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"Wellington and the Siege of San Sebastian, 1913 " Topic

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Gazzola16 Apr 2018 5:17 a.m. PST


No, you misunderstand. Fatuus Natural claims he is a historian and a real one at that, so he certainly can't be either of the two you mentioned. LOL

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 5:19 a.m. PST

Well said and I am in complete agreement.

I wonder what a 'real one' is…?

Gazzola16 Apr 2018 5:31 a.m. PST


Well, Charles Esdaile, who Fatuus Natural seemingly admires and looks up to, was once my tutor and he also helped me with my research and magazine publications after University and I have most of his books. I also have a selection of University qualifications. Hey, do you think that makes me a real one? LOL

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 8:50 a.m. PST

How else were soldiers whose army had no commissariat to find food?

And excellent overview of Napoleon's logistical system in 1806-1807 can be found here:

Les Services de l'Arriere a la Grande Armee, 1806-1807 by G Lechartier, published in 1910.

The French Train des Equipages Militaires (military supply train) was ordered formed and organized on 26 March 1807. The battalions had four companies each, later increased to six, the battalions commanded by captains and the companies by lieutenants. The battalions were under the authority of the Intendant General.

Generall speaking, one battalion supported a corps, with one company assigned to each of the divisions and the remainder held at the corps level under the corps ordonnateur.

There were 13 train battalions by 1809 plus one battalion, unnumbered, of pack mules especially activated for service in Spain. In 1811 the 10th battalion was reorganized to have two wagon companies and four mule companies for employment in the Spanish peninsula.

Nine more supply train battalions were activated which brought the total number to 23. There were also two train battalions organized by Prince Eugene in the Army d'Italie.

As finally organized, the train battalions had a battalion headquarters which consisted of three officers, a surgeon-major, an artiste-veterinaire, one marechal des logis, two fourriers, one trumpet-major, and five master artificers with a field forge and a spare parts wagon. The battalion commander was a captain, the other two officers were a lieutenant and a sous-lieutenant.

Each company had a sous-lieutenant, a sergeant-major, two sergeants, four corporals, one trumpeter, 80 privates and 4 artificers. Each company had 34 caissons, one forage wagon, one field forge, 144 draft horses, 8 saddle horses and 8 remounts.

The pack mule battalions had six companies each of 92 mules and 9 saddle horses.

The mixed battalion had 21 wagons each in the two wagon companies and the pack mule companies had 102 mules each.

So the idea that the Grande Armee 'had no commissariat' is wrong. The Intendance staff was organized as already posted and beginning in early 1807 the supply train was militarized and organized.

What was Wellington's comparative organization in Spain and Portugal?

dibble16 Apr 2018 3:20 p.m. PST



No, you misunderstand. Fatuus Natural claims he is a historian and a real one at that, so he certainly can't be either of the two you mentioned. LOL

Correlli Barnett has CBE FRHistS FRSL FRSA. so he is an established world renowned historian of much repute.

Alan Schom, though not as renowned as Barnett, is certainly also an historian of repute.

As you are a spinner, I expected a reply like that.

Paul :)

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 7:07 p.m. PST

And both Barnett and Schom wrote unreliable and inaccurate and error-ridden 'biographies' of Napoleon. Neither book enhanced the reputation of the authors concerned.

In short, those two books are so inaccurate that they cannot be used as a reference by any credible historian.

dibble16 Apr 2018 7:32 p.m. PST

Makes one wonder of the inaccuracies posted by the author Kevin Kiley, especially as he is well renowned for posting such on the internet….

Barnett and Schom really stick it to Napoleon, so one can understand why opinionated Nappy fawners have no time for them.

Paul :)

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2018 2:33 a.m. PST

Barnett and Schom really stick it to Napoleon…

Without regard to either historical accuracy or common sense.

And that is why you continually fail…

Gazzola17 Apr 2018 6:32 a.m. PST


There are good historians and there are bad historians. They are all historians but whether they should be considered as good or bad depends on the readers own interpretations of what the historians have written. In other words, one person's good historian is another person's bad one. So just because you like them (and we know why, don't we?) doesn't make them good historians. Get it?

