A. CAMPBELL, Lieut.-Col.,
Owing to continued contrary winds, the transports with the 2nd, 25th, 29th, 34th, 81st, and 96th regiments, were detained in Plymouth Sound, till the middle of February. It appears that about this time, a very bad fever, prevailed among the inhabitants, and troops at Plymouth , which also communicated itself to those who were embarked. With such fury did this fever rage, that in one day over 70 men were buried, and we read of a regiment, quartered at Stoke, losing 400 out of 600 men, the remaining 200 being left unfit for any duty. The 29th was not so much affected by this fever as were many regiments; still it continued to send its sick ashore, up to the day of its sailing.
On the 15th of February, Admiral Parker, and the convoy, started from Plymouth with sealed orders, and on leaving the Sound, were joined by the Channel Fleet, under Lord Howe, which, after escorting them a certain distance, proceeded to cruise off Brest, and in the Bay.
Not until the transports were off Cape Finisterre , was the destinestion of the Expedition known. On its proving to be the West Indies , each part of the convoy made the best of its way to its respective destination. After a fair passage, during which the sick recovered in a most surprising manner, the 29th arrived in Carlisle Bay, Barbadoes, on the 30th of March, and on the 1st of April, together with the 25th Foot, and a detachment of Royal Artillery, the whole under command of Lieut.-Col. Campbell, of the 29th, was despatched to quell an insurrection which had broken out early that month in Grenada.
As it may interest some to know the origin of the outbreak in that island, whose climate proved more destructive than the enemy, a sketch of the events which took place previous to the arrival of these reinforcements is here given.
Early this year, the French made great efforts to recover their possessions in the West Indies . Emissaries were sent among the negroes, and correspondence with discontented French inhabitants was set on foot with a view of raising simultaneous insurrections. These attempts in Grenada , Dominica , and St. Vincent , although attended with a temporary success, were finally defeated.
The commencement of the insurrection in Grenada was probably due to the success which had attended the Republican arms in Guadaloupe. The meeting place of the conspirators was the plantation called Belvidere , situated in the very centre of the island; it belonged to their chosen leader, a mulatto named Julien Fedon.
Two of their band, who had been despatched to Guadaloupe to concert measures with Hugues, and other Republican Commissioners, in that island, returned a few days before the insurrection broke out, and landed at Charlotte Town, or "Gouyave," with arms, ammunition, Liberty caps with national cockades, and a flag on which the words "Liberté," "Egalité, ou la Mort," were inscribed. They were furnished with commissions signed by Hugues, Goyrand, and Le Bas.
About midnight on the 2nd of March, the small towns of Grenville, or "La Baye," and Charlotte Town, were taken possession of, and 11 out of the 15 English inhabitants of the former, were butchered. At Charlotte Town, the governor of the island, Lieut.-General Home, and 46 others, after being surprised in bed, were conducted on foot, under a strong guard, to the insurgents' camp at Belvidere .
The only troops in the island consisted of 190 men, and the militia of St. George's . The former, which were in garrison at Richmond Hill , near St. George, were commanded by Captain Sandeman, 9th Foot. On the 5th of March, 150 men, forty of whom were regulars, embarked under Captain Gurdon, 58th Foot, to retake Charlotte Town. With the exception of St. George, or "Ville et Fort Royal ," the fortifications, and a few estates near the town, the whole of the island was now in the possession of the insurgents. The rising of the slaves became general, and the work of plunder, and devastation by fire, were of a daily occurrence.
On the 6th of March, Fedon sent a flag of truce, demanding the surrender of all the fortifications, giving also notice "that the instant an attack was made on the post where the prisoners were confined, every one of them should be put to death."
On the 12th, Brigadier-General Lindsay arrived from Martinico, with 150 men, and on the 17th proceeded to attack the enemy, but without success. Captain Sandeman and 16 privates were wounded, 9 were killed. At the commencement of this engagement, Fedon ordered the governor and other prisoners to be put to death; they were, however, spared for a time, and conducted from the insurgents' lower camp at Belvidere , to the higher one, where their chief had his head-quarters. Here they were placed under a strong guard.
It had been General Lindsay's determination to renew the attack the following morning, but the heavy rains which commenced, and continued up to the time of his death (22nd inst.), rendered any movement impracticable.
