Bibliography of the 95th

For those who don't want to plough through Napoleonic and Peninsular War bibliographies looking for the odd book on the Rifles, this is a listing of those I know of. It is undoubtedly not complete, and I have not read all of them (though, hip pocket permitting, I hope to get through them all one day).


Formal histories of the 95th.

The History of the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own) formerly the 95th
Sir William H Cope
1877, Chatto & Windus, 537pp.
From the Commander-in-Chief's circular of February 1800 to 1874. The first six chapters cover the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars to the end of the occupation of France. Cope delves deeply into the regimental records, as well as unpublished records in various government offices at the time. Very detailed and specific as to personal details of those involved. He notes that the Rifle Corps was also called "Manningham's Sharpshooters".
The original is rare and very expensive.
Modern Edition(s):
Naval and Military Press, 2002.
History & Campaigns of the Rifle Brigade 1800-1813, 2 volumes
Colonel Willoughby Verner
1912, 1919, Bale, 220pp, 506pp
Original is rare and expensive.
Volume 1 covers the origins of the Rifle Brigade and up to Corunna in 1809. The first chapter looks at the evolution of the flintlock and light infantry tactics in the 17th and 18th centuries. The 2nd at the Experimental Corps of Riflemen and its evolution into the Rifle Corps. He then covers all the actions in which the Brigade participated up to Corunna.
The 2nd volume covers the activities up to the aftermath of Vittoria in 1813. Verner delves even more deeply into the paper work than Cope, and notably located a listing for the 1st Battalion of Detachments showing that about 60 detached Riflemen formed the "1st Company of Riflemen" in it.
Modern Edition(s):
Buckland & Brown, 1995
Naval and Military Press, 2002.
Jackets of Green
Arthur Bryant
1972, Collins, 478pp
History to the mid 1960s. 2.5 chapters and first 7 plates are devoted to the Napoleonic era. Extensively quotes from Coote Manningham (the "Regulations" and "Lectures").
The Rifle Brigade
Basil Harvey
1975, Leo Cooper, 130pp
Brief history to the mid-1960s & the amalamation with the 60th. The first 7 chapters and the first 11 plates are devoted to the Napoleonic era. Reproductions of portraits of Thomas Sydney Beckwith and Andrew Barnard.
The Royal Green Jackets
Christopher Wilkinson-Latham
1975, Osprey, 40pp
Extremely brief history of the 4 regiments (43rd, 52nd, 60th, Rifle Brigade) who were amalgamated to form the Royal Green Jackets. Hence not much on the Rifles in the Napoleonic Era. Recently re-released
Rifle Green at Waterloo
George Caldwell & Robert Cooper
1990, Bugle Horn Publications, ?pp
Not accessed yet - authorised by the Royal Green Jackets.
Rifles at Waterloo
George Caldwell & Robert Cooper
1995, Bugle Horn Publications, 46pp
A4 "Magazine" style publication. A well-illustrated, brief description of the 95th's activities in the Waterloo campaign.
Rifle Green in the Peninsular, Vol. 1
George Caldwell & Robert Cooper
1998, Bugle Horn Publications, 224pp
Not accessed yet. Covers 1808-1809. The first of a planned 4 volumes.

Diaries, Memoirs and Autobiographies

Written by Riflemen who served in the Peninsular or at Waterloo. Officers were encouraged to carry a notebook in which to jot down daily observations, topographical, strategic and otherwise. These notes were meant to be expanded nightly into a journal and evidence of this sort of jotting can be seen in many of the memoirs. Contemporary journals and letters are valuable sources of information. Memoirs tend to be coloured by subsequent events and influences (such as Napier's History).

