Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

British Regiments and the Men Who Led Them 1793-1815: 85th Regiment of Foot

By Steve Brown

Secondary Titles:

1802 – Bucks Volunteers; 1808 - Bucks Volunteers (Light Infantry); 1815 - Bucks Volunteers, Duke of York's Own Light Infantry

Regimental History

1793:

Raised by Sir George Nugent on the Marquis of Buckingham's estates

1800:

17 May - 2nd Battalion formed at Colchester

1802:

2nd Battalion disbanded on Isle of Wight

1808:

10 September - became Light Infantry

Colonels

1793:

18 November

Sir George Nugent, Bt. G.C.B.

1805:

27 December

Sir Charles Ross, Bt.

1806:

30 October

Sir Charles Asgill, Bt. G.C.H.

1807:

25 February

Thomas Slaughter Stanwyx

1813:

27 November

Sir James Willoughby Gordon

Colonels-Commandant

1794:

1 March

Sir George Nugent, Bt. G.C.B.

1800:

9 May

Sir Charles Ross, Bt.

Stations and Combats – 1st Battalion

1793:

Raised in Buckinghamshire

1794:

August – to Netherlands; St Andria; Tuyl

1795:

Retreat to Bremen; April – to England; Portsmouth; to Gibraltar

1796:

Gibraltar

1797:

Gibraltar; June - men into other regiments, cadre to England; Chatham; July – Derby; recruiting

1798:

February – Bridgenorth; Portsmouth – missed Ostend fiasco; July – Southampton; Jersey

1799:

Jersey; June – Lymington; Isle of Wight – Cowes; Deal; Ramsgate; to Netherlands; Helder landing; Bergen; November – Texel; to England; Yarmouth; high fever deaths; quarantined in Swaffham and Norwich

1800:

Norwich; recruited 1800 Irish volunteers (see 2nd Battalion); Colchester; Swinley

1801:

February – Cowes; received 1100 men from 2/85; Parkhurst; Cowes; to Madeira

1802:

Madeira; January – to West Indies; Jamaica; August – received remaining men from 2/85, plus Bucks Volunteers Fencibles (adopted BV name)

1803:

Jamaica; Stony Hill

1804:

Jamaica; Stony Hill

1805:

Jamaica

1806:

Jamaica

1807:

Jamaica

1808:

Jamaica; April – to England; June – Portsmouth; Hilsea; Buckingham; 10 September – became Light Infantry; Shorncliffe; Brabourne Lees

1809:

Brabourne Lees; June – Gosport; to Walcheren; Flushing; December – to England; Dover

1810:

Brabourne Lees; December – Hailsham

1811:

Hailsham; January – Portsmouth; to Portugal; Lisbon; Volla Poza; FUENTES D’ONORO; 1st siege of Badajoz; October – Lisbon; to England; Portsmouth (266 men left); December – Brabourne Lees

1812:

Brabourne Lees; May – Hythe; disciplinary problems and duelling

1813:

Hythe; January – all officers (except one) replaced by Prince Regent; July – Dover; to Spain; August – Passages; 5 companies in boats to San Sebastian; Bidassoa; Nivelle; Bayonne

1814:

Bayonne; April – St Jean de Luz; May – Bordeaux; to North America; Bermuda; Chesapeake; August – BLADENSBURG; Burning of Washington; Baltimore; Godley Wood; to Jamaica; New Orleans

1815:

New Orleans; Fort Mobile; Fort Bowyer; to England; May – Deal; Hythe; August – renamed Duke of York’s Own Light Infantry.

Stations and Combats – 2nd Battalion

1800:

17 May – formed at Colchester from Irish volunteers; Swinley; October – Winchester; Southampton; Jersey

1801:

February – Isle of Wight; Cowes; sent 1100 men to 1/85; Parkhurst

1802:

Disbanded on Isle of Wight.

Careers of Senior Officers (shown as highest rank attained in regiment in the period)

Lt Col Sir George Nugent, Bt.

