Ramsay Weston Phipps

Last updated

Ramsay Weston Phipps
Born 10 April 1838
Oaklands, Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland
Died 24 June 1923(1923-06-24) (aged 84)
Carlyle Square, Chelsea, London, England [1]
Nationality British
Alma mater Royal Military Academy at Woolwich
Occupation Army officer, military historian
Known forThe Armies of the First French Republic and the Rise of the Marshals of Napoleon I (19261939)
Title Colonel
Spouse(s) Anne Bampfylde

Edmund Ramsay JulyAugust, 1867 [2]
Mary 9 February 1869 [2]
Edmund 1869–1947 [3]
Charles Foskett 1872–1930
Henry Ramsey 1874–1949

Gertrude Annie 1876–1934


Parent(s) Pownoll Phipps
Ann Charlotte Smith
Relatives Earl of Mulgrave

Ramsay Weston Phipps (10 April 1838 – 24 June 1923) was an Irish-born military historian and officer in Queen Victoria's Royal Artillery. The son of Pownoll Phipps, an officer of the British East India Company's army, he was descended from the early settlers of the West Indies; many generations had served in the British, and the English military. Phipps served in the Crimean War, had a stint of duty at Malta, and helped to repress the Fenian uprising in Canada in 1866.

Royal Artillery artillery arm of the British Army

The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises thirteen Regular Army regiments, King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and five Army Reserve regiments.

West Indies Island region in the Caribbean

The West Indies is a region of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean that includes the island countries and surrounding waters of three major archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Lucayan Archipelago.

Crimean War 1850s military conflict

The Crimean War was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which the Russian Empire lost to an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia. The immediate cause involved the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land, which was a part of the Ottoman Empire. The French promoted the rights of Roman Catholics, while Russia promoted those of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The longer-term causes involved the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the unwillingness of Britain and France to allow Russia to gain territory and power at Ottoman expense. It has widely been noted that the causes, in one case involving an argument over a key, have never revealed a "greater confusion of purpose", yet they led to a war noted for its "notoriously incompetent international butchery".

Phipps is known for his study of The Armies of the First French Republic and the Rise of the Marshals of Napoleon I, a five-volume set published posthumously from 1926–1939 by Oxford University Press. He also edited L.A. Fauvelet de Bourrienne's Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, a three-volume work published in 1885 and Madame Campan's The private life of Marie Antoinette, queen of France and Navarre; with sketches and anecdotes of the courts of Louis XVI, published in 1889.

Oxford University Press Publishing arm of the University of Oxford

Oxford University Press (OUP) is the largest university press in the world, and the second oldest after Cambridge University Press. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the vice-chancellor known as the delegates of the press. They are headed by the secretary to the delegates, who serves as OUP's chief executive and as its major representative on other university bodies. Oxford University has used a similar system to oversee OUP since the 17th century. The Press is located on Walton Street, opposite Somerville College, in the suburb Jericho.

Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne French diplomat

Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne was a French diplomat, born in Sens.


Ramsay Weston Phipps descended from generations of military and political men. Colonel William Phipps, a Yeoman of Lincolnshire, raised a regiment of horse for Charles I. Another of his ancestors was Lord Chancellor of Ireland in the reign of Queen Anne. [5] Captain James Phipps settled the Island of St. Christopher, in the West Indies in 1676. [6] The family was rewarded for its loyalty with titles and lands in Ireland. Ramsay Phipps was also a cousin of the Earls of Mulgrave. [7]

Yeoman Small farmer

A yeoman was a member of a social class in England and the United States. It is also a military term.

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.

Anne, Queen of Great Britain Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–07); queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–14)

Anne was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland between 8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.

In 1791, Phipps' grandfather, Constantine (1746–1797), rented the Hotel d'Harcout in Caen, France, from the Duke of Harcourt; in 1793, he returned briefly to England in 1793 for the wedding of one of his daughters, leaving eight of his children in France. When War of the First Coalition broke out in 1793, the children were separated from their parents. Ramsay Phipps' father, Pownoll Phipps (1780–1858) and his siblings grew up in the French city during the French revolution, and lived under the threat of anti-English violence. [8] Only after the Treaty of Campo Formio could the children return to England, arriving on 2 October 1798, all of them fluent in French; Pownoll Phipps reportedly spoke with French-accented English for the rest of his life. By the end of October, Pownoll had a commission as a lieutenant and joined the Bengal Army of the East India Company. [9] The following June, he embarked for India on the Bombay-built ship Britannica. [10]

Caen Prefecture and commune in Normandy, France

Caen, is a commune in northwestern France. It is the prefecture of the Calvados department. The city proper has 108,365 inhabitants, while its urban area has 420,000, making Caen the largest city in former Lower Normandy. It is also the third largest municipality in all of Normandy after Le Havre and Rouen and the third largest city proper in Normandy, after Rouen and Le Havre. The metropolitan area of Caen, in turn, is the second largest in Normandy after that of Rouen, the 21st largest in France.

War of the First Coalition 1790s war to contain Revolutionary France

The War of the First Coalition is the traditional name of the wars that several European powers fought between 1792 and 1797 against the French First Republic. Despite the collective strength of these nations compared with France, they were not really allied and fought without much apparent coordination or agreement. Each power had its eye on a different part of France it wanted to appropriate after a French defeat, which never occurred.

Treaty of Campo Formio 1797 treaty between Napoleonic France and Habsburg Austria

The Treaty of Campo Formio was signed on 18 October 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Philipp von Cobenzl as representatives of the French Republic and the Austrian monarchy, respectively. The treaty followed the armistice of Leoben, which had been forced on the Habsburgs by Napoleon's victorious campaign in Italy. It ended the War of the First Coalition and left Great Britain fighting alone against revolutionary France.

