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News to me.

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News to me.

Postby Josh&Historyland » April 25th, 2017, 8:54 pm

A conversation of Facebook (stranger place by the minute) cropped up this thread from the keyboard of A.L. Dawson:

"And amongst those men who lay on the battlefield all night was Sergeant Charles Ewart of the Scots Greys; he was found by his wife at dawn the following day so covered in mud and his own blood as to be not recognisable. He has a sizeable thigh wound, She only recognised him by his voice..." someone asked him to clarify it was the Ewart of the eagle he was speaking of, he replied:
"Yes. That's the one. the Alcholic bully who was very quick with his fists, who drank the profits of a pub he ran and was hauled before the magistrates several times for what we'd now call GBH and for running an unruly house. That one. His wife writes a letter containing her experiences of the Waterloo campaign. It's published in a Manchester newspaper. I think she knows what happened to her husband."

Maybe it's out of school to quote Dawson from FB, but nothing in the regimental history or any other book I've read mentioned any of this, (if the bad stuff is true then that's not surprising but still) let alone his being wounded and left upon the field. I'm suspicious Dawson is one of those who doubt Ewart took the eagle because he cannot have been left on the field if he did. His tone seems needlessly malicious as if delighted to present this alter Ewart to an unsuspecting public. I'd read Ewart was a good swordsman and pocketed an extra few coins as an instructor but to me this all seems a bit thick. As I said it's news to me.

Josh.
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Re: News to me.

Postby jf42 » April 26th, 2017, 7:39 pm

Josh, I think you might have come across a whisper of Ewart's character in your detailed study of the 'Greys at Waterloo.

As for the thigh wound, well....

Has anyone asked A.L. Dawson for his sources?
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Re: News to me.

Postby unclearthur » April 26th, 2017, 9:33 pm

Pretty obvious why such apparently scandalous comments wouldn't appear in most histories, I'd have thought. Anthony Dawson's usually pretty good with sources - why don't you ask him, Josh?

Paul Dawson looked at Ewart's Eagle-taking exploits in one of his cavalry books. There was enough there to raise questions over the traditional story but not enough to discount it all, I thought.
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Re: News to me.

Postby Josh&Historyland » April 26th, 2017, 10:42 pm

jf42 wrote:Josh, I think you might have come across a whisper of Ewart's character in your detailed study of the 'Greys at Waterloo.

As for the thigh wound, well....

Has anyone asked A.L. Dawson for his sources?


That's why I was surprised to hear him describe Ewart in this way. His sources for his new book are allot of apparently neglected archives in Paris but he's not specific and proffered no other information about Ewart except the letter of his wife from the 1880's. One presumed there are some records that relate to the magistrates court. In my researches I was really only interested in his service record, especially at Waterloo and so never delved into his personal life thus was taken somewhat by surprise.

unclearthur wrote:Pretty obvious why such apparently scandalous comments wouldn't appear in most histories, I'd have thought. Anthony Dawson's usually pretty good with sources - why don't you ask him, Josh?

Paul Dawson looked at Ewart's Eagle-taking exploits in one of his cavalry books. There was enough there to raise questions over the traditional story but not enough to discount it all, I thought.


I recall you mentioning and I agree indeed his arguments are eminently sensible, though I've not seen the specific book. Nevertheless my exchanges with him don't lead me to discount the official version of events, much to his chagrin. But It's not that the idea of Ewart being brought up before a magistrate is unrealistic. The man I read about in 2015 might well have been capable of getting physical if provoked and if so one can understand why some histories wouldn't mention it.

Yet in all my reading and my bibliography was fairly extensive, (though I did nothing in any archives thanks to the large amount that is now digitalised) I read nothing about him being wounded and left on the field. The story isn't as simple as Ewart remembered it but if Ewart was wounded, the regimental history would certainly have recorded that, and he himself would have definitely added that nugget. A letter written no later than the fall of Paris credits him directly with taking the eagle, and if he did take the eagle he was sent back to Brussels.

Mr. Dawson I find (at least of Facebook) has a very inflammatory way of putting things. Though he always has very convincing sources. It was only yesterday that he casually referred to the Duke of Wellington as a "vile human being" apparently because of his politics. Recently I've come across a few Waterloo memoirs from the 1880's they are all quite hilarious in some of the things the authors apparently did or saw, the story told by Ewart's wife, sounds to me a little overly dramatic but who can tell in the end?

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Re: News to me.

Postby Mark » April 28th, 2017, 12:42 pm

Josh

I am not sure if Anthony is a member here but he is certainly a member of the Victorian Wars Forum and is aware of this one. Perhaps you could drop him a PM and ask him for the source, which I am sure he would be happy to share.

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Re: News to me.

Postby Josh&Historyland » April 28th, 2017, 1:26 pm

Yeah, might be worthwhile to ask him further, at that.

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