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have but three colours at the most in each; our Brandenburg and Hanover Foot have as many colours as there are companies in every battalion, insomuch that some battalions have a dozen; and, therefore, it is more for us in proportion to have taken nineteen colours from them, than if they had taken fifty from us."
INFANTS IN THE INFANTRY.
In the letters and despatches of the Duke of Marlborough, which were unexpectedly discovered at Blenheim a few years since, when that mansion was undergoing repairs, and which were edited by the late General Sir George Murray, the practice of giving commissions, in Queen Anne's time, to children, is thus adverted to :-The duke's letter is to the Earl of Cardigan (vol. 3, page 653), in reference to the son of the late Major-General Brudenell, recommended for a company in the regiment; but he was only five years old. Marlborough refused "as contrary to the rules the queen has prescribed for herself in that matter, besides that the inquiry parliament is making of the officers absent from their commands in Spain, makes it yet the more difficult.'
This is not an isolated instance, as the accompanying extract of another letter from the Duke of Marlborough to Mr. Walpole shows:
"Camp at Helchin, 31st August, 1708.
"I own I have been some time under obligations to my Lord Portmore for his son, who is now twelve years of age; and though I am by no means for encouraging children in the service, yet, his lordship
having been many years at the head of that regiment, I intend to do myself the honour to write two words to the prince upon the present vacancy."
The Duke of Marlborough addressed a letter from the camp at Fretain, on the 7th September, 1708, to His Royal Highness the Prince of Denmark on this occasion.
THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH
AND THE LONDON
The letters and despatches discovered at Blenheim, before adverted to, throw a curious light on the news published in the London Gazette. Mr. Cardonnel thus writes to Mr. Lewis :
"I must leave it to you to pick out of my letters from time to time a paragraph of my lord duke's motions for the Gazette; but you must take care nothing be put in that may give the least offence to Prince Louis, since he is like to be with us or near us the whole campaign.
"I am, etc.,
"A. DE CARDONNEL."
Marlborough did not always take this preparation of news quietly, for in the postscript of a letter to Mr. Secretary Hedges, dated "Camp at Tirlemont, 7th September, 1705," he says, "I think myself very unjustly used by the Gazette of the 20th August." This has reference to omissions made in the London Gazette of a portion of the official bulletin of the 19th of that month, sent home by his grace.
A curious insight into Marlborough's character is
shown in this extract of a letter to Mr. Dawson (vol. 3, page 253):
"St. James's, 16th December, 1706. "I should not be averse to what you propose in relation to the county of Derry, and therefore, when your leisure will permit, would be glad to explain that matter further to me; but it must be with that precaution that none know I am any way concerned, otherwise it is to be feared the purchase would be raised considerably."
INTRODUCTION OF BAYONETS INTO THE ARMY.
The first allusion to bayonets in the English army is contained in the following extract from a warrant bearing date 2nd of April, 1672:
"CHARLES R.-Our will and pleasure is, that a Regiment of Dragoones which we have established and ordered to be raised, in twelve Troopes of fourscore in each besides officers, who are to be under the command of Our most deare and most entirely beloved Cousin, Prince Rupert, shall be armed out of Our stoares remaining within our Office of the Ordinance, as followeth; that is to say, three corporalls, two sergeants, the gentlemen at armes, and twelve souldiers of each of the said twelve Troopes, are to have and carry each of them one halbard, and one case of pistolls with holsters; and the rest of the souldiers of the several Troopes aforesaid are to have and to carry each of them one matchlocke musquet, with a collar of bandaliero, and also to have and to carry one bayonet or great knive. That each lieutenant have and carry one partizan, and that two drums be delivered out for each Troope of the said Regiment."
Partizans are alluded to in the accompanying letter from the Duke of Marlborough, dated from St. James's, 10th March, 1707, to Lieutenant-General Ingoldsby :-" Colonel Lalo is acquainted that his officers must conform themselves to other regiments and use pertuisans as those of the regiment of Welsh Fusiliers." This letter also forms part of the collection of Marlborough's despatches. Colonel Sampson de Lalo was colonel of the Twenty-first Royal North British Fusiliers, and displayed great gallantry at the battle of Malplaquet, where he was mortally wounded. He was a protestant French gentleman, and was forced to quit France on account of religious persecution.
Bayonets at first were daggers which the soldiers, after they had exhausted their ammunition, fitted to the bore of their muskets. The use of them fastened to the muzzle of the firelocks was also a French improvement, adopted about 1690.
At length the bayonet was fastened with a socket, which enabled the muzzle to be left clear for firing, as the following anecdote from "Grose's Military Antiquities" shows:-"In one of the campaigns of King William III. in Flanders, in an engagement, the name of which my informant has forgotten, there were three French regiments whose bayonets were made to fix after the present fashion; one of them advanced against the Twenty-fifth Regiment with fixed bayonets. Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell, who commanded it, ordered his men to screw their bayonets into their muzzles to receive them; but to his great surprise, when they came within a proper distance, the French threw in a heavy fire, which for a
moment staggered his people, who by no means expected such a greeting, not conscious how it was possible to fire with fixed bayonets. They nevertheless recovered themselves, charged, and drove the enemy out of the line.”
"IT IS BETTER TO LEAVE THE WELL ALONE."
The celebrated Governor (General Eliott, afterwards Lord Heathfield) of Gibraltar, during the siege of that fortress, was surprised to see certain of the soldiers constantly intoxicated, although the sale of spirituous liquors was strictly prohibited. It was at length remarked, that the men were desirous to obtain water from one particular well in the medical garden, and considering that there must be a reason for the preference, it was resolved to examine it, when the water was found to be strongly impregnated with rum. This circumstance was accounted for by the fact that the governor had received a quantity of rum, and for its greater security, and to keep it from the knowledge of the soldiers, it was buried near the above well, close to which a shell had exploded; this, tearing up the earth, and bursting the casks, caused the spirit to flow into the adjoining well.
Another amusing anecdote of a well has been preserved:-During the Peninsular war, certain officers at the mess-table were observed to decline the soup with marked significancy, which made the general at the head of the table anxious to ascertain the cause; whereupon it was mentioned, that a French soldier had been discovered, that morning, in the well from which the water had been obtained, in a state of decomposition. This did not damp the general's appetite, for it is