The command of the troops now devolved on Lieut.-Colonel Schaw, 68th Regiment, who, together with the other officers, was of opinion that the force then in the island, was insufficient to assume any offensive operations with a prospect of success.
Such was the state of affairs when the reinforcements, under Colonel Campbell,* disembarked at Charlotte Town.
A detachment of 250 men, under Major Wright, 25th Regiment, was at once ordered to march through the woods, and support Captain Gurdon who was stationed about five miles distant, at the Observatory; whilst Captain Ewen, of the same regiment, was ordered to take post at Madame Chadeaux's, about half-a-mile in front of Belvidere Camp; and Major Mallory, of the 29th, with 300 men, re-embarked for St. George's, it being intended that he should take up a position on a hill, a few miles from the Grand Étang, which commanded the principal line of communication between Grenville Bay and the enemy's camp, hoping thereby to intercept their supplies, and cut off their retreat.
Major Mallory's detachment marched from St. George's on the 4th of April, and took post near one of the enemy's camps in the vicinity of Madame Aché's house (Fôret Noir), which was attacked, and captured the next morning, with the following losses:—
Shortly after this, Major Mallory, who went out by himself to reconnoitre a position at a distance from his men, was assailed by three negroes, armed with musquets and bayonets. Though he had only his sword and a brace of pistols, he refused to surrender, and defended himself with such determination that he killed two of his assailants, and obliged the third to save himself by flight. In this conflict unfortunately, Major Mallory received some wounds, none of which were at the time thought dangerous. The night of the 5th passed pretty quietly, a few harmless shots only being fired at the sentinels. Fearing that, if the detachment made a further advance without first securing this post, his communications with St. George's might be cut off, and having but three days' provisions, Major Mallory determined to remain where he was, but fever having set in, he died on the 22nd. Lieut.-Colonel Este, 68th Regiment, who had in the meanwhile started from Charlotte Town, arrived on the 6th, and assumed command, and thinking the force unequal to the difficulties which were to be encountered, no further advance was for a time made. Major Wright also reported that he had found a large body of the enemy strongly intrenched, and having ascertained that they had lately received a further supply of arms and ammunition, he judged it unadvisable to attack their position until he was reinforced. The failure of these two enterprises put an end to the idea of a general co-operation of the different detachments against the enemy's camp, whilst the vast quantities of rain which fell during the next few days precluded the possibility of carrying on any further operations. In the absence of the Governor, and death of Brigadier Lindsay, the command devolved on the President of the Council, who, considering that any further delay would prove advantageous to the enemy, judged it best to make an assault on their camp, from the post before Belvidere , which was still held by a detachment. In so doing he did not take into consideration the state of the weather.
On the 7th, the President arrived at Mount St. John , where the troops were now principally collected, and ordered an attack to be delivered without loss of time. Accordingly, Brigadier-General Campbell, having the following morning collected all available forces, an advance by two columns was made on the enemy's principal position at Morne Quaco. The column under command of Lieut.-Colonel Hope, 25th Foot, was composed of detachments of the 91st and 68th regiments, under Major McLean, 68th Regiment, the Light company, and the remainder of the 25th, not already employed; whilst Lieut.-Colonel Dickson, 29th Foot, had charge of the second column, which consisted of some seamen of H.M.S. "Resource," the Light company, and remainder of the 29th not otherwise detached. The Grenadiers of the 25th and 29th regiments formed the reserve.
On the approach of the troops, the enemy retired to their upper post, situated on a ridge of the mountain, which, on account of the inaccessible nature of the ground, was in itself a strong position, but had been rendered more so by the felling of trees. In addition to this, they had two guns, one of which was served by French soldiers.
Notwithstanding these obstructions, the ardour and resolution of the seamen and troops induced them to press forward, and endeavour to gain possession of one of the guns which had been advanced from the summit of the position. On account of the heavy rains which had lately fallen, it was scarcely possible for the men, whilst climbing the hill, and making their way through the dense brushwood and fallen trees, to keep their feet, much less to use their musquets with effect.
The troops having for some time been exposed to a very heavy and galling fire, with scarcely an opportunity of returning it, Brigadier-General Campbell decided to withdraw his men under cover of the two companies of grenadiers (that of the 29th was commanded by Captain Augustus Colman, who himself shot one of the insurgent chiefs), and, having first collected the wounded, returned to his former positions at Mount St. John and Madame Chadeaux's.