Upon arrival in India, Pownoll Phipps joined the force under command of Colonel Arthur Wellesley. He participated in Sir David Baird's expedition from India to Egypt in 1801, [6] for which participation he eventually became a Knight of the Crescent. Phipps married Henrietta Beaunpaire; orphaned by the French Revolution, she had taken refuge with him and his siblings at the Hotel d'Harcout, on 10 August 1802, in Calcutta. [11] Pownoll Phipps' second wife, Sophia Matilda Arnold, was Benedict Arnold's daughter. [12] Phipps retired from the East India Company service on 1 July 1825, with the rank of colonel. [13] Living for a time in London, he was a popular regular at Exeter Hall events. A well-versed, informed and articulate speaker and storyteller, Phipps was a gallant gentleman, readily at ease in all society, and very friendly: "a tall, stout, officer-like person, about 60-years of age, with white hair, short, sharp features, and a pleasant cast of countenance." [14] He also had a strict sense of honor. In 1857, a year before his death, he wrote a letter to the Editor of The Times, in which he asserted his belief in the good character and quality of the Sepoys, despite the popular outrage against them during the Indian Mutiny. [15] Pownoll Phipps developed bronchitis after presiding over the closing of an art exhibit in Clonmel, Ireland; he died in November 1858. His funeral was attended by Protestant and Catholics, and the procession was over a mile long. [16]

Sir David Baird, 1st Baronet British Army general

General Sir David Baird, 1st Baronet GCB was a British military leader.

Order of the Crescent award

The Imperial Order of the Crescent was a chivalric order of the Ottoman Empire.

Benedict Arnold Continental and later British Army general during the American Revolutionary War

Benedict Arnold was an American military officer who served as a general during the American Revolutionary War, fighting for the American Continental Army before defecting to the British in 1780. George Washington had given him his fullest trust and placed him in command of the fortifications at West Point, New York. Arnold planned to surrender the fort to British forces, but the plot was discovered in September 1780 and he fled to the British. His name quickly became a byword in the United States for treason and betrayal because he led the British army in battle against the very men whom he had once commanded.

Ramsay Weston Phipps was the second son of Pownoll Phipps and Phipps' third wife, the Irish-born Anna Charlotte Smith. Born at the family estate, Oaklands, in Tipperary, Ireland, he was named Ramsay in honor of an uncle who pioneered slave emancipation in the West Indies, and Weston after another uncle, a scientific clergyman. [17] By 1841, his father had returned to England, to reside in Kent, where the family lived in Yalding. They lodged at the Parsonage with a local farmer, Ramsey Warde; Ramsey Warde was also a relative of Phipps' mother. The family of four included three-year-old Ramsay, his older brother, Pownoll (age five), [Note 1] his mother (age 30) and his father. [18] Eventually, two more children joined the family: Henrietta Sophia and Robert Constantine, twins born 23 September 1841. The boy died 9 October, but Henrietta lived into adulthood, marrying Lieutenant-Colonel William Smith. [19] After suffering a bout of measles in spring 1847, Ramsay Phipps attended Mr. Barron's School at Stanmore with his older brother, Pownoll, with the intent to following his brother in a year or two to Rugby in Warwickshire. [20]

County Tipperary County in the Republic of Ireland

County Tipperary is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Munster. The county is named after the town of Tipperary, and was established in the early thirteenth century, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland. The population of the county was 159,553 at the 2016 census. The largest towns are Clonmel, Nenagh and Thurles.

Kent County of England

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

Yalding village in the United Kingdom

Yalding is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Maidstone in Kent, England. The village is situated 6 miles (9.7 km) south west of Maidstone at a point where the Rivers Teise and Beult join the River Medway. At the 2001 census, the parish, which includes the villages of Benover and Laddingford, had a population of 2,236. increasing to 2,418 at the 2011 Census.

Military career

Before he could enter Rugby, Phipps was offered instead a cadetship and entered the government preparatory school at Carlshalton, in Surrey. In 1849, at the age of 11, he put on a uniform, and he wore it, or a variation of it, until his retirement in 1887. Phipps later attended the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. After his graduation, he expected a commission in the Royal Artillery, and while awaiting it, he lived for a few months with his uncle at Carragh, Ireland; [21] his lieutenant's commission arrived, dated 1 August 1855, [22] and with it instructions him to join his Royal Artillery unit at Woolwich, for service in the Crimean War. He reached the Crimea in November 1855, and participated in the Siege of Sevastopol. Assigned to the Matthew Dixon's 5th Company, 9th Battalion, he was part of the right siege train, and his chief occupation was blowing up the Sevastapol docks. He was still small for his age, and looked very young, which drew teasing from his company. The siege work was difficult and the living conditions were brutal; he recounted to his brother that the soldiers were plagued not only by the Russian fire, but by dysentery, bad food, and wintering in tents. He returned to England the following year on the Imperatrice, arriving in March 1856. Although he was given a medal to wear when Queen Victoria reviewed the troops, it was later collected from him; the decision was made at higher commands that only those who had landed in the Crimea prior to September 1855 would be awarded the Crimea Medal. [21]

