16 January 1809: Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note ...

Malcolm Redfellow

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Nearly missed this one: the British retreat (they got rather good at such things) to La Coruña, and the death of Sir John Moore.

The Peninsula War used to feature in school histories. Has it, strangely, been eroded from the record? Similarly, Charles Wolfe's poem used to be heavy (those driving anapaests made it perfect for "learn-by-heart") in school anthologies: all lorst-and-gorn f'rever.

I was getting bogged down in an extended diatribe about Moore, but I'll settle for the Irish connection.

Moore joined the staff of Sir John Ambercromby as a brigadier-general, and was officer in charge of the garrisons at Cork, Kinsale, and Midleton, and the militia at Bannon. He wasn't much impressed by his officer corps: serving for the emolument … [not] from a sense of duty nor of military distinction.

Those who know their history, will know that put Moore on the spot facing the 1798 Rebellion, with the ever-present threat of a French invasion. Sure enough (20 June 1798) he led the defeat of Father Philip Roche's rebels at Foulkes's Mill (or, as the balladeer had it, "Vinegar Hill"), and took the town of Wexford the following day. After that, Moore had to see to "anti-insurgency" in the hills of Wicklow.

But — help!— can this be correct (from the DNB)? —
On 18 June Moore advanced to major-general and on 6 September became colonel of the 9th West India regiment. Fretting about the climate of 'perpetual damps' and 'being far from well … no appetite, yellow, etc. … [though] I am averse to try Trim's recipe, burned whiskey, or radical heat' (Life and Letters, 86), he ached to be free from 'the continued broils of this distracted people, when active service is going on elsewhere' (Oman, 19).
Put aside from that the complaints of the Irish climate (the Cromwellians and other imports had the same problem), and the logical solution (I'm assuming "Trim's recipe" is hot toddy), and Moore believing Ireland was aside-line from "active service". I'm still left with the small matter of a West Indian regiment in Ireland.

In 1799 he was out of Ireland, and officer i/c of the vanguard to oppose the French in the Anglo-Russian (better believe it!) invasion of the Helder peninsula of the Netherlands. Another of the less-than-stellar achievement of the British army. The overall commander was Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (and also, another of those oddities that catch my butterfly attention span, Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück in the Holy Roman Empire). Fred's achievement is, say some, celebrated by the Grand Old Duke of York rhyme.
 


Mushroom

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But — help!— can this be correct (from the DNB)? —

Put aside from that the complaints of the Irish climate (the Cromwellians and other imports had the same problem), and the logical solution (I'm assuming "Trim's recipe" is hot toddy), and Moore believing Ireland was aside-line from "active service". I'm still left with the small matter of a West Indian regiment in Ireland.
The DNB might be wrong!

If you look at 1817-19 here

you'll note a reference to "4th West India Regiment posted to Gibraltar, the only European posting of a West India Regiment."
 

paddycomeback

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Look mate, history goes like this - Dinosaurs, Victoria, Titanic, Churchill. Not necessarily in that order.
 

Civic_critic2

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Perhaps you can use your west Brit fascinations to find out what were the regiments in Ireland from 1841-51, their numbers and location year by year, at least that would be useful.
 

statsman

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Nearly missed this one: the British retreat (they got rather good at such things) to La Coruña, and the death of Sir John Moore.

The Peninsula War used to feature in school histories. Has it, strangely, been eroded from the record? Similarly, Charles Wolfe's poem used to be heavy (those driving anapaests made it perfect for "learn-by-heart") in school anthologies: all lorst-and-gorn f'rever.

I was getting bogged down in an extended diatribe about Moore, but I'll settle for the Irish connection.

Moore joined the staff of Sir John Ambercromby as a brigadier-general, and was officer in charge of the garrisons at Cork, Kinsale, and Midleton, and the militia at Bannon. He wasn't much impressed by his officer corps: serving for the emolument … [not] from a sense of duty nor of military distinction.

