Thursday, 29 July 2010

Dutch regiments in English service after 1714

On 29 January 1713 as treaty was concluded between the queen of Great Britain and the States General of the United Netherlands to guarantee the protestant succession to the crown of Great Britain, and the barrier of the States General. The treaty was signed at Utrecht.

Article 14 is of particular interest as it details aspects of mutual defense. If the States General would require so, Great Britain would send 10,000 men to their assistance. Vice versa, the States General would furnish 6,000 men (well provided with arms) to assist the her royal majesty and successors. The treaty is, e.g., found in A Complete Collection of Treaties From 1688 to 1771, available from Google Books.

The treaty would soon become useful. During the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, Great Britain had virtually no (trained) army and 6,000 men (in probably 11 battalions) arrived from the Republic to assist. Mostly to relieve British troops in garrisons. The same would happen in 1719, when Dutch troops would even participate in the battle of Glen Shiel.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, and Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, Dutch troops would again be shipped to England. A first batch of 6,000 would arrive already somewhere during 1743 and 1744, in lieu of the danger of French attempts to invade England. This danger lapsed by 1744.

In 1745, following outbreak of the '45' rebellion, Dutch troops would again serve on British soil. This time part of the troops originated from the Dutch garrison of Tounai (Doornik). The city had capitulated to the French in May 1745, and the troops were paroled under the condition that they would not fight the French. However, their employment in Scotland was rendered incompatible with this parole, as French troops entered Scotland in December 1745. Hence the Dutch were withdrawn again.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Unofficial lists of the army

Nowadays it may seem that almost anything is being put into print, this was also the case in the late 17th century. Of particular interest are the several almanack type of books, published periodically and giving all sorts of information regarding countries, nobility, geography, clergy, and, of the army. Most will be available via Google Books, and two will be discussed here.

Angliae Notitia: or The Present State of England, written by Edward Chamberlain, doctor of laws. The 12th edition of 1684 is considered here, and the 2nd Volume is of particular interest. From page 131 the author gives a description of the present state of the military government of England. Neatly listed are the regiments with their officers, and, not seen before, their quarters and where they were doing duty. For example, the Royal Regiment of Dragoons was moving up and down near London. Also of interest is a description of the military government of the city (that means London) from page 208 onward.

The New State of England under their majesties King William and Queen Mary. Written by Guy Milege in 1691 it is a big work in three parts. The third part has some lists of officers related to the Household, and the various regiments of guards are found there as well. This starts are page 152 of the third part, being page 808 of the downloadable pdf-file. Unfortunately, it is not complete. In part II, from page 168 (550 in the pdf) there is information on the strength, composition and payment of the guards. Noteworthy to read it that two units of Dutch Guards (the Life Guards and Foot Guards) are explicitly mentioned as forming part of the Household troops.

Monday, 12 July 2010

12 July 1691 - Battle of Aughrim

Today 319 ago the hard fought battle of Aughrim was fought on 12 July 1691 (O.S.). The outcome of this battle was more decisive than that of the much more celebrated Battle of the Boyne fought a year earlier. Though the Williamite Army certainly had the better cards in 1691, there was a real chance that the war in Ireland could, literally, be dragged on well into 1692. This would certainly have had consequences for the operations in the main theater of war, the Spanish Netherlands.

The Williamite Army (composed of Dutch, Danish, Ulster and English regiments) was commanded by the future Earl of Athlone. The Irish were led by the French general Charles Chalmont, marquis de Saint-Ruth. Saint-Ruth would be killed during the battle.

After the battle, and defeat and rout of the Irish army, the city of Galway surrendered without offering resistance ten days later. The 2nd Siege of Limerick followed in August. Here the Jacobite high-brass thought is was better to negotiate profitable terms of surrender, and continue the fight for the Jacobite cause elsewhere. This led to the Treaty of Limerick of September 3rd 1691, and end of the Williamite War in Ireland. Large part of the Irish Army went into exile to France, forming a Jacobite Army in exile for James II. The bulk of the Williamite regiments were almost immediately transferred to the Spanish Netherlands.

An order of battle of the Williamite Army was posted earlier on this blog. Information on the Irish/Jacobite order of battle is not forthcoming unfortunately. Hayes-McCoy discusses the Jacobite army in his paper The Battle of Aughrim 1691 (in: Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Vol. 20, No.1/2 (1942), pp. 1-30), and, more recently, Richard Doherty discussed the battle in The Battle of Aughrim (in: History Ireland, Vol. 3, No. 3 (1995), pp. 35.42).

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Cent Suisses of William of Orange

Many references on he Glorious Revolution of 1688 mention some details regarding the composition of the expeditionary force of the prince of Orange. Notorious is of course the Wikipedia entry for the Glorious Revolution, which contains many errors and urban legends.