By the way, the Oxford definition of a historian is 'an expert in or student of history', so basically, anyone who is studying history is a historian. You don't need a mass of qualifications, special training or being paid to teach others to be called an historian. Of course, there are those who have studied more and know a lot more, although even the so called 'experts' don't always get it right. And there are those who might get paid to study history and those who do it for pleasure. But in regards to all historians, past and present, their viewpoints are based on how they interpret events and historical characters, which everyone can agree or disagree with, depending on their own interpretations.

Spinner? Really? I think you will find that offering the other side of the story and other interpretations of events and historical characters is not spinning, it is keeping a healthy balance and showing that not everyone then or now agrees with the biased Anti-Napoleon and anti-French viewpoints that you and others want everyone to believe is gospel. Or should I use your term and say your 'spin' on things and people. LOL

In terms of Schom and Barnett I have both their books. Schom's massive one and Barnett's little paperback. It is obvious you and other Napoleon haters would like their work, especially Schom because, as you say, they 'stick it to Napoleon'. However, sticking it to someone isn't good history or evidence of a good historian. I think the review I linked certainly sums up Schom and his book correctly.


By the way, do you have any idea why Fatuss Natural seems afraid to back up his boasting about who he is and what he claims he has achieved with his real name? Or does he think even you, a fellow anti-Napoleon fan, not worthy of knowing? To me, someone who does not inform everyone who he is after such egotistical boasting, is insulting everyone on this site.

By the way, my betting is that it is Sam Mustapha. Is anyone running a book on who 'the real one' is?

Gazzola17 Apr 2018 7:43 a.m. PST


I forgot to mention that, concerning the qualifications you displayed next to Barnett, Andrew Roberts is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) but I would certainly not expect that him having the same qualification would influence your negative viewpoint on his excellent book Napoleon the Great.

It is not necessarily the people we are agreeing or disagreeing with, but the contents, viewpoints and interpretations they included in their books.

dibble17 Apr 2018 3:25 p.m. PST

Roberts, Clayton, Cronin are Napoleon fawners, whilst Barnett and Schom are the opposite. So what! there is an author here who criticises other peoples works as inaccurate (Those that criticise Nappy) whilst he himself, an author of books on the same subject, puts up inaccuracies on many sites.

He has posted a list of Barnett's published 'inaccuracies' many times, will that same (author) poster put up a list of his own published inaccuracies? Not just from his books but also the inaccuracies he has published on internet forums?

And please be aware Gazzola, that I need no lecture from people about historical accuracy, least of all you and a certain published author.

Paul :)

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2018 3:49 p.m. PST

Sure you do. You criticize Napoleon and the French, but have admitted that you cannot read French. That tends to restrict any research, should you care to at all, on the French side of the picture.

Everyone makes errors, unfortunately. However, some are much more egregious than others-such as Barnett and Schom among others of that ilk.

Gazzola18 Apr 2018 1:12 p.m. PST


Well done for showing that you understand that different historians and authors are different in their viewpoints. Perhaps my 'lecture' worked after all? LOL

By the way, are you still happily accepting that the 'real one' is a 'real one' without really knowing if the 'real one' is a 'real one' at all?

If so, I think you might need another lecture.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2018 2:18 p.m. PST

Roberts, Clayton, Cronin are Napoleon fawners, whilst Barnett and Schom are the opposite. So what! there is an author here who criticises other peoples works as inaccurate (Those that criticise Nappy)

And just what, pray, is a 'Napoleon fawner'? Is it someone who disagrees with the perennial false material that is usually presented on Napoleon? Is it an author who is sympathetic to Napoleon? The very comment 'Napoleon fawner' displays an ahistorical attitude towards a historical figure, something which some here are guilty of doing, and then those same accuse those with whom they disagree of such things, inaccurately, as 'Napoleon fawners' or worse.

In short, its nonsense.

