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Title: Historical Record of The Fifty-Third or Shropshire Regiment of Foot
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical Record of The Fifty-Third or Shropshire Regiment of Foot" ***

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  _and under the Patronage of_
  Her Majesty the Queen.

  _OF THE_
  British Army

  _Comprising the_
  _History of every Regiment_

  _By Richard Cannon Esq^{re}._

  _Adjutant General's Office, Horse Guards._


  _Printed by Authority._]







  IN 1755

  TO 1848.

















  ST. LUCIA, IN MAY, 1796;






  10TH FEBRUARY, 1846.







  YEAR                                                           PAGE

     INTRODUCTION                                                   i

  1755  Formation of the Regiment                                   1

  ----  Colonel W. Whitmore appointed to the colonelcy              -

  ----  Numbered the FIFTY-FIFTH, and afterwards the
          FIFTY-THIRD regiment                                      -

  ----  Station, uniform, and facing                                -

  ----  Officers appointed to commissions                           2

  1756  Embarked for Gibraltar                                      -

  1759  Appointment of Colonel John Toovey to the colonelcy,
          in succession to Colonel Whitmore, removed to the
          ninth regiment                                            -

  1768  Returned from Gibraltar, and embarked for Ireland           3

  1770  Appointment of Colonel R. D. H. Elphinstone to the
          colonelcy, in succession to Colonel Toovey, deceased      -

  1776  Embarked for North America                                  -

  1777  Engaged with the American forces                            -

  1782  The American war terminated                                 4

  ----  The regiment directed to assume the county title of
          Shropshire regiment in addition to its Numerical title    -

  1789  Returned to England from North America                      -

  1790  Embarked on board of the fleet to serve as Marines          -

  1791  Proceeded to Scotland                                       5

  1793  Embarked for service in Flanders                            -

  ----  Engaged at Famars                                           -

  ----  -------- the siege and capture of Valenciennes              -

  ----  -------- the siege of Dunkirk                               6

  ----  -------- Nieuport                                           -

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the word
          "_Nieuport_" on the colours                               -

  1794  Major-General Gerald Lake, afterwards Viscount Lake,
          appointed to the colonelcy, in succession to
          General Elphinstone, deceased                             -

  ----  Engaged in operations at Vaux, Prémont, Marets, &c.         7

  ----  ---- at the siege and capture of Landrécies                 -

  ----  -------- repulse of the enemy at Cateau                     -

  ----  -------------------------------- Tournay                    -

  ----  -------- capture of Lannoy, Roubaix, and Mouveaux           -

  ----  ---- in the masterly retreat to Leers                       8

  ----  ---- storming the village of Pontéchin                      9

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the word
          "_Tournay_" on its colours                               10

  1795  Returned to England                                        --

  ----  Encamped at Southampton                                    --

  ----  Embarked with an expedition for the West Indies            --

  1796  Attack and Capture of St. Lucia                            --

  1796  Received the Royal Authority to bear the words
          "_St. Lucia_" on its colours                             11

  ----  Embarked for St. Vincent                                   --

  ----  Engaged in quelling an insurrection, and expelling
          the Caribs from the Island of St. Vincent                --

  ----  Received the thanks of the General Officer commanding,
          and of the Council and Assembly of the Island            12

  ----  Appointment of Major-General W. E. Doyle to the
          colonelcy, in succession to General Lake, removed
          to the 73rd regiment                                     --

  1797  Engaged in the capture of Trinidad                         --

  ----  Employed in an unsuccessful attempt at Porto Rico          --

  ----  Returned to St. Vincent                                    13

  1798  Lieut.-General Crosbie appointed to the colonelcy,
          in succession to Major-General Doyle, deceased           --

  1800  Removed from St. Vincent to St. Lucia                      --

  1802  Returned to England on the surrender of St. Lucia to
          France according to the treaty of peace concluded
          at Amiens                                                --

  1803  Marched under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Lightburne,
          for Shrewsbury                                           --

  1805  The First Battalion embarked for India                     --

  ----  Arrived at Fort St. George, Madras, and proceeded to
          Dinapore                                                 --

  1806  Removed from Dinapore to Berhampore                        14

  1807  Proceeded from Berhampore to Cawnpore                      --

  ----  Major-General Honorable John Abercromby appointed to
          the colonelcy in succession to General Crosbie,
          deceased                                                 --

  1809  Three companies detached to Bundelcund, and engaged
          at the siege and capture of the fort of Adjighion        --

  1809  The Battalion took the field with the troops under
          Colonel Martindell                                       15

  1810  Returned to Cawnpore, and received the thanks of the
          officer commanding for their conduct                     --

  1812  Five companies engaged in the storming of the fortress
          of _Callinger_                                           --

  ----  Surrender of the garrison of _Callinger_ on the
          remaining five companies joining from Cawnpore           17

  ----  The Battalion returned to Cawnpore, and afterwards
          proceeded to Meerut                                      18

  1814  Marched from Meerut, and joined the army formed for
          the invasion of the kingdom of Nepaul, or the
          Gorca State                                              --

  ----  Engaged in the storming and capture of the fort of
          _Kalunga_                                                19

  ----  Proceeded to the capture of _Nahn_ and other fortified
          places on the Jampta heights                             21

  ----  The Nepaulese reduced to submission                        --

  ----  Embarked for Berhampore, proceeded to Calcutta, and
          afterwards embarked for Madras                           --

  1816  The Battalion proceeded from Madras to the Naggery
          Pass, to repress the plundering tribes of Pindarees      --

  ----  Marched for Trichinopoly                                   22

  1817  Appointment of Lieut.-General Lord Hill, G.C.B., to
          the colonelcy, in succession to Lieut.-General
          Sir John Abercromby, deceased                            --

  ----  The flank companies employed with a field force under
          Brigadier-General Pritzler                               23

  1819  Assault of the fort of _Copaul Droog_                      --

  1820  Marched from Trichinopoly for Bellary                      --

  1820  Proceeded to Bangalore                                     23

  ----  The flank companies rejoined the regiment after much
          arduous service                                          24

  1822  Quitted the Mysore, and proceeded to Fort St. George       --

  ----  Relieved by the Forty-first regiment, and ordered to
          prepare for embarkation for England                      --

  1823  Embarked from Madras, and arrived at Chatham               25

  ----  Return of Casualties in the First Battalion, from 1805
          to 1822                                                  --

  ----  Removed to Weedon                                          --

  1826  Proceeded to Portsmouth, and inspected by General
          Lord Hill, G.C.B.                                        --

  ----  Marched into Lancashire, and embarked for Ireland          --

  1829  Formed into six Service, and four Depôt companies,
          preparatory for embarkation for foreign service          26

  ----  Service companies embarked at Cork for Gibraltar           --

  1830  New Colours presented to the Regiment by General
          Sir George Don, Lieut.-Governor of Gibraltar             --

  ----  Appointment of Major-General Lord FitzRoy
          J. H. Somerset, K.C.B., to the colonelcy, in
          succession to General Lord Hill, G.C.B., removed
          to the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards                    --

  1834  Service companies proceeded to Malta                       27

  1835  Depôt companies returned to Ireland                        --

  1836  Service companies embarked for the Ionian Islands          --

  1840  Service companies embarked from Corfu and landed
          at Plymouth                                              27

  1841  Regiment proceeded to Scotland                             --

  1843  Embarked for Ireland                                       --

  1844  Embarked for the East Indies                               --

  ----  Arrived at Calcutta                                        --

  1845  Proceeded to Cawnpore; thence to Agra; and to Delhi        --

  1846  Active operations commenced on the Sutlej                  --

  ----  The Regiment proceeded from Delhi, and joined the
          division of the army on the march to Loodianah           28

  ----  Engaged at the Battle of _Aliwal_                          29

  ----  Engaged at the Battle of _Sobraon_                         30

  ----  Received the thanks and approbation of the
          Governor-General of India                                32

  ----  Medals presented by the Government of India                33

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the words
          "_Aliwal_" and "_Sobraon_" on the colours and
          appointments                                             --

  ----  Proceeded to Lahore, thence to Umballa, and to
          Ferozepore                                               34

  1848  Returned to Lahore                                         --






  YEAR                                                           PAGE

  1803  The Second Battalion of the Fifty-third Regiment
          formed from men raised under the Army of Reserve
          Act in Yorkshire, and assembled at Sunderland            35

  1804  Embarked for Ireland                                       36

  1807  The men enlisted for limited service transferred
          to a Garrison battalion; the remainder embarked
          from Dublin, and proceeded to Shrewsbury; thence
          to Weymouth, where the Battalion was augmented
          by volunteers from the Militia                           37

  1808  Proceeded to Bletchington, thence to Portsmouth,
          and embarked for Ireland                                 --

  1809  Embarked at Cork for service with the army in Portugal     --

  ----  Marched to Oporto                                          --

  ----  Advanced into Spain, and engaged in the Battle of
          _Talavera_                                               38

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the word
          "_Talavera_" on the colours and appointments             39

  ----  Withdrew into Portugal                                     --

  1810  Advanced from Guarda to the valley of Mondego              39

  ----  Ciudad Rodrigo captured by the French                      40

  ----  Engaged at the Battle of Busaco                            --

  ----  Occupied the lines of Torres Vedras                        --

  1811  The French retreated to the Portuguese frontier            --

  ----  The fortress of Almeida invested                           41

  ----  Removed to San Pedro                                       --

  ----  Engaged in the action at Fuentes d'Onor                    --

  ----  Resumed its post before Almeida                            --

  ----  Joined the army in the Alemtejo                            --

  ----  Crossed the Agueda to protect the inhabitants from
          the French garrison of Ciudad Rodrigo                    --

  1812  Siege and capture of Ciudad Rodrigo                        42

  ----  Formed part of the covering army during the siege
          and capture of Badajoz                                   --

  ----  Moved forward to assist in the attack at Almaraz           43

  ----  Employed in the siege of the French troops left in
          two fortified convents                                   --

  ----  Engaged at the Battle of _Salamanca_                       44

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the word
          "_Salamanca_" on the colours and appointments            45

  ----  Entered the city of Valladolid                             46

  ----  Stationed at Cuellar                                       --

  ----  Employed in the siege of Burgos castle                     47

  ----  Retired from Burgos to the Portuguese frontier             --

  1813  Four companies formed part of the second Provisional
          battalion                                                --

  ----  Six companies proceeded to England                         --

  ----  Proceeded through the Tras-os-Montes, and crossed the
          Esla river                                               48

  ----  Engaged in the Battle of _Vittoria_                        --

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the word
          "_Vittoria_" on the colours and appointments             --

  1813  Followed the French army to the vicinity of Pampeluna      49

  ----  Employed in the blockade of Pampeluna                      --

  ----  Advanced into the Pyrenees in support of the troops
          in the Pass of Roncesvalles                              --

  ----  Conflict in front of Pampeluna                             --

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the word
          "_Pyrenees_" on the colours and appointments             --

  ----  Pursued the French army through the Pyrenees               50

  ----  Storming and capture of St. Sebastian                      --

  ----  Attack of the French troops on the heights of
          San Marcial, and Pass of St. Antonio                     --

  ----  Passage of the Bidassoa                                    --

  ----  Advanced into France                                       51

  ----  Engaged in the Battle of Nivelle                           --

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the word
          "_Nivelle_" on the colours and appointments              --

  ----  Passage of the river Nive                                  52

  1814  Marched to St. Jean de Luz                                 --

  ----  Rejoined the army at Grenade                               --

  ----  Marched towards Bordeaux                                   --

  ----  The six companies sent to England in 1813, returned
          to Spain, and advanced to Tarbes                         --

  1814  Employed in operations against the castle of L'Ourde       52

  ----  Engaged in the Battle of Toulouse                          --

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the word
          "_Toulouse_" on the colours and appointments             --

  ----  Termination of the Peninsular War                          54

  ----  Received the Royal Authority to bear the word
          "_Peninsula_" on the colours and appointments            --

  ----  Encamped at Bordeaux                                       --

  ----  Embarked for Ireland                                       --

  ----  Re-embarked for England                                    55

  1815  Stationed at Portsmouth                                    55

  ----  Battle of Waterloo, and surrender of Napoleon Bonaparte    --

  ----  Proceeded with Napoleon Bonaparte to St. Helena            --

  ----  Medals presented to certain Serjeants for services
          in the Peninsular War                                    --

  1817  Returned from St. Helena to England                        56

  ----  Arrived at Portsmouth, and proceeded to Canterbury         57

  ----  Disbanded at Canterbury                                    --

        THE CONCLUSION                                             59






  YEAR                                                           PAGE

  1755  William Whitmore                                           59

  1759  John Toovey                                                --

  1770  Robert Dalrymple Horne Elphinstone                         60

  1794  Gerard Lake, afterwards _Viscount_ Lake                    --

  1796  Welbore Ellis Doyle                                        62

  1798  Charles Crosbie                                            63

  1807  _Honorable_ John Abercromby, G.C.B                         --

  1817  Rowland Lord Hill, G.C.B.                                  65

  1830  Lord FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, G.C.B.                  68

  Memoir of the Services of Major-General Sir GEORGE
        RIDOUT BINGHAM, K.C.B.                                     69


  Costume of the Regiment                       _to face Page_      1

  Colours of the Regiment                                          34

  Monument erected at Shrewsbury to the memory
        of the officers and soldiers of the Regiment
        who were killed at the Battles of _Aliwal_
        and _Sobraon_, on the 28th January and 10th
        February, 1846                                             58


  _1st January, 1836_.

His Majesty has been pleased to command that, with the 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 Action.


  ---- 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 Honorable



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 honorable 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

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, being 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 de Corps_--an attachment
to everything 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.




The natives of Britain have, at all periods, been celebrated for
innate courage and unshaken firmness, and the national superiority
of the British troops over those of other countries has been
evinced in the midst of the most imminent perils. History contains
so many proofs of extraordinary acts of bravery, that no doubts can
be raised upon the facts which are recorded. It must therefore be
admitted, that the distinguishing feature of the British soldier is
INTREPIDITY. This quality was evinced by the inhabitants of England
when their country was invaded by Julius Cæsar with a Roman army,
on which occasion the undaunted Britons rushed into the sea to
attack the Roman soldiers as they descended from their ships; and,
although their discipline and arms were inferior to those of their
adversaries, yet their fierce and dauntless bearing intimidated
the flower of the Roman troops, including Cæsar's favourite tenth
legion. Their arms consisted of spears, short swords, and other
weapons of rude construction. They had chariots, to the axles of
which were fastened sharp pieces of iron resembling scythe-blades,
and infantry in long chariots resembling waggons, who alighted
and fought on foot, and for change of ground, pursuit or retreat,
sprang into the chariot and drove off with the speed of cavalry.
These inventions were, however, unavailing against Cæsar's
legions: in the course of time a military system, with discipline
and subordination, was introduced, and British courage, being
thus regulated, was exerted to the greatest advantage; a full
development of the national character followed, and it shone forth
in all its native brilliancy.

The military force of the Anglo-Saxons consisted principally of
infantry: Thanes, and other men of property, however, fought on
horseback. The infantry were of two classes, heavy and light. The
former carried large shields armed with spikes, long broad swords
and spears; and the latter were armed with swords or spears only.
They had also men armed with clubs, others with battle-axes and

The feudal troops established by William the Conqueror consisted
(as already stated in the Introduction to the Cavalry) almost
entirely of horse; but when the warlike barons and knights, with
their trains of tenants and vassals, took the field, a proportion
of men appeared on foot, and, although these were of inferior
degree, they proved stout-hearted Britons of stanch fidelity. When
stipendiary troops were employed, infantry always constituted a
considerable portion of the military force; and this _arme_ has
since acquired, in every quarter of the globe, a celebrity never
exceeded by the armies of any nation at any period.

The weapons carried by the infantry, during the several reigns
succeeding the Conquest, were bows and arrows, half-pikes, lances,
halberds, various kinds of battle-axes, swords, and daggers. Armour
was worn on the head and body, and in course of time the practice
became general for military men to be so completely cased in steel,
that it was almost impossible to slay them.

The introduction of the use of gunpowder in the destructive
purposes of war, in the early part of the fourteenth
century, produced a change in the arms and equipment of the
infantry-soldier. Bows and arrows gave place to various kinds of
fire-arms, but British archers continued formidable adversaries;
and, owing to the inconvenient construction and imperfect bore of
the fire-arms when first introduced, a body of men, well trained
in the use of the bow from their youth, was considered a valuable
acquisition to every army, even as late as the sixteenth century.

