The years immediately following the French Revolution of 1789 saw an extraordinary transformation of the French army. From a distrusted instrument of the feudal power of the king and nobility, it became the symbol of liberty and citizenship. The transition was complex and painful, as the remnants of the old professional army were joined by a flood of civilian volunteers and conscripts, of whom even the best were short of everything except republican fervour. This book describes the stages of the rebirth that produced an army capable of beating off half the monarchies of Europe, thus laying the foundations for Napoleon's unique victories ten years later.
Read an extract of French Revolutionary Infantry 1789–1802