I have criticized such authors as Barnett and Schom, along with Dwyer and some others, not because they don't admire Napoleon or the Grande Armee, but because they are historically inaccurate-and not just in places in their work, but continuously throughout their books on Napoleon.

Every historical figure is worthy of criticism, and some of outright condemnation. Napoleon most certainly deserves criticism for some of his decisions and policies, but he does not deserve condemnation-and when he is condemned that is usually the result of either national bias or the lingering effects of British and allied propaganda of the period, which was meant to demonize Napoleon and it is overwhelmingly inaccurate.

Napoleon was neither corrupt nor a monster. Among his fellow heads of state he stood head and shoulders above them in his ability to govern and what he accomplished as a head of state-his reforms, his lawgiving, and his overall improvement of the French state. Many of his reforms remained in place despite fifteen years of Bourbon rule after his fall, and some are still in effect. That cannot be said about his contemporaries who ruled their autocratic states.

Fatuus Natural22 Apr 2018 1:16 a.m. PST

So sorry to have ignored your posts for so long. I've had a very busy week at work.

I wonder what a 'real one' is…?

A real historian researches a problem, by gathering facts methodically, assessing them from a neutral viewpoint and then, from that balanced and dispassionate assessment, arrives at conclusions. A polemicist, however, reverses the process. He has already made up his mind what he supposes to have been the historical reality and merely scavenges for facts to confirm it, seizing on those which favour his cause and disregarding those which do not.

When the evidence is complex or confused a historian weighs the preponderance of evidence and forms his judgement accordingly. A polemicist, however, ignores the weight of evidence when it does not give the desired result and instead privileges the smaller body of evidence which supports his own position. Quite often his evidence will consist of nothing more than a couple of anecdotes, which the polemicist will fasten on triumphantly and allude to repeatedly, imagining that they somehow rebut the accumulation of evidence pointing the other way.

Sometimes the polemicist's desperate search for such anecdotes leads him unintentionally, and amusingly, to prove the opposite of what he desires. For example, he triumphantly reports occasions of British soldiers being punished for mistreatment of civilians, but fails to understand that the very fact of the punishment disproves the moral equivalence with the French army which he is trying to assert. Your 16 February post in the ‘Are standards changing' thread is another example:

Brechtel198: "Unfortunately, all of the belligerents of the period 1792-1815 are guilty at one time or another of looting, pillaging, and other excesses. No one is exempt, not even the British. As an aside, if you read Mercer's book on 1815, he admits to pillaging in order to feed his troops and horses, against express orders not to do so."

I haven't read David Hackett Fischer's ‘Historian's Fallacies', though I admired ‘Albion's Seed' very much. However I have no doubt that he, like me, can see the difference between an ad hominem attack and criticism of an opponent's historical method (or lack of it).

What I'm actually saying is that you (and Gazzola) have no understanding of historical method. That you are, fact, constant practitioners of what the British Army calls ‘situating the appreciation' Deleted by Moderator

Your recent assertions that the Napoleonic French army did not routinely supply itself by pillage and theft from civilian populations. often accompanied by violence and atrocity, are just the latest, if perhaps the most absurd, in a long line of attempts to re-write history in a form more palatable to your biases Deleted by Moderator

Gazzola22 Apr 2018 3:52 a.m. PST

Fatuus Natural

No need to apologise. No one is forced to post here and there are no time limits to posting. It is called free choice and people can make up their own minds if and when they want to post, in the same way they are free to make up their own minds concerning historical events and characters.

But a real historian, in fact, anyone with an ounce of sense, would know that people, including historians and historical researchers, have and offer different viewpoints. It has always been that way. It is quite clear to anyone who really has done historical research. But for someone not to understand or accept that or to describe someone with a different viewpoint as 'starry-eyed' suggests at the very least bad historical method and certainly does not fit in with historical reality or research.

To be honest, the problem is that it is hard to accept any criticism from someone who seems afraid to back up their overinflated and egotistical boasting and see others who have different viewpoints as 'starry-eyed'. By the way, at what University did you learn such historical terminology from? LOL

I would suggest, if you want people to take you seriously and enter into serious debate, that you reveal who you are and what you claim to have achieved, otherwise there is no credibility to whatever you say and you may be even be seen as a fake wannabe, rather than the 'real' historian you claim to be.

