The idea here is to trace the careers of a set of less famous Royal Navy officers during of the Napoleonic Wars. The group selected is all those midshipmen who took part in Captain Sir Edward Pellow's victory over the French ship-of-the-line Les Droits de L'Homme in 1797, a classic early frigate action. Although many of these men went on to reach high rank in their own rights, their presence at this particular battle was remembered for the rest of their lives.
This book serves two purposes. First is the cross section of Naval careers, which allows us to follow the sort of careers that are rarely followed in any detail – although some of these men followed the familiar rise from midshipman to lieutenant to captain and beyond, one served in the more technical side of the navy, as a warrant officer, and some were forced to leave the service in unfortunate circumstances.
The second is to cast a different light on Pellow himself, who is sometimes considered to have been harsh and unpopular. The surviving letters between Pellow and this group of officers rather disprove that, instead demonstrating that he was able to form long term friendships with his juniors.
This is an interesting book that gives us a good idea of the wide range of experiences available to Royal Navy officers during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and the nature of the relationship between officers during this period.
1 - Edward Pellow - Partisan and Patriarch
2 - 'My Dear Indefatigable'
3 - The Fortunate Few
4 - 'Never Was Such an Action Known'
5 - The Nature of Patronage
6 - 'Boys Grown to Manhood'
7 - Diversity and Responsibility
8 - Friends, Family and the Falmouth Connection
9 - 'Faithful and Attached Companions'
10 - 'No State in Life More Honourable'
Author: Heather Noel-Smith and Lorna M. Campbell
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer