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with Harrich's love

MEMOIR

OF

FIELD-MARSHAL

SIR HEW DALRYMPLE ROSS, G.C.B.,

ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY.

WOOLWICH:

PRINTED AT THE ROYAL ARTILLERY INSTITUTION.

M.DCCC.LXXI.

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MEMOIR

OF

FIELD-MARSHAL SIR HEW DALRYMPLE ROSS, G.C.B.

FIELD MARSHAL SIR HEW DALRYMPLE ROSs, G.C.B., third son of Major John Ross, of Balkail, in the County of Galloway, and Jane, daughter of George Buchan, of Leatham in East Lothian, was born on the 5th July, 1779; entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich as a Cadet in 1793, and obtained his commission in sixteen months, March 6th, 1795, before he had attained the age of sixteen. He was sent in the following year, 1796, to Gibraltar, and returned to England in April, 1797, on appointment to the Horse Artillery. He served with his battery in Ireland, during the Rebellion of 1798, and remained there until 1803, when he was promoted to Captain-Lieutenant, and appointed Adjutant to the 5th Battalion at Woolwich, having been given his choice of an Adjutancy, or of a re-appointment to the Horse Artillery. Earlier in that year an application had been made for his appointment as Aide-de-Camp to General Sir Hew Dalrymple, then commanding in the Channel Islands, but without success. He was again posted to the Horse Artillery, in May, 1806, and in July of that year was promoted to Captain, and appointed to the command of the "A" Battery of the Royal Horse Artillery, which he rendered famous in the history of the Peninsular War as the well-known "Chestnut Troop." This battery was then in Suffolk, under the command of the Earl of Uxbridge, afterwards Marquis of Anglesey. Upon his Lordship's return from the army in Portugal, in 1808, he requested the Earl of Chatham, then Master-General of the Ordnance, to place Captain Ross's troop again under his command, and in consequence of this application, it was ordered to embark at Portsmouth in November, 1808, to join Sir John Moore's army in Spain. Being detained by contrary winds, the result of that campaign became known in England before the transports had sailed, and it was disembarked, and marched to Chatham.

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In June, 1809, Captain Ross had "the good fortune" (quoting from a statement in his own words), to be again named for the service of the Peninsula," and embarked with his battery at Ramsgate in that month, landed at Lisbon in July, and after a severe forced march, joined the army of the Duke of Wellington two days after the battle of Talavera.

The details of the embarkation and sailing of his battery are of interest in contrast with the corresponding arrangements carried out under his own orders, fiftyfive years afterwards, on the embarkation of the Royal Artillery for the Crimea, when each battery and each division was embarked, in every case, with its full complement of officers and men, horses, carriages, and stores, and the employment of steam power enabled the transports to proceed to their destination almost independently of weather. The following are extracts from a private journal kept during his active service :

"Chatham, June 7th, 1809.-Orders were issued for the embarkation of my troop on the 19th of May (the day on which I returned from Scotland, where I had been on leave for two months), but the transports having to come round from Portsmouth to Ramsgate, we continued in suspense till the morning of the 7th June, when by a letter from General Macleod to Brigade-Major Adye, the troop was ordered to move as soon as possible. The order was received by me at 10 o'clock, and the troop marched for Canterbury at 11, and arrived at the barracks at 5 in the evening.

"June 8th.-Marched at 7 a.m. for Ramsgate. Sent Jenkinson (his 2nd Captain) forward to examine the transports, and prepare them for our reception. Arrived at the harbour at 10 a.m., when Jenkinson informed me that he had used every endeavour to find the Agent without success. Owing to his absence, the commencement of our embarkation was delayed till past 12 o'clock, a little before which hour he made his appearance. I accompanied him round the ships. They are very good, but as he declared it impossible to stow the ordnance and carriages in the vessels containing the men and horses, I am, much against my inclination, compelled to put them all into the 'Blessing,' which had been provided purposely for them. The other transports are the Rodney,' in which I am, with M'Donald and Dr. O'Brien; the 'Phœmis' (Captain Jenkinson, Belson, and Smith), the Amphitrite' (Corporal Isherwood), 'Jane' (Serjeant Braid), 'Ruby' (Serjeant Farquhar), the Ganges' (Bombardier Ownsworth). The embarkation was completed without accident at 8 o'clock in the evening.

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"June 11th.-Wet and squally morning. Signal made to get under weigh about mid-day. When weighing anchor, the Agent came past in a boat, and informed me that the Ganges was ordered into Portsmouth, to receive

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more horses; she not being completed in the number she can carry.

