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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

The Inniskilling Dragoons

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The Inniskilling Dragoons

Postby Connaught » August 26th, 2011, 5:49 pm

Three times the regiment went to war with the army to Europe against France: the War of the Austrian Succession, the Seven Years War and the French Revolutionary War. At Laffeldt in 1747 and Warburg in 1760 they were part of decisive cavalry charges which turned an allied victory into a complete rout of the enemy.

At Minden in 1759, when a massive cavalry charge was needed to complete the defeat of the French, the cavalry commander, Lord George Sackville, remained inactive in spite of orders. He was court martialed and was dismissed. The war in the Low Countries against Revolutionary France, 1793 – 95, was a catalogue of disaster and mismanagement. It spawned the rhyme –“The Grand old Duke of York etc—–“

While many specific details concerning the men who served at Waterloo will never be known, what information is available can help humanize the men of the battalion. Private Alexander Dunlop, for example, was born in 1786 in the parish of Aughavea in the County Fermanagh. He worked as a laborer until his enlistment with the 27th at Enniskillen in 1807, at age 21. Dunlop was five feet seven inches tall, with brown hair and grey eyes. His face was round, his complexion swarthy, and when he enlisted he agreed to an unlimited period of service in the army.[1]

With an enlistment date of 1807, Private Dunlop would have served through much of the Inniskillings’ service in Spain, as well as the war against the Americans in early 1815. As the 1/27th arrived in Belgium, Dunlop served in the 9th Company, and based on the seniority of the officers it is likely that the 9th Company was commanded by Lt. Edward Drewe. Drewe had been a Lieutenant in the 1/27th since 1808, and was badly wounded at Waterloo, being hit in the left knee and arm.[2]

Lt. Drewe eventually was granted an annual pension of £70 for his wounds, while Private Dunlop survived Waterloo unscathed. Dunlop stayed in the 1/27th until 1829, when he was finally discharged as “unfit for service” with a daily pension of 10p. to sustain him.

Facts such as these can bring the men of the 1/27th to life. They were men of different backgrounds, but they were all destined to serve together atop the ridge at Waterloo. To fully reflect the human element in war, there is no better way than to know all that can be learned about those men, and try to understand their motivations.

And just for fun.
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