Wood's Horse

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

Origin and History

Six independent troops were raised in 1685 to curb Monmouth's rebellion. However, Monmouth was defeated at Sedgemoor before they had taken the field. On 15 July, these six troops were incorporated into a regiment which was designated as the "Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Horse" and ranked as 4th Horse. The regiment was armed and equipped as cuirassiers.

In August 1685, the regiment took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath. In 1686, it was stationed in London and once more took part in the camp on Hounslow Heath before taking up quarters at Cambridge, Huntingdon and St. Ives. In 1687, it was quartered for a short time in London, then encamped on Hounslow Heath. In the summer of 1688, it again erected its tents on Hounslow Heath. It then proceeded into quarters at Oxford and Woodstock. At the beginning of November, it marched to Alresford ; and when the Prince of Orange (the future William III) landed at Torbay, it was ordered to advance to Salisbury, where King James's army was assembled. The regiment remained faithful to King James II until he abandoned the throne. When the regiment entered the service of William III who ordered it to Dorking and Ryegate. The Colonelcy of the regiment was given to Lord Colchester.

In 1689, the regiment marched to Scotland to quench a Jacobite rebellion. The regiment having sustained considerable loss in this campaign from fatigue and privation, particularly in horses, marched into England to recruit, and was quartered at Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1690, the regiment assisted the Life Guards in their attendance on the court. In 1691, it marched to Lancashire but was recalled to the South of England in November and embarked for the Dutch Republic.

In 1692, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment took part in the unsuccessful attempt to relieve Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen; in 1694, in the covering of the siege of Huy; and in 1695, in the covering of the siege of Namur. At the end of 1697, it returned to England.

During the summer of 1698, the regiment occupied quarters at Uttoxeter and Penxridge. It then remained in Staffordshire until the month of June 1700, when it proceeded to the vicinity of London.

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

  • from 24 January 1694: Cornelius Wood
  • from 18 May 1712 to 19 March 1717: Thomas Viscount Windsor

Service during the War

In November 1701, the regiment furnished a relay of escorts to attend King William III from Margate to London. It was subsequently stationed in the vicinity of London.

A the beginning of 1702, the regiment received orders to hold itself in readiness for foreign service. At the same time, its establishment was augmented to 50 men per troops. At the beginning of March, it embarked at Blackwall and Deptford. But at the death of the king on 8 March, the regiment was ordered to disembark. On 11 March, Queen Anne ordered the regiment to re-embark and to proceed to the Dutch Republic. At the end of March, the regiment arrived in the Dutch Republic and went into cantonments near Breda. The regiment, with three other regiments of British cavalry (Queen's Regiment of Horse, the Carabineers, and 1 squadron of the Duke of Leinster's Horse) and 2 regiments of British infantry (William Stewart's Foot, Stanley's Foot) were stationed near Breda. On 21 June, they marched under the orders of Lieutenant-General Lumley to join the army. The French attempted to intercept these regiments; but by forced marches they eluded the enemy, and arrived at the camp near Duckenburg towards the end of June. When the Allies besieged Venlo, the regiment was with the troops employed in observing the enemy, and in protecting the supplies of forage, provision, and ammunition. It played the same role during the sieges of Roermond and Stevensweert. On 10 October about midnight, after the capture of these fortresses, the regiment quitted its camp at Soetendaal, crossed the Jaar River and advanced towards Liège. On 14 October, it marched into the city of Liège where it remained until 25 October. On that date, it was detached across the river to invest the Chartreuse Fortress. After the capture of this place, it escorted the garrison towards Antwerp. It then went into village cantonments.

The regiment spent the winter of 1702-03 in Dutch Brabant. In May 1703, it moved from its quarters, traversed the country to the vicinity of Maastricht. It then encamped on the banks of the Meuse where the Duke of Marlborough assembled his army. The regiment was later engaged in a slight skirmish near Haneffe. It then formed part of the army covering the siege of Huy. It participated in the siege of Limbourg. In October, it went into cantonments.

In the spring of 1704, the regiment joined the army assembling near Roermond. In May, the regiment left Holland and marched to Coblenz, where it passed the Rhine and the Moselle, and directed its march with the army through the several states of Germany to the assistance of Emperor Leopold I, whose troops were unable to withstand the united forces of France and Bavaria. Marlborough marched to the distant Danube and joined the forces of the empire. On 2 July, in the Battle of Schellenberg, the Allies attacked the enemy's fortified post on the heights near Donauworth. The regiment supported the attacks of the infantry. When the fortifications were forced, the British cavalry charged and completed the overthrow of the French and Bavarians, who fell in great numbers beneath the sabres of the pursuing horsemen. In this action, the regiment lost Adjutant Skelton and several men killed; Major-General Wood and several men, wounded. On 13 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Blenheim where it was engaged in the early part of the action with the household troops of France. In this battle, the regiment lost Lieutenant-Colonel Fetherstonhalgh and Cornet Ordairne killed; and Captain Armstrong, Captain Shute, Lieutenant Dove, Cornet Forester and Cornet Stevenson wounded. The regiment then marched with the army through the Circle of Swabia to Philipsburg, where, on 6 September, it crossed the Rhine. It later encamped at Croon-Weissemberg, while the Imperialists, besieged the important fortress of Landau. After the capture of this place, the regiment marched back to the Dutch Republic for winter-quarters.

