Charlemont's Foot

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> Charlemont's Foot

Origin and History

In 1701, when Louis XIV invaded the Spanish Netherlands. In May, the British Parliament agreed to send 12 battalions, then stationed in Ireland, to the Low Countries. Furthermore, directions were issued for the levying of 10,000 recruits in England to take their place. But, immediately after, came bad news from the West Indies, and it was thought necessary to despatch thither 4 more battalions from Ireland. Thus, within fifteen months of the disbandment of 1699, the garrison of Ireland had been depleted by 15 battalions out of 21; and 4 new battalions required to be raised immediately. The regiment was among these new battalions. It was raised in Ireland on 28 June by William, Viscount Charlemont.

N.B.: Charlemont had previous owned a regiment of foot from 23 April 1694 to its disbandment in 1698.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted one battalion.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive proprietors of the regiment were:

  • since 28 June 1701: William Caulfield, Viscount Charlemont
  • from 10 May 1706: Thomas Allnutt
  • from 23 March 1709: Archibald Campbell, Earl of Islay
  • from 23 October 1710 until 15 July 1715: Henry Desney

After the war, in the Spring of 1714, the regiment returned to England. It was subsequently sent to Ireland and was placed on the establishment of that country.

Service during the War

In 1701, the newly raised regiment was stationed in Ireland.

In 1702, the regiment was appointed for sea service. In June, it proceeded to the Isle of Wight. In July and August, it took part in the unsuccessful expedition against Cádiz embarking on board of three transports:

  • the Grey
    • Colonel's Company (52 men)
    • Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Wills's Company (51 men)
    • Major Arthur Moore's Company (53 men)
    • Captain Thomas Allnut's Company (52 men)
    • Captain Henry Frankland's Company (48 men)
  • Ruth
    • Captain Henry Fulvile's Company (52 men)
    • Captain J. Hutchinson's Company (51 men)
    • Captain Medburn Smith's Company (51 men)
    • Captain J. Dentilly's Company (52 men)
  • Friendship
    • Captain James Brathwait's Company (52 men)
    • Captain Josias Campbell's Company (52 men)
    • Captain William Edwards's Company (53 men)

After the failure of this expedition, the regiment was one of the units selected to proceed to the West Indies, and it sailed on this service on 4 October, with a division of the Royal Navy under Commodore Walker.

In 1703, the regiment served as marines in the West Indies where a powerful armament was prepared for the attack of the French and Spanish settlements. In March, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful expedition against Guadeloupe. The regiment was then redirected towards Newfoundland in an ill planned expedition against the French settlement of Placentia. Bad weather made landing impossible and illness spread aboard the transports. The regiment suffered heavy losses.

In 1704, the regiment returned to Ireland where it replenished its ranks.

In April 1705, the regiment was embarked from Ireland to proceed with the force under the Earl of Peterborough. The design of this expedition was either to aid the Duke of Savoy in driving the French out of Italy, to make an attempt on Naples and Sicily, or to further the progress of Archduke Charles in Spain. The fleet arrived at Lisbon in June and additional forces were embarked. From Lisbon the expedition proceeded to Gibraltar, where it was joined by the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt and a reinforcement from the garrison. The fleet next proceeded to the bay of Altea, in Valencia where the inhabitants displayed their attachment to the Habsburg pretender. A thousand Catalans and Valentians who had thrown off their allegiance to the House of Bourbon, and had acknowledged the Archduke Charles as the Sovereign of Spain, seized on the town of Denia, while others made demonstrations of giving effectual aid to the expedition. The city of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia was finally selected as the first objective of the expedition. On 23 and 24 August, the Earl of Peterborough landed his troops near the river Bassoz, about 5 km east of Barcelona. On 28 August, Archduke Charles came on shore, and several of the inhabitants of the neighbouring towns and villages greeted his landing with great acclamations. The progress of the siege was, however, retarded by opposite opinions and views entertained by the superior officers. It was at length determined to surprise the detached fortress of Montjuich. In the night of 13 September, the storming party of 400 grenadiers, selected from the various corps employed in the siege, with a support of 600 musketeers, commenced its march round the mountains, and were followed by another detachment and a party of dragoons. The first detachment was nearly twelve hours on the march through difficult paths and did not arrive at the foot of the mountain until break of day on 14 September; some Migueletes in the service of the enemy gave the alarm to the troops in the castle and in the town, so that the first detachment found the garrison in arms, with guards in the outworks. The garrison received the Allies with a general discharge of artillery and small arms. The grenadiers were then ordered to initiate the attack. With their success, the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt decided to make himself master of the post. However, he was mortally wounded during his attack. Colonel Allen renewed the assault with about 250 men but was forced to surrender. When reinforcements were seen arriving from Barcelona, panic seized the Allies and Viscount Charlemont, with other officers, endeavoured to rally his troops. Finally, the Earl of Peterborough managed to rally the Allies and to reconquer the post. Batteries were then constructed, and the inner works of the Fortress of Montjuich were assailed with cannon balls, bombs, and grenades. On 17 September, a bomb hit a powder magazine. The Allies immediately advanced and managed to enter into the Fortress of Montjuich which surrendered. On 9 October, the garrison of Barcelona capitulated. The capture of Barcelona was accompanied by the submission of all Catalonia, with the exception of Roses. In a short time, the province of Valencia submitted too.

