Pearce's Dragoons

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

Origin and History

This regiment was raised on 25 February 1706 in Spain from the Earl of Barrymore's Foot. At the beginning of the year, this infantry regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Pearce, had been ordered to march from Vinaros to Oropeso, where an extraordinary alteration took place in the character of the corps, which is without parallel in the history of the British Army. The Earl of Peterborough was much in want of cavalry for his expedition to Valencia, and he procured, with great zeal and industry, about 800 Spanish horses; about 200 of these horses were given to the Royal Dragoons, and other corps, to remount the men whose horses had died, and with the other 600, he resolved to form a corps of cavalry. He had been much pleased with the conduct of the infantry regiment on all occasions, and he determined to constitute them a Regiment of Dragoons. This was, however, not communicated to the officers and soldiers until every preparation was made, and as the regiment approached Oropeso, it was met by the Earl of Peterborough, and reviewed on a small plain near the town. After the review the horses were produced, and the regiment was constituted a corps of dragoons of eight troops, of which Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Pearce was appointed colonel. The remaining officers and soldiers, who were not incorporated into this new dragoon regiment, returned to England to recruit the regiment of foot to its original establishment.

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

  • from 25 February 1706: Edward Pearce

The regiment was disbanded after the treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

Service during the War

In 1706, the new regiment of dragoons soon proved a valuable corps, and distinguished itself on several occasions. It formed part of the force engaged in the Earl of Peterborough's splendid campaign in Valencia and captured the Spanish battering train near the city of Valencia. In April, after the siege of Barcelona was raised, this dragoon regiment advanced upon Madrid. On 8 August, it joined the Army of Portugal, under the Earl of Galway, at Guadalaxara. It subsequently took part in covering the march of the army to Valencia, and was greatly reduced in numbers by continual service, and the losses it sustained in numerous skirmishes.

In the Spring of 1707, the regiment only mustered 273 men. On 25 April, it was one of the units which displayed great intrepidity and bravery at the BBattle of Almansa when it had Lieutenant-Colonel Deloches, Cornets Cundy and Holmes, and Quarter-Master Sturges killed; Lieutenant Fitzgerald and Cornet Barry wounded and taken prisoners : it also sustained a severe loss in killed and wounded.

Uniform

A plate in Rubio’s work (see the Reference section for details) depicts the following uniform: black tricorne laced white; red coat with white buttons; yellow cuffs, each with three white buttons; yellow waistcoat; red breeches; black boots. There is no description of the saddle cloth and holsters.

Colours

no information found yet

References

Cannon, Richard: Historical record of the Thirteenth, First Somerset or, The Prince Albert's Regiment of Light Infantry, London: Parker, Furnivall and Parker, 1848

Dalton, Charles (ed.): English Army List and Commission Registers Vol. V. pp. 4, 41

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

Other sources

Rubio, Xavier, and Francesc Cecília Conesa, Francesc Riart Jou, María del Carmen Rojo Ariza and Maria Yubero Gómez: God save Catalonia! England’s intervention in Catalonia during the War of the Spanish Succession (1705-1711), Barcelona: Xavier Rubio Campillo, 2010, p. 39

Acknowledgement

Jörg Meier for the initial version of this article