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  • Writer's pictureGareth Williams

What they wear matters

In my forthcoming novel Needing Napoleon there is a lot of period detail. Probably the most obvious element is clothing. Particularly when writing about a battle like Waterloo, there were a wide range of units from many countries fighting on both sides. Wellington's army was as German and Dutch as English and Scottish. Napoleon's army was also made up of myriad regiments, each with distinctive or subtly different uniforms.

I do not claim to be an expert on these details. So, how did I try to get them right? Well, I read extensively about the battle - see my previous post for some of the excellent books I relied on. That ensured I was referring to units that were present during the battle. I then relied on a range of books depicting and describing the uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars before homing in on some very detailed publications on specific elements of the forces involved at Waterloo.

My starting point was in the series Brassey's History of Uniforms: Rene Chartrand's Napoleonic Wars - Napoleon's Army and Ian Fletcher's Napoleonic Wars - Wellington's Army.

I dipped into many other books and used more for the sequel to Needing Napoleon, also due out before Christmas Serving Shaka. More about this book in my next post as it nears the end of the editorial process.

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