The doctors of Britain’s Napoleonic army played a crucial role in the war against France. Wellington was fully aware of this and was the first British general to praise his doctors in dispatches. Despite their importance, they receive little attention in most accounts of the wars. Martin Howard describes the education of army doctors, their role on the battlefield, sick transport and hospitals, surgery, the treatment of disease and the life of a doctor on campaign. What emerges is that some doctors were clumsy ‘sawbones’ but many were well-educated men who grappled heroically with he destructive effects of Napoleonic warfare and the overwhelming impact of disease. They met their ultimate challenge at Waterloo in 1815 where the 40,000 wounded soldiers from the Allied and French armies fell largely into their hands.
Martin Howard is a hospital consultant with a longstanding interest in the Napoleonic Wars. He has written five books on the subject including Wellington’s Doctors and Napoleon’s Doctors.
Other lectures in this series:
- Waterloo, France and the Napoleonic legend
- From the ballroom to the battlefield: The women of Waterloo
- Honour to whom honour is due: Allied debates about who won Waterloo
- Battling Bonaparte after Waterloo: British re-stagings of the fight with Napoleon, 1815-1904