In the return of killed and wounded on the 8th of April, 1795, signed by A. Campbell, Lieut.-Colonel, Commanding the Troops and Seamen, the casualties in the 29th Foot are:—
Killed† - 1 Subaltern, 9 Rank and File.
Wounded - 1 Serjeant, 1 Drummer, 8 Rank and File.
During the above attack, Fedon put the governor of the island to death in the presence of his wife and daughter, and then the remaining prisoners, with the exception of three, were shot in detail at his word of command.
To LORD CATHCART.
" Grenada , 19 April, 1795.
"My good Lord,
Enclosed herewith I have the honour of enclosing a State of the Regiment as near as our detached situation will permit, but am afraid they will contain many errors, which, however I shall endeavour to correct in our next. I write this in a negro hut, on the top of the highest mountain in this rugged island.
I need not mention how blackguard a service we are employed upon. The insurgents (mulattoes and negroes, with a few of the old French inhabitants) are posted at about three miles distant ; they occupy the summit of a very extensive mountain, the access on every side seems so steep that I fear it is hardly possible to face them, at least with the force now assembled upon the island. We have felt for them upon two or three different points, and am sorry to say came off with loss without gaining anything ; the last was an attempt to force their chief post on the hill before-mentioned, but were taught to our cost that the strength of the ground was beyond our strength, and was defended by cannon, and numbers which our best information flattered us it was impossible to expect; so that everything considered, we came off well, though at the expense of a good deal of blood. Poor Bailey, who I had appointed a few days before to act as adjutant, fell on this occasion. We seem entirely left to poke out our own way in the dark wilds, and fastnesses, not yet having found a guide who knows a yard beyond the beaten tracks, which are here improperly called roads, neither can you get for love or money a person who will venture a hundred yards to gain intelligence, consequently we either fall into ambuscade, or are led to error, through false information. Immediately on my arrival in this country, I recommended Dalgetty to the Commander-in-Chief to succeed to the vacant ensigncy, in room of a Mr. Bird, who was either promoted or exchanged some time before we left Europe , and this morning received the appointment, together with a Mr. Campbell in room of Bailey. I have on this occasion only to hope that the vacancy of Mr. Bird has not been previously filled up at home, and to request your Lordship's good offices to prevent it; Dalgetty's commission here is dated the 1st instant. There is a heavy cannonade from an outpost at this instant, therefore conclude with telling you that this goes by Capt. Brown of the Navy, who took a very spirited part in our late attack on the enemy.
Believe me, my dear Lord, with every sentiment of
Respect and Esteem,
Your most obedient humble Servant
A. CAMPBELL ."
"The cannonade proves of little importance."
COPY OF ENCLOSED STATE.
State of His Majesty 's Twenty-ninth Regiment of Foot, Commanded by Major-General Lord Cathcart, between 15th Febry & 26th April, 1795, inclusive.
On the 16th of April, Brigadier-General Nicholls arrived from Martinico and took over the command. Having examined the positions occupied by the troops, he determined to change the scene of operations, and to attack a large force of the enemy assembled on the east side of the island, at Pilot Hill, near Grenville Bay . With this object, Major McLean, with about 200 men, was stationed in Charlotte Town. On the 26th, the posts on the heights above that town, and at Madame Aché's, were evacuated, and on the following day Brigadier-General Campbell, with about 900 men, embarked for Grenville Bay . The second night after their landing there, the enemy abandoned their position, and retreated to some inland heights.
During the wet and sickly season which now set in, it was judged best to station the troops at different positions along the coast, and to postpone for a time all further operations.
Major Wright (25th) was therefore left in command at Pilot Hill; the garrisons of Charlotte Town and St. George's were reinforced, and new posts were taken up in the north of the island at St. Patrick, or "Sauteurs," and in the south-east at St. David's, or "Maigrin," the latter being under command of Captain D. White, 29th Foot, who had with him 60 men of his own regiment, and 26 of the St. David's regiment of Militia.
