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Query re Napoleonic/Waterloo Musters - Casualty Report

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Query re Napoleonic/Waterloo Musters - Casualty Report

Postby Owen » August 18th, 2017, 9:10 am

In researching a Waterloo medal, I am working my way through the Waterloo period Musters and etc for the 1st Battalion, 71st Highland Light Infantry - trying to compile a list of all men killed in Action, Died of Wounds or Wounded and Later Invalided (in consequence of wounds)...the aim being to weight the casualties, by Company.

What I see, in the same muster for a specific Company, are the various explicit descriptions of the status of a man after the battle. Some are 'Killed in Action', some 'Wounded Brussels' and some 'Dead from Wounds'...no worries with these. But, sprinkled amongst these are "General Hospital" and "Regimental Hospital"...also "sick" (sometimes giving a location, such as Ostend). Am assuming that 'sick' in this context is related to a man who was not wounded but suffering some other sort of malady (perhaps mental trauma, accident injuries, disease etc).

My questions is: when (in the aftermath of a battle) men are known to be in either a General or Regimental Hospital and it is not specified that they are either 'Wounded' or 'sick', could it mean that they are there for some other (perhaps duty) reason?

Grateful for any thoughts...

Owen
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Re: Query re Napoleonic/Waterloo Musters - Casualty Report

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » August 18th, 2017, 3:50 pm

Owen, I sent Mick Crumplin, a Friend of the British Cemetery, your question and this was his reply:

Yes - sick could mean, infection, accidental injury, climatic damage, venereal disease, melancholia, PTSD or equiv., poisoned and, importantly after punishment.

Could mean the soldier is acting as an orderly, a batman to a sick officer, a 'nurse', a purveyor, an apothecary (if not specified) or somebody i/c baggage or transport.

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Re: Query re Napoleonic/Waterloo Musters - Casualty Report

Postby Owen » August 18th, 2017, 8:45 pm

Hello Sarah,

Many thanks, very kind of you - that's an interesting and very helpful answer from Mick. Please pass on my sincere thanks.

I'm really very grateful for the help.

Owen
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Re: Query re Napoleonic/Waterloo Musters - Casualty Report

Postby jf42 » August 30th, 2017, 7:45 pm

Owen, as you may have already discovered, regimental muster rolls were not completed in a consistent manner across the board. However, in my limited experience officers and soldiers posted away from the battalion (in the infantry) were usually marked as 'on command' or some similar category, e.g 'recruiting,' 'on duty in A.N Other place,' etc. Have you come across similar listings in the rolls of the 71st?

Without wishing to second guess Mick Crumplin, it seems likely that without such a qualification, a soldier listed as being in a General or Regimental hospital is most likely to be there because he is receiving medical treatment (such as it was) or recuperating. What sort of numbers are you finding identified in that way?
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Re: Query re Napoleonic/Waterloo Musters - Casualty Report

Postby Owen » August 30th, 2017, 9:16 pm

Thanks for your comments, I agree, from looking at diverse Musters of the period, that if shown to be in hospital (without saying sick and without any other caveat ) whether post battle or not, they are more likely to be sick as opposed to on a duty. I have been looking at the Musters of the 7th Hussars, as an example of another Regiment, for the Waterloo battle period, and they specify if in hospital wounded or as an orderly etc...there are even men in Brussels with wounded horses. With the 71st Musters, there are men specified as being in hospital wounded and in hospital sick...but, also at hospital without a caveat. This being in the immediate aftermath of the battle. In direct answer to your question there are no men listed as being at hospital with any other caveat, but there are men shown as absent for other reasons.

I can't remember 71st numbers listed at hospital without a caveat, but it's only a few (3 or 4 I think)...I am away from my paperwork but will check and let you know. At the moment, I am discounting them from the 'wounded' who are quite clearly 'labelled'. They may well be sick, but who knows what the sickness might have been (in modern days we can count PTSD, battleshock, trench foot, hyperthermia and etc as direct consequences of a battle/campaign, but in 1815 'they would probably have been 'sick'). Pure guess work, but I'm sure that men who after long marches and then exposed to heavy rain (in the open) all night, then an epic battle fought in mud and etc could reasonably have found themselves 'sick'. Today they would be considered noted among battle casualties.

I know we have digressed slightly, but I find it an interesting subject area.

Owen
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