Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Capture of Dixmuide en Deinze 1695, pt. II

This blog reported earlier on the capture of Dixmuide and Deinze by the French in July 1695. In July 1695, in order to divert the Confederates from their siege of Namur, the French undertook operations against the towns of Dixmuide and Deinze. They did not succeed in raising the siege, but captured both towns nevertheless. With the capture of these town, the complete garrisons of 10 battalions (regiments) of infantry and one regiment of dragoons went into captivity.

The identity of most of these eleven regiments can be established without too much effort: the English and Scots regiments, and one Dutch at Deinze, are mentioned as such in several sources. The problem lies with the other regiments at Dixmuide. Besides the two English and two Scots regiments, there were four more regiments. Some sources make reference to two each of Dutch and German regiments, others mention Dutch and Danish. Two of these four can be found without too much work as well: one Dutch regiment in English pay, and a Danish regiment in English pay. The colonel of this last regiment, Elnberger, was also governor of Dixmuide and was beheaded for surrendering to the French without any serious attempt to defend the town.

Of the remaining two regiments, the previous blog report makes mention of one Dutch regiment and a regiment from Wolfenbüttel. Though the latter is correct, the former was actually a Brandenburg regiment in Dutch service. We are talking here about the regiment Jung-Holstein. The Wolfenbüttel regiment, in the previous blog said to be Regiment Holle. Holle died in 1693, however, and contemporary sources referred to the regiment as Regiment Schack; Schack may have been the successor.

This missing piece of information comes from a letter from the Duke of Württemberg to Antonie Heinsius, the Dutch Raadspensionaris, dated 17 August 1695. This letter details the 'l'infame reduction' of Deinze and Dixmuide, and loss of ten battalions and one regiment of dragoons. It also informs us on the French bombardment of Brussels: 4000 bombs in 36 hours.
The letter can be found in the second part of Het Archief van den Raadspensionaris Antonie Heinsius, page 101, found in full on Google Books.

So, taken into captivity were two English regiments of foot, three Scots regiments, two Dutch regiments, one Danish, one Brandenburg, and one Wolfenbüttel, and one English regiment of dragoons.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Reduced officers in 1699 ~~ preview

A sneak preview of what is currently under preparation. Please check the site of Drenth Publishing for more information.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Irish Establishment and Tangier garrison in 1682

The internet, or more specifically online archives, is like a box of chocolates as you never know what you will find. The Calendar of Treasury Books is like one of those boxes: lots and lots of letters, memos, notes, snippets on all kinds financial. Sometimes the information is quite detailed (someone requesting reimbursement for something he paid for at this and that period in time), sometimes you will find complete lists of half-pay officers.

Volume 7 of this CTB, covering the years 1681-85, gives us details on the Establishment of Ireland, Civil and Military, starting on Christmas 1682. It is found under Entry Book: March 1683. For example for the Civil List: the Earl of Burlington, who was Lord Treasurer, received 336£ a year, whereas the keeper of the records in Birmingham Tower had to do with 10£ a year. All together, this Civil List required a little over 23,335£ a year.

The military forces kept in Ireland requested, however, six times that amount: 167,113£ per year. The Master of the Ordance earned a comfortable 453£ 9s, the colonel of the Royal Regiment of Guards was good for 201£ 12s. A private soldier in one of the 74 foot companies had to do with a modest 6d a day, or 8£ 8s per year.

The whole military establishment for Ireland comprised one troop of horse guards of 100 men, twenty-four troops of horse, each of 45 men. There was company of foot guards, armed and clad as the Yeomen of the Guard in England, a regiment of foot guards, with 12 strong companies, of over 1,100 men in total. The Scotch Regiment, the future Royal Scots, was also in Ireland with twenty-one companies, each 50 men strong. The backbone, probably, was formed by 74 companies of foot, each consisting of 60 privates.

The amounts in this overview are given as being per month, and a -- financial -- month seems to have numbered 28 days.

