When the French declared war on Great Britain in 1793, they undermined the chosen policy of William Pitt, which had been to avoid conflict in order to repair the nation's finances. The result of this policy was an understrength and inadequately resourced army. Whether campaigning on the continent in coalition with other European powers or picking up the colonial possessions of France and her allies, this army did little to add to its reputation.
Yet, despite appearances, as the decade progressed there could be no doubt that improvements were taking place. When it was decided in 1800 that the French Army of the Orient, abandoned by Bonaparte, could be ejected from Egypt, the troops sent to achieve this objective were of a very different quality from those that had been dispatched to Flanders in 1793. This study analyses that force and its commanders, examines the preparations that contributed so notably to its success, and evaluates why it was able to take the fight to a battle-hardened Revolutionary force and defeat it.
Carole Divall lives in Lincolnshire, and for a long time she was head of English at a local girls' high school. Having retired from the classroom, she now works full-time as a writer, lecturer and researcher. Her particular interest is the British Army of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, its organization, the campaigns in which it was engaged and the human perspective. This is Carole Divall's fifth book on the Napoleonic era.