Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

‘Every Species of Foreigner’: Britain's Foreign Regiments 1793-1796

By Steve Brown

It seems incomprehensible that by 1795, the third year of the war against France, there were more French regiments attached to the British army than Scottish ones. More German regiments, too. The thousands of French émigrés in England and Germany, desirous of striking a blow at the King-killing, anti-religion Jacobite hordes, found a ready ally in Great Britain: foreign regiments provided a solution to the chronic shortage of British troops in the period.

In the following tables, ‘Nationality’ should be taken as no more than an outline of the majority. Many units became mongrel collections of many nationalities over time, no matter how singular the initial enlistment may have been. ‘Mixed’ is used when I found I had no hope of pinning down a predominant nationality. ‘Former Slaves’ refers generally to West Indian units which were principally Negro in composition, but they could have contained Caribbean native or mulatto (half-caste) troops, as well as white planters.

Troop strengths are shown for two convenient time periods (coinciding with a HCPP summary) to provide some indication of real, rather than ‘Establishment’ strengths.

Regiments Raised in Europe

Regiment

Nationality

Date Taken into British Service

Strength
Nov 1794

Strength
Aug 1795

Date Disbanded

Service Record

Loyal Emigrant Regiment (La Chatre’s)

French

25 May 1793 (London)

450

579

24 Aug 1802 (Jersey)

Flanders, Quiberon, Portugal

York Rangers (Ramsay’s York Chasseurs)

Germans

21 Jun 1793

871

617

Oct 1798 (Tobago) 1

Flanders, St Lucia, St Vincent

Royal-Louis Regiment

French

7 Sep 1793 (Toulon)

475

-

12 Dec 1794 2

Toulon

Corsica

Uhlans Britannique (Bouille’s)

French

16 Aug 1793 (Flanders)

602

453

27 Aug 1796 (Sand Domingo)

Flanders

St Lucia

San Domingo

Corsican Chasseurs (MacLean’s)

Corsican

31 Oct 1793 (Toulon)

?

?

24 Jun 1798 (Portugal) 3

Toulon

Corsica

Portugal

Royal French Marine Artillery Company

French

8 Dec 1793 (Elba)

~70

?

Jul 1797 (Lisbon) 4

Toulon

Corsica

Portugal

Quiefdeville Artillery

French

Jan 1794 (Portsmouth)

~60

-

May 1795 4

Flanders

Corsican Gendarmerie

French / Corsican

Feb 1794 (Corsica)

?

?

Oct 1796 (Corsica) *

Corsica

Salm-Kirbourg Hussars

German

25 Feb 1794 (Holland)

872

768

3 Dec 17695 (Germany)

Flanders

Salm-Kirbourg Light Infantry

German / French

27 Feb 1794 (Holland)

?

444

8 Aug 1795 3

Flanders

Quiberon

Hompesch’s Hussars

German

27 Feb 1794 (Hanover)

720

851

Oct 1797

(Isle of Wight)

Flanders

San Domingo

Hompesch’s Chasseurs

German

27 Feb 1794 (Hanover)

~120

-

Apr 1795 (Germany)

Flanders

1st Rohan’s Hussars

German

3 Mar 1794 (Germany)

872

793

1 Jul 1797 (San Domingo) 5

Flanders

San Domingo

Rohan’s Light Infantry

German

3 Mar 1794 (Germany)

828

442

8 Oct 1797 3

Flanders

Quiberon

Choiseul’s Hussars

French / Belgian

15 Mar 1794 (Flanders)

888

940

Mar 1796

(Isle of Wight)

Flanders

Quiberon

Foreign Engineers (Corsican)

Corsican

Apr 1794? (Corsica)

~93

?

Oct 1796 (Corsica)

Corsica

York Hussars

German

21 Jun 1794 (Germany)

949

618

24 Jul 1802 (Isle of Wight)

Flanders, San Domingo, Jamaica

Perigord’s Light Infantry

French

10 Jul 1794 (Germany)

?

