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The author of this telling NCO's memoir of the Napoleonic Wars, James Hale, enlisted in the Royal North Gloucestershire Regiment of Militia in 1803. Tiring of garrison life after four years, he signed up in the Ninth Regiment of Foot for 7 years. In 1808, the regiment sailed for Portugal, only to take part in the retreat to Corunna - an experience which Hale vividly describes. He returned to England, to participate in the even more disastrous Walcheren Expedition of 1809. In 1810, Hale was back in Portugal, this time serving in the lines of Torres Vedras and the battles of Almeida, Ciudad Roderigo, Badajoz and Vitoria. In 1813 he was severely wounded, shipped back to England and became a pensioner at the Chelsea Hospital. His memoir, published in 1826, gives an incomparable soldier's picture of the fighting in which he was involved.