Recollections of Rifleman Harris by Henry Curling 1st / 1st 1848
First edition published by H Hurst London in 1848. This is a very good or better copy. The original publishers binding is in nice condition with only minor wear. The top corner of the upper board is pushed and there is a crease. The top left hand corner on the edge of the top spine has a short tear. The corners are gently pushed. The gilt lettering and motif are bright. There are a couple of marks to the lower board. The original end papers are excellent with a previous owners inscription on the front free end paper. All of the pages are clean and the book is well bound. Overall a very good or better copy.
Benjamin Harris was a foot soldier in the Napoleonic wars. He served in the 95th regiment of foot. He saw action in the Pensinsula and in particular in the battle of Rolica. After the wars, he plied his trade as a cobbler and was approached by the editor Henry Curling, who put together his recollections and compiled the book. It is very rare indeed to hear a first hand account of life as a foot soldier in Wellington's army. This is because most soldiers at that time were illiterate.
Bernard Cornwell would use the memoir as a source for his Sharpe series, even basing a minor character on Harris, albeit with a very different career. Likewise in the Sharpe TV series, the actor Jason Salkey played a rifleman loosely based on Benjamin Harris. Salkey later recorded an audiobook version of The Recollections of Rifleman Harris. This first edition is scarce especially in the publishers cloth and in this condition.