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Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

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Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby unclearthur » April 24th, 2012, 11:08 am

This is a subject I'm quite interested in but there's not much information about.

Came across this link on the Project Hougoumont FB page which might be of interest to others of like mind.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/blackhistory/work_community/transcripts/george_rose_service_record.htm
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Re: Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby OXFORDMON » April 24th, 2012, 11:19 am

unclearthur wrote:This is a subject I'm quite interested in but there's not much information about.


A very interesting subject, i have investigated several men in 'my' regiments who were escaped slaves etc etc, here is a brilliant site which you will find of great interest : http://www.blackpresence.co.uk/2009/03/ ... ohn-ellis/

Gibeon Lippett. Born in Rhode Island, (America), and enlisted for unlimited service in the 43rd Foot, (now the? Royal Green Jackets ), in Cork city, County Cork,22nd June 1796, aged 17 years. Served 185 days as a Private, 29 years and 103 days as a Drummer, (and 185 days underage).? Served with the regiment 3 years in the West Indies.In the expedition to Copenhagen in 1807, General Sir John Moore s retreat in 1809, and in every siege and action in which the 43rd Regiment was engaged from the Battle of Coa 24th July 1810, to the end of the War in the South of France. Served at New Orleans in America, 8th January, 1815 and present at the Capture of Paris in July 1815.? Discharged as a Private to a pension, 5th April 1826,? his constitution being worn out by long and severe service.? On discharge he was illiterate, of very good character, 57 years old, 5 /83/4? tall, had black hair,black eyes, a mulatto complexion, and was a sail maker by trade.

Andy
"Thus the war terminated, and with it all remembrance of the veteran's services" Gen W F P Napier.
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Re: Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby unclearthur » April 24th, 2012, 9:34 pm

Great - thanks for that.
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Re: Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby jf42 » August 9th, 2012, 7:09 am

unclearthur wrote:This is a subject I'm quite interested in but there's not much information about.

Came across this link on the Project Hougoumont FB page which might be of interest to others of like mind.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/blackhistory/work_community/transcripts/george_rose_service_record.htm


A little late; I only just came across this post.

Since the 73rd Regiment was formed in 1786 from the 2nd battalion 42nd Royal Highland Regiment and then in 1881 was combined with the 42nd to become 2nd Battalion The Black Watch RHR, the steadfast Sergeant Rose is sometimes referred to as 'The Black Watch's black soldier.' There was for a time a life-size model of George Rose at the National Army Museum, part of the "Road to Waterloo" exhibition IIRC. It represented him sitting exhausted at the road side in coatee and white trousers.

OXFORDMON wrote:
Gibeon Lippett. Born in Rhode Island, (America), and enlisted for unlimited service in the 43rd Foot, (now the? Royal Green Jackets ),


In case it is relevant or useful (and assuming the '?' was deliberate): the regiment in which ?Gideon Lippet served - 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry), following the Childers reforms of 1881, eventually became 1st Bn, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (43rd & 52nd), which in turn became the 1st Bn, Royal Green Jackets (43rd & 52nd) in 1966. The 1st Bn RGJ was disbanded in 1992. The other RGJ battalions (previously the King's Royal Rifle Corps and The Rifle Brigade) were subsumed into The Rifles in 2006.
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Re: Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby Mark » August 12th, 2012, 11:41 am

Do members know of any other examples of black soldiers serving in 'British' regiments during the Napoleonic period?

Also are there any known paintings/drawings etc. of Sergeant Rose?

Mark
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Re: Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby unclearthur » August 15th, 2012, 11:15 am

I'd be interested to find any British paintings showing black soldiers, because it seems whilst they were actively recruited, their presence in heroic-type pictures of the times was too much for potential (moneyed-class) purchasers of the same to accept.

The only such painting I'm familiar with is the Battle of Jersey picture 'The Death of Major Pierson' which depicts Pierson's black servant Pompey as an important, if not central, figure. In this Pompey is shown, not only well dressed and wearing a flamboyant hat (gasp!) but also firing a musket (shock, horror!).

It's often seemed to me this part of the painting was intended to show negroes (or 'slaves' or 'colonials' in general, maybe) in a more positive light, though I've seen no evidence to indicate the artist John Copley held pro-abolitionist views. Perhaps it was also intended to encourage blacks to enlist, thought I doubt many would have seen the painting displayed.

So maybe I'm looking at it from too modern a perspective. :?
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Re: Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby jf42 » August 15th, 2012, 11:47 am

I imagine he was included because he was present, took an active part in the fighting (IIRC, he may have picked up Piersons' own fusil) and there was no reason to exclude him. He did of course add an exotic touch to a very romantic interpretation of the event.

Random black faces (for instance) may have been excluded from general representation as somehow anomalous, not depicting plucky Britons as commonly conceived but I don't think there would have been an ideological decision not to exclude Pompey. (But shh! The French raid on Jersey was in 1-7-8-1).
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Re: Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby unclearthur » August 15th, 2012, 6:11 pm

*Whispers* That's why I never gave a date ;)
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Re: Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby jf42 » August 15th, 2012, 9:52 pm

** safe-with-me**
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Re: Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army

Postby jasonubych » October 19th, 2013, 6:10 pm

In "An account of the Scottish Regiments" it mentions that the Cameron Highlanders have "3 black soldiers for the band", i would assume these men were recruited when the 79th were in the West Indies.

In the book "History of the the Highland Regiments" i found a story of one of these brave bandsmen! at the storming of St.Michael at Burgos on the 19th september 1811.

In this manner, and by means of the scaling-ladders,
the light battalion was, in a few minutes, formed
within the work ; and a guard, consisting of Sergeant
Donald Mackenzie and twelve men of the 79th, having
been placed at the gate leading to the castle, a charge
was made on the garrison, which, numbering between
400 and 500 men, having by this time formed itself
into a solid mass, defied every attempt to compel a
surrender ; in this manner the French troops rushed
towards the gate, where, meeting with the small guard
of the 79th, they were enabled, from their overwhelm-
ing numbers to overcome every opposition, and to
effect their escape to the castle.
Sergeant Mackenzie, who was severely wounded in
this affair, and his small party behaved with the
greatest bravery in their endeavours to prevent the
escape of the French garrison ;and bugler Charles
Bogle of the 79th, a man of colour
, was afterwards
found dead at the gate, near a French soldier, the
sword of the former and bayonet of the latter through
each others bodies.
Jason
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