After his return to England, Ramsay Phipps was quartered at the Tower of London. [23] After this assignment, he was sent to Plymouth, serving at the Prince of Wales Redoubt. [24] In 1861, Phipps was stationed in South Shoebury, Essex. [25] He was promoted to the Royal Artillery's unique rank of second captain on 7 April 1864, [26] and appointed brigade adjutant on 14 October 1868. [27] The brigade adjutant functioned as the staff officer for the brigade commander: he supervised all brigade books and records, monitored the execution of orders, supervised the education and training of subalterns, prosecuted in all courts-martial proceedings, and accepted and transmitted all orders. [28]


  • Lieutenant: 1855
  • Second Captain: 1863
  • Major: 1873
  • Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel: 1881
  • Lieutenant-Colonel: 1883
  • Colonel: 1886

Ramsay Phipps married Anne Bampfylde, the daughter of a Bath physician, in September 1864. [29] With a few exceptions, most of Phipps' posts included garrison duty in southern England in the vicinity of the Royal Artillery barracks at Woolwich. Phipps traveled to the United States, arriving in Boston on 30 April 1866; [30] he went to Canada to participate in operations against the Fenian uprising. [31] In 1869, his brother and a friend sought to climb the Zermatt and the Schreckhorn, during which climb the friend fell over 1,000 feet (300 m) to bottom of the Lauteraar glacier. In the emergency, Ramsay Phipps joined his brother in Grindelwald while guides recovered the body. [32]

In 1881, Phipps was stationed in Ireland; [33] his wife remained in Bath, living in the prestigious Royal Crescent (No. 19), with her three children, a female cousin, and several servants. [34] Phipps was promoted to major on 12 April 1873, [35] to brevet lieutenant-colonel on 1 July 1881, [36] and substantive lieutenant-colonel on 26 April 1882. [37]

Phipps had little tolerance for foolishness and retained a professional soldier's dislike of civilian interference in military affairs, and ineffective administration, whether from civilians or government. In 1887, shortly after his retirement, he wrote a letter to the editor of The Times addressing some of the highly publicized problems of desertions from the ranks. "War Office civilians," he wrote, "like the plan of indiscriminate enlist, as it swells their list of recruits. Then, when the list of deserters grows, they put on long faces, and say, 'it must be those wicked officers.' The officers would stop this plan in a day if they were allowed." [38] The problem with recruiters, Phipps maintained, lay in the need for quantity, not quality. "What fools you civilians are to pay for these blackguards," he wrote. "If you would let the officers select their men, for the first year or so, you would have fewer men on paper, fewer men in prison, and just as many men for service....I will then give you another hint for saving money...why not do away with the Inspector-General of Recruiting, and spend his pay in horse artillery, who would be very ornamental and very serviceable? What use is the Inspector General?" [38] He had retired from active service in 1883, and Phipps fully retired in 1887, after attaining the rank of colonel. [39]

Phipps and his wife had seven children, five of whom survived into adulthood. The first son, Edmund, born 1867, died less than two months later while the family was stationed at Plymouth. During a short stint on Malta in 1869, a daughter Mary was born and died immediately. Edmund Bampfylde was born in 1869, and followed a career in education; he attended New College, Oxford, and became a Deputy Secretary on the Board of Education. [40] In 1906, he married Margaret Percy Phipps, who was Mayor of Chelsea for two terms. In 1916, he was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath, followed by a knighthood in 1917; he served in the Ministry of Munitions during the latter part of World War I. [41] Charles Fossett, born in 1872, and Henry, the youngest son, pursued military careers. Charles and Henry were awarded the Distinguished Service Order for their roles in the British Expeditionary Force in 1914. [42] Charles attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Garrison Artillery during World War I, assigned to the VI Corps Heavy Artillery, and in 1918 moved to Parkgate, in Dublin. [43] Henry married Lorna Campbell in 1906, and they had three children. Henry eventually attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Artillery, and died on 24 August 1949. [42] The youngest, Gertrude Annie, was born on 13 December 1876. [19] She married in 1907 to Lieutenant Colonel E.C. Sandars, CMG, also a Royal Artillery officer; the couple had a daughter, Elizabeth. [44]

Phipps' wife died in October 1885. In 1888, Phipps settled with his three youngest children at Chalfont St Giles. [45] The 1891 Buckingham census shows Phipps on the Royal Artillery retired list and living at a country manor house, The Stone, with his sons, 21-year-old Edmund, a student at Oxford University, and 16-year-old Henry, a student at Wellington, and 14-year-old Gertrude. Four servants supported this small family, including a cook, a lady's maid for Gertrude, a housemaid, and a scullery maid. [46] In 1901, Henry had left the family household, but Edmund and Gertrude still lived with their father in St. Giles. [47] Phipps remained at The Stone until 1920. [44]

Career as military historian

Chalfont St Giles lies 25 miles (40 km) from London, and about the same distance to Oxford, [48] maintained a foot in the social world of London and the academic world of Oxford. Phipps was chairman of the magistrates for the Burnham division, sitting at Beaconsfield, and was a member of the County Standing Joint Committee and the County Licensing Committee. He also attended annual Diocesan Conferences at Oxford. [44]

Phipps pursued his life-long interest in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1885, he edited a revised edition of what was then the standard authority on Napoleon, Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne's Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte. He also wrote the revision's chapters XXIV and XXVI. [49] Subsequently, he edited a new edition of the surgeon Barry Edward O'Meara's Napoleon at Saint Helena, another Napoleonic Wars classic, to which he wrote a new introduction: O'Meara had been Napoleon's doctor on Helena. [50] Historians praised Phipps' introduction as a convincing exposition against the treatment of Napoleon on Helena. In 1889, he edited a revised edition of Jeanne-Louise-Henriette Campan's The private life of Marie Antoinette, queen of France and Navarre; with sketches and anecdotes of the courts of Louis XVI, which was also well received. [51]

