Nov 15 2010
2nd Battalion: at the Grand Redoubt, lines of Torres Vedras
The original military road used by troops going up to the Grand Redoubt on the lines of Torres Vedras
There have been two dramatic events in the last fifteen days, one of which affected the whole army, and the other, the battalion.
On the night of the 4th November Sergeant Charles Watson was murdered. He had been drinking with some Portuguese and they are presumed to have been responsible for the murder. The culprits have not been identified. As a result of this crime, a sergeant’s party has been sent out every evening to escort British soldiers from the drinking booths. Watson was a long-serving soldier and, except for one lapse, an excellent NCO. His death came as a great shock to the whole battalion.
The event of great significance for the whole army occurred on the 14th November; Marshal Masséna drew his troops back from the Lines to Santarém, thus acknowledging that the defences constructed on Wellington’s orders are impregnable. The following day some of the battalion went to Sobral. According to the Adjutant, Lieutenant William Stewart, the whole town, having been deserted by its inhabitants at Wellington’s command and later occupied by the French, was in a wretched and filthy state.
The battalion is much affected by sickness. Over a hundred NCOs and other ranks are sick in quarters, while Captain Alexander McNabb and Lieutenant George Rumley have been sent to Lisbon. So far. however, there has been only one death, Matthew Gunnell on the 3rd November.
Another loss was through desertion, Lawrence McDonald on the 10th November.
1st Battalion: Trichinopoly
An elaborate depiction of a milk churning process
Nothing of note has occurred during the past fifteen days, except the death of James Pleasance on the 9th November.
The battalion still awaits the arrival of ten officers who have been transferred from the second battalion by seniority.
An officer’s breastplate badge of the 30th Regiment,
courtesy of the Queen’s Lancashire Regimental Museum at Preston
Fourteen men and five boys have joined from the recruiting companies and another man has enlisted at head quarters. There are also a further fourteen recruits with the recruiting parties.
The depot has received notice that Captain Chambers has leave of absence until December. They are unaware that he signed a resignation in India and came to Europe ostensibly to effect an exchange into another regiment. Nor have they been informed that instead of looking for an exchange he actually joined the party of reinforcements in transit for Cadiz and has been with the second battalion since the end of September. Communication continues to be a problem between England, the Peninsula and India.