Wonderful reading. Probably because it closely conforms to my own thoughts on the subject, letter V (pg 27) seems very insightful.
Note: My approach to this entire subject comes from the Austrian view, for reasons that don't need to be mentioned here; that view made the matter of how the French soldiers behaved, especially towards the conquered populace,( i.e. peasants,) a primary component of how I saw them. My view of Napoleon is not Ulm, Austerlitz, Jena, etc. For me, instead, it's Tyrol 1809. Anyone interested in seeing the resulting effects on a local a population, just look towards the Tyrol. The wounds inflected there, by Napoleon's overwhelming hatred, have never fully healed.
In my view, letter V (pg 27) seems insightful. To me, the greatest weakness of the Napoleonic Army was the constant habit of living off the land: plunder, whole-sale murder, and so forth.... Eventually, this led to the downfall of the entire system. In the end, it wasn't just English gold that defeated N; It was the enmity of all the various German, Russian, Spanish peoples; this enmity grew, not because of any English propaganda, but under the heel of the uncontrolled deeds of the everyday French soldiers against the peasants.
Note the mention of the French peasants being better treated by the "conquering" army than by their own. This is unquestionably true. Paying for all locally acquired supplies was one of Wellington's more important strategy moves.
My favorite little tidbit, so far, is in letter VI p37; which mentions how the Scottish soldiers, they were required to house, were nicknamed in Brussels as "Les petits Ecossais" 'The little Scotties' . . .and how the soldiers took care of the kids, etc. This is contrasted by the plum (in reality their paycheck) that Napoleon promised to his troops: the plunder of Brussels.
My other favorite tidbit is the music that the locally beloved Les petits Ecossais were called to arms with: "Cameron's Gathering." Music is one of the few pieces of history that can come to us unaltered by time. The playing of "Cameron's Gathering" sounds no different today than 200 years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv9vwGya5SM
A great read so far!, Thanks!