British Military Spectacle: From the Napoleonic Wars through by Scott Myerly

By Scott Myerly

within the theater of warfare, how very important is dress? And in peacetime, what goal does army spectacle serve? This publication takes us backstage of the British army on the peak of its brilliance to teach us how gown and self-discipline helped to mould the army guy and tried to seduce the hearts and minds of a country whereas helping intimidate civil rioters in peacetime.

frequently ridiculed for his or her constrictive beauty, British military uniforms of the early 19th century still performed a strong function within the troops' functionality on crusade, in conflict, and as dramatic leisure in peacetime. Plumbing a wide selection of army resources, so much tellingly the memoirs and letters of squaddies and civilians, Scott Hughes Myerly unearths how those ornate sartorial creations, combining symbols of cohesion and idea, vibrant colour, and actual restraint, better the managerial results of inflexible self-discipline, drill, and torturous punishments, but in addition helped foster regimental esprit de corps.

Encouraging recruitment, imposing self-discipline in the army, and boosting morale have been crucial yet no longer the single features of martial costume. Myerly additionally explores the position of the resplendent uniform and its linked gaudy trappings and customs in the course of civil peace and disorder--whether hired as public family members via amazing unfastened leisure, or imitated through rioters and rebels opposing the established order. costume, drills, parades, inspections, pomp, and order: as this richly illustrated publication conducts us during the info of the production, layout, features, and that means of those features of the martial picture, it exposes the underpinnings of a mentality--and vision--that extends a long way past the army way of life into the civic and social order that we name modernity.

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On the march, furry hats also collected dust, which, if not present on the road, was sometimes created by the pipeclayed uniforms. T h e highland feather bonnet shared most of these disadvantages (although it was supposed to be equipped with an oilskin cover). After a long march, soldiers would spend hours restoring their dress and equipment to a pristine condition rather than resting: "A march will never be admitted as an excuse for dirt and slovenliness. "^^ In 1 8 3 1 , the Clothing Board recommended a reduction of only 22 The Spectacular Image three ounces in the one-poimd, fifteen-ounce shako, the most it could be decreased without weakening its design.

Although they contributed much to the British war effort, after 1815 they were viewed as pohtically untrustworthy. Middle- and lower-middle-class officers were less likely to be committed to the status quo, and were thus more prone to become mercenary or revolutionary in sentiment (like the French officers who had risen with the Revolution). The reactionary duke of Cumberland felt this was the case with the post-1815 Prussian army: "Many of the generals and principal officers with whom I am in daily habits agree with me, that what was good and necessary in 1813 to 1815 ought to have ceased after the war, as it was only calculated for the necessity of the times, but this was not done [and the army] was made subservient to the worst of objects .

W h e n General Sir John Moore was severely wounded at the battle of Corunna in 1808, he would not allow his aides to remove his sword, though it aggravated his wound. "^^ In peacetime, to ensure that passers-by would not miss the effect, many officers wore their swords low, so that the end of the scabbard, the "shoe," would make noise by dragging on the ground. '^^ Enlisted men also carried weapons, and though cavalrymen wore swords, the abolition of the hanger (short sword) for heavy infantry in 1768 left the bayonet as the infantryman's side arm (rifle regiments used sword-bayonets).

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