HISTORY OF THE 29TH (WORCESTERSHIRE) REGIMENT
by H. Everard
BY the return of the detachment from Grenada, the regiment, after having been for over three years dispersed in different hemispheres, was, with the exception of those still serving as marines on board H.M.S. “Blenheim,” once more assembled together. The re-forming of the several companies, and posting of non-commissioned officers to them, was therefore shortly after commenced.
“ Weymouth , October 10, 1796. Sunday.
“I went to church with the regiment, and much as I had heard of the singing, it was beyond what I had conceived. The sermon by a young Scotchman, who left his text, and amused himself with every address he could think of most calculated to affect the feelings of those who had lately lost their relations; of that number were many of the poor 29th, and many persons who were very strongly affected. I afterwards passed some time with the regiment on parade * * * * Everything in this county is excellently contrived by Lord Milton, in case of any alarm, so as to prevent confusion, and to afford the greatest assistance to troops.
Yesterday I passed with my regiment, in and out of doors. I selected a Light company, then posted officers, non-commissioned officers, and drums to 10 companies. These went into an house, and drew lots for eight Battalion companies, the men's names being classed in three sizes, and numbers opposite to each name, with corresponding numbers in a tin box. Eight officers were placed in line, and the box handed round successively till all the numbers were drawn. These officers represented the eight companies, so that each had an impartial lot of each size. I then inspected the invalids, and men unfit for service.”
On the 21st of November, orders were sent for a detachment of commissioned and non-commissioned officers to proceed to Worcester , and receive an allotment of recruits, agreeable to the late Act of Parliament.*
As this seemed a good opportunity of endeavouring to regain the county interest, which, as already mentioned, had been lost by no fault of the regiment, Col. Enys had particular orders to explain the cause of the former difficulty, and to essay, by every means in his power, to re-instate the 29th in the favour it had formerly enjoyed in Worcestershire. Great pains were taken to effect this, and his efforts were at first attended with considerable success; but after having attended many public meetings, and, on the faith of orders received, assured all the men so raised, that there could be no doubt that in this instance, they should join their county regiment, judge the surprise of all parties, when orders were received from the War Office to return to Weymouth, and to transfer the "quota men" raised in Worcestershire! to the 46th Foot.
Thus, for very many years the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment lost every hope of deriving any benefit from bearing the name of that county.
" Worcester . Dec. 8, 1796.#
I have the pleasure to inform you the party under my command arrived here this morning and I have every reason to be satisfied with their appearance. But I think it will surprise you to hear that I found orders from the Adjutant-General on my arrival that the men I receive are not to join the 29th Regiment, but to be attested for the 46th I am nevertheless ordered to remain here and take charge of the whole until the arrival of an officer of that Regiment. I am very sorry to find this is the case as we should probably have gotten many very good men as I am told several very respectable Magistrates have exerted themselves very much under the Idea they were serving their County Regiment who now as well as myself feel themselves hurt at being duped in such a manner. I find there is a Surgeon sent by the Medical Board to inspect the men so that Mr. Carter may if he pleases return to the Regiment whilst I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
"Lord Cathcart." JNO. ENYS."
"W.O. 10 Dec. 1796. †
I am desird by the S at W to acqt you, that in conseqce of a new Regulation it being found expedient for the Recruits furnished by the County of Worcester to be recd by the 46th Regt of Foot, you will cause the Party under your comd on being relieved by a Party of the said 46th Regt to return to their former Quarters at Weymouth.
I am Sir
" Officer Comg the Party of the 29th Foot at Worcester .
By the Monthly Returns, dated Weymouth, 1st January, 1797, it appears that the following were "on command" at Worcester: Lieut.-Col. Enys, Captain W. E. Wyatt, Lieutenants Blois Lynch, R. Ross Rowan, Francis Rawdon, Surgeon Carter, 6 serjeants, 11 rank and file. These rejoined head-quarters during the month.
Information having been received that the French intended to attempt a landing on the coast of Dorsetshire, similar to those which had but recently taken place at Bantry, and in Pembrokeshire, it became necessary to be more than ordinarily watchful, and prepared, especially as, with a view of invading England, and helping the disaffected Irish, Spain and Holland now threw in their lot with France, and large fleets were being got ready at Texel, Brest, and Cadiz. On the 14th of February, Admiral Sir John Jervis defeated the Spanish fleet off St. Vincent . Towards the end of that month, the regiment marched to Bridport en route to Bideford. Just previous to this it had been joined by its last detachment, till then serving on board the fleet.
The following is a Return of a Detachment of Royal Artillery, attached with battalion guns ‡ to the 29th Regiment of Foot.
Weymouth , 27 February, 1797.
Return§ of Stores and Ammunition with the Two Light Six-Pounders
attached to the 29th Regiment of Fool.
ANDR MCBEATH, Bomdr
On the 8th of March, the regiment arrived at Bideford, and on the 26th, Lieut.-Colonel H. Dickson received information that the 2nd (or Queen's Royal), 29th, and 58th regiments were to be formed into a brigade, to do duty in the Western District under command of Major-General Wm. Grinfield. In order that they might be in readiness to pass over to Ireland , should re-inforcements there be required, this brigade remained in North Devon for some months.
On the 31st of May, notice was sent to Major-General Lord Cathcart that His Majesty had been pleased to direct that a reduction of 12 lieutenants (being one per company) should be made in the establishment of the regiment.
The officers who, in consequence of this measure, became supernumerary, were to continue to do duty with the regiment, and fall into vacant lieutenancies on the establishment as they occurred, without purchase, but were not to be replaced by other officers.
In consequence of many attempts made to seduce soldiers from their allegiance, the non-commissioned officers, drummers, and privates of the regiment addressed the following letter$ to their commanding officer:-
"Bideford, June 4th, 1797.