Military Memoirs of Four Brothers, by the survivor
Capt. T. Fernyhough, 40th Foot
1829, William Sams 275pp
Memoirs of Thomas (60th, 40th), John (Marines), Henry (Marines) and Robert (Marines, 95th) Fernyhough compiled by Thomas (the only survivor).
Modern Edition(s):
Spellmount, 2002
Adventures in the Rifle Brigade
Captain John Kincaid
1830, ?Boone, 176pp
Mainly a memoir, but some sections obviously taken from a journal (see for example the start of Chapter V). Kincaid joined the 2nd battalion in 1809 and went to Walcheren. Invalided home with malaria, he was one of the fortunate few to recover. Transferred to the 1st battalion in 1810, when all the remaining fit men of the 2nd battalion were drafted into it to fill some of the gaps caused by the sojourn in the Guadiana valley. Served in the Peninsular from Bussaco right through to Toulouse, most of it as 1st Battalion's adjutant, and then at Waterloo. Kincaid's irreverent sense of humour made this one of the best loved Peninsular memoirs.
Modern Editions(s):
Leo Cooper, 1997
Rough Sketches of the Life of an Old Soldier, during a service in the West Indies, the Peninsular, etc
Jonathan Leach
1831, Longman, 440pp
Not accessed yet, rare and expensive.
Twenty-Five Years in the Rifle Brigade
Quartermaster William Surtees
1833, Blackwood, 450pp
William Surtees was one of those rare birds, an officer raised from the ranks. The son of humble tradesman, he first joined the Northumberland Militia, whence he transferred into the 56th. He rapidly rose to corporal in the light company and saw action in Holland in 1799. He transferred to the Rifles, and became quartermaster-sergeant of the 2nd battalion, seeing inaction in Germany, action in Denmark and was with David Baird's contingent in Moore's campaign. He was commissioned and transferred to the 3rd battalion as its quartermaster, thus luckily missing the Walcheren expedition. He served through most of the Peninsular War, and was one of the few diarists to have served at Cadiz. Went with the 3rd battalion to New Orleans, thus missing Waterloo. Ill health forced his retirement in 1826, and he returned home and wrote his memoirs. He died in 1830, and the memoirs were published posthumously.
Modern Edition(s):
Greenhill Books, 1996
Random Shots from a Rifleman
Captain John Kincaid
1835, Boone, 343pp
Following the success of "Adventures", Kincaid followed it up with this volume of anecdotes, mainly, but not all, autobiographical. Once again Kincaid's self-deprecating sense of humour makes for a thoroughly enjoyable and instructive read.
Modern Edition(s):
Spellmount, 1998
Rambles on the Banks of Styx (Peninsular Reminiscences)
Jonathan Leach
1847, ?, ?pp
Not accessed yet.
The Recollections of Rifleman Harris
Benjamin Harris (as told to Henry Curling)
1848, ?, ?pp
Benjamin Harris was a Dorset shepherd before being ballotted into the militia in 1802, whence he transferred into the Rifles ending up in the 2nd battalion. He saw service in South America and Denmark, before sailing to the Peninsular with Arthur Wellesley and fighting at Rolica and Vimeiro. He took part in Sir John Moore's campaign, forming part of Craufurd's Light Brigade which retreated to Vigo. The 2nd battalion was then sent on the disastrous Walcheren expedition, where Harris contracted malaria. He never fully recovered, suffering recurrent bouts whenever he was under physical stress. After three attempts to rejoin the regiment in Portugal he was invalided out of the service. Henry Curling (an officer of the 52nd) met him in London after the war and persuaded the illiterate Harris to dictate his memoirs. From the evidence of the book, Curling seems to have transcribed Harris' words faithfully and thus, despite the publication date, they are actually untainted by reference to Napier et al, the bane of many later memoirs.