Interesting on this document is the inclusion of the Tangier Garrison, which was paid for from the Irish Treasury, apparently! We find two regiments of foot, each consisting of sixteen companies of 50 privates each, and four troops of horse, each of 25 privates. These regiments are of course the Tangier and 2nd Tangier Regiments, better known in our era as the Queen's Royal Regiment and King's Own Royal Regiment. I may have overlooked this in literature, but this piece of information tells somehow that these regiments were on the Irish Establishment whilst in Tangier. As an aside, though the Scotch Regiment is listed under the troops in Ireland, sixteen companies were actually serving in Tangier between 1680 and 1684.

The Governor of Tangier received a nice income of 1,500£ per year! A colonel of foot had to do with 219£ a year, and a humble private with 4£ 11s 3d, i.e. 3d a day. A little algebra tells that the yearly income of a private was about what the governor received in just one day. Though his stay in Tangier was a kind of all-inclusive -- victualling was taken care of and trips for a meet-n-greet with the locals were also scheduled -- a memorandum informs us that clothing, and other necessaries, were to be paid from that 3d. Despite this meagre income for the private soldiers, the Tangier Garrison still cost about 42,338£ per year.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Scottish brigade in the service of the Dutch Republic, 1689 to 1782

A rather wild search on the WWW returned a rather nice article from the hand of professor John Childs on the Scots (Scottish) brigade in service of the Dutch Republic during the 18th Century. The article is of additional interest as it gives sufficient introductory and contextual details on the genesis of the brigade.
The article can be found under the following link: 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Keeping track of accounts

Working with a non-decimal system can be problematic and confusing. This might be the case when one tries to study financial topics during the early 18th century. In those days, a English pound was divided into 20 shillings, and each shilling numbered 12 pence.

Two tools were created to ease working with this non-decimal system. One is designed to convert a daily payment into its yearly equivalent. In documents on, for example, half-pay officers, the sums paid to these officers is given in daily or  yearly sums. The second tool is a simple calculator, to enable addition and subtraction.

The tools can be found at http://drenthpublishing.nl/research.html.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The pity of war

The Calendar of Treasury Books are a real goldmine for all kinds of detail on regiments, their movements, payments due to regiments, etc etc. One will also find many details related to individuals. Sometimes in the form of a petition, when officers from a regiment reduced long ago demanded payment of arrears. In this post the example of a pension granted to a captain who had to leave active service because of illness. This captain had to wait, and suffer, for more than four years for his pension, because of some mistake in the bureaucratic machinery.
Royal warrant dated St. James's [to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland] to insert on the list of French pensioners on the Establishment of Ireland the name of Moses Caries with 3s. a day pension as from Sept. 29 last, he having been Capt. of a Company in the late Foot Regiment of Col. Charles Dubourgay, and being by sickness and other infirmities contracted in the service rendered unable to repair to his post in Spain, whereupon the late Queen granted him a pension of 3s. a day on the Establishment of Ireland in lieu of his Company, but the said Queen's warrant for that purpose to the Marquess of Wharton, then Lieutenant General of Ireland, being by mistake countersigned by Robert Walpole, then Secretary at War, whereby said Caries could never obtain any benefit of the said pension, whereby he has been there 4½ years in a starving condition, being now bedridden and almost blind. Out Letters (Ireland) IX, p. 622.
This makes one wonder about the fate to ordinary soldiers, who had fallen ill during service. (Excerpt taken from Warrant Books, February 1715, Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 29.)

new book: Marlborough: Soldier and Diplomat

The author was recently notified on a new publication on the Duke of Marlborough: Marlborough: Soldier and Diplomat. Other than previous publications, in which Marlborough is typically seen by, through and for British perspective, this publication places Marlborough in a much wider, European, context. A dozen specialists have written on the Duke, each from a different perspective.

The book is edited by John B. Hattendorf, Augustus J. Veenendaal, and Rolof van Hövell tot Westerflier. Contributing authors include David Onnekink from the Netherlands, John Hattendorf, Jamel Ostwald, and John Stapleton from the United States, and Alan Guy and Tony Claydon from the United Kingdom.