I represented to Captain Hamilton the injury it would cause to the service, his permitting the Ganges' to separate from the convoy, unless he could remove the men and horses belonging to my troop into some of the other transports. "June 14th.-The wind still nearly west. Fresh breeze and squally. horses reported to have been transhipped without injury at daybreak. "June 17th.-The wind directly against us; blowing fresh at west. Beating between Brighton and Beachy Head.

Men and

"June 19th.-Off the Isle of Wight, with a light breeze to the N.E., at 7 a.m., and the convoy well together. The wind continues baffling all day.

"June 20th.-Off Christchurch Bay.

"June 23rd.-Wind northerly, and a fine breeze. At 8 a.m., the convoy close round us, and sailing nearly 6 miles an hour.

"June 26th.-At daylight, run for the land, with a fair wind, but light breeze. 'July 1st.-Anchored in the Tagus.

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'July 2nd.- Transports ordered to move near to the Naval Arsenal, to be ready to land the troop next morning.

"July 3rd.-Land the troop without any accidents whatever.

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July 4th.-Commence shoeing, and get ready to march. 5th and 6th occupied

in altering forge and completing the shoeing, &c., &c.

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'July 7th.-All ready to march, but have neither sufficient horses nor can I get mules. Receive an order to take 11 horses from the Waggon Train, and to receive 6 mules from the Commissariat. The horses I procure, but not the mules, and consequently defer marching another day.

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'July 8th, Saturday:-I am informed by the Acting Commissary-General that no mules can be procured till Monday; I therefore determine to march without them, and request Captain Turner, of the Artillery Drivers, to bring them up to As he purposes joining the army as soon as he can, he will in all probability overtake the troop.

me.

"July 9th.—March from Lisbon at 5 o'clock, a.m.

About 5 miles from Lisbon,

the axle-tree of the forge gives way. Leave the wheeler and a party to repair it ; which is done by sending back to the arsenal and bringing up a new axle-tree, which the wheeler secures by strengthening it in the centre with strong plates of iron, Reached Villa Franca about 3 o'clock-distance 6 leagues; billetted; not a horse galled.

"July 10th.-The first 3 leagues good road; the last 6 very bad-deep sand and very hilly. The horses much fatigued, and many galled.

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"July 11th and 12th.-Halt at Santarem, to stuff saddles and collars, which from the perspiration are become very hard. Finding it impossible with only two collar-makers to keep the saddles constantly safe, the sweat and dust hardening the pannels so much, I ordered the blanket to be carried under the saddle.

"July 14th.-Through the awkwardness of a driver, a baggage or store waggon was overset. The leaders were allowed to stop on the pitch of the hill, by which the wheels backed off the end of the bridge, and the waggon turned completely over, but happily without injury to men, horses, carriage, or harness, and in a quarter of an hour it was got up, but with great exertion, for it had fallen into the river at least 14 ft. lower than the bridge.

July 15th.-Halt on account of being unable to procure wains, mules, and provisions the previous evening. At 11 at night, the Quartermaster brings 9 forage wains and 10 mules to the park from Abrantes. I have been obliged to demand the mules, in consequence of the loss of so many horses, which compels me to drop a store-waggon at this place."

The following extract gives an example of an improvised ambulance:

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July 17th.-Having only one day's forage to carry, I am enabled to put the stores on the mules, and give up the waggon to carry Gunner Roberts and Gunner Harvey (the latter got a severe kick on the knee). By nailing corn sacks from side to side of the waggon, a very tolerable conveyance was made for them, and on their arrival I had the satisfaction to find they had not suffered at all, except pain by the jolting.

"July 18th.-Halt.

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Many horses are far from well, but I hope to be able to take them all forward. Their complaint appears to be rheumatism, brought on by the great heat of the day and damp at night.

"July 21st.-Halt by order to forage the three following days. No wains to be procured, which will prevent my marching to-morrow. Wheel repaired and horses shod.

"July 22nd.-So much am I reduced in my horses, that I feel it necessary to drop and leave with the Commissary, my wheel-carriage and store-waggon. I expect the mules, but cannot build upon them with certainty, otherwise would take the latter forward.

"August 2nd.—To Talavera. Received orders to halt my troop on the road, and that the army was to retreat the following morning."

The letters from which the following extracts are taken, were written a few days after his having joined the army

To his Sister :

GASIESIGO,
August 9, 1809.

"I marched from Lisbon on the 9th of last month with my troop alone, with orders to join the army as soon as I could. I consequently used all diligence, and though opposed by many difficulties from want of forage and provisions, as well as being deficient in horses, and having the heat of the climate to

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