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THIRTY-NINTH FOOT AND PLASSEY.
This corps has the motto Primus in Indis, having been the first King's regiment employed in India, for which country it embarked from Ireland in the beginning of 1754, and was therefore the first British regiment that ever doubled the Cape of Good Hope. Only a portion of it shared in the memorable battle of Plassey, two hundred and fifty of the Thirty-ninth having been embarked from Madras for the presidency of Bengal in October, 1756. The armament consisted of nine hundred Europeans and fifteen hundred Sepoys. In the action, fought near Calcutta, on the 5th February, 1757, one of the enemy's rockets struck the cartouchbox of a Sepoy, set fire to the charges, which exploded, and communicated the mischief to several others; this threw the division into confusion, but fortunately none of the enemy were at hand to profit by this accidental circumstance; and Captain Eyre Coote, of the Thirtyninth (afterwards the celebrated Lieutenant-General Sir Eyre Coote, K.B.), who marched at the head of the grenadiers, in the rear of the Sepoys, rallied them, and restored the line of march. A desperate contest ensued, during which, Ensign Martin Yorke, of the Thirty-ninth, with a platoon of the regiment, rescued one of the field-pieces which was on the point of being captured. The Nabob Surajee Dowlah lost twenty-two officers of distinction, six hundred men, four elephants, five hundred horses, some camels, and several bullocks. On the 9th of February a treaty was concluded between the Nabob and the East India Company, which terminated hostilities for a
time. It was, however, soon perceived that the Nabob was only temporizing; and Lieutenant-Colonel Clive then determined to place Meer Jaffier, one of the distinguished chieftains of Bengal, on the musnud or government seat, and of deposing the Nabob Surajee Dowlah-the former having engaged, in the event of his being elevated to the viceroyship, to assist in driving the French from Bengal. This led to the battle of Plassey, but the co-operation of Meer Jaffier appeared problematical, which made Clive hesitate as to crossing into the island of Cossimbuzar, and at all risks, attack the Nabob. A council of war was summoned, and, singular enough, Lieutenant-Colonel Clive declared for remaining at Cutwah. Eight other officers were of the same opinion, and only seven voted for immediate action. Amongst the latter was Captain Coote, and after some consideration, Clive resolved to act on the former's opinion, and the minority.
One of the most remarkable victories was the result; the battle of Plassey was fought on the 23rd of June, 1757, and the victory gained was the foundation of British dominion in India. A handsome silvermounted drum-major's cane (still in possession of the regiment) was presented to the Thirty-ninth by the Nabob of Arcot, with the following device and inscription thereon:-Device: an elephant, with motto "Primus in Indis," Plassey, 1757. Inscription: "Nabob of Bengal overturned by the Thirty-ninth Regiment, and the Company's troops, 5th February, 1757." This, in course of time, was confounded with the battle of Plassey, but the former was the action fought near Calcutta. While this portion of the Thirty-ninth was thus engaged in Bengal, the remain
der, at Madras, was not unemployed; having shared in the unsuccessful attack on Nelloure, on the 5th May, 1757, in the relief of Trichinopoly, and in the operations against Wandewash. The regiment returned to Ireland in the beginning of 1759.
AMENITIES OF WARFARE.
When the troops under the Earl of Essex suc-ceeded in capturing Cadiz in 1596, the glory of the achievement was only surpassed by the fact that it was considered a distinguishing feature of the virtue of the English army that three thousand Spanish. ladies and merchants' wives were permitted to retire therefrom without being molested.
Conrade III., who was elected emperor in 1738, besieged Weinsberg, a small town belonging to the Duke of Wurtemburg. The duke, who opposed the election, was, with his wife, in the town, and sustained the siege with such heroic bravery, that the emperor resolved to fire it and put its defenders to the sword;. but he allowed the women to quit it, and carry with them whatever they thought most precious. The duchess, profiting by the offer, took her husband on her shoulders, and all the married women, following her example of affection, left Weinsberg in conjugal triumph.
In the recently-discovered Marlborough letters and despatches, edited by the late General Sir George Murray, is the following letter to Mr. R. Graham, Provincial of the English Dominicans at Aix-la-Cha-pelle, affording another example of amenities in war :"Camp at Tongres, 18th May, 1706. "SIB, I have received your letter of the 14th
instant, and send you herewith the sauvegarde you desire for the English convent of Bornhem, as a mark of the regard I shall be always ready to show, not only to my countrymen, but in a particular manner to all such others for whose unfortunate circumstances the piety of well-disposed persons may have designed quiet and peaceable retirements.
“I am, etc.,
The following illustration of politeness at the battle of Fontenoy has been handed down by Voltaire :"In the meantime the English advanced, and the line composed of the French and Swiss Guards and of Courten, having upon their right the regiment of Aubeterre and a battalion of the king's, advanced also to meet them. The regiment of English Guards was at the distance of fifty paces. Campbell's and the Royal Scotch were the first; Mr. Campbell was the Lieutenant-General. The English officers saluted the French by taking off their hats. The Count de Chabanes and the Duc de Biron advanced forward and returned the compliment. Lord Charles Hay, Commander of the English Guards, cried out, Gentlemen of the French Guards, give fire.' The Count D'Antroche, then lieutenant of grenadiers, made answer with a loud voice, 'Gentlemen, we never fire first, fire you first.' Then the captain said to his men in English, 'Fire.' The consequence of this singular instance of politeness was, that nineteen officers of the French Guards and eleven of the Swiss were wounded in this discharge."
The following incident occurred during a pause in the second day's fight at Talavera, on the 28th of July,
1809, when both armies went to the banks of the small stream, a tributary of the Tagus, for water, which flowed through a part of the battle-ground. The men approached each other and conversed like old acquaintances, even exchanging their canteens and wine-flasks. In the words of the author of "The Bivouac" (the Rev. W. H. Maxwell, Prebendary of Balla):-" All asperity of feeling seemed forgotten. To a stranger they would have appeared more like an allied force, than men hot from a ferocious conflict, and only gathering strength and energy to recommence it anew. But a still nobler rivalry for the time existed; the interval was employed in carrying off the wounded, who lay intermixed upon the hard-contested field; and, to the honour of both be it told, that each endeavoured to extricate the common sufferers, and remove their unfortunate friends and enemies, without distinction. Suddenly the bugles sounded, the drums beat to arms; many of the rival soldiery shook hands and parted with expressions of mutual esteem, and in ten minutes after they were again at the bayonet's point."
The Eighty-sixth Regiment erected a handsome monument near St. Denis, in the Island of Bourbon, where Lieutenant John Graham Munro, of that corps, fell, with the following inscription:-" Lieut. John Graham Munro fell near this spot on the 8th of July, 1810, while charging the enemy at the head of His Britannic Majesty's Eighty-sixth Grenadiers. The officers of the regiment have erected this monument as a mark of their respect for his memory." This monument having, some years back, suffered by a hurricane, the French officers stationed on the