The book is published by Karwansaray Publishers, and more information on the book is found here. Judging from the topics covered, the book looks like a 'must-read' and one will eventually find its way to the author's library.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Danish Troops in the Williamite Army in Ireland, 1689-91 ~~ by Klejd Hald Galster

There is not much literature on the Nine Years War, there seems to be even less on the Williamite War in Ireland between 1689 and 1691. A couple of years ago John Childs wrote The Williamite Wars in Ireland. This was a welcome scholarly piece of work on this episode during the Nine Years War, and may be considered a standard work. Furthermore, there are monographs on particular battles. such are Mike McNally's books on the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim.

Recently another book was published, namely Danish troops in the Williamite army in Ireland, 1689-91 by Kjeld Hald Galster. Apart for providing a narrative of the war in Ireland during 1689-91, this book gives also a first hand account of subsidy troops and fills in an important gap in the literature. In 17th and 18th century warfare subsidy troops (hilfstruppen) played an important role, even made up a substantial part of the Williamite, and later Marlburian, armies in Flanders. However, there is no single monograph on any of these subsidy troops, as far as I am aware, and this on the Danish contingent is very welcome. 

The author, Kjeld Hald Galster, did a very good job here to clarify the genesis and role of these Danish troops as part of the Williamite forces in Ireland. Gold played, obviously, an important role for Christian V of Denmark when he hired out 7,000 of his troops to William III of England. However, Galster makes clear other, politically motivated, factors played an equally important role. Hiring out troops was also an opportunity for the army to gain experience.

Galster provides the reader with a theoretical framework for warfare, considerations that needed to be taken by commanders, etc. In particular coalition warfare, and the role of the Danish contingent, is given much attention. Regarding the latter, the author frequently reference to modern day wars where so-called coalitions of the willing are important for an international community to achieve certain goals (cf. peace-keeping operations or operations in Iraq and Afghanistan).

On a more detailed level, this book narrates on the operations in Ireland between, roughly speaking, the arrival of the Danish troops in early 1690 until the signing of the Treaty of Limerick in late 1691. Here, Galster makes ample use of documents from the Danish State Archives (Rigsarkivet), hitherto unpublished material. This all should appeal to anyone interested in the conduct of operations during the Williamite Wars. Problems related to reinforcements and payments seem an almost continuous theme.

For a work of such a scope, or actually such a detailed and well-defined topics, it is almost unavoidable that some loose ends and minor issues remain.
First there is the role Denmark would have played as part of the coalition against France that may have needed some more explanation. Though Denmark supplied of course some 7,000 men, Denmark was, as far as I know, not a member of the League of Augsburg or Grand Alliance against France.

Secondly, as the story of the Danish troops is set against that of the Glorious Revolution, the latter is detailed a bit as well. However, here there seems a preference for the 'invitation/conspiracy' theory, neglecting other theories stating that William of Orange's invasion of England was more a pre-emptive strike.

Looking at the welcome tables and illustrations, a few remarks may be made. On page 60 a chart is given on the organization of the Williamite forces.
Here the presence of a Brandenburg regiment is bit odd. Of course, this refers to the Regiment Brandenburg, a regiment of the Dutch standing army. It was not, for example, a (subsidy) regiment from the Brandenburg army. Hence, it should be be listed as part of the 'regiments of Dutch infantry'. The Brandenburg regiment is listed separately in the appendix as well. Looking at the other regiments of cavalry, Schomberg's regiment was a Huguenot regiment but is not listed as such (the Huguenot foot is).

The appendix with Danish regiments is particular nice. I was pleased to find the names of various French officers, Huguenots refugees. As a lineage aficionado I regret there is not more regimental detail on the nine Danish regiments of foot that each supplied one battalion. But something needs to be wished for of course!

But that is all minor compared to the rest of this work. The addition of a book on the Williamite War in Ireland is always welcome.  Though the book's main character, the Danish contingent, may be a bit esoteric, it provides a very nice perspective on the operations and conduct of warfare in Ireland between 1690 and 1691. The discussion of topics such as coalition warfare, and the role of the Danes, as an abstraction makes this book stand out as being more than a, for example, regimental history.