During a great part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth each company
of infantry usually consisted of men armed five different ways; in
every hundred men forty were "_men-at-arms_," and sixty "_shot_;"
the "men-at-arms" were ten halberdiers, or battle-axe men, and
thirty pikemen; and the "shot" were twenty archers, twenty
musketeers, and twenty harquebusiers, and each man carried, besides
his principal weapon, a sword and dagger.

Companies of infantry varied at this period in numbers from 150
to 300 men; each company had a colour or ensign, and the mode of
formation recommended by an English military writer (Sir John
Smithe) in 1590 was:--the colour in the centre of the company
guarded by the halberdiers; the pikemen in equal proportions, on
each flank of the halberdiers: half the musketeers on each flank
of the pikes; half the archers on each flank of the musketeers,
and the harquebusiers (whose arms were much lighter than the
muskets then in use) in equal proportions on each flank of the
company for skirmishing.[1] It was customary to unite a number
of companies into one body, called a REGIMENT, which frequently
amounted to three thousand men: but each company continued to carry
a colour. Numerous improvements were eventually introduced in the
construction of fire-arms, and, it having been found impossible to
make armour proof against the muskets then in use (which carried
a very heavy ball) without its being too weighty for the soldier,
armour was gradually laid aside by the infantry in the seventeenth
century: bows and arrows also fell into disuse, and the infantry
were reduced to two classes, viz.: _musketeers_, armed with
matchlock muskets, swords, and daggers; and _pikemen_, armed with
pikes from fourteen to eighteen feet long, and swords.

In the early part of the seventeenth century Gustavus Adolphus,
King of Sweden, reduced the strength of regiments to 1000 men. He
caused the gunpowder, which had heretofore been carried in flasks,
or in small wooden bandoliers, each containing a charge, to be
made up into cartridges, and carried in pouches; and he formed
each regiment into two wings of musketeers, and a centre division
of pikemen. He also adopted the practice of forming four regiments
into a brigade; and the number of colours was afterwards reduced to
three in each regiment. He formed his columns so compactly that his
infantry could resist the charge of the celebrated Polish horsemen
and Austrian cuirassiers; and his armies became the admiration of
other nations. His mode of formation was copied by the English,
French, and other European states; but so great was the prejudice
in favour of ancient customs, that all his improvements were not
adopted until near a century afterwards.

In 1664 King Charles II. raised a corps for sea-service, styled
the Admiral's regiment. In 1678 each company of 100 men usually
consisted of 30 pikemen, 60 musketeers, and 10 men armed with light
firelocks. In this year the King added a company of men armed with
hand grenades to each of the old British regiments, which was
designated the "grenadier company." Daggers were so contrived as to
fit in the muzzles of the muskets, and bayonets similar to those
at present in use were adopted about twenty years afterwards.

An Ordnance regiment was raised in 1685, by order of King James
II., to guard the artillery, and was designated the Royal Fusiliers
(now 7th Foot). This corps, and the companies of grenadiers, did
not carry pikes.

King William III. incorporated the Admiral's regiment in the second
Foot Guards, and raised two Marine regiments for sea-service.
During the war in this reign, each company of infantry (excepting
the fusiliers and grenadiers) consisted of 14 pikemen and 46
musketeers; the captains carried pikes; lieutenants, partisans;
ensigns, half-pikes; and serjeants, halberds. After the peace in
1697 the Marine regiments were disbanded, but were again formed on
the breaking out of the war in 1702.[2]

During the reign of Queen Anne the pikes were laid aside, and every
infantry soldier was armed with a musket, bayonet, and sword; the
grenadiers ceased, about the same period, to carry hand grenades;
and the regiments were directed to lay aside their third colour:
the corps of Royal Artillery was first added to the Army in this

About the year 1745, the men of the battalion companies of infantry
ceased to carry swords; during the reign of George II. light
companies were added to infantry regiments; and in 1764 a Board of
General Officers recommended that the grenadiers should lay aside
their swords, as that weapon had never been used during the Seven
Years' War. Since that period the arms of the infantry soldier have
been limited to the musket and bayonet.

The arms and equipment of the British Troops have seldom differed
materially, since the Conquest, from those of other European
states; and in some respects the arming has, at certain periods,
been allowed to be inferior to that of the nations with whom they
have had to contend; yet, under this disadvantage, the bravery and
superiority of the British infantry have been evinced on very many
and most trying occasions, and splendid victories have been gained
over very superior numbers.

Great Britain has produced a race of lion-like champions who have
dared to confront a host of foes, and have proved themselves
valiant with any arms. At _Creçy_, King Edward III., at the head
of about 30,000 men, defeated, on the 26th of August, 1346, Philip
King of France, whose army is said to have amounted to 100,000
men; here British valour encountered veterans of renown:--the
King of Bohemia, the King of Majorca, and many princes and nobles
were slain, and the French army was routed and cut to pieces. Ten
years afterwards, Edward Prince of Wales, who was designated the
Black Prince, defeated, at _Poictiers_, with 14,000 men, a French
army of 60,000 horse, besides infantry, and took John I., King of
France, and his son Philip, prisoners. On the 25th of October,
1415, King Henry V., with an army of about 13,000 men, although
greatly exhausted by marches, privations, and sickness, defeated,
at _Agincourt_, the Constable of France, at the head of the flower
of the French nobility and an army said to amount to 60,000 men,
and gained a complete victory.

During the seventy years' war between the United Provinces of the
Netherlands and the Spanish monarchy, which commenced in 1578 and
terminated in 1648, the British infantry in the service of the
States-General were celebrated for their unconquerable spirit and
firmness;[3] and in the thirty years' war between the Protestant
Princes and the Emperor of Germany, the British Troops in the
service of Sweden and other states were celebrated for deeds of
heroism.[4] In the wars of Queen Anne, the fame of the British
army under the great MARLBOROUGH was spread throughout the world;
and if we glance at the achievements performed within the memory
of persons now living, there is abundant proof that the Britons
of the present age are not inferior to their ancestors in the
qualities which constitute good soldiers. Witness the deeds of
the brave men, of whom there are many now surviving, who fought in
Egypt in 1801, under the brave Abercromby, and compelled the French
army, which had been vainly styled _Invincible_, to evacuate that
country; also the services of the gallant Troops during the arduous
campaigns in the Peninsula, under the immortal WELLINGTON; and
the determined stand made by the British Army at Waterloo, where
Napoleon Bonaparte, who had long been the inveterate enemy of Great
Britain, and had sought and planned her destruction by every means
he could devise, was compelled to leave his vanquished legions to
their fate, and to place himself at the disposal of the British
Government. These achievements, with others of recent dates in the
distant climes of India, prove that the same valour and constancy
which glowed in the breasts of the heroes of Creçy, Poictiers,
Agincourt, Blenheim, and Ramilies, continue to animate the Britons
of the nineteenth century.

The British Soldier is distinguished for a robust and muscular
frame,--intrepidity which no danger can appal,--unconquerable
spirit and resolution,--patience in fatigue and privation, and
cheerful obedience to his superiors. These qualities, united with
an excellent system of order and discipline to regulate and give
a skilful direction to the energies and adventurous spirit of
the hero, and a wise selection of officers of superior talent to
command, whose presence inspires confidence,--have been the leading
causes of the splendid victories gained by the British arms.[5]
The fame of the deeds of the past and present generations in the
various battle-fields where the robust sons of Albion have fought
and conquered, surrounds the British arms with a halo of glory;
these achievements will live in the page of history to the end of

The records of the several regiments will be found to contain a
detail of facts of an interesting character, connected with the
hardships, sufferings, and gallant exploits of British soldiers in
the various parts of the world where the calls of their Country
and the commands of their Sovereign have required them to proceed
in the execution of their duty, whether in active continental
operations, or in maintaining colonial territories in distant and
unfavourable climes.

The superiority of the British infantry has been pre-eminently
set forth in the wars of six centuries, and admitted by the
greatest commanders which Europe has produced. The formations and
movements of this _arme_, as at present practised, while they
are adapted to every species of warfare, and to all probable
situations and circumstances of service, are calculated to
show forth the brilliancy of military tactics calculated upon
mathematical and scientific principles. Although the movements
and evolutions have been copied from the continental armies, yet
various improvements have from time to time been introduced, to
ensure that simplicity and celerity by which the superiority
of the national military character is maintained. The rank and
influence, which Great Britain has attained among the nations of
the world, have in a great measure been purchased by the valour of
the Army, and to persons, who have the welfare of their country at
heart, the records of the several regiments cannot fail to prove


[1] A company of 200 men would appear thus:--

                                |  |
       20     20     20     30    2|0     30     20     20     20
  Harquebuses.    Muskets.      Halberds.      Muskets.    Harquebuses.
           Archers.       Pikes.         Pikes.       Archers.

The musket carried a ball which weighed 1/10th of a pound; and the
harquebus a ball which weighed 1/25th of a pound.

[2] The 30th, 31st, and 32nd Regiments were formed as Marine corps
in 1702, and were employed as such during the wars in the reign
of Queen Anne. The Marine corps were embarked in the Fleet under
Admiral Sir George Rooke, and were at the taking of Gibraltar, and
in its subsequent defence in 1704; they were afterwards employed at
the siege of Barcelona in 1705.

[3] The brave Sir Roger Williams, in his Discourse on War, printed
in 1590, observes:--"I persuade myself ten thousand of our nation
would beat thirty thousand of theirs (the Spaniards) out of the
field, let them be chosen where they list." Yet at this time the
Spanish infantry was allowed to be the best disciplined in Europe.
For instances of valour displayed by the British Infantry during
the Seventy Years' War, see the Historical Record of the Third
Foot, or Buffs.

[4] _Vide_ the Historical Record of the First, or Royal Regiment of

[5] "Under the blessing of Divine Providence, His Majesty ascribes
the successes which have attended the exertions of his troops in
Egypt to that determined bravery which is inherent in Britons; but
His Majesty desires it may be most solemnly and forcibly impressed
on the consideration of every part of the army, that it has been a
strict observance of order, discipline, and military system, which
has given the full energy to the native valour of the troops, and
has enabled them proudly to assert the superiority of the national
military character, in situations uncommonly arduous, and under
circumstances of peculiar difficulty."--_General Orders in 1801._

In the General Orders issued by Lieut.-General Sir John Hope
(afterwards Lord Hopetoun), congratulating the army upon the
successful result of the Battle of Corunna, on the 16th of January,
1809, it is stated:--"On no occasion has the undaunted valour of
British troops ever been more manifest. At the termination of a
severe and harassing march, rendered necessary by the superiority
which the enemy had acquired, and which had materially impaired
the efficiency of the troops, many disadvantages were to be
encountered. These have all been surmounted by the conduct of the
troops themselves; and the enemy has been taught, that whatever
advantages of position or of numbers he may possess, there is
inherent in the British officers and soldiers a bravery that knows
not how to yield,--that no circumstances can appal,--and that will
ensure victory when it is to be obtained by the exertion of any
human means."


_Madeley lith. 3 Wellington S^t. Strand_

_For Cannon's Military Records_]






[Sidenote: 1755]

In the winter of 1755, when the attacks made by the French on
the British settlements beyond the Allegany Mountains, in North
America, appeared to render a war between the two countries
inevitable, King George II. resolved to augment the strength of
his regular army, and a letter of service was addressed to Colonel
William Whitmore, major in the third foot guards, authorizing
him to raise, form, and discipline a regiment of foot, of ten
companies, which was numbered the FIFTY-FIFTH; but two colonial
corps being soon afterwards disbanded, viz., Major-General
Shirley's and Major-General Sir William Pepperell's, which had been
numbered the Fiftieth and Fifty-first regiments, it obtained rank
as FIFTY-THIRD regiment.[6]

This regiment was raised in the south of England: its uniform was
cocked hats; red coats, faced with red, lined with yellow, and
ornamented with yellow lace; red waistcoats and breeches, and
white gaiters. The colonelcy was conferred on Colonel William
Whitmore, by commission dated the 21st of December, 1755; the
lieut.-colonelcy was given to Major George Craufurd, from the
thirty-fifth regiment, then in Ireland; and Captain William Arnot
was nominated major.

[Sidenote: 1756]

Early in 1756 the formation of the regiment was completed, and the
following officers were appointed to commissions in the corps:--

  _Colonel_, William Whitmore.

  _Lieutenant-Colonel_, Geo. Craufurd.
  _Major_, Wm. Arnot.


  John Lindsay.
  Jas. Wakeman.
  Jas. Mc.Farlane.
  Geo. Sempill.
  Tho. Benson.
  Robert Lamb.
  Tho. Thompson.
  _Captain-Lieut._, Lord Viscount Allen.


  Geo. O. Kenlock.
  Rob. Wright.
  Chs. Chambre.
  John Manmore.
  Jas. Worsley.
  Jno. Campbell.
  Jno. Donellan.
  John Slowe.
  Wm. Hughes.
  Tho. Dyson.


  Cha. L. Richards.
  Tho. Moore.
  John Wright.
  Geo. Massey.
  Lodovick Grant.
  Westley Groves.
  Dougal Ewart.
  Geo. C. Brown.
  Jas. Frognorton.

  _Chaplain_, Geo. Watkins.
  _Surgeon_, Tho. London.
  _Adjutant_, J. Frognorton.
  _Quarter-Master_, Cosmo Gordon.

The formation of the regiment being completed, it received orders
to embark for Gibraltar, and was stationed at that important
fortress during the whole of the seven years' war, and remained
there until 1768.

[Sidenote: 1758]

[Sidenote: 1759]

In October, 1758, Colonel Whitmore was removed to the ninth
regiment of foot; and was succeeded in the colonelcy of the
FIFTY-THIRD, in April, 1759, by Colonel John Toovey, from
lieut.-colonel in the royal dragoons.

[Sidenote: 1768]

The regiment was relieved from duty at the fortress of Gibraltar in
1768, when it embarked for Ireland, where it was quartered during
the following eight years.

[Sidenote: 1770]

Colonel Toovey died in the early part of the year 1770, and King
George III. conferred the colonelcy on Colonel R. Dalrymple Horne
Elphinstone, who had commanded the 120th regiment of foot, which
was disbanded after the peace in 1763.

[Sidenote: 1775]

While the regiment was stationed in Ireland, the misunderstanding
between Great Britain and her North American provinces on the
subject of taxation, was followed by open hostilities; and a body
of American troops undertook the siege of _Quebec_.

[Sidenote: 1776]

In the spring of 1776 the FIFTY-THIRD and several other corps
proceeded, under Major-General Burgoyne, for the relief of Quebec:
this regiment embarked from Ireland on the 4th of April, arrived
in Canada towards the end of May, and took part in the operations
by which the American troops were driven from the confines of the
British provinces. During the winter the regiment was stationed at

[Sidenote: 1777]

The flank companies of the regiment were selected, in the spring
of 1777, to form part of the force under Lieut.-General Burgoyne,
who was directed to penetrate the United States from Lake Champlain
to the river Hudson, and advance upon Albany, with the view of
bringing that part of the country into submission to the British
crown. The troops employed on this service proceeded to Crown Point
in boats, and afterwards moved towards Ticonderoga, forcing the
Americans to abandon that post, and pursuing them a considerable
distance. Some fighting occurred, in which the British soldiers
evinced great gallantry, and the companies of the FIFTY-THIRD
had opportunities of distinguishing themselves. The army advanced
towards the river Hudson, encountering much greater difficulties
than had been expected. The country through which it marched was
a wilderness; numerous obstructions had to be removed, forty
bridges had to be constructed, and others repaired; but every
difficulty was overcome by the cheerful perseverance of the
soldiers. Their hardships were, however, daily augmented; and
after passing the river Hudson, they were opposed by very superior
numbers of the enemy. Several actions occurred, and British valour
was conspicuous; but incessant toil and a scarcity of provisions
reduced the army to 3500 men, who were environed by 16,000
Americans, and their retreat cut off. Under these circumstances a
convention was concluded, by which the British agreed to lay down
their arms on condition of being sent to England. The Americans
afterwards violated the conditions of the convention, and detained
the English soldiers some time.

[Sidenote: 1778]

[Sidenote: 1781]

Eight companies of the regiment had remained in Canada, where they
were eventually joined by the flank companies, and the regiment was
stationed in that part of the British dominions several years.

[Sidenote: 1782]

The American war terminated in 1782:--In the same year the regiment
received instructions to assume the title of the FIFTY-THIRD, OR
THE SHROPSHIRE REGIMENT, and to cultivate a connexion with that
county, which might, at all times, be useful towards recruiting.

