Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Life and Death of a French Soldier in the American War of Independence 1778-1781 by Bertrand Jost

 Just heard about this book. I have downloaded the Kindle edition for 2.49.  Kindle edition

UK Amazon

Through extensive research, the author reconstructed the story of a young French foot soldier from his enlistment in the King’s army in 1778 to his death in November 1781, shortly after the battle of Yorktown. The story of Hans Stiegel serves as a thread to paint a broader picture of the American War of Independence through the eyes of the lower French ranks and helps answer some of the fundamental questions behind the reality of this war. Why did these men enlist? How were they treated by their aristocratic officers? What was military life like in the barracks of France, in the colonies and while on expedition in America? What was it like to cross the Atlantic on an overcrowded transport? Upon arrival, what did these uneducated men think of the Americans they encountered: soldiers, civilians and slaves? What did they think of America itself and what was it like to fight in Yorktown when one had to spend the nights digging trenches under constant enemy shelling and days fighting British sorties or storming enemy positions?To portray the war through the eyes of an enlisted soldier, the author focused on previously overlooked details in a large set of officers’ accounts, incorporated new less known and unpublished sources and studied regiment rolls to gather details and statistics on the war casualties. It took sixteen years to compile this extensive material, translate it and weave it into a chronological account.

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