Fever now began to tell on the regiment. Lieut. P. T. Campbell had died on the 22nd of April; on the 14th of May, Adjutant Thomas Comber and two privates succumbed, on the 18th, Captain James Allen, on the 19th, Lieut. Robt. French, 1 serjeant, 1 drummer, and 4 privates, on the 21st, Lieut. Harcourt Vernon, and 1 private. Casualties amongst the men were almost of daily occurrence.
On the arrival of Captain White at St. David's, the parish church, being a stone building, and considered a strong and safe position, was at once occupied by the detachment. All went on quietly till the 25th of May, when about 2 a.m. some of the enemy, by creeping through the brushwood, succeeded in surprising two sentinels. The first intimation the garrison had of the enemy's approach was a volley of musketry fired in at the door, and windows. Captain White being at the time down with a bad attack of fever, Lieut. Hugh Rowland Williams (29th), who was also suffering from its effects, immediately called the men to arms. The cries, and shrieks of the sentinels who had been surprised, were more appalling than the fire of the enemy, who, it appeared, were torturing their victims, instead of dispatching them at once. Lieut. Williams, ill and unable to move, was wounded where he lay; from the effects of this, combined with the malignant fever which ensued, he died on the 11th of June. This officer had, on the 24th of April, been gazetted to a company in the 1st Battalion 29th Foot, but the notice of his promotion had not been received at the time of his decease.
Although the garrison of the church was surprised, still the men were undaunted, and determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible. The church door was hastily barricaded, and Sergt. Sully (29th Regiment) placed ten of his best men with fixed bayonets at the entrance. In a few minutes all was ready, and the men, cool and obedient, were directed not to fire at random, but to watch, and be guided by the enemy's fire. There being a light in the church, the enemy for some time had the advantage, but a stray bullet soon extinguished it.
During this attack, the little garrison was much annoyed by the fire of one of the enemy, who had posted himself in a large tree close at hand; this man, Mr. May, the rector of the parish, was determined to dislodge. He therefore climbed up into the belfry, and watching his opportunity, discharged his musket with such good effect, that all further annoyance from that quarter ceased. At daybreak the enemy retired, having lost, according to the best information, 100 killed and wounded. Of the garrison, 36 killed or wounded lay in the church.
In the gallant defence of this post, which was of considerable importance, the losses of the 29th Foot were:-
Killed # — 5 Rank and File.
Wounded — Lieut. H. R. Williams (captain), 1 Serjeant, 33 Rank and File.
Serjeant Sully died of his wounds on the 20th of June. On the day previous Lieutenant John Marco Love succumbed to fever; this was the eighth officer who had died in a little over eight weeks. On the 6th of July, Ensign Smith Palmer, and on the 21st, Surgeon Thos. Gregg, died.
The casualties which occurred in the regiment between the 15th of February and the 20th of June, 1795, will be found annexed to the following letter.
To LORD CATHCART.
" Richmond Hill , St. George,
Grenada , 20 June, 1795.
"My dear Lord,
Herewith I have the honour of enclosing a Return of part of the 29th Regt. at present under my command, to which there is joined a list of Casuals, the magnitude of which your Lordship will join with me in regretting, but more particularly when by the very recent date of many, it is manifest that the cause is by no means abated. I was in great hope that on the regiment coming to this garrison, the general health might be restored, the situation having the most promising appearance: it is almost a mile and a half from the town, and fort of St. George's, by a road that winds up to the summit of a steep ridge, on which the Garrison is built, and in direct distance, sufficiently near to cover both the fort and town with its cannon, we have the advantage of enjoying the finest and best air that the island or climate can afford, and have taken every precaution possible to guard against infection from other quarters, though I am sorry to say without the effect desired. A fever now rages in the town, with very destructive violence; it appears to be a species of plague, never being known to attack a person twice, indeed very few have survived the first; our loss by the enemy has not been many in comparison, though they merit much regret, as having died by the hands of so unworthy a Banditti, over which I cannot say we have as yet had any very decided superiority, as they maintain much the same situation as when I first came into the island. We have had several reconnoitres, and premeditated attacks, all which, though they prove the inferiority of their spirit or discipline even with our recruits, yet they always ended with a certain loss of men on our part, which with the contingent loss occasioned by sickness, has reduced the 29th Regt. to what your Lordship now finds it. Brigadier-General Nicholls has lately rescued us from the command of a President of the Council, who, on the death of the lieutenant-governor (murdered by the insurgents) assumed the military command, and issued orders for attack, &c., with all the confidence of a Veteran ; in one of these we lost poor Bailey, and other valuable lives, as by the Returns, but the whole loss, including seamen (of whom we had a