Those who know their history, will know that put Moore on the spot facing the 1798 Rebellion, with the ever-present threat of a French invasion. Sure enough (20 June 1798) he led the defeat of Father Philip Roche's rebels at Foulkes's Mill (or, as the balladeer had it, "Vinegar Hill"), and took the town of Wexford the following day. After that, Moore had to see to "anti-insurgency" in the hills of Wicklow.

But — help!— can this be correct (from the DNB)? —

Put aside from that the complaints of the Irish climate (the Cromwellians and other imports had the same problem), and the logical solution (I'm assuming "Trim's recipe" is hot toddy), and Moore believing Ireland was aside-line from "active service". I'm still left with the small matter of a West Indian regiment in Ireland.

In 1799 he was out of Ireland, and officer i/c of the vanguard to oppose the French in the Anglo-Russian (better believe it!) invasion of the Helder peninsula of the Netherlands. Another of the less-than-stellar achievement of the British army. The overall commander was Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (and also, another of those oddities that catch my butterfly attention span, Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück in the Holy Roman Empire). Fred's achievement is, say some, celebrated by the Grand Old Duke of York rhyme.
The 9th West India Regiment was founded in 1798, and it seems that Moore was indeed made colonel of the regiment that year, although actually serving under Abercromby in Ireland. He had served under A, and then as his deputy, in the West Indies for a year or so and then went home ill. When A was appointed commander in Ireland he brought Moore with him. So I guess he was still seen as part of the WI military, seconded to service in Ireland. As far as I know he never returned to the Caribbean.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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The DNB might be wrong!

If you look at 1817-19 here

you'll note a reference to "4th West India Regiment posted to Gibraltar, the only European posting of a West India Regiment."
Good spot.

I'd have agreed: the West India Regiments spring from a proposal of 22 December 1794. I'm aware, however, that — unlike other "native" forces — the West Indian Regiments always were accounted part of the regular army.

Freed blacks were organised as the Carolina Black Corps in the American War of Independence. After 1782, the Corps was transferred to St Lucia. There may be something more than a coincidence here: Moore led a brigade at the re-capture of St Lucia in May 1796, and remained in command there, to deal with the remaining insurgency, when Abercromby moved on. Would Moore's appointment (6 September 1798) to colonel of the 9th West Indians be a titular or legacy appointment?

What was also behind my thought was a recollection of this (and more):
According to the historian of the British army, Sir John Fortescue, many British activities during the war in the West Indies were cloaked in secrecy, making a complete understanding of Britain's wartime operations extremely difficult. It is certain that London chose to keep certain of its more dubious transactions under wraps and therefore away from public examination — particularly hostile political scrutiny. Nurturing the odious trade with large purchases of African slaves at a time of mounting abolitionist sentiment would have been embarrassing, to say the least. The British government's Army Extraordinaries account pro- vided a place in which politically sensitive financial transactions could be hidden. Army Extraordinaries contained large sums of money allocated to cover extraordinary expenses that could not be foreseen and which were in addition to sums voted by Parliament upon annual estimates. The total amount, for instance, voted by Parliament for the army for 1797, was £10,913,000 of which £4,300,000 was for Army Extraordinaries. The fact that this account lacked a periodic parliamentary audit resulted in massive fraud. The system of Army Extraordinaries became so abused that it was eventually abolished in 1836. It is thought that virtually all costs associated with the raising of the West India Regiments were met from funds drawn from this account. This burial ground for dubious financial transactions was not the only place where the accounts of slaves purchased on public account were recorded. Fortunately, the details surrounding these transactions were diligently recorded in official dispatches between army commanders in the West Indies and the ministers, including Henry Dundas and William Windham. Even George III was privy to the scheme. These records clearly show that from 1795 to 1808, the British government bought an estimated 13,400 slaves for its West India Regiments at the considerable cost of about £925,000. The average price paid per slave was approximately £70. This was, apparently, substantially above that being paid for new male slaves by civilian buyers. It must be noted here that the number 13,400 does not include an indefinite — but probably considerable — number of additional slaves bought by the British government to perform other military related functions, particularly those carried out by the quartermaster general's department. It also does not reflect slaves serving in the Royal Navy, nor slaves purchased in Portuguese East Africa as recruits for Britain's Ceylon Regiments. British activities in the Indian Ocean appear to duplicate those in the West Indies.
[My emphases]

William Windham deserves a look-up. His significance there was as Secretary for War (1794-1801) in Pitt's administration. Dundas was pro-slavery, Windham's predecessor at the War Office and the last man to face an impeachment trial.
 

