The History of the First West India Regiment
Alfred Ellis

<< 1 2 3 4 5

and the following note is, in the same Return, appended to the state of the company of the "Black Carolina Corps," which was in Grenada; the other two companies having remained in Martinique since their removal there from St. Lucia at the end of April, 1795. "This corps has been reformed, and fifty of the men, who were fit for service, have been drafted into the 1st New West India Regiment. When the remainder of the corps can be collected together, it is possible a few more may be found fit for service."

Major-General Whyte's, or the 1st West India Regiment, remained at Martinique, without any further accession to its strength than these fifty men from the Carolina Corps, till December, 1795.

In the "Muster Roll of His Majesty's 1st West India Regiment of Foot, for 183 days, from the 25th of June to the 24th of December, 1795, inclusive," the list of officers is given as already shown. Captain James Abercrombie, Lieutenants David Butler, Benjamin Chadwick, and James Sutherland are shown as "drowned on passage," and the following note is added: "Some few of the dates of enlistments and enrolments of the non-commissioned officers and drummers may not probably be quite exact, and some others may have been engaged in England not down on the muster roll, all the regimental books, attestation papers, etc., having been left in possession of the paymaster, Brevet-Major Abercrombie (no adjutant at that time being appointed), who was lost in December or January last on board the Robert and William transport, No. 44, on the voyage to this country." The non-commissioned officers and drummers were Europeans, one sergeant and three corporals being shown as "sick and absent in England" in this roll; and, in the next, a drummer is similarly shown. The roll is signed by Leeds Booth, Lieutenant-Colonel; Ed. S. Cotter, Captain and Paymaster; and Thomas Holbrook, Acting Adjutant. The following is the proof table:

A: Colonel.

B: Lieut. – Colonel.

C: Major.

D: Captains.

E: Lieutenants.

F: Cornets.

G: Ensigns.

H. Adjutant.

I. Chaplain.

J. Quartermaster.

K. Surgeon.

L. Mate.

M. Sergeants.

N. Corporals.

O. Drummers.

P. Privates.

Although it was intended that the privates of West India regiments should be black, yet, apparently, white men were not prohibited from serving in the ranks; for, in later muster rolls, two or three privates are shown as "enrolled in England," and one of these is afterwards shown as "transferred to 60th." A volunteer, David Scott, who joined 29th May, 1797, was also promoted ensign in November of that year. These enrolments of Europeans only occur in the first three years of the regiment's existence, and negro privates were available for promotion to, at least, the rank of corporal very early; for a Private John Lafontaine, who was promoted corporal, is shown in the muster roll terminating December 24th, 1796, as "claimed as a slave." The pay of a private in a West India regiment was then sixpence per diem.



In January, 1796, the company of Malcolm's Royal Rangers that was at St. Vincent was moved to St. Christopher; the other company still remained at Martinique, and both, in April, 1796, were selected to take part in the expedition to St. Lucia. "That island could then muster for its defence about 2000 well-disciplined black soldiers, a number of less effective blacks, and some hundred whites, who held positions both naturally and artificially strong, and were plentifully supplied with artillery, ammunition, and stores. The post on which the Republicans chiefly confided for their defence was that of Morne Fortune. It is situated on the western side of the island, between the rivers of the Carenage and the Grand Cul de Sac, which empty their waters into bays bearing the same name. Difficult of access by nature, it had been rendered still more so by various works. In aid of this they had also fortified others of the mornes, or eminences, in its vicinity. The whole of this position, embracing a considerable extent of ground, it was of the utmost importance to invest closely, with as little delay as possible, that the enemy might not escape into the rugged country of the interior, and thus be in a condition to carry on a protracted and harassing war, which experience had already more than once proved to be highly detrimental to an unseasoned invading force.

Вы ознакомились с фрагментом книги.
Приобретайте полный текст книги у нашего партнера:
<< 1 2 3 4 5