Friday, 3 January 2014
Review: British Forces in the West Indies 1793-1815
British Forces in the West Indies 1793-1815 by René Chartrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Overview of British forces in the West Indies during revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Not generally known is that this was a major theatre of war for the British at the time (also a major market!) where tens of thousands of troops were sent to attack French colonial possessions, the most important being Saint Domingue, even after it became independent. There was serious concern that the slave revolt in Saint Domingue would spread to other colonies, as it did on Dutch Curacao in 1795 and Jamaica in 1796.
This was also a brutal theatre, with maybe as many as 45,000 British troops dying of fever in the decade up to the peace of Amiens in 1802.
The book is a bit eclectic as it includes so many different and often temporary units, like foreign regiments recruited in Europe, local militias and (Dutch)colonial troops from enemies taken into British service. Interestingly also has images of Jamaican Maroons, black troops from Surinam ('redimusi') and Cuban slave hunters with dogs.
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