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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. I hope you find it helpful and entertaining.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Fort

Second half of my holiday reading was Bernard Cornwell's The Fort. Cornwell is of course the benchmark for historical fiction and he doesn't disappoint with this book.

Set during the American Revolution it is based on the little known Penobscot Expedition of July 1779. A modest British force supported by three sloops lands on the Massachusetts coast and establish a fort. The idea was to provide a haven for loyalists and a naval base. The rebels launched a counter expedition largely made up of militia troops supported by a large naval force. The British position was strong and the American naval advantage was not able to be fully deployed. The land campaign was also badly executed. The British relief naval force ended the siege and the consequent naval action was the worst naval disaster in US history before Pearl Harbour.   

The FortThe campaign is interesting because of some famous participants. John Moore was a Lieutenant in 1779 and this was his first action. The founder of the famed Light Division certainly learned lessons in this campaign that must have influenced his later reforms. On the US side, Paul Revere of the Lexington ride fame was a Colonel of militia artillery. He was much later lionised by Longfellow, but in this campaign he was court martialled and his actions probably deserved greater retribution.

This is a one off book, not part of a series. Unusually for Cornwell there is not one heroic figure that the story is built around. Instead he takes in all the characters to tell the story, with of course the license that the writer of historical fiction has with facts and narrative. Great read.

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