173

Destroyed at Quiberon 1795

Quiberon

Regiment d’Autichamp

French

1 Aug 1794 (Holland)

285

295

24 Oct 1795 (Germany)

Flanders

Regiment De Vioménil

French

1 Aug 1794 (Holland)

365

481

24 Oct 1795 (Germany)

Flanders

Regiment de Béthisy

French

1 Aug 1794 (Holland)

255

305

24 Oct 1795 (Germany)

Flanders

Regiment de Laval (Montmorency)

French

1 Aug 1794 (Holland)

294

393

24 Oct 1795 (Germany)

Flanders

Regiment de Mortemart

French

1 Aug 1794 (Holland)

381

439

24 Aug 1802 (Portsmouth)

Flanders, Portugal

Regiment de Castries

French

1 Aug 1794 (Holland)

409

755

Aug 1802 (Portsmouth)

Flanders, Portugal

Regiment du Dresnay

French

1 Aug 1794 (Holland)

530

729

24 Oct 1795 (Germany) 6

Quiberon

Regiment d’Hervilly (2 battalions)

French

1 Aug 1794 (Holland)

972

1,413

25 Oct 1795 (Germany) 6

Quiberon

Power’s Chasseurs

Belgian

9 Sep 1794 (Flanders)

~100

-

May 1795 7

Flanders

Royal York Fusiliers (Hardy’s)

Germans

26 Sep 1794 (Flanders)

?

817

25 Aug 1797 1

Flanders, St Lucia

Pionniers du Quartier Général

French

Oct 1794 (Flanders)

?

?

16 Jan 1796

Flanders

Duke of Fitz-James Regiment, Irish Catholic Brigade

Irish

Oct 1794 (Ireland)

?

?

Mar 1796 8

Home

Count Walsh’s Regiment, Irish Catholic Brigade

Irish

Oct 1794 (Ireland)

?

?

Nov 1798 (Chatham)

Martinique, Jamaica, Honduras, San Domingo

Dillon’s Regiment, Irish Catholic Brigade

Irish

Oct 1794 (Ireland)

?

?

Late 1798 (England)

Jamaica, San Domingo

O’Connell’s Regiment, Irish Catholic Brigade

Irish

Oct 1794 (Ireland)

?

?

Mar 1796 8

Home

Viscount Walsh’s Regiment, Irish Catholic Brigade

Irish

Oct 1794 (Ireland)

?

?

25 Dec 1797 (Chatham)

Jamaica, Nova Scotia

Conway’s Regiment, Irish Catholic Brigade

Irish

Oct 1794 (Ireland)

?

?

Oct 1798 (England)

Nova Scotia

Regiment d’Hector (Royal Marines)

French (Navy)

1 Oct 1794 (Southampton)

611

725

24 Oct 1795 (Germany) 6

Quiberon

Regiment de Broglie

French

11 Oct 1794 (Holland)

382

473

24 Oct 1795 (Germany)

Flanders

Rotalier’s Emigrant Artillery

French

1 Nov 1794

?

~440

24 Aug 1802 (Gosport)

Quiberon, Portugal

Royal Anglo-Corsican Regiment (4 battalions)

Corsican

Nov 1794 (Corsica)

?

?

Oct 1796 (Corsica)

Corsica, Elba

Corsican Light Dragoons

Corsica

Nov 1794 (Corsica)

76

?

Sep 1795 (Corsica)

Corsica

Regiment de Léon

French

5 Dec 1794 (Jersey)

-

337

7 Nov 1796 (Isle of Wight)

Quiberon

Regiment du Trésor

French

5 Dec 1794 (Jersey)

-

228

7 Nov 1796 (Isle of Wight)

Home

de Roll’s Regiment (2 battalions)

Swiss

9 Dec 1794 (Switzerland)

-

1,558

24 Aug 1816 (Venice)

Corsica, Elba, Portugal, Minorca, Egypt

Dillon’s Regiment (2 battalions)

French / Italian

1 Feb 1795 (Italy)

-

736

Jan 1815 (Gibraltar)

Corsica, Elba, Portugal, Minorca, Egypt

Carneville Hussars

German

2 Feb 1795 (Germany)

?

?