Creation of his magnum opus

Initially interested in the ministers of the Empire, Phipps was diverted to a deeper interest in Napoleon's marshals, primarily by the difficulty of obtaining facts about them. He capitalized on the growing interest of both Britons and the French in the Napoleonic period by purchasing, as they came out, the many personal memoirs published by the descendants of the participants. [52] Indeed, by 1920, he had acquired over 2,000 volumes, plus sundry maps and letters. That year, in failing health, he moved to the house of his son, Charles, in Carlyle Square (21), Chelsea, London. There was no room for the books at his son's house, so Phipps gave them to All Souls College, Oxford; [44] the majority of them were placed in the Codrington Library. [51] He selected All Souls for its established reputation in military history, and for the Codrington's collection left to it by Sir Foster Cunliffe, who had been killed in action in 1916. The collection, called the Phipps Collection, numbered more than 2,000 volumes, and includes Napoleon's published correspondence, that of the marshals, and has been kept up to date with modern works issued by the Historical Department of the French General Staff. [44]

By the 1920s, there was still little published in English about the French marshals, and Phipps' proposed Lives of the Marshals was enthusiastically anticipated by scholars of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Despite his diligent activity on the project, Phipps' work was complicated by the regular appearance of new material, which he felt he had to read, verify, and digest; he sometimes incorporated the new material into his own work, and sometimes counter-balanced it with other material. Phipps was convinced of the importance of his subject, particularly the experience of the future marshals in the Republican armies. The French field armies of the Revolutionary Wars (17931800) formed the military education of the future marshals. Although there was great interest in the marshals, little had been published in either French or English about their early military experience. [53] Phipps called these revolutionary armies the Schools for Marshals. [52] Furthermore, he postulated, "the Consulate and the Empire cannot be judged until the Revolutionary period has been studied in detail." [54]

Consequently, the scope of his work expanded. On the one hand, Phipps wished to avoid rehashing the same information that was available, but the careers of the marshals required some duplication. The published works were often filled with inconsistencies, not only in the French sources, but from the French to the English sources. The French sources frequently misinterpreted the English sources, and vice versa. [55] Phipps wrote both an introduction to his work and a summary of the histories of the armies of the Republic and the Consulate, from 1791 to 1804, and at certain points in his narrative, he paused to review the positions of the various future marshals and other well-known generals. He reflected on the development of their experience, the characteristics of their leadership, and the relationships to one another and to Napoleon. [56] Critically, he posited that generals rarely improved with practice. [57]

Ultimately the work that emerged was a massive typescript unfinished upon Phipps' death in June 1923. It included an introduction, a summary of the armies, a detailed history of the armies and the coup d'etat in Paris, a complete history of the French armies in Spain 1808–1814, plus accounts of Napoleon's 1814 campaign in which the marshals played such an important role and an account of the marshals during the First and Second Restorations. It also included material on the lives of the individual marshals and notes on the ministers of the Empire, who had been the subjects of Phipps' original plan. [56] At some point in the compilation of this typescript, Phipps realized that he would not live to finish his work. He hoped that his children might be able to prepare it for publication, and he made some provision for the publication of all or a part of his manuscript. After Phipps' death, with the assistance and encouragement of Charles Oman, the authority on the Peninsular War, his son, Charles F. Phipps, supervised the publication of the first three volumes. [58] Charles died in June 1932 before proofing the final galleys of volume three and prior to the publication of volumes four and five. Volumes four and five were left in the hands of Phipps' "very capable granddaughter" and literary executor, Elizabeth Sandars. [59]


Phipps' effort, and that of his literary executors, was well received as both interesting and informative. "The narrative is that of a gallant gentleman whose life was spent as a 'soldier of the Queen' and in contributing to the greatness of the British Empire, who narrates to his listeners the facts which he has gathered, after his retirement from the army, in the pursuit of his favorite hobby." [60] The narrative itself is informal and charming, not only full of analysis, but also relaying interesting stories and anecdotes about the marshals themselves. [60] Other reviewers found the narrative clear, but undistinguished and "fatigued." [59]

In the first volume, Phipps' analysis covers a categorization of the marshals, although the narrative itself is largely confined to the Armée du Nord. In the beginning, he points out, the French army was well disciplined and the class of non-commissioned officers was "especially good." [61] As the integration of the so-called volunteers—the revolutionary conscripts—into the units of regular troops undermined morale, discipline, and conditions, the army's cohesion fell apart. [61] Phipps highlighted in particular the problems of armies moving without magazines or supplies. [62] His analysis of the classes of marshals—citizen, soldier, officer—offers a noteworthy and solid refutation of the marshals as a class of leadership rising from the rough soldiery; [62] his criticism of the French Revolutionary army system resulting from the two amalgamations is acute, targeted and well-documented. [59] However, by limiting his sources to only those in English or French, in which he also was fluent, Phipps necessarily restricted his details, ignoring the actions of the Austrians and the Russians. The evidence, though, is always well assembled, [59] even though, by volume three, it becomes much more sparse. [63]

