Aug 25 2011
2nd Battalion : Peñaperda, Spain
On the 29th July the 5th division resumed their march north, to Castelo de Vide, where they enjoyed a day’s rest, and then on to Niza. They crossed the Tagus at Vila Velha, which was approached by a steep descent, followed by a steep ascent over very rough country. On the 2nd August they were at Sarnadas when news arrived that the French were concentrating on the Tagus. Lord Wellington responded by bringing five of his divisions to Castelo Branco, which the fifth division reached on the 3rd, and then advancing via Atalaya to Sabugal. This town had been ransacked but there was no sign of the French army. As a result, the fifth division was sent back to Atalaya, which had also been ransacked in the meantime, from where they crossed into Spain. They are now quartered around Navas Frejas, high in the Sierra de Malcata. Battalion headquarters are in the village of Peñaperda. Advance watch is being kept by the light companies of the six British battalions in the division, the Portuguese caçadores and two companies of Brunswick Jägers. These companies are turned round week by week and it has become a matter of honour to cover the 12 miles to Valverde, over steep gradients, in less than two hours.
Crossing the Tagus at Vila Velha
On the 16th August there was some excitement when a King’s German Legion outpost was surprised by an enemy detachment. The light companies hurried to their assistance and closely missed capturing the French at San Martino. This skirmish, in which the KGL took casualties and several villagers were killed as they were coming out of church, raised expectation of a battle. On the 18th, however, news arrived that the French had pushed on to Ciudad Rodrigo.
The sickness rate of men with the battalion remains relatively low, just 12 returned sick on the 24th August. All the “sick absent” are now in Lisbon, and 28 rank and file have been invalided to England. There have been 5 deaths, only one of them a man with the battalion. Major Grey is the only officer returned sick.
A contingent of 46 men has arrived in Lisbon, of which 40 are recruits, but they have yet to join the battalion.
By royal order, the 11 senior ensigns of the regiment have been promoted to lieutenant; 8 of them are with the second battalion. The battalion also awaits the arrival of 8 new ensigns.
Captain William Stewart, formerly adjutant, has been appointed brigade major to the second division. This means there are now only 4 captains with the battalion, and lieutenants are commanding six of the companies. This is a problem in both battalions. The senior battalion also has only 4 captains present. The remaining 12 captains are on staff duties in India or the Peninsular or are recruiting in England and Ireland.
William Forster, who disappeared last month, returned early this month. It is accepted that he strayed rather than deserted.
Two corporals, Dennis Moran and Joseph Scotten, were promoted to sergeant at the end of July. Scotten was reduced from sergeant in January, promoted to corporal a few days later, and has now returned to his previous rank. Sergeant Pat Gunning was reduced on the 22nd August. Thomas Hamilton was promoted to corporal at the end of July.
1st battalion – Trichinopoly
A bullock cart, the standard mode of transport. (From an old magic lantern slide)
It has been a very quiet month for the 1st battalion in India. There has been only one death and the complement of NCOs remains unchanged.
The four duellists are still under sentence of cashiering, and Ensign Herring remains under arrest.
Depot – Wakefield
There have been further enlistments: four men and a boy have enlisted at headquarters, and 22 volunteers have been received from the Tipperary Militia. Five men, returned invalids, have joined from Portugal and there are 7 recruits not yet joined.
A typical Cruickshank view of the Militia
News has arrived that Lieutenant Colonel Turner of the West India Rangers has been transferred to the 2nd battalion vice Minet, who has been promoted to the general list. Colonel Turner has been serving with a Portuguese regiment in the Peninsula and was wounded during the unsuccessful siege of Badajoz. It is not known when he will actually join the battalion. A further appointment is Major Bailey, although it is not known when he will join. Two ensigns, Boyd and Flude, have been appointed to the regiment from the Royal Military College. Their arrival is awaited with interest. Only one student from the college has previously joined the regiment and he stayed so briefly that he did not have time to demonstrate the value of his military education.