Born 1757; Major in 97th Foot 8 September 1783; Major in 4th Dragoon Guards 16 June 1789; Captain & Lieutenant-Colonel Coldstream Foot Guards 6 October 1790; brevet Colonel 28 February 1794; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 1 March 1794; subsequently Major-General 3 May 1796; Lieutenant-General 25 September 1803; General 4 June 1813; Field-Marshal 1846; died 1849.

Lt Col Hon. Edward Bligh

Born Ireland 1769; Major in 3rd Foot Guards 5 March 1794; Major in 85th Foot 1 March 1794; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 30 September 1794; brevet Colonel 1 January 1798; ADC to King January 1798; Lieutenant-Colonel in 5th Foot 5 August 1799; subsequently Major-General 1 January 1805; Lieutenant-General 4 June 1811; died 1840.

Major Thomas Talbot

Born Ireland 1771; Major in 85th Foot 30 September 1794; to Lieutenant-Colonel in 5th Foot 16 January 1796; resigned and migrated to Canada May 1803; early settler of Lake Erie district.

Lt Col Charles Dawkins

Major in 85th Foot 1 March 1794 (on transfer from 1st Dragoon Guards); Lieutenant-Colonel 6 March 1794; commanded 85th Foot 1794 to 1798; to Captain & Lieutenant-Colonel 1st Foot Guards 15 August 1798.

Major Thomas Grey

Major in 85th Foot 23 January 1796; Lieutenant-Colonel in 12th Foot 30 January 1796 (on transfer from 85th Foot); gone by July 1798.

Lt Col John Ross

Major in 85th Foot 30 September 1794; Lieutenant-Colonel 15 June 1796; commanded 85th Foot at Helder 1799, wounded at Bergen; retired May 1801.

Major Barnard Foord Bowes

Born Yorkshire 1769; Major in 85th Foot 15 June 1796 (on transfer from 26th Foot); to Lieutenant-Colonel in 6th Foot 1 December 1796; Brevet Colonel 1 January 1805; subsequently Major-General 25 July 1810; killed in action 24 June 1812 at Salamanca forts.

Major William Purvis

Major in 85th Foot 18 August 1796 (on transfer from 30th Foot); retired July 1798.

Major Robert Crosby Gordon

Major in 85th Foot 26 January 1797 (on transfer from 61st Foot); retired May 1798.

Major Robert William Ottley

Major in 85th Foot 17 May 1798; wounded at Helder 1799; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 1 January 1800; retired June 1801.

Major Hugh Houston

Major in 90th Foot 14 May 1794; Major in 85th Foot 14 July 1798; retired July 1799.

Lt Col Hon. Henry Astley Bennett

Captain & Lieutenant-Colonel 1st Foot Guards 26 January 1791; brevet Colonel 21 August 1795; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 15 August 1798; subsequently Major-General 18 June 1798; Lieutenant-General 30 October 1805; retired April 1813.

Major George-Robert Ainslie

Born Edinburgh 1776; served in Flanders 1793 to 1794; Major in 85th Foot 27 July 1799; served in Helder 1799; Lieutenant-Colonel Birmingham Fencibles 1 January 1800; Lieutenant-Colonel in 5th Garrison Battalion 5 March 1802; Lieutenant-Colonel in 25th Foot 21 May 1807; brevet Colonel 25 July 1810; subsequently Major-General 4 June 1813; Lieutenant-General 27 May 1825; died Edinburgh 1839.

Major Charles Wale

Born 1765; Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 1 January 1798; served at Helder 1799; Major in 85th Foot 16 January 1800 (on transfer from 20th Foot); to Lieutenant-Colonel 67th Foot 9 October 1800; brevet Colonel 25 April 1808; Brigadier-General in West Indies 1809; captured Martinique 1810; subsequently Major-General 4 June 1811; Lieutenant-General 19 July 1821; General 28 June 1838; died 1845.

Lt Col William Douglas

Major in 74th Foot 4 December 1796; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 1 January 1800; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 17 May 1800 (on transfer from 74th Foot); retired March 1802.

Major Richard Lee

Major in 124th Foot November 1794; on half-pay 1 March 1798; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 1 January 1800; Major in 85th Foot 17 May 1800; exchanged to half-pay 135th Foot 4 April 1801.

