The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.
§ 6. Militia experience
Before, however, he had entered the lists as an English author, he had passed through a different, but by no means barren, experience of life. A few days before the publication of his essay, he joined the Hampshire militia, in which, for two years, he held in succession the rank of captain, major and colonel, and became, practically, the commander of a smart “independent corps of 476 officers and men,” whose encampment on Winchester downs, on one occasion, at least, lasted four months, so that for twice that period he never took a book into his hands. His predilection for military history and the accounts of marches and campaigns was of old standing, and afterwards reflected itself in many passage of his historical masterpiece.