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Title: Historical record of the Seventeenth Regiment of Light Dragoons—Lancers - containing an account of the formation of the regiment in - 1759 and of its subsequent services to 1841.
Author: Cannon, Richard
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  _1st January, 1836_.

His Majesty has been pleased to command, that, with a view of doing
the fullest justice to Regiments, as well as to Individuals who
have distinguished themselves by their Bravery in Action with the
Enemy, an Account of the Services of every Regiment in the British
Army shall be published under the superintendence and direction
of the Adjutant-General; and that this Account shall contain the
following particulars, viz.,

  ---- The Period and Circumstances of the Original Formation of
  the Regiment; The Stations at which it has been from time to time
  employed; The Battles, Sieges, and other Military Operations,
  in which it has been engaged, particularly specifying any
  Achievement it may have performed, and the Colours, Trophies,
  &c., it may have captured from the Enemy.

  ---- The Names of the Officers and the number of Non-Commissioned
  Officers and Privates, Killed or Wounded by the Enemy, specifying
  the Place and Date of the Action.

  ---- The Names of those Officers, who, in consideration of their
  Gallant Services and Meritorious Conduct in Engagements with the
  Enemy, have been distinguished with Titles, Medals, or other
  Marks of His Majesty's gracious favour.

  ---- The Names of all such Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers
  and Privates as may have specially signalized themselves in


  ---- The Badges and Devices which the Regiment may have been
  permitted to bear, and the Causes on account of which such Badges
  or Devices, or any other Marks of Distinction, have been granted.

  By Command of the Right Honourable



The character and credit of the British Army must chiefly depend
upon the zeal and ardour, by which all who enter into its service
are animated, and consequently it is of the highest importance that
any measure calculated to excite the spirit of emulation, by which
alone great and gallant actions are achieved, should be adopted.

Nothing can more fully tend to the accomplishment of this desirable
object, than a full display of the noble deeds with which the
Military History of our country abounds. To hold forth these bright
examples to the imitation of the youthful soldier, and thus to
incite him to emulate the meritorious conduct of those who have
preceded him in their honourable career, are among the motives that
have given rise to the present publication.

The operations of the British Troops are, indeed, announced in the
"London Gazette," from whence they are transferred into the public
prints: the achievements of our armies are thus made known at the
time of their occurrence, and receive the tribute of praise and
admiration to which they are entitled. On extraordinary occasions,
the Houses of Parliament have been in the habit of conferring on
the Commanders, and the Officers and Troops acting under their
orders, expressions of approbation and of thanks for their skill
and bravery, and these testimonials, confirmed by the high honour
of their Sovereign's Approbation, constitute the reward which the
soldier most highly prizes.

It has not, however, until late years, been the practice (which
appears to have long prevailed in some of the Continental armies)
for British Regiments to keep regular records of their services
and achievements. Hence some difficulty has been experienced in
obtaining, particularly from the old Regiments, an authentic
account of their origin and subsequent services.

This defect will now be remedied, in consequence of His Majesty
having been pleased to command, that every Regiment shall in future
keep a full and ample record of its services at home and abroad.

From the materials thus collected, the country will henceforth
derive information as to the difficulties and privations which
chequer the career of those who embrace the military profession. In
Great Britain, where so large a number of persons are devoted to
the active concerns of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, and
where these pursuits have, for so long a period, been undisturbed
by the _presence of war_, which few other countries have escaped,
comparatively little is known of the vicissitudes of active
service, and of the casualties of climate, to which, even during
peace, the British Troops are exposed in every part of the globe,
with little or no interval of repose.

In their tranquil enjoyment of the blessings which the country
derives from the industry and the enterprise of the agriculturist
and the trader, its happy inhabitants may be supposed not often to
reflect on the perilous duties of the soldier and the sailor,--on
their sufferings,--and on the sacrifice of valuable life, by which
so many national benefits are obtained and preserved.

The conduct of the British Troops, their valour, and endurance,
have shone conspicuously under great and trying difficulties; and
their character has been established in Continental warfare by the
irresistible spirit with which they have effected debarkations in
spite of the most formidable opposition, and by the gallantry and
steadiness with which they have maintained their advantages against
superior numbers.

In the official Reports made by the respective Commanders, ample
justice has generally been done to the gallant exertions of the
Corps employed; but the details of their services, and of acts of
individual bravery, can only be fully given in the Annals of the
various Regiments.

These Records are now preparing for publication, under His
Majesty's special authority, by Mr. RICHARD CANNON, Principal Clerk
of the Adjutant-General's Office; and while the perusal of them
cannot fail to be useful and interesting to military men of every
rank, it is considered that they will also afford entertainment and
information to the general reader, particularly to those who may
have served in the Army, or who have relatives in the Service.

There exists in the breasts of most of those who have served,
or are serving, in the Army, an _Esprit du Corps_--an attachment
to every thing belonging to their Regiment; to such persons a
narrative of the services of their own Corps cannot fail to prove
interesting. Authentic accounts of the actions of the great,--the
valiant,--the loyal, have always been of paramount interest with
a brave and civilized people. Great Britain has produced a race
of heroes who, in moments of danger and terror, have stood, "firm
as the rocks of their native shore;" and when half the World has
been arrayed against them, they have fought the battles of their
Country with unshaken fortitude. It is presumed that a record of
achievements in war,--victories so complete and surprising, gained
by our countrymen,--our brothers,--our fellow-citizens in arms,--a
record which revives the memory of the brave, and brings their
gallant deeds before us, will certainly prove acceptable to the

Biographical memoirs of the Colonels and other distinguished
Officers, will be introduced in the Records of their respective
Regiments, and the Honorary Distinctions which have, from time to
time, been conferred upon each Regiment, as testifying the value
and importance of its services, will be faithfully set forth.

As a convenient mode of Publication, the Record of each Regiment
will be printed in a distinct number, so that when the whole shall
be completed, the Parts may be bound up in numerical succession.







  IN 1759,






  [Illustration: (Death's Head--Skull)]








  Year                                                     Page

  1759  Formation of the Regiment                             9

  1760  Names of the Officers                                12

  ----  Proceeds to Scotland                                 --

  1761  Draft to Germany                                     --

  1764  Embarks for Ireland                                  13

  1768  Uniform fixed by Royal Warrant                       --

  1775  Embarks for North America                            15

  ----  Battle of Bunker's Hill                              --

  1776  Proceeds to Nova Scotia                              16

  ----  Sails for Staten Island                              --

  ----  Expedition to Long Island                            --

  ----  Action at Brooklyn                                   17

  ----  Proceeds to New York                                 18

  ----  Skirmish at Pelham Manor                             --

  ----  Battle of White Plains                               --

  ----  Capture of Fort Washington                           --

  ----  Reduction of Rhode Island                            19

  1777  Expedition to Danbury                                --

  ----  ---------- against Forts Montgomery and Clinton      20

  ----  Embarks for Pennsylvania                             21

  1778  Rencounter near White Marsh                          --

  ----  Actions at Crooked Billet and Barren Hill            22

  ----  Covering the March from Philadelphia                 23

  ----  Action at Freehold                                   --

  ----  Arrival at New York                                  24

  1779  Detachment to South Carolina                         26

  1780  Covering the Siege of Charlestown                    27

  ----  Action at Monk's Corner                              --

  ----  --------- Lenew's Ferry                              28

  1780  Action at Wacsaw                                     30

  ----  Battle of Camden                                     31

  1781  --------- Cowpens                                    32

  ----  Embarks for New York                                 36

  1783  Returns to Ireland                                   37

  1784  Clothing changed from Scarlet to Blue                --

  1794  Suppressing the Rioters called Defenders, &c.        38

  1795  Four troops embark for England                       39

  ----  ----------- sail for the West Indies                 40

  ----  Serve against the Maroons at Jamaica                 --

  1796  Five troops embark for St. Domingo                   42

  ----  Capture of Grenada                                   --

  1797  Services in St. Domingo                              44

  ----  Embarks for England                                  --

  1798  Detachment to Ostend                                 --

  1799  Augmented to ten troops                              45

  1800  Suppressing Riots at Duffield, &c.                   46

  1802  Reduction of Establishment                           --

  1803  Embarks for Ireland                                  --

  1805  Returns to England                                   47

  1806  Reviewed by the Prince of Wales                      --

  ----  Embarks for South America                            --

  ----  Capture of Monte Video                               48

  1807  Attack on Buenos Ayres                               50

  ----  Returns to England                                   52

  1808  Embarks for India                                    53

  ----  Arrives at Calcutta                                  55

  1809  Proceeds to Bombay                                   --

  1810  Action at Burding                                    --

  ----  Detachment to Persia                                 56

  1815  Marches into the Province of Cutch                   59

  ----  Capture of Anjar                                     61

  1816  ---------- Dwarka                                    --

  1817  Services against the Pindarees                       --

  1817  Skirmish with a body of Bheels                       63

  1818  Actions with the Pindarees                           64

  1820  Expedition to Cutch                                  68

  ----  Capture of Dwarka                                    69

  1822  Ordered to return to England                         --

  ----  Constituted Lancers                                  70

  1823  Arrives at Gravesend                                 --

  1828  Embarks for Ireland                                  71

  1830  Clothing changed from Blue to Scarlet                72

  1832  Returns to England                                   --

  1833  Reviewed by King William IV.                         73

  1838  Embarks for Ireland                                  --

  1841  Proceeds to Scotland                                 74

  ----  The Conclusion                                       --


  1763  John Hale                                            75

  1770  George Preston                                       77

  1782  The Honourable Thomas Gage                           78

  1785  Thomas Earl of Lincoln                               79

  1795  Oliver de Lancey                                     80

  1822  Lord R. E. H. Somerset, K.C.B.                       82

  1829  Sir John Elley, K.C.B., K.C.H.                       --

  1839  Sir Joseph Stratton, K.C.H.                          84

  1839  Sir Arthur B. Clifton, K.C.B., K.C.H.                --



  The Costume of 1768                                to face  9

  The Costume of 1810                                   "    24

  The Costume of 1817                                   "    40

  View in Camp in India                                 "    56

  The Costume of 1824                                   "    64

  The Costume of 1829                                   "    70

  The Costume of 1832                                   "    74

[Illustration: 17th Lancers, 1768. [To face page 9. ]






[Sidenote: 1759]

The institution of entire regiments of Light Cavalry, as part of
the standing army of Great Britain, in the spring of 1759, was
attended with such signal success, that, after the formation of
the two splendid corps of Eliott and Burgoyne, which were numbered
the Fifteenth and Sixteenth, King George II. was induced to carry
the plan to a still greater extent, and to augment the Light
Dragoon establishment with five additional regiments, which were
numbered the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twentieth, and
Twenty-first Light Dragoons. The first of these additional corps
was raised in Scotland by Lord Aberdour; it never consisted
of more than two troops, and was disbanded at the termination
of the seven years' war, in 1763. The second was embodied in
Hertfordshire, under the superintendence of Lieut.-Colonel JOHN
HALE, from the Forty-seventh Foot, an officer who had served
with credit in Europe and America, and who was the bearer of the
public despatches announcing the victory at Quebec on the 13th of
September, 1759, and the fall of the brave Major-General JAMES
WOLFE, a name which will be ever recorded among the heroes of the
British army.