This book is therefor highly recommended to anyone with an interest in this period. The book can easily be obtained via the published: the Four Courts Press.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Comics on the Peace of Utrecht

Some time ago a Dutch website devoted to the Peace of Utrecht was discussed on this blog. Apparently, a series of comics on this peace treaty, and the preceding war, is made by various artists. Several sample pages can be found at the following url:
It is nice to see such attention to this important event in European history.

The text is in Dutch only, but I think that the drawings are clear enough.The text, and coverage of historical events, seem to suffer a bit from oversimplification (only judging from these few sample pages). Somehow Germany existed already in 1700 and, there is the suggestion that the war was between France and German, with England and the Dutch Republic helping Germany.
But fair enough, it is not an Osprey publication :-)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Marine regiments and their use

Two regiments of marines were raised in January 1690. One was commanded by Arthur Herbert, the Earl of Torrington, and the other by Thomas Herbert, the Earl of Pembroke. Both regiments consisted of 15 companies with about 100 men in each company.

The Calendar of State Papers Domestic: William and Mary, 1689-90 give some nice background information on how these two big regiments should be employed, both at sea and on land. From the text it is not entirely clear if this way of working is to be implemented during the Winter season only, or round the year as well.

A first interesting detail is the division of each regiment into three battalions of 500 men each, with each battalion having a distinct purpose.The first battalion is to be on board of ships, or be quartered as close a possible to enable speedy embarkation. The second battalion should be employed at shipyards, and the third should be put in
garrisons or quarters of refreshment within the country, where they are to attend only to military discipline, and exercise as soldiers.
Another interesting detail is the annual rotation of battalions doing the various duties. Thus, in a few years time the regiment on a whole is (expected to be) experienced in duties both at sea and on land. Drafts from these two regiments should bring knowledge into the rest of the armed forces:
it being one of the chief ends of this establishment that these regiments may prove "nurseries" whence the several necessities of their Majesties' service may be abundantly supplied.
A last observation is that the regiments should be trained and equipped as grenadiers. With the remarks that hand grenades have had good effect at sea, but also on land against horses.
for it is apparent that hand grenades would be of admirable effect, on many occasions at sea, and it is visible how useful they would be as to other purposes, particularly against the approaches of the horse in the country of an enemy.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Regiment Brandenburg / Lehndorff

In many stories on the invasion of England by the Prince of Orange in November 1688, and the ensuing campaign in Ireland, one will see ample reference to a Brandenburg regiment part of the Dutch forces. This regiment was not an auxiliary, or subsidy, regiment, as is sometimes thought, but a regiment of the Dutch standing army.

This regiment was raised in 1673 by Ahasverus von Lehndorff, a nobleman from eastern Prussia, for Dutch service. This regiment was probably composed of Poles. Lehndorff quitted Dutch service in 1676, and his regiment was afterwards commanded by a son of the Elector of Brandenburg. From which time we read about a Regiment Brandenburg in Dutch service. The employment of subsidy troops from Brandenburg during the Nine Years' War and the War of the Spanish Succession may very well be confusing.

A biography on this Ahasverus von Lehndorff is found at Google Books: Der Oberburggraf Ahasverus von Lehndorff. Judging from the table of contents, he had a varied military career, serving the king of Poland, the king of Denmark, and, course, Brandenburg and the Dutch Republic.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Equipping the artillery train for Flanders in 1702

The Journals of the House of Commons are an important source of information for those looking for numbers and financial matters. War needed to be paid, and paid by someone, and the list with annual estimates for the armed forces are very useful.

