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Looking Sharpe: The Well Dressed Infantryman

Wickham - An example of an infantryman

“This was exactly as it should be; for the young man wanted only regimentals to make him completely charming. His appearance was greatly in his favour; he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and a very pleasing address.”
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

British Military of the Regency Era – The Infantryman

Wickham and Lydia- P&P Jane Austen had a great respect for the British military, as any of her readers will attest. The following article, reprinted from the The Sharpetorium, gives an idea of what it was like to be an infantryman in His Majesty’s service in the early 19th century. The example, Pvt. Richard Sharpe (33rd Regiment of Foot; Light Infantry), is the hero of Bernard Cornwell’s novels. Continue reading Looking Sharpe: The Well Dressed Infantryman

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English Army in the Regency|Napoleonic War

The Duke of Wellington, 1812-14; Francisco de Goya, 1746-1828; Housed in the National Gallery of Art, London Napoleonic War

While the Napoleonic Wars are rarely, if ever, mentioned in Jane Austen’s novels, they do provide a backdrop to many of the stories. Many of the male characters are, or had, a military connection. This is the first in what is intended to be a series of articles covering that military background to her works, in the hopes of fostering a better understanding of her works. As my own interest is focused on the land forces, most of the compositions will focus on the Army and Militia rather than the Navy, although there will be some overlap. This first section is intended to outline the basic functions of the Officers in the British Army of the time. Later sections will look at such things as the system of Purchase and promotion, how one was expected to be an Officer and a Gentleman,” the Militia, and other such topics.

British Army Continue reading English Army in the Regency|Napoleonic War