detachment), part of the 25th Regt., and other detachments, was about 100 men; the service was in storming the strongholds of the insurgents, which ended in proving what must have been the opinion of every military person before it commenced, a matter without any probability of success. This post is on the summit of the highest mountain in the island, defended with artillery, and a fire of musketry much superior to what we could bring against it, the ascent is so difficult, that of about 200 Seamen who began to climb up at the head of the attacking columns, there were not 30 up when it was found necessary to return to the low ground, and the whole so very much spent, and fatigued, that a spirited enemy might have made us pay very dear for the temerity of our attempt, but luckily, we had not such to deal with, for though they made a show of following to the plain, yet were kept sufficiently in check by the grenadiers of the two battalions, and the whole were allowed to march to their camp without insult. Under Major Mallory, an attack was made on the enemy at this side of the Island , while a detachment was sent to windward to attack the enemy at La Baye; these being planned by the same military genius, had a similar effect with that already mentioned under your Humble Servant. I have perhaps taken up too much of your Lordship's time in setting forth the follies of a person not otherwise worthy of attention, but to show how dangerous it is to trust power of any sort, but military in particular, into the hands of ignorance and presumption.
My not knowing where to address Lady Bulkeley obliges me to request that your Lordship will take the very disagreeable trouble of communicating to her Ladyship the death of Lieut. Williams; his death was caused by wounds, and bruises received in the defence of a post where Captain White commanded with 60 men of the 29th; it was an old church at a place called Maigrin; they were attacked in the night by almost 400 of the insure; these appeared after, to have been a chosen band, determined on the total destruction of our small party. However, after many violent and fruitless efforts to force them, they were obliged to retire in the morning, leaving 30 corpses on the ground, and from information since received, the loss of the enemy, killed and wounded, could not be less than 90.
When I left England , the uncertainty of our destination prevented my making many arrangements, and among them I left the Black Horse, in charge of Major Enys, but without mentioning at that time anything further relative to the matter. I however, on my arrival at Barbadoes, wrote a few lines directing that the horse should be sent to the person to whom he certainly belongs, and flatter myself your Lordship has had some pleasant days hunting with him, over the happy plains near Windsor . Pray present my best respects to Lady Cathcart, and believe me with every sentiment of respect and esteem.
Most obedient & most Humble Servant,
A. CAMPBELL ."
Abstract of the enclosed State of the Regiment, with Casualties since
leaving- Plymouth , 15 Feby, 1795.
Present. — 2 Lieut.-Cols, 4 Capts, 2 Lieuts, 3 Ensigns, 1 Adjut, 1 Qr Mr, 1 Surgeon, 21 Serjts,
Rank and File. — 244 Fit for Duty; 125 Sick in Bks, Hospital, or at Barbadoes; 87 On Command.
Wanting to Complete. — 3 Serjeants, 3 Drummers, 141 Rank and File.
Alterations.—Died 115; Deserted 3.
This Return was made up for the 11th of June, but could not be sent.
Casuals up to 20th June.—Since Dead: 3 Serjeants, 13 Rank and File.
" Richmond Hill , St. Georges,
Grenada 6 July 1795
"My dear Lord,
Herewith I have the honour of transmitting a Return $ of the part of the 29th Regiment, in which I am sorry to say your Lordship will find the loss considerably increased since the last up to the 20th June, and which I hoped reached you before this. I flatter myself the Majority, vacant by the death of Mallory has fallen to Enys, and that Kirkman has succeeded to his. The other vacancies, though I recommended them for the regiment at large, will without doubt be filled up by the Commander-in-Chief. That cursed destructive fever, continues still to rage with unabating violence, two or three men of a day, fall a sacrifice to it. Richmond Hill , the present head-quarters of the regiment, appears to have every advantage which can be procured in this climate, for preserving good health. A high commanding situation, with a constant refreshing wind that preserves the temperature of the air in a state not (to my feeling) better than what is common in our English summers, and has neither swamp nor bog to occasion a nauseous vapour of any sort. The insurgents continue at present quiet in their fastnesses, where they are reduced to much misery, even for provisions, and indeed every article of the necessaries of life, this has occasioned great desertions among them, and many have risked the sentence of the law, to avoid present distress—upon the whole, should our cruisers prevent them receiving their necessary supplies from Guadaloupe, there will not remain with General Fedon, except such whose crimes preclude them from any mercy. We have had some report of a Second Battalion, and a newspaper gives the promotions, but a total silence in way of letters leaves the matter still doubtful, pray have the goodness to let me into the secret as soon as possible. —— Not having the address of the friends of any of the poor fellows we have lost in this country, I have to request you will direct the Agent, or other perhaps more eligible person, to communicate the unfortunate tidings.
