Posts Tagged With: Irish at Waterloo

Hanoverian Riflemen & Black Brunswickers: Midleton Barracks During the Napoleonic Wars

As this year is the 200th anniversary of Waterloo, our previous post looked at some Midleton men who served during the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. One of the reasons that many locals enlisted was the fact that they had a military barracks on their doorstep. During the Napoleonic Wars Midleton was teeming with soldiers of different nationalities, many stopping off on their way to and from the Iberian Peninsula where they were taking on French forces. We are very fortunate that the building these men were housed in still survives today- and forms a key part of what is now the Jameson Distillery. We have spent some time looking into the history of this Barracks, and some of the very interesting units that spent time there. 

The Barracks in Midleton with later attached waterwheel http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/34083)

The Barracks in Midleton with later attached waterwheel http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/34083

The barrack building within the Midleton complex did not spend long in army use. In fact it had already become a distillery by 1825, when it was purchased by the Murphy Family. It still forms a major part of the Jameson Experience tour, where visitors can view the impressive cast-iron waterwheel that dates to 1852. Neither did this building start life as a purpose-built army structure. It was constructed in 1793 to serve as a woollen mill, run by the Lynch family. With the renewed outbreak of war with France in 1803, and the army’s need for more accommodation around Cork Harbour, the mill was sold to the military. So began its brief but fascinating life as a military barracks. Remarkably, during the course of research, we discovered the original advertisement for the sale of the equipment from the Mill building, which you can see below. (1)

The Advertisement in the Cork Mercantile Chronicle of September 21st 1803 Announcing the Sale of Lynch's Equipment

The Advertisement in the Cork Mercantile Chronicle of September 21st 1803, announcing the sale of Lynch’s Equipment

We were interested in exploring just who served in Midleton during the conflict. In order to ascertain this with some degree of surety it would become necessary to travel to archives in locations such as the Public Record Office in Kew, to extract details concerning the British garrison in Ireland. This is (unfortunately!) currently beyond the scope of the project, but as an alternative we took to contemporary newspapers and a number of online sources to see if we could discover references to the types of troops stationed in the town. Although newspaper accounts have to be treated with caution, they nonetheless do give us an insight into the important military hub that Midleton became during this period. Indeed the first references to troops we come across relate to increased militarisation as a result of the 1798 Rebellion. To give a flavour of this information, we have created a table which chronologically lists the references we have uncovered:

Unit Date Details
Carlow Militia 1798 Stationed in Midleton (2)
Caithness Highlanders 1798 Public Meeting, 12 March, to express thanks to Regt for 2 years quartered there (3)
Barrymore Legion 1803 Entertained at Midleton’s Globe Inn following manoeuvres in the Deerpark of Castlemartyr (4)
96th Regiment 1804 No details (5)
62nd Regiment 1805 The regiment, quartered in Midleton, was to embark for foreign service. Convoy of HMS Narcissus, Sloops of War Favourite and Argus (6)
8th Regiment 1805 Marched from Cobh to Midleton, and embarked on transports at East Ferry (7)
50th Regiment 1805 Understood to be marching to Midleton from Clonmel (8)
German Regiments 1806 15 transports arrived in Cobh to take some of the German Regts, 2 battalions understood to be in Midleton, for embarkation to Gibraltar (9)
Hanoverian Rifle Corps 1806 The 2 battalions of Hanoverian Rifle Corps who had been at Tullamore are marching for Midleton where they will be quartered until transports arrive to take them with the 59th and 82nd Regiments, presently in Cork, for foreign service (10)
Donegal Regiment 1807 The remainder of the Donegal Regiment marched into Cork from Midleton (11)
26th Regiment, 3rd Battalion 1808 The 3rd Battalion of the 27th Regiment arrived at Midleton (12)
71st Regiment 1808 Quartered in Midleton (13)
27th Regiment 1808 3rd Battalion of 27th Regiment embarked at East Ferry from Midleton (14)
German Corps, Duke of Brunswick Oels 1810 Arrived from Jersey and Guernsey, light troops landed at Cobh and proceeded to Midleton (15)
Kerry Militia 1811 Earmarked to replace Longford Militia at Midleton (16)
Longford Militia 1811 To be replaced by Kerry Militia at Midleton (17)
Roscommon Militia 1813 Arrived in Cobh in ten transports from Plymouth, disembarked and marched to Midleton (18)
Londonderry Militia 1813 Marched into Cobh from Midleton to head for Ramsgate (19)
28th Regiment 1814 Reports 28th are ordered from Birr to Midleton preparatory to sailing for service in America (20)
34th Regiment, 2nd Battalion 1814 No details (21)
3rd West York Militia 1814 Marched into Cobh from Midleton to go to England (22)
26th Foot 1822 Stationed in Midleton (23)
Members of the King's German Legion, who were in Midleton in 1806, by Charles Hamilton Smith

