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A Dorset Rifleman: The Recollections of Benjamin Harris

Edited by Eileen Hathaway - Foreword by Bernard Cornwall.
A Dorset Rifleman - This icon is used elsewhere in my site as a link to this page !

A Dorset Rifleman: The Recollections of Benjamin Harris

Edited by Eileen Hathaway
Foreword by Bernard Cornwall

PRICE £12.50 plus postage (included for UK.)

First published in UK 1995 by Shinglepicker Publications, Swanage, Dorset.

A green cloth bound book with gilt lettering to the spine in an un-price clipped dust wrapper. Book and jacket show little sign of wear and are both in NEAR FINE condition.

158 pages 165 mm. x 242 mm. x 16 mm. Weight wrapped <0.75 kilo

ISBN 0 9522782 19


Benjamin Harris, from Stalbridge in Dorset, was recruited into the army in Blandford in 1803. He served as a private until 1814 , mostly in the 95th. Rifles. He saw action in the Peninsular War and was in the retreat to Corunna. In 1835, while working as a civilian cobbler in Richmond Street, Soho, he told his story to Henry Curling. It was published in 1848 as the Recollections of Rifleman Harris.

A photograph of A Dorset Rifleman showing the general appearance.

A Dorset Rifleman is a completely new edition of these recollections. Eileen Hathaway has not only clarified Harris’ account with historical notes, but has also Enhanced it with maps and illustrations,  and with quotations from the memoirs and diaries of his contemporaries in the 95th.

A number of Peninsular War memoirs are in existence, but Harris’ are special because, like most private soldiers of the era, he was illiterate. Although men like him greatly outnumbered officers on campaign, they are heavily outnumbered in the accounts which have survived. Asked, perhaps for the first time, to relate everything he could remember of those years, he did so in a memorable fashion, his descriptions of his fellow riflemen, and their wives and families, impressing with their vividness and sense of immediacy.

With Harris, we experience the seductive power of the recruiting parties in the early 19th. Century England, the medical expertise of regimental and civilian doctors, and the appeal to living soldiers of the possessions of the dead. These are the memories which make his ‘Recollections’  such compelling reading, as you have an opportunity to discover.

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