This corps was numbered the EIGHTEENTH Light Dragoons; but after
the reduction of Lord Aberdour's regiment it obtained rank as
Seventeenth, and now bears the title of the "SEVENTEENTH LANCERS."
Its first rendezvous was at Watford and Rickmansworth, and it
consisted of four troops. The first troop was raised by Captain
Franklin Kirby, from Lieutenant in the Fifth Foot; the second by
Captain Samuel Birch, from Lieutenant in the Eleventh Dragoons;
the third by Captain Martin Basil[1], from Lieutenant in Eliott's
Light Horse; and the fourth by Captain Edward Lascelles, from
Cornet in the Royal Horse Guards. Of this corps, Lieut.-Colonel
JOHN HALE, whose merits had procured for him the favour of his
sovereign, was appointed Lieut.-Colonel Commandant, by commission
dated the 7th of November, 1759; and purposing that his regiment
should consist of men of decided character, who would emulate the
glorious example of the heroic WOLFE, whose gallant conduct the
Colonel had witnessed, he procured His Majesty's authority for his
regiment to bear on its standards and appointments the "_Death's
Head_," with the motto, "_Or Glory_," which it has continued to
bear to the present time.

The zeal of the officers, with the popular feeling of interest,
which existed in England at this period, and particularly in London
and the southern counties, in favour of light cavalry, occasioned
the regiment to be speedily completed with men and horses, and, in
the beginning of December, it marched to Warwick and Stratford upon
Avon, and soon afterwards to Coventry, where it was augmented to
six troops.

[Sidenote: 1760]

In January, 1760, the following officers were holding commissions
in the regiment:--

  _Lieut.-Colonel Commandant_, JOHN HALE.

   _Captains._        _Lieutenants._      _Cornets._
  Franklin Kirby       Thomas Lea        Rob. Archdall
  Samuel Birch         William Green      --  Bishopp
  Martin Basil         Joseph Hall        --  Stopford
  Edward Lascelles       --   Wallop     Henry Crofton
  John Burton            --   Cope       Jos. Moxham
  Samuel Townshend     Y. Peyton         Daniel Brown

  _Adjutant_, Richard Westbury, _Surgeon_, John Francis.

Ten months after the authority for its formation was issued, the
regiment was directed to march to Berwick, and place itself under
the orders of the Commander-in-Chief in North Britain; it arrived
in Scotland in October, and was stationed in that part of the
United Kingdom during the following three years.

[Sidenote: 1761]

[Sidenote: 1762]

In the spring of 1761 the regiment sent a draft of fifty men and
horses to Germany, to serve under Lieut.-General the Marquis
of Granby, and the Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick; and in 1762
hostilities were terminated by the treaty of Fontainbleau.

[Sidenote: 1763]

The restoration of peace was followed, in 1763, by reductions in
the military establishment of the kingdom; but this was one of the
corps selected to be retained in the service, and Lieut.-Colonel
Commandant John Hale was promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment
by commission dated the 27th of April, 1763.

[Sidenote: 1764]

From Scotland the regiment embarked, in 1764, for Ireland, where it
was stationed during the succeeding eleven years.

[Sidenote: 1768]

The following particulars respecting the clothing and guidons of
the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons, are extracted from His Majesty's
warrant, dated the 19th December, 1768.

COATS,--scarlet, with half-lappels; lined with white; white collar
and cuffs; white metal buttons, and the button holes ornamented
with white braid.


HELMETS,--ornamented with white metal and a scarlet horse-hair crest.

BOOTS,--reaching to the knee.

CLOAKS,--scarlet, with white capes.

HORSE FURNITURE,--of white cloth; the holster caps and housings
having a border of white lace with a black edge; XVII, L. D. to
be embroidered upon the housings, upon a scarlet ground, within a
wreath of roses and thistles; the king's cipher, with the crown
over it, and XVII, L. D. underneath, to be embroidered on the
holster caps; the officers to have a silver tassel on their holster
caps, and at each corner of their housings.

OFFICERS,--to be distinguished by silver lace or embroidery;
silver epaulettes; and crimson silk sashes worn round their waists.

QUARTER MASTERS,--to have no lace or embroidery on their coats; to
have silver epaulettes, and crimson sashes.

SERJEANTS,--to be distinguished by narrow silver lace, and crimson
and white sashes.

TRUMPETERS,--to wear hats with white feathers; white coats faced
with scarlet, and ornamented with white lace with a black edge; red
waistcoats and breeches.

GUIDONS,--the first, or King's, guidon to be of crimson silk; in
the centre the rose and thistle conjoined, and crown over them,
and His Majesty's motto, _Dieu et mon Droit_, underneath; the
white horse in a compartment in the first and fourth corners; and
XVII, L. D. on a white ground, in a compartment in the second and
third corners: the second and third guidons to be of white silk;
in the centre the "DEATH'S HEAD" on a crimson ground, within a
wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk, and the motto "_Or
Glory_," underneath; the white horse on a red ground, in the first
and fourth compartments; and the rose and thistle conjoined, upon
a red ground, in the second and third compartments; the third
guidon to be distinguished by a figure 3, on a circular red ground,
underneath the motto.

[Sidenote: 1770]

Colonel John Hale, having been appointed Governor of Limerick,
was succeeded in the colonelcy of the regiment by Colonel George
Preston, from the lieut.-colonelcy of the Scots Greys, by
commission dated the 2nd of November, 1770.

[Sidenote: 1775]

While the SEVENTEENTH were in Ireland, they had the reputation
of being a well-disciplined and an efficient corps, and on the
breaking out of hostilities, in 1775, between Great Britain and
her North American colonies, the high character of the regiment
occasioned it to be the first cavalry corps selected to proceed
across the Atlantic. It embarked from Ireland towards the end of
March, and landed at Boston on the 24th of May.

Soon after the regiment arrived at Boston, the American troops
attempted to establish themselves on _Bunker's Hill_, but were
driven from thence, after a sharp engagement, on the 17th of June.
During the action a party of the SEVENTEENTH volunteered to proceed
dismounted with the reinforcement sent from Boston to support the
troops engaged.

Notwithstanding their defeat at Bunker's Hill, the American
troops crowded round Boston in such numbers, and constructed such
extensive works, that the British were kept in a state of blockade
on the land side, and were so distressed for fresh provisions, that
live cattle, vegetables, and even fuel, were sent from England
for their use. These supplies proved insufficient, and the troops
endured much distress. In the mean time the Americans, possessing
every necessary article in abundance, began to act with vigour,
raising batteries and opening a cannonade on the place.

[Sidenote: 1776]

In March, 1776, the King's troops evacuated Boston and sailed to
Halifax. The SEVENTEENTH landed at Halifax, and remained in Nova
Scotia about two months; in the early part of June they again
embarked, and, sailing towards New York, landed on Staten Island
in the beginning of July. At this place the army was reinforced
with troops from Great Britain, also with a body of Hessians;
and the SEVENTEENTH, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Samuel Birch,
were attached to the Highland Brigade under Brigadier-General Sir
William Erskine.

On the 22nd of August a landing was effected on _Long Island_;
on the 25th the American piquets were surprised by detachments
of the SEVENTEENTH under Captain Oliver de Lancey; and at nine
o'clock on the evening of the 26th the regiment led the van of
the army from Flatland across the country to seize on a pass in
the heights extending along the middle of the island. Arriving
within half a mile of the pass, an American patrole was captured,
and Lieut.-General Clinton learning that the enemy had not taken
possession of the pass, it was immediately occupied. Passing
the heights at day-break, the regiment moved towards Bedford,
where it arrived about half-past eight o'clock, and immediately
attacked a large body of Americans, who were quitting the woody
heights to join their army in the fortified lines at _Brooklyn_;
some desultory fighting took place, in which the SEVENTEENTH
evinced great gallantry;--Lieutenant William Loftus particularly
distinguishing himself,--and the Americans were driven back with
severe loss: General Sulivan, two brigadier-generals, and ten field
officers being among the prisoners. The SEVENTEENTH routed the
American cavalry at the village of Jamaica, and at the close of the
action Lieut.-General Clinton and Brigadier-General Sir William
Erskine thanked the officers and men of the regiment for their
gallant conduct. General Sir William Howe stated in his public
despatch, "The behaviour of both officers and soldiers, British
and Hessians, was highly to their honour. More determined courage
and steadiness in troops have never been experienced, or a greater
ardour to distinguish themselves."

On the night of the 29th of August the Americans abandoned their
works, and crossed the East-river to New York. Long Island having
thus been reduced, with little loss, the SEVENTEENTH embarked from
thence, and, crossing the river, took part in forcing the enemy to
evacuate New York: the regiment was also engaged in the action at
_Pelham-manor_ on the 18th of October.

Advancing up the country the regiment joined the army on the
20th of October, and on the 28th it was one of the corps engaged
in forcing the passage of the Brunx River, and in chasing the
Americans to their entrenchments at the entrance of _White Plains_.
The regiment had one man and five horses killed; Lieutenant William
Loftus, four rank and file, and three horses wounded.

The Americans withdrew from their lines, when the British retired
to undertake the siege of _Fort Washington_, and at the storming of
the lines and redoubts near the fort, on the 16th of November, the
SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons supported the infantry, and had one man

One troop of the regiment formed part of the force under
Lieut.-General Clinton, which sailed from New York on the 1st of
December, landed on _Rhode Island_ on the 8th, and overpowering
the American troops, reduced the island to submission to the
British Government. This troop remained on Rhode Island during
the succeeding twelve months under Major-General Earl Percy,
and afterwards under Major-General Prescott. Five troops of the
regiment were stationed, during the winter, at New York and other
places in the vicinity of that city.

[Sidenote: 1777]

The Americans having formed extensive magazines at _Danbury_ and
other places on the borders of Connecticut, a detachment of the
SEVENTEENTH formed part of the force sent from New York, under
Major-General Tryon, to destroy the stores. Sailing from New York
in transports, the troops arrived, on the evening of the 25th of
April, 1777, off Norwalk, landed without opposition, and commenced
their march at ten o'clock that night for Danbury, where they
arrived about two in the afternoon of the following day. On their
approach the American soldiers fled, and as no carriages could
be procured to bring off the stores, they were destroyed by fire;
the flames communicating to the town, it was also consumed. On the
following morning the British commenced their march back to their
shipping, but had to fight their way through troops assembled to
oppose them. They overthrew one body of Americans at _Ridgefield_,
routed another party at the _Hill of Campo_, and afterwards
embarked without molestation for New York.

In June the army took the field, and endeavoured to draw the
American forces under General Washington from their strong position
in the mountains in the Jerseys, but without success. The British
General afterwards embarked with the greater part of his army on an
expedition against the populous and wealthy city of Philadelphia,
taking with him the Sixteenth Light Dragoons, and leaving five
troops of the SEVENTEENTH at New York, and one troop at Rhode

From New York one troop of the SEVENTEENTH embarked, dismounted,
in the early part of October, with the expedition against _Forts
Montgomery_ and _Clinton_. Having landed at Stoney-point, on the
6th of October, the troop of the SEVENTEENTH formed part of the
column under Major-General Vaughan, which captured one of the forts
by storm on the same evening; the other fort was abandoned by the

After returning from this enterprise the troop rejoined the
regiment at New York, and during the winter the SEVENTEENTH
embarked for Pennsylvania, and were stationed at Philadelphia under
General Sir William Howe.

[Sidenote: 1778]

In the spring of 1778 a succession of detachments ranged
the country for many miles round Philadelphia, and opened
communications for bringing in supplies of provision, in which
service the SEVENTEENTH were actively employed.

The American troops were encamped in Valley Forge, and Captain
Lord Cathcart, of the SEVENTEENTH, being sent out with twenty-five
men to reconnoitre the enemy's position in the direction of
White-marsh, ascertained that a patrole of ten American soldiers
had taken possession of a house on the road leading to that place.
The men of the SEVENTEENTH surrounded the house, and his lordship
summoned the Americans to surrender; but they had barricaded the
doors and windows, and refused to obey the summons. A few men of
the SEVENTEENTH dismounted, sent some shots through the door,
and approached the house to try the effect of cold steel, when
the Americans begged for quarter, and were taken prisoners to
Philadelphia. This excursion of twenty-eight miles was performed
without a halt.