Volume 13 of this journal gives us some insight in the genesis of the train of artillery that was being prepared for service in Flanders in early 1702. Everything, from the number of sakers, fourteen of them, to the number of horse shoe nails, 18000, is listed. The estimated cost for everything is listed as well (£9 for the nails, £3,075 for the sakers). A list of spare parts for the army carried by the train is given as well. Taken along were, amongst other items, 3000 snaphance muskets, 1000 long pikes and 400000 flints. The total cost for all equipment was a little over £34,806! The officers and men required an additional £10,630 12 0 per year, and the cost for horses amounted to £16,000 for half a year.

Material needed by the mortars (glue-kettels, 2 reams of paper, amongst a few dozen other items).
All in all this list gives a fascinating overview of the amount of stuff needed by a (not so big) train of artillery 300 years ago. It also illustrates the technical nature of the ordnance (lots and lots of tools and nails). I have found no list of stuff that was carried (officially) by, say, a regiment of foot to compare with, unfortunately.

This volume of the Journals of the House of Commons is found at Google Books, with said overview found on pages 690 - 695.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

A Regimental list of the half-pay officers for the year 1714

Fresh from the press, and ready for immediate shipment:

A regimental list of the half-pay officers for the year 1714 

Please see an earlier post on for more details, or visit the publisher's site.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Battle of Neerwinden 29 July 1693 ~~ British regiments

The English language wiki on the Battle of Neerwinden conveniently gives an order of battle of the British regiments present at that battle. Unfortunately, that order of battle uses (more) modern titles for the regiments, unknown in 1693. The section's title ('English, Scottish and Irish Order of Battle') may make the reader think there were separate English, Scottish and Irish components in the army in Flanders. Though there were English, Scottish and Irish regiments, they were all on the English Establishment. There are some minor inaccuracies as well.

Presented here is a somewhat revised order of battle is given, with 17th century titles (i.e., understandable for contemporaries and EMEMH-ians). A more modern title, usually the territorial designation valid for around 1900, is given between brackets and should be understood by the younger generations.

The corrections were largely made using d'Auvergne's account of the campaign of 1693, and Walton's history of British Standing Army.


- Life Guards - three squadrons: 1st, 3rd and 4th Troops of Life Guards. The latter one was actually the Dutch Garde du Corps. This unit came over to England in 1688, and was on the English Establishment between 1689 and 1699. In England it ranked as the 4th Troop of Life Guards. The regimentation of these three troops may have been for convenience and tactical purposes only. The wiki shows the Royal Horse Guards, which were in England in 1693 and should be considered an error.
- The Queen's Regiment of Horse - 3 sqns (1st Dragoons Guards)
- Lord Berkeley's Regiment - 2 sqns (3rd Dragoons Guards)
- Francis Langston's Regiment - 2 sqns (4th Dragoons Guards)
- Hugh Wyndham's Regiment - 2 sqns (6th Dragoons Guards)
- Earl of Galway's Regiment - 3 sqns (a Huguenot regiment, disbanded in 1699 and not in the wiki)

Lord Fitzharding's Regiment of Dragoons - 3 sqns (4th Dragoons)


- First Regiment of Foot Guards - 2 bns (later Grenadier Guards) 
- Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards - 1 bn (Coldstream Guards)
- Scots Regiment of Foot Guards - 2 bns (Scots Guards)
- Royal Regiment of Foot - 2 bns (Royal Scots)
Remark: it should be remarked that the battalions of the regiments of guards were temporary, tactical, formations, and not necessarily distinctive, ever-present and unchanging administrative formations as we came to know battalions at a later period. The Royal Regiment, however, was really organised into two battalions.
- William Selwyn's Regiment of Foot - 1 bn (Queen's (West Surrey))
- Charles Churchill's Regiment - 1 bn (Buffs (East Kent))
- Henry Trelawney's Regiment - 1 bn (King's Own (Lancaster))
- Royal [Regiment of] Fuziliers - 1 bn (Royal Fusiliers (City of London))
- John Tidcomb's Regiment - 1 bn (West Yorkshire)
- Francis Collingwood's Regiment - 1 bn (disbanded in 1700, not in wiki)
- James Stanley's Regiment - 1 bn (Leicestershire)
- Thomas Erle's Regiment - 1 bn (Green Howards (North Yorkshire))
- Francis O'Farrell's Regiment - 1 bn (Royal Scots Fusiliers (Ayrshire))
- Earl of Leven's Regiment - 1 bn (King's Own Scottish Borderers)
- Andrew Munro's Regiment - 1 bn (Cameronians)