[Sidenote: 1789]

[Sidenote: 1790]

In the summer of 1789 the regiment, being then in garrison at
Quebec, was relieved by the twenty-fourth foot, and embarked
for England, where it landed on the 31st of August. It passed
the winter at Bridgenorth, and towards the end of the year 1790
embarked on board the fleet to serve as marines, on which service
it was employed a short time.

[Sidenote: 1791]

[Sidenote: 1792]

Embarking from Plymouth on the 17th of February, 1791, the regiment
proceeded to Glasgow, and was stationed in Scotland during the year

[Sidenote: 1793]

In the meantime a revolution had taken place in France, and in
1793 the republicans of that country beheaded their king. They
also attacked the frontiers of Holland, when a body of British
troops was sent to the Netherlands to take part in the war. The
FIFTY-THIRD regiment was one of the first corps selected to proceed
on foreign service; it embarked from Scotland in March, and, after
landing in Flanders, advanced up the country to Tournay.

The regiment formed part of the column under the command of His
Royal Highness the Duke of York, which passed the Ronelle river on
the 23rd of May, and forced the French to quit several batteries
of their strong camp at _Famars_. It was stated in the public
despatch sent to England on this occasion--"The troops of the
different nations displayed the utmost firmness and intrepidity.
The British who had an opportunity of distinguishing themselves,
were the fourteenth and FIFTY-THIRD regiments, with the battalion
formed from the light infantry and grenadier companies, commanded
by Major-General Sir Ralph Abercromby." The regiment lost four men
on this occasion.

This success was followed by the siege of _Valenciennes_, in which
service the regiment was actively employed, and had several men
killed and wounded. It also sustained some loss at the storming
of the outworks on the 25th of July, which was followed by the
surrender of the fortress.

From Valenciennes the British troops proceeded towards _Dunkirk_,
which place was besieged; but circumstances occurred which rendered
it necessary for the army to withdraw from this position: and the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment was detached to the town of _Nieuport_. The
French made a strenuous effort to capture this place on the 24th
of October, by a _coup-de-main_, when the FIFTY-THIRD resisted
the attack of a very superior force, with heroic gallantry, and
their commanding officer, Major Robert Matthews, particularly
distinguished himself. The gallant conduct of the regiment on this
occasion excited universal admiration. Its loss was Lieutenant
Phanuel Latham and ten soldiers killed; Captain Ronald C. Fergusson
and eighteen soldiers wounded. The French continued to cannonade
the place several days, causing the regiment a further loss of
thirteen men; but the garrison being augmented, the enemy retired.
General Sir Charles (afterwards Earl) Grey, who arrived with a
reinforcement, stated in his despatch--"The artillery under Captain
Bothwick, with the FIFTY-THIRD regiment, whose loss has been
greatest, have been very much distinguished; and I think it only an
act of justice to mention in terms of the highest approbation Major
Matthews (commanding the FIFTY-THIRD), whose long services and
particular exertions on this occasion will, I hope, recommend him
to His Majesty's notice."

The Royal authority was given for the regiment to bear the word
"Nieuport" on its colours, to commemorate its distinguished conduct
in the defence of that fortress.

[Sidenote: 1794]

General Elphinstone died in the spring of 1794, when the colonelcy
of the regiment was conferred on Major-General Gerard Lake, from
lieut.-colonel in the first foot guards.

Taking the field in April of this year, the regiment was engaged
in the operations by which the enemy was driven from his positions
at _Vaux_, _Prémont_, _Marets_, &c., on the 17th of that month,
when the Duke of York expressed in general orders the sense he
entertained of the bravery and conduct of the troops engaged.

The regiment was subsequently employed in covering the siege of
_Landrécies_; it was in line on the 26th of April, when the attack
of the French on the British position at _Cateau_ was repulsed;
and after the surrender of Landrécies, the regiment marched to the
vicinity of Tournay.

On the 10th of May the position near _Tournay_ was attacked, and
the French were repulsed with severe loss.

A combined attack on the posts occupied by the French army was
made on the 17th of May; when the FOURTEENTH, THIRTY-SEVENTH,
and FIFTY-THIRD regiments, forming the second brigade, under
Major-General Fox,[7] were attached to the column under the Duke of
York's immediate command, which captured _Lannoy_, _Roubaix_, and
_Mouveaux_; and the three regiments were afterwards posted on the
main road from Lisle to Roubaix. Meanwhile the failure of the other
columns of the allied army had left the British troops exposed to
the whole weight and power of the enemy's overwhelming numbers,
and early on the 18th of May the fourteenth, thirty-seventh,
and FIFTY-THIRD regiments were attacked by a numerous force. A
historian of that campaign states,--"Major-General Fox, with the
fourteenth, thirty-seventh, and FIFTY-THIRD regiments, was engaged
with the whole of the column which had marched from Lisle, and the
different corps, which had driven back the rest of the army, fell
upon his flanks and rear. Perhaps there is not on record a single
instance of greater gallantry and more soldier-like conduct than
was exhibited on that occasion by these three regiments. At length
Major-General Fox, finding that the whole army had left him, began
to think of retreating; to effect which it was necessary to get
possession of the causeway leading to Leers, and before that could
be accomplished, he was obliged to charge several battalions of
the enemy, who were astonished that such a handful of men should
presume to give them battle, and expected every moment that they
would lay down their arms; but with a degree of intrepidity that
words cannot describe, and is, indeed, scarcely conceivable, they
gained the wished-for point; then forming with such regularity that
the enemy could not assail them, they secured their retreat towards
Leers, and the next morning joined General Otto's column. This
brigade, which consisted of only eleven hundred and twenty men,
left in the field five hundred and thirty-three."[8]

The FIFTY-THIRD regiment had Lieutenant John Rhind, eight
serjeants, two drummers, and one hundred and ninety-one rank
and file killed and missing; Major Thomas Scott, Captain Thomas
Brisbane, Ensign E. Pierce, one serjeant, and fourteen rank and
file wounded.[9]

Resuming its post in front of _Tournay_, the regiment was in
line on the 22nd of May, when a numerous French army attacked the
position occupied by the allies. The right wing of the army being
pressed by the enemy, Major-General Fox's brigade was detached
to its support. Speaking of the FOURTEENTH, THIRTY-SEVENTH, and
FIFTY-THIRD regiments on this occasion, the Duke of York stated in
his despatch, "Nothing could exceed the spirit and gallantry with
which they conducted themselves, particularly in the storming of
the village of _Pontéchin_, which they forced with the bayonet.
The enemy immediately began to retreat." In general orders it
was stated, "His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief desires
to express his particular thanks to Major-General Fox; to the
fourteenth regiment, under the command of Major Ramsey; to the
thirty-seventh regiment, commanded by Captain Lightburne; to the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment, commanded by Major Wiseman; and to the
detachment of artillery that was attached to them, under the
command of Captain Trotter, for their intrepidity and good conduct,
which reflects the greatest honor upon themselves, at the same time
that it was highly instrumental in deciding the important victory
of the 22nd instant."

In Jones's Journal it is stated:--"There never was a better
opportunity of putting British valour to the test; nor could there
be anything more conspicuous than the proof they gave of what
highly disciplined soldiers, well led on, may be brought to do. It
appears almost impossible; but it is a fact, that a single British
brigade, less than six hundred men, on that great day absolutely
won the battle; for had they not come up, the allies would have
been beaten."

The regiment had six rank and file killed: Lieutenants Rogers and
Robertson, Ensign Pierce, one serjeant, and twenty-three rank and
file wounded; twelve rank and file missing.

The word "TOURNAY," displayed by royal authority on the colour of
the regiment, commemorates its heroic conduct on this occasion.

The enemy afterwards acquired so great a superiority of numbers,
that the British army withdrew from its position, and a series of
retrograde movements brought the army to the banks of the Rhine and
the Waal.

[Sidenote: 1795]

A severe frost having rendered the rivers passable on the ice, the
British troops retired through Holland to Germany. The FIFTY-THIRD
shared in the toil, privation, and suffering occasioned by long
marches through a country covered with ice and snow: in the spring
of 1795 they embarked for England, where they arrived in May.

The regiment was encamped near Southampton, where its ranks
were completed by drafts from the 109th regiment; in November
it embarked for the West Indies, and afterwards sailed with the
armament, under General Sir Ralph Abercromby, for the conquest of
the French West India Islands. The disasters which befell this
fleet from storms at sea, and the number of shipwrecks which took
place, are recorded in the naval history of Great Britain.

[Sidenote: 1796]

Four companies of the regiment, commanded by Major Brisbane,
arrived at Barbadoes in March, 1796, and they formed part of the
armament which proceeded against _St. Lucia_; three other companies
also arrived in time to share in the enterprise. A landing was
effected on the 26th and 27th of April, and at midnight on the
last-mentioned day, Brigadier-General (afterwards Sir John)
Moore advanced with seven companies of the FIFTY-THIRD, under
Lieut.-Colonel John Abercromby, and a detachment of Rangers along
a defile in the mountains, and falling in with the enemy's post at
_Morne Chabot_, carried it after a considerable resistance. The
FIFTY-THIRD distinguished themselves on this occasion; and Sir
Ralph Abercromby's thanks were expressed to the regiment in orders,
accompanied by the declaration that he would bring its conduct
before His Royal Highness the Duke of York.

The loss of the regiment on this occasion was one drummer and
twelve rank and file killed; Captain Charles Stuart, Lieutenant
Richard Collins, and John Carmichael, two serjeants, forty-four
rank and file wounded; one drummer and eight private soldiers

The regiment was engaged in the subsequent operations for the
reduction of the island, which was accomplished before the end of
May; and the Royal authority was given for the word "ST. LUCIA"
to be borne on the colours of the regiment, to commemorate its
distinguished conduct on this service.

After the reduction of St. Lucia, the regiment was embarked for
St. Vincent, where an insurrection had broken out, and the native
Caribs and many French colonists were in arms against the British
authority. The insurgents were speedily overcome, and the Caribs
fled to the woods. The hostile spirit which these people had long
shown towards the British interests, occasioned the government
to resolve to remove them from the island. The measures for this
purpose were attended with much harassing duty to the troops, and
many skirmishes occurred; but the Caribs were eventually forced to
submit. The regiment was afterwards withdrawn from the island, when
it received the following communication from Major-General Peter
Hunter, dated 26th November, 1796:--

"SIR,--I beg you, and the officers and soldiers of the FIFTY-THIRD
regiment, under your command, will accept of my best thanks for the
zeal, activity, and humanity which have been testified by you and
them, on all occasions, while under my command, during the brigand
and Caribbee war in the island of St. Vincent. I am also requested
by the Council and Assembly of the island to communicate, not only
to the officers and soldiers now serving in St. Vincent, but to all
those whom I have had the honor to command since my arrival here,
the sentiments that the Assembly and inhabitants of this colony
entertain of the good conduct and behaviour of the troops, and to
offer their warmest, most grateful, and unfeigned thanks for the
eminent services the army has rendered this island."

Major-General Lake having been removed to the seventy-third
regiment, he was succeeded in the colonelcy of the FIFTY-THIRD by
Major-General Welbore Ellis Doyle, by commission dated the 2nd of
November, 1796.

[Sidenote: 1797]

Spain having united with France in hostility to Great Britain, the
FIFTY-THIRD were employed in an expedition against the Spanish
settlement of _Trinidad_, which was captured in February, 1797,
without loss.

The army subsequently proceeded against _Porto Rico_, and a landing
was effected on the 18th of April; but the expedition proved of
insufficient strength for the capture of this place, and the troops
re-embarked on the night of the 30th of April. The FIFTY-THIRD
had three rank and file killed; Captain John Rhind and three men
wounded; Captain Samuel Dover taken prisoner. The regiment returned
to St. Vincent.

[Sidenote: 1798]

On the death of Major-General Doyle, the colonelcy was conferred
on Lieut.-General Charles Crosbie, from the late Royal Dublin
regiment, his commission bearing date the 3rd of January, 1798.

[Sidenote: 1799]

[Sidenote: 1800]

After remaining at St. Vincent during the years 1798 and 1799, the
regiment was removed to St. Lucia in 1800.

[Sidenote: 1802]

At the peace of Amiens, in 1802, the island of St. Lucia was
restored to France, when the regiment returned to England, much
reduced in numbers by the climate of the West Indies.

[Sidenote: 1803]

On the arrival of the regiment in England, the men enlisted for
limited service were discharged at Hilsea barracks, and in January,
1803, it marched, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Lightburne,
for Shrewsbury.

[Sidenote: 1805]

The first battalion, having been completed to eight hundred rank
and file, embarked at Portsmouth, on the 20th of April, 1805,
for the East Indies, under the orders of Lieut.-Colonel Sebright
Mawby. The fleet sailed under the convoy of His Majesty's ship
"Blenheim," on the 24th of April: in the early part of August it
encountered a French line-of-battle ship and a frigate, when some
firing took place, but nothing serious occurred; and on the 23rd
of that month it arrived in Madras roads, when the FIFTY-THIRD
landed, and marched into Fort St. George, where they lost a very
promising officer, Captain Henry Knight Erskine, whose death was
much regretted. In October they proceeded in boats to the fertile
district of Dinapore, on the right bank of the Ganges, and occupied
that station, in the midst of a country abounding with grain,
cattle, and sheep.

[Sidenote: 1806]

In consequence of the unhealthy state of the battalion, it was
withdrawn from Dinapore, when Major-General Clarke expressed, in
orders, his approbation of its conduct while under his command,
and the high sense he entertained of the zeal and abilities of
Lieut.-Colonel Mawby and of the officers generally. It arrived at
Berhampore, a considerable station on the left bank of the Hoogly
river, on the 6th of July.

[Sidenote: 1807]

General Crosbie having died, the colonelcy was conferred on
Major-General the Honorable John Abercromby, by commission dated
the 21st of March, 1807, the sixth anniversary of the battle of

In September the first battalion embarked in boats to proceed up
the Ganges, when Major-General Palmer recorded, in orders, his
approbation of its exemplary conduct while stationed at Berhampore.
After a voyage of eleven weeks in boats up the river, the battalion
landed at Cawnpore on the 29th of November, and marched into the
spacious barracks on an elevated site at that place.

The gallant conduct of two serjeants and fourteen private soldiers
of the first battalion on board of the Company's ship Fame, when it
was captured by a French frigate (the Piedmontaise), was rewarded
by a donation from the Court of Directors, of 5_l._ to each of the
serjeants, and 4_l._ to each private soldier.

The first battalion was stationed at Cawnpore during the year,
and was highly commended in orders for its correct discipline and
excellent conduct.

[Sidenote: 1809]

On the 19th of January, 1809, three companies were detached, under
Captain Piercy, to the province of Bundelcund, and joining the
troops under Lieut.-Colonel Martindell, were employed in reducing
some refractory native Sirdars. These companies were at the siege
and capture of the fort of _Adjighion_, situate upon a lofty
mountain; and after the surrender of this place they rejoined the
regiment, which took the field in November, and joined a numerous
division under Lieut.-Colonel Martindell. This body of troops was
called out in consequence of signs of defection in the native
Madras army, and it performed many long and difficult marches.

[Sidenote: 1810]

The first battalion continued in the field until March, 1810, when
it returned to Cawnpore. Lieut.-Colonel Mawby, the officers and
soldiers, received the thanks of the Commander of the field force
for their excellent conduct.

[Sidenote: 1811]

During the year 1811 the first battalion remained at Cawnpore,
where Lieut.-Colonel Buckland assumed the command.