On the evening of the 3rd of May a small detachment of the regiment
left Philadelphia to co-operate with the troops destined to drive
nine hundred Americans, under Brigadier-General Lacy, from their
post at _Crooked Billet_. The Americans retreated, but were
overtaken, attacked, and one hundred and fifty men killed, wounded,
and taken prisoners; their baggage was also captured, and sold for
the benefit of the troops employed in this service.

Three thousand Americans, under the Marquis de la Fayette,
took post on _Barren Hill_, seven miles in advance of General
Washington's camp, and a detachment of the regiment formed part
of the force sent against this portion of the American army. On
the morning of the 21st of May, as the British approached, the
Marquis de la Fayette made a precipitate retreat; but his rear was
overtaken by the dragoons, and some execution done.

The French monarch having acknowledged the independence of the
revolted British provinces, and concluded a treaty with them, the
nature of the war became so far changed that the evacuation of
Philadelphia took place, and the army proceeded to New York. In the
march from Philadelphia, through the Jerseys, the SEVENTEENTH were
actively employed, and performed much severe and harassing duty;
the route lying through woods, over rivers, and along difficult
roads, with the enemy hovering on the flanks and rear, occasioned
the services of the light cavalry to be much required. On the
28th of June, as the last brigade descended from the heights of
_Freehold_, in New Jersey, the enemy appeared in the rear and
on both flanks, and some sharp fighting took place; when the
SEVENTEENTH, being with the advance guard, were ordered from the
front to take part in the engagement. The enemy was repulsed; the
army resumed its march, and one troop of the regiment, being in
advance, took part in putting to flight a body of Americans. Having
crossed the channel to Sandy Hook, the army embarked from thence
for New York.

Soon after their return from Philadelphia the strength of the
SEVENTEENTH was increased by the receipt of many effective men and
all the serviceable horses from the Sixteenth Light Dragoons, which
corps was ordered to return to Great Britain; the horses were many
of them American, as the Sixteenth had only eighty English horses

[Sidenote: 1779]

From New York the regiment was sent to the east end of Long Island,
where it remained during the winter; and in the spring of 1779 it
was ordered to take up a position in advance of the lines in front
of New York.

[Illustration: 17th Lancers, 1810. Review Order. [To face page 24. ]

The SEVENTEENTH was the only British cavalry regiment in America,
and no other corps was sent out; there were, however, several
independent troops of provincial cavalry in the British service,
also a corps, partly cavalry and partly infantry, commanded by
Captain Lord Cathcart of the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons, who held
the rank of Colonel in the provincials, and also another corps, or
"legion," as it was more frequently called, under Colonel Banastre
Tarleton. This legion had usually a select party of the SEVENTEENTH
attached to it, who wore their own uniform, and became celebrated
for their excellent conduct on the out-post duty, also for their
daring spirit of enterprise when employed on detached services.
While serving remotely from the head-quarters, their own uniform
became worn out, and they were offered the dress of the legion; but
they were proud of their regiment, and they preferred patching up
their old clothing to preserve the distinction[2].

The post occupied by the regiment in front of New York was held for
the purpose of clearing the country of the hostile parties, and
keeping the roads clear to enable the supplies of the army to be
brought in, and skirmishes occurred almost daily.

Serjeant THOMAS TUCKER, of the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons,
traversing the country with twelve men, came suddenly upon a
small American fort, when he leapt into it and made the garrison
prisoners. TUCKER accompanied the regiment from England as a
volunteer; he evinced signal bravery on all occasions, and was
rewarded, on the 10th of April, 1779, with a commission of cornet
in the regiment: he proved an efficient officer.

[Sidenote: 1780]

In the winter, when the French fleet and land forces, after
having been repulsed at Rhode Island and Savannah, withdrew from
the American coast, General Sir Henry Clinton fitted out an
expedition against South Carolina, where the mildness of the
climate, the richness of the country, its vicinity to Georgia,
and its distance from the position occupied by the American army
under General Washington, pointed out the advantage and facility of
conquest. A detachment of the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons, attached
to Tarleton's legion, formed part of the force employed on this
enterprise. The fleet sailed towards the end of December, but was
dispersed by strong gales of wind, and the tempestuous weather
occasioned the death of nearly all the horses. The transports in
which the SEVENTEENTH and Tarleton's legion were embarked, took
refuge from the tempest in the harbour of Tybee, an island near the
coast of Georgia, from whence the officers and soldiers proceeded
in boats to the island of Port Royal, where a number of horses of
an inferior description were procured.

The SEVENTEENTH and Tarleton's legion were quartered at Beaufort,
from whence they proceeded to join Brigadier-General Patterson, who
was proceeding from Savannah, with a body of infantry, to reinforce
the expedition under Sir Henry Clinton, who had undertaken the
siege of Charlestown. The inhabitants of the country through
which the detachment had to travel having heard of the loss of
the cavalry horses at sea, many of them equipped themselves as
cavaliers, to confine the British to the line of march, and prevent
them collecting horses in the country. Some of these cavaliers
insulted the front of the column, but were overthrown by a charge
of the dragoons, and the SEVENTEENTH took some prisoners and a
number of horses, without any loss on their part; but in the
neighbourhood of Rantol's bridge the Americans captured an officer
and several foot soldiers.

After a march of twelve days through a country intersected with
rivers, rendered difficult by heavy rains, and infested with
enemies, the SEVENTEENTH arrived on the banks of the Ashley-river
with a large quantity of forage and some horses, which they had
collected on the march: the cavalry of the detachment halted
at Quarter House, but the infantry joined the army before

On the 12th of April, 1780, the men of the SEVENTEENTH advanced,
with other troops, to cut off the communications of the garrison
of Charlestown with the adjacent country; they halted that night
at Goosecreek, and on the evening of the following day they moved
silently towards one of the enemy's posts of communication on
Cooper's river,--several corps co-operating in the movement. At
three o'clock on the following morning the advanced guard of
dragoons and mounted infantry approached _Monk's Corner_, and
charging and routing the enemy's guard on the main road, dashed
forward into the American cavalry camp. The enemy was surprised,
all who made resistance were speedily cut down; favoured by
darkness, General Huger, Colonels Washington and Jamieson, and
seven others, took refuge in some swampy grounds near the camp; and
one hundred and fifty dragoons and hussars, four hundred horses,
and fifty waggons loaded with arms, ammunition, and clothing, were
captured. The enemy's infantry at Biggin's bridge were routed by
a charge with the bayonet; the boats at Bonneau's ferry were also
seized, and the American army in Charlestown was closely invested.

On the 6th of May Lieut.-Colonel Tarleton advanced at the head
of a patrole of one hundred and fifty men of the SEVENTEENTH and
dragoons of the legion, to gain intelligence, when he was overtaken
by a loyal American, who informed him that a strong body of the
enemy's cavalry had taken a British foraging party, of an officer
and seventeen mounted light infantry, prisoners, and was moving
towards _Lenew's ferry_. Stimulated by this news, the patrole
quickened its pace, and arrived at three in the afternoon in the
presence of the enemy's videts. The SEVENTEENTH instantly charged
the American out-guard, which was routed, and pursued upon the
main body; the enemy was surprised; five officers and thirty-six
soldiers were cut down; seven officers and sixty dragoons were made
prisoners, and Colonels White, Washington, and Jamieson, with some
other officers and a few soldiers, escaped by swimming across the
river, but many were drowned in the attempt.

The foraging party, captured by the Americans in the morning, was
rescued as the ferry-boat was pushing off to convey the men across
the river.

In this enterprise the British had only two men and four horses
killed; the patrole joined the troops under Lieut.-General Earl
Cornwallis on the same evening, but upwards of twenty horses died
of fatigue.

Charlestown surrendered to the British arms on the 12th of May.
Soon after this event the SEVENTEENTH were attached to the
troops under Lieut.-General Earl Cornwallis, and marched up
the north-east bank of the Santee river in pursuit of a body of
Americans under Colonel Burford, who was retreating to North
Carolina. Lord Cornwallis halted at Georgetown, from whence forty
of the SEVENTEENTH, one hundred and thirty of Tarleton's legion,
a hundred mounted infantry, and a three-pounder, followed the
Americans by forced marches. After travelling one hundred and five
miles in fifty-four hours, the detachment approached _Wacsaw_, on
the confines of South Carolina, at three o'clock in the afternoon
of the 29th of May, and the advance-guard, overtaking the enemy's
rear, took a serjeant and four American light dragoons prisoners.
Three hundred and eighty American infantry, a detachment of
cavalry, and two six-pounders, formed for battle in an open wood;
the British, though not half so numerous, (many men and the only
gun with the detachment being unable to keep up,) moved forward in
three columns to charge their opponents; the men of the SEVENTEENTH
being in the centre column under Captain Talbot. The Americans
remained steady until the British were within ten yards, and then
fired a volley, which produced little effect; and before the
smoke cleared away, their ranks were broken, and the British were
cutting them down with a terrible carnage. In a few minutes the
conflict had ceased; one hundred Americans lay dead on the spot,
two hundred were made prisoners, and three colours, two guns, and a
number of waggons containing stores and baggage, were captured by
the British, who had only five officers and soldiers killed, and
twelve wounded; Lieutenant Matthew Pateshall, of the SEVENTEENTH,
being among the wounded.

Thus South Carolina was cleared of the enemy's troops, and, in a
few days after this exploit, the detachment joined Earl Cornwallis
at Camden, a town situate on the east side of the Wateree river.

In the mean time General Sir Henry Clinton had returned to New
York, and had left orders for the SEVENTEENTH to follow; the
detachment, accordingly, embarked from South Carolina, leaving the
sick and a few men attached to Tarleton's legion behind, and joined
the regiment at New York, where it had remained under General

The Americans made great efforts to regain possession of South
Carolina; but their army of six thousand men, under General
Gates, was routed at _Camden_ by two thousand British, under Earl
Cornwallis, on the 16th of August. The men of the SEVENTEENTH
attached to Tarleton's legion shared in the conflict. "The cavalry
completed the route with their usual promptitude and gallantry,
and after great exertions during the action, continued the pursuit
to Hanginrock, twenty-two miles from the place where the action
commenced, during which many of the enemy were slain, and many
prisoners taken, with one hundred and fifty waggons, and all the
baggage and camp equipage. On the morning of the 17th Colonel
Tarleton was again despatched in pursuit, and on the 18th surprised
seven hundred men, killing one hundred and fifty on the spot,
and taking three hundred prisoners, three cannon, and forty-four

[Sidenote: 1781]

During the winter reinforcements were sent from New York to South
Carolina, including a detachment of the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons,
which landed in December, and joined Earl Cornwallis's camp on the
6th of January, 1781.

The SEVENTEENTH were afterwards attached to the troops under
Colonel Tarleton, who was directed to force the Americans under
General Morgan to pass the Broad river. The British overtook their
opponents on the 17th of January, at a place called _Cowpens_; the
Seventh Royal Fusiliers, the infantry of the legion, and a corps of
light infantry, with a troop of cavalry on each flank, commenced
the action, and soon forced the enemy to give way; but being
too eager in the pursuit to preserve sufficient order, Morgan's
corps faced about and gave them a heavy fire; this produced great
confusion and serious loss, including two guns. The cavalry of
the legion quitted the field, excepting about fourteen men, who
joined forty of the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons, and, at the head
of this little band of heroes, Colonel Tarleton made a desperate
charge on the whole of the American cavalry, and drove them back
on their infantry, recapturing his baggage, and cutting to pieces
the detachment of the enemy which had taken possession of it. He
afterwards retired to Hamilton's ford.