Members of the King’s German Legion, who were in Midleton in 1806, by Charles Hamilton Smith

Some of the men station in Midleton even left an account of their views on the barracks and the town. Lieutenant Francis Simcoe of the 27th Regiment recorded in 1808 that ‘Middleton Barracks are much larger & handsomer than Enniskillen, the town very small & neat about 7 m. from Kilworth.’ (24)

The Totenkopf badge of the Brunswickers (Wikipedia)

The Totenkopf badge of the Brunswickers (Wikipedia)

Two of the units that stand out among those we know to have been quartered in Midleton are the Hanoverian Rifle Corps in 1806 and the Brunswick Corps of the Duke of Brunswick Oels in 1810. The Hanoverian Rifle Corps (who are the same unit as the ‘German units’ in the previous table entry) were better known as the King’s German Legion, an expatriate force of Germans who fought throughout the Napoleonic Wars and at Waterloo. The Brunswick men had fought in Germany from where they had fled in 1809, and were known as the ‘Black Brunswickers‘. They were passing through on their way to service in the Peninsula and ultimately Waterloo. Many of the other regiments of foot would later develop names that are familiar to us today- the 71st Foot were known as the Highland Regiment, while the 50th Regiment of Foot would become known as the ‘Queen’s Own’ later in the 19th century.

Brunswick Infantry in Action at Quatre Bras, 1815 by Richard Knötel

Brunswick Infantry in Action at Quatre Bras, 1815 by Richard Knötel

It is interesting to note that troops used Midleton as a staging area while heading to or returning from theatres such as the Peninsula. Also of note is that a number embarked from East Ferry; one can imagine the bustling route from Midleton to the Ferry, via the busy port at Ballinacurra- surely quite a sight during the Napoleonic Wars. This quick newspaper review offers us just a glimpse of the hidden history of the brief period when Midleton served as an important military base. There is little doubt that many other units were stationed here during this period, and that much historical detail remains to be uncovered. We hope to carry out more much more work on this in the future, and in the meantime would like to hear from any readers who can add to the story of Midleton’s Napoleonic Barracks. Although, as the table shows, military units would continue to use Midleton both before and after the Napoleonic Wars, the town would never again see the cosmopolitan military traffic that it grew accustomed to during the wars with France. Shortly after Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo, the British Army sought to reduce the number of barracks it held around the country. Although there is some evidence to suggest they may have initially considered keeping Midleton, ultimately it appears they decided to offload it, as the advertisement below suggests. By the 1820s it would become part of a new story, one that it still shares with locals and tourists alike today, as part of what would ultimately become one of the world’s major whiskey distilleries.

The Freemans Journal of 24th December 1816 which lists the intended sale of Midleton Barracks

The Freemans Journal ad of 24th December 1816, which lists the intended sale of Midleton Barracks

References

(1) National Inventory of Architectural Heritage Record; (2) Online History of Carlow Militia; (3) Aberdeen Journal 24th March 1800; (4) Cork Mercantile Chronicle 17th October 1803; (5) 96th Regiment of Foot, Wikipedia, drawing on National Archives records; (6) Belfast Newsletter 25th April 1805; (7) Finns Leinster Journal 11th May 1805; (8) Hibernian Journal 24th December 1805; (9) Belfast Newsletter 15th May 1806; (10) Caledonian Mercury 13th October 1806; (11) Hibernian Journal 8th July 1807; (12) Finns Leinster Journal 16th August 1808; (13) Online Record of Service of 71st Foot; (14) Mary Beacock Fryer 1996 “Our Young Soldier”: Lieutenant Francis Simcoe, 6 June 1791- 6 April 1812, pp. 95-6; (15) Freemans Journal 5th June 1810; (16) Freemans Journal 20th November 1811; (17) Ibid.; (18) Freemans Journal 30th April 1813; (19) Freemans Journal 3rd November 1813; (20) Centinel of Freedom 11th October 1814; (21) Online Record of Service of 34th Foot; (22) Freemans Journal 12th May 1814; (23) The Naval and Military Magazine, Volume 4, 1828, p. 56; (24) Fryer, op. cit.;

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stories of Midleton Veterans of the Peninsular Campaign & Waterloo