One of the issues that kept the author busy is the mentioning of Swiss regiments in this invasion force. The Dutch history of the Republican Army (Het Staatsche Leger by ten Raa en de Bas) states that no Swiss troops were part of the Dutch Army in 1688, let alone part of the invading army. (Swiss regiments were first recruited in the 1690s.) However, the assumption by other, non Dutch, authors that Swiss regiments formed part of the invasion force must have an origin.

In issue 25 of Armentaria, the magazine of the friends of the Dutch Army Museum, an article is found by Dr. F. G. de Wilde on the Cent Suisses, a Swiss bodyguard in service of the stadhouders of the Dutch Republic. A pdf copy is found here.

Since 1672, stadhouder William of Orange had employed a number of Swiss halberdiers in his personal service. Perhaps their role is comparable to that of the Gentlemen Pensioners, and the Yeomen of the Guard in England. As such, these Swiss were never part of the establishment of the army. After the death in 1702 of William of Orange, the Cent Suisses were disbanded on 1 January 1703, the men being drafted into the Swiss regiment in the Dutch Army.

The number Swiss grew to 190, and it may be very likely that they accompanied William of Orange to England in November 1688. Which may have led in turn to the misunderstanding that Swiss regiments formed part of the invading army.

Earl of Dumbarton

In the previous post on the first army list, an image was posted showing the list for the Royal Regiment of Foot. As colonel is listed the Earl of Dumbarton, who, of course was colonel of the regiment until 1688. There is, however, a little caveat. Since Dumbarton was Roman Catholic, he could not subscribe to the Test Act of 1678. Henceforth, he was officially removed from his colonelcy. The vacancy was not filled however. He was only restored to his position in November 1685 by James II.

Dalton, in English Army Lists and Commission Regiments, explicitly mentions this and shows the position of colonel as being vacant. In this Nathan Brooks' Army List, he is mentioned as colonel without any further remark. Perhaps his removal as colonel was not commonly known at that time?

The very first army list (1684)

For enthusiasts (read: aficionados) of regimental lineages like the author, Army Lists form a very important source of information. As these lists are, approximately, a directory of the officers serving in the army at a certain point, the history of the regiments can be derived from it. In particular, studying successive editions of army lists can give a neat impression of the expansion of the army in times of war. For example, studying the army lists prior to August 1914, and those of late 1914 and 1915, clearly shows the growth of the army. (The physical size of the army lists tripled also at least between 1914 and 1918.)

That said, it is unfortunate that army lists started to be published regularly from the 1750s onwards. Thus the period between 1660 and 1750 is relatively obscure. This is best observed in the relative void regarding regiments raised for the duration of a war. The British Library has a pdf document available with some more information on army lists.

The very first army list detailing the post-Restoration army was published in 1684, an is known as Nathan Brooks' Army List. Very fortunate this publication is made available at EEBO! Though only detailing the English Establishment (so troops in Scotland and Ireland are not listed), it gives much contemporary information.

Information includes the establishments of the regiments (i.e., the official size of troops and companies), the colour of uniforms, details of colours carried.

For example, the Holland Regiment, commanded by John, the Earl of Mulgrave consists of twelve companies, but does not have a company of grenadiers. It is coated in red (unsure, the text is faded at this point), and lined with a flesh colour. The colour is a red cross, bordered white in a green field.

The page shown next is for the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards, and for the Royal Regiment of Foot (future Royal Scots).

Please contact the author if more information is required or wanted.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Marlborough and the Field Deputies

In 1702, the first year of the War of the Spanish Succession, Allied and French forces were maneuvering in the modern day province of North Brabant in the Netherlands during July and August. The Allies under Marlborough, and the French under Boufflers. Mid July the Allied army was encamped near Nijmegen, the French were lying near Gennep on the Maas. The Allies crossed the Maas river at Grave, in an attempt to block the lines of communications for the French army. As a consequence, the French broke up and headed south via Goch, Cevelaer, Venlo, and reaching Roermond in the last days of July. The Allies had marched via de line Zeeland, Lieshout, Mierlo-Geldrop, and were at Achel - Lille St Hubert on 31 July.

On 2 August, the Allied and French armies passed each other so closely the Marlborough was tempted to engage the French. The Allied army was a bit larger than the French. However, the earl of Athlone (and probably several subordinate generals) was against this plan, and hence a chance to defeat the French was lost.

In his book Marlborough as military commander, David Chandler, the propagandist of Marlborough, states that it was the fault of the Field Deputies of the States-General that frustrated the attempted battle. This, however, it not correct (see for example van Nimwegen in his De subsistentie van het leger p. 108, or Wijn in Het Staatsche Leger, deel VIII p. 125). Only the Duke of Berwick wrote in his memoirs that the field deputies did not allow Marlborough to start the battle, but he has to be misinformed (Wijn).

However, because Chandler is accusing the field deputies of obstructing Marlborough, they have got a very bad treatment in English literature on the War of the Spanish Succession. In reality the contrary was ofter the case (see also the blog Rampjaar), and these field deputies were capable men well versed in the art of war, and how to run an army.