As the title suggests, these are the memoirs of a veteran of the bloody Waterloo campaign, originally written as letters and privately printed over fifty years later, for the benefit of Pattison’s grandchildren. Aged over eighty, writing from the tranquillity of his home, he recalls the horrors of the battlefield which he describes so vividly: ‘At this juncture Lieutenant Arthur Gore of the Grenadier Company, who was standing close by me……….was hit by a cannon ball, and his brains bespattered the shakos of the officers near him.’Frederick Hope Pattison purchased an ensign’s commission in 1810 and joined the 33rd Regiment of Foot in Seringapatam, India. In 1853 the regiment was given the title Duke of Wellington’s, the only regiment in the British Army named after a non-royal person. (The regiment still exists today, one of the four English and Welsh line regiments to have survived the changes inflicted on them since the Second World War). After Waterloo, Pattison served on till the end of 1821 when he went on half-pay, as a captain, and his final appearance in the Army List was in 1830.Although only five letters written by Pattison form the basis of this book, Dr Stanley Monick, the editor, has amplified them with analysis, comment, historical and social background and biographical details of persons mentioned in the text. He has divided the book into three parts: Introduction and editorial approach; the Letters and appendices; and Notes and Index. In his introduction Monick discusses the letter as a popular literary device and its importance as a vehicle for argument, instruction, reminiscence, biography etc and analyses Pattison’s letters in that context. He then provides the military/historical background by discussing in turn the social character of Wellington’s army, its organization, infantry tactics and drill. Then come the letters themselves with editorial comment on each. Part III, the bulk of the book (some 120 pages including a twenty-nine page index), is taken up with explanations of the footnotes in the letters in minute detail by both the author and the editor, who also comments on Pattison’s notes.
HORROR RECOLLECTED IN TRANQUILLITY. Memories of the Waterloo Campaign
Scholarly, annotated edition of a Waterloo veteran’s recollections. The author wrote the book up fifty years after the campaign from his own letters. Edited with introduction, commentary and footnotes by Dr Stanley Monick.