Of the five volumes, the second may be the most interesting: it dealt with more interesting times, and more consistent military operations. The army of the north was a "bad army," and the story of its command is one of "honest and brave men hurried in turn to the guillotine, or of less honest men going over to the enemy." [64] Some of Phipps' own eccentricities also appear in volume two; he frequently lapses into sarcasm, revealing his disdain for civilian administration of military affairs, and there are points at which he fails to follow through fully on his criticism; for example, he holds back on his critique of Jean Victor Moreau despite his assertion that he wanted to demolish once and for all the myth that Moreau was as great a soldier as Napoleon. Phipps adeptly describes the game of cat and mouse that Moreau, Jean Baptiste Jourdan, and the Archduke Charles played with one another in the summer of 1796 as their armies criss-crossed south-western Germany; neither general came to grips with the other until October, and even then, after the Battle of Schliengen, Charles was content to chase Moreau and Jourdan over the Rhine, not to demolish the French army. They were lacking, Phipps postulated, the instinct and nerves of Napoleon. [64]

The problems associated with Phipps' lack of professional training as an historian become clear by the third volume. Despite his reading of newly published works, Phipps' idea of what constituted new material included the publications of memoirs and journals of the participants, not the extensive secondary literature and array of historiographical material in the periodic literature written by professional historians seeking to understand the French revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. [Note 2] Consequently, Phipps' perceptions of the French revolution remained rooted in the outdated theories of Archibald Alison, Adolphe Thiers, and others, while ignoring some of the new theories of Albert Sorel, François Victor Alphonse Aulard and Albert Mathiez. His military background emerged clearly in his hostility to the meddling of the French government in the affairs of soldiers. [63]

Despite his amateur standing, Phipps plowed through an alarmingly confusing mass of material, especially that covering the 1796–1797 campaigns in Ireland and the Pyrenees. He hacked through a tangle of French material to provide a path for the English language reader. This feat in itself made volume three a useful tool; furthermore, Phipps offered an even-handed treatment of the suppression of Lyon and Toulon, two French cities whose revolts alarmed the Revolutionary government. Despite his lack of professional training, Phipps provided a valuable assessment to these widely studied revolts. [63]

Reviewers also gave credit to Elizabeth Sanders, Phipps' granddaughter and literary executor, for her skillful handling of the last two volumes. The purpose of the work becomes even more apparent and direct under her management and editing of the material. The role of the future marshals becomes more clear in the campaigns of 1797, and especially in the Italian campaign; her handling of the material kept it fully focused on the future marshals Massena, Augereau, Berthier, and Brune. [65]

By the time of the publication of the final volume, Phipps' work had established for itself a place in the pantheon of Napoleonic literature. It "will always be regarded as a valuable source," well-known to students of the Napoleonic era, and the last volume, critics maintained, was "as interesting as its predecessors." [59] Not only did Phipps achieve his goal of creating a record of the development of the marshals, but his volumes have become a useful history of the progress of the wars themselves, from 1792 to 1799. [59] The true value of the first volume, and indeed the subsequent four, lies in its repeated use as a reference work. [64]


Edited works


Three photograph albums and a photographic print by Ramsay Weston Phipps are held in the British Empire and Commonwealth Collection at Bristol Archives. The albums include photos from 1874-1927, from Phipps' time in India (including parts of the North East frontier which is now Pakistan), Egypt, Aden, Burma, South Africa, and Ceylon. There are also images from Shoeburyness, Plymouth, Chalfont St Giles, Charterhouse and Canterbury Cathedral, as well as family photographs from England and abroad. (Ref. 2005/047) (online catalogue)."