We the Noncommissioned Officers, Drumrs, and Privates of His Majesty's 29th (or Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot do request Lieut.-Col. Dickson to make known to Major-Genl, William, Lord Cathcart, Colonel of the said Regiment ; and also to General, Lord George Lennox, Commander in Chief of the Western District, — Our firm, and unshaken Attachment to our King, and Country; and to assure them that no art of designing Men, shall ever seduce us from our former Allegiance to our Sovereign and his Government; that we shall ever hold in just abhorrence any attempt at the Subversion of that good order which has ever characterised the 29th Regt.— And we trust ever inviolably to preserve the Character of a corps, whose Loyalty, love of Discipline, and Subordination, have never yet been questioned. — We also gratefully serve the present opportunity of expressing the sense we entertain of His Majesty's favour, and more particularly of the late signal Instance of his goodness to us, and our fellow soldiers in the augmentation of our Pay. — We have therefore with duty, and respect unanimously commissioned Serjeant Major Thomas Stott to sign the above for the whole of the Non Commissioned Officers, Drummers, and Privates of the 29th Regiment.
"Sergt Maj 29th Regt."
"To Lieut Col Dickson
Commandg 29th Regt of Foot at Bideford."
Two days after this regimental declaration, an Act of Parliament was passed, for the better prevention, and punishment of attempts to seduce persons serving in His Majesty's Forces, by sea or land, from their duty and allegiance to His Majesty, which decreed, that from and after the passing of this Act, any person, on being legally convicted of such offence, be adjudged guilty of felony, and shall suffer death, as in cases of felony, without the benefit of clergy.
Colonel Enys, writing from Bideford, on the 19th of July, to Lord Cathcart, says * * * * “Mr. Dalgety also wishes me to inform you, that Mr. Dukie has been very tardy, and inattentive with regard to the Clothing, That the Clothing written for from Weymouth is not yet come, and that some of the last he did send, is far from being agreeable to the Regimental Pattern, having ten Buttons on the Lappells, exclusive of the one on the Collar, Nor is there any Lace on the inside of the Lappells, as ordered.”
On the 8th of August, Major-General Lord Cathcart was transferred to the Colonelcy of the 2nd Life Guards, and Major-General Gordon Forbes, Colonel of the 81st Foot, was appointed to that of the 29th.
In consequence of a report that a large number of French troops had embarked at Brest , with the intention of making a descent on the Cornish coast, the “Queen's” and the 29th were ordered to Truro .
On the 17th, the former regiment, with the artillery, left Truro , and marched by way of Torrington ; whilst the 29th, in order to try the route through Camelford, which had never been passed by troops since the civil war, was directed to proceed by Stratton. The only part of the road out of repair, lay between these two places, it having a few days previously been very much damaged by the bursting of a waterspout. Truro being reached on the 23rd, the regiment halted for about six days, and then proceeded to Falmouth , where, on account of the crowded state of that town, it encamped between the end of the town and the sea, on what was then known as Bath 's Farm. There 1797 were at this period stationed in Falmouth Harbour two squadrons of frigates, the one commanded by Sir John Warren, the other by Sir Edward Pellew; these took it in turn to visit the French coast, and ascertain the movements of the force expected thence.
MUSTER ROLLS.— FALMOUTH CAMP, 16TH SEPTEMBER, 1797.
LIST OF OFFICERS OF 29TH REGIMENT.
When, on the 8th of October, orders were received to return to Truro , everyone was well pleased, for their present camp occupied an exposed position, and the weather had been very bad. Detachments having been sent to Penryn, Pendennis Castle , and Redruth, the head-quarters of the regiment shortly after left Falmouth .
The French—notwithstanding the defeat inflicted in February on their Spanish allies—had by no means abandoned their projected invasion, and during the summer, a fleet under the command of Admiral de Winter, was prepared at Texel to convey 15,000 men to Ireland . When, in October, it sailed for Brest , Admiral Duncan, who had been watching the enemy for some time, gave them battle off Camperdown, and, after a desperate engagement, came off victorious. This victory being followed up the next year by the blockade of Havre, and the battle of the Nile , all projects of invasion were, for a time, effectually checked.
LIEUT.-COLONEL JOHN ENYS.
By a Return dated Truro , the 9th of November, it appears that both the King’s, and Regimental Colours were in a bad condition. Such being the case, Major-General Gordon Forbes, the colonel of the regiment would present it with a new set, which in all probability were those carried by the 29th in the expedition to Holland , and throughout the Peninsular War.
On the 22nd of December, the regiment marched for Plymouth , 1797 where, on arrival, it took up quarters in the Mill Prison Barracks, and was brigaded with the "Queen's," and 25th Regiment, under command of Lord Dalhousie.
Extracts|| from a diary kept by Lieut. Henry Grove, who purchased a lieutenancy in the 29th, and subsequently a company in the 57M Foot:‑
"In the summer of 1797 I joined the 29th at Falmouth , where they were then encamped with the 2nd (Queen's), and a brigade of the Royal Artillery.
"The 29th was always one of the most exact Corps in the Service, even to trifles, and to this day every officer sits down to dinner with his sword on, ∆ but one of our very best men, weighing 20 stone, found it so inconvenient, that he was allowed to dine without his sword, provided it hung up immediately behind him.
"The youngest member at the mess table, was obliged to wear a green leathern apron, to prevent any wine being spilled over his white kerseymere 'shorts,' as he had to draw all the wine which was drunk. If he left the room, he had to hand over the apron to the next youngest member.
"I never saw a mess waiter of the 29th draw a bottle of wine.
"Colonel Enys undertook the Mess accounts, and every Friday afternoon, each officer was called upon to pay his week's bill.
"We wore powder in those days, and the hair was formed in a club behind, with a black rosette; shoes, and black cloth gaiters to the cap of the knee, with Regimental buttons. The Coat was cut off at the sides, and turned over like those of the Greenwich Pensioners: in front, a hook was passed through an eyelet in the frill of the shirt which was displayed to advantage. The other parts of our dress were, a white kerseymere waistcoat, cut off in front, with flaps to the pockets, with 4 buttons to each: the Breeches of white kerseymere, with Regtl buttons at the knee; a cocked hat worn square to the front, the least more over the right eye than the left.
"We had a corps of Black Drummers: the one beating the Big Drum in the centre was a handsome man, 6 feet 4 inches."