25 May 1795

Germany

Legion de Béon

French / Dutch

9 Feb 1795 (Holland)

-

369

24 Dec 1795 (Germany) 3,6

Flanders, Quiberon

Damas Cavalry

French

22 Feb 1795 (Holland)

-

220

Oct 1797

Flanders, Rhineland

Regiment de Damas

French

22 Feb 1795 (Holland)

-

798

Destroyed at Quiberon 1795

Flanders, Quiberon

Regiment de Williamson

French

2 Mar 1795 (Guernsey)

-

318

7 Nov 1796 (Isle of Wight)

Quiberon

Corsican (Union) Regiment (Smith’s)

Corsican

4 Apr 1795 (Corsica)

-

~675

Oct 1796 (Corsica)

Corsica

Loewenstein’s Chasseurs (2 battalions)

German

Apr 1795 (Germany)

-

1,029

25 Dec 1797 (Martinique) 1

St Lucia, Grenada, Martinique, Trinidad, Puerto Rico

Lüninck’s Light Infantry

Dutch

Apr 1795 (Germany)

-

-

May 1795 (Germany)

Germany

Regiment d’Allonville

French

1 May 1795 (Germany)

-

369

7 Nov 1796 (Isle of Wight)

Home

Pfaffenhoffen Legion

German

5 May 1795 (Hanover)

-

?

Aug 1795 9

Germany

Royal Étranger Regiment (La Tours)

Dutch / German

7 May 1795 (Germany)

-

313

1 Jan 1798 1

St Lucia, Grenada

2nd Rohan’s Hussars

German

12 Jun 1795 (Germany)

-

~300

26 Nov 1795 (amalgamated into 1st)

Flanders, San Domingo

Warren’s Hussars

French

Jun 1795? (England)

-

9

24 Jun 1796 (England)

Quiberon

Waldstein’s Light Infantry

German

12 Jul 1795 (Germany)

-

?

Apr 1798 1

Martinique, Dominica

Loewenstein’s Fusiliers

German

22 Aug 1795 (Germany)

-

?

18 Dec 1797 (Barbados) 1

Martinique, Puerto Rico

Maltese Artillery Company

Maltese

Late 1795 (Corsica)

-

74

26 Jun 1797 4

Corsica, Elba, Portugal

Dutch Emigrant Artillery

Dutch

1795 (Hanover)

-

102

Mar 1803 (West Indies) *

San Domingo

Wittgenstein’s Regiment

French

28 Feb 1796 (Germany)

-

-

Early 1797 (Isle of Wight) 10

Home

Hompesch’s Light Infantry (Fusiliers)

German

3 Mar 1796 (Germany)

-

-

1 May 1798 1

Martinique, Trinidad, Antigua

Hompesch’s Mounted Rifles

German

Sep 1796
(Isle of Wight)

-

-

28 Sep 1802 (Portsmouth)

Ireland, Ferrol, Cadiz, Egypt

Notes:

1. Men drafted into 60th Foot


2. Men drafted into Regiment d’Hervilly


3. Men drafted into Loyal Emigrants


4. Men drafted into Rotalier’s Emigrant Artillery


5. Men drafted into York Hussars


6. Official disbandment date, although unit largely destroyed at Quiberon


7. Men drafted into Royal York Fusiliers


8. Men drafted into other Irish Brigade battalions


9. Men drafted into Rohan’s Hussars


10. Men drafted into Waldstein’s Light Infantry

Regiments Raised in the West Indies

Regiment

Nationality

Date Taken into British Service

Strength 1794

Strength 1795

Date Disbanded

Service Record

Carolina Black Corps

Former Slaves

1782 (St Lucia)

?

?

See Whyte’s Regiment

Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Lucia, St Vincent

Légion de la Grande Anse

French

11 Sep 1793 (San Domingo)

?

-

9 Dec 1794 (San Domingo) 1

San Domingo

Regiment de Dillon

French/Irish

21 Sep 1793 (San Domingo)

~180

58

Oct 1796 (San Domingo)

San Domingo

Dessource’s Legion

Former Slaves

Oct 1793 (San Domingo)

?

?