Catalpast

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Good spot.

I'd have agreed: the West India Regiments spring from a proposal of 22 December 1794. I'm aware, however, that — unlike other "native" forces — the West Indian Regiments always were accounted part of the regular army.

Freed blacks were organised as the Carolina Black Corps in the American War of Independence. After 1782, the Corps was transferred to St Lucia. There may be something more than a coincidence here: Moore led a brigade at the re-capture of St Lucia in May 1796, and remained in command there, to deal with the remaining insurgency, when Abercromby moved on. Would Moore's appointment (6 September 1798) to colonel of the 9th West Indians be a titular or legacy appointment?

What was also behind my thought was a recollection of this (and more):

[My emphases]

William Windham deserves a look-up. His significance there was as Secretary for War (1794-1801) in Pitt's administration. Dundas was pro-slavery, Windham's predecessor at the War Office and the last man to face an impeachment trial.
Am I reading you right in saying that the rank & file of the West India Regiments were in fact Black Slaves purchased for that purpose?

If so I wonder if they were given their Freedom at the end of their time of service?

As for Sir John Moore his conduct of the Corunna Campaign was a Disaster

- he over extended his stab at Napoleon's back and unleashed a decisive riposte by the Emperor

As it so happened events to the East recalled him to Europe and he handed over the pursuit to Marshal Soult who ensured that the chase was continued without any serious let up

In the Retreat the British Army fell to pieces and an orgy of drunkenness, licentiousness and Looting was carried out

The remnants of the Army was a sorry spectacle by the time they reached Corunna and a hasty evacuation followed just a day ahead of the French

Amazingly the Battle of Corunna is counted as a British Victory!:shock:





https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Queens_Colour-1Bn-Grenadier_Guards.png




Good online site here:

"Threatening Napoleon’s communications was as dangerous
as trying to snatch the prey from a lion."
- Cyril Falls, Oxford University
Sir Moore " ... had been chased half way across Spain ...
Destroying the army by his wild, precipitate retreat
he had become obsessed by his overwhelming anxiety to reach the sea."

Battle of Corunna 1809 : Marshal Soult : Sir John Moore
 
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Malcolm Redfellow

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Am I reading you right in saying that the rank & file of the West India Regiments were in fact Black Slaves purchased for that purpose?

If so I wonder if they were given their Freedom at the end of their time of service?
That is indeed what the sources seem to say. As also endorsed, here, by the National Army Museum: between 1798 and 1806 the army bought seven per cent of all slaves sold in the British West Indies.

Any manumission is likely to be more theoretical than much else. The regiments were raised after 1795, and the slave trade within the Empire was abolished in 1807, so there's not much chance of the average squaddie making it to a dignified retirement and a long-service award.
 
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Telstar 62

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The British had so many brilliant victories over the much-vaunted
Napoleonic Armies in Spain and Portugal.

A sulky, bitter Irish 'history buff' picks out La Coruna!!!:lol:
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Perhaps you can use your west Brit fascinations to find out what were the regiments in Ireland from 1841-51, their numbers and location year by year, at least that would be useful.
Alternatively Civic_critic2 could help with the heavy lifting.

The first stop could be the 1842 Distribution and Stations of the British Army, published by the United Service Magazine. It's also a .pdf here. There seem to be near-annual updates, if one Googles enough.

Next one can dig down a bit further. The annual Army Lists are on line, through the National Library of Scotland, and archive.org. That identifies the entire officer corps.

Then one can wonder why the Town-Major of Dublin merited a long-serving Major, Belfast only a lowly lieutenant, and Galway a stripling of an Ensign. Moreover Derry (OK: "Londonderry and Culmore") had a full-blown Governor, and it looks to me that the best-rewarded garrison job in Ireland was Governor of "Charlesfort and Kinsale".
 
