Dec 25 2011
2nd battalion: Medais, Portugal
(nr. the Spanish border)
Typical of the rough country near the Portugese/Spanish border
There have been seven deaths this month, but the number of sick present has reduced from thirty-four to seven. The number of sick absent remains high, however, and it is expected that many of these men will have to be invalided home.
Thomas Chambers was promoted to corporal on the 25th November, while Sergeant Thomas Kelly was reduced on the 13th December.
Lieutenant Freer is now in command, Belem, while Surgeon Hennen has been promoted out of the regiment. This is felt to be a sad loss.
After a short period in the Mondego valley, the 5th division have been brought closer to the Spanish border and, although December is not a campaigning time of year, there are persistent rumours that Lord Wellington is preparing for action. The general opinion is that Ciudad Rodrigo is the likely target.
The skyline of Ciudad Rodrigo at dawn
During this relatively quiet period there has been an opportunity to continue training the ensigns, for example by sending them to hear courts martial so that they will be familiar with court procedure.
Despite its being Christmas Day the battalion was paraded at 3am. This should have been followed at 10am by divine service for the brigade (4th, 30th, and 44th Foot) but the Padre was ill and the Brigadier, General Walker, decided on a general parade instead. He was less than pleased with what he saw and has decided that the brigade will in future drill at 8am every morning until further orders. This has spoilt everybody’s enjoyment of Christmas Day.
1st battalion: Cannanore, India
A view of Cannanore, early 19th Century
Good news has arrived for the four officers found guilty of duelling, Lieutenants French, Jones, Harper and Carden, who have been under sentence of a court martial since June 1810. They have been pardoned by the King, which in reality means they have been pardoned by the Prince Regent, who is less opposed to duelling than his father. Ensign Herring, however, has had his sentence confirmed and has been cashiered for being drunk on duty.
The end of a career, Herring’s sentence that he be cashiered is confirmed.
There have been four deaths this month, and it is hoped that Cannanore will prove a healthier station than Madras.
On the 25th November, Corporal John Jayes was promoted to sergeant, and Joseph Sheller and Alexander Wiley, to corporal.
Cruickshank’s cartoons of Militia Volunteers were never flattering!
One recruit, a boy, and five volunteers from the militia (Tipperary and Wexford) have joined since the last muster, and a further twenty are with the recruiting parties, fourteen of them at Sleaford. Six men, returned invalids from the Peninsula, have been sent to York Hospital. There has been one desertion from the depot.
Some satisfying news has just been received. The exchange between Major Hamilton, which would have taken him to the West India Rangers, and Lieutenant Colonel Turner has been cancelled because the latter is not considered fit for active service. Alexander Hamilton will now return to the 2nd battalion as lieutenant colonel.