Sep 25 2011
2nd Battalion, Peñaperda, Sierra de Gata
Sierra de Gata in winter
Despite the cold, particularly at night, and the shortage of food (the men have taken to digging up potatoes), the health of the battalion at headquarters is improving. There are only an officer, a drummer and four rank and file sick present. Fortunately, the number of sick absent, at Lisbon and Coimbra, is also decreasing, although there have been seven deaths amongst these men.
The battalion has now received news of the two additions to staff officers, Lieutenant Colonel Turner to replace Lieutenant Colonel Minet, and Major Bailey to replace Major Hamilton. This last is a surprise, but the same dispatch from the agent in London, Mr Croasdaile, contained the information that Major Hamilton has been promoted into Lt Col Turner’s regiment, the Royal West Indian Rangers. This promotion has been greeted with mixed feelings. Major Hamilton has only ever served with the 30th, and is popular with the men, who regard him as something of a talisman, so, although there is pleasure that he has obtained a well-deserved lieutenant colonelcy, there is regret that such a long association is about to be severed.
A later view of Hamilton as Lieutenant Colonel of the 30th Foot.
Lt Col Turner has been serving with a Portuguese regiment and, although he was wounded at the unsuccessful siege of Badajoz, it is anticipated that he will soon join the regiment. Major Bailey has been serving with De Meuron’s regiment in Sicily, so he is not expected for some time, since he will undoubtedly come out to the Peninsula via England. None of the expected ensigns have arrived, nor has Lieutenant O’Halloran, promoted into the 30th from the 54th Foot.
Lieutenant Eagar has been acting quartermaster during Mr Kingsley’s suspension from duties. He is currently in Lisbon collecting much needed clothing for the battalion, which should do something to improve their present ragamuffin appearance.
Life has become rather tedious up in the mountains. On the 11th, however, there was a violent thunderstorm and torrential rain which took everyone by surprise, although Private de José, the Portuguese volunteer who joined the battalion in Lisbon in 1809, says such storms are commonplace in the mountains. There are now rumours that the French are on the move and the expectation of action has cheered everyone up.
1st Battalion, Trichinopoly
A native man and woman, from an old hand-coloured magic lantern slide
There has been little change in the battalion since the last return. One man died, but overall the health of the men continues to be good, a credit to the surgeon, Mr Pearse, and his assistant, Mr Piper.
Lieutenant Todd, who has been assumed drowned since 1810, has now been officially struck off, which means there are four vacant lieutenancies in the regiment.
Ensign Herring is still under arrest, although arrangements have been made for his court martial.
The battalion has been in Trichinopoly since May 1809, so the news that they are to leave for a posting much further west has not been universally welcomed, even though it will break the tedium of so many months in the same place with so little to do. For those who have formed relationships locally the news is not so good. It will depend on the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Lockhart, whether they can take their women and children with them.
Another Cruickshank view of the Militia Volunteer
The depot has been joined by a recruit, thirteen volunteers from the Tipperary Militia, one from the Wexford Militia, and a sergeant and six rank and file from the Peninsula. There are another six recruits with the recruiting parties, five of them with the Sleaford party. Lincolnshire is continuing to prove fertile recruiting ground.