- Sir Charles Graham's Regiment - 1 bn (Scots Brigade)
- Aeneas Mackay's Regiment - 1 bn (idem)
- George Lauder's Regiment - 1 bn (idem)
Remark: the previous three regiments are dubbed as Dutch mercenaries on the aforementioned wiki. In reality this were Scottish regiments in pay of the Dutch Republic. They came over to England in November 1688, and were placed on the English Establishment in early 1689. In 1697 the regiments returned onto the Dutch payroll. The designation 'mercenaries' is not really appropriate, in the author's opinion. Graham's regiment is not mentioned in Walton's overview of infantry officers casualties (p. 270-1), but is found in d'Auvergne's account of the campaign of 1693 (pp. 91-5).

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Half-pay list for the year 1714 ~~ republication

Humbly, I wish to announce the forthcoming republication of A regimental list of the half-pay officers for the year 1714. This list, the original, was subject of an earlier post on this blog. This current republication is an annotated and edited version of the original version of 1714. It will be a limited reprint of 50 copies only. The publication is expected to be printed in the second half of May. Pre-orders are already welcomed and accepted.

Please see the publisher's site for more information and contact details.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Putting Marlborough into perspective

From English language literature on the War of the Spanish Succession, written by Englishmen using English sources, one might get the impression that the Duke of Marlborough was the gift of the British islands to mankind, who defeated the French single-handed. The Dutch were merely a nuisance, an unwilling ally constantly avoiding combat and obstructing the Duke's ambitions and lust for glory.

Luckily, some historians are trying hard to counter this somewhat one-sided interpretation. Please see the excellent blog of of Jamel Ostwald where a new post stresses the importance of reading between the lines.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Full and half pay rates

Following the previous post on the 1714 Half-pay list of regimental officers, it was thought convenient to collect some payment details. In the above figure the daily pay is given for officers of horse, dragoons and foot on the English and Irish Establishments.These numbers should be valid for the period 1689 up to the end of the Seven Years' War.

The full pay includes all, i.e., allowances for servants and for forage are in this number. For Irish full-pay not all rates could be found in literature, unfortunately.

One first observation is that Irish half-pay is exactly half of the full-pay (what one would expect ..). For the English Horse and Dragoons it is a little bit more complicated it seems. This probably had to do with different calculation for the servants and fodders, but the exact formula is still to be found. Any ideas are obviously welcomed!

(For those from the younger generations: one pound = 20 shilling, one shilling = 12 pence)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Half-pay list of 1714

One of those scarce contemporary publications: A Regimental list of the half-pay officers for the year, 1714. According to the English Short Title Catalogue only less than a dozen copies are known in libraries in Britain and the United States.

This list, published by order of the House of Commons, shows all officers that were reduced, i.e. placed on half-pay, after the War of the Spanish Succession. And, as such, is a good source for tracing the careers of officers and, of course, the reduction of the army after the war in general. The list gives also an impression of officers available for the military. Not surprisingly, many of the officers are found in the regiments raised under George I after 1715.

Below an example page showing several of the regiments of marines that were disbanded in 1713.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Neutrality Corps of 1710

In the first decade of the 18th Century two great wars were raging over Europe. The war over the Spanish inheritance was fought in the Spanish-Netherlands, the Rhineland, the Iberian Peninsula and several other regions. In the northern and eastern parts of Europa a conflict was fought, The Great Northern War, with Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Saxony (- Poland) being the main belligerents.

As the Great Northern War was fought in parts of the Holy Roman Empire fear existed that the war might mix with the war over the Spanish succession. The two treaties of Altranstädt of 1706 and 1707 (peace between Sweden and Saxony, and treaty between Sweden and the Emperor) took away the tension for some time. Of interest is to note that in 1707 part of the Saxon army was taken into pay of the Maritime powers.