We are currently in the midst of the 100th anniversary of World War One, but recent years have also marked the 200th anniversary of the Napoleonic Wars, a conflict in which tens of thousands of Irishmen fought. As anyone who has been on the tour of Midleton Distillery will be aware, part of that site was in use as a military barracks around this time. Unsurprisingly many men from Midleton and the surrounding parish ended up in the army- it is likely that recruiting parties were a regular sight around the town during the wars with France. Those that joined up embarked on lives that took them from East Cork to far flung locations, like the West and East Indies, to battles in Portugal and Spain, and even to Waterloo. After their service some went through soldier’s homes, such as the (still famous) Royal Hospital in Chelsea or the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham. The records of these institutions allow us to have a look at the service of some of these local men, many of whom were born well over 200 years ago. Here are the stories of 21 of them; some enlisted as young as 13; some were wounded multiple times, often in one of the great battles of the 19th century; some served in famous regiments, like the 95th Rifles (made even more famous by the fictional character Richard Sharpe); some stood in square while being charged by French cavalry at Waterloo. All had extremely hard lives. You can find out more about them below.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea (Wikipedia)

The Royal Hospital Chelsea (Wikipedia)

Private John Condon, Kilmainham Pensioner

John was born in the parish of Midleton around the year 1790. On the 9th February 1806, at the age of 15, the shoemaker enlisted in the 50th (West Kent) Regiment of Foot in Midleton, for unlimited service. He remained in the regiment for the next 12 years. In 1808 the regiment went to Portugal with Arthur Wellesley and fought the Battle of Vimeiro on 21st August that year, where the 50th participated in a number of bayonet charges which helped to win the engagement. During the fighting John was shot in the right leg. He recovered but suffered another gunshot wound in the Pyrennes on 25th July 1813. He was discharged in 1818 at the age of 27, when he was described as 5 feet 4 1/2 inches tall, with dark brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

Private David Glissane, Kilmainham Pensioner

David was born in the parish of Midleton around the year 1790. The butcher enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the 1st Royal Scots Regiment in Killarney, Co. Kerry on 11th September 1810, for life. He served for a total of 8 years and 55 days. At the Battle of Vitoria, Spain on 21st June 1813 he was hit in the right leg by a musket ball, and he was again shot at the Battle of the Nive, France on 10th December 1813. During Napoleon’s Hundred Days he fought at Quatre Bras, and at Waterloo stood in square formation with his regiment as they repulsed French cavalry attacks. He was discharged on 4th November 1818 and travelled to Kilmainham with his wife and child. He was then 28 years old, 5 feet 9 inches in height, with fair hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Private Pat Leonard, Kilmainham Pensioner

Pat was born around 1795 in Midleton parish. On 14th July 1808, the 13-year-old laborer enlisted in the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) at Maldon, Sussex. He signed on for life and would ultimately serve for more than 14 years. During the Peninsular War in Portugal and Spain he was a drummer/trumpeter, and was a private for the last two years of his service. He also served in Canada, and participated in the march to Paris with the army of occupation, where the regiment served until 1817. He spent 12 years as a drummer/trumpeter and two years as a private. He was 27 years of age when he was discharged, having suffered an injury to his elbow. He was described as 5 feet 6 1/4 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.

Private John Mullany, Kilmainham Pensioner

John was born in Midleton parish around 1791. Like John Condon he enlisted in the 50th (West Kent) Regiment of Foot in Midleton. The 15-year-old carpenter signed on for unlimited service on 12th February 1806. He would spend the next 12 years in the army. Like John he was wounded at the Battle of Vimeiro on 21st August 1808, when he was shot in the left leg. He was again shot, this time in the right leg, during the Battle of Corunna on 16th January 1809. He received a third wound at the Battle of Vitoria on 21st June 1813 when he was hit in the cheek. Along the way he found time to get married, and when he was eventually discharged he was 27-years-old. He was described as 5 feet 2 inches in height, with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Sergeant John Ring, Kilmainham Pensioner

John was born in Midleton parish in 1781. On 7th January 1800 the laborer enlisted in the 68th Foot, better known as the Durham Light Infantry. He served with them in the West Indies between 1801 and 1806, and was present when it was converted to a Light Infantry unit in 1808. He participated in the 1809 Walcheren Expedition in the Netherlands and then served through the Peninsular War, a campaign in which they lost 364 men dead. John spent 7 years as a Sergeant in the 68th, and was wounded at the Siege of San Sebastián in Spain on 31st August 1813, when a musket ball entered his right cheek, before exiting his head behind the right ear. John recovered, and stayed with the regiment until 24th January 1820, when he was discharged due to disbandment. He joined the 3rd Regiment of Royal veterans on the 25th January 1820, staying with them until the 1st June 1821. John had spent 7 years as a Sergeant in the 68th Foot and was discharged due to disbandment. When he was discharged he was 40-years-old and was descried as 5 feet 7 inches in height, with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. He had been released as he had suffered a paralytic stroke, as a result of which he was described as being in a ‘state of insanity’. His submission went on to state that ‘his truly deplorable situation (which is easier felt than described)’ would lead to him being admitted into a ‘public asylum for lunatics’ as he was unable to care for himself.

