Origin and History
The regiment was created on 20 June 1685 to curb Monmouth's rebellion and was designated as the "Earl of Peterborough's Regiment of Horse". It consisted of four troops (each of 3 corporals, 2 trumpeters and 60 men) and ranked as 3rd Horse. Two troops were soon added to its establishment but the number of privates in each troop was reduced to 40. The rebellion being defeated, the regiment marched into quarters at Battersea, Mile-End, Bow, and Stratford. In 1686, it was transferred from Oxfordshire to London and took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath. It then returned to its former quarters at Oxford and Woodstock. In 1687, it once more took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath before returning to Oxford. In 1688, it trained on Hounslow Heath again and then proceeded to Northampton and Wellingborough, and then to Colchester. The establishment of the regiment was increased to 50 men per troop. After the Prince of Orange had landed at Torbay, the regiment marched by Marlborough to Salisbury. The regiment remained faithful to King James II until he abandoned the throne. When the regiment entered the service of William III, the Earl of Peterborough was replaced by Edward Villiers as colonel of the regiment.
In 1689, the regiment was quartered at Bedford. In June, it marched towards Scotland to quench a Jacobite rebellion. On its way, it was ordered to halt at Ripon, in Yorkshire. During the summer it returned to the south of England.
The regiment was then sent to Ireland where it took part in the battles of the Boyne (1690) and Aughrim (1691). The regiment then returned to England where it assumed police duty in the commons of Hounslow and Blackheath.
In September 1689, at the beginning of the Williamite War (1689-91), the regiment was sent to Ireland. In 1690, it took part in the siege of Charlemont, in the Battle of the Boyne and in the unsuccessful siege of Limerick. In August, four troops of the regiment were attacked by surprise near Cullen. In October, it took part in the investment and capture of Kinsale. In 1691, it was employed in the siege of Athlone and fought in the Battle of Aughrim and in the siege and capture of Limerick.
In 1692, the regiment returned to England.
In 1694, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was sent to the Netherlands where it participated in the siege and capture of Huy. In 1695, it took part in covering the siege of Namur. In 1697, the regiment returned to England where it was quartered in Yorkshire.
In 1698, the regiment was transferred to Ireland.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive colonels of the regiment were:
- from 25 March 1699: Daniel Harvey
- from 1 January 1712 to 1715: John Bland
Service during the War
In September 1703, the regiment was selected to form part of the British army destined to Portugal. It embarked from Ireland but the fleet not being ready for sea, it landed on the Isle of Wight and went into quarters for a few weeks. In November, it was again embarked, but was so long detained by contrary winds and other causes, that the transports did not arrive at Lisbon until the early part of March 1704.
In March 1704, upon arrival in Portugal, the regiment received horses from the Portuguese authorities. However, these horses were so inferior that the officers rejected the greater part of them. By the end of March, only 20 men per troop were mounted. At the beginning of April, the dismounted men of the regiment were marched to Abrantes to await the arrival of horses. On 17 April, the mounted wen (120 men) proceeded to the Alentejo and encamped on the banks of the Tarra, near Estremos. Once all troops mounted, the regiment joined an Allied force intending to invade Spain but the operations were interrupted when a large Franco-Spanish army appeared on the frontier. The regiment passed the winter in the Alentejo.
In the middle of April 1705, the regiment assembled from its quarters. On 24 April, it joined the Allied army at Estremos; from whence it advanced into Spanish Estremadura, and formed part of the force which invested Valencia de Alcantara, which was taken by storm on 8 May. The regiment was subsequently employed in covering the siege of Albuquerque, and after the surrender of that place on 22 May, it was encamped with the army on the left of the Chevora River. On 27 May, 50 of the enemy's cavalry attacked a British foraging party and captured several mules, when 39 men of the regiment galloped out of the camp, attacked and routed the French horsemen, retook the mules, and made one prisoner. In the autumn, the regiment crossed the Guadiana and was engaged in the siege of Badajoz. However, on 14 October, the enemy succeeded in throwing in a relief. On the same day, the regiment, having crossed the Guadiana, was led forward by Lieutenant-General Wyndham to attack some Spanish squadrons posted near the Chevora. It routed the Spaniards and chased them across the river. The siege was afterwards raised, and the regiment returned to Portugal, and went into cantonments in villages along the frontiers.