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Civic_critic2

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Then one can wonder why the Town-Major of Dublin merited a long-serving Major, Belfast only a lowly lieutenant, and Galway a stripling of an Ensign. Moreover Derry (OK: "Londonderry and Culmore") had a full-blown Governor, and it looks to me that the best-rewarded garrison job in Ireland was Governor of "Charlesfort and Kinsale".
Yes those are the most important points to remember about a time that saw a genocide of 3 million+ in our country.

Alternatively Civic_critic2 could help with the heavy lifting.
I think I do enough heavy lifting on this site, it would be useful if someone else could do the work, interesting and important work, to itemise exactly how many troops & armed men the British had in this country at that time, where they were and when.
 

Catalpast

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https://storage.googleapis.com/sandersofoxford-publicfiles/media/product/22027.jpg


Just updated Win 10 and it sure makes it messy to Copy and paste

YOu have to use 'copy link' to get where you need to be..

Anyway ol Marshal Soult in 1838

Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult,1st Duke of Dalmatia (1769 - 1851) the 'Hand of Iron' was a French general and statesman, named Marshal of the Empire in 1804. He was one of only six officers in French history to receive the distinction of Marshal General of France. He also served as Prime Minister of France three times.

Marshal Soult ensured that after the Battle of Corunna was over that General Moore [KIA] - whose corpse had been left behind by the British - was given a decent burial and a monument erected to his memory.

He visited Britain in 1838 to represent Louis Philippe at the Coronation of Queen Victoria where he met his old sparring partner the Duke of Wellington and the two got on very well together by all accounts but at a cordial rather than a friendly level
 
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Malcolm Redfellow

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Just updated Win 10 and it sure makes it messy to Copy and paste
I'd have to agree, forcibly. Every time Apple gives MacOs a going-over, something in my life gets severely shook. Worse still, I see that macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 is "up-coming". That always sounds to me like M*A*S*H "in-coming".
Anyway ol Marshal Soult in 1838...

Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult,1st Duke of Dalmatia (1769 - 1851) the 'Hand of Iron' was a French general and statesman, named Marshal of the Empire in 1804. He was one of only six officers in French history to receive the distinction of Marshal General of France. He also served as Prime Minister of France three times.

Marshal Soult ensured that after the Battle of Corunna was over that General Moore [KIA] - whose corpse had been left behind by the British - was given a decent burial and a monument erected to his memory.

He visited Britain in 1838 to represent Louis Philippe at the Coronation of Queen Victoria where he met his old sparring partner the Duke of Wellington and the two got on very well together by all accounts but at a cordial rather than a friendly level
Yet another of my blind spots is 19th-century French history, especially the bit between 1815 and 1848. My knowledge of Soult is less than what is here.

My original post was edited down from an interminable maunder about how the Peninsular War had, it seemed, dropped out of school history syllabuses. It certainly featured when Oi war bu' a lad.

It was, in some ways, a different kind of war: the precedent — I guess — would be along the lines of how the United Provinces tied down first Spanish-Austrian, then French forces over more than two centuries. That in itself would make, perhaps, a better instruction manual for Ho Chi Minh's Việt Cộng than any doings of Michael Collins or Tom Barry or Seán Hogan.

La Coruña comes at the start of the long Peninsula War. What provoked the British involved the overthrow of the Bourbons, the invasion of Portugal and the attempt to enstool Joseph as king of Portugal: in short, to create an obedient satellite across the Hispanic peninsula. That fired a popular uprising, the French defeat at Bailén (Napoleon's first real defeat, anywhere — and which is more significant than any single British "success"), and the (quick mental count) Fifth Coalition against Napoleon. British success amounted to restoring Portugal, and involving Napoleon in a fruitless campaign against the Spanish guerrillas. In passing, Wellington gets cited by the OED for first use in English of that term (his Dispatches, 1809). One of the unanswerable historical what-ifs must be whether Napoleon could have seen off Wellington had the unfortunate distraction of Russia not intervened.