23rdFusilier Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2018 9:14 a.m. PST

Fatuus Natural; brilliant post and very well thought out. Clear headed reasoning. Thank you for posting this.

dibble22 Apr 2018 4:06 p.m. PST


Sure you do. You criticize Napoleon and the French, but have admitted that you cannot read French. That tends to restrict any research, should you care to at all, on the French side of the picture.

Everyone makes errors, unfortunately. However, some are much more egregious than others-such as Barnett and Schom among others of that ilk.

One thing Brech'. I bring evidence to the debates I have also called you out many, many times Deleted by Moderator


Well done for showing that you understand that different historians and authors are different in their viewpoints. Perhaps my 'lecture' worked after all? LOL

By the way, are you still happily accepting that the 'real one' is a 'real one' without really knowing if the 'real one' is a 'real one' at all?

If so, I think you might need another lecture.

Deleted by Moderator

23rd Fusilier:

Fatuus Natural; brilliant post and very well thought out. Clear headed reasoning. Thank you for posting this.


Paul :)

von Winterfeldt23 Apr 2018 5:41 a.m. PST

Far from punishing any of his troops, Dupont distributed a large quantity of coin taken from the town among his senior officers.

About the sack of Cordova – Dupont was victimized – especialy by Napoleon – all of a sudden it was a crime to plunder a city taken by assault, while a lot of others got away with worse behaviour.

This is what I pasted and copied from

About the size of Dupont´s (and Vedel) baggage we have several pieces of
The official spanish inventory that states the captured equipment: "Detalle del botin cogido a los exercitos llamados de lo Gironda, mandado por los generales Dupont y Vedel, entre Andujar y Bailen" (Biblioteca Nacional, Varios/leg. 161) gives the following numbers:
"Cureñas de batalla y sus armones" (limbers): 23 (Dupont) + 18 (Vedel).
"Carros de municiones" (caissons):69 (Dupont) + 36 (Vedel).
"Carruajes" (carriages): 22 (Dupont) + 2 (Vedel).
As we see, the size of the captured baggage isn´t very big. There may have been some carriages annacounted because they were used (before and after the battle) for carrying the wounded.
The question is the size of the "private section" of the french convoy.
We know the french officers asked in the capitulations for a number of carriages, as they wanted to keep with them their "private" luggage. According to Clerc (Capitulation de Baylen, 1903; page 220) these carriages should have amounted to 201:
22 généraux – 44
80 officiers d'état-major – 80
19 chefs de corps – 19
32 bataillons – 64
5 régiments de cavalerie – 10
Artillerie et génie – 4
Two per unit seems reasonable but it seems certain individuals carried a lot of luggage, and we know the officers tried to hide their portion of the plunder of Cordoba blaming the soldiers. The french insisted that their luggages should not be inspected by the spaniards and only conceded to have an inspection, of the carriages taken from Andalucia, being made by the french general Chabert.

By:Raul Gomez <Send E-Mail>
Date: 2/7/2016, 3:10 am
In Response To: Re: Baggage allowance (Susan Howard)
If I remember correctly, what was sacked by the villagers at el Puerto were the officers´ carriages, when it was discovered that they still carry their "private" portion of the plunder. I understand that the "official" loot of Cordoba, i.e. the money that Dupont took away from the town public offices and the episcopal palace, and went to fill up the army funds, was already in spanish hands.
There was a leaflet that circulated at the time giving a non official list of the items captured at Baylen: PDF link
It´s not very accurate at least as far as the number of captured guns that were 40. But it mentions that it was captured the "caxa militar" (army treasury) and the silver&gold plundered in Cordoba (carried as ingots).
The offical inventory didn´t mention money, but between the 24 carriages are listed 3 "furgones" (boxcars) that may belong to the army treasury. The breakdown of these 24 carriages is the following:
Carros baleros: 9 (Dupont) + 1 (Vedel).
Carros violin: 1 (Dupont).
Carros a la catalana: 1 (Dupont).
Carros de varas: 1 (Dupont).
Furgones: 3 (Dupont).
Galeras manchegas: 2 (Dupont).
Forjas de campaña (forges): 5 (Dupont) + 1 (Vedel).

