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The Soldiers Pocket Book (1886) | General Wolseley

Wolseley | The Soldiers Pocket Book (1886)

Price £125.00 Sale


General Viscount Wolseley

MACMILLAN & Co., London, 1886

‘In action, to be cool and to seem ignorant that any danger exists is of the first consequence . . . it is the especial duty of officers to set an example of coolness and steadiness, and an outward contempt for danger'
A rare, original, British Army manual published in 1886. Written by arguably the most famous soldier of the Victorian era, Sir Garnet Wolseley (1833-1913). Field Marshal Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley, was an Anglo-Irish officer in the British Army. He served in Burma, the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, China, Canada, and throughout Africa — including the Ashanti War (1873–1874) and the Nile Expedition against Mahdist Sudan in 1884-85. He was Commander-in-Chief of the Army from 1895 to 1900. His reputation for efficiency led to the late 19th-century English phrase "everything's all Sir Garnet", meaning "all is in order.” In favour of Army reforms, Wolseley gathered together a coterie of able officers known as the 'Wolseley ring' that included Redvers Buller, Evelyn Wood, Henry Brackenbury and George Colley among others. They accompanied Wolseley on his campaigns and supported his reforms.
The book originally belonged to Lt-Colonel E. G. Wace, and his name is embossed in gilt on the front cover, with his signature in pencil on the front endpapers. A veteran of the Indian Mutiny, at the time he acquired this book E. G. Wace would have been serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Punjab in India.
Edward George Wace (1841-1889): was born at Goring in Oxfordshire and educated at Marlborough. He was then offered a direct commission in the East India Company’s Indian Army in 1856. He was trained at the Company’s Addiscombe Military Academy, before graduating in May 1857 and being posted to India in July 1857 to serve with the 88th Connaught Rangers. He was then commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 66th Gurkha Light Infantry. Between 1857 and 1859 Lt Wace served in the Indian Mutiny Campaign, including the actions at Cawnpore in November and December 1857, the taking of Fort Rooya, the action of Allygunge, the taking of Bareilly, and the actions at Pusagon, Russoolpore, and Fort Mittowlee. He later joined the 33rd native Infantry, before being assigned to the 14th Ferozepoor Sikhs in 1861. In 1863 he was appointed to the Bengal Staff Corps by the Lt. Governor of the Punjab, Sir Donald Macleod. Wace was promoted to Captain in 1869. In 1874 he was made Deputy District Commissioner in the Jhelum District, and was promoted to Major in 1877. In 1881 he was made Settlement Commissioner, and promoted to Lt-Colonel in 1883. Wace was finally made full Colonel in 1887 and appointed Financial Commissioner of the Punjab. He died in 1889. 
First published in 1869, The Soldier's Pocket Book For Field Service was the forerunner of the official War Office Field Service Pocket Book published almost 40 years later and widely used during the First World War. Wolseley's pioneering work included a vast amount of detailed instructions covering all aspects of army organisation and operations. Part I covered the roles, responsibilities and equipment of front line troops and support services. Part II dealt with transport and related subjects, Part III covered warfare and battlefield tactics, and Part IV dealt with engineering, fortifications, communication, ciphers and many other topics. The breadth of subjects covered is astonishing: from arms and ammunition, to how to deal with savage tribesmen, spies, newspaper correspondents, camels, elephants and even burials at sea. Throughout the book Wolseley's blunt and opinionated style shines through, no doubt greatly offending many of his fellow officers who were clinging onto the archaic traditions of the past. His comments on machine guns were way ahead of their time: "We are now at last to have some machine guns handed over to our infantry for use in the field . . . the machine gun will mark a new era as pronounced as that when rifled or breech loading small arms were first adopted." It was not until after the outbreak of WW1 that conventional military thinking finally came to the same conclusion.
In good condition. The red leather covered boards are in fair to good condition, with wear at the edges and spine, and with the original gilt titling and stamped name ‘E. G. Wace’ in good condition. The leather covering at the spine was damaged and detached and the surviving section has been laid down securely on new archival linen cloth. The binding and hinges are good and secure. The text is in very good condition, clean and unmarked. There are some marks to the endpapers. The edges of the text block retain their original red finish. Signed in pencil on the front endpaper G. Wace, [?Lt-C?].
Published: 1886 
Red leather covered boards with gilt titling

illustrated with diagrams and line drawings

Dimensions: 110mm x 135mm
Pages: 551