Notes and citations

  1. Pownoll William Phipps, born 1 November 1835, matriculated at Oxford University, Pembroke College, in June 1854 at age 18; he graduated with his bachelor's decree in 1858, followed by his masters degree in 1861. From 1859–1871, he held various curacies. He was Vicar of Knapton on Hill from 1871–1873, rector of Upton Slough from 1873–1886. After 1886, he was rector at Chalfont St. Giles. See Foster, Joseph Foster. Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715–1886 and Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1500–1714. Oxford: Parker and Co., 1888–1892, p. [1112]71. Married Elizabeth Dampier Risley, daughter of Shuckburgh Risley, 26 Jul 1859, Camden, Middlesex, St Pancras Parish Church. See London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Pancras Parish Church, Register of marriages, P90/PAN1, Item 123.
  2. In a 1905 letter, he refers to Revue des Deux Mondes of 15 July 1905, in which the Marquis Gicquel des Touches describes his grandfather's experience in the Battle of Trafalgar on the French 74-gun Intrépide . See R. Phipps, "The Tactics of Trafalgar." The Times. Friday 11 August 1905, p. 5, Issue 37783, col. 3. Accessed 15 June 2010.
  1. England & Wales, Death Index: 1916–2005, General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration, vol. 1a, p. 420.
  2. 1 2 Pownoll William Phipps. The life of Colonel Pownoll Phipps. London: Bentley, 1894, p. 240
  3. England & Wales, Death Index: 1916–2005. General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. vol. 1a, p. 449.
  4. England & Wales, Death Index: 1916–2005. General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. vol. 3a, p. 1390.
  5. Pownoll William Phipps, The life of Colonel Pownoll Phipps. London: Bentley, 1894, pp. 232233.
  6. 1 2 Colonel R.W. Phipps (obit). The Times. Thursday 28 June 1923, p. 16, Issue 43379, Col. D.
  7. New England Historic Genealogical Society Staff. The New England Register. Westminster, MD: Heritage, 2010, p. 197.
  8. Pownoll Phipps, Life, pp. 5, 12, 230–231.
  9. Charles Phipps, "Preface." Ramsay Weston Phipps, The Armies of the First French Republic and the Rise of the Marshals of Napoleon I: The Armee du Nord. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1926. pp. v–ix. Pownoll Phipps, p. 40.
  10. Pownoll Phipps, p. 40.
  11. Parish register transcripts from the Presidency of Bengal, 17131948. India. Office of the Registrar General. Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 19661967.
  12. Benson John Lossing. "Descendants of Benedict Arnold." The American historical record. Philadelphia: Chase & Town, Publishers, 1872–1874, volume 3, p. 595. They married in 1813, and had five children. Nathanial Hawthorne. The English Notebooks: 1853–1856. United States: Ohio State University Press 1997, p. 535.
  13. East India Company, Great Britain. India Office. East-India register and army list. London, W.H. Allen [n.d.], p. 241.
  14. One of the Protestant side (a pseudonym). Random recollections of Exeter Hall, in 1834–1837. London: James Nisbet and Co., 1837, pp. 160–161.
  15. P. Phipps. "The Old Bengal Army." The Times. Tuesday, 22 September 1857, p. 11, Issue 22792, column B.
  16. Pownoll Phipps, pp. 205–207.
  17. Pownoll Phipps, p. 119.
  18. District 2, Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1841.
  19. 1 2 Pownoll Phipps, p. 240.
  20. Pownoll Phipps, p. 169.
  21. 1 2 Pownoll Phipps, pp. 193–194.
  22. "No. 21764". The London Gazette . 17 August 1855. p. 3129.
  23. Pownoll Phipps, p. 186.
  24. Pownoll Phipps, p. 199.
  25. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1861. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1861. Class: RG9; Piece: 1086; Folio: 31; Page: 17; GSU roll: 542750.
  26. "No. 22845". The London Gazette . 19 April 1864. p. 2170.
  27. H. G. Hart. The New Army List...for 1873. London: John Murray, 1873 p. 68. Modern CD version: ISBN   0-7884-4653-3 and "No. 23431". The London Gazette . 13 October 1868. p. 5383.
  28. War Office. Standing orders ... for the Royal Regiment of Artillery. London, Horse Guards, War Office, 1876, pp. 11–12.
  29. "Phipps." England & Wales, Marriage Index: 1837–1915. General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office.
  30. Africa passenger list. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1820–1891. Micropublication M277. RG036. 115 rolls. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
  31. Obituary, 28 June 1923.
  32. Ramsay Phipps. "Fatal Accident on the Schreckrhorn [ sic ]." The Times. Saturday 31 July 1869, p. 12, Issue 26504, col. F. The victim, Reverend Julius M. Elliott, of Brighton, fell out of sight; despite linking their ropes together, the guides could not descend far enough to catch sight of him; shouting produced no response, and eventually guides retrieved his body.
  33. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881. Class: RG11; Piece: 1772; Folio: 55; Page: 1; GSU roll: 1341428.
  34. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881.
  35. "No. 23966". The London Gazette . 11 April 1873. p. 1923.
  36. "No. 25089". The London Gazette . 28 March 1882. p. 1412.
  37. "No. 25115". The London Gazette . 6 June 1882. p. 2641.
  38. 1 2 R.W. Phipps. "How to Stop Desertion." The Times. Saturday 9 April 1887, p. 4, Issue 32042, Col. F.
  39. John Kane. List of officers of the Royal Regiment of Artillery from the year 1716 to 1889. London, Royal Artillery Institution, 1900, p. 114.
  40. "Sir Edmund Phipps to retire." The Times. Wednesday 30 October 1929, p. 9, Issue 45347, Col. D.
  41. "Sir Edmund Phipps, Obituary." The Times. Tuesday 14 January 1947, p. 7, Issue 50658, Col. d.
  42. 1 2 Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes Wilmington, Delaware: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003, volume 1, p. 189.
  43. British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 19141920.
  44. 1 2 3 4 5 Obituary, 28 June 1923.
  45. William Page (editor). Parish of Chalfont St. Giles. A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3 (1925), pp. 184–193. Found at British History online. University of London & History of Parliament Trust. 2010. Retrieved on 14 June 2010.
  46. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891: Buckingham, St. Giles Chalfont, district 2. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1891. Class: RG12; Piece: 1131; Folio 15; Page 4; GSU roll: 6096241.
  47. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives, 1901. Data imaged from the National Archives, London, 1901. Class: RG13; Piece: 1336; Folio: 17; Page: 25.
  48. Fred Nolan. A brief history of Chalfont St. Giles . Village website. Accessed 15 June 2010.
  49. L.A. Vauvelet de Bourrienne, Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, revised edition edited by R. W. Phipps, 3 volumes, London, Bentley, 1885. See Charles Phipps, p. v.
  50. B.E. O'Meara, 2 volumes, London: Bentley, 1888. See Phipps, p. vi.
  51. 1 2 Charles Phipps, p. vi.
  52. 1 2 Charles Phipps, p. v. Preface to Ramsay Weston Phipps, The Armies of the First French Republic. volume 3.
  53. Phipps, p. vi.
  54. Phipps, vol. 1, p. 12.
  55. Ramsay Weston Phipps. "Scope of Work." The Armies of the First French Republic. volume 1, pp. 5–6.
  56. 1 2 Charles Phipps, p. vii. Preface of vol. 3.
  57. Phipps, vol. 4.
  58. Charles Phipps, Preface to vol. 3, pp. viii–ix.
  59. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Cyril Falls. "Review." The English Historical Review. Vol. 55, No. 218 (Apr., 1940), p. 345.
  60. 1 2 Frederic L. Huidekoper. "Review." American Historical Review. 34:1, October 1928, pp. 120–123.
  61. 1 2 Huidekoper, p. 122.
  62. 1 2 Huidekoper, p. 123.
  63. 1 2 3 Dallas D. Irvine. "Review." The Journal of Modern History. Vol. 4, No. 3 (September, 1932), pp. 471–474.
  64. 1 2 3 Cyril Falls. "Review." The English Historical Review. Vol. 45, No. 180 (Oct., 1930), pp. 656–657
  65. Troyer S. Anderson. "Review." The American Historical Review. Vol. 41, No. 4 (Jul., 1936), pp. 745–746.