Cornet Thomas Patterson of the regiment was killed on this
occasion[4], and Lieutenant Henry Nettles wounded; several private
soldiers and troop horses were also killed and wounded.

When Earl Cornwallis advanced into North Carolina, the SEVENTEENTH
were left in South Carolina, under the command of Lord Rawdon,
and had to perform duties which called forth the intelligence,
activity, and bravery of the officers and soldiers. The occupation
of posts distant from each other gave the light cavalry left in the
province full employment in keeping up the communications. Many of
the inhabitants were hostile to the royal cause; they performed
their duties of allegiance with reluctance, and broke their
engagements at the first opportunity: the troops of the Congress
also made incursions into the province. These circumstances
occasioned the duties of the detachment to be particularly
harassing; the men and horses were exhausted by constant motion
along bad roads, and reduced in numbers by continual skirmishes.
While employed in these duties instances of individual gallantry
and devotion to the interests of the service were numerous. On
one occasion, when Private MCMULLINS was carrying a despatch to
the Commander-in-Chief, he was beset by four militia men; he shot
one, disabled another with his sword, and brought the other two
prisoners to head-quarters[5].

On another occasion a despatch of great importance had to be
forwarded to Lord Rawdon, through a country infested by the enemy,
and Corporal O'LAVERY, of the SEVENTEENTH, being a man of known
courage and experience, was selected to accompany the bearer of
the despatch. They had not proceeded far before they were attacked
and both severely wounded. The bearer of the despatch died on the
road; the corporal snatched the paper from the dying man, and rode
on until he fell from loss of blood, when, to conceal the important
secret from the Americans, should he fall into their hands, he
thrust the paper into his wound. He was found, on the following
day, with sufficient life to point to the fatal depository of the
secret. The surgeon declared the wound itself not to be mortal, but
rendered so by the insertion of the despatch. Corporal O'LAVERY was
a native of the county of Down, where a _monument_, the gratitude
of his countryman and commander, LORD RAWDON, records his fame.

The services of the British troops in the Carolinas, are spoken of
in the 'Annual Register' of 1781, in the following terms:--"It is
impossible to do justice to the spirit, prudence, and invincible
fortitude displayed by the commanders, officers, and soldiers
during these dreadful campaigns in the Carolinas. They had not only
to contend with men, and those by no means deficient in bravery or
enterprise, but they encountered and surmounted difficulties and
fatigues from climate and country that would appear insuperable in
theory, and incredible in relation. During renewed successions of
forced marches, under a burning sun, and in seasons inimical to
man, they were frequently, when sinking under excessive fatigue,
not only destitute of comforts, but even of necessaries that seemed
essential to existence. During the greatest part of the time they
were destitute of bread, and the country afforded no vegetables;
salt failed; and their only resource was water and the cattle found
in the woods. It is a melancholy consideration, that such talent,
bravery, and military virtue should have been exercised in vain."

During the summer of this year an attack of the enemy on New York
was apprehended, and General Sir Henry Clinton, in a letter to
Lord Cornwallis, dated the 11th of June, 1781, requested that some
of the troops, and, among others, the remaining officers and men of
the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons, should be sent back to New York.

[Sidenote: 1782]

Lieut.-General George Preston was removed on the 18th of April,
1782, to the Scots Greys, and was succeeded in the colonelcy of
the SEVENTEENTH by General the Honourable Thomas Gage, from the
Twenty-second Foot.

[Sidenote: 1783]

His Majesty having been induced to concede the independence of the
United States, the war was terminated by a treaty of peace, and in
1783 the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons embarked from New York, and
returned to Ireland, where the regiment was stationed during the
succeeding eleven years.

[Sidenote: 1784]

In 1784 the colour of the clothing was changed from scarlet to blue.

[Sidenote: 1785]

On the 4th of February, 1785, General Gage was removed to the
Eleventh Dragoons, and His Majesty conferred the colonelcy of the
SEVENTEENTH on Colonel Thomas, Earl of Lincoln, from the half-pay
of the Seventy-fifth Foot, which corps was disbanded in 1783.

[Sidenote: 1794]

In February, 1794, the Earl of Lincoln succeeded, on the death of
his father, to the dignity of Duke of Newcastle.

In the mean time the success of the French republicans, who had
seized the reins of government and beheaded their sovereign, had
been followed by the adoption of republican principles by many
evil-disposed persons in Ireland, who attempted to organize a
rebellion in that part of the United Kingdom; and the SEVENTEENTH
were employed, under Major-General Eustace, in suppressing the
proceedings of a body of rebels called _Defenders_, in the counties
of Dublin, Louth, and Meath. The regiment was employed many months,
night and day, in this service. It was afterwards sent to the
north of Ireland, and quartered at Lisburn, Carrickfergus, &c., in
consequence of some opposition to authority made by the Belfast
volunteers. Major-General White took the command of the troops at
Belfast, and ordered the volunteers to give up their cannon; they
refused, and barricaded the streets in one part of the town; but
the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons being sent for, entered Belfast in
so dashing a manner that the volunteers were dismayed, and their
commanding officer waited on General White, and represented that
they did not understand the reason of the regiment entering the
town in so rapid and hostile a manner, and that the volunteers
would give up the cannon on condition of being sent back to their
quarters, to which they proceeded on the same day.

[Sidenote: 1795]

Major-General His Grace the Duke of Newcastle died on the 17th of
May, 1795, and King George III. conferred the vacant colonelcy on
Major-General Oliver de Lancey, from the lieut.-colonelcy of the

The principles of republicanism which had involved France in
anarchy and bloodshed, had also extended their devastating
influence to the French West India islands, and the planters of St.
Domingo had sought the protection of Great Britain against the fury
of the mulattoes and negroes who, inflamed with republican zeal,
carried massacre and devastation through the island. A large body
of troops was assembled, under Major-General Sir Ralph Abercromby,
to complete the deliverance of the French West India Islands from
the power of the republicans, and to reduce to obedience the
insurgents in the island of St. Vincent and Grenada, which formerly
belonged to France, but had been ceded to Great Britain by treaty.
Four troops of the SEVENTEENTH embarked at Cork for England in
August, 1795, leaving the head-quarters in Ireland; they landed
at Portsmouth, and joined the cavalry camp at Nestley, under Lord
Cathcart, and on the 21st of September embarked for St. Domingo.
The departure of the fleet of several hundred vessels, escorted by
a splendid division of the royal navy, under Admiral Christian,
was a scene calculated to impress the mind with an idea of British
power; but a storm ensued which scattered the fleet, when many
vessels were lost, and others returned to Spithead. The SEVENTEENTH
arrived at the West Indies in safety, and two troops were, for a
short time, employed as marines on board the Hermione frigate,
commanded by Captain Pigot, who was afterwards murdered by his
crew. The two troops were eventually landed at Martinico.

One squadron of the regiment proceeded to _Jamaica_, and was
employed, towards the end of 1795 and in the beginning of 1796,
against the native Maroons, who had been joined by a number of
runaway slaves, and were engaged in open hostility against the
British authority. The Maroon warriors were expert bush-fighters,
and the service against them proved destructive and severe; they
boldly engaging the troops on more than twenty different occasions.

[Illustration: 17th Light Dragoons, 1817. [To face page 40. ]

Thirty men of the SEVENTEENTH, with ten of another regiment,
were stationed, under the command of a subaltern officer, to
intercept a body of Maroons and negroes; but the latter had so
perfect a knowledge of the country that they came upon the military
by surprise. The officer being wounded, retired to a safe post,
where he delivered the charge of the party over to Serjeant
Stephenson of the SEVENTEENTH. The Serjeant then addressed his men
in the most animating language, and leading them to the charge in
a most spirited manner, at a moment when the Maroon warriors did
not expect an attack, he routed the rebels and killed and wounded
several of them[6].

[Sidenote: 1796]

On another occasion, when the troops were out in quest of the
Maroon bands, the dragoons came suddenly upon a number of warriors
deliberating in council in one of their recesses called the
Cock-pit, when Lieutenant Oswald Werge leaped in among them at the
hazard of his life, saying, "I bring you peace;" fortunately they
did not fire at him, but received him in a friendly manner, and
the consequence was, that a treaty was entered into with them; a
number of the warriors surrendered in January, 1796, and in March
the Maroon war terminated by the surrender of the other warriors,
who were afterwards removed from the island.

Five troops, with the head-quarters of the regiment, embarked from
Ireland for St. Domingo on the 25th of February, 1796.

One squadron had, in the mean time, been selected to form part of
the force to be employed in reducing to obedience the insurgents
in the island of _Grenada_, whose atrocious conduct had procured
them the designation of brigands. Having landed on the south of
Port Royal, the troops, under Brigadier-General Nicolls, advanced,
on the 25th of March, to attack the enemy, who occupied a strong
position on a hill of steep ascent. During the action two vessels
arrived from Guadaloupe with reinforcements for the enemy, and
were landing men on the beach, when the SEVENTEENTH were ordered
to interpose between them and the fort. Passing swiftly along
a lane strewed with killed and wounded, exposed to the fire of
both parties, the SEVENTEENTH reached the beach, and instantly
charging, put every enemy to the sword that had landed; no quarter
being given. When this service was completed, the cannonading was
so hot on both sides, that the squadron could not return without
being destroyed, and it took post under the cover of a hill.
The infantry having gained the crest of the enemy's position
and carried the redoubt by storm, the republican troops fled in
dismay,--some throwing themselves down precipices, and others
escaping through the thick underwood; when they arrived at the low
grounds, the SEVENTEENTH under Captain John Black, and St. George's
troop of light cavalry, darted upon them and slew three hundred
men in the space of a few hundred yards[7]. The SEVENTEENTH were
commended in orders for their distinguished conduct; their loss was
limited to one horse killed, four men and two horses wounded.

The SEVENTEENTH took part in several other operations and
skirmishes; in June the Commandant of the French troops at Goyave
surrendered, and a number of brigands retired, under a desperate
and atrocious character named Fedon, to their strong hold in the
mountains, where they were invested and forced to submit. In
addition to Captain Black, Captain Johnson, Lieutenant Werge, and
Cornet Brown of the regiment were also engaged at Grenada.

[Sidenote: 1797]

Four troops of the SEVENTEENTH were sent to _St. Domingo_,
where they served against the republican troops, and signalized
themselves at Fort Raimond, Irois, and Morne Gautier; but the
climate of this island proved so injurious to the health of the
British soldiers that it was eventually abandoned.

After losing many officers and soldiers in the West Indies, the
regiment embarked for England, where it arrived in August, 1797;
the head-quarter ship, the Caledonia, foundered at sea; the men
were saved by boats, and taken on board the Britannia, of Bristol;
but the baggage and regimental books were lost. On its arrival in
England the regiment received about four hundred recruits, also a
large draft from the Eighteenth Light Dragoons, and it was soon
restored to a state of efficiency.

[Sidenote: 1798]

[Sidenote: 1799]

In 1798 a Serjeant's party of the SEVENTEENTH was attached to
the expedition under Major-General Eyre Coote, which sailed from
Margate, on the 14th of May, for the purpose of destroying the
basin, gates, and sluices of the Bruges canal, to interrupt the
communication between _Ostend_ and Holland. A landing was effected
on the 19th of May, and the works were destroyed; but while this
was taking place, the wind and surf became so high that the troops
could not re-embark, and they were attacked by superior numbers,
and forced to surrender. The detachment of the SEVENTEENTH was
among the troops made prisoners, and it was sent to Lisle; it was
afterwards exchanged, and on rejoining the regiment in the spring
of 1799, such had been its exemplary conduct, that the Serjeant,
(William Brown,) was promoted to a cornetcy in the Waggon Train,
from which he was transferred to the regiment, and eventually
became a captain in the corps; and the private soldiers were
appointed non-commissioned officers.

