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The Rifle Brigade
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At least one battalion of the regiment was present at every major battle on the Peninsula except Albuera. They also acted as both a forward force when in advance, and as a covering force when in retreat as they were part of the elite "light Division' until Craufurd which was formed on 22 February 1810.
The light Division, and the 95th were the sharp shooters, skirmishers and information gatherers of the army. Their skill at shooting meant they were given the new 'baker' rifles to use. The rifling in the barrel improved shooting accuracy allowing riflemen to pick their targets rather than relying on shooting en masse at large en masse targets to make a difference.
So accurate were some of these shooters that William Surtees in his autobiography describes at least two riflemen who would hold up targets for one another to shoot at, at a distance of 150 yards.
The light division was not looked on by the rest of the army with universal goodwill though. Perhaps because they
were not in clear sight during battles as the rest of the army were. Army tactics up to this time relied mostly
on set moves and large bodies of men moving in unison, the light brigade and the 95th did not rely on these manouvres often
skirmishing from behind cover. This from Jonathon Leach in his "Rough Sketches of an Old Soldier"
The French might have called them "grasshoppers" for their green uniform, but it was not what Wellington's army referred to them as. This
from the Edward Costello's 'Adventure's of a Soldier':
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ReferencesPeninsular and Waterloo Campaigns - Edward Costello (edited by Antony Brett-James) Longmans, 1967
The Autobiography of Sir Harry Smith - (Edited by Moore-Smith) 1902
Adventures in the Rifle Brigade - Captain Sir John Kincaid An Encyclpaedia of Napoleon's Europe - Alan Palmer. 1984
The Napoleonic Source Book - Philip J. Haythornthwaite, 1990
Adventures of a Riflemen - Edward Costello, 1857
linksThe Autobiography of Sir Harry Smith
Short barrels and long bumpers - Sue Law's Sharpe & 95th Page
A page to 'Black Bob' Crauford's history.
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