Related Research Articles

Battle of Fleurus (1794) battle in 1794

The Battle of Fleurus, on 26 June 1794, was an engagement between the army of the First French Republic, under General Jean-Baptiste Jourdan and the Coalition Army, commanded by Prince Josias of Coburg, in the most significant battle of the Flanders Campaign in the Low Countries during the French Revolutionary Wars. Both sides had forces in the area of around 80,000 men but the French were able to concentrate their troops and defeat the First Coalition. The Allied defeat led to the permanent loss of the Austrian Netherlands and to the destruction of the Dutch Republic. The battle marked a turning point for the French army, which remained ascendant for the rest of the War of the First Coalition. The French use of the reconnaissance balloon l'Entreprenant was the first military use of an aircraft that influenced the result of a battle.

Louis-Gabriel Suchet French military commander

Louis-Gabriel Suchet, Duke of Albufera, was a French Marshal of the Empire and one of the most successful commanders of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Joachim Murat Grand Duke of Berg and King of Naples

Joachim-Napoléon Murat was a Marshal of France and Admiral of France under the reign of Napoleon. He was also the 1st Prince Murat, Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808, and King of Naples from 1808 to 1815. Murat received his titles in part by being Napoleon's brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, as well as personal merit. He was noted as a daring, brave, and charismatic cavalry officer as well as a flamboyant dresser, for which he was known as "the Dandy King".

Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier French soldier and political figure who rose to the rank of Marshal of France

Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier, 1st Comte Sérurier led a division in the War of the First Coalition and became a Marshal of France under Emperor Napoleon. He was born into the minor nobility and in 1755 joined the Laon militia which was soon sent to fight in the Seven Years' War. After transferring into the regular army as an ensign, he was wounded at Warburg in 1760. He fought in the Spanish-Portuguese War in 1762. He married in 1779 after a promotion to captain. A newly minted major in 1789, the French Revolution sped up promotion so that he was colonel of the regiment in 1792. After leading Army of Italy troops in a number of actions, he became a general of brigade in 1793 and a general of division the following year.

Pierre François Sauret de la Borie led a combat division under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte during the Castiglione Campaign in 1796. He enlisted in the French army as a private in 1756. During the Seven Years' War he fought at Hastenbeck and Rossbach. He became a first lieutenant in 1789 and a lieutenant colonel in 1792. Assigned to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, served with distinction during the War of the Pyrenees against Spain. He was promoted to general officer in 1793 and became one of three infantry division commanders in the field army. He led his division at Palau, Boulou, Collioure, Black Mountain, Roses, and Bascara. He transferred to the Army of Italy in 1795. Bonaparte called him a very good soldier, but unlucky. He retired from active military service in order to enter politics.

Pierre Marie Barthélemy Ferino French general

Pierre Marie Barthélemy Ferino,, was a general and politician of France. Born in the Savoy, he was the son of a low-ranking officer in the Habsburg military. In 1789, during the French Revolution, he went to France, where he received a commission in the French Army. In 1793, his troops deposed him, for his strict discipline, but he was immediately reinstated and rose rapidly through the ranks of the general staff. He helped to push the Austrians back to Bavaria in the 1796 summer campaign, and then covered Moreau's retreat to France later that year, defending the Rhine bridge at Hüningen until the last units had crossed to safety.

Army of the Danube order of battle

The Army of the Danube was a field army of the French First Republic. Originally named the Army of Observation, it was expanded with elements of the Army of Mainz (Mayence) and the Army of Helvetia (Switzerland). The army had three divisions plus an advance guard, a reserve, and an artillery park. The artillery park was under the command of Jean Ambroise Baston de Lariboisière and consisted of 33 cannons and 19 howitzers operated by 1,329 non-commissioned officers and cannoneers as well as 60 officers. There were approximately 25,000 members of the Army, the role of which was to invade southwestern Germany, precipitating the War of the Second Coalition.

Jean-Toussaint Arrighi de Casanova French soldier and diplomat

Jean-Toussaint Arrighi de Casanova, duc de Padova, was a French diplomat and soldier of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. In the late 1840s, Arrighi was also involved in politics and was elected Deputy and then Senator in the French Parliament. He was a cousin-in-law of Napoleon I of France.

Battle of Peyrestortes

The Battle of Peyrestortes saw soldiers of the First French Republic fighting troops of the Kingdom of Spain during the War of the Pyrenees. Forces from the French Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, temporarily commanded by Eustache Charles d'Aoust and Jacques Gilles Henri Goguet, defeated two divisions of the Army of Catalonia led by Juan de Courten and Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarillas. This Spanish setback in an attempt to capture Perpignan marked the high point of their invasion of Roussillon.

Jean Ambroise Baston de Lariboisière French general in the Napoleonic Wars

Jean Ambroise Baston de Lariboisière, also Count de Lariboisière, was a general of artillery of the First French Empire. He fought in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars and died of fatigue at Königsberg in East Prussia on 21 December 1812, during the Grand Army's retreat from Moscow.

