This edition of The Trafalgar Chronicle focuses on the history of the Royal Marines and the US Marine Corps, two famous military organisations that had been formed before the Napoleonic Wars, but that gained a great deal of fame for their exploits during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods.
There are sixteen articles packed into this edition of the Trafalgar Chronicle. One looks at the US Marines, covering their role in the fighting around Boston early in the American War of Independence. Most of the rest look at the Royal marines, covering an impressively wide range of topics. This includes an examination of the role of the Marines in fighting at sea, the lives of a number of individual marines (most interesting of these is James Cottell, illustrated by a series of his own sketches and paintings showing the areas he visited and the battles he fought in). There is also a rare example of a memoir written by a rank and file Marine, Stephen Humphries, fighting at Trafalgar only a few months after enlisting!
Away from the main theme there is an interesting look at the US Navy’s First Barbary War, challenging the idea that the Americans fought alone and detailing the help they received from Sicily and from the British. The article on Franco-Spanish naval cooperation between 1744 and 1805 is a useful examination of the effectiveness of this long running if somewhat intermittent naval alliance, although does rather over-play its effectiveness – the combined fleets were very effective during the American War of Independence, but ineffective in earlier wars and suffered a crushing defeat at Trafalgar. The final article, on the impact of British and French trade policies on the Danes, is valuable as a examination of the impact of this part of the Napoleonic Wars from a viewpoint other than that of the two main players. The role of naval officers who couldn’t get a command at sea is illustrated by the career of Captain Nicholas Ingram, who ended up running the Sea Fencibles in Dorset, part of the naval volunteer force responsible for coastal defences.
The Marines: The Early Days, Julian Thompson
The Marines in Boston, 1774-75, Anthony Bruce
Leathernecks: The US Marine Corps in the Age of the Barbary Pirates, Charles Neimeyer
‘Against the Common Enemies’: American Allies and Partners in the First Barbary War, Benjamin Armstrong
Captain Ingram, the Sea Fencibles, the Signal Stations and the Defence of Dorset, David Clammer
That Matchless Victory: Trafalgar, the Royal Marines and Sea Battle in the Age of Nelson, Britt Zerbe
Loyal Au Mort: The Adairs at the Battle of Trafalgar, Allan Adair
Marine Stephen Humphries 1786-1865, by Himself
The Royal Marine Battalions in the War of 1812, Alexander Craig
The First Royal Marine Battalion’s Peninsular War 1810-1812, Robert K. Sutcliffe
The ‘Blue Colonels’ of Marines: Sinecure and Shaping the Royal Marine Identity, John D. Bolt
The Royal Marine Uniform Sword by Blake, London, Provenanced to Captain Richard Welchman, Royal Marines, Sim Comfort
Captain Philip Gidley King, Royal Navy, Third Governor of New South Wales, Tom Fremantle
Captain James Cottell: The Pictorial Life of a Trafalgar Veteran, John Rawlinson
The Rise and Fall of the Bourbon Armada, 1744-1805: From Toulon to Trafalgar, Larrie D. Ferreiro
Smuggling and Blockade-Running during the Anglo-Danish War of 1807-14, Jann M. Witt
Editor: Peter Hore