally meticulous diary between 1808-1814. In it he captures the drama and agonies of the fierce struggle in Spain, Portugal and France, witnessing some of the bloodiest fighting of the Peninsular War, but as well as very precise accounts of the military operations he offers insights into other aspects of the Napoleonic Wars that rarely get attention. Although they paid the native farmers the going rate, commissars were often attacked and killed by them and were also treated shabbily by senior officers. The logistics involved were (and still are) quite staggering and it still beggars belief how so many fighting men were fed and watered with nothing but horses, manpower and the goodwill of locals. With an excellent introduction by Sharpe author Bernard Cornwell, 440pp.
Published price: £25
Bibliophile price: £7.00

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ISBN 9781848328396
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