Two squadrons were ordered to Portsmouth to embark for Egypt, but
the order was countermanded, and they rejoined the head-quarters at
Swinley, near Windsor, where the regiment was encamped during the

This year a second Lieut.-Colonel was added to the establishment,
which was augmented to ten troops.

[Sidenote: 1800]

After encamping on Bagshot heath, in the summer of 1800, the
regiment was employed in suppressing riots, occasioned by the high
price of provision, and it exhibited much forbearance under many
aggravated assaults from the populace, especially at Duffield,
where many soldiers were hurt, and several men of the regiment were
afterwards invalided in consequence of the injuries received on
this and other occasions: Captain Werge received a shot through his

[Sidenote: 1801]

[Sidenote: 1802]

At a general muster at Manchester, in 1801, the regiment had
upwards of a thousand non-commissioned officers and soldiers on
parade, and nearly a thousand horses: but at the peace of Amiens,
in 1802, the establishment was reduced to eight troops. The horses
of one of the reduced troops were valued, by a dealer, at an
average of forty guineas each.

[Sidenote: 1803]

Having embarked for Ireland in May, 1803, the regiment experienced
much severe weather on the passage; it landed at Dublin, and war
with France having been resumed, two troops were added to the

[Sidenote: 1804]

Four troops joined the force encamped, under Lord Cathcart, on the
Curragh of Kildare, in August, 1804.

[Sidenote: 1805]

In the winter of 1805 the regiment embarked for England, in the
expectation of engaging in active warfare on the Continent; but the
results of the victory gained by Buonaparte over the Austrians and
Russians at Austerlitz, occasioned the order to proceed on foreign
service to be countermanded.

On landing in England the head-quarters proceeded to Northampton,
where the regiment was inspected by Major-General Sir Henry Warde,
who informed the commanding officer, Lieut.-Colonel Evan Lloyd,
that he had been sent to examine the regiment in consequence of it
being supposed to be unfit for service; but that he should report
it composed of the finest men, the best horses, and equipped with
the best appointments of any corps he had inspected.

[Sidenote: 1806]

In April, 1806, the SEVENTEENTH marched to the vicinity of London,
and were reviewed on Wimbledon common by their Royal Highnesses
the Prince of Wales and Duke of York. The Prince of Wales most
graciously shook hands with Lieut.-Colonel Lloyd, and wished him
joy on so fine a corps, as did also several other general officers
present on that occasion, and the Duke of York expressed his
gratification in very strong terms, at witnessing the appearance
of the corps and its correct manœuvring.

In September the regiment was suddenly ordered to prepare for
foreign service; two troops were separated to form a depôt; and
eight troops, having given up their horses, sailed from Spithead,
on the 5th of October, for South America, to engage in hostilities
against the Spanish provinces in that part of the world. Entering
the splendid and capacious harbour of Rio de Janeiro, the capital
of Brazil, information was received of the re-capture of Buenos
Ayres by the Spaniards; but arrangements, were, nevertheless,
made for carrying on the war in the Spanish dominions in South
America, and the SEVENTEENTH, having only short carbines, were
ordered to be armed with Spanish muskets, and to serve as infantry.
Leaving Rio de Janeiro, the fleet sailed to the Rio de la Plata;
two hundred miles up this immense river stands the city of Buenos
Ayres, where the stream is about thirty miles broad; but an attack
on this place was deferred, and the commander of the expedition,
Brigadier-General Samuel Auchmuty, resolved to proceed against
_Monte Video_, a town situate in a small bay on the north side of
the river, one hundred and twenty miles from Buenos Ayres.

[Sidenote: 1807]

In the middle of January, 1807, a landing was effected nine miles
from Monte Video, and the army advanced towards that fortress,
when the column, composed of the SEVENTEENTH, four troops of the
Twentieth, and two of the Twenty-first Light Dragoons, was attacked
by the enemy. Some sharp fighting occurred; Brigadier-General
Auchmuty's charger was killed, and he mounted one of Lieut.-Colonel
Lloyd's horses; his orderly trumpeter, Thomas Hudson, had also
his horse killed under him; but eventually the British dragoons
drove back their opponents, and took up the first position before
the fortress, about two miles from the citadel. On the 20th of
January a numerous body of men sallied from the town, but were
driven back, and on the 22nd a number of the enemy approached
the rear of the British line, when a skirmish ensued, in which
the SEVENTEENTH had two men killed and three wounded. During the
siege the SEVENTEENTH were employed in covering the troops before
the town and in bringing up provisions, in the performance of
which service they took many prisoners, and Lieut.-Colonel Lloyd
received the personal thanks of Brigadier-Generals Auchmuty and
Lumley. The town was taken by storm on the 3rd of February; on
this occasion the SEVENTEENTH formed part of the division under
Brigadier-General Lumley, in readiness to cover and support the
attack, and to protect the rear; on the capture of the town the
citadel surrendered.

Abundance of horses being found in the country, the regiment
was mounted; but great difficulty was experienced in procuring
forage. Lieut.-Colonel Lloyd proceeded above twenty miles up the
country, with four troops of the SEVENTEENTH, and two squadrons
of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Light Dragoons, and occupied
the out-posts of Canelon and St. Joseph, the latter situate on
the bank of a river of the same name. In the early part of March
Captain Ross's troop was sent to Las Penais, and Captain Supple's
to Cosa Negro barracks; and on the 1st of May the regiment had two
hundred and twenty-four mounted and three hundred and seventy-one
dismounted men in cantonments in and about Monte Video.

The arrival of Lieut.-General Whitelocke with additional troops,
and afterwards of Brigadier-General Craufurd with a further
reinforcement, was followed by an attack on the city of _Buenos
Ayres_. Embarking from Monte Video, the troops sailed nearly a
hundred miles further up the river, and then landed on the right
bank, about thirty miles from the city. Four dismounted troops of
the SEVENTEENTH were left, with a regiment of foot, to escort the
artillery from the place of disembarkation; and the four mounted
troops, mustering forty men each, under Lieut.-Colonel Evan Lloyd,
were employed as follows:--Two troops were ordered to give up their
horses to the commissariat, but on putting on the pack-saddles
the horses broke loose, and were of little use: thirty mounted
men remained under Captain Lloyd, to superintend the landing of
provision,--of these, ten were sent forward after the army with
despatches, twelve mounted men were attached to one of the infantry
brigades, and the remainder accompanied Lieut.-General Whitelocke.
Thus this small mounted cavalry force was so employed, that it was
not available for the more important services of the expedition.

Advancing through a difficult country, the army arrived at the
suburbs of Buenos Ayres, and, on the morning of the 5th of July,
penetrated the streets of the town; a number of the enemy collected
in the rear of the army was dispersed by sixteen mounted men of the
SEVENTEENTH and thirty dismounted men of the Ninth Light Dragoons,
under Lieut.-Colonel Torrens and Captain Whittingham. While
advancing along the streets of this populous city, the British
infantry were attacked by the whole male population, who crowded
the windows and tops of the flat-roofed houses, and assailed the
British with musketry, hand-grenades, bricks, and large stones.
Fiercely braving this tempest of war, the English soldiers pressed
forward; in some places they were victorious, in others they were
overpowered and forced to surrender; and in the midst of this
scene of carnage and confusion, sixteen men of the SEVENTEENTH
and fifty infantry soldiers, led by Captain Whittingham, opened
a communication with Brigadier-General Auchmuty's brigade. Ten
mounted men of the SEVENTEENTH and some infantry, also communicated
with Colonel Mahon's brigade left at the village of Reduction: but
hostilities were terminated by a treaty, in which Lieut.-General
Whitelocke agreed to surrender the posts he had taken, also Monte
Video, and withdraw from the country, for which he was brought to
trial and cashiered.

[Sidenote: 1808]

The SEVENTEENTH left South America in November; they put into
Cork harbour from stress of weather, and were mustered there on
the 24th of December; but leaving that port in January, 1808,
they sailed to Portsmouth, and, after disembarking, joined the
depôt troops at Chichester. At this place they remained six weeks
dismounted, under orders for the East Indies; furloughs were given
to the men to the 20th of February, and such was the excellent
spirit which prevailed, that at the expiration of the term there
was only one absentee,--a man detained by sickness.

On the 29th of February the regiment left Chichester; on arriving
at this place the men had large balances to receive; on quitting,
they were thanked by the mayor and corporation, who stated that
they had spent three thousand pounds in the town in six weeks,
without a single dragoon misbehaving himself.

Eight hundred non-commissioned officers and soldiers of
the regiment embarked from Portsmouth under Major Cotton,
(Lieut.-Colonel Evan Lloyd being detained as an evidence on the
trial of Lieut.-General Whitelocke,) and arrived at the Cape of
Good Hope on the 1st of June. On the 4th they were inspected by the
Commander-in-Chief at the Cape, Major-General the Honourable Henry
George Grey, who had formerly commanded the regiment, and was then
a Lieut.-Colonel on its establishment; he expressed himself highly
pleased with their appearance; and they fired a _feu de joie_ in
honour of the birth-day of King George III.

A remarkable circumstance, connected with the movements of the
SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons is shown by the following statement,
viz:--the celebration of the birth-day of His Majesty by the
regiment in the four different quarters of the world in four
successive years; viz., in 1806 in _Europe_, in England; in 1807 in
_America_, at Monte Video; in 1808 in _Africa_, at the Cape of Good
Hope; and in 1809 in _Asia_, at Surat, in the East Indies.

From the Cape of Good Hope the regiment sailed for Calcutta. On
approaching the Ganges a fire broke out in one of the ships,
the Hugh Inglis, through the carelessness of a petty officer;
the magazine was instantly inundated, and the engines from the
other ships assisting, the fire was extinguished without serious
damage. On the following day the three top-masts were carried
over the side of the ship by a squall, and with them fourteen or
fifteen men; but the wind speedily subsiding, and the boats of
the fleet rendering assistance, all the men were saved except
one. On arriving at Diamond Harbour, the regiment was removed on
board of small vessels, and it landed at Calcutta on the 25th of
August,--mustering seven hundred and ninety men.

The regiment performed garrison duty at Fort William from August
to December, during which time Major Cotton, the regimental
quarter-master, and sixty-two non-commissioned officers and
soldiers died.

[Sidenote: 1809]

Having been placed on the Bombay establishment, the regiment
embarked from Calcutta under Lieutenant-Colonel Lloyd, and arrived
at Bombay on the 1st of February, 1809. It was destined to occupy
quarters in the province of Guzerat,--a peninsula formed by the
Arabian sea and the gulfs of Cambay and Cutch, and proceeding to
Surat,--a city situate on a fertile plain, on the left bank of
the Tappi river,--it was there mounted on horses of a superior
description, furnished by an eminent native dealer, named
Soonderjie, for 450 and 500 rupees each.

[Sidenote: 1810]

While the regiment was stationed at Surat, four troops were
detached against the followers of a Mahomedan fanatic, who called
himself Jesus, the son of Mary, and had collected much treasure.
The inhabitants of the village of _Burding_, having joined
this fanatic, refused to pay tribute, and the detachment of the
SEVENTEENTH, under Major Supple, formed part of the force sent to
reduce them to obedience to the law. As the dragoons approached the
village, an immense crowd of these enthusiasts was discovered, and
they were summoned to surrender, and to give up their leader; but
they refused, with loud shouts in anticipation of victory. A feint
attack was made to intimidate them, but they threw clouds of dust
in the horses' faces, and dared the dragoons to the encounter. The
soldiers then charged; the fanatics fought with spears, and with
small hatchets, or javelins, fixed to the end of bamboos, twelve or
fourteen feet in length, with which they inflicted severe wounds;
but they were overpowered, and cut down or dispersed. Their leader,
and four of his companions, escaped, with their treasure, on swift
camels. On the arrival of some infantry and guns, the village was
razed to the ground. One corporal and two private soldiers were
killed; all the officers, several private soldiers, and many of the
horses were wounded: Lieutenant Adams had his helmet cut to pieces
from his head.

