Re: Book Review - The Darkest Day: 1814
- I picked this first edition up at an antique mall for a couple of bucks. I
don't know if it is still in print but you could probably find one in a
library or through a used book dealer or even Ebay. Entitled: THE DARKEST
DAY: 1814, THE WASHINGTON-BALTIMORE CAMPAIGN by Charles G. Muller,
published by J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia & New York 1963.
This is a great book. It covers the campaigns in the Chesepeake from
Cockburns marauding in 1813 right through the 1814 invasion, the debacle at
Bladensburg, the torching of Washington, and the actions at Baltimore.
Admitadly the first part of the book gave me a few yawns but once Ross &
Cockburn land at Benedict... well hold on to your specs because truth is
better than prose and this author sprinkles his prose with healthy doses of
first hand accounts, not just the oft quoted Gleig, but numerous other
sources. I liked the details in this book. It tells who did what when on
both sides of the lines not just at the higher levels but what things were
like for the ordinary soldiers on both sides. The order of march, camping
arrangements, what they ate, how they cooked, what was in the pack, the
heat, the rain, the mud etc. (By the way those of you taking up Robert
Henderson's War of 1812 test can find the name of that frog unit that was
helping to chastize the Americans on page 32).
One thing I didn't like was a lack of footnotes. The author does provide a
very extensive and impressive bibliography and notes for the chapters which
for the most part are just a list of the sources he used for each chapter.
When he quotes a someone it is possible therefore to trace the quote to his
source, but statments of "fact" are not tied to specific sources which is a
real bummer. All in all a good read for one of those 60's history books and
I recommend it to you all.
Member/ 93rd Sutherland Highland Regiment of Foot L.H.U.