A British square defends against French cavalry at Waterloo (Wikipedia)

A British square defends against French cavalry at Waterloo (Wikipedia)

Private Michael Walsh, Kilmainham Pensioner

Michael was born in the parish of Midleton around 1781. The weaver enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd (The Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot in the mid 1790s. After 10 years service he was discharged on 9th May 1806 as a result of bad sight and general bad health. He was given a bounty of 19 shillings and ten pence so he could get home from England.

Private John Crottie, Chelsea Pensioner

John was born in Midleton around 1791. The laborer enlisted in the 71st (Glasgow Highland Light Infantry) Regiment when they were stationed at Midleton on 11th May 1812. He was then 21, and signed on for unlimited service. The 71st left Ireland for the Peninsula in 1808 and served throughout that conflict. They were also present at the Battle of Waterloo, where they lost 16 officers and 198 men killed and wounded. They remained in France until 1818. John served the regiment for 17 years and 294 days until his discharge on 7th August 1829 at the age of 39. He had contracted pulmonary disease two years previously and it had now become too severe for him to continue in service. He was described as 5 feet 11 1/2 inches tall, with brown hair, brown eyes and a brown complexion. He had pulmonary disease of two years standing by the 7th August 1829.

Private Dennis Donovan, Chelsea Pensioner

Dennis was born in Midleton around 1772. He enlisted for unlimited service in the 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot in Midleton on 14th August 1803. He was then a 31-year-old laborer. They sailed for Portugal in July 1808 and later participated in the Netherlands expedition in 1809 before returning to the Peninsula where they fought in various battles and sieges until their return to Ireland in 1814. During their campaigns in Spain Dennis contract rheumatism, which was the cause of his ultimate discharge. In 1815 he transferred to the 3rd Garrison Battalion where he remained for 1 year and 119 days before his final release on 20th September 1816, at the age of 44. He was 5 feet 5 inches in height, with brown hair, grey eyes and a dark complexion

Private Frans Edborough, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1791. The laborer enlisted in the 85th (Bucks Volunteers) Light Infantry Regiment in Ennis, Co. Clare at the age of 19 on 2nd May 1809, for unlimited service. He may have participated in the 1809 Walcheren Campaign in the  Netherlands but would certainly have gone with the regiment to the Peninsula in 1811, where they first saw action at Fuentes de Oñoro. They suffered severe casualties in the assault on Fort San Christobal and were sent home to recruit, returning to the Peninsula in 1813. They headed for North America in 1814. Edborough was transferred to the 3rd Garrison Company in 1815, until he was discharged on 24th August 1816 suffering from chronic asthma. He was then 25 years of age, and was described as 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall, with light hair, grey eyes and a pale complexion.

Walcheren, Netherlands (Wikipedia)

Walcheren, Netherlands (Wikipedia)

Private David Farrell, Chelsea Pensioner

David was born in Midleton around 1791. He also enlisted in the 85th (Bucks Volunteers) Light Infantry in Ennis, Co. Clare on 2nd May 1809- the same day as Frans Edborough. David spent a total of 18 years in the service, leaving the regiment on 31st July 1831.

Private Owen Farrell, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1788. The 18-year-old laborer enlisted in the 16th Regiment of Lancers at Castlmartyr on 10th May 1806, for unlimited service.He served throughout the Peninsula Campaign and was also present when the regiment charged at the Battle of Waterloo to cover the withdrawal of the Heavy Brigade. He spent 16 years and 138 days in the army, eventually being discharged due to pulmonic disease on 10th April 1822 at the age of 34. He was described as 5 feet 9 1/2 inches tall, with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Private John Foley, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1781. The laborer enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 88th Foot (Connaught Rangers) at the age of 27 on 28th September 1808. He served for 2 years 255 days, and would have at the Battle of Busaco where the 88th charged the French with bayonets. His spine became diseased as a result of an accident while on duty in Portugal, forcing his discharge from the army on 6th June 1811. He was then 30 years old and was described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Private Edward Gallaghue, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1797. He enlisted in the 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot in Midleton in on 15th December 1815. He was then an 18-year-old laborer. The regiment arrived in the Peninsula in 1810 and he may have served at Waterloo. He eventually went with the regiment to the East Indies. He was discharged on 26th February at the age of 29 after 10 years and 94 days service. The reason given was amputation of his left forearm which resulted from a gunshot wound in action. This may have occurred during the First Anglo-Burmese War. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, with brown hair, hazel eyes and fair complexion.