The amount of which their effects sold for shall be transmitted to the Agents by next Packet. In my last, I requested your Lordship to communicate the melancholy tidings of poor Williams' death to Lady Bulkeley. The great want of medical assistance, as well as the great merit of the man, induced me to appoint Pipes, to act as Surgeon's Mate, until your pleasure was known on the subject, and if not otherwise engaged, I should thank your Lordship to send him a warrant. His professional knowledge is perfectly satisfactory to the Surgeon, his modesty, and application is very much so to myself. Finding that your Lordship was serving on the Continent, I flatter myself good health, and satisfaction have accompanied your return, and that you found Lady Cathcart, and family in every respect as I wish them. Pray offer my best respects to Her Ladyship, with my love to all the young folk, and believe me to be with unalterable respect, and esteem,
A. CAMPBELL ."
" Richmond Hill ,
Grenada 22 July 1795.
"My good Lord,
I cannot allow Colonel Dickson to depart for England without enclosing a State § of the Regiment, though I sent one by the last Packet, this will show the progress of our misfortunes by comparing it with the last, and on that melancholy subject am sorry to add that
there seems to be no abatement in our misfortune. Poor Dr. Gregg, the Surgeon, died yesterday. In my last, I concluded you were long before, in possession of the Black Horse, but by a letter from Enys, I find he is still in his possession at Plymouth, and the same letter gives me to understand that your Lordship was still on the Continent, in command of the Light Cavalry, on that service, therefore you could have no great want of the horse, which however I have directed should be sent you on your return to England. I am happy to hear of the Second Battalion in the arrangement of which your Lordship has most certainly had particular attention to the interest of the Old Corps, not much to the satisfaction of Independent officers serving with us in this country. The state of the blackguard war in this Island is not materially altered since my last, though I think, if matters on the part of the insurgents continues much longer in their present state, they have no other alternative but to starve or submit to mercy, which last, has I think been wisely proffered to such as cannot be accused of murders, or other crimes particularly specified. This, with the inattention, or (what I hope is more probable) inability of their friends, at Guadaloupe, in offering them succour, has visibly damped their ardour, and several under the description of mercy, have claimed, and found it; so that at this time we have only the enemy "climate" to contend with, which indeed seems to baffle every effort of medicine, and constitution, so much so, that according to the present mortality, a few weeks, will put a period to the existence of this deserted battalion.
For my own part, I never enjoyed better health, than since my arrival in the West Indies, nor have I the smallest apprehension of the contrary, it is not however without reason, that I should bless the power in which I received orders to your side of the Atlantic . The species of war in this Island is such that a man may easily lose credit by the least misfortune, but cannot gain any degree of honour in beating what may be termed a despicable enemy, which nothing could prevent from annihilation, except the strength of their fastnesses, which they have to retire to; but enough of so bad a subject. Pray present my best respects to Lady Cathcart, with the sincerest good wishes for all the young folk. I hope Kirkman does not forget his old Friends, either with, or without the, s,
Believe me my dear Lord
With much esteem and respect
A. CAMPBELL ."
In August, the insurgents assembled in great force, and on the 15th of October, captured Charlotte Town, where Colonel Schaw commanded. After this, 300 men landed from Martinico to help the troops to hold their own until further reinforcements arrived from England , for the climate proved more destructive than the enemy, and the 29th was, by the 3rd of September, reduced to 13 serjeants, 228 rank and file.
On the 24th of October, a reinforcement of 270 of the 17th Light Dragoons, and the 4oth Foot, arrived.