in case you like to persue this matter- Susan Howard did write an in depth series of articles on

The Bailen Enquiry: Introduction
By Susan Howard

The classic work on General Dupont's campaign of 1808 is Le général Dupont: an erreur historique by Eugène Titeux, published in 1903 in 3 volumes.

Volume 2
Volume 3

Titeux did excellent reseach and published a vast quantity of original documents in these works but his long-winded, repetitive and highly partisan narrative makes the reading of them slow and tedious. I am attempting to provide a severely shortened narrative, concentrating on the matters that led to charges against Dupont and his officers, rather than giving a full military history of the campaign. I am arranging it around the Imperial Enquiry which took place in 1812, since the processes that led to the setting up of this enquiry and its management are as interesting as the military and political manouvres that gave rise to it. I have only included the contemporary documents, not memoirs written years later, and some of Titeux's calculations. Titeux used as his main sources the documents of the enquiry which were preserved at the Ministry of Justice also Napoleon's Correspondance, published and unpublished; a mass of unpublished material from the Archives Dupont; various memoirs and histories, notably General de Arteche Histoire de la guerre de l'Independance.

Due to time limitations I have only translated the most important documents in full and selected passages or sentences from others. This, inevitably, means there is some bias in the selection but anyone who wants to check this can look at the full material online or, better still, go and hunt up the originals as Titeux did. I have added some documents, mainly Napoleon's correspondence, that I have found, these are marked with*. The translations are my own except for some of Napoleon's correspondence with Joseph which came from an English translation [The Confidential Correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte with His Brother Joseph vol 1] Tituex is responsible for all the translations from Spanish to French.

Gazzola24 Apr 2018 4:03 a.m. PST


You 'bring evidence to the debates'. Don't we all. But you only appear to accept those that support your own biased viewpoints, while readily dismissing any that challenge them.

And it is rather amusing considering you are usually so quick to demand 'evidence' when someone offers a different viewpoint and especially if they dare do the unthinkable and offer something negative about the British, yet here you are, accepting that Fatuus Natural is a historian, just because he says he is. Are you not concerned that he is somewhat reluctant to offer any 'evidence' to back up his claims?

For a start, if I boasted I had something published, I am sure people would want to see 'evidence' that I was telling the truth. And I am sure the publisher would be keen on knowledge of the publication being shared. It makes you wonder if he really is a historian, sorry, I mean a 'real one'? Who knows? He could be a real caretaker, a real binman or a real cleaner, not that there is anything wrong with those careers. But I can't think of any validated historians who have boasted that they are, well, historians or that they are a 'real one' LOL. They don't need to, they let their work do the talking. But of course, the work, if there is any, of Fatuus Natural, can't do the talking because we don't know if it actually exists. Perhaps it is a case of Vanity publishing, which, as you know, anyone can do, even you. And many are not worth the paper they are wasted on.

But for people like yourself and 23rd Fusilier to praise what someone has written, without really knowing if they really are who they say they are, suggests that to some, it does not matter, just as long as they express the same viewpoints. And that, my dear boy, suggests that is probably how you and others undertake your research. You find something that agrees with your biased viewpoint and say hey, that will do. No need to check if there is any contradicting viewpoints or accounts or even if it is true, you like what it says so job done.

Thankfully, there are some of us who don't just accept for gospel everything that others preach or claim, whether they are 'real' historians, fakes ones, authors, wargamers or whatever. They do research and check it out and then try to debate it if they find fault or another version. It is plain bad history just to accept or throw out one version of history and to dismiss anything that does not agree with it. Proper historians and authors would know that. Sadly, there are those who don't because they foolishly believe they know it all and can't accept they may be wrong on some matters and they certainly won't accept being challenged or proved wrong by any lesser mortals. LOL

MaggieC70 Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 7:36 a.m. PST

All those societies of which Barnett is--or was--a fellow don't convey much, especially when half are literature-based rather than historical. And a second class honors degree in modern history from Oxford? Be still, my heart!

