[Sir Charles Oman, military historian, and the English archers at Agincourt.] Two Autograph Letters Signed (both 'C. Oman') to George Townsend Warner, summing up the battle and giving a detailed description of the set up of the English archers.

Sir Charles Oman [Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman] (1860-1946), military historian [George Townsend Warner (1865-1916), historian; Battle of Agincourt; archery; toxophily]
Publication details: 
One: 17 October 1902. On letterhead of 39 St Giles', Oxford. Two: 12 March [no year]. 39 St Giles, Oxford, on letterhead of New College, Oxford.
SKU: 23048

Both letters annotated in pencil in contemporary hand 'To Townsend Warner Historian'. (Warner was a history master and head of the ‘modern side’ at Harrow School, and co-editor of one of the most popular British history textbooks of the period. His only child was the novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner.) Both letters in good condition, each with pin hole from former attachment. Two interesting letters, in which Oman sets out his views on the great English victory over the French at the Battle of Agincourt (depicted by Shakespeare in Henry V) and the practicalities of the archery which won the battle for the English. ONE: 17 October 1902. 3pp, 16mo. Bifolium on grey paper, folded once. Addressed to 'Dear Warner'. He has found his note on his return to Oxford for term. 'Agincourt may be, I think, summed up in the phrase Strategical defensive ending in tactical offensive. That is, Henry V took up a defensive position and staked himself in to receive the French attack. | But the French attack not coming off he advanced a bit and received, while stationery and in a defensive position, their assault. This having miscarried, he peppered them well with arrows, and then charged the first and afterwards the second line. The third bolted almost unfought.' The rest of the letter is light hearted, concerning the 'best school boy dictum' Oman has 'heard this summer', 'clearly inspired by Green's talk about Simon the Righteous'. He quotes the howler, which states that Simon De Montfort's 'guileless character' led to his being known as 'Simple Simon'. TWO: 12 March [1903?]. 3pp, 12mo. Folded twice. Addressed to 'My dear Sir', and beginning: 'As to arrows - | They were tied up in sheaves of 24, of which each archer carried one. When on the place where he intended to shoot from, he loosed the containing cord and stuck them point downward into the ground at his right side. Thus by a slight stoop he could pull them up as fast as he wanted. At enemies coming close, when minute aiming was not wanted, he could easily loose off six in a minute.' He proceeds to describe the 'supply', which was 'managed by pack-horses, who could carry a good many scores of sheaves each. To each company of archers a certain amount were attached.' He asks him if he recalls 'Old Parr's first reminiscence was of having, as a boy of 13 or 14, having Oliver a pack horse loaded with arrow-sheaves to Flodden Field'. He explains how 'the arrow-supply' was undertaken by the 'government', 'the counties being assessed to give so many hundred sheaves each'. He refers for requisitions to 'Rymer's Foeden', 'and I fancy others for goose-feathers to make arrows'. He has not seen noticed how 'the reserve-sheaves were distributed to the firing-line'. 'Probably the horses were driven along the rear of the line in the intervals between attacks, & the men helped themselves to fresh sheaves.' He notes how 'the stock was (no doubt) sometimes exhausted' in 'a very long continued engagement' such as Poictiers. He concludes: 'I write in great haste in examination time. Is there any other point that I could make clear?'