I recently borrowed a Napoleonic war era book titled Rifleman Dodd, by C.S.Forester. It was a entertaining story set in Portugal in the years 1810-1811. I'm wondering if the book is a work of fiction or if it is a recording from a veteran after the war. It was written as such and even hinted that some content came from French journals, but Wikipedia has not confirmed this.

Does anyone have any extra information?

Note: The earlier title was "Death to the French".

  • This earns an upvote from me just for making me aware of this book.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 31, 2018 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


Rifleman Dodd is a work of fiction that is based upon and in real world events. Forester was a keen history buff and he did a lot of research which went into his books. For example, his more famous Hornblower series is based on a fictional sailor who rises through the ranks but it includes real ships, people and events. The lead character's adventures often include fictionalised versions of exploits by real sailors of the period.

Similarly "Rifleman Dodd" is a fictional character that interacts with real people and events. The background events really happened and his regiment, the 95th Rifles, were really involved. it's just his personal exploits that are fiction. Forester was fortunate that several members of the Rifle Brigade (the 95th) wrote journals and autobiographies after the war. Together these give a good account of the world these men inhabited, how they were recruited, what day-to-day life was like in the Peninsular War and what it was like in and after battle.

Sample source texts:
The Recollections of Rifleman Harris
Adventures of a Soldier (Edward Costello)
Adventures in the Rifle brigade (J. Kincaid)
Random shots from a Rifleman (J. Kincaid)

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