[Illustration: 17th Light Dragoons. Officers' Breakfast Mess
Baggage arriving on Camp Ground. (17th Lancers.) [To face page 56. ]

This year a detachment of the SEVENTEENTH accompanied Sir John
Malcolm to Persia; this party rejoined the regiment in December,
when the following letter was forwarded to the commanding officer,
Lieut.-Colonel Evan Lloyd:--


  "I only fulfil a duty when I inform you of the admirable conduct
  of the detachment of your regiment that accompanied me to Persia.
  It would, on such an occasion, be presumption in me to notice the
  merit of an officer of so established a character as Lieutenant
  Johnson, further than to state, that to his great care and
  attention the good order of his party is, no doubt, chiefly to be
  ascribed; but you will, I am assured, forgive me for expressing
  the high opinion I have formed of Serjeant Willocks, whose
  unwearied efforts were, at all moments, directed to the object
  of supporting the character of his corps, in which, from the aid
  of the non-commissioned officers, Corporals Carrigan and Batson,
  who are both excellent men, and the general good disposition of
  the whole party, he was completely successful. I can only add,
  that the impression which the appearance, discipline, and private
  behaviour of your men has made upon all ranks, in the countries
  through which we have travelled, are such as must do honour to
  the name of a British soldier.

  (Signed)      "J. MALCOLM, _Brig.-Gen._"

[Sidenote: 1811]

Leaving Surat, the regiment marched, in December, 1811, for its
new cantonments at Ruttapore, near Kaira, in the northern division
of Guzerat, where a commodious set of buildings had been erected
on a beautiful site near the river, under the direction of Captain
Goodfellow, of the Bombay Engineers, expressly for the use of the
SEVENTEENTH. Around the regimental cantonments the officers erected
very handsome and substantial houses of stone.

[Sidenote: 1812]

On the 1st of January, 1812, Colonel Evan Lloyd was promoted to
the rank of Major-general, and the Honourable Lincoln Stanhope
was appointed Lieut.-Colonel in the regiment, in addition to
Lieut.-Colonel Wm. Carden, who was appointed in 1811.

[Sidenote: 1813]

The regiment had not occupied its new cantonments many months
before it was visited by the epidemical fever frequently so
destructive in the fruitful province of Guzerat, and it carried off
many thousands of the natives, and numbers of Europeans. In the
months of October, November, and December, 1812, and January, 1813,
four officers and seventy-three men of the regiment died, chiefly
of this disease. This was followed by an equally destructive famine
in Guzerat, and the provinces to the westward, where no rain had
fallen during the two preceding years. Vegetation had nearly
ceased altogether; the rivers were reduced to mere rills, and the
nearly exhausted springs allowed a very limited irrigation around
the villages. Under this affliction, hundreds of the natives died
daily, and Guzerat, which is celebrated as one of the richest
provinces of the Mogul empire, abounding in rice, corn, sugar,
fruits of various kinds, cattle, and game, presented a barren and
woful spectacle.

[Sidenote: 1814]

[Sidenote: 1815]

In the years 1813, 1814, and 1815, strong detachments of the
regiment were employed in active service in the field, under the
command of General Sir George Holmes, and Colonels Barclay and
East. In December, 1815, the regiment formed part of the force
which penetrated the barren and mountainous province of _Cutch_, a
country abounding in lofty hills, extensive woods, and uncultivated
plains, where the natives breed very fine horses. Into this country
British troops had never before penetrated; and the army had to
traverse a sandy tract of land, separating Cutch from Guzerat,
called the Runn. This tract presented a wild and singular aspect;
it appeared as an arm of the sea from which the ocean had receded,
or the dry bed of an immense river, ten miles broad, and devoid
of verdure or vegetation. The SEVENTEENTH, being at the head of
the army, entered this sandy waste between six and seven o'clock
in the morning; in some places the ground was hard and safe; in
others, insulated quicksands offered some obstruction, which would
have proved serious impediments in the night; and broad streaks
of saline incrustations giving to the ground the appearance of
being covered with snow, were met with; also prawns and mullet
dried in the sun; the tracts of large birds were also seen, and
on approaching the opposite bank the traces of wild apes were
perceptible. In three hours the SEVENTEENTH reached the boundary of
this sandy waste, without having met with hostile opposition, which
had been expected. The European infantry crossed the Runn in three
hours and a half, and the main body, with the cannon, which had to
be dragged by ropes in some places, in four hours.

Having entered the territory of Cutch, the army marched towards
Booge-booge, the capital, and besieged the town and fort of
_Anjar_, which surrendered at discretion. In this service
Lieutenant Oliver de Lancey, of the SEVENTEENTH, was severely
wounded in the arm. The capture of Anjar was followed by the
surrender of the hill-fort and fortified city of _Booge-booge_, and
a treaty of alliance was afterwards concluded with the State of

[Sidenote: 1816]

The troops re-crossed the Runn at the Mattra-pass,--a headland
between the gulfs of Cutch and Cambay, where the tide of the Indian
ocean rushes in with a deafening noise, and a detachment from the
army was employed in destroying the fastnesses of the banditti,
whose depredations had been destructive to the neighbouring
territories; also in reducing the power of a piratical tribe which
infested the neighbouring seas. After the capture of the strong
fort of _Dwarka_, and the capture and dispersion of a fleet of
pirates, the field force broke up, and the SEVENTEENTH Light
Dragoons returned to their beautiful cantonments at Ruttapore in
May, 1816.

[Sidenote: 1817]

The predatory incursions of the _Pindarees_ occasioned the regiment
again to take the field in the year 1817[8], and these bands of
robbers being formidable in numbers, and all horsemen, the troops
employed against them had to perform many forced marches, to pass
rivers and thickets, and to be constantly endeavouring to surprise
these hordes of marauders. While several corps were pursuing the
Pindarees, a number of the native princes were preparing to engage
in hostilities against the British. The SEVENTEENTH formed part of
the force under Major-General Sir William Grant Keir, assembled
at Baroda, which force subsequently marched into the Malwar, and
joined the army commanded by Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Hislop.

On the second day's march from Baroda, the rear-guard and
baggage of the army were attacked by a formidable body of
_Bheels_,--robbers of a daring and desperate character. A squadron
of the SEVENTEENTH, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel the Honourable
Lincoln Stanhope, proceeded to the support of the infantry engaged,
and, on coming up, soon decided the affair, by cutting down a
number of the robbers, and driving the remainder into the jungle.
Lieut.-Colonel the Honourable Lincoln Stanhope, Captain Adams,
Cornets Smith and Marriott, evinced signal spirit and bravery on
this occasion: Cornet Marriott and his horse were severely wounded.
Serjeant-Major Hampson, a brave soldier, received an arrow in his
mouth, which pierced the spine; he pulled the arrow from the wound,
threw it down, then drew his pistol and shot the Bheel archer from
whom the arrow came; but he immediately fell from his horse to
rise no more, the flow of blood from his wound having suffocated
him. The regiment had several men and horses wounded in this
affair, which occurred on the 8th of December. On the following day
Lieut.-Colonel the Honourable Lincoln Stanhope, the officers, and
soldiers of the squadron, were thanked in field orders; the spirit
and steadiness they evinced were particularly commended, and the
prompt and active exertions of the officers were especially noticed.

[Sidenote: 1818]

Continuing to take an active part in the operations of the field,
the SEVENTEENTH were again engaged on the 19th of January, 1818,
and on the 21st of that month the following division order was
issued:--"The Major-General is happy to express his approbation
of the conduct of Lieut.-Colonel the Honourable Lincoln Stanhope,
and His Majesty's SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons, in the affair of
the 19th instant, and can only attribute the trifling loss they
sustained to the gallantry and rapidity of the attack, which added
to the complete surprise in incapacitating the enemy for preparing
for resistance. The Major-General has not failed to bring to the
notice of his Excellency, Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Hislop, and the
Commander-in-Chief in Bombay, his sense of the spirit evinced by
the regiment on that occasion."

[Illustration: 17th Lancers, 1824. [To face page 64. ]

The following account of an affair between a detachment of the
SEVENTEENTH and a party of _Pindarees_, was published in division
orders, dated the 13th of March, 1818:--"The Major-General is
happy to publish to the division the following particulars of an
action between a detachment of His Majesty's SEVENTEENTH Light
Dragoons, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel the Honourable
Lincoln Stanhope, and a body of _Pindarees_, commanded by Settoo
in person, which has added much to the deserved reputation of that
gallant corps, and reflects the highest credit on the officers and
men employed on this occasion.

"Information having been communicated to Lieut.-Colonel Stanhope
that a considerable party of Pindarees had appeared within a forced
march of his camp, a detachment was immediately put in motion,
and arrived in sight of the enemy after a march of thirty miles.
The dragoons immediately formed and attacked the Pindarees, who,
after a show of resistance, betook themselves to flight, closely
pursued by the detachment, which cut down upwards of two hundred
horsemen. Settoo, conspicuous by his dress and black charger,
narrowly escaped falling into our hands; he was saved by the
extraordinary speed of his horse. The Major-General begs to express
his thanks to Lieut.-Colonel the Honourable Lincoln Stanhope,
for the promptitude and vigour with which the arrangements were
made for the attack, and the spirit with which it was conducted;
and he returns his acknowledgments to the whole of the detachment
for the intrepidity and activity which it displayed during the
attack and pursuit of the enemy. The conduct of Captain Adams and
Cornet Marriott having been represented to the Major-General in
the most favourable terms, he is happy to express his unqualified
approbation of the gallantry of both these officers."

On the 14th of March the following statement appeared in division
orders:--"Having made arrangements for the return of the force into
cantonments, the Major-General cannot deny himself the satisfaction
of expressing his sentiments on the exemplary conduct of the troops
he has had the honour to command during the late service. Their
cheerfulness in the performance of their duty, though unavoidably
harassing and severe; the spirit and activity with which they
have always encountered fatigues; and, above all, their strict
adherence to discipline and subordination, reflects the highest
credit on both officers and men, and merits the Major-General's
warmest approbation. He only regrets that circumstances have not
afforded the whole of the troops such an opportunity of displaying
their most brilliant talents, as their companions in arms have so
gallantly availed themselves of. To conclude, he can only say, that
he has never been, in any part of the world, with troops whom he
should be so happy to have the honour to command again, or with
whom he would so willingly undertake the most arduous services.
Where almost every officer has so much distinguished himself by
zeal, alacrity, and good conduct, it is difficult to particularize
any individual; but Sir William Grant Keir feels himself bound,
both in gratitude and duty, to say, that he is, in an uncommon
degree, indebted to Lieut.-Colonel the Honourable Lincoln Stanhope,
of the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons, and to Captain Thompson, of
the same corps, who has also done more than his duty in taking
charge of the advanced-posts during the whole of the service:
the Major-General requests the above officers will accept of his
warmest thanks."

