Notes on Wellington’s Peninsular Regiments: 4th Provisional Battalion 2/30th [Cambridgeshire] & 2/44th [East Essex]
By Ray Foster
4th Provisionals 2/30th & 2/44th
There is little to tell here excepting that when the army had returned from its Burgos adventure in the late 1812 retreat these two units as a part of 5th Division were so reduced for numbers that they were quickly joined together so that the CIC in his arguments to keep his young veterans could hold them within the ranks. The winter and spring of 1812-13 proved too much for this particular new amalgamation its figures gradually reducing even as combined, to a rock bottom PUA 300.
While others were showing gratifying improvement the 4th Provisionals left no alternative than to be stood down and returned to their depots in England.
All of this by 10th May 1813 as the army was about to once again take the field.
Both of these 2nd battalions had already had a tough war, as young recruits first sent to fill a gap to at least make a show of readiness and especially being members of a regular fighting Division they had done their duty manfully but rarely had been able to improve numbers during their periods of rest.
At Waterloo both of these units would be in the thick of it, the former to die in square under Halkett and the latter to be well tested with Pack’s Highlanders.
Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2011
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