Aug 1798 (Jamaica)

San Domingo

Maréchausée & Guides

Mixed

Oct 1793 (San Domingo)

~300

~430

1798 (San Domingo)

San Domingo

Chasseurs de George III (Kina’s Corps)

Former Slaves

Oct 1793 (San Domingo)

?

?

1798 (San Domingo)

San Domingo

Myer’s St Vincent Black Rangers

Former Slaves

1793 (St Vincent)

-

?

See Myer’s Regiment

St Vincent

Légion d’York

Former Slaves

Feb 1794 (San Domingo)

-

~240

Oct 1798 (Jamaica)

San Domingo

Gendarmes Royaux Anglais

French

10 Aug 1794 (San Domingo)

?

?

1798 (Jamaica)

San Domingo

Black Pioneers

Former Slaves

16 Oct 1793 (Jamaica)

?

?

?

Various

Charmilly Cavalry (Uhlans Britanniques de St-Domingue)

French (ex-POWs)

9 Dec 1794 (San Domingo)

-

245

8 Dec 1795 (San Domingo) *

San Domingo

Legion Britannique de St-Domingue (Montalembert’s)

Mixed

9 Dec 1794 (San Domingo)

-

364

Oct 1798 (San Domingo)

San Domingo

Loyal Dominican Regiment

Former Slaves

1794 (Dominica)

-

?

1798 (see 8WIR)

Dominica

Druault’s Guadeloupe Rangers

Former Slaves

1794 (Guadeloupe)

-

?

1798 (see 9WIR)

Guadeloupe, Trinidad

Soter’s Royal Island Rangers

Former Slaves

1794 (Martinique)

-

?

1798 (see 10WIR)

Martinique

South American Rangers

Former Slaves

1794 (Demerara)

-

?

1798 (see 11WIR)

Martinique

O’Meara’s Rangers

Former Slaves

1794 (St Lucia)

-

?

1798 (see 12WIR)

St Lucia

Malcolm’s Rangers

Former Slaves

1795

-

?

See Whyte’s Regiment

St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada

Whyte’s Regiment of Foot

Former Slaves

24 Apr 1795

-

?

1798 (see 1WIR)

St Lucia, Grenada, Puerto Rico

Myer’s Regiment of Foot

Former Slaves

24 Apr 1795 (St Vincent)

-

?

1798 (see 2WIR)

St Vincent, St Lucia

Keppel’s Regiment of Foot

Former Slaves

20 May 1795

-

?

1798 (see 3WIR)

San Domingo

Nicholl’s Regiment of Foot

Former Slaves

20 May 1795

-

?

1798 (see 4WIR)

Surinam, Demerara

Howe’s Regiment of Foot

Former Slaves

20 May 1795

-

?

1798 (see 5WIR)

San Domingo

Tobago Rangers

Former Slaves

Jun 1795 (Tobago)

-

?

May 1799

Tobago

Whitelocke’s Regiment of Foot

Former Slaves

1 Sep 1795

-

-

1798 (see 6WIR)

Belize

Lewes’ Regiment of Foot

Former Slaves

15 Sep 1795

-

-

1798 (see 7WIR)

San Domingo

Loyal Orange Battalion

Dutch

Apr 1796 (Demerara)

-

-

?

Demerara

Grenada Loyal Black Rangers

Former Slaves

Jun 1796 (Grenada)

-

-

1818

Grenada

Notes:

1. Men drafted into Montalembert’s Legion Britannique.

Regiments Raised in the East Indies

Regiment

Nationality

Date Taken into British Service

Date Disbanded

Service Record

Meuron’s Regiment

Swiss

14 Oct 1795 (Ceylon)

24 Sep 1816 (Harwich)

Ceylon, India

Wirtemberg’s Company

German

Feb 1796 (Ceylon)

?

Ceylon, Moluccas

Sources:

Return of His Majesty's Land Forces, Consisting of Regular Cavalry and Infantry, Fencible Cavalry and Infantry, Independent Corps, and Militia; as They Were Effective In November 1794. HCPP.

Chartrand, René. Émigré And Foreign Troops in British Service (1): 1793–1802, Osprey Publishing.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: March 2014

 

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