General Sir Ralph Abercrombie and the French Revolutionary wars 1792-1801

General Sir Ralph Abercrombie and the French Revolutionary wars 1792-1801

Author
Carole Divall
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
Abercromby is not the best known general of the late 18th century . A previous work by J A Dunfermline is periodically reprinted but Carole Divall has brought an interesting and devoted soldier out from the shadows. Her work has primary and secondary sources and has obviously been thoroughly researched. There do not seem to have been any other books devoted to Abercromby since Dunfermline’s mid Victorian work.

The book commences with an introduction from the French revolution , also with a little family background. Abercromby was a Rugby man and studied law prior to commissioning into the 3rd Dragoon Guards.

With the outbreak of unrest in America Abercromby indicated his unwillingness to enforce a settlement on the colonists and shortly afterwards retired to the half pay of a Colonel as the 103rd foot disbanded.

The War of the First Coalition was not a success for the Allies , a murderous Dutch winter was the final straw and an undignified retreat through Bremen ended the campaign. Abercromby conducted a skilful retreat and was awarded the order of The Bath. His next campaign was to the West Indies with some 15,000 troops and wide ranging orders to seize territory and to control economic trade.The capture of Trinidad with troops drunk on rum , plundering and hot weather has all the ingredients of a Bolitho novel and ended in triumph for Abercromby.

A subsequent posting to a troubled Ireland was something of a poisoned chalice, followed by the under equipped expedition to The Netherlands in 1799.From here the book follows the rest of Abercromby’s career and this is left to the reader.

Carole Divall started her military publishing with two books on the 39th Foot, later The Cambridgeshire Regiment. She has also written numerous articles centred around the Napoleonic period. Her grandfather was a professional soldier.

The book runs to 308 pages with some helpful tables showing troops available , together with a useful index and very comprehensive bibliography.

Illustrations are printed on glossy photo quality paper. The maps are relevant and clear but (unusually for Pen & Sword) the text on some was fuzzily printed in the review copy. Hopefully this will be remedied

Author
MoleBath
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