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Napoleonic Fiction

The Regiment

Regimental numbers were more important than names in this era. My 106th Foot is an invention, which allows me to send them wherever I want. There was a regiment with this number in the 1790s, at a time when the Army List including regiments with numbers as high as the 135th. Most of these units existed only on paper, and provided opportunities for rapid promotions, sale of commissions, and pocketing of the pay of non-existent soldiers. Such abuses were brought under control by the Duke of York - famous as the 'Grand Old Duke' from the nursery rhyme - whose reforms as head of the Army contributed a great deal to the successes of the Peninsula and Waterloo.

In the stories, the 106th will take the place of real regiments in the campaigns. In True Soldier Gentlemen its experiences mirror those of the 29th Foot. The real exploits of genuine regiments were often more amazing than anything a novelist could plausibly invent. Apart from the presence of the 106th, I have tried to describe the campaigns and battles as accurately as possible. Many of the incidents which happen to characters in the novels really did happen during this era.

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© Adrian Goldsworthy 2009