Strings of initials after one's name do not a historian of balanced repute make.

I won't bother with Schom. He's a true nothing burger.

MaggieC70 Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 7:56 a.m. PST

An aside to Fatuus Naturai:

With regard to Binasco and Pavia as examples of "atrocities," I suppose they are considered such in modern times, but not so much in 1796. And Bonaparte's orders regarding how to deal with the peasant rebels in both towns were vague but decisive on the point that the rebel activity must be stopped. The particulars were left to General Lannes to handle, which he did, efficiently and thoroughly. He executed the leaders and burnt Binasco to the ground. after having sent the women and children away. Same process in Pavia, though there the numbers of dead rebels were higher.

As the general wrote later--"they're rebels, they're armed, and they mean to kill me. So I shot them first. A rebel is a rebel, whether he wears a uniform or a peasant's smock."

So there you have a French senior officer committing not one but two atrocities. What a guy!

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 12:52 p.m. PST

There is an excellent account of the rebellions in Binasco and Pavia in Martin Boycott-Brown's The Road to Rivoli. See Chapter 14, 328-346.

Barnett and Schom are Napoleonic lightweights and their books on Napoleon are so rife with error as to be useless.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2018 5:56 p.m. PST

As a footnote to Binasco and Pavia, too many tend to judge what happened and how things were handled two hundred years ago by today's standards. And that can lead to inaccurate assumptions, wrong conclusions, and flawed judgments.

MaggieC's posting is absolutely right on the money. Well done.

Gwydion25 Apr 2018 10:55 a.m. PST

Correlli Barnet is still alive and as far as I am aware still a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

As for a second class degree from Oxford, not my alma mater, but not a bad school of history (that's British understatement by the by) and I'd take that over many others.

I don't agree with all of Barnett's work but he at least he had a realistic approach towards Bonaparte's abilities. I'm not a fan of the 'Great Man' approach to history and he showed Bonaparte for what he was: a fortunate self aggrandising opportunist who frankly messed up France's best chance at emerging from the collapse of the Ancien regime on the plus side.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2018 12:03 p.m. PST

Barnett made too many errors and consistently demonstrated bias towards Napoleon and misrepresented Napoleon too many times.

The book is unreliable and cannot or should not be used as a source for the period.

In short, the picture he painted about Napoleon is wrong.

Napoleon's many reforms for France stayed beyond his tenure as head of state. They were so firmly part of France that fifteen years of returned Bourbon rule could not get rid of them. And that was to France's benefit.

Further as a side note, France had little national debt even in 1814, the franc was the most stable currency in Europe in 1810, and the population had actually increased under Napoleon.

MaggieC70 Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2018 12:44 p.m. PST


I'm not a fan of the "Great Man" either. However, if an author is going to portray an important historical figure "realistically," as you say, I do expect that author to bolster his claims that Bonaparte was good, evil, or ho-hum by factually correct documentation. Otherwise, all we get is an op-ed piece masquerading as history.

One of the absolute worst books I've encountered is by a British writer who distorts every imaginable historical fact, premise, supposition, and rumor to praise Naps the Great, and finishes with half a dozen screeds against historians who dare to disagree.

I don't care what your [and here I mean "you" in the general sense] take on Napoleon--or Wellington or Mickey Mouse--may be, but you damn well back it up with undistorted facts that are not cherry-picked for your premise. If you do, we'll call you out every time.

von Winterfeldt25 Apr 2018 1:32 p.m. PST

I'm not a fan of the 'Great Man' approach to history and he showed Bonaparte for what he was: a fortunate self aggrandising opportunist who frankly messed up France's best chance at emerging from the collapse of the Ancien regime on the plus side.

Seemingly I missed Barnett – so far my favourite is Jaques Presser

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