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The Elements of Military Arrangement, and of the Discipline of War;
  • 106410
  • 106410_1
  • 106410_2

WILLIAMSON, John.

The Elements of Military Arrangement, and of the Discipline of War;

Adapted to the Practice of the British Infantry. A New Edition, Augmented and Improved.

Published: London: T. Egerton, ?1785

Stock code: 106410

Price: £350

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First published in 1781, with a second edition the following year, and a stated third edition in 1791. This would appear to be the true third, standing between the latter two, the dating derived from ESTC. All editions are fairly uncommon, ESTC locates just three copies of this – NLW, University of Bristol and the Society of the Cincinnati. Houlding is most complimentary describing Williamson’s work as “quite excellent, up to date, and timely” (Fit for Service, p.234). The author, of whom very little is known, set out to produce a “modern” replacement for Bland’s Treatise on Military Discipline, “designed particularly for the youthful, inexperienced officer … aware that the number of books devoted to military subjects had ‘of late been multiplied to an almost infinite degree, so that the bookseller’s shelves seem to groan under their weight’ Williamson pointed out that there was, even so, still nothing available that would give a young officer a clear and comprehensive description of his duties, and of the regulations according to which the drill should be carried … [and so] supplied the want, and in so far as the drill was concerned his text was of the greatest utility” (pp.233-4). Although highly popular in its day, this utility together with its pocketable portability have conspired to produce a rate of attrition that would account for the book’s infrequent appearance on the market. Contemporary ownership inscription of “A. Gordon” to both title pages.

2 volumes small octavo (158 92 mm), bound as one. Modern sprinkled sheep, red morocco label, double gilt rules to the compartments, double blind-ruled panel to the boards Full-page diagram. Spine slightly sunned, a touch rubbed at the extremities, light browning, a couple of leaves just loose, overall very good.

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