[Sidenote: 1819]

After reposing a short period in cantonments, the regiment again
took the field towards the end of the year 1818; and, in the
early part of 1819, it marched into the province of Candeish.
In the same year a detachment of eighty-six officers and
soldiers,--convalescents left at Kaira on the march of the regiment
into Candeish,--joined the force assembled in the province of
Cutch, under Major-General Sir William Grant Keir. The extirpation
of the _Pindarees_, a community of robbers associated for the
undisguised object of subsisting by plunder, and amounting to from
twenty-five to thirty thousand horsemen, was become an imperative
duty to the British subjects in India. At the same time several
native princes considered that the preservation of the Pindarees
might be of advantage to themselves in the event of a war with
the British. The operations of the armies which took the field,
therefore, embraced several objects, which were acomplished to the
honour of the British arms. After the surrender of Nagpore, the
capital of the Mahratta territories, the SEVENTEENTH returned to
their cantonments in the fruitful province of Guzerat.

[Sidenote: 1820]

In the month of May, 1820, the regiment marched once more to the
hilly country of Cutch, and formed part of the force assembled in
that province, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel the Honourable
Lincoln Stanhope, and encamped at Keyrah, about half-way between
the city of Booge-booge and Mandivie, the principal seaport in
Cutch. This force consisted of between five and six thousand men;
but the difference between the British authorities and the native
chiefs, against whom it was designed to act, having been settled
without an appeal to arms, the camp broke up in November, when
the troops returned to their cantonments, excepting a detachment,
which crossed the gulf of Cutch and captured, after an obstinate
and desperate resistance, the strong pirate fort of _Dwarka_,
where Lieutenant William Henry Marriott was mortally wounded.
This distinguished officer was aide-de-camp to the Honourable
the Governor in Council, and brigade-major to Lieut.-Colonel the
Honourable Lincoln Stanhope; he was possessed of every quality that
could make a young soldier the object of interest and of hope; he
was admired, respected, and beloved in life, and he met with a
death of glory without fear and without reproach.

[Sidenote: 1822]

The regiment marched back to its cantonments near Kaira, where
it was stationed until 1822, when arrangements were made for its
return to England. During the fourteen years it had been in India,
it had received, at various times, nine hundred and twenty-nine
officers and recruits from Great Britain; and its loss by deaths,
from disease and climate, exclusive of men killed by the enemy and
invalids, amounted to eight hundred and twenty-two officers and

On the 20th of August, 1822, His Majesty King George IV. was
pleased to approve of the regiment being equipped as a corps of

On the decease of General Oliver de Lancey, the colonelcy of the
regiment was conferred on Major-General Lord Robert Edward Henry
Somerset, K.C.B., from the late Twenty-first Light Dragoons, by
commission dated the 9th of September, 1822.

Leaving the men who had volunteered into other corps at Kaira, the
regiment commenced its march for Cambay, in November, and embarked
at that place in boats for Bombay, where it arrived in December.

[Illustration: 17th Lancers, 1829. [To face page 70. ]

[Sidenote: 1823]

On the 9th of January, 1823, the regiment sailed for England;
arriving at Gravesend, on the 18th of May, it landed and marched to
Chatham, where it was joined by Lieut.-Colonel Stanhope and Captain
Adams, who had returned to England over-land, via Egypt. At Chatham
the SEVENTEENTH returned their carbines into store, and were armed
with LANCES, and the officers and soldiers commenced wearing

[Sidenote: 1824]

The regiment was recruited to 311 men by the 1st of January, 1824;
in June it marched to London, and was stationed a short time in the
Regent's Park barracks, during the absence of the Life Guards for
the purpose of being reviewed. In July the head-quarters removed to

[Sidenote: 1825]

In the summer of 1825 the regiment again took the London duty,
during the absence of the household cavalry, and was subsequently
removed to Brighton and Chichester.

[Sidenote: 1826]

[Sidenote: 1827]

The regiment marched, in the spring of 1826, to Exeter and Topsham;
in January, 1827, it was stationed at Hounslow and Hampton-Court,
and on the 20th of that month it was on duty on the occasion of the
funeral of His late Royal Highness the Duke of York.

[Sidenote: 1828]

From Hounslow the regiment marched to Liverpool, and embarking
for Ireland, landed at Dublin in April, 1828, after an absence of
upwards of twenty-three years from that part of the United Kingdom.
On landing it marched to Dundalk and Belturbet; it returned to
Dublin in May, 1829.

[Sidenote: 1829]

Lieut.-General Lord R. E. H. Somerset was appointed to the Royal
Dragoons in November, 1829, and the command of the SEVENTEENTH
Lancers was conferred by His Majesty on Major-General Sir John
Elley, K.C.B., K.C.H.

[Sidenote: 1830]

In May, 1830, the head-quarters proceeded to Newbridge; and soon
after the accession of King William IV., on the 26th of June, the
regiment was directed to wear scarlet clothing, with yellow lace,
and blue trowsers; and to discontinue the moustaches.

[Sidenote: 1831]

On the 1st of April, 1831, the SEVENTEENTH marched from Limerick;
and it performed much harassing and severe duty in consequence of
the disturbed state of the county of Clare.

[Sidenote: 1832]

The regiment proceeded to Dublin in April, 1832; it there lost
three men from the cholera morbus; in June it embarked for Bristol,
and it was designed to occupy quarters at Gloucester, but did not
enter that city for several days for fear of communicating the
cholera. The head-quarters proceeded thither on the 29th of June;
but the cholera having broken out in Gloucester they were withdrawn
to Wotton-under-Edge and Dursley. In November, the cholera having
ceased, they returned to Gloucester.

[Sidenote: 1833]

In March, 1833, the regiment proceeded to Hounslow, Hampton-Court,
and Kensington; and on the 10th of September it was reviewed at
Windsor by His Majesty, who was graciously pleased to express to
Major-General Sir John Elley, and to Lieut.-Colonel Lord Bingham,
his royal approbation of its appearance, using the expression,
"It is perfect." After the review the officers had the honour to
dine with the King, in St. George's Hall, Windsor Castle, and His
Majesty repeated the expressions of his high approbation of the
appearance and movements of the SEVENTEENTH Lancers, and added,
that he had the gratification of reviewing this regiment half a
century before, when it was stationed at New York.

[Sidenote: 1834]

[Sidenote: 1835]

[Sidenote: 1836]

[Sidenote: 1837]

From Hounslow, the head-quarters marched in May, 1834, to Leeds;
in May, 1835, the regiment proceeded to Manchester; and in April,
1836, the head-quarters were removed to Ipswich, from whence they
proceeded, in May, 1837, to Coventry.

[Sidenote: 1838]

The regiment embarked at Liverpool, in June, 1838, for Ireland, and
was employed on duty at Dublin.

[Sidenote: 1839]

Lieut.-General Sir John Elley died in January, 1839, and was
succeeded by Lieut.-General Sir Joseph Stratton, K.C.H., who was
removed to the Eighth Dragoons in August, and the colonelcy was
conferred on Major-General Sir Arthur Benjamin Clifton, K.C.B.,

[Sidenote: 1840]

The regiment remained at Dublin until May, 1840, when it proceeded
to Cahir.

[Sidenote: 1841]

In May, 1841, the regiment returned to Dublin, from whence it
embarked for Scotland, and arrived at Glasgow at the end of that
month. It was removed to Edinburgh in the month of August following.

The usefulness and efficiency of the SEVENTEENTH Regiment of
Lancers;--the steadiness, good conduct, and attention to the rules
of discipline, evinced by the soldiers;--and the admirable quality
and training of the horses, afford abundant proof of the zealous
and constant superintendence of the officers, and their regard to
the credit and honour of the corps. The expressions of approbation
of the gallantry of the regiment when employed on active service,
as announced, on several occasions, in public orders;--and the
testimony borne by the general officers under whom it has, from
time to time, been employed, to the excellence of its appearance,
system, and conduct,--fully support the claim of the regiment to
the favour of the crown, the confidence of the government, and the
admiration of the country.

[Illustration: 17th Lancers, 1832. Review Order. [To face page 74. ]


[1] Captain BASIL exchanged to the Fifteenth Light Dragoons, and
was killed at _Emsdorf_ on the 16th of July, 1760.

[2] This anecdote of the corps was related by His Majesty King
William IV., who, when Prince William Henry, reviewed the regiment
while it was stationed at New York, and, in 1833, related at his
own table some particulars respecting its services in America.

[3] Earl Cornwallis's despatch.

[4] During the action the American Colonel Washington called
out, "Where is now the boasting Tarleton?" CORNET PATTERSON of
the SEVENTEENTH was riding up to attack him, and was shot by
Washington's orderly Trumpeter. _Anecdote by Lieut.-General Sir
Evan Lloyd, who served with the regiment in America._

[5] Statement of Lieut.-General Sir Evan Lloyd.

[6] Serjeant Stephenson was offered a commission in an infantry
corps, as a reward for his conduct on this occasion, which he
declined at the recommendation of several officers, who hoped to be
able to procure him promotion in his own regiment; but they either
fell victims to the climate or were removed to other corps, and he
died, on service with his regiment at Bombay, in 1813.

[7] Statement of Lieut.-General Sir Evan Lloyd.

[8] In November, 1817, Lieut.-Colonel William Carden died at the
cantonments of the regiment at Ruttapore, near Kaira, where a
handsome monument was erected with the following inscription:--



      A friend to truth; in soul sincere:
      In action faithful, and in honour clear.







_Appointed 27th April, 1763_.

JOHN HALE held a commission in the Forty-seventh Foot, and served
in Scotland during the rebellion of 1745-6. He was promoted to
Captain in 1752, and to the Majority of the regiment in 1755.
On the breaking out of the seven years' war he proceeded with
the Forty-seventh to North America, and was promoted to the
Lieut.-Colonelcy of the regiment on the 19th of March, 1758. He
commanded the Forty-seventh regiment in the expedition against
Cape Breton, under Lieut.-General, afterwards Lord, Amherst; was
distinguished for intrepidity at the landing on the 8th of June,
1758, and also served with credit at the siege of Louisburg, which
surrendered on the 26th of July. On the 30th of August he embarked
with his regiment from Louisburg, and proceeded to the support of
Major-General Abercromby, who had been repulsed in an attack on the
French fort of Ticonderago, on the west shore of Lake Champlain.
In 1759 he commanded the Forty-seventh in the expedition against
Quebec, under Major-General JAMES WOLFE, and when appointed to
this arduous enterprise, he was honoured with the local rank of
Colonel in America. Sailing up the river St. Lawrence a landing
was effected, and several actions took place, in which Colonel
Hale was distinguished for the cool and steady manner in which he
led the Forty-seventh into the fight. At the battle of Quebec, on
the 13th of September, 1759, Major-General WOLFE fell, mortally
wounded, while in the act of leading the Twenty-eighth Foot to
the charge with bayonets; Colonel HALE brought the Forty-seventh
into action in a very gallant manner, and the charge of the two
regiments (Twenty-eighth and Forty-seventh) was irresistible. After
the surrender of Quebec, Colonel HALE was selected to proceed to
England with despatches, and he arrived in London on the evening
of the 16th of October. He was well received at Court, and being a
talented officer, well acquainted with the nature of the service
of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, his merits procured him the
favour of his Sovereign.

A few months previous to Colonel Hale's arrival in England,
King George II. had resolved to add to his land forces entire
regiments of light cavalry; soon after the victory at Quebec was
made known, His Majesty reviewed the first of these regiments,
"Eliott's Light Horse," in Hyde Park, and was so much pleased with
its appearance and activity, that Colonel HALE was appointed to
superintend the formation of an additional light regiment, now
the SEVENTEENTH LANCERS, of which he was appointed Lieut.-Colonel
Commandant on the 7th of November, 1759, and Colonel on the 27th
of April, 1763. In 1770 he was appointed Governor of Limerick,
when he was succeeded in the colonelcy of his regiment by Colonel
Preston. He was promoted to the rank of Major-General in 1772,
to that of Lieut.-General in 1777; and to that of General on the
12th of October, 1793. He died on the 20th of March, 1806, at
the Plantations, near Guisborough, Yorkshire, leaving behind him
seventeen children.