[Sidenote: 1812]

Five companies of the first battalion proceeded from their
quarters at Cawnpore to take part with the division under Colonel
Martindell, in the reduction of the strong fortress of _Callinger_,
before which place the troops arrived on the 19th of January,
1812. A breach having been reported practicable, the fortress was
assaulted on the 2nd of February. A serjeant and twelve privates
of the FIFTY-THIRD regiment formed the forlorn-hope, which led the
assault of the breach; they were followed by the grenadiers and
light infantry of the FIFTY-THIRD, under Captain Fraser, supported
by the remaining three companies of the FIFTY-THIRD, and the
grenadiers and light infantry of the native regiments. The fortress
of Callinger is situated upon a high rock of difficult access and
great extent, in one of the ranges of mountains in the province of
Allahabad; and when that portion of the country was ceded to the
British, this strong fortress, which had resisted native armies,
became the asylum of the disaffected and of the banditti of the
province. These desperate characters crowded the breach as the
FIFTY-THIRD rushed forward to storm the works. Select marksmen of
the garrison were supplied with loaded muskets by other men as fast
as they could fire them, and huge stones were in readiness to be
thrown upon the assailants. The signal being given, the storming
party, under the orders of Lieut.-Colonel Sebright Mawby and the
officers and soldiers of the FIFTY-THIRD, made a gallant effort
to gain the breach; ladders were placed against the rock and the
men ascended with enthusiastic ardour; but showers of huge stones
and a storm of musketry destroyed every man who gained the top of
the rock; at the same time it was found impracticable to get other
ladders fixed to communicate with a second small projection of the
rock which appeared in the breach; under these circumstances the
storming party was ordered to retire. The FIFTY-THIRD had Captain
Fraser, Lieutenant and Adjutant Nice, one serjeant, one corporal,
and ten private soldiers killed; Captain Cuppage, Lieutenants
Stone, Young, Stewart, Daly, Cruice, Davis, and Booth, and one
hundred and twenty soldiers wounded; several men died of their

In regimental orders issued on the 3rd of February, it was
stated:--"Lieut.-Colonel Mawby has not words to express his
admiration of the conduct of every officer and soldier of the
FIFTY-THIRD in the storm of yesterday; anything he could say on the
occasion would fall very short of what they deserved, for greater
bravery and perseverance never were displayed by men, and had it
been possible to have carried the breach, their bravery would have
done it. His feelings for the severe loss sustained by the regiment
may be imagined, but cannot be expressed; it is, however, a great
consolation to know that the whole army before Callinger speaks of
their bravery in terms of the highest commendation."

The conduct of the storming party was also commended in orders by
Colonel Martindell, who stated,--"If the difficulties which they
had to surmount had been found of a nature to be overcome, the
persevering energy and undaunted courage of the troops, so very
admirably conspicuous, would have been crowned with that success,
which their animated exertions, and steady cool bravery, so
eminently deserved."

In general orders by the government it was stated, "His Lordship
in Council cordially unites in the sentiments of admiration
expressed by His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, of the
exemplary exertions, zeal, and persevering courage manifested by
Lieut.-Colonel Mawby, FIFTY-THIRD regiment, and the brave officers
and men acting under his command."

Lieut.-Colonel Mawby particularly reported the gallant conduct of
Serjeant-Major Thomas Clarke, of the FIFTY-THIRD regiment.

In consequence of the difficulty experienced in the reduction of
Callinger, Major Piercy, who commanded the five companies of the
regiment left at Cawnpore, received orders to proceed as rapidly
as possible to join the besieging army; but before he arrived,
the garrison had surrendered. The cool determined bravery of the
officers and soldiers of the FIFTY-THIRD, at the storming of the
breach, had produced a great impression on the defenders of the
fortress, who declared to their commander, that they would not
stand a second assault: the Killedar, therefore, was forced to
capitulate and deliver up the fortress.

The regiment afterwards returned to Cawnpore, where its appearance
and discipline elicited the commendations of the Commander-in-Chief
in India at a review in September of this year. In October the
regiment marched to Meerut on the north-west frontier.

[Sidenote: 1813]

During the year 1813 the first battalion was stationed at Meerut.

In the meantime circumstances had occurred which occasioned the
battalion to be called from its quarters at Meerut, to take the
field against the Nepaulese, whose depredations on the British
territory could not be restrained without force of arms. The
FIFTY-THIRD marched from Meerut on the 14th of October, and joined
the division of the army appointed to invade the kingdom of Nepaul,
or the Gorca state, under the orders of Major-General Robert Rollo
Gillespie. This division was directed to penetrate the Himalaya
mountains by the pass of the Deyrah Doon, and capture the strong
fort of _Kalunga_, situate upon a peak in the mountains between
the rivers Sutlej and Ganges, which was defended by a garrison
of warlike mountaineers, under a celebrated Hindoo warrior named

[Sidenote: 1814]

Two companies of the FIFTY-THIRD, commanded by Lieutenant Young,
were detached with a small column under Lieut.-Colonel Carpenter
of the seventeenth native infantry, and ascending the Timlee
pass, into the Deyrah valley, joined at midnight on the 24th of
October, another detachment under Colonel Mawby of the FIFTY-THIRD
regiment, who advanced to capture the fort of _Kalunga_ by a
_coup-de-main_; but upon approaching the place, it was found to be
a strong work of excellent stone masonry, more formidable than it
had been represented to be, and not to be taken without cannon.
After a close reconnoissance, Colonel Mawby retired, and received
the acknowledgments of Major-General Gillespie, in orders, for his
conduct on the occasion. The Major-General afterwards advanced with
the leading corps, and taking with him a few light field-pieces on
the backs of elephants, had them placed in battery upon a piece
of table-land near the fort, and on the morning of the 31st of
October storming parties were in readiness to attack the fort.
The troops moved forward with great gallantry, but under such
unfavourable circumstances, that the assault failed; among the
other disasters the pioneers bearing the ladders fell, from the
fire of the garrison, in the midst of a village of grass huts,
which caught fire, and the storming party was thus deprived of the
means for ascending the walls of the fort. The two companies of
the FIFTY-THIRD lost several men, and had Lieutenants Young and
Anstice severely wounded. Three of the columns of attack had not
advanced, in consequence of not hearing, or not understanding,
the signal, and the messengers despatched to them never reached
their destination. The columns which had advanced, withdrew to the
village. At this moment three companies of the FIFTY-THIRD arrived
from a long march, under Captain Wheeler Coultman, and were ordered
to join the storming party, which consisted also of a brigade
of Bengal horse artillery (six-pounders), under the command of
Captain Charles Pratt Kennedy, for the purpose of making another
determined effort to capture the place. Major-General Gillespie
headed the assault in person. A party of the FIFTY-THIRD dragged
two of the guns forward with ropes up a steep ascent under a sharp
fire, and after overcoming the difficulty of a stockade across the
path, a few shots were fired at a small gate in the wall, to force
it open. A destructive fire was opened from the walls upon the
storming party, crowded in a narrow space, waiting for the gate to
be forced open and a passage to be made; Major-General Gillespie
placed himself at the head of the troops, and while leading the men
to the assault, he fell mortally wounded. The attack failed; the
storming party retired; and afterwards withdrew from before the
fort to await the arrival of a battering train. The FIFTY-THIRD had
sixteen men killed and seventy-five wounded.

The battering train having arrived from Delhi, the siege was
resumed by the troops under Colonel Mawby, and on the 27th of
November the flank companies of the FIFTY-THIRD, with one battalion
company of the regiment, and the grenadiers of the native corps,
stormed the breach under the orders of Major William Ingleby of
the FIFTY-THIRD. A numerous body of mountaineers defended the
breach with desperate resolution. Major Ingleby was wounded, and
withdrew, leaving the storming party under Captain Coultman.
Lieutenant Harrington and a few men of the FIFTY-THIRD ascended
the breach, but were instantly killed. The storming party proving
not sufficiently numerous to capture the place, the remaining
companies of the regiment were ordered forward, and the attack was
repeated, but without success: the approach to the breach proved
very difficult, and the defenders numerous and desperate; after a
severe loss had been sustained, the storming party was ordered to
retire. Lieutenant Harrington and twenty men of the regiment were
killed on this occasion; Major Ingleby, Captain Stone, Lieutenants
Horsley, Green, and Brodie, Ensign Aufrere, twelve serjeants, three
drummers, and one hundred and eighty-four rank and file wounded.

The battery resumed its fire to widen the breach; but further loss
was prevented by the garrison evacuating the fort, and retreating
and forcing their way through the besieging corps.

From Kalunga the division moved along a ridge of mountains towards
_Nahn_; the enemy evacuating the fortifications as the British
approached, and retiring to another ridge of mountains of much
greater elevation. On the 27th of December the flank companies of
the regiment were engaged in driving back the enemy's outposts, in
order to make lodgments for besieging some fortified places on the
Jampta heights, and had one serjeant and eight rank and file killed.

[Sidenote: 1815]

In 1815 the Nepaulese were brought to submission, and the regiment
marched from the camp in the mountains to the banks of the Ganges,
where it embarked in boats and proceeded down the river to
Berhampore, where it landed on the 30th of August, and was joined
by a strong detachment from the second battalion, under the command
of Major Giles. On the 20th of October the regiment again embarked
in boats, and proceeded to Calcutta, where it remained until
December, when it embarked for Madras.

[Sidenote: 1816]

In January, 1816, the first battalion marched from Madras to
Wallajahbad; but in March three companies returned to Madras,
and seven proceeded to the Naggery Pass, to keep in check the
plundering bands of _Pindarees_, who infested the British
territory in India at this period. These marauding tribes having
been driven from British India with severe loss, the seven
companies marched to Bangalore, where they were joined by the
detachment from Madras in June; also by a detachment from Europe.
In November the battalion commenced its march for Trichinopoly,
where it arrived on the 12th of December, after a march of two
hundred and seven miles.

[Sidenote: 1817]

On the 14th of February, 1817, Lieut.-General Sir John Abercromby,
G.C.B., died at Marseilles, in the south of France, at which
place he had resided some time for the benefit of his health. The
high military character and private virtues of this distinguished
officer, with his attachment to, and the lively interest he took in
every thing connected with, the FIFTY-THIRD regiment, occasioned
his death to be much regretted. He was succeeded by Lieut.-General
Rowland Lord Hill, G.C.B., from the ninety-fourth regiment.

Colonel Mawby commanded the regiment in cantonments at
Trichinopoly; and in June the flank companies were detached, under
the command of Major Giles, to join a flank battalion forming
at Darwah, to serve with a division of the army under Colonel
Pritzler, which was called to take the field in consequence of
several native chiefs having prepared to wage war against the
British power in India.

While the flank companies were in the field, the strength of the
regiment was augmented by the detachment from the second battalion,
and a number of volunteers from the eightieth regiment.

[Sidenote: 1818]

In 1818 the regiment sustained great loss from the cholera.

[Sidenote: 1819]

The flank companies were actively employed with the field force
under Brigadier-General Pritzler, who reduced several fortified
places to submission to the British authority, and among others
the fort of _Copaul Droog_, the garrison of which place made a
desperate defence. The excellent conduct of the troops employed
in this service was made known in general orders dated the 22nd
of June, 1819. The flank battalion led the assault of the place;
and the conduct of Captain Cuppage, and Lieutenant Silver of the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment, was particularly noticed. Lieutenant Silver
was wounded.

[Sidenote: 1820]

Leaving Trichinopoly in January, 1820, the regiment commenced its
march for Bellary, a distance of about three hundred and ninety
miles, under the orders of Colonel Mawby. The cholera broke out in
the regiment on the march, and it lost a highly esteemed officer,
Lieut.-Colonel Fehrszen, who had distinguished himself while
serving with the second battalion in Spain and the south of France;
he was buried with military honours at Salem. Lieutenant George
FitzGerald, who had also served with reputation in the Peninsular
War, died a few days afterwards, and was buried at Nimdydroog.
While passing through the Mysore, the cholera disappeared; and on
the 25th of February the regiment arrived at Bellary; having lost
two officers and eighteen soldiers on the march.

Colonel Mawby having been promoted to the rank of major-general,
the command of the regiment devolved on Lieut.-Colonel Mansel.

After halting at Bellary five months, the regiment commenced
its march for Bangalore, where it arrived on the 1st of August.
Lieutenant John Wilton, a gallant and meritorious officer, died on
the 28th of August, much regretted.

The flank battalion, under Major Giles, had continued to perform
much arduous and valuable service, under Brigadier-General
Pritzler; but the necessity for its continuing in the field
having ceased, the several companies marched to join their
respective regiments. The companies of the FIFTY-THIRD arrived at
head-quarters on the 30th of November. The gallant, zealous, and
exemplary conduct of these companies, during the three years and
a half which they had been employed on field service, was highly
commended in orders. The regiment was at this period commanded by
Lieut.-Colonel Edward Carey Fleming.

[Sidenote: 1821]

Major John Giles, who had commanded the flank battalion on
field service with reputation, died on the 2nd of May, 1821, at
Cannanore. Quarter-master Robert Blackie died soon afterwards; he
had risen by merit from the ranks of the regiment, and had held the
commission of quarter-master nineteen years: he was much respected
in the regiment.

[Sidenote: 1822]

In May, 1822, the regiment quitted the Mysore, having first
received the thanks of Lieut.-General Bowser, in division orders,
for its exemplary conduct, and proceeded to Fort St. George, where
it arrived on the 5th of June; having lost, on this march of two
hundred miles, fifteen men by cholera. Major Wheeler Coultman also
died on the 22nd of May.

The forty-first regiment arriving from England in July, the
FIFTY-THIRD marched out of Fort St. George and encamped at a
village on the Poonamallee Road, and were placed under orders for
embarkation for England.

[Sidenote: 1823]

Seven hundred and fifty-six non-commissioned officers and soldiers
volunteered to transfer their services to other corps, and to
remain in India; twenty-one old soldiers were placed on the
out-pension of Chelsea Hospital, and permitted to reside in India;
and the regiment embarked from Madras on the 9th of March, 1823,
after a service of eighteen years in India.[10] It landed at
Gravesend on the 8th of July, and marched to Chatham, where it
halted a few days, and afterwards proceeded to Hilsea barracks. It
was subsequently removed to Weedon barracks, and active measures
were adopted for recruiting its numbers.

[Sidenote: 1825]

[Sidenote: 1826]

In 1825 the regiment proceeded to Chatham, and afterwards to
Portsmouth, where it was inspected and reviewed by its colonel,
General Lord Hill, in May, 1826, and elicited his Lordship's
approbation. It afterwards marched into Lancashire, and in October
embarked at Liverpool for Ireland: it landed at Dublin, and marched
from thence to Templemore.

[Sidenote: 1827]

Leaving Templemore in the spring of 1827, the regiment proceeded to
Cork; and in the autumn the head-quarters were removed to Kilkenny.

[Sidenote: 1828]

[Sidenote: 1829]

In April, 1828, the regiment marched to Dublin; and in the spring
of 1829 to Birr, where it was formed into _six service and four
reserve companies_, preparatory to the former proceeding to a
foreign station.

The service companies proceeded to Cork, where they embarked on
the 2nd of November for Gibraltar, and arrived at that important
fortress in December.

[Sidenote: 1830]

A pair of new colours bearing the words "NIEUPORT," "TOURNAY," "ST.
"TOULOUSE," and "PENINSULA," having been received, the regiment was
formed on parade on the 12th of January, 1830, under Lieut.-Colonel
James Considine's command; the colours were consecrated by the
Rev. J. S. Pering, the garrison Chaplain; they were then handed
by the Lieut.-Governor, Sir George Don, to Mrs. Considine, who
presented them to the regiment, with a suitable address. The day
was concluded by a supper and ball, given by the officers of the
regiment, to which the officers in garrison, and the principal
inhabitants of the place, were invited. The soldiers were treated
with a dinner and a hogshead of wine on the following day; and on
the 14th, the serjeants were permitted to treat their friends to
a supper and a dance in one of the large store-rooms, which was
fitted up for the occasion.

The reserve companies remained in Ireland until May of this year,
when they embarked at Dublin, for Liverpool.

In November, 1830, General Lord Hill, G.C.B., G.C.H., K.C., was
removed to the Royal regiment of Horse Guards, and was succeeded
in the colonelcy of the FIFTY-THIRD by Major-General Lord FitzRoy
James Henry Somerset, K.C.B.

[Sidenote: 1834]

[Sidenote: 1835]

The service companies remained on duty at Gibraltar until March,
1834, when they proceeded to the island of Malta, where they
remained during the year 1835; in October the depôt companies
returned to Ireland.

[Sidenote: 1836]

In the summer of 1836 the service companies embarked at Malta for
the Ionian Islands, and landed at Corfu in July.

[Sidenote: 1840]

After remaining nearly four years in the Ionian Islands, the
service companies embarked at Corfu on the 28th of April, 1840, for
England, and landed on the 9th of June at Plymouth, where they were
joined by the depôt companies from Ireland.

[Sidenote: 1841]

The regiment remained at Plymouth until July, 1841, when it
embarked for Scotland, and marching to Edinburgh, was stationed in
the castle of that city during the year 1842.

