History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery Vol. 2 Compiled from the original records
ROYAL REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY.
Major-General Sir Alexander J. Dickson,
ROYAL REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY.
COMPILED FROM THE ORIGINAL RECORDS.
By CAPTAIN FRANCIS DUNCAN, M.A., D.C.L., LL.D.,
SUPERINTENDENT OF THE ROYAL ARTILLERY REGIMENTAL RECORDS;
FELLOW OF THE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON,
AND OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.
“L’histoire de l’Artillerie est l’histoire du progrès des sciences, et partant de la civilisation.”
WITH A FRONTISPIECE.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
The right of Translation is reserved.
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS
FIELD-MARSHAL THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE,
K.G., G.C.B., K.P., G.C.M.G.,
COLONEL OF THE ROYAL REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY,
HISTORY OF ITS SERVICES
IS RESPECTFULLY, AND BY PERMISSION,
Unforeseen circumstances having arisen sincethe publication of the First Volume of this work,which rendered it possible that the Author might beunable to complete the narrative while holding theappointment of Superintendent of the RegimentalRecords, it has become necessary to modify the originalplan. There were two alternatives,—either to compressthe history between 1783 and the present date into onevolume, sacrificing many matters of minor interest,—orto write, as fully as in the former volume, thehistory of a period additional to that already treatedof, leaving the subsequent years and their campaignsto be described either by the Author’s successor, orby himself at some future time. After consultationwith some of the senior officers of the Corps, thelatter alternative has been adopted; and the additionof certain statistical tables, and of a copious index toboth volumes, will, it is hoped, render the work, asfar as it goes, a complete one. Unless anticipatedby an abler pen, the Author does not despair ofbeing able to avail himself at some future time ofthe continued access to the Regimental Records, nowsystematically arranged, which has been promised toviiihim by the Deputy Adjutant-General of the Corps,—witha view to compiling narratives of the War inthe Crimea, and of the Indian Mutiny.
The almost unanimously kind reception given tothe first volume, not only by the press, but to a mostcheering extent by his brother officers, demands theAuthor’s grateful acknowledgments. It has encouragedhim in the labours, the results of which arenow submitted to the public; and has satisfied himthat he did not err in the estimate he placed upon aRegimental History, as a means of awakening andintensifying esprit de corps.ix
CONTENTS OF VOL. II.
Having in the Preface stated the plan of this volume, itis incumbent on the Author now to acknowledge, withgratitude, the assistance he has received during its execution.Acting on a suggestion made by one of the reviewersof the first volume, he has noted in the margin the variousauthorities on which the narrative is based; and, as in manyinstances these are manuscript letters in the Record Office,he has given the dates of such,—to facilitate access to themby any one anxious to obtain information in detail.
Among those to whom the Author is chiefly indebted,Sir Collingwood Dickson—for the reason stated in the bodyof the work—stands first. Not only the Author, but theRegiment at large, is indebted to him for the generousconfidence with which he entrusted the letters and journalsof his distinguished father to the writer of this history.The labours of Captain G. E. W. Malet, R.A.—so visiblein the tables at the end of this volume—demand the nextplace in the Author’s acknowledgment;—and the Readerwill be able to judge how great has been the value, to thisnarrative, of the published writings of Captain H. W. L.Hime, R.A.
Sir J. Bloomfield, Sir E. C. Warde, Sir D. E. Wood, GeneralBurke Cuppage, Major-Generals W. J. Smythe and C. J. B.Riddell, Colonel Lynedoch Gardiner, Major H. Geary, andxiiLieutenant J. Ritchie, have contributed valuable informationconnected with the history of the Regiment to which theybelong, and have greatly facilitated the Author’s labours.The assistance of Sir Edward Perrott, and of Captain H. W.Gordon, C.B., is also gratefully acknowledged.
To Mr. James Browne, the author of ‘England’s Artillerymen’a double debt is owing. His labour producedthe Index to the first volume; and his published work hasbeen a mine of reference, the value of which became moreapparent, the more it was explored. Written without theadventitious aids at the disposal of the custodian of theRegimental Records, it is yet so exhaustive and accurate,that, when admiration of it has ceased, it is only becausethat feeling has passed into envy.
The admirable Index to the present volume is due to theskill, ability, and industry, eminently possessed by theAssistant-Superintendent in the Record Office, R. H. Murdoch,Esq., R.A. These talents were generously placed atthe Author’s disposal, with a view to this work being madeas complete as possible.
The conducting a work of this description through thepress,—although the last occupation in point of time,—isnot the least in point of importance. Careful comparisonwith the MSS.,—much patient and merely mechanical labour,—andwatchfulness, lest errors of style should be overlookedin the anxiety to secure rigid accuracy, or lest thelatter should be sacrificed to attempts at literary embellishment,—allthese are involved in the process. And all thesehave been displayed by one who has assisted in this operation,—theRev. G. Martyn Ritchie, Chaplain to the Forces,whose services the Author acknowledges with gratitude.
Not unfrequently the official letter-books differ fromKane’s List of Officers in the spelling of proper names.Where the correct reading is doubtful, that found in thexiiiletter-books is given in the body of the work, and both aregiven in the Index.
History moves so rapidly, that even while this work hasbeen in the press, a slight alteration in the pay of thenon-commissioned officers and men of the Regiment hasbeen made, making the rates given in the following pagesas those of the year 1873, accurate only up to the 1st ofOctober in that year. The reader can with ease make therequisite corrections.xiv1
ROYAL REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY.
Reaction and retrenchment followed the Peace signed atVersailles in 1783; and with them came dullness anddespondency in the Regiment. Until 1787, when the stateof France caused universal alarm in Europe, and preparationsfor possible hostilities already commenced in England, theprospects of promotion had been most disheartening. Duringthe American War, a large number of subaltern officers hadbeen appointed by the Generals serving with the Englisharmies, and it was found, in 1783, that in this respect theestablishment of the Regiment had been considerably exceeded.With somewhat distorted ideas of justice, it wasruled that the pay of the supernumeraries should be providedby means of stoppages from the officers of all ranks on theproper establishment, and that no new appointments shouldbe made until all the supernumeraries had been absorbed,—anevent which did not take place until the 14th February,1786.
Dullness, therefore, reigned during these years in theWarren at Woolwich,—dullness in the Academy,—dullness inforeign stations, where the detachments were at times forgottenaltogether,—and dullness the most stupendous in theoffices of His Majesty’s Ordnance.2
Uneventful, however, as this period of the RegimentalHistory undoubtedly was, it possesses to the student apeculiar interest. Its domestic details invite