In February 1706 several detachments made successful incursions into the Spanish territory. After some manoeuvring, the regiment crossed the Selor. On 7 April, it advanced with the army to Brocas, to attack the enemy's forces commanded by the Duke of Berwick; but as the advance-guard, winding round the mountains, entered the plain in front of the town, the enemy retired along the woody defiles between that place and Carcares. Some skirmishing occurred; the Portuguese squadrons in advance were repulsed; but the regiment, with some Dutch dragoons and Biera Cavalry, emerging at the moment from a thick part of the wood, charged the enemy and captured 80 prisoners, amongst whom were Major-General Don Diego Monroy and the Count de Vanilleros. After chasing the enemy through the forest, the regiment returned to Brocas, and passed the night in the town. The regiment then took part in the capture of Alcantara. On 3 June, as part of the army, the regiment advanced towards Madrid where it arrived on 24 June. After a while, the Allies were forced to evacuate Madrid and to retire to Guadalaxara, then to Chinchon and then across the Tagus. The regiment took up its winter-quarters amongst the peasantry of Valencia.
In the early part of April 1707, the regiment took the field. On April 25, it distinguished itself at the Battle of Almansa where after being under fire for some time, it was directed to attack two French infantry regiments. Lieutenant-Colonel Roper led the regiment to the charge and broke through the enemy’s ranks. The French brought forward fresh troops and Roper fell during the ensuing combat. When the Allies were obliged to quit the field, the cavalry retreated to Alcira. In this battle, the regiment lost Lieutenant-Colonel Roper, Captain Nicholson, and Lieutenant Bridger killed; and Lieutenant Gee, Cornet Broughton, and Quartermaster Sonden wounded and taken prisoners. The regiment was employed during the remainder of the year in defensive operations.
In 1708, the war in Spain was not conducted with vigour; the Allies remained on the defensive and the services of the regiment appear to have been limited to a few skirmishes amongst the mountain defiles of Catalonia. In the autumn, it proceeded into village cantonments.
During the summer of 1709, the regiment was encamped on the banks of the Segre. On 26 August, it forced the ford of the river and advanced to Balaguer, and formed part of the army which besieged and took that town, and also Ager, a place 19 km from Balaguer. After placing garrisons in the captured towns, the Allies repassed the river, and the regiment went into quarters.
In May 1710, the regiment took the field. On 13 June, it took part in an action against the right wing of the Franco-Spanish army. On July 27, the regiment took part in the Battle of Almenar where 16 squadrons of British and Portuguese horse charged and broke the French and Spaniards, whose force consisted of a first line of 22 squadrons flanked by infantry, and a second line of 20 squadrons and 9 battalions. After the victory, the Allies marched towards the Cinca, and took several strong places in Aragon. On 20 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Saragossa. On 21 September, the Allies entered into Madrid. On 11 November, King Charles withdrew form the army and proceeded to Barcelona. The Allied army then retreated under great difficulties from the hostilities of the Castilians, inclement weather, and a scarcity of forage and provision. On 6 December, the column of which the regiment formed part arrived at Brihuega, a village of about a thousand houses, situate in the mountains of Castile, near the river Tajuna, where it halted on the following day. While the troops were reposing, the town was suddenly surrounded by the Franco-Spanish forces under the Duc de Vendôme. During the ensuing Battle of Brihuega, the British, including the regiment, surrendered prisoners of war. The prisoners were sent to France.
In 1711, the regiment was exchanged and sent to England where it arrived in October. It was stationed at Kingston-upon-Thames until its ranks were recruited and remounted.
In November 1712, the regiment proceeded to Ireland.
In 1685: hat laced with silver and ornamented with ribands; an iron head-piece called pot; scarlet coat with scarlet lining; large boots which came up to the middle of the thigh; pistol-proof cuirasse. Armed with a pair of pistols, a carbine, and a sword.
This article incorporates texts of the following source:
- Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Second, or Queen’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards, London: William Clowes and Sons, 1837