Diary of a Regiment – March 1815

2nd Battalion – Antwerp

All the concerns felt by the officers of being forced onto half-pay disappeared on the 6th March when news arrived of Napoleon’s escape from Elba and return to France. The officers immediately passed the news onto the men, who greeted it with the same enthusiasm. As one young officer was heard to remark, all a soldier wants is promotion or a turf pillow.

At the moment battalion business is continuing much as usual, although the general order received two days ago (the 23rd), that the army should be ready to move at a moment’s notice, may change that.

Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton and Captain Ryan have returned from court martial duty. Captain Chambers went to England at the end of February with a party of seven-year men for discharge and has now returned  as Major Chambers.

Corporals Francis Davis, Patrick Gunning, Thomas Bradshaw and Benjamin Detheridge (a long-time prisoner fo the French) have been appointed serjeant, and five privates have been appointed corporal.

There was one death and one desertion this month.

1st Battalion – Camp at Ittakee

The battalion continues its long march to the east coast. Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Maxwell is in command, Lieutenant Vaumorel having taken command of an infantry brigade in the field.

The three officers who have been posted absent without leave for some months, Captain Chambers and Lieutenants Nicholson and White, are now supposed to be with the second battalion.

There were three deaths this month.

Depot – Colchester

Three recruits have joined at the depot. Serjeants Gibson and Stradling and 29 men have been discharged, unfit for further service. Serjeant Darville joined from recruiting at the beginning of the month. Three days ago he, along with Corporals Doyle and McDonald, Drummers Whelan and Brice and 29 privates, under the command of Lieutenant Tincombe, departed for Ostend. With the news of Napoleon’s return to France, and the anticipation of renewed action, those who were left at the depot watched their fellows’ departure with considerable envy.

Serjeant Luke Lydon has returned to the depot as schoolmaster serjeant.

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