Volume 3

The Napoleonic War Journal of Captain Thomas Henry Browne, 1807-1816

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Thomas Henry Browne obtained an ensign's commission in the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1805. Some twenty-one months later he began a long service overseas for most of nine years from 1807 to 1816. During this period Browne participated in the seizure of the Danish fleet at Copenhagen in 1807, the capture of Martinique from the French in 1809, and the ebb and flow of the campaign against Napoleonís army in the Iberian Peninsula, 1810 to 1814. During this latter period he served on Wellingtonís Headquarters staff in the Adjutant-Generalís office, and was privileged to observe the great commander from a close point of advantage.

During the period of his overseas service, Browne kept a journal in which he noted in a vivid and trenchant style the day-to-day events occurring in his own and other units, whether in camp, on the march, or in the heat of battle. His staff position enabled him to see the broad sweep of tactical decisions, while his remarkable gifts as an observer bring to life the officers and men who composed the armies of the day, depicting them in a succession of graphic images. Few military journals of any period have captured the soldier's life with such immediacy, like a first- rate war correspondent's report from the battlefront.

In this edition the journal has been faithfully reproduced, with a full introduction placing Thomas Henry Browne in the context of the times, evoking the customs and disciplines of the British regular army in the age of Wellington, and sketching in the historical background to the conflicts in which the army was engaged.