[Sidenote: 1843]

In April, 1843, the regiment proceeded from Edinburgh to Ireland,
and was stationed at Belfast until September, when it marched to

[Sidenote: 1844]

The regiment marched from Enniskillen to Newry in January,
1844, and having been selected to proceed to India, the usual
augmentation was made to its numbers. It proceeded to Manchester in
July, and embarked at Liverpool for Bengal on the 20th of August
under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Shakespear Phillips,
arriving at Calcutta on the 30th of December following.

[Sidenote: 1845]

On the 22nd of January, 1845, the regiment proceeded from Chinsurah
to Cawnpore, where it arrived on the 19th of March; in October it
marched to Agra, and on the 19th of December to Delhi, where it
arrived and encamped on the 28th of December, 1845.

[Sidenote: 1846]

During the brief period which elapsed between the 11th and 23rd
of December, 1845, the valley of the _Sutlej_ was the scene of
active and interesting operations; the frontier of the Punjaub[11]
(_punj_, five, and _aub_, waters) had been crossed by a numerous
and well disciplined Sikh army; and the enemy had been repulsed in
two sanguinary battles, at _Moodkee_ on the 18th of December, and
at _Ferozeshah_ three days afterwards.

After these successes, it was determined by the Commander-in-Chief
in India to rest the main body of the army until strong
reinforcements arrived, when a grand attack was to be made on the
Sikhs, who had employed the interval in strengthening the position
they had taken up on the British side of the river Sutlej, the
boundary of the Punjaub from India.

Reinforcements accordingly proceeded to the frontier, and the
FIFTY-THIRD was one of the regiments ordered to join the Army of
the Sutlej. The regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel
Harry Shakespear Phillips, marched from Delhi on the 5th of
January, 1846, and arrived at Kurnaul on the 10th of that month:
two days afterwards the FIFTY-THIRD marched to join the portion
of the army detached under the command of Major-General Sir Harry
Smith, who was proceeding to the relief of Loodianah (celebrated
for its manufacture of imitative Cashmere shawls), which was
threatened by a force of twenty thousand Sikhs under the command of
Runjoor Singh. The junction was effected on the 21st of January, on
which day the regiment suffered severely from the heavy fire of the
enemy's artillery on the march to Loodianah, sustaining a loss of
thirty-six men killed. Major-General Sir Harry Smith, by a series
of skilful movements, avoided a regular engagement, and effected
his communication with Loodianah, but not without severe loss.
On the 28th of January the Major-General determined to attack the
Sikhs under Runjoor Singh in their strong position at _Aliwal_,
and the result was a splendid victory. Runjoor Singh's camp, with
all his baggage, ammunition, and stores, fell into the hands of
the victors, and the left wing of the Sikh army was thus almost
completely disorganised.

Her Majesty's FIFTY-THIRD, and the thirtieth native infantry,
formed the third brigade, under Brigadier Wilson, and were opposed
upon the left to the "_Aieen_" troops, called _Avitabiles_,[12]
when the conflict was fiercely raging. The enemy, driven back
on his left and centre, endeavoured to hold his right to cover
the passage of the river, and strongly occupied the village of
Bhoondree, which was carried by the FIFTY-THIRD at the point of
the bayonet: the regiment then moved forward, in support of the
thirtieth native infantry, by the right of the village.

After expressing his thanks to Lieut.-Colonel Phillips of the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment, Major-General Sir Harry Smith added in his
official despatch:--

"I have only to report upon Her Majesty's FIFTY-THIRD, a young
regiment, but veterans in daring gallantry and regularity; and
Lieut.-Colonel Phillips's bravery and coolness attracted the
attention of myself and every staff-officer I sent to him."

The casualties of the regiment were limited to three men killed and
eight wounded.

Although the Sikh army was much disheartened at the sight of the
numerous bodies which floated from the battle-field to the bridge
of boats at Sobraon, yet in a few days they appeared as confident
as ever of being able to retain their entrenched position, and to
prevent the passage of the river.

On the 3rd of February the regiment marched from Aliwal, and joined
the head-quarters of the Army of the Sutlej on the 8th of that

The heavy ordnance having arrived, the Commander-in-Chief resolved
to storm the formidable entrenchments of the Sikhs at _Sobraon_,
and finally expel them from the territory they had invaded. This
was an undertaking of some magnitude. It was ascertained that the
entrenchments were defended by thirty thousand of their bravest
troops; besides being united by a good bridge to a reserve on the
opposite bank of the river, on which was stationed a considerable
camp, with artillery, which commanded and flanked their field-works
on the British side of the Sutlej.

On the 10th of February the FIFTY-THIRD formed part of the
attacking division, on the extreme left of the army, under the
command of Major-General Sir Robert Dick. It had been intended
that the cannonade should have commenced at daybreak, but the
heavy mist, which hung over the field and river, rendered it
necessary to delay operations until the sun's rays had cleared the
atmosphere. Meanwhile, on the margin of the Sutlej, two brigades
of Major-General Sir Robert Dick's division, under his personal
command, stood ready to commence the assault against the extreme
right of the Sikhs. His seventh brigade, in which was the tenth
foot, reinforced by the FIFTY-THIRD regiment, and led by Brigadier
Stacy, was to head the attack, supported at two hundred yards
distance by the sixth brigade under Brigadier Wilkinson.

The part the FIFTY-THIRD sustained in the conflict cannot be
better expressed than in the words of the despatch of the
Commander-in-Chief, General Sir Hugh Gough:--

"At nine o'clock, Brigadier Stacy's brigade, supported on
either flank by Captains Horseford's and Fordyce's batteries,
and Lieut.-Colonel Lane's troop of horse artillery, moved to
the attack in admirable order. The infantry and guns aided each
other correlatively. The former marched steadily on in line,
which they halted only to correct when necessary. The latter
took up successive positions at the gallop, until at length
they were within three hundred yards of the heavy batteries of
the Sikhs; but notwithstanding the regularity and coolness, and
scientific character of this assault, which Brigadier Wilkinson
well supported, so hot was the fire of cannon, musketry, and
zumboorucks kept up by the Khalsa troops, that it seemed for some
moments impossible that the entrenchments could be won under it;
but soon persevering gallantry triumphed, and the whole army had
the satisfaction to see the gallant Brigadier Stacy's soldiers
driving the Sikhs in confusion before them within the area of their
encampment. The tenth foot, under Lieut.-Colonel Franks, now for
the first time brought into serious contact with the enemy, greatly
distinguished themselves. This regiment never fired a shot until it
had got within the works of the enemy. _The onset of Her Majesty's_
FIFTY-THIRD _was as gallant and effective_. The forty-third and
fifty-ninth native infantry, brigaded with them, emulated both in
cool determination."

Allusion was also made to the FIFTY-THIRD in the General Order of
the 14th of February, by the Right Honorable the Governor-General
of India, in which it was stated:--

"Her Majesty's tenth, FIFTY-THIRD, and eightieth regiments, with
the thirty-third, forty-third, fifty-ninth, and sixty-third native
infantry, moving at a firm and steady pace, _never fired a shot
till they had passed the barriers opposed to them_, a forbearance
much to be commended, and most worthy of constant imitation, to
which may be attributed _the success of their effort, and the small
loss they sustained_."

The first success was gallantly seconded by the remainder of the
army, and by eleven o'clock, after a severe hand-to-hand conflict,
the _Battle of Sobraon_ was gained. A sudden rise of the Sutlej
rendered the river hardly fordable, and added to the loss of the
Sikhs' numbers of whom were drowned in attempting the passage.
Sixty-seven pieces of cannon, upwards of two hundred camel-swivels
(zumboorucks), numerous standards, and vast munitions of war were
the trophies of the victory.

Captain Charles Edward Dawson Warren, and eight rank and file of
the FIFTY-THIRD regiment, were killed. Lieutenant-Colonel William
George Gold, Captain Thomas Smart, Lieutenants John Chester,
Anthony B. O. Stokes, Robert Nathaniel Clarke, and John Breton,
Ensigns Henry Lucas and William Dunning (Adjutant) were wounded.
Captain Smart and Lieutenant Clarke died in a few days of their
wounds. Lieutenant Dunning, who was promoted after the battle, also
died of his wound on the 6th of April following. One serjeant and
one hundred and four rank and file were wounded.

Medals were struck for the victories of _Aliwal_ and _Sobraon_, and
were presented by the Government of India to the regiments present
in those battles.

Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to authorize the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment to bear on its colours and appointments the
words "ALIWAL" and "SOBRAON," to commemorate its gallantry in those

The Battle of Sobraon concluded a campaign of unexampled rapidity,
and the youthful Sovereign of Lahore, Maha Rajah Dhuleep Singh, was
compelled to wait upon the Right Honorable the Governor-General,
Sir Henry Hardinge, and express contrition for the offences of
his army for the unjust and unprovoked invasion of the British
territories. The Maha Rajah was afterwards conducted to his capital
by the British troops, who formally took possession of the citadel
of Lahore. In less than two months, four important victories had
been gained on a line of country about sixty miles in length,
under most trying circumstances, over a great and warlike people,
possessed of military skill of no common order, with all the
appliances of war, which will ever render the campaign one of the
most remarkable in the History of India, a campaign in which the
Governor-General, Sir Henry (now Viscount) Hardinge, was present
in the several actions, volunteering to act as second in command,
that he might aid the admirable strategy of the Commander-in-chief
General Sir Hugh (now Lord) Gough, by his presence and military

The regiment marched from Sobraon on the 11th of February, forming
part of the advance guard of the army proceeding to Lahore, where
it arrived on the 13th of that month, and encamped outside its
walls until the 22nd of March, when the regiment received orders
to march for Umballa, which it commenced on the following day,
arriving there and entering the cantonments on the 8th of April,

On the 15th of October, 1846, the regiment proceeded to Ferozepore,
and arrived there on the 28th of that month.

[Sidenote: 1847]

The regiment remained in cantonments at Ferozepore during the year

[Sidenote: 1848]

On the 21st of February, 1848, the regiment returned to Lahore,
where it was stationed in December, 1848, to which period this
record of the services of the regiment is brought.



[6] In December, 1755, eleven regiments of infantry were raised,
which have been since retained on the Establishment of the Army,
and are numbered from the 50th to the 60th regiments inclusive.

[7] The spirited conduct of this brigade, on several occasions
when engaged with the enemy, had given it the appellation of the
"_Fighting_ Brigade."

[8] Jones's Journal of the Campaign of 1794.

[9] Captain Brisbane, now General Sir Thomas Brisbane, G.C.B.,
commanded the light company on this occasion, which consisted of 33
men, of whom 22 were killed or wounded.

[10] Return showing the number of officers and soldiers who died,
or were killed in action, with those invalided, from 1805 to 1822.

        |  Killed and Died.   |
   Year +----------+----------+ Invalided
        | Officers | Soldiers |
   1805 |     1    |    39    |    ..
   1806 |     1    |   109    |    ..
   1807 |     .    |    49    |    45
   1808 |     1    |    77    |    17
   1809 |     .    |    56    |    13
   1810 |     1    |    32    |    21
   1811 |     .    |    28    |    17
   1812 |     5    |    75    |    45
   1813 |     1    |    33    |    21
   1814 |     1    |    80    |    15
   1815 |     1    |    90    |    54
   1816 |     1    |    53    |    29
   1817 |     3    |   111    |    57
   1818 |    10    |   103    |    45
   1819 |     2    |    64    |    35
   1820 |     4    |    80    |    43
   1821 |     2    |    38    |    28
   1822 |     1    |    50    |    ..
  Total |    35    |  1167    |   485

[11] The five rivers, which intersect the _Punjaub_, from which
circumstance the country derives its name, are the _Indus_,
_Chenaub_, _Jhelum_, _Ravee_, and _Sutlej_.

[12] Thus named after General Avitabile, one of the military
instructors of the Sikhs. He was a native of Italy, and, at the
conclusion of Napoleon's bright but evanescent career, sought
employment in the East. Peshawur, at the period when he was
elevated governor, was in a state of anarchy, but by his vigorous
administration was reduced to a state of comparative security. He
was handsomely rewarded by the Sovereign of the Punjaub, Runjeet
Singh, for his exertions, along with another Italian officer, named
Ventura, and two Frenchmen, Allard and Court, for introducing
European tactics into the Sikh army. After completing his task,
he returned to Europe, for the purpose of ending his days on his
native soil, but at this period was still alive; and is said to
have congratulated himself on the brave stand the Sikhs made,
attributable in a great degree to his instructions. The other
European officers, Allard, Court, and Ventura, are dead.




_For Cannon's Military Records_

_Madeley lith. 3 Wellington S^t. Strand_]








[Sidenote: 1803]

A short interval from war was ceded to Europe by the peace of
Amiens, and during that period the First Consul of France,
Napoleon Bonaparte, was secretly making hostile preparations for
accomplishing his ambitious purposes; he assumed the position of
a dictator to Europe, and when the British government refused to
submit to his domination, he assembled an army for the invasion of
England, that he might, by one mighty effort, destroy the power of
the British people, who appeared as a barrier to his schemes of
aggrandizement. The spirit of the nation was aroused by the menace
of invasion; patriotic enthusiasm pervaded all ranks; and the
"_Army of Reserve Act_" having been passed for raising men for home
service by ballot, the FIFTY-THIRD regiment marched into Yorkshire
to receive part of the men raised in that extensive county. The
numbers received being considerable, a second battalion was added
to the establishment in October, 1803, and was formed at Sunderland
under the superintendence of Lieut.-Colonel Scrogs; it speedily
mustered one thousand rank and file.

[Sidenote: 1804]

A number of the men, raised under the provision of the Army of
Reserve Act, having voluntarily extended their services, they were
added to the first battalion in February, 1804; the others, being
only liable to serve in the United Kingdom, remained in the second
battalion, which embarked from Whitehaven for Dublin, where it
arrived on the 3rd of March, under the orders of Lieut.-Colonel
Lightburn. In August it encamped on the Curragh of Kildare, and in
September returned to Dublin.

[Sidenote: 1805]

The battalion was conspicuous for its good conduct while at Dublin;
in July of this year it marched to Galway, under the command
of Lieut.-Colonel Bingham. The Commander-in-Chief in Ireland,
Lieut.-General Lord Cathcart, proceeding with a body of troops to
Hanover, he was so highly esteemed by the FIFTY-THIRD, that the
men solicited their commanding officer to forward a memorial to
head-quarters, requesting permission to extend their services to
the Continent, and to accompany his Lordship. They were thanked for
their spirited offer; but the circumstances of the service did not
require their presence on the Continent at this period. During the
winter the battalion marched to Limerick.

[Sidenote: 1806]

In March, 1806, the head-quarters were removed to Rathkeale: in
April two hundred men proceeded to join the first battalion in
India: they were followed by a further number of three hundred in
October: as this detachment was proceeding to the Isle of Wight,
one transport was boarded by a French privateer; the soldiers were
without arms, otherwise they could have overpowered their enemies:
Captain Classen and sixty-five men were taken to France, where the
captain died.

[Sidenote: 1807]

During the winter of 1807 the limited-service men of the second
battalion were transferred to a garrison battalion, which greatly
reduced its numbers; the few remaining men marched to Dublin in
January, 1807, embarked from thence for Liverpool, and afterward
proceeded to Shrewsbury.

[Sidenote: 1808]

The second battalion proceeded from Shrewsbury to Weymouth, where
it arrived in October, and was joined by a number of volunteers
from the militia.

In the spring of 1808 the second battalion marched to Bletchington;
in May was removed to Portsmouth, where it embarked for Ireland,
and after landing at Cork, it proceeded from thence to Limerick,
and in the autumn to Fermoy.

[Sidenote: 1809]

At this period the second battalion received orders to proceed from
Ireland, to take part in the deliverance of the Peninsula from the
power of Napoleon, Emperor of France, whose attempts to subvert
the liberties of Europe were strenuously opposed by Great Britain.
The battalion embarked at Cork on the 12th of March, landed in
Portugal, at a small town opposite Lisbon, on the 6th of April;
and proceeded up the river Tagus in boats a few days afterwards
to Villa Franca, from whence it marched to Rio Mayor. The seventh
Royal fusiliers, and the FIFTY-THIRD, were formed in brigade under
Brigadier-General A. Campbell; and the officers and soldiers were
highly gratified by the arrival of Lieut.-General Sir Arthur
Wellesley to assume the command of the army.

The FIFTY-THIRD had the honor of taking part in the operations by
which the French army under Marshal Soult was driven from _Oporto_:
they were not engaged in forcing the passage of the Douro on the
12th of May; they had completed a short march and were going into
billets at Cavalhos, when the order to advance arrived, and the
soldiers evinced their ardour by cheerfully performing a long march
at double quick time, and they were speedily across the river; but
the action had ceased, and they went into quarters in the city of
Oporto, after a march of twenty-eight miles.