_Appointed 2nd November, 1770_.

GEORGE PRESTON was many years an officer in the Scots' Greys, and
served with his regiment in 1743 at the battle of Dettingen, where
the Greys captured the white standard of the French household
troops. The Greys also served at the battle of Fontenoy in 1745,
at Roucoux in 1746, and in 1747 highly distinguished themselves
at Val, where Captain GEORGE PRESTON was wounded. His meritorious
conduct was rewarded, in 1757, with the Lieut.-Colonelcy of the
Greys, at the head of which corps he served in Germany under
Prince Ferdinand, of Brunswick, from 1758 to 1762. At the battle
of Minden in 1759, Warbourg in 1760, Kirch Denkern in 1761, and
Grobenstein in 1762, the Greys had the honour of serving, and they
signalized themselves in numerous skirmishes, on which occasions
Lieut.-Colonel PRESTON was distinguished for discretion and
personal bravery; and he returned to England in 1763, with the
reputation of being an excellent cavalry officer. In 1770 he was
rewarded with the Colonelcy of the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons; in
1772 he was promoted to the rank of Major-General, and to that of
Lieut.-General in 1777: in 1782 he was appointed to the Colonelcy
of the Scots' Greys. He died at Bath in 1785.


_Appointed 18th April, 1782_.

THE HONOURABLE THOMAS GAGE, second son of Thomas, first Viscount
Gage, of Castle Island, in Ireland, having served some time in the
subordinate commissions, was appointed Major of the Forty-fourth
Foot in February, 1747, and he was further promoted to the
Lieut.-Colonelcy of the regiment on the 2nd of March, 1751. He
was serving with his regiment in America, when a dispute occurred
between Great Britain and France respecting the territory on the
banks of the Ohio, and he commanded the advance-guard of the forces
sent against Fort Du Quesne, which the French had built to command
the entrance into the country on the Ohio and Mississippi. In the
disastrous action on the 9th of July, 1755, Major-General Braddock
was killed and Lieut.-Colonel Honourable Thomas Gage was wounded.
He continued to serve in America, where he raised a provincial
regiment, which was numbered the Eightieth, Light-armed, Foot, of
which he was appointed Colonel in May, 1758: he was also appointed
Brigadier-General in North America, and the efforts of the army
effected the conquest of Canada, which has continued to form
part of the British dominions from that period. He was promoted
to the rank of Major-General in 1761, and in the same year he
performed the duty of Commander-in-Chief in North America, and
also succeeded Sir Jeffrey Amherst as Colonel-in-Chief of the
Sixteenth regiment, which he held two months, when Lieut.-General
Amherst was re-appointed. In March, 1762, he was appointed
Colonel of the Twenty-second Foot; and in April, 1770, he was
promoted to the rank of Lieut.-General. When the misunderstanding
between Great Britain and her North American colonies began to
assume a serious aspect, he was appointed Captain-General and
Governor-in-Chief of Massachusetts Bay, and he arrived at Boston
in May, 1774. Hostilities commenced in the following year, and his
active exertions to suppress the rebellion were rewarded in August,
1775, with the appointment of Commander-in-Chief in North America,
which he resigned in a few months afterwards. In April, 1782, he
was appointed Colonel of the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons; he was
promoted to the rank of General in November following, and in 1785
he was removed to the Eleventh Dragoons. He died in 1787.


_Appointed 4th February, 1785_.

LORD THOMAS PELHAM CLINTON, second son of Henry, ninth Earl of
Lincoln, and first Duke of Newcastle, chusing the profession of
arms, was appointed Captain and Lieut.-Colonel in the First Foot
Guards on the 5th of April, 1775, and, on the decease of his
brother, in 1778, he obtained the title of EARL OF LINCOLN. He was
promoted to the rank of Colonel in 1780, and in 1782 he obtained
the Colonelcy of the Seventy-fifth, or the Prince of Wales's
Regiment of Foot, which was disbanded at the termination of the
American war, in 1783. In 1785 he obtained the Colonelcy of the
SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons; in 1787 he was promoted to the rank of
Major-General, and he succeeded to the dignity of DUKE OF NEWCASTLE
on the decease of his father, in 1794. He died in 1795.


_Appointed 20th May, 1795_.

OLIVER DE LANCEY descended from a respectable family settled in
North America. When a disposition to make themselves independent
appeared in the Colonies, he wrote a pamphlet entitled,
"Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes on the British
Colonies," which was first printed in America, and afterwards went
through the press several times in London. Proceeding to Great
Britain, he procured the commission of Cornet in the Fourteenth
Dragoons, in 1766, and in May, 1773, he was appointed Captain
in the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons, in which corps he remained
forty-nine years. In 1774 he was sent with despatches for the
Commander-in-Chief, and was directed to provide accommodation
for his regiment, which was then under orders for America; also
to provide remount horses for his corps and for the artillery
and other departments of the army. On arriving at Boston he was
sent to New York, to accomplish the objects of his mission; but,
hostilities commencing, he returned to Boston, where his regiment
arrived about the same time, and he remained at this place during
the blockade and bombardment, until it was evacuated in 1776,
when he proceeded to Halifax, and afterwards to Staten Island.
He commanded a squadron of the SEVENTEENTH on Long Island,
distinguished himself in the driving back of the American piquets,
and also at the battle of Brooklyn. Crossing the river to New
York he had further opportunities of signalizing himself, and in
the spring of 1777 he served in the Jerseys, where the squadron
under his orders had several rencounters with detachments of the
enemy. In the following winter he proceeded to Philadelphia,
was actively employed in the spring of 1778 in various services
in Pennsylvania, and was engaged in covering the march of the
army from thence to New York. On the 3rd of June, 1778, he was
promoted to the Majority of his regiment, which he commanded while
it was stationed on Long Island, and afterwards in the lines in
front of New York, where skirmishes occurred almost daily. He
was subsequently appointed Deputy Quarter-Master-General to the
expedition to South Carolina, where he served at the siege of
Charlestown, and in several expeditions under Earl Cornwallis;
and in 1781 he was promoted to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel, and
appointed Adjutant-General in America, in succession to Major John
André, who was made prisoner by the Americans and executed as a
spy. At the termination of the war he was appointed to arrange the
military claims made by persons who had served in America; and he
was placed at the head of a commission for settling the accounts
of the army during the war. In 1790 he was appointed Deputy
Adjutant-General, with the rank of Colonel in the army; in 1794 he
obtained the Lieut.-Colonelcy of the SEVENTEENTH Light Dragoons,
and was appointed Barrack-Master-General, which he held ten years;
he was also promoted to the rank of Major-General on the 3rd of
October, 1794. On the 20th of May, 1795, he was farther rewarded
with the Colonelcy of his regiment. He was promoted to the rank of
Lieut.-General in 1801, and to that of General in 1812. He was many
years a Member of Parliament. He died in September, 1822, after
serving the crown fifty-six years.


_Appointed 9th September, 1822_.

Removed to the Royal Dragoons in 1829, and to the Fourth, or
Queen's Own, Light Dragoons in 1836.


_Appointed 23rd November, 1829_.

This officer was a native of Leeds, and, being intended for the
law, was articled to a solicitor in London; but preferring the
profession of arms, he enlisted at Leeds, on the 5th of November,
1789, as a private trooper in the Royal Horse Guards (Blues).
His conduct was generally approved of by his officers, and his
attachment to the army remaining undiminished, his father enabled
him to purchase the appointment of Quartermaster of a troop in
the following year, namely, on the 4th of June, 1790; he was
promoted to a Cornetcy, by purchase, on the 6th of June, 1794.
He accompanied the four troops of the Blues to Flanders in 1793,
as Acting Adjutant; and serving under His Royal Highness the
Duke of York, he was present at several engagements, where the
Blues distinguished themselves, particularly at Cateau on the
26th of April, 1794, where Acting Adjutant Elley evinced signal
gallantry. He served with his regiment in the retreat through
Holland to Germany, and, returning to England in November, 1795,
he was promoted to a Lieutenantcy, by purchase, on the 26th of
January, 1796. The rank of Captain-Lieutenant was conferred on
this meritorious officer on the 24th of October, 1799, and he
was promoted to Captain of a troop, by purchase, on the 26th of
February, 1801. He was employed as Aide-de-camp to Major-General
Staveley on the Staff of Great Britain, when the country was
threatened with invasion by Buonaparte. He was promoted, by
purchase, to Major of the Royal Horse Guards on the 29th of
November, 1804, and to Lieut.-Colonel, by purchase, on the 6th of
March, 1808. In 1808 he served as Assistant Adjutant-General to the
cavalry of the army, which advanced into Spain under Lieut.-General
Sir John Moore, and was at the cavalry action at Sahagun, where
the Fifteenth Hussars highly distinguished themselves; also at
Benevente, where the French Imperial Guards were driven across
the Esla with severe loss. Lieut.-Colonel Elley was also present
at several other skirmishes, and at the battle of Corunna. The
appointment of Assistant Adjutant-General to the cavalry of the
British army in Portugal and Spain was held by Lieut.-Colonel
Elley from 1809 to 1814; he proved a most valuable officer, and
performed the duties of his situation with great ability during
those arduous campaigns, in which the British troops gained many
honours. He was present at most of the battles in Portugal,
Spain, and France, until the power of Buonaparte was subdued and
the Bourbon dynasty was restored to the throne of France. He
received several severe wounds, particularly at Salamanca, where
he narrowly escaped being taken prisoner; he was promoted to
the rank of Colonel on the 7th of March, 1813: in 1815 he was
appointed Assistant Adjutant-General to the cavalry of the army in
Flanders, under His Grace the Duke of Wellington, and served at the
battle of Waterloo[9]. He was rewarded with a silver medal for the
battle of Waterloo; a cross and three clasps for the battles of
Sahagun, Benevente, Talavera, Fuentes d'Onor, Salamanca, Vittoria,
Orthes, and Toulouse. He was also constituted Knight Commander of
the Order of the Bath; Knight Commander of the Royal Hanoverian
Guelphic Order; Knight of Maria Theresa of Austria; Knight of St.
George of Russia (fourth class). He was promoted to the rank of
Major-General on the 12th of August, 1819; in 1821 he was appointed
Governor of Galway, and in 1829 he was rewarded with the Colonelcy
of the SEVENTEENTH LANCERS: in 1837 he was promoted to the rank
of Lieut.-General. He died on the 28th of January, 1839, at his
residence, near Andover, and was interred at the Chapel Royal, at


_Appointed 28th January, 1839_.

Removed to the Eighth, or the King's Royal Irish, Regiment of Light
Dragoons, Hussars, on the 24th of August, 1839.


_Appointed 24th August, 1839_.



[9] In Scott's _Letters to his Kinsfolk_ it is recorded of Sir John
Elley, that there were found, on the field of Waterloo, more than
one of Napoleon's cuirassiers cleft to the chine by the stalwart
arm of this gallant officer.


  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained. For example,
  advance-guard, advance guard; patrole; piquets; promptitude.

  Pg 10, 'from Lientenant' replaced by 'from Lieutenant'.
  Pg 48, 'of Rio de Janiero' replaced by 'of Rio de Janeiro'.
  Pg 65, 'under the commmand' replaced by 'under the command'.
  Pg 78, 'duty of Commmander-' replaced by 'duty of Commander-'.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical record of the Seventeenth Regiment of Light Dragoons—Lancers - containing an account of the formation of the regiment in - 1759 and of its subsequent services to 1841." ***

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