Prologue and Chapter 1
• The novel opens immediately after a combat encounter between the first battalion of the South Essex Regiment and French forces.
• Sharpe reflects on the encounter, noting that it was strategically insignificant and tactically pointless.
• Sharpe observes the South Essex Regiment and notes that its numbers are seriously depleted through casualties.
• The South Essex Regiment has two battalions, a training one in England and the fighting one now in Spain.
• The second battalion is failing at its task and the first battalion is not receiving replacements.
• They decide that Sharpe will travel to England to see if he can straighten out the mess with first battalion.
• Sharpe and his friends Harper and d'Alembord and Harry Price travel to Chelmsford and find the depot deserted.
• They find a handful of men and Sharpe informs the Lieutenant that second battalion is drawing pay and rations for 700 men.
This section contains 1,868 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)