Bernard Cornwell Quote #89: They were the despised of England,…


They were the despised of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. They were drunks and thieves, the scourings of gutters and jails. They wore the red coat because no one else wanted them, or because they were so desperate that they had no choice. They were the scum of Britain, but they could fight. They had always fought, but in the army, they were told how to fight with discipline. They discovered sergeants and officers who valued them. They punished them too, of course, and swore at them, and cursed them, and whipped their backs bloody, and cursed them again, but valued them. They even loved them, and officers worth five thousand pounds a year were fighting alongside them now. The redcoats were doing what they did best, what they were paid a shilling a day less stoppages to do: they were killing.

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