After taking part in the pursuit of the French army through
mountainous districts to the confines of Portugal, the FIFTY-THIRD
retired to Oporto, where they halted one day; they afterwards
proceeded to Coimbra, and in the early part of June to Abrantes.

Advancing into Spain, the FIFTY-THIRD shared in the operations
which preceded the battle of _Talavera_, and suffered, in common
with other corps, great privation from the want of supplies, the
soldiers having no food, on many occasions, excepting corn gathered
from the fields. In the action on the 28th of July, two companies
of the FIFTY-THIRD particularly distinguished themselves: the
other companies of the battalion were in reserve in the first
instance; but they were brought forward, and assailing one of the
enemy's columns of attack in flank, they greatly contributed to
its discomfiture and overthrow, when thirteen pieces of artillery
were captured. Sir Arthur Wellesley saw, from a hill at a short
distance, the fighting at this part of the field, and sent twice
to testify his approbation of the conduct of the brigade. The
French were repulsed at all points; and the word "TALAVERA," on the
colours of the FIFTY-THIRD regiment, commemorates the gallantry of
the second battalion on this occasion: its loss was six soldiers
killed; Major Kingscote, Captain Stawell, and twenty-nine rank and
file wounded.

The following officers were at the battle of Talavera, on the 27th
and 28th of July, 1809:--

_Lieut.-Colonel_ G. R. Bingham. _Majors_ W. Thursby and N.
Kingscote. _Captains_ H. Parker, John Robinson, O. G. Fehrszen,
and J. L. Stawell. _Lieutenants_ J. B. Glew, Charles Ribs, F.
H. Fuller, D. Beatty, P. Hovenden, and C. Williams. _Ensigns_
Edward Barlow, George Langton, G. C. Goff, Joseph Nicholson, J.
Christie, J. J. C. Harrison, H. Brown, and J. Devenish. _Adjutant_
John Carss. _Surgeon_ J. Sandall. _Assistant-Surgeon_ J. Dunn.

The immense superiority of numbers which the French were enabled
to bring forward at this period, prevented those decisive
results following the victory at Talavera which might have been
anticipated: the army withdrew behind the Tagus, and subsequently
occupied a position on the Guadiana river, where many soldiers,
whose strength had been exhausted by long marches under a hot
sun and a scanty supply of provisions, died. In the autumn the
battalion went into quarters at Olivença, and in December commenced
its march across the country to Guarda in Portugal, where it
arrived on the 11th of January, 1810.

[Sidenote: 1810]

In the beginning of March, 1810, the second battalion was removed
from Guarda to several pleasant villages in the valley of the
Mondego, where the health of the men quickly improved. A numerous
French army, under Marshal Massena, advanced and besieged Ciudad
Rodrigo; and on the 1st of July the FIFTY-THIRD proceeded to the
Coa river, to support the light division, observe the bridge
of Castel Bom, and the ford of Juan Miguel. The enemy, having
captured Ciudad Rodrigo, advanced in great force to invade
Portugal; Lord Wellington, not having an army sufficiently numerous
to oppose the French in the field, retired: the FIFTY-THIRD fell
back from the Coa upon Guarda, and afterwards withdrew gradually
before the enemy, until it arrived at the rugged rocks of _Busaco_,
where the French legions found their advance impeded by a
formidable line of British bayonets. The FIFTY-THIRD were detached
a short distance to the left, to observe a small mountain road
which came round that flank of the position, and during the action
on the 27th of September their post was not attacked. The French,
being unable to force the position, turned it by a flank movement;
and the British retreated to the fortified lines of _Torres
Vedras_, where they opposed a front of battle which the French did
not venture to attack; but, after reconnoitring the lines fell back
to Santarem, where they remained during the winter.

[Sidenote: 1811]

In Portugal the opposing armies confronted each other until the 5th
of March, when the French, having lost many men, and being unable
to procure provisions, made a sudden retreat towards the frontiers
of Portugal. The FIFTY-THIRD followed the retreating enemy--several
skirmishes occurred; and towards the end of March the battalion
went into quarters at the hamlet of Romilioza, in the valley of the

Again advancing on the 2nd of April, the battalion approached
the river Coa on the following day, when the French were driven
from the vicinity of Sabugal. Four days afterwards it proceeded
to Castel Bom; and on the 9th of April covered a reconnoissance,
made by Colonel Fletcher of the Royal Engineers, on the fortress
of _Almeida_, which was invested two days afterwards, when the
FIFTY-THIRD took post on the east side of the town. They afterwards
moved to San Pedro, and furnished piquets before the fortress.

When Marshal Massena advanced to raise the blockade of Almeida,
the FIFTY-THIRD quitted San Pedro and took their station in the
position near _Fuentes d'Onor_. The attacks of the enemy on the
3rd of May were repulsed; on the 5th they were renewed, and the
FIFTY-THIRD advanced to support the piquets, which were engaged
among some stone fences to the left of the village. As it advanced,
the battalion was exposed to the fire of a French battery, but
did not sustain any loss: it took post at the foot of a hill, and
supported the piquets until the action ceased: the French being
repulsed, they afterwards retreated.

The FIFTY-THIRD resumed their post before Almeida; but the French
garrison contrived to destroy the works and guns of the fortress,
and to effect its escape during the night of the 11th of May.

When the siege of Badajoz occasioned the advance of Marshal Marmont
with the French army to Spanish Estremadura, the FIFTY-THIRD, and
other corps left on the Agueda, made a corresponding movement,
and joined the army under Lord Wellington in the Alemtejo. The
French armies separating again, the FIFTY-THIRD returned, with
the sixth division, of which they formed part, to the northern
frontiers of Portugal. On the 11th of September the battalion
crossed the Agueda river to the small village of Felicio Chico, to
protect the inhabitants from the depredations of the garrison of
Ciudad Rodrigo. A numerous French army advancing to throw a supply
into that fortress, the FIFTY-THIRD withdrew across the river,
and proceeded to Fuentes d'Onor; from whence they moved to the
vicinity of Espejo. The French forces advancing, the allies, being
much inferior in numbers, withdrew a few stages; the enemy soon
retired again, and the FIFTY-THIRD went into village cantonments.

Major-General Campbell, being appointed to the staff of the army
in India, took leave of the sixth division, in an order dated the
5th of November, and after expressing his thanks to the general
officers commanding brigades, and officers commanding regiments,
he adverted "to his feelings of regret at being about to separate
from that brigade which it was so long his pride to command, and
especially from the FIFTY-THIRD regiment, the only remaining corps
of his original brigade, whose undaunted steadiness and gallantry,
under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Bingham, gained them the
admiration of the army the first time they were under fire."

[Sidenote: 1812]

In January, 1812, when Lord Wellington besieged and captured
_Ciudad Rodrigo_, the sixth division was at Penna Verde; but it
advanced to the frontiers on the approach of the French army: when
the enemy withdrew, the FIFTY-THIRD fell back to Grajal. They
subsequently traversed the country to Elvas, and formed part of
the covering army during the siege of _Badajoz_, which fortress
was captured by storm on the 6th of April. After taking an active
part in the operations of the covering army, the FIFTY-THIRD again
marched northward, and halted at Castel de Vide on the 2nd of May.

The services of the second battalion in Portugal and Spain, had
been equally meritorious with those of the first battalion in
India. After returning from Spanish Estremadura, it reposed a short
period in quarters: in May it moved forward to support the troops
under Lieut.-General Hill in their attack on the French bridge at
_Almaraz_, and afterwards returned to Castel de Vide.

In June the army passed the Agueda river and advanced to
_Salamanca_, the French retiring upon Toro, but leaving a body of
troops in two _fortified convents_. The FIFTY-THIRD were employed
in the siege of these convents, and on the 18th of June Lieutenant
J. H. Devenish was severely wounded in the trenches; he died on the
24th, and was buried in the church near the great square of the
city. Marshal Marmont advancing to relieve the besieged convents,
the regiment was twice removed from the siege to confront the
French army; but the enemy did not hazard an attack. On the 23rd of
June, when an unsuccessful attempt was made by the light infantry
to capture the smaller convent by escalade, the regiment had three
men killed; Lieutenant James Hamilton, and seven men, wounded. The
progress of the siege was delayed by a scarcity of ammunition, but
a supply was received. The smaller convent was captured by storm on
the 27th of June; and the attack on the larger one had commenced,
when the commandant surrendered.

Advancing from Salamanca the army proceeded to the banks of the
Douro; but the French having been considerably reinforced, and
having crossed that river, the allies fell back to the vicinity
of Salamanca, where the two armies manœuvred on the 22nd of July,
and the enemy, having weakened his centre in his attempt to turn
the right flank of the allied army, Lord Wellington seized the
favourable opportunity to commence the battle. The FIFTY-THIRD,
with the other corps of the sixth division, supported the fourth
division in its attack on the French army, and circumstances
occurred which occasioned the regiment to be brought into action
before the other corps of its division. The FIFTY-THIRD supported
the twenty-third Portuguese regiment; and this corps giving way,
the FIFTY-THIRD had to sustain the attack of a superior body of
infantry supported by cavalry in front, at the same time they
were exposed to the flank fire of the French posted on one of the
hills called the Arapiles. The regiment withdrew from this unequal
contest in good order, and forming square, resisted the charge of
the French cavalry with great steadiness, thus affording an example
of what can be effected by a small body of infantry, when charged
by very superior numbers of cavalry. The officer at the head of
the French dragoons having been wounded close to the bayonets of
the square, and the success of the attack of the other regiments
of the brigade to which the FIFTY-THIRD belonged becoming evident,
the French cavalry retired, taking with them Captain Fehrszen and
nine wounded men as prisoners. Lieut.-Colonel Bingham having been
severely wounded, the command of the regiment devolved on Brevet
Lieut.-Colonel John Mansel.

After resisting the charge of the French cavalry, the FIFTY-THIRD
again advanced, and were engaged in the attack of the last position
occupied by the enemy on that memorable day. This was a desperate
musketry action in the dark, and the difficulties of the ascent
of the mountain gave the French division, under General Maucune,
formed on the summit, a decided advantage. The FIFTY-THIRD were on
the left of the sixth division on this occasion, and the British
gallantly won their way upwards, and finally forced the enemy to
make a precipitate retreat.

Colonel Napier has given the following spirited description of this
last attack, in his History of the Peninsular War:--"Assisted by
a brigade of the fourth division, the troops then rushed up, and
in the darkness of the night the fire showed from afar how the
battle went. On the side of the British a sheet of flame was seen,
sometimes advancing with an even front, sometimes pricking forth
in spear heads, now falling back in waving lines, and anon darting
upwards in one vast pyramid, the apex of which often approached,
yet never gained, the actual summit of the mountain; but the French
musketry, rapid as lightning, sparkled along the brow of the height
with unvarying fulness, and with what desperate effects, the dark
gaps and changing shapes of the adverse fire showed too plainly.
Yet, when Pakenham had again turned the enemy's left, and Foy's
division had glided into the forest, Maucune's task was completed,
the effulgent crest of the ridge became black and silent, and the
French army vanished, as it were, into darkness."

The French army was overpowered and driven from the field with
severe loss: and the Royal authority was afterwards given for the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment to bear the word "SALAMANCA" on its colours,
to commemorate the distinguished conduct of the second battalion on
this memorable occasion: Lieut.-Colonel Bingham and Lieut.-Colonel
Mansel received gold medals.

Nineteen men were killed. _Captain_ A. K. Blackhall died of
his wounds, much regretted; _Lieut.-Colonel_ Bingham, _Brevet
Lieut.-Colonel_ Robertson, _Captains_ O. G. Fehrszen, J. W.
Poppleton, D. M'Dougall, and John Fernandez, _Lieutenants_ J. B.
Hunter, and Joseph Nicholson, _Ensign_ Peter Bunworth, _Adjutant_
John Carss, _Volunteer_ Munro Morphet, and seventy-six men were
wounded; nine men wounded and prisoners. Captain Fehrszen was
taken prisoner, but was left by the enemy at Alba de Tormes. The
total loss amounted to nearly half the soldiers under arms on this

The following officers were in the field, and escaped
uninjured:--_Lieut.-Colonel_ John Mansel. _Lieutenants_ P.
Hovenden, and John Fraser. _Ensigns_ W. Harrison, W. Baxter,
George Fitzgerald, Robert Hilliard, J. W. Moir, and Michael Nagle.
_Surgeon_ T. Sandell; _Assistant-Surgeon_ Charles MacLean.

On the day after the battle, Major-General Hulse was nominated
to command the fifth division, when the command of the brigade
devolved on Lieut.-Colonel Mansel of the FIFTY-THIRD, and that of
the second battalion of the regiment on Lieutenant Hovenden. In
August Lieut.-Colonel Bingham was sufficiently recovered of his
wounds to resume his duty, when he took the command of the brigade,
and Lieut.-Colonel Mansel that of the second battalion of the

Advancing in pursuit of the enemy, the army entered the city of
Valladolid amidst the rejoicings of the people. The FIFTY-THIRD
were afterwards left, with the sixth division, at the small town of
Cuellar, in the province of Segovia, while Lord Wellington advanced
with the army to Madrid. General Clauzel returning with the
re-organized French army, the sixth division withdrew to Arevalo.
Lord Wellington returning from Madrid, the French again retreated,
and the allied army advanced up the beautiful Pisuerga and Arlanzan
valleys, turning the enemy's positions and forcing him to continue
his retreat beyond Burgos. The FIFTY-THIRD were employed in the
siege of the castle of _Burgos_, in which service they had four
men killed, Ensign Nagle, one serjeant, and several men wounded.
Lieutenant Fraser distinguished himself at the attack of one of the
out-works. The concentration of the enemy's numerous forces having
rendered a retrograde movement necessary, the FIFTY-THIRD shared in
the fatigues, privations, and sufferings of the retreat from Burgos
to the frontiers of Portugal, where they went into winter-quarters;
they were removed from the sixth to the fourth division, and formed
in brigade with the third battalion of the twenty-seventh, and the
first battalions of the fortieth and forty-eighth regiments, under
Major-General William Anson.

[Sidenote: 1813]

The second battalion having become considerably reduced in numbers
by its arduous services in Spain and Portugal, the effective and
efficient soldiers were formed into four companies, for service in
the Peninsula; and the officers of the other six companies, with
the remaining non-commissioned officers and soldiers, were ordered
to proceed to England, under the command of Captain Poppleton. The
four service companies marched to join the head-quarters of the
fourth division, at St. Jaō de Pesquira, where they arrived
on the 6th of January, and were formed with four companies of
the second, or the Queen's Royal, into the second provisional
battalion, which was commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Bingham of the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment.

Taking the field under a superior organization strengthened by
reinforcements, and proudly confident in the skill and resources
of its commander, the allied army penetrated Spain in May, to turn
the French positions on the Douro. The FIFTY-THIRD formed part of
the force under Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Graham (afterwards Lord
Lynedoch), which proceeded through the mountainous regions of the
Tras-os-Montes, and passed the Esla river, the French falling back
on Toro. Pressing forward upon their numerous enemies, the British
forced them to quit one position after another, until the legions
of France were concentrated in the plain of _Vittoria_, under
Joseph Bonaparte, titular King of Spain, where they prepared to
oppose the victorious career of the allied army. In the battle of
the 21st of June the FIFTY-THIRD formed part of the centre column,
under the immediate command of Lord Wellington, and their bearing
throughout the day, which ended in the complete overthrow and
discomfiture of the French army, was afterwards rewarded with the
Royal authority to bear the word "VITTORIA" on the colours of the
regiment. Their loss was four men killed and six wounded.

The following officers served at the battle of Vittoria,--viz.:

_Colonel_ G. R. Bingham. _Captains_ O. G. Fehrszen and James
Mackay. _Lieutenants_ C. F. Hunter, Thomas Impett, James Hamilton,
Thomas Dowker, and John Fraser. _Ensigns_ George Fitzgerald,
Michael Nagle, and John Wilton. _Adjutant_ John Carss. _Surgeon_
Thomas Sandell; _Assistant-Surgeon_ Charles MacLean. Volunteer John

From the field of battle the FIFTY-THIRD followed the rear of
the defeated French army to the vicinity of Pampeluna, and were
afterwards employed in the attempt to intercept General Clauzel's
French division, which had not been at the battle of Vittoria:
this body of troops having escaped by the pass of Jaca, the
FIFTY-THIRD were employed in the blockade of Pampeluna; but were
relieved by the Spaniards in the middle of July, and advanced into
the Pyrenean mountains, where they were stationed in support of the
troops occupying the head of the pass of Roncesvalles.

