It is interesting to note that the title of this beautifully illustrated manual, published in 1805, the year of Trafalgar and Austerlitz, still includes instruction in the use of the pike. These apparently obsolete weapons were still issued to some senior NCOs in the British Army. The book is above all about defence, which every soldier in British Army was concerned with, even though attack was the only watchword of many of their officers. To use the bladed weapons with which they were issued required training, and when facing a cavalry charge it was crucially important that the defensive square be not broken at the moment of contact between foot and mounted troops. The square offered protection by limited firepower, but once the cavalry was within sabre range only the combined efforts of the foot soldiers could prevent the mass of a horse at speed penetrating the line. If the cavalry could cut its way into the square, the formation would be destroyed piecemeal.
This book emphasises the principles of such a defence, and cautions that simplicity is the best basis for action. The line drawings are superb, and complement the text. The detail in the drawings will give information to all those interested in the equipment as well as the weapons at the time of the Napoleonic Wars.
TREATISE ON THE SCIENCE OF DEFENCE FOR SWORD, BAYONET AND PIKE IN CLOSE ACTION (1805)
How to keep the British infantry square whole by using sword, bayonet or even pikes in defence. Published in 1805, the year of Austerlitz and Trafalgar. Illustrated by detailed line drawings. One of the rarest sword manuals.