Major George Jackson

Major 96th Foot 14 October 1794; on half-pay 1 March 1798; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 1 January 1800; Major in 85th Foot 17 May 1800; Major in Scotch Brigade 4 April 1801.

Lt Col Matthew, Lord Aylmer, G.C.B.

Born Ireland 1775; 5th Baron Aylmer 1785; Major in 85th Foot 9 October 1800 (on transfer from 49th Foot); Lieutenant-Colonel 25 March 1802; Captain & Lieutenant-Colonel Coldstream Foot Guards 9 June 1803; Assistant Adjutant-General in Peninsula April 1809 to July 1811; brevet Colonel 25 July 1810; Deputy Adjutant-General in Peninsula November 1812 to June 1813; Major-General 4 June 1813; commanded brigade July 1813 to April 1814; Adjutant-General in Ireland 1814 to 1823; Governor-General of British North America 1830 to 1835; died London 1850.

Major William Roberts

Major in 135th Foot 26 December 1794; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 1 January 1800; Major in 85th Foot 4 April 1801; to Lieutenant-Colonel Nova Scotia Fencibles July 1803.

Major Gordon Skelly

Major in Scotch Brigade 2 May 1795; Major in 85th Foot 4 April 1801; retired September 1801; Inspecting Field Officer of Yeomanry in September 1803.

Lt Col Lyde Brown

Born London 1759; brevet Major 9 September 1794; Major in 4th West India Regiment 18 January 1797; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 9 January 1798; Lieutenant-Colonel in 35th Foot 30 May 1800; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 10 April 1801; Lieutenant-Colonel in 21st Foot 25 June 1802; murdered in Dublin riots 23 July 1803.

Lt Col James Willoughby Gordon

Born Hertfordshire 1772; served at Toulon 1793; Major in 66th Foot 9 November 1797; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 22 May 1801 (on transfer from 66th Foot); commanded 85th Foot on Madeira 1801; Assistant Quarter-Master General July 1803; Military Secretary to Commander-in-Chief 1804; to Lieutenant-Colonel 92nd Foot 4 August 1804; Quarter-Master General to the Forces 1811 to 1851; subsequently Major-General 4 June 1813; Lieutenant-General 25 May 1825; died London 1851.

Major George Otway

Major in 85th Foot 4 June 1801 (on transfer from 41st Foot); died Jamaica July 1804.

Major John McKenzie

Major in 85th Foot 4 June 28 August 1801; on half-pay 1802; Major in 5th Foot 1 August 1804; died of wounds at Corunna 15 January 1809.

Major Lionel Smith

Served in West Indies 1796; Major in 85th Foot 27 April 1802; to Major in 16th Foot 29 June 1802; subsequently Major-General 12 August 1819; Lieutenant-General 10 January 1837; died Mauritius 1842.

Lt Col David Mellifont

Major in 10th Foot 27 December 1799; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 29 April 1802; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 16 July 1803; died Jamaica November 1806.

Major Robert Hobson

Major in 85th Foot 19 October 1804 (on transfer from 53rd Foot); died Jamaica January 1808.

Major George Hill

Major in York Rangers 2 July 1803; Major in 85th Foot 7 March 1805; died 1809.

Lt Col Henry Cuyler

Born 1769; Major in 27th Foot 3 November 1797 (on transfer from 30th Foot); Lieutenant-Colonel 16 May 1800; on half-pay 1802; Lieutenant-Colonel 4th Garrison Battalion 14 November 1804; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 18 November 1806; brevet Colonel 25 July 1810; commanded 85th Foot in Peninsula March to October 1811; ‘let go’ to Lieutenant-Colonel 46th Foot 25 January 1813; retired February 1813; died Rochester 1842.

Major Æneas MacIntosh

Served at Helder 1799; Major in 85th Foot 7 April 1808; served at Walcheren 1809; served in Peninsula with 85th Foot March to October 1811; commanding storming party at Badajoz; court-martialled for dissension in 1813 and acquitted; Major in 79th Foot 25 January 1813; died Scotland January 1814. 