On the 27th of March, 1798, the regiment received orders to march in two divisions to Barnstaple and Pilton. Early the next month nine companies proceeded to Bideford, and one to Appledore; the latter rejoined head-quarters in May. About this time the Irish Rebellion broke out, and it having been decided to send the “Queen's” and the 29th Foot to that country, agents of transports were sent down. On the 14th of June, the regiment sailed from Appledore, and Passage was reached on the 17th, but it was the 19th before orders were received from Major-General Fawcett, who commanded at Duncannon Fort, for the 29th to disembark at Ballyhack, and proceed two or three miles along the road towards Ross, where he would meet it. These orders were carried out, and after having waited almost the whole day at the appointed place, without either seeing or hearing from the general, as evening was closing in, it was decided to return to Ballyhack. The “Queen's” being the leading regiment on the return march, filled the village so full that Colonel Enys ordered his men to return on board the transports for the night. Here we will leave them for a time, in order to obtain a glimpse of the state of affairs previous to their arrival in Ireland .
From the time of the failure of the French expedition to Bantry (December, 1796), the disaffected Irish kept up the spirits of their party by circulating reports that another descent would soon be attempted. In order to supply themselves with arms, nocturnal domiciliary visits in search of weapons took place, and scarcely a night passed without some dreadful enormity being perpetrated. To compel people to join them, houses were demolished or burnt, cattle destroyed, and people being dragged from their beds, had their ears cropped off and were otherwise maimed or murdered. Thousands, in order to save their lives, were obliged to compromise with the rebels, to give up their arms, and take the oath of secrecy. In March, some of the most influential amongst the rebel leaders were arrested, but those who succeeded them, devoted themselves with the utmost energy to hurrying on the arming of the people, and in endeavouring to seduce soldiers from their allegiance to the King.
Many rebels enlisted in the King's forces, for the purpose of obtaining a knowledge of discipline, and then deserted with their arms and ammunition. The 23rd of May was fixed on as the day for a general rising, and the first intelligence of the rebellion having broken out at Rathfarnham, about three miles from Dublin , was received in that city the following morning. The nature of the surrounding country enabled troops to move with rapidity, and within a fortnight the rebels were dispersed, but only to join similar parties in Counties Wicklow and Wexford, where mountains and wooded defiles were of great advantage to them.
A general massacre of Protestants now commenced. Some were shot, some stabbed to death with pikes, whilst others, stripped almost naked, had pitch, caps put on their heads, and were compelled to march several miles, previous to their execution. Houses were set fire to, and when the inmates, driven upstairs by the flames, endeavoured to escape by leaping from the windows, the rebels received them on the points of their pikes. In one unfortunate affair with the insurgents, a drummer boy, aged 12, of the Antrim Militia, fell into their hands. The rebels, having intentions of making him serve them as a drummer, desired him to beat his drum, but the brave and loyal little fellow exclaimed that, the King's drum, should never be beaten for rebels," and instantly broke through both its heads. His body was immediately perforated by pikes.
The county of Wexford now became the centre of attraction, for the rebels had gathered in two large encampments—one on Vinegar Hill, above Enniscorthy; the other on Carrickbyrne Hill, a few miles from Ross. On the 16th of June, Lieut.-General Lake , commanding the forces in Ireland , issued orders preparatory to the attack on these two positions, and the occupation of Wexford. Sir John Moore was directed to land on the 18th at Ballyhack-ferry, to move at 3 a.m. the 19th to Foulkes's Mill, unite with General Sir Henry Johnson (who was advancing from Ross) in driving the rebels from Carrickbyrne Hill, and afterwards to take up a position near Foulkes's Mill for the night, and intercept the escape of rebels between that place and Clonmines. The general forward movement, and investment of Wexford was to take place on the 21st. This is how matters stood when on the 19th of June the regiment landed.
DISEMBARKATION RETURN OF THE 29TH FOOT AT BALLYHACK,
19TH JUNE, 1798.
During the night orders were received for the “Queen's” and 1798 29th, who had returned to Ballyhack, to proceed to Foulkes’s Mill, and place themselves under the command of Sir John Moore. It being daylight before the boats could be got ready, the “Queen's,” who had passed the night ashore, had more than an hour's start of the 29th, and were taken by General Fawcett to dislodge a party of rebels supposed to be in the vicinity of Duncannon Fort, but failing to discover any trace of an enemy, the two regiments proceeded together towards their destination. In the evening, from the top of a hill about two miles off Foulkes’s Mill, firing was heard, and it was discovered that Sir John Moore was engaged with a considerable body of the rebels under command of their General Roche, who, instead of waiting to be attacked at Carrickbyrne, had taken the initiative.
Every effort was now made to reach the contending parties as quickly as possible, but at the approach of the two regiments the rebels dispersed, and fled towards Enniscorthy and Wexford. After this “pretty sharp action,” as Sir John termed it, he returned to his position at the cross roads near Foulkes's Mill, where the reinforcements joined him. The 29th lay on their arms that night, and took the opportunity of cooking two days' provisions.
On the morning of the 21st, Sir John's force was joined by a battalion of light infantry from the Irish Militia, some of Hompesch's mounted riflemen, and two curricle% guns, with a party of the Irish Artillery; with these he marched to Taghmon, en route for Wexford. During the day, the firing of cannon in the distance, was heard; this afterwards proved to be the engagement at Vinegar Hill. When the rebels saw a numerous, and well-appointed army, march into the county of Wexford , and commence to surround them, they resolved to indulge their fanatical hatred against Protestants, by murdering such as were their prisoners. Numbers were killed by the mob in Wexford on the 20th. The general manner of putting them to death was this:—Two rebels pushed their pikes into the breast of the victim, while two were pushed into his back, and thus, writhing with torture, he was held aloft till dead, and then the body was thrown over the bridge into the water. Ninety-seven alone, thus ended their days on the bridge. The mob, consisting of more women than men, expressed their joy on the immolation of each of their victims, by loud cheers. Whilst thus amusing themselves, information was received that Vinegar Hill was beset, and reinforcements wanted, on which several immediately set out for that camp. The news of the victory at Foulkes’s Mill was received at Wexford the same evening on which it was gained, and after the bloody massacres which had been perpetrated, a number of the rebel leaders who had been present at them, assembled at Governor Keugh’s house, and, in hopes of procuring an amnesty, concerted measures of conciliation. These proposals they despatched the following morning to Generals Lake and Moore , by some officers, their prisoners. Sir John, hearing of the state of affairs in Wexford, and the atrocities which were being committed, thinking he might be the means of saving the town itself from fire, as well as the lives of many loyal subjects, pushed forward as fast as possible. On the way, Major Kirkman, 29th Regiment, who commanded the advance guard, saw a large body of rebels near the “Three Rocks.” This was afterwards ascertained to have been part of their force retiring from Vinegar Hill, which had passed through Wexford, and which, on getting into the Barony of Forth, dispersed itself so effectually that nothing more was heard of it. On nearing Wexford, the 29th were just in time to save several Protestants, who were shut up in a barn, from being burnt to death, for on the sudden arrival of the King's troops, the rebels beat a hurried retreat. When Sir John got within two miles of the town, the “Queen's” was ordered into Wexford, whilst the remainder of his troops halted. The 29th lay on their arms for the night on some ground near the house of Mr. Jacobs, mayor of that town. The next day General Lake 's force approached Wexford, and in the evening the regiment advanced nearer the town, and formed on some ground just outside the suburbs, with the object of intercepting any rebel stragglers who, having remained concealed in Wexford, might now attempt to escape; and in this they were successful. The regiment again bivouacked for the night, and about noon on the 23rd marched into Wexford, and was placed under command of Major-General Peter Hunter, in what was called the “English brigade.” This brigade consisted of the “Queen's,” 29th, and 100th regiments, with two six-pounders from the British artillery, and, although serving in Ireland , remained on the English establishment, and made all reports to the War Office. In the meanwhile Lord Cornwallis arrived in Dublin to assume supreme power, both civil and military.
On the 26th of June, General Lake ’s force left the vicinity of Wexford, and only the “Queen's” and 29th, under General Hunter, remained in the town.
During their stay here, a great many people were tried and executed for being concerned in the rebellion. Among these was Mr. Keugh, formerly a captain-lieutenant in the 65th Foot, but who had been dismissed the service two years previously. Mr. Bagenal Harvey, who had commanded at Ross, Cornelius Grogan the rebels’ quartermaster-general, Mr. Colclough (all three men of position and fortune), and Father Roche, their priest and commander-in-chief, who pretended he was invulnerable, and could catch musket balls in his hands, were also launched into eternity.
The regimental baggage, and camp equipage having arrived on the 7th of July, the regiment marched out of the town, and encamped where it had passed the night, previous to entering Wexford, in June. Here it remained till the 24th of August, when information being received that two days previously, three French frigates had cast anchor in Killalla Bay , and troops, under the command of General Humbert, were being landed, General Hunter's brigade was directed to march to Kilkenny, and there await further orders which were to be issued from day to day.
The marches the regiment now commenced were as follows:-
On passing the bridge at Carrick-on-Shannon, the regiment was ordered to keep back all women, and baggage, and take post on some high ground commanding a road along which it was expected the enemy might advance. On a report being issued that the French had changed their line of march, and were making for Manor Hamilton, it was with a certain amount of pleasure that the troops, after a long day's march, received orders to encamp, and cook two days’ provisions. Before this order could be carried into effect, intelligence was received that the French, and rebels, after being attacked at Coloony by the Limerick Militia, were being closely pursued by General Lake, and had but four hours previously crossed the Shannon, at Ballintra Bridge, about seven miles above Carrick.
The men, tired not only by their late march, but also by collecting turf to cook with, and grass to sleep on, were therefore ordered to resume their march. During the night the regiment passed through a small village which paid it the compliment of illuminating the houses, and a piper was stationed at one of the windows playing national tunes as it marched through. As day was breaking, Mohill was reached, where some prisoners were found, and information was received that the enemy, with General Lake close on their rear, was marching on a nearly parallel road about two or three miles distant. By 8 a.m. on the 8th of September, the Flank companies of the “Queen's” and 29th Regiment, the Bucks and Warwickshire Militia, came in view of the enemy, who had halted for the night at Cloone. Lord Cornwallis, not deeming it prudent to attack with these troops only, waited for the remainder of his column. The enemy in the meantime had moved off, but were soon overtaken by General Lake . About 11 a.m., the sight of the engagement, and the blowing up of a tumbril, cheered the men considerably, and they pushed on with all speed until the Bridge of St. Johnstown , a distance of 50 miles from French Park , was reached and occupied. It now became evident that the object of this forced march was to cut off the retreat of the French to Granard, where it was said General Humbert expected to be joined by many friends.
Whilst in this situation, intelligence was received that the French had surrendered to General Lake, and shortly afterwards, their generals, Humbert and Sarrasin, with the principal officers of their staffs, were brought before Lord Cornwallis, who was on a small height near the front of the 29th. After this, the troops encamped for the night, on the ground they occupied.
On the 8th of September, many prisoners were brought in, and disposed of as follows. The French generals with their staffs, were sent to Dublin ; the remaining officers, and men being despatched to Longford.
On the l0th, a Military Court was assembled for the trial of rebel prisoners, who may be said to have been divided into three classes:-
The 1st consisted of 13 deserters from the Kilkenny and Longford Militia; these were sentenced to death, and executed the next day.
The whole of the 2nd class were sentenced to death, but it is believed that in most cases the sentences were commuted.
The 3rd class were dismissed to their homes, being told that should they ever again be found in such circumstances, they might not be let off so easily.
On the 12th, the regiment marched from the camp at St. Johnstown to Longford, and the following morning took charge of and proceeded with French prisoners to Mullingar, and thence, on the 4th, to Philipstown, where they handed them over to a party of militia, sent from Dublin with boats, to convey them by means of the canal to that city.
In consequence of a report that a part of another French expedition had been seen off Bantry Bay , General Hunter's brigade left Philipstown on the 26th, for Cashel, where it arrived on the 28th, and encamped till the 3rd of October, when it again returned to Philipstown. When within a short distance of that place, an orderly arrived, bringing information of the capture of the French fleet, which had caused the alarm, by Admiral Sir J. Borlase Warren. Thus ended the long-projected French invasion.
On the 23rd instant, the regiment marched for Maryborough; on the 24th it proceeded to Castle Durrow, and the following day arrived at Kilkenny where it took up quarters for the winter.
On the 18th of November, a number of prisoners, under sentence of transportation, arrived at Kilkenny. After a day's halt, they continued their route to Waterford, under escort of 150 of the 29th Foot, and 30 of the 9th Light Dragoons, the whole under command of Col. Enys, who wrote the following account:‑
“We halted the first night at Thomastown, when the weather proved the most inclement I ever saw in Europe, and I am sorry to say that, notwithstanding every care possible was taken, one man of the 29th, and two prisoners, were so much affected by the cold, that they died in course of the night, and many did not recover for many days after, which obliged me when I returned on the 23rd to leave an Officer behind to bring them up when able to march. I also found on enquiry, that the Dragoons were as much affected as the Infantry, for they acknowledged that had they been called on to act, they were all so benumbed that they could not have drawn their Swords. ——Most happy was I to give up my charge to Lord Rolle, who was quartered at Waterford with the Devon Militia. Having halted a day at Waterford , the weather became more moderate, and the escort returned without difficulty.”
On the 25th of December, the “Queen's,” and 29th, were placed on the Irish establishment, and from that time ceased to report to the War Office in London.
The following detachments were for a time furnished by the 29th, but rejoined head-quarters 1st February, 1799:—
1 Company at Graigue
1 “ Borris
1 “ Gore's Bridge.
The remainder of the winter passed off very quietly, and early in the spring, on Major-General Hunter being appointed Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada , Major-General Gardiner took over the command of the brigade.
On the 7th of May, in consequence of reports that the French were again meditating a descent, and had been seen off the coast, the brigade left Kilkenny; the “Queen's,” with General Gardiner, marching to Tullamore, the 29th to Philipstown. On the 11th of June, both regiments returned to Kilkenny, soon after which the former received orders to embark for England .
Previous to the 29th leaving Philipstown, Captain Wm. Shairp, who “had been out,” received a ball in his groin, which completely disabled and prevented him taking part in the approaching campaign in Holland .
Late in the evening of the 13th of July, orders were received by express, for the regiment to march with all possible speed to Cork , and there embark for England . On the arrival of frigates, no time was lost, and having embarked on board the “Melpomene,” “Naiad,” “Proselyte,” and “Pomone” (on which were the head-quarters), the ships sailed from Cove on the 24th. After a favourable passage, the regiment landed at Deal early in the morning of the 30th, and marched to Barnham Downs, where it was brigaded with the “Queen's,” 27th, 55th, and 85th regiments, under command of Major-General Sir Eyre Coote, and encamped with the army there assembling for the expedition to the Helder, under command of Sir Ralph Abercromby.
Previous to this the British Ministry had decided to send an army to Holland , with the desire of bringing that country once more under the dominion of the House of Orange, believing that numbers of the Dutch would combine with them, as soon as they could with safety act according to their sentiments. Negotiations were also entered upon with Emperor Paul I. of Russia, with the view of obtaining the assistance of an auxiliary corps of Russian troops, and on the 22nd of June, a treaty to that effect had been concluded.
On the 8th of August the camp broke up, and on the 11th, the 29th marched to the village of Birchington , on the coast of the Isle of Thanet . Here it encamped till the 13th, when it marched for Margate , and embarked on board the “Royal Admiral,” an old East Indiaman, which accommodated the whole of the regiment, together with all its light baggage. The heavy baggage, and sick were sent to Deal, under command of Major George Johnstone.
Sailing on the 14th inst., the “Royal Admiral” was joined by various transports which had embarked troops at Dover , Deal, and Ramsgate.
On account of the very stormy weather, the Helder was not reached till the 21st, and the following morning the “Royal Admiral” got near enough to anchor, but in a few hours the wind blew so hard that it was found necessary to weigh anchor, and put to sea. It was not till the morning of the 26th that the whole expedition again approached the shore, and anchored. That evening instructions were received for Major-General Coote's brigade, and a detachment of light artillery, the whole under the command of Lieut.-General Sir James Pulteney, to effect a landing the next morning, in front of the right of the line of transports.
That the 29th was always a very exact corps one may gather from a Regimental Order issued that evening preparatory to its disembarking, viz.: “Officers are to be clubbed, and powdered, but may wear blue overalls provided they have regimental buttons.”
At 3 a.m. on the 27th instant, two flat-bottomed boats from the “Melpomene,” together with the ship’s boats, were filled with the Flank companies of the regiment, under the command of Captain D. White. The men had each been supplied with 60 rounds of ball ammunition, two days’ provisions, and had their canteens filled with spirits and water. Major Ramsay, of the “Queen's,” commanded the Flank companies of the brigade. When everything was ready, a gun fired from the admiral's ship, gave the signal for the simultaneous advance of the landing parties, whose approach covered by a heavy and incessant fire from all the men-of-war, and gunboats, met with but small opposition.
On landing, the troops found themselves on a ridge of sandhills stretching along the coast, north and south. Scarcely, however, had the 1st Division formed up than it was met with volleys of musketry, and a continued fire of light artillery.
The right flank being unavoidably exposed to the whole force, and fire of the enemy, many casualties occurred. The first object of contention, was a signal station situated on a slight eminence, which, after a sharp contest, was carried by the Flank companies of the " Queen's," 27th, 29th, and 85th regiments. This position afterwards proved of great service in directing the fire from the fleet, and gunboats.
The following- anecdote is related by Mr. Edward Walsh, assistant surgeon to the regiment: —
“The gallantry, and spirit of the 29th Grenadiers deserves to be mentioned.
“Finding themselves encumbered with their knapsacks, &c., while charging the enemy through the heavy sand, they threw away both them, and their provisions. After the battle they petitioned to have these necessaries replaced, which in truth they very much wanted, but from a strict adherence to the rules of military discipline the request could not be granted.”
Lieut. H. Grove, in his diary, writes:—
“I was Lieutenant of the Grenadiers, commanded by William Edgell Wyatt. We had 3 subalterns, Henderson,¥ Tod, and myself, Tod being the only one who was not wounded. Wyatt was shot through the thigh, Henderson was saved by having a thick map in his pocket, six folds of which were shot through. I was shot in the chin, and for this wound, twenty years after, received a year's pay. I was taken with others on board the “Romney,” 50 guns, and the regimental surgeon ordered me off, saying my wound was not likely to spoil my beauty or destroy my constitution; had I been a little older I should not have left the field; in short I was more frightened than hurt. Admiral Mitchell who commanded the fleet, now turned his thoughts to the Dutch fleet, all chained together in the Zuyder Zee. A Russian 64 took the lead, but as she got aground, the “Romney” took her place. Captain Lamford advised me to go below when the Action commenced, to keep out of danger, to this I demurred, so he gave me the command of a gun on the main deck. At last a flag of truce, announced the surrender of the Dutch fleet. When the Duke of York arrived with reinforcements, the army advanced to Schagen, and I re-joined the 29th.”
In the meanwhile the remainder of the regiment was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the boats to take it ashore, for those of the “Royal William” had been detained near the beach. At length a lugger came alongside, and by means of it, the men were landed in detachments, which advanced until met by General Coote, who ordered them to halt, and await his further orders. About 1 o'clock the headquarters of the regiment were joined by Captain White and the Flank companies which had been engaged nearly the whole morning, and had suffered the following casualties:‑
Killed ± - 3 Rank and File.
Wounded—Captain Edgell Wyatt, Lieut. H. Grove, 3 Serjeants, 1 Drummer, 30 Rank and File.
The wounded were sent on board the fleet as quickly as they were brought down to the beach.
It was late in the afternoon, when orders were received for the regiment to advance as fast as possible; no time was lost in so doing, yet before it reached the front, the action was over and the enemy in retreat. That part of the army which had been most engaged now fell back, thus leaving Coote’s brigade in front, and the 29th Regiment in the advanced part, which post it retained as long as the army kept its position on the sand-hills, which, from the north point at the Helder, extended about seven miles to the village of Kallends Oog.
The troops now suffered severely from the inclemency of the weather, for the nights were unusually cold, and there were frequent showers. On the evening of the 1st of September, the army took up a fresh position, but the regiment did not move until the following morning, when it took up cantonments about a mile in rear of the village of Oud-Sluys . On the 4th instant, it occupied part of that place, and after two or three days, marched to Schagen.
Having established his right at Petten on the German Ocean , his left at Oud-Sluys on the Zuyder Zee, and with his front protected by the Zyp, Sir Ralph Abercromby awaited the arrival of the Russian allies. At daybreak on the 10th, the enemy made a sharp attack on the British right, and centre, from Petten to St. Martins, the neighbouring village to Schagen, but were repulsed by the troops there stationed. Coote's brigade was not called upon to take any active part, though the 85th Foot had one rank and file killed, and three wounded. After this both armies resumed their original positions, and the British head-quarters were established at Schagen, those of the enemy at St. Pancras, a village north of Alkmaar .
From the Weekly State of Coote’s brigade, it appears that on the 12th inst. the strength of the 29th Foot was as follows:—
On the 13th of September, H.R.H. the Duke of York assumed the chief command, and having been reinforced by 7,000 Russians under General d’Herman, considered his force strong enough to take the offensive. All being in readiness, the advance of four columns was commenced in the following order:—
The left column, under Lieut.-General Sir R. Abercromby, being destined to turn the enemy’s right, marched at 6 p.m., the 18th inst., and the next morning the remainder of the troops were put in motion.
The other three columns commencing from the right were: 1st, that commanded by Lieut.-General d’Herman, which was ordered to advance against the enemy's left, which rested on the sea. The 2nd, under Lieut.-General Dundas, to attack Schorldam, and the enemy's centre. The 3rd, under Sir James Pulteney, “consisting of two squadrons of 11th Light Dragoons, Major-Generals Don’s and Coote’s brigades,” was to take possession of Oud-Karspel, a fortified village at the head of the Lange dyke, or canal, leading to Alkmaar .
The country over which the two last columns had to pass was a plain, intersected every three or four hundred yards by broad, deep, wet ditches, and canals. The bridges across the roads which led to Oud-Karspel had been destroyed.
Coote’s brigade, “consisting of the ‘Queen's,’ 27th, 29th, 69th, and 85th regiments” (with a troop of 11th Light Dragoons, two 6-pounders, and one howitzer), was directed to attack the village in front, whilst the remainder of the column stormed its flanks.
Leaving Schagen at 2 a.m., the brigade marched to Nieu-Diep-Verlaat, where it arrived at five o'clock, and finding the bridge broken, its advance was for some time delayed. The 85th Regt. was then left in reserve, part at Nieu-Diep, the remainder in Oos-Nieu-Diep ; a patrol of cavalry was sent to Rustenburg, and the “Queen's,” 29th, and one 6-pounder, and the howitzer were directed to proceed along the dyke leading to Oud-Karspel, in order to turn the battery that commanded the road from Nieu-Diep-Verlaat. The Light companies of the brigade, under Major Knight of the “Queen's,” were at the same time directed to clear the wood upon the left of the road leading to the battery, whilst, to protect the left, the cavalry patrolled the road, and the 27th Regt. with one 6-pounder, occupied the cross at the turn to the middle way. These dispositions having been made, the “Queen's” and the 29th Regiment continued to advance until stopped by a broad canal, which protected the front of the enemy's work. The bridge across this obstruction having also been broken, and there being no means provided for crossing the dyke, which was very deep, full of water, and about 40ft. wide, a constant cannonade was kept up on the village, and battery; and the two regiments had the extreme mortification of being mere spectators of all that was occurring, so that it was not until the Guards and the 40th Regiment had taken the place, and furnished materials from a neighbouring house, that the “Queen's” and 29th were able to cross the canal, and join in the pursuit.
The Dutch troops which had occupied the village were so completely defeated, that eighteen of their guns, with ammunition waggons, and horses complete, were captured.
The 29th being comparatively fresh, now found themselves well in front, but having advanced to within three-quarters of a mile of the enemy's camp were halted. A great number of people could now be seen near the gate of Alkmaar , and it being observed that many of them were dressed in green uniforms, it was supposed that they were Russians, and that the 1st column had been as successful as that of General Pulteney. At this time Coote’s brigade occupied a bridge at the end of Oud-Karspel, this as evening approached the 29th was endeavouring to strengthen, when orders were received to retire as soon as possible. So peremptory was the order, that time was not even given to destroy the bridge. The Dutch cannon, and ammunition waggons, however, were hastily disabled, and turned over into the ditches on either side of the road. No communication having been kept up between the advancing columns, the defeat of the Russians was not heard of until this moment, when it was ascertained that those seen in the neighbourhood of Alkmaar were prisoners.
Some few of the inhabitants having remained in their houses, Colonel Enys took two into custody, to act as guides. This proved a very useful precaution, as the night was very dark, and rain fell in torrents. To the left could be seen the route of the retreating Russians, for they burnt all the villages, and houses they passed.
About daybreak of the 20th, the brigade returned to its old quarters near Schagen. The retreat of Pulteney's column, which was conducted without any confusion, need not have been so hurried, for the enemy never pursued.
For some days after this, the state of the weather prevented any further operations, but on the morning of the 2nd of October a vigorous attack was made on the enemy's left at Bergen . This large village was surrounded by woods, through which passed the great road leading to Haarlem, and between it and the sea, lay an extensive range of sand-hills, impassable for artillery, and, on account of their broken surface, unfavourable for cavalry. The enemy's right was protected by dykes, and canals, easily to be defended; their centre rested on the town of Alkmaar .
The 1st, or right column, under command of Sir Ralph Abercromby, with a view of turning the enemy's left, was directed to march against Egmond-op-Zee, by way of the beach.
The 2nd column, composed of Russians under Major-General D’Essen, advancing through the villages of Groet, and Schorl, was to co-operate with Major-General Burrard’s brigade in the attack on Schorldam, and then march on Bergen .
The 3rd column, under Lieut.-General Dundas, consisted of Major-Generals the Earl of Chatham’s, Coote’s, and Burrard’s brigades, together with a squadron of the 11th Light Dragoons.
The 4th, commanded by Sir James Pulteney, was destined to turn the enemy’s right, and covered the whole of the left, to the Zuyder Zee.
The state of the tide determined the march of the right column, which proceeded from Petten at 6.30 a.m. This was followed at seven o'clock by Major-General Coote’s brigade, which on reaching Kamp turned to the left, and advancing as far as the extremity of the Slaper Dyke, and the village of Groet , cleared the road for the Russian column.
The brigade had not proceeded far when Colonel Enys was ordered to form the 29th on the edge of the sand-hills, and to continue to advance, keeping always slightly ahead of the Russian line, which was moving upon Schorl. In this formation the regiment continued the greater part of the day, clearing the sand-hills above Schorl, until the Russians halted not far from the scene of their former defeat. After some delay the enemy was driven from Schorl and Schorldam. In pursuing them, the regiments of Coote’s brigade, whose left was now above Schorl, became separated by very great intervals, and extended a long way into the sand-hills. On the right, the 85th Foot were considerably in advance, and warmly engaged. As the enemy showed a disposition to attack this part of the line, Lord Chatham’s brigade was ordered from the plain to support it, and the enemy, being now outflanked, and having their rear threatened, retired to another range of hills above Bergen .
Colonel Enys was about this time ordered to proceed towards the front, and place the 29th under the command of Lord Chatham, but before this could be effected, fresh orders were received from Sir David Dundas, for it to dislodge a party of the enemy posted on a hill near Bergen . The regiment was now joined by the Light companies of the “Queen's,” and 27th, which, taking part in the charge, drove the enemy into a thick wood at the bottom of the hill. The advance of the 29th was the signal for all the troops on its right to move forward, and the enemy retired into the village, whilst the victorious troops occupied the surrounding hills, and made as many and as large fires as they could find fuel for.
Although the action might be said to have been decided at sunset, yet the firing of the Flank companies of Coote’s brigade, and of the enemy, posted in a small angular wood, did not cease before 11 p.m.
In this day’s action the 29th Foot suffered the following casualties:-
Killed—Serjeant—Cook, John. ¶ Privates— Butler , Simon; Gilbert, John; Holt, Jas.; Robinson, Jas.; Swindall, Richd.
Wounded- 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 1 Serjeant, 30 Rank and File.
Missing- 1 Serjeant, 10 Rank and File.
Officers Wounded—Captain D. White, Lieutenants A. Brunton Tandy, R. Ross Rowan, and Thos. Bradgate Bamford.
At daybreak of the 3rd of October, it was discovered that the enemy had evacuated Bergen , and their line of retreat in the direction of Alkmaar was plainly visible. The allied troops therefore quitted their positions, and occupied those from which the enemy had retired. On passing through the wood to its front, the regiment marched into the plain, and took up cantonments in the neighbouring farm-houses to the right of the village. These, being very large, and having barns, stables, cow-houses, and all such conveniences under the same roof, and being attached to the dwelling, furnished most excellent quarters for both men and officers. In the course of the day intelligence was received that Alkmaar had been occupied, and that the enemy, in expectation of reinforcements, were taking up a strong position between Beverwyck and Wyck-op-Zee.
The Duke of York therefore determined, if possible, to force them thence before the reinforcements could arrive. The regiment remained in cantonments until the 6th of October, when it moved into Bergen , and had been there but a little while when orders were received for it to advance without loss of time. When, after passing round Alkmaar, it got on the great road leading to Beverwyck, it was ascertained that part of the troops in front were in action, and on approaching the village of Haloo, the enemy were seen retiring along the sand-hills to the right. After a short halt near Haloo Bridge , the regiment advanced about a mile and a half, when the village of Castricum , through which the enemy's rear-guard had just passed, came in view.
Firing, on the sand-hills, having altogether ceased, and as evening was approaching, it was not judged expedient to continue the pursuit, so the regiment returned to Haloo Bridge, and took up a position on the banks of the river. Early the following morning it advanced to Egmond-op-den Zee.
The position on which the Duke of York wished to direct his forces was Haarlem, but hearing that the enemy had been reinforced by 6000 men, that Vandamme had strengthened the position of Beverwyck, and stationed a large force at Purmerend, a position now rendered by inundations almost inaccessible, and one which it was necessary to take, or mask, before a further advance ; failing also to find the expected support from the Dutch, or to obtain the necessary supplies, together with the impossibility of covering the troops in the narrow district of country in possession of the allies, a Council of War was summoned, and it was decided to withdraw the army to England. No time was lost in embarking the sick, wounded, and stores, and on the evening of the 7th, the troops received orders to return to their old lines. Taking the road by the sea-shore, the regiment reached Petten before daybreak, and continuing its march, proceeded to its former quarters at Schagen.
Thus may be said to have ended the expedition to North Holland , for although there were some slight affairs between the rear-guard of the allied army, and the enemy's advanced troops, they were of but little consequence.
On the 17th, a suspension of hostilities was agreed to, when it was decided that all prisoners on both sides should be given up, and that the allies, on liberating 8000 Dutch and French seamen, then prisoners in England, should be allowed to re-embark without molestation. After this, the Russian troops were landed, and quartered for some time in the Channel Isles.
On the 28th of October, the 29th and 85th regiments embarked on board H.M.S. “Trusty,” 50 guns, and when, on the 5th of November, the regiment landed at North Yarmouth◊ “the men were all dressed in white breeches with black gaiters to the cap of the knee, and all wore cocked hats (with one unfortunate exception who was paraded in rear in a forage cap.) Upon this occasion the 29th was hissed by the crowd, who supposed that on account of the uniformity, and smartness of the corps, it had not seen any service, whilst other regiments were cheered from a supposition that they had done everything, because they landed in round hats tied up with pack-thread, and fastened with pieces of tobacco pipes, and in trousers of all sorts, and fashions.
“The 29th, at a subsequent embarkation for service, was reported by a General officer to be perfect in every respect, except in the want of a commanding officer; this remark might almost have been omitted. On another occasion, this gallant regiment was deprived by sickness, of the service of its only Field officer who happened to be present, and the general in command entreated the officer to leave the parade, saying that “the youngest officer could command the regiment.”
From Yarmouth , the regiment marched to Dover Castle , where it arrived on the 29th of November, and remained during the winter.
On its route, the regiment had to pass through London, and with regard to this march, the following note in Colonel Enys' handwriting, still exists:-
“Upon this occasion I made application at the Guildhall for permission to allow the 29th to march through the City of London with their Drums beating, &c., the regiment having always been prepossessed with the idea that they, in common with the Buffs, had that privilege—but they would not allow of it, indeed the person to whom I spoke would not allow that the Buffs had any such privilege, but said they once had done so by the authority of the then Sheriff, who put himself at the head of the regiment, and marched through with them; at any rate the 29th were not allowed to Beat their Drums, which being the case, they cased their colours, and marched through in silence like all other regiments.”
* Act (passed 11th November, 1796) for raising a certain number of men in the several Counties in England , for Service in His Majesty's Army and Navy. The number of men to be levied for the said respective Services by virtue of this Act shall be as follows:—For the County of Worcester , with the City and County of the City of Worcester , 156 for the Army.
# From the original in possession of Lord Cathcart.
† From Secretary of State's Common Letter Book, 1796, vol. 14.
‡ Colonel Duncan, in his “History of the Royal Artillery,” says:—“Batt” guns were drawn by 6 drag-rope men; the guns, although attached to different battalions, in pairs, were occasionally brigaded. The Detachts of R.A. present with such guns in Ireland ('98) were six in number, each consisting of 1 N.C.O and 9 men, the whole under command of Captain Geary assisted by 3 Subalterns. After the Rebellion, the men of the R.A. returned to England . The regiments to which they were attached were 3 Battns of the Guards, the 'Queen's,' 29th, and 100th. Infantry regiments took guns with them to Holland in 1799, but they seem to have fallen into disuse a few years before the Peninsular War.”
§ Lord Cathcart's MS.
$ Original in possession of Lord Cathcart.
|| Supplied by Colonel R. J. Watson.
∆ This old custom, which is mentioned in the Standing Orders of the regiment in 1792, was altered during the tour of service in the East Indies, 1842-59, when only the Captain, and Subaltern of the Day, were required to dine with their sword on. Such is still the case. Tradition relates that the custom of being “eversworded” dates back to September, 1746.
% Small pieces drawn by two horses.
Circular Memo., 2nd May, 1799.—Officers and Men to wear their hair queued; tied a little below the upper part of the collar, and to be ten inches in length, including one inch of hair to appear below the binding.
¥ Extract from the “Military Chronicle.”—Lieut.-Colonel Henderson of the Royal York Rangers, b. near Aberdeen 16 Sept. 1775, accompanied the 29th Foot on board H.M.S. "Glory," was present at the Action of 28th and 29th May, and 1st June, 1794, when he was wounded. Served with the regiment in Holland , and commanded the Grenadier company (his captain being wounded at the landing.) Was honoured by particular thanks of the Commanding Officer Sir Eyre Coote, and Colonel (afterwards General) McDonald, the latter in particular, who having afterwards occasion to speak of him officially, stated “that he first fell in with Lieut. Henderson in command of the Grenadier comy of the 29th, in a trying situation, pressed by the enemy on the sand hills in Holland, where he conducted himself, as he remembered to have expressed at the time, ‘with the gallantry of a soldier, and judgement of an officer.’ In 1806 Captain Patrick Henderson was appointed Major of the Royal African Corps. He died 1809.”
± Pay Lists 29th Foot.—Privates— Ferguson , Dundas ; Slack, Stephen; Smithurst, Jno.
¶ These names are taken from the Regimental Pay Lists. The official return of Killed in the 29th Foot in the Battle of Bergen is 1 Serjeant, 7 Rank and File.
◊ Morning Herald, 17th March, 1840.