According to the Regimental Muster Rolls, between the 15th of February and 16th of December, 26 serjeants, 17 corporals, and 359 privates had died or been killed since leaving England—in addition to these, Major & Bt.-Lieut.-Colonel R. Ramsay and Ensign Jas. Forbes had died during the autumn ; and Captain A. Colman on the 16th of December.
On the 4th of February, 1796, the "Sally" transport, with Captains J. Clayey and Edgell Wyatt, Lieut. R. Duddingstone, Ensign Samuel Galindo, 4 serjeants, 3 drummers, 129 rank and file, arrived at Grenada .
Further reinforcements being expected, Brigadier-General Nicholls decided, on their arrival, to attack the enemy's post at Port Royal, situated on the windward side of the Island . The position occupied by the insurgents was situated on a hill with very steep ascent, particularly towards the summit, on which a fort had been constructed, armed with four 6-pounders, and some swivel guns.
On the 22nd of March, General Nicholls, with two troops of 17th Light Dragoons, 200 men of the 9th, 10th, 25th, and 29th regiments, together with 500 of the Island Black Corps, marched to join the reinforcements, which were daily expected, and ordered to disembark near Port Royal.
On the 24th, detachments of the 8th and 63rd regiments, with part of the "Buffs," disembarked ; two 6-pounders and a 5½-inch howitzer were also got ashore, and placed on a ridge about 1000 yards south of Port Royal.
During the night, a battery was constructed, and the following morning at daybreak, fire was opened on the enemy's redoubt. This disconcerted them very much, but General Nicholls' object being to close with the enemy as soon as possible, he determined to get on the same ridge with them, or, if he saw an opening, to attempt to carry the work by assault. For this purpose it was necessary to try and dislodge some strong parties which were posted on some heights to the left, as if intending to turn or threaten that flank. A strong black corps, and 50 of the 88th Foot, the whole under Major Houston, of the latter regiment, were therefore detailed for this service, but meeting with a reverse, the 8th (King's) was ordered to support them, which it did effectually.
At this moment an alarming fire broke out in rear of the troops, near a place where on landing all the stores had been deposited. By the exertions of the men these were all saved.
In the midst of these untoward circumstances, firing was heard from the ships-of-war, which lay at anchor, and it was ascertained that two French schooners, with reinforcements for the enemy, had arrived, and were making for "Marquis." As these were well within range of the 6-pounders, General Nicholls immediately ordered one to be turned against them. The situation of affairs was now so critical, that not an instant was to be lost, and Brigadier-General A. Campbell was ordered to proceed to the assault without delay. He therefore advanced with only the Buffs and 63rd Regiment. The 8th (King's) having, as before mentioned, been detached on another service, General Nicholls ordered up half of the 29th to replace them, also half of the 9th, to assist if necessary. The 29th having to march from Grand Bacolet, although it pushed forward as quickly as possible, did not arrive till after the Buffs had met with a check, in consequence of the advantage the enemy had of the ground, and of a very galling fire to which they were exposed. Brigadier-General Campbell then offered to carry the position with his regiment.
The 29th, accordingly, with orders not to fire, advanced to the assault, led by their colonel waving his hat and cheering them on.
The enemy, elated by their recent success, delivered a sharp fire, and advanced to meet them. The brushwood fence, where the Buffs had been checked, was passed steadily, and in perfect order; then, with a rush, the position was forced, and, scrambling in at the embrasures, the fort was carried at the point of the bayonet, Captain Clayey being the first to enter. On this, the enemy fled in all directions; some threw themselves down precipices, others tried to escape down the hill under cover of the bush; but so heavy was the fire kept upon them, that they were forced to try and escape along a valley, where the detachment of the 17th Light Dragoons, under Captain Black, and the St. George's troop of light cavalry, rode them down, and though themselves exposed to a heavy fire of grape from the French schooners, cut down every man they saw; but few who had been in the fort escaped. It was afterwards ascertained that the garrison had chiefly been composed of the Sansculottes companies from Guadaloupe.
The following day the insurgents evacuated, and burnt their fort on Pilot Hill, and retired to Morne Quaco, where they succeeded in maintaining their ground for some time.