Modern Edition(s): Numerous modern editions,
(Ed) C Hibbert: Leo Cooper, 1970, Windrush Press, 1996, 2000
(Ed) E Hathaway [entitled "A Dorset Rifleman"]: Shinglepicker 2000
Adventures of a Soldier, written by himself
Edward Costello
1852, Colburn & Co, ?pp
Unlike Harris, Costello was a literate ranker who rose to the rank of sergeant.
Modern Edition(s):
(Ed) A Brett-James: Longmans, 1967, Edward Costello: The Peninsular and Waterloo Campaigns Slightly edited version of the 1788-1818 section of Costello's book
A brief Outline of the Travels and Adventures of Wm. Green, Bugler, Rifle Brigade, during a period of ten years, 1802-1812
William Green
1857, ?, ?pp
Not accessed yet.
A British Rifle Man: Journals and Correspondence of Major Geo. Simmons (95th) during the Peninsular War
George Simmons, Ed Willoughby Verner
1899, Black, 386pp
George Simmons both kept a journal and corresponded regularly with his parents and siblings. After his retirement he did some organising of his paperwork, interleaving letters into the journal. The editing was completed by Colonel Willoughby Verner after his death. Simmons apparently came from a family which had fallen from prosperity into very straitened circumstances, and George (as the eldest son) felt it his duty to help his parents provide for their numerous family. His brother Maud, serving with the 34th, was obviously less concientious. Young Joe, for whom George arranged a commission in the 95th, became a much steadier sort and eventually made Lt-Col. A very interesting book.
Modern Edition(s):
Greenhill Books, 1986
Naval & Military Press, 2002
The Autobiography of General Sir Harry Smith
Sir Harry Smith (Ed G. Moore Smith)
2 volumes
1901, 2 vols, ?pp
1910, abridged ed. of vol 1 (to 1819), 333pp
Harry Smith was enticed into the Rifles by Sir William Stewart in 1803, and became one of its best known officers. He served in South America, Sweden and the Peninsular, seeing more action than all but a few other officers. His Peninsular memoirs form the bulk of the first volume, but their value is limited by the fact that Harry Smith kept no journal (apart from a rather skimpy one during the South American expedition) and wrote his autobiography late in life from memory. His recollection of dates was lousy, but at least it showed that he wasn't copying from Napier.
Originally published in two volumes covering Harry's entire life, with the first volume taking his story to 1829, a cut down version of his Napoleonic years (to 1819) was published in one volume in 1810. Another enjoyable read, and a success story to boot.
Modern Edition(s):
Constable, 1999 (of the abridged 1910 single volume)
The Barnard Letters: 1778-1824
Edited by A. Powell
1928, Duckworth, ?pp
Andrew Barnard was a scion of a VERY wealthy family, and an officer of the 1st Foot Guards. c. 1810 he arranged a transfer to the 95th, becoming Lt-Col of the 3rd battalion, and a much loved commanding officer of the Light Division. I've only had a brief skim through this, but it looks to be mainly concerned with domestic matters.