In April 1705, the regiment quitted its cantonments, advanced to the vicinity of Maastricht. At the beginning of May, it encamped on the banks of the Meuse. On 14 May, it was reviewed by the Duke of Marlborough. It then advanced on Trier with the army but had to march back to the Netherlands when the Imperialists delayed their arrival. On July 18, the regiment took part in the forcing of the French lines at Neer-Hespen and Helixem where it was among the squadrons which, after passing the works, engaged and defeated the Spanish and Bavarian horse guards. It passed the winter in cantonments in Holland where it was joined by a remount of men and horses from England.

On 23 May 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies where the British horse were held in reserve until towards the close of the engagement, when they were ordered forward, and by their powerful and resolute attacks completed the victory. After pursuing the enemy until 2:00 a.m. on the following day, the regiment was ordered to halt. The regiment was one of the corps detached under Brigadier-General Cadogan to summon several towns and fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands. The regiment passed the winter in the Spanish Netherlands.

Early in the spring of 1707, the losses of the regiment during the preceding campaign were replaced by a remount of 60 men and 94 horses from England. At the same time the regiment was again supplied with cuirasses. The campaign passed without either a siege or general engagement.

In May 1708, the regiment proceeded to the vicinity of Bruxelles and was formed in brigade with the Schomberg’s Horse. They were afterwards engaged in several operations in Brabant and Hainaut. On 11 July, the regiment took part in the Battle of Oudenarde but had no occasion to get involved in combat. On July 12, it was sent forward in pursuit in pursuit of the wreck of the French army, towards Ghent. It then formed part of the covering army during the siege of Lille. After the capture of Lille, it marched back to Flanders for winter-quarters. The losses of the preceding campaign were replaced by a remount of 97 men and 71 horses. In June 1709, the regiment advanced towards the frontiers of France and encamped near Lille. It then formed part of the covering army during the siege of Tournai. On 11 September, the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet where it supported the attack on the left centre. The British cuirassiers and the Prussian cavalry were then ordered forward against the renowned French Gens d’Armes; but as the regiment, and the other cavalry under Major-General Wood, pursued their adversaries, they were charged by a compact line of household troops who broke the British horsemen and drove them back in disorder. The French cavalry having been checked by fire of the infantry, the British cavalry rallied and, along with Prussian and German squadrons, counter-attacked and defeated the French cavalry. After this victory, the regiment formed part of the covering army during the siege of Mons; and on the surrender of that fortress, it proceeded into winter-quarters in East Flanders.

At the beginning of April 1710, the regiment marched out of its quarters and advanced to the vicinity of Tournai. On 20 April, it took part in the passage of the lines at Pont-à-Vendin. During the summer, it was employed in covering the siege of Douai. In July, it took part in the siege of Béthune which surrendered on 29 August. It was subsequently employed in covering the sieges Saint-Venant and Aire. It passed the winter in Flanders.

In April 1711, the regiment marched to the banks of the Scarpe. During this campaign, the regiment took part in the siege of Bouchain.

In April 1712, the regiment took the field and advanced with the army commanded by the Duke of Ormond to Cateau-Cambrésis where it was encamped during the siege of Le Quesnoy. A cessation of hostilities was soon afterwards published, and the British army retired from the frontiers of France to Ghent, where this regiment encamped a short time, and afterwards went into quarters, to await the conclusion of negotiations, and the settlement of the barriers of the several states concerned in the treaty.

In 1713, the regiment remained on the continent.

In 1714, the regiment returned to England, landing at Red House near London at the beginning of April. Its establishment was then reduced from 400 to 226 officers and soldiers.


In 1685: hats with broad brims, bound with silver lace, turned up on one side and ornamented with green ribands ; scarlet coats lined with green shalloon; and high boots made of jacked leather; green horse-furniture embroidered with white, and ornamented with the King's cypher and crown. They were armed with a pistol-proof cuirasse; an iron head-piece called pott; a sword; a pair of pistols; and a short carbine.


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This article incorporates texts from the following source:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Third, or Prince of Wales’ Regiment of Dragoon Guards, London: William Clowes and Sons, 1838