Sharpe's Eagle
written by Eoghan Harris, from the novel by Bernard Cornwell

(The setting is Spain, 1809, the Napoleanic Wars. Richard Sharpe is a Lieutenant in the English army. He's been given the task of training the South Essex regiment, a badly trained unit, with an arrogant, ignorant noble for a commander.)
Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean): Those men who've fought in a big battle before, one pace forward. (no one steps forward) This place is called Talevara. There's gonna be a battle here tomorrow. You'll fight in it, maybe even die in it. But you won't see it. There's a lot of smoke in a battle. Our cannon, their cannon, our shot, their shell, our volleys, their volleys... You don't see a battle, you hear it. Black powder blasting by the ton on all sides, black smoke blinding you and choking you, and making you vomit. And the French come out of the smoke, not in a line, but in a column. And they march toward our thin line, kettle drums hammering like hell, and a golden eagle blazing overhead. They march slowly, and it takes them a long time to reach you. And you can't see them in smoke, but you can hear the drums. They march out of the smoke, and you fire a volley. And the front rank of the column falls. And the next rank steps over them, with drums hammering. And the column smashes your line like a hammer breaking glass. And Napolean has won another battle. But if you don't run...if you stand until you can smell the garlic, and fire volley after volley, three rounds a minute, then they slow down...they stop...and then they run away. All you have to do is stand and fire three rounds a minute. Now you and I know you can fire three rounds a minute. But can you stand?

Kudos and much thanks go to Dorian for this monologue, it is very much appreciated. Thanks to Ruth for a correction regarding the title.

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