Too Few for Drums: A grand tale of adventure set during the Napoleonic Wars by R. F. Delderfield
After the British victory at Busaco during the Peninsula campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, Ensign Keith Graham finds himself cut off from the army, along with a sergeant and seven privates.
This ill-assorted, tattered band is joined by a Welsh campfollower, Gwyneth and she and Sergeant Fox help nineteen-year-old Graham achieve both manhood and leadership. Struggling through strange, often hostile country, with insufficient food and sometimes mutinous men, his one aim is to reach the coast and, hopefully, safety . . .