'It all Culminated at Hougoumont': the Letters of Captain John Lucie Blackman, Coldstream Guards 1812 – 15
Glover, Gareth (Ed.). 'It all Culminated at Hougoumont': the Letters of Captain John Lucie Blackman, Coldstream Guards 1812 – 15. Godmanchester: Ken Trotman, 2009. 144 pages. Paperback. ISBN# 9781905074945 £20. [Also available in a Limited Edition (1/4 leather bound) £50.]
John Blackman was the 16 year son of a director of the Bank of England,
when he joined the Coldstream Guards as an ensign in 1810. He
would remain in
John Blackman came from a privileged life and he went to the
Unlike many memoirs and letters of the time, John Blackman wrote not only about his daily life, but about his military duties. He writes of observing weapons training for his company – which was interesting in that he was watching it, not organizing it or running it. He wrote often of being the officer of the guard and escorting detachments of sick to the hospitals, jobs he did not particularly like. Although he wrote often, his letters were also filled with what he was doing on campaign. He did not sugar coat the hardships he endured and he was quite blunt about dangers he was exposed to. His parents must have appreciated his descriptions of how his friends were killed or wounded!
Intermixed with John Blackman's letters are ones written by his friend Thomas Maynard. Assistant Surgeon Maynard often adds details about activities that were left out of Ensign Blackman's letters. Between the two of them, they provide a vivid picture of life in the Coldstream Guards in the Peninsular War.
Most of the letters cover the campaigns and events
of 1812 and 1813. John Blackman returned to
As usual, Gareth Glover provides a fantastic job editing the letters, including notes on many of the people, places, and events mentioned by the writers. I highly recommend this book to all who are interested in the Peninsular War or the British Army.
Reviewed by: Robert Burnham
Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2008
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