When the French army under Marshal Soult advanced to resume
offensive operations, the allied army retired to a position in
the _Pyrenees_ in front of Pampeluna, where some severe fighting
took place, and the repeated attacks of the French were repulsed.
Speaking of the action on the 28th of July, Lord Wellington
stated--"In the course of this contest, the fourth division, which
has so frequently been distinguished in this army, surpassed
its former good conduct." On the 30th of July the FIFTY-THIRD
regiment had an opportunity of distinguishing itself, during the
severely contested action in the mountains; and the light infantry,
commanded by Captain FEHRSZEN, of the FIFTY-THIRD, signalized
themselves in a particular manner. The meritorious conduct of
Captain FEHRSZEN was rewarded with the rank of major. The French
were driven from their post, and pursued to their own frontiers:
and the word "PYRENEES" on the colours of the regiment commemorates
the heroic conduct of the officers and soldiers of the second
battalion on this occasion. Their loss was three men killed and
twenty-one wounded.

The following officers served at the battle of the Pyrenees:--

_Lieut.-Colonel_ G. R. BINGHAM. _Captains_ O. G. Fehrszen and
James Mackay. _Lieutenants_ C. F. Hunter, Thomas Impett, James
Hamilton, and Thos. Dowker. _Ensigns_ George Fitzgerald, Michael
Nagle, and John Wilton. _Pay-Master_ J. MacLean. _Adjutant_
John Carss. _Quarter-Master_ R. Blackie. _Surgeon_ T. Sandall.
_Assistant-Surgeon_ C. MacLean.

Pursuing the French army through the mountains, the FIFTY-THIRD
captured some prisoners and baggage, and arrived at Puerto de
Echalar on the 2nd of August, when Major-General Barnes's brigade
was engaged with two French divisions, which it drove from the
heights. Five days afterwards the FIFTY-THIRD were removed to the
vicinity of Lezaca, where the head-quarters of the allied army were
established; from this place a few volunteers of the FIFTY-THIRD
proceeded to _St. Sebastian_, and were engaged in storming that
fortress on the 31st of August, when two men of the regiment were
killed and two wounded. On the same day the French crossed the
Bidassoa in considerable force, and attacked the Spanish troops on
the heights of San Marcial. On this occasion the FIFTY-THIRD were
engaged in extended order in the pass of _St. Antonio_, where they
had one man killed and twenty wounded. The French were repulsed,
and giving up all hope of being able to relieve St. Sebastian, they
re-crossed the river.

At the passage of the _Bidassoa_ on the 7th of October, the
FIFTY-THIRD supported the light division; and during the action on
the following day they were in reserve.

Looking down from the lofty Pyrenees on the well guarded territory
of France, the British Commander prepared to carry the war into
the heart of that kingdom, and on the morning of the 10th of
November his conquering divisions traversed the mountain passes
by moonlight, to attack the enemy's fortified position on the
_Nivelle_. The FIFTY-THIRD carried bags filled with fern, to fill
up the ditch, and small ladders to mount the rampart of a redoubt,
which they were directed to take. Advancing under the cover of a
heavy cannonade, the soldiers raised a loud and confident shout, as
they approached the redoubt, when the French fired a few shots and
fled. The redoubt was taken possession of, and about thirty of the
enemy, who had not time to escape, were made prisoners. The British
were successful at every point, and the French made a retreat.
During the action Major FEHRSZEN had an opportunity of making a
sudden dash with a few men, and he succeeded in capturing a field
gun. For their gallant services on this occasion the FIFTY-THIRD
were rewarded with the Royal authority to bear the word "NIVELLE"
on their colours, in addition to the other inscriptions previously

One serjeant and three private soldiers were killed; Major
Fehrszen, Captain Mackay, Lieutenant Hamilton, and a few private
soldiers wounded.

Names of officers who served at the battle of Nivelle:--

_Lieut.-Colonel_ G. R. Bingham. _Major_ O. G. Fehrszen. _Captains_
James Mackay and John Carss. _Lieutenants_ C. F. Hunter, Tho.
Impett, Tho. Dowker, James Hamilton, and John Fraser. _Ensigns_
George Fitzgerald and M. Nagle. _Adjutant_ John Wilton.
_Assistant-Surgeons_ James Dunn and Charles MacLean.

At the passage of the Nive river, on the 9th of December, and in
the actions which followed, the FIFTY-THIRD were in reserve, and
did not sustain any loss: they subsequently went into cantonments
during the severe weather which followed.

Some movements were made by the FIFTY-THIRD in the early part
of January, 1814; and on the 6th of that month they advanced to
attack a body of French troops; but were prevented engaging by a
brook, the stream of which was so swollen by the rains as to be
impassable. The battalion was afterwards stationed at Ustaritz,
where it remained until the middle of February, when active
operations were commenced against the French army. After taking
part in several movements, the FIFTY-THIRD marched to St. Jean de
Luz, where they arrived on the 22nd of February, and were supplied
with new clothing at that place.

On the 25th of February the FIFTY-THIRD commenced their march to
re-join the army; but were not in time to take part in the battle
of Orthes on the 27th of that month. They passed the Adour at
St. Sever on the 3rd of March, and joined the fourth division at
Grenade, where they remained a week, and afterwards marched in the
direction of Bordeaux, which city was taken possession of by the
troops under Marshal Beresford; the population renounced their
allegiance to the Emperor Napoleon, and declared themselves in
favour of the Bourbon dynasty.

[Sidenote: 1814]

In the meantime the six companies which returned to England in
January, 1813, had been so successful in recruiting, and in
obtaining volunteers from the militia, that they were reported
fit for service, and embarked at Portsmouth on the 1st of March,
1814, to join the allied army; they landed at Passages in Spain
under the orders of Lieut.-Colonel Mansel, and advancing through
the mountains into France, continued their march to Tarbes, where
they arrived on the 30th of March, and were halted for the purpose
of carrying on operations against the castle of _L'Ourde_, which
remained in the possession of the enemy. Lieut.-Colonel Mansel
joined the army and took the command of the second provisional
battalion, Lieut.-Colonel Bingham having returned to England on
leave of absence about two months previously.

The four companies of the FIFTY-THIRD, forming part of the
second provisional battalion, had been withdrawn from the road
to Bordeaux, and proceeded to the vicinity of _Toulouse_, where
Marshal Soult had assembled the French army to arrest the progress
of the allies, who did not receive the news of the abdication
of Napoleon until the 12th of April. Marshal Soult's position
was attacked on the 10th of April, on which occasion the four
companies formed part of the force which turned the enemy's right,
and carried the heights on that flank. On ascending the heights,
the second provisional battalion encountered a French brigade,
in column, which was soon routed. The enemy was driven from his
positions; and the word "TOULOUSE" on the colours of the regiment
commemorates the gallant bearing of the officers and soldiers of
the FIFTY-THIRD on this occasion. The four companies had a few men
killed and wounded; Lieutenant Hamilton died of his wounds, much
regretted, being an officer of great promise. Captains Mackay and
Mansel, and Lieutenant Impett, were wounded, and recovered.

Names of officers who served at the battle of Toulouse.
_Lieut.-Colonel_ J. Mansel. _Major_ O. G. Fehrszen. _Captains_ J.
Giles (Major), James Mackay, and R. C. Mansel. _Lieutenants_ C. F.
Hunter, J. Hamilton, Thomas Impett, J. Fraser, and G. Fitzgerald.
_Adjutant_ J. Wilton. _Assistant-Surgeons_ J. Dunn and C. MacLean.

Marshal Soult having retired from Toulouse, the allied army
advanced a short distance beyond the town; and the six companies
of the FIFTY-THIRD, from England, arrived and joined the fourth

Hostilities were soon afterwards terminated; the island of Elba was
ceded to Napoleon Bonaparte in full sovereignty, with the imperial
title for life; the Bourbon family was restored to the throne of
France; and the victorious soldiers of the allied army were thus
rewarded with a complete triumph over the enemies of their country.
The Royal authority was afterwards given for the word "PENINSULA"
to be added to the honorary inscriptions on the colours of the
FIFTY-THIRD, to commemorate their meritorious services in Portugal,
Spain, and the south of France, where they had fought and conquered
for the welfare of Europe.

After reposing a few weeks in convenient quarters, the FIFTY-THIRD
marched to the vicinity of Bordeaux, where they were encamped a
short period, and received the thanks of Lieut.-General Sir Lowry
Cole, commanding the fourth division, in orders;--Colonel Bingham
and Lieut.-Colonel Mansel being particularly mentioned. They were
also reviewed by the Marquis of Wellington, whose congratulations
and expressions of approbation were communicated to the army in
general orders, and they afterwards embarked for Ireland. They
landed at Monkstown on the 7th of July, and marched to Kinsale, but
re-embarked on the 23rd of that month, for England, and landing at
Portsmouth, proceeded from thence to Hilsea barracks, where Colonel
Bingham joined and assumed the command.

[Sidenote: 1815]

During this period NAPOLEON BONAPARTE had returned to France,
his army had been overthrown at WATERLOO, and he had surrendered
himself to Captain Maitland, commanding the Bellerophon ship of
war: the island of St. Helena was afterwards appointed for his
future residence. The second battalion of the FIFTY-THIRD regiment,
having been very successful in recruiting, was selected to
accompany Bonaparte to the island named as the place of exile for
this extraordinary man. The battalion embarked from Portsmouth on
the 1st of August, under the command of Major Fehrszen; Colonel Sir
George Bingham[13] commanding the troops employed in this service.
It arrived at St. Helena in October, and after occupying the
barracks at James Town a few days, proceeded to the interior of the
island, where new barracks were constructed, and it furnished the
requisite guards, piquets, and sentries for the cordon of General

At this period the serjeants of the battalion, who had
distinguished themselves in the Peninsula, were presented with
medals to be worn on their left breasts. The medals were issued
by Colonel Sir George Bingham, in compliance with directions from
the colonel of the regiment, Lieut.-General Sir John Abercromby,
G.C.B., and were delivered to the following serjeants:--

  John Wilton      Talavera and Salamanca.
  James Mellor     Talavera, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees,
                     Nivelle, and Toulouse.
  Josh. Rushton    Talavera, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees,
                     Nivelle, and Toulouse.
  Jno. Robinson    Talavera, Vittoria, and Pyrenees.
  Geo. Bannister   Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, and
  Wm. Hartley      Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, and
  Wm. West         Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, and
  Thos. Cox        Salamanca.
  Abm. Peel        Talavera and Salamanca.
  Saml. Sutcliffe  Talavera, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees,
                     Nivelle, and Toulouse.
  Jas. Whitehead   Talavera, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees,
                     Nivelle, and Toulouse.
  John Whitely     Talavera, Salamanca, and Toulouse.
  Wm. Brooksbank   Salamanca.
  Hen. Cockroft    Talavera and Salamanca.
  John Smith       Salamanca.

  Serjeant Wilton was promoted to the adjutancy of the battalion;
  Serjeant Mellor to serjeant-major; and Serjeant Rushton to
  quarter-master serjeant.

[Sidenote: 1816]

During this year the second battalion remained on duty at
St. Helena, where it received the thanks of the Governor,
Lieut.-General Sir Hudson Lowe: in May Lieut.-Colonel Mansel
arrived and assumed the command.

[Sidenote: 1817]

The second battalion of the FIFTY-THIRD remained on duty at St.
Helena until July of this year, when the continued peace of Europe
occasioning a considerable reduction in the army, it was ordered
to return to England to be disbanded. It transferred thirteen
serjeants, one drummer, and two hundred and eighty-eight rank and
file to the first battalion in India; and embarking from St. Helena
in the middle of July, received, previous to going on board of the
ship "Baring," the expression, in general orders, of the Governor's
approbation and admiration of its conduct while at St. Helena.
Previous to the officers of the FIFTY-THIRD quitting the island,
Napoleon Bonaparte expressed a wish for them to wait on him, and
the Governor having consented, they attended at the residence of
Napoleon. He expressed his thankfulness for the manner in which
the corps had performed the duties on which it had been employed,
and for the attention and respect he had always experienced from
every individual belonging to it; and also expressed his wishes for
the prosperity and happiness of every member of the corps.[14]

On the 14th of September the second battalion arrived at
Portsmouth, from whence it proceeded to join the depôt at
Canterbury, where it was disbanded on the 20th of October.



[13] See Memoir of the services of Major-General Sir George R.
Bingham, K.C.B., Appendix, page 69.

[14] LORD BATHURST, then Secretary of State for the Colonial
Department, stated in the House of Peers, that he had heard that
General BONAPARTE had spoken in terms of high approbation of the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment at St. Helena, and added, "Whatsoever the
General could say in praise of that corps was not adequate to its


The foregoing pages contain detailed accounts of the meritorious
conduct of the first and second battalions of the _Fifty-third_
regiment in Europe, as well as in Asia, and afford abundant proofs
of the value of the services of the regiment, which, on numerous
occasions, has received the thanks of the General Officers under
whom it has served, and the approbation of the Sovereign, as
testified by the marks of distinction inscribed on the Regimental


[Illustration: (Monument erected at Shrewsbury to the memory of
the officers and soldiers of the Regiment who were killed at the
Battles of _Aliwal_ and _Sobraon_, on the 28th January and 10th
February, 1846.)

_Madeley lith. 3 Wellington S^t. Strand._

_For Cannon's Military Records_]







_Appointed 21st December, 1755_.

WILLIAM WHITMORE served many years in the third foot guards; he was
promoted to the rank of colonel in January, 1751; and in November,
1752, he was appointed major in his regiment. In the winter of
1755-6 he raised, formed, and disciplined a regiment of foot, now
the FIFTY-THIRD, of which he was appointed colonel by commission
dated the 21st of December, 1755. He was promoted to the rank of
major-general in January, 1758, and removed to the ninth regiment
of foot in October following. In December, 1760, he was advanced to
the rank of lieut.-general. His decease occurred in 1771; at which
period he was member of parliament for Portsmouth.


_Appointed 5th April, 1759_.

JOHN TOOVEY was a cavalry officer of reputation in the reign of
King George II., and served some years in the thirteenth dragoons.
In December, 1754, he was nominated to the lieut.-colonelcy of the
first royal dragoons; and in April, 1759, his constant attention
to all the duties of commanding officer was rewarded with the
colonelcy of the FIFTY-THIRD regiment. In August, 1761, he was
promoted to the rank of major-general. He died in 1770.


_Appointed 5th February, 1770_.

This Officer held a commission in the first, the royal regiment of
foot, many years, and was promoted to the lieut.-colonelcy of the
first battalion of that corps on the 20th of June, 1753. On the 3rd
of August, 1762, King George III. nominated him to the colonelcy
of the 120th regiment, which was raised in the beginning of that
year, and disbanded in 1764. In February, 1770, he was appointed
Colonel of the FIFTY-THIRD regiment; and was promoted to the rank
of major-general two months afterwards. In 1777 he was advanced to
the rank of lieut.-general; and in 1793 to that of general. He died
in 1794.


Afterwards Viscount Lake,

_Appointed 3rd April, 1794_.