The Battle of Vimeiro (Wikipedia)

The Battle of Vimeiro (Wikipedia)

Private John Hennessy, Chelsea Pensioner

John was born in Midleton around 1795. He enlisted in the 88th Foot (Connaught Rangers) at Fermoy on 12th January 1814, when he was 19 years old. He served for 12 years and 335 days but was described as an ‘indifferent’ soldier. He was discharged due to pulmonary problems and a liver complaint on 20th July 1826. He was then 32, was 5 feet 7 1/4 inches in height, with brown hair, hazel eyes and fresh complexion.

Private Richard Long, Chelsea Pensioner

Richard was born in Midleton around 1790. The tailor enlisted in the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot at Portsmouth on 7th September 1811 at the age of 21. Shortly after his arrival in Portugal in 1812 he had an attack of rheumatism while at Abrantes. This would eventually result in his discharge years later, on 8th November 1818, after he had spent 7 years and 120 days in the army. He was then 28, 5 feet 4 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion, by occupation a tailor.

Private Michael Nash, Chelsea Pensioner

Michael was born in Midleton in 1775. The 25-year-old laborer enlisted in Captain Darling’s company of the 68th Regiment of Foot (later the Durham Light Infantry) around 1800. He served 5 years and 5 months with the regiment and had previously served 4 years and 7 months in the Meath Militia. He was discharged on 31st May 1805, as he was incapable of further service due to lameness in the left foot.

Corporal William O’Brian, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Imokilly, Midleton around 1776. He was a 24-year-old laborer when he enlisted as a private in the 95th Rifles, the green-jacketed regiment that would become famous (and in which the fictional character Richard Sharpe served). He was a member of the regiment from the 25th December 1802 until the 27th July 1813, serving throughout the Peninsula Campaign. While back home as part of a recruiting party he deserted on 14th June 1810, but surrendered himself on 4th May 1811 and returned to service in the unit. While on campaign in Spain in 1808 he contracted a disease of the heart which was what ultimately led to his discharge.He ended his service with 294 days a Corporal in the 2nd Royal Veteran Battalion before leaving the military on 14th May 1816.

Reenactors of the 95th Rifles from the Napoleonic Era (Wikipedia)

Reenactors of the 95th Rifles from the Napoleonic Era (Wikipedia)

Private Richard Quinlan, Chelsea Pensioner

Richard was born in Midleton around 1782.He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 43rd (Monmouthshire Light Infantry) Regiment on 7th May 1804. They went to the Peninsula in 1808 and took part in the retreat to Corunna, and then the Walcheren Campaign in the Netherlands before returning to the Peninsula. Richard left the regiment on 21st July 1810, joining the 4th Garrison Battalion on 22nd July 1810. When he was discharged on 12th December 1810 he was nearly blind. Now 38 years old, he was 5 feet 3 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a pale complexion.

Private Thomas Sage, Chelsea Pensioner

Thomas was born in Midleton around 1766. The 28-year-old served in 1st Battalion of the 82nd (The Prince of Wale’s Volunteers) Foot for only 9 months. Aged 28. He caught cold while on the march to Shrewsbury, which brought on consumption and made him unfit to earn a livelihood. He was discharged on 15th September 1794.

Private Jacob Towell, Chelsea Pensioner

Jacob was born in Midleton around 1764.He served in the 85th (Buck Volunteers) Foot from January 1792 to December 1794, before joining the 60th (Royal American) Foot in December 1794 and staying with them through to June 1804. Jacob joined the 4th Royal Veteran Regiment in August 1807, staying with them until August 1810, before serving in the 12th Royal Veteran Regiment until June 1814.

Private Thomas Vanston, Chelsea Pensioner

Thomas was described as being born in Glouthaune near Midleton around 1787. The weaver enlisted for life in the 37th (North Hampshire) Foot at Boyle, Roscommon on 5th May 1812, at the age of 25. He served in the regiment for 10 years and 227 days, before his discharge on 24th October 1822 as the result of a fractured arm.

The Storming of San Sebastian on the Peninsula (Wikipedia)

The Storming of San Sebastian on the Peninsula (Wikipedia)

References

Royal Hospital Kilmainham and Royal Hospital Chelsea records (original document scans viewed on FindMyPast)

Fletcher, Ian 2005. Wellington’s Regiments: The Men and their Battles 1808-1815

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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