I can't beat Catalpast's meeting of Soult and Wellington, except to wonder if Fitzroy Somerset (soon to be elevated as Lord Raglan) was in the huddle. Somerset had been Wellington's aide-de-camp in the Peninsula campaign, and — as Raglan — was a prime engineer of the Crimean campaign. Well done, sir!
 
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JacquesHughes

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Nearly missed this one: the British retreat (they got rather good at such things) to La Coruña, and the death of Sir John Moore.

The Peninsula War used to feature in school histories. Has it, strangely, been eroded from the record?

There have been some great retreats ( one does not wish to sound unchivalrous); the resourcefulness at the evacuations of Gallipoli and Crete were exemplary.

Wikipedia lists a remarkable number of John Moores, including this [very different] if contemporary member of Clan Moore , President of the Republic of Connaught, RIP 1798
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Moore_(Irish_politician)

We've had to drop some of the traditional cannon from the school syllabus to make room for the better paying coding and computer science; rote learning, in general, a casualty.

Not entirely forgotten;there's a pub named after Sir John Moore in his native Glasgow- where you can have a pint to his memory, before getting the train from their similar rigourous climate.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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There have been some great retreats ( one does not wish to sound unchivalrous); the resourcefulness at the evacuations of Gallipoli and Crete were exemplary.

Wikipedia lists a remarkable number of John Moores, including this [very different] if contemporary member of Clan Moore , President of the Republic of Connaught, RIP 1798
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Moore_(Irish_politician)

We've had to drop some of the traditional cannon from the school syllabus to make room for the better paying coding and computer science; rote learning, in general, a casualty.

Not entirely forgotten;there's a pub named after Sir John Moore in his native Glasgow- where you can have a pint to his memory, before getting the train from their similar rigourous climate.
Yep, Gallipoli: Churchill started it; last but one off the beach at Lala Bala was Clem Attlee. John Bew's super biography has this (page 85-86), from Attlee himself:
The Gallipoli campaign will always remain vivid memory. I have always held that the strategic campaign was sound. The trouble was that it was never adequately supported. Unfortunately, the military authorities were Western Front-minded. Reinforcements were always sent too late. For an enterprise such as this, the right leaders were not chosen. Elderly and hidebound generals were not the men to push through an adventure of this kind. Had we had at Suvla generals like Maude, who came out later, we should, I think, have pushed through to victory.
Apologies: totally off-topic.

I relish JacquesHughes's nice one: to make room for the better paying coding and computer science. I'm less convinced that, once I was at sixth-form level, it was anything like rote learning. As I recall, the Peninsular Campaign was taught rather well.

The pros-and-cons amount to:
  • Napoleon made a strategic error in Spain and Portugal. It was about the only front in which Britain would commit ground forces. As Wellington made advances, so the powers that be in London supported his efforts.
  • The British had the sympathy of the local populace, a suitable geography, and command of the sea.
  • The French, on the other hand, had a nightmare supply chain.
  • As Catalpast (post #7 above) said, pointedly:
In the Retreat the British Army fell to pieces and an orgy of drunkenness, licentiousness and Looting was carried out

The remnants of the Army was a sorry spectacle by the time they reached Corunna and a hasty evacuation followed just a day ahead of the French

Amazingly the Battle of Corunna is counted as a British Victory!
  • Moore had experienced the same disorder when he took up his post at Cork: so we'd have to accept his direction and holding his force together at Vinegar Hill represents some sort of success. Similarly, he did get most of a ramshackle army back to Corunna; he did hold the defence long enough to evacuate his troops; he may have lost 800 at Corunna (and at least 3,000 in the rest of the campaign), but there were also corresponding French losses.
  • When Wellington went back to the Peninsula, five months later, his initial task was to build a disciplined force. His achievement was to professionalise his army, and eventually leave the Peninsula across the Pyrenees.
The Sir John Moore is now a Wetherspoon house, but still conveniently opposite Glasgow Central Station.
 


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