GERARD LAKE, third son of Lancelot Charles Lake, Esq., choosing
the profession of arms, was nominated to the commission of ensign
and lieutenant in the first foot guards, on the 9th of May,
1758; in 1762 he was promoted to lieutenant and captain, and in
1776 to captain and lieut.-colonel. He served in North America
during the War of Independence; was engaged in operations in the
southern states, under Major-General the Earl Cornwallis, and had
opportunities of distinguishing himself. When Earl Cornwallis's
force was besieged in York Town, by the united French and American
armies, Lieut.-Colonel Lake commanded a detachment of foot guards
and grenadiers of the eightieth regiment, which made a sortie
on the 16th of October, 1781, forced the entrenchments, spiked
eleven heavy guns, and killed and wounded about a hundred French
soldiers. On the surrender of York Town he became a prisoner of
war; but hostilities were terminated soon afterwards, and he
returned to England; having been promoted to the rank of colonel
in February, 1782. In 1784 he was nominated major, and in 1792
lieut.-colonel in the first foot guards. In 1790 he was advanced
to the rank of major-general. On the breaking out of the French
revolutionary war, he was nominated to the command of the brigade
of foot guards which proceeded to Flanders, and served under His
Royal Highness the Duke of York. He commanded this brigade at the
battle of Famars, and at the siege of Valenciennes; and highly
distinguished himself at Lincelles, on the 18th of August, 1793,
for which he was thanked in general orders. He also served before
Dunkirk, and in other operations: and in 1794 he was rewarded with
the colonelcy of the FIFTY-THIRD regiment, and the government of
Limerick: he was afterwards nominated governor of Dumbarton. In
1796 he was removed to the seventy-third regiment: in 1797 he was
promoted to the rank of lieut.-general, and placed on the staff
of Ireland, where he evinced talent and energy in suppressing the
rebellion which broke out in 1798, and gained several important
victories over the insurgents. When the French landed in Ireland,
he was obliged to retire a short distance; but additional troops
advancing to his aid, he intercepted the French soldiers and forced
them to surrender prisoners of war. In 1800 he was appointed
Commander-in-Chief in India, and colonel of the eightieth regiment;
and in 1802 he was promoted to the rank of general. He arrived
in India at the period when the Governor-General, the Marquis
Wellesley, was displaying the energies of his mind in counteracting
the intrigues of France among the native powers of Hindoostan; and
the ambitious designs of the Mahratta chiefs soon called General
LAKE into the field, when his talents were conspicuously displayed.
His spirited and judicious operations at Coel, on the 29th of
August, 1803; the assault of Aly Ghur, on the 9th of September;
and the overthrow of the Mahratta army near Delhi, on the 11th of
September, on which occasion his charger was killed under him,
produced decisive results. The country between the Ganges and Jumna
rivers, called the Doab (a general name in India for the space
between two rivers), became subject to British authority; and six
days afterwards General Lake visited the Emperor, Shah Alum, whom
he had rescued from oppression, and who conferred upon him titles
which signified,--The Saver of the State,--Hero of the Land,--Lord
of the Age,--and the Victorious in War.

Afterwards proceeding to Agra, General Lake speedily captured that
place, and on the 1st of November he gained an important victory
at Leswaree, when the French-officered battalions of Dowlat Rao
Scindia were annihilated, the Mahratta army overpowered, and its
colours, artillery, and baggage captured. His services on this
occasion were of a distinguished character; he led the charge of
the cavalry in the morning;--conducted in person the attacks of
the infantry, and in the midst of the storm of battle he displayed
valour, professional ability, promptitude, and decision; his
magnanimous example inspired confidence and emulation in the
troops, and they triumphed over very superior numbers. Two horses
were killed under him on this occasion.

His important services were rewarded, in 1804, with the title of

Pursuing the war with vigour, LORD LAKE routed the power of Holkar
at Furruckabad; but the war was protracted by the defection of
the Rajah of Bhurtpore; and when his Lordship besieged the city
of Bhurtpore, he failed in capturing the place from the want of a
battering-train. The Rajah of Bhurtpore was, however, brought to
terms; and Lord Lake pursued the hostile Rajah of Berar from place
to place, until this chief was brought to submission. The British
military power in the East was strengthened by these successes, and
the extent and stability of the dominions in India increased.

His Lordship returned to England, and in 1807 he was advanced to
the dignity of VISCOUNT LAKE.

He caught cold while sitting on the general court-martial which
tried Major-General Whitelocke; and died on the 30th of February,


_Appointed 2nd November, 1796_.

This Officer served in the army during the American war, and on the
21st of March, 1782, he was appointed lieut.-colonel of the 105th
regiment of foot, then newly raised by Francis Lord Rawdon. This
corps was disbanded at the termination of the American war; and in
1789 he was nominated to the lieut.-colonelcy of the fourteenth
foot, at the head of which regiment he distinguished himself in
Flanders under His Royal Highness the Duke of York. He was promoted
to the rank of colonel in 1793, and to that of major-general in
1795; in 1796 he was nominated colonel of the FIFTY-THIRD regiment.
He died in 1798.


_Appointed 3rd January, 1798_.

CHARLES CROSBIE was appointed captain in the eighty-sixth
regiment on the 24th of August, 1759, and he served with this
corps on the coast of Africa, being stationed some time at
Senegal. He was promoted to the rank of major, and afterwards to
that of lieut.-colonel in the eighty-sixth, which regiment was
disbanded after the termination of the seven years' war. In 1778
he was nominated lieut.-colonel of the sixty-seventh regiment;
was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1780, and to that of
major-general in 1787. In 1794 he was nominated colonel of the
Royal Dublin regiment of foot, which was embodied at that period,
and disbanded soon afterwards. He was appointed colonel of the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment in January, 1797, and promoted to the rank of
lieut.-general in December following: in 1802 he was promoted to
the rank of general. He died on the 18th of March, 1807.


_Appointed 21st March, 1807_.

JOHN ABERCROMBY was the second son of the celebrated General SIR
RALPH ABERCROMBY, K.B., who commanded the expedition to Egypt, and
was mortally wounded at the battle of Alexandria, on the 21st of
March, 1801, thus terminating an honorable life with a glorious
death in the hour of victory. As a reward for his gallant conduct
his widow was created BARONESS ABERCROMBY of Aboukir, and of
Tullibody in the county of Clackmannan, by patent dated the 28th of
May, 1801.

On the 13th of April, 1782, John Abercromby was appointed cornet
in the fifth, the Royal Irish dragoons; and in 1787, when the
seventy-fifth regiment was raised by Colonel Robert Abercromby, he
was appointed lieutenant in that corps; in 1792 he was promoted
captain in the same corps. He served in Flanders under His Royal
Highness the Duke of York; and obtained the rank of lieut.-colonel
in 1794. In 1795 he was appointed lieut.-colonel in the FIFTY-THIRD
regiment, which corps he commanded at the capture of St. Lucia,
in 1796, and distinguished himself in the action at the pass of
Morne Chabot, for which he was thanked in orders. He commanded the
FIFTY-THIRD in the Caribbee war in St. Vincent in 1796,--at the
capture of Trinidad, in February, 1797,--and at the unsuccessful
attempt on Porto Rico, in April of the same year, under his father,
Lieut.-General Sir Ralph Abercromby. In 1800 he was promoted to
the rank of colonel, and in 1805 to that of major-general: on
the 21st of March, 1807, he was nominated to the colonelcy of
the FIFTY-THIRD regiment. He obtained the rank of lieut.-general
in 1812, and was afterwards placed on the staff of the army in
India, where he served two years as governor of Madras, and
commander-in-chief of the coast army; but in September, 1814, he
resigned his appointments to return to Europe for the benefit of
his health. He was afterwards honored with the dignity of Knight
Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. Proceeding to Marseilles, in
the south of France, for the benefit of his health, he died at that
place on the 14th of February, 1817, and was buried with military
honors, by the French garrison; the funeral was attended by the
French authorities, civil and military, of the department and of
the city, and also by the consuls of several nations.

In announcing the death of Lieut.-General the Honorable SIR
JOHN ABERCROMBY, G.C.B., in regimental orders, Colonel Sir
George Bingham stated,--"The length of time he has served in the
FIFTY-THIRD regiment,--his great attachment to the corps,--the
interest he took in its welfare, as well as in that of every
individual belonging to it, will cause him to be particularly
regretted by those not personally acquainted with him; while his
high military abilities and upright private character will occasion
his loss to be regarded as a calamity to the service."


_Appointed 24th February, 1817_.

ROWLAND HILL was appointed ensign in the thirty-eighth foot in
1790; and in 1791 lieutenant in an independent company, from which
he was removed to the FIFTY-THIRD regiment, which proceeded to
Flanders at the commencement of the French revolutionary war in
1793, and distinguished itself. In the same year he raised an
independent company, was promoted to the rank of captain, and
appointed to the eighty-sixth regiment, or Shropshire volunteers,
then raised by Major-General Cuyler. He accompanied Mr. Drake on
a mission to Genoa, and afterwards proceeded to Toulon, where he
served as aide-de-camp to the three successive generals commanding
there, viz., Lord Mulgrave, Lieut.-General O'Hara, and Sir David
Dundas; and was wounded at the attack of the heights of Arenes, on
the 30th of November, 1793, and narrowly escaped with his life,
when Lieut.-General O'Hara was taken prisoner. On the evacuation
of Toulon, he was sent with despatches to England. In 1794 he was
promoted to a majority in the ninetieth regiment, raised at this
period by Thomas Graham Esq., (of Balgowan, Perthshire,) afterwards
General Lord Lynedoch; and in the same year to a lieut.-colonelcy
in that corps. He served at Isle Dieu on the coast of France, at
Gibraltar, Malta, and Minorca; on the 1st of January, 1800, he
was promoted to the rank of Colonel, and commanded the ninetieth
regiment in the expedition to Egypt under General Sir Ralph
Abercromby, distinguishing himself during the action on the 13th of
March, 1801, when his regiment was at the head of the right column,
and repulsed a charge of cavalry with great gallantry. Colonel Hill
fell from the blow of a musket-ball on the right temple, and was
removed in a state of insensibility, but recovered; the force of
the ball having been resisted by a strong brass binding in front of
his helmet. On his return to England he was promoted to the rank of
brigadier-general, and placed on the staff of Ireland, where he was
presented with the freedom of Cork. He was promoted to the rank of
major-general, and served in the expedition to Hanover, under Lord
Cathcart, in 1805; and in 1808 he embarked from Ireland, with a
brigade of infantry, to serve in the Peninsula, where he speedily
gave presage of those military virtues which adorned his character.
He commanded a brigade at the battles of Roleia, and Vimiera, under
Sir Arthur Wellesley; and during the advance into Spain under Sir
John Moore, and the corps under his orders covered the embarkation
at Corunna. He acquired fresh honors at the passage of the Douro
at Oporto, on the 12th of May, 1809, when he commanded the corps
which first passed the river, after Lieut.-General Sir E. Paget
was wounded: and at the battle of Talavera he again distinguished
himself, particularly in repulsing the attack of the French on
the hill on the left of the position; he was wounded in the head
on this occasion. His services during the whole of the campaigns
in the Peninsula and South of France were of a distinguished
character, and have called forth the commendations of historians,
the praises of Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington, the thanks of
Parliament, the approbation of his Sovereign, and the gratitude
of his country. During the early part of 1811, he was absent from
the army on account of ill health: but he returned to his post
in the month of May with the rank of lieut.-general, and was
placed in command of the troops in Estremadura. His abilities were
conspicuously displayed in the surprise of a body of French troops
at Arroyo dos Molinos, in October, 1811; in the capture of the
forts and the destruction of the bridge at Almaraz, in May, 1812;
and at the battle of the Nive, on the 13th December, 1813. His
reputation was constantly augmented, and his talents, energy, and
sound judgment became more conspicuous as the extent of his command
was increased, and the nature of his services became difficult. His
claim to military eminence was not established by a few solitary
acts of courage and skill; but by a career of brilliant service,
which will descend to posterity interwoven with the triumphs of the
Duke of Wellington, whose victories were followed by the overthrow
of the power of Napoleon, and the restoration of the Bourbon
dynasty to the throne of France. The services of Lieut.-General
Sir Rowland Hill were rewarded with the dignity of BARON HILL OF
ALMARAZ, and of Hawkstone in the county of Salop, by patent dated
the 17th of May, 1814.

When the return of Bonaparte to France re-kindled the war in
Europe, Lieut.-General LORD HILL was selected to hold an important
command in the army in Flanders under Field-Marshal the Duke of
Wellington; and he was placed at the head of a corps of the allied
army at the memorable battle of Waterloo, on the 18th of June,
1815, when the power of Bonaparte was annihilated by British
skill and valour, and peace was acquired for Europe. The honorary
distinctions conferred upon LORD HILL for his important services,
were,--Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath,--Knight Grand
Cross of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order,--a medal for the
battle of Waterloo,--a cross and three clasps for the battles of
Roleia, Vimiera, Corunna, Talavera, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle,
Nive, and Orthes; the Turkish Order of the Crescent,--Grand Cross
of the Tower and Sword of Portugal, Commander of Maria Theresa of
Austria,--St. George of Russia, and Wilhelm of Holland. He was
presented with the freedom of the city of London; and was appointed
governor of Hull, and Colonel of the ninety-fourth regiment. In
1817 he was removed to the FIFTY-THIRD regiment.

In 1825 LORD HILL was promoted to the rank of general; and on
the 15th of February, 1828, he was appointed General Commanding
in Chief, the important duties of which appointment he performed
with reputation and advantage to the service fourteen years. He
was appointed Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards, and
Governor of Plymouth, in 1830. His Lordship's resignation of
the command of the Army, in August, 1842, was announced in the
following General Order:

  "HORSE GUARDS, _15th August, 1842_.

  "GENERAL LORD HILL finds it necessary to resign the Command of the
  Army on account of his Lordship's present state of health, and
  Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to accept his Lordship's

  "When Lord Hill assumed the command which he now resigns, he
  expressed, in General Orders, his confident hope, that from the
  General and other Officers, as well as from the Public Departments
  of the Army, he should receive that support which should enable him
  to fulfil the important trust reposed in him.

  "That hope has not been disappointed, but, on the contrary,
  realized beyond Lord Hill's most sanguine expectation.

  "The conduct of the Troops has, both in the Field and in Quarters,
  furnished, during Lord Hill's command of them, an example of
  discipline, regularity, and general efficiency, not to be
  surpassed, and the Officers have, by their devotion to their duty,
  enabled his Lordship to maintain the Army in that creditable state.
  The Officers have, therefore, established their claim to Lord
  Hill's lasting gratitude and esteem.

  "His Lordship cannot, then, but with painful feelings take leave of
  Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Soldiers, whose conduct
  has been so uniformly approved by their Sovereign and by their

  "These feelings are, however, greatly alleviated and consoled by
  the reflection that the Command of the Army is now to be resumed
  by the Duke of Wellington, the ever vigilant and most influential
  Guardian of its Interests, and whose achievements have raised its
  character to the highest Pinnacle of Glory."

On the 3rd of September, 1842, Lord Hill was advanced to the
dignity of Viscount, by Her Majesty, in consideration of his
eminent military services, and in approbation of the ability with
which His Lordship had discharged, for a lengthened period, the
important duties of General Commanding-in-Chief.

The decease of General Lord Hill occurred on the 10th December,
1842, in the seventy-first year of his age, at Hardwicke Grange,


_Appointed 19th November, 1830_.



SIR GEORGE RIDOUT BINGHAM entered the army in June, 1793, as ensign
in the sixty-ninth regiment, and served at Corsica and in the
Mediterranean. He was promoted to captain in the eighty-first in
1796, and major in the eighty-second in 1801, and he served with
those corps at the Cape of Good Hope and the island of Minorca.
On the 14th of March, 1805, he was nominated lieut.-colonel in
the FIFTY-THIRD regiment, and assuming the command of the second
battalion in Ireland, on the 1st of April, he was at the head
of that portion of the regiment during the whole of its arduous
and distinguished service in the Peninsula, commencing with
the expulsion of Marshal Soult's army from Oporto in 1809, and
continued until the end of 1812, when the battalion was so reduced
in numbers, that six companies returned to England to recruit; and
during these campaigns his conduct reflected honour on the corps to
which he belonged. In 1813 he commanded with reputation the second
provisional battalion. He received a cross and one clasp for the
battles of Talavera, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, and Nivelle; he
was also nominated Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, and
received permission to accept of the Order of the Tower and Sword
of Portugal. He commanded the troops which proceeded to St. Helena
with Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1815, and served as brigadier-general
at that island until 1820, when he returned to England in
consequence of having been promoted to the rank of major-general in
1819. In 1831 he was appointed colonel commandant of a battalion of
the Rifle Brigade. He served on the staff of Ireland from 1825 to
1832. He died in 1833. As a soldier and a gentleman he stood high
in the estimation of all who knew him; he was an ornament to his
profession and an honour to his country.

  Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES and SONS, Stamford Street,
  For Her Majesty's Stationery Office.


  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.

  Pg xxxiii, 'castle of L'Ourde 5' replaced by 'castle of L'Ourde 52'.
  Pg 3, 'towards Ticonderago' replaced by 'towards Ticonderoga'.
  Pg 21, '[Sidenote: 1815]' inserted before 'In 1815 the ...'.
  Pg 55, 'occupy the barracks' replaced by 'occupying the barracks'.
  Pg 58, The Illustration of the memorial monument placed after this
  page had no caption. The description of this Plate from Pg xxxv has
  been inserted as a caption.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical Record of The Fifty-Third or Shropshire Regiment of Foot" ***

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