Thomas Mitchell: Surveyor General and Explorer
J H L Cumpston
1955, Oxford, 270pp
Biography of Thomas Livingstone Mitchell, the young Rifleman who became Surveyor General of the colony of NSW. The emphasis is very much on his later life in Australia, but there is a chapter on his military career. See "A Riflemen Down Under" for more details.
Remember you are an Englishman
Joseph Lehmann
1977, Jonathan Cape, 384pp
Biography of Harry Smith, primarily drawn from his "Autobiography". The author is a specialist in South African history, so this aspect of Harry's life is well covered. Nothing new on the Peninsular War.
The Fighting Simmons of Beverley
D. Chester
2003, privately published, 64pp
The Simmons brothers of Beverley, of whom George and Joe served in the 95th in the Peninsular. Has some details not in George's journal and a portrait of George.

Contemporary Regulations, Tactics and Technical Tracts

These are the books from which Riflemen learnt their business. Every officer of the 95th was expected to purchase, and carry with him on campaigns, a copy of the green book (the Regulations and the Lectures). As a consequence these books got used to death and are rare.

Regulations for the Exercise of Riflemen and Light Infantry
Francis Baron de Rottenburg
1798, ?, ?pp
Written for the 5/60th and translated by W. Fawcett, the Adjutant-General, this book was the authorised drill for light infantry in the British Army. As such it was the operational bible of the 95th.
Not accessed yet.
Regulations for The Rifle Corps
Colonel Coote Manningham
1801, Egerton, 80pp
Believed to have been principally composed by William Stewart, these served the Rifles well for the next 50 years. The emphasis is on mutual respect, humanity and encouragement. Together with Manningham's 1803 lectures they formed the "Green Book" of the 95th.
Modern Edition: ? (I was presented with a photocopy by the friendly reenactors of 42RHR)
Military Lectures delivered to The Officers of The 95th (Rifle) Regiment at Shorn-Cliff Barracks, Kent during the Spring of 1803
Coote Manningham
1803, Egerton, 1897 reprint available, ?pp
This formed the second half of the Green Book of the 95th (Rifle) Regiment which all officers were required to purchase on joining. The original edition was one of those books which were printed in large numbers, but "used to death" and thus is very rare. The Willoughby Verner reprint is only marginally more common. Ken Trotman managed to get hold of a copy of the 1897 reprint and has produced a limited edition of 100!! (One of these is now on my bookcase :-)
Modern Edition(s):
1897 reprint by Willoughby Verner - just as rare as the original
Ken Trotman, 2002 (with a translation of De Brack's "Light Cavalry Outposts")
Instructions for the Formation and Exercise of Volunteer Sharp-Shooters
Captain Barber
1804, Egerton, 132pp
One of a number of short tracts on light troop tactics to appear after the formation of the Rifle Corps. Not the most popular, but contains interesting snippets such as how to clean the rifling of a Baker.
Modern reprint: ?
A Practical Guide for the Light Infantry Officer
T. H. Cooper
1806, ?, ?pp
This was apparently the most popular instructional booklet covering Rottenburg's maveuvres with explanatory notes.
Not accessed yet.
Modern edition: ?
Scloppetaria, or Considerations on the Nature and Use of Rifled Barrel Guns
Beaufoy, M. ("A Corporal of Riflemen")
1808, ?, ?pp
Not accessed yet.
Modern edition: ?
Remarks on Rifle Guns
Ezekiel Baker
1st Ed 1800, 5th Ed 1813 (32pp), 10th Ed 1829 251pp, 11th Ed 1835
The influential treatise by the designer of the 95th's weapon.
Not accessed yet.
Modern editions: yes.

Modern Studies

Different from histories in that they look at how and why the concept of a Rifle Corps developed and how they operated (rather than what they did).

The British Light Infantry Arm c. 1790-1815
David Gates
1987, Batsford, 212pp
A key study of the factors which forced the development of light infantry in the British army, and the influences which shaped the direction of development and led to the formation and refining of the 95th Rifles. Adapted from Gates' doctoral thesis.
Rifleman: Elite soldiers of the Wars against Napoleon
Philipp Elliot-Wright
2000, Publishing News, 144pp
Excellent and extensive illustrated study of the development of specialist sharpshooters and riflemen. Covers the development of sharpshooting during the American War of Independence, Ferguson's breech loader, foreigh rifle formations in the British army, the formation of the 5/60th and 95th and the principles under which they operated.
British Rifleman 1797-1815
Philip Haythornthwaite
2002, Osprey, 64pp
Brief but excellent look at the origins and development of the 5/60th and 95th with a quick glance at the KGL riflemen. Well and appropriately illustrated.
Rifles: Six Years with Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters
Mark Urban
2003, Faber, 368pp
Follows a company of the 1st battalion through the Peninsular campaign from the Riflemen's return in May 1809 to 1814 and then on to Waterloo.


Yes, I know, these shouldn't really be here, but they give me an excuse for the next section.

Death to the French
CS Forester
1933, Story of a Rifleman cut off during the retreat to Torres Vedras.
The Spanish Bride
1940, novelisation of the story of Harry and Juana Smith
Bernard Cornwell
First book published in 1981 and still going strong. Series of books about a Rifle officer who has risen from the ranks.
Ensign Byrd
Showell Styles
Ensign!! Styles is an aged and prolific writer of military historical fiction for the young, but I'm not sure I'm really interested in an author who makes such a fundamental historical error.

Sharpe Spin-offs

Includes a lot of the historical background for Sharpe.

The Sharpe Companion
Mark Adkin
1998, Harper Collins, ?pp
Primarily a companion to the novels, but contains much background on the 95th
Marching with Sharpe
B. J. Bluth
2001, Harper Collins, 208pp
A look at the British army of the Peninsular War with the emphasis very much on the Rifles. Much use of quotes from contemporary sources, and plenty of illustrations, especially of reenactors.

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Last update 27/12/05
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