However, in 1709 the Swedish king Karl XII was defeated by the Russians at Poltava, leading to the former's voluntary exile into Ottoman territory. This created some sort of a void in the Baltic area with Russia, Denmark and Saxony looking with much interest at Swedish territories in the region. The expected return of Karl XII and renewal of the war in the Holy Roman Empire was feared. Moreover, with the war spreading into these Swedish possessions of the Empire it was feared that Brandenburg-Prussia and Hanover might be involved as well. Which would obviously influence their part in the war against France.

On 31 March 1710 the Maritime Powers and the Emperor signed the convention of the Hague. This convention declared for the neutrality of the Swedish possessions in the Empire. In order to enforce this neutrality the signers of the convention, together with several other German powers, agreed to contribute to a corps of Neutrality. The size of the corps was set at 15,400 foot and 3,000 horse. England and the Dutch Republic would contribute six battalions each, in total 8,400 men. Other contributors were the Emperor, Prussia, Hanover, the Palatinate, Mainz, Hessen-Kassel, Münster, Mecklenburg and Wolfenbüttel.

Though the situation remained strained throughout 1710, and several contingents had already marched into Silezia, the Neutrality Corps did not have to come into action. Not because of the corps' deterrent effect, but because the events in the region, and return of the Swedish king, did not proceed as fast as expected.

(above image from Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen XII. Band.)

Hostilities were resumed in 1711 anyway and the Great Northern War would continue until 1721. It also remains to be questioned how effective the corps would have been in case it should have to come into action.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Portuguese regiments in British pay

English, Scots and Irish regiments of the British Army can provide for a great deal of research pleasure for the student of British military history and the lineage addict aficionado. Foreign regiments in British service provide an additional challenge when it comes to finding proper details of the regiments in question. When found, details are often sketchy, incomplete and they may even be contradicting. Adding to the confusion is the broad range of regiments that can be called foreign.

As could be read on this blog before a large number of German troops were in English pay during the Nine Years' War and the War of the Spanish Succession. Such troops entered English pay and service through contracts signed between England and the German state in question. Terms of service and pay were laid down in the contract. Huguenot regiments are also found in English service, and they can be considered foreign as well. Their origin, and reasons for existence differed from that of, for example, the German regiments. In 1708-09 we find a number of Portuguese regiments entering English pay, with yet another background. (The need for more men and bayonets is in most cases probably the ultimate reason why a regiment came into being anyway.) 

By late 1708, as various English regiments had been disbanded, reduced or merged in 1707 and 1708, five new regiments were to be formed in Portugal as replacements: one regiment of dragoons and one of foot. These regiments were to be formed from Portuguese [soldiers], but officered by English and, mostly, French Huguenots. The British treasury paid for the regiments. Commissions were given without date, to be filled in Portugal, and did not exceed the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Though information was not found, the colonelcies were most likely bestowed on Portuguese. Because the regiments were Portuguese, the king of Portugal objected against the idea of having French Protestants commanding his regiments. This delayed the completion of the regiments, which did not happen before summer 1709. By the time the regiments were fully embodied, it was also decided to reorganize the four regiments of foot into five additional regiments of dragoons.

The History of the Reign of Queen Anne for 1709 gives a list of colonels, lieutenant-colonels and majors:

Since the regiments appear in precedence lists compiled after the war it seems likely that the regiments were considered native some time afterwards. In 1712 the following colonels are listed (in order of precedence of their regiment):
  • Balthasar de Foissac
  • Hunt Withers
  • Jean Desbordes
  • Constantine de Magny
  • Paul de Gually
  • Joseph de Sarlande
Five of the six colonels are clearly French Huguenots. To add to be confusion, another regiment of dragoons commanded Charles de la Bouchetière, also a Hueguenot, is often mentioned together with the regiments discussed above.

All six regiments of dragoons mentioned above were disbanded by 1712 and its officers were placed on half-pay. This seems also an indication that at some point the regiments were no longer foreign.