Battle of Avesnes-le-Sec battle

The Battle of Avesnes-le-Sec was a military action during the Flanders Campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars, between French forces under General Nicolas Declaye, and Imperial Austrian forces under Prince of Hohenlohe-Kirchberg. The Austrian cavalrymen made an overwhelming charge against the French and severely defeated them.

The Battle of Lincelles was an action that took place as part of a larger manoeuvre on 17 August 1793 in the Flanders Campaign of the War of the First Coalition. It was fought between the forces of Revolutionary France under the command of Jean Baptiste Jourdan and Antoine Anne Lecourt de Béru, versus those of Great Britain under the Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany and the Dutch Republic under the Hereditary Prince of Orange. The action resulted in a coalition victory.

Pierre Garnier de Laboissière commanded a French infantry division during the War of the Second Coalition. After enrolling in a military academy in 1769, he joined a dragoon regiment in 1772 as a sous lieutenant. In 1779 he was promoted to captain. In late 1792 during the War of the First Coalition he was given command of a cavalry regiment with the grade of colonel. While serving in the Army of the Rhine he was captured by the Prussians. After a prisoner exchange he was promoted to general of brigade in October 1793. Laboissière was promoted to general of division in February 1799. He fought at Stockach and led a division at Novi. In the summer and fall of 1799 he fought in several actions near Genoa. Later he commanded troops in Switzerland. Napoleon appointed him to the Sénat conservateur in 1802, awarded him the Commander's Cross of the Légion d'Honneur in 1804 and made him a Count of the Empire in 1808. He died in Paris in April 1809. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 15.

Jean Castelbert de Castelverd commanded a French division during the French Revolutionary Wars until he lost his nerve during a 1796 battle and was dismissed. In 1792 he assumed command of a volunteer unit. He fought in the War of the Pyrenees against the Kingdom of Spain, winning promotion to general of brigade in 1793 and general of division in 1795. The following year he and his division were sent from Belgium to reinforce the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse which was defending the line of the Lahn River. In the Battle of Limburg in September 1796 he abandoned his position in disobedience to orders even though his troops were not under enemy pressure. He was soon removed from command and retired from the army in 1801.

Paul-Alexis Dubois commanded French divisions during the War of the First Coalition and was killed in action fighting against Habsburg Austria. He enlisted in a French infantry regiment in 1770 and transferred into the cavalry in 1776. Thereafter he served in several different cavalry and infantry regiments. From sous-lieutenant in 1791, he served in the Army of the Moselle and was rapidly promoted to general of brigade by August 1793. After briefly commanding an infantry division in the Army of the Rhine at Wissembourg he switched back to the Army of the Moselle to fight at Kaiserslautern before being wounded at Froeschwiller in December 1793.

Jacques Gilles Henri Goguet rose to command a French division during the French Revolutionary Wars before he was assassinated by his own soldiers after a defeat. Trained as a physician, he became a member of the French National Guard in 1789. He joined a volunteer battalion in 1792 and fought at Jemappes in November that year. In 1793 he was promoted to general officer and transferred to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. In September 1793 when a Spanish army threatened to surround Perpignan, the French army commander fled, leaving the army leaderless. In the emergency, Goguet cooperated with Eustache Charles d'Aoust to win the Battle of Peyrestortes. A few days later he led a column at Truillas.

Amédée Willot French soldier and politician

Amédée Willot, Count of Gramprez, held several military commands during the French Revolutionary Wars but his association with Jean-Charles Pichegru led to his exile from France in 1797. He joined the French Royal Army as a volunteer in 1771 and was a captain by 1787. He was elected commander of a volunteer battalion in 1792 and served in the War of the Pyrenees. Shortly after being promoted commander of a light infantry regiment Willot was appointed general of brigade in June 1793. A few months later he was denounced as a Royalist and jailed. In the light of later events, this may have been an accurate assessment of Willot's sentiments. After release from prison in January 1795, he led troops in Spain during the summer campaign. He was promoted to general of division in July 1795.

Augustin de Lespinasse French politician

Augustin de Lespinasse commanded French artillery during the French Revolutionary Wars. After fighting in the Seven Years' War he switched to the artillery branch. He advanced in rank to major by 1788 and was attached to the Army of the Rhine in 1791. After transferring to the Army of the Western Pyrenees as chief of artillery, he coolly directed the successful defence of the Sans Culottes Camp in February 1794. He was soon promoted to general of division but the Minister of War blocked his continued employment.

Hilarion-Paul-François-Bienvenu du Puget de Barbantane disgraced himself during the French Revolutionary Wars by abandoning the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees during a crisis. A nobleman, he was made colonel of the Aunis infantry regiment in 1788. He was promoted general of brigade in 1791 and general of division the following year. He intrigued to obtain command of the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees and got his wish when Louis-Charles de Flers was dismissed in August 1793. When the Spanish commander Antonio Ricardos surrounded Perpignan with a chain of fortified camps, Barbantane panicked and fled the city, going absent without leave.

Étienne Deprez-Crassier French politician

Jean Étienne Philibert de Prez de Crassier or Étienne Desprez-Crassier was a French politician and army commander in the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars. Despite being from the minor nobility, he entered the French Royal Army as a cadet at the age of 12 because of his family's poverty. He fought in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War, becoming a colonel in 1785 and retiring two years later. Voltaire lent him the money needed to recover the Deprez family property. He was elected to the Estates General as a nobleman in 1789. After being promoted to lieutenant general he led a division at Valmy in 1792. He became commander of the Army of the Rhine and Army of the Western Pyrenees. Imprisoned during the Reign of Terror, he was released and restored to his former rank but retired in 1796.