Major James Fergusson

Born Ireland 1788; served in Peninsula with 43rd Foot 1808 to 1812; Major in 79th Foot 3 December 1812; Major in 85th Foot 25 January 1813; served in Peninsula with 85th Foot August 1813 to April 1814; Lieutenant-Colonel in 3rd Foot 16 May 1814; on half pay 1820; died 1865.

Major Peter Deshon

Born West Indies 1776; served in Peninsula with 43 Foot 1808 to 1810; Major in 43rd Foot 16 August 1810; Major in 85th Foot 25 January 1813; served in Peninsula with 85th Foot August to December 1813; retired 22 May 1817; died June 1852.

Major Nicholas Alexander Mein

Born Scotland c. 1780; served in India 1799 to 1800; Major in 85th Foot 21 September 1809; served at Walcheren 1809; Major in 43rd Foot 25 January 1813; served in Peninsula 1813 to  1814; served at New Orleans 1815; retired 9 September 1819.

Lt Col William Thornton, K.C.B.

Major in Royal York Rangers 13 November 1806; Inspecting Field Officer of Militia in Canada 28 January 1808; Lieutenant-Colonel in Duke of York’s Greek Light Infantry 23 January 1812; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 25 January 1813; brevet Colonel 4 June 1814; wounded and taken POW at Bladensburg 1814; wounded at New Orleans 1815; Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General in Ireland 1819; subsequently Major-General 27 May 1825; Lieutenant-General 28 June 1838; died Middlesex 1840.

Lt Col William Wood, C.B.

Served in Hanover 1805; Major in 14th Foot 14 May 1807; served in Peninsula November 1808 to January 1809; served in Walcheren 1809; served in Java 1811; Lieutenant-Colonel in 85th Foot 8 April 1813;  served in North America 1814, wounded at Bladensburg; retired on half-pay 41st Foot 11 May 1815; subsequently Major-General 23 November 1841; died 1870.

Major George Brown

Born Scotland 1790; Served at Copenhagen 1807; served in Peninsula with 43rd Foot 1808 to 1811; again in Peninsula with 85th Foot August 1813 to April 1814; Major in 85th Foot 26 May 1814; brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 29 September 1814; Lieutenant-Colonel 17 July 1823; subsequently Major-General 1841; commanded Light Division in Crimea 1854; died Scotland August 1865.

Sources:

War Office. Army Lists 1796 to 1815. London: various years.

Smith, Henry Stooks. An Alphabetical List of the Officers of the Eighty-Fifth Bucks Volunteers, The King’s Light Infantry Regiment, from 1800 to 1850. London: Simkin Marshall & Co., 1851.

Chichester, Henry Manners, and Burges-Short, Henry. The Records and Badges of Every Regiment and Corps in the British Army. London: William Clowes & Sons, 1895.

Westlake, Ray. English & Welsh Infantry Regiments - An Illustrated Record of Service 1662-1994. Staplehurst: Spellmount, 2002.

McKenna, Michael G. The British Army – And Its Regiments and Battalions. West Chester, Ohio: The Nafziger Collection. 2004.

Reid, Stuart. Wellington’s Officers, Volume 1. Leigh-On-Sea: Patrizan Press, 2008.

Reid, Stuart. Wellington’s Officers, Volume 2. Leigh-On-Sea: Patrizan Press, 2009.

Park, S.J. and Nafziger, G.F. The British Military – Its System and Organization 1803-1815. Cambridge, Ontario: Rafm Co. Inc. 1983.

Hall, John A. A History of the Peninsular War: Volume VIII – The Biographical Dictionary of British Officers Killed and Wounded 1808-1814.  London: Greenhill Books, 1998.

Philippart, John. The Royal Military Calendar, or Army Service and Commission Book. London: A.J. Valpy, 1820.

London Gazette Website. March 2011.

The Napoleon Series – Peninsula Roll Call. March 2011.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: March 2011

More on the British Regiments and the Men Who Led Them 1793-1815 ]



© Copyright 1995-2017, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.

Top | Home ]