the wife of a soldier who accompanied her husband when he served in Portugal, Spain and Ireland during the Napoleonic Wars. She is best known as the author of a diary that gives an account of military life in that era from the viewpoint of the wife of a common soldier. Catherine Whitaker was born at Leeds in 1779 and married Joshua Exley there in 1806. Between 1805 and 1815, Joshua served in the Second Battalion of the 34th Regiment of Foot, initially as a private and then for a little over two years as a corporal. Catherine accompanied her husband for a substantial portion of this time and in due course wrote an account that is probably unique in that it records and reflects on life in the British Army from the perspective of the wife of a soldier who did not reach the rank of an officer.
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