Return of Killed and Wounded of the 29th Regiment at the Attack
of Port Royal , Grenada , March 25, 1796.
Killed.—Serjeant—Combs, John; Privates—Normanton, Jas.; Pope, Isaac; Woodcock, Geo.
Wounded.—Lieutenant—A. Brunton Tandy; Ensign—Thos. Arbuthnot; 12 Rank and File.
To LORD CATHCART. ‡
" Port Royal 4 June 1796
"My dear Lord,
Give me leave to assure your Lordship that I shall find a particular mortification if it should so happen that I shall be obliged to send this without the regular Return of the part of the 29th in this Country, to attend it; but flatter myself should that be the case, that the present hurry of my situation will be accepted as an apology.
I am just informed that the Reinforcement of Troops after the Reduction of St. Lucia (which took place on the 26th of last month) are now on their way for this Island, and being likewise told that I shall have the Honor of commanding the Division of the Troops on this side of the island with which I shall probably march in the course of a very few days towards the Enemys stronghold at Morne Quaquo, taking such Position as is most likely to keep them in Check, and at the same time co-operate with two other considerable Columns, to move upon that point best from different situations on the other side of the Island; I much doubt the possibility of having time to collect the necessary information from St. Georges, before my Departure from hence; however shall keep this open to the last moment. ——
The Commander-in-Chief is now at one of the neighbouring Islands, Carriacu, where Br Gen. Nicolls is gone to meet him with every necessary information respecting the situation of matters in this Island .—— But whether His Excellency will Honor this, or St. Vincent , with his presence first is yet uncertain. Both are the object of his present attention —— the Business here, I have no doubt will very soon be settled; When I flatter myself I shall have it in my power to perform my Duty to your Lordship in a much more regular manner than hitherto, from the divided state of the Regiment. ——
8th June. An opportunity offers immediately for St. Georges, and the Packet being hourly expected at that place, I think it best to send this to wait her arrival; therefore with my best Respects to Lady Cathcart, and every wish for the Health and Happiness of Her Ladyship, your Lordship, and Family, Believe me with the greatest respect and Esteem
Most obedt Humle Servt
A. CAMPBELL ."
On the 10th of June, the French in the island, under their commander, Jossy, surrendered all their posts, and by the 19th, the British were in full possession of all the enemy's positions. Fedon, with a few followers, escaped to the woods, but is supposed to have met with a watery grave whilst attempting to leave the island in a canoe.
By this time the 29th was so reduced in numbers that it was thought necessary to send it home, the effectives being first drafted into other corps. From the Regimental Muster Rolls, it appears that on the 24th of June, 6 corporals were drafted to the 4th West India Regiment, and 196 privates to the "Buffs."
On the 11th of July, what remained of the regiment embarked for England , and on the 15th, sailed for Tortola to join the homeward-bound convoy. During the passage Captain Clayey, Lieut. Dudding-stone, and 13 privates died. Gosport was reached on the 29th of September. On disembarking, the detachment—a mere skeleton of the regiment, for it consisted of but 2 captains, 3 subalterns, 10 serjeants, 14 corporals, 10 drummers, and 53 privates—marched to Weymouth, where its late 2nd Battalion was stationed, under command of Major Enys.
The following officers were left sick in the West Indies : Lieut. Samuel Gauntlett, Ensigns Dudley Simper and John Quayle (the latter had recently been promoted from serjeant).
Brigadier-General Campbell, who remained behind on the staff, was soon afterwards appointed lieut.-governor of the island, but he never lived to hear of his promotion, for whilst making an inspection of the defences of Grenada, he was attacked by yellow fever, and died on the 15th of August, to the very great regret of all those who knew him, more especially of the 29th, with which regiment he had served over 38 years.
By a warrant issued on the 23rd of September, 1796, His Majesty was pleased to order that all “Regimental Chaplains” who did not join their respective corps before the 20th of December ensuing, should retire on the reduced subsistence of 5s. per diem, to commence from that day, and to continue during their natural lives. No chaplains hereafter were to be allowed to appoint a deputy.
The Rev. Geo. Turner, regimental chaplain, who had been absent on King's leave ever since the 21st of June, 1776, is in the Muster Rolls shown as "present with the regiment" between the 25th of June and the 24th December, 1796. This is the last mention of a regimental chaplain.