A Dorset Rifleman – 2nd Hand


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This is a unique book. It is one of the few memoirs of a line infantryman from the Napoleonic Wars. It is all the more interesting in that it is a soldier of the famous 95th Rifles. The original version was a stream of conciousness tome dictated by Rifleman Harris some years after the war. In was not in order and could be quite confusing to all but the most informed student of the war. The author has done two marvelous things in this version that make it much more accessible. First she has sorted out the original narrative of Rifleman Harris in order with very brief explanations of the context in which they were written. Secondly, she has incorporated extracts from other memoirs of the time that bear on the same events that Rifleman Harris is describing. This also helps to give context. Rifleman at the time often had little or no understanding of the larger context. Not only did they suffer the same lack of view of the entire battlefield as any infantryman, but the nature of how riflemen were employed lead to them generally seeing an even more restricted portion of the battle. Hence Eileen’s narrative and the related memoir extracts puts everything in a perspective.

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