Reminiscences 1808-1815 Under Wellington

The Peninsular And Waterloo Memoirs Of William Hay

William Hay

Publication date:
May 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Editor :
Andrew Bamford
Series :
Reason to Revolution
Illustration :
18 b/w ills, 3 b/w maps
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781911512325

Dimensions : 234 X 156 mm
This book is temporarily out of stock.


• A new edition of an important and highly readable account that has never been reprinted

Notes and commentary by a leading expert in the field

A unique story of an officer who fought in the Peninsular with both the infantry and cavalry, as well as the Waterloo Campaign

William Hay had a varied and exciting military career during the later years of the Napoleonic Wars, which took him to the Peninsula, to Waterloo, and, after 1815, to Canada. Graduating from the Royal Military College at Marlow, of which he begins his memoirs with a rare account, he was first commissioned into the crack 52nd Light Infantry and served with that regiment in the campaigns of 1810 and 1811. Promotion then took him into the 12th Light Dragoons and, after a spell at home due to illness, he joined his new regiment in the field just as Wellington's army began its retreat from Burgos. Thereafter, Hay served with the 12th for the remainder of the Peninsular War and again during the Waterloo campaign. A well-connected young man, he spent some of his time away from the regiment on staff duties, serving as an aide to Lord Dalhousie in the Peninsula and later to the same officer again during his tenure as Governor General of British North America.

Hay's recollections are very much those of a dashing young officer, and, if not quite rivalling Marbot for imagination, there is no denying that he is the hero of his own epic. But these are more than just tales of derring-do, for Hay's stories of the lighter side of military life do much to illuminate the character and attitudes of Britain's Napoleonic officer corps. There is also no question but that Hay was a competent and effective officer who did good service in a number of important campaigns, and an old soldier's tendency to polish his recollections should take nothing from that. However, in order to help the reader better judge when Hay is remembering events with advantage, this edition of his memoirs is introduced and annotated by historian Andrew Bamford and includes additional information to identify places, people, and events and to otherwise add context to the original narrative.


Andrew Bamford's exceptional editing ensures that Hay's "reminiscences" are as accurate as can be, whilst still retaining the allure of a young man in the thick of the action and anxious to record what is going on for posterity...Comparable to some of the diaries and essays written by the young men who fought in the first world war. This is an extraordinary piece of work.
Books Monthly

Highly recommended for collectors of memoirs of the Peninsular War or Waterloo. I would far rather have this edition than a copy of the original! Winner of the 'Miniature Wargames Recommends' award for July 2017.
Miniature Wargames - Arthur Harman

The book itself is nicely laid out. There are illustrations, many of which are contemporary to the narrative, and some helpful maps to support the campaigns. Well worth the read.
Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy