Monday, 11 January 2010

Battalion sent to Virginia

In the previous post two emergency regiments were detailed. Subject of this post is a battalion formed for service in the New World, and which would be known as the battalion sent to Virginia.

The formation of this battalion relates to Bacon's Rebellion of 1676. To quell this rebellion a battalion was formed by taking companies from existing regiments: two companies from the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, and one each from the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards, the Duke of York's Regiment, and the Holland Regiment. The battalion was furthermore brought up to strength by drafts from garrision companies, and 500 men were recruited additionally: 1,000 men in total. The battalion may have been called the Virginia Regiment. It was commanded by Herbert Jeffreys, who would become governour of Virginia in 1677, replacing William Berkeley.

The battalion arrived in the James River between February and April 1677, too late to have any part in the conflict. Nevertheless, the battalion remained in Virginia for the greater part of 1677, though Charles II ordered Jeffreys in May 1677 to return to England. It was not before March 1678 that the first elements embarked at Gravesend. Of the initial 1,000 men, approximately 350 show on the muster rolls. However, almost 200 men decided to stay in Virginia, but this still makes an appalling loss of some 450 men without seeing any action.

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