In 1706, the regiment campaigned under the command of the Earl of Peterborough. It may have taken part in the relief of San Matteo, in the capture of Monviedro and in the relief of Valencia. It may also have been left in garrison in Catalonia. At the beginning of April, a powerful Franco-Spanish army laid siege to Barcelona. However, with the arrival of Allied reinforcements by sea, the Franco-Spanish were forced to raise the siege in mid-May. The regiment then embarked from Barcelona and proceeded by sea to Valencia for the planned advance on Madrid. While in Valencia, the regiment furnished a detachment on NCOs and soldiers, which, with similar detachments from other regiments of infantry, were formed into a regiment of dragoons, named the Earl of Peterborough's regiment. The Allies then advanced from Valencia towards Madrid, capturing Requena and Cuenza on their way. Archduke Charles then delayed his advance and was finally forced to retire towards the frontiers of Valencia and Murcia, where they remained during the winter.

In April 1707, the regiment formed part of the Allied army under the command of the das Minas and the Earl of Galway which laid siege to the Castle of Villena. During the siege a Franco-Spanish relief army under the command of the Duc de Berwick arrived at Almansa. The Allies expecting Berwick to receive additional reinforcements decided to attack him immediately. On 25 April, the regiment took part in the Battle of Almansa where it formed part of Colonel Hill's Brigade deployed in the second line. After the defeat, the Earl of Galway effected his retreat with the dragoons; several general officers collected the broken remains of the British infantry, which fought in the centre into a body, and uniting them with some Dutch and Portuguese, formed a column of nearly 4,000 men, which retreated 8 km, repulsing the pursuing enemy from time to time. On arriving at the woody hills of Caudete, the men were so exhausted with fatigue that they were unable to proceed further. They passed the night in the wood without food, and on the following morning they were surrounded by the enemy. Being without ammunition, ignorant of the country, and having no prospect of obtaining food, they surrendered as prisoners of war. In this battle, Captains Musgrave and Parsons, Lieutenants Ayriss and Ballance, and Ensign Wells were killed; 13 officers of the regiment were taken prisoners. Soldiers and officers of the regiment who managed to escape and found serviceable, were afterwards transferred to other corps in Spain, and certain of the officers returned to Great Britain to recruit the regiment. On 15 September, Colonel Alnutt was ordered to recruit and fill up the respective companies of the regiment; and the recruits were to assemble at Chester and Namptwich, which places were appointed for the rendezvous of the corps.

On 23 March 1709, Colonel Archibald Earl of Islay, afterwards Duke of Argyle, was appointed to the colonelcy of the regiment in succession to Colonel Thomas Alnutt, deceased.

On 23 October 1710, Colonel Henry Desaulnais (afterwards spelt Desney) from the Coldstream Foot Guards, was appointed to the colonelcy of the in succession to Colonel Earl of Islay who had resigned. The same year, on his return to Great Britain after a successful attack on Port Royal in Acadia, Colonel Nicholson submitted to the Government a plan for the reduction of Placentia in Newfoundland and of Québec in Canada.

In 1711, the regiment took part in the expedition against Québec. The expeditionary force consisted of some 5,000 men. On arriving in North America the fleet called at Boston for a supply of provisions. The force then landed and encamped a short time on Rhode Island. On 20 July, troops re-embarked, having been joined by two regiments of provincial militia commanded by Colonels Walton and Vetch. On 30 July, the expeditionary force sailed from Boston for the Saint-Laurent River. On 21 August, the expedition finally reached the river where it encountered storms. The fleet being furnished with bad pilots, eight transports, a store-ship and a sloop were lost by shipwreck, and 29 officers, 676 soldiers and 35 women of the Queen's Own Regiment of Foot, William Windress' Foot, Kane's Foot and Clayton's Foot perished. There was also a scarcity of provisions. It was therefore determined in a council of war, that further operations should be abandoned. Some of the regiments engaged in the expedition proceeded to Annapolis Royal, but the regiment returned to England. On 9 October, it arrived at Portsmouth.

In 1713, the regiment occupied Dunkerque according to the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht.

Uniform

There were still no regulation concerning uniforms and colonels were responsible for the clothing of their soldiers. Therefore, there were wide variations from one regiment to another.

Hairs were worn long in a “long bob”. They were sometimes tied at the back of the neck. The hair bag was also already in use.

Men as well as officers were clean-shaven. Officers sometimes wore small moustaches.

We have been unable to find any description of the uniform of this regiment.

Colours

no information found yet

References

This article incorporates texts of the following source:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Thirty-Sixth or The Herefordshire Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall & Parker, 1853
  • Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. I, MacMillan, London, 1899, p. 398

Farmer, John S.: The Regimental Records of the British Army, London: Grant Richards, 1901

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army, Vol. 1 From the beginning to 1760, London: Kaye & Ward, pp. 12-54

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth

The Royal Sussex Regimental Society

N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.