This is a rare example of a memoir of a private soldier from the Napoleonic Wars, in this case a skirmisher in the King's German Legion who fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo.
Lindau's memoirs begin with the French occupation of Hamelin, and the oppression that drove him into exile in Britain, where he joined the six year old King's German Legion, formed after the army of Hanover was disbanded in 1803.
Lindau's memoirs were written thirty years after the end of the war (with the aid of one Paster Hansen), and his memories largely fit well with the known activities of his battalion, with only a few minor discrepancies. The memoirs concentrate on those events that Lindau actually witnessed (as a result he rarely provides much detail on the wider picture, a gap filled by the modern translator and editor).
It is Lindau's constant efforts to find food and wine that stick in the memory, along with his often poor relations with his Portuguese allies. These sections paint a vivid picture of the daily life of the soldier in Spain.
Lindau does recount his memories of the battles he was present at, starting with the siege of Badajoz. As would be expected Waterloo gets the most space (Lindau was the only private soldier mentioned by name in an account of the battle written soon afterwards by his commanding officer). Lindau fought at La Haye Sainte, was eventually captured by the French and witnessed the collapse of the French army after the battle.
Lindau's memoirs provide a valuable insight into the daily life and preoccupations of Wellington's men.
Escape to England, 1806-1811
The Peninsular War, 1811
The Salamanca Campaign, 1812
Retreat from Burgos, 1812
The Vitoria Campaign, 1813
The Invasion of France, 1813-1814
The Waterloo Campaign, 1815
Appendices: Narratives of the Participation of the 2nd Light Battalion of the King's German Legion in